Eventually, Judy and her squad arrived at Peak 15, though not without having to face geth in the entrance way. In addition to the blockade that the Mako had to contend with on it’s drive to Peak 15 itself.
“User alert.” A women's voice said. “All Peak 15 facilities have suffered a great deal of damage. Biohazard materials present throughout the facility. Virtual Intelligence user interface offline.”
“It sounds like the reactors are offline. Come on, let’s get to work.” Judy said as they made their way through the garage.
“Strange, the turrets are facing the wrong way,” Liara noted as they passed a pair of turrets that were facing into a passageway.
“They want to keep their people in, as much as they want the geth out,” Wrex noted.
“Or there’s something dangerous inside that they don’t want to risk getting out,” Judy said they continued to make their way. Fighting their way through more geth, after that, a loud sound went off.
“What was that?” Liara asked.
“Probably just debris. Relax kid, I’ll protect you.” Wrex said.
“Wrex I know debris... that isn’t debris,” Judy added, and overhead, a strange insect-like creature with two giant tendrils on its back overlooked Judy’s squad and roared. Smaller bugs assaulted them. “See! What’d I tell you?” Judy said as they dealt with the bugs, both the small explosive ones and the larger ones with the back tendrils.
“What are these things?” Liara asked.
“No idea... though something about them seems familiar I think. Someone in this mountain should know.” Wrex said.
Judy had finished manually rebooting the reactor, which to her annoyance worked the same way as a Tower of Hamoi game. “I am a sucker for punishment that is the only reason I can think of for not just slathering the thing in omni-gel.” Judy said to herself as she left the VI core.
“It looks like your trying to restore this facility. Would you like help?” The hologram of Peak 15’s VI said.
“That would be nice, and you are?” Judy asked.
“This system is monitored to respond to the name ‘Mira’. May I ask your name?” Mira asked.
“Commander Judy Hopps, Special Tactics, and Reconnaissance,” Judy said.
“One moment, please. Council authority confirmed. You are entitled to Secure Access of all systems. Please note that queries relating to corporate secrets require Privileged Access. Privileged Access is only available to Binary Helix executives. This system is ready to process queries. You may access me at any holographic interface within Peak 15.” Mira said.
“Okay... where is Matriarch Benezia? I need to speak to her.” Judy said.
“Lady Benezia departed on the passenger tramway to the Rift Station subsidiary labs. User alert! The tramway system is currently inoperable.” Mira said.
“And how would I get the tramway back online?” Judy asked.
“One moment, please. Diagnostics in progress. Critical Failure: Main reactor shut down in accordance with emergency containment procedures. Manuel restart required. Critical Failure: Landline connections are disabled. Passenger tram systems are offline. Report complete. Do you have an additional systems status query?” Mira said.
“Just tell me where I can fix them,” Judy said.
Eventually, Judy and her squad repaired the systems needed to go deeper into Peak 15 and encountered a barricade. “Hold your fire, there clearly not the creatures!” A horse, the clear leader said to his men. “Sorry about that, we weren’t sure what was on the tram.” He said.
“Can these things work a tram?” Judy asked.
“To be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised. We’ve been cooped up with these bugs for so long, that most of us are basically functioning on stims. Now... your mammal, that’s reason enough to give you the benefit of the doubt. But I’d like to know who you are, and why you’re here.” The horse asked, clearly exhausted.
“Judy Hopps, I’m a Specter,” Judy said.
“Well... you could just be a shrew, and I’d still be glad to see you. Anyway, the aliens overran the Hot Labs, and the only survivor was Han Olar. But whatever is going on in there rattled him something bad. Then the little monsters ate at my command post.” The horse said.
“You can count on my help,” Judy said.
“Good... now the board sent an asari to look into our mess. She went into the Hot Labs yesterday, and we haven’t heard from her since.” The horse said.
“Nobody else needs to die,” Judy said determinately.
“Well, all I can really do is keep the civvies safe anyway-” Then there was the distinct chattering of the insects. “Oh no... WE GOT ANOTHER WAVE!”
Judy and her squad found Han Olar, a volus and the only survivor of the incident from the Hot Labs. “You... you want to learn more about them, don’t you?” Han said ominously.
“Why am I hoping that you’re talking about the creatures?” Judy asked.
“Well, for one thing, there a rather popular topic of conversation... for another. They are not mere ‘creatures’.” Han said ominously.
“What can you tell me about the aliens?” Judy asked.
“So you wish to know, of the lost children of Suen... of the rachni?” Han said.
“What? No... That can’t be what’s out there. My people destroyed them all!” Wrex said in disbelief.
“Agreed, how are these rachni?” Judy asked.
“We found something, an egg on a derelict ship. Waiting since the last battle of the war too-”
“Will you shut up Han?! You want to get us all killed?” A scientist said.
“I have no more control over who lives and who dies then you do,” Han said.
“Will you at least be the quiet kind of crazy?!” Another scientist said.
“Crazy... that’s the problem... I’m not crazy. I’m as sane as the next volus.” Han said.
“Could Beneziah be alive in there?” Judy asked.
“Perhaps, the specimens showed a weakness to biotics,” Han said.
“How did you escape there anyway?” Judy asked.
“I killed her,” Han said somberly.
“Excuse me?” Judy asked.
“Dr. Zhonmua... we were on our way to lunch. When the alarms went off, I ran to the tram. Leaving her behind, I closed the door as the rachni slaughtered... she did not die gently. I killed her.” Han said somberly.
“Please, tell me what you know. Make your survival, and the death of your friend mean something.” Judy said.
“I do not want absolution... there is none that can be found,” Han said somberly.
“Yikes... I’ll be on my way.” Judy said as she left the volus alone to his regrets
Judy and her squad arrived in the hot labs and found a lynx. Sitting on a chair and nursing a wound. “Are you... are you here to handle the situation?” The lynx asked.
“That all depends, does your definition of ‘handle’ involve shooting every alien bug monster inside? Because that’s the only solution I’m seeing right now.” Judy said.
“Yes... this whole mess was our fault.” The lynx said.
“Speaking of faults, the entire reason I’m even on this rock is to find Matriarch Beneziah. Is she down here?” Judy asked.
“You mean an asari... no, I do not remember seeing one. This is not important, you must be listening, Binary Helix found an egg-”
“And it turned out to be rachni, I heard as much from Han Olar.” Judy interrupted.
“Well... yes, Binary Helix sought to create an army. But when the egg was brought here, we learned it was Queen egg. After she laid eggs, they moved her to Rift Station, believing that without her. They can make baby rachni into obedient soldiers.” The lynx explained.
“Obviously, that backfired horribly.” Judy surmised.
“Indeed, this was the wrong thing to do. I am thinking that without Queen, rachni do not develop properly. Her mind shapes there’s, and without Queen, they are wild.” The lynx said.
“Look, as fascinating as this is. We don’t have the time.” Judy said.
“I imagine... listen. It is a sad thing, but these rachni are beyond saving. I am thinking that you activate neutron purge to euthanize rachni.” The lynx explained.
“And how do we use that?” Judy asked.
“Arming controls are nearby. All you need do is insert key. Then I will give Mira destruct-, UH!” The lynx was impaled by a rachni’s tendril, killing him.
“Blast! Kill it!” Judy said as she and her squad gunned down the rachni soldier. “Oh please let the codes be on him,” Judy said after the soldier was gunned down, as luck would have it. The codes were on the lynx’s body, Judy then quickly found a holo-terminal.
“Connecting. I have full access to the facility, and am at your disposal.” Mira said.
“I need the neutron purge yesterday!” Judy said.
“I’m sorry, but I can’t do that without proper code authorization,” Mira said.
“Code input: 875-020-079. Code Omega local execution.” Judy said.
“Verified. Code Omega execution in 120 seconds.” Mira said, then the rachni started to make noise.
“We got two minutes to get out of here alive people. Break for no one!” Judy said as she and the squad bolted for the elevator out of the hot labs. As the rachni shrieked, perhaps knowing what was about to happen to them.
“You do not know the privilege of being a mother. There is power in creation. To shape a life. Turn it toward happiness or despair. Her children were to be ours. Raised to hunt and slay Saren’s enemies. I won’t be moved by sympathy. No matter who you bring into this confrontation.” Matriarch Benezia said coldly, as she stood beside the rachni Queen’s containment tube.
“Liara volunteered for this. Now, we can do this the easy way. Or the hard way, your choice.” Judy said.
“Indeed? What have you told her about me, Liara?” Benezia asked.
“You're running around the galaxy with an insane turian! What COULD I say?” Liara said, clearly anxious by the entire situation.
“Have you ever faced an asari commando unit before? Few mammals have.” Benezia said arrogantly.
“No, have THEY ever faced an N7 before?” Judy said fearlessly.
“Your insolence is a poor mask for your fear,” Benezia said as she cast some manner of biotic field, and asari commandos rushed in, in turn, geth rushed in as well. Eventually, Judy and her squad did outgun Benezia’s forces, with Benezia herself weakened from the fight. “This is not over. Saren is unstoppable. My mind is filled with his light. Everything is clear.” Benezia rambled.
“I am so hoping that you don’t normally talk like this. I can only stand so much cryptic nonsense.” Judy said.
“I will not betray him. You will- You. Commander Hopps, there isn’t much time. Saren’s hold is strong, but I can fight it... briefly. The indoctrination is simply too strong to be truly free from!” Benezia said unexpectedly.
“Okay... why should I even listen to you?” Judy asked, confused by the Matriarch.
“It transcends horror to be trapped in your own mind. To scream at the atrocities your hands commit, and your mouth does not permit you to scream. I was powerless... just another of Saren’s puppets. I was sent here to find the location of the Mu Relay, for it is lost thousands of years ago.” Benezia explained.
“And do you actually have it, the Mu gates coordinates?” Judy asked.
“Yes, take this OSD. I’ve already sent a copy to Saren before you- AH! His teeth are at my ear. Fingers on my spine. You should- uh, you should.” Benezia said disoriented.
“Mother fight it! You're stronger than him!” Liara pleaded.
“I love you Liara, you have always made me proud. Never forget that!... DIE!” Beneziah said. It wasn’t too long before Judy and the squad finally killed Beneziah, and some of her reinforcements. “I... I cannot go on. It falls to you, to stop Saren, Hopps.” Beneziah said in a brief spell of lucidity.
“Are you going to go back and forth between cryptic rambling, and pleading for help until your dead. Because this is getting older than Wrex.” Judy said in annoyance.
“Believe me... that makes both of us,” Beneaziah said as she fell back.
“Mommy... please don’t go.” Liara pleaded.
“Goodbye, my Little Wing... Commander... Judy... please, take care of her for me. No light? They always said there would be- ah...” Beneziah said as she breathed her last.
Judy then approached the tank that the rachni was kept in. “Now... how to deal with the elephant in the room?” Judy mulled as she looked at the Queen. Unaware that, right behind her, one of the dead asari commandoes had stood up, and was shuffling towards her. When Judy did notice, she pulled a pistol on the animated corpse, and the Queen shrieked.
“This one... shall serve as our voice. We cannot sing... not in these cold, deep places. Your music’s, are without color.” The corpse said, her voice had a strange echo to it.
“Okay... the first zombie I’ve ever talked to. Who are you, and what are you doing?” Judy asked.
“We... are the mother. The one who sings the dirge of the Singing Planet. The children, that were thought silenced. We are rachni.” The corpse said as Judy walked to look the Queen straight in her eyes.
“And how are you playing necromancer with the asari?” Judy asked.
“Rachni, speak through the touching of thought. We pluck the strings, the other understands. She is weak to our urging’s. There are colors here... that we do not have names for. She is at Music’s End... it is a bittersweet lullaby. It is... beautiful music. You are not in harmony with those who sought to enthrall us. You do not carry the Sour Yellow Note in your minds, which drove my mother’s to wrath and slaughter. What will you sing, I wonder? Will you release us, or will you... fate us to fade away once more.” The Queen said at length.
“Hopps, there are acid tanks above her! Millions of my ancestors died to put these bugs in the ground!” Wrex said.
“It was a mistake for your people to kill hers. Besides, she herself has done nothing wrong!” Liara argued.
“Your companions... they speak the truth. The choice... falls to you. Free us, or kill us...” The Queen said somberly.
“If you’re willing to open a dialogue, then you must not be as hostile as the Council believes. Now, are you a survivor of the Rachni War? Some sort of clone?” Judy asked.
“We... are not certain. We were only an egg, hearing our Mother cry in our dreams. As one speaker, after another was silenced by the Sour Yellow Note, their songs drowned out by its tone, forcing all others to resonate in its chorus. Then we awoke, in this silent place” The Queen said.
“Now, this is really important. If I do let you live. Will you threaten other races?” Judy asked.
“No... we... I do not know what happened during the war! We know only of the Discordance, the Song of Oily Shadows that consumed both mind and flesh of rachni! We only seek peace, to teach our children harmony... perhaps if the children understand, we may find a relief from the Long Exile.” The Queen explained.
“Oh... well this is a little awkward. I MIGHT have most definitely set off a radioactive purge on them.” Judy said sheepishly.
“It would not have mattered. They were lost to silence. Our minds do not work as yours. Without a mother, the children cannot learn to sing in harmony. You should not sing of them in grey and violet. Their stillness was OUR, responsibility, however. Not yours.” The Queen said.
“Uhg... there’s been enough blood spilled on this world. And it shouldn’t fall to a lone bunny to decide the fate of an entire species like this.” Judy said as she pressed the controls that allowed the Queen to leave.
“So all of that and all we got were some Mass Relay quardinates?” Joker said as Judy and her squadmates sat in the coms room.
“And Carrots was in a position to commit genocide. I think we’re just kind of glossing over the fact that you found rachni of all things in there.” Nick said.
“And let them go...” Wrex said with contempt.
“Wrex, your over ten times my size. You do realize you could have stopped me right?” Judy said.
“Yes... right as we took off from Novharia.” Wrex said in embarrassment.
“What about the Mu relay itself? That our next move?” Ashley asked.
“No, not unless we can figure out a specific world that Saren is interested in,” Judy said.
“The Commander is right. We need to learn more about Saren before we look into anything on our own.” Liara said.
“And who died and made you-”
“Williams! She saw her mother die less than a day ago!” Judy snapped.
“Commander... I’m sorry for-”
“You haven’t done anything wrong Liara! Just... we’re all on edge. Get some rest, dismissed.” Judy said.
“And the report to the Council?” Joker asked as the rest of the crew left.
“What about the report?” Judy said.
“Speaking of which, there’s a message from the Council. Apparently, there’s an STG team on Virmire. They think it might be related to Saren.” Joker said.
“Then what are you waiting for? A heart-shaped box of chocolates and a bouquet? Set course for Virmire.” Judy said.
“Right, just get your little cotton tail up to the galaxy map,” Joker said.
“You know if you didn’t have brittle bones. I’d kick your butt for that remark about my tail.” Judy said as she left the communications room.