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(OP)[SouthSouthEast] @ 0527 (39 minutes ago)

This has been a topic on a bunch of different subs recently, so I just want to ask... Council fleets? In Quarian space? What the heck!? What's the deal here?

[CanSeeMyHouseFromHere] @ 0530 (36 minutes ago)

heard about this, some ships n space- hearin rumours bout it all day, cause we're shipping supplies out to em. gotta be a bunch of em, def some gunners cause there's tons of dextra rations goin out

[BannedAndBanished] @ 0531 (35 minutes ago)

Do you mean dextro-amino? Well, guess that determines it one way. Means that the Council clean-up fleet is at least part Turian, but I don't know if that means anything. News is saying that it's just a diplomatic thing, meant to help root out all the criminal enterprises that suddenly got exposed by Mudanma during that big blowout a few days back, but no idea if they have the right of it. I don't think I've seen anything from anyone who's actually talked with the crews or anyone who knows if there's anything going on anywhere on the net, and all the news is just announcements and speeches by the big three and officials, so who knows, really.

(You)[EezoSneezo] @ 0536 (30 minutes ago)

I know there's at least some presence on Rannoch and the closer space colonies, but from what I've heard, the fleet's moving through the colonies and is Rannoch-bound. They'll take some time to get here, though, just because they're stopping to help the colonies with anything they can't deal with with what they have on hand before moving on.

[BannedandBanished] @ 0538 (28 minutes ago)

Oh, hey, @EezoSneezo, was wondering when you'd get here. Where do you even get these sources? I'm not hearing any of this.

(You)[EezoSneezo] @ 0539 (27 minutes ago)

I know some people in the outer colonies who were privy to the fleet's itinerary. As for who? I'll never say~

[BannedandBanished] @ 0541 (25 minutes ago)

I swear, if you're the offspring of one of the big three and you're not telling me-

{MOD}[ParaDara] @ 0542 (24 minutes ago)

@EezoSneezo @BannedandBanished Keep the thread on topic, please. Move to personal senders or another thread, not here.

[BannedandBanished] @ 0542 (24 minutes ago)

Yeah, yeah, *mom.*

On topic: @CanSeeMyHouseFromHere how much are they actually moving? 'Cause we'd know how many gunners are out there, if they're moving a lot of the stuff.

[CanSeeMyHouseFromHere] @ 0544 (22 minutes ago)

lotof them, whole crates of stuff goin gout, load onto the big transports,k probably a few hunnred tons.

srry for typing, on omnttool on break

[BuoyBoy] @ 0545 (19 minutes ago)

uh, what, excuse me? tons of the sutff? how big is this fleet!?

[PalavenPaladin] @ 0549 (15 minutes ago)

Had a huge shipment of rations go out through the spacedocks a few days ago, spent a few days breaking my back on those. Went straight onto frigates and out of the system.

[BuoyBoy] @ 0550 (14 minutes ago)

@PalavenPaladin yeouch, somebodies paying for premium comm buoy service.

though, seriously, rations from rannoch and from (assuming) palaven? is this an entire gunner patrol fleet or something?

[CHAIRS] @ 0553 (11 minutes ago)

yeeeeeek sure Seems that way.. How dod the big 3 get the gov. to agree to this, anyway? Isn't there some sorta law against the citadel flexing forces on the clients without their consent or smthng?

(You)[EezoSneezo] @ 0555 (9 minutes ago)

Yeah, the Citadel Council has to officially ask the client government for permission. Once the client accepts, then they determine the size of the fleet itself, and the client has to agree to THAT. And THEN the Citadel can send a fleet in. But, from what I'm hearing, all this happened in a couple of days- so either something else is going on that we're not aware of, Mudanma scared the pants off of both of them, or somebody called in a lot of favours to move things faster. Or D: all of the above.

(OP)[SouthSouthEast] @ 0556 (8 minutes ago)

Yessssss because that's exactly how I wanted to spend my day, wondering what mysterious happening spooked the big 3 into sending an entire patrol fleet. I opened this thread for info, buuuuut now I'm starting to regret it very much.

[BannedandBanished] @ 0558 (6 minutes ago)

Maybe the STG has some intel on a raid or a trafficking ring coming out of the Terminus systems and they wanted to squash it in force? One can hope, I guess.

(OP)[SouthSouthEast] @ 0601 (3 minutes ago)

So my choices are between a Terminus raid, the big 3 being scared of a hacker for no reason we can see, or some other mysterious reason that we can't even fathom? Fantastic. I feel better already.

[PalavenPaladin] @ 0604 (1 seconds ago)

Whatever they went there for, I'm crossing my talons for you guys. Hope they get it and go.


My Geth unit logged out of my account.

It was difficult, pretending to be organic- I could track messages in every single board of a forum without really putting forward any real effort, but responding to everything I saw would be so incredibly and unbelievably suspicious that it didn't bear mentioning. So, I came up with something else: namely, operate a normal machine via a Geth platform in a mimicry of any normal organic. It slowed my message rate down by incredible amounts, but that was what I wanted- having a tool that could regulate my presence on the boards so I didn't throw up a number of red flags in various systems outside of Rannoch and my influence.

I set a random amount of time for the unit to be inactive, eleven hours this time, and turned my attention elsewhere. Speaking through the 'net to people that I typically observed was a strange feeling, without a doubt, but it was one that I was sadly growing accustom to. Besides, not many other ways that I could get my socialization in without them. The sad reality of being a powerful AI in the ME universe.

Keeping tabs on the Council fleet as they slowly made their way through Quarian space wasn't the easiest of things. Mostly, I'd had to resort to the strategy of remotely planting bugs and intelligence gathering VI in various Quarian colony systems that were about on par with the general surveillance VI's that came out of Quarian space, mostly to prevent doing anything that was too outside the box and liable to spook the big group of people with big guns and bigger ships. For now, the best I could do was program them to self-destruct upon detecting anything messing with their code in the slightest, which... was also more or less on par with the Quarian standard. So, better than average, and even a little better than the Quarian average, within reason. Meant that they got cleared out every so often, but they weren't abominably difficult to replace, and any risk that came from them was mitigated by the fact that I actually was keeping track of the fleet and which planets it visited.

Sensors records, cargo manifests, even how many people and ships went through spacedocks and landing pads- all of these added up, and I could collate all that information with very little effort, picking out the exact moment when it jumped. These jumps were atypical of the systems that they were happening in, even in relatively high-traffic areas, and from everything that I gathered, it really did seem that the Council had sent an entire patrol fleet in to take a walkabout through Quarian space. This didn't even mention the smaller squad of ships that had broken off from the main formations, and were now riding high in Rannoch orbit, refusing any sort of digital handshake. I was curious, very curious, but not curious enough to raid the databanks of a number of military ships just to answer some questions. I was very aware of the fact that these ships would be heading right back to the Council, to the Citadel... to the Catalyst. I wasn't going to leave a single mark on computers that would be all but wide open to... well, I suppose the Catalyst was something of a mortal enemy.

Regardless, I wasn't willing to play fast and loose with my life and the potential fate of the galaxy just because I wanted some answers in the moment.

I'd keep a metaphorical eye on the ships, and anything that came and went from them... but beyond that, all I could do was wait and further my plans, stepping more lightly and carefully in the meantime.


I monitored tens of thousands of Geth as they went over sector after sector on Dis, breaking ground, setting up scanners, combing the dead rock for anything that looked out of place.

I didn't know where the Leviathan was, on the entire planet. I didn't even know if it was there or not, just that the Batarian survey team had happened to stumble across a crater in the process of a survey some centuries from now, which... didn't really answer as much as one thought it would. For example, the word 'crater' could mean any number of things: it could have been a sinkhole, a collapsed cavern that revealed the corpse, the end of a short valley the Leviathan had dug during its crash. It could be that the entire thing was buried, and that some fluke had uncovered it, like a ship or an meteorite impacting right on top of the corpse itself and exposing it to anyone that looked with mark one eyeballs in the right place. Perhaps the survey team had gone blasting in search of samples, and the corpse had been underneath wreckage that falsely hinted at some sort of precious mineral deposit underneath.

The fact of the matter was, I had no idea where the thing was, and I had an entire planet to search. Labs stood by, and I was constructing the equipment and short-range ships to life a small mountain if I had to, but nothing could be done until I had the corpse itself in my metaphorical hands... or at least some parts of it. After all, any part of a Reaper exhibited the same effect as the whole, and I had... theories about that. Even just a shard of the thing would be enough to start experimentation of some manner, and if nothing else, would at least give me insight into the construction and composition of a Reaper. Given that the Leviathan most likely crashed, hard, perhaps after being taken out by a real Leviathan, there were most likely shards of the thing scattered all over the damn place... if I just happened to look in the right direction with the right tools. Thus, the planet-wide searching.

Satellites with ground-penetrating radar orbited high above the surface, sweeping the rock and sand below them for any hint of artificial structure. Individual Geth units, the highest concentration of them in the system, methodically searched the crust sector by sector, setting up ultrasonic sensors that would ping the ground around them in sections and listen for echoes that didn't match the average consistency of the surface. High-flying aerial units took wide-spread visual scans, tens of kilometers across, looking for anything that stood out, paired with satellites that did much the same thing, verifying the work of the aerial scanners and adding more detail to the map I was building. Thankfully, because of the low, thin atmosphere that barely clung to the cold rock of Dis, the only thing that I had to worry about was the dust storms, reminiscent of ones that I'd heard about on Mars back home.

Huge clouds of dust obscured the planets surface, here and there across the globe, slightly lower gravity allowing the anemic winds to pick up the grains and throw them high into the Dis sky, where they hung suspended for days, weeks, sometimes months at a time, depending on how strong the storm was. This absolutely killed any attempt at visual recon, and the buffeting winds, while not extremely heavy, could interfere with the aerial drones if they were strong enough. Ground wasn't much better, with the storms murdering any equipment they passed over, freezing Geth units in their tracks with their joints absolutely clogged with sand, and any sensors they were carrying ruined. It was like being at the beach, sand got everywhere and anywhere. Pretty sure that the stuff would find its way into a hermetically sealed environment, if I plopped a prefabbed one down on the planet's surface. The only way I could get around the choking, ever-present stuff was to resort to using only satellite imaging and radar to scan the ground below- but the resolution on visuals was terrible, if I even got anything. At least the radar got a lot less interference, but still, it was frustrating.

I had a limited amount of time before this whole operation started to look suspicious. When I'd begun really looking into Quarian mining, I'd found that corporations out of Rannoch generally sent a ship to drop off a number of boxed prefab structures, a bunch of equipment, and a number of Geth units. The units would then be allowed to operate on their own for a period of about four to six months, at the end of which an organic crew was sent in to check over the work of the Geth and begin the actual meat of the surveying and mining operation.

At the beginning of this venture, I'd covered the first part by 'hiring' a freelance vessel to take the equipment to this system, and then sent a courier back with logs on initial assessments of deposits around a designated landing zone that I'd registered with the Quarian government. Those records would go in a file, and would be periodically updated by further couriers- which was the perfect chance to sneak messages back and forth with my Rannoch self under the guise of reports. Worked out fine for me. Now, I was working on the timer of expectations, ticking down towards six months at the far end. At the end of that time, no matter if I'd found the Leviathan or not, I'd have to drastically reduce the search effort and reign in the huge amount of infrastructure I had on and above the planet as the organic mining crew I was required to have, by Quarian law, moved into the prefab habitation structure that I was assembling close to a series of good near-surface deposits. I was starting to dislike the prefab structure already, given as it was a representation of the limitations being in this universe and existing as I was placed on me. Said reminder was neither pleasant, nor welcome.

For all intents and purposes, I was stuck. There really wasn't much more that I could do. I could manufacture more Geth units or more equipment, but that didn't capture even a fraction of my attention. There was nothing for the labs I had built to do, as I didn't have anything to study yet... though, come to think of it...

It took time. Well, not necessarily a lot of time, but even a small delay feels like quite a bit when you're just supervising a bunch of robots looking at nearly identical rocks for days and weeks on end. Regardless, eventually, the courier returned from Rannoch. Rannoch me was initially confused at my request, though with some thought, they'd apparently come around to the same conclusion I had. Either that, or they'd decided that a lack of projects and an almost complete dearth of socialization wasn't good for me, and they'd acquiesced to my request. Whatever the case, the courier returned with biology research equipment and enough Varren embryos and meat vats that I could sustain biology experiments for years if I so chose. Retasking a lab was actually the easiest part of it. The rooms themselves were all prepared for the equipment and samples that were meant to fill them, but had nothing as of yet, so it was as simple as just hauling in the equipment and setting it up.

See, the idea was... indoctrination didn't work on inorganics, as far as I was aware, given that it really hadn't had any deleterious effects on the Geth. The Reaper-aligned Geth in ME canon hadn't been following the Reapers out of forced dogmatic obedience to a master, they followed the Reapers because they felt like it was in their own self interest, and because the Reapers were an elder AI race they thought could guide them. Foolish, really, given the purpose of the Catalyst and the Reapers was to prevent AI's wiping out organics and had concluded that the best way of doing so was mass xenocide, but there it was. I mean, I surely wasn't going to approach any part of a Reaper without a lot of safeguards, but there were quite a few experiments that I could run once I had Reaper artifacts. However, many of those required something organic to run the experiments ON.

Thus, the Varren.

Once I had a Reaper artifact of some kind, I could begin actual research on the effects of Reaper Indoctrination on organics. If I could find how it worked, what processes it used and how it imposed Reaper will onto organic brains, I could build countermeasures, maybe even develop something to protect organic minds almost entirely from it. Eldritch as the Reapers first looked, the fact of the matter was that they were just big AI's in advanced ships. Now, that was terrifying all on its own, to be certain, but there was a few planets of difference between 'incomprehensible godlike being that shatters reality around it just from its very existence' and 'a machine in a big ship', and the Reapers were the latter, not the former. They had to conform to the physical laws of the universe, which mean their tech did, too. No Marker bullhonky here. I was no Isaac Clark, but I was decently sure that a few broken bits of Reaper would be easier to deal with than... well, a Marker.

On a side note, I really hoped that this wasn't that universe. That was one of the ones that'd send me screaming for the hills with as many people as I could grab.

So, I settled down to engineering the Varren to better match my needs. Thankfully, Rannoch me had also managed to acquire Krogan tissue samples and brain scans, or else this part would be a lot more difficult. And even then... I was rewiring the brain of a barely-sentient species of animals that were mostly feral and nigh-untrainable in order to put together a slapdash simulation of how a sapient organic mind would act when exposed to Reaper Indoctrination, and all without having any examples of how an actual sapient mind would react to it. I definitely wasn't going to push a sapient being into the same room as a Reaper artifact just for the needs of the many... perhaps the Thorian knew more? The thing had lasted out a bunch of cycles and had probably eaten a lot of individuals over those years, so it might know what something like this looked like... something for another time, maybe. Mostly, I just tinkered with the Varren, trying to make them more aesthetically pleasing for my own benefit, giving them fur...

A couple weeks in, everything came screeching to a halt when a Geth unit in the south-eastern hemisphere discovered a black and red shard of unknown material that radiated an unknown EM signature, barely detectable, but there.

I'd found my Reaper piece.

About the author

Cammy Deer

  • Man in the Van with a Plan

Bio: Writer of many fics, reader of many more.

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