Chapter I: Waking From a Nightmare Edit
The Normandy SR1 silently cruised through space. Its engines would have hummed gently, if there was any air to make noise with. It slowly began to establish an orbit around a nearby planet as it slowed down.
"Disengaging FTL drives," Jeff "Joker" Monroe said. "Emission sinks active. The board is green…we are running silent."
"We're wasting our time," Presley said. The navigator was looking at the readings the ship's scans took, but found nothing. "Four days of searching up and down this sector and we haven't found any geth activity."
"Three ships went missing here in the past month," Joker replied. "Something happened to them."
"My money's on slavers. The Terminus System's crawling with them.
"Picking up something on the long-range scanners," an ensign said. "Unidentified vessel…it looks like a cruiser."
"Doesn't match any known signatures," Joker said, curious about the new spacecraft.
As the Normandy sailed through space, a grotesque cylindrical spaceship appeared behind it. The ship was rigid and had several large, metallic rings around it. The ship began following the Normandy.
"Cruiser is now changing course," the ensign read from the scanners. "Now on intercept trajectory."
"Can't be!" Presley exclaimed as Joker looked at the energy signatures more closely. "Stealth systems are engaged. There's no way a geth ship could-"
"It's not the geth," Joker said darkly. "Brace For Evasive Maneuvers!"
The end of the cylindrical ship began to glow a fierce shade of orange and yellow as its weapons came online. The ship fired a devastating energy beam that tore straight through the Normandy!
The control panel in front of Presley exploded, sending the navigator flying to the ground.
"Presley!" the ensign cried as he jumped to her feet. She fell to the ground as the Normandy shook from another explosion. Sparks flew out of the ceiling and wires as the Normandy was torn about by weapons fire. Explosions rumbled outside the ship as the unidentified vessel continued firing.
"Kinetic Barriers down!" Joker said in panic. The pilot glanced behind him and saw the hallway engulfed in flames. "Multiple hull breaches! Weapons off-line! Somebody get that fire out!" He heard a crash as a flaming piece of debris fell to the floor behind him. The familiar hiss of fire extinguishers could be heard over the explosions outside.
The cylinder continued firing, and the Normandy turned into a massive fireball. The ship was streaked with red scorch marks and was blackened from explosions. Normandy spun out of control as it began to fall apart.
Alarms buzzed throughout the Normandy as the crew desperately ran for the evacuation shuttles. A woman sprinted through the flaming hall, past the bodies of her crewmates. She struggled to get her space suit on while running through the smoke and flames. She could hear the screams of the crew who were caught in the explosions…burned alive. The woman began stumbling as the ship was rocked from another explosion. There was a loud crash as the ceiling began to fall down. She covered her face to shield it from another explosion as she ran up to a man, in a black space suit, at the end of the hall.
"Shepard!" the woman called as Shepard put on his helmet.
"Distress beacon is ready for launch," Shepard said calmly as he turned and faced Ashley, who put her helmet on.
"Will the Alliance get here in time?" Ashley asked worriedly. They both heard an explosion on the deck above them as that deck was completely obliterated. Ashley fell forwards as the explosion rocked the ship. Shepard caught her and looked her through the helmet.
"The Alliance won't abandon us," Shepard said. He grabbed a fire extinguisher at the side and tossed it to Ashley. "We just need to hold on. Get everyone onto the escape shuttles!"
"Joker's still in the cockpit! He won't abandon ship. I'm not leaving either!"
"I need you to get the crew onto the evac-shuttles. I'll take care of Joker." Shepard stumbled to a control panel and began to type in override codes to let emergency doors open so the crew could get to the escape pods.
"Commander!" Ashley protested.
"Ashley, go!" Shepard turned his head and looked at her. "Now." Ashley looked back at Shepard, still reluctant to obey.
"Aye, aye," she finally said. She turned and sprinted down the hall.
Ashley made it to one of the escape shuttles as it was being loaded.
"Everybody in!" she called. "Go, Go, Go!" Several of the crew jumped into the shuttle which was already overloaded. Ashley saw an engineer running towards the shuttle, desperately trying to escape the explosions. This has to be the last one. Once the engineer is in, she will jump in and join the evacuees. A massive explosion suddenly flew down the hall and engulfed the engineer in flames. The engineer's limp body fell to the floor. There was nothing Ashley could do, the engineer was dead. She got into the shuttle and closed the door.
The side of the Normandy opened up, revealing a rack of escape shuttles. One by one they began to eject until only a small handful were left.
Shepard stumbled down the hall through the flames towards the cockpit. He had to get Joker out.
"Mayday, mayday, mayday!" Joker yelled over the radio. "This is SSV Normandy! We've suffered heavy damage from an unknown enemy!" A pipe burst in Shepard's face and steam covered his visor. As the Commander pressed forwards, he began to climb up the flight of stairs that would lead to the cockpit. As the door in front of him opened, the air was suddenly sucked out. The room that led to the cockpit was completely open to the cold of space. Shepard made his way across the room as he watched pieces of the ship float off into space. As Shepard finally reached the cockpit, he could see Joker, in his space suit, still at the controls.
"Come on, Joker!" Shepard said as he reached the pilot. "We have to get out of here!"
"No, I won't abandon the Normandy," Joker said desperately. "I can still save her!"
"The Normandy's lost! Going down with the ship won't change that!" Joker looked at the control panel in despair.
"Yeah…ok. Help me up." Shepard grabbed Joker's arm and dragged him to his feet. The pilot and the Commander could see the enemy ship through the missing ceiling. "They're coming around for another attack!" Shepard dragged Joker to the last escape shuttle. The commander looked behind him and his eyes widened in terror when he saw a massive wall of fire traveling down the hall towards them!
"Commander!" Joker yelled in panic as an explosion threw Shepard off the ground and into space. Shepard watched as he helplessly drifted away from the Normandy. He groaned in annoyance as he floated away, but his groan was not the only noise. There was a faint hissing sound. Shepard suddenly realized that the explosion had damaged his suit; he could see the air leaking out of it. Shepard desperately tried to find a way to stop of the leakage but the air kept escaping. He kept struggling with his helmet, trying to find some way to stop the air.
Joker watched as Shepard began to float out into space…towards the atmosphere of the planet…towards inevitable death.
Tali bolted up in bed. She looked around her bedroom to make sure she knew where she was. She slowly stood up and looked into the mirror beside her bed. It was a dream…it was a dream. She was not on the Normandy now, she was on the Citadel. But…that did not change what happened. Commander Shepard was dead.
Tali turned towards her bed and froze. How did this happen? Why did it happen? Why? Why? Tali sniffled as she remembered what they went through, how Shepard saved the colonists on Feros, how he fought Saren on Virmire. She remembered his face as he laid his eyes on the Thorian, as he watched Kaiden die on Virmire. After all that they have been through, Shepard died while trying to save the Normandy's crew. Tali fell to her knees; her hands on her helmet, crying.
Chapter II: Cold Reality Edit
Joker sat at a desk in ruined Presidium. The entire Citadel was still being rebuilt since the geth attack. The Presidium was going through its night cycle, and the only source of light was a single table lamp Joker had in front of him. Very few of the population had returned, so the room was empty, leaving Joker alone with his wine. The pilot looked into his glass of wine. He did not know what to think.
"Shepard…" Joker said quietly. The pilot could see the Commander's face in the wine glass.
"You just had to do, didn't you, Joker? You just had to stay behind."
"Sorry? I'm dead, Joker! I'm DEAD because of YOU!"
Joker could not take any more. He picked up the wine glass and took another sip. The elevator door opened and heavy footsteps could be heard walking out. Garrus walked out of the elevator and stopped in front of the desk Joker was sitting at.
"The scout ships came back from the planet you were at," the Turian said.
"And?" Joker asked gloomily.
"No sign of Shepard. Calculations say that he burned up in the planet's atmosphere." Joker simply shook his head. "What did the Council say? What's going to happen to us?"
"We're grounded for now. They're going to give everyone leave because of…because of what happened to Shepard."
"You blame yourself?" Garrus asked.
"It's my fault," Joker muttered.
"There was nothing you could have done."
"You weren't there, Garrus. The only reason Shepard stayed on the Normandy was because I was in the cockpit. I'm the reason he's dead." Garrus became silent. He knew this was true.
"Shepard wouldn't want us to mourn for him. He'd want us to find out who attacked us."
"Yeah," Joker said. "I guess you're right."
"Where is everyone?"
"Tali's in her room. I don't know how she is. She was crying for two hours before she fell asleep."
"She and Ashley are trying to find a ship to lead another search team. I don't know if they're having any luck though."
"What about Wrex?" Garrus asked.
"I don't know where he is. The guy left an hour after he heard what happened." Garrus stood up and made his way to the elevator. "Where are you going?"
"To talk to the Council," Garrus said. "Something needs to be done."
"The Council hasn't come back yet."
"No, but I can still speak to them through the hologram in Ambassador's office. Even if Shepard's gone, we need to continue our search for the Reapers. That's what he would have wanted." Garrus got in the elevator and headed for the Ambassador's office, leaving Joker at the desk. The pilot looked down at his wine glass and saw Shepard's face in it.
"I'm sorry, Commander," Joker said quietly.
Garrus walked down the abandoned halls of the Citadel. After seeing the space station so empty when it was once a center for commerce, it felt very lonely. There were only a handful of people, who were all busy repairing the Citadel. C-Sec had guards in some of the major areas, including the door that led to the Ambassador's office. The aftermath of any disaster would leave the area vulnerable for looters and other criminals, so the security seemed very paranoid, especially to Wrex, who was trying to get into the Ambassador's office.
"I demand that you let me speak to the Council!" the Krogan growled.
"I'm afraid that without clearance, I can't let you in," the C-Sec officer said.
"I don't have time for this," Wrex said, taking a step forward.
"Sir, we're going to need to know who you are first."
"I'm the one who's going to shoot in the face if you don't move."
"Everyone, stand down," Garrus said, walking up towards the two officers. He handed them his ID and said, "The Krogan's with me." The two C-Sec officers exchanged glances. The ID was genuine, but Garrus was now a former C-Sec officer. The Turian had handed in his resignation the day before. Nonetheless, this was a former C-Sec officer that was trying to gain access. They handed his ID back and let the two guests proceed.
"Idiots," Wrex muttered.
"You can't exactly blame them," Garrus said.
"It might not be their fault they have crap for brains, but they still have crap for brains."
"If rules are not strictly enforced, then there would be no reason for people not to break them. They were simply doing their jobs."
"I thought you hated C-Sec regulations."
"I hate it when the regulations get in the way of taking a dirt bag down. If there is someone threatening the public, we should be able to take him down by any means necessary."
As they walked into the Ambassador's office, Garrus began typing on the control panel. Usually the hologram would project the Council members while they were in the Council chambers, but the damage to the Citadel had forced the Counselors from the Citadel. Instead, the hologram received on the Citadel would be broadcast from an orbiting ship. There was a click and the hologram Turian, Asari, and Salarian Council members appeared.
"Agent Vakarian," the Asari Councilor said. "We have received word of what has happened and the Council sends their sincere condolences."
"Condolences aren't going to bring Shepard back," Wrex snapped.
"Wrex," Garrus said. He could not let Wrex ruin this.
"We are aware that Shepard meant a lot to you," the Salarian Councilor said. "And, because of that, we are giving you and his crew permission for temporary leave from active duty, pending Shepard's funeral."
"We appreciate that, but I am here for a different matter."
"And, that is?" the Turian Councilor asked.
"I am aware that all attempts to search for the Reaper fleet have stopped. Why?"
"The Council does not believe it to be necessary to search for what is not there. There Reapers are nothing but a Prothean myth."
"You saw his ship! You saw what it was capable of!"
"That ship "Sovereign" was nothing more than an advanced geth ship. This Reaper story showed how fragile Shepard's mind was. I expected this come from someone else, like that Quarian, not another Turian." Garrus's face darkened and he growled fiercely when he heard his friend's name insulted like that.
"Gentlemen," the Asari said. "The loss of Shepard has been hard on all of us. I believe a temporary leave from active duty is what will be the best thing for the crew."
"My friend is dead, and you refuse to do the one thing he died trying to accomplish."
"You must understand. The council cannot make a decision without further evidence. I am sorry, but there is nothing we can do. You and the crew of the Normandy are hereby given temporary leave from active duty pending Shepard's memorial service. This meeting is adjourned." There was a click and the hologram was turned off.
"Remind me why Shepard saved those morons again," Wrex said as the two of them left.
"You and Ashley were both there when he made the decision. As much as I hate it, we don't have any choice but to obey. Come on."
The Destiny Ascension, flagship of the Citadel fleet, in all its glory was still undergoing repair, and its victory cruise around the Citadel. The Citadel fleet was still in orbit around the enormous space station, ready to fight off anything that dares to attack. But, any fleet, even the Citadel fleet, had weaknesses. A single small frigate was slowly drifting through the region. As long as the black, V-shaped frigate does not approach too close, the fleet will ignore it. The frigate's cockpit sat in between the ship's wings, facing out between them.
On the ship, a single human strolled through the halls of the ship, his face as stern as stone. He took long, eerie strides down the long, dark hallway. The hallway led to a small briefing room, where a Krogan, and a Drell stood waiting. The entire room was empty, except for the four men.
"I've completed the scan of the area," the human said. "There is only debris left."
"Then, we must assume they have failed," the Drell croaked hoarsely.
"This was not unexpected," the Krogan said. "We've planned on this for a long time." The three men nodded.
"Then we shall begin," the human said, smiling. "Gather the squad; we must not fail our master."
"Human," the Krogan growled. "Take the Malevolence through the Mass Relay into the Terminus System. That is where the squad awaits. I shall remain behind and gather what is needed. See if you can hire Bane, he will gather the resources we need."
"I shall use the cargo ship to pick up our resources when he calls," the Drell said.
"Then, we are at an agreement," the Krogan chuckled, looking around the room. "Let's begin."
Chapter III: The Citadel Edit
Ashley finally caught up with Liara after scouring the Citadel, hoping to find a captain who would be willing to continue the search for Shepard.
"Any luck?" Ashley asked the Asari.
"None," Liara said sadly. "Everyone appears to believe that Shepard is gone. Has there been any word from the search teams?"
"They say they can't find him."
"Perhaps he actually is…"
"No," Ashley said firmly. "He's not dead…he can't be." She remembered everything she and Shepard have through, everything they fought. It could not end like this. Ashley did not know what to think. She should have stayed on the ship. If she stayed on the ship she would have died with Shepard. No matter how much Ashley told herself that there was nothing she could have done, she still felt guilty. It should have been her on the Normandy and Shepard in the shuttle, not the other way around.
"What will happen to us?" Liara asked. Without Shepard, there was no reason for the team to stay together. They had to move on, but to where?
"I don't know," Ashley said. Liara lifted her hand and seemed to point at a small box at the side. The box shimmered with dark energy from the Asari's biotics. The box scraped across the ground as Liara tried to move the box with her mind. After straining for a minute, and moving the box less than a foot, Liara finally gave up and put the box down.
"What's wrong?" Ashley asked. "You alright?"
"I don't know," Liara said. "Recently, I've seemed to have lost control of my biotics. I've been unable to even accomplish the small tasks."
"I don't know. I've been unable to concentrate. My thoughts are scattered."
"Yes. I do not believe he is gone. No body has been found. Perhaps he found an escape pod…" Ashley shook her head sadly.
"I wish I could believe that," she said.
"I don't believe it," Liara said firmly. "Not until I see a body."
"I hope you're right," Ashley said. "We better get out of here."
Garrus leaned back on a pile of debris that was in front of what used to be a firing range. He looked at the target down range. Sharpshooting has always been Garrus's hobby, and it was a good way to pass the time. With what has been happening, Garrus needed to take his mind of Shepard.
Garrus cocked his handgun and looked down range. A single, empty can sat on the demolished pedestal down range. The can was only about an inch wide in diameter, and was over thirty feet down range. This would usually be a challenge for the average C-Sec officer, but Garrus was not an average C-Sec officer. The Turian took aim at the small can, lining it up with his barrel. This should be easy for Garrus. This was not the first time he had to shoot at a small target and has had worse situations. He remembered when he once had to shoot a thug in the head in wards of the Citadel. The thug had a doctor hostage so Garrus had less than a second to take the shot. If he had been even an inch off, he would have hit the doctor instead. The Turian remembered the incident, how he whipped around the corner, took aim, pulled the trigger, and sent a round straight in the thug's head as Shepard distracted the thug.
The commander's face flashed in Garrus's head. As Garrus pulled the trigger, the familiar bang of his gun echoed the room, but a sound was missing, the familiar clank of the bullet hitting the target. Garrus looked up from his handgun and saw that the can was still on the podium. He had missed. With a sigh, the Turian just fell back and sat on the ground. He stood back up when he heard yelling down the hall. He looked into the market square of the wards.
Because most of the fighting with Sovereign took place right above the Citadel tower and the Presidium, those two locations had taken the most damage. The damage to the wards was not as serious and several sections were already running as a commercial center.
Tali suddenly stumbled out of the store. Garrus watched as the store manager stormed back inside the store after shoving Tali out. Tali sadly looked back at the store.
"TalI?" Garrus asked, walking up to the young girl. "You alright?"
"I'm fine," Tali said, sitting down on a bench. Garrus sat down beside her.
"What are you doing?" Garrus asked.
"Looking for a job," Tali sighed. "I've completed my pilgrimage. Shepard, he…he said that he would take me back to the Migrant Fleet. He said he would take me back once he completed the mission. I need money to pay for transport back to the Flotilla, but everywhere I go, there are "Not Hiring Quarians" signs."
"You'll find something."
"No, I won't, Garrus," Tali said in despair. "I just have to admit it; I'll never see the Migrant Fleet again." Garrus put his arms around the young girl. Tal leaned on Garrus, remembering their old friend. "I miss him…I miss him so much."
"I know," Garrus said. "We both do."
Though the Citadel was still damaged, some areas of the giant space station were coming back online. Many civilians were now returning to the living quarters, if that area has been repaired. In one of the living quarters a Quarian sat in a dark room, looking at a holographic screen. His dark brown and grey suit seemed to glisten in the dim light from the screen. A large brown trench coat was worn on his dark suit. It was unusual for a Quarian to wear anything on top of their environmental suits, since it already acted as clothing. Most Quarians were engineers, working on spaceships and space stations. Others were soldiers, fighting on the front lines of the battlefields. In either case, neither type had anything to hide. This Quarian, however, had everything to hide.
"I'm done," a voice said behind the Quarian. He turned around and saw a plump Volus standing behind him. The Volus's suit made annoying hisses as the mole-like creature tried to breathe.
"Have they agreed to all the terms?" the Quarian asked. His deep, hollow voice gave the Volus chills down his spine.
"Yes," the Volus replied. "They said they'll send someone over to discuss the price. He should be here any moment."
"Good," the Quarian said to himself. The offer his contractor made was good, too good. Why would any contractor make such an offer? He was still thinking to himself when he heard a knock at the door. "Get the door," the Quarian told the Volus.
"I'm not your slave!" the Volus protested.
"You are what I say you are. Now, get the door." It was impossible to see the Quarian's expression because of their suits, and it was hard to tell how this Quarian was feeling by his tone of voice, but the Volus knew that he better do what he was told if he wanted to live. Muttering, the Volus opened the door. He jumped back in surprise when he saw a hulking Krogan standing outside, the same one from the Malevolence.
"Who are you?" the Krogan growled.
"Snu-Cal," the Volus said. "Who are you?" The Krogan did not even answer; he just shoved Snu-Cal aside and stormed into the room. The Volus muttered under his breath as he watched the Krogan walk into the room. This must have been who the contractor sent over.
"Bane, I assume," the Krogan said to the Quarian. "Did you get my message?"
"Indeed I did, Gore," Bane replied, still staring at the screen.
"Do we have a deal?" Gore asked. Bane turned and faced the Krogan.
"Kidnapping? It seems like something for the small-time bounty hunters. The price you are offering is especially strange."
"We need to have some resources gathered, but we really need you for something else."
"I'm listening," Bane hissed.
"Once the resources are gathered, my crew will be conducting an operation. We need you to provide a distraction…by taking members of the Council hostage." Bane scoffed when he heard this and stood up.
"One of the councilors is on the Citadel, completely off limits virtually everyone until construction is completed. The other three councilors and their advisors are currently on the Destiny Ascension, an Asari dreadnought, surrounded by the Citadel fleet, off-limits to virtually all ships, guarded by dozens of bodyguards. No one has ever gotten close to any of the councilors or their advisors. Just kidnapping an advisor is impossible."
"Hopefully, you're as good as your reputation says."
"I've gathered a team, like you advised. This will help keep the situation under my control. However, with an operation this dangerous, I want triple your current offer," Bane said. The Krogan growled when he heard this and stared into the bounty hunter's helmet, and Bane stared back. Though Bane's eyes were hard to see, Gore felt them staring straight through him. Suddenly, the Krogan felt incredibly small and weak compared to the Quarian bounty hunter.
"Fine," Gore finally said. "Just get the job done." The Krogan turned to leave the room.
"I better receive my pay," Bane warned. "I don't work for free." Gore chuckled when he heard this. He took out a small data pad and typed something in it. Bane's Omni-tool lit up on his left arm. He watched as his account began to receive a massive number of credits.
"Contact us when you have our resources," Gore said, opening the door.
"It'll be done."
Chapter IV: Hero's Bane Edit
C-Sec usually controls security on the Citadel, but, with all the destruction, C-Sec is not able to cover every corner. This gave criminals the opportunity to create illegal fight clubs. Bidders and the victors of the fights are able to earn a substantial amount of credits…credits Wrex could use. The Krogan stood on an elevated platform, wrestling with another Krogan. The two opponents continued shoving each other, hoping to force another to the ground. Seeing this shoving match was a near stalemate, Wrex elbowed the other Krogan's head, forcing his opponents to the ground. Wrex forced his opponent back up and slammed his fist into the other Krogan's face. Before Wrex's opponent could hit the ground, the battlemaster slammed the other Krogan's face into his knee! Wrex dragged the other Krogan back up and began pummeling his opponent mercilessly.
Ten minutes later, Wrex was leaving the arena after receiving a nice amount of credits.
"Hey!" a voice called. Wrex turned around and saw the Salarian sponsor of the fight club walk up to him. "What was that?"
"What?" Wrex asked flatly. "I came in and fought the guy."
"Fought the guy? You nearly killed him!"
"He won't be the only one I nearly killed if you don't get out of my face," Wrex growled. The Salarian took a step back as Wrex loomed over him.
"Get out of here," the Salarian snapped. "And, don't come back." The sponsor turned and stormed off.
Garrus fell into the chair at his desk in exhaustion. He remembered his argument with the Council yesterday, trying to find some way to convince them to continue the search for the Reapers. Shepard would know how to convince them…if he was here. Garrus should not have taken the time to resign from C-Sec; he should have been on the Normandy. If he was on the Normandy, Shepard might still be alive.
Garrus could not keep thinking about how he could have changed what happened on the Normandy, but he could not stop. He picked up a data pad and began reading the latest C-Sec cases. It was the only way he could stop thinking about Shepard.
In the past two days, a number of people, from all species, have been disappearing: Human, Asari, Turian, and Krogan on the Citadel were vanishing. Rumors even said that the Vorcha on Omega were disappearing. Every time someone disappeared, a Quarian was seen stalking them. Though the Vorcha were out of C-Sec jurisdiction, the other missing people were not. Who was this Quarian? Tali would probably know, but he did not want to trouble the young girl with some stupid C-Sec case.
Garrus looked up when he heard arguing down the hall. The Turian got up and made his way to the hall where he could hear the argument. From the corner of the hall, Garrus could see a young Turian arguing with a pair of Krogan. One of the Krogan shoved the Turian back. The Turian stumbled back to his feet and threw his fists up, ready to fight. The two Krogan simply laughed when they saw the Turian try to fight back. Garrus could tell this would probably get ugly. He could just simply yell for the Krogan to back off, but, even through civilians are not allowed to have guns on the Citadel, an unarmed Krogan was unlikely.
"Hey!" Garrus yelled, drawing his gun and walking up to the three men. "Is there a problem here?" The two Krogan leered at Garrus. Ever since the Genophage, Krogans never liked Turians.
"Just trying to teach this guy a lesson," one of the Krogans said.
"I'm going to have to ask you two to leave."
"Or what?" the Krogan asked fiercely as the two turned and faced Garrus. "In case you didn't notice, there are two of us."
"And, in case you didn't notice, I have a gun," Garrus reminded. The two Krogans exchanged glances.
"Whatever," he said turning and leaving. His friend quietly followed. Once they were gone, Garrus turned to face the other Turian.
"Thanks," the Turian said.
"What are you thinking?" Garrus exclaimed. "Picking a fight with a Krogan?"
"I didn't start it!" the Turian protested.
"Maybe, but they would definitely would have ended it," Garrus growled. He groaned in annoyance. "What's your name, kid?"
"What are you doing here?" Garrus asked.
"I came to see if I could help repair the Citadel."
"If you want to help, see a C-Sec officer."
"Wait a minute, you're Garrus Vakarian."
"I thought you were C-Sec."
"I'm retired," Garrus explained.
"Ok," Sidonis said.
"And try not to get into any more trouble," Garrus said, turning and leaving. "Excuse me," Garrus said as he brushed past a Quarian. Garrus plopped back down in his chair and began looking at his data pad again.
Bane strolled down the hall with a smile on his face. This Turian has no idea what is about to happen. Bane watched as Sidonis turned the corner and out of sight. Too easy. Bane turned the corner, expecting to see Sidnois, but instead he saw nothing. He was standing in an empty alley and Sidonis was nowhere to be seen. Bane quietly drew his pistol out of his trench coat as he began to look around.
"Freeze," a voice said behind him. Bane turned around and saw Garrus cock a pistol a few feet from him. "Looks like I caught you this time, bounty hunter." Bane simply chuckled at the sight and realization of what happened. Garrus must have realized who the Quarian he brushed past was and warned Sidonis.
"You're not the Turian I expected to meet," Bane chuckled. Suddenly, with a loud crack, a grappling hook shot out of the top of Bane's wrist and entangled itself on the barrel of Garrus's gun. With a yank, Bane's grappling hook tore the pistol out of Garrus's hands. The Turian immediately jumped behind a pile of boxes at Bane opened fire on Garrus! Garrus began crawling across the ground as debris began to fly across Garrus's head. Garrus recognized the scope-mounted handgun Bane was wielding.
He did not know what it was called, but he did know that it had been banned because it violated at least sixteen weapons treaties.
"Sidonis, Now!" Garrus shouted. Suddenly, Sidonis appeared from behind a corner with a handgun and began firing at the bounty hunter, who fired back. Sidonis must have volunteered to help Garrus to take this bounty hunter down. Sidonis's appearance gave Garrus just enough time to leap out from behind the boxes and grab his handgun. Bane disappeared behind a pile of boxes as soon as he saw Garrus grab his gun. Bane had no time for this, but he was not leaving without the Turian he promised to provide. Garrus looked around the boxes and saw Bane sprinting away!
"Come on!" Garrus yelled to Sidonis they ran after the bounty hunter. Garrus has never seen anyone run so fast. Bane practically flew down the hall as the two Turians tried to keep up. Finally, some hope of stopping this bounty hunter; a Turian C-Sec officer was patrolling the hall in front of them.
"Stop!" Garrus yelled to Bane, loud enough for the officer to hear. Everyone in c-Sec knew Garrus Vakarian and knew that if he was pursuing someone, there was a good reason.
"Freeze!" the C-Sec officer yelled, pointing his handgun at Bane, but it was too late. With a flash of speed, Bane grabbed the gun pointed it at the ceiling just as the officer pulled the trigger. The bullet uselessly hit the ceiling as Bane yanked the gun out of the C-Sec's officer's hands and threw the Turian into Garrus. As Garrus and the other officer fell to the ground, Bane shot his grappling hook, entangled it on Sidonis's gun, and yanked it out of his hands. Garrus leapt to his feet, hoping to get a clear shot at Bane, but, as soon as Garrus got to his feet, Bane kicked the gun out of Garrus's hand and kicked him to the ground. The other C-Sec officer got to his feet, but Bane slammed the handle of his handgun into the officer's head, knocking him unconscious. Bane spotted an elevator a few feet from where he was and dragged the C-Sec officer into it and stepped in. Garrus jumped back up, grabbed his gun, and pointed it at Bane, but the bounty hunter now held the unconscious C-Sec officer in front of him, like a shield, and had his gun to the officer's head. There was still a target, Bane's head.
"I would not try it, if I were you," Bane warned. Garrus had a shot at a small portion of Bane's head. He had the shot, he could take it, but he did not. What if he hit the officer? Garrus felt the gun slowly shake in his hand as he tried to line it up with his target. It was too risky. Garrus was unable to hit a target on the firing range. He cannot hit the bounty hunter without hitting the C-Sec officer.
"Wise choice," Bane said in his hollow voice. "Agent Vakarian, I bid you and your friend a most respectful farewell." Garrus furiously watched the bounty hunter escape as the doors to the elevator hissed closed.
"You alright, kid?" Garrus asked Sidonis.
"Yeah," Sidonis replied. "I'm fine."
Chapter V: Reconstruction Edit
Wrex stormed down a hall, grumbling and muttering. That idiot should not have provoked him.
"Wrex!" a voice called. Wrex turned around and saw Liara running down the hall behind him. "Wrex, are you alright?"
"I'm fine," Wrex grumbled, not stopping. Liara stepped in front of him and cut him off.
"You cannot afford getting into these fights," she said.
"The moron wouldn't get out of my way!"
"That didn't mean you had to throw him out a window," Liara said. Wrex grumbled for a moment and looked up.
"I know," he finally said. "I lost my temper on him. I shouldn't have fought him. It's not what Shepard would have wanted."
Anderson stood on a balcony, staring out over the ruined Presidium. He looked behind him and saw Garrus get off the elevator, followed by Ashley.
"Chief Williams, Agent Vakarian," Anderson greeted warmly.
"Captain Anderson," Ashley said, smiling.
"It's Councilor now. I'm glad to see you both are alright." Anderson's face suddenly became solemn. "I'm sorry about what happened."
"You said the Council wanted to see us?" Ashley asked. After all that has happened, she did not want to talk about Shepard.
"Garrus in particular," Anderson said. "They want to talk about the bounty hunter you ran into." Ashley looked at Garrus, expecting an explanation.
"Bounty Hunter?" Ashley asked.
"You never told anyone?"
"No," Garrus said. "I know that particular bounty hunter." Garrus walked to the edge of the balcony. "They call him Bane. No one knows his real name. He's a big-time bounty hunter, and is wanted for some of the most serious crimes ever committed."
"Why does the Council want to talk to you about it?" Ashley asked.
"Bane is one of the top three most wanted criminals known. It's what he can do that makes him so wanted. The contractors who hire him hire him in particular because they know he is the only one who can get it done. It makes me wonder, though. What is he up to?"
"What do you mean?" Anderson asked.
"Bane was trying to kidnap a Turian when he ran into him. I've been looking at recent C-Sec reports. I think it was Bane who's been doing the kidnapping."
"But, you said he was a big-time bounty hunter," Ashley said. "Then, why would they hire him to simply do kidnappings?"
"I don't know, but if he took a job, there's something big."
"What can Bane do?" Anderson asked.
"Well, a year ago, Bane was hired to kill an Asari ambassador. The Council sent a Spectre to stop him. Bane took both the ambassador and the Spectre hostage. Another Spectre was sent to both stop Bane and free his hostages. Those two Spectres were the best, and Bane somehow killed both of them and the ambassador."
"So, who hired him?"
"And why?" Ashley added. There was a beeping and the hologram of the three Councilors appeared.
"Looks like they're ready," Anderson said. Garrus walked over to the three Councilors.
The doors of the Malevolence slid open, letting Bane to board the ship with his package. As the bounty hunter stepped on the ship, Gore was standing on the side to welcome him.
"You have everything?" Gore asked.
"Yes," Bane said flatly. They looked at the small pile of pods beside them. Bane noticed a specimen tank in another room. "When is this operation you mentioned?" Gore looked at his data pad.
"We have all the materials we need," he said. "You can begin your operations." It was invisible behind his suit, but Bane smiled wickedly.
"With pleasure," he hissed.
Garrus walked back over to Anderson as Ashley went to talk to the Council.
"What are they going to do about Bane?" Anderson asked.
"They're still discussing it," Garrus said. "After what happened to the last two Spectres they sent after him, the Council's taking precautions."
"How's the team holding up?"
"Well, we're not crying ourselves to sleep anymore. But, without Shepard, there's nothing to hold the team together. It looks like we'll soon be going our separate ways."
"What are you going to do now? After what's happened…" Garrus solemnly looked down over the Presidium.
"I don't know," he said after a moment. "I've already resigned from C-Sec. I don't know where to go from here." There was a click and Garrus saw the holograms of the Councilors disappear.
"How did it go?" Anderson asked.
"They still refuse to look for the Reapers," Ashley sighed angrily. "Shepard died so that we would keep looking."
"Can't you do anything, Councilor?" Garrus asked Anderson.
"I can't make a decision without the agreement with the rest of the Council," Anderson said.
"What about Udina?" Ashley asked. "Maybe he can convince the Council."
"We have to make him do that first," Anderson laughed dryly. A hissing noise caught everyone's attention. They watched as the elevator door opened and Joker stumbled through.
"What the-?" Garrus said as he grabbed the pilot before Joker fell to the ground. "That's just great, he's drunk!"
"Come on," Ashley said as she and Garrus took Joker's arms. "Let's get him to the Wards."
"What did you do?" Garrus asked the drunken Joker as they dragged him into the elevator. The pilot's head bobbed stupidly as he slurred random words. "Why do humans get drunk after tragedies?"
The Destiny Ascension continued its victory cruise around the Citadel, but it still needed to know the progress of the reconstruction, not just reports but eyewitnesses. The Council had sent one of their Advisors to check on the progress of reconstruction. The Advisor's ship was at one of the Citadel's ports, getting ready to return to the Destiny Ascension with the Advisor. The Advisor's bodyguards marched in front of the entrance to the ship, ready to fight off anything that attack, almost anything.
"Alert: intruder has breached the perimeter," the PA system boomed.
"Let's go!" the captain of the guards yelled as he and several other security guards gathered outside the ship. They were surprised when they saw a single Quarian in a trench coat slowly walked towards them.
"This is a restricted area," the PA system announced. All trespassers will be tried due process of the law."
"Freeze," the captain of the guards yelled. "Put your hands in the air!" Bane stopped several feet away from the guards.
"I have no business with mere bodyguards," Bane said hollowly. "Why not you just step aside?"
"Put your hands in the air or we will be forced to open fire!" After the Battle of the Citadel, the Councilor's bodyguards and the Advisor's bodyguards have to be on high alert. This did not have any effect on Bane though. He simply chuckled when he heard this.
"You have been warned," Bane hissed ominously. The guard s were wondering what Bane meant when, suddenly, a loud bang echoed the room. The guards all jumped down as a bullet flew past Bane and into one of the guard's head!
"Sniper!" the captain of the guard's cried as he jumped to cover. There was another bang as the sniper shot one of the fleeing guards. "Emergency take-off!" the captain yelled through his radio. "I repeat: emergency take-off! Get the Advisor back to the Destiny Ascension!"
"I don't think so," Bane muttered as his omni-tool appeared on his left arm. He knew that while the ship was docked, the docking bay was attached to the ship. Taking off without removing the docking clamps could tear a chunk of the ship right off.
"We have a no go!" the pilot said over his radio. "The docking clamps will not disengage. We have a no go!" The captain muttered angrily under his breath when he saw an Asari mercenary turn around the corner to his right. There was yelling as a Human pirate appeared to his left. The captain looked up and saw Bane pull out a pair of pistols and began firing. Under fire from all sides, the thirteen bodyguards were easily cut down. Bane knew that all the bodyguards inside the ship will be racing for the entrance of the ship to help the other guards. Being inside the ship, these guards will be easily taken care of. Bane hacked into the ship's computers and smiled. He could hear loud bangs as valves released coolant gases into the hallways. After a moment, Bane closed the valves and the gas slowly disappeared from the halls.
"Check it!" Bane said to the Asari and Human. As they checked the entrance of the ship, Bane waved to the Batarian sniper. The Batarian wore the standard red, thug armor, but wore a grotesque set of goggles that covered all of his eyes.
"It's clear," the Asari said.
"Cyclops, get our cargo onboard!" Bane ordered the Batarian. Cyclops was not the Batarian's name, only a nickname he earned himself. "Sin, check the pilot, make sure he doesn't do anything," Bane told the Asari. "Carmine, secure the ship!" Bane ordered the human. Bane turned around when he heard uneven breathing behind him. He saw Snu-Cal waddle over to him. "Let's get started."
Joker's head bobbed backwards as he snored loudly in the wards. Joker sat at the same desk where he drank the alcohol, the same desk Garrus first saw him at.
"Glad that's over with," Ashley said. The alcohol was beginning to wear off.
"So, what are we going to do now?" Garrus asked.
"We just wait for Joker to wake up. Hopefully he'll be sober since he didn't drink that much."
"That's not what I meant," Garrus corrected. Ashley has been avoiding the question ever since the destruction of the Normandy.
"I don't know," she said. "I'd stay in the Alliance military, but I don't know about you guys."
"Tali needs to get back to the Migrant Fleet, but she doesn't have any money to pay for transportation."
"I thought being part of the crew that stopped Saren and the Geth would help."
"Apparently not. I wonder what Wrex is going to do?"
"I'm surprised you care about Wrex," Ashley chuckled slightly. "Usually the Turians and the Krogans hate each other."
"Strangers become brothers in a foxhole under fire," Garrus said.
"It's a saying we had at C-Sec. Either way, we've all changed since our fight with Saren. Ashley thought for a moment. It was true, they have changed. Ashley, for example; when everything began, she was reluctant to share any information with Garrus and Wrex. Now, she'll share information with them without any second thought.
"I'm going to miss you guys," Ashley simply said. There was a hiss and the elevator door hissed open.
"Hey, I'm back," Sidonis said flatly as he stepped off the elevator.
"Who's he?" Ashley asked.
"Sidonis," Garrus answered. "He the Turian Bane attacked."
"Why is he following you?" Garrus took a moment to think. To be completely honest with himself, he did not know. He just let Sidonis follow him around.
"A C-Sec officer downstairs wanted me to give this to you," Sidonis said, handing Garrus a data pad.
"What is it?" Ashley asked.
"Some friends back at C-Sec still give me updates on what's happening," Garrus explained. "Looks like a couple crates of mechs are gone." This was not surprising, considering the lack of security tempted looters. As Garrus scrolled down the list, he noticed that there was an audio file. He linked the sound to this headset and listened. Garrus's stiff face suddenly became filled with fear.
"What is it?"
"Get Liara, Tali, and Wrex in here," Garrus said.
The Councilor's Advisor's ship cruised back towards the Destiny Ascension. As the small transport ship docked with the massive dreadnought, the docking clamps locked on the ship.
Guards waited at the entrance to the ship, waiting for the doors to open. They were definitely not expecting what happened next. As the doors hissed open, the guards drew their guns. They were stunned to see that the halls were filled with coolant gas. The opening of the door let the coolant gas suddenly flood the area they were in. The guards had helmets, but the gas completely obscured their vision.
"This is the security checkpoint, it looks like we have a coolant leak," one of the guards said. But, he got no response. "Hello?" There was a thud and the guard could just barely see a small ball bounce out of the ship and landed at his feet. He immediately recognized what the ball was, but he only had enough time to say, "Oh, crap." There was a bang, and all the guards at the docking entrance fell down, unconscious. After a moment, all the gas cleared from the halls, revealing Bane and his small strike team.
"This way," Bane said, leading the others down the hall. He quickly checked his omni-tool to make sure the communications were effectively jammed, the cameras were disabled, and the internal sensors were malfunctioning. They were.
"How are we to get to the Council?" Sin asked.
"The ventilation shafts," Cyclops suggested.
"No," Bane said firmly. "All vent shafts have sensors to make sure they are not infiltrated."
"Then, how are we to get in?" Carmine asked impatiently. Bane stopped to turn and face the team.
"The Destiny Ascension suffered heavy damage during the Geth attack. The sewage system had to be shut off to prevent flooding on several decks." Bane led the team into a small private bathroom. Snu-Cal followed everyone in, closed the door, and locked it. The bathroom door knob now read: In Use.
Bane took a moment to put a silencer on his pistol before he aimed and the wall and shot a massive chunk out of it. As the dust cleared they saw that the shot had blown a hole in the wall and a hole in a large sewage pipe. The pipe was as wide as a ventilation shaft, but the sewage system did not have detection systems in it.
"Follow me," Bane said as he crawled into the pipe. The rest of the team followed. They crawled through the pipes for several minutes before they finally reached a hole in the pipe that lead back into the hall. Obviously the hole was created during the battle with the Geth. Bane looked around as he got out.
"Let's go say 'hello' to some Councilors," Bane said.
Garrus, Tali, and Sidonis rushed through the halls of the Citadel.
"I found Tali," Garrus said through his radio.
"This is Liara," Liara said back through the radio. "Ashley's gone to check on Joker. I am still looking for Wrex."
"Not anymore," a voice beside Liara said. She looked up and saw Wrex run up to her. "What's all this about?"
"I don't know," Liara told Wrex. "Garrus wants us for something."
"Everyone, meet back in the wards where Ashley is," Garrus said. Suddenly, red warning lights and buzzers began ringing.
"All C-Sec Personnel are called to headquarters," the PA system boomed. "All off-duty personnel are called back on duty for emergency services. This is not a drill. Repeat: this is not a drill."
"Now what?" Garrus groaned. "Sidonis, get Tali back. I'm going to see what this is about." Garrus turned around and ran back down the hallway. It figures, Garrus found Tali not too far from the C-Sec headquarters, and now he has to run back there!
"What's going on?" Garrus asked as he burst through the doors of C-Sec headquarters.
"Agent Vakarian," a nearby officer said. "We've got a problem."
"I know that much," Garrus said in annoyance.
"That bounty hunter Bane, he's taken the Council, several of their advisors and Ambassador Udina hostage." Garrus's jaw dropped when he heard this. He's heard of ambassadors being taken hostage while negotiating with an enemy, but hearing a government official being taken hostage on their own ship, surrounded by the full force of both the Citadel Fleet and the Alliance fleet was unheard of.
"How did this happen?"
"I wish I knew," the officer said, returning to his work station.
"What does C-Sec want me to do?" The officer looked around.
"Umm…we're transferring several on-duty personnel to designated areas. So, you have to wait to receive orders. Off-duty personnel are being assigned over the radio. You can go back to whatever it was you were doing." With nothing to do, Garrus could now go back to his friends and tell them what he found, but his running was not helping his mood. He ran to C-Sec headquarters to find Tali, halfway away from C-Sec headquarters to get Tali to Joker, back to headquarters, merely to find out he did not have to run back. As Garrus sprinted back to the wards, he could not help but wonder, what was Bane up to?
"We're here," Wrex said as he and Liara entered the room, where they saw Ashley, Joker, Tali, and Sidonis. Joker groaned in pain as he grasped his head.
"I feel like I just banged my head off a desk," the pilot groaned.
"Maybe next time you shouldn't drink so much," Ashley laughed.
"It wasn't that much!" Joker protested.
"But, it was enough," Ashley said. Joker groaned again.
"They offered me a ship."
"Who?" Liara asked.
"The Council. They offered me the SRV Odyssey."
"I know of it," Tali said. "It is a new missile frigate the Alliance designed. From what I hear, it will be much like the Normandy in many perspectives including the fact that it has a new MAKO." They team did not react when they heard about the MAKO; they all remembered the bouncy rides they had in it.
"Did you accept?" Liara asked. Joker shook his head.
"It might be LIKE the Normandy, but it's not." Suddenly, Garrus burst through the door, panting.
"What happened to you?" Ashley asked. Garrus simply grumbled as he tried to catch his breath.
"We have a problem," Garrus finally said.
"Is this about the Council?" Joker asked.
"How do you know about the Council?" Joker pointed at a holographic news screen that was broadcasting what was happening. "It's not the only thing." Garrus fell into a chair nearby. Hopefully he will never have to do that much running again. "I got a message from C-Sec earlier."
"I thought you resigned," Tali said.
"Some friends still give me updates. C-Sec just intercepted a transmission from a pirated cruiser." Garrus took out his data pad and played the recording.
"Do we have everything?" a voice asked.
"Indeed," a definite batarian voice answered. "The body is complete, our Master will not settle for anything less than perfect."
"What of the bounty hunter?" The team exchanged glances with each other. They all knew the voices were talking about Bane.
"He has already begun his operations. No one knows what is happening. We have already tracked down the final transport ship. We shall find what we need there."
"Excellent. All of the Citadel's concerns will be focused on the Council. Our Lord Sovereign will reward us when Reapers return." There was a click and the recording stopped playing.
"That's not good," Wrex commented.
Chapter VI: The Odyssey Edit
The Malevolence exited FTL and began cruising at a normal speed, right towards a pair of ships. Onboard, Gore stood on the bridge, staring at the ships. He looked behind himself, straight at a large specimen tank, where a hideous, grotesque, humanoid creature lay. The creature was pitch black with shimmering skin. Its two legs were made of three segments. The creature's long, black, arms dangled at the creature's side. Its long, thick, stiff, neck stuck out and ended with a set of flaps. No mouth was visible.
"Detecting two vessels," a Drell ensign said. "The cargo ship is being escorted by a Turian cruiser."
"Let's give them a proper greeting then," Gore said. "Target the escort. Fire all batteries."
The Malevolence was still cruising when it opened fire. Suddenly, a firestorm of lasers fired from the Malevolence. The storm engulfed the Turian cruiser in explosions as the lasers rained on it. Finally, the Malevolence stopped firing. As the cruiser moved forwards, one of the wings drifted off the ship. From the bridge on the Malevolence, Gore watched the ship fall apart. The cargo ship tried to fly away but the Malevolence blasted its engines.
"Prepare the boarding party," Gore ordered.
A hanar worked at a holographic computer at C-Sec headquarters. Its glowing, pink skin seemed to pulse at it worked. It looked up and saw Garrus run into his office.
"Garrus?" the hanar asked. "What are you doing back here?"
"Topa," Garrus said. "That transmission you sent me, was there anything else?"
"What are you talking about?" Topa asked flatly.
"That transmission that you intercepted from a pirate ship, was there anything else?"
"Yes," Topa said plainly. "Before the Council was taken hostage, a C-Sec strike team boarded a nearby pirate ship and took some data from the memory core."
"Do you have a copy?" Garrus asked. The Hanar typed at his consol for a moment.
"All the data taken from the ship is now transmitted to your data pad." Garrus nodded gratefully and was about to leave when he heard a yell.
"They're transmitting," a voice said. Garrus turned around and saw a hologram of Bane appear in the middle of the room. Every officer turned and faced the hologram of the bounty hunter.
"So, here's what you're going to do," Bane said. "It has come to my attention that the bounty hunter Zaeed Massani has been arrested and sent to the prison ship Purgatory. If you care about your Councilors, you will release him into my custody. Do not try to give me an imposter; I will know if that is the real Zaeed Massani immediately. You have thirty minutes to contact Purgatory to make the exchange." With that said, Bane's hologram disappeared. Garrus knew he did not have much time. He rushed out of the room.
The team, with Sidonis, quickly walked down the hall, getting their gear on.
"I got the data," Garrus said as he caught up with everyone else.
"What'd you find?" Ashley asked.
"It's not good. Sovereign's indoctrinated slaves are trying to bring him back."
"We shouldn't have assumed Saren was Sovereign's only slave," Ashley said.
"Sovereign?" Sidonis asked.
"A Reaper that was left behind," Tali explained.
"Reapers?" Sidonis exclaimed. "I thought they were a myth."
"The Council thinks they're a myth," Ashley corrected. Sidonis just stared forwards, unable to believe that all those stories he heard were true.
"How are they supposed to bring the guy back?" Wrex asked. "We blew him away already."
"Actually," Tali said. "There might be one way." They turned and looked at her. "Sovereign is a machine and an AI. All conscious minds, even AI's, need a place to be held in."
"Like a brain?" Ashley asked.
"Or an AI unit," Garrus added.
"If the AI unit is intact, it can be extracted and moved to another body," Tali explained.
"Then, why the kidnappings?" Liara asked.
"According to the data, they're making some kind of super-creature," Garrus said. "They've taken almost a dozen species: Turian, Drell, Salarian, Krogan, Asari, Humans, Quarians, Vorcha, even Rachni."
"I told Shepard he should have wiped out those bugs," Wrex grumbled.
"The data says that they're making some sort of creature by combining the best of their attributes."
"Let me guess," Ashley said. "It'll have all their strengths and none of their weaknesses."
"That's the idea."
"Do you know what this means?" Tali asked excitedly. "If they have a creature that has Quarian DNA but does not need a suit, then this could be the answer to strengthening our immune systems!"
"It might also have a cure for the genophage," Wrex said, smiling.
"It's not worth it," Ashley said. "What do you think they did with those people?" Tali and Wrex fell silent when they heard this question. They knew the answer.
"We can wonder what we are going to do with his body later," Garrus said. "First we have to make sure Sovereign never comes back."
"They are sending all recovered debris from Sovereign's ship to a nearby research station," Liara said. "They lost contact with that very ship a few moments ago."
"And then, he'll e able to bring back the Reapers."
"But he can't access the Citadel without electrical components, like those of Geth," Tali added.
"Well, it's a good thing for them that there are plenty of dead geth that were all over the station," Garrus said sarcastically.
"We have to get to the research station!" Ashley said firmly as they began to sprinting down the hall.
"How are we supposed to get there?" Liara asked.
"The Odyssey," Sidonis said.
"The ship's under lockdown and the Council has been taken hostage. And, even if they weren't, they won't let us fly it if they hear about the Reapers," Garrus said.
"Guess we'll just have to take it," Ashley said.
"What about the Council?" Sidonis asked.
"Shepard should've just let them die during the geth attack," Wrex said. Garrus ignored Wrex's comment.
"I'll take Wrex and Sidonis and deal with Bane," Garrus said.
"I'll get on the Odyssey and stop Sovereign," Ashley said.
"Who's going to override the security?" Sidonis asked.
"The Citadel heavily damaged and security systems are malfunctioning," Tali said. "We should be able to get out." They all looked at each other, the plan was set.
"Let's do this, then," Ashley said.
Chapter VII: The Malevolence Edit
A single ship was still docked with the Citadel, a single, triangular, prototype ship. The ship had bent triangular wings that made the ship slightly more fearsome. Suddenly, the ship tore off of the station and began to cruise away from the Citadel.
Garrus, Sidonis, and Wrex just arrived on the Destiny Ascension when they heard a voice yell, "Sir, the SRV Odyssey just took off!" Garrus and Wrex exchanged glances. They cannot let anyone know they were a part of this.
"Garrus!" a voice greeted. The turian looked up and saw Anderson walk towards them.
"Anderson," Garrus said in surprise. "You aren't one of Bane's hostages?"
"I was recalled from the Destiny Ascension at the last moment," Anderson explained. "It was a good thing too. Who's your friend?"
"Sidonis," Garrus introduced. "We're here to see if there's anything we can do to help, being a former C-Sec officer."
"We're preparing an infiltration team while we're setting Zaeed's release from Purgatory." Anderson showed them to the meeting room. Garrus, Wrex, and Sidonis took their places in the crowd as a Turian officer stood in front of the room.
"Men," the officer said strictly. "I am Agent Mindor. I'll be in charge of this operation. You all know the situation. A Quarian bounty hunter that operates under the alias of 'Bane' has gathered a small team and taken the Council, several ambassadors, and the Council's advisors hostage. If we can take them all out, we will not need to release the bounty hunter Zaeed Massani." A holographic map of the Destiny Ascension appeared. "The bounty hunters have only control of a small portion of the ship." A small area of the image began to glow red, indicating the area that the bounty hunters had control of. "We have confirmation that a single Volus has separated from the group and locked himself in the ship's security center. Now, they can monitor every corner of the ship. Rumors say that some Krogan that Bane originally hired have gone rogue somewhere on the ship, but that's not what we need to worry about. After looking at blueprints of the ship, we have plotted the best route of infiltration." On the holographic map, several areas began to glow green. "A main infiltration team can slip through a series of ventilation shafts that will lead to a hangar bay on the port side of the ship. The hangar has a network of transport systems that lead to the Council Chamber on the ship, where they are being held hostage." Garrus knew it was standard procedure to try and sneak a squad to a good vantage point. From there, they could take out the hostage takers without fulfilling the hostage takers' goals. That is assuming the team got close enough without being detected. "A secondary infiltration team can use the main vent shafts that lead into a hall that leads to a room right above the Council Chamber. We hit them hard, we hit them fast! They'll never see this coming."
"You're wrong about that," Garrus said. The entire room turned to face him.
"Excuse me?" Mindor asked.
"If we plotted this route, Bane will probably know about this route as well." The officers and agents in the roof murmured among each other when they head this.
"Even if he did, we have no other way," Mindor said. "Garrus, you and your friends will join me as part of the main infiltration team. I've already chosen the main infiltration team; the rest of you will join the secondary infiltration team and head through the main vent shafts. MOVE OUT!"
Bane was pacing around the large atrium where he held the Council and their advisors hostage.
"Bane," Snu-Cal said over the radio. The Volus had gone to the ship's security center to help monitor the situation. "C-Sec is preparing for an infiltration. They're headed your way." Bane growled angrily when he heard this.
"How long?" he asked.
"ETA: 3 minutes.
"Transmit the location to my omni-tool!" Bane ordered. "Seal all the doors surrounding this room! Hack into the main computer core! Transfer all control to my omni-tool! I want control of doors, service drones, life-support, EVERYTHING!" Bane turned and faced Cyclops. "Take the mechs and intercept the team using the ventilation shaft."
"We're better off here," Cyclops argued.
"We must stop the infiltration teams before they get too close. DO AS I SAY!" Cyclops glared at Bane, and Bane glared back. The Batarian did not want to know what Bane would do if he did not follow Bane's orders.
"Fine," Cyclops growled.
Ashley stood on the bridge with Tali and Liara as Joker piloted the ship through FTL. Ashley wore her pink armor while Liara wore the green one she always wore.
"You know, even if we do stop Sovereign, C-Sec will still arrest us for stealing a ship," Liara said. "And without evidence of Sovereign's existence we will not be able to convince them to release us."
"We have no other choice," Tali said.
"When are we going to get there?" Ashley asked impatiently.
"The cargo ship that was carrying Sovereign's debris traveled along this course," Joker said. "We'll be arriving…now." As soon as he said that, the Odyssey exited FTL. The three women looked out the window into the darkness of space. They all stared at a field of debris floating through space.
"We're too late," Tali gasped. The debris field was made from the debris of the cargo ship and its escort.
"We're picking up another ship," Joker said anxiously. "It's the Malevolence."
On board the Malevolence, Gore quickly walked through the ship. He had to tell his master what just happened. He walked into a small chamber where a dark, cloaked, hooded figure sat upon a throne. It was the super-creature that was made. The creature now had a large hood that covered most of its neck and hung out in front of the flaps on the end of its neck.
"My lord," Gore said. The super-creature turned to face Gore. As its neck turned, a set of menacing jaws slowly extended from the flaps on the end of its neck.
"Speak," the creature said in a dark, hollow, demonic, voice that seemed to echo in a menacingly. When Gore helped create the body, he never imagined what its voice would sound like. The body had the voice of a thousand demons.
"We have detected the Alliance ship Odyssey exiting FTL," Gore explained. "The ship was given to Jeff Monroe. If the pilot is onboard, we can presume that his team is." Hearing this new information, the creature rose to its feet. His cloak dangled on the ground. There was a click and a holographic screen appeared in front of the creature. On the screen showed the image of the Odyssey taken from the ship's sensors. "Should we continue on our course to the Citadel, or break off to attack?" The creature took a moment to think.
"Break off course, arm all batteries, and open fire on the Odyssey," the creature finally said.
"Yes…my Lord, Sovereign," Gore replied, bowing before his master. The Krogan turned and left the room, leaving Sovereign, in his new body, staring at the screen. Seeing this, only one thing came to mind.
"Revenge is MINE!" Sovereign growled through his gritted fangs.
Mindor and his squad snuck through the halls of the Destiny Ascension. The squad was larger than usual, made of twenty seven squad members, including Garrus, Wrex, and Sidonis. The halls were pitch black after Bane, for some reason, pulled the power in the corridors.
"This is stupid," Garrus muttered as he snuck through the halls.
"It's our only option," Mindor repeated.
"Well, it's a stupid option. He'll see us long before-"
"Quiet," Mindor said. "Do you hear that?" The infiltration squad quieted down. The ship was silent, but they could just barely hear a faint tapping noise. Mindor shone his light in front of him, and saw a figure spring down the hall.
"There!" Mindor shouted. The entire squad charged after the figure, who led them down the corridor. As the squad turned the corner, they saw the figure close a door right behind him. If this was some sort of sentry they could not let him warn Bane. The squad burst through the door, and stopped dead in its tracks. They had followed their plan precisely and were now in the hangar they already spoke about. The only problem was, in the hangar was an entire army of mechs. The white, humanoid mechs all had weapons drawn and pointed at the squad. Outnumbered and outgunned, everyone considered retreating, but the door slammed shut behind them. Bane emerged from the crowd and stopped right in front of his army.
"Hello again, Garrus," Bane chuckled. "I've been expecting you." Garrus looked at Wrex, almost hoping the he had an answer, but the Krogan was just as stunned by the sight. It's a trap. Bane had led all of them into his trap.
"KILL THEM!" Bane roared. All of a sudden, all the mechs in the room began firing. The hangar was consumed in chaos as the squad of C-Sec officers returned fire. Sidonis pointed his pistol at Bane, but Bane drew his two pistols faster.
"Look out, kid!" Garrus yelled, shoving Sidonis behind a pile of boxes. Garrus took a quick shot at a mech, then turned and faced Sidonis.
"Are you trying to get yourself killed?" Garrus snapped.
"This won't end unless we kill Bane!" Sidonis argued.
"You won't kill Bane if he kills you first!"
Bane maneuvered through the battlefield, shooting every C-Sec officer in his path.
"Let's make this battle a bit more interesting," Bane said, typing something into his omni-tool. There was a whirring noise as the crane system came online. The crane system began to take out large crates and dropped them on the C-Sec officers! Bane smiled as he watched the officers panic. Everything was going exactly as planned.
The Malevolence flew straight at the Odyssey. Sovereign stood on the bridge, staring at the ship.
"We're in firing range," Gore said, looking at the sensors. Sovereign looked at his indoctrinated slave wickedly.
"Fire," Sovereign said.
On the Odyssey, Joker looked at his sensors.
"We're now in firing range," Joker said.
"Open fire!" Ashley yelled.
The two ships began firing at each other. The Malevolence unleashed a firestorm of lasers on the Odyssey as the Odyssey rained missiles on the Malevolence. Both ships were engulfed in flames from the explosions.
The Odyssey shook violently from the explosions.
"We're losing life-support on several decks!" Joker said in panic. "Kinetic barriers at fifty-two percent! Multiple hull breaches!" Another explosion sent pieces of the ceiling crashing to the floor! "Somebody get that fire out!" Liara grabbed an extinguisher and began dousing the flames. "I'm transferring all power to combat essential systems!" The lights in the ship flickered as the power was transferred.
The Malevolence rocked slightly as they were hailed with rockets and missiles.
"Kinetic barriers are at seventy-eight percent!" Gore said. "They have disabled their engines and rerouted that power into weapons and shields."
Everyone on the Odyssey nearly fell over when a jerk rocked the ship.
"What was that?" Ashley yelled. Joker quickly looked at his scanners.
"The force of their weapons fire is pushing us into the debris field!" Joker yelled. "It's draining out kinetic barriers!" Tali ducked as the control panel behind her exploded in a shower of sparks.
"Can you get us out of here?" Ashley yelled over the explosions. Joker kept looking at his readings.
"We already used too much power! We can either keep firing or move!" Ashley took a moment to think, then, she had an idea.
"Activate the engines!" Ashley said. "Everyone else, to the MAKO!"
"The MAKO?" Joker yelled in surprise. "What are you going to do?" But, everyone had already left.
Gore looked at his control panel, then looked at Sovereign.
"The Odyssey is abandoning its position!"
Wrex ducked behind another crate as another volley of bullets flew over him. He heard screaming as another crate fell on another C-Sec officer. Wrex jumped back out to take another shot at the mechs.
Bane walked out from behind a stack of crates and took another shot. Mindor saw that the bounty hunter was now exposed. The officer aimed his assault rifle at Bane. This single shot could end all of this. Mindor was about to pull the trigger when Bane turned and faced the officer. The bounty hunter pointed his pistol at the officer and pulled the trigger. The bang was lost in the chaos but the bullet hit Mindor straight in the chest. The commanding officer fell to his knees, grasping the wound in pain. As Mindor fell to the ground, he saw Garrus rush over.
"Sir," Garrus said.
"Looks like I won't be seeing the end of this like I hoped to," Mindor gasped. "Get him for me!"
"What about you?" Garrus asked.
"I'll be fine," Mindor said persistently. "Go!"
The second infiltration team moved quickly through the halls.
"We're nearly in position," one of the officers said over the radio. They turned around the corner and, suddenly, the hall was filled with the sounds of gunfire. The hallway leads to large room which had a winding staircase that lead to a floor above. On the staircase, Cyclops rained bullets with an automatic machine gun along with a small team of mechs. The entire squad jumped back behind the corner as the bullets hailed on the squad.
"This is the second infiltration team!" the officer yelled over the radio. "We've met heavy resistance! We have no choice but to fall back!" Cyclops cackled psychotically as he fired a massive wave of bullets from his machine gun.
"Are you sure this is going to work?" Joker asked Ashley through the radio.
"It has to," Ashley said from inside the MAKO. The Odyssey flew straight at the Malevolence.
"My lord," Gore said on the bridge of the Malevolence. "The Odyssey is coming for a second attack."
"Destroy it!" Sovereign growled fiercely.
There was a pop, and the Odyssey launched the MAKO towards the Malevolence. Joker veered the Odyssey off course so that the small tank could reach the ship. He watched as the MAKO rammed flew into the Malevolence. Joker almost chuckled when he saw this, wondering what Shepard would say if he were here.
"Sorry that we had to trash the MAKO , Commander," Joker said.
"It's okay. I never like the darn thing anyways."
The Malevolence rocked as the MAKO rammed into the ship.
"We have a hull breach," Gore said. "Sensors say that we have been boarded." Sovereign snarled angrily when he heard this. He turned and left the room.
"Stay here and defend the bridge," Sovereign growled as he left. "I have things to take care of."
"My lord," Gore protested. "They have already defeated you before…" Sovereign stopped when he heard this phrase.
"You doubt me?" he asked ominously.
"Of course not!" Gore quickly answered. "I am only saying it for your sake."
"Do not concern yourself for my sake. I shall deal with this myself." With that said, Sovereign disappeared down the hall.
Bane gunned down another C-Sec officer when he radio came on.
"Package has arrived," Sin said over the radio.
"Have Carmine pick up the package," Bane said. "Make sure that C-Sec knows that we are still in control." Now that his package has arrived, Bane has no reason to stay and keep fighting. He turned and ran through the doors behind him. Garrus watched as the bounty hunter sprinted down those halls, and he did not intend to let Bane get away. Ignoring the mechs and the bullets, Garrus jumped out from his cover and ran after Bane.
"Garrus!" Sidonis yelled as he tried to follow the former C-Sec officer. Wrex grumbled when he saw what was happening, but he got up and ran after the two Turians.
Bane was nearly where he needed to be when he noticed Garrus and Sidonis chasing after him. Bane's omni-tool appeared and he quickly typed a command in. There was a hissing noise as the doors closed behind Garrus and Sidonis, and right in front of Wrex. The krogan came to a halt right in front of the closed doors. Seeing that there was no way through, cocking his shotgun, Wrex ran down another hall.
Bane took a glance behind him and saw that only Garrus and Sidonis were still in pursuit. The two Turians drew their guns, but Bane suddenly whipped out a small orb that unleashed a cloud of gas as it hit the ground.
Gore quietly worked at his control panel, chasing after the Odyssey, when, suddenly, Liara jumped out from behind the corner and shoved them all back with a biotic blast. Everyone on the bridge drew their guns, but Ashley and Tali both jumped into the room from the other side and began shooting. It was a short gun fight. Attacked from both sides, Sovereign's indoctrinated slaves all easily fell. The three women cautiously entered the bridge. Seeing that everyone was dead, Tali got to the control panel.
"Joker," she said over the radio. "We've taken the Malevolence. It's over." Joker breathed a sigh of relief.
"Copy that," he said. "There a science station not too far from here, we can make it without using FTL. I suggest we stop there to make some repairs. I'm sending you the coordinates." Tali looked at the monitor.
"I've got the coordinates. See you there." Ashley quickly counted the bodies on the bridge.
"Seven bodies," she said. "Topa said that there should only be seven left."
"And we've taken out the last seven," Tali said. "I'm glad it was this easy."
"Too easy," Liara commented. "These indoctrinated slaves have caused us trouble and anticipated our every move. Why did they all remain on the bridge, waiting for us?"
"I don't know," Ashley shrugged. "It's almost like they were ordered to stay here."
"Keelah!" Tali gasped fearfully. Liara and Ashley turned around and saw what Tali was looking at. Coming down the hall was a single humanoid creature with shimmering black skin, wearing a dark hooded cloak slowly strolled down the hall.
"Who are you?" Ashley asked threateningly as the figure continued to walk towards them. What was happening? There should have only been seven, who is the eighth?
"You are still ignorant," the creature said hollowly. "You are still incapable of comprehension." Tali felt her jaw drop in horror when she heard these words.
"You've touched my mind, fumbling in ignorance, incapable of comprehension."
Only she and Garrus were there to hear these words, so she knew what it meant.
"Impossible," she breathed. "Sovereign." There was a loud whoosh and a massive biotic wave threw Ashley, Liara, and Tali into the wall, and they fell to the ground. In his new body, Sovereign's abilities are unmatched. Ashley desperately crawled to pick her rifle back up. Just as Williams reached her rifle, a heavy foot stepped on her back and pressed her into the floor. She felt the air pressed out of her as she was pushed into the floor. Tali got to her feet and drew her pistol. The room echoed as she fired three shots. She was almost sure she scored hits. She looked up and noticed three small metallic objects being held in the air by Sovereign's biotics. Sovereign had used his biotic abilities to catch the bullets in midair. The bullets fell to the ground with quiet clinks. Tali immediately aimed her gun again, but Sovereign threw her back with another biotic shockwave. Suddenly, Sovereign flew back into the wall as Liara blasted the Reaper with an orb of biotic energy. Such a blast would have killed a normal creature, but Sovereign was not normal. He was stronger, faster, smarter that anything else.
"We're coming up on the science station," Joker said over his radio. "Is there anyone there?" Sovereign looked out the window and saw the massive cylindrical station. The Reaper moved for the controls, ready to retake control of the ship. Before he could reach the control panel, it exploded in his face! He whipped around and saw that Tali had grabbed her pistol and shot the panel. His patience for these insolent creatures has come to an end.
"Run," Ashley breathed. "RUN!" The three women jumped to their feet and sprinted down the hall. Sovereign quickly chased after them, his superior legs making him run faster with less effort and energy.
Bane burst through the door of the large room where he held the Council hostage.
"We've got to go," he said calmly.
"Carmine says he's picked up the package," Sin said.
"Then it is time to go," Bane hissed. "Infiltration teams will be soon storming this position and I would like to be gone when that happens."
"How are supposed to get through the C-Sec officers?" Cyclops asked.
"I am in control of the situation," Bane said slyly. "They will not dare to do anything rash."
"I'm going to need something more than that," that Batarian hissed fiercely. Bane turned and faced Cyclops. Was it Bane's visor or face that darkened?
"I gave you an order," Bane growled.
"I'm a little tired of following your orders," Cyclops challenged. Bane took a step forwards, unsure whether to shoot the insubordinate Batarian.
"If you don't want to leave, you can stay," Bane growled. "Sin, follow me." Bane turned and left with the Asari mercenary following him, leaving the Batarian raider behind. Right before Bane went through the doors; he stopped and said, "I'll leave the mechs with you as an act of good faith. It will take a squad of krogan to fight them. Good luck." The doors hissed closed behind Bane.
Wrex was still sneaking through the halls, looking for a way back to Garrus. As he turned around the corner, he was stunned to see a gang of Krogan.
"Halt!" one of the krogan roared, pointing his shotgun at Wrex, who drew his shotgun.
"What are you doing here?" Wrex growled. His question was never answered.
"Wait, I recognize you!" the Krogan said fiercely. "You're Urdnot Wrex!"
"I must be more popular than I thought," Wrex chuckled.
"You're the one who destroyed the cure for the genophage!" All the Krogan in the room stiffened. "You…You destroyed the one hope for our race."
"You could never understand my reasons," Wrex snapped. "You weren't there. You didn't know what I knew."
"I know enough. I know that you destroyed the single thing that could have saved our race. I know that you are a traitor to all Krogan, and for that, you must die!"