The Maiden Voyage on her return to Thessia

The Maiden Voyage was the first asari interstellar spacecraft, the first crewed vessel to depart the Thessian system, and the first vessel of the current known civilisations to traverse a mass relay.

Asari astronomers and astrophysicists had detected and charted the gravitational effects of the Parnitha system's mass relays long before spaceflight became a reality; early uncrewed probe craft missions included study of the "harmony zones", within which the relays themselves were found and directly observed, galvanising Thessian space exploration. In concert with other relics discovered in the system, the relays led the asari to reverse-engineer Prothean mass effect techniques, in turn facilitating widespread intrasystem exploration and infrastructure construction.

With the relays correctly surmised to be part of a transit network, plans for interstellar exploration centred on them, rather than conventional element zero core drives, which at the time remained primitive enough to impose prohibitive time constraints on direct travel to other systems. The Maiden Voyage was the culmination of a global research and development initiative aimed at unlocking the mass relays; although probes had successfully been accelerated through the relays (providing valuable data for the Maiden Voyage's engineering and mission) her destination remained uncharted territory.

Despite the historic signifigance of her flight, the Maiden Voyage's journey was technically unremarkable. The vessel, helmed by Sala T'Era under the guidance of Matriarch Iraia, engaged the relay then dubbed 'Gateway One' (later catalogued as the primary Parnitha relay), travelling 520 light-years and decelerating through a relay in the Pelopa system, through which a return probe was immediately sent. Although the crew's total lack of practical experience caused what would nowadays be considered significant gravitic turbulence, the vessel had been constructed with this possibility in mind, and required only minor repairs before undertaking a three-week survey mission prior to returning home.

The Maiden Voyage was the only vessel of her class; data gathered during her flight was used in the design of a second generation of relay-capable vessels, while the Maiden Voyage herself was returned to Dassus, where her final assembly had taken place. She and her launch facility remain there, preserved and maintained as a museum exhibit of the Citadel era's first relay flight. The facility, and the Maiden Voyage herself, were damaged during the Reaper landings in Dassus, but did not appear to have been directly targeted, presumably because - while technically functional - the outdated design of both ship and dock led to it being dismissed as a military asset. Historians and artisans have initiated a project to fully repair and restore the site, which is ongoing.

Out-of-character notes

The image of the Maiden Voyage is a modification of artwork by Adam Benton.

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