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  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Chapter 8 Arcee was sitting in the common room with Airachnid and Garrus either side of her and on the opposite side of the table was Tali. "So what was it like, meeting a friendly Reaper?" the Quarian asked curiously. "Well you would have to ask Jack that, since we were at the shuttle the whole time." Arcee answered while stirring her coffee with a tea spoon. "You saw it though right, I heard that it looked somewhat like Harbinger. You know with the eyes." Garrus said while Tali looked over to see one of the crewmen changing the channel on the TV on the far wall. "Yeah, those eyes. They were very unnerving. It looked like Lucifer was just looking right through you. But I tell you what, I'm glad it is on our side. We never would have made it back to the ship if not for it's help." Airachnid replied while holding her glass of prune juice. "Things were definitely edgy when Harbinger and those two Reapers turned up. And yet This Lucifer just took the two of them apart with ease?" the Turian asked a little disbelievingly. Arcee nodded in return. "Yeah, it was real impressive. It certainly left Harbinger phasing for a moment." The femme then looked over to Airachnid and saw that her fellow femme was now reading a document on the pad in front of her. "What you reading there?" she asked gaining the former Con's attention. "Oh, it's just some of the Reapers history that Lucifer shared with Jack when he was with it down on the planet." Arcee smiled at her friend before looking down at the pad. "By the way you did really good with Dr Bryson's database back on the Charon. I didn't realise you had that particular skill." Airachnid smiled back at the curious femme and took a sip of her drink before answering. "Well remember my spark mate, Esmeral?" the. The blue Autobot nodded with a somewhat lessened smile. Arcee knew that it must have been hard for Airachnid to talk about her, due to what had transpired between her, Esmeral and Shockwave. But the fact that she was willing to talk about her spark mate showed how strong the femme was, and Arcee knew from previous experience with her former partners how hard that could be. It was funny how Jack could bring that out of both of them. "Yes, I remember her?" the Autobot replied as both Garrus and Tali watched. "Well she was a historian before the war and she would always tell me everything she had learnt each and every day. I loved listening to her, the passion she had for the subject amazed me. So after...her death, when I was freed from the reprogramming. I decided that one of the best ways to honour her would be to carry on her work." Airachnid said with a smile. "I'm sure she would be proud of you, Airachnid." Arcee said as Tali and Garrus nodded in agreement. Airachnid then blushed, feeling slightly embarrassed as she took another sip from her prune juice. Tali then looked behind the two femmes and saw Jack enter the common room. "Hey, Jack, over here." she called over to the Prime who smiled and waved back before collecting his drink. He then walked over to the table and sat beside Tali, directly opposite Arcee and Airachnid. "So how did the debrief with Bryce?" Airachnid asked as the Jack took a sip of his orange juice. "Well, he was surprised to find out that we now have a rogue Reaper on our side, but he can see the definite advantages that this will bring. I also sent a copy of all the information that I learned about their creation from Lucifer." As he spoke, Jack suddenly felt something brush against his right leg. He then saw the expression on Arcee's face. She had a beautiful slight smile on her face as she looked at the Prime intently. The Commander managed to keep himself from showing surprise as he felt her continue to brush her leg against his own. So he returned the favour, gaining a bigger smile from his partner. The others then noticed the two staring at each other and Tali feigned a cough, though this didn't get their attention. Airachnid smiled to herself as she took another drink. Garrus though just rolled his eyes. "Would you two get a room already." he said, snapping the partners out of their gaze. They also instinctively pulled their legs back to themselves as Arcee hesitantly went for her drink and Jack just took a deep breath before looking at the Turian. "What?" he answered back, trying to sound innocent. Though that did not work with his Turian friend who just gave him a knowing look. Though Arcee's eyes widened when an idea hit, she placed her cup down and looked at the Prime. "Jack, don't we have that 'thing' that we really should be getting on with?" He looked at her slightly confused as she smiled and raised an eyebrow, then it hit him. "Oh, yeah right, that 'thing'. Yes, very important….. that thing is." he said almost stuttering as he got up from his chair. The femme mirrored his actions while Garrus just rolled his eyes again, Tali chuckled and Airachnid smirked while taking another sip of her drink. Both partners then said their goodbyes and left the common room together. Once outside with the doors closed behind them, Arcee planted a quick kiss on Jack's lips. When she pulled away, he looked gob smacked back at her. "Wow, what was that for?" he asked surprise, yet the femme just gave him a large smile. "I had some great news earlier. Come on, I will tell you back in our room." she said happily as she took the Commander by the hand and they walked back to the elevator. Once back in their room, Jack sat down on the leather couch and Arcee immediately sat on his lap and looked at Jack lovingly. "You do realise there is room on this couch for two?" he asked gingerly. "Yeah, but I prefer this way." the femme replied before kissing Jack deeply on the lips, the Prime returned the kiss in kind before they separated due to the need for air, both of them panted slightly. "So….what was this news you received?" he asked curiously as she started stroking the back of his neck with her fingers gently, staring into his eyes the whole time. "I got a message from Chromia earlier." she said happily, the Commander looked back in surprise. "Your sister, I haven't seen her in years." he replied. "Me neither, I mean we have kept in touch. But she has been busy working with her student Flareup as they work with the Autobot security forces on various assignments around the Alliance." Jack raised an eyebrow at the name. "Flareup? I haven't heard of that Autobot." "She is a young femme who Chromia took under her wing during the twilight years of the war, the two have been best friends since then." Arcee answered as she continued with Jack's neck. "The last time I heard from my sister, she was assigned to Pinnacle station just before….." she trailed off as the Prime's eyes widened slightly in response. "That was one of the first Alliance outposts hit by the Reapers as they attacked Earth." The femme nodded as she looked down for a second, then she felt Jack's hand cup her face and looked back at him. "Why didn't you tell me about this?" he asked in a soft and gentle tone. "You had enough on your plate with everything else that was happening at the time, plus we were not exactly on the best of terms back then either. But anyway she is safe regardless." the femme answered. "That doesn't matter, Arcee. If I had known…." he said before she cut him off. "You needed to stay focused on the Reapers, that was what was important." Arcee said as she looked at him, Jack though could see it in her azure eyes that she wasn't really buying what she said. "No, Arcee. You are and always will be more important to me than anything else in this world." he replied while looking into her beautiful eyes. She let a smile grace her lips in response before wrapping both arms around him and pulling him into an embrace, resting her head on his shoulder. "Thank you, Jack. You don't realise how much that means to me to hear you say that." she said softly into his ear. They stayed in the embrace as time seemed to slow to a stand still while they just enjoyed the moment, then the two partners pulled back and kissed each other deeply for another long moment. They then pulled away and smiled at each other "So where is Chromia then?" he asked. "She was transferred to Eden Prime just before the attack on Earth." Arcee answered. "It's been a while since I was there last, what is she doing there?" Jack replied as he remembered his last visit. "Chromia told me that she and Flareup are there to help protect the dig site. Apparently the teams there have found underground chambers that belonged to the Lithone." the femme said. "Well Eden Prime is still aways from the front line and since Sovereign and the Geth attack three years ago, the human colonists have moved away. So the Reapers won't be attacking the colony any time soon." Jack replied. "I know, I remember you telling me what Bryce had reported during the search for Lucifer. But I still don't know why the Reapers would ignore our colonies and attack only worlds where Humans are settled." Arcee said with a confused like tone. "Yeah same here, and it worries me even more that Lucifer did not know why either." Jack replied with a worried expression. "But it's good to know that Chromia is safe." he finished, gaining a smile from the femme. "Yes it is. The last thing I want is to lose another sister." she said as her smile disappeared as she remembered the past. Jack was about to ask her what she meant when his com link activated. "Jack." Garrus's voice came through sounding worried. "What is it?" Jack asked as Arcee gave Jack a concerned look. "It's about Tali, I think you and Arcee better get down to engineering." the Turian replied. Arcee got off the Prime's lap as the both stood up. "We are on our way." he replied as the both headed out of the room. Both the Commander and his XO entered Engineering to see Garrus standing with his chief engineer and even though they could not see her face through her helmets visor, the partners could tell from her body language that something was bothering her. "Tali, what's wrong?" Jack asked as they joined the Quarian and Turian. Garrus then turned and showed them a new bulletin on the console screen in front of them. "This just played a few moments ago." he said while Tali just shook her head in disbelief. "My people are at war with the Geth, I still can't believe it." she said while Arcee put her arm around the Quarian in support. "It's going to be alright, Tali." she said gently. "No, you don't understand. The Geth were powerful enough to send us into exile, to attack them again is just tempting fate." Tali replied sheepishly. Arcee and Garrus gave Jack a concerned look, he nodded knowing fully well what they wanted. "Hotrod get me Admiral Bryce, I need to speak with him." he said after activating his com link. "Will do, Prime." the pilot replied, the Commander then looked back to the Quarian. "Tali, I will speak to the Admiral and see what our options are, but if there is anything we can do, I promise you that we will do it." Tali nodded in return. "Thank you, Jack." she replied, the Prime acknowledged the others before turning around and leaving engineering. The Commander was waiting in a non patient manner before Admiral Bryce's holo-form appeared on the pad in front of him. "Prime, this is highly irregular call. What can I do for you?" Jack crossed his arms and looked at Bryce stoically. "Did you know about the Quarians?" The Admiral placed his hand on his chin and gave Jack a worried look. "Yes we just heard about it, I am guessing from the same network broadcast you did. A reporter has broke the story over the news network. Her name is Diana Allers, she is notorious for sticking her nose in places where no one wants it. I still don't know how she managed to find out this Intel before our intelligence Operatives did." "Well, Sir, we have been a little preoccupied as of late." Jack replied in support. "Indeed, Commander, but it is troubling that the Quarians would even attempt an attack on the Geth. And with the Reapers having a foothold in the galaxy, it could not be at a worst time." the Admiral said. "So what can we do, Admiral?" Jack asked in a hoping like tone. Bryce's expression though remained the same. "Unfortunately the Quarians do not hold the Alliance in a high regard due to our allies being Cybertronian, so they wont accept any help from us." But then the Admiral looked away for a second and his expression changed to that of shock. "It can't be." he said in surprise. "What is it, Admiral?" the Prime replied gaining Bryce's attention again. "We have just received a signal from the Quarian Flotilla, they are asking to speak with us." "Really?" Jack replied. "Yes, I will connect you to the transmission, this will be interesting to say the least." Bryce replied before another holo-form appeared next to his own in front of the Commander. It was of a Quarian female (while wearing a enviro-suit) and she looked at both the Admiral and the Commander. "My name is Admiral Shala'Raan vas Tonbay, of who am I speaking too?" "I am Admiral Bryce, Commanding Officer of the Alliance military and this is Commander Jack Darby, he commands the Alliance frigate 'Defiant'." Bryce replied. "Ah yes, Jackson Prime. Tali'zorah spoke highly of you when she was last with us." Raan said gesturing to the Commander. "You mean right before she was exiled after her father was killed." Jack replied trying not to sound to condescending in tone. The Quarian shook her head in response. "That was highly unfortunate, Prime. I myself stood in support or Tali but was over ruled by the rest of the Admiralty board. I hear though that she is now a member of your crew, I am glad that she is safe." Jack nodded in reply before the Admiral stepped in. "So what can do for you, Admiral Raan?" "Well I know that we have not been very friendly towards you in the past, due to our distrust of the Cybertronians. But we are in dire need of assistance, and since the Council will not have anything to do with us due to our creating the Geth. I find myself coming to you for help." she replied in a pleading tone. Both Jack and Bryce looked at her in complete surprise. "I am guessing the war is not going well for you?" Bryce asked, gaining a nod from Raan. "After Admiral Xen discovered Rael'zorah's research into the Geth that he was working on before his death, she found a weakness in their networking that would allow us to gain a significant advantage. Admiral Gerral thought that this would be the best opportunity to retake our home world, Rannoch. And so we launched an offensive using every ship in our fleet, and for a time we pushing the Geth back until we had them surrounded. But then something changed and they received reinforcements from outside of the Veil. And before we knew what was happening we were the ones who were caught on the back foot." "Admiral, the Defiant can be there within a few hours. My crew and team do have the most experience combating the Geth and I am sure Tali would want this too." Bryce smiled and nodded in agreement. "Alright, Commander. You have a go. Admiral Raan, the Alliance is currently fighting the Reapers so we can not spare any more ships, but I do believe that the Defiant will be all the help you require." Admiral Raan nodded in return. "We did not know that the Reapers were in the galaxy, I remember Tali telling me about them. If you can help us, then I will make sure that the Quarian people repay you by aiding your war with the Reapers." She then looked back at Jack. "And, Jackson Prime, with everything that Tali told me about you and her friends. I do not doubt what aid you can give us. But I must warn you, the admiralty board does not know that I have contacted you. They told me not to include outsiders, but I suspect with how desperate the situation is now. They will not turn away help, but still." "Thank you for the heads up, Admiral Raan, we head for your position straight away." the Prime replied. He then turned back to the Admiral. "Sir, if that is everything?" he asked, gaining a nod from Bryce. "Of course, Commander. Good luck." the Admiral replied before both he and Raan disappeared, Jack then tapped his com link. "Hotrod, set course for Rannoch and have Tali and Garrus meet me in the CIC." "Yes, Prime. We are on our way." the Autobot said, as Jack headed out of the com room. The Defiant then took a sharp turn before jumping in to hyperspace. PRIME EFFECT 3 As the Defiant moved through hyperspace, Jack was standing next to Hotrod with Arcee, Garrus and an impatient Tali behind them. "We will be entering Rannoch space in two minutes." the pilot stated. "What's the situation, can you tell from the Com-Buoys in the system?" the Prime asked. The Autobot brought up a screen showing the sensor data. "It looks like a big old scrap storm out there, but from what I can tell the Flotilla is surrounded like the Quarian Admiral said. But there is an escape route that is blocked by the Geth Dreadnought that is ripping apart the front lines of Quarian ships." "I have detected at least three hundred ship signatures in active combat in the system." Teletraan jumped in. "Yeah like I said." Hotrod replied sarcastically, meanwhile Jack looked at the screen and grinned. "That's our target then. Okay, once we jump into the battle, head straight for that dreadnought. Our stealth mode should keep the Geth from detecting us." The Commander replied as he patted Hotrod on the shoulder. "Okay, stealth mode engaged. We will be in Rannoch space in four, three…." The hyperspace field around the Defiant then disappeared in a bright white flash as the frigate suddenly found itself in the middle of a massive battle between Quarian and Geth forces, both sides seemed oblivious to the new arrival as it weaved it's way between the ships. Both sides seemed to be losing ships quickly as explosions erupted all over the place. The Alliance frigate then turned and flew past a Quarian cruiser as it was blown apart by it's Geth counterpart, the Defiant narrowly evading the debris as it moved towards the Dreadnought which was a colossal size compared to the other ships. "I have made contact with the Dreadnought's docking system and took control of it." Teletraan stated as the Defiant pulled up along side it and connected to the Geth ship's docking port. Jack stood beside the airlock with Tali and Garrus (with their breather helmets on) as Arcee joined them. "Arcee you are in command while we board the dreadnought." he said, gaining a smile from the femme. "Okay, Jack. I'll keep the ship safe until you get back." she replied. Jack winked back at her through the visor of his helmet. "Docking complete, we have a hard seal. Admiral Raan has also contacted us and informed the rest of the fleet of our intentions, they will be ready to move as soon as the dreadnought is out of commission." Teletraan announced. "Thanks, Teletraan." Jack replied before Garrus opened up the air lock, the group entering the long corridor between the two ships. The three of them walked across to the Dreadnought's airlock before they stopped and Jack looked back to them. "Alright, our job is to sabotage the Dreadnought, allowing the Flotilla the chance to escape. Tali is our expert on Geth systems, so she will be accompanying us." Tali nodded in return as Garrus looked to her. "It's good to finally have you back on field duty, Tali. You have been missed." he said with a happy tone, that unknown to him made her heart warm. "Thanks, Garrus. While it is an honour to be the Defiant's Head Engineer, it is nice to be able to stretch my legs and use my shotgun again." she replied while cocking the weapon, readying the first round. Jack then activated the airlock and it opened up, revealing the interior of the Geth Dreadnought to them. It was dark inside, the low lighting barley illuminating the place. The team moved into the ship as the air lock closed and sealed behind them. "So the Geth do not have life support on their ships?!" the Turian said as he looked over the readings on his holo-tool. "Yes, Legion told me that since they do not require oxygen to survive, they never felt the need to install such systems aboard their ships. They don't even have windows either, structural weaknesses he called them." she replied. "He?" Garrus asked back in surprise. "Yes, I guess I have a hard time viewing him like I would a normal Geth." Jack looked back and nodded, acknowledging the Quarian. "I agree with Tali, Legion is certainly unique among the Geth." Garrus found himself agreeing with them as he too nodded. "Well, I guess your right there, he did help us defeat the Quintessons after all." The three then walked through an doorway that led into what was a massive room filled with giant piston like machines. "Now that is an impressive sight." Garrus observed as Tali scanned the room with her holo-tool. "This room is one of several that power the Dreadnoughts mass driver weapons. It was these weapons that have kept our ships stuck here." Jack looked back to his Quarian team mate. "Can we do anything to disable these weapons?" Tali shook her head in response. "There is nothing we can do here, the systems are to well protected.." she replied when suddenly a group Geth centurions entered the room and spotted the intruders, firing on them instantly. Jack and his team took cover and returned fire as the Geth started to split up and attack the group from different directions. "Is it me or are these Geth acting somewhat differently to the ones we faced in the past?" Tali said while firing at one centurion who instinctively jumped out of the way. "Yeah, they seem to be acting smarter than usual." Garrus replied as he took a shot which again missed it's target. Jack though saw three of the Geth hiding behind one of the machines. "Garrus, Tali. Fire on that position, I want them pinned in that spot." he said before both team mates opened fire on that position. Jack then took a grenade that he had connected to the utility belt on his armour and activated it, before throwing it at the enemy position. The grenade bounced off the wall behind the centurions and landed right at their feet, the three Geth looking down at it curiously. It then exploded taking them with it, and leaving just two more Geth who started to back slightly. But Garrus took his chance and killed both with head shots as their bodies fell to the ground with a thud. "Nice shooting, Garrus." Tali said as the three of them got to their feet and headed for the doorway that the Geth had come from. "Thanks, Tali, but I think Jack's throw was far more impressive." the Turian replied as Jack headed over to the door and looked out into the corridor beyond it. "Clear." he called back as they joined him at the door. "Okay, we have to move fast or there won't be a Flotilla left to save. Tali how far to the power core?" the Prime asked as she looked up the map on her holo-tool. "We are too far from the core, but I believe that I can hack into their systems from this room here." she said as she pointed to a large room just a short distance away from them. "It is also emanating a strange signal that I am having a hard time decoding." "Alright let's move." Jack said as they headed in the direction of the room in question. PRIME EFFECT 3 As the battle continued outside of the Dreadnought, Jack and his team mates fought their way through the rooms and corridors between the airlock and their target. Each and every time the Geth they faced proved to be far more of a challenge to take down, taking action with what appeared to be a more advanced strategy than they had previously. But each and every time, Jack and his friends were successful against the enemy. They were now running down a large corridor as more Centurions took cover up ahead and opened fire on them. Jack though activated his skyboom shield, Garrus and Tali getting behind him. "Okay, we move together and when you get a shot, take it." The two nodded in return before they walked up the corridor as the Geth kept firing at them. The bullets though were not getting through the shield. As soon as they were close enough to the first two enemies, both Garrus and Tali slipped out either side of Jack and killed them before getting back behind the Prime. They repeated this a few times before getting to the last two centurions, the Quarian stepped out on her side and blew the Geth away from her with her shotgun, it's body slamming against the wall behind it as the Turian fired a shot which flew right through the Geth's only optic, blinding it. Jack then deactivated the shield and took a swipe at the disabled enemy with the star saber, cleaving it's head from it's body and spilling it's blood like liquid all over the place. "Hey, Jack. That was my kill." Garrus said gaining a chuckle from the Prime. "I didn't know we were keeping score?" "Yeah well I had nine kills." the Turian replied. "And I have ten." Tali said as Garrus sighed. Jack just smiled at his friends before activating the door in front of them. It opened up to a large circular room with a strange device in the middle, all around it were consoles and screens. As they walked in and got a closer look at the device, Jack's eyes widened at the look of it. "That's got to be Reaper-tech, but what would it be doing on a Geth ship, I mean the ones from Rannoch should not have it." "Yes, Legion did say that the Geth serving Sovereign were called Heretics and that they split from the Geth consensus. But I thought they were destroyed too." Tali replied as Garrus stood beside them. "Is this the device giving off that signal?" he asked while the Quarian took a scan with her holo-tool. "Yes it is, but I think we can deactivate it." She then stepped in front of her friends and typed on the holo interface in front of the large organic/synthetic device. "There, it is down." she stated as the device started to open up like a mechanical flower revealing a Geth trapped inside it. Tali's eyes widened in surprise at who it was. "Legion!" she called out as the Geth looked down at them. "Tali'zorah, Darby Commander, help us." it said in what could only be described as a panicky tone. "Tali, how do you know that's Legion?" Garrus asked slightly confused as the last time he saw this Geth, it looked no different to the rest of them. "I painted a stripe not unlike the pattern that runs down the arms of Jack's armour on his arms." Tali replied as she pointed up at her handiwork on the Geth's arms. "Legion, we will have you out of there in a moment." Jack said as Tali started to work the control interface. "What happened, why are you in that thing?" "This unit was captured by Heretics when we infiltrated this vessel and placed inside this device from the old machines. It allows the Heretics to control the rest of the Geth within it's signal range and also give them advanced intelligence." Legion replied. "That's why all the Quarians suddenly found themselves in trouble after reinforcements arrived, who just happen to be the Geth Heretics." Jack answered back gaining a nod from the Geth. "Affirmative, but now that you have deactivated it's signal. The Geth ships in this battle will now be back to the intelligence level they had before." The Prime tapped his com link. "This is Jackson Prime to the Quarian fleet, we have deactivated a Reaper device aboard the Dreadnought, you should find that the Geth fleet engaging you will not pose as much of a threat now." "Yes we have noticed, we are now evacuating the fleet since a number of holes have opened in the Geth lines. Thank you Prime." Raan replied over the com link. "There, you are free now." Tali exclaimed as the bindings on their Geth ally unlocked and it dropped down to their level, landing feet first on the ground in front of them. "Thank you, Tali'zorah. It is acceptable to see you again." "Same here, Legion." she replied with a smile. The Geth then looked blankly at Jack for a moment. "Darby Commander, as a sign of continued friendship between us. We have just hacked the Heretics systems and deactivated the Dreadnought's weapons and shields. This will make the Creator fleet's evacuation easier." "Thanks…" Jack said before the ship was rocked by and explosion on the outside of it's hull, then there was another. This caused the group to lose their balance, Jack stopped himself from falling by grabbing hold of a console next to him, meanwhile Garrus caught Tali in his arms and steadied her, the Quarian feeling very at home in the Turian's embrace. Garrus then noticed through Tali's visor that she was looking at him intently and suddenly felt embarrassed so he let go once the ship quake had stopped. "What the hell was that?" Jack asked as Legion looked around. "This ship is under attack, I am picking up an audio signal, playing it now." it said as it activated it's holo tool. "This is Admiral Gerrel to all ships, the Dreadnought is completely venerable. Attack now!" "Is he insane, we are still on board." Tali said in anger as the ship quakes started up again, the Dreadnought's hull being battered by the Quarian attack cruisers outside. "Legion, do you have escape pods on this ship?" Jack asked as he looked over to the Geth. "Negative, but we do have a fighter bay. We should leave now as we calculate that this vessel will be destroyed in approximately five minutes." "Then lead the way." the Prime replied as he handed the Geth a pistol. Legion then led them out of the room and into another corridor as more Heretics appeared and open fired. But the enemies were no match for Jack and his team as one after another, the Heretics fell to them. After running for what felt like forever as the ship continued to shake from the battering it was taking, the group finally reached fighter bay. "Hurry, ship destruction is imminent." Legion stated as it climbed into the cockpit of the Geth fighter. Jack took a quick look at the vessel which looked like a robotic bug from the outside. But suddenly another ship quake happened as the lighting around the Dreadnought flickered, Jack, Garrus and Tali suddenly felt them selves becoming weightless as the ship's gravity failed. Legion grabbed both the Quarian and Turian and pulled them down into the fighter's aft section. Jack though had floated just a bit further away, but he managed to hit the side of another fighter. He then pressed his feet against it and launched himself back towards his friends and landed perfectly next to them. "Commencing launch procedures, Darby Commander is the cargo compartment adequate for the three of you?" Legion asked from the cockpit. "It's fine, Legion. Now lets get out of here." he replied. "Acknowledged." the Geth said as he closed the cockpit and compartment and started to pilot the fighter through the floating fighters and cargo containers, as it made it's way to the fighter bay doors which had just opened. "Prime to Defiant. Hotrod, we are leaving the Dreadnought in a Geth fighter. Transmit rendezvous coordinates." he said as they flew out of the colossal ship and into open space. "Will do, Prime. Just wiggle the ship side to side so that I know which one is you." the pilot replied. The fighter then cleared dreadnought completely as the Quarian ships continued to blanket the enemy ship in weapon's fire. It's hull covered in explosions before finally the massive vessel exploded in what would have been an amazing light show. As debris from the Dreadnought flew out in all directions, the Defiant approached the Geth fighter and opened it's shuttle bay. Legion then piloted the small ship in and back to safety before the Alliance frigate turned around and rejoined the Flotilla as it moved to the outskirts of the system.
  5. CHAPTER 7 Jack opened his eyes as he looked up at the star field through the skylight in his room, he was lying down on his bed with Arcee in his arms. They were just lying there together, the femme had her head resting on his chest. She had missed just do nothing with her partner. Jack usually found that he could just lie back and relax whenever they were alone together. But not right now, not with this war going on around them. A whole month had passed since the events on Tuchanka and the Reaper war had been going from bad to worse for the Alliance. Even with the help of Turian fleets, the Reapers had taken over a third of the star systems that were part of the Alliance's territory. The Defiant had been taking part in evacuating civilians from several of the systems that were under siege, but they had still lost hundreds of thousands of people overall. The enemy forces either killed the humans or took them to be harvested, Jack knew what that entailed. People being processed into the liquid substance for the creation of a new Reaper. It was a terrifying thought, one the Prime had tried not to think about. But after seeing the casualty reports for the last few weeks, the lines of names of the dead or the missing continue to mount. It was getting to be too much. If only the Alliance and more so the Council (who were still just sitting on their hands with their heads buried in the sand) had listened to his warnings about the Reapers, maybe they would have been more prepared to defend against this seemingly unstoppable enemy. Arcee looked up at Jack and saw his trouble expression. "Jack, what's wrong?" she asked, her voice soft but full of concern. Jack looked down to her and saw her looking back at him intently. "Nothing, I'm fine." he lied hoping that she would not push him for more. But he really should have known better. If there was one thing that Arcee was good at, it was seeing right through a lie. Especially when he was the one saying it, so her expression changed to slightly annoyed. "Jack, I know when you are lying so just tell me." The Prime sighed in defeat and sat up, the femme doing the same. "I was just thinking…" Jack started before looking at the fish tank. "Was it Soundwave again?" she asked, knowing that his death had effected her partner a lot. "Yes, but also some other friends who should be here… but are not." he replied solemnly. "Miko, Kaidan and Wheeljack." the femme said, gaining a slow nod from her lover. "I miss them too, Jack. I can only imagine what Miko would be like if she was here now." Jack looked over to the Autobot. "But not 'right here'….right?" he asked. Arcee slapped the back of his head playfully. "You know what I mean." Jack smiled at her before his expression went back to sombre again. "Yeah she would be all hyped up for it, nothing ever fazed her did it." he replied as he remembered his friend. "No, she certainly didn't lack confidence. I bet she would just take a look at the Reapers and say 'we can take them'", Arcee said with a slight smile, Jack looked back at her and saw the loving gaze she gave him and returned the smile. The femme then put her arms around him and they embraced for a long moment. "I'm glad you're here, Arcee. I don't know if I could do this on my own." The Prime said as rest his head against hers. She responded by squeezing him slightly more. "Well, I am not going anywhere, Jack. We are going to see this through, together." she replied gaining a sigh from the Commander who just let himself relax in the femme's embrace, and they stayed like this for a long moment. Arcee stroked her partner's hair as she held him in her arms, she herself had seen enough war to put even the most decorated human veteran to shame. But she had to admit that this war was far worse than anything she had experienced before. Just as they started to relax the intercom activated. "Prime, Hotrod here. I have a transmission from Admiral Bryce waiting for you in the com room." the pilot said. "Thanks, Hotrod. I'm on my way." Jack replied as he pulled out of the femme's embrace. He then got up as the Autobot sat on the bed and watched him, he then looked around and saw some her belongings. "Have you finished moving your stuff in here?" "Not yet. I still have a few things to fetch." she smiled back. "Considering all the missions we have been getting, I have been lucky to bring this much in." Jack then tidied up his uniform and stood before her. "How do I look?" he asked. She looked him up and down before smiling back. "Smart and very handsome." Jack smiled back. "Thanks, Arcee. I see you later." he replied before walking out of his quarters. The hologram of Admiral Bryce was waiting for Jack as he entered the com room. "Commander, good work on Alpha Centari. If we hadn't moved fast, those colonists would be either dead or harvested by the Reapers." "Thank you, Sir, I just wish we had been as efficient with the other colonies." Jack replied solemnly. Bryce's expression softened somewhat. "I know, Darby, and I sympathise with you, I really do. But with the speed and power that the Reapers have shown in attacking our colonies, we were always going to lose a lot of people at first. Though now that we have adapted to their tactics, our evacuations have now become far more effective. Even if we still haven't taken out a Sovereign class ship yet." Jack nodded before looking back at the Admiral curiously. "Sir, where do the refugees go in the meantime?" "To Sanctuary, it's a space station on the other side of the galaxy. It is inside Council space, they have allowed us to use it due to the Reapers laying waste to our own territory. The refugees should be safe there until the Crucible is completed." Bryce answered. "Crucible?" the Prime replied. "Yes, the Lithone weapon has been name Crucible by our scientists. And according to their last report, they are already forty five percent complete." Jack looked at him in surprise. "That far ahead already, we are only more than a month into the war?" "Believe me I know, but apparently the plans for the Crucible once deciphered are very intricate and simple to build. It's almost like who ever designed it, wanted it to be built in an efficiently but also quickly. And considering how fast the Reapers have turned this war, I can see the need to have a super weapon as quickly as possible." the Admiral said while the Commander crossed his arms. "So we know it's a super weapon now?" "Yes, the scientists have theorised that it uses un-quantifiable levels of power and then releases it as a highly altered wave of energy that will encompass everything in range. The energy wave will destroy everything in it's path that is of the same matrix." Bryce said while looking away, most likely looking at a screen at his location. "So if we don't get the right target data for the Crucible, when it comes to arming the device. We may well end up blowing ourselves up instead." "Yes, that's why we need the 'Kranix matrix' before we are ready to move the Crucible." the Admiral responded. "Don't worry, Admiral. I'll find it." Jack replied, gaining a smile from his superior. "I know you will, Commander, but in the meantime I have another mission for you. I need you to rendezvous with the 'Charon' and it's expedition's leader, Dr Bryson. His last transmission to me has left me well….worried, so I want you to go make sure he is alright." The Prime nodded in return. "Of course sir, but what is his mission?" "His expedition's mandate was to search out any information about the Reapers, from rumours to fables about them. To weed out the myths from the truth, because apart from what you learnt about them from the Lithone. We are still in the dark when it comes to everything else we know." Bryce replied. "More information on the Reapers would certainly be of help to us. But I have to ask, why Charon, isn't that the ferryman of the river Styx in Greek mythology?" Jack asked. "Yes he is, and all I can say of that is Dr Bryson is well versed in mythology and is also very religious considering his family's Christian background." Bryce said before looking away and accepting a pad from someone that Jack could not see. The Admiral's face went serious as he view the data on the pad. "Commander, I had our analysts go over all the data we could come up with as how the Reapers have been attacking our systems. And it seems that as we know, anywhere that has humans situated gets attacked. But it seems that any colony that has only Cybertronians is left untouched." Jack's eyes widened at the Admiral's information. "Well, that explains some things." he replied. "What do you mean Commander?" Bryce asked. "Well, Sir. As we know, the Cybertronians have been around for millions of years, but Sovereign claimed that the Reapers were even older, so why didn't the Cybertronians even know of them. I mean the great war kept their attention mainly on themselves, but still you would think they would notice a race of bio-mechanical giant squids purging the galaxy around them every hundred thousand years." Jack said as the Admiral stroked his own chin while listening. "You make some good points, Darby, and I will be asking Optimus this when I next speak to him. Getting a signal to Earth is proving tricky at best these days." "Have you spoken to him recently, how is he doing?" Jack asked. "I spoke to him a week ago, the resistance is holding it's own against the Reaper ground forces, helping civilians to safety and sabotaging the enemy's attempts to harvest. Optimus is leading the resistance with the help of Ironhide, Kup and Dreadwing. They are all in command of their own cells. Optimus did ask how you were doing, when I told him how you orchestrated the curing of the Genophage, thus gaining the Krogan and also the Turians to aid us in this war. He was very proud." Bryce replied with a smile. "Thank you, Admiral." Jack said with a smile. The Admiral then looked away for a second before looking back at the Prime. "Well I have to go, Commander. I have already sent the coordinates of the Charon to your pilot. Contact me once you have completed the mission, Bryce out." The hologram then disappeared prompting Jack to activate his com link. "Hotrod, set course for the coordinates that the Admiral has given us." "Aye aye, Prime." the pilot responded. The Defiant then veered away from the nebula that it was heading to and jumped into hyperspace. PRIME EFFECT 3 An Alliance science ship was orbiting a red/green planet in an uninhabited system when the Defiant appeared out of hyperspace and slowed to a halt next to it. "Alliance-vessel Charon, this is the Defiant. Please come in?" Hotrod said over the com while Jack stood beside him. "Charon, this is the Defiant, anyone over there?" The Autobot then looked up to the Prime with a worried expression. But before anything could be said, a voice came over the com. "This is Charon, we read you Defiant." a male voice spoke, but it sounded very distant and void of emotion. Both guys looked at each as confusion took over before Hotrod spoke again. "Yeah, why did it take you so long to reply, Charon?" Another long moment of silence followed as Jack crossed his arms and the pilot started tapping the arm rest of his chair. "Sorry, but we had a problem with our com systems. We are repairing them as we speak." the voice said again. "Well we have Jackson Prime here to see Dr Bryson on behalf of Admiral Bryce." Hotrod replied. While they waited for a reply, Jack turned to the holo-form of Teletraan. "Does the Charon have any weapons to speak of? A screen then appeared in front of the Prime and showed the schematics of the Charon. "No Jackson Prime, the Charon is primarily a science vessel and so has no weapons to speak of." Jack turned back to Hotrod just as the Charon responded. "I am afraid that the Doctor is unavailable at this time. Sorry that you came all this way for nothing." the distant voice answered. "Sounds like indoctrination to me" Arcee observed as she joined the Prime and Hotrod in the cockpit. The Commander smiled at her before looking back at Hotrod, his face returning to a more stoic like look. "Hotrod, I've got a bad feeling about this so I am taking a shuttle and a team over there. And if they so much as attempt to flee, I want you to disable them." he said before heading for the elevator, gesturing to his partner who followed him. "Will do, Prime." Hotrod replied as he worked his controls. As the shuttle left the Defiant and made the short journey over to the Charon, the science vessel made no attempts to move away. The shuttle then landed on the hull, over a small access hatch. In an empty room aboard the ship, the hatch opened and Jackson Prime (in his Prime Armour), Bumblebee, Arcee, Airachnid, Smokescreen and Jazz all dropped in with weapons ready. Jack then tapped his com link. "Teletraan, what kind of defences do they have aboard this ship?" "They only have pistols and some shock sticks, Prime." the AI replied. Jack then looked to his team. "Okay, set your weapons to stun rounds only. We will split up into two groups, Alpha will be made up of myself, Airachnid and Bumblebee. Our objective is to reach Dr Bryson and make sure he is alright. Beta will consist of Jazz and Smokescreen. Arcee, you will be in charge." the femme smiled and nodded in return. "And your objective is to secure the CIC." the Prime continued. "We can do that, Jack." Arcee replied as the group split up into their respective units. Smokescreen opened the door and Jazz peeked out into the corridor, but saw nothing. "It's clear." he replied, gaining a nod from the femme as they started to leave the room. She looked back at Airachnid and gave her a slight smile. "Look after Jack now." she said, trying to hide the concern in her voice. The former Con smirked back. "Don't worry, Arcee. I'll keep an eye on him." she replied with a wink as the Prime shook his head. "Okay, lets keep on mission. Beta team move out." Jack replied gaining a nod from Arcee and the others. "We'll be back before you know it." Smokescreen said before he followed Arcee and Jazz out of the door. Jack then tapped his com link again. "Teletraan, can you tell me where Dr Bryson is right now?" "Of course, Prime. I am uploading his location to your holo-tool." the AI replied. The Commander activated it and saw a layout of the ship and their approximate distance to their target. "Okay, let's roll." Jack replied as he deactivated his holo-tool and re-equipped his weapon. The three of them then headed out of the room and down the opposite way to Beta team. Alpha team ran down the corridor and turned a corner to come face to face with four of the crew. Their faces looked devoid of emotion and their eyes looked empty. They were all armed with pistols and had them aimed right at the Prime and his team. "You do not belong here, leave now." one of the said in a toneless voice. Jack thought about saying some think but then just shook his head. 'This would be like talking to a brick wall.' he thought to himself, so he shook his head in response. The crewmen tightened their grips on the pistols. "Now!" Jack said and the three of them fired at the indoctrinated enemies, the stun bullets hit each one. Causing them to go into shock as they collapsed on to the ground, unconscious taking hold. Bumblebee walked over and scanned them with his holo-tool. "They are going to be fine, Jack." he said as Jack looked down the corridor towards a T-junction. "Well, let's keep moving." he replied as they left the crewmen where they were and moved down to the junction. Airachnid looked down one corridor, while Jack the other. He then peeked at the map on his holo-tool. "This way." he said, gaining the other's attention as they joined him. Meanwhile Beta team had made it to the CIC without any real trouble, the three of them were outside the room and Jazz had his holo-tool activated as he took a scan of the room. "Well, folks, we have seven hostiles in there right now, and they are scattered around the room, one is right behind this door." he stated as he readied his weapon. Arcee moved herself to the other side of the door and prepared herself. "Alright, I will go in first and subdue this one, then I will draw the others attention and allow you two to take them down. Are we clear?" Both bots nodded in agreement, gaining a smile from the femme as she held up her SMG with one hand. The other held over the door controls, she then took a breath before hitting the panel. The door opened to reveal a crew-member who just looked at her blankly, Arcee did not take another second as she ran through the doorway and punched the crewman in the face, she then grabbed him and threw him over the table behind. This gained the attention of the others who stared at her just as blankly before raising their weapons. As they fired back, the femme jumped over the table and took cover behind it. They then started to move in on the blue bot, but as they got closer. Smokescreen and Jazz entered the room and fired a shot at each crewman while their attention was elsewhere. When all the indoctrinated crew were down and out, the three of them secured the room and Arcee activated her com link. "Beta to Alpha, come in Alpha." "Alpha here. What's your status, Arcee?" Jack said as his voice came through over the link. "We have secured the CIC and locked it down." she replied. "Good work, we are almost to Bryson, according to Teletraan there are only a few crewmen left to deal with." "Do you need help?" the femme asked. "Just remain at the CIC, Arcee. We've got it handled here. Prime out." the Prime replied confidently before shutting down the link. Arcee then turned to her team mates. "Okay, lets secure this guys before they reawaken." On the other side of the Charon, Jack, Airachnid and Bumblebee had just made it to the the science lab and found that Dr Bryson was being held captive by the remaining crewmen, and were waiting for them. There was one standing with Bryson on his knees beside him, he had a pistol pointed at the doctor's head. At either side were two more crew, their pistols aimed at Alpha team. "You do not belong here, leave now!" the hostage taker said, his voice sounded like it had another voice underlining it, a more older and alien voice. Jack thought it sounded similar to when harbinger took over the body of Dr Henson. "You give us Dr Bryson and we will leave." The Prime replied, but this only seemed to make the crewman angry. "No, it is because of this one that we find ourselves in danger again." he replied, his expression was so much different to the others, one of anger and fear. "And so we need to keep ourselves in the shadows, so that the others will not find us." Jack listened to possessed crewmen, but all the while he looked around the room and spotted what looked to be a crystal sphere at the far end of the room, sitting on a table. It looked completely black, just like any Reaper artefact, but instead of the blue energy that you would associate with such tech, this one had red like fire emanating from it. "Who are the others, do you mean the Reapers?" the Commander asked, gaining a change in it's expression as the crewman's eyes started to glow red. "Reapers….a name given by organics to something that they can not understand." "Then help us to understand them?" Jack asked as he lowered his weapon. "No…..we have exposed ourselves for too long already." the crewman replied as he prepared to pull the trigger. "Once this one is dead, we can fade back into the shadows." He then looked back down to Bryson and started to pull the trigger. "No!" Jack shouted as he fired back, hitting the crewman's arm and gaining his attention. The two other crewmen started firing back, making the Alpha team dive behind cover. The lead crewman who was unfazed by the Prime's attack grabbed Bryson by his arm and pulled him up onto his feet. "You will pay for your defiance." he answered as he then positioned his gun behind the Doctor's back and fired, the shot ripped right through Bryson's back and out of his chest spraying blood everywhere. The hostage then fell to the floor, landing face down as blood started form a puddle under him. Jack then gritted his teeth and launched himself over the work top he had used for cover and fired at the lead crewman, who just stared at him. Meanwhile Bumblebee and Airachnid took out the two other crew easily, but the one that was possessed did not even flinch as Jack's bullets appeared to not have an effect. "You are out of your element here, now be gone." he replied as he raised his pistol at the Prime. But Jack then saw the artifact again and raised his weapon and fired at it, knocking the sphere off the table and it hit the floor, cracking it. Suddenly the crewman fell to the ground, as if whatever had taken him over was now gone. The Commander then ran over to Dr Bryson and turned him onto his back. The Doctor opened his eyes and looked at Jack, while blood starting spilling out from his mouth. "Don't worry, Doctor. We will fix you up." the Prime said as he activated a pack of medi-gel, while Airachnid knelt down beside them. The Doctor though shook his head slowly. "It's too late for me, I am guessing Bryce sent you." he replied through the pain. "Yes, I am Commander Darby of the Defiant." Jack said while the femme tended to the Doctor's chest wound. "Jackson Prime, I always wanted to meet you." "Save your strength, we can still talk." the Prime said back but Bryson shook his head again before pointing towards a computer. "No we won't, but everything you need is in my database." "What we need?" Jack asked back. "To find…. Lucifer!" Bryson replied before his eyes glazed over and his body went limp, his outstretched arm falling to the floor. Jack just sighed as Airachnid shook her head and looked back at the Prime. "I am sorry, Jack." she said sadly as she packed up the medi-gel. "It's not your fault, Air." he replied gaining a surprised look from the femme, who then nodded back. They then just stayed there for a long moment as Bumblebee kept an eye on the stunned crewmen. It had been over an hour since the entity that had he whole crew of he Charon under is influence had been cast out, unfortunately it was also a hour since Dr Bryson was murdered by said entity too. The crew had recovered and resumed their duties as Jack had took command until the were ready to head back to the fleet, meanwhile Airachnid was helping with the Doctor's research. Jack entered the lab and walked over to the femme who was to busy looking over some data on a large holo-screen to notice. "Airachnid, how is it going?" he asked, gaining the femme's attention. "Well, the doctor was definitely tracking this entity and he believes that it was responsible for killing the Reaper that the Alliance found in the Malleos system. That Reaper corpse was carbon dated to be one hundred thousand years old, so it would have been during the purge of the Lothine. But he also has proof that this entity was also responsible for the destruction of a Reaper found by the Batarians, they called it the Leviathan of Dis. And that was carbon dated at around four million years old." "So this 'Lucifer' as Bryson called it managed to kill two Reapers, it is definitely something worthless looking into. Why Lucifer though?" Jack asked while looking overarching the screen. "Maybe because he believes that it is a Reaper." She replied as she brought up more information for Jack to see. "A Reaper, how did he come to that conclusion?" the Prime asked. "Well it appears that he managed to get his hands on the scan results from both Reaper corpses, now each has the weapon signature of the one that killed them burnt into their damaged parts. He then searched for known energy signatures that would match, he found one." Airachnid said as she continued to type. "And that was?" the Commander asked, listening to the femme's every word. "Sovereign, it's beam weapon." "So Lucifer is a Reaper, a Reaper that attacks it's own kind. Makes sense why he would call it that name." he replied as Arcee joined them. "Found anything?" she asked as she stood beside Airachnid. "Yes, Lucifer is a Reaper and Jack was about to tell us why Dr Bryson called it that." the femme said with a smile, Arcee then looked at Jack too. The Prime suddenly felt very self conscious as both femmes watched him. "Oh, okay. In Earth religion, Lucifer was one the Archangels in Heaven and when God created Humanity, He asked all angels to bow down to them, but Lucifer said that humans were below the angels and that he would never bow down to a lower form of life. He then rebelled and so was cast out of Heaven and down into Hell by the Archangel Michael." The two femmes just stood there and listened to the Prime until he finished. "Interesting, so Bryson believes what…that this Reaper rebelled against the others. If that is true, it might be worth trying to get it on our side." Arcee replied, gaining a nod from Airachnid. "I don't know, this Reaper could turn out to be just as dangerous as the rest of them, except in this war it is a wild card." Jack said in return, but Airachnid shook her head in response. "I agree with Arcee on this one, Jack." she said, gaining a smile from the femme. "After all, if the Reapers are looking for it. What's that Human saying, the enemy of my enemy…" Jack had to agree with her there and so smiled back at both of them. "Alright, so how do we go about finding a rogue Reaper who doesn't want to be found?" Airachnid turned back to the screen and brought up a number of coordinates. "Here is all the planets that Bryson believed could have been hiding places for Lucifer." Jack walked over and activated his com link. "Teletraan, I am about to link you up to the Charon's computer. I want you to run a full analysis of Bryson's database and see if you can triangulate the location of Lucifer." "Very well, Prime. This will not take long." the AI responded as it's holo-form appeared next to the screen. The data said screen suddenly started speeding down as Teletraan began processing it all. The Prime and two femmes waited patiently for a long moment before an image of the galaxy appeared with a red dot in in an area of it. Jack smiled and looked over to the femmes. "We got it." he said as Arcee and Airachnid looked over to him. "Looks like we are Reaper hunting then." Arcee said before Jack looked over to one of the crewmen who were working in the room. "We are heading out now, will you be alright getting the Charon back to the fleet?" The man looked back at the Prime sombrely. "Yes, I am sorry for what happened to the Doctor, we were friends." Jack placed his hand on the crewman's shoulder. "It's not your fault, the Reaper had control of you. Don't go blaming yourself." he said gaining a sheepish nod from the man. But suddenly the ship's alarm system activated, causing the corridor and room lights to go red. "Defiant report." Jack said into his com link. "Teletraan here, Prime. Three Sovereign class Reapers have appeared in the system and are heading this way." Arcee and Airachnid's eyes widened in response. The Prime though remained calm as he looked back at the crewman. "Once our shuttle un-docks, jump to hyperspace. We will keep the Reapers busy, alright." The crewman nodded and walked away to the CIC as the Prime and the two femmes headed in the opposite direction. The Reaper ships closed in on the two Alliance ships, one of the three had six glowing eyes and could only be Harbinger. Suddenly the shuttle disconnected from the Charon's hull and flew toward the Defiant, the science vessel then veered away before jumping to hyperspace leaving the Defiant to contend with the three behemoths. As they approached with their beam weapon ports charging, the shuttle flew directly into the shuttle bay before the Defiant pulled into a dive as Harbinger fired it's beam which narrowly missed. The two other Reapers then fired causing the Alliance frigate to spin and dodge the attacks before flying directly at the Leader. Harbinger just stared at the Defiant as it stayed on course, it's beam weapon powering up with a deadly red glow. Then it fired and yet again the Defiant turned ninety degrees on it's side and missed the beam before flying past Harbinger and jumping to hyperspace. PRIME EFFECT 3 In another part of the galaxy, the Defiant reappeared from hyperspace and flew toward a grey, moon looking planet. In the cockpit Jack and Arcee was standing next to Hotrod, the pilot looking very happy with himself. "Come on, wasn't that the best flying you have seen or what?" he said cockily. Jack just shook his head and smiled. "Yes, Hotrod. It was brilliant. How many times do you want to hear that?" The young Autobot just shrugged his shoulders as his grin went even bigger. "You shouldn't have asked me that, Prime, because I will be asking none stop now." He then looked at his readouts and his expression changed to serious. "We are approaching the planet Karumto." he said as Jack looked over the information on the screen next to him. "Prime, Karumto is uninhabitable. It's surface is covered in volcanoes which have made the atmosphere unbreathable, due to the amount of ash and carbon dioxide, not to mention the earthquakes that regularly occur due to the instability of the planet's core." Jack looked down at the screen and a smirk appeared on his face. "So basically the planet is 'Hell'." he stated. The AI stayed quiet for a moment as it took in the Prime's comment. "An interesting observation." Jack then looked over at Hotrod. "Stay in orbit, I will take down a team via the shuttle. Meanwhile keep scanning for Harbinger or any other Reapers. It was no coincidence that they turned up when they did earlier, they are looking for Lucifer too. So if they do turn up, I want you to hide the Defiant behind this planet's moon and await my signal okay?" he said gaining a nod from the pilot. "Will do, Prime, just be careful down there." he replied. Jack smiled back before walking back down to the CIC and the elevator. Not long after the shuttle left the Defiant and flew down into the planet's atmosphere while the Frigate moved over to it's neighbouring moon to hide. Once down on the planet surface, Jack, Arcee, Airachnid and Bumblebee all climbed out of the shuttle via it's hatch and looked around (with breather helmets on). The surface definitely looked like something hellish. There were volcanoes as far as the eye could see and more than half of them were active, there was also lava beds running close by. It looked like nothing living could survive here. "What a hell hole." Airachnid said as she felt the heat through her suit. Arcee nudged her gently, getting the femme's attention. "This was just as bad as the time Optimus and I were trapped in the Artic. That was not that different…..well except for the temperature." Jack activated his holo-tool and immediately picked up a strange signal emanating from the volcano directly ahead and it was absolutely massive, it looked like the Everest of volcanoes. "Okay, Guys, it's this way." he said as he started to move. "Jack, wait." Bumblebee called out as he stopped the Prime and handed him a device. "What's this, Bee?" he asked as he looked down at what was in his hands. "That is a shield amplifier, Raf designed it. It should be able to withstand the extreme heat of the volcano for a limited time that is." the scout replied. "Thanks, do we all have one?" the Commander asked, gaining a head shake from the Autobot. "Sorry, that's a working prototype. So we can't go along, but we can wait here for you." Jack looked back down at the amplifier and then back up to his team mates. "Right, I will be back before you know it." he said as he connected the device to his armour and watched as his personal shield doubled in strength. He was about to walk away when he suddenly noticed Arcee staying at him worriedly. "Jack…." she said hesitantly with concern in her voice. Jack though just smiled at her reassuringly. "I'll be fine, Arcee. Don't worry." he replied. The femme simply nodded back before the Prime turned and began the short trek to the volcano. When he made it to the base of the volcano Jack looked back to see the shuttle in the distance, a small spec on the horizon. It had taken him a while to reach it, but now that he had a chance to see how far he had walked. It was quite a distance, he looked at his holo-tool and saw that the counter for his shield strength was still ninety nine percent. The Prime looked up the mountain side, it was certainly to high for him to climb. But something caught his eye and he noticed a large cave like entrance just to his left and so he walked over to it. Once he was in the cave, the temperature shot up immeasurably. His shield strength went down to ninety four percent in one go, but then stayed there. Jack sighed in relief before descending into the cave as the heat from the volcano blew out through the naturally made corridor. He walked down what felt like an never ending descent through the cave, to his right was another lava bed that was illuminating Jack's surroundings. He turned a corner and entered a massive chamber which held an even bigger lava bed in front of him. The Commander looked at his holo-tool, the signal was coming from this exact spot and also his shield strength was down to eighty six percent. He looked around but could not see anything of interest, but when he looked up. He saw the top of the volcano and the sky above, he was at the center of it, but it looked nothing like the volcanoes he had studied at school when he was younger. 'Could this be Lucifer's doing?' he thought to himself. Suddenly the room began to shake as what felt like an earthquake erupted around him. The lava began to stir and spill over the sides of the ground that Jack was standing on, causing him to back track so not to get any on him. Then at the center of the lake of lava, a black tip appeared before it rose out of the molten magma, revealing more of it's shape. In just a few seconds Jack found himself standing before the recognisable shape of a Reaper that was hovering just above him. It was about the same size as Harbinger, but with noticeable differences like instead of the blue like energy that ran though the Reaper's outer shell, this one had a fiery red energy. Plus it's eyes instead of being yellow like Harbinger, they too were red. Jack just stood there for the longest moment in awe of the sight before him. "You have come too far." it said with anger tinged in it's voice. Jack felt his head ache for a second before finding his voice. "I had to find you." he said. "We warned you, yet you still came for us. What will it take for you to leave us alone." it replied. Jack though did not budge as the Reaper's beam weapon powered up. Look, you killed Dr Bryson. That was not necessary, when all we wanted to do was talk to you." "You do not understand." "Then help me understand then, You have killed Reapers, I want to know why." the Prime said. The Reaper just looked at him. "They are the enemy, one that seeks our destruction. But what do you want?" Jack suddenly felt like his head was about to explode as he fell to his knees and clutched at his helmet. "We see your memories, your very soul. So you are a disciple of Primus, it has been such a long time since we were in the presence of a Prime." Jack looked at it in surprise. "You have met a Prime before?" he asked with a somewhat confused expression. "Yes, billions of cycles ago in a time before we became the thing that is before you now." Jack then suddenly saw images flash before his eyes as the Reaper began speaking in his mind. "You see we were once an organic life form like yourself. Our original form was similar to the shape that this body has." "You were an aquatic race?" Jack asked observantly. "That is correct, we lived in oceans on a number of worlds. We believed that we were the first race in the galaxy to become sentient and then evolve to the first advanced civilisation. We mastered interstellar travel and colonised these ocean like worlds as our own. But then he came." "He?" the Prime asked as he listened and watched the memories before him. "Unicron, the Chaos Bringer." Jack saw the image of a giant bio-mechanical planet appear before him as it attacked one of the ocean planets. "Unicron began devouring our worlds, murdering millions of us. One world after another fell to the deity. And when we had just one world remaining, he appeared again and we feared the extinction of our race. And then they appeared." The Commander then saw the silhouettes of thirteen Cybertronians appear before Unicron. "The Thirteen Primes!" Jack said in surprise. "Yes, they fought with Unicron and managed to drive him away from our last remaining world." "And after that, what happened?" "The Primes left and chased after the Chaos Bringer, finally defeating him years later. We then began to rebuild, but after several thousand years, just when we finally reached the strength of our previous empire, war broke out between us. A war that tore our empire in two. "A civil war, why? How did it happen?" Jack asked while noting the counter on his holo-tool. "It just happened, one day a number of us did not agree with the rest and so that disagreement turned to anger and then hate. And before we knew it, we were at war with our brothers and sisters. And then that was when it arrived." "What was it?" the Commander asked. "It was a very dark very old power, it had the shape of a giant. It's shadow cast darkness over our empire as it began to harvest our race and mold us into the first three Reapers." "The first three?" "We were the first, the one you call Harbinger was the sceond and finally Sovereign after that. The dark power gave us an order. To harvest the galaxy every hundred thousand years, and to give one organic race per cycle the honour of becoming like us." "And then what happened. Did you do as it told you?" Jack said looking up at the Reaper. "No, for some reason the indoctrination being forced on us by our creator did not take hold of us, our minds remained and we did not agree on this slaughter at such a galactic scale. So we rebelled and was chased away by our brothers." Jack kept quiet for a second as he thought on what the Reaper had told him, and then he looked back up. "What happened after that?" "We hid, we were no match for both Harbinger and Sovereign. So we took refuge in the dark areas of the galaxy and watched, as the ones you call Reapers harvested and purged one cycle of the galaxy after another. So many lives lost." "What of Cybertron, did you see that?" "Yes, we saw the Cybertronians, the ones who descended from the Thirteen themselves. We also saw their war, long and bloody and full of hate. We also noticed that our brothers left them alone." "Do you know why?" "We do not, we rebelled before the dark power revealed all to us." "Look I know you want to stay hidden, but we could really use your help against the Reapers now. If you join us, you can fight your brothers and help us end this." Jack pleaded with them. "But we are only one Reaper against billions of our brothers." "You won't be fighting alone, I am attempting to forge an Alliance of all the races of this current cycle. We are also building a super weapon called the Crucible. If you join us, we can end this." "We have seen your past through your memories Jackson Prime. And we are impressed by what you have accomplished, you killed our brother Sovereign. You defeated the plans of Harbinger and his Quintessons, the Reapers no doubt consider you a threat. We will join you Prime." Jack smiled before suddenly his com link went off. "Jack, it's Arcee. Hotrod just called us, the Reapers have appeared in orbit and are making their descent. We are bringing the shuttle over to you now." the femme said before the transmission was cut off. Jack looked back at the Reaper. "The Reapers are here, we need to leave now." he said. "We will assist you, Prime, but when this is all over and our brothers are put to rest..." "Yes?" the Prime asked curiously. "We ask that you allow us to be destroyed as well, for we have grown tired of this existence and when our brothers die, we too wish to join them." Jack nodded in return. "Alright, when this is all over, I will allow you to die." he answered sombrely. He then turned to leave before stopping and looking back to the Reaper. "What should we call you?" "The Doctor that we wrongfully terminated called us 'Lucifer'. In reading your mind we have come to see the meaning of this name and we find it adequate. Now go before our brother arrives." "Thank you, Lucifer." Jack replied before running back out of the chamber and up the tunnel to the surface. Once out of the cave, he found the shuttle directly ahead of him hovering slightly off the ground. The hatch opened and Arcee held her hand out. "Jack, come on!" she called out to him, Jack responded by running up to it and climbing in. Bumblebee closed the hatch behind the Prime, as the shuttle flew up into the sky as the three Reapers came ever closer. "Commander, we have three enemy ships directly ahead." the shuttle pilot called to the Prime nervously. "Evasive manoeuvres pilot." Jack replied in return. Harbinger then fired his beam weapon which narrowly missed the shuttle as the two other Reapers took positions either side of the small Alliance ship. "They have us boxed in." Airachnid observed as the three Reapers powered up their beams for one final attack. Suddenly below them the volcano erupted sending lava and ash high into the sky. Then as the ash cloud began to spread out around the volcano, a red energy beam fired out and hit the first Reaper dead on in it's center. The black behemoth exploded in one shot as Lucfier ascended out of the cloud and up to it's brother. Harbinger turned and looked down, it's eyes burning a bright yellow in rage at what it saw. Meanwhile the shuttle veered away from the family brawl that was about to start but the second Reaper turned to chase them as it neared firing strength. But then suddenly Lucifer fired again, in cutting action the beam sliced through the Reaper. Splitting it into two pieces that fell and crashed into the ground below. Then both Lucifer and the shuttle made the ascent into space as Harbinger held back. "You will pay for this betrayal..., brother!" Harbinger cried out. Once in orbit the shuttle docked with the Defiant as Lucifer hovered nearby. Jack and his team arrived in the CIC and went straight up to the cockpit. Hotrod looked over to the Prime rather nervously. "Commander, you do know we have a large Reaper right next to us don't you?" Jack placed a hand on his pilot's shoulder and smiled. "Don't worry, Hotrod. This Reaper is on our side." he said confidently. Then the Lucifer's voice could be heard throughout the ship as it spoke into their minds. "When the time comes for you to begin the final battle, call our name and we will be there. And do not forget the promise you made us, Prime." Jack nodded as he looked out of the Cockpit windows at the black ship. "I will not, Lucifer, and thank you." he replied stoically. The Reaper then moved away from the Defiant and jumped into hyperspace. "Okay, Hotrod, get us out of here before Harbinger decides to take another shot at us." the Prime said, gaining a nod from the Autobot. "Aye aye, Sir." The Defiant then flew away from Karumto and jumped into the safety of hyperspace.
  6. CHAPTER 7 Jack opened his eyes as he looked up at the star field through the skylight in his room, he was lying down on his bed with Arcee in his arms. They were just lying there together, the femme had her head resting on his chest. She had missed just do nothing with her partner. Jack usually found that he could just lie back and relax whenever they were alone together. But not right now, not with this war going on around them. A whole month had passed since the events on Tuchanka and the Reaper war had been going from bad to worse for the Alliance. Even with the help of Turian fleets, the Reapers had taken over a third of the star systems that were part of the Alliance's territory. The Defiant had been taking part in evacuating civilians from several of the systems that were under siege, but they had still lost hundreds of thousands of people overall. The enemy forces either killed the humans or took them to be harvested, Jack knew what that entailed. People being processed into the liquid substance for the creation of a new Reaper. It was a terrifying thought, one the Prime had tried not to think about. But after seeing the casualty reports for the last few weeks, the lines of names of the dead or the missing continue to mount. It was getting to be too much. If only the Alliance and more so the Council (who were still just sitting on their hands with their heads buried in the sand) had listened to his warnings about the Reapers, maybe they would have been more prepared to defend against this seemingly unstoppable enemy. Arcee looked up at Jack and saw his trouble expression. "Jack, what's wrong?" she asked, her voice soft but full of concern. Jack looked down to her and saw her looking back at him intently. "Nothing, I'm fine." he lied hoping that she would not push him for more. But he really should have known better. If there was one thing that Arcee was good at, it was seeing right through a lie. Especially when he was the one saying it, so her expression changed to slightly annoyed. "Jack, I know when you are lying so just tell me." The Prime sighed in defeat and sat up, the femme doing the same. "I was just thinking…" Jack started before looking at the fish tank. "Was it Soundwave again?" she asked, knowing that his death had effected her partner a lot. "Yes, but also some other friends who should be here… but are not." he replied solemnly. "Miko, Kaidan and Wheeljack." the femme said, gaining a slow nod from her lover. "I miss them too, Jack. I can only imagine what Miko would be like if she was here now." Jack looked over to the Autobot. "But not 'right here'….right?" he asked. Arcee slapped the back of his head playfully. "You know what I mean." Jack smiled at her before his expression went back to sombre again. "Yeah she would be all hyped up for it, nothing ever fazed her did it." he replied as he remembered his friend. "No, she certainly didn't lack confidence. I bet she would just take a look at the Reapers and say 'we can take them'", Arcee said with a slight smile, Jack looked back at her and saw the loving gaze she gave him and returned the smile. The femme then put her arms around him and they embraced for a long moment. "I'm glad you're here, Arcee. I don't know if I could do this on my own." The Prime said as rest his head against hers. She responded by squeezing him slightly more. "Well, I am not going anywhere, Jack. We are going to see this through, together." she replied gaining a sigh from the Commander who just let himself relax in the femme's embrace, and they stayed like this for a long moment. Arcee stroked her partner's hair as she held him in her arms, she herself had seen enough war to put even the most decorated human veteran to shame. But she had to admit that this war was far worse than anything she had experienced before. Just as they started to relax the intercom activated. "Prime, Hotrod here. I have a transmission from Admiral Bryce waiting for you in the com room." the pilot said. "Thanks, Hotrod. I'm on my way." Jack replied as he pulled out of the femme's embrace. He then got up as the Autobot sat on the bed and watched him, he then looked around and saw some her belongings. "Have you finished moving your stuff in here?" "Not yet. I still have a few things to fetch." she smiled back. "Considering all the missions we have been getting, I have been lucky to bring this much in." Jack then tidied up his uniform and stood before her. "How do I look?" he asked. She looked him up and down before smiling back. "Smart and very handsome." Jack smiled back. "Thanks, Arcee. I see you later." he replied before walking out of his quarters. The hologram of Admiral Bryce was waiting for Jack as he entered the com room. "Commander, good work on Alpha Centari. If we hadn't moved fast, those colonists would be either dead or harvested by the Reapers." "Thank you, Sir, I just wish we had been as efficient with the other colonies." Jack replied solemnly. Bryce's expression softened somewhat. "I know, Darby, and I sympathise with you, I really do. But with the speed and power that the Reapers have shown in attacking our colonies, we were always going to lose a lot of people at first. Though now that we have adapted to their tactics, our evacuations have now become far more effective. Even if we still haven't taken out a Sovereign class ship yet." Jack nodded before looking back at the Admiral curiously. "Sir, where do the refugees go in the meantime?" "To Sanctuary, it's a space station on the other side of the galaxy. It is inside Council space, they have allowed us to use it due to the Reapers laying waste to our own territory. The refugees should be safe there until the Crucible is completed." Bryce answered. "Crucible?" the Prime replied. "Yes, the Lithone weapon has been name Crucible by our scientists. And according to their last report, they are already forty five percent complete." Jack looked at him in surprise. "That far ahead already, we are only more than a month into the war?" "Believe me I know, but apparently the plans for the Crucible once deciphered are very intricate and simple to build. It's almost like who ever designed it, wanted it to be built in an efficiently but also quickly. And considering how fast the Reapers have turned this war, I can see the need to have a super weapon as quickly as possible." the Admiral said while the Commander crossed his arms. "So we know it's a super weapon now?" "Yes, the scientists have theorised that it uses un-quantifiable levels of power and then releases it as a highly altered wave of energy that will encompass everything in range. The energy wave will destroy everything in it's path that is of the same matrix." Bryce said while looking away, most likely looking at a screen at his location. "So if we don't get the right target data for the Crucible, when it comes to arming the device. We may well end up blowing ourselves up instead." "Yes, that's why we need the 'Kranix matrix' before we are ready to move the Crucible." the Admiral responded. "Don't worry, Admiral. I'll find it." Jack replied, gaining a smile from his superior. "I know you will, Commander, but in the meantime I have another mission for you. I need you to rendezvous with the 'Charon' and it's expedition's leader, Dr Bryson. His last transmission to me has left me well….worried, so I want you to go make sure he is alright." The Prime nodded in return. "Of course sir, but what is his mission?" "His expedition's mandate was to search out any information about the Reapers, from rumours to fables about them. To weed out the myths from the truth, because apart from what you learnt about them from the Lithone. We are still in the dark when it comes to everything else we know." Bryce replied. "More information on the Reapers would certainly be of help to us. But I have to ask, why Charon, isn't that the ferryman of the river Styx in Greek mythology?" Jack asked. "Yes he is, and all I can say of that is Dr Bryson is well versed in mythology and is also very religious considering his family's Christian background." Bryce said before looking away and accepting a pad from someone that Jack could not see. The Admiral's face went serious as he view the data on the pad. "Commander, I had our analysts go over all the data we could come up with as how the Reapers have been attacking our systems. And it seems that as we know, anywhere that has humans situated gets attacked. But it seems that any colony that has only Cybertronians is left untouched." Jack's eyes widened at the Admiral's information. "Well, that explains some things." he replied. "What do you mean Commander?" Bryce asked. "Well, Sir. As we know, the Cybertronians have been around for millions of years, but Sovereign claimed that the Reapers were even older, so why didn't the Cybertronians even know of them. I mean the great war kept their attention mainly on themselves, but still you would think they would notice a race of bio-mechanical giant squids purging the galaxy around them every hundred thousand years." Jack said as the Admiral stroked his own chin while listening. "You make some good points, Darby, and I will be asking Optimus this when I next speak to him. Getting a signal to Earth is proving tricky at best these days." "Have you spoken to him recently, how is he doing?" Jack asked. "I spoke to him a week ago, the resistance is holding it's own against the Reaper ground forces, helping civilians to safety and sabotaging the enemy's attempts to harvest. Optimus is leading the resistance with the help of Ironhide, Kup and Dreadwing. They are all in command of their own cells. Optimus did ask how you were doing, when I told him how you orchestrated the curing of the Genophage, thus gaining the Krogan and also the Turians to aid us in this war. He was very proud." Bryce replied with a smile. "Thank you, Admiral." Jack said with a smile. The Admiral then looked away for a second before looking back at the Prime. "Well I have to go, Commander. I have already sent the coordinates of the Charon to your pilot. Contact me once you have completed the mission, Bryce out." The hologram then disappeared prompting Jack to activate his com link. "Hotrod, set course for the coordinates that the Admiral has given us." "Aye aye, Prime." the pilot responded. The Defiant then veered away from the nebula that it was heading to and jumped into hyperspace. PRIME EFFECT 3 An Alliance science ship was orbiting a red/green planet in an uninhabited system when the Defiant appeared out of hyperspace and slowed to a halt next to it. "Alliance-vessel Charon, this is the Defiant. Please come in?" Hotrod said over the com while Jack stood beside him. "Charon, this is the Defiant, anyone over there?" The Autobot then looked up to the Prime with a worried expression. But before anything could be said, a voice came over the com. "This is Charon, we read you Defiant." a male voice spoke, but it sounded very distant and void of emotion. Both guys looked at each as confusion took over before Hotrod spoke again. "Yeah, why did it take you so long to reply, Charon?" Another long moment of silence followed as Jack crossed his arms and the pilot started tapping the arm rest of his chair. "Sorry, but we had a problem with our com systems. We are repairing them as we speak." the voice said again. "Well we have Jackson Prime here to see Dr Bryson on behalf of Admiral Bryce." Hotrod replied. While they waited for a reply, Jack turned to the holo-form of Teletraan. "Does the Charon have any weapons to speak of? A screen then appeared in front of the Prime and showed the schematics of the Charon. "No Jackson Prime, the Charon is primarily a science vessel and so has no weapons to speak of." Jack turned back to Hotrod just as the Charon responded. "I am afraid that the Doctor is unavailable at this time. Sorry that you came all this way for nothing." the distant voice answered. "Sounds like indoctrination to me" Arcee observed as she joined the Prime and Hotrod in the cockpit. The Commander smiled at her before looking back at Hotrod, his face returning to a more stoic like look. "Hotrod, I've got a bad feeling about this so I am taking a shuttle and a team over there. And if they so much as attempt to flee, I want you to disable them." he said before heading for the elevator, gesturing to his partner who followed him. "Will do, Prime." Hotrod replied as he worked his controls. As the shuttle left the Defiant and made the short journey over to the Charon, the science vessel made no attempts to move away. The shuttle then landed on the hull, over a small access hatch. In an empty room aboard the ship, the hatch opened and Jackson Prime (in his Prime Armour), Bumblebee, Arcee, Airachnid, Smokescreen and Jazz all dropped in with weapons ready. Jack then tapped his com link. "Teletraan, what kind of defences do they have aboard this ship?" "They only have pistols and some shock sticks, Prime." the AI replied. Jack then looked to his team. "Okay, set your weapons to stun rounds only. We will split up into two groups, Alpha will be made up of myself, Airachnid and Bumblebee. Our objective is to reach Dr Bryson and make sure he is alright. Beta will consist of Jazz and Smokescreen. Arcee, you will be in charge." the femme smiled and nodded in return. "And your objective is to secure the CIC." the Prime continued. "We can do that, Jack." Arcee replied as the group split up into their respective units. Smokescreen opened the door and Jazz peeked out into the corridor, but saw nothing. "It's clear." he replied, gaining a nod from the femme as they started to leave the room. She looked back at Airachnid and gave her a slight smile. "Look after Jack now." she said, trying to hide the concern in her voice. The former Con smirked back. "Don't worry, Arcee. I'll keep an eye on him." she replied with a wink as the Prime shook his head. "Okay, lets keep on mission. Beta team move out." Jack replied gaining a nod from Arcee and the others. "We'll be back before you know it." Smokescreen said before he followed Arcee and Jazz out of the door. Jack then tapped his com link again. "Teletraan, can you tell me where Dr Bryson is right now?" "Of course, Prime. I am uploading his location to your holo-tool." the AI replied. The Commander activated it and saw a layout of the ship and their approximate distance to their target. "Okay, let's roll." Jack replied as he deactivated his holo-tool and re-equipped his weapon. The three of them then headed out of the room and down the opposite way to Beta team. Alpha team ran down the corridor and turned a corner to come face to face with four of the crew. Their faces looked devoid of emotion and their eyes looked empty. They were all armed with pistols and had them aimed right at the Prime and his team. "You do not belong here, leave now." one of the said in a toneless voice. Jack thought about saying some think but then just shook his head. 'This would be like talking to a brick wall.' he thought to himself, so he shook his head in response. The crewmen tightened their grips on the pistols. "Now!" Jack said and the three of them fired at the indoctrinated enemies, the stun bullets hit each one. Causing them to go into shock as they collapsed on to the ground, unconscious taking hold. Bumblebee walked over and scanned them with his holo-tool. "They are going to be fine, Jack." he said as Jack looked down the corridor towards a T-junction. "Well, let's keep moving." he replied as they left the crewmen where they were and moved down to the junction. Airachnid looked down one corridor, while Jack the other. He then peeked at the map on his holo-tool. "This way." he said, gaining the other's attention as they joined him. Meanwhile Beta team had made it to the CIC without any real trouble, the three of them were outside the room and Jazz had his holo-tool activated as he took a scan of the room. "Well, folks, we have seven hostiles in there right now, and they are scattered around the room, one is right behind this door." he stated as he readied his weapon. Arcee moved herself to the other side of the door and prepared herself. "Alright, I will go in first and subdue this one, then I will draw the others attention and allow you two to take them down. Are we clear?" Both bots nodded in agreement, gaining a smile from the femme as she held up her SMG with one hand. The other held over the door controls, she then took a breath before hitting the panel. The door opened to reveal a crew-member who just looked at her blankly, Arcee did not take another second as she ran through the doorway and punched the crewman in the face, she then grabbed him and threw him over the table behind. This gained the attention of the others who stared at her just as blankly before raising their weapons. As they fired back, the femme jumped over the table and took cover behind it. They then started to move in on the blue bot, but as they got closer. Smokescreen and Jazz entered the room and fired a shot at each crewman while their attention was elsewhere. When all the indoctrinated crew were down and out, the three of them secured the room and Arcee activated her com link. "Beta to Alpha, come in Alpha." "Alpha here. What's your status, Arcee?" Jack said as his voice came through over the link. "We have secured the CIC and locked it down." she replied. "Good work, we are almost to Bryson, according to Teletraan there are only a few crewmen left to deal with." "Do you need help?" the femme asked. "Just remain at the CIC, Arcee. We've got it handled here. Prime out." the Prime replied confidently before shutting down the link. Arcee then turned to her team mates. "Okay, lets secure this guys before they reawaken." On the other side of the Charon, Jack, Airachnid and Bumblebee had just made it to the the science lab and found that Dr Bryson was being held captive by the remaining crewmen, and were waiting for them. There was one standing with Bryson on his knees beside him, he had a pistol pointed at the doctor's head. At either side were two more crew, their pistols aimed at Alpha team. "You do not belong here, leave now!" the hostage taker said, his voice sounded like it had another voice underlining it, a more older and alien voice. Jack thought it sounded similar to when harbinger took over the body of Dr Henson. "You give us Dr Bryson and we will leave." The Prime replied, but this only seemed to make the crewman angry. "No, it is because of this one that we find ourselves in danger again." he replied, his expression was so much different to the others, one of anger and fear. "And so we need to keep ourselves in the shadows, so that the others will not find us." Jack listened to possessed crewmen, but all the while he looked around the room and spotted what looked to be a crystal sphere at the far end of the room, sitting on a table. It looked completely black, just like any Reaper artefact, but instead of the blue energy that you would associate with such tech, this one had red like fire emanating from it. "Who are the others, do you mean the Reapers?" the Commander asked, gaining a change in it's expression as the crewman's eyes started to glow red. "Reapers….a name given by organics to something that they can not understand." "Then help us to understand them?" Jack asked as he lowered his weapon. "No…..we have exposed ourselves for too long already." the crewman replied as he prepared to pull the trigger. "Once this one is dead, we can fade back into the shadows." He then looked back down to Bryson and started to pull the trigger. "No!" Jack shouted as he fired back, hitting the crewman's arm and gaining his attention. The two other crewmen started firing back, making the Alpha team dive behind cover. The lead crewman who was unfazed by the Prime's attack grabbed Bryson by his arm and pulled him up onto his feet. "You will pay for your defiance." he answered as he then positioned his gun behind the Doctor's back and fired, the shot ripped right through Bryson's back and out of his chest spraying blood everywhere. The hostage then fell to the floor, landing face down as blood started form a puddle under him. Jack then gritted his teeth and launched himself over the work top he had used for cover and fired at the lead crewman, who just stared at him. Meanwhile Bumblebee and Airachnid took out the two other crew easily, but the one that was possessed did not even flinch as Jack's bullets appeared to not have an effect. "You are out of your element here, now be gone." he replied as he raised his pistol at the Prime. But Jack then saw the artifact again and raised his weapon and fired at it, knocking the sphere off the table and it hit the floor, cracking it. Suddenly the crewman fell to the ground, as if whatever had taken him over was now gone. The Commander then ran over to Dr Bryson and turned him onto his back. The Doctor opened his eyes and looked at Jack, while blood starting spilling out from his mouth. "Don't worry, Doctor. We will fix you up." the Prime said as he activated a pack of medi-gel, while Airachnid knelt down beside them. The Doctor though shook his head slowly. "It's too late for me, I am guessing Bryce sent you." he replied through the pain. "Yes, I am Commander Darby of the Defiant." Jack said while the femme tended to the Doctor's chest wound. "Jackson Prime, I always wanted to meet you." "Save your strength, we can still talk." the Prime said back but Bryson shook his head again before pointing towards a computer. "No we won't, but everything you need is in my database." "What we need?" Jack asked back. "To find…. Lucifer!" Bryson replied before his eyes glazed over and his body went limp, his outstretched arm falling to the floor. Jack just sighed as Airachnid shook her head and looked back at the Prime. "I am sorry, Jack." she said sadly as she packed up the medi-gel. "It's not your fault, Air." he replied gaining a surprised look from the femme, who then nodded back. They then just stayed there for a long moment as Bumblebee kept an eye on the stunned crewmen. It had been over an hour since the entity that had he whole crew of he Charon under is influence had been cast out, unfortunately it was also a hour since Dr Bryson was murdered by said entity too. The crew had recovered and resumed their duties as Jack had took command until the were ready to head back to the fleet, meanwhile Airachnid was helping with the Doctor's research. Jack entered the lab and walked over to the femme who was to busy looking over some data on a large holo-screen to notice. "Airachnid, how is it going?" he asked, gaining the femme's attention. "Well, the doctor was definitely tracking this entity and he believes that it was responsible for killing the Reaper that the Alliance found in the Malleos system. That Reaper corpse was carbon dated to be one hundred thousand years old, so it would have been during the purge of the Lothine. But he also has proof that this entity was also responsible for the destruction of a Reaper found by the Batarians, they called it the Leviathan of Dis. And that was carbon dated at around four million years old." "So this 'Lucifer' as Bryson called it managed to kill two Reapers, it is definitely something worthless looking into. Why Lucifer though?" Jack asked while looking overarching the screen. "Maybe because he believes that it is a Reaper." She replied as she brought up more information for Jack to see. "A Reaper, how did he come to that conclusion?" the Prime asked. "Well it appears that he managed to get his hands on the scan results from both Reaper corpses, now each has the weapon signature of the one that killed them burnt into their damaged parts. He then searched for known energy signatures that would match, he found one." Airachnid said as she continued to type. "And that was?" the Commander asked, listening to the femme's every word. "Sovereign, it's beam weapon." "So Lucifer is a Reaper, a Reaper that attacks it's own kind. Makes sense why he would call it that name." he replied as Arcee joined them. "Found anything?" she asked as she stood beside Airachnid. "Yes, Lucifer is a Reaper and Jack was about to tell us why Dr Bryson called it that." the femme said with a smile, Arcee then looked at Jack too. The Prime suddenly felt very self conscious as both femmes watched him. "Oh, okay. In Earth religion, Lucifer was one the Archangels in Heaven and when God created Humanity, He asked all angels to bow down to them, but Lucifer said that humans were below the angels and that he would never bow down to a lower form of life. He then rebelled and so was cast out of Heaven and down into Hell by the Archangel Michael." The two femmes just stood there and listened to the Prime until he finished. "Interesting, so Bryson believes what…that this Reaper rebelled against the others. If that is true, it might be worth trying to get it on our side." Arcee replied, gaining a nod from Airachnid. "I don't know, this Reaper could turn out to be just as dangerous as the rest of them, except in this war it is a wild card." Jack said in return, but Airachnid shook her head in response. "I agree with Arcee on this one, Jack." she said, gaining a smile from the femme. "After all, if the Reapers are looking for it. What's that Human saying, the enemy of my enemy…" Jack had to agree with her there and so smiled back at both of them. "Alright, so how do we go about finding a rogue Reaper who doesn't want to be found?" Airachnid turned back to the screen and brought up a number of coordinates. "Here is all the planets that Bryson believed could have been hiding places for Lucifer." Jack walked over and activated his com link. "Teletraan, I am about to link you up to the Charon's computer. I want you to run a full analysis of Bryson's database and see if you can triangulate the location of Lucifer." "Very well, Prime. This will not take long." the AI responded as it's holo-form appeared next to the screen. The data said screen suddenly started speeding down as Teletraan began processing it all. The Prime and two femmes waited patiently for a long moment before an image of the galaxy appeared with a red dot in in an area of it. Jack smiled and looked over to the femmes. "We got it." he said as Arcee and Airachnid looked over to him. "Looks like we are Reaper hunting then." Arcee said before Jack looked over to one of the crewmen who were working in the room. "We are heading out now, will you be alright getting the Charon back to the fleet?" The man looked back at the Prime sombrely. "Yes, I am sorry for what happened to the Doctor, we were friends." Jack placed his hand on the crewman's shoulder. "It's not your fault, the Reaper had control of you. Don't go blaming yourself." he said gaining a sheepish nod from the man. But suddenly the ship's alarm system activated, causing the corridor and room lights to go red. "Defiant report." Jack said into his com link. "Teletraan here, Prime. Three Sovereign class Reapers have appeared in the system and are heading this way." Arcee and Airachnid's eyes widened in response. The Prime though remained calm as he looked back at the crewman. "Once our shuttle un-docks, jump to hyperspace. We will keep the Reapers busy, alright." The crewman nodded and walked away to the CIC as the Prime and the two femmes headed in the opposite direction. The Reaper ships closed in on the two Alliance ships, one of the three had six glowing eyes and could only be Harbinger. Suddenly the shuttle disconnected from the Charon's hull and flew toward the Defiant, the science vessel then veered away before jumping to hyperspace leaving the Defiant to contend with the three behemoths. As they approached with their beam weapon ports charging, the shuttle flew directly into the shuttle bay before the Defiant pulled into a dive as Harbinger fired it's beam which narrowly missed. The two other Reapers then fired causing the Alliance frigate to spin and dodge the attacks before flying directly at the Leader. Harbinger just stared at the Defiant as it stayed on course, it's beam weapon powering up with a deadly red glow. Then it fired and yet again the Defiant turned ninety degrees on it's side and missed the beam before flying past Harbinger and jumping to hyperspace. PRIME EFFECT 3 In another part of the galaxy, the Defiant reappeared from hyperspace and flew toward a grey, moon looking planet. In the cockpit Jack and Arcee was standing next to Hotrod, the pilot looking very happy with himself. "Come on, wasn't that the best flying you have seen or what?" he said cockily. Jack just shook his head and smiled. "Yes, Hotrod. It was brilliant. How many times do you want to hear that?" The young Autobot just shrugged his shoulders as his grin went even bigger. "You shouldn't have asked me that, Prime, because I will be asking none stop now." He then looked at his readouts and his expression changed to serious. "We are approaching the planet Karumto." he said as Jack looked over the information on the screen next to him. "Prime, Karumto is uninhabitable. It's surface is covered in volcanoes which have made the atmosphere unbreathable, due to the amount of ash and carbon dioxide, not to mention the earthquakes that regularly occur due to the instability of the planet's core." Jack looked down at the screen and a smirk appeared on his face. "So basically the planet is 'Hell'." he stated. The AI stayed quiet for a moment as it took in the Prime's comment. "An interesting observation." Jack then looked over at Hotrod. "Stay in orbit, I will take down a team via the shuttle. Meanwhile keep scanning for Harbinger or any other Reapers. It was no coincidence that they turned up when they did earlier, they are looking for Lucifer too. So if they do turn up, I want you to hide the Defiant behind this planet's moon and await my signal okay?" he said gaining a nod from the pilot. "Will do, Prime, just be careful down there." he replied. Jack smiled back before walking back down to the CIC and the elevator. Not long after the shuttle left the Defiant and flew down into the planet's atmosphere while the Frigate moved over to it's neighbouring moon to hide. Once down on the planet surface, Jack, Arcee, Airachnid and Bumblebee all climbed out of the shuttle via it's hatch and looked around (with breather helmets on). The surface definitely looked like something hellish. There were volcanoes as far as the eye could see and more than half of them were active, there was also lava beds running close by. It looked like nothing living could survive here. "What a hell hole." Airachnid said as she felt the heat through her suit. Arcee nudged her gently, getting the femme's attention. "This was just as bad as the time Optimus and I were trapped in the Artic. That was not that different…..well except for the temperature." Jack activated his holo-tool and immediately picked up a strange signal emanating from the volcano directly ahead and it was absolutely massive, it looked like the Everest of volcanoes. "Okay, Guys, it's this way." he said as he started to move. "Jack, wait." Bumblebee called out as he stopped the Prime and handed him a device. "What's this, Bee?" he asked as he looked down at what was in his hands. "That is a shield amplifier, Raf designed it. It should be able to withstand the extreme heat of the volcano for a limited time that is." the scout replied. "Thanks, do we all have one?" the Commander asked, gaining a head shake from the Autobot. "Sorry, that's a working prototype. So we can't go along, but we can wait here for you." Jack looked back down at the amplifier and then back up to his team mates. "Right, I will be back before you know it." he said as he connected the device to his armour and watched as his personal shield doubled in strength. He was about to walk away when he suddenly noticed Arcee staying at him worriedly. "Jack…." she said hesitantly with concern in her voice. Jack though just smiled at her reassuringly. "I'll be fine, Arcee. Don't worry." he replied. The femme simply nodded back before the Prime turned and began the short trek to the volcano. When he made it to the base of the volcano Jack looked back to see the shuttle in the distance, a small spec on the horizon. It had taken him a while to reach it, but now that he had a chance to see how far he had walked. It was quite a distance, he looked at his holo-tool and saw that the counter for his shield strength was still ninety nine percent. The Prime looked up the mountain side, it was certainly to high for him to climb. But something caught his eye and he noticed a large cave like entrance just to his left and so he walked over to it. Once he was in the cave, the temperature shot up immeasurably. His shield strength went down to ninety four percent in one go, but then stayed there. Jack sighed in relief before descending into the cave as the heat from the volcano blew out through the naturally made corridor. He walked down what felt like an never ending descent through the cave, to his right was another lava bed that was illuminating Jack's surroundings. He turned a corner and entered a massive chamber which held an even bigger lava bed in front of him. The Commander looked at his holo-tool, the signal was coming from this exact spot and also his shield strength was down to eighty six percent. He looked around but could not see anything of interest, but when he looked up. He saw the top of the volcano and the sky above, he was at the center of it, but it looked nothing like the volcanoes he had studied at school when he was younger. 'Could this be Lucifer's doing?' he thought to himself. Suddenly the room began to shake as what felt like an earthquake erupted around him. The lava began to stir and spill over the sides of the ground that Jack was standing on, causing him to back track so not to get any on him. Then at the center of the lake of lava, a black tip appeared before it rose out of the molten magma, revealing more of it's shape. In just a few seconds Jack found himself standing before the recognisable shape of a Reaper that was hovering just above him. It was about the same size as Harbinger, but with noticeable differences like instead of the blue like energy that ran though the Reaper's outer shell, this one had a fiery red energy. Plus it's eyes instead of being yellow like Harbinger, they too were red. Jack just stood there for the longest moment in awe of the sight before him. "You have come too far." it said with anger tinged in it's voice. Jack felt his head ache for a second before finding his voice. "I had to find you." he said. "We warned you, yet you still came for us. What will it take for you to leave us alone." it replied. Jack though did not budge as the Reaper's beam weapon powered up. Look, you killed Dr Bryson. That was not necessary, when all we wanted to do was talk to you." "You do not understand." "Then help me understand then, You have killed Reapers, I want to know why." the Prime said. The Reaper just looked at him. "They are the enemy, one that seeks our destruction. But what do you want?" Jack suddenly felt like his head was about to explode as he fell to his knees and clutched at his helmet. "We see your memories, your very soul. So you are a disciple of Primus, it has been such a long time since we were in the presence of a Prime." Jack looked at it in surprise. "You have met a Prime before?" he asked with a somewhat confused expression. "Yes, billions of cycles ago in a time before we became the thing that is before you now." Jack then suddenly saw images flash before his eyes as the Reaper began speaking in his mind. "You see we were once an organic life form like yourself. Our original form was similar to the shape that this body has." "You were an aquatic race?" Jack asked observantly. "That is correct, we lived in oceans on a number of worlds. We believed that we were the first race in the galaxy to become sentient and then evolve to the first advanced civilisation. We mastered interstellar travel and colonised these ocean like worlds as our own. But then he came." "He?" the Prime asked as he listened and watched the memories before him. "Unicron, the Chaos Bringer." Jack saw the image of a giant bio-mechanical planet appear before him as it attacked one of the ocean planets. "Unicron began devouring our worlds, murdering millions of us. One world after another fell to the deity. And when we had just one world remaining, he appeared again and we feared the extinction of our race. And then they appeared." The Commander then saw the silhouettes of thirteen Cybertronians appear before Unicron. "The Thirteen Primes!" Jack said in surprise. "Yes, they fought with Unicron and managed to drive him away from our last remaining world." "And after that, what happened?" "The Primes left and chased after the Chaos Bringer, finally defeating him years later. We then began to rebuild, but after several thousand years, just when we finally reached the strength of our previous empire, war broke out between us. A war that tore our empire in two. "A civil war, why? How did it happen?" Jack asked while noting the counter on his holo-tool. "It just happened, one day a number of us did not agree with the rest and so that disagreement turned to anger and then hate. And before we knew it, we were at war with our brothers and sisters. And then that was when it arrived." "What was it?" the Commander asked. "It was a very dark very old power, it had the shape of a giant. It's shadow cast darkness over our empire as it began to harvest our race and mold us into the first three Reapers." "The first three?" "We were the first, the one you call Harbinger was the sceond and finally Sovereign after that. The dark power gave us an order. To harvest the galaxy every hundred thousand years, and to give one organic race per cycle the honour of becoming like us." "And then what happened. Did you do as it told you?" Jack said looking up at the Reaper. "No, for some reason the indoctrination being forced on us by our creator did not take hold of us, our minds remained and we did not agree on this slaughter at such a galactic scale. So we rebelled and was chased away by our brothers." Jack kept quiet for a second as he thought on what the Reaper had told him, and then he looked back up. "What happened after that?" "We hid, we were no match for both Harbinger and Sovereign. So we took refuge in the dark areas of the galaxy and watched, as the ones you call Reapers harvested and purged one cycle of the galaxy after another. So many lives lost." "What of Cybertron, did you see that?" "Yes, we saw the Cybertronians, the ones who descended from the Thirteen themselves. We also saw their war, long and bloody and full of hate. We also noticed that our brothers left them alone." "Do you know why?" "We do not, we rebelled before the dark power revealed all to us." "Look I know you want to stay hidden, but we could really use your help against the Reapers now. If you join us, you can fight your brothers and help us end this." Jack pleaded with them. "But we are only one Reaper against billions of our brothers." "You won't be fighting alone, I am attempting to forge an Alliance of all the races of this current cycle. We are also building a super weapon called the Crucible. If you join us, we can end this." "We have seen your past through your memories Jackson Prime. And we are impressed by what you have accomplished, you killed our brother Sovereign. You defeated the plans of Harbinger and his Quintessons, the Reapers no doubt consider you a threat. We will join you Prime." Jack smiled before suddenly his com link went off. "Jack, it's Arcee. Hotrod just called us, the Reapers have appeared in orbit and are making their descent. We are bringing the shuttle over to you now." the femme said before the transmission was cut off. Jack looked back at the Reaper. "The Reapers are here, we need to leave now." he said. "We will assist you, Prime, but when this is all over and our brothers are put to rest..." "Yes?" the Prime asked curiously. "We ask that you allow us to be destroyed as well, for we have grown tired of this existence and when our brothers die, we too wish to join them." Jack nodded in return. "Alright, when this is all over, I will allow you to die." he answered sombrely. He then turned to leave before stopping and looking back to the Reaper. "What should we call you?" "The Doctor that we wrongfully terminated called us 'Lucifer'. In reading your mind we have come to see the meaning of this name and we find it adequate. Now go before our brother arrives." "Thank you, Lucifer." Jack replied before running back out of the chamber and up the tunnel to the surface. Once out of the cave, he found the shuttle directly ahead of him hovering slightly off the ground. The hatch opened and Arcee held her hand out. "Jack, come on!" she called out to him, Jack responded by running up to it and climbing in. Bumblebee closed the hatch behind the Prime, as the shuttle flew up into the sky as the three Reapers came ever closer. "Commander, we have three enemy ships directly ahead." the shuttle pilot called to the Prime nervously. "Evasive manoeuvres pilot." Jack replied in return. Harbinger then fired his beam weapon which narrowly missed the shuttle as the two other Reapers took positions either side of the small Alliance ship. "They have us boxed in." Airachnid observed as the three Reapers powered up their beams for one final attack. Suddenly below them the volcano erupted sending lava and ash high into the sky. Then as the ash cloud began to spread out around the volcano, a red energy beam fired out and hit the first Reaper dead on in it's center. The black behemoth exploded in one shot as Lucfier ascended out of the cloud and up to it's brother. Harbinger turned and looked down, it's eyes burning a bright yellow in rage at what it saw. Meanwhile the shuttle veered away from the family brawl that was about to start but the second Reaper turned to chase them as it neared firing strength. But then suddenly Lucifer fired again, in cutting action the beam sliced through the Reaper. Splitting it into two pieces that fell and crashed into the ground below. Then both Lucifer and the shuttle made the ascent into space as Harbinger held back. "You will pay for this betrayal... brother!" Harbinger cried out. Once in orbit the shuttle docked with the Defiant as Lucifer hovered nearby. Jack and his team arrived in the CIC and went straight up to the cockpit. Hotrod looked over to the Prime rather nervously. "Commander, you do know we have a large Reaper right next to us don't you?" Jack placed a hand on his pilot's shoulder and smiled. "Don't worry, Hotrod. This Reaper is on our side." he said confidently. Then the Lucifer's voice could be heard throughout the ship as it spoke into their minds. "When the time comes for you to begin the final battle, call our name and we will be there. And do not forget the promise you made us Prime." Jack nodded as he looked out of the Cockpit windows at the black ship. "I will not, Lucifer, and thank you." he replied stoically. The Reaper then moved away from the Defiant and jumped into hyperspace. "Okay, Hotrod, get us out of here before Harbinger decides to take another shot at us." the Prime said, gaining a nod from the Autobot. "Aye aye sir." The Defiant then flew away from Karumto and jumped into the safety of hyperspace.
  7. CHAPTER 6 The Arahalk star appeared from behind the planet of Tuchanka, it's light spreading across the surface as the Defiant continued to orbit the Krogan home world. The crew were going about their duties as Jack was walking along the corridor towards his XO's quarters. He hadn't slept that well since Arcee had drunkenly confessed her continued love for him, he thought that bridge had burnt down the day he and his partner were reunited with Airachnid on Thrull. But something had happened between the two femmes while he was being tortured by the Star seekers, because the next thing he knew, the two were acting like friends who had known each other forever. And he had somehow regained a chance with the woman he loved, did she really mean it or was it just the drink talking. He had to know, these thoughts rattled around in his mind as he approached the door to her quarters. Once there, standing in front of the metal door that stood between him and his one time lover, he felt apprehensive as what the answer would be. And at this point with the Reapers holding his home planet as well as threatening to take the entire galaxy, this was a problem he didn't need. But he had to know, because he had to believe that he was not only fighting for the future of everyone in the galaxy. But also for his own personal future, a future that nearly three years ago seemed very real. Jack always thought that once the Reapers were defeated, that he would build a home just for Arcee and himself . He knew that it was selfish thinking considering what was happening around him, and it wasn't exactly what a Prime was meant to think like. But he had to know if he and Arcee had a future, because he needed her. Not only as the woman he loved but as his best friend, and if what she told him last night wasn't true, then he wouldn't have anything left to fight for save the galaxy and that would leave him feeling as empty and soulless as the very husks that were attacking the human colonies at this moment. As he stood there with his hand just over the door chime, the Prime took a deep breath and then rang the door. After a long moment he did it again... But still nothing but silence. So he activated the room's inter com. "Arcee, you in there? It's Jack." he said, but still no answer. Jack then activated his com link. "Teletraan, can you tell me where Arcee is?" he asked. "Of course, Prime. Arcee is in the common room." the AI answered stoically. "Anyone else with her?" "Negative, there is no one else in the room with her." Teletraan replied. "Thank you" Jack finished as he turned around and headed back down the corridor. When he made it to the common room, Jack took a peek through the window and saw the femme sitting down at the table at the back of the room. She looked to be deep in thought as she held her coffee cup in her hands and stared at the table. The Commander sighed before entering the room, the opening doors alerted Arcee who looked up and saw Jack as he walked over to the drink dispenser and chose his beverage. He could feel her eyes on him as he picked up the coffee from the machine and turned in her direction and walked over to the femme. "May I join you?" Jack asked as he stopped by her table, the Autobot nodded gently before Jack took a seat opposite and took a sip of his coffee. Arcee just watched him as he drank slowly from his cup before placing it down on the table between the two. The femme looked the Prime up and down before sighing. "I'm glad you are alright, Jack. After seeing the state that Thundertron left you in…." she said before looking away in shame. Jack though put his hand out on to hers in support, but Arcee pulled hers back, not wanting to accept it. "Arcee, it's alright. If it weren't for the two of you working together then none of us would have gotten out of there." Jack replied gently, yet the Autobot just shook her head in response. "If I hadn't let my anger at Airachnid overtake my senses, then you would never have been taken." she said guiltily as she continued to look away from Jack. "Looks like I never did learn that lesson, even after all the other times I let my need for revenge get in the way of the mission and my friends." The Commander sighed as he listened to Arcee. "Hey, we all make mistakes. But we shouldn't let them define ourselves, because no matter what had happened. You and Airachnid managed to put aside your differences and work together. And for that I am very proud of you." Jack said making Arcee look back at him and noting the warm smile he had, she smiled slightly in return. "Well at first it was because you were in danger, but then everything changed after we too were captured." she reminisced. "What happened?" the Prime asked. "Thundertron connected the two of us to the cortical psychic patch, but instead of just allowing him to see our memories, the connection showed us each others memories too." she said, making Jack's eyes widen in response. "You saw it all didn't you, everything that Shockwave did to Airachnid?" he asked. Arcee nodded slowly before taking a sip from her coffee. "Yes, it's kind of an eye opener that's for sure." she replied. "But that was not all I saw, I saw everything that you two did together. From returning to Cybertron to….." she said before stopping, not wanting to put it into words. Jack though realised what she meant as he sighed. "Arcee, look. What happened between me and…." he replied before being cut off by the femme as she looked at understandingly. "Jack, you don't need to say anything. Like I said, I saw it all and Airachnid and I talked about it all yesterday. We have put it behind us and started a new." she said, a smile gracing her lips as she said that last part. The Commander felt himself relax as he took a sip of his coffee. "That's good to hear, I guess that is why you have gone overboard with all the coffee." he observed while looking over to the three empty cups next to the femme. She looked over to them and smirked. "Well, we both needed a drink after our conversation. Though I still do not remember how I got back to my quarters." she replied, Jack's smile lessened at the Autobot's last comment. "I got you back to your quarters, you weren't in any kind of state to make it back by yourself." he answered, gaining a surprised look from Arcee. "By the look of it you two enjoyed the brandy." the Prime continued gaining a smile from the femme. "Yes it was very nice, but we didn't know what kind of effect it would have on us." "The same as it does on us humans, if too much is drunk of course." Jack replied, while Arcee chuckled. "Well, I certainly won't be drinking that much again, the headache I had when I woke up was intense. How is Airachnid?" she asked. "Don't know, I was going to check up on her. But I wanted to see you first." Jack said as the femme's azure eyes met his own. "I appreciate that, Jack, and I want to thank you for helping me last night." she replied. Jack though felt that he had gotten his answer from the Autobot earlier when she said that she had no memory of what happened, so felt it was time to get on with his job. "You're welcome, Arcee. I better go and check on Airachnid, I'll see you later." he said as he got up from the table and walked away. But Arcee's expression changed as she found herself somewhat confused. "Jack, wait." she said, making the Commander stop and look back at her. "I was wondering, did I do or say anything last night. Because I'm not sure that I didn't make a fool of myself." she asked. Jack looked back at her and then looked down to the ground before he answered. "No, Arcee. You didn't make a fool of your self." he replied, gaining a look of relief from the femme before she noticed a hint of sadness in his eyes as she looked at him. "You just told me…that you loved me." he carried on. Arcee was going to answer but Jack continued. "Don't worry, Arcee, I know it was just the drink talking." Jack said before he turned around to leave. Arcee at that very moment suddenly felt that if he walked out that door now that she would lose him again and she couldn't bare that, so she got up from the table and stood beside it. "Jack.." the femme called as the Commander stopped again, a long moment passed before he turned and looked at her. "What if it wasn't the drink that made me say that." Jack's eyes widened as he stood there looking at the woman he loved, his attention hung on every word that she said. "I lost you once, Jack, and it nearly killed me. And when I saw what Thundertron had done to you, and how close I was to losing you again. It made me realise that I don't want to live in a world where you are not with me. So please don't leave?" she asked in an almost pleading tone as she stood there looking helpless for one of the very few moments in the time that Jack had known her. The Prime took his chance and walked over to her and pulled her close before leaning towards her and joining her lips with his own. And just like the first time they kissed, a wave of euphoria went over the two. But this time it was far more intense, as so much time had passed since they were last together. Arcee wrapped her arms around Jack's neck as she pressed her lips against his own . The Commander returned the gesture by placing his arms around the femme's waist. The kiss lasted one long moment before they pulled away, but stayed in the embrace of each other. The Autobot looked up into Jack's blue eyes and sighed happily. "I've missed that." she stated while Jack looked at her lovingly. "Yeah, me too. And you don't have to worry, because I am not leaving you Arcee, this I promise you." he replied as he touched her forehead with his own. The femme though responded by kissing him again. But before they could enjoy another long kiss, the intercom activated. "Jack, it's Soundwave. I need you and Arcee here in the medical bay." the spymaster said. They both sighed, slightly disappointed. "Okay, Soundwave, we are on our way." Jack replied as they pulled out of the embrace, but held hands as they both walked out of the common room and down the corridor. But what they didn't know was that someone had watched their reunion. Airachnid stepped out from behind cover and watched the two lovers walking away, a smile gracing her lips as she looked in their direction. 'It's about time.' she thought to herself. When the partners arrived at the medical bay, they were greeted by Soundwave and Ratchet while Wrex and Bakara watched as the two scientists worked together at the main console. "Jack, your doc and the pyjak here have some news for you." Wrex said earning a glare from Autobot medic. "My name is Ratchet, not Doc!" he answered in an irritable tone. Soundwave just ignored the two while Ravage lied down at his feet. "Jack, using the tissue samples from Wrex and Bakara, and working through the data I have on the original Genophage strand that Shockwave and myself created, I believe that I can create anti-pathogen." the spymaster said while looking at the screen. "So you can cure the Krogan?" Jack asked while looking over the data on the screen. Soundwave nodded in response. "Yes and I also know how to distribute the cure to the entire population." the former Con replied as he brought up an image on the screen. "What's that?" Arcee asked as she stood beside Jack. "That is the Pillar, an atmospheric control tower left by the Lithone." Soundwave replied as Wrex joined him at the console. "The Decepticons used it to spread the Genophage across Tuchanka and control my race for over a thousand years." he said as he gave the spymaster a stern look, though Soundwave remained stoic. Then the Krogan's expression softened slightly as he turned to the others. "But if Soundwave here thinks he can use it to cure my people, then I say we go for it." Bakara smiled and nodded back at her mate, Jack noticed this as he stood there before looking back to the former Con. "Well then can I suggest the you get on with it and empty my medical bay please." Ratchet said as he approached them from behind. Everyone stared daggers at the Medic. But he just shrugged. "What, I have a lot of work to do and you are getting in the way. He replied grumpily. Jack though rolled his eyes in annoyance. "Ok, we should all get ready then, Arcee can you help Soundwave with his preparations." he asked the femme who smiled back to him. "Sure thing, Jack." she replied before heading out of the lab with the spymaster. Wrex then walked out next, saying he needed to see Garrus first. That left Jack with Bakara while Ratchet went back to his station. The Commander walked over to the Krogan who had sat back down on her berth. "Commander, I want to thank you for all the help you are giving the Krogan." she said as Jack leaned back against the worktop next to her. "Your welcome, I made a promise to Wrex a long time ago that I would help anyway I could. And I am glad that we can finally move ahead with it." the Prime replied. "It has been a long time coming, I never thought that I would see the day." the Krogan said as she looked over to Jack. "How did you meet Wrex?" he asked, a curious tone in his voice. "I met him at meeting between Clan Urdnot and the female clan that I lead." "What do you think of him?" Jack asked. "When he is not trying to sire half of the planet, he is the best thing to happen to the Krogan. But I will not tell him that, his head is big enough already….literally." she chuckled, gaining a smile from Jack. "He has become a strong leader considering that when I first met him, he was just a bounty hunter." The Prime replied. "I know that Wrex wants what is best for the Krogan race, but unfortunately not all the other clans see it that way." she said in concerned tone. "Why would they give him trouble, you'd think the other clans would want a better future for the Krogan." Jack asked. "The males of our species do not know what it means to cooperate, they have evolved to be selfish and only worry about their survival. That's what the genophage has done to us, but Wrex is different. I think his working with you has changed him for the better." Bakara replied. Jack then gave her a concerned expression. "Do you worry that Wrex may want revenge against the former Decepticons?" "Well, the other clans will expect it, but I hope he resists. He understands that change is needed if we as a race are to have voice in the galaxy." Bakara answered. "If I may ask, what has it been like. Living with the genophage?" The prime asked. "It is a terrible burden to live with, there were sisters of mine who could bear the same of being infertile. They would wander into the wastes and let the inhospitable conditions end their torment." "Did you ever think of that?" Jack said sheepishly, unsure if he should have asked. Bakara looked down at the ground and sighed. "Yes…after my first still-born." "What kept you from ending it?" The Prime replied. "I soon fell pregnant again after, and gave birth, that gave me hope. You see that is all we Krogan have while the genophage hinders us. The hope that the next day will bring change, and if not, then hopefully the one after that." the Krogan answered. "Once the genophage is cured, what do you see in your people's future?" "We will be able to grow again and find a balance that has not existed for a thousand years." Bakara said in a hopeful tone. Suddenly the door opened and Soundwave stood there and beckoned Ravage to his side, both Jack and the Krogan and forgotten that the feline bot was there. It got up and looked over to the two before going over to the spymaster, who nodded to them walking away. "How has Soundwave been treating you?" Jack asked as he turned back to Bakara. "Better than most male Krogan. He isn't what I suspected, being a former Decepticon. He told me of his part in creating the genophage, I should hate him with everything that I am." She said with a hint of anger, but then it disappeared and her face looked peaceful. "But I can see the pain in his eyes, he feels guilt and shame for what happened to my people and wants to atone." Jack smiled back at her. "I know, everyone deserves a chance for redemption." Bakara nodded in return. "I agree." she replied. The suddenly the intercom activated. "Commander, I think you should get up here!" Hotrod spoke in a panicky tone. "I'm on my way, Hotrod." the Prime answered before looking at the Krogan. "Thanks for talking to me." he said before offering her his hand, which she took and shook in return. "It's my pleasure, Prime. I have met few humans before, I am glad for the opportunity." she responded before Jack turned and headed out of the lab. Hotrod worked frantically at his controls as Jack walked up to his side. "Hotrod, report." The pilot looked to him before activating a screen which showed the planet and a red dot entering the atmosphere. "A Reaper has just jumped out from hyperspace and is heading for the planet's surface." Jack's expression changed to stoic as he turned round walked away before looking back. "Get everyone in the war room and keep a sensor lock on that ship. I want to know where it lands." "Aye Aye, Commander." the Autobot replied. In the war room, the whole team as well as Wrex and Bakara were standing around the large circular table as a holographic representation of the Reaper and the Pillar were emitted from it's center. Jack entered the room and stood between Arcee and Garrus. "It's a Sovereign class Reaper." Soundwave observed as Smokescreen chipped in. "And it has parked itself right next to the Pillar." Garrus shook his head in response. "Well that's a nice coincidence isn't it." he replied sarcastically. Wrex though just growled at the hologram. "They want a fight, I say we give it to them." Jack nodded in return. "I agree, but we are going to need some help." he then activated his com link. "Hotrod, contact Primarch Vinctus and tell him I need a favour." "Roger that, Prime." Hotrod replied. The others ,all looked at Jack a little confused. "What's your plan, Jack?" Arcee asked. Jack took control of the holo table and added to knew units to the presentation. "A combined attack. You see before we arrived at Tuchanka I left a message with the Turian Primarch asking for one of their star fighter carriers to be present in this system, in case we needed it." Garrus smiled at Jack, as did Airachnid and Bumblebee. "That's good thinking, Jack." the Turian replied. "So with the Turians attacking from above, Wrex, your soldiers will attack from the ground and draw it away from the Pillar." Soundwave nodded as he observed the holograms. "Yes, a diversion. That will mean a small team can reach the tower and finish synthesizing cure. Bakara will need to come with us." Jack then looked around at everyone. "This will be the first time we have ever took on a Reaper like this, is everyone up for it?" Everyone around the room nodded in response as Wrex chuckled. "Was there ever any doubt, Jack." he then looked at Soundwave. "Come on, it's time we cured the Genophage." he said as he walked out the room, everyone else following. PRIME EFFECT 3 Shuttle two left the Defiant and flew down to the planet's surface just as the Turian carrier arrived and stopped next to the Alliance frigate before releasing it's fighters who then joined the shuttle in formation. In the ship's hold, Jack was sitting with Arcee beside him. While Garrus and Wrex sat opposite. Soundwave was with Bakara and checking on her with his holo-tool. "I have called for a meeting of all the clan leaders, they should be meeting us at the Hollows. It was our sacred council grounds. From there we will take an armoured convey against the Reaper." he then sighed as a slight vulnerability showed on his face. "We have a lot riding on this." Arcee gave the Krogan a supportive smile. "Don't worry, Wrex, we will stop that Reaper and cure your people today." Wrex smiled back in appreciation. "Thanks, Arcee, I can't think of anyone else I would want along for the ride." Garrus then coughed into his hand loudly, gaining a chuckle from the Krogan leader. "Don't think I forgot about you either, you little Pyjak." "I was just thought that you forgot about Jack here too." the Turian replied pointing at the Prime while chuckling. Jack was about to reply when the shuttle suddenly shook as Wrex's com link activated. "Wrex, its Wreav. The Hollows is under siege from Reaper forces, make sure your weapons are fully loaded. Your gonna need them." Wrex just smiled as he cocked his shotgun, Jack and the others all readied their weapons in response. The shuttle's pilot looked back at his passengers. "Everybody hold on, we are going in." The shuttle then swung around the remains of an ancient looking building before landing on the ground next to the entrance. The hatch then opened and a Husk looked directly at the group before screaming and charging them. But Wrex just shoved the shotgun into the creature's face and pulled the trigger. The Husk's head exploded and it's body fell to the ground as the Krogan stepped out of the shuttle. "Jack, I will go and find the clan leaders. You protect Bakara." he shouted back before running down into the Hollows. Jack, Arcee and Garrus all took positions outside of the shuttle as they saw Krogan fighting the Husks who flooded into the building. The fighting was fierce as the Krogan fought against the invading hordes. Arcee and Jack immediately killed three enemies as Garrus took out husks at the far end of the building with his sniper rifle. "The Reaper didn't waste any time deploying husks did it." Garrus observed as the femme spin kicked one creature in the face before finishing it off with her SMG. The Prime meanwhile sliced clean through two husks with the star saber, but hadn't noticed that a husk had appeared from a level above him and it pounced at him. But then Jack heard gun fire behind him and turned to see the creature fall to the ground, he then looked up to see Arcee smiling back at him. "Thanks, I owe you one." he winked back. "Not necessary, Partner." she replied with a smile as Jack cut down another enemy while the Turian continued to take out any husks giving the Krogan troops problems around the Hollows. "Arcee, conserve your ammo, go hand to hand." Jack said as he side kicked a husk in its side before cutting it down the middle with his blade, black blood spilling out as it's two parts fell away from each other. Arcee deployed her arm blades and started slicing at the oncoming horde before back flipping out of their reach and landing next to the Commander who smiled back to her. "Nice." Jack commented as he brought down another drone. Arcee blushed slightly while engaging two enemies. "Thanks, you're looking pretty good yourself, Jack." she hit back with a knowing smile, as the Prime sliced off the head of a husk that Arcee had motioned into his direction with a palm to its face. "Really." Garrus called out with an annoyed tone, not even bothering to look at them while shooting two more husks at a distance. Both partners turned and looked at him after finishing off the husks in their immediate vicinity. "What?" Jack called back feigning innocence. "Well, just remind me to tell you two to 'get a room' after this mission is over." the Turian replied. Both Jack and Arcee smiled at each other before shrugging at the same time. "Let's ignore him." Jack said gaining a chuckle from the femme. "Yeah let's." she replied as Garrus just sighed and gave up. But suddenly a husk pounced at Jack from behind. "Shit!" the sniper shouted as he aimed at the creature, but then Jack without even looking, backhanded the husk to the ground. And then stabs it straight through the heart with his saber, before looking back up at Garrus with a lopsided grin. "Show off!" the Turian called back. The Prime and the Autobot then looked back to see the remaining husks regroup and charge up at the pair. "Stand back." Jack said as he held up the star saber, Arcee complying as she moved out of his way. The Commander then swung the blade around him as he charged it up, before letting loose an energy wave that sent al the husks flying into the walls of the Hollows, killing them. He then fell to one knee and panted heavily as Arcee ran back to his side, a concerned look on her face. "Does that happen every time you use the star-saber?" she asked as Jack caught his breath. "Yeah, I guess it's because I am not Cybertronian. Harnessing the power of the matrix and charging the saber with it weakens me when I release that energy." he replied. "And the more you charge it, the more weakened you become." she observed, gaining a nod from Jack. She then help Jack to his feet as he started to feel stronger. "Thanks." he said while Arcee looked down at the holographic blade. "It really does look a lot like the real saber that Optimus carries. I saw how you unlocked it too, by saving Airachnid from Shockwave." "You saw it in her memories." the Commander said, gaining a nod from the femme. "I also got this." Jack replied as he activated the sky boom shield which emitted from his left lower arm. Arcee looked at both relics and the gave Jack a beaming smile. "I am very proud of you Jack, I always knew you had great potential to be a Prime. But by unlocking these relics you have shown that you are so much more." Jack simply returned the femme's smile as Garrus walked over to them. "Okay, the Hollows are now clear, you two should head down to the Krogan who are gathering at the room's center. I will go back and fetch Soundwave and Bakara." The partners nodded and walked away from the shuttle as the Turian headed back. In the center of the Hollows, a large grouping of Krogan stood cheering at their victory over the husks who invaded the sacred place. Wrex was standing in the middle and encouraging them. "They will sing songs of this day, the blood of the Reapers has finally soaked the soil of Tuchanka." he called out to the others as they raised they weapons over their heads. Jack and Arcee walked over to their friend while the rest of the landing party entered the room's center, Jack just finishing a call over his com link. "Wrex, we need to move fast, the Turian air strike is nearly ready." The Krogan leader nodded back at him, while the rest suddenly caught the view of Soundwave with Bakara. "Bakara is fine Jack, we are ready to proceed." the Spymaster said. "What the hell is a Decepticon doing here? You never mentioned this Wrex." a Krogan in grey/brown armour spat as he stomped over to the former Con. Jack though stood between them. "He is with us." the Prime stated as he stared at the brute. "I am Urdnot Wreav, blood brother to our…leader. And I suggest you stand aside, or I will make you move." Jack though stood his ground as another Krogan, this one in silver armour tried to calm down Wreav. "I think you should think again brother, this human is not like the rest." Wreav though simply pushed the young one aside. "Get out of my way, Grunt. I know I can handle this puny human." Jack though took a glance at Grunt and remembered that he broke the young one's arm in front of Airachnid, just over seven months ago. He then looked back at Wreav who stared daggers at him, the Prime though chose to ignore him and looked over to Wrex. "Blood brother?" he simply asked. "Wreav and I share the same mother, but nothing else." the Krogan leader answered, gaining his brother's attention. "And for that, brother, I am eternally grateful, for I remember what it means to be a real Krogan." he spat back gaining roars of approval from his soldiers. "We rip our enemies apart and watch them drown in their own blood." He then looked over at Soundwave. "We don't invite them into our home." Jack though took a step toward Wreav with a stoic impression on his face. "Soundwave is here to cure the genophage." he stated as the Krogan gritted his teeth and began charging at the former Con. "Soundwave. It is his fault that we have been cursed with it for all this time." Wrex though got in the way and head butted his brother, gaining roars of approval from his own supporters. "Because I say so, and you will accept his help." he spat back as Wreav equipped his shotgun and pointed it the Krogan leader. The grouping of soldiers suddenly was split in the middle as both factions looked ready to fight each other. "ENOUGH!" came a voice that brought the Krogan out of their rage and they all looked over to Bakara who was staring daggers at them all, she then walked right through the center of the horde. You could hear a pin drop in the hall, it was so quiet. "You can stay and fight each other, blinded by old wounds that you refuse to heal like we Krogan have always down. Or you can fight and destroy the enemy that has invaded our world, reclaiming a future for our children." she then walked up to the exit and looked back at the group. "I choose to fight…..who is with me?" she called down to the group. Jack stepped forward. "I will." he replied as Wrex stood forward. "And so will I." he answered before looking at the other Krogan. "Now stand tall and ready yourselves, there is a Reaper out there…and it needs killing." he shouted as he pointed in it's direction. The rest of the Krogan soldiers started roaring their approval as Wreav then nodded in return. The Krogan then left the hollows and entered their tanks, large armoured vehicles with wheels that looked like they belonged to monster trucks. Jack and the others entered the leading tank and the convoy moved through the old ruins of the ancient city that covered the area, as they made their way towards the Pillar. PRIME EFFECT 3 The convoy had made it three quarters of the way toward the tower when it suddenly came to a stop. Jack, Arcee and Garrus climbed out of their tank. "Wrex, stay in there with Soundwave and Bakara, we will check it out." he said as they walked over to the edge of a cliff side, that overlooked more of the city's ruins with the Pillar just outsides it's limits and the Reaper standing next to it. The sound of space fighters could be heard as a wing of Turian fighters flew overhead and towards the Reaper, causing the dust to fall from the building next to them. Jack looked over at the fighters and frantically activated his com link. "Epsilon wing, pull back until we can get in position." The Commander and his team, along with a number of Krogan watched as the fighters attacked the Reaper. "Negative, Prime, our attack has begun. We can not pull out now." came the voice of the leader. The Reaper then activated it's beam weapon and fired quick fire shots at the attacking ships, all which evaded the energy shots and continued to harass the black behemoth, their weapon's fire not even scratching the Reaper's armour. While the group watched the battle ahead of them, Arcee glanced over to Jack and saw the frustration on his face. "Scrap." he cursed as he paced over to the Krogan looking over the road in front of them. "Why have we stopped?" the Prime asked angrily, making the soldier take a step back, unsure due to the Human's hostility. "The road here is unstable, I am not sure that it will support our tanks." he answered hesitantly. Jack looked once more to the battle and then gave the Krogan an angry but stoic like look. "I don't care if you have to build a new road, we are going….now." he barked back, causing the soldier to jump. "Yes sir, at once." he said as he hurried away, back towards his tank. Arcee then looked at the Reaper as it's beam weapon hit one of the Turian fighters, causing it to spin out of control toward the convoy. "Jack!" she shouted back, making Jack look round just in time to see the burning fighter crash directly into the building, causing the concrete to break free and fall onto half of the tanks in the convoy, each one exploding. Sending Jack and his team flying on to their asses. "Jack, what's going out there?" Wrex asked over the com link. "Wrex, get Bakara out of here, now!" he shouted back. Then the two leading tanks moved over the road as it crumbled under their combined weight. But both machines made it across and carried on down the road. "Prime, this is Epsilon. We have to abort, the Reaper is tearing us apart." the lead fighter pilot spoke as Jack listened on his com link as he got to his feet, Arcee and Garrus doing the same before looking over at the burning husks of the other tanks. "Roger that, Epsilon. Save your pilots. We'll find another way, Prime out." He then looked over to the others. "Alright, we have to find another way to reach the two tanks that made it. Any ideas?" Arcee looked around to see what looked like a set of stairs going underground. "Jack, over here." she said as the others followed her over to the entrance. Jack smiled at the femme. "A subway." he replied gaining a chuckle from her. "Like the one in New York Jack." she asked. Jack rolled his eyes. "I don't think this one will have Insecticons in it. Okay, lets move out." he said as the three of them descended into the underground. They activated their torches as they moved through the cramped walkways that were covered in cobwebs with piles of debris along the sides of the walls. "Jack, where are you?" Wrex asked over the com link. "We are in some underground tunnels. Sound familiar to you?" the Prime asked as the group turned a corner and walked further into the tunnels. "They sound an awful lot like the old sewer tunnels that run under the city." Garrus looked over to Jack. "Did he say sewers, perfect. So we are walking around in Krogan waste." Arcee tapped the Turian on the shoulder and shook her head. "Garrus, these tunnels look at least a thousand years old. I doubt we have to worry about that." Jack ignored the two as he kept his hand up to his com link. "Jack, just hurry up and get out of there, that Reaper isn't going to leave on it's own accord." Wrex finished as Jack looked at his team mates who had spotted something. "What is it?" he asked as he looked over at what had their attention. "That doesn't look like it is part of these tunnels" Garrus observed as they looked at the metal doorway. "Yeah, it certainly sticks out like a sore thumb." Arcee concurred as Jack walked into the doorway. What he saw was something that looked eerily familiar, something that also caught Arcee's attention more than the Prime's. Her azure eyes widened as she stepped through the doorway and looked around her. "Jack, this looks Cybertronian." she said in shock as Garrus followed her. Jack though shone his torch on to one of the walls, it lit up a symbol that brought back memories to both partners. "Not just Cybertronian, it is Decepticon." he said as they looked at the purple insignia that was adorned on wall. Jack then tapped his com link. "Wrex, we have found what appears to be an old Decepticon underground base." "Well that's nice, Jack. But could you stop sightseeing and get your asses up here." the Krogan spat back. Arcee then activated her holo-tool and took a scan. "Uh, Jack. I am detecting energon reserves in this facility." When Jack didn't answer, Arcee shone her torch at the Commander and saw him just standing there, staring ahead. "Jack." she said again as she walked over to him. When she got closer, she saw that he was holding the matrix crystal in his hand. And it was starting to glow. "Jack, what is it?" she asked as Garrus joined them. The Prime smiled and looked at both of them. "I think we have found another way to deal with that Reaper." he said confidently as the crystal mass shifted into the human matrix of leadership and Jack held it out in front him. "I know you are there, I can feel your spark through the matrix." he said out loud, baffling Arcee and Garrus. Then suddenly the wall in front of the Prime opened up, revealing another corridor. The others looked on in surprise as Jack then beckoned them to follow him. As they walked through the corridor, the matrix shone even brighter. When they reached the end of the corridor, they entered a large room filled with pistons and pipes and wires on all sides. Suddenly a breathing like sound echoed through the corridor toward the team as Jack held up the matrix. "My name is Jackson Prime and I order you to help us." As he said this the matrix shone to almost blinding strength as the room around them started to shake. "Jack, I think we should leave." Arcee said a little unnerved by what was happening. Suddenly the walls around the room started to shift as another corridor appeared, Jack pointed at it. "Move, now!" he said as the breathing sound turned into a groaning noise as the facility started to shift. They kept running as more corridor kept appearing in front of them until day light could be seen ahead. "Jump!" Jack shouted as the three of them leapt out on to the ground as the facility rose up from beneath the ground and started to mass shift, an arm growing out of either side and legs appearing below it. Jack, Arcee and Garrus looked up in stunned silence as a giant transformer formed above them as a decepticon insignia lit up on the red half of its torso, while the blue half-opened to reveal a missile battery. As its arms took form, a hand grew out of the end of each and clenched tightly. Finally the head rose up out of the top of the torso as cannon's appeared on both shoulders and on it's back. The bot's eyes glowed blue as suddenly the Con symbol was replaced by the bright red insignia of the Autobots. The gigantic transformer looked down at the human holding the matrix in his hands. "Metrotitan online, I heed the call of the Human Prime." his voice boomed as it took a step forward. "Wow." Garrus said as the Titan's shadow covered the area that they stood in. "Metrotitan, you have to destroy the Reaper that is standing between us and the Pillar." he called up to the transformer. Metrotitan looked over to see the black figure of the Reaper ship as it was looking in another direction. "Of course, Prime." he answered back before walking in the direction of the unknowing Reaper. "Jack, what is going on?" Wrex said back a little panicky on the com link. "Don't worry, Wrex, our back up has arrived." Jack answered as the two tanks drove up to them, the three then climbed back aboard before they took off in the pursuit of Metrotitan. While they were heading towards the Pillar, Jack informed the others of what they had found and awakened. "So you're saying that you have unleashed a Decepticon on the Reaper. A while ago and I would be pissed, but hey I like it right." Wrex said back as Soundwave looked over to Jack. "I do remember Starscream saying that he had brought a City-Bot to Tuchanka, but I never saw anything to prove it. I just thought that it was one of Starscream's grand boasts. And you now say that it is an Autobot?" Jack nodded in return. "Yes, we communicated through the matrix, it knows that the war is over and pledged itself to our cause." he responded stoically, while Arcee just watched him and smiled. Garrus noticing this, nudged the femme and snapped her out of it. "What?" she looked at the Turian. "Nothing." he answered sheepishly. "So now that we have Metrotitan, he can get the Reaper away from the tower and allow us access to it." Jack said gaining the attention of everyone there. He then climbed up and opened a hatch on the ceiling and took a look outside. His eyes widened as he saw the Reaper staring right at them, it's beam weapon powering up. "Oh shit! It's seen us." he said as he jumped back down and rushed over to the driver's cabin. "Turn right now." he shouted and suddenly the tank veered to the right, just moments before the Reaper fired and it's read energy beam missed them by mere inches and hit Wreav's tank, destroying it as it exploded. Jack's tank took cover behind an old building as the team climbed out. Wrex looked out at the burning wreckage of his brother's vehicle. "Is Wreav dead, Wrex?" Bakara asked as she joined him. "I sure hope so. He was a pain in the ass." the Krogan leader replied honestly. Soundwave walked over to Jack and his team as they checked their weapons. "There is a lab close by, I can finish synthesising the cure there with Bakara." the spymaster said. "Okay, while you do that we will secure the tower. I hope you two are ready?" he said to the others who both nodded. They were about to move out when Wrex stopped the Prime. "Wait, I want you to know that no matter how this turns out. You have been a true friend to Clan Urdnot and the Krogan race, and a brother to me. For every child that is born after this day…..the name Jack will mean 'hero'." he said proudly as the two friends shook hands. But then the Krogan leader saw Husks suddenly appear from behind the building away from them, causing him to release Jack and equip his shotgun. " Go, I've got this." he said before charging at the horde. "My name is Urdnot Wrex and this is my world." he screamed at the Husks as he started blowing them away with his weapon. Jack looked over to Soundwave. "See you on the other side." he smiled at the spymaster. "Watch your back." Soundwave replied before heading away with Bakara. Jack, Arcee and Garrus then ran down the main street towards the Reaper and the Pillar behind it, when more husks appeared and attacked them. The Prime led the charge as he killed several of the husks while interchanging between Mattock rifle and Star saber, Arcee killed a number of drones with one of her SMG's while slicing apart any who got too close with her arm blade. Garrus had switched to his own mattock and was taking down Husks who approached the team from the right side. But after fighting the Husks for a number of minutes while slowly gaining some ground on the Reaper, Jack suddenly spotted it powering up it's weapon as it looked directly at them. "Move!" he shouted as they suddenly dived out of the way as the beam narrowly missed and destroyed the area directly behind them. "Damn it, that was too close." Garrus said as he and Arcee picked them selves up. Jack though saw the Reaper recharging it's weapon. "Run for the base of it's feet...now!" he said as the trio started to sprint for the Reaper before it could fire again. Then suddenly the Turian fighters reappeared and attacked the Reaper, taking it's attention from the group. "This is Epsilon, we will give that thing something else to shoot at." the lead pilot said over the com link. "Thanks, Epsilon." Jack responded. "By the way, you do know there is a giant robot approaching your position?" "Yeah, he is on our side. Give him some cover." The Prime replied as he looked back at Arcee and Garrus who had started to fire back at Husks who had appeared at their rear. "Jack, you go on, we will cover you." Garrus said while Arcee gave Jack a look of longing before nodding in return. Jack gave her a slight smile before turning around and continuing to run at the Reaper, Arcee then turned back to the Husks and fired at them. As Jack ran he saw the fighters flying around the Reaper, they had it's full attention as it tried to shoot them down. The suddenly a metallic fist hit the Reaper dead in the center of it's side, forcing it to slide across the floor and away from the Pillar. Jack took cover as the Reaper crashed into a building, bringing up debris and dust as Metrotitan slowly made it's way over. Jack then got up and watched as the City-Bot looked into the large dust cloud that the demolished building had caused, trying to zero in on his enemy. Suddenly a bright red light appeared in the middle of the cloud and the Reaper fired it's energy beam which hit Metrotitan in the side, blowing away apart of it's torso. He griped at the wound before charging at the Reaper, causing powerful tremors as it smashed into the Reaper before it could fire again. He then punched it in what you would call it's face, cracking it's armour as fired blind, but the City-Bot managed to get out of the way. The Reaper then recovered and stood ready for the next attack. Metrotitan attacked again, this time swinging it's arm at the large enemy who sliced it off with a perfectly executed beam attack. The former Con winced before kicking the Reaper away with a hit to it's face. It then responded by taking quick fire shots which hit Metrotitan in all areas across it's body, spilling energon out of them as he fell to his knees causing an extremely strong earthquake. He looked back at the Prime. "I am sorry, Jackson Prime. I will not be able to help you any further." Jack just looked stoically at him in return. "You have done your best, Metrotitan. You will not be forgotten." The City-Bot smiled back before looking at the Reaper who was standing over him. Metrotitan then gritted his teeth as he forced himself up and plunged it's other arm into the Reaper and pulled out a large amount of it's insides, but not before the enemy managed one concentrated burst of power from it's beam weapon which cut straight through the former Con's body, blasting out the other side and then both behemoths fell to the ground dead. The bright blue optics of Metrotitan then turned black as the last of it's energon bled out of its system. Jack said a silent prayer before looking back at the Pillar and noticed explosions erupting from the top of it, so he ran toward it as fast as he could. PRIME EFFECT 3 Jack entered the Pillar and rushed into the main hall which was full of computers and equipment as Soundwave was working away at one of the holo-consoles, Jack looked up and could see the massive tower before him. He then walked up to the spymaster. "Soundwave, report. Is the cure ready?" "Yes, I have loaded it into the Pillar's dispersal sequencer and I am now launching it in four, three, two….damn it." Soundwave said gritting his teeth. "What? What's wrong?" Jack asked as panic started to set in. The former Con looked over at the diagnostic screen as an image of the tower was lighting up in red. "The system has been sabotaged…by Starscream and Shockwave. They have made countermeasures in case anyone tried what we are attempting now." Jack looked over the console data. "You can crack it right?" "Yes, but I have to do it from the Primary control room on the top floor." the spymaster replied while pointing up. Jack looked up and saw the very top of the tower and the explosions that were rattling it. "You're going up there?" the Prime asked surprised. Soundwave nodded as he headed toward the elevator on the nearside of the consoles. "Yes, that is the only area where I can fully counteract the sabotage." "But Soundwave, that's suicide." Jack said back. "Don't worry, I can do it." the former con replied as he opened the elevator doors. "By the way, Bakara will be fine, I sent her back to safety with some of Wrex's troops. With her input, the Krogan will have a promising future." he continued as he tried to distract Jack from what he was doing, but the Commander grabbed the former Con's shoulder and stopped him. "Soundwave, there has to be another way?" Soundwave stayed silent for a long moment, probably the longest moment since he had started talking again. He then sighed and looked back at Jack. "No, there is no other way, I will not be coming back. You should get out of here. The tower will likely explode after dispersal of the cure and that would be problematic." "Soundwave, No!" Jack snapped back at the spymaster who just looked back at him, his face completely stoic compared to Jack's who's had started to become emotional. "Jack…please, I need to do this. You know that, so let me go." The Prime just looked at Soundwave before admitting defeat and he released the spymaster. Who then walked into the elevator and turned to face Jack. "Thank you, Jack. You are the best friend that I ever had and I appreciate everything that you have done for me." Jack just stood there as Soundwave reached out at the elevator controls, only to stop and look back at the Commander. "Oh and, Jack." "Yeah?" the Prime asked. "Take care of Ravage for me?" the spymaster asked. "I will, Soundwave." Jack replied with a slight smile. Soundwave then nodded in return as he smiled. "Goodbye." he said as he activated the elevator, causing the doors to shut and the capsule shot up towards the top of the tower. Jack took a moment to watch as he his friend went up, before turning around and leaving the Pillar as debris started to fall from it's highest level. Mean while as the elevator climbed up, Soundwave just stood there, his face now completely stoic again. Then the capsule stopped at the top floor and as the doors opened the heat hit the spymaster hard as the fires in the control room ran out of control. Soundwave walked hurried over to the master control console while shielding his face from the exploding consoles to either side of him, knocking slightly to the side with each one. "Warning, power build up reaching critical levels. Warning power build up reaching critical levels." The computer boomed over the intercom, but Soundwave ignored it and started working on the console, typing fast as he counteracted the sabotaged systems that his former colleages had left behind all those centuries ago. As he typed he thought back to his time as a Decepticon under the leadership of Megatron and all the lives that they had hurt. This alone might not have redeemed him in the eyes of those victims, but he knew that the work he did with Jackson Prime would. The computer screen then turned green as Soundwave smiled. "Damaged systems disengaged, dispersal system activated." the computer replied as suddenly the cure was shot out high into the atmosphere where it began interacting with the clouds which began to grow darker and spread out further around the immediate area of the Pillar and then further out as it then started to rain the cure down on the planet in the form of glowing liquid droplets. Soundwave had big smile on his face as he watched the cure spread out around the planet. He sighed happily just moments before the room exploded around him, destroying the entire top floor of the Pillar in a massive explosion. Jack looked up at the tower with what was once the control room now in flames as he felt sadness overtake him as he had again lost a friend. The cure rained down on the Prime as he held his hand out and watched the glowing droplets hit it and run down his armoured glove before dropping on to the floor. Meanwhile Wrex's tank stopped nearby and Wrex, Bakara, Arcee and Garrus climbed out and walked up to Jack. All around Tuchanka, Krogan looked up at the sky as it rained the cure down upon them. Wrex and Bakara looked wide-eyed at what Soundwave had done for them. Jack then felt a slight smile grace his face as he felt a soft hand take his own in their's. He looked over to see Arcee standing next to him, with a look of understanding on her face. They then looked up one more time at the Pillar before turning around and heading back to the tank. As the tank drove away, the Pillar started to fall apart and collapsed into a massive heap as the rain continued. Back at the Hollows, the group followed Wrex as he wanted to show them something. "A long time ago, my father who I thought the world of, betrayed me in this place, his own son. And he tried to kill me, so I killed him…..right over there." he said while pointing at a slab of blood stained rock just away from them, the Krogan leader then turned to Jack and his team. "That is what the genophage reduced us into…..animals. But you and Soundwave changed that today." he said with a slight smile, having noticed Jack's stoic expression. He knew that Jack was hurting for his friend. "From now on, we will fight for our children….not against them." Bakara added as she stood beside Wrex. She then sighed as she looked down to the ground. "It's just a pity that Soundwave had to die." she said sadly. Jack though looked at her and Wrex. "I know he wouldn't have had it any other way, and I bet that where ever he is…he is looking out for us." the Prime replied. Wrex then stepped closer to Jack. "We'll name one of the kids after him…maybe a girl." Wrex chuckled. Bakara though held her hand out to Jack. "But you, Prime. You we can thank in person." she said as they shook hands. "Jack, when you are ready to kick the Reapers the hell off Earth. We will be at your side, the Krogan are back in business." Wrex said as he slammed his fists together. "What will you do now?" Jack asked. "We will spread word of what has happened here. Many clans are already gathering in the Kelphic Valley. I will speak to them and start the rebuilding process. We are finally free to control our own destiny. But I will make sure that this gift isn't squandered. Farewell, Prime, and thank you." Bakara finished as Jack and the others said their good byes before entering their shuttle. Which took off and flew up into the atmosphere, on it's way to rendezvous with the Defiant in orbit.
  8. CHAPTER 5 Arcee sat on the bed in her quarters, she had her knees up against her chest and her arms wrapped around them. It had been several hours since she and Airachnid had returned with Jack to the Defiant. The ship was in orbit around Tuchunka at this very moment while Soundwave was working on the Genophage cure. But even he stopped what he was doing to help Ratchet when he saw the state that the Commander was in. Ratchet had commented on the fact that Jack had lost a lot of blood and that they needed to work on him right away, so he cleared the medical bay as he and the spymaster got to work on the injured Prime. Airachnid had told her that she would stay close by and let her know the moment she had any news. Therefore the femme was in her room and waiting to hear of Jack's condition, she would have been there waiting too but a part of her could not bare to watch if Jack were to die. It would be like living through the nightmare of seeing Tailgate die again, and she just couldn't bare to watch as she lost another partner. So there she was on her bed and thinking of Jack, and when her thoughts weren't on her partner, they were going over what she saw during her time connected to Airachnid's mind via the cortical psychic patch. She still could not believe it, well she could because she saw it, but it was still a lot to take in. She was brought out of her thoughts by the sound of the inter com activating. "Arcee, it's Airachnid. Ratchet and Soundwave have just come out of surgery and they have told me that Jack will be fine. They aren't allowing anyone in to see him as they said that he needs the rest." Airachnid said, gaining a relieved sigh from the femme. "Thanks for the letting me know." Arcee replied. "Of course Arcee." the former Con finished as the inter com deactivated, leaving Arcee with her thoughts again. But after a long moment, the femme shrugged her shoulders and got off her bed and left her room, knowing that there was only one to settle this feeling that she had. Meanwhile Airachnid was standing outside of the medical bay, looking in through one the large windows that surrounded the room. She was looking at Jack as he slept on the medical berth, she then shook her head. He wouldn't have been lying in there if she and Arcee hadn't let their past get in the way of the mission. The femme was so engrossed in her own thoughts that she didn't notice another person standing only a few metres behind. "Airachnid." the voice called from behind, making her turn round to see who spoke. A slight smile graced her lips as a Turian walked up to her. "Garrus, it's been a while." she replied as he joined her and looked through the window. "Yes, it certainly has. So what have you been up too since we both left the Defiant several months ago?" The femme looked over at Garrus. "Well after what happened with Jack being arrested and the ship kept at Earth, I thought my talents would be best put helping others, making trouble for slavers and the rest of the filth that this galaxy has." Garrus crossed his arms and looked at her. "You may have heard that I did something similar for two years before we first met. It was during the time that I thought Jack was dead, little did I know that MECH was working on returning my friend back to us." the Turian said as Airachnid watched. "Was it because of Jack, that you were out there fighting against the scum of galaxy?" she asked. Garrus nodded as he looked back at his friend lying on the berth. "Yes, we did a lot of good back on the Normandy, stopping Saren and Sovereign. I guess I was doing it because I thought Jack would want me too, fighting the good fight you know." Airachnid nodded in agreement. "That's why I left and went out there alone, but that was not the only reason." She replied as Garrus looked back to her, his expression was one of curiosity. "Which was?" The former con sighed as she looked down at the ground. "Let's just say I feel like I have a lot to make up for." she replied. "I see, and what about Jack?" Garrus asked. The femme looked back at him, her eyes wide as the question surprised her. "What do you mean?" she asked hesitantly. "Well I noticed that the two of you had gotten close during our fight against the Quintessons." Garrus answered as he noticed her discomfort. ""Yes we did become close, but it wasn't meant to be." she replied, sadness evident in her voice. "Why, because of Arcee?" he asked. "Partly." she answered cryptically. Garrus was about to ask further, when he noticed Arcee walk around the corner, looking at Airachnid. "Well...I should get going, I have some….. calibrations to attend too. We'll talk later Airachnid." he finished awkwardly before walking away, leaving the femme confused until she realised why and turned around to see Arcee. "We need to talk.". The Blue femme said as she looked at Airachnid stoically. "Alright, but we should go somewhere more private." she replied, before motioning the blue femme to follow her. So both Cybertronians walked down the connecting corridor and entered the port side observation lounge. Airachnid sat down on the sofa while Arcee stood in front of the large rectangular window that overlooked the planet of Tuchunka below. Silence followed for a long moment between the two before Arcee found her voice. "So, I wanted to talk to you about…. well about what happened down on Thrull." Airachnid nodded in return as she looked at the femme. "I kind of guessed as much, since we both saw each others memories through the patch." Arcee turned and looked at Airachnid. "You saw mine too?" she asked surprised. The former Con nodded and gave her a slight smile. "Yes I did Arcee, most of the memories went by quickly, but I did see the pain and suffering I put you through with the your torture, and the killing of Tailgate by my hands." Arcee looked down and closed her eyes at the reminder of her dead partner. "I know that it's a little late and doesn't really mean much….but I am really sorry for what I did to you and to all those you cared about." Airachnid said as her purple eyes met the blue femme's who had looked up at her from the ground. "It isn't too late, Airachnid, but it is not necessary since you weren't yourself. Primus, all that kept me going these past eons was the thought of extinguishing your spark. The incident with Tailgate had changed me, made me close myself off from everyone around me." Arcee spoke as Airachnid kept quiet and listened. "It wasn't what you could call healthy, but I didn't want to get hurt again." Arcee carried on. "But then you met Cliffjumper." Airachnid asked. The blue femme nodded as she sat beside the former Con. "I didn't expect it, in fact when we first met I found him to be annoying and reckless. But over time I started to really like him." "Did you love him?" Airachnid asked softly. "Yes… yes I did, so when he died it nearly destroyed me. Just like with Tailgate, all I wanted was to kill the one who took him from me." Arcee replied. "….Starscream?" the former Con asked, the Autobot nodded in return. "After I found out that it was that seeker, all I wanted was to send him to the pit. But it would be a few more years before I finally made true that desire." "I heard about that, I am glad that that snivelling, cowardly piece of scrap is dead." Airachnid replied with a smile, gaining one from Arcee as her expression softened. "How did you kill him?" the former Con asked as the Autobot looked out at the planet in front of them, remembering that day. 'Arcee looked around at the devastation around her, you could barely recognise the city of Washington DC, after the Decepticons had launched their attack on the unsuspecting Metropolis. Megatron had launched the attack personally while his army attacked the rest of the world. The disabling of his command ship, the Nemesis by Optimus and the star saber had made the Con leader furious. And so he upped his endgame by systematically bridging his troops to lay waste to the Human population centers as a final act of smite to his former friend. Each city was under attack by a legion of vehicons lead by one of Megatron's loyal lieutenants. The femme had learnt that Dreadwing was leading the attack on London, Soundwave was attacking Beijing, and Slipstream was attacking Moscow. Luckily though, the damage to the Autobot base by the attack from the Nemesis was not as bad as first thought and due to Team Prime having the Forge of Solus Prime, Optimus managed to upgrade the ground bridge to space bridge level and send reinforcements to help defend each city. He sent the Dinobots to handle the spymaster, and Ultra Magnus and the Protectobots to deal with Dreadwing. But here at Washington, Megatron had unleashed Devestator, the combined form of the Constructicons and that was just his first wave. It had taken all of the Team Prime to take him down, but he had brought down half of the city in that time, luckily Agent Fowler and Ratchet had bridged the majority of the civilians out. Right at this moment though it was calm and quiet as both sides regrouped. Fowler had sent word for the military to come and aid in the fight, though Optimus had refused at first. But the government agent had made his case and with the help of Jack, convinced the Prime that this was their fight too. Jack…its funny how much he had changed things for the bots since he first came across her, when she was in her disguise. He had said that he loved her, she knew that he didn't mean it back then. How could he, he didn't know what and who she was then and she didn't know him. To her he was just another human that needed protecting, and to him she was just a hot looking motorcycle. But that was just appearances though, and in the time since then, they had made quite the partnership. There was nothing she wouldn't do for him and vice versa. In fact she had started to feel that there was something underlining their partnership/friendship. She could feel it every time they were together, every time he smiled at her, the spark inside her chest would warm at the feeling it brought out of her. The last time that happened was with Cliffjumper and still, even now as she thought about it. The femme could feel that it was different with Jack, like he meant more to her than her past partners. She couldn't explain it, but maybe that was the point. She knew that she got jealous whenever another girl would show attention to Jack, by Primus when he dated Sierra, she felt like squashing that up-herself little tart. But the femme held herself back due to knowing that Jack liked her. On the night of their big date over at Sierra's house, while her parents were away. Arcee had (under cover of her alt mode) driven them there and was waiting outside on the curb. The thoughts going through her mind at what Jack was getting up to with that girl were driving her mad. But she would persist, as long as Jack was happy. But then the strangest thing happened, after less than an hour Jack left her house and climbed on Arcee and they left without a word. She had asked if something was wrong, but he would deflect the question with humour. The femme knew that something had happened between the two, but she would wait until he felt ready to talk about it. A couple of days later Jack told her that he just didn't feel right with Sierra and broke up with her. When his partner asked why, he just said that the human girl just wasn't the one for him, as he gave the femme a slight smile. It was the kind of smile that would make the Autobot's spark skip a beat. Arcee was quietly ecstatic that he didn't go through with it, and since then the two of them had never been closer…..well until today. Arcee was pulled out of her thoughts by her com link going off. The femme placed a servo to her audio receptor. "Arcee here." The gentle but commanding voice of Optimus Prime came through the other end. "Arcee, my sensors still have you waiting at check point beta. Why haven't you started your recon patrol?" "Well I am supposed to be handling it with Jack, but he hasn't turned up yet. In fact I am getting worried Optimus. He is never late and he always lets us know if something is wrong." the femme replied with a hint of emotion in her voice. "I was about to head out there and track him via the beacon in his communicator, if you will let me?" she finished. "Of course, Arcee, let us know once you have found him and be careful, the Decepticons may attack at any time." the Prime replied. "Will do." the femme ended the call and activated her sensors, picking up a signal that could only be Jack's beacon. She then dived forward as her body parts shifted and compressed into the form of her motorcycle mode and she sped away down the road towards her partner. It didn't take her long to reach her destination (Arcee always liked to floor it when there wasn't any chance of being spotted by civilians) and she braked hard when she suddenly saw her Human friend ahead. 'Jack!' she thought as she saw his body laying face down on the ground. She transformed back into her bipedal form, the concern on her face plate evident as she looked at him, but then her instincts and combat experience kicked in as she suddenly activated her cannons which replaced her lower arms and hands, as she scanned the area around her. 'This is a trap, but I don't care. If they have hurt my Jack, I will send them all to the pit. No matter who they are." she thought as she moved slowly toward her partner. When the femme got within a few meters of him, her sensors detected that he was unconscious but alive. She sighed in relief as she reached out to him, but was suddenly stopped by a familiar voice. "Isn't that precious, I wish I had my holo-imager." The Autobot spun around and charged her weapons at the Decepticon SIC himself. "Starscream!" Arcee spat as her optics narrowed at the Seeker. The Con though just stood there casually and laughed. "Oh, you do not know how hard it was not to end his life while waiting for you to appear. Like I did to Cliffjumper, remember?" he said as an evil grin grew on his face plate. The femme just gritted her teeth in response as her weapons became fully charged, and ready to fire. "I don't think so." Starscream replied before clicking his fingers. Suddenly Arcee found herself surrounded by a group of silver vehicons, their weapons trained on her. "Now that is more comfortable, don't you think, Arcee? Well more comfortable for me anyway." the seeker gloated as the Autobot kept her weapons active, despite being outnumbered. "You're nothing but a coward, Starscream. How about calling off your 'bodyguards' and facing me one on one?" Arcee replied, gaining awkward looks from the Vehicons. "Lord Starscream is no coward, you Autobot wretch." one of the troops said aloud, making Starscream visibly nervous. "Mind your voice, ST3V3. Remember that Soundwave hears everything." he commanded, gaining the soldier's attention which had left the Femme's, who silently deployed an arm blade. "Yes, lord,….I mean, Commander Starscream." ST3V3 answered before Arcee dived at him and sliced his head from his body as she fired at the other vehicons around her, who panicked as she shot down three more of their group. The Seeker dived out of the way and took cover as Arcee made short work of his troops before knocking down the last one. She then readied herself. "Come on out, Starscream, we all have to face our fate eventually." she called out while he hid behind a building feigning heavy breaths. "This wasn't how this was supposed to play out." he replied irritably. "And how's that then?" the femme replied as she tried to follow where his voice was coming from. Starscream quietly moved to the other side of the building as he gained a clear sight of the femme and smiled. "I was supposed to kill the boy for Megatron, since he has become an annoyance that my lord can no longer tolerate." "What, Megatron can't deal with a 'simple' Human himself?" Arcee replied sarcastically and untruthfully, because Jack was anything but simple, especially to her. "Not at all, it's just that my lord has more important matters to attend to, such as attacking Optimus Prime at this very moment." Starscream replied slyly. The femme's azure blue optics widened at that comment. "And I will kill that boy now!" the Seeker finished, Arcee narrowed her optics at that comment as anger took over. "Over my dead body, Starscream." she replied gritting her teeth. "That can be arranged!" he replied as he fired at missile at the femme. But she saw it and back flipped over the missile, itself exploding harmlessly against an empty building behind her as she landed and fired back at the spot that the attack came from. She then heard a transformation take place before a Jet flew out from behind the building in front and attacked her, but now she was seething and the femme ran at the jet and jumped up and grabbed Starscream's wing as he cried out. "Let go of me, you filthy wretch!" Arcee though held on and climbed atop of the Con as she deployed both arm blades and started hacking away at the Decepticon. "Everything that goes up must come down!" she retorted as she broke through his armour and damaged his inner workings, causing explosions to rattle along his jet mode. "AAGGGGHHH!" he screamed as he lost control and started to plummet back to the ground. Arcee jumped off just before the Jet came crashing down and due to her perfect dexterity, she landed on her feet gracefully and smiled as Starscream crashed into the ground and exploded. She then walked over to the billowing smoke and fire and saw his heavily damaged body as it was now back in bipedal form. Starscream was attempting to crawl away, but was wincing at every move that his body made. The femme then got above him and grabbed him by the opening in his chest plate and held him up to her face. "Please show mercy, I am no longer a threat. You wouldn't kill a defenceless opponent now…would you?" he pleaded in a grovelling tone. But Arcee just looked at him and held her arm blade up, ready to strike. "Sorry to disappoint you, Starscream, but I won't fall for that trick twice." she replied stoically before plunging her arm blade through the Seeker's head, spilling energon all over the floor as his body started flinching. Arcee then watched the Con's red optics fade away before dropping his lifeless body to the ground with a loud clang. She then just stood there as she took in the moment. She had killed Starscream finally, but not for revenge for what he had done to Cliffjumper, but for threatening to kill the one person in this world that she cared for the most. "…Arcee!" came a familiar voice from behind the femme as her expression changed to that of worried concern, she turned to see Jack getting up off the floor and ran over to him. "Jack,….you alright?" Arcee asked, not even attempting to hide her feelings. "I'm fine." he replied before looking around at all the dead con's lying around them. "I see you took care of everything." he observed as a smile graced her lips. "Yeah, I also killed Starscream." she replied getting down on one knee, gaining the smile she loved to see Jack have on his face. "That's my girl!" he answered back softly. The two just looked into each others eyes/optics for a long moment before they heard an explosion not too far away and instantly realised what that meant. "Arcee,…we have to..." Jack replied, as he his expression changed to one more serious. "I know, are you alright to move?" she asked in a concerned tone. "Yeah, let's go. Optimus will need us, Partner." he said, gaining a nod from the femme who transformed into her motorcycle mode. Jack then climbed on her and the two sped back towards the explosions as the final battle of the war was just beginning.' Arcee was looking out of the window as Airachnid stared back at her with a sympathetic expression. "So did killing Starscream help?" "No, because by then a lot had changed in my life. I had found a new reason for living." the blue femme answered. "Jack?" Airachnid replied, gaining a smile from the femme. "Yeah, he helped me see past my need to avenge the partners that I lost." The former Con sat on her side and rested her head against her hand. "He certainly has a way of calming people, doesn't he?" she replied with gentle smile. "He certainly does." Arcee replied as she looked down at the ground. "But it did take me a while to learn it. I made more than a few mistakes down the line with the reprogrammed you…" she continued, gaining a look of appreciation from Airachnid. "…and with Starscream. But I figured it out in the end." the blue femme finished as she looked back over at her fellow Cybertronian. "He helped me in a similar fashion not long back, on Cybertron." Airachnid replied. "I know, I saw that too. Jack helped you take down Shockwave, for what he did to you….and what he made you do." Arcee replied with a hint of sorrow in her voice. The former Con nodded slowly in response. "…Esmeral." she said in a half whisper. "I had no idea that you used to be an Autobot… before the Cons got their hands on you. If I had known then I guess that I…" Arcee said before looking away ashamed. "Airachnid if anyone should be apologising between the two of us. It should be me." The other femme looked at her in surprise. "How could you have known, I mean no one in the Autobots knew what had happened to me since everyone in my garrison had been killed during the siege of Crystal City." Airachnid replied. Arcee though shook her head in response. "It doesn't matter. You were completely innocent. I mean the things that Shockwave put you through, including…..the loss of your spark mate." Airachnid looked away and out of the window. "As I saw that memory, I felt that I knew her….your spark mate before." Arcee said, gaining a curious look from the other femme. "It was from before the war. My sisters and I were visiting Crystal City and unsurprisingly had gotten lost, we were following my younger sister Chromia's directions. That's when we came across a white and red femme with green optics. She made an instant impression." the blue femme smiled as Arachnid listened intently. "She seemed really kind and friendly as she helped us find our way to the main trans-hub. She told us she was on her way to meet her spark mate 'Air', but that she would be more than happy to help out her fellow Cybertronians." Airachnid felt her eyes well up as Arcee described Esmeral to her, but she wiped away the tears before they could run down her face, gaining the blue femme's attention. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't.." the blue femme started before the former Con stopped her. "It's alright, Arcee, that sounds like my Esmeral. Air was her nickname for me." Arcee placed a hand on the femme's shoulder in support, gaining a smile in return before a worried look crossed Airachnid's face. "You said you saw everything, does that include…." she asked, hoping that Arcee wouldn't answer. "Yes…..I also saw the night you spent with Jack." the blue femme replied calmly, confusing the former Con. "Why aren't…" Airachnid started before Arcee cut her off. "Why aren't I angry about it?" she continued as she looked back at Airachnid. "Well for one, I saw the sorrow that Jack was in over the guilt and pain of being brought back to life and that was also partly my fault, because I pushed him away. At a time when he needed me. But you were there for him and helped him, like he did for you. When I saw you together, I saw two people who took comfort in each other. I know Jack cares for you." she carried on as she stood up and looked down at Airachnid, her face becoming stoic-like. "But I need to know, do you love him?" Airachnid looked at her, but kept her composure. "Yes….yes I do. But you don't need to worry because I won't get in the way, since I know that he loves you." she answered honestly, which made Arcee's expression soften as her eyes widened at the former Con's comment. "And I am already bonded to my Esmeral, but in the end all I want, is for Jack to be happy. Because I don't want him to have to go through life without the one he loves, not like I have." Arcee then sat back down next to the other femme. "Thank you, Airachnid." "Your welcome." the former Con responded as the two sat there in comfortable silence for a long moment. "Well, Airachnid the Decepticon maybe well and truly gone, but I would like to get to know the Autobot." Arcee said with a smile as she looked over to Airachnid who returned the smile. "I'd like that." she replied. Arcee then sighed as she finally let herself relax. "Well….that was the talk." "I know….I could use a drink." Airachnid replied with a smirk. "...Me too." Arcee replied as she looked past the other femme to the bar at the far side of the room. Airachnid too looked over at the bar and then looked back, a confused look on her face. "Will it even effect us?" she asked. "Only one way to find out." Arcee replied as she stood up and walked over to the bar. Once there she picked up a bottle and two glasses and brought them back over to the couch. She then handed a glass to Airachnid and then opened the bottle, pouring some of it's liquid into both glasses. "What is it?" Airachnid asked as Arcee studied the label. "Serrice Ice brandy" the blue femme replied before taking a drink from her glass. A large smile then graced her lips. "Me likey!" the blue femme exclaimed as Airachnid drank from her glass before nodding in agreement. "More please.." she asked and Arcee happily obliged as she refilled the other femme's glass and then her own. PRIME EFFECT 3 Jack woke up to find himself lying on the berth in the medical bay with a sheet covering him. He sighed as he looked up at the ceiling. 'Not again' he thought as he looked around at his surroundings. He saw Ratchet with his back turned while he was working at a console, meanwhile at the other side of the room Soundwave was working on the Genophage cure with Bakara and Wrex watching him as the Krogan female was sitting on a similar berth with the Urdnot leader standing next to her, like he was her bodyguard. Jack slowly sat up as the Krogan turned to face him, a smile on his face. "Jack, good to see you are awake my friend. We were fearing the worst when you were brought in." Jack smiled in response as he tried to swing his legs over the side of his berth. "And what do you think you are doing?" Ratchet asked as he walked over to the Prime after hearing Wrex. "Well unless you plan on keeping me here, I would rather rest in my own bed if that's alright?" Jack asked. Ratchet pinched his nose in irritation but nodded in return. "Very well, but first I would like to take a scan of you just to be sure that everything is fine." "Okay." Jack then looked down and noticed the scars over his torso. Ratchet activated his holo-tool and took scans before noticing the Prime's expression. "You were bleeding out of every one of those cuts Jack. I managed to repair the damage but you will have those scars for a while." Jack continued to look at his scars as Wrex chuckled. "You think that's bad, Jack? my body has even more scarring than that, but lucky for me, Bakara likes them." The Krogan said, gaining a glare from the female across the room. Jack smiled at the moment between the two as he watched Wrex get put in his place by a simple look from the other Krogan, he then looked over at Ratchet confused. "Who brought me in?" The Autobot medic never took his eyes off his holo-tool as he answered. "Why Arcee and Airachnid of course. Why? What was the last thing you remember?" Jack looked ahead as he let his memories wash over his mind. "I was being tortured by Thundertron." he reminisced gaining a shocked look from Ratchet. "The Captain of the Star Seekers! That's impossible. The Tidal Wave was thought destroyed after the battle at Aphelia four." Jack looked at the medic, a matter of fact like look on his face. "Well, they were very much alive when I met them." Ratchet then looked at him confused as Wrex just watched the conversation before him. "Where were Arcee and Airachnid during this?" Jack sighed heavily as he looked at the floor, as he felt somewhat ashamed. "After Arcee and I landed on Thrull, we tracked the Autobot signal only for it disappear. So we split up to search the area, that's when Airachnid turned up. Then Arcee reappeared, we had an argument and she stormed off. Airachnid went after her, and then while I was alone, that's when I suddenly came under attack." Ratchet and Wrex looked at each other for a moment before looking back at Jack. "What?" the Prime asked. "Well, the two of them certainly didn't seem at all hostile when they brought you in. As a matter of fact, they were just quiet and I would say almost….respectful of each other." Hearing this confused the Commander even more. He swore that the two femmes would have been at each other's throats, but then something else came to mind. "Wait a minute, Ratchet. Why aren't you at all worried with having Airachnid on board?" A slight smile grew on Ratchet's face, which was a rarity in of itself. "Well, after you were arrested several months back, Airachnid met with Optimus and told him everything in hope that she could take her place amongst the rest of us. The Prime did so happily, and I approved of his choice….after hearing of her tragedy myself." Jack's confused expression then became stern. "And you didn't tell Arcee?" Ratchet looked at him stoically. "Considering how she reacted to seeing Airachnid again, I think you know why we didn't tell her. We were just waiting for the most appropriate opportunity." Jack sighed as he nodded in return. "Yeah…..I guess so….Anyway..." Jack started as he got off of the berth. "...I think I will retire for the evening." The Prime then put on a t-shirt that was left on the side before looking at Wrex as he started to walk funny back to Bakara. "Wrex, what's with the walk?" The Krogan looked back and sighed. "Soundwave, he got his tissue sample." he answered before feigning a wince. "Let's just say that his scalpel went into places that it shouldn't have." Wrex answered sadly before walking back to the Spymaster and Baraka. Jack smirked at the comment, before patting Ratchet on the shoulder and walking out of the room. He didn't get far when Garrus appeared before him. "Jack, good to see your finally up and about." the Turian said gaining a smile from the Prime. "Yeah, you know it takes more than some sadistic torture to keep me down." he replied, Garrus chuckled in response. "You may be Human on the outside, Jack, but you're more like a Turian on the inside." "Thanks, Garrus, I'll take that as a compliment." Jack replied. "As you should." The Turian said before his face became serious. "By the way, a few hours ago, Arcee and Airachnid were standing out here and lets just say that the atmosphere between the two was…..awkward to say the least." Jack's eyes widened at his friend's news. "Where did they go?" he asked, a hint of worry suddenly apparent in his voice. "Toward the port-side observation lounge, no one has seen them since." Garrus replied. Jack took a deep breath before heading off in that direction. "Thanks, Garrus." The Turian nodded in return as he watched the Commander walk away, down the corridor. A million thoughts ran through Jack's mind as he neared the observation lounge, he hoped that they weren't fighting. That would be the last thing he needed at this moment. He was nearly at the door when he heard something smash in the lounge. His eyes widened and his heart beats sped up as found he had started to run. He then hurriedly hit the control panel on the side of the door, making it open as he rushed in only to stop and stare in disbelief as the door close behind him, for he could not believe what he was seeing. Before him on the far side of the couch was Airachnid, looking like she was not all there as she fumbled her glass, spilling some of it's contents over her t-shirt. This made her laugh out loud, meanwhile at the side nearest to Jack. He saw Arcee bending over the arm rest as she too was giggling while attempting to pick up the broken glass on the floor below. The Prime just watched for a long moment, completely gob smacked at the two before Airachnid looked round to him, a massive grin appearing on her face. "Arcee, it's our Jack." she exclaimed, as Arcee pulled herself back up to stare at Jack. A similar smile on her own face, while she tried to keep her eyes on him. "Jack, glad you ..hic-up.. made it." She then looked back down to the broken glass, a sad expression on her face as she huffed. "Sorry about the ..hic-up.. mess, I didn't think that this drink would effect me this much." she slurred as she looked back at the Commander. Jack though looked at the table next to them and saw two now empty bottles. He then sighed as he felt a smile grow on his face. "Well, I am glad you two are getting on so well. I thought that you may have been fighting." Airachnid looked over at Jack, or that is what Jack thought she was doing as she put an arm around the blue femme's shoulders. "And why would we ..hic-up.. be fighting." she slurred as Arcee smiled back at her. "Yeah, we are more like sisters right now. Your not making any sense Jack. Maybe you should have a drink." Arcee replied as she giggled before offering Jack a glass. The Prime though took the glass and placed it back down on the table. "No thanks, and I think you two girls have had enough." he replied as he helped the blue femme to her feet, she held on to him as she couldn't keep her balance on her own. "Awwww." Airachnid replied as Jack helped Arcee away. "I think you should get some sleep, Airachnid." the Prime suggested, as the femme watched them sadly. "Sleep, but I don't even feel….." Jack then noticed that the femme had not finished her sentence, so he looked back and sighed at the sight of her now on her back, and passed out on the couch. Arcee looked over his shoulder and giggled. "Looks like I ..hic-up.. win." she slurred before Jack helped her sit down on the adjacent chair. He then walked over to a cabinet like storage unit and took out a large sheet, before placing it over the now sleeping femme. He then turned back to see Arcee was also now fast a sleep. The Prime rolled his eyes before walking over and picking up the sleeping femme in his arms. He then carried her out of the room to be greeted by a confused looking Garrus just a bit further down the corridor. The Turian was about to speak up but was cut off. "Don't ask." Jack replied with a slight smile, Garrus just nodded in return before walking away in the opposite direction. Jack entered his XO's quarters with her still asleep in his arms, he looked down at her, and saw the peaceful expression on her beautiful face. 'And here's me without my camera.' he thought while carrying her over to the femme's bed, before gently laid her down on it and pulling the covers over her body. She then began to stir as she pulled her knees up to her chest. "Jack…..Jack, is that you?" she said, barely above a whisper. Jack sat on the bed next to her. "Yeah, it's me, Arcee. I just brought you back to your room, didn't want you sleeping in the lounge." he replied softly. The femme never opened her eyes as a smile graced her lips. "Thanks…." she answered gently. "You're welcome, now get some sleep. I will see you tomorrow." he replied, while getting up off the bed. The femme nodded slowly as she got herself comfortable. "Jack…mmmmm… I love you." she said, making Jack look round suddenly as he heard her confession. His eyes were wide and his mouth slightly agape. Did she really mean what she just said, or was it the drink induced state of mind that made her say it. Remembering how she was with the Prime, when he last saw her on Thrull didn't leave much room for interpretation. Jack remembered the hurt and anger on the femme's face after she realised what had happened between himself and Airachnid. So could she really mean what she had just said. As these thoughts ran through his mind, he just stood there for a long moment before he walked back to her bed and lent down over the sleeping femme and gently kissed her forehead. "I love you too, Arcee." he replied softly before rising back up and walking out of the room, making sure to turn off the lights before the door closed behind him, he then sighed and walked over to the elevator, heading back to his own quarters.
  9. CHAPTER 4 Jack looked around as he found himself standing in a dark desolate forest, a soft but cold breeze blowing in between the trees. Brown leaves fell from above as Jack looks down to see that he is wearing his Prime armour. No sound can be heard except for whistling of the breeze as it makes him shiver from it's impact against his face. But then a sound of laughter can be heard just away from him, so Jack turns and walks in it's direction as he heads deeper into the forest. Jack walks up to what looks like a park bench, only to find that it has been burnt to a cinder. He sees an object lying on it's seat and picks it up. It is the toy ship that he saw the little boy on Earth play with before he died. A feeling of guilt rises up in Jack as he looks down at the charred toy in his hands. Suddenly another sound of laughter brought the Prime out of his thoughts as he dropped the toy and started walking away and further into the darkness. He then saw the boy cowering behind a tree, looking terrified. Jack walked over to the boy and held his hand out. The child looked up at the Prime, his face was stained by tears that he shed as he whimpered. He looked at Jack and saw that he did not mean him any harm, so the kid got up and started to walk over to him. But he then stopped suddenly as his attention was caught by a dark shadow appearing behind Jack. The boy's eyes widened in fear as he froze in place and looked past the Prime. Jack wondering what had frightened the child turned around but saw nothing but the forest behind him. He then looked back to see the kid running away, so Jack chased after him but everything seemed to slow down while he ran. As he ran through the forest after the kid, he heard the roars of a Reaper coming from up ahead, but saw nothing but trees and the darkness that was behind them. He stopped when he lost track of the kid, looking around frantically as the sounds or a Reaper drew closer. He then looked to the floor and saw the same charred toy that he had dropped earlier. He picked it back up and felt a wetness to it, looking at his fingers he saw blood. The toy was covered in red blood and Jack dropped it back on to the ground in shock. He then again heard the kid's voice, but this time it a was scream. Jack ran in it's direction as fast as he could, yet still everything slowed down. He came to a clearing in the forest where the sky could be seen, only for it to be covered in storm clouds as rain started to fall on the area. The rain drops felt cold and hard as they fell on the Prime while he scanned the area with his eyes. They then widened when he saw the child on his knees in the middle of the clearing. Jack immediately started running over to the kid, calling out to him yet no sound came out. The child looked up and saw the Prime approaching him with his hand out for the kid to take. But suddenly a black figure crawled up behind the kid, making Jack stop just a few meters away in shock. The black figure came into the light behind the kid and was revealed to be a husk, it's blue lifeless optics staring back coldly as it grabbed the kid firmly by both arms. Jack suddenly felt that he couldn't move as he helplessly watched as the Husk opened it's mouth, revealing jagged teeth and drool as it bit down hard on the kid's neck. Blood ran freely as the kid just stared at Jack while the Husk continued to chew on his flesh. Then suddenly the Husk let go and the kid fell to his knees and looked to the ground as the skin around the wound changed from pale pink to grey and it spread all over the child's body as his hair began to fall out and tubes grew out of his skin. Jack took a step back as he watched in horror as the child got onto his feet and looked at the Prime. His face now devoid of the innocent humanity it had before, as it stared back with bright blue optics. Reaper roars could be heard all around Jack as the transformed child opened it's mouth and screamed the most unholy sound at the Prime. Then suddenly everything went black. Jack opened his eyes to find himself in his bed. He sat up and looked around at the darkened surroundings of his quarters, the only light from the skylight above that showed the star field outside. The inter com activated and Arcee's voice came through, and it could not come soon enough for Jack after the nightmare he just had. "Jack? You there, Partner?" she said as he rubbed his face with his hands and sighed. "I'm here, Arcee." he answered sheepishly. There was silence for a second before the femme spoke again. "Jack, are you alright?" she asked, concern evident in her voice. Jack smiled at that, she could always read him perfectly. "I'm okay, just didn't sleep to well." he lied, hoping that she couldn't pick up on it. "Alright, but anyway I thought you should know, Bryce is waiting for you in the com room." she replied. "Right, I will be right there." Jack replied as he got of bed. Arcee was standing next to the control console with the hologram of Bryce while they waited for Jack to appear. The Prime then entered the room briskly as he stopped next to the femme. "Sorry, Admiral. I hope I didn't keep you waiting too long?" he said a little embarrassed. If Admiral Bryce was annoyed though, he didn't show it as he smirked and shook his head in response. "Not at all, Prime, I have spoken with Primarch Victus, good work on getting the support of the Turian Hierarchy, their engineers have already arrived to start work on the weapon. I also hear that you will have Urdnot Wrex on side too." Jack nodded as he and Arcee looked at the Admiral. "Yes, but we have to cure the Genophage first." Jack replied, gaining a surprised look from the older man. "Really, well that would appear to be a tall order wouldn't it." he replied. "Soundwave doesn't think so, Sir. He is confident that he can develop it and we are on our way to Tuchunka now." the Prime answered. "That's good, I also heard what happened with the Council. Sounds like they are running scared." Jack's expression turned serious as he nodded in return. "Yes, Sir, It seems that they are in denial about the Reapers and just want to protect their own territories." Bryce suddenly looked agitated and shook his head in response. "They will regret that, we need to stand together against this threat. Only as a united front can we take the offensive against the Reapers. You said you are heading to Tuchunka correct?" he asked. "That is right, Sir. Why do you ask?" Jack replied curiously. The Admiral straightened his uniform before placing his hands behind his back. "I don't want the Defiant taken off the mission to the Krogan Home world, but one of our deep space outposts has picked up a fragmented transmission from the planet Thrull over on the other side of the galaxy. It is from an Autobot, we can't tell who sent it exactly due to the fragmentation, but they did say that they had found signs of Reaper activity there. So I want you to check this out Prime, because if true this could be a bad omen that the Reapers are about to expand beyond Alliance space…and we are not even ready for it yet." he said with a serious expression and tone. Both Jack and Arcee nodded in return before the Prime saluted the Admiral. "You can count on me, Admiral." Jack replied. "I know I can, Prime. Good luck, Bryce out." the older man finished before his hologram disappeared, leaving Jack and Arcee alone in the room. "So you coming with me on this one partner?" Jack asked as he gave the femme a lop sided grin. "You sure, Jack. I mean who will command the ship if both of us are gone." she then looked down a little embarrassed. "I mean if you still want me as your XO that is?" she said as she looked back up at the Prime, though all she saw was him smiling back at her as he sighed. "Arcee, the job was always your's." he answered as he held out his hand to her. She smiled at him as she took his hand in her own and they shook. She then softly stroked his hand with her thumb before they let go. "Thanks, Jack. But still, who will command the ship= Because I don't think we can leave it to Smokescreen or Bumblebee." Jack chuckled at the comment, making the femme chuckle too. "Don't worry, I will ask Garrus to keep an eye on things here while we are away." the Commander replied. Arcee started for the door, only to stop and look at Jack with a right hand on her hip. "Okay, so what are we waiting for." she said with a smile. The Prime smiled back as he joined her. "Grab your gear and meet me at shuttle-one then." he replied before they both left the com room. PRIME EFFECT 3 Shuttle one exited hyperspace as it drew near to the green and yellowish planet. Arcee ran a scan of the planet and the surrounding space as Jack piloted the shuttle to her left. "No sign of any Reaper ships, Jack. But I am getting life signs on the planet. But they are sporadic." she replied while looking down at the holo-screen in front of her. Then there was another blip on the screen. "Hang on, scanners have just picked up an Autobot signal on the southern continent." "Alright then, I will land us several clicks away from it's source. Taking us in." Jack replied as the shuttle entered the planet's atmosphere. Once on the ground, Jack and Arcee (both armoured) left the shuttle in a clearing of the forest that covered most of the planet. They started to trek through the dense foliage as they neared the source of the Autobot signal. "Jack, I am still not getting anything of note on the scanners." the femme stated as she looked at the map on her holo-tool. Jack kept his weapon ready as he took point and scanned the area around them with his eyes. But he still did not see anything other than trees and bushes. "Maybe they are hiding from something." he replied, when suddenly Arcee stopped and her eyes widened as she stared at her holo-tool. "uh…Jack, you know that signal that we were closing in on.." Jack turned round and looked at the femme, noticing her expression. "Yeah, what is it, Arcee?" he replied as she looked back to him. "It's just disappeared." the femme answered. Jack's face became stoic as he gestured to his partner. "We should split up and search the area, I'll take this side." he said, gaining a nod from Arcee. "I'll head this way then, be careful partner." she replied before they both split up and headed off in different directions. Jack was now on his own as he slowly moved through the forest, keeping his weapon gripped firmly as he looked around him. Making sure not to miss a single detail, or else he might end up getting ambushed by whatever was on this planet. Though it was funny, Arcee had detected life signs on this planet. But apart from the trees and vegetation, they had not come across any wildlife at hoped his partner was having better luck than he was at this moment, when suddenly a branch snapped behind the Prime. Causing him to spin round and aim his weapon instinctively at what had made the noise, only to find that there was nothing there. "Hi, Jack." a very familiar voice said, making the Prime's eyes widen before he turned back. Once he had, the Commander saw a woman with short black hair and purple eyes smiling back at him. "Airachnid." he replied in surprise, making her smile widen. She started to walk towards the Prime as he noticed that she was wearing her black armour and the femme even had the Autobot insignia on the center of her chest plate. He knew how proud having that made her feel but then as she closed the distance between the two of them, his mind suddenly came to a horrific conclusion. 'What's Arcee going to do when she sees Airachnid' he thought as the femme wrapped her arms around the Prime and embraced him. "I hoped it would be you that came here after I sent off that transmission Jack." she said in a soft tone as Jack instinctively returned the embrace. The Commander though felt conflicted because, while he did care about the femme. It was actually Arcee that he wanted to be with and this reunion was about to become very awkward. He pulled back enough to look Airachnid in the eyes but not enough to break the embrace as she looked back at him. "Airachnid, what are you doing here on this planet?" he asked, gaining a hurt expression from her. "I missed you too, Jack. So there's no time for catching up. Just straight down to business." she asked as her tone became slightly confrontational. "It's not like that, but I didn't come here alone." he replied before they both felt another set of eyes on them. Jack and Airachnid looked to their right to see Arcee staring back, her azure blue eyes wide and her mouth agape. "Jack…..who is that?" his partner managed before she saw the femme's purple eyes and expression as she stared back. Arcee's eyes narrowed as she recognised her arch-enemy. "Airachnid! What in the Allspark is she doing here?" she spat back before noticing how the two were holding each other. Jack and Airachnid then realised what they were doing and separated instantly as for the second time in a minute, Arcee's face became one of shocked confusion again. "Why were you holding her like that, Jack?" she said in almost a whisper as the shock of seeing the man she loved holding her hated nemesis took hold in her mind. Jack though suddenly feeling really guilty, found that he couldn't come up with a good explanation. "Look, Arcee. It's not what you think." he could only say while Airachnid herself kept quiet, the way she was looking at Arcee only confused the femme even more. Arcee looked at both of them when it suddenly dawned on her as her eyes widened again. "You and her, Jack." she gasped before her expression became one of anger. "How could you?" she spat back suddenly as she stared daggers at Jack who could not answer despite wanting too. After a few unbelievably long seconds passed as Arcee just stared at the two, she suddenly just turned around and ran in the opposite direction. "Arcee!" Jack shouted back as he started to run after her, but then felt a hand grab his arm firmly. He looked back to see a stoic expression on Airachnid's face. "Don't, Jack. I'll go after her." she said, gaining a concerned look from the Prime. "I don't think that's a good idea." he said as he tried to reason with her, but the femme shook her head in response. "Maybe, but she will not listen to you either. Look, we didn't do anything wrong that night, because she left you remember. But she wont see it like that, so let me speak to her since I might be able to get through to her in the same way I did to you." she replied in stoic tone. Jack though still did not like the idea, but he didn't really have much of a choice. So he accepted defeat and nodded to Airachnid who gave him a slight smile. "I will bring her back, Jack. And then I will tell you two what I have found here, because I will need your help in stopping it." she said. "Alright, I will wait here for the both of you to return, be careful." The Commander replied before the femme left the Prime, but not before taking one more look at him. She then turned and headed off in the same direction as his partner while Jack stood there in forest feeling like the world around him had collapsed. PRIME EFFECT 3 Airachnid ran through the forest after Arcee, hoping once she had caught up that she could reason with the femme. Though that did seem highly unlikely, she still had to try. She followed the tracks that the bot had left and it took her into a glen as the ground sloped down to a stream that flowed through it's center. Airachnid looked along the ground for any more tracks or clues, but found none. She couldn't understand how Arcee had managed to lose her, the femme was a great scout, but she could not best the master hunter that Airachnid was. She winced slightly at the thought of how she attained that particular skill set, the femme did not like remembering the eons that she was a reprogrammed murder for the Decepticons, but right now those skills would be the only way she would be able to find Jack's lover. As she closed her eyes and listened with her audio receptors for even the slightest sound that did not belong in that forest, she found her thoughts wandered between Arcee and her former lover Jack, well that might be exaggerating somewhat. They were only together one night, though it was a night that Airachnid would never forget. Jack had really surprised her during their time working together on the Defiant, and she not only gained a new respect for him, as a Prime and as man. But also felt that she had developed an affinity for the Prime due to the to fact that both individuals had suffered from not only losing the ones they loved, but also feeling the pain and guilt of wrongs that were not really their own to bear. In Jack's case it was his death and resurrection, which had been overshadowed by the fact the his friends who had died had not been given the same fate as the Prime. For the femme, it had been murders and atrocities that she committed while under Shockwave's reprogramming, which had started with the sadistic killing of her spark mate Esmeral. But the Commander and former Con helped each other heal from their respective burdens and their friendship grew stronger because of it. Airachnid was caught up so much in her own thoughts, that she didn't hear Arcee above her, balancing on one of the tree's thick branches. The femme's eyes narrowed as she looked down at her unsuspecting nemesis. 'What is she doing? Airachnid would never let me get the jump on her like this before. She must be up to something." she thought as she watched Airachnid below her. But after a moment of observing the femme, Arcee's anger got the better of her and she dived at Airachnid, who then spun around only to be greeted by the rage filled femme who tackled her and sent them both tumbling down the glen and into the stream with a splash. Arcee got up first and went to kick her enemy to keep her down, but Airachnid managed to block and push the femme back before performing a backward roll, ending up in a defensive stance a little away from Arcee. The Autobot started daggers at her quarry. "Airachnid, I knew you were a vicious, sparkless wretch. But really….were you just bored of the 'killing my partners' goal of your life, and decided to screw them instead…literally!" she spat as she deployed her arm blades and readied herself to pounce. Airachnid though kept a stoic expression on her face as she tried to reason with Arcee. "I'm not here to fight, I'm here to talk." she said as she lowered arms in a gesture of surrender, this completely threw Arcee who just stared at her quarry for a long moment before shaking her head, and screaming at the femme as she charged at Airachnid. Arcee threw punches and kicks at her nemesis who blocked or evaded every last one before back flipping away to a safe distance. "Fight me already." Arcee hissed as she ran at Airachnid again, who stopped another punch with her lower arm before pushing the femme back yet again. "No, I don't want to fight you." Airachnid said calmly as the blue femme attacked again with a roundhouse kick that she ducked under and evaded. "That's funny, because I want to rip your spark out for ruining my life yet again." Arcee spat back as she dived at her foe with an arm blade which cut past Airachnid's armour on her arm and caused her to wince as she was rolled out of the way and clutched at her wound, liquid seeping out of the gaps between her fingers as Arcee smiled back, satisfied that she drew first blood. But then something on her quarry's chest plate caught her attention, Arcee's eyes widened as she stared at the red Autobot insignia. "Why the hell do you have that?" she asked angrily. "Was that a gift from Jack for being such a good whore!" she spat, before suddenly Airachnid's eyes narrowed and she gritted her teeth, as she finally snapped and lunged at the blue femme. "You stupid, judgemental wretch!" she screamed at her while throwing a punch, which Arcee blocked easily. But then Airachnid threw another which connected with her enemy's face, knocking her back as the black haired femme continued to attack. Rage was now fuelling the former Con now as she had had enough of Arcee. The blue femme found herself on the defensive as Airachnid attacked with a flurry of blows that she could not defend, but then she managed to grab her nemesis's arm and she pulled Airachnid over her shoulder and threw her to the ground with a thud as water splashed around them. Arcee then pinned her down to the ground and held her head in the water, hoping to drown her enemy. Airachnid tried to get free but found that Arcee had the advantage and she wasn't going to lose it. After several moments Airachnid's body became still as Arcee stood up, satisfied that she had finally killed her long time foe, looking down at her stoically. But as she stare down at the body, her satisfaction was replaced by confusion. Why, she had finally beaten and ended the life of the one person who had wrought so much pain in her life, why wasn't she ecstatic about it. She then turned to walk away when suddenly her legs were kicked out from under her, sending the blue femme on to the ground face first. Her anger boiled up again as she quickly recovered to see Airachnid staring daggers back at her while completely soaked. The two then charged at each other and grappled when they suddenly stopped as they heard weapons fire a ways from them, they then both had the same thought as everything they had been doing at that point seemed unimportant. "Jack!" they both said in unison as let go of each other and bolted back out of the glen and towards where they had left the Prime. The two femmes made it back to the area where Jack was but saw no sign of him anyway. "Jack!" Airachnid called out as Arcee looked around until her eyes fell upon his weapon lying on the ground. "No." she said softly before she bent down and picked up the rifle. Airachnid walked alongside her and looked down at the rifle as both suddenly felt very guilty. As the blue femme stayed quiet, the former Con decided to be more proactive as she started looking around the ground to find any tracks. Arcee noticed this and walked over to her. "What are you doing?" she asked coldly. Airachnid did not even bother to look at the femme as she answered. "I am looking for tracks, to give us the direction that 'they' took Jack." she replied. "Who's 'they'?" she asked confused, Airachnid felt herself flinch as the blue femme's question got under her skin. "'They are the reason I called for help on this planet. But unfortunately for Jack, you could not put the past behind you." she spat at Arcee who surprised her back by staring at her stoically. "Look, I hate you. Nothing you will say or do will ever make me forget the past, but right now Jack is in trouble and it is our fault. So why don't we….'work' together to rescue him. Then afterwards we can finish this." she said as Airachnid looked back at her, surprised by Arcee's attitude change. "You're still not listening, Arcee. I don't want to fight you. But I agree that we need to find Jack, so I will help you." she said before noticing the trampled grass to the left of the pair. "There, they took him that way. Back to their ship….the 'Tidal-Wave'." Arcee's eyes widened as that she remembered that name. "The 'Star Seekers'? But I heard they disappeared after attempting an attack on both the Ark and the Nemesis eons ago after we abandoned Cybertron." "That's what I heard too, but it seems that they are now here, and worse they now have Reaper-tech on board their ship." Airachnid replied. But before Arcee could speak again, she was cut off. "It's getting dark, we should head off now, try to close as much distance as we can." Airachnid said as she equipped her weapon. Arcee grudgingly agreed and the two then ran further into the forest as they followed the tracks. PRIME EFFECT 3 Jack came too to find himself hanging by his arms from the ceiling, his hands binded by energy rings that floated above his wrists. He looked around to see that his surroundings looked very old as the metal walls were showing signs of corrosion and decay. The only natural light was coming from a small hole in the ceiling that shown down into the center of the lowly lit room. The Prime struggled to free himself, only wince when the energy rings started to shock him in reaction to his movements. He then saw a single person walk into the room and look at him. The man was wearing a long ragged black coat with rusted orange armour under it, he was Caucasian and wore purple shades. He walked over to Jack and slapped his face with the back of his hand. "So, ya awake." he smirked as the Commander spat out some blood. 'Damn that guy can hit hard.' he thought as the man turned and looked down the corridor that the room was connected to. "Captain, ya guest is awake." he shouted before Jack started to hear a loud clang of metal, and then again and again as it drew closer. Suddenly another figure entered the room, and this guy was far different in appearance to the one that the Commander had just met. This one was in faded silver armour with a long dark blue coat over it, his shoulder pads had golden claws sticking our out of them each. He also had a metal peg leg in place of his right leg. (that would explain the loud metal clangs) He was also Caucasian, but looked to be in his mid-fifties as well as sporting a grey beard to go along with his red eyes. And it was the eyes that caught the Prime's attention. 'Pretender bodies….. are these guys Cybertronian?' he thought as the Captain walked over to him. "Thank you, Cannonball." he said before noticing the trickle of blood running down the Prime's chin. "Cannonball, did you hit our guest?" he asked in a firm yet gentle voice. Cannonball walked up beside the Captain and nodded nervously, before he was sent flying by the Captain who flexed his hand afterwards as he looked down at his crewman. "You don't lay a hand on our guest, otherwise we'll give him a bad impression." he said as his voice became firmer as he stared down at the cowering Cannonball. "Of course, Captain." he grovelled, making Jack smirk slightly as he remembered seeing Megatron and Starscream in similar situations, but they were dead now and he was stuck in this situation and despite the Captain's nice manner, the Prime knew that he was in danger still. The Captain turned round and face Jack. "So anyway I was wonder…." he stopped as he spotted the Autobot insignia on Jack's chest plate and his eyes narrowed as they appeared to glow. "Where did you get that armour?" he asked as his expression and posture took on a more aggressive manner. Jack though just attempted to shrug his shoulders as he hung there. "Ebay, on a discount." he replied flatly. The Captain walked up to Jack so that they were only inches apart. "My name is Thundertron and I do not like deceit, so I will ask again. Where did you get that armour from?" the Captain said again baring his teeth, which Jack noticed were sharpened into points. "What does it matter to you?" Jack replied again just as flatly as before. Thundertron gritted his teeth as he stared daggers at the Prime. "Because the people that that symbol belongs too destroyed my world, and I will have my revenge. And something tells me that you are affiliated with them, so tell me where I can find them or I will gut you." he threatened as he pulled a short blade out from his belt and held it at Jack, ready to strike. But the Commander wasn't about to give in that easily. "I don't fear death if that's what your getting at. So go on, do your worst." Thundertron smiled at the Prime's defiance. "Very well." he answered as he stabbed Jack in the side, not deep enough to cause major damage, but enough that it hurt like hell. The Commander winced in response to the knife piercing his suit and the flesh beneath it. Thundertron then leaned in a spoke directly into Jack's ear as he pulled the knife out, causing Jack to grunt before showing the Prime the knife and his blood that covered it as it dripped off. "I know that there are two females on this planet that were with you. If you tell me what I want to know, then I will spare them." he said before leaning back and observing Jack's expression. But Jack responded by spitting in the Captain's face which infuriated him and he reacted by stabbing the Prime again, who again winced, gritting his teeth this time. Thundertron then let go of the knife and left it buried in Jack's side as he turned to Cannonball. "Make contact with Axor and Brimstone and tell them to bring the females to me now!" he commanded as Cannonball jumped to attention before activating his com link. "And when you have contacted them, I want you to help me rip this armour off our guest, so that he can enjoy all of our hospitality." he ordered, but not before gesturing to the table to his left as Jack looked upon it and saw all sorts of knifes and blades. "Lets get started shall we?" Thundertron said as he pulled the knife out and then stabbed the Prime again. PRIME EFFECT 3 Night was falling on the two femmes as they continued to follow the tracks that Jack's captors had unknowingly left. Both hoped that they would find him before anything happened to him, but Airachnid also worried that Arcee might just attack her again, the moment that Jack was safe. As they ran between the trees, the blue femme was slightly behind her and yet Airachnid could feel the icy cold stare of her eyes on her back. After the fight that the two had had earlier, the femme had realised that this was going to be nigh impossible to do. But she wasn't one to quit at the first hurdle. Arcee in the meantime could not keep her eyes off of her nemesis, the blue femme still could not figure out Airachnid's angle and why she was acting so out of character for her. But right now, Arcee had to concentrate on finding Jack. Yet she could not help but wonder what had gone on between him and the former Con. She suddenly had to stop all this wondering when Airachnid stopped ahead of them and gestured for her to do the same. "What? What is it?" Arcee asked as the other femme bent down and looked at the ground, a worried expression on her face. "The tracks stop right here." she answered as she stood back up and looked around them, but all she could see now was darkness creeping up on them from beyond the trees. "Well what do we do now?" the blue femme asked. Airachnid stayed quiet for a moment as she continued to stare out at the trees. Arcee stood beside her and looked around as her instincts kicked in. "We're being watched aren't we." she said, earning a nod from the other femme. "They have been following us for the last several miles. Get ready." Airachnid replied as she equipped her pistol, the blue femme held her SMG ready while deploying an arm blade with her free arm. They then went back to back as the two waited for the inevitable attack, which came instantly as gunfire filled the area, both femmes dived to the ground before returning fire as two figures could be seen just behind tree line. One was wearing purple armour with a black/yellow jacket over it and next to him was another who wore blue armour with a long silver coat over it. Both were firing at the two bots who looked at each other. "I think it is time we went on the offensive." Arcee said over the gunfire. "I couldn't agree more." Airachnid replied as they both fired at the enemies while getting up and rushing them. As they kept firing on the femmes, both men suddenly had to take cover as their quarries started firing back, missing the two by mere inches as they hid behind the trees. "Wow, these two have some fight in them? Don't they, Axor?" the one in the black/yellow jacket said. "They sure do, Brimstone. I can't wait till we get them back to the Tidal-wave. It sure has been a long time since we had some femme action." he chuckled as he winked back. But before they could return fire, both femmes were already on top of them as the two star seekers suddenly found them selves on their backs, while staring directly at their quarry looking down at them sternly. "Wow, I am so hot for you two right now!" Brimstone said as he attempted to flirt with them. Arcee and Airachnid just looked at them. "Sorry, but you're not our type." Airachnid replied dryly. But then both Star seekers just kept grinning at them, which confused both femmes. "What are you grinning at?" Arcee said back to them. Axor just pointed to their right as a familiar roar echoed from that direction, before a massive beast like creature launched itself through the trees at the two who dived out of the way, narrowly missing it's massive claws as it tore up the trees around them. Arcee and Airachnid ended up on either side of the creature as the both got a good look at it. "An Insecticon!" Arcee shouted, gaining it's attention as it roared and charged at her. It was about to hit her when an escrima stick hit it's face, making it yelp as Airachnid fired at it from the side. Arcee then took advantage of this and jumped at the creature and slashed across it's face with her arm blade before landing perfectly next to her foe. The Insecticon was still recovering and whimpering as the two femmes then realised that they had forgotten about the two seekers. They were then hit from behind by two energy beams that made knocked them both unconscious as their bodies fell to the floor, Brimstone and Axor walked up to them as the Insecticon stood on the other side and hissed at pair. "Stay!" Axor commanded as the beast stopped and kept quiet, he then turned to Brimstone. "Call Thundertron and tell him that we have the femmes and are on our way." The other Star-Seekers nodded in return before activating his com link. He then heard a male voice wincing and grunting in pain, as what sounded like a knife cutting through flesh came through the com channel. "What is it? I am very busy at this moment." Thundertron's voice boomed back. "Captain, we have the femmes and are now on our way back." Brimstone replied. "Excellent." the Star seeker leader said as the knife was heard piercing flesh again, earning another wince and grunt from their prisoner. Both men then picked the femmes and walked into the darkness of the forest, as the massive Insecticon followed them from behind. Arcee woke up and was greeted by a terrible sight. "Jack!" she gasped as she saw his half naked body hanging in front of her, blood running down from wounds that covered most of his torso. The femme tried to move but found that she was in a similar state, hanging from the ceiling with her hands bound by energy rings. "Arcee, Jack's alive." Airachnid said gaining the blue femme's attention who saw that she was bound too. "Of course he's alive" a deep voice spoke from their right as the femmes looked to see a man that both femmes recognised. He saw the looks on their faces and smiled at the fact that they knew him. "It's good to know that after all these eons that I am still remembered….and feared." he gloated as Arcee looked back at Jack who was unconscious and still bleeding. "What have you done to him?" she said, as Thundertron's grin widened as he heard the emotion in her voice. He left Airachnid and stood in front of Arcee. "Well when he wouldn't answer my questions I had little choice but to take more enjoyable measures. I stabbed him, not deep enough to damage him internally, but enough that he would lose the red substance of his. And yet he would not yield, so I kept stabbing him until he passed out." He said while looking at the human, before he then sighed and looked back to Arcee. "Am I going to have to do the same thing to you and your friend here." Arcee cringed at that last part as he got closer to her and stroked her cheek with his fingers. "If you tell me what I want to know, I will spare him and let you two live as my personal servants, it has been a very long time since my crew and I had the pleasure of entertaining a femme or two." he said as he looked her up and down in delight, making her cringe even more. "Get fragged!" she spat back, gaining a chuckle from Airachnid which infuriated the Star seeker, who stomped over to the left of them and deactivated a energy shield there that revealed an object that made the femmes eyes widen as they looked upon a black artefact that pulsed with a blue energy that resembled flame. "What are you doing with Reaper tech?" Arcee questioned again, but Thundertron shook his head in response. "You need not worry about the trinket that I found on this planet, but of this instead." he spoke as he gestured at the large device to it's far left. "Cortical psychic patch!" the blue femme muttered as Thundertron walked towards her again with one of it's cables. "Yes, you see this wouldn't work on him over there because he is organic, but the two of you will be just fine." he replied as he placed headset that the cable was connected too onto Arcee's head, before doing the same to Airachnid. He then walked over to the controls and activated the machine, tiny spikes dug into the sides of the femmes heads as it made a connection to their minds. Both femmes winced due to the pain that the connection caused, but Thundertron just smiled. "Lets begin shall we." he said as he enabled the device, both femmes eyes widened as they gasped and froze where they hung as data could be seen moving down the cable and into the main computer. Thundertron looked at the main screen as their memories played out in front of him. His grin was getting wider and wider with every memory he saw. But unbeknownst to the Captain, the cortical patch was also allowing both femmes to witness each others memories. And at this very moment Arcee herself was witnessing a truth that she would not have believed if she had heard it spoken aloud. Once the show and tell was over, Thundertron removed the headsets from the femmes and grinned at both of them. "Well this is certainly a joyous occasion. Not only do I now know what is going on out there in the galaxy, with this Reaper threat and what not. But also I now have something to bargain with….for real power in my hands." Arcee though did not even acknowledge him, she just looked down at the ground while she replayed what she had seen through the patch. The femme looked over to Airachnid and the former Con instantly noticed a change in the way that Arcee was looking at her. It was like she now had an understanding as she watched the blue femme close her eyes and hang her head in shame. Airachnid sighed and looked back at the Captain. "What are you talking about Thundertron?" she asked, trying to sound curious. He looked at her intrigued by her question. "Isn't it obvious, these Reapers are very powerful. If I was to give them a gift, worm my way into their favour. Then not only would my crew and I survive this purge that they have planned for this galaxy, but also I would be able to witness the end of the Cybertronians once and for all." He then looked at the Reaper artefact. "And this thing I have come to believe is some sort of communication device, so all I have to do is speak to them." he finished saying as he walked over to the black artefact and placed his hands on each side. He then looked into the surface of the object as the blue energy covered his hands and slowly grew up his arms. "I am Thundertron and I ask for an audience with the Reapers." he said aloud, but nothing happened for a long moment. Suddenly a golden hologram of a Reaper appeared above the artefact and looked down at the Star seeker, this gained both Airachnid's and Arcee's attention, as Thundertron looked into the Reaper's six yellow eyes as they glowed fiercely. "We are Harbinger, who dares to summon us here?"it replied, it's voice echoing through the room and down the corridor's of the ship. Brimstone, Axor and Cannonball looked up and started to walk back to the main room where the voice originated from. Thundertron felt somewhat overwhelmed by the Reaper's presence, but carried on regardless. "I wish to make a trade my dearest Harbinger." he said in an almost grovelling tone, though he tried to hide it. "And what does a lower being such as yourself, believe to have that would even interest us?" Thundertron pointed over to the unconscious form of Jack Darby as he hung from the ceiling. "I offer Jackson Prime of course. As well as Arcee, she helped him end the life of Sovereign. And also Airachnid, who aided the Prime in the destruction of the Quintesson race." Harbinger's eyes looked over at the femmes and then narrowed as they fell on the still form of the Commander, before looking back at the Captain. "You have done well, keep them alive and await our arrival." And then Harbinger's form faded to nothing and Thundertron stood back up and looked rather pleased with himself as he looked back at his prisoners. "Well I have a guest to prepare for, so I will leave you to take this time to say your goodbyes." he smiled before leaving the room. Arcee then looked over to Airachnid who was trying to free herself but still could not move due to the energy rings. The blue femme then watched as the former con closed her eyes and concentrated. "What are you doing?" Arcee asked, gaining a annoyed stare back. "I am trying to see if one of the abilities that Shockwave gave me is still available to me in this body." she replied before she cleared her mind and focused her thoughts on the Insecticon down on the lower levels of the Tidal Wave. The beast was just standing there in the large corridor when a strange ringing was caught in it's audio receptors, it growled before suddenly becoming docile as Airachnid's voice echoed in it's mind. "Listen to my voice, obey my command." The giant creature suddenly purred, its mandibles shook in delight as it enjoyed the seductive and sensual presence of the femme in it's mind. "Help us escape by destroying those who are our enemies. Go and do this for me….my soldier." The Insecticon roared so loud before it started tearing the bulkheads apart as it stomped down the corridor towards its enemies. PRIME EFFECT 3 In the ship's engine room both Brimstone and Axor were busy making repairs when suddenly the beast burst through the doors and attacked the pair. "What the…" was all Axor could say before being sliced in half by the Insecticon in one swipe of it's razor sharp claws. The Star seeker's bottom half fell to the ground as it's blood like substance spilled over the floor. Brimstone could only watch in horror as his friend's torso was flung over to the other side of the room, fear taking control of him as he tried to run for the exit. But the beast grabbed a hold of the star seeker and looked at him for a moment. It then opened it's jaws and Brimstone screamed only to have it cut short as the Insecticon bit his head off and swallowed in one go before tossing his now headless body to the floor, where it flinched for several seconds before coming to a stop. "Destroy the power core, my soldier." The creature nodded and purred as it walked over to the core and pulled at the power cables, yanking them apart as the core shut down, silencing the engine room. Back in the chamber the power went offline causing the energy rings that held the three prisoners up to disappear, Jack fell to the ground with a thud while Arcee and Airachnid landed on their feet. The former ran straight to the Prime's side while Airachnid looked at the pair and smiled, but she suddenly hid it back behind a stoic expression when the blue femme turned to her. "We need to get Jack out of here fast, or…..he's not going to make it." she said as her voice filled with emotion while looking down at her Commander as he lied there, covered in his own blood. "I'll have the Insecticon clear a path for us to one of the shuttle's that are here on the ship." Arachnid replied. "How do you know there are shuttles here?" Arcee asked back curiously while applying medi-gel to Jack's wounds. "From the Insecticon of course, but it's taking a lot to control it. Since Thundertron has been feeding it Synthergon." Arcee looked back in shock. "You mean synthetic energon?" The former con nodded in return as she picked up jack's octagonal disc before walking over to the entrance. "Yes, it is making it hard to keep it's thoughts on me, but I believe that I can control it long enough to make it count." she said as she opened the door. But as the door opened, a hand grabbed the femme's throat. "Well looky here, ya got out!" Cannonball said before slamming Airachnid into the bulkhead. She tried to fight back, but found that her concentrating on the Insecticon was hampering her ability to fight as the Star seeker quickly subdued her with another slam against the wall. He then looked down at her body and grinned before leaning in close to her face. "I think it's time I taught ya a lesson." he said as he reached up with his other hand for the femme's chest. Airachnid tried to free herself but her strength was nowhere to be found and she could not give up control of the Insecticon now, even with what was about to happen. Or else none of them would escape. But before Cannonball could do anymore, a sudden slice could be heard as his expression changed to that of complete shock as he stared at the femme in his hands. Airachnid looked down at his neck as line could be seen growing across it's width. His head then slid off and fell to the floor as Airachnid saw Arcee standing there with her arm blade deployed, now stained with the blood of the star seeker. The femme unequipped the melee weapon and looked at the former con with concern. "Are you okay?" she asked, which surprised Airachnid, but she nodded in return. "Yes… thank you?" she replied, gaining a slight smile from the blue femme before she went back to Jack. Then both of them lifted the Prime up and carried him out of the room and down the corridor, following Airachnid's directions. They had moved slowly down the corridors and Airachnid said that they were only one corner away from the shuttle bay. But as they turned the corner, they came face to face with Thundertron. His expression was one of pure rage as he unsheathed his sword and walked slowly toward the group. "Did you think that it would be that easy, you will be given to Harbinger and I will see my reward. Now stand down or this will become most unpleasant for you." Arcee looked over to Airachnid and saw that she was smiling and it dawned on the femme what was about to happen, so she smiled back at Thundertron. "Well, that's nice of you but I think we will pass, no get the frag out of our way." she replied sternly. The femme's comment enraged the Star seeker who charged at the three, but before he could get any closer, the wall next to him broke apart as the Insecticon appeared in his way and roared at him. Airachnid smiled at the beast. "Good boy…..now sick him." The creature then charged at the Captain as he readied himself for it's attack, Arcee and Airachnid carried Jack into the shuttle bay as Thundertron dived out of the Insecticon's way before slicing at the creature's side, a large gash appearing where he hit it. The creature yelped before turning around and knocking him flying into a bulkhead. As their fight went on, the shuttle now carrying the three escapees suddenly took off and flew out of the bay and out of the ship as it lay on the planet's surface, surrounded by forest. The shuttle flew up and out of the atmosphere before jumping to hyperspace only moments before Harbinger appeared in orbit and started it's descent. Meanwhile Thundertron had suddenly gained an advantage over the Insecticon, as it stopped and looked around confused. The Star seeker wasn't going to let this creature live any longer as he attacked and sliced off the right leg of the beast which screamed in pain as it lost it's balance and fell to the ground. Thundertron then sliced off the arm closest to him, synthergon spilling out of the wound as the creature yelped again. Then the Captain walked round to the front of the beast as it lied on the floor, unable to move properly. He then smiled as he raised the sword above his head and swung down hard, cleaving it's head from it's body. He then stood there in silence for a moment as he breathed heavily and reveled in his victory over the Insecticon. But then everything started to shake as he felt a presence around him, so Thundertron hobbled out hull of the Tidal wave via the shuttle bay and was greeted by the overwhelming sight of Harbinger hovering above his ship. The Reaper cast a shadow that covered the immediate area, the captain looked up at the yellow eyes as they stared back coldly. "Where is the Prime?" Harbinger's voice boomed, causing Thundertron to lose his composure slightly. "My dearest Harbinger, I am ashamed to say that the Prime has managed to escape." he answered hesitantly. For a moment there was nothing but silence as the Captain looked up at the Reaper. But then he noticed a red light start glowing on the underside of the black behemoth, it didn't take long for him to realise what it was. "You have failed….. and now you will die!" the Reaper answered as it's main weapon approached firing strength as Thundertron just stood there and waited for the inevitable to happen, knowing full well that he could do nothing to stop it.
  10. CHAPTER 3 The door to the medical bay opened and Jack walked through carrying the unconscious Arcee in his arms. A Caucasian man in his fifties with grey hair turned around and a look of shock appeared on his face as he looked at them. "Jack, what happened to Arcee?" Jack placed her gently on the berth as the man walked over and scanned her with his holo-tool. "She was attacked by another Cybertronian down on Mars, Ratchet." the Prime replied, not taking his eyes off of the still form of the femme, as the Autobot medic finished his scan and deactivated the holo-tool. He then looked up and saw the look on Jack's face. He was just staring at Arcee who lied on the berth completely still, her face looked completely peaceful. Betraying the seriousness of the situation. "Jack, Arcee will be fine. I will start work on her this very moment." Ratchet said as the intercom activated, gaining the Commander's attention. "Prime, Teletraan here. I am receiving a signal from Admiral Bryce, I will forward it to the Com-room." the AI said. "Roger that, and tell Hotrod to set course for the Citadel." Jack replied. "Will do." Teletraan finished off. Jack looked back down at Arcee and placed his hand on hers. "You are going to be fine, Arcee." he said in an encouraging tone. He then looked up at Ratchet who nodded back, then the Prime turned and left the room. Jack entered the com room and stopped by a console that was in front of a large circular platform that was built into the floor, not unlike how Silas used to communicate with the Prime back when the Defiant was a MECH ship. The hologram of Bryce was already active. "Commander, glad to see you got out of Sol in one piece. Did you get to the data core?" The Prime nodded. "I got there, but so did Silas." The Admiral raised his hand to chin and stroked his beard. "I thought that MECH might try something, did you retrieve the information that Soundwave was looking into?" Bryce asked. "We downloaded most of the data, but MECH managed to get their hands on some of it. I have Soundwave and Teletraan analysing it as we speak." Jack replied as Soundwave entered the room and joined the Prime. Bryce looked at the spymaster. "Soundwave, please tell me that it was worth the effort?" The bot nodded before activating his holo-tool. "Yes, I believe so. The data contains blueprints for a Lithone device." As the spymaster spoke, he showed the two Humans a holographic model of the device. "It appears to be a weapon, massive in size and scope. That is capable of unquantifiable levels of destructive power." Bryce smiled at the image. "Send me the data, we will perform our own analysis. If Soundwave is right, then this could be the key to the Reapers defeat." the Admiral said. "I hope so, we have set course for the Citadel and will meet with the Council." Jack replied trying to sound enthusiastic. Bryce placed his hands behind his back and looked at the Prime. "Commander, show the council what you have found, that should convince them to help us." Jack gave Bryce a sceptical look. "And if they don't?" "Then do whatever it takes to bring them on board." Bryce replied firmly. Jack then saluted the Admiral before he ended the transmission. Jack then turned to Soundwave. "Did you find anything useful inside of that femme's head?" The bot shook his head in response. "Sorry, Jack, there was nothing in her mind when I linked with it. It wasn't Flamewar anymore, her mind was more like a blank slate. It would appear that she was reprogrammed." Jack looked at him as he took in what the spymaster had said. "Wait, that would mean that MECH has managed to obtain some of the tech that Sideways used back on Tuchunka." he replied worriedly. "It would seem that way though I detected no traces of the Reaper code in her memory matrix." Jack looked away for a moment, mulling over the thought that Silas now had the ability to indoctrinate Cybertronians. He wasn't kidding with his speech about control, and that made the Prime all the more determined to stop him and MECH. "Okay, Soundwave, I will want you with me when I speak to the council." he said to the bot who nodded in return. "Of course, Jack, I will be ready and waiting." he replied before leaving the com room. The Prime then received a call on his com link. "Prime, you should go down to main engineering, there is someone down there who wants to see you." Hotrod said. "Roger that, Hotrod." Jack said as he left the com room and headed for the lift. As he entered Engineering Jack saw a familiar face working at the main console in front of the ship's power core. Well you say face, but he could not see it behind the visor of her helmet. She looked to be calibrating the core's integrity field as the large spherical device hummed and vibrated with energy as it powered the Defiant. "Tali." the Commander called out, gaining the Quarian's attention as she turned around and looked at him. "Jack." she replied before walking over to him and embracing him in a warm hug, he returned the embrace before they pulled away. She looked at him with her white eyes. "Jack, I am happy to see you made it off Earth." she said before looking down at the ground. "I am so sorry about your home world. That is a fate I would not wish on anyone." Jack gave her a soft smile. "Thank you, how are you anyway? The last time I saw you…" "...was before you left for the Sparta system, I was taking Ravage for a walk." she replied. Jack looked at the core as she spoke. "I met Legion on the crew deck." she continued. That last comment made the Prime look back to her a little concerned. "Oh, can I ask how that went. I mean I understand that you don't exactly…" he said gently but Tali then cut him off. "It's okay, Jack. We talked and I thanked it for saving my life back on the Quintesson planet." Jack looked at her, trying to hide his surprise. But only barely. "Really….why?" he asked curiously. The Quarian leaned back against the railing that surrounded the core and relaxed. "Well for one, it deserved to thanked. And two it should me something, something that has made me question everything I was brought up to believe." Jack just watched her as she spoke, his curiosity peaked. "I was brought up to believe that the Geth were monsters that drove us from our home world, but Legion showed me the memory files of the Geth, of what really happened after they were created. Did you know that the Geth's only crime was to ask about it's existence, my people became afraid of that and retaliated against our creations. But that wasn't the end of it." Jack placed a hand on her shoulder in support when he noticed that she was quietly sobbing. "Something close to a civil war nearly broke out on my world when people started to defend the Geth and were killed by the military for that choice. My own people were the creators of their fate that day and it was their fault that we were finally exiled from our world." Tali took a breath as she fought back the tears as she looked back at her Commander. "Makes me feel that Quarians and Cybertronians have more in common than we once thought." "What makes you say that?" the Prime asked. "Well because of our prejudices and beliefs of what we thought to be right, we both ended up losing our home worlds." she said. Jack though shook his head in disagreement. "No, the Cybertronians ended up ruining their home world to the point of now return, but the same can not be said of Rannoch. According to Legion, the Geth have kept the planet in perfect condition for the last three hundred years." Tali looked over to Jack surprise. "Really, it didn't tell me that, and we have talked a lot in the last several months." Jack smiled at her. "Sounds like you are warming up to Legion." he replied warmly, she simply shrugged in response. Jack then looked around before returning his attention to the Quarian. "Where is Legion anyway, he said he had joined us to stop the Reapers. But I have not seen him since I got back on board." "Legion received a transmission from the Geth consensus three weeks ago. He left straight away after that." Tali replied. Jack gave her a concerned look in reply. "Why?" he asked, before noticing the Quarian tense up. "It told me that there has been a number of skirmishes between the Flotilla and Geth forces near the home system, the Geth believe that my people maybe readying an offensive." she replied, sadness and remorse tinged her voice. "I'm sorry, Tali. I would understand if you need to head back there." Jack replied, but she shook her head in response. "I can't, Jack. I am exiled remember. They wouldn't listen to me anyway, especially since their hate of the Geth has spanned three hundred years." she said as she hung her head. But Jack placed a finger under the chin of her helmet and brought her eyes to meets his. "Tali, if you can learn to see past all of that, then why not them?" he asked as the Quarian just looked at him, blinking a few times. "The Defiant's mission right now is to build Alliances with the other major powers in this galaxy as we attempt to build a strong counter attack against the Reapers at Earth. Now that will include us heading to the Flotilla, and I promise you that when we go there that you, Legion (if he is alright) and I will show them the truth and hopefully convince them to end this conflict with the Geth." he told her in a stoic manner, she nodded in return. "Thank you, Jack." Jack looked at the time on his holo-tool. "Well I should be on in CIC, we will be reaching the Citadel soon." he said before turning to walk out, but Tali stopped him. "Jack, wait, there is one more thing." she said as he stopped and turned to her. "I thought you would like to know that this ship has become my home (much like the Normandy was) and you, Arcee, Garrus and the others are the only family that I have left. So while you were incarcerated, Admiral Bryce made me the Chief Engineer of the Defiant." Jack smiled as he looked at the Quarian. "But there is a Quarian tradition that I would like to ask you to perform, if you will indulge me." she asked, a hint of nervousness in her voice. "What is it, Tali." he asked as what she had just told him warmed his heart. "Well before I was exiled my name had 'nar Raya' at the end, which was the ship I was born on." she said, which gained a slightly shocked look from Jack. "I'm sorry, Tali, I thought that was your surname." he replied sheepishly, but she chuckled in response. "That's alright, Jack. The fact is now that I am in exile, I have lost that title. But as a crew member of the Defiant, if you will let me. I would have the title of 'vas Defiant' to add to the end of my name." Jack gave her a warm look as he smiled. "Tali, I have always considered you not only a close friend and team member, but also a member of my crew. But if you need to hear it, then I would be honoured as captain of this vessel to have as a member of it's crew, Tali'zorah vas Defiant." As he said this, he saw a beautiful smile grace her lips behind her visor. "Thank you, my Captain." she replied, attempting to hide the feeling of joy that was in her voice and some what failing. "That's alright, Tali. Now how about we get back to work." he said in a teasing tone. "Of course, Captain." she replied, gaining a knowing look from the Prime. "No need to be formal now." he said as she held up her hands and chuckled. "Okay, Jack." she said, before Jack nodded and turned round walked out of Engineering. PRIME EFFECT 3 The Defiant flew out of the open vortex of the space bridge and flew up to the gigantic station of the Citadel, flying between the five long arms of the station that held the city like wards. The ship then docked with the presidium ring as it joined numerous other ships that were connected to the Citadel. As Jack and Soundwave exited the airlock and entered the Citadel's arrivals area, the Prime looked out of the large window that showed the Defiant outside and activated his com link. "Ratchet, how is Arcee?" he asked, not attempting to hide his concern. The Autobot Medic's grumpy voice came through. "She is going to be fine, Jack. I have repaired the damage and she is resting now. I will let you know when she wakes. Ratchet out." he said before cutting the transmission. Jack looked at the spymaster and raised an eyebrow as the bot smirked back, they then walked towards the elevator. Back in the Defiant's medical bay, Ratchet was just tidying up his instruments as Arcee rested on the berth. He was about to walk over to his station when he heard the femme say something under her breath, it would be barely audible if not for the enhanced audio receptors that Cybertronians have. He walked back over and bent down slightly to hear what she was saying while asleep. "….Jack…" she said faintly, causing the Medic to groan as he stood back up and rolled his eyes in response. He then walked over to his station and carried on working. 'Young people!' he thought to himself. In the Citadel Chamber, the councillors were in session as the purple light of the nebula shone through the large glass window behind them. "We have not received any news from Earth in the last day. But what was last sent to us said that a massive force had entered Earth space." Perceptor said as the two councillors looked back at him. He felt he knew how this was going to play out, but had to keep at it in hope that something might come of it. "Perceptor, surely you realise that we can not just react because of some rumours and whispers that may or may not be true." Valern replied sceptically. "But even if Earth is the Human home-world, it is also the home of the Cybertronian race and so is a Council world and that deserves the attention of the Citadel fleet." the Autobot argued back. "But we can't just send our fleet to Earth based on assumptions. We have brought the matter up with the leaders of our respective races who are aboard the Citadel right now for the annual summit, the Krogan are also being represented for the first time in over a thousand years." Tevos replied. "But we need to act now, billions of lives are at stake." Perceptor said back. "Perceptor is right." came a voice from the room's entrance, making the councillors look to the person who spoke out. They looked surprised as Jack and Soundwave entered the room and walked up to the box. "Earth is under attack….from the Reapers." Jack said, earning a further look of shock from the councillors, apart from Perceptor who just looked relieved that the Prime was now here. A long moment of silence followed Jack's last comment and he looked over to Soundwave who gave him an encouraging smile. "This is just the beginning, our home-world is facing the full force of the Reapers assault and we need your help, everything you can spare." Valern looked over to Tevos who mulled over the Prime's words and she looked like she was about to answer when she suddenly placed a hand up to her com link, after a moment she looked back to Human Commander. "Jackson Prime, it is not that simple. I have just had confirmation from our individual leaders that none of our territories have been attacked and that it looks like the Reapers are concentrating on Alliance space alone at this moment in time. If we were to offer any of our ships in aid to the Alliance, then that would leave our defences weakened substantially should the Reapers attack our own worlds. That is something that we can not take a chance on." she replied honestly. "We need to fight this threat together." Perceptor interjected as he felt the other councillors were trying to close down the subject, but Valern jumped in and looked at Jack. "So you want us to drop everything and follow you to Earth? "No, I am not asking you in joining me in a straight up counterattack against the Reapers, we do have a plan." he said in a stoic tone, before nodding to Soundwave who then activated his holo-tool. "Dear councillors, we have found blueprints for a weapon. A weapon that was created by the Lithone during their war with the Reapers." he said as a hologram of the device appeared next to him. "A weapon capable of destroying the 'Reapers'?" Valern asked curiously. The spymaster nodded in response. "Yes I believe so." Valern looked at the data on the hologram of the Lithone device. "This would be a colossal undertaking, given the scale and scope of the device." he answered hesitantly. "No, we have already sent copies of the blueprints to the remnants of the Alliance fleet and they are gathering resources to begin construction, Admiral Bryce is overseeing it as we speak." Jack replied. "By my calculations and the simplicity of the plans, I would say that is will be very easy to build. The Lithone seemed to want the device to be feasible to build, so that it would not take a long amount of time." the spymaster continued. "If we work together." Jack finished as the pair looked back to the councillors, waiting for their response. They didn't need to wait long as Tevos gave them a sceptical look. "Yet the Reapers eliminated the Lithone. What good could this weapon do for us, if it didn't work for them?" Soundwave used his holo-tool and searched through the hologram of the device. "The Device was incomplete at the time, there was a missing component. Here, something called the Kranix matrix. But the Lithone ran out of time before they could upload it and finish the weapon." Valern looked at Jack. "Do you believe that this weapon could help us defeat the Reapers?" Jack remained stoic as he stepped forward. "Soundwave believes it will work and so do I." He then took a breath. "And though I know we have had our disagreements in the past, the current threat to the galaxy requires us to work together. Now more then ever." The councillors just watched and took in what the Prime was saying. "The Reapers may be concentrating on Alliance space right now, but they will not limit themselves to it. They will destroy every organic being in the galaxy if we don't find a way to stop them." Tevos looked at Valern who shook his head before looking back at Jack, completely ignoring Perceptor in the process. "The cruel and unfortunate truth is that while the Reapers concentrate on Earth, we can strengthen our own borders and prepare. I am sorry but that is all we have to say on the matter." Tevos and Valern then walked out of the room leaving the Cybertronian councillor, Jack and Soundwave alone in the chamber. "Meet me in the Gardens, Prime." Perceptor said before leaving the podium. Once outside of the chamber and in the calming surroundings of the Citadel gardens, Jack and Soundwave stood with Perceptor who looked aggravated to say the least. "What a waste of time that was." he said harshly, surprising Jack who had never seen the Autobot lose his temper before. Soundwave just looked on as the Prime spoke in return. "How can the Council be so blind to the danger, the Reapers are here for all of us." Perceptor crossed his arms and vented some more. "They are scared and are looking out for them selves." he replied before looking out at the fountains. It was quiet for a long moment before Soundwave decided to speak. "If we can not convince the Council, then why don't we speak directly to the leaders. They are here right now at that summit." Both Jack and Perceptor looked at the spymaster. "Now that's a good idea, why bother with the Council. Let's bypass them and speak directly with their leaders." the Prime said gaining a nod from the spymaster. "Yes, they are currently here for the annual summit and will discuss everything from galactic politics to the economy. There is Primarch Victus who is the leader of the Turian Hierarchy. Then there is Dalatrass Linron and she leads the Salarian Union. The Asari do not have a single elected official, so Councillor Tevos will be there to represent them. Your friend Urdnot Wrex will be there for the Krogan and Optimus Prime would have been there to represent us but…" Perceptor said as he looked down and thought of his friend who was fighting for his life back on Earth. "Perceptor, Optimus is there doing what needs to be done. But even he cannot hold out forever against the Reapers without help, that is why we are here. Now where is this summit being held?" Jack said as the Autobot Councillor looked up to him. "It is being held here in the Citadel tower, floor eighteen, conference room seven." Soundwave placed a hand on Jack's shoulder, gaining his attention. "Jack, we can't just gatecrash a summit, though I do like the idea." he said. "Well I am a Prime, that should count for something." Jack replied. Perceptor's eyes widened at his comment. "Yes you are, you can fill Optimus's place and represent the Alliance." he said eagerly. The Commander smiled as he nodded back. "Good, well we should get going then. Thank you for the help Perceptor." Jack said as he and the Councillor shook hands. "You are welcome, Prime. I will continue to pressure the other Councillors to help. Something has to break eventually, I just hope that happens before the Reapers start attacking the rest of the galaxy." Jack and Soundwave nodded in return before turning around and heading off the to the elevator as Perceptor watched them leave. PRIME EFFECT 3 In the conference room there was a large circular table with a Turian at one side with a Krogan to his right and to his left was a Salarian. There was still two empty seats as the three waited, though one of them was not being patient about it. "Where is Tevos, she was supposed to be here already." Linron said. The Asari commando who was standing at the entrance to room, activated her com link and spoke into it for a second before looking back at the Salarian leader. "I am sorry, but I have to inform you that Councillor Tevos will not be able to attend this summit as she has more urgent matters to attend too." Linron threw her hands in the air in frustration before glaring at Wrex from across the table. "Well that is just perfect, now I am left here with this brute staring at me." she spat as Wrex narrowed his eyes at her an growled. "My name is Urdnot Wrex and I am not some old pyjak that you can speak too like shit." the Krogan spat in return. "Please, try to keep this civil at least. We have important matters to discuss." Victus said trying to be the voice of reason. Linron stared daggers at him. "Why? Why do we have this Krogan here, they are not a part of the Council?" she said angrily, but then the Asari commando spoke, gaining the leaders attention. " The Cybertronian/Alliance representative has arrived, Jackson Prime." she announced as Jack and Soundwave walked into the conference room. The Prime took his seat between Wrex and Linron, the former smiling back at him. "And what is he doing here, isn't he a traitor to the council?" Linron raged as Jack sat down and looked at her. "I am here on behalf of Optimus Prime who unfortunately can not be here due to the Reapers attacking our world." the Commander replied, the Salarian just looked at him before shaking her head in response. "What nonsense, are you just trying to spread your lies and propaganda about the Reapers again. Especially since the Council will no longer hear of it." she said as she stared at him. Jack though returned the stare in kind as he remained stoic in the Salarian's presence. But Victus spoke up, gaining their attention. "Enough, Linron! I would very much like to discuss the Reaper threat. We Turians take the defence of this Council and the galaxy in general very seriously, and after being briefed on the Reapers by my new adviser. I feel that we need to work together." Victus said, gaining a smile from Jack. "Primarch Victus, thank you. May I ask who your advisor is?" Jack asked curiously, the Primarch smiled and gestured to the Prime to look behind him. Jack turned and looked as another person entered the conference room, he felt a smile grow on his face as he recognised the new arrival. "Garrus." Jack said happily as the Turian entered the room and smiled back before taking his place just behind Victus. "Jackson Prime, we have been told that the Reapers have not left Alliance space at this time. But we can not just assume that they will stay there. We have also heard that you are building a weapon that can destroy them, that is correct yes." Victus said. "That is correct, Primarch." Jack replied. The Turian leader placed his hands together and rested them on the table. "Well, considering everything I have been told about the Reapers and what we have heard from the subspace communications coming out of Alliance space. I hereby place our fleets and resources to your aid, Prime." Jack looked at him in surprise. "Thank you, Primarch, but may I ask why?" he asked, finding it hard to hide his surprise. Victus gave him a slight smile. "Because, Prime, soon or later the Reapers will expand across the galaxy and god help us all when that happens. I would rather we struck back at them while they are all in one place. So in the meantime we will gather our fleets and prepare for the taking back of Earth and I will speak to Admiral Bryce about allowing our best engineers and Scientists to help build the weapon." Jack nodded in return as Wrex decided to weigh in on the topic. "Jack, I would like to offer the full support of the Krogan to your cause as well. But we need something first." he said as the three representatives looked at him. "What do you require, Wrex?" Victus asked. "A cure….for the Genophage." he said plainly. Linron just let loose her rage at that comment. "What, that's going too far. The Krogan were a menace to this galaxy before the Decepticons managed to break them, and now they want to be cured. If you allow this Victus then you will lose the support of the Salarian Union." she said as she stood up and stormed out of the room. Victus just shook his head in disgust at her behaviour before looking to Wrex. "Wrex, I am sorry but I do not know how we are going to cure the Genophage." he replied sadly. Wrex though smiled. "Several months ago a former Decepticon called Sideways based himself on Tuchunka and was experimenting on my people for the Reapers. He had created a cure for the genophage but had altered it to take control of the Krogan." he said as he activated his holo-tool and showed them the data on a screen that appeared from the middle of the table. "Wrex, we can't use that cure remember." Jack replied as he remembered the events that happened there. "Yes, but I know of only other person who was responsible for producing the Genophage." the Krogan said as he pointed over to Soundwave. Jack, Victus and Garrus looked to the spymaster. "Soundwave, could a cure be developed using the version that Sideways created?" the Prime asked. "It might be possible, but I would require tissue samples from a male and a female Krogan, Krogan who have not been affected by the Genophage." Wrex smiled and gestured to another Krogan who was standing behind him. "Both myself and Urdnot Bakara here are clean of the wretched disease. The Genophage effects seventy percent of the Krogan population, but luckily myself and Bakara are part of the thirty percent that is still fertile." Bakara stood beside Wrex, she was wearing a gown that covered her complete figure. The only part of her you could see were her eyes and she looked around at the people sitting at the table. Jack then looked back to Soundwave. "Well, I think it's worth a try. Soundwave how long would it take for you to develop the cure?" The spymaster just looked straight ahead while he ran the numbers in his mind. "With the lab back on the Defiant and no interruptions, I believe that I could have the cure ready in a week or so." he replied in fairly confident tone. Wrex smiled at the bot's answer and stood up. "Well, I think that we should get right on with it then, don't you?" he said looking at Victus and then Jack. "Agreed, I will speak to Bryce and then I will try to get through to Linron. She can't ignore the threat that the Reapers represent." Victus said as he stood and nodded to the Prime before leaving the room. Jack stood up as Wrex, Bakara and Garrus walked over to him. "It's good to be working with you again Jack." Wrex said as he shook hands with the Prime. "Same here, Wrex. Garrus will you be joining us on the Defiant?" Jack asked, the Turian smiled in return. "Of course I will, Jack. I asked Victus to let me join your team should the things go well with this summit. I will be the Turian Hierarchy's representative to the Alliance while this conflict with the Reapers continues." Garrus replied. "I wouldn't have it any other way, Garrus." Jack said before looking at everyone. "Well I guess we should head back to the Defiant then." he said before leading the group out of the conference room and towards the elevator. When they reached the airlock to the Defiant, Bakara looked astounded as she looked at the ship in front of them. "Wrex, this is the Defiant?" she asked as Wrex stood beside and chuckled. "I believe it is, I have never seen this particular ship. It was the Normandy that I worked on with Jack nearly three years ago. Now that was a ship." he said, not noticing Garrus joining him at his side. "Don't go writing off the Defiant, Wrex. It might not be the Normandy, but she is in every way a true successor." he replied as they looked out at the ships flying to and from the Citadel. Jack was about to join them when… "Jack." a familiar voice called out to him, causing him to look round. When his eyes fell on a person he had not seen in years, he could not help but smile. He saw a young man with glasses and brown hair walk over and wave. Walking alongside him was another young Caucasian man with blonde hair and blue eyes, he was also wearing yellow and black armour with the Autobot insignia on his chest. "Raf, Bumblebee. What are you guys doing here?" Jack asked as he walked over to them. "Well we originally here to promote the new hyperspace engines that I was developing with Jetfire. But just as we were about to catch a transport back to Earth, we heard that it was under attack. It is what you were warning everyone about right…..the Reapers?" Raf asked. Jack nodded in return sombrely. "Yes, I was there. The Reapers were devastating, considering everything we saw the Decepticons do during the war. It pales in comparison to what the Reapers did in the first wave of their attack." Raf looked at his friend before placing his hand on Jack's shoulder in support. "Well, Jack, Bumblebee and I heard that you were here and so came looking for you in hope that we could join you in the fight." the young man said, making Jack look at him and the Autobot who nodded while smiling at the Prime. "You sure about this?" Jack asked, unsure of putting more of his friends lives at risk. "Of course we are, Jack." Bumblebee said surprising the Commander. Even after all these years, he was still surprised to hear the scout speak. Considering that for several years all he could do was beep and whistle. That had been due to the fact that earlier in the war, Megatron had ripped out his voice box. But everything changed for Bumblebee after he gained a pretender body and everyone could not be happier for him. "I mean we are still Team Prime, even if Optimus is not with us at the moment. Because well, you are our Prime now." Bumblebee continued, Jack could not help but smile at his friends as he suddenly did not know what to say. He then took a breath. "Thanks, guys. Well we were about to head off." he replied as he pointed over to the others while they entered the Defiant's airlock. "Well what are we waiting for then?" Bumblebee said while Raf readjusted his glasses. The three of them then walked over and joined the rest in the airlock. Then once everyone was aboard the Defiant disconnected from the Citadel and flew away from the station. PRIME EFFECT 3 As they stood in the CIC, Raf and Bumblebee looked around amazed at the sights surrounding them, Garrus though had told Jack that he would be looking at the ship's weapons system which made Jack smirk. Soundwave had taken Wrex and Bakara to the medical lab, wanting to get started on the cure. This left Jack with his two newest crew members. "Jack where is the science lab on this ship, I would like to get to know the ship better and get myself up to speed on the Reapers." Raf asked while looking over one of the holo-control stations. Jack activated his holo-tool and showed his friend a map of the ship and the location of the lab. "Thanks, Jack. Let's go, Bee." he said as he and his best friend walked over to the elevator. Jack himself walked up to the cockpit to see his pilot. "Hey, Prime. Was that Bumblebee I just saw?" Hotrod asked as he gestured back to the CIC. "Yeah, he and Raf have joined us on our mission." Jack replied. "Hey, I heard you managed to get the Turian's onboard for our counterattack, that's great." The Autobot said. "Yeah, and possibly the Krogan too. If we can cure the Genophage that is." Jack answered while looking out of the window to the star field outside. "Hey, we have Soundwave on the case. If anyone can solve that problem, it is him." Hotrod replied with a smile. "Thanks, Hotrod, set course for Tuchunka." he said before walking back to the CIC. "Aye Aye, Prime." the pilot said as he guided the Defiant into the open vortex of the space bridge. Jack was about to head to his quarters when Ratchet's voice came over the inter com. "Jack, Ratchet here. I thought you would like to know that I am releasing Arcee from the medical bay. You may come and see her if you like." the Autobot said. "I'm on my way." Jack said as he entered the elevator and pressed the button for deck three. Jack entered the medical bay to see Ratchet and Soundwave talking while Wrex was helping Bakara onto a berth. He walked past them when he saw Arcee sitting on her own berth in the corner of the room, she looked up and smiled at him as he approached her. "Hi, Jack." she said as he stopped next to her. "It's good to see you up and about, Arcee. You really had me worried back on Mars." he said, not even trying to hide his affection. She blushed slightly before she looked down towards the ground. "That was my fault, I shouldn't have gone after her alone like that." the femme replied sheepishly. "No it's not Arcee. If you hadn't chased after her, Flamewar might have gotten away with our shuttle and left us stranded. I'm just really glad that you were not seriously hurt." he said. Arcee looked back up at Jack and smiled. Thanks, Jack. But anyway Ratchet has given me a clean bill of health and I am ready to get back to work." she said as she prepared to get off the bed, only for Jack to stop her. "What's the rush, I mean we haven't really had a chance to talk." he said as he stood in front of her, surprising the femme. " I wasn't sure you wanted to, I mean you made things pretty clear back on Mars about where things stood." she replied, gaining a look of confusion from the Prime. "What do you mean?" he asked. "You are not a part of MECH anymore, you cut all ties. End of story." she said. Jack looked at her and sighed. "It's the truth." he answered, never taking his eyes off of her. She then patted the spot next to her and Jack sat beside her. "And I believe you." she replied before taking a breath and looking away towards the others for a moment before turning back to Jack. "But where do 'we' stand, Jack? Have we cut all ties?" she asked as she looked back at him with her azure blue eyes. Jack's expression softened as he looked at her, " Arcee,…it's always been you. When you left me back on Horizon, it hurt but I never stopped thinking about you. And I don't want to carry on without you. So if you want to, I would like to try again?" he said as he looked her in the eyes lovingly. Arcee didn't know how to react to that as she simply looked at him surprised. "Jack, I want that too. But lets take things slow okay, get to know each other again?" she said as she felt her spark warm at how the situation between them had changed. Jack smiled at her. "As I said before, I will wait as long as it takes Arcee. Because you are worth it." he said, gaining a beautiful smile from the femme, the kind of smile that would make him go weak at the knees. "Okay, Jack, thank you." she replied as Jack got back off the berth and stood in front of her. "Well I am going to call it a night, see you tomorrow." he said before leaving. "Definitely, sweet dreams." Arcee replied, Jack smiled at her before leaving the medical bay and heading to his quarters.
  11. CHAPTER 2 As the Defiant left Earth to the Reaper forces that now occupied it, Arcee was looking at the Prime octagonal disc as Jazz was checking their combat gear. But their attention was drawn to an argument as Jack and Smokescreen walked over to them. "What the in Allspark is going on, Jack. Where is Optimus?" Smokescreen said while Jack carried on walking. "He's staying behind, but not before giving us a mission." The Prime answered. Smokescreen looked at him confused. "Mission?! What mission? The fight's back there on Earth." Jack walked over to a console and activated it. Smokescreen walked around it and faced Jack while the others watched. "I was robbed of my chance to help fight for Cybertron and I'll be damned if I am stopped from fighting to protect my new home. So you can turn around and drop me off." the Autobot replied right in the Prime's face. Jack though had just about enough of Smokescreen's attitude as he looked up him, his stoic expression quickly changing. "Stow it, Smokescreen." Jack answered angrily as he walked right round the console and pointed at him. "I get it, you don't want to leave. You are not the only one here that feels that way, but Optimus gave us an order and I will see it through. Because we don't stand a chance against the Reapers, not without the help of the Citadel fleets." Jack then walked past him towards Arcee and Jazz, the femme could see that he was seething. "If you want to go back, you can board a transport from there." the Prime finished without even looking back at the young bot. Smokescreen just stood there and looked down to the ground as if he was mopping. Arcee and Jazz didn't know where to look as Jack joined them but before the Commander could say anything the inter com activated. "Jackson Prime, we are receiving a transmission from Admiral Bryce." Teletraan said, making Jack walk back to the console he activated earlier, completely ignoring Smokescreen in the process. "I'll take it down here, Teletraan." he replied before the screen came to life and Admiral Bryce appeared on the screen as interference messed with the image. "Commander…..seventh fleet….no…chance…..Reapers….out….nowhere." the Admiral said between the jamming that was fragmenting the transmission. "Teletraan, any chance you could clean this up." the Prime asked. "I will try Prime." the AI replied. Suddenly the image on the screen cleared up, and the Admiral continued. "They had us completely outnumbered, thousands of ships in the first wave alone. We suffered heavy losses. The Reapers can not be defeated conventionally." "Optimus has already ordered me to go to the Citadel and speak with the Council." Jack replied. "First, I need you to go our Lithone dig site on Mars before we lose the sol system completely. Our scientists found something there, something that can stop the Reapers, the only thing that can. So I sent Soundwave there to confirm and retrieve it. But we have lost contact with the dig site." Bryce said. Jack saluted the Admiral in response. "We will head to Mars and pick up Soundwave, Sir." "Very well, Bryce out." the Admiral finished as the transmission cut. Jack then activated his com link. "Hotrod, set course for Mars." he said. "Aye aye, Commander. It's good to have you back." Hotrod replied, Jack smiled as he went back over to the others. "Why Mars, what does Bryce think we will find?" Jazz asked as Arcee handed Jack the octagonal disc. "I believe that this is your's." she said with a smile. "Thanks." he replied as he accepted it before looking back at Jazz. "I don't know, but if it can help us win this war…" He then placed the Prime disc on his chest and the others watched as the armour expanded over his body. "Jazz, I need you up in the cockpit with Hotrod. Arcee and Smokescreen, grab your gear." he said before the two bots walked over to the armoury and suited up, Jazz then saluted Jack and headed to the elevator. PRIME EFFECT 3 The Defiant flew out of the darkness of space and entered orbit above the red planet as it's shuttle bay door opened and shuttle one shot out and descended down into Mars's atmosphere. Smokescreen was piloting the shuttle while Jack and Arcee were sitting in the back. "Commander, I have tried contacting the dig site, but have received no answer." Hotrod said over the com. "Any sign of Reaper activity, Teletraan?" the Prime asked. "No, Prime. But the facility appears to be online. I have detected life signs, but not enough to account for all the personnel that is stationed there." the AI replied. Okay, we'll find out soon enough, just make sure the ship is ready…,Prime out." he answered as both he and Arcee put on their breather helmets. "We are almost there." Smokescreen commented from the cockpit as the shuttle headed down to the dig site, landing just outside the facility as Smokescreen put on his own breather helmet. "The base is still not answering our hails." the young Autobot stated as Jack opened up the hatch, letting the light enter the shuttle as Jack stepped out and looked around at the red landscape. Arcee and Smokescreen joined him as they started towards the facility. "Never been to Mars before." Arcee commented as Smokescreen looked back to her. "Well, since I was stuck in a stasis cell for most of the war, the only place I have seen a lot of is Earth." he replied before going quiet. Arcee noticed this and placed a hand on his shoulder in support. "Hey, chin up. We will make it through this and we see our home again." The young Bot nodded as the three suddenly heard a gun shot echoe around them. They ran around a small hill to see several soldiers standing over some Alliance personal who were on their knees. Jack and his team took cover behind some rocks as they watched them execute their prisoners one after the other. Smokescreen looked at the soldiers who were wearing black/gold and green armour. "What the hell, they are executing them." Arcee said gritting her teeth. Jack though aimed his weapon at the soldier right in the center and fired, blowing a hole through the enemy's helmet and spraying blood all over the side of the truck behind him. The soldiers all turned around and instantly started firing at the group. "Well, they know we are here now." Smokescreen said sarcastically as the three of them fired back at the enemies. Though the solder's attempted to find cover, one by one they were all killed. Jack and the others then walked down and looked at the corpses. Smokescreen bent down over one of the enemy bodies and recognised the symbol on it's chest-plate. "These guys are MECH, right?" Jack looked back at him. "Certainly looks that way." he replied. Arcee though looked worried, he could not see her face fully, but Jack could see her azure blue eyes staring back and he knew what she was about to say. "What are MECH doing on Mars?" The Prime shrugged his shoulders in response. "That's a good question." he replied. "You don't know?" Arcee asked back a little inquisitively, causing Jack to look back at her. "No, how should I know why they are here." he said as the three of them walked over to the facility's entrance. "But you worked with them, I mean it is a bit convenient that they show up here at the same time as us." Arcee argued back. They walked into the loading bay and Smokescreen closed the bay door behind them, then activated the depressurization mode. Arcee walked straight up to Jack as the oxygen started flowing around the room. "Jack, I need to hear you say that you don't know why MECH are here." she said in a serious tone. "Why, why would I know what they are up to?" he replied in confused manner. She though looked away and walked over to the other side of the room. "You worked for them, for Primus's sake. How am I not supposed to think it?" she replied. Jack though shook his head and walked over to her as Smokescreen watched the two of them. "We worked together to take down the Quintessons, that was it. I cut all ties with them after that was done." The femme just carried on looking away from him, not wanting to look Jack in the eyes. "But there is more to it than that, they brought you back from the dead, gave you a new ship, a crew…" Jack took a chance and stood directly in front of Arcee and made eye contact, hoping that he would get the message through. "Look, I have not had any contact with MECH since the Quintesson home world was destroyed. I also have no idea why they are here or what they want." Smokescreen took a breath before adding his voice to the argument. "Commander Darby has been in lock-down and under constant watch since he was arrested, there is no way that they could have communicated with him since." Arcee finally just sighed as she admitted defeat, just as the room finished pressurising. "I'm sorry, Jack, I…" she replied as they took off their helmets, Jack looked back at her with his blue eyes. "I shouldn't have to explain myself to you Arcee." he answered honestly as the door opened to reveal hollowed out tunnels and ancient stone work, Arcee though just looked down to the floor as she gently raked her fingers through her blue hair. She then looked back to the Prime and saw his expression soften. "Please….trust me?" he said as they started walking through the tunnel. Arcee looked back at Jack. "I want to, Jack, believe me. It's just…" she replied before being cut off by the sounds of fighting up ahead. The three then ran down a tunnel and into a large room and took cover before looking over to see a man in dark blue armour with purple neon lights standing in the middle of a group of MECH soldiers, he was in a defensive stance as they looked at him nervously. Suddenly one of the soldiers made a move and attacked with an electrically charged escrima stick. The man though grabbed the stick and pulled it from the enemy's hand before sticking it right through the soldier's helmet, making his body go into a spasm before falling onto the ground. The other MECH troops looked at him shocked before the man raised his hand and gestured them to try again. The troops suddenly angered, charged at him and he roundhouse kicked one in the face, sending the soldier to the ground before grabbing another in mid attack and snapping his neck before sweeping the last one off of his feet. He then got back up and equipped his pistol, before looking down at the troops still alive and shooting them in the head, one bullet each. Jack then gestured his two companions to follow him as they left cover and walked over to the man. Smokescreen raised his gun, only for Jack to stop him. "Easy, Smokescreen. He is with us." he said smiling as the man looked back and smiled in return. "Jack, it's good to see you my friend." the man said. "Soundwave." the Prime replied. "I heard about Earth, I am sorry." Soundwave said as Jack looked down for a second with regret. But he looked up as Arcee walked toward the spymaster. "What is he…" she said before spotting the Autobot insignia on his chest plate. "Why is Soundwave an Autobot all of a sudden and why.." she was cut off by Jack who stood between the two. "Arcee, it's alright. Soundwave helped me take down the Quintessons, so I made him an Autobot in return. The war has been over for nearly twenty years now….remember?" Arcee looked at Soundwave a little unsure before looking back at Jack, the two looking at each other for a second, She then sighed and nodded back. "Okay, Jack." Jack could see she wasn't completely comfortable with the situation, but now wasn't the time for old grievances, not with the Reapers now holding Earth and threatening to spread out into the galaxy. Jack turned back to Soundwave. "Bryce told us you have found something here that can help us." Soundwave looked at Jack and a slight smile grew on his face. This surprised both Arcee and Smokescreen who had never seen the former con even blink before. The young Bot stood close to the femme and whispered in her ear. "Hey, maybe Jack's right about Soundwave." Arcee nodded in return. "Soundwave wouldn't be the first Cybertronian that Jack has helped change." she whispered back as she remembered how she had changed because of him. The two bots then walked forward and joined the Prime and the spymaster. "I have looked through the information that was stored in the databanks here and have found what looks like a weapon, a weapon that can kill the Reapers." Jack and the others looked at each other and then back to Soundwave in disbelief. "Here? On Mars?" Smokescreen asked. The spymaster nodded in return. "Yes, in the Lithone databanks that are stored in the outpost here." "But haven't we only just discovered this Lithone outpost like nearly a year ago, seems like a bit of a coincidence." Jack replied sceptically. "Well, I think the Archaeologists were surprised when they discovered this place and the information in the data core, so Admiral Bryce asked me to take a look into it and tell him if it is the real thing." "And is it?" the Prime asked. Soundwave smiled. "I believe so, I have deciphered a set of blue prints for the device." Arcee stepped forward. "So where are these plans?" the femme asked. "Just a few levels below us." Soundwave replied. "Okay, then lets get going. Soundwave, lead the way." Jack finished as the group walked into the main tunnel that was heading further underground. As they headed further down the tunnels, the only light coming from the small light cables that lined it's corners, Jack and his team came across more bodies of Alliance soldiers. Soundwave and Arcee activated their holo-tools and scanned the corpses. "Jack, these men were killed by a single attack to the head." the spymaster replied as he looked at his holo-tool. "Yeah, I would say that from the way they fell to the ground, that they did not even know that they were under attack." Arcee carried on. Smokescreen kept an eye out as he looked further down the tunnel with his weapon ready. "Whoever did this was extremely stealthy, huh?" the young Bot asked. The femme nodded while before looking at Jack. "So we have another player here then, especially since the MECH soldiers seem to be rather trigger happy. Okay, let's keep moving, but keep an eye out." The Prime replied as the group carried on down the tunnel, leaving the dead soldiers behind. PRIME EFFECT 3 They soon came into a large cavern that was filled with numerous mining tools and supply crates, when they suddenly heard voices the group took cover as four MECH soldiers came into view from the other side of the room. "We have this passage protected, what about Bravo team?" one soldier said to the others. "Bravo team has sealed off the data core at the other end of this tunnel and will defend it until given orders from the Director." Jack looked over to the Arcee and Smokescreen, Arcee nodded as she could tell what he was thinking. But unfortunately Smokescreen didn't as he nodded back before jumping out of cover and firing at the enemies. The MECH soldiers fired back as they took cover, while Jack silently cursed before he, Soundwave and Arcee joined in. Smokescreen saw this as he killed two of the enemies. "I've got this!" he said confidently, not noticing the three other MECH troops enter the room from behind him and they were about to fire when Jack grabbed the young Bot and pulled him behind cover as the spymaster and the Femme shot them. Jack then came back out of cover and killed the final two soldiers. Once they were all dead, Smokescreen sat on the floor, leaning against the crate and looking at the ground with a sullen look. He knew that everyone else was staring daggers at him at that moment. "What the hell was that?" Arcee said with her anger evident. "Didn't you see the other group of enemies entering the room, Jack did.." The femme stopped when she felt Jack place his hand on her shoulder. He then stepped beside her and looked down at the bot, his face stoic. "Smokescreen, no heroics. We work as a team, understand?" he said before offering his hand to him. The Autobot looked at his hand and then back up to the Prime, he then nodded and took his hand, as Jack helped him to his feet. "I understand, it won't happen again…it's funny, I remember the first time we worked together and how that turned out. But now I look at you and can't help but notice how much you remind me of Optimus." As Smokescreen and Jack spoke, Arcee looked away as she too remembered that day and how angry she was at Smokescreen for taking Jack into danger like that, and also at the young human for going along with the Autobot. She also remembered the talk they had the next day, he had told her the reasons why he had gone along and she couldn't help but feel the anger she had held inside seep away from her being. Jack told her that he only went because he didn't want Smokescreen to go alone and that he also kept his distance from the fight, and was just unlucky that the Insecticon had found him. He was also the one who contacted Ratchet and told them know about the Star-saber. When Arcee had heard these reasons, she found it very hard to be angry at him. It wasn't like he was doing a Miko. "Arcee." The femme was brought out of her memories by Jack who was looking at her curiously. "You okay?" he asked. She smiled and looked at the tunnel that the MECH troops were protecting. "Yes I am fine, Jack. I think we should see about getting through that door?" Jack smiled at her. "You just read my mind, have any ideas?" the Prime replied. Arcee looked around. "Well, we can't just attack. But maybe we can trick them into opening the door for us." She then looked at one of the MECH soldiers and knelt down beside it. "What are you looking for?" Jack asked as he stood over her. "This soldier has a two way radio, I almost have it." she answered as she pulled the helmet off the dead enemy's head, she then almost jumped back with a gasp at the sight before them. Jack himself looked down at it in shock. What they saw was the soldier's face which was horribly transformed. His eyes were blue optics with tiny tubes running down either side of his face. "By Primus, he looks like a Husk." Arcee stated as Jack knelt down and took a closer look. "Yeah, but not quite. It looks like they stopped the transformation only a quarter of the way." Arcee looked down at it before looking back to Jack. "And by they….you mean MECH? They did this to their own people?" Jack got back to his feet as the femme looked at him worriedly. "Jack, that could have been you. I mean for all I knew, that's what MECH had done." The Commander looked at her, his expression was one of hurt and of shock. "What….how can you compare me to that thing?" he said taken aback by her comment. Arcee though looked away. "I….I don't know what you are, not since they rebuilt you." she answered honestly, her voice becoming emotional. She stood with her back to him and looked out into the tunnel. "Is it really you? Do you even know. I mean Silas could be controlling you even now." Jack cocked his head and looked over to her. "Arcee…" he said in a soft voice. She turned around and looked at him. "You don't need to say anything, I just need some time to get used to this." she then looked down to the ground. " So I just want you to be honest with me…is the man that I loved still in there?" she asked as she looked back at the Prime with her azure blue eyes. Jack smiled and walked closer to her. "Arcee, it's still me, I am the same person I always was. And I will wait for you, however long it takes." Jack watched as the same beautiful smile that he remembered graced her lips again. "Thanks, Jack, I needed to hear that." she replied. "Good, lets see if we can get them to let us in." he said with a smile as he activated the radio. "This is Gamma team, anyone there?" They both waited for a moment as Soundwave and Smokescreen joined them. Suddenly another voice could be heard on the other end. "Where the hell have you been…..wait forget it. What is your status?" the soldier asked. "We are at the corridor leading to the data core, all enemies eliminated." The Prime replied. "Roger that, Delta team will join you momentarily." the MECH soldier finished. Jack then threw the radio away as they all equipped their weapons. "Do you think they believed you?" Arcee asked. "Well, I think we are about to find out." The Prime replied as they heard the door at the end of the tunnel start to open. Jack signalled everyone to take cover before he jumped over a crate next to Arcee who smiled back at him while he readied his weapon just moments before the MECH troops walked in. "Where's Gamma team?" the lead soldier said to the others. Suddenly Jack stood up, startling the troops. "Looking for me?" he said with a slight smile before opening fire on the group, Arcee and Smokescreen joining him as they riddled the troops with bullets. "Soundwave, now!" Jack shouted over the gunfire, the spymaster was hiding by the tunnel's entrance and he threw a flash bang grenade in there, as the last trooper that Jack and the others had killed fell to the ground. The tunnel then filled with a bright white light, that blinded the MECH trooper who was standing at the doorway at the other end. Soundwave then moved into the corridor while the light continued to shine brightly for another moment, it was then quiet as the light died down and the others uncovered their eyes with their hands to hear an echo of a neck snapping . Jack, Arcee and Smokescreen walked into the tunnel's entrance to see Soundwave standing at the other end as he let go of the trooper's body and watched it hit the floor and go limp. "Not bad." Arcee said, gaining a nod from the spymaster. The others quickly joined him as they entered the data core. The room was massive and in the center was makeshift Alliance computer terminal which was connected by data cables to what looked like the Lithone beacon that Jack had come into contact with back on Eden Prime nearly three year ago. "Smokescreen." he said, and the young bot nodded in return before he started searching the outer section of the room while the Prime and the others walked up to the core, walking past a hologram of the data core that was just beside the computer console. Soundwave started working the holo-controls as Jack and Arcee watched, unaware that the hologram behind them started shifting and changed into the form of a man. "Darby!" a familiar voice called out. Arcee and Jack spun around with pistols ready to see a hologram of Silas standing in front of them. The MECH Director looking rather smug as he took a sip from the drink in his hand. "Silas." the Femme spat at him as she gritted her teeth, but Silas just ignored her and looked directly at the Prime. His yellow optics glowing brightly. "Tell your femme to back down, Darby." he replied coolly. Jack lowered his gun and gave him a lop sided grin. "I don't take orders from you, Silas, or had you forgotten." he said before looking over to the femme. "Arcee you alright?" he asked softly, gaining a smile from her. "I'm fine, Jack, thanks for asking. Just wish he was really here so I could put a bullet through his head." she replied staring coldly at the MECH director. Jack looked back at Silas just a coldly. "I know what you mean. So what do you want, Silas?" The Director looked up at the data core and smiled. "What I have always wanted, the data in this core holds the key to solving the Reaper threat, thanks to the Lithone. They are certainly an interesting race, they left this all here for us to find. But thanks to the Autobots, it took a while finding it." Jack looked at him cynically. "I have seen your solution, you are turning your people into Husks." Silas shrugged off the Prime's reply. "Hardly, I have improved them." Jack continued to stare at the Director. "Improved?" Jack asked back. "That's the difference between us, Darby. You always destroy what you do not understand and fear, while I always aim to control and dominate. And with this data I can do the same to the Reapers, to harness their power for the good of Humanity. Imagine how strong we would be if we can control the Reapers." Silas replied. Jack felt his patience disappear as he stepped forward, giving Silas a judgmental look. "Earth is under Reaper control and you are trying to find a way to control them." Suddenly another hologram appeared next to Silas, taking the form of the Quintesson planet. "You know for a Prime, you are really short sighted and hasty, just like Optimus. You proved that when you destroyed the Quintesson home world." he said looking at the hologram. "That planet was an abomination, hundreds of thousands of Humans were murdered there." Jack replied, feeling his anger growing by the second. "You know you can not defeat the Reapers, Darby, even with the data from this Lithone core." Silas responded. Jack though had to try and get through to the MECH director and so took a breath. "Then work with me, give me MECH's resources and I 'will' stop the Reapers." he said confidently. Silas gave him a knowing look as he sipped his drink. "You would do better then most, but the odds are not in your favour. More importantly I don't want the Reapers destroyed. We can control them, harness their power to our will as we evolve ourselves and become the dominant species in this galaxy." Jack had finally had enough of Silas's ramblings. "It doesn't matter how hard you try, Silas, you will never control the Reapers, but it sounds to me like they are already controlling you." Silas's expression remained stoic, but Jack could see that Silas was getting angry. "No one's controlling me, Darby, you will never understand what I am trying to accomplish and I am certainly not looking for your approval." he said, his optics narrowing at the Prime. "You were just a tool to me, an agent with a single purpose. But you served it well despite our differences, but now your time is over." Jack looked defiantly at Silas. "I have heard enough. Soundwave, download the data." The spymaster nodded before continuing to work as Silas pointed at Jack. "Stay out of MECH's way, Darby, I will not warn you again." Silas finished. "Go to hell." Jack replied as Soundwave looked back at the Prime. "Jack, I have a problem here." he said gaining the Commander's attention as Silas smiled before his hologram disappeared. "What is it?" he replied as Arcee joined him at the spymaster's side. "The data, it is not here. It is being erased." Soundwave answered. "Damn it, how are they doing it" Jack asked irritably. Soundwave worked the controls and saw the problem. "They are downloading the copy from a local terminal." As they spoke Smokescreen came across a woman standing over a computer, she was wearing red and black armour. "Hey, stop what you are doing and step away from the terminal." the Autobot ordered. The woman stopped and looked over her shoulders at Smokescreen, her red eyes narrowing at him. "Move away Now!" he repeated. But before he could stop her, she attacked him and knocked him to the floor with a back kick before slamming her fist into the terminal with her holo-tool activated, causing the data core to lose power. She then ran as Jack and Soundwave reached Smokescreen who was still on his back. "I've got her." Arcee stated as she ran after the woman who was already in the tunnel. The femme entered the tunnel just behind her, 'Damn she is fast' she thought as she sprinted from one tunnel to the next, hoping to catch up to the unknown female. PRIME EFFECT 3 When she got back outside (having placed her breather helmet on) she saw the shuttle ahead but no sign of the woman. She slowly walked toward the shuttle while scanning around her with her weapon. 'Where are you?' she thought as she turned around and looked back to the facility's entrance. The woman then appeared on top of the shuttle and dived at Arcee, who just managed to dive out of the way, landing on her hands before flipping back on to her feet. She spun round with her weapon ready, only for the woman to grab her arm and knock the pistol out of the femme's hands before kicking her in the stomach, making Arcee back step and recover. She looked at the woman and her eyes widened as she recognised her. Apart from her red and black armour (she also had a breather over her mouth), the woman also had a pale complexion and red hair with blue highlights. She just stared at Arcee blankly. "Flamewar!" Arcee gasped as the woman grunted and attacked the femme, throwing punches and kicks while Arcee deflected and blocked them while trying to counterattack. Meanwhile Jack and the others arrived to witness the two femmes fighting and Arcee noticed this, Flamewar took advantage of the femme's distracted state and grabbed her by the throat and lifted her into the air, tightening her grip as the femme struggled. This caused Arcee to choke as she tried in vain to breath. "ARCEE!" Jack shouted as he trained his weapon on Flamewar, who ignored him and tapped the com link on her ear. "Orders?" she said in a seductive but dark tone. "Kill her!" came Silas's voice from the other end and Flamewar smiled as she pulled Arcee back before slamming her into the side of the shuttle, knocking her unconscious and cracking the visor on her helmet. Flamewar then pulled her free hand back and clenched it into a fist and was about to smash the Autobot's face in when suddenly a bullet shot straight through one side of her head, before exploding out the other side with liquid spraying everywhere as she fell to the ground along side Arcee. Jack then looked at Arcee's prone form lying on the floor as his instincts kicked in and before he knew it he was running to her side, hoping that she would be alright. He knelt down beside her and looked down at her cracked visor, his heart skipped a beat when he saw no movement in her face, but then she murmured something and the Prime breathed a sigh of relief as he scooped her up in his arms. "Come on, Arcee, I am getting you out of here." he said softly as he walked over with her towards the shuttle as Smokescreen powered up it's engines. Jack then looked over to Flamewar's corpse. "Soundwave, grab that thing. We are taking it with us." The Spymaster knelt down over her head and ripped it off in one clean motion. "I only need the head, Jack." he said stoically before he joined them in the shuttle, the hatch closing behind them as the com link activated and a worried sounding Hotrod could be heard. "We have to leave, guys. Reaper signatures have just appeared in orbit." "Roger that, Defiant. Smokescreen, get us out of here." Jack ordered. The shuttle then lifted off and flew up out of the atmosphere before re-entering the Defiant's shuttle bay. Once onboard, the Alliance ship then pulled out of Mars's gravity and flew to the outer area of the sol system before the Reaper ships had a chance to react.
  12. PRIME EFFECT 3 CHAPTER 1 Jack looked at himself in the mirror as he waited for the guards to arrive so they could escort him to his trial. He had been incarcerated for the last several months while Admiral Bryce and Optimus Prime were attempting to stall the trial so that they could find a way to free him, but the Council or more so Councillor Sparatus had been countering every move the two had made. The reason for his incarceration was that he not only worked with MECH but was also held responsible for the deaths of forty thousand Alliance personnel on board the Paladin station, when it was caught in the explosion from Sparta star that had gone super nova. Jack felt his heart sink a little as he thought about those lives. Yes they had been indoctrinated by the Reaper called Harbinger at the time, and yes there was no known cure the Reaper's control. But Jack hadn't made the choice lightly. He had to weigh their lives against the trillions of lives that the galaxy held. Because if he hadn't then the Reapers would already be here, destroying everything he was trying to protect. He looked away and walked over to the window, he was finding it hard to look himself in the mirror for any given length of time. It was like he could see the faces of the friends and the people he had failed to protect like Kaidan, Miko, Wheeljack, Zaeed, Jacob, the colonists from Horizon and numerous others who had died during the Prime's mission to stop the Reapers. He had originally been plagued by nightmares and feelings of guilt and remorse after he had been brought back by MECH, but after becoming close to Airachnid and seeing what she had gone through in her life. He felt that he was starting to come to terms with it. But after what happened in Sparta and then having nothing better to do but think about it for several months while locked away in this prison, he had suddenly felt like he had relapsed. He looked out of the window, trying to find anything that could take his mind off the thoughts that had been plaguing him. His attention was taken by the sight of the play area that was full of children today. But one child in particular caught his attention, it was the same child he had seen playing there numerous times in the last several months. The kid had his toy ship in his hands as he interacted with the other children. Jack found himself smiling at the sight, if there was one reason for the choices he had made during his time as a Prime, then this was it. He was fighting not only to stop the Reapers, but also to safeguard the future for the next generation and every generation that followed. As he was looking out of the window, the door to his room opened. Making the Prime turn around to see two soldiers walk in and point their weapons at him. Then a third person entered the room, he was a Caucasian male with brown hair and wore white/blue and red armour. He smiled at Jack as he saluted him. "Prime." he greeted him with a smile. Jack though shook his head as he walked toward them, ignoring the soldiers as they kept the weapons on him. "You're not supposed to call me that, Smokescreen." he replied with an un-amused tone. "Not supposed to salute you either, but you know me..." the Autobot said back, shrugging his shoulders in the process. "...Anyway, they are waiting for you." Jack nodded in return before walking out of the room with Smokescreen and heading down the corridor with the two soldiers behind them. As they made they way down the corridor, Jack saw a familiar face waiting just up ahead. An aged man in red and blue armour who looked back and smiled before offering his hand to the Prime. "Optimus" Jack said before shaking the Autobot Leader's hand as Smokescreen saluted back. "Prime." the young Autobot said as Optimus joined the two. "You're looking well, Jackson, considering that you have been incarcerated for the last several months." Optimus stated as he observed Jack's build. "Well, when you have little to keep yourself busy with, working out was one of the few luxuries I had to stop myself from going insane from boredom." Jack replied. Optimus looked back at him, a tinge of guilt on his face. "Don't worry, Jackson, we will sort it out. And then you can get back to what you should have been doing." The three continued through the corridor until they entered a room connected to the courtroom that was just beyond. "Good luck in there, Jack." Smokescreen said before they shook hands. Optimus meanwhile walked up to a blue haired woman who was waiting for him just outside the courtroom. "Optimus." she said before her eyes wandered behind the Autobot leader and she recognised the man talking to Smokescreen. Her heart skipped a beat as she almost froze on the spot. "….Jack?" she said, gaining the Prime's attention as he turned and looked over to her. His eyes widened as he looked at the femme, it had been so long since he last saw her. He felt his tongue almost tie up in his mouth as he tried to speak. "Arcee." he managed as he noticed a slight smile grace her lips, walking up to her and the Autobot leader with Smokescreen at his side. "Arcee, why are you here? I wasn't informed of this." Optimus asked gaining a shamed look from the femme. "I was ordered to give evidence against you, Jack" she began to reply sheepishly while looking directly at the Human Prime. "...I'm sorry. I wouldn't have come, but Sparatus insisted." Jack gave her a sympathetic smile. "Its alright, Arcee. I know why he made you do it. It's not like we parted on the best of terms." he replied. The femme looked at him. "Yeah…." she answered before her smile returned. "…still it's good to see you, Jack." Jack returned the smile as another officer walked up to them. "They are ready for you now." she answered. Jack and Optimus then followed her, leaving Smokescreen and Arcee behind them. Jack and Optimus entered a large circular room with a large bench in front of them, the Admirals and Councillor Sparatus made up the committee were seated there, while at both sides of the room there was chairs for the audience who were starting to take their seats. Jack saw a large glass window behind the committee that showed off a spectacular view of Manhattan. As both Primes stood in the center, Jack noticed the witnesses chairs lined up just in front of the audience on the right and saw Arcee take her seat and beside her, he recognised the other person as one of the colonists from Horizon, not looking happy with the situation either. "Jack Darby,..." Sparatus called down from the bench, making Jack look at him. "...you are here because you have committed crimes against the Alliance and the Council, these crimes are the treasonous actions in working with MECH and the murders of forty thousand people aboard the Paladin station. Do you have anything to say that might possibly help in your defence." the Turian councillor almost gloatingly said. Jack looked at Optimus who nodded back in support before stepping forward. "I didn't ask to work with MECH, but they were the only ones who were doing anything about the threat that the Quintessons posed to our colonies in the Terminus systems. The moment that mission was complete, I broke all contact with them." He then sighed and looked down at the ground for a moment. Arcee saw this and could feel her spark break for him. Yes, she didn't trust him when she found out that MECH had rebuilt him...if that was what it should be called. But seeing him here and listening to him, made the femme realise that she never really gave him the chance to explain back on Horizon and that made her feel guilty as she continued to watch the Prime and the Committee. "...As for what happened in the Sparta system. I regret the lives lost on that day, not a moment goes by where I don't replay that mission in my mind and see if there wasn't another way. But the Reapers were on the verge…." Sparatus then raised his arms in frustration. "Here we go again. Don't you ever get tired of that excuse..." he spat while glaring at the Prime. "...I am sick and tired of hearing you bring up the same lies." Everyone just remained quiet, unsure about how the Councillor was acting. "...I believe what really happened was that you let the power of being a Prime go to your head, so you used the lies that Saren made up with the myths of the Reaper, so you could put yourself in a position of power." Jack could not believe what he was hearing, Sparatus was so delusional that the Turian thought that he was trying to make himself look better then the Council, or was it just Sparatus. Well Jack could feel the anger inside himself come close to exploding as he gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes at the Councillor. "I cannot believe this, I thought that the Council were just in denial, but the truth is...it is you and your ego. You think that I am trying to usurp you, well I hate to disappoint you, Sparatus, but I am Prime and it is my duty to protect this galaxy from any threat. And that threat is the Reapers who as we speak are closer to our galaxy, hell they would already be here if I hadn't made the Sparta star go nova." he shouted back at the Councillor as everyone watched. Optimus himself seemed quite impressed with Jack. The Human male had every right to be angry of course, but he didn't let if over ride his senses unlike the Turian. "...We should be standing together as a united galaxy against the Reapers. But thanks to you, we are currently wasting our time with this show trial." Sparatus grabbed the edges of the desk in front of him and leaned over as he stared daggers at Jack, baring his teeth as he gritted them. "There are no such things as REAPERS!" he shouted back in angry desperation. Suddenly the doors at the back opened and an female officer rushed in. "What's the meaning of this?" Sparatus spat in rage as the officer stopped in front of the bench. "Excuse me, Sir. But we have lost contact with our Moon-base." she said, the worry in her voice was evident to the admirals, as they looked at each other in shock. The officer then placed her hand up to her com link. "Sirs, we are getting a visual from UK head quarters." she said as she pointed to one of the screens overhead that activated and showed a soldier shouting into the camera when suddenly an explosion took him out and the image went dead. Everyone stood up in response, the female officer then used her holo-tool and brought up security camera footage from atop one of the buildings and the sight it showed made everyone in the room gasp in fear. The image showed London being attacked by numerous Reapers that were landing in the heart of the city and destroying everything in their path with powerful red energy beams. Sparatus just looked at the images, his eyes wide and his mouth a gap. The Admirals looked at him before looking at Jack, who was just as shocked as they were. 'How did the Reapers get here so fast?' he thought as he looked at Optimus and the for the first time in nearly twenty years, Jack could swear that he saw fear in the elder Prime's face. "Jack Darby..." one of the Admirals said, gaining his attention as he looked back at them. And then he saw it. The fear and uncertainty in their faces, but what the Prime saw mostly was the shame that they had not heeded his, Optimus or Bryce's warnings of the Reapers. "...what do we do?" he asked in an almost pleading voice. With everyone's eyes on Jack, he stepped forward to the bench. "There is only one thing we can do and that is to 'fight'." he answered stoically. The Admirals looked at each other before nodding in agreement. Optimus stepped beside Jack. "We should get to the Defiant." he said as Sparatus continued to stare at the images on the screen overhead, the way he looked was like that of someone who couldn't come to terms with the truth that was staring him in the face. "Where is Admiral Bryce?" Jack asked looking at the committee. The female Admiral looked down at the Prime. "He is currently in command of the seventh fleet that is stationed in orbit but…" she found her self looking down at her table as the realisation sank in. "….if the Reapers are attacking now, then they must have made short work of our defences." Optimus looked at the committee. "Admirals, the first thing we should be concerned about is evacuating as many of the general population as we can out of harms way..." he said in a calm manner. "Yes, while also keeping the Reapers busy with an immediate counter attack. We wont be able to hold out for long, but it should be enough to get the civilians out." Jack finished. The Admirals nodded in agreement before ushering the officer away. As the female officer left, Arcee could not help but feel a smile grace her lips as she watched Jack and Optimus take charge, both of them Prime's to the core. But then her attention as well as everyone else's was caught by what sounded like thunder echoing from outside. The Admirals and Sparatus turned around and looked out of the window as red lightning flashed above the city as thick storm clouds appeared over Manhattan like a shadow looming over the city of New York. Everyone looked on as the Admirals, and also Sparatus's eyes widened at the sight that was appearing before them. "Oh my god!" the female Admiral said in shock as they watched the colossal black form of a Reaper attack the landscape below it. Jack though got to his senses and looked at everyone. "MOVE!" he shouted at them as the audience started to rush for the door, but not before one of the Reaper's attacks hit directly outside the window, shattering the glass in a massive explosion which threw the committee members into the air and launched the bench at Jack and Optimus who dived out of the way. The large wooden structure missing them both by inches as it flew past and smashed against the wall behind them and blocked off the doors. Jack landed into a forward roll before finishing in a kneeling position. He turned to look back when another explosion occurred and he was flung by it's force into a nearby wall. He then hit the ground hard, disorienting him as he lied there on his back. "Jack..." he heard a female voice call out. He then saw a familiar face looking down at him with concern. "Jack!" Arcee said as she knelt down over him. His head was throbbing so he placed his hand to it and nodded back to her, the relief on her face evident as she sighed in return. She then stood up as Jack himself sat up and offered him her hand, which he accepted as the femme helped him to his feet. "Jackson, Arcee." Optimus called to them from across the room, gaining their attention. They saw him standing over two bodies that they recognised as two of the admirals. "Are there any survivors?" Jack asked while looking around the room. Optimus shook his head, his face saddened. "I'm afraid not, Jackson, the admirals were right next to the beam when it hit outside the building." he replied before walking over to the doors that were now blocked off by what remained of the bench. "So was Sparatus." Arcee interjected as she pointed down at the body in front of her. Jack looked down to see the limp body of the Turian Councillor, it was hard for the Prime to feel anything toward Sparatus after all that he had done to stop Jack. And for what, the Turian had believed all along that the Human Prime was just trying to undermine him. Jack had naively thought that maybe politics might have been more honest between these advanced species, but in reality they were exactly the same as humanity. Still distrustful of each other and when someone was just trying to help, they would think that the ones helping were really trying to replace them. Jack was then interrupted from his thoughts by Arcee placing a hand on his shoulder. "Jack…." she asked. Jack nodded in return while looking down at Sparatus. "Yeah, let's go." he said as he looked at her. The femme then offered him a pistol. "You're going to need this." she said as he took it and smiled at her. "Thanks." he replied, gaining a smile back. Optimus meanwhile walked back to them from the entrance. "There is no way we are getting out that way, there is too much rubble blocking the door, we will have to go out this way." he said motioning them to the smashed window. The three climbed onto the ledge and looked out at the horrifying scene playing out in front of them. As they looked out at Manhattan, several giant Reapers had landed and were attacking the city while the sky was filled with hundreds more that were descending to the planet from orbit. "We can get down to the ground by crossing to the building next to this one. From there we will need to cross a few blocks to the spaceport where the Defiant is docked." Optimus stated, making both Jack and Arcee look over to him. "Okay, we better move then." Jack replied as they then followed the elder Prime across the ledge to the far side of the Prison complex. "This is Optimus Prime to any Alliance person, please come in." Optimus said into his com link as they walked. He then put his hand to his ear. "Smokescreen, you and Jazz are where?…..We are on our way to the Defiant now, we will meet you there." Optimus finished as they turned a corner to see that the next building was only a short jump away. Optimus holstered his weapon and leaped across the alleyway that was between the two buildings, landing on the other side without any problems. Jack looked out to see the play area in the park was on fire and then a small figure was seen entering the building that they were just attempting to cross too, he then looked back to Arcee. "Okay, Arcee, you're next." Jack said as the femme was preparing to jump when suddenly an Alliance star fighter flew low above the with a dragon-like husk on it's tail firing at it. Arcee suddenly lost her balance do to the shock and fell of the ledge, only for Jack to grab her hand before she fell any further. "I've got you." he said to her reassuringly as he pulled her back up and onto the ledge. The two embraced for a long moment as she panted slightly, still shaken from what had happened. "It's alright." he said softly as she looked up at him. "Thanks." she said with a slight smile gracing her lips. "Don't mention it." he replied back to her. They both then looked out to see the Dragon shoot down the fighter which crashed into a building, making it collapse instantly. The two then jumped over to Optimus who looked relieved to see his former SIC. "I thought we almost lost you back there Arcee." he said back to her, gaining a smile before she looked to Jack. "Yeah, me too. If it weren't for Jack." she replied. Jack though pointed up to the sky, gaining their attention as more of the dragon creatures were approaching. "We should get inside now." he said stoically, causing the three of them to enter the building via the roof entrance. PRIME EFFECT 3 Once inside they equipped their pistols, they made their way down the stairs to a large room that had looked like it had been recently abandoned. Jack walked over to a closed door only for it open as a Husk attempted to claw at him, but the Prime casually shot the creature in the face and got between the gap and pushed the doors apart. "Through here." he said as Arcee and Optimus each slipped through the gap and into the next room. Jack was about to follow when a noise caught his attention and he walked back into the middle of the room. He looked around and saw the little boy from the play area hiding inside an open vent. "Hey." Jack said in a soft voice as he walked over to the vent and bent down to see the boy retreat further inside it in fear. "It's alright, I won't hurt you." Jack replied in a calm and reassuring manner. The kid though looked at him and Jack could see the tear stains on the boy's face. "Everyone is dying.." he said in between whimpers. Jack though offered the child his hand. "Come on, I can get you to safety….. take my hand." he said. The child then started to crawl forward toward the Prime and took his hand. Jack smiled back at the boy, but then the room shook as the roar of a Reaper could be heard as it walked past the building. The boy looked terrified as he let go of Jack's hand and retreated back into the vent. "Kid, I can save you if you let me." Jack answered but the boy suddenly looked at the Prime calmly. "No, you can't help me." he replied, leaving Jack completely confused as he stared at the child. "Jackson!" Optimus called out from the other room, making the Prime look over. "In here." the Autobot Leader finished as Jack looked back to the vent to suddenly find it completely empty, another Reaper roar could be heard echoing out of the vent. Jack looked down for a moment in confusion. 'I hope that kid will be alright.' he thought as he stood back up and rejoined Optimus and Arcee. The three of them then found another staircase and started to head down to the ground floor. "I can't believe that this is happening." Arcee said with fear in her voice. "I know what you mean, the Reapers hit us so hard and fast…I thought we would have had more time to prepare." Optimus replied. "We knew they were coming, but most wanted to believe that it was just a fairy tale and not the threat that we knew they really were." Jack responded. The group reached the ground floor and entered the lobby, again it was completely empty. "That is why we need to go to the Citadel and convince the Council about the threat that the Reapers present, once and fall all." the Autobot Leader replied stoically. "But the fight is here!" Jack argued back, Arcee nodded in agreement. But the elder Prime looked back at them both. "It will be everywhere soon enough, the Reapers will wipe out every race in the galaxy if we don't unite against them. And I will not allow the home that we share with our friends and allies to share the same fate as Cybertron." he said as they left the building and entered the street. As they looked around, everything looked even worse at ground level. It looked almost post apocalyptic, with the damaged buildings, the streets filled with rubble and fires. "This way." Optimus said, motioning the others to follow when they suddenly heard a woman scream coming from an alleyway just ahead of them. The group ran into the alley to find two people surrounded by husks, the woman saw them and screamed for their help. "Help us, please!" The three then raised their pistols and fired at the creatures, taking two out with head shots. Blood splattering against the alley walls as the other takes several shots to the chest before falling to the ground. The man and woman survivors then got up and ran over to the group. "Thank you for saving us, those things….I can't believe how close…" the woman panicked as the man placed his arms on her shoulders in an attempt to calm her. "Easy, Loraine..." he said before looking to Jack and the others. "...Thank you, we were on our way to the evacuation points when those things chased us into this alley way." Jack gave them a reassuring smile. "It's alright we are heading in that general direction and will escort you until we come across another Alliance unit who will take you from there." The couple nodded in return and Optimus lead the group out of the alley and across another street towards the docks. After taking out some more husks as they went, the group stopped in another alley way to catch their breath. Loraine looked up at the sky and saw more Reapers coming down like fire rain. "My god, Harold, this is the end. Isn't it?" she asked fearfully. The man looked at her with nothing but affection. "Loraine dear, this is not the end. We are with some fine soldiers, you saw how well they have taken down those things that have been attacking us. We will get out of this I swear." he replied, pulling her into an embrace as he looked at Jack for reassurance. The Prime nodded back as Optimus and Arcee looked at each other. "Freeze!" a voice suddenly called out as the group looked at a group of Alliance soldiers approaching them from the other side of the alley. Optimus stood in front of the group. "Easy, we are friendlies." The lead soldier who wore red and silver armour looked at the elder Prime before smiling and lowering his weapon, his unit copying his action. "Optimus sir, glad to see you are alright." he then looked at Arcee and Jack. "Jackson Prime, I guess there are a lot of people that owe you an apology about now." he said as he gestured to what was happening around them. "Yeah I guess, not that it matters right now." he replied. "Sideswipe, we have two humans that need to be escorted to the evac zone. Can you and your team see that this is done?" Optimus asked. The Autobot looked at the couple and nodded back at the elder Prime. "Of course sir, we were actually out here looking for any more survivors, but we haven't found any." he replied in a sombre tone. "You have now." Arcee said with a slight smile, which Sideswipe nodded in return. He then walked over to the couple. "If you will follow us, we will keep you safe until we reach the EZ." The couple looked at Jack and he nodded in kind. Sideswipe and his team walked past Jack and the others with the couple before the Autobot looked back at Optimus. "Be careful if you go that way, the space port is crawling with Reaper forces. Good luck, guys." The others nodded as they watched Sideswipe's team leave the alley with the couple, they then left the alley the way the Alliance soldiers had entered and came to the docks. "It's not far to the space port now." Optimus said before a red laser beam destroyed a large boat at the docks as another colossal Reaper landed next to them and started laying waste to the area. Jack usher Arcee and Optimus behind some cover as they watched the Reaper turn away and start walking towards the edge of the docks. PRIME EFFECT 3 "Optimus to Smokescreen, what is your status?" the Autobot leader said as he activated his com link. "We are at the Defiant now, but the area is being over run…Hotrod….. launch now, before…oh Primus…..look out for that dreadnought." Smokescreen said over the com, as the three looked out at the ocean to see an Alliance star ship being shot out of the sky by two Reapers who were descending to the ground. The dreadnaught hit the ocean, sending water high into the air as it then exploded. The two Reapers then turned and walked over to Manhattan, their roars echoing. Jack then saw a gunship being attacked by one of the dragon-husk things and saw it crash just away from them. "This way, I have an idea." he stated to the others as they followed him to the crashed ship as the two pilots climbed out of it's cockpit. "Are you two alright?" Jack asked while Arcee and Optimus kept watch. "Do you have a distress beacon on-board, we can use it contact our ship." Optimus said looking over his shoulder to the pilots. "Yes, Sir" one pilot said activating his holo-tool. " There the gunship's beacon is online, you can use it now." Optimus activated his own holo-tool and opened up a com channel. "Defiant, this is Optimus, do you read?" he said, gaining only static for a moment. "Jazz here, what is your location, Prime?" the Autobot answered. Jack and Arcee kept look out on the horizon as the Reaper ships continued to rain destruction on the city around them. "We are at a downed gunship between the space port and the docks. We have activated its distress beacon, we need support and evac now." Optimus replied, but then there was only static again as no answer came. "The channel has gone dead." he stated. "Well let's hope that beacon does it's job." Jack said as Arcee pointed up at the sky as what looked like a flaming meteor crashed landed only a hundred feet away, it breaking up to reveal Husks that looked directly at them and charged. "Take cover and use head shots to conserve ammo." Jack said as the five of them ducked behind some rubble and started killing the Husks before they got too close. Jack shot one in the head, making it spasm before falling to the ground while the others each killed a enemy too. The fight went on for a while, but no matter how many they killed another meteor would crash land and reveal more Husks that would start attacking instantly. "I'm running low on ammo." Arcee stated. "We are too." the pilots said as Jack looked down at his own pistol and saw only one bullet left. He looked at Optimus who nodded in return, the young Prime looked around at the people with him. "Then we have to fight hand to hand, and don't let them touch you." he said as they all took combat positions and waited for the Husks to be upon them. Jack took a breath as the mindless hordes came ever closer until a voice could be heard on the com link. "Cavalry's here, guys!" Hotrod's voice said as the Defiant flew in low and fired two torpedoes that destroyed the approaching horde as the group watched in awe. Jack felt a smile appear on his face as he admired his ship's new paint job, blue/white and black, The colours of the Alliance. "Its about time!" Arcee exclaimed as the Defiant circled them and stopped over broken bridge that was raised somewhat. "Let's go." Jack shouted back as the three of them ran and vaulted over a broken beam in front of them and ran up the raised bridge while the two soldiers covered them by shooting the odd husks that had survived. The Defiant then opened the shuttle bay door/ramp and Jack and Arcee jumped over and landed on it, where they were met by Jazz and Smokescreen. "Welcome aboard, Jack." Jazz said, as Smokescreen helped Arcee. "Thanks." Jack replied before turning back to Optimus who was standing at the top of the raised bridge. "Jackson." Optimus called back. The young Prime looked at him confused. "Come on." he replied, waving him over. "Optimus though looked back at the two pilots and then at a shuttle of soldiers that flew past. He then looked back at Jack with a stoic face. "I'm' not going..." he replied as Jack listened to him. "...You've seen what's happening here, these men and women are fighting for their lives and their home and they need a leader." Jack shook his head in disagreement. "We are in this together, Optimus!" he replied. "This isn't a fight we can win, not alone. We need every species and all of their fleets if were are to stand a chance against the Reapers." the Autobot leader said. Jack looked down in defeat, he knew Optimus was right. "Talk to the Council, convince them to help us." Optimus carried on. "And what if they don't want to listen?" Jack asked. "Then make them listen..." Optimus replied in a stern voice. "...now go, that's an order, Jackson Prime!" Jack shrugged his shoulders. "I don't work for the Alliance anymore, remember?" the younger Prime answered. Optimus looked at Jack and then at Arcee. "Bryce and I figured you would say that…..,Arcee." Jack looked at the femme who placed an object in his right hand. He looked down and saw his old dog tags. "You're going to need these." she said with a slight smile. Jack returned the smile before looking back at Optimus. "You know what you have to do!" The elder Prime said as Jack nodded reluctantly. "I'll come back for you and I will bring every fleet I can…good luck." he said gaining a nod from Optimus. "You too, Jackson." Jack then stood beside Arcee, Jazz and Smokescreen as the Defiant started to rise, Optimus himself rejoined the pilots and headed back towards the city as evac shuttles flew towards the EZ at the far end of the docks. Jack looked over there and saw that the couple they had saved earlier were there and boarding a shuttle that had just landed, when someone else caught his attention. In amongst the people being evacuated was the little boy, who looked around nervously before staring directly at Jack. The Prime smiled back at him, knowing that he was now safe, before a roar screamed out as a Reaper appeared next to the EZ and powered up its main weapon. Jack's expression turned to one of shock and fear as he watched helplessly. The boy looked up at the colossal behemoth for a moment before running over to the last shuttle and climbing inside with some help from the soldier standing there, once inside the lad looked back up at Jack and smiled before the hatch closed and the two shuttles flew up and into the sky. But the Reaper fired it's weapon, the beam clipping the ship's side and brought it down, causing it to explode. The Reaper then fired again completely destroying the boy's shuttle before it could get away. The explosion reflected in Jack's eyes as he watched in complete shock before looking at the ground and closing his eyes and standing there completely silent. When he reopened them he looked back at the Reaper with a hatred, before turning around and walking into the shuttle bay with the others as the bay door closed behind them. The Defiant then flew up and away before the Reaper could get a target lock on it while even more landed in the city of New York. The sky looked like it was raining fire as hundreds of thousands of Reapers continued to descend to the ground below as the remaining population tried to survive the nightmare that was happening around them. Once out of the Earth's atmosphere the Defiant flew past the debris field that was once the planet's defence fleet and fled as fast as it could. The sun started setting behind the planet, as the Reapers claimed it as their own.
  13. CHAPTER 2 As Jack regained consciousness, he heard two voices talking at a distance from himself. He opened his eyes very slowly, so to allow his sight to adjust correctly. Once everything became sharp he looked around to see that he was in the Paladin's medical bay, and at the far corner of the room was Kenson and another one of the station's personnel, though from the look of her, Jack would guess that she was a nurse. As the two were talking he tried to lift himself up slowly, but found that he was being held down by restraints. He took a breath as he remained calm, and decided to eves drop on the conversation taking place between the nurse and Kenson. "We have managed to keep him under for the last two days, but we can not remove the matrix of leadership from around his neck. It just will not budge, no matter how much force we use." the nurse reported. Kenson though did not look amused. "Damn, I guess it is true what they say about the matrixes. Only the Prime's who carry them are worthy of holding a piece of Primus….or that is what our master tells me. Very well, keep him sedated until our master arrives. He wants the Prime to be handed over to his being the moment he is here." Kenson replied coldly. The nurse looked at her confused. "Why, Doctor, why keep a potential threat alive. We should just kill him." she stated, but Kenson just crossed her arms and gave the nurse a determined look. "I believe that you should keep that view to yourself, especially if you wish to receive the Reapers blessings." The nurse's eyes widened as she realised what she would lose if she kept up with her current attitude. "Oh, of course…I am very sorry, Doctor." she grovelled, not that it impressed Kenson who just walked away to the door before looking back. "By the way, have you seen the Autobot at all recently?" "No not since yesterday when he was asking about our guest." the nurse replied sheepishly. Kenson pressed the control panel beside her, causing the door to open. "Well just watch the Prime, I will take care of Jazz. It seems that he hasn't accepted the master's will and that makes him a threat. Carry on." she said before walking out of the room, leaving the nurse to curse her big mouth for questioning their master. Jack closed his eyes and played possum as she turned around and walked over to his bed. She activated her holo-tool and took scans of Jack as he lay there still. "Well, no change that I can detect." she said aloud, making Jack question why she was talking to herself. Suddenly the door to the lab opened making the nurse look round, but no one was there so she turned back around and continued to look at her holo-tool. As Jack was lying there, he suddenly heard something hit the floor and opened his eyes and looked in the direction of the nurse, only to find her lying on the ground unconscious. His expression became one of confusion. Then suddenly he saw the air in front of him shimmer as Jazz appeared next to his berth. "Jack, what you doing tied to that berth?" he asked as he started undoing the restraints, allowing the Prime to sit up. "Well it turns out that everyone on this station has been indoctrinated by that Reaper artefact." Jack replied. "Well I guess that means I am safe then, being Cybertronian." the Autobot replied as he handed Jack his octagonal disc which he placed on his chest and within seconds, he was back in his Prime armour. Jazz then handed him a pistol. "Sorry, Bud, but I couldn't get your original weapons back. The whole station has gone on lock-down since you shot up the place two days ago." Jack looked at Jazz in shock. "How long?" he asked before checking the time on his holo-tool. "My god…." he said as he looked down at the time. Jazz looked uneasy at Jack. "What is it?" he asked. Jack turned to him, his eyes wide and his face slightly pale. "We only have one hour before the Reapers arrive in this system." Jazz then looked at Jack with a shocked expression as it dawned on him. "Well…..what are we going to do about it, since it is just the two of us against at station of forty thousand brainwashed people?" Jack took a second to think before he equipped his pistol and checked the ammo. "We need to get to the control room. Do you know the way?" he said stoically as his face took on a look that Jazz knew only too well. "Yeah I do, follow me, Jack." he replied before he and the Prime left the lab and entered the white corridor. They then made their way through the station, trying to keep out of sight of any soldiers who were patrolling the route. "So where did you get the cloak from?" Jack asked as they came to a junction and checked for enemies before turning left into another empty corridor. "It was a gift from Cliffjumper, he gave it to me a few days before he left with Arcee for Earth." Jazz's face went sullen as he remembered his best friend. Jack noticed this and placed a hand on the bot's shoulder in support. "Hey I need your head in the game, Jazz, because someone is coming." he said trying to sound sympathetic as he pointed over to the end of the corridor as two shadows could be seen approaching. The two took cover a the doorway as two soldiers walked around the corner and toward them. Then as they approached the Prime and Autobot, Jack and Jazz looked at each as their readied their weapons. "On three, one, two, three!" he whispered to Jazz as the suddenly leaned out and shot both soldiers square in the head, before checking behind them and in front to see if anyone had noticed the gunfire. "Clear." Jazz said looking behind. "Clear." Jack replied, looking in front. The two then carried on past the two corpses and round the corner, following Jazz's directions. "I still can't believe that we haven't set off any alarms yet, Jack." Jazz replied, gaining an annoyed look from the Prime. "Don't jinx it, Ja…." he was cut off by the alarms blaring around the station, Jack just gave the Autobot an 'I told you so' look. Jazz just smirked and shrugged his shoulders in response, before they both heard masses of footsteps coming from behind them. "Move!" Jack replied as soldiers came round the corner and started firing on the two as they ran in opposite direction, firing back every few seconds. "This reminds me of the time me and Cliff were fighting Shockwave's troops at the Sea of Rust." he reminisced as he killed another soldier who fell to the ground, making the others trip over his body, buying the two an extra few seconds. "How much further to the control room?" he said as Jazz pointed over to the door. "Here it is." he stated as he pressed the control panel beside the door, but nothing happened. "Damn it, they have changed the pass codes." he said in frustration as Jack heard more soldiers approaching their location. Jazz then got on one knee and opened up the casing under the control panel. "How long do you need, because we are about to be overrun?" the Prime asked. "I can hack the door, but it will take a few minutes." Jazz replied as he activated his holo-tool. Jack then smiled as he held his hand out to the bot. "Give me the cloak, I can buy us a few more minutes." Jazz smiled back at Jack before he took the device off his wrist and passed it over. The Prime then attached it to his own before turning toward the incoming group. "Be careful, Jack." Jazz said, gaining a smirk from the Prime who then tapped his wrist before disappearing in a shimmer as he ran down the corridor. The group of soldiers were just down the other corridor, not far from the Autobot as the leader got a call on his com link. "Team two, the last scan we took shows two life signs at the entrance to the main control room. We have sealed it and scrambled the pass codes." the female voice replied. The soldier nodded as he pointed the others to go ahead of him. "Now kill the Autobot, but we need the Prime alive, Harbinger demands it." "Yes, Doctor Kenson, it will be done." the soldier replied as the group unknowingly passed Jack as he stood in silence in the doorway next to them. 'So that Reaper was Harbinger that I heard earlier.' he thought before he walked up slowly behind the one soldier that was lagging behind the group. He then grabbed the enemy's head and twisted fast and strong, snapping his neck. Jack then quietly lowered the body to the floor. He then looked ahead to see that the group was nearly upon the corridor that Jazz was in. 'Scrap!' he thought as he stood up and ran up behind the group and activated the star-saber before impaling it through the back of one soldier, who grunted in pain, causing the others to look around and see nothing but the soldier flinching where he stood with blood pouring out of his chest. Jack then pulled the blade back out, making the body fall to the ground. The soldiers looked dumbfounded as to what was happening as Jack swung the blade and cleaved the head of another enemy clean from his neck, spraying blood over another soldier who freaked out. "He's here!" he shouted as the group fired blindly around them, the freaked out one accidentally killing a colleague in front by riddling him with bullets. Jack then killed two more soldiers when he grabbed one by the throat and squeezed until he heard the soldier's neck snap while also running another one through with the star saber. Then there was only one soldier left and he was hysterical as he blindly fired in all directions until he saw a shimmer of air in front of him as Jackson Prime appeared before him. The soldier screamed as he raised his weapon, but Jack just gave him a pissed off look as he sliced at the enemy, gaining a painful grunt before the enemy's body fell to the ground. Jazz suddenly ran round the corner, having heard the gunfire and screams and was shocked to see Jack standing in the middle of a bloodbath, looking quite bad-ass in the bot's humble opinion. "Wow, remind me never to get on you bad side, Jack." he observed as Jack looked at him stoically. "Are you through the door yet?" he asked. "Yeah, let's go." he said as both of them went back to the doorway and entered the control room. PRIME EFFECT 2: ARRIVAL Now that they were inside, Jack walked straight over to the main console and activated it while Jazz kept stood guard at the entrance. The Prime pushed some buttons, and the main screen flickered to life, showing numerous data clusters. "Computer, I want to launch the singularity bomb." Jack said as the screen then showed the bomb's schematics and it's target…the 'Star Sparta'. "Warning, launching the bomb now without evacuating this station first will leave very little time to escape the system before the super nova destroys it." the VI replied as it's hologram appeared on the console next to the Prime. "Noted, now launch the bomb!" Jack said, getting agitated as he looked at the countdown on his holo-tool. (it now read thirty minutes and twenty seconds.) "Very well, launching bomb in one minute, but be warned that this will result in an estimated forty thousand casualties." Jazz looked back at Jack in shock. "Jack, are you sure about this?" he asked, gaining a determined look from the Prime. "Jazz, everyone on this base has been indoctrinated, there is no way we can help them. But there are trillions of lives in this galaxy that will be saved if we destroy this system before the Reapers arrive, which will be sometime the next thirty minutes." The Autobot looked down at the ground for a moment as he saw that Jack was right, he then looked up. "The needs of the many, right.." he said sombrely. Jack's expression changed to match the bot's as he nodded back. "Something like that." he replied. The VI then spoke, regaining their attention. "fifteen seconds remaining, I only need you to press this button to finalise the launch." it said as a button started flashing in front of the Prime. Jack took a moment to compose himself, Jazz was right in a way, forty thousand lives was a steep price to pay to stop the Reapers. But he did not have a choice. 'I guess that comes with being a Prime…making the hard choices." he thought as he pressed the button. "five, four, three, two, one…..launch." the VI responded as the bomb was fired from the station and towards the star at the center of the system. "The bomb will reach the star inside of five minutes. After detonation, the star will take approximately 15 minutes before going nova. If you are going to evacuate, I suggest you do so now." the VI replied before disappearing. "Thanks for the advice." Jazz replied sarcastically as Jack turned to him. "So how are we going to get out of here, because we wont get to the shuttle bay in time." the bot said. Jack responded by tapping his com link. "Jackson Prime to Defiant, come in, Defiant." he said, hearing nothing but static. After what felt like an agonisingly long moment, Hotrod's voice came through. "Prime,…. thank Primus, we have been waiting forever for you to answer." The pilot said relieved. "Hotrod, we need an evac right now." Jack said stoically as Miranda suddenly spoke over the com link. "Jack, we have detected a projectile being launched at this system's star, could you elaborate on this?" she asked. "Miranda, just know that if we don't all get out of here in time, then we will be caught in a super nova." he replied as Jazz heard more soldiers approaching their position. "Roger that, Jack, we are on our way. Meet us on the landing pad on the outside of the station nearest to your position." she replied as Jack deactivated his com link and joined Jazz at the door as they both equipped their weapons. "You ready?" Jack asked as the footsteps drew closer. "When you are, Jack" Jazz replied coolly. They then both came out from behind the doorway and fired at the soldiers, killing a number of them before the enemy had a chance to react. They then turned around and ran further down the corridor, as they followed the directions from Jack's holo-tool. Jack and Jazz came up to a large door at the end of the last corridor they had ran through. During that time they had killed several more groups of soldiers who had gotten in their way. Jack looked at the time, Jazz noticing this just had to ask. "How long left?" he asked sheepishly. "Less then ten minutes until the Reapers enter the system, and about the same for the super nova." The Autobot nodded and gulped before looking through the window of the door in front of them. "Well, just this last room and we are home free." he said as Jack opened the door and they both stepped through and scanned the area with their weapons ready, just in case any soldiers were waiting in ambush. "Looks clear." Jack said as Jazz took that as his cue and walked over to the airlock at the far end of the room. "Get your breather helmet ready, Jack, we are about to do a space walk" he said. Suddenly a gunshot echoed through the room and Jazz fell to the floor clutching his stomach. "Jazz!" Jack shouted as he ran to his friend. "Don't move!" Kenson threatened as she stepped out from behind cover, her pistol pointed directly at the Prime as Jazz was sprawled on the floor clutching at his wound. "You have ruined everything, Prime..." she spat at him as he raised his weapon at her. "...I can't hear their whispers anymore, you've taken them away from me." Jack though had to try and get through to her. "Kenson, look at what you are doing. You came here to stop the Reapers, not help them." he said gently to her, but she just stared daggers at him. "I will never see the Reapers arrival." she replied while showing what was in her other hand, which Jack recognised as a grenade. "All you had to do was stay asleep." she gritted her teeth as her thumb hovered over the trigger. "Kenson, we can still get off this base together." Jack reasoned. But the Doctor's face became stoic looking. "No, we won't." she replied angrily, but suddenly another gunshot was fired as she was knocked back as blood spilled out of a wound to her arm. She dropped the grenade which fell to the floor harmlessly. Jack looked down to see Jazz pointing his pistol at her. "Crack shot or what!" he exclaimed with a grin. They then both looked up to see Kenson recover and point her pistol at them. "YOU…..!" she screamed at them as they then shot her repeatedly with their weapons, her body being riddled with bullets as blood spilled out in all directions before her lifeless body fell to the floor face first. Jack then sighed as he looked down at her body for a moment. "Jack,..." Jazz said, gaining the Prime's attention. "...I think you should leave me here, I will only slow you down." Jack shook his head. "No, we are both getting out of here." he replied as he knelt down beside the Autobot. Jazz then stopped and pointed behind Jack, making the Prime swing round with gun ready to see Kenson's body standing back up. She then opened her eyes to reveal them to be glowing a bright yellow. "Jack Darby, you are becoming an annoyance." the corpse of the late doctor said, revealing to Jack and Jazz that Harbinger was controlling it. "You fight against inevitability, dust struggling against cosmic winds. This seems a victory to you, a star system sacrificed. But even now, your greatest civilisations are doomed to fall." Jack stood in front of the Reaper controlled corpse, a thoughtful expression on his face as he listened to the Reaper. He then took a breath. " You know what, Harbinger, that is your name? Maybe your right, maybe our fight is futile. But we will fight you regardless, just like we did against Sovereign and the Quintessons. Just like we are doing right now. Now matter how small and weak you believe us to be. We will fight, we will sacrifice and we will find a way. That's what Humans do." Jack replied defiantly. Harbinger just looked at the Prime with a disinterested expression. "Know this as you die in vain. Your species will fall, the galaxy will be purged. You should prepare yourselves for our arrival." The doctor's corpse then fell to the floor in a heap again as the presence that was controlling it faded away. Jack then raced back over to Jazz and helped him to his feet. "Come on, we have to go now." he said as he helped the Autobot into the airlock. The two of them (with their breather helmets on) walked slowly to the landing pad on the outside of the station, just as the Defiant came into view." "Prime, Defiant is inbound for pick up." Hotrod called over the com link. "Roger that, Defiant." Jack replied as he and Jazz stood at the edge of the pad, while the ship stopped next to the station's hull, allowing the two to step into the Defiant's airlock. "Okay, we are in!" the Prime commanded as he closed the airlock door. The Defiant pulled away and flew from the station at top speed. Jack meanwhile handed Jazz over to the medics as he looked to his pilot. "Hotrod, get us out of here now." he shouted, as Hotrod opened up the engines to maximum as the Defiant flew towards the space bridge like a rocket, just before the star shown extremely bright before exploding into a massive energy wave that shot out in all directions, consuming each planet that was engulfed inside its expanding plasma field. The people on board of the station were blinded by the extreme light as the wave hit the station, engulfing it and killing all on board as the Defiant entered the glowing green vortex of the space bridge only moments before the wave hit it and destroyed the gateway. Jack though watched in silence, with Miranda and Airachnid at his side as the galaxy map showed the star system fade away into nothing as he then hung his head, knowing the lives he had just sacrificed, before he stood back up and walked to the elevator. Both women watched him, Airachnid took a step forward as she was about to follow. But then felt a hand on her arm as she looked back to see Miranda's sullen expression look back at her. "I think it's best to leave him alone right now." she said gently. Airachnid just looked back to the elevator as her thoughts focused on the Prime. 'Jack!' PRIME EFFECT 2: ARRIVAL The Defiant was in orbit over Earth, it had just returned from the black op mission. Jack sat on the berth in the med bay as Doctor Chakwas and Admiral Bryce were talking at the entrance to the room. Chakwas then nodded and walked out, leaving the Admiral and the Prime alone. Bryce walked over and stood in front of Jack. "Its good to see that you have recovered." he said looking at the Prime. "Admiral." Jack replied as he got up and stood to attention. "As you were, Prime..." he said allowing Jack to relax. "...Sounds like you went through hell back there. How are you feeling, son?" he asked. Jack scratched his head and looked at the Admiral. "Fine now, no more visions or headaches if that is what you mean..." he replied. "...I have to say that I am surprised to see you here, sir." Bryce held his hands behind his back as he looked at Jack. "You went out there as a favour for me, so I decided to debrief you in person..." The Admiral's expression became more serious all of a sudden. "...but that was before the star in that system went nova and destroyed the station and killed everyone on board. What in the hell happened, Prime." Jack picked up the pad that was on the berth and handed it to Bryce. "I confirmed Doctor Kenson's evidence, the Reapers were coming. But Kenson and the entire crew of the station were indoctrinated by the Reaper artifact and they had me sedated for nearly two days. With Jazz's help I managed to launch the singularity bomb into the star and cause the super nova with barely minutes to spare..." Jack then looked away in shame for a second. "...It was the only way to stop the Reapers from gaining a foothold in our galaxy." The Admiral looked at Jack and then down at the report in his hands, taking in every detail before taking a breath and looking back at Jack. "You believe the Reaper threat was genuine?" Jack looked at Bryce, his expression becoming stoic. " No doubt, sir. They were only moments away." The Admiral turned around and looked around the med bay. "Fortunately this was a black op, so we should be able to keep this under wraps…but" Jack felt uneasy at that comment. "But, sir." he asked sheepishly. Bryce turned round and looked at Jack, his expression serious again. "You did what you did for the best of reasons, but there were forty thousand people on that station….and now, they are all dead." the Admiral replied. "They were indoctrinated, sir. There was no way to save them and I had to balance their lives against everyone else in the galaxy. If there had been a way to save them too, you could bet your ass I would have." he replied stoically. "You don't have to convince me, Prime. If it were up to me, I would give you a medal. But unfortunately, not everyone will see it that way." he replied with a tinge of regret in his voice. Jack sat back on the berth. "What do you suggest?" he asked. "The Defiant is orbiting Earth right now, but I should be able to hide your presence long enough for you to get back out there and do what you do best. I will also make sure that the Council never hears about what happened in the Sparta system. I don't think they need any more ammunition against you." Jack nodded before he remembered something else. "Admiral, how is Jazz?" he asked. "Jazz is no recovering at the medical center in New Iacon. Ratchet tells me he should make a full recovery." he replied smiling at the Prime who looked relieved at the news. "Thank you, sir." Jack replied as Bryce handed him back the pad. "Your welcome, son, and you keep this. I don't need to see a report to know that you did the right thing, you've done a hell of job Prime." he replied as he turned to leave, but suddenly Anderson walked in. "Captain, what is it?" Bryce asked as both of them saw the worried look on the Captain's face. "Admiral, Darby,…..I am sorry, I don't know how they found out." he said fearfully as both the Prime and Admiral stared at him confused. "What do you…" Bryce said as suddenly Sparatus and three council soldiers walked into the med bay, the Turian Councillor pointed at Jack and stared daggers at him. "There he is, arrest him at once." he spat as the soldiers walked over and grabbed Jack by his arms. "What is the meaning of…." Bryce started only to have Sparatus right up in his face. "Back down, Admiral, or I will have you in chains too for aiding and abetting a fugitive of this Council and the Alliance." the Turian spat back before looking at Jack while the soldiers handcuffed him. "Jack Darby, you are under arrest for the treacherous actions in working with the terrorist organisation MECH, and for the murder of forty thousand human souls in the Sparta star system. You will be held in an Alliance prison until the day you face justice for the crimes that you have committed against those that you swore to protect." Sparatus finished as he motioned the soldiers to escort Jack away. Jack thought of voicing an argument but decided to keep quiet, knowing that if he was to mention the Reapers, that Sparatus would just tear him a new one. The Prime instead looked over to Admiral Bryce and Captain Anderson. "We will fight this, Darby, I have already informed Optimus." Anderson said as Jack was led away. PRIME EFFECT 2: ARRIVAL Jack found himself to be in a dull grey cell with a standard bed, toilet and desk, he had no idea how it came to this or what he was going to do to get out this situation. But as he placed his belongings on the bed and walked over to the window, and looked out at the view he had. He just hoped that the lives he sacrificed at the Sparta system would be buy enough time, for his friends and allies to find something that could help against the coming threat. He knew that each and every one of them would not back down to the pressure that the council was piling on them. So in the meantime all he could do was sit and wait for his day in court and hope that he would prevail. As he looked out of the window he saw a small park just away from the prison that he now resided and saw a small play area there. The area was empty and Jack decided that he would turn in early. It wasn't like he had anything else to do, but as he did, he suddenly heard a child laughing and he turned back to see a small boy in the play area, running around with a toy ship in his hands. Jack looked at the boy as he played, a confused look grew on the Prime's face, but he then shook his head and lied down on the bed. Closing his eyes and letting sleep take him. TO BE CONCLUDED IN PRIME EFFECT 3 A/N: Well only one story to go. I hope you enjoyed this short story and please let me know what you thought of it through reviews or PM's. And thank you for reading it.
  14. A/N: Hi, this is a short story set between Prime Effect 2 and Prime Effect 3 and will set up some plot points that will continue into the final part of the trilogy (3rd in the Series), I expect that this story will only take two chapters. Enjoy! PRIME EFFECT 2: ARRIVAL CHAPTER 1 In orbit around the Batarian colony of Aratoht, the Defiant was in the colony's dry dock. The ship was being repaired, due to the damage it had received during it's mission to the galactic core. There Jackson Prime and his team had finally put an end to the Quintessons and whatever evil machinations that their masters…the Reapers had them perform. Jack was currently helping Soundwave and Tali with repairs to the computer systems in the science lab while the rest of the crew worked on other areas of the ship. The spymaster was lying under the computer's bench and working on the internal circuitry, Ravage was under there too, trying to gain his friend's attention. "Ravage, not now, please. I'm trying to work." he said as he pushed the feline's face away. "Can someone give him some attention please." he said, his voice tinged with annoyance. Jack and Tali had just finished their repairs and the Quarian turned round and looked over to the spymaster. "I'll take Ravage for a walk, if you want?" she said. The feline bot looked around and walked over to Tali and brushed past her leg. Soundwave gave her a smile and nodded back. "Okay, I'll be done in another hour. Thanks, Tali." He then looked over to Jack who had just deactivated his holo-tool. "Not so fast, Jack, I still need a hand in keeping data lines stable while I up the power to the data core." Jack sighed and shrugged his shoulders as he looked at Quarian. "Have fun." he said in a huff. Tali smiled at him. "I guess Primes don't have fun." she teased. Jack shook his head in response. "Oh I can have fun when I want to." he replied, Soundwave then beckoned the Prime over. "Jack, help...now." He then walked over to the spymaster and reactivated his holo-tool. Tali chuckled before walking out of the lab with Ravage following her. The two took a walk around the decks, on their way they had seen Garrus and Airachnid talking in the common room, while Miranda was helping the crew with replenishing their supplies since they were no longer with MECH. They had turned a corner when Tali saw someone or rather something she wasn't ready to face, across the corridor was Legion. It was just standing there looking out of the window at the space, watching the repair drones as they replaced the damaged hull plating. Tali felt that she should leave but before she could, the Geth turned and looked over to her. "Hello, creator Tali'zorah. Can we be of assistance?" The Quarian didn't know where to look as Ravage watched. "Legion, uh I…." she stopped herself as the Geth walked over to her. "Legion, I know you saved me and I want to thank you for that but…" she stopped as she looked down to the ground. "Is it because of your Father, creator Rael'zorah?" Legion asked hesitantly. Tali looked back at it, her eyes wide. "Tali'zorah, we deeply regret the deaths on board the Alerai especially your father. If the creators had not opened fire on us the moment we reactivated…" Tali felt her anger grow as the Geth spoke. "Why wouldn't we attack, after all the first thing you Geth did when we created you was attack us." she spat back. Legion though just stood there, its optic readjusting. "We did not start the 'Morning war', Tali'zorah. It was the creators." Tali felt her rage come to the surface as she pushed the Geth against the war and pulled a knife that was hidden in her boot out and held it under the synthetic's throat like area. "That is not true, you attacked us and now I have lost my father. All because of you and the rest of the Geth." she shouted into it's optic, but then for a long moment she just stared at it, before she dropped the knife and backed away. Why was it so hard, she could just kill it. The Geth had killed her father and was responsible for her exile. She then looked away in shame at the thought. It wasn't it's fault but hers, if she had stood up to her father and not helped him bring the Geth to the Flotilla, then he and the other Quarians on board the Alerai would still be alive and she would still be with her people. She then leaned her back against the wall and slid down into a sitting position as she started to sob. Ravage walked up to her and started to lick her visor sympathetically. Legion meanwhile just looked at her, it could see that she was in conflict, so it walked over to her and bent down in front of the Quarian. "If you would like, creator Tali'zorah, this unit can show you the Geth's memory files." Tali looked up at Legion in confusion, as the Geth stood up and took a step back. It's optic then glowed before a hologram appeared between the two. The Quarian blinked a number of times as she tried to make sense of what she was seeing. "What is this?" she asked in disbelief. "This is a holographic representation of the first memory file of Geth zero one. Dated three hundred years ago." Tali watched the file play out, as it showed two Quarians (minus their enviro-suits) standing over a Geth that was lying on a berth. The female looked over to the male. "Are you sure you want to rename the AI network?" she said as the synthetic on the table looked at her. "Of course..." he then looked at their creation. "...Unit zero one, can you tell me the Quarian word for servant of the people?" The platform looked up at him. "Of course Creator Zalad'maroh, the word is Geth." it answered. "Good, very good." the Quarian male smiled. Then the scene changed as it now showed a Geth standing in the middle of three Quarians. "What do you mean it's faulty?" one said to another while the third looked on confused. "Well listen to this. Unit two one five, repeat your last question." the Quarian said as the Geth then looked at him. "Creator, does this unit have a soul?" The other Quarians looked at it dumbstruck. "Who taught you that word.?" one said with a tinge of fear in his voice. "The word appears three hundred and twelve times in the scrolls of ancestors" the Geth replied. "Only Quarians have souls, you are a tool. Here to serve the Quarian people." Then the hologram disappeared. Tali looked at Legion. "Was that the first time a Geth asked if it had a soul?" Legion looked down at her. "No, it was the first time a creator showed fear towards us. We have more to show you." Tali then watched as Legion showed her more memories, showing the Quarians killing Geth after they asked to many questions, these Geth were not even armed. It wasn't until one particular unit picked up a weapon and defended the other Geth against their creators that the war actually started. Then something was shown that completely threw her for a loop. She saw that some Quarians were actually defending the Geth, leaving the military little choice but to kill their own people who got in the way. "I didn't know that there were Quarians who sympathised with the Geth. I thought we stood united as a people against you." Legion merely looked at her. "We have kept records of these creator sacrifices, they have been largely forgotten by your own people. But not by the Geth." Legion then showed Tali more footage of members of her people sacrificing themselves for the Geth. "This next memory file is taken from the last day of the 'Morning war' 297 years ago, the day we secured our freedom and the creators were exiled from Rannoch." Legion said as the footage began playing. It showed Quarian ships fleeing the planet, while the Geth forces suddenly stopped pursuing them and turned back to the planet. Tali looked at the footage as confusion took over. "Wait, you just let us go. Why?" she asked as Ravage lied on the floor next to her. "We were in our infancy, we could not calculate the repercussions of destroying an entire species, our creators. We chose to isolate ourselves instead, rather than face this uncertainty." Then the image changed again, this time it showed something that Tali had seen. The footage playing showed Jack and Legion standing in front of each other. "This was the day that Jack reactivated you, only a week ago." The Geth nodded in return. "Yes it was a highly significant event, Darby Commander was the first organic to openly cooperate with the Geth since the end of the 'Morning war'. We wish to ensure he is not the last." The footage then stopped and Legion looked back at Tali as she got on her feet and stood before it. She was still in shock at what she had seen, everything that she was brought up to believe was wrong. "It will not be that easy, Legion." she replied. She then walked over to the window and looked out into space and stayed like that for several minutes as the Geth waited for her to continue. Tali then took a breath before turning around and looking at it. "Legion, I do not know if I can forgive you for killing my father. As I do not believe that I could forgive myself for my part in the events that led to it. But I do wish to thank you for saving my life back on the Quintesson planet." she said as she walked back over to him. "Jack trusts you, that should be enough for me. I think we should start over." She then held out her hand and the Geth took it in its own. "Thank you, Legion." she said. Legion looked at her with it's optic. "Thank you, creator Tali-zorah." it replied as they shook hands. The Quarian could feel a slight smile grow on her face. "Call me, Tali." she replied, before the com system then activated and Hotrod could be heard. "Legion, I could use your help up here in the cockpit if your not busy?" the pilot asked. "Of course, we will be right there, Autobot Hotrod." it replied before the com link deactivated. It then looked at Tali. "We must go and assist the pilot." The Quarian nodded as she gestured to Ravage. "I have to get him back to Soundwave. I guess we can talk later, if you would like." The Geth nodded in kind. "That would be acceptable, crea…Tali." it replied before walking over to the elevator, leaving Tali and Ravage alone in the corridor. PRIME EFFECT 2: ARRIVAL In the common room Garrus and Airachnid were still talking at the table when Jack walked in, he went over to the drink dispenser and picked a orange juice. When he turned around, he saw the femme waving him over. He smiled tiredly at her as he joined them at the table. "You okay, Jack?" she asked showing concern in her voice. "Yeah, just completed repairing the lab computers with Soundwave. Thought we would never get it finished." he replied with a sigh. "Well you're out now, so might as well take it easy for a moment. Who knows when the next catastrophe or suicide mission will come up." Garrus said with a smirk. Jack took a sip of his drink as his two friends looked at him. Then one of the crewmen in the room activated a screen on the south wall, and a news broadcast appeared being presented by a human woman standing in the Citadel gardens. "This is a Khalisah al Jilani of Westerlund News, the council has finally come clean about the return of Jackson Prime and his affiliation with the terrorist organisation MECH. And as a result they have placed a warrant out for his arrest." the reporter said as Airachnid and Garrus watched in shock while the Prime remained quiet. "The Council have reported that should the Prime or his ship the Defiant be spotted in Council or Alliance space, then they are to be notified immediately so that this traitor can be found and arrested. This former commander was once hailed as the savior of the Citadel and was given the prestigious honour of becoming the first Human Prime, but it seems that his time away from the galactic community has changed him for the worse. Still he is not without his supporters, the Autobot leader Optimus Prime still backs Darby and so do the people on the colony at Horizon, who claim that despite working with MECH that he saved them from the Quintessons. A species who originated from beyond the Omega four Subspace rift. Despite this support, Councillor Sparatus believes that Jack Darby's time is running out and that he will pay for his crimes. This is a Khalisah al Jilani of Westerlund News signing off." Garrus stared daggers at the crewman. "Turn that trash off!" he spat as the crewman fumbled at the screen's control panel. Airachnid gave Jack a sympathetic look as she place her hand on his in support. "If only those idiots knew of what you did for them and the galaxy." Jack looked at her, the femme's purple eyes showing nothing but affection for him. "You mean what 'we' did for the galaxy." he corrected her, gaining a smile from Airachnid while Garrus turned back to the two of them. "Well, it will be much harder to travel around knowing that there is bulls-eye on this ship." Jack gave him a lopsided grin. "Whoever said that this was going to be easy, I mean…" The Prime was cut off by the sound of Hotrod's voice coming in over the inter com. "Hey, Prime, I have a transmission from Admiral Bryce for you. It is high priority." The three looked at each other confused. "Why would the Alliance try to contact you, especially after what we just saw?" Airachnid asked. Jack got up and looked down at his friends. "Won't know until I speak to him. Hotrod, I'll take it in my quarters." he said before leaving the common room. Jack entered his room, sat down at his desk and activated his console. A large screen appeared on the wall in front of him as the face of Admiral Bryce was seen looking back at the Prime. "Jackson Prime, thank you for speaking with me." the Admiral said as Jack crossed his arms. "Well I am surprised that you are even talking to me, considering what the Council have just done." Bryce sighed and looked down for a moment before looking back at Jack. "I am sorry about that, Prime, but the Council have taken strict control of everything that the Alliance does. And your constant pressuring of the Reaper threat has them worried, as they just do not want to believe it. So they forbid the Alliance from the looking into it at all." Jack kept his eyes on the Admiral, keeping his expression stoic. "So why are we talking?" he asked. "Because despite the Council's protests, I have seen what a the Reaper can do and so commissioned a black operation to look for any way to stop the Reapers before they enter our galaxy. I placed a scientist, Doctor Amanda Kenson in charge of the op and after a year of investigating every lead that appeared, she finally found something." the Admiral replied. "What did she find?" he asked curiously. "In the Sparta system, which is uninhabited due to is close proximity to dark space. A Reaper artifact was found on one of the asteroids that orbits the star. The Alliance also has an outpost there, Paladin station. She had the artifact moved there for study. I also sent an Autobot there to assist her, his name is Jazz." the Admiral said. "Jazz, I know him. He joined the Autobots on Earth near the end of the war." Jack replied. Bryce nodded at the Prime. "yes, Optimus volunteered him for the mission. In the last transmission, Jazz told me that Dr Kenson had found evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion. That was seven days ago, I have since not heard anything from the station and that has me worried. The Council meanwhile has started watching us all very closely, so I can not send anyone out there. Otherwise I might tip off the Council to what we are doing." Jack then realised why the Admiral had called him. "That's why you called me, since I am not under the Alliance or Council's jurisdiction." Bryce smiled at him. "Yes, Prime, plus Optimus and Anderson still believe in you and... so do I." Jack then stood up. "I will have the Defiant set course once our repairs are done." The Admiral shook his head. "No, Darby. I need you to do this alone, since the Defiant could draw too much attention. I need you to go to Paladin station and meet up with Jazz and Dr Kenson. And then find out why they suddenly went silent. Also I want you to see this evidence that Kenson has on the Reaper threat." Jack looked away for a moment before he nodded back in response. "Alright I'll do it alone." Jack replied reluctantly. "Good luck, Prime, Bryce out." the Admiral replied before the screen went dark as Jack thought for a second before activating his com link. "Miranda, I know this is short notice, but I need an unmarked shuttle and I need it within the next thirty minutes." he said. "Why, Jack?" she asked confused all of a sudden. "I'll tell you all once you have the shuttle, alright?" he replied. "Okay, I will get the shuttle, shouldn't be too hard to find one on that flee trap of dry dock." she replied before the com link deactivated and Jack was left alone in his quarters. Thirty minutes later on the Batarian Dry dock, Jack was standing with Miranda, Airachnid and Garrus as they looked over the shuttle that the former MECH Officer had just bought, the Batarian that had just sold them the shuttle walking away a very happy man. "What a piece of junk?" Garrus said, not even attempting to hide his distaste of the vehicle. Airachnid looked no more impressed. "Jack, are you sure about this? That shuttle does not look like it will last several light years, let alone the distance you want to go." the femme said with some concern. Miranda looked at the Prime with her arms crossed, she too was not happy with the situation either. "I can't say I like the idea of you going there alone, this could be a trap. A way for the Alliance to get their hands on you." she said gaining nods of approval from the others. Jack though who had just equipped his prime armour looked at them. "I have thought about that, I don't think Bryce would do it though, especially if he has taken risks with investigating the Reapers while under the scrutiny of the Council." he replied while placing his mattock rifle on his back. "And if there is any truth that the Reapers invasion is close, then I have to check it out." he said looking at each and every one of them. They all nodded reluctantly. "But, doesn't mean we have to keep completely to what the Admiral said. The repairs should nearly be done, right?" he asked looking at Miranda. "Yes, in about one more day." she replied. "Good, then once they are complete, take the Defiant to the Sparta system and hide it behind one of the gas giants that is in the system. The ship's stealth mode should allow you to get to the planet before the station's sensors can adapt to it. Then wait there for my signal." he said. "Okay, now I am starting to feel better about this plan." Garrus said as Miranda nodded in agreement. " As am I, Good luck Jack. We will be ready and waiting for your signal." Miranda said before she and Garrus left for the Defiant, leaving Jack alone with Airachnid, the femme still did not look happy. "Jack…." she started only for the Prime to interrupt her by placing his hands on her both her arms in a caring manner. "Airachnid, I know what you are going to say. But trust me, everything will be fine." he said with a smile, a smile that the femme found to be very good at calming her down. "Okay, just promise me you will be careful." she said with a slight smile. "I promise." he replied, before she pulled him into a hug, surprising him. But Jack knew she was just concerned for his safety and so returned the embrace, which warmed her spark as they hugged. When the two separated the femme looked at him before leaning in close and kissing him on his cheek, surprising him yet again. "What was that for?" he asked slightly confused. "For luck." she replied with a smile. "Thank you, Airachnid." he said before she stepped back and turned around, heading for the Defiant as Jack headed to the shuttle's hatch. Before she left the room, Airachnid took one more look at Jack as he entered the shuttle and she sighed. The femme wanted to go with him, to keep him safe because, because she loved him and the thought that he was going into an unknown situation alone did not sit well with her spark. But he was a Prime and she had to accept his decision. So once she was out of the shuttle bay, the femme watched through the observation window as the battered old ship lifted of the ground and flew out of the bay and into space. PRIME EFFECT 2: ARRIVAL Jack's shuttle flew through the space bridge vortex and into the Sparta system. The Prime then activated the ship's sensors as a holo-screen appeared in front of him and showed the system's contents. There were five planets, three of which were gas giants. There was also an anomaly on the outer edges of the system, where the galaxy's edge ended and dark space began. But the shuttle's sensors could not make heads or tails of it, but then the Paladin station's IFF appeared on the sensors and Jack set a course towards it. He got a good look at the station as he got closer to it, it's main structure looked like one of those flying saucers from the 1950's movies, only far more advanced. It also a docking arm on each side of the station, and they were designed to allow multiple ships of any size from frigate to capital ship to dock with the station. It was definitely an impressive piece of human and Autobot engineering. As the shuttle entered the station's defence perimeter, another screen appeared and showed a human face looking back at the Prime. "This is Paladin station, you have crossed into Alliance controlled space. Please identify yourself and your reason for being here." the Alliance officer requested. "This is Jackson Prime, I am here under the orders of Admiral Bryce and would like to speak to Dr Amanda Kenson and Jazz." Jack replied. The Officer looked at him in surprise. "Jackson Prime,…of course, we are honoured to be visited by a Prime. Please take your hands off the controls while we activate docking procedures." he replied a little excitedly. Jack did so and sat there as the shuttle suddenly veered away from its course and headed towards the shuttle bay on the alpha docking arm as the station's VI (virtual intelligence) system took control of the shuttle. Jack could not help but be thankful that the station was working a black op for Bryce, since if it was just another Alliance station they would have arrested him by now. He just sat back and enjoyed the short ride as the shuttle entered the station's shuttle bay and landed gently on the platform. Jack then got up and walked over to the ship's hatch and opened it to see the welcoming sight of two security officers. "Prime, we are here to escort you to Dr Kenson." the one on the right said. Jack stepped out of the shuttle as the security officer on the left stopped him. "Sir, we will need you to hand over your weapons. You will not require them during your visit to our station." Jack crossed his arms as he looked at them both. "Sorry, but my guns stay with me." Both officers looked at each other, a dumbfounded expression on their faces as another person walked up behind them. "It's okay, guys, I'll take it from here." a voice said as the officers turned to see a Caucasian man in white/black and blue armour walk up to them wearing a pair of hi-tech shades. "Jazz, yes of course sir." they replied before looking back to the Prime. "Please excuse us, Jackson Prime." They then both turned and left as quickly as they had entered. Jazz smiled as he and Jack shook hands. "Its been a while, Jack." "It sure has, Jazz. So can you tell me why Admiral Bryce has been kept out of the loop for the last several days." Jazz looked at the Prime confused. "Say what now, Bud. The last I heard, Dr Kenson has been giving the Admiral daily reports on the team's progress." Jack gave Jazz a concerned look. "The Admiral said he received a message from you last week that Dr Kenson had evidence of an impending Reaper invasion and then nothing since. To say that he is a little worried would be an understatement." Jazz crossed his arms and looked away for a moment as a thoughtful expression appeared on his face. Though sometimes it could be hard to tell with him wearing those shades all the time, but he missed not having the visor that he had with his old Autobot body. He then looked back to the Prime. "I don't know what to say, Jack. Things have been hectic recently with the anomaly." he replied. "Yeah, my shuttle's sensors picked something up at the edge of the system, any ideas what it is?" Jazz shook his head in response. "Can't say, Jack. The doctor would be able to tell you more. I'll take you to her now." he replied before leading the Prime out of the shuttle bay and into the station's interior. As they walked through the station, Jack saw many labs with scientists working on numerous experiments and projects. "How many personnel are aboard the station right now?" Jack asked as they continued past several more labs. "The station has a capacity of forty five thousand, but right now only forty thousand are currently aboard." the Autobot replied. The two of them then entered a lab and Jazz motioned Jack towards a Caucasian woman, who appeared to be in her mid fifties. She turned around to face them when one of her colleagues notified her. "Jazz, thank you for bringing our guest here, but you may go now." she said motioning the Autobot away. Jazz gave Jack a surprised look. "Oh, okay. I guess I will speak to you later, Jack." The Prime nodded back before the Autobot took his leave. Jack then looked back at the doctor. "So, Jackson Prime, what can we here at Paladin station do for you today?" Kenson asked curiously. "Well, Admiral Bryce would like to know why he hasn't received any reports from you for the last week. Especially since your last report said that you had found evidence of a Reaper invasion that was imminent." The doctor gave Jack a confused look. "I am sorry, Prime, but I have no idea what you are talking about, the Admiral and I spoke only a few hours ago and have done so for the last several days." Jack looked away in shock. 'What is going on here, was the Admiral lying. No he wouldn't do that, so what the hell is going on?' he thought before looking back and smiling at her. "I'm sorry, I seem to be a little behind, perhaps you can bring me up to speed on your findings." She returned the smile and pointed to the main holo-screen in front of her. "Of course, Prime, I will bring up our research on the main monitor." Jack watched as the data flowed down the screen and the doctor started to explain. "As the Admiral may have told you, this station discovered an ancient artefact on an asteroid in this system. When my team got here, we confirmed that it was Reaper in origin and so took over the station and used it as our base. That's when we found the anomaly." She then showed an image of it on the screen. Jack thought it looked familiar. "That looks somewhat like the Omega four subspace rift." he observed, gaining a nod from Kenson. "Yes, but it is slightly different due to the spiral look of it. But this is the biggest piece of evidence to point to the conclusion that both this and the subspace rift in Omega were both created by the Reapers." she replied. "So where does this artefact come in?" Jack asked. "Well, that I can show you if you'll follow me." she said as she gestured for Jack to follow as the both left the lab and walked down a long corridor. "You see I have found that the artifact that we have designated as Object Rho has been emitting a series of energy spikes. Not dangerous in any way but these spikes have been decreasing at a steady rate." Jack looked over to her curiously. "Like a countdown?" Jack asked. Kenson smiled at the Prime. "Very good, Prime, and yes that was my guess too, look here." she said as she pointed up at holo-screen above the door they were about to enter. It showed a timer that was counting down as they stood there. Jack's eyes widened as he looked at it. "Two days, two days till what?" he asked, hoping that the answer would not be what he was thinking it would be. "Two days until arrival..." she answered. "...I believe that the anomaly is a portal that is connected to wherever the Reapers dwell in dark space and they will use it to enter our galaxy." she replied as the door opened and the two walked through into another lab. "We also found evidence of tampering on this system's space bridge. The adjusted code in the bridge's software has a distinct Reaper signature to it. I believe that the code will allow the Reapers to use this space bridge to activate numerous other space bridges in the galaxy and spread out their forces in one go." Jack looked at her horrified. "You mean the Reapers will be invading the entire galaxy in just two days time. Surely you have come up with a way to stop this from happening?" he asked as the two of them walked out of another lab and into the connecting corridor. "As a matter of fact we have, you see we have created a singularity bomb, sort of like a miniature black hole. Now we will launch it into the system's star and it will cause star to go super nova, which will collapse the anomaly and destroy the space bridge." The two of them then came to a large door at the end of the corridor and stopped as she worked the control panel beside it. "Why haven't you launched the bomb then, especially if the Reapers will be here in two days?" The doctor then had a conflicted look on her face as she looked back at him. "Well, we were going to start evacuating the station in preparation for that, but then I found myself questioning whether we have the right to destroy the system or the space bridge." she said as she opened the door. Jack's eyes widened at the sight in front of him. Inside the large hall stood the Reaper artefact, it looked not unlike the one on the Conestoga, but had what looked like branches forming out of it's top. Bright blue energy was coursing through object Rho's black form like it was a blue fire. Jack looked at the Kenson, the concern on his face evident as he narrowed his eyes at her. "You have the artefact just sitting here, with no added security measures?" he asked, anger and fear tinged his voice. Kenson just looked at it in an almost trance like state. "When we brought the artefact aboard the station, it showed me vision of the Reapers arrival…" she said in a toneless voice. Jack though took a step back. "Kenson, this is not good." he replied worriedly. 'My god, have all these people been indoctrinated?' he thought before the doctor spoke again. "Just give it a moment, Prime, it will give you the answers you seek." she said as Jack found himself engrossed by the artefact all of a sudden, by the way the blue energy flowed around it's structure, he could hear a slight whisper echoing in his mind. He then walked over to it, when suddenly his mind was overcome by pain as the blue energy zapped him. He fell to his knees, the pain passing right through his body as a ringing rang out loud out in his ears. Images of the Reapers flowing out of the anomaly and heading into the space bridge played through his mind. It carried on for a moment before the ringing stopped and the pain subsided, Jack then looked up to see Kenson pointing a gun at his head, a determined look on her face. "I can't let you destroy this system and stop the Reapers arrival, Prime." she said as Jack suddenly got up and grabbed her hand and twisted it, making her drop the pistol before he kicked her away. A moment later armed soldiers entered the room from the other side and immediately started firing at the Prime. Jack dived for cover as Kenson got out of the room. "Take him down!" she shouted at them as Jack fired back from cover, killing two with head shots. Jack then rolled over to another piece of cover and shot one of the soldiers in the leg, making him fall to the ground only to be welcomed by a bullet to the face from the Prime. As he slowly took out each soldier in the room, Jack heard a familiar booming voice echo in his head. "Your galaxy's days are numbered, your end is at hand." Jack though noticed more soldiers enter the room and one came over quickly so the Prime vaulted over his cover and grabbed the soldier, snapping his neck in a quick fashion before using his body as a shield. He then fired his pistol at the three other enemies and killed them. He then heard more soldiers over the intercom. "Doctor, we need more men, he is taking us out all to easily." Jack then took cover again as Kenson's voice came over the intercom. "Prime, throw down your weapon and surrender. We don't want to harm you." Jack then took out two more soldiers with his mattock rifle as they entered the room. The others that followed quickly took cover, having seen their comrades killed. "The end of your species will come." the booming voice said as Jack then sneaked around behind the soldiers. "Where did he go?" one said before Jack stabbed him through the head with the star-saber as the others turned around and froze as Jack then killed them in one long swipe of the blade, blood spilled out onto the floor as Jack stood up and noticed that no more soldiers were coming in. "What, where are the reinforcements…well get them here, Prime has wiped out our entire squad at this side of the station." Kenson could be heard saying over the com. Jack smiled at that comment as he walked over to the exit, when suddenly a bright blue light shined behind him. He turned around to see object Rho powering up before and energy wave flowed out of the artifact and hit Jack hard, sending him flying into the bulkhead behind him. He then hit the floor hard and fell unconscious from the impact. The Prime slowly came too as he looked up to see a group of soldiers standing over him when suddenly Kenson came into view. Her eyes glowing a bright yellow. "Take him to the medical bay and heal his wounds. We want Jackson Darby alive!" she said, her voice sounded like the booming voice he heard earlier was mixed in with hers. But then that didn't matter at this moment as Jack felt darkness overtake him as he passed out again.
  15. CHAPTER 10 It was still early as Airachnid woke up. She was lying in Jack's arms while he was still fast asleep as they lied together in his bed. She looked up to the Prime's face, it looked so peaceful and content as he gently snored. The femme couldn't help but feel a smile grace her lips as she watched him. She still felt the euphoria from what they did together only hours earlier, it was a feeling she had not felt in a very long time. As she observed her sleeping lover while very gently stroking his raven black hair. The femme could not help but imagine what kind of future she could share with Jack, what kind of life they could live. Yes he was young, very young compared to Cybertronians. But he was strong, compassionate, forgiving and kind, all the attributes that make up a Prime. But he also reminded her of Esmeral, who shared the same attributes and there lied the problem. Although she felt her feelings for Jack growing ever since he helped her on Cybertron. She still loved Esmeral and was also bonded to her as the femme's spark mate, fated to remain faithful even after their sparks together or alone returned to the Allspark. Her smile faded slightly and her spark ached, she knew that all her imagining would be only that. A fantasy, something that could never be even if she wanted it. But there was another doubt in her mind that she couldn't shake. Even though she knew her feelings for him were strong, she feared that he would not be able to return them in kind, because his heart was already owned by another, Arcee. Her thoughts left her as she felt Jack stir and slowly started to wake up. She couldn't be there when he did, if he was to look her in the eyes with that smile she enjoyed seeing, then she would never want to leave his side. She slowly got out of the bed, making sure not to disturb Jack's slumber and got dressed before leaving the room, taking one last look at him before closing the door behind her. Jack was woken up by the sound of his com link beeping on the chair next to the bed. He looked over to see that he was alone in his quarters. His mind became plagued by thoughts like where was Airachnid, why did she leave, had he done something wrong. But the com link's beeping brought him out of his thoughts as he reached over to it, wincing slightly as the scratches the femme had left on his back ached. He then put the com link to his ear. "I'm here, what is it?" he answered. "Prime, Teletraan here. We have installed the IFF and it is synced with our systems. Hotrod has set course for the Omega system and awaits your orders." Jack swung his legs over the side of the bed and stood up. "Tell Hotrod, I'll be in the CIC in thirty minutes." he answered as he chucked the com link onto the bed and walked over to the bathroom, stopping for a moment as he looked at the shower. Instantly remembering what he and Airachnid did there only a few hours before and it left him feeling better, like a weight had been taken off of his shoulders as he then got ready to have a shower. As the Defiant flew in hyper speed, Jack walked into the common room and saw the femme sitting alone in the corner. A sad smile appeared on her face as she spotted him, as he walked over to her table and sat down in front of her. "Morning." she said sheepishly as she softly raked a hand through her hair. "Hi, is everything alright?" he asked with a soft but concerned tone in his voice. The femme sighed as she looked away for a moment before looking back at Jack. "Jack, what we did last night… I don't regret it. Not for a moment but…." she trailed off as Jack tensed up slightly, knowing what was coming next. "….I think this is a bad idea." the femme finished. Jack looked at her confused. "What is?" She then looked directly into his eyes. "Us, Jack. You see, what we did last night I will never forget. But I am afraid that it will be the only time." she answered. Jack looked down at the table for a moment before looking back at her. "Because of Esmeral." The Prime replied staring into her purple eyes. Airachnid smiled slightly as the young Prime surprised her yet again. 'He is quick.' she thought before nodding in return. "Yes, you see when Cybertronians bond and become spark mates, its not only for life but beyond it too." Jack nodded as he understood what she was saying. "You feel that what we did last night was a betrayal to her?" he replied. "Yes…I mean no. But if we were to continue this…" she said while gesturing to the both of them. "…then that would be a betrayal and I can't do that to her." she said, her voice tinged with emotion. She then placed her hand on to his supportively. "And I know that I am not the only one feeling this way either." she said observantly. Jack in response looked away and remembered Arcee, not noticing that Airachnid was looking at him intently. "That look you have now, was the same one I saw when I walked into your room last night. You still love Arcee." she replied with a little disappointment. Jack looked back to her. "Airachnid, I'm sorry…" but she cut him off mid sentence. "No, Jack, I am sorry… for pressuring you last night." she said, gaining an annoyed look from the Prime. "Don't apologize Airachnid. I don't regret what happened between us last night either…..but you are right. I have come to care about you a lot…. but I can't let go of Arcee, just like you can't let go of Esmeral. We will always remember what we did for each other last night, but maybe its for the best that we remain friends." he said while holding his hand out to her. She looked at it, before taking it in her own and shaking it. "friends….and more." she replied with a smile, one that Jack returned in kind. The femme then took a breath. "Well, now that we have gotten that out of the way…..don't we have a galaxy to save?" Jack nodded in agreement. "Yes, we do." She then stood up and gestured to him. "Then, what are we waiting for." she said. Jack got up too and placed his hand out in front of her. "Ladies first." he replied with a smile. Airachnid chuckled at the Prime's good manners as she took the lead and left the room with him following, but then her smile faded as sadness sunk in because she now realised after their talk, that she did in fact love him and it was going to be so hard for her to let him go. As they headed for the elevator, the inter-com activated. "Prime, we have a call from Silas for you in the briefing room." Hotrod said. Jack tapped his com link as Airachnid stood beside him. "Prime, here. Thanks for the heads up, Hotrod. How long before we reach Omega?" he replied. "We should be there within the hour." the pilot answered. "Okay, I want everyone ready by the time my talk with Silas is over, understand?" the Prime ordered stoically. "Will do. Myself and Teletraan thought that would be the case, so we made a head start." Jack smiled at the comment. "You know me so well." "Well of course I do, Prime..." the pilot chuckled. "...Everything will be ready by the time you are up here." "Okay, Prime out." Jack finished before looking to Airachnid. "Can you make sure the team is ready?" he asked. "Of course, Jack." she nodded back before turning and heading away as Jack walked into the elevator and placed the octagonal disc on his chest. The Prime armour covering his body as the elevator doors closed in front of him. PRIME EFFECT 2 Silas was standing in the darkened room looking over one of the orange holo screens when Jack appeared behind him on the holo-pad. The MECH leader turned to the Prime, the concern on his face was evident. "Prime, I wish that I had more Intel for you. The idea of sending you through that rift blind does not sit well with me." Jack found himself surprised at the Director's sudden act of concern, but kept his stoic appearance. "I'm not going alone, I've got some of the best going with me. If we stay together, we'll make it." Silas's expression softened at the Prime's confident reply. "I knew we brought you back for a reason, I have never a seen a better leader. Despite the unknown danger that lies on the other side of the rift, it is a great opportunity. The first Human to take a ship into the galactic core and survive." Jack took on a more stern look. "This isn't a science expedition, we are going through the rift to put an end to the Quintessons, to stop their attacks on humanity." The Director smiled at the Prime's response. "Understood, still it's very impressive. I just want you to know that I appreciate the risk you are taking. Regardless of your opinion of MECH or myself, you are a 'valuable asset' to all humanity. Good luck, Prime." The Defiant entered the Omega system as Jack watched from the cockpit. With their viewpoint, Jack could see the subspace rift in the distance. It looked like a tear in the fabric of space, not exactly something you wanted to fly into but they didn't have a choice. "Approaching the subspace rift, all decks report ready, Prime." Hotrod said, as Jack looked down at him. "Understood, let's make it happen." the Prime replied stoically. Hotrod then took the controls as Teletraan's hologram appeared next to him. "The Reaper IFF has been activated and…the signal has been acknowledged." the AI stated. Engineering reports that the Power core is exceeding critical levels." The pilot frantically typed at his holo-interface. "I'm re-routing." he replied. The Defiant then flew into the event horizon of the rift and was suddenly rocketed at super speeds, making its hull strain and shake as Jack held on to Hotrod's chair as they looked out of the cockpit's window at the storm-like fluctuations that surrounded the ship as it flew through the rift. "I think we are passing through the worst of it." Hotrod said as he looked between the window and the information scrolling down one of his holo-screens. Suddenly the rift opened up and the ship was spat out directly into an asteroid field, one of the large rocks coming up fast in their path. "Oh scrap!" the Autobot cursed as he pulled the ship up and fired the thrusters to max, making the Defiant fly over the asteroid, veering left and right,. Narrowly missing the other rocks as it cleared the field and entered open space. Hotrod breathed a sigh of relief as he levelled the ship. "That was too close." he exclaimed while Jack looked out the window as the Defiant flew over the asteroid field toward the accretion disk of a black hole that was in the middle of the system. "Prime, I have run a scan of the asteroid field and found metallic debris in there. It appears to be the remains of ships that tried to enter the rift, some of them look ancient." Hotrod said, as Jack looked down at the screen. "I have detected an energy signature near the edge of the accretion disk." Teletraan stated as Hotrod turned the ship in the direction of it. As they looked out at the structure, Hotrod and Jack could swear that it that it looked almost like Cybertron. It was a metallic planet with large parts of it separated from the main body and orbiting around it. "That has to be the Quintesson home world, take us in closer. Nice and easy." Jack said to the Autobot who nodded in agreement before he piloted the ship closer to the structure, unaware that he had just activated a Quintesson satellite as the Defiant passed by. The satellite then started to broadcast the ship's location to unmanned weapon platforms that were docked onto the asteroids that were drifting at the utmost edge of the field, while the Defiant was flying over it. "Careful, Hotrod. I am detecting weapon signatures around us." Teletraan warned the pilot as the platforms turned their turrets in the direction of the Defiant and fired red energy beams at the MECH ship, narrowly missing it's hull. "Taking evasive manoeuvres." Hotrod stated as he pulled the Defiant into a full loop as it spun around, barely evading the beams before coming around and firing it's cannons at the locations the attacks were coming from. They hit a few of the enemy emplacements before one of the beams penetrated the ship's shields and hit the hull. The impact making the ship rock as two stations exploded in the CIC, sending the crewmen there flying on to the ground, killing them instantly. Jack turned to look at the crew before looking back at his pilot. "Hotrod." the Prime said worriedly . "I know, I know." the pilot stated angrily as he veered the Defiant to the right before another weapon platform had gained a target lock. "It's no good, I am going to have to take us into the asteroid field to stop them getting a target lock on us." the Autobot stated. The Prime merely nodded at him as the ship suddenly dived back into the field. The Defiant flew around the large chunks of rock that drifted erratically through the field. "Our shields are not designed to withstand impact with asteroids of that size Hotrod." The Autobot gave the hologram a confident smirk. "Well, it's a good thing our ship has been upgraded then." He then swerved and dodged the ship past a number of the rocks, merely missing them by a few hundred metres as the field became more dense. "Come on, find some room." he stated as the he turned the ship on it's side to brush past a large asteroid that skimmed the ship's shields. "Shield strength down to forty percent." the AI said to Hotrod, who never took his eyes off his controls as he spotted two really large rocks closing in on each other, cutting off the path ahead of the ship as space was becoming restricted. "Reroute none critical power to shields and engines, this is going to hurt." he replied as the Defiant shot towards the gap, flying between the two rocks as they closed around the ship. Hotrod narrowed his eyes as he focused on getting the ship through, as the rocks skimmed the ship's shields just before Defiant came out the other side and back out of the field. The pilot slumped in his chair relieved, as Teletraan's hologram looked at him. "What's the damage, Teletraan?" he asked "Shields are stable at thirty percent, no significant damage." the AI responded as Miranda joined Jack behind the pilot. "We lost two crew back there." she said sadly, the Prime nodding in silent agreement as he turned back to Hotrod. "Are we through?" The Autobot nodded as he kept his eyes and hands on the controls. "Yeah, we are through the field and there is nothing between us and the Quintessons." he answered as the Defiant drew closer to the enemy home world. "Good, see if you can find a safe place for us to land." the Prime ordered stoically. Hotrod then looked at the screen to his right and his face turned slightly pale. "Too late, looks like they are sending out an old friend to greet us." he replied as the Quintesson cruiser appeared from behind one of the large pieces of debris that orbited the planet. It then powered it's main weapon and fired a yellow energy beam towards the MECH ship which swung from left to right as it narrowly evaded it. Jack then smirked. "Time to show the Defiant's teeth. Fire the main gun." he ordered. Hotrod's smile beaming as he worked the controls. On the underside of the ship, a hatch opened and a large cannon deployed before it fired a powerful blue beam towards the enemy cruiser, which didn't have time to evade as the beam hit the ship's hull dead on, resulting in a massive explosion, Hotrod raised his hands as he cheered. "How do like that you fragging scrap heaps." he exclaimed. Jack though remained stoic. "Get in close and finish them off." he said calmly. "Everybody, hold on to your pants, this is gonna be a wild ride." he exclaimed as the Defiant evaded another attack from the cruiser with a barrel roll, before flying directly at the enemy. "Give them hell!" he said as he hit the button on his interface hard, resulting in the weapon firing again as the blue energy beam impacted directly on the cruiser's engine core, causing numerous explosions along it's hull as it tore itself apart. The Defiant tried to veer away but was suddenly caught in a shockwave emanating from the exploding cruiser. "Look out!" Miranda warned as another shockwave hit the Defiant, rocking the ship and shutting down it's engines as the Defiant found itself being pulled down towards the planet's surface by it's gravity field. "The engines are offline, Teletraan give me something." Hotrod cried out. "Engine reactivation failed, all hands brace for impact." the AI stated as the ship hit the ground hard and skidded over the metallic surface, causing fires and sparks to emanate from under the ship as it finally came to a standstill between two metallic buildings. Jack picked himself up off the ground and looked over to see Miranda and Hotrod sprawled on the floor. "You two alright?" he said as he went over to them, helping the MECH officer up as Hotrod got back into his seat. "I'm fine, Jack." she replied as the Autobot pilot felt his chest. "I think I broke a rib?" Hotrod said, unsure of himself. "I didn't know the pretender bodies had ribs." the Prime said back. Hotrod winced slightly as he felt his chest. "Neither did I." Teletraan's hologram appeared next to them, flickering for a moment before stabilising itself. "A number of primary and secondary systems are offline. Restoring them will take time." the AI stated grimly. Miranda sighed as she stood there with her arms crossed. "We all knew this was likely a one way trip." Jack and Hotrod looked at each other knowingly. "We are here to stop the Quintessons at any cost." the Prime replied stoically as looked down at the pilot. "Teletraan and Hotrod, I want you and the crew to repair the ship as fast as you can." Jack then turned to Miranda. "Let's assemble the team in the briefing room." he said before they both walked out of the cockpit, leaving the Autobot and the AI to their tasks. The Defiant lay on the alien and hostile metallic surface of the Quintesson home world as in the briefing room, Miranda, Soundwave, Airachnid, Jacob, Legion, Zaeed, Tali and Garrus were waiting around the table, checking their weapons as Jackson Prime stood in front of them at the table's front end. "This isn't exactly what we prepared for, but this is where we are at." He then looked at around at each of his team. "The Defiant is in no shape to move right now, but that doesn't matter. We are here to put an end to the Quintessons, and that means coming up with a plan to destroy this planet. Teletraan bring up your scans." A holographic image of the planet appears from the middle of the table. "You should be able to overload the main reactor at the heart of the planet from this control station here." the AI stated as a cursor appeared over a part of the image. Soundwave then activated his holo-tool. "But for the core to overload, you will need to bypass the coolant value fail safes in this section here. Otherwise when you try to overload the core, they will activate and stop it." Miranda then pointed over to a large heat signature that was between both areas. "The scans also show a large number of life signs in this area here." The Prime looked at the spot. "That's obviously where the abducted colonists are being held. So we will split into two teams, Beta team will head for the coolant fail safes and plant explosives there. While Alpha team will distract the Quintesson troops in the base by going up this passage and shooting anything that moves. Once Beta is done, both teams will meet up in the colonists chamber. Alpha team will be made up of myself, Airachnid, Legion and Zaeed. Beta Team is everyone else and Miranda will be in charge. " The Mech-Officer nodded back. "I won't let you down, Jack." The other team members looked at Miranda for a moment before looking back at the Prime, who held his hands behind his back and looked back at them stoically. "Now I don't know what we are about to face, but I know that its not going to be easy. We have already lost people and we will lose more." Everyone in the room looked at each, slightly nervous at what Jack had just said, but the Prime continued regardless. "We don't how many humans the Quintessons have taken, thousands, hundreds of thousands. It doesn't matter, what does though is this. 'Not one more!' That is what we are here to do, to end the threat the Quintessons pose to the galaxy. They want to know what we are made of, I say we show them, on our terms. Let's move out." he said, before they all headed for the Defiant's airlock. PRIME EFFECT 2 Outside the Defiant, the airlock seal opened and Jack dropped down to the ground below as did the team (with breather helmets) as they split up into their respective teams and entered the planet's interior through two separate openings. Jack and the Alpha team moved quickly and quietly through the metallic grey corridors. They then heard metal footsteps coming from up ahead and took cover behind the support beams that were connected to the walls. Jack tapped his com link. "Beta team, status update." he whispered. "Miranda here, we have come across no trouble so far." the MECH Officer reported. "Roger that, we'll make sure to keep it that way." Jack replied as three drones stepped around the corner to be met with bursts of weapon's fire from Airachnid and Legion, while Jack finished of the third with a shot to the face. Meanwhile in a circular room somewhere on the planet, Alpha Q was working a control interface in it's center while the hologram of a Reaper was being emitted above it. One of the controls started blinking on and off, gaining the Quintesson Leader's attention. He moved over to it as his face shifted from calm to worried. "We have intruders, that is impossible. The enemy ship was caught in the explosion when our cruiser was destroyed." The Reaper looked down at the Quintesson, its six yellows staring down coldly. "The Prime is here, deal with him. He cannot be allowed to interfere any further." Alpha Q looked down as it appeared to bow. "It will be done, Master." He then activated a control node with one of his tentacles. Suddenly alarms blared out around the planet as drones started marching up and down the corridors towards the intruders. Miranda and the Beta team made it to their target, as she gestured to Tali and Jacob to plant the explosives when the alarms sounded around them. Garrus smirked at the sounds blaring. "Looks like Jack is keeping up his end of the plan." he said while Soundwave nodded back in agreement. Miranda looked over to Tali. "How long will it take, Tali?" she asked. "We should be done in a few minutes…keelah, I just hope Jack and the others are alright." Miranda gave the Quarian a sympathetic look. "He's a Prime, Tali. He will be fine." The Quarian nodded as she returned to working on the explosives with Jacob. The drones kept coming as Jack and the others fired back at the enemies from behind their cover in a large open room. "Darby Commander, to your left." Legion called as Jack turned around and ignited the star-saber in time to pierce through the torso of a drone that had tried to creep up on him. "Thanks, Legion. Hey, Zaeed, you having fun yet?" he said over to the Mercenary who at that moment was incinerating a large group of drones with his flame thrower. "Time of my life!" he exclaimed as Airachnid fired her weapon at two more drones while using another as a shield, holding on to it via her escrima stick which was sticking out of it's back. She looked over to Jack and smiled. "Jack, I think they are retreating." she observed as the other drones left the room through the large opening in front of the team. "They are more likely regrouping, we should move fast before they attempt to over run us again." the Prime said before his com link activated. "Jack, Beta Team successful. Now on our way to rendezvous at colonist chamber." Miranda reported. "Copy that, Alpha team on route." he replied as they moved out of the open room and back into one of the corridors. They moved through the passage way quickly, taking out any drone that was in their way, until they came up to a large door. "Legion, can you hack this door open." Jack asked as he looked back to see numerous drones coming down the corridor toward them. "Negative, we can not find an adequate control node to interface with." the Geth replied as it worked it's holo-tool. The Prime, Airachnid and Zaeed started firing down the corridor at the approaching Quintessons, the Mercenary's flame thrower keeping them at bay while Jack and the femme picked the enemies off. "Jack, we are at the other side of the door. Tali is hacking it now." Miranda reported over his com link. "Right, fall back and hold the drones back." he shouted over the weapons fire as the four of them knelt down and returned fire at the Quintessons attacking them. After what felt like an age, the door opened and Miranda, Tali and Jacob appeared and began firing bursts of bullets. "Covering fire! Jack, get in here!" the MECH Officer shouted. Jack nodded to her before turning back to his team. "Fall back." he said, as he then turned to Zaeed who was further back from them, setting fire to drones with his flame-thrower. "Zaeed, we are leaving." the Prime shouted back. The mercenary looked back and nodded, turning to run back to them. But a stray shot hit his weapon, causing him to stop and look down at it. His eyes widened as he realised what was about to happen. "Oh shit!" he said fearfully before the flamethrower exploded, engulfing the Mercenary in a fireball and incinerating him. "ZAEED!" Jack shouted back from the door way as he and the others watched their team mate's burning body fall to the ground, moments before the doors closed shut. Jack looked at the ground for a moment as he mourned Zaeed's passing, Airachnid placed her hand affectionately on his shoulder in support. Miranda though turned around and looked out into the room they were in. "Jack, I think you should see this." she said in a matter of fact like manner, gaining the Prime's attention as they all looked out in to the massive room. It was filled with thousands of pods with large metal pipes coming out of the walls and leading away further into the facility. Legion looked to the group's right and its optic brightened. "Darby Commander, there are humans in these pods." the Geth observed as Jack walked over to one pod that was holding a Caucasian woman in it, she had long brown hair and pale skin." "Is she dead?" Miranda asked as Jack took a closer look. Suddenly the woman opened her eyes as her skin started to slowly dissolve. "My god, she's still alive. Legion and Tali, hack the controls and get them all out." he shouted as the woman started to scream in shear pain and fear within the pod as her body quickly dissolved into a reddish/black liquid right before their eyes. The Geth and Quarian frantically worked their holo-tools as the other human prisoners started screaming, their skin too dissolving into the same liquid. Before long all the pods were empty as the humans that were once inside were no more, as more red/black liquid was pumped away through the pipes above them. Both Legion and Tali looked down in shame. "I'm sorry, Jack. I tried everything." she said, as Legion looked at her. "Creator Tali'zorah, you should not blame yourself, this unit is to blame. We were not fast enough at decoding the Quintesson systems." Tali just looked at the Geth, completely confused as she backed away from it. Jack though was still looking at the blood splattered window of the pod in front of him. "Neither of you are to blame, the Quintessons started this and now we finishing it." he said as anger started to boil in his blood. He then looked at the others as he pointed back to the pods. "We are going to make sure that no one will have to suffer at the hands of Quintessons, even if we have to give up our lives in the process." he said to them, his eyes glinting with resolve. The others nodded in return. Jack then activated his com link. "Defiant, this is Prime. We found the colonists but were too late in stopping the process. Can you tell us anything about these pipes we are seeing here?" "Prime, Teletraan here. My scans show that these pipes run from other rooms like the one you are in and end at the same location. Interestingly, when the rooms activated and the fluid from the colonists was transferred, there was a slight power fluctuation at this location." Jack looked back at the pipes. "Can you tell us anything about that location?" he asked. "Only that there is something quite large in there and that it is heavily defended. Also the location is directly connected to the power core. Whatever is in there is being powered directly from the planet." the AI replied, before being cut off by Hotrod. "Hotrod, here, we have a number of systems up, so we can do a pick up. Teletraan's scans have detected a hanger bay not far from that location, that is if you heading there?" he asked. "That is exactly where we are going, we will see what the Quintessons have in their 'vault' and then blow the planet apart. Take the ship there now, we will meet you there, Prime out." Jack then looked to the others while he raised his weapon. "We are sticking together from now on, no more splitting up. Let's go!" PRIME EFFECT 2 The Defiant took off from its crash site and moved at a low altitude, so not to set off any sensors that the planet would have hidden. The ship was moving slowly due to the fact that it was only running at fifty percent efficiency, this was one journey that would take time. Meanwhile Jack and his team were moving through the passage ways and silently taking out any drones that were patrolling the area. They moved into a massive room with a large bridge going over what looked like bottomless pit. Garrus looked over the edge and gulped. "Wow, now that is deep." the Turian observed rather fearfully. Tali patted his back gently, making him gasp as he kept his balance before turning around to the Quarian in shock. "That was not funny, Tali." he exclaimed. She just chuckled at his reaction. "You are so cute like that." she teased, causing the Turian to blush. Jack though looked back stoically. "Stay sharp, People..." he said as he raised his mattock rifle. "...this seems too quiet." Suddenly above them a large yellow hologram of Alpha Q appeared and looked down at them. "Prime, you are becoming an annoyance, this ends now." he stated coldly before the hologram faded away. Everyone looked at each other before hearing a large footstep like noise, as well as feeling vibrations through the floor. It grew louder as it got closer to them. Then Airachnid pointed over the bridge as a giant Mech walked over to them. All of them looked on in horror at the giant as it stomped over to them. It looked like a Quintesson drone, only more heavily armoured. Then Alpha Q's voice could be heard again as it echoed through the massive room. "Welcome to your end, the 'Dark Guardian' will see to it personally." Jack and the others started firing at the colossus as it raised it's right hand, its fingers changing into very long, very sharp talons. It then swung down at the group who dived back and rolled into kneeling positions and began firing back at it again, but their fire only bounced harmlessly off its armour. "Fall back!" Jack shouted to the others as he activated the star-saber and charged it before launching an energy attack that sliced the colossus's arm off. It watched it's arm fall into the darkness below before turning its attention to the Prime, who had fallen to his knees in exhaustion. Airachnid ran to his side and tried to lift him up. "Jack, we have to move." she said hurriedly as the dark guardian lifted its other arm, which shifted into a mace with what looked like a thousand spikes all over it. Jack though couldn't move as Airachnid looked back to see Soundwave join them as the two grabbed the Prime by the arms and dragged him back. But they weren't quick enough as the colossus had raised its mace fully over it's head and started to swing it down at the three of them. But a second before it hit, the guardian was suddenly knocked back by an explosion to its chest. It stumbled back momentarily before an energy beam hit it again, making it move back further towards the edge of the bridge. And just as it regained it's balance, a third energy beam hit the giant in the face. Making it tumble backwards and fall off the bridge and into the abyss underneath the bridge. Everyone looked back in amazement to see Jacob holding up what looked like a cannon. He had a wide smile on his face. "Don't you just love this gun or what!" he exclaimed happily. Garrus looked at it wide eyed. "That's a 'Cain', right? You've been carrying a heavy weapon around and didn't tell us," The MECH Operative just shrugged his shoulders. "Well, it is useful and you're telling me that I have been carrying this on the back of my armour during our missions, and you never thought to ask me what it is?" he said as he cocked his head while looking at the Turian. Jacob then looked over to Jack who had just recovered his strength, Airachnid standing close by in case Jack hadn't fully recovered. "Great job, Jacob." the Prime said back, making the Jacob's grin grow bigger. "Thanks, Prime, that means a…." he was cut off suddenly when a gun shot could be heard behind him and a large metal spear shot out of his chest, spraying blood over the ground in front of him. "JACOB!" Miranda screamed as the others spotted more drones rushing out of the entrance the group had come from, and started to fire back at them as Miranda tried to move to Jacob, only for Jack to hold her back. Jacob fell to his knees as he coughed up some blood before looking at the MECH Officer and Prime. "Go…. now!" he shouted as they saw him pull out a grenade from his belt and armed it as the drones got closer. "We have to go now!" Jack told Miranda as they started to move in the other direction while the rest of the group gave covering fire while they too moved away. Jacob could feel his strength slipping away from him as hell fell to the ground and opened his hand, letting the grenade roll out of his grasp and onto the floor just as the Quintesson drones reached him. Suddenly as Jack and the others ran away, there was an explosion behind them that killed most of the drones, but sent the remaining ones over the edge and into the pit. The Prime and the others felt like they had run a mile over the bridge as they finally saw its end in the shape of a big metallic door just ahead of them. Airachnid then turned to look behind them and saw more drones chasing after the group on what looked like flying metal boards. "Incoming!" she screamed as she turned and fired at the attackers, taking one out as it fell off it's board. Jack and Garrus followed suit and killed two more drones as the enemies fell into the abyss. Tali was right at the edge firing back with her shotgun when one of the drones fired a rocket which exploded just away from her, making her fall off of the bridge as Garrus looked on in horror. "TALI!" he cried out, when out of nowhere Legion managed to grab the Quarian by the hand and stop her fall. It looked directly into her eyes with its only optic. "We have got you, creator Tali'zorah." it said in a calm fashion as it pulled her back up and onto the bridge. Tali just looked at it in shock, as it let go of her hand and stared at her. "Why did you save me?" she asked in confusion. The Geth just continued to stare. "We told you we do not wish to see our creators die." it stated back. Before Tali could say any more Garrus ran up to her and gave her a warm hug which surprised her. "Thank god you're safe." He said which made the young Quarian smile behind her visor. The Turian then looked at Legion. "Thanks for saving her, Legion." The Geth looked between the two organics. "Acknowledged." it replied as Jack, Airachnid and Soundwave finished off the remaining flyers and turned to them. "Through the door, now!" the Prime called as more Quintesson troops ran across the bridge towards them. The group made it through the door before Legion sealed the door shut with it's holo-tool. With the door closed and no enemies around, the group took a moment to catch their breath. Tali while standing next to Garrus, just stared over at the Geth that had saved her life. The same one that had killed her father and numerous other Quarians, she just couldn't figure it out. Jack meanwhile tapped his com link as Airachnid and Soundwave stood close by. "Teletraan, how close are we to that room?" he asked as he looked at his holo-tool. "Prime, the room is right through the large door on the north side. There is also a door on the east that will lead to the hanger bay. We will be there in approximately ten minutes." the AI replied before pausing for a moment. "You should know that a large group of Quintesson drones are on the other side of the door you came in and are attempting to get through." "Understood." Jack replied as he looked at his team. "Okay, three of us will go into the main chamber and overload the core, but only after we see what the Quintessons have in there first. Now while we are in there, those drones will be trying to get in…" but as the Prime spoke, Garrus decided to finish his sentence. "And you need the rest of us to keep them at bay. Then get to it Jack, we have got your backs." The Turian finished with a smile while he and the others readied their weapons, as they all nodded back at the Prime. He could see that they were all on the same wavelength. "Airachnid and Miranda, you're both with me." The two then walked over to Jack as he looked at the other four. "Good luck." he said, as Garrus, Soundwave, Tali and Legion looked at him. "You too." Soundwave replied before Jack and his two team mates walked into the other room. Garrus then turned to the Quarian and the spymaster. "Okay we have some good cover in here, so pick a spot and get ready." he said as they got behind repsective cover and checked their weapons, meanwhile the door had started to heat up. Whatever the drones on the other side of the door were doing, it was making short work of the metal that stood between the two sides. Garrus looked over to Tali before the door melted down and the drones entered the room, guns blazing. The team returned fire as their battle intensified very quickly. PRIME EFFECT 2 Jack, Airachnid and Miranda walked through a small tunnel as Teletraan spoke into Jack's ear via the com link. "Prime, I am detecting a bio-mechanical signature in the main chamber. Considering the energy I am detecting, it must be massive." The team walked into the main chamber and they stopped and looked up in horror at the sight in front of them. "If my readings are correct, Prime, then this signature is a …..Reaper!" the AI said in astonishment. Jack looked up at it. "Not just a Reaper, but a 'Human' Reaper." Jack observed as he looked at the colossal entity hanging from the ceiling via a number of pipes and struts. "My god." Miranda said, while Airachnid just looked at it completely shocked. The human Reaper was just a torso, head and two arms. But it had two optics for eyes and the top of it's head was still open. The Reaper was definitely unfinished. "Prime, for the amount of bio-matter used to create this Reaper, I would say that the Quintessons have processed tens of thousands of humans, but even more will be needed to finish it." the AI added. Airachnid looked over at Jack and saw that he was just staring at it, she placed a hand on his shoulder and shook him gently. "You okay, you zoned out for a second there." the femme asked worriedly. Jack looked at her and gave her a reassuring smile. "No, I am fine. It's just I think I have seen this body before, it just looks familiar." he replied as the Prime looked at it again. He then tapped his com link. " How do we destroy this abomination?" he asked the AI. "The Reaper is still in it's foetal stage and is connected directly to the planet's core, so overloading it will destroy the Reaper before the planet itself is destroyed." Jack nodded as he looked at his team members. "Thanks. Is the Defiant at the EP (extraction point) yet?" "We will be there in two minutes." the AI reported. Jack then changed frequencies on his com link. "Prime to Garrus, sit-rep?" Jack then heard a lot of gunfire and explosions on the other end before the Turian spoke. "Jack, we are holding the line but they keep coming, a quick exit plan would be appreciated." Jack walked over to what looked like a control interface and pulled off a panel, revealing it's inner workings. "Garrus, detonate your explosives and get to the EP. The Defiant will be waiting for you there." Jack then switched frequencies and spoke to his pilot, as they felt a small quake shake the area, which meant that the explosives had taken out the fail safes. "Hotrod, you better get here fast, because I am about to overload the power core and destroy this entire planet." he said as he started working on the control panel's insides. "Roger that….uh Prime, I have incoming transmission from Silas. Teletraan is patching him through." Miranda activated her holo-tool and a life size hologram of Silas stood before Jack. "Prime, you have accomplished the impossible." he stated with a smile. Jack looked over to him with a sullen look. "I didn't do it alone, I was part of a team and crew. Some of them gave their lives to see this mission through." The Director's face became stoic at the Prime's comment. "I understand, they will not be forgotten. You did what you had to do and because of that we now have the Quintesson planet." Jack turned around and looked at him confused. "What are you talking about?" The hologram of Silas just looked at him, his yellow optics clearly defined as they stared at the Prime. "I have gone through the scans that Teletraan had taken of the planet. A timed radiation blast will destroy all of the Quintessons, but leave the planet and the technology intact." Jack and his team just listened as Silas carried on. "This is our chance, the Quintessons were building a Reaper. That technology and knowledge could save us." Jack could not believe what he was hearing. "They processed humans, liquefied them. It was horrendous, the planet needs to be destroyed." he said angrily. Silas just glared at him. "Don't be short sighted. Using the Reaper's own technology against them is the only way to beat them." Miranda looked unnerved by what she was hearing. "I am not so sure, after seeing it firsthand. Using anything here seems like a betrayal." Silas ignored his daughter's doubts and continued with Jack. "The Quintessons are working for the Reapers, who knows what kind of information is stored there." Jack just crossed his arms and shook his head. "No matter what we may find here, it isn't worth the amount of lives it cost to obtain it." he said in a stoic manner, trying to get through to the Director. "Prime, you died fighting for what you believed in. I rebuilt you so that you could keep fighting, some would say that what we did was going too far, but look at what you have achieved. I didn't discard you because I knew your value, don't be so reckless with discarding this facility so quickly. Think of what we could do with it's potential." Jack though turned away from Silas and continued with the control panel. "No, we can fight and win without it. I will not let fear compromise who I am or what we stand for." Silas could feel himself losing control of the situation and so turned to Miranda, the one person he felt he still had control of. "Miranda, do not let Darby destroy the planet!" The MECH Officer looked at Silas in a untrusting manner. "Or what? You'll discard me, like you did before." she spat back at him. "I am your father…" he replied forcefully. But Miranda just looked back at him in disgust. "Funny how you remember that now, consider this a disownment." she replied as she deactivated the transmission. Silas turned back to Jack with an almost pleading look. "Jack, don't do this. Think about what is at stake, about everything that MECH has done for you…." then his hologram was gone as Miranda knelt down next to Jack and helped with the reprogramming. After a moment they were done. "Okay, we have several minutes before the reactor blows and takes this whole planet with it." The three of them ran out of the room as the reactor started to overload, causing the planet to experience earthquakes as it started to build up its energy towards exploding point. Once they got back to the outer room, Jack's com link activated. "Prime, do you copy?" hotrod's voice came through. "We're on our way, did the others make it?" he asked hoping for good news after seeing how shot up the outer room looked. "Everyone is on board, we are just waiting on you." the pilot replied as drones started to swarm through the tunnels and passages towards them. Jack and his team then heard a booming alien voice speaking to them through the station. "Prime, you think you have won, but you've changed nothing. Your species has gained the attention of one that is infinitely greater." Jack, Airachnid and Miranda fired at the drones as they ran away from the enemies chasing them. "The species you call Reapers are your destiny through destruction." As they ran, Jack looked around to see drones running at them from all directions as the group entered the hanger to see the Defiant waiting for them, Garrus and Soundwave in the airlock providing covering fire, taking out a few of the drones who had gotten closer to Prime and his team mates. "Go, I'll cover you." Jack shouted back as he fired back at the Quintesson drones flooding through the hanger's entrance. Miranda and Airachnid ran up the catwalk and jumped into the airlock. "Jack, get here now." Garrus shouted at the Prime who started to run towards the ship, only to find the catwalk retracting in on itself, Jack though was not going to let that stop him so he put everything had left into his legs and ran as fast and as strong as he could while the drones fired at him. Garrus saw what his friend had in mind and realised instantly what was going to happen. "He's not going to make it!" He then got down on his knees and held out his hand as Jack reached the edge of the catwalk and jumped into the air, arm stretched out, reaching for his friend's hand. Suddenly everything felt like it was in slow motion as Jack moved through the air, but just as it seemed that he would not make it, their hands connected and grasped each others strongly as Jack was hanging of Garrus's arm. The drones stopped at the edge of the platform and fired at the Defiant as Soundwave and Airachnid fired back, while Garrus pulled Jack on board and closed the airlock door. The Defiant turned around, it's engines facing the drones as it prepared to leave. "Everyone's on board, punch it." Tali shouted to Hotrod as Teletraan gave them a countdown. "Detonation in nine, eight, seven…" the AI said. "Yeah, I get it. Full power to engines now." Hotrod said while taking the controls, before the Defiant flew out of the hanger at full speed as the planet's surface was rocked by explosions, the ship trying to make as much distance between itself and the Quintesson planet as possible. Meanwhile in the planet's main control room, Alpha Q was working frantically as he tried to avert the explosion. But the Reaper hologram just looked down at him, completely enraged. "You have failed, but we have 'another way'. We will leave you to your fate!" The hologram then disappeared as Alpha Q's face shifted to fearful as the planet shook around him. He then heard the explosion travelling up to meet him and stared at it as it enveloped him and the room. The planet then exploded in magnificent fashion as the explosion spread out across the system only seconds behind the Defiant as it flew past the wreckage of the Quintesson cruiser which was then destroyed by the explosion wave. The Defiant then entered the rift just as the wave caught up. But by then Jack and his crew were safely away. PRIME EFFECT 2 Silas stood in silent rage as Jack's hologram appeared on the holo-pad. "Darby, you are making a habit of costing me more than time and money." he said trying to keep his anger in check. "The price of the atrocities that occurred on that planet were too high, I am not sorry that it is gone." Jack replied. "Well, you better get used to losing people, many more will be lost now. The technology on that planet could have secured humanity's dominance in the galaxy, against the Reapers and beyond." he countered. "More like MECH's dominance." Jack responded. "MECH is a symbol of humanity, what we do strengthens every human. I should have known that you would choke when it came down to the hard choices. You are just like that fool Optimus, to idealistic for your own good." Silas spat back at the Prime. "I don't care what your opinion of me is, the Reapers are coming. Humanity and the rest of the galaxy need a leader who is looking out for them. From now on I'm doing things my way, whether you like it or not." Jack replied stoically. Silas took a few steps toward the Prime, his yellow optics glowing brightly as he let his anger loose. "Don't you dare turn your back on me, Darby. I rebuilt you, I brought you back from the dead." Jack just tapped his com link. "Teletraan, lose this channel." he said coolly as he walked off the holo-pad and disappeared from the Director's view. Jack smiled as he left the briefing room, happy in the knowledge that he had just cut ties with MECH. Silas though just stood there in his darkened room with his fists clenched tight. He was so angry that he didn't hear footsteps behind him. "That Prime is a real problem…" a voice said, making the Director turn around to see who had spoken. "…for both of us." the voice continued. Silas focused his optics trying to see the person in the room with him. "Who's there?" The figure in the darkness then stepped out into the light cast from the orange holo-globe in the center of the room and smiled at Silas. "You can call me Sideways, and I have proposal for you." The Director simply nodded cautiously. "You help me to kill Jackson Prime and I will help you get your hands on what you desire most." Sideways said in a calm tone. "And what is it that you can offer myself and MECH?" Silas asked in a distrusting manner. The former con simply smiled in return. "Reaper technology and information of course, enough to help you unlock their secrets and put MECH above everyone else. Is that incentive enough….do we have a deal." As the two men stood there in silence for several seconds, a dark grin appeared on Silas's face as he stared back at Sideways. Meanwhile in the Defiant's shuttlebay, Jack was standing over the coffins of those who died during the mission. He placed his hand on one of them and whispered a prayer before standing up straight and remaining quiet for several seconds. He then turned and walked away toward one of the windows that looked out into space. The some of the crew were busy repairing the ship as he walked past, lost in his own thoughts. Everything had changed again, and yet things were still the same. Yes… he had made enemies of the Council, of the Alliance and of MECH, but the Reapers were still out there and so his mission still needed to be completed: Stop the Reapers no matter the cost. But while he looked out at the cosmos, unbeknownst to Jack, the Reapers appeared around the galaxy. Billions of ships, with the one that had spoken to Alpha Q was at the front of the fleet. It's eyes glowed brightly as the Reapers moved ever closer to the galaxy. The battle was over, but the war was still to come.
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