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  1. CHAPTER 10 It was still early as Airachnid woke up. She was lying in Jack's arms while he was still fast asleep as they lied together in his bed. She looked up to the Prime's face, it looked so peaceful and content as he gently snored. The femme couldn't help but feel a smile grace her lips as she watched him. She still felt the euphoria from what they did together only hours earlier, it was a feeling she had not felt in a very long time. As she observed her sleeping lover while very gently stroking his raven black hair. The femme could not help but imagine what kind of future she could share with Jack, what kind of life they could live. Yes he was young, very young compared to Cybertronians. But he was strong, compassionate, forgiving and kind, all the attributes that make up a Prime. But he also reminded her of Esmeral, who shared the same attributes and there lied the problem. Although she felt her feelings for Jack growing ever since he helped her on Cybertron. She still loved Esmeral and was also bonded to her as the femme's spark mate, fated to remain faithful even after their sparks together or alone returned to the Allspark. Her smile faded slightly and her spark ached, she knew that all her imagining would be only that. A fantasy, something that could never be even if she wanted it. But there was another doubt in her mind that she couldn't shake. Even though she knew her feelings for him were strong, she feared that he would not be able to return them in kind, because his heart was already owned by another, Arcee. Her thoughts left her as she felt Jack stir and slowly started to wake up. She couldn't be there when he did, if he was to look her in the eyes with that smile she enjoyed seeing, then she would never want to leave his side. She slowly got out of the bed, making sure not to disturb Jack's slumber and got dressed before leaving the room, taking one last look at him before closing the door behind her. Jack was woken up by the sound of his com link beeping on the chair next to the bed. He looked over to see that he was alone in his quarters. His mind became plagued by thoughts like where was Airachnid, why did she leave, had he done something wrong. But the com link's beeping brought him out of his thoughts as he reached over to it, wincing slightly as the scratches the femme had left on his back ached. He then put the com link to his ear. "I'm here, what is it?" he answered. "Prime, Teletraan here. We have installed the IFF and it is synced with our systems. Hotrod has set course for the Omega system and awaits your orders." Jack swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. "Tell Hotrod, I'll be in the CIC in thirty minutes." he answered as he chucked the com link onto the bed and walked over to the bathroom, stopping for a moment as he looked at the shower. Instantly remembering what he and Airachnid did there only a few hours before and it left him feeling better, like a weight had been taken off of his shoulders as he then got ready to have a shower. As the Defiant flew in hyper speed, Jack walked into the common room and saw the femme sitting alone in the corner. A sad smile appeared on her face as she spotted him, as he walked over to her table and sat down in front of her. "Morning." she said sheepishly as she softly raked a hand through her hair. "Hi, is everything alright?" he asked with a soft but concerned tone in his voice. The femme sighed as she looked away for a moment before looking back at Jack. "Jack, what we did last night… I don't regret it. Not for a moment but…." she trailed off as Jack tensed up slightly, knowing what was coming next. "….I think this is a bad idea." the femme finished. Jack looked at her confused. "What is?" She then looked directly into his eyes. "Us, Jack. You see, what we did last night I will never forget. But I am afraid that it will be the only time." she answered. Jack looked down at the table for a moment before looking back at her. "Because of Esmeral." The Prime replied staring into her purple eyes. Airachnid smiled slightly as the young Prime surprised her yet again. 'He is quick.' she thought before nodding in return. "Yes, you see when Cybertronians bond and become spark mates, its not only for life but beyond it too." Jack nodded as he understood what she was saying. "You feel that what we did last night was a betrayal to her?" he replied. "Yes…I mean no. But if we were to continue this…" she said while gesturing to the both of them. "…then that would be a betrayal and I can't do that to her." she said, her voice tinged with emotion. She then placed her hand on to his supportively. "And I know that I am not the only one feeling this way either." she said observantly. Jack in response looked away and remembered Arcee, not noticing that Airachnid was looking at him intently. "That look you have now, was the same one I saw when I walked into your room last night. You still love Arcee." she replied with a little disappointment. Jack looked back to her. "Airachnid, I'm sorry…" but she cut him off mid sentence. "No, Jack, I am sorry… for pressuring you last night." she said, gaining an annoyed look from the Prime. "Don't apologize Airachnid. I don't regret what happened between us last night either…..but you are right. I have come to care about you a lot…. but I can't let go of Arcee, just like you can't let go of Esmeral. We will always remember what we did for each other last night, but maybe its for the best that we remain friends." he said while holding his hand out to her. She looked at it, before taking it in her own and shaking it. "friends….and more." she replied with a smile, one that Jack returned in kind. The femme then took a breath. "Well, now that we have gotten that out of the way…..don't we have a galaxy to save?" Jack nodded in agreement. "Yes, we do." She then stood up and gestured to him. "Then, what are we waiting for." she said. Jack got up too and placed his hand out in front of her. "Ladies first." he replied with a smile. Airachnid chuckled at the Prime's good manners as she took the lead and left the room with him following, but then her smile faded as sadness sunk in because she now realised after their talk, that she did in fact love him and it was going to be so hard for her to let him go. As they headed for the elevator, the inter-com activated. "Prime, we have a call from Silas for you in the briefing room." Hotrod said. Jack tapped his com link as Airachnid stood beside him. "Prime, here. Thanks for the heads up, Hotrod. How long before we reach Omega?" he replied. "We should be there within the hour." the pilot answered. "Okay, I want everyone ready by the time my talk with Silas is over, understand?" the Prime ordered stoically. "Will do. Myself and Teletraan thought that would be the case, so we made a head start." Jack smiled at the comment. "You know me so well." "Well of course I do, Prime..." the pilot chuckled. "...Everything will be ready by the time you are up here." "Okay, Prime out." Jack finished before looking to Airachnid. "Can you make sure the team is ready?" he asked. "Of course, Jack." she nodded back before turning and heading away as Jack walked into the elevator and placed the octagonal disc on his chest. The Prime armour covering his body as the elevator doors closed in front of him. PRIME EFFECT 2 Silas was standing in the darkened room looking over one of the orange holo screens when Jack appeared behind him on the holo-pad. The MECH leader turned to the Prime, the concern on his face was evident. "Prime, I wish that I had more Intel for you. The idea of sending you through that rift blind does not sit well with me." Jack found himself surprised at the Director's sudden act of concern, but kept his stoic appearance. "I'm not going alone, I've got some of the best going with me. If we stay together, we'll make it." Silas's expression softened at the Prime's confident reply. "I knew we brought you back for a reason, I have never a seen a better leader. Despite the unknown danger that lies on the other side of the rift, it is a great opportunity. The first Human to take a ship into the galactic core and survive." Jack took on a more stern look. "This isn't a science expedition, we are going through the rift to put an end to the Quintessons, to stop their attacks on humanity." The Director smiled at the Prime's response. "Understood, still it's very impressive. I just want you to know that I appreciate the risk you are taking. Regardless of your opinion of MECH or myself, you are a 'valuable asset' to all humanity. Good luck, Prime." The Defiant entered the Omega system as Jack watched from the cockpit. With their viewpoint, Jack could see the subspace rift in the distance. It looked like a tear in the fabric of space, not exactly something you wanted to fly into but they didn't have a choice. "Approaching the subspace rift, all decks report ready, Prime." Hotrod said, as Jack looked down at him. "Understood, let's make it happen." the Prime replied stoically. Hotrod then took the controls as Teletraan's hologram appeared next to him. "The Reaper IFF has been activated and…the signal has been acknowledged." the AI stated. Engineering reports that the Power core is exceeding critical levels." The pilot frantically typed at his holo-interface. "I'm re-routing." he replied. The Defiant then flew into the event horizon of the rift and was suddenly rocketed at super speeds, making its hull strain and shake as Jack held on to Hotrod's chair as they looked out of the cockpit's window at the storm-like fluctuations that surrounded the ship as it flew through the rift. "I think we are passing through the worst of it." Hotrod said as he looked between the window and the information scrolling down one of his holo-screens. Suddenly the rift opened up and the ship was spat out directly into an asteroid field, one of the large rocks coming up fast in their path. "Oh scrap!" the Autobot cursed as he pulled the ship up and fired the thrusters to max, making the Defiant fly over the asteroid, veering left and right,. Narrowly missing the other rocks as it cleared the field and entered open space. Hotrod breathed a sigh of relief as he levelled the ship. "That was too close." he exclaimed while Jack looked out the window as the Defiant flew over the asteroid field toward the accretion disk of a black hole that was in the middle of the system. "Prime, I have run a scan of the asteroid field and found metallic debris in there. It appears to be the remains of ships that tried to enter the rift, some of them look ancient." Hotrod said, as Jack looked down at the screen. "I have detected an energy signature near the edge of the accretion disk." Teletraan stated as Hotrod turned the ship in the direction of it. As they looked out at the structure, Hotrod and Jack could swear that it that it looked almost like Cybertron. It was a metallic planet with large parts of it separated from the main body and orbiting around it. "That has to be the Quintesson home world, take us in closer. Nice and easy." Jack said to the Autobot who nodded in agreement before he piloted the ship closer to the structure, unaware that he had just activated a Quintesson satellite as the Defiant passed by. The satellite then started to broadcast the ship's location to unmanned weapon platforms that were docked onto the asteroids that were drifting at the utmost edge of the field, while the Defiant was flying over it. "Careful, Hotrod. I am detecting weapon signatures around us." Teletraan warned the pilot as the platforms turned their turrets in the direction of the Defiant and fired red energy beams at the MECH ship, narrowly missing it's hull. "Taking evasive manoeuvres." Hotrod stated as he pulled the Defiant into a full loop as it spun around, barely evading the beams before coming around and firing it's cannons at the locations the attacks were coming from. They hit a few of the enemy emplacements before one of the beams penetrated the ship's shields and hit the hull. The impact making the ship rock as two stations exploded in the CIC, sending the crewmen there flying on to the ground, killing them instantly. Jack turned to look at the crew before looking back at his pilot. "Hotrod." the Prime said worriedly . "I know, I know." the pilot stated angrily as he veered the Defiant to the right before another weapon platform had gained a target lock. "It's no good, I am going to have to take us into the asteroid field to stop them getting a target lock on us." the Autobot stated. The Prime merely nodded at him as the ship suddenly dived back into the field. The Defiant flew around the large chunks of rock that drifted erratically through the field. "Our shields are not designed to withstand impact with asteroids of that size Hotrod." The Autobot gave the hologram a confident smirk. "Well, it's a good thing our ship has been upgraded then." He then swerved and dodged the ship past a number of the rocks, merely missing them by a few hundred metres as the field became more dense. "Come on, find some room." he stated as the he turned the ship on it's side to brush past a large asteroid that skimmed the ship's shields. "Shield strength down to forty percent." the AI said to Hotrod, who never took his eyes off his controls as he spotted two really large rocks closing in on each other, cutting off the path ahead of the ship as space was becoming restricted. "Reroute none critical power to shields and engines, this is going to hurt." he replied as the Defiant shot towards the gap, flying between the two rocks as they closed around the ship. Hotrod narrowed his eyes as he focused on getting the ship through, as the rocks skimmed the ship's shields just before Defiant came out the other side and back out of the field. The pilot slumped in his chair relieved, as Teletraan's hologram looked at him. "What's the damage, Teletraan?" he asked "Shields are stable at thirty percent, no significant damage." the AI responded as Miranda joined Jack behind the pilot. "We lost two crew back there." she said sadly, the Prime nodding in silent agreement as he turned back to Hotrod. "Are we through?" The Autobot nodded as he kept his eyes and hands on the controls. "Yeah, we are through the field and there is nothing between us and the Quintessons." he answered as the Defiant drew closer to the enemy home world. "Good, see if you can find a safe place for us to land." the Prime ordered stoically. Hotrod then looked at the screen to his right and his face turned slightly pale. "Too late, looks like they are sending out an old friend to greet us." he replied as the Quintesson cruiser appeared from behind one of the large pieces of debris that orbited the planet. It then powered it's main weapon and fired a yellow energy beam towards the MECH ship which swung from left to right as it narrowly evaded it. Jack then smirked. "Time to show the Defiant's teeth. Fire the main gun." he ordered. Hotrod's smile beaming as he worked the controls. On the underside of the ship, a hatch opened and a large cannon deployed before it fired a powerful blue beam towards the enemy cruiser, which didn't have time to evade as the beam hit the ship's hull dead on, resulting in a massive explosion, Hotrod raised his hands as he cheered. "How do like that you fragging scrap heaps." he exclaimed. Jack though remained stoic. "Get in close and finish them off." he said calmly. "Everybody, hold on to your pants, this is gonna be a wild ride." he exclaimed as the Defiant evaded another attack from the cruiser with a barrel roll, before flying directly at the enemy. "Give them hell!" he said as he hit the button on his interface hard, resulting in the weapon firing again as the blue energy beam impacted directly on the cruiser's engine core, causing numerous explosions along it's hull as it tore itself apart. The Defiant tried to veer away but was suddenly caught in a shockwave emanating from the exploding cruiser. "Look out!" Miranda warned as another shockwave hit the Defiant, rocking the ship and shutting down it's engines as the Defiant found itself being pulled down towards the planet's surface by it's gravity field. "The engines are offline, Teletraan give me something." Hotrod cried out. "Engine reactivation failed, all hands brace for impact." the AI stated as the ship hit the ground hard and skidded over the metallic surface, causing fires and sparks to emanate from under the ship as it finally came to a standstill between two metallic buildings. Jack picked himself up off the ground and looked over to see Miranda and Hotrod sprawled on the floor. "You two alright?" he said as he went over to them, helping the MECH officer up as Hotrod got back into his seat. "I'm fine, Jack." she replied as the Autobot pilot felt his chest. "I think I broke a rib?" Hotrod said, unsure of himself. "I didn't know the pretender bodies had ribs." the Prime said back. Hotrod winced slightly as he felt his chest. "Neither did I." Teletraan's hologram appeared next to them, flickering for a moment before stabilising itself. "A number of primary and secondary systems are offline. Restoring them will take time." the AI stated grimly. Miranda sighed as she stood there with her arms crossed. "We all knew this was likely a one way trip." Jack and Hotrod looked at each other knowingly. "We are here to stop the Quintessons at any cost." the Prime replied stoically as looked down at the pilot. "Teletraan and Hotrod, I want you and the crew to repair the ship as fast as you can." Jack then turned to Miranda. "Let's assemble the team in the briefing room." he said before they both walked out of the cockpit, leaving the Autobot and the AI to their tasks. The Defiant lay on the alien and hostile metallic surface of the Quintesson home world as in the briefing room, Miranda, Soundwave, Airachnid, Jacob, Legion, Zaeed, Tali and Garrus were waiting around the table, checking their weapons as Jackson Prime stood in front of them at the table's front end. "This isn't exactly what we prepared for, but this is where we are at." He then looked at around at each of his team. "The Defiant is in no shape to move right now, but that doesn't matter. We are here to put an end to the Quintessons, and that means coming up with a plan to destroy this planet. Teletraan bring up your scans." A holographic image of the planet appears from the middle of the table. "You should be able to overload the main reactor at the heart of the planet from this control station here." the AI stated as a cursor appeared over a part of the image. Soundwave then activated his holo-tool. "But for the core to overload, you will need to bypass the coolant value fail safes in this section here. Otherwise when you try to overload the core, they will activate and stop it." Miranda then pointed over to a large heat signature that was between both areas. "The scans also show a large number of life signs in this area here." The Prime looked at the spot. "That's obviously where the abducted colonists are being held. So we will split into two teams, Beta team will head for the coolant fail safes and plant explosives there. While Alpha team will distract the Quintesson troops in the base by going up this passage and shooting anything that moves. Once Beta is done, both teams will meet up in the colonists chamber. Alpha team will be made up of myself, Airachnid, Legion and Zaeed. Beta Team is everyone else and Miranda will be in charge. " The Mech-Officer nodded back. "I won't let you down, Jack." The other team members looked at Miranda for a moment before looking back at the Prime, who held his hands behind his back and looked back at them stoically. "Now I don't know what we are about to face, but I know that its not going to be easy. We have already lost people and we will lose more." Everyone in the room looked at each, slightly nervous at what Jack had just said, but the Prime continued regardless. "We don't how many humans the Quintessons have taken, thousands, hundreds of thousands. It doesn't matter, what does though is this. 'Not one more!' That is what we are here to do, to end the threat the Quintessons pose to the galaxy. They want to know what we are made of, I say we show them, on our terms. Let's move out." he said, before they all headed for the Defiant's airlock. PRIME EFFECT 2 Outside the Defiant, the airlock seal opened and Jack dropped down to the ground below as did the team (with breather helmets) as they split up into their respective teams and entered the planet's interior through two separate openings. Jack and the Alpha team moved quickly and quietly through the metallic grey corridors. They then heard metal footsteps coming from up ahead and took cover behind the support beams that were connected to the walls. Jack tapped his com link. "Beta team, status update." he whispered. "Miranda here, we have come across no trouble so far." the MECH Officer reported. "Roger that, we'll make sure to keep it that way." Jack replied as three drones stepped around the corner to be met with bursts of weapon's fire from Airachnid and Legion, while Jack finished of the third with a shot to the face. Meanwhile in a circular room somewhere on the planet, Alpha Q was working a control interface in it's center while the hologram of a Reaper was being emitted above it. One of the controls started blinking on and off, gaining the Quintesson Leader's attention. He moved over to it as his face shifted from calm to worried. "We have intruders, that is impossible. The enemy ship was caught in the explosion when our cruiser was destroyed." The Reaper looked down at the Quintesson, its six yellows staring down coldly. "The Prime is here, deal with him. He cannot be allowed to interfere any further." Alpha Q looked down as it appeared to bow. "It will be done, Master." He then activated a control node with one of his tentacles. Suddenly alarms blared out around the planet as drones started marching up and down the corridors towards the intruders. Miranda and the Beta team made it to their target, as she gestured to Tali and Jacob to plant the explosives when the alarms sounded around them. Garrus smirked at the sounds blaring. "Looks like Jack is keeping up his end of the plan." he said while Soundwave nodded back in agreement. Miranda looked over to Tali. "How long will it take, Tali?" she asked. "We should be done in a few minutes…keelah, I just hope Jack and the others are alright." Miranda gave the Quarian a sympathetic look. "He's a Prime, Tali. He will be fine." The Quarian nodded as she returned to working on the explosives with Jacob. The drones kept coming as Jack and the others fired back at the enemies from behind their cover in a large open room. "Darby Commander, to your left." Legion called as Jack turned around and ignited the star-saber in time to pierce through the torso of a drone that had tried to creep up on him. "Thanks, Legion. Hey, Zaeed, you having fun yet?" he said over to the Mercenary who at that moment was incinerating a large group of drones with his flame thrower. "Time of my life!" he exclaimed as Airachnid fired her weapon at two more drones while using another as a shield, holding on to it via her escrima stick which was sticking out of it's back. She looked over to Jack and smiled. "Jack, I think they are retreating." she observed as the other drones left the room through the large opening in front of the team. "They are more likely regrouping, we should move fast before they attempt to over run us again." the Prime said before his com link activated. "Jack, Beta Team successful. Now on our way to rendezvous at colonist chamber." Miranda reported. "Copy that, Alpha team on route." he replied as they moved out of the open room and back into one of the corridors. They moved through the passage way quickly, taking out any drone that was in their way, until they came up to a large door. "Legion, can you hack this door open." Jack asked as he looked back to see numerous drones coming down the corridor toward them. "Negative, we can not find an adequate control node to interface with." the Geth replied as it worked it's holo-tool. The Prime, Airachnid and Zaeed started firing down the corridor at the approaching Quintessons, the Mercenary's flame thrower keeping them at bay while Jack and the femme picked the enemies off. "Jack, we are at the other side of the door. Tali is hacking it now." Miranda reported over his com link. "Right, fall back and hold the drones back." he shouted over the weapons fire as the four of them knelt down and returned fire at the Quintessons attacking them. After what felt like an age, the door opened and Miranda, Tali and Jacob appeared and began firing bursts of bullets. "Covering fire! Jack, get in here!" the MECH Officer shouted. Jack nodded to her before turning back to his team. "Fall back." he said, as he then turned to Zaeed who was further back from them, setting fire to drones with his flame-thrower. "Zaeed, we are leaving." the Prime shouted back. The mercenary looked back and nodded, turning to run back to them. But a stray shot hit his weapon, causing him to stop and look down at it. His eyes widened as he realised what was about to happen. "Oh shit!" he said fearfully before the flamethrower exploded, engulfing the Mercenary in a fireball and incinerating him. "ZAEED!" Jack shouted back from the door way as he and the others watched their team mate's burning body fall to the ground, moments before the doors closed shut. Jack looked at the ground for a moment as he mourned Zaeed's passing, Airachnid placed her hand affectionately on his shoulder in support. Miranda though turned around and looked out into the room they were in. "Jack, I think you should see this." she said in a matter of fact like manner, gaining the Prime's attention as they all looked out in to the massive room. It was filled with thousands of pods with large metal pipes coming out of the walls and leading away further into the facility. Legion looked to the group's right and its optic brightened. "Darby Commander, there are humans in these pods." the Geth observed as Jack walked over to one pod that was holding a Caucasian woman in it, she had long brown hair and pale skin." "Is she dead?" Miranda asked as Jack took a closer look. Suddenly the woman opened her eyes as her skin started to slowly dissolve. "My god, she's still alive. Legion and Tali, hack the controls and get them all out." he shouted as the woman started to scream in shear pain and fear within the pod as her body quickly dissolved into a reddish/black liquid right before their eyes. The Geth and Quarian frantically worked their holo-tools as the other human prisoners started screaming, their skin too dissolving into the same liquid. Before long all the pods were empty as the humans that were once inside were no more, as more red/black liquid was pumped away through the pipes above them. Both Legion and Tali looked down in shame. "I'm sorry, Jack. I tried everything." she said, as Legion looked at her. "Creator Tali'zorah, you should not blame yourself, this unit is to blame. We were not fast enough at decoding the Quintesson systems." Tali just looked at the Geth, completely confused as she backed away from it. Jack though was still looking at the blood splattered window of the pod in front of him. "Neither of you are to blame, the Quintessons started this and now we finishing it." he said as anger started to boil in his blood. He then looked at the others as he pointed back to the pods. "We are going to make sure that no one will have to suffer at the hands of Quintessons, even if we have to give up our lives in the process." he said to them, his eyes glinting with resolve. The others nodded in return. Jack then activated his com link. "Defiant, this is Prime. We found the colonists but were too late in stopping the process. Can you tell us anything about these pipes we are seeing here?" "Prime, Teletraan here. My scans show that these pipes run from other rooms like the one you are in and end at the same location. Interestingly, when the rooms activated and the fluid from the colonists was transferred, there was a slight power fluctuation at this location." Jack looked back at the pipes. "Can you tell us anything about that location?" he asked. "Only that there is something quite large in there and that it is heavily defended. Also the location is directly connected to the power core. Whatever is in there is being powered directly from the planet." the AI replied, before being cut off by Hotrod. "Hotrod, here, we have a number of systems up, so we can do a pick up. Teletraan's scans have detected a hanger bay not far from that location, that is if you heading there?" he asked. "That is exactly where we are going, we will see what the Quintessons have in their 'vault' and then blow the planet apart. Take the ship there now, we will meet you there, Prime out." Jack then looked to the others while he raised his weapon. "We are sticking together from now on, no more splitting up. Let's go!" PRIME EFFECT 2 The Defiant took off from its crash site and moved at a low altitude, so not to set off any sensors that the planet would have hidden. The ship was moving slowly due to the fact that it was only running at fifty percent efficiency, this was one journey that would take time. Meanwhile Jack and his team were moving through the passage ways and silently taking out any drones that were patrolling the area. They moved into a massive room with a large bridge going over what looked like bottomless pit. Garrus looked over the edge and gulped. "Wow, now that is deep." the Turian observed rather fearfully. Tali patted his back gently, making him gasp as he kept his balance before turning around to the Quarian in shock. "That was not funny, Tali." he exclaimed. She just chuckled at his reaction. "You are so cute like that." she teased, causing the Turian to blush. Jack though looked back stoically. "Stay sharp, People..." he said as he raised his mattock rifle. "...this seems too quiet." Suddenly above them a large yellow hologram of Alpha Q appeared and looked down at them. "Prime, you are becoming an annoyance, this ends now." he stated coldly before the hologram faded away. Everyone looked at each other before hearing a large footstep like noise, as well as feeling vibrations through the floor. It grew louder as it got closer to them. Then Airachnid pointed over the bridge as a giant Mech walked over to them. All of them looked on in horror at the giant as it stomped over to them. It looked like a Quintesson drone, only more heavily armoured. Then Alpha Q's voice could be heard again as it echoed through the massive room. "Welcome to your end, the 'Dark Guardian' will see to it personally." Jack and the others started firing at the colossus as it raised it's right hand, its fingers changing into very long, very sharp talons. It then swung down at the group who dived back and rolled into kneeling positions and began firing back at it again, but their fire only bounced harmlessly off its armour. "Fall back!" Jack shouted to the others as he activated the star-saber and charged it before launching an energy attack that sliced the colossus's arm off. It watched it's arm fall into the darkness below before turning its attention to the Prime, who had fallen to his knees in exhaustion. Airachnid ran to his side and tried to lift him up. "Jack, we have to move." she said hurriedly as the dark guardian lifted its other arm, which shifted into a mace with what looked like a thousand spikes all over it. Jack though couldn't move as Airachnid looked back to see Soundwave join them as the two grabbed the Prime by the arms and dragged him back. But they weren't quick enough as the colossus had raised its mace fully over it's head and started to swing it down at the three of them. But a second before it hit, the guardian was suddenly knocked back by an explosion to its chest. It stumbled back momentarily before an energy beam hit it again, making it move back further towards the edge of the bridge. And just as it regained it's balance, a third energy beam hit the giant in the face. Making it tumble backwards and fall off the bridge and into the abyss underneath the bridge. Everyone looked back in amazement to see Jacob holding up what looked like a cannon. He had a wide smile on his face. "Don't you just love this gun or what!" he exclaimed happily. Garrus looked at it wide eyed. "That's a 'Cain', right? You've been carrying a heavy weapon around and didn't tell us," The MECH Operative just shrugged his shoulders. "Well, it is useful and you're telling me that I have been carrying this on the back of my armour during our missions, and you never thought to ask me what it is?" he said as he cocked his head while looking at the Turian. Jacob then looked over to Jack who had just recovered his strength, Airachnid standing close by in case Jack hadn't fully recovered. "Great job, Jacob." the Prime said back, making the Jacob's grin grow bigger. "Thanks, Prime, that means a…." he was cut off suddenly when a gun shot could be heard behind him and a large metal spear shot out of his chest, spraying blood over the ground in front of him. "JACOB!" Miranda screamed as the others spotted more drones rushing out of the entrance the group had come from, and started to fire back at them as Miranda tried to move to Jacob, only for Jack to hold her back. Jacob fell to his knees as he coughed up some blood before looking at the MECH Officer and Prime. "Go…. now!" he shouted as they saw him pull out a grenade from his belt and armed it as the drones got closer. "We have to go now!" Jack told Miranda as they started to move in the other direction while the rest of the group gave covering fire while they too moved away. Jacob could feel his strength slipping away from him as hell fell to the ground and opened his hand, letting the grenade roll out of his grasp and onto the floor just as the Quintesson drones reached him. Suddenly as Jack and the others ran away, there was an explosion behind them that killed most of the drones, but sent the remaining ones over the edge and into the pit. The Prime and the others felt like they had run a mile over the bridge as they finally saw its end in the shape of a big metallic door just ahead of them. Airachnid then turned to look behind them and saw more drones chasing after the group on what looked like flying metal boards. "Incoming!" she screamed as she turned and fired at the attackers, taking one out as it fell off it's board. Jack and Garrus followed suit and killed two more drones as the enemies fell into the abyss. Tali was right at the edge firing back with her shotgun when one of the drones fired a rocket which exploded just away from her, making her fall off of the bridge as Garrus looked on in horror. "TALI!" he cried out, when out of nowhere Legion managed to grab the Quarian by the hand and stop her fall. It looked directly into her eyes with its only optic. "We have got you, creator Tali'zorah." it said in a calm fashion as it pulled her back up and onto the bridge. Tali just looked at it in shock, as it let go of her hand and stared at her. "Why did you save me?" she asked in confusion. The Geth just continued to stare. "We told you we do not wish to see our creators die." it stated back. Before Tali could say any more Garrus ran up to her and gave her a warm hug which surprised her. "Thank god you're safe." He said which made the young Quarian smile behind her visor. The Turian then looked at Legion. "Thanks for saving her, Legion." The Geth looked between the two organics. "Acknowledged." it replied as Jack, Airachnid and Soundwave finished off the remaining flyers and turned to them. "Through the door, now!" the Prime called as more Quintesson troops ran across the bridge towards them. The group made it through the door before Legion sealed the door shut with it's holo-tool. With the door closed and no enemies around, the group took a moment to catch their breath. Tali while standing next to Garrus, just stared over at the Geth that had saved her life. The same one that had killed her father and numerous other Quarians, she just couldn't figure it out. Jack meanwhile tapped his com link as Airachnid and Soundwave stood close by. "Teletraan, how close are we to that room?" he asked as he looked at his holo-tool. "Prime, the room is right through the large door on the north side. There is also a door on the east that will lead to the hanger bay. We will be there in approximately ten minutes." the AI replied before pausing for a moment. "You should know that a large group of Quintesson drones are on the other side of the door you came in and are attempting to get through." "Understood." Jack replied as he looked at his team. "Okay, three of us will go into the main chamber and overload the core, but only after we see what the Quintessons have in there first. Now while we are in there, those drones will be trying to get in…" but as the Prime spoke, Garrus decided to finish his sentence. "And you need the rest of us to keep them at bay. Then get to it Jack, we have got your backs." The Turian finished with a smile while he and the others readied their weapons, as they all nodded back at the Prime. He could see that they were all on the same wavelength. "Airachnid and Miranda, you're both with me." The two then walked over to Jack as he looked at the other four. "Good luck." he said, as Garrus, Soundwave, Tali and Legion looked at him. "You too." Soundwave replied before Jack and his two team mates walked into the other room. Garrus then turned to the Quarian and the spymaster. "Okay we have some good cover in here, so pick a spot and get ready." he said as they got behind repsective cover and checked their weapons, meanwhile the door had started to heat up. Whatever the drones on the other side of the door were doing, it was making short work of the metal that stood between the two sides. Garrus looked over to Tali before the door melted down and the drones entered the room, guns blazing. The team returned fire as their battle intensified very quickly. PRIME EFFECT 2 Jack, Airachnid and Miranda walked through a small tunnel as Teletraan spoke into Jack's ear via the com link. "Prime, I am detecting a bio-mechanical signature in the main chamber. Considering the energy I am detecting, it must be massive." The team walked into the main chamber and they stopped and looked up in horror at the sight in front of them. "If my readings are correct, Prime, then this signature is a …..Reaper!" the AI said in astonishment. Jack looked up at it. "Not just a Reaper, but a 'Human' Reaper." Jack observed as he looked at the colossal entity hanging from the ceiling via a number of pipes and struts. "My god." Miranda said, while Airachnid just looked at it completely shocked. The human Reaper was just a torso, head and two arms. But it had two optics for eyes and the top of it's head was still open. The Reaper was definitely unfinished. "Prime, for the amount of bio-matter used to create this Reaper, I would say that the Quintessons have processed tens of thousands of humans, but even more will be needed to finish it." the AI added. Airachnid looked over at Jack and saw that he was just staring at it, she placed a hand on his shoulder and shook him gently. "You okay, you zoned out for a second there." the femme asked worriedly. Jack looked at her and gave her a reassuring smile. "No, I am fine. It's just I think I have seen this body before, it just looks familiar." he replied as the Prime looked at it again. He then tapped his com link. " How do we destroy this abomination?" he asked the AI. "The Reaper is still in it's foetal stage and is connected directly to the planet's core, so overloading it will destroy the Reaper before the planet itself is destroyed." Jack nodded as he looked at his team members. "Thanks. Is the Defiant at the EP (extraction point) yet?" "We will be there in two minutes." the AI reported. Jack then changed frequencies on his com link. "Prime to Garrus, sit-rep?" Jack then heard a lot of gunfire and explosions on the other end before the Turian spoke. "Jack, we are holding the line but they keep coming, a quick exit plan would be appreciated." Jack walked over to what looked like a control interface and pulled off a panel, revealing it's inner workings. "Garrus, detonate your explosives and get to the EP. The Defiant will be waiting for you there." Jack then switched frequencies and spoke to his pilot, as they felt a small quake shake the area, which meant that the explosives had taken out the fail safes. "Hotrod, you better get here fast, because I am about to overload the power core and destroy this entire planet." he said as he started working on the control panel's insides. "Roger that….uh Prime, I have incoming transmission from Silas. Teletraan is patching him through." Miranda activated her holo-tool and a life size hologram of Silas stood before Jack. "Prime, you have accomplished the impossible." he stated with a smile. Jack looked over to him with a sullen look. "I didn't do it alone, I was part of a team and crew. Some of them gave their lives to see this mission through." The Director's face became stoic at the Prime's comment. "I understand, they will not be forgotten. You did what you had to do and because of that we now have the Quintesson planet." Jack turned around and looked at him confused. "What are you talking about?" The hologram of Silas just looked at him, his yellow optics clearly defined as they stared at the Prime. "I have gone through the scans that Teletraan had taken of the planet. A timed radiation blast will destroy all of the Quintessons, but leave the planet and the technology intact." Jack and his team just listened as Silas carried on. "This is our chance, the Quintessons were building a Reaper. That technology and knowledge could save us." Jack could not believe what he was hearing. "They processed humans, liquefied them. It was horrendous, the planet needs to be destroyed." he said angrily. Silas just glared at him. "Don't be short sighted. Using the Reaper's own technology against them is the only way to beat them." Miranda looked unnerved by what she was hearing. "I am not so sure, after seeing it firsthand. Using anything here seems like a betrayal." Silas ignored his daughter's doubts and continued with Jack. "The Quintessons are working for the Reapers, who knows what kind of information is stored there." Jack just crossed his arms and shook his head. "No matter what we may find here, it isn't worth the amount of lives it cost to obtain it." he said in a stoic manner, trying to get through to the Director. "Prime, you died fighting for what you believed in. I rebuilt you so that you could keep fighting, some would say that what we did was going too far, but look at what you have achieved. I didn't discard you because I knew your value, don't be so reckless with discarding this facility so quickly. Think of what we could do with it's potential." Jack though turned away from Silas and continued with the control panel. "No, we can fight and win without it. I will not let fear compromise who I am or what we stand for." Silas could feel himself losing control of the situation and so turned to Miranda, the one person he felt he still had control of. "Miranda, do not let Darby destroy the planet!" The MECH Officer looked at Silas in a untrusting manner. "Or what? You'll discard me, like you did before." she spat back at him. "I am your father…" he replied forcefully. But Miranda just looked back at him in disgust. "Funny how you remember that now, consider this a disownment." she replied as she deactivated the transmission. Silas turned back to Jack with an almost pleading look. "Jack, don't do this. Think about what is at stake, about everything that MECH has done for you…." then his hologram was gone as Miranda knelt down next to Jack and helped with the reprogramming. After a moment they were done. "Okay, we have several minutes before the reactor blows and takes this whole planet with it." The three of them ran out of the room as the reactor started to overload, causing the planet to experience earthquakes as it started to build up its energy towards exploding point. Once they got back to the outer room, Jack's com link activated. "Prime, do you copy?" hotrod's voice came through. "We're on our way, did the others make it?" he asked hoping for good news after seeing how shot up the outer room looked. "Everyone is on board, we are just waiting on you." the pilot replied as drones started to swarm through the tunnels and passages towards them. Jack and his team then heard a booming alien voice speaking to them through the station. "Prime, you think you have won, but you've changed nothing. Your species has gained the attention of one that is infinitely greater." Jack, Airachnid and Miranda fired at the drones as they ran away from the enemies chasing them. "The species you call Reapers are your destiny through destruction." As they ran, Jack looked around to see drones running at them from all directions as the group entered the hanger to see the Defiant waiting for them, Garrus and Soundwave in the airlock providing covering fire, taking out a few of the drones who had gotten closer to Prime and his team mates. "Go, I'll cover you." Jack shouted back as he fired back at the Quintesson drones flooding through the hanger's entrance. Miranda and Airachnid ran up the catwalk and jumped into the airlock. "Jack, get here now." Garrus shouted at the Prime who started to run towards the ship, only to find the catwalk retracting in on itself, Jack though was not going to let that stop him so he put everything had left into his legs and ran as fast and as strong as he could while the drones fired at him. Garrus saw what his friend had in mind and realised instantly what was going to happen. "He's not going to make it!" He then got down on his knees and held out his hand as Jack reached the edge of the catwalk and jumped into the air, arm stretched out, reaching for his friend's hand. Suddenly everything felt like it was in slow motion as Jack moved through the air, but just as it seemed that he would not make it, their hands connected and grasped each others strongly as Jack was hanging of Garrus's arm. The drones stopped at the edge of the platform and fired at the Defiant as Soundwave and Airachnid fired back, while Garrus pulled Jack on board and closed the airlock door. The Defiant turned around, it's engines facing the drones as it prepared to leave. "Everyone's on board, punch it." Tali shouted to Hotrod as Teletraan gave them a countdown. "Detonation in nine, eight, seven…" the AI said. "Yeah, I get it. Full power to engines now." Hotrod said while taking the controls, before the Defiant flew out of the hanger at full speed as the planet's surface was rocked by explosions, the ship trying to make as much distance between itself and the Quintesson planet as possible. Meanwhile in the planet's main control room, Alpha Q was working frantically as he tried to avert the explosion. But the Reaper hologram just looked down at him, completely enraged. "You have failed, but we have 'another way'. We will leave you to your fate!" The hologram then disappeared as Alpha Q's face shifted to fearful as the planet shook around him. He then heard the explosion travelling up to meet him and stared at it as it enveloped him and the room. The planet then exploded in magnificent fashion as the explosion spread out across the system only seconds behind the Defiant as it flew past the wreckage of the Quintesson cruiser which was then destroyed by the explosion wave. The Defiant then entered the rift just as the wave caught up. But by then Jack and his crew were safely away. PRIME EFFECT 2 Silas stood in silent rage as Jack's hologram appeared on the holo-pad. "Darby, you are making a habit of costing me more than time and money." he said trying to keep his anger in check. "The price of the atrocities that occurred on that planet were too high, I am not sorry that it is gone." Jack replied. "Well, you better get used to losing people, many more will be lost now. The technology on that planet could have secured humanity's dominance in the galaxy, against the Reapers and beyond." he countered. "More like MECH's dominance." Jack responded. "MECH is a symbol of humanity, what we do strengthens every human. I should have known that you would choke when it came down to the hard choices. You are just like that fool Optimus, to idealistic for your own good." Silas spat back at the Prime. "I don't care what your opinion of me is, the Reapers are coming. Humanity and the rest of the galaxy need a leader who is looking out for them. From now on I'm doing things my way, whether you like it or not." Jack replied stoically. Silas took a few steps toward the Prime, his yellow optics glowing brightly as he let his anger loose. "Don't you dare turn your back on me, Darby. I rebuilt you, I brought you back from the dead." Jack just tapped his com link. "Teletraan, lose this channel." he said coolly as he walked off the holo-pad and disappeared from the Director's view. Jack smiled as he left the briefing room, happy in the knowledge that he had just cut ties with MECH. Silas though just stood there in his darkened room with his fists clenched tight. He was so angry that he didn't hear footsteps behind him. "That Prime is a real problem…" a voice said, making the Director turn around to see who had spoken. "…for both of us." the voice continued. Silas focused his optics trying to see the person in the room with him. "Who's there?" The figure in the darkness then stepped out into the light cast from the orange holo-globe in the center of the room and smiled at Silas. "You can call me Sideways, and I have proposal for you." The Director simply nodded cautiously. "You help me to kill Jackson Prime and I will help you get your hands on what you desire most." Sideways said in a calm tone. "And what is it that you can offer myself and MECH?" Silas asked in a distrusting manner. The former con simply smiled in return. "Reaper technology and information of course, enough to help you unlock their secrets and put MECH above everyone else. Is that incentive enough….do we have a deal." As the two men stood there in silence for several seconds, a dark grin appeared on Silas's face as he stared back at Sideways. Meanwhile in the Defiant's shuttlebay, Jack was standing over the coffins of those who died during the mission. He placed his hand on one of them and whispered a prayer before standing up straight and remaining quiet for several seconds. He then turned and walked away toward one of the windows that looked out into space. The some of the crew were busy repairing the ship as he walked past, lost in his own thoughts. Everything had changed again, and yet things were still the same. Yes… he had made enemies of the Council, of the Alliance and of MECH, but the Reapers were still out there and so his mission still needed to be completed: Stop the Reapers no matter the cost. But while he looked out at the cosmos, unbeknownst to Jack, the Reapers appeared around the galaxy. Billions of ships, with the one that had spoken to Alpha Q was at the front of the fleet. It's eyes glowed brightly as the Reapers moved ever closer to the galaxy. The battle was over, but the war was still to come.
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