Chapter 88
Chapter 88

“Sir!” the Sensors officer called out as the fleet entered the Utopia system.

“What is it, Ensign?” Anderson asked.

“There are no transmissions coming from Eden Prime,” The Ensign reported. “And there’s some sort of superdreadnought sitting in orbit over the main colony. Wait one,” the Ensign navigated a few controls. “We’ve got a lone signal coming through, it’s a distress call on the standard Alliance frequencies. It’s heavily distorted. I’m rerouting it to Comms so they can do their best to clean it up.”

“Let me know when you have something,” Anderson sighed before activating his Omnitool and patching into FLEETCOM. “All hands, prepare for combat. Normandy and the other ground troops, prepare for drop onto the battlefield.”

“I’ve got the transmission cleared up,” the Comms officer reported. “Patching it through to external speakers now.”

“This is Lieutenant Commander Kaiden Alenko of the 212,” the video played as the Officer ordered around a platoon of Alliance Marines. “Operations Chief Ashley, I want you to get the Machine guns up and running, we have to hold this position at all costs.”

“Copy that sir,” the NCO responded. “Jenkins! Move your ass!”

“The Lieutenant Commander turned back to the comms device. “We are under heavy assault from unknown enemies, we’ve got a few platoons left, but that won’t last long. This message is set to repeat until the comms center is down.”

The video panned upward and showed the underside of the superdreadnought, showing that there were escorts in the form of a handful of frigates and cruisers.

“Sorry sir,” the Comms officer replied. “That’s where the message ends.”

“Get us angled properly,” Anderson ordered. “We’re taking the fleet in at top speed, but I don’t want anything to hit Eden Prime. And get me a link to Captain Shepard.”

“Aye sir!” the comms officer responded as her hands flew across the controls. “You’re in contact now.”

“Admiral,” the calm voice of the N7 Captain responded. “I take it I’m supposed to take the Normandy into stealth mode and deploy my ground forces?”

“You’d be correct in that assumption,” Anderson replied. “The 212 is on the ropes and they need someone to tag in and help them out.”

“Then we’re on the move,” Shepard replied as she turned and faced her bridge crew. “Joker, I want us on Eden Prime Yesterday.”

“Warping time to get us there early, Aye ma’am,” Joker snarked as the Normandy disappeared off of the sensors and began moving as fast as its engines could towards the planet “up” from them.

“Godspeed, Captain,” Anderson said as he cut off the channel and began running some calculations on the built-in datapad on his captain’s chair. “Get everyone into their hardsuits, we’re venting atmosphere now and moving at flank speed to engage the enemy.”

“Alright, people, it’s time to show what we’re made of,” Garrus said to the platoon of Turian Black Watch members that he was in command of. “Hey Steiner, I hope you’re able to keep up.”

“I think you’ll find,” Arthur tucked his helmet down on his head and sealed it, polarizing the visor as he did so. “That it is you who will need to keep up.”

“Settle down,” Captain Shepard said as she entered the cargo bay where the mixed group of soldiers were prepping to go into combat. “We’re dropping you off about a klick from the city and Prothean Beacon that we were supposed to be picking up. We traced the 212’s transmission from around that location and we want to relieve them if at all possible. Due to none of you having Alliance Authority, I will be coming with you to issue orders to any Alliance Personnel that we encounter, with my XO Commander Pressly having command of the Normandy until the op is done.”

“Just us?” Hazen asked as she slammed a magazine into her weapon and checked the chamber. “That’s piss poor odds for the other guys.”

“Agreed,” Wiso said with a sigh as she sheathed her various knives onto her person before ensuring her shotgun and rifle were slung onto her back. “There is no trophy that is worth it if the enemy is weak.”

“Striking your enemies when they are weak is the mark of a successful operation,” Kordak said as he hefted the LMG that was his main weapon, a heat sink stored into a massive backpack that was hooked into the hump of his armor. “If you only desire to fight when they are strong then someone has failed in their duty.”

“Bring it in!” Shepard called out, the armor with the N7 logo seeming to fit her much better than the duty uniform she had been wearing previously. “Garrus, I want you and the Black Watch to ensure that we’re covered from all angles while the Commonwealth spooks run force recon. I trust you two know how to work together.”

“Wouldn't be the first time we’ve run recon for Vakarian,” Hazen said with a smirk. “We’ll handle it.”

“Drop is in 120 Mikes, Captain,” Joker reported. “You might want to hustle, I’m seeing lots of action down there.”

“Steiner, you drop first, we’re right behind,” Shepard ordered.

“Alpha-Nine, move!” Arthur ordered as the ramp lowered and the Terminus Commonwealth forces jumped out of the ship as it lowered itself through the atmosphere, flaring their jump jets to slow their descent as they began to piece together what the state of the ground environment was.

“Hazen, Wiso, I want you two on overwatch,” Arthur ordered as he indicated a hill. “Set up shop while Pockastar goes in and gets a closer look at the beacon and the 212. Hatfield, Kordak, you’re with me.”

“Sitrep, Alpha-Nine,” Shepard asked as she and the Turian platoon moved through what looked like farmland.

“You’ve got some drones ahead of you,” Hazen reported before two sharp cracks echoed in the air. “Way forward is clear. There’s a cluster of buildings ahead, I’m not seeing any tangos though.”

“Copy that, we’re moving forward,” Shepard replied as they heard short bursts of gunfire over the hill.

“Belay that last statement,” Hazen reported. “I’ve got Alliance Marines fighting someone I can’t make out clearly.”

“You heard the lady,” Garrus said as he started moving forward rapidly. “We’ve got some Alliance Marines that need rescuing!”

The group rounded the corner and witnessed a biotic detonation that killed off the attackers that the Marines were dealing with.

“This is Operations Chief Williams, Identify!” A voice came from behind them, a barrel pointing out of a perfectly concealed position.

“Captain Jane Shepard N7,” Shepard replied. “We’re here to help.”

“You’re from the government,” Ashley snarked. “That just means I should be more scared.”

“Leave the Captain alone, Chief Williams,” A male voice said from the position ahead. “Captain, I’m Lieutenant Commander Alenko, we’re glad that the Alliance got our distress call, but we’ve been here fighting for almost a week now. We’re nearly out of ammo blocks and our food rations are low as well.”

“We’ve got a whole battlegroup here to assist,” Shepard said as she looked around at the two platoons of exhausted Alliance Marines. “Anything you can tell me about what happened here?”

“Well, it all started earlier this week…”
Chapter 89
Chapter 89

"Alright, people, Commander Alenko here says that the enemy has relocated the beacon to the spaceport for transit off-world," Shepard said both in person and over the comms. "We've got to get there and stop it while the rest of the marines and soldiers in our battlegroup are deployed to handle the bad guys."

"Shifting to recon and cover the approach to the spaceport," Arthur replied. "Alpha-Nine, you heard the lady, move!"

"Now, you're certain these were Asari supplemented by robots and zombies?" Shepard asked. "Can you clarify robots a bit more?"

"Pretty sure," Williams replied. "Though they did have some odd cybernetics on 'em and the robots looked a bit like someone tried to make Mechs like the Commonwealth's, only smaller in size. "

"You copy, Alpha-Nine?" Shepard asked.

"Heard, Ma'am," Hazen responded as the crack of a sniper rifle echoed in the distance. "The way forward should be clear aside from a few stragglers."

"212, you can move with us or we can leave you here for some R&R. Choice is yours."

"Don't know about the rest of these guys," Williams grinned. "But I'm itching for some payback. I'm coming with."

"I'll leave a squad here to assist," Garrus spoke up, the mercenary issuing a few orders to his company. "The rest of us are moving up."

"On you, lead," a Turian said with a nod.

"Alright, I want team three to remain here and assist the 212, the rest of you, we're moving up!"

The company of Turians began moving down the path, assisted in the short firefights they got into by short cracks of a pair of sniper rifles off in the distance.

"Thanks for the assist, Alpha-Nine," Garrus said after a handful of sniper shots took out two Asari that tried to Charge them.

"Shepard, we've got the pathway to the spaceport's tram cleared, you might want to get over here," Garrus reported.

"Copy that," Shepard's voice responded. "I'm bringing the 212 with me, and they're going to hold down the tram station while we push up."

"That Superdreadnaught isn't moving sir," the captain of the cruiser Tenochtitlan reported. "But they've got quite a few escorts moving to engage."

"Have our frigates move up and wolfpack up their heavier ships, the Tenochtitlan and the Madrid will target their smaller ships while their bigger ones are harassed, we'll move on from there," Anderson ordered. "All units use discretion when firing, we don't want to hit Eden Prime."

The small battlegroup shifted, the small group of frigates splitting into two groups of three while the two cruisers and lone carrier began moving to their positions.

"All hands, get your hardsuits on and prepare to vent the atmosphere," the Captain of the Tenochtitlan ordered. "Admiral, you might want to do the same."

"Copy," Anderson said as he stripped off his duty uniform, the underlayment of the hardsuit being underneath. "Doing so now," he grabbed his hardsuit out of the footlocker behind his chair and began putting it on and sealing it up. "I'm sealed, begin sending relevant data to my suit as well as omnitool."

"Aye sir," the sensors officer began running a patch through to the Admiral's suit and omnitool.

"Good, now start running the numbers necessary to get the first shots off, we need to prevent these guys from maneuvering," Anderson ordered.

"Alright 212, we're moving on," Shepard said to the small group that remained of the formation of the Marines. "You think you can hold here?"

"We're set, Captain," Lieutenant Commander Alenko replied. "Thanks for the assist."

"Alpha-Nine, what's your status?" Shepard asked.

"We're on approach to the Spaceport now," Arthur relayed. "Expect more numbers of those bots than before."

"Copy that," Shepard responded. "Garrus, you hear the good news?"

"We heard," Garrus said with a laugh. "Hey Alpha-Nine, the one with the least amount of kills buys the drinks when we get leave again."

"You're on," Hazen laughed. "Good luck and try not to eat our dust."

"We've got bots!" Garrus said to his company of Black Watch members as they moved off of the train, the biotics creating shields to hide behind as the rest of them moved up under the cover generated.

Shepard moved up behind them, and the small handful of 212 members that wanted to fight fell in line behind her.

"Alright, let's get a move on, that Superdreadnaught in the sky is making me worried, so let's roll this up and get back to the Normandy, I don't want to stick around and find out what kind of fire support missions that thing can bring to bear."

"Agreed, ma'am," Arthur said as he descended from one of the roofs with his jump jets, the rest of Alpha-Nine behind them. "We're right behind you."

The mixed group then moved forward, the Black Watch members taking point while the Commonwealth Special Forces soldiers took out the more specialized units, what was left of the 212 and Shepard taking what was left.

"Beacon should be up and to the left, if it's still here, ma'am," Chief Williams reported. "It's the loading dock."

"You heard the lady, move!" Shepard barked.

"Ma'am, I've got readings consistent with nuclear devices," Pockastar reported, the Batarian hitting a few buttons on his omnitool before switching over to his slate. "I'd like to take a team and work on disarming them, if those things go off, none of us are going to be here anymore."

'Take what you need," Shepard responded. "Just make sure that those things don't go off!"

"You got it," the Batarian winked with two of its four eyes with an unpolarized visor before grabbing a handful of 212 members to act as escorts.

"You're with me," the Batarian said as he grabbed the Alliance members.

"But what if the nuke goes off?" one of them protested.

"Then none of us will know it," another one slugged the one that protested in the shoulder. "Because we'll just be the first ones vaporized. "Now, where do you need me, four eyes?"

"Just watch my back," Pockastar said with a shrug. "I'd do this alone but my team would probably have my hide."

"Damn right!" Arthur said as he killed a couple of the miniature mechs that had begun swarming them. "You're not allowed to die until I give the authorization."

"I'll do my best boss, but no promises!" The Batarian smirked under his helmet as he moved under fire to the first nuke. "Disarming the first nuke now!"

"Don't fuck it up!" Garrus snarked.

"If I do, none of us will know that I did!" The Batarian said right back. "Now shut the hell up and let me focus!"

The Batarian began interfacing with the nuke's attached arming device, quickly breaking it down and shutting down the potential for use as a weapon.

"Alright, first Nuke's disarmed, only five more to go," Pockastar reported. "I'll update as necessary."

"Let's go," the bigger of the two Alliance Marines shifted in front of the lithe Batarian. "I'll draw fire, you just do your job."

Pockastar just nodded, seemingly shifting into a combat trance as he moved into cover next to the closest nuke and began rapidly going through commands on his omnitool and slate.

"Second nuke down, but they're on a timer, I've got less than five minutes to get the rest of them disarmed.

"Team 2, I want you to move to disarm nukes, you've got the most experienced techs," Garrus ordered as Alpha-Nine switched out almost seamlessly, taking their place in the formation and continuing to push past the enemy crossfire.

After moving from cover to cover, the last of the nukes were disarmed while the Black Watch held fast, the group moving forward and clearing out the last of the resistance at the same time they heard the call.

"Nukes are down," Pockastar reported. "We're clear to proceed."

Author's note: Apologies for the Hiatus, but this fic is now resuming the regularly scheduled programming.
Chapter 90
Chapter 90

“Vakarian, I want the area around the beacon cleared for a twenty-meter radius!” Shepard barked once they had cleared the area. “No one comes inside of that perimeter until we get some qualified techs or scientists to examine that thing.”

“Let’s move,” Garrus began directing the Black Watch company to their respective positions. “Team one has the North side, the rest of you divide into a direction and lock this location down.”

Normandy, the Superdreadnaught is leaving our position,” Shepard reported as the giant ship began leaving the atmosphere. “What’s the situation in the void?”

“Captain, they just tore apart one of our cruisers and some of our frigates before bypassing us and heading for the Relay,” Pressly responded.

“See if you can follow them,” Shepard responded. “Stay in stealth as long as possible though, we’ll get picked up by one of the other frigates until then.”

“Aye ma’am,” Pressly replied. “Joker, I want you right behind that cruiser, if we’re in the right spot we might be able to expel our heat before entering the Relay.’

“Captain Shepard, this is Rear Admiral Anderson, do you copy?”

“This is Shepard, we read you loud and clear,” Shepard responded as her Omnitool glowed orange. “Alpha-Nine and what’s left of the 212 are beginning to clear out any remnants that were left in the colony while the rest of us lock down the beacon.”

“We’re dispatching the Gettysburg to pick you up,” Anderson informed the captain. “So you might want to call them back, we’re bringing the 212 with us from now on, and the Alliance is dispatching reinforcements, they’ll be in the system within twelve hours.”

“Understood, sir,” Shepard said as she ducked into an office so she could speak more privately. “We’ve got the beacon locked down, but it seems that whoever was here turned it on before we got here, I recommend that we find an expert on this sort of thing before continuing.”

“The Council is sending one of their experts,” Anderson replied. “We have some reports to file, and a whole lot of red tape to wade through in the meantime.”

“Any word back from the Normandy?” Shepard asked. “I figured they’d have reported back by now.”

“They lost them a couple of relays ago,” Anderson sighed. “I called them back, but it’ll be a while before they arrive at the system. So I’m sending them on ahead to scout out the relays we’ll be using in the future until we rendezvous.”

“Understood,” Shepard said into the comms channel. “I’m just eager to get back to my ship.”

“You’ll be back on her soon enough,” Anderson chuckled. “Have your men and women start writing their reports once they’re onboard the Gettysburg, the Council’s going to want that information.”

“Copy that sir,” Shepard sighed. “The paperwork Nazis will get their paperwork.”

“Alpha-Nine, because your people are the least interested in the beacon and what knowledge it might contain, you’re being used as third-party guards until we get some experts here,” Shepard informed the Commonwealth Special Forces that she had been assigned. “I know that you’re normally not used for guard duty and that it’s not exactly within the scope of what you were supposed to do while working in this battlegroup, but needs require it at this time.”

“So we get to stay here until some sort of expert shows up?” Arthur asked with his rifle in hand. “I understand why you picked us. But I’d rather be doing anything but waiting for some stuck-up Asari to come and flash her tits at us and dismiss us with a wave of her hand.”

“Orders are orders,” Shepard rolled her eyes at the slight vulgarity. “And I can always contact the Commonwealth to get them to affirm them if necessary.”

“We’ll comply,” Arthur sighed. “But I’d like some backup if the credentials don’t check out. It’s not like there’s a ton of us here if someone returns to clean up the evidence.”

“What concerned that you aren’t all that you’re made up to be?” Shepard teased a bit.

“Ma’am,” Arthur met her eyes. “We’re damned good at our jobs, but it only takes one mistake in our line of work for everything to fall apart. You of all people should know that.”

I’ll ask for some volunteers to stay and assist,” Shepard offered. “Can’t do a whole lot more than that with the resources I’ve got at the moment.”

“That’s all I can really ask for,” Arthur responded as he shifted, his armor’s black and gold paint scuffed from the day’s work. “We’ll hold her down. Just make sure that we get some sort of actual expert and not a political appointee.”

“I’ll see what I can do,” Shepard smiled. “I can’t make any promises though.”

“Just do what you can,” Arthur polarized his visor back to the gold color that was standard. “We’ll keep the site secure.”

Citadel, two days later….

“We have reviewed the reports submitted by the joint task force,” Benezia stated, her voice echoing slightly in the massive chamber. “And find them hard to believe.”

“If not for data submitted that contained the recordings of ship’s sensors and the remaining orbital satellites would be thrown out as fabrication,” Valern agreed.

“This is a trustworthy group of individuals,” Sparatus took a spot in front of the senior officers that had been gathered. “And while I am retired from office now, I would hope that my judgment is not in question.”

“Of course not,” Benezia assured the Turian. “But all the same, we will be sending a handful of independent investigators along with a Spectre to ensure the safe delivery of the Beacon and its contents.”

“Have already selected proper team,” Valern spoke up. “Your services no longer required.”

“The Commonwealth isn’t going to like this,” Shepard muttered to Anderson once they were secure in the Alliance’s embassy. “And we left a team of their special forces behind to guard the Beacon.”

“It’s out of our hands now, Captain,” Ambassador Udina sighed. “Should they cause an incident it’s on their heads, not ours.”

“Those men and women were under my authority and are my responsibility,” Jane argued. “And they’re about to get blindsided by backroom politics.”

“We know that,” Udina replied. “And I’ve begun communicating the potential scenario using the channels that we have for this sort of thing. The Commonwealth is going to be aware of the situation and will react accordingly.”

“Admiral,” Shepard turned to Anderson. “Request permission to take the Normandy and keep an eye on the situation.”

“Permission granted,” Anderson smirked. “We’ll mark it down as a routine testing of the stealth system after potential strain from the engagement over Eden Prime.”

“I’ll do what I can to blur the lines,” Udina chimed in. “But I’m hamstrung by rules and regs here. So denying any knowledge of this might be my best option.”

“I’ll go collect Sparatus,” Anderson stroked his chin. “He’ll be a valuable asset to have onboard should something political go down.”

“I like it when a plan comes together,” Shepard smirked. “Now, we should probably plan for the worst-case scenario.”

“Agreed,” Udina nodded. “Just not in my office. I need to have some plausible deniability here, after all.”
Worst case scenario? Udina,you are prophet!
Jokes aside - i hope that new technology bring by Commonwealth is enough to stop Reapers.
Chapter 91
Chapter 91

“I hate jobs like this,” Hazen said over the comms channel from her sniper’s nest. “How long does it take for them to have the people that were already supposed to inspect the Beacon board a ship and come straight here?”

“You know why it’s taking so long,” Pockastar chimed in, the Batarian technician hiding somewhere. “It’s a joint project, and the Council is going to try and prove that they have the best experts to look at the Beacon. The Asari will push their way in with some ancient Matriarch who’s been doing this for the last five centuries. The Salarians will cave as long as they can send a member of the STG in who will proceed to have bugged the Asari’s tools.”

“And the Turians?” Kordak asked, the massive Krogan the one blocking the main pathway to the Beacon.

“Bit of a wildcard at the moment,” Pockastar replied. “They’ve been extremely active in galactic affairs over the last decade or so, but with Sparatus retired they could push either way. I just don’t know enough about their new Counselor to give a good analysis.”

“Well, remember to keep your brains on and your mouths shut,” Arthur spoke up from next to Kordak. “The last thing the Commonwealth needs is an intergalactic incident between us and the Asari. Our fleet is still less than a quarter of theirs remember?”

“Yes, they are still sore about losing Ilium,” Wiso’s accented voice said with some laughter in it. “They are not willing to accept their defeat and have been our opponents ever since.”

“One must always stand their ground,” Kordak said quietly. “Especially when it is about your beliefs. For if one is like a small branch, then they are easily blown wherever the wind takes them. But if one is a mighty tree, then firm you will remain.”

“Nice words, but I’m not really sure what they have to do with our current conversation,” Elizabeth snarked. “It’s a nice non sequitur though, I might have to steal it sometime when my parents try to bring up grandkids.”

“Children are a gift,” Kordak replied to Elizabeth. “That you and your people are so fruitful is a blessing that you should not forget. My people would sacrifice nearly anything to have such again.”

“Sorry Kordak,” Elizabeth said after a minute of silence. “I didn’t mean for it to come out that way.”

“All is forgiven,” Kordak laughed. “We are friends are we not? It will take much more for that to cease being the case.”

“Love ya’ big guy,” Elizabeth laughed for a minute before her voice turned serious. “We’ve got an incoming frigate analog. Looks to be Asari in design, be ready for further updates.”

Liara shook with excitement as she waited near the airlock of the Frigate.

“Be patient,” Shiala said as she shook her head with an amused smirk on her face. “Your chance to inspect the Beacon will happen soon.”

“I know,” Liara said as her eyes met her bodyguards. “But this is the first time anyone as young as I am has been allowed to be the expert on such a thing!”
“The youngest for an Asari,” Shiala corrected. “Liara, you are older than many of the other experts that have accompanied us.”

“But they’re all so worldly and experienced,” Liara said as the ramp lowered and the airlock depressurized. “Doctor Jones and Doctor Croft have been out in the field for years!”

“They’re also Human,” Shiala reminded the younger Asari. “And one of them is from the Commonwealth while the other is from the Alliance,” she lowered her voice. “They also don’t seem to get along very well.”

“Listen here, Croft. I respect what you’ve gone through, and even the adventures you have had, but you’re a tomb raider, not an archeologist or anthropologist. I don’t care what your degree says.”

“As if you’re any better,” the woman scoffed. “Most of your exhibits end up repossessed by the government.”

“Foor good reason,” Jones argued. “At least I have exhibits, all of your artifacts are kept in some mansion that you have.”

“See what I mean?” Shiala winked at Liara. “They’ve been like this for the entire journey. I’m halfway tempted to throw them into a room and lock the door.”

“We don’t have time for that,” Liara jolted down the ramp. “To the Beacon!”

“I’m sorry, but you’re not allowed to proceed without the proper authorization,” Arthur said as he stopped a small group of scientists and their guards from moving closer to the Beacon. “Unless I get the go-ahead from the right people we’ll be waiting here for a while.”

“Did you not get any messages about our arrival?” Shiala inquired.

“Ma’am, we’ve not heard anything from the Joint Strike force since they left to deliver their reports,” Arthur explained calmly, his rifle sitting at a non-threatening angle. “It’s possible that our comms gear was messed up during combat, but we’re going to have to request an update just in case. Now, if you’ll go find someplace to stay for the evening, we can return to this in the morning and have everything sorted out.”

“If that is what must be done in order to ensure that we are able to see the beacon then that is what we will do,” Shiala spoke for the group. “Come on then, we shall find a place to stay while they get confirmation that we are indeed the ones who are supposed to be inspecting the Beacon.”

“Pockastar, get in contact with Read Admiral Anderson, I want to make sure that these are the right people before we start shooting,” Arthur ordered.

“Copy that, sending a message now,” the Batarian replied. “Wiso, you want to go dark and follow them, make sure they’re not up to anything that might get us in trouble?”

“I shall follow them from the shadows,” the Quarian disappeared from sight. “And will make you aware of what they intend to do.”

“The rest of you need to hold position,” Arthur ordered. “Hazen, you need to shift so you can cover us properly if we get into a firefight.”

“Give me fifteen to reposition,” Elizabeth replied. “I’m going to have to sanitize my current location.”

“Copy that, will wait for an update,” Arthur said as he moved into position to guard the Beacon properly. “Kordak, go set up the LMG, I want us prepped and ready for if anyone tries something.”

“It shall be done,” the Krogan moved his primary weapon to the designated spot and deployed the bipod. “Let them come.”

“Hopefully it won’t come to that,” Arthur muttered. “But Murphy favors the prepared.”
Chapter 92
Chapter 92

“Arthur, it looks like everything checks out on the guys who tried to gain access to the beacon,” Pockastar informed his CO.“When they come by in the morning they’re authorized to inspect and verify the beacon, and all of its contents.”

“Copy that, standby for watch rotation. We might be at the end of this, but that doesn’t mean we can let our guard down,” Arthur said as he looked around. “If I were going to sabotage any of this I would do it now. So let’s make sure that we’re alert and active. I’m authorizing combat stims if necessary to keep everyone active.”

“Ugh, stims,” Elizabeth said over the comms channel. “Only thing worse than using them in combat is the side effects that kick in when you’re done with the op.”

“If we have to use them then try to use them sparingly,” Kordak cautioned. “I would hate to have to carry you all out on my hump.”

“Just keep on your toes and only use the stims if it becomes necessary. A firefight is the last thing we want to happen around the Beacon,” Arthur said as he moved into the shadows of the night and activated his night vision settings on his helmet. “And remember to cycle through the spectrum, someone might try something crazy.”

“Come on, Shiala!” Liara said as she pulled her bodyguard out of the hotel room they had been staying in. “We’ve got to get to the Beacon.”

“Slow down,” Shiala said as she sipped from a small cup of tea. “I need to finish this before we leave. It is not every day that I am able to sample such a vintage as this.”

Liara then stopped in her tracks as she noticed that there was a small amount of smoke drifting up from where the Beacon’s location had been the day before.

“By the Goddess, no,” Shiala tossed her cup of tea to the ground and began running in the direction of the beacon. “Come child, we must ensure that the Beacon has survived.”

The two Asari ran through the streets to the building where the Beacon had been housed, finding it mostly intact but with signs of an obvious firefight.

“Captain Steiner!” Shiala called out as she unholstered her concealed SMG. “Is everything alright?”

“We’re clear,” a scarred and scuffed Black and Gold armored figure walked out of the entrance. “Just had a few unwelcome guests make an appearance last night.”

“Is the Beacon intact?” Liara asked as she stepped out into the open. “Can I inspect it to ensure that it was not damaged in the process?”

“Go right ahead,” Captain Steiner gestured towards the Beacon. “Be my guest, I’m done with the damned thing.”

“Long night, Captain?” Shiala asked as she leaned up against the wall next to the Commonwealth Special Forces officer.

“You could say that,” He replied. “Now we should probably get in there and make sure that nothing gets broken. We haven’t had anyone get closer than 20 meters aside from the Forklift we used to move the thing.

“Captain! You need to get in here, now!” Elizabeth yelled. “The Beacon’s doing something.”

“Moving!” Steiner bolted into action, Shiala following close behind as they entered the room where the Beacon was only to find Liara suspended in some sort of energy field.

“Don’t touch her,” Shiala told the Commonwealth soldiers. “We don’t know how the Beacon will react to us doing anything.”

The group stood there for a minute or so and then the energy field disappeared and the Beacon started sparking.

“Captain, the power source for the Beacon is overloading. I’m going to try and stabilize it as best as I can,” Pockastar said as he opened his Omnitool and began typing rapidly, His slate appearing in another hand as all four of his eyes focused on different things while his hands did their work. “Alright, Beacon is temporarily stabilized. The Batarian said as he sighed. “But we’re going to need one of those ‘experts’ here to ensure it stays that way.”

“Lisa, go grab those geeks,” Arthur ordered. “Kordak, you’re the medic, check on the Doc and we’ll secure the area. “You want in on making sure the perimeter is clear?” He asked Shiala.

“Yes,” Shiala said as she gestured with her SMG. “I have some questions for you as well.”

“The Beacon was perfectly recovered,” Saren stated. “I have no doubt that they will obtain the same information that you have received.”

“You assured me that the Beacon and everything in the spaceport were going to be destroyed!” the voice roared. “Now, you shall have to pay the price for that failure.”

“I did the best with what I was given,” Saren responded.

“Unfortunately, your best is just not enough,” the very air around the Turian seemed to close in as whispers began moving through his mind. “Now, prepare to experience the power of a true Sovereign.”

Saren felt his body fall to the floor as his vision faded to black.

“Good, you are awake,” An Asari Commando helped the Turian up from the small cot he was laying on. “The Surgery was a success.”

“Surgery?” Saren asked, confusion evident in the way he flared his mandibles.

“Yes, your combat abilities were enhanced as instructed,” the Commando said as she pointed to his arm, now fully cybernetic from his shoulder down.

“I see,” Saren said as his mind screamed. “I assume my Omnitool has been upgraded as well?”

“Indeed,” the Commando smiled. “No expense was spared.”

“Thank you,” Saren muttered. “Now if you will give me a moment to establish a baseline for my new abilities.”

“Of course. Some time to recover and work out how to properly utilize the cybernetics is expected.”

Saren waited until the Commando had left before grabbing the closest thing to him and crushing it in his newly augmented hand.

“Something is wrong here,” He said as he searched his mind for what had happened. “I must try to find a way back to the Council, they must know that I have failed in my mission.”

Then the whispers started again, causing the rational part of his mind to retreat and build walls to protect what was important to him.

“I am done with resting,” Saren said after a minute, his rational mind firmly locked behind the protective barriers. “There is much left to be done.”
So, after getting some much needed advice from a good friend and much better author than I am, I'm going to be making some changes.

1. I'm going to be rewriting Blood on the Horizon.
2. I'm going to be slowly doing the same with my other works.
3. Updates to all of my stories and fanfics will continue, but I'm going to be putting them in a regular update schedule which will be as follows barring vacations and other things.

Mondays will be the BOTH rewrite.
Tuesday will be The Good Tenant
Wednesday goes to Beyond the Horizon
Thursday is War on the Horizon
Friday is my Original fiction.

Saturday and Sunday might go to the rewrites or I might simply rest. It will depend on how I feel on the weekends.
So, after getting some much needed advice from a good friend and much better author than I am, I'm going to be making some changes.

1. I'm going to be rewriting Blood on the Horizon.
2. I'm going to be slowly doing the same with my other works.
3. Updates to all of my stories and fanfics will continue, but I'm going to be putting them in a regular update schedule which will be as follows barring vacations and other things.

Mondays will be the BOTH rewrite.
Tuesday will be The Good Tenant
Wednesday goes to Beyond the Horizon
Thursday is War on the Horizon
Friday is my Original fiction.

Saturday and Sunday might go to the rewrites or I might simply rest. It will depend on how I feel on the weekends.
As long as you continue writing it should be OK.
And beware of rewritting too much,it could kill every story.
Chapter 93
Chapter 93

"She's stable," Kordak sighed as he opened the door to Liara's room. "But I don't have the equipment to diagnose more accurately."

"The experts relocated the beacon onto the Council ship," Shiala said as she sat down by Liara's bedside. "There is room for both your squad and Liara to accompany us to the Citadel."

"I just might take you up on that," Arthur replied. "We're gonna need a ride back anyway."

"I'll also ask that you continue safeguarding Liara," Shiala requested. "It is a short trip to the Citadel, but a Beacon is the sort of target that many would want to acquire."

"We'll keep her safe until we get to the Citadel," Arthur shrugged. "That's all that we can really promise at the moment."

"I shall accept what we can get," Shiala glanced at the lone squad of Asari Commandos.

"Give us an hour to collect our kit," Arthur said. "We'll meet you at the spaceport."

"This everything?" Shiala asked, her head tilted in confusion.

"We've essentially only got what we came in with," Elizabeth said as she dragged a massive crate onto the ship. "This is just what we picked up off of the guys who tried to take the Beacon the other night."

"I must have misheard you," Shiala said as she saw the rest of the Commonwealth squad minus Wiso drag in much larger crates. "This is what you took from the ones who attacked the Beacon?"

"Of course," Wiso's accented voice replied. "Our salvage rights were determined well in advance before we accepted this joint venture."

"The Scientists will love to inspect some of this gear," Pockastar said as he sorted through some Omnitools. "This is some high-end kit, and I'm sure there's a ton of intel to extract from it."

"Don't try to understand it, love," Lara Croft said from where she was leaning up against a wall looking at Dr. Jones speaking to some of the CSF as if they were old friends. "Fucking Commonwealthers are odd. They're nothing like the rest of us respectable Humans."

"Kordak!" Jones laughed as he shook the hand of the massive Krogan. "I haven't seen you since that op on-"

"We do not speak of that day," Kordak nodded at Elizabeth as she covered Dr. Jones' mouth. "Still, it is excellent to speak to you again, I was not aware that you were currently working for the Council."

"I go where the legends take me," Jones replied with a scoff. "And besides, the Commonwealth doesn't need my services currently. When they do, I'll be right back to assist," Jones chewed his lip in thought. "You might say that I'm on 'on loan' to the Council for the time being."

"I think that I'm going to leave them alone," Shiala pinched the bridge of her nose.

"That's probably for the best," Lara turned and walked further into the ship. "Trying to understand those maniacs is the path to madness."

"I'm afraid you'll have to repeat that," Benezia said as she picked glass shards out of her hand. "I believe I misheard you in some way."

"Your daughter is currently unconscious and being transported to the Citadel," the Maiden shivered in fear.

"That's what I thought you said," Benezia turned around as she held her hand out and another Asari dabbed some Medigel onto it. "I will of course require everything that you have on the incident. Immediately."

The Maiden hurried out of the room, her footsteps echoing off in the distance.

"Arrange for secure communications with Shiala," Benezia instructed her aid. "I must find out what happened to Liara."

The servant bowed and vanished off into a side room, leaving the dining room in silence.

"What have you gotten yourself into this time, Little Wing," Benezia muttered as she found another glass and poured some more wine.

"I see," Valern said as he read over the report that an STG agent had just handed him. "Inform the Dalatrasses that I will ensure the plan is carried out to perfection. The chance to seize a Beacon or one exposed to it that the Asari have not had time to fully inspect is too much to pass up on."

"I despise this," Saren muttered as he drove the APC through the biting cold of Noveria, his new arm twitching in pain as he attempted to regain some of his faculties.

"Spectre, we're near the facility now," the Matron assigned to be his overseer said as she peered into the driver's seat.

"I am aware of where we are," the Turian parked and began shutting the wheeled machine down.

The small group exited the APC and moved into the garage of the lab, Saren noting the potential problems if he needed to make an escape.

"There a reason the turrets are pointed inward?" Saren asked. "I thought you were supposed to be keeping people out of this facility, not locking them in."

"There is a reason behind this," the Matron said with a smirk. "And you will understand when you see what it is that we have been studying."

"I dread the very thought," Saren deadpanned as they continued further into the facility.

"You're experimenting, with Rachni?!" Saren roared. "In what galaxy is that a good idea? No, wait, I already know that it's not this galaxy. The one that we're trying to protect!"

"This Rachni possesses knowledge of the Mu relay," the Matron said coldly. "And you will be helping us to obtain that knowledge."

"Oh really?" Saren snarked. "And how exactly am I to accomplish that?! I, unlike some people, cannot meld with the Rachni and pull the information from their minds."

"We are aware of that," The Matron smiled, amusement in her voice. "You are merely here to ensure that she cooperates. I understand that you are a master at obtaining information that people have tried to keep hidden."
"Yes," Saren swore. "With contacts, and bribes, and all sorts of things that people who aren't spirits-damned Asari use to get intelligence and information."

"Your protests are noted," The matron said coldly, the amusement fading from her. "Now, prepare yourself, group melds can be messy, as it were."

"This is not going to work," Saren said with a glare at the Matron who was recovering. "Now, I'm returning to Sovereign, there are better ways for her to make use of my time and expertise."

"You will not find her satisfied with you leaving this task unfinished," the Matron said as she glared back.

"I do not care," Saren replied. "If I am so important to this task, then I will be instructed to come back here. But that can wait until after I have done something besides try to mind-rape a sapient being."

"Do as you wish," the Matron dipped her head. "But you shall face the consequences of your decision."

"Trust me, I'll do that gladly," Saren said as he left the room, the door hissing shut behind him.
Chapter 94
Chapter 94

“Stay on the Asari frigate,” Shepard ordered Joker. “We’ll dump heat before jumping through the relay and continue following via stealth.”

“Aye ma’am,” Joker swung the Normandy around to stay close to the Asari ship. “You worried about the Commonwealth squad?”

“No,” Shepard shook her head. “I’m worried some third party will want to take the Beacon. So we’re going to be their invisible shield and sword.”

“Asari ship is through,” Joker reported. “Dumping heat in five, four, three, two, one. The stealth systems are now off, and the heat transfer status is in the optimum safety guidelines. Zorah, how does the core look?”

“We are ready to engage the stealth systems when required,” the Quarian replied. “But you would only have an hour or so if we did it now. Let us dump the rest of this heat and I’ll see what we can do to get you more time in stealth mode.”

“How long will dumping the rest of the heat take?” Shepard asked.

“Approximately five minutes or so, Captain,” Engineer Adams broke in. “We might want to consider submitting a report to R&D on our field tests so far. They might have some solutions to the heating problem by now.”

“I’ll be sure to look into it,” Shepard responded. “Let us know when we’re clear to hit the relay.”

“Aye, ma’am,” Adams replied. “We’ll make sure you know.”

“Asari frigate looks clear,” the sensors officer reported. “I’m not seeing anything in this system, Captain.”

“Just keep looking,” Shepard said as she looked at the various stations. “And start getting into your hard suits. If we head into combat I’m going to vent atmosphere.”

“Huh, that’s odd,” the sensors officer shook his head at the terminal in front of him.

“What’s odd, Ensign?” Shepard asked.

“I could have sworn that I saw what looked like a ship with a Salarian frigate’s profile a second ago,” he shrugged. “Must have been a sensor ghost.”

“Check it again,” Shepard stated as she patted him on the shoulder. “Make sure, don’t just assume.”

“Checking now, Captain,” his hands flew across the controls. “There’s nothing there. Unless someone else has a Normandy class ship hidden away.”

“I’m sure there are other nations working on similar prototypes,” Shepard agreed. “A Prothean Beacon is the exact sort of thing you break out the prototypes for.”

“Right, Ma’am,” the sensors officer coughed. “I think we’re clear.”

“Just keep your head on a swivel. We’re not going to be on the losing side today.”

“Oh, you’re awake,” Shiala smiled. “We wondered if you would still be unconscious when we reached the Citadel.”

“What happened?” Liara asked. “I remember moving close to inspect the Beacon, and then nothing except for terrible visions,” Liara jolted up. “We have to report to the Council, the Protheans didn’t just leave, they were being attacked by something.”

“We’re on our way to the Citadel now,” Shiala eased Liara back down. “Take some time and get yourself ready. A report like this isn’t anything to take lightly.”

“Yes,” Liara sucked in a breath. “You’re right, I’ll eat something and piece my thoughts together before writing down a report.”

“I must warn you,” Shiala stood up. “The CSF is in the cargo bay. I would suggest caution before engaging with them. They have a tendency to be… Rowdy, to put it in the most polite way.”

“I should probably still meet with them,” Liara said as she rose to her feet. “I assume they are somewhat responsible for me still being alive?”

“They did help us in making sure that you remained secure,” Shiala agreed. “So it would be proper to show them the proper gratitude.”

“Please inform the Commonwealth Special Forces that I would like to dine with them once I am suitably recovered,” Liara nodded at Shiala. “Now, I assume the ship’s doctor needs to examine me.”

“Yes, I’ll be on my way,” Shiala smiled. “It is good to see you back on your feet.”

“What are they doing?” Liara asked as she watched two of the Commonwealth Special Forces operatives roll around on the ground.

“They’re grappling,” Pockastar said from his spot behind them. “Specifically, this is a style that’s taught in our special forces that relies on universal weak points that most species in the galaxy share.”

“And what might that be?” Liara asked as she leaned up against the wall to continue watching.

“Joints,” Wiso spoke up. “All of us, even Kroga have vulnerable joints. If you are able to disable one or more of them, then it becomes a much more difficult fight for any who might try to close with us.”

“You all learn this?” Shiala asked as Elizabeth got the upper hand and forced Arthur to tap out.

“Yes,” Wiso replied. “It is something that all of our armed forces learn the basics of.”

“Mastery only comes from those who are willing to put that much more time and effort into it though,” Arthur said as he toweled off some sweat. “Pockastar, you’re up.”

“I hate grappling with Liz,” the Batarian whined.

“We all do,” Arthur agreed. “That’s why we make you do it anyway.”

“When you are finished, I would like to dine with you all,” Liara said before they began grappling again. “It is the least I can do for all of you.”

“Belay that!” Arthur said as the ship shook and alarms began to sound. “Kordak, get Liara some armor, Elizabeth, Wiso, and Pockastar, set up a defensive position around the Beacon. Shiala, you’re with me, we’re heading to the bridge. I want to know who we’re fighting against.”

“Agreed,” Shiala nodded at the Human. “We should know the face of our enemy.”

“We have an enemy frigate! It resembles a Salarian Frigate, but this model is different.”

“Are we sure they fired first?” Shepard asked.

“Yes ma’am,” the ensign replied. “I’m saving the recording to a backup off-site now.”

“Alright,” Shepard nodded. “Joker, get ready to target the Salarian ship. But remember people, we need to be very precise. The last thing we want is for the Asari to have an issue with how we protected the Beacon and the people on board.”

“Just give the word,” Joker grinned. “I’m locked on and ready to roll.”

“Punch it.”
Chapter 95
Chapter 95

“Why are you on my bridge?” Captain Jenrih Conivius asked. “I’ve got a battle to fight,” She nodded at two armed and armored officers. “Please remove them from this space until the battle is finished.”

“Wait one second, please,” Arthur said as the two Asari moved closer. “One of those ships is the Normandy. Let me try and talk to them. They should be willing to assist.”

“Fine,” Jenrih grunted. “But make it quick and then remove yourself.”

“Captain Shepard, this is Major Steiner. How copy?”

“Solid copy, Major,” Shepard’s voice came back. “Seems the ship you’re on is in a bit of a jam, we’ll try to unfuck it for you.”

“I think we’d all appreciate the help,” Arthur replied. “I’ll turn things over to the Asari now. I’m heading down to keep the Beacon secure.”

“We’ll take things over from here,” the comms officer nodded at Arthur.

“I hate this sort of thing,” Kordak muttered as the ship shook around them. “Waiting to find out if you are going to survive or not is no way to be at peace during a battle.”

“It is unpleasant,” Liara said as lights flickered and the ship shuddered again. “I have fought pirates on archeological digs before, but I’ve never been on a ship when it was attacked.”

“You’re one of the lucky ones then,” Doctor Jones said as he checked the magazine on his ancient pistol.

“Agreed,” Croft nodded as she had Wiso check over her armor.

“The waiting is always the hardest part of being a soldier,” Elizabeth sighed. “It’s not the thing that people write about in books or show in the vids. The action comes, but there is much waiting between bursts of actions.”

“I’ve heard stories,” Liara said as she leaned in. “But I’ve not been able to meet many soldiers aside from those who served my mother when she was a Matriarch.”

“And they probably sugarcoat things,” Jones said as he holstered his pistol and accepted the rifle that Pockastar handed to him. “You want to get to know the real gritty shit, you’ve got to talk to people like the Commonwealth.”

“And why is that?” Lara Croft asked. “Are you just that much better than us?”

“No,” Pockastar shook his head. “We’re not better than you, we just understand something that the Council seems to have forgotten.”

“And what is that?” Shiala asked as she stepped into the room, Arthur following close behind.

“War is not civilized,” the Batarian stated. “It’s bloody, it’s visceral, and it always has a cost. The Council expects that people will react a certain way when faced with war or combat and that is simply not the case. The Commonwealth, they’ve been at war recently, and the Systems Alliance has been as well. And so too with the Hegemony. They understand that War doesn’t truly end until one side stands on top of a pile of corpses and can force the other to fall in line through the force of arms. The Salarians and Asari think that we are a Galaxy still at peace. No, we are not at peace. This is merely the calm before the storm. Soon, the galaxy will find itself in a war, and then we’ll see who rises to the top.”

“I want that ship dead in the water, Joker,” Shepard said as the Normandy shook, a round leaving her spinal gun as she moved closer to the enemy ship.

“We’ve got impact, I’m firing the disrupter torpedos on our next pass,” Joker reported.

The three ships danced through the stars, the Asari frigate constantly pulling ahead of the strange Salarian frigate, narrowly dodging the fire while the Normandy whittled away at the ship’s defenses.

“Fox three,” Joker relayed as he fired the Disruptor torpedoes. “Reload and hit them again, I need a hole to punch this round through.”

The enemy vessel seemed to freeze in place as the second wave of torpedoes hit the ship, a round from the Normandy hitting through the hole opened in the kinetic barriers and sending the ship spiraling off into the void.

“Follow that ship,” Shepard ordered. “We need to see if we can get any intel from it.”

As the words left her lips, the enemy frigate vanished in a flash of light.

“Belay that,” Shepard sighed. “Move into an escort pattern on the Asari frigate, we’re making sure that the Beacon gets to the citadel.”

“Copy that,” Joker shifted his hands on the haptic interface. “Moving to holding and escort pattern now.”

Dark Sister, we’ve eliminated the enemy frigate and are moving to escort you the rest of the way to the Citadel,” Shepard nodded to the comms officer.

“Copy that Normandy, we’re pushing on to the next Relay,” there was a long pause. “And thanks for the assist. We never saw them coming.”

“Wait to send out the cards until we’re done,” Shepard chuckled. “We’re not out of the woods yet.”

“It seems that you have abandoned the task I assigned you,” Saren shuddered as he tried to will himself to his feet but found his body no longer responded.

“I will not be responsible for that sort of atrocity,” Saren spat. “I know what lines I am willing to cross in order to protect those who need it and that is one that I will not bend on. You will have to break me if you want me to try that again.”

“That can be arranged,” the voice chuckled. “But I have other things that you must accomplish first. Now, we will be arranging more upgrades for you before you depart. I recommend you find time to relax and enjoy yourself while you recover. For you will be busy for a good while afterward.”

Saren woke up and flared his mandibles in pain, a guttural roar resounding through the enclosed space as his nerves spread wildfire up his spine and pounded a spike into his brain.

“I will not lose myself,” Saren muttered as he forced his body to cooperate. “I am Turian,” His eyes blazed as he began shielding what remained of his mind, the pain narrowing his focus on what was left of his mind and helping him build the wall around it again. “I will not go quietly.”

“Oh, still holding onto that bit of individuality that you possess?” The woman smirked. “We’re going to have to stamp that out.”
Chad Saren is Chad.
And,about war - partially true,but with good technology you do not need bloody efforts,only few ships which would kill enemy planets,till rest surrender.
Chapter 96
Chapter 96

"Overwatch, please tell me you have eyes on us," Arthur asked as he blended into the crowd, the rest of Alpha-Nine scattered and in plain clothes.

"Got you in my scope, lead," Elizabeth responded. "You're clear for another three hundred meters. Then you'll lose coverage as I reposition."

"Copy that," Arthur replied. "I'll keep the VIP next to me. Let us know when we drop out."

"Alpha-Nine, be advised, potential C-Sec block up ahead. With the Beacon in play they aren't taking any chances."

"Understood. Status on the Beacon delivery?"

"It's still in transit," Shiala replied. "There's a pretty significant amount of Spectres protecting it."

"Let's hope that there aren't any more people that want a piece of it," Arthur said as he maneuvered Liara through a group of civilians. "I'm tired of having to repaint my gear."

"Just focus on getting Liara to the Council tower," Shiala said. "Let me worry about the Beacon."

"I need you and Kordak to remain alive," Arthur said as he boarded a bus, Liara and the rest of Alpha-Nine sitting in different seats. "I'm pretty sure if this all goes sideways, we're all going with it."

"Is this seat taken?" a Turian asks.

"No, please," Arthur replies as he stands up. "I'd rather stand anyway."

The Turian sat down and a small group of chattering Asari boarded just as the doors closed, the bus lifting off and heading for the appropriate floor."

"You know," one of the Asari moved close to Arthur. "I've never seen a human in person before, you all look so, ravishing," she licked her lips as she eyed him up. "Why don't I take you home, and let you get to know Asari in a more intimate way?" She indicated that her group would be joining in.

"Sorry, ma'am," Arthur set his face in stone. "I'm not interested. I've already got someone that I'm interested in."

"Art!" The smooth British accent of Lara Croft cut into the conversation. "You didn't tell me that you were on the Citadel! It's been so long! Tell me, how have you been?"

The Asari scoffed and turned away, walking back to her clique as Arthur took advantage of the distraction.

"Thanks for the save," He said quietly.

"Sometimes Asari gets it into their heads that they're the most attractive species in the universe," Lara shook her head. "I've had to run off more than a few of them who thought that I would be interested."

"They're not your type?" Arthur asked.

"Actually, despite our arguments, I find Doctor Jones a refreshing breath of fresh air. If he were a few years younger I might try something." she smirked. "Don't tell him that though, he'll get a big head."

"Your secret's safe with me," Arthur replied, shifting to look at the group of Asari more closely. "Somwthing feels off about those Asari though, that speech felt rehearsed."

"This is Avina, your VI companion, do not be alarmed, but the Airbus is coming in for an emergency stop. Please exit the vehicle in an orderly fashion and be sure to follow all C-Sec emergency guidelines."

"I guess we were overdue for a disaster, after all," Arthur muttered as he moved his hand closer to his waist, turning the kinetic barrier belt and jacket on as he did so. "Be advised Overwatch, we may have some company soon. Our bus had an emergency failure and we're touching down to board a new one. "

"Copy that, Lead," Elizabeth peered through her riflescope. "I see you."

"Just stay wary, I'm not ruling out foul play here."

"Everything was fine until two minutes ago," Pockastar said. "I just scanned the bus and it should be running."

"Get ready for a fight," Arthur said. "Be careful of Civvies though, we don't want a MCE while we're here."

"I can leave the Beacon if you require assistance," Kordak says. "These Spectres should have everything in hand."

"We can't count on it," Arthur shakes his head. "Just stay put. Whatever happens, we need to handle it."

"Sparatus," Jack Harper greeted the Turian. "It's good to see you again."

"Likewise," they grasped each other's forearms. "Sit, eat, we have much to discuss."

"About what exactly?" Harper rolled his eyes. "I'm retired, a washed-up has been."

"I think we both know that you're more than that," Sparatus shook his head. "You and I, we're figureheads. Whether we like it or not we were the leaders into the new age. And that means that we possess a unique opportunity to help shape things for the better."

"Sparatus," Jack said as he pulled the pair of sunglasses off of his face. "I'm not sure how much help I could be. I'm dying, too much direct exposure to eezo during the First Contact War."

"So it's cancerous then?"

"Nothing we've learned yet can fix it," Jack sighed. "I'm an old man, leave me to my peace before I die, please."

"How long do you have left?"

"The doctors gave me three months," Jack smirked. "That was a year ago," he pulled out a cigar and lit it, taking a sip of whiskey right after. "Now, if you'll tell me what it is that you need, I can see about sending someone your way, but I won't be attending to it personally."

"I'm afraid that you won't be planning anything anymore," a voice said from the shadows as a Turian stepped out.

"Saren," Jack tossed back the rest of his whiskey. "I see you're here to finish the job."

"I would rather leave you both be," Saren flared his mandibles. "But my orders are clear, and though I struggle against them, I find that they are becoming harder to resist. Please, do not struggle, I do not wish for this to be a painful death."

Jack simply shrugged, his cigar dangling from his lips as a concealed pistol appeared in his hands.

"I'm already dead, son. I have no problem with dying loud."

"I was afraid it would go this way," Saren sighed as he pulled an odd assault rifle from his back. "But by now, I should know that it always goes this way. Spirits forgive me, because the galaxy won't."

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