A council ship on a routine survey mission comes across a derelict vessel of unknown origin. Upon boarding, they find a single body, curiously asari-like, with its chest burst open as if from the inside. When the ship's owners arrive, first contact has to be made under the worst possible circumstances. Astoundingly, they manage to not only survive the monsters loose upon the ship but make a successful first contact... only to discover too late that the Turian Hierarchy had just critically bungled their first contact, and the Council is at war.
Further works in this series are Someone Had Blundered (exploring the Relay 314 incident and the First Contact War), In Torfan, No One Cares If You Scream (describing the Torfan raid), Soon, Everyone Will Hear The Screams (describing the events of the first Mass Effect game), and Intelligence Reports (a series of infodumps on various topics disguised as in-universe documents).
Examples of tropes in this series:
- Awesome, but Impractical: The Citadel races' opinion of the tachyon shunt drive. Unlike eezo drives, it can be scaled up indefinitely and can be used for a journey of any length without having to stop to discharge drive cores. However, the maximum speed you can attain is less than one tenth that of an eezo drive. This is why, despite knowing it was theoretically possible, no Citadel race ever seriously investigated this technology. Humanity still uses the TSD to a limited degree in civilian traffic (very large but slow freighters can be useful for certain applications), but even they don't use it for warships.
- Can't Argue with Elves: Benezia is noted by several characters, including her own daughter, to be subtly convinced of the inherent superiority of asari over all other races. She did not take the human refusal to submit to Citadel authority well, and it's speculated that this was behind her involvement with Saren's conspiracy.
- Invisible Monster: The Yajuta have taken stealth technology to a level far beyond what any other race can manage, allowing them both to make personal cloaks that will never fail, and to cloak entire starships.
- Just the First Citizen: Despite the name, the Asari Republics are not what humans would class as a "republic" (elected officials make the laws and run the country). Instead, they are pure democracies (almost all laws are approved or rejected by direct plebiscite). As such, political power rests in the hands of the capital-M Matriarchs such as Benezia, those who the majority of the Asari citizens look to for advice on how to vote.
- Mighty Glacier: The human "superdreadnaughts" are approximately on the same scale as the Destiny Ascension, and as such can take on several regular dreadnaughts, but their use of an undersized eezo core to keep costs down to something not wholly impractical means that outside the relay network they must use a tachyon shunt drive (which has about 1/10 the maximum speed of eezo-based FTL) to travel between systems.
- Obligatory War Crime Scene: Subverted by Shepard during the Torfan raid. She does not hesitate to torture batarian prisoners for information and nukes the batarians after their surrender and defeat. However, as she points out when questioned, these are not war crimes. The batarians of Torfan are slavers and pirates, two groups which the Geneva Convention explicitly states are not entitled to any protections whatsoever.
- Would Not Shoot a Civilian: Averted. The turians do not hesitate to kill human civilians, including with orbital bombardment attacks against civilian villages, as a terror tactic during their brief occupation of Shanxi. The Citadel Races are bewildered when the humans try and execute General Arterius for these crimes, and when they hear that the humans are getting ready to prosecute the rest of their turian prisoners for carrying out these orders they leap into action to get a treaty in place and the prisoners back.