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Prime Effect 3

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Old 10-28-2012, 12:06 AM   #1
Ai-Megumi's Man
Leonis Prime's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,222
Location: Germany
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Prime Effect 3

A/N: Here is the final part of my trilogy. Enjoy


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.
“Your not supposed to call me that Smokescreen.” he replied dryly.
“Not supposed to salute you either, but you know me.” the Autobot replied, 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.
“Your 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. Jack and Smokescreen walked up and joined the two bots.
“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 replied sheepishly as she looked 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. She continued to watch as Jack looked back up at 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 as he glared at the Prime. ” I am sick and tired of hearing you bring up the same lies.”
Everyone just stayed 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, that 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 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……. we fight or we die.” 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 from 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 occured 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, lets go.” he said as he looked at her. The femme then offered him a pistol.
“Your 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.
“Ok, 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.
“Ok Arcee, your 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.

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.
“You cant 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. ‘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 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 then looked 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.
“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 dreadnaught.” 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 too alright?” Jack asked while Arcee and Optimus kept watch.
“Do you have a distress beacon onboard, 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 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 lets 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 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.
“Lets 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. “No go, that’s an order Jackson.”
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.
“Your 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 who were being evacuated was the little boy who looked around nervously before looking 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.


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 Lothine 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 yours.” 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.


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.
Ok, 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 chestplate.
“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, and I 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 lockdown 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, its 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, its alright. Soundwave helped me take down the Quintessons, and 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.
“Ok 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.
“Ok, 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.
“So whoever did this was extremely stealthy?” 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. Ok lets keep moving, but keep an eye out.” The Prime replied as the group carried on down the tunnel, leaving the dead soldiers behind.

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 ok?” 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 Lothine. 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 Lothine 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 ones 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 Darby, an agent with a single purpose. But you served your purpose 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.

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 on board, 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.


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 onboard” 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.
“Ok 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 ok 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.
“The Quarian flotilla has begun a full scale attack on the Geth in an attempt to take back Rannoch.” 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 lost that title. But as a crew member of the Defiant, if you will let me. I would have the title of ‘vas Defiant’ 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.
“Ok Jack.” she said, before Jack nodded and turned round walked out of Engineering.


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. I will let you know when she is 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. Lets 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 can not 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.


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 to 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.


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, lets 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 ok, 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.
“Ok 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.



A/N:


PRIME EFFECT 3

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 ok, 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.
“Ok, 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.


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 all. He 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 catch 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.


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 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 as she threw 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. The afterwards we can finish this.” she said as Airachnid looked back at her, surprised by Arcee’s attitude change.
“Your 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.


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.


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 your 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 looked at the human and sighed before looking 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 my arrival. I will collect them myself.”
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.
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 ok?” 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…..no 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 revelled 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 fully well that he could do nothing to stop it.


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.



Airachnid was standing outside of the medical bay and was 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.
“Your 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, 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’ 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 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, lets 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 looked over to her.
“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 my partners.”
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 looked over to the bar and then looked back at the Autobot, 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 exclaimed as Airachnid drank from her glass and nodded in agreement.
“More please..” she said and Arcee happily obliged as she refilled the other femme’s and her own glass.



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.”
“Ok.”
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.
“Lets just say that his scalpel went into places that it should 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 your 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 it 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 as he then took her over to her bed and gently laid her down on it, before pulling the covers over her. She then began to stir 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, its 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.
“Your welcome, now get some sleep. And 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 leant down over the sleeping femme and gently kissed her forehead.
“I love you too Arcee.” he replied softly before he rose back up and walked out of the room, making sure to turn off the lights before the door close behind him, he then sighed and walked over to the elevator, heading back to his own quarters.


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 learnt 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 too 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.

"Your 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 could 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.

"Ok 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 give 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 Wrex?" 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.

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 lets." 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.

"Ok, 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.

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. Ok 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 your 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.

"Ok, 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.

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.

"Your 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 won't 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.

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?”
“No yet, 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 in 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 Lothine 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 unquantifiable 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 Lothine. *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 biomechanical 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.












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 you came 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 you 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 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 lets 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 lets 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 crewmember 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 at 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.
“Ok, 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, hehad 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 then?” 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 artefact 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 kneeled 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 Lithone. *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 them 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 places that the places 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 will be heading off 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 undocks, 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.








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 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 to 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 biomechanical 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 mould 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 wont 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 too, 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.
“Ok 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.


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.
“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 Deifant then took a sharp turn before jumping in to hyperspace.


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. OK 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.
“Ok, 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.
“Ok 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.
“Ok, 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 lets move.” Jack said as they headed in the direction of the room in question.

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.
“Ok, 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 up 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.


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 can not 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 though 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 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. And 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.

"Ok 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 that 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 with everyone killed." 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 as he gestured over to the station that Arcee was standing at, and then walked over to the femme who smiled at him.

"Everything ok?" 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 your 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.

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.

Onboard 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 offense, 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 liveships. 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 Liveships. 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 Liveship Vailia."

"That was not us Alpha Leader." the Liveship 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 home world….. 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 mountians, 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.

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 lets 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 lets 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, Jack looked over to her 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 out run 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.

"Can not 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 can not 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 ok, 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 now 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, and you forced them to ally with the Heretics and 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.


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 by 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.


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, the 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, its 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. 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.
“Your right, Commander we’re here to help you retake C-sec HQ.”
“Well that is much appreciated Prime, we 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.”
“Well 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.


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 then 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.
“Your 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 ourselves 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 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.

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.”
“Ok 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.


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, your 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 ass 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 judgemental 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 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 he Presidium, O 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.

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 your 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 how about how you 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 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 browser through the list.

"Theres one, we have a free session just four months from now."

Both bots faces wet 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 or the 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 practises of relaxation and pleasure, we disciples are each skilled in a particular area." Nelyna replied.

"And what is yours?" 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.

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 and pay for 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 glass ware and placed it next to the bottle when he suddenly caught sight of Jack, his eyes widened in surprise.

"Your 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 this 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 favourite 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 my self 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 favourite 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 favourite."

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 and they both entered tbe 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 as 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 before his face 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 as Jack looked over the edge to the river below.

"Then why not take a swim?"

"Well 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 | 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."

"Your welcome Jack, and you have been there for me, that's what friends do right." the Turian replied.

"Right." Jack replied back before they both finished off the drink in their glasses.

"So your 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 as Garrus laughed as he took Jack's glass and put it down next to the sky car and picked up to 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 your amateur when it comes to handling a gun, but there are those of us that can make it dance. So lets 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 danced….no comment." Garrus chuckled, gaining a determined look from the Prime as he loaded the rifle.

"Your 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 here 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 practise 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 and 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, lets 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 favourite spot on the Citadel." he exclaims, gaining a chuckle from Jack.

"It's windy up here." the Prime states as he hands the rifle back to his friend.

"I think I will erect a statue, and bronze this gun so that everyone knows." Garrus says, acting like he didn't hear the Commander's excuse.

"That your king of the Scraplet shooters, glad your around Garrus. Never know when the Scraplets might revolt." Jack replied gaining a laugh from the Turian as they stood there and looked out again at the busy sight of the traffic flying over their heads.

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 Café 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 and we always make it our policy to be able to make all of our customers comfortable, no matter their species."

"Well 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….its not like anyone is going to see my 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 an 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.

"Well 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.

"Well 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 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 noticing 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 looked at her with a looking 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.

"Your 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 bot 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 pick 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 a Prime."

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 too 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.

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 blue too, that is my favourite 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 coloured 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, its 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.


Chapter 12

Jack and Arcee entered the room and and saw Garrus looking over some information on the screen, Tali nodded to them as they walked over to the Turian.

"Garrus whats wrong?" Jack asked as he joined his friend's side.

"Jack, I know everyone is on shore leave. It I need to ask for a leave of absence."

The Prime gave him a confused look.

"Why Garrus, Tali said you received some troubling news."

Garrus looked over at the Quarian with an angry expression, but when he saw the worries concern on her face. He could just about see it behind her visor, and he found his anger bleeding away. He knew she was only concerned for him and couldn't be angry at her or at Jack and the others, so he sighed.

"Jack, you remember I was operating as a mercenary during the two years that you were being rebuilt by MECH."

"You called yourself 'Archangel' if I remember correctly."

The Turian felt a slight grin on his face as the mention of that name embarrassed him a little.

"Yes I spent my time taking out any mercs or slavers that were hurting the innocent, well my travels took me to Omega where you would eventually find me." He said as the memories of those days came back to him.

It had been Eighteen months since the Normandy was destroyed and Garrus lost his best friend. In the months that had followed he found himself at a crossroads, not knowing what he had to do. But when the Council put a stop to the Alliance's investigation into the Reapers, and disassembled the team that Jack had put together. It was then that Garrus knew he could no longer let himself be tied down by the hypocrisy and politics of the Council, he had to take matters into his own hands. That was something Jack had shown him and so he felt that this would be the best way to honour the Prime. So he set out by himself to find what information he could on the Reapers. But this search did not last long when he came across a colony being attacked by slavers, so he took a stand and defended the people there and helped drive the slavers away, gaining the name 'Archangel' from the colonists. Before they were defeated, Garrus discovered that the slavers had connections to the merc group that had worked for Sideways. And since the former Con had not died at the hands of Arcee back on Ilos, this group may know how to find him. The mercs that tried to kill Tali on the Citadel made out that they didn't know, But Garrus was not about to take their word for it. So he set out after them, hunting down the group from one colony to another. He even had a partner, a Turian called Sardonis. He came into the fight because slavers took and killed his family, but rather than let the need for revenge cloud his every thought. All he saw was the need to bring those responsible to justice. He also kept Garrus from going to far in his own mission to find Sideways. Between the two of them, they fought long and hard against the mercs, and having a partner made missing his friends a lot easier to handle for Garrus. Though there were still times when he found himself missing the others, Arcee, Wrex, Hotrod and Tali. The Quarian was certainly an interesting female, she had caught his eye during their time on board the Normandy and even though he did not know what she looked like under that enviro-suit, it was her personality and presence that he had become drawn to. But unlike how open Jack and Arcee were with their feelings towards each other, he kept his to himself. This was due to a female Turian he had once loved, but that was all he was going to say on that matter.

So Garrus and Sardonis had travelled around the galaxy searching for leads on where Sideways was and after nearly eighteen months, finally they had what seemed like viable Intel that the former con was once again looking for hired guns on the planet Camala, once there they soon found out that Sideways was nowhere to be found and in fact the whole thing was a setup to lead the two into a trap. Garrus and Sardonis were surrounded by a small army of mercs led by Elanos Haliat. He told the Turians that the mercs were sick of them hunting and killing them for information on some former Con and that it was time for some payback. The fight then was brutal as the two partners took down nearly all of the mercs, but not before Elanos killed Sardonis. He then fled while Garrus was busy finishing off the rest, but when he saw his friend lying dead on the floor, the Turian swore revenge on the human bastard.

So fast forward a few weeks and Garrus was now on the station of Omega, he had heard that Elanos was here to find work. So the Turian waited under a shadowed archway in a back alley of one of the underprivileged areas of Omega. The station was certainly a cesspool of criminals and murderers, if he wasn't focused on Elanos, Garrus could easily do a lot of good here. He had been waiting at this spot for the past few hours for his contact to appear and was growing impatient, when suddenly a volus walked down towards his spot. Garrus pulled out his pistol and aimed at the arrival who put his hands up in response.

"Are you Archangel?"

"Maybe, that would depend on whether you are Han Po'mar?" the Turian replied stoically.

"Yes, yes I am and I have the information you requested." the Volus answered, Garrus lowered his weapon and allowed Han to walk closer, before handing him a pad which the Turian then examined.

"So I can find Elanos here?"

The Volus nodded nervously before looking down both ends of the alleyway.

"What is he going to be doing at this location, because the layout looks like one of the apartments in the middle class part of the station?"

The contact shook his head.

"I do not know the details Archangel, but I believe that Elanos has been hired to make a hit."

The Turian's eyes widened in response.

"When is this taking place?" Garrus asked with an urgent like tone.

"Anytime in the next thirty minutes." the Volus replied before Garrus rushed past him down.

"If this information turns out to be false then I will see you again Han." He said back to the Volus without even looking, making Han slip into the shadowed archway instinctively. But he was of no concern to Garrus right now as he stepped out onto the street, the view of the asteroid that the station was connected to right above him as he hailed a sky-cab.

"Take me here." he said as he showed the location on his holo-tool.

The Batarian driver looked at it and then at Garrus.

"That's on the other side of Omega, it will take at least thirty minutes."

The Turian gave him a stoic expression, trying hard to keep his anger in check.

"So get a move on then."

The driver nodded hesitantly back at his angry charge and took control of the vehicle as it lifted off the ground and flew up and joined the traffic that flowed around the station.

Garrus felt like shooting that cab driver after getting out of the vehicle when he arrived at his destination, due to the fact that the trip had been a minute and a half longer than it should have been. But he hadn't the time so he he quickly paid the fee using his holo-tool and got out and entered the building where Elanos was supposed to be. Once inside he equipped his pistol and made his way up to twelfth floor via the staircase, couldn't risk using the elevator because Elanos may have known that he was coming and laid a trap for him. The Turian made short work of the stairs and entered the corridor, checking both directions before making his way to the apartment. Just as he got close he heard a gun shot and then a scream come from the room and he rushed over to the door and stood with his back to the wall next to it as he checked his gun. He then heard voices from within the room.

"No!, no, Alex!" a woman screamed in anguish.

"Stay right there lady or I will kill your son next." came a familiar voice that made Garrus's blood boil. It was Elanos and by the sound of it, the Turian was to late to save his target but that didn't mean he couldn't save the man's family.

"You monster!" she screamed back before suddenly going quiet.

"Now you shut the fuck up, I can't have any witnesses to this so….." the merc said before, BANG! Garrus's eyes went wide as he heard what sounded like a body hit the ground in there, and he realised that he had failed. But then he heard Elanos speak again

"Well kid, that leaves only you I guess. No hard feelings but I have to kill all of you."

'A kid, there is still one more!' Garrus thought to himself as he took a breath before turning round and kicking the door open and bursting into the room with his gun pointed directly at his quarry, who at this moment had his own gun pointed directly at a small Asian boy who was standing between the bodies of his mother and father, tears running down his face, he could not be any older than ten years old.

"Drop the gun Elanos, I mean it!" the Turian stated angrily while the merc just looked over to him casually.

"Archangel you motherfucker, I was wondering when you would show up. Just give me a second to finish off this little shit and I will be right with you."

Garrus though did not relent as he stepped closer.

"Drop the gun, I will not tell you again."

Elanos saw the look in the Turian's eyes and sighed before he released his grip on the gun and let it fall to the ground, he then held his hands up and smiled at Garrus.

"Well I guess you have me right where you want me, don't you Archangel. So aren't you going to finish me off, especially after what I did to your piss poor friend Sardonis."

"I will, but this isn't something a child should see." the Turian replied before looking over to the boy.

"Hey kid, what's your name?"

The boy looked at Garrus, his had stopped crying as his eyes looked very sore and red after all the tears he had shed.

"Shen."

"Come here Shen, your safe now." the Turian replied while extending a hand to the child. Shen looked over nervously toward Elanos before walking over to Garrus who looked down at him with a slight smile, hoping that would lessen the boy's fear in him. But as soon as the child was near the Turian, he ran round behind his leg and hid there from the merc who just smiled back.

"I'll see you again 'real soon' Shen."

Garrus just looked at the human as he gritted his teeth and tightened his grip around the trigger.

"Shen, I want you to turn around and don't look back. Can you do that for me?"

The ten year old nodded and turned around, leaving Garrus with Elanos who was still smiling, seemingly fine with what was about to happen.

"So you finally going to do it Archangel, well go ahead. Because if you don't, I promise that I will kill you and that little shit hiding behind you."

"You seem to be rather confident of that despite the position that you are in Elanos." Garrus replied.

"Well did you really think that I would be here alone, or was Han's acting really that convincing?" the Human said as his grin grew. Suddenly Shen stepped into the back of the Turian's leg, making him spin round only to see the but of a rifle hit him square in the face, knocking Garrus to the floor face first. Shen shrieked before the person that knocked the Turian to the floor grabbed him by the arm and dragged him back into the room, Elanos picked up his gun from the ground and pointed it at Garrus who lay there as he tried to get his bearings.

"Thanks Antak." he said to person, but when the Turian finally managed to look up, his eyes widened when he recognised who had just blindsided him. It was the Batarian from the sky-cab, Antak smiled down at him.

"Do you realise how hard it was for me not just to kill him while he sat behind me Elanos."

"Well be glad that you didn't because I have a lot planned for this Turian bastard. After what he and his dead friend did to our colleagues, it's about time we finally ended him." Elanos replied as Antak pushed the kid into the corner of the room.

"Stay there you little shit." he said as the ten year old brought his legs up to his chest and sat their quivering, never taking his eyes off the Turian who had come to his rescue.

Garrus felt his mouth well up with blood as he spat some on the floor and looked up to Shen.

"It's...going...to be...alright Shen." he managed to say to the boy, gaining dumbfounded looks from the mercs.

"Really? You still playing the hero Archangel?" Elanos replied before grabbing the Turian and using him up onto his feet.

"Hold him." he said Antak who grabbed Garrus by both arms.

"Now I am going to make you fucking feel for every one of my friends that you killed Archangel." the human replied score pulling a large combat knife out from hi utility belt. He then readied himself to strike as the Turian sims looked over to the ten year old and winked at him, Shen looked at him in confusion but then as Elanos went to stab Garrus. He then grabbed the merc's attacking arm while clicking his head back and stabbing one of the horns in his crest into the Batarian's eye, blinding him. The merc screamed in pain as he let go of Garrus who instantly disarmed Elanos, before kneeing him in the stomach and upper cutting the human in the face, knocking him flat on his back. As Shen looked on in amazement at the sight before him, his eyes wide with wonder. Garrus then turned his attention on to The Batarian who had blood gushing out of the eye that had been punctured, unfortunately he still had three more and was now full of rage as he charged at the Turian. But Garrus was ready as ducked down and evaded the enemy's attack before picking up the combat knife and ramming it into his neck, under the jaw. So much blood gushed out of the wound as the Batarian tried to resist, but the Turian continued to push the knife deeper in until he heard the crack of bone. Antak then went limp and fell to the ground, blood flowing freely as it formed a puddle around his body. Garrus then turned and readied the pistol at Elanos who had picked up Shen and was using him as a human shield while holding his pistol to the kid's head.

"Stay the fuck back Archangel, or else you will picking bits of this little shit's brains off of yourself."

Garrus's expression remained calm and collected as he looked at Shen and then his enemy.

"So this is what the deadly mercenary Elanos Haliat has become, a cowardly piece of scum that uses a kid as a shield to cower behind and whimper, how are you ever going to avenge those that I killed. They would be ashamed of you."

Elanos's face was a mixture of emotions as he gritted his teeth at what the Turian had just said, but then he exploded.

"I'll show you, you Turian bastard." he yelled as he threw the kid to the side and fired at Garrus, who rolled out of the way as the gun shots hit the wall behind him. The Turian ended up in a kneeling position with the human dead to rights, so he fired a shot into Elanos's knee caps. The merc cried out in pain as he fell to his knees, the pain doubling as his wounds hit the floor hard, making he grimace. But he still fought through the immense pain to raise his weapon to Garrus, btu the Turian then fired a bullet clean through the Human's hand, making him drop the pistol into the small puddle of blood that was forming from the wounds in his knees. The extra pressure of his weight on the them making the bleeding worse. Elanos grabbed his wounded hand in his other and cradled it as Garrus stood over him with his weapon pointed at the merc's head.

"Go on then Archangel, do it. Because this isn't over, there are many more of us out there and only one of you. One of us will kill you eventually."

The Turian just looked at Elanos with a stoic look as blood trickled down his chin.

"Maybe, but it won't happen today. This is for Shen's parents and for Sardonis." he replied before pulling the trigger and watching as the gun shot went straight through Elanos's head and out the other side, splattering blood across the wall behind him as the merc's eyes glazed over and his body fell to be ground dead. Garrus then looked down at the body and took a deep breath before sighing, he had finally avenged his friend and yet he felt no different than he had before. The Turian was so caught up in his own thoughts that he had not noticed Shen standing beside him, the ten year old knocked on the armour on the Turian's leg gaining his attention as Garrus looked down at the child.

"Mr… Archangel, t-t-t- thank you." he said with a nervous stammer gaining a slight smile from Garrus who bent down on one knee to look at the child at eye level. But as he looked at the boy's face, which had blood splattered over it, his smile faded.

"Don't thank me Shen, I wish I got here sooner. I am sorry about your parents."

Shen looked over to the corpses of his parents and started to cry, so the Turian took the kid in his arms and hugged him as the boy mourned. Several minutes past before Shen calmed down then Garrus let him go and the kid looked at him.

"What happens now?"

"Do you have any family on Omega, anyone that can take you in?" the Turian asked. Shen looked down to the ground as he thought.

"Mum and Dad are the only family I have…" he answered as another tear ran down his cheek.

"But my Dad always told me to go to his friend from work who lives on level twenty six."

"What did your Dad do for a living Shen?" Garrus asked.

"Dad protected people who came to the station, he told me." the boy answered back honestly.

"He worked at space port as Security then." the Turian replied before a horrible realisation came upon him.

'This boy's father was only a security guard, Elanos only picked him and his family to get to me.' he thought to himself before his attention was brought back to Shen who was wiping his face with his top.

"Okay lets get you out of here." Garrus replied as he and Shen left the house and left the horror that the boy had witnessed behind them.

A short time later, down in one of the busy markets on the Omega station. Walking among the heaving crowd of different aliens who were looking at the different stalls and stores was a Volus, who was minding his own business. Suddenly his com link engaged and a familiar voice spoke which made the Volus stop in his tracks and become very stiff.

"You know you are a hard person to find Han."

Han's heart started to beat very quickly as fear took control as he looked around him, but the crowds were to packed up with people for him to see.

"I wouldn't bother trying to spot me Han because you won't find me, but I can see you clear as day through my sniper rifle's scope." Garrus replied.

The Volus was about to move when the voice stopped him.

"Don't move, not unless you want a bullet through that cowardly head of yours."

"Archangel it was not my fault, they made me help them and set a trap for you. They got to my family you see and…" Han said in a panic as he tried to reason, but was cut off.

"Don't give me that crap, I already checked your background Han. You have no family, so how about you start telling me the truth or I will end this conversation with the aforementioned bullet."

The Volus then nodded somewhat aggressively.

"Yes yes, okay that was a mistake on my part. But please let us talk about this?"

"Very well, I want to know if what Elanos told me was true. Are there anymore of his men on this station?" Garrus asked.

"Yes, and they are also contacting more merc groups for help. You have pissed off more than a few of them Archangel." Han replied as he looked up to the higher levels, trying to spot the Turian up there in the shadowed sections.

"Well thanks for the heads up Han."

"So you are letting me go then?"

"No, but not only because you betrayed me to Elanos, but because you are not only a contact for the highest bidder. But you also sell 'red sand' and that is just going to far, you're a criminal Han. And you know how much I despise criminals." Garrus answered, making the Volus panic completely as he tried to move, but was suddenly silenced by a gunshot that blew out the back of his head. Han fell to the ground as everyone around him scattered in all directions. Meanwhile high up on one of the balconies that overlooked the area, the Turian stood up and placed the sniper rifle onto the connector on the back of his armour and looked out at Omega.

"Looks like I have a lot of work to do."

Garrus looked at his friends who had listened to his story intently, Tali was the first to speak.

"What happened to Shen?"

"I left him with his father's friend who promised to take care of him, he seemed like a good choice. While I stayed on Omega I visited Shen frequently to see how he was doing. He was always happy to see me." the Turian replied.

"Sounds like he has gotten attached to you." Arcee observed with a slight smile.

"Because you avenged his parents deaths." Jack added while leaning against the wall.

"Yes well he didn't know that it was because of me that his parents had died, so I kept that from him. Thanks to my…activities, friends were few and far between. So to have any at all was a privilege. An plus I want to make sure he was safe, it was the least I could do." Garrus said before looking to the floor with a sorrowful expression. Tali who had sat next to him placed a hand on his leg and gave him a sympathetic look.

"It wasn't your fault what happened to his parents Garrus, sometimes bad things just happen."

Garrus looked up at the Quarian and then to Jack and Arcee who were giving him supportive smiles, he nodded in return.

"I guess your right, but doesn't make me feel any better."

"So I take it this message you received was from Shen's guardian?" the Prime asked.

"No, it was from Shen himself. You see the last time I saw him which was a week before you found me, I had given him communicator with long range capabilities. It is the same device I hand to all of my contacts. I told him that if he ever needed my help, he was to call me. This was the message I received." the Turian replied before activating his holo-tool.

"Archangel, please get this message. They have taken Marcus and are looking for me, evil men have taken over my home and are changing everyone who lives here. I am scared and alone, please Archangel…help me….." then the voice became lost in the static before Garrus deactivated the holo-tool.

"What do we know about Omega's situation these days, I mean it is not exactly near the front lines?" Arcee asked.

"Well I have been looking over the network feeds and all that is mentioned is that Omega went dark several months ago. The Council did not really take any notice of it, because of it's rather dirty reputation." the Turian replied while looking at a pad that was on the table next to him.

"Also I did a quick analysis of the message and it is several months old, if I was to guess. I would say that Shen had set the message to be sent out continuously in Omega's communication system, in the hopes that it would get through the jammers."

Jack gave the Turian a sceptical look.

"Isn't that a bit much for an eleven year old to do?"

He then looked over to Arcee who's expression was one of slight annoyance.

"Jack, it's not like we don't know 'someone' who could do something similar at that age." she said with a knowing look, gaining a nod from her lover.

"Okay fair point." he replied before looking over to Garrus.

"Let me speak to Admiral Bryce, see what Alliance Intelligence has on Omega's current status. Because if you need to go back there, I won't have you going alone and with no idea on what you will face there."

Garrus smiled and nodded in return to his friend who then acknowledged the others before leaving the room.

Not thirty minutes had past before Jack re-entered the room , and he saw that Airachnid had joined the group as they awaited his return. Garrus stood up and looked over to the Prime.

"So Jack what's the news?"

Jack gave them all a stoic expression before taking a breath.

"It seems that over the last several months, that the Omega station has been under MECH occupation. They managed to kick out the station's previous leader and set up shop there, according to Alliance Intel MECH have launched several offensives from that area. One being the recent attempt to take over the Citadel. Intel also says that they have amassed a large fleet to defend the planetary system from an ships that enters it via the space bridge."

Arcee's expression became one of confusion.

"But why would MECH want Omega?"

Airachnid crossed her arms and looked over to Jack.

"For the Omega four subspace rift."

The blue femme looked over to her and still looked confused.

"Wait isn't that the portal that lead to the Quintesson home world? I read in your mission report that the rift collapsed after you had returned from the galactic core."

Garrus nodded in return.

"That's correct, but it would make sense why MECH would take control of the station. Since it would give them free reign of the system and allow them to try and reopen the rift."

"But the rift was created by Reaper tech right, so how would they even begin to try?" Arcee asked, gaining a knowing look from Jack.

"Sideways, he did tell me that part of his deal with Silas was to give the Director Reaper tech. I bet he also told them how to reopen the rift as well."

"Well Jack what's our next move, because I doubt the Alliance would want MECH to gain access to what is at the galactic core, even if the planet was destroyed. I bet that there is still some salvageable tech there." Garrus asked.

"Admiral Bryce agrees, but unfortunately with the amount of ships that MECH has defending the station, we would require a fleet and the Alliance can't spare any due to the Reapers."

Garrus looked down for a moment before his eyes met the Prime's again.

"Jack, if there is the slightest chance that Shen is still alive, I have to know. If you can't help me, then I will go alone."

Tali's eyes widened at what her friend just said, but then Jack placed a hand on the Turian's shoulder.

"Garrus, I told you that you wouldn't be alone in this. Bryce gave me the go ahead with the mission and a location of someone who would have the resources we would need to make it a success."

Everyone looked at him curiously.

"Who would that be Jack?" Arcee asked before anyone else could.

"Omega's previous leader…Aria T'Loak, she is on the Citadel, in 'Purgatory' of all places and Intel says that she has been planning the retake of Omega and has a fleet standing by."

The Turian felt a slight smile grow on his face.

"So we are to offer our assistance to her then, and in return…."

"…we get another ally in the Reaper war." Airachnid finished gaining a nod from Jack.

"I don't see why not, I mean the Reapers are a threat to everyone."

Jack then looked over to Arcee.

"Arcee, would you make sure that everyone is back on the Defiant. I want the ship ready to go by the time Garrus and I return."

"Of course Jack." she replied with a smile before the femme and Airachnid started for the door. The Prime then turned to the Turian.

"Lets go Garrus, Aria awaits."

When the pair entered Purgatory, Garrus immediately had a feeling of deja'vu, the last time he had been in a club was three years ago. It was when he had first met Jack and they went to the 'End of Days' club to meet Wrex and Tali. That particular club was no different to this one with the heaving crowds, low neon lighting and deafening music blaring out of speakers that seemed to be all over the place. Though one difference between both clubs was evident to the Turian, the dancers were not exotic and kept to hovering platforms in the corner of the large area. Even Jack was uncomfortable with where they were, he never liked these type of place and usually trying to find a particular person in this mass would be a nightmare. But lucky for Jack and Garrus it didn't take long for them to spot Aria who had of course taken up he VIP area and the Asari was just sitting back on the large red couch looking disinterested and not bothered with the C-Sec Officer who was berating her at that moment.

"Did you think that you could stay on the Citadel illegally with out us being aware of it." he officer said with some discontent in her voice. Aria though did not even bother to acknowledge the officer with a look.

"Yes, but it did take C-Sec several months to even notice my presence." she said with a slight smile, taking pleasure in the other woman's irritation.

"I don't care who you think you are, you will go through processing just like all the other refugees."

The Asari then gave the officer a iced cold stare.

"I don't think so."

She then looked over to her Asari assistant who was looking rather nervous.

"Sha'ra get me the Asari Councillor "

The assistant nodded and activated her holo-to and before a second had past, a hologram of Tevos appeared before them.

"Greetings Aria, is there a problem?"

"I am being told that I have to go through immigration." Aria spoke with what sound like a hint of respect. Tevos looked down, most likely at her console.

"Yes I can see that and…it is done, is there anything else I can do for you?" she asked looking down at Aria.

"Nothing, thank you."

Then the hologram faded to nothing as Aira looked back at the C-Sec officer.

"I think we are done here." she said in an almost teasing tone, gaining a look of thunder from the woman who shook her head and walked away in a huff. The Asari then looked over to see Jack and Garrus approaching her couch, two Turian bodyguards walked in front of the two and stopped them.

"Let them through, this should be interesting."

The Prime and Turian then walked past the two guards and Aira gestured for the Human to sit beside her on the couch, he took his seat and looked over to her.

"Jackson Prime, this is an occasion. So what can I do for the first Human Prime?" she asked in a half seductive, half uninterested tone.

"Well I have heard about your exodus from Omega and wanted to offer my assistance."

Aria looked at him in an unbelieving tone.

"I have been stuck in this bureaucratic nightmare for several months and only now you have heard about it?"

"Well I have been rather busy dealing with a much larger problem in the galaxy, maybe you have heard about it." the Prime replied.

"Ah yes, the 'Reapers', they do seem to have everyone on their toes right now. But either way the only thing I am focused on right now is taking back Omega from MECH. The Director has gone to the top of my shit list." the Asari said with a angry tone.

"What happened?" Jack asked gaining a look from her.

"Not long after you defeated the Quintessons and closed that pesky rift in my system…..yes I did hear about that, I was contacted by Director Silas who told me that MECH wanted to be sure that rift would never open again. He asked for my permission to send ships to the area and investigate the now dormant anomaly. I agreed, thinking that I would be gaining a favour from MECH in exchange. But a few weeks later we received a distress call from the science vessels that were in the area of the rift's location, they were under attack by a husk-like creatures called 'Adjutants'. These creatures were apparently MECH soldiers who were contaminated by some strange radiation that was covering the area of the rift. Silas then sent a fleet commandeered by General Oleg Petrovsky, he is a rather merciless bastard if I do say so myself."

"Sounds like you two would get along just fine then." Garrus jumped in sarcastically gaining an annoyed look from Aria.

"Garrus Vakarian, or should I call you 'Archangel'. Did you think that I did not know who you really were when you were on 'my' station."

"If you knew who I was, why didn't you tell the mercenary groups?" the Turian replied.

"Because even though you were a pain in the asses of these mercs, you did keep them from causing any trouble to my agendas. You also hadn't caused me any personal problems, so I left you alone."

Garrus gave her a knowing look.

"Well I guess a thank you is on the cards then, but then again your not exactly helping the situation on Omega are you."

"You know Garrus, you remind me of another Turian that was on the station before MECH came along. She had the same morals and code of conduct as you, wanting to help the good people of Omega and put an end to the slavers and mercs that were and I quote 'turning the station into a cess pool of chaos and degradation'. But I will tell you what I told her, you can't change Omega's nature no matter how many murderers and slavers you kill. The station is a beacon for all the lawless of the galaxy, but at least under my watch the inhabitants were free to do what they wanted. But with MECH in control of Omega, then all the freedoms my people had are gone and I will make MECH pay for that." she said in with a strong determination in her voice. Garrus was about to reply back when Jack jumped in.

"I think we are going of topic here." he said giving the Turian a look of annoyance, he knew Garrus did not like mercs and slavers. But now was not the time for him to express his feelings.

"Aria, you were saying about Pretovsky?" the Prime then said to the Asari.

"Yes, thank you Prime. As I was saying the General arrived with a fleet and also asked for my forces to help in the matter of containing and destroying this new Reaper-creature. But it was a distraction to get me off of Omega. While my attention was on these husks who I found out were actually created by MECH using Reaper technology, Petrovsky took over Omega and locked me out. I tried to fight my way back into my station, but in the end my forces were severally weakened and I was forced to retreat. And so I ended up here and I have hated every moment of it."

"I guess you have been planning your retake of Omega since that moment then? Jack asked gaining a nod from the Asari.

"Yes, I have amassed a fleet of ships from the Blood Pack, Eclipse and Blue Suns and intend to fight my way back onto Omega and flay the skin off of that bastard General."

Garrus shook his head gaining the Aria's attention.

"Well your ships won't get very far since MECH have parked their own fleet on the door step of the space bridge there."

"I see, so what should I do then?" she asked with a look towards the Prime.

"Well the Alliance cannot spare any ships due to the Reaper war, but with our help I believe we can liberate Omega from MECH. From the position the station has in the galaxy, they have managed to undermine the Alliance's fight with the Reapers and needs to be stopped."

Aria gave Jack a slight smile.

"Glad to see we are on the same page Prime, okay I will accept your help. But only you."

Both Jack and Garrus's eyes widened at her answer.

"Why?" the Turian asked.

"I don't like the company you keep on that ship of yours, so you will accompany me on my flagship. I only accept the best of course and that is you."

Jack crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes at her.

"No deal Aria, you say you only accept the best. Well my team and crew are the best and will not be sitting this out, we are a package deal. you can either accept that or this conversation is over."

The Asari's slight smile grew larger as she looked at the Prime.

"Well, that's the first time I have ever been told 'no' before. Usually I would kill anyone who attempts to even say so, but you intrigue me Prime. I accept you terms, but I do wish to have my flag on your ship."

Jack nodded in return at Aria's reply.

"So do we need to discuss what the Alliance will get in return for helping me?" she continued.

"Save that for after we liberate Omega." Jack replied as he got to his feet.

"Right now, I think we should get back to the Defiant and meet up with this fleet of yours."

Both the Asari and Garrus followed the Prime's action.

"Very Prime, lead the way." she said before the three of them left Purgatory for the Defiant.

The Defiant held position outside the massive space bridge not far from the Citadel as the Mercenary fleet of Aria's moved around it. In the cockpit Jack and Hotrod were talking as Arcee and Aria were walking up to join them.

"So you understand what to do if that happens?" the Prime asked gaining a nod from the Autobot.

"Yes sir I do, you can count on us." he replied with gesturing to Teletraan too as the AI's holo-form was being emitted next the to the pilot's controls.

Jack smiled and nodded back before turning around to see both his partner and the Asari behind him.

"This is quite a ship Prime, I am glad you convinced me to let you use it." she said while eyeing the Commander up and down, this did not go unnoticed by Arcee who stepped forward with an annoyed expression on her face.

"Jack we have received word from the rest of the fleet, they have acknowledged your plan of attack and will await our signal." she said gaining a smile from Jack.

"Good, then lets get this show on the road." he replied as he turned back to Hotrod.

"Take us to Omega."

"Aye aye Prime." the pilot replied as he worked the controls.

Outside the ship, the space bridge came to life as the giant green vortex opened up and the Defiant then flew directly into it's center as it left the Citadel and the merc fleet behind. It then reappeared on the other side of the wormhole as the Omega Station could be seen in the distance with it's red hue making the station appear to glow. But before the Defiant could head to the station, a large number of MECH cruisers suddenly appeared and took positions around the Alliance frigate, all their cannons turning and targeting the new arrival. Hotrod looked down at the sensor readings on his HUD before giving Jack a worried look.

"The MECH vessels have targeted us and are charging their weapons." he stated as Aria and Arcee stood beside the Prime and looked out to the view around them before the Asari spoke.

"Well Prime, I hope this plan of yours works."


Chapter 13

The MECH star ships had the Defiant completely surrounded with their cannons aimed directly at the Alliance Frigate. Jack, Arcee and Aria were watching from the cockpit as Hotrod worked the controls in front of him.

"Why haven't they fired yet, it's been several seconds since we entered their weapons range?" Arcee asked a little worriedly while looking over to Jack who had a stoic expression.

"Perhaps they want to rattle us first." Aria replied, but then Teletraan spoke up.

"Prime, we are being hailed."

"Put it up on the galaxy map." Jack replied as he and the females walked back into the CIC, the hologram of the galaxy then shifted into the form of a Caucasian man in his late forties, sporting a finely cut beard. He was wearing a General's uniform in MECH's style and colourings, he crossed his arms as he looked at the Commander.

"Jackson Prime, when I saw that it was the Defiant that had come through the bridge, I knew it had to be you. You have earned the respect of many in MECH." he said in a confident but respectful manner.

"I seriously doubt that, especially from your boss." Jack replied.

"On the contrary, the Director admires what you have become, the very pinnacle of humanity. Why do you think he spent billions on rebuilding you, it's just a shame you didn't feel the need to repay that debt by staying with MECH." Petrovsky said in return as he looked at the Prime.

"I was willing to help you to stop the Quintessons and then the Reapers, but your boss had other ideas. And to be frank that didn't sit well with me, so I left." Jack said back.

"A pity, you could have become so much more with us. Maybe you just feared success, we all sabotage ourselves in some way or another, but anyway turn back because you do not stand a chance against my forces. You are after all only one ship." the General replied gaining a lop sided grin from Jack.

"Well who said we were alone."

The Prime then gestured a signal with his hand as outside the ship, the vortex was still open due to the close proximity of the Defiant and the MECH ships. Suddenly Aira's fleet flew out and immediately began firing on the enemy vessels as torpedoes and laser fire tore through the MECH vessels defences. The small Alliance frigate then veered out of the way and started for the station as the battle continued around the space bridge. The Defiant flew toward Omega with a few of the merc cruisers, the rest of the MECH fleet was otherwise engaged with the majority of Aria's forces.

"Interesting, I see that they are not Alliance ships though. May I ask if Aria is with you by any chance?" Petrovsky asked before the Asari stepped beside Jack and gave the MECH commander a cold stare.

"She is and she doesn't have anything to say about you."

"That is because she is not used to being defeated, Aria is quick to anger and that clouds her judgment." the General replied while stroking his beard.

"And she obviously thought that having you along for this suicide run would unsettle me."

Petrovsky then smiled back devilishly.

"Now it's my turn, you see I have upgraded Omega's defences. My cannons will tear your ships apart, even the Defiant. If you don't believe me, scan the station and see for yourself."

Jack looked away for a second.

"Teletraan?"

"The General is correct Prime, the cannons appear to be scaled down versions of the Reapers beam weapon. MECH must have gained the Alliance/Council scans of Sovereign's remains. If the beam's from those weapon emplacements were to hit us directly, the ship would not survive." the AI replied grimly, gaining a nod from the General's hologram.

"So I will say this only once, turn back now!"

"Well if you know anything about me General, you know I don't scare easily. So give us your best shot. End transmission." Jack replied before the hologram disappeared.

"Hotrod get us as close to the station as you can, then we will leave in shuttle one and board the station."

He then looked over to Arcee.

"Is everyone ready?"

"Yes, the others are already waiting for us in the shuttle bay." the femme replied with a slight smile.

"Okay then, Aria you are with us…. and Hotrod. The Defiant's yours and Jazz's now, take care of her." he said into his com link.

"We will Prime, and we will head off to the other end of the system as soon as you leave, good luck" the pilot replied as the three entered the elevator. Aria gave Jack a confused look.

"Why is the Defiant not taking part in the battle?" she asked.

"We are here for two objectives Aria, first we are to liberate Omega and second. Make sure MECH does not reopen the rift, not only would it be in our best interests not to let MECH get their hands on any surviving Reaper tech in the galactic core. But also to make sure we don't let anything else come back."

Aria looked even more confused at the last comment Jack made.

"'Anything else', you don't mean the Quintessons do you. I heard they were wiped out when you destroyed their home world."

"Well that's what we all hope, but I am not prepared to take the risk that we might be wrong." he answered in a stoic tone as the elevator doors opened to reveal that Airachnid, Smokescreen, Jazz, Bumblebee, Garrus and Tali were all there (with full gear) waiting for them. Jack placed the Prime octagon on his chest and Aria watched in amazement as the prime armour appeared around his body while Arcee quickly got changed into her own gear.

"Oh, you should have seen her Bee, Mira was gorgeous and very good with her hands." Smokescreen said gaining a wide eyed look from the young bot, Jazz noticed this and patted Bumblebee on the shoulder.

"Ya know the way 'hotshot' here talks, you would think he was an expert with women."

The yellow/black armoured Autobot burst out laughing as Smokescreen suddenly went quiet.

Jazz then turned back to the previously enthusiastic bot.

"I know you had fun Smoke, hell so did I. But I don't think everyone wants to know the details pal." he carried on before Jack, Arcee and Aria joined the group, the Prime gaining their attention.

"Alright, Arcee, Garrus and Tali will be joining myself and Aria for this mission, the rest of you will stay on board the Defiant."

Smokescreen then looked disappointedly at the Commander.

"Prime, I thought you needed us all for this one."

Jack looked over to the bot with a stoic expression.

"Smokescreen, the rest of you are to remain on board to help defend the Defiant, because as soon as our shuttle is away, you will be heading to the far side of the system to make sure that MECH does not reopen the rift. Jazz, you and Hotrod are in command in mine and Arcee's absence."

"Will do Jack, I better get back up to the CIC. Okay guys lets go." he said as the Bumblebee and Smokscreen followed him to the elevator, Airachnid gave Arcee an encouraging smile before joining the others. Jack then turned back to his team.

"Alright, here's the plan. The Defiant will get us as close to the station as possible so that we won't be stopped by the outer defences, then we launch in shuttle one and land in the secret landing bay that Aria has kept hidden."

He then looked over to the Asari.

"You are sure that MECH won't have found it yet?

Aria simply smiled at Jack, which angered Arcee but the femme kept a tight lid on it.

"Prime, the landing bay was hidden for this exact purpose. Once we are in range, I will transmit the activation code and we will be granted access."

The Commander then looked back to his team.

"Once we are aboard we are to then gain control of the main landing bay so that the rest of Aria's forces can board the station, any questions?"

Garrus was about to speak up when Hotrod's voice echoed throughout he room via the intercom.

"Prime, we will be in range of Omega's defences in the next two minutes."

"Okay you heard the man, everybody aboard now!" Jack shouted as his team (Aria first) got on board shuttle one via the opened hatch. Once inside and the hatch sealed, Arcee turned to the Commander.

"I swore I saw a MAKO ground assault vehicle in place of the old battered shuttle that we stole from the Tidal Wave just now."

Jack smiled at her.

"That's because you did, Anderson let me swap that piece of junk for one of the MAKO's that was on the Citadel. You never know when one may come in handy."

The femme smiled back as Aria watched the two curiously, meanwhile Tali was looking over to Garrus who was uncharacteristically quiet.

"Garrus, don't worry. We will find Shen." she said in caring and encouraging tone, he looked over to her and for a second that he could almost see the beautiful smile she had through her visor and smiled slightly back.

"I hope so Tali, thank you."

The shuttle pilot then looked back at his passengers.

"Ok Sir, we are ready to go."

Alright, everyone buckle up." the Prime replied as they all fastened themselves into their seats.

The Defiant and the Merc cruisers flew toward the Omega station at top speed as the cannons on Omega's exterior powered up, a bright red light glowing in the firing chamber before it let out a powerful energy blast that shot by the Alliance frigate, narrowly missing the hull as Hotrod turned the ship on it's side.

The weapons fired again as the Defiant performed a barrel roll, again missing the attacks by mere metres. The merc cruisers though weren't so lucky as one of the shots hit and sliced through the portside cruiser, splitting it in two. While the starboard side cruiser's engine was hit, making the vessel lose it's ability to control it's direction and it spun out of control. As it erratically headed toward the station, the two cruisers following the Defiant from behind veered off and stayed out of range as the Alliance frigate carried on.

"Defiant, we can't go any further. The station's defences will cut us to shreds if we do."

"Roger that, we will take of the defences." Hotrod replied over the com. The Defiant drew closer, still narrowly evading contact with the enemy fire, it then fired a spread of torpedoes which impacted with several of the weapon emplacements perfectly.

"Nice shooting Teletraan." the Autobot exclaimed.

"Thank you" the AI replied.

"Okay, launching shuttle in four, three, two..."

The Defiant's shuttle bay doors opened up and shuttle one flew out and toward the lower section of the station as the the Alliance frigate pulled away and headed in the opposite direction, the remaining Merc cruisers also flew past the Defiant and toward the station, now that the defences were taken offline.

"Thanks for the lift Defiant." Jack said over the com.

"Yeah, you welcome ground team. Good luck" Hotrod replied before looking at his console s screen.

"Setting course for the rift's coordinates." Teletraan stated, the Defiant then continued toward the other side of the system as the rest of Aria's fleet began moving toward Omega, now that they had taken out the rest of MECHs forces at the space bridge. Meanwhile the shuttle now that it was inside the station's defence grid moved down to the lower levels as it neared the secret hanger.

"We are almost at the given coordinates." the pilot stated as the passengers unhooked them selves from their seats and prepared, Jack and Aria stepped next to the pilot, the Asari pointed out towards a side of the outer hull.

"There it is, now keep the ship steady while I activate it." Aria told the pilot while activating her holo-tool, but after a moment nothing happened. Jack looked out at the spot and shook his head.

"Are you sure we have the right spot?" he asked, gaining a glare from the Asari. But it soon turned into a smile as part of the wall retracted, revealing the landing bay.

"You see, Omega welcomes me back with open arms."

The shuttle then started to move towards the bay, but suddenly an energy shield projected itself across the opening blocking their entrance.

Aria stare opened mouthed in disbelief at what happened in front of her.

"Impossible, there is no way he would have figured it out."

Jack looked over to her with a stoic expression.

"Is there another way in?" he asked gaining a head shake from Aria.

"No, this was the only way in that I thought they would not pick up on."

Arcee looked into the cockpit.

"Then why don't we just destroy the field's power source?" she said, gaining a smile from the Prime, who took a seat next to the pilot and began a scan of the area. A holo-screen appeared in front of him and tapped what looked like a energy signal next to the door and passed it through to the Pilot's interface.

"Alright, arm the missile launcher and destroy that section." he said. The pilot nodded and worked his controls, Aria though gave Jack an angry look.

"Wait I think I can hack the….." she started to say before looking back outside. One of the cannon's that were situated on either side of the shuttle activated and aimed toward the spot the Prime designated before firing a missile which hit the spot directly, causing a small explosion. The field then faded to nothing and the shuttle moved in and landed. Aira looked at Jack angrily.

"Well we may be in, but I will be sending you the bill for that Prime." she said calmly, though really she must have been fuming.

"Your welcome, no everyone put you breather helmets on and be ready to move." he replied back before his breather helmet grew out of the back of his armour and formed around his head.

Once everyone was inside the station and out of the vacuum filled landing bay, Tali locked the door and stabilised life support. Everyone else then removed their helmets and took a deep breath. Aria then looked over to Jack.

"Prime I apologise, if I had stopped you from blowing the door's power supply and hacked the door like I wanted. Then we would have had to fight our way in here."

Garrus and Tali looked out to the shuttle through the observation window and saw several MECH soldiers, their lifeless bodies floating around aimlessly.

"You would think they would have had their helmets locked down, ready for any possible depressurising of the atmosphere." the Turian stated, gaining a chuckle from the Quarian. Jack nodded at Aria while Arcee looked at a screen being emitted from her holo-tool.

"Okay we are only a short distance from a security station, from there Tali can hack into the system and open up the main landing bays for the rest of the mercs to land."

"Without the reinforcements, the five of us don't stand a chance of retaking the station." Jack said as Aria took a step forward and opened the door nearest to them and walked into the adjourning corridor.

"Well lets get moving then." she said as the others joined her.

As they moved through the dimly lit and cargo filled corridor, Jack was reminded how dirty Omega was. Not just in how the station looked, but in how it was run. Aria ran the place like a dictatorship, that was obvious. The only people that mattered to her were the rich and the powerful, but they were out numbered by the poor and mistreated. This sort of divide in society was in the process of being eliminated in the Alliance, and that was mainly down to the Cybertronians. Having seen what happens to a society that had been split down the middle, those that were privileged and those not so. This knowledge came to them via the great war which was started when members of their species were no longer happy with the caste system that the high council had enforced on the population. Over the time that he was on Earth, Optimus Prime had seen that humanity were on a similar course and once the war had ended, had pursued an end to such a path. Pressing forward with an ideal that everyone was free to make their own choices and not be held down by rules and regulations that were unjust. As of the time when the Reaper war had started, this initiative was well under way. But here there was no such hope for the people living under the weight of the corruption and villainy of those in power. Jack was brought out of his thoughts by three MECH soldiers who walked around the corner and spotted the group before opening fire. The ground team took cover behind various cargo containers, Arcee fired back with her SMG as Garrus shot on through the head with his sniper rifle, Tali was taking cover next to him. Then one of the enemies dropped off a package on the floor before activating his holo-tool. Jack fired back and killed another soldier before recognising what he was doing.

"Turret, everyone stay down!" he yelled back as the package mass shifted into a weapon emplacement which began firing on the group without sign of stopping.

"What now, that turret has us pinned down." Arcee asked Jack who looked over to Aria who was smirking back at the couple.

"What, you have something you want to tell us?" the Prime shouted over the gunfire.

"Watch and learn." she answered back cryptically as her hands started to pulse with blue energy, she then peeked over her cover and saw the turret and the engineer (the soldier) who was controlling it with his holo-tool. She then gestured towards the device and it suddenly started to rise off the floor before she punched her fist toward the engineer, sending the turret slamming into him and exploding, sending the engineer flying to the ground. Everyone then got up from cover as Aria then lifted the soldier off of the ground with this blue energy and then slammed him hard into the ceiling, bones could be heard cracking before she released the enemy, his dead body falling to the ground with a thud.

"Biotics, very impressive." Garrus said as Arcee and Jack looked at him confused.

"You two never seen an Asari use biotics before?" the Turian replied.

"Never had the chance before." Jack answered with Arcee nodding in agreement. Aria turned and smirked at the two.

"How you ever fought without biotics is beyond me." she said. Tali and Garrus took either side of the group and kept watch down both sides of the corrider for any more of MECH patrols.

"How do you use biotics?" the Arcee asked curiously, which gained a sigh from the Asari.

"Well as far as I am aware, my people are the only species in the galaxy that can. It is the ability to create and control gravity fields. Don't ask me how we can, I don't know. We just can."

The femme nodded as Jack looked down the corridor from where the enemy soldiers came from.

"It's impressive I give you that, but lets keep moving." The Prime said gaining a nod from everyone in the group, they then carried on up the corridor as the battle carried on outside the station.

The remaining ships of Aria's fleet kept to the side of Omega which was still damaged from the Defiant taking out that side's defences, but were now in battle with the remaining MECH cruisers that had caught up with them from the space bridge. Meanwhile Jack's team had made it to the security station and were preparing to attack, Tali was looking at the map on her holo-tool before gesturing how many soldiers were in the room with her hands to the Prime who nodded back. he then turned to the others.

"Right there are five enemies in the Security station behind me, so Aria if you can go in first and draw their attention with that 'magic' of yours."

"Yes I can and it is not magic Prime. I will go in and erect a barrier, that will allow the rest of you to enter and then I will drop it so you can finish them off."

Arcee looked at the Asari with a slight confused look.

"You can do that?" she asked gaining a annoyed sigh from Aria who readied herself at the door.

"Yes, now lets get on with it." she said, not hiding her annoyance of the Autobot as she pressed the door control panel, Garrus and Tali waited on the left of the door and Arcee and Jack on the other as the door slid open and Aria walked in. The moment she entered the room she saw three of the troops near the main control console, with the other two just in front of her. They all raised their weapons at her.

"Stop right there, this area is off limits." the leader spoke, but the Asari merely laughed it off.

"You cant tell me what to do on my own station." she responded before her fists started to glow. The lead soldier then realised who she was.

"Aria T'Loak, kill her now!" he shouted as the other troopers began firing at her, but the bullets stopped in mid air just in front of her (barrier) as they caused a ripple to pass over the air in front of her. She then immediately punched in front of her which took the leader off of his feet as if he had been hit in the face. Jack and the others then charged in as Aria shortened the barrier to cover just her as the others fired and took out each and every soldier in the room that was still standing. She then walked over to the MECH lead soldier who was just recovering, she then lifted him into the air with her biotics and looked at his helmet. Jack and Garrus stood beside her and noticed it too.

"He is wearing a vid-cam in his helmet." Garrus observed as Tali went over to the security console and hacked it with her holo-tool. Aria stared into the cam and smiled darkly.

"Can you see this Oleg, we are coming for you. I will have Omega back." she then flung the soldier across the room, his face smashed when his body hit the wall. Suddenly the console came to life and an orange screen appeared, Tali smiled before looking over to the others.

"That's it, I am in and the main landing bays are now open for the reinforcements." she said as the others stood around her and watched on the monitors as the merc cruisers began docking with the station and Aria's forces started fighting with the MECH soldiers. Meanwhile inside his office, Olega Petrovsky was watching on his monitors as the ground war had started on the station, he then turned toward a chess set. It had real chess pieces on one side and holographic pieces on the other. He then picked up a pawn and knocked over it's holographic equivalent.

"So it begins" he said with a slight smile before activating his com link.

"Double check our defensive lines and prepare to release the Adjutants. Hold fast and true against those that now invade our station and we will prevail."

While fighting continued in the docking areas of Omega, down in the lower sections, Jack's team were moving up to the secret base that Aria's troops were going to meet them at. Jack had Garrus and Tali watching the rear, making sure that they were not being followed.

"So you are absolutely sure about this place Aria?" the Prime asked while he, Arcee and the Asari walked through the dimly lit tunnel.

"I am entirely sure of this Prime, remember this is my station." she replied with a smile, obviously attempting to flirt with Jack. Arcee though just rolled her eyes and crossed her arms and looked unimpressed with Aria.

"Just like you said that MECH would never find your 'secret' landing bay, and we all know how that turned out."

The Asari was about to speak when a familiar voice was heard from the shadows.

"Well Aria always like to exaggerate things."

Everyone turned and pointed their weapons at the shadowed area where the voice had come from as a hooded figure walked out slowly.

"Who goes there?" Arcee warned before the new arrival walked into the light and revealed that she was a female Turian, Aria immediately lowered her weapon and smirked.

"Nyreen, what the hell are you doing here?"

"My men and I are mainly playing cat and mouse with the MECH soldiers, thanks to these tunnels." the Turian replied.

"'My tunnels', I am sure glad I showed them too you." the Asari said with a hint of affection in her voice.

"If you hadn't, then the resistance would have died months ago." Nyreen said as Jack and Arcee stood either side of Aria and lowered their weapons.

"From what I have heard and seen recently, Aria doesn't trust easily. You two must be close." Jack said gaining a knowingly look from Nyreen before she looked back to Aria.

"I don't know, are we close Aria?" she said with a somewhat coy like tone.

"Jackson Prime, this is Nyreen Kandros, former Turian Military. We go way back." she said with a smile aimed at the Turian female.

"You said you and your men, where are they?" Jack asked.

"We had heard that the station was under attack from outside forces, so I brought a squad up here. Figured that if anyone boarded the station then here would be a good place to find out who it was. Should have known that it would be you Aria."

"Yes well, I don't like people messing with my stuff. Look Nyreen, I have questions like a ton of them. But we need to get to my bunker first and regroup with my forces who are also heading there."

"Yes, the others should be back any moment and then we move." Jack added as Arcee looked down at the pistol that Nyreen was carrying.

"Nice gun, you ready to put it to good use?" she asked as Nyreen smirked at her and equipped it.

"You have no idea how ready." she replied gaining a smile from the femme. Then Garrus and Tali returned and were walking up to Jack when Nyreen saw Garrus and her eyes widened.

"Jack, we are in the clear, no MECH forces at our rear." the Turian replied.

"Garrus, is that you?" Nyreen said softly, gaining the male Turian's attention. He looked at her for a moment before realisation kicked in.

"Nyreen?" he said in a shocked manner. Tali just looked between the two as both Turians began getting closer.

"Garrus, it's been a long time." she said as she noticed the scars on the right side of his face and reached out with a hand to touch them.

"What happened here?" she asked.

"Occupational hazard, you know the usual." he replied as he let her gently stroke that side of his face.

"You haven't lost your good looks though, or your sense of humour I see." she chuckled as Tali just kept quiet and watched the two in shocked silence. Arcee noticed and walked to the Quarian's side as Jack stepped forward.

"Garrus, care to explain?"

The Turian turned to his friend. Nyreen doing the same.

"Jack, I will tell you later once we are out of harms way." he replied, the Prime nodded in return before looking at Nyreen.

"About your men, do you know where they are?"

The female Turian then looked at her holo-tool and saw three blips on the map.

"They are in a room just a little ahead of us that way." she pointed.

"Okay then lets move." jack said as the group started moving, only Tali was still standing with Arcee next to her.

"You alright?" she asked the Quarian.

"I…don't know, I just…." she managed to say before walking to catch up with the others, Arcee just stood and watched her friend before shaking her head and heading after her.

After running down a few hundred feet down the tunnels, the group came to an opening that overlooked shown a large view of the Omega station, the metallic pillars dangling from the giant asteroid of which the station was built on. Nyreen look around before her eyes came across a sight that made them narrow in anger. The others noticed too as they saw the two Turian and one Batarian lying dead on the ground just ahead of them. As the group moved around the bodies, Garrus, Nyreen and Arcee bent down and examined the bodies. The female Turian bowed her head and shook it slightly, Garrus placed a comforting hand on her shoulder.

"It's not your fault Nyreen, don't blame yourself." she looked up to him and gave him a slight smile.

"Thank you Garrus, but I should have been with them."

Arcee noticed some wounds on the necks of the corpses, her eyes widened in response.

"What the hell is that?" she said as she saw a blue like mucus seeping out of the wounds. Jack then caught a glimpse of Aria's face, it was one of shock and horror.

"Aria what is it?" he asked as everyone looked at her.

"Get back now." she warned as she stepped away from the corpses which as if on command started to flinch erratically, the group then followed the Asari's lead as the three corpses started to mutate and change, their skin turned dark blue with a synthetic look. Their eyes opened to reveal a husk like blue optics, giant neon light blue pus sacs grew out of their backs. The right arms of the once were corpses then shifted and grew into what looked like bio-cannons with the same light blue energy flowing into them via tubing that was connected to the same pus sacs. They then opened their mouths and started to vomit, a bleak like substance splattering on the floor as a large amount of tendrils then flopped out and hung from the inside of their now agape mouths. Everyone just watched in shock at what had transpired in front of them.

"Adjutants!" both Aria and Nyreen said at once, making the creatures look directly at the group. The Adjutants just stared at them for a moment before one made a deafening roar and the three leapt at Jack and the others, Jack rolled out of the way as one landed where he was standing, he then turned and fired his rifle at the creature, unloading the entire clip into it before it fell to the ground. The second one leapt towards Aria and Arcee, but the Asari stopped it in it's tracks and held it in the air with her biotics, before throwing it off the large balcony and down into the depths below. It's cries could still be heard as the third attacked Garrus, Tali and Nyreen. The Turian male pushed the Quarian out of the way as the Adjutant landed in front of him and swiped him to the side. Nyreen then gasped before firing her pistol into it's face as it turned and attacked her. Tali recovered and fired her shotgun into it's back, exploding the large blue sac's that lined it's back, bright blue goo splattering it's surroundings.

"Don't let that blue substance touch you." Nyreen warned Tali, who nodded and kept firing into the creature's back until it finally fell to the ground dead. Tali then started to walk towards Garrus, but was surprised to see Nyreen had beat her there and was helping Garrus to his feet.

"You okay?" she asked.

"Yeah, no real damage. Tali you alright?" he asked and the Quarian nodded in return as Jack and Arcee looked over the creature's bodies, the latter was scanning them with her holo-tool.

"Jack, these things have Reaper tech in them. And their cells are not dead either, they are still replicating." Arcee said while the Prime looked down at them with a stoic look.

"Garrus, doe you think this is what Shen was on about in his message to you. Could these be what MECH are changing people into?"

Garrus looked down at the creatures.

"It would make sense, but they are almost like Husks. But those bodies were changed from what…..bite wounds."

"That's how they make more of themselves." Arcee said as she looked over the results on her holo-tool.

"From what I can tell, the Adjutants infect their prey with a virus that then mutates their bodies and turns them into an Adjutant."

"Like the Borg?" Garrus replied gaining a look from Jack, while Tali chuckled.

"Garrus, you really need to stop watching Star Trek."

"Well Jack, the vids were from your own personal collection." he said back, gaining a chuckle from Arcee who looked up at the Prime and smiled.

"He's got you there Jack."

"Okay, lets get back to the mission now okay." he said suddenly feeling embarrassed. His team just continued to laugh while Aria and Nyreen looked on in bemusement.

"Ok, how far before we reach your bunker Aria?" Jack asked, then Aria held her left hand up to the Prime while reaching to her ear with her right.

"Hold on Prime, I am receiving a call. Bray report."

"Aria, we have reached the bunker. But the Talons are refusing us entry." the Batarian said over the com making the Asari look at Nyreen with daggers.

"Do you know anything about this, because to my understanding the Talons are just a small merc group."

"They were before I took them over and gave them purpose. And when MECH began their occupation, we moved down to the bunker and launched a guerrilla war. Hoping to help the people of Omega, the ones you failed." Nyreen replied.

"You will let my people in there now." she said angrily.

"Of course, once we are there ourselves. So lets move." Nyreen said, gaining a smile from Arcee as Jack and the others followed the female Turian, Aria just stood and seethed at her before following them.

The journey to the bunker was uneventful as Jack's team made it to the heavily fortified entrance to Aria's bunker, which as of this moment was under the command of the Talons. As Aria walked over and spoke to Bray and her forces who were waiting as well, Nyreen activated her holo-tool and the reinforced doors opened, allowing them all to enter. They then entered a large room with balconies risen high above them. Jack looked around and saw that Nyreen had quite the operation going on, he couldn't help but be impressed. Aria though looked disinterested as she headed over to the command station and began looking through the data files.

"Aria, that is restricted information. For Talons eyes only." she said as she stepped in the Asari's way, but she was pushed aside.

"Nyreen I am very impressed with what you have done here, but your men are now under my control. You of all people know what happens to those who argue with me" Aria said in a matter of fact tone.

"And if I say no….. what you'll kill me, My men will not stand for that." the female Turian said, as a number of her troops started to look over at the two as they argued. Jack then stepped forward between the two.

"Hey remember the enemy is out there, not in here."

Both females turned an cursed under their breath before Garrus stepped forward and looked at the security footage. It was showing all the civilians in lockdown in their homes and public places, held back by force fields.

"So what is the plan here?"

"I want to free the people and let them help us take back Omega."

Nyreen looked back at the Asari in shock.

"That's your plan, you want to throw civilians at the MECH forces. I knew you didn't give a damn about them."

"On the contrary, I care a great deal for 'my people'. I just want to give them the opportunity to fight for their homes." Aria replied coyly as she stepped into the center of the room and activated her holo-tool. Suddenly all the monitors in the room focused on the Asari.

"What's she doing?" Nyreen said looking over to one of her men.

"She is over ruling our commands and has taken control of the intercom." he said as he frantically typed at his control station.

Aria smiled back at the female Turian.

"Like I said, Omega is mine to control. Now watch and learn." she said before pressing a button on her holo-tool. Suddenly every monitor and screen on the station showed her face, gaining the attention of whoever was around to notice. Be that MECH soldiers or civilians. Even the screens in Pretovsky's office showed her as he watched.

"People of Omega, I have returned. MECH believes that they have defeated you, that they have you under their 'control'… they are gravely mistaken. Because you are the lawless of the galaxy, you can never be defeated, never be controlled. Be ready, for the chance to strike back at your oppressors is coming. Together we will take Omega back!" she exclaimed loudly with her arms outstretched. In the room and all over the station, people began cheering, punching the air as the MECH soldiers watched from their side of the force fields. The screens and monitors then shut off as Aria walked back to the group. Nyreen shook her head in disgust.

"I know what you are doing Aria and I don't like it." she said before she saw some civilians being helped by some of her men.

"I have civilians that need evacuating, we will discuss this later." she said to the Asari before walking over to her men. Jack walked over to Aria.

"What are you doing Aria?" he said as Arcee stood beside him and Tali went over to Garrus.

" Prime, the people of Omega. My people are always up for a good fight and when it breaks out, they will be ready. And Nyreen cares to much for them to just sit by and watch them be slaughtered, so she will make sure her forces are out there too."

"Well I am with Nyreen on this one Aria, we don't put civilians in the firing line." the Prime protested, this did not go unnoticed by the female Turian who looked over to see him berate the Asari.

"Maybe that is how you deal with things in the Alliance, but this is Omega. So you better get used to it." the Asari said back with a stoic look. Jack shook his head before looking over to Arcee who was in the middle of call. Once done she looked back at the Prime.

"Just got a message from Hotrod, they are nearly in range of the MECH ships at the rift's location."

As Jack and Arcee spoke, Tali was standing beside Garrus and watching him work as he looked through the database.

"What are you looking for Garrus?"

"Anything that will tell me where Shen is, but the MECH sections of the database are encrypted."

The Quarian placed a hand on the Turian's in support.

"Let me." she said softly as Garrus then stepped aside and let her activate her holo-tool and connect it to the console.

"Right my decryption program is now running. This should take a few minutes." she added as Garrus smiled back at her.

"Thanks Tali."

The Quarian then looked out toward Nyreen, this gained Garrus's attention as he wondered what she was looking at.

"So, you and Nyreen go back a while huh?" she asked.

"Yes, we served in the Turian military many years ago." he replied.

"And you two were close?"

"We 'were', but that is in the past." Garrus answered sheepishly which caught the Quarian's attention even more.

"What do you mean Garrus?"

"I mean Tali, that I am focusing on the here and now." he replied before looking down to the ground and sighing.

"And also, there is nothing between us now anyway." he said.

"Are you sure, she certainly hasn't forgotten you." Tali replied.

"well even if she hasn't, that doesn't mean I feel the same though."

Garrus..." the Quarian said making the Turian turn to face her and speak before she finished what she was saying.

"Tali, I don't know exactly how to say this so I will just go ahead and say it, there is someone else I am interested in now and she is standing right..."

Garrus was cut off by the console which was beeping loudly and information was flowing down the screen unencrypted.

"It worked, we have access to MECH's database." the Turian said as Jack and Arcee joined them. Tali though was still looking a little anxious in her posture.

"Have you found Shen?" the Prime asked as Aria walked over.

"Just a second...(beep), got it." Garrus replied. before his expression dropped.

"What is it?" Tali asked.

"The MECH soldiers found him and took him to the Adjutant labs for processing." Garrus said.

"Where are those labs?" Jack asked as the Turian typed into the console and brought up a map of a level of the station.

"The labs are near the auxiliary power distribution hub that is connected to the power core" Tali said while Garrus had gone quiet. The Prime then looked at screen himself.

"Please tell me that hub controls all the force fields on the station?" Jack asked.

"Not completely, but if I can access this power sub-station on the other side of Omega, then I can divert the power lines and make that hub the primary source for those force fields." the Quarian replied, gaining a smile from the Prime before he looked back to the others, Nyreen had joined them at this point.

"Alright here's what we do. Garrus, Nyreen, Aria and myself will head to the labs and liberate anyone who is being held there." he then looked at Garrus who gave Jack a nod in return.

"We will then head on through to hub and sabotage it. Tali in the meantime will head on over to sub-station and divert the power lines. You should get there before we make it to the hub, so just get straight on it." the Prime said to the Quarian who nodded.

"Wait Jack, who goes with Tali then. You aren't going to send her alone are you?" Garrus asked, gaining a smile from Tali and an awkward look from Nyreen who was surprised to see such concern from the Turian male.

"Of course not Garrus…..Nyreen…" the Prime replied.

"Yes Prime, I will send a squad of my men with her." she then looked over to Garrus.

"They will make sure she completes her mission and returns safely." she added with a caring tone to Garrus who nodded in gratitude as did Tali, Arcee then placed her hand in the air, gaining Jack's attention.

"Jack, what about me?"

"Arcee, I want you to remain here and coordinate the uprising with Aria's forces and the Talons. But you are not to launch the attack until the force fields are down. Aria's forces will lead the assault and the Talons will support the civilians who want to fight."

Nyreen smiled at Jack.

"Thank you Prime, I am glad that I am not the only one here who is worried about the civilians." she said before glaring at Aria.

"Well they are to support those that want to fight, or help those who do not to safety." Jack added. Aria just looked at Prime with what appeared to be an expression of half lust and half loathing, it was quite the combination.

"Prime I hope you remember who's operation this is. I will not be dictated on my own station." she said with a hint of anger, but Jack stood his ground.

"Well it is not 'your station' yet and you accepted my help. So because of that I will not accept civilian casualties, not if they don't want to be involved in the fighting.

Aria gritted her teeth as her anger started to show in her face as she stared daggers at Jack, but he still kept his stoic appearance as he walked closer to her.

"In the end Aria, what is it that you want. Is it to free Omega and it's people, or are you just after revenge. If it is the latter then you can stay here, because I will not allow a loose cannon to ruin our chances of success." The Prime added, causing Aria to nearly lose it in front of everyone as they watched.

"You will not allow…." she spat back before looking Jack up and down, she then let a half smile grace her lips as her look of lust showed on her face again.

"Very well Prime, we'll play it your way…..for now." she finished before turning her back on him and walking away. As she walked past Bray, he looked over to Jack and smiled before following her. Nyreen and Arcee were watching too, the female Turian had a look of utter shock on her face.

"He said no to Aria and she accepted." she said, surprise evident in her voice. Arcee smiled while keeping her eyes on Jack.

"Not the first time either. Garrus told me that Jack said no to her earlier, on board the Citadel."

"Unbelievable, the more I hear and see of this Prime. The more I like him." she said before looking over to the femme.

"Is he single?" she then asked, making Arcee's smile disappear as her face became serious. The femme then crossed her arms.

"No…. he is not." she stated in a matter of fact way before walking off.

"Pity." Nyreen said before looking over to Garrus who was with Tali. The Quarian noticed this and suddenly became uncomfortable.

"I better get ready for my mission." she said in slight hurt way before walking off.

"Tali wait.." was all Garrus could say before she walked off, not noticing that Jack had walked beside him.

"Is everything alright?" he asked gaining the Turian's attention.

"Jack, sorry… I was." was all he could say before taking a deep breath.

"It's okay Garrus, Arcee told me that things were awkward between the three of you." Jack said.

"Three of us?" Garrus said in return, slightly confused.

"Yes… you, Tali and Nyreen. And since the mission won't be starting for another few minutes, I thought you could fill me in on the details between you and Nyreen. Like you said you would earlier." the Commander replied. Garrus sighed and looked over to Tali who was talking with some of the Talons before looking back to his friend.

"Well, I met Nyreen when I was a young soldier in the Turian Military, this was years before C-Sec. We were both stationed on the Menae, it is one of two moons that orbit's Palaven. After working together a few times we.. what is the Human term…. we hit it off. We found that we liked the same things and quickly fell for each other big time."

"I see, so what changed?" Jack asked curiously.

"After two years together, we were given an assignment to take down a pair of mercs who were raiding Turian shipping lanes. When we boarded their ship, we split up to take them down. But she got herself captured, and they said they would kill her if I didn't let them go."

"What happened?" the Prime asked.

"She told me not to let them go, but I loved her, so I chose her and let them go. She then immediately told our superiors what had happened and I was discharged from the military for not doing my duty. We Turians take our duty and honour very seriously."

Jack looked at him in shock.

"She got you fired? I mean how could she?"

"She told me that she appreciated what I did, but could not condone it and had to report my behaviour. Before I left she told me she loved me."

"Well she has a funny way of showing it." Jack replied, Garrus shook his head in response.

"Jack, Turians aren't like Humans. We cant let ourselves be guided by our feelings all the time. The military is in our blood, we are born into it. So to not follow your orders to the latter can be seen as almost treasonous, depending on what your orders were to begin with. I understood why she did it, but I too saw that she would always put her duty before her personal feelings, So I cut ties with her."

So how did you end up at C-Sec, I guess your family wasn't happy." the Prime said in return.

"You would be right, my father is a very 'by the book' person. He had a saying, ' do things right or don't do them at all'. He was disappointed, but since I had a flawless record before Nyreen. He instead got me a job with C-Sec (he was working there himself), though he did give me some advice." the Turian replied.

"What was that then?"

"Relationships and work do not mix, don't make that mistake again." Garrus said as he tried to impersonate his father.

"So, is that why you have held back from Tali all this time?" Jack asked inquisitively.

"Partly, I guess a part of me didn't want to get hurt again. And also why I give you and Arcee a hard time about it whenever you too start flirting with each other in front of the others."

Jack gave his friend a slight smile.

"Garrus, I am not going to stop my crew or my team mates from fraternizing. If I did that, then you have to ask yourself. What are we fighting for in this war."

Garrus gave Jack a look of understanding as he nodded.

"I see what you mean."

"So have you told her yet?" the Prime asked.

"I was about to, but…" the Turian said, then Jack gently motioned him towards the Quarian.

"Then I suggest you go over there and tell now before she goes, Arcee also told me that Tali was concerned with Nyreen and yourself. It's probably best to dispel and lingering doubt. Want me to make it and order?"

Garrus smiled back at Jack.

"That won't be necessary Jack." he said before walking over to Tali who was just going through her gear. He tapped her on the shoulder, and she turned around and he could almost see a sad smile form under the purple visor she wore.

"Garrus I wasn't expecting…"

"Tali, what's wrong?" he asked sensing the discomfort in her voice.

"I just thought you would be heading off with Nyreen now." she replied.

"No, Jack's still setting things up. Look that is the reason I wanted to speak to you." he said, but then Tali cut him off.

"Garrus, you don't need to say anything." she replied, gaining a confused look from the Turian.

"What you mean I don't have to.." he asked back.

"I mean you and Nyreen right, she seems really nice. I am happy for you." Tali said, trying to sound as sincere as possible, yet her tone betrayed the hurt she felt. The Turian's eyes widened as he realised what she was saying.

"No, Tali it isn't.."

"Let me finish please, I like you Garrus…. I like you a lot. And I was hoping that maybe you…." she said as she looked away for a moment.

"..But I know that this couldn't be, I mean I am stuck in this suit and I, you deserve to be with someone who can be with you fully. In every way that I can not."

She then started to move away but Garrus stopped her and got in her way.

"Tali, I don't want Nyreen."

The Quarian looked up at the Turian.

"You….don't?"

"I want you." he said back, he could see through her visor that her white eyes had widened as what he just said sunk in.

"Really, I uh, I mean…sorry, I…..Oh!" she replied back in shock, as they stood there looking at each other, Garrus saw a full beaming smile appear on her face through her visor.

"Thank you." she replied happily, but then she pulled back slightly.

"You tell me this now!"

Garrus shot her a confused look.

"Wait what?"

The Quarian then crossed her arms, her posture looked a little confrontational.

"You wait until I am about to go on a mission and then tell me. I have been waiting for ages.."

"I have been wondering when the best… , I mean I tried to tell you back…" the Turian replied back, but then was went silent as Tali pulled him into an embrace. For several long seconds they remained silent as they enjoyed the moment, unbeknownst to the two, Nyreen was watching from the other side of the room. Tali then looked up into the Turian's eyes.

"Can we even make this work, I mean I am stuck in this enviro-suit."

"But not for long through right, I mean the Geth are helping your people right now." he said back, earning a nod from the Quarian.

"That is true, but I don't think I can wait that long, give me some time. Maybe I can find some way for us to be together sooner, some kind of medication or bio stabilizer."

Garrus then looked down into her eyes.

"Take as much time as you need Tali, I can wait. I'll never give up on you…. Ever, I promise." he replied in a soft tone and she responded by hugging him more.

"I know, thank you Garrus. So…. I guess we have some things to discuss after this mission is over."

"Looking forward to it." he replied as he held her close. Then one of the Talon soldiers called over to the Quarian.

"Oh, I have to go. I will see you later then." she said happily as she started to walk away, Garrus smiled as he watched her walk off, but then she turned to him.

"I nearly forgot, I made an upgrade for your holo-tool, it is uploaded onto that console. I think you will find it useful." she said before waving to him and then leaving with the Talon group that was assigned to her. Garrus waved back before walking over to the console that she had pointed out to him. He then activated his holo-tool and downloaded the file named 'Garrus1'. Soon as it was finished he activated the program which changed the holo-tool into a holo-blade. The Turian smiled down at the new melee weapon his 'girlfriend' had made for him.

"Thanks Tali." he said to himself.

"Garrus, it's time." Jack called over, he was standing with Aira and Nyreen as Arcee and Bray were talking. Garrus nodded and deactivated his holo-tool before walking over and joining them.


Chapter 14

Her heart beat quickened as Tali ran up the corridor, the group of Talon soldiers following while firing back down toward the far end as several Adjutants were gaining on the group. They had only made it halfway to the sub-station before coming under attack, first by MECH soldiers and now by these abominations. Tali reached the door at her end of the corridor and started to hack the controls with her holo-tool, one of the Talons joined her while the rest kept firing at the gaining enemies.

"How long?" he asked, fear evident in his voice as he spoke.

"Just a moment, I almost have it" she replied while franticly working her holo-tool. The soldier then looked back at the other three who were still further down the corridor, holding the Adjutants back with continuos weapons fire.

"Fall back to our position." he shouted while waving them over. The three saw this and started to move towards the rest of the group, but never taking their aim off of the enemy. Once they were back with Tali and the leader, he and the group made a defensive wall and fired back to the Adjutants, their bullets pummelling the husk like creatures. But they kept coming, making their way slowly toward the group and screaming out that in human roar.

"We aren't going to make it." one said as shot clean through the knee of one Adjutant, but not even slowing it down.

"Just focus on keeping them back, Tali is nearly through the door." the leader said back. But just as they got nearly within arms reach, Tali's holo-tool beeped.

"Yes, its done!" the Quarian exclaimed as the door opened.

"Alright, Tali in first we will cover you. Move!" the squad leader said gaining a nod from the Tech expert who then entered the next room. Having seen that their objective had gotten to safety, the leader the. Equipped an incendiary grenade and threw it in to the horde of Adjutants.

"Okay, now go!" he shouted as the others stood up and ran for the door. The creatures ignored the grenade and kept heading for the group, but suddenly it exploded and engulfed the Adjutants in flames. The squad leader then followed his men through the door which Tali then closed behind him. The Talons then looked on in surprise as the door was suddenly covered by a force field.

"You did that?" one of the soldiers asked, gaining a nod from the Quarian.

"That was easy, believe me. We are not to far from the sub station and that door and force field should keep those things at bay for the time being." she replied before she opened the door at the other end and they followed her through.

Meanwhile at the opposite side of Omega, Jack, Garrus, Aria and Nyreen were making their way to the research labs that MECH had set up, while their main objective was to reach the power hub and deactivate all the force fields that were holding the citizens of Omega. Jack also wanted to help his friend find the young boy he has helped over a year ago. They turned a corner and ran into a group of MECH soldiers who fired at them on sight, Aria instantly set up a barrier which held back the weapons fire. Garrus immediately blew a hole through on soldier's face with a shot from his sniper rifle, Jack shot another in the legs, this made the enemy fall to his knees and Nyreen finished him off with three perfectly aimed shots to his heart. The last guy was about to turn and run, but Aria then created a singularity in the air next to the trooper. It pulled him off of the ground and spun him in the air, she then equipped her pistol and shot him through the head.

"Well what was that now? like the seventh patrol we have come across in the last hour?". Garrus asked gaining a look from the Prime.

"It's almost like they know where we are." Jack replied by knowingly. Aria shook her head in disagreement.

"They do not have a clue, I have control of all the cameras on Omega (due to her stunt earlier). Petrovsky doesn't have any..."

In his office the MECH General was watching the group on one of his monitors.

"..idea what we have planned." Aria said, gaining a smile from the Human.

"Yes keep thinking that my dear." he replied as a hologram of Silas appeared next to him.

"Petrovsky report." he said coldly before taking a sip out of the glass in his hand. The General turned to him and smiled.

"Everything is under control Director, we know exactly what they are up to and already have counter measures in place."

The Director stared at him, his yellow optics glowing brightly.

"Don't underestimate Darby." he answered.

Director, I promise that the Prime will be dead by the end of the day." Petrovsky replied confidently.

"No I don't want Darby harmed, understand?" the Director replied harshly. This gained a confused look from the General.

"I do not understand, did you not tell Sideways that Darby would be killed?"

Silas took another drink from his glass before answering.

"Of course, I told Sideways that we would help him neutralise The Prime, but only if the former Con himself is there. Since he is not though, I would rather keep Darby alive. Because I believe that he can still play a part for MECH. Do you understand?"

"Well what do you suggest Director?" Petrovsky asked.

"Darby's weakness is his friends and loved ones, you received the data files on his team mates, yes?"

The General nodded before looking over to two monitors, one showed Arcee with the rest of the enemy forces. and the other had a image of Tali on it, an evil grin appeared on his face as he looked back to Silas.

"I believe I can think of something." he answered confidently, gaining a nod and a slight smile from his boss.

"Good, inform me when you have Darby. Silas out." he replied before his hologram disappeared.

In the cockpit of the Defiant, Hotrod was Piloting the Alliance vessel as Jazz was seated in the co-pilot's seat and working the holo-controls in front of him.

"How long before we are in range of their weapons?" the Autobot asked as he saw the sensor readings on his screen, it showed three MECH cruisers and a science frigate near an anomaly that the Defiant's sensor array had a hard time recognising.

"We will be in range in several minutes Jazz." the pilot replied. Airachnid then walked up to the the two of them.

"Need a hand with anything?" she asked.

"I feel Like a spare wheel back there." she added as she pointed back over her shoulder.

"If you want to help, take the weapon station behind you, I am transferring control to it now." Hotrod replied before the holo-screen and controls came to life. Airachnid then sat down and began typing at the interface.

"Cannons online and charged, torpedo launchers loaded and ready." she stated before looking to her left and seeing out of the window that cover the front and part of the ceiling of the cockpit. From their location they could now see the MECH cruisers and the anomaly they were orbiting, which looked similar to a lightning storm. The science cruiser was firing what looked like a pulse into into it and the anomaly was growing stronger.

"They have seen us, the three cruisers are breaking orbit and are heading our way." Jazz said as Hotrod began plotting a course directly at them.

"I'll start by heading for the lead cruiser first, Airachnid target their weapons and engines." the pilot said, gaining a nod from the femme. Teletraan then spoke up.

"I am detecting a strong power signature coming from the three cruisers, something is powering up.". The three Autobots all looked out to see a red light brightening at the very front of each MECH ship.

"There is no way... They couldn't have fitted it to their ships, they couldn't have the power requirements." Hotrod stated in disbelief.

"Scans confirm it, those cruisers are armed with the same beam weapon technology that has been fitted to Omega." the AI replied.

"Well they are taking their time to charge up." Airachnid observed.

"Well lets use that to our advantage." Jazz said before an alarm went off.

"The lead ship is about to fire." Teletraan stated.

"Taking evasive manoeuvres." Hotrod replied as he made the Defiant veer up and out of the way as the MECH cruiser fired it's beam weapon which shot out a bright red energy beam which barely missed the Alliance frigate before the little ship turned back round and tired to get in closer.

Onboard Omega, Jack and Garrus entered what looked like a cargo room and looked around, all that was in the large room were cargo containers.

"Room's clear." the Turian said and a second later both females entered the room too.

"Are you sure about this?" Aria said to Nyreen while looking around the inconspicuous room.

"Yes Aria, MECH built their labs here in secret and disguised it's entrance as just and cargo room." the female Turian replied.

"And you know this how?" the Asari replied as The Talon leader walked up the far wall and began taking scans with her holo-tool.

"When people started going missing, I started an investigation. After watching from the shadows and waiting for what felt like ages, we got a lucky break."

The female Turian then looked over to Garrus.

"It's here, Garrus do you have any explosives on you?"

"Nothing strong enough to do any damage to that wall." he replied.

"But Jack's Star saber might." he added as everyone's eyes fell on the Prime. The Commander just sighed before he activated the blade and His holo-tool morphed into the legendary blade.

"You better be ready to cover me once I do this." he said in a matter of fact tone.

"Why?" Aria asked.

"Because every time he uses the Star saber's full potential, it weakens him and leaves the Prime open to attack. The two females then nodded in full agreement

Before Jack spin the blade around him, it glowing bright and brighter with each swing. Once it was charged, Jack then released an energy wave that smashed in to the wall, obliterating it and as the dust settled, a reinforced door could be clearly seen behind the damaged wall.

Nice." Aria said as Jack fell to his knees, breathing heavily.

"You alright?" Nyreen asked as she went to help him to his feet.

"Yeah just give me a moment." he replied as his breathing became steady again and he got to his feet. The Prime then walked over to the door and activated his holo-tool.

"this has some security features fitted in, but I doubt that they will be able to handle Tali's hacking program." he said as he began to hack the door. Garrus joined him and watched him work as Nyreen had turned her attention back to the door they had entered the room via. Aria just stood there, just letting everyone else do the work. After a few moments, Jack's holo-tool blipped and the door opened.

"Open Sesame?" the Turian said with a half smile, gaining a look from Jack that was half embarrassed and half annoyed.

"Really Garrus, first the Borg comparison and now a quote."

The Turian just shrugged his shoulders.

"What I liked that movie." he replied innocently, the Prime just shook his head before looking beyond the large door that had opened. The corridor behind the door was pitch black and the team activated the for us on the ends of their guns which immediately cut the darkness and revealed the path ahead.

"Let's go." the Prime said before the four of them entered the entrance to the MECH laboratory.

Apart from the Adjutants attack earlier, the mission had gone smoothly for Tali and her team as they were now at the substation and she was starting to hack into the system as she typed into the holo-tool's keyboard while looking at the interface of the main computer, the Talon soldiers had taken up positions around the room, weapons ready for any threat that might show itself. The Quarian watched as coding scrolled down the screen, her typing matching certain glyphs and numbers. It was a good job that she was good at multitasking because while she was concentrating on hacking the power line transfer system, she was also thinking about a certain Turian who just very recently had confessed his feelings for her. She had known him for three years and really liked him for three quarters of that time. And it seemed he had liked her for just as long, why then did it take him that long to admit it. She would have to ask him when they have they met up after the mission, she was really looking forward to that. It was then that she noticed something in the information that was appearing on the screen.

"Keelah, that's not possible." she said in surprise, which gained the Talon squad leader's attention.

"Tali what is wrong?"

"Nothing, in fact it is something good. I won't be able to clarify it until I have hacked the system, but it looks like I can deactivate the force fields from here." she answered, a little excitement in her voice. The leader nodded back to her.

"That's great." he replied. Tali then turned back and carried on with the hack, the squad leader meanwhile activated his com link.

"Report status."

Outside of the substation, a lone member of the Talons was kneeling down behind a cargo cargo container with his sniper rifle equipped. He was looking down the scope and watching the door that the Quarian had reinforced with a force field, and even from his distance he could see that the Adjutants would get through soon. He tapped the side of his helmet and activated his own com link.

"They are still trapped behind that door sir, but they will be through soon." he answered in a professional manner.

"Very well, keep me updated." the squad leader replied before turning to Tali.

"Any idea how much longer it will take?" he asked. She then looked back to him. I am nearly through, just give me another few minutes."

Meanwhile back outside, the sniper was watching the other door as it vibrated from another strike from the creatures on it's other side. He knew that the moment they would be through the door, the. The force field would not last that long. But then a shadow was cast over him and he heard the most inhuman like breathing from behind him, a sense of dread suddenly came over the soldier as he realised that this was his end. But that wouldn't mean that he was about to just lay down and die, so he slowly freed one hand from his rifle and grabbed the combat knife from his utility belt and took a deep breath before spinning around to face the creature. But he was suddenly flung straight on to his back by a powerful strike which knocked the wind out of him. He looked up in a daze to see the monstrous form of a Adjutant standing over him, it's lifeless blue glowing optics staring down. The soldier then saw that behind the monster, one of the floor panels was removed and the banging on the door had just stopped too.

'Shit, these things were distracting me while finding another way in' he thought as he gripped the knife that was still in his hand as he then tried to get back up. But before he could do anything, the Adjutant just grabbed at the arm and pinned him down to the floor. It's open mouth started to salivate and drool on the soldier as it's tendrils began moving, it then started to bear down on the Talon who then tried to scream but another Adjutant appeared and covered his mouth with it's slimy hand. The creature who pinned him down then bitten down hard on the man's shoulder and he grimaced in pain as he felt the tendrils enter through the wound. He tried to get free, but felt his strength desert him as he saw something passing through the tendrils into his body. He then passed out before the Adjutant finished and stood back up to see that the rest of the horde were entering the corridor through the open floor panel, it then looked toward the door that led to the sub station.

As the group walked through the pitch black corridor, with nothing but the beams of light from their torches to guide them. They had walked down the long corridor for the last fifteen minutes when something caught Jack's eye as he shone the torch ahead of him.

"Looks like we have reached the lab." he said back to the others before walking out of the corridor and into a large room. As the group looked around, they found the room was filled with many consoles and lab equipment. But the room was very messy with smashed vials and papers all over the floor.

"Looks like they left in a hurry." Garrus stated as he looked down to the scattering of pads and paper on the floor in front of him.

"Why would they do that, the lab was well hidden enough." Aria asked in return before looking over to Nyreen, shining the torch and bathing the female Turian in it's light. Though she held her free hand up and covered her eyes.

"Did the Talons ever attempt to attack one of the labs?" he Asari continued but the Turian shook her head.

"No, we didn't have the man power or the tech to launch an offensive, or else we already would have." she answered.

"Well something got them spooked." Jack said as he approached a terminal, he then used his holo-tool and the terminal came to life. The orange interface activated and illuminating the room, revealing a door on both the north and so sides of the room.

"Okay so we have power." he said as the others joined him at the terminal and watched.

"What have you found Jack?." Garrus asked as Jack looked through the data that was appearing on the holo-screen.

"They were definitely creating Adjutants here, they were producung these abominations with a virus of Reaper design.

"A virus, so there is another way to become infected other than being bitten by one?" Garrus asked.

"Well I doubt that they found one buried somewhere and then had a volunteer et themselves be infected." Aria said while not noticing the knowing looks Jack and Garrus gave each other after her last comment.

"What else does it say about the virus?" Garrus then asked.

"It seems that the virus rewrites the DNA of the host to that of a species that is not recognisable among any of the galaxies current inhabitants." the Commander read aloud.

"Well I have lived for nearly a thousand years and I have never seen a species like them." Aria replied. Jack ignored the Asari and carried on reading.

"MECH scientists suspect that the Reapers created the virus several cycles before the Lithone extinction and that what they call Adjutants are just a shadow of yet another species that fell victim to the Reapers."

"So how did they go about testing this virus?" the Turian asked as they all looked at the screen.

"They first brought in the homeless and experimented on them by exposing them to the virus. The first batch of Adjutants were uncontrollable." the Prime replied as he continued to read the details off of the screen.

"That is putting it mildly." Nyreen replied.

"MECH scientists then decided to take people from their homes (the most underprivileged first) and place a neural implant in their bodies before infecting them with the virus, that way they can hopefully control the Adjutants." Jack said as he carried on reading, but he then looked over to Garrus saw that his face was a mixture of emotions.

"Garrus, your thinking about Shen aren't you?"

"Yes, I thought we would find him here. But having seen what this place is like, I really hope he isn't here. Because I doubt…." he suddenly stopped and looked down to the floor. Jack put his hand on his friend's shoulder.

"We will find him Garrus. I will just download the database to my holo-tool." the Prime replied before doing exactly that. He then brought up the map.

"Alright the next room is the main testing area, it also is where the holding cells are located."

"Prime, why did they close this lab, does it say in the database?" Nyreen asked as they started for the door to the next room. Jack brought up a screen on his holo-tool.

"The data is heavily fragmented, but it I can make out some words. Warning...containment...imminent." he said as they stopped just inside the new room and three looked at him with concern.

"Now that sounds ominous." Nyreen said.

"Yeah, all we need to top that off is to hear some eerie sounds." Aria joked, but then like on que, inhuman grunts and clicks could be heard in the darkness around them. The four went back to back as they readied weapons and shone torches around the new room they were in. They only had a little light to help them, but they could see that the room was quite large with cells in the far right, while the left (where they entered from) were mainly computers and lab equipment. As they walked past a grouping of tables, there was suddenly a loud clang that echoed through the lab startling everyone.

"Sorry." Nyreen said as the others shone their torches at her. The female Turian looked down at the metal equipment that she had accidentally knocked off the table as she had walked past it. Aria sighed as Jack and Garrus turned back round and walked deeper into large room. In the centre of the room were a number of what looked like glass pods, they were all connected to a large tank via pipes. Three of the six pods were smashed open, as the group moved further into the room, constantly watching their surroundings for any surprises that come their way. Nyreen took a closer look at one of the broken pods.

"Looks like this was where it started, one of the test subjects must have gotten out."

"then the reason they deactivated everything and sealed the lab was to keep the things in here." Aria added.

"Well nothing has past us while we have been in here." Jack replied.

"That isn't a very comforting thought Prime. But what about since we entered the lab, they could have..." the Talon leader said but then The Commander interrupted her.

"No they are still here, because we are being watched."

Nyreen gripped her weapon tighter as Aria's fists started to glow with biotic energy.

"I just hope Shen is som.." Garrus said with hope in his voice.

"..Arch...ang...el.." a voice called out from the darkness around them, everyone stopped where they were and looked around.

"Arch...angel." the voice said again, this time it was slightly more clear, yet it had a synthesised tone to it. Jack looked over to the Turian and noticed that he was frantically trying to find the source of the voice with his torch.

"Archangel." the voice spoke again, Garrus noticed in the corner of his eye a bright single blue light shining dimly in the darkness to his left, so he turned his torch and illuminated it. Everyone gasped in the sight, the Turian's eyes widened in horror as an eleven year old boy slowly walked toward them, though he hardly looked human anymore. His body was a messy mixture of human and Adjutant, his skin was grey coloured and bio/synthetic tubing was sticking out a large blue pus sack on his back and connected to his arm which was covered in blood and looked like it was between a human arm and the bio canon that the Adjutants carry. His face too was equally half finished with only one blue optic, while the other eye was clearly human. And his mouth was partly full of tendrils as they hung there, covered in blood.

"Archangel." the boy said as he choked back on the tendrils, his eye started to cry as tears ran down the blood soaked skin of his face. Garrus though just fell to his knees and stared back in complete shock.

"Shen...I am so sorry." he answered barely above a whisper as the mutated boy continued to walk towards him.

"You...came, like...you promised." the creature that was Shen said.

"Yes I did, I came as soon as I got your message." the Turian replied as he slowly put his weapon on the ground. The creature was still walking slowly toward him, tears running down on side of his face.

It...hurts, can you make it hurt...no more?" It said, it's voice though synthetic and alien sounding still had the innocent tone that the Turian remembered.

"Yes, I can make the pain stop. Come here Shen." he said softly as he held out his arms to the boy.

"Garrus, what are you doing?" Jack asked with concern in his voice.

"Jack, we can get him back to he Defiant, surely Ratchet can do something for him, reverse the transformation." Garrus said back without taking his eyes off of the eleven year old boy. Jack knew Garrus wanted to help the child,like he was making up for some mistake years back that was not even his fault.

"I don't know, I mean he is still a carrier of that virus. I don't know if we can just let him on the ship, let alone out of this lab." Jack answered sympathetically. Garrus then looked back angrily at the Prime.

"Damn it Jack, It was my fault that his parents died, I won't lose him either."

suddenly Shen stopped and looked at Garrus, the soft and innocent face that could just be seen under the Adjutant features now gone, it was now just staring at him with a blank expression. Aria and Nyreen both raised their weapons at the mutant, but Jack instead focused on his friend.

"Garrus" he said cautiously, but the Turian remained where he was. Suddenly Shen screamed out an unholy sound before launching himself at Garrus, who managed to jump out of the way. The others readied their weapons as the creature landed where the Turian was and looked at them with pure hostility.

"Wait, don't shoot." Garrus shouted back to the others.

"You've got to be fucking kidding me" Aria replied, but Jack put her in her place.

"Do as he says."

The Prime then looked over to Nyreen who nodded back and lowered her weapon, The Asari following suit, though she wasn't happy about it.

"Shen." Garrus called to the creature who on hearing the name looked back at the Turian, before turning around and charging at him. But this time he stood his ground as Shen jumped at Garrus who this time activated his holo-blade and stabbed the creature through the chest. It cried out in pain, it's scream echoing through out the lab as it shook and tried to free itself of the blade. But Garrus held on until it finally died down and then looked at the him.

"Help…..me….please?" it said as the Turian stared at him, the anguish was written all over his face.

"Alright Shen, I will….help you." he replied as pulled creature into an embrace, he then took a deep breath.

"I am sorry." he whispered into the creature's ear before thrusting the blade right through the mutated Adjutant's chest, it's sharp tip broke through it's back and ripped open one of the pus sac's on it's back. It's blue liquid splashed on to the floor as Shen grimaced and shook in response to the immense pain that action brought. But then it stopped and turned to Garrus, the Turian recognised the expression on the creature's face as he saw Shen, the little boy that he knew with what almost looked like a peaceful smile.

"Thank….you…Arch…ang…el." he said as he took his final breath before his eye closed and the blue optic's light faded to black, his body then went like a rag doll in Garrus's arms as he felt tears run down his face. As he quietly sobbed with the dead body of the child he had come to save in his arms, Aria remained uncharacteristically quiet as Jack and Nyreen both walked up to their mourning friend. The Prime knelt down beside his friend and placed his hand on the Turian's shoulder, while the Talon leader knelt down in front of him and looked at her former lover.

"Garrus, we are really, very sorry for what has happened. But we can't stay here, we have a mission to complete….remember?"

Garrus nodded slowly.

"Yes, I remember." he replied softly as he sniffed.

"Everyone is counting on us mate, even you. We can't do it without you." Jack added in a caring tone. The Turian then slowly placed the body down on the floor and placed it's arms on it's chest before getting to his feet (and picking up his weapon), his two friends joining him. Garrus's expression then turned serious as he looked at the Prime.

"Alright, but when we come to face the General. You don't stop me…..understood?" he asked, his voice underlined with a quiet anger. Both his friends nodded in agreement.

"Just wait a damn minute, Petrovsky is mine." Aria then said aloud, making the Turian turn to her and stare daggers at her.

"Have you lost anyone you cared about to someone before?" he asked, but the Asari suddenly went quiet as she saw just the rage that was building through his eyes. He then narrowed them at her.

"Didn't think so. Petrovsky will pay for what he has done, and I will be the one to do it."

He then started to leave, the others following suit before a hollowing flood of inhuman screams echoed from further down the corridor.

"What the hell!" Aria shouted back.

"We have to move now!" Jack shouted to them as the sounds of footfalls could be heard as a horde of Adjutants closed in on the group.

"But Jack, we cant let any of them escape this lab." Garrus said as the sounds got closer. Jack then looked around the room until his flash light came onto a large set of coolant tanks, he then looked back to his friend.

"Do you have any timed grenades on you Garrus?"

"Here, my last one." the Turian said as he picked one off his utility belt and tossed it to the Prime.

"Thanks" Jack replied as he caught it, and then adjusted the timer to three minutes before arming it and throwing it toward the tanks, it then rolled under one and came to a stop while it's red LED flashed on and off.

"Everyone out now." he said before they ran for the exit, just as the horde of Adjutants burst out of the a door at the far end of the room and flooded in. The team just kept running toward the small dot of light at the end of the tunnel of darkness as the roars of the creatures behind them kept getting louder, both Garrus and Jack slowed slightly and turned and fired back into the black, their combined weapon's fire lighting the area behind them for flashes at a time. Though each and every one showed the Adjutants getting closer, for now in the darkness they could see scores of pairs of blue optics looking back at them. Aria and Nyreen were the first to exit the secret lab as they turned around and fired back into the corridor, giving covering fire as Jack and Garrus then emerged from the pitch black and joined them in firing back at the approaching Adjutants. The Prime looked at his holo-tool and saw the time remaining.

" One minute twenty seconds left." he said back.

"We cant hold them here, not for that long. They will overrun us well before then." Nyreen shouted over the gunfire.

"Then what do you suggest." Aria shouted back while looking toward the Turian curiously. Nyreen then stopped and looked directly into the Asari's eyes with a determination that Aria had not see for a long time. She would never admit it to anyone, but it was beautiful and reminded her of feelings that she had thought were long gone.

"Bait." the Talon leader replied stoically before heading back into the lab entrance and firing her weapon at the rampaging horde of Adjutants. For what felt like a long moment Aria just watched as time seemed to slowdown around her, she could hear Garrus and Jack both shouting back to Nyreen. But the Turian female ignored them as she continued to attack the Adjutants who were nearly on top of her.

"No." Aria said barely above a whisper, her hands starting to glow with biotic energy as three Adjutants leapt towards the Talon leader, who turned just in time to see them. But had none left to raise her weapon to them, she knew this was it.

"NO!" the Asari cried out as she thrust her hand out towards the three Adjutants and sent them flying back into the rest of the horde, slowing them down for a few seconds. Nyreen turned round to see Aria join her side in the entrance before taking up a defensive stance as the creatures regrouped and charged again. Jack and Garrus just stared at the two females who started fighting off the horde with a combination of biotics and gunfire. Nyreen shot four of the Adjutants in the face causing them to stumble around, as blood gushed down from the wounds and over their optics, Aria meanwhile channelled all of her biotic power into her hands and then launched a blue energy orb at the horde which then exploded and sent numerous enemies into the air and sent they flying in the walls around them. Nyreen looked back over to Aria for a second as the creatures regrouped again.

"Was that flare?"

"Yes, did you like it?" the Asari said back with a smile.

"It was impressive." the Talon leader replied, Aria then looked back at the Prime.

"How much longer?"

Jack looked down at his holo-tool.

"Ten seconds, you two better get back here." he shouted back to them.

Aria and Nyreen both looked back into the corridor and saw the Adjutants charging at them again.

"No can do Prime, you better take cover." she said back.

"What about you two?" he asked back, which gained an angry look from the Asari.

"Just for once do as I…."

She was suddenly cut off by the ground shaking as a bright light could be seen from deep within the lab. Even the Adjutants stopped to look back as the light got brighter and closer, they then screamed before charging back towards the two females who too saw that the light was in fact a ferocious fireball that was speeding towards them. It then hit the horde, burning them up in an instant as it continued to expand up the corridor and towards the Asari and Turian.

"Stay close Nyreen." Aria said with a calm tone, gaining a knowing nod from the Talon Leader. The Asari then pulled her into an embrace a second before the fireball engulfed the two of them. Jack and Garrus dived to the side as the fireball expanded out of the entrance in high into the sky above. They could feel the intense heat being emanated from it before finally it stopped and retracted back into the corridor. After a moment Garrus got up and ran over to his friend, helping him to his feet.

"Jack you okay?" he asked as Jack caught his breath and looked back into the Lab entrance which now looked like a lit furnace as the fire carried on burning inside.

"Are they…?" the Prime asked as the two looked into the hell that was once a dark tunnel, his Turian friend looked down to the ground.

"They gave their lives to stop the Adjutants from escaping, I knew Nyreen was capable of such a feat, but Aria…"

"But what…. Vakarian." a familiar voice called back from within the fire, making both men's eyes widen as they suddenly saw a blue energy bubble appear out of the inferno and stop in front of them. It then dispersed to reveal both Aria and Nyreen, completely unharmed.

"How did you?" the Turian managed to ask despite the surprise that was written on his face. The Asari chuckled as she placed her hands on hips.

"I am a biotic remember, all I did was erect a barrier around myself and Nyreen. I am strong enough to hold back a blast like that."

Nyreen looked over to the Omega leader with a look of gratitude.

"Thank you Aria, I did not think that you would…"

But before she could finish her sentence, the Asari grabbed the Turian and pulled her into a passionate kiss. Nyreen's eyes widened in surprise before she gave in, closed them and returned the kiss. Both Jack and Garrus looked on, completely dumbstruck at what they were seeing. After what felt like and eternity, the females pulled away both looking very content.

"Aria, I did not know you still felt that way about me. I mean the way we ended it." the Talon leader said with a hint of regret in her voice, but the Asari just smiled back at her.

"That was in the past Nyreen, I would rather look to the future, one that would include you in it. Because when I saw you about to give your life up, I realised that I didn't want to lose you again."

Nyreen smiled back and was about to reply when Garrus faked a cough to gain their attention, both females stared daggers at him which would have made any man uncomfortable. But thanks to the fact that he was already in shock at what he had just witnessed, this had left the Turian unfazed.

"Nyreen….when exactly did you 'date' Aria?" he asked awkwardly.

"I met Aria not long after we separated Garrus. When you were discharged from the military, I left not long after. I guess I felt guilty for my part in your dismissal, so I instead decided to see what 'living by my own rules' was like. It wasn't long before I found trouble and followed it to Omega, that's where I met Aria and we just clicked." she said as she looked back at the Asari.

"But for all the differences that attracted us to each other, there were some similarities that kept getting in the way and we eventually ended it." she said.

"Wait guys I am receiving a call from Tali." Jack said, interrupting the conversation. At the mention of the Quarian, Garrus's attention was back to the Prime as Nyreen and Aria looked to each other and smiled. The Turian stood beside the Commander as he activated his com link and joined the chat.

"Jack, I have found a way to turn off the power for the force fields over here. And I have already contacted Arcee and they will attack the moment the force fields come down." the Quarian said.

"That's great news Tali, good work." the Prime replied.

"How are things on your end, did Garrus find Shen?" she asked before a silence fell over the com, then Garrus was spoke up.

"Tali, we found Shen but…..it was to late." he said, his voice full of sorrow.

"Garrus I am so sorry, I wish I could help." she said in return and he suddenly felt a calmness come over him, as if her voice lessened the pain somewhat.

"Thank you Tali, but hearing your voice is enough for me." he replied.

"Your welcome Garrus." she said before the sound of her typing could be heard.

"There, I have deactivated the force fields." she said.

All over the station, the orange force fields blocking the civilians from the MECH troopers all deactivated. And the angry population rushed the soldiers and knocked them to the floor before they had time to react. Both Arcee and Bray and the mercs were watching from the alleyway that opened into the main public square that locations such as the Omega market and the club Eternity were at.

"Alright show time." Bray said back to his men before they charged out into the street and attacked the MECH soldiers who had started to fight back against the angry mob of civilians as the area became a war zone. Arcee then activated her com link.

"Talons, protect the civilians. Go!" she ordered as Nryeen's troops started their attack, with snipers on the balconies firing on any enemy soldier who looked to be close to harming a civilian. Also more Talons appeared from the alleyway on the other side of the square and began funnelling the people who didn't want to fight to safety. Arcee then rushed out and joined Bray's side as he fired on two soldiers with his shotgun as she equipped her arm blades and sliced down another enemy soldier before roundhouse kicking another in the face.

"Aria and the others should be showing up any time now." Bray said over his shoulder as the two of them then concentrated on the enemy.

At the substation, Tali was stepped back from the console and tapped the side of her helmet.

"It's done Jack, we will meet you back at the rendezvous." she said happily.

"Good job Tali…"

But suddenly she stopped listening when the a bang could be heard from behind the door that led out of the room they were in. The Talon soldiers suddenly aimed their guns towards the entrance as the squad leader tried to contact their lookout.

"Soldier, what is going on out there. Do you read me?" he said but heard nothing but static.

"Tali, Tali what's going on?" Jack said from the other side of the com as the Quarian nervously equipped her shotgun.

"Jack I think we have trouble here." she said hesitantly.

"Roger that, we are on our way." the Prime replied as the door banged again. Tali looked over to the squad leader who was still trying to contact his missing soldier.

"I don't think he is on the other side of that door anymore." she said gaining a nod from another Talon.

"I think she is right sir." he said back as the Squad leader then thought for a moment.

"Ok, we can use that door as a choke point. We should be able to keep them at bay long enough for reinforcements to arrive." he said as he started to direct the rest of his men to positions around the room.

"If you can give me enough time, then I should be able to get a force field in place. That should hold them at bay even longer." Tali said as the squad leader nodded back.

"Okay, get started. Alright Talons, we know what we have to do." he said as they all got down behind cover and kept their aim on the door as it was banged again, making it buckle under the force that it was being hit with. The Quarian then activated her holo-tool and began working on the force field option. Suddenly the door was smashed open and an Adjutant began moving into the open door way.

"OPEN FIRE!" the squad leader shouted before their fired their weapons at the creature, riddling it with bullets. Blood spilled out of multiple holes in it's body before it fell to the ground dead and then another Adjutant appeared and they fired again.

Meanwhile next to the anomaly the battle with the MECH cruisers was not going well as the Defiant found itself kept at arms length from the Science frigate was being left unhindered as it continued to stabilise the entrance to the rift. The three cruisers were positioned at points around the frigate and all fired one at a time at the Alliance vessel as it tried to attack. In the cockpit Hotrod was focusing on dodging the powerful energy beams as one was fired again and he rolled the ship to evade it. Jazz was beginning to get annoyed.

"This is ridiculous, we have been trying to get close four times now and yet they have swatted us away each and every time." he said as Airachnid kept her attention to her screen, when she suddenly smiled. The Autobot looked back and noticed the femme and felt the need to mention it.

"What you smiling about?" he asked, not even trying to hide the annoyance in his voice. She looked over to him.

"Well I have spotted a weakness in their attack strategy, haven't you been wondering why the three ships don't just fire at us all at once?"

"Uh, well….where are you going with this?" Jazz asked with a confused expression behind his shades. Airachnid sighed as Hotrod once again pulled the ship into a dive to dodge another attack.

"Well, I ran a scan of one of the cruisers. The energy beam weapon is too powerful for them, so charging and firing it takes all of their power."

"And so it leaves them helpless before power is restored fully to them." Hotrod answered back, showing that he was listening to them despite looking like he wasn't.

"Exactly, so one ship fires while the other two wait and cover it while it is venerable." the femme replied before the ship shook as one of the energy beams cut pretty close to the hull.

"That one was too close Hotrod." Jazz said as he glared at the pilot, he then looked back to Airachnid.

"So what do we do then?"

Teletraan's holo-form then appeared next to the femme's station.

"I would believe that we should target and destroy the beam weapon's before they can fire, the power that is being channelled into the weapon will then back fire and destroy the ship."

Airachnid smiled at the holo-form.

"My thoughts exactly." she said before looking over to Hotrod who glanced back and gave her nod.

"Sounds like a plan, but first I think I know a way to slow them down." he said before bringing the ship about and flew it toward one of the cruisers. As it closed the distance, the enemy ship just a few thousand feet away started to target the Defiant which then appeared to slow down as it approached the closest cruiser.

"Hotrod what are you doing?" Jazz asked a little concerned, but the pilot just smiled.

"Trust me this will work."

Suddenly the enemy cruiser powered up it's beam weapon as a bright red light began pulsing at the front of it, before it unleashed the energy beam which shot towards the Defiant.

"Teletraan fire thrusters now!" Hotrod said as the ship's engines fired up brightly and pushed the ship out of the way as it beam passed it and hit the other MECH cruiser head on and cut it in half, explosions occurring all across the damaged sections while the Defiant flew back round and toward the third cruiser which was powering up it's weapon.

"Airachnid, fire torpedoes…..now." Hotrod said as the femme hit firing button on her holo-controls, the Defiant then fired a full spread of torpedoes which hit the energy weapon directly causing the red energy build up to explode in a bright red flash as the MECH ship began to lose control and move erratically. But as the Alliance frigate flew along the hull of the large cruiser, the damaged weapon then exploded and the explosion then travelled up the length of the ship. Hotrod pulled the ship up and out of the way as the cruiser blew up and brought the Defiant back round to the last cruiser which had started to turn and flee. In the cockpit Jazz smiled as he watched the MECH cruiser flee the battle.

"Ha ha, looks like they realised that they have and Achilles heel and don't want to end up like their friends."

"Well we better just finish off the Science vessel now before they…" Hotrod said before Airachnid looked out of the Cockpit's canopy and her eyes widened in disbelief.

"Guys you need to see this." she said gaining everyone's attention to what she was looking at. As the Defiant came back around toward the anomaly's location, the rift suddenly came back to life and it reopened in magnificent fashion. It would look awe inspiring had the Autobots not know what it led too.

"So what do we do?" Jazz asked again, making Airachnid look at him with an annoyed expression.

"Didn't Jack leave you in command?"

The Autobot pointed over to the pilot.

"Joint command with Hotrod here." he said but the young bot suddenly pointed at the Science vessel.

"Guys what are they doing?" he said as the MECH ship began to enter the rift's event horizon.

"I believe that the vessel has to stabilise the rift at both exit/entrance points to make the rift safe for travel, so it has to pass through it first." Teletraan said.

"Well we can't let them succeed, take us in after them Hotrod." Airachnid said gaining a nod from the pilot as he turned the Defiant towards the rift and followed the MECH cruiser inside.

Jack, Garrus, Aria and Nyreen bolted down the corridor towards the substation that was under attack from MECH, what was attacking was unknown to them. But considering what they had faced so far on the station, the possibilities were limited to MECH soldiers or Adjutants. But whatever was waiting for them at the end of the current dimly lit corridor, they would be ready for it. As they turned the last corner they saw three Adjutants banging against a force field that was covering a doorway. One turned round and saw the four new arrivals and roared at them before firing it's bio-cannon. The energy projectile it created shot at the team who narrowly managed to evade it by diving to ground as it passed over them and hit the bulkhead behind them. Nyreen looked back to see that had left an acidic compound on the wall which was starting to eat through the metal.

"Don't' let that weapon hit you." she said turning her attention back to the enemies in front.

"Noted." jack said before getting to his feet and firing an entire clip into the creature before it had a chance to fire again, killing it as it was pummelled under the force of the bullets hitting it. Garrus then loaded a special round into his sniper rifle and then fired it at the next Adjutant, the bullet burying itself in it's chest.

"I think you need something stronger than that." Aria snapped at him, but the Turian just ignored her and pointed at it.

"Just wait a sec." he said calmly before the Adjutant then exploded from within.

"Explosive rounds my dear." he smiled before the last creature aimed it's bio-cannon at the group.

"Allow me." Aria then said as she glowed with blue energy before swiping the air in front of her and clenching her fist. The creature's arm then was caught in a blue energy field as it started to bend towards it's own face. Aria just smiled darkly as she moved her fist and motioned the arm before it was fully aimed at the enemy's head, she then opened her hand fully and the cannon fired. Covering the creature in it's own acidic compound as it melted into the deck. Jack smiled back at the Asari.

"Nice." he said as Garrus then ran passed them towards the force field and looked inside.

"Tali, Tali you okay in there?" he said as he tried to look through the orange energy field covering the doorway. As the others joined him the field then collapsed, revealing a Quarian and a group of Talon soldiers inside. Garrus instantly ran to her and scooped her up in his arms, Tali eagerly wrapping her own around him.

"Thank god you are alright, I was worried." he said with a caring tone, the Quarian sighed as she enjoyed the embrace.

"I can tell." she chuckled before squeezing him a little more.

"If anything had happened to you, I don't know what I would have done." he replied as touched his forehead to her visor.

"Lets not find out then, there is still so much I want to experience with you Garrus." she said back.

"Okay guys, Tali I am happy to see you and the Talon squad are safe, but we have to move. This isn't over yet." Jack said, snapping his friends out of their embrace.

"Your right Jack." Garrus replied.

"You can count on us." Tali replied as she equipped her shotgun. Jack then looked at Nyreen.

"Are your men alright?" he asked.

"Yes, lets finish this." she replied, gaining a nod from Aria.

"Alright, lots roll." Jack said before he headed back out of the substation room, the others following him.

The Defiant flew through the chaotic space of the rift as it neared the MECH science vessel, it shook with each and every hit that it's hull took from the bolts of energy being emitted from the glowing nebula like substance that it was passing through.

"Shields down to sixty seven percent." Airachnid stated as Jazz kept his eyes on the sensor data on his holo-screen.

"We are closing on the MECH ship, but my readings say that it is nearly to the other side of the rift."

"Teletraan, I am going to need all the power you can give me to catch us up to them before they make it to the galactic core." Hotrod said as he glanced over to the holo-form now appearing next to his station.

"I would not recommend using it all now Hotrod, we are going to need it for the return trip back to our part of the galaxy."

"How's that now Teletraan?" Airachnid asked as she looked over from her station.

"The MECH vessel is still emitting it's stabilising pulse as it travels through the rift, once destroyed the anomaly will start to collapse again. If we use up our reserves now, we will not have enough power to escape." the AI replied.

"Any suggestions then?" Jazz asked.

"Take out it's engines now, and then we can disable it's pulse generator."

"In this soup, the gravimetric forces being generated around us now are eating away at out shields, not to mention…" the Autobot said before being cut off by the ship shaking due to another hit from the energy outside of the ship.

"I can take the shot, just keep the ship steady Hotrod." Airachnid said confidently as she brought up the targeting program on her holo-controls.

"I'll do my best." the pilot replied. The femme then went silent as she brought the enemy ship into the cross hairs on her screen, but just as she pressed the firing button, the ship was rocked by another hit from anomaly's energy bolts. The Torpedoes fired and flew towards the MECH ship but harmlessly passed as it neared the exit to the rift, the event horizon opening up and revealing the heart of the galaxy to them.

"They are almost there." Jazz stated as Airachnid narrowed her eyes at the screen and held a steady hand over the firing button.

"Keep the ship steady!" she ordered as she brought the enemy ship into the cross hairs again.

"steady, steady and firing." she said as the Defiant fired a spread of torpedoes again, but this time they hit the MECH ship's engines head on, the explosion pushed the ship into a spiral as it lost control and drifted off course.

"Great shot Airachnid." Jazz said back with a grin, as the femme began targeting the pulse generator on the science vessel's hull.

"Sensors are detecting ships on the other side of the rift." Teletraan stated with a hint of concern.

"What kind of ships?" Hotrod asked while keeping his eyes on his console.

"They are Quintesson, and appear to be nearing the entrance on their side of the rift." the AI replied.

"Okay Airachnid, have to make this shot count. Teletraan be ready to transfer all power you can spare to the engines." Hotrod said in return. The femme then brought the target into her cross hairs.

"Firing torpedoes…now."

The Alliance frigate fired the torpedoes which then hit the MECH vessel and destroyed the satellite dish looking pulse generator. The rift's interior then shook violently making the Defiant spin uncontrollably as it got closer to the Quintesson's side of the anomaly. Hotrod pulled a one hundred and eighty degree turn as it's back faced the MECH vessel which was now helplessly drifting through the event horizon and into the galactic core.

"Teletraan now!" Hotrod said firmly before the Defiant's engines began pushing the ship forward ever so slightly before it started to move backwards.

"Why aren't we moving forwards?" Jazz asked with fear evident in his voice.

"We don't have enough power spare to break free of the gravitational forces that are trying to expel us out of the anomaly." the AI stated.

"Teletraan listen to me, I need you to give me all the power you can. Transfer it from the hyperspace engines and life support." the pilot said in slightly panicky tone.

"But Hotrod, you will be unable to survive if life support is shut down." the AI replied with concern.

"I think we are okay with that right now." he said, gaining a nod from Airachnid and Jazz.

"So do it." Hotrod finished saying.

"Very well, transferring power…..now."

Suddenly the ship was pushed forward by the extra power that the engines were giving out, a white trail of plasma fire was emitted from them as the Defiant roared through the collapsing rift.

"We are almost out, everybody hold on to your dinner." Hotrod stated as the ship shook again from the gravitational forces it was passing through. Jazz looked out of the canopy towards the opening on Omega's side of the rift and noticed that it was shrinking.

"Better punch it Hotrod, because our exit is closing on us."

"Almost there." the Pilot replied as the Defiant closed in on the way out which continued to shrink. Everyone in the cockpit then went silent and bit their lips as they saw the event horizon collapse around them.

But outside the rift, two of Aria's cruisers had come into range and saw the anomaly shrinking to near nothing. But just as it began to close completely, the Defiant burst out in the nick of time and flew towards the two cruisers. Hotrod and his two co-pilots took a deep breath and sighed in relief as the subspace rift closed for the final time, leaving only empty space in it's wake.

"That was too close." Jazz said as Airachnid got out of her chair and walked over to Hotrod before kissing his cheek and smiling down at him.

"Great flying Hotrod." she said happily, the young bot suddenly blushed and smiled back a little embarrassed.

"This is the merc cruiser ' DarkStar' , do you require assistance." a voice said as they hailed the Alliance vessel.

"This is the Defiant, thank you but mission accomplished. Lets head back to Omega." he replied.

"Very well Defiant, great job." the merc ship replied as both ships turned around and joined the Defiant as it flew back towards the Omega station in the distance.

Back on the station, the whole market square had become a battlefield as mercs and civilians fought against the MECH forces attempting to quell the chaos that was happening around them. In the centre of the carnage Arcee and Bray were fighting back to back, the femme elbowed one soldier in the face before firing her SMG at another who was attacking from her side. Bray meanwhile head butted one enemy before launching another into the air with his shotgun.

"Prime is taking his time isn't he?" the Batarian said making the femme look over her shoulder to him.

"He will be here, I don't think he is taking the scenic route back to this point." she said before looking over to the entrance to the Eternity club, it's doors opened and another squad of MECH troops came out and took up defensive positions in front of it before opening fire on those fighting before them. Bray was then hit and knocked to the ground by one enemy who then went for Arcee who replied with a spin kick to the chest, but as her attention was taken up by him, she was suddenly grabbed from behind as another MECH trooper wrestled his arms around her own and held them in place. But before the enemy could do anything else, a shot rang out and the femme felt herself become free. She turned round and looked down at the dead MECH trooper and then back up to see Jack standing just away from her, his gun in hand. He smiled to her and gained a bigger one back from the femme who nodded in return. She then turned round and helped Bray to his feet as Jack, who saw that his lover was alright turned his attention to the troopers running at him. He then activated his star saber and cut down one soldier after another. Garrus stayed back with Tali and took out any enemies with his sniper rifle, the Quarian used her holo-tool and created drones which went down into the mobs and took out more enemy soldiers. Nyreen entered the battle and joined her fellow Talons as they continued to protect those that did not want to fight, but then suddenly a blue flash flew through the battle knocking over numerous MECH soldiers as it made it's way to Eternity's entrance. Jack realised who this was and fought his way through the crowds as Aria appeared in front of the soldiers that blocked her path to Eternity. She then threw and biotic energy ball that launched all the troops guarding the entrance out of the way and she ran in, the Prime close behind. Garrus, having noticed that both Aria and Jack had cleared a path through the battling crowds turned to Tali.

"I am going in, there is someone that I have to see."

"Alright Garrus, do what you have to do. I will go help Arcee." she replied before leaving the Turian and heading over to the femme who was kicking the crap out of several MECH soldiers at this point. The Turian then looked back toward the night club entrance, he took a deep breath and then headed over there.

Meanwhile Jack ran into a corridor that had fire illuminated onto its walls and found that the Asari had taken out the Adjutants that were guarding the door, she was at this moment attempting to pry the doors open with her biotics.

"Here let me." the Prime said as he charged his star saber and unleashed an energy wave which cut through the door. Aria then fired a biotic ball of energy which burst the door off it's hinges and revealed Eternity's interior to them.

From his office on the balcony that over looked the dance floor and bar that made up Eternity, Pretovsky saw the Aria and Jack enter and head his way. He turned around and walked over to a console and activated it.

"Cease and assist all aggression….its over." he said calmly into the intercom, before deactivating the chess board, it's holographic pieces disappearing. Jack then entered the office and looked at the General.

"Jackson Prime, I surrender myself into your custody." he said as Aria walked in behind the Prime and stared daggers at him.

"That is the most pathetic thing I have ever heard." she said before hitting him with her biotics and knocking him on his ass.

"Prime, I am unharmed and I can give you Intel on Silas and his operations." the general replied as Aria grabbed him by the throat and pulled him onto the table.

"You will say anything to save your slimy ass." she said as she gripped her hands around his neck and began to choke him.

"…But…I let…you let….you escape….Omega, I ….deserve mercy." he said between the gasps for air that the Asari was stopping him from taking. Jack looked over to Aria with a concerned look.

"Is this true Aria?"

The Asari didn't even look back at the Prime as she continued to choke the MECH commander.

"Yes, MECH had successfully taken control of Omega and he let me go….his mistake."

"Aria, give him over to me. If you kill him then we lose whatever advantages of MECH he can give us. And you prove to everybody….even Nyreen that you were in this just for revenge." Jack reasoned as he kept his eyes on Aria. She then lowered her face close to Petrovsky.

"Can you feel that Oleg, it's death and it is only moments away. You deserve nothing less for what you did to my people and station. If you don't tell them everything that you know, I will flay the skin from your bones." she said before throwing him to the ground, he coughed hard as he took in deep breaths. She then turned around to Jack.

"You can have you Prime, just get him the hell of my station." she said as she walked past Jack toward the balcony's edge.

"Your making the right choice Aria." the Prime said in return.

"I wish I felt the same." a voice said making Jack turn to see Garrus in the doorway with his pistol aimed at the recovering General.

"Garrus stand down." the Prime said firmly.

"Jack you agreed not to stand in my way." the Turian said angrily, but Jack held his ground.

"A lot has changed since then Garrus, we need the Intel Pretovsky has to stop Silas."

"So you are willing to let him live despite what he turned Shen and all those people into." he shouted back.

"He makes a good point Prime." Aria added, as Petrovsky got to his feet.

"I did not run those labs…. The Adjutant project was not under my jurisdiction." he said, making Garrus fired a shot just past his head.

"Liar. I had to end the life a child that I cared for because you let him and countless others get turned into monsters. You make me sick." the Turian replied. Jack though kept a clear head and stepped toward the General.

"If you want to live, you will tell us who was in charge of the labs." he said before looking over to Garrus with a knowing look. The MECH Commander then wiped his forehead of sweat as he looked over to the Turian who tightened his grip on the trigger.

"Saleon, it was Doctor Saleon. He is in charge of the Adjutant project, he left just before you arrived with the subjects that were completely under our control."

Garrus's eyes widened at mention of that name.

"Garrus do you know who that is?" Jack asked gaining a nod from his friend.

"Saleon is a Salarian Geneticist that has been on C-Sec's wanted list for a long time, he has numerous charges to his name like illegal experiments on other species and what not. But I doubt he would work for MECH." he replied.

"Silas made him an offer he could not refuse, also the Reaper tech that he had to work with spiked his curiosity." the General added. Garrus looked at Petrovsky and his hand began to shake slightly as he kept his aim on the MECH commander.

"Okay Jack, I will let him live. But if this doesn't pan out, then you better let me kill this son of bitch." he said as he holstered his pistol.

"Thank you, you will not regret this." Pretovsky grovelled.

"Don't thank me yet, because if you don't give us everything you have. Then I will leave it up to Garrus and Aria what happens to you." Jack said with a serious look before looking over to Arcee who had just entered the room with Bray.

"Arcee can you escort our prisoner out of here please."

"Sure thing Jack." the femme replied as she grabbed the General's arm and escorted him out of the room.

"You going to be alright Garrus?" the Prime then asked.

"I don't know Jack, I thought for a second back there that we were heading for a confrontation. That isn't something I wanted." the Turian replied.

"Me neither Garrus, you're my friend. But if Pretovsky doesn't come through then you can do what you want to him." Jack replied, gaining a nod from Garrus who then walked out of the office leaving Jack with Aria.

"I thought for a moment then that I would get to see that man die still. But you once again managed to save him, I hope it was worth it." she said as she looked out at the nightclub floor below.

"So what's the plan now?" the Prime asked.

"There is a lot to rebuild, starting with this 'command center'. It will take a while to get rid of the stench that MECH has left on my station."

"Well don't forget about the people of Omega. They deserve to be helped first." Jack replied.

"How can I forget with so many reminders around me." Aria said back.

"Don't worry Jack, I will see that everyone is helped." Nyreen said as she walked into the room and stood beside the Asari.

"And I bet you will at that Nyreen, it was good working with you." the Commander said back with a smile.

"Likewise Prime. Thank you for your help." the female Turian replied.

"Jackson Prime, we never discussed what you would get in return for helping 'us' free Omega." Aria then said.

"I will give you all the troops, ships and supplies I can to help you with your war against the Reapers." she added as Jack nodded in return.

"Thank you, but I am also thankful for the bloody nose that we gave MECH."

The Prime's com link then activated.

"Jack, the Defiant has just docked and Hotrod reports mission accomplished with the rift." Arcee said.

"Thanks Arcee, I will be down shortly." Jack replied before looking back to the couple.

"Well I will off then, see you round." the Prime said before walking out of the office, Aria then turned back to the console and activated the intercom as Nyreen watched.

"Citizens of Omega, I Aria T'Loak have given you back your freedom. My rule has been reignited and my hands on the controls once again. You are all to find what is left of the MECH forces that plague this station and we will… cast them from our home, and then bury and mourn our dead."

Jack could hear the entire speech as he walked out of Eternity on onto the streets as the merc soldiers rounded up surviving MECH soldiers, while Talons continued to help the others.

"I know my methods have not been popular in the past, but with the Talons and everyone on this station helping, we will make Omega strong again. And we will never be slaves to anyone ever again." Aria finished as the Prime walked away toward the docking bays.


CHAPTER 15

The rain fell fast and heavy as each and every drop splashed against his silver and gold armour, the six-foot nine-inch tall Grimlock looked down to the ground as he hung his head. The Dinobot Commander was on his knees and surrounded by Adjutants, the same creatures that had killed the rest of his team and all of Autobots around the colony of Eden Prime. He looked ahead slightly when he heard footfalls approaching him from the horde that surrounded the bot, they then stopped directly in front of him. Grimlock looked up to see an Adjutant standing over him. Its blue optics staring down at him completely devoid of emotion, the Dinobot's eyes then noticed the red and silver armour that was still partly hanging from the creature. It's Autobot symbol barely recognizable from the gash going through it.

"Slug, it's me Grimlock." he said, hoping he could reawaken his old friend and comrade. But the Adjutant just stared at him.

"Slug, please brother? You have to remember."

The creature then raised its bio-cannon in the air and screamed out, the others following suit. Grimlock then felt the fluid coursing through his veins boil as his anger started to build up within him. It was this same anger that made him one of the most fiercest warriors of Cybertron, the same anger that when at boiling point would enable him to transform into a mechanised T-Rex in his original body. It was an ancient earth creature that would make most Decepticons turn and flee (except for Megatron of course). He kept his eyes on the enemy as he slowly reached to his orange blade that was lying in the mud next to him, taking hold of it's hilt tightly. The creature then stepped closer until it opened its mouth and let its tendrils shake and hiss as it prepared to bite him. The Dinobot leader's eyes narrowed as his rising anger came close to exploding. He then gritted his teeth before swinging the blade up and slicing the Adjutant in half, it's blood spilling out as both parts of the Creature fell to the sides and landed in the mud, splashing muddy water into he air.

"You will not take me this day, I Grimlock will avenge my fallen comrades." he shouted as the rest of the Adjutants readied themselves to strike.

"Come on then you pieces of scrap, I will send you all the pit." he added as he raised his sword and took a defensive stance, the Adjutants then launched themselves at him as he swung his blade at them.

Several hours earlier, only a few hundred light years away. The Defiant was flying through a binary star system towards the nearby space bridge. Jack walked into the science lab with Ravage following behind, he looked around to see Raf working closely with Tali at console with encrypted data scrolling down the large holo-screen in front of them.

"So any news?" the Prime asked as he joined the two, Tali looked back to him as Raf kept typing.

"Jack we are still attempting to decrypt some of the data from the MECH database we were given."

"Why is it encrypted, didn't Petrovsky decrypt it before downloading it into our computers?" the Commander replied.

"There are small parts that are protected, the rest was already transmitted to Admiral Bryce an hour ago." Raf said without looking away from the screen.

"Anything of interest?" Jack asked.

"Fleet movements, field reports and supply convoys. With this data, the Alliance can hurt MECH operations around the galaxy. But what ever is encrypted must be of real value, so we are focusing on that." Tali said as she turned back to the screen.

"Is it slow going?" Jack asked as he looked at the screen.

"It would have been if we didn't have the algorithms that Soundwave left in our system." Raf replied.

"So where have you been Jack?" Tali asked curiously.

"I just finished speaking with Admiral Bryce about the Omega situation, he is happy we have more allies against the Reapers, as well as possible Intel on MECH via General Petrovsky. He wants us to rendezvous with the 'Yorktown' and hand the General over, he will then be transported to the Admiral for interrogation." the Prime answered.

"Sounds unpleasant." the scientist said back.

"Not really because he will be treated as a prisoner of war and given comfortable living quarters until the end of the war, then he will be tried."

Tali shook her head in disbelief.

"I know Garrus wouldn't be happy to hear that, I mean I understand why we have taken the MECH General alive. He has offered us everything he knows and has to help us take down his employer, but I really for Garrus and can understand his need for vengeance."

"You mean because of your father Tali." Jack said back, gaining a nod from the Quarian.

"Yes, that hate for the Geth that killed him kept me going, I prayed everyday that I would finally catch up with it and end it's life."

"I am sorry Tali, but that Geth was Legion right?" Raf asked as he looked over to them.

"Yes, and even when I met 'him' that didn't change anything." she replied.

"I remember." Jack added as Tali looked over to him.

"But then I got to know Legion and found out what really happened, not just with my father. But what exactly happened between the Geth and my people, and then I realised that my need to get justice for my father was pointed toward the wrong person." she said as she looked over to Raf who was still listening intently, having stopped working and focused on the conversation.

"So you understand why I stopped Garrus from killing Petrovsky?" Jack asked, Tali nodded in return.

"Yes, he was not completely responsible but Jack, if we can't get this Saleon. You will have to let Garrus take his life, since he is second most responsible for what happened."

The Prime nodded as a serious expression appeared on his face.

" I know, and Admiral Bryce agrees. So if Petrovsky's intel doesn't help us or we don't find Saleon. Then the Admiral will let Garrus execute him."

"Wow, that will keep Petrovsky sweating for the time being then." Raf replied with a smile.

"Exactly." the Prime replied before beginning to turn away.

"Well you two are busy so I will let you carry on." he said before he started for the door.

"Jack." Tali called to the Commander who stopped and let her catch up.

"Can you do me a favor?"

"Sure, name it." Jack replied.

"Can you go and speak to Garrus, he has locked himself in the weapons battery and claims that he wants to be left alone to 'calibrate' the weapons systems." the Quarian said with a worried tone. Jack gave her a concerned look.

"Wait, he won't even let you in?" the Prime asked disbelievingly.

"Yes, I think he doesn't want me to see him in this state. but I know first hand what closing yourself from your friends and loved ones can do to a person. But since he won't speak to me..." she said back.

"I'll go talk to him"." Jack reassured her.

"Thanks Jack." Tali replied.

"Anytime." he said back before leaving the lab.

The Prime walked past Arcee's quarters on his way to the weapons battery, he knew she would be in there now. But he had to help his friend first, so he carried on towards the large door at the end of corridor and hit the door chime.

"Tali, I swear I am okay. I just want to work please." the Turian's voice replied over the intercom.

"Garrus it's me." Jack said back.

"Jack, sorry I thought you were Tali. Is there anything you need?" Garrus asked.

"yeah, I am here to talk. Open the door." the Prime said.

"Can we do this later? I am in The middle of some 'calibrations' right now." the Turian replied.

"Garrus, I am not leaving until you let me. Or do you want me to ask Teletraan to override the lock?"

"Okay, Okay. I am opening the door." came the reply. Then just as he said, the door opened and Jack walked in. He saw Garrus standing next to a console and he didn't look happy as he sighed in defeat.

He saw Garrus standing next to a console and he didn't look happy as he signed in defeat.

"I know what you are going to say Jack but I am alright." the Turian said.

"Really? Then why are you locking yourself in here and not talking to anyone, especially Tali?" the Prime replied as the door closed behind him.

"She's worried about you."

Garrus looked away for a moment as his expression changed to a look of guilt and remorse.

"I don't want her to see me like this, I just want to wait here until we get news on Saleon."

"Garrus, you should talk to Tali. She knows what it is like to live with the guilt of losing someone close, and the need to hunt down the one responsible."

The Turian then looked at Jack.

"Your one to talk Jack." Garrus replied surprising the Prime.

"What do you mean?" the Commander asked, a look of confusion written on his face.

"I overheard Arcee having a conversation with Airachnid not long back, and she was talking about how she was worried about you." the Turian replied as Jack remained quiet.

"She said you looked like you were going to open up just before the Citadel attack by MECH, but since then you have gone quiet again. I mean it isn't just Arcee that's noticed the change in you Jack, we all have. How can I take advice from someone who won't even take their own." Garrus added making the Prime feel uncomfortable.

"And here I as trying to get you to talk to Tali." Jack replied sheepishly.

"Well I'll tell you what, if you promise me that you will let Arcee help you. Then I will go and speak with Tali." the Turian said as he held out his hand.

"Okay I promise I will talk with Arcee when we get a free moment, which with this war is not often." Jack replied as he shook his friend's hand.

"No go up to the Science lab, your girlfriend's worried sick." the Prime continued with a slight smile.

"Oh you know I will get up back for that Jack." Garrus replied as they both walked out of the room and back to the science lab.

Tali and Raf were still neck-deep in hacking the MECH database when Jack and Garrus entered the room, the Quarian was bent over a worktop as she looked into a microscope like device, except this allowed her to look at the intricate details of the encryption. Garrus looked at Tali's rear and smiled.

"Nice." he said quietly, but he was not aware that Jack had heard him.

"What?" the Prime said in return, snapping the Turian out of his gaze.

"Uh... what?" he said aloud, gaining Tali's attention as she stood up And turned to them.

"Garrus, it's good to see you out and about." she said before the two embraced for a moment, the Turian then looked down at her.

"Want to join me for a drink in the common room."

"Sure, I need a break actually. We can talk." she answered back before kooky over to Raf who was still engrossed in his work.

"Just going for a break, want me to bring you anything back?"

"I'm okay thanks." the scientist replied, gaining a nod from the Quarian before she and Garrus headed for the door, passing Ravage on way as he as lying on his front watching everything from side. The screen in front of Raf then flashed before a part of the encrypted data revealed itself.

"Uh, Tali could you wait a sec." he said back, stopping he couple just short of the door. Jack looked at the screen.

"You've decrypted the database?"

"Well a small part of it." Raf replied as he read what was on the screen, then his eyes widened at what he saw.

"My god..." he said aloud.

"What is it" Tali asked as she and Garrus had turned around and heading back to the console. Rad then looked over to Jack with a serious look on his face.

"MECH are going to attack Eden Prime."

One of the Autobot archaeologist's looked up at the sky and saw the cloud build up approaching the colony.

"Looks like we might get rain today." a voice called over to her, making the bot look to the left. She saw a Caucasian woman (mid twenties) wearing purple armour with light blue neon lights approaching him.

"Chromia, didn't realise that predicting the weather was one of your skill sets" she replied, gaining a chuckle from the femme as she stopped next to her.

"You would be surprised glyph." she replied with a smile.

"Well if you wan help with anything then it will have to be quick, because we are about to bring the stasis pod from the catacombs." Glyph asked.

"Just wondering where Flareup is, that's all." Chromia replied.

"Flareup, she is with Tap-Out and Trailbreaker. They are part of the team who are bringing the stasis pod out." the blue bot replied, earning a sigh from the femme.

"She is hanging around Trailbreaker again, and I bet he hasn't realised why she is hanging round him either."

Glyph chuckled and nodded in return.

"Yeah, he may be getting good at deciphering Lithone writings. But reading the behaviour of a femme is completely alien to him."

The two femmes were to busy laughing to notice another bot walk up behind them.

"what are you two laughing about?" a deep voice asked.

They both turned and looked up to see Grimlock standing over them.

"Oh it's nothing Grimlock, just young love blossoming here on Eden Prime. Even though one of them hasn't realised it yet." glyph replied cheerfully.

"You mean Flareup and Trailbreaker?" the Dinobot leader answered.

"Wait you know too." Chromia said on surprise.

"Everybody knows... except Trailbreaker." Grimlock chuckled as another Caucasian man in red and silver armour approached him, carrying two swords on his back.

"Grimlock, Sludge and Snarl report everything is fine at the communication hub." he said, gaining the Dinobot's attention.

"Thank you Slug." the Dinobot leader replied, Chromia then looked at the three of them.

"Well I am going to go ahead and get a front seat to the Flareup/Trailbreaker show." she said before heading down into the excavation site. Grimlock then activated his com link.

"Swoop, can you hear me?"

A few miles outside the colony, a Mantis gunship flew low over the green terrain. An Autobot symbol was stuck on the side and in the pilot seat was Swoop, a Caucasian man with blond hair and wearing red and gold armour. He was just enjoying the flight when his com link activated.

"Swoop, can you hear me?" came a voice that he knew only too well.

"Sorry, your breaking up." he said back with a chuckle, gaining a grunt as the caller got angry.

"I said can you hear me?" his voice sounding annoyed.

"I'm kidding around with you Grimlock, of course I can hear you." Swoop replied, gaining a sigh from the Dinobot Commander.

"Status report."

The Dinobot pilot looked over his cockpit controls that were made up of many holo-controls and screens.

"My second patrol of the day and no new readings, still looks like we're the only ones here."

"Alright then, see you when you get back." Grimlock replied as Swoop noticed something peculiar on the horizon.

"Wait a sec, I just spotted something that wasn't there before."

"What is it?" Grimlock asked over the com. But before the Dinobot pilot could answer, alarms went off in the cockpit.

"Damn it, missile lock" he said before he pulled the gunship into a hard turn as a ground to air missile narrowly missed it.

Swoop, what's happening?" Grimlock said back.

The Dinobot fought to keep the ship in the air, as his sudden actions brought the gunship extremely close to the ground. He pulled the stick back and brought the ship to a safe distance from ground level. He then was about to head back found to see who had fired on him when alarms went off again, looking down at the sensors he could see a blip closing on his position again.

'Heat seeker, scrap!' he thought before the missile hit and exploded against the art of the gunship. The whole vessel shook from the impact as Swoop found the controls to me suddenly unresponsive. He just frantically pulled the stick back hard as he watched the ground rush up to meet him through the cockpit's canopy.

Having witnessed the gunship crashing in the distance, a group of MECH troopers returned to carrying equipment out of their shuttle as they nearly finished construction of what looked like an array of some kind. One trooper stood beside he ground to air missile emplacement as it returned to its shut down mode, he then put his hand to the side of his helmet.

"Beachhead secure, signal will be ready to broadcast in five minutes." he said into his com link before looking over to group building it, one looked back and nodded.

"I repeat five minutes. Begin phase two." the soldier then turned off the com link and walked over to the group.

Grimlock had a worried expression on his face.

"What's wrong boss?" Slug asked as he and Glyph looked up to Dinobot Leader.

"Swoop's signal just stopped, I thought he said more but couldn't make it out.".

Grimlock then started walking away from the group as he looked at his holo-tool.

"I am heading out to Swoop's last known coordinates, your in charge until I return Slug."

The other Dinobot nodded in return.

"Alright Grimlock, though I am sure Swoop's okay, he can survive anything"

"I agree, but this... doesn't feel right." the big bot replied before walking away.

At the entrance to the catacombs, two Caucasian looking Autobots were pushing out a large black cylinder like object. One had green hair with silver highlights and armour of matching colour scheme. The other Autobot had silver hair with black armour and red plating around his joints. They were both bickering as a femme with fire-red hair and orange and red armour watched.

"Put your back into it Tap-Out, you're not going to let me do all the work here are you, especially with a femme watching us." the black armoured one asked as he pushed the object toward the entrance.

"Well if someone who will go unnamed (Trailbreaker) had remembered to bring the gravity loader instead of talking to said femme, then we wouldn't have had to push this fragging thing all the way from the catacombs to here... would we?" Tap-Out said with anger in his voice, between deep breaths as he slumped over the object. Flareup chuckled at the sight before her.

"Well Tap-Out, looks like Trailbreaker doesn't need a rest." she said playfully before nudging the black armoured bot, making him blush slightly.

"Uh... no, I am a fine. Thanks Flareup." he replied a little unsure, making the green bot roll his eyes in response. He couldn't believe how blind Trailbreaker could be, here was a femme who was showing all the signs that she liked him, and yet he couldn't see them.

"So once we're done here, do you want to get a bite to eat with us at the cafeteria Flareup?" Trailbreaker asked.

The femme's smile grew bigger as her blue eyes looked back to the bot.

"Sure, that would be great." she replied enthusiastically, but Tap-Out waved them on.

"You two can go on ahead, I want to stay and take some scans of this thing, make sure that all the pushing didn't damage anything." he said earning a bemused look from his colleague.

"You sure Tap-Out?" he asked.

"Yes, besides one of us shout remain and keep an eye on it. Go on, enjoy yourselves." the green bot replied, earning a silent thank you from the femme, before she and Trailbreaker started to leave. They didn't get far when Chromia appeared ahead of them with a knowing look on her face.

"Though I would find you here." she said with a slight smile that bemused the mech more, yet earned a scowl from Flareup.

"We were just heading off for something to eat...want to join us?" Trailbreaker asked, surprising both femmes.

"You know I would love to, but..." Chromia replied as The other femme looked at her pleadingly.

".. but I just came here to check if Flareup had finished her daily inventory report." she said before looking over to her friend, who activated her holo-tool.

"Yes I did, just transferring it to you now." the younger bot replied as Chromia's holo-tool signalled her to the file transfer.

"Okay then, carry on." the purple femme replied before motioning the to pass. But then as they moved away, a sound of thunder in the sky gained they attention as well as everyone else in the colony, even Grimlock who was at this moment was nearly a mile outside the colony's limits driving away in a medium sized four by four.

"What was that?" Flareup asked as she and the others looked up to see something in the sky. Chromia pulled a pair of binoculars from one of he pouches on her utility belt and looked at the object.

"It looks like a meteor, and..." she said before stopping abruptly.

"What's wrong?" Flareup asked nervously.

"It's heading for the colony." she said before the object crashed into the center of the complex, damaging the colony's market place. Cybertronians were flung in all directions along with debris and mud from the force of the impact as a dust cloud surrounded the area.

"Chromia to to anyone near the impact site do you read?" the femme said into her com link as she looked over to the rising smoke from the crash site. After several seconds someone answered.

"Chromia, this is Skids. The smoke and dust is starting to settle and we have a many injured, but I can see the meteor….what the?" the Autobot on the other end said before going silent.

"Skids what is it?" she asked back hesitantly when he gave no answer.

"Sorry Chromia, but this isn't a meteor. It looks like a pod of some kind, I am going in for a closer look."

Trailbreaker and Flareup stood next to her as they tried to overhear the conversation, Tap-Out ran up to them from the Catacombs entrance.

"What the hell was that I just heard?" he said.

"Some object just crash landed in the middle of the colony." Trailbreaker said.

"Skids, sorry I didn't quite get that?" Chromia said aloud while giving the two Mechs an angry stare, one mirrored by Flareup.

"Keep it down, I am trying to listen." she said as the purple femme continued her conversation.

"Say that again Skids."

"I said it looks like a transport pod, but I do not recognise the configuration." the bot said. Suddenly a loud hiss could be heard like pressure was being released.

"Wait, something is happening. The pod is opening up." Skids added, as the sound of moving metal could be heard over the com link.

"Skids?" Chromia said again.

"Chromia, the pod is open. But it is too dark to see in there." the Autobot replied over the com.

"Wait….. I can see something, two blue lights. They look like opti…" Skids added before being cut off by the most inhuman scream any of them had ever heard, that was soon followed by the sound of people screaming and panicking.

"By Primus, everyone run. Chromia it….. Scrap, its seen me. Stay where you are Chromia, I repeat…AGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!"

Then all that could be heard was the sounds of biting and a body being flung around like a rag doll. Chromia could not help but listen to the sounds as the screaming and panic could now be heard around the colony, along with more of the inhuman screams. The four bots looked at each other, and remained quiet for a long moment before one of them broke the silence in the group.

"What the hell is happening out there?" Tap-Out asked with fear in his voice.

"I don't know, but Skids said that we shouldn't move from where we are." Chromia replied, earning an angry look from Flareup.

"What do you mean, something is attacking our friends and colleagues up there. We should fight it." she said defiantly, only then to feel a hand on her shoulder. She looked to see that it was Trailbreaker.

"Skids is senior officer here Flareup. If he says we stay, then we stay. Besides I can erect a force field in the entrance to the catacombs. Whatever is out there will not get through."

"That's the plan, we wait here and hide?" the younger femme answered back.

"Look Flareup, we don't know what is attacking us or what their motives are. All we do know is that Skids ordered us not leave this site. Obviously he thinks it has something to do with what we have found here. So that is what we are going to do." Chromia replied earning a angry but accepting look from the younger femme.

"Trailbreaker get that force field set up quickly." Chromia said to the bot, gaining a nod from him as he activated his holo-tool.

"What about the Dinobots, where are they? Tap-Out asked a little hesitantly.

"I don't know Tap-Out, but knowing them... I guess they will be in the thick of it."

The monsters kept coming as Slug sliced up another with his twin blades, he was trying to protect Glyph and two other bots as these creatures kept attacking while they found themselves backed into an alleyway. The blue femme fired her pistol at another as the other two cowered behind them.

"What in the matrix are these things?" Glyph asked as she shot another in the face, Slug sliced one in two before glancing over his shoulder to her.

"I have never anything like them before, but they do resemble husks somewhat."

The blue bot shot another in the legs, making it fall to the ground as more toppled over it.

"Husks, you think it's the Reapers who are attacking. I thought that they do not attack colonies that are Cybertronians only?"

"I am just guessing Glyph" the Dinobot replied.

"Well what I want to know is that if only one of those things was in the pod that crash landed. Then how is there more of them now." she asked as she kicked punched another creature in the face when it got too close.

"Glyph just concentrate on fighting right now, we need to protect the civilians." Slug said back as us decapitated another.

"We are pretty much trapped in here Slug." she said back as the only exit they had was now blocked off by more creatures.

"That may be so, but it also has a choke point that makes it easier for us to defend against." the Dinobot replied. He then sliced through two more enemies as Glyph shot another two of them.

"My pistol can only slow them down." she said again as the Mech sliced up the two that she had shot at.

"Not a problem, you slow them down. And I finish them." he said as he tore up another.

"We need help here Slug, we can't hold out too long on our own." the femme said before shooting the legs of another before the Dinobot impaled it with one sword before decapitating it with his other. He then threw one weapon to Glygh.

"Here use this too." he said before activating his com link.

"Snarl, Sludge. This is Slug, I am with Glyph and two civilians. We need help, can you hear me?" he said as the two of them kept the monsters at bay.

"We read you loud and clear Slug." a voice came through the other end of the com.

"Sludge, what's your situation. Any chance you can help us out?" Slug asked.

"We have tried to send a distress signal out, but those damn 'things' have destroyed the dish." Sludge replied as another voice joined in.

"Also, no word from Swoop or Grimlock."

"You know better than to worry about the big guy Snarl." Slug said back as he witnessed Glyph slice off the arms of a creature before kicking it back into another.

"And Swoop will be fine too, you'll see." Sludge added.

"Anyway, just hold tight. We are on our way."

The com link then deactivated as the two bots continued to fight, meanwhile the two civilians hurdled close together and watched. At the back of the alleyway, a ventilation shaft grill suddenly came undone and it fell to the ground revealing another creature as it slowly climbed out.

"Did you hear something?" the female said to the male before looking back.

"AAGGGGGHHHH!"

The scream made both the bots fighting stop and look back, Glyph gasped at the sight before her. The civilian femme took a step back in fear as the mech was held up by the creature, it's tendrils burrowing deep into his neck as his body flinched constantly.

"Help them, I'll stay and keep the others at bay." Slug said before Glyph ran back and grabbed the civilian femme.

"Get back here now." she said while looking back to the blue femme.

"Help my spark mate please?" she begged Glyph who looked back at the civilian mech who was now starting to change as blue fluid passed through the creatures tendrils and into his body.

"I'll try." Glyph replied before she fired her pistol at the abomination, which continued to ignore the impacts the bullets made into it's body as it held the civilian and concentrated on it. Glyph then got in close and readied Slug's sword. The monster then dropped him to the ground and turned to the blue femme as she started to swing the blade at it, it raised it's bio-cannon to block the attack which then sliced through it, spilling the blue fluid all over the floor. But before Glyph could attack again, the creature grabbed her with its other arm and slammed the femme into the wall. The force of the impact made her drop her weapons as it left her dazed. And then it looked at her for a second before opening it's mouth and biting down into her neck with it's tendrils. She screamed out in pain as Glyph felt the pressure of it's jaws around her neck and the fluid being pumped into her system. The civilian femme in complete shock looked down to see her spark mate getting up and looking at her while completely transformed into an abomination.

"Clocker… by Primus." she said before it leapt at her and bit down into the femme. Slug heard another scream as he killed another creature and turned to see Glyph up against the wall, her body flinching erratically as the enemy continued to hold onto her, and the newest creature changing the civilian as it clung to the femme's neck on the floor. He felt his anger rage as he gritted his teeth and raise his sword up to attack, but before he could move he felt something grasp at his arm and yank him back. Another grabbed at his free arm and restrained him before the sharpest pain the had ever felt erupted from his neck, making him grimace in response. He then felt the worm-like tendrils of the creature slither into his body and pump out a fluid, a fluid that suddenly made him resist less as he stood there in the grip of one of the creature, dropping his sword to the ground as it began to change him. The alleyway then went quiet for a long time before nothing but Adjutants walked out of it.

Grimlock had turned his vehicle around and was on his way back as he pushed the throttle down hard and sped back toward the colony. It didn't take long for him to enter the city-limits as he started to hear the monstrous screams echoing around him as he brought the vehicle to a halt, climbed out and readied his sword. He didn't like turning around and leaving Swoop out there, but the colony comes first, that was his orders... his team's orders. He knew Swoop would understand, so he stood there and activated his com link.

"Grimlock to Dinobots, come in. Anyone?" he said as he looked around at the buildings that surrounded him, noting that it had gone deathly quiet. So he moved toward an archway and hid there for a second, as he was to visible to whatever was attacking the colony from where he stood.

"Grimlock, it's Snarl." a voice came back through the com.

"Snarl, what's the situation?" the Dinobot leader asked back.

"The object that landed in the colony let loose some creature and it began infecting the other Cybertronians." Snarl replied.

"Infecting…..what do you mean?"

"I don't know, but it changed them into more of it's kind. I mean…I." Snarl replied with sadness and regret in his voice which Grimlock recognised.

"What is it, what has happened?"

"Sludge, we were on our way to help Snarl and some civvies when we were jumped by a number of those monsters. They got Sludge and…(winces).., almost got me." Snarl replied.

"I…. see, what do you mean almost got you?" Grimlock asked as he looked down to the ground and remembered his fallen friend.

"One of them bit me, but I managed to free myself before it could do anything else… I think." the other bot answered.

"Okay then, what about Snarl? Have you heard from him since?"

"No, I was on my way to his last coördinates." the voice replied. Grimlock activated his holo-tool.

"Alright, I have turned on my locator beacon, do the same and I will meet up with you." the leader replied.

"Done, I'll meet up with you then. If you come across any of the creatures, just don't let them touch you."

"Will do." Grimlock replied before heading out into the streets while tracking his friend on his holo-tool.

The Dinobot leader had quietly moved through the colony for some time as he closed the distance between himself and Snarl, but had not come across any of the creatures that the citizens of Eden Prime had been turned into. Sure he heard some noises coming from the distance, but he had not yet seen one. This confused the bot as he kept his grip on his sword tight before coming across the alleyway that Snarl had mentioned. He looked down the alley, but saw nothing but a broken vent grill and some fluid on the floor. There was signs of a fight, but no clues to where Slug or the others with him had gone. Grimlock then felt eyes upon him from behind and swung round with his blade ready.

"Boss, its me!" Snarl replied with his hands in the air, the Dinobot leader looked down at his friend and pulled back.

"It's good to see you Snarl." he said before seeing the wound on the other Dinobot's neck.

"That looks painful."

Snarl reached up to the wound and scratched at it, making him wince in return.

"It is, and it itches too. But I am okay." he said before looking down the alleyway.

"So since this place is a burst what next?"

Grimlock then looked up at the sky as his audio receptors picked up a faint noise.

"Can you hear that?" he asked as Snarl mirrored him by looking up too.

"Yeah, sounds like a…." he replied before a shuttle flew over them both.

"….a shuttle, did you see any insignias on it?"

"No, but it is heading for the catacombs entrance. Come on." the Dinobot leader said as he started to run in that direction. Snarl started to follow but did not notice the shadow of something looming over him. Grimlock had moved several meters before….

"Arrrrggh, get the frag off me!" Snarl cried out, making Grimlock look back to see a creature on top of the Dinobot. Snarl was holding it's head back as it's tendrils whipped around in a frenzy, trying to get at the open wound on the Cybertronian's neck.

"Snarl!" Grimlock called back as he stormed over to his friend, but the creature saw him and instead hit the bot in the face, putting him in a daze before grabbing his foot and dragging him in the opposite direction. Grimlock chased after his friend as he was dragged down the street and round a corner, but when the big bot ran round the same corner, he saw that his friend and the beast were gone. He looked around frantically before hearing a familiar voice scream out in pain before suddenly going silent. Grimlock closed his eyes as he felt his rage building up at the thought that at this moment, his entire team could well be dead. Sludge and Snarl were both gone, Slug was nowhere to be found and as for Swoop. He shook his head as he tried to fight away those thoughts.

'No, until I see a body, Swoop and Slug could still be alive' he thought, but then he heard the sound of movement around him and he opened his eyes to see several creatures in front of him, he then heard more noises from behind and guessed that he was surrounded. His anger was at boiling point as one of the monsters rushed at him and jumped, but then in the blink of an eye it was sliced in two by the orange blade of the Dinobot leader as he swung his weapon at it. He then took a stance and looked at the creatures.

The Defiant jumped out of hyperspace and flew toward the planet of Eden Prime, Hotrod was in the pilot seat with Airachnid to his left, controlling the weapon systems. He looked at the sensor screen before activating his com link.

"Prime, we are approaching the planet. I am reading just one ship in orbit, it's IFF says MECH cruiser. It has spotted us and is heading out to intercept us."

"Roger that Hotrod, disable the MECH vessel and then head down to the planet's surface. More Alliance vessels are on their way and can take care of the cruiser. But we will be using the MAKO so need to be at least a hundred feet above the ground before launching, clear?" Jack's voice said over the com.

"Aye, aye." the pilot replied as they neared the enemy ship. The enemy cruiser charged up it's main beam weapon as the smaller frigate got closer, but before it could fire, Airachnid launched two torpedoes which impacted against the MECH vessel, the explosion knocked the vessel off course as it lost power and started to drift. The Defiant then flew past and down into the planet's atmosphere.

The Alliance vessel flew down to the green landscape as the rain fell from the clouds above before levelling off at the distance that the Prime had said, it then opened it's shuttle bay doors and the MAKO drove off the landing ramp and fell from the Defiant, which began it's ascent back into orbit. The ground vehicle began plummeting towards the surface, but then thrusters fired from under the MAKO, slowing it's decent before it gently landed with a bump on the grassy hill overlooking the colony. Jack was sitting in the driver's seat in the cramped interior as he controlled the vehicle, Arcee and Smokescreen sat in the rear and were watching him. They could hear the rain as it landed on the roof of the vehicle, making a continuous tapping sound.

"Okay, we are less than a mile from the colony. Should reach it in twenty minutes." the Prime said before looking back to see the worried expression on his partner's face.

"Arcee, I am sure Chromia is alright." he said with an encouraging tone, gaining a nod from the femme.

"I know Jack, but I guess I wont feel better until I see her." she replied. Jack nodded before turning back and putting his foot down on the throttle as the MAKO began making it's way to the colony.

It wasn't long before the MAKO was traversing the streets as it made it's way between the buildings.

"It's too quiet, where is everyone?" Arcee asked as she looked out the small porthole on her side of the vehicle.

"We haven't seen or heard anything since we entered the colony." Smokescreen added as Jack noticed something on the holo-sreen to his right.

"Wait a second, sensors are picking up a large amount of movement from the west of our location, changing course."

The Prime then turned the MAKO in that direction and moved down the street until it came to a stop in front or a large horde of the creatures, which Jack recognised immediately.

"Adjutants…. Damn it."

Both Autobots stood behind Jack and looked out of the glass canopy at the monsters, who had not noticed the MAKO yet.

"Those things are Adjutants…. Nasty." Smokescreen said as he observed the creatures.

"And that is what Shen was…." Arcee asked gaining a nod from the Prime, she then looked down at the ground.

"… I see, poor Garrus."

The femme then looked up when a realization came over her.

"That means that out there, that horde may have been Cybertronians once. But I thought that Reaper tech has no effect on us."

"Well maybe MECH managed to alter the coding of the Adjutant virus, I mean they have had enough experience with Cybertronian physiology over the years." Jack replied.

"But that means one of them could be…" Arcee said back as her mind became overwhelmed with thoughts of her sister. Jack though looked back at her, his blue eyes meeting her own.

"Don't think like that Arcee, that line of thinking won't help anyone, especially yourself."

The femme nodded back and sighed.

"Your right Jack."

Smokescreen though leaned more forward as he watched the Adjutants.

"Why haven't they attacked us yet, I mean we are in a tank of all things and yet they don't seem bothered."

"It looks like they have their attention elsewhere." Jack replied, as Arcee focused her eyes and noticed the hint of an orange blade being swung in the distance. She then pointed in the direction.

"There, someone is fighting them."

The Prime then changed gears and revved the engine, which finally made a number of the creatures turn and look at them.

"Smokescreen, get on the turret. I want suppressive fire." the Commander said, earning a nod from the young bot as he opened the top hatch and climbed up to the turret that was positioned on top of the main cannon.

"Arcee be ready to open the aft hatch, the moment Smokescreen has given us enough room."

She nodded before heading to the back of the MAKO.

"What are you going to do?" she asked looking back at her partner. But Jack just smirked as he glanced back at her.

"I'm going to see what this thing can do." he replied before looking forward at the approaching Adjutants and hit the accelerator hard, making the MAKO move forward and gain momentum as it started to speed toward the monsters. One of the Adjutants jumped for the roof of the MAKO, but was knocked down by Smokescreen who fired a burst of rounds into the creature.

"How do you like that?" he shouted over the weapons fire as the MAKO then rammed into the outer edges of the horde, sending some of the creatures into the air while others got caught under the large wheels of the vehicle, splattering their blue fluids everywhere.

Meanwhile Grimlock swung his blade through one Adjutant before grabbing the torso of it and then swinging that into another creature, knocking it to the ground. He then dropped the body part and grabbed the hilt of his sword with both hands and then sliced through two more enemies as he created a small amount of space between himself and the horde. He then heard weapons fire and the sound of a vehicle approaching, so he looked up to see the MAKO mowing down more of the Adjutants as it approached him. But as he then turned and focused on an enemy that had gotten to close to his person by impaling it with his sword and then swinging it into three more enemies, he failed to see one pounce at his back. But before it got within an inch of him, it was shot down by Smokescreen as the MAKO hit the breaks and slid into a large number of Adjutants, leaving a blue liquid like mess in it's wake. Smokescreen while firing continuously into the horde looked down at the Dinobot leader.

"Get round the back." he shouted, earning a nod back as Grimlock then ran to the aft of MAKO. One of the creatures was there to greet him, but instead received a beheading before the hatch opened and revealed Arcee to him. She held her hand out to the Dinobot.

"Grimlock, come on." she said before he took her hand and climbed into hatch, the femme sealing it behind them right after.

"We got him, go!" she called back to Jack who then hit the accelerator again and flipped a switch next to him.

"Dropping the package." he stated, gaining a confused look from his partner.

"What?" she replied. But as the MAKO then drove off and through the rest of the Adjutants in front of it. Back where it once stood was an explosive device which after a few seconds exploded, engulfing the horde of Adjutants in fire. The force of the blast then hit the back of the MAKO, shaking it around slightly as the vehicle made it's escape. Smokescreen then looked back to see the Adjutants running around on fire as their bodies burned, he smiled before he deactivated the turret and climbed back down into the MAKO's interior. He then nodded to Grimlock who smiled back at him.

"Nice shooting kid." he said before looking at Arcee.

"It's been a while Arcee."

"It sure has Grimlock." she replied with a pat to his shoulder, he then looked toward the driver's seat.

"So I guess that's Jack up front then?" he asked before walking over (hunched, due to limited height of MAKO) to the Prime.

"Good to see your in one piece Grimlock." Jack said back a slight smile.

"Thanks for the rescue, didn't think that our distress call got through." the Dinobot replied.

"We didn't receive a distress call, we got Intel that MECH were about to attack and headed straight here." the Prime said, earning a shocked look from the big bot.

"MECH, but those creatures look like Reaper forces."

"Silas has been using Reaper tech for his own purposes, but I don't know why they would attack Eden Prime."

"I heard that the expedition here has uncovered a stasis pod down in the Lithone catacombs." Grimlock said before his eyes widened as something dawned on him.

"That shuttle that I and Snarl saw earlier, that must have been a MECH force heading for the catacombs."

"Ok, I taking us there now." Jack replied as he turned the MAKO sharply around a corner and down another street as it headed for that location.

"You mentioned Snarl, where is the rest of the Dinobots?" the Prime asked, making Grimlock look to the ground with a sullen face.

"They are dead Jack, those creatures turned them into more of themselves." he said as Jack just kept his eyes on the road and sighed, both Arcee and Smokescreen looked to the ground as they mourned the deaths of their comrades.

"I am sorry Grimlock." Arcee said before looking up to him, the femme was about to say something else but the Dinobot leader cut her off, as he knew what she was about to ask.

"Chromia wasn't among any of them Arcee, that I know of. She was heading for the catacombs the last time I saw her." he replied. The femme just hung her head and sighed.

"I just hope she is alright, I don't want to lose another sister." she said before she felt a hand on her shoulder, she looked up to see Grimlock looking down to her.

"Chromia is strong, she will make it." he replied with an encouraging tone.

"I hope your right." Arcee said back as the MAKO drove closer to the catacombs site.

Meanwhile a number of MECH soldiers were firing their rifles at the force field that Trailbreaker was projecting from his holo-tool, all while an engineer was trying to deactivate it with his own tool from behind his troops.

"These MECH guys really want to get in here." the bot said while looking across to Flareup who was waiting with her SMG ready.

"Maybe you should just lower it then and let us fight already." she replied eagerly. But Chromia gave her protégé a harsh look as she stood behind the stasis pod that the femme and Tap-Out were using as cover.

"No Flareup, we hold out as long as we can. We will only engage them the moment that field comes down. Help is on the way, I know it is. So we just need to hold on."

The younger femme shrugged and then looked back at the enemy troops as the engineer suddenly pointed toward them, which made the Autobots look back with concern.

"I think we will need to fight soon." Trailbreaker stated as he readied his pistol, his holo-tool started to bleep continuously as the field started to fluctuate.

"Finally." Flareup said with relief. But just as the force field began to fail, the MECH soldiers all turned around when they heard something approaching them. The engineer ignored it as he concentrated on the catacombs defence, while the rest looked down the street. Suddenly a MAKO turned around the corner fast and sped up towards the MECH soldiers who started firing on the vehicle.

"Everyone get ready." Chromia said as they watched the action on the other side of the force field. The enemy fire did nothing against the vehicle's heavy armour as it ran through the soldiers, killing them all instantly. Only the engineer was left and he turned to see the MAKO break hard and swing it's aft around, which collided with the MECH trooper. Sending him flying into the wall nearby, the sound of his bones shattering on impact before he fell to the ground in heap. Chromia looked at the MAKO and saw the Alliance symbol on it's side.

"Deactivate the force field." she said to Trail breaker, who nodded and did as he was ordered. The orange field came down just before Chromia reached it and she walked up to the back of the vehicle as the hatch opened and Arcee and Grimlock stepped out. Chromia's eyes widened and a large smile graced her lips as she looked over to her older sister.

"Sis, thank Primus." she said aloud as she ran over to the blue femme and the two hugged each other tightly.

"I was so worried." Arcee said before the two pulled back and smiled at each other.

"I knew you would come Arcee." the purple femme replied as Jack and Smokescreen showed themselves, the Prime looked over to the black object.

"Is that the stasis pod?" he asked, gaining Chromia's attention.

"Yes it is Jack. We need to get this out of here before MECH come back."

Smokescreen looked back towards the driver's controls and saw a large amount of movement heading their way.

"We have company." he replied as Jack looked over to Grimlock.

"Think you can lift that?" he asked.

"No problem Jack." the Dinobot leader replied as he walked over and picked up the pod with ease.

"Okay everyone, onboard now." the Prime said before Chromia, Arcee, Tap-Out, Flareup and Trailbreaker all boarded the MAKO. Jack then helped Grimlock load the pod into the vehicle before closing the hatch behind them and taking the driver's seat again. He then hit then changed gears and hit the accelerator as the MAKO started to head away from the catacombs.

"Jackson Prime to Defiant, do you read?" he asked as he drove up the empty streets of the colony.

"Hotrod here, you ready for pickup?" the pilot replied over the com.

"Yes, meet us at the EZ coordinates." the Prime replied, but then suddenly the MAKO started to slow down, earning a worried look from him.

"Why are we slowing?" Grimlock asked as Jack began to look at the diagnostic screen next to him, the wheels of the MAKO were flashing red.

"It says the wheels are damaged, but I don't see…." the Commander replied before he saw and Adjutant on the monitor showing the aft of the vehicle. It had fired it's bio-cannon at the wheels and it's acid had eaten through them. Then on the monitor for each side of the Alliance vehicle, more creatures appeared as they started to surround and climb on top of it.

"We have to get out and fight." the Dinobot stated, earning a nod from Flareup who agreed with him.

"No, that Acid they are using won't breach the MAKO and there are too many out there to fight." Jack replied.

"Then what do you suggest?" Chromia asked, giving the Prime a concerned look as did everyone else. Jack though activated his com link.

"Raf how is it coming with the database, found anything on the Adjutants yet?"

In the science lab, Raf and Tali were still working on the database as Garrus watched them.

"Jack, we are still trying to decrypt the rest of it." the scientist said as he adjusted his glasses.

"How long, because we are running short on time here." the Prime answered back, gaining a worried look from Tali as she looked over to Raf. He shook his head in return.

"We are working as fast as we can, but…"

Garrus then sighed before activating his com link.

"Jack I have an idea, if you will let me?" he said.

"Do it." came the response, and the Turian then left the room leaving both Tali and Raf confused.

In the darkned quarters, with nothing but the dim light from outside of the room's window to illuminate it. Petrovsky was sitting on his bed, holding his head in his hands as he contemplated what he was going to do. But then the door opened and flooded the room with light, nearly blinding him as he looked over to see the silhouette of a Turian standing in the doorway.

"What, but my information is correct yes?" he asked as he recognised Garrus.

"That all depends on what you tell me right now." the Turian replied as he stepped into the room and stopped in front of the MECH prisoner.

"I don't understand."

"How do we stop the Adjutants?" Garrus asked back, anger tinged his voice.

"I told you I don't know." Petrovsky answered, before being knocked down on to the bed by the Turian's fist.

"Wrong answer."

The former General cowered in fear of the Turian who stood over him.

"But I don't know."

Garrus then grabbed the prisoner's collar and yanked him up, their faces only inches apart.

"I know you are holding something back, now tell me or I will kill you now."

Petrovsky's eyes widened as his face started to sweat.

"Okay, okay. I know the code to deactivate the encryption on the database."

Garrus gritted his teeth before throwing the prisoner out of his room.

"Move it!" he growled as he left the room and pushed Petrovsky.

A moment later, both Tali and Raf watched in shock as the Turian pushed the MECH general down on seat facing the main console.

"Get on with it." he said with force as Petrovsky started to type on the holo-keyboard in front of him, stopping a few moments later.

"Garrus, how is the plan of yours? Because I don't know how much more of this we can take down here?" Jack's voice said over the com, Garrus looked down at the General.

"Why have you stopped?"

"This will take some time…" Petrovksy started to say before the Turian equipped his pistol and fired it into the wall (it is reinforced, so no hull breach), making the former general jump, then he pressed the hot barrel of the pistol against the prisoner's head. The heat burning the skin as it touched.

"Stop delaying, or the next bullet goes through your head." Garrus snapped at him. Tali then heard what sounded like running water and looked down to the bottom the seat that Petrovsky was sitting and gasped in disgust.

"Oh Keelah." she said as they all looked down at the small puddle of urine that formed around the chair and realised that the prisoner had pissed him self.

"Alright." he said back, his voice full of cold dread as he turned around and typed a series of commands into the console. Several seconds later and the encryption disappeared to reveal the database.

"Jack we got it." Raf answered as he stepped around the prisoner (making sure not to step in the urine) and began searching for the information. Garrus pushed Petrovsky out of his seat and onto the floor before pointing his pistol at him.

"If my friends die down there, then so will you."

Raf and Tali then both smiled.

"We have found the data on the Adjutants, they are controlled from a mobile array that would have to be in close proximity to wherever the Adjutants are being deployed."

Tali then activated her com link.

"Hotrod, run a sensor sweep of the area around the colony. Are there any anomalies present?"

After a moment.

"Yes, Teletraan is picking up a transmission from about a kilometre and a half outside of the colony, to its west." the pilot answered.

"Set a course and arm weapons." the Quarian replied.

"Aye, aye." Hotrod replied.

The MECH soldiers just stood and watched the horizon as they guarded the transmitter array, all while an engineer maintained it with his holo-tool.

"We should have heard from the recovery team by now." one soldier said.

"Quiet, just focus on your duty." the engineer replied as one of the other soldiers looked up to the sky.

"Err, can any of you see that?" he said while pointing up to the speck that was quickly getting larger as it closed in on them. The engineer then pulled out a pair of binoculars and looked up to the sky before freezing in place at what he could see.

"What is it?" the soldier nearest to him asked. But suddenly the Defiant fired four torpedoes at the site, destroying the shuttle and the transmission array in one go as the whole area became a smoldering crater. The Alliance frigate then leveled out and flew past before turning around. Just as it did, a survivor climbed up from behind some charred debris from the shuttle and looked up at the enemy ship before tapping his com link.

"This unit zero four. We need help, I repeat we need…." he said before several bullets shot through his chest spilling out blood as he fell to his knees and then face down on the ground. Standing behind him was the beaten and bruised form of Swoop who had his assault rifle in hand, he smiled and took a deep breath.

"That's for shooting me down you fragging piece of scrap."

The Dinobot then looked up to the Defiant which was hovering above and waved at them before activating his com link.

"Any chance of a lift for a fellow bot?" he asked cheekily.

Meanwhile the MAKO was now completely covered by the Adjutants which were beating down on it's hull as they tried to get through to it's occupants. Inside everyone was just waiting for the signal that Raf said was coming, a signal that they wouldn't miss. Jack himself was wondering what Garrus had done, he knew that it would involve Petrovsky but he hoped that his friend would have kept his cool still. He looked around the small interior of the MAKO, he saw his love Arcee sitting close with Chromia while Flareup was holding on to a very confused but also… kinda happy Trailbreaker. Smokescreen was sitting next to Tap-Out, both bots looking rather nervous. But then the Prime's gaze fell on Grimlock and the big bot looked almost ready to explode as he looked up at the ceiling, obviously wanting to go outside and smash up some Adjutants. The Dinobot leader then gritted his teeth as the sounds of the monsters beating the hull from the outside was now to much for him to bear.

"Right that's it, I am going out there." he said angrily as Jack got up to meet him.

"Stay where you are, that is an order." the Prime said firmly as he stared at the bot who was much taller and stronger than himself.

"You may be a Prime Jack, but as of this moment you remind me more of Optimus. That is not a smart thing to do around me." the Dinobot replied coldly.

"I know you and Optimus have had your disagreements over the eons Grimlock, but I will be damned if I will defied by one who's rank is below mine." Jack replied.

Grimlock clenched his fists as he gritted his teeth, the Prime could see the anger almost exploding out of the Dinobot's eyes, but knew that he had to stand his ground. Meanwhile Arcee had slipped her hand down to her SMG and took it's safety off before slowly equipping it, she did not like the idea of attacking a comrade. But Grimlock's anger issues were always not just a threat to the Decepticons during the war, but to the Autobots as well. Jack noticed this and subtly gestured with his lowered hand for her to stand down, she gave him a concerned look but then slowly nodded and holstered her weapon. But then suddenly the banging on the hull stopped and everyone looked around.

"What happened?"

Smokescreen asked before Jack looked at the monitors and saw that the Adjutants were lying on the ground, not moving at all. He then looked back to Arcee.

"Open the hatch." he said and the femme nodded back before walking over to the back of the vehicle and activating the control panel there. Outside the hatch opened and Grimlock jumped down to the ground with his sword ready, but was met by the sight of the entire horde lying dead on the ground.

"What in Primus?" he said as everyone else climbed out of the MAKO and looked around. Jack then tapped his com link.

"Raf, what happened?" he asked while Arcee looked at him.

"Jack, we have destroyed a MECH mobile base just outside of the colony. There signal array was 'controlling' the Adjutants. Take away the control and they don't move." the scientist replied.

"Good work up there. Alright pick us up and send a signal to the Alliance ships that will arrive soon." the Prime said just as the Defiant appeared over the colony.

Thirty minutes later the Defiant was back in orbit of Eden Prime, as the disabled MECH cruiser was still drifting just away from them. In the shuttle bay everyone was disembarking from the MAKO as Alliance engineers started work on repairing the damage it sustained on the planet's surface. Smokescreen offered to show Flareup, Trailbreaker and Tap-Out the rest of the ship, but Chromia decided to star with her sister as Arcee and Jack looked over the stasis pod. Meanwhile Grimlock looked around, like he had no idea what to do with himself.

"Am I glad to see you." a familiar voice called from behind him, making the big bot look to see Swoop exiting the elevator.

"Swoop!" Grimlock exclaimed as he walked over to his team mate, a big smile on his face.

"I thought you were dead." he said gaining a smile from the smaller dinobot.

"Hey you should know that I have become an expert at crash landings over the years, so this latest one was no problem." he replied, Swoop then looked around.

"So where are the others?"

Grimlock's face then saddened as he looked away for a second, this was all the other Dinobot needed to see to know that something bad had happened.

"Wait, but not all of them, right?"

"Slug, Snarl and Sludge all died with honor Swoop. They are with the Allspark now." Grimlock replied.

As the two bots talked Jack was looking over the black stasis pod. Arcee watched as her partner suddenly placed his hand on a section of the object, revealing a hidden control panel.

"Jack, you know what you are doing right?" she asked, earning a nod from the Prime.

"Remember when I told you that I was hit by energy that was released from the beacon down on Eden Prime three years ago." he said while tapping the control interface which was made up of green and blue glyphs, the femme nodded in return.

"Yes I remember."

"Well, it must have done more than just show me a vision of the reapers. Because I also know how to use certain technology of theirs too. I just looked at this stasis pod and knew immediately how to operate it." he continued as he tapped the final code sequence into the pod which came to life with a deep humming noise. He and Arcee then stood back for a second as the pod released nitrogen gas out and opened up to reveal someone lying inside still asleep. The Prime and his XO then got closer once the gas had evaporated and looked inside at it's occupant. He looked like the Cybertronians in their original bodies except for the fact that he was a similar height to their pretender forms. He was of a red and light brown colour scheme and had a metallic beard on his face plate. The Lithone then opened it's optics revealing them to be green as he looked up at the two partners. His optics then narrowed and his body glowed bright green before knocking them both off their feet. The Lithone then stood up and looked around angrily at his surroundings.

"Was that biotics?" Arcee asked as she recovered.

"I guess, but how do the Lithone possess that ability?" Jack asked as he got back to his feet, meanwhile a number of the Defiant's security officers arrived and aimed their weapons at the Lithone, who just stared at them with narrowed optics as he started to charge the biotic power in his fist.

"Wait, hold your fire." Jack called back as he again approached the Lithone, who then looked back at the Prime. He then held out his glowing fist, but before he could unleash the energy he suddenly fell out of the pod to the floor. Jack then went over to him and put his hand around the Lithone's arm to help him up, but suddenly felt a bolt of electricity pass between them, pushing him back.

"Jack are you alright?" Arcee asked with a concerned tone as Jack shook it off.

"Yeah I am okay." he replied as he looked back down to the Lithone.

"Has it been that long?" it asked, which made everyone in the room look back in surprise.

"Wait that was English, how did it?" one of the security officers asked out loud, before Jack gestured for them to leave.

"You understand us?" the Prime asked, gaining a nod from the Lithone.

"Yes, when you touched me, I read your biology and your memories. Has it really been one hundred thousand years?"

"Yes as far as we can tell, you are the last surviving member of your species. and they were destroyed by the Reapers." the Prime replied before the Lithone got to his feet.

"And now they have returned, tell me what is your name?"

"My name is Commander Jack Darby of the Human/Autobot Alliance, but I am also called Jackson Prime."

The Lithone's optics widened at the mention of that name.

"A Prime, my people had heard legends of the Primes. Tell me, is that great war still being fought by the Cybertronians?"

Arcee stepped forward toward him.

"No, the war ended some time ago. We now live in peace with our former Decepticon foes." the femme answered, making the Lithone look her up and down.

"When I last saw one of your kind, they were taller than this room."

"We had to give up our old forms when our energon supply ran out." Arcee replied.

"I see." he said back before looking back to Jack.

"Allow me to introduce myself, I am Kranix. I am one of the Lithone Science Academy."

Both Jack and Arcee's eyes widened in surprise at the mention of his name.

"Wait, you are Kranix. Creater of the 'Kranix matrix'?" Jack asked back, earning a nod from the Lithone.

"Yes, I was part of the team that was building a super weapon that would destroy the Reapers, my VI program was to be the last addition that would have made it operational. Unfortunately indoctrinated members of my people sabotaged it and the last hope of the Lithone died with it."

"Is it on your person or down on the planet where we found your stasis pod?" Jack asked eagerly, but Kranix shook his head.

"I am afraid not, you see the Reapers attacked this planet in the last days of my cycle. So I entered stasis in our underground bunker, but not before transmitting my matrix program to a colleague on one of our colony worlds."

"Which colony, do you have the coördinates?" the Prime replied, earning a nod from Kranix. The Commander then gestured the Lithone to a wall terminal where he typed the coordinates into it's holo-screen. The Teletraan appeared in its holo-form.

"Jackson Prime, I have analysed the data and it matches a planet in our database."

Both Arcee and Jack looked at the AI.

"Well which planet is it?" Arcee asked, before the Prime had a chance to.

"The planet is Thessia." the AI replied as the entire room went quiet, as the realisation of where they had to go dawned on them.

"Teletraan, get me Admiral Bryce right away. We need to speak with Councillor Tevos immediately." Jack said before the intercom activated.

"Prime, we have just received a n urgent broadcast from Alliance intelligence." Hotrod said.

"What is it?" the Prime asked back as the pilot took a breath before answering.

"The Reapers are starting to attack the other races and they have begun with the Asari home world, 'Thessia'."


CHAPTER 16

Stars continued to streak past the hull of the Defiant as it soared through hyperspace on it's course toward Thessia. On board everyone was rushing around as they prepared for the ship for combat, Arcee was in the CIC in command, Raf, Bumblebee and Airachnid were in the science lab going over all the data they had on the Reapers. Garrus was (unsurprisingly) running final calibration checks on the weapons, Tali was back in engineering, Smokescreen was keeping Tap-Out, Flareup and Trailbreaker company in the common room. Grimlock though had just exited the elevator and entered the shuttle bay, he saw Swoop near Shuttle one and walked over to him. The Dinobot pilot was working on an exposed panel of the shuttle when his friend called him.

"Swoop, I was told you were down here." Grimlock said as he stopped beside his friend, who looked over to him.

"Grimlock, just give me a second to finish this." he said as he had his hands in the inner workings of the shuttle, but within a moment he had pulled his hands out re-covered the panel.

"There all done." he said smugly while wiping his hands with a rag. The Dinobot leader looked at him with a confused expression.

"What are you doing?"

"I have just finished installing a device into shuttle one here, once activated it should imitate the reaper IFF that the Defiant has, and allow me to pilot Jack and his team down to Thessia without incident." Swoop replied.

"Your going to pilot them?" the big bot asked in surprise.

"The Defiant is running low on shuttle pilots, so Jack asked me to join the crew and I said yes. After hearing he stories of everything that this ship has accomplished, how could I say no. What about you Grimlock, aren't you going to join up?"

The Dinobot leader looked ahead for a second before looking back down to his friend.

"I don't know, Jack asked too. But I told him I would think about it."

"I see, hey if this is anything to do with what happened to the others, then you shouldn't blame yourself. It was MECH that attacked the colony remember, focus your anger at them." Swoop replied.

"I know and all I want to do is rip that Silas and his group apart for what they did." Grimlock said back as he clenched his fist so tight that it started to shake.

"Then say yes, because with this ship's record I bet we will be facing MECH again before long."

The big bot then nodded in return before turning around.

"Okay, thanks for chat Swoop." he replied before walking away.

"Any time Grimlock." the pilot replied before tuning back to the shuttle and running a diagnostic from his Holo-tool.

Meanwhile Jack was standing in the com room with the hologram of Councillor Tevos.

"I received the Admiral's message, but there is not a lot that we can do Prime, as we are currently trying to protect and evacuate our people from areas that the Reapers are currently purging." the Councillor said stoically.

"I am already on route to Thessia, we just need access to these coordinates." the Prime replied as he transmitted the data to Tevos who then looked it over on her side, her eyes widened a moment later.

"Really, I know this location Prime. It is a temple that is located in our capital city, how did you come about this data?"

"We received the data from a Lithone Scientist that awaken from stasis at Eden Prime, he is part of the team that built the Crucible. He said that the part we need to finish it would be at those coordinates." Jack replied.

"I see, well I know what I just said earlier. But if what you say is true, then I will make sure you have some help. I will arrange to have a group of scientists meet you when you land at this location." the Councillor said.

"Thank you, I appreciate you doing this." the Prime replied.

"I hope you find what you are looking for, because we are all in this together now. Good luck Prime." Tevos then said before her hologram disappeared.

Jack entered the corridor to find Chromia waiting for him outside the com room.

"Hey Jack." she said with a smile.

"Hey Chromia, were you waiting for me?" he asked as the door closed behind him.

"Yes, we never really got the chance to catch up after getting back from Eden Prime." the femme answered.

"That is true, so how are you Chromia?" the Prime asked as they began walking down the corridor.

"Well considering how things were back at the planet, I am happy to be alive." she answered but jack could see that something was bothering her.

"What's wrong Chromia?" he asked, earning a surprised look from the femme before she sighed.

"I would like to ask for a transfer to the Defiant."

"Really, why is that? I mean I heard that Flareup was being transferred with Trailbreaker and Tap-Out to the Crucible, why aren't you going with them?" he asked as they turned a corner.

"Well for one Flareup wasn't transferred, she volunteered after hearing that Trailbreaker was being moved there."

Jack the looked at her confused.

"Is there something going o between those two?"

the femme rolled her eyes and lightly chuckled.

"Well one of them believes so. But anyway, with everything that happened recently. I want to be close to sis." she said back honestly.

"I see, well I know it would do Arcee the world to good to have you on board." Jack relied with a slight smile, gaining a hopeful look from the young femme.

"Do you have a positions available?"

"Well the Defiant did have a security chief once, but I have yet to fill that post. Would you be interested?" the Prime asked.

"Yes, yes I would." she answered eagerly. Jack then held out his hand to her, which she accepted.

"Then welcome aboard the Defiant." he replied with a smile.

"Thank you sir." she replied with a salute which Jack waved down.

"Jack will do, we are practically family Chromia."

"Yeah I heard that the two of you were back together, I am happy for you both." she replied as Jack noticed Arcee and Airachnid walking towards them, gaining a smile from him. Chromia having noticed this looked to where his attention was and saw the raven haired femme. But as soon as she saw the purple eyes of said femme, she narrowed her eyes and gritted her teeth before launching herself at the former Con in anger.

"Airachnid!" she cried out.

"Chromia wait!" Jack called back, but Chromia had already tackled Airachnid to the floor. Arcee took a second to register what was going on as her younger sister started trying to strangle the former Con. Airachnid though narrowed her eyes at the femme before jabbing Chromia in the face, disorientating the femme as her grip weakened. Airachnid then clamped her legs around the young bot and rolled them both over, so that she was now on top and she raised her fist to strike. But then a hand grabbed hold making the femme look up to see Arcee staring back worriedly.

"Airachnid stop!" she said, as her friend's angry expression softened and she climbed off of the beaten Autobot. Chromia then got up, while never taking her eyes off of the former Con. She then went to strike at the black armoured femme again, only for Arcee to stand in the way.

"That's enough."

Chromia just gave her sister a confused expression.

"But that's Airachnid, after everything that she did. Killing Cliffjumper, the numerous times she tried to kill you and Jack. Not to mention all everything else. Airachnid deserves nothing but…." she said in an angry tone before stopping and just looking at her sister.

"…. Why are you defending her all of a sudden, in fact what is she doing onboard."

Arcee looked over to Airachnid and then to Jack, though the former Con just stayed quiet as the young femme's words .

"Chromia, Airachnid was not responsible for any of the deeds that she did during the war." Jack said, only confusing the blue femme more.

"Really, what was she under some kind of mind control?"

Arcee looked at her in a matter of fact way.

"That's exactly what happened, you remember all the bots who fell to Shockwave's experiments during the war. Well Airachnid was a victim of that as well, but at a very personal cost."

Chromia just stayed quiet and listened to her sister while Jack looked over to Airachnid and saw the look on her face, it was one of sadness and regret. He was going to say something when the inter com activated. "Jackson Prime, we be at the space bridge to Thessia in twenty minutes." Teletraan said gaining a nod from the Prime before he looked back at the femmes.

"Arcee, Airachnid your with me for this mission."

They both nodded in return, before Arcee looked at Chromia.

"We'll talk about this when we get back." she said gesturing to her sister and the femme. The younger bot nodding sheepishly.

"Chromia take your station." Jack then said in a stoic manner.

"Yes Jack."

And then she walked off to the elevator quietly, Airachnid then looked at Arcee.

"I am sorry." she said in a regretful tone.

"You don't have to apologise Airachnid." the blue femme replied.

"I guess that there are still bots out there that don't know what happened to me." the former Con said back, Arcee placed a hand on her shoulder in support.

"Airachnid you are my friend and team mate, if anyone who doesn't know the truth tries anything against you, then I will put them straight."

The former Con looked at her with a slight smile before Jack also spoke.

"That makes both of us." he said with a smile, Airachnid finally relaxed somewhat.

"Thank you." she said to them before Jack gestured to the elevator.

"Come on, we've got a mission to prepare for." he said before the three of them walked over and entered it. The Prime then pulled out the octagonal dis from his pocket and activated his armour.

In the cockpit Hotrod was in his usual position piloting the ship, while to his right was Jazz who was running a last minute diagnostic of the sensors, Chromia then entered the cockpit and took her seat at the weapons/security station.

"So you joined the crew then Chromia, Arcee thought you would. I bet you she is really happy right now." Jazz said while looking back to the femme. But she looked down at the holo-controls in front of her, her expression becoming sheepish.

"I doubt that, not after what I just did." she replied, voice filled with regret. Jazz kept his attention on her as Hotrod looked over.

"What happened?" he asked, making Chromia look over to him.

"I attacked Airachnid just now, and just got put down by Jack and sis."

Both Mechs gave each other knowing looks before looking back at Chromia.

"You didn't know The truth about her did you." The pilot replied, earning a nod from her.

"Hey I have to admit, when I first saw her last year. I wanted to shoot her, but she had been placed on our team so I had to deal with it. But I noticed that she was acting differently to what we knew of her during the war. Then after she and Jack returned from Cybertron, Airachnid with Jack's support told me and the others the truth." Hotrod added.

"They told me that she was originally an Autobot that had been brainwashed by Shockwave and at a very personal cost, what did they mean?" Chromia then asked.

"Well, having fully reprogrammed Airachnid into a Decepticon, Shockwave needed proof that the conversion was successful, so he ordered her to kill her sparkmate - Esmeral and so she ripped her apart. But the real Airachnid was still aware of what she was doing and not only had to watch as her body murdered her love, but also had to endure all the horrors and atrocities that it did during the war."

Chromia just listened in complete shock at what Hotrod was telling her as she raised her hand to cover her mouth.

"Oh Primus, all the things she had to live through, I had no idea."

"No one did, Airachnid was just another victim of Shockwave and his inhuman science." the pilot replied as Chromia had a look of regret and understanding on her face.

"I will have to apologise to her, Arcee and Jack when they get back from Thessia."

Hotrod then looked forward and saw the space bridge a head of them.

"Activating this bridge's link to the one in the Parnitha system." he stated as he typed on the holo-keyboard that was part of his interface.

The space bridge in the Parnitha system came to life with a massive green vortex appearing at it's center, then the Defiant flew out of it's event horizon and entered the system. Jazz looked at the sudden influx of IFF signals appearing on the ships's sensor screen.

"Holy scrap, the Asari are getting annihilated out there."

"Yeah I can see that." Hotrod said as he looked out of the cockpit's canopy, he saw masses of Reaper vessels attacking various Asari ships in front of them. But most of the Reapers were situated around the blue planet of Thessia. The Defiant made its way through the battle as a passing Asari cruiser fired its cannons at the nearest Reaper, it's attack didn't even leaving a dent on ships's black hull. The Reaper then turned to face the cruiser and fired it's energy beam, which sliced through the Asari ship in one shot. A group of Asari fighters then attacked another Reaper, flying so close to its hull that the behemoth could not get a target lock. But suddenly they found themselves under attack from a squadron of drones that had disengaged themselves from it's hull. Each and every fighter fell to the drones before they flew back round and reattached themselves to the Reaper which then carried on attacking any nearby Asari cruisers. The Defiant reached Thessia and amongst the chaos that was happening around it, the shuttle flew out of its shuttle bay the moment it's door had opened, and began its descent down to the planet's surface.

Jack, Arcee and Airachnid were sitting down patiently in the shuttle as it was shaken by turbulence, Jack stood up and grabbed a hand hold on the ceiling to keep his balance before looking out of the window, he could see the capital of the Asari home world below him. The Asari had built one of the most beautiful architecture the Prime had ever seen, their whole planet was known as 'the jewel of the galaxy'. And yet here and now he saw nothing but detestation as multiple Reapers walked amongst the once beautiful buildings, still reflecting the sunset that had been cast over the landscape. Jack could also see multiple large scale fires scattered around the city, the black smoke being emitted from them rising high into the sky. Arcee got up and looked out of the window next to Jack.

"By Primus, the Reapers are hitting the Asari just as hard as they did Earth." she said with a shocked expression.

"Intel says that Surkesh (Salarian home world) and Palaven (Turian home world) are being hit by Reaper forces that don't even approach the same size as the fleet decimating the Asari right now." Jack replied.

"Maybe the Reapers consider the Asari to be the next biggest threat after Humanity." Airachnid added from her seat, gaining both her friends attention.

"Well the best way we can help is to find the Kranix Matrix as fast as possible because with out that. We will not complete the Crucible, the last real hope we have against the Reapers." Jack replied stoically, gaining an understanding nod from the femmes.

"We are coming up on the landing coordinates that were gwen to us." Swoop replied from he pilot's seat, as Jack walked in next to him.

"Then take us down."

The shuttle flew between two buildings as it approached a group of Asari commandos who were fighting off a horde of Husks that were encroaching on their position, the Alliance transport circled the area before landing on the ground and allowing Jack and his team to disembark. The Prime immediately walked over to one Asari who was barking orders at the rest.

"Keep an eye on our left flank, make sure our barriers are holding steady and will someone tell me when our air support will get here." she shouted around the group as Jack approached.

"What's the situation?" he asked, gaining her attention.

"The situation Jackson Prime, is that we are getting hammered over here, My unit was ordered to hold this location and make a path for you to the temple, but I have lost enough people already. So we will be pulling out now."

Arcee and Airachnid stood beside the Prime.

"You have to hold the line and help us get through." the blue femme said back, earning an angry stare from the commando.

"Why, what is so important about the temple that my people have to die for?"

"We are here to pickup something from there." Jack answered.

"Are you fucking kidding me, your here to get an artefact. That is what my unit is fighting for. Well I am sorry, but I am not willing to sacrifice my people for that.". The commando answered back before walking over to her soldiers, who were using their Biotics to seal up one of their fortifications with a barrier, Jack though followed her.

"I can see what your team is going through, I have been through it myself countless times. But what we are here for can help us defeat the Reapers, isn't that worth it?"

The Asari looked back at him, her expression softening slightly.

"is that true, can this 'thing' you are looking for really do that?"

"Let me put it this way, we find this and the Reapers are history." he added as the commando leader looked around for a moment at her troops, before looking at him. She could see the determination in his eyes and hear the confidence in his voice. This was Jackson Prime after all, and if he said that it was possible then who was she to not believe him.

"... Alright then Prime, we will hold back the Reaper forces back as long as we can."

She then gesture the Prime and the two femmes to follow her.

"Sent a team of my men to escort the scientists to the temple before you arrived, but I have not heard back from them. I don't think they got through." she said.

"We all keep an eye out for them." jack replied before the sound of an explosion caught their attention to a gunship that had just been attacked by a reaper harvester in the air. The ship was spiralling out of control as it fell towards their location.

"Take cover!" the commando shouted as everyone but the soldiers erecting the barrier jumped behind whatever they could find, the gunship then crashed into the ground outside of the area, sending flaming debris up into the air as the force of the impact as well as the explosion shattered the barrier and knocked over the troops there. The commando leader then saw the large gap in their defences and gained her team's attention by pointing at the area.

"We have a breach, get of their and help them out." she shouted to three other Asari who immediately ran over and help the ones locked down by the crashed gunship up and away to safety.

"Now you four, erect another force field." she ordered another group who were about to start when the team's lookout sniper then spotted something just a ways from them with her rifle scope.

"We have incoming." she called to the leader who then looked in he direction of the temple and saw a horde of Husks charging at them.

"Damn it, they will be here before we have the barriers up." she said a little hesitantly.

Let us through there and we will hold them off until you have the defences up again." Jack replied.

"Alright, give us what time you can Prime. We will do the rest." she said back as Jack and the two Autobots then left the compound in the direction of the temple. The four Asari behind then began to channel their energies into another barrier.

"Take positions." the Prime said as they took cover behind some debris and aimed their weapons at the horde that was at charging towards them.

"Use rifles until the Husks are close, then switch to your melee weapons." he said as the two Autobots readied their weapons before nodding back to him. Then just as the Husks drew nearer, Jack slipped his finger around the trigger of his avenger assault rifle.

"Open fire!" she shouted as he pulled he trigger and offloaded a burst of bullets into the horde, knocking down three creatures at once. Arcee and Airachnid did the same and more Husks fell to the ground dead. While they fired into the Reaper ground forces, behind them the Asari commando unit was busy repairing their fortifications. Using their Biotics to move large thick metallic panels into a make shift wall, while others were reinforcing it with barriers. The Commando leader looked over the makeshift wall at the Prime and his team.

"Just a few more minutes." she shouted over, Jack barely hearing her over the Husks screams and gunfire. But the horde was almost on top of them now.

"Switch now!"

He then sung his free arm at a husk as it launched itself through the air at him, only for the star saber to appear and with the force that he swung it with, he sliced the creature in two. Arcee deployed her arm blades and began taking apart Husks that were near her, Airachnid equipped her escrima sticks and mocked one Husk to he ground with one hit before pummelling another into submission. For nearly two minutes the three of them fought against the husks as they kept charging into the group while trying to get to the commando's position. The Prime impaled a husk that was trying to claw at him and then turned his attention to another that had vaulted over some debris, with his free hand he equipped his pistol and shot it cleanly through the head.

"Get down!" a familiar voice shouted out as loud as it could, forcing the three to stop and dive to the ground before the sound of a Gatling gun rang out into the air. The three soldiers then stayed there until the sound stopped, Jack then opened his eyes to see a Husk lying next to him dead.

"You can get up now." the voice called out again. The three soldiers then stood up and looked back to see the commando leader standing on the rebuilt fortification while holding onto a Gatling gun turret. She smiled at Jack and his friends.

"Thanks for the help, now let us return the favour and cover your asses." she said.

"Your welcome, anything else we can assist you with?" the Prime asked back.

"Just find that thing quickly." she replied before turning to her troops.

"Because when this war is over, we want the galaxy to know that it was won on Thessia." she exclaimed proudly as her troops cheered in return. Jack smiled and nodded back before looking back to his friends.

"Alright let's go."

They hen headed away from the commandos position and in the direction that the temple was located.

The Prime and his team moved through the war zone with purpose and determination, they knew how close they were now to the goal, the one thing that they had been searching for the last three years….. The end of the Reapers. Jack took point as they moved through what now was a derelict building, though as Jack and his team looked around they saw that this used to be a school. They walked slowly down the corridor and looked into each room as they passed them, they were all the same. Desks scattered about the room, blood stains all over the place. Suddenly the team stopped and kept very quiet as they heard movement and grunting coming from the room just ahead of them. Jack sneaked up to the doorway and leaned over slightly, what he saw was a half destroyed class room with the outer wall completely demolished as the sunset bathed the rest of the devastation in light. The Prime then saw that the noises were coming from four Husks that were squatting in the middle of the room, they were circling something that he could not see clearly. He then looked back to Arcee and Airachnid and gestured with hand signals the number of enemies and their location. The two femmes nodded as they clutched their weapons, Airachnid slowly and quietly moved to the other side of the doorway, doing her best not to alert the enemies nearby. But once she was in position, Jack signaled her and the two of them leaned in and fired a burst of bullets into the four creatures, killing them instantly. The team then entered what was left of the room and Jack walked up to see what the Husks were squatting around, what he found was a little blue cuddly toy. He picked it up and showed it to the others, both femmes shook their heads at the thought that the Husks attacked defenceless children in such a manner. The Prime placed the toy on one of the desks that had not been knocked over and looked through the large opening that used to be a wall, from here he could see that more Reapers had landed and were walking around the vast city and destroying anyone that came into their view. He then spotted the temple just in the distance.

"Okay, not far to go now." he said back before the three of them left the ruins of the school behind them.

They made it down to another street when their attention was caught by the sight of a Husk flying through the air past them, before smacking into the concrete wall behind them.

"That looks like biotics, we should check it out. See if they need help." Arcee said to Jack.

"It might even be the scientists that the commandos told us about." Airachnid added.

"Alright, but be ready." the Prime replied as they walked down the alleyway that the Husk was hurled from.

"Don't... come any closer, I... I mean it" a female voice called out in fear."

They then saw a silhouette of person stand up from behind some containers in the shadowed area of the alley, her right fist glowing with blue energy.

Jack and the two femmes stopped, but kept their weapons equipped.

"Its alright, we are here to help." he said back as the figure lowered her fist and stared at them for a moment, like she didn't really believe they were there.

"By the goddess, your Jackson Prime." she replied before walking out of the shadows to reveal a beautiful blue skinned Asari dressed in black light combat armour.

"Yes, we were on our way to the temple just a ways from here when we heard you in trouble, thought you could use some help."

"Yes thank you, I too was on my way to the temple with the rest of my team." the Asari replied.

"Well what's your name?" Arcee asked as she stood beside Jack. The blue woman then looked somewhat guilty suddenly.

"My apologies, I should have introduced myself first. My name is Dr. Liara T'Soni."

"Doctor T'Soni what happened to your team?" Jack asked.

"We were on our way to the temple as per the orders we had received, and left with a group of commandos. But the route to the temple was crawling with Husks, and I was surprised we made it this far." Liara said as she recalled what happened.

"When we reached this area... that's when we... started to lose people."

"Why, what attacked you?" the Prime asked.

"At first it was Husks, we held them off without any trouble using our Biotics. But then something else turned up, it tore through our group with ease." the Asari continued.

"it could use Biotics and our attacks were ineffective against the creature."

"Your whole team is dead?" Airachnid said while Arcee turned around and watched the end of the alleyway they had entered. Liara just nodded sombrely.

"Yes, that... creature killed them all, I didn't get a good look at it. But it's scream will be something that I will never forget."

"How did you survive then?" Arcee asked while glancing back to them.

"I don't know, the last thing I remember was being knocked into a wall and fell behind those containers. I must have been knocked unconscious because when I woke up, the bodies of my friends were gone." Liara answered while pointing to the areas where her friends bodies were.

"There's no sign of the bodies being moved, it's like they just got up and walked away." Airachnid stated as she knelt by one area where a body had laid. Then the sound of a Reaper's roar sounded out just ways of their location, as they felt the tremors of it landing nearby.

"Okay, are you alright to move Liara? Because we can't stay here." Jack asked, the Asari nodded in return.

"Yes, we need to get to the temple. My code will gain us access." she said as she picked up her SMG.

"Right, we have to move now." Arcee suggested after noticing Husks approaching their location from across the street. So Jack again took point with Liara behind him, Arcee and Airachnid watching the rear as they left the alley and carried on towards the temple.

They had not gotten far before Jack stopped the group at the side of a building when he head an explosion just around the corner. He peeked around the corner and saw a squad of Asari Commandos engaging a horde of Husks on the balcony of the building across from them. Liara poked her head around the corner, her eyes widening at the sight.

"We have to help them."

Jack turned back to her with a stoic expression.

"We can't, our mission is too important for us to deviate from it. Surely you were told this before being deployed."

The Asari looked back at the commandos.

"Yes, but I can't just do nothing while my people are dying. There must be…"

"Look out!" Airachnid called back as a dragon like husk flew over them toward the commandos.

"That's a Harvester." Jack replied as the dragon fired on the commandos, overwhelming them with a white hot beam that burned the Asari right through. The Harvester then flapped its wings as it moved on, leaving the charred remains of the commandos there on the balcony.

"No, damn them." Liara cursed as Jack looked again down the street.

"We are clear, lets move." he said to the others before looking back at the Asari.

"Liara, I am sorry… I really am. But if we find what we are looking for at the temple, then this war is over. Do you understand?"

She sighed in response before looking at the Prime.

"Yes, yes I do."

The group then carried on toward the temple as the battle raged around the city, numerous Reapers were now positioned all over the capital as Husks swarmed through every street, attacking any Asari on sight. Gun ships carpet bombed entire areas where there was nothing but the creatures roaming them now, the explosions running up almost a quarter of a mile. The destruction was immense, but all this did was gain the attention of the giant behemoths who then fired on the bombers, either blowing them out of the sky or sending them spiralling out of control into the streets below. Jack saw this and couldn't help but remember that day on Earth over two months ago, he tried to push that memory into the back of his mind but that wasn't going to work. When he had picked up that stuffed toy earlier, he thought of the child that had died while he managed to escape. That child had since plagued his dreams nearly each and every night, but if they were successful today then, maybe they could stop any more children suffering the same fate. Jack was then pulled back from his thoughts by a hand on his shoulder. He looked back to see Liara looking at him.

"I am sorry, but you seemed to be elsewhere for a moment."

The Prime then looked back out at the devastation around him.

"This is all bringing back bad memories for me."

"You mean the attack on Earth, I am sorry. I didn't think earlier when I spoke about my people. I should have known better." she replied sheepishly. The group then came up to the entrance of the pyramid-shaped temple.

"The Temple of Athame." Liara stated as they walked up the steps to the large doors, which had pictographs depicting ancient Asari.

"Wow, this is amazing." Airachnid said as she looked up at the structure.

"This temple is the oldest on our planet." the Asari replied before activating her holo-tool.

"Let me just access the security override with my code."

Suddenly an ungodly scream pierced the air and made Liara's blood run cold as she froze on the spot. Jack saw this and placed a hand on her shoulders while Arcee and Airachnid looked around for the source of the noise.

Over there." Airachnid said as she pointed over to a twisted looking Husk coming towards them slowly. The way it moved made it look like it was in tremendous pain as it stepped ever closer. The group then stared wide eyed as they recognised what this Husk used to be.

"That looks like an Asari." Arcee said.

"That was what attacked my colleagues." Liara replied, before the creature started to glow with a bright blue light.

"Biotics!" Airachnid warned them before the Husk launched an energy attack at the group, knocking them on their backs. While both femmes managed to recover, both Jack and Liara fell down the stairs to the ground only a few feet from the creature.

"Jack!" Arcee cried out as she fired her SMG, but the bullets bounced harmlessly off the biotic barrier that was being emitted from the Husk. It then looked down at the Prime and Asari and screamed into their faces, the high pitched sound nearly deafening them as their clutched at their ears. It then raised an arm and was about to strike down on the pair, but Jack recovered quickly enough to activate the sky boom shield which then deflected the attack, protecting both Liara and himself. The Prime then activated the star saber and swung it at the monster, slicing it's mid section open. Black blood spilled out of the wound and ran down the dark grey skin as the Husk cowered in reaction to the hit, it's barrier now heavy damaged from the saber's attack.

"Kill it." Jack then called back to the Autobots on the stairs as they both fired their weapons at the transformed Asari, riddling it with bullets. But this just seemed to make it madder as the blue energy returned and began spiralling around the Husk before being shot of it in all directions, sending the group flying back even more. Jack landed on his back and grimaced in response before he recovered himself and saw his friends lying against the stairs and Liara on her back just a few feet from him. A familiar scream regained his attention back to the Husk as it's biotic field was now at it's strongest, it then took a stance with one foot in front of the other like it was about to launch itself at him. So Jack re-equipped the Star saber and began to swing it as the Husk moved at almost light speed at him with a 'biotic charge', his blade sliced right through the middle of the energy that passed beside him, before it changed back into the form of the Asari Husk which then split into two parts and fell to the ground dead. Jack then ran over to Liara and helped her to her feet.

"You alright?" he asked, gaining a smile from the Asari.

"Yes, thank you for saving me. For a moment I thought that I was going to join my colleagues."

The Prime smiled back before looking up to see Arcee and Airachnid standing on the stairs, and fully recovered.

"You two okay?"

"We are fine Jack." Arcee stated with a smile before she then gestured for the two to join the femmes at the top of the stairs.

"Come on, we need to get inside." she said as Liara climbed the stairs and activated her holo-tool again.

"This will just take a moment." she replied as she transferred her code into the control panel beside the large doors. A few seconds later and the sounds of a large locking device coming undone could be heard before the large doors began to open and reveal the temple's interior to the group. There was a long walkway with a number of benches on either side, but just beyond that was a massive chamber that held a giant statue of an Asari.

"Hello, is anyone there?" Liara called out, her voice echoing slightly within the walls of the temple.

"I don't like this Jack." Airachnid added as she scanned the room with her gun ready.

"Everyone spread out and search, we need to find the Kranix matrix before the Reapers decide to return this way." the Prime said as he walked down the center with his holo-tool activated. Arcee and Airachnid headed down the left side, while Liara down the right, their holo-tools too were being used to scan the artefacts. Jack looked at the statue.

"Who's that supposed to be?"

Liara looked up from her scanning.

"That is the Goddess Athame, we Asari believed that she gave our species life and so worshipped her as a god. But the religion slowly died out after we started to explore the galaxy."

"Jack, do we have any idea what we are supposed to be looking for?" Airachnid called back with a slightly irritated voice.

"Kranix didn't give us particular details." Arcee replied to the femme while scanning an artefact.

"Wait, who is Kranix?" Liara asked with a curious tone.

"He is a Lithone that we found in stasis on Eden Prime, he is also part of the team who were building the Crucible in his own cycle." Jack answered.

The Asari's eyes widened at what the Prime had said.

"You met a living Lithone, by the goddess. What is he like, did he tell you anything about his people, what did he?…" she started to ask, gaining an annoyed look from the femmes.

"Liara, focus on the task at hand." Jack stopped the Asari in her tracks, earning an embarrassed look from her.

"I apologize, it's just that I have studied the Lithone for most of my life so far and I never thought in my wildest dreams that we would find a real Lithone, alive and well."

"Well once we find our target, then you can interview him yourself." the Prime replied with a smile.

"I would be very grateful Prime." she said back. But suddenly Jack's attention was drawn away from the Asari as he started to look at the statue, he walked over to it and held his hand out to the air in front of him. He closed his eyes and stood there, earning strange looks from the rest of his group.

"Jack what is it?" Arcee asked somewhat concerned.

"There is a Lithone beacon here." he replied stoically.

"Wait, are you sure?" the femme replied.

"Yes, I can sense it. The beacon is inside the statue."

"Interesting, I had heard that you had come into contact with two beacons before Prime. One on Eden Prime and the other on Virmire." Liara said, before Jack looked at her.

"Liara, use your biotics to shatter the statue and free the beacon."

"I don't condone vandalism, but with the moment being so dire. I see no alternative." she replied before she began to glow as the Asari channeled her biotic energy, she then threw her arms forward and the statue began to shake where it stood as cracks appeared over it'ssurface. Then one piece fell to the ground revealing part of the beacon underneath.

"Nearly Liara, just a little more." Jack said encouragingly. Liara then gritted her teeth and pushed even more as the statue then crumbled to the ground, leaving the Lithone beacon standing in its place.

"By the goddess, I don't understand why they hid it?" the Asari asked.

"Are you that naïve?" Airachnid asked giving Liara a knowing look.

"So that they could hoard the knowledge of an advanced race for themselves, to give them power and influence." the femme added.

Liara shook her head as she looked back to the artifact.

"I don't believe that, why would my people keep this secret?" she replied, her voice tinged with denial.

"A beacon like this would explain why the Asari are at level with the Cybertronians as an advanced civilization." Jack added while Airachnid took a scan with her holo-tool.

"This temple is several thousand years old, your people would have made serious progress in that t ime with this beacon in their hands. I mean just a small amount of data would have given you an advantage. And with us in the middle of a civil war, you would have been able to place yourselves above the rest of the galaxy."

Arcee kept quiet as both Jack and Airachnid kept their attention on Liara.

"Well if it is true, then the Asari should have shared this knowledge. We may have been able to stop the Reapers before they even had a chance to attack." Jack said in a stoic manner.

"You don't know that Prime, we don't really know what is going on here." Liara replied calmly.

"I do know that we don't have much time to find out." the Commander replied before turning back round to the beacon and walking closer to it. He then felt a familiar tingling sensation coursing through his body, he felt this before. The last time was when he was in front of the beacon on Eden Prime. Jack then reached out and placed his hand on the beacon's surface, which then began to power up as the glyphs carved into it's surface started to glow with a green light.

"Jack I think you got it." Arcee said as she stood beside Airachnid and Liara. Then as Jack began to step back, a green glowing holo-orb appeared and floated down to the ground between him and his friends.

"It's another Lithone VI." the blue femme observed.

"Obtaining chronological marker…. Timescale established, post-Lithone cycle confirmed." a synthetic voice suddenly called out from the orb. It then floated just above the group as it saw the silhouette of a Reaper on the horizon through the open door of the temple.

"Reaper presence detected, this galactic cycle is already at it's extinction terminus. Preparing to shut down." it continued as it floated back down to the ground.

"Wait a minute, we want some answers." Jack said to it.

"Warning, indoctrinated presence detected… hold ….. error." it then replied, gaining a puzzled look from the Prime and the others.

"What? We are the only ones here."

"Error, restarting scan…. Negative presence of indoctrinated persons. To what question would you want an answer?" the VI asked.

"Are you the Kranix matrix?" Jack asked.

"Yes, my name is Bagu and I was created by Kranix approximately one hundred thousand years ago."

"So you are all we need to complete the Crucible then." the Prime replied.

"Negative, my program is simply a support mechanism. To connect the Crucible to the 'Catalyst'."

"The Catalyst, what is that?" Airachnid asked in confusion. The orb then shifted into a lifelike hologram of Kranix.

"The Catalyst is what the Crucible requires to complete its purpose. I will bridge them both and unify them to that end."

"Why doesn't it just tell us what this Catalyst is?" Arcee asked with an annoyed tone, but Bagu just ignored her.

"What happened to the Crucible in your time, why didn't the Lithone deploy it?" Jack asked.

"We were sabotaged from within our own ranks, a group that believed that we should control the Reapers rather than destroy them broke away and fractured our order of battle. We later found out that the splinter group were indoctrinated." Bagu replied.

"And now we are facing the same problem with MECH." the Prime said, before the VI shifted it's form again. This time into a reconstruction of the galaxy.

"Our studies of the past led us to believe that time is cyclical. Many patterns repeat themselves..."

"You mean the Reaper attacks." Jack said as the galaxy began to glow red from its outer edges through to its core.

"...And beyond, the same peaks in evolution, the same valleys of dissolution. These same conflicts are expressed in every cycle but in a different order. The repetition is too prevalent to be merely chance." the VI explained.

"We thought that the Reapers were responsible for the pattern." Airachnid replied.

"Maybe, but I believe that the Reapers are only servants of the pattern, they are not it's 'master'."

"Then who is the master?" Jack asked.

"Unknown, it's presence is only inferred rather than observed. The only certainty is it's intention." Bagu replied as it shifted back into the form of Kranix.

"And that is?" Arcee asked.

"Galactic annihilation, you now stand at its precipice."

"This cycle is not done with yet, you say that this Catalyst is required. So tell us what it is and where we can find it, trillions of lives depend on it." the Prime said stoically.

"Trillions of lives are always at risk, but if the Reapers have arrived to end your cycle. Then this discussion is too late." the VI replied as it shifted into a representation of the planet and the Reaper forces surrounding it.

"We can end the Reaper threat, we found your plans for the Crucible. It's construction is almost complete." Jack said back.

"The Crucible is not of Lithone design, it is the work of countless galactic cycles stretching back millions of years." Bagu replied as the holo-form changed to a reconstruction of the Crucible, as more parts were being added to it.

"Each cycle adds to it and improves it, but thus far no cycle has successfully defeated the Reapers with it." the VI continued.

"Then we will be the first, tell us what the Catalyst is." Jack said, his voice sounded agitated with the VI.

"We also have found Kranix himself. He is helping us as we speak." Airachnid added.

"Very well. If you have followed the plans for the Crucible, then I will interface with it's systems to assist the Catalyst with…." Bagu replied before turning around and looking to the temple's entrance.

"Indoctrinated presence detected, activating security protocol." it said before shifting back into it's orb form and floating back to the beacon. Jack and the others attention was caught by the sound of a gunship's engines outside the temple as a figure approached them from the entrance. Jack's eyes narrowed as he recognized the man.

"Sideways, what do you want?" he replied as he and the others equipped their weapons and pointed them at the former Con.

"For you to shut up and listen Prime, there is someone who wants to talk with you." he replied with anger lacing his words. He then activated his holo-tool just before a holo-form appeared before him, walking towards the group. It then took on the image of a man with yellow optics.

"Darby." he said in an uninterested tone.

"Silas, how did you find this place?" Jack asked back.

"The archives on Mars, or did Soundwave miss that one. Pity he died to save the Krogan, a worthwhile endeavour to be sure, but not one that is going to help you." the Director replied.

"Soundwave had more courage and honor than you and MECH combined." the Prime replied as he remembered his fallen friend, but Silas just walked past Jack towards the Kranix matrix.

"None of that matters, because he helped us uncover the means to dominating the Reapers." he added as he reached up with a holographic hand and touched the orb.

"Or destroying them." Jack interjected.

"Damn it Darby." Silas replied angrily as he turned to the Prime.

"Destroying them gains us nothing." he added.

"How about peace?" Jack said back.

"They are just trying to control the life of the galaxy, think about it. If they really wanted to destroy all life, they could do it. There would be nothing left, I mean why haven't they wiped out the Cybertronians?" Silas said with a slightly agitated tone.

"What are you going on about?" Jack asked with a confused look.

"I have studied them up close Darby, I know how they think."

"I think you have gotten a little to close to the Reapers." the Prime said coldly.

"No, the Reapers have got it right. Why destroy when you can control." Silas replied.

"You have been spending too much time with the enemy. Your being dragged over to their side, to their way of thinking." Jack said as he tried to get through to him.

"No, that is not true. I just….. see things differently." Silas replied hesitantly.

"If you really cared about Humanity, then you will stop fighting me. You will join me against our real enemy." Jack said back with a stoic expression.

"Don't you ever question my intentions again Darby, I have sacrificed more for the benefit of Humanity than you will ever know. And don't assume that you know me." Silas said back with an aggressive tone underlining his words.

"My methods for handling the Reapers are far more refined than yours." he added, Jack then felt his self-control start to break as he felt that he was talking to a brick wall.

"You have forgotten everything that you stood for. MECH were meant to protect Humanity from outside threats, not hand us over on silver platter."

"Interesting words Prime. But the world is grey, not black and white." the Director replied as Sideways paced back and forth with an agitated swagger as Arcee and Airachnid kept their weapons on him.

"With the data from this beacon. I can end this war, once and for all. Your either with me or against me, that looks like black and white to me." Jack said back.

"Well you have a point there Darby." Silas replied before turning around and walking towards the exit.

"Sideways, the Prime has something I need. Take it from him." he said before his hologram faded away, the former con then unsheathed his blade which glowed the purple colour of dark energon.

"Well it's about time." he replied eagerly as he took up a defensive stance. He then immediately launched himself into the air with a battle cry before slicing his blade down on the Prime, who blocked it with the star saber. The two blades creating an energy field around them as they clashed.

"I have looked forward to this." Sideways said with a chuckle before pulling back and then swinging his blade at Jack again who deflected it.

"You have been looking forward to getting beaten again." Jack said back sarcastically as Arcee and Airachnid took up positions around the two. The former con then spun the blade in his hand before spinning around and back kicking the Prime in the face, knocking Jack onto his back.

"Well, I didn't really get to show off my upgrades the last time." he replied before both femmes opened fire on him with their guns, but he just back flipped out of the way before landing gracefully and smiling at them.

"You will have to try better than that." he retorted.

"How about this." Liara said as she glowed with biotic energy before picking up Sideways off the ground and hurling him back several feet. But he then suddenly stopped himself midway and landing on the ground like nothing had happened.

"Biotics, how interesting." he replied before he too began to glow.

"What do you think of mine?" he said as he punched the air in front of him, and knocked the Asari from where she stood into the wall behind her. Airachnid then took this chance to fire on him again, but Sideways just raised his hand to it and deflected the bullets with a barrier. He kept smiling as he then clicked his fingers with the same hand, which froze the femme to the spot.

"I really love these upgrades."

Suddenly Arcee screamed at him as she flew through the air with her arm blades deployed, but he dodged the attack. She then landed next to him and through a punch and then a kick at the former Con. And he dodged both of them. She then made a flurry of attacks at him, but with his increased speed and dexterity. Sideways blocked and dodged each and every one before he caught her fist in his free hand.

"Arcee, you never did learn did you?" he said to her before spinning the blade in his hand and jabbing her in the stomach with its hilt.

"You can not beat me without your boyfriend's help." he added as he elbowed her in the back, sending her onto the ground face first and then kicking her in the side, the strength of it making her roll across the ground.

"Is this the best you can do?" he then gloated before a bright blue light caught his attention from behind, he saw that it was a wave of energy that was closing on him and he somersaulted over it and landed near Jack who had become weak from using the star saber.

"Really Darby, this day just keeps getting better and better."

Sideways then grabbed the Prime by the throat and tossed him into the benches nearby, Jack felt a rib crack as he fell over one bench and landed on his front in the aisle between. Sideways then looked to see Jack and his friends all defeated and smiled as he felt quite satisfied with himself before sheathing his blade, the former Con then walked over to the beacon where the Kranix matrix was hovering. He activated his holo-tool but before he could download the VI, Airachnid tackled him to the ground, ma.

"Where do you think your going?" she spat at him as the femme began to punch the enemy repeatedly in the face. But this only made him more angry as his hand glowed.

"Get the frag off me, you filthy wretch." he growled at her before punching the Autobot in the stomach, the force of the biotic punch sending her flying. He then got back to his feet as she hit the floor hard, wincing in pain. The Former Con then started back to the VI, but was stopped by a gun shot that narrowly missed him and hit the beacon. Sideways sighed before looking back to see the femme getting to her feet with her pistol aimed at him.

"Really, are you that eager to die today?" he asked her, Airachnid gave a quick glance to the others and saw that they were still on the floor before looking back to the enemy.

"I am not letting you leave with that." she answered with a determined tone between heavy breaths.

"Very well…." he replied as he unsheathed his blade and began to run at her. The femme threw her now empty gun to the ground and equipped her escrima sticks before rushing back at Sideways.

"…then die Autobot!" he finished say as he swung the blade at her, but Airachnid blocked the attack with one escrima stick before hitting him in the face with the other. She then put together a combination of hits with her sticks and a few kicks, each one connecting with a part of Sideways body as he failed to defend against them. But just as it looked like she was getting the upper hand, the former Con glowed with biotic energy.

"ENOUGH!" he cried out as he launched her up into the air, freezing her several metres above him. She tried to move but felt an invisible force holding her in place. She then looked down to see Sideways smiling darkly at her before pulling his glowing fist down making her plummet to the ground, only for him to raise his blade up over him and let it impale the femme through the chest. Fluid spilled out of the wound as Airachnid screamed in agony, the former Con then swung the blade down. The Autobot sliding off the blade and hitting the ground.

"And stay down this time." he retorted before swinging his blade again, rinsing it of the femme's blood before sheathing it again. Sideways then began to walk back to the VI, when he noticed the others getting to their feet.

"That means you too!" he added as he clicked his fingers, causing a biotic slam to hit the Prime and the two women, knocking them back to the ground. He then used his holo-tool and downloaded the Kranix matrix and then turned to leave, taking a look at Jack who was trying to get to his feet again.

"Next time we meet, I will kill you Darby." he gloated before walking back to the gun ship at the entrance. Jack, pushing his aching body to its limit got to his feet and picked up his pistol, before running after the former con. Arcee then came too and looked over to see Airachnid lying just a ways from her as her partner ran after their enemy. Sideways had just started to enter the gun ship's rear ramp as Jack fired a few rounds at him, but the enemy just waved his hand back and deflected the shots with a barrier. He then smiled at Jack before the ramp lifted up and closed. The Prime watched hopelessly as the MECH vessel then took off into the distance with their last hope. But before he had time to lose himself to defeat, the Commander was snapped back to reality.

"Jack!" Arcee called back with fear overwhelming her voice. Jack turned round to see the femme and Liara kneeling next to Airachnid's still body, his eyes widened before he started to run back to them.

"She has been stabbed through the chest and is losing a lot of fluid, the medi-gel is not stabilizing her." Arcee said panicky while she tried to deal with her friend's wounds. Jack tapped his com link.

"Swoop, bring in the shuttle. We need an evac."

"Prime, that area is getting too hot." the Dinobot replied.

"We have a medical emergency, get here now!" the Prime said back angrily.

"Okay, on my way. ETA sixty seconds."

Jack then picked up Airachnid in his arms and headed for the temple's entrance as Arcee and Liara followed. The moment they got outside they could see Shuttle one closing in on their location, but then a deafening roar echoed from behind them. They turned to see a Reaper standing right behind the temple, it's beam weapon charging up. Swoop though landed the shuttle next to them and opened the hatch.

"Get in!" he called to them as the group climbed onboard, lifting off the moment the last person in and pulled away just as the Reaper fired it's beam which hit the ground just milliseconds after they left. As the vessel flew over the war zone, Jack and Arcee frantically tried to stop the bleeding as Airachnid grimaced at the pain from her chest wound.

"It's no use, we are losing her" the femme replied as her fluid soaked hands applied pressure to the wound. Airachnid then looked at both of them with her purple eyes.

"It's….. okay, I am… ready." she said before looking at Arcee.

"I do.. have one wish."

"What is it Airachnid?" the blue femme replied as she felt grief beginning to surface from within her spark.

"I want you…. to kiss me Jack." Airachnid said as her eyes lined up with the Prime's. Jack then looked up at Arcee, the femme had a look of sadness and understanding on her face before she closed her eyes and nodded. The Prime then looked at his former lover and leaned down until their lips met, allowing the femme to taste him one last time. After a moment Jack pulled back just far enough to look into Airachnid's eyes.

"I don't….. want you… to blame yourself…. Jack." she said as the Prime took a deep breath.

"I welcome this….. because I will get to….. see Esmeral again." the dying femme added with a slight smile.

"Then go to her Airachnid, and thank you for everything." Jack replied as he returned the smile, but the femme shook her head slightly while continuing to smile at him.

"No Jack…., thank you for… giving me the…. chance to..ato…."

Airachnid then took her last breath before her eyes glazed over, her body then going limp. Liara looked down to her holo-tool and saw the beats from the femme's spark go into one long tone.

"She's gone." the Asari stated with regret. Silence fell inside of the shuttle as Arcee didn't know where to look as a single tear ran down her cheek. Jack then got up and turned to look out of the window at the carnage that the Reapers were continuing to unleash on the planet, his mind being overrun with thoughts of his friend. The shuttle's com system then came to life as the voice of the commando Leader could be heard.

"… is there anyone on this frequency, my unit is trapped!"

But Jack and the others remained quiet as they let sorrow overcome them.

"I repeat is there anyone on this frequency."

A gun shot was then heard before another Asari spoke.

"The Lieutenant is down! Our whole zone is collapsing. What happened to the Prime, did his team make it to the temple." the voice said.

"We saw them… Wait, we have a Reaper inbound, AAAARRRGGGHHH!"

Jack saw a Reaper land on the area they had started from earlier and fire it's beam weapon down, making the radio chatter turn to static. The Prime then closed his eyes and hung his head in shame as their shuttle took off for high orbit, leaving the Asari in the hands of the Reapers.



CHAPTER 17

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Jack was standing alone in the Com room as he leaned back against the wall with his arms crossed, the incoming transmission LED on the control console in front of him was blinking back at the Prime. He knew who it was on the other end, but had no idea how he was going to explain what happened, how he came so close to acquiring the means to end the Reapers. But then not only coming away empty-handed, but also losing a friend and teammate. He closed his eyes and sighed as brushed his and through his hair before standing up straight and walking over to the control console. He then tapped the button next to the blinking LED and a fragmented hologram of Councillor Tevos appeared.

"Jackson Prime do you read?" Jack could hear her say barely through the static before her image cleared up.

"Prime are you there?" she asked again, her voice sounding anxious. Jack looked down and took a deep breath before answering.

"Councillor, I am here."

"Prime, we have lost all contact with our forces on Thessia, the entire system has gone dark. How long until the Crucible will be ready to deploy?" Tevos asked.

Jack looked up and met the Asari's gaze.

"Councillor… I wish I…."

He just couldn't say it, say that he lost the data and also watched as the Reapers lay waste to her planet. But then he was snapped out of his self loathing by the Councillor's voice.

"What is it Prime, what happened?"

"We found the Kranix matrix, but MECH arrived and took the information. We were… we were defeated. We can not finish the Crucible." he said as he forced the words out of his mouth, leaving a bad taste. Tevos looked down to the ground and placed her hand on her brow.

"I… I don't know what to say." she said before looking back at the Prime.

"What was the situation on Thessia?"

Jack looked back down to the console, unable to even look the Councillor in the eye.

"The Reapers are there in force, your people are being…"

Tevos's expression changed to one of worry and despair as she failed to keep her emotions in check and looked back to the Commander.

"You will have to excuse me Prime, there are…. preparations to make. I never thought this day would come."

"None of is did Councillor, I am….." Jack said as he looked up at her, only for Tevos to end the transmission and her image to faded to nothing. Jack felt his heart sink as he looked into the empty space where the Asari's hologram once stood.

"… I'm sorry." he said before taking a step back from the console. Everything that they had planned was unravelling fast, the Reapers were now attacking every major power in the galaxy and the one thing that could help was no in the hands of Silas and MECH. 'How did it come to this?' he thought before turning around and leaving the room.

Arcee was waiting for Jack as he exited the room, she took one look at Jack and saw that he was hurting. Not only for losing to MECH, but also for losing Airachnid. The femme knew that they had been close, that they shared just a brief moment of what she and the Prime had. When Airachnid had asked to kiss Jack one last time, Arcee could not feel angry about it. Because over time the former Con had become a good friend and if it hadn't been for Airachnid, then she and Jack would never had gotten back together. And for that Arcee would be forever grateful.

"Jack, Teletraan has reported that Liara T'Soni has made it safely to the Asari cruiser 'Aurora'. She sends us her thanks and says that she will be helping the evacuation of her people."

"That's good to hear." the Prime replied with a blank expression.

"Teletraan also said that the remaining Asari forces are pulling out of the system, they are leaving it to the Reapers." Arcee added as she looked at Jack with concern.

"Okay, I will tell Hotrod to get us out of here." the Prime replied before starting to leave, only for the femme to speak again.

"What are your orders once we are on our way?"

Jack stopped and looked back to her.

"I don't know Arcee."

It was killing the femme to see her lover like this, her spark ached at the sight of Jack looking so lost and defeated.

"Jack, if you want I will cover your duties so that you can get some rest."

Jack sighed and look down for a moment before looking back to her.

"And if you want to talk, you know I am only a spark beat away." she added, gaining a slight smile from the Prime.

"I know Arcee, thank you." he said before he turned away and walked toward the elevator, leaving the femme to watch him go.

Jack entered the CIC, ignoring the worried looks from the crewmen as he walked up to the cockpit where Hotrod was.

"Hotrod report."

The Autobot pilot typed into the holo-keyboard in front of him and brought up the map of the system, it showed a number of white dots leaving Thessia as a mass of red dots surrounded the planet.

"Prime we better get out of here, the Reapers are setting up shop in this system."

Jack's face remained blank as he looked at the screen.

"Very well, get us out of here."

"What's our destination?" Hotrod asked back with a somewhat confused tone. Jack just looked at the ground as he turned away and began to walk back towards the elevator.

"Pick one, I don't care where." he mumbled under his breath. The Autobot knew that something wasn't right, so he spun his chair around to face the Commander.

"Prime"

Jack stopped and looked back to his pilot.

"Yes Hotrod?"

"Sorry to see Thessia that way, I'm guessing the Asari wish they trained more commandos instead of dancers now huh.." the pilot joked, earning a bemused look from the Prime which quickly changed to one of anger as he walked back towards the cockpit.

"If you hadn't noticed we just lost a few million people down there with even more to follow, this isn't the time." he snapped at Hotrod. The pilot looked up at him with wide eyes before his expression mirrored the Prime's as he activated his hook-tool, bringing up a holo image of a planet.

"See this planet, it's called Temptoria, it's a human/Cybertronian colony near the edges of Alliance space. My brother Rodimus is stationed there."

Then the image showed Red dots arriving at the planet.

"Two weeks ago Reapers flew in." Hotrod continued as he deactivated his holo-tool and looked up at Jack with a serious expression.

"So you can assume that I am fully aware that there is war going on."

"Then why the joke?" Jack asked back in an angry tone.

"Because according to Teletraan and Ratchet's scans, you are under more pressure now than on New Terra, where it was just you and a handful of rookies versus an army of slavers. Or better yet the battle of the Citadel or the attack on the Quintesson home world.".Hotrod replied.

Jack was about to say something but the pilot continued.

"Also not long back Bryce sent a message from Optimus, who asked me to look out for you. The leader of the Autobots, who is back on Earth coordinating the resistance is more worried about you." the Autobot added.

"I didn't know that, and I do appreciate the concern... but I am fine." Jack replied, but Hotrod saw otherwise.

"No you're not Jack..." the Autobot replied which stunned the Prime, as this was the first time that Hotrod has called him by his name.

"... your like a terminator right now, and it is my fault. Nearly three years ago when the Quintessons destroyed the Normandy, you died after coming back for me. Because I wouldn't leave, that's on me." Hotrod replied with a guilty tone in his voice.

"Well I couldn't leave the best pilot in the galaxy behind now... Could I?" the Prime replied with a slight smile, hoping it would calm his pilot down.

"I guess that would look bad on your record." the pilot replied as he saw that Jack had made a joke.

"But I still owe you for saving my life Jack and I will repay you."

"You don't owe me anything Hotrod, your my friend. Thank you."

The young bot nodded in return before Jack looked out of the cockpit's canopy into space.

"Set course for the seventh fleet, we will see if Admiral Bryce has any Intel for us. In the meantime I will be in my quarters, Arcee will be covering for me."

"Aye aye." Hotrod replied as he turned his chair back round to the controls, and Jack turned to leave, walking back into the CIC. The pilot then leaned round and watched him leave.

"I will pay you back Jack." he said under his breath.

"Did you say something Hotrod?" Teletraan asked as its holo-form appeared next to the pilot.

"Nah, I didn't. Setting course for the Seventh fleet." the pilot replied as he looked back towards the canopy and took control of the ship, which then flew through the active space bridge vortex.

It had been a few hours since the Defiant had left Thessia to the Reapers and morale on board was low to say the least, Jack had not been out of his quarters since the ship had retreated along with the Asari forces. Arcee was at this moment in engineering with Garrus and Tali. The Quarian was performing a diagnostic on the engine core from a console over looking the Core's containment shield, Garrus was standing behind her with his arms wrapped round her waist. Though you could not see her face behind the visor of her helmet, she was content and had a big smile on her face. Garrus looked over to Arcee who was leaning back against the rail that half surrounded the core, she was looking ahead with a pensive expression.

"Arcee everything okay? You haven't spoken in a while." he asked. The femme sighed before looking back to her friends.

"Sorry guys, I was just thinking." she said in a sombre tone.

"About Jack?" Tali asked as she looked up from her work to the Autobot, Arcee nodded in return.

"He has taken Airachnid's death very hard, I can't help but wonder how he would be if anything..." she said before cutting herself short, not wanting to say the words.

"You mean if anything had happened to you?" Garrus finished, making the femme look at him and then back down to the ground.

"... yes."

"I know how Jack feels for you Arcee, because it is exactly the same as how I feel for Tali." the Turian said as he gently tightened his arms around his lover's waist, the Quarian took a deep breath as she tried to stop her self getting too excited by Garrus's open act of affection towards her. She then stopped what she was doing and turned around and looked him in the eyes.

"If anything had happened to you on Omega, then there would have been nothing Jack or anyone could have done to stop me from killing Petrovsky and every member of MECH on that station." he said as she placed a hand on the chest plate of his armour and smiled back, the Turian then looked back to Arcee when he remembered they weren't alone.

"So Arcee, believe me when I say that I know what his reaction would be if it was you."

The Autobot nodded back with a slight smile gracing her face.

"Yeah, I guess I have always known that about Jack. Thanks Garrus." she replied.

"Hey, you should go corner him and get him to talk. I did that with Garrus here and he felt better once it was off his chest." Tali then said getting the femme's attention as she stood back up.

"I think I will, see you guys later."

As Arcee left, the Quarian then wrapped both arms around the her lover's neck gaining a puzzle smile from him.

"I thought you had work to do?"

"Well I did, but someone keeps distracting me." she answered coyly.

"Well….. Damn, what are you going to do to this person?" he replied just a coy, making Tali rise up on her tip toes and whisper into his ear. Garrus's eyes then almost popped out of their sockets before he looked back to her in surprise.

"… really, I didn't know that. I mean if you feel ready.. but." he said before she cut him by placing a finger on his lips.

"Follow me." she said in a low seductive tone before taking him by the hand and leading him out of Engineering, only stopping to look over to another engineer who was trying to act like he had not seen anything.

"Adams, I am taking a break. Please keep an eye on things until I get back." Tali said in a professional manner.

"Yes Tali sir.. I mean miss." he replied awkwardly as the two lovers left. Meanwhile Arcee exited the elevator on deck one which led to her and Jack's quarters. She stood outside the door and took a breath before taking a step forward and the door opened, revealing the interior to her. But she stopped when she saw that the room was empty.

"Teletraan where is Jack, I thought that he was up here?" she asked into her com link.

"I am sorry Arcee, but Jackson Prime has asked for privacy." the AI replied, earning a slight scowl from the femme.

"Teletraan, this is me you are talking too. Tell me where Jack is?"

There was silence for several seconds before the AI spoke again.

"Very well, Prime is in the gym."

Meanwhile Jack was alone in what the crew called 'the gym, it wasn't particularly large room but it was filled with some weight machines, treadmills and mats. The Prime at this moment was unloading into a punching bag. He was throwing a flurry of punches and kicks into the bag, as if he was picturing it as someone else. Every time a fist or foot connected, he would try to see flashes of Sideways in pain. But instead he saw the friends that he had lost since becoming a Prime, friends that he believed should still be here. He hit the bag as hard as he could and saw a flash of Miko, another punch connected and then it was Kaidan. Then a roundhouse kick and he saw Wheeljack. He then performed a combination and he saw Jacob and Zaeed, Soundwave and Legion. Then the last punch made him see Airachnid and that stopped him in his tracks, he stood there with his fist still embedded in the punching bag. He was covered in sweat and breathing heavily. he had been so preoccupied with the apparatus that he had not noticed Arcee standing in the doorway watching him, her face was one of worry and concern. True if she had seen him doing this at any other time, then his current appearance would have gotten quite a different reaction from her, with his toned and sweaty physique. But this was different, she watched for a moment longer as he pulled his fist from the bag and looked down at the floor.

"Jack, I thought I would find you in our room." She said gaining the Prime's attention as he looked back to her, his expression one of annoyance.

"I told Teletraan I didn't want to be disturbed." he replied as he took a stance and readied himself for another round.

"Like that was going to work with me Jack, you know me better than that." the femme said back as she stepped into the room towards him, the Commander then began punching the bag multiple times in the process.

"I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts Arcee." he said with heavy breaths as he concentrated on the apparatus, which had begun to swing due to the amount of force being used against it. Arcee saw this and took hold of the bag from the other side and steadied it, never taking her eyes off her partner in the process.

"So you wanted to be alone to torture yourself mentally and physically." she said as she looked at him.

"Well you have picked a hell of at time to let yourself go."

Jack stopped and glared at her, but all he saw from Arcee's face was love and worry and tah causd his own expression to soften.

"Arcee..." he replied before he stopped his assault on the apparatus.

"Talk to me Jack, what's wrong? Why are you down here?" the femme asked. The Prime then moved away from the punching bag and sat down on the bench that ran the length of the wall, the Autobot doing the same while keeping her eyes on her lover. Jack bent forward and hung his head as he sighed.

"It's my fault."

"What is Jack, what's your fault?" Arcee replied with a confused look.

"What happened on Thessia with MECH." he answered sombrely.

"Jack, you couldn't have known what was going to happen down there." the femme said back with a supportive tone.

"I should have, as a Prime I have to be ready for anything that may happen. But I was just so fixated on getting the Kranix matrix, that I lost sight of everything else." he said.

"Jack, you had to be though because we needed that to end the war. And no one thinks less of you, because they would have been exactly the same." Arcee replied as she placed a comforting hand on his knee. Jack though didn't acknowledge her as he just kept looking down at the floor. The femme could see that he wanted to be alone and stew in his own juices... If that was the correct human term, but she wasn't about to give up on him. So she instead sat closer to him, showing him that she wasn't going anywhere.

"I know there is more to this than just what happened on Thessia Jack, this goes back further than that. Like the fact that you sleep erratically, or that you close yourself off from the others." Arcee said with a tone that Jack could not help but notice, so he glanced up to her.

"You never give up do you? He replied somberly. The femme then gently placed a hand on his cheek and turned his face towards her, bringing his eyes to meet hers.

"I'll never give up on you Jack... not ever." she replied softly. Jack then sighed as he remembered what he had promised Garrus only days before, he knew he could not hold it off any longer and that Arcee deserved better than to be kept in the dark. Hell maybe getting it off his chest would actually relieve him of the guilt and pain that he had felt over the last few months.

"I am truly sorry for worrying you, but I thought that this burden was mine to bear alone."

The Autobot then gave him a knowing look.

"You really just said that, after what you said to me not long back about keeping things to yourself when I was worried about Chromia, you did the opposite of that and now it is effecting you. Trust me as I trust you, let me in…let me help you." she asked in an almost pleading like tone. It was funny that both Garrus and Arcee had said similar things to the Prime in just a matter of days, those closest to him knew him better than he knew him self it would seem. So Jack sat up with his back to the wall and took a breath as he looked directly in front of him.

"Back on Earth, while I was incarnated. There was this boy who was playing with other kids in a playground just away from the complex I was held at. He couldn't of been any older than six or seven years, but nearly every day I saw him there enjoying his childhood without a care in world. Well when the Reapers attacked and you, Optimus and I were trying to get down to street level, I found him hiding in an open vent. I tried to convince him to come with us, so that we could get him to safety. But he was too scared to trust anyone and when Optimus called back to me, I looked back to find that he had gone retreated further into the vents."

"I am sorry Jack, but when a child is scared. Usually the only ones who they will trust are their own family." Arcee replied sympathetically.

"That wasn't the only time I saw him, there was 'one more time'." Jack said back.

"One more time?"

"Yes, it was when we were standing on the Defiant's shuttle bay ramp and looking out at the devastation that the Reapers were inflicting. I saw him at one of the evacuation zones, he was about to board a shuttle when he looked directly at me. So I smiled back, knowing that he would be alright. But then just as his shuttle was leaving, it was blown out of the sky by a nearby Reaper." the Prime said with his eyes wide as if he could see the whole moment happen in front of him.

"And from that moment I have felt that those who have died during this conflict, not just our friends who have fallen. But everyone…. is on me, because I didn't fight hard enough." he said simply before looking down to the floor. Arcee immediately moved and knelt down in front of him.

"Look at me Jack." she said with a gentle but firm tone, gaining Jack's attention as he looked at her.

"You have been fighting the Reapers since the beginning. And you have warned people about them for years now, so the blame must rest solely on the shoulders of those who would not act, not on the one who did." she said firmly while looking into his eyes.

"And as for our friends who are no longer with us, they knew the risks and dangers that came with fighting beside you and yet they followed you anyway. Because they believed in your cause and knew that it was the right thing to do, as does everyone else on this ship. And so do I."

Jack then gave the femme a sad smile as his eyes began to well up.

"Thank you Arcee, I have held this in for so long now, I know that I should have known better but…" he said before the Autobot cut him off.

"Sssshhh." she said as she got up and pulled him into an embrace, the Prime resting his head on her shoulder as a solitary tear ran down his cheek.

"Your putting too much on your shoulders Jack, you maybe a Prime. But you are still just a man, but you are 'my man'." she said affectionately before the two parted slightly to look at each other. The femme then leaned in and kissed him on the lips lovingly, with Jack returning it in kind. Once they separated Arcee smiled at her lover.

"Now go and get yourself cleaned up and meet me in the CIC, the crew needs it's Commander more now than ever."

"Yes sir." he answered with a surprised smile, before walking past her and out of the gym, Arcee watched with a smile as he left.

Twenty minutes later and Jack exited the elevator and entered the CIC as Arcee was looking over some data on the galaxy map.

"Teletraan, are you sure these bases are no longer used by MECH?" the femme asked as she stared at three yellow dots blinking on the map.

"Positive Arcee, these bases have been searched by the Alliance since I uploaded their whereabouts to our mainframe." the AI replied. Jack then stood beside his partner, earning a smile from her. But before he could say anything, one of the crew approached him.

"Commander, I have this week's duty roster for you to check." she said as she handed him a pad which he looked at.

"It looks good ensign, carry on." he replied stoically. The ensign nodded and was about to leave when he turned back to the Prime.

"It's good to see you sir." he said a little nervously, but Jack smiled back at him.

"Thank you."

The crewmen smiled and then headed back to his station, Jack then turned back to see Arcee still smiling at him.

"Told you." she simply replied, as the Prime turned his attention to the galaxy map.

"So where are we at right now?"

"Well, as of right now. We are nowhere, none of our leads (which is nearly none) have anything we can work with." the femme replied.

"We'll figure something, we always do." he said in return.

"Prime." a voice then spoke from behind the partners. They both turned to see Chromia standing in front of them looking rather sheepish.

"Here is my security report, I hope you find everything satisfactory." she said as she handed her pad to Jack who looked it over.

"Yes, that will do Chromia." he said before handing it back to the femme. Chromia then looked at her sister and then back to the Prime.

"I am sorry to hear about Airachnid and how I treated her when her earlier, I didn't know about her past."

"But you do now?" Arcee asked gaining a nod from her younger sister.

"Yes, Hotrod told me. I wish I could take back what I said and did, but now she is gone and I won't have that opportunity." Chromia replied sombrely.

"How do you feel about Airachnid now, knowing the truth about her? Jack asked.

" I wish I got to know her better, she was another victim of Shockwave. I lost some friends to his cruelty during war, Hotrod also told me that you helped her kill him. I just hope that she finally finds some peace now with the Allspark.

"As do we." Arcee replied before looking to Jack who smiled back, the femme and Prime then looked back to be younger bot.

"I know Airachnid would appreciate what you just said Chromia, thank you."

The purple femme nodded before turning to leave, then looked over to her sister.

"want to talk over a coffee later sis?"

"Sure, I'll see you at lunch." she replied with a smile. Chromia returned the smile before leaving the two at the galaxy map and walking up to the cockpit, leaving the partners alone again.

"Jackson Prime, I am receiving a transmission along the Defiant's secondary com array."

"I thought we don't use that particular array, unless the primary has been disabled?" The Prime replied.

"That is correct, but it is left active invade of emergencies. Also while the primaries are active, all messages received on the secondaries are never recorded." Teletraan stated.

"So whoever sent this message knew this and wanted it left off our records." Jack replied.

"Someone really wants to contact us." Arcee said in return.

Jack looked over to the holo-form of the AI.

"Is there any way to locate the source of the transmission?" the Prime asked.

"Negative, as the strength of the transmission is very weak and so it's trail degrades quickly, blocking my attempts to localize it." Teletraan replied.

"Very well, reroute it to the com room." Jack said before looking over to Arcee.

"Someone is going to get lengths to contact us and her keep themselves hidden, so let's see who it is shall we." the Prime said as he gestured to the femme to follow and the two entered the elevator.

Once in the Com room, Jack activated the central console and an image started to appear in front of them. But it was distorted and barely recognizable.

"Ja...ck, can...read." it's voice managed to say through the static. Jack then typed a series of commands into the console's holo-keyboard.

"I am going to try to boost the signal with power from our own con array, hopefully that will clean it up."

After a moment the image vegan to clear and take the form of a familiar human woman who made Jack's eyes widen in surprise.

"Miranda."

"Jack, it's been a while." she replies as she stood before the two partners.

"Yes it has, what's going on?" the Prime asked but the former MECH agent just stared back with a look of urgency on her face.

"Sorry Jack, I can't tell you much. I don't know how long it will take before they notice what I am doing and block the signal."

"What do you mean, who do you mean by they?" Jack asked with a confused expression.

"I mean MECH, they are here at 'Sanctuary'. The station is not what people think it is." Miranda replied, Jack was about to speak again but the Agent cut him off.

"Shit, they have found me. Look just come here to Sanctuary and see for yourself, I will try to stay alive long enough for us..."

Her image then fizzled out as the transmission was cut off at the source. Jack looked over to Arcee.

"Tell Hotrod to set course for the Sanctuary station and then meet me down in the shuttle bay with Garrus and Grimlock."

"Sure Jack." the femme replied before the two of them left the room and headed off in different directions.

Meanwhile on Sanctuary, Miranda slammed her fist down on the console as the screen changed to a locked out warning. The former agent then tried to regain control of it before the power in the room shut down, blanketing her in darkness.

'Damn it, wont be long before…' she thought before hearing a lot of footfalls rapidly approaching the room she was in. So she grabbed her SMG from the side of the console and took cover behind a table, just in time for a group of MECH soldiers to enter the room with their weapons ready and shining their torch light around the room, one of the beams narrowly missed Miranda as she kept low as it passed over her.

"This was where the security hack occurred, search the room." the lead soldier said, before the group started to spread out around the computer lab. The former agent noticed one of the enemies closing on her position, so staying low she crawled slowly round the table. Just narrowly missing being spotted by another soldier as she turned the corner and crept up behind her target. She then got back to her feet (in a squatting position) and activated her holo-knife and stabbed it into the soldiers back, making him cry out in pain before she hid again as the others turned and shone their torches on their comrade who was flinching and grimacing while blood flowed freely down the back of his Armour from the wound.

"Echo three!" the leader shouted as the wounded soldier fell to the floor. The others were about to move toward their fallen, but the leader stopped them.

"No, don't stop searching. That was what our target was hoping for, so that we would open up an avenue of escape for them." he said as he stood next to the door. Miranda looked up from her hiding spot behind another table and saw that the other five enemies were evenly spread out around the room. So she activated her silencer mode on her SMG and stood up and fired three bullets directly into the back of the head of the soldier nearest to her, causing him to fall to the floor dead with a thud. The former agent got back behind cover as the remaining soldiers turned and looked where the sound came from.

"Echo-Two?" the leader called out.

"He's dead." one of the others stated as he shone his torch down at the body, the beam of light just missing Miranda as she had took cover around the corner.

"For fuck's sake, everyone watch yourselves." the Leader said with a tone that had fear and nerves underlining his words. The others nodded, while Miranda had quietly made her way round to the soldier that was standing in the west side of the room. She got up behind him and grabbed at his throat and snapped it in one clean move. The last two remaining soldiers (including the leader) suddenly looked round to see another comrade dead and lying face down over a table top, Miranda peeked up from behind her cover and could see that the enemy was now losing their nerve and was letting fear.

'Good, they should be scared. I wasn't Silas's best agent because of my looks.' she thought as the squad leader tapped his com link while the only other soldier covered him next to the door.

"Doctor Saleon, come in Dr. Saleon?"

Elsewhere on Sanctuary, the hologram of Silas could be seen talking with a Salarian.

Doctor Saleon report." the yellow optic eyed man said. The scientist turned and typed away at his console's holo-keyboard until a large screen in front of the two activated, then large amounts of data started scrolling down the screen.

"Well as you can see, the tests continue to be running at one hundred percent success rate. Every one of our test subjects has succumbed to our own signal and will no longer listen to the Reapers, so long as they remain in the radius of ours."

The Director smiled as he looked at the screen.

"Excellent Saleon, you have just given humanity a way to control Reaper forces. This will turn the tide of this war and allow MECH to take the offensive."

He then looked at a scan of a Reaper that appeared next to the data.

"So how long before we can use this technology on the Reapers themselves?"

"Now there is the problem, you see it's one thing to control the ground forces, but another to do the same to one of the Reapers themselves, let alone the entire race. I am afraid I have hit a wall in my research into that particular area." the Salarian replied with a slightly nervous tone.

"Relax Doctor, I have acquired the information you need to solve that particular puzzle and will be sending it momentarily, but first..." Silas said back before being interrupted by the sound of Saleon's com link activating.

"Doctor Saleon come in." the soldier said.

"I am in the middle of a meeting, what is it?" he replied with a slight venom like tone.

"Echo squad reporting, Sir my squad were checking out an illegal activation of the com system in lab two-seven-four. We cut power to the room and swarmed in but who ever it is has killed most of my men, I need reinforcements." he said before the sound of gun fire could be heard.

"Aaaggggrrrhhh!..." the solder cried out before the link went quiet for a moment. Silas just watched as Saleon frantically tried to regain communications with the squad.

"Come in Echo squad?"

Suddenly movement could be heard as if someone was picking up the com link.

"So your Doctor Saleon, where are my parents?" a woman's voice spoke back angrily.

"Miranda." Silas said with an impressed tone in his voice as he stood there watching the doctor.

"Ah Miss Lawson, the former rising star of MECH. I am afraid that I have no idea where your adoptive parents are. But I know your 'real' father wants to see you." Saleon replied.

"I always knew Salarians were terrible liars, my parents are there. And 'Silas' is no father to me, he has proven that fact time and again over the last year."

"Well I know that what you just said would burn the Director right to his heart." the Salarian said as he looked back to Silas who just stared back with a disinterested expression.

"MECH kidnapped my parents and I will make you all suffer." Miranda replied with anger underlining her words, then the transmission cut off. Saleon then looked over to another screen, this one showed another squad of soldiers.

"Have you locked in her location?"

"Yes sir, we are ready to terminate on your order." the lead soldier replied. Silas though faked a cough to gain the Salarian's attention.

"Saleon, I want Miranda taken alive so I can deal with her myself."

"yes I see, a 'Father's right' of course. What about the transmission she managed to send out?" the scientist asked.

"I know who she would have contacted and 'he' will be here soon enough, so I want you to send all data on our project to me at once, purge our computer banks and prepare to scuttle the station. We can not afford to allow our enemies to know what we are about to achieve. Understood?" Silas said in return, earning a nod from the Salarian.

"Yes Director, but what about the hostages? Should we not kill them?"

"No, let Miranda see that they are alive. And then force the issue that if she wants them to stay that way, then she will have to surrender. Inform me when it is all done, Silas out."

The Director's hologram then faded away as Saleon looked back to the soldiers.

"The Director wishes for our guest to be taken alive, so switch to stun rounds."

"Roger that." the trooper replied before the transmission cut.

Miranda was running down a corridor towards the elevator when suddenly another group of soldiers turned the corner up a head and immediately fired on her, her personal shield taking several direct hits before she managed to take cover behind part of an archway that spanned the width of the corridor. She then fired off her SMG and took out one of the enemies as the rest of them took cover and fired back.

'I don't have time for this.' she thought as she took cover again as the gun fire hit the wall next to her. Suddenly the station's alarm blared throughout the corridors and the lighting system changed from white to flash red.

"Alert, Alert, proximity Alert!" a VI voice spoke on the intercom. Miranda peek around the corner of the archway to see the soldiers backing off, the leader was motioning them away while holding a hand to his helmet.

'Why are they being called away?' the former agent thought before her attention was taken up by the window closet to her. Miranda's eyes widened as she saw a Reaper approaching the station.

'Great, this is where the fun begins.'

Jack was sitting in the shuttle with Arcee to his left and Garrus to his right, and sitting on the other side was Grimlock who was checking his sword.

"Teletraan, what are the details on Sanctuary?" Jack asked.

"Sanctuary is a station that the Council offered to the Alliance at the start of the war, it is slightly smaller than the Citadel and can hold around two and half million people. The Council have devoted it and it's facilities to aiding refugees from Alliance space that have lost their homes to the Reapers. The station went dark only a short while ago and no further communication have come or gone since. It is unclear why MECH would be interested in Sanctuary." the AI answered.

"Well Miranda said they were here, so lets meet up with her and figure it out." Jack replied, earning a nod from his team mates.

"Jack, we have just entered the system… oh scrap, we have two Reaper signatures in proximity to the station." Hotrod stated over the com link.

"There is a Sovereign class Reaper which at the moment is engaged in combat against three MECH cruisers and another Reaper, I have never seen this one before." the pilot added.

"What does it look like?" Arcee asked.

"It looks similar to the larger vessels we have seen, but is smaller with a wider frame. Right now it is clinging to the side of the station." Hotrod replied over the com.

"Alliance Intel has classified this as 'troop transports', I am reading that it is offloading a couple hundred husks onto the station as we speak." Teletraan interjected as an image appeared on a monitor for Jack and the others to see.

"Alright we launch now, Swoop be ready." the Prime said over to the Dinobot in the pilot's seat.

"Roger that." he replied as he activated his holo-controls. The Defiant's shuttle bay ramp opened up and once clear, shuttle one flew out and headed towards the station.

"Hotrod, keep the ship clear for time being." Jack said over the com link.

"Will do Jack, good luck." the pilot replied.

The shuttle then closed the distance to the station as Jack walked into the cockpit and stood beside Swoop and looked out of the canopy to Sanctuary. It looked very much like the Destiny Ascension, only on a far larger scale. And the Reaper troop transport was hooked into the side of it.

"There is the main landing bay, drop us off there and then find a place to hold up until we call." Jack said as he pointed over to the entry point.

"You're the boss Prime." Swoop replied as he piloted the shuttle inside, Jack moved back to his team as they readied themselves and stood beside the hatch.

"Okay your clear." Swoop called back and the Prime hit the control panel and the hatch swung open to reveal a group of Husks standing over a pile corpses.

"Take them down!" Jack shouted as Garrus, Arcee and himself fired on the creatures, ripping them apart in storm of bullets. Once they were dead, the Turian climbed out of the shuttle and scanned the area with his weapon.

"Clear." he said, before the others joined him on the ground. The shuttle then closed it's hatch automatically before turning around and flying back out into space through the force field that held back the empty void.

"Well I understand the Reapers being here, what with their forces now attacking everyone but why MECH? What could they be after?" Arcee asked as they began to head for a door at the far end of the landing bay.

"No idea, maybe Miranda might know." Garrus replied as Jack took point and Grimlock watched the rear. Once they made it to the door, the Prime activated the door's control panel and a VI voice spoke as the doors opened.

"Welcome to Sanctuary. For yours and others safety, please follow the orders of the station's security officers."

The group walked into what looked like a battlefield, but it was in fact the station's reception/lobby.

"Looks like they had one hell of a fight in here." Garrus said as he looked over at the large scorch marks left on the walls.

"Well why aren't there any bodies?" Grimlock asked as he looked round the empty room.

"The Husks probably took them all for processing." Jack said as he approached one of the desks and activated the computer there.

"Look at this." he said as the others stood beside him and watched as a vid log played. It showed lines of people queuing to enter the station.

"They probably thought that they were safe here from the Reapers." Arcee said as she saw children among the refugees.

"What happens here though, I mean this place doesn't house all the refugees does it?" Garrus asked.

"No, originally it was meant for that. But as soon as their numbers went to high, this place became a hub, where any new arrivals were checked up and then sent to other colonies in Council space." the Prime replied before deactivating the computer.

"I wonder how things are going outside?" Grimlock said.

"Jack to Defiant, come in Hotrod." Jack said as he attempted to use his com link, but was answered by a hissing noise on the other end.

"This is Jackson Prime, can you hear me?"

The others watched as the Prime tried to contact their ship with no success, Arcee then tried her com link before shaking her head.

"Our com links don't work, this place must have a dampening field in effect."

The group looked at each other before a voice caught Jack's attention from another room just behind them.

"Can you hear that?" he asked before walking over to the door way and looking inside. There was an active terminal with another vid log playing.

"This is Miranda Lawson, if you have managed to come this far, you are must be desperate or stupid. Listen to me, this is not a refugee camp but instead is a MECH facility run by Doctor Saleon."

Garrus's eyes widened at the mention of that name, which did not go unnoticed by Jack but he then looked back to the terminal screen which showed more images of the station's interior as Miranda continued.

"Turn back now, there is no help to be found here. All communication within the station is being blocked from the CIC, situated in the station's tower. Sanctuary is a lie, stay away."

Then the message ended and Jack turned back to the others.

"So we have Reapers, MECH and the Doctor who created the Adjutants. Seems like the pieces of the puzzle are coming together."

"Yeah, with the work that Saleon did on Omega. It would seem that MECH are doing similar experiments here, I wonder if this is where it all started." Arcee added before an uncertain expression appeared on her face.

"Jack, how could this have been going on, I mean right under the Council's noses?"

Jack activated his holo-tool and connected it to the terminal remotely.

"Lets find out." he replied as he looked at the data scrolling down the tool's screen.

"Well it seems that this station is being run by a Doctor Mordin Solus. Must be a fake ID being used by the Doctor."

Grimlock started to fidget as if he didn't like to be standing in one place to long while Garrus just remained quiet and watched the two partners.

"Makes sense, MECH gave him a new identity and then he gains the Council's favour and is allowed to use this station, supposedly as a haven for refugees." Arcee said in return.

"I've heard enough, lets just go." the Turian said coldly as he turned for the door.

"Garrus wait, I know you want Saleon and I will help you get him. But I need to know that you're not going to let your need for revenge make you go all terminator on us." Jack said back in a worried tone. But the Turian looked back at him and smiled slightly.

"I'm fine Jack, but I was thinking more about that." he said as he pointed up to another monitor above them. The Prime and his XO looked up and sighed.

"Oh crap, we better move." he said as the image on the screen showed scores of Husks running down a corridor (probably leading directly to them).

"Finally something to kill." Grimlock happily exclaimed as he equipped his blade before the team moved out of the room.

After searching all the rooms connected to the main reception/lobby, Jack and his friends stopped to assess their findings.

"Well with a station this big, I'd think that there would be more rooms than what we have found?" Garrus said with an annoyed tone.

"Well, this is a secret MECH base, my guess is that there would a hidden entrance somewhere." Jack replied, which made Arcee look at him a certain way.

"What is it Arcee?" the Prime asked, having noticed this.

"Follow me." she said as she walked back towards the main corridor. Once they were all back there, she pointed over to the dead end at the other side.

"I know we have already searched here, but it wasn't until you said 'a hidden entrance', I mean this just feels wrong to me." she said with a unnerved tone. Jack then walked toward the far end and felt a tingling sensation the closer he got to it.

"Arcee's right, there is something not right about this." he said back to the others before reaching out with his free hand until his finger touched something, which made a ripple effect span out and showed that the far end of the corridor was not what it seemed.

"A hologram, shielding the entrance to the facility." Garrus stated as Jack looked back to them.

"Looks like, lets move." he said before he started to walk into the hologram, but suddenly a Husk dived through and sent the Prime tumbling to the floor.

"JACK!" Arcee shouted as the Husk bared down on her partner who was trying to fight it off.

"A little help?" he said back as the drool dripped onto his chest plate from the Husk's rotten looking mouth. But before the others could do anything, more Husks ran through the field at them.

"Take them down." Garrus said as he and the femme fired back against the horde as it rushed towards them, Grimlock merely smiled as he began swinging his large blade at the creatures. Slicing them in two as he did. Jack's face was now only an inch away from the Husk as it tried to bite him.

"Not…..today." he said through gritted teeth before he punched the creature in the face and as it was disoriented, he activated his star saber and in one swing had decapitated the Husk. It's head roll onto the floor as it's body began to slump on the Prime, but he pushed it off as it's blood leaked over him.

'Perfect.' he thought as he then got up and ran through the hologram.

"Jack?" Garrus said just after shooting down the final Husk, Arcee had finished off her last enemy with her arm blades and Grimlock had impaled one to the ground with his sword. He then looked around at the bodies of the creatures and sighed.

"Too bad."

"I'm sure there will be more that that Grimlock." the Turian said as Arcee started looking around with an almost frantic expression.

"Where's Jack?"

"He killed that Husk and went through the field."

Arcee immediately bolted through the field herself, leaving both her team mates behind. Garrus sighed before both he and the Dinobot followed. Once through they saw that they were in a massive room filled with machinery, and a lot of it did not look like Human nor Cybertronian tech. Arcee was kneeling next to Jack who was on his knees, panting heavily.

"You used the wave again didn't you?" the femme asked with concern in her voice.

"Took care of the Husks didn't I." he said back to her between breaths. Grimlock then saw what was left of the horde as their body parts scattered around the place.

"Impressive." the Dinobot said to himself. Arcee helped Jack to his feet as they looked around the room.

"This is mainly Reaper tech." Garrus observed as he looked over to a jet black device with blue energy glowing from the outing as it formed the base for a large machine that was connected to cables that linked it to other similar machines.

"MECH working with Reaper technology, this isn't going to good." the femme replied as they walked through the large room to a door at the other end.

Behind that door they found what looked like a control room, with a massive window that overlooked something, but it was too dark to see what it was.

"Lets see if we can shed light on what's going on here." Jack said as he walked up to the main control station.

"Really Jack, how long did it take you to think of that?" Garrus asked.

"Longer than I care to admit." the Prime answered as he tapped the console's keyboard, suddenly the screens around the console activated and started playing back vids.

"What is this?" Arcee asked as they watched people being placed inside glass pods that had Reaper tech built into them. The pods then filled with gas as it's occupants started hammering on the glass with their fists as the fear shown on their faces.

"They are just rounding them up and killing them?" Grimlock asked, but then Jack's eyes widened when the gas cleared.

"No, its worse. They are being turned into Husks." he replied as the footage showed the pods now contained the Reaper turned creatures. Arcee looked away when she couldn't watch anymore, until she saw another console in front of the large window. So she walked over to it and tapped on it's interface. Suddenly the lights came on and revealed another massive room beyond the window as Husks panicked and moved the moment the lights above them activated.

"By Primus." she said as the others stood beside her and looked out to the hordes below them.

"Come on." Jack said as he then walked over to the next door and opened it. They all readied their weapons and followed him.

"Why create Husks, aren't they just more troops for the Reapers. It seems like such a stupid risk considering if they escaped, they could destroy this place." the femme said as they moved through another lab.

"I think the Reapers have attacked this place because it is a threat, which means we need to find out why." Jack replied as they neared a large reinforced door.

"You do realise that door leads into that large room we just saw." Garrus said.

"Yeah, but it's the only way forward. Be ready." the Prime said back as he opened the door for a Husk on the other side to look directly at him. Jack fired his weapon and blew a hole in it's head as the group moved into the room and started taking out all the husks there. One of the creatures pounced at Grimlock, only to be met with the sharp end of his blade. Arcee took out two more with her SMGs, before spin kicking another who got too close. Garrus switched to his sniper rifle and took out those that were crawling up the walls on the other side of the room, and Jack sliced down one husk while pummelling another with a burst of bullets from his assault rifle. Within a few minutes the room was clear and the Husks lied dead at their feet.

"Well that was bracing." the Turian said as he reloaded his weapon.

"I can hear Miranda's voice." Arcee said as they walked through the door at the other side and saw another console playing a vid on a loop.

"Reapers wanted this place shut down, this might give us a clue as to why." Garrus said as Jack activated the log.

"I am heading to the CIC to disable the communications black out, I have to get word out. Some of the refugees are turned into Husks, some are just being indoctrinated and shipped to Silas. Whoever is left is used in experiments. The data show that MECH are trying to figure out how Reaper indoctrination works." Miranda said before the vid closed. Jack shook his head in response.

"Tricking refugees with food and shelter, only then to use them in experiments. And for what?"

"Draw them in and throw them in the meat grinder." Garrus replied.

"Wait a second, Miranda said that test subjects were being sent to Silas. Maybe we can find him that way." Arcee added.

"Good catch, lets see if we can catch up to her. She said she was heading for the tower." the Prime replied before walking through to the next room.

After moving through more labs and killing a few more Husks, Jack and the others came to what looked like an office. Arcee sat down at the main computer and activated it.

"Find anything?" the Prime asked as she looked at the screen.

"Someone is making copies of the files and deleting the originals, but they haven't finished yet. Here is a file that has yet to be deleted." the femme replied as she played a vid for the others to see. The image showed Saleon, who Garrus immediately narrowed his eyes at. The Salarian was standing next to a hologram of the MECH Director.

"Doctor Saleon report." the yellow optic eyed man said. The scientist turned and typed away at his console's holo-keyboard until a large screen in front of the two activated, then large amounts of data started scrolling down the screen.

"Well as you can see, the tests continue to be running at one hundred percent success rate. Every one of our test subjects has succumbed to our own signal and will no longer listen to the Reapers, so long as they remain in the radius of ours."

The Director smiled as he looked at the screen.

"Excellent Saleon, you have just given humanity a way to control Reaper forces. This will turn the tide of this war and allow MECH to take the offensive."

He then looked at a scan of a Reaper that appeared next to the data.

"So how long before we can use this technology on the Reapers themselves?"

"Now there is the problem, you see it's one thing to control the ground forces, but another to do the same to one of the Reapers themselves, let alone the entire race. I am afraid I have hit a wall in my research into that particular area." the Salarian replied with a slightly nervous tone.

"Relax Doctor, I have acquired the information you need to solve that…"

The video then stopped abruptly and the window it played in disappeared.

"Damn, that footage was just deleted." Arcee said as she typed on the computer's keyboard. Garrus looked over to Jack with a confused look.

"Controlling Reaper forces? Is that even possible?"

"I don't know, but we do know why the Reapers have attacked Sanctuary." the Prime replied.

"They must have discovered what MECH were up to, that Silas is in for a world of pain now." Grimlock said from behind them.

"Yeah, can't say I feel bad about that." Jack said before looking over to the doors at the other end of the room.

"There's the elevator, come on."

Once they were inside, Arcee pressed the button for the top floor and the elevator took them straight up. It didn't take long for them to reach the top as the doors opened to reveal another reception like area. Suddenly gun fire could be heard from behind the next door.

"Get ready." Jack said as the door opened up to reveal the CIC, and the group moved in with weapons ready.

"Jack." Miranda called from behind a console that she was using as cover. The Prime then saw the Salarian standing next to a set of controls connected to two pods that had occupants inside them, he also had a pistol in his free hand and was pointing it in their direction.

"That is close enough Prime. I told Miss Lawson that I would kill her 'fake' parents if she didn't surrender. She didn't listen." Saleon said angrily.

"Put the gun down." Jack said firmly.

"I think not, but if you think that you can shoot me then you should know that I have already activated stage one of the conversion process. If I press this button…." the Scientist said as his finger hovered over a green flashing button.

"…then they will be turned in to Husks in a matter of moments."

Miranda stood up from behind her cover with her SMG in one hand, but covering a wound on her stomach with the other.

"Jack, don't let him harm my parents."

Arcee and Grimlock both looked over to see the older humans standing in the sealed pods, looking out at the situation unfolding in front of them. The femme then glanced to her side and could not see Garrus.

"Where's….?" she whispered to the Dinobot as Jack kept his attention on Saleon.

"I have seen what you have done here with MECH, you can't possibly think that it will work?"

"Why not, we can control the Reaper's ground forces now." the Salarian replied.

"But your sacrificing people to gain that ability, men, women…..and children. What you are doing is beyond…." Jack started to say before he was cut off.

"Don't judge me Prime. What I do, I do for the greater good. If a few people, even children have to die to see it through. Then so be it, my conscious is clea…."

BANG!

A gun shot rang out from behind Jack and the Salarian cried out in pain after a bullet passed through his shoulder, he dropped the gun and fell to the ground. Miranda immediately moved to the controls of the pods as Arcee and Grimlock looked around for the shooter. But then a shimmer moved in front of them and picked up Saleon by the throat and pinned him against the glass wall behind him. The shimmer then stopped to reveal that it was Garrus, and he looked the Salarian in the eyes, his own narrowed as he gritted his teeth.

"Saleon, nice to finally meet you."

"Do I ..(gasp), know you?" the Salarian asked in confusion.

"No, I am just someone who wants to avenge a friend whose life you ruined. But that was before I saw this place, now I really want to kill you." the Turian replied coldly.

"(gasp) I see, so you are not a fan of my..(gasp) work. So get it over with then." the Scientist taunted him. Jack was helping Miranda to deactivate the pods but looked over to Garrus and Saleon. The Salarian really did not care about what he had done.

'The ends justify the means." he thought to himself before shaking his head and then looking back to what he was doing. Leaving his friend to do what he had promised he would do. For a long moment there was silence between Garrus and Saleon, but then the Turian finally spoke.

"No, killing you now would be quick and that's too easy for you."

He then noticed that the glass wall was actually a one way mirror into a room connected to cages holding Husks. Garrus then holstered his weapon and with his now free hand activated the door controls and prepared to throw the Salarian into the room. Saleon, knowing where he was about to be put tried to resist but Garrus then punched him hard in the stomach, making the Salarian wince in pain before he was thrown through the open door and into the room. The Turian then shut the door and walked over to the console.

"Garrus what are you doing?" Arcee asked with concern in her voice.

"Giving him a taste of his own medicine." the Turian replied as he started to use the console's keyboard. Saleon got up and looked around the room, behind him was three doors which at the moment were sealed. It he knew very well that would change in a moment or so. He then looked in front of him and saw a large mirror reflecting his image back at him, it was a one way observation screen. And he knew that Garrus and the others were watching.

"If you think you all get me to beg for my life, then you are mistaken. I regret none of my decisions." he said at the screen, his words sounding defiant and firm yet they were betrayed by the frightened tone that accompanied them. The Turian then activated the intercom and his voice boomed into the room.

"Well I hope you can live with that... for the last moment you have left. Goodbye Saleon, this is for Shen." Garrus said before pressing a button on the control console which turned off the lights, bringing total darkness into the room as the Salarian tried to look around. Garrus then pressed another button l labelled 'release'.

Saleon being unable to see anything stayed very still and relied on his hearing as he heard the doors behind him open up with a metallic creaking noise. He turned round to face where the sound had come from and saw a pair of blue optics looking back at him in from the far side of the room, then another pair, and another. In just a few moments he was surrounded by them as he heard grunting and other inhuman noises, despite his words Saleon's heart was beating fast as he knew his time was up. And then the horde rushed at him, bringing him to the floor and biting and clawing into his skin. His screams echoed through the room as the Husks ripped him apart, while Garrus watched on a screen showing the inside of the cell through night vision. He then turned it off once the Husks were done, meanwhile Jack deactivated and opened the pods allowing Miranda to help her parents out.

"Miranda." her mother called out as she embraced her daughter, before her father hugged her too.

"Are you alright, he didn't hurt you two did he?" Miranda asked.

"We are fine Miranda, I would just like to get your mother out of here." her father replied.

"We can help you there, our ship will get you someplace safe." Jack said gaining their attention, the former agent gave Jack a smile.

"Thank you Jack."

"You know you didn't have to do this all by yourself, if I had known that MECH had taken your parents hostage…" the Prime replied.

"I know you would Jack, but you had enough on your plate dealing with the Reapers. But I am very grateful for your help." she said back.

"Well you'll have all the time now to be with your family." Jack said back gaining smiles from her parents, but Miranda shook her head in return.

"No, once I know that they are safe and if you'll have me. I want to join your crew."

Her father then gave her a concerned expression.

"Miranda wait, I thought…." he started to say before she cut him off.

"Dad, Mom, I need to do this. Because while Silas is still out there, then none of us will be safe." she said with a stoic expression before placing a hand on their shoulders.

"And I promise I will tell you everything after this is over."

Both her parents looked like they were having a hard time accepting this but they then both nodded in return, before her father then looked at the Prime.

"She called you Jack, that would make you Jackson Prime. Yes?"

Jack nodded as her father stepped forward.

"If you will promise me that you'll ensure our daughter comes back to us unharmed, then I will let her go with you. Do I have your word as a Prime?"

Jack looked over to Miranda while Arcee and the others simply watched, he knew that he would rather she stay with her parents, but since Miranda had such inside knowledge on MECH. He had to say yes.

"You have my word." he replied stoically, before the two men then shook hands.

"I will hold you to that." the father replied before turning back to his wife and daughter, Jack then looked back to his team. Garrus handed him an object back that Arcee recognized.

"That's the personal cloaking generator."

"Yeah, Jack lent it to me before the mission. Thought it would come in handy, thanks Jack." Garrus replied as the Prime fitted it back into his Prime armour. Jack then looked at his friend.

"What about you, you alright?"

Garrus looked back at the observation screen and took a breath.

"Yeah, I am. It's comforting to know that because of us, he wont be able to harm anyone else."

Arcee placed a hand on the Turian's shoulder.

"You had me worried back there Garrus, I thought you were just going to shoot him originally."

"I was, but then when I heard him gloating about how far he was willing to go….. I knew that just shooting him would be to much of an easy way to go." he said looking back at the femme. Jack was going to say something but his com link activated.

"Prime, that Reaper has finished off the rest of the MECH ships and is now heading back to Sanctuary." Swoop stated.

"Alright, we already cleared a path from the landing bay to here. We should be able to meet you there again." Jack replied.

"You don't have time, but I am detecting an auxiliary shuttle dock on the floor you are now on. Meet me there for extraction." the Dinobot replied, Jack then looked at everyone.

"Alright, it's time to go."

The Prime then took point with Miranda and her parents at the center of the group, and Arcee and Grimlock covering the rear as the group left the lab and made their way to the rendezvous point.

About a few minutes later they were all on board the shuttle as it flew away from the station at top speed, just as the Reaper returned and charged up it's beam weapon. The troop transport Reaper undocked and joined it's Sovereign class counterpart's side as it fired three shots with it's red beam which cut right through the station, causing Sanctuary to explode and send it's debris in all directions. The Reapers seemed completely unaware of the shuttle as it rejoined the Defiant and entered it's shuttle bay just a short distance from the enemy vessels. The Alliance frigate then turned around and jumped into hyperspace.



CHAPTER 18

.

Jack was standing with Miranda and Arcee in the com room with the hologram of Admiral Bryce.

"So Sanctuary was actually a MECH base where the refugees were slaughtered, all so that Silas could study indoctrination." he said earning nods from the Prime and the others.

"That's correct sir, everything about what we found there is in my report." Jack replied. The Admiral looked away for a moment.

"Yes I have just received it, well thank you Commander. How long before you rendezvous with the fleet?"

"The Defiant will be there in a few hours." the Prime answered.

"Very well, I still have ships scouring the galaxy for any MECH bases, but we are still coming up short." Bryce said in return, Miranda then took a step forward.

"Perhaps I can help with that."

the looked over to the woman with a little surprise.

"Admiral this is Miranda Lawson." Jack stated.

"Yes I know, the former right hand of Silas and also his daughter. I remember reading about her in your debriefing last year. And you also gave her your full support, so I have to ask why did Miranda disappear on us back at Earth." Bryce asked while giving the young woman a stoic expression.

"Well Admiral, After Jack was arrested by the Council I felt that I was not going to be very welcome, not since I had only just previously worked for MECH. So I left, also I had numerous agents and assassins trying to kill me, curtsey of Silas. And my parents were also kidnapped by MECH a few months back, as a way to draw me out." Miranda replied in a professional tone. The Admiral looked away for a moment, as he was reading something before he brought his attention back to the group.

"As it says in the Commander's report, I am glad that they are safe. Too many have become victims of MECH in the last year. Once the Defiant rendezvous with the fleet, I will have your parents taken to a safe place. You have my word."

"Thank you Admiral." the former MECH agent said before activating her holo-tool which brought up a 3D map of the galaxy, four yellow spots started blinking in areas of the map.

"You will find Silas's base in any one of these four locations."

Jack, Arcee and Bryce all looked at the map confused, Miranda noticed this and decided to explain.

"MECH's main base of operations is a ship, it's called the 'Cronos' and it is a vessel not to be trifled with."

"Why is that?" Jack asked and in response activated another hologram, this time of the ship. Arcee's eyes widened as she looked at it.

"That's the 'Harbinger'." she said in surprise.

"That's correct, the Decepticon transport was shot down by Autobots a couple hundred years ago. It was cleaved in two during the battle and both ends crash landed on different continents on Earth. but MECH managed to find and recover both parts and then rebuild the ship to human specifications." Miranda replied as the hologram started listing the ship's specs.

"But that is a Cybertronian ship, how did MECH manage this?" the femme asked in return.

"Silas managed to gain access to the Alliance's plans for the 'Ark' and 'Nemesis' refits, after that it was just a case of funding and finding a place to build it that was safe from prying eyes."

"The only way that would be possible would have been with help from inside the Alliance high command." Bryce added earning a nod from the former agent.

"That's correct, Silas told me that MECH had strong support from the private sector, as well as key officials amongst your higher ups."

"Okay so Silas is on a ship, that doesn't change the fact that he has something we need... The Kranix matrix. So we just have to board the Cronos and take it back." Jack said in a rather confident manner, Miranda smiled at the Prime.

"I admire your confidence Jack, but the Cronos is defended by a fleet of MECH cruisers and several fighter squadrons. And it's own defences are formidable as well. I think that the only ships that could stand up to it are the Ark and Nemesis."

Bryce crossed his arms and looked at the ship.

"Well as the Commander just stated, we don't have a choice. We need that Lithone VI back, so I will send scouts to each one of these coordinates and in the meantime we will put together a fleet to engage MECH. But..." the Admiral then paused, gaining a confused look from the others.

"But, sir?" Jack asked.

"... Well it is just that we have managed to keep the Crucible hidden from the Reapers for all this time, but once we go on the move against MECH, the Reapers will take notice and it will only be a matter of time before they find our super weapon." Bryce replied.

"So what do you suggest sir?" the Prime asked.

"I will send a message to our allies to begin preparing the fleets for our offensive, and once we know what the Catalyst is. We then escort the Crucible to it and end this war once and for all."

"That's a hell of a gamble sir." Arcee replied in surprise.

"We will only have one shot at this, so we can't leave anything to chance." Bryce replied before looking at Jack.

"Prime, I am sending your pilot new rendezvous coordinates. There you will meet up with the Ark, the Nemesis and our fleet. From there (as long as we have the correct location) we will take the fight to MECH and you will lead a team on to the Cronos and retrieve the VI. I will leave the planning for that in your hands."

"We will be ready sir." Jack replied as he saluted the Admiral, gaining a similar response.

"See you in a few hours, Bryce out."

Then the hologram disappeared, leaving the Prime and the two women alone. Arcee then turned to Jack.

"I will go and let the crew know what is going on Jack." the femme said before walking out of the room.

"And I will send all the Intel I have on MECH. I think that I remember where the computer lab is." Miranda said as she started to leave.

"What about your parents?" the Prime asked gaining her attention again.

"They are in the common room right now, I was going to visit them after uploading the Intel. Thanks again Jack for what you did, I don't usually play the role of damsel in distress." she replied with a smile.

"You managed to gain entry and fight your way through a heavily defended MECH base, and that was before the Reapers showed up. I wouldn't call that a damsel in distress." Jack replied making Miranda blush slightly.

"I guess not."

"It's good to have you back onboard Miranda." the Prime said, gaining a smile from the former MECH agent before she turned and left the room. Jack was about to do the same when his com link activated.

"Prime, I believe that you should go to the port side observation lounge. Tali may require assistance."

"Okay, but what about Garrus?" Jack replied.

"He is currently running important diagnostics on the weapon systems that I can not afford to have stopped at the moment." the AI said in return. The Prime then signed before leaving the com room.

"Alright I am on my way."

Jack walked into the lounge and saw that Tali was slouching over the bar with a glass in her hand, so he walked up and tapped the Quarian on the shoulder. She looked turned around very slowly with one hand on the bar, obliviously trying to keep herself steady.

"Jack, want a drink?" she slurred as she looked at him or tried to anyway.

"I am toasting Miranda…. I think?"

Tali then raised the glass to signify the toast as Jack leant down on the bar next to her.

"Your drunk Tali, how did you do this?"

"Very…. Carefully." she replied before pointing at the bottle that was on the bar in front of her.

"Turian brandy, triple filtered and introduced into the suit via an 'emergency induction port'." she replied.

"It's called a straw Tali." Jack said before he sighed and looked away slightly embarrassed.

"Emergency induction port!" the Quarian repeated again. She then went to have another sip, but the straw missed the slot in her mask. Which earned a breath of annoyance from her before she attempted it again….. only to miss.

"It's actually getting harder to get it into…the slot. I guess that means it is working." she slurred again. Jack just watched as it went silent for a moment, but then Tali spoke up.

"I never really liked Miranda, with her perfect hair, athletic body and that attitude…. But she still managed to turn against her father, knowing how wrong he was." she said, her voice tinged with regret. The Prime look back at her.

"I didn't realise that this would be so hard on you."

"I'm sorry Jack, I am glad that she saved her parents. She is doing whatever it takes to stop her father, never giving in to him or changing herself to please him." she said as she looked down at her drink.

"Ah!" the Prime said in return as he pieced it altogether in his head.

"Don't 'ah!' me, you sound like a Quintesson."

Jack gave her a confused look.

"What?"

But she then just mumbled/slurred something under her breath as he shook his head.

"Do you see a part of yourself in Miranda fighting her father?"

"I have spent my life trying to live up to my father, to do things the way he would want me to. And then when I do try to stop him from going too far… I still back down to him."

Tali then hung her head in shame as she took the glass in her hand.

"When do we stop reacting to our parents and start living for ourselves?"

Jack looked at her with a sympathetic expression.

"I'm afraid the answer to that question is at the bottom of the glass."

"I think I may need some help with the induction straw….. port, you know." she slurred jokingly. Jack then poured himself a short of brandy and held the glass up.

"Here's to Miranda."

"Here's to you Miranda, you perfect MECH bosh'tet. Keelah se'lia."

They then both downed the drinks (though Tali used the straw). Jack then gently placed his hand on her shoulder in support as the Quarian started to sleep with head resting on her arms on the bar. The Prime then tapped his com link.

"Garrus, you are needed down here in the portside observation lounge."

"Okay, on my way Jack." the Turian replied. A few moments later and he walked into the room and Jack pointed over to the bar. Garrus looked over to see his girlfriend asleep on the bar and walked over to her, before scooping her up in his arms and looking down to her lovingly. Garrus then turned around and saw Jack smiling back.

"Not one word." he just said, making Jack gesture that his mouth would stay shut with his hand. The Turian then carried Tali out of the room and back to their quarters, leaving an amused Prime behind watching them as they went.

The Defiant continued through hyperspace as it made it's way to the rendezvous point with the fleet, Arcee had gone round the entire ship looking for Jack and was now outside their quarters on the first deck. Everyone else was keeping themselves busy while they counted down the hours before they met up with the rest of the fleet for the assault on MECH's forces. Bumblebee, Raf, Jazz, Smokescreen and Chromia were watching vids in the common room. Grimlock was helping Swoop down in the shuttle bay, Ratchet was busy with whatever projects he had going in the medical bay. Garrus was with Tali in there room, and Hotrod was talking with Miranda and Teletraan in the cockpit. So the femme found herself looking for the one other person on the ship that she wanted to be with and her search led her back to their quarters. She opened the door and walked in, and she saw Ravage curled up in a ball fast asleep next to the fish tank. She then looked to the right and saw Jack standing in his Prime Armour, looking over something on his arm. The femme just leaned back against the wall and watched him for a moment with a smile on her face.

"I was wondering where you were Jack." she said making the Prime look round to her in surprise.

"Arcee, sorry I was.." he replied before looking back down to the armour covering his arm.

"What are you doing?" the Autobot asked with a slightly confused tone.

"I thought this piece was damaged in the last fight." he said pointing down to the slight line of damage running down his arm.

"I guess those Husks did more damage than I thought."

He then tapped the Autobot insignia, making the armour retreat back into the octagonal disc which he then tossed over to her. Arcee stared down at the disc before looking back at her partner who just sat down on couch.

"It will take a few more hours before we reach the fleet." the femme said as she sat next to him.

"I hate waiting, everyone else is just finding ways to pass the time. But I wanted to spend it with you."

Jack smiled at her as he placed his hand on top of hers.

"I'd like that, since there is nowhere else I would rather be with than here with you."

Arcee then got closer to the Prime, their faces only inches apart.

"I love you Jack." she smiled.

"I love you Arcee." he replied.

"Show me." she said before closing the distance and letting their lips finally meet, enveloping them both in euphoric bliss as they pulled each other closer, intensifying the kiss. It lasted for what felt like an eternity before they pulled back just enough to look each other in the eyes, Arcee then without breaking eye contact removed her shirt and revealing her breasts. Jack then took one in his hand and gently squeezed it while massaging the other with his lips and tongue. Arcee purred in delight at feeling of her lover's touch, she then her fingers through his hair before bringing his face back to hers and kissing him again. The femme then pulled back and cocked her head as she looked at him with a knowing expression, Jack took the hint and removed his top, showing the Autobot his toned physique. Arcee licked her lips in reaction before placing both her hands on his chest and pushing Jack onto his back. She leaned over him and they kissed again before the femme began leaving a trail of kisses down his chest and stomach, before stopping and removing his trousers. She then took hold of his semi erect member in her hand and began a slow momentum of strokes that made her man moan in approval of what she was doing. Arcee took this as a sign and began to stroke him faster which made Jack look up at the sky light as the stars streaked past outside, finding it almost impossible to focus his mind on anything other than what his partner was doing to him. After a moment the Prime then looked back at Arcee and grabbed her hand.

"Jack?" she asked back slightly confused, but he just smiled back at her.

"My turn." he replied before they switched positions and he got on top, the femme's eyes widened in anticipation of what he was about to do and Jack moved down to her trousers (she had already removed her belt) and took the zip in his mouth. Arcee giggled in response as Jack unzipped her jeans and then removed them before moving in between her legs and leaving kisses up the inside of her thighs. The femme bit her lip at the sensations she was feeling as he got closer to her sex. Jack then started to pleasure her sex with his tongue and lips and Arcee felt another rush of euphoria flow over her as she grabbed at the bed sheets under her and squeezed. Jack's momentum sped up and after another moment Arcee's vision went white and she screamed out in pleasure as the femme climaxed right there and then, her whole body tightened up and she locked Jack's head where it was with her legs like a vice. She dug her nails into Jack's back, making him wince slightly, before she collapsed and panted heavily, letting his head go and Jack looked up to her with a smile.

"Take me.." she almost whispered between the breaths and the Prime once again climbed over her to meet her at eye level. The femme then wrapped her arms around his neck as he positioned himself over her already heightened sex. Jack looked her in the eyes for a long moment before she nodded and he then entered her with is erect member and they both let out a moan as the Prime started a slow momentum which gradually picked up the pace as Arcee clung onto her lover. Jack then lifted her off the bed and onto his lap, letting his lover straddle him and take over. The femme then began to lift and lower herself onto his member while Jack watched, the two of them never broke eye contact. Arcee moved her supported herself with one hand on his leg, while moving the other over his chest. Jack kept both his hands on her ass, squeezing it gently as she rode him. Arcee quickened the pace, her perfect dexterity helping to keep her on top as both of them came close to climax. Jack, who was trying to hold back, lost control and climaxed into his lover and fell back onto the bed sheets, and Arcee climaxed a moment later, her sex clamping around his member making her cry out before she collapsed onto Jack. He wrapped his arms around her and held her close as they both kissed one last time before slowly falling asleep.

Jack opened his eyes and looked up to the skylight, he saw his slight reflection looking back at him smiling. He had not felt so relaxed in a long time as he lied their in his bed, Arcee was curled up in his arms and purring gently as she slept. He was about to left himself drift back to sweet slumber with his lover, but then something caught his attention from the corner of his eye. He saw a silhouette standing at the far end of the bed and rose up quickly to see who it was, his eyes widened in shock as standing before him was the boy. Jack couldn't believe his eyes at what he saw, the child just stared at him blankly before raising his arm and pointing behind the Prime. Jack turned to see what the boy was pointing at, but all that was there was the bulkhead behind his bed. He looked down at Arcee in confusion, but the femme was still fast asleep. He then looked back towards the child but to his astonishment, the child was gone. The Prime closed his eyes and rubbed them, hoping that he was just imagining it. But then he felt the cold breeze against his face and opened his eyes to see that he was standing amongst the destroyed buildings of that city he had seen before, he looked down to see that Arcee was gone and he was wearing his Prime Armour again. He then saw the boy running ahead of him and started after him, though everything moved in slow motion as the storm clouds gathered over head. Oily shadows of people and husks could be seen around the street, like they were watching Jack as he ran after the child. He heard his name being called out continually from the crowds that made up the street of derelict buildings as he moved, then suddenly he came to an abrupt stop when he saw the kid run into the arms of a man who came out of the building ahead him. Jack couldn't see the man's face as he was looking down to the ground as he embraced the child. But then the man looked back and Jack's eyes widened fully at who was staring back at him. It was Jack and he was kneeling down with the kid who too was looking back at the Prime. Jack just stood there completely frozen in shock at the sight of himself and the child as they smiled at him, but then their skin tone changed to grey and their eyes shone bright blue as they morphed into the forms of husks. They then both screamed at the Prime before running back into the derelict building, Jack then looked around to find himself completely alone in the street, all the other husks and shadows had disappeared. Yet he felt that he was still being watched as a large shadow was cast over him, so he looked up to see what was casting it and saw Harbinger standing over him. It's yellow optics glowing brightly as they looked down on the Commander.

"You are ours now Darby, there is no escaping your fate." it said as thunder boomed and lightening streaked across the sky, then everything went white and then faded to black.

Jack awoke suddenly to find himself lying in his bed with Arcee in his arms, his eyes darted around the room but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Not even a figure standing at the end of their bed, his heart was beating fast and he panted somewhat as he tried to calm down. Arcee then began to stir and she opened her eyes, letting Jack look upon those bright azure blue iris's of hers.

"What's wrong?" she said as she placed a hand on his chest, feeling his heart beat as it slowed to normal. Jack looked over to the clock and took note of the time.

"It's almost time." he said back.

"Already?" the femme replied with disappointment in her voice as Jack got and swung his legs off the side of the bed, she got up behind him and kissed his back before resting her head on his shoulder.

"I hope everyone is ready?" he said.

"Jack you have united the galaxy against the Reapers, establishing the largest fleet in it's history. You're a Prime, the galaxy will follow your lead now. Neither the Reapers nor MECH will get another chance to divide us."

She then rubbed his shoulder affectionately.

"And I will be with you every step of the way, I won't lose you again…. Promise me that, promise me that we will see this through to the end…. together."

Jack turned to look at her, the femme's hair was all messed up (from what they had been doing earlier) and he .

"I promise Arcee, after all we are partners, and I couldn't do this without you."

He then took her hand off his shoulder and held it in his own, while looking into her blue eyes.

"And when this is all over, I want to spend the rest of my life with you."

Arcee's eyes widened as a big smile graced her lips.

"I want that more then anything Jack." she replied happily, they then kissed one last time before he got up to get dressed.

"Alright, time we got dressed and ready to save the galaxy." he said, earning a chuckle from the femme as she watched him walk over to the bathroom.

The Defiant shook from left to right as it passed an Alliance cruiser that just exploded from repeated fire from the MECH ships that were protecting the Cronos. The shockwave from the blast doing the same to all nearby ships as the battle raged around them. The Alliance fleet was doing its best to slow down the enemy, who once they spotted the Autobot/Human ships had tried to away and run, but the Alliance quickly blocked their path. As the Defiant weaved it's way between the chaos, the Ark was making short work of the enemy ships that tried to get in its way. It's cannons were ripping the MECH cruisers apart.

"Ark to Defiant, this is Bryce. We have our beach head, make your run now. Fighter squadron 'Beta' will keep you covered." the Admiral's voice said over the com.

"Roger that sir." Hotrod replied before putting the ship into a barrel roll to evade the incoming weapons fire from the enemy. The fighters then flew in and took up a formation around the Alliance frigate.

"This is Alpha one, Defiant we have your back." the squadron leader said.

"Thanks Alpha." the frigate called back.

"All boys, let's keep any enemies off the Defiant while she delivers the package." Alpha one stated as the alliance frigate made its way towards the Cronos, the former Cybertronian cruiser dwarfed nearly all of the ships in the battle (with exception of the Ark and Nemesis), after taking down several fighters and damaging three cruisers. The Defiant and it's fighter escort broke through MECH's defensive line and head directly at the Command ship.

Down in the shuttle bay Jack, Arcee, Miranda and Smokescreen entered the shuttle and took their seats, the Prime got into the copilot's seat next to Swoop and began activating his controls. Then the shuttle bay door opened, flooding the room with the red hue of the star before the shuttle flew out into the battle. The Defiant then pulled away with the fighter screen and Swoop set course for the shuttle bay on their side of the MECH command ship. In the landing bay MECH soldiers were rushing around the area and defence turrets activated and began aiming at the incoming shuttle.

"Prime, we are being targeted." Swoop stated as he brought them in closer.

"Just get us inside." Jack replies as he began targeting them back with the shuttle's cannons. The Dinobot then rocked the ship from left to right in an effort to dodge the weapons fire coming their way, the Prime though tapped a few commands into his Holo-controls and fired the cannons back at the turrets. Three of them exploded but the fourth fired a few shots that connected with the back of the shuttle.

"We've been hit." Jack said before destroying the last turret.

"We are going in, hang on." Swoop replied as he struggled to keep the shuttle steady as it threatened to spin out of control. It then passed the landing bay's force field and slammed hard down on the deck, screeching along the floor as it mowed down any MECH soldiers tha were unfortunate to stay in its path. The shuttle finally came to a stop just as the blast doors at the other end of the bay opened and more soldiers entered the room along with a Atlas mech. In the shuttle Jack got out of his seat and checked on Swoop.

"You alright?" he asked as the pilot put his hand to his forehead.

"Yeah, I'll be fine." Swoop replied before he saw the soldiers approaching them.

"Prime you better get out there, we had company. I'll start repairs immediately."

The Prime nodded in return before leaving the cockpit to check on the others.

"You guys okay?" he asked as Arcee helped Miranda to her feet. The femme nodded back in return as both women equipped their weapons.

"I am ready to get out there and finish this." Arcee said as Smokescreen prepared to open the hatch.

"Let's go kick some MECH ass!" the young bit added as he opened the hatch, revealing an enemy soldier on the other side which Arcee shot through the head without any hesitation. They then climbed out of the shuttle and took cover behind some cargo containers as the rest of the soldiers and the Atlas fired back.

"Jack we need to take out that Atlas mech." Miranda shouted to the Prime over the sound of gunfire as both sides exchanged fire.

"Cover me." Jack replied before tapping something on his wrist and suddenly went invisible, gaining a smile from Arcee as she killed two of the MECH soldiers. Miranda and Smokescreen took down a few more enemies before the young Autobot noticed one of the remaining soldiers acted funny before falling dead, though the former MECH agent just looked over to him.

"Cloaking generator." she said back as another soldier suddenly had his neck snapped and then dropped to the floor. The invisible Prime then started to climb up the side of the mech, right up to the cockpit and then equipped his pistol. The enemy inside suddenly had all the proximity alarms go off, he looked around before a simmer just outside off his canopy caught his attention. Suddenly Jackson Prime appeared in its place as he activated his star saber and plunged it through the glass, impaling the soldier and killing him. The others finished off the remaining soldiers while Jack the opened the pilots cockpit, pulled out the body and then climbed in his self. The canopy closed after and the holo-controls appeared in from of him as Arcee and the others joined his side.

"Jack it appears they have sealed the doors, trapping us in here." the femme stated as she pointed over to it.

"Well then it's a good job this platform comes with missiles." the Prime replied as he turned the Atlas around and loaded a missile into the launcher on its left arm, and then aimed it at the door.

"Take cover." he warned, making the others get behind one of the shuttles that littered the landing bay. Jack the fired the missile which streaked across the room and exploded as it hit the doors head on. The sounds of metal being ripped apart could be heard as debris was sent everywhere. The team waited for the smoke and fire to die down, then all that was left was a big gaping hole where the door used to be as the smoke cleared somewhat.

"I'll take point." Jack said from inside the Atlas as he started to walk pilot it towards their new entry point, the MECH's large heavy footfalls shaking the ground slightly with every step.

"okay, but I just think that you want to keep using that mech." Arcee replied with a slight smile.

"No, that's not it." he said back trying to sound innocent, but the femme looked over to Miranda and shrugged.

"Boys and their toys." she said, earning a chuckle from the former agent as Smokescreen looked at them dumbfounded.

"Jack, any idea what they are on about?"

"No clue." the Prime replied as he guided the Atlas through the hole into the next room, he looked around to see bodies of MECH soldiers sprawled on the floor around the damaged wall.

"Looks like they had more reinforcements waiting to ambush us." Smokescreen observed.

"Well good thing Jack used the missile then." Arcee said in return before the door on their right opened and a group of soldiers ran in with their guns blazing.

"I'll handle this." the Prime stated as he manoeuvred the Atlas in front of the others and took the brunt of the gunfire. One of the enemies even fired a grenade launcher at the mech, Jack closed his eyes as the explosive round flew through the air towards him. It then impacted against the cockpit canopy, engulfing the from of the Atlas in the explosion.

"Jack!" Arcee shouted from behind the mech. But then the smoke Cleared and Jack opened his eyes to see he was still alive, seeing just a crack on canopy's glass.

"Ha, my turn."he said confidently as he brought up the Atlas's right arm to show a Gatling gun. The MECH soldiers stopped in their tracks as they realised what was coming, the Prime then pulled the trigger on his joystick control and let rip with a storm of bullets that ripped through every enemy standing in his path. The wall behind them was sprayed with blood and impact holes from the bullets as the last body fell to the floor, leaving a pile of bodies next to the door. The others walked around the front, the Autobot femme looking rather worried until she saw her lover smiling back at her from within the Atlas's cockpit.

"I want one of these." Jack proudly stated as Miranda walked over to the door and checked the other room, she then poked her head back round and called to the others.

"This way guys, and Jack you will have to leave the Atlas here. It won't fit through the next door."

The Prime sighed with regret before opening the cockpit canopy and climbing back down to the ground, Arcee and Smokescreen waiting for him.

"Pity, this would come in real handy." he said as he took one last look at it.

"Come on Jack, we have work to do." the femme replied before they rejoined Miranda in the next room.

"We need to head this way, through the research section of the ship." she said as she pointed just to her right.

"What about running into more enemy troops?" Jack asked. Miranda smiled back before activating her holo-tool.

"They won't be a problem as I have this." she said as the holo-form of Teletraan appears next to her.

"Teletraan?" the Prime replied.

"Yes Prime, I have a stable connection to Miss Lawson's holo-tool and can give assistance when dealing with MECH's defences and lock outs." the AI replied as Miranda opened the other door and the group walked in, Teletraan's holo-form following. The former MECH agent then stopped next to another door.

"Teletraan, this door is locked. Can you gain us access?" she said as the blue orb stopped next to her.

"Please hold, I am attempting to interface with the Cronos's main security system."

Arcee and Smokescreen kept an eye on their rear as Jack stood beside Miranda.

"Will the Defiant be alright if Teletraan's attention is with us?"

She was about to answer when the door's holo-controls appeared and started to count down.

"I have successfully gained access, I am currently locking down most corridors and areas where there is a significant MECH presence while also opening the most direct route to Silas's main lab. I can not guarantee that you will not come across any more enemies, but you will not have to face the entire security forces of this ship." Teletraan stated.

"Thanks, you have just saved us wasting a lot of ammo there." Smokescreen said looking back at the others. The AI then turned to Jack.

"Prime, it is no trouble for me to aid you here while also maintaining the Defiant's defence systems. I always run at maximum efficiency."

The Prime nodded in return.

"Thank you Teletraan."

"I am pleased to be of assistance, by the way Prime. It will take a few moments to make all the changes that I stated to you, but the console to your right has some data logs that you may find revealing." the AI replied before Jack walked over to the console and activated it, Arcee joining his side.

"What am I looking at here?" he said as vid logs appeared on the screen for him to choose.

"Project: Rebirth, your reconstruction." the AI replied before Jack then activated the first vid log. The screen then showed Wilson and a hologram of Silas standing in a laboratory.

"It can't be done, it' doesn't matter how many resources we have." Wilson said.

"I will put as much of our resources into this as you require, but we are not losing Darby." the Director replied with a confident tone. Wilson pointed at the scans of a body on the screen behind him.

"Sir, Darby is clinically brain-dead. After the injuries his body sustained, plus the amount of time without oxygen. We can't just overcome nature."

"Miranda disagrees, I am placing her in charge of project: Rebirth now." Silas replied.

The video log then stopped and Jack just stared at the screen for a moment.

"I didn't realise it was that bad." he then said as Arcee looked at him.

"I thought that you were just on life support but… that sounds like more. How did it feel, do you remember anything from while you were under?" the femme asked, but Jack just looked the console's controls.

"I'm still me, I don't think I would have been able to turn against MECH otherwise." he said as he then looked up and focused, as if trying to find the memories in his mind before shaking his head.

"..I don't remember anything, maybe they did just rebuilt me. Or maybe I am just a clone or something that thinks it's Jack Darby…. but I don't know." he added with a hint of sadness in his voice.

"I know that it took me a long time to get passed the MECH connection, but I know you Jack."

Arcee replied as she placed her hand on his shoulder.

"You are you." she added. Jack then activated the next vid log while Miranda kept quiet while watching Teletraan work. The screen then showed Wilson and Silas again.

"Tissue regeneration is proceeding well, the helmet kept the brain intact, for whatever good that will do." the scientist said, but the hologram of the Director looked at him stoically.

"Miranda will find a way."

Wilson then gave him a worried expression.

"Sir, Darby is an Alliance soldier as well as an Autobot ally. As far as he is concerned, MECH is a terrorist organisation who are a threat to humans and Cybertronians alike."

"Darby is a soldier and a Prime, he knows the Reapers are the real threat. He'll work with us."

The vid then ended again as the screen went back to it's menu mode.

"And you did." Arcee said. But Jack's expression became angry.

"Every fibre of my being told me not to trust MECH, but I needed their help….. So I played along."

"You did what you had to Jack, remember what you told me. You're a Prime, it's your duty to protect the galaxy from any threat. Even if that means choosing a side to do it, those were your words." the femme replied.

Jack then activated the final vid log, once again showing holo-Silas with Wilson.

"Project: Rebirth is reporting signs of neurological activity, they are requesting more funding." the scientist said.

"Granted, get me our potential recruits file. Darby will be up soon, we need a crew." Silas replied. Then a female scientist who was out of view originally, stood beside Wilson.

"Our existing forces should be more then sufficient…" she started to say before the Director cut her off.

"We need sympathetic faces, I require Darby to be invested. He will need some old friends, contact Doctor Chakwas and send me the psyche profile of Darby's Autobot pilot." the Director said.

The screen then deactivated.

"That piece of scrap set you up." Arcee said as anger started to filter into her voice. Jack though looked over to the door.

"How's that door coming?"

Miranda then deactivated her holo-tool and the AI disappeared before the door opened.

"Teletraan has given us a straight course to the lab with only a handful of resistance along the way."

"Alright then, lets move out." the Prime replied before Arcee stopped the former agent.

"Miranda, I haven't had the chance to thank you for the part you played in bringing Jack back…" she said.

"Arcee you don't need to say anything, I know what Jack means to you and vice versa, plus he and I have become good friends over the last year or so. If it wasn't for him, I would never have turned against MECH of my….father." Miranda replied before the Prime called from the next room.

"We should keep moving." he said as both women looked back.

"We are right behind you Jack." Arcee said before giving Miranda an encouraging smile, the two then walked on through and joined the others.

They had moved down three corridors and junctions, taking down the few soldiers that they ran into on their way to the labs when they came to a big door. Jack opened it easily, due to hacking that Teletraan did earlier.

"Hey Teletraan, if you could access the ship's systems easily. Then why don't you shut down it's weapons and send us the VI data to a nearby terminal for us?" Smokescreen asked. The AI holo-form then appeared next to Miranda and looked back at him.

"Smokescreen, I am only able to do so much. The most sensitive data, or important systems are protected by powerful firewalls and multi-layered encryption. It would take too long to break through."

"It was just a thought…" the young bot then said as the door opened and the team walked in. The room was massive and they saw something hanging down from the ceiling, it made both Jack and Miranda's eyes widen as they recognised it.

"is that what I think it is?" she asked in disbelief, but Jack nodded in return as they looked up to see the arms and torso of something they thought was long destroyed.

"That looks a lot like the 'Human Reaper' we saw at the Quintesson homeworld."

Arcee looked up at it with disdain.

"It's hideous, and you said it was made using processed human material?" she said as she looked up at it's partly constructed face.

"Teletraan, can you access any information about this?" the Prime asked as Miranda stood by the nearest console and allowed the AI to connect with it.

"Checking... Prime, it appears that MECH are attempting to build their own Reaper." the AI replied.

"What, I mean how... why?" Miranda asked in shock.

"I will bring up the data for you on the console screen." Teletraan replied.

A vid log started to play showing Silas and Sideways (pre-enhancements) standing in the Director's lab.

"... do we have a deal?" the former Con asked. Silas merely looked at him as a smile grew on his face.

"Yes, if you can get me Reaper tech, then MECH will help you ensure that Darby dies."

Sideways stepped closer and held out his hand to the Director, who almost took the hand but the former Con pulled back suddenly.

"But I will be the one to kill him." he said, Silas nodded and looked at him with his yellow optics.

"Of course, I will make sure that you have the back up to take on Darby and his allies, but my men will be warned that only you are to kill him."

Sideways seemingly happy with that last comment hen shook the Director's hand.

"Alright, there is a corpse of a Reaper half buried on the planet 'Keltah four. Your men should have no trouble finding tech to salvage from it."

"Thank you Sideways, I will send ships out there at once. I hope you have more than that though." Silas replied with a slight smile.

"I have much more than that." the former Con smiled back.

The vid log ended and another started, showing Silas and Sideways standing in a med lab, the former Con was now sporting the upgrades.

"Don't move around too much, the implants and upgrades take time to adjust to.

Sideways merely punched the air in front of him and smiled.

"I am fine, better than fine actually."

"Well I have been told the Reaper tech that has been implanted into your hands will allow you to mimic Asari Biotics. As with the rest of your body, the enhancements we gave you should provide an edge when you next engage Darby and his team." Silas replied before taking a sip from his drink. Sideways clenched his fist and watched as a blue energy glowed around it for a moment.

"He won't know what hit him." he said before looking back at the Director.

"So how does the 'recruitment charge' progress?"

"Very well, my existing forces have already gone under MECH's own form of indoctrination and are now completely loyal to me, also my other 'project' is beginning to come to fruition with more troops for us to achieve MECH's goals." Silas replied as he looked at a pad before placing down on the table beside him.

"And what other 'project' would that be?" the former Con asked as he walked over to the pad, but Silas stood in his way.

"Nothing you need to worry about at this point in time. Now why don't you go to the training room and see what you can do with your new gifts."

Sideways looked at the pad before smiling back to the Director.

"Very well, keep you secrets for now." he replied before walking out of the room.

One more video started playing after the last one finished and showed Silas hologram standing with another scientist.

"Sir I have concerns with the implants that our forces have been given. Many of them are already claiming to be hearing voices." the scientist said.

"When our work at Sanctuary pays off, the only voice that they will be hearing is MECH's." the Director replied. The scientist then pointed over to the schematics that were showing on the monitor next to him.

"Sir these designs are unbelievable, but we will need more of the processed organic material to finish the head, let alone the rest of the body."

"Call Dr. Saleon, I am sure that he will have an ample supply coming though the doors at Sanctuary. And how much will you need to complete the Reaper?" Silas asked.

"It would take millions, are we really going to do this though. I mean… I don't know about this.." he said with a worried expression, gaining a stern look from the Director's yellow optics.

"What we do here will elevate Humanity above all other races in our galaxy. And what is a few million lives when Humanity numbers in the billions."

"…Yes sir, of course sir." the scientist replied.

"And the Reaper's power source, is it compatible?" Silas asked.

"Yes sir, the functioning core that we retrieved from the dead Reaper on 'Keltah four will power our version indefinitely."

"Good, keep me informed of your progress…. and don't question what we do again, or else you may find yourself along side our new recruits….. Doctor." the Director replied before his hologram disappeared, leaving the scientist to look visibly shaken.

The vid ended and everyone looked at each other.

"I can't believe what I just saw, MECH are trying to build a Reaper and they don't care how many humans they have to kill to do it." Smokescreen said.

"This looks nothing like the organisation that I used to work for." Miranda said in return.

"Well, it was good that Sanctuary was taken out then. That should stop this abomination from ever being finished." Jack replied before pointing over to the other side of the room.

"This way, lets move."

The group made their way to the far end of the large room when the sound of metal on metal echoed through the room.

"What was that?" Smokescreen said as they stopped, then the noise sounded again from the other side making the team turn their backs to each other, trying to see what was making the noise. Suddenly a soldier appeared out of nowhere and landed in front of Arcee, the femme could see that this enemy was female and she was covered head to toe in MECH light armour while carrying a katanna, her face could not be seen behind the pure black helmet that she wore.

"What!" she said as the enemy then flipped from the spot she was standing and kicked the Autobot in the stomach, sending her into Smokescreen's back. Both of them fell to the ground in a heap.

"We are under attack." Miranda stated out loud as another appeared and attacked her while the other went for Jack. The Prime activated his star saber and deflected the blade of the soldier attacking him before moving away, making some distance between them. The other one swung it's blade at Miranda and she dodged it by ducking under the attack and rolling out of the way before ending in a kneeling position. She then fired several shots from her pistol, only for the enemy to deflect them with her katana.

"Jack, these are 'Phantoms', MECH's versions of ninjas." she said over to the Jack who was deflecting a flurry of hits from the Phantom's blade.

"Right, he said before the enemy swung again, this time the Prime feigned and attack which left him open. The Phantom then jumped into the air and pulled it's katana down on the helpless Jack, but then he surprised her by activating his Sky boom shield and hitting her in the face with it. The enemy fell to the floor, allowing the Prime to stab her through the chest, he then looked over to see Miranda disarming the ninja after winding them with a punch and knee to the chest and then slicing the enemy's stomach open with her own katana. Arcee and Smokescreen helped each other up.

"We are nearly there, come on." Miranda said as the group then left the room and entered another corridor.

The battle raged on outside the Cronos as the Alliance and MECH fleets pummelled each other, the Defiant disabled another cruiser by destroying it's main cannon as it was charging up, leaving the enemy ship defenceless. Meanwhile the Nemesis and the Ark attacked the MECH command ship from opposite sides, they combined fire power shattering the Cronos's shields with the remaining rounds exploding against it's hull. Onboard Jack and his team were nearing the end of the last corridor after taking down another group of soldiers, suddenly the ship shook violently causing the group to grab for the wall to steady themselves.

"What was that?" Smokescreen asked in bewilderment.

"Could only by the Ark or the Nemesis, they must have broken through the Crono's shields." Jack replied before his com link activated.

"Prime, Bryce here. We are beginning our attack on the command ship, want us to hold back until you are done?" the Admiral asked.

"No, keep firing, we have to stop MECH here and now. Besides we are almost at Silas's lab." Jack replied.

"Very well Prime. Good luck."

The com link then went dead as the they came up to the door and Teletraan reappeared.

"Prime, Silas's lab is at the other end of this room." the AI stated.

"Any more enemies waiting for us?" Arcee asked as Smokescreen kept a look out the way they came.

"Negative, but before you enter the lab, there is one more console that a vid log that you will find interesting." Teletraan replied before disappearing as the door opened to reveal another computer lab. The group entered and walked up to the only active console.

"Wonder what we are going to find here." Jack said to ther others as he typed into the console's keyboard and the vid log began playing, showing Silas sitting on a berth with a worried looking female scientist standing in front of him.

"Sir I dot think you should be risking yourself like this."

The Director looked at her with a stoic expression.

"Sanctuary was a complete success, we need to capitalise on it. And with this implants that Sideways gave us, I will be able to control the Reaper forces myself."

"But sir, MECH needs your mind to take Humanity into the future. If you were to succumb to the Reapers before your plan is completed, then we..." she said before he cut her off.

"Then you will just have to make sure that doesn't happen, I know I can count on you to keep me in line." Silas replied, earning a knowing look from the scientist.

"Oh really, I will remind you of that sir."

she then brought over trolley of medical instruments.

"Are you ready sir?"

"Yes, and I want no anaesthetic." he said before looking at the camera above them, his yellow optics glowing brightly.

"Computer end recording." he said as his colleague began prepping for surgery.

The video ended and Jack shook his head in response, earning a curious look from Arcee.

"Jack, what is it?"

"It's Saren all over again, the Turian took on the implants and upgrades that Sovereign offered. He thought it was his choice, but really he was completely indoctrinated and fully under the Reapers control. and now Silas is that way too."

"It is his own fault Jack." Miranda replied rather frankly.

"He should never have lost focus on what was most important... Defeating the Reapers. Now let's go finish this." she added coldly before walking over to the far end of the room and opening the door. The others looked at each other in surprise before heading over to her and walked though the door with weapons ready, only to find that it was empty.

The large dark room they were now in was only illuminated by an orange holographic interface made up of a large sphere and a number of screens orbiting it. Jack walked forward al little before stopping and remembering where he was, as he looked down to see that he was standing in the holo communicator's receiver pad. He then walked over to the interface and began typing on the holo-keyboard.

"Come on, the Lithone VI is on this database." he said as the others joined him and started looking at all the screens, Miranda activated her holo-tool and connected Teletraan to the database.

"this won't take long Jack." she replied as Arcee stopped and looked to Jack.

"Here I was thinking that we would find Silas here, should of known." she said with disappointment in her voice.

"yeah, he is certainly a 'Illusive Man' isn't he." Smokescreen added.

"Well, MECH is falling apart as we speak. We will get him, he won't have any hiding places left after today." Jack replied as he brought another screen up.

"Is that what you think Darby." a familiar voice called from behind, Jack and his team turned round and pointed their guns to see a hologram of Silas standing on the holo-com receiver pad, he then pointed at the Prime.

"That's my personal computer your using."

"No it's not Silas, MECH is finished." Jack replied as he lowered his pistol, the others doing the same as Miranda continued to aid Teletraan.

"Hardly, we have achieved everything I imagined we would, well almost everything." The Director responded.

But Jack stood there looking unimpressed.

"Yeah, we all saw your experiments accomplished on Sanctuary. But it is not the same as controlling a Reaper."

"That is a significant hurdle, but thanks to the Lithone VI. I have what is needed to make it a reality." Silas replied with a slight smile.

"The Catalyst?" the prime replied.

"Yes."

"What is the Catalyst, and how will it help you control the Reapers?" Jack asked, hoping to get any information from the Director.

"You will have to find out for yourself, I am done helping you." Silas said back.

"'Help', when did you start?" Arcee said back.

"You think that just because I copy the tactics of the enemy, that they are no longer my enemy?" the hologram asked as everyone just stared at him.

"Everything, everything I have done has uplifted humanity. Not just over the other races of the galaxy, but over the Reapers as well." Silas continued.

"Does that include building your own Reaper and using human refugees to do it?" Miranda said back angrily, gaining a stern look from Silas.

"Miranda, I have nothing to say to you. You gave up the privilege of being my daughter the day you turned on me."

Miranda was about to answer back when Jack gestured for her to stop before taking a step forward toward the hologram.

"If you willing to do everything it takes, then give me the Catalyst. With it I can use the Crucible to end this war."

"It's not that simple." the yellow eyed Director replied.

"Yes it is, it is that simple. We are fighting each other while the Reapers occupy Earth and attack the rest of the galaxy." Jack said back, his anger starting to show.

"You idealism is admirable Darby, but in the end… our goals are to opposite for us to work together. Besides I believe destroying the Reapers would be the worst mistake we could ever make,….. And nothing you will convince me otherwise." Silas replied, his optics glowing brighter.

"Even with MECH finished, you still think that you can do this your way." Jack answered back.

"Well I knew you would say that, MECH is not just an organisation or the people behind it. MECH is an idea." The Director said before looking toward Miranda and Teletraan.

"And besides I already acquired what you are after."

"Miranda, Teletraan?" the Prime asked.

"We have got it Jack." the former MECH agent replied as the green hologram of Bagu appeared in front of them.

"Security program deactivated." the VI stated.

"I will let you have your chat with it, but don't overstay your welcome." Silas replied before his hologram faded to nothing.

"You are attempting to liberate my program from indoctrinated forces?" Bagu asked.

"Yes, I need to know what the Catalyst is." Jack replied.

"My security program was hacked, so I will comply. The Catalyst uses the energy channelled through the entire space bridge network, in your cycle it is called 'the Citadel'."

Everyone stared at the VI dumbstruck.

"What?" Jack asked in shock.

"The Catalyst is the Citadel." Bagu repeated.

"So the Crucible and Citadel together can stop the Reapers?" Arcee asked.

"That is correct." the VI replied.

"But the Citadel was built by the Reapers." Jack said, still in shock.

"The plans for the crucible was passed down to us from the previous cycle and thousands of cycles before that." Bagu stated.

"So we use the Reapers own technology against them." Smokescreen added.

"Precisely."

"Why couldn't you tell me this before?" the Prime asked.

"It was feared that if the Reapers became aware of the Catalyst's true identity and purpose, they would retake control of it. I am programmed to keep that information until the Crucible is completed." Bagu answered.

"Its as ready as it's going to be, let's get the Crucible to the Citadel." Jack said as he turned to leave.

"That may not be possible." Bagu said back, making the Prime stop in his tracks.

"Why not?" Arcee asked.

"The one who hacked through my security program, the one you call Silas. He has gone to the Citadel and informed the Reapers of our purposes."

"Damn it!" Jack cursed in response.

"The the Citadel is in danger, the Reapers will attack and retake it." Miranda stated.

"They already have, the Citadel has been moved to the centre of Reaper controlled space to protect it from us." the VI said back.

"Moved? To where?" Jack asked.

"To the third planet of the system you refer to as 'Sol'."

"Earth!" the Prime replied.

"Correct, the Reapers will now consolidate their forces around the Citadel and protect it at all costs, the chances of gaining access to it are now remote." Bagu replied.

"We are not out of this fight yet, we will get the Crucible to Earth." Jack said, as each member of his team nodded in return.

"I wish your plan success." the Vi replied.

"Teletraan, contact the Ark and get me Admiral Bryce." the Prime said, but before the AI could do anything, it was hit by a biotic projectile and disappeared. Jack and the others looked in the direction that the shot came from and saw Sideways standing there, ready to fight.

"No you don't." he said as he unsheathed his blade.

"You!" Jack snarled in response.

"Silas did tell you not to overstay your welcome." the former Con replied before charging at the Prime and swinging the blade at him. Jack though brought up the sky boom shield and blocked the attack before activating his star saber. Arcee and the others attempted to support Jack, but then a squad of Phantoms appeared out of nowhere and attacked them.

"Your friends aren't going to help you Darby." Silas said as his and the Prime's blades locked.

"I wouldn't count them out." Jack replied as he then kicked the former Con in the stomach before upper cutting him with the shield, knocking Sideways on his back. Jack then tried to take advantage, but his adversary flipped back on to his feet. Arcee meanwhile was using a flurry of blows with kicks and punches at the Phantom she was fighting, but it blocked and evaded each one. The enemy then tried to counterattack, but Arcee managed to grab the Phantom's weapon arm, while swinging her free arm at it's torso. She deployed her arm blade and sliced open the Phantom's chest. Spilling blood out of the enemy as it fell to the ground dead. Smokescreen took out his Phantom with a three shots to the head, while it was distracted by Miranda. But the last Phantom tried to attack her from behind, Jack saw this as he noticed Sideways powering up his biotics and then the former Con let loose with a biotic slam, but Jack rolled out of the way. The force of the slam hit the Phantom instead, throwing it into the wall. Jack then backhanded Sideways in the face before kicking him in the side.

"Your fancy upgrades are not going to help you here." the Prime said confidently.

"I will beat you the old fashioned way then 'Prime'." the former Con spat as he charged at Jack again, but the Prime blocked the attack with the star saber before slamming the shield into his adversary, making Sideways fall back on his ass.

"Give up Sideways, it's over." Jack said while looking down at his opponent. Sideways looked up with a frustrated expression has he gritted his teeth and got to his feet.

"Never!" he spat back before attacking again, the Prime then raised the shield to block the attack,. But then at the last second he deactivated it and let the full force of his adversary's attack make him stumble forward as Jack dodged the blade and spun around the former Con. Sideways then resurrected himself before turning back to his enemy, but Jack then stabbed the Star saber into the former Con's side and up into his chest. Sideways grimaced in pain as he felt the blade go up into his spark chamber.

"That was for Airachnid, you son of a bitch." Jack said back angrily before pulling the blade back out and letting Sideways fall to his knees as his blood poured out of the wound and onto the floor. His eyes then glazed over as he fell face first on to the floor dead. Jack then turned back to the others as Bagu had watched from the orange holo-interface.

"The Citadel is in place and the Reapers are preparing to complete their harvest of your species."

"I'll stop them." Jack said defiantly.

"I fear it is too late, I suggest you start researching a way to conserve information for future species. Perhaps you will succeed where we failed." Bagu replied.

"You didn't fail, you gave us a fighting chance. And we are not done yet." the Prime said before Miranda downloaded the VI into her holo-tool and the group then headed out of Silas's Lab, leaving the body of Sideways where he lay.


CHAPTER 19

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The Defiant jumped out of hyperspace and flew toward what looked like a massive gathering of cruisers, dreadnoughts and warships as they floated there in the vast darkness of space. Jack and Arcee looked out of the cockpit canopy as Hotrod piloted the frigate towards the fleet.

"Wow, now that is an impressive sight." the pilot said with wide-eyed wonder as they passed a large Asari dreadnought, the Autobot femme had a similar expression as she held Jack's hand and stroked it with her thumb.

"This is largest fleet ever assembled and they are all here because of you Jack."

The Prime looked over to his lover and smiled slightly.

"Yeah." he said before his face became serious.

"But it isn't going to be enough."

Both Autobots looked at him with a concerned look.

"It isn't?" they both replied.

"Against the entire Reaper fleet… no." the Prime answered as he tapped the holo-interface next to him, bringing up a screen for Arcee to look at (Hotrod was too busy piloting the ship to have a look).

"Since the Reapers took control of the Citadel and moved it to Earth, they have since called back nearly all of their forces and built a protective shield around what we now know is the Catalyst. The fleet we have now gathered here…..which at last count is 'two thousand three hundred and thirty three', but the Reapers number in the hundreds of thousands. We can't take them on conventionally. So Admiral Bryce and myself have decided that our fleets should be used to protect the Crucible and make sure that it docks with the Citadel."

Arcee pointed at the screen.

"So you are splitting it in two, 'Sword' and 'Shield' fleets." she observed, earning a nod from her partner.

"Yes, Sword fleet will attempt to punch a hole in the Reaper lines and Shield Fleet will protect the Crucible."

One of the crew then joined them in the cockpit.

"Commander, we have the stats for our combined fleet ready for your viewing on the galaxy map." the ensign said with a salute.

"Thank you." Jack replied before gesturing to Arcee.

"Shall we?" he asked before the femme nodded with a smile and the two partners left Hotrod and walked back to the CIC.

A few minutes passed before the Ark jumped out of hyperspace and stopped beside the Defiant, it then extended a docking arm on to the smaller Alliance ship. Hotrod looked out at the massive Autobot dreadnought before looking back at his console.

"Jack, I have priority message from Admiral Bryce asking to come aboard." the young Autobot said into his com link.

"Permission granted." the Prime replied in return, then a moment passed and the Admiral and two soldiers walked out of the airlock and down into the CIC. All the crew in the room watched as the new arrivals walked over and stopped in front of the Commander, Bryce then saluted Jack who did the same in return.

"Jackson Prime, are you ready to bring the might of the galaxy to bear on the Reapers?" the Admiral asked, earning a stoic look from Jack.

"Yes sir." he replied.

"Good, then you can address the fleets, you did after all bring us all together Prime." Bryce replied as he gestured to the Prime, who then took a step forward on to the podium in front of the galaxy map.

"All fleets reporting in Prime." Teletraan stated as it activated the intercom, Jack looked around as his team mates and crew looked toward him, Arcee giving him a supportive and proud smile. All across the fleet, the crews of each ship stood ready to listen, so Jack then took a breath before speaking.

"Never before have so many come together from all quarters of the galaxy, but never have we faced an enemy such as this. The Reapers will show us no mercy, so we must show them no quarter. We are fighting not only for our own existence and future, but for all those who the Reapers terrorised and purged from this galaxy before us. So we must stand strong against their might, because they will advance against us until our last cities fall, but we will not fall. Because this war has brought us together…. as soldiers, Allies and friends. This bond that ties us together is something that the Reapers will never understand, it is stronger than any weapon or ship and it cannot be taken nor destroyed. The next few hours will decide the fate of everyone in the galaxy. Of every man, woman and child. They are trusting you, depending on you to win them their future, a future free from the threat of the Reapers. But take heart and look around you, you are not alone in this fight. We face our enemy together…. and together we will defeat them. Jackson Prime out." The Prime then stepped down to Bryce and Arcee, they then headed out of the CIC and towards the com room.

"Prime, 'Sword' fleet is ready to engage the Reapers surrounding Earth. While they are distracted, you and 'Hammer' will lead a ground assault to retake London." the Admiral said as they walked down the corridor.

"London? Why aren't we hitting the Citadel directly?" the Commander asked slightly confused.

"I will let Optimus tell brief you on that." Bryce replied.

"Admiral what is 'Hammer'?" Arcee asked.

"Hammer is our ground offensive against the Reapers, it was meant originally for boarding the Citadel but, well like I said…" the Admiral answered as he gestured over to the hologram of the Autobot Leader as they entered the Com room.

"Optimus!" both Jack and Arcee said at once. Their old friend and mentor smiled back in return.

"Jackson, Arcee it is good to see you."

"How are you holding up?" Bryce asked.

"We are ready to end this." the older Prime replied.

"According to Optimus, the Reapers have set up their ground forces main staging area in London. And the Citadel is now stationed directly over it, in orbit." the admiral added, gaining a nod from the older Prime.

"Yes, but it has now closed it's arms, sealing itself." he said while gesturing to a hologram of the station next to him.

"Damn it, we need to get the arms open to dock the crucible." Jack said with a frustrated tone.

"Also, London is surrounded by Hades cannon emplacements, 'Hammer' ground forces can not land until they are taken out. Jackson you will lead a small squadron of shuttles, infiltrate their defences and take out the emplacements with heavy weapons. Hammer can then land, and we will set up a 'forward operations base'." Optimus stated.

"I still can't see how we will reach the Citadel from London." Jack replied.

Optimus then gestured to another hologram that appeared in place of the Citadel one, this had three tall tower like spikes, positioned in a triangle like formation with an energy beam rising out from the ground between them.

"The reapers use this beam to transport humans alive and dead to the Citadel. From the FOB, Hammer will launch an all out assault on the Citadel Beam, everyone who makes it that far will take the beam to the Citadel. Then find and activate the Citadel arm controls."

"Once those arms are open, 'Shield' fleet will escort the Crucible to the Citadel. But timing will be critical, we don't have enough fire power to keep the Crucible safe for long." Bryce replied.

"And here I thought uniting the galaxy was a challenge." Jack said.

"It is a desperate move and I would not even like to guess what our odds are." The older Prime said back.

"But this is the only plan available to us now, if we sit and wait then the Reapers will bleed us slowly. We just can't take them on conventionally without the Crucible." Bryce said to Optimus before looking at Jack.

"Get the Citadel arms open Commander…. whatever the cost. The we will do the rest." he added before leaving the room.

"Yes sir." Jack replied earning one last look from Bryce.

"Good luck… to all of us."

Not long later, Jack was standing next to Hotrod in his Prime armour as the pilot moved his hands over the holo-interface of his controls, the Prime watched as they approached an inactive space bridge.

"Powering up space bridge and connecting to Sol system." the young Autobot stated as they both saw the bridge ahead of them activate, a bright green vortex expanding outside of the giant ancient device.

"We will be through in ten seconds." Hotrod added as they got closer, but Jack just continued to look ahead with a stoic expression.

At the same time the space bridge in the Sol system activated with an equally massive vortex expanding outside of its radius, then for a moment nothing happened. But suddenly the Defiant flew out of the event horizon and was followed by the galactic fleet as hundreds and hundreds of cruisers, dreadnoughts and other vessels began flowing out of the space bridge. The fleet continued to enter the system as more ships including the Ark and the Nemesis came through, and the two Cybertronian ships dwarfed the cruisers and dreadnoughts already through including the Destiny Ascension, even the large life ships of the Quarian flotilla were put in the shade by the two massive vessels.

As Jack continued to look ahead while the fleet passed Saturn and then Jupiter, Hotrod looked down at the read outs appearing on the holo-screens in front of him.

"Alliance, Turian, Quarian, Geth, Asari, Salarian and Terminus fleets all reporting in and are ready to engage on your command." the pilot stated as Jack nodded in return, Arcee joined him and looked out as the red planet of Mars came and went by as a blue planet could seen in the distance. As the fleet got closer, everyone could see the devastation the Reapers wrought on the planet, entire areas were in flames that could be easily seen even from the distance that Jack and Arcee were at. The femme's eyes widened in shock at the horror she could see by just looking at planet's surface, Jack though kept his stoic expression and pressed a button on the holo-controls in front of him, activating the com system.

"This is it everyone, fire on my command."

The fleet began to spread out to the sides as they were now close enough to see the large Reaper force that was blocking their path, as well as sealed form of the Citadel.

"There must be thousands of them." Arcee said, earning a gulp from Hotrod. But Jack ignored them.

"Let's see what they can do against our new weapons, all ships standby to fire proximity torpedoes...fire!"

Every ship at or near the front of the fleet then fired a spread of orange torpedoes at the Reapers, from a distance it would look like an orange mist had just appeared. The projectiles sped toward the enemy ships, but the black behemoths did not ever attempt to evade them. The moment the torpedoes were in range they exploded, sending an electrical discharges out in all directions as it engulfed the Reaper ships, damaging them in the process. Meanwhile the Ally ships that had fired the torpedoes began to move out of the way as ones from behind moved forward and prepared to fire their own.

"Second wave...fire!" the Prime said over the com, and the fleet fired another spread of the orange projectiles, this time those Reapers that had sustained damage from the first volley exploded in amazing fashion, thinning the Reapers front line. The Reaper fleet then began to shift as the damaged ships moved back and allowed the unscathed ones to head to the front, among the newer ships were Reapers that looked like the main Sovereign class vessels, except these were somewhat wider and were covered in small metallic lumps. Jack watched with curiosity before his eyes widened as the lumps separated from the bigger vessels and began to move towards the galactic fleet.

"Launch fighters." Jack called out, then every carrier in the fleet opened their launch bays and their fighter squadrons began flying out and taking up formation at the very front of the fleet.

"All ships, on my command engage the Reaper forces." the Prime said.

"This is Silverbolt, copy that Prime, all fighters on me." a voice replied over the com, the hundreds of fighters then lead the rest of the galactic forces as both fleets appeared to square up to each other as they entered each other's targeting range with the war-ravaged Earth as the backdrop for this climatic battle.

"Attack!" Jack said and in response the fighter squadrons flew at top speed directly at the Reaper forces, earning a barrage of weapons fire from the enemy equivalent. Silverbolt piloted his fighter through the barrage of weapons fire with his Squadron staying in formation, but not every fighter could weave their way through it, resulting in a few of their number being destroyed by the incoming fire. As this was happening, the Sovereign class Reapers charged up their beam weapons with a magnificent bright red light pulsing from the main weapon's port as they held up their legs and fired the energy beams at the galactic fleet. Most of the ships managed to dodge the beams as they began firing back at the Reapers, one cruiser managed to blow one of the legs off a Reaper, but then it fired it's beam which destroyed the cruiser with one shot. Meanwhile Silverbolt brought his fighter up behind one of the Drones that was attacking a Turian dreadnought, he lined up his guns and fired at the enemy. He clipped it's engines, making it lose control and spin erratically before exploding. The Quarian heavy fleet began firing their large cannons, making some breathing room between several Reapers and a group of Asari cruisers. Both fleets clashed spectacularly as the Defiant began weaving through the Reaper ships with several small shuttles behind it.

"Breaking off and preparing for descent." Hotrod stated as Jack and Arcee watched the battle happening outside.

A number of drones flew into the path of the Defiant as it guided the shuttles through the battle around them, but the Alliance frigate fired it's cannons and destroyed each drone before performing a barrel roll and then descending down into the atmosphere with the shuttles close behind, as the rest of 'sword' fleet continued to keep the Reapers busy. In the Defiant cockpit, Jack and Arcee turned to leave.

"Jack." Hotrod said back, gaining their attention as they stopped and looked back at him as he got out of his chair. He then stood up straight and saluted the Prime.

"Be careful down there." he said, Jack returned the salute.

"We will be fine. Stay focused."

"Aye aye." the pilot replied as the Prime and femme smiled at him before turning around and walking back into the CIC, toward the elevator. Hotrod watched them leave before taking his seat again.

Jack, Arcee, and Garrus were sitting in the shuttle as it made it's way down toward their target after being air dropped from the Defiant. Grimlock, Jazz and Smokescreen had taken the MAKO and were heading for a similar target….. One of the Hades Cannons that the Reapers had strategically positioned around London to stop any ground force from making a beach head.

"Advance teams are away, Hammer's in position and waiting for you guys to clear a path. Defiant is rejoining 'sword' fleet." Hotrod said through the com link.

"Stay safe, we will be back before you know it." the Prime replied.

"Roger that Prime." the pilot said back before the transmission ended, Jack then got up and walked over to Swoop who was piloting the shuttle.

"We are closing in on the LZ Prime." the Dinobot stated.

"How's it look?" Arcee asked.

"Take a look for yourself." Swoop replied before bringing images of the ground up on a monitor next to the femme. The screen showed what could only be described as something you would have seen in one of those post apocalyptic movies. The city looked like it had been hit by a nuclear bomb, with the buildings half demolished. Streets were empty apart from derelict and burnt up vehicles scattered throughout them, and plenty of fires still burning freely. Garrus placed a hand on Jack's shoulder in support as he saw the looks on both the Prime's and Arcee's faces.

"I am so sorry." the Turian said sympathetically.

"I don't even recognise it anymore." Jack replied sadly. But as their shuttle got closer to their LZ, one of the Hades cannons (which looked similar to a Reaper scout, but it's main body was replaced with a large ion cannon) came to life and began firing a blue energy beam at the shuttles attempting to land in the Capital.

"Oh scrap, they have a lock. hold on!" Swoop stated as he took the shuttle through evasive manoeuvres to dodge the beam, but it hit the next shuttle which had followed Jack's shuttle closely. The damaged ship then lost control and crashed on to the ground at the feet of the Hades cannon.

"Status?" the Prime said.

"That shuttle was carrying the heavy weapons team, the other shuttles have made it and their teams are taking out the cannons elsewhere. But it won't mean a thing if this cannon is still active." Swoop stated.

"Then drop us off here." the Prime replied earning looks from his team mates.

"Jack?" Arcee asked as her partner looked back at them.

"We are the only team left that has a chance to get near this cannon, so Swoop will drop us off nearby and we will make our way to the crashed shuttle and use the heavy weapons on board to take out that cannon."

Arcee and Garrus nodded in return before they stood up in their armour and equipped their weapons.

"Land there." Jack said to the Dinobot pilot as he pointed out of the cockpit canopy to what used to be a small car park, the Hades Cannon was situated behind the derelict building nearby.

The shuttle landed as the Prime readied himself with his assault rifle at the shuttle's hatch.

"FYI, Grimlock and the others have reached their target with the MAKO." Swoop said earning a nod of acknowledgement from the Prime, who then activated the hatch's controls. The hatch then opened and the team took cover as the inside of the shuttle became engulfed in enemy fire as Reaper ground forces attacked. Jack and Garrus returned fire before he Turian's eyes widened as he saw the husks who were firing at them.

"we have 'Marauders'." he shouted over the gunfire as Jack saw them too.

"Those are Turian husks."

"I know, can't help but feel a lump in my throat each time I see one now. Guess that's what you felt every time you saw Husks in general." Garrus replied as both he and The Prime took down three of the marauders, giving them enough space to leave the shuttle for nearby cover.

"Let's go." Jack said as the three of them left the shuttle and took cover behind a pile of rubble, as more marauders and some other husks that looked like Batarians.

"And now the Marauders have some 'Cannibals' to help them." Jack stated as he looked at both types. The Marauders and Cannibals had the look of the species they used to be, but also had the changes (greyish blue son pigmentation, blue optics instead of eyes and synthetic parts built into their bodies) that the Reapers had forced on them. And while the Marauders carried their weapons, the Cannibals had a bio cannon grafted onto their right arms... like MECH's Adjutants had. The Team kept behind cover as both Husk types kept firing on their position.

"Now!" the Prime shouted as he, Arcee and Garrus then stood up and fired precision head shots into each Husk ahead of them, allowing their own personal shields to take a few of the shots. And a moment later and the were then alone with he corpses of the two Husks types lying around them. Jack then looked around to see that night had settled over the city, heavy cloud cover blocked out the stars in the sky. All around them were derelict and have demolished buildings, like the dreams he had been having during this war. Arcee placed her hand on his shoulder.

"Jack, you alright?"

"It's just hard to look around you know, I mean the last time I was in London was nineteen years ago with you and well..." the Prime replied.

"I remember, we were here to covertly stop the Decepticons from destroying part of London to gain access to an experimental power source. Agent Fowler had a hard time trying to keep that event under wraps. But looking around now, even I am having a hard time with how the city...let alone the planet looks now. This has to stop." the femme said as Jack looked back to her.

"And it will, one way or another."

Suddenly they were both cut short as the Hades cannon fired an energy beam up into the sky, the sound of it firing nearly deafening the three friends.

"It's targeting the Hammer ships waiting in low orbit." Garrus observed.

"Okay let's move." Jack replied as they moved around the corner of the building to see the burnt out shuttle lying at the foot of the cannon, fire rising out of it due to it's hatch hanging open. They also saw a number of Husks either crawling or squatting around the downed ship. The trio then slowly made their way to the shuttle, trying hard not to make a sound that would gain the Husks attention. Once they made it half way, Garrus got down on one knee and equipped his sniper rifle while the two partners continued towards the crash site. The Turian looked down the rifle's scope and targeted the head of one of the Husks, he then exhaled slowly before pulling the trigger. A millisecond later and the creature's head exploded, making the other Husks look around until they saw jack and Arcee running at them. The creatures began to charge back, but their numbers were diminished again as Garrus took out two more. The two lovers meanwhile equipped their respective star saber and arm blades and engaged the ret of the Husks in close quarters, Jack sliced through one creature before kicking another down to the ground and impaling it, and Arcee decapitated one Husk in front of her and rammed one of blades into the face of the last one. Garrus watched from his spot as the last Husk fell, leaving the Prime and his XO to search the shuttle. In a matter of minutes they had found the heavy weapons and were running back to the Turian.

"You found the heavy weapons then." he asked as Jack held a black and yellow gun in his hands, it had a very large gun barrel and a radiological symbol stamped on it's side.

"Yeah, this 'Cain' should do the trick." Jack replied.

"Well we only have one shot and this was the only functioning weapon that was left in the shuttle, so don't miss." Arcee warned earning a funny look from the Prime.

"Okay stand back." he said as he equipped the Cain and aimed it at the Hades Cannon which was readying another shot into the heavens, he pulled the trigger and the weapon began to power up as it charged it's shot. The front of the Cain lit up brighter and brighter as Jack felt it vibrate in his grip, then it suddenly went off and fired a ball of plasma at the Reaper weapon. The recoil from the Cain knocked Jack back slightly as it's shot hit the Hades Cannon head on, instantly making the target explode in a deafening and blinding fashion. The three friends shielded their eyes for a moment, but when the explosion died down and all that was left was billowing plume of smoke, they saw that the Cannon was no more.

"Jackson Prime to Hammer forces, the path is clear." the Prime said into his con link.

"Roger that Prime, Hammer is on the move." a voice replied, Jack then looked over to Arcee and Garrus and was about to say something when a familiar inhuman scream echoed from the distance.

"We've got incoming." the Turian stated as he fired at he husks rushing towards them.

"Jack, we need to get out of here." Arcee added as she equipped an arm blade and her SMG.

"Swoop, come and pick us up." Jack said into his com link as he dropped the used up Cain on the floor and equipped his assault rifle.

"I'm on my way." the Dinobot replied as Garrus continued to shoot the Husks approaching them, but Arcee then looked up and her eyes widened at what she saw.

"Harvesters!"

"We have to move, we are to exposed out here in the open." Jack replied as the three started to run from the winged Monstrosities which were descending upon them.

"Got you covered Prime." Swoop suddenly said over the con link as the shuttle rose up over the derelict building it has used as cover and began firing on the Harvesters, blowing the wing off one with the shuttle's cannons. The beast lost control and crashed Ito another building, causing it to fall apart and bury the creature under several tones of concrete. The second Harvester evaded the cannon fire from Swoop and turned round to face him. So here Dinobot flew the shuttle directly at it, cannons blazing. Jack and the others that stopped to watch, but suddenly the Harvester opened it's mouth and launched a ball of heated plasma which clipped the side of the shuttle. Part of the engine on that side of the ship exploded and the shuttle began to descend to the surface awkwardly as Swoop fought to keep control of it.

"Swoop!" Jack shouted as the shuttle shot past him and the others, only to go out of view behind some buildings just past them.

"I'm alright Prime, but I have to land to make repairs. Sorry that I won't to be able to pick you guys up." Swoop replied over the com link.

"It's alright, stay safe." the Prime replied as Garrus and Arcee began firing on the Husks that had gotten closer.

"Jack..." Arcee said back to her lover as she shot the legs of one Creature, making it fall to the ground. Jack turned and began firing on the horde too, he then tapped his con link.

"This is Jackson Prime to any Allies who can hear this, my team needs immediate evac, I repeat we need immediate evac."

Garrus blew the head off another husk as Arcee shot one in the eye.

"Do you think anyone got that?" Arcee asked with an unsure tone as Jack joined her side and fired bursts of gunfire into the horde, toppling a number of the creatures to the ground.

"I don't know, let's just make sure that we are alive to greet them if they did hear me." the Prime replied as the horde of Husks got closer. Then a monstrous female scream caught the group's attention as a Banshee appeared out of nowhere via a biotic rush and attacked the group, making the partners dive out of the way. Garrus meanwhile had switched to his pistol and holo-blade as the Horde had finally reached the team. Arcee picked herself up and began firing her SMG at the Banshee, but the Asari Husk deflected the attack with a Barrier. While this was going on, Jack had followed Garrus's lead and began slicing away at the horde with his star saber. The Prime then saw that his lover was having a hard time with the Banshee and moved to assist, the femme was knocked back to the ground by the Asari Husk. She looke up from the ground to see the monster staring down at her with it's cold, lifeless blue optics before it opened it's mouth and screamed at her, while lifting it's hand with razor sharp fingers to prepare to land a killing blow. But Jack sliced his way past several Husks and quickly leapt at the creature and beheaded it with his saber, landing next to Arcee. He then turned off the blade and pulled the femme to her feet as he fired his pistol at the nearby Husks.

"Thanks." Arcee said as she quickly smiled at him before going to work on a Husk that ran up to her, spin kicking it into another as Jack impaled one that was to close.

"Your welcome." he replied as Garrus rejoined them.

The three of them were back to back as the Husks had them completely surrounded, bullets and blood flew in all directions as Arcee deployed both her arm blades and hacked at any creature getting within arm's reach. Garrus mainly used his pistol, keeping the holo-blade as a last resort as the Husk kept on coming. Jack had reactivated his saber and sky boom shield and was either bashing or slicing up any Husk that got to close.

"We can't last much longer." Arcee said with worry in her voice as she covered Garrus who was reloading his pistol.

"Last clip." the Turian said.

"Make it count." The Prime replied as they fought harder against the never-ending hordes, but suddenly an Alliance shuttle flew in from the south and hovered just off the ground and it's hatch opened to reveal a large built African man in Dark blue/gold Armour and he was carrying what looked like a personal Gatling gun which he aimed directly at the Husks.

"Take cover!" he shouted to the Prime and his team. They then dived behind a pile of concrete as the new arrival let rip with his weapon and turned all the husks in the immediate area into mush with a barrage of bullets. He then took his finger off the trigger and let the barrel spin down until it stopped and looked over to Jack who stood up to see the blood bath that this guy had just created.

"Come on, before the rest get here." he shouted as he waved them over, Arcee then looked over to see more Husks running at them from the distance.

"Lets go." she said as she grabbed Jack by the hand and the partners and Garrus ran and jumped into the Shuttle. The large armoured man then closed the hatch.

"Pilot get us out of here." he said before the shuttle lifted off the ground and flew away before the Husks could reach them.

"Are you alright Prime?" the Dark blue/Gold armored man asked, Jack looked at him and gave him a slight smile.

"I am fine Dreadwing, alive and well thanks to you."

"Indeed you are Jackson." a familiar voice said from the cockpit, Jack and Arcee looked over to see Optimus standing there in his Red/Blue armour smiling back at them.

"Optimus." the younger Prime replied before walking towards his old mentor.

"I knew you wouldn't let me down." the Autobot leader said as the two shook hands.

"It's good to see you." Jack replied as Arcee and Garrus took to his side.

"You are all a very welcome sight after everything we have been through in the last few months." Optimus said with a hint of relief in his voice.

"How are we looking?" Garrus asked, gaining a look from the older Prime as he grabbed a hand hold on the ceiling.

"Now that the heavy anti-air defences are taken care of, Hammer can land."

"And it is not a moment to soon." Dreadwing added while standing behind the group next to the hatch.

"What remains of the resistance forces are holding a Forward Operating Base, but the Reapers are countering already. So it's going to be up to Hammer to take up the fight from now on." Optimus said.

"I can't imagine how hard it has been for you all here, having been cut off from the rest of the Alliance." Jack said with regret in his voice as he looked at the older Bot.

"I won't lie Jackson, it has been one of the hardest fights I have seen since the war for Cybertron. But once we saw that the Reapers were focusing on the cities, it became easier to avoid them and help survivors to safety."

"Until London…." Dreadwing added.

"Yes, The Reapers have a much larger force in this city than any of the other large population centers. We held back and sent scouts in to gather Intel to plan this attack, many of them did not make it back." Optimus said as he looked away, as if ashamed by it all. He then looked back at Jack and the others.

"But with Dreadwing, Ironhide and Kup, we managed to hold our own. And we knew that you would be bringing us help, that gave us the strength to hold on."

"Without you and the resistance, we wouldn't even have this shot." Jack countered with a smile, the comment did not go unnoticed by Dreadwing who smiled in return.

"Yes, Optimus is being far to modest. He is the reason any of us are still alive."

The Autobot Leader then shook his head, though he could not keep a slight smile from appearing on his face.

"Lets not start praising each other until this war is over, this fight has not even really started yet. And Hammer better be ready for it."

"They know what is at stake and what is needed of them to make it happen, they won't stop until we drive the Reapers of Earth." Jack replied.

"Good, because that is what it will take. And the entire galaxy is united, it is a shame that it took the Reapers to invade to bring everyone together." Dreadwing said gaining a knowing look from Garrus.

"It was Jack who brought us all together." the Turian said, his tone had a slither of anger underlining it.

"I agree, I know you did not like leaving Jackson, but nobody could have accomplished what you have done." Optimus added proudly.

"It's good to be home." the Human Prime said as Dreadwing tapped his com link.

"Optimus, Hammer has begun their descent."

"Send them the coördinates of the FOB." the Autobot Leader replied.

Moments later and the sky filled up with hundreds of shuttles and transports as Hammer forces flew over the ruins of London, but the Reaper ground forces began fighting back. Marauders began firing at the shuttles from the roof tops, hoping to shoot them down before they could land. On board the ships, soldiers from every species that allied themselves with the Alliance sat and fiddled with their weapons or just stood in contemplative silence. Waiting to see if they would even make it to the ground safely. But even though a few of Hammer's forces were shot down, the rest landed and began deploying troops and MAKOs which immediately came under attack from hordes of Husks. But the troops stayed together and mounted a solid defence as their convoys made their way to the FOB.

The Prime's shuttle landed inside the barricades of the Forward Operating Base and the hatch opened and let Jack and Optimus out along with the rest of the group. A lone soldier was waiting and approached the older Prime.

"Prime, we have set up a command center in the building just over there." he said as he pointed to the south east. Optimus looked out to see more shuttles flying overhead as Jack watched as a number of MAKOs rolled down the street, only to stop just aways from them.

"Looks like we are still receiving groups." the older Prime said hopeful.

"Yes, but not as many as we thought." the soldier answered gaining a worried look from the Autobot leader, he then looked at the Human Prime.

"Jackson, join me in the CC when you a ready." Optimus said before heading toward the command center, Jack nodded in return before looking at Arcee and Garrus.

"He is right, I expected more of Hammer to be here by now." the Turian stated sadly, the Prime looked over to see the Reaper beam in the distance, it's light reaching high up into the sky, breaching the clouds as it ascended into orbit.

"Many of them won't be coming. Go on ahead, I'll meet you there." he said, Arcee placed a comforting hand on his shoulder before she and Garrus left and headed for the CC. Dreadwing finished speaking to some soldiers and walked over to Jack.

"The fighting here has been some of the worst on the planet. I know it looks hopeless, but that is not the case. Because for one, you are here. It will do the troops good to see you, help to bolster their resolve." the former Con said, though Jack looked uncomfortable.

"I am just a soldier like them."

"Are you forgetting….. You are a Prime too, like it or not Jackson but you are a hero to these men and women. Don't discount the effect that can have on them." Dreadwing replied as they both looked at the beam as the sounds of Husks screaming and gunfire echoed from outside of the FOB.

"I better go meet with meet up with my battalion, I will see you at the Command Center." he then added before heading over to the building, leaving Jack to his thoughts. The Prime then sighed before walking over to the CC building when he saw Smokescreen standing beside their MAKO.

"Hey Jack, glad to see you made it here too." the young bot said.

"Yeah you too, so how are you doing?" Jack asked.

"I had no idea how I felt, coming back to Earth. I mean I was ready to fight, to die if I had too. But after seeing all of this…" Smokescreen replied as he looked around a the devastation that the Reapers caused.

"… it just reminds me how Cybertron looked before the exodus, and how we never managed to…." he added.

"I know it is hard… but everything can be repaired, and it will be. But first we have to end this war, stay focused on that. Don't let them take your will to fight." Jack said in a stoic tone, earning a slight smile from Smokescreen.

"I know and they won't, so this is finally it. One last push, one last fight."

The Commander nodded in return, then the Autobot saluted him.

"It has been an honor serving with you…. Jackson Prime." Smokescreen said proudly, the two men then shook hands.

"You're a good man Smokescreen and a terrific soldier, I know that no matter what happens out there today, you will make me proud." Jack replied.

"Thank you, that means a lot to me. Good luck out there." the young bot replied before walking away. Jack then walked over to the entrance and saw Grimlock and Jazz standing and talking to another man, this one was wearing green armour and had the look of an old soldier. The Prime's team mates then noticed him and gestured for him to come over.

"Jack, we heard that you, Arcee and Garrus made it." Jazz said.

"Yes, it is a good sign that the battle will be in our favor." Grimlock added as he stood taller than the other two bots. Jack nodded and smiled in return to his friends.

"By the way, I didn't see that former MECH Officer on board before we began this operation, what's her name again….." Jazz said as he looked away and tried to remember.

"Miranda, her name is Miranda Lawson." Jack replied, regaining the Autobot's attention.

"Yeah, she certainly was a looker. I was thinking of asking her out while she was on board, so where is she?"

"Miranda stayed behind on the Cronos to help the Alliance with MECH's systems, plus she managed to turn of the Reaper like device that had all the soldiers and crew under Silas's indoctrination. So they are being looked after and debriefed." the Prime answered before looking over at the green bot.

"Hello again Jack, it is has been a long time."

"Too long Sergeant Kup, the last time I saw you was on the last day of training." the Prime replied as they shook hands.

"Yes, even back then I knew you had potential. And look at you now, the first Human Prime and you have become a leader among the largest fleet in history. It reminds me of the time I was fighting in the battle of Omicron Recta…" Kup began to recite, gaining eye rolls from both Jazz and Grimlock.

"Jack, can I go and kill some Reapers now? Anything to stop me from hearing one of Kup's old war stories." the Dinobot pleaded with anger tingeing his voice.

"I kind of liked hearing them back in basic training." the Prime replied, earning a smile from the old bot.

"Good to see someone was listening to me back then."

"Yeah, well maybe his attitude would change if he heard them as often as we have." Jazz replied.

"I'm going to get out of here before I hear anything about 'Petro-Rabbits'." Grimlock said before storming off.

"Yeah me too, see you later Jack." Jazz said before leaving quickly. Jack then looked back to Kup.

"Well, if you ever want to trade war stories. I have more than a few stories of my own to share."

"That would be great, maybe after we win this war." the old bot replied.

"That's a deal, good luck out there Sergent." the Prime said back.

"You too, Jack." Kup finished before the two set off in different directions. Jack then entered the building and walked past many soldiers who were performing last checks on their weapons, and there were rooms with injured soldiers getting medical attention from medical staff. Jack then entered a room to see Garrus talking on his com link, the Turian saw Jack and nodded back before his attention went back to his conversation.

"Really, well it's good to see you are keeping the ship going Tali…. Yes I wish you were down here too, but the Defiant needs it's Chief Engineer right now. Yes, yes…. I am watching Jack and Arcee's backs down here….. Okay, I'll let you go and I'll see you later… I love you too." the Turian said before ending the call and looking back to his friend.

"Jack."

"You were talking to Tali right now, how is she?" the prime asked.

"She wanted to talk while repairing part of the Defiant's aft shield grid, said that hearing my voice helped her keep her cool." Garrus replied.

"How is the battle progressing up there?"

"The Reapers are inflicting losses on our fleet, but they are holding their own against them. But she did say that from what she is hearing, they can't hold out for long. We should get moving to the Reaper beam so that they can bring the Crucible in." the Turian said as he looked out of the window at the beam in the distance.

"I am heading up to meet with Optimus and get the operation moving." Jack replied, regaining his friend's attention.

"Good, so I guess this is…."

"What, just like old times?" Jack said, cutting his friend off, having known what he was about to say. Garrus chuckled at his friend's comment.

"…. might be the last time we get to say that."

"Think we are going to lose?" the Prime asked.

"No I think we are about to kick the Reapers back into whatever dark pit they crawled out of, then Tali and I, and you and Arcee are going to retire to some place warm and tropical and live off the royalties from the vids." he said with a smile.

"I'll see you there, I think I have enough vacation time saved up to take a few years off after this."

"Well, just save some room for all the autographs." his Turian friend joked, earning a chuckle from Jack before the Prime's face became serious.

"Just have to beat the Reapers to get there."

"Smokescreen told me of an old Earth saying that he had heard, 'May you be in Heaven half an hour before the Devil knows your dead'. I don't know if Turian Heaven is the same as yours, but if this does end up going south and we both end up dead….. Meet me at the bar, I'm buying." Garrus said with an ever so slight smile.

"We're a team Garrus, there is no Darby without Vakarian. So you better remember to duck." Jack replied.

"Sorry, Turians don't know how. But I'll improvise." the Turian said before stepping closer to Jack.

"Now Jack, forgive the insubordination but this old friend has an order for you. Go out there and give them hell, you were born to do this." he said before patting Jack on the shoulder.

"Thank you Garrus, I will see you on the battlefield." Jack said before they shook hands. The Turian then got another call on his com link, so the Prime left him to it and headed over to the door on the other side of the room. The door opened to reveal a large room that had Optimus at one side, the older Prime was talking to a few soldiers. Jack then saw Arcee standing at the window, looking out at the soldiers, MAKOS and other tanks that had gathered outside.

"How are you doing Arcee?" the Commander asked as he walked over to her side.

"I'm okay, as long as I'm with you, I can face anything." she said as she took his hand in hers. Lovingly brushing her thumb against the back of his hand.

"This is it, isn't it." she added, earning a nod from her partner.

"I know, and we will both make it through to the end." Jack replied.

"Have you thought about what will happen with us after this war is over?" the femme asked.

"Funny you should ask that, Garrus seems to be planning out a long vacation for us, him and Tali." Jack said, earning a smile from Arcee as she looked at him.

"Something to look forward too. But I have been fighting for as long as I remember, I don't know how to live a quiet life."

"Well lucky for you then, that I have plenty of experience there. I was living one for a long time before we met, all those years ago. Except this time I will have the woman I love with me." he said as he cupped her face with his hand and stroked her cheek.

"I love you too Jack." Arcee replied as they looked each other in the eyes, not noticing that Optimus had finished talking and was watching them.

"Jackson, I need your assistance over here." the older Prime said, making the two lovers separate.

"Okay, we should get ready for the this last fight. I'll see you outside." Arcee said before walking away to a group of soldiers, Jack then walked over to Optimus who was standing at a table that showed a hologram of the city.

"Optimus how's it looking?" the Commander said as he looked at the city image.

"Barely half of Hammer's forces have reported in at the FOB." the older Prime replied.

"Can we count on anymore making it here before we move out?" Jack asked. Another soldier in black and red armour stood beside Optimus and looked at a pad in his hands before moving his attention to them.

"There are some stragglers that are on route Prime, but the bulk of our forces that are still intact have arrived." he said as he handed the pad to the Autobot Leader.

"Thank you Ironhide. So I guess we are as ready as we are likely to get." Optimus replied.

"I agree, the longer we wait. The more the Reapers gather strength." Jack said in return, earning a nod from both the older Prime and Ironhide. Optimus then tapped his com link.

"Battalion leaders, report to HQ." he said before looking at Jack.

"It will be a few minutes before everyone is here, can we talk Jackson?"

"Sure Optimus." the younger Prime replied before they walked to a corner of the room as Ironhide stayed at the table and looked at the holo-image.

"What's on your mind?" Jack asked.

"I noticed that you and Arcee have rekindled your relationship." Optimus replied with a smile on his face.

"Yes, we have. I don't think I would have been able to get through this war, had it not been for her love and support. I mean we have had our ups and downs, but I can't imagine my life being with anyone else." Jack said, his voice confident and honest.

"I know, it has been a very long time since I saw two people who fit each other so perfectly. I know that you would give your life for her and that she would not hesitate to do the same for you, but…" Optimus said, earning a curious look from Jack.

"But?"

"…don't put her in a position to do so." the older Prime said in a matter of fact way.

"Why did you say that, I mean I would never.." Jack replied with surprise and worry in his voice and expression.

"Jack, I say this because I see the potential for the two of you to share a long and happy life together, something that I robbed myself of a long time ago. Has Arcee ever spoken of Elita-One?" the Autobot Leader asked gaining a confused look from Jack as he shook his head in response.

"Elita-One was Arcee's older sister." Optimus added which made Jack's expression change as it dawned on him what this meant.

"Arcee said something about losing another sister, but she never told me any more."

"I would think not, since it originally drove a wedge between the two of us for a long time during the war for Cybertron."

"What happened?" Jack asked.

"Elita-One was not only Arcee's sister, she was also my spark mate. I was Orion Pax when we met at the Archives, Elita was quite the conservationist. She told me of her sisters Chromia and Arcee and though I never met them personally, she had told them everything about me. We spent every free moment we had together during the golden age, and in doing so becoming extremely close. We chose to become spark mates within the year that we had first met and began to plan our life together. We had lour first disagreement when I befriended Megatronus as the two of us tried to end the Caste system that had slowly split Cybertron down the middle, telling me of her distrust of the gladiator, but she trusted me enough to let me try and help. Elita said she would watch my back in case the glorified revolutionary tried anything. And though I let my friendship with Megatronus blind me to his true colours, when the war began my spark mate never held any ill feeling toward me for my lack of judgement. She knew that what I had tried to achieve was for the best of all Cybertronians. Once I became a Prime, we promised each other that we would face every battle together." Optimus said as he looked ahead stoically as the memories began to play in his mind, filling his spark with pain and regret, hoping that it did not show in his expression. Jack though saw through this and placed a supportive hand on his mentor's shoulder, making Optimus look back to him.

"When we fought alongside each other in the early days of the war, we won every battle and had begun to see ourselves as invincible as long as we remained together, but then one day while we were leading a team on a raid just outside Kaon. We were ambushed by a Decepticon force calling themselves the 'Commandos, they were one of Shockwave's experiments in producing Combiner units. They transformed into 'Ruination' ( sort of like Bruticus) and tore through our team before only Elita and myself were left. And before it looked like we may become part of the Allspark again, she told me that I had to survive for the Autobots to have a chance to end the war, and that she would always love me. She then took the last energon grenade we had and took on Ruination all by herself, ensuring that I would be able to escape. I didn't want to leave her there like that, but she believed in me and our cause more than anything and wanted to see me survive. The last thing I remember seeing was Elita taking out Ruination, she was amazing. A true inspiration to all Autobots because of her bravery and valour. But when Arcee heard of her sister's death, it was when she lost Tailgate to Airachnid, and it caused her to further distance herself from the rest of the Autobots. And she held me personally responsible for what happened, the first time I met Arcee was when she arrived with Cliffjumper on Earth. He had managed to convince her to join us and I had a spark to spark with her about my relationship with Elita and how she came to become one with the all spark. She saw in my words how I felt for her sister and the pain I had within my spark for her loss, and since that moment we became good friends and comrades."

"I am really sorry Optimus, I had no idea." Jack replied after listening to his mentor's story intently.

"Jack, I have high hopes for you and Arcee. So please don't let her take any risks that could jeopardise your future together. Because I don't want you to have to face this life without the one you love, not like I have." Optimus said with sadness in his voice.

"Thank you Optimus, I understand your concern, but I don't believe that it is my place to tell Arcee what she can and can't do. I can't let her sit out the fight, she would never forgive me, not since we made a similar promise to each other." Jack replied.

"I understand Jackson, I was just voicing my concern. Since the two of you, Ratchet, Raf and Bumblebee are the closest thing I have to a family on this Earth."

"And you are the closest thing I have to a father Optimus." Jack replied, earning a slight smile from the Prime in response to Jack's comment.

"Thank you Jackson, well I see that the others have arrived….shall we." he said before the two of them walked back over to the table as Dreadwing, Kup and the rest of Jack's team arrived.

Everyone stood around the table as Optimus began the mission briefing.

"We have fought hard to reach this point, but now the toughest part of our mission begins." the Autobot leader said as a holographic image of the reaper beam appeared on the table.

"We have to head through Reaper controlled territory, break past their defences and get to that beam."

"What kind of defences?" Jack asked.

"The entire area is crawling with Husks, ranging from the Human kind all the way to Banshees. But our biggest concern is the Reaper protecting the beam itself." Optimus answered as a Reaper hologram appeared next to the beam construct.

"Can we get air support in to deal with that?" Ironhide asked as he crossed his arms.

"Negative, there is some kind of interference surrounding the beam site. We will have to take it out from the ground." the older Prime replied before the image changed to that of the part of the city that was between them and their target.

"Now the Reapers have created a large amount of no man's land through out the city, we ill have to cross that first. There will be limited cover from the buildings on the other side, but expect heavy ground resistance."

The Autobot leader then waved his hand over the holo-construct and moved the image to the point where the building cover ends just before the beam.

"We need to get out tanks and MAKO's to this position, from there we will have a chance to take that Reaper out."

"How much of a shot?" Dreadwing asked.

"They know we are coming, this will be a one way trip for most of us. But we can not back down now, we move forward at all costs. Understood?" Optimus finished, earning a cheer from everyone in the room.

"Ironhide, Dreadwing. You two will coordinate the artillery units." the Autobot leader said, the two bots then saluted him before leaving the room.

"Jackson, I am sending you and your team right through the center where the resistance is heaviest. Support the tanks as best you can, but stay alive. I will need you for the final push to the beam." he finished as he began to leave the room.

"I will see you there Optimus." Jack said as Optimus nodded back before leaving the room as he activated his com link.

"Get me Admiral Bryce."

. Jack then looked at his team as Arcee, Garrus, Grimlock, Jazz and Smokescreen all looked at him.

"Alright lets move out." he said as they began to leave the room too.

Meanwhile at the outer edge of the Sol system, the space bridge activated and a number of Alliance cruisers exited the vortex with the Crucible which looked like a massive cube which a large engine on it's aft and had solar panels on sections connected to it's fore. Suddenly a conversation played out on the fleet's com channel.

"Admiral, this is Optimus Prime. It's time, we making our attack on the Reaper Beam."

"Acknowledged, I'll alert the fleet. All ships this is Admiral Bryce, the Crucible is on the move, I repeat the Crucible is on the move. Protect it at all costs, everyone this is it."

Weapons fire filled the sky as the Hammer forces continued their assault on the Reaper controlled areas between them and the beam near the center of the city, it was a bloody fight and many were falling to the enemy, but Hammer was still making progress though slowly. Optimus stood there with his rifle in one hand and his star saber in the other as he motioned his soldiers and tanks to move forward as they fought with the Husks that stood in their path. Krogan, Turian and Human soldiers took cover before firing on the Husk positions, killing a number of Cannibals and Marauders as the tanks passed them by. A Quarian trooper armed a grenade and threw it into a group of Husks and watched as it exploded, sending body parts and blood everywhere. He then signalled for his unit to move forward and they ran passed the smouldering mess as Hammer kept the pressure up.

Meanwhile Jack and his team moved silently through the carnage, keeping an eye on the tanks and soldiers in their vicinity, before noticing one group stopping as a harvester dropped into their path.

"Jack we need to help get that thing out of their path." Jazz said as they looked down at the situation in front of them.

"Damn, they have Marauders and Cannibals approaching them from the west." Arcee observed.

"Okay, Arcee and Garrus. We will go and take care of those husks. Everyone else attack that Harvester." Jack ordered.

"Roger that." Smokescreen said as the group split up and moved down to their respective targets. Jack and his team moved stealthy to make sure that they could get the drop on the husks, but Grimlock and the others fired on the Harvester straight away as they charged down to help the soldiers who were escorting the tanks. The Harvester was making short work of them but suddenly a burst of bullets hit it in the face and made it scream in pain before moving it's attention towards the bots. As that was happening, Jack, Arcee and Garrus took cover behind what used to be a wall as they peeked around the corner to see the Batarian and Turian husks moving closer. The three then opened fire on the enemies, taking down three of them before the others turned and fired back causing the team to hide behind cover. One of the Cannibals then kneeled down next to one of the dead husks and began eating it's fallen brethren.

"That's sick, I guess that's how they got that name." Garrus said before shooting it in the head, bringing an abrupt end to it's feeding.

"Take them down." Jack shouted over the weapons fire as he and Arcee took down two more Marauders, the Turian replied by shooting the last one in the chest, it falling face first to the ground.

"That's the last one." Arcee said as Jack looked down to see the Harvester still causing the others trouble.

"Lets get down there." he said as the three of them rejoined the others, Grimlock had switched to his sword and was slashing at the winged beast as Jazz and Smokescreen kept firing on it. The Prime and Arcee stood beside them and added their gunfire as they let the bullets fly and pummel the harvester's body.

"We don't have anything strong enough to take it out." Jazz said as the beast's mouth started to glow.

"Everyone take cover!" Garrus shouted as they jumped out of the way, Jack grabbing Grimlock by the arm and dragging him to the ground. Suddenly the harvester fired an energy projectile from it's mouth that destroyed the first tank in one hit, sending it into the air and then down on top of the second tank, it too exploding on impact. The winged beast then took off and flew toward another tank unit, leaving Jack and his team alone.

"What the? Wouldn't even stay to fight us." Grimlock said with disgust in his voice.

"Be glad that it did, we didn't have anything that could even slow it down." Jack said back, making the Dinobot look directly at him. But when he saw the Prime's stoic expression, he then nodded in return.

"Thanks for getting me out of the way Prime." Grimlock said earning a pat on the shoulder from Jack.

"Well that went well, no what?" Arcee asked.

"We head to the next group and hope that a harvester doesn't attack them." he answered with a slightly sarcastic tone.

"I'm sorry Jack, hopefully we will have more luck with the next unit." the femme said as the group moved deeper into the battle filled city.

As this was happening, a large group of Hammer forces had moved close enough to the Reaper guarding the beam to ready make an attack on it. Asari, Krogan and Geth soldiers took up positions in derelict buildings either side of the black behemoth as MAKO tanks carrying thanix missiles readied themselves to fire.

"Take that thing out anyway you can." a voice said through the com link as the Asari Commado took point and charged her biotics.

"All units open fire." she said as they all began firing on the Reaper, which just absorbed the weapons fire like it was nothing. The Krogan and Geth emptied entire clips into the giant, but to no avail. Turian sharpshooters and Alliance RPG carriers fired their lot into the Reaper, but their attacks too did no real damage. And as if a sign that it had become bored with this annoyance, the Reaper charged it's beam weapon as it's bright red light lit up the area.

"Are you guys ready with the thanix missiles, we need….." the Asari Commando said into her com link before she stopped as the reaper opened fire and incinerated her and the soldiers around her in a matter of milliseconds. It then turned and did the same to the Turians and Alliance soldiers just as a large group of Husks moved in on the tanks.

As the team moved through the city, taking down any Husks that they came across. Jack suddenly picked up a transmission on his com link which he then enabled the others to hear.

"Jackson Prime do you read?" Dreadwing said.

"Roger, what's your status?"

"We have an artillery unit ready to fire on the Reaper, but we have two problems." the former Con replied.

"They are?"

"One, the interference from the beam is messing around with our targeting sensors and two, the teams protecting that unit have been wiped out. My readings indicate that your team is closet to it. We need you to get over there and regain control of those tanks. Mine and Ironhide's battalions will try to keep the Reaper forces off your backs until Optimus and his forces reach you." Dreadwing said.

"Okay, we'll go and I may have a solution for the targeting problem." Jack replied.

"Very well, good luck."

Jack then looked at his team.

"You heard the man, lets move." he said before they set off toward the artillery unit.

It didn't take them long to reach the area and Garrus scoped out the area with his sniper rifle and saw the tanks, which were covered in Husks. The bodies of the soldiers lying dead all around.

"It's just as Dreadwing said, everyone in that group is dead." the Turian said as everyone checked their weapons.

"Well we can't do anything about that, but we can regain control of those tanks and take out that Reaper." Jack replied.

"What's the plan?" Arcee asked as everyone looked at the Prime.

"I will give Teletraan the targeting controls, just like we did back on Rannoch. The AI should have no trouble working around the interference and then pilot those tanks close enough to the Reaper to take it out."

"Sounds good, lets do it." Smokescreen said enthusiastically.

"Got to love Smoke's never-ending optimism, don't ya." Jazz replied while slapping the younger bot's shoulder. Jack smiled before looking back to tanks and to the Reaper standing in front of the Reaper beam.

"Let's go." he said before climbing over the fallen concrete block in front of him and dropping to the street near the tanks, the others following as they crept up to the Husks. Jack then activated his star saber and grabbed the first creature in front of him and stabbed it through the back. Arcee meanwhile did the same with another, snapping it's neck and quietly placing it on the floor. Garrus stayed back and took up a position over looking the area and re-equipped his sniper rifle as he saw his team mates make their way stealthily toward the tanks. Grimlock readied himself to kill the Husk in front of him, but suddenly stepped on a piece of flesh which squished under his foot.

'Scrap!' he thought as the Husk turned to see what had made the noise, locking it's optics on the Dinobot before unleashing an inhuman scream which pierced the night air before being decapitated by the bot's glowing orange blade. The remaining creatures all looked and saw Jack's team and screamed in unison.

"Kill them all." Jack shouted before swiping his saber at a Husk that launched itself at him, slicing it in two.

"Nice going Grimlock, you're not very stealthy are you?" Smokescreen said as he shot two Husks in the face, earning an angry look from the Dinobot.

"If you wish to survive this fight, I suggest you shut up and fight." he growled before grabbing a creature by it's face and then throwing it into two more that were charging at them, he then ran into the oncoming horde that had been alerted by the scream and began tearing them apart.

"I think you pissed him off Smoke, best do as he says." Jazz said to his friend as he fired his pistols into the horde.

Jack and Arcee had gone back to back as they fought their way closer to the lead tank, slashing and shooting any Husk that got too close. Jack then got to the Tank's hatch and was about to open it when a Husk appeared on the vehicle's roof and screamed at him. But before it could do anything, it's head exploded from a shot in the distance.

"Nice shot." the Prime said into his com link, gaining a smile from Garrus who then shot two more creatures as he concentrated on the area around the partners.

"Your welcome Jack, I have you and Arcee covered. Do what you have to do."

"Roger that, Arcee lets go." jack said as they opened the hatch and climbed into the tank's cockpit. The Prime then activated his holo-tool and linked it to the controls, making their holo-interface light up in front of them.

"Jackson Prime to Defiant, Teletraan do you read?" he said into his com link.

"I read you Prime, how can I be of assistance?" the AI answered.

"I need you to get access to this tank's targeting sensors and update them with the software used back on Rannoch, we need to cut through the interference from the Reaper beam. Can you do it?" Jack said as typed away at his holo-tool and the controls while Arcee kept her attention on the open hatch, shooting any Husk that showed it's face.

"Of course Prime, linking my systems to the sensors now. This will take a few minutes, standby." Teletraan replied.

"Okay everyone, we hold this area. Now matter the cost." Jack said into his com link, every member of his team heard this and fought harder against the incoming horde of Husks that were encroaching on them from every angle.

"Looks like Ironhide and Dreadwing's forces couldn't hold back all the Husks." Smokescreen observed as he kicked one Husk back and shot it in the throat, making it bleed out on the floor.

"Shut up and fight kid…." Grimlock shouted back as he grabbed two husks and smashed their faces together, making their heads crush as blood and brains leaked on to his hands before looking at the bot.

"…or I will throw you into that horde myself." he spat back.

"Yes sir." Smokescreen replied as he bit his lip and continued to shoot each Husk that attacked him. After what felt like a lifetime had passed, Teletraan spoke again.

"Prime I have successfully recalibrated the targeting sensors for this and every tank on the Alliance network, but…."

"But…" Arcee replied worriedly after shooting another Husk that had nearly climbed into the tank with them.

"….you will need to get the tanks closer for the enhancements to have an effect."

Jack took a breath as he contemplated moving closer to the black behemoth.

"Alright, thanks Teletraan. We'll take it from here." he said as he deactivated his holo-tool and grabbed the controls.

"Arcee close the hatch and man the missile launcher." he said, earning a nod from the femme. She then did that and sat in the chair just behind her and activated it's controls.

"Jack to Jazz and Smokescreen, get in the tank behind us, we are going to take down this Reaper." the Prime then said into his com link.

"Roger that Jack, what about Grimlock?" Jazz asked back.

"Are you kidding me, he looks like he is having the time of his life out there." Smokescreen added, earning a sigh from the bot.

"Yeah, your coming with me Smoke. Otherwise Grimlock might actually kill you if you piss him off any more. Okay on our way Jack." Jazz added.

"Grimlock cover the others as they get into the tank and then meet up with Garrus." Jack then said to the Dinobot who was still killing every husk that he could get his hands on. Jack then heard him curse under his breath before answering.

"….. fine, I can do that."

Jack and Arcee waited as they felt the Husks climbing over the tank, shaking it slightly from side to side before Jazz's voice came in over the com link.

"We are ready Jack."

"Okay follow our lead." the Prime replied before putting his foot down on the pedal and moving the tank forward, building up speed as it and the one behind drove through any husks that were unfortunate enough to get in their way. As they moved through street, closing the distance on the Reaper, it then turned around and looked directly at them. It's weapon ports glowing bright red as it charged them.

"It's spotted us, take evasive action." Jack said as both tanks then swerved to the left and right, narrowly missing the Reaper's shots as they exploded on the ground next to the two Alliance vehicles.

"I am targeting the missiles Jack, we just need to get a little closer." Arcee said as the tank's cabin shook from the explosion that rattle the tank from another Reaper shot that had missed.

"Yeah, I guess that would be too easy." Jack replied before Smokescreen's voice could be heard loudly over the com link.

"Yeeeeehaaarrrrrrh! " the younger bot exclaimed as he and Jazz's tank narrowly missed another blast from the behemoth.

"Well at least Smokescreen's enjoying himself." Arcee said with irritation in her tone of voice.

The Tanks then got with in a few hundred feet of the Reaper.

"Jack stop now. I have a lock." the femme said, making the Prime hit the brakes hard and the Tank swerved to a stop as it's missile launcher turned to face the Reaper.

"Firing missile…..now." she said as the missile's engine fired and it flew out toward the Reaper and impacted against it's charged weapon port. The explosion knocked the giant black ship back several steps.

"Jazz fire your missile now, finish it off." Jack called into his com link, the Autobot answered by launching his own missile right at the weakened Reaper, it hitting in the same spot causing a chain reaction as explosions covered it's hull before it lost it's footing and fell back on to the ground, bringing up a large cloud dust before it's system's shut down.

"Good work everyone." Jack said happily into his com link.

"Jackson, we are on our way to your location." Optimus said over the com link.

"Roger that." the younger Prime said as he sighed, Arcee placed a hand on his shoulder in support and smiled, before they both climbed out of the tank.

"Jackson, thank god you made it." Optimus said as he climbed out of his tank and then looked to the fallen Reaper nearby.

"It didn't look good." Jack replied as they both looked out to the Reaper beam which was now could be seen clearly ahead of them as it lit up the night sky with its blue glow. Optimus then looked at Jack with a worried expression.

"It get's worse."

"Of course it does." the Commander replied as he shook his head slightly.

"Admiral Bryce has just reported in. Several Sovereign class Reapers, including Harbinger have broken off from the battle with Sword fleet. They are heading here."

"Harbinger!" Jack said as his expression mirrored the older Prime's.

"It's an opportunity for Bryce to get the Crucible in place, but we have to get a team on board the Citadel to open those arms now." Optimus replied.

"We still don't know what we will find when we get aboard the Citadel." Arcee said as they all stood around the pair of Primes.

"Then that's our job, find out what we are up against." Jack said while looking at everyone.

"Alright, everyone lets roll." Optimus said before they all climbed into the older Prime's tank which then began its final leg of the journey, to the Reaper beam.

In orbit, the battle was raging on as the Sword fleet continued to press against the Reapers. But Harbinger and several others had began to descend to the planet below as the Ark and Nemesis tried to close on them.

"This is Bryce, I want every nearby ship to delay those Reapers leaving the battle. We need to give Hammer more time." the Admiral said over the com. Three cruisers attempted to intercept the Reapers, firing their cannons. But the weapons had little effect as they ignored the ships and continued to descend, but Harbinger then stopped and fired it's beams at cruisers. Destroying the ships with one shot each.

"Pitiful fools, you can not prevent your destruction. It is your destiny." it said as Bryce watched from the bridge of the Ark.

"Damn it, ensign send the signal. It's time to bring in our ace in the hole." he said to the officer working at the station next to him.

"Aye aye sir, sending signal now."

Then a split second later, another Reaper with glowing red eyes burst out of hyperspace and fired it's energy beam which sliced through one of the other behemoth's like it was nothing.

"We are here. And you will die." Lucifer said back to the others as it fired another shot that destroyed yet another Reaper. Harbinger though ignored it's brother and continued to descend.

"Take out our traitorous brother, we are needed elsewhere." it said as the other Reapers around it stopped their descent and began heading at Lucifer, charging their cannons. Lucifer though being one of the first of its kind fired off several shots which either disabled or destroyed the Reapers attacking, but not before one got a shot off which impacted against one of Lucifer's legs, blowing the tip of it off.

"Arrrrgghhh!" it screamed as it charged it's weapon port to fire again, but then out of nowhere, one green and one blue energy beams hit the last Reaper dead on, causing some damage to it's hull before Lucifer fired it's weapon, blowing the enemy up. It's debris moving out in all directions.

"This is Admiral Bryce calling Lucifer, are you alright?"

"We will be fine, but we need to stop Harbinger." the rogue Reaper replied.

"It's too late, it has already entered the atmosphere. But thanks to you, Jackson Prime and the others stand a better chance of getting to the Citadel without facing several Reapers." the Admiral said back.

"Do not underestimate our brother, he is as old as we are and is more ruthless than any Reaper you faced."

"We have given Jackson Prime and Hammer a chance, that's all we can do. But the Crucible could use your protection, it is entering Earth space right now." the Admiral replied as he looked out of the Bridge's canopy to see the giant device and 'shield' fleet entering visual range.

"Very well. We will guard it. I hope the Prime can handle our brother." Lucifer said back as it began moving towards the Crucible destroying any Reaper that gets in it's way. Admiral Bryce then sighed and looked down to the battle-scarred earth below him.

"Everything counts on you now Darby." he said under his breath before looking to the helmsmen in front of him.

"Take us back into the battle."

Meanwhile in the tank, Jack and the others were sitting down as they waited for the tank to get to their destination.

"From here on in, it's a straight shot to the beam." Optimus said as he looked at Jack and the others.

"A straight shot with Reapers trying to crush us along the way." Jazz replied sarcastically.

"The rest of Hammer is with us in this fight, nearly one hundred percent of our current forces have joined our tank. But we only need to get a handful of troops through." the older Prime said back.

"Even a handful seems a little enthusiastic." Arcee said back before Jack placed his hand on her leg in support. She looked up and saw him smiling back at her with a smile, Jack could always calm her down with that look. He then got up and grabbed a hand hold on the ceiling.

"We knew this was going to be a long shot, but it is the best shot we have." Optimus added as Jack then looked at everyone.

"Cant think of anyone else I would rather do this with." he said confidently to the others who then stood up and smiled back at him.

"I am honored to be a part of your team Jack." Arcee replied.

"We all are." Grimlock added with a grin, earning a look from both Smokescreen and Jazz.

"He smiled, what the…" the younger bot whispered to his friend who nodded in agreement.

The driver then looked back at Optimus.

"We are in sight of the target."

"Alright everyone this is it." the older Prime said before the tank was rocked by something outside, making everyone fall to the ground as their vehicle over turned.

Outside, rain began to fall from the storm clouds that had gathered around the Reaper Beam's area. The tank was upside down and on fire as it's hatch opened, Jack and everyone climbed out of the vehicle as the rest of Hammer's tanks and MAKOs stopped behind them, unloading their soldiers.

"Scrap." Jazz exclaimed as Optimus and Jack looked up and saw the giant Reaper Harbinger land behind the beam and let out an almighty roar as it stared at them with it's glowing yellow eyes. Everyone just looked at it, fear present on the faces at the obstacle that stood between them and their goal.

"We've got to move." Optimus said as he readied his weapon.

"Come on!" Jack shouted to everyone as he equipped his rifle and began running down the long slope towards the beam, everyone following suit as Hammer's vehicles and tanks moved behind them.

"Hammer forces, go, go, go!" Optimus shouted into his com link as Harbinger roared again and began firing quick fire shots of red beams into the oncoming ground forces, killing soldiers and destroying tanks with every shot. Jack ran with every ounce of strength he had as he charged down the slope as soldiers and tanks continued to be either vaporized or sent flying by Harbinger's blasts. He didn't look back to see if his team mates were with him, he didn't have time to, but he knew that they were there. His team knew what the stakes were and what they had to do, so he kept moving. But every blast that hit a tank or group of soldiers near him, made him lose his footing so he dropped his rifle and used his hands to keep himself on his feet and still moving. But just as he got half way to the beam, Harbinger fired his beam at a tank just ahead of the Prime, the impact of the powerful weapon sending it spinning into the air before it came down, Jack's eyes widened as it landed in front of him, making the Prime slide through the dirt to stop right next to it. He then looked back to see both Arcee and Garrus running towards him, they had been right with him the whole time.

"Over here." he shouted as he waved to them, the sounds of the reaper's weapons firing and more explosions echoing around him at an almost deafening volume. But just as they got close, another tank flew through the air out of nowhere and landed on it's nose in front of the pair. The femme and the Turian looked up in shock as the vehicle began to fall towards them, making them dive out of the way as it landed beside them and exploded. Jack cursed and got to his feet to run back and help them, but just as he began moving. Harbinger fired his beam again, it moved, moving along the ground and killing everyone it touched as it neared his friends.

"NO!" the Prime shouted as Arcee looked up and reached her hand out to him, their eyes meeting just as the beam enveloped her and Garrus. Jack continued to run at them before the area where his friends were suddenly exploded and sent him flying backwards onto his back with a thud, he quickly sat up and looked back as despair took hold, the area where his friends had been was now replaced with fire and smoke. He looked down at the ground as he began mourning his lover and his best friend before feeling someone grab his right arm.

"Jackson!" a voice said, making the Prime look up to see Optimus standing beside him, the older bot could see tears welling up in the Human Prime's eyes.

"I am so sorry Jack, but we have to keep moving." the Autobot leader said as he pulled Jack to his feet, the Commander nodded as he felt his anger boiling within him and he then turned round and began running towards the beam again, this time with Optimus at his side. There were still tanks and soldiers attempting to reach the beam as both Primes crossed the last quarter of the distance to their target, but the Reaper was just as determined to stop them as it fired multiple shots. Each one hitting an area and killing more of Hammer's forces. Just as Jack and Optimus were about to reach the beam, a nearby tank was hit and exploded sending both of them on to the ground. Jack got on his hands and knees and saw his mentor recovering, but then he heard Harbinger growling as it turned to face them and charge up it's weapon ports.

"Optimus!" the younger Prime shouted as he got to his feet and charged over to his friend, just as the Reaper fired it's beam, it moving along the floor towards the Autobot leader who looked up to see it closing on him. But then Jack pushed Optimus out of the way, just as the beam hit the ground right next to him, causing everything to go white as Jack felt himself being seared by a tremendous heat as his body screamed out in pain, then everything went numb as the Prime lost himself to the darkness around him.


CHAPTER 20

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Jack was sure he was going to be dead this time, there was no way he could have survived even a brush against the beam that Harbinger fired at him and Optimus. All that he could hope was that he had managed to push his mentor and friend far enough away so that he could continue the fight. Maybe Grimlock and the others had made it too, it was a lot to hope for considering how the Reaper was ripping Hammer apart, but that was all he had left. But yet he could still feel the rain hitting his face, the wind brushing against his skin and hair. He focused on those feelings and suddenly his body began to ache like nothing he had experienced before, it felt like his entire being had been burnt to a crisp. He then heard voices in the distance and turned his face, slowly opening his eyes as painful as it was. He could see along the ground from him was the body of a Krogan lying face down on the ground, his holo-tool was on but fluctuating as the Prime figured out what he was hearing.

"My god….. They are all gone." he could hear Dreadwing say with fear and despair in his voice over the active com link (being broadcast by the holo-tool).

"Did we get anyone to the beam?" an unknown female voice asked back.

"Negative, our entire force was decimated." the former Con replied, making Jack's heart sink as the words burned into to his core.

'We failed!' he thought as he then looked back up to the sky to see the Reaper Beam reaching up into the heavens as the storm clouds continued to battle each other around it's light.

"It's too much, we have to retreat. Pull back to the buildings." Dreadwing finished before the power source for the Krogan's holo-tool stopped and it deactivated. Jack then saw Harbinger lift off the ground from behind the Beam, it's yellow eyes not even bothering to look at the devastation it had caused as it headed back up into orbit. The Prime moved his hands and tried to lift himself up, but the pain he felt was so agonising that he collapsed back and grimaced as he felt blood trickle down over his lips from his nose. Suddenly two figures were seen standing over him but could not make out who they were, due to the bright light of the beam stopping him from focusing his vision in his fragile state. He then felt something grab hold of his legs and focused to see the two figures beginning to drag him across the ground and towards the Reaper beam, it's light growing ever brighter the closer he was brought to it. A sound of power building up could be heard as the figures dragged him into the light and suddenly Jack felt himself suddenly thrusted up into the air at velocity. He tried to keep his eyes open but the force that was being pressed upon him as he was being accelerated up was forcing his eyes shut, but he could only making out streaks of white light flying past before everything went dark again.

Then just as quickly as he passed out, he was brought back to consciousness by the painful feeling of being dropped down onto a cold, hard floor. He opened his eyes and slowly looked around to see that he was somewhere else. The room was vast and had a metallic look to it.

"Where….am…I?" he said as he heard footsteps approaching him from behind.

"Where do you think Darby." a familiar voice said as the footsteps stopped just ahead of him.

"…Silas…." Jack replied as he tried to look up at the MECH leader, but could not find the strength to do so.

"Pick him up."

Suddenly the Prime winced as he felt the two figures grab his throbbing arms and lift him to his feet. Jack looked down to the floor and saw that his Prime armour had been damaged beyond repair, he could even see through to his burnt torso underneath via the odd burnt through section's of his armour.

"Look at me Darby." Slias said, gaining Jack's attention, his eyes widened at what he saw.

"What….the hell have you done to your…" he started to say before feeling like his brain was being squashed inside his head, just after seeing his adversary's face. It had now looked like Silas was halfway into becoming a Husk, with Reaper modifications all over his face. His optics were no longer glowing yellow, but bright blue instead. He smiled at Darby slyly.

"Save your strength, unless you wish to end up like Optimus over here."

Silas stepped aside to reveal the Autobot Leader on his hands and knees, breathing heavily.

"Let Darby go and secure him." the MECH leader said as he pointed over to the fallen Prime. Suddenly Jack felt his arms being released and looked to see that it was a Marauder and a Cannibal that had been keeping him subdued, he watched as they picked up Optimus and lifted him to his feet. The Commander then noticed that Silas was still grinning at him.

"I warned you, control is the means to survival. Control of the Reapers and of you… if necessary."

Jack gritted his teeth as he attempted to move towards his enemy but then Silas just lifted his hand to him, and suddenly Jack's brain felt like it was going to explode as he screamed out loud. The muscles in his legs froze and he could not move from his spot as he put his head in his hands.

"I told you to save your strength, your part in this is over Darby. I have control of you all now." the MECH leader replied, but then Optimus lifted his head and stared daggers at Silas.

"No, they are controlling you." he spat as the Husks held him in place, but from where Jack stood, he could of sworn that Optimus was saying it to him. The MECH leader turned and faced the older Prime, his expression was one of annoyance.

"I don't think so Prime." he replied with disdain.

"Controlling me and a few Husks is not the same as controlling a Reaper." Jack said back as he tried to move, but found himself being held in place by some unknown force. Silas then turned back to the younger Prime and looked at him coldly, his blue optics glowing brightly.

"Have a little faith." he replied before he began to walk around the pair.

"When the Cybertronians uplifted Humanity, when we found that there was more to galaxy than we had ever imagined. There were some who thought that we were progressing too fast, that our god-like allies were pushing us too far. They were scared of what we would become, of what we would find. But look at what Humanity has achieved, in spite of the Cybertronians influence. Since that moment, we have advanced more than the last ten thousand years combined. And the Reapers will do the same for us again, a thousand fold. But.." he stopped and stared at Jack, making the Prime's head ache even more.

"..only if we harness their ability to control."

"No, there is no controlling the Reapers. We have to destroy them before they destroy us." Optimus said back, regaining the MECH leader's attention as Jack put his hand to his throbbing head.

"And waste this opportunity, never." Silas said as he walked back round the pair. The Commander then looked back at MECH leader.

"But your messing with things that you don't understand, with power you shouldn't be able to use."

"I…" Silas said as he stopped and looked up to the ceiling, as if he heard voices speaking to him.

"…don't believe that." he continued as he regained his composure and looked back at the Primes.

"If we can control it, then why shouldn't it be ours?" he finished.

"Because we are not ready." Jack replied as Silas looked at him.

"No, this is the way Humanity has to evolve."

"There is always another way." Optimus said while looking directly at the younger Prime again, confusing him even more. Silas though stood as though his confidence was at it's highest.

"I have made it my life's goal to study the Reapers since their discovery, and I know with certainty that the Crucible will allow me to control them. The device is just down there." he said as he pointed down the hallway that had appeared behind him.

Jack looked at him with an unconvinced expression.

"And then what?"

"Look at the power they hold, look at what I can do with it." Silas then said as he clenched his fist, which made it glow with purple energy, causing both Jack and Optimus to suffer seizures as the two Husks holding the older Prime suddenly turned to dust. Everything went white for Jack as the overwhelming pain took his attention before it finally stopped and both he and his mentor breathed heavily as the MECH leader stared at them.

"I see what they did to you." Jack spat back at him in anger.

"I took what I wanted from them, made it my own. This isn't about me or you, its about things that are so much bigger than all of us." Silas replied as he stretched his arms out and looked up to the ceiling.

"He's wrong, don't listen to him." Optimus said as Jack looked over to him, only for Silas to stand beside the older Prime.

"And who will you listen to Darby, an old Prime who is stuck in his ways. Seeing no way to end this conflict but down the barrel of a gun. And what if he is wrong, what if controlling the Reapers is the answer. Because while you two were unconscious, the Crucible has docked with the Citadel…and with the three of us are aboard, if you hadn't noticed."

Jack shook his head in response.

"It doesn't matter, because if we destroy the Reapers now, then it ends today. But if you can't control them.."

This gained an angry reaction from Silas as he gritted his teeth and flapped his fist at the Prime.

"But I can!" he spat back, not even attempting to hide his rage.

"Are you willing to bet Humanity's existence on it." Jack shouted back as suddenly Silas's expression changed to uncertainty before looking down to the ground and holding his hands in front of his face.

"No, No, it will work." he replied as if trying to convince himself of it.

"You can't, can you. 'They' won't let you do it." the younger Prime said back as he could see the MECH leader's resolve begin to falter. But then Silas looked back at Jack, his face full of rage and he violently pointed back at him.

"No, I'm in control. No one is telling me what to do!" he spat back at the Commander.

Optimus just stood there and looked between both the men.

"Listen to yourself, you're indoctrinated." he said, and the older Prime's words s