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Apollo-XL5

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  1. CHAPTER 1 Twenty five years earlier... The planet Earth was known as one of the most beautiful worlds in the galaxy, with it's massive blue oceans and green, brown and white colored land masses, made it a visual delight for those who looked upon it. But with the arrival of the Reapers, sentient machines created by the Chaos Bringer known to many as 'Unicron'. The Earth came to looked to suffer the same fate as millions of worlds has before it. Gone was the colourful beauty that nature had given it, replacing it with the look of a world that had been burnt to a crisp. The Reapers had begun harvesting the planet's main Indigenous life form, a species called 'humanity', who for the majority of their short existence on the planet had believed that they were alone in the universe. But that belief was not true and as of this very moment, humanity fought alongside a race of autonomous living synthetic brings called 'Cybertronians'. This race who originally arrived on Earth and brought their civil war (which also cost them their own world) with them, was now living peacefully with Humanity. And now with the Reapers threatening to destroy everything that they held dear, both races along with the combined galactic community were fighting this last desperate battle to hold the line against the night. But it was a fight that they were losing, the galaxy has put all of its efforts into a Lithone device that was supposed to destroy their adversaries, but it instead became their doom. It was really a means to return Unicron back to the physical realm and with their creator among them again, the Reapers moved forward with their plan to destroy all organic life in the galaxy. But then stepped forward one man, his name was Jack Darby. But he was known amongst many as Jackson Prime, the first Human Prime. He activated the matrix of leadership and used it to destroy the Chaos Bringer, but at a terrible cost. For it also ended the life of Primus, the Aeon who created the Cybertronians and the line of Primes. For if Unicron was to be no more, then Primus had to fade away as well. So as the Chaos Bringer exploded and the wave of energy expanded across the whole galaxy and wiping the Reapers from existence. Unknown to those who survived that day to see a future that they could not believe that they would witness, a scream echoed from the destruction of the two Aeons. A scream that they could not hear, but as it echoed across the universe like a shout through a mountainous region of land. It would eventually be heard by a powerful force, a force that would see it as an act of defiance by the galaxy in question and in turn set their sights to the Milky Way. And so they begin their journey through the endless dark space that separates the galaxies from each other, to find out what happened to their deceased brethren. Because death is not a idea known to them, and so heaven help those responsible. Present day... In the vast void that was deep space, there was suddenly a flash of white light as a star-ship jumped out of hyperspace. It had the markings and color scheme of the Interstellar Federation and the Autobots on it's hull (white, blue and red), it's name in black, bold lettering 'Icarus' could be could also be clearly seen. Walking down one of the ship's dimly lit corridors was a Caucasian Cybertronian with brown hair and wearing purple and silver uniform that also had green outlines in its joints, he walked up to a door at the far end of said corridor and pressed the control panel to his right. The door opened and he walked onto the bridge of the ship, which had a circular design to it. The Commander's chair situated in the centre of the room with all main stations surrounding it, giving the commanding officer full view of his bridge crew. All stations were manned by a mixed crew of Cybetronian, human, Krogan and Asari, while sitting in the Commander's chair was a Turian who turned in his chair to look away from the Bridge canopy and towards the man who had just entered. "Shockblast, I thought you would like to know that we are approaching the last set of coordinates" the Turian said as the bot stopped beside him. "Commander Villius, we have saved the best one till last right." "I certainly hope so, after spending five years visiting and unearthing ancient Cybertronian settlements on numerous worlds across the galaxy, this last one should be jackpot... So the human saying goes." The Turian then looked at a holo-image that appeared over his right-side armrest, it showed the Icarus and it's distance to the planet. "I have to say that I am looking forward to your briefing, considering the planet we are about to enter the orbit of." "Thank you, Commander Vallius, all I require now is Dr T'Soni's assistance." Shockblast replied as he looked over to the Asari sitting behind the Turian at the science station, she looked over to him having heard her name spoken aloud and saw him smile back to her. "Are you ready, Liara?" The blue woman looked up and smiled at the bot. "Yes, Shockblast." she replied, mirroring his smile before looking at the Turian Commander. "Commander Vallius, I have finished recalibrating the ship's sensor grid and also completed the compiling of our database." she replied before standing up and joining the bot's side. "Thank you, Dr T'Soni, we are certainly lucky to have you on this expedition." Vallius said back as she walked over to Shockblast. "She's the best." the bot said with an affectionate tone, making the Asari almost blush in return. "We are approaching the planet sir." a young man at the helm stated, gaining their attention of which Liara was thankful. The pilot was Caucasian and had blonde hair and was wearing a yellow and purple uniform that like Shockblast, had green outlines at it's joints. "Very good, Six-shot. Take us into orbit." Vallius replied as he and everyone on the bridge could see their destination on the other side of the glass. "Cybertron!" Liara exclaimed with excitement in her voice. "Yes, our former home-world." Shockblast replied as the Icarus moved into high orbit above the dead planet, from their vantage point, they could clearly see the detail of it's heavily damaged surface. Results of the eons long civil war that had caused the Cybertronian exodus long ago. "We are in orbit, Commander." Six-shot stated. "Good. Shockblast, have your team ready in the briefing room." The Turian Commander replied, earning a nod from the Shockblast as he and the Asari walked over to he elevator and entered once it's doors had opened. A short time later and the two were in the briefing room with their team mates, waiting for the Commander to make an appearance. "Liara?" Shockblast asked as he looked down at a data pad in his hands. "Yes." she replied with a smile, earning a similar expression from the bot, though a shy one. "You know, I meant what I said to the Commander earlier." The Asari turned to the bot and wrapped her arms around his neck affectionately. "I know you did, and if I hadn't worked with you for the last five years then I wouldn't feel the same way about you." she said before closing the distance between them, their lips meeting and moving in synch as they kissed for a long moment. They then parted as they heard the door open and turned to see the Commander enter the room along with Six-Shot and several others who all sat down on the chairs that were grouped together in front of the two. "Well, we are all here, are you two ready?" Vallius said before Shockblast and Liara suddenly began moving like they had a purpose, which made Six-shot shake his head and sigh in response as he looked at the ground. "Yes." Shockblast replied before activating his holo-tool, thus making the room go dark. The only illumination coming from a holo-globe that was hovering just behind Liara and himself. "So... here we are, after five years of sifting through the mud on numerous worlds, finding evidence of previous Cybertronian settlements that pre-date the Great War and other discoveries that we did not know. We have finally arrived at the final destination of our journey before heading back to civilization." As Shockblast spoke, Liara with her holo-tool changed the globe to a model of Cybertron that rose up above them, so that those sitting at the back could see. "Cybertron." he said, before noticing a hand rise up from the group watching them. "Yes?" the bot replied as the Salarian brought his hand back down to his lap. "Thank you, but I find myself confused. Have there not been many expeditions to Cybertron over the last twenty-five years, not to mention the years before the Reaper war. What are we expecting to find that has not been found already?" Shockblast smiled and brought up another hologram next to the Cybertron, it showed lines of Cybertronian writings that glowed in orange. "The writing that you see before you is that of ancient Cybertronian, and each line was found on a tablet on each of these worlds." Shockblast added as Liara typed on the interface of her holo-tool, bringing up another hologram. This time of the galaxy which had several red dots scattered over it, gaining a knowing look from Six-shot. "Those are worlds that we have already visited in the last few years, finding those colony ruins." he said, earning a smile and a nod from the bot standing in front of him. "That is correct, now it should be noted that while the ruins we found on these worlds does in fact date back to the early years of the Golden Age. The tablets that these codes were inscribed, on are actually only a few million years old..." The majority of the audience just stared at him blankly which annoyed Shockblast, but he managed to hold it all inside as he took a breath. "...which means these codes were used during the Great War between the Autobots and Decepticons." Suddenly some members started to show sins that hey were catching on as Six-shot decided to speak again. "So what are these codes then?" Shockblast could not hide the satisfaction he felt at the younger bot's questions, he was really the only member of the audience who was showing a natural interest, though Commander Vallius who would just watch and listen, keeping all his questions to himself until the end of the briefing. But Six-shot always did have a keen eye for history, just like himself...his older brother. "Well, Six-shot, I...and it was no small task due to the complexities of the dead language...managed to decipher the codes." Shockblast replied as Liara worked her holo-tool again and made the codes separate from their formation, and hover above the audience. "Now each code on its own read like gibberish, they made no sense. But when I put all the codes together..." He said as the codes hovering over the audience began to join and mix with each other until it made on singular code and an arrow appeared at it's end and pointed to a location on Cybertron. "...they reveal a set of coordinates that are on the planet we are orbiting right now." The bot then smiled as he saw that he had the attention of the audience now. "Do you know which faction the codes belong to?" another crew member asked. "No, but whether Autobot or Decepticon. The fact that the coordinates were encrypted using ancient Cybertronian, shows that whatever is at this location is big and I believe that it is something more than worth a look into." Shockblast replied as he noticed a smile appear on the Commander's face. "Okay, Shockblast, you have a go. Everyone get ready, we will be landing the ship in exactly sixty minutes time. Let's go find out what's down there." With that the audience began leaving the room, going to their respective stations leaving Shockblast, Liara and Six-shot behind. "That went better than I thought it would." the Asari said as Shockblast placed his hand on her shoulder affectionately. "We are going to make history with this discovery I just know it." "Don't go planning any speeches for future awards, we may still find nothing down there." Liara replied as she placed her hand on his in return. "No, this is it. I can feel it in my bones, we are about to hit gold." the bot said back enthusiastically. "Don't you mean platinum?" Six-shot corrected, earning a smile from Shockblast. "Well, I was very impressed with your questions during the briefing, little brother, I think you may have chosen the wrong career." "Nah, I am a pilot, Shockblast. I find history interesting but I will leave that to you." the younger bot replied, earning a brotherly slap on the back from the older brother before he and Liara began to head for the exit. "See you on the bridge, Six-shot, I know you are dying to show off your skills with the landing." "Yeah, yeah. You should know I can make this ship do anything with my skill. The landing will be so smooth, it will be like a leaf kissing the surface of a pond." Six-shot replied as he followed them out. The ship broke orbit as it turned on its side so that the planet was below it's underside, as it prepared for its descent to the dead planet below it. On the bridge, Vallius rotated his chair three hundred and sixty degrees as he looked around at his crew. Six-shot was at the helm performing his per-landing prep, Liara was at the science station and Shockblast was sitting at her side as everyone else worked frantically around them. The Commander activated the intercom. "This is Commander Vallius to all personnel, brace yourselves for entry." his voice boomed around the ship as all that heard it stopped what the were doing and strapped themselves, the Turian then looked at his pilot. "Alright Six-shot, take us down." The pilot nodded before tapping the glowing blue holo-interface in front of him. "Aye aye, Sir." The Icarus's engines then fired as it started to descend down to Cybertron. As the ship entered the atmosphere, the turbulence was strong as they passed through an electric storm on the way down. They could hear the energy strikes through the hull and the inertial dampeners could not stop the vibrations from being felt as it made anything that was not fastened down shake and move around. "I think we are passing through the worst of it." Six-shot stated as the cloud cover dissipated, revealing the battered, and war torn surface below. It was a mixture of grey and bronze colors with the derelict buildings stood inside what looked like a desert. "Commander, that is the 'Sea of Rust, and the coordinates are located just north west of our current position'." Liara stated as she looked at the holo-interface of the science station, showing a three dimensional representation of the area she spoke of. "Very good, Doctor T'Soni. Sixshot, take us to the coordinates." Vallius replied. The pilot merely nodded in return as he made the Icarus turn slightly to the left and fly the ship over to what looked like a desert where a lone mountain could be seen. "There, right there!" Shockblast said as he pointed at the image. "The sensors show that it is not a natural formation." he added as he looked to Liara for confirmation. "He is right, there is another structure buried underneath. Looks like it has slowly been covered by the rust storms over the eons. Perfect place to hide something." she said with a smile, feeding Shockblast's enthusiasm more. "Very well. Six-shot, land us next to it." Vallius said while keeping his attention on the glass canopy and the mountain as the Icarus got closer to it. "Switching to thrusters to slow us and gently bring us down, also deploying landing struts. Touchdown in ten seconds." Six-shot said. The Icarus's struts appeared from inside the ship locked into place as it neared the ground, the strength of the thrusters kicking up a dust cloud around the vessel as it landed on to the Cybertronian surface, sending a shudder through the ship from the contact. "The Icarus has landed, shutting down the engines and deactivating all navigational systems." the pilot stated as the Commander smiled at everyone. "Nice flying, Six-shot." he said as the pilot's older brother undid his seat's straps and got up. "Okay, time to get down there and make history." he said enthusiastically as he looked out of the canopy down at the base of the mountain. "Easy there, Shockblast..." Liara said while looking at the holo-interface in front of her. "Sensors show a rust storm heading this way, it's about five hours away from us." The bot turned to her, his excitement dimming ever so slightly. "That's why we should go now, get a head start." he continued to say as he looked over to the Turian Commander, hoping to get the go ahead. "Very well, looks like you will need that time just to drill through the exterior anyway." Vallius replied with a nod as he brought up the scan of the mountain from the science station, it's three-dimensional model showing the thickness of the rust covering the building. "Thank you, Commander." Shockblast said back before looking at Liara, the enthusiasm back on his face. "Right, let's go." The bot and Asari then got up and left the bridge as Six-shot watched, this did not go unnoticed by Vallius who saw the look on the younger bot's face. "You want to go with your brother don't you, Six-shot?" The pilot's attention snapped back to his Commander from the door as he heard his name spoken. "Yes, Sir." he replied somewhat nervously, earning a smile from the Turian. "Go on then, the Icarus wont be needing it's pilot while we are planet-side anyway." The bot smiled at him and got up. "Thank you, Sir." he replied before heading out of the bridge, through the same door as his brother earlier. Vallius then turned his attention to the rest of his bridge crew. "Alright then, systems check. I want a report on each section by zero eight hundred hours." he said, earning a groan from some crew members around him. PRIME EFFECT 4 Liara looked down at the interface on her holo-tool as she stood outside in her silvery white/blue armour (she was wearing a breather helmet...they all were outside) as Shockblast and his brother (who were wearing armour with the same colour schemes as their uniforms) were helping the dig team operate the large laser drill that was situated on top of the Icarus's MAKO. The laser was firing a bright red and white hot energy beam at the base of the mountain that was towering over them, obliterating the rust that was blocking their way. They had been at this for nearly five hours as the Asari's com-link activated. "Dr T'Soni, how fares the drilling?" the voice of Commander Vallius said from his end of the call. Liara looked down at the read out of her holo-tool. "We are ninety five percent through, Commander." "Well that storm is nearly upon us, you may want to consider returning to the Icarus and finishing it tomorrow. This storm will be going on all night." Vallius replied, Liara then looked over to the north and saw a massive storm cloud approaching, it was so large it seemed to reach up into the heavens. "I think you are corr..." she started to say, only for Shockblast to interrupt over the link. "No, I will not let a storm stop us now. We can take cover from it via the building that is encased in this mountain of rust." the bot replied with a slightly annoyed tone. "Are you sure, Shockblast? I don't want anyone taking any unnecessary risks." Vallius replied. "Yes, and everyone on my team agrees with me." "Doctor T'Soni, does that include you?" the Turian asked. The Asari suddenly felt conflicted by the Commander's question, true she did see the logic in Vallius's words. But she also understood Shockblast's eagerness to find out what was inside the mountain, plus the thought of waiting several hours to a day for the storm to pass did not sit well with her either. She had trusted Shockblast for the last five years, and she did not plan to stop now. "I agree with Shockblast." she replied, knowing full well the grin that would be on the bot's face right now. "Very well, just be careful in there. Due to the strength of the storm, communications will be unavailable until after it has dissipated." "Understood." Shockblast replied before ending the link. It took a further thirty minutes for the laser drill to finish and by then the storm was pretty much all over the area, gale force winds blowing the sand like rust up into the air, making visibility almost zero. But the dig team managed to get into the tunnel that they had created through the heavy layer of rust that had slowly covered whatever structure had stood there over the eons. Shockblast and Liara led the way as they shone their torches into the darkness ahead of them, hoping to find some clue as to what they would find. After a short time walking through the tunnel, the gale force winds of the storm now just a faint echo behind them. The group came up to what looked like a metallic wall. "Looks like there is something written on it." Six-shot observed as His brother reached out and wiped a gloved hand over one of the symbols. "It's ancient Cybertronian." he said before activating his holo-tool. "Can you translate it? Liara asked. "Give me a few minutes to get my bearings with this." the bot replied as both the Asari and Six-shot gave each other a knowing look before looking back at the rest of the team, who had started to talk amongst themselves. After fifteen minutes of hearing conversations such as... "What do you think we will find down here?" "Perhaps a first edition of Sargent Kup's war stories." "By the Allspark, I hope not!" ... Liara rolled her eyes and turned back to Shockblast who was still trying to figure out the wall in front of them. "Figured it out yet?" Six-shot asked before the she could say the same question. "I don't get it! I have gone through every translation matrix I have and the symbols on the wall still make no sense." the older brother replied with a frustrated tone. The three of them looked at wall and the way that the symbols were arranged in a circular pattern. "That looks familiar..." Liara said before bringing up the codes via her holo-tool. "..., the symbols on the wall are identical to the first symbol on each line of code." she added as Six-shot decided to pint something out. "Yeah and the number of symbols on the wall match the lines of code we have." Shockblast looked up at the wall with a confused expression that soon changed to one of embarrassment. "How did I not notice that?" he said. "Don't worry about it, let's just see if we can now open this door." his younger brother said as he placed a hand on his shoulder. "Okay, let's see what is in this door shall we." Shockblast replied as he began a scan with his holo-tool. "I am detecting a series of small CPUs inside the door, each one behind one of those symbols, there is also a faint signal being emitted from each CPU. So if we..." he said as he brought up the holograms of the codes and lined them up with each corresponding symbol on the wall. "...send the codes along the same signals, then..." he added as the images then passed into the wall, gaining a ping from his holo-tool. ".. Open sesame." he smiled as the gears and cogs could be heard turning from behind the wall as it began to open up, releasing a small dust cloud from the other side. "Well done." a Salarian team mate said as the rest of them had stopped talking and watched as the three lead members figured out how to open it. "Okay, let's see what's in there." Shockblast said as he done his torch into the opening and began walking through the door, followed closely by Liara and Six-shot and then the rest of the team. It did not take long before the group entered a massive room, one that would have been of normal height for a Cybertronian in their original body. Six-shot activated a drone with his holo-tool, it's bright glow illuminating the room so everyone could see what was around them. It was filled with consoles and heavy equipment and also had three doorways that led elsewhere in the complex. Shockblast looked around in utter glee before turning to his team. "Alright, we are going to split up in to teams so that we can explore this place some more. Also activate your search drones if you find any more rooms, so that we can make a map of this place." So the bot then split everyone into four teams of three (being sure to have both Liara and Six-shot with him) and had one team stay behind and examine the room they now in, while having the rest of teams (including his own) check out where the three door ways led. Once they had split up and headed down their respective corridor, Shockblast's team entered another large room, but this one only had one massive computer at one end, and a large containment tank in it's center. There was also a large hole in one of the walls that looked like it connected to a mine tunnel. "Six-shot, activate a search drone to explore the area behind that hole." the older brother said. His young brother nodded and activated his holo-tool, making an orange bill-orb appear in front of him before it flew off through the opening and into the tunnel beyond it. "Okay, the drone is mapping the tunnel." he said as the interface of his holo-tool showed the ever expanding map of the complex grow some more with the drone relaying more data. Shockblast nodded back before joining Liara at the computer. "I am detecting an Energon source nearby, but it's readings are not exactly the same as what we know Energon to be like." the Asari said as Shockblast looked at her interface. "I thought Energon was completely depleted throughout the galaxy, which was the reason why our species had to switch to pretender bodies to begin with." Six-shot said as His older brother noticed something about the readings. "That's right, but these readings do not match with that. It is picking up Synthetic Energon, a lot of it." Liara gave both bots a puzzled look. "What is Synthetic ener...?" "Just call it Synthergon for short." Six-shot interrupted, earning an Annoyed look from his brother, before he turned his attention back to Liara. "..Synthergon is exactly what it sounds like, a Cybertronian-made alternative to the real energy source. The formula for it was created by the ancients and then lost over time, only for Team Prime to rediscover it during the twilight years of the great war." "So why don't we see this 'Synthergon' around today?" Liara asked, her undivided attention squarely on Shockblast. "Because the formula they found was incomplete, and they would have had to sacrifice one of their team to gain the full formula." "With it incomplete, the Synthergon would have dangerous side effects on any Cybertronian that used it, taking away their inhibitions while also making their bodies grow dependent on it." Six-shot added while confining to map the mine tunnels. "Like a drug addict... I understand. But either way, whoever's complex this is, clearly found a way to use it as a power source." the Asari replied as she looked at the power signature on her holo-tool. Shockblast activated his own and ran a scan of the computer. "I have gained access to some of the system, attempting to restore power to the..." he said before being cut of by the sound of generators powering up and the lighting system of the complex activating, illuminating the rooms and the corridors. The bot looked around at the lit up room and was about to speak when his com-link beeped. "Shockblast, everything is powering up around us. And we are detecting a breathable atmosphere within the complex. Please tell us that was you?" one of the other teams asked. "Yes, we have restored power. Nothing to worry about." he replied as the group removed their helmets, before the containment tank powered up and a trap door opened inside and a human sized synthetic body strapped down to a mobile berth rising up into the center of the tank. "What is that? It looks like a blank slate." Liara asked with wide eyes, gaining mirrored looks from her team mates. "That is a Pretender body." Shockblast replied. "But it doesn't look like any Pretender model I have seen before." Six-shot said as his older brother took a scan with his holo-tool. "This is a more advanced model than the ones that Cybertronians were forced to use all those years ago, I am not entirely sure but it looks like this has an 'T-Cog'." Liara looked at him with another puzzled expression. "T-Cog?" "Back when our race had their original bodies, they also had a T-Cog which allowed them to scan a vehicle of equal size and the transform into a replica. The T-Cog in this Pretender is not as complex, it looks like it only alters the body slightly. In what way I am not entirely sure, I would need to see it in action." Shockblast replied as he walked closer to the glass canopy that surrounded the pretender, only for his holo-tool to start pinging, taking his attention from the body. "Alright, I have manage to interface with the main computer, accessing the data logs now." "I thought the computer would have been more encrypted than that, considering how well locked this place was." Six-shot said. "Maybe whoever owned this place never thought anyone would figure out the codes to gain entry, let alone reach this far." the older brother replied as looked down at the holo-screen in front of him as lines of data scrolled down it. Liara took a closer look at the pretender with an unnerved expression. "I know it is a blank slate, but that thing doesn't look particularly friendly." Six-shot stood beside her and looked at it too as Shockblast smiled and clicked his fingers as his holo-tool pinged again. "Eureka, now let's get some answers." he said as the others stood beside him, just as he enlarged the holo-screen which changed to show a Cybertronian figure looking back at them. It was quite bulky and it's armour was purple colored, but it was the solitary red optic staring back that was most recognisable to two of the group. "Shockwave! Well now we know which faction this complex belonged to." Six-shot exclaimed in surprise as Liara looked at screen. "Shockwave, who's that?" "He was the Decepticon's Head Scientist and he was well known for 'tampering with with nature'." the younger bot replied. "Are we going to see what this log is about or do you guys want to carry on talking." Shockblast said with a tone mixed with annoyance and excitement. "Yeah alright, I know what this means to you, Shockblast. With your liking of all things Decepticon-like." Six-shot said back. "Well, I have known you for five years (dated you for two) and I am still not really comfortable with your favorite subject. I mean the Decepticons were evil right?" Liara said as she looked at her boyfriend. "It was a civil war, only beliefs and ideals separated our people down the middle. It was the Cons leader who was truly evil, and he ruled the faction using fear to keep his men in line." Shockblast replied. "Megatron, that's his name right?" the Asari asked back, earning a nod from the brothers. "I still don't understand it, but at least you're not obsessed with the Reapers like some others I know. Those things nearly destroyed my planet, let alone the entire galaxy. I guess that is far worse." Liara added. "That's right, especially since the Reapers were creations of Unicron and the Decepticons were enemies of him too. Megatron even allied himself with Optimus Prime to defeat The Chaos Bringer." Shockblast said. "Yeah, I remember hearing all about that back at school...so can we play this log now?" Six-shot asked earning a smile from the two lovers, before the older bot tapped the holo-screen to activate the video. "Research log Alpha nine seven two. My continuing research into Pretender technology has brought up a weakness that If not corrected, could prove fatal to any Decepticon using it. Though it is true that even in these smaller bodies, we would still have strength and stamina which would give us an advantage over the Humans, but to maintain adequate deception and allow our agents to walk among our enemy, then certain advantages of ours had to be sacrificed to allow the mimicry to be successful. But now, using the knowledge gained from successful experiments such as Airachnid and to a certain degree, the Dinobots. I believe that I can finally produce a Pretender form that will give us a permanent advantage, not just over the humans, but over all of our enemies." The video ended and the three friends looked at each other. "So that pretender over there is what he came up with." Liara said. "Certainly looks that way, the log was dated during the final year of the war. The Decepticons never got the chance to use any of the Pretender tech, good job too." Six-shot replied as Shockblast kept his eyes on his holo-screen as he scrolled through the list of vid logs. Suddenly The younger bot's com-link activated. "Six-shot, I was trying to contact Shockblast but seem to have trouble making a connection." the Salarian scientist from earlier said, making the young bot look over to his brother. Shockblast just gave him a look which said 'I turned it off', so Six-shot just smiled and shrugged. "...yeah, it seems that we are having trouble with our communicators." "But I managed to contact you just fine." the Salarian replied. "I don't know why that is, I am only a pilot after all." Six-shot answered, annoyance beginning to show in the tone of his voice. "Well, I need to speak to Shockblast..." the Salarian said, earning a eye roll from the older brother who in frustration tapped his com-link. "What is it? He snapped. "Ugh... no need for that tone." the Salarian replied in a similarly angry tone. Shockblast did not need this right now, this particular scientist was annoying at best, but now with the discovery they had just made, he did not have the time nor patience to put up with him. "What is it?" he asked again, this time with a little less anger. "We have found what appears to be the controls for a space bridge generator in the laboratory we are currently inside, I thought you would like to know." the Salarian replied, though you could hear in his voice that he was still pissed off. "Okay, mark the lab on your holo-map, rendezvous with the other teams and come over to our location, we have just activated Shockwave's main computer." Shockblast replied. "Shockwave?... Alright we are on our way." was the reply from the scientist as he closed the com channel. "He certainly changed his tune." Six-shot said as his brother returned his attention to the data base. "There is another file data log that looks interesting, but I am having trouble accessing it." Liara looked at the holo-screen with a curious expression. "Why, is it encrypted?" "No, it seems to be connected to a separate system. Let me just try...(ping)..that's it." he said as suddenly a loud humming could be heard from behind the north wall directly behind of them, making the group turn round. "What did did you do?" Six-shot said as he and Liara looked at Shockblast. "I saw a file in the database that had no name or description what so ever, so I activated it." the bot replied as just like earlier with the large door, the sound of gears turning could be heard before a section of the wall ascended, revealing a inner chamber. It was no bigger than a closest, but contained something that made everyone's eyes widen in surprise. "Is that what I think it is?" Six-shot asked as they stared at a machine that had a glass cylinder in it's center, and inside that pulsed a red glowing ball of energy. "It looks like a spark." Shockblast observed. "But I thought sparks were always white coloured, I have never heard of a red coloured one before." he added. "Instead of standing here scratching your heads, how about looking through the database. Surely there is information about this." Liara said as she brought up the database on her holo-tool after transferring the entry key from Shockblast. But just as she started searching the files, the other groups entered the lab. "Well, we are here. What have you fou..." the Salarian said before catching a glimpse of the red spark pulsing in front of them. For a long moment, everyone other than Liara (who was still searching through the database) just looked at the spark. Some of them were admiring the red energy that pulsed through out it, others just stared at it with a focused expression. But then the Asari brought them all out of the trance. "Damn it." she cursed, which was out of character for her. "What?" Shockblast asked as he looked over to the Asari. "I found the files, but they are all too fragmented to activate." Just as she said this, her boyfriend suddenly had an idea. "Wait, why don't we just transfer it to the Pretender over there and Wake them up?" he said. "You said this was Shockwave's lab right, and now you want to wake up some experiment in the hope it knows what was done to it. It's more likely to try and kill us." the Salarian said in response. "Or we may just free someone who has been another victim of his twisted science." Six-shot said, earning a smile from his brother. "Right, I think it is worth the risk. I mean we do carry weapons with us, so we can act if whoever it is does end up being a threat." the bot said as he gestured to the pistol equipped to his waist. "We should at least inform the Icarus of this and see what Commander Vallius thinks." another scientist said amongst the group. "The storm is still going to strong out there for our com-links to work." Shockblast replied. "Wait, what about the space bridge generator. We could repair that in say...a couple of hours, then use it to get help from the ship." the Salarian said back. "That would take too much time, and do you really have any experience repairing space bridge technology?" Shockblast replied sarcastically. "I believe it would be more prudent than waking up an experiment that we have no idea what it is." the Salarian spat. "Enough!" Liara shouted at the pair of them, making both men look at her with startled expression. "Shockblast, do you think we can wake him up in that containment tank as an added security measure?" she then asked while pointing at it. "Sure." he replied confidently, which made the Asari smile. "In the five years I have known you, I have learnt not to doubt you. Can't see any reason why I should start now." she added with a loving smile. "Alright, we have quite a few preparations to make before we can pull this off." the bot said enthusiastically, as he started giving orders to the rest of the team. PRIME EFFECT 4 Twenty minutes later and everyone took their positions around the lab, three of which held their pistols at the containment tank which still held the inactive pretender body. Which was connected to the cylinder containing the unknown spark via a transparent cable. Shockblast was standing just behind one of the armed scientists, as he and Liara oversaw the operation. Six-shot stood just aways from them, next to the machine containing the red spark. "Alright, we are ready for transfer." he said as his brother nodded back. "Then let's begin, start the transference." The younger bot then tapped a control on his holo-tool which bright the machine to life, and suddenly the red spark began drifting out of the glass cylinder, down the cable and towards the vacant body lying in the middle of the large room. "Okay, so far so good." Shockblast stated as he kept his attention on both the read outs from his holo-tool, and also the progress of the spark, which was coming up to the half way point of the journey. The bot felt a lump grow in his throat as he watched it slowly move down the cable, before it entered the tank and went into the pretender body via an adaptor on it's chest. Almost immediately, the pretender started to change. It's skin colour became that of a Caucasian male in his early-forties, his hair was black with a hint of silver mixed in as it appeared on his head. His torso shaped itself into a well toned and built frame, as the rest of the body grew in height an extra inch or so (six foot tall). The newly transformed figure had the look of a battle hardened veteran as he lay there on the berth. Everyone outside of the containment tank just watched in amazement at the transformation that had occurred before them. "That was amazing." Liara exclaimed before the newly created Cybertronian's eyes suddenly opened, revealing his eyes to have red irises. He gasped as he took his first breath and rose up from the berth, surprising everyone before falling to his knees with his hands up against the glass. "Help...me." he said on a deep, commanding voice. Though a hint of helplessness could be made out in his tone as he looked up at the people staring at him from the other side of the glass. "What are you waiting for, he needs help." Shockblast said urgently while the others looked on utterly dumbstruck. "Why don't you help me?" the newborn bot said. "Six-shot, give me a hand." Shockblast said, earning a nod from his brother as both started for the containment tank's control panel. When suddenly the Salarian scientist got in their way and pointed his pistol at them. "What are you doing? he obviously needs aid." Six-shot asked in disbelief. "No, this has gone to far. As soon as the storm passes, I am reporting to Commander Vallius. We should let him decide the fate of this...?" The Salarian then turned to the unknown male and looked down at him. "What is your name?" The bot looked up at him with a confused expression. "My...name?" "Yes, your name. What is it?" the scientist snapped, but the man was unfazed by the Salarian's attitude. "My name is..." he started to say before mumbling the first half of his name. "...atron." Everyone, Shockblast included stared at him with their eyes wide. "Did he say what I think he just said?" one of the others said at the back. "Are you Megatron?" the Salarian asked, this suddenly caused a change in the Cybertronian as his eyes met with the scientist's and stared at him coldly. "No!" his answer was cold with a hint of anger in his tone as he began to stand up. "Then...what is...it?" the Salarian asked, suddenly feeling very small due to the way that was being looked at. The man was now standing and bracing his hand against the glass, the nails on his hand were changing into claws. His body became slightly more muscular and as he gritted his teeth as he felt his anger building up, revealing them to now be as sharp as a blade's tip. But what had everyone's blood suddenly running cold was that his red eyes now looked like those of a lizard. My name..." he then said in an angry tone as he dug his claws into the glass, making multiple cracks appear, weakening it considerably. The group was now so scared by the sudden change in this bot, that even the ones with their pistols pointed at him could not move. Suddenly the man pulled at the glass, shattering it and freed himself from the tank. And before anyone could react, he charged out and grabbed the Salarian by the throat, digging his claws into his neck and causing blood to pour from the wounds. As the scientist died there in his grip, the man looked around at the others staring back in fear. "My name is Galvatron, you will kneel before me...or die!"
  2. EPILOGUE The Defiant crew was working amongst the rubble and ruins of what once was the city of London merely an hour or so after the battle had ended, trying to help anyone that needed it, be they civilians or allies. Ratchet had checked up on every Autobot in the team and was now scanning Bumblebee with his holo-tool. The Medic was hoping these scans could shine light on the reason they all felt dizzy and had collapsed when the mysterious energy wave had passed through them, but as of right now he was no closer to an answer. Ratchet then finished his scan of the scout and gestured him to move. "Thank Primus, I hate checkups." the young bot said, earning and annoyed expression from the Medic as he pinched his nose. "Bumblebee, these scans can help me understand what happened to us when the Reapers were vanquished. Don't you want to know how it affected us?" The Scout just shrugged his shoulders in response. "Can't say it is on the top of my worry list..." The Medic looked at him sternly, yet Bumblebee continued. "...I am just saying that we should just look on the bright side. I mean I feel absolutely fine and am just happy that we lived of through this, that should be enough. Now can I get going, I promised Raf I would help him with the other tech teams, as they attempt to get the resistance's auxiliary planetary sensors online." "And what do you know about repairing such hardware?" Ratchet asked with a mocking tone in his voice. "Not enough to know what to do by myself, but I have watched both Raf and Tali enough times while on board the Defiant. So I know I can be of help." The Medic nodded and waved his young friend off. "Alright go, there is only one more person I need a scan of anyway." he replied before looking around him, trying to spot a certain femme. Meanwhile, Arcee was sitting on a piece of concrete and making modifications to her com-link with her holo-tool before tapping it again. "Jack? Jack, can you hear me? it's Arcee. Jack?" she said repeatedly but all she heard on the other end was static. Garrus was not far from the femme and shook his head as he watched her attempt to alter the frequency of her com link again. Smokescreen stood beside the Turian and looked at what had his attention. "How long has she been at it for?" "She isn't giving up hope that he is out there, I can't say that I blame her. If it was Tali up there, then I wouldn't even turn the com-link off." At that moment Ratchet turned up. "Have any of you seen Arc…., there she is." the Medic said as he noticed the femme and started to walk over to her. "Arcee, I need to take a scan of your physiology. So that I can figure out if that energy wave had any adverse effects on us." "It will have to wait, Ratchet, I'm busy." Arcee replied sternly without even acknowledging that he was there, as she returned to typing on the interface of her holo-tool. The Medic sighed in response before walking over and placing a hand on her shoulder. "Arcee, you have been at this for hours now with no success. Maybe it's time to stop." Arcee then did exactly that, which made the Ratchet sigh in relief. "Okay, now I am going to take a scan of you." The femme then looked at him, her eyes narrowing before swiping his hand away and standing up to face him. "What are you saying? I should just give up on my 'spark-mate', that I just accept that he is gone." she spat at him with a venomous tone. Ratchet did not know where to look as he felt the cold and confrontational stare coming from Arcee. "I am not giving up on Jack and until I see a body, I will not accept that he is gone...not again." she added as she clenched her fist, feeling an overwhelming urge to knock the old-bot on his ass for once again proving how ignorant and uncaring he could appear to be. The Medic just stayed quiet as Arcee readied her holo-tool again, and then glanced at him one more time before leaving. "So you can stick that scan where the sun don't shine." The femme then stormed off, leaving a bemused Ratchet behind as Garrus joined his side. "Nice going, Ratchet." the Turian said. "I didn't know that they had become spark-mates." Ratchet replied with a surprised tone. "I'll talk to her." Garrus said back as he started to go in the same direction as the fuming femme, only to stop when he felt a hand on his shoulder. "No, Garrus. I should go and apologise." With that Ratchet went after her. Arcee was seething right now as she walked off, not caring what direction she was heading as long as it was far away from Ratchet. The femme had to really hold herself back from pummelling him into nothing for having the audacity to tell her to let Jack go. She couldn't do it, not again. Not like when her lover had died the day that the Normandy was destroyed by the Quintessons a few years back. So she stopped where she was and looked up to the sky while activating her com-link, hoping that this time she may hear his voice on the other end. "Jack, it's Arcee. Are you there? If so then give me sign…..please?" she asked, the tone of her voice sounding like the femme was putting the last of her hope into one final plea. But as she stood there and looked up into the clear blue sky, hearing nothing but the sound of static on the other end of the com, she then hung her head in despair. Not wanting to accept the reality of the situation. Her spark ached at the choice she had in front of her, and she felt her eyes begin to well up as this feeling sunk in. The femme was so engrossed in her own despair, she did not hear Ratchet walking up behind her. "Arcee?" he said in a somewhat unsure tone, almost like he was expecting the Autobot to attack him. On hearing her name spoken aloud, the femme was brought out of her solitary moment. And with recognising the voice that said it, her anger began to flare up again, as she clenched her fists. "I thought I warned you to stay away." she said with hostility in her voice without even turning around to look at him. "I guess I don't like myself for what I said to you, Arcee. I am sorry." the Medic replied with a shameful tone. The femme though kept her back to him, so Ratchet moved closer and as soon as he was standing right behind her, he could hear her crying. "Arcee?" he asked as walked in front of her to see the femme was holding her head in her hands and weeping. He immediately pulled her into a sympathetic embrace, with Arcee hugging him back as she started to cry uncontrollably. "I am sorry, Arcee. I know you loved him very much and he you. But we don't know what has happened up there since the fleet jumped away, maybe you are right and he is actually okay and just unable to contact us." "I hope so, because if he really is gone this time..." Arcee said, hating herself for even contemplating that line of thinking. " … I don't think I would be able to go on without him." she finished as Ratchet listened. "Arcee, I know you want to find out that Jack is okay, I mean we all want to hear that he and Optimus are safe. But since there is nothing we can do in that respect, then we should focus on what can be done like making sure the crew are okay and searching for any survivors of HAMMER. Jack left you in charge Arcee and we need you right now." The femme remained quiet for a long moment as she mulled over her choices, then finally she pulled back from her colleague and looked at him with a stoic expression. "You are right, Ratchet….but I am afraid that while Jack is missing, I just can't focus on anything else right now. I know you probably don't understand, but….." "No, Arcee. I do understand. Believe me, I do." he replied with a sympathetic expression of his own. "Thank you, please inform Garrus that he is in charge for the time being." the femme said back before recalibrating her com link. "Of course." Ratchet said before he turned to leave. "…If you want to take that scan, you might as well do it now." Arcee said regaining the Medic's attention as he nodded back before activating his holo-tool and taking a scan of the femme. In the time it took for the scan to be completed, neither bot spoke as they focused on their individual tasks. That was until their silence was broken by Arcee's com-link activating. "Jack…..is that you?" she asked hopefully. "Arcee, this is Admiral Bryce. It's good to hear your voice." The femme sighed as if somewhat disappointed before replying. "Likewise, Admiral. What's your situation?" "We have only just returned to Earth space with the rest of the fleet, some of the rest have begun heading back to their respective home-worlds through the space bridge which is damaged but functional. We have also heard back from those worlds the Reapers were attacking that they have been destroyed. From what we can piece together, every system and colony in the galaxy has been purged of the Reapers by the energy wave that was released from Unicron's body. I don't know how they did it, but Optimus and Darby stopped them. The entire galaxy owes them a tremendous debt." the Admiral replied as Arcee listened to his every word intently. "How is it looking up there, is Unicron's body still intact?" she asked hopefully. But then for what felt like an age, no answer came back except for a sigh from the Admiral. "Arcee..." the Admiral said with a somber tone in his voice as he knew the reason whuy she asked that question. "... all we can see up here is a large debris field, there is no sign of Unicron. I am sorry." The femme suddenly had a lump in her throat as she felt like her world was crumbling around her, she felt her eyes well up again and was so caught up in the flood of emotion, that she didn't not hear the muffled sounds of others speaking to the Admiral. "Arcee, are you still there?" he asked, which snapped her to her senses again, she began wiping away the tears as they formed. "...Yes, Admiral. I am still here." she said while trying to pull herself together, though if the Admiral had noticed this, he didn't let it show in his voice. "Our sensors are picking up a faint power signature within the debris, I will launch teams to investigate and let you know immediately if we find something." Bryce said in an understanding tone. "Thank you, Admiral." the femme replied as new hope, though small was reignited in her spark. "Bryce out." the Admiral said back before closing the com channel. Arcee then just took a deep breath and waited for the news as Ratchet began to head back to Garrus and the others. PRIME EFFECT 3 The debris field was vast as it orbited the planet Earth, it was all that was left of the Chaos Bringer himself, Unicron. The shuttles began weaving in and out between the asteroid sized chunks of the Aeon while making their way to the field's center tracking the ever faint power signature. On board one shuttle, two Autobots sat in the cockpit, while three more were sitting in the aft-section. "I don't know how anyone could have survived something like this Blades." a bot in blue/red and silver armor said while staring out of the shuttle's canopy at the debris field around them. The pilot who was wearing red and silver armor kept his attention on his flying as he replied. "I know what you mean, Hotspot." Out of nowhere, the shuttle's com-link activated and Admiral Bryce's voice could be heard. "Shuttle-five, Protectobots, what is your status?" Hotspot tapped the holo interface in front of him. "Admiral, we are well inside the debris field now and closing in on the power signature. But it is very faint, and could disappear at any time." "Acknowledged, keep me posted. Bryce out." the Admiral replied before closing the com channel. "Guys, we have a large contact drifting our way. It will be I our flight path inside the next thirty seconds." another bot wearing white/black armour said from the back as he worked at his holo-interface. "I see it, Streetwise, plotting course around it." Blades replied as the shuttle veered to the right . "By Primus, look at that." Hotspot said as the other bots stood in the doorway to the cockpit and looked out of the canopy. "Yeah, that's the contact. Had no idea that it would be that though." Streetwise said in return as he was joined by First Aid and Groove (wearing white/black/red and silver/yellow/blue armor respectively). As the Autobots looked out at the debris field that was drifting around them, a massive piece of debris suddenly blocked out the light from the sun as it appeared just aways from the shuttle. Five pairs of eyes widened as suddenly they saw that it was Unicron's face. "His face survived, I mean his face! The majority of his head explodes, but his face is still in one piece" First Aid said with a slightly unnerved tone in his voice. "Yeah, so his face is still there. Streetwise, is there any emissions coming from it." Groove asked as the Autobot went back to his console and run a scan, shaking his head once it was done. "Negative, that thing is dead." "See, First Aid, nothing to worry about." Groove reassured the medic bot, but Streetwise was still at his console. "Guys, that power signature though is coming from a larger piece of debris just behind ugly's face". "Roger that, taking us around big ugly." Blades replied, the shuttle then flew past the former Chaos Bringer's face and saw a very large chunk of debris. "Taking a scan of it now." Streetwise said as he tapped at his holo-interface. "The energy signature is definitely originating from that." he added as Hotspot tapped Blades on the arm. "See that large hole on it's upper left, that is our entry point. Take us in." The Autobot pilot nodded before manoeuvring the shuttle slowly towards the hole with the vessel's thrusters. once he was happy that he had it lined up, Blades then used a quick burst of power to move the shuttle through the hole as it's search lights activated and illuminated the debris's interior. The Protectobots all crammed into the cockpit to see what they had found themselves in. "Look at the almost spherical layout of the room." First Aid said, as Hotspot pointed down at the ground. "Land us there, Blades, and, Everyone, equip your breather helmets. The readouts say zero atmosphere out there." "Doesn't bode well for us to find any survivors, does it?" Streetwise replied sombrely, earning a similar look from all his team mates. The shuttle then landed gently and it's hatch opened with a hiss as the vessel's interior was exposed to the vacuum outside. The Protectobots stepped climbed out and looked around at the rubble covered floor, then at the ceiling. Taking in how large the room was. "By Primus, this place is massive. How in the pit did it survive Unicron exploding?" Hotspot asked, but Groove narrowed his eyes and focused as he looked around the room. "Is it just me, or does this look familiar?" he said as he shone his torch light onto the ceiling. "If you mean that it looks like the inside of a spark chamber, then you would be correct." First Aid replied as he scanned the area with his holo-tool. "Are you picking up any life signs?" Hotspot asked the medic. "Negative, but I am getting a clear reading of the power signature, it is right over there. Beneath the rubble in the centre of the room." First Aid answered while pointing in it's direction. They all walked forward as a pinging sound coming from The medic's holo-tool increased in loudness and frequency the closer they got to the room's center. Blades shown his torch to the left, something catching his eye as his torch light reflected off it under the rubble there. "Hey, what's that?" Blades said as he began to walk over to it, Groove following him until he stopped. His eyes widened as he recognised the Autobot shield. "Give me a hand with this." he said as the two bots began moving and clearing the rubble until suddenly they stopped, their eyes widening as they stared down at the prone body of Optimus Prime. The others looked over with confused expressions. "What is it?" Hotspot asked. "We have found Optimus's body." Blades replied sombrely all the bots then just stopped in response. Their faces mirroring Blades and Groove. They all just stood still for a long moment while they mourned their Leader's passing. Then the constant beeping from First Aid's holo-tool regained his and Hotspot's attention. ...Okay, so what will we find here?" he said with a deep breath, keeping his composure as the two bots stood over a plié of rubble and began to dig. Blades then uncovered something else as he and Groove had started to clear enough of he rubble to pick up The fallen Autobot Leader's body. "Guys, we have found the star saber too." he said as he attempted to pick it up, but the blade would not budge from it's spot. "Blades, surely you remember that only a Prime can lift up such a weapon." Groove replied before Hotspot looked back at them while clearing away the rubble in front of him. "Just leave it where it lies then, it's not like it will go anywhere." The Protectobot leader and his medic then lifted and cleared the last of the rubble only to stop and gasp at what they saw. "What?" Blades and Groove both said in unison before running over and joining their team mates, gasping too in response at what the saw. Lying before them was Jackson Prime's body, sprawled out on the floor. His Prime armor was damaged while also looking completely burned, as was his exposed skin. "Primus! What happened to him?" Hotspot asked in shock, First Aid knelt down and looked over the Prime's body, noticing that Jack was still holding on to the matrix of leadership. "Jackson Prime unleashed the matrix on Unicron." the Medic replied as he pointed at the sacred artifact. "Is that the power signature we have tracked here?" Groove asked, FirstAid though shook his head in response. "No, it's completely drained." he replied while looking at the now black crystal inside the casing that used to shine with the brightness of a star before today. The Medic bot then ran a scan of the Prime with his holo-tool, only to express a look of shock when he saw the results. This did not go unnoticed by Hotspot. "First Aid, what is it?" The medic looked up with an expression of complete bewilderment on his face. "Hotspot, I am picking up life signs from his body." "what? You mean he's..." the Protectobot leader said back in surprise. "Jackson Prime is still alive!" FirstAid replied, earning similar looks from the rest of the team. "How, I mean we are in a vacuum..." Hotspot said as he reached down to check the Prime's pulse, but suddenly his hand was stopped in its tracks less than a centimetre from Jack, as a blue energy rippled around his unconscious body. "Did you see that?" Groove asked before Blades poked at the Prime, again causing the energy to ripple over him. "Stop it!" First Aid suddenly said aloud, earning a surprised look from the Autobot. "Every time you do that, the energy signature we have been tracking lessens." "So this field is what we have been detecting all this time." Streetwise asked as the Medic looked down at a cracked chest plate of Jack's Prime armor noticing a bright light escaping from it. "Yes, it is the energy field we have been reading. But it is powered by the 'Star of Terra', and it is keeping him alive…somehow." "So how do we move him then without weakening the field and killing him?" Blades asked making the medic look to the others. "I think that as long as we don't use too much….. Streetwise and Groove, lift the Prime up gently. I will check the field strength." The two Autobots did as they were instructed and took hold of the unconscious Commander and began to lift him up, the energy field that surrounding him rippling over his body for just a moment. "The field is continuing to drop, but at a more slower rate." First Aid said with a smile. Hotspot mirrored his expression before looking at Streetwise and Groove. "Alright, get Jackson Prime on the shuttle. First Aid, you and Blades recover Optimus's body and do the same." He then tapped the com link on his breather helmet. "Hotspot to Ark. Admiral Bryce, do you read me?" "Bryce here, what have you found over there?" the Admiral replied over the link. "Sir, we found both Primes. Jackson Prime is still alive and we are extracting him now." "I don't believe it….." Bryce replied, unable to hide the relief in his voice. "….but how? Wait, never mind. You can tell me at your debrief. What about Optimus?" "Sir, I am afraid to say that Optimus Prime is…..one with the Allspark." Hotspot replied as the tone of his voice took on a more sombre feel. The Admiral stayed quiet for a moment, the only thing that the Autobot could hear was an inhale before Bryce spoke again. "…I see, I am sorry to hear that… alright, get them both back here as quick as you can. I will have a medical team waiting for you in the shuttle bay….and good work on finding them. Bryce out." Hotspot then looked back at the others. "Alright team, let's move." he said before rejoining them at the shuttle. Back on Earth, Arcee was sitting down on a bench that overlooked a charred open area which apprently used to be a park, or so she had been told. The femme's attention though was focused elsewhere as she typed on her holo-tool's interface, still trying to establish a connection with her spark mate. 'Come on, Jack, you have to be alive.' Arcee thought as she continued to stare at the read outs, hoping that a signal would appear on the screen, but it just remained a flat line. Not unlike that on a heartbeat monitor , she closed her eyes and tried to banish any ill thoughts that image had started to stir in her mind. 'No, can't think like that. He is alive, he has to be.' The femme was so caught up in her own thoughts and processes, she did not notice someone walking up behind her. "Arcee, you alright over there?" a familiar voice called to her, snapping the Autobot out of her of her thoughts as she turned round and saw Smokescreen behind her. "Smokescreen, I…I am fine. What is it?" she replied hesitantly. "Well Garrus has tried to contact you for the last twenty minutes, but there was no answer. So he sent me out to see if you were okay." the young Autobot said. "I turned my com-link off." Arcee answered before noticing a slight smile appear on the bot's face. "What?" "So you don't know then?" he replied, gaining an annoyed look from the femme. "Know what?" "Admiral Bryce has dispatched a shuttle to bring you to the Ark." Smokescreen said, making her expression change to one of confusion. "Me?" The young bot's smile widened in response. "They found him!" he said with a happy tone in his voice. "Him…." she said with barely a whisper, her face now looking back at Smokescreen as her eyes began to widen. "Jack, he's alive and on board the Ark, in it's medical bay." the bot replied, making her stand up all of a sudden, her lover's name being spoken aloud finally sinking in her mind what Smokescreen had said. "Jack… where is the shuttle?" she said, her expression becoming all stoic like. "Back at the escape pod's landing site." the young bot replied and without any further encouragement, Arcee ran past her comrade and back to where the shuttle had landed, leaving Smokescreen to watch with a smile on his face before he tapped his com-link. "Smokescreen here, she is on her way." PRIME EFFECT 3 The crystalline landscape was a beautiful sight as the rainbow coloured rays of light flowed over the night sky, the stars too were shining brightly like diamonds as Jack stood there watching it all. With so much light in the sky despite it being night, it was a wonder that the sources of such light did not conflict with each other. Fighting for superiority of the night, but they were instead existing in a state of complete symbiosis. The colours working with each other and not against. The Prime just continued to stare out at it, he did not know how he got there or how much time had passed for him in this place. Such thoughts were not even going through his mind, he felt completely at peace with his surroundings as another stood beside him. "Beautiful isn't it." Jack looked over to see Optimus standing next to him, smiling at the same images that the Commander had been watching. "Yes, it is. it is all how it should be." "I have not seen the Matrix and Allspark look so at peace….not for a long time." Jack smiled and nodded before looking back out at the environment around them. "You're not Optimus." "No, I am not. He is up there, his spark shining brightly among all the others in the Allspark." the figure smiled as they both looked up at the stars. "But you are not Primus either, I felt his essence fade away when I unleashed the matrix on Unicron." Jack replied. "That is true, I am an echo of the one called Primus. The last of his being to leave this plane of existence." the echo said back. "But there is still one matrix left, a part of Primus that still exists here. Isn't that enough?" the Prime asked, gaining the other's attention. "You carry the last of Primus within your matrix, Jackson Prime. It is not enough to keep the Aeon among us. But one day it will be needed for the storm on the horizon." the echo replied as it looked away from Jack, causing the Prime to look at whatever had taken the other's attention from him. But he could not see anything on the horizon. "What is it? I don't see anything out there." "It is not something to which you should concern yourself with, Prime. Another like yourself will have to deal with this when the time comes…..very far down the line from now. Primus did tell you this, heed his words." "Another? You mean there will be more Primes after me, but I thought…" Jack started to say until the other cut him off. "Jackson Prime, Optimus was the last…..of the original lineage of Primes. You are the first of the new, one that will be diverse in species as well as gender. This is what Primus wanted for the galaxy that he came to care for. You will carry the matrix until the next Prime reveals themselves and the pattern will repeat until the time that Primes will no longer be required." Jack gave the echo a look of relief, before it changed to one of confusion. "So, I am not dead then. But why is that, I mean Primus told me that using the Matrix would likely kill me. So why have I survived?" "Because you passed the final test of what it means to be a Prime…..self sacrifice." the figure looking like Optimus replied. "But I have always put others ahead of myself, throughout my entire life. How is now any different?" Jack asked. "Because in that singular moment before unleashing the matrix's power, you not only believed in that noble act, but also committed to it in it's entirety, putting the needs of an entire galaxy ahead of your own being. You had proven that Primus was correct in making you a Prime and so the Matrix protected you from that which would have ended your life, Jackson Darby." the echo replied with a gentle smile, looking now more then ever as the man Jack knew as Optimus Prime. "I see, so what now?" "Now it is time for you to open your eyes and return to your world, to help shape it's future and carry on the will of Primus. Farewell, Jackson Prime. Until all are one." the echo said before everything went white and Jack could hear voices talking around him. One of the voices sounding so warm and familiar to him, he could feel his own heart skip a beat. "He is coming round,...Jack.." a female voice spoke softly as the Prime opened his eyes to see three blurred faces looking down on him, though his vision slowly corrected itself as it got used to the light. Jack then recognized Arcee and Ratchet, the third face was a complete stranger. "Arcee..." he replied, earning a loving smile from the femme, she replied by softly raking her hand through his hair as he lied there on the berth. "Where am I?" the Prime asked as he looked around the room (as well as he could while lying down on a berth) to see a heartbeat monitor and I.V drip on his right. "On board the Ark, in it's medical bay." Arcee replied. "How long have I been here?" The femme and the medic looked at each other before moving their gaze back to the Human Prime. "Jack, you have been in a coma for three weeks." Ratchet answered, earning a wide eyed look from his patient. "A coma? Three weeks? What happened to me?" he asked with a surprised tone. Arcee gave Ratchet a knowing look. "Perhaps I can get some privacy with Jack and get him up to speed." she asked. "Unfortunately Admiral Bryce ordered me to let him know once Jack was awake, and I just signaled him now." the medic replied as he pointed at his holo-tool, earning a sigh from the femme. Jack though was more concerned with the third person who was trying to look busy at the back of the room, except he looked more annoyed than anything else. "Who's that?" the Prime asked, making the man turn around and look at him. "Well it's about someone asked about me." the guy said earning a knowing look from Jack, since he recognized his voice. The man had red hair with black highlights and looked like someone who was obsessed with his image. "Knockout?" Jack said, earning a smile from the former Con. "Yes, Darby, it's me." he replied with an overconfident tone, earning daggers from Arcee, making him gulp before changing his attitude. "I mean... Yes, Prime. I am the one responsible for getting your burns to heal faster by placing you in the experimental bio re-generator tank that I invented, it sped up your body's natural healing factor. So your severe injuries and burns were healed in weeks not months or years." "Burns!" Jack replied with fear tinged in his voice before looking around for a mirror, though Arcee was already on hand and held one up so that the Prime could see his reflection. "Doesn't look any different." he said with a confused expression before looking back at Knockout, the other two Autobots doing the same. The doctor just smiled at them. "Yes…. I am just that good, if I do say so myself." he exclaimed happily, as Jack continued to look at his face for a moment before looking at Ratchet. "How bad was it?" he asked while Knockout looked like he was imagining being surrounded by scores of fans admiring him, the medic ignored the former Con and sighed before looking back at the Prime. "Well..." he said before Jack noticed how somber Arcee was looking. "Arcee, what is it?" Before the femme could answer, Ratchet did so for her. "Jack, when you were brought in...you were in a bad way. Your body was broken. It wasn't just your skin that had been damaged severely. Arcee didn't take it well." The Prime looked back to his lover and placed his hand on her own affectionately. "Hey, I am okay now." he said gently to her, the femme then reached up and stroked his chin. Feeling it's softness instead of the crisp, burnt way it was only weeks before. She then leaned in close, Jack could feel her sweet breath on his neck and smell her scent as the femme spoke softly into his ear. "I know, Jack, and I am so very thankful for that, but most importantly I am just really happy that your alright. I don't want to lose you again." The femme was suddenly surprised as Jack pulled her into an embrace and kissed her, she could feel all her doubts and fears melt away as he held her close and pressed his lips against hers. Both Ratchet and Knockout did not know where to look for that particular moment. But the two spark-mates ignored them as they pulled away slightly and looked into each others eyes. "I love you, Arcee. I would fight heaven and hell to be in your embrace again." The femme chuckled lightly be looking back at him lovingly. "That was a little cheesy, Jack." The Prime though gave her a knowing smile. "Maybe, but you liked it. Right?" he asked, Arcee gave her answer by leaning in for another kiss. "Yeah I did." she said as their lips were practically touching, she then pulled back and looked at the two doctors. "Can we get some privacy?" "Of course you can, Arcee." Ratchet said while rolling his eyes before grabbing Knockout by the arm, the former Con pulled his arm back and stared daggers at the Autobot medic. "Hands off, do you know what this lab coat is made of!" "That's enough, you two." Admiral Bryce said as he entered the room suddenly, making both doctors look at him with surprise. He then looked over to the two lovers and they mirrored the others expressions too. "Admiral." Jack said as he and Arcee separated and he started to sit up, only for the Admiral to motion him to stop. "At ease, Prime." he said as the two doctors began to leave. "Ratchet, Knockout. Thank you." Jack then said, gaining their attention. The Autobot medic looked somewhat embarrassed as he smiled at the Prime. "You're welcome, Jack." he replied, the former Con though looked completely surprised by Jack's words and was speechless. So he just smiled and nodded back before both bots left the room. "Knockout was acting strangely then." Jack said with a confused look. "I think he is just not used to being thanked before. He did used to serve Megatron, remember?" Arcee replied before they both looked at the Admiral. "How are you feeling, Son?" "Well, considering what I was told I looked like when I was found, I guess I feel good. But I am just glad to be alive." the Prime replied. "It was a miracle that you survived the destruction of Unicron, unfortunately Optimus didn't." Bryce said with a somber expression, Jack and Arcee mirroring him. "I know." Jack replied as the Admiral looked back at him. "Darby, what happened up there?" As the Prime looked at him, he glanced over to His spark-mate and could tell that she wanted to know too. "Well..." Jack started to say as the others in the room kept their attention solely on him. The Prime told them about fighting the Husks all the way to the spark chamber, the fate of Silas. The return of Sideways and his role as herald of the Chaos Bringer, The fall of Optimus and Jack's unleashing the power of the matrix. When he finished, The Prime saw the looks of both Arcee and Bryce who had listened to his story intently. They both had expressions of intrigue and surprise written on their faces. "And I thought our stand against the Reapers was the highlight of the battle for Earth. On behalf of everyone involved in the fight...thank you." the Admiral replied, but Jack shook his head I response. "Everyone deserves thanks, Admiral. We are all in this together, after all ." Jack said back with a smile, which Bryce mirrored. "True enough." he said as Jack looked to see a sad expression on Arcee's face. "So...it's true, Primus really is gone?" the femme asked, warning a nod from her lover as he gently squeezed her hand with his own affectionately. "Yes, he sacrificed himself to bring an end to Unicron and free us all from the cycle of death that had started with his brother's creation of the Reapers." "Well, it was immediately after the battle that the Well of All-sparks shut down. We did not know what was the cause. We all (Cybertronians) started to panic after that, well at least at first." Arcee added. "Why, what has the situation become while I have been here?" Jack asked. "Prime, you should know that the Galactic Alliance that you forged among our neighbours is still going strong as we are all working together to start the process of rebuilding. But Perceptor, Anderson and myself have a more permanent solution in mind, one that I will share with you later." Bryce replied before turning towards the door and making his way out, only to stop and look back at the Prime. "I will let Arcee fill you in on the rest." he added with a smile before nodding to the femme, who smiled back. The Admiral then left the two lovers alone in Jack's room, Arcee looked back at The Prime who looked very confused now. "Arcee? What's going on, you said the Cybertronians had started to panic?" The femme tried to keep a stoic expression in front of Jack, but was finding it hard to show a slight smile. "Yes and we did at first, because without new sparks, our species would not survive. But when that energy wave passed through each and every one of us, it knocked us all down on to our knees." Jack gave her a look of worry, one which she instantly disarmed with a loving smile. "No, Jack, I am alright. In fact, we all are. you see Ratchet took scans of every Autobot in our team, also instructing the Alliance Medical to do the same and then compared the results." "And? Did they find anything?" Jack asked curiously, which made the femme's smile to widen. "Yes, they did. They found that while our bodies still contained sparks, our biology now is more or less the same as Humans. Our bodies are now a perfect blending of organic and synthetic properties, meaning we can now do everything that you can. We can now age as our life-spans are now the same as yours, but we can also..." Jack's eyes widened as it became clear what she was going to say and so beat her to it. "...you can have children." he replied, gaining a joyous look from his lover. "Yes, we can. We no longer need the Well of All-Sparks to ensure our survival as a species, but I was thinking..." the femme said before noticing that Jack was staring ahead with a smile on his face. The Prime remembered what it was that Primus had told him. 'Every door that closes, another will open.' "Jack?" Arcee asked, regaining his attention. "Primus did it, he knew that his sacrifice would shut down Cybertron completely, including the Well. So he instead had your biology altered with the same energy wave that would wipe out the Reapers." he said. "Yes, but we don't know why." the femme replied. "He did it because he is proud of what you have become, that the war that had torn his children in two was over. And now you were working with Humanity and once again spreading your influence throughout the galaxy, as he originally intended. So he insured you would survive as a species and continue to do so." Jack said back, before Arcee looked at him with a unsure expression. "This brings up an issue that I thought a lot about recently as well, when we were on board the Defiant. "What is it, Arcee, what's been bothering you?" the Prime asked, silently surprising the femme with his ability to read her. "We have both said that we wanted to spend our lives together." Arcee replied. "And I referred to us as spark-mates." Jack interjected, which made the femme smile. "Well, since we got back together, I have always thought of us as such. But it feels good to finally confirm it. Anyway, I have thought about our future together and there has always been something that I have not been comfortable with." Jack sat up on his berth and gave her a concerned look. "What?" "The fact that I would never be able to bear us a child." The femme said with a guilty expression as she looked down while remembering those somber thoughts. Jack though placed his hand on her chin and brought her eyes back to his own. "Arcee, I love you for who and what you are. I would be lying if I said that I never thought of having kids one day, but just being with you is enough for me." he said as she leaned in closer to his face. "I knew you would see it that way but…." she started to say but Jack cut her off. "Arcee, the Reaper war is over and we are still together. And it also turns out that we can now have everything that we want. And I would like nothing more than to start a family with you." The femme then produced that smile that would make the Prime's heart skip a beat and then gave him a quick kiss. "You don't realise how much that warms my spark, Jack." she replied before he flashed a lop-sided grin her way. "Maybe you should show me." he teased, making the femme look at him in surprise and desire. "Here? Now? Someone may see us." she said, Jack then activated his holo-tool and locked the door with it and made the blinds over the room's windows (including the one on the door) give them cover. "No one will see us, it's just you and me." he replied, as Arcee placed her arms around his neck and pulled him close. "Just the way I like it." They then kissed long and passionately before the Prime pulled his lover down onto the berth and lost themselves in each other. PRIME EFFECT 3 A few days later and Jack was standing in the halls of the Decagon in New Iacon, he had been asked to appear among the representatives of the worlds who took part in the Reaper war. As the leaders were in discussion behind the large doors in front of the Prime, he was taking with Garrus and Tali. "Well, it's good to finally see you up and about, Jack. You had us all worried." the Turian said while he and his Quarian lover held hands. "Yes, you sure did." Tali added. "Thanks, Guys. I am just glad that everyone else is alright too. Speaking of which, I thought they would be here." Jack replied. "Raf is helping with the restoration of the planetary communication network, and you know Bumblebee will be at his side. Smokescreen, Jazz and Grimlock are taking turns with helping the security patrols, Ratchet is busy helping Alliance Medical deal with the influx of wounded." Garrus said back. "And you two don't have anything to do?" the Prime asked. "You do remember that I am the Primarch's advisor? So I will be needed in there at some point." the Turian replied. "And Aunty Raan has asked that I be here to help her when needed." Tali said. Acree then joined the group and slipped her hand into Jack's. "Hey, Guys, so I guess you are still waiting?" Yeah, can't be long now. After what Admiral Bryce discussed with me, I can't see anyone saying no to the proposal." jack replied. "Well, I hope so, Jack. After everything we went through with the Reapers, it would be a pleasant change to have something go our way for a change." Garrus said back while Tali looked over to Arcee. "Hey, Arcee, what have you and Jack been up to for the last few days?" "Well... Just helping Jack get back up to speed with things, since he was in a coma for three weeks. Also his parents visited yesterday to see how he was." the femme replied. "How did that go, and how did they survive the Reapers occupation of Earth?" Garrus asked after hearing the two women's talk, surprising them so Jack stepped in. "My mom and William stayed at New Iacon during the invasion, since the Reapers didn't even attack the city until the last day of the war. I was very happy and relieved to see my parents again (though William Fowler is his stepfather), we had a lot to talk about." the Prime said as he looked over to his spark-mate and smiled, the femme mirroring him. This caught both their friends attention. "Okay, you two, spill the beans. That look you both had, was far too telling." Tali said curiously. "Well..." Arcee started to say as she and Jack smiled at each other lovingly, the Prime gently squeezing the femme's hand in his own. "...with the war over and the two of us having more time for each other, we now want to start a family." Tali's eyes widened with her smile as she looked at the loved up spark-mates. "That's great, we too want to do the same." she replied happily, earning an embarrassed but equally happy expression from Garrus. "Really, can you do that?" Jack asked in return. "Well, we can't have a child naturally due to our bodies physiology being very different, so we will adopt a child instead by registering with the Hierarchy's adoption program for war orphans on Palaven, before returning to Rannoch within the next few days." the Turian replied. "Sounds like you guys have everything planned out?" Arcee said with a smile. "Yes, we are both going to go part-time with our current positions and so have time to build a home. What about you two?" Tali asked as the doors behind them opened and a soldier walked up to the group. "They will see you now." he replied, earning a nod from Jack before he and the others walked into the large room that had all the leaders of each race that had taken part in the battle of Earth. The Citadel Councillors were there, each representing their own species alongside Urdnot Wrex, Admiral Raan and Primarch Victus. There was also a Geth Prime who was standing next to the Quarian Admiral, Jack then saw both Anderson and Admiral Bryce walking over to them with Miranda Lawson who grabbed the Prime and pulled him into an embrace. "Thank god you are alright, Jack. I feared the worst when Unicron exploded." the ex-MECH officer said with a huge smile before pulling away, an embarrassed expression appearing on her face as she noticed everyone was watching. "It's good to see you too, Miranda. It was pretty much touch and go back there. That any of us survived the Reaper war is miracle in itself." Jack replied as Wrex joined them. "Jack, my brother." the Krogan exclaimed as he embraced the Prime in what to everyone else looked like a bear hug. "Hey..., Wrex." Jack managed to reply through the tight grip his friend had before being was released, taking a much needed breath. "I knew you would pull through, inside your body beats the heart of a Krogan." Wrex said happily. Earning a smile from Jack as Perceptor spoke up, making the group look back to the Autobot and the other leaders. "We are all relieved that you survived and recovered from your injuries, Jackson Prime, we feared that you would become one with the all-spark, like so many during this past war." "Thank you, Councillor." the Prime replied. "Now we are all here today because Admiral Bryce, Captain Anderson and myself have offered you all a proposal a few days ago, a chance that has been born out of our alliance during the war with the Reapers. Which at the time was based purely on survival." The Autobot Councillor said while looking around to the other leaders, each one listening to him intently until one of them raised a hand. It was Tevos who was representing the Asari. "We have all heard your proposal, which is to dissolve the Citadel Council and build a new 'Alliance' that would include all the species in this very room, as well as more that would like to join further down the line. But my question would be this, does each member still retain control of their own sovereignty or do they all conform to one governmental rule?" "No, each member would still have oversight of their own accords, this alliance would keep us all as allies and friends, building on the foundations that were laid during the war. This alliance would allow us all work together and maintain this new found peace that we have won for ourselves. As you know, the damage that the Reapers have forced upon each of our territories will take decades to repair. But if we all work together, we can halve that time and take our peoples back to how things were before the war." Admiral Bryce answered. "What about these details, that all members would combine their militaries under one banner, that of the Autobots?" Admiral Raan asked. "That would be completely optional, Admiral. If any member did not want to join their forces to the one that would protect this new alliance, then we would understand, but the Autobots would only answer to one man and he would answer to the newly established Senate." Captain Anderson replied. "I would like to think that everyone here would question the logic of giving that much power to one person." Raan replied, earning nods from the group around her. "That would be true, but I doubt that anyone would be against this particular person." Bryce said before he gestured to Jack who stepped forward, making the room go quiet. "Darby Commander.." the Geth Prime stated, warning a nod from the Prime. "Commander Jackson Darby is now the sole Prime among us, this in turn makes him the new leader of the Autobots, since the passing of Optimus Prime. I can't think of anyone else who would fit the role more." the Autobot Councillor stated proudly as all eyes fell upon the Human Prime, who could see the unsure expressions of many of the leaders in the room. So he decided to speak. "I know this is a lot to ask, and that right now you would rather focus on your own individual territories. But after seeing what we have achieved together, having defeated an enemy as powerful as the Reapers and Unicron. Just think what we can achieve by continuing to help each other, not only in rebuilding our worlds. But in safeguarding the future for the generations that follow and securing peace for the entire galaxy. Will you stand with me?" he said with a stoic expression and tone. Primarch Victus took a step forward and looked at Jack. "Well, I for one know that if it wasn't for, Jackson Prime, then none of us would be standing here today. You have my eternal gratitude, Prime, and I hereby accept your proposal and the Turian people will join this new 'alliance' and place our military under your command." "As if there was any doubt what I would choose, Jack, the Krogan stand with you all the way." Wrex said happily. "The Geth owe you a great deal, Darby Commander. We too will join you." The Geth Prime added. "As will we, Jackson Prime." Admiral Raan replied, which brought a smile to Tali's face. All that was left was Valern and Tevlos and both Councillors looked unsure. "What is wrong?" Jack asked. "Well, I for one want to know what MECH are doing here?" Tevos said in a firm tone, without it sounding too hostile. Admiral Bryce took a step forward, in front of Miranda. "Miranda Lawson is here because MECH (the remaining fleet and personnel) will be joining this new alliance as part of it's covert Intelligence organisation, which will be made up of similar groups from all member species." "And Miranda has proven that she is not like her father, the deceased Director Silas. She helped me bring an end to the Quintessons, MECH's former leader and was also on hand to bring much needed reinforcements during the final battle. I trust her with my life and that should be all you need to accept her as our head of Intelligence." Jack added as both Councillors looked at the former MECH agent and then back at each other, speaking amongst themselves for a moment. Tevos then turned to the Prime. "Very well, Jackson Prime. You have made a strong case for this alliance and both the Asari and the Salarians will join you." "Yes, you will find that the Salarian Union will be more inviting of joining an alliance that also includes the Krogan due to the fact that Dalatrass Linron resigned not long after the Genophage was cured." Valern added. "That is welcoming news, Valern. Now let us discuss our forming of this new alliance…..'The Interstellar Federation of free worlds'." Perceptor exclaimed as the group began discussing the future of the galaxy. Three weeks later... In the shadow of the Decagon, within the building's large gardens surrounded it stood a memorial wall made of black marble that stood twelve meters tall and it's width ran up one whole side of the gardens. It already had hundreds of thousands of names inscribed upon it, but there was a section that was still to filled. Scores of people, military and civilian stood at its base. The gathering was a mixture of Turian, Asari, Krogan, Salarian, Quarian , Geth, Human and Cybertronian. And between them and the wall stood Jackson Prime and his team, along with Admiral Bryce and the leaders of alien nations that had fought along side each other during the war. Each person held what looked like a plaque in their hands, each had a name engraved on it. Jack took a step forward, toward the crowd as small VI controlled recording devices were floating overhead, their lenses focused on the Prime as he prepared to make his address to not only the people on site, but to the galaxy. He looked down to the ground for a moment, taking a deep breath. Knowing that all eyes were on him again. The last time he felt like this was the day he was made a Prime over three years ago. But he managed to keep his cool and began to speak. "The war is over, Unicron and the Reapers have been defeated. We stood at the precipice of our own annihilation, but against all odds…..we survived. But now as the dust settles and we take a look around, we can see just how much the Reapers conquest to purge our galaxy cost us in the long run. It will take time but everything that was destroyed can be rebuilt, and I believe that we can do that together. Because if we can stop something as powerful as the Chaos Bringer and his Reapers, imagine what we can achieve now that we are free and able to do so." Jack then gestured to the Councillors who stood to his right. "The Citadel Council is being dissolved and a new political and economic alliance is being formed between all the species that fought against our common enemy. 'The Interstellar Federation of free worlds' is our chance to bring lasting peace and prosperity to the galaxy, we will also pool all of our militaries together to form a peace keeping and humanitarian armada that will defend our alliance against any threat, and they will be named after the faction of Cybertronians who were honourable and dedicated to peace and upholding justice and freedom, while protecting those who were unable to defend themselves….'Autobot's. And they will fall under my command as I am now the leader of the Autobots, a title inherited from the late Optimus Prime. So now before we usher in this new age, let us remember and honour those who fought and died to insure that we have this chance to carry on." Jack then turned around and watched as his friends then one at a time, placed their plaque on to the memorial wall under a subtitle 'Honoured Heroes', there for all to see and pay respect too. There was utter silence as this happened, the only sound to be heard was the cool breeze that accompanied them. The list of names on the section of the wall grew, Miko Nakadai, Wheeljack, Kaidan Alenko, Jacob Taylor, Zaeed Massani, Soundwave, Legion, Airachnid, Hotrod. After Arcee and Smokescreen stepped back from placing the plaques they had held, it was Jack's turn and he stepped forward to the one spot that was left. He then looked down at the plaque in his hands, the name inscribed on it evoked warm memories of a mentor and father figure who had helped guide him through his life from the very first day that they had met, all those years ago. The Commander then took a breath and lifted up the plaque and placed it into the wall slowly, pressing his hands across the name as he put it in place. He then took a step back and stood beside his spark mate before bringing his hand up into a salute, everyone standing beside him and doing the same as the final name was there fall all to see. 'Optimus Prime' Everyone remained quiet for what felt like an age while paying respect to the fallen heroes of the Normandy and the Defiant, as well as all the soldiers and civilians that had been killed at the hands of the Reapers. It was a sad day, but a brighter future was just over the horizon. PRIME EFFECT 3 Nine years later... The sun was just starting to set as it began to drop behind the horizon, the light from the star changing the sky to a vanilla like colour as Jack sat on the porch swing of his house and looked out at the ocean beyond the beach that his home was situated. This house had been his and Arcee's for the last nine years, he found it hard to believe that much time passed since the end of the Reaper war. He could still remember those dark days like it was yesterday, though even when things seemed at their most bleak and desperate. He never had to face them alone, for he had friends that were always there to help him. As with any war, he lost some of them along the way. But he would never forget them, and in that way they never really left. Those who survived the war went on to lead happy lives for themselves. Garrus and Tali had made a home for themselves on Rannoch, they eve adopted a Turian child of barely six months of age. And they named him 'Shen'. Raf became the ISF's leading scientific expert and headed up their R & D section, Bumblebee always at his side. Smokescreen and Jazz took up positions in the Autobot Academy, teaching the new recruits along with Grimlock. As for Jack and Arcee, the Prime was the leader of the Autobots - the largest peace keeping and humanitarian Armada/Army the galaxy had ever seen, and still had plenty of work to do. Arcee though fell pregnant only a few months after the war and knowing how they led their lives, wanted to ensure that their child would safely come to term. So the femme left the service prepared for it's arrival. The day 'Orion' came into the world was one that neither of them would ever forget, he always knew how much of a temper Arcee had but the language he heard his spark-mate use during labour was a surprise. Though the doctors certainly didn't seem surprised, guess they were used to that kind of treatment from expecting mothers. Though the moment that both first time parents laid eyes on little Orion, it was a moment that was forever imprinted into their memories, Jack for one had a permanent image of the femme holding their new born son in her arms, the baby did not even cry as it stared up at them both. From that day on, the Prime made sure that he was there for his son as much as possible, even though he had responsibilities to everyone else. He always put his son first, not wanting to ever be like how his own father was to himself. Even now, Orion was not out of his sight as he watched his son playing on the beach with Ravage, who had become as much family as he had after his previous master's passing. Jack was brought out of his thoughts by Arcee who joined him on the porch, she was wearing just blue jeans with a tight fitting t-shirt that showed her athletic physique. She looked down at her lover and smiled. "Can I join you? I did just wash up all the dishes." she asked coyly with her hands on her hips, earning a happy sigh from Jack as he placed the pad he was holding down beside him. "Sure, but I think you should know that I was keeping an eye on Orion while also going through these reports too, you're not the only one who can multi-task." he replied with a loving smile as the femme sat down next to him and wrapped her arm around his waist, while resting her other hand on his chest. "Okay, colour me impressed. But you do know that Ravage has become quite the guardian to our little boy, I can see that he loves Orion just as much as we do and I trust him completely with his safety." "I know and I do too, but I did say on the day that our son was born that I would always be there for him and I won't ever go back on that." Jack replied as he looked out to see Ravage playfully chasing Orion around on the sand as the sunset reflected off the ocean beyond them. Arcee placed a finger on the Prime's chin and turn his face gently until his eyes met her own. "Jack, I will tell you again what I told you that day. You are not your father. I know that you love Orion as much as I do and would do anything for him." She then looked back out towards their son who had begun to wrestle with his feline friend. "I am happy that after living through two separate wars, that I even had the chance to have what I have now. A peaceful life and a family with the man who I love." she added as she looked back at Jack, the sunset made her azure eyes seem to sparkle as they looked at each other. "Same here, Arcee, I love you and Orion too." the Prime replied before embracing his lover and kissing her passionately. They then pulled back slightly and sat there watching as the sun was now halfway passing the horizon, Arcee rested her head on his shoulder and sighed happily. "So, anything news worthy in those reports?" she asked as Jack began running his fingers through her soft blue hair. "Just the same old skirmishes between us and the 'Omega Syndicate', I guess Aria just likes to try to push my buttons." "She certainly has let the power go to her head a bit since absorbing all the major mercenaries groups into Omega since the war. But you know that Nyreen won't let her go to far." the femme replied while running a finger across his chest. "Yeah, I know. Other than that, everything is fine in the Federation. Rebuilding is still ongoing and won't be complete for another few years, but other than that." the Prime said. "That's good." Arcee replied before looking at the time on her holo-tool, she then looked out to the two playing on the beach. "Orion, Ravage, times up." The calling of his name made the little boy turn round and stare back to the house with his azure blue eyes. He sighed sadly before looking back at his feline friend. "Time's up, Ravage." he said, earning an unhappy whine from the feline bot before both began making their way back to the house to find Jack and Arcee sitting down on the porch swing. Before either of them could say anything, Orion climbed up on to the swing with them and curled himself up between them. Both parents smiled as they looked down at their son. "Don't you think it's a little past your bed time?" Arcee asked. "But I am not even tired, Mummy." he replied before letting off one long yawn, looking completely adorable to them both. "You should listen to your mother, Orion." Jack said, but this just made the little boy curl up more. "Just a little longer, Daddy?" Both Arcee and Jack sighed happily as they sat there with their son, Ravage had made his home at their feet as he curled up there. "Okay, you have until the sun has set, but no longer than that." the femme replied as she ran her fingers through her son's hair, which was blue and had black highlights. Orion looked out at the setting sun which was now three-quarters set over the horizon, but then something caught his attention as he looked over to a sparkling crystal which hung around his father's neck. For what felt like a long moment, the family just sat there in happy silence and watched the sun set. Arcee then looked down to her son, her eyes widening in surprise at what she saw. "Jack." she said gently, gaining his attention. "What is it, Arcee?" he asked with a confused look. "Look." she said softly, gesturing down to their son, so Jack looked down at Orion. His own expression now mirroring his spark-mate's as he saw his little boy holding the matrix crystal in his hand, admiring the way the light was shining from it. Both parents then looked up at each other and smiled before touching their foreheads together lovingly for a moment, knowing what this single act their son had just done would mean. They then looked back out to see the sun finally set as the sky darkened and the stars began shining from above. The future it would seem, was even brighter than they would have hoped. XXX years later….. The stars shone brightly in the early night sky as a woman was standing in what looked like a cemetery, she was joined by a young girl who stood beside her and looked down at the grave in front of them. "That really happened?" the girl asked. "Yes, one man managed to bring together a galaxy and end a threat that had cast it's shadow over it for far too long. If it wasn't for my grandfather, we wouldn't have the way of life we do today." the woman replied proudly. "Tell me another story about Jackson Prime." the little girl asked in return. "Well, it is getting late and you should get back home..." the woman replied as she looked down at the child, who gave her a sad expression. "...but…okay, I can tell you another story. But it will not be about my Grandfather." The little girl looked up to her, face now looking curious. "Who will it be about?" The woman smiled and looked up at the stars. "….my Father. He was another Prime and his name was…Orion." The End A/N: Well this is it, the end of the trilogy. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have writing it. Please, feel free to let me know what you thought of this chapter and the story as a whole. And thank you for reading my story, it means a lot to me. But the story does not end here and will continue in 'Prime Effect 4'. I hope you enjoy it and thanks again.
  3. CHAPTER 21 Jack and his team had just seen what could only be Unicron's spark moving up the Reaper beam into orbit from where they standing as Harbinger towered over them, his shadow cast over the area where they stood. "Now you will witness the rebirth of our Master!" it roared as it's yellow eyes glowed brightly, which immediately made the entire team hold their heads in their hands as they suddenly could see the spark flying up the Reaper beam right in front of their eyes. Far from the what was happening on the ground, the battle above the Earth continued as a Reaper flew in close to an Alliance dreadnought and clamped it's legs around the it's bow before moving, bringing the captured vessel with it and smashing it into the side of a Turian cruiser. The Defiant meanwhile, fired on a reaper that was plaguing the Destiny Ascension, firing a spread of torpedoes that blew off one of the behemoth's legs, therefore allowing the Council flagship to continue to aid the other ships in it's immediate area. The Defiant the turned around and began descending to the planet below. Meanwhile the Ark continued to fight as it orbited the now connected Crucible/Citadel. Admiral Bryce was looking down at the holo-screen beside him as he listened on his com link. "We are on our way, Admiral." he heard Hotrod say from his end, the Admiral nodded in return. "Good luck Defiant, Bryce out." he replied before one of his officers turned to him from his console. "Sir, our sensors are picking up an extremely strong power signature rising from the planet surface, and it is heading our way….. fast." he said with worry in his voice. Bryce looked at the officer and mirrored his expression before turning back to the bridge canopy, just in time to see the ball of purple energy ride up the beam right into the Citadel. Then suddenly the outer layers of the crucible came to life as it's surface began to shift and change, the entire super-weapon started was transforming right before the Admiral's eyes as he and his bridge crew were frozen in fear and shock by what they were seeing. In fact the entire battle had stopped as the Reapers watched, along with the remaining galactic fleet. The crews of each ship staring with fear and shock at the ever changing form of the Crucible. Inside the super-weapon's control room, Kranix looked around with an expression of utter glee as it's walls began to shift and change around him, the holo-form of Bagu stood beside the Lithone and was just as transfixed. "This is it, Bagu. Our Master's time is at hand." he said as he watched the room transforming around him, the bodies of the dead crew either falling through the gaps in the moving parts of the ground or being crushed by sections that moved into the room. "Farewell, my Creator, take this blessing with you into the next life." the VI replied before a bulkhead suddenly moved across the room, going straight through Bagu and squashing the indoctrinated Kranix against the far wall, splattering his remains out over it in the process. As the transformation continued, a pair of arms and legs began to grow and stretch out as the Crucible took on the shape of a bipedal form. On the left arm, a section moved back up it's forearm to reveal a hand, it flexed out it's fingers as if it was mimicking the 'morning stretch'. While on the right arm, a similar section moved back to reveal a large blade like weapon. On the legs, sections on the lower parts folded out into what looked like Cybertronian feet. As the torso remoulded itself to look like a metallic representation of the Chaos Bringer's, the Citadel remained in it's star like shape on torso's back, but moved round until four of the arms looked like wings (two either side) and the bottom arm covered over the aft of the body. Then a section between the shoulders receded and the head rose up into view, with a pair of long horns on either side of it (trademark of Unicron). The familiar face of the Chaos bringer then formed before it's optics suddenly glowed bright purple. "My children, I have returned and I command you to join me and purge this galaxy of life. Destroy it all, in the name of Unicron" Then at that very moment all around the galaxy, millions of Reapers suddenly appeared from the shadows as they began blotting out the skies of every world as the complete annihilation of all life begun. The battle above Earth suddenly reignited as the Reapers carried on from where they started and began destroying both 'sword' and 'shield' fleets with much more ferocity than before. Unicron himself waded into the battle, smashing his fist and arm blade through any ships that were unfortunate to get too close. On board the Ark, the communication officer received a message through his com link, and he gave the Admiral a worried look. "Sir, sensors are picking up thousands of Reapers entering Earth space. And we are getting reports of more appearing over our allies home worlds...every world in fact." The Admiral just looked out of canopy at the battle raging around them as the Reapers reinforcements came into view in the distance. "...My god." he said before Lucifer caught his eye, the Rogue Reaper was heading straight for Unicron. It fired its beam weapon which swept along the surface of The Chaos Bringer's elbow, gaining the deity's attention as he looked down at it from the Asari dreadnought he had just destroyed. "traitorous son of mine, you dare fire on your creator." he spat at the behemoth as it continued to fire, it's beam attacks not even leaving a scratch on Unicron's new form. "We are the memory of the those you harvested and we will have our revenge." Lucifer replied coldly. "I think not." the Chaos Bringer said back before reaching down with his hand and grasping the rogue Reaper, tightening his grip around it. "Do you really think I would create you, and then give you the firepower to even harm me. Let me finally end your pathetic existence and extinguish the last hope the organics have." Unicron said as he began to squeeze Lucifer, crushing it's body in his hand. Energy started to bleed out of the growing cracks along the behemoth's black surface as it's red eyes began to dim in brightness, then Unicron threw the wounded Reaper away before looking at the Reapers around him. "My children, show this traitorous spawn what happens to those that defy me." Several of the black behemoths then broke off from the battle and the began surrounding the crippled Lucifer as it drifted with a small cloud of debris in it's wake, they then a red light started to shine brightly on their underside as their beam weapons prepared to fire. But suddenly Lucifer fired his weapon in a wide beam, hitting and destroying two of the Reapers in one shot. But before it had the chance to fire again, the others fired their own in retaliation. Their beams then carved up the rogue Reaper until it exploded, before heading back into the battle and leaving a small amount of debris behind. Admiral Bryce witnessed the whole thing and lowered his head, the feeling of defeat beginning to eat away at him as his forces were now being wiped out in front of him. Back in London, just aways from the Reaper beam. Jack and his friends stood in the shadow of the Reaper called Harbinger, it's glowing yellow eyes looking down on them. Suddenly the images of Unicron's rebirth faded away and the team could see again, Jack looked up at the behemoth. "Our master has returned and you have outlived your usefulness. It is time to condemn you to oblivion." it said gaining the others attention after they recovered. The underside of the Reaper break to glow a bright red as it's weapon ports powered up. "Oh crap..." Garrus sighed as Arcee stood beside Jack and took his hand in hers, affectionately squeezing it. Jack looked back at her and smiled slightly, her own expression mirroring his. Her resolve never lessened, even in the face of their impending deaths. "At least we are together." she said softly and the Prime nodded in return as they looked at each other before returning their attention to the Reaper standing above them, it's weapon now primed and ready to fire. "Well guys…. it was an honour serving with you all." Smokescreen said as he looked around the group, Jack though took a deep breath. Waiting for the inevitable, when suddenly out of nowhere four shining blue projectiles impacted against Harbinger's hull. It did not damage the Reaper, but certainly it's attention was gained as it turned to the direction that the attack came from. Jack and everyone looked to and they all stared in surprise as the Defiant descended below the storm clouds and fired again at the behemoth before flying past it and circling around for another pass. "What the hell are they doing?" Arcee asked in shock as Harbinger fired it's beam weapon at the frigate, only for it to miss as the Defiant performed a barrel roll and fired another spread of torpedoes that impacted harmlessly against the Reaper. "They are distracting Harbinger, and allowing us to head to the beam." Optimus replied, earning a nod of agreement from Jack. "He's right, lets not waste the chance they have given us….. Move!" he said as the group began to run in the direction of the beam as the Defiant made another run at the Reaper. As they made their way down into the graveyard of Hammer's ground forces, the team fired on any Husks that got in their way, once they were nearly half way towards the beam Jack tapped his com link. "Thanks for the save, Hotrod. Now get out of there." he said as he looked back to see the Defiant turning around for another attack, Harbinger roaring loudly, as if becoming increasingly pissed off with this tough little ship. "You're welcome, Jack, heading back n…oh shit." the Autobot replied just as the Reaper fired a beam which hit the frigate's portside engine wing, it exploding which made the rest of the team turn and look in shock. "Hotrod! Get the ship out of there now!" the Commander shouted as he watched the Defiant's evasion of Harbinger's attacks become more sluggish, but due to Hotrod's impressive skill he still managed to evade another blast from the Reaper. In the cockpit the Autobot pilot was frantically fighting against the failing controls while fires were raging behind him as the CIC crew tried desperately to keep the situation from descending into complete anarchy. "I hear you, Jack, but Tali's told me that the hit from the Reaper beam as crippled us, we haven't got enough power to break free of Earth's gravity." he said as he veered the ship sharply to the right as another blast narrowly missed. Teletraan's holo-form appeared next to Hotrod and flickered as it's power source was slowly beginning to fail. "We….ar…los…..power, weapons…..offli…shi..lds…dow…, I…sug…est aban…oning ship." it said as it's voice crackled with interference. Hotrod then hit a button on his holo-controls and an alarm blared through the entire ship. "All hands, abandon ship, I repeat, all hands, abandon ship!" All over the ship, crewmen ran frantically as they made their ways to the escape pods which had opened up automatically. Bumblebee and Raf helped crewmen into one as Chromia helped some into another, Tali ordered her people into the pod outside engineering and took one last look inside as fires and explosions rattled around her, making sure no one was left behind. "This is Tali, everyone is on board the pod on my level, heading off now." she said before leaving the room and climbing inside the pod which then sealed itself. "Same here" Ratchet said as he got ready to climb into his own pod, with a number of crewmen waiting for him. But suddenly he heard a growl and looked back to see Ravage storm round the corner at the end of the corridor towards them. "Quickly, get on board." he said before the feline bot pounced and landed inside the escape pod which Ratchet then climbed in and watched as it sealed itself. In the cockpit which was now empty apart from Hotrod (all CIC crew had got to their escape pod) who looked at a screen to his left to see all pods were ready for launch. He then hit the button next to it. Jack and his team watched as the escape pods disengaged from the damaged frigate and flew overhead before landing just under a quarter mile away, the Prime then looked back to see the Defiant coming back round as Harbinger fired another shot that skimmed the ship, making it shake from another explosion. "What's he doing now?" Garrus asked as Jack saw that the ship was preparing for something. "Hotrod, I know what you are going to do, don't do it. Head to an escape pod." he said into his com link. "No can do, Jack. All the pods have been launched. Plus Teletraan has been damaged, so I need to do this manually." the pilot replied as the Defiant shook from another brush from Harbinger's beam weapon. "I am going to overload the hyperspace engines, hopefully that will make this ship more than a match for that thing's shields." he said as he turned the ship round one last time and now had the Reaper directly in the center of his HUD, he then tapped on his holo-controls to his right and the screen said 'Message sent'. "Col…sion war…ing, coll…on war…ing!" Teletraan sputtered earning an annoyed look from the pilot. "Override. And thanks, Teletraan... for everything." he replied "You…ar….wel..ome…,Hotrod." the AI said back as the Autobot started the final approach. Jack watched helplessly as he knew why his friend was doing this and he put his hand to his com link again. "Hotrod, you don't have to do this." "I do, Jack, and you know it as well. I owe you one, after all. Just make sure my death means something and end this god forsaken war... Oh and I want a statue by the way..." he replied half jokingly as the ship closed in on Harbinger. "...Goodbye." Hotrod then said with an accepting tone and stoic expression as he then activated the hyperspace engines which pushed the Defiant toward faster than light speeds as it narrowly missed another blast from Harbinger and slammed right into the front of the Reaper, impacting on the three yellow eyes on it's right side. The resulting explosion send a wave of electrical bolts around the body of Harbinger, Jack and his team watched wide eyed and with mournful expressions. But the Reaper looked unaffected by the impact when suddenly it's back legs buckled and gave way, the behemoth suddenly tipping backwards before hitting the ground. Dust and debris was thrown into the air by the gigantic living vessel as it just lied there on it's back, not moving. Jack was still staring when he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Jackson, we have to honor Hotrod's sacrifice and make sure that it was not in vain." he said before the younger Prime looked back to him. "I know, let's go everyone. Before Harbinger comes too." jack replied before taking one last look at burning wreckage lying at Harbinger's feet. 'Goodbye, Hotrod and thank you.' he thought before he and his team carried on running to the beam as the fighting continued rage all over the world, let alone in London. As they got closer to the beam, several Husks suddenly appeared and attacked the team, three of them pounced from the top of an overturned tank as Jack and his friends readied themselves to fight them. Optimus swung the star saber and cleaved one in half, while Arcee sliced into one with her arm blades before kicking it into a nearby fire. Grimlock grabbed two of them and smacked their heads together, earning a loud cracking sound. Jazz and Smokecreen shot one each in the face and Jack shot another in the legs before decapitating it with his own star saber. Garrus though saw two Husks cannibalising one of their own, as well as one of the dead soldiers lying next to it. "Sick." he said in disgust before sniping both of them between the eyes. "We're clear." Jack said as the group then ran the rest of the way through the graveyard to the Reaper beam. As they neared the blue energy as it pulsated up into the sky, Arcee then checked her weapon one last time. The femme then began walking into the beam. "Alright, let's finish this." But she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder and looked back to see Jack staring at her stoically. "I am sorry, Arcee, but this is a far as you go." he replied as Optimus watched the two of them. "What?" the femme replied in surprise. "I need you to take leadership of the team and go help defend the Defiant's survivors. They need your help now." Jack said back, trying not to show what he was really thinking in his expression. Arcee's eyes widened though in response, like she could see straight through Jack. "No, Jack! We do this together." she replied defiantly, gaining Optimus's attention. "Arcee, Jack and I must do this alone." he said stoically, the femme looked at him for a second before her azure eyes fell on her lover again. Jack could see them beginning to well up. "But...you promised that we would see this fight through to the end...together." she said softly to him as tears began to run down her cheeks, the younger Prime then took both her hands in his and brought the femme, his femme close to him. "I know and I am sorry..." he began to say before Arcee cut him off. "You're not coming back, are you?" she said before Jack cupped her face in his hands and leaned in close, their lips almost touching as the blue light of the Reaper beam shone behind them. "I will come back to you, Arcee, because… you are my spark-mate and I love you." he replied, gaining a surprised look from the femme, who then closed the distance between them and kissed Jack passionately. Their kiss lasted only a moment before they both pulled back slightly and touched their foreheads together. "You better come back to me, Jack, or I will hunt you down...,Partner." she said with a slight smile as another tear ran down her cheek, only for the Prime to wipe it away with his thumb as he stroked her cheek. "I swear." he replied before stepping back, away from her and towards the beam. Never taking his eyes off the femme and she with him. "Come back to me." she said softly, earning a nod from him before Jack looked over to Optimus and then they both turned round and entered the light of the beam and disappeared right before everyone's eyes. Then just a moment later the beam shut down, the light that had illuminated the area suddenly gone and leaving the lightning that shot across the blanket of storm clouds overhead as the only light (other than the weapons fire that was being fired at the Reapers in the distance). "They have no way to get back." Arcee said in shock as Garrus stood beside her. "Arcee, I am sure we can get Bryce or one of our ships to pick them up, but in the meantime we need to get to the Defiant escape pods before they are overrun by Husks." he said as the femme just looked up at the sky, then she nodded slowly before turning to the Turian with a stoic expression, attempting to hide the anguish she was feeling at that moment. "You're right." she replied before looking back at the others. "Jack gave us a job to do, so let's get on with it." she said while equipping her SMGs, Jazz, Smokescreen and Grimlock nodded in return as the femme then took the lead and the group began to head over to where the escape pods crash-landed. Garrus for a second held back and scanned the path to their destination, making sure that no Husks were about. Once happy that the path was safe for a now, he then began to follow the others but first looked up at the sky where the Reaper beam had been. "Stay safe." he whispered before heading after the rest of the team. Meanwhile not far from the Reaper beam's location, the Defiant's escape pods began to open as Chromia, Tali, Bumblebee and Ratchet got out of their respective pods, looking around so that they could determine that it was safe for the rest of the crew. "By the Allspark." Ratchet stated in horror at the site that welcomed him as he saw the utter devastation that the Reapers had inflicted on his adoptive home-world. "Keelah.." Tail said in return before equipping her shotgun. "Bumblebee held his blasters, ready to take for anything as Raf activated his holo-tool and scanned the area. "Readings are inconclusive, but we should get everyone to a more secure and defend-able .." he said before an unholy scream cut him off, Bumblebee then looked around till his blue eyes widened at the sight they were met with. The Autobot saw Chromia suddenly fighting off three husks at once as the crewmen in her escape pod resealed the hatch, he then looked back to his best friend. "Close this hatch and seal it...now!" he stated firmly to his friend, who nodded back before freezing in spot as he saw something behind Bumblebee. But the young scout turned warrior needed no warning as he turned on the spot and fired at the Husk that had tried to sneak up on him. But before he could get a clear shot on it, the creature pounced and tackled the bot to the floor. "Bee!" Raf shouted as the other occupants in the pod watched on fear. "Seal the pod!" the Autobot shouted back as he tried to fight off the snarling and scratching Husk. Rat just stood there completely frozen as his mind fought with his instincts, leave his friend to die to save the others or fight. Bumblebee meanwhile punched the creature in the face, but it has no effect as it grabbed his hand and pinned it down to the ground. It then looked at him with it's soulless blue optics before screaming into his face as it then lunged it's mouth down at his throat, teeth ready to rip it out. But then a gunshot was heard and the Husk fell on top of the Autobot, a smoking hole in it's head. Confused by this Bumblebee pushed the dead body off himself and looked up to see his friend looking back while pointing a gun in his direction. His face was one of shock and relief, his Autobot friend simply smiled back as he got to his feet. "Thanks, Buddy, now seal your selves in there." he said earning a nod and smile from the scientist who complied. Bumblebee then re-equipped his blasters and turned to see scores of Husks charging toward the landing site. "Oh hell." he said to himself before opening fire on the horde rushing at him. The other pods came under attack at the same time as Chromia and Tali engaged the Husks who tried to swarm them. Ratchet even had help from Ravage who had jumped out of the escape pod before the hatch re-sealed to help with the fight. The medic was slicing up husks left and right with his holo-blades while Ravage was was ripping the throats out of others after pouncing on them. One of the Husks meanwhile climbed on top of the escape and readied itself to leap at the Quarian, who had not noticed due to her blasting away the other creatures who got to close. But just as it was about to strike, a familiar gunshot was heard followed by the sound of metal piercing flesh. Tali heard this behind her and looked up to see the Husk fall off the pod's roof and land at her feet, she then shot another creature before looking around until her eyes came across a sight that made her heart beat faster and feel warmer. "Garrus." she called as her Turian boyfriend fired another shot that took the head off another Husk before running down to meet her, Arcee at his side. "Where's the rest?" Tali asked as both the femme and Garrus killed the remaining creatures around them. "Jazz is helping Bumblebee, Smokescreen is assisting Ratchet and Grimlock is with Chromia." Arcee replied before looking around to see that they were safe for a moment. "Garrus, get on top of the pod and keep an eye out. I want to know the second more Husks are on the way." she said. "Roger that." the Turian replied before winking at his girlfriend before climbing up onto the Pod's roof and setting up his sniper rifle. "Tali, can you activate a number of drones to assist us with defending the pods?" Arcee asked as the Quarian stood beside her. "Sure, but were is Jack?" Arcee looked away for a moment as she remembered what had only occurred just a few minutes ago. "Jack entered the beam with Optimus and is by now inside Unicron." she said with her eyes closed as the image of him looking at her with the beam's light illuminating them both played out before her eyes. Tali noticed this and placed a sympathetic hand on the femme's shoulder. "He will be back, Arcee. He loves you after all." she replied. Arcee look back to her and nodded. "I know, but I just wish…" "You wish you were fighting at his side." the Quarian finished off the femme's sentence. "Yes, but he told me that he needed us to help defend the Defiant's crew, and so help me I will see that it is done." the femme replied as Garrus called down from his spot. "We have Husks, a lot of them. We have a few minutes before they are in weapons range." Okay, let the others know, Garrus. I have a quick call to make." she said as Tali activated her holo-tool and started to deploy her drones. The femme then tapped her com link. "Arcee to the Ark, can you read me? I need to speak to Admiral Bryce." she said. The Ark continued to fire at the incoming Reapers as both 'Sword' and 'Shield' fleets were being pummeled by the overwhelming force that they were up against. Admiral Bryce was watching from the ship's bridge as he saw cruiser after cruiser being destroyed by the black behemoths. The Admiral kept his facial expression as stoic as possible, so not to unnerve his crew who were attempting to keep them in the battle. But really, having seen their last and only hope with the Crucible go up in smoke and witnessing the Reapers systematically wiping out the rest of his fleet, while also knowing that they were at this very moment committing genocide on a galactic scale. The Admiral had all but given up, but he would be damned if he would let his own crew see him that way. He just continued to watch as his communications officer turned to him. "Sir, I am picking up a transmission from the surface. It is Arcee, she is asking for you." "Patch her through." the Admiral replied, the officer then transferred it to Bryce's own console. "Arcee, report. What's going on down there. We lost contact with the Defiant." "Admiral, the Defiant has been lost. The ship was damaged by Harbinger and Hotrod piloted it into the Reaper, so that we would have a chance to reach the beam." the femme replied. "I….see, I am sorry to hear that. But why go to the beam, the Crucible was a fake this whole time, I don't understand." Bryce replied honestly. "Sir, Jack and Optimus should be inside Unicron as we speak, and they believe they can eliminate him from within. We just need to buy them some time." Arcee replied with conviction in her voice. The Admiral suddenly felt his second wind come about as a new hope had emerged in the space of a moment. "Then we will buy them all the time we need, what is your current situation?" "My team and I are defending the Defiant survivors just aways from the beam site sir, but we could use some reinforcements and Jack and Optimus will need picking up once they have succeeded." the Autobot replied. The Admiral looked over to an officer to his right, who had the femme's position up on a map of London and nodded back to him. "I'll see what I can do about reinforcements from my end, Arcee. Just hold on. And I promise to be there to pick up the two Primes." "Thank you, Admiral, good luck." the femme replied wholeheartedly. "Good luck to us all." he said as the conversation ended, the Admiral then turned to his com officer. "See if you can get in touch with any of our ground forces who are near Arcee's position and tell them to help her. And also activate the com link to the entire fleet." The Officer nodded in return and worked his console before a green light began bleeping on Bryce's own. He then tapped it and began speaking. "This is Admiral Bryce to all ships, I have just heard that Jackson Prime and Optimus Prime are now on board Unicron and are working to destroy him from within, but we need to buy them the time to do so. Now I know that we have lost three quarters of our combined fleet and that it looks like we may not live to see tomorrow, but I ask you to help me hold this line and give the Reapers everything we have. To use every torpedo and cannon round we have, and to fight until we cannot fight anymore, so that we can ensure that the rest of the galaxy will survive to see tomorrow." The com officer then looked back at the Admiral. "All ships acknowledged, Sir." "There is a saying here on Earth, 'fortune favors the bold'. Let's see it that holds true today. Bryce out." he said before looking out to see Unicron watching from the edge of the battle as the deity stayed in orbit around the Earth. Not lifting a finger to aid his Reapers unless an enemy ship got to close. The Chaos bringer had an evil smile gracing his face plate, but seemed unaware of what was about to happen inside of his own body. PRIME EFFECT 3 As the battle raged outside, Jack and Optimus both exited the Reaper beam to find themselves in a large room with black metallic bulkheads, the light from the beam was illuminating the area around them until it suddenly deactivated. "Good thing we entered it when we did." he said as he looked around to see the bright purple light of dark energon as it glowed through the cracks in the black walls and passed down the large synthetic veins that were all over the place, it's light flowed with a spark beat like pulse as it dimly illuminated cavern like surroundings. "Indeed, Jackson, but we must make haste. I fear that our presence will not go unnoticed for long." the Older Prime replied. "So which way to Unicron's spark chamber?" the Commander asked while looking at three corridors that made up a fork like junction ahead of them. Optimus in response placed his hand to the chest plate of his armour, as if feeling the matrix that lied beneath it before pointing down the middle opening. "That way, Jackson." he replied as both men then spotted numerous pairs of bright blue optics moving around ahead of them, the Prime's focused their vision to see many Husks standing in their way. Yet none of the creatures had yet took notice of them. "Okay, shall we sneak past them then.." Jack started to ask before one Husk looked up at them for a second before letting out that familiar inhuman scream, gaining the attention of all the others as the two men felt every pair of blue optics fall on them before the horde began charging toward the two Primes. "…right, so we fight our way through." the younger Prime finished as Optimus unsheathed his star saber from the back of his armour, it's blade glowing brightly in his grip. "Indeed, are you ready, Jackson?" he asked, gaining a confident smile from his younger companion as he activated his own saber and held his assault rifle in his free hand. "Yeah, these Husks don't stand a chance." he replied as he took a step forward and readied himself as he looked back toward the army of Husks bearing down on them. "Lets get to work." he said before running at the horde, Optimus at his side as they charged into the fray. The first line of Husks pounced at them, only for Jack and Optimus to swing their blades and cut them down as they continued to run through the enemy force. Optimus swung his star saber from left to right as he carved a path through scores of Cannibals and Husks that stood in his way, Jack parried and decapitated others with his own blade while spraying bullets into the horde that approached from his other side, the bullets ripping through their flesh easily before they fell to the ground. The Husks carried on being felled by the two Primes as they kept moving down the tunnel which was now packed to brim with the Reaper ground forces, as a number of marauders began firing at the two intruders with their own rifle like weapons. But Jack and Optimus deflected the gun fire with their star sabers before the younger Prime fired back at the modified Turians, taking each one down with a head shot. "Nice shooting." Optimus replied proudly as he cut down a number of Husks that were charging at them from behind. "Thanks." Jack asked as he kicked one creature in the stomach before slicing it in half, then he pointed his rifle at another group of marauders when suddenly a Husk hit him and knocked the weapon out of his hand. "Scrap!" the Commander replied before repaying the creature by forcing his blade through it's head, blood spilling out of it and covering the other Husks behind it. He then saw the marauders aiming at the Autobot Leader as he fought. "Optimus, look out." Jack shouted at his friend who had his back turned to them before fighting off more Husks that pounced at him. The older Prime then, after hearing Jack's warning took a glance back at the group and then charged his blade before swinging it around (slicing down the creatures around him as it did) and unleashed an energy wave which obliterated the marauders. The Commander then finished off his quarry and then smiled back at Optimus. "That was brilliant." he replied as the big bot joined his side. "Thank you. We need to keep moving though, otherwise they can regroup and halt our advance." "Way ahead of you, let's move." Jack said as both Primes left the area and continued down the path, leaving the bodies of all the Husks where they lied as they made their way closer to their target. Meanwhile scores of Husks charged at Arcee and her team as they defended the escape pods from the encroaching hordes, but no matter how many of the creatures were taken down, even more kept on running at them. Arcee fired her SMGs at several Husks, killing them in a spray of bullets, while Garrus was still lying on his stomach on top of an escape pod and blowing the heads off the creatures with his sniper rifle. Grimlock though had gotten sick of his rifle and had turned to his trusty sword as the Dinobot was slicing up the Husks left right and center. Ratchet though was starting to tire as one Husk almost got the better of him before Ravage tackled it to the ground and repeatedly clawed at it's chest until it's insides were mush. "Thank you, Ravage, I am too old for all this fighting." the old medic said while catching his breath. The feline bot gave what looked like a nod before turning it's attention as even more Husks appeared on the horizon. "By Primus, they just keep coming." Ratchet said with a hint of despair in his voice, the others had noticed this too as they finished off another wave of Husks only to see more on the way. "Arcee, we are not going to be able to hold them off for much longer." Jazz said as he reloaded his rifle. "Yeah, I am almost out of ammo." Bumblebee replied in a worried tone. Arcee looked over to both of them from her spot. "Then we take them on hand to hand, we have to do this…..for Jack and Optimus." she said stoically as she deployed her arm blades and waited for the hordes to reach them. Her face becoming stern and focused. But just as the Husks charged within the last fifty feet, suddenly an explosion sent a number of the creatures flying into the air as the group watched in surprise. "What the?" Smokescreen said before Garrus pointed at the sky from his spot. "Over there." Arcee and the others looked in the direction that the Turian was pointing to see an Alliance shuttle flying toward them while firing explosive rounds at the hordes of Husks, which had become confused by the attack and were regrouping. The group then heard a familiar voice speaking through their com links. "don't worry, back up has arrived." "Swoop, you made it." Grimlock said happily as the shuttle stopped over the group before firing another round of fire into the Husks. "Yeah, I got this old girl working again. The received a message from Admiral Bryce, so I flew over here as fast I could." Swoop replied. "Well, thank god. We now have some air support." Garrus said back with relief in his voice. "Oh, I brought more than that. Got some friends who want to join you." the Dinobot pilot replied as the shuttle's hatch opened and three more familiar figures dropped to the ground below. First up was Dreadwing, who equipped his Gatling gun and immediately began spraying the area in front of him with bullets, taking down numerous Husks, then shuttle moved over and dropped Kup between both Jazz and Grimlock, the older bot firing on the creatures with his shotgun. The force of the shot tearing open the stomach of one of them, he then smiled at both bots. "Hey, Guys, can't wait to recite this battle afterwards." he said happily, gaining an eye roll from Jazz and the Dinobot. The shuttle then moved over to Chromia who was kicking and punching the Husks that had begun to attack her and a black and red armored man dropped down on top of one of the Husks and crushed it's face under his armored boot. He then grabbed the next Husk and held it over his head before slamming it down on his knee. "Take that…" he started to say before throwing the broken creature into the other enemies, knocking them down like bowling pins. "…Reaper-punk!" he finished before looking back to the femme, who was staring wide-eyed at him. A slight smile gracing her face. "You alright?" he said back to her. "Yes, I am better than alright." she replied as her smile got bigger. "Good, just stay close to me and we will make it through this." he said with a smile, then the bot looked back to the horde only to see the face of a Husk right in his and ready to strike. He was about to react when suddenly the creature's head exploded, he then glanced back to see Chromia pointing her pistol in his direction. A large and confident smile on the femme's face as she moved up to his side. "And I think you should stay close to me." she replied coyly, earning an equally large smile from the Autobot. "Name's Ironhide." he said, his voice tinged with affection. "Chromia." the femme replied in return before they both took defensive stances beside each other and readied their weapons for the next wave of Husks. Meanwhile Arcee having seen the back up that just arrived couldn't help but feel more confident of their chances, so she sneaked a quick look up towards the heavens and thought of her spark-mate before refocusing on the battle at hand and moving into the fight with her arm blades ready. After running down a number of interconnected corridors and killing any Husk that stood in their way, the two Primes entered a large room where all the synthetic veins converged on a large door just ahead of them, the dark energon pulsing through them rapidly and brightly. "The spark chamber is just beyond that door." The older Prime said as they ran up to it, but the door did not open. "Okay, this is going to be a problem." Jack replied before Optimus smiled. "I know of a way to get through." he said as he held his star-saber up, it began to brighten as he did so. Jack smiled and nodded in return before stepping aside. The moment he was out of the way, Optimus swung the blade in front of the door and unleashed an energy wave that hit the door with an almighty bang. But it only dented the door, leaving the Primes both looking at it in shock. "First time that hasn't worked." the Commander replied as he looked over to Optimus. "Perhaps we should both attack the door, the combined power of our star-sabers should be enough to cut through." the Autobot leader said back, earning a not entirely sure expression from Jack before he sighed and nodded. "Alright, but this tends to knock the wind out of me whenever I unleash a wave with my star-saber. So just be ready to cover me, if we come under attack." Optimus gave him a supportive smile before both men charged their sabers and swung them at the door, the combined energy wave obliterating the door instantly. Jack fell to his knees and breathed heavily as Optimus kept an eye out. "Well….that worked well." Jack said as he took a deep breath, but then a loud groaning noise echoed around them as if they had injured something. "That doesn't sound good." the younger Prime added as he was helped up by his friend. "No, it does not, Jackson. We should hasten our selves for I believe that Unicron knows of our plan now." Optimus said before they both carried on through the now open door. Meanwhile outside, Unicron's expression changed to one of silent agony and worry as he placed a hand up to his chest, for he knew something was not right and that maybe it was time to call upon his most loyal servant. The two Primes were almost sprinting as they neared the end of the corridor, which had a very bright purple light pulsing at it's end. It was almost blinding in strength the closer they got to it. "We nearly there, Optimus." Jack said with hope in his voice, the older Prime was about to reply when a shadowy figure caught his eye as it dropped down from the ceiling in front of the Commander. "Jack, look out!" he shouted, making the younger Prime stop his tracks in time to see a weird looking Husk land in front of him. Jack though did not hesitate as he sliced the creature in half almost immediately, causing a gush of black blood to stain the ground in front of him. Then as both men looked down at the two halfs of the Husk lying on the ground, Jack noticed that it was wearing what appeared to be clothes. "Strange, never known Husks to be fully clothed before." he said as he knelt beside the torso and turned it over and suddenly recognized it as a MECH uniform, his eyes widened as he knew who this used to be. "This is Silas." Optimus stood beside him and looked down at the body. "He was the one who opened the Citadel arms and allowed the Crucible to dock." "Yeah, and then the Reapers turned him into a Husk for his good work. Well after all the lives that were lost at 'Sanctuary' and all the other atrocities that MECH committed in his name, I would say he got what he deserved." Jack said in a cold and judging tone. Optimus though gave his younger companion a knowing look. "Jackson, no matter how misguided or 'evil' Silas's actions have been, I would not wish this fate on any of our enemies. I may not have witnessed what you have during this war, but I would wish that you not lose sight of what it is that made you a Prime. I of all people know that the horrors of war can change people, but we as Primes are not allowed the luxury of changing our views." Jack looked away from the older Prime and down at the Husk who used to be Silas. "I…..I know, and I am sorry. Well at least I put him out of his misery I guess." he said as Optimus placed a hand on his shoulder in support. "That is correct, we are not here to judge others Jackson. We are here to protect and guide them. "Alright, then lets finally end this." Jack replied with a now stoic expression as he started for the inner spark chamber, but before they could move on. A familiar voice spoke out from an unknown direction. "This is as far as you go, Darby!" Both Primes looked around, hoping to see who it was that spoke. But Jack could not believe that it would be him. "No, it can't be. I killed him already." he said with shock in his voice as a figure stepped out from the shadows. He was wearing armor that looked not unlike that of which Unicron had, but was dark brown with gold lines, he then let the light from the room illuminate his face and showed Jack and Optimus who he was. "Sideways! How the hell are you standing here now?!" Jack said as he and the older Prime re-equipped their star-sabers, earning a laugh from the former Con. "Do you still not get it ,Darby. I am the Herald of Unicron. His loyal guardian and servant. As long as he lives, so do I." Sideways replied before unsheathing two dark energon blades off his back and preparing to attack them. "And I will not be facing you alone….." he said, his eyes began to glow bright purple as his voice blended with that of Unicron. "…Because we both will be facing you today, Disciples of Primus. For it will be this day that the lineage of Primes comes to an end. Now die!" the former-Con yelled as he swung his blades at the Primes, they both parried or deflected the attacks as the three of them became locked in mortal combat while illuminated by the light of Unicron's spark that was just down the corridor. PRIME EFFECT 3 The battle raging over the Earth was going from bad to worse as the Allied forces were being obliterated by the Reapers, many of the ships had already been disabled or destroyed by the black behemoths. The bridge of the Ark was a mess as crewmen were either putting out fires or trying to repair systems, Admiral Bryce wiped blood from a wound on his forehead that he had gained from hitting it against his console after the last attack from the Reaper directly ahead of them. "Evasive action now!" he shouted, the helmsmen then turned the large Autobot ship to right, just narrowly missing the red energy beam that the behemoth had fired at them. "Fire everything we have at it now." he commanded, and with that the Ark returned fire with all it's cannons and torpedoes, causing minor damage to the Reaper as it charged it's beam weapon again. "Sir, minimal damage to the Reaper and our shields are down to twenty percent. We wont be able to survive another direct hit." an officer said as he worked his control console. Bryce then looked out at the bridge canopy to see the Nemesis moving toward and over them as it fired it's weapons at the Reaper, blowing it's tentacle legs off and making the behemoth lose control as it drifted away and crashed into another Reaper that was busy destroying a mercenary cruiser (Eclipse). The two giant squid like ships impacted and blew up in spectacular fashion. "Thanks for the save, Nemesis." Bryce said into his com link as his pilot turned the Ark around to face it's sister ship. "You're welcome Ark. We will….oh shit!" the commander of the Nemesis replied as Bryce saw four more Reapers move in around the former Decepticon mothership, their weapons glowing as they became charged. "Nemesis, get out of there." the Admiral shouted at them, but then the Reapers fired their beam weapons and carved the ship into pieces right before the Admiral and his crew's eyes. Nothing was left but small pieces of debris after the behemoths were finished and they turned towards the Ark, their weapons charging up once more. Bryce looked down at his console as he contemplated his next move, taking a deep breath before looking at his helmsmen with a stoic expression. "Set a collision course and set our engine core to overload because if we are going to go out, then I want to take those bastards with us. So give me ramming speed." he said as his bridge crew looked at him in shock. "Ye….Yes sir." his helmsmen replied before turning back to his console and inputting the commands. Then the Ark's engines fired up and thrust the ship forward as it began to close in on the four Reapers ahead of them, the crew just watched and waited for the inevitable as Bryce stood up straight and looked on. "It has been an honor serving with you all." he said as they neared the behemoths, but suddenly the sensors station began to beep. Gaining the crewman who was working it's attention. "Sir, sensors are picking up multiple ships jumping into Earth space." Bryce looked at him with a surprised and questioning expression. "Who?" Suddenly the Cronos and a number of MECH cruisers appeared out of hyperspace and fired their beam cannons at the Reapers in front of the Ark, damaging them all and causing the black behemoths to move out of the way as the Cronos moved to the Autobot ship's side. "MECH, but how?" Bryce asked as he looked at the ships with surprise before a familiar female voice spoke over the intercom. "Admiral Bryce, this is Miranda Lawson. I hope you don't mind me crashing this little party of yours?" she said, earning a smile from the Admiral. "Not at all, Miss Lawson, if we survive this then I will buy you a drink. "Looking forward to it. Our sensors show that the Ark has taken substantial damage. We will cover you with the Cronos until you have are ready to fight again." she replied. "Thank you, Miss Lawson." "We are all in this fight, see you on the other side." the former MECH officer replied before speaking on the intercom to the rest of her fleet. "All ships, engage the Reaper forces." Then as the rest of the MECH cruisers split up into pairs and began firing on the Reapers, the Cronos staying at the Ark's side as it began firing on a squadron of Reaper fighter drones that targeted the Autobot ship. Meanwhile among the ruins of London, Raf looked out of the small window of the escape pod he was in. And as he watched Bumblebee and Smokescreen fighting a bunch of Husks, a Reaper in the distance gained his attention as it got to it's feet and looked around. It was Harbinger and from where he was, Raf could see only one set of three glowing yellow eyes (the others were destroyed when the Defiant crashed into them earlier) as the Reaper scanned the horizon. It then looked up into the sky and stayed that way for a long moment as if it could sense that something was wrong before launching itself into the sky and ascending to the void that was beyond the planet's atmosphere. PRIME EFFECT 3 Inside the Chaos bringer's body, the two Primes continued to clash swords with Sideways (who was under Unicron's control) as they attacked him from both sides, though their Herald continued to deflect or parry their attacks, with a dark smile on his face as he did. "Is that the best you have to offer, Primes?" Sideways mocked before swinging his blade at Jack who blocked it with the sky boom shield, the younger Prime then charged into the Herald, knocking him over into the spark chamber. The giant energy ball that was Unicron's spark illuminated the entire vast spherical room, as electrical blasts were emitted by it and clashed against the walls above the men below. Sideways got to his feet as Jack and Optimus stood ready. The former-Con had managed to not only hold his own against the two Primes, but looked like he was in full control of the fight and was now only toying with them. The presence of Unicron sharing his spark had made him far more of a danger than he had been before now, and Jack knew from glancing over at Optimus that things were not going well. "Hope you enjoy the view, Disciples of Primus? This is as close as you will get to my spark." Sideways said before he launched himself at both Primes, who clashed heir saber's against his, blue and purple sparks flying out as the blades connected. The Herald mocked before pushing Optimus away and then hitting Jack in the face with the sword's hilt, as he pulled his other blade back. This made the younger Prime stagger back a few steps. "So disappointing. Primus must have been desperate to have picked such a lowly life form to become a Prime. You are the weakest that I had ever faced." Sideways mocked but before he could take advantage of this, Optimus brought his star saber down upon his enemy. But Sideways managed to cross his blades over his head and block the attack, holding it there in place. The Autobot leader gritted his teeth as he tried to force his blade through the Chaos Bringer's defence but Sideways merely grinned as he stared back at the Prime. "You will not have this day, Prime, for I will watch as the light leaves your eyes before finally destroying everything that you and my brother hold dear." Optimus then kicked out at Sideways stomach, forcing the Herald back. "And I will ensure that never happens, Unicron, even if I have to give up my life to see it through." the older Prime replied in a determined tone before breaking the deadlock and swiping at the Chaos Bringer, who dodged the attack and countered by slashing through the older Prime's armour on his arm, blood like liquid spilled out earning a wince from Optimus as Sideways kicked him and knocked him on his ass. "One of my blades has tasted the blood of a Prime today, I vow it's thirst will be quenched by the end of this distraction." Sideways said in a victorious like tone. "You talk too much." Jack replied sarcastically as he rejoined the fight and hacked his star saber at the former Con. The former Con blocked the attack but the Commander then deactivated his saber making the Herald's fall down and drag him forward (via he momentum) towards Jack as he lost his footing. The younger Prime smiled as he then hit Sideways in the face with his elbow before then kneeing him in the stomach and then elbowing him in the back as he recoiled, knocking the former Con on to the floor. Jack then reactivated his star saber and stood over Sideways. "This ends now." he said confidently before raising his saber over his head, the former Con looked up at him with his eyes glowing brightly with dark Energon as his expression was one of brutal rage. "Enough!" he roared before reaching up and stopping Jack from striking him down, the strength that Jack found himself against was beyond anything he had face before as Sideways held on to the arm that the star saber was equipped to. The Herald stared into the younger Prime's eyes with a hatred that was beyond words. "I have had enough of you, Fleshling." he spat before crushing the armour around Jack's wrist, making the star saber vanish. The pain the Commander felt was like having ones hand in a vice that had been tightened to almost breaking point. Sideways then head butted Jack twice, making blood gush from the Younger Prime's nose and daze him before punching him in the chest, cracking the chest plate of his armour and a number of his ribs in the process, the force of the punch also sent Jack flat on his ass. Optimus was still recovering as he managed to sit up to see Jack trying to stand as Sideways picked up his dark Energon sabers, the blades glowing brightly as he charged them up. "Now BEGONE!" the former Con spat as he sliced the sabers down in front of him, unleashing a double energy wave that hit Jack like a wrecking ball, the young Prime felt an instant crippling pain across his entire body as the energy burnt his armour and sent him flying into the wall behind him, the impact creating a crater where he hit it before his body fell to the ground and Jack fell unconscious. "Jackson!" Optimus shouted back as he got to his feet, Sideways though casually turned around and looked at him with a dark smile. "One Prime down, one to go." Optimus looked over to Jack's still form lying on the floor before his attention went back to Sideways, his eyes narrowing at the former Con as he tightened his grip around the hilt of the star saber, he then charged at the Herald who just let him come at him. Optimus swung his blade but Sideways ducked under it and then countered with his own attack, only for the Autobot leader to deflect it before the two clashed sabers again, the former Con then used his free saber to try and slash at the older Prime, though Optimus saw this coming and broke away to dodge the attack at the last split second. They then both stared hate into each others eyes. "I will kill you now." Sideways said earning a curious expression from the Prime. "That seems premature, Unicron. You will not have this day." "Miserable worm, it will happen because I have deemed it so." he spat back before roaring at Optimus and launching an other attack, which found the Prime on the defensive instantly as Sideways kept pummelling, breaking through every parry and block that the Autobot leader attempted, pushing him back with each attack. Optimus found that when ever he tried to counter, the Chaos Bringer just broke through again and forced him to defend. As the two fought, Jack came too and he managed to look up and see them, though every part of him was aching beyond measure. It was then at that moment, the former Con spun his saber's hilt in his hand so that he had the blunt end facing Optimus and he jabbed it into the Autobot Leader's face, disorientating him. Sidesways smirked as he then thrusted his other saber right at his enemy, but Optimus managed to bring his star saber up just in time to deflect it. The former Con though still had the one more blade (he had spun the hilt back to its original position) and before the Autobot leader could react, Sidesways stabbed him through the chest with it. Optimus's eyes widened, and he gave a loud grunt as he felt the most agonising pain in his chest and looked down to see the dark Energon saber imbedded in him. Jack's expression was one of complete shock as he saw Sideways pull out the blade, blood like fluid gushed out of the wound as Optimus slumped to his knees with the former Con standing over him with a look of delight on his face. "And so finally, the line of Primes has failed and my brother's will undone. Nothing will stand between my children and I as we purge this galaxy, and then rebuild it our own way." The older Prime looked up at Sideways, the former Con's eyes still glowing with the purple hue of dark Energon. "Unicron, no matter…. how many cycles you purge, or… how many lives you take. You will never find… what it is that you seek. And others….. will always take arms against you." The Prime replied as he gritted his teeth and put his hand to his wound, feeling his life force continue to abandon him. Sideways though looked unimpressed as he began lifting one of his blades, preparing to bring the Autobot Leader's life to an end. "I have had enough of your prattle, Prime. They will die, just as surely as you will now." the former Con replied as Optimus closed his eyes and prepared himself for the inevitable, but then as Sideways dropped the blade down to cleave his enemy's head from his shoulders, suddenly a loud clang of metal echoed around the spark chamber. Optimus still waiting for the killing blow, opened one eye to see that his star saber was blocking the bright purple blade of the possessed former-con. He then looked to see who was holding his saber and saw Jack standing there with a determined look on his face. "You forgot about me, Unicron." he spat before parrying the Herald's blade away from Optimus who then fell back onto his ass and breathed heavily as his wound continued to bleed over him. Sideway's purple eyes glowed angrily as narrowed them at Jack. "Do you think you have what it takes to defeat me…..,Disciple of Primus." he spat as took a stance with his blades, readying himself for another round with the younger Prime. Jack followed suit as he held the star-saber in his hand, the blade suddenly mass shifted itself into a single-handed version of it self, earning a confident smile from Jack. "Let's find out." he replied before charging at his enemy, Sideways mirrored him as the two ran at each other before they clashed blades, the sound of metal on metal echoing throughout the room. Both of them attacked each other with everything they had, for every attack one performed. The other would block or evade it before countering. Optimus watched from his spot, his eyes wide as he saw Jack holding his own against the Unicron possessed Sideways as they continued to battle each other in the wake of the giant spark of the Chaos Bringer. But then as Sideways lunged forward with an attack, Jack spun around and dodged it before elbowing the former Con in the back. As the Herald was pushed forward, Jack then slashed his enemy's back earning a hiss from Sideways as he winced. He then turned round and with his anger now at boiling point, swung his blade at the younger Prime who ducked under it and then slashed the former Con's right arm, causing him to drop one of his dark energon sabers. Sideways growled in response before just swinging wildly at the Commander who just coolly dodged the attack and then slashed at the former Con's chest, cutting through the armor and the flesh below it. Sideways winced again before gritting his teeth and lunging at Jack, but the younger Prime blocked the attack with the star saber before launching a punch at the former Con's gut, but suddenly his own star-saber reactivated and stabbed right through his body, and coming out of his back. Sideway's gasped in pain before Jack pulled his blade out of the Herald's gut, making blood-like fluid gush out as the purple glow coming from the Herald's eyes disappeared and he fell to knees. The younger Prime stood above him and readied his own star saber to strike his enemy down, while holding Optimus's saber in his other. "You think…..*cough*, you've won, Darby? You don't have..*cough* what it takes to….*cough* end this." Sideways spat back with his own voice (the possession by Unicron now over) as he continued to choke on his own blood. But Jack wasn't going to listen to this bastard for a second longer as he raised the star-saber over the Herald. "Please stay dead this time." he replied before swinging the blade down and cleaving Sideway's head from his body, the former rolling on the floor while he later fell down in a heap. "Jackson." a faint voice spoke out and Jack look over from the body of Sideways to see Optimus slumped up against the wall, bleeding out as he attempted to keep pressure on his chest wound. The younger Prime ran over and knelt down in front of him, taking out an item out of his utility belt. "Hang on, Optimus. I have medi-gel." he said as he prepared to treat the wound, but then the Autobot leader reached out and stopped him. "It is…..to…late for….me, I will…..soon become one…..with…..the Allspark." he replied slowly, clinging on to what little life he had left, if only for a moment. "Don't talk like that, we can still…." Jack began saying back before Optimus cut him off. "We….don't have….the time, Unicron has only been…..slowed down. You have…..to finish this." Jack then watched as Optimus opened up the chest plate of his armor and took the matrix crystal in his hand, it then mass shifted to it's natural size in his grasp. Jack looked down into the bright white/blue crystal core of the artifact, before then looking his mentor in the eye. A worried expression grew on his face. "Optimus, if I can't do this." he said with uncertainty in his voice, but the Autobot leader just gave him a reassuring smile. "You are… a Prime, I know…. you can do this." he replied before looking past Jack to the spark of Unicron as it continued to glow brightly in the background. He then looked back at Jack. "I never….told you this, but….I always thought….of you….as…a son, Jack." Jack's eyes widened at the older Prime's confession. "Optimus…" "I….am…..very…..proud…..of…..you…" Optimus then said before his eyes glazed over and his head tilted slightly to the right, his expression frozen in place as he died there in front of Jack. He just looked at his mentor, a single tear running down his cheek as it dawned on him what just happened. He then reached out with his hand and closed Optimus's eyes before looking down to the ground. "Goodbye…" he whispered as he stayed like that for what felt like a long moment, before the glow of the matrix caught his attention as it lied there in the fallen Autobot leader's hands. The words of Primus then echoed through Jack's mind as he remembered what the Aeon had told him. 'If you were to unleash the matrix's energy, then you would likely not survive the exposure.' the words had a damning notion to Jack as he also remembered his vow to Arcee, his spark-mate. 'I will come back to you, Arcee, because… you are my spark-mate and I love you…I swear.' He so wanted to keep his oath to his lover, to spend the remainder of his life with her. But as these thoughts conflicted with each other, Jack also thought of how the Reapers were at this very moment obliterating all sentient life in the galaxy. And it was this thought that finally made his decision for him. He was a Prime, and it was his duty to protect the galaxy….no matter the cost. So, he knew that he had no choice and so with a deep breath, he picked up the matrix and stood up and turned around to face the ever bright and storm like spark of the Chaos Bringer as it hovered in the center of the massive spark chamber. Jack began walking towards the center of the room, to the spot directly below the beating spark. And as he walked, Jack remembered the faces of his friends and family. He saw his mother June Darby and his step-father William Fowler. He then saw Garrus and Tali, Soundwave, Legion and Miko with Kaidan and Wheeljack. Then there was Airachnid before Optimus's face appeared, looking at Jack with both pride and a father's love. Finally though as Jack stood directly below Unicron's spark, the last image he saw was that of Arcee. She looked at him lovingly with the same smile that would melt his heart every time. An it was this last image that gave Jack the strength to do what was necessary, so he lifted the matrix above his head. Holding it firmly at the handle's on either side. "Matrix of Leadership, I Jackson Prime call upon you…." he called out to it as he began to pull the casing surrounding the glowing crystal apart. "…..light our darkest hour!" As these words echoed though the matrix, several thousand light years away deep in the bowels of Cybertron. Primus's core glowed as bright as a star for one single moment before it went dark…..for the last time, leaving the planet as a lifeless husk now and forever. Suddenly the matrix glowed so bright that it nearly blinded Jack as he found that he could not move as his skin began to tingle all over. Then a powerful and bright energy beam shot out of the artifact in his hands and impacted directly into the Chaos Bringer's spark, causing what looked like lightning to strike out at the walls of the spark chamber violently as the matrix's energy clashed with that of Unicron's. Jack felt like his body was on fire as the matrix was white hot in his hands, his exposed skin began to burn from exposure to the energy that he was being exposed to. But finally the matrix shut down and the giant spark above him suddenly collapsed in on it's self until it became a tiny white ball. Jack though could still not move, before it suddenly grew and expanded at an incredible rate, engulfing Jack in it's burning light as it then traveled through every part of the Chaos Bringer's body. PRIME EFFECT 3 Outside, Unicron had what looked like seizures as the battle had stopped around him. On board the Ark, Bryce and his bridge crew were watching as the Chaos Bringer looked like he was screaming out to the void around him, his faceplate's expression one of agonizing pain. The officer next to the Admiral then looked at his holo-interface as it beeped loudly. "Sir, I am picking up a power signature from inside Unicron, and it is increasing at an overwhelming rate." "He is going to explode…..they did it." Bryce replied before tapping his com-link. "This is Admiral Bryce to all ships, Unicron is going to detonate. Evacuate the system immediately and head to the rendezvous point, do it now." he said before the allied ships in view of their canopy began turning around and jumping away. "Sir, what about us?" the helmsmen replied. "Take us in close, we are going to extract the Primes now before that thing blows up." The bridge crew continued to look at the deity as it's body was being covered by explosions across it's surface. "Sir, we don't have time. We have to leave now." the officer next to the Admiral said defiantly. Bryce was going to argue back but then caught sight of the white energy breaking through the body of Unicron and expanding toward them. "…..damn it." he said before looking away in shame. "You're right, get us out of here." he said back before the helmsmen began turning the Ark away from the incoming energy wave, Bryce taking one last look at deity's body before it went out of view. "…I'm sorry." he said in an almost whisper as the Ark sped away from the energy field and jumped into hyperspace. As the wave continued to expand from within Unicron, the Reapers had finally caught on and had started to flee but were instantly caught in the wave, the white energy incinerating them. Leaving no trace of them in it's wake as it then hit the planet and began to engulf it. Meanwhile down in the war ravaged streets of London, allied forces were fighting a losing battle against the Reaper ground forces just aways from the ruins of the shard tower. The soldiers were firing from behind cover at the cannibals and marauders as the black behemoths stood over them and fired down on the streets. Suddenly another Reaper landed right next to one group of soldiers and charged it's beam weapon as they fired back at it, but suddenly it stopped along with the other Reapers as a white energy wave appeared on the horizon and closed in on them, passing Tower bridge and then the Shard tower before pass through the Reapers and the soldiers. When the troops looked back, they found no trace of the Husks or their masters and so began cheering loudly as the wave continued to spread over London. As this was happening, Arcee and the others were still neck deep in Husks as they defended the escape pods from the never-ending hordes. But as the femme blew the head off of one Husk, she suddenly saw the energy wave approaching their position. It's white light reflecting in her azure eyes as she and the others watched in shock as the wave obliterated all the Husks that were in front of them before passing through them. The energy that washed over them then knocked Arcee and the other Autobots to their knees as if they suddenly felt very dizzy. Garrus and Tali ran over to the femme and helped her up to find that all the Reaper forces that had been around them, including the Reapers themselves who had been on the horizon were now gone. The group started smiling and cheering, but Arcee just stared up into the sky with Garrus and Tali and thought of Jack, just as the storm clouds finally began to disappear, allowing streams of sunlight to break through and shine over the city. After the energy wave had expanded past Earth and towards the outer edges of the Sol system, Unicron's body finally gave in to the tremendous amounts of energy that had been channeled through it and exploded in amazing fashion, sending it's debris in all directions. The wave had completed purged all evidence of the Reapers from the system by the time it reached Sol's edge and it passed through the space bridge, which suddenly activated as it opened up a large white vortex before it collapsed and shot a white beam out into deep space which hit another space bridge, and then another, and another. Until the energy was passed through the entire space bridge network, completely covering the galaxy in it's energy and wiping away every Reaper that was there. But still only one Reaper remained at the very galaxy's edge as Harbinger traveled through hyperspace, hoping to reach the safety of dark space before the energy could reach it. But then the wave appeared from behind the Reaper and was gaining fast, making Harbinger's remaining eyes brighten as it poured everything it had into it's propulsion. But this only bought it another moment as the wave suddenly made contact with the Reaper before overtaking it and incinerating it right there and then. Once done the wave dissipated right at the edge of the galaxy, having destroyed the Reapers completely. Back on Earth, a hatch on one of the escape pods opened and revealed Raf as he and the crew began getting out of the pods and looking around, the clouds had completed dispersed and revealed rising sun as it appeared on the horizon. It's bright light turning the sky to a vanilla like color. As this was happening, Arcee continued to look up at the sky and saw what looked like the aftermath of a massive explosion directly above them, littering the sky with debris as the small bits burned up in Earth's atmosphere. Garrus placed his hand on the femme's shoulder sympathetically and Tali looked down at the ground as one thought went through Arcee's mind as her eyes began to well up. '….Jack,…no.' she thought, while everyone basked in the victory that was hard-fought and had earned a new dawn for the galaxy.
  4. CHAPTER 20 Jack was sure he was going to be dead this time, there was no way he could have survived even a brush against the beam that Harbinger fired at him and Optimus. All that he could hope was that he had managed to push his mentor and friend far enough away so that he could continue the fight. Maybe Grimlock and the others had made it too, it was a lot to hope for considering how the Reaper was ripping Hammer apart, but that was all he had left. But yet he could still feel the rain hitting his face, the wind brushing against his skin and hair. He focused on those feelings and suddenly his body began to ache like nothing he had experienced before, it felt like his entire being had been burnt to a crisp. He then heard voices in the distance and turned his face, slowly opening his eyes as painful as it was. He could see along the ground from him was the body of a Krogan lying face down on the ground, his holo-tool was on but fluctuating as the Prime figured out what he was hearing. "My god…, they're all gone." he could hear Dreadwing say with fear and despair in his voice over the active com link (being broadcast by the holo-tool). "Did we get anyone to the beam?" an unknown female voice asked back. "Negative, our entire force was decimated." the former Con replied, making Jack's heart sink as the words burned into to his core. 'We failed!' he thought as he then looked back up to the sky to see the Reaper Beam reaching up into the heavens as the storm clouds continued to battle each other around it's light. "It's too much, we have to retreat. Pull back to the buildings." Dreadwing finished before the power source for the Krogan's holo-tool stopped and it deactivated. Jack then saw Harbinger lift off the ground from behind the Beam, it's yellow eyes not even bothering to look at the devastation it had caused as it headed back up into orbit. The Prime moved his hands and tried to lift himself up, but the pain he felt was so agonising that he collapsed back and grimaced as he felt blood trickle down over his lips from his nose. Suddenly two figures were seen standing over him but could not make out who they were, due to the bright light of the beam stopping him from focusing his vision in his fragile state. He then felt something grab hold of his legs and focused to see the two figures beginning to drag him across the ground and towards the Reaper beam, it's light growing ever brighter the closer he was brought to it. A sound of power building up could be heard as the figures dragged him into the light and suddenly Jack felt himself suddenly thrusted up into the air at velocity. He tried to keep his eyes open but the force that was being pressed upon him as he was being accelerated up was forcing his eyes shut, but he could only making out streaks of white light flying past before everything went dark again. Then just as quickly as he passed out, he was brought back to consciousness by the painful feeling of being dropped down onto a cold, hard floor. He opened his eyes and slowly looked around to see that he was somewhere else. The room was vast and had a metallic look to it. "Where….am…I?" he said as he heard footsteps approaching him from behind. "Where do you think, Darby." a familiar voice said as the footsteps stopped just ahead of him. "…Silas…." Jack replied as he tried to look up at the MECH leader, but could not find the strength to do so. "Pick him up." Suddenly the Prime winced as he felt the two figures grab his throbbing arms and lift him to his feet. Jack looked down to the floor and saw that his Prime armour had been damaged beyond repair, he could even see through to his burnt torso underneath via the odd burnt through section's of his armour. "Look at me, Darby." Slias said, gaining Jack's attention, his eyes widened at what he saw. "What….the hell have you done to your…" he started to say before feeling like his brain was being squashed inside his head, just after seeing his adversary's face. It had now looked like Silas was halfway into becoming a Husk, with Reaper modifications all over his face. His optics were no longer glowing yellow, but bright blue instead. He smiled at Darby slyly. "Save your strength, unless you wish to end up like Optimus over here." Silas stepped aside to reveal the Autobot Leader on his hands and knees, breathing heavily. "Let Darby go and secure him." the MECH leader said as he pointed over to the fallen Prime. Suddenly Jack felt his arms being released and looked to see that it was a Marauder and a Cannibal that had been keeping him subdued, he watched as they picked up Optimus and lifted him to his feet. The Commander then noticed that Silas was still grinning at him. "I warned you, control is the means to survival. Control of the Reapers and of you… if necessary." Jack gritted his teeth as he attempted to move towards his enemy but then Silas just lifted his hand to him, and suddenly Jack's brain felt like it was going to explode as he screamed out loud. The muscles in his legs froze and he could not move from his spot as he put his head in his hands. "I told you to save your strength, your part in this is over Darby. I have control of you all now." the MECH leader replied, but then Optimus lifted his head and stared daggers at Silas. "No, they are controlling you." he spat as the Husks held him in place, but from where Jack stood, he could of sworn that Optimus was saying it to him. The MECH leader turned and faced the older Prime, his expression was one of annoyance. "I don't think so, Prime." he replied with disdain. "Controlling me and a few Husks is not the same as controlling a Reaper." Jack said back as he tried to move, but found himself being held in place by some unknown force. Silas then turned back to the younger Prime and looked at him coldly, his blue optics glowing brightly. "Have a little faith." he replied before he began to walk around the pair. "When the Cybertronians uplifted Humanity, when we found that there was more to galaxy than we had ever imagined. There were some who thought that we were progressing too fast, that our god-like allies were pushing us too far. They were scared of what we would become, of what we would find. But look at what Humanity has achieved, in spite of the Cybertronians influence. Since that moment, we have advanced more than the last ten thousand years combined. And the Reapers will do the same for us again, a thousand fold. But.." he stopped and stared at Jack, making the Prime's head ache even more. "..only if we harness their ability to control." "No, there is no controlling the Reapers. We have to destroy them before they destroy us." Optimus said back, regaining the MECH leader's attention as Jack put his hand to his throbbing head. "And waste this opportunity, never." Silas said as he walked back round the pair. The Commander then looked back at MECH leader. "But your messing with things that you don't understand, with power you shouldn't be able to use." "I…" Silas said as he stopped and looked up to the ceiling, as if he heard voices speaking to him. "…don't believe that." he continued as he regained his composure and looked back at the Primes. "If we can control it, then why shouldn't it be ours?" he finished. "Because we are not ready." Jack replied as Silas looked at him. "No, this is the way Humanity has to evolve." "There is always another way." Optimus said while looking directly at the younger Prime again, confusing him even more. Silas though stood as though his confidence was at it's highest. "I have made it my life's goal to study the Reapers since their discovery, and I know with certainty that the Crucible will allow me to control them. The device is just down there." he said as he pointed down the hallway that had appeared behind him. Jack looked at him with an unconvinced expression. "And then what?" "Look at the power they hold, look at what I can do with it." Silas then said as he clenched his fist, which made it glow with purple energy, causing both Jack and Optimus to suffer seizures as the two Husks holding the older Prime suddenly turned to dust. Everything went white for Jack as the overwhelming pain took his attention before it finally stopped and both he and his mentor breathed heavily as the MECH leader stared at them. "I see what they did to you." Jack spat back at him in anger. "I took what I wanted from them, made it my own. This isn't about me or you, it's about things that are so much bigger than all of us." Silas replied as he stretched his arms out and looked up to the ceiling. "He's wrong, don't listen to him." Optimus said as Jack looked over to him, only for Silas to stand beside the older Prime. "And who will you listen to Darby, an old Prime who is stuck in his ways. Seeing no way to end this conflict but down the barrel of a gun. And what if he is wrong, what if controlling the Reapers is the answer. Because while you two were unconscious, the Crucible has docked with the Citadel…and with the three of us are aboard, if you hadn't noticed." Jack shook his head in response. "It doesn't matter, because if we destroy the Reapers now, then it ends today. But if you can't control them.." This gained an angry reaction from Silas as he gritted his teeth and flapped his fist at the Prime. "But I can!" he spat back, not even attempting to hide his rage. "Are you willing to bet Humanity's existence on it." Jack shouted back as suddenly Silas's expression changed to uncertainty before looking down to the ground and holding his hands in front of his face. "No, No, it will work." he replied as if trying to convince himself of it. "You can't, can you. 'They' won't let you do it." the younger Prime said back as he could see the MECH leader's resolve begin to falter. But then Silas looked back at Jack, his face full of rage and he violently pointed back at him. "No, I'm in control. No one is telling me what to do!" he spat back at the Commander. Optimus just stood there and looked between both the men. "Listen to yourself, you're indoctrinated." he said, and the older Prime's words seemed to echo throughout Jack's mind as he looked at Silas. "No, No! The two of you are so self righteous. Do you think power like this comes easy, there are sacrifices." the MECH leader said back with little conviction, but much anger in his tone. "You sacrificed too much." Jack said confidently, as if he knew some hidden truth all of a sudden. Silas though was almost rabid as he began to move franticly. "Darby, I… I only wanted to protect Humanity, the Crucible can control them. I know it can…..I …just." he said before trailing off and looking up as if hearing things. "It's not too late, let us go. We can do the rest." Jack said calmly, hoping that he might be able to get through to the MECH leader. Silas then put his hand up to his brow and thought for a second. "I…. I… cannot do that, Darby." he said as his voice and expression showed the inner struggle he was facing with himself. "Of course you can't, Silas. You are theirs now." Optimus replied before looking back at Jack. Silas then walked behind the older Prime and took his pistol out from it's holster on the Autobot's utility belt. "You, you would undo everything I have accomplished." the MECH leader said as Optimus fell to his knees. Silas then pointed the gun at the older Prime's head. "I cannot let that happen." he said as Jack watched. Because of you, Humanity is already undone." Jack replied. "That's not true!" Silas spat back as he started to lose control again. "The Reapers have the Citadel, they have us fighting each other instead of fighting them!" the younger Prime spat back, his own anger now boiling over. "I just need to…." the MECH leader replied in a rage as he stepped towards Jack. "You did exactly what the Reapers wanted. Your still doing it now, because they control you!" the Commander shouted back, causing Silas's erratic behaviour to continue as he began to pace from left to right, waving the pistol about. "No, No,…" he shouted. ",You were supposed to protect Humanity, but you failed!" Jack continued to say, as Silas held his head in his hands, looking like he was in great pain before staring daggers at the younger Prime and charging at him. "NO! I am the savior of Humanity, the pinnacle of our species." he shouted as he lunged at the Commander, but then Jack found that he could move all of a sudden and then dodged Silas's attack, grabbed his arm and twisted it. The MECH leader winced as Jack pulled the pistol away and turned around to face his adversary before pulling the trigger, sending Silas flying on to his back before smoke began to rise up from the bullet hole in his chest. Jack looked down to see the blue light from the MECH leader's optics and other Reaper modifications fade to nothing. "You have done well." an unknown voice spoke out from behind the younger Prime, it sounded old and wise, but gentle and warm. Jack turned round to see Optimus standing there, looking completely fine. His eyes though glowed with a white light as he smiled at the Commander. "Step into the light." he said, the voice certainly wasn't Optimus's, as whoever this was pointed to the hallway that Silas had gestured to earlier. Jack looked back to see that a bright white light was shining from the bottom of the hallway. He had no idea what was down there, but he felt that he could trust this being who was impersonating Optimus. So he nodded back to him and began walking down the hallway, leaving Silas's dead body and that room behind him as white light surrounded him. PRIME EFFECT 3 The Prime could not believe his eyes when the white light died down to reveal that he was in a completely new location, not dark and metallic like the room that he faced Silas in. His surroundings from the mountains that he saw in the distance, to the very ground that he stood on was made of crystal. But not in an artificial way, it all looked like it had formed naturally. It all looked so perfect and beautiful, the Prime lost himself in his surroundings as he stared wide-eyed before up into the sky to see it full of stars. He also saw what on Earth would be called the ' Northern lights', as the waves of blue and green coloured light moved through the night sky effortlessly. "Those stars are the sparks of Cybertronians that have past beyond your world." that voice spoke again from behind Jack, as a bright light shone from the same direction. The Prime turned around only to be nearly blinded by intensity of the white light as it moved toward him. "You need not fear me, for I am both a friend and watcher of you, Jackson Prime. You have carried a part of my essence with you after all." the light spoke, Jack's eyes widened again as he realised who was speaking to him. "Primus!" he said with a half gasp before the white light then dimmed and reformed to take on the an almost ghostly image of Optimus Prime. "Yes, Disciple of mine. I am Primus and I bring you here within the Matrix, so that I can I bestow on you the wisdom to prevent the apocalypse that is about to by unleashed." the deity said in return as Jack still stood there completely dumbstruck. "I'm…. in the matrix?…. Wait, what happened back there. I mean with Silas, I mean I realise now that Optimus was…. He was you in there wasn't he." "Yes, I was there to help you see the truth." "What truth?" Jack asked with a confused look. "The truth that everything you have just witnessed has been a lie." Primus replied, gaining another dumbstruck look from the Prime, before anger took over. "Don't lie to me, I saw my friends and the woman I loved die back there!" he spat back at the apparition before it changed again, this time to a human sized Alpha Trion. "I do not lie, Disciple. I bring you only the truth. Sinice you are a Prime, you know that all connected to me via the matrix only speaks truthfully. I am no different." he said as he looked at Jack with a knowing but supportive expression. "Then when did this….." the Prime was about to ask before looking down at himself to see that his armour was back to it's untouched state, his injuries were gone as well. It then clicked in his mind. "I am dreaming aren't I. The last thing I remember was our tank being overturned by an explosion." "That is correct, you are as of this moment still lying unconscious inside that tank on the battlefield, in the city you call London." Primus replied with a nod. "Well I guess I have picked a great time to be dreaming, haven't I." Jack replied in a half joking tone, earning a slight smile from the deity. "Now there is the man that I bestowed with the Human matrix of leadership, the shadow that has been cast over your soul for so long has finally faded away." "What do you mean by that?" the Prime asked, earning a stoic look from deity. "This may be hard for you to hear, but for the last year you have been under the threat of Reaper indoctrination. You were almost under their complete control before I stepped in." Jack's expression changed to one of complete shock. "What!, when did this happen and how?" "You remember when you came in contact with the Reaper artefact that your people called 'Object Rho'?" Primus said as an image of Jack approaching and being zapped by it played in front of him. "Yes, I do. I remember that only too well. But I felt fine after and was even given a clean bill of health." "Perhaps so, but Reaper indoctrination is a very dangerous method of control. It is subtle at first and slowly breaks down the will of those under it's thrall, until they become mere puppets of the Reapers. Those under the effects of indoctrination will begin to have hallucinations…" the deity said as another image played out in front of Jack, this time of the boy back on Earth. The images shown were of him playing in the park, hiding in the air duct and his death at the hands of the Reapers. Jack just stood there and watched. "The boy wasn't real, was he? And then there were the dreams." he said before thinking about them as Primus watched. "Yes, the boy was not real. His image was used by the Reapers or more in particular the one called Harbinger to try and break your will, therefore progressing the indoctrination further. And then taking into account the friends that you have lost, the battles that went against you. These also helped to further weaken your resolve." Jack then had an expression of understanding as he looked at the deity. "I can see that now, the last final dream I had. I saw Harbinger in it, why didn't I think more of it at the time?" "Because the Reapers whispers into your mind, prevented you from doing so. When it came to the final push, Harbinger connected to you again while you were unconscious and played an elaborate faux that showed the ones you cared for the most dying before you. This tragedy would then have you fall completely under their thrall. That was when I stepped in, I originally believed that the matrix would offer you some protection, but with everything that has happened to you over the last year. I needed to take action myself." Primus replied before Jack looked at him curiously. "Wait, why would the Reapers want me under their control? I would think that they would rather kill me." "Because you, Jackson Prime, are what they call a 'nexus', you turn one way and the whole galaxy has a tendency to turn the same way. The Reapers knew that the galaxy would listen to you and help you bring their plan to fruition." the deity replied. "You seem to know a lot about the Reapers, why? What are they planning?" Jack asked as he let his curiosity get the better of him. "I am old, Jackson Prime. My time goes back as far as what your species call the 'big bang', the very creation of the universe. And in that time I have seen many, many things. I will tell you about the Reapers and what their true goals are, but you must listen to my story to know the whole truth." Primus replied, earning an surprised and alert expression from Jack. "But we don't have time, you say that I am still very much in the fight. Then we are wasting time with this now." "Time has no meaning right now as only a few moments will pass in the waking world, for your mind is within the matrix. When you awaken, you will be ready for what lies ahead. But for now….., listen to my story." Suddenly Jack found himself surrounded by space and stars while Primus's voice spoke. "At the beginning of the universe, when you and your species were not even a thought amongst the cosmos. There was the first beings, the first life forms to achieve sentience, to evolve and expand throughout their own galaxy, That was my species and we called ourselves 'Aeons'. After a time we came to find that we were not the only ones to have been blessed with the gift of life, as we found that many galaxies had worlds that had given birth to life, though no where near our level of evolution. We decided to watch these young species and guide them when necessary, for we knew that there was only one absolute in cosmos, one constant that kept the universe in sync. And that was the balance between light and dark, order and chaos. What you would call good and evil. We had learnt this because each Aeon was born with a brother that was the opposite of them, the mirror image if you will. I was no different and my brother was the one you would know as Unicron." The Prime kept quiet as an image of Unicron and Primus standing side by side appeared before him, both looking like the other, but with immediate differences. "Unicron was always impatient and quick to anger, while I myself was more composed and reserved. But we always kept each other in balance." "How did you watch the galaxies?" Jack suddenly asked out loud, feeling curious at what he was looking at. "There are an infinite number of galaxies in the universe disciple of mine, as there are also an infinite number of us. Each pair of Aeons receives a galaxy to watch over and guide, to help keep the balance of light and dark for that cluster of stars. And so Unicron and I were given what you would call 'The Milky Way' and we took this galaxy into our arms to watch and nurture. And at first, everything went as it should have as life began to appear throughout your galaxy, the first sentient beings of the very first cycle of the Milky Way. But then we saw something that began to trouble my brother, the new life forms had begun fighting each other. Starting wars and wiping out the others. Unicron became enraged by this, saying that free will was a poison and that we Aeons should be more hands on with the younger species, but I always believed that if left alone and given the chance, the younger ones would see the error of their ways and work together for the common good of each other. My brother would not hear of it, he was convinced that he was right and the two of us would argue for entire ages about this as the galaxy continued to turn and grow. Soon enough I began to see this change in the species that spawned in our galaxy but Unicron, he had become a stranger to me as all he saw was the wars and death that a number of the young races would bring to each other, and so my brother chose to act. He took the form of a planet, a planet that could consume and purge anything in it's path. He chose to destroy those species that had chosen war and death, believing them to be unable or unwilling to change their ways." Primus said as Jack then saw the planet form of Unicron, it looked more natural and biological than machine and he watched as it started to feed off and destroy entire worlds. "My brother had broken the one rule that we Aeons were never to break, which was to not physically interfere with the natural order of a galaxy. So I chose to react, but I did so in a way which kept the rule unbroken in my case. So I brought life to thirteen special sparks, they had synthetic bodies, but I gave them sentience. The one thing that the synthetics that my race originally created had none of. For after seeing how the younger races of this galaxy fared, I believed that this merging would produce beings who would prove themselves worthy. Not only of being my children, but also of putting a stop to my brother's evil ways. But they would need something special to help them, so I gave them a piece of my spark to use so that they could stop my brother, since the two of us are linked together." An image appeared in front of Jack that showed the silhouettes of this group and that one of them held an object that glowed brightly, the Commander recognised these people instantly. "The Thirteen Primes and the Matrix of Leadership." "Yes, my Disciple, and I gave the first matrix to the lead Prime, the one called 'Prima'." Primus replied as an image of the Prime appeared before Jack and he was holding the Star Saber in his hands. "Wait, the first matrix?" "There have been three matrices that I have passed down to those I found worthy of becoming my disciples. The first was to Prima, the second was to Optimus and the third and 'final' one was to you Jackson Darby. May I continue?" the deity asked somewhat frankly, which surprised and embarrassed the Commander. "Sorry, yes…. Please contiune." "Thank you. The Thirteen fought many battles against my brother and stopped him from devouring many worlds, but still he managed to wipe out a number of civilisations in our personal war. But then one day, my disciples managed to injure Unicron and prevent him from changing his form to that which he had used to wipe out billions. And he then disappeared into the darkness, for what would feel like an eternity. The Thirteen searched the galaxy several times over while looking for my brother, until they found him and finally defeated him. And while his body floated through the galaxy, I gave my disciples a home, a world….. And they called it Cybertron. I then chose to relinquish my physical form and so joined my spark with the core of this world, so that I could then bring my creations new life, and from the well of All-sparks the entire Cybertronian species were born. And as I watched my children build a world that any father would be proud of, little did I know that Unicron still had his claws dug into this galaxy. For though his body had drifted through space until it became the first rock of your home world called 'Earth', he had already left a legacy of his own." "The Reapers, I know how they were created. Lucifer showed me." Jack said as images of the black behemoths appeared around him. "Yes, the first three Reapers. Harbinger, Sovereign and the one you named Lucifer. After the later had gone rogue, the other two purged several civilisations and converted them into more of themselves before going quiet suddenly. But I had not noticed since I was more engrossed with how my own children were growing, under the leadership of the thirteen before they joined the All-spark. Then in what took several hundred million years, the Cybertronians had mastered space flight and also built the Space bridge network. It was now what my children would call the 'Golden Age of Cybertron'. They had begun reaching out to other worlds and species and working with them. It was also at this time that the Citadel appeared, no one knew what it was, but the organic races that found it, believed that it once belonged to a race long since dead. So they made it the heart of the galactic community. But then something happened, it was something that I should have seen coming far sooner as the signs were already there." Primus said as an image of two of the Thirteen appeared before Jack. "Just before fading away, the Thirteen were betrayed by one of their own, his name was Megatronus. He had turned on and murdered Solus Prime in what appeared to be a fit of jealously and rage, after she had chosen another for herself….a spark mate if you will. But I fear that my brother before his defeat had managed to poison Megatronus' spark. Because before that day, none of the Thirteen would have acted in that manner. At the time I thought the incident was over, but since what happened later, I fear that Unicron had a hand in the events that followed." the deity continued as Jack then saw the end of the golden age and the start of a conflict that he knew only too well after being told about it by Arcee and the other Autobots and experiencing it's twilight years. "The Great war." "Yes, my children had done the one thing I believed not possible of them. The Cybertronian race was split right down the middle, Autobots and Decepticons. And worse still, the Decepticons leader was called Megatron (having named himself Megatronus before), it is ironic that it was that name he had chosen for himself. After spending the ages arguing with Unicron about the nature of free will and what he believed it would ultimately lead too… war and destruction, and yet now he was being proven right. For millions of years as the war ravaged the surface of Cybertron, I felt each and every bomb that went off or city that was destroyed. I had lost faith in my own creations as the lineage of Primes had failed, but that was until one day when one in particular appeared before my very spark." "You mean Orion Pax." the Prime replied. "I looked into his spark and saw the very same values and courage that the Thirteen had within them originally and so gave him the second Matrix, thus reformatting him into Optimus Prime. I placed with him the last hope I had of ending this conflict. But it would still be millions of years before that day would come." Primus said. "I know how that war ended, I was there. But what about the Reapers during all of this?" Jack asked. "Forgive me, Jackson Darby, but at that time I was still in mourning for the failure that my children had shamed me with during the great war. I am as guilty as they were for focusing in on themselves and not noticing the cyclical purging of organic life from the rest of the galaxy every hundred thousand years for the many of millions of years that the war transpired. It was not until you were made a Prime and given the third matrix, then I accessed your memories and saw the Reapers. I then looked back through the countless cycles of the past and saw the countless harvests of organic life in the galaxy. Centillions of lives lost in the time between the start of the war and the point in which they were about to return for your cycle. I also saw that the Reapers had never once touched a single Cybertronian life, and it was in that moment that I realised that the war that had split my children in two was really his doing and was a way to spite me for my beliefs. And that was why the Reapers, his creations never attacked Cybertron. He was ensuring that my pain in seeing my children fighting each other would continue forever. The Reapers had a stranglehold on the galaxy and used both the Space bridge network and the Citadel, a device of their own construction to ensure that their master's will would carry on." "You said that the Reapers have goals? What else is there other than the purging of all organic life every cycle?" Jack asked. "In the countless cycles that the Reapers have destroyed all life in the galaxy as they also built up their numbers, I have seen that Harbinger is indeed the one leading them in their master's absence. It has learnt what the value of hope is to the organic races that they purge, and so during one early cycle the Reapers left a blue print for the next cycle to find. This blue print would offer hope to those that would face the next culling a hundred thousand years later. "You mean the Crucible. Are you saying that it is not the salvation that we were led to believe?" the Prime asked. "The Crucible will only ensure your destruction, Jackson Darby. Because it will resurrect my brother…. Unicron the Chaos Bringer." "I don't understand, I thought Optimus extinguished Unicron's spark years ago. When he used the matrix on him." Jack replied. "No, my brother was only put back into stasis lock. When I created the matrix, I ensured that it would only defeat him, not destroy him. Because I did not want to see Unicron die, I only wanted to help him see the error of his thinking. He is after all…still my brother." Primus answered. "Wait, you mean he is still…." the Commander said as he realised what the deity meant. "Yes, Unicron's spark is very much alive, down in the core of your world. Why do you think the Reapers attacked and lay siege to Earth before any other planet in the galaxy. They wanted ensure that their master was safe and prepare for his return." the Aeon replied which earned a look of horror from the Prime. "My god, how does the Crucible achieve this?" "Once it joins with the Citadel, they will form Unicron's new body, but it is not the only attempt the Reapers have made to resurrect their creator, for you have already destroyed one once before." Primus said, earning a curious expression from Jack. "It was when you destroyed the Quintesson home-world just over a year ago." the deity added, earning a wide-eyed expression from the Prime as he remembered. "The Human Reaper, that was meant to be a body for Unicron." The apparition nodded in return. "Yes, you see after waiting for so many cycles and witnessing the organic races of each fail to successfully build and deploy the Crucible every time, Harbinger became impatient. So during the cycle that came before yours, it harvested and re-purposed the Lithone species. And made it their mission to find one that it would consider worthy of harvesting and building into the body for their master." Primus said. "And it chose Humanity because we defeated it's brother Sovereign and ended the Reapers original invasion three years ago." Jack replied, warning a nod in return from the deity. "But even though you destroyed that prototype and ended the threat it presented, they still had their original plan to fall back on. You see when the Crucible and Citadel are together along with the Reaper beam that is connected to the Earth, which is not unlike an umbilical cord. It will transfer my brother's spark into it and his new body will take form from the combined two (the crucible is like a blank protoform). Once complete, Unicron will finish what he began and destroy all life with his children at his side. And then he go about rebuilding the galaxy as he sees fit." "Then let me wake now, I still have time to stop it." Jack replied. "I am afraid that it cannot be stopped, the Reaper's and my brother's endgame is already under way. But there is a way to end the threat posed by both once and for all." Primus said with a stoic expression. "I'm all ears, tell me what to do." the Prime said. "Like I said before, my brother and I are linked. One cannot exist without the other, so if the power of the matrix is unleashed into his spark. It can destroy him." "But you said that the matrix isn't powerful enough to do that, what aren't you telling me, Primus?" Jack asked with a curious and stern look. "I see that there is no point withholding the truth from you, Jackson Darby, as you know the matrix is a piece of my very spark. As you are a keeper of such a piece, it connects you to me and I to you. Now if the matrix is released into my brother's spark, I will add my very essence to it as well and so my spark and Unicron's will cancel each other out, the resulting release of energy will then destroy the Reapers as well." Primus replied. "But such a release of energy would only effect a sector of the galaxy, how do you plan to have it cover the entire galaxy?" Jack then asked, suddenly feeling confused. "Have faith, Disciple of mine." the Aeon simply replied with a smile, then it was then that Jack realised what he meant. "The space bridge network, since Unicron will have the Citadel as part of his body, then it will connect him to it. The energy release will then spread out and cover then galaxy." the Prime answered, earning a nod from Primus. "You are indeed wise Jackson Darby, yes the very device that the Reapers created to control the space bridge network can also be used to end them." "Okay, so I just need to wait for Unicron to reawaken and then enter his body via the Reaper beam. And then unleash your's and the matrix's energy into his spark to end this war." Jack said with confidence, but this was met by a stern expression from Primus. "No, Disciple. You are still Human, if you were to unleash the matrix's energy then you would likely not survive the exposure. Plus the Human Matrix of Leadership is not meant for this crisis, but for one many centuries from now." "What do you mean?" Jack asked, again feeling curious about the Aeon's words. "Focus on the here and now, Prime. You and Optimus must enter Unicron and it is he who must unleash the power of the matrix he carries. As he is Cybertronian, Optimus will be able to survive the release of it's energies and mine." Primus replied with a stern but stoic tone, gaining a nod from Jack, but then the young Prime looked to the horizon and his eyes widened as it suddenly dawned on him. "If this works, you and Unicron will cancel each other out, then that means that Cybertron will truly become a dead world and everything that is connected to you will die out too." he said while holding his hand over his chest plate and feeling the pulsing energy of the matrix under it. "No, Prime. The matrix you carry will allow a piece of me to survive this, I assure you." the deity said while placing a transparent hand on Jack's shoulder, but he just looked back with worry written on his face. "But what about the well of All-sparks, it is still the only way for Cybertronians to gain new sparks, and ensure their future. If you die then it will go dark and you will condemn your children to extinction." Primus though continued to offer Jack a gentle smile. "As I said, have faith and trust in me, Jackson Darby. Because for every door that is open, then one must close. And for every door that closes, one must then open. I will not leave my children to such a fate, because since they met Humanity, not only has the war come to an end, but they have also gone on to make a positive impact on the galaxy. That is all down to your race's positive influence, you have helped my children evolve and grow past their old ways and in turn they have too helped yours over come the troubles that have plagued your species since your creation." "Primus, I must ask. You have been so against killing your brother, why the change now?" Jack then asked. "Because I am tired and I have lived far too long, as my brother has too. And I believe that it is time to free this galaxy from the shackles that we have wrapped it in. Too much life has been lost in our names and it must stop, and if we must lay down our lives to do so….then so be it. It is now it is time for you to reawaken, Jackson Prime. I ask you and Optimus to help me end this conflict once and for all. Farewell, till all are one." Primus finished before everything around Jack went white before going black. Jack found himself in darkness yet again and yet completely peaceful, like everything he had just witnessed with Primus was just a dream. After his conversation with the Cybertronian deity, Jack now knew the truth and also a way to stop it. All that was left was to reawaken and make it happen, he just hoped that there was still time to do so. So he focused on that on waking up and so he felt himself begin to stir as mumbled sounds started to echo in the darkness around him and slowly they became clearer until they were the voices of those he recognised only to well, as they spoke around him. One of them was of a person that he loved more than anything, she sounded quite distressed at the moment. PRIME EFFECT 3 "Come on, Jack, wake up." "Arcee, still no change?" Garrus said. "No, I don't get it. The crash knocked us all out, but surely Jack would have come too by now?" the femme replied with worry and concern in her voice." "Optimus is exactly the same, Arcee, I can't help but feel that there is a connection." Jazz could be heard saying from just aways as Jack began to force his eyes open, banishing the darkness around him as light flowed over his being. "Wait, he is coming too." Arcee said as the Prime squinted, his eyes readjusting to the over abundance of light that they were exposed too. Until the lights formed an image in front of him, one of the most beautiful faces he had ever seen smiling back at him with relief in her expression. "Jack, are you alright?" the femme asked as she cupped his face in her hands and stroked his cheek with her thumb. "I think so, how long was I out? Jack asked before his lover pulled him up in to a hug as he sat there. "Not long since we woke up, Pal." Jazz said as he turned and looked over to the partners, giving Arcee a knowing smile. "Arcee was worried." he added gaining an embarrassed smile from the femme before A groan could be heard from Optimus as he too sat up. "Optimus, take it easy. Don't know if you might have suffered a concussion of something." Jazz said, but the older Prime ignored him and looked at Jack. "Jackson, I had a vision." the Commander looked over to his mentor, his eyes widening in response. "A vision?" "Yes, from ... Primus." Optimus replied as the tank suddenly went quiet as everyone took in what he had just said. "Me too." Jack said, making Arcee look at him with he same curiosity as she had the older Prime. But before she could say anything, Jack was on his feet and he tapped his com link. "Jackson Prime to Admiral Bryce, come in. I repeat Jackson Prime to Admiral Bryce, do you read?" But all he could hear was static. "Damn, Garrus. Do you think you can help me get a transmission to the Ark?" Jack asked as Garrus stood beside Grimlock and Smokescreen. the Turian activated his holo-tool, but then shook his head after seeing the data on it's screen. "I don't know, Jack. With our close proximity to the beam, the interference it is giving out is pretty high." The younger Prime walked over to a console and turned it's holo-interface round so that he could read it (the tank has overturned). "What if we boost the transmission by sending it via this tank's sensor array." Garrus walked over and joined him at the console and looked at the screen, he smiled at what he saw. "Yes, this could work. It will take a few minutes." "Get it done as fast as you can, Garrus. We need to warn Admiral Bryce not to use the Crucible." Jack replied earning a more confused look from everybody (minus Optimus). "Why do we now not want to use the Crucible, it's the only way we have to defeat the Reapers." Smokescreen asked, gaining the Commander's attention. "Because believe me when I say, if we use the Crucible then Unicron will return and we will all be dead." Meanwhile flying through the heart of the battle high above the Earth, Admiral Bryce was watching it all unfold before his eyes as the fleet was still in this fight against the Reapers despite the losses they were experiencing. He had seen a good many of their ships being destroyed in this fight already, but since calling Lucifer in, at least they were now starting to get more into this fight (which was far more one sided before hand). He looked out through the Bridge canopy and saw a Turian dreadnought, an Asari cruiser and a Quarian life ship take out a Reaper with combined firepower, that was one of only a few casualties that they had imposed on the Reapers in this battle before Lucifer had shone up. He then looked over to see the enemy sending more ships at the Crucible which had only entered the battle a few minutes prior. "All ships, this is Admiral Bryce. Defend the Crucible, we need to protect it at all costs." he said into his com link, before seeing more of his ships being destroyed with ease. This gave him a stone faced expression before looking down to his com officer. "Any word from Hammer?" "Negative, Sir. We are picking up interference from the beam. It is dampening communications with our forces on the ground." the officer replied, making the Admiral just stare back out at the battle. 'Come on, someone open those arms already, we can't keep suffering losses like this.' he thought as he hen moved his gaze to the Citadel which was still locked down. On board the Council station, a man was walking through it's shiny metal hallways as he casually made his way towards the council Chamber. He then caught sight of his reflection on a glass screen that was deactivated. Silas smiled at himself as he looked back at his glowing blue optics. 'These Reaper upgrades are working better than I would have imagined.' he thought before he caught sight of three figures running around the corner at the end of the corridor towards him. Silas then smiled as he got a better look at them, they were Husks. He then placed his hand up and they stopped there in front of him. "Stand aside." he said back and they did just that, allowing him to walk on uninterrupted. 'That has been the one of several groups of Husks that I have easily gotten passed with the aid of my implants.' he smiled as he continued down the corridor until it opened up into the Citadel gardens. As the MECH leader looked around, he saw the they were full of Husks, Cannibals, Marauders and Banshees. But they did not even waste their time with a look, his grin simply widened as he walked right through the middle of them and then up the stairs that lead to the council chamber. Once he was right outside of the next room, he tapped his com link. "Team Alpha, it's time. Open the arms." he said before walking into the chamber. "Arms opening. Good luck, Sir." the team's commander replied. Bryce's eyes widened as he watched from the Ark's bridge while the Citadel's arms began to open and spread out. 'My god, he did it.' he thought, before tapping his com link. "This is Admiral Bryce, move the Crucible into place, I repeat, move it into place. It is time to end this war." The massive super weapon then began to move around the Citadel while the station's arms continued to open, revealing the city-like wards on their inner sides. In the Crucible control room, Kranix and a team made up of scientists and officers from every world involved in the war, were busy monitoring the super weapon's systems. The Lithone walked up to a Turian who was piloting the Crucible. "That's right, keep it steady." he said before Bryce's voice came through on the inter com. "Ark to Crucible, this is Admiral Bryce. can you read me Kranix?" The Lithone tapped his com link. "Admiral, we read you loud and clear. We are all ready here, bringing the Crucible in for final approach and dock." "Very well, Kranix. The show is your's now. 'Shield' and 'Sword' fleets will keep the Reapers off your backs." Kranix then closed the transmission and watched as they began turning the Crucible to face the back of the Citadel as the station's arms began to move out further, giving the station a star-like shape. Bryce and his command staff watched the Crucible as it was on final approach before Jack's voice came up on the inter con, though it had interference blended with it. "thi... Jack...ime. Adm...an...ou...hea..." Bryce looked down to his com officer. "Clear that up, that interference must be messing with their signal from the Citadel." The officer shook his head in return as he brought up the signal and it's location on his holo-screen. "Sir, the signal is not coming from the Citadel, it is coming from Earth." Bryce stared at him in disbelief. "Clear it up, Ensign, and put it on all speakers." The Young officer nodded and typed on his holo-controls before the Prime's voice came through perfectly. "Admiral Bryce, this is Jackson Prime. Do you read?" "Loud and clear, Prime. Could you please tell me why you are not onboard the Citadel?" the Admiral asked frankly. "Sir, none of Hammer made it to the beam, Harbinger wiped them out. Smokescreen has had a look outside, its a graveyard out there apparently." Jack replied. "Well someone made it, because the Citadel arms are open and we are docking the Crucible as we speak." Bryce said back as he continued to watch both the Lithone device and the Citadel nearing each other. "Stop it now, don't connect them!" Jack shouted back, startling the Admiral. "Why the hell not?" he replied with the same tone. "Sir, the Crucible and Citadel will not destroy the Reapers, they will instead bring about the return of Unicron!" Jack answered, making the Admiral's expression become one of shock. "Unicorn?" he replied back. "Unicron, Sir. Look, I haven't got time to explain. But if you have ever trusted me, then I ask you to trust me again now. We have all been duped by the Reapers, the Crucible was never our salvation...it is their's. Stop it now!" Jack said with urgency in his voice. Bryce look around with shock on his face before tapping his com link. "This is Bryce. Kranix, belay my last order. Do not dock the Crucible. I repeat, do not dock the Crucible!" In the super weapon's control room, the scientists all looked at each with confused expressions as they heard the Admiral's voice on the intercom. "Do not dock the Crucible!" The pilot turned to the Lithone with a worried look on his face. "Sir, I will stop the docking procedure." "That will not be necessary." Kranix replied with a blank expression which confused the officer and his colleagues as they stared at both men. Bryce watched as the Crucible continued to move closer to the Citadel. "Why haven't they stopped? Kranix, this is Admiral Bryce. Cancel the docking procedure, do you read?" The ensign looked up from his console. "Sir, someone has just cut off the transmission." "What?" the Admiral said back with a confused expression before looking back at the Citadel and Crucible outside. Back in the control room of the Lithone device, the only person still standing was Kranix, he holstered his pistol and looked at all scientists that lied dead around him, all had smoking bullet holes either in the back or front of their heads. He smiled and turned back to the console and activated his holo-tool. "Bagu, it is time. Begin integration protocols." he said as the Lithone VI appeared beside him and nodded. "by your command..., Creator." The console then came to life as it's screens began showing data scrolling down them. Meanwhile on the Citadel, Silas's smile grew even wider as he walked through the Council chambers towards the podium. His holo-tool activated on it's own and beeped at him, so he typed a command on it's keyboard interface and suddenly heard the sounds of machinery activating and working from behind the chamber's walls. Then on the podium, a column suddenly rose out of it, then two rods slid out of the front of the column. 'I forgot to thank Sideways for his role in this, since he attacked the Citadel and gained the data for me. He made this moment possible.' he thought as he walked up to the two handles. Suddenly the Citadel shook as both it and the Crucible connected, resulting in the column powering up. A bright purple holo-screen activated over the rods and began scrolling data. 'At long last, everything that I have accomplished with MECH, all the sacrifices that had to be made. And it all comes down to this. Control of the Reapers is now in my grasp.' he thought has he reached for the rods, the MECH leader could feel static electricity around the rods, as they hummed with the power coursing through them. He then gripped them tightly as a maniacal smile grew on his face. Silas could feel the energy of the entire Reaper species as he held onto the rods, he could hear all of their collective minds whispering inside his own. "Now you will listen to me, obey me!" he MECH leader said arrogantly before all of a sudden he cried out in pain as the rods in his hands began to heat up extremely fast. "What...is...happening?" he screamed out as he gritted his teeth, his hands became bright red and started to burn as smoke began to rise from them. "We thank you for your contribution, Silas. You have done everything we have wanted you to do and more." a voice spoke in the MECH leader's mind, it was made up of millions of voices all speaking in unison. "No, I am supposed to be controlling you!" he winced before collapsing on to one knee, but he was unable to remove his hands from the white hot rods like some invisible force was holding them in place. "We were in control of you, Silas, whispering into your mind. But you have now served your purpose and once the energy transfer is complete, you will be re-purposed." the Reapers voice replied. "You cannot control me, I am not even Human anymore!" Silas said back as he bit his lip. "But you forget, Silas. Your brain is still organic and is therefore...easy to manipulate and corrupt." the Reapers voice replied, earning a look of horror from the MECH leader as he finally realised what it all meant. "What have I done...wait...Aaarrrrrggggghhhh!" the man screamed as he felt the skin on his hands and then up his arms begin to burn, the pain was unbelievable as it then washed over his whole body and began to transform it. The pain felt like he was being boiled alive as Silas continued to scream, his skin then started to change it's pigmentation, becoming greyish blue with a metallic look to it. His screams echoed throughout the chamber and the gardens next to it, but no one was bothered as the husks just stood where they were. When the transformation finally as finally complete, the rods let go of Silas and he began to look around until he caught his image in a piece of reflective paneling on the wall. He moved toward it until the reflection showed a husk staring back at itself, it's blue optics glowing brightly. A sound could be heard in the adjacent room, the Husk turned and screamed an unholy sound toward it's location before mindlessly running off into the shadows to investigate. PRIME EFFECT 3 Jack held his hand to his com link as his team mates and Optimus surrounded him inside the overturned tank. "Admiral, what's going on up there?" he said with an urgent-like tone. "Oh my god, you should go outside and see for yourself, Prime." Bryce replied over the com. Jack then turned to Grimlock who was standing by the hatch. "Open it up, it's time we got some fresh air." The Dinobot nodded before grabbing the hatch with both hands and forcing it open with a grunt. Jazz nudged Smokescreen's shoulder, gaining his attention. "I could just imagine him doing something similar to you, if you hadn't shut up earlier." he joked, earning a smug look from his friend. "What? Me and Grimlock are like this." he replied while gesturing to his hand, showing two of the fingers, one crossed over the other. He was about to say something else when he suddenly saw the Dinobot just staring at him. "...I'll keep quiet." Smokescreen then said with an embarrassed tone, earning a grin from Jazz. "Move out." Jack said as they began exiting the tank. Arcee was the first to climb out before her eyes caught sight of the area around the Reaper beam. "By Primus..." she gasped, her eyes widening in response. Everyone else got out and went to her side as they too saw the utter devastation lying in front of them. The area was covered in destroyed tanks and MAKOs, while burnt bodies were scattered all over the place. "I told you it was bad." Smokescreen said, while trying to sound sympathetic. "This is what just one Reaper did and our entire ground force ended up like this. What chance do we have against..." Garrus said, before out of nowhere, an extremely bright blue light flew down the Reaper beam and hit the ground hard with a deafening sound, causing the ground to shake hard, knocking everyone on their asses. "What's going on?" Smokescreen asked as the ground continued to shake strongly. "Earthquake anyone?" Jazz replied. "London let alone Britain is not known for having earthquakes, Jazz." Jack answered before meeting Optimus's gaze. "Jackson is correct. It is more likely that the Reaper beam has now been given enough power to tunnel all the way down to the planet's core... to Unicron." "I still can't believe that after all these years, that we have to face the Chaos Bringer again. But with what I heard back in the tank, who am I to argue with two Primes." Arcee replied with a slight smile. "Well what do we do now?" Garrus asked as he readied his weapon. "We have to get to the beam and ride it up to Unicron's body." Jack said back with a stoic tone as he readied his rifle in one hand, while activating his star saber in the other. Arcee then stood beside him. "And then one of you unleashes the matrix on Unicron's spark again." she said while looking at Jack's chest plate. "Yes, but it will be I that does that, Arcee." Optimus said as he joined them and unsheathed the star saber off of his back. " Since Jack is not Cybertronian, he would likely not survive if he were to open the matrix. So I instead." "Well, the quakes have died down somewhat. If we are going to do this, then I suggest we go now." Grimlock said as Garrus looked down at the battle site through his sniper scope. "There are more than a few Husks down there, but we can handle them." he said as they all stood beside the two Primes. "Well then, let's not waste anymore time, roll out!" Jack said as they began to move forward, but then suddenly the ground shook again. Nearly making them lose their footing. "What the…" Jazz said before he was cut off by the deafening roar of a Reaper right behind them. The group all turned to see Harbinger standing directly over them. "Impossible, no one has ever broken free of our indoctrination before." it said angrily as Jack stepped forward. "Well I guess there is always a first time." he replied with grin before he glanced to Optimus and nodded. "Now!" he shouted, before both Primes charged their Star sabers and unleashed a double energy wave which hit the Reaper full on…but had no effect. Jack collapsed to his knees and breathed heavily as everyone looked dumbstruck as Harbinger was still standing, like nothing had happened. "We find your continued resistance tiresome, but you have served us well, Prime. By leading all the fleets of the galaxy here, we can now wipe them all out in a single go. But most importantly you pushed for everyone to help build the Crucible, therefore enabling our Master's return. So before we kill you all, you will bear witness as Unicron returns….now!" Harbinger said before the ground shook strongly again, Jack lifted his head and looked with his team towards the beam, just as a giant glowing purple ball of energy shot out of the ground and rode the Reaper beam up into the night sky. Optimus just looked up with everyone else and sighed. "So it has begun, our darkest hour is upon us."
  5. CHAPTER 19 The Defiant jumped out of hyperspace and flew toward what looked like a massive gathering of cruisers, dreadnoughts and warships as they floated there in the vast darkness of space. Jack and Arcee looked out of the cockpit canopy as Hotrod piloted the frigate towards the fleet. "Wow, now that is an impressive sight." the pilot said with wide-eyed wonder as they passed a large Asari dreadnought, the Autobot femme had a similar expression as she held Jack's hand and stroked it with her thumb. "This is largest fleet ever assembled and they are all here because of you, Jack." The Prime looked over to his lover and smiled slightly. "Yeah." he said before his face became serious. "But it isn't going to be enough." Both Autobots looked at him with a concerned look. "It isn't?" they both replied. "Against the entire Reaper fleet… no." the Prime answered as he tapped the holo-interface next to him, bringing up a screen for Arcee to look at (Hotrod was too busy piloting the ship to have a look). "Since the Reapers took control of the Citadel and moved it to Earth, they have since called back nearly all of their forces and built a protective shield around what we now know is the Catalyst. The fleet we have now gathered here…..which at last count is 'two thousand three hundred and thirty three', but the Reapers number in the hundreds of thousands. We can't take them on conventionally. So Admiral Bryce and myself have decided that our fleets should be used to protect the Crucible and make sure that it docks with the Citadel." Arcee pointed at the screen. "So you are splitting it in two, 'Sword' and 'Shield' fleets." she observed, earning a nod from her partner. "Yes, Sword fleet will attempt to punch a hole in the Reaper lines and Shield Fleet will protect the Crucible." One of the crew then joined them in the cockpit. "Commander, we have the stats for our combined fleet ready for your viewing on the galaxy map." the ensign said with a salute. "Thank you." Jack replied before gesturing to Arcee. "Shall we?" he asked before the femme nodded with a smile and the two partners left Hotrod and walked back to the CIC. A few minutes passed before the Ark jumped out of hyperspace and stopped beside the Defiant, it then extended a docking arm on to the smaller Alliance ship. Hotrod looked out at the massive Autobot dreadnought before looking back at his console. "Jack, I have priority message from Admiral Bryce asking to come aboard." the young Autobot said into his com link. "Permission granted." the Prime replied in return, then a moment passed and the Admiral and two soldiers walked out of the airlock and down into the CIC. All the crew in the room watched as the new arrivals walked over and stopped in front of the Commander, Bryce then saluted Jack who did the same in return. "Jackson Prime, are you ready to bring the might of the galaxy to bear on the Reapers?" the Admiral asked, earning a stoic look from Jack. "Yes, Sir." he replied. "Good, then you can address the fleets. You did after all bring us all together, Prime." Bryce replied as he gestured to the Prime, who then took a step forward on to the podium in front of the galaxy map. "All fleets reporting in, Prime." Teletraan stated as it activated the intercom, Jack looked around as his team mates and crew looked toward him, Arcee giving him a supportive and proud smile. All across the fleet, the crews of each ship stood ready to listen, so Jack then took a breath before speaking. "Never before have so many come together from all quarters of the galaxy, but never have we faced an enemy such as this. The Reapers will show us no mercy, so we must show them no quarter. We are fighting not only for our own existence and future, but for all those who the Reapers terrorised and purged from this galaxy before us. So we must stand strong against their might, because they will advance against us until our last cities fall, but we will not fall. Because this war has brought us together…. as soldiers, Allies and friends..." He said before taking a look at everyone around him, the crew, friends and the Admiral. They were all focused on on the Prime as he spoke. "..This bond that ties us together is something that the Reapers will never understand, it is stronger than any weapon or ship and it cannot be taken nor destroyed. The next few hours will decide the fate of everyone in the galaxy. Of every man, woman and child. They are trusting you, depending on you to win them their future, a future free from the threat of the Reapers. But take heart and look around you, you are not alone in this fight. We face our enemy together…. and together we will defeat them. Jackson Prime out." The Prime then stepped down to Bryce and Arcee, they then headed out of the CIC and towards the com room. "Prime, 'Sword' fleet is ready to engage the Reapers surrounding Earth. While they are distracted, you and 'Hammer' will lead a ground assault to retake London." the Admiral said as they walked down the corridor. "London? Why aren't we hitting the Citadel directly?" the Commander asked slightly confused. "I will let Optimus tell brief you on that." Bryce replied. "Admiral, what is 'Hammer'?" Arcee asked. "Hammer is our ground offensive against the Reapers, it was meant originally for boarding the Citadel but, well like I said…" the Admiral answered as he gestured over to the hologram of the Autobot Leader as they entered the Com room. "Optimus!" both Jack and Arcee said at once. Their old friend and mentor smiled back in return. "Jackson, Arcee, it is good to see you." "How are you holding up?" Bryce asked. "We are ready to end this." the older Prime replied. "According to Optimus, the Reapers have set up their ground forces main staging area in London. And the Citadel is now stationed directly over it, in orbit." the admiral added, gaining a nod from the older Prime. "Yes, but it has now closed it's arms, sealing itself." he said while gesturing to a hologram of the station next to him. "Damn it, we need to get the arms open to dock the crucible." Jack said with a frustrated tone. "Also, London is surrounded by Hades cannon emplacements, 'Hammer' ground forces can not land until they are taken out. Jackson you will lead a small squadron of shuttles, infiltrate their defences and take out the emplacements with heavy weapons. Hammer can then land, and we will set up a 'forward operations base'." Optimus stated. "I still can't see how we will reach the Citadel from London." Jack replied. Optimus then gestured to another hologram that appeared in place of the Citadel one, this had three tall tower like spikes, positioned in a triangle like formation with an energy beam rising out from the ground between them. "The reapers use this beam to transport humans alive and dead to the Citadel. From the FOB, Hammer will launch an all out assault on the Citadel Beam, everyone who makes it that far will take the beam to the Citadel. Then find and activate the Citadel arm controls." "Once those arms are open, 'Shield' fleet will escort the Crucible to the Citadel. But timing will be critical, we don't have enough fire power to keep the Crucible safe for long." Bryce replied. "And here I thought uniting the galaxy was a challenge." Jack said. "It is a desperate move and I would not even like to guess what our odds are." The older Prime said back. "But this is the only plan available to us now, if we sit and wait then the Reapers will bleed us slowly. We just can't take them on conventionally without the Crucible." Bryce said to Optimus before looking at Jack. "Get the Citadel arms open, Commander…. whatever the cost. The we will do the rest." he added before leaving the room. "Yes, Sir." Jack replied earning one last look from Bryce. "Good luck… to all of us." PRIME EFFECT 3 Not long later, Jack was standing next to Hotrod in his Prime armour as the pilot moved his hands over the holo-interface of his controls, the Prime watched as they approached an inactive space bridge. "Powering up space bridge and connecting to Sol system." the young Autobot stated as they both saw the bridge ahead of them activate, a bright green vortex expanding outside of the giant ancient device. "We will be through in ten seconds." Hotrod added as they got closer, but Jack just continued to look ahead with a stoic expression. At the same time the space bridge in the Sol system activated with an equally massive vortex expanding outside of its radius, then for a moment nothing happened. But suddenly the Defiant flew out of the event horizon and was followed by the galactic fleet as hundreds and hundreds of cruisers, dreadnoughts and other vessels began flowing out of the space bridge. The fleet continued to enter the system as more ships including the Ark and the Nemesis came through, and the two Cybertronian ships dwarfed the cruisers and dreadnoughts already through including the Destiny Ascension, even the large life ships of the Quarian flotilla were put in the shade by the two massive vessels. As Jack continued to look ahead while the fleet passed Saturn and then Jupiter, Hotrod looked down at the read outs appearing on the holo-screens in front of him. "Alliance, Turian, Quarian, Geth, Asari, Salarian and Terminus fleets all reporting in and are ready to engage on your command." the pilot stated as Jack nodded in return, Arcee joined him and looked out as the red planet of Mars came and went by as a blue planet could seen in the distance. As the fleet got closer, everyone could see the devastation the Reapers wrought on the planet, entire areas were in flames that could be easily seen even from the distance that Jack and Arcee were at. The femme's eyes widened in shock at the horror she could see by just looking at planet's surface, Jack though kept his stoic expression and pressed a button on the holo-controls in front of him, activating the com system. "This is it, Everyone. Fire on my command." The fleet began to spread out to the sides as they were now close enough to see the large Reaper force that was blocking their path, as well as sealed form of the Citadel. "There must be thousands of them." Arcee said, earning a gulp from Hotrod. But Jack ignored them. "Let's see what they can do against our new weapons. All ships, standby to fire proximity torpedoes...fire!" Every ship at or near the front of the fleet then fired a spread of orange torpedoes at the Reapers, from a distance it would look like an orange mist had just appeared. The projectiles sped toward the enemy ships, but the black behemoths did not ever attempt to evade them. The moment the torpedoes were in range they exploded, sending an electrical discharges out in all directions as it engulfed the Reaper ships, damaging them in the process. Meanwhile the Ally ships that had fired the torpedoes began to move out of the way as ones from behind moved forward and prepared to fire their own. "Second wave,...fire!" the Prime said over the com, and the fleet fired another spread of the orange projectiles, this time those Reapers that had sustained damage from the first volley exploded in amazing fashion, thinning the Reapers front line. The Reaper fleet then began to shift as the damaged ships moved back and allowed the unscathed ones to head to the front, among the newer ships were Reapers that looked like the main Sovereign class vessels, except these were somewhat wider and were covered in small metallic lumps. Jack watched with curiosity before his eyes widened as the lumps separated from the bigger vessels and began to move towards the galactic fleet. "Launch fighters." Jack called out, then every carrier in the fleet opened their launch bays and their fighter squadrons began flying out and taking up formation at the very front of the fleet. "All ships, on my command, engage the Reaper forces." the Prime said. "Copy that, Prime. This is Silverbolt, all fighters on me." a voice replied over the com, the hundreds of fighters then lead the rest of the galactic forces as both fleets appeared to square up to each other as they entered each other's targeting range with the war-ravaged Earth as the backdrop for this climatic battle. "Attack!" Jack said and in response the fighter squadrons flew at top speed directly at the Reaper forces, earning a barrage of weapons fire from the enemy equivalent. Silverbolt piloted his fighter through the barrage of weapons fire with his Squadron staying in formation, but not every fighter could weave their way through it, resulting in a few of their number being destroyed by the incoming fire. As this was happening, the Sovereign class Reapers charged up their beam weapons with a magnificent bright red light pulsing from the main weapon's port as they held up their legs and fired the energy beams at the galactic fleet. Most of the ships managed to dodge the beams as they began firing back at the Reapers, one cruiser managed to blow one of the legs off a Reaper, but then it fired it's beam which destroyed the cruiser with one shot. Meanwhile Silverbolt brought his fighter up behind one of the Drones that was attacking a Turian dreadnought, he lined up his guns and fired at the enemy. He clipped it's engines, making it lose control and spin erratically before exploding. The Quarian heavy fleet began firing their large cannons, making some breathing room between several Reapers and a group of Asari cruisers. Both fleets clashed spectacularly as the Defiant began weaving through the Reaper ships with several small shuttles behind it. "Breaking off and preparing for descent." Hotrod stated as Jack and Arcee watched the battle happening outside. A number of drones flew into the path of the Defiant as it guided the shuttles through the battle around them, but the Alliance frigate fired it's cannons and destroyed each drone before performing a barrel roll and then descending down into the atmosphere with the shuttles close behind, as the rest of 'sword' fleet continued to keep the Reapers busy. In the Defiant cockpit, Jack and Arcee turned to leave. "Jack." Hotrod said back, gaining their attention as they stopped and looked back at him as he got out of his chair. He then stood up straight and saluted the Prime. "Be careful down there." he said, Jack returned the salute. "We will be fine. Stay focused." "Aye aye." the pilot replied as the Prime and femme smiled at him before turning around and walking back into the CIC, toward the elevator. Hotrod watched them leave before taking his seat again. Jack, Arcee, and Garrus were sitting in the shuttle as it made it's way down toward their target after being air dropped from the Defiant. Grimlock, Jazz and Smokescreen had taken the MAKO and were heading for a similar target….. One of the Hades Cannons that the Reapers had strategically positioned around London to stop any ground force from making a beach head. "Advance teams are away, Hammer's in position and waiting for you guys to clear a path. Defiant is rejoining 'sword' fleet." Hotrod said through the com link. "Stay safe, we will be back before you know it." the Prime replied. "Roger that, Prime." the pilot said back before the transmission ended, Jack then got up and walked over to Swoop who was piloting the shuttle. "We are closing in on the LZ, Prime." the Dinobot stated. "How's it look?" Arcee asked. "Take a look for yourself." Swoop replied before bringing images of the ground up on a monitor next to the femme. The screen showed what could only be described as something you would have seen in one of those post apocalyptic movies. The city looked like it had been hit by a nuclear bomb, with the buildings half demolished. Streets were empty apart from derelict and burnt up vehicles scattered throughout them, and plenty of fires still burning freely. Garrus placed a hand on Jack's shoulder in support as he saw the looks on both the Prime's and Arcee's faces. "I am so sorry." the Turian said sympathetically. "I don't even recognise it anymore." Jack replied sadly. But as their shuttle got closer to their LZ, one of the Hades cannons (which looked similar to a Reaper scout, but it's main body was replaced with a large ion cannon) came to life and began firing a blue energy beam at the shuttles attempting to land in the Capital. "Oh scrap, they have a lock. hold on!" Swoop stated as he took the shuttle through evasive manoeuvres to dodge the beam, but it hit the next shuttle which had followed Jack's shuttle closely. The damaged ship then lost control and crashed on to the ground at the feet of the Hades cannon. "Status?" the Prime said. "That shuttle was carrying the heavy weapons team, the other shuttles have made it and their teams are taking out the cannons elsewhere. But it won't mean a thing if this cannon is still active." Swoop stated. "Then drop us off here." the Prime replied earning looks from his team mates. "Jack?" Arcee asked as her partner looked back at them. "We are the only team left that has a chance to get near this cannon, so Swoop will drop us off nearby and we will make our way to the crashed shuttle and use the heavy weapons on board to take out that cannon." Arcee and Garrus nodded in return before they stood up in their armour and equipped their weapons. "Land there." Jack said to the Dinobot pilot as he pointed out of the cockpit canopy to what used to be a small car park, the Hades Cannon was situated behind the derelict building nearby. The shuttle landed as the Prime readied himself with his assault rifle at the shuttle's hatch. "FYI, Grimlock and the others have reached their target with the MAKO." Swoop said earning a nod of acknowledgement from the Prime, who then activated the hatch's controls. The hatch then opened and the team took cover as the inside of the shuttle became engulfed in enemy fire as Reaper ground forces attacked. Jack and Garrus returned fire before he Turian's eyes widened as he saw the husks who were firing at them. "we have 'Marauders'." he shouted over the gunfire as Jack saw them too. "Those are Turian Husks." "I know, can't help but feel a lump in my throat each time I see one now. Guess that's what you felt every time you saw Husks in general." Garrus replied as both he and The Prime took down three of the marauders, giving them enough space to leave the shuttle for nearby cover. "Let's go." Jack said as the three of them left the shuttle and took cover behind a pile of rubble, as more marauders and some other husks that looked like Batarians. "And now the Marauders have some 'Cannibals' to help them." Jack stated as he looked at both types. The Marauders and Cannibals had the look of the species they used to be, but also had the changes (greyish blue son pigmentation, blue optics instead of eyes and synthetic parts built into their bodies) that the Reapers had forced on them. And while the Marauders carried their weapons, the Cannibals had a bio cannon grafted onto their right arms... like MECH's Adjutants had. The Team kept behind cover as both Husk types kept firing on their position. "Now!" the Prime shouted as he, Arcee and Garrus then stood up and fired precision head shots into each Husk ahead of them, allowing their own personal shields to take a few of the shots. And a moment later and the were then alone with he corpses of the two Husks types lying around them. Jack then looked around to see that night had settled over the city, heavy cloud cover blocked out the stars in the sky. All around them were derelict and have demolished buildings, like the dreams he had been having during this war. Arcee placed her hand on his shoulder. "Jack, you alright?" "It's just hard to look around you know, I mean the last time I was in London was nineteen years ago with you and well..." the Prime replied. "I remember, we were here to covertly stop the Decepticons from destroying part of London to gain access to an experimental power source. Agent Fowler had a hard time trying to keep that event under wraps. But looking around now, even I am having a hard time with how the city...let alone the planet looks now. This has to stop." the femme said as Jack looked back to her. "And it will, one way or another." Suddenly they were both cut short as the Hades cannon fired an energy beam up into the sky, the sound of it firing nearly deafening the three friends. "It's targeting the Hammer ships waiting in low orbit." Garrus observed. "Okay let's move." Jack replied as they moved around the corner of the building to see the burnt out shuttle lying at the foot of the cannon, fire rising out of it due to it's hatch hanging open. They also saw a number of Husks either crawling or squatting around the downed ship. The trio then slowly made their way to the shuttle, trying hard not to make a sound that would gain the Husks attention. Once they made it half way, Garrus got down on one knee and equipped his sniper rifle while the two partners continued towards the crash site. The Turian looked down the rifle's scope and targeted the head of one of the Husks, he then exhaled slowly before pulling the trigger. A millisecond later and the creature's head exploded, making the other Husks look around until they saw jack and Arcee running at them. The creatures began to charge back, but their numbers were diminished again as Garrus took out two more. The two lovers meanwhile, equipped their respective star saber and arm blades and engaged the rest of the Husks in close quarters, Jack sliced through one creature before kicking another down to the ground and impaling it, and Arcee decapitated one Husk in front of her and rammed one of blades into the face of the last one. Garrus watched from his spot as the last Husk fell, leaving the Prime and his XO to search the shuttle. In a matter of minutes they had found the heavy weapons and were running back to the Turian. "You found the heavy weapons then." he asked as Jack held a black and yellow gun in his hands. It had a very large gun barrel and a radiological symbol stamped on it's side. "Yeah, this 'Cain' should do the trick." Jack replied. "Well, we only have one shot and this was the only functioning weapon that was left in the shuttle, so don't miss." Arcee warned earning a funny look from the Prime. "Okay, stand back." he said as he equipped the Cain and aimed it at the Hades Cannon which was readying another shot into the heavens, he pulled the trigger and the weapon began to power up as it charged it's shot. The front of the Cain lit up brighter and brighter as Jack felt it vibrate in his grip, then it suddenly went off and fired a ball of plasma at the Reaper weapon. The recoil from the Cain knocked Jack back slightly as it's shot hit the Hades Cannon head on, instantly making the target explode in a deafening and blinding fashion. The three friends shielded their eyes for a moment, but when the explosion died down and all that was left was billowing plume of smoke, they saw that the Cannon was no more. "Jackson Prime to Hammer forces, the path is clear." the Prime said into his con link. "Roger that, Prime. Hammer is on the move." a voice replied, Jack then looked over to Arcee and Garrus and was about to say something when a familiar inhuman scream echoed from the distance. "We've got incoming." the Turian stated as he fired at he husks rushing towards them. "Jack, we need to get out of here." Arcee added as she equipped an arm blade and her SMG. "Swoop, come and pick us up." Jack said into his com link as he dropped the used up Cain on the floor and equipped his assault rifle. "I'm on my way." the Dinobot replied as Garrus continued to shoot the Husks approaching them, but Arcee then looked up and her eyes widened at what she saw. "Harvesters!" "We have to move, we are to exposed out here in the open." Jack replied as the three started to run from the winged Monstrosities which were descending upon them. "Got you covered, Prime." Swoop suddenly said over the con link as the shuttle rose up over the derelict building it has used as cover and began firing on the Harvesters, blowing the wing off one with the shuttle's cannons. The beast lost control and crashed Ito another building, causing it to fall apart and bury the creature under several tones of concrete. The second Harvester evaded the cannon fire from Swoop and turned round to face him. So here Dinobot flew the shuttle directly at it, cannons blazing. Jack and the others that stopped to watch, but suddenly the Harvester opened it's mouth and launched a ball of heated plasma which clipped the side of the shuttle. Part of the engine on that side of the ship exploded and the shuttle began to descend to the surface awkwardly as Swoop fought to keep control of it. "Swoop!" Jack shouted as the shuttle shot past him and the others, only to go out of view behind some buildings just past them. "I'm alright, Prime, but I have to land to make repairs. Sorry that I won't to be able to pick you guys up." Swoop replied over the com link. "It's alright, stay safe." the Prime replied as Garrus and Arcee began firing on the Husks that had gotten closer. "Jack..." Arcee said back to her lover as she shot the legs of one Creature, making it fall to the ground. Jack turned and began firing on the horde too, he then tapped his con link. "This is Jackson Prime to any Allies who can hear this, my team needs immediate evac, I repeat we need immediate evac." Garrus blew the head off another husk as Arcee shot one in the eye. "Do you think anyone got that?" Arcee asked with an unsure tone as Jack joined her side and fired bursts of gunfire into the horde, toppling a number of the creatures to the ground. "I don't know, let's just make sure that we are alive to greet them if they did hear me." the Prime replied as the horde of Husks got closer. Then a monstrous female scream caught the group's attention as a Banshee appeared out of nowhere via a biotic rush and attacked the group, making the partners dive out of the way. Garrus meanwhile had switched to his pistol and holo-blade as the Horde had finally reached the team. Arcee picked herself up and began firing her SMG at the Banshee, but the Asari Husk deflected the attack with a Barrier. While this was going on, Jack had followed Garrus's lead and began slicing away at the horde with his star saber. The Prime then saw that his lover was having a hard time with the Banshee and moved to assist, the femme was knocked back to the ground by the Asari Husk. She looked up from the ground to see the monster staring down at her with it's cold, lifeless blue optics before it opened it's mouth and screamed at her, while lifting it's hand with razor sharp fingers to prepare to land a killing blow. But Jack sliced his way past several Husks and quickly leapt at the creature and beheaded it with his saber, landing next to Arcee. He then turned off the blade and pulled the femme to her feet as he fired his pistol at the nearby Husks. "Thanks." Arcee said as she quickly smiled at him before going to work on a Husk that ran up to her, spin kicking it into another as Jack impaled one that was to close. "You're welcome." he replied as Garrus rejoined them. The three of them were back to back as the Husks had them completely surrounded, bullets and blood flew in all directions as Arcee deployed both her arm blades and hacked at any creature getting within arm's reach. Garrus mainly used his pistol, keeping the holo-blade as a last resort as the Husk kept on coming. Jack had reactivated his saber and sky boom shield and was either bashing or slicing up any Husk that got to close. "We can't last much longer." Arcee said with worry in her voice as she covered Garrus who was reloading his pistol. "Last clip." the Turian said. "Make it count." The Prime replied as they fought harder against the never-ending hordes, but suddenly an Alliance shuttle flew in from the south and hovered just off the ground and it's hatch opened to reveal a large built African man in Dark blue/gold Armour and he was carrying what looked like a personal Gatling gun which he aimed directly at the Husks. "Take cover!" he shouted to the Prime and his team. They then dived behind a pile of concrete as the new arrival let rip with his weapon and turned all the husks in the immediate area into mush with a barrage of bullets. He then took his finger off the trigger and let the barrel spin down until it stopped and looked over to Jack who stood up to see the blood bath that this guy had just created. "Come on, before the rest get here." he shouted as he waved them over, Arcee then looked over to see more Husks running at them from the distance. "Lets go." she said as she grabbed Jack by the hand and the partners and Garrus ran and jumped into the Shuttle. The large armoured man then closed the hatch. "Pilot, get us out of here." he said before the shuttle lifted off the ground and flew away before the Husks could reach them. "Are you alright, Prime?" the Dark blue/Gold armored man asked, Jack looked at him and gave him a slight smile. "I am fine, Dreadwing. Alive and well, thanks to you." "Indeed you are, Jackson." a familiar voice said from the cockpit, Jack and Arcee looked over to see Optimus standing there in his Red/Blue armour smiling back at them. "Optimus." the younger Prime replied before walking towards his old mentor. "I knew you wouldn't let me down." the Autobot leader said as the two shook hands. "It's good to see you." Jack replied as Arcee and Garrus took to his side. "You are all a very welcome sight after everything we have been through in the last few months." Optimus said with a hint of relief in his voice. "How are we looking?" Garrus asked, gaining a look from the older Prime as he grabbed a hand hold on the ceiling. "Now that the heavy anti-air defences are taken care of, Hammer can land." "And it is not a moment to soon." Dreadwing added while standing behind the group next to the hatch. "What remains of the resistance forces are holding a Forward Operating Base, but the Reapers are countering already. So it's going to be up to Hammer to take up the fight from now on." Optimus said. "I can't imagine how hard it has been for you all here, having been cut off from the rest of the Alliance." Jack said with regret in his voice as he looked at the older Bot. "I won't lie, Jackson. It has been one of the hardest fights I have seen since the war for Cybertron. But once we saw that the Reapers were focusing on the cities, it became easier to avoid them and help survivors to safety." "Until London…." Dreadwing added. "Yes, The Reapers have a much larger force in this city than any of the other large population centers. We held back and sent scouts in to gather Intel to plan this attack, many of them did not make it back." Optimus said as he looked away, as if ashamed by it all. He then looked back at Jack and the others. "But with Dreadwing, Ironhide and Kup, we managed to hold our own. And we knew that you would be bringing us help, that gave us the strength to hold on." "Without you and the resistance, we wouldn't even have this shot." Jack countered with a smile, the comment did not go unnoticed by Dreadwing who smiled in return. "Yes, Optimus is being far to modest. He is the reason any of us are still alive." The Autobot Leader then shook his head, though he could not keep a slight smile from appearing on his face. "Let's not start praising each other until this war is over, this fight has not even really started yet. And Hammer better be ready for it." "They know what is at stake and what is needed of them to make it happen, they won't stop until we drive the Reapers of Earth." Jack replied. "Good, because that is what it will take. And the entire galaxy is united, it is a shame that it took the Reapers to invade to bring everyone together." Dreadwing said gaining a knowing look from Garrus. "It was Jack who brought us all together." the Turian said, his tone had a slither of anger underlining it. "I agree, I know you did not like leaving, Jackson, but nobody could have accomplished what you have done." Optimus added proudly. "It's good to be home." the Human Prime said as Dreadwing tapped his com link. "Optimus, Hammer has begun their descent." "Send them the coördinates of the FOB." the Autobot Leader replied. PRIME EFFECT 3 Moments later and the sky filled up with hundreds of shuttles and transports as Hammer forces flew over the ruins of London, but the Reaper ground forces began fighting back. Marauders began firing at the shuttles from the roof tops, hoping to shoot them down before they could land. On board the ships, soldiers from every species that allied themselves with the Alliance sat and fiddled with their weapons or just stood in contemplative silence. Waiting to see if they would even make it to the ground safely. But even though a few of Hammer's forces were shot down, the rest landed and began deploying troops and MAKOs which immediately came under attack from hordes of Husks. But the troops stayed together and mounted a solid defence as their convoys made their way to the FOB. The Prime's shuttle landed inside the barricades of the Forward Operating Base and the hatch opened and let Jack and Optimus out along with the rest of the group. A lone soldier was waiting and approached the older Prime. "Prime, we have set up a command center in the building just over there." he said as he pointed to the south east. Optimus looked out to see more shuttles flying overhead as Jack watched as a number of MAKOs rolled down the street, only to stop just aways from them. "Looks like we are still receiving groups." the older Prime said hopeful. "Yes, but not as many as we thought." the soldier answered gaining a worried look from the Autobot leader, he then looked at the Human Prime. "Jackson, join me in the CC when you a ready." Optimus said before heading toward the command center, Jack nodded in return before looking at Arcee and Garrus. "He is right, I expected more of Hammer to be here by now." the Turian stated sadly, the Prime looked over to see the Reaper beam in the distance, it's light reaching high up into the sky, breaching the clouds as it ascended into orbit. "Many of them won't be coming. Go on ahead, I'll meet you there." he said, Arcee placed a comforting hand on his shoulder before she and Garrus left and headed for the CC. Dreadwing finished speaking to some soldiers and walked over to Jack. "The fighting here has been some of the worst on the planet. I know it looks hopeless, but that is not the case. Because for one, you are here. It will do the troops good to see you, help to bolster their resolve." the former Con said, though Jack looked uncomfortable. "I am just a soldier, like them." "Are you forgetting….. You are a Prime too. Like it or not, Jackson, but you are a hero to these men and women. Don't discount the effect that can have on them." Dreadwing replied as they both looked at the beam as the sounds of Husks screaming and gunfire echoed from outside of the FOB. "I better go meet with meet up with my battalion, I will see you at the Command Center." he then added before heading over to the building, leaving Jack to his thoughts. The Prime then sighed before walking over to the CC building when he saw Smokescreen standing beside their MAKO. "Hey, Jack. Glad to see you made it here too." the young bot said. "Yeah you too, so how are you doing?" Jack asked. "I had no idea how I felt, coming back to Earth. I mean I was ready to fight, to die if I had too. But after seeing all of this…" Smokescreen replied as he looked around a the devastation that the Reapers caused. "… it just reminds me how Cybertron looked before the exodus, and how we never managed to…." he added. "I know it is hard… but everything can be repaired and rebuilt, and it will be. But first we have to end this war, stay focused on that. Don't let them take your will to fight." Jack said in a stoic tone, earning a slight smile from Smokescreen. "I know and they won't, so this is finally it. One last push, one last fight." The Commander nodded in return, then the Autobot saluted him. "It has been an honor serving with you…., Jackson Prime." Smokescreen said proudly, the two men then shook hands. "You're a good man, Smokescreen, and a terrific soldier. I know that no matter what happens out there today, you will make me proud." Jack replied. "Thank you, that means a lot to me. Good luck out there." the young bot replied before walking away. Jack then walked over to the entrance and saw Grimlock and Jazz standing and talking to another man, this one was wearing green armour and had the look of an old soldier. The Prime's team mates then noticed him and gestured for him to come over. "Jack, we heard that you, Arcee and Garrus made it." Jazz said. "Yes, it is a good sign that the battle will be in our favor." Grimlock added as he stood taller than the other two bots. Jack nodded and smiled in return to his friends. "By the way, I didn't see that former MECH Officer on board before we began this operation, what's her name again….." Jazz said as he looked away and tried to remember. "Miranda, her name is Miranda Lawson." Jack replied, regaining the Autobot's attention. "Yeah, she certainly was a looker. I was thinking of asking her out while she was on board, so where is she?" "Miranda stayed behind on the Cronos to help the Alliance with MECH's systems, plus she managed to turn of the Reaper like device that had all the soldiers and crew under Silas's indoctrination. So they are being looked after and debriefed." the Prime answered before looking over at the green bot. "Hello again, Jack. It is has been a long time." "Too long, Sergeant Kup. The last time I saw you was on the last day of training." the Prime replied as they shook hands. "Yes, even back then I knew you had potential. And look at you now, the first Human Prime and you have become a leader among the largest fleet in history. It reminds me of the time I was fighting in the battle of Omicron Recta…" Kup began to recite, gaining eye rolls from both Jazz and Grimlock. "Jack, can I go and kill some Reapers now? Anything to stop me from hearing one of Kup's old war stories." the Dinobot pleaded with anger tingeing his voice. "I kind of liked hearing them back in basic training." the Prime replied, earning a smile from the old bot. "Good to see someone was listening to me back then." "Yeah, well maybe his attitude would change if he heard them as often as we have." Jazz replied. "I'm going to get out of here before I hear anything about 'Petro-Rabbits'." Grimlock said before storming off. "Yeah, me too, See you later, Jack." Jazz said before leaving quickly. Jack then looked back to Kup. "Well, if you ever want to trade war stories. I have more than a few stories of my own to share." "That would be great, maybe after we win this war." the old bot replied. "That's a deal, good luck out there, Sargent." the Prime said back. "You too, Jack." Kup finished before the two set off in different directions. Jack then entered the building and walked past many soldiers who were performing last checks on their weapons, and there were rooms with injured soldiers getting medical attention from medical staff. Jack then entered a room to see Garrus talking on his com link, the Turian saw Jack and nodded back before his attention went back to his conversation. "Really, well it's good to see you are keeping the ship going, Tali…. Yes, I wish you were down here too. But the Defiant needs it's Chief Engineer right now. Yes, yes…. I am watching Jack and Arcee's backs down here….. Okay, I'll let you go and I'll see you later… I love you too." the Turian said before ending the call and looking back to his friend. "Jack." "You were talking to Tali right now. How is she?" the prime asked. "She wanted to talk while repairing part of the Defiant's aft shield grid, said that hearing my voice helped her keep her cool." Garrus replied. "How is the battle progressing up there?" "The Reapers are inflicting losses on our fleet, but they are holding their own against them. She did say that from what she is hearing, they can't hold out for long. We should get moving to the Reaper beam so that they can bring the Crucible in." the Turian said as he looked out of the window at the beam in the distance. "I am heading up to meet with Optimus and get the operation moving." Jack replied, regaining his friend's attention. "Good, so I guess this is…." "What#? Just like old times?" Jack asked, cutting his friend off, having known what he was about to say. Garrus chuckled at his friend's comment. "…. might be the last time we get to say that." "Think we are going to lose?" the Prime asked. "No, I think we are about to kick the Reapers back into whatever dark pit they crawled out of. Then Tali and I, and you and Arcee are going to retire to some place warm and tropical and live off the royalties from the vids." he said with a smile. "I'll see you there. I think I have enough vacation time saved up to take a few years off after this." "Well, just save some room for all the autographs." his Turian friend joked, earning a chuckle from Jack before the Prime's face became serious. "Just have to beat the Reapers to get there." "Smokescreen told me of an old Earth saying that he had heard, 'May you be in Heaven half an hour before the Devil knows you're dead'. I don't know if Turian Heaven is the same as yours? But if this does end up going south and we both die out there,….. meet me at the bar, I'm buying." Garrus said with an ever so slight smile. "We're a team, Garrus. There is no Darby without Vakarian. So you better remember to duck." Jack replied. "Sorry, Turians don't know how. But I'll improvise." the Turian said before stepping closer to Jack. "Now, Jack. Forgive the insubordination, but this old friend has an order for you. Get out there and give them hell, you were born to do this." he said before patting Jack on the shoulder. "Thank you, Garrus. I will see you on the battlefield." Jack said before they shook hands. The Turian then got another call on his com link, so the Prime left him to it and headed over to the door on the other side of the room. The door opened to reveal a large room that had Optimus at one side, the older Prime was talking to a few soldiers. Jack then saw Arcee standing at the window, looking out at the soldiers, MAKOS and other tanks that had gathered outside. "How are you doing, Arcee?" the Commander asked as he walked over to her side. "I'm okay. As long as I'm with you, I can face anything." she said as she took his hand in hers. Lovingly brushing her thumb against the back of his hand. "This is it, isn't it." she added, earning a nod from her partner. "I know, and we will both make it through to the end." Jack replied. "Have you thought about what will happen with us after this war is over?" the femme asked. "Funny you should ask that, Garrus seems to be planning out a long vacation for us, him and Tali." Jack said, earning a smile from Arcee as she looked at him. "Something to look forward too. But I have been fighting for as long as I remember, I don't know how to live a quiet life." "Well, lucky for you then, that I have plenty of experience there. I was living one for a long time before we met, all those years ago. Except this time I will have the woman I love with me." he said as he cupped her face with his hand and stroked her cheek. "I love you too, Jack." Arcee replied as they looked each other in the eyes, not noticing that Optimus had finished talking and was watching them. "Jackson, I need your assistance over here." the older Prime said, making the two lovers separate. "Okay, we should get ready for the this last fight. I'll see you outside." Arcee said before walking away to a group of soldiers, Jack then walked over to Optimus who was standing at a table that showed a hologram of the city. "Optimus, how's it looking?" the Commander said as he looked at the city image. "Barely half of Hammer's forces have reported in at the FOB." the older Prime replied. "Can we count on anymore making it here before we move out?" Jack asked. Another soldier in black and red armour stood beside Optimus and looked at a pad in his hands before moving his attention to them. "There are some stragglers on route, Prime, but the bulk of our forces that are still intact have arrived." he said as he handed the pad to the Autobot Leader. "Thank you, Ironhide. So I guess we are as ready as we are likely to get." Optimus replied. "I agree. The longer we wait, the more the Reapers gather strength." Jack said in return, earning a nod from both the older Prime and Ironhide. Optimus then tapped his com link. "Battalion leaders, report to HQ." he said before looking at Jack. "It will be a few minutes before everyone is here. Can we talk, Jackson?" "Sure. Optimus." the younger Prime replied before they walked to a corner of the room as Ironhide stayed at the table and looked at the holo-image. "What's on your mind?" Jack asked. "I noticed that you and Arcee have rekindled your relationship." Optimus replied with a smile on his face. "Yes, we have. I don't think I would have been able to get through this war, had it not been for her love and support. I mean, we have had our ups and downs, but I can't imagine my life being with anyone else." Jack said, his voice confident and honest. "I know, it has been a very long time since I saw two people who fit each other so perfectly. I know that you would give your life for her and that she would not hesitate to do the same for you, but…" Optimus said, earning a curious look from Jack. "But?" "…don't put her in a position to do so." the older Prime said in a matter of fact way. "Why did you say that? I mean, I would never.." Jack replied with surprise and worry in his voice and expression. "Jack, I say this because I see the potential for the two of you to share a long and happy life together, something that I robbed myself of a long time ago. Has Arcee ever spoken of Elita-One?" the Autobot Leader asked gaining a confused look from Jack as he shook his head in response. "Elita-One was Arcee's older sister." Optimus added which made Jack's expression change as it dawned on him what this meant. "Arcee said something about losing another sister, but she never told me any more." "I would think not, since it originally drove a wedge between the two of us for a long time during the war for Cybertron." "What happened?" Jack asked. "Elita-One was not only Arcee's sister, she was also my spark mate. I was Orion Pax when we met at the Archives, Elita was quite the conservationist. She told me of her sisters Chromia and Arcee and though I never met them personally, she had told them everything about me. We spent every free moment we had together during the golden age, and in doing so becoming extremely close. We chose to become spark mates within the year that we had first met and began to plan our life together. We had lour first disagreement when I befriended Megatronus as the two of us tried to end the Caste system that had slowly split Cybertron down the middle, telling me of her distrust of the gladiator, but she trusted me enough to let me try and help. Elita said she would watch my back in case the glorified revolutionary tried anything. And though I let my friendship with Megatronus blind me to his true colours, when the war began my spark mate never held any ill feeling toward me for my lack of judgement. She knew that what I had tried to achieve was for the best of all Cybertronians. Once I became a Prime, we promised each other that we would face every battle together." Optimus said as he looked ahead stoically as the memories began to play in his mind, filling his spark with pain and regret, hoping that it did not show in his expression. Jack though saw through this and placed a supportive hand on his mentor's shoulder, making Optimus look back to him. "When we fought alongside each other in the early days of the war, we won every battle and had begun to see ourselves as invincible as long as we remained together, but then one day while we were leading a team on a raid just outside Kaon. We were ambushed by a Decepticon force calling themselves the 'Commandos, they were one of Shockwave's experiments in producing Combiner units. They transformed into 'Ruination' ( sort of like Bruticus) and tore through our team before only Elita and myself were left. And before it looked like we may become part of the Allspark again, she told me that I had to survive for the Autobots to have a chance to end the war, and that she would always love me. She then took the last energon grenade we had and took on Ruination all by herself, ensuring that I would be able to escape. I didn't want to leave her there like that, but she believed in me and our cause more than anything and wanted to see me survive. The last thing I remember seeing was Elita taking out Ruination, she was amazing. A true inspiration to all Autobots because of her bravery and valour. But when Arcee heard of her sister's death, it was when she lost Tailgate to Airachnid, and it caused her to further distance herself from the rest of the Autobots. And she held me personally responsible for what happened, the first time I met Arcee was when she arrived with Cliffjumper on Earth. He had managed to convince her to join us and I had a spark to spark with her about my relationship with Elita and how she came to become one with the all spark. She saw in my words how I felt for her sister and the pain I had within my spark for her loss, and since that moment we became good friends and comrades." "I am sorry, Optimus. I had no idea." Jack replied after listening to his mentor's story intently. "Jack, I have high hopes for you and Arcee. So please don't let her take any risks that could jeopardise your future together. Because I don't want you to have to face this life without the one you love, not like I have." Optimus said with sadness in his voice. "Thank you, Optimus. I understand your concern, but I don't believe that it is my place to tell Arcee what she can and can't do. I can't let her sit out the fight, she would never forgive me, not since we made a similar promise to each other." Jack replied. "I understand, Jackson. I was just voicing my concern. Since the two of you, Ratchet, Raf and Bumblebee are the closest thing I have to a family on this Earth." "And you are the closest thing I have to a father, Optimus." Jack replied, earning a slight smile from the Prime in response to Jack's comment. "Thank you, Jackson. Well, I see that the others have arrived….shall we." he said before the two of them walked back over to the table as Dreadwing, Kup and the rest of Jack's team arrived. Everyone stood around the table as Optimus began the mission briefing. "We have fought hard to reach this point, but now the toughest part of our mission begins." the Autobot leader said as a holographic image of the reaper beam appeared on the table. "We have to head through Reaper controlled territory, break past their defences and get to that beam." "What kind of defences?" Jack asked. "The entire area is crawling with Husks, ranging from the Human kind all the way to Banshees. But our biggest concern is the Reaper protecting the beam itself." Optimus answered as a Reaper hologram appeared next to the beam construct. "Can we get air support in to deal with that?" Ironhide asked as he crossed his arms. "Negative, there is some kind of interference surrounding the beam site. We will have to take it out from the ground." the older Prime replied before the image changed to that of the part of the city that was between them and their target. "Now the Reapers have created a large amount of no man's land through out the city, we ill have to cross that first. There will be limited cover from the buildings on the other side, but expect heavy ground resistance." The Autobot leader then waved his hand over the holo-construct and moved the image to the point where the building cover ends just before the beam. "We need to get out tanks and MAKO's to this position, from there we will have a chance to take that Reaper out." "How much of a shot?" Dreadwing asked. "They know we are coming, this will be a one way trip for most of us. But we can not back down now, we move forward at all costs. Understood?" Optimus finished, earning a cheer from everyone in the room. "Ironhide, Dreadwing. You two will coordinate the artillery units." the Autobot leader said, the two bots then saluted him before leaving the room. "Jackson, I am sending you and your team right through the center where the resistance is heaviest. Support the tanks as best you can, but stay alive. I will need you for the final push to the beam." he finished as he began to leave the room. "I will see you there, Optimus." Jack said as Optimus nodded back before leaving the room as he activated his com link. "Get me Admiral Bryce." Jack then looked at his team as Arcee, Garrus, Grimlock, Jazz and Smokescreen all looked at him. "Alright, let's move out." he said as they began to leave the room too. Meanwhile at the outer edge of the Sol system, the space bridge activated and a number of Alliance cruisers exited the vortex with the Crucible which looked like a massive cube which a large engine on it's aft and had solar panels on sections connected to it's fore. Suddenly a conversation played out on the fleet's com channel. "Admiral, this is Optimus Prime. It's time, we making our attack on the Reaper Beam." "Acknowledged, I'll alert the fleet. All ships this is Admiral Bryce, the Crucible is on the move, I repeat the Crucible is on the move. Protect it at all costs, everyone this is it." PRIME EFFECT 3 Weapons fire filled the sky as the Hammer forces continued their assault on the Reaper controlled areas between them and the beam near the center of the city, it was a bloody fight and many were falling to the enemy, but Hammer was still making progress though slowly. Optimus stood there with his rifle in one hand and his star saber in the other as he motioned his soldiers and tanks to move forward as they fought with the Husks that stood in their path. Krogan, Turian and Human soldiers took cover before firing on the Husk positions, killing a number of Cannibals and Marauders as the tanks passed them by. A Quarian trooper armed a grenade and threw it into a group of Husks and watched as it exploded, sending body parts and blood everywhere. He then signaled for his unit to move forward and they ran passed the smouldering mess as Hammer kept the pressure up. Meanwhile Jack and his team moved silently through the carnage, keeping an eye on the tanks and soldiers in their vicinity, before noticing one group stopping as a harvester dropped into their path. "Jack, we need to help get that thing out of their path." Jazz said as they looked down at the situation in front of them. "Damn, they have Marauders and Cannibals approaching them from the west." Arcee observed. "Okay, Arcee and Garrus. We will go and take care of those husks. Everyone else attack that Harvester." Jack ordered. "Roger that." Smokescreen said as the group split up and moved down to their respective targets. Jack and his team moved stealthy to make sure that they could get the drop on the husks, but Grimlock and the others fired on the Harvester straight away as they charged down to help the soldiers who were escorting the tanks. The Harvester was making short work of them but suddenly a burst of bullets hit it in the face and made it scream in pain before moving it's attention towards the bots. As that was happening, Jack, Arcee and Garrus took cover behind what used to be a wall as they peeked around the corner to see the Batarian and Turian husks moving closer. The three then opened fire on the enemies, taking down three of them before the others turned and fired back causing the team to hide behind cover. One of the Cannibals then kneeled down next to one of the dead husks and began eating it's fallen brethren. "That's sick, I guess that's how they got that name." Garrus said before shooting it in the head, bringing an abrupt end to it's feeding. "Take them down." Jack shouted over the weapons fire as he and Arcee took down two more Marauders, the Turian replied by shooting the last one in the chest, it falling face first to the ground. "That's the last one." Arcee said as Jack looked down to see the Harvester still causing the others trouble. "Lets get down there." he said as the three of them rejoined the others, Grimlock had switched to his sword and was slashing at the winged beast as Jazz and Smokescreen kept firing on it. The Prime and Arcee stood beside them and added their gunfire as they let the bullets fly and pummel the harvester's body. "We don't have anything strong enough to take it out." Jazz said as the beast's mouth started to glow. "Everyone take cover!" Garrus shouted as they jumped out of the way, Jack grabbing Grimlock by the arm and dragging him to the ground. Suddenly the harvester fired an energy projectile from it's mouth that destroyed the first tank in one hit, sending it into the air and then down on top of the second tank, it too exploding on impact. The winged beast then took off and flew toward another tank unit, leaving Jack and his team alone. "What the? Wouldn't even stay to fight us." Grimlock said with disgust in his voice. "Be glad that it did, we didn't have anything that could even slow it down." Jack said back, making the Dinobot look directly at him. But when he saw the Prime's stoic expression, he then nodded in return. "Thanks for getting me out of the way, Prime." Grimlock said earning a pat on the shoulder from Jack. "Well, that went well. Now what?" Arcee asked. "We head to the next group and hope that a harvester doesn't attack them." he answered with a slightly sarcastic tone. "I'm sorry, Jack. Hopefully we will have more luck with the next unit." the femme said as the group moved deeper into the battle filled city. As this was happening, a large group of Hammer forces had moved close enough to the Reaper guarding the beam to ready make an attack on it. Asari, Krogan and Geth soldiers took up positions in derelict buildings either side of the black behemoth as MAKO tanks carrying thanix missiles readied themselves to fire. "Take that thing out anyway you can." a voice said through the com link as the Asari Commado took point and charged her biotics. "All units, open fire." she said as they all began firing on the Reaper, which just absorbed the weapons fire like it was nothing. The Krogan and Geth emptied entire clips into the giant, but to no avail. Turian sharpshooters and Alliance RPG carriers fired their lot into the Reaper, but their attacks too did no real damage. And as if a sign that it had become bored with this annoyance, the Reaper charged it's beam weapon as it's bright red light lit up the area. "Are you guys ready with the thanix missiles, we need….." the Asari Commando said into her com link before she stopped as the reaper opened fire and incinerated her and the soldiers around her in a matter of milliseconds. It then turned and did the same to the Turians and Alliance soldiers just as a large group of Husks moved in on the tanks. As the team moved through the city, taking down any Husks that they came across. Jack suddenly picked up a transmission on his com link which he then enabled the others to hear. "Jackson Prime, do you read?" Dreadwing said. "Roger, what's your status?" "We have an artillery unit ready to fire on the Reaper, but we have two problems." the former Con replied. "They are?" "One, the interference from the beam is messing around with our targeting sensors and two, the teams protecting that unit have been wiped out. My readings indicate that your team is closet to it. We need you to get over there and regain control of those tanks. Mine and Ironhide's battalions will try to keep the Reaper forces off your backs until Optimus and his forces reach you." Dreadwing said. "Okay, we'll go and I may have a solution for the targeting problem." Jack replied. "Very well, good luck." Jack then looked at his team. "You heard the man, let's move." he said before they set off toward the artillery unit. It didn't take them long to reach the area and Garrus scoped out the area with his sniper rifle and saw the tanks, which were covered in Husks. The bodies of the soldiers lying dead all around. "It's just as Dreadwing said, everyone in that group is dead." the Turian said as everyone checked their weapons. "Well we can't do anything about that, but we can regain control of those tanks and take out that Reaper." Jack replied. "What's the plan?" Arcee asked as everyone looked at the Prime. "I will give Teletraan the targeting controls, just like we did back on Rannoch. The AI should have no trouble working around the interference and then pilot those tanks close enough to the Reaper to take it out." "Sounds good, let's do it." Smokescreen said enthusiastically. "Got to love Smoke's never-ending optimism, don't ya." Jazz replied while slapping the younger bot's shoulder. Jack smiled before looking back to tanks and to the Reaper standing in front of the Reaper beam. "Let's go." he said before climbing over the fallen concrete block in front of him and dropping to the street near the tanks, the others following as they crept up to the Husks. Jack then activated his star saber and grabbed the first creature in front of him and stabbed it through the back. Arcee meanwhile did the same with another, snapping it's neck and quietly placing it on the floor. Garrus stayed back and took up a position over looking the area and re-equipped his sniper rifle as he saw his team mates make their way stealthily toward the tanks. Grimlock readied himself to kill the Husk in front of him, but suddenly stepped on a piece of flesh which squished under his foot. 'Scrap!' he thought as the Husk turned to see what had made the noise, locking it's optics on the Dinobot before unleashing an inhuman scream which pierced the night air before being decapitated by the bot's glowing orange blade. The remaining creatures all looked and saw Jack's team and screamed in unison. "Kill them all." Jack shouted before swiping his saber at a Husk that launched itself at him, slicing it in two. "Nice going, Grimlock. You're not very stealthy, are you?" Smokescreen said as he shot two Husks in the face, earning an angry look from the Dinobot. "If you wish to survive this fight, I suggest you shut up and fight." he growled before grabbing a creature by it's face and then throwing it into two more that were charging at them, he then ran into the oncoming horde that had been alerted by the scream and began tearing them apart. "I think you pissed him off, Smoke. Best do as he says." Jazz said to his friend as he fired his pistols into the horde. Jack and Arcee had gone back to back as they fought their way closer to the lead tank, slashing and shooting any Husk that got too close. Jack then got to the Tank's hatch and was about to open it when a Husk appeared on the vehicle's roof and screamed at him. But before it could do anything, it's head exploded from a shot in the distance. "Nice shot." the Prime said into his com link, gaining a smile from Garrus who then shot two more creatures as he concentrated on the area around the partners. "Your welcome Jack, I have you and Arcee covered. Do what you have to do." "Roger that. Arcee, let's go." jack said as they opened the hatch and climbed into the tank's cockpit. The Prime then activated his holo-tool and linked it to the controls, making their holo-interface light up in front of them. "Jackson Prime to Defiant. Teletraan, do you read?" he said into his com link. "I read you, Prime. How can I be of assistance?" the AI answered. "I need you to get access to this tank's targeting sensors and update them with the software used back on Rannoch, we need to cut through the interference from the Reaper beam. Can you do it?" Jack said as typed away at his holo-tool and the controls while Arcee kept her attention on the open hatch, shooting any Husk that showed it's face. "Of course, Prime. Linking my systems to the sensors now. This will take a few minutes, standby." Teletraan replied. "Okay, Everyone. We hold this area, no matter the cost." Jack said into his com link, every member of his team heard this and fought harder against the incoming horde of Husks that were encroaching on them from every angle. "Looks like Ironhide and Dreadwing's forces couldn't hold back all the Husks." Smokescreen observed as he kicked one Husk back and shot it in the throat, making it bleed out on the floor. "Shut up and fight kid…." Grimlock shouted back as he grabbed two husks and smashed their faces together, making their heads crush as blood and brains leaked on to his hands before looking at the bot. "…or I will throw you into that horde myself." he spat back. "Yes, Sir." Smokescreen replied as he bit his lip and continued to shoot each Husk that attacked him. After what felt like a lifetime had passed, Teletraan spoke again. "Prime, I have successfully recalibrated the targeting sensors for this and every tank on the Alliance network, but…." "But…" Arcee replied worriedly after shooting another Husk that had nearly climbed into the tank with them. "….you will need to get the tanks closer for the enhancements to have an effect." Jack took a breath as he contemplated moving closer to the black behemoth. "Alright. Thanks, Teletraan. We'll take it from here." he said as he deactivated his holo-tool and grabbed the controls. "Arcee, close the hatch and man the missile launcher." he said, earning a nod from the femme. She then did that and sat in the chair just behind her and activated it's controls. "Jack to Jazz and Smokescreen, get in the tank behind us, we are going to take down this Reaper." the Prime then said into his com link. "Roger that, Jack. What about Grimlock?" Jazz asked back. "Are you kidding me! He looks like he is having the time of his life out there." Smokescreen added, earning a sigh from the bot. "Yeah, you're coming with me, Smoke. Otherwise Grimlock might actually kill you if you piss him off any more. Okay, on our way, Jack." Jazz added. "Grimlock, cover the others as they get into the tank and then meet up with Garrus." Jack then said to the Dinobot who was still killing every husk that he could get his hands on. Jack then heard him curse under his breath before answering. "….. fine, I can do that." Jack and Arcee waited as they felt the Husks climbing over the tank, shaking it slightly from side to side before Jazz's voice came in over the com link. "We are ready, Jack." "Okay, follow our lead." the Prime replied before putting his foot down on the pedal and moving the tank forward, building up speed as it and the one behind drove through any husks that were unfortunate enough to get in their way. As they moved through street, closing the distance on the Reaper, it then turned around and looked directly at them. It's weapon ports glowing bright red as it charged them. "It's spotted us, take evasive action." Jack said as both tanks then swerved to the left and right, narrowly missing the Reaper's shots as they exploded on the ground next to the two Alliance vehicles. "I am targeting the missiles, Jack. We just need to get a little closer." Arcee said as the tank's cabin shook from the explosion that rattle the tank from another Reaper shot that had missed. "Yeah, I guess that would be too easy." Jack replied before Smokescreen's voice could be heard loudly over the com link. "Yeeeeehaaarrrrrrh! " the younger bot exclaimed as he and Jazz's tank narrowly missed another blast from the behemoth. "Well at least Smokescreen's enjoying himself." Arcee said with irritation in her tone of voice. The Tanks then got with in a few hundred feet of the Reaper. "Jack, stop now. I have a lock." the femme said, making the Prime hit the brakes hard and the Tank swerved to a stop as it's missile launcher turned to face the Reaper. "Firing missile…..now." she said as the missile's engine fired and it flew out toward the Reaper and impacted against it's charged weapon port. The explosion knocked the giant black ship back several steps. "Jazz, fire your missile now. Finish it off." Jack called into his com link, the Autobot answered by launching his own missile right at the weakened Reaper, it hitting in the same spot causing a chain reaction as explosions covered it's hull before it lost it's footing and fell back on to the ground, bringing up a large cloud dust before it's system's shut down. "Good work, Everyone." Jack said happily into his com link. "Jackson, we are on our way to your location." Optimus said over the com link. "Roger that." the younger Prime said as he sighed, Arcee placed a hand on his shoulder in support and smiled, before they both climbed out of the tank. "Jackson, thank god you made it." Optimus said as he climbed out of his tank and then looked to the fallen Reaper nearby. "It didn't look good." Jack replied as they both looked out to the Reaper beam which was now could be seen clearly ahead of them as it lit up the night sky with its blue glow. Optimus then looked at Jack with a worried expression. "It get's worse." "Of course it does." the Commander replied as he shook his head slightly. "Admiral Bryce has just reported in. Several Sovereign class Reapers, including Harbinger have broken off from the battle with Sword fleet. They are heading here." "Harbinger!" Jack said as his expression mirrored the older Prime's. "It's an opportunity for Bryce to get the Crucible in place, but we have to get a team on board the Citadel to open those arms now." Optimus replied. "We still don't know what we will find when we get aboard the Citadel." Arcee said as they all stood around the pair of Primes. "Then that's our job, find out what we are up against." Jack said while looking at everyone. "Alright, Everyone, let's roll." Optimus said before they all climbed into the older Prime's tank which then began its final leg of the journey, to the Reaper beam. PRIME EFFECT 3 In orbit, the battle was raging on as the Sword fleet continued to press against the Reapers. But Harbinger and several others had began to descend to the planet below as the Ark and Nemesis tried to close on them. "This is Bryce, I want every nearby ship to delay those Reapers leaving the battle. We need to give Hammer more time." the Admiral said over the com. Three cruisers attempted to intercept the Reapers, firing their cannons. But the weapons had little effect as they ignored the ships and continued to descend, but Harbinger then stopped and fired it's beams at cruisers. Destroying the ships with one shot each. "Pitiful fools, you can not prevent your destruction. It is your destiny." it said as Bryce watched from the bridge of the Ark. "Damn it. Ensign, send the signal. It's time to bring in our ace in the hole." he said to the officer working at the station next to him. "Aye aye, Sir. Sending the signal now." Then a split second later, another Reaper with glowing red eyes burst out of hyperspace and fired it's energy beam which sliced through one of the other behemoth's like it was nothing. "We are here. And you will die." Lucifer said back to the others as it fired another shot that destroyed yet another Reaper. Harbinger though ignored it's brother and continued to descend. "Take out our traitorous brother, we are needed elsewhere." it said as the other Reapers around it stopped their descent and began heading at Lucifer, charging their cannons. Lucifer though being one of the first of its kind fired off several shots which either disabled or destroyed the Reapers attacking, but not before one got a shot off which impacted against one of Lucifer's legs, blowing the tip of it off. "Arrrrgghhh!" it screamed as it charged it's weapon port to fire again, but then out of nowhere, one green and one blue energy beams hit the last Reaper dead on, causing some damage to it's hull before Lucifer fired it's weapon, blowing the enemy up. It's debris moving out in all directions. "This is Admiral Bryce calling Lucifer, are you alright?" "We will be fine, but we need to stop Harbinger." the rogue Reaper replied. "It's too late, it has already entered the atmosphere. But thanks to you, Jackson Prime and the others stand a better chance of getting to the Citadel without facing several Reapers." the Admiral said back. "Do not underestimate our brother, he is as old as we are and more ruthless than any Reaper you have faced." "We have given Jackson Prime and Hammer a chance, that's all we can do. But the Crucible could use your protection, it is entering Earth space right now." the Admiral replied as he looked out of the Bridge's canopy to see the giant device and 'shield' fleet entering visual range. "Very well. We will guard it. I hope the Prime can handle our brother." Lucifer said back as it began moving towards the Crucible destroying any Reaper that gets in it's way. Admiral Bryce then sighed and looked down to the battle-scarred earth below him. "Everything counts on you now, Darby." he said under his breath before looking to the helmsmen in front of him. "Take us back into the battle." Meanwhile in the tank, Jack and the others were sitting down as they waited for the tank to get to their destination. "From here on in, it's a straight shot to the beam." Optimus said as he looked at Jack and the others. "A straight shot with Reapers trying to crush us along the way." Jazz replied sarcastically. "The rest of Hammer is with us in this fight, nearly one hundred percent of our current forces have joined our tank. But we only need to get a handful of troops through." the older Prime said back. "Even a handful seems a little enthusiastic." Arcee said back before Jack placed his hand on her leg in support. She looked up and saw him smiling back at her with a smile, Jack could always calm her down with that look. He then got up and grabbed a hand hold on the ceiling. "We knew this was going to be a long shot, but it is the best shot we have." Optimus added as Jack then looked at everyone. "Cant think of anyone else I would rather do this with." he said confidently to the others who then stood up and smiled back at him. "I am honored to be a part of your team, Jack." Arcee replied. "We all are." Grimlock added with a grin, earning a look from both Smokescreen and Jazz. "He smiled, what the…" the younger bot whispered to his friend who nodded in agreement. The driver then looked back at Optimus. "We are in sight of the target." "Alright, Everyone. This is it." the older Prime said before the tank was rocked by something outside, making everyone fall to the ground as their vehicle over turned. Outside, rain began to fall from the storm clouds that had gathered around the Reaper Beam's area. The tank was upside down and on fire as it's hatch opened, Jack and everyone climbed out of the vehicle as the rest of Hammer's tanks and MAKOs stopped behind them, unloading their soldiers. "Scrap." Jazz exclaimed as Optimus and Jack looked up and saw the giant Reaper Harbinger land behind the beam and let out an almighty roar as it stared at them with it's glowing yellow eyes. Everyone just looked at it, fear present on the faces at the obstacle that stood between them and their goal. "We've got to move." Optimus said as he readied his weapon. "Come on!" Jack shouted to everyone as he equipped his rifle and began running down the long slope towards the beam, everyone following suit as Hammer's vehicles and tanks moved behind them. "Hammer forces, go, go, go!" Optimus shouted into his com link as Harbinger roared again and began firing quick fire shots of red beams into the oncoming ground forces, killing soldiers and destroying tanks with every shot. Jack ran with every ounce of strength he had as he charged down the slope as soldiers and tanks continued to be either vaporized or sent flying by Harbinger's blasts. He didn't look back to see if his team mates were with him, he didn't have time to, but he knew that they were there. His team knew what the stakes were and what they had to do, so he kept moving. But every blast that hit a tank or group of soldiers near him, made him lose his footing so he dropped his rifle and used his hands to keep himself on his feet and still moving. But just as he got half way to the beam, Harbinger fired his beam at a tank just ahead of the Prime, the impact of the powerful weapon sending it spinning into the air before it came down, Jack's eyes widened as it landed in front of him, making the Prime slide through the dirt to stop right next to it. He then looked back to see both Arcee and Garrus running towards him, they had been right with him the whole time. "Over here." he shouted as he waved to them, the sounds of the reaper's weapons firing and more explosions echoing around him at an almost deafening volume. But just as they got close, another tank flew through the air out of nowhere and landed on it's nose in front of the pair. The femme and the Turian looked up in shock as the vehicle began to fall towards them, making them dive out of the way as it landed beside them and exploded. Jack cursed and got to his feet to run back and help them, but just as he began moving. Harbinger fired his beam again, moving along the ground and killing everyone it touched as it neared his friends. "NO!" the Prime shouted as Arcee looked up and reached her hand out to him, their eyes meeting just as the beam enveloped her and Garrus. Jack continued to run at them before the area where his friends were suddenly exploded and sent him flying backwards onto his back with a thud, he quickly sat up and looked back as despair took hold, the area where his friends had been was now replaced with fire and smoke. He looked down at the ground as he began mourning his lover and his best friend before feeling someone grab his right arm. "Jackson!" a voice said, making the Prime look up to see Optimus standing beside him. The older bot could see tears welling up in the Human Prime's eyes. "I am so sorry, Jack, but we have to keep moving." the Autobot leader said as he pulled Jack to his feet, the Commander nodded as he felt his anger boiling within him and he then turned round and began running towards the beam again, this time with Optimus at his side. There were still tanks and soldiers attempting to reach the beam as both Primes crossed the last quarter of the distance to their target, but the Reaper was just as determined to stop them as it fired multiple shots. Each one hitting an area and killing more of Hammer's forces. Just as Jack and Optimus were about to reach the beam, a nearby tank was hit and exploded sending both of them on to the ground. Jack got on his hands and knees and saw his mentor recovering, but then he heard Harbinger growling as it turned to face them and charge up it's weapon ports. "Optimus!" the younger Prime shouted as he got to his feet and charged over to his friend, just as the Reaper fired it's beam, it moving along the floor towards the Autobot leader who looked up to see it closing on him. But then Jack pushed Optimus out of the way, just as the beam hit the ground right next to him, causing everything to go white as Jack felt himself being seared by a tremendous heat as his body screamed out in pain, then everything went numb as the Prime lost himself to the darkness around him.
  6. CHAPTER 18 Jack was standing with Miranda and Arcee in the com room with the hologram of Admiral Bryce. "So Sanctuary was actually a MECH base where the refugees were slaughtered, all so that Silas could study indoctrination." he said earning nods from the Prime and the others. "That's correct ,Sir. Everything about what we found there is in my report." Jack replied. The Admiral looked away for a moment. "Yes, I have just received it. Thank you, Commander. How long before you rendezvous with the fleet?" "The Defiant will be there in a few hours." the Prime answered. "Very well, I still have ships scouring the galaxy for any MECH bases, but we are still coming up short." Bryce said in return, Miranda then took a step forward. "Perhaps, I can help with that." the looked over to the woman with a little surprise. "Admiral, this is Miranda Lawson." Jack stated. "Yes, I know. The former right hand of Silas and also his daughter. I remember reading about her in your debriefing last year. And you also gave her your full support, so I have to ask why did Miranda disappear on us back at Earth." Bryce asked while giving the young woman a stoic expression. "Well, Admiral. After Jack was arrested by the Council I felt that I was not going to be very welcome, not since I had only just previously worked for MECH. So I left, also I had numerous agents and assassins trying to kill me, curtsey of Silas. And my parents were also kidnapped by MECH a few months back, as a way to draw me out." Miranda replied in a professional tone. The Admiral looked away for a moment, as he was reading something before he brought his attention back to the group. "As it says in the Commander's report, I am glad that they are safe. Too many have become victims of MECH in the last year. Once the Defiant rendezvous with the fleet, I will have your parents taken to a safe place. You have my word." "Thank you, Admiral." the former MECH agent said before activating her holo-tool which brought up a 3D map of the galaxy, four yellow spots started blinking in areas of the map. "You will find Silas's base in any one of these four locations." Jack, Arcee and Bryce all looked at the map confused, Miranda noticed this and decided to explain. "MECH's main base of operations is a ship, it's called the 'Cronos' and it is a vessel not to be trifled with." "Why is that?" Jack asked and in response activated another hologram, this time of the ship. Arcee's eyes widened as she looked at it. "That's the 'Harbinger'." she said in surprise. "That's correct, the Decepticon transport was shot down by Autobots a couple hundred years ago. It was cleaved in two during the battle and both ends crash landed on different continents on Earth. but MECH managed to find and recover both parts and then rebuild the ship to human specifications." Miranda replied as the hologram started listing the ship's specs. "But that is a Cybertronian ship, how did MECH manage this?" the femme asked in return. "Silas managed to gain access to the Alliance's plans for the 'Ark' and 'Nemesis' refits, after that it was just a case of funding and finding a place to build it that was safe from prying eyes." "The only way that would be possible would have been with help from inside the Alliance high command." Bryce added earning a nod from the former agent. "That's correct, Silas told me that MECH had strong support from the private sector, as well as key officials amongst your higher ups." "Okay, so Silas is on a ship, that doesn't change the fact that he has something we need... The Kranix matrix. So we just have to board the Cronos and take it back." Jack said in a rather confident manner, Miranda smiled at the Prime. "I admire your confidence Jack, but the Cronos is defended by a fleet of MECH cruisers and several fighter squadrons. And it's own defences are formidable as well. I think that the only ships that could stand up to it are the Ark and Nemesis." Bryce crossed his arms and looked at the ship. "Well as the Commander just stated, we don't have a choice. We need that Lithone VI back, so I will send scouts to each one of these coordinates and in the meantime we will put together a fleet to engage MECH. But..." the Admiral then paused, gaining a confused look from the others. "But, Sir?" Jack asked. "... Well it is just that we have managed to keep the Crucible hidden from the Reapers for all this time, but once we go on the move against MECH, the Reapers will take notice and it will only be a matter of time before they find our super weapon." Bryce replied. "So what do you suggest, Sir?" the Prime asked. "I will send a message to our allies to begin preparing the fleets for our offensive, and once we know what the Catalyst is. We then escort the Crucible to it and end this war once and for all." "That's a hell of a gamble, Sir." Arcee replied in surprise. "We will only have one shot at this, so we can't leave anything to chance." Bryce replied before looking at Jack. "Prime, I am sending your pilot new rendezvous coordinates. There you will meet up with the Ark, the Nemesis and our fleet. From there (as long as we have the correct location) we will take the fight to MECH and you will lead a team on to the Cronos and retrieve the VI. I will leave the planning for that in your hands." "We will be ready, Sir." Jack replied as he saluted the Admiral, gaining a similar response. "See you in a few hours, Bryce out." Then the hologram disappeared, leaving the Prime and the two women alone. Arcee then turned to Jack. "I will go and let the crew know what is going on Jack." the femme said before walking out of the room. "And I will send all the Intel I have on MECH. I think that I remember where the computer lab is." Miranda said as she started to leave. "What about your parents?" the Prime asked gaining her attention again. "They are in the common room right now, I was going to visit them after uploading the Intel. Thanks again Jack for what you did, I don't usually play the role of damsel in distress." she replied with a smile. "You managed to gain entry and fight your way through a heavily defended MECH base, and that was before the Reapers showed up. I wouldn't call that a damsel in distress." Jack replied making Miranda blush slightly. "I guess not." "It's good to have you back onboard, Miranda." the Prime said, gaining a smile from the former MECH agent before she turned and left the room. Jack was about to do the same when his com link activated. "Prime, I believe that you should go to the port side observation lounge. Tali may require assistance." "Okay, but what about Garrus?" Jack replied. "He is currently running important diagnostics on the weapon systems that I can not afford to have stopped at the moment." the AI said in return. The Prime then signed before leaving the com room. "Alright, I am on my way." Jack walked into the lounge and saw that Tali was slouching over the bar with a glass in her hand, so he walked up and tapped the Quarian on the shoulder. She looked turned around very slowly with one hand on the bar, obliviously trying to keep herself steady. "Jack, want a drink?" she slurred as she looked at him or tried to anyway. "I am toasting Miranda…. I think?" Tali then raised the glass to signify the toast as Jack leant down on the bar next to her. "Your drunk, Tali. How did you do this?" "Very…. Carefully." she replied before pointing at the bottle that was on the bar in front of her. "Turian brandy, triple filtered and introduced into the suit via an 'emergency induction port'." she replied. "It's called a straw, Tali." Jack said before he sighed and looked away slightly embarrassed. "Emergency induction port!" the Quarian repeated again. She then went to have another sip, but the straw missed the slot in her mask. Which earned a breath of annoyance from her before she attempted it again….. only to miss. "It's actually getting harder to get it into…the slot. I guess that means it is working." she slurred again. Jack just watched as it went silent for a moment, but then Tali spoke up. "I never really liked Miranda, with her perfect hair, athletic body and that attitude…. But she still managed to turn against her father, knowing how wrong he was." she said, her voice tinged with regret. The Prime look back at her. "I didn't realise that this would be so hard on you." "I'm sorry, Jack. I am glad that she saved her parents. She is doing whatever it takes to stop her father, never giving in to him or changing herself to please him." she said as she looked down at her drink. "Ah!" the Prime said in return as he pieced it altogether in his head. "Don't 'ah!' me, you sound like a Quintesson." Jack gave her a confused look. "What?" But she then just mumbled/slurred something under her breath as he shook his head. "Do you see a part of yourself in Miranda fighting her father?" "I have spent my life trying to live up to my father, to do things the way he would want me to. And then when I do try to stop him from going too far… I still back down to him." Tali then hung her head in shame as she took the glass in her hand. "When do we stop reacting to our parents and start living for ourselves?" Jack looked at her with a sympathetic expression. "I'm afraid the answer to that question is at the bottom of the glass." "I think I may need some help with the induction straw….. port, you know." she slurred jokingly. Jack then poured himself a short of brandy and held the glass up. "Here's to Miranda." "Here's to you Miranda, you perfect MECH bosh'tet. Keelah se'lia." They then both downed the drinks (though Tali used the straw). Jack then gently placed his hand on her shoulder in support as the Quarian started to sleep with head resting on her arms on the bar. The Prime then tapped his com link. "Garrus, you are needed down here in the portside observation lounge." "Okay, on my way, Jack." the Turian replied. A few moments later and he walked into the room and Jack pointed over to the bar. Garrus looked over to see his girlfriend asleep on the bar and walked over to her, before scooping her up in his arms and looking down to her lovingly. Garrus then turned around and saw Jack smiling back. "Not one word." he just said, making Jack gesture that his mouth would stay shut with his hand. The Turian then carried Tali out of the room and back to their quarters, leaving an amused Prime behind watching them as they went. PRIME EFFECT 3 The Defiant continued through hyperspace as it made it's way to the rendezvous point with the fleet, Arcee had gone round the entire ship looking for Jack and was now outside their quarters on the first deck. Everyone else was keeping themselves busy while they counted down the hours before they met up with the rest of the fleet for the assault on MECH's forces. Bumblebee, Raf, Jazz, Smokescreen and Chromia were watching vids in the common room. Grimlock was helping Swoop down in the shuttle bay, Ratchet was busy with whatever projects he had going in the medical bay. Garrus was with Tali in there room, and Hotrod was talking with Miranda and Teletraan in the cockpit. So the femme found herself looking for the one other person on the ship that she wanted to be with and her search led her back to their quarters. She opened the door and walked in, and she saw Ravage curled up in a ball fast asleep next to the fish tank. She then looked to the right and saw Jack standing in his Prime Armour, looking over something on his arm. The femme just leaned back against the wall and watched him for a moment with a smile on her face. "I was wondering where you were, Jack." she said making the Prime look round to her in surprise. "Arcee, sorry I was.." he replied before looking back down to the armour covering his arm. "What are you doing?" the Autobot asked with a slightly confused tone. "I thought this piece was damaged in the last fight." he said pointing down to the slight line of damage running down his arm. "I guess those Husks did more damage than I thought." He then tapped the Autobot insignia, making the armour retreat back into the octagonal disc which he then tossed over to her. Arcee stared down at the disc before looking back at her partner who just sat down on couch. "It will take a few more hours before we reach the fleet." the femme said as she sat next to him. "I hate waiting, everyone else is just finding ways to pass the time. But I wanted to spend it with you." Jack smiled at her as he placed his hand on top of hers. "I'd like that, since there is nowhere else I would rather be with than here with you." Arcee then got closer to the Prime, their faces only inches apart. "I love you, Jack." she smiled. "I love you, Arcee." he replied. "Show me." she said before closing the distance and letting their lips finally meet, enveloping them both in euphoric bliss as they pulled each other closer, intensifying the kiss. It lasted for what felt like an eternity before they pulled back just enough to look each other in the eyes, Arcee then without breaking eye contact removed her shirt and revealing her breasts. Jack then took one in his hand and gently squeezed it while massaging the other with his lips and tongue. Arcee purred in delight at feeling of her lover's touch, she then her fingers through his hair before bringing his face back to hers and kissing him again. The femme then pulled back and cocked her head as she looked at him with a knowing expression, Jack took the hint and removed his top, showing the Autobot his toned physique. Arcee licked her lips in reaction before placing both her hands on his chest and pushing Jack onto his back. She leaned over him and they kissed again before the femme began leaving a trail of kisses down his chest and stomach, before stopping and removing his trousers. She then began to pleasure Jack, earning a moan of approval from what she was doing. Arcee took this as a sign and carried on which made Jack look up at the sky light as the stars streaked past outside, finding it almost impossible to focus his mind on anything other than what his partner was doing to him. After a moment the Prime then looked back at Arcee and grabbed her hand. "Jack?" she asked back slightly confused, but he just smiled back at her. "My turn." he replied before they switched positions and he got on top, the femme's eyes widened in anticipation of what he was about to do and Jack moved down to her trousers (she had already removed her belt) and took the zip in his mouth. Arcee giggled in response as Jack unzipped her jeans and then removed them before moving in between her legs and leaving kisses up the inside of her thighs. The femme bit her lip at the sensations she was feeling as he got closer to her sex. Jack then started to pleasure her as Arcee felt another rush of euphoria flow over her as she grabbed at the bed sheets under her and squeezed. Jack's momentum sped up and after another moment Arcee's vision went white and she screamed out in pleasure as the femme climaxed right there and then, her whole body tightened up and she locked Jack's head where it was with her legs like a vice. She dug her nails into Jack's back, making him wince slightly, before she collapsed and panted heavily, letting his head go and Jack looked up to her with a smile. "Take me.." she almost whispered between the breaths and the Prime once again climbed over her to meet her at eye level. The femme then wrapped her arms around his neck as he positioned himself over her. Jack looked her in the eyes for a long moment before she nodded and he then entered her and they both let out a moan as the Prime started a slow momentum which gradually picked up the pace as Arcee clung onto her lover. Jack then lifted her off the bed and onto his lap, letting his lover straddle him and take over. The femme then began to lift and lower herself onto him while Jack watched, the two of them never broke eye contact. Arcee supported herself with one hand on his leg, while moving the other over his chest. Jack kept both his hands on her ass, squeezing it gently as she rode him. Arcee then quickened the pace, her perfect dexterity helping to keep her on top as both of them came close to climax. Jack, who was trying to hold back, lost control and climaxed and fell back onto the bed sheets, and Arcee climaxing a moment later, making her cry out before she collapsed onto Jack. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close as they both kissed one last time before slowly falling asleep. PRIME EFFECT 3 Jack opened his eyes and looked up to the skylight, he saw his slight reflection looking back at him smiling. He had not felt so relaxed in a long time as he lied their in his bed, Arcee was curled up in his arms and purring gently as she slept. He was about to left himself drift back to sweet slumber with his lover, but then something caught his attention from the corner of his eye. He saw a silhouette standing at the far end of the bed and rose up quickly to see who it was, his eyes widened in shock as standing before him was the boy. Jack couldn't believe his eyes at what he saw, the child just stared at him blankly before raising his arm and pointing behind the Prime. Jack turned to see what the boy was pointing at, but all that was there was the bulkhead behind his bed. He looked down at Arcee in confusion, but the femme was still fast asleep. He then looked back towards the child but to his astonishment, the child was gone. The Prime closed his eyes and rubbed them, hoping that he was just imagining it. But then he felt the cold breeze against his face and opened his eyes to see that he was standing amongst the destroyed buildings of that city he had seen before, he looked down to see that Arcee was gone and he was wearing his Prime Armour again. He then saw the boy running ahead of him and started after him, though everything moved in slow motion as the storm clouds gathered over head. Oily shadows of people and husks could be seen around the street, like they were watching Jack as he ran after the child. He heard his name being called out continually from the crowds that made up the street of derelict buildings as he moved, then suddenly he came to an abrupt stop when he saw the kid run into the arms of a man who came out of the building ahead him. Jack couldn't see the man's face as he was looking down to the ground as he embraced the child. But then the man looked back and Jack's eyes widened fully at who was staring back at him. It was Jack and he was kneeling down with the kid who too was looking back at the Prime. Jack just stood there completely frozen in shock at the sight of himself and the child as they smiled at him, but then their skin tone changed to grey and their eyes shone bright blue as they morphed into the forms of husks. They then both screamed at the Prime before running back into the derelict building, Jack then looked around to find himself completely alone in the street, all the other husks and shadows had disappeared. Yet he felt that he was still being watched as a large shadow was cast over him, so he looked up to see what was casting it and saw Harbinger standing over him. It's yellow optics glowing brightly as they looked down on the Commander. "You are ours now, Darby. There is no escaping your fate." it said as thunder boomed and lightening streaked across the sky, then everything went white and then faded to black. Jack awoke suddenly to find himself lying in his bed with Arcee in his arms, his eyes darted around the room but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Not even a figure standing at the end of their bed, his heart was beating fast and he panted somewhat as he tried to calm down. Arcee then began to stir and she opened her eyes, letting Jack look upon those bright azure blue iris's of hers. "What's wrong?" she said as she placed a hand on his chest, feeling his heart beat as it slowed to normal. Jack looked over to the clock and took note of the time. "It's almost time." he said back. "Already?" the femme replied with disappointment in her voice as Jack got and swung his legs off the side of the bed, she got up behind him and kissed his back before resting her head on his shoulder. "I hope everyone is ready?" he said. "Jack, you have united the galaxy against the Reapers, establishing the largest fleet in it's history. You're a Prime, the galaxy will follow your lead now. Neither the Reapers nor MECH will get another chance to divide us." She then rubbed his shoulder affectionately. "And I will be with you every step of the way, I won't lose you again…. Promise me that, promise me that we will see this through to the end…. together." Jack turned to look at her, the femme's hair was all messed up (from what they had been doing earlier) and he . "I promise Arcee, after all we are partners, and I couldn't do this without you." He then took her hand off his shoulder and held it in his own, while looking into her blue eyes. "And when this is all over, I want to spend the rest of my life with you." Arcee's eyes widened as a big smile graced her lips. "I want that more then anything, Jack." she replied happily, they then kissed one last time before he got up to get dressed. "Alright, time we got dressed and ready to save the galaxy." he said, earning a chuckle from the femme as she watched him walk over to the bathroom. The Defiant shook from left to right as it passed an Alliance cruiser that just exploded from repeated fire from the MECH ships that were protecting the Cronos. The shockwave from the blast doing the same to all nearby ships as the battle raged around them. The Alliance fleet was doing its best to slow down the enemy, who once they spotted the Autobot/Human ships had tried to away and run, but the Alliance quickly blocked their path. As the Defiant weaved it's way between the chaos, the Ark was making short work of the enemy ships that tried to get in its way. It's cannons were ripping the MECH cruisers apart. "Ark to Defiant, this is Bryce. We have our beach head, make your run now. Fighter squadron 'Beta' will keep you covered." the Admiral's voice said over the com. "Roger that sir." Hotrod replied before putting the ship into a barrel roll to evade the incoming weapons fire from the enemy. The fighters then flew in and took up a formation around the Alliance frigate. "This is Alpha one, Defiant we have your back." the squadron leader said. "Thanks Alpha." the frigate called back. "Alright, Lads. Let's keep any enemies off the Defiant while she delivers the package." Alpha one stated as the alliance frigate made its way towards the Cronos, the former Cybertronian cruiser dwarfed nearly all of the ships in the battle (with exception of the Ark and Nemesis), after taking down several fighters and damaging three cruisers. The Defiant and it's fighter escort broke through MECH's defensive line and head directly at the Command ship. Down in the shuttle bay Jack, Arcee, Miranda and Smokescreen entered the shuttle and took their seats, the Prime got into the copilot's seat next to Swoop and began activating his controls. Then the shuttle bay door opened, flooding the room with the red hue of the star before the shuttle flew out into the battle. The Defiant then pulled away with the fighter screen and Swoop set course for the shuttle bay on their side of the MECH command ship. In the landing bay MECH soldiers were rushing around the area and defence turrets activated and began aiming at the incoming shuttle. "Prime, we are being targeted." Swoop stated as he brought them in closer. "Just get us inside." Jack replies as he began targeting them back with the shuttle's cannons. The Dinobot then rocked the ship from left to right in an effort to dodge the weapons fire coming their way, the Prime though tapped a few commands into his Holo-controls and fired the cannons back at the turrets. Three of them exploded but the fourth fired a few shots that connected with the back of the shuttle. "We've been hit." Jack said before destroying the last turret. "We are going in, hang on." Swoop replied as he struggled to keep the shuttle steady as it threatened to spin out of control. It then passed the landing bay's force field and slammed hard down on the deck, screeching along the floor as it mowed down any MECH soldiers tha were unfortunate to stay in its path. The shuttle finally came to a stop just as the blast doors at the other end of the bay opened and more soldiers entered the room along with a Atlas mech. In the shuttle Jack got out of his seat and checked on Swoop. "You alright?" he asked as the pilot put his hand to his forehead. "Yeah, I'll be fine." Swoop replied before he saw the soldiers approaching them. "Prime, you better get out there, we had company. I'll start repairs immediately." The Prime nodded in return before leaving the cockpit to check on the others. "You guys okay?" he asked as Arcee helped Miranda to her feet. The femme nodded back in return as both women equipped their weapons. "I am ready to get out there and finish this." Arcee said as Smokescreen prepared to open the hatch. "Let's go kick some MECH ass!" the young bit added as he opened the hatch, revealing an enemy soldier on the other side which Arcee shot through the head without any hesitation. They then climbed out of the shuttle and took cover behind some cargo containers as the rest of the soldiers and the Atlas fired back. "Jack, we need to take out that Atlas mech." Miranda shouted to the Prime over the sound of gunfire as both sides exchanged fire. "Cover me." Jack replied before tapping something on his wrist and suddenly went invisible, gaining a smile from Arcee as she killed two of the MECH soldiers. Miranda and Smokescreen took down a few more enemies before the young Autobot noticed one of the remaining soldiers acted funny before falling dead, though the former MECH agent just looked over to him. "Cloaking generator." she said back as another soldier suddenly had his neck snapped and then dropped to the floor. The invisible Prime then started to climb up the side of the mech, right up to the cockpit and then equipped his pistol. The enemy inside suddenly had all the proximity alarms go off, he looked around before a simmer just outside off his canopy caught his attention. Suddenly Jackson Prime appeared in its place as he activated his star saber and plunged it through the glass, impaling the soldier and killing him. The others finished off the remaining soldiers while Jack the opened the pilots cockpit, pulled out the body and then climbed in his self. The canopy closed after and the holo-controls appeared in from of him as Arcee and the others joined his side. "Jack, it appears they have sealed the doors, trapping us in here." the femme stated as she pointed over to it. "Well then it's a good job this platform comes with missiles." the Prime replied as he turned the Atlas around and loaded a missile into the launcher on its left arm, and then aimed it at the door. "Take cover." he warned, making the others get behind one of the shuttles that littered the landing bay. Jack the fired the missile which streaked across the room and exploded as it hit the doors head on. The sounds of metal being ripped apart could be heard as debris was sent everywhere. The team waited for the smoke and fire to die down, then all that was left was a big gaping hole where the door used to be as the smoke cleared somewhat. "I'll take point." Jack said from inside the Atlas as he started to walk pilot it towards their new entry point, the MECH's large heavy footfalls shaking the ground slightly with every step. "Okay, but I just think that you want to keep using that mech." Arcee replied with a slight smile. "No, that's not it." he said back trying to sound innocent, but the femme looked over to Miranda and shrugged. "Boys and their toys." she said, earning a chuckle from the former agent as Smokescreen looked at them dumbfounded. "Jack, any idea what they are on about?" "No clue." the Prime replied as he guided the Atlas through the hole into the next room, he looked around to see bodies of MECH soldiers sprawled on the floor around the damaged wall. "Looks like they had more reinforcements waiting to ambush us." Smokescreen observed. "Well good thing Jack used the missile then." Arcee said in return before the door on their right opened and a group of soldiers ran in with their guns blazing. "I'll handle this." the Prime stated as he manoeuvred the Atlas in front of the others and took the brunt of the gunfire. One of the enemies even fired a grenade launcher at the mech, Jack closed his eyes as the explosive round flew through the air towards him. It then impacted against the cockpit canopy, engulfing the from of the Atlas in the explosion. "Jack!" Arcee shouted from behind the mech. But then the smoke Cleared and Jack opened his eyes to see he was still alive, seeing just a crack on canopy's glass. "Ha, my turn."he said confidently as he brought up the Atlas's right arm to show a Gatling gun. The MECH soldiers stopped in their tracks as they realised what was coming, the Prime then pulled the trigger on his joystick control and let rip with a storm of bullets that ripped through every enemy standing in his path. The wall behind them was sprayed with blood and impact holes from the bullets as the last body fell to the floor, leaving a pile of bodies next to the door. The others walked around the front, the Autobot femme looking rather worried until she saw her lover smiling back at her from within the Atlas's cockpit. "I want one of these." Jack proudly stated as Miranda walked over to the door and checked the other room, she then poked her head back round and called to the others. "This way, Guys. And, Jack, you will have to leave the Atlas here. It won't fit through the next door." The Prime sighed with regret before opening the cockpit canopy and climbing back down to the ground, Arcee and Smokescreen waiting for him. "Pity, this would come in real handy." he said as he took one last look at it. "Come on, Jack. We have work to do." the femme replied before they rejoined Miranda in the next room. "We need to head this way, through the research section of the ship." she said as she pointed just to her right. "What about running into more enemy troops?" Jack asked. Miranda smiled back before activating her holo-tool. "They won't be a problem as I have this." she said as the holo-form of Teletraan appears next to her. "Teletraan?" the Prime replied. "Yes Prime, I have a stable connection to Miss Lawson's holo-tool and can give assistance when dealing with MECH's defences and lock outs." the AI replied as Miranda opened the other door and the group walked in, Teletraan's holo-form following. The former MECH agent then stopped next to another door. "Teletraan, this door is locked. Can you gain us access?" she said as the blue orb stopped next to her. "Please hold, I am attempting to interface with the Cronos's main security system." Arcee and Smokescreen kept an eye on their rear as Jack stood beside Miranda. "Will the Defiant be alright if Teletraan's attention is with us?" She was about to answer when the door's holo-controls appeared and started to count down. "I have successfully gained access, I am currently locking down most corridors and areas where there is a significant MECH presence while also opening the most direct route to Silas's main lab. I can not guarantee that you will not come across any more enemies, but you will not have to face the entire security forces of this ship." Teletraan stated. "Thanks, you have just saved us wasting a lot of ammo there." Smokescreen said looking back at the others. The AI then turned to Jack. "Prime, it is no trouble for me to aid you here while also maintaining the Defiant's defence systems. I always run at maximum efficiency." The Prime nodded in return. "Thank you, Teletraan." "I am pleased to be of assistance, by the way Prime. It will take a few moments to make all the changes that I stated to you, but the console to your right has some data logs that you may find revealing." the AI replied before Jack walked over to the console and activated it, Arcee joining his side. "What am I looking at here?" he said as vid logs appeared on the screen for him to choose. "Project: Rebirth, your reconstruction." the AI replied before Jack then activated the first vid log. The screen then showed Wilson and a hologram of Silas standing in a laboratory. "It can't be done, it' doesn't matter how many resources we have." Wilson said. "I will put as much of our resources into this as you require, but we are not losing Darby." the Director replied with a confident tone. Wilson pointed at the scans of a body on the screen behind him. "Sir, Darby is clinically brain-dead. After the injuries his body sustained, plus the amount of time without oxygen. We can't just overcome nature." "Miranda disagrees, I am placing her in charge of project: Rebirth now." Silas replied. The video log then stopped and Jack just stared at the screen for a moment. "I didn't realise it was that bad." he then said as Arcee looked at him. "I thought that you were just on life support but… that sounds like more. How did it feel, do you remember anything from while you were under?" the femme asked, but Jack just looked the console's controls. "I'm still me, I don't think I would have been able to turn against MECH otherwise." he said as he then looked up and focused, as if trying to find the memories in his mind before shaking his head. "..I don't remember anything, maybe they did just rebuilt me. Or maybe I am just a clone or something that thinks it's Jack Darby…. but I don't know." he added with a hint of sadness in his voice. "I know that it took me a long time to get passed the MECH connection, but I know you Jack." Arcee replied as she placed her hand on his shoulder. "You are you." she added. Jack then activated the next vid log while Miranda kept quiet while watching Teletraan work. The screen then showed Wilson and Silas again. "Tissue regeneration is proceeding well, the helmet kept the brain intact, for whatever good that will do." the scientist said, but the hologram of the Director looked at him stoically. "Miranda will find a way." Wilson then gave him a worried expression. "Sir, Darby is an Alliance soldier as well as an Autobot ally. As far as he is concerned, MECH is a terrorist organisation who are a threat to humans and Cybertronians alike." "Darby is a soldier and a Prime, he knows the Reapers are the real threat. He'll work with us." The vid then ended again as the screen went back to it's menu mode. "And you did." Arcee said. But Jack's expression became angry. "Every fibre of my being told me not to trust MECH, but I needed their help….. So I played along." "You did what you had to, Jack. Remember what you told me. You're a Prime, it's your duty to protect the galaxy from any threat. Even if that means choosing a side to do it, those were your words." the femme replied. Jack then activated the final vid log, once again showing holo-Silas with Wilson. "Project: Rebirth is reporting signs of neurological activity, they are requesting more funding." the scientist said. "Granted, get me our potential recruits file. Darby will be up soon, we need a crew." Silas replied. Then a female scientist who was out of view originally, stood beside Wilson. "Our existing forces should be more then sufficient…" she started to say before the Director cut her off. "We need sympathetic faces, I require Darby to be invested. He will need some old friends, contact Doctor Chakwas and send me the psyche profile of Darby's Autobot pilot." the Director said. The screen then deactivated. "That piece of scrap set you up." Arcee said as anger started to filter into her voice. Jack though looked over to the door. "How's that door coming?" Miranda then deactivated her holo-tool and the AI disappeared before the door opened. "Teletraan has given us a straight course to the lab with only a handful of resistance along the way." "Alright then, let's move out." the Prime replied before Arcee stopped the former agent. "Miranda, I haven't had the chance to thank you for the part you played in bringing Jack back…" she said. "Arcee you don't need to say anything, I know what Jack means to you and vice versa, plus he and I have become good friends over the last year or so. If it wasn't for him, I would never have turned against MECH of my….father." Miranda replied before the Prime called from the next room. "We should keep moving." he said as both women looked back. "We are right behind you, Jack." Arcee said before giving Miranda an encouraging smile, the two then walked on through and joined the others. PRIME EFFECT 3 They had moved down three corridors and junctions, taking down the few soldiers that they ran into on their way to the labs when they came to a big door. Jack opened it easily, due to hacking that Teletraan did earlier. "Hey, Teletraan. If you could access the ship's systems easily, then why don't you shut down it's weapons and send us the VI data to a nearby terminal for us?" Smokescreen asked. The AI holo-form then appeared next to Miranda and looked back at him. "Smokescreen, I am only able to do so much. The most sensitive data, or important systems are protected by powerful firewalls and multi-layered encryption. It would take too long to break through." "It was just a thought…" the young bot then said as the door opened and the team walked in. The room was massive and they saw something hanging down from the ceiling, it made both Jack and Miranda's eyes widen as they recognised it. "is that what I think it is?" she asked in disbelief, but Jack nodded in return as they looked up to see the arms and torso of something they thought was long destroyed. "That looks a lot like the 'Human Reaper' we saw at the Quintesson home-world." Arcee looked up at it with disdain. "It's hideous. And you said it was made using processed human material?" she said as she looked up at it's partly constructed face. "Teletraan, can you access any information about this?" the Prime asked as Miranda stood by the nearest console and allowed the AI to connect with it. "Checking..., Prime,...it appears that MECH are attempting to build their own Reaper." the AI replied. "What, I mean how... why?" Miranda asked in shock. "I will bring up the data for you on the console screen." Teletraan replied. A vid log started to play showing Silas and Sideways (pre-enhancements) standing in the Director's lab. "... do we have a deal?" the former Con asked. Silas merely looked at him as a smile grew on his face. "Yes, if you can get me Reaper tech, then MECH will help you ensure that Darby dies." Sideways stepped closer and held out his hand to the Director, who almost took the hand but the former Con pulled back suddenly. "But I will be the one to kill him." he said, Silas nodded and looked at him with his yellow optics. "Of course, I will make sure that you have the backup to take on Darby and his allies, but my men will be warned that only you are to kill him." Sideways seemingly happy with that last comment hen shook the Director's hand. "Alright, there is a corpse of a Reaper half buried on the planet 'Keltah four. Your men should have no trouble finding tech to salvage from it." "Thank you, Sideways, I will send ships out there at once. I hope you have more than that though." Silas replied with a slight smile. "I have much more than that." the former Con smiled back. The vid log ended and another started, showing Silas and Sideways standing in a med lab, the former Con was now sporting the upgrades. "Don't move around too much, the implants and upgrades take time to adjust to. Sideways merely punched the air in front of him and smiled. "I am fine, better than fine actually." "Well, I have been told the Reaper tech that has been implanted into your hands will allow you to mimic Asari Biotics. As with the rest of your body, the enhancements we gave you should provide an edge when you next engage Darby and his team." Silas replied before taking a sip from his drink. Sideways clenched his fist and watched as a blue energy glowed around it for a moment. "He won't know what hit him." he said before looking back at the Director. "So how does the 'recruitment charge' progress?" "Very well. My existing forces have already gone under MECH's own form of indoctrination and are now completely loyal to me, also my other 'project' is beginning to come to fruition with more troops for us to achieve MECH's goals." Silas replied as he looked at a pad before placing down on the table beside him. "And what other 'project' would that be?" the former Con asked as he walked over to the pad, but Silas stood in his way. "Nothing you need to worry about at this point in time. Now why don't you go to the training room and see what you can do with your new gifts." Sideways looked at the pad before smiling back to the Director. "Very well, keep your secrets for now." he replied before walking out of the room. One more video started playing after the last one finished and showed Silas hologram standing with another scientist. "Sir, I have concerns with the implants that our forces have been given. Many of them are already claiming to be hearing voices." the scientist said. "When our work at Sanctuary pays off, the only voice that they will be hearing is MECH's." the Director replied. The scientist then pointed over to the schematics that were showing on the monitor next to him. "Sir, these designs are unbelievable, but we will need more of the processed organic material to finish the head, let alone the rest of the body." "Call Dr. Saleon, I am sure that he will have an ample supply coming though the doors at Sanctuary. And how much will you need to complete the Reaper?" Silas asked. "It would take millions, are we really going to do this though? I mean… I don't know about this.." he said with a worried expression, gaining a stern look from the Director's yellow optics. "What we do here will elevate Humanity above all other species in our galaxy. And what is a few million lives when Humanity numbers in the billions." "…Yes, Sir. Of course, Sir." the scientist replied. "And the Reaper's power source, is it compatible?" Silas asked. "Yes, Sir. The functioning core that we retrieved from the dead Reaper on 'Keltah four will power our version indefinitely." "Good, keep me informed of your progress…. and don't question what we do again, or else you may find yourself along side our new recruits….. Doctor." the Director replied before his hologram disappeared, leaving the scientist to look visibly shaken. The vid ended and everyone looked at each other. "I can't believe what I just saw, MECH are trying to build a Reaper and they don't care how many humans they have to kill to do it." Smokescreen said. "This looks nothing like the organisation that I used to work for." Miranda said in return. "Well, it was good that Sanctuary was taken out then. That should stop this abomination from ever being finished." Jack replied before pointing over to the other side of the room. "This way, let's move." PRIME EFFECT 3 The group made their way to the far end of the large room when the sound of metal on metal echoed through the room. "What was that?" Smokescreen said as they stopped, then the noise sounded again from the other side making the team turn their backs to each other, trying to see what was making the noise. Suddenly a soldier appeared out of nowhere and landed in front of Arcee, the femme could see that this enemy was female and she was covered head to toe in MECH light armour while carrying a katanna, her face could not be seen behind the pure black helmet that she wore. "What!" she said as the enemy then flipped from the spot she was standing and kicked the Autobot in the stomach, sending her into Smokescreen's back. Both of them fell to the ground in a heap. "We are under attack." Miranda stated out loud as another appeared and attacked her while the other went for Jack. The Prime activated his star saber and deflected the blade of the soldier attacking him before moving away, making some distance between them. The other one swung it's blade at Miranda and she dodged it by ducking under the attack and rolling out of the way before ending in a kneeling position. She then fired several shots from her pistol, only for the enemy to deflect them with her katana. "Jack, these are 'Phantoms', MECH's versions of ninjas." she said over to the Jack who was deflecting a flurry of hits from the Phantom's blade. "Right, he said before the enemy swung again, this time the Prime feigned and attack which left him open. The Phantom then jumped into the air and pulled it's katana down on the helpless Jack, but then he surprised her by activating his Sky boom shield and hitting her in the face with it. The enemy fell to the floor, allowing the Prime to stab her through the chest, he then looked over to see Miranda disarming the ninja after winding them with a punch and knee to the chest and then slicing the enemy's stomach open with her own katana. Arcee and Smokescreen helped each other up. "We are nearly there, come on." Miranda said as the group then left the room and entered another corridor. The battle raged on outside the Cronos as the Alliance and MECH fleets pummelled each other, the Defiant disabled another cruiser by destroying it's main cannon as it was charging up, leaving the enemy ship defenceless. Meanwhile the Nemesis and the Ark attacked the MECH command ship from opposite sides, they combined fire power shattering the Cronos's shields with the remaining rounds exploding against it's hull. Onboard Jack and his team were nearing the end of the last corridor after taking down another group of soldiers, suddenly the ship shook violently causing the group to grab for the wall to steady themselves. "What was that?" Smokescreen asked in bewilderment. "Could only by the Ark or the Nemesis, they must have broken through the Crono's shields." Jack replied before his com link activated. "Prime, Bryce here. We are beginning our attack on the command ship, want us to hold back until you are done?" the Admiral asked. "No, keep firing, we have to stop MECH here and now. Besides we are almost at Silas's lab." Jack replied. "Very well, Prime. Good luck." The com link then went dead as the they came up to the door and Teletraan reappeared. "Prime, Silas's lab is at the other end of this room." the AI stated. "Any more enemies waiting for us?" Arcee asked as Smokescreen kept a look out the way they came. "Negative, but before you enter the lab, there is one more console that a vid log that you will find interesting." Teletraan replied before disappearing as the door opened to reveal another computer lab. The group entered and walked up to the only active console. "Wonder what we are going to find here." Jack said to ther others as he typed into the console's keyboard and the vid log began playing, showing Silas sitting on a berth with a worried looking female scientist standing in front of him. "Sir, I dot think you should be risking yourself like this." The Director looked at her with a stoic expression. "Sanctuary was a complete success, we need to capitalise on it. And with these implants that Sideways gave us, I will be able to control the Reaper forces myself." "But, Sir, MECH needs your mind to take Humanity into the future. If you were to succumb to the Reapers before your plan is completed, then we..." she said before he cut her off. "Then you will just have to make sure that doesn't happen, I know I can count on you to keep me in line." Silas replied, earning a knowing look from the scientist. "Oh really, I will remind you of that, Sir." she then brought over trolley of medical instruments. "Are you ready, Sir?" "Yes, and I want no anaesthetic." he said before looking at the camera above them, his yellow optics glowing brightly. "Computer, end recording." he said as his colleague began prepping for surgery. The video ended and Jack shook his head in response, earning a curious look from Arcee. "Jack, what is it?" "It's Saren all over again, the Turian took on the implants and upgrades that Sovereign offered. He thought it was his choice, but really he was completely indoctrinated and fully under the Reapers control. and now Silas is that way too." "It is his own fault, Jack." Miranda replied rather frankly. "He should never have lost focus on what was most important... Defeating the Reapers. Now let's go finish this." she added coldly before walking over to the far end of the room and opening the door. The others looked at each other in surprise before heading over to her and walked though the door with weapons ready, only to find that it was empty. The large dark room they were now in was only illuminated by an orange holographic interface made up of a large sphere and a number of screens orbiting it. Jack walked forward al little before stopping and remembering where he was, as he looked down to see that he was standing in the holo communicator's receiver pad. He then walked over to the interface and began typing on the holo-keyboard. "Come on, the Lithone VI is on this database." he said as the others joined him and started looking at all the screens, Miranda activated her holo-tool and connected Teletraan to the database. "this won't take long, Jack." she replied as Arcee stopped and looked to Jack. "Here I was thinking that we would find Silas here, should of known." she said with disappointment in her voice. "Yeah, he is certainly an 'Illusive Man', isn't he." Smokescreen added. "Well, MECH is falling apart as we speak. We will get him, he won't have any hiding places left after today." Jack replied as he brought another screen up. "Is that what you think, Darby." a familiar voice called from behind, Jack and his team turned round and pointed their guns to see a hologram of Silas standing on the holo-com receiver pad, he then pointed at the Prime. "That's my personal computer your using." "No it's not, Silas. MECH is finished." Jack replied as he lowered his pistol, the others doing the same as Miranda continued to aid Teletraan. "Hardly, we have achieved everything I imagined we would. Well, almost everything." The Director responded. But Jack stood there looking unimpressed. "Yeah, we all saw your experiments accomplished on Sanctuary. But it is not the same as controlling a Reaper." "That is a significant hurdle, but thanks to the Lithone VI. I have what is needed to make it a reality." Silas replied with a slight smile. "The Catalyst?" the prime replied. "Yes." "What is the Catalyst, and how will it help you control the Reapers?" Jack asked, hoping to get any information from the Director. "You will have to find out for yourself, I am done helping you." Silas said back. "'Help', when did you start?" Arcee said back. "You think that just because I copy the tactics of the enemy, that they are no longer my enemy?" the hologram asked as everyone just stared at him. "Everything, everything I have done has uplifted humanity. Not just over the other species of the galaxy, but over the Reapers as well." Silas continued. "Does that include building your own Reaper and using human refugees to do it?" Miranda said back angrily, gaining a stern look from Silas. "Miranda, I have nothing to say to you. You gave up the privilege of being my daughter the day you turned on me." Miranda was about to answer back when Jack gestured for her to stop before taking a step forward toward the hologram. "If you're willing to do everything it takes, then give me the Catalyst. With it I can use the Crucible to end this war." "It's not that simple." the yellow eyed Director replied. "Yes it is, it is that simple. We are fighting each other while the Reapers occupy Earth and attack the rest of the galaxy." Jack said back, his anger starting to show. "Your idealism is admirable, Darby, but in the end… our goals are too opposite for us to work together. Besides I believe destroying the Reapers would be the worst mistake we could ever make,….. And nothing you say or do will convince me otherwise." Silas replied, his optics glowing brighter. "Even with MECH finished, you still think that you can do this your way." Jack answered back. "Well, I knew you would say that, MECH is not just an organisation or the people behind it. MECH is an idea." The Director said before looking toward Miranda and Teletraan. "And besides I already acquired what you are after." "Miranda, Teletraan?" the Prime asked. "We have got it, Jack." the former MECH agent replied as the green hologram of Bagu appeared in front of them. "Security program deactivated." the VI stated. "I will let you have your chat with it, but don't overstay your welcome." Silas replied before his hologram faded to nothing. "You are attempting to liberate my program from indoctrinated forces?" Bagu asked. "Yes, I need to know what the Catalyst is." Jack replied. "My security program was hacked, so I will comply. The Catalyst uses the energy channelled through the entire space bridge network, in your cycle it is called 'the Citadel'." Everyone stared at the VI dumbstruck. "What?" Jack asked in shock. "The Catalyst is the Citadel." Bagu repeated. "So the Crucible and Citadel together can stop the Reapers?" Arcee asked. "That is correct." the VI replied. "But the Citadel was built by the Reapers." Jack said, still in shock. "The plans for the crucible was passed down to us from the previous cycle and thousands of cycles before that." Bagu stated. "So we use the Reapers own technology against them." Smokescreen added. "Precisely." "Why couldn't you tell me this before?" the Prime asked. "It was feared that if the Reapers became aware of the Catalyst's true identity and purpose, they would retake control of it. I am programmed to keep that information until the Crucible is completed." Bagu answered. "It's as ready as it's going to be, let's get the Crucible to the Citadel." Jack said as he turned to leave. "That may not be possible." Bagu said back, making the Prime stop in his tracks. "Why not?" Arcee asked. "The one who hacked through my security program, the one you call Silas. He has gone to the Citadel and informed the Reapers of our purposes." "Damn it!" Jack cursed in response. "The the Citadel is in danger, the Reapers will attack and retake it." Miranda stated. "They already have, the Citadel has been moved to the centre of Reaper controlled space to protect it from us." the VI said back. "Moved? To where?" Jack asked. "To the third planet of the system you refer to as 'Sol'." "Earth!" the Prime replied. "Correct. The Reapers will now consolidate their forces around the Citadel and protect it at all costs, the chances of gaining access to it are now remote." Bagu replied. "We are not out of this fight yet, we will get the Crucible to Earth." Jack said, as each member of his team nodded in return. "I wish your plan success." the Vi replied. "Teletraan, contact the Ark and get me Admiral Bryce." the Prime said, but before the AI could do anything, it was hit by a biotic projectile and disappeared. Jack and the others looked in the direction that the shot came from and saw Sideways standing there, ready to fight. "No, you don't." he said as he unsheathed his blade. "You!" Jack snarled in response. "Silas did tell you not to overstay your welcome." the former Con replied before charging at the Prime and swinging the blade at him. Jack though brought up the sky boom shield and blocked the attack before activating his star saber. Arcee and the others attempted to support Jack, but then a squad of Phantoms appeared out of nowhere and attacked them. "Your friends aren't going to help you, Darby." Silas said as his and the Prime's blades locked. "I wouldn't count them out." Jack replied as he then kicked the former Con in the stomach before upper cutting him with the shield, knocking Sideways on his back. Jack then tried to take advantage, but his adversary flipped back on to his feet. Arcee meanwhile was using a flurry of blows with kicks and punches at the Phantom she was fighting, but it blocked and evaded each one. The enemy then tried to counterattack, but Arcee managed to grab the Phantom's weapon arm, while swinging her free arm at it's torso. She deployed her arm blade and sliced open the Phantom's chest. Spilling blood out of the enemy as it fell to the ground dead. Smokescreen took out his Phantom with a three shots to the head, while it was distracted by Miranda. But the last Phantom tried to attack her from behind, Jack saw this as he noticed Sideways powering up his biotics and then the former Con let loose with a biotic slam, but Jack rolled out of the way. The force of the slam hit the Phantom instead, throwing it into the wall. Jack then backhanded Sideways in the face before kicking him in the side. "Your fancy upgrades are not going to help you here." the Prime said confidently. "I will beat you the old fashioned way then, 'Prime'." the former Con spat as he charged at Jack again, but the Prime blocked the attack with the star saber before slamming the shield into his adversary, making Sideways fall back on his ass. "Give up ,Sideways. It's over." Jack said while looking down at his opponent. Sideways looked up with a frustrated expression has he gritted his teeth and got to his feet. "Never!" he spat back before attacking again, the Prime then raised the shield to block the attack,. But then at the last second he deactivated it and let the full force of his adversary's attack make him stumble forward as Jack dodged the blade and spun around the former Con. Sideways then resurrected himself before turning back to his enemy, but Jack then stabbed the Star saber into the former Con's side and up into his chest. Sideways grimaced in pain as he felt the blade go up into his spark chamber. "That was for Airachnid, you son of a bitch." Jack said back angrily before pulling the blade back out and letting Sideways fall to his knees as his blood poured out of the wound and onto the floor. His eyes then glazed over as he fell face first on to the floor dead. Jack then turned back to the others as Bagu had watched from the orange holo-interface. "The Citadel is in place and the Reapers are preparing to complete their harvest of your species." "I'll stop them." Jack said defiantly. "I fear it is too late, I suggest you start researching a way to conserve information for future species. Perhaps you will succeed where we failed." Bagu replied. "You didn't fail. You gave us a fighting chance and we are not done yet." the Prime said before Miranda downloaded the VI into her holo-tool and the group then headed out of Silas's Lab, leaving the body of Sideways where he lay.
  7. CHAPTER 17 Jack was standing alone in the Com room as he leaned back against the wall with his arms crossed, the incoming transmission LED on the control console in front of him was blinking back at the Prime. He knew who it was on the other end, but had no idea how he was going to explain what happened, how he came so close to acquiring the means to end the Reapers. But then not only coming away empty-handed, but also losing a friend and teammate. He closed his eyes and sighed as brushed his and through his hair before standing up straight and walking over to the control console. He then tapped the button next to the blinking LED and a fragmented hologram of Councillor Tevos appeared. "Jackson Prime, do you read?" Jack could hear her say barely through the static before her image cleared up. "Prime, are you there?" she asked again, her voice sounding anxious. Jack looked down and took a deep breath before answering. "Councillor, I am here." "Prime, we have lost all contact with our forces on Thessia, the entire system has gone dark. How long until the Crucible will be ready to deploy?" Tevos asked. Jack looked up and met the Asari's gaze. "Councillor… I wish I…." He just couldn't say it, say that he lost the data and also watched as the Reapers lay waste to her planet. But then he was snapped out of his self loathing by the Councillor's voice. "What is it, Prime, what happened?" "We found the Kranix matrix, but MECH arrived and took the information. We were… we were defeated. We can not finish the Crucible." he said as he forced the words out of his mouth, leaving a bad taste. Tevos looked down to the ground and placed her hand on her brow. "I… I don't know what to say." she said before looking back at the Prime. "What was the situation on Thessia?" Jack looked back down to the console, unable to even look the Councillor in the eye. "The Reapers are there in force, your people are being…" Tevos's expression changed to one of worry and despair as she failed to keep her emotions in check and looked back to the Commander. "You will have to excuse me, Prime. There are…. preparations to make. I never thought this day would come." "None of is did. Councillor. I am….." Jack said as he looked up at her, only for Tevos to end the transmission and her image to faded to nothing. Jack felt his heart sink as he looked into the empty space where the Asari's hologram once stood. "… I'm sorry." he said before taking a step back from the console. Everything that they had planned was unravelling fast, the Reapers were now attacking every major power in the galaxy and the one thing that could help was no in the hands of Silas and MECH. 'How did it come to this?' he thought before turning around and leaving the room. Arcee was waiting for Jack as he exited the room, she took one look at Jack and saw that he was hurting. Not only for losing to MECH, but also for losing Airachnid. The femme knew that they had been close, that they shared just a brief moment of what she and the Prime had. When Airachnid had asked to kiss Jack one last time, Arcee could not feel angry about it. Because over time the former Con had become a good friend and if it hadn't been for Airachnid, then she and Jack would never had gotten back together. And for that Arcee would be forever grateful. "Jack, Teletraan has reported that Liara T'Soni has made it safely to the Asari cruiser 'Aurora'. She sends us her thanks and says that she will be helping the evacuation of her people." "That's good to hear." the Prime replied with a blank expression. "Teletraan also said that the remaining Asari forces are pulling out of the system, they are leaving it to the Reapers." Arcee added as she looked at Jack with concern. "Okay, I will tell Hotrod to get us out of here." the Prime replied before starting to leave, only for the femme to speak again. "What are your orders once we are on our way?" Jack stopped and looked back to her. "I don't know, Arcee." It was killing the femme to see her lover like this, her spark ached at the sight of Jack looking so lost and defeated. "Jack, if you want I will cover your duties so that you can get some rest." Jack sighed and look down for a moment before looking back to her. "And if you want to talk, you know I am only a spark beat away." she added, gaining a slight smile from the Prime. "I know Arcee, thank you." he said before he turned away and walked toward the elevator, leaving the femme to watch him go. Jack entered the CIC, ignoring the worried looks from the crewmen as he walked up to the cockpit where Hotrod was. "Hotrod, report." The Autobot pilot typed into the holo-keyboard in front of him and brought up the map of the system, it showed a number of white dots leaving Thessia as a mass of red dots surrounded the planet. "Prime, we better get out of here, the Reapers are setting up shop in this system." Jack's face remained blank as he looked at the screen. "Very well, get us out of here." "What's our destination?" Hotrod asked back with a somewhat confused tone. Jack just looked at the ground as he turned away and began to walk back towards the elevator. "Pick one, I don't care where." he mumbled under his breath. The Autobot knew that something wasn't right, so he spun his chair around to face the Commander. "Prime?" Jack stopped and looked back to his pilot. "Yes, Hotrod?" "Sorry to see Thessia that way, I'm guessing the Asari wish they trained more commandos instead of dancers now huh.." the pilot joked, earning a bemused look from the Prime which quickly changed to one of anger as he walked back towards the cockpit. "If you hadn't noticed we just lost a few million people down there with even more to follow, this isn't the time." he snapped at Hotrod. The pilot looked up at him with wide eyes before his expression mirrored the Prime's as he activated his hook-tool, bringing up a holo image of a planet. "See this planet, it's called Temptoria, it's a human/Cybertronian colony near the edges of Alliance space. My brother Rodimus is stationed there." Then the image showed Red dots arriving at the planet. "Two weeks ago Reapers flew in." Hotrod continued as he deactivated his holo-tool and looked up at Jack with a serious expression. "So you can assume that I am fully aware that there is war going on." "Then why the joke?" Jack asked back in an angry tone. "Because according to Teletraan and Ratchet's scans, you are under more pressure now than on New Terra, where it was just you and a handful of rookies versus an army of slavers. Or better yet the battle of the Citadel or the attack on the Quintesson home world.".Hotrod replied. Jack was about to say something but the pilot continued. "Also not long back Bryce sent a message from Optimus, who asked me to look out for you. The leader of the Autobots, who is back on Earth coordinating the resistance is more worried about you." the Autobot added. "I didn't know that, and I do appreciate the concern... but I am fine." Jack replied, but Hotrod saw otherwise. "No you're not, Jack..." the Autobot replied which stunned the Prime, as this was the first time that Hotrod has called him by his name. "... you're like a terminator right now, and it is my fault. Nearly three years ago when the Quintessons destroyed the Normandy, you died after coming back for me, because I wouldn't leave, That's on me." Hotrod replied with a guilty tone in his voice. "Well, I couldn't leave the best pilot in the galaxy behind now... Could I?" the Prime replied with a slight smile, hoping it would calm his pilot down. "I guess that would look bad on your record." the pilot replied as he saw that Jack had made a joke. "But I still owe you for saving my life Jack and I will repay you." "You don't owe me anything, Hotrod. You're my friend, thank you." The young bot nodded in return before Jack looked out of the cockpit's canopy into space. "Set course for the seventh fleet, we will see if Admiral Bryce has any Intel for us. In the meantime I will be in my quarters, Arcee will be covering for me." "Aye aye." Hotrod replied as he turned his chair back round to the controls, and Jack turned to leave, walking back into the CIC. The pilot then leaned round and watched him leave. "I will pay you back Jack." he said under his breath. "Did you say something, Hotrod?" Teletraan asked as its holo-form appeared next to the pilot. "Nah, I didn't. Setting course for the Seventh fleet." the pilot replied as he looked back towards the canopy and took control of the ship, which then flew through the active space bridge vortex. PRIME EFFECT 3 It had been a few hours since the Defiant had left Thessia to the Reapers and morale on board was low to say the least, Jack had not been out of his quarters since the ship had retreated along with the Asari forces. Arcee was at this moment in engineering with Garrus and Tali. The Quarian was performing a diagnostic on the engine core from a console over looking the Core's containment shield, Garrus was standing behind her with his arms wrapped round her waist. Though you could not see her face behind the visor of her helmet, she was content and had a big smile on her face. Garrus looked over to Arcee who was leaning back against the rail that half surrounded the core, she was looking ahead with a pensive expression. "Arcee. everything okay? You haven't spoken in a while." he asked. The femme sighed before looking back to her friends. "Sorry, Guys, I was just thinking." she said in a sombre tone. "About Jack?" Tali asked as she looked up from her work to the Autobot, Arcee nodded in return. "He has taken Airachnid's death very hard, I can't help but wonder how he would be if anything..." she said before cutting herself short, not wanting to say the words. "You mean if anything had happened to you?" Garrus finished, making the femme look at him and then back down to the ground. "... yes." "I know how Jack feels for youm Arcee, because it is exactly the same as how I feel for Tali." the Turian said as he gently tightened his arms around his lover's waist, the Quarian took a deep breath as she tried to stop her self getting too excited by Garrus's open act of affection towards her. She then stopped what she was doing and turned around and looked him in the eyes. "If anything had happened to you on Omega, then there would have been nothing Jack or anyone could have done to stop me from killing Petrovsky and every member of MECH on that station." he said as she placed a hand on the chest plate of his armour and smiled back, the Turian then looked back to Arcee when he remembered they weren't alone. "So, Arcee, believe me when I say that I know what his reaction would be if it was you." The Autobot nodded back with a slight smile gracing her face. "Yeah, I guess I have always known that about Jack. Thanks, Garrus." she replied. "Hey, you should go corner him and get him to talk. I did that with Garrus here and he felt better once it was off his chest." Tali then said getting the femme's attention as she stood back up. "I think I will, see you guys later." As Arcee left, the Quarian then wrapped both arms around the her lover's neck gaining a puzzle smile from him. "I thought you had work to do?" "Well I did, but someone keeps distracting me." she answered coyly. "Well….. Damn, what are you going to do to this person?" he replied just a coy, making Tali rise up on her tip toes and whisper into his ear. Garrus's eyes then almost popped out of their sockets before he looked back to her in surprise. "… really, I didn't know that. I mean if you feel ready.. but." he said before she cut him by placing a finger on his lips. "Follow me." she said in a low seductive tone before taking him by the hand and leading him out of Engineering, only stopping to look over to another engineer who was trying to act like he had not seen anything. "Adams, I am taking a break. Please keep an eye on things until I get back." Tali said in a professional manner. "Yes Tali sir.. I mean miss." he replied awkwardly as the two lovers left. Meanwhile Arcee exited the elevator on deck one which led to her and Jack's quarters. She stood outside the door and took a breath before taking a step forward and the door opened, revealing the interior to her. But she stopped when she saw that the room was empty. "Teletraan where is Jack, I thought that he was up here?" she asked into her com link. "I am sorry, Arcee, but Jackson Prime has asked for privacy." the AI replied, earning a slight scowl from the femme. "Teletraan, this is me you are talking too. Tell me where Jack is?" There was silence for several seconds before the AI spoke again. "Very well, Prime is in the gym." Meanwhile Jack was alone in what the crew called 'the gym, it wasn't particularly large room but it was filled with some weight machines, treadmills and mats. The Prime at this moment was unloading into a punching bag. He was throwing a flurry of punches and kicks into the bag, as if he was picturing it as someone else. Every time a fist or foot connected, he would try to see flashes of Sideways in pain. But instead he saw the friends that he had lost since becoming a Prime, friends that he believed should still be here. He hit the bag as hard as he could and saw a flash of Miko, another punch connected and then it was Kaidan. Then a roundhouse kick and he saw Wheeljack. He then performed a combination and he saw Jacob and Zaeed, Soundwave and Legion. Then the last punch made him see Airachnid and that stopped him in his tracks, he stood there with his fist still embedded in the punching bag. He was covered in sweat and breathing heavily. he had been so preoccupied with the apparatus that he had not noticed Arcee standing in the doorway watching him, her face was one of worry and concern. True if she had seen him doing this at any other time, then his current appearance would have gotten quite a different reaction from her, with his toned and sweaty physique. But this was different, she watched for a moment longer as he pulled his fist from the bag and looked down at the floor. "Jack, I thought I would find you in our room." She said gaining the Prime's attention as he looked back to her, his expression one of annoyance. "I told Teletraan I didn't want to be disturbed." he replied as he took a stance and readied himself for another round. "Like that was going to work with me, Jack. You know me better than that." the femme said back as she stepped into the room towards him, the Commander then began punching the bag multiple times in the process. "I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts, Arcee." he said with heavy breaths as he concentrated on the apparatus, which had begun to swing due to the amount of force being used against it. Arcee saw this and took hold of the bag from the other side and steadied it, never taking her eyes off her partner in the process. "So you wanted to be alone to torture yourself mentally and physically." she said as she looked at him. "Well, you have picked a hell of at time to let yourself go." Jack stopped and glared at her, but all he saw from Arcee's face was love and worry and tah causd his own expression to soften. "Arcee..." he replied before he stopped his assault on the apparatus. "Talk to me, Jack. What's wrong? Why are you down here?" the femme asked. The Prime then moved away from the punching bag and sat down on the bench that ran the length of the wall, the Autobot doing the same while keeping her eyes on her lover. Jack bent forward and hung his head as he sighed. "It's my fault." "What is, Jack? What's your fault?" Arcee replied with a confused look. "What happened on Thessia with MECH." he answered sombrely. "Jack, you couldn't have known what was going to happen down there." the femme said back with a supportive tone. "I should have. As a Prime, I have to be ready for anything that may happen. But I was just so fixated on getting the Kranix matrix, that I lost sight of everything else." he said. "Jack, you had to be though because we needed that to end the war. And no one thinks less of you, because they would have been exactly the same." Arcee replied as she placed a comforting hand on his knee. Jack though didn't acknowledge her as he just kept looking down at the floor. The femme could see that he wanted to be alone and stew in his own juices... If that was the correct human term, but she wasn't about to give up on him. So she instead sat closer to him, showing him that she wasn't going anywhere. "I know there is more to this than just what happened on Thessia, Jack. This goes back further than that. Like the fact that you sleep erratically, or that you close yourself off from the others." Arcee said with a tone that Jack could not help but notice, so he glanced up to her. "You never give up, do you? He replied somberly. The femme then gently placed a hand on his cheek and turned his face towards her, bringing his eyes to meet hers. "I'll never give up on you, Jack... not ever." she replied softly. Jack then sighed as he remembered what he had promised Garrus only days before, he knew he could not hold it off any longer and that Arcee deserved better than to be kept in the dark. Hell maybe getting it off his chest would actually relieve him of the guilt and pain that he had felt over the last few months. "I am truly sorry for worrying you, but I thought that this burden was mine to bear alone." The Autobot then gave him a knowing look. "You really just said that, after what you said to me not long back about keeping things to yourself when I was worried about Chromia, you did the opposite of that and now it is effecting you. Trust me as I trust you, let me in…let me help you." she asked in an almost pleading like tone. It was funny that both Garrus and Arcee had said similar things to the Prime in just a matter of days, those closest to him knew him better than he knew him self it would seem. So Jack sat up with his back to the wall and took a breath as he looked directly in front of him. "Back on Earth, while I was incarnated. There was this boy who was playing with other kids in a playground just away from the complex I was held at. He couldn't of been any older than six or seven years, but nearly every day I saw him there enjoying his childhood without a care in world. Well when the Reapers attacked and you, Optimus and I were trying to get down to street level, I found him hiding in an open vent. I tried to convince him to come with us, so that we could get him to safety. But he was too scared to trust anyone and when Optimus called back to me, I looked back to find that he had gone retreated further into the vents." "I am sorry Jack, but when a child is scared. Usually the only ones who they will trust are their own family." Arcee replied sympathetically. "That wasn't the only time I saw him, there was 'one more time'." Jack said back. "One more time?" "Yes, it was when we were standing on the Defiant's shuttle bay ramp and looking out at the devastation that the Reapers were inflicting. I saw him at one of the evacuation zones, he was about to board a shuttle when he looked directly at me. So I smiled back, knowing that he would be alright. But then just as his shuttle was leaving, it was blown out of the sky by a nearby Reaper." the Prime said with his eyes wide as if he could see the whole moment happen in front of him. "And from that moment I have felt that those who have died during this conflict, not just our friends who have fallen. But everyone…. is on me, because I didn't fight hard enough." he said simply before looking down to the floor. Arcee immediately moved and knelt down in front of him. "Look at me, Jack." she said with a gentle but firm tone, gaining Jack's attention as he looked at her. "You have been fighting the Reapers since the beginning. And you have warned people about them for years now, so the blame must rest solely on the shoulders of those who would not act, not on the one who did." she said firmly while looking into his eyes. "And as for our friends who are no longer with us, they knew the risks and dangers that came with fighting beside you and yet they followed you anyway. Because they believed in your cause and knew that it was the right thing to do, as does everyone else on this ship. And so do I." Jack then gave the femme a sad smile as his eyes began to well up. "Thank you, Arcee. I have held this in for so long now, I know that I should have known better but…" he said before the Autobot cut him off. "Sssshhh." she said as she got up and pulled him into an embrace, the Prime resting his head on her shoulder as a solitary tear ran down his cheek. "You're putting too much on your shoulders, Jack. You maybe a Prime, but you are still just a man...but you are 'my man'." she said affectionately before the two parted slightly to look at each other. The femme then leaned in and kissed him on the lips lovingly, with Jack returning it in kind. Once they separated Arcee smiled at her lover. "Now go and get yourself cleaned up and meet me in the CIC, the crew needs it's Commander more now than ever." "Yes, Sir." he answered with a surprised smile, before walking past her and out of the gym, Arcee watched with a smile as he left. PRIME EFFECT 3 Twenty minutes later and Jack exited the elevator and entered the CIC as Arcee was looking over some data on the galaxy map. "Teletraan, are you sure these bases are no longer used by MECH?" the femme asked as she stared at three yellow dots blinking on the map. "Positive Arcee, these bases have been searched by the Alliance since I uploaded their whereabouts to our mainframe." the AI replied. Jack then stood beside his partner, earning a smile from her. But before he could say anything, one of the crew approached him. "Commander, I have this week's duty roster for you to check." she said as she handed him a pad which he looked at. "It looks good, Ensign. Carry on." he replied stoically. The ensign nodded and was about to leave when he turned back to the Prime. "It's good to see you, Sir." he said a little nervously, but Jack smiled back at him. "Thank you." The crewmen smiled and then headed back to his station, Jack then turned back to see Arcee still smiling at him. "Told you." she simply replied, as the Prime turned his attention to the galaxy map. "So where are we at right now?" "Well, as of right now. We are nowhere, none of our leads (which is nearly none) have anything we can work with." the femme replied. "We'll figure something, we always do." he said in return. "Prime." a voice then spoke from behind the partners. They both turned to see Chromia standing in front of them looking rather sheepish. "Here is my security report, I hope you find everything satisfactory." she said as she handed her pad to Jack who looked it over. "Yes, that will do, Chromia." he said before handing it back to the femme. Chromia then looked at her sister and then back to the Prime. "I am sorry to hear about Airachnid and how I treated her when her earlier. I didn't know about her past." "But you do now?" Arcee asked gaining a nod from her younger sister. "Yes, Hotrod told me. I wish I could take back what I said and did, but now she is gone and I won't have that opportunity." Chromia replied sombrely. "How do you feel about Airachnid now, knowing the truth about her? Jack asked. " I wish I got to know her better, she was another victim of Shockwave. I lost some friends to his cruelty during war, Hotrod also told me that you helped her kill him. I just hope that she finally finds some peace now with the Allspark. "As do we." Arcee replied before looking to Jack who smiled back, the femme and Prime then looked back to be younger bot. "I know Airachnid would appreciate what you just said, Chromia, thank you." The purple femme nodded before turning to leave, then looked over to her sister. "Want to talk over a coffee later, Sis?" "Sure, I'll see you at lunch." she replied with a smile. Chromia returned the smile before leaving the two at the galaxy map and walking up to the cockpit, leaving the partners alone again. "Jackson Prime, I am receiving a transmission along the Defiant's secondary com array." "I thought we don't use that particular array, unless the primary has been disabled?" The Prime replied. "That is correct, but it is left active invade of emergencies. Also while the primaries are active, all messages received on the secondaries are never recorded." Teletraan stated. "So whoever sent this message knew this and wanted it left off our records." Jack replied. "Someone really wants to contact us." Arcee said in return. Jack looked over to the holo-form of the AI. "Is there any way to locate the source of the transmission?" the Prime asked. "Negative, as the strength of the transmission is very weak and so it's trail degrades quickly, blocking my attempts to localize it." Teletraan replied. "Very well, reroute it to the com room." Jack said before looking over to Arcee. "Someone is going to get lengths to contact us and her keep themselves hidden, so let's see who it is shall we." the Prime said as he gestured to the femme to follow and the two entered the elevator. Once in the Com room, Jack activated the central console and an image started to appear in front of them. But it was distorted and barely recognizable. "Ja...ck, can...read." it's voice managed to say through the static. Jack then typed a series of commands into the console's holo-keyboard. "I am going to try to boost the signal with power from our own con array, hopefully that will clean it up." After a moment the image vegan to clear and take the form of a familiar human woman who made Jack's eyes widen in surprise. "Miranda." "Jack, it's been a while." she replies as she stood before the two partners. "Yes it has, what's going on?" the Prime asked but the former MECH agent just stared back with a look of urgency on her face. "Sorry, Jack. I can't tell you much. I don't know how long it will take before they notice what I am doing and block the signal." "What do you mean, who do you mean by they?" Jack asked with a confused expression. "I mean MECH, they are here at 'Sanctuary'. The station is not what people think it is." Miranda replied, Jack was about to speak again but the Agent cut him off. "Shit, they have found me. Look just come here to Sanctuary and see for yourself, I will try to stay alive long enough for us..." Her image then fizzled out as the transmission was cut off at the source. Jack looked over to Arcee. "Tell Hotrod to set course for the Sanctuary station and then meet me down in the shuttle bay with Garrus and Grimlock." "Sure, Jack." the femme replied before the two of them left the room and headed off in different directions. Meanwhile on Sanctuary, Miranda slammed her fist down on the console as the screen changed to a locked out warning. The former agent then tried to regain control of it before the power in the room shut down, blanketing her in darkness. 'Damn it, wont be long before…' she thought before hearing a lot of footfalls rapidly approaching the room she was in. So she grabbed her SMG from the side of the console and took cover behind a table, just in time for a group of MECH soldiers to enter the room with their weapons ready and shining their torch light around the room, one of the beams narrowly missed Miranda as she kept low as it passed over her. "This was where the security hack occurred, search the room." the lead soldier said, before the group started to spread out around the computer lab. The former agent noticed one of the enemies closing on her position, so staying low she crawled slowly round the table. Just narrowly missing being spotted by another soldier as she turned the corner and crept up behind her target. She then got back to her feet (in a squatting position) and activated her holo-knife and stabbed it into the soldiers back, making him cry out in pain before she hid again as the others turned and shone their torches on their comrade who was flinching and grimacing while blood flowed freely down the back of his Armour from the wound. "Echo three!" the leader shouted as the wounded soldier fell to the floor. The others were about to move toward their fallen, but the leader stopped them. "No, don't stop searching. That was what our target was hoping for, so that we would open up an avenue of escape for them." he said as he stood next to the door. Miranda looked up from her hiding spot behind another table and saw that the other five enemies were evenly spread out around the room. So she activated her silencer mode on her SMG and stood up and fired three bullets directly into the back of the head of the soldier nearest to her, causing him to fall to the floor dead with a thud. The former agent got back behind cover as the remaining soldiers turned and looked where the sound came from. "Echo-Two?" the leader called out. "He's dead." one of the others stated as he shone his torch down at the body, the beam of light just missing Miranda as she had took cover around the corner. "For fuck's sake, everyone watch yourselves." the Leader said with a tone that had fear and nerves underlining his words. The others nodded, while Miranda had quietly made her way round to the soldier that was standing in the west side of the room. She got up behind him and grabbed at his throat and snapped it in one clean move. The last two remaining soldiers (including the leader) suddenly looked round to see another comrade dead and lying face down over a table top, Miranda peeked up from behind her cover and could see that the enemy was now losing their nerve and was letting fear. 'Good, they should be scared. I wasn't Silas's best agent because of my looks.' she thought as the squad leader tapped his com link while the only other soldier covered him next to the door. "Doctor Saleon. Come in, Dr. Saleon?" Elsewhere on Sanctuary, the hologram of Silas could be seen talking with a Salarian. "Doctor Saleon, report." the yellow optic eyed man said. The scientist turned and typed away at his console's holo-keyboard until a large screen in front of the two activated, then large amounts of data started scrolling down the screen. "Well, as you can see, the tests continue to be running at one hundred percent success rate. Every one of our test subjects has succumbed to our own signal and will no longer listen to the Reapers, so long as they remain in the radius of ours." The Director smiled as he looked at the screen. "Excellent, Saleon. You have just given humanity a way to control Reaper forces. This will turn the tide of this war and allow MECH to take the offensive." He then looked at a scan of a Reaper that appeared next to the data. "So how long before we can use this technology on the Reapers themselves?" "Now there is the problem, you see it's one thing to control the ground forces, but another to do the same to one of the Reapers themselves, let alone the entire race. I am afraid I have hit a wall in my research into that particular area." the Salarian replied with a slightly nervous tone. "Relax, Doctor. I have acquired the information you need to solve that particular puzzle and will be sending it momentarily, but first..." Silas said back before being interrupted by the sound of Saleon's com link activating. "Doctor Saleon, come in." the soldier said. "I am in the middle of a meeting, what is it?" he replied with a slight venom like tone. "Echo squad reporting. Sir, my squad were checking out an illegal activation of the com system in lab two-seven-four. We cut power to the room and swarmed in but who ever it is has killed most of my men, I need reinforcements." he said before the sound of gun fire could be heard. "Aaaggggrrrhhh!..." the solder cried out before the link went quiet for a moment. Silas just watched as Saleon frantically tried to regain communications with the squad. "Come in, Echo squad?" Suddenly movement could be heard as if someone was picking up the com link. "So you're, Doctor Saleon. Where are my parents?" a woman's voice spoke back angrily. "Miranda." Silas said with an impressed tone in his voice as he stood there watching the doctor. "Ah, Miss Lawson, the former rising star of MECH. I am afraid that I have no idea where your adoptive parents are. But I know your 'real' father wants to see you." Saleon replied. "I always knew Salarians were terrible liars, my parents are there. And 'Silas' is no father to me, he has proven that fact time and again over the last year." "Well, I know that what you just said would burn the Director right to his heart." the Salarian said as he looked back to Silas who just stared back with a disinterested expression. "MECH kidnapped my parents and I will make you all suffer." Miranda replied with anger underlining her words, then the transmission cut off. Saleon then looked over to another screen, this one showed another squad of soldiers. "Have you locked in her location?" "Yes, Sir. We are ready to terminate on your order." the lead soldier replied. Silas though faked a cough to gain the Salarian's attention. "Saleon, I want Miranda taken alive so I can deal with her myself." "yes, I see. A 'Father's right' of course. What about the transmission she managed to send out?" the scientist asked. "I know who she would have contacted and 'he' will be here soon enough, so I want you to send all data on our project to me at once, purge our computer banks and prepare to scuttle the station. We can not afford to allow our enemies to know what we are about to achieve. Understood?" Silas said in return, earning a nod from the Salarian. "Yes, Director. But what about the hostages? Should we not kill them?" "No, let Miranda see that they are alive. And then force the issue that if she wants them to stay that way, then she will have to surrender. Inform me when it is all done, Silas out." The Director's hologram then faded away as Saleon looked back to the soldiers. "The Director wishes for our guest to be taken alive, so switch to stun rounds." "Roger that." the trooper replied before the transmission cut. Miranda was running down a corridor towards the elevator when suddenly another group of soldiers turned the corner up a head and immediately fired on her, her personal shield taking several direct hits before she managed to take cover behind part of an archway that spanned the width of the corridor. She then fired off her SMG and took out one of the enemies as the rest of them took cover and fired back. 'I don't have time for this.' she thought as she took cover again as the gun fire hit the wall next to her. Suddenly the station's alarm blared throughout the corridors and the lighting system changed from white to flash red. "Alert, Alert, proximity Alert!" a VI voice spoke on the intercom. Miranda peek around the corner of the archway to see the soldiers backing off, the leader was motioning them away while holding a hand to his helmet. 'Why are they being called away?' the former agent thought before her attention was taken up by the window closet to her. Miranda's eyes widened as she saw a Reaper approaching the station. 'Great, this is where the fun begins.' PRIME EFFECT 3 Jack was sitting in the shuttle with Arcee to his left and Garrus to his right, and sitting on the other side was Grimlock who was checking his sword. "Teletraan, what are the details on Sanctuary?" Jack asked. "Sanctuary is a station that the Council offered to the Alliance at the start of the war, it is slightly smaller than the Citadel and can hold around two and half million people. The Council have devoted it and it's facilities to aiding refugees from Alliance space that have lost their homes to the Reapers. The station went dark only a short while ago and no further communication have come or gone since. It is unclear why MECH would be interested in Sanctuary." the AI answered. "Well, Miranda said they were here, so lets meet up with her and figure it out." Jack replied, earning a nod from his team mates. "Jack, we have just entered the system… oh scrap, we have two Reaper signatures in proximity to the station." Hotrod stated over the com link. "There is a Sovereign class Reaper which at the moment is engaged in combat against three MECH cruisers and another Reaper, I have never seen this one before." the pilot added. "What does it look like?" Arcee asked. "It looks similar to the larger vessels we have seen, but is smaller with a wider frame. Right now it is clinging to the side of the station." Hotrod replied over the com. "Alliance Intel has classified this as 'troop transports', I am reading that it is offloading a couple hundred husks onto the station as we speak." Teletraan interjected as an image appeared on a monitor for Jack and the others to see. "Alright we launch now. Swoop, be ready." the Prime said over to the Dinobot in the pilot's seat. "Roger that." he replied as he activated his holo-controls. The Defiant's shuttle bay ramp opened up and once clear, shuttle one flew out and headed towards the station. "Hotrod, keep the ship clear for time being." Jack said over the com link. "Will do, Jack. Good luck." the pilot replied. The shuttle then closed the distance to the station as Jack walked into the cockpit and stood beside Swoop and looked out of the canopy to Sanctuary. It looked very much like the Destiny Ascension, only on a far larger scale. And the Reaper troop transport was hooked into the side of it. "There is the main landing bay, drop us off there and then find a place to hold up until we call." Jack said as he pointed over to the entry point. "You're the boss, Prime." Swoop replied as he piloted the shuttle inside, Jack moved back to his team as they readied themselves and stood beside the hatch. "Okay. you're clear." Swoop called back and the Prime hit the control panel and the hatch swung open to reveal a group of Husks standing over a pile corpses. "Take them down!" Jack shouted as Garrus, Arcee and himself fired on the creatures, ripping them apart in storm of bullets. Once they were dead, the Turian climbed out of the shuttle and scanned the area with his weapon. "Clear." he said, before the others joined him on the ground. The shuttle then closed it's hatch automatically before turning around and flying back out into space through the force field that held back the empty void. "Well, I understand the Reapers being here, what with their forces now attacking everyone but why MECH? What could they be after?" Arcee asked as they began to head for a door at the far end of the landing bay. "No idea, maybe Miranda might know." Garrus replied as Jack took point and Grimlock watched the rear. Once they made it to the door, the Prime activated the door's control panel and a VI voice spoke as the doors opened. "Welcome to Sanctuary. For yours and others safety, please follow the orders of the station's security officers." The group walked into what looked like a battlefield, but it was in fact the station's reception/lobby. "Looks like they had one hell of a fight in here." Garrus said as he looked over at the large scorch marks left on the walls. "Well, why aren't there any bodies?" Grimlock asked as he looked round the empty room. "The Husks probably took them all for processing." Jack said as he approached one of the desks and activated the computer there. "Look at this." he said as the others stood beside him and watched as a vid log played. It showed lines of people queuing to enter the station. "They probably thought that they were safe here from the Reapers." Arcee said as she saw children among the refugees. "What happens here though, I mean this place doesn't house all the refugees does it?" Garrus asked. "No, originally it was meant for that. But as soon as their numbers went to high, this place became a hub, where any new arrivals were checked up and then sent to other colonies in Council space." the Prime replied before deactivating the computer. "I wonder how things are going outside?" Grimlock said. "Jack to Defiant. Come in, Hotrod." Jack said as he attempted to use his com link, but was answered by a hissing noise on the other end. "This is Jackson Prime, can you hear me?" The others watched as the Prime tried to contact their ship with no success, Arcee then tried her com link before shaking her head. "Our com links don't work, this place must have a dampening field in effect." The group looked at each other before a voice caught Jack's attention from another room just behind them. "Can you hear that?" he asked before walking over to the door way and looking inside. There was an active terminal with another vid log playing. "This is Miranda Lawson, if you have managed to come this far, you are must be desperate or stupid. Listen to me, this is not a refugee camp but instead is a MECH facility run by Doctor Saleon." Garrus's eyes widened at the mention of that name, which did not go unnoticed by Jack but he then looked back to the terminal screen which showed more images of the station's interior as Miranda continued. "Turn back now, there is no help to be found here. All communication within the station is being blocked from the CIC, situated in the station's tower. Sanctuary is a lie, stay away." Then the message ended and Jack turned back to the others. "So we have Reapers, MECH and the Doctor who created the Adjutants. Seems like the pieces of the puzzle are coming together." "Yeah, with the work that Saleon did on Omega. It would seem that MECH are doing similar experiments here, I wonder if this is where it all started." Arcee added before an uncertain expression appeared on her face. "Jack, how could this have been going on, I mean right under the Council's noses?" Jack activated his holo-tool and connected it to the terminal remotely. "Let's find out." he replied as he looked at the data scrolling down the tool's screen. "Well, it seems that this station is being run by a Doctor Mordin Solus. Must be a fake ID being used by the Doctor." Grimlock started to fidget as if he didn't like to be standing in one place to long while Garrus just remained quiet and watched the two partners. "Makes sense, MECH gave him a new identity and then he gains the Council's favour and is allowed to use this station, supposedly as a haven for refugees." Arcee said in return. "I've heard enough, lets just go." the Turian said coldly as he turned for the door. "Garrus, wait. I know you want Saleon and I will help you get him. But I need to know that you're not going to let your need for revenge make you go all terminator on us." Jack said back in a worried tone. But the Turian looked back at him and smiled slightly. "I'm fine, Jack. But I was thinking more about that." he said as he pointed up to another monitor above them. The Prime and his XO looked up and sighed. "Oh crap, we better move." he said as the image on the screen showed scores of Husks running down a corridor (probably leading directly to them). "Finally something to kill." Grimlock happily exclaimed as he equipped his blade before the team moved out of the room. After searching all the rooms connected to the main reception/lobby, Jack and his friends stopped to assess their findings. "Well with a station this big, I'd think that there would be more rooms than what we have found?" Garrus said with an annoyed tone. "This is a secret MECH base, my guess is that there would a hidden entrance somewhere." Jack replied, which made Arcee look at him a certain way. "What is it, Arcee?" the Prime asked, having noticed this. "Follow me." she said as she walked back towards the main corridor. Once they were all back there, she pointed over to the dead end at the other side. "I know we have already searched here, but it wasn't until you said 'a hidden entrance', I mean this just feels wrong to me." she said with a unnerved tone. Jack then walked toward the far end and felt a tingling sensation the closer he got to it. "Arcee's right, there is something not right about this." he said back to the others before reaching out with his free hand until his finger touched something, which made a ripple effect span out and showed that the far end of the corridor was not what it seemed. "A hologram, shielding the entrance to the facility." Garrus stated as Jack looked back to them. "Looks like, let's move." he said before he started to walk into the hologram, but suddenly a Husk dived through and sent the Prime tumbling to the floor. "JACK!" Arcee shouted as the Husk bared down on her partner who was trying to fight it off. "A little help?" he said back as the drool dripped onto his chest plate from the Husk's rotten looking mouth. But before the others could do anything, more Husks ran through the field at them. "Take them down." Garrus said as he and the femme fired back against the horde as it rushed towards them, Grimlock merely smiled as he began swinging his large blade at the creatures. Slicing them in two as he did. Jack's face was now only an inch away from the Husk as it tried to bite him. "Not…..today." he said through gritted teeth before he punched the creature in the face and as it was disoriented, he activated his star saber and in one swing had decapitated the Husk. It's head roll onto the floor as it's body began to slump on the Prime, but he pushed it off as it's blood leaked over him. 'Perfect.' he thought as he then got up and ran through the hologram. "Jack?" Garrus said just after shooting down the final Husk, Arcee had finished off her last enemy with her arm blades and Grimlock had impaled one to the ground with his sword. He then looked around at the bodies of the creatures and sighed. "Too bad." "I'm sure there will be more that that, Grimlock." the Turian said as Arcee started looking around with an almost frantic expression. "Where's Jack?" "He killed that Husk and went through the field." Arcee immediately bolted through the field herself, leaving both her team mates behind. Garrus sighed before both he and the Dinobot followed. Once through they saw that they were in a massive room filled with machinery, and a lot of it did not look like Human nor Cybertronian tech. Arcee was kneeling next to Jack who was on his knees, panting heavily. "You used the wave again, didn't you?" the femme asked with concern in her voice. "Took care of the Husks, didn't I." he said back to her between breaths. Grimlock then saw what was left of the horde as their body parts scattered around the place. "Impressive." the Dinobot said to himself. Arcee helped Jack to his feet as they looked around the room. "This is mainly Reaper tech." Garrus observed as he looked over to a jet black device with blue energy glowing from the outing as it formed the base for a large machine that was connected to cables that linked it to other similar machines. "MECH working with Reaper technology, this isn't going to good." the femme replied as they walked through the large room to a door at the other end. Behind that door they found what looked like a control room, with a massive window that overlooked something, but it was too dark to see what it was. "Let's see if we can shed light on what's going on here." Jack said as he walked up to the main control station. "Really, Jack. How long did it take you to think of that?" Garrus asked. "Longer than I care to admit." the Prime answered as he tapped the console's keyboard, suddenly the screens around the console activated and started playing back vids. "What is this?" Arcee asked as they watched people being placed inside glass pods that had Reaper tech built into them. The pods then filled with gas as it's occupants started hammering on the glass with their fists as the fear shown on their faces. "They are just rounding them up and killing them?" Grimlock asked, but then Jack's eyes widened when the gas cleared. "No, its worse. They are being turned into Husks." he replied as the footage showed the pods now contained the Reaper turned creatures. Arcee looked away when she couldn't watch anymore, until she saw another console in front of the large window. So she walked over to it and tapped on it's interface. Suddenly the lights came on and revealed another massive room beyond the window as Husks panicked and moved the moment the lights above them activated. "By Primus." she said as the others stood beside her and looked out to the hordes below them. "Come on." Jack said as he then walked over to the next door and opened it. They all readied their weapons and followed him. "Why create Husks, aren't they just more troops for the Reapers. It seems like such a stupid risk considering if they escaped, they could destroy this place." the femme said as they moved through another lab. "I think the Reapers have attacked this place because it is a threat, which means we need to find out why." Jack replied as they neared a large reinforced door. "You do realise that door leads into that large room we just saw." Garrus said. "Yeah, but it's the only way forward. Be ready." the Prime said back as he opened the door for a Husk on the other side to look directly at him. Jack fired his weapon and blew a hole in it's head as the group moved into the room and started taking out all the husks there. One of the creatures pounced at Grimlock, only to be met with the sharp end of his blade. Arcee took out two more with her SMGs, before spin kicking another who got too close. Garrus switched to his sniper rifle and took out those that were crawling up the walls on the other side of the room, and Jack sliced down one husk while pummelling another with a burst of bullets from his assault rifle. Within a few minutes the room was clear and the Husks lied dead at their feet. "Well, that was bracing." the Turian said as he reloaded his weapon. "I can hear Miranda's voice." Arcee said as they walked through the door at the other side and saw another console playing a vid on a loop. "Reapers wanted this place shut down, this might give us a clue as to why." Garrus said as Jack activated the log. "I am heading to the CIC to disable the communications black out, I have to get word out. Some of the refugees are turned into Husks, some are just being indoctrinated and shipped to Silas. Whoever is left is used in experiments. The data show that MECH are trying to figure out how Reaper indoctrination works." Miranda said before the vid closed. Jack shook his head in response. "Tricking refugees with food and shelter, only then to use them in experiments. And for what?" "Draw them in and throw them in the meat grinder." Garrus replied. "Wait a second, Miranda said that test subjects were being sent to Silas. Maybe we can find him that way." Arcee added. "Good catch, lets see if we can catch up to her. She said she was heading for the tower." the Prime replied before walking through to the next room. After moving through more labs and killing a few more Husks, Jack and the others came to what looked like an office. Arcee sat down at the main computer and activated it. "Find anything?" the Prime asked as she looked at the screen. "Someone is making copies of the files and deleting the originals, but they haven't finished yet. Here is a file that has yet to be deleted." the femme replied as she played a vid for the others to see. The image showed Saleon, who Garrus immediately narrowed his eyes at. The Salarian was standing next to a hologram of the MECH Director. "Doctor Saleon, report." the yellow optic eyed man said. The scientist turned and typed away at his console's holo-keyboard until a large screen in front of the two activated, then large amounts of data started scrolling down the screen. "Well as you can see, the tests continue to be running at one hundred percent success rate. Every one of our test subjects has succumbed to our own signal and will no longer listen to the Reapers, so long as they remain in the radius of ours." The Director smiled as he looked at the screen. "Excellent, Saleon. You have just given humanity a way to control Reaper forces. This will turn the tide of this war and allow MECH to take the offensive." He then looked at a scan of a Reaper that appeared next to the data. "So how long before we can use this technology on the Reapers themselves?" "Now there is the problem, you see it's one thing to control the ground forces, but another to do the same to one of the Reapers themselves, let alone the entire race. I am afraid I have hit a wall in my research into that particular area." the Salarian replied with a slightly nervous tone. "Relax, Doctor. I have acquired the information you need to solve that…" The video then stopped abruptly and the window it played in disappeared. "Damn, that footage was just deleted." Arcee said as she typed on the computer's keyboard. Garrus looked over to Jack with a confused look. "Controlling Reaper forces? Is that even possible?" "I don't know, but we do know why the Reapers have attacked Sanctuary." the Prime replied. "They must have discovered what MECH were up to, that Silas is in for a world of pain now." Grimlock said from behind them. "Yeah, can't say I feel bad about that." Jack said before looking over to the doors at the other end of the room. "There's the elevator, come on." PRIME EFFECT 3 Once they were inside, Arcee pressed the button for the top floor and the elevator took them straight up. It didn't take long for them to reach the top as the doors opened to reveal another reception like area. Suddenly gun fire could be heard from behind the next door. "Get ready." Jack said as the door opened up to reveal the CIC, and the group moved in with weapons ready. "Jack." Miranda called from behind a console that she was using as cover. The Prime then saw the Salarian standing next to a set of controls connected to two pods that had occupants inside them, he also had a pistol in his free hand and was pointing it in their direction. "That is close enough, Prime. I told Miss Lawson that I would kill her 'fake' parents if she didn't surrender. She didn't listen." Saleon said angrily. "Put the gun down." Jack said firmly. "I think not, but if you think that you can shoot me then you should know that I have already activated stage one of the conversion process. If I press this button…." the Scientist said as his finger hovered over a green flashing button. "…then they will be turned in to Husks in a matter of moments." Miranda stood up from behind her cover with her SMG in one hand, but covering a wound on her stomach with the other. "Jack, don't let him harm my parents." Arcee and Grimlock both looked over to see the older humans standing in the sealed pods, looking out at the situation unfolding in front of them. The femme then glanced to her side and could not see Garrus. "Where's….?" she whispered to the Dinobot as Jack kept his attention on Saleon. "I have seen what you have done here with MECH, you can't possibly think that it will work?" "Why not, we can control the Reaper's ground forces now." the Salarian replied. "But you're sacrificing people to gain that ability, men, women…..and children. What you are doing is beyond…." Jack started to say before he was cut off. "Don't judge me, Prime. What I do, I do for the greater good. If a few people, even children have to die to see it through. Then so be it, my conscious is clea…." BANG! A gun shot rang out from behind Jack and the Salarian cried out in pain after a bullet passed through his shoulder, he dropped the gun and fell to the ground. Miranda immediately moved to the controls of the pods as Arcee and Grimlock looked around for the shooter. But then a shimmer moved in front of them and picked up Saleon by the throat and pinned him against the glass wall behind him. The shimmer then stopped to reveal that it was Garrus, and he looked the Salarian in the eyes, his own narrowed as he gritted his teeth. "Saleon, nice to finally meet you." "Do I ..(gasp), know you?" the Salarian asked in confusion. "No, I am just someone who wants to avenge a friend whose life you ruined. But that was before I saw this place, now I really want to kill you." the Turian replied coldly. "(gasp) I see, so you are not a fan of my..(gasp) work. So get it over with then." the Scientist taunted him. Jack was helping Miranda to deactivate the pods but looked over to Garrus and Saleon. The Salarian really did not care about what he had done. 'The ends justify the means." he thought to himself before shaking his head and then looking back to what he was doing. Leaving his friend to do what he had promised he would do. For a long moment there was silence between Garrus and Saleon, but then the Turian finally spoke. "No, killing you now would be quick and that's too easy for you." He then noticed that the glass wall was actually a one way mirror into a room connected to cages holding Husks. Garrus then holstered his weapon and with his now free hand activated the door controls and prepared to throw the Salarian into the room. Saleon, knowing where he was about to be put tried to resist but Garrus then punched him hard in the stomach, making the Salarian wince in pain before he was thrown through the open door and into the room. The Turian then shut the door and walked over to the console. "Garrus, what are you doing?" Arcee asked with concern in her voice. "Giving him a taste of his own medicine." the Turian replied as he started to use the console's keyboard. Saleon got up and looked around the room, behind him was three doors which at the moment were sealed. It he knew very well that would change in a moment or so. He then looked in front of him and saw a large mirror reflecting his image back at him, it was a one way observation screen. And he knew that Garrus and the others were watching. "If you think you will get me to beg for my life, then you are mistaken. I regret none of my decisions." he said at the screen, his words sounding defiant and firm yet they were betrayed by the frightened tone that accompanied them. The Turian then activated the intercom and his voice boomed into the room. "Well, I hope you can live with that... for the last moment you have left. Goodbye, Saleon. This is for Shen." Garrus said before pressing a button on the control console which turned off the lights, bringing total darkness into the room as the Salarian tried to look around. Garrus then pressed another button l labelled 'release'. Saleon being unable to see anything stayed very still and relied on his hearing as he heard the doors behind him open up with a metallic creaking noise. He turned round to face where the sound had come from and saw a pair of blue optics looking back at him in from the far side of the room, then another pair, and another. In just a few moments he was surrounded by them as he heard grunting and other inhuman noises, despite his words Saleon's heart was beating fast as he knew his time was up. And then the horde rushed at him, bringing him to the floor before biting and clawing into his skin. His screams echoed through the room as the Husks ripped him apart, while Garrus watched on a screen showing the inside of the cell through night vision. He then turned it off once the Husks were done, meanwhile Jack deactivated and opened the pods allowing Miranda to help her parents out. "Miranda." her mother called out as she embraced her daughter, before her father hugged her too. "Are you alright? He didn't hurt you two, did he?" Miranda asked. "We are fine, Miranda. I would just like to get your mother out of here." her father replied. "We can help you there, our ship will get you someplace safe." Jack said gaining their attention, the former agent gave Jack a smile. "Thank you, Jack." "You know, you didn't have to do this all by yourself. If I had known that MECH had taken your parents hostage…" the Prime replied. "I know you would, Jack. But you had enough on your plate dealing with the Reapers. But I am very grateful for your help." she said back. "Well, you'll have all the time now to be with your family." Jack said back gaining smiles from her parents, but Miranda shook her head in return. "No, once I know that they are safe and if you'll have me. I want to join your crew." Her father then gave her a concerned expression. "Miranda, wait. I thought…." he started to say before she cut him off. "Dad, Mom, I need to do this. Because while Silas is still out there, then none of us will be safe." she said with a stoic expression before placing a hand on their shoulders. "And I promise I will tell you everything after this is over." Both her parents looked like they were having a hard time accepting this but they then both nodded in return, before her father then looked at the Prime. "She called you, Jack. That would make you, Jackson Prime, yes?" Jack nodded as her father stepped forward. "If you will promise me that you'll ensure our daughter comes back to us unharmed, then I will let her go with you. Do I have your word as a Prime?" Jack looked over to Miranda while Arcee and the others simply watched, he knew that he would rather she stay with her parents, but since Miranda had such inside knowledge on MECH. He had to say yes. "You have my word." he replied stoically, before the two men then shook hands. "I will hold you to that." the father replied before turning back to his wife and daughter, Jack then looked back to his team. Garrus handed him an object back that Arcee recognized. "That's the personal cloaking generator." "Yeah, Jack lent it to me before the mission. Thought it would come in handy, thanks, Jack." Garrus replied as the Prime fitted it back into his Prime armour. Jack then looked at his friend. "What about you, you alright?" Garrus looked back at the observation screen and took a breath. "Yeah, I am. It's comforting to know that because of us, he wont be able to harm anyone else." Arcee placed a hand on the Turian's shoulder. "You had me worried back there, Garrus. I thought you were just going to shoot him originally." "I was, but when I heard him gloating about how far he was willing to go….. I knew that just shooting him would be to much of an easy way to go." he said looking back at the femme. Jack was going to say something but his com link activated. "Prime, that Reaper has finished off the rest of the MECH ships and is now heading back to Sanctuary." Swoop stated. "Alright, we already cleared a path from the landing bay to here. We should be able to meet you there again." Jack replied. "You don't have time, but I am detecting an auxiliary shuttle dock on the floor you are now on. Meet me there for extraction." the Dinobot replied, Jack then looked at everyone. "Alright, it's time to go." The Prime then took point with Miranda and her parents at the center of the group, and Arcee and Grimlock covering the rear as the group left the lab and made their way to the rendezvous point. About a few minutes later they were all on board the shuttle as it flew away from the station at top speed, just as the Reaper returned and charged up it's beam weapon. The troop transport Reaper undocked and joined it's Sovereign class counterpart's side as it fired three shots with it's red beam which cut right through the station, causing Sanctuary to explode and send it's debris in all directions. The Reapers seemed completely unaware of the shuttle as it rejoined the Defiant and entered it's shuttle bay just a short distance from the enemy vessels. The Alliance frigate then turned around and jumped into hyperspace.
  8. CHAPTER 16 Stars continued to streak past the hull of the Defiant as it soared through hyperspace on it's course toward Thessia. On board everyone was rushing around as they prepared for the ship for combat, Arcee was in the CIC in command, Raf, Bumblebee and Airachnid were in the science lab going over all the data they had on the Reapers. Garrus was (unsurprisingly) running final calibration checks on the weapons, Tali was back in engineering, Smokescreen was keeping Tap-Out, Flareup and Trailbreaker company in the common room. Grimlock though had just exited the elevator and entered the shuttle bay, he saw Swoop near Shuttle one and walked over to him. The Dinobot pilot was working on an exposed panel of the shuttle when his friend called him. "Swoop, I was told you were down here." Grimlock said as he stopped beside his friend, who looked over to him. "Grimlock, just give me a second to finish this." he said as he had his hands in the inner workings of the shuttle, but within a moment he had pulled his hands out re-covered the panel. "There all done." he said smugly while wiping his hands with a rag. The Dinobot leader looked at him with a confused expression. "What are you doing?" "I have just finished installing a device into shuttle one here, once activated it should imitate the reaper IFF that the Defiant has, and allow me to pilot Jack and his team down to Thessia without incident." Swoop replied. "You're going to pilot them?" the big bot asked in surprise. "The Defiant is running low on shuttle pilots, so Jack asked me to join the crew and I said yes. After hearing he stories of everything that this ship has accomplished, how could I say no. What about you Grimlock, aren't you going to join up?" The Dinobot leader looked ahead for a second before looking back down to his friend. "I don't know, Jack asked too. But I told him I would think about it." "I see, hey if this is anything to do with what happened to the others, then you shouldn't blame yourself. It was MECH that attacked the colony remember, focus your anger at them." Swoop replied. "I know and all I want to do is rip that Silas and his group apart for what they did." Grimlock said back as he clenched his fist so tight that it started to shake. "Then say yes, because with this ship's record I bet we will be facing MECH again before long." The big bot then nodded in return before turning around. "Okay, thanks for chat, Swoop." he replied before walking away. "Any time, Grimlock." the pilot replied before tuning back to the shuttle and running a diagnostic from his Holo-tool. Meanwhile Jack was standing in the com room with the hologram of Councillor Tevos. "I received the Admiral's message, but there is not a lot that we can do Prime, as we are currently trying to protect and evacuate our people from areas that the Reapers are currently purging." the Councillor said stoically. "I am already on route to Thessia, we just need access to these coordinates." the Prime replied as he transmitted the data to Tevos who then looked it over on her side, her eyes widened a moment later. "Really, I know this location, Prime. It is a temple that is located in our capital city, how did you come about this data?" "We received the data from a Lithone Scientist that awaken from stasis at Eden Prime, he is part of the team that built the Crucible. He said that the part we need to finish it would be at those coordinates." Jack replied. "I see, well I know what I just said earlier. But if what you say is true, then I will make sure you have some help. I will arrange to have a group of scientists meet you when you land at this location." the Councillor said. "Thank you, I appreciate you doing this." the Prime replied. "I hope you find what you are looking for, because we are all in this together now. Good luck, Prime." Tevos then said before her hologram disappeared. Jack entered the corridor to find Chromia waiting for him outside the com room. "Hey, Jack." she said with a smile. "Hey, Chromia, were you waiting for me?" he asked as the door closed behind him. "Yes, we never really got the chance to catch up after getting back from Eden Prime." the femme answered. "That is true, so how are you, Chromia?" the Prime asked as they began walking down the corridor. "Well, considering how things were back at the planet, I am happy to be alive." she answered but Jack could see that something was bothering her. "What's wrong, Chromia?" he asked, earning a surprised look from the femme before she sighed. "I would like to ask for a transfer to the Defiant." "Really, why is that? I mean I heard that Flareup was being transferred with Trailbreaker and Tap-Out to the Crucible, why aren't you going with them?" he asked as they turned a corner. "Well for one, Flareup wasn't transferred, she volunteered after hearing that Trailbreaker was being moved there." Jack the looked at her confused. "Is there something going o between those two?" The femme rolled her eyes and lightly chuckled. "Well, one of them believes so. But anyway, with everything that happened recently. I want to be close to Sis." she said back honestly. "I see, well I know it would do Arcee the world to good to have you on board." Jack relied with a slight smile, gaining a hopeful look from the young femme. "Do you have a positions available?" "The Defiant did have a security chief once, but I have yet to fill that post. Would you be interested?" the Prime asked. "Yes, yes I would." she answered eagerly. Jack then held out his hand to her, which she accepted. "Then welcome aboard the Defiant." he replied with a smile. "Thank you, Sir." she replied with a salute which Jack waved down. "Jack will do, we are practically family, Chromia." "Yeah, I heard that the two of you were back together, I am happy for you both." she replied as Jack noticed Arcee and Airachnid walking towards them, gaining a smile from him. Chromia having noticed this looked to where his attention was and saw the raven haired femme. But as soon as she saw the purple eyes of said femme, she narrowed her eyes and gritted her teeth before launching herself at the former Con in anger. "Airachnid!" she cried out. "Chromia, wait!" Jack called back, but Chromia had already tackled Airachnid to the floor. Arcee took a second to register what was going on as her younger sister started trying to strangle the former Con. Airachnid though narrowed her eyes at the femme before jabbing Chromia in the face, disorientating the femme as her grip weakened. Airachnid then clamped her legs around the young bot and rolled them both over, so that she was now on top and she raised her fist to strike. But then a hand grabbed hold making the femme look up to see Arcee staring back worriedly. "Airachnid, stop!" she said, as her friend's angry expression softened and she climbed off of the beaten Autobot. Chromia then got up, while never taking her eyes off of the former Con. She then went to strike at the black armoured femme again, only for Arcee to stand in the way. "That's enough." Chromia just gave her sister a confused expression. "But that's Airachnid, after everything that she did. Killing Tailgate, the numerous times she tried to kill you and Jack. Not to mention all everything else. Airachnid deserves nothing but…." she said in an angry tone before stopping and just looking at her sister. "…. Why are you defending her all of a sudden, in fact what is she doing onboard." Arcee looked over to Airachnid and then to Jack, though the former Con just stayed quiet as the young femme's words . "Chromia, Airachnid was not responsible for any of the deeds that she did during the war." Jack said, only confusing the blue femme more. "Really, what was she under some kind of mind control?" Arcee looked at her in a matter of fact way. "That's exactly what happened, you remember all the bots who fell to Shockwave's experiments during the war. Well Airachnid was a victim of that as well, but at a very personal cost." Chromia just stayed quiet and listened to her sister while Jack looked over to Airachnid and saw the look on her face, it was one of sadness and regret. He was going to say something when the inter com activated. "Jackson Prime, we be at the space bridge to Thessia in twenty minutes." Teletraan said gaining a nod from the Prime before he looked back at the femmes. "Arcee, Airachnid, you're both with me for this mission." They nodded in return, before Arcee looked at Chromia. "We'll talk about this when we get back." she said gesturing to her sister and the femme. The younger bot nodding sheepishly. "Chromia, take your station." Jack then said in a stoic manner. "Yes, Jack." And then she walked off to the elevator quietly, Airachnid then looked at Arcee. "I am sorry." she said in a regretful tone. "You don't have to apologise, Airachnid." the blue femme replied. "I guess that there are still bots out there that don't know what happened to me." the former Con said back, Arcee placed a hand on her shoulder in support. "Airachnid, you are my friend and team mate, if anyone who doesn't know the truth tries anything against you, then I will put them straight." The former Con looked at her with a slight smile before Jack also spoke. "That makes both of us." he said with a smile, Airachnid finally relaxed somewhat. "Thank you." she said to them before Jack gestured to the elevator. "Come on, we've got a mission to prepare for." he said before the three of them walked over and entered it. The Prime then pulled out the octagonal dis from his pocket and activated his armour. PRIME EFFECT 3 In the cockpit Hotrod was in his usual position piloting the ship, while to his right was Jazz who was running a last minute diagnostic of the sensors, Chromia then entered the cockpit and took her seat at the weapons/security station. "So you joined the crew then, Chromia. Arcee thought you would. I bet you she is really happy right now." Jazz said while looking back to the femme. But she looked down at the holo-controls in front of her, her expression becoming sheepish. "I doubt that, not after what I just did." she replied, voice filled with regret. Jazz kept his attention on her as Hotrod looked over. "What happened?" he asked, making Chromia look over to him. "I attacked Airachnid just now, and just got put down by Jack and Sis." Both Mechs gave each other knowing looks before looking back at Chromia. "You didn't know The truth about her, did you?" The pilot replied, earning a nod from her. "Hey, I have to admit, when I first saw her last year. I wanted to shoot her too, but she had been placed on our team so I had to deal with it. But I noticed that she was acting differently to what we knew of her during the war. Then after she and Jack returned from Cybertron, Airachnid with Jack's support told me and the others the truth." Hotrod added. "They told me that she was originally an Autobot that had been brainwashed by Shockwave and at a very personal cost, what did they mean?" Chromia then asked. "Well, having fully reprogrammed Airachnid into a Decepticon, Shockwave needed proof that the conversion was successful, so he ordered her to kill her sparkmate - Esmeral and so she ripped her apart. But the real Airachnid was still aware of what she was doing and not only had to watch as her body murdered her love, but also had to endure all the horrors and atrocities that it did during the war." Chromia just listened in complete shock at what Hotrod was telling her as she raised her hand to cover her mouth. "Oh Primus, all the things she had to live through, I had no idea." "No one did, Airachnid was just another victim of Shockwave and his inhuman science." the pilot replied as Chromia had a look of regret and understanding on her face. "I will have to apologise to her, Arcee and Jack when they get back from Thessia." Hotrod then looked forward and saw the space bridge a head of them. "Activating this bridge's link to the one in the Parnitha system." he stated as he typed on the holo-keyboard that was part of his interface. The space bridge in the Parnitha system came to life with a massive green vortex appearing at it's center, then the Defiant flew out of it's event horizon and entered the system. Jazz looked at the sudden influx of IFF signals appearing on the ships's sensor screen. "Holy scrap, the Asari are getting annihilated out there." "Yeah, I can see that." Hotrod said as he looked out of the cockpit's canopy, he saw masses of Reaper vessels attacking various Asari ships in front of them. But most of the Reapers were situated around the blue planet of Thessia. The Defiant made its way through the battle as a passing Asari cruiser fired its cannons at the nearest Reaper, it's attack didn't even leaving a dent on ships's black hull. The Reaper then turned to face the cruiser and fired it's energy beam, which sliced through the Asari ship in one shot. A group of Asari fighters then attacked another Reaper, flying so close to its hull that the behemoth could not get a target lock. But suddenly they found themselves under attack from a squadron of drones that had disengaged themselves from it's hull. Each and every fighter fell to the drones before they flew back round and reattached themselves to the Reaper which then carried on attacking any nearby Asari cruisers. The Defiant reached Thessia and amongst the chaos that was happening around it, the shuttle flew out of its shuttle bay the moment it's door had opened, and began its descent down to the planet's surface. Jack, Arcee and Airachnid were sitting down patiently in the shuttle as it was shaken by turbulence, Jack stood up and grabbed a hand hold on the ceiling to keep his balance before looking out of the window, he could see the capital of the Asari home world below him. The Asari had built one of the most beautiful architecture the Prime had ever seen, their whole planet was known as 'the jewel of the galaxy'. And yet here and now he saw nothing but detestation as multiple Reapers walked amongst the once beautiful buildings, still reflecting the sunset that had been cast over the landscape. Jack could also see multiple large scale fires scattered around the city, the black smoke being emitted from them rising high into the sky. Arcee got up and looked out of the window next to Jack. "By Primus, the Reapers are hitting the Asari just as hard as they did Earth." she said with a shocked expression. "Intel says that Surkesh (Salarian home world) and Palaven (Turian home world) are being hit by Reaper forces that don't even approach the same size as the fleet decimating the Asari right now." Jack replied. "Maybe the Reapers consider the Asari to be the next biggest threat after Humanity." Airachnid added from her seat, gaining both her friends attention. "Well, the best way we can help is to find the Kranix Matrix as fast as possible because with out that. We will not complete the Crucible, the last real hope we have against the Reapers." Jack replied stoically, gaining an understanding nod from the femmes. "We are coming up on the landing coordinates that were gwen to us." Swoop replied from he pilot's seat, as Jack walked in next to him. "Then take us down." The shuttle flew between two buildings as it approached a group of Asari commandos who were fighting off a horde of Husks that were encroaching on their position, the Alliance transport circled the area before landing on the ground and allowing Jack and his team to disembark. The Prime immediately walked over to one Asari who was barking orders at the rest. "Keep an eye on our left flank, make sure our barriers are holding steady and will someone tell me when our air support will get here." she shouted around the group as Jack approached. "What's the situation?" he asked, gaining her attention. "The situation, Jackson Prime, is that we are getting hammered over here, My unit was ordered to hold this location and make a path for you to the temple, but I have lost enough people already. So we will be pulling out now." Arcee and Airachnid stood beside the Prime. "You have to hold the line and help us get through." the blue femme said back, earning an angry stare from the commando. "Why, what is so important about the temple that my people have to die for?" "We are here to pickup something from there." Jack answered. "Are you fucking kidding me, your here to get an artefact. That is what my unit is fighting for. Well I am sorry, but I am not willing to sacrifice my people for that.". The commando answered back before walking over to her soldiers, who were using their Biotics to seal up one of their fortifications with a barrier, Jack though followed her. "I can see what your team is going through, I have been through it myself countless times. But what we are here for can help us defeat the Reapers, isn't that worth it?" The Asari looked back at him, her expression softening slightly. "Is that true? Can this 'thing' you are looking for really do that?" "Let me put it this way, we find this and the Reapers are history." he added as the commando leader looked around for a moment at her troops, before looking at him. She could see the determination in his eyes and hear the confidence in his voice. This was Jackson Prime after all, and if he said that it was possible then who was she to not believe him. "... Alright then, Prime. We will hold back the Reaper forces back as long as we can." She then gesture the Prime and the two femmes to follow her. "Sent a team of my men to escort the scientists to the temple before you arrived, but I have not heard back from them. I don't think they got through." she said. "We all keep an eye out for them." Jack replied before the sound of an explosion caught their attention to a gunship that had just been attacked by a reaper harvester in the air. The ship was spiraling out of control as it fell towards their location. "Take cover!" the commando shouted as everyone but the soldiers erecting the barrier jumped behind whatever they could find, the gunship then crashed into the ground outside of the area, sending flaming debris up into the air as the force of the impact as well as the explosion shattered the barrier and knocked over the troops there. The commando leader then saw the large gap in their defences and gained her team's attention by pointing at the area. "We have a breach, get of their and help them out." she shouted to three other Asari who immediately ran over and help the ones locked down by the crashed gunship up and away to safety. "Now you four, erect another force field." she ordered another group who were about to start when the team's lookout sniper then spotted something just a ways from them with her rifle scope. "We have incoming." she called to the leader who then looked in he direction of the temple and saw a horde of Husks charging at them. "Damn it, they will be here before we have the barriers up." she said a little hesitantly. Let us through there and we will hold them off until you have the defences up again." Jack replied. "Alright, give us what time you can, Prime. We will do the rest." she said back as Jack and the two Autobots then left the compound in the direction of the temple. The four Asari behind then began to channel their energies into another barrier. "Take positions." the Prime said as they took cover behind some debris and aimed their weapons at the horde that was at charging towards them. "Use rifles until the Husks are close, then switch to your melee weapons." he said as the two Autobots readied their weapons before nodding back to him. Then just as the Husks drew nearer, Jack slipped his finger around the trigger of his avenger assault rifle. "Open fire!" she shouted as he pulled he trigger and offloaded a burst of bullets into the horde, knocking down three creatures at once. Arcee and Airachnid did the same and more Husks fell to the ground dead. While they fired into the Reaper ground forces, behind them the Asari commando unit was busy repairing their fortifications. Using their Biotics to move large thick metallic panels into a make shift wall, while others were reinforcing it with barriers. The Commando leader looked over the makeshift wall at the Prime and his team. "Just a few more minutes." she shouted over, Jack barely hearing her over the Husks screams and gunfire. But the horde was almost on top of them now. "Switch now!" He then sung his free arm at a husk as it launched itself through the air at him, only for the star saber to appear and with the force that he swung it with, he sliced the creature in two. Arcee deployed her arm blades and began taking apart Husks that were near her, Airachnid equipped her escrima sticks and mocked one Husk to he ground with one hit before pummelling another into submission. For nearly two minutes the three of them fought against the husks as they kept charging into the group while trying to get to the commando's position. The Prime impaled a husk that was trying to claw at him and then turned his attention to another that had vaulted over some debris, with his free hand he equipped his pistol and shot it cleanly through the head. "Get down!" a familiar voice shouted out as loud as it could, forcing the three to stop and dive to the ground before the sound of a Gatling gun rang out into the air. The three soldiers then stayed there until the sound stopped, Jack then opened his eyes to see a Husk lying next to him dead. "You can get up now." the voice called out again. The three soldiers then stood up and looked back to see the commando leader standing on the rebuilt fortification while holding onto a Gatling gun turret. She smiled at Jack and his friends. "Thanks for the help, now let us return the favour and cover your asses." she said. "You're welcome. Anything else we can assist you with?" the Prime asked back. "Just find that thing quickly." she replied before turning to her troops. "Because when this war is over, we want the galaxy to know that it was won on Thessia." she exclaimed proudly as her troops cheered in return. Jack smiled and nodded back before looking back to his friends. "Alright, let's go." They hen headed away from the commandos position and in the direction that the temple was located. PRIME EFFECT 3 The Prime and his team moved through the war zone with purpose and determination, they knew how close they were now to the goal, the one thing that they had been searching for the last three years….. The end of the Reapers. Jack took point as they moved through what now was a derelict building, though as Jack and his team looked around they saw that this used to be a school. They walked slowly down the corridor and looked into each room as they passed them, they were all the same. Desks scattered about the room, blood stains all over the place. Suddenly the team stopped and kept very quiet as they heard movement and grunting coming from the room just ahead of them. Jack sneaked up to the doorway and leaned over slightly, what he saw was a half destroyed class room with the outer wall completely demolished as the sunset bathed the rest of the devastation in light. The Prime then saw that the noises were coming from four Husks that were squatting in the middle of the room, they were circling something that he could not see clearly. He then looked back to Arcee and Airachnid and gestured with hand signals the number of enemies and their location. The two femmes nodded as they clutched their weapons, Airachnid slowly and quietly moved to the other side of the doorway, doing her best not to alert the enemies nearby. But once she was in position, Jack signaled her and the two of them leaned in and fired a burst of bullets into the four creatures, killing them instantly. The team then entered what was left of the room and Jack walked up to see what the Husks were squatting around, what he found was a little blue cuddly toy. He picked it up and showed it to the others, both femmes shook their heads at the thought that the Husks attacked defenceless children in such a manner. The Prime placed the toy on one of the desks that had not been knocked over and looked through the large opening that used to be a wall, from here he could see that more Reapers had landed and were walking around the vast city and destroying anyone that came into their view. He then spotted the temple just in the distance. "Okay, not far to go now." he said back before the three of them left the ruins of the school behind them. They made it down to another street when their attention was caught by the sight of a Husk flying through the air past them, before smacking into the concrete wall behind them. "That looks like biotics, we should check it out. See if they need help." Arcee said to Jack. "It might even be the scientists that the commandos told us about." Airachnid added. "Alright, but be ready." the Prime replied as they walked down the alleyway that the Husk was hurled from. "Don't... come any closer, I... I mean it" a female voice called out in fear." They then saw a silhouette of person stand up from behind some containers in the shadowed area of the alley, her right fist glowing with blue energy. Jack and the two femmes stopped, but kept their weapons equipped. "It's alright, we are here to help." he said back as the figure lowered her fist and stared at them for a moment, like she didn't really believe they were there. "By the goddess, you're Jackson Prime." she replied before walking out of the shadows to reveal a beautiful blue skinned Asari dressed in black light combat armour. "Yes, we were on our way to the temple just a ways from here when we heard you in trouble, thought you could use some help." "Yes thank you, I too was on my way to the temple with the rest of my team." the Asari replied. "Well, what's your name?" Arcee asked as she stood beside Jack. The blue woman then looked somewhat guilty suddenly. "My apologies, I should have introduced myself first. My name is Dr. Liara T'Soni." "Doctor T'Soni, what happened to your team?" Jack asked. "We were on our way to the temple as per the orders we had received, and left with a group of commandos. But the route to the temple was crawling with Husks, and I was surprised we made it this far." Liara said as she recalled what happened. "When we reached this area... that's when we... started to lose people." "Why, what attacked you?" the Prime asked. "At first it was Husks, we held them off without any trouble using our Biotics. But then something else turned up, it tore through our group with ease." the Asari continued. "it could use Biotics and our attacks were ineffective against the creature." "Your whole team is dead?" Airachnid said while Arcee turned around and watched the end of the alleyway they had entered. Liara just nodded sombrely. "Yes, that... creature killed them all, I didn't get a good look at it. But it's scream will be something that I will never forget." "How did you survive then?" Arcee asked while glancing back to them. "I don't know, the last thing I remember was being knocked into a wall and fell behind those containers. I must have been knocked unconscious because when I woke up, the bodies of my friends were gone." Liara answered while pointing to the areas where her friends bodies were. "There's no sign of the bodies being moved, it's like they just got up and walked away." Airachnid stated as she knelt by one area where a body had laid. Then the sound of a Reaper's roar sounded out just ways of their location, as they felt the tremors of it landing nearby. "Okay, are you alright to move, Liara? Because we can't stay here." Jack asked, the Asari nodded in return. "Yes, we need to get to the temple. My code will gain us access." she said as she picked up her SMG. "Right, we have to move now." Arcee suggested after noticing Husks approaching their location from across the street. So Jack again took point with Liara behind him, Arcee and Airachnid watching the rear as they left the alley and carried on towards the temple. They had not gotten far before Jack stopped the group at the side of a building when he head an explosion just around the corner. He peeked around the corner and saw a squad of Asari Commandos engaging a horde of Husks on the balcony of the building across from them. Liara poked her head around the corner, her eyes widening at the sight. "We have to help them." Jack turned back to her with a stoic expression. "We can't, our mission is too important for us to deviate from it. Surely you were told this before being deployed." The Asari looked back at the commandos. "Yes, but I can't just do nothing while my people are dying. There must be…" "Look out!" Airachnid called back as a dragon like husk flew over them toward the commandos. "That's a Harvester." Jack replied as the dragon fired on the commandos, overwhelming them with a white hot beam that burned the Asari right through. The Harvester then flapped its wings as it moved on, leaving the charred remains of the commandos there on the balcony. "No, damn them." Liara cursed as Jack looked again down the street. "We are clear, let's move." he said to the others before looking back at the Asari. "Liara, I am sorry… I really am. But if we find what we are looking for at the temple, then this war is over. Do you understand?" She sighed in response before looking at the Prime. "Yes, yes I do." The group then carried on toward the temple as the battle raged around the city, numerous Reapers were now positioned all over the capital as Husks swarmed through every street, attacking any Asari on sight. Gun ships carpet bombed entire areas where there was nothing but the creatures roaming them now, the explosions running up almost a quarter of a mile. The destruction was immense, but all this did was gain the attention of the giant behemoths who then fired on the bombers, either blowing them out of the sky or sending them spiralling out of control into the streets below. Jack saw this and couldn't help but remember that day on Earth over two months ago, he tried to push that memory into the back of his mind but that wasn't going to work. When he had picked up that stuffed toy earlier, he thought of the child that had died while he managed to escape. That child had since plagued his dreams nearly each and every night, but if they were successful today then, maybe they could stop any more children suffering the same fate. Jack was then pulled back from his thoughts by a hand on his shoulder. He looked back to see Liara looking at him. "I am sorry, but you seemed to be elsewhere for a moment." The Prime then looked back out at the devastation around him. "This is all bringing back bad memories for me." "You mean the attack on Earth, I am sorry. I didn't think earlier when I spoke about my people. I should have known better." she replied sheepishly. The group then came up to the entrance of the pyramid-shaped temple. "The Temple of Athame." Liara stated as they walked up the steps to the large doors, which had pictographs depicting ancient Asari. "Wow, this is amazing." Airachnid said as she looked up at the structure. "This temple is the oldest on our planet." the Asari replied before activating her holo-tool. "Let me just access the security override with my code." Suddenly an ungodly scream pierced the air and made Liara's blood run cold as she froze on the spot. Jack saw this and placed a hand on her shoulders while Arcee and Airachnid looked around for the source of the noise. Over there." Airachnid said as she pointed over to a twisted looking Husk coming towards them slowly. The way it moved made it look like it was in tremendous pain as it stepped ever closer. The group then stared wide eyed as they recognised what this Husk used to be. "That looks like an Asari." Arcee said. "That was what attacked my colleagues." Liara replied, before the creature started to glow with a bright blue light. "Biotics!" Airachnid warned them before the Husk launched an energy attack at the group, knocking them on their backs. While both femmes managed to recover, both Jack and Liara fell down the stairs to the ground only a few feet from the creature. "Jack!" Arcee cried out as she fired her SMG, but the bullets bounced harmlessly off the biotic barrier that was being emitted from the Husk. It then looked down at the Prime and Asari and screamed into their faces, the high pitched sound nearly deafening them as their clutched at their ears. It then raised an arm and was about to strike down on the pair, but Jack recovered quickly enough to activate the sky boom shield which then deflected the attack, protecting both Liara and himself. The Prime then activated the star saber and swung it at the monster, slicing it's mid section open. Black blood spilled out of the wound and ran down the dark grey skin as the Husk cowered in reaction to the hit, it's barrier now heavy damaged from the saber's attack. "Kill it." Jack then called back to the Autobots on the stairs as they both fired their weapons at the transformed Asari, riddling it with bullets. But this just seemed to make it madder as the blue energy returned and began spiralling around the Husk before being shot of it in all directions, sending the group flying back even more. Jack landed on his back and grimaced in response before he recovered himself and saw his friends lying against the stairs and Liara on her back just a few feet from him. A familiar scream regained his attention back to the Husk as it's biotic field was now at it's strongest, it then took a stance with one foot in front of the other like it was about to launch itself at him. So Jack re-equipped the Star saber and began to swing it as the Husk moved at almost light speed at him with a 'biotic charge', his blade sliced right through the middle of the energy that passed beside him, before it changed back into the form of the Asari Husk which then split into two parts and fell to the ground dead. Jack then ran over to Liara and helped her to her feet. "You alright?" he asked, gaining a smile from the Asari. "Yes, thank you for saving me. For a moment I thought that I was going to join my colleagues." The Prime smiled back before looking up to see Arcee and Airachnid standing on the stairs, and fully recovered. "You two okay?" "We are fine, Jack." Arcee stated with a smile before she then gestured for the two to join the femmes at the top of the stairs. "Come on, we need to get inside." she said as Liara climbed the stairs and activated her holo-tool again. "This will just take a moment." she replied as she transferred her code into the control panel beside the large doors. A few seconds later and the sounds of a large locking device coming undone could be heard before the large doors began to open and reveal the temple's interior to the group. There was a long walkway with a number of benches on either side, but just beyond that was a massive chamber that held a giant statue of an Asari. "Hello, is anyone there?" Liara called out, her voice echoing slightly within the walls of the temple. "I don't like this, Jack." Airachnid added as she scanned the room with her gun ready. "Everyone spread out and search, we need to find the Kranix matrix before the Reapers decide to return this way." the Prime said as he walked down the center with his holo-tool activated. Arcee and Airachnid headed down the left side, while Liara down the right, their holo-tools too were being used to scan the artefacts. Jack looked at the statue. "Who's that supposed to be?" Liara looked up from her scanning. "That is the Goddess Athame, we Asari believed that she gave our species life and so worshipped her as a god. But the religion slowly died out after we started to explore the galaxy." "Jack, do we have any idea what we are supposed to be looking for?" Airachnid called back with a slightly irritated voice. "Kranix didn't give us particular details." Arcee replied to the femme while scanning an artefact. "Wait, who is Kranix?" Liara asked with a curious tone. "He is a Lithone that we found in stasis on Eden Prime, he is also part of the team who were building the Crucible in his own cycle." Jack answered. The Asari's eyes widened at what the Prime had said. "You met a living Lithone. y the goddess. What is he like, did he tell you anything about his people, what did he?…" she started to ask, gaining an annoyed look from the femmes. "Liara, focus on the task at hand." Jack stopped the Asari in her tracks, earning an embarrassed look from her. "I apologise, it's just that I have studied the Lithone for most of my life so far and I never thought in my wildest dreams that we would find a real Lithone, alive and well." "Well once we find our target, then you can interview him yourself." the Prime replied with a smile. "I would be very grateful Prime." she said back. But suddenly Jack's attention was drawn away from the Asari as he started to look at the statue, he walked over to it and held his hand out to the air in front of him. He closed his eyes and stood there, earning strange looks from the rest of his group. "Jack, what is it?" Arcee asked somewhat concerned. "There is a Lithone beacon here." he replied stoically. "Wait, are you sure?" the femme replied. "Yes, I can sense it. The beacon is inside the statue." "Interesting, I had heard that you had come into contact with two beacons before Prime. One on Eden Prime and the other on Virmire." Liara said, before Jack looked at her. "Liara, use your biotics to shatter the statue and free the beacon." "I don't condone vandalism, but with the moment being so dire. I see no alternative." she replied before she began to glow as the Asari channeled her biotic energy, she then threw her arms forward and the statue began to shake where it stood as cracks appeared over it'surface. Then one piece fell to the ground revealing part of the beacon underneath. "Nearly, Liara, just a little more." Jack said encouragingly. Liara then gritted her teeth and pushed even more as the statue then crumbled to the ground, leaving the Lithone beacon standing in its place. "By the goddess, I don't understand why they hid it?" the Asari asked. "Are you that naive?" Airachnid asked giving Liara a knowing look. "So that they could hoard the knowledge of an advanced race for themselves, to give them power and influence." the femme added. Liara shook her head as she looked back to the artifact. "I don't believe that, why would my people keep this secret?" she replied, her voice tinged with denial. "A beacon like this would explain why the Asari are at level with the Cybertronians as an advanced civilization." Jack added while Airachnid took a scan with her holo-tool. "This temple is several thousand years old, your people would have made serious progress in that t ime with this beacon in their hands. I mean just a small amount of data would have given you an advantage. And with us in the middle of a civil war, you would have been able to place yourselves above the rest of the galaxy." Arcee kept quiet as both Jack and Airachnid kept their attention on Liara. "Well if it is true, then the Asari should have shared this knowledge. We may have been able to stop the Reapers before they even had a chance to attack." Jack said in a stoic manner. "You don't know that, Prime. We don't really know what is going on here." Liara replied calmly. "I do know that we don't have much time to find out." the Commander replied before turning back round to the beacon and walking closer to it. He then felt a familiar tingling sensation coursing through his body, he felt this before. The last time was when he was in front of the beacon on Eden Prime. Jack then reached out and placed his hand on the beacon's surface, which then began to power up as the glyphs carved into it's surface started to glow with a green light. "Jack, I think you got it." Arcee said as she stood beside Airachnid and Liara. Then as Jack began to step back, a green glowing holo-orb appeared and floated down to the ground between him and his friends. "It's another Lithone VI." the blue femme observed. "Obtaining chronological marker…. Timescale established, post-Lithone cycle confirmed." a synthetic voice suddenly called out from the orb. It then floated just above the group as it saw the silhouette of a Reaper on the horizon through the open door of the temple. "Reaper presence detected, this galactic cycle is already at it's extinction terminus. Preparing to shut down." it continued as it floated back down to the ground. "Wait a minute, we want some answers." Jack said to it. "Warning, indoctrinated presence detected… hold ….. error." it then replied, gaining a puzzled look from the Prime and the others. "What? We are the only ones here." "Error, restarting scan…. Negative presence of indoctrinated persons. To what question would you want an answer?" the VI asked. "Are you the Kranix matrix?" Jack asked. "Yes, my name is Bagu and I was created by Kranix approximately one hundred thousand years ago." "So you are all we need to complete the Crucible then." the Prime replied. "Negative, my program is simply a support mechanism. To connect the Crucible to the 'Catalyst'." "The Catalyst, what is that?" Airachnid asked in confusion. The orb then shifted into a lifelike hologram of Kranix. "The Catalyst is what the Crucible requires to complete its purpose. I will bridge them both and unify them to that end." "Why doesn't it just tell us what this Catalyst is?" Arcee asked with an annoyed tone, but Bagu just ignored her. "What happened to the Crucible in your time, why didn't the Lithone deploy it?" Jack asked. "We were sabotaged from within our own ranks, a group that believed that we should control the Reapers rather than destroy them broke away and fractured our order of battle. We later found out that the splinter group were indoctrinated." Bagu replied. "And now we are facing the same problem with MECH." the Prime said, before the VI shifted it's form again. This time into a reconstruction of the galaxy. "Our studies of the past led us to believe that time is cyclical. Many patterns repeat themselves..." "You mean the Reaper attacks." Jack said as the galaxy began to glow red from its outer edges through to its core. "...And beyond, the same peaks in evolution, the same valleys of dissolution. These same conflicts are expressed in every cycle but in a different order. The repetition is too prevalent to be merely chance." the VI explained. "We thought that the Reapers were responsible for the pattern." Airachnid replied. "Maybe, but I believe that the Reapers are only servants of the pattern, they are not it's 'master'." "Then who is the master?" Jack asked. "Unknown, it's presence is only inferred rather than observed. The only certainty is it's intention." Bagu replied as it shifted back into the form of Kranix. "And that is?" Arcee asked. "Galactic annihilation, you now stand at its precipice." "This cycle is not done with yet, you say that this Catalyst is required. So tell us what it is and where we can find it, trillions of lives depend on it." the Prime said stoically. "Trillions of lives are always at risk, but if the Reapers have arrived to end your cycle. Then this discussion is too late." the VI replied as it shifted into a representation of the planet and the Reaper forces surrounding it. "We can end the Reaper threat, we found your plans for the Crucible. It's construction is almost complete." Jack said back. "The Crucible is not of Lithone design, it is the work of countless galactic cycles stretching back millions of years." Bagu replied as the holo-form changed to a reconstruction of the Crucible, as more parts were being added to it. "Each cycle adds to it and improves it, but thus far no cycle has successfully defeated the Reapers with it." the VI continued. "Then we will be the first, tell us what the Catalyst is." Jack said, his voice sounded agitated with the VI. "We also have found Kranix himself. He is helping us as we speak." Airachnid added. "Very well. If you have followed the plans for the Crucible, then I will interface with it's systems to assist the Catalyst with…." Bagu replied before turning around and looking to the temple's entrance. "Indoctrinated presence detected, activating security protocol." it said before shifting back into it's orb form and floating back to the beacon. Jack and the others attention was caught by the sound of a gunship's engines outside the temple as a figure approached them from the entrance. Jack's eyes narrowed as he recognized the man. "Sideways, what do you want?" he replied as he and the others equipped their weapons and pointed them at the former Con. "For you to shut up and listen, Prime, there is someone who wants to talk with you." he replied with anger lacing his words. He then activated his holo-tool just before a holo-form appeared before him, walking towards the group. It then took on the image of a man with yellow optics. "Darby." he said in an uninterested tone. PRIME EFFECT 3 "Silas, how did you find this place?" Jack asked back. "The archives on Mars, or did Soundwave miss that one. Pity he died to save the Krogan, a worthwhile endeavour to be sure, but not one that is going to help you." the Director replied. "Soundwave had more courage and honor than you and MECH combined." the Prime replied as he remembered his fallen friend, but Silas just walked past Jack towards the Kranix matrix. "None of that matters, because he helped us uncover the means to dominating the Reapers." he added as he reached up with a holographic hand and touched the orb. "Or destroying them." Jack interjected. "Damn it, Darby." Silas replied angrily as he turned to the Prime. "Destroying them gains us nothing." he added. "How about peace?" Jack said back. "They are just trying to control the life of the galaxy, think about it. If they really wanted to destroy all life, they could do it. There would be nothing left, I mean why haven't they wiped out the Cybertronians?" Silas said with a slightly agitated tone. "What are you going on about?" Jack asked with a confused look. "I have studied them up close, Darby. I know how they think." "I think you have gotten a little to close to the Reapers." the Prime said coldly. "No, the Reapers have got it right. Why destroy when you can control." Silas replied. "You have been spending too much time with the enemy. Your being dragged over to their side, to their way of thinking." Jack said as he tried to get through to him. "No, that is not true. I just….. see things differently." Silas replied hesitantly. "If you really cared about Humanity, then you will stop fighting me. You will join me against our real enemy." Jack said back with a stoic expression. "Don't you ever question my intentions again, Darby, I have sacrificed more for the benefit of Humanity than you will ever know. And don't assume that you know me." Silas said back with an aggressive tone underlining his words. "My methods for handling the Reapers are far more refined than yours." he added, Jack then felt his self-control start to break as he felt that he was talking to a brick wall. "You have forgotten everything that you stood for. MECH were meant to protect Humanity from outside threats, not hand us over on silver platter." "Interesting words, Prime. But the world is grey, not black and white." the Director replied as Sideways paced back and forth with an agitated swagger as Arcee and Airachnid kept their weapons on him. "With the data from this beacon. I can end this war, once and for all. Your either with me or against me, that looks like black and white to me." Jack said back. "Well you have a point there, Darby." Silas replied before turning around and walking towards the exit. "Sideways, the Prime has something I need. Take it from him." he said before his hologram faded away, the former con then unsheathed his blade which glowed the purple colour of dark energon. "Well, it's about time." he replied eagerly as he took up a defensive stance. He then immediately launched himself into the air with a battle cry before slicing his blade down on the Prime, who blocked it with the star saber. The two blades creating an energy field around them as they clashed. "I have looked forward to this." Sideways said with a chuckle before pulling back and then swinging his blade at Jack again who deflected it. "You have been looking forward to getting beaten again." Jack said back sarcastically as Arcee and Airachnid took up positions around the two. The former con then spun the blade in his hand before spinning around and back kicking the Prime in the face, knocking Jack onto his back. "Well, I didn't really get to show off my upgrades the last time." he replied before both femmes opened fire on him with their guns, but he just back flipped out of the way before landing gracefully and smiling at them. "You will have to try better than that." he retorted. "How about this." Liara said as she glowed with biotic energy before picking up Sideways off the ground and hurling him back several feet. But he then suddenly stopped himself midway and landing on the ground like nothing had happened. "Biotics, how interesting." he replied before he too began to glow. "What do you think of mine?" he said as he punched the air in front of him, and knocked the Asari from where she stood into the wall behind her. Airachnid then took this chance to fire on him again, but Sideways just raised his hand to it and deflected the bullets with a barrier. He kept smiling as he then clicked his fingers with the same hand, which froze the femme to the spot. "I really love these upgrades." Suddenly Arcee screamed at him as she flew through the air with her arm blades deployed, but he dodged the attack. She then landed next to him and through a punch and then a kick at the former Con. And he dodged both of them. She then made a flurry of attacks at him, but with his increased speed and dexterity. Sideways blocked and dodged each and every one before he caught her fist in his free hand. "Arcee, you never did learn did you?" he said to her before spinning the blade in his hand and jabbing her in the stomach with its hilt. "You can not beat me without your boyfriend's help." he added as he elbowed her in the back, sending her onto the ground face first and then kicking her in the side, the strength of it making her roll across the ground. "Is this the best you can do?" he then gloated before a bright blue light caught his attention from behind, he saw that it was a wave of energy that was closing on him and he somersaulted over it and landed near Jack who had become weak from using the star saber. "Really, Darby. This day just keeps getting better and better." Sideways then grabbed the Prime by the throat and tossed him into the benches nearby, Jack felt a rib crack as he fell over one bench and landed on his front in the aisle between. Sideways then looked to see Jack and his friends all defeated and smiled as he felt quite satisfied with himself before sheathing his blade, the former Con then walked over to the beacon where the Kranix matrix was hovering. He activated his holo-tool but before he could download the VI, Airachnid tackled him to the ground, ma. "Where do you think you're going?" she spat at him as the femme began to punch the enemy repeatedly in the face. But this only made him more angry as his hand glowed. "Get the frag off me, you filthy wretch." he growled at her before punching the Autobot in the stomach, the force of the biotic punch sending her flying. He then got back to his feet as she hit the floor hard, wincing in pain. The Former Con then started back to the VI, but was stopped by a gun shot that narrowly missed him and hit the beacon. Sideways sighed before looking back to see the femme getting to her feet with her pistol aimed at him. "Are you that eager to die today?" he asked her, Airachnid gave a quick glance to the others and saw that they were still on the floor before looking back to the enemy. "I am not letting you leave with that." she answered with a determined tone between heavy breaths. "Very well…." he replied as he unsheathed his blade and began to run at her. The femme threw her now empty gun to the ground and equipped her escrima sticks before rushing back at Sideways. "…then die, Autobot!" he finished say as he swung the blade at her, but Airachnid blocked the attack with one escrima stick before hitting him in the face with the other. She then put together a combination of hits with her sticks and a few kicks, each one connecting with a part of Sideways body as he failed to defend against them. But just as it looked like she was getting the upper hand, the former Con glowed with biotic energy. "ENOUGH!" he cried out as he launched her up into the air, freezing her several metres above him. She tried to move but felt an invisible force holding her in place. She then looked down to see Sideways smiling darkly at her before pulling his glowing fist down making her plummet to the ground, only for him to raise his blade up over him and let it impale the femme through the chest. Fluid spilled out of the wound as Airachnid screamed in agony, the former Con then swung the blade down. The Autobot sliding off the blade and hitting the ground. "And stay down this time." he retorted before swinging his blade again, rinsing it of the femme's blood before sheathing it again. Sideways then began to walk back to the VI, when he noticed the others getting to their feet. "That means you too!" he added as he clicked his fingers, causing a biotic slam to hit the Prime and the two women, knocking them back to the ground. He then used his holo-tool and downloaded the Kranix matrix and then turned to leave, taking a look at Jack who was trying to get to his feet again. "Next time we meet, I will kill you, Darby." he gloated before walking back to the gun ship at the entrance. Jack, pushing his aching body to its limit got to his feet and picked up his pistol, before running after the former con. Arcee then came too and looked over to see Airachnid lying just a ways from her as her partner ran after their enemy. Sideways had just started to enter the gun ship's rear ramp as Jack fired a few rounds at him, but the enemy just waved his hand back and deflected the shots with a barrier. He then smiled at Jack before the ramp lifted up and closed. The Prime watched hopelessly as the MECH vessel then took off into the distance with their last hope. But before he had time to lose himself to defeat, the Commander was snapped back to reality. "Jack!" Arcee called back with fear overwhelming her voice. Jack turned round to see the femme and Liara kneeling next to Airachnid's still body, his eyes widened before he started to run back to them. "She has been stabbed through the chest and is losing a lot of fluid, the medi-gel is not stabilizing her." Arcee said panicky while she tried to deal with her friend's wounds. Jack tapped his com link. "Swoop, bring in the shuttle. We need an evac." "Prime, that area is getting too hot." the Dinobot replied. "We have a medical emergency, get here now!" the Prime said back angrily. "Okay, on my way. ETA sixty seconds." Jack then picked up Airachnid in his arms and headed for the temple's entrance as Arcee and Liara followed. The moment they got outside they could see Shuttle one closing in on their location, but then a deafening roar echoed from behind them. They turned to see a Reaper standing right behind the temple, it's beam weapon charging up. Swoop though landed the shuttle next to them and opened the hatch. "Get in!" he called to them as the group climbed onboard, lifting off the moment the last person in and pulled away just as the Reaper fired it's beam which hit the ground just milliseconds after they left. As the vessel flew over the war zone, Jack and Arcee frantically tried to stop the bleeding as Airachnid grimaced at the pain from her chest wound. "It's no use, we are losing her" the femme replied as her fluid soaked hands applied pressure to the wound. Airachnid then looked at both of them with her purple eyes. "It's….. okay, I am… ready." she said before looking at Arcee. "I do.. have one wish." "What is it, Airachnid?" the blue femme replied as she felt grief beginning to surface from within her spark. "I want you…. to kiss me Jack." Airachnid said as her eyes lined up with the Prime's. Jack then looked up at Arcee, the femme had a look of sadness and understanding on her face before she closed her eyes and nodded. The Prime then looked at his former lover and leaned down until their lips met, allowing the femme to taste him one last time. After a moment Jack pulled back just far enough to look into Airachnid's eyes. "I don't….. want you… to blame yourself…. Jack." she said as the Prime took a deep breath. "I welcome this….. because I will get to….. see Esmeral again." the dying femme added with a slight smile. "Then go to her, Airachnid, and thank you for everything." Jack replied as he returned the smile, but the femme shook her head slightly while continuing to smile at him. "No Jack…., thank you for… giving me the…. chance to..ato…." Airachnid then took her last breath before her eyes glazed over, her body then going limp. Liara looked down to her holo-tool and saw the beats from the femme's spark go into one long tone. "She's gone." the Asari stated with regret. Silence fell inside of the shuttle as Arcee didn't know where to look as a single tear ran down her cheek. Jack then got up and turned to look out of the window at the carnage that the Reapers were continuing to unleash on the planet, his mind being overrun with thoughts of his friend. The shuttle's com system then came to life as the voice of the commando Leader could be heard. "… is there anyone on this frequency, my unit is trapped!" But Jack and the others remained quiet as they let sorrow overcome them. "I repeat is there anyone on this frequency." A gun shot was then heard before another Asari spoke. "The Lieutenant is down! Our whole zone is collapsing. What happened to the Prime, did his team make it to the temple." the voice said. "We saw them… Wait, we have a Reaper inbound, AAAARRRGGGHHH!" Jack saw a Reaper land on the area they had started from earlier and fire it's beam weapon down, making the radio chatter turn to static. The Prime then closed his eyes and hung his head in shame as their shuttle took off for high orbit, leaving the Asari in the hands of the Reapers.
  9. CHAPTER 15 The rain fell fast and heavy as each and every drop splashed against his silver and gold armour, the six-foot nine-inch tall Grimlock looked down to the ground as he hung his head. The Dinobot Commander was on his knees and surrounded by Adjutants, the same creatures that had killed the rest of his team and all of Autobots around the colony of Eden Prime. He looked ahead slightly when he heard footfalls approaching him from the horde that surrounded the bot, they then stopped directly in front of him. Grimlock looked up to see an Adjutant standing over him. Its blue optics staring down at him completely devoid of emotion, the Dinobot's eyes then noticed the red and silver armour that was still partly hanging from the creature. It's Autobot symbol barely recognizable from the gash going through it. "Slug, it's me Grimlock." he said, hoping he could reawaken his old friend and comrade. But the Adjutant just stared at him. "Slug! Please, Brother? You have to remember." The creature then raised its bio-cannon in the air and screamed out, the others following suit. Grimlock then felt the fluid coursing through his veins boil as his anger started to build up within him. It was this same anger that made him one of the most fiercest warriors of Cybertron, the same anger that when at boiling point would enable him to transform into a mechanised T-Rex in his original body. It was an ancient earth creature that would make most Decepticons turn and flee (except for Megatron of course). He kept his eyes on the enemy as he slowly reached to his orange blade that was lying in the mud next to him, taking hold of it's hilt tightly. The creature then stepped closer until it opened its mouth and let its tendrils shake and hiss as it prepared to bite him. The Dinobot leader's eyes narrowed as his rising anger came close to exploding. He then gritted his teeth before swinging the blade up and slicing the Adjutant in half, it's blood spilling out as both parts of the Creature fell to the sides and landed in the mud, splashing muddy water into he air. "You will not take me this day, I Grimlock will avenge my fallen comrades." he shouted as the rest of the Adjutants readied themselves to strike. "Come on then you pieces of scrap, I will send you all to the pit." he added as he raised his sword and took a defensive stance, the Adjutants then launched themselves at him as he swung his blade at them. Several hours earlier, only a few hundred light years away. The Defiant was flying through a binary star system towards the nearby space bridge. Jack walked into the science lab with Ravage following behind, he looked around to see Raf working closely with Tali at console with encrypted data scrolling down the large holo-screen in front of them. "So any news?" the Prime asked as he joined the two, Tali looked back to him as Raf kept typing. "Jack, we are still attempting to decrypt some of the data from the MECH database we were given." "Why is it encrypted, didn't Petrovsky decrypt it before downloading it into our computers?" the Commander replied. "There are small parts that are protected, the rest was already transmitted to Admiral Bryce an hour ago." Raf said without looking away from the screen. "Anything of interest?" Jack asked. "Fleet movements, field reports and supply convoys. With this data, the Alliance can hurt MECH operations around the galaxy. But what ever is encrypted must be of real value, so we are focusing on that." Tali said as she turned back to the screen. "Is it slow going?" Jack asked as he looked at the screen. "It would have been if we didn't have the algorithms that Soundwave left in our system." Raf replied. "So where have you been Jack?" Tali asked curiously. "I just finished speaking with Admiral Bryce about the Omega situation, he is happy we have more allies against the Reapers, as well as possible Intel on MECH via General Petrovsky. He wants us to rendezvous with the 'Yorktown' and hand the General over, he will then be transported to the Admiral for interrogation." the Prime answered. "Sounds unpleasant." the scientist said back. "Not really because he will be treated as a prisoner of war and given comfortable living quarters until the end of the war, then he will be tried." Tali shook her head in disbelief. "I know Garrus wouldn't be happy to hear that, I mean I understand why we have taken the MECH General alive. He has offered us everything he knows and has to help us take down his employer, but I really for Garrus and can understand his need for vengeance." "You mean because of your father, Tali." Jack said back, gaining a nod from the Quarian. "Yes, that hate for the Geth that killed him kept me going. I prayed everyday that I would finally catch up with it and end it's life." "I am sorry, Tali. But that Geth was Legion, right?" Raf asked as he looked over to them. "Yes, and even when I met 'him' that didn't change anything." she replied. "I remember." Jack added as Tali looked over to him. "But then I got to know Legion and found out what really happened, not just with my father. But what exactly happened between the Geth and my people, and then I realised that my need to get justice for my father was pointed toward the wrong person." she said as she looked over to Raf who was still listening intently, having stopped working and focused on the conversation. "So you understand why I stopped Garrus from killing Petrovsky?" Jack asked, Tali nodded in return. "Yes, he was not completely responsible, But, Jack, if we can't get this Saleon. You will have to let Garrus take his life, since he is second most responsible for what happened." The Prime nodded as a serious expression appeared on his face. " I know and Admiral Bryce agrees. So if Petrovsky's intel doesn't help us or we don't find Saleon. Then the Admiral will let Garrus execute him." "Wow, that will keep Petrovsky sweating for the time being then." Raf replied with a smile. "Exactly." the Prime replied before beginning to turn away. "Well you two are busy so I will let you carry on." he said before he started for the door. "Jack." Tali called to the Commander who stopped and let her catch up. "Can you do me a favor?" "Sure, name it." Jack replied. "Can you go and speak to Garrus, he has locked himself in the weapons battery and claims that he wants to be left alone to 'calibrate' the weapons systems." the Quarian said with a worried tone. Jack gave her a concerned look. "Wait, he won't even let you in?" the Prime asked disbelievingly. "Yes, I think he doesn't want me to see him in this state. but I know first hand what closing yourself from your friends and loved ones can do to a person. But since he won't speak to me..." she said back. "I'll go talk to him"." Jack reassured her. "Thanks, Jack." Tali replied. "Anytime." he said back before leaving the lab. The Prime walked past Arcee's quarters on his way to the weapons battery, he knew she would be in there now. But he had to help his friend first, so he carried on towards the large door at the end of corridor and hit the door chime. "Tali, I swear I am okay. I just want to work please." the Turian's voice replied over the intercom. "Garrus, it's me." Jack said back. "Jack, sorry I thought you were Tali. Is there anything you need?" Garrus asked. "yeah, I am here to talk. Open the door." the Prime said. "Can we do this later? I am in The middle of some 'calibrations' right now." the Turian replied. "Garrus, I am not leaving until you let me. Or do you want me to ask Teletraan to override the lock?" "Okay, Okay. I am opening the door." came the reply. Then just as he said, the door opened and Jack walked in. He saw Garrus standing next to a console and he didn't look happy as he sighed in defeat. He saw Garrus standing next to a console and he didn't look happy as he signed in defeat. "I know what you are going to say Jack but I am alright." the Turian said. "Really? Then why are you locking yourself in here and not talking to anyone, especially Tali?" the Prime replied as the door closed behind him. "She's worried about you." Garrus looked away for a moment as his expression changed to a look of guilt and remorse. "I don't want her to see me like this, I just want to wait here until we get news on Saleon." "Garrus, you should talk to Tali. She knows what it is like to live with the guilt of losing someone close, and the need to hunt down the one responsible." The Turian then looked at Jack. "You're one to talk, Jack." Garrus replied surprising the Prime. "What do you mean?" the Commander asked, a look of confusion written on his face. "I overheard Arcee having a conversation with Airachnid not long back, and she was talking about how she was worried about you." the Turian replied as Jack remained quiet. "She said you looked like you were going to open up just before the Citadel attack by MECH, but since then you have gone quiet again. I mean it isn't just Arcee that's noticed the change in you Jack, we all have. How can I take advice from someone who won't even take their own." Garrus added making the Prime feel uncomfortable. "And here I was trying to get you to talk to Tali." Jack replied sheepishly. "Well, I'll tell you what, if you promise me that you will let Arcee help you. Then I will go and speak with Tali." the Turian said as he held out his hand. "Okay I promise I will talk with Arcee when we get a free moment, which with this war is not often." Jack replied as he shook his friend's hand. "Now go up to the Science lab, your girlfriend's worried sick." the Prime continued with a slight smile. "Oh you know I will get up back for that, Jack." Garrus replied as they both walked out of the room and back to the science lab. Tali and Raf were still neck-deep in hacking the MECH database when Jack and Garrus entered the room, the Quarian was bent over a worktop as she looked into a microscope like device, except this allowed her to look at the intricate details of the encryption. Garrus looked at Tali's rear and smiled. "Nice." he said quietly, but he was not aware that Jack had heard him. "What?" the Prime said in return, snapping the Turian out of his gaze. "Uh... what?" he said aloud, gaining Tali's attention as she stood up And turned to them. "Garrus, it's good to see you out and about." she said before the two embraced for a moment, the Turian then looked down at her. "Want to join me for a drink in the common room." "Sure, I need a break actually. We can talk." she answered back before kooky over to Raf who was still engrossed in his work. "Just going for a break, want me to bring you anything back?" "I'm okay, thanks." the scientist replied, gaining a nod from the Quarian before she and Garrus headed for the door, passing Ravage on way as he was lying on his front watching everything from side. The screen in front of Raf then flashed before a part of the encrypted data revealed itself. "Uh, Tali, could you wait a sec." he said back, stopping he couple just short of the door. Jack looked at the screen. "You've decrypted the database?" "Well, a small part of it." Raf replied as he read what was on the screen, then his eyes widened at what he saw. "My god..." he said aloud. "What is it?" Tali asked as she and Garrus turned around and headed back to the console. Raf then looked over to Jack with a serious look on his face. "MECH are going to attack Eden Prime." PRIME EFFECT 3 One of the Autobot archaeologist's looked up at the sky and saw the cloud build up approaching the colony. "Looks like we might get rain today." a voice called over to her, making the bot look to the left. She saw a Caucasian woman (mid twenties) wearing purple armour with light blue neon lights approaching him. "Chromia, didn't realise that predicting the weather was one of your skill sets" she replied, gaining a chuckle from the femme as she stopped next to her. "You would be surprised, Glyph." she replied with a smile. "Well, if you wan help with anything then it will have to be quick, because we are about to bring the stasis pod from the catacombs." Glyph asked. "Just wondering where Flareup is, that's all." Chromia replied. "Flareup? She is with Tap-Out and Trailbreaker. They are part of the team who are bringing the stasis pod out." the blue bot replied, earning a sigh from the femme. "She is hanging around Trailbreaker again, and I bet he hasn't realised why she is hanging round him either." Glyph chuckled and nodded in return. "Yeah, he may be getting good at deciphering Lithone writings. But reading the behaviour of a femme is completely alien to him." The two femmes were to busy laughing to notice another bot walk up behind them. "What are you two laughing about?" a deep voice asked. They both turned and looked up to see Grimlock standing over them. "Oh it's nothing, Grimlock. Just young love blossoming here on Eden Prime. Even though one of them hasn't realised it yet." glyph replied cheerfully. "You mean Flareup and Trailbreaker?" the Dinobot leader answered. "Wait, you know too." Chromia said on surprise. "Everybody knows... except Trailbreaker." Grimlock chuckled as another Caucasian man in red and silver armour approached him, carrying two swords on his back. "Grimlock, Sludge and Snarl report everything is fine at the communication hub." he said, gaining the Dinobot's attention. "Thank you, Slug." the Dinobot leader replied, Chromia then looked at the three of them. "I am going to go ahead and get a front seat to the Flareup/Trailbreaker show." she said before heading down into the excavation site. Grimlock then activated his com link. "Swoop, can you hear me?" A few miles outside the colony, a Mantis gunship flew low over the green terrain. An Autobot symbol was stuck on the side and in the pilot seat was Swoop, a Caucasian man with blond hair and wearing red and gold armour. He was just enjoying the flight when his com link activated. "Swoop, can you hear me?" came a voice that he knew only too well. "Sorry, you're breaking up." he said back with a chuckle, gaining a grunt as the caller got angry. "I said can you hear me?" his voice sounding annoyed. "I'm kidding around with you, Grimlock. Of course I can hear you." Swoop replied, gaining a sigh from the Dinobot Commander. "Status report." The Dinobot pilot looked over his cockpit controls that were made up of many holo-controls and screens. "My second patrol of the day and no new readings, still looks like we're the only ones here." "Alright then, see you when you get back." Grimlock replied as Swoop noticed something peculiar on the horizon. "Wait a sec, I just spotted something that wasn't there before." "What is it?" Grimlock asked over the com. But before the Dinobot pilot could answer, alarms went off in the cockpit. "Damn it, missile lock" he said before he pulled the gunship into a hard turn as a ground to air missile narrowly missed it. Swoop, what's happening?" Grimlock said back. The Dinobot fought to keep the ship in the air, as his sudden actions brought the gunship extremely close to the ground. He pulled the stick back and brought the ship to a safe distance from ground level. He then was about to head back found to see who had fired on him when alarms went off again, looking down at the sensors he could see a blip closing on his position again. 'Heat seeker, scrap!' he thought before the missile hit and exploded against the art of the gunship. The whole vessel shook from the impact as Swoop found the controls to me suddenly unresponsive. He just frantically pulled the stick back hard as he watched the ground rush up to meet him through the cockpit's canopy. Having witnessed the gunship crashing in the distance, a group of MECH troopers returned to carrying equipment out of their shuttle as they nearly finished construction of what looked like an array of some kind. One trooper stood beside he ground to air missile emplacement as it returned to its shut down mode, he then put his hand to the side of his helmet. "Beachhead secure, signal will be ready to broadcast in five minutes." he said into his com link before looking over to group building it, one looked back and nodded. "I repeat, five minutes. Begin phase two." the soldier then turned off the com link and walked over to the group. Grimlock had a worried expression on his face. "What's wrong, Boss?" Slug asked as he and Glyph looked up to Dinobot Leader. "Swoop's signal just stopped, I thought he said more but couldn't make it out.". Grimlock then started walking away from the group as he looked at his holo-tool. "I am heading out to Swoop's last known coordinates, you're in charge until I return, Slug." The other Dinobot nodded in return. "Alright, Grimlock, though I am sure Swoop's okay. He can survive anything" "I agree, but this... doesn't feel right." the big bot replied before walking away. At the entrance to the catacombs, two Caucasian looking Autobots were pushing out a large black cylinder like object. One had green hair with silver highlights and armour of matching colour scheme. The other Autobot had silver hair with black armour and red plating around his joints. They were both bickering as a femme with fire-red hair and orange and red armour watched. "Put your back into it, Tap-Out. You're not going to let me do all the work here are you, especially with a femme watching us." the black armoured one asked as he pushed the object toward the entrance. "Well, if someone who will go unnamed (Trailbreaker) had remembered to bring the gravity loader instead of talking to said femme, then we wouldn't have had to push this fragging thing all the way from the catacombs to here... would we?" Tap-Out said with anger in his voice, between deep breaths as he slumped over the object. Flareup chuckled at the sight before her. "Tap-Out, looks like Trailbreaker doesn't need a rest." she said playfully before nudging the black armoured bot, making him blush slightly. "Uh... no, I am a fine. Thanks, Flareup." he replied a little unsure, making the green bot roll his eyes in response. He couldn't believe how blind Trailbreaker could be, here was a femme who was showing all the signs that she liked him, and yet he couldn't see them. "So once we're done here, do you want to get a bite to eat with us at the cafeteria, Flareup?" Trailbreaker asked. The femme's smile grew bigger as her blue eyes looked back to the bot. "Sure, that would be great." she replied enthusiastically, but Tap-Out waved them on. "You two can go on ahead, I want to stay and take some scans of this thing, make sure that all the pushing didn't damage anything." he said earning a bemused look from his colleague. "You sure, Tap-Out?" he asked. "Yes, besides one of us shout remain and keep an eye on it. Go on, enjoy yourselves." the green bot replied, earning a silent thank you from the femme, before she and Trailbreaker started to leave. They didn't get far when Chromia appeared ahead of them with a knowing look on her face. "Though I would find you here." she said with a slight smile that bemused the mech more, yet earned a scowl from Flareup. "We were just heading off for something to eat...want to join us?" Trailbreaker asked, surprising both femmes. "You know I would love to, but..." Chromia replied as The other femme looked at her pleadingly. ".. but I just came here to check if Flareup had finished her daily inventory report." she said before looking over to her friend, who activated her holo-tool. "Yes I did, just transferring it to you now." the younger bot replied as Chromia's holo-tool signalled her to the file transfer. "Okay then, carry on." the purple femme replied before motioning the to pass. But then as they moved away, a sound of thunder in the sky gained they attention as well as everyone else in the colony, even Grimlock who was at this moment was nearly a mile outside the colony's limits driving away in a medium sized four by four. "What was that?" Flareup asked as she and the others looked up to see something in the sky. Chromia pulled a pair of binoculars from one of he pouches on her utility belt and looked at the object. "It looks like a meteor, and..." she said before stopping abruptly. "What's wrong?" Flareup asked nervously. "It's heading for the colony." she said before the object crashed into the center of the complex, damaging the colony's market place. Cybertronians were flung in all directions along with debris and mud from the force of the impact as a dust cloud surrounded the area. "Chromia to to anyone near the impact site, do you read?" the femme said into her com link as she looked over to the rising smoke from the crash site. After several seconds someone answered. "Chromia, this is Skids. The smoke and dust is starting to settle and we have a many injured, but I can see the meteor….what the?" the Autobot on the other end said before going silent. "Skids, what is it?" she asked back hesitantly when he gave no answer. "Sorry, Chromia. But this isn't a meteor. It looks like a pod of some kind, I am going in for a closer look." Trailbreaker and Flareup stood next to her as they tried to overhear the conversation, Tap-Out ran up to them from the Catacombs entrance. "What the hell was that I just heard?" he said. "Some object just crash landed in the middle of the colony." Trailbreaker said. "Skids, sorry. I didn't quite get that?" Chromia said aloud while giving the two Mechs an angry stare, one mirrored by Flareup. "Keep it down, I am trying to listen." she said as the purple femme continued her conversation. "Say that again, Skids." "I said it looks like a transport pod, but I do not recognise the configuration." the bot said. Suddenly a loud hiss could be heard like pressure was being released. "Wait, something is happening. The pod is opening up." Skids added, as the sound of moving metal could be heard over the com link. "Skids?" Chromia said again. "Chromia, the pod is open. But it is too dark to see in there." the Autobot replied over the com. "Wait….. I can see something, two blue lights. They look like opti…" Skids added before being cut off by the most inhuman scream any of them had ever heard, that was soon followed by the sound of people screaming and panicking. "By Primus, everyone run. Chromia, it….. Scrap, its seen me. Stay where you are Chromia, I repeat…AGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!" Then all that could be heard was the sounds of biting and a body being flung around like a rag doll. Chromia could not help but listen to the sounds as the screaming and panic could now be heard around the colony, along with more of the inhuman screams. The four bots looked at each other, and remained quiet for a long moment before one of them broke the silence in the group. "What the hell is happening out there?" Tap-Out asked with fear in his voice. "I don't know, but Skids said that we shouldn't move from where we are." Chromia replied, earning an angry look from Flareup. "What do you mean, something is attacking our friends and colleagues up there. We should fight it." she said defiantly, only then to feel a hand on her shoulder. She looked to see that it was Trailbreaker. "Skids is senior officer here, Flareup. If he says we stay, then we stay. Besides I can erect a force field in the entrance to the catacombs. Whatever is out there will not get through." "That's the plan, we wait here and hide?" the younger femme answered back. "Look, Flareup. We don't know what is attacking us or what their motives are. All we do know is that Skids ordered us not leave this site. Obviously he thinks it has something to do with what we have found here. So that is what we are going to do." Chromia replied earning a angry but accepting look from the younger femme. "Trailbreaker, get that force field set up quickly." Chromia said to the bot, gaining a nod from him as he activated his holo-tool. "What about the Dinobots, where are they? Tap-Out asked a little hesitantly. "I don't know, Tap-Out. But knowing them... I guess they will be in the thick of it." The monsters kept coming as Slug sliced up another with his twin blades, he was trying to protect Glyph and two other bots as these creatures kept attacking while they found themselves backed into an alleyway. The blue femme fired her pistol at another as the other two cowered behind them. "What in the matrix are these things?" Glyph asked as she shot another in the face, Slug sliced one in two before glancing over his shoulder to her. "I have never anything like them before, but they do resemble husks somewhat." The blue bot shot another in the legs, making it fall to the ground as more toppled over it. "Husks, you think it's the Reapers who are attacking. I thought that they do not attack colonies that are Cybertronians only?" "I am just guessing, Glyph" the Dinobot replied. "Well, what I want to know is that if only one of those things was in the pod that crash landed. Then how is there more of them now." she asked as she kicked punched another creature in the face when it got too close. "Glyph just concentrate on fighting right now, we need to protect the civilians." Slug said back as us decapitated another. "We are pretty much trapped in here, Slug." she said back as the only exit they had was now blocked off by more creatures. "That may be so, but it also has a choke point that makes it easier for us to defend against." the Dinobot replied. He then sliced through two more enemies as Glyph shot another two of them. "My pistol can only slow them down." she said again as the Mech sliced up the two that she had shot at. "Not a problem, you slow them down. And I finish them." he said as he tore up another. "We need help here, Slug. We can't hold out too long on our own." the femme said before shooting the legs of another before the Dinobot impaled it with one sword before decapitating it with his other. He then threw one weapon to Glygh. "Here, use this too." he said before activating his com link. "Snarl, Sludge. This is Slug, I am with Glyph and two civilians. We need help, can you hear me?" he said as the two of them kept the monsters at bay. "We read you loud and clear, Slug." a voice came through the other end of the com. "Sludge, what's your situation. Any chance you can help us out?" Slug asked. "We have tried to send a distress signal out, but those damn 'things' have destroyed the dish." Sludge replied as another voice joined in. "Also, no word from Swoop or Grimlock." "You know better than to worry about the big guy, Snarl." Slug said back as he witnessed Glyph slice off the arms of a creature before kicking it back into another. "And Swoop will be fine too, you'll see." Sludge added. "Anyway, just hold tight. We are on our way." The com link then deactivated as the two bots continued to fight, meanwhile the two civilians hurdled close together and watched. At the back of the alleyway, a ventilation shaft grill suddenly came undone and it fell to the ground revealing another creature as it slowly climbed out. "Did you hear something?" the female said to the male before looking back. "AAGGGGGHHHH!" The scream made both the bots fighting stop and look back, Glyph gasped at the sight before her. The civilian femme took a step back in fear as the mech was held up by the creature, it's tendrils burrowing deep into his neck as his body flinched constantly. "Help them, I'll stay and keep the others at bay." Slug said before Glyph ran back and grabbed the civilian femme. "Get back here now." she said while looking back to the blue femme. "Help my spark-mate please?" she begged Glyph who looked back at the civilian mech who was now starting to change as blue fluid passed through the creatures tendrils and into his body. "I'll try." Glyph replied before she fired her pistol at the abomination, which continued to ignore the impacts the bullets made into it's body as it held the civilian and concentrated on it. Glyph then got in close and readied Slug's sword. The monster then dropped him to the ground and turned to the blue femme as she started to swing the blade at it, it raised it's bio-cannon to block the attack which then sliced through it, spilling the blue fluid all over the floor. But before Glyph could attack again, the creature grabbed her with its other arm and slammed the femme into the wall. The force of the impact made her drop her weapons as it left her dazed. And then it looked at her for a second before opening it's mouth and biting down into her neck with it's tendrils. Glyph screamed out in pain as she felt the pressure of it's jaws around her neck and the fluid being pumped into her system. The civilian femme while in complete shock, looked down to see her spark mate getting up and looking at her while completely transformed into an abomination. "Clocker… by Primus." she said before it leapt at her and bit down into the femme. Slug heard another scream as he killed another creature and turned to see Glyph up against the wall, her body flinching erratically as the enemy continued to hold onto her, and the newest creature changing the civilian as it clung to the femme's neck on the floor. He felt his anger rage as he gritted his teeth and raise his sword up to attack, but before he could move he felt something grasp at his arm and yank him back. Another grabbed at his free arm and restrained him before the sharpest pain the Bot had ever felt erupted from his neck, making him grimace in response. He then felt the worm-like tendrils of the creature slither into his body and pump out a fluid, a fluid that suddenly made him resist less as he stood there in the grip of one of the creatures, dropping his sword to the ground as it began to change him. The alleyway then went quiet for a long time before nothing but Adjutants walked out of it. Grimlock had turned his vehicle around and was on his way back as he pushed the throttle down hard and sped back toward the colony. It didn't take long for him to enter the city-limits as he started to hear the monstrous screams echoing around him as he brought the vehicle to a halt, climbed out and readied his sword. He didn't like turning around and leaving Swoop out there, but the colony comes first, that was his orders... his team's orders. He knew Swoop would understand, so he stood there and activated his com link. "Grimlock to Dinobots, come in. Anyone?" he said as he looked around at the buildings that surrounded him, noting that it had gone deathly quiet. So he moved toward an archway and hid there for a second, as he was to visible to whatever was attacking the colony from where he stood. "Grimlock, it's Snarl." a voice came back through the com. "Snarl, what's the situation?" the Dinobot leader asked back. "The object that landed in the colony let loose some creature and it began infecting the other Cybertronians." Snarl replied. "Infecting…..what do you mean?" "I don't know, but it changed them into more of it's kind. I mean…I." Snarl replied with sadness and regret in his voice which Grimlock recognised. "What is it, what has happened?" "Sludge, we were on our way to help Snarl and some civvies when we were jumped by a number of those monsters. They got Sludge and…(winces).., almost got me." Snarl replied. "I…. see, what do you mean almost got you?" Grimlock asked as he looked down to the ground and remembered his fallen friend. "One of them bit me, but I managed to free myself before it could do anything else… I think." the other bot answered. "Okay then, what about Snarl? Have you heard from him since?" "No, I was on my way to his last coördinates." the voice replied. Grimlock activated his holo-tool. "Alright, I have turned on my locator beacon, do the same and I will meet up with you." the leader replied. "Done, I'll meet up with you then. If you come across any of the creatures, just don't let them touch you." "Will do." Grimlock replied before heading out into the streets while tracking his friend on his holo-tool. The Dinobot leader had quietly moved through the colony for some time as he closed the distance between himself and Snarl, but had not come across any of the creatures that the citizens of Eden Prime had been turned into. Sure he heard some noises coming from the distance, but he had not yet seen one. This confused the bot as he kept his grip on his sword tight before coming across the alleyway that Snarl had mentioned. He looked down the alley, but saw nothing but a broken vent grill and some fluid on the floor. There was signs of a fight, but no clues to where Slug or the others with him had gone. Grimlock then felt eyes upon him from behind and swung round with his blade ready. "Boss, its me!" Snarl replied with his hands in the air, the Dinobot leader looked down at his friend and pulled back. "It's good to see you, Snarl." he said before seeing the wound on the other Dinobot's neck. "That looks painful." Snarl reached up to the wound and scratched at it, making him wince in return. "It is, and it itches too. But I am okay." he said before looking down the alleyway. "So since this place is a burst what next?" Grimlock then looked up at the sky as his audio receptors picked up a faint noise. "Can you hear that?" he asked as Snarl mirrored him by looking up too. "Yeah, sounds like a…." he replied before a shuttle flew over them both. "….a shuttle, did you see any insignia on it?" "No, but it is heading for the catacombs entrance. Come on." the Dinobot leader said as he started to run in that direction. Snarl started to follow but did not notice the shadow of something looming over him. Grimlock had moved several meters before…. "Arrrrggh, get the frag off me!" Snarl cried out, making Grimlock look back to see a creature on top of the Dinobot. Snarl was holding it's head back as it's tendrils whipped around in a frenzy, trying to get at the open wound on the Cybertronian's neck. "Snarl!" Grimlock called back as he stormed over to his friend, but the creature saw him and instead hit the bot in the face, putting him in a daze before grabbing his foot and dragging him in the opposite direction. Grimlock chased after his friend as he was dragged down the street and round a corner, but when the big bot ran round the same corner, he saw that his friend and the beast were gone. He looked around frantically before hearing a familiar voice scream out in pain before suddenly going silent. Grimlock closed his eyes as he felt his rage building up at the thought that at this moment, his entire team could well be dead. Sludge and Snarl were both gone, Slug was nowhere to be found and as for Swoop. He shook his head as he tried to fight away those thoughts. 'No, until I see a body, Swoop and Slug could still be alive' he thought, but then he heard the sound of movement around him and he opened his eyes to see several creatures in front of him, he then heard more noises from behind and guessed that he was surrounded. His anger was at boiling point as one of the monsters rushed at him and jumped, but then in the blink of an eye it was sliced in two by the orange blade of the Dinobot leader as he swung his weapon at it. He then took a stance and looked at the creatures. PRIME EFFECT 3 The Defiant jumped out of hyperspace and flew toward the planet of Eden Prime, Hotrod was in the pilot seat with Airachnid to his left, controlling the weapon systems. He looked at the sensor screen before activating his com link. "Prime, we are approaching the planet. I am reading just one ship in orbit, it's IFF says MECH cruiser. It has spotted us and is heading out to intercept us." "Roger that Hotrod, disable the MECH vessel and then head down to the planet's surface. More Alliance vessels are on their way and can take care of the cruiser. But we will be using the MAKO so need to be at least a hundred feet above the ground before launching, clear?" Jack's voice said over the com. "Aye, aye." the pilot replied as they neared the enemy ship. The enemy cruiser charged up it's main beam weapon as the smaller frigate got closer, but before it could fire, Airachnid launched two torpedoes which impacted against the MECH vessel, the explosion knocked the vessel off course as it lost power and started to drift. The Defiant then flew past and down into the planet's atmosphere. The Alliance vessel flew down to the green landscape as the rain fell from the clouds above before levelling off at the distance that the Prime had said, it then opened it's shuttle bay doors and the MAKO drove off the landing ramp and fell from the Defiant, which began it's ascent back into orbit. The ground vehicle began plummeting towards the surface, but then thrusters fired from under the MAKO, slowing it's decent before it gently landed with a bump on the grassy hill overlooking the colony. Jack was sitting in the driver's seat in the cramped interior as he controlled the vehicle, Arcee and Smokescreen sat in the rear and were watching him. They could hear the rain as it landed on the roof of the vehicle, making a continuous tapping sound. "Okay, we are less than a mile from the colony. Should reach it in twenty minutes." the Prime said before looking back to see the worried expression on his partner's face. "Arcee, I am sure Chromia is alright." he said with an encouraging tone, gaining a nod from the femme. "I know, Jack, but I guess I wont feel better until I see her." she replied. Jack nodded before turning back and putting his foot down on the throttle as the MAKO began making it's way to the colony. It wasn't long before the MAKO was traversing the streets as it made it's way between the buildings. "It's too quiet, where is everyone?" Arcee asked as she looked out the small porthole on her side of the vehicle. "We haven't seen or heard anything since we entered the colony." Smokescreen added as Jack noticed something on the holo-sreen to his right. "Wait a second, sensors are picking up a large amount of movement from the west of our location, changing course." The Prime then turned the MAKO in that direction and moved down the street until it came to a stop in front or a large horde of the creatures, which Jack recognised immediately. "Adjutants…. Damn it." Both Autobots stood behind Jack and looked out of the glass canopy at the monsters, who had not noticed the MAKO yet. "Those things are Adjutants…. Nasty." Smokescreen said as he observed the creatures. "And that is what Shen was…." Arcee asked gaining a nod from the Prime, she then looked down at the ground. "… I see, poor Garrus." The femme then looked up when a realization came over her. "That means that out there, that horde may have been Cybertronians once. But I thought that Reaper tech has no effect on us." "Well, maybe MECH managed to alter the coding of the Adjutant virus, I mean they have had enough experience with Cybertronian physiology over the years." Jack replied. "But that means one of them could be…" Arcee said back as her mind became overwhelmed with thoughts of her sister. Jack though looked back at her, his blue eyes meeting her own. "Don't think like that, Arcee. That line of thinking won't help anyone, especially yourself." The femme nodded back and sighed. "You're right, Jack." Smokescreen though leaned more forward as he watched the Adjutants. "Why haven't they attacked us yet, I mean we are in a tank of all things and yet they don't seem bothered." "It looks like they have their attention elsewhere." Jack replied, as Arcee focused her eyes and noticed the hint of an orange blade being swung in the distance. She then pointed in the direction. "There, someone is fighting them." The Prime then changed gears and revved the engine, which finally made a number of the creatures turn and look at them. "Smokescreen, get on the turret. I want suppression fire." the Commander said, earning a nod from the young bot as he opened the top hatch and climbed up to the turret that was positioned on top of the main cannon. "Arcee, be ready to open the aft hatch, the moment Smokescreen has given us enough room." She nodded before heading to the back of the MAKO. "What are you going to do?" she asked looking back at her partner. But Jack just smirked as he glanced back at her. "I'm going to see what this thing can do." he replied before looking forward at the approaching Adjutants and hit the accelerator hard, making the MAKO move forward and gain momentum as it started to speed toward the monsters. One of the Adjutants jumped for the roof of the MAKO, but was knocked down by Smokescreen who fired a burst of rounds into the creature. "How do you like that?" he shouted over the weapons fire as the MAKO then rammed into the outer edges of the horde, sending some of the creatures into the air while others got caught under the large wheels of the vehicle, splattering their blue fluids everywhere. Meanwhile, Grimlock swung his blade through one Adjutant before grabbing the torso of it and then swinging that into another creature, knocking it to the ground. He then dropped the body part and grabbed the hilt of his sword with both hands and then sliced through two more enemies as he created a small amount of space between himself and the horde. He then heard weapons fire and the sound of a vehicle approaching, so he looked up to see the MAKO mowing down more of the Adjutants as it approached him. But as he then turned and focused on an enemy that had gotten to close to his person by impaling it with his sword and then swinging it into three more enemies, he failed to see one pounce at his back. But before it got within an inch of him, it was shot down by Smokescreen as the MAKO hit the breaks and slid into a large number of Adjutants, leaving a blue liquid like mess in it's wake. Smokescreen while firing continuously into the horde looked down at the Dinobot leader. "Get round the back." he shouted, earning a nod back as Grimlock then ran to the aft of MAKO. One of the creatures was there to greet him, but instead received a beheading before the hatch opened and revealed Arcee to him. She held her hand out to the Dinobot. "Grimlock, come on." she said before he took her hand and climbed into hatch, the femme sealing it behind them right after. "We got him, go!" she called back to Jack who then hit the accelerator again and flipped a switch next to him. "Dropping the package." he stated, gaining a confused look from his partner. "What?" she replied. But as the MAKO then drove off and through the rest of the Adjutants in front of it. Back where it once stood was an explosive device which after a few seconds exploded, engulfing the horde of Adjutants in fire. The force of the blast then hit the back of the MAKO, shaking it around slightly as the vehicle made it's escape. Smokescreen then looked back to see the Adjutants running around on fire as their bodies burned, he smiled before he deactivated the turret and climbed back down into the MAKO's interior. He then nodded to Grimlock, who smiled back at him. "Nice shooting, Kid." he said before looking at Arcee. "It's been a while, Arcee." "It sure has, Grimlock." she replied with a pat to his shoulder, he then looked toward the driver's seat. "So I guess that's Jack up front then?" he asked before walking over (hunched, due to limited height of MAKO) to the Prime. "Good to see your in one piece, Grimlock." Jack said back a slight smile. "Thanks for the rescue, didn't think that our distress call got through." the Dinobot replied. "We didn't receive a distress call, we got Intel that MECH were about to attack and headed straight here." the Prime said, earning a shocked look from the big bot. "MECH? But those creatures look like Reaper forces." "Silas has been using Reaper tech for his own purposes, but I don't know why they would attack Eden Prime." "I heard that the expedition here has uncovered a stasis pod down in the Lithone catacombs." Grimlock said before his eyes widened as something dawned on him. "That shuttle that I and Snarl saw earlier, that must have been a MECH force heading for the catacombs." "Okay, I taking us there now." Jack replied as he turned the MAKO sharply around a corner and down another street as it headed for that location. "You mentioned Snarl, where is the rest of the Dinobots?" the Prime asked, making Grimlock look to the ground with a sullen face. "They are dead, Jack. Those creatures turned them into more of themselves." he said as Jack just kept his eyes on the road and sighed, both Arcee and Smokescreen looked to the ground as they mourned the deaths of their comrades. "I am sorry, Grimlock." Arcee said before looking up to him, the femme was about to say something else but the Dinobot leader cut her off, as he knew what she was about to ask. "Chromia wasn't among any of them, Arcee, that I know of. She was heading for the catacombs the last time I saw her." he replied. The femme just hung her head and sighed. "I just hope she is alright, I don't want to lose another sister." she said before she felt a hand on her shoulder, she looked up to see Grimlock looking down to her. "Chromia is strong, she will make it." he replied with an encouraging tone. "I hope you're right." Arcee said back as the MAKO drove closer to the catacombs site. Meanwhile a number of MECH soldiers were firing their rifles at the force field that Trailbreaker was projecting from his holo-tool, all while an engineer was trying to deactivate it with his own tool from behind his troops. "These MECH guys really want to get in here." the bot said while looking across to Flareup who was waiting with her SMG ready. "Maybe you should just lower it then and let us fight already." she replied eagerly. But Chromia gave her protege a harsh look as she stood behind the stasis pod that the femme and Tap-Out were using as cover. "No, Flareup. We hold out as long as we can. We will only engage them the moment that field comes down. Help is on the way, I know it is. So we just need to hold on." The younger femme shrugged and then looked back at the enemy troops as the engineer suddenly pointed toward them, which made the Autobots look back with concern. "I think we will need to fight soon." Trailbreaker stated as he readied his pistol, his holo-tool started to bleep continuously as the field started to fluctuate. "Finally." Flareup said with relief. But just as the force field began to fail, the MECH soldiers all turned around when they heard something approaching them. The engineer ignored it as he concentrated on the catacombs defence, while the rest looked down the street. Suddenly a MAKO turned around the corner fast and sped up towards the MECH soldiers who started firing on the vehicle. "Everyone, get ready." Chromia said as they watched the action on the other side of the force field. The enemy fire did nothing against the vehicle's heavy armour as it ran through the soldiers, killing them all instantly. Only the engineer was left and he turned to see the MAKO break hard and swing it's aft around, which collided with the MECH trooper. Sending him flying into the wall nearby, the sound of his bones shattering on impact before he fell to the ground in heap. Chromia looked at the MAKO and saw the Alliance symbol on it's side. "Deactivate the force field." she said to Trail breaker, who nodded and did as he was ordered. The orange field came down just before Chromia reached it and she walked up to the back of the vehicle as the hatch opened and Arcee and Grimlock stepped out. Chromia's eyes widened and a large smile graced her lips as she looked over to her older sister. "Sis, thank Primus." she said aloud as she ran over to the blue femme and the two hugged each other tightly. "I was so worried." Arcee said before the two pulled back and smiled at each other. "I knew you would come, Arcee." the purple femme replied as Jack and Smokescreen showed themselves, the Prime looked over to the black object. "Is that the stasis pod?" he asked, gaining Chromia's attention. "Yes it is, Jack. We need to get this out of here before MECH come back." Smokescreen looked back towards the driver's controls and saw a large amount of movement heading their way. "We have company." he replied as Jack looked over to Grimlock. "Think you can lift that?" he asked. "No problem, Jack." the Dinobot leader replied as he walked over and picked up the pod with ease. "Okay, everyone, get on board now." the Prime said before Chromia, Arcee, Tap-Out, Flareup and Trailbreaker all boarded the MAKO. Jack then helped Grimlock load the pod into the vehicle before closing the hatch behind them and taking the driver's seat again. He then hit then changed gears and hit the accelerator as the MAKO started to head away from the catacombs. "Jackson Prime to Defiant, do you read?" he asked as he drove up the empty streets of the colony. "Hotrod here, you ready for pickup?" the pilot replied over the com. "Yes, meet us at the EZ coordinates." the Prime replied, but then suddenly the MAKO started to slow down, earning a worried look from him. "Why are we slowing?" Grimlock asked as Jack began to look at the diagnostic screen next to him, the wheels of the MAKO were flashing red. "It says the wheels are damaged, but I don't see…." the Commander replied before he saw and Adjutant on the monitor showing the aft of the vehicle. It had fired it's bio-cannon at the wheels and it's acid had eaten through them. Then on the monitor for each side of the Alliance vehicle, more creatures appeared as they started to surround and climb on top of it. "We have to get out and fight." the Dinobot stated, earning a nod from Flareup who agreed with him. "No, that acid they are using won't breach the MAKO and there are too many out there to fight." Jack replied. "Then what do you suggest?" Chromia asked, giving the Prime a concerned look as did everyone else. Jack though activated his com link. "Raf, how is it coming with the database, found anything on the Adjutants yet?" In the science lab, Raf and Tali were still working on the database as Garrus watched them. "Jack, we are still trying to decrypt the rest of it." the scientist said as he adjusted his glasses. "How long, because we are running short on time here." the Prime answered back, gaining a worried look from Tali as she looked over to Raf. He shook his head in return. "We are working as fast as we can, but…" Garrus then sighed before activating his com link. "Jack, I have an idea, if you will let me?" he said. "Do it." came the response, and the Turian then left the room leaving both Tali and Raf confused. PRIME EFFECT 3 In the darkened quarters, with nothing but the dim light from outside of the room's window to illuminate it. Petrovsky was sitting on his bed, holding his head in his hands as he contemplated what he was going to do. But then the door opened and flooded the room with light, nearly blinding him as he looked over to see the silhouette of a Turian standing in the doorway. "What? But my information is correct, yes?" he asked as he recognised Garrus. "That all depends on what you tell me right now." the Turian replied as he stepped into the room and stopped in front of the MECH prisoner. "I don't understand." "How do we stop the Adjutants?" Garrus asked back, anger tinged his voice. "I told you, I don't know." Petrovsky answered, before being knocked down on to the bed by the Turian's fist. "Wrong answer." The former General cowered in fear of the Turian who stood over him. "But...I don't know." Garrus then grabbed the prisoner's collar and yanked him up, their faces only inches apart. "I know you are holding something back, now tell me or I will kill you now." Petrovsky's eyes widened as his face started to sweat. "Okay, okay. I know the code to deactivate the encryption on the database." Garrus gritted his teeth before throwing the prisoner out of his room. "Move it!" he growled as he left the room and pushed Petrovsky. A moment later, both Tali and Raf watched in shock as the Turian pushed the MECH general down on seat facing the main console. "Get on with it." he said with force as Petrovsky started to type on the holo-keyboard in front of him, stopping a few moments later. "Garrus, how is the plan of yours? Because I don't know how much more of this we can take down here?" Jack's voice said over the com, Garrus looked down at the General. "Why have you stopped?" "This will take some time…" Petrovksy started to say before the Turian equipped his pistol and fired it into the wall (it is reinforced, so no hull breach), making the former general jump, then he pressed the hot barrel of the pistol against the prisoner's head. The heat burning the skin as it touched. "Stop delaying, or the next bullet goes through your head." Garrus snapped at him. Tali then heard what sounded like running water and looked down to the bottom the seat that Petrovsky was sitting and gasped in disgust. "Oh Keelah." she said as they all looked down at the small puddle of urine that formed around the chair and realised that the prisoner had pissed him self. "Alright." he said back, his voice full of cold dread as he turned around and typed a series of commands into the console. Several seconds later and the encryption disappeared to reveal the database. "Jack, we got it." Raf answered as he stepped around the prisoner (making sure not to step in the urine) and began searching for the information. Garrus pushed Petrovsky out of his seat and onto the floor before pointing his pistol at him. "If my friends die down there, then so will you." Raf and Tali then both smiled. "We have found the data on the Adjutants, they are controlled from a mobile array that would have to be in close proximity to wherever the Adjutants are being deployed." Tali then activated her com link. "Hotrod, run a sensor sweep of the area around the colony. Are there any anomalies present?" After a moment. "Yes, Teletraan is picking up a transmission from about a kilometre and a half outside of the colony, to its west." the pilot answered. "Set a course and arm weapons." the Quarian replied. "Aye, aye." Hotrod replied. The MECH soldiers just stood and watched the horizon as they guarded the transmitter array, all while an engineer maintained it with his holo-tool. "We should have heard from the recovery team by now." one soldier said. "Quiet, just focus on your duty." the engineer replied as one of the other soldiers looked up to the sky. "Err, can any of you see that?" he said while pointing up to the speck that was quickly getting larger as it closed in on them. The engineer then pulled out a pair of binoculars and looked up to the sky before freezing in place at what he could see. "What is it?" the soldier nearest to him asked. But suddenly the Defiant fired four torpedoes at the site, destroying the shuttle and the transmission array in one go as the whole area became a smoldering crater. The Alliance frigate then leveled out and flew past before turning around. Just as it did, a survivor climbed up from behind some charred debris from the shuttle and looked up at the enemy ship before tapping his com link. "This unit zero four. We need help, I repeat we need…." he said before several bullets shot through his chest spilling out blood as he fell to his knees and then face down on the ground. Standing behind him was the beaten and bruised form of Swoop who had his assault rifle in hand, he smiled and took a deep breath. "That's for shooting me down, you fragging piece of scrap." The Dinobot then looked up to the Defiant which was hovering above and waved at them before activating his com link. "Any chance of a lift for a fellow bot?" he asked cheekily. Meanwhile, the MAKO was now completely covered by the Adjutants which were beating down on it's hull as they tried to get through to it's occupants. Inside everyone was just waiting for the signal that Raf said was coming, a signal that they wouldn't miss. Jack himself was wondering what Garrus had done, he knew that it would involve Petrovsky but he hoped that his friend would have kept his cool still. He looked around the small interior of the MAKO, he saw his love Arcee sitting close with Chromia while Flareup was holding on to a very confused but also… kinda happy Trailbreaker. Smokescreen was sitting next to Tap-Out, both bots looking rather nervous. But then the Prime's gaze fell on Grimlock and the big bot looked almost ready to explode as he looked up at the ceiling, obviously wanting to go outside and smash up some Adjutants. The Dinobot leader then gritted his teeth as the sounds of the monsters beating the hull from the outside was now to much for him to bear. "Right that's it, I am going out there." he said angrily as Jack got up to meet him. "Stay where you are, that is an order." the Prime said firmly as he stared at the bot who was much taller and stronger than himself. "You may be a Prime, Jack, but as of this moment you remind me more of Optimus. That is not a smart thing to do around me." the Dinobot replied coldly. "I know you and Optimus have had your disagreements over the eons, Grimlock, but I will be damned if I will defied by one who's rank is below mine." Jack replied. Grimlock clenched his fists as he gritted his teeth, the Prime could see the anger almost exploding out of the Dinobot's eyes, but knew that he had to stand his ground. Meanwhile Arcee had slipped her hand down to her SMG and took it's safety off before slowly equipping it, she did not like the idea of attacking a comrade. But Grimlock's anger issues were always not just a threat to the Decepticons during the war, but to the Autobots as well. Jack noticed this and subtly gestured with his lowered hand for her to stand down, she gave him a concerned look but then slowly nodded and holstered her weapon. But then suddenly the banging on the hull stopped and everyone looked around. "What happened?" Smokescreen asked before Jack looked at the monitors and saw that the Adjutants were lying on the ground, not moving at all. He then looked back to Arcee. "Open the hatch." he said and the femme nodded back before walking over to the back of the vehicle and activating the control panel there. Outside the hatch opened and Grimlock jumped down to the ground with his sword ready, but was met by the sight of the entire horde lying dead on the ground. "What in Primus?" he said as everyone else climbed out of the MAKO and looked around. Jack then tapped his com link. "Raf, what happened?" he asked while Arcee looked at him. "Jack, we have destroyed a MECH mobile base just outside of the colony. There signal array was 'controlling' the Adjutants. Take away the control and they don't move." the scientist replied. "Good work up there. Alright pick us up and send a signal to the Alliance ships that will arrive soon." the Prime said just as the Defiant appeared over the colony. Thirty minutes later the Defiant was back in orbit of Eden Prime, as the disabled MECH cruiser was still drifting just away from them. In the shuttle bay everyone was disembarking from the MAKO as Alliance engineers started work on repairing the damage it sustained on the planet's surface. Smokescreen offered to show Flareup, Trailbreaker and Tap-Out the rest of the ship, but Chromia decided to star with her sister as Arcee and Jack looked over the stasis pod. Meanwhile Grimlock looked around, like he had no idea what to do with himself. "Am I glad to see you." a familiar voice called from behind him, making the big bot look to see Swoop exiting the elevator. "Swoop!" Grimlock exclaimed as he walked over to his team mate, a big smile on his face. "I thought you were dead." he said gaining a smile from the smaller dinobot. "Hey, you should know that I have become an expert at crash landings over the years, so this latest one was no problem." he replied, Swoop then looked around. "So where are the others?" Grimlock's face then saddened as he looked away for a second, this was all the other Dinobot needed to see to know that something bad had happened. "Wait, but not all of them... right?" "Slug, Snarl and Sludge all died with honour Swoop. They are with the Allspark now." Grimlock replied. As the two bots talked Jack was looking over the black stasis pod. Arcee watched as her partner suddenly placed his hand on a section of the object, revealing a hidden control panel. "Jack, you know what you are doing right?" she asked, earning a nod from the Prime. "Remember when I told you that I was hit by energy that was released from the beacon down on Eden Prime three years ago." he said while tapping the control interface which was made up of green and blue glyphs, the femme nodded in return. "Yes, I remember." "Well, it must have done more than just show me a vision of the reapers. Because I also know how to use certain technology of their's too. I just looked at this stasis pod and knew immediately how to operate it." he continued as he tapped the final code sequence into the pod which came to life with a deep humming noise. He and Arcee then stood back for a second as the pod released nitrogen gas out and opened up to reveal someone lying inside still asleep. The Prime and his XO then got closer once the gas had evaporated and looked inside at it's occupant. He looked like the Cybertronians in their original bodies except for the fact that he was a similar height to their pretender forms. He was of a red and light brown colour scheme and had a metallic beard on his face plate. The Lithone then opened it's optics revealing them to be green as he looked up at the two partners. His optics then narrowed and his body glowed bright green before knocking them both off their feet. The Lithone then stood up and looked around angrily at his surroundings. "Was that biotics?" Arcee asked as she recovered. "I guess, but how do the Lithone possess that ability?" Jack asked as he got back to his feet, meanwhile a number of the Defiant's security officers arrived and aimed their weapons at the Lithone, who just stared at them with narrowed optics as he started to charge the biotic power in his fist. "Wait, hold your fire." Jack called back as he again approached the Lithone, who then looked back at the Prime. He then held out his glowing fist, but before he could unleash the energy he suddenly fell out of the pod to the floor. Jack then went over to him and put his hand around the Lithone's arm to help him up, but suddenly felt a bolt of electricity pass between them, pushing him back. "Jack, are you alright?" Arcee asked with a concerned tone as Jack shook it off. "Yeah, I am okay." he replied as he looked back down to the Lithone. "Has it been that long?" it asked, which made everyone in the room look back in surprise. "Wait, that was English. How did it...?" one of the security officers asked out loud, before Jack gestured for them to leave. "You understand us?" the Prime asked, gaining a nod from the Lithone. "Yes, when you touched me, I read your biology and your memories. Has it really been one hundred thousand years?" "Yes and as far as we can tell, you are the last surviving member of your species...they were destroyed by the Reapers." the Prime replied before the Lithone got to his feet. "And now they have returned, tell me what is your name?" "My name is Commander Jack Darby of the Human/Autobot Alliance, but I am also called Jackson Prime." The Lithone's optics widened at the mention of that name. "A Prime, my people had heard legends of the Primes. Tell me, is that great war still being fought by the Cybertronians?" Arcee stepped forward toward him. "No, the war ended some time ago. We now live in peace with our former Decepticon foes." the femme answered, making the Lithone look her up and down. "When I last saw one of your kind, they were taller than this room." "We had to give up our old forms when our energon supply ran out." Arcee replied. "I see." he said back before looking back to Jack. "Allow me to introduce myself, I am Kranix. I am one of the Lithone Science Academy." Both Jack and Arcee's eyes widened in surprise at the mention of his name. "Wait, you are Kranix. Creater of the 'Kranix matrix'?" Jack asked back, earning a nod from the Lithone. "Yes, I was part of the team that was building a super weapon that would destroy the Reapers, my VI program was to be the last addition that would have made it operational. Unfortunately indoctrinated members of my people sabotaged it and the last hope of the Lithone died with it." "Is it on your person or down on the planet where we found your stasis pod?" Jack asked eagerly, but Kranix shook his head. "I am afraid not, you see the Reapers attacked this planet in the last days of my cycle. So I entered stasis in our underground bunker, but not before transmitting my matrix program to a colleague on one of our colony worlds." "Which colony, do you have the coordinates?" the Prime replied, earning a nod from Kranix. The Commander then gestured the Lithone to a wall terminal where he typed the coordinates into it's holo-screen. The Teletraan appeared in its holo-form. "Jackson Prime, I have analysed the data and it matches a planet in our database." Both Arcee and Jack looked at the AI. "Well, which planet is it?" Arcee asked, before the Prime had a chance to. "The planet is Thessia." the AI replied as the entire room went quiet, as the realisation of where they had to go dawned on them. "Teletraan, get me Admiral Bryce right away. We need to speak with Councillor Tevos immediately." Jack said before the intercom activated. "Prime, we have just received a n urgent broadcast from Alliance intelligence." Hotrod said. "What is it?" the Prime asked back as the pilot took a breath before answering. "The Reapers are starting to attack the other races and they have begun with the Asari home world, 'Thessia'."
  10. Chapter 14 Her heart beat quickened as Tali ran up the corridor, the group of Talon soldiers following while firing back down toward the far end as several Adjutants were gaining on the group. They had only made it halfway to the sub-station before coming under attack, first by MECH soldiers and now by these abominations. Tali reached the door at her end of the corridor and started to hack the controls with her holo-tool, one of the Talons joined her while the rest kept firing at the gaining enemies. "How long?" he asked, fear evident in his voice as he spoke. "Just a moment, I almost have it" she replied while franticly working her holo-tool. The soldier then looked back at the other three who were still further down the corridor, holding the Adjutants back with continuous weapons fire. "Fall back to our position." he shouted while waving them over. The three saw this and started to move towards the rest of the group, but never taking their aim off of the enemy. Once they were back with Tali and the leader, he and the group made a defensive wall and fired back to the Adjutants, their bullets pummelling the husk like creatures. But they kept coming, making their way slowly toward the group and screaming out that in human roar. "We aren't going to make it." one said as shot clean through the knee of one Adjutant, but not even slowing it down. "Just focus on keeping them back, Tali is nearly through the door." the leader said back. But just as they got nearly within arms reach, Tali's holo-tool beeped. "Yes, it's done!" the Quarian exclaimed as the door opened. "Alright, Tali. You, in first while we cover you. Move!" the squad leader said gaining a nod from the Tech expert who then entered the next room. Having seen that their objective had gotten to safety, the leader then equipped an incendiary grenade and threw it in to the horde of Adjutants. "Okay, now go!" he shouted as the others stood up and ran for the door. The creatures ignored the grenade and kept heading for the group, but suddenly it exploded and engulfed the Adjutants in flames. The squad leader then followed his men through the door which Tali then closed behind him. The Talons then looked on in surprise as the door was suddenly covered by a force field. "You did that?" one of the soldiers asked, gaining a nod from the Quarian. "That was easy, believe me. We are not to far from the sub station and that door and force field should keep those things at bay for the time being." she replied before she opened the door at the other end and they followed her through. Meanwhile at the opposite side of Omega, Jack, Garrus, Aria and Nyreen were making their way to the research labs that MECH had set up, while their main goal was to reach the power hub and deactivate all the force fields that were holding the citizens of Omega. Jack also wanted to help his friend find the boy he had helped over a year ago. They turned a corner and ran into a group of MECH soldiers who fired at them on sight, Aria instantly set up a barrier which held back the weapons fire. Garrus immediately blew a hole through on soldier's face with a shot from his sniper rifle, Jack shot another in the legs, this made the enemy fall to his knees and Nyreen finished him off with three perfectly aimed shots to his heart. The last guy was about to turn and run, but Aria then created a singularity in the air next to the trooper. It pulled him off the ground and spun him in the air, she then equipped her pistol and shot him through the head. "Well, what was that now? like the seventh patrol we have come across in the last hour?". Garrus asked gaining a look from the Prime. "It's almost like they know where we are." Jack replied by knowingly. Aria shook her head in disagreement. "They do not have a clue, I have control of all the cameras on Omega (due to her stunt earlier). Petrovsky doesn't have any..." In his office the MECH General was watching the group on one of his monitors. "..idea what we have planned." Aria said, gaining a smile from the Human. "Yes, keep thinking that, my dear." he replied as a hologram of Silas appeared next to him. "Petrovsky, report." The Director said coldly before taking a sip out of the glass in his hand. The General turned to him and smiled. "Everything is under control, Director, we know exactly what they are up to and already have counter measures in place." The Director stared at him, his yellow optics glowing brightly. "Don't underestimate Darby." he answered. Director, I promise that the Prime will be dead by the end of the day." Petrovsky replied confidently. "No, I don't want Darby harmed, understand?" the Director replied harshly. This gained a confused look from the General. "I do not understand, did you not tell Sideways that Darby would be killed?" Silas took another drink from his glass before answering. "Of course, I told Sideways that we would help him neutralise The Prime, but only if the former Con himself is there. Since he is not though, I would rather keep Darby alive. Because I believe that he can still play a part for MECH. Do you understand?" "Well, what do you suggest, Director?" Petrovsky asked. "Darby's weakness is his friends and loved ones. You received the data files on his team mates, yes?" The General nodded before looking over to two monitors, one showed Arcee with the rest of the enemy forces. And the other had a image of Tali on it, while an evil grin appeared on his face as he looked back to Silas. "I believe I can think of something." he answered confidently, gaining a nod and a slight smile from his boss. "Good, inform me when you have Darby. Silas out." he replied before his hologram disappeared. PRIME EFFECT 3 In the cockpit of the Defiant, Hotrod was Piloting the Alliance vessel as Jazz was seated in the co-pilot's seat and working the holo-controls in front of him. "How long before we are in range of their weapons?" the Autobot asked as he saw the sensor readings on his screen, it showed three MECH cruisers and a science frigate near an anomaly that the Defiant's sensor array had a hard time recognising. "We will be in range in several minutes, Jazz." the pilot replied. Airachnid then walked up to the two of them. "Need a hand with anything?" she asked. "I feel Like a spare wheel back there." she added as she pointed back over her shoulder. "If you want to help, take the weapon station behind you, I am transferring control to it now." Hotrod replied before the holo-screen and controls came to life. Airachnid then sat down and began typing at the interface. "Cannons online and charged, torpedo launchers loaded and ready." she stated before looking to her left and seeing out of the window that cover the front and part of the ceiling of the cockpit. From their location they could now see the MECH cruisers and the anomaly they were orbiting, which looked similar to a lightning storm. The science cruiser was firing what looked like a pulse into it and the anomaly was growing stronger. "They have seen us, the three cruisers are breaking orbit and are heading our way." Jazz said as Hotrod began plotting a course directly at them. "I'll start by heading for the lead cruiser first, Airachnid target their weapons and engines." the pilot said, gaining a nod from the femme. Teletraan then spoke up. "I am detecting a strong power signature coming from the three cruisers, something is powering up." The three Autobots all looked out to see a red light brightening at the very front of each MECH ship. "There is no way... They couldn't have fitted it to their ships, they couldn't have the power requirements." Hotrod stated in disbelief. "Scans confirm it, those cruisers are armed with the same beam weapon technology that has been fitted to Omega." the AI replied. "Well, they are taking their time to charge up." Airachnid observed. "Let's use that to our advantage." Jazz said before an alarm went off. "The lead ship is about to fire." Teletraan stated. "Taking evasive manoeuvres." Hotrod replied as he made the Defiant veer up and out of the way as the MECH cruiser fired its beam weapon which shot out a bright red energy beam which barely missed the Alliance frigate before the little ship turned back round and tired to get in closer. Onboard Omega, Jack and Garrus entered what looked like a cargo room and looked around, all that was in the large room were cargo containers. "Room's clear." the Turian said and a second later both women entered the room too. "Are you sure about this?" Aria said to Nyreen while looking around the inconspicuous room. "Yes, Aria. MECH built their labs here in secret and disguised its entrance as just and cargo room." the female Turian replied. "And you know this how?" the Asari replied as The Talon leader walked up the far wall and began taking scans with her holo-tool. "When people started going missing, I started an investigation. After watching from the shadows and waiting for what felt like ages, we got a lucky break." The female Turian then looked over to Garrus. "It's here. Garrus, do you have any explosives on you?" "Nothing strong enough to do any damage to that wall." he replied. "But Jack's Star saber might." he added as everyone's eyes fell on the Prime. The Commander just sighed before he activated the blade and His holo-tool morphed into the legendary blade. "You better be ready to cover me once I do this." he said in a matter of fact tone. "Why?" Aria asked. "Because every time he uses the Star saber's full potential, it weakens him and leaves the Prime open to attack. The two women then nodded in full agreement before Jack spun the blade around him, it glowing bright and brighter with each swing. Once it was charged, Jack then released an energy wave that smashed into the wall, obliterating it and as the dust settled, a reinforced door could be clearly seen behind the damaged wall. "Nice." Aria said as Jack fell to his knees, breathing heavily. "You alright?" Nyreen asked as she went to help him to his feet. "Yeah, just give me a moment." he replied as his breathing became steady again and he got to his feet. The Prime then walked over to the door and activated his holo-tool. "This has some security features fitted in, but I doubt that they will be able to handle Tali's hacking program." he said as he began to hack the door. Garrus joined him and watched him work as Nyreen had turned her attention back to the door they had entered the room via. Aria just stood there, just letting everyone else do the work. After a few moments, Jack's holo-tool blipped and the door opened. "Open Sesame?" the Turian said with a half-smile, gaining a look from Jack that was half embarrassed and half annoyed. "Really, Garrus? First the Borg comparison and now a quote." The Turian just shrugged his shoulders. "What? I liked that movie." he replied innocently, the Prime just shook his head before looking beyond the large door that had opened. The corridor behind the door was pitch black and the team activated the for us on the ends of their guns which immediately cut the darkness and revealed the path ahead. "Let's go." the Prime said before the four of them entered the entrance to the MECH laboratory. Apart from the Adjutants attack earlier, the mission had gone smoothly for Tali and her team as they were now at the substation and she was starting to hack into the system as she typed into the holo-tool's keyboard while looking at the interface of the main computer, the Talon soldiers had taken up positions around the room, weapons ready for any threat that might show itself. The Quarian watched as coding scrolled down the screen, her typing matching certain glyphs and numbers. It was a good job that she was good at multitasking because while she was concentrating on hacking the power line transfer system, she was also thinking about a certain Turian who just very recently had confessed his feelings for her. She had known him for three years and really liked him for three-quarters of that time. And it seemed he had liked her for just as long, why then did it take him that long to admit it. She would have to ask him when they have they met up after the mission, she was really looking forward to that. It was then that she noticed something in the information that was appearing on the screen. "Keelah, that's not possible." she said in surprise, which gained the Talon squad leader's attention. "Tali, what is wrong?" "Nothing, in fact it is something good. I won't be able to clarify it until I have hacked the system, but it looks like I can deactivate the force fields from here." she answered, a little excitement in her voice. The leader nodded back to her. "That's great." he replied. Tali then turned back and carried on with the hack, the squad leader meanwhile activated his com link. "Report status." Outside of the substation, a lone member of the Talons was kneeling down behind a cargo container with his sniper rifle equipped. He was looking down the scope and watching the door that the Quarian had reinforced with a force field, and even from his distance he could see that the Adjutants would get through soon. He tapped the side of his helmet and activated his own com link. "They are still trapped behind that door sir, but they will be through soon." he answered in a professional manner. "Very well, keep me updated." the squad leader replied before turning to Tali. "Any idea how much longer it will take?" he asked. She then looked back to him. I am nearly through, just give me another few minutes." Meanwhile back outside, the sniper was watching the other door as it vibrated from another strike from the creatures on its other side. He knew that the moment they would be through the door, the. The force field would not last that long. But then a shadow was cast over him and he heard the most inhuman like breathing from behind him, a sense of dread suddenly came over the soldier as he realised that this was his end. But that wouldn't mean that he was about to just lay down and die, so he slowly freed one hand from his rifle and grabbed the combat knife from his utility belt and took a deep breath before spinning around to face the creature. But he was suddenly flung straight on to his back by a powerful strike which knocked the wind out of him. He looked up in a daze to see the monstrous form of an Adjutant standing over him, it's lifeless blue glowing optics staring down. The soldier then saw that behind the monster, one of the floor panels was removed and the banging on the door had just stopped too. 'Shit, these things were distracting me while finding another way in.' he thought as he gripped the knife that was still in his hand as he then tried to get back up. But before he could do anything, the Adjutant just grabbed at the arm and pinned him down to the floor. It's open mouth started to salivate and drool on the soldier as it's tendrils began moving, it then started to bear down on the Talon who then tried to scream but another Adjutant appeared and covered his mouth with its slimy hand. The creature who pinned him down then bitten down hard on the man's shoulder and he grimaced in pain as he felt the tendrils enter through the wound. He tried to get free, but felt his strength desert him as he saw something passing through the tendrils into his body. He then passed out before the Adjutant finished and stood back up to see that the rest of the horde were entering the corridor through the open floor panel, it then looked toward the door that led to the sub station. As the group walked through the pitch black corridor, with nothing but the beams of light from their torches to guide them. They had walked down the long corridor for the last fifteen minutes when something caught Jack's eye as he shone the torch ahead of him. "Looks like we have reached the lab." he said back to the others before walking out of the corridor and into a large room. As the group looked around, they found the room was filled with many consoles and lab equipment. But the room was very messy with smashed vials and papers all over the floor. "Looks like they left in a hurry." Garrus stated as he looked down to the scattering of pads and paper on the floor in front of him. "Why would they do that, the lab was well hidden enough." Aria asked in return before looking over to Nyreen, shining the torch and bathing the female Turian in its light. Though she held her free hand up and covered her eyes. "Did the Talons ever attempt to attack one of the labs?" he Asari continued but the Turian shook her head. "No, we didn't have the man power or the tech to launch an offensive, or else we already would have." she answered. "Well, something got them spooked." Jack said as he approached a terminal, he then used his holo-tool and the terminal came to life. The orange interface activated and illuminating the room, revealing a door on both the north and so sides of the room. "Okay, so we have power." he said as the others joined him at the terminal and watched. "What have you found, Jack?." Garrus asked as Jack looked through the data that was appearing on the holo-screen. "They were definitely creating Adjutants here, producing these abominations with a virus of Reaper design. "A virus, so there is another way to become infected other than being bitten by one?" Garrus asked. "I doubt that they found one buried somewhere and then had a volunteer let themselves be infected." Aria said while not noticing the knowing looks Jack and Garrus gave each other after her last comment. "What else does it say about the virus?" Garrus then asked. "It seems that the virus rewrites the DNA of the host to that of a species that is not recognisable among any of the galaxies current inhabitants." the Commander read aloud. "You know, I have lived for nearly a thousand years and I have never seen a species like them." Aria replied. Jack ignored the Asari and carried on reading. "MECH scientists suspect that the Reapers created the virus several cycles before the Lithone extinction and that what they call Adjutants are just a shadow of yet another species that fell victim to the Reapers." "So how did they go about testing this virus?" the Turian asked as they all looked at the screen. "They first brought in the homeless and experimented on them by exposing them to the virus. The first batch of Adjutants were uncontrollable." the Prime replied as he continued to read the details off of the screen. "That is putting it mildly." Nyreen replied. "MECH scientists then decided to take people from their homes (the most underprivileged first) and place a neural implant in their bodies before infecting them with the virus, that way they can hopefully control the Adjutants." Jack said as he carried on reading, but he then looked over to Garrus saw that his face was a mixture of emotions. "Garrus, you're thinking about Shen, aren't you?" "Yes, I thought we would find him here. But having seen what this place is like, I really hope he isn't here. Because I doubt…." he suddenly stopped and looked down to the floor. Jack put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "We will find him, Garrus. I will just download the database to my holo-tool." the Prime replied before doing exactly that. He then brought up the map. "Alright, the next room is the main testing area, it also is where the holding cells are located." "Prime, why did they close this lab, does it say in the database?" Nyreen asked as they started for the door to the next room. Jack brought up a screen on his holo-tool. "The data is heavily fragmented, but it I can make out some words. Warning...containment...imminent." he said as they stopped just inside the new room and three looked at him with concern. "Now that sounds ominous." Nyreen said. "Yeah, all we need to top that off is to hear some eerie sounds." Aria joked, but then like on cue, inhuman grunts and clicks could be heard in the darkness around them. The four went back to back as they readied weapons and shone torches around the new room they were in. They only had a little light to help them, but they could see that the room was quite large with cells in the far right, while the left (where they entered from) were mainly computers and lab equipment. As they walked past a grouping of tables, there was suddenly a loud clang that echoed through the lab startling everyone. "Sorry." Nyreen said as the others shone their torches at her. The female Turian looked down at the metal equipment that she had accidentally knocked off the table as she had walked past it. Aria sighed as Jack and Garrus turned back round and walked deeper into large room. In the center of the room were a number of what looked like glass pods, they were all connected to a large tank via pipes. Three of the six pods were smashed open, as the group moved further into the room, constantly watching their surroundings for any surprises that come their way. Nyreen took a closer look at one of the broken pods. "Looks like this was where it started, one of the test subjects must have gotten out." "then the reason they deactivated everything and sealed the lab was to keep the things in here." Aria added. "Well, nothing has passed us while we have been in here." Jack replied. "That isn't a very comforting thought, Prime. But what about since we entered the lab, they could have..." the Talon leader said but then The Commander interrupted her. "No, they are still here, because we are being watched." Nyreen gripped her weapon tighter as Aria's fists started to glow with biotic energy. "I just hope Shen is som.." Garrus said with hope in his voice. "..Arch...ang...el.." a voice called out from the darkness around them, everyone stopped where they were and looked around. "Arch...angel." the voice said again, this time it was slightly more clear, yet it had a synthesized tone to it. Jack looked over to the Turian and noticed that he was frantically trying to find the source of the voice with his torch. "Archangel." the voice spoke again, Garrus noticed in the corner of his eye a bright single blue light shining dimly in the darkness to his left, so he turned his torch and illuminated it. Everyone gasped in the sight, the Turian's eyes widened in horror as an eleven year old boy slowly walked toward them, though he hardly looked human anymore. His body was a messy mixture of human and Adjutant, his skin was grey colored and bio/synthetic tubing was sticking out a large blue pus sack on his back and connected to his arm which was covered in blood and looked like it was between a human arm and the bio canon that the Adjutants carry. His face too was equally half-finished with only one blue optic, while the other eye was clearly human. And his mouth was partly full of tendrils as they hung there, covered in blood. "Archangel." the boy said as he choked back on the tendrils, his eye started to cry as tears ran down the blood soaked skin of his face. Garrus though just fell to his knees and stared back in complete shock. "Shen,...I am so sorry." he answered barely above a whisper as the mutated boy continued to walk towards him. "You...came, like...you promised." the creature that was Shen said. "Yes, I did. I came as soon as I got your message." the Turian replied as he slowly put his weapon on the ground. The creature was still walking slowly toward him, tears running down on side of his face. It...hurts, can you make it hurt...no more?" It said, it's voice though synthetic and alien sounding still had the innocent tone that the Turian remembered. "Yes, I can make the pain stop. Come here, Shen." he said softly as he held out his arms to the boy. "Garrus, what are you doing?" Jack asked with concern in his voice. "Jack, we can get him back to the Defiant, surely Ratchet can do something for him, reverse the transformation maybe." Garrus said back without taking his eyes off of the eleven year old boy. Jack knew Garrus wanted to help the child,like he was making up for some mistake years back that was not even his fault. "I don't know, I mean he is still a carrier of the virus. I don't know if we can just let him out of this lab, let alone on the ship." Jack answered sympathetically. Garrus then looked back angrily at the Prime. "Damn it, Jack. It was my fault that his parents died, I won't lose him either." Suddenly Shen stopped and looked at Garrus, the soft and innocent face that could just be seen under the Adjutant features now gone, it was now just staring at him with a blank expression. Aria and Nyreen both raised their weapons at the mutant, but Jack instead focused on his friend. "Garrus." he said cautiously, but the Turian remained where he was. Suddenly Shen screamed out an unholy sound before launching himself at Garrus, who managed to jump out of the way. The others readied their weapons as the creature landed where the Turian was and looked at them with pure hostility. "Wait, don't shoot." Garrus shouted back to the others. "You've got to be fucking kidding me." Aria replied, but Jack put her in her place. "Do as he says." The Prime then looked over to Nyreen who nodded back and lowered her weapon, The Asari following suit, though she wasn't happy about it. "Shen." Garrus called to the creature who on hearing the name looked back at the Turian, before turning around and charging at him. But this time he stood his ground as Shen jumped at Garrus who this time activated his holo-blade and stabbed the creature through the chest. It cried out in pain, it's scream echoing through out the lab as it shook and tried to free itself of the blade. But Garrus held on until it finally died down and then looked at the him. "Help…..me….please?" it said as the Turian stared at him, the anguish was written all over his face. "Alright, Shen, I will….help you." he replied as pulled creature into an embrace, he then took a deep breath. "I am sorry." he whispered into the creature's ear before thrusting the blade right through the mutated Adjutant's chest, it's sharp tip broke through it's back and ripped open one of the pus sac's on it's back. It's blue liquid splashed on to the floor as Shen grimaced and shook in response to the immense pain that action brought. But then it stopped and turned to Garrus, the Turian recognized the expression on the creature's face as he saw Shen, the little boy that he knew with what almost looked like a peaceful smile. "Thank….you…Arch…ang…el." he said as he took his final breath before his eye closed and the blue optic's light faded to black, his body then went like a rag doll in Garrus's arms as he felt tears run down his face. As he quietly sobbed with the dead body of the child he had come to save in his arms, Aria remained uncharacteristically quiet as Jack and Nyreen both walked up to their mourning friend. The Prime knelt beside his friend and placed his hand on the Turian's shoulder, while the Talon leader knelt in front of him and looked at her former lover. "Garrus, we are really, very sorry for what has happened. But we can't stay here, we have a mission to complete...remember?" Garrus nodded slowly. "Yes, I remember." he replied softly as he sniffed. "Everyone is counting on us, Mate, even you. We can't do it without you." Jack added in a caring tone. The Turian then slowly placed the body down on the floor and placed its arms on its chest before getting to his feet (and picking up his weapon), his two friends joining him. Garrus's expression then turned serious as he looked at the Prime. "Alright, but when we come to face the General. You don't stop me…..understood?" he asked, his voice underlined with a quiet anger. Both his friends nodded in agreement. "Just wait a damn minute, Petrovsky is mine." Aria then said aloud, making the Turian turn to her and stare daggers at her. "Have you lost anyone you cared about to someone before?" he asked, but the Asari suddenly went quiet as she saw just the rage that was building through his eyes. He then narrowed them at her. "Didn't think so. Petrovsky will pay for what he has done, and I will be the one to do it." He then started to leave, the others following suit before a hollowing flood of inhuman screams echoed from further down the corridor. "What the hell!" Aria shouted back. "We have to move now!" Jack shouted to them as the sounds of footfalls could be heard as a horde of Adjutants closed in on the group. "But, Jack, we can't let any of them escape this lab." Garrus said as the sounds got closer. Jack then looked around the room until his flash light came onto a large set of coolant tanks, he then looked back to his friend. "Do you have any timed grenades on you Garrus?" "Here, my last one." the Turian said as he picked one-off his utility belt and tossed it to the Prime. "Thanks." Jack replied as he caught it, and then adjusted the timer to three minutes before arming it and throwing it toward the tanks, it then rolled under one and came to a stop while it's red LED flashed on and off. "Everyone, out now." he said before they ran for the exit, just as the horde of Adjutants burst out of the a door at the far end of the room and flooded in. The team just kept running toward the small dot of light at the end of the tunnel of darkness as the roars of the creatures behind them kept getting louder, both Garrus and Jack slowed slightly and turned and fired back into the black, their joint weapon's fire lighting the area behind them for flashes at a time. Though each and every one showed the Adjutants getting closer, for now in the darkness they could see scores of pairs of blue optics looking back at them. Aria and Nyreen were the first to exit the secret lab as they turned around and fired back into the corridor, giving covering fire as Jack and Garrus then emerged from the pitch black and joined them in firing back at the approaching Adjutants. The Prime looked at his holo-tool and saw the time remaining. " One minute twenty seconds left." he said back. "We can't hold them here, not for that long. They will overrun us well before then." Nyreen shouted over the gunfire. "Then what do you suggest." Aria shouted back while looking toward the Turian curiously. Nyreen then stopped and looked directly into the Asari's eyes with a determination that Aria had not see for a long time. She would never admit it to anyone, but it was beautiful and reminded her of feelings that she had thought were long gone. "Bait." the Talon leader replied stoically before heading back into the lab entrance and firing her weapon at the rampaging horde of Adjutants. For what felt like a long moment Aria just watched as time seemed to slowdown around her, she could hear Garrus and Jack both shouting back to Nyreen. But the Turian female ignored them as she continued to attack the Adjutants who were nearly on top of her. "No." Aria said barely above a whisper, her hands starting to glow with biotic energy as three Adjutants leapt towards the Talon leader, who turned just in time to see them. But had none left to raise her weapon to them, she knew this was it. "NO!" the Asari cried out as she thrust her hand out towards the three Adjutants and sent them flying back into the rest of the horde, slowing them down for a few seconds. Nyreen turned round to see Aria join her side in the entrance before taking up a defensive stance as the creatures regrouped and charged again. Jack and Garrus just stared at the two females who started fighting off the horde with a combination of biotics and gunfire. Nyreen shot four of the Adjutants in the face causing them to stumble around, as blood gushed down from the wounds and over their optics, Aria meanwhile channelled all of her biotic power into her hands and then launched a blue energy orb at the horde which then exploded and sent many enemies into the air and sent they flying in the walls around them. Nyreen looked back over to Aria for a second as the creatures regrouped again. "Was that a 'flare'?" "Yes, did you like it?" the Asari said back with a smile. "It was impressive." the Talon leader replied, Aria then looked back at the Prime. "How much longer?" Jack looked down at his holo-tool. "Ten seconds, you two better get back here." he shouted back to them. Aria and Nyreen both looked back into the corridor and saw the Adjutants charging at them again. "No can do, Prime. You better take cover." she said back. "What about you two?" he asked back, which gained an angry look from the Asari. "Just for once do as I…." She was suddenly cut off by the ground shaking as a bright light could be seen from deep within the lab. Even the Adjutants stopped to look back as the light got brighter and closer, they then screamed before charging back towards the two women who too saw that the light was in fact a ferocious fireball that was speeding towards them. It then hit the horde, burning them up in an instant as it continued to expand up the corridor and towards the Asari and Turian. "Stay close, Nyreen." Aria said with a calm tone, gaining a knowing nod from the Talon Leader. The Asari then pulled her into an embrace a second before the fireball engulfed the two of them. Jack and Garrus dived to the side as the fireball expanded out of the entrance in high into the sky above. They could feel the intense heat being emanated from it before finally it stopped and retracted back into the corridor. After a moment Garrus got up and ran over to his friend, helping him to his feet. "Jack, you okay?" he asked as Jack caught his breath and looked back into the Lab entrance which now looked like a lit furnace as the fire carried on burning inside. "Are they…?" the Prime asked as the two looked into the hell that was once a dark tunnel, his Turian friend looked down to the ground. "They gave their lives to stop the Adjutants from escaping, I knew Nyreen was capable of such a feat, but Aria…" "But what…,Vakarian." a familiar voice called back from within the fire, making both men's eyes widen as they suddenly saw a blue energy bubble appear out of the inferno and stop in front of them. It then dispersed to reveal both Aria and Nyreen, completely unharmed. "How did you?" the Turian managed to ask despite the surprise that was written on his face. The Asari chuckled as she placed her hands on hips. "I am a biotic remember, all I did was erect a barrier around myself and Nyreen. I am strong enough to hold back a blast like that." Nyreen looked over to the Omega leader with a look of gratitude. "Thank you, Aria. I did not think that you would…" But before she could finish her sentence, the Asari grabbed the Turian and pulled her into a passionate kiss. Nyreen's eyes widened in surprise before she gave in, closed them and returned the kiss. Both Jack and Garrus looked on, completely dumbstruck at what they were seeing. After what felt like an eternity, the women pulled away both looking very content. "Aria, I did not know you still felt that way about me. I mean the way we ended it." the Talon leader said with a hint of regret in her voice, but the Asari just smiled back at her. "That was in the past, Nyreen. I would rather look to the future, one that would include you in it. Because when I saw you about to give your life up, I realized that I didn't want to lose you again." Nyreen smiled back and was about to reply when Garrus faked a cough to gain their attention, both women stared daggers at him which would have made any man uncomfortable. But thanks to the fact that he was already in shock at what he had just saw, this had left the Turian unfazed. "Nyreen,….when exactly did you 'date' Aria?" he asked awkwardly. "I met Aria not long after we separated, Garrus. When you were discharged from the military, I left not long after. I guess I felt guilty for my part in your dismissal, so I instead decided to see what 'living by my own rules' was like. It wasn't long before I found trouble and followed it to Omega, that's where I met Aria and we just clicked." she said as she looked back at the Asari. "But for all the differences that attracted us to each other, there were some similarities that kept getting in the way and we eventually ended it." she said. "Wait guys I am receiving a call from Tali." Jack said, interrupting the conversation. At the mention of the Quarian, Garrus's attention was back to the Prime as Nyreen and Aria looked to each other and smiled. The Turian stood beside the Commander as he activated his com link and joined the chat. "Jack, I have found a way to turn off the power for the force fields over here. And I have already contacted Arcee and they will attack the moment the force fields come down." the Quarian said. "That's great news, Tali. Good work." the Prime replied. "How are things on your end, did Garrus find Shen?" she asked before a silence fell over the com, then Garrus was spoke up. "Tali, we found Shen but…..it was too late." he said, his voice full of sorrow. "Garrus, I am so sorry. I wish I could help." she said in return and he suddenly felt a calmness come over him, as if her voice lessened the pain somewhat. "Thank you, Tali. But hearing your voice is enough for me." he replied. "You're welcome, Garrus." she said before the sound of her typing could be heard. "There, I have deactivated the force fields." she said. All over the station, the orange force fields blocking the civilians from the MECH troopers all deactivated. And the angry population rushed the soldiers and knocked them to the floor before they had time to react. Both Arcee and Bray and the mercs were watching from the alleyway that opened into the main public square that locations such as the Omega market and the club Eternity were at. "Alright, show time." Bray said back to his men before they charged out into the street and attacked the MECH soldiers who had started to fight back against the angry mob of civilians as the area became a war zone. Arcee then activated her com link. "Talons, protect the civilians. Go!" she ordered as Nryeen's troops started their attack, with snipers on the balconies firing on any enemy soldier who looked to be close to harming a civilian. Also more Talons appeared from the alleyway on the other side of the square and began funneling the people who didn't want to fight to safety. Arcee then rushed out and joined Bray's side as he fired on two soldiers with his shotgun as she equipped her arm blades and sliced down another enemy soldier before roundhouse kicking another in the face. "Aria and the others should be showing up any time now." Bray said over his shoulder as the two of them then concentrated on the enemy. At the substation, Tali stepped back from the console and tapped the side of her helmet. "It's done, Jack. We will meet you back at the rendezvous." she said happily. "Good job, Tali…" But suddenly she stopped listening when the a bang could be heard from behind the door that led out of the room they were in. The Talon soldiers suddenly aimed their guns towards the entrance as the squad leader tried to contact their lookout. "Soldier, what is going on out there. Do you read me?" he said but heard nothing but static. "Tali! Tali, what's going on?" Jack said from the other side of the com as the Quarian nervously equipped her shotgun. "Jack I think we have trouble here." she said hesitantly. "Roger that, we are on our way." the Prime replied as the door banged again. Tali looked over to the squad leader who was still trying to contact his missing soldier. "I don't think he is on the other side of that door anymore." she said gaining a nod from another Talon. "I think she is right, Sir." he said back as the Squad leader then thought for a moment. "Okay, we can use that door as a choke point. We should be able to keep them at bay long enough for reinforcements to arrive." he said as he started to direct the rest of his men to positions around the room. "If you can give me enough time, then I should be able to get a force field in place. That should hold them at bay even longer." Tali said as the squad leader nodded back. "Okay, get started. Alright Talons, we know what we have to do." he said as they all got down behind cover and kept their aim on the door as it was banged again, making it buckle under the force that it was being hit with. The Quarian then activated her holo-tool and began working on the force field option. Suddenly the door was smashed open and an Adjutant began moving into the open door way. "OPEN FIRE!" the squad leader shouted before their fired their weapons at the creature, riddling it with bullets. Blood spilled out of multiple holes in it's body before it fell to the ground dead and then another Adjutant appeared and they fired again. PRIME EFFECT 3 Meanwhile next to the anomaly the battle with the MECH cruisers was not going well as the Defiant found itself kept at a distance from the Science frigate which was being left unhindered as it continued to stabilize the entrance to the rift. The three cruisers were positioned at points around the frigate and all fired one at a time at the Alliance vessel as it tried to attack. In the cockpit Hotrod was focusing on dodging the powerful energy beams as one was fired again and he rolled the ship to evade it. Jazz was beginning to get annoyed. "This is ridiculous, we have tried to get close four times now and yet they have swatted us away each and every time." he said as Airachnid kept her attention to her screen, when she suddenly smiled. The Autobot looked back and noticed the femme and felt the need to mention it. "What you smiling about?" he asked, not even trying to hide the annoyance in his voice. She looked over to him. "Well I have spotted a weakness in their attack strategy, haven't you been wondering why the three ships don't just fire at us all at once?" "Uh, well….where are you going with this?" Jazz asked with a confused expression behind his shades. Airachnid sighed as Hotrod once again pulled the ship into a dive to dodge another attack. "Well, I ran a scan of one of the cruisers. The energy beam weapon is too powerful for them, so charging and firing it takes all of their power." "And so it leaves them helpless before power is restored fully to them." Hotrod answered back, showing that he was listening to them despite looking like he wasn't. "Exactly, so one ship fires while the other two wait and cover it while it is venerable." the femme replied before the ship shook as one of the energy beams cut pretty close to the hull. "That one was too close, Hotrod." Jazz said as he glared at the pilot, he then looked back to Airachnid. "So what do we do then?" Teletraan's holo-form then appeared next to the femme's station. "I would believe that we should target and destroy the beam weapon's before they can fire, the power that is being channelled into the weapon will then back fire and destroy the ship." Airachnid smiled at the holo-form. "My thoughts exactly." she said before looking over to Hotrod who glanced back and gave her nod. "Sounds like a plan, but first I think I know a way to slow them down." he said before bringing the ship about and flew it toward one of the cruisers. As it closed the distance, the enemy ship just a few thousand feet away started to target the Defiant which then appeared to slow down as it approached the closest cruiser. "Hotrod, what are you doing?" Jazz asked a little concerned, but the pilot just smiled. "Trust me this will work." Suddenly the enemy cruiser powered up it's beam weapon as a bright red light began pulsing at the front of it, before it unleashed the energy beam which shot towards the Defiant. "Teletraan, fire thrusters now!" Hotrod said as the ship's engines fired up brightly and pushed the ship out of the way as it beam passed it and hit the other MECH cruiser head on and cut it in half, explosions occurring all across the damaged sections while the Defiant flew back round and toward the third cruiser which was powering up its weapon. "Airachnid, fire torpedoes!" Hotrod said as the femme hit firing button on her holo-controls, the Defiant then fired a full spread of torpedoes which hit the energy weapon directly causing the red energy build up to explode in a bright red flash as the MECH ship began to lose control and move erratically. But as the Alliance frigate flew along the hull of the large cruiser, the damaged weapon then exploded and the explosion then traveled up the length of the ship. Hotrod pulled the ship up and out of the way as the cruiser blew up and brought the Defiant back round to the last cruiser which had started to turn and flee. In the cockpit Jazz smiled as he watched the MECH cruiser flee the battle. "Ha ha, looks like they realised that they have an Achilles heel and don't want to end up like their friends." "Well we better just finish off the Science vessel now before they…" Hotrod said before Airachnid looked out of the Cockpit's canopy and her eyes widened in disbelief. "Guys, you need to see this." she said gaining everyone's attention to what she was looking at. As the Defiant came back around toward the anomaly's location, the rift suddenly came back to life and it reopened in magnificent fashion. It would look awe-inspiring had the Autobots not know what it led too. "So what do we do?" Jazz asked again, making Airachnid look at him with an annoyed expression. "Didn't Jack leave you in command?" The Autobot pointed over to the pilot. "Joint command with Hotrod here." he said but the young bot suddenly pointed at the Science vessel. "Guys, what are they doing?" he said as the MECH ship began to enter the rift's event horizon. "I believe that the vessel has to stabilise the rift at both exit/entrance points to make the rift safe for travel, so it has to pass through it first." Teletraan said. "Well we can't let them succeed, take us in after them, Hotrod." Airachnid said gaining a nod from the pilot as he turned the Defiant towards the rift and followed the MECH cruiser inside. PRIME EFFECT 3 Jack, Garrus, Aria and Nyreen bolted down the corridor towards the substation that was under attack from MECH, what was attacking was unknown to them. But considering what they had faced so far on the station, the possibilities were limited to MECH soldiers or Adjutants. But whatever was waiting for them at the end of the current dimly lit corridor, they would be ready for it. As they turned the last corner they saw three Adjutants banging against a force field that was covering a doorway. One turned round and saw the four new arrivals and roared at them before firing it's bio-cannon. The energy projectile it created shot at the team who narrowly managed to evade it by diving to ground as it passed over them and hit the bulkhead behind them. Nyreen looked back to see that had left an acidic compound on the wall which was starting to eat through the metal. "Don't' let that weapon hit you." she said turning her attention back to the enemies in front. "Noted." Jack said before getting to his feet and firing an entire clip into the creature before it had a chance to fire again, killing it as it was pummeled under the force of the bullets hitting it. Garrus then loaded a special round into his sniper rifle and then fired it at the next Adjutant, the bullet burying itself in its chest. "I think you need something stronger than that." Aria snapped at him, but the Turian just ignored her and pointed at it. "Just wait a sec." he said calmly before the Adjutant then exploded from within. "Explosive rounds my dear." he smiled before the last creature aimed it's bio-cannon at the group. "Allow me." Aria then said as she glowed with blue energy before swiping the air in front of her and clenching her fist. The creature's arm then was caught in a blue energy field as it started to bend towards its own face. Aria just smiled darkly as she moved her fist and motioned the arm before it was fully aimed at the enemy's head, she then opened her hand fully and the cannon fired. Covering the creature in its own acidic compound as it melted into the deck. Jack smiled back at the Asari. "Nice." he said as Garrus then ran passed them towards the force field and looked inside. "Tali? Tali, you okay in there?" he said as he tried to look through the orange energy field covering the doorway. As the others joined him the field then collapsed, revealing a Quarian and a group of Talon soldiers inside. Garrus instantly ran to her and scooped her up in his arms, Tali eagerly wrapping her own around him. "Thank god, you are alright. I was worried." he said with a caring tone, the Quarian sighed as she enjoyed the embrace. "I can tell." she chuckled before squeezing him a little more. "If anything had happened to you, I don't know what I would have done." he replied as touched his forehead to her visor. "Lets not find out then, there is still so much I want to experience with you Garrus." she said back. "Okay guys. Tali, I am happy to see you and the Talon squad are safe. But we have to move, this isn't over yet." Jack said, snapping his friends out of their embrace. "You're right, Jack." Garrus replied. "You can count on us." Tali replied as she equipped her shotgun. Jack then looked at Nyreen. "Are your men alright?" he asked. "Yes, let's finish this." she replied, gaining a nod from Aria. "Alright, let's roll." Jack said before he headed back out of the substation room, the others following him. PRIME EFFECT 3 The Defiant flew through the chaotic space of the rift as it neared the MECH science vessel, it shook with each hit that it's hull took from the bolts of energy being emitted from the glowing nebula like substance that it was passing through. "Shields down to sixty-seven percent." Airachnid stated as Jazz kept his eyes on the sensor data on his holo-screen. "We are closing on the MECH ship, but my readings say that it is nearly to the other side of the rift." "Teletraan, I am going to need all the power you can give me to catch us up to them before they make it to the galactic core." Hotrod said as he glanced over to the holo-form now appearing next to his station. "I would not recommend using it all now, Hotrod. We are going to need it for the return trip back to our part of the galaxy." "How's that now, Teletraan?" Airachnid asked as she looked over from her station. "The MECH vessel is still emitting its stabilizing pulse as it travels through the rift, once destroyed the anomaly will start to collapse again. If we use up our reserves now, we will not have enough power to escape." the AI replied. "Any suggestions then?" Jazz asked. "Take out it's engines now, and then we can disable it's pulse generator." "In this soup, the gravimetric forces being generated around us now are eating away at out shields, not to mention…" the Autobot said before being cut off by the ship shaking due to another hit from the energy outside of the ship. "I can take the shot, just keep the ship steady, Hotrod." Airachnid said confidently as she brought up the targeting program on her holo-controls. "I'll do my best." the pilot replied. The femme then went silent as she brought the enemy ship into the cross hairs on her screen, but just as she pressed the firing button, the ship was rocked by another hit from anomaly's energy bolts. The Torpedoes fired and flew towards the MECH ship but harmlessly passed as it neared the exit to the rift, the event horizon opening up and revealing the heart of the galaxy to them. "They are almost there." Jazz stated as Airachnid narrowed her eyes at the screen and held a steady hand over the firing button. "Keep the ship steady!" she ordered as she brought the enemy ship into the cross hairs again. "steady, steady and firing." she said as the Defiant fired a spread of torpedoes again, but this time they hit the MECH ship's engines head on, the explosion pushed the ship into a spiral as it lost control and drifted off course. "Great shot, Airachnid." Jazz said back with a grin, as the femme began targeting the pulse generator on the science vessel's hull. "Sensors are detecting ships on the other side of the rift." Teletraan stated with a hint of concern. "What kind of ships?" Hotrod asked while keeping his eyes on his console. "They are Quintesson, and appear to be nearing the entrance on their side of the rift." the AI replied. "Okay, Airachnid. We have to make this shot count. Teletraan, be ready to transfer all power you can spare to the engines." Hotrod said in return. The femme then brought the target into her cross hairs. "Firing torpedoes…now." The Alliance frigate fired the torpedoes which then hit the MECH vessel and destroyed the satellite dish looking pulse generator. The rift's interior then shook violently making the Defiant spin uncontrollably as it got closer to the Quintesson's side of the anomaly. Hotrod pulled a one hundred and eighty degree turn as it's back faced the MECH vessel which was now helplessly drifting through the event horizon and into the galactic core. "Teletraan, now!" Hotrod said firmly before the Defiant's engines began pushing the ship forward ever so slightly before it started to move backwards. "Why aren't we moving forwards?" Jazz asked with fear evident in his voice. "We don't have enough power spare to break free of the gravitational forces that are trying to expel us out of the anomaly." the AI stated. "Teletraan listen to me, I need you to give me all the power you can. Transfer it from the hyperspace engines and life support." the pilot said in slightly panicky tone. "But, Hotrod, you will be unable to survive if life support is shut down." the AI replied with concern. "I think we are okay with that right now..." he said, gaining a nod from Airachnid and Jazz. "...so do it." Hotrod finished saying. "Very well, transferring power…..now." Suddenly the ship was pushed forward by the extra power that the engines were giving out, a white trail of plasma fire was emitted from them as the Defiant roared through the collapsing rift. "We are almost out, everybody hold on to your dinner." Hotrod stated as the ship shook again from the gravitational forces it was passing through. Jazz looked out of the canopy towards the opening on Omega's side of the rift and noticed that it was shrinking. "Better punch it, Hotrod. Because our exit is closing on us." "Almost there." the Pilot replied as the Defiant closed in on the way out which continued to shrink. Everyone in the cockpit then went silent and bit their lips as they saw the event horizon collapse around them. But outside the rift, two of Aria's cruisers had come into range and saw the anomaly shrinking to near nothing. But just as it began to close completely, the Defiant burst out in the nick of time and flew towards the two cruisers. Hotrod and his two co-pilots took a deep breath and sighed in relief as the subspace rift closed for the final time, leaving only empty space in it's wake. "That was too close." Jazz said as Airachnid got out of her chair and walked over to Hotrod before kissing his cheek and smiling down at him. "Great flying, Hotrod." she said happily, the young bot suddenly blushed and smiled back a little embarrassed. "This is the merc cruiser ' DarkStar' , do you require assistance." a voice said as they hailed the Alliance vessel. "This is the Defiant, thank you but mission accomplished. Lets head back to Omega." he replied. "Very well, Defiant. Great job." the merc ship replied as both ships turned around and joined the Defiant as it flew back towards the Omega station in the distance. PRIME EFFECT 3 Back on the station, the whole market square had become a battlefield as mercs and civilians fought against the MECH forces attempting to quell the chaos that was happening around them. In the centre of the carnage Arcee and Bray were fighting back to back, the femme elbowed one soldier in the face before firing her SMG at another who was attacking from her side. Bray meanwhile head butted one enemy before launching another into the air with his shotgun. "Prime is taking his time, isn't he?" the Batarian said making the femme look over her shoulder to him. "He will be here, I don't think he is taking the scenic route back to this point." she said before looking over to the entrance to the Eternity club, it's doors opened and another squad of MECH troops came out and took up defensive positions in front of it before opening fire on those fighting before them. Bray was then hit and knocked to the ground by one enemy who then went for Arcee who replied with a spin kick to the chest, but as her attention was taken up by him, she was suddenly grabbed from behind as another MECH trooper wrestled his arms around her own and held them in place. But before the enemy could do anything else, a shot rang out and the femme felt herself become free. She turned round and looked down at the dead MECH trooper and then back up to see Jack standing just away from her, his gun in hand. He smiled to her and gained a bigger one back from the femme who nodded in return. She then turned round and helped Bray to his feet as Jack, who saw that his lover was alright turned his attention to the troopers running at him. He then activated his star saber and cut down one soldier after another. Garrus stayed back with Tali and took out any enemies with his sniper rifle, the Quarian used her holo-tool and created drones which went down into the mobs and took out more enemy soldiers. Nyreen entered the battle and joined her fellow Talons as they continued to protect those that did not want to fight, but then suddenly a blue flash flew through the battle knocking over numerous MECH soldiers as it made its way to Eternity's entrance. Jack realised who this was and fought his way through the crowds as Aria appeared in front of the soldiers that blocked her path to Eternity. She then threw and biotic energy ball that launched all the troops guarding the entrance out of the way and she ran in, the Prime close behind. Garrus, having noticed that both Aria and Jack had cleared a path through the battling crowds turned to Tali. "I am going in, there is someone who I have to see." "Alright, Garrus, do what you have to do. I will go help Arcee." she replied before leaving the Turian and heading over to the femme who was kicking the crap out of several MECH soldiers at this point. The Turian then looked back toward the night club entrance, he took a deep breath and then headed over there. Meanwhile Jack ran into a corridor that had fire illuminated on to its walls and found that the Asari had taken out the Adjutants that were guarding the door, she was at this moment attempting to pry the doors open with her biotics. "Here let me." the Prime said as he charged his star saber and unleashed an energy wave which cut through the door. Aria then fired a biotic ball of energy which burst the door off it's hinges and revealed Eternity's interior to them. From his office on the balcony that over looked the dance floor and bar that made up Eternity, Pretovsky saw the Aria and Jack enter and head his way. He turned around and walked over to a console and activated it. "Cease and assist all aggression….its over." he said calmly into the intercom, before deactivating the chess board, it's holographic pieces disappearing. Jack then entered the office and looked at the General. "Jackson Prime, I surrender myself into your custody." he said as Aria walked in behind the Prime and stared daggers at him. "That is the most pathetic thing I have ever heard." she said before hitting him with her biotics and knocking him on his ass. "Prime, I am unharmed and I can give you Intel on Silas and his operations." the general replied as Aria grabbed him by the throat and pulled him on to the table. "You will say anything to save your slimy ass." she said as she gripped her hands around his neck and began to choke him. "…But…I let…you let….you escape….Omega, I ….deserve mercy." he said between the gasps for air that the Asari was stopping him from taking. Jack looked over to Aria with a concerned look. "Is this true, Aria?" The Asari didn't even look back at the Prime as she continued to choke the MECH commander. "Yes, MECH had successfully taken control of Omega and he let me go….his mistake." "Aria, give him over to me. If you kill him then we lose whatever advantages of MECH he can give us. And you prove to everybody….even Nyreen that you were in this just for revenge." Jack reasoned as he kept his eyes on Aria. She then lowered her face close to Petrovsky. "Can you feel that, Oleg? It's death and it is only moments away. You deserve nothing less for what you did to my people and station. If you don't tell them everything that you know, I will flay the skin from your bones." she said before throwing him to the ground, making the General coughed hard as he took in deep breaths. She then turned around to Jack. "He is all yours, Prime. Get him the hell off my station." she said as she walked past Jack toward the balcony's edge. "You're making the right choice, Aria." the Prime said in return. "I wish I felt the same." a voice said making Jack turn to see Garrus in the doorway with his pistol aimed at the recovering General. "Garrus, stand down." the Prime said firmly. "Jack, you agreed not to stand in my way." the Turian said angrily, but Jack held his ground. "A lot has changed since then, Garrus. We need the Intel Pretovsky has to stop Silas." "So you are willing to let him live despite what he turned Shen and all those people into." he shouted back. "He makes a good point, Prime." Aria added, as Petrovsky got to his feet. "I did not run those labs…. The Adjutant project was not under my jurisdiction." he said, making Garrus fired a shot just past his head. "Liar! I had to end the life a child that I cared for because you let him and countless others get turned into monsters. You make me sick." the Turian replied. Jack though kept a clear head and stepped toward the General. "If you want to live, you will tell us who was in charge of the labs." he said before looking over to Garrus with a knowing look. The MECH Commander then wiped his forehead of sweat as he looked over to the Turian who tightened his grip on the trigger. "Saleon, it was Doctor Saleon. He is in charge of the Adjutant project, he left just before you arrived with the subjects that were completely under our control." Garrus's eyes widened at mention of that name. "Garrus, do you know who that is?" Jack asked gaining a nod from his friend. "Saleon is a Salarian Geneticist that has been on C-Sec's wanted list for a long time, he has numerous charges to his name like... illegal experiments on other species and what not. But I doubt he would work for MECH." he replied. "Silas made him an offer he could not refuse, also the Reaper tech that he had to work with spiked his curiosity." the General added. Garrus looked at Petrovsky and his hand began to shake slightly as he kept his aim on the MECH commander. "Okay, Jack. I will let him live. But if this doesn't pan out, then you better let me kill this son of bitch." he said as he holstered his pistol. "Thank you, you will not regret this." Pretovsky grovelled. "Don't thank me yet, because if you don't give us everything you have. Then I will leave it up to Garrus and Aria what happens to you." Jack said with a serious look before looking over to Arcee who had just entered the room with Bray. "Arcee, can you escort our prisoner out of here please." "Sure thing, Jack." the femme replied as she grabbed the General's arm and escorted him out of the room. "You going to be alright, Garrus?" the Prime then asked. "I don't know Jack, I thought for a second back there that we were heading for a confrontation. That isn't something I wanted." the Turian replied. "Me neither, Garrus, you're my friend. But if Pretovsky doesn't come through, then you can do what you want to him." Jack replied, gaining a nod from Garrus who then walked out of the office leaving Jack with Aria. "I thought for a moment then that I would get to see that man die still. But you once again managed to save him, I hope it was worth it." she said as she looked out at the nightclub floor below. "So what's the plan now?" the Prime asked. "There is a lot to rebuild, starting with this 'command center'. It will take a while to get rid of the stench that MECH has left on my station." "Well, don't forget about the people of Omega. They deserve to be helped first." Jack replied. "How can I forget with so many reminders around me." Aria said back. "Don't worry, Jack. I will see that everyone is helped." Nyreen said as she walked into the room and stood beside the Asari. "And I bet you will at that, Nyreen. It was good working with you." the Commander said back with a smile. "Likewise, Prime. Thank you for your help." the female Turian replied. "Jackson Prime, we never discussed what you would get in return for helping 'us' free Omega." Aria then said. "I will give you all the troops, ships and supplies I can to help you with your war against the Reapers." she added as Jack nodded in return. "Thank you, but I am also thankful for the bloody nose that we gave MECH." The Prime's com link then activated. "Jack, the Defiant has just docked and Hotrod reports mission accomplished with the rift." Arcee said. "Thanks Arcee, I will be down shortly." Jack replied before looking back to the couple. "Well, I will be off then. See you round." the Prime said before walking out of the office, Aria then turned back to the console and activated the intercom as Nyreen watched. "Citizens of Omega, I, Aria T'Loak, have given you back your freedom. My rule has been reignited and my hands on the controls once again. You all are to find what is left of the MECH forces that plague this station and we will… cast them from our home, and then bury and mourn our dead." Jack could hear the entire speech as he walked out of Eternity on to the streets as the merc soldiers rounded up surviving MECH soldiers, while Talons continued to help the others. "I know my methods have not been popular in the past, but with the Talons and everyone on this station helping, we will make Omega strong again. And we will never be slaves to anyone ever again." Aria finished as the Prime walked away toward the docking bays.
  11. Chapter 13 The MECH star ships had the Defiant completely surrounded with their cannons aimed directly at the Alliance Frigate. Jack, Arcee and Aria were watching from the cockpit as Hotrod worked the controls in front of him. "Why haven't they fired yet? It's been several seconds since we entered their weapons range?" Arcee asked a little worriedly while looking over to Jack who had a stoic expression. "Perhaps they want to rattle us first." Aria replied, but then Teletraan spoke up. "Prime, we are being hailed." "Put it up on the galaxy map." Jack replied as he and the females walked back into the CIC, the hologram of the galaxy then shifted into the form of a Caucasian man in his late forties, sporting a finely cut beard. He was wearing a General's uniform in MECH's style and colourings, he crossed his arms as he looked at the Commander. "Jackson Prime, when I saw that it was the Defiant that had come through the bridge, I knew it had to be you. You have earned the respect of many in MECH." he said in a confident but respectful manner. "I seriously doubt that, especially from your boss." Jack replied. "On the contrary, the Director admires what you have become, the very pinnacle of humanity. Why do you think he spent billions on rebuilding you, it's just a shame you didn't feel the need to repay that debt by staying with MECH." Petrovsky said in return as he looked at the Prime. "I was willing to help you to stop the Quintessons and then the Reapers, but your boss had other ideas. And to be frank, that didn't sit well with me, so I left." Jack said back. "A pity, you could have become so much more with us. Maybe you just feared success, we all sabotage ourselves in some way or another, but anyway turn back because you do not stand a chance against my forces. You are after all only one ship." the General replied gaining a lop sided grin from Jack. "Well, who said we were alone." The Prime then gestured a signal with his hand as outside the ship, the vortex was still open due to the close proximity of the Defiant and the MECH ships. Suddenly Aira's fleet flew out and immediately began firing on the enemy vessels as torpedoes and laser fire tore through the MECH vessels defences. The small Alliance frigate then veered out of the way and started for the station as the battle continued around the space bridge. The Defiant flew toward Omega with a few of the merc cruisers, the rest of the MECH fleet was otherwise engaged with the majority of Aria's forces. "Interesting, I see that they are not Alliance ships though. May I ask if Aria is with you by any chance?" Petrovsky asked before the Asari stepped beside Jack and gave the MECH commander a cold stare. "She is and she doesn't have anything to say about you." "That is because she is not used to being defeated, Aria is quick to anger and that clouds her judgement." the General replied while stroking his beard. "And she obviously thought that having you along for this suicide run would unsettle me." Petrovsky then smiled back devilishly. "Now it's my turn, you see I have upgraded Omega's defences. My cannons will tear your ships apart, even the Defiant. If you don't believe me, scan the station and see for yourself." Jack looked away for a second. "Teletraan?" "The General is correct, Prime. The cannons appear to be scaled down versions of a Reaper's beam weapon. MECH must have gained the Alliance/Council scans of Sovereign's remains. If the beams from those weapon emplacements were to hit us directly, the ship would not survive." the AI replied grimly, gaining a nod from the General's hologram. "So I will say this only once, turn back now!" "Well, if you know anything about me General, you know I don't scare easily. So give us your best shot. End transmission." Jack replied before the hologram disappeared. "Hotrod, get us as close to the station as you can, then we will leave in shuttle one and board the station." He then looked over to Arcee. "Is everyone ready?" "Yes, the others are already waiting for us in the shuttle bay." the femme replied with a slight smile. "Okay then. Aria, you are with us…. and, Hotrod. The Defiant's yours and Jazz's now, take care of her." he said into his com link. "We will, Prime, and we will head off to the other end of the system as soon as you leave, good luck." the pilot replied as the three entered the elevator. Aria gave Jack a confused look. "Why is the Defiant not taking part in the battle?" she asked. "We are here for two objectives Aria, first we are to liberate Omega and second. Make sure MECH does not reopen the rift, not only would it be in our best interests not to let MECH get their hands on any surviving Reaper tech in the galactic core. But also to make sure we don't let anything else come back." Aria looked even more confused at the last comment Jack made. "'Anything else'? You don't mean the Quintessons, do you? I heard they were wiped out when you destroyed their home world." "That's what we all hope, but I am not prepared to take the risk that we might be wrong." he answered in a stoic tone as the elevator doors opened to reveal that Airachnid, Smokescreen, Jazz, Bumblebee, Garrus and Tali were all there (with full gear) waiting for them. Jack placed the Prime octagon on his chest and Aria watched in amazement as the prime armour appeared around his body while Arcee quickly got changed into her own gear. "Oh, you should have seen her, Bee. Mira was gorgeous and very good with her hands." Smokescreen said gaining a wide eyed look from the young bot, Jazz noticed this and patted Bumblebee on the shoulder. "Ya know the way 'Hotshot' here talks, you would think he was an expert with women." The yellow/black armoured Autobot burst out laughing as Smokescreen suddenly went quiet. Jazz then turned back to the previously enthusiastic bot. "I know you had fun, Smoke. Hell, so did I. But I don't think everyone wants to know the details, Pal." he carried on before Jack, Arcee and Aria joined the group, the Prime gaining their attention. "Alright, Arcee, Garrus and Tali will be joining myself and Aria for this mission, the rest of you will stay on board the Defiant." Smokescreen then looked disappointingly at the Commander. "Prime, I thought you needed us all for this one." Jack looked over to the bot with a stoic expression. "Smokescreen, the rest of you are to remain on board to help defend the Defiant, because as soon as our shuttle is away, you will be heading to the far side of the system to make sure that MECH does not reopen the rift. Jazz, you and Hotrod are in command in mine and Arcee's absence." "Will do, Jack. I better get back up to the CIC. Okay guys lets go." he said as Bumblebee and Smokescreen followed him to the elevator, Airachnid gave Arcee an encouraging smile before joining the others. Jack then turned back to his team. "Alright, here's the plan. The Defiant will get us as close to the station as possible so that we won't be stopped by the outer defences, then we launch in shuttle one and land in the secret landing bay that Aria has kept hidden." He then looked over to the Asari. "You are sure that MECH won't have found it yet? Aria simply smiled at Jack, which angered Arcee, but the femme kept a tight lid on it. "Prime, the landing bay was hidden for this exact purpose. Once we are in range, I will transmit the activation code and we will be granted access." The Commander then looked back to his team. "Once we are aboard, we are to then gain control of the main landing bay so that the rest of Aria's forces can board the station. Any questions?" Garrus was about to speak up when Hotrod's voice echoed throughout he room via the intercom. "Prime, we will be in range of Omega's defences in the next two minutes." "Okay, you heard the man. Everybody on board, now!" Jack shouted as his team (Aria first) got on board shuttle one via the opened hatch. Once inside and the hatch sealed, Arcee turned to the Commander. "I swore I saw a MAKO ground-assault vehicle in place of the old battered shuttle that we stole from the Tidal-Wave just now." Jack smiled at her. "That's because you did, Anderson let me swap that piece of junk for one of the MAKO's that was on the Citadel. You never know when one may come in handy." The femme smiled back as Aria watched the two curiously, meanwhile Tali was looking over to Garrus who was uncharacteristically quiet. "Garrus, don't worry. We will find Shen." she said in caring and encouraging tone, he looked over to her and for a second that he could almost see the beautiful smile she had through her visor and smiled slightly back. "I hope so, Tali. Thank you." The shuttle pilot then looked back at his passengers. "Okay, Sir. We are ready to go." Alright, everyone buckle up." the Prime replied as they all fastened themselves into their seats. PRIME EFFECT 3 The Defiant and the Merc cruisers flew toward the Omega station at top speed as the cannons on Omega's exterior powered up, a bright red light glowing in the firing chamber before it let out a powerful energy blast that shot by the Alliance frigate, narrowly missing the hull as Hotrod turned the ship on it's side. The weapons fired again as the Defiant performed a barrel roll, again missing the attacks by mere metres. The merc cruisers though weren't so lucky as one of the shots hit and sliced through the portside cruiser, splitting it in two. While the starboard side cruiser's engine was hit, making the vessel lose it's ability to control it's direction and it spun out of control. As it erratically headed toward the station, the two cruisers following the Defiant from behind veered off and stayed out of range as the Alliance frigate carried on. "Defiant, we can't go any further. The station's defences will cut us to shreds if we do." "Roger that, we will take care of the defences." Hotrod replied over the com. The Defiant drew closer, still narrowly evading contact with the enemy fire, it then fired a spread of torpedoes which impacted with several of the weapon emplacements perfectly. "Nice shooting, Teletraan." the Autobot exclaimed. "Thank you." the AI replied. "Okay, launching shuttle in four, three, two..." The Defiant's shuttle bay doors opened up and shuttle-one flew out and toward the lower section of the station as the the Alliance frigate pulled away and headed in the opposite direction, the remaining Merc cruisers also flew past the Defiant and toward the station, now that the defences were taken offline. "Thanks for the lift, Defiant." Jack said over the com. "Yeah, you're welcome, Ground-team. Good luck" Hotrod replied before looking at his console s screen. "Setting course for the rift's coordinates." Teletraan stated, the Defiant then continued toward the other side of the system as the rest of Aria's fleet began moving toward Omega, now that they had taken out the rest of MECHs forces at the space bridge. Meanwhile the shuttle now that it was inside the station's defence grid moved down to the lower levels as it neared the secret hanger. "We are almost at the given coordinates." the pilot stated as the passengers unhooked them selves from their seats and prepared, Jack and Aria stepped next to the pilot, the Asari pointed out towards a side of the outer hull. "There it is, now keep the ship steady while I activate it." Aria told the pilot while activating her holo-tool, but after a moment nothing happened. Jack looked out at the spot and shook his head. "Are you sure we have the right spot?" he asked, gaining a glare from the Asari. But it soon turned into a smile as part of the wall retracted, revealing the landing bay. "You see, Omega welcomes me back with open arms." The shuttle then started to move towards the bay, but suddenly an energy shield projected itself across the opening blocking their entrance. Aria stare opened mouthed in disbelief at what happened in front of her. "Impossible, there is no way he would have figured it out." Jack looked over to her with a stoic expression. "Is there another way in?" he asked gaining a head shake from Aria. "No, this was the only way in that I thought they would not pick up on." Arcee looked into the cockpit. "Then why don't we just destroy the field's power source?" she said, gaining a smile from the Prime, who took a seat next to the pilot and began a scan of the area. A holo-screen appeared in front of him and tapped what looked like a energy signal next to the door and passed it through to the Pilot's interface. "Alright, arm the missile launcher and destroy that section." he said. The pilot nodded and worked his controls, Aria though gave Jack an angry look. "Wait I think I can hack the….." she started to say before looking back outside. One of the cannon's that were situated on either side of the shuttle activated and aimed toward the spot the Prime designated before firing a missile which hit the spot directly, causing a small explosion. The field then faded to nothing and the shuttle moved in and landed. Aira looked at Jack angrily. "Well we may be in, but I will be sending you the bill for that, Prime." she said calmly, though really she must have been fuming. "You're welcome. Now, Everyone, put your breather helmets on and be ready to move." he replied back before his breather helmet grew out of the back of his armour and formed around his head. Once everyone was inside the station and out of the vacuum filled landing bay, Tali locked the door and stabilised life support. Everyone else then removed their helmets and took a deep breath. Aria then looked over to Jack. "Prime, I apologise, if I had stopped you from blowing the door's power supply and hacked the door like I wanted. Then we would have had to fight our way in here." Garrus and Tali looked out to the shuttle through the observation window and saw several MECH soldiers, their lifeless bodies floating around aimlessly. "You would think they would have had their helmets locked down, ready for any possible depressurising of the atmosphere." the Turian stated, gaining a chuckle from the Quarian. Jack nodded at Aria while Arcee looked at a screen being emitted from her holo-tool. "Okay, we are only a short distance from a security station, from there Tali can hack into the system and open up the main landing bays for the rest of the mercs to land." "Without the reinforcements, the five of us don't stand a chance of retaking the station." Jack said as Aria took a step forward and opened the door nearest to them and walked into the adjourning corridor. "Well, let's get moving then." she said as the others joined her. As they moved through the dimly lit and cargo filled corridor, Jack was reminded how dirty Omega was. Not just in how the station looked, but in how it was run. Aria ran the place like a dictatorship, that was obvious. The only people that mattered to her were the rich and the powerful, but they were out numbered by the poor and mistreated. This sort of divide in society was in the process of being eliminated in the Alliance, and that was mainly down to the Cybertronians. Having seen what happens to a society that had been split down the middle, those that were privileged and those not so. This knowledge came to them via the great war which was started when members of their species were no longer happy with the caste system that the high council had enforced on the population. Over the time that he was on Earth, Optimus Prime had seen that humanity were on a similar course and once the war had ended, had pursued an end to such a path. Pressing forward with an ideal that everyone was free to make their own choices and not be held down by rules and regulations that were unjust. As of the time when the Reaper war had started, this initiative was well under way. But here there was no such hope for the people living under the weight of the corruption and villainy of those in power. Jack was brought out of his thoughts by three MECH soldiers who walked around the corner and spotted the group before opening fire. The ground team took cover behind various cargo containers, Arcee fired back with her SMG as Garrus shot on through the head with his sniper rifle, Tali was taking cover next to him. Then one of the enemies dropped off a package on the floor before activating his holo-tool. Jack fired back and killed another soldier before recognising what he was doing. "Turret, everyone stay down!" he yelled back as the package mass shifted into a weapon emplacement which began firing on the group without sign of stopping. "What now? That turret has us pinned down." Arcee asked Jack who looked over to Aria who was smirking back at the couple. "What, you have something you want to tell us?" the Prime shouted over the gunfire. "Watch and learn." she answered back cryptically as her hands started to pulse with blue energy, she then peeked over her cover and saw the turret and the engineer (the soldier) who was controlling it with his holo-tool. She then gestured towards the device and it suddenly started to rise off the floor before she punched her fist toward the engineer, sending the turret slamming into him and exploding, sending the engineer flying to the ground. Everyone then got up from cover as Aria then lifted the soldier off of the ground with this blue energy and then slammed him hard into the ceiling, bones could be heard cracking before she released the enemy, his dead body falling to the ground with a thud. "Biotics, very impressive." Garrus said as Arcee and Jack looked at him confused. "You two never seen an Asari use biotics before?" the Turian replied. "Never had the chance before." Jack answered with Arcee nodding in agreement. Aria turned and smirked at the two. "How you ever fought without biotics is beyond me." she said. Tali and Garrus took either side of the group and kept watch down both sides of the corrider for any more of MECH patrols. "How do you use biotics?" the Arcee asked curiously, which gained a sigh from the Asari. "Well as far as I am aware, my people are the only species in the galaxy that can. It is the ability to create and control gravity fields. Don't ask me how we can, I don't know. We just can." The femme nodded as Jack looked down the corridor from where the enemy soldiers came from. "It's impressive I give you that, but let's keep moving." The Prime said gaining a nod from everyone in the group, they then carried on up the corridor as the battle carried on outside the station. The remaining ships of Aria's fleet kept to the side of Omega which was still damaged from the Defiant taking out that side's defences, but were now in battle with the remaining MECH cruisers that had caught up with them from the space bridge. Meanwhile Jack's team had made it to the security station and were preparing to attack, Tali was looking at the map on her holo-tool before gesturing how many soldiers were in the room with her hands to the Prime who nodded back. He then turned to the others. "Right there are five enemies in the Security station behind me. So, Aria, if you can go in first and draw their attention with that 'magic' of yours." "Yes I can and it is not magic Prime. I will go in and erect a barrier, that will allow the rest of you to enter and then I will drop it so you can finish them off." Arcee looked at the Asari with a slight confused look. "You can do that?" she asked gaining a annoyed sigh from Aria who readied herself at the door. "Yes, now let's get on with it." she said, not hiding her annoyance of the Autobot as she pressed the door control panel, Garrus and Tali waited on the left of the door and Arcee and Jack on the other as the door slid open and Aria walked in. The moment she entered the room she saw three of the troops near the main control console, with the other two just in front of her. They all raised their weapons at her. "Stop right there, this area is off limits." the leader spoke, but the Asari merely laughed it off. "You can't tell me what to do on my own station." she responded before her fists started to glow. The lead soldier then realised who she was. "Aria T'Loak! Kill her now!" he shouted as the other troopers began firing at her, but the bullets stopped in mid air just in front of her (barrier) as they caused a ripple to pass over the air in front of her. She then immediately punched in front of her which took the leader off of his feet as if he had been hit in the face. Jack and the others then charged in as Aria shortened the barrier to cover just her as the others fired and took out each and every soldier in the room that was still standing. She then walked over to the MECH lead soldier who was just recovering, she then lifted him into the air with her biotics and looked at his helmet. Jack and Garrus stood beside her and noticed it too. "He is wearing a vid-cam in his helmet." Garrus observed as Tali went over to the security console and hacked it with her holo-tool. Aria stared into the cam and smiled darkly. "Can you see this, Oleg? We are coming for you. I will have Omega back." she then flung the soldier across the room, his face smashed when his body hit the wall. Suddenly the console came to life and an orange screen appeared, Tali smiled before looking over to the others. "That's it, I am in and the main landing bays are now open for the reinforcements." she said as the others stood around her and watched on the monitors as the merc cruisers began docking with the station and Aria's forces started fighting with the MECH soldiers. Meanwhile inside his office, Olega Petrovsky was watching on his monitors as the ground war had started on the station, he then turned toward a chess set. It had real chess pieces on one side and holographic pieces on the other. He then picked up a pawn and knocked over it's holographic equivalent. "So it begins." he said with a slight smile before activating his com link. "Double check our defensive lines and prepare to release the Adjutants. Hold fast and true against those that now invade our station and we will prevail." While fighting continued in the docking areas of Omega, down in the lower sections, Jack's team were moving up to the secret base that Aria's troops were going to meet them at. Jack had Garrus and Tali watching the rear, making sure that they were not being followed. "So you are absolutely sure about this place Aria?" the Prime asked while he, Arcee and the Asari walked through the dimly lit tunnel. "I am entirely sure of this, Prime. Remember, this is my station." she replied with a smile, obviously attempting to flirt with Jack. Arcee though just rolled her eyes and crossed her arms and looked unimpressed with Aria. "Just like you said that MECH would never find your 'secret' landing bay, and we all know how that turned out." The Asari was about to speak when a familiar voice was heard from the shadows. "Well, Aria always likes to exaggerate things." Everyone turned and pointed their weapons at the shadowed area where the voice had come from as a hooded figure walked out slowly. "Who goes there?" Arcee warned before the new arrival walked into the light and revealed that she was a female Turian, Aria immediately lowered her weapon and smirked. "Nyreen? What the hell are you doing here?" "My men and I are mainly playing cat and mouse with the MECH soldiers, thanks to these tunnels." the Turian replied. "'My tunnels', I am sure glad that I showed them too you." the Asari said with a hint of affection in her voice. "If you hadn't, then the resistance would have died months ago." Nyreen said as Jack and Arcee stood either side of Aria and lowered their weapons. "From what I have heard and seen recently, Aria doesn't trust easily. You two must be close." Jack said gaining a knowingly look from Nyreen before she looked back to Aria. "I don't know, are we close, Aria?" she said with a somewhat coy like tone. "Jackson Prime, this is Nyreen Kandros, former Turian Military. We go way back." she said with a smile aimed at the Turian female. "You said you and your men, where are they?" Jack asked. "We had heard that the station was under attack from outside forces, so I brought a squad up here. Figured that if anyone boarded the station then here would be a good place to find out who it was. Should have known that it would be you, Aria." "Yes well, I don't like people messing with my stuff. Look, Nyreen, I have questions like a ton of them. But we need to get to my bunker first and regroup with my forces who are also heading there." "Yes, the others should be back any moment and then we move." Jack added as Arcee looked down at the pistol that Nyreen was carrying. "Nice gun, you ready to put it to good use?" she asked as Nyreen smirked at her and equipped it. "You have no idea how ready." she replied gaining a smile from the femme. Then Garrus and Tali returned and were walking up to Jack when Nyreen saw Garrus and her eyes widened. "Jack, we are in the clear, no MECH forces at our rear." the Turian replied. "Garrus, is that you?" Nyreen said softly, gaining the male Turian's attention. He looked at her for a moment before realisation kicked in. "Nyreen?" he said in a shocked manner. Tali just looked between the two as both Turians began getting closer. "Garrus, it's been a long time." she said as she noticed the scars on the right side of his face and reached out with a hand to touch them. "What happened here?" she asked. "Occupational hazard, you know the usual." he replied as he let her gently stroke that side of his face. "You haven't lost your good looks though, or your sense of humour I see." she chuckled as Tali just kept quiet and watched the two in shocked silence. Arcee noticed and walked to the Quarian's side as Jack stepped forward. "Garrus, care to explain?" The Turian turned to his friend. Nyreen doing the same. "Jack, I will tell you later, once we are out of harms way." he replied, the Prime nodded in return before looking at Nyreen. "About your men, do you know where they are?" The female Turian then looked at her holo-tool and saw three blips on the map. "They are in a room just a little ahead of us that way." she pointed. "Okay, then let's move." jack said as the group started moving, only Tali was still standing with Arcee next to her. "You alright?" she asked the Quarian. "I…don't know, I just…." she managed to say before walking to catch up with the others, Arcee just stood and watched her friend before shaking her head and heading after her. After running down a few hundred feet down the tunnels, the group came to an opening that overlooked shown a large view of the Omega station, the metallic pillars dangling from the giant asteroid of which the station was built on. Nyreen look around before her eyes came across a sight that made them narrow in anger. The others noticed too as they saw the two Turian and one Batarian lying dead on the ground just ahead of them. As the group moved around the bodies, Garrus, Nyreen and Arcee bent down and examined the bodies. The female Turian bowed her head and shook it slightly, Garrus placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. "It's not your fault, Nyreen, don't blame yourself." she looked up to him and gave him a slight smile. "Thank you, Garrus, but I should have been with them." Arcee noticed some wounds on the necks of the corpses, her eyes widened in response. "What the hell is that?" she said as she saw a blue like mucus seeping out of the wounds. Jack then caught a glimpse of Aria's face, it was one of shock and horror. "Aria, what is it?" he asked as everyone looked at her. "Get back now." she warned as she stepped away from the corpses which as if on command started to flinch erratically, the group then followed the Asari's lead as the three corpses started to mutate and change, their skin turned dark blue with a synthetic look. Their eyes opened to reveal a husk like blue optics, giant neon light blue pus sacs grew out of their backs. The right arms of the once-were corpses then shifted and grew into what looked like bio-cannons with the same light blue energy flowing into them via tubing that was connected to the same pus sacs. They then opened their mouths and started to vomit, a bleak like substance splattering on the floor as a large amount of tendrils then flopped out and hung from the inside of their now agape mouths. Everyone just watched in shock at what had transpired in front of them. "Adjutants!" both Aria and Nyreen said at once, making the creatures look directly at the group. The Adjutants just stared at them for a moment before one made a deafening roar and the three leapt at Jack and the others, Jack rolled out of the way as one landed where he was standing, he then turned and fired his rifle at the creature, unloading the entire clip into it before it fell to the ground. The second one leapt towards Aria and Arcee, but the Asari stopped it in it's tracks and held it in the air with her biotics, before throwing it off the large balcony and down into the depths below. It's cries could still be heard as the third attacked Garrus, Tali and Nyreen. The Turian male pushed the Quarian out of the way as the Adjutant landed in front of him and swiped him to the side. Nyreen then gasped before firing her pistol into it's face as it turned and attacked her. Tali recovered and fired her shotgun into it's back, exploding the large blue sac's that lined it's back, bright blue goo splattering it's surroundings. "Don't let that blue substance touch you." Nyreen warned Tali, who nodded and kept firing into the creature's back until it finally fell to the ground dead. Tali then started to walk towards Garrus, but was surprised to see Nyreen had beat her there and was helping Garrus to his feet. "You okay?" she asked. "Yeah, no real damage. Tali, you alright?" he asked and the Quarian nodded in return as Jack and Arcee looked over the creature's bodies, the latter was scanning them with her holo-tool. "Jack, these things have Reaper tech in them. And their cells are not dead either, they are still replicating." Arcee said while the Prime looked down at them with a stoic look. "Garrus, do you think this is what Shen was on about in his message to you. Could these be what MECH are changing people into?" Garrus looked down at the creatures. "It would make sense, but they are almost like Husks. But those bodies were changed from what…..bite wounds." "That's how they make more of themselves." Arcee said as she looked over the results on her holo-tool. "From what I can tell, the Adjutants infect their prey with a virus that then mutates their bodies and turns them into an Adjutant." "Like the Borg?" Garrus replied, gaining a look from Jack while Tali chuckled. "Garrus, you really need to stop watching Star Trek." "Well, Jack, the vids were from your own personal collection." he said back, gaining a chuckle from Arcee who looked up at the Prime and smiled. "He's got you there, Jack." "Okay, let's get back to the mission now, okay." he said suddenly feeling embarrassed. His team just continued to laugh while Aria and Nyreen looked on in bemusement. "How far before we reach your bunker, Aria?" Jack asked, then Aria held her left hand up to the Prime while reaching to her ear with her right. "Hold on, Prime, I am receiving a call. Bray, report." "Aria, we have reached the bunker. But the Talons are refusing us entry." the Batarian said over the com making the Asari look at Nyreen with daggers. "Do you know anything about this, because to my understanding the Talons are just a small merc group." "They were before I took them over and gave them purpose. And when MECH began their occupation, we moved down to the bunker and launched a guerrilla war. Hoping to help the people of Omega, the ones you failed." Nyreen replied. "You will let my people in there now." she said angrily. "Of course, once we are there ourselves. So let's move." Nyreen said, gaining a smile from Arcee as Jack and the others followed the female Turian, Aria just stood and seethed at her before following them. PRIME EFFECT 3 The journey to the bunker was uneventful as Jack's team made it to the heavily fortified entrance to Aria's bunker, which as of this moment was under the command of the Talons. As Aria walked over and spoke to Bray and her forces who were waiting as well, Nyreen activated her holo-tool and the reinforced doors opened, allowing them all to enter. They then entered a large room with balconies risen high above them. Jack looked around and saw that Nyreen had quite the operation going on, he couldn't help but be impressed. Aria though looked disinterested as she headed over to the command station and began looking through the data files. "Aria, that is restricted information. For Talons eyes only." she said as she stepped in the Asari's way, but she was pushed aside. "Nyreen, I am very impressed with what you have done here, but your men are now under my control. You of all people know what happens to those who argue with me." Aria said in a matter of fact tone. "And if I say no….. what, you'll kill me? My men will not stand for that." the female Turian said, as a number of her troops started to look over at the two as they argued. Jack then stepped forward between the two. "Hey, remember the enemy is out there, not in here." Both females turned an cursed under their breath before Garrus stepped forward and looked at the security footage. It was showing all the civilians in lockdown in their homes and public places, held back by force fields. "So what is the plan here?" "I want to free the people and let them help us take back Omega." Nyreen looked back at the Asari in shock. "That's your plan, you want to throw civilians at the MECH forces. I knew you didn't give a damn about them." "On the contrary, I care a great deal for 'my people'. I just want to give them the opportunity to fight for their homes." Aria replied coyly as she stepped into the center of the room and activated her holo-tool. Suddenly all the monitors in the room focused on the Asari. "What's she doing?" Nyreen said looking over to one of her men. "She is over-ruling our commands and has taken control of the intercom." he said as he frantically typed at his control station. Aria smiled back at the female Turian. "Like I said, Omega is mine to control. Now watch and learn." she said before pressing a button on her holo-tool. Suddenly every monitor and screen on the station showed her face, gaining the attention of whoever was around to notice. Be that MECH soldiers or civilians. Even the screens in Pretovsky's office showed her as he watched. "People of Omega, I have returned. MECH believes that they have defeated you, that they have you under their 'control'… they are gravely mistaken. Because you are the lawless of this galaxy, you can never be defeated, never be controlled. Be ready, for the chance to strike back at your oppressors is coming. Together we will take Omega back!" she exclaimed loudly with her arms outstretched. In the room and all over the station, people began cheering, punching the air as the MECH soldiers watched from their side of the force fields. The screens and monitors then shut off as Aria walked back to the group. Nyreen shook her head in disgust. "I know what you are doing, Aria, and I don't like it." she said before she saw some civilians being helped by some of her men. "I have civilians that need evacuating, we will discuss this later." she said to the Asari before walking over to her men. Jack walked over to Aria. "What are you doing, Aria?" he said as Arcee stood beside him and Tali went over to Garrus. " Prime, the people of Omega. My people are always up for a good fight and when it breaks out, they will be ready. And Nyreen cares to much for them to just sit by and watch them be slaughtered, so she will make sure her forces are out there too." "Well, I am with Nyreen on this one, Aria. We don't put civilians in the firing line." the Prime protested, this did not go unnoticed by the female Turian who looked over to see him berate the Asari. "Maybe that is how you deal with things in the Alliance, but this is Omega. So you better get used to it." the Asari said back with a stoic look. Jack shook his head before looking over to Arcee who was in the middle of call. Once done she looked back at the Prime. "Just got a message from Hotrod, they are nearly in range of the MECH ships at the rift's location." As Jack and Arcee spoke, Tali was standing beside Garrus and watching him work as he looked through the database. "What are you looking for, Garrus?" "Anything that will tell me where Shen is, but the MECH sections of the database are encrypted." The Quarian placed a hand on the Turian's in support. "Let me." she said softly as Garrus then stepped aside and let her activate her holo-tool and connect it to the console. "Right, my decryption program is now running. This should take a few minutes." she added as Garrus smiled back at her. "Thanks, Tali." The Quarian then looked out toward Nyreen, this gained Garrus's attention as he wondered what she was looking at. "So, you and Nyreen go back a while huh?" she asked. "Yes, we served in the Turian military many years ago." he replied. "And you two were close?" "We 'were', but that is in the past." Garrus answered sheepishly which caught the Quarian's attention even more. "What do you mean, Garrus?" "I mean, Tali, that I am focusing on the here and now." he replied before looking down to the ground and sighing. "And also, there is nothing between us anyway." he said. "Are you sure, she certainly hasn't forgotten you." Tali replied. "Well, even if she hasn't, that doesn't mean I feel the same." Garrus..." the Quarian said making the Turian turn to face her and speak before she finished what she was saying. "Tali, I don't know exactly how to say this so I will just go ahead and say it, there is someone else I am interested in now and she is standing right..." Garrus was cut off by the console which was beeping loudly and information was flowing down the screen unencrypted. "It worked, we have access to MECH's database." the Turian said as Jack and Arcee joined them. Tali though was still looking a little anxious in her posture. "Have you found Shen?" the Prime asked as Aria walked over. "Just a second...(beep), got it." Garrus replied. before his expression dropped. "What is it?" Tali asked. "The MECH soldiers found him and took him to the Adjutant labs for processing." Garrus said. "Where are those labs?" Jack asked as the Turian typed into the console and brought up a map of a level of the station. "The labs are near the auxiliary power distribution hub that is connected to the power core." Tali said while Garrus had gone quiet. The Prime then looked at screen himself. "Please tell me that hub controls all the force fields on the station?" Jack asked. "Not completely, but if I can access this power sub-station on the other side of Omega, then I can divert the power lines and make that hub the primary source for those force fields." the Quarian replied, gaining a smile from the Prime before he looked back to the others, Nyreen had joined them at this point. "Alright, here's what we do. Garrus, Nyreen, Aria and myself will head to the labs and liberate anyone who is being held there." he then looked at Garrus who gave Jack a nod in return. "We will then head on through to hub and sabotage it. Tali in the meantime will head on over to sub-station and divert the power lines. You should get there before we make it to the hub, so just get straight on it." the Prime said to the Quarian who nodded. "Wait, Jack. Who goes with Tali then. You aren't going to send her alone are you?" Garrus asked, gaining a smile from Tali and an awkward look from Nyreen who was surprised to see such concern from the Turian male. "Of course not, Garrus,…..Nyreen…" the Prime replied. "Yes, Prime, I will send a squad of my men with her..." she then looked over to Garrus. "...they will make sure she completes her mission and returns safely." she added with a caring tone to Garrus who nodded in gratitude as did Tali, Arcee then placed her hand in the air, gaining Jack's attention. "Jack, what about me?" "Arcee, I want you to remain here and coordinate the uprising with Aria's forces and the Talons. But you are not to launch the attack until the force fields are down. Aria's forces will lead the assault and the Talons will support the civilians who want to fight." Nyreen smiled at Jack. "Thank you, Prime. I am glad that I am not the only one here who is worried about the civilians." she said before glaring at Aria. "Well, they are to support those that want to fight, or help those who do not to safety." Jack added. Aria just looked at Prime with what appeared to be an expression of half lust and half loathing, it was quite the combination. "Prime, I hope you remember who's operation this is. I will not be dictated on my own station." she said with a hint of anger, but Jack stood his ground. "It is not 'your station' yet and you accepted my help. So because of that, I will not accept civilian casualties, not if they don't want to be involved in the fighting. Aria gritted her teeth as her anger started to show in her face as she stared daggers at Jack, but he still kept his stoic appearance as he walked closer to her. "In the end, Aria, what is it that you want. Is it to free Omega and it's people, or are you just after revenge? If it is the latter then you can stay here, because I will not allow a loose cannon to ruin our chances of success." The Prime added, causing Aria to nearly lose it in front of everyone as they watched. "You will not allow…." she spat back before looking Jack up and down, she then let a half smile grace her lips as her look of lust showed on her face again. "Very well, Prime. We'll play it your way…..for now." she finished before turning her back on him and walking away. As she walked past Bray, he looked over to Jack and smiled before following her. Nyreen and Arcee were watching too, the female Turian had a look of utter shock on her face. "He said 'no' to Aria and she accepted." she said, surprise evident in her voice. Arcee smiled while keeping her eyes on Jack. "Not the first time either. Garrus told me that Jack said no to her earlier, back on board the Citadel." "Unbelievable, the more I hear and see of this Prime. The more I like him..." she said before looking over to the femme. "...is he single?" she then asked, making Arcee's smile disappear as her face became serious. The femme then crossed her arms. "No…. he is not." she stated in a matter of fact way before walking off. "Pity." Nyreen said before looking over to Garrus, who was with Tali. The Quarian noticed this and suddenly became uncomfortable. "I better get ready for my mission." she said in slight hurt way before walking off. "Tali, wait.." was all Garrus could say before she walked off, not noticing that Jack had walked beside him. "Is everything alright?" he asked gaining the Turian's attention. "Jack, sorry… I was." was all he could say before taking a deep breath. "It's okaym Garrus, Arcee told me that things were awkward between the three of you." Jack said. "Three of us?" Garrus said in return, slightly confused. "Yes…, you, Tali and Nyreen. And since the mission won't be starting for another few minutes, I thought you could fill me in on the details between you and Nyreen. Like you said you would earlier." the Commander replied. Garrus sighed and looked over to Tali who was talking with some of the Talons before looking back to his friend. "Well, I met Nyreen when I was a young soldier in the Turian Military, this was years before C-Sec. We were both stationed on the Menae, it is one of two moons that orbits Palaven. After working together a few times we.. what is the Human term…. we hit it off. We found that we liked the same things and quickly fell for each other big time." "I see, so what changed?" Jack asked curiously. "After two years together, we were given an assignment to take down a pair of mercs who were raiding Turian shipping lanes. When we boarded their ship, we split up to take them down. But she got herself captured, and they said they would kill her if I didn't let them go." "What happened?" the Prime asked. "She told me not to let them go, but I loved her, so I chose her and let them go. She then immediately told our superiors what had happened and I was discharged from the military for not doing my duty. We Turians take our duty and honour very seriously." Jack looked at him in shock. "She got you fired? I mean how could she?" "She told me that she appreciated what I did, but could not condone it and had to report my behaviour. Before I left she told me she loved me." "Well, she has a funny way of showing it." Jack replied, Garrus shook his head in response. "Jack, Turians aren't like Humans. We can't let ourselves be guided by our feelings all the time. The military is in our blood, we are born into it. So to not follow your orders to the latter can be seen as almost treasonous, depending on what your orders were to begin with. I understood why she did it, but I too saw that she would always put her duty before her personal feelings, So I cut ties with her." So how did you end up at C-Sec, I guess your family wasn't happy." the Prime said in return. "You would be right, my father is a very 'by the book' person. He had a saying, ' do things right or don't do them at all'. He was disappointed, but since I had a flawless record before Nyreen. He instead got me a job with C-Sec (he was working there himself), though he did give me some advice." the Turian replied. "What was that then?" "Relationships and work do not mix, don't make that mistake again." Garrus said as he tried to impersonate his father. "So is that why you have held back from Tali all this time?" Jack asked inquisitively. "Partly, I guess a part of me didn't want to get hurt again. And that is why I give you and Arcee a hard time about it whenever you two start flirting with each other in front of the others." Jack gave his friend a slight smile. "Garrus, I am not going to stop my crew or my team-mates from fraternising. If I did that, then you have to ask yourself. What are we fighting for in this war." Garrus gave Jack a look of understanding as he nodded. "I see what you mean." "So, have you told her yet?" the Prime asked. "I was about to, but…" the Turian said, then Jack gently motioned him towards the Quarian. "Then I suggest you go over there and tell now before she goes, Arcee also told me that Tali was concerned with Nyreen and yourself. It's probably best to dispel any lingering doubt. Want me to make it an order?" Garrus smiled back at Jack. "That won't be necessary, Jack." he said before walking over to Tali who was just going through her gear. He tapped her on the shoulder, and she turned around and he could almost see a sad smile form under the purple visor she wore. "Garrus I wasn't expecting…" "Tali, what's wrong?" he asked sensing the discomfort in her voice. "I just thought you would be heading off with Nyreen now." she replied. "No, Jack's still setting things up. Look that is the reason I wanted to speak to you." he said, but then Tali cut him off. "Garrus, you don't need to say anything." she replied, gaining a confused look from the Turian. "What you mean I don't have to.." he asked back. "I mean you and Nyreen right, she seems really nice. I am happy for you." Tali said, trying to sound as sincere as possible, yet her tone betrayed the hurt she felt. The Turian's eyes widened as he realised what she was saying. "No, Tali it isn't.." "Let me finish please, I like you Garrus…. I like you a lot. And I was hoping that maybe you…." she said as she looked away for a moment. "..but I know that this couldn't be, I mean I am stuck in this suit and I, you deserve to be with someone who can be with you fully. In every way that I can not." She then started to move away but Garrus stopped her and got in her way. "Tali, I don't want Nyreen." The Quarian looked up at the Turian. "You….don't?" "I want you." he said back, he could see through her visor that her white eyes had widened as what he just said sunk in. "Really, I uh, I mean…sorry, I…..Oh!" she replied back in shock, as they stood there looking at each other, Garrus saw a full beaming smile appear on her face through her visor. "Thank you." she replied happily, but then she pulled back slightly. "...you tell me this now!" Garrus shot her a confused look. "Wait, what?" The Quarian then crossed her arms, her posture looked a little confrontational. "You wait until I am about to go on a mission and then tell me. I have been waiting for ages.." "I have been wondering when the best… , I mean I tried to tell you back…" the Turian replied back, but then was went silent as Tali pulled him into an embrace. For several long seconds they remained silent as they enjoyed the moment, unbeknownst to the two, Nyreen was watching from the other side of the room. Tali then looked up into the Turian's eyes. "Can we even make this work? I mean, I am stuck in this enviro-suit." "But not for long through right, I mean the Geth are helping your people right now." he said back, earning a nod from the Quarian. "That is true, but I don't think I can wait that long, give me some time. Maybe I can find some way for us to be together sooner, some kind of medication or bio stabilizer." Garrus then looked down into her eyes. "Take as much time as you need, Tali, I can wait. I'll never give up on you…. Ever, I promise." he replied in a soft tone and she responded by hugging him more. "I know, thank you, Garrus. So…. I guess we have some things to discuss after this mission is over." "Looking forward to it." he replied as he held her close. Then one of the Talon soldiers called over to the Quarian. "Oh, I have to go. I will see you later then." she said happily as she started to walk away, Garrus smiled as he watched her walk off, but then she turned to him. "I nearly forgot, I made an upgrade for your holo-tool, it is uploaded onto that console. I think you will find it useful." she said before waving to him and then leaving with the Talon group that was assigned to her. Garrus waved back before walking over to the console that she had pointed out to him. He then activated his holo-tool and downloaded the file named 'Garrus1'. Soon as it was finished he activated the program which changed the holo-tool into a holo-blade. The Turian smiled down at the new melee weapon his 'girlfriend' had made for him. "Thanks, Tali." he said to himself. "Garrus, it's time." Jack called over, he was standing with Aira and Nyreen as Arcee and Bray were talking. Garrus nodded and deactivated his holo-tool before walking over and joining them.
  12. Chapter 12 Jack and Arcee entered the room and and saw Garrus looking over some information on the screen, Tali nodded to them as they walked over to the Turian. "Garrus, what's wrong?" Jack asked as he joined his friend's side. "Jack, I know everyone is on shore leave. But I need to ask for a leave of absence." The Prime gave him a confused look. "Why, Garrus? Tali said you received some troubling news." Garrus looked over at the Quarian with an angry expression, but when he saw the worries concern on her face. He could just about see it behind her visor, and he found his anger bleeding away. He knew she was only concerned for him and couldn't be angry at her or at Jack and the others, so he sighed. "Jack, you remember I was operating as a mercenary during the two years that you were being rebuilt by MECH." "You called yourself 'Archangel', if I remember correctly." The Turian felt a slight grin on his face as the mention of that name embarrassed him a little. "Yes, I spent my time taking out any mercs or slavers that were hurting the innocent. Well, my travels took me to Omega where you would eventually find me." he said as the memories of those days came back to him. It had been Eighteen months since the Normandy was destroyed and Garrus lost his best friend. In the months that had followed he found himself at a crossroads, not knowing what he had to do. But when the Council put a stop to the Alliance's investigation into the Reapers, and disassembled the team that Jack had put together. It was then that Garrus knew he could no longer let himself be tied down by the hypocrisy and politics of the Council, he had to take matters into his own hands. That was something Jack had shown him and so he felt that this would be the best way to honour the Prime. So he set out by himself to find what information he could on the Reapers. But this search did not last long when he came across a colony being attacked by slavers, so he took a stand and defended the people there and helped drive the slavers away, gaining the name 'Archangel' from the colonists. Before they were defeated, Garrus discovered that the slavers had connections to the merc group that had worked for Sideways. And since the former Con had not died at the hands of Arcee back on Ilos, this group may know how to find him. The mercs that tried to kill Tali on the Citadel made out that they didn't know, But Garrus was not about to take their word for it. So he set out after them, hunting down the group from one colony to another. He even had a partner, a Turian called Sardonis. He came into the fight because slavers took and killed his family, but rather than let the need for revenge cloud his every thought. All he saw was the need to bring those responsible to justice. He also kept Garrus from going to far in his own mission to find Sideways. Between the two of them, they fought long and hard against the mercs, and having a partner made missing his friends a lot easier to handle for Garrus. Though there were still times when he found himself missing the others, Arcee, Wrex, Hotrod and Tali. The Quarian was certainly an interesting female, she had caught his eye during their time on board the Normandy and even though he did not know what she looked like under that enviro-suit, it was her personality and presence that he had become drawn to. But unlike how open Jack and Arcee were with their feelings towards each other, he kept his to himself. This was due to a female Turian he had once loved, but that was all he was going to say on that matter. So Garrus and Sardonis had travelled around the galaxy searching for leads on where Sideways was and after nearly eighteen months, finally they had what seemed like viable Intel that the former con was once again looking for hired guns on the planet Camala, once there they soon found out that Sideways was nowhere to be found and in fact the whole thing was a setup to lead the two into a trap. Garrus and Sardonis were surrounded by a small army of mercs led by Elanos Haliat. He told the Turians that the mercs were sick of them hunting and killing them for information on some former Con and that it was time for some payback. The fight then was brutal as the two partners took down nearly all of the mercs, but not before Elanos killed Sardonis. He then fled while Garrus was busy finishing off the rest, but when he saw his friend lying dead on the floor, the Turian swore revenge on the human bastard. So fast forward a few weeks and Garrus was now on the station of Omega, he had heard that Elanos was here to find work. So the Turian waited under a shadowed archway in a back alley of one of the underprivileged areas of Omega. The station was certainly a cesspool of criminals and murderers, if he wasn't focused on Elanos, Garrus could easily do a lot of good here. He had been waiting at this spot for the past few hours for his contact to appear and was growing impatient, when suddenly a volus walked down towards his spot. Garrus pulled out his pistol and aimed at the arrival who put his hands up in response. "Are you, Archangel?" "Maybe, that would depend on whether you are, Han Po'mar?" the Turian replied stoically. "Yes. Yes, I am and I have the information you requested." the Volus answered, Garrus lowered his weapon and allowed Han to walk closer, before handing him a pad which the Turian then examined. "So I can find Elanos here?" The Volus nodded nervously before looking down both ends of the alleyway. "What is he going to be doing at this location, because the layout looks like one of the apartments in the middle class part of the station?" The contact shook his head. "I do not know the details, Archangel, but I believe that Elanos has been hired to make a hit." The Turian's eyes widened in response. "When is this taking place?" Garrus asked with an urgent like tone. "Anytime in the next thirty minutes." the Volus replied before Garrus rushed past him down. "If this information turns out to be false then I will see you again Han." He said back to the Volus without even looking, making Han slip into the shadowed archway instinctively. But he was of no concern to Garrus right now as he stepped out onto the street, the view of the asteroid that the station was connected to right above him as he hailed a sky-cab. "Take me here." he said as he showed the location on his holo-tool. The Batarian driver looked at it and then at Garrus. "That's on the other side of Omega, it will take at least thirty minutes." The Turian gave him a stoic expression, trying hard to keep his anger in check. "So get a move on then." The driver nodded hesitantly back at his angry charge and took control of the vehicle as it lifted off the ground and flew up and joined the traffic that flowed around the station. Garrus felt like shooting that cab driver after getting out of the vehicle when he arrived at his destination, due to the fact that the trip had been a minute and a half longer than it should have been. But he hadn't the time so he he quickly paid the fee using his holo-tool and got out and entered the building where Elanos was supposed to be. Once inside he equipped his pistol and made his way up to twelfth floor via the staircase, couldn't risk using the elevator because Elanos may have known that he was coming and laid a trap for him. The Turian made short work of the stairs and entered the corridor, checking both directions before making his way to the apartment. Just as he got close he heard a gun shot and then a scream come from the room and he rushed over to the door and stood with his back to the wall next to it as he checked his gun. He then heard voices from within the room. "No!, no, Alex!" a woman screamed in anguish. "Stay right there, Lady, or I will kill your son next." came a familiar voice that made Garrus's blood boil. It was Elanos and by the sound of it, the Turian was to late to save his target but that didn't mean he couldn't save the man's family. "You, Monster!" she screamed back before suddenly going quiet. "Now you shut the fuck up, I can't have any witnesses to this so….." the merc said before, BANG! Garrus's eyes went wide as he heard what sounded like a body hit the ground in there, and he realised that he had failed. But then he heard Elanos speak again "Well, Kid, that leaves only you I guess. No hard feelings but I have to kill all of you." 'A kid, there is still one more!' Garrus thought to himself as he took a breath before turning round and kicking the door open and bursting into the room with his gun pointed directly at his quarry, who at this moment had his own gun pointed directly at a small Asian boy who was standing between the bodies of his mother and father, tears running down his face, he could not be any older than ten years old. "Drop the gun, Elanos! I mean it!" the Turian stated angrily while the merc just looked over to him casually. "Archangel! you, motherfucker. I was wondering when you would show up. Just give me a second to finish off this little shit and I will be right with you." Garrus though did not relent as he stepped closer. "Drop the gun, I will not tell you again." Elanos saw the look in the Turian's eyes and sighed before he released his grip on the gun and let it fall to the ground, he then held his hands up and smiled at Garrus. "Well I guess you have me right where you want me, don't you, Archangel. So aren't you going to finish me off, especially after what I did to your piss poor friend Sardonis." "I will, but this isn't something a child should see." the Turian replied before looking over to the boy. "Hey, Kid. What's your name?" The boy looked at Garrus, his had stopped crying as his eyes looked very sore and red after all the tears he had shed. "Shen." "Come here, Shen, you're safe now." the Turian replied while extending a hand to the child. Shen looked over nervously toward Elanos before walking over to Garrus who looked down at him with a slight smile, hoping that would lessen the boy's fear in him. But as soon as the child was near the Turian, he ran round behind his leg and hid there from the merc who just smiled back. "I'll see you again 'real soon', Shen." Garrus just looked at the human as he gritted his teeth and tightened his grip around the trigger. "Shen, I want you to turn around and don't look back. Can you do that for me?" The ten year old nodded and turned around, leaving Garrus with Elanos who was still smiling, seemingly fine with what was about to happen. "So you finally going to do it, Archangel. Well go ahead, because if you don't, I promise that I will kill you and that little shit hiding behind you." "You seem to be rather confident of that despite the position that you are in, Elanos." Garrus replied. "Well did you really think that I would be here alone, or was Han's acting really that convincing?" the Human said as his grin grew. Suddenly Shen stepped into the back of the Turian's leg, making him spin round only to see the but of a rifle hit him square in the face, knocking Garrus to the floor face first. Shen shrieked before the person that knocked the Turian to the floor grabbed him by the arm and dragged him back into the room, Elanos picked up his gun from the ground and pointed it at Garrus who lay there as he tried to get his bearings. "Thanks, Antak." he said to person, but when the Turian finally managed to look up, his eyes widened when he recognised who had just blindsided him. It was the Batarian from the sky-cab, Antak smiled down at him. "Do you realise how hard it was for me not just to kill him while he sat behind me, Elanos." "Well be glad that you didn't because I have a lot planned for this Turian bastard. After what he and his dead friend did to our colleagues, it's about time we finally ended him." Elanos replied as Antak pushed the kid into the corner of the room. "Stay there, you little shit." he said as the ten year old brought his legs up to his chest and sat their quivering, never taking his eyes off the Turian who had come to his rescue. Garrus felt his mouth well up with blood as he spat some on the floor and looked up to Shen. "It's...going...to be...alright, Shen." he managed to say to the boy, gaining dumbfounded looks from the mercs. "Really? You still playing the hero, Archangel?" Elanos replied before grabbing the Turian and using him up onto his feet. "Hold him." he said Antak who grabbed Garrus by both arms. "Now I am going to make you fucking feel for every one of my friends that you killed, Archangel." the human replied score pulling a large combat knife out from hi utility belt. He then readied himself to strike as the Turian sims looked over to the ten year old and winked at him, Shen looked at him in confusion but then as Elanos went to stab Garrus. He then grabbed the merc's attacking arm while clicking his head back and stabbing one of the horns in his crest into the Batarian's eye, blinding him. The merc screamed in pain as he let go of Garrus who instantly disarmed Elanos, before kneeing him in the stomach and upper cutting the human in the face, knocking him flat on his back. As Shen looked on in amazement at the sight before him, his eyes wide with wonder. Garrus then turned his attention on to The Batarian who had blood gushing out of the eye that had been punctured, unfortunately he still had three more and was now full of rage as he charged at the Turian. But Garrus was ready as ducked down and evaded the enemy's attack before picking up the combat knife and ramming it into his neck, under the jaw. So much blood gushed out of the wound as the Batarian tried to resist, but the Turian continued to push the knife deeper in until he heard the crack of bone. Antak then went limp and fell to the ground, blood flowing freely as it formed a puddle around his body. Garrus then turned and readied the pistol at Elanos who had picked up Shen and was using him as a human shield while holding his pistol to the kid's head. "Stay the fuck back, Archangel, or else you will picking bits of this little shit's brains off yourself." Garrus's expression remained calm and collected as he looked at Shen and then his enemy. "So this is what the deadly mercenary Elanos Haliat has become, a cowardly piece of scum that uses a kid as a shield to cower behind and whimper, how are you ever going to avenge those that I killed. They would be ashamed of you." Elanos's face was a mixture of emotions as he gritted his teeth at what the Turian had just said, but then he exploded. "I'll show you, you Turian bastard." he yelled as he threw the kid to the side and fired at Garrus, who rolled out of the way as the gun shots hit the wall behind him. The Turian ended up in a kneeling position with the human dead to rights, so he fired a shot into Elanos's knee caps. The merc cried out in pain as he fell to his knees, the pain doubling as his wounds hit the floor hard, making he grimace. But he still fought through the immense pain to raise his weapon to Garrus, btu the Turian then fired a bullet clean through the Human's hand, making him drop the pistol into the small puddle of blood that was forming from the wounds in his knees. The extra pressure of his weight on the them making the bleeding worse. Elanos grabbed his wounded hand in his other and cradled it as Garrus stood over him with his weapon pointed at the merc's head. "Go on then, Archangel, do it. Because this isn't over, there are many more of us out there and only one of you. One of us will kill you eventually." The Turian just looked at Elanos with a stoic look as blood trickled down his chin. "Maybe, but it won't happen today. This is for Shen's parents and for Sardonis." he replied before pulling the trigger and watching as the gun shot went straight through Elanos's head and out the other side, splattering blood across the wall behind him as the merc's eyes glazed over and his body fell to be ground dead. Garrus then looked down at the body and took a deep breath before sighing, he had finally avenged his friend and yet he felt no different than he had before. The Turian was so caught up in his own thoughts that he had not noticed Shen standing beside him, the ten year old knocked on the armour on the Turian's leg gaining his attention as Garrus looked down at the child. "Mr… Archangel, t-t-t- thank you." he said with a nervous stammer gaining a slight smile from Garrus who bent down on one knee to look at the child at eye level. But as he looked at the boy's face, which had blood splattered over it, his smile faded. "Don't thank me, Shen. I wish I got here sooner. I am sorry about your parents." Shen looked over to the corpses of his parents and started to cry, so the Turian took the kid in his arms and hugged him as the boy mourned. Several minutes past before Shen calmed down then Garrus let him go and the kid looked at him. "What happens now?" "Do you have any family on Omega, anyone that can take you in?" the Turian asked. Shen looked down to the ground as he thought. "Mum and Dad are the only family I have…" he answered as another tear ran down his cheek. "But my Dad always told me to go to his friend from work who lives on level twenty six." "What did your Dad do for a living, Shen?" Garrus asked. "Dad protected people who came to the station, he told me." the boy answered back honestly. "He worked at space port as Security then." the Turian replied before a horrible realisation came upon him. 'This boy's father was only a security guard, Elanos only picked him and his family to get to me.' he thought to himself before his attention was brought back to Shen who was wiping his face with his top. "Okay, let's get you out of here." Garrus replied as he and Shen left the house and left the horror that the boy had witnessed behind them. A short time later, down in one of the busy markets on the Omega station. Walking among the heaving crowd of different aliens who were looking at the different stalls and stores was a Volus, who was minding his own business. Suddenly his com link engaged and a familiar voice spoke which made the Volus stop in his tracks and become very stiff. "You know, you are a hard person to find, Han." Han's heart started to beat very quickly as fear took control as he looked around him, but the crowds were to packed up with people for him to see. "I wouldn't bother trying to spot me Han because you won't find me, but I can see you clear as day through my sniper rifle's scope." Garrus replied. The Volus was about to move when the voice stopped him. "Don't move! Not unless you want a bullet through that cowardly head of yours." "Archangel, it was not my fault, they made me help them and set a trap for you. They got to my family you see and…" Han said in a panic as he tried to reason, but was cut off. "Don't give me that crap, I already checked your background, Han. You have no family, so how about you start telling me the truth or I will end this conversation with the aforementioned bullet." The Volus then nodded somewhat aggressively. "Yes, yes! Okay, that was a mistake on my part. But please, let us talk about this? "Very well, I want to know if what Elanos told me was true. Are there anymore of his men on this station?" Garrus asked. "Yes, and they are also contacting more merc groups for help. You have pissed off more than a few of them Archangel." Han replied as he looked up to the higher levels, trying to spot the Turian up there in the shadowed sections. "Well, thanks for the heads up, Han." "So you are letting me go then?" "No, but not only because you betrayed me to Elanos, and not because you are not only a contact for the highest bidder, but you also sell 'red sand' and that is just going too far. You're a criminal, Han. And you know how much I despise criminals." Garrus answered, making the Volus panic completely as he tried to move, but was suddenly silenced by a gunshot that blew out the back of his head. Han fell to the ground as everyone around him scattered in all directions. Meanwhile high up on one of the balconies that overlooked the area, the Turian stood up and placed the sniper rifle onto the connector on the back of his armour and looked out at Omega. "Looks like I have a lot of work to do." Garrus looked at his friends who had listened to his story intently, Tali was the first to speak. "What happened to Shen?" "I left him with his father's friend who promised to take care of him, he seemed like a good choice. While I stayed on Omega, I visited Shen frequently to see how he was doing. He was always happy to see me." the Turian replied. "Sounds like he has gotten attached to you." Arcee observed with a slight smile. "Because you avenged his parents deaths." Jack added while leaning against the wall. "Yes, well he didn't know that it was because of me that his parents had died, so I kept that from him. Thanks to my…activities, friends were few and far between. So to have any at all was a privilege. An plus I want to make sure he was safe, it was the least I could do." Garrus said before looking to the floor with a sorrowful expression. Tali who had sat next to him placed a hand on his leg and gave him a sympathetic look. "It wasn't your fault what happened to his parents Garrus, sometimes bad things just happen." Garrus looked up at the Quarian and then to Jack and Arcee who were giving him supportive smiles, he nodded in return. "I guess you're right, but doesn't make me feel any better." "So I take it this message you received was from Shen's guardian?" the Prime asked. "No, it was from Shen himself. You see the last time I saw him which was a week before you found me, I had given him communicator with long range capabilities. It is the same device I hand to all of my contacts. I told him that if he ever needed my help, he was to call me. This was the message I received." the Turian replied before activating his holo-tool. "Archangel, please get this message. They have taken Marcus and are looking for me, evil men have taken over my home and are changing everyone who lives here. I am scared and alone, please Archangel…help me….." then the voice became lost in the static before Garrus deactivated the holo-tool. "What do we know about Omega's situation these days, I mean it is not exactly near the front lines?" Arcee asked. "Well, I have been looking over the network feeds and all that is mentioned is that Omega went dark several months ago. The Council did not really take any notice of it, because of it's rather dirty reputation." the Turian replied while looking at a pad that was on the table next to him. "Also I did a quick analysis of the message and it is several months old, if I was to guess. I would say that Shen had set the message to be sent out continuously in Omega's communication system, in the hopes that it would get through the jammers." Jack gave the Turian a sceptical look. "Isn't that a bit much for an eleven year old to do?" He then looked over to Arcee who's expression was one of slight annoyance. "Jack, it's not like we don't know 'someone' who could do something similar at that age." she said with a knowing look, gaining a nod from her lover. "Okay, fair point." he replied before looking over to Garrus. "Let me speak to Admiral Bryce, see what Alliance Intelligence has on Omega's current status. Because if you need to go back there, I won't have you going alone and with no idea on what you will face there." Garrus smiled and nodded in return to his friend who then acknowledged the others before leaving the room. Not thirty minutes had past before Jack re-entered the room and he saw that Airachnid had joined the group as they awaited his return. Garrus stood up and looked over to the Prime. "So, Jack. What's the news?" Jack gave them all a stoic expression before taking a breath. "It seems that over the last several months, that the Omega station has been under MECH occupation. They managed to kick out the station's previous leader and set up shop there, according to Alliance Intel MECH have launched several offensives from that area. One being the recent attempt to take over the Citadel. Intel also says that they have amassed a large fleet to defend the planetary system from an ships that enters it via the space bridge." Arcee's expression became one of confusion. "But why would MECH want Omega?" Airachnid crossed her arms and looked over to Jack. "For the Omega four subspace rift." The blue femme looked over to her and still looked confused. "Wait, isn't that the portal that lead to the Quintesson home world? I read in your mission report that the rift collapsed after you had returned from the galactic core." Garrus nodded in return. "That's correct, but it would make sense why MECH would take control of the station. Since it would give them free reign of the system and allow them to try and reopen the rift." "But the rift was created by Reaper tech right, so how would they even begin to try?" Arcee asked, gaining a knowing look from Jack. "Sideways. He did tell me that part of his deal with Silas was to give the Director Reaper tech. I bet he also told them how to reopen the rift as well." "Well, Jack, what's our next move, because I doubt the Alliance would want MECH to gain access to what is at the galactic core, even if the planet was destroyed. I bet that there is still some salvageable tech there." Garrus asked. "Admiral Bryce agrees, but unfortunately with the amount of ships that MECH has defending the station, we would require a fleet and the Alliance can't spare any due to the war." Garrus looked down for a moment before his eyes met the Prime's again. "Jack, if there is the slightest chance that Shen is still alive, I have to know. If you can't help me, then I will go alone." Tali's eyes widened at what her friend just said, but then Jack placed a hand on the Turian's shoulder. "Garrus, I told you that you wouldn't be alone in this. Bryce gave me the go ahead with the mission and a location of someone who would have the resources we would need to make it a success." Everyone looked at him curiously. "Who would that be, Jack?" Arcee asked before anyone else could. "Omega's previous leader…Aria T'Loak, she is on the Citadel, in 'Purgatory' of all places and Intel says that she has been planning the retake of Omega and has a fleet standing by." The Turian felt a slight smile grow on his face. "So, we are to offer our assistance to her then, and in return…." "…we get another ally in the Reaper war." Airachnid finished gaining a nod from Jack. "I don't see why not, I mean the Reapers are a threat to everyone." Jack then looked over to Arcee. "Arcee, would you make sure that everyone is back on the Defiant. I want the ship ready to go by the time Garrus and I return." "Of course, Jack." she replied with a smile before the femme and Airachnid started for the door. The Prime then turned to the Turian. "Let's go, Garrus. Aria awaits." PRIME EFFECT 3 When the pair entered Purgatory, Garrus immediately had a feeling of deja'vu, the last time he had been in a club was three years ago. It was when he had first met Jack and they went to the 'End of Days' club to meet Wrex and Tali. That particular club was no different to this one with the heaving crowds, low neon lighting and deafening music blaring out of speakers that seemed to be all over the place. Though one difference between both clubs was evident to the Turian, the dancers were not exotic and kept to hovering platforms in the corner of the large area. Even Jack was uncomfortable with where they were, he never liked these type of places and usually trying to find a particular person in this mass would be a nightmare. But lucky for Jack and Garrus it didn't take long for them to spot Aria who had of course taken up he VIP area and the Asari was just sitting back on the large red couch looking disinterested and not bothered with the C-Sec Officer who was berating her at that moment. "Did you think that you could stay on the Citadel illegally without us being aware of it." he officer said with some discontent in her voice. Aria though did not even bother to acknowledge the officer with a look. "Yes, but it did take C-Sec several months to even notice my presence." she said with a slight smile, taking pleasure in the other woman's irritation. "I don't care who you think you are. You will go through processing, like all the other refugees." The Asari then gave the officer a iced cold stare. "I don't think so." She then looked over to her Asari assistant who was looking rather nervous. "Sha'ra, get me the Asari Councillor " The assistant nodded and activated her holo-to and before a second had past, a hologram of Tevos appeared before them. "Greetings, Aria. Is there a problem?" "I am being told that I have to go through immigration." Aria spoke with what sound like a hint of respect. Tevos looked down, most likely at her console. "Yes I can see that and…it is done, is there anything else I can do for you?" she asked looking down at Aria. "Nothing, thank you." Then the hologram faded to nothing as Aira looked back at the C-Sec officer. "I think we are done here." she said in an almost teasing tone, gaining a look of thunder from the woman who shook her head and walked away in a huff. The Asari then looked over to see Jack and Garrus approaching her couch, two Turian bodyguards walked in front of the two and stopped them. "Let them through, this should be interesting." The Prime and Turian then walked past the two guards and Aira gestured for the Human to sit beside her on the couch, he took his seat and looked over to her. "Jackson Prime, this is an occasion. So what can I do for the first Human Prime?" she asked in a half seductive, half uninterested tone. "Well I have heard about your exodus from Omega and wanted to offer my assistance." Aria looked at him in an unbelieving tone. "I have been stuck in this bureaucratic nightmare for several months and only now you have heard about it?" "Well, I have been rather busy dealing with a much larger problem in the galaxy, maybe you have heard about it." the Prime replied. "Ah, yes. The 'Reapers'. They do seem to have everyone on their toes right now. But either way the only thing I am focused on right now is taking back Omega from MECH. The Director has gone to the top of my shit list." the Asari said with a angry tone. "What happened?" Jack asked gaining a look from her. "Not long after you defeated the Quintessons and closed that pesky rift in my system…..yes I did hear about that, I was contacted by Director Silas who told me that MECH wanted to be sure that rift would never open again. He asked for my permission to send ships to the area and investigate the now dormant anomaly. I agreed, thinking that I would be gaining a favour from MECH in exchange. But a few weeks later we received a distress call from the science vessels that were in the area of the rift's location, they were under attack by a husk-like creatures called 'Adjutants'. These creatures were apparently MECH soldiers who were contaminated by some strange radiation that was covering the area of the rift. Silas then sent a fleet commandeered by General Oleg Petrovsky, he is a rather merciless bastard if I do say so myself." "Sounds like you two would get along just fine then." Garrus jumped in sarcastically gaining an annoyed look from Aria. "Garrus Vakarian, or should I call you 'Archangel'. Did you think that I did not know who you really were when you were on 'my' station." "If you knew who I was, why didn't you tell the mercenary groups?" the Turian replied. "Because even though you were a pain in the asses of these mercs, you did keep them from causing any trouble to my agendas. You also hadn't caused me any personal problems, so I left you alone." Garrus gave her a knowing look. "Well, I guess a thank you is on the cards then, but then again your not exactly helping the situation on Omega are you." "You know Garrus, you remind me of 'another Turian' that was on the station before MECH came along. She had the same morals and code of conduct as you, wanting to help the good people of Omega and put an end to the slavers and mercs that were and I quote 'turning the station into a cess pool of chaos and degradation'. But I will tell you what I told her, you can't change Omega's nature no matter how many murderers and slavers you kill. The station is a beacon for all the lawless of the galaxy, but at least under my watch the inhabitants were free to do what they wanted. But with MECH in control of Omega, then all the freedoms my people had are gone and I will make MECH pay for that." she said in with a strong determination in her voice. Garrus was about to reply back when Jack jumped in. "I think we are going of topic here." he said giving the Turian a look of annoyance, he knew Garrus did not like mercs and slavers. But now was not the time for him to express his feelings. "Aria, you were saying about Petrovsky?" the Prime then said to the Asari. "Yes, thank you, Prime. As I was saying the General arrived with a fleet and also asked for my forces to help in the matter of containing and destroying this new Reaper-creature. But it was a distraction to get me off of Omega. While my attention was on these husks who I found out were actually created by MECH using Reaper technology, Petrovsky took over Omega and locked me out. I tried to fight my way back into my station, but in the end my forces were severally weakened and I was forced to retreat. And so I ended up here and I have hated every moment of it." "I guess you have been planning your retake of Omega since that moment then? Jack asked gaining a nod from the Asari. "Yes, I have amassed a fleet of ships from the Blood Pack, Eclipse and Blue Suns and intend to fight my way back onto Omega and flay the skin off of that bastard General." Garrus shook his head gaining the Aria's attention. "Well, your ships won't get very far since MECH have parked their own fleet on the door step of the space bridge there." "I see, so what should I do then?" she asked with a look towards the Prime. "Well the Alliance cannot spare any ships due to the Reaper war, but with our help I believe we can liberate Omega from MECH. From the position the station has in the galaxy, they have managed to undermine the Alliance's fight with the Reapers and needs to be stopped." Aria gave Jack a slight smile. "Glad to see we are on the same page, Prime. Okay, I will accept your help. But only you." Both Jack and Garrus's eyes widened at her answer. "Why?" the Turian asked. "I don't like the company you keep on that ship of yours, so you will accompany me on my flagship. I only accept the best of course and that is you." Jack crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at her. "No deal, Aria. You say you only accept the best. Well my team and crew are the best and will not be sitting this out, we are a package deal. you can either accept that or this conversation is over." The Asari's slight smile grew larger as she looked at the Prime. "Well, that's the first time I have ever been told 'no' before. Usually I would kill anyone who attempts to even say so, but you intrigue me, Prime. I accept your terms, but I do wish to have my flag on your ship." Jack nodded in return at Aria's reply. "So do we need to discuss what the Alliance will get in return for helping me?" she continued. "Save that for after we liberate Omega." Jack replied as he got to his feet. "Right now, I think we should get back to the Defiant and meet up with this fleet of yours." Both the Asari and Garrus followed the Prime's action. "Very Prime, lead the way." she said before the three of them left Purgatory for the Defiant. The Defiant held position outside the massive space bridge not far from the Citadel as the Mercenary fleet of Aria's moved around it. In the cockpit Jack and Hotrod were talking as Arcee and Aria were walking up to join them. "So you understand what to do if that happens?" the Prime asked gaining a nod from the Autobot. "Yes, Sir, I do. You can count on us." he replied with gesturing to Teletraan too as the AI's holo-form was being emitted next the to the pilot's controls. Jack smiled and nodded back before turning around to see both his partner and the Asari behind him. "This is quite a ship, Prime. I am glad you convinced me to let you use it." she said while eyeing the Commander up and down, this did not go unnoticed by Arcee who stepped forward with an annoyed expression on her face. "Jack, we have received word from the rest of the fleet, they have acknowledged your plan of attack and will await our signal." she said gaining a smile from Jack. "Good, then lets get this show on the road." he replied as he turned back to Hotrod. "Take us to Omega." "Aye aye, Prime." the pilot replied as he worked the controls. Outside the ship, the space bridge came to life as the giant green vortex opened up and the Defiant then flew directly into it's center as it left the Citadel and the merc fleet behind. It then reappeared on the other side of the wormhole as the Omega Station could be seen in the distance with it's red hue making the station appear to glow. But before the Defiant could head to the station, a large number of MECH cruisers suddenly appeared and took positions around the Alliance frigate, all their cannons turning and targeting the new arrival. Hotrod looked down at the sensor readings on his HUD before giving Jack a worried look. "The MECH vessels have targeted us and are charging their weapons." he stated as Aria and Arcee stood beside the Prime and looked out to the view around them before the Asari spoke. "Well, Prime, I hope this plan of yours works." We use cookies. By using our services, you acknowledge that you have read and accept our Cookies & Privacy Policies. Accept
  13. Chapter 11 It had been over an hour since MECH's failed attack on the Citadel and Jack's team were waiting outside of Perceptor's office while Jack consulted with the Councillors and Via the holo-communicator, Admiral Bryce also. Tali was talking with Garrus, Airachnid and Arcee were leaning against again wall and talking. Bumblebee was conversing with Raf via com link and Smokescreen was pacing back and forth as Jazz just chilled while shaking his head at his younger friend. "Hey, will you stop and wait like the rest of us, Smoke? You're giving motion sickness just by watching you." The Autobot stopped and looked over to his shades wearing friend. "I am just stoked for our shore leave, Jazz. I mean isn't everyone else?" he said before looking at everyone. Arcee looked over to him as she cut short her and Airachnid's conversation and gave the young bot a knowing and slightly annoyed look. "Smokescreen, considering that MECH has just attacked the Citadel, I am guessing that leave will be cancelled." "Arcee may have a point, I mean it's not like there isn't a war on." Airachnid said in support of the femme who gave her a slight smile as Garrus decided to give his view. "In fact this incident might very well be the kick in the behind that the Council needed, they may very well join the fight now. They have kept their hands clean of the Reapers for too long as it is." "It seems the Council agrees with you, Garrus." a familiar voice said behind the group making them turn to see Jack and Perceptor standing in the doorway. "Jack, so the Council is ready to fight?" Arcee asked before the Prime gave her a slight smile. "Yes, they have agreed to join our coalition….that's what we are calling it now right?" Jack asked the Councillor who nodded with a stoic like smile. "Indeed, Prime. The Salarians will be supplying us with their best scientists to work on the Crucible, while the Asari will be making their fleet available to us as well as the Destiny Ascension." "Well, it has been a long time coming." Jack added while crossing his arms and looking at the Councillor with an annoyed expression. "Jackson Prime, for the whole time that this war has been going on, I have been trying to get the rest of the Council to change their minds about staying out of it. I would not have wished for what happened with MECH to have occurred but as of right now, I am glad that it did. As Vakarian himself has said, the Council has stood by and watched for too long as the rest of the galaxy stood alongside the Alliance in their fight with the Reapers. But now it will be a truly united front against this adversary." Perceptor looked around the room to see everyone's eyes were on him. But when he saw the Prime he noticed that Jack was still looking annoyed while just staring at the floor. "But….. I have duties that I must attend to, so if you will excuse me." The Councillor then turned to re enter his office as Jack looked up to see Arcee and Airachnid starring daggers at him. Now the Commander could ignore the former Con if he wanted, but Arcee though was a different story. Every time that the femme would stare at him like that, it would make him feel very small all of a sudden and now was no different. Jack sighed before looking over to Perceptor. "Perceptor,….I'm sorry. I know you are doing everything you can, I was out of line." The Councillor stopped and looked back at the Prime, his expression was one of understanding. "Jackson, I know that from the battlefield it looks like we politicians do not do much, I remember having the same conversation with Optimus during the war for Cybertron. He had the same reservations about the High Council and their inaction during that dark time and unfortunately he was right about them. But I promised myself when I was appointed to this Council as of representative of the Cybertronian race that I would not be the same as them." Jack continued to look at the Autobot Councillor with a look of shame. "I understand and again, I am sorry." Perceptor never took his eyes off of the Prime. "Your apology is not needed, Jackson Prime, for I know that you have a great deal of responsibility on your shoulders, but remember that you do not need to carry this burden alone." The Commander nodded in return before looking back to his friends and seeing them smiling back at him. "I have duties to perform, so I will bid you farewell." Perceptor said before turning round and entering his office, once the doors had closed Arcee walked over to Jack with a concerned expression on her face. "I know what I said to Smokescreen a few moments ago, but now I do hope that shore leave is still on?" she said as Jack felt not only her gaze but Airachnid's too. "Yes, Perceptor did not deserve that, Jack." the femme added as she and His XO kept up with the judgmental staring. Jack just nodded in return a little sheepishly. "I know I was in the wrong... I am sorry.." "Oooh, someone's in the dog house now." Jazz retorted, but Jack kept his composure and continued. "...and yes, Bryce confirmed that shore leave is still on." Smokescreen punched the air with delight. "YES! Come on, Jazz. The Asari Consort awaits." he exclaimed excitedly while beckoning Jazz to follow, but the Autobot rolled his eyes from behind his shades and sighed. "Alight, lead the way, Smoke." he replied before the two or them left. Bumblebee was the next to leave as he started for the door. "I'm going to catch up with Raf, he will already be at the labs. See you guys later." Arcee smiled at Jack as she took his hands in hers and looked into his eyes. "I was thinking since this is our first real vacation that we could stay at that luxury Hotel that is on the Presidium, I can help you relax." she said in a soft and loving tone. The Prime felt a big grin appear on his face as he looked back at her. "That sounds perfect, let's go now." he replied happily before seeing a but.. Expression appear on her face. "But…." the femme started before Airachnid and Tali appeared at her side. "..but we have to borrow your girlfriend for some girls only time, Jack. We promise to bring her back." Airachnid added while Tali chuckled as they started to lead Arcee away from the Commander, Garrus then stood by Jack. "And I promise to keep your boyfriend out of trouble in the meantime, Arcee." the Turian said gaining a thumbs up from the femme as she was escorted away. "See you later, Garrus." Tali said a moment before the females were out of view, then Jack looked over to his friend. "So what's the plan?" "Something that has nothing to do with fighting Reapers or MECH." the Turian replied. "Well, I don't think MECH shot up the bar." the Prime said with a lop sided grin. "I already checked it out, but then I had a better idea. But first we are going to need a few things." Garrus said as he gestured Jack to follow him as they both walked out of the room and into the elevator. PRIME EFFECT 3 Meanwhile Smokescreen and Jazz were walking into a building on the other side of the river across from the Councillor offices, the younger of the two bots was excited to say the least. "This is going to be great." He then looked back and saw his friend looking back at him concerned. "What?" he asked giving his friend a confused look. "How do you expect to get any kind of female attention when you are acting like a sparkling who's about to get some Energon goodie cake." Jazz responded flatly while crossing his arms. "I'm just happy that we are finally getting to go here, I heard a lot of great things about this place." Smokescreen replied enthusiastically. "Yeah well, you may want to tone it down a bit or you're gonna come off as a little desperate, Smoke." Jazz said back. "Hey, I know how to act around women." the young bot replied. "Is that why Airachnid shot you down with a look and that was before you even spoke a word. And you also get on Arcee's nerves all day long." Jazz stated as Smokescreen's over confident expression lessened. "Hey…. where did you hear that?" "From everyone, Smoke. You really need to be a little less eager around people, you kinda rub them up the wrong way if you know what I mean." The young Autobot looked down at the ground for a moment before looking back at his friend. "Really…. well what should I do then?" he asked in an uncharacteristically unsure way. Jazz though smiled as he patted Smokescreen's shoulder. "Well, like I said just now, tone it down. Remember, I am your wing man here, so let me do the talking. Back on Cybertron, I was one the smoothest talkers around, so just follow my lead. Okay?" The younger bot nodded before following him into the building's entrance. Once inside they walked up to an Asari who greeted them with a smile. "Welcome, my name is Nelyna. Do you have an appointment to see the Consort?"" "Wait, we need an appointment?" Jazz asked in surprise as Smokescreen watched, his expression the same as his friend's. "I am afraid so, you see the Consort is very popular due to her 'many talents' and has many clients ranging from political leaders to famous artists." the Asari explained. Both Autobots looked at each other. "Hey, what do you think, Smoke? Wanna make an appointment?" Jazz asked, gaining a nod from his young friend. "Sure, we are here for a few days. If she is as good as I have heard, then it will be worth the wait." The older bot turned back to the Receptionist and smiled at her. "Alright then, an appointment it is." "Excellent, just let me find you an opening." she smiled as she activated her holo-tool and browsed through the list. "There's one, we have a free session just four months from now." Both bots faces went into shock as their eyes widened and mouths went slightly agape. "Four months, you've got to be kidding me." Smokescreen replied, before Jazz turned to him. "Smoke, I don't care how good she is, no one is worth that wait." "But..." the younger man replied in a mortified tone as Jazz turned back to the Asari. "Sorry we won't be able to make that appointment." the two bots then turned and were about to leave (though Smokescreen was moving very slowly) when the Receptionist stopped them. "Excuse me, but the Consort may be the main attraction here but there are many disciples here who could take care of our clients needs. The two Autobots stopped as Jazz looked back at her from over his shades. "Would you be one of them?" he asked gaining a smile from Nelyna. "Yes I would be, Mr…." "The name's Jazz." he answered with a smile. "Well, you should know that though the Consort is an expert in all practices of relaxation and pleasure, we disciples are each skilled in a particular area." Nelyna replied. "And what is your's?" Jazz asked as her smile grew bigger. "My area of expertise is touch. I can make you feel pleasure in areas you never knew you could." she answered. "Would you like me to show you?" The Autobot forgot about Smokescreen as he nodded back to her, the grin on his face was in fear of becoming a permanent feature, but then he felt his shoulder getting tapped. He turned and saw the annoyed expression on his friend's face and was pulled back to reality before looking back to the Asari. "My friend, Smokescreen…he…" he started to say before Nelyna cut him off. "Of course, no one is left behind here." she answered as she gestured to the right and then another Asari walked out from behind the corner and stood beside her. "This is Mira and she is a student of 'touch', I have been mentoring her myself. Just as the Consort did for me." Mira then smiled at Smokescreen as he suddenly found himself tongue tied. "….h…Hi." was all he could manage to say as he smiled like an idiot back at her. "Come with us." Both Asari said as they both held out a hand to the bots who took them in their own and were led further into the interior. PRIME EFFECT 3 Meanwhile, Jack and Garrus arrived at the Presidum Commons and entered one of the shops which was being run by a Salarian who was busy serving a customer. "So, what are we doing here, Garrus?" Jack asked as he looked around. "Just here to pick up a little something." the Turian replied as he saw his package on the table behind the Salarian. Once the customer ahead of them was done and had left, the shop keeper saw Garrus and smiled. "Mr Vakarian, welcome back. I have your order right here." he said as he picked up the package and placed it on the counter in front of them, he then opened it up and revealed a black bottle nestled in a silvery grey cloth. "This is Hanar black Ice Whiskey, circa 1982 by the human calendar. It is one of the best alcoholic drinks in the galaxy, but also very expensive. Considering how old this one is, are you sure you have enough for it?" Garrus activated his holo-tool and started the purchase. "I think I have enough, thank you. And also those two glasses." The Salarian then picked up the glassware and placed it next to the bottle when he suddenly caught sight of Jack, his eyes widened in surprise. "You're Jackson Prime, aren't you?" he asked in shock as the Prime looked over to him. "Yes, I am." "Wow, to have the first Human Prime in my store….just wow. Are you here with Mr Vakarian?" Both Garrus and Jack looked at each before turning back to the shop keeper. "We are just here for that item." the Commander replied as he pointed at the bottle. "Well, this is an expensive item, but if I could get an endorsement from the man who defeated Saren, then I could give you a discount." the Salarian said in a hopeful tone while looking at Garrus and Jack. The two then looked at each other again. "Well go on, Jack, if this will get me the bottle a little cheaper." the Turian said honestly which made the human chuckle as he shrugged his shoulders. "Why not?" The shop keeper smiled ecstatically as he worked the console in front of him. "Excellent, just speak into my console here please." he said, barely hiding his excitement. Jack took a step in front of Garrus and leaned on the counter over the console. "My name is Jackson Prime and this is my favorite store on the Citadel." "Brilliant. I will work that into my advertising right away." the Salarian said as he continued to work on the console. "And here is your purchase, Mr Vakarian. Enjoy." Garrus picked up the bottle and the glasses and nodded back in return. Both men then turned and left as the shopkeeper waved back to them happily. Once outside Garrus chuckled gaining his friend's attention. "What is it?" Jack asked with a confused smile, the Turian just shook his head as he continued to laugh. "…I was just thinking, Arcee, Tali and Airachnid are going to wish that they had taken you along with them after I tell them what just happened." The Prime started laughing in return. "Yeah, I can't see myself giving endorsements to every store on the station and hearing…." As he spoke a Volus walked past them and into the store. "My name is Jackson Prime and this is my favorite store on the Citadel." then played out over the store's speakers making the two friends laugh again. "I see what you mean, Jack, and just think of the rivalry among the stores owners over which really is your favorite." When both of them stopped chuckling, Jack looked around. "So where to now, Garrus?" The Turian then pointed over to a sky car that was parked just ahead of them. "Get in, Jack." he said as he activated the vehicle with his holo-tool, they then both entered the sky car which then lifted off the ground and flew out into the afternoon traffic. "So, where are we going?" Jack asked as the Turian piloted the vessel as it fly past the other sky cars and shuttles that were flying down the length of the Presidium ring. "A place that we are not supposed to." Garrus replied cryptically, gaining a chuckle from the Prime. "So just like old times." "Quite. So, Jack, tell me is there anything you wanted to do before you die?" the Turian asked, Jack looked back with a lopsided grin and Garrus knew exactly what Jack was about to say. "Okay, don't tell me. I already know. Is there any time you are not thinking about 'her'?" Jack continued to smile while shaking his head in return, the Turian just sighed in response. "I get it, you two are in love. But this is supposed to be 'friends only' time, Jack." "This coming from the Turian who just happens to fancy my Chief Engineer." Jack replied flatly, gaining a wide eyed look from Garrus. "Come now, Garrus, it's not hard to see that you two like each other. When are you going to make a move?" Garrus started to look uncomfortable as he tried to focus on piloting their sky car. "It's not that easy, Jack. Besides, I heard that it was years before you and Arcee became an item." Jack nodded in return. "Yeah, it really was a long time. But when we did finally admit about how we felt about it each other, everything else just fell into place perfectly." The Prime then looked over to his friend. "And with the way this war is playing out, if everything ended tomorrow, what would you regret most?" Garrus looked over to Jack for a second before returning his eyes to the sky in front of them. "I would regret not telling Tali how I felt. I will tell her Jack, just…. when I am ready to." "Well, don't wait too long, that's all I'm saying." the Prime replied with a smile. Then there was a comfortable silence between the two as their sky car continued through the air. "So, what were you saying before, Garrus?" "Well, when I was working for C-Sec I would always look up at the top of the Presidium and say to myself 'I want to go up there', but I never did because there were over a hundred rules and regulations that said it was too dangerous." the Turian replied. "So have you gotten them changed?" the Prime asked. "No, now I just don't give a damn." Garrus replied honestly as he landed the sky car on top of one of the structures bridging over the river and connecting both sides of the Presidium. They then got out of the car and looked out at the view as the traffic flew over them, the Turian opened the bottle and poured some of it's contents into both glasses before handing one to Jack. "Thanks." the Prime replied before taking a drink of it, his face then went red and he coughed. "Strong, isn't it." Garrus chuckled before taking sip of his. Jack nodded as he regained his composure. "Wow….*cough*, that's good stuff." Garrus then poured the Prime another before they looked out at the view. "Its more busier than I thought it would be." Garrus observed as he took another drink while Jack looked over the edge to the river below. "Then why not take a swim?" "You obviously haven't been there when a Turian tries too, Jack. It usually involves flailing and splashing and ends with them drowning." the Turian replied as he looked down at the water. Jack though just gave him smile. "I guess I would just have to save your ass again." "That would make up for all the times I have saved yours, Jack. The Conestoga, Virmire, The Quintesson home-world, we have had a hell of a run haven't we." he smiled at his friend. "We sure have, Garrus. You have been a true friend to me. You have stood by me through all of it, even when I was working with MECH. Thank you." "You're welcome, Jack, and you have been there for me too. That's what friends do, right?" the Turian replied. "Right." Jack replied back before they both finished off the drink in their glasses. "So, you're not going to propose to me now are you? Because I don't think Arcee would take it very well." Garrus joked gaining a chuckle from Jack. "Arcee! What about Tali? Remember, she has a shotgun." Jack replied making Garrus laugh as he took Jack's glass and put it down next to the sky car, he then picked up two items from the back seat. "And now, before we head back there is one thing that we are going to settle. Once and for all." He handed Jack a sniper rifle and grinned. "I am not saying you're an amateur when it comes to handling a gun, but there are those of us that can make it dance. So let's find out who really is the best shot." The Prime looked down at the weapon before giving the Turian a lopsided grin. "You know there have been a few people in the galaxy that have seen me in action Garrus, they seemed impressed." "Yes, Jack, but Miko once told me how you danced….no comment." Garrus chuckled, gaining a determined look from the Prime as he loaded the rifle. "You're going down, Vakarian." The Turian then revealed what was in his other hand. "Wait, that's a Scraplet." Jack replied in surprise. "Yes, when the Cybertronians rejoined the Council, the Salarians were allowed to experiment on Cybertron's Scraplet infestation. They managed to hack the little bots and reprogram them for training exercises." He then gave Jack a good look of the one in his hands. "This one is nicknamed 'Wheelie'." "Wheelie, that sounds annoying." the Prime replied. "Yes, Wheelie is very annoying to snipers who are training, since it is very good at evading their shots. But when you get a direct hit on it, there is no better feeling." He then activated it with his holo-tool and it flew up and into the sky as Jack took aim. "Oh, and don't worry, I have loaded the gun with practice rounds…for when you miss." The Prime then aimed at the little bot as it flew through the air before taking a shot, which hit it directly in it's center. Jack then smiled back at Garrus who looked back stoically. "That was an easy shot, I had it set at level three so that it could build up your confidence." The Commander then handed the rifle to Garrus before activating his holo-tool. "Set it to level seven for me, because when it comes to long range, I wrote the book. Nobody alive can make this shot, not even 'Jackson Prime'." the Turian said as he readied the rifle, Jack nodded as he activated Wheelie again and watched it fly off into the distance. Garrus then went dead serious as he watched the drone through the rifle's scope, keeping up with it's every move. He then pulled the trigger and hit the Scraplet right between it's eyes as a cocky grin appeared on his face. "Step aside." Jack replied as he was given back the rifle. "I'll keep Wheelie set to the same level, Jack. Let's see if you can hit it." Garrus replied as he used his holo-tool. The Scraplet then flew out again as Jack took aim and kept up with it as it zipped left and right. The Prime then grinned before taking a shot that narrowly missed the drone. Garrus's eyes widened as he stretched his arms out in celebration. "My name is Garrus Vakarian and this is now my favorite spot on the Citadel." he exclaims, gaining a chuckle from Jack. "It's windy up here, and I know what you did there." the Prime lied before looking back with a knowing expression as he handed the rifle back to his friend. "Yeah. Well, I think I will erect a statue right here and bronze this gun so that everyone knows." Garrus said, acting like he didn't hear the Commander's excuse. "That you're King of the Scraplet shooters. Glad you're around, Garrus, never know when the Scraplets might revolt." Jack replied gaining a laugh from the Turian, they stood there and looked out again at the busy sight of the traffic flying over their heads. PRIME EFFECT 3 The Apollo Café was crowded with people of all species as they either stood at the bar or sat down at the many tables, admiring the view that the Presidium gave them. Arcee, Airachnid and Tali all sat down at a table and placed the bags of purchases down at their feet. "Well, I think we have hit every shop on the Presidium." Airachnid said as a Turian waiter walked toward their table. "And to think there are many more stores in the wards too." Arcee added. The Turian stood at their table with a pad in his right hand. "Welcome to the Apollo Cafe, Ladies. May I take your order?" Arcee looked up at the waiter. "Three glasses of wine please?" she replied as the others nodded in return. "Will you require a straw with your glass, Miss?" the Turian asked Tali who looked up in surprise. Uh….yes, thank you. Will it be sterilized?" she asked gaining a nod from the waiter. "Of course, Miss. We have had quite a few Quarians visit in recent weeks. It our policy to be able to make all of our customers feel comfortable, no matter their species." "Thank you." the Quarian replied in return before the waiter turned around and headed back towards the bar as the three females started to talk while sky cars flew past. "So, Tali, why didn't you buy anything at the lingerie store?" Airachnid asked causing the Quarian's eyes to widen. "Well,….it's not like anyone is going to see them outside of my enviro-suit now is it, so it would just be a waste of money." she replied with a saddened tone. Arcee looked over to her friend with a knowing smile. "But what about a certain Turian we know, I mean after what you told us earlier about the Geth helping your people adapt to Rannoch again, surely that means that you will be able to live without the enviro-suits sooner rather than later." "Yeah, didn't you say that the Geth were uploading their programs into your suits and building up your people's immune systems." Airachnid added as the waiter returned with their drinks and placed them down on the table before walking away again. Tali sighed before taking the glass in one hand while messing with the straw with the other. "Yes, that is true. But how many more signals do I have to give Garrus?" she replied with a frustrated tone. "Well, he is a man. They aren't among the sharpest tools in the shed. That is the right human term I believe." Airachnid said gaining a chuckle from Arcee. "Not every man is like that, Airachnid." The former Con and Quarian both rolled their eyes at the femme who just looked at them. "What?" "Yes, we know…,Jack." Tali replied with a chuckle, Airachnid chuckled too as Arcee took a sip of her drink. The Quarian as she was drinking her wine through the straw she had in her glass then saw something behind the Autobot femme who looked around in response. "What is it, Tali?" Arcee asked. "I just saw someone I know." the Quarian replied as she watched a male Quarian in yellow/red armoured enviro-suit. "That's Kal'Reegar, he is a friend of my family." Airachnid looked over at what had both Arcee and Tali's attention. "How do you know when you can not see their face?" "Because of the colour and designs on the enviro-suits. I would like to speak to him, if it is alright with you two?" Tali said gaining a nod and smile from both femmes. "Go ahead, we will still be here." Arcee replied before the Quarian stood up and walked over to Reegar who welcomed her with a hug. The two Autobots watched for a second before turning back to their drinks, Airachnid smirked as she took a sip of her wine. This did not go unnoticed by Arcee. "What is it, Airachnid?" "I was just thinking that Jack will like that particular piece you bought from the Lingerie store, you know…..the blue fishnets." the former Con said with a knowing smile. Arcee' eyes widened as she looked at her friend. "I thought you were at the other end of the store when I picked them out." "I was originally, but I came back when I wanted to take another look at a certain piece. You though were too engrossed in looking at those. So you have something planned for Jack tonight then?" Airachnid asked with a curious tone. "Well, I have booked a suite at the Citadel Hotel for the next two nights." "That is the most luxurious hotel on the Citadel. You certainly know how to treat Jack, don't you, Arcee." Airachnid replied with a smile. "Hey, this is the first real vacation that we have had, so I wanted to make it special." Arcee said before taking a sip of her wine. " Jack will love it, Arcee, believe me." the femme replied. "I do, Airachnid." the blue bot said with a smile. Airachnid's smile then lessened as she looked down at her glass. "What's wrong?" Arcee asked as she noticed the change in the femme's expression. "I still can't get used to your behaviour towards me, I mean after what Jack and I did last year." The blue femme sighed. "Airachnid, I already said before why it doesn't bother me anymore, but I also saw when you retrieved Jack's body from the planet where the Normandy was destroyed by the Quintessons." Airachnid looked up at the femme. "I see, you saw that too?" "Yes, I saw that you were shadowing the Normandy up to it's destruction at the hands of the Quintessons. I also saw you then head down to the planet when you noticed that they were doing the same thing." the Blue femme added. "At first I detected a faint life sign in the debris, it faded fast but not before I noticed that it was caught in the planet's gravity field. I also saw that the Quintessons were following it, I figured that they wouldn't have done that for just anybody." Airachnid replied. "And when you were on the surface, you found that it was Jack." Airachnid nodded in return to Arcee. "Yes, I found his body. His Prime Armour had protected him to an extent, but he was still badly burnt from entering the atmosphere. You would not have wanted to see his condition." Arcee gave her with a look of understanding. "But I did anyway, after seeing what happened to Tailgate and then what Starscream and Megatron did to Cliffjumper. I never wanted to see anything happen to Jack." Airachnid sighed and looked down at her drink. "I'm sorry, Arcee." The blue femme shook her head slightly as she looked at her friend. "I told you I don't blame you for what happened to Tailgate, it wasn't your fault." She then had slight smile grow on her lips. "Besides, I also saw what you did next. After you got to his body, the Quintessons attacked in full force so that they could retrieve Jack. But you fought them off all by yourself, that was impressive." Airachnid returned the smile as she looked back up to Arcee. "I knew what was at stake, so I did what needed to be done." The blue femme's smile grew bigger in response. "And for that I am eternally grateful, Airachnid. Because of you, Jack was brought back and the two of us got a second chance. We may not have seized it right away, but our bond is stronger now than it ever was, and I know that is in part because of you. Thank you." Arcee said as she placed her hand on to the former con's hand that was resting on the table next to her drink. "You're very welcome, Arcee." Airachnid replied with a smile. Then as the two femmes took another drink of their wine, a comfortable silence followed for a moment before Tali walked back up to them. "Well, did I miss anything?" They both watched the Quarian as she took her seat at their table and smiled. "No, we were just talking. So how is Kal'Reegar?" Arcee asked. "He is fine, his squad is waiting for their next assignment…" Tali replied before noticing someone else walking toward their table from behind the blue femme, which did not go unnoticed by her. "Who do you see now?" "Oh, just someone I like and he is with a guy you like very much too." the Quarian replied somewhat cryptically forcing Arcee to look behind her, a big smile gracing her lips at who she saw. Jack and Garrus walked up to their table. "Hey, Jack." the blue femme said as he placed his hand affectionately on her shoulder. "Hey, you having a good time?" he asked back with a smile. "Yes, we have been shopping." Tali answered as she picked up her bags and showed them. "I have a funny story to tell you about that." Garrus replied gaining an eye roll in response from Jack. So, what did you two do?" Airachnid asked. "Oh, it's a long story." Jack replied, but then Garrus jumped in happily. "I am better with a rifle than Jack." Jack gave his friend an annoyed look as the females chuckle in return. But then Arcee gave Jack a knowing look. "So…..Jack, I know that the others wouldn't mind if you wanted to get out of here. Because I have something I want to show you." she said coyly. Jack found himself intrigued by his girlfriend and nodded in return. "Sure, I mean if you guys don't mind?" he asked looking around the group who shook their heads. "No, you two go ahead." Airachnid replied with a knowing smile. Arcee returned the look as she got up from her seat and picked up her bags in one hand, and took her lover's hand in her other and led him away. "See you tomorrow." she said before she and Jack left the area. Garrus then sat down on the empty chair and looked at both femmes, Tali was smiling back at him. "So…." he started before his com link went off, he held his hand to the side of his head as he answered. "Yes". "Garrus, Commander Bailey here. Thought you would like to know we just received a message for you from the Terminus systems, it is a rather weak signal." the voice said on the other end. "Thank you, Bailey, put it through." the Turian replied as the two females watched him as he listened to the message, his expression gradually changed from relaxed to one that was a mixture of anger and shock. When the message finished, Tali and Airachnid gave him a concerned look. "Garrus what's wrong?" the Quarian asked. PRIME EFFECT 3 Jack and Arcee entered the suite and the Prime looked in surprise at the extravagance of the room, from the miniature fountain that was on the balcony at the right side of the room, to the large four poster bed that was at the far left. The room looked like it was made for royalty. "Wow, how did you afford this, Arcee?" She smiled in response to his expression. "I just told them that Jackson Prime would be staying at this hotel, so they gave us their best suite." "Good thinking, so what is it that you wanted to show me?" he asked inquisitively, gaining a larger smile from the femme. "Well, wait here and you will see." she replied before walking to the bathroom with her bags as Jack watched her. Once she was gone he then walked over to the balcony. The view was similar to that offered by the Apollo Café, but was much higher up. The holographic sky had changed from bright blue to a vanilla like colour as day was changing to night on the Citadel. Jack watched for a few minutes as sky cars continued to fly past until he noticed the lights in the room behind him dim somewhat. He turned around to see Arcee lying on the bed in a seductive pose, wearing some very sexy lingerie. His eyes widened fully and if his jaw could have, it would have hit the floor. Arcee gave him a very beautiful smile in return. "So, Jack, what are you doing?" she asked coyly. "Just admiring the view, Arcee, and it is very beautiful." he replied just as coy as he walked over to the bed, that was when he noticed the fish nets that she was wearing. "So, that was what you bought and in blue too. That is my favorite colour." The femme chuckled in return as she sat up to meet him. "I thought you would like this." she replied as he stood directly in front of her. "Oh, I do. Very much so." he said in return, never taking his eyes off of her. "So, come here." she said as she grabbed him by his shirt and pulled him on to the bed on top of her. Jack immediately responded by kissing her passionately on the lips, the femme moaned into the kiss in return as she affectionately brushed a hand through his raven colored hair. She then started to unbutton his jeans with her free hand as they kissed again, this time for longer before being cut off by their com links going off. The two of them broke the kiss and looked at each other disappointedly. "We could just ignore it." Jack said in a suggestive tone. "But it could be important. Might as well find out what they want." she replied. Jack just continued to look down at his lover as he tapped his com link. "Prime, here." he said, not trying to hide his feelings. "Jack, it's Tali. You and Arcee need to get down here." the Quarian replied. "Why, what's wrong?" Jack said in response, Arcee noting the change in his expression. "It's Garrus. He has had some troubling news." Tali replied as the two partners just looked at each other in shock.
  14. Chapter 10 Jack once again found himself in the forest as the cold breeze continued to blow through it like a draft in old house. Jack looked up and the sky was the same as last time, all cloudy and bleak looking. But then something light caught his attention via the corner of his eye and he looked immediately in it's direction, he saw a small figure in a white hoodie running in between the trees and bushes. The Prime's eyes widened as he recognised the figure, it was the little boy. The one that he saw get killed and turned into a husk, how could he be alive? The boy stopped in his tracks and looked directly at Jack, his expression was completely blank. It was as if he didn't really see Jack there, but then an eerily familiar scream echoed through he forest and startled he boy. He then started to run again as the screams grew louder, Jack began to follow him. 'I failed you before but not again.' he thought to himself as he chased after the child who looked like he was running for his life. The Prime followed the kid as the screams grew even louder, Jack knew that the husks were very close now and he put everything he had into his legs. He hoped that he would reach the boy before creatures did, the Prime couldn't bear the thought that he would fail to protect an innocent from the Reapers. After a few seconds of running through the forest, Jack found him coming to the forest's edge and was welcomed by the sight of the ruins a town, a town that looked a lot like Jasper. The boy had disappeared again so Jack decided to keep moving and carried on walking between the burnt or half demolished buildings. It did not take long for the Prime to reach the main street of the town's centre, which used to be a busy and thriving... well it wasn't either actually but it was more lively that it is now. But then Jack heard his name being whispered behind him and spun around to see nothing. "Jack!" a voice called out, the Commander looked in the direction it came from but found nothing. "Jack!" it called again, he looked around but once again there was nothing. The Prime was starting to get angry as he chose to ignore the voice and carry on walking. As he walked down the empty street, the cold breeze blew some charred leaves across the road into his path which brought the Prime's attention to one building in particular. It was what remained of the KO Burger drive through, the building looked like a bomb had hit it. Jack walked over to the door, which looked like it had been blown off it's hinges. It was pitch black beyond the doorway and he could not see what lay in the darkness. "Jack!" the voice called out from in the dark doorway, it's voice sounding eerie and soulless. The Prime walked closer and saw the outline of a figure standing in the shadows, it stretched out it's arm at the Commander who did the same in return. But just as his hand was about to cross the threshold of the darkness, the stranger's hand came out and went instantly through the Prime's startling him as he stepped back immediately. Jack looked on in horror as the figure stepped out into the light, it looked like an oily shadow of a man as it began walking towards him. "Jack, you left us to die." it said in a tone just above a whisper. "Jack, you should have stopped me." another oily shadow said from the building next to the Commander as it too began walking towards him. The Prime then back stepped further, trying to keep his distance from these shadows which filled him with dread and guilt as he looked upon them. But then he suddenly looked around and saw that the whole street was now populated by them and that they were walking towards the center of the road behind him. And that was when Jack saw him, the boy who was sitting on the concrete surface with his legs pulled up to his chest and his arms wrapped around them. The oily shadows started to circle the child as Jack turned round and ran toward the boy, who looked up at him. His face was wet from all the crying he had done and he continued to sob as the Prime reached out with his hand to him. But then the shadows engulfed the boy, creating a dark mist like cloud as the sound of flesh being ripped from bone could be heard from within. Jack tried to reach in but some unseen force kept pushing him back. Then as if it was never actually there, the black mist dissipated and all that was left was small pile of bones and bits of flesh in a puddle of blood. Jack looked down at the remains in complete defeat as his mouth was slightly a gape and his eyes wide, but then he felt the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. It was like he was being watched, so he turned around and saw just in the distance a giant Reaper staring back at him. It's bright yellow eyes could be clearly seen even at this distance, it then roared, the inhuman noise deafening the Prime. But as then the roar quietened as everything went black and then Jack opened his eyes. He was lying in his quarters aboard the Defiant, the room was lowly lit by the star field that Jack could see through the sky light above him. He tried to think about the dream he just had, it felt similar to a dream he had just a few weeks ago. He could remember only flashes, small details that lingered in his mind while the bigger ones would be instantly forgotten. But the only constant that stayed with him, that was burned into his memory was the face of the little boy. The boy that he saw die on the day the Reapers blackened the sky of Earth, it was also the day that for the first time in his life that he had fled. He was ordered to by Optimus so that he could gain allies in the future attempt to retake the planet, but still the thought that he had left his friend and mentor as well as his home planet to the Reapers did not sit well with the Prime. He had never ran from a fight in his life…..well okay he did the first time he saw a transformer attacking him, but that was understandable at the time. But since then he had given his all (even his life on one occasion) in each and every fight that appeared before him, so the very feeling of guilt and pain he felt for the thousands…. no, millions that were dying each and every day on Earth while the Reapers were purging it of all human life sickened him to his core, because here he was safely tucked up in bed, more than a thousand light years away when he should have been back on his home world fighting along side the rest of his species. So why was he constantly being reminded of this one child, why was he seeing the boy being killed by the Reapers in his dreams most nights? He got up and went over to the bathroom and splashed some water on his face before looking at his reflection in the mirror in front of him. He felt that he should at least tell Arcee about this, about the thoughts of guilt that were plaguing his mind. But he would not because though Jack knew that she would be there for him, his lover like the others looked to him for strength and for him to lead them against their enemies. So he would bear this burden himself and spare them any added pressure that they did not need, not with the war that was raging around them. Jack then walked out of the bathroom and sat down on his bed before leaning over to the side table and picking up a pad that was there. Teletraan had downloaded the newest casualty reports to it and it was worse than the last report, in the weeks since the events on Rannoch, the Alliance had now lost over seventy five percent of their territory to the Reapers who had begun harvesting the human colonies now under their control. The Defiant had gone back to providing support to those that could be evacuated and sent to Sanctuary, but even with the support of the Turians, the Krogan, the Quarians and the Geth. The Reapers were only being slowed down, not stopped completely. It now felt that time itself was against them too, since even with the added support of those races had sped up the construction of the Crucible which was nearly finished, the weapon was still missing a key component…..the Kranix matrix and yet no one knew what is was or where to look for it. Things were certainly starting to look dire indeed, suddenly Jack shook his head in frustration as he attempted to rid his mind of these bleak thoughts and looked over to his holo-clock that was located on the side table. It read seven forty five AM, his eyes widened in surprise. 'My alarm should have gone off a six o'clock, why didn't it?' he thought as he activated the interface and looked at the settings. He then sighed when he saw that the alarm was turned off, he knew who was to thank for this but he could not feel angry towards her. But it was time for him to make his presence known so he got up and got dressed. The elevator doors opened to reveal the CIC as Jack walked in, two crewmen saluted him and he acknowledged them as he made his way to the galaxy map where Arcee was standing, commanding the ship in his absence. "You know I could have sworn that I set my alarm for six this morning." he said making the femme turn round, a smile gracing her lips when she saw him. "Morning, Jack. I figured you could use the extra hour considering…." Jack gave her a curious look. "Considering…..?" His XO's smile then lessened as a concerned expression appeared on her face. "I share a bed with you, Jack. Did you think I wouldn't notice that you haven't been sleeping well lately." she said in a caring tone. "You know you can talk to me if there is something on your mind." Jack smiled back. "I know, Arcee. But I am okay… really. It is just this war is starting to get to me." he said in a half lie, half truthful way. The femme looked at him for a moment before sighing and turning back to the galaxy map. "Alright, I guess you will tell me when you feel ready too." she replied with an ever so slightly hurt feeling in her voice. Jack felt a tinge of guilt building up inside him for keeping her out again, he did not like lying to her just like did not like it when she kept her thoughts/feelings for Chromia from him. 'I don't have to tell her everything, but she deserves to know some of it at least' he thought as sighed and shrugged his shoulders in defeat. "Arcee, if you want to talk. How about over waffles?" he said gaining the femme's attention, the smile he loved seeing now back on her face. "Waffles sound good." she replied before offering the Prime her hand, which he took in his own. She then squeezed his hand gently as the two partners headed toward the elevator. "Jackson Prime, I have Admiral Bryce for you in the com room." Teletraan suddenly said from the intercom, Jack's relaxed expression changed to that of frustration as he took a deep breath. "Damn it, doesn't he ever sleep?" the Prime said with agitation evident in his voice. Arcee gave him a sympathetic look. "You going to meet me down there, Jack." she asked, gaining a nod from the Commander before she stepped into the now open elevator. Jack then watched the doors close before heading off to the com room. Once there the Prime walked over to the control interface and pressed in a command, then in a blink of an eye the hologram of the Admiral was standing before him. "Commander." Bryce then noticed the annoyed look Jack was trying to hide by remaining professional. "Is everything alright, Darby?" "Of course, Sir. Why do you ask?" the Prime replied gaining a knowing look from his superior. "I wanted an update on the evacuation of the Proxima system, but I can see there are more important issues at hand." Jack looked at Bryce with a confused expression. "And what would they be, Sir?" "Well as of this moment, the Defiant is being called off active duty and it's crew are to take shore leave. And that means you too, Commander." the Admiral said, the last part with a smile. "But, Sir? We are in the middle of a war, I don't think that would be a good time.." Jack replied, a little shock evident in his voice before Bryce interrupted him. "Commander, your crew needs a rest just like everyone else in this war. I gave the crew of the Hiroshima a few days shore leave only last week. And considering what you and your crew have achieved for our cause over the last month or so, I think that warrants a rest." "Achieved, Sir?" the Prime asked back. Bryce gave him a knowing look. "Do I really need to spell it out for you, Prime. You not only recruited the Turians and the Krogan to our cause, curing the later of the Genophage. But you also peacefully ended a three hundred year long war between the Quarians and the Geth. And if that is not enough, you also allied us with the rogue Reaper named Lucifer who just happens to be the first of it's kind. Need I go on?" he said as he crossed his arms. "No, Sir,…I think you made your point." Jack replied in defeat, gaining another smile from Bryce. "Good, I will let you inform your crew then. I expect you to take this as seriously as you have taken your duties during this war, Bryce out." the Admiral said before his hologram faded away, leaving the Prime alone. PRIME EFFECT 3 As the Defiant approached the Citadel, Jack was in the cockpit with Hotrod who was hailing the station. "Citadel Control, this is Alliance Frigate 'Defiant', requesting landing clearance." The Prime's attention was elsewhere though as he thought back to earlier when he told his team mates and crew about their shore leave, the crew looked happy but kept up a professional demeanour about it. His team mates though we're a different story, Smokescreen and Jazz almost instantly started planning a trip to see the Asari Consort. Jack had heard about her, she was some sort of oracle but others had said she was just some high class hooker. Arcee, Airachnid and Tali immediately grouped up and said they were going shopping, though Airachnid did joke that they wouldn't keep Arcee from the Commander for too long. Raf wanted to go and visit the Salarian Science labs and of course that meant that Bumblebee was accompanying him, Ratchet was going to stay on the ship saying that the peace and quiet would allow him to continue his work without interruptions. Garrus just walked up to Jack and told him that he had something special planned for them both on the Station. Jack was then pulled out of his thoughts by Hotrod. "Citadel Control, can read me…?" the young Autobot repeated, his voice starting to show signs of frustration. When the com signal just repeated back with static again, the pilot looked up at the Prime. "This isn't right, we should have had a reply by now." Jack then worked on the interface next to him and it brought up a list of other radio frequencies, all but one were offline. "Try this one, Hotrod." he said as he transferred the frequency to the pilot's station. Hotrod then activated it and spoke. "This is the Defiant to anyone onboard the Citadel, please respond." The two just waited as the channel remained full of static for a while before a familiar voice answered. "Hotrod, is that you out there?" Jack and the Autobot both gasped at the same time. "Captain Anderson, yes I am here with Jackson Prime." Hotrod answered. "Anderson, what is the situation over there?" Jack asked as he looked out to the Citadel just in front of them. "MECH are attacking the Citadel, more precisely the Presidium. They started with C-Sec and then locked down the other wards so that the rest of the security forces could not help defend the station." the captain replied. "Anderson, where are you right now?" Jack asked. "I am with Councillors Tevos and Perceptor. I will protect them against whoever is hunting them." "What do you mean? Who is after them?" the Prime asked. "I do not know, but Tevos is certain that MECH are trying to take out them out and gain control of the Council" Anderson said. "Wait, if Tevos and Perecptor are with you, then where is Valern?" Jack replied. "The Salarian Councillor was at C-Sec for his daily meeting with the Executor just before the attack, we haven't been able to get in contact with him, I have sent Prowl to go back for him." The Commander looked over to Arcee who had just arrived behind him and Hotrod and nodded to her, she returned he gesture and activated her com link. He then turned back to the pilot. "Well, sit tight Anderson, I will take a team and help retake C-Sec. Then we can meet up and protect the Councillors from MECH." the Prime said over the com. "Roger that, Darby, and keep a look out for Valern and Prowl while you are there. Good luck." Anderson replied. "Will do, Anderson, stay safe." Jack said before the channel closed, he then looked at Hotrod. "Keep the ship in position, we will take a shuttle to the C-Sec landing bay." "Aye aye." the pilot replied as Jack turned and walked towards his XO, who has just deactivated her com link. "Jack, Smokescreen, Jazz and Garrus will be waiting for you in the shuttle bay." "Thanks, Arcee. You are in command until we return." The femme nodded before the Prime entered the elevator and placed the octagonal disc on his chest, the Prime armour growing around him as the elevator doors closed. After leaving the Defiant, the shuttle entered the Citadel's presidium ring via one of the maintenance access tunnels. The vessel just about fitted in the tunnels that were designed for maintenance drones and observation pods, the shuttle pilot navigated the tunnels were expert precision before coming up to the energy field at the far end. Garrus was sitting in the co-pilot's seat next to him. "That force field is designed to keep the atmosphere in the station, it will allow vessels to enter and exit." the Turian said before the shuttle pilot flew the little ship through the field and into the station's interior. The battle inside C-Sec landing bay was fierce as the security forces were fighting to take back their facility from the MECH soldiers. An older looking Caucasian soldier took the lead as he ran from their shuttle, taking cover behind one of the many sky cars that were parked in bay. He then gestured to his men to follow while the MECH troopers continued to rain bullets down on them from their position at the HQ's entrance. "Come on, this place isn't going to liberate itself. Get your asses up here now!" he called back to his men, three then charged out of the shuttle's hatch and ran up to his position while firing at the enemy, taking cover behind the same sky car as their superior. Then the last of the group readied themselves to make the run, but as they did the leader looked over from his cover to see the MECH soldier's readying a rocket launcher and aiming it at their shuttle. He then looked back at his men and screamed at them. "MOVE!" But the enemy trooper fired the weapon and the missile flew through the air and over the C-Sec leader and hit the shuttle, itself exploding from the impact and killing everyone left inside. The older man looked down to the ground and mourned his lost men as the others continued to fire at the troopers who started to advance on their position, seeing that the opposition had been thinned down. The leader and his remaining men then heard the large blast doors that were currently shut behind the enemy line open up, so they looked over the cover to see that a giant mech walking out. They could see the pilot sitting in the small cockpit in the middle of the robotic figure. "ATLAS!" one of the soldier's shouted at the others as MECH began their assault on their location. But before the enemy could attack, an Alliance shuttle flew into the bay and with two large cannons that were on either side of it fired at the Atlas, destroying it with one hit and sending the troops around it flying. The C-Sec group then finished off the remaining MECH soldiers while the shuttle landed and Jack and his team exited it via it's hatch, the Prime walked directly over to the older man among the C-sec soldiers. "Is everyone alright?" he asked as Garrus stood beside him. "Jackson Prime, thanks for the assist. I lost more than half of my squad, but we…." he said before seeing the Turian. "Garrus, its been a while." he said with a smile which Garrus returned. "Bailey, it's good to see you." Jack looked between the two of them. "Garrus, you two know each other?" "Yes, Jack. I served under the Captain when I was part of C-Sec before we met three years ago." the Turian replied. "Well, Garrus, a lot has happened since then, I was recently promoted to Commander." the older man said as Jazz and Smokescreen joined the three of them. "Jack, this area is secured but I am reading more soldiers inside the facility." Jazz stated while looking at his holo-tool, gaining a nod from the Prime. "You're right, Commander. We're here to help you retake C-sec HQ." "Well that is much appreciated, Prime. With our forces scattered around the station, we have not been able to mount a strong enough offensive against the MECH soldiers. But with your help we stand a better chance." the Commander said as his men all nodded in agreement, he then gestured to Jack as he and the other C-Sec soldiers started to walk toward the HQ entrance. "Shall we?" Jack smiled as he equipped his assault rifle and his team doing the same, they then all entered the HQ lobby which was filled with MECH troopers who were firing from behind cover. Garrus took cover behind a pillar before taking a quick shot with his sniper rifle which blew a hole through one enemy's face, while Jazz and Smokescreen vaulted over the large table in front of them while firing their weapons and taking down two more MECH soldiers. Jack activated his sky boom shield and blocked the incoming fire from the MECH commando who was attacking with what looked like a minigun, this allowed Bailey and his men to gain better cover near the Prime and fired back at the enemies protecting the commando, riddling them with bullets. The commando then ran out of ammo and fumbled with his new ammo pack as Jack shut off his shield and charged forward with his star saber and ran it clean through the enemy. The commando who was wearing a helmet that covered his entire face coughed up blood that Jack could hear as he twisted the blade in guy's chest before pulling it back out, the commando then fell to the ground as blood poured out of the large wound in his chest. "All clear." one the C-sec soldiers called out as Jack and his team looked back at Bailey. "Well that was too easy." Smokescreen stated with the usual over confidence that he had, Garrus looked over to him. "Hey, Kid, no need to be cocky." he said before giving Jack a concerned look. "He is right though, I would have thought that MECH would have had more men here." Jack nodded in agreement before looking over to Jazz. "What do you see, anymore threats beyond this point?" The Autobot looked down at the screen of his holo-tool, but could not see any enemy signatures in the immediate area. "It's clear, Jack. I guess they have pulled everyone back." "That doesn't make any sense?" one of the soldiers said, before getting a silent gesture to shut up from Bailey. "Well, I am not looking a gift horse in the mouth, we should be able to properly secure the HQ now and then let all the other C-sec squads around the station back into the Presidium, and then kick MECH off of the Citadel by their asses." Jack smiled back at the Commander before looking to the elevator behind the group. "Will that elevator take us up to the Executor's office, we were told the Councillor Valern was there. We need to find him before we can get to Anderson and the other Councillors." "It sure will, Prime. From here we can also unlock all doors and deactivate any force fields that maybe in your way." Bailey replied. "Thanks, we will take any help you can provide." Jack said before he and the others entered the elevator. "Good luck, Prime. And, Garrus, watch yourself out there." the older Commander said, gaining a smile from the Turian. "I will, Bailey. Same to you." The elevator doors then closed around the Prime and his team before it took them up to the higher levels of the Presidium. PRIME EFFECT 3 The journey through the Presidium corridors to the Executor's offices were quiet, only a hand full of MECH soldiers were run into and taken out just as easily. Jack had pondered to the others that maybe MECH were just using the C-sec HQ as misdirection, making them focus on that problem instead of heading directly to the Councillors. But all talk of that stopped the moment they made it to the office. Garrus opened the door and the team entered the room to find two Salarian bodyguards dead on the floor and the body of Executor lying face down on his desk with blood trickling down his head from a bullet hole at it's back. "Damn it, they already got to him." Jazz observed while Jack and Garrus looked out of the large window into the neighbouring office, the Turian then squinted before pointing out with his hand. "Jack, do you see that shimmer over there, I could have sworn that I saw a silhouette of a person then." Jack looked in the direction that his friend was gesturing to and saw the shimmer too. "Yeah, looks like someone is using a personal cloak." Then the shimmer changed and suddenly a Salarian was seen standing there in the room. "There is he." Garrus said before Jack noticed a shadowy figure jump down from the rafters and land perfectly behind the Councillor. He was wearing black and purple armour with gold neon lighting, and he was equipped with a familiar looking sword as he sneaked up behind the unsuspecting Salarian. Jack then fired at the window shattering it and alerting the Councillor who turned around to see his would be attacker and Jack and the others behind him as they vaulted over the windowsill into the office that both of them were in. The assassin then somersaulted over Valern and landed behind him, so that he had some distance between himself and the new arrivals. Jack looked at the enemy and saw that he had a MECH insignia on his chest plate. "Hold it right there." Jack said as the enemy took an readying pose with his sword lifted just above his head and pointed directly at the Councillor. "Prime, he is going to kill us." Valern said, the fear in his voice evident. Jack and his team all aimed their weapons at the assassin. "I don't think so Councillor, it's three against one." the Prime replied, before hearing a chuckle from the enemy. "No, this is where it gets fun, Darby." he said, his voice being disguised by the helmet with had a large black visor covering his face, Jack's eyes widened as he heard the assassin speak his name. "Do I know you?" "Still slow on the uptake aren't you, Darby." the enemy replied before his helmet retracted and instantly Jack and Garrus both stared daggers at him. "Sideways!" both said in unison angrily, the former Con just smirked at them. "You remember, I am touched." he retorted before taking a step toward Valern. "I said don't move." Jack warned as he mimicked Sideways by closing the distance between himself and the Salarian. "Then stop me, Darby,...if you can." the former Con replied, he was then about to launch himself at the Councillor when he was suddenly grabbed and thrown back across the room. Jack and the others watched in shock while Valern retreated behind them, as a Caucasian man in black and white armour that hard red neon lights took a fighting stance between Sideways and the group. "Glad to see you, Jazz. You too, Prime." he said as the Autobot members of Jack's team smiled back. "Prowl." Jazz said happily as Sideways flew at the Autobot standing between them, who blocked the assassin's sword with his red armguards and then side kicked the former Con in the stomach before upper cutting him in the face. Sideways fell on to his back before quickly recovering and attacking again. This time he performed a flurry of attacks, both with his sword and his kicks, but again Prowl countered each one before knocking him back again with a palm to the face. Sideways growled in frustration as Jack and the others joined the Autobot's side. "You're not getting Valern." Prowl said in a stoic tone. "Well, the other Councillors are not so well protected, are they?" Sideways replied before he dropped a grenade on the ground which filled the room with a bright light, making everyone look way so not to be blinded. When the light died down, Jack looked back to see the former con running out towards the skycar park just down the connected corridor. Jack looked back at Prowl who just gave him a stoic look. "Go, Prime, I have the Councillor well in hand." The Prime nodded before he and the others ran after the assassin. When they got to the bay, it was filled with rows of parked sky cars and they just caught a glimpse of Sideways who was standing on one that was being piloted by a MECH trooper, as it pulled out of the bay and flew down the Presidium ring. "Prime, what happened?" Bailey said over the com link. "Sideways is leading the MECH troops here, Prowl and my team have stopped him from assassinating Valern, but he is now heading for the other Councillors." Jack replied as he climbed into the driver's seat of an unlocked sky car, the others joined him before he piloted the vehicle out of the bay and in pursuit. "We have now unlocked the wards and the other C-sec teams are engaging the MECH forces in the Presidium, I will have a team ready to support you in several minutes." the Commander said as Jack piloted the sky car, under him was the river that ran around the whole Presidium ring and above was the fake blue sky. "Can you tell me where the Councillors are right now?" "They are on a landing pad about a click from your current location, I am sending you the coordinates." Bailey replied. "Thanks, Bailey. See if you can get a team up to them while I stop Sideways." Jack said when suddenly the former Con landed on the hood of their sky car and looked back at the Prime and smirked. Jack instantly pulled out his pistol and fired through the windshield at the assassin who ran over it and onto the top of the car. "Take the wheel." Jack told Garrus as he opened the side door and climbed out of the sky car while in mid flight and joined Sideways who equipped his blade, which took on the familiar purple glow of dark energon. "Careful, Darby. I doubt you have the dexterity that I now possess." Jack activated his star saber and pointed it at the former Con. "So, now you are working with MECH, I highly doubt that Silas would trust you considering that you allied yourself with the Reapers." he said before Sideways swung his blade at the Prime who blocked the attack with his saber before pushing the enemy back. "Well, I gave him what you denied him, Darby,….Reaper tech." Sideways then attacked again, but Jack anticipated the attack and ducked under dark energon blade before sweeping the former con off of his feet. "And what did you ask for in return?" Jack asked as he lunged his saber, but missed due to Sideways rolling out of the way and getting to his feet at the edge of the sky car's roof. "He gave me upgrades that would allow me to finally end your life." Jack then attacked by swinging his saber at the assassin who deflected the attack, but then Jack performed a roundhouse kick that connected with the Con's face and knocked him flying off of the car. "You should ask for a refund." Jack retorted back, but then another skycar pulled up behind his and Sideways was standing on top of it. "Thanks for the advice, I would stay and chat but I have some Councillors to kill." he shouted back, just as the passenger door on his car opened and a MECH trooper leaned out and fired his weapon at the engine of the Prime's sky car, making it explode. "See you at the finish line." the former con saluted as he and the MECH agents pulled away from the Prime's car which had slowed down due to the engine being hit, Jack was clinging to the roof as they descended to one of the streets below. PRIME EFFECT 3 Meanwhile just ahead of them, Anderson and the other Councillors were just approaching a shuttle on the landing bay they were at, when suddenly the vessel exploded as Sideway's sky car neared, a MECH soldier holding a RPG could be seen leaning out of the opened side door. "Well, if you can just stay right there, this will be over very soon." Sideways stated as Anderson stood in front of Tevos and Perceptor. "Take them out!" the former Con said as the soldier aimed the RPG at the group. Both Councillors let fear show on their faces while Anderson remained stoic. But just as the trooper was about to fire, a gunshot rang out and his head exploded before his body went limp and fell out of the sky car. Sideways looked in the direction that the shot came from and saw Garrus aiming his sniper rifle directly at him, Jack and Smokescreen and Jazz all rushing towards the Councillors. They began firing at the sky car, but Sideways deflected their bullets with his sword casually. But then he looked on behind his targets and saw the door connected to the landing bay open and a team of C-sec soldiers rush out towards them. The former Con then performed an act of perfect acrobatics as he dived backwards off the skycar while grabbing hold of the edge of the roof and swinging into the open passenger seat. "Get us out of here." he ordered the MECH soldier in the drivers seat as he closed his door and the sky car flew away from the landing bay at top speed. Jack and his team then joined Anderson and the Councillors as Bailey and his men arrived. "Anderson, Councillors are you alright?" he asked. "Yes we fine, Darby. Thank you for the save." Anderson replied with a smile as Tevos and Perceptor gave the Prime a relieved look. "Prime, I was worried for a moment. My readouts said that your sky car had taken a hit." Bailey said. "It did, but thanks to some great flying by Garrus here. We managed to crash land without any trouble. I jumped off just before impact and landed in some bushes in the garden." the Prime replied. "Yes and we crashed into the fountain, that is why the three of us are soaking wet." Garrus stated while gesturing to his wet armour. Smokescreen and Jazz both chuckled in return. "Don't sweat it, Garrus. Jack was right. That was some great flying back there." Jazz jumped in gaining a smile from the Turian. "Yes, well how does the saying go, any landing you can walk away from is a good one." Tevos then turned to Jack as his friends carried on. "Prime, we thank you for your actions today, but do you know why MECH attacked us?" Jack shook his head in response. "Sorry, Madam Councillor, I do not know but I intend to find out." "Okay, Everyone. The Councillors are safe. But we still have MECH soldiers around the station so lets get to it." Bailey stated as he gestured everyone back to the door that he and his men had come from. Meanwhile Sideways was sitting in the passenger seat of the sky car that was being piloted by a MECH soldier beside him when Silas's face appeared on the monitor in front of him. "Sideways, I have to say that I am disappointed that you let Darby beat you. Especially after all the upgrades that I allowed you to have." Sideways glared down at the face of the Director, the yellow optics of his not phasing the former Con at the least. "Silas, that pathetic excuse of a Prime was lucky, when next we meet I will defeat him." The Director though did not look impressed as he just took a sip from his half full glass before continuing. "Were you successful in your main objective though?" "Yes, while I kept Darby and the C-Sec forces busy. Beta team acquired the information that you needed from the Asari Councillor's computer in her office." Sideways replied gaining a slight smile from Silas. "Excellent, then I want you to return to base so that we can analyse the data before our next move." "Understood, Sideways out." the former Con said before the monitor switched off, he then looked over to the trooper. "Get us back to our ship before C-Sec seals the station." "Yes, Sir." the soldier replied as the sky car accelerated as it flew out of sight as it entered one of the maintenance shafts.
  15. Chapter 9 At the edge of the system the Quarian Flotilla was staying out of range of the Geth defences, which right now had pulled back to the orbit of the Quarian home world. The Defiant was in the middle of the massive fleet, a shuttle then left one of the larger Live ships and docked with the Alliance frigate. In the war room Jack was waiting for the Quarian Admiralty board to appear with Arcee and Tali, the latter looking rather nervous. But they didn't have to wait much longer as voices could be heard just outside the room, and they didn't sound happy. The door then opened and three Quarian Admirals (two female, one male) entered the room lead by Raan before she turned and pointed angrily at the male behind her. "I cannot believe that you opened fire on the Dreadnought while Tali and her friends were still onboard, I told you that they were here to help us. I should charge you with treason for this." "I was well within my rights to attack that Dreadnought once it's defences were down, it was the most powerful ship in the Geth fleet. It had to be destroyed." Admiral Gerrel replied before looking at the Commander. "What I want to know is why you called them in the first place, the heavy fleet had everything under control." Raan at that very moment just erupted at her fellow Admiral. "Control? Control?! You endangered the entire Flotilla in this fool hardy attempt to take back Rannoch and nearly cost us our entire race, and you have the audacity to say you had it under control." Admiral Xen just stayed quiet as the two kept on at each other. But Jack had had enough and stepped between the two. "Admirals please, it doesn't matter that she called us. We are here now and we have a bigger problem than just the Geth. Surely you noticed that they were far more intelligent in their strategies and attack style, or else you would not have found yourselves in the trouble you were in." Gerrel looked at Jack and crossed his arms. "Well before that Dreadnought appeared, we had the Geth almost completely on the run. But when that 'it' joined the battle, the rest of their ships suddenly started attacking us with more advanced attack patterns." Tali walked over and joined Jack's side. "That's because the Dreadnought had a piece of Reaper tech on board that was broadcasting a signal over the whole battle area, this is what gave the Geth forces the added intelligence." she said as the Admirals looked at her. Xen finally found her voice. "Well it must have been a very powerful device indeed to have been able to cover such a vast area, it is unfortunate that it was destroyed." she said giving the male Admiral a knowing look, but he just ignored it and looked back at Jack. "But it is out of the picture now, so we can go back on the offensive." Gerrel replied enthusiastically. "That would be unwise, creator Gerrel." a synthesised voice said from across the room. They all turned to see a Geth standing in the doorway. "Darby Commander, we offer assistance." The Quarian Admirals looked at it, their eyes going wide. "What the hell is this?!" Raan shouted out in shock as Gerrel pulled out his pistol and aimed at the Geth. Tali though quickly moved in the way with her arms out stretched. "Don't shoot, he is with us." Gerral and Raan looked at her in disbelief while Xen curiously looked the Synthetic up and down. "Admiral, stand down. Legion is with us." Jack said sternly, The Admiral though ignored the Prime and kept his weapon locked on Legion. Raan though stood beside him and looked at the exiled Quarian. "Tali, isn't that the Geth that killed your father, how can you defend it?" "Yes, that Bosh'tet is the reason you were exiled." Gerrel added, Tali though crossed her arms and shot a look of anger at him. "No, the reason I was exiled was because my father was dead and you wanted a scapegoat. He died because he panicked when Legion here reactivated himself, it was because of his own arrogance." "How dare you speak of Rael'zorah like that, he was a great man who helped us lead the Flotilla and then gave us the chance to retake our home." Gerrel countered angrily. "He would be deeply ashamed to know that his daughter is protecting a Geth, let alone the one that killed him." Tali felt a tear run down her cheek, though know one could see due to her helmet blocking their view of her face. "I don't care what he would have thought of me now, because everything I was brought up to believe has been a lie." Xen stepped in. "What? Did this Geth show you some fabricated 'truth' about the Morning war. Are you really going to believe it over your own people?" she asked. "It is not a fabrication, it was recorded by the Geth, so that one day we may have reunification with our creators." Legion said as Tali continued to shield him from the others. Gerrel though just sighed and turned around starting for the door. "I have heard enough of this. It's bad enough to see the daughter or Rael'zorah become a Geth sympathiser, but to have to see it aboard a Cybertronian ship. Raan if you want to entertain this hideous show then go ahead. But I will be on my ship, are you coming, Xen?" "I will be along, but first I would like to take a look at this Geth platform. It certainly would be a fascinating specimen for my research." Xen replied as she took a step toward Legion, only for Tali to remain between the two defiantly. "I still consider Legion to be a member of my crew, and he helped me defeat the Quintessons." Jack said. Xen though just kept looking at the Geth. "So did your pistol. Are you telling me that you take it's feelings into account too." she answered sarcastically. "I don't think you want to carry on with this line of thought, Admiral. Legion is mine and Tali's friend, more importantly 'he' is our best source of information on the Geth." the Prime replied sternly to her as he took his stood between the Admiral and his friends. "The scientific benefits…." Xen started…. "Are off the table!" Jack replied in her face. "Well, I see my time here is being wasted, so I will return to my ship." the Admiral said before turning around leaving the room. Jack sighed as Tali looked at Admiral Raan. "Are you not going to join them, Admiral?" she asked somewhat curiously. The Quarian Admiral shook her head in response. "No, Tali, I will stay. Because….you are right. Though believed by many of our people to be a great man, your father who has been a very good friend of mine for over twenty years was still a man. And he was not without his faults. I did make a promise to him that I would always look out for you, and I could not even keep it." Raan replied sadly as she looked down to the floor. "Auntie Raan." Tali said in a gentle tone as she embraced the older Quarian in a warm hug. Raan returns the embrace. "I have missed you, Tali. I wish I had fought harder against the others decision to exile you." she said in a guilty tone. "You did the best you could, I never held any blame for you." Tali replied before they broke the hug. Both Quarians then noticed that Jack, Arcee and Legion were just watching them, confusion written on their faces. "Auntie Raan?" the femme asked. "Yes, the Admiral has been a close family friend for many years, I have always called her 'Auntie Raan', ever since I was little." Tali replied. "I made a promise to Rael'zorah that if anything were to happen to him that I would always watch out for his daughter. I care for her like I would if she was my own flesh and blood." Raan said proudly. Jack and Arcee simply smiled back at the two of them before the Admiral turned back to Tali. "Tali, I do share the others caution about this 'Legion', but if you trust it….." "I do, Raan. 'He' saved my life and showed me the truth about our past, please trust me?" Tali said with a slight pleading tone. The Admiral nodded in return with a smile behind her visor. "Alright, Tali, if you believe he is not a threat….then so shall I." The young Quarian gave her Aunt a big smile in return, then Raan looked over to Legion. "Legion, what can you tell us about the Geth, how will they react without the signal to strengthen them." The Geth looked at the older Quarian. "This is a false assumption, Creator Raan. You have only cut off long range control, but the Heretics are still broadcasting the signal from their base on Rannoch, and that covers the entire planet. The Geth fleet is of this moment disorganised, but once in orbit around Rannoch, they will be back at full strength." "Keelah, I need to warn the fleet." Raan replied as she activated her com link. "Gerrel, come in." she said before the disgruntled Admiral's voice could be heard. "Raan, what is it?" "Do not attack Rannoch, the Geth are still at full strength." she said in a panicky tone. "And where did you hear that? From the 'friendly' Geth? I will not listen to a Geth or his Cybertronian sympathisers." he finished before closing the link. "Damn it, that stupid Bosh'tet. I am sorry, Prime. I have to deal with this in person. But I will make sure that we do not attack the Geth, I am sorry to have to ask for your help again considering the reception the rest of the Admiralty board have given you. But if you can help with the Base on Rannoch." she asked somewhat hesitantly, Jack though smiled back at her. "Admiral, the Defiant is here to help, even if some of your people do not welcome it." The Prime then looked over to Legion. "We need to attack the Heretic's base, do you know it's location?" "Yes, it is on the northern continent, but is heavily defended." the Geth replied as it brought up a holographic representation of it on the large round table in the center of the room. Jack looked at it and smiled. "Okay, Legion. Tali, we need to come up with a plan of attack. Can you two start working on the details." Both nodded in return before walking over to a console and starting work. The Commander then looked back at Raan. "We will deal with the base, but we may need the help of the Flotilla." "Then I will see that you get it, Prime, and thank you." she replied before leaving the room. Jack then walked back to Legion as Tali continued to work, the Geth looking over to the Prime. "Darby Commander, you opposed Creator Xen's attempt to acquire our platform." "I think she has done enough already." Jack replied. "Your assistance continues to be noted by our consensus." Legion said. "You mentioned the Geth Heretics when we aboard the Dreadnought, but I thought they were no more after the battle of the Citadel." the Prime asked, the Geth just looked at him. "As did we. It was not until the war began, we realised that we were wrong." "How did the war begin?" "After this platform returned to the Geth consensus, we began building a mega structure to house every Geth program and it's memories. It was meant to end our isolation from each other, therefore making sure that no more Geth ever became like the Heretics." Jack watched as Legion turned back to the screen and carried on working. "And then the Quarians attacked?" "Yes, a significant amount of Geth were installed when the Creators started their attack. We did not have sufficient surplus hardware to save them all. Some of the programs could not be recovered." Legion replied. "So where did the Heretics come in?" Jack asked. "We were unprepared for the Creator's attack and easily overwhelmed, but then Heretics arrived and offered us help. They said that they could give us upgrades that would allow us to neutralize the Creators advantage, little did we realise that it would be of technology of the Old Machines." Jack looked at Legion with a sympathetic expression. "It overcame you?" "Yes, the signal took control of our sensory equipment, our networking. It was immense, overwhelming, unknowable. It was something that we could not comprehend." the Geth replied. "But you must have known that if the Heretics had survived that they would still be loyal to the Reapers." the Prime said making Legion look back at him. "Yes, but imagine that for every one of your people lost on Earth, your own intelligence dimmed. The Creators attack narrowed our own perspective, self preservation took precedence." "You feared that your race would be wiped out." Jack said. "We do not experience fear as you do…but we have no desire to be exterminated." the Geth replied. "Even if that means you lose your free will to the Heretics and the Reapers?" Legion's optic opened slightly more as it looked at the Commander. "It would appear that that was an acceptable trade." Legion replied, unbeknownst to them Tali was listening and joined them. "Legion…..I am sorry, sorry for what my people did to you. What they pushed you to do." she said making the Geth look over to her. "Your apologises are not required, Tali'zorah,….but thank you. You are the only Creator that sees us as something other than an enemy." Both Quarian and Geth remained silent for a moment before Jack decided to get everyone back on track. "The blame for this war lies solely with the Quarians, who struck first." Tali merely nodded in return, Jack could tell that she was disgusted by what her own people had done, and also because it came from the research that her own father had worked on, it had made it even more uncomfortable for her. "But if we can stop the Reaper signal, then this war doesn't have to end in further bloodshed." he finished as he looked at them both. "We will assist in any function you require, Darby Commander." Legion replied, Jack then smiled at both of them. "I will be working over there." he said while gesturing over to the station that Arcee was standing at, and then walked over to the femme who smiled at him. "Everything okay?" she asked as he looked back to the two at the other console. "Yeah, I think it will be." he replied while Arcee observed him. For if a Geth and a Quarian could overlook their differences and work together, then maybe the same could be said of the races themselves. He then turned back to Arcee and the two of them began working on the information on the console in front of them. Two hours later and Legion and Tali had everyone with them in the war room as they stood around the large circular table, Jack and Arcee were joined by Admiral Raan and the rest of the team. Admirals Gerrel and Xen were absent, but were connected via com link. A large blue hologram of the planet appeared over the table. "So Legion and I have come up with a plan to infiltrate the Heretic's base and destroy whatever is emitting the signal. The Heavy, Patrol and Support fleets will engage the Geth forces in orbit, so to keep the Geth off balance." Tali started as she showed holograms of the fleets moving towards the red Geth holoforms. "Meanwhile, a team will take a shuttle down to the planet and enter the facility." Gerrel then spoke up over the intercom. "Well, I hate to ruin your plan, Tali'zorah. But did you know that base is surrounded by anti-air weapon emplacements. A shuttle will not get within one click of the base." he said in a critical tone. Legion though spoke up. "Creator Gerrel, the shuttle will make it through if assisted by a wing of Quarian fighters." The room then heard the Quarian Admiral mumbling and cursing from his side of the line before he spoke up again. "You expect me to risk my pilots and follow a Geth's plan?" Jack felt his patience with the Quarian dwindling as he answered him. "Admiral, if you want to reclaim your world from the Heretics, this is the way to do it." "Heretics or not, they are all Geth. What's the difference?" Gerrel replied. Tali gritted her teeth from behind her visor and was about to answer when Garrus stopped her by shaking his head at her sympathetically. This calmed her down and she carried on with the plan, choosing to ignore Gerrel. "The fighters will keep the emplacements busy, allowing the shuttle to enter the base and drop off the team." she said as Smokescreen jumped in. "Why are we bothering with a ground attack, surely we can just destroy the base from orbit." the young Autobot said gaining everyone's attention. "Autobot Smokescreen, the base is surrounded by a null field that scrambles sensor readings, meaning that the Creator fleet can not launch an attack." Legion replied. "But thanks to Admiral Xen, we have a way of tagging whatever is producing the signal." Tali said as she gestured to Raf who held what looked like a Quarian assault rifle. "Xen, you're up." Raan said. "Thank you, the device that is in the hands of your scientist will allow you to mark whatever target you wish and transmit the coordinates up to the Defiant. Then the frigate will attack and destroy it." Xen said over the intercom. "So we fight our way through a few hundred centurions, tag the device and watch the Defiant blow it to smithereens. I like it." Garrus said. "There is one problem, the device will only allow for a few shots before the null field adapts to it, so you will have to make it count." Raf replied before placing it back on the table beside him. "Well the ground team will have to work fast, because our fleet will not be able to hold out long against the Geth forces while they are effected by that signal." Gerrel's voice said. "You worry about the Geth ships, Admiral. Let me worry about what happens on the ground." Jack said as he stood in front of the others. "I will lead the team which will include Legion, Arcee and Tali. If no one else has anything to say, I think we should get a move on. Before the Heretics strengthen their defences enough." Everyone nodded and started to head out. "I will head back to fleet and make sure that Gerrel is ready." Raan said before heading to the exit. "Good luck, Admiral." Jack replied, gaining a nod from the Quarian. "Yes, Prime. Good luck to us all." she replied, then she left. All that was left in the room was the Commander, Arcee, Legion and Tail. "Alright, grab your gear and meet me down in the shuttle bay." he said, the others acknowledged him and they left the war room. PRIME EFFECT 3 The battle raged over the planet Rannoch as the Quarian and Geth fleets fought. A Quarian heavy cruiser closed towards two enemy ships, it's cannons firing on both causing explosions against the Geth's shields. Two more ships turned and fired on the heavy cruiser, ripping through its defences and causing it to explode. It's debris flying out in all directions, one large piece hits another heavy cruiser making it veer away and crash into another. The Geth ships started to move in closer to the slower Quarian vessels, causing massive damage to them. Suddenly the Quarian patrol fleet appeared and attacked the Geth fleet and forcing them back as the smaller Quarian cruisers took positions between both fleets and gave them some breathing room, before the Quarian fleet attempted to attack again. Meanwhile the Defiant flew into orbit on the other side of the battle and launched the shuttle which flew down to the surface. On board the shuttle Jack stood with Legion to his side and Arcee sitting with Tali. "Darby Commander, while your team attacks the base, we will disable its defences and acquire an escape vehicle." Legion said gaining a curious look from the Commander. "You can do that, Legion? How?" "This platform still has remnants of the old machine code that was installed during our captivity on the Dreadnought." the Geth replied. It looked up at the Prime and saw the concern on his face. "You are concerned?" it asked. "A little…. Legion, can't the Heretics take control of you again?" Jack asked. "No, the code has only upgraded our intelligence. This platform was used to control the rest of the Geth in our fleet, somewhat like a carrier of a virus. It will only effect those that come into contact with it, not the one that carries it. Do you still trust us?" Legion asked with a hint of worry in it's voice. "Yes I do, Legion. But why didn't you tell me that you still had the upgrades?" Jack asked. "We did not mean to cause offence, but this matter was…..personal." Legion then looked down to the ground. "You were ashamed?" Tali said as she watched the two, gaining the Geth's attention. "Shame is an emotional response to societal judgement, it should not apply to us." Jack crossed his arms and shook his head. "How did this happen, you have shown us before that the Geth are better than this." Legion though hung it's head. "No, based on evidence on recent choices that we have made…..we are not." The Prime looked at the Geth as it looked back at him. "Yeah, well….." Suddenly the shuttle was rocked by explosions from all around it. "Sir, we have entered range of the Base's flack cannons. I'll try to get us through it." the shuttle pilot called back to them. "Where is the fighter wing, they should be here by now?" Arcee asked as they braced themselves as the vessel was rocked by a flak round exploding just outside. Jack tapped his com link. "Admiral Gerrel, this is Jackson Prime. Where is the fighter wing that is supposed to be supporting us?" "I am sorry, Prime. But a squadron of Geth fighters have managed to break through our lines and have started to attack the Live-ships. I had to redeploy the wing to defend our ships." Jack looked over to Tali and Arcee, an annoyed but understanding look on his face. "Admiral, the Defiant can help with the defence of your ships until we are ready to destroy the signal device." "That would be appreciated, Prime. Gerrel out." the Admiral said before ending the call. "Prime to Defiant. Hotrod, I want the ship to help protect the Live-ships. We will call you back when we tag the device." the Prime said. "Will do, Prime. Good luck." the Autobot replied as the shuttle started to veer to the left. "Everyone, hold on." the pilot called back as the vessel started to descend low into a canyon to evade the flak fire, the canyon was just large enough for the shuttle to navigate. There was only a foot of space between the rocky walls and the ship. Meanwhile the battle had reached the Flotilla as the Geth and Quarian fighters engaged each other. But the synthetic enemy ships were more agile and powerful compared to their creators and were wiping the floor with them. "Flotilla, this is the Alpha Leader. I have two bogies on my six. I cant shake them." The fighter then did a barrel roll as the Geth weapon's fire narrowly missed it, then the ship pulled up and flew over the hull of one of the Liveships. Only for the Geth to stay with him and keep attacking, but suddenly as the Quarian fighter flew back away from the large cruiser, both enemies were destroyed. The pilot looked around him in confusion. "This is Alpha Leader. Thanks for assist, Live-ship Vailia." "That was not us, Alpha Leader." the Live-ship responded. "We have your back, Alpha." Hotrod suddenly jumped in as the Defiant flew past the fighter and attacked more of the Geth fighters. "Thanks, Defiant. But we have more enemy bogies coming in." the pilot replied as he saw more of the Geth closing in to the right of him. "Roger that, Alpha, engaging now." the Autobot said as the Defiant destroyed the enemies in front of it and turned around an started for the new comers. Back on Rannoch the shuttle emerged from the canyon and pulled in next to a large rock structure, landing next to it. Legion then opened up the hatch and looked back at Jack. "Proceed to the Base's entrance, you should be well covered from the defence cannons with all this cover from the natural environment. We in the meantime will procure the escape vehicle." "Roger that and, Legion,….good luck" Jack replied gaining a nod from the Geth. "Acknowledged." it said as it exited the shuttle and ran for another part of the base. The Prime then went outside with both Arcee and Tali and gave a quick look around. "There are no hostiles in our immediate location." he said as Tali took in the view, her eyes widened as she saw the natural beauty of her planet around her. The Quarian then bent down to the ground and took a scan with her holo-tool as the others joined her. "I can't believe it, this is the homeworld….. my world. The home that we never thought we would see again." She then looked up at the sky as it turned a light red, the sun was just beginning it's decent below the horizon. "Look at the sky and the mountains, my people used to write literature about them." "Once this is over, maybe you can write new ones." Jack replied, the Quarian looked back to him and smiled. "This is Rannoch, the home of our ancestors. Our bodies carried the seeds that spread the desert grass. We have a saying among our people, 'Keelah se'lai'. It means 'by the home world I hope to see someday'." "Well you are seeing right now, Tali." the Prime replied as Tali reached out her arms in front of her and made a square like box shape with her hands. "The living room window will be right…here." She then looked back at Jack and saw a slight confusion on his face. "Something you want to tell us?" Jack asked as Arcee stood beside him, just as confused. "I just claimed the land, I know it doesn't mean much, but when this war is over….I will have a home." "Haven't the Quarians spent three hundred years living as nomads, won't it be difficult living in one place again. I know it was hard for us to begin with." Arcee asked gaining the Quarian's attention. "Well we are more used to carrying our homes with us, no matter where we go." Tali replied. Jack then picked up a rock from the ground and handed to her with a smile, she returned it before looking down at the stone in her hands. "Well I guess that's it's a start." She then put it away in one of her utility belt pouches before the three of them started walking in the direction of the base. PRIME EFFECT 3 After a short walk the group found themselves at the entrance to the base, a number of Geth centurions guarding it as one of them spotted the intruders and began firing at them. Jack and his team took cover before returning fire, taking out two of the enemies before Jack moved in closer to the remaining Geth. Tali created a drone from her holo-tool and sent it over the three Geth and commanded it to self destruct, the resulting explosion killing them. Meanwhile Arcee shot another in the face with he SMG as Jack kept up behind the supply crate of the last one which had taken cover at, when the femme had killed it's fellow centurion. Suddenly the Prime reached over the crate and pulled the enemy over it before activating the star saber and driving it through the Geth's torso. "We are all clear, Jack." Arcee called out as the two females joined him. "Alright, let's get in there and tag the device for the Defiant." he replied before the three of them then entered the base. The group followed the map of the structure that Tali had opened on her holo-tool, the map had been sent to her by Legion who as he had said, had hacked the defences of the base and disarmed all alarms and scanners. This made the infiltration much easier for the Prime and his team as the centurions did not know that they were there. They took out each and every Geth that crossed their path as they got closer to their target. "Darby Commander, the device is inside a shielded missile silo that is only a hundred feet from your position." Legion said over the com link as Jack, Tali and Arcee killed two more centurions from behind as the Prime took aim at another enemy that was around the corner from him. The following shot blazed straight through the centurion's optic, splattering the wall behind it with it's blood. "Thanks, Legion. Are their any more obstacles between us and the silo?" he asked. "I have activated a number of false alarms in other parts of the base, the remaining Heretics are now investigating them. Your path is now free of enemies." Legion replied. "Roger that." the Commander said. "Jack, the silo is down that corridor." Tali said as she showed them the map. "Alright, Legion has cleared the path of anymore enemies, so let's get this over with." Both females nodded in agreement as they headed down the corridor. Before long they saw a bright light at the end of the long corridor, the light was coming from the setting sun as the group emerged outside at the centre of the base. In front of them was the large silo, but it was covered by a blast door. "Legion, the silo is closed. Is there anything you can do on your end?" the Prime asked into his com link. "Stand by, we are hacking the blast doors now…..warning the remaining centurions are now on their way back. They have figured out the alarms were false and are coming for you." Legion replied. "Thanks for the heads up." Jack responded as he and the team took cover. The returning centurions then appeared from behind a doorway and started firing on the group. Jack, Tali and Arcee tried to return fire but found themselves pinned as more Geth appeared from the other side of the base. "Jack, I think we are stuck. There are just too many Geth here for the three of us to handle." Arcee stated alittle worryingly, while Jack looked over and gave her a slight smile, hoping to alleviate her concern. "We have been in tougher situations than this." he said as the gunfire whizzed past their heads. Suddenly Legion's voice came over the com link. "Silo doors overridden..." The three of them looked back to see the large door covering the silo begin to open. "...and stay down." the Geth finished before a loud engine could be heard from the left of the group. "What in the Allspark is that?" Arcee asked before a large Geth tank appeared and cannon on it's top turned and fired at both sets of enemies, obliterating them. Then as Jack and the others stood up and looked over, a hatch at the front of the tank opened and the familiar figure of Legion popped it's head out. "We have acquired the escape vehicle." it stated, gaining smiles from the three. "Thanks, Legion." Tali replied as Arcee noticed the silo door had fully opened revealling a red light shining through the dense gas at the bottom of the silo. "Jack, it's clear." the femme said gaining his attention. "Alright." he replied as he gave her a smile and walked over to the ledge overlooking the massive round pit, he then equipped Xen's tag device and pointed it down to the shrouded device, a blue laser being emitted from it as it highlighted the red light. "Alright, the signal device is tagging it in four, three, two, one." the Prime said before a ping sound rang out from the weapon in his hands. "I hope the Defiant is ready? Tali said, but Arcee looked over to the horizon and saw a ship descend beneath the clouds and fly towards the base. "Here it comes." the femme said as the Alliance frigate flew low between to rock formations and fired two torpedoes, which went straight into the silo and exploded on whatever was inside. The base shook from the explosion as the group steadied themselves, a large amount of smoke billowed from the silo as they looked at it. "Did we get it?" Tali asked before a familiar roar echoed from within the pit. Jack and Arcee looked at each other in shock as it dawned on them what the signal device really was, but suddenly a massive black leg sprung out of the silo and landed on the ground next to them. "REAPER! Everybody back to Legion now!" the Prime said as the massive behemoth started to climb out of the pit, the base falling apart around them due to the strength of it's Reaper guest. Tali and Arcee ran ahead as Jack covered them from behind as they reached the tank. "Keelah, that thing is huge." Tali stated in fear, as she started climbing into the Geth tank. "Yeah, how are we supposed to fight it? We don't exactly have a City-bot on our side this time Jack." Arcee asked before being motioned by the Prime to enter the vehicle, he followed behind her. "I was thinking that maybe the Quarian fleet could help." Jack replied as he entered the tank and closed the hatch behind him, before taking a seat next to Arcee and Tali. "We will attempt to outrun the Reaper." Legion said back to the others as he reversed the tank out of the base and turned around, the Reaper meanwhile had cleared the silo and now towered over the base as it started to move after the group. Legion then shifted the vehicle forward and away at top speed as the black ship roared at them. "Jackson Prime to Quarian fleet, the Heretic base is a live Reaper. I need an orbital strike now." he called out over the com link. The Reaper then charged it's main weapon before firing on the tank, which swerved left to right. Narrowly missing the shots which exploded on impact with the ground around them. "Cannot keep this up for very long, Darby Commander." Legion stated as the Reaper fired again, only to hit the ground behind the tank. "Prime to fleet, we are clear. Begin the attack." The Prime said, ignoring the Geth's comments. But the vehicle had cleared the rock formations and left it exposed as the Reaper charged it's main weapon again, this time the shot would not miss. But before it could fire, the black behemoth was suddenly besieged by explosions all around it as the Quarian fleet fired down at it from orbit. One of the torpedoes hit the main weapon which caused the Reaper to fall to the ground and stay still as smoke and dust rose up around it from the bombardment. "Did we hit anything?" Gerrel asked over the com, Jack opened up the hatch and took a look outside. He saw the red weapon port and the energy that was crackling around it. "You hit the Reaper's main weapon port, must be weak spot when it is charging up." the Prime replied. "Damn it, the null field being emitted by the base is messing with our targeting sensors. We can not get a clear shot at the Reaper's weak spot." As Jack looked out at the Reaper, Legion turned and looked up at him from within the tank. "We can still get clear and escape." "No, I am getting off here." the Commander said as he climbed off the tank onto the ground next to it. "Darby Commander, what are you doing?" the Geth asked, as Jack equipped Xen's tagging device again before looking back at the tank. "If we run now, then the Geth will remain in the Reaper's control and the Quarian race will be annihilated. This has to end now." He then tapped his com link. "Teletraan, I want you to patch in the Quarians to the Defiant's targeting sensors. I want Xen's tagging device to be synced up to the whole fleet." "Understood, Prime." the AI responded. "Do you require assistance?" Legion asked. "No, stay down. I have this one, but I saw a rocket launcher inside the tank. Can one of you throw it out to me?" Jack asked as Arcee picked up the weapon and climbed halfway out the hatch and dropped it off the side next to the Commander. "Jack, I'll do this with you." she said as she started to climb off the tank, but he looked back at her with a stern look. "No, Arcee. You stay in the tank. Legion get the others to safety, I will draw the Reaper here myself." "But Jack…." the femme tried to argue back, not attempting to hide her feelings from her lover. "Tali, keep her in the tank." Jack called back, the Quarian then got up beside the femme and placed a hand on her shoulder. Arcee looked down for a moment before looking back at the Prime, her eyes welling up at the thought of leaving her Jack with the Reaper. But she saw the resolve in his expression and knew she could not change his mind. "Come on, he wants to make sure we are safe." the Quarian said sympathetically to the femme who nodded back before taking a final look at the Prime. "I love you, Jack." she said to him softly. "I know, Arcee,….ditto." he replied calmly before both females got back in the tank. "Darby Commander, good luck." Legion said before driving the vehicle away from the Commander who turned around to see the Reaper getting back to it's feet after recovering. He then took a deep breath and picked up the RPG. "Prime to fleet, I will get the Reaper's attention and then aim Xen's device at the weak spot. Link up with the Defiant's targeting sensors and be ready to fire." He then aimed the weapon and fired the missile which flew through the air and detonated on the monster ship's hull, making it look in his direction. It then roared as it recognised the Prime and started to make it's way over to him. Jack then dropped the RPG and reequipped the tagging device and aimed it at the Reaper. "The fleet's weapons are locked and loaded, Prime." Teletraan said over the com link as the Commander activated the beam and pointed it directly at the red weapon's port. "Prime, the Reaper is almost in range." Gerrel said as the giant enemy fired it's laser at Jack, making him dive out of it's way as it sliced through the ground next to him. He could feel it's intense heat beside him as it missed. He rolled into a crouching position and readied the device again, and noticed that he was now inside the shadow of the colossus as it had closed the distance and was now bearing down on him. The red light of the main weapon pulsing as it charged itself. But the Prime did not let fear take over as he aimed the device directly at the light as it engulfed the entire area around him in red. "Be ready to fire in four, three, two, one….." he said into his com link as the Reaper was only seconds from firing. Suddenly the device pinged again and torpedoes started raining down from the sky as the Defiant and the fleet fired all of their weapons at the enemy from orbit. Jack quickly took cover as the area was covered in explosions as the weapons fire hit the Reaper and the ground around it, making the behemoth stagger back . And then another volley of torpedoes and missiles descended and hit the Reaper directly on the weapon's port, causing a massive explosion to blow out of the hull around it as the Reaper fell back against a small mountain, bringing up a large cloud of dust while it stayed there, as red electric bolts surged around it's body. "Direct hit, you got it." Jack called back to the fleet as he looked over to the Reaper from his cover, he had also activated the sky boom shield and had just deactivated it when he saw the dust settled and that the giant black ship was no longer moving. He got up and walked over to the defeated Reaper which suddenly called out to him with it's inhuman voice. "Jackson Prime." Jack looked at it with surprise. "You know who I am?" he asked in response. "Harbinger speaks of you, of your resistance. But you will fall to us, the cycle will continue as it has for eons." "Are you sure about that, we stopped Sovereign and the Geth. We stopped Harbinger and the Quintessons, what makes you think that we won't stop you too?" Jack asked as he walked closer to the Reaper. "You can not comprehend us, Prime. Others have spoken as you do and they still fell to us. This time will be no different." "I think we will surprise you this time." the Commander replied. "Doubtful, this is a minor victory for you, Prime. We number in the billions, you cannot hope to destroy us all." Jack crossed his arms and looked at the Reaper Stoically. "I guess we will find out soon enough." "Yes you will. Finish your war here. We will see you soon." Then the blue light emanating from within the Reaper's inner parts dimmed until the behemoth died and was nothing more than a giant corpse lying against the mountain. As Jack stood there and looked at the dead Reaper, the Geth tank stopped just away from him and the others climbed out to meet him. "We did it, we killed a Reaper." Arcee said as Jack turned to her and she wrapped her arms around him as they embraced. "Yeah we did." he replied softly as the Tali and Legion joined the partners. "You had me so worried….." she started to say but Jack cut her off. "It's okay, I am alright." The two stayed quiet for a moment as they stayed in the embrace, Legion then activated his holo-tool. "Darby Commander." the Geth then said, making Jack and Arcee break their hug and look at it. "What is it, Legion?" the Prime asked. "We have just confirmed that the Geth are no longer under the control of the old machines…..we are free." Just as Legion said that, Admiral Gerrel's voice then came through on Jack's com link. "You did it, Prime. The Geth fleet has stopped firing. They are completely vulnerable." Legion deactivates it's holo-tool and walks up to the Prime, having overhearing the Admiral. "Darby Commander, the Geth only acted in defence after the Creators attacked first. Do we deserve death?" Jack looked at Legion curiously. "Legion, what do you suggest?" "The upgrades that the Old Machines had given us with the signal, now that it is dead it can no longer control us. We could upload the upgrades to the entire Geth consensus without sacrificing our independence." Tali looked at Legion, her eyes widened at it's idea. "You want to give the Reaper upgrades to all Geth, that would make them as smart as when the Reaper was controlling them and the Heretics." Legion nodded in return. "Yes, but we would have free will. All Geth programs in each unit would become a true intelligence, we would be alive. And we could help you." "But, Legion, my fleet could still attack you. And with those upgrades, the Geth could wipe my people out." She then looked at Jack. "I know that I do agree with the Geth over how my people have treated them. But, Jack, you can not sacrifice my people for the Geth." Jack stayed quiet for a second as he mulled over the choice in front of them. Legion though spoke again as it looked at the Quarian. "Do you remember the question that caused creators to attack us and begin the Morning war, Tali'zorah,….does this unit have a soul?" Jack looked at Tali and then at Legion. "Upload the code to the Geth, Legion. Tali, call Admiral Raan and get her to call off the fleet if she can." Tali activated her com link as Legion started to upload the Reaper code with his holo-tool. "Uploading, ten percent." "Admiral Raan, this is Tali'zorah. You have to get the fleet to stop their attack." Raan's voice then came through the com link. "I will try, Tali. Pleas….." she was suddenly cut off by Gerrel. "No, continue the attack. This is our chance to end the Geth once and for all." Tali shook her head in response as Legion kept working. "twenty percent." it replied. The Quarian looked at Jack, he could see her white eyes looking back at him through her visor. "Jack, I can't stop them. Please don't let Legion do this." she pleaded, her voice full of emotion. "We regret the deaths of the Creators, but we see no alternative. Forty percent" Legion replied sympathetically. Tali kept looking at Jack who gave her a stern look. "No, no one else dies today. Legion keep going." he said before tapping his com link. "Jack." Tali replied. "All ships, this is Jackson Prime. The Reaper is dead, stand down now!" he said stoically into his com link. Tali having seen Jack's resolve suddenly spoke into her own com link. "This is Tali'zorah vas Defiant. Jackson Prime speaks the truth. Stand down." Then Admiral Raan's voice followed on the transmission. "I agree with Tali and the Prime, all ships stand down." "Negative, we can finally win this war. Keep firing!" Gerrel countered. "Sixty percent." Legion spoke aloud as he continued to upload the code. "The Geth are about to return to full strength. If you continue to attack, then they will wipe you out. Your entire history has been about you trying to kill the Geth. You forced them to rebel against you, just as you forced them to ally with the Heretics and the Reapers." Jack said into his com link. "Eighty percent" Legion stated while the Prime continued. "The Geth do not want to fight you. If you can believe that for just one moment, then this war is over. You have a choice, please…..Keelah se'lai." Then for a long moment the com link's frequency was silent before Gerrel spoke again. "All ships, hold fire." he answered in defeat, Jack felt a smile grow on his face in response. Suddenly Legion stopped the upload. "Error, copying Reaper code is insufficient. Direct personality dissemination required." It then looked over at Jack. "Darby Commander, I must go to them. I am…. I am sorry, but it is the only way." the Geth said with what sounded like sadness in it's voice. Tali then stepped forward towards the synthetic. "Legion, the answer to your question was…..yes." she said sadly, gaining the Geth's attention as it looked at her with it's bright white optic. "I know, Tali. Thank you." Legion replied before looking back out towards the sunset that was nearly complete as half of the sun was still visible over the horizon. "Keelah se'lia" it continued before it's Optic dimmed to nothing and Legion fell to it's knees before slumping to the ground in front of them. As Jack, Arcee and Tali looked down to their friend's body, two shuttles flew down and landed next to them. One was Quarian and the other was Geth, Admiral Raan exited her shuttle and walked over to the group. "Prime." she said as they looked to her. "Admiral Raan, how is everything up there?" Jack asked. "I heard what you said over the com link, if Gerrel hadn't stopped.." she replied. "He did." the Prime said in return. "We have lost a lot of ships, I don't know if we can…..where are we supposed to go?" she said. Suddenly a Geth centurion joined the group and looked down at the Admiral. "You are welcome to return to Rannoch, Admiral Raan,…..with us." it said calmly to her. "Legion?" Jack asked as he and Tali looked up to it. "I am sorry, Commander, but no. Legion sacrificed himself to give the rest of us intelligence. He will be honoured." the Geth replied. "Good." Jack said with a smile. "And we will honour Legion's promise. The Geth fleet with help you retake Earth and our engineers will assist in building the Lithone weapon called the 'Crucible'." the Geth continued as Raan looked back at the Prime. "As will ours, of course." "Admiral, have you considered possible settlement sites?" the centurion asked as it looked back at the Quarian. "Well…the southern continent had excellent farmland if I recall." she said in surprise. "Are you going to be okay?" Jack asked, gaining the attention of the Geth and Raan. "Yes, I believe so, Prime. Thank you." she answered before looking back to the centurion. Jack then looked at Arcee who gave him a loving smile before noticing that Tali wasn't with them. They both looked around to see that she had walked over to the edge of a cliff and sat down, she was watching the sunset as it finished. Arcee nudged the Prime, gaining a smile from Jack before he walked over and sat beside the Quarian. "Thinking of buying another house?" he asked jokingly with a warm smile, Tali looked at him and smiled. "I was thinking of something with a view like this." "Well, you better claim it fast. It's a buyers market." he replied, the Quarian chuckled in response but then stayed quiet. "You alright? I know that it will be difficult for your people to work with the Geth." the Commander said. "I'm not staying here, if you are wondering. I am coming with you." she replied while looking back at him. "I wasn't going to ask." he said in return gently. "I think that you have more than earned the help of the fleet and my people also owe the Cybertronians for their part in this too." Tali replied. "I would understand if you wanted to stay and help your people rebuild." the Prime said. "But Jack, we both know that the Reapers are here to destroy all life in the galaxy. And that sooner or later they will arrive here at Rannoch. So I am coming with you to stop them, because I have just gotten my home back, I'll be damned if I am going to let them destroy it." the Quarian replied before getting back to her feet, Jack doing the same. "It is beautiful, isn't it?" she said as the sun finally disappeared behind the mountains on the horizon. "Yes, it certainly is." the Prime replied as Arcee stood beside him and took his hand in her own, gently squeezing it affectionately. Jack smiled back to her in return as Tali began to take off her visor. "It will be years before we can live without our suits completely, but…" Both Jack and Arcee looked at her in surprise as she took the visor off and looked out at the landscape before them. "...Right now, I have this." Tali said as a single tear of joy ran down her cheek as she smiled. The Quarian and her friends then continued to take in the natural beauty that Rannoch had to offer as night descended upon the planet.
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