I am satisfied with this 26k chapter. Have a wonderful new year and let’s hope 2020 is better than 2019. MAJOR thanks to the Editing Gang for pulling together and getting this one out the door, and with the suggestions that made the re-write work.
Redid the next chapter after the Editing Gang shot down draft one, and its with them now. I do not have a good ETA on when they’ll be done with it, but since in theory some parts have already been fixed the goal is to get it out the door before New Year’s Day.
Today starting at 11 AM is the final throes of the Death March, as we are predicted to have to ship and scan over two hundred thousand phones. Assuming I am not obliterated by this last torrent of hate, I wish everyone a Merry Christmas (or apropos holiday) and look forward to a new year.
I’d like to take a moment to recognize some people:
Nimiraj, of course, who keeps me sane. Several of her suggestions involving Shepard and Liara have been invaluable.
The Elder One, who continues to do background work in uploads, edits, and corrections to my train-wrecks, even while managing his own creative writing and other issues.
Both VadderDarth and TheNamelessWele in the Discord chat for work on artistic elements, emoji, and ideas.
Jim and Sevoris for the official design of Shepard’s and Aethtya’s warp swords:
The usual triumvirate of Comma, Jacob and Metaladdict for advice, ideas and support. All of them have gone through some shit IRL and yet continue to help, assist other members, and basically be bros. Extra props to Comma for doing all the moderation of the Discord chat, which as of today has 134 members, many of whom are completely insane.
Quentin, Bish09, and Burnsidhe for critical changes and ideas that I used in shaping the fic this year. Each of these has been extremely useful and evocative — and made me think on other things, down the line that have shifted the story line.
Seras, Nagato, and Kaikono for being supportive.
Everyone who participated in reviews, comments, well wishes, DM’s on Discord, PM’s on FF.net and emails — thank you. I don’t write for reviews, I don’t write for ego, and I don’t write to be praised. I write for the simple reason that I want to make people be able to lose themselves from the real world for a while, and to remind you that just because things are dark doesn’t mean they always will be.
Thank you for reading my work. Thank you for giving me a focus. Thank you for being yourselves.
The Author’s Note I left at the top of the last chapter bears repeating.
Often I am asked why evil flourishes.
is merely the lack of empathy and the belief that love and hope are
empty words. There are those who embrace the darkness within, who
honestly believe that mercy is weakness and that to love one another is
impossible – due to politics, or to conflict between our species, or
that it is merely naïve.
for all the power of evil – death, darkness, greed, cruelty, and lies –
you will find these are transitory, and lead to the undoing of those who
espouse them. Death is simply a part of life. To fear it is to miss the
point of living as fully and as joyfully as one can in their span.
Pain, greed, and cruelty are opportunities, a chance to show that mercy,
love, and kindness are real. Lies are merely the tyranny of evil beings
over those who would bring them down if they knew the truth, and will
always falter in time.
of these evils can match the laughter of a child. They cannot match the
beauty of the moon-rise, or the glory of the sun. No material wealth is
as potent or fulfilling as the warmth of a lover’s embrace in passion.
No greedy and cruel leader can steal from you the ability to show love
and to share hope.
‘It is only
in those who have given up the fight that evil wins. And as long as I
draw breath and live, I will never bow to its demands, nor fear its
-Matriarch Uressa T’Shora, ‘On Light Reflected,’ a commentary of her actions at the end of the First Contact War/Relay 314 Incident
Also wrote an article touching on some of why I wrote the reunion the way I did.
The next chapter is about 5k words in, and I don’t think I can get it out in the next two weeks — we’ll see. It will cover a lot of the media reaction, insight into the turians and salarians (since most of the viewpoints have been humans and asari) as well as the krogan, and the first appearance of the real players on the stage showing up.
It will also contain memes, lol. At any rate, enjoy the chapter and Happy New Year.
And as a bit of exclusive for those of you who are loyal enough to pay attention to this site…
“I suppose, honestly, I shouldn’t be surprised by this.” The arch tones coming through the speaker held a hint of anger and confusion, emotions which Maliki could fully understand.
“Kiongozi, I assure you this is not a problem that cannot be handled. We have many assets and the full might of the Alliance behind us, even if it is not as open as it could be.”
The voice of Richard Williams took on jagged edges of sardonic anger. “And exactly what in the fuck are you going to do, Mailki? She just killed the most dangerous assassin in the galaxy, throwing down with him directly!”
Maliki gave a sigh. “Yes, kiongozi, she did — after he’d been fighting for hours and had already defeated dozens of Black Blades, Dancers, Deathwatch and who knows what else,and she barely survived. I am inclined to think she did not do so unscathed.”
A second voice sounded, female, mellifluous and yet hard. “With the greatest respect to your skills, Maliki, so what? You seem to forget she came back from the dead, and as far as I can tell dying only seems to have made her even angrier, which to be honest I did not even think possible. Neutralizing her will be much harder than merely killing her.”
The dark-skinned assassin thought furiously. “In the short term, we will have to wait and see what plays she makes. She does not and cannot know the truth about us, or how far reaching we are — and she appears focused on the Shadow Broker, who is also a threat. Perhaps they will destroy one another.”
“Which still leaves the snake Harper. And don’t doubt for a second he’ll use everything he can to smear us along with the Broker. Assume she’s killed. Even if Cerberus is utterly destroyed, we cannot afford to even be connected to such a fall. She was made a Saint by the Neo-Catholic Church and has been built into a propaganda casus belli against the geth for more than two years. We can’t have her killed.”
Malaki had not considered that angle, but as he did so an idea occurred to him. “Then perhaps we are looking at this from the wrong direction, my lord. Shepard has always directly moved to combat any threats to her very few important people. I cannot imagine crossing back from the land of death is good for the psyche, and if we were to, say, frame certain parties for killing people important to her…”
The line was silent for long seconds before Richard spoke. “A possibility indeed. You have a plan for this?”
Maliki opened up a file on his omni-tool, displaying the image of a dark-skinned girl with cool blue eyes that were dead to the world. “I believe we have at least one person already in our grasp who would be very useful in that regard… her sister.”
The line was silent for long seconds, but Maliki smiled as he heard Richard Williams and Helga Manswell’s soft, mocking laughter.