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The Pathfinder's Logs

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 “… We made it.” 


Those were my first words in Andromeda.

Gosh, in retrospect, that feels so wide-eyed. I may have been naive about this whole thing from the get-go. I knew there would be challenges, but I thought it would be like my work back home — exploring new worlds, studying ancient alien artifacts — only, on a grander scale.

Well, I got a pretty humbling reality-check within hours of waking. We touched down on Habitat 7; it’s not habitable. We met our new neighbors; it went badly. I almost got killed after Dad and I interfaced with alien technology; he gave his life to save mine and (as if all that weren’t enough) named me the new human Pathfinder as he did.

We then got to the Nexus only to find that the situation there is seriously precarious: resources getting depleted fast, the other arks all missing … but all the stuff after waking up is sort of a blur in my head right now. I don’t know how much of my current mental state is the recovery and health-related, or grief, or stress.

But one thought has been clear and persistent in my head: Dammit, Dad! What were you thinking?

I know I probably could not have asked him to leave me to die so he’d live (although that would have been best for the Initiative) but naming me Pathfinder on top of it? I never asked for this.

It’s strange, Dad having been the absentee father that he was. In that mission on Habitat 7, I got to really see him in his element. Watching him work firsthand, I was in awe. He commended me for scouting out the planet while we were separated, and together we shared in a small victory as the planet’s atmospheric-processor came online and cleared the storm. It was the camaraderie of fellow explorers that brought us closer together than our father-daughter relationship ever did. For the first time I can remember, Dad did not feel like a stranger to me.

And now he’s gone.

I never thought I’d feel so… “naked,” without him, but that probably has more to do with the responsibility he saddled on me at the last moment than our familial relationship that never was.

But all this other stuff? Leading missions, rallying troops, tactics, all that … those were all Scott’s things. I’m a scientist , into nerdy things like tech and archaeology. I can fight, sure — my biotics work just as well here as they did in the Milky Way, my tech attacks are still fire (figuratively … and literally), and I was always a pretty good shot. So I can handle myself, but so what? That doesn’t make me qualified to replace an goddamn N7.

I guess it was always a possibility that this would happen. I probably was not too far down whatever succession-line existed, anyway, but jumping the line thanks to a family member? ‘Not a good look. Addison said as much, too, in no uncertain terms.

*Sigh*

… What’s done is done now, and while I can only sit here and guess Dad’s reasons (SAM is not privy to anything Dad was thinking, either), a lot of lives depend on me proving that it was the right decision. It would help to convince myself, first, but our colonists don’t have the luxury of waiting for me to figure that out.

Another thing that really concerns me is the kett. I was hoping first-contact would have gone more smoothly. I tried not to get involved, fired warning-shots when they got aggressive with Fisher, but Liam intervened ahead of me. It all went south. There was probably nothing we could have done. Besides, they already encountered Milky Way species, and the Nexus fared no better than we did.

Still, no one seems to know what their motives are. I’m worried we’re headed into a war with the locals here over a misunderstanding, just like humanity did with the turians only decades ago. It’s a shame that, for all our enlightenment and understanding as a species, we may be repeating history all over again. “The more things change, the more they stay the same” -? I suppose it’s possible that this is a hostile race with no chance for peace. In a sick way, I almost hope so to prove we were not too incompetent to handle first-contact correctly, but that’s silly — peace is always the ideal.

I also had to apologize to Fisher for hesitating when we first encountered those kett, but almost wish I hadn’t. I may have come across as weak and indecisive for doing so. If we do ever manage peaceful relations with their species, though, then maybe I get the last laugh after all!

I took a scan of one of their foot-soldiers. Their DNA readings are all over the map. I went back and took another look at our findings a little while ago and tried to hypothesize on the nature of this species. Using our own species as measuring-sticks, asari reproduction — taking the genetics of their partner and selecting traits — comes to mind. Could they be this galaxy’s asari, without the peaceful tendencies?

Habitat 7 will not be home to humanity anytime soon, and the mission was nothing short of a nightmare, but it’s still incredible to reflect on the fact that we explored a new world in a new galaxy and that some of us lived to tell.

The planet had remnants of old, alien architecture. By the scans, they look like they were erected sometime after our scans 600 years ago from the Milky Way. In many ways, these ruins reminded me of the Prothean relics I used to study back home. The kett also seem to find it interesting (all evidence points away from them being the creators). Another extinct species? Or maybe an existing one that the kett are trying to eradicate? I don’t know. There are so many questions. There was also some sort of an abyss that had machine noises coming from the bottom, and a path to travel across with the help of our jump-jets. I wonder if it was a quarry.

But, most interesting of all, we caught a glimpse of what this “golden world” may have looked like. A microclimate inside a cave, safe from the hostile environment, showed us what kind of ecosystem this galaxy is capable of supporting. What went wrong, and how we can undo the damage, are the questions of the hour. But that finding, along with what our team was able to accomplish with the atmospheric-processor, means that there’s still hope for the Initiative to find our home in Andromeda. It’s hope and small-victories like that which help keep us moving through the adversity we face.

Perhaps that had something to do with Dad’s decision? When he praised my work at scouting out the planet back there, he said that it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture when we’re out there in the field. I’ll admit to being something of a romantic — the hopeless kind — and that what drew me into this whole thing was the adventure and exploration.

The role of Pathfinder was supposed to be Cora’s in the event that something happened to Dad. He trained her for the role, too. She is a qualified combat leader, no doubt. While I don’t know her that well, she strikes me as a very different personality than I. ‘Safe to say, I think, that Cora would probably lead this mission in a pretty different direction. She hasn’t really talked about being skipped over for the role, but I still ought to see where she’s at with it. It’s not an enviable task, mind you, but that doesn’t mean she’s okay with yielding it to me without any say in the matter.

Anyway, I just wanted to vent — take a step back from all the craziness and take an inventory. Maybe I’m also trying to leave behind a record in case this whole thing goes south, and the next generation of Milky Way explorers or alien archaeologists unearth records of a then-failed Initiative, mine hopefully helping cast me in a more positive and sympathetic light and avoid generations of Andromeda schoolkids being taught about the epic failure of Sara Ryder (kidding!! … kinda). But I think I’ll keep this journal going as I continue trying to find us a home in Andromeda.

One thing’s for sure: it’s going to be a wild ride.