Chapter 81
Chapter 81
Korlus, Terminus Commonwealth, 2180

“You’re sure this is the career path you want to choose?” Melissa asked the teenager as they sat and glanced over the paperwork that was in front of them. “You can go anywhere and do anything.”

“I’m sure,” Arthur said as he leaned over the table and signed his name to the documents. “I’m not content with merely piloting a tank like you or a mech like Uncle Mark and Aunty Nat. I’m going special forces.”

“It’s not going to be an easy road,” Melissa sighed. “And if you really want to start preparing for it then we’ll start working you in with some of Major MacIntosh’s sessions. He’s currently the head of our Special forces now that Yvonne has taken over the Ducal Guard and 4th Royal Guards.”

“I’m aware of that,” Arthur said as he considered the rest of the paperwork that would set his career track for the rest of his life. “I’m set on this, mom; I won’t be persuaded otherwise.”

“If that’s your decision,” Melissa said with a small smile. “Then I’ll honor it, just remember to pick some of the brains of people who have been serving for a long time. And remember that we’ve got more than just humans who have served for a long time. There are plenty of Krogan and Asari who have valuable experience too.”

“I’ll keep that in mind,” Arthur said as he finished the last of the paperwork that would put him on the same career track as his best friend Elizabeth MacIntosh. “We both want to do this, and we know what the risks associated are. We’re ready for this, mom”

“No, you’re really not,” Melissa said as she chuckled for a minute. “You’re really not.”

“Get down and push the deck!” A Drill instructor screamed at the blond and redhead as they did pushups. “You think you’re capable of joining the Terminus Commonwealth Armed Forces with how weak you are?”

Out of breath and unable to respond at the moment, both Elizabeth and Arthur continued doing the pushups as instructed by the Krogan Drill Instructor.

“Get up!” Jordak Bragus barked. “We’re moving back to the classroom!”

The group of early-entry military trainees jumped up to their feet and began jogging back toward the compound where they were to go through the day’s learning sessions.

“You good?” Arthur mouthed at Elizabeth.

The tall redhead simply nodded at her best friend as they joined the rest of the group.

“Good morning cadets!” Nadia Winson greeted the group of young adults. “Today we will be covering the subject that everyone loves; advanced physics and applied mathematics.”

“Anything is better than report writing,” a Turian muttered as he sat in his seat.

“Agreed,” a Salarian whispered as Nadia passed the torch off to the lecturer for the day.

Korlus, Terminus Commonwealth, 2182

“Remember, we need to be sneaky and quiet,” Arthur said to his fireteam. “We both know how Lisa’s team likes to roll.”

“Loud and fast,” Aetol Celon, the Salarian XO agreed. “We’ve got the advantage in range, but we’re outnumbered.”

“This op isn’t about us winning the fight,” Antina Doninion, the Turian Sharpshooter observed as she checked to make sure her optics were synced up with her geat. “It’s about getting the intel out for the main formation to roll them up.”

“Exactly,” Arthur agreed. “We have three routes we can take. But we’ll have to make sure that at least one of us makes it out to get the intel back to main base.”

“Any idea what kind of firepower she has available?” Michael Lewis, the tech of the team asked. “She’s your best friend, after all.”

“You know we don’t share information when in an exercise,” Arthur replied with a grin. “We’re here to see who’s better at this sort of thing.”

“Fair enough,” the other cadet shrugged. “Just figured it was worth asking.”

“Looks like splitting our fireteams up will make this work the best,” Aetol said as he looked at the map. “Assuming our mapping program is correct we should be able to converge once all of us are in, and if one team doesn’t make it then the others likely will.”

“There’s twelve of us,” Arthur agreed. “Thirteen if I’m included, we’ll split up into two teams of four, and one of five. Aetol, Antina, you’re in charge of Green and Red teams, I’ll take Blue team and hit the entrance most likely to be watched. Best case scenario, we all make it in, worst case, one team slips through and is able to get the data back.”

“Copy that,” Aetol said as he shouldered his rifle.

“Wilco,” Antina said as she adjusted her visor one last time.

“Then let’s get to it,” Arthur grinned.

“Looks like there are motion sensors surrounding this entrance,” Maetrus, the Turian tech reported. “I might be able to fool them if you give me a minute or two.”

“Guards secured,” Abigail reported as she dragged two cadets’ bodies into the room. The two of them were playing ‘dead’ because they had been killed and were generally making a nuisance of themselves. “But I don’t think my auto-reporting program will work for longer than five minutes or so.”

“Lisa doesn’t just assume things are going well though,” Arthur muttered as he considered the problem in front of him. “She checks on things. Hack the sensors, and let’s move quickly. I have a feeling that our other two teams are going to need a distraction.”

“Want me to go loud then?” Maetrus asked.

“Negative, continue with stealth,” Arthur ordered. “We’ll go loud where it’ll cause the most damage.”

“Done, sensors hacked.”

“Moving up,” Arthur said as he took point, his rifle swinging up at the ready as they entered the main compound from the roof of the building next door. “Abigail, Roger, I want a zipline across now!”

“Roger that, deploying entry,” Roger said as he reached for a special attachment for his launcher and triggered an alternate firing method. “Entry secure, but I weigh too much to use it.”

“I know,” Arthur patted the nearly two-meter-tall man as he secured the other side of the line. “You stay here and cover our exit.”

“Consider it done,” the man’s gravelly voice replied. “I’ll hold against whatever comes, Cadet-Major.”

Author’s Note: A little bit of worldbuilding and showing off Arthur and what he wants.
Chapter 82
Chapter 82

“Ready?” Arthur asked the group of cadets with him as they looked through the transparent aluminum beneath them.

“Setting up breaching charges now,” Abigail reported as she set up the charges that would bring the ceiling down.

“Go ahead and breach when ready,” Arthur ordered. “We’ll pull distraction for the other two teams.”

“Go! Go! Go!” Abigail ordered as she triggered the charges and then jumped down following the debris.

“This is Saber Prime, we’ve gone loud, do not respond, continue to carry out your mission!” Arthur barked into the supposedly secured channel as he used his jump jets to slow his fall as he fired at a handful of enemy soldiers, his HUD marking them as ‘dead’ before he’d even hit the ground.

Alarms began blaring as more cadet soldiers filed into the room, Abigail going down before she could even attempt to reach cover.

“Fuck,” Arthur breathed as Maetrus put up a biotic barrier. “We’re not going to last long in here.”

“There’s a room behind us,” Maetrus said as his barrier collapsed right as they reached cover. “If we take it we might be able to hold out for a bit.”

“Grab Abi’s charges with your biotics, we might need them to get back out of here,” Arthur said as he and Greto covered the Turian with weapons fire so he could secure the charges.

“Got em!” Maetrus said as he caught the charges. “We should probably go ahead and barricade ourselves in, there’s no way we’re getting intel out of this.”

“Greto, get the door,” Arthur leaned out and exchanged fire with some soldiers, a couple of rounds catching him in the torso and rendering him unable to walk.

“Grab him!” Maetrus said as he put up a Biotic barrier. “HUD says he’s unable to walk, but he should still be able to shoot.”

“So, who do you think will win this year?” Natasha asked me as we looked at the live feeds from the live fire exercise being conducted.

“Well, Cadet-Colonel Drothan Kaffetor has really taken to our methods, he’s risen quite rapidly through the training scenarios and has a good head on his shoulders,” I replied as I looked at the firefight going on. “But at the same time, Cadet-Major MacIntosh has shown herself to be an excellent defensive strategist over the last few exercises. So I think we’ll have to wait and see.”

“She did accurately predict what Arthur would do,” Natasha agreed. “And despite his shock and awe approach she’s taken minimal losses and has already gotten her reserves ready to deploy for the big push taht Drothan is planning.”

“I honestly think it will come down to who is the most creative,” Nadia Winson said as she considered the scenario. “MacIntosh is backed into a corner, she’s not able to evac unless she’s given authorization, and reinforcements and resupply are going to be few and far in between.”

“We set aside several weeks for this exercise,” Melissa reminded all of us. “I expect we’ll see quite a bit of interesting things from the cadets this year. “

“This will end in disaster,” Sparatus said as he glared at Benezia. “The Terminus Commonwealth has many economic ties to the Hierarchy at this time, putting sanctions on them will only hurt this Council, not make it better.”

“The decisions does not lie with me,” Benezia sighed. “The Republics have voted, and I am to enforce their decisions.”

“This will kill the relationship we were building,” Sparatus sighed. “It took us years to convince their diplomats and negotiatiors to start some joint projects with us.”

“I’ll see what I can to do mitigate this,” Benezia replied. “But the Republics are firm in this. The Thessian bloc has gained a lot of momentum over the last decade.”

“Some of our joint projects will probably still go through,” Osern pointed out. “But many relied on shared understanding and economic ties to function.”

“This is Emily Wong with the Citadel News Network, bringing you the latest information from across the galaxy. Today, I’m here wit ha piece of news that is particularly interesting. The pope, Urban XV has decided to pay a visit to some of the Catholic churches that are located in the Terminus Commonwealth. The reason given to us by his press team was to, and I quote. ‘Ensure that the doctrine and core belief structure of the church as it has been found in this nation is solid and without error.”

“This will be the first time a Pope has left Systems Alliance space, marking this as something to be watched,” Emily glanced down at her Omnitool. “And in other news, there has finally been some communication from the Batarian Hegemony, a new regime appears to have taken over after winning the Civil War and has apparently been restructuring an rebuilding the Hegemony afterwards. Stay tuned for further information as we try and keep you up to date. Until next time, this is the Citadel News Network, your source for information.”

“Cadet-Major, take a seat,” Nadia Winson said from where she was seated a her desk. “Do you know why you have been called here today?”

“I assume it’s my debrief of the training exercises conducted,” Arthur replied.

“You would be correct in that,” Winson said as she glanced down at the report. “While most of your tasks and orders were completed in a fashion that was considered well done by the observing parties, there were some issues taken with your actions regarding the loss of personnel.”

“In what regard ma’am?” Arthur asked with a furrowed brow.

“While you did lose some members of your squad, that is to be expected in some fashion when regarding the numbers you faced, the real issue here is your inability to send more people out into scenarios where their death might have happened.”

“I don’t want to sacrifice people ma’am,” Arthur replied as his face turned to stone. “Every person lost is another gun we lose that could have been used on the enemy.”

“Arthur, you have an impressive intellect, and are a genius in asymmetrical warfare, but there is something that you have not learned yet,” Winson sighed. “The best of Commanding Officers are loved by their men because the CO also cares for them. But something fundamental that you must understand is that there will be times when you must spend the lives of the men and women under your command. We want our officers and soldiers to understand this before they graduate this academy. Not because we are cruel, but because it will make you and the people under your command the greater for it.”

“You are dismissed, Cadet-Major,” Winson said after a moment of silence. “Send Cadet-Major MacIntosh in on your way out.”

“Cadet-Major MacIntosh,” Winson said once the tall young woman had taken a seat. “Why did you attack when you were ordered expressely to hold and defend a given area?”

“I gave the order to attack when communications with HQ were cut short,” Elizabeth replied. “In the absence of orders to the contrary, being on the offensive is a much better option than being pinned down in an area where you’re more likely to lose the men and materials under your command. Given that we were also surrounded on all sides at the time with no hope for
reinforcements, it was my hope that I could push through in one area and cause mass confusion and panic among the enemy forces.”

“Given that we have been training you to attack in the absence of orders to the contrary, you are beeing commended for the position of Commanding Officer for next year’s cadets,” Winson said as she looked at the cadet. “Your XO will be Arthur Steiner, you have one week to put together a list of your senior staff officers along with the proper paperwork for the personnel transfer.”

“Yes ma’am,” Elizabeth responded as she sat at attention. “Is there anything else, ma’am?”

“Neg, get the hell out of my office.”
Attack in absence of orders to the contrary - i like their approach.
Asari schoot themselves in foot,and Batarians start getting normal.All according to plan.
@Markwarrior ,are catolics there fucked by modern theology like in OTL,or normal?
Attack in absence of orders to the contrary - i like their approach.
Asari schoot themselves in foot,and Batarians start getting normal.All according to plan.
@Markwarrior ,are catolics there fucked by modern theology like in OTL,or normal?

I’m basing the Catholic Church off of the battletech one heavily in both ME and BT factions.
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Chapter 83
Chapter 83
January 2180
"Shepard," Commander James Ackerson called out to the junior officer. "You done woolgathering yet?"

"Yes sir," Shepard snapped off a salute. "Won't happen again."

"Come on, we've got to make sure the R&D people actually get the gear they've been waiting on from Mars.

"Why do we put up with the eggheads again, sir?" Jane asked.

"Because, Staff Lieutenant, that's where all you N7s get your fancy gear from," Ackerson replied as the frigate continued to escort the cargo ship. "Besides, this is the last run we'll have to do before we go on shore leave for the rest of the week."

"Aye sir," Jane sighed as she walked to the bridge following her CO. "I wish we weren't stretched so thin."

"Manpower is something we're working on," Ackerson replied as he sat in the captain's chair. "It takes more time and money to train people the right way than it does to just throw bodies at a problem," Ackerson turned to look out the viewscreen. "You're a little young to remember most of the details, but for a while, most of our recruits came from Africa or the Middle East. People looking to escape the life that they had there. Well, most of them served their term and went back, using their training and the funds they had gathered to start changing things for the better down on Earth. Unfortunately, it means that we aren't seeing the recruitment numbers that we used to. But it does mean that overall we're getting better and healthier recruits when we do get them. We're not likely to outnumber anyone at this point, so we're going to have to focus on the quality of the soldiers and sailors that we produce."

"Quantity has a quality all of its own, Commander," Jane replied as she stood behind and to the left of the John Adams CO.

"We're on the final approach sir, ma'am," their pilot, an Ensign Frank Hill reported. "Cargo ship is reporting that the Research Station's VI has taken over their autopilot."

"Copy that," Commander Ackerson said as he looked more alert than before. "Start scanning for any threats, Elysium is a newer colony, and it's possible they've missed something in their normal scans."

"Aye, sir," the sensors officer, Emma Floyd responded. "Doing system wide sweeps now."

"Expecting trouble, sir?" Jane asked.

"Always," the man replied as he stroked the small beard on his face. "Considering the amount of small nation states that have formed out of the Batarian Hegemony now that their Civil War is open."

"We've only had a few scouting parties from some of those nations," Jane replied. "And mostly peaceful dealings with the mainline Hegemony."

"It's the ones that broke off from the reformed Hegemony that concern me," Ackerson said as he glanced over at his XO. "While they may resemble the old Balkan States from our history at the moment, remember that these people are also still slavers and both can and will raid us if they see an opportunity."

"I'll try to keep that in mind," Jane said as she looked down at Elysium below.

"At least they've got a good bar," Shepard muttered as she took another shot. "Lord knows it's the only exciting thing to happen on this op."

"Care if I buy you a drink?" An Asari stepped forward, obviously interested in the redhead.

"Sure, I don't mind the drink, but I'm not really into chicks," Jane responded.

"What if I only want to keep you company?" The Asari asked.

"Take a seat," Jane gestured towards a chair on the other side of the table. "It's a free planet, after all."

"Seora Ledri," the alien introduced herself. "I own a clothing shop in town."

"Jane Shepard," the woman replied as she slowed down on the drinks. "Here enjoying some peace."

Seora and Shepard kept up a pretty lively conversation after that, comparing planets to other ones they had visited and ranking them on whether they were enjoyable or not.

"Thanks for the drinks," Shepard said as she stood up. "But I think I should get to my hotel. Got a tour of some sort of mountain tomorrow, and I'd hate to miss it."

"Wouldn't you rather stay at my place?" Ledri asked.

"Nice try," Shepard laughed. "But I think I'll enjoy some rest away from this noise."

"Have it your way," Seora replied as she made her way back to the bar, ready to try her luck again.

"I always have it my way," Jane muttered as she left the bar, sobering up in the cold air as she went towards the hotel that had been booked for the Alliance personnel on leave.

"Turn it off," Jane threw the pillow at what she thought was an alarm clock, the cushion hitting the wall and not causing the noise level to decrease.

Then, after another few seconds of processing, a jolt of adrenaline shot through her body, causing her to sit up and grab for her Omnitool.

"That's the fucking raid alarm," Jane muttered as she grabbed a hoodie and some sweatpants, swearing at herself for not having packed her armor. "Should have been fucking prepared, Jane," she muttered as she grabbed her Kinetic Bartier Belt and threw it on over the hoodie along with her concealed pistol.

"Let's hope they're shitty shots," Jane said as she opened the door, revealing a scene that looked fresh out of a disaster or horror movie.

"Everyone on this floor was Alliance but on shore leave," Jane muttered. "Which means I slept through this."

She crouched down out of sight beneath a window as a Batarian Shuttle and gunship flew overhead, heading for what were probably the evac shelters.

Running to the stairwell, Shepard threw herself down the steps two or three at a time, eventually hitting the ground floor where she saw the first of the bodies.

"I'll make sure you get back to Analise," Jane muttered as she closed the eyes of the now dead Emma Floyd before kneeling and prying the rifle out of the dead woman's hand.

Standing up, Jane shook with rage as she walked out of the hotel room, her body regaining calm as she left the hotel and encountered the first group of mixed Batarians and pirates that were chasing down a group of civilians.

Pulling the Mattock up to her shoulder, Jane squeezed the trigger, sending the first of many rounds down range toward the pirates.

"Get to cover! She yelled at the civilians as she began killing the pirates with precise shots, the heavy rounds breaking their barriers first and then penetrating armor.

Ducking down behind a downed pillar for cover, Jane waited for the return shots to ease off before popping up and firing precisely to take out the remainder of this group of pirates.

"Thank you ma'am," a young woman said as she cradled her daughter.

"Get inside a school or hospital and lock it down," Shepard ordered as she knelt down and began stripping gear from the pirates and Batarians. "Don't come out until the Alliance shows up."

"What are you going to do?" The little girl asked.

"Me?" Shepard asked with a shark-like grin. "I'm gonna make sure none of them leave here to do something like this again."
I’m basing the Catholic Church off of the battletech one heavily in both ME and BT factions.
Do not even knew,that Catholic Church there still existed.
I hope,that they are relatively normal.
P.S Good Chapter - but Emma should die on pile of Batarian corpses.
And dunno what they thought - Therminus would eradicate them now.

Some Asari plotting?
Do not even knew,that Catholic Church there still existed.
I hope,that they are relatively normal.
P.S Good Chapter - but Emma should die on pile of Batarian corpses.
And dunno what they thought - Therminus would eradicate them now.

Some Asari plotting?
Definitely Asari bullshit. The Cult of Athame and Thessia in general need to burn in nuclear fire
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Pope Urban XV (Visit #1)
It's Pretty Urban in here, isn't it?

Korlus, March 10 2182

"Archbishop Jones," Pope Urban XV greeted the current head of the Catholic Church in the Terminus Commonwealth. "It's a pleasure to finally meet you in person. I've thoroughly enjoyed our exchange of messages about theology and the doctrine of the Church.

"Pope Urban," Jones kissed the hand of the pope. "I've enjoyed explaining the changes in our system and why it has worked for those whom I shepherd."

"Your thorough examination of scripture and your defense in regards to why you implemented the changes has prompted us to implement no small few of them in the Systems Alliance," Pope Urban replied. "It took some doing to convince the Church as a whole to allow the Priests and Nuns to marry and have families, but your wholehearted defense has allowed us to make a change for the better, I believe."

"It will allow your priests to better understand and minister to those who have families of their own," Jones said with a smile. "Would you care to see the church that I currently pastor?"

"I would love to," Urban responded immediately.

"It is a bit of a ways away, but I believe the walk will do us two old men good," Jones said as he began walking through the arcology that the building was housed in.

"What you are doing on Korlus is impressive," Urban said as he studied the orderly buildings that were being constructed out of recycled ship materials.

"I wish that the church could take credit for most of the work," Jones said as he looked around. "But alas, Duke Hull is a Protestant, and was the one that began the work to transform this world into a place that is capable of sustaining life again."

"And what is it that the Church has done to assist in helping the poor? And those who we are called to assist?" Urban asked as they walked through the busy streets.

"We are building and maintaining housing for those in need," Jones replied. "Along with hiring those with the requisite skills to train and assist them in being able to support themselves over time. Those who are disabled or too young or old to work have been given tasks that help out those even less fortunate than themselves, such as helping to knit socks or helping sort the recycling."

"How are you funding all of this?" Urban asked. "It seems like a massive undertaking."

"It is," Jones said as he stopped at a medium sized and plain building compared to everything around it, the only things marking it as a church being the cross on the roof and the plaque that lay on the front wall. "But while we started with a small group of Humans we have found that the message of grace is appealing to those of every species. And so we have been able to afford the work we do through the tithes that we receive. And I hold public audits of what the church in the Commonwealth does with its funds so that there is nothing hidden from the sight of Man or God."

"The building is rather plain," Urban said as he saw the folding chairs leaned up against the wall, with a small raised stage at one end. "Does it not bother you?"

"Why should it?" Jones asked. "The building is less important than the people who come to be ministered to. The building is also used as a meeting hall for public officials and is sturdy enough to survive an orbital bombardment should we have to shelter those in need. With eezo fields and the power generators as well as the greenhouses that are underneath our feet we are able to take care of people even should disaster strike and the rest of the arcology fall."

"Why such an emphasis on disaster preparation?" Urban asked as he pulled out a folding chair and sat down in it as Jones handed him a small cup of tea.

"Because while our regular works are sufficient for every day needs, there will come a day when the worst happens, and on that day the church will respond in being able to both care for and defend those in need. All of the Protestant churches in the Commonwealth have the same preparations. Because while we might have differing beliefs in some ways, we all desire to show the love and grace of Christ to all people not matter what species they may be."

"Hmm," Pope Urban stroked his small goatee. "Tell me more about these preparations…"

Author’s Note: mainly written on my phone. Expect some fixes to errores… etc
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The Commonwealth Christian Preppers Society!
Indeed.Back to topic - minor priests could marry till 11th century,but monks and nuns COULD NEVER DID SO.
So,that would made catholic orders some kind of joke.

But bunker under each church - good idea.Churches was fortified places in medieval Europe after all.
Chapter 84
Chapter 84

Once Shepard had made sure the civilians were on their way, she began moving towards where the Batarians and pirates seemed to be gathering in order to breach the city’s civilian shelters.

As Shepard walked through the city, she happened upon another group of bodies, mixed law enforcement personnel and pirate bodies intermixed on the ground. Spotting a sniper rifle, she kicked it up before sighing as she saw the make and model.

“Fucking HK,” She mumbled as she shouldered the weapon. “I’m glad the Alliance upgraded a while ago.”

Removing the smart scope from the older Alliance surplus rifle, Shephard knelt down as she attached the optic to her Mattock, the software in both the weapon and the newly mounted optic syncing up and allowing her to use it as a DMR.

“Alright,” Shepherd muttered as she peered through the scope to ensure that it was working properly. “Let’s see what else I can use,” Grabbing a pair of sunglasses off of one of the LEOs, she noted they were synced up with his armor, and still displaying status updates.

Using her Omnitool, Shepard broke through the programming and brute forced the sunglasses into connecting with her rifle and Kinetic barrier belt before moving forward at a jog to the shelters.

Spotting a ladder, Shepard began climbing up onto the roof of the building, using the closer-together buildings to boost her speed as she got closer to the sound of gunfire and screams.

Glancing down into the door of the shelter, Shepard was overcome with rage as she saw some pirates driving slave chips into civilians below, the ice pick-looking device being driven in right between some of their eyes.

A faint purple glow took over Shepard as she lifted herself into the air, throwing a Biotic Warp down into the largest group of pirates, her charge detonated her own Warp, sending pirates flying and entirely disintegrating several of them as Shepard rolled to her feet, almost casually shooting the pirate holding a civilian as a hostage before turning and killing the remainder of this squad.

“Fucking slavers!” Shepard spat as she noticed that only a few of the civilians were still alive. “Did they breach the shelter?” She asked the lone Asari quivering in fear as she held a human child behind her.

“Yes,” the Asari said as she shook, still trying to understand what was going on.

“Get into one of the building’s bathrooms, lock the door, and wait for Alliance personnel,” Shepard ordered as she moved down into the shelter at a sprint, her biotics glowing as she used some of her powers to enhance her speed, reaching a Krogan and turning him into paste as she fired a handful of shots at the rest of the pirates in this particular shelter, the high caliber rounds killing them in a few bursts.

“Thanks for the save,” A half-dressed police officer says as he gets up from where he had just been shoved to the ground. “We tried to shut the shelter in time, but they beat us to it.”

“How many people you got in here?” Shepard asked as she sagged a bit in exhaustion before she seemed to just push the tiredness away.

“Just over five hundred in this shelter,” the cop replied. “Not many of us cops or militia managed to get in here to set up proper defenses. I’m not up to date on the other shelters yet.”

“You got a spare comms device?” Shepard asked. “I need to find out if the John Adams is still up there and got a message out.”

“We’ve got a few,” the cop replied. “I’ll see what I can scrounge up for you.”

“Thanks,” Shepard said as she walked with the officer. “Got a sidearm I can borrow as well?”

“We’ll open up the armory,” the officer replied. “You got a name, red?”

“Shepard,” the Staff Lieutenant replied. “Thanks for the help.”

“Here they come,” Shepard muttered as she spied the drive flares of a bunch of pirate shuttles beginning to settle down on the outskirts of the city. “Let’s see about making this place hell for them.”

Going prone down on top of the building, Shepard began firing shots at the pirates, taking out one or two at a time before allowing her shots to stop so they didn’t locate her position. Then, sending out a burst transmission from her Omnitool, a series of charges detonated and killed the rest of the first wave while also piling up rubble that would prevent them from moving more vehicles into the city via a ground insertion.

“Keep us moving!” Commander Ackerson ordered as he quickly typed in some calculations. “We’re going to have to swing around and use the gas Giant for a slingshot maneuver.”

“Sir, our hull isn’t designed to operate that close to that kind of pressure,” the pilot reported.

“Well, we’re about to find out, aren’t we?” Ackerson asked as they narrowly dodged another round from one of the trio of pirate frigates that was chasing the John Adams.

“That was way too close, sir! We just had a round skip off of our barriers, we’re down to twenty percent strength!”

“Get us more from the reactor, and redirect extra power to the rear of the ship,” Ackerson said calmly. “We might burn this ship out, but we’re making sure these pirates don’t get the satisfaction of killing us and taking more slaves.”

“Redirecting, aye sir,” the officer replied.

“Nearing the gas giant now,” the pilot reported. “I hope you know what you’re doing sir.”

“So do I, Ensign,” Ackerson muttered under his breath as he double-checked his calculations before sending them to the pilot. “Math checks out, we should survive this, if my calculations are wrong then we’re going to be dead and not even know it.”
Chapter 85
Chapter 85

Ducking back behind cover, Jane watched as the rounds from the pirates dug into the concrete wall behind her, flinching slightly at the shards that nearly hit her face.

“Get her!” a pirate captain yelled as he stood behind the group that Jane was engaged with. “We’ve been hunting this witch for days now, and she can’t escape us.”

“Boss, she’s already killed most of us, you think we should just leave with the loot we already have?” A Turian asked.

“No, she has to pay for what she’s done to us,” the captain growled as he flexed his biotics. “We’re the last crew left, and we’re going to make sure we leave with a trophy.”

Popping up from cover, Shepard began firing her Mattock as fast as she could squeeze the trigger, her first three rounds breaking the pirate captain’s barriers and taking off his head before she ducked down again to avoid return fire.

“You could leave now!” Shepard offered. “Just give up the slaves you’ve already taken and I’ll let you leave.”

“Nice try!” a Batarian replied. “But we aren’t idiots, you’ve killed all of us you’ve encountered, even the ones that tried to surrender.”

“Well, I gave them the opportunity,” Shepard muttered to herself as she took a deep breath, her biotics flaring as she used the last of her energy to toss a Warp into the middle of the group of pirates, drawing them in as she picked the pirates off that she could before her biotics collapsed, leaving her gasping for breath again as she ducked back down behind cover again while sucking in as much oxygen as she could.

“Running low on energy?” A gruff Krogan voice asked as he and the other remaining pirate moved up. “You did good, but I think you’re done now.”

Grabbing a grenade from the scraps of her hoodie pocket, Shepard tossed the disc out and triggered the detonation as it stuck to the Krogan, diving backward as she broke his barriers just before the explosion took him out.

“Wait, I give up,” the last remaining pirate pleaded as he dropped his shotgun and knelt down. “I don’t wanna die.”

“Should have chosen a different career then,” Shepard muttered as she executed the Salarian, collapsing back onto the ground, looking up as shuttles began descending from the heavens.

“Hehe,” Shepard began laughing. “Now you show up after the fighting’s done,” She closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, confident that she had done what needed to be done.

“She’ll never fly again, sir,” the pilot reported as the John Adams drifted in space, emergency power the only thing keeping the remaining crew alive.

“I know, Ensign,” Ackerson said as he looked out the viewscreen at the three dead pirate ships out in the void. “But we did our job. Now it’s up to the Alliance to get here in time.”

“Our beacon’s already out,” the sensors officer reported. “And they should have gotten our transmission at the beginning of this, they should be here anytime now.”

“How much air do we have?” Ackerson asked.

“About two hours left, sir.”

“Get everyone into hardsuits,” Ackerson ordered. “They have their own backup air supply and scrubbers, we should be able to hold out for a few hours after the ship’s air supply is out.”

“Do you think the Alliance will get here in time?” the young pilot asked.

“They should,” Ackerson reassured him. “But I want us in our hardsuits just in case.”

Standing up from the captain’s chair, Ackerson moved to the hardsuit lockers and began passing out hardsuits to the bridge crew, assisting them in putting them on as needed until they were all outfitted in the void-rated armor.

“Where’s your hardsuit, Commander?” the sensors officer asked.

“It seems that in their infinite wisdom, Alliance NAVCOM only issued enough suits for the bridge crew,” Ackerson joked with a wry grin. “They just didn’t include the captain of the ship in their numbers,” holding up a hand he staved off the rest of the conversation. “I have a backup hardsuit in my quarters, I can go get it at any point that I deem it necessary.”

“But sir, that area is exposed to the void, there’s no atmosphere there!”

“I know that Lieutenant,” Ackerson replied. “But the Alliance needs more men and women like you, and fewer old men like me. I’ve served my time, and I’m set to retire anyway. This was just my last run before recommending Staff Lieutenant Shepard for Lieutenant Commander.”

“Commander, you’re not going out there? Are you?”
“I would rather not die to the void today,” Ackerson replied. “But we can’t open the bulkhead doors to get me a suit without sacrificing me anyway, so if it’s necessary for rescue you will open the doors and get out anyway, you understand?”

“Aye, sir,” a noncom said as she stood at attention for a moment, a salute at her brow. “I’ll make sure it gets done if it comes to that.”

“Staff Lieutenant Shepard,” a voice said as the N7 operative drifted back from the dark of consciousness. “You care to explain what happened here?”

Shepard jolted upright, yanking the IV out of her vein and looking around the room with a wild look in her eye, ready to kill someone or something before her brain processed where she was.

“You might want to keep that IV in,” the Alliance Intelligence operative said with a smile. “You’re not in any trouble, we’re just here to debrief you.”

“She’s not fit for conversation at the moment, sir,” a navy nurse glared at the man in the black suit and sunglasses. “She basically ran through all of her fat reserves while using her biotics and her body had started eating her muscle tissue as well. That she’s able to move right now is nothing short of a miracle.”

“And, as an Alliance Physician, I have ultimate authority over my patients,” a balding man stepped into the room. “You can have a written report when I’m satisfied that this woman is capable of handling it. Until then, you can see yourself out. I’m sure there are plenty of people who might need your help around here after all.”
Chapter One Hundred and Seventeen: Spartans Never Die, They're just Missing In Action
Chapter One Hundred and Seventeen: Spartans Never Die, They're just Missing In Action
Sian, June 18th, 3026

Far into the asteroid belt of the Solar system of Sian, half of a ship floated. This ship was pockmarked with dents from asteroid impacts and micrometeorites. And on this day, something changed. A long dormant fusion reactor flickered to life, and what lights were left began to power on. And hidden away in a section of this ship was the lone room that was occupied.

As the Master Chief woke up, he noted that the Freezerburn was worse than it had been before. Then, with a grunt he mentally set aside the pain and tried to open his Cryo pod. When it refused to respond to his prompts he decided to try something else. Grabbing the handle in order to open the pod, he gave it a sharp tug, breaking the seal on the pod and causing the door to raise open.

"Cortana," The Chief's gravelly voice echoed inside of his own helmet. "What's the situation?"

"Hey Chief," Cortana's Hologram appeared above the pedestal. "If you're watching this then it's been too long, and we were never rescued. I prerecorded a series of messages and left all of the files that you could potentially need in a series of files on your chip." The recording gave a sad smile.

"You said to wake you up when I needed you, but if I had done that we would have both died a long time ago." The hologram paced a bit back and forth. "I left a series of hacking runtimes and algorithms that you can use via your hud and Neural Lace. But my effective lifespan was already over by the time you rescued me from the Gravemind."

"I'm sorry that it has to be this way John, but by the time you see this, I will be gone." Cortana's message sighed. "There's just enough power for you to get to the remaining Pelican in the bay, from there it's all up to you."

The Chief just stood there silently. The Green Giant doing his level best to process what was going on.

Pulling the AI chip out of his helmet, he loaded it into the pedestal and issued the commands necessary to load what was left of Cortana's mind into the chip.

Turning around, he grabbed the magnum that had fallen to the ground when the artificial gravity powered back on, and the MA5C ICWS that was in the weapons slot of the Cryo Pod and attached them to the magnetic strips on his Mjolnir Mk. VI

Now that he had more weapons than just his fist he focused on his next problem. There was one Pelican dropship left in the Forward unto Dawn's bays. And he needed to ensure that it was fueled up and stocked with enough supplies to make it to wherever he needed to head next.

But first, he checked the sensors that the Dawn had left in order to see if there were any sort of habitable planet in the general vicinity.

Consulting what was left of the ships computers, he combed through the sensor data. After an hour of rapidly going through the data, he realized that the second planet in the system was habitable. Now that he had a location, he could begin plotting the trip.

June 19th, 3026

The Chief kept on loading the Pelican with everything he thought might be necessary for the weeklong journey to the second planet of the system. With a heavy grunt, he shoved the last crate into the troop bay of the dropship. Stepping around the supplies he had gathered, The Chief made his way to the cockpit where he sealed up the bay and powered the Pelican on.

Once he had moved the Dropship out of the bay and plotted a course for the autopilot the Chief unsealed his helmet and grabbed the MRE that he had grabbed for a meal.

With a heavy sigh, the Chief leaned back in the chair and heated up his food. He would be here for a while after all.

June 27th, 3026

"This is Sierra One One Seven, is there anyone out there?" The Chief broadcast from the Pelican as he surveyed the seemingly abandoned cities and factories.

Seeing as he hadn't seen any signs of life aside from the surrounding vegetation the Chief decided to start with the Palace complex he had seen while searching the place.

Making sure that all of his seals were intact, the Chief put his helmet back on and sealed it with a quick twist. Then, he took the Pelican off of autopilot and descended down into the courtyard of the Palace to see what remained of the civilization that was once here.

Grabbing his rifle off of his back, the Chief calmly sealed the Pelican back up and began to walk up the steps to the entrance. He was going to find out what happened here, one way or another.

Walking into the front doors, the Chief noted that the lights were still on, and that any automated systems should still be operational. It was then that he saw it. The first thing to give him pause. There was a dead man sitting in the entryway, he was holding a rifle of some kind and had been dead for at least two weeks if not more.

Walking over to the Corpse, the Chief began to go over it. It was clearly human, and had writings on the uniform that were in a dialect of Chinese that he didn't recognize, and the rifle had a caliber marking on it that he didn't have any remembrance of ever having seen before.

Kneeling down, the chief looked to see if he could figure out what killed the man, because it was not any sort of weapon that he could see. Then, he heard a noise deeper inside of the palace complex. In front of two doors that were two stories tall there was something moving. A heavy thud sound echoed through the corpse filled halls and the Chief began to move into the shadows. From the two heavy doors emerged what looked like a trash can with legs, and it was tall too.

Turning its torso side to side, the massive behemoth began to examine every aspect of the room before spying the Chief, then the barrel of the massive gun that was mounted began to start tracking him. Moving forward in a burst of speed, the Chief did the opposite of what most people expected and ran towards the enemy machine. Using his augmented muscles and the enhancements that the Mjolnir granted him, he leapt up to grab ahold of the leg, and used it to vault himself up onto the top of the walking trash can. Seeing a hatch on the top of the machine, the Chief yanked it open brutally to see a human operating the machine cussing him out in a dialect of Chinese that he didn't know before he swapped to English.

"What happened here?" The Chief asked in his rough voice. "And who are you?"

"I'm the only one fucking left, and now I'm going to die too!" The man began to wail. "The Chancellor, he released a bioweapon of some kind, I only survived because I was training in my family's Urbanmech when it happened. Everyone was infected, and they all died weeks ago. I was the only one left until you showed up, and now I'm dead too." The man sobbed into his own hands. "I don't know what the chancellor had the Maskirovka cook up, but whatever it was, it lingers, and unless you stay environmentally sealed then you die just like everyone else."

"How long do you have?" The Chief asked.

"A week." The man finally calmed down. "I'll be dead by the end of the week unless you're some sort of super scientist underneath that faceplate of yours."

"I'm not a scientist." The Chief replied. "But maybe we can find their research and see if they developed a cure."

"What did you think I was doing?!" The man asked in a wail.

"Stomping around in a giant trash can." The Chief stated bluntly. "It doesn't seem very useful."

"There's a perfectly valid reason for the Urbanmech to exist." The man protested.

"That gun would go better on a tank." The Chief said bluntly. "Now, let's go see what there is underneath this palace."

Author's note: just realized I forgot some apocryphal chapters from BOTH. Expect two more to follow this. I’m
Chapter One One Seven: Continued
Chapter One One Seven: Continued

June 27th, 3026

"Stay behind me." The Master Chief told the frightened man. "We don't know what may lurk down in the bunker underneath the palace."

"I'm pretty sure it's death." The man replied. "Because I was the only person alive on this planet."

"You'll make it." The green giant responded with his gravelly voice as he continued exploring the deserted and corpse filled halls of the Celestial Palace.

"You don't know that!" The man said as he trailed behind the armored man. "You don't even know my name!"

"It's Zhang Li." The Chief replied simply. "You're wearing a nametag."

The duo proceeded to move on, finally finding an elevator that led to the depths of the palace. Seeing the Elevator, the Chief immediately turned and headed for the stairs.

"The power is on dumbass," Li said. "We can take the elevator."

"No, we're taking the stairs." The Chief replied as he began his descent. "More safe that way."

"What do you mean safer?" Li asked. "It's coming when called just fine, see?" The elevator reached their floor and the doors opened, but before Li could step in, a shaped charge detonated on the elevator cable, causing the counterweight to disintegrate, and the elevator to fall to the bottom floor. A loud crash echoed up to the opened elevator doors before they gave a small "Ding" before closing again.

"Wait for me!" Li called as he began to follow in the Master Chief's footsteps, and then paused to see that the giant of a man was already five flights of stairs down from himself. "How do you move so quickly?"

The Chief just stared at the man for a second behind his golden visor before continuing his trek down the stairs.

"The door is locked electronically." Li told the Chief. "Just leave me alone so I can die in peace."

The Master Chief just gave him a look before turning to the locked door. Running some calculations through his head he drew his MA5C from his back and removed the magazine from it. Racking the charging handle and catching the round, he placed the 7.62x51mm round back into the magazine before inserting a magazine with a large S written on it in what looked like a silver marker. "Cover your face and eyes." He commanded as he racked the weapon to chamber a round. Firing into the wall around the door, the concrete began to fall apart and eventually the power source to the door was revealed. Placing the now empty magazine into his pouch, the Chief reloaded before placing the MA5C back onto the magnetic strip on his back. Grabbing his combat knife, the 36.58cm blade made up of a hyper dense alloy had no trouble slicing through the power conduit keeping the door shut. Sheathing his knife once again, the Chief grabbed the doors that had been previously held together by some sort of advanced hydraulics and began to force them open.

"How the fuck did you do that?" Li asked with his jaw stuck open in awe.

"Classified." The Master Chief responded as he walked through the now opened doors.

"How far down does this thing go?" Li asked as they continued to descend into the bunker underneath the palace. "You could keep thousands of people here and with those hydroponics bays we saw earlier be able to feed them too."

'There are two more floors until we reach the bottom." The Chief responded.

"How do you even know that? You've never even set foot in this bunker until now!" Li once again was upset at his companion.

"There was a map at the entrance to the bunker" The Chief responded. "You were too busy admiring the artwork on the way in."

"And you memorized said map?" Li asked incredulously.

"Yes." The Chief said as he continued to move on through the bunker. "The research area was two levels above us."

"Then why didn't we stop there?!" Li asked.

"We haven't cleared the entire area yet." The Chief responded. "And someone is watching us through the cameras."

"Why didn't you say something earlier?!" Li began to freak out.

The Chief didn't say anything as they rounded the corner and proceeded down the last two flights of stairs.

When they reached the bottom, they found another set of locked doors, this set even more ornate and gaudy than the rest of the doors in the underground bunker.

"Is that a gold plated door?" Li asked. "Why would you have a gold plated door as a security barrier? That doesn't make much sense."

"It's not designed to keep anyone out." The Chief said as he walked forward and pushed the button that caused the doors to slide open.

A man stood on the other side of the door with a mad grin on his face and a massive laser rifle in his hands raised and pointed at the Master Chief. With a squeeze of the trigger, a beam lanced out and then promptly vanished against the Chief's shields. Moving forward, the Chief grabbed the rifle and forced it upwards, diverting the path of the laser into the ceiling before he pulled it out of the other man's hands and broke it into two pieces. Then he grabbed the much smaller man and threw him to the ground and stood over him with his own rifle pointed at the man's face.

"Stand down." The Chief commanded.

"Or what?" The man asked with a mad grin on his face. "You'll kill me?"

"Yes Chancellor, he will." Zhang Li said. "Now, I hope that you have a cure for the stupid disease or virus that you unleashed on us or I'll pull the trigger myself1"

"A cure? Why would I have them make a cure for something that I wanted to kill off everyone on the planet?" The man cackled. "Everyone will die! And when the Davions get here I'll make sure there's nothing left to salvage!"

The man kept laughing hysterically and didn't stop until a single shot rang out. Zhang Li lowered a smoking pistol and slowly dropped to his knees. "I'm dead, but that doesn't mean that others are going to have to die for this."

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