[Mass Effect] Thanks for the Flowers

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  1. Secksy
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    Thanks for the Flowers
    By Tyloric
    Story Lottery Prompt #20: A Bud
    Garrus actived his omnitool with practiced ease, clicking through menus he’d see countless times before, getting it to take a few quick scans of the plant standing in front of him. It was nothing spectacular at first glance; a flora that gather than nutrients from the sun, soil, and air. They’re also actively converting carbon dioxide into oxygen, allowing the air on this planet to remain moderately breathable. It looked like these flowers had yet to fully mature yet.

    In other words, “Flower buds.” Garrus announced.

    Kaidan blinked. “Really?”

    The Turian nodded sharply. “Positive.”

    They had both been sent on a survey mission to this unexplored system that was connected through the Mu Relay. What drew their attention to the planet was two things: one, there were absolutely no Prothean ruins (to the naked eye) on a planet that so far was proving to be capable of sustaining life and two, a high powered distress beacon that the Normandy immediately picked up on upon exiting the relay.

    They were closing in on the signal without problem, well mostly, but the reason their didn’t seem to be any ruins was becoming obvious; these flowers covered nearly fifty percent of the continent the signal was emanating from. A field of;

    “Big… big flowers.” The good lieutenant stuttered.

    It was an accurate enough observation. The stems were easily a foot and a half in diameter, standing a good four feet off the ground on average. The buds were large and bulbous, and the roots deformed the ground like a deep rooted tree would. It made traversing the terrain a bit perilous if one was not watching their step.

    Kaidan gave one of the floras a good, solid shove. The wobbled back and forth like a giant upside down punching bag before coming to a slow and steady stop, though it now was leaning at a slightly awkward angle.

    Garrus pulled the Turian equivalent of a frown, his mandibles pulling down to slightly expose his teeth. “Are you sure that is wise, Lieutenant?”

    Kaidan’s head tilted slightly to the side, not turning around to look at him. “They’re just plants, Garrus.”

    Garrus waited a moment before responding, his tone a little dark. “So was the Thorian.”

    Kaidan grimaced at the memory, finally turning to face the Turian. “It was also over fifty thousand years old.” He turned back around. “How old to you think these things are?” He poked the flora curiously.

    Garrus glanced down at his omnitool’s readings. “Unknown.”

    The lieutenant shrugged. “Ah, well.”

    “Yes, it-… wait…” His fingers tapped furiously for a few more moments.

    Alenko’s eyebrows raise slightly, but Garrus continued speaking before he could ask. “These plants are becoming quite the anomaly… I’m picking up… brain waves? They’re weak but they’re there. ”

    Kaidan began to back away slowly from the bud he had been harassing. “They’re..” he cleared his throat. “alive? And thinking?”

    “Apparently.”

    The lieutenant looked around them at the seemingly endless field of immature flora. “That’s great. Good to know our luck is as crummy as ever. Lets just find what ever is sending out that SOS and get back to the MAKO.”

    “Right behind you.” They continued forward at a slightly steadier pace than before.

    Five hundred feet in the opposite direction, near the path they had just taken, a small rodent who could easily be described as a squirrel with short, fiery red fur, climbed mischievously up to the top of one of the flowers and began nibbling on a small piece of fruit it had recently snatched from one of its comrades.

    Unnoticed by the small creature, however, thin vine-like tentacles began to slither slowly out of the small opening at the top of the bud. Ever so slightly, they slid towards the tiny mammal, who was still feasting on its recently claimed prize, feeling ever so smug. And then, in one quick fluid motion, the vines whipped out violently, wrapping themselves around the helpless animal’s feet, tail and muzzle. The rodent was dragged back down into the opening, squealing in a surprise and terror.

    It took only a moment before the squealing was silenced with a sickening squish, and the flower began feasting, feeling ever so smug.

    [\][/]
    Kaidan eyed the wilted flower bud untrustingly. “It… ate it?”

    Garrus could sympathize with the lieutenants uneasiness. “Yes. I can only guess that’s what’s killed it as well.”

    The flower had fallen all the way over, its stem bent at an unnatural angle. Small vines were sticking out at the small opening at the top of the bud, giving it the eerie appearance of a tongue sticking out of a dead animal. It had lost its shade of green, but instead of turning the usual brown color of decaying plants it was gray and sickly looking, like a corpse.

    “You’re sure it’s in there?” Kaidan frowned.

    A few taps on the omnitool… “Positive.”

    “Well… maybe I get… grab it… bioticly…” he trailed off.

    “Are your biotics that precise?”

    “…Not so far, no…Dammit, why can’t you do it?” He felt childish, he was a trained solider after all. But he had a thing for… dead.

    “My omnitool is better than yours. And as such if I lost a hand it could be very devastating.”

    Kaidan snorted. “You’re hilarious.” And started toward the dead flower. He kneeled down next to it, and in one quick motion stuck his hand inside the small opening. It was just large enough for his arm to reach in. Even through his combat armor, Kaidan could feel the strange gooeyness of its… what? Mouth? He tried not to think about it. His arm was nearly up to his shoulder when his fingers brushed against something solid. He wrapped his hand around it and gave it a nice good tug. It came loose with an audible pop.

    He was surprised to find that it was not a signal transmission device. “Umm…” he started.

    “The signal is gone.” Garrus said. “Good job.”

    “But… it’s not a transmission device.” Kaidan frowned.

    Garrus blinked. “What?”

    “It’s not a transmission device. There is no way this was sending the signal.” He said getting to his feet.

    Garrus’ mandibles clicked, frowning. “What is it?” He asked hovering his omnitool above the device. It was a large rectangular device, silver, with a perfect sheen, despite spending who knows how long inside the plant. “Can’t get any readings from it.”

    It is Geth.

    The voice made them both jump pull their guns off their backs in reflex, and back to back, they sweeped the area. “Who’s there?” Kaidan said with authority.

    The plant that the lieutenant had just reached his hand into began to straighten back up, its color returning. They both watched this unfold, speechless.

    Thank you for removing it.

    Garrus recovered quickest. “You’re welcome. Are you…?”

    Speaking to you both, yes.

    “How?” Kaidan asked.

    We relate closely to the creature you know as the ‘Thorian.’

    “You’re all Thorian?”

    No, but we share common ancestry. We hold many similar traits, though our telepathic abilities are limited. We are, however, one of the few species to communicate telepathically with non-telepathic life forms. This is one of the things that sets us apart from the Thorian.

    “So all the flora on the planet are sentient?”

    We all share collectiveness, we speak as one. Together, we form intelligence. Our roots bind us together.

    “Like veins in a body.” Kaidan observed off handedly. “What do you call yourselves…yourself?”

    We, I, do not have a name. What ever you have chosen to call this planet shall suit fine, for in a sense, we, I, am the planet itself.

    “Omega. Great. You can be The End.

    Garrus quickly steered the conversation in a different direction. “You said this box was Geth. What did you mean?”

    The Geth were here very recently, on a few cycles before you arrived. They were looking for something. We were unable to determine what, as they are synthetic. We are unable to touch the minds of those who are not organic. They began killing us in their search, so we intervened. We do not expect they will return; there is nothing here to find.

    “How long have you all been here?” Kaidan asked interestedly.

    Since before the ones you know as the Protheans.

    “How did this box end up inside one of you?” Garrus asked.

    A lone Geth scout. When we decided that the Geth were hazardous to our existence, we destroyed them.

    Kaidan wasn’t quite convinced that was possible. “How did you destroy them?”

    We are quite dangerous under our moons light.

    “You bloom at night?” Garrus asked, catching on.

    Indeed.

    “What about the distress signal? Where was that coming from?”

    We were replicating the signal with the Geth technology that one of us had accidently ingested. We noticed that all Geth emit this signal; we simply modified it so as to not attract other Geth, but other organics. Our plan seems to have been a success.

    “Why call for help, though? Do you need it?”

    You just gave it. The metals that the Geth are comprised of proved poisonous. Should the contaminants have reached the roots, the damage may have been irreversible, and it would have likely have spread to the rest. We did not feel this was an acceptable risk. You have our thanks.

    “Yeah… anytime.” Kaidan breathed.

    In return for this favor, we will not consume you for nutrients.

    “Yeah, thanks for that.”

    Your vehicle will also remain untouched. You have been marked as friends; you may return as you wish so long as our safety is not compromised.

    Garrus bowed his head politely. “May we take this?” He gestured toward the silver box.

    You may.

    “Thanks again for not eating us.” Kaidan turned and walked away without another word. Garrus bowed toward the plan Lt. Alenko saved, and quickly fell in step behind him.


    “This planet is alive! It thinks!”

    Garrus returned the comment with a humored tone. “It is fascinating, I will admit. And that the Geth fell to these creatures. I think it save to say that we just made a power ally where it could have been a catastrophic foe.”

    “The commander is never going to believe this. I don’t believe this.” Kaidan waved his hands around exaggeratedly.

    “Yes, well…” Garrus flipped the silver box over in his hands a few times. “This might make it all worth it.”

    [fin.]
     

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