Post #3 of the 30-day Mass Effect drabble challenge. Today’s prompt: MShep, The Council, “the cold, hard truth,” courtesy of the Mass Effect Random Prompt Generator.
The turian Councilor brought up a map of the batarian home world. Shepard frowned as he watched the Reaper and friendly troop numbers filling the screen. The Councilor said, “Your efforts rallying the batarians have borne fruit, Shepard. We estimate there are a hundred thousand civilians who have formed a resistance against the Reapers.”
“On Khar’shan? It’s a lost cause. The Reapers flattened the whole sector in the first month of the war.”
“The batarians are proud. Many of them would rather die fighting for their home world than live as exiles elsewhere.”
Shepard had a headache. They dodged Reaper forces for four days finding the batarian Pillars of Strength in the Khar’shan cluster, an artifact to help rally survivors on the Citadel. They had felt like mice trying to stay in the shadows while ebon giants sought to crush them. “Can we evacuate them?”
“Even if we could, we doubt many would. They’re asking for weapons. Supplies. More troops to help liberate their world.”
“Liberate…” Shepard tried to think it through. His tactical mind threw it back in his face. The batarians had no backup, no numbers, no troops, and no time. Earth was barely holding on. The krogans had finally evened the odds on Palaven. “No. We can’t open another front.”
“We can’t simply leave them,” the salarian Councilor protested.
“It’s hard enough to fight when we’re doing everything right. It’s impossible to fight when people are throwing their lives away.”
“What do you propose we do?” the turian Councilor asked.
Shepard closed his hands into fists. “Spell it out for them. We evacuate them, or we arm them, but we don’t have any help to send to a sector crawling with Reapers. Every day they hold on is one more day someone else can survive. If they stay, they’re buying the rest of the galaxy time with their lives.”
“You’re willing to sacrifice the batarian people?”
“It’s their choice. Not mine.”