Mass Effect – Revelation
By Drew Karpyshyn
“Approaching Arcturus. Disengaging FTL drive core”
Rear Admiral Jon Grissom of the Alliance, the most famous man on
Earth and its three fledgling interstellar colonies, glanced up briefly as
The voice of the SSV New Delhi’s helmsman came over the shipboard
Intercom. A second later he felt the unmistakable deceleration surge as
The vessel’s mass effect field generators wound down and the New Delhi
Dropped from faster-than-light travel into speeds more acceptable to an
The ghostly illumination of the familiar red-shifted universe spilled
In through the cabin’s tiny viewport, gradually cooling to more normal
Hues as they decelerated. Grissom hated the viewports; Alliance ships
Were purely instrument driven-they required no visual references of any
Kind. But all vessels were designed with several tiny ports and at least
One main viewing window, typically on the bridge, as a concession to
Antiquated romantic ideals of space travel.
The Alliance worked hard to maintain these romantic ideals-they
Were good for recruitment. To people back on Earth, the unexplored
Vastness of space was still a wonder. Humanity’s expansion across the
Stars was a glorious adventure of discovery, and the mysteries of the
Galaxy were just waiting to be revealed.
Grissom knew the truth was much more complex. He had seen
Firsthand just how beautifully cold the galaxy could be. It was both
Magnificent and terrifying, and he knew there were some things
Humanity was not yet ready to face. The classified transmission he had
Received that morning from the base at Shanxi was proof of that.
In many ways humanity was like a child: naive and sheltered. Not
That this was surprising. In the whole of humanity’s long history it was
Only in the last two centuries that they had broken the bonds of Earth
And ventured into the cold vacuum of space beyond. And true
Interstellar travel-the ability to journey to destinations beyond their own
Solar system-had only been made possible in the last decade. Less than a
Decade, in fact.
It was in 2148, a mere nine years ago, that the mining team on Mars
Had unearthed the remains of a long-abandoned alien research station
Deep beneath the planet’s surface. It was heralded as the most significant
Discovery in human history, a singular event that changed everything
For the first time, humanity was faced with indisputable,
Incontrovertible proof that they were not alone in the universe. Every
Media outlet across the world had jumped on the story. Who were these
Mysterious aliens? Where were they now? Were they extinct? Would
They return? What impact did they have on humanity’s past evolution?
What impact would they have on humanity’s future? In those first few
Months, philosophers, scientists, and self-appointed experts endlessly
Debated the significance of the discovery on the news vids and across
The info nets, vehemently and sometimes even violently.
Every major religion on Earth was rocked to its core. Dozens of new
Belief systems sprang up overnight, most of them based on the tenets of
The Interventionary Evolutionists, who zealously proclaimed the
Discovery as proof that all human history had been directed and
Controlled by alien forces. Many existing faiths tried to incorporate the
Reality of alien species into their existing mythologies, others scrambled
To rewrite their history, creeds, and beliefs in light of the new discovery.