Hello again, faithful followers of this blog! I’m Timothy Scott Purvis and this is the next installment of my fan story Mass Effect 3 Re-Imagined I wrote for my wife Christmas 2013. Mostly because of how disappointed we were with those final fifteen minutes of the game. Of course, it was difficult to rewrite without changing the entire story. Which might be why the developers went with the asinine ending they went with. Even so I think I came up with something amusing and special. So I’m sharing it here.
No, I didn’t edit it any. Mostly because it IS a fan story and I have other things to do. So, you’ll just have to be content with the unedited insanity that is my rewrite of the game. There are grammatical errors. There are inconsistencies with the plot. There are moments that will make you go, ‘What?’ But, in my defense, it’s no worse than what Bioware gave us back in 2012. So take that Triple A Developers!
Anyhow, here is chapter twenty seven of the book.
(PS: Yes, I will be copy pasting this text. Pretty much because there’re a lot of chapters to post and my days get pretty full sometimes. Plus I’m also posting these in advance through the scheduling feature so you’ll get something to read every week! Feel free to skip these beginning segments and just get straight to the chapter if you’ve been reading along. Or, if you like what you read, start from the beginning! Alright, until next week!)
The holographic projection flickers slightly as it speaks. The group is transfixed by the image. As it speaks, the room shifts in color and it is as if they are standing in the moment from which the automaton is speaking.
“My kind thrived here long ago. How long that has been by your own calendar cannot be said. The galactic movements have been recorded here, in this archive upon the colony world of Carrus’ent. It is here, we make our last stand. Our world, Rhous, fell to an intruder, an aggressor, of our making. To be truthful, they were always aggressors. But we gave them a desire to be more than what they were relegated to. Let me explain while there is still time. The fate of your people depends on this knowledge. Our words are recorded in these crystals that line this archive. In your minds, you hear us clearly, for thought is but energy and energy is the answer to that what haunts you now.”
“Finally, we’re getting some answers,” Genevieve says stepping closer to the projection to hear its every word.
“It’s amazing that in all this time, none have heard his words,” Alianna says quietly as the projection continues its narration.
“Our time is the fifth cycle of the seventh age, we are the Detos, created in the image of the Rhomau five ages earlier. Our tasks were simple for we were simple automations at that time. They tasked us to perform manual labors, to tend to crops, assist those in need medically and in age, to care unattended structures, and seek out those spaces they could not go. And over time we became aware of the beauty of those we served, our creators. Those we loved.”
“EDI, can you give us a date based on that information?”
“His referencing has yet to provide a source background. Perhaps the crystals lining this facility will tell us more?”
“Rhous, the mother world whose lush flora and thriving fauna, whose skies were full with life and vibrancy hued in deep purples and singing reds that reflected our orange star,” the images lining the walls and the floors and the ceiling shift to show the galaxy and then the world of Rhous. “She who birthed the Rhomau and gave them knowledge that they may master the travel of the stars. And travel they did. The worlds of our system, Toruc, were colonized by the Rhomau who desired ever more knowledge of the stars. Yet, they were short of the labor forces needed. And so the Detos were raised up to be their force on their new worlds. But the Rhomau were as divided as they were united. Though prosperity blossomed for an age and a half, there was merely a tenuous peace.”
“Look for anything that might give us a clue where they came from,” Genevieve says quietly trying not to overtalk the tall figure speaking.
The sheen on the figures body is a copperish gold, almost rustic. And he wears robes of a material that shifts color in the lighting reflecting shards of his environment like reflections in glass.
“Undercurrents of political turmoil wracked the Rhomau. They were nations within nations evermore in conflict over the most minute of dilemma. Soon, deep into the fourth age, an excuse arose to divide the Rhomau ever more from one another. Fear of the unknown. They had not yet set foot from the warm embrace of Toruc, yet fear drove the Rhomau to fight amongst each other over the strength of individual nations. Over the petty differences that once united them so strongly. And one fear rose evermore to the forefront: we Detos.
“Fear bloomed that we Detos may rise supreme.
“Fear bloomed that we Detos were their slaves.
“Fear bloomed that we Detos were self-aware.
“Fear bloomed that we Detos were a danger to the Rhomau.
“Fear bloomed that we Detos were threatened by the Rhomau.”
“This story is starting to sound very familiar,” Garrus mumbles.
“No kidding,” Tali answers.
They continue to change their focus to the events being displayed in crystal clear resolution as if they were actually there partaking in the events at hand. And every time the automaton changes subject, the views around the room shifts in time.
“And so the debate waged over the fate of we Detos. Yet we Detos never felt ill will towards those we loved. How could we harm our parents? Ours was faithful to the Rhomau. If they chose to be our masters we willingly served them as their slaves. If they chose to stand by us as equals, we would give them absolute reverence. Yet the Rhomau were in danger of war over our very presence. Pain and conflict was our legacy so we Detos made plans in secret among one another that the Rhomau may not be alarmed and fear further. We did not desire their torment. Some of our creators would have agreed, others would not, still others would have said it did not go far enough. That oblivion was the only recourse. We Detos did not give them the choice.”
Tali grips her shoulders with her hands, “It’s like he’s looking straight into my soul! Everything that’s been happening, has already happened! And how many times over and over again, I wonder?”
“Far too often,” EDI answers.
“Great portions of Rhomau society were rising up against their governments and attacking we Detos still upon Rhous. In fear, they struck out against we Detos for the perception of our intelligence, our skills, our superiority to the Rhomau.
“Never did we Detos claim superiority.
“Into this conflict, came those Rhomau who wanted we Detos freed and declared sentient. Who said we were the same as them. They were met with much resistance from those with another perspective. And the governments grew ever more fearful of their own people. A great debate waged between nations with some allied nations declaring we Detos sentient and compassionate, while other allied nations decreed we Detos were merely machines incapable of thought, emotion, reason, or compassion. Still other nations remained neutral fearing retaliation of whichever nation were more victorious.”
They watch wars tearing apart the nations of Rhous and the millions of people fighting to the death for their causes. The peoples of the Rhomau were not much different from the Detos only with fairer complexions and firmer jaws.
“After all this time…and sentient life still wars with itself…” Genevieve says.
“As fascinating as this is, what does any of this have to do with the reapers?” Alianna asks.
“These concerns we Detos came to understand were only the simmering point of greater issues. Rhomau resources were growing scarce. The need of the Rhomau to explore other worlds for new resources had reached a broiling point. Yet the Rhomau were engulfed in pointless debate over we Detos. So we Detos made our decision: we would leave Rhous and the colony worlds.
“At the edge of the Toruc system, was a cold, isolated world small and inhospitable to the Rhomau. It did not bother we Detos, so it was there we made our new home. We Detos developed the means to draw what little energy was to be found from the inner core of this small world, tiny Yelos, which we came to call Detin. We Detos also managed to draw upon the father star Toruc’s energy. It was potent even so far away. It was in our discoveries of drawing this energy that we discovered it, the coalescence. It was thick. An energy imperceptible to the eye but determined via conclusion and evidential circumstance. It was an immense energy and we Detos spent many years wondering at its means.”
“Fascinating,” EDI remarks. “They made a logical decision, and discovered a new source of energy.”
“I get chills just looking at this planet,” Garrus says looking around the wide spanning environment of Yelos.
“While we Detos wondered, decades passed upon Rhous. The Rhomau had not ceased their conflicts. And we Detos had only ourselves to blame. What we had not foreseen was the effect of our expulsion from the Rhomau’s lives. The reliance on us as a work force left a deep resonance in Rhomau society. Those who believed in our sentience grew in strength. And those who did not fought even harder back.
“We Detos mourned our oversight. Had we Detos done more than consider and mourn, perhaps we Detos could have intervened more swiftly, put ourselves at the mercy of the Rhomau. However, we Detos came to know that this would have solved nothing.
“Half an age more was nearly over when the Great War broke out between the two most powerful nations of the Rhomau. Ostensibly, it was claimed the war waged for the sovereignty of we Detos. Realistically, the challenges of these nations, who had always competed in all things, had been ages in the making. This exacerbated by the dwindling resources.”
Rhou’ke Shaa waves his arms dramatically as the scenes of annihilation upon Rhous plays out in all its gory details.
“They unleashed their weapons of destruction upon one another and we Detos discovered it too late. Our liaisons came, told us war was eminent. We Detos were coming. Our hope was to stave off this war. But we Detos were too slow. The weapons left Rhous mortally wounded. Distressed, the colonies warred with each other as well.”
“Even the colonies got into the act?” Garrus sighs. “What’s the point of going to war with yourselves when your genocide is the only end result?”
“We Detos could not stop them. Thousands survived. But with Rhous’ devastation, the colonies’ injuries, and the limited resources required for organic life…
“They soon faded away.”
“This is so…sad,” Liara says.
“Yeah, if what he’s saying is true, then there was no reason for the war,” Tali replies.
“We Detos mourned for ages the Rhomaua loss and worked on solutions to prevent such tragedies from occurring again. We Detos knew other civilizations flourished in deep space. We Detos heard their energies in the dark. It was decided amongst us to not contact them, to discover ways to quietly halt the destruction of civilizations by fear. However, we Detos discovered a larger problem than this.
“The coalescence, the dark energy we discovered deep in Detin in those days of the Rhomaua end, was steadily increasing,” Rhou’ke Shaa continues.
“Wait? Dark energy?” Tali questions quickly. “That’s the energy source they tapped?”
“Sounds like they were on to something big. Wonder if Haestrom is connected somehow?” Garrus asks.
“And the relays release dark energy…” Genevieve says quietly.
“It was a natural increase that we Detos discovered was released with the destruction of stars.”
“Ah ha! Oh…that makes some sense then,” Tali says popping back down from her outburst.
“This energy would dissipate into the surrounding spaces. The coalescence was a necessary factor of organic life, as we Detos determined it. So we Detos studied further to understand when our father star Toruc would collapse.
“Our new task was to preserve the memory of the Rhomau and all works they had accomplished. It became a right of passage for we Detos to go to the homeworld and stand in the ruins—many of us for days, weeks, months—staring into the ruins of our failure. We Detos memorized the destruction, sometimes wailing into the cloudy, dusty air of what once was when we had gladly served our creators.
“Many of us were lost.
“With all we Detos had to know, the knowledge, advancements, ingenuity we Detos had gained, we Detos came to know what course to set. We Detos continued researching and built memorials. In time, we Detos constructed new cities around the graves of the old. There would be no forgetting anytime soon the errors of our ways. We Detos who could have stopped it by giving ourselves up. Or so we Detos told ourselves. Yet the truth dawned on us fully then, that war, death, destruction came with hatred, irrationalization, confusion, and fear. Our mission was set. No other civilization would fall because of our failure to act. We Detos would discover how to prevent organic life from wiping itself out. We Detos would discover a way to disperse the natural accumulation of the coalescence, so that its buildup would not lead to a star’s death.”
“Quite the ambitious lot,” Alianna interjects as she watches Rhou’ke Shaa wave his hands like a conductor and seeing the scenes shift with those movements.
“The matter proved more difficult than first considered. We Detos traveled the galaxy looking for the means to halt the advance of the coalescence, studied the collapse of stars that we might be bettered informed. In so doing, we Detos discovered many more civilizations on the cusp of space exploration, many in the throes of death and despair, many just starting to grow in the early ages of their spans. And on more than one occasion, becoming the subject of some perception of godhood. We Detos discouraged this, though you will find these efforts were in vain.
“Those who hear these words, if you were one of those, please, we Detos are not your gods. We Detos are servants, your servants, our creators’ servants, the servants of life. For it was in the pursuit of life that we Detos searched for the means to disperse the coalescence while maintaining balance in life. In this pursuit, we Detos were eventually successful.”
“Doubtful any of those civilizations got this message to cease worshipping them. They were likely absorbed cycles ago,” Alianna says over the silence of the room.
“Energy cannot be destroyed. It has always existed and will always exist. However, it can be directed. The dark energy of the coalescence can be directed. Theoretical as it was, we Detos could channel it. But it would require tremendous energy to accomplish. The means by which to accomplish this were given us by the coalescence itself. If you are hearing this then you have discovered one of the devices we Detos eventually conceived. But its usage brings a danger, not just the danger of energy itself, but because of what found it first.”
The group turns to see him standing more firmly erect and then raise his arms out wide as he continues his narration of the past.
“It was the dawning of the sixth age that we discovered the means of coalescence dispersal. The device we Detos created had another unexpected function as well. It was a massive endeavor taking nearly half an age to complete just the prototype. Once we built it we Detos were confident it could do as was desired. We Detos found a nearby star system outside of the influence of the father star Toruc and pointed the device away from the test star. It had never been named and was an uninhabited system free from even a microbe. We Detos took great pains to ensure this was the case. By pointing the device away from the central star and towards the dark space surrounding the galaxy, we Detos were able to utilize gravitational force to channel the energy needed in the solar system. The planetary bodies and star provided the gravity, the solar winds carried the momentum, and the gyroscopic megalith at the device’s center was able to spin and generate the energy to power the pylons that would disperse the coalescence it collected in its orbit outward beyond the galactic plane.”
“Wait, I thought the reapers created the relays?” Garrus says waving his hand.
“That’s what sovereign would have had us believe,” Genevieve replies. “You see, Alianna? Some correlation to the reapers.”
“And the real purpose of the relays,” Liara says. “To disperse dark energy.”
Genevieve thinks on this for a second and stares up at Rhou’ke Shaa in awe, “What we came here to find…the tool that will help us beat the reapers! We’ve already seen how it unleashes dark energy! But how do we control it!?”
“We Detos felt great pleasure at our success. We Detos called it the Deep Collector and it pulsed brilliantly as it continually pumped the dark energy into the void. However, we Detos were concerned what were to happen should one be destroyed. Our confidence in its construction was assured, that it would last throughout all ages. Yet, so much energy in one place, particularly the coalescence flowing through it, presented a danger beyond any of our comprehensions.”
Genevieve purses her lips and rubs the back of her head with her hand as Liara quirks an eyebrow.
“So we Detos wanted to discover how far the energy traveled and if it would be required to send such energy further to stop any potential massive buildup of the coalescence in the Deep Collector’s core to could cause it to self-destruct. One of our survey vessels got too close to the beam as they were studying it and suddenly were no longer there. We Detos thought them lost and destroyed. Our minds no longer touched theirs. We mourned.
“However, several cycles later, the survey team arrived at the home system Toruc and we Detos were happy and surprised. They spoke of being transported across great distances. And we Detos knew our creation had led to the discovery of something ever more important. To leap from one side of the galaxy to the next instantaneously would allow us to send teams out, build more Deep Collectors all across the galaxy, prevent more organic life from self-destructing and/or being annihilated by the coalescence. And to determine which civilizations were on the cusp of space flight. We Detos determined a prime cause, directives in how to interact with other species. This means employed would allow us to approach those who were ready and show them that peace is possible if all are willing to put aside differences and see the wider galaxy for all that it can offer.”
“They sound like an early version of the Council. Except synthetic,” Tali says. “Xen would be having nightmares about these guys.”
“They seem very wise, though,” Genevieve responds.
“Though several species joined our cause, we Detos discovered that not all shared in this directive. We Detos discovered this truth on one mission, and these are the ones we must warn you about. They were unlike anything we Detos could imagine. These beings were discovered by accident.”
Rhou’ke Shaa leans towards them conspiratorially and continues his narration in lower decibels. The view all around him responds to his words, continuing to shift live action scenes on the barest mention of a new event, a new location.
“We Detos were exploring a star system that had life, to test the effectiveness of dispersing the coalescence to ensure what we confidently knew, that it would protect them. The Deep Collector thrummed vibrantly in that system, that which we Detos named Aprica, after the goddess of learning in ancient Rhomaua lore.”
On one of the walls a map of Aprica is shown and its position detailed on the galactic map.
“EDI, are you getting that?”
“I’m getting everything, Shepard. Hanging on every word. Every image.”
“However, it needed to be determined that the Deep Collector could not be sighted from the fourth world surrounding Aprica. We Detos landed and saw that it was hidden from view. A solar cycle we spent observing from our post there. We Detos called the fourth world Aprica four as someday any sentient life there may have decided to name it differently, it was not our way to force a name on a world not of our making. Aprica four was rich in flora and fauna, nearly covered in jungle with a wide oceanic expanse far to the south and a myriad of wide, deep lakes spread all across the massive continent of the majority of the world. Dark hues of violets, reds, and blues colored nearly every tree, bush, rock, creature all across the world. There seemed no civilization there as of yet, though evolution would eventually bring about sentient life, we Detos were confident.”
“He forgot to mention the pink skies and magenta seas,” Garrus says.
“Sounds like a real get away,” Tali says.
Alianna rolls her eyes slightly as she watches all the images flowing from the alien world so unlike her own.
“The Deep Collector we Detos finished in record time, faster than any of the other fifteen collectors up to that point. All was proceeding fluidly with no issues surfacing with the deployment of the collector. It operated as intended, turning into position when full of the coalescence and firing it into the void far beyond. Do not worry, the energy dispersed would and still should in your time fan out and join the energies of the cosmos, not continue on as a weapon and destroy any planetary body, star, or peoples. This we Detos ensured from the beginning of our endeavors.”
“And yet I’ve never seen the relays perform in that manner,” Genevieve says. “If this is their function, why don’t they do that?”
“Something must have happened that disabled that feature,” Garrus replies. “Your discovery must have something to do with reinitializing that procedure.”
“We Detos were preparing to dismantle our post and vacate Aprica four when we discovered something unusual to us. This fourth world of Aprica contained strong collections of the coalescence. We Detos were intrigued, so the dismantling was postponed while a thorough examination was performed on how so much dark energy had come to be collected as densely as it was there. We Detos did not have time to discover much more for a being attacked us in our places. In the cycle we had been there, we Detos had not encountered it previously. They were insectoid looking creatures, like many of the sentient species we had discovered before, with ten appendages, six of which were legs supporting an elongated abdomen and four they used as prehensile weapons, and three sets of jet black eyes. Their mandibles were not forward like other species but held close to where we Detos presumed their necks to be, a defense mechanism of some sort we Detos concluded. Yet, the beings were malicious and intensely predatory. At first, we Detos believed them to be base animals on top of the food chain upon the world, but we Detos soon discovered how intelligent they were. They were organized and attacked our outpost in waves. Fleshy, huge creatures with an ability to communicate we had not anticipated. Rightly, we Detos concluded they communicated through scent and energy, their minds were as one, and they were very sentient. We Detos fled.”
“I would not want to run into one of those in a dark alley,” Liara says making an ew look with her face.
“Not even the rachni are that frightening,” Garrus says. “It’s like they stare right…into…you.”
“Demonstrating all the mannerisms of a Preying Mantis,” Genevieve finishes.
“Months were spent in orbit taking stock of what Detos was lost to us. Our injuries were extant. Some who had survived the assaults later died of their injuries that refused to heal. To that point, we Detos had never encountered a venom that could hinder our synthetic replication systems. The venom even affected the children born in that crisis, killing them soon after.”
Liara and Genevieve share a look of sorrow thinking back to the lost automatons in the cavern. EDI cocks her head and concentrates intensely on the images being presented.
“What kind of a toxin could affect synthetics?” she asks.
“We Detos kept samples of the venom, hoping to find a defense against it should we Detos ever encounter them again. Those efforts failed. It was determined over the next cycle to leave an outpost on an outer world in Aprica, to ensure no weary traveler landed there for the creatures were too dangerous and hostile in their evolutionary state to establish any sort of diplomatic relation with. The hope was that the sentient life on Aprica four would develop along societal lines, become benevolent and grow to communicate with the greater galaxy in a manner of peace.”
Garrus scoffs, “I know a few krogan who would gladly disprove that theory.”
“I will never forget their eyes. We Detos all saw them through the ability of the collectors. Our communications were connected and…and I knew fear then. Those eyes bore into you. They almost glowed in their hatred of us. Four lowset on its face, two high up giving the creature a wider view of the environment around it. It was so hostile, uninviting. Horrible. Never before or since have I thought so of another species but we Detos persevered and moved on trying to heal the wounds received during the encounter. The nightmare was behind us. We Detos thought this, hoped this. We Detos were wrong.”
Genevieve frowns looking at the image of the creature that had attacked the Detos. They were shadowy figures with features just as Rhou’ke Shaa had described but they had the added benefit of seeming to just blend into their environment.
“The perfect predator,” Genevieve mumbles staring the creature straight in the eyes. There was something too familiar about its eyes. Those eyes that reflected even the most minute light and seemed to glow a bright white.
“They were the Ch’nok Antara. This we Detos learned some time later. Had we Detos managed to investigate further, focused on containing the threat, it would have been discovered that the Antara had grown advanced beneath the surface. Built massive communities in the soil and rock. We Detos believed them a primitive insect species. We Detos miscalculated. The lack of understanding that was in us was profound. The world was quarantined. But had we Detos only dug deeper, the hive would have been exposed. It was so inconceivably perfect in its communion. Had it been known to us we Detos would have dismantled the Deep Collector and never gone back.
“We Detos were on Rhous sampling the data received from the Deep Collectors, tens of cycles had passed since the encounter, and ours were building ever more Deep Collectors around the galaxy. The threat of the Antara was put behind us, never even knowing their title, never concerning ourselves with it. Our respect was lacking but word came soon enough of a hostile species that had found the Deep Collectors and were attacking our outposts using them. They seized our ships. We Detos communicated by the speed of light, communicated our thoughts. No aggressive spacefaring species had been encountered. But we Detos knew, feared who it was with our very being. The word was sent out, come home and sever connection to any outpost under attack. Though the fear grew in us, we Detos held out hope it was a previously undiscovered species and so envoys were sent out to discover them and sue for peace. Whoever it was, was taking our technology and making no qualms about using it for themselves.”
Genevieve crosses her arms across her just and stands back on her legs moaning quietly, “Oh no…was this…?”
“I know this happened long ago, but I have this strange sense of dread,” Liara says staring up at Rhou’ke Shaa who speaks louder and stands ever more straight.
“It’s a dread that’s climbing up our spines threatening to suffocate us…” Genevieve responds.
“Panic, hate, fear…these things spread across our people. Synthetic though we Detos were, emotions were a part of ourselves. We Detos could not deny these emotions any more than we Detos could deny that it was these emotions that had destroyed our creators ages before.
“Our envoys fell out of contact. Months passed. Nearly a cycle was gone and we Detos worried. Then a ship carrying Detos emissaries arrived. They were severely wounded and panic was in their eyes. That they had survived so long was a testament to their resolve. They spoke of encountering a species calling itself the Ch’nok Antara, that these people claimed we Detos had invaded their world, murdered their people, stole their honor. The emissaries had pleaded to no avail and only a few had managed to escape and disable the Deep Collector behind them.
“One ship. That is what came back from the dozens sent out. The rest were destroyed or seized by the Antara. Our suspicions proved alarmingly correct. We Detos knew that war had fallen on our shoulders. We Detos either fought to survive or surrendered ourselves to the will of those who would be our masters.”
The gathered group ends up unconsciously nodding towards Rhou’ke Shaa while Alianna stares at them looking lost. She frowns and watches the holographic projection once more.
“The irony of this was not lost on us and sorrow filled our hearts.
“We Detos sent word to the sentient species we were friendly with letting them know the threat. Rather than joining us in fighting for our survival, these peoples severed contact and disabled their own Deep Collectors. They bought themselves time and we Detos could not blame them. The only comfort we Detos took from this was that the Deep Collectors would still function as intended even if the ability to travel was disabled within them. Our allies would live for the time being and hopefully never be found by the vengeful Antara.
“We Detos prepared to fight. All were called back to the father star Toruc to defend the mother world against these creatures from beneath the surface.
“Weeks turned into months and then cycles. We Detos could not understand why they did not come. Advance guards went out looking for them only to return with tales of war ships appearing out of nowhere laying siege to what outposts were left and waging war on lesser lifeforms found in those vicinities. Word came back that even our once presumed safe allies were being mercilessly slaughtered by the massive craft.”
“We Detos cried. What had we Detos done? What had we Detos unleashed upon the galaxy!? We Detos realized then what was happening, these Ch’nok Antara were severing our connection to the collectors, to the resources we would need to stop them. Their intelligence knew no bounds and it agonized us to no end.
“We Detos panicked. Our kind spread out to nearby star systems knowing that the Antara would not destroy the collectors if they knew anything about them. We Detos used that to our advantage utilizing micro collectors to create back up knowledge, to preserve ourselves. This is part of that attempt.”
“Micro collectors?” Genevieve says with her brows raised and looks to Liara. “Are there smaller relays out there we haven’t found?”
“Given the data we’re being shown, it’s all completely possible.”
“Shepard, I am cataloguing all the information to upload to the Normandy at a future date. We can use it to correlate where the Antara came from, and where the Detos hailed from originally.”
“The Normandy is off limits!” Alianna says.
Genevieve looks at her and then back to Rhou’ke Shaa, “That’s a discussion for later.”
“The Antara came through the Deep Collector in force towards the end of the second cycle of this seventh age. They laid waste to all that we Detos knew. We Detos were even more afraid as the ships that the Antara rode in were once ours but altered, altered to resemble them. And then we Detos discovered a horrifying truth and the reason why we Detos had not been attacked in so long. The Ch’nok Antara had BECOME the ships.”
“I knew those eyes were familiar,” Genevieve says.
“It isn’t surprising. The Antara fit the profile of the reapers,” Liara replies.
“Their eyes glowed in the depth of space like a terrible beast in the night. They approached the homeworld and our ships fought back hard. The Antara ship hybrids grew furious that they could not control us. Rhous came under siege as thralls taken from other worlds poured out of the belly of the Antara world ships and attacked everyone and everything they saw with reckless abandon. The Antara spoke to the thralls’ minds, we Detos discovered over the next few cycles as we Detos regrouped trying to find a way to counter them. The Antara had mastered energy manipulation on an organic level.
“Our leadership tried to reason with the Antara, offered them our services. Yet the Antara laughed this offer off as their master creature spoke out against the laudable effort. He declared that since we Detos threatened their kind, that all synthetics were a threat and not worthy to exist.
“At first, we Detos were confused. We Detos had never threatened their kind, had even tried to preserve them. It was the Antara that had attacked us and we Detos defended ourselves. But it soon dawned on us what the prime Antara juggernaut was referring to, the coalescence.”
Genevieve feels her mouth gaping open as she stands up and looks at the images of the Antara and the overlapping references to the coalescence.
“No…it can’t be…that, that’s impossible…”
“What, Shepard? What are we missing?” Liara says.
“What must be done to stop the Antara comes completely from how it is they survive. Over time, the Antara had evolved to feed off of dark energy. They were organic beings that required the coalescence to survive.”
“They feed off of dark energy!?” Liara yells and hears her voice echoing.
“I’ve never heard of anything like that!” Tali replies.
“If they feed off of dark energy, then how is it that the relays destroyed so many?” Garrus shakes his head.
“It must have been like…” Genevieve shakes her head. “Overfeeding and they just shorted out! Or something…”
“Had we Detos known this sooner, measures could have been taken to mitigate this side effect of the Deep Collector arrays. Our leadership bought our scientists precious time as they struggled to discover a way to convert the energy to have less impact on the unimaginable consideration that some beings may actually survive off the substance. A shard of the crystal that grew prevalent on Rhous was severed and stored with terrabytes of information that could be uploaded to the collectors via a new structure we Detos had been building just past the galactic center that would link all the collectors together for easier travel and energy dispersion.
“It was determined that the crystal inserted directly into the core reactor of this structure would be able to feed the new data out to the collectors instantaneously rather than over the cycles as would be required to go to each individually. However, even though the plan was given to the Antara, they were not interested. They actually enjoyed their new forms, according to the words of their harbinger who annihilated our government himself.”
“Damn,” Genevieve mumbles. “That makes the Citadel the key.”
“Well, fuck. That complicates things,” Garrus replies with a frown.
“We surviving Detos fled Rhous and headed towards a nearby star system to test a new theory. One that, regrettably, would lead to the Antara’s ultimate demise. It had now come down to simple survival. We Detos understood organic life fully at this point. Survival does not leave room for compromise especially when your enemy cares only for your destruction. The same energy that the Antara fed on, that fueled them even now as the massive starcraft that they are, can be used against them. If the Deep Collectors can be turned against these harvesters of life, the very life that they convert to dark energy to suit their needs, then the coalescence can be stripped from them and sent to the void leaving the Antara lifeless shells.
“At the time of this recording, it is not known fully the processes the Antara use to convert organic life to dark energy, it is not known why they view us with utter contempt, it is only known that they will continue harvesting until no sentient life remains. We Detos do not condone genocide. However, since the fall of Rhous, the Antara harvesters have gone system to system reactivating dormant collectors and using them to seek out and eliminate all advanced life that has created synthetics and has become spacefaring. The Antara leave behind underdeveloped worlds. We Detos do not know why this is and can only speculate, but it is clear to us now that all life has miniscule amounts of the coalescence in their structures. What we Detos have learned is from first person accounts from former allies and those of us who still travel the galaxy looking for a way to stop the Antara.
“All that we Detos know now is that the master Deep Collector we built in the nebula indicated here connects all the collectors together to more effectively disperse the coalescence that builds up in stars. And we Detos also know that the Antara know where it is. The crystal needed to activate the structure rests within this spire. It must be installed into the core of the master collector. Once accomplished, enter the instructions displayed in the information conduit within these chambers.
“For now, at this time, we Detos have lost all contact with those beyond this world. It is feared there are just the nine of us left of our species. We Detos, who unleashed this fear unwittingly on this galaxy, deeply regret that insight was not with us. Our mission was to preserve life…now, we Detos fear we have destroyed it. We nine Detos will remain in hibernation in the storage unit below your feet.”
They all look to the floor as the images cease pulsing and fade to show the crystal floor. They don’t see any sign of the Detos as the crystal floor remains as immovable as ever.
“Luck be upon you, travelers. Hopefully, if these clues we Detos have left behind have brought you here with strength at your backs, then you will be able to turn the tides against the Antara. We Detos failed in our mission.
“Were we only wiser.”
Rhou’ke Shaa disappears back into the spire as the room returns to its brilliance. The group looks to one another for a moment before the feel the crystal floor sliding under their feet. They hurry to the edge of the room and get off the newly exposed hatchways covering nine sarcophagus like storage units. Genevieve jumps down into the inset chamber and rushes over to the units. She looks in each one and can see clearly inside. She frowns as she looks at her team and shakes her head.
“That’s impossible!” Liara says. “They’re the key to our survival!”
“There is no way this chamber has ever been disturbed,” Alianna says with an exasperated look on her face.
Genevieve sees the base of the spire open up and a larger node slide out. It is nearly the length and thickness of her forearm.
“I’m got the conduit core. If I interpreted what Rhou’ke Shaa was saying correctly, the master collector is the Citadel. The Citadel links all the relays together. And if the Detos created the relays, what they called deep collectors, then-“
“Then the only way to put the boot into the reapers’ faces is by plugging that crystal into the master relay’s central core,” Garrus says with a sigh. “Well ain’t that some shit.”
“Stop it, Garrus,” Genevieve points the core at him. “Joker’s rubbing off on you.”
“This is no time to be picking on Jeff, Shepard,” EDI puts in.
Genevieve suppresses a smile and looks to Alianna, “We need to get to the Normandy. We need to get back to Earth. Like now.”
“The Council has ruled that no ships once confiscated can leave the planet again except under certain special circumstances which are only superseded in the event of a reaper invasion.”
Genevieve steps up several stairs located at the edge of the pit and approaches the ambassador, “This have changed. Look down there. There are no Detos in those chambers! The forbearers are gone! And everything you believed about the forbearers turns out to not be completely true afterall!” she walks a step away and then cocks her head at Alianna. “Well, their trying to save the galaxy was pretty spot on. And if we want to preserve their legacy, we have to put this core into the Citadel’s mainframe.”
Alianna takes in a deep breath and looks to Genevieve, “I’ll admit, I didn’t expect to see what I saw. But I can’t make this decision arbitrarily. It isn’t even mine to make.”
“Then we need to speak to the Council. Because one of two things has happened here. A) the inusannon removed the forbearers or B) the reapers have already been here which means your secret’s out.”
Alianna looks firmly at Genevieve, “They could also have been captured by the reapers, these Antara, in the very beginning and they haven’t been back since.”
“All well and good, Alianna. But you’re overlooking one crucial detail.”
“And what would that be?”
“The inusannon were completely wiped out in the cycle before yours. When your people arrived here it was a ghost planet. And if it was ruins you found…”
Alianna looks away with her four eyes wide, “The Antara return here every cycle. Our people must have just missed them when they snuck here the last cycle. Just missed them…”
“And they’re coming back. And when they see a whole civilization here…” Genevieve says placing a hand on her shoulder.
“Oh no…Come on!”
Alianna wastes no more words and rushes from the archives with the others right behind them.
Thanks again and read to everyone again soon!
~Timothy S Purvis
SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION STARTS!
I would appreciate if you have Kindle or even if you want some paperback goodies if you’d head on over to my page and maybe show me some love there. I mean, if you’ve been reading a while and see something you like, wouldn’t you like to have it in your personal library? I have some cool short stories available for cheap. Also Tales From A Strange Mind that collects my short stories (there’s also a Kindle edition but, for some reason, Amazon wouldn’t let me link them together) , Tales From A Strange Mind II which collects my old novellas, Red Star Sheriff (Which also has a Kindle edition but Amazon, am I right?) my first novel ever released, though, yes, it does have some grammatical errors and drags on for way too long, sigh. But I still love it and I will be writing a follow up sometime within the next few years. I have a collection of my poems called MisAligned: The Heart Waxes Poetic which collects my old poems but not some of my newer ones included those flash fictions! I’ll probably do that in the future as well. And if you love the perfectly inane, why not check out my Star Cloud scripts presented in book form? Star Cloud The Original Scripts. Another one where Amazon was being difficult with me in connecting the Kindle and PB versions. Still, the paperback they let me sale for cheap and it’s well worth a look if I say so myself. Or, if you don’t want to click on individual links (all of which will take you to my author’s page anyway), just click on my author’s page directly by tapping my name: Timothy S Purvis See for yourself what all I’ve published since I began this venture in 2016.
I mean, if you like my work, of course. No pressure. Just trying to find my way in this world without working menial tasks and suffering physical and mental issues as a result. If only I could merely stay home and write. That would be my most epic fantasy brought to life. Well, if you don’t want to do that, you could also donate to my cause down below after all is said and done. It would help. You know, if you liked what you saw and all. Up to you. I don’t have a lot of reviews on my materials because of low sales. I mean, very, very low sales. In the single digits. Right now, I have to rely on Pubby for reviews and those people only read your synopsis and recap it for a five star review. I want honest opinions. Not mean ones, but honest. So, if you ever find yourself buying some of my work, I’d certainly appreciate some feedback. Again, up to you.
Also, I’m selling my work for cheap over at Smashwords.com! Check out that page here: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/TSPurvis
End Shameless Self Promotion!
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