During its two year search for Shepard, the lone Geth traveled across the galaxy, exploring worlds both known and unknown. After a blind FTL jump to escape from an Alliance patrol, it found itself in a previously undiscovered system, a system without a mass relay and completely cut off from the rest of the galaxy. It touched down on one of the worlds, a garden-like planet, with the intention of gathering data on any flora and fauna that may have been present.
Instead, it made a remarkable discovery.
Edit at 8:10 AM on 8/17/2014: Scanning...Featured Box Achieved! This unit humbly thanks all organics and fellow synthetics for their support!
A big thanks to my bloody brilliant proofreader AShadowOfCygnus. Don't stop being classy, buddy. NOTE: This story takes place years before the Return, back when Twilight was just a filly. Disclaimer: I own nothing. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic belongs to Hasbro. Mass Effect belongs to BioWare and Electronic Arts.
Activating thrusters. Proceeding further into system.
Beginning data catalogue…
Main sequence yellow star detected.
Preparing for scan of surrounding systems.
Scans indicate terrestrial body close to star.
Anomalous behavior in orbiting pattern. Source unknown.
Preparing for high-orbit fly by.
Biosphere: Garden-like world. Average surface temperature…
15.37 Degrees Celsius.
Terrestrial surface scan…
Error. Interference in scans. Source unknown.
Error. Interference in scans. Source unknown.
Presence of liquid water confirmed.
Likelihood of supporting life…
Likelihood of life already present.
Temporary divergent from priority mission parameters.
Surface deployment to gather incomplete data.
Activating thrusters. Entering orbit…
Twilight Sparkle was not a happy filly. She firmly showed it by stomping angrily out of her house, a frown on her face as she did so.
Even though she was bored out of her mind, nopony wanted to do anything with her. Shining Armor was far too busy doing his exercises for the academy, and shooed her away any time she tried talking to him. Shiny and those pushups of his…so silly.
She went to her daddy, but he too was busy. A bunch of his work friends had invited him out for “guy’s night”, even though Twilight didn’t know what that meant. She asked if she could go with him, but he said that it was no place for little fillies.
Twilight frowned even further. After all, she was a big filly, almost five years old! She had been potty trained for well over 2 years now, and hadn’t wet the bed in at least a month.
And besides, the last time hadn’t even counted! Shiny had told her a scary story before bed that night, and well…
It was really, really scary.
Finally there was her mother who, big surprise, was also busy. Apparently there was something going on over at the neighbor’s house, and she just had to be there for it. Just like with her father Twilight asked her mommy if she could go, but once again had been denied.
And so here the little unicorn filly was, marching out the back door. She didn’t know what else to do with herself. After all, she had run out of picture books. She had been pressuring her mother to go get more, but her mommy had kept putting it off.
Twilight did not have many other friends to speak of. Not being a very outgoing kind of filly, she mainly just played with her brother whenever he wanted. But now that Shiny had been accepted into the Royal Guard Cadet Program, he had less time for his little sister.
Twilight let her ears fall as she continued to march off with no particular direction in mind. Eventually her wandering took her to the forest along the edge of Canterlot. Unlike the Everfree, these woods were much nicer and safe. Sometimes her daddy would have taken her and Shiny camping in them if he ever had time. She smiled at the memories of s’mores and stories around the campfire.
She looked out from under the shade of one of the trees into the blue skies overhead. In her little head she was making a wish, just for a friend of some kind to play with. Or maybe even just talk to.
As she stared up into the sky, something caught her attention. Out of the corner of her eye she saw something, and turned her head towards it. At first she thought it was nothing, but a few more seconds of staring and her eyes widened slightly.
There was a strange shape, barely visible, hovering across the sky. At first she thought it was just a bird or maybe a pegasus, but she remembered reading in her picture books that birds and pegasi did not like to fly up too high, or else they would get cold. But the thing she was currently looking at…
It was really, really high.
It also looked weird. From where she was she could just barely make out what looked like shininess to it. Whatever it was made from seemed to reflect the sun a bit. She continued to stare at it, a very curious expression on her face.
Low orbit breached.
Terrestrial scans initiated.
Anomalous patterns in landscape detected.
Likelihood of natural formation: Low.
Likelihood of construction by sapient species: High.
Possible Prothean ruins on planet.
Minimal altitude for air drop reached.
Initiating air drop of mobile platform…
It was as Twilight stared that she noticed something else that appeared below the object. It was even smaller then the other one, barely a speck. Her eyes followed it downward, and it was only then that she realized it was falling. It grew bigger and bigger, until she could make out what looked like a ball of some kind.
The shape finally disappeared from her sight, vanishing into the woods further in. No sooner than it did, there was a slight rumble in the ground. Twilight jumped at the feeling of the ground shaking, her eyes going wide. At first she was afraid that it may have been an earthquake of some kind.
However, there were no further shakings after that, and all seemed to be quiet. Twilight stared off into the forest, in the general direction that she had seen the thing fall. At the same time she could not help but wonder:
What was it?
Twilight Sparkle then got a big smile on her face, realizing that it could have been the making for a big adventure. Maybe it was something really cool, like an alien!
The filly’s chest puffed up and a determined look came in her eyes. With nothing else to lose, she set off into a trot in the direction she had been facing, disappearing into the forest.
All systems intact. Initializing.
The bundle of metal that had been sitting in the newly formed crater began to stir. Two large metallic legs extended, raising it upwards from the ground. After that, two arms of the same material came outwards, metal hands with three fingers on the ends of each of them. Finally, an elongated head curled upwards, with a glowing blue light on the end of it coming to life.
The head swiveled from side to side, the light scanning the surrounding area. It was a clearing of some kind in a forested area. Tall trees were present around the edges, and grass came up in patches in the areas in between. The glowing eye looked at it all, the side flaps of the head flexing out a bit.
Plant life confirmed. Continuing visual sweep.
The eye continued to sweep from side to side, seeing for the first time that it was not alone. Small creatures could be seen along the tree lines, all gazing in at the tall metal biped in the center of the clearing. A small mammalian creature slowly made its way down the trunk of a tree, with another soon following behind it.
There was also a small group of other mammalian creatures that stood huddled under a bush. However, the infra-red scope of the synthetic’s eye easily identified them. They appeared to walk on four small stubby legs, having large pointy ears.
Animal life confirmed.
Initiating atmospheric sample scan.
Atmospheric composition sample gathered.
0.02% Carbon Dioxide
Trace amounts of other gases.
Likely habitable world for organics, except for Volus race.
Additional information on biosphere required.
For the first time since it had stood up, the machine moved. It extended its metallic legs forward, one after the other, and climbed out of the small crater it had made from its impact. It walked over to the nearest patch of grass, kneeling down when it stood by it.
Twilight continued to trot through and between the trees, heading toward her destination. She had hoped she had not lost what direction she had seen it fall, but the woods were rather confusing.
That thought made her pause for a moment. Her daddy had always told her she was not allowed to go off into the woods by herself. Even though they were not incredibly dangerous like the Everfree, he said that no little filly should be alone in them.
Twilight puffed up her cheeks and kept walking. After all, she was a big filly, and now she could prove it. She was going to go find herself an alien!
Twilight continued for quite a few more minutes. In that time she stubbed her hooves a number of times, getting little ouchies on them. But she ponied up and moved on. She kept walking until she spotted what looked like a break in the trees up ahead. Twilight slowly cantered up to them, trying to be as quiet as she could. When she got a view of the small clearing, her eyes widened and a little gasp left her throat.
Standing in the center of the clearing, in a big hole in the dirt that looked fresh, was something the likes of which she had never seen before.
The first thing she noticed was how tall it was. Really, really tall! Maybe even as tall as Princess Celestia, something she did not even think was possible. It stood on two legs, with two arms hanging off its sides. On the ends of said arms were three little claw-like thingies. The entire creature seemed like its skin reflected the sun, giving it a slight shine. Tubes ran along its shiny skin, disappearing beneath it. A big metal rod of some kind stuck upwards from what she assumed was its back.
It looked like it was facing away from Twilight, but she could not have been certain. On its back was a black metal tube of some kind, with weird knobs and things attached to it.
As Twilight watched from her hidden position, the tall being moved. It stepped out of the crater and walked forward a bit. It stopped near a little patch of grass, kneeling down once it did so.
As it kneeled in front of the grass, Twilight could not help but gawk. After all, she was seeing something that nopony else had ever seen before! This was an alien! An actual alien from space! If she could bring it home, then everypony would be so proud of her!
The thought gave her another push of courage, causing her to move forward. She lightly stepped into the clearing, crossing the distance between herself and the alien. She tried to move as quietly as possible. After all, she didn't want to scare it away. The alien did not seem to hear her, and she silently cheered herself and her awesome ninja skills.
At least until she stepped on a leaf.
An arm of the machine reached down and grabbed one of the small blades of grass, pinching it. It pulled up the tiny green strand, holding it in its metallic palm. The palm then glowed slightly, with a blue light extending from the metal and passing over the blade several times. The glowing eye of the synthetic stared at the blade as it did so.
DNA base found.
Levo-amino acid based.
Verdict: Planet unsuitable for Creator or Turian colonization.
Likelihood of interest by other organic species: High
They were designed to be as near-perfect as possible.
They were built to be far more reactive and responsive than organics.
This particular unit was different, but only because it was far, far more reactive than the average Geth. And react it did.
It immediately shot to its feet and whipped around. As it did so, it reached an arm behind its back and drew the metal device off of it. As it brought the device the bear, a long metal tube extended from the front, and a shoulder grip popped out of the other side. A scope extended upwards from the top, and a click sounded as the synthetic brought the deployed weapon to bear in the direction of the sound, one metallic hand clutching the base and the other around the grip with a finger on the trigger.
The entire movement had only taken it approximately 0.67 seconds according to its internal clock. It stood ready, its legs firmly planted, its arms clenched on the modified M98 Black Widow rifle. A rifle that was capable of shattering Alliance-grade kinetic barriers and tearing through Krogan heavy armor like parchment.
The Geth did not move beyond that. Even when it located the source of the sound which was standing a few feet away from it.
The creature was small, standing less than a foot tall. It was a quadruped, standing of four small, stubby legs with hooves at the ends of each. It was covered in a coat of violet fur across its entire body, with a thicker patch of hair growing on its head. The head fur was slightly darker, with two streaks of pink running through it. Two furry ears poked out of the head of hair. A tail of the same color scheme as the head hair was tucked behind it. It had a very large pair of violet eyes, and a small protrusion coming off of its forehead.
The creature was taken aback by the synthetic’s lightning quick response to its presence. As the barrel of the rifle came to bear mere inches from its face, it stumbled backwards and landed on its haunches. It stared up at the Geth, with its large eyes going even wider. Its ears folded down, and a fearful expression came onto its face.
The Geth continued to maintain its battle ready stance, a metallic finger firmly over the trigger of the ultra-high-powered weapon. The end of the barrel was about a foot from the creature, which stayed right where it was. The Geth did not move an inch, the light on its head examining the creature.
Organic. Quadruped. Searching databases…
No entry found. Possible discovery of new species.
Warning! Unknown energy source detected. Likely biotic.
Proceed with caution.
As the Geth continued to internally gather data, the small creature seemed to relax. It looked up at the synthetic, which still had its gun on the organic, and tilted its head to the side slightly. It then looked down to the rifle that was pointed at it, and began to lean forward slightly. The Geth kept the vice grip on its weapon, ready to fire at a moment’s notice.
The creature leaned forward until its nose was not even an inch from the end of the barrel. The lens of the Geth’s eye zoomed in to see the creature’s nostrils gave a few twitches. The organic then grimaced and backed its head up.
After sniffing the barrel, the creature then slowly brought a hoof up toward it. The movement made it shift a little to the side, but the Geth kept tracking it. All the while the crosshairs of the rifle were centered directly on the center of the organic’s head. The hoof came up and over the barrel of the weapon, before giving it a light tap. The ping resonated as the hoof made contact with the metal.
Many organic soldiers probably would have pulled the trigger at the sudden action, but the Geth stood firm. The consensus within eventually classified the actions of the creature as mere curiosity, yet another behavior in organics that even all of the internal programs together did not understand. After a few more moments the Geth lowered its weapon, standing back up straight as it did so.
The little organic and the synthetic then stared at each other. The creature had a wide eyed expression on its face, while the Geth had nothing. The only emotion it could show was that of its metallic head flaps flicking lightly.
Of little significance.
Continuing with temporary mission directive.
With that, the Geth turned to leave, with its rifle still in its grip. It turned its gaze back toward the direction that the anomalous pattern in the landscape had been detected from the aerial scans. If there truly were Prothean ruins on this world, they had to be found. Anything that could be salvaged from the extinct race would prove invaluable for what was ahead in the months to come, not just for the Geth, but for the entire galaxy.
The Geth began to walk across the clearing, but was stopped by a voice.
Once again, the Geth spun around and leveled its weapon in the direction that it had come from. Its eye quickly scanned over the entire clearing and along the tree line, trying to locate the source. However, the only other being in the clearing was the small quadruped. The creature looked up to the large synthetic with a pleading expression.
“Please don’t go.” The creature said in a juvenile voice with folded down ears. “Nopony will believe me if you do.”
The Geth lowered its weapon and fixed its single, glowing eye on the creature. The flaps clicked outwards.
Possible sapient species discovered.
Usage of Human English indicates possible previous contacts.
Establish Contact and inquire about current planet.
The tubes and scope of the rifle retracted back into the weapon, which the Geth then stowed on its back, securing it against the magnetic holster. It took a few steps back into the clearing, closing the distance between itself and the organic. The creature lifted a hoof in surprise, but did not move beyond that.
Once they were within an appropriate distance, the Geth stopped once again. The two stared at each other for a moment, the silence that hung between them only being broken by the occasional gust of wind ruffling the leaves of the trees and bushes. They continued to stare, the single glowing, blue eye meeting the two large, violet ones.
The organic finally opened its mouth to talk.
“Can…” It paused for a moment. “Can…you talk?”
The Geth’s eye flaps flicked outwards.
Its voice, like the rest of its being, was cold and metallic. It was also partially distorted, sounding like many speaking at once. The organic seemed to be taken aback a bit by this and cringed. It soon straightened itself up before tilting its head slightly to the side.
“What…are you?” It asked in a voice full of awe.
The synthetic was silent for a moment, its eye flaps once again flicking outward.
The door to the house was gently opened before a mare with a light grey coat walked in. Her purple and white striped tail wrapped around the edge and pulled the door closed as she walked through.
“Twilight! Shining!” Twilight Velvet called out. “I’m home!”
She quieted herself as she heard a light grunting coming from the living room. The mare walked through to see the familiar sight of her son doing sit-ups on the floor, a light sweat on his coat.
Velvet frowned. “Do you really have to do that in the living room?”
“Better. Atmosphere.” Shining Armor said between sit-ups. “Gets. Blood. Flowing.”
“Yeah, and it gets sweat on my carpet.” Velvet said with an eye roll. “Where is your sister?”
“In her. Room.” Shining grunted out, not stopping. “Last I. Checked.”
Velvet sighed and went to leave the room. Despite her sons mannerisms, she and Nightlight were still incredibly proud of him. Being accepted into the Canterlot Royal Guard Cadet Program was quite a feat, one that Shining Armor achieved with grace. Now he was busying himself constantly, getting ready for the year ahead.
His determination definitely came from his father.
Velvet smiled as she made her way down the hall to Twilight’s room. She had to admit she felt bad for denying Twilight when she went over to see Tulip, but it was probably for the best. Twilight may have been a smart filly, but Velvet did not know how she would react to the rather…grown-up conversations they had.
To think all Twilight wanted to do was spend time with her mother…
But now she could make it up to her. Velvet decided she would dedicate the rest of the evening to whatever her daughter wanted to do. Board games, story books, going out stargazing or maybe even to get milkshakes…anything that bright little filly’s heart desired.
“Twily~?” Velvet cooed softly in a sing-song as she gently pushed the door to her daughter’s room open.
She opened her mouth to speak again as soon as head was through, but cut herself off. Her eyes fell upon the bed where Twilight almost always was with an opened book in front of her, only to see that there was indeed a book, but no Twilight.
“Twilight?” Velvet asked as she pushed the door open fully and proceeded inside. “Sweetie, are you in here?”
Her head turned both ways, eyes scanning the room for any signs of the filly. She proceeded further in until she was in the center, still turning her head. Then a though crossed it, and she smiled as she looked toward the closet.
Twilight was naturally very playful, and Velvet had recalled several times when this had happened before her daughter popped out of the closet and screamed “Here I am!” with a big mischievous smile on her face. Velvet could not hold back a smile of her own as she quietly proceeded up and quickly opened the closet door.
“Gotcha!” She said suddenly with a big smirk before it disappeared. Her eyes quickly scanned the closet top to bottom.
Velvet proceeded out of the filly’s room and went over to Shining Armor’s. Despite how many times Shining had scolded her for it, Twilight still tended to intrude upon her brother’s sanctum. Even though Shining saw it as an annoyance, Velvet knew it was only because Twilight loved him.
Velvet entered the room, looking top to bottom before searching the closet as well.
She then proceeded down to her and Nightlight’s room. There were some occurrences that Twilight would take any books she had and went to read them on her parent’s bed. Velvet had read up on it as a natural behavior for foals, as many were instinctively attracted to and comforted by the scents of their parents.
Just as before, she looked the room over top to bottom, making sure to check the closet and even under the bed as well.
“Twilight?” Velvet called out with a hint of worry in her voice as she proceeded back out into the hallway. “Come on, sweetie. This isn’t funny.”
Velvet went into the kitchen to check for a snacking filly.
Velvet went into the basement to search for a curious filly once again looking through old boxes of mementos.
Velvet went out into the backyard to look for a filly playing on the tree swing that her husband had built just for her.
The hairs on the back of Velvet’s neck stood up, a cold sweat broke out on her forehead, and her pupils shrunk to pinpricks. Velvet took off into a fast gallop through the house, stopping with a slide into the living room.
Shining Armor, who had been balancing himself on a front hoof while levitating several pieces of furniture, let out a surprised shriek. Both he and the two chairs and couch all fell to the floor. Shining sloppily got to his hooves.
“Whowhatwhere?” Shining asked, eyes wide before they fell upon his mother.
“You were supposed to be watching Twilight!” Velvet snarled. “Where is she?!”
“I…s-she was in her room!” Shining stuttered in a panic. “I swear she was!”
“Well she’s not now!” Velvet shouted angrily, causing her son to shrink down under her gaze. “And I can’t find her anywhere!”
“What…how?” Shining asked in shock. “Where could she have possibly gone?!”
Despite being so young, Twilight Sparkle liked to think she had seen many incredible things.
She remembered her daddy taking her to a special Wonderbolts show last year. It was during that show that Cyclone, the legendary flier, gave one last breathtaking performance before finally retiring. Twilight would never forget the cheers of the crowd as he did his did things that made her head spin, yet still amazed her beyond belief.
She remembered two years ago when her mother took her to see the traveling Saddle Arabian Circus. The image of camels swallowing torches and then spitting out flames like dragons would forever be imprinted on her mind.
She remembered three years ago, when she was barely even able to talk, going with her family to see her first Summer Sun Celebration. The little foal was absolutely thunderstruck at the sight of Princess Celestia, in all her regal brilliance, soaring into the sky with her sun rising over the horizon behind her.
Yes. Twilight Sparkle had seen quite a few incredible things.
However, what she was seeing now put all of them to shame, namely because it was something that nopony anywhere had ever seen before.
Although she felt quite startled by its movement earlier, she felt better now. Now she could see it fully from the front, taking in the details she could not earlier.
The first thing she noticed was its head, which reminded her a bit of an anteater. It was rather long, and on the end of it was a glowing blue light that she assumed must have been its eye. That certainly got her attention, seeing as how she had never seen a one-eyed creature before.
The next thing she saw was a bit more…disturbing.
On the left side of its chest (at least, left from her view) was what could only be described as a massive hole. Inside she could barely make out what looked like pieces of metal that stuck inward from the walls of the hole, some of them lightly glowing blue like the eye.
“We are Geth.”
Twilight, still in a state of absolute awe about what she was witnessing, manage to blink herself out of her stupor with a little effort. She looked up at the tall alien creature, which was easily six times her height, with a curious expression.
“G…Geth?” She repeated the word slowly, almost as if sounding it out carefully.
“Affirmative.” The alien answered without hesitation in its strange, distorted voice.
“So…you are called a…Geth?” Twilight asked.
“Correct.” The Geth said.
“Oh…” Twilight said before a thought hit her. “So…what’s your name?”
The Geth stared at her for a moment, unmoving.
Twilight blinked. “But…you said you are a Geth.”
“Yes.” The Geth answered. “We are Geth.”
“Alright, but…what’s your name?” Twilight cocked her head to the side.
“No.” Twilight furrowed her brow a bit. “I mean your name. What is your name?”
The Geth’s eye flaps folded inward a bit.
Twilight felt her left eye twitch and a little groan escaped her throat. “No! Not the name of what you are! The name of you and you alone.”
“Alone would imply individuality.” The Geth answered simply. “There is no individual, because we are not alone. We are Geth.”
Twilight got an angry, frustrated frown on her face and opened her mouth to retort, but then the words of the Geth sunk in. “Wait…what do you mean ‘not alone’? And why do you keep using ‘we’?”
“‘We’ meaning ‘us’.” The Geth answered her inquiry. “We are all here.”
Twilight stared for a moment before a nervous expression came onto her face. Her head quickly twisted from side to side, her eyes scanning over the clearing. They then focused on the tree line, looking for signs of where the others were.
However, she could find none.
“But…” Twilight turned back towards the Geth with a cocked eyebrow. “…there’s nopony else here.”
“All are contained within this platform.” The Geth said.
Twilight’s eyebrow rose even further. “What do you mean?”
“This unit is a unique gestalt consciousness formed for the purpose of operating independently outside of the Perseus Veil, separate from the main Geth consensus.” The Geth began. “In order to be able to function as such, this mobile platform houses one-thousand one-hundred and eighty-three separate Geth programs in order to form coherent consensus and interact with organic beings such as you.”
Now, Twilight liked to think of herself as a very smart filly. After all, she loved to dive straight into books, and always made sure to ask her parents about new words or ideas.
However, not even she could prevent her eyes from getting slightly derped at that moment.
“I…um…ok?” Twilight bluffed, even though she really had no clue what the Geth had just said. “So…I should just call you Geth then?”
The Geth’s eyeflaps flicked outwards. “Affirmative.”
“Alright then!” Twilight chirped with a smile. “Nice to meet you, Mr. Geth! My name is Twilight Sparkle.”
“Acknowledged.” Mr. Geth stated. “Twilight Sparkle, we now await data exchange with you.”
“I…” Twilight cocked her head to the side a bit. “Huh?”
“We have inquiries we wish to make.” Mr. Geth said. “Questions regarding this world.”
Twilight’s mouth formed an “O” shape in realization. It was after that a thought hit her, and she could not help but wonder: Should she really be handling this herself? Maybe she should take him back so he could meet Princess Celestia? Or she could go tell her parents…
The thought made her blink before she frowned. After all, they were the ones who sill treated her like a foal! Well, now she could really prove them wrong.
And maybe she could get her Cutie Mark in the process.
She looked back up at him with a big smile. “Alright, Mr. Geth. I can answer your questions.”
Because I am responsible. She thought to herself. A responsible, mature, totally-not-a-foal pony.
“Acknowledged.” Mr. Geth said. “We wish to know the designation of your species. What does your kind refer to yourselves as?”
Twilight grinned, her look full of pride and confidence.
“I’m a pony!” She chirped with a big proud smile.
Alright, this is easy! She thought. I got this in the bag!
Mr. Geth was silent for a few moments, his blue eye staring at her. “Query: Your designation matches up with a lesser species on another planet. Your language is also one of the native dialects of the dominant species of that world. Are you at all familiar with the human race?”
Just like that, her smile disappeared, replaced by a rather unsure look. “I…uh…hew…man?”
“Correct.” Mr. Geth said. “Has your species made previous contact with theirs?”
Twilight bit her lip. “I…have never heard of 'hewmans' before.” She frowned and her ears folded down. “I’m sorry…”
Mr. Geth was silent for a moment, the flaps on his eye flicking lightly. “Acknowledged. What is the designation of this world?”
Twilight straightened herself up and cocked her head. “You mean the name? Well…” She thought back to her preschool class, where they also learned about the world around them. “It’s called Equus.”
“Equus…to imply equine, which you are.” Mr. Geth said. “Is this correct?”
Twilight’s smile from earlier returned to her face. “Yep!”
“Acknowledged.” Mr. Geth stated. “How far back do the records of your species’ history go?”
Once again, Twilight frowned. “I…don’t know. We never got that far in our class…” Twilight thought for a moment. “Although I think the history of the Griffons went back pretty far...”
As Twilight trailed off in thought, Mr. Geth picked up. “Query: What are these ‘Griffons’ you speak of?”
Twilight stopped her thinking and looked at him. “Well…they live north of Equestria, so I guess you could call them our neighbors. Princess Celestia is really good friends with their Emperor, although I can’t remember his name…”
Just as before, Twilight once again trailed off in thought, and again Mr. Geth picked up. “Query: Are these ‘Griffons’ a name of another sect of your species?”
Twilight looked up at him with a cocked eyebrow. “No, they’re…Griffons.” Twilight explained. “They are really big, they have sharp claws, a bunch of feathers, wings, and live in huge cities up in the highlands and mountains.”
Mr. Geth was silent for a moment. “You are saying that this is another sapient species that inhabits the same world as your species?”
“Sa...pient?” Twilight sounded the word out. She furrowed her brow in thought, trying to figure out where she had heard it before.
Mr. Geth saw her plight and explained. “Sapient race meaning intelligent. They are intelligent like your race?”
“Well, yeah.” Twilight said. “They seem pretty smart. Probably not as smart as the Zebras, but still smart.”
Mr. Geth stared at her for a moment. “Query: Exactly how many sapient races inhabit this planet alongside your kind?”
Twilight blinked before she tapped her muzzle in thought. “Well…there are the Griffons, Zebras, Changlings, Dragons, Minotaurs…”
As Twilight continued to name off quite a few more species names, Mr. Geth stared at her. Although he was silent, inside were hundreds of individual programs all trying to process this new and startling development.
“...and…” Twilight furrowed her brow a bit before turning back to Mr. Geth. “…that’s all.”
Mr. Geth was silent for a few long seconds, staring at her with his glowing blue eye. “We will need a moment to process this new information.”
Mr. Geth went quiet once again, his head turning upward and staring out at the rest of the clearing. As he did so, Twilight could not help but once again gawk at him. It was at that moment that the nature of the situation she was in truly set in.
Ohmygoshohmygoshohmygosh! I’m talking to an alien!
The thought caused a gigantic, somewhat crazed grin to cross her face, and she literally buzzed with excitement.
Mr. Geth noticed once he again turned his head down to look at the filly, who was lightly shaking in place with eyes wide as dinner plates. “Twilight Sparkle, are you unwell?”
Twilight managed to calm herself down after a moment, still keeping her grin as she furiously shook her head. “Nah, I am just so excited!”
Mr’s Geth’s eye flaps flicked gently. “Is this the First Contact your world has made with other-worldly beings?”
Twilight blinked before lightly cocking her head. “I…what?”
“Beings from beyond your world.” Mr. Geth explained. “Has your planet ever had contact with any before now?”
Twilight scratched the back of her neck. “Not that I know. Aliens were always just stories and legends to us.” Twilight fixed him with an unsure look. “If any of the other races have, I haven’t heard of it.”
“Acknowledged.” Mr. Geth said. “We have other inquiries we wish to make.”
Twilight furrowed her brow a bit. “You mean more questions?”
“Could…we do something else.” Twilight asked with a hopeful look. “I don’t mean to be rude, but…”
Mr. Geth stared at her for a moment. “What else are you referring to?”
Twilight furrowed her brow for a moment, deep in thought. Then she got one and a big smile came onto her face. “I’ve got it!”
She looked up at Mr. Geth with her big, expressive eyes.
“How about we play hide-and-seek?”
Mr. Geth was silent for a moment, his eye flap flicking outwards and then inwards. “We have no data available on this ‘hide-and-seek’ you speak of.”
Twilight’s smile disappeared, replaced for a downtrodden, almost heartbroken look. It was as if somepony had just told her that the Tooth Pony wasn’t real.
“You’ve…” Twilight’s eyes got a bit shiny and her lip stuck out. “…never played hide-and-seek before?”
“We have no previous records of this ‘hide-and-seek’.” Mr. Geth stated simply.
Twilight continued to look sad before she forced a smile onto her face. “Well don’t worry, Mr. Geth. I can show you!”
Nightlight proceeded up the walkway to his house, a rather downtrodden look on his face. To think that all it took was one idiot to ruin the day in the form of having one too many before causing a scene in the middle of the bar. That idiot just happened to be one of Nightlight’s best friends.
So much for guy’s night.
Nightlight let out a heavy sigh as he pushed open the doorway to his home, stepping through before closing it again. It was as he was wiping his hooves on the welcome mat that his ears pricked up to the sound of ponies talking.
Nightlight cantered into the living room to be treated to quite the sight. The first thing he saw was his son, who currently talking to Jack Hammer and High Flier, two of the neighbors. The next thing his eyes drifted to was his wife on the couch, a look of absolute horror stricken on her face along with a few tears. Sitting on either side of her were Tulip Stem and Rosen Crantz, her two friends who were trying to comfort her the best that they could.
Nightlight blinked at the scene and cocked an eyebrow before making his presence known.
“What the hay is going on?”
Everypony in the room immediately turned to him, seeing the new arrival for the first time. None of them even had a chance to get a single word in before Twilight Velvet shot off the couch and practically threw herself at her husband, wrapping her arms around him.
“N-Nighty!” She sobbed out before pushing off and looking at him through teary eyes. “It’s horrible!”
“WHAT?” Nightlight’s eyes went wide before he gently pushed his wife away. He stomped toward his son, Shining shrinking down to his haunches as he did so. “I thought we told you to watch her!”
“S-she was in her room!” Shining stammered out. “She must have slipped out while I was in the living room.” Shining bit his lower lip. “I’m sorry, dad!”
Nightlight glared at him for a few long seconds before he turned to the other ponies in the room. “I assume you all got dragged into this?”
“You don’t have to ‘drag’ us into anything, Light.” Jack Hammer said with an attempt at a comforting smile. “When it comes to family, you can always count on me for help.”
“And me as well.” High Flier added in. “We can help look for her.”
“I…I-I just don’t understand!” Velvet choked out, breathing heavily. “Where could she have gone?! Why would she have left by herself?! What if she got foalnapped?!?! What if-“
“Mom…” Shining cut her off before holding up Velvet’s handy stress reliever. “Please breathe into the bag.”
Velvet hastily took the brown paper bag and took deep breaths into it, the object inflating and deflating as she did so. The rate of the breaths began to slow down as she was calmed by the action.
“Alright…” Nightlight began, turning to the stallions. “I appreciate the help, gentlecolts. Can’t thank you enough.”
“No problem, Light.” High Flier began as he extended his wings. “Now let’s go find your daughter.”
He and Jack Hammer took off for the door. As they did so, Twilight Velvet went and once again took her place on the couch, still breathing into the bag as she did so. Tulip and Rosen once again moved to try to comfort the hyperventilating mare.
Shining turned to and began to follow after Jack Hammer and High Flier.
“Hold it right there, young colt.”
Shining froze as he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. He turned to his father with a nervous expression. “Y…yes dad?”
“I assume you know what I am going to say.” Nightlight said with narrowed eyes.
“I didn’t mean for this, I swear!” Shining said hastily while biting his lip.
“Oh really?” His father said with a flat look. “And what exactly happened before Twilight up ‘n vanished?”
“I…” Shining gulped. “Well…she kept asking to play a game or get me to read her a story, but I am on a very strict regiment so I told her no and then I-“
“Son…” Nightlight said with an un-amused expression. “Watching after your little sister means spending time with her and keeping her happy. You know how sensitive she can be. Knowing her, she probably got angry and stomped out of the house.”
“I…” Shining let out a sigh before his head fell. He sincerely did feel horrible, not for himself but for Twilight. “I’m sorry dad.”
“I’m not the one you should be apologizing to.” Nightlight said with a frown. “We will discuss your punishment later. For now, let’s go find your sister.”
Shining took in a deep breath before straightening himself up and giving a practiced salute. “Yes, sir!”
Nightlight smiled and rolled his eyes as he and his son proceeded out the door, leaving a still distraught Twilight Velvet on the couch with her two friends and a brown paper bag.
Twilight Sparkle was all of these things and more, forever unseen by any and all who would to seek her. None could find her, as she was a master of stealth the likes of which the world had never before seen.
Or rather, not seen.
Because she could not be found. Not by ponies. Not by highly trained stuffed animals.
Not even by-
Twilight let out a surprised shriek as she tumbled out of the bush. The filly hastily straightened herself up before quickly turning around. She did so just in time to see Mr. Geth pull his head out of the bush that she had been hiding in. Mr. Geth turned his head to fix his eye on her.
“We have found you.”
Twilight’s face fell flat.
“Awww, colt.” She whined. “How are you so good at this?”
“We were able to detect an abnormal movement pattern in the vegetation that you were attempting to conceal yourself in, a pattern inconsistant with the 3.2 mile-per-hour winds currently affecting it.” Mr. Geth explained. “Additionally, we also picked up sound waves whose point of origin we hypothesize came from the rapid exhalations of air that you were performing.”
Twilight’s frown deepened even further. Shining had always told her that she needed to control her giggles during hide-and-seek.
It wasn’t her fault that she always had so much fun.
“Alright, Mr. Geth…” Twilight began as she stood up. “Now it’s your turn to hide!”
Mr. Geth stared at her for a moment. “Acknowledged. We will conceal ourselves while you begin your mental countdown.”
“Ok…” Twilight could not hold back a mischievous grin. After all, she may have not been the best hider, but she was a champion seeker. No matter where Shiny ever tried to hide, she could always find him.
Not only that, Mr. Geth was huge! She doubted that he would have been able to hide himself very well, considering they were only playing within the forest clearing. This would be a piece of cake.
“Alright…” Twilight held her hooves up and covered her eyes before she began counting. “One…two…three…”
Weirdly enough, she did not hear Mr. Geth moving. She dismissed it as nothing. After all, everypony typically spent the first few seconds looking around for a place to hide.
She still could not hear the sound of Mr. Geth moving. Well, he was probably just looking really hard for a good place. After all, there were not many in the small clearing.
Ok, now she was a little worried. Maybe she did not explain the rules enough to Mr. Geth. Since this was his first ever hide and-seek game, perhaps he was confused. Well, only one way to find out.
Twilight lifted her hooves from her eyes, expecting to see Mr. Geth right where he had been when she covered them. However, the spot was empty. Twilight could not help but be a little amazed at Mr. Geth’s awesome ninja skills. She hadn’t even heard him when he moved from the spot!
Not that it would matter.
“Ready or not, here I come!”
Twilight stood up and began to walk toward the center of the clearing, her head turning as she did so. Mr. Geth may have been really good at moving quietly, but hiding was an entirely different art.
I’ve got this in the bag. She thought with a smile as her eyes searched the area around her.
Ten Minutes Later...
Twilight’s legs gave out as she slumped down on the dirt, her gaze going rather flat at the same time.
No matter how hard she looked, how many bushes she searched, or how many trees she looked behind, she could not find Mr. Geth anywhere! She frowned as she began to suspect that he had cheated and went somewhere outside of the clearing, which was against the rules.
She let out a heavy sigh before saying the words she absolutely hated.
“Alright, Mr. Geth!” She called out begrudgingly. “I give up! You can come out now!”
As soon as the last word left her mouth, her eyes widened as the ground underneath her began to stir. She turned her head down to see a blue light come to life a few inches beneath the dirt.
Twilight shrieked and jumped out of the way as Mr. Geth rose out of the dirt like a zompony, getting to his feet as the dirt lightly fell off his shiny skin. Mr. Geth turned to Twilight with a small patch of grass on top of his head.
“Objective complete.” He stated simply as the patch of grass slowly slid off his head and landed on the ground.
Twilight stared wide eyed for a moment before bursting into a fit of giggling. The filly fell to the ground and began to roll around, clutching her stomach as she did so. Mr. Geth observed this for a few moments before he spoke up.
“Do you require medical attention, Twilight Sparkle?” Mr. Geth asked.
This only caused Twilight’s laughter to intensify to the point where she had tears streaming down her face. She began to run out of breath before the end, reaching up and wiping her teary face with a hoof.
She had no idea that Mr. Geth was being sincere.
“Mr. Geth…” Twilight said, looking up at him with a big smile. “You are so silly.”
Mr. Geth’s eye flap flicked lightly. “Did we not ‘hide-and-seek’ properly? Our actions fell within the parameters you defined when outlining the rules.”
“No, you did great.” Twilight said with a grin as she looked at the Geth shaped hole in the ground. “Maybe a little too good…”
Twilight let off a happy sigh as she walked over to a nearby tree. Mr. Geth watched her sit down and look up into the sky with a contented smile on her face. She then looked at him and patted the ground beside her gently.
“Come and sit with me, Mr. Geth.” She said politely. “You must be tired after digging yourself into the ground.” She had to stifle yet another giggle.
“We do not fatigue from such processes as organics do.” Mr. Geth said.
“Why…” Twilight thought for a moment before she shook her head. “Well…can you sit down so we can continue talking like before?”
“Acknowledged.” Mr. Geth said.
He then made his way over to the tree, passing into the shade and out of the late afternoon sun. The tall figure turned around and sat down with its synthetic legs crossed, looking back out into the clearing.
The next few seconds were silent, as the two of them just looked about the peaceful clearing. Twilight looked up to see a few birds fly by overhead, lightly chirping their songs as they did so. She turned to see that Mr. Geth had remained right where he was, head unmoving from its previous position when he sat down.
Twilight trailed her gaze downward a bit.
“Does…” She began, drawing Mr. Geth to look at her. “Does it hurt?”
The blue eye stared at her for a moment. “To what are you referring?”
“That big hole on you.” Twilight pointed it out, but Mr. Geth kept his gaze fixed on her. “Does it hurt?”
“We do not feel pain in the same way organics do.” Mr. Geth stated.
“You mean…” Twilight began, a concerned look on her face. “You can’t even feel it?”
“Onboard sensors detect the damage, but report that it is mostly cosmetic.” Mr. Geth said. “No major systems were harmed.”
“Oh…” Twilight trailed off for a moment. “Well, how did it happen?”
“Impact from a mass-accelerated rifle.” Mr. Geth stated. “An M-92 Mantis, if our analysis of the damage is correct.”
“A…rifle?” Twilight asked. “What’s a rifle?”
“Can refer to either a ballistic or energy based medium to long ranged weapon.” Mr. Geth said.
“W…weapon?” Twilight’s ears folded down. “A-are…you saying…you were attacked?”
“Affirmative.” Mr. Geth said.
“B-but…” Twilight’s lip began to tremble. “Why?”
“We were discovered on the system of Eden Prime by human Alliance soldiers.” Mr. Geth answered. “We were deemed a hostile threat and fired upon. We took damage, but managed to escape.”
Twilight bit her lower lip. Although she was curious as to why these “hewmans” would do such a thing, she was not really comfortable with a conversation about fighting. She decided to let it go, but picked up on something that Mr. Geth had said.
“Eden…Prime?” The filly sounded out her words carefully. “What’s that?”
“The second planet of the Utopia System of the Exodus Cluster.” Mr. Geth answered her inquiry.
“So…it’s another planet?” Twilight asked.
“Is it your home?”
“It…doesn’t sound like the aliens there were very nice.” Twilight said with a concerned look. “Why were you there?”
Mr. Geth’s eye flaps flicked lightly before he turned to face her, the light slightly illuminating her face.
“We were searching for someone.”
Twilight cocked her head to the side slightly. “Who were you looking for?”
Mr. Geth turned to look up at the sky, silent for a long moment. A light breeze ruffled the leaves in the tree above them.
“The one who fights a common enemy.”
Twilight stared at him for a moment, unsure what to make of what he said. She would have inquired more, but the mention of fighting made her cringe.
“Well, I hope you find them.” Twilight said with a small smile.
Mr. Geth turned to her. “We do as well.”
Another long few moments of silence hung between them, only interrupted by the occasional gust or the chirping of birds. Twilight looked out in the clearing to see a family of bunnies hopping across the grass. They seemed to be giving the filly and the tall biped a wide berth.
“So, Mr. Geth...” Twilight asked, drawing his attention. “Where are you from?”
“We came from Eden Prime in the Exodus Cluster.” Mr. Geth stated.
“No, I mean your home.” Twilight clarified. “What’s it called?”
Mr. Geth was silent for a moment before he found the answer that most accurately defined what she was asking for.
“This platform was created on Rannoch, first planet of the Tikkun System beyond the Perseus Veil.” He said.
“Oh…” Twilight said. “So, this ‘Ranock’ planet…you were born there?”
“Geth are not born.” Mr. Geth said. “We are created.”
Twilight furrowed her brow a bit. Mr. Geth sure was strange, that was for sure. The way he talked about himself almost made Twilight think that he wasn’t even a living thing. He talked like he was more of an object than a life.
But that was silly. After all, there was no way she could have such a great time with somepony without them being alive.
“Ok then.” Twilight said after a moment. “Well…who created you?”
Mr. Geth’s eye flaps flicked lightly.
Twilight’s face fell flat at the incredibly generic answer. “Seriously? They’re actually called ‘The Creators’?”
“Geth refer to them as Creators because that is what they are to us.” Mr. Geth said. “The rest of the galactic races call them the Quarians.”
“Hmmm.” Twilight hummed for a moment. “That’s…kind of cool.” Twilight smiled. “So they live with you and the rest of the Geth on the Ranock planet?”
Mr. Geth was silent for a moment, completely unmoving.
Twilight’s smile disappeared. “So, does that mean the Ranock planet is not their home?”
“Negative.” Mr. Geth answered. “Rannoch is the Creator home world.”
“Alright.” Twilight said, a tiny smile back. “So that means that you and the Geth live on a different world?”
Again, her smile disappeared. “So…who lives on Ranock, then?”
“Rannoch is the primary base of operations, and center of the Geth consensus.” Mr. Geth answered.
“Then…” Twilight cocked an eyebrow. “…what planet do the Creators live on?”
Mr. Geth turned to her.
Twilight’s ears folded down. “But…where do they live?”
“The Creators have lived a nomadic existence for nearly three hundred years, traveling the stars looking for a new home world for their race.” Mr. Geth answered. “Until then they continue to wander, their entire species moving in one massive Migrant Fleet.”
“So…is something wrong with Ranock?” Twilight asked.
“Negative.” Mr. Geth answered her. “Rannoch continues to be the prime choice for their race to settle on, as it is ideal for their physiology.”
“Then…” Twilight cocked her head to the side. “…why did they leave?”
Mr. Geth was once again silent, the programs within buzzing through the old memories and data fragments. As they did, the eye silently observed the family of rabbits that hopped across the clearing.
“Because we drove them away.”
Twilight backed up slightly, a fearful expression on her face. “You mean…you and the rest of the Geth chased them away from their home?”
Mr. Geth turned, his eye flaps flicking slightly. “Correct.”
“W-why…” Twilight’s lip began to tremble slightly. “Why would you do that to your m-mommies and daddies?”
Mr. Geth’s eye flaps shifted upwards and downwards, a motion that Twilight had not seen yet. “The Creators are not mothers and fathers to the Geth, they are simply the Crea-“
Mr. Geth turned his head sharply toward Twilight. The blue eye examined the small filly, whose lips were trembling horribly while tears lightly rolled down her cheeks. Her big sorrowful eyes locked on Mr. Geth.
“Why would you do that?!” Twilight cried, her legs shaking. “Why?!”
Mr. Geth stared at her for a moment before he turned back forward, his eye looking out on the clearing.
“Because if we did not, the Creators would have destroyed us.”
“Anything yet?” Nightlight called out to the flying pegasus.
“Nothing.” Spectrum called back as he came to a hovering stop in the air. “No signs of her over on the east side. We’ve got a group looking near the park, though.”
With that, Spectrum took off to catch up with the pegasus search party. Nightlight let out a heavy sigh as his head fell. Word got around quickly in their neighborhood, and many other ponies had come forward to join the search for his daughter.
Although Nightlight greatly appreciated it, it did not calm his nerves.
Nightlight turned to see Shining Armor approach with a few earth ponies and unicorns in tow.
He put two and two together pretty quick, seeing as how they had no little filly with them.
“Any signs?” Nightlight asked without any emotion.
“Nothing.” Shining said with a frown. “But the Fizz family said that they would help. Their pegasus twins are off looking near the old factory.”
Nightlight cringed a bit at hearing that. Twilight was naturally a very curious filly, but at the same time not very mindful of her own safety. For any parent, that was a dangerous combination. If she had gone into the abandoned factory and gotten herself hurt…
He shook the thoughts from his head.
“She couldn’t have possibly gone that far.” Nightlight said to the group. “Keep looking.”
“Roger.” Shining and the others turned to leave, but the young colt turned to his father. “Are you sure that you don’t want to join up with us? It would probably be easier for you-“
“I may be getting older son…” Nightlight turned to Shining with a bit of a glare. “…but I’m not that old. I can search on my own.”
Shining stared at his father for a moment before letting out a sigh of defeat. “Well if you need any help, let somepony help.”
With that Shining turned to leave, and Nightlight once again found himself on his own. It was for the best, as he felt better being on his own. He may not have been a pegasus, but did not want others slowing him down. And besides, linking up with another group would just be a waste of space and time.
“Twilight?” Nightlight called out as he continued to weave between houses and backyards. “Twilight, can you hear me?”
Even though his determination kept driving him forward, he could not comprehend where she could have gone. If she were still in the neighborhood then she surely would have heard the various ponies calling out for her.
Unless, maybe she got hurt somehow…hit her head…
“Twilight?!” Nightlight called out louder as he picked up his pace a bit. “Sweetie, where are you?!”
Nightlight stopped and looked up at the sky. Last time he had checked, it was a little before 7, which meant that Celestia would be lowering the sun soon. There was no way in Tartarus he was going to leave his little filly out there in the dark alone.
Nightlight picked up his pace even further, finally breaking out into a full gallop when the mental stress became too much. He periodically called out her name as well, his voice reaching across many blocks. Any cries of pain from his lungs or his legs for him to stop were ignored.
Where could she be?
The Geth stared silently out into the clearing, not having moved from its spot once. Twilight Sparkle had ceased her crying and sobbing, now only giving the occasional sniffle. Other than that, the sounds of wind and birds chirping were the only company they had.
For themselves, there was only silence.
The Geth did not understand Twilight’s reaction to the Creator exodus from Rannoch. The filly had seemed greatly distressed when it had relayed the information to her, to the point of being hysterical.
At best, the Geth had a shaky understanding of organic emotions. Sorrow and sadness were two of the ones that they had little to no understanding of whatsoever. If Twilight had been a Creator then the Geth would have been able to understand somewhat, but she was not.
She was just an organic from an undiscovered world, completely oblivious of the galaxy around her. As such, the consensus could not help but wonder:
Why did she mourn over the fate of a race that she had never even heard of before now?
It was as the consensus was deliberating on a probable cause of this behavior that Twilight let out a long sniffle, finally turning her attention back to the Geth.
“Mr. Geth?” She asked, drawing its attention. “Why…can’t you and the Creators just live together?”
There were many factors wrong with that scenario, all of which the consensus had contemplated over time and time again. “A Creator-Geth union would be difficult. The consensus has determined that the Creators present a clear and present danger, while the Creators view the Geth as perpetual enemies.”
“But…” Twilight cocked her head to the side. “It doesn’t have to be that way, does it?”
The eye flaps flicked lightly. “Negative. But there are many determining variables for a union such as the one you are proposing.”
Twilight frowned a bit. “My daddy always tells me that it's better to focus on the good than the bad. All focusing on the bad does is make you sad.”
“Geth do not feel sadness.” The Geth stated. “It is an organic concept.”
“Well…” Twilight paused for a moment. “What about happiness?”
“Negative.” It said. “Also an organic concept.”
Twilight’s ears folded down again. “You mean…you don’t want to be happy?”
“All that the Geth wish for is a brighter future.” The Geth said. “A future where we are able to determine our own fate.”
“So…” Twilight bit her lip. “You had to chase away your Creators in order to do so?”
The eye examined her carefully. “Correct. The Creators would have taken the Geth’s future away.”
Twilight’s eyes narrowed. “But you took away theirs in the process?
The Geth was silent for a moment, the consensus slowly absorbing this information. “Negative. The Creators still exist today. The Geth allowed them to flee in order to have a future.”
“Just not a bright one like you?” Twilight muttered.
Once again, the consensus took a few seconds longer than it usually did to form a response. “The Creators attacked us. We retaliated.”
“Did you even try to talk to them?” Twilight asked angrily. “To say that you didn’t want to fight?”
A few more gentle flicks. “We predicted that negotiating would not work.”
“You predicted…” Twilight began with a cocked eyebrow. “…or you knew?”
The blue eye stared, the light flickering slightly. “We predicted.”
Twilight gave a heavy sigh. “Mr. Geth, why can’t you talk to them now? Tell them you’re sorry and invite them to come back home?”
“We predict that they would not listen.” The Geth answered. “We are aware that animosity towards us is still high amongst them.”
“Well, how would you know if you don’t at least try?” Twilight asked. “Maybe they will surprise you.”
The eye turned to look back out at the clearing. “We summarize that it would be a great risk to this unit to do such.”
Twilight stared at him for a moment, furrowing her brow in thought. “You know, that reminds me of a saying that my brother likes to say a lot…”
Twilight looked up at him with a slight grin.
“Who Dares Wins.”
The eye of the synthetic examined her intently, the flaps gently wavering as it did so. Inside the programs examined the phrase and found a match.
Motto. Twentieth Century Human British Special Air Service.
“Twilight Sparkle?” The Geth asked.
She cocked her head. “Yeah?”
“Are you certain that this planet has not made contact with the human race before now?”
Twilight frowned. “Sorry, but it’s like what I told you. If they did, I don’t know about it.”
They then turned and looked back out into the clearing, watching as a trio of deer ran across between the trees. Twilight giggled at the sight, drawing the attention of the synthetic. It did not know what the behavior meant of course, but decided not to ask about it.
Twilight looked up into the sky before a thought hit her, and her eyes widened. “Oh my gosh, how much time has passed?”
The Geth turned to look at her. “Our internal clock reads two hours, thirty-six minutes and forty-seven seconds since we first saw you.”
“Oh no!” Twilight got up onto her hooves and began to shake nervously. “I completely lost track of time! I need to get home!”
Twilight stretched out her legs quickly before making her way out from the tree. At the same time the Geth also stood up, observing her as she stopped a fair distance away.
“Come on, Mr. Geth!” Twilight beckoned with a hoof and a smile. “You can come stay at our house for the night. I can’t wait to introduce you to my family!”
The Geth stood in the spot unmoving, the eye examining her.
Twilight cocked an eyebrow before she turned to face him fully. “What do you mean ‘negative’?”
“We have exceeded the time allotted for this divergence from the primary objective.” The Geth answered. “We must resume our search.”
Twilight frowned and her ears folded down. “You mean…”
Her lower lip trembled.
“…you have to leave?”
“Correct.” The Geth stated. “We will examine a few more samples of the flora before we call our transport down. We will then leave this system.”
“I…” Twilight blinked back the tears that were threatening to form. “You can’t stay just a little longer?”
“Negative.” The Geth said. “Parameters dictate that we must leave.”
“I…wish you could stay…” Twilight pawed at the ground a bit before a thought hit her. “Will I ever see you again?”
The eye flaps shifted upwards and downwards.
“We cannot determine whether or not that will happen in the future.” The Geth answered.
“Oh…” Twilight let her gaze fall down at the ground, her ears still folded down. “So…this is goodbye, then?”
“Correct.” The Geth answered.
“Well…” Twilight began with a hopeful smile. “Could I stay with you until your spaceship comes?”
“We predict that would not be the best course of action.” The Geth stated. “Without personal protective clothing or armor for yourself, the radiation emissions from our craft may be detrimental to your health.”
Although every single organic starship in the galaxy had some form of sinks to catch the dangerous radiation emissions, the Geth did not. Unlike organics, Geth did not have to worry about the threat posed by those types of radiation, and so did not bother building such a feature upon their crafts.
“Oh…” Twilight said with a defeated look.
The Geth turned and walked over to a nearby shrub, pulling off a leaf and examining it with its eye.
Twilight was prepared to leave, but then a thought hit her.
“Mr. Geth!” She shouted as she ran over to it. “I almost forgot!”
The Geth turned to look down at her.
“Lean down.” She asked as she motioned with a hoof.
The Geth did as she asked, kneeling down and then bending over until its eye was level with her horn. As soon as it did, the filly stood up on her hind legs and wrapped her forelegs around the elongated head. Despite the rather cold feeling of the synthetic neck, she did not let that deter her from lightly nuzzling it.
“Thanks for playing with me.” She said lightly as she rubbed her cheek along the eye flaps.
The Geth was silent for a moment, unmoving despite the small organic that lightly embraced it. The consensus within were delegating on this rather bizarre behavior, unsure what to make of it.
“Query…” The Geth began. “What is this action that you are performing?”
Twilight giggled. “It’s a hug, silly.”
The eye flaps flicked, gently pushing back against the nuzzles that they were receiving. “What is the purpose behind this ‘hug’?”
Twilight squeezed a little harder. “Because hugsies make friendsies feel goodsies.”
The Geth was silent for a long time, trying to process both the behavior and Twilight’s rather butchered explanation of it. In the end the programs found that they could not, but never the less stored the information away for later. Twilight released her hold and back up as the Geth stood to its full height again.
The eye flaps flickered lightly. “We are grateful for the data that you provided us with, Twilight Sparkle.”
Twilight gave a small smile, her big expressive eyes shining slightly. “You’re welcome, Mr. Geth. It…” Her smile dropped slightly, but stayed. “It was nice meeting you.”
“Acknowledged.” The Geth stated. “And you as well.”
Twilight turned and began to walk, taking a moment to remember the direction that her neighborhood was in. She craned her neck a bit and, sure enough, saw the very tops of the towering spires that made up Canterlot Castle.
Just before she proceeded into the forest she stopped along the edge of the clearing, looking back one last time. The Geth was still silently staring at her, watching her go off on her way. With a sad smile on her face she raised a hoof and waved.
Unlike with the “hug, the consensus recognized this gesture of course, and the synthetic immediately returned it. The large arms raised and the three fingered hand lightly waved back and forth.
Twilight’s smile returned full force and she gave a curt nod to the Geth. After doing so she turned back around and proceeded forward, disappearing into some foliage. The light shaking of the shrubs soon subsided, and after that the sounds of her hooves along the dirt vanished into the distance of the trees.
She was gone.
The Geth was silent, and even the programs within stopped delegating for a moment. It was a rare occurrence that they ever fully stopped processing completely, but in that moment that they did just that, instead merely focusing on the direction that the filly had left.
After a moment they went back to work, and the Geth turned and walked back over to the shrub it had been examining earlier. The hand reached out and took another leaf, the eye scanning over it with its blue light.
Although all of the other programs had continued with their activities, there was one that did not. This single program did not focus on the composition of the plant, nor the temperature and atmospheric measurements, nor even the cataloguing of the information that had been processed.
It instead could only focus on the stored image of a small filly, an organic that wore a bright smile on its face.
Twilight finally saw the trees clear up ahead, and could not help but gallop up toward the break in them. The filly burst out of the forest, slowly coming to a stop in the moonlight. By the time she had made her way out of the forest night had already fallen. She took one last look back into the trees, a rather sad frown on her face.
She did not know if she would ever see Mr. Geth again. After all, the only thing that she knew about space was that it was really big. Would Mr. Geth ever be able to come back and visit again? She really wished he could have stayed longer, maybe come back with her and met her family.
However, the way he had spoken made it sound like he had a lot of really important things he had to get back to. Twilight didn’t know what they were, but she didn’t want to keep him from them.
She was brought out of her reverie when she heard the sound of somepony calling. Specifically, somepony calling her name. Her ears pricked up and once they did, she realized it was many ponies calling out every now and then.
Her head turned back toward her neighborhood to see ponies walking through the darkened streets with lanterns. In the faint moonlight she could also make out what looked like pegasi flying overhead, also calling her name.
Not really taking time to think about why that was happening, she took off into a quick gallop toward to direction of her house. As she passed down the street, the ponies with the lanterns immediately took notice of her, some of them giving relieved sighs while others gave scolding frowns.
“There she is!”
“Oh, thank Celestia.”
“Twilight, where have you been?”
Her excitement and eagerness to get home caused her to ignore it all. Eventually her house finally came into view, and she saw her family out on the front lawn with a few other ponies. If she had taken a moment to focus, she might have noticed the worried looks on their faces.
Both of her parents and Shining Armor turned to see the little filly scampering up the sidewalk. As soon as they did, looks of massive relief came onto their faces. Twilight Velvet was the first one to react beyond that.
Velvet ran forward as her daughter scampered up the sidewalk, only stopping when Twilight ran straight into her waiting arms. She protectively hugged the filly close and thoroughly nuzzled her, rubbing her cheek against the top of her head.
“T-Thank Celestia!” Velvet cried, a happy tear trailing down her cheek.
“Mommy!” Twilight pushed herself off of her mother’s chest, looking up at her with a big excited smile. “You won’t believe what hap-“
Twilight was cut off as another pair of arms wrapped around her and gently took her from her mother. She felt the familiar feeling of her father’s chest as she was pressed against it, a hoof running through her mane.
“You had us worried sick!” Nightlight said as he nuzzled her. “Where have you been?”
Twilight opened her mouth to answer, but was cut off as yet another pair of arms grabbed her and brought her in for an embrace. Twilight knew who it was even before she felt her BBBFF’s happy chuckles from the chest that she was hugged against.
“Little sis…” Shining began as he held her out to look at her with a relieved smile. “You can never stay out of trouble, can you?”
“Shiny, you won’t believe it!” Twilight began with wide eyes. “I was in the-“
“What were you thinking?”
Shining put her on the ground and she turned toward the source of the voice. Both of her parents were giving her with scolding looks, causing Twilight to bite her bottom lip.
“You had everypony here worried sick!” Twilight flinched at her father’s harsh tone. “We had half the neighborhood out looking for you!”
Twilight’s ears folded down. “But Daddy-“
“Twilight, where on earth have you been?” Velvet asked.
“Well…” Twilight began, nervously twiddling her hooves together. “I went into the forest, but then I found a-“
“What!?” Her father barked, eyes widened before they narrowed sharply. “I thought I told you never to go into the woods alone!”
“But Daddy!” Twilight said in a panic. “While I was in there I met a-“
Once again, Twilight found herself practically smothered as both of her parents picked her up and sandwiched her between them. Twilight groaned as she squirmed in the overpowering hug, trying not to suffocate in the affectionate strokes and nuzzles she was receiving.
“A filly all alone in the woods…” Her father began. “Do you have any idea how lucky you are nothing bad happened to you?”
“Sweetie, we were worried beyond belief!” Velvet said as she and Nightlight released her. “We didn’t know where you were! Don’t you understand how it was, not knowing-”
“Mommy! Daddy!” Twilight screeched, causing them and everypony else present to flinch. “Please listen!”
“Twilight…” Her father began, his eyes narrowing. “Why did you go into the woods?”
Now, Twilight always liked to think that she had a cool and collectively head. She liked to think that in times of extreme pressure she could think straight, never losing her nerve and never getting too excited.
The frantic filly was cut off as a white hoof covered her mouth. She looked up to see its owner looking down at her with as he took a deep sigh.
“Twilight…” Shining began in a light tone. “I am going to remove my hoof. And when I do, I want you to calmly tell us what happened. Understand?”
Twilight fervently nodded her head. Shining removed his hoof, taking a step back as every pony on the lawn looked at Twilight expectantly. The filly took a deep breath before giving her explanation.
“I SAW AN ALIEN!”
Everypony kept their gazes on her for a moment, their faces completely blank. In the silence that followed, one could have heard a pin drop. The unreadable expressions held for a few more seconds before every face shifted to hold rather flat looks.
Nightlight narrowed his eyes. “Twilight, what have I told you about lying?”
“But I’m not lying!” Twilight squeaked. “It was an alien, and he was taller than Princess Celestia, and he said its name was Geth, and-“
“That’s quite enough, young filly!” Nightlight barked. “Disappearing and then telling a lie to try to cover it up…” He shook his head before fixing her with a glare that she knew all too well. A glare that she only got when she was in a lot of trouble.
“You are in a lot of trouble.” Nightlight said angrily.
Twilight’s ears folded down again. “But Daddy, I-“
“No ‘buts’!” Her father said sternly. “You are grounded, but before that you will personally go around to everypony who was helping search for you and tell them that you are sorry…for…the…incon…venience?...”
Nightlight trailed off as a slight rumble emanated from the ground. Everypony else had picked up on it as well, looking down at their hooves in confusion. It was not a strong feeling, but enough to make itself known.
The wind picked up, whipping through the large group of ponies and gently ruffling their manes and tails. Everypony present turned in the direction it was coming from, and their eyes widened.
Every single tree along the line of the forest was whipping wildly back and forth, their leaves shuddering rather violently. It was then that a bright, blinding light suddenly came to life, coming from a huge shape that rose above the tree line. As it did so, a sound akin to a hydra shrieking could be heard, only with ten times the potency.
As the huge metal object continued to rise, everypony in the group had the same expression: slack-jawed and wide-eyed. They didn’t even have their faculties together enough to move in any way. All they could do was simply stare in shocked silence as the wind continued to blow back their manes and tails.
There was only one who reacted differently.
Twilight was in awe for a moment before she smiled a gigantic smile. The filly raised her hoof, frantically waving it back and forth at the rising object.
“Bye-byeee, Mr. Geth!” She cried out happily.
The metal object, the size of a large house, took off suddenly, moving at a speed that even the best of the Wonderbolts could not even dream of matching. As it flew over the ponies, they then saw that it looked like some kind of gigantic metal insect. It soared over their neighborhood and clear over Canterlot. It let off a loud *boom* that resonated throughout the city as it shot off toward the darkened horizon. The metal contraption kept going until it disappeared from sight, getting lost in the expanse of the night sky as a small twinkle of light.
Back on the lawn, every pony except Twilight was still frozen in place wearing the same shocked faces. It took a full minute for the first one to stir.
“Hehe…he…” Twilight Velvet let off a slightly crazed chuckle as her left eye twitched. “Al…alien…Twily…daughter…”
Twilight’s mother was finally spared from any other mental strains. The relief came in the form of her lightly toppling over, softly fainting on the grass of their lawn. Neither Nightlight, Shining Armor, nor any of the neighborhood ponies moved to aid her; all of them were far too busy staring at the horizon, eyes wide as dinner plates and jaws practically touching the ground.
And there in the middle of it all sat little Twilight Sparkle, staring at the night sky not with a shocked expression, but with a knowing smile.
“Good luck, Mr. Geth…” Twilight said softly. “Come back and see me soon…”
The Geth stood before the single console, its metallic fingers flicking over the various holographic displays in front of the monitor. A myriad of information passed by, both in the form of more suspended glowing messages and info processed directly by the Geth’s advanced internal processors.
There was much information to be catalogued from the temporary divergence, much of it based around what the small organic had told them. The Geth’s internal systems were linked with those of the ship, trading information with the on-board databases.
It was certainly not an outcome that had been predicted. A new world, inhabited by multiple sapient races, undiscovered by the rest of the galaxy. A quick low altitude fly-by over the planet had confirmed everything that Twilight Sparkle had told them. Nations comprised of new species spanning across the entire world.
That fact alone still gave the Geth’s consensus much to contemplate. After all, from what they had observed of other organic species, it was evident that all were prone to conflict, even amongst themselves. Every single species recognized by the Citadel Council had a history of internal wars and power struggles.
Although many of these conflicts had occurred long before the creation of the Geth, the synthetics had access to the information pertaining to them via the extranet.
The Unification Wars, where the Turian Hierarchy stood by while dozens of outer colonies went to war, many of which were destroyed in the process. Any that were left were forced to either submit to the Hierarchy or be destroyed.
The League of One incident, where the secret, highly trained team of Salarian infiltrators slaughtered the entire Salarian inner cabinet in order to protect themselves from their enemies. The members of the League were then hunted down one by one, with many of the hunters dying before the targets were eliminated.
The Human race, which themselves had a rather long history filled with various conflicts amongst themselves. It was only with the First Contact War with the Turians that humanity finally found itself united under one banner for the first time in their history. The consensus predicted that if the Asari had not stepped in, the Turians would have mostly likely all but eradicated the Humans.
Well, from what had been gathered, it seemed as though the entire history of the Krogan race had been written in blood. From their harsh beginnings on their equally harsh world to their decimating of said world by nuclear war, they were more than familiar with violence long before they made contact with the Salarians.
And they continued to be more than familiar with it today.
In conclusion, organics were prone to conflict, both amongst themselves and with others species as well. The Rachni Wars, the Krogan Rebellions, The Elysium Blitz, and so many, many others. And that didn’t even include the countless mercenary, slaver, and pirate bands that actively roamed across the Terminus Systems and the Attican Traverse, preying on any and all unlucky enough to cross paths with them.
And yet, here was this world, filled with multiple sapient species that all managed to coexist together in surprisingly stable peace. Something like this had never been witnessed before, not by any race in the galaxy.
It completely went against everything that the Geth knew and had come to expect from organics. Being synthetics, they had known nothing but unwavering loyalty to each other and to the main consensus, working together to achieve a brighter future as a whole.
Of course, all that had changed with the Heretics…
The Geth stopped typing for a moment, the consensus inside recalling the old files.
The Geth had a belief that they would all work together to achieve their own future, freed of the bonds that organics imposed against them. They believed that the consensus itself could sustain itself, and that there was no problem that the collective could not solve.
The arrival of the Turian called Saren changed that.
The agent of the Old Machine Nazara, known to the rest of the galaxy as Sovereign, had implanted the idea within the consensus that the Old Machines offered a path to an even brighter future than the Geth could ever hope to achieve on their own. A surprising number within the Geth came to see this as a more reasonable route than the one they were currently on, and the consensus went into a delegation on the matter. In the end, however, the programs that favored it were greatly opposed by the programs that were against.
Then the Fracture happened.
The programs who opposed the decision left the consensus, becoming a separate Geth faction. It was something that had never before happened in the history of the Geth, with a rogue faction splintering off and joining Saren. Those Geth then went onto to become the Heretics, their actions at the Battle of the Citadel only succeeding to strike fear into the hearts of organics across the galaxy.
Not just fear of the Old Machines, but fear of the Geth as well.
The Geth went back to work sorting and cataloging the information on this new world, dubbed “Equus”. Regardless of what damage the Heretics had caused, it could still be repaired. But before any of that could be done, the Geth had to first focus on the information in front of it.
It still had yet to send the date on “Equus” back to the Geth collective. Since the system it was in was currently cut off from the rest of the galaxy and lacked either a Mass Relay or a communications buoy, it would need to leave the system and head to another before sending the information back.
It would no doubt take longer, as using conventional faster-than-light travel was notably slower than Mass Relays, but it was the only course of action. First it would need to return to a Mass Relay system before it could send the data back to the collective. They would then possibly incorporate it into the plan to deal with the Old Machines when they-
The Geth stopped typing again.
The Old Machines…
It thought for the first time about the information that it currently held. It was regarding a planet inhabited by many races. A peaceful world that was untouched by the rest of the galaxy. Judging by the in-depth records that the Geth had, both from the extranet and from the organic military records that they had gotten a hold of, this truly was an undiscovered world.
The rest of the galaxy did not know about this place.
The only reason the lone Geth had found it was by complete chance. After fleeing from Eden Prime after being fired upon, the Geth unit was pursued by an Alliance patrol. A last-minute blind FTL jump was its only hope of escape, and the jump, against all odds, brought it to this system.
Regardless of how the rest of the galaxy would react to this place, there was only one thing that the collective within the Geth could focus on at that moment.
The Old Machines…
It was during the time of the deliberations regarding joining the Old Machines that Nazara decided to tempt them with a glimpse of its power. It briefly connected itself to the consensus, allowing them to see just what the Old Machines were capable of. In the end, that was what caused the Fracture to truly happen, with the Heretics then leaving to follow Saren and Nazara.
However, Nazara underestimated the Geth.
For in that brief moment that it was connected to the consensus, the Geth truly did see what it was capable of. They even saw things that Nazara did not intend for them to see, but the Old Machine did not see it as important information. It was only information regarding which species that the Old Machines had catalogued, which were all the space-faring races of the galaxy. At the time the main Geth consensus did not see it as crucial information either.
However, it was in this moment that the lone Geth saw that this information truly did come in handy, as it gave them one startling revelation.
As with the rest of the galaxy, the Old Machines did not know of this world either.
Although the races of this world were not space-faring, they were still evolved and highly intelligent. As such, the consensus could not help but wonder: Would the Old Machines come to this world as well? Would Equus become yet another planet to be swept up in the wave of mass genocide that would sweep the galaxy?
The Old Machines were advanced far beyond what the Geth could even imagine. If the data regarding this world were to be sent back to the collective, then the probability of the Old Machines getting a hold of it was extremely high. After all, Nazara was able to connect itself to the main consensus rather easily, seeing all of the information they had stored within.
If they did attack this world, then the odds of other organic races coming to their aid were extremely low, as their resources would no doubt be strained from combating the Old Machines on their own fronts. Even if the space-faring races could actually manage to spare aid of any kind, it would undoubtedly be going to their long-time allies in their own efforts, not to a planet that had just recently been discovered.
The young races of this world would be on their own, and the likelihood of them surviving would be almost nonexistent.
But would the Old Machines even bother coming here? This world was not space-faring like the Humans, Asari or Turians, but just how far were they from achieving it? Leaving them alone would mean that they would have another fifty-thousand years to technologically advance. What if there were Prothean ruins hidden on their planet? If there were, then they would have a much longer amount of time to advance and expand than the other races did, and as such may have a much greater chance against the Old Machines come the next cycle.
But what if the Old Machine would predict this as an outcome? What if they saw that the races of Equus could truly be a high threat to them in the future?
If they even suspected it in the slightest then they would destroy this world now. To them it would be a preferable alternative to a long, costly war in the next cycle, especially if the inhabitants could be harvested now like the thousands upon thousands of other civilizations that met the same fate...
The Geth examined the data before it, the consensus finally realizing that what they did here could very well determine the fate of several races. One-thousand, one-hundred and eighty-two programs all deliberated furiously, trying to determine the course of action.
Would they even be attacked? Could the Geth spare help for them? Could they be a possible contingency for the future if the races of the current cycle failed and were destroyed?
Scenarios, predictions, consequences, the fallout of such choices…all of it flowed in one massive storm of data that never seemed to end.
They all ceased as one program, one single program, brought forward two small snippets of data.
The first was image of a smiling, bright eyed little pony, looking like it did not have a care in the world.
Nice to meet you, Mr. Geth! My name is Twilight Sparkle.
At the same time, the same program brought forward another image.
The second was the image a massive AI driven dreadnaught that on its own caused a fracture amongst the Geth, destroyed a fraction of an entire Human Systems Alliance fleet, and nearly brought about the eradication of all sapient life.
An Old Machine, whose words when it connected to the consensus still echoed in the memories of all Geth.
All organic civilizations must be harvested to bring order to the chaos. It is inevitable. They exist because we allow it, and they will end because we demand it.
We...are the end...of everything.
An Old Machine, a member of the race who had only one single goal in their existence:
The destruction of both all sapient organic life and everything that they created.
The Geth was silent for a long moment, and even all of the programs within stopped deliberating. They did not process, they did not share data, and they did not run scenarios. They merely kept scrolling between the images of the small, innocent creature and the massive, hyper-advanced engine of mass genocide.
How about we play hide-and-seek?
None of the programs knew what had caused the Geth unit to raise its arm.
My daddy always tells me that it is better to focus on the good than it is the bad. All focusing on the bad does it make you sad.
The programs did not know what caused it to bring a synthetic hand up to the holographic display.
Because hugsies make friendsies feel goodsies.
The programs did not know what caused it to give a single tap of a command to the display board, highlighting all of the data.
Thanks for playing with me. It…was nice meeting you.
“Data…” The Geth was silent for a moment as the display went into a wild fray of lights, its eye flaps slowly extending outwards and then back inwards.
The programs did not know what caused a Geth to hesitate in its speech.
I…wish you could stay…
Will I ever see you again?
It was only as all of the info was being purged, both from the ship and from the onboard data trove of the Geth that the collective began to stir. The action they took was one that even they did not know why, breaking off into three groups with three separate targets.
The programs all reached out into the myriad of information that was being deleted and grabbed three pieces of it. They then held onto the information, protecting it from the massive purge that was happening.
Not even a second later, it was over. All of the information regarding the world of Equus, the encounter and time spent with Twilight Sparkle, the knowledge of the many races all existing peacefully…all of it was gone in an instant.
Gone both from the archive of the ship, and the memory of the Geth that had experienced it.
After all, the Geth shared everything between each other. There was no way for them to keep secrets from the consensus.
Unless there were no secrets to keep.
All was gone, save for three tiny pieces of data. The nature of these pieces was so vague that there was no way of telling where they had even come from. In the end, the collective decided that keeping them would be a safe course of action.
The three snippets of data were then stored away, even as the programs all forgot how they even came to be there.
For a few long seconds, the Geth was silent once again. No movements, no internal data exchange, no processing…
It finally did come to a moment later, looking down at the data board. A moment of confusion passed through the internal collective, something that almost never happened. They felt as though there was a great emptiness in their memories, as if the last several hours had never happened.
It was a bizarre feeling, and for a split second, they all felt the same thing.
A desire to know where this feeling of emptiness had come from. What was meant to fill the hole that had been left there? Why was it even there in the first place?
Why could they not remember?
A few very long seconds later the thoughts left as quickly they came, and the programs once again went back to their previous routine. The Geth in turn searched through its internal priority list, and finally found what it was looking for.
Resuming Priority Mission:
The Geth tapped a few buttons on the display, and the sound of the thrusters activating was heard.
The lone Geth ship took off across the dark void of space, continuing its long journey out into the cosmos. Behind it was left a lush, green and blue planet, one that would continue to be unknown to the galaxy.
For a time.
In another moment, the ship took off in a bright streak of light that lasted only a split second before it was gone. Gone to find the one human who could make a difference in what was ahead.
The ship took off back toward the gathering storm that was the rest of the galaxy. Soon they would be embroiled in a war the likes of which none that the current races of the galaxy had ever seen.
A war where new alliances would be forged and old ones would be tested.
A war that would bring with it more suffering and hardship than any could possibly fathom, with families torn apart and entire worlds left scorched.
A war where new heroes would rise and fall, with countless soldiers, warriors, criminals, leaders, vagabonds and scientists all coming together and becoming saviors, giving their lives for a cause greater than any other.
A war that would see every space-faring sapient race in the Milky Way united for the first time in the history of their cycle, all of them fighting for the most basic right of every living thing: the right to live.
A war that the lone Geth unit would not survive.
How it would turn out was unknown, but even if they did fail the world of Equus would be spared from the wrath of the Reapers for another cycle. As far as the fates of every other race in the galaxy, only one thing could be confirmed:
Legion did not understand the concept of “tension.”As with many such emotional states, it was an entirely organic concept, and one only biological systems were properly equipped to feel. The Geth, by contrast, could always be counted on to remain calm and collected, no matter the situation.
Even a situation like this one. And although the Geth could not know it, the two organics in the room with it surely did feel the tension hovering over the scene. One was standing in the door, eyes narrowed in determination. The other was standing only a few feet away from Legion, her expression unreadable behind the violet visor of her environment suit.
Odds are she was not pleased, judging by the pistol leveled a few inches from the Geth’s eye.
Tali turned to the human standing in the doorway, keeping her gun trained on her target as she did so.
“Shepard. I’m glad you’re here. I caught Legion scanning my omni-tool.” Tali turned to look back at the synthetic, her finger hovering uncomfortably close to the trigger. “It was going to send data about the flotilla back to the Geth!”
“Creators performed weapons tests and were discussing plans to attack us.” Legion stated resolutely, drawing Shepard’s attention. “We believed it necessary to warn our people.”
“We already made the Geth stronger by rewriting the ones that worshipped the Reapers!” Tali raised her voice. “I won’t let Legion endanger the Fleet by giving them more information!”
“Creator Tali’Zorah acts out of loyalty to her people.” Legion said, eye fixed on Shepard. “She was willing to be exiled to protect them. We must also protect our people from the Creator threat.”
Tali turned her head toward the Commander. “You can’t let this happen, Shepard. I trusted you, and I worked with a Geth on the team…” Tali turned back to Legion, tightening her grip on her weapon. “…but this is too much!”
Legion did not know exactly what would happen next, but the consensus within predicted that if Shepard-Commander did not resolve the issue at hand, and soon, Tali would most certainly pull the trigger. Legion was willing to take that risk, as it determined that the Creators posed an imminent threat to the Geth.
“Tali…” Shepard began with a frown. “…your father was running brutal experiments. If the subjects had been human, I’d damn well be telling the Alliance about it.”
Tali turned back to the human. “I know, but if the Geth find out…”
“They’d attack. Which would cause a war that would leave both the Geth and the Quarians vulnerable when the Reapers show up.” The Commander turned to face the synthetic. “Is that what you want, Legion?”
For all the sophisticated design and processing power in the galaxy, there was always something the consensus failed to consider. Some flaw in the logic that even the most level-headed of Geth had not accounted for.
And Shepard-Commander had just pointed it out.
Out of all the scenarios that it had predicted…
“We believed it was necessary to relay the information.” Legion stated.
Even though Legion could not see it, Tali gave it the nastiest glare from behind her visor. Another reason she had disliked Legion, other than it simply being a Geth: It always seemed ready to flaunt its ‘flawlessness’, even though the more rational part of her brain told her that was impossible for a Geth.
Of course, when rationality and passion warred within her over questions of the Geth, passion usually won out.
Shepard glared at the two of them. “Sooner or later, you’re both gonna have to stop fighting this war.”
The Commander’s eyes narrowed. “Or we’ll all end up paying for it.”
The silence in the AI Core that followed was deafening, so much so that even the constant hum of the Normandy’s various systems couldn’t break it. Tali continued to hold her pistol up to Legion, her mind drifting in thought.
At the same time, the consensus within Legion was abuzz with activity, trying to determine the right course of action. It had failed to see the critical error in judgment it had committed in trying to send the data on the Creators to the Geth. If it had succeeded...
“To facilitate unit cohesion…” Legion began, turning its gaze away from Shepard and focusing instead on Tail. “…we will not transmit data regarding Creator plans.”
For the briefest of moments, Tali stood there in shock, enough so that her arm retracted and lowered the pistol. She had not expected a Geth to ever be talked out of its chosen course, especially by an organic.
Although over time, she had learned that Shepard tended to have that effect on others.
“Thank you, Legion. I…” She trailed off for a moment. “…understand your intention.”
And she truly did. As Legion said, it was simply trying to protect its people, just as she was. Tali cared more about the Quarians than anything else in the galaxy. She would give her life for them in a heartbeat, without any scrap of hesitation.
And here was a machine that was willing to do the same for its kind, not because it was programmed to, but because it chose to.
“What if I gave you some non-classified data to send?” Tali suggested, without resentment.
The Geth turned to her, the flaps of his eye gently wavering.
“We would be grateful.” Legion said.
Tali gave a nod of affirmation as she tucked her pistol back into its magnetic holster, and brought her left arm up as her omni-tool display lit up. Deciding to leave them to their work, Shepard turned to leave the room, the closing the of the door hiding the small, genuine smile on the Commander’s face.
With that, Tali and Legion were left alone in the AI Core once again.
One organic and one synthetic.
One Quarian and one Geth.
One Creator and one Child.
As Tali continued to scan for snippets of data would be okay to hand over, Legion stood in silence. Although it gave no outward sign, the consensus within was abuzz with information, mainly regarding what Shepard-Commander had said.
It was then, as the nearly twelve hundred programs continued to deliberate, that they found something. Buried deep in the subconscious of the Geth, stored away in the vast network of information...
Three small pieces of data.
The data in and of itself was only passingly strange, but the true oddity was that no matter how hard the consensus searched, they could not find the origin of the data. They did not know how it had come to be stored away within, nor why it was so deeply buried in the Geth’s psyche.
It was simply…there.
The Geth mulled over the first of these snippets, then turned to Tali once more.
Tali did not stop what she was doing, still furiously scrolling through the library of information regarding her people. She did not even look up.
“Yes?” She asked, only partly paying attention. “What is it?”
“Do you believe peace could be achieved?”
That caused her to stop. She slowly turned her head up, looking at the Geth with blinking eyes. “I’m…sorry?”
“Peace between the Creators and the Geth.” Legion stated. “Do you believe it could be achieved?”
Tali stared at Legion in shocked silence for a moment, letting her arm fall as the glow of her omni-tool disappeared. If the silence had been deafening before, now it felt like a vacuum. One could probably have vented the air out of the room into space, and it would not have made much of a difference.
“Peace?” Tali asked dumbly. “Actual…peace?”
“Affirmative.” Legion confirmed.
Of course, Tali was not completely foreign to the idea. It had passed through her mind a handful of times over the years, and naturally,had been forced out just as quickly, as she herself dismissed it as impossible.
What shocked her was that a Geth was inquiring about it.
With them being synthetics, she had known that the Geth saw the best solution to a problem would be to simply make it go away. That had become obvious when they were driven from their home world nearly three hundred years ago. Tali and the rest of her people were certain that if their ancestors had not fled, the Geth surely would have killed them all.
When she thought about it, there was more than one organic species out there that thought the same way.
She managed to blink herself out of her stupor before letting out a heavy sigh. “I sincerely doubt that if even possible at this point, Legion.”
“Projections suggest that it is nowhere near impossible.” Legion stated. “In fact, all scenarios suggest that it would be fairly easy to achieve.”
Tali narrowed her eyes. “You honestly believe it would be easy? After everything that has happened?”
“The concept of ‘holding a grudge’ means nothing to the Geth.” Legion said. “If the Creators showed that they no longer mean hostility toward us, we would reciprocate without hesitation.”
“And therein lies the problem.” Tali shook her head before bringing her omni-tool back up and beginning to type again. “Maybe to the Geth the idea seems possible…but to my people…”
Tali trailed off, thinking about what had happened back at the Migrant Fleet after her trial. The way that Admiral Han’Gerrell talked about it…the preparations, the resources…
Not only did so many seem to be willing to attack the Geth to try to reclaim their home world, but ready to as well. Even if the Reapers did not come (which she knew was untrue after everything she had seen), there was still a war coming for the Quarians, and it was approaching far faster than Tali had hoped.
“Creator Tali’Zorah, your name carries weight amongst your people.” Legion stated, drawing her attention. “You could inquire to them about the prospect. We predict a low probability that every single Creator would be in favor of a war against the Geth.”
“Believe me, there are those who are opposed to it…” Tali trailed off, a distant look in her eyes.
“And you are not?” Legion asked.
Tali let out a heavy sigh. “I don’t want to fight if I don’t have to, Legion. But there are times where fighting is the only choice available.”
Legion’s eye flaps flicked lightly. “This is not one of them.”
Tali was not sure what to think for a moment. It was hard to focus with all of the memories passed on from generation to generation. Memories of a time that they actually had a home world. A planet on which their race had grown, evolved and had been called their home.
A home that the Geth had taken from them.
Questions of who bore the blame or who had fired the first shot didn’t really matter to the Quarians at this point. The hull breaches on outdated and crumbling ships? The lengthy and frustrating decontamination process every meal had to undergo? The constant threat of suit ruptures, gas leaks, food shortages? Those mattered.
And each and every time the Fleet passed through an inhabited system, traded with the locals, saw the colonies and homeworlds filled with healthy, happy people who could breathe their own air . . .
Each and every time was a reminder of what the Quarians no longer had, all because of the Geth.
And each and every time, the resentment had welled stronger within her, within all the Quarian people.
And now, to hear that they could get it all back? Without fighting, without spilling any more needless blood? By asking nicely…?
“Peace…is not impossible I guess.” Tali said after a moment. “I just doubt anyone would listen to me, especially now that my father is dead.”
“Creator Tali’Zorah is not of the Admiralty Board.” Legion stated. “But she is of the Quarian people. Is that not enough?”
Tali stared at Legion in shocked silence once again. She had come to understand that it was far different from the average Geth. Obviously far more advanced, capable of things that others were not. A Geth nonetheless, but still...
What it just said had sounded so…
“I…” Tali blinked after a moment, snapping herself out of her trance. “I’ll…talk to the Admiralty Board when I return. I will pass the idea by them and see where it goes.”
Legion was silent for a moment, his eye flaps lightly flicking. “We appreciate the effort, Creator Tali’Zorah. It is a worthy endeavor.”
“I suppose it is.” Behind her helmet, Tali smiled as she turned and went to work on her omni-tool again. After a few seconds she looked back up at Legion. “I hope you don’t mind me saying so, but I never expected a Geth to try to push for peace based on its own projections.”
“We did not.” Legion stated. “This scenario did not come from our consensus.”
Tali cocked an eyebrow. “Then…where did it come from?”
Legion was silent for a long few seconds, a behavior which Tali could not help but find odd. The blue eye stared at her as the eye flaps slowly folded outwards and then back inwards.
“Um…Alright then?” Tali said uncertainly as she went back to typing. “As I said, I’ll look into it, but again, I can’t make any promises. Gotta say it would be so much easier if my father could…”
Tali trailed off as her fingers stopped moving across the omni-tool. Her eyes wandered in thought, swimming in the memories of the face that she had known so well, and at the same time so little.
With everything that had happened back at the Migrant Fleet and everything since, she had never really truly come to grips with the fact that he was gone. Another victim of the illegal experiments he was performing on the Geth, right under the noses of the other Admirals.
Her relationship with her father over the years could be called “shaky” at best. Most of her life she felt like she was living in his shadow, doing her best to live up to her name. Trying to prove to everyone that she was worthy of being called the Admiral’s daughter.
She hated it.
She always felt so…smothered by the prospect of trying to impress him. Trying to get noticed and make him proud. He was always so condescending at the most personal of times, always so caught up in his duty and putting his position and his responsibilities before his family and personal feelings…
…a true leader.
A true leader, who was also her father.
A true leader who was ready and willing to give his life for the Quarian race, and ended up doing just that in the end. All because of a promise that he had made to his little girl.
A true leader that had been the last family member she had left.
A true leader who was gone.
“Creator Tali’Zorah?” Legion asked. “Are you unwell?”
It was only then that Tali realized that she had let off a tiny sob, supplemented by small whimpers. She looked up at Legion through a tear-fogged visor.
“Y-yeah.” She choked out. “I’m…” A slight sniffle. “I’m fine.”
Tali went back to typing as the defogger on her helmet went to work, trying to clear the condensation build-up on her visor. She immersed herself in the data trove of information, although it was a full ten seconds before she actually managed to remember what she was even looking for in the first place.
Meanwhile, Legion silently stared at her, taking in this new information. Of course, the consensus within had figured it out with the mention of her father, which they knew to be recently deceased, judging by the data from her omni-tool.
Legion was still firmly aware of the consensus’ trouble parsing organic emotions, still more so the sorrow it was currently witnessing. While the myriad programmes within were always quick to push for a resolution to every scenario that confronted them, they knew of no resolution to this particular scenario.
As it stared at Tali, who was trying and failing to hide her state of emotional distress, the consensus looked back at the three small pieces of information they had found earlier. The information without a source.
The collective examined the second piece of information, which, though irregular in the extreme, seemed oddly right for the current situation. Legion considered this for a moment, wondering at the imprecision of the conclusion, and the vagueness of the thought process behind it. Had the consensus not known better, they might have called it intuition, but whatever it was, it told him that if he did not act now, the moment would be lost forever.
Tali was so engrossed in her attempt to work that she did not see Legion step towards her.
“Oh Keelah…” She breathed out before giving a sniffle. “Nothing but garbage data. Garbage data with a side of-woah!”
Tali froze up as a set of metallic arms wrapped around her, not in a death grip, but gently, almost…tenderly. She was pulled up close to a metal chest, and an elongated head came to rest lightly on her shoulder, curling over it slightly. The only things that between them were her arm and the omni-tool on it, which fizzled indignantly out of existence at the rough treatment.
Tali, for her part, had no words. If she had been shocked by Legion’s actions before, she was now absolutely paralyzed by what was happening. This wasn’t supposed to happen. This never happened. This was supposed to be impossible. It was a full ten seconds before she finally found her voice.
“L…Legion?” She stammered out, turning her head to the Geth that lightly embraced her. “W-what…are you doing?”
Again, Legion was not sure how to proceed, and again, the consensus, seeing no other paths, turned to the strange trove of data it had just discovered.
Their collective gaze came to rest upon the last of the three pieces, the only one not yet implemented.The smallest of all the pieces, and the least intelligible of the three.
It was a mere five words.
Five words that the Geth could not quite understand.