Chapter 48 – Saleon's Children

Blacklight entered the system in the form of the truly massive Bioship Carrier, which as soon as it exited FTL speeds folded out its biological solar sails and created various organs to produce chemical propulsion. It drifted to the nearest planet to the relay. Highly sophisticated sensory organs could not 'see' any artificial electromagnetic signals coming from the planet, though the planet in question had very little in the way of a breathable atmosphere. A base could have been on it however, so feeding from the nearby star, the Bioship began to create free floating Brain Hives from its own mass. The Brain Hives were mildly altered with numerous sensory organs as they were placed into a polar orbit around the planet. Once satisfied, the Bioship carrier moved on to the next planet.

While they knew that this was the system Saleon was held up in, they didn't know his exact location. Hence why the Bioship Carrier was brought, as it was both titanic in size and could act as a main Blacklight Hive all on its own, able to hold and create full sized Bioships with ease and produce energy to feed the various bioships.

The Brain Hives began pulsating with thought and memory. The system Saleon was in only had three planets, one of which was a gas giant, with a fair sized asteroid belt. Though there was also the possibility of Saleon being holed up on one of the moons.

The giant Bioship carrier exited the orbit of the planet, and began orbiting around the sun itself, growing photosynthetic cells all across its surface as it remained as still as it could to conserve energy. Immediately, rippling walls of biomass on the Carriers surface split open to reveal the irregular honeycomb of holes on its back that the Bioships exited, departing from the Carrier before they quickly began moving towards the other planets, asteroids, and moons.

The massive Blacklight Carrier watched the Ships depart. This was the first time the Bioship Carrier morph would be used to any official capacity. Already its massive tentacle cluster limbs unfolded further into massive photosynthetic sails that sucked in the suns rays. Collected carbon dioxide and water was turned into sugars at a pace no plant life in history could boast. Should the Bioships need any food to continue, the Carrier would provide. With the spare energy, more Bioships were slowly being grown in the fleshy holes on its back, ready to be birthed should more be needed.

As each Bioship began their search, they found it strange that the Brain Hives that were being seeded elsewhere across the system still detected no electromagnetic signals, at least no artificial ones normally used for communications. The Bioships continued to search.

Then they began detecting something unusual. Radiation, and a lot of it, yet, it did not originate from the star at the center of the system, but rather from the asteroid belt at the outer edges of the solar system. Several Bioships broke off their search of the moons to investigate from where this radiation came from.

They quickly entered the field, deftly maneuvering around the various asteroids where they could, or using their own biotic capabilities to move the smaller asteroids out of their way. Soon they entered a unique cluster of much larger asteroids, and as they did, they found something else that let them know they were on the right track. Near the largest asteroid, there was some easily identifiable debris. Debris that had obviously come from a star ship. Twisted and torn metal and glass floated aimlessly among the rocks. It was a safe bet that this was where Saleon attempted to hide himself.

Following the trail of scrap and rubble, they soon came upon the home of Dr. Saleon, or at least what remained of it.

It was a mess. Subjected to what could easily be identified as a critical reactor meltdown, anything that was on that asteroid was probably beyond dead. Much of it was melted beyond repair, and ship debris floated around it in such a way that it looked like Jona's ship had actually rammed the base.

Yet… There was no ship.

Calculating the space ship debris that they had encountered, it was not enough to make up the ship Jaroth said Jona used. In fact it barely would make up a frigate. There was no signs among the rubble that there were the remnants of any engines.

Which begged the question, where was the ship?

The damage done should have been enough to kill everyone aboard, sucking them into the cold vacuum of space, unless they were able to block off all the hull breaches, but if that was the case, why had Jona not returned to Omega?

It was possible that in their damaged state, they attempted to do so but were intercepted by pirates, who saw the ship as an easy target, but Blacklight had no way to be sure.

Either way, it didn't matter. Even if Jona and her crew did get away, that still left other unanswered questions. What would cause them to ram her ship into the base? What had caused the Reactor Meltdown?

It was easy enough to determine that Jona would have arrived after the meltdown, based on the kinds of radiation put out, and the half-life of the trace elements that Blacklight could detect, the meltdown must have happened only days before Jona arrived, assuming they didn't make any stops along the way. So why ram the base? Unless something else was going on here.

Seeing no way to be sure from outside the facility, Blacklight decided to investigate. However things had changed, and they needed to work fast to find clues, assuming any remained.

The Bioship that flew around the facility observed it carefully as it began to grow hundreds of Infested Pustules upon it. It moved towards the facility, and Evolved began to fall from its body, raining down upon the facility itself. It was trivial for them to ooze and squeeze through the small hull breaches into the facility.

It wouldn't be long now until they could figure out what exactly happened here.

Shepard and her usual crew had broken off from the largest group of Evolved as they made their way deeper into the ruined facility. It was clear that this was a recent event. Most of the base was fine, but it was absolutely radioactive everywhere you went. If it wasn't for Blacklight's natural extremophilic durability, they would no doubt be incapable of walking through this area.

Shepard looked at the walls, where super-heated steam from the reactors cooling system once flew over, melting the ceramics and metallic structures that made up this base. There were also the damages that were caused by the collision with Jona's ship. If there was any doubt, Blacklight quickly did several calculations based on the size and shape of the largest of holes, and indeed the only thing that could have made the hull breaches of this size and nature was if something rammed into it of the exact size and shape of Jona's star ship.

'Why did they crash into this place? There is no reason to do that. Even if it was to kill something, It was an Eclipse ship, it should have had weaponry to deal with any form of defenses.'

Shepard took her eyes off the holes as she made her way deeper into the facility; finally they came across a door deeper into the base.

'This place is remarkably large for a simple biological research station.'

It was as Shepard made her way deeper into the labs, that she saw something. As with most things, Blacklight vision was very advanced, their visibility extended further into the infrared and ultraviolet spectrum, allowing them to see much more than would normally be seen, and what they saw… was a rock.

Normally this wouldn't be much of an issue, except that the rock was very warm, warmer than a rock should be.

"What?" said Shepard out loud as she leaned down to examine it.

Ashley and Kaiden continued to act as sentries, scanning the area as Shepard poked the rock. Sure enough, it was warm to the touch.

"What kind of rock is that?"

Shepard said nothing as she grasps the rock in her hands, and tossed it a few times up and down. It was smooth, with oddly straight grooves along its side.

"Better question, why is it here?"

Shepard let the rock fall to the ground, and as soon as it did, the most unexpected thing happened. It unfolded, right before her eyes. It looked like a maggot, one with a rock like exoskeleton that squirmed in place before moving much faster than it probably should have to hide among the debris.

So shocking the sight was, no one had even had time to process what they had just seen as the Maggot disappeared deeper into the base.

"What. The. Fuck!"

Minds within Blacklight raced with multiple possibilities, the most common thought being, what the hell Saleon was working on.

Shepard stood up, and immediately began running deeper and deeper into the base following after the direction the strange creature had skittered off to. Ashley and Kaiden following quickly behind her. They did not run for very long when they found something else that should not have been here. Something very large that was growing along the walls.

Shepard moved carefully to get a closer look at it. It appeared to be a fleshy flower bulb, examining its white leaf like structures as her eyes trailed from the 'petals' to the oozing roots that seemed to merge with the metal around it. It was hard to tell where the wall began and the creature ended.

"What do you think?" asked Shepard.

Kaiden examined the thing. It looked nothing like any lifeform Blacklight had ever encountered.

"I think someone messed up real bad." Said Kaiden.

"On that, we can agree," said Ashley.

Leaning forward and taking a deep breath, Shepard blew on the flower. In doing so she launched a few of her own stray cells onto a strange lichen like growth that seemed to emerge from the roots of the fleshy flower.

Blacklight cells burrowed into the plant using multiple arm-like flagella that were sensitive to various chemicals allowing Blacklight to 'see' just what this thing was. The first thing of note was the epidermis was composed of cells that looked to be laced with titanium oxide that appeared to aid in an alternative form of photosynthesis. Capturing and storing energy when exposed to light was nothing new to Blacklight, even if this thing didn't use chlorophyll, but this wouldn't be enough to get the energy this organism needed for survival, not in this environment. Blacklight had to make millions if not billions of helix towers to generate energy in any way useful for an advanced organism to use.

Interestingly the layer of skin beneath the photosynthetic lining of cells seemed to be laced with a layer of carbonized steel, cadmium, and lead. Heavy metals that would normally be dangerous to life had somehow been incorporated into this thing's odd biochemistry. It made burrowing deeper much more difficult as a result, but the cells managed to do so through small deformities where the armor was weakest.

Strangely the structure of this thing conformed somewhat to the biological structure of Salarians. Blacklight burrowed deeper into the muscles. It was only once they passed a lining of lead that something new and dangerous was found. This thing was radioactive, much more radioactive than the surroundings.

Many Blacklight cells died as their DNA molecules were struck and shredded by the intense radiation. Immediately Blacklight began trying to apply radiation resistance, of course the constant radiation destroyed the DNA as it was being modified making the alterations slower than normal. As a result this slowing of the genetic alterations gave the radiation more and more time to knock the genetic code of Blacklight apart before the changes could really take hold, though eventually through sheer statistical chance, a few cells were able to apply the necessary radiation resistance through advanced DNA repair mechanisms.

A few even managed to clump together to form multi-cellular organisms capable of dissolving the heavy metals to get deeper into this thing. As these Blacklight organisms began to dissolve the metallic compounds, it became immediately clear that this was far too slow to be practical to melt down the non-organic components so they could actually consume this thing.

Blacklight then discovered another method this thing had of gaining energy; it was radiotrophic, and using cells with a large amount of the pigment melanin, they were able to convert the weak gamma radiation caused by the decay of the radioactive materials within this thing into chemical energy to fuel their growth.

It took far too long to get into this things parody of a circulatory system. As the Blacklight cells began to attack the monsters blood cells, they finally released their viral payload. This resulted in the creature's strange biology being further revealed. First the immune cells had a hard plastic shell. Making traditional infection methods nigh impossible. Even stranger almost none of these cells had a complementary receptor for most strains of the Blacklight virus, which would make infecting them akin to trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Of course this was easily bypassed by quickly creating a new strain of the Blacklight virus with a complementary receptor.

The second thing learned was just where the radiation was coming from. A random assortment of incongruous bones, Salarian in shape, were used as a repository for various radioactive elements and radioisotopes such as plutonium, radium, strontium-90, which were accumulated in the mismatched assortment of bones that were housed inside this thing, just behind the wall it was partially welded to. It was much MUCH larger than initially assumed.

It was an interesting adaptation, one that allowed this strange flower like creature to become nearly self-sustaining. How this creature remained free of cancer was another question. One that Blacklight attempted to find out.

As the virus moved towards the receptors, they revealed yet another defense mechanism.

This thing's cells started secreting highly toxic chemicals. Chemicals that succeeded in destroying the nucleic acid of the Blacklight Virus released by the infected Blacklight cells. Blacklight began attempting to create a new resistant strain. The issue however was this cellular war was wasting precious resources, and the cells didn't have enough energy to begin creating new strains.

So Blacklight adapted. This thing wasn't the only thing that could feed on radiation. The virus remained in their infected cells as they started to alter the cell itself. Using the genetic traits of radiotrophic fungus, Blacklight was able to use the radiation produced by this thing to gain more energy to create the necessary strains.

Soon after changing the genetics of the Blacklight cells, they were finally able to spread a new strain of the virus that was mostly immune to these toxic chemicals, this however was imperfect as in doing so took away most of the viruses resistance to radiation, which was only marginally slower at killing the virus than the chemicals, so while it did increase the rate of consumption, it was still slow.

How these strange alien blood cells could excrete harmful chemicals without poisoning the body was beyond Blacklight. Especially considering that unlike Blacklight its body was not exactly metamorphic. That wasn't to say it didn't change, as each time its cells divided, they were just a little bit different from the previous generation.

The energy gained from the Blacklight cells that fed on the gamma radiation allowed Blacklight to keep up with the near constant cell death, though not enough to overwhelm the creature and speed up consumption.

It became clear that while Blacklight could consume this thing, it was far too slow to be practical.

This thing truly had an alien biochemistry, which was impossible in some ways, and all too familiar in other ways.

Finally, the new Blacklight strain made it past the plastic membrane, and deeper into the cell. It was then something new was discovered. This thing didn't have DNA. Instead, the nucleic acid had no phosphate groups, and there was a lot of it packed in the cell. Redundancies after redundancies along with an efficient repair mechanism to repair it made it virtually immune to the high levels of radiation. It was similar in many ways to Peptide Nucleic Acids, PNA, but also very different.

It was at this point that the strange nucleic acid split down the middle into two distinct single strands, and it attempted to bond to the newly injected Blacklight DNA. The virus was taken completely off guard as it succeeded in doing so faster than they could react. The single strand bonded to the binary helix of Blacklight DNA to form a triple helix structure. This new nucleic acid then began to wrap around the strange proteins and this cell began to integrate Blacklight traits of this particular strain into itself at an unprecedented rate comparable to consumption, but completely alien in its mechanism, almost like it was designed to take anything it came in contact with, and find some way to incorporate it into itself. It was a form of horizontal gene transfer, but not one Blacklight was familiar with.

Strange dendritic cells that were only superficially similar to Salarian cells started to collect cells and viral strains of Blacklight, by doing so incorporating Blacklight DNA into the strange nucleic acid to form the triple helix structure. Then something unprecedented happened. The dendritic cells alerted the immune system. Plasma cells flooded the body in antibodies that marked Blacklight infected cells as a swarm of killer T-cells cut Blacklight out with surgical precision. Soon, the organism was virus free.

Shepard took a step back as billions within her mind watched with horror at what just happened, something that had never happened in the history of Blacklight. Something had just developed an actual immunity to Blacklight infection, and had done so at an impossibly fast rate. Memory cells were no doubt being developed to fight this strain of the Blacklight virus that ever entered it again.

Worse still, this thing's immune system learned how Blacklight worked, and it actually incorporated Blacklight altered DNA into itself without being made a part of the Blacklight hive.

Sure, Blacklight could just create a new strain and try again at consuming this thing, but between the radiation, plastic membrane, alien receptors, potent toxins, and now this… They weren't sure this was such a good idea.

'This is new.'

The trio watched as the flower began to change. It began to fold open. Slowly at first, but it soon picked up speed. Its white petals of flesh was covered in small tumors that split open to reveal very human looking eyes that danced in their new sockets, before focusing on the Evolved present. Then its center opened, revealing a Salarian eyeball the size of a human head that just stared at Shepard.

It gazed into her very being as the skin around its main eyelids seemed to begin to squirm, and from the corners of the giant eye, it began to leak a strange fluid, almost like it was crying, only for something far more sinister to be revealed. Bulbous putrid maggots with a rock-like skin wriggled from the corner of the eyes like hellish tears, pooling on the floor and squirming sickeningly towards Shepard. She examined these things as she took several more steps back, but they continued to squirm towards her.

They were the same as the rock maggot that Shepard found earlier, and now she did not intend for them to get away. So Shepard stepped on one, attempting to absorb it, only to find that it has much the same resistance as the flower itself. What parts she was able to consume from the rock maggot proved that this thing was similar to many intestinal parasites often found in the gastrointestinal tract of Varren, only far larger and with a hard exoskeleton of carbon graphene.

From what she could gather, they looked to form a strange symbiotic relationship with the fleshy flower.

"What the hell are you?" asked Shepard blankly as she looked to the gazing flower that pulsated as it cried more and more squirming worms onto the floor. The worms started to wrap around each other, forming a rough shape that attempted to stand. A limb made of worms stretched forward, as if this thing were attempting to take a step towards Shepard, but the moment it did so it fell to the floor and the worms scattered with the impact, sounding very much like many clattering rocks as they did so.

Roots resembling the limbs of both Salarians and Varren burst from the wall, attempting to grasp at Shepard. Each Salarian hand twitched and squirmed bonelessly as this flowering abomination attempted to pry itself off the wall. As it did, the traits this thing incorporated by Blacklight were further seen. Other than the human eyes, the arms became metallic claws with scythe like fingers.

Shepard looked from the wall of limbs, back to the worms.

"Guys, I think Saleon may have delved far too deep into his Blacklight sample," said Shepard.

The Rock Maggots had once again gathered together to form a shape, a distinctly humanoid shape. Shepard's advanced vision could see that small microscopic hooks on the worms skin allowed it to grip other worms to form this amalgamation to create a humanoid shape.

Millions of squirming worms stepped forward, moving as a singular entity. Kaiden blasted the walking worms away with a biotic blast, and the trio of Blacklight Evolved watched as they flew in every direction.

"What the hell did this guy make?" asked Kaiden as his biotic aura died down.

"A damn nightmare," answered Ashley.

Inhuman roars were heard coming from all around as a pair of eyes opened from the dark corners of the room, shining as light fell upon them to reveal a deformed nightmarish monstrosity that crept out the shadows.

The other Blacklight across the station also began encountering more of these things. All across the galaxy, Blacklight, the Rachni, and the Thorian watched as the hundreds of Evolved on Saleon's station began to encounter more and more of these giant deformed things, and it began increasingly obvious that there were far more than there should have been, even with the available biomass that Jona's ship should have allowed.

The thing, whatever it was, stood twice as tall as Shepard, and as it ventured into the light, Shepard could see that it had many Salarian and Asari heads and faces strewn hap-hazardously across its body, and where a head should have been was the a fleshy flower like the ones on the wall, only this one was far smaller, and rather than eyes, each petal had the faces of Salarian infants lined around a central mouth. Growing out the left side of the 'neck' was what seemed to be an adult Salarian's head attached to the sides of the flower like a knot in a tree. Twisted around this things left arm, was the largest Varren Shepard had ever seen. The Varren grew like cancer over where the arm should have been, with a twisted maw and a lumpy hanging tongue forcibly twisted and molded to look like a sick parody of a hand. The Salarian head in the neck that looked like that of an adult Salarian blinked as it opened its mouth of many needle-like teeth.

Then it spoke.


Shepard examined the misshapen thing, noting that those squirming worms from before, the ones that tried and failed to make a humanoid shape, seemed to organize around it. In addition the main misshapen body of this thing glowed from intense levels of radiation.

"Who are you?" asked Shepard as her arms slowly morphed into a long blade.

"Saleon. I made this thing. I can't move. Where is the rest of me?"

The infants' faces upon the petals blankly stared at Shepard as the face identified as Saleon winced in pain.

"I think it's feeding off me and Nel." Said Saleon breathlessly as fleshy threads slithered across his face and the whining Varren's sightless eyes.

The infants faces that lined the flower folded away as the flower's central maw opened wider and wider, revealing a long external esophagus that slithered out. The beaked maw that slithered out of the opened mouth swung threateningly in the air, and opened its own mouth to further reveal a throat lined with layer upon layer of backwards facing pharyngeal teeth. Then the throat rippled, contracting back and forth unnaturally. Some of the teeth on the flower petals scraped against Saleon's face.

"I'm just a parasite now. Please. Kill this thing. I can't stand it."

The beast wasted no time as it lunged forward. As it did it became very clear this thing was massive with the bulk comparable to a very large grizzly bear. Ash and Shepard easily got out the way, as Kaiden used an overpowered biotic push to fling the creature away. As it flew down the hall, it roared, and the Varren stuck to it could be heard whimpering.

Then more came. The closed flowers on the walls, of which there could be seen dozens of them, would fold open revealing more of these monsters within them. A swarm of nightmares seemed to be birthed or even more disturbing coughed out by the fleshy flowers. The creatures encountered by all the Evolved on this station were attacking like wild animals, but Shepard was far more focused on the ones attacking her own group to focus on the others.

Ash and Shepard wasted no time as they made their way towards each other, and quickly pressed back to back. Slowly they merged. As they coalesced Ash's left arm formed a Whistle Gun, her Right a Biological Chainsaw. Shepard's limbs turned into a claw and blade respectively as armor grew over their gestalt form. They charged forward and began to spin. A macabre dance of slashing and roaring blades with the occasional boom of the Whistle Gun echoed across the halls as the four armed and four legged Ash/Shepard composite would slice into the children of Saleon.

One of their slashes sliced Saleon's face across the eye; despite being very much alive and aware, he showed no sign of having noticed. Blacklight however did notice that Saleon's face stitched itself back together with small microscopic tendrils of flesh.

Kaiden leapt into the fight, bounding high with the Biotic power he used to achieve his impressive height. His skin began to squirm as he landed on the ground hard, forming a crater, before not a second later, huge spikes of biomass erupted from the ground, skewering the monsters. Not a single one hit the amalgam of Shepard and Ashley as they continued to spin and twirl around the battlefield like a literal twister of blade and bone.

The monsters however proved to be quite strong as they rapidly healed, and even grew spikes across their surface, spikes that superficially resembles Blacklight Biomass.

The split second they were impaled, they had taken a sample of surface cells, and their unique DNA repair mechanism added the spikes to themselves, possibly even along with other Blacklight traits that weren't as readily apparent.

Kaiden reabsorbed the spikes back into himself as Shepard and Ashley split to head off in radically different directions to go after two separate beasts.

With each slice, they learned more about the creatures. Their cells were dividing quickly, so quickly that when not repairing damage, were actually getting slightly larger with each passing moment. They had put the radiation to good use if this was the level of energy they could intake. Blacklight would be sure to attempt to replicate it later.

Ashley began to drive her chainsaw into the beasts flesh. It cut through like butter, but it seemed these things didn't need functional organs to continue to sustain themselves, at least not the major organs.

The creature seemed to mostly be composed of a mismatch of various micro organs that together served a similar function, while also being easily replaceable. After all it was easy to kill a creature with a stab to a single four chambered heart; it was significantly harder to kill a creature with a dozen clusters of single chambered hearts of various sizes arranged with seemingly no rhyme or reason.

Really it was a mockery of biology, yet somehow it worked in their favor.

They had redundant organs, like the Krogan, only they didn't just have a secondary set. They had dozens of redundancies, which only made killing them that much harder.

Shepard initiated a Biotic Charge with claws out, slicing through the flesh of these things. As she held her arms out, this successfully bisected and disemboweled a large enough group, but their hanging organs would only be sucked back into their wounds and healed.

Shepard lashed out with a barrage of tentacles, impaling the creatures and pulling them towards a central mass as explosive chemicals in the tentacles reacted with each other and exploded in an eruption of gore.

The Hive now knew explosions were the best method of taking these things out, as while none seemed to die, they were dismembered and only their mutilated torso squirmed around, which wasn't very threatening.

Shepard stomped on the nearest one, right on its head.

It was out the fight, but it didn't die.

Kaiden found that the Critical Pain Devastator was much better than a barrage of spikes, mostly since it did damage with blunt force trauma, which these things couldn't take traits from as easily as they could impalement. Not that that stopped Ashley who tore through the constantly healing and duplicating creatures with her biological Chainsaw. They didn't seem as capable of manifesting that with slices, seeing as all it caused was tumor like ant jaws to grow across their skin rather than vibrating metal teeth.

Blacklight continued to fight.

However it became increasingly obvious that this thing needed to be killed now, so Blacklight reached a consensus, and prepared to destroy everything.

This was an unknown. The Creature Blacklight had encountered was a dangerous one. A nightmare of contradictory biology, capable of horizontal gene transfer to take traits from whatever it comes into contact with, feeding on radiation and even collecting it, even assimilating a few Blacklight genes in the process. But it wasn't like Blacklight, it did not use a viral pathogen, but by breaking its own DNA into fragments as the DNA repair mechanism comes in to repair the damage caused by the radiation, by fixing the DNA with the DNA of not only the cell, but any other DNA fragments it can get a hold of.

It was something Blacklight could do, but they never tried it to this scale. These things were constantly changing. Not evolution, but Rampant mutation, it was literally changing into something new with each division of the cells that made it up, if they could even be called cells.

It was without a doubt fascinating, but far too dangerous to keep around. It lived, but it really shouldn't be able to. For all the traits needed for a creature like this to come into being would require many improbable events, though the fact that it was engineered life rather than anything natural made that far more believable, but such a creature nonetheless could not be allowed to exist.

The Bioship Carrier began creating Bioships as fast as it was able, sacrificing its own biomass to speed up the production. It used so much of its own biomass, that the holes on its back were sealed as it was no longer large enough to create full sized bioships.

Dozens and dozens of Bioships headed towards the lab.

The Evolved on the base began retreating, in an attempt to save any and all Blacklight biomass from the devastation Blacklight intended to release. These things could not be allowed to continue. They were like Blacklight in many ways, but at the same time, they were anything but. It wasn't viral in nature, but it was still far more dangerous to the galaxy than Blacklight could ever be. They were mindless beasts that fed on radiation and solar energy. Yet they would also fuse and meld with any lifeform they came into contact with to feed on them as well. Yet, the process they used also kept the victims alive through the whole thing.

It was a monstrous organism that needed to be destroyed especially with the coming of the Reapers.

Shepard leapt and bound with her group behind her, and behind them, were the beasts, Saleon's Children, who tore through any and all in their way to attack anything that entered their territory. Kaiden's biotics were keeping them away, as he created biotic barriers using help from Shepard and Ashley.

From all around them they could hear more and more of the beasts, and through the senses of their Blacklight brethren, they could see that there were thousands of these things, all packed in this place like ants in a hive.

Evolved continued to make their way to the hull breaches, where they would leap out to join with other Evolved to create a massive composite organism to rejoin the bioship from which they were born. Shepard, Kaiden, and Ashley were the last to get off the station, and as soon as they did, The Bioships closed in.

It was at this time something new happened. Many of the surrounding asteroids began to glow with a sickly green light, as these things used biotics to fling the asteroids into the Bioships that surrounded the area.

All the while organic explosives, acids, and biotic attacks from Blacklight did everything they could to destroy the facility, however as it began to fall apart, they saw what lay beneath.

It was not the massive humanoid beasts that pulled itself from the steadily crumbling debris, but a massive stalk of melded flesh and bone, all of it covered in those same flowers that grew from the walls of Saleon's base. The massive tendril terminated with a massive flower, said flower had the remnants of the reactor in its maw. In fact, it looked to be partially fused to it.

Hands, hundreds of massive hands made of both Salarian and Asari bodies exploded from the facility even as it was being torn apart.

This all happened in moments as the Bioships did all they could to avoid the incoming asteroids this thing threw at them.

It roared, at least Blacklight assumed it did. Sound could not travel in space, so whatever sound that thing tried to make was not heard nor felt.

The massive organism was smaller than a bioship, but it more than made up for that with its tenacity. Then it began to sink into the asteroid around the base. From various craters of the asteroid, large tentacles made of Salarian and Asari flesh emerges. The silently screaming and terrified faces of Jona's crew thrashed across its form as the fleshy flowers upon its surface opened to reveal more and more eyes.

The green Biotic corona that surrounded the thing erupted as it threw anything around it back, all in an attempt to save itself, however, it was too late.

In an impressive display of biotics, the swarm of Bioships had grabbed hold of the asteroid and flung it off course, and were steadily pushing it into a collision with the central star of the planet, however they continued to fight this thing, for even though it was on the path to death, they needed to know everything about this beast as they could.

After all, while this one may die, there was one horrible question that kept wriggling in Blacklight's minds.

What if these things escaped on Jona's ship?