The scene on Earth was incredible.
Sure, the cities were in ruins… merely piles of semi-organised rubble.
But there were scores of krogan and geth working with humans to erect buildings, search for survivors that didn't make it to the magical districts and generally trying to restore order.
That wasn't the most amazing part though.
It was the numerous rachni that were scurrying around and helping with the heavy lifting that caught the eyes of many of the team… or it would have if they weren't more interested in the sight of Harry rolling on the floor in pain whilst holding his crotch.
"I told you I was going to do it, kid." Aethyta glared down at her victim.
Harry struggled to his feet, no one bothered helping as they were all too busy snickering… apart from a few like Liara who was appalled by her father's actions and Tali and Kasumi who were worried about performance issues later. Well Kasumi was worried, Tali just didn't like seeing him in pain.
Harry stood and glared at the older blue woman. Then his hands shot out.
"Now we are even." Harry decided as he took a step back.
Aethyta was standing there with tears in her eyes as she rubbed her very sore nipples.
"Fuck you Harry! That really hurt." She spat.
"And you think that getting kicked in the balls didn't hurt me?" He retorted.
"Stop it! Both of you!" Liara ordered as she stepped between the pair. "You are supposed to be respected leaders of the galaxy and instead you are acting like children." She scolded.
"She started it." Harry mumbled.
He shut up at Liara's glare.
"Admiral, Fleet Commander, perhaps you should take over here." Liara said with a pointed look at Harry. She then grabbed him by the arm and dragged him back over to Ash.
"Some things never change." She smirked at him.
"How are things going?" Shepard asked the asari matriarch as he and Anderson stepped forwards.
"Fairly well." She admitted (still rubbing those sore nipples). "There were a few tense moments when the krogan saw the rachni… but the geth just said they were with Harry and they backed off.
"I have never seen a krogan do that with some sort of parting shot. Usually from a shotgun."
"The humans haven't given you any trouble? No resentment for having an asari running things?" Anderson asked carefully.
"There have been one or two incidents… but the soldiers I was working with during the occupation vouched for me. Hackett also stays in regular contact and makes sure to give direct orders instead of passing things through me."
Everyone turned to look where Miranda was pointing.
"What the hell is that?"
Descending through the atmosphere were two very large objects. They were equal in size and a deep blue colour. They were smooth and curved around the sides but the bottom was relatively level but with a chequered effect. They also appeared to be emitting a mass effect field.
As they descended they revealed that the objects tapered up into a contoured pillar that was exceptionally high.
"You have got to be fucking me." Jennifer laughed as she and everyone else realised what was descending.
The two pillars were connected to a single object… the whole thing became clear even though it still hadn't fully come into view.
"You built a giant geth?" Kaiden sounded like he wanted to cry.
"There are thousands of buildings that are very tall and will need a lot of effort to construct." Harry grinned, they were all still staring up at the descending 'mega-geth'. "This platform will be able to assemble pre-fabricated metal buildings in less than an hour leaving only the internals to be dealt with."
"That thing has to be the size of the Presidium Tower." Ashley said in amazement.
"I can't believe you manage to build this stuff and keep it from me." Tali grumbled.
"I didn't build it." Harry said defensively. "I only thought of it. The geth are the ones who designed and constructed it."
"This construction platform was created based on Harry's ideas for speeding the re-building of Tuchanka." Lefty explained. "The platform can also act as a defence platform against ground based threats such as thresher maws."
"That's what the krogan are for, Lefty." Grunt said slight displeased.
There was a very slight thud as the platform finally reached the surface.
"It has huge mass effect generators that allow it to handle massive objects without causing them stress." Lefty told them.
"How many geth programs does it take to run that thing?" Tali asked.
"Over forty million geth are required to operate the Construction Platform."
The platform smoothly turned and looked down at them before raising its large five-fingered hand and giving a thumbs up.
"Or one Harry Potter." Lefty continued.
"Aethyta, you have my permission to kick Harry again." Tali scowled at her grinning fiancé.
"Just remember, if you even think about causing trouble for anyone, the nanites will shut down and you will lose your magic." Harry glared at the assembled goblins who were grinning ecstatically as they accepted the injections from the various geth platforms.
"As far as the Alliance is concerned you fall under the jurisdiction of the Emissary's Free People." Hackett added from Harry's side. "As do all magical beings. The Alliance itself has petitioned the Free People for entry into their society. If that happens then we will take over governance under the their authority."
"I bring word from Overlord Wrex." Grunt stepped forward with purposefully heavy footsteps. "If you step out of line he says he'll come back and personally deal with you."
A majority of the goblins shivered at that thought. The krogan were worse than giants. Not only could they step on them but they had a power that was almost as deadly as magic.
"Can we re-open the bank?" The goblin Harry had left in charge asked.
"That's a complicated issue." Harry grimaced. "People don't hand money and gold to each other these days. I'll try and put you in touch with the Volus though."
With the re-construction of Earth well in hand, the team took the fleet to Thessia. Their additional task was to pick up Councillor Aethyta so that she could deal with the Asari Republic.
None of them were looking forward to the meeting as so far, every time they had used QEC to contact the matriarchs they had been met with threats and vitriol.
"You had no right to interfere with our mass relays!" Matriarch Irissa spat scathingly.
"It was the decision of the Council, Irissa." Aethyta said dismissively. "A decision that has ensured that Thessia's beauty remains unmarred."
"Irrelevant!" Irissa screeched. "Your actions contravened Citadel conventions and our own rights as a people."
"The Council acted under wartime powers. You should know better than anyone that that gives us unprecedented leeway."
Irissa had been the prime candidate to replace Tevos as the asari councillor after the arrest of the previous Council. But then Benezia had thrown her weight around and had the more practical Aethyta appointed.
"It was a war that didn't affect us. There are always conflicts in the galaxy. The geth and quarians, the turians and humans, all recent conflicts. None of them were used as a petty excuse to attack the Asari Republic." Irissa scowled.
"Well this one decimated Earth, Palaven and many other colonies. The salarians have also been quarantined due to credible evidence that the Union had been indoctrinated."
"Indoctrinated?" She scoffed. "You're still trying to pass off that old Reaper fairy tale?"
Irissa backed up as she was faced with an enraged Aethyta who was standing sheathed in a biotic aura that was powerful enough to have cracked the ground.
"Listen you little bitch; I just spent several weeks on Earth fighting side-by-side with humans, military and civilian, whilst we tried to protect everyone from being turned into liquids.
"The sky was filled with your 'fairy tales'." Aethyta spat. "Earth and Palaven are nothing more than planets filled with rubble. Even Tuchanka didn't look this bad after their nuclear winter."
She stepped back and calmed herself. "Now, I don't give a shit about your bruised ego. Maybe if you hadn't been so damned selfish and actually aided the fight against the Reapers, you wouldn't be in this position. The Council has had the quarantine around Thessia lifted. I still have to go with the others to Sur'Kesh to sort out the mess there.
"Don't give us a reason to put the quarantine back." She warned.
"Stupid idiots. I thought the Matriarchs were foolish for hiding a Prothean Beacon all this time… but messing around with an actual Reaper artefact… after all the data and evidence they were given?" Aethyta scowled as she looked at the curved object that was similar to Object Rho that Doctor Kenson and messed with.
"Agreed." Mordin nodded with a similar expression. "Organics are far too susceptible to indoctrination. Suspect salarians who found it were already indoctrinated when they brought it to Sur'Kesh.
"Can already detect damage to personal QEC."
"Harry, can you shut this thing down?" Shepard asked.
"I believe he was referring to a less violent method involving accessing its functions." Samara said in amusement as she and the others dropped the barriers they had hastily erected to protect them from Harry's magic blast.
Harry looked at them with a curious smile. "Why would the Reapers install something to turn it off? That would suggest they might be wrong… and we all know they couldn't be wrong." He said with mild sarcasm.
The lab they were standing in was directly under the Salarian Union's main government building. All around them were unconscious scientists and guards.
"I simply cannot conceive of a method of handling this situation." Quietus said in frustration. "The entire Salarian Union has been compromised. We have no idea how far this spreads to the population and the salarian colonies. Not to mention the salarians on other worlds and the Citadel."
"The geth have accessed all travel and logistic records." Lefty informed them. "We have dedicated six servers to projecting the possible spread of infection.
"We do not believe indoctrinated salarians are capable of indoctrinating others and there are no records of other Reaper Artefacts in salarian records."
"This is a damned mess." Aethyta scowled. "The salarians are without a government."
"Couldn't the Council provide an interim government?" Jacob asked.
"The Alliance and the Hierarchy are spread too thin." Anderson shook his head. "And based on Aethyta's meeting with the asari, I wouldn't put them in charge of anything at the moment."
"Which leaves the Free People." Quietus said as he turned to Harry expectantly.
Harry looked at him in shock.
"They're right Harry, only the Free People have the resources and the… morals to handle this." Shepard said softly.
Harry scowled and turned to face away from the group. A few seconds later his eyes lit up and projected a holographic image of Overlord Wrex.
"Runt! What do you want?" The krogan scowled. He still hadn't forgiven Harry for eliminating the Reapers before he got to kill one personally.
"You remember how you told me I'd conquer the galaxy and no one would realise it? These gits want me to take over Sur'Kesh." Harry grumbled.
Wrex just burst out laughing.
With Sur'Kesh now suffering an invasion of geth to maintain government and order, the Fleet headed back to the Citadel.
There the Council and Harry met with the Free People's Ambassador, Pardot.
"Emissary, we have received several requests from various races for entry into the Free People." He said slightly nervously.
The three Councillors found the batarian's demeanour slightly amusing because when Harry wasn't there the man wouldn't stand for any form of intimidation. They were meeting in the Council Chambers.
"We don't have any protocols for dealing with this."
"The Alliance also wants to join." Harry nodded.
"Emissary, forgive me, but when I say 'several', I mean nearly every species aside from the turians, asari and salarians."
"So… the volus?"
"He said 'everyone', kid. Take it as given that the Ambassador means what he says." Aethyta grumbled. She was well acquainted with Harry's antics. She was usually the victim.
"What exactly do these people think it means to be part of the Free People?" Harry asked in disbelief. "Other than a few basic rules and laws that protect a person's rights, we don't exactly govern each other. The batarians have their own government and so do the quarians."
"That is not technically true." Pardot winced. "Whilst we do tend to have an array of species that represent governments or districts, all of them answer to and submit to the decisions of Emissary's Council."
"I have a council?" Harry asked. After a moment's consideration he asked. "Have I ever met them?"
"Not physically, but you have discussed things with most of them through QEC meetings. Princess Tali also handles several areas."
"Ambassador, what are the benefits for these races becoming members of the Free People?" Quietus asked curiously.
Harry did not like that tone… Quietus seemed far too… interested.
"I admit that none of us are entirely sure if they would benefit in a greater way than they would as Council members." Pardot frowned. "The technology we use is available to anyone who agrees to use it within established regulations. Like the Council, the Free People are sworn to protect and defend each other, just as we did during the Reaper invasion. Several batarian colonies were hit and the Emissary's third fleet was immediately dispatched."
"What regulations on technology are there?" Anderson asked.
"Anyone who accepts nanite technology is required to abide by the Emissary's Laws that protect the rights of the individual. In the event that they break the law the nanites will flush themselves.
"For more advanced technology such as the ships we build, users and owners must pass competency tests and training before being allowed to use them.
"We do not want to find that they have managed to blow themselves up because they did not understand what they are doing."
"What about weapons?" Aethyta asked with a frown. "What are your rules on weapons?"
"Whilst anyone may own a weapon, anyone who keeps one in their home is subject to inspection to ensure it is kept secure and safe so that accidents are prevented.
"Anyone owning a gun is currently required to attending safety training on a yearly basis.
"Only law enforcement and military may carry weapons in public unless the weapon is being taken for repairs, upgrades or servicing."
"What about any military weapon technologies that the Free People develop?" Quietus asked.
"They are used solely by the military." Pardot frowned, not understanding.
"But are the batarians granted access to geth weapons and vice-versa?"
"If they are part of the Free People's military, then yes. Weapon technologies are issued as needed."
"Can we just make a brochure or something?" Harry whined. "I still want to know why all these species want to join us. What is it they are expecting to get?"
"A governing body who will honour its promises." Quietus smirked.
"Emissary, you have to understand that the Council and its races failed miserably when the Reapers arrived." Anderson explained. "In the even of an invasion or attack upon Council affiliated races, the Council is to send in its fleet. If the Council fleet is already engaged then another Council affiliated race is to send in theirs.
"As we all know, the Council fleet is still not recovered from the Battle of the Citadel, the turians and humans were the ones primarily under attack so they couldn't send their fleets… but the volus and elcor also suffered brutal incursions by the Reapers.
"The asari and salarians refused to help."
"In the face of these selfish acts, you managed to send aid to both Palaven and Earth." Quietus continued. "But it didn't end there as the volus and elcor reported ships from the Emissary's Free People running rescue missions."
"In other words, those bitches on Thessia and the eggheads on Sur'Kesh have managed to shoot the Council in the foot." Aethyta said grumpily. "I don't know about the turians, but I have a feeling that the only 'Council' races left are going to be the asari and salarians.
"The rest are going to be clamouring for entry into the Emissary's Free People."
Harry stood there silently, a frown on his face as he stared distantly into the small garden beneath the Petitioner's Platform.
Eventually he looked up at the Councillors. "I suppose this would be a bad time to mention I need to destroy the Citadel?"
The only reason that Harry made it out of the Council Chambers unscathed was because they thought he was joking.
They eventually went from amused to outraged to disgusted to still trying to decide if they could reasonably allow Harry to destroy the Citadel.
But the bottom line was that the Citadel was essentially the body of the Intelligence responsible for the Reapers and the harvests. It was tainted with the blood of trillions and trillions of innocents.
The place was an abomination and they never realised it until Harry had met the Intelligence.
The problem with just destroying the Citadel was that it was home to so many people, it was the centre of commerce in the galaxy. You couldn't just throw everyone off.
Harry had promised that the geth had begun building something better. He just needed the Council to begin getting people ready to transfer.
"I find you to be an annoying primate who takes perverse pleasure in causing… 'mischief'… but your decision to destroy the Citadel is one I fully support." Javik commented as he stood next to Harry as they looked out at the micro-relay that led to Ilos.
"And I find you to be an arrogant bastard who enjoys mocking people based on their primitive ancestors." Harry returned in the same calm manner. "But I figured you of all people would understand the need to destroy this… monstrosity."
"It ensnared everyone who saw it." Javik continued, both beings ignoring the other's jibes. "We came before you but we were far from the first… I am grateful that we were nearly the last though."
"What do you intend to do, now that the Reapers are dealt with?" Harry asked.
"My people are dead. Their deaths have been avenged… however poorly." He said with a glare at the human. "But my mission was a failure before I even entered stasis. I have nothing left. I will find the graves of my men… and join them." He said proudly.
"Talk about a coward's way out." Harry scoffed.
"Do not judge my ways, ape." Javik sneered.
"Why? Because you might take offence?" Harry sneered right back. "You are an idiot. You keep going on about how your people were amazing, rulers of the galaxy, left behind a legacy for the ages… blah, blah, blah!
"But now that you have a chance to leave a true and lasting imprint of the prothean people, you have decided that you are going to go and off yourself."
"As you said, my people are gone. I have nothing to add to what there already is."
"All there is, is a lot of jumbled images from your beacons that you foolishly left behind thinking that everyone would evolve in the same way as you." Harry snorted. "Honestly, just because your people were all psychometrically gifted… you think the rest of the universe would be?"
"It is a sign of how primitive you are that you have not developed the ability." Javik said dismissively.
"Really? Because I don't know of any prothean accounts of people being able to conjure living creatures from nothing." Harry challenged as he raised his hand and cast an Avis. The tiny birds flew around them before flying away over the crowds below them.
"Irrelevant." Javik tried hard not to be impressed. "How would you have done things differently?"
Harry sent a file to Javik's omni-tool and caused it to display.
"That is a digital copy of a physical book that has been left in easily accessible time capsules around the galaxy. They were programmed to open and release a geth platform that will ensure the next cycle was prepared for the Reapers."
"It's a picture book." Javik remarked dryly.
"Humans have a saying: 'A picture is worth a thousand words.'"
"Fleet Commander to CIC! Fleet Commander to the CIC!"
"It's gong to be one of those days, isn't it?" Shepard sighed as he stood up from the table in the main mess hall of the Overlord.
The room was merely one of many, but it was also the one assigned to the command staff like the Admirals and Captains. Not out of a sense of superiority but just that it meant there were less places to look for them in an emergency.
This particular hall was also assigned to several elite teams of krogan. There was no point grouping together the command staff without giving them protection.
"I'll head back to the Normandy." Ashley sighed. "God knows we are probably going to be fighting."
"Harry, give me a lift to the CIC, please."
Harry just nodded and grabbed the Commander before they vanished.
"We should all probably check our ships and equipment." Miranda said pointedly as she too stood.
"Can't believe that bastard made me a captain." Garrus grumbled as he stood up and headed for his ship, The Sword.
"You are not alone." Grunt scowled as he headed for his own ship, The Gold.
Miranda was actually rather proud of the fact that Shepard had assigned her as the Captain of The Juno. It had been a long journey from naïve Cerberus shill to captain of one of the finest ships in the galaxy.
She was almost willing to forgive Potter for all the grief he caused her.
"Admiral Anderson." Shepard greeted his former commander as he and Harry appeared on the bridge.
He couldn't ask the man for a report as he still had far too much respect for the older human.
"Commander, Emissary." Anderson returned as he stood from his seat. "We managed to track down Sanctuary." He said without preamble.
A place that was spoken of in back alleys and only to humans.
Cerberus took great pains to hide its location as they approached vulnerable humans such as the homeless and poor and offered them a place they touted as the only safe location from Reapers.
The Council, at Harry, Miranda and Shepard's urging had released warnings about what was undoubtedly a Cerberus trap.
They referred to it as 'The Fool's Paradise'.
It still didn't stop people with 'concerns' about aliens running into the waiting maw of Cerberus.
Unfortunately it didn't stop there. Cerberus had used the chaos of the Reaper invasion to kidnap colonists, much like they had on Eden Prime when the team had retrieved Javik.
When asked how the Free People had tracked down Sanctuary, Harry had just stated that he had a mole.
Thane had then left the room after Kasumi started demanding to see it.
Ever since Shepard had met Harry nearly four years ago, he had worked with a small team of elite fighters. They had specialists in stealth, engineering, brute force and much more.
The team had expanded slightly after a year when Shepard went undercover with Cerberus and managed to subvert some of the Illusive Man's best people.
Now, he had the biggest and most versatile fleet in the galaxy at his beck and call.
He didn't have to take a small team down to the planet Horizon to deal with Sanctuary, he had thousands of geth, krogan, batarians, quarians… and many others, all ready and very willing to serve under the banner of the Emissary.
When you took into account the fact that the Overlord was bigger than the Citadel, and the fact that both the krogan and geth could reproduce like bunnies, you began to get an idea of just how many troops the vessel could carry.
"I still say we should call this ship 'The Overkill'." Ashley muttered as she stood next to Harry on a raised platform.
They were only a step behind Shepard who was about to address the troops of the Overlord.
Over thousand krogan… and that was merely ten percent of the ships total krogan contingent.
"The rules of engagement for this op are simple." Shepard spoke through audio amplification system. "The Krogan Strike Force," and boy did the krogan love a name that contained both the words 'strike' and 'force', "will storm the compound.
"If it shoots at you, kill it.
"If it lays down its weapon then leave them for the second wave.
"If you encounter unarmed individuals ignore them. Your mission is to secure the compound. The second wave will deal with civilians, the injured and anyone who peacefully surrenders.
"Once you have secured the compound set up patrols. Remember not to touch anything you don't recognise. Leave that to the third wave who will be sweeping the area for booby traps."
The second and third waves were made up of geth platforms. All other species would remain on ship until the geth deemed the situation safe. You could destroy a geth platform with the same level of force it took to destroy a krogan, but it was another issue to try and destroy a geth program.
"You have your orders. Move out!"
Shepard's shout was met with a might roar that shook the hanger they were standing in as the main doors opened to reveal that the entire dreadnaught was hovering mere metres off the ground of Horizon.
Even with the superior technology, the thunderous footsteps of a thousand krogan on a war charge was felt throughout the ship.
It actually raised the spirits of the crew.
Except for the remaining krogan warriors who were just jealous.
As the krogan charged past, Shepard led the team away to a nearby Stingray that was prepped for them. They had their own mission to accomplish.
"So what's the plan?" Jennifer asked as Harry piloted them away from the Overlord.
"We land, we hunt, we capture." Shepard said firmly.
"Are you sure we should be taking that kind of risk?" Garrus asked warily. "It would be safer to capture than kill."
"We need to prove to the galaxy that we have him." Shepard said. It was clear he didn't like it anymore than they did. "Quietus has convinced us that he needs to stand trial for his crimes and be sentenced accordingly."
"We're handing him over to the Council?" Jacob asked in disgust.
"Hell no!" Harry said from his seat at the controls. "The Free People will be keeping him under lock and key. And I will be the key."
"I still say we should just kill the bastard." Garrus grumbled.
There target, of course, was Jack Harper, a.k.a. The Illusive Man. Harry's mole had reported Jack's position at a base beneath the planet's northern pole.
The target was buried beneath the icecaps.
Harry was not exactly subtle with his infiltration.
"Do you think they know we're here?" Grunt asked his brother sarcastically as they watched the combination of fire, snow and smoke fly into the air.
"We should make sure." Tank said as he pulled his shotgun and headed for the airlock. "Coming Pyjack?" He asked without looking back.
"Just don't hold me back." Jennifer smirked as she sprinted past him and out the open airlock. They were still over a hundred feet in the air so she had to use her biotics to break her fall.
"Roll out people." Shepard ordered. "Kasumi, Thane and Harry, get ahead of those three and tag targets. Do not engage the primary target. I don't want to face him without our full attention."
The team had very little trouble moving through the base. Whenever the main bulk of the team managed to catch up with the two krogans and their human comrade, they quickly stomped on the Cerberus idiots.
Only they weren't just dealing with Cerberus agents.
"By the goddess!" Liara gasped as she looked down at the exceptionally tall corpse. It looked like a cross between a wood nymph and a hag. It was a husk, naked like all the others but with breasts and a distended stomach.
"Most distressing." Mordin scowled. "Was indeed an asari." He confirmed their fears.
"Tali, EDI, EVA and Lefty, I want the four of you working on tracking down all information on these new husks. How did Cerberus learn to create them and how many are there." Shepard barked. "Samara, Liara, Miranda and Jacob, stay with them and watch their backs.
"The rest of us will carry on."
"I thought you didn't want us splitting up?" Jennifer asked.
"We need that info and I wouldn't put it past Harper to try and destroy this base with all of us in it." Shepard explained.
The rest of the team moved forward, they encountered human husks, asari husks, turian husks and even something that looked like a cross between a krogan and a turian but was the size of a yagh.
It was obvious that Cerberus had released the husks from their cages and turned them loose on the team.
The team didn't care and put each and every one down as quickly as possible.
They saved their anger for Harper and the human monsters called Cerberus.
They reached a heavily armoured door that would only fit someone like Wrex if he turned sideways and crouched.
Waiting outside were the three advanced scouts.
"He's in there, but I doubt he's alone." Harry warned them.
"Do you know what he might have in there?" Shepard asked.
Harry shook his head. "The room is heavily shielded. I'm guessing that the whole room is sealed and the only method of communication available will be via QEC."
"But you are sure he is in there."
"Oh yes. My mole is in there too. But once the doors closed I lost all communication with him."
"What about your mojo?" Jennifer asked.
"I could probably blast the door open, but I don't know what's inside there. The thing could be rigged with a nuke, set to go off if the seals are breached."
"Can he get out by any other exit?" Kaiden asked.
"One way in, one way out." Harry confirmed. "I have no idea what his end game is."
"You think he had a bargaining chip?" Miranda asked. "He intends to try and cut a deal for his freedom?"
"The man is a coward and an egotist. He is also very cagey. He probably has several contingencies in place."
"Can you apparate in there?" Ashley asked with a thoughtful look.
"No, I don't know the layout or what it looks like so I have nothing to visualise.
"But there are no shields?"
"I might have an idea." She said with a sheepish look.
Harper turned to where the Phantoms in his protection detail were pointing.
"Where?" Kai Leng demanded as he pulled his sword.
"There… that… floating thing." The female elite Cerberus operative said, clearly unsure about what she was seeing.
"What are you talking about?" Leng demanded. "There is nothing there and there is nothing on sensors." He said as he scanned the area with his omni-tool.
"Yes there is." Another Phantom countered. "But… it looks like a… ghost… like from the old movies."
"Could it be a form of psychological attack?" A Cerberus Commando asked.
"Can't you hear it?" The first Phantom asked. "It says its name is… Sir Nicholas de Mimsy-Porpington."
"Oh god!" The other Phantom exclaimed, sounding as though she was about to be sick. "Its head nearly came off."
"Nearly Headless Nick." Harper muttered in remembrance.
Ever since Harry Potter had opened his mouth back on the Citadel when challenging Saren on proving he hadn't been on Eden Prime, Harper had investigated him. Just as he had with Tali, Ashley, Kaiden and everyone else that Shepard seemed to collect.
The stories on the extranet about a young boy with the same name and face as Shepard's 'mascot' (as Harper thought of him at the time) were extraordinary and seemingly coincidental.
But Harper never dismissed anything.
Then the stories and reports of Potter doing impossible feats began circulating… all of it culminating with the very public display of flight when the old Council tried to arrest him for attacking the Hegemony.
From there he was able to ask the right questions. His moles in the Alliance spoke of strange races hidden in the middle of London on Earth.
So yes, Harper knew about Sir Nearly-Headless Nick. He knew everything there was to know about the man who commanded more than half the known galaxy and was personally out for his blood.
"He says he prefers 'Sir Nicholas'." The first Phantom said nervously.
"I don't care how you do it but I want that ghost dead." Harper barked.
Everyone turned to look at him.
"Destroyed… I want that ghost destroyed!" He corrected himself.
The first Phantom drew her mono-molecular sword and darted forward quickly, slashing at what appeared to be blank space.
She sprang back and through out a warp.
"My sword had no effect but my warp seemed to have some sort of effect… I just don't know if it was a bad one. It's gone now though."
"Gone destroyed or gone as in left the room." Harper demanded.
"Left the room, sir." The second Phantom answered.
The agents were shocked. The Illusive Man never swore and never lost his cool. Not even when they had been rushing to the safety of the room.
There was a sudden violent tearing sound as the door to the room was ripped from its hinges and daylight poured through.
"Come out peacefully or we will shoot."
Harper didn't recognise the voice. That was kind of insulting, he expected either Shepard or Potter to deal with him personally.
"Tell Potter to let me go or I'll destroy the Citadel!" Harper shouted back at the amplified voice.
"What? Speak up or come out."
"I said tell Potter-"
"Potter? Potter isn't here." The voice interrupted. "The Emissary had business elsewhere to deal with."
"You will arrange for safe transport away from here or I will destroy the Citadel!" Harper yelled.
There was a pause.
Harper smirked. He knew he had them.
"What?" He wasn't expecting that response. He assumed the man he was talking to was a seasoned negotiator. Telling a hostage taker to kill a hostage was not on the approved list of tactics.
"I told you already, you have to speak up!" The voice sounded exasperated. "Look, you've got two minutes before I send in some rather nasty ordinance that will probably kill you if you are lucky."
The other agents exchanged nervous looks.
"I'm not bluffing!" Harper shouted. "I will destroy the Citadel!"
"And I said go for it. The Citadel has been vacated. It's due for demolition soon anyway." The voice was getting annoyed.
So was Harper.
"One of you Phantoms take a look outside. See if you can find a way to sabotage their setup." Harper ordered. "Leng, you will need to eliminate their heavy arms."
Kai Leng just nodded as he drew his sword.
Cautiously the second Phantom moved towards the door as she activated her cloak.
Harper and his goons waited a good ninety seconds before the Phantom reappeared in front of them.
"It's bad." She announced.
"How bad? Details." Leng demanded.
"Shepard and his entire team are out there barring Krios, Goto and Potter."
"They are probably staying hidden in case we actually fight them." Harper mused.
"No, Potter is standing behind you, Krios has the other Phantom marked and Goto is right here." The Phantom gestured to herself. "Gotcha!" The voice said with a grin.
"Open fi-urgk!" Harper's order was cut off as he was spun around and hoisted off the ground by a hand around his throat.
"I beg you. Do not force me to kill you." Came Thane's voice as he deactivated his cloak to show he had a mono-molecular sword at the second Phantom's throat.
"Leeeng!" Harper gasped.
"I'm afraid that Mr. Leng will be most unhelpful at the moment." Harry said as he deactivated his own cloak. "His artificial implants have been locked and he can't move.
"Honestly, Jack." He said disappointedly. "Sending a man with a mass of computers in him to kill people who are protected by digital life forms? We had him bugged since he kidnapped my girls. You didn't really think I let him escape so easily, did you?
"I guess it just goes to show how big your ego is."
Harper opened his mouth but nothing came out.
"Cat got your tongue, Jack?" Harry smirked. "Just like your old friend Udina?"
It had taken several days to extract the room as a whole from the base at Horizon.
The geth had immediately gotten to work inscribing time runes on the outside to room so that it appeared no time had passed for the occupants of the room.
As per Ashley's suggestion they had then used the Overlord to transport the room to Scotland, Earth, where Harry had asked Sir Nicholas to do a bit of recon for them.
He had quickly returned after less than a minute.
"My Lord!" The old fifteenth century ghost of a nobleman exclaimed as he rushed out. "Those biotics feel a lot different to magic." He slowed his floating pace as he reached Harry.
"Good different or bad different?" Harry asked as they stood on the open grounds of Hogwarts.
"Hard to say." Nicholas mused. "I certainly wasn't going to wait around to find out. It would have made the whole point of my going in there redundant if they managed to kill me."
"Speaking of the point… what can you tell us about what is in there?" Harry asked.
"There is one man with no armour. He appears to be wearing a suit, much like those worn during the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century."
"That would be Jack Harper." Shepard told him. "He's our main target."
"Interesting. He appeared to be unarmed." Nick frowned. "There was a rather dangerous man who looked to be from the Orient. He was garbed in all black and carried one of those unusual Oriental swords."
"Kai Leng." Harry smirked. "I can handle him easily enough."
"He took you out the last time." Kaiden warned.
Harry's smirk just became more confident.
"Harry… what did you do?" Tali asked slowly. She knew that look on her fiancé's face.
"He let Leng go." Kasumi shrugged. "He swore myself and the geth to secrecy. He then had the geth upload themselves into Leng's implants and used his magic to let Leng think he had managed to escape on his own."
"This Kai Leng is your 'mole'?" Thane asked.
"Unwitting, but yes." Harry nodded. "He's been transmitting his position since he 'escaped'. That is how we knew where Sanctuary and Harper were."
"Contact!" Came Garrus' whispered alert from his sniper position.
Everyone turned with their weapons out.
"There is a cloaked Phantom exiting the door."
"I see them." Harry confirmed. "I'll go and nab her."
Before anyone could say anything, Harry vanished.
He reappeared seconds later with the Phantom over his shoulder.
"Ow!" Harry rubbed the back of his head as he pouted at Ashley.
"Don't go running off like that!" She snapped. She still considered her role as Harry's minder her primary mission.
"Harry, can you get any info out of her?" Shepard brought them back to the task at hand.
Harry nodded and dropped the body on the floor before he removed the helmet.
The woman beneath the mask was probably very beautiful at one point. But her head had been shaved and she looked like all the other Cerberus operatives they had encountered since Mar. She had synthetics lacing throughout her skin, most of it blue and grey.
Harry ignored all this and lifted her eyelids. Unfortunately he came across a problem. "These are cybernetic eyes." He frowned. "I can't use my magic to get into her mind like this."
"We need a new plan then." Kaiden grimaced. "I hate you Harry."
"What? Why? I didn't do anything!" Harry said defensively.
"You just corrupt us with your way of thinking." Kaiden retorted. "Kasumi, you get to go back under cover."
Getting the Cerberus operative out of the Phantom suit and Kasumi into it was not easy. Fortunately, Harry had set up a special portable room a few metres away that ran at a different rate of time. So they didn't have to waste too much time.
After that, Thane and Harry had followed the suited Kasumi through the door and dealt with the Harper and his cronies.
Instead of being handed over to the Alliance or the Council. Harry had ordered Harper and his people to be thrown into the deepest dungeons of Hogwarts.
He would be guarded day and night by a bunch of bloodthirsty goblins who took great pleasure in threatening their charges with their newly returned magic.
Harry had made them promise not to actually hurt them… but hadn't gotten an oath.
The Harper and his people always looked physically fine when he checked on them, but they had an expression of defeat and terror.
The goblins just had innocent expressions.
Harry said nothing.
"Everything seems to running smoothly now." Shepard said in relief as he slumped into the sofa in Harry's Tent on the Utah. He still hadn't bothered to move it and he had no intention of doing so.
"Nothing ever goes smoothly for long." Harry sulked. "Sooner or later there will be a new faction of idiots who will want to do things their way and it won't include the democratic process."
"The Emissary's Free People aren't exactly democratic, Master." Shiala pointed out with a smile.
"Yeah… because they don't let me vote." Harry snarked. "And I'm too lazy to start my own faction of idiots to do things my way."
"You always complain about being the head of the Free People, but you never actually have to do anything." Ashley frowned. "You get to have them make all these cool ships and-" She paused as he omni-tool lit up and a long list of text started to scroll. "What's this?"
"A list of things I have to deal with…today." Harry answered.
"Negotiate breeding schedules between the krogan clans?" Shepard asked worriedly as he looked over his girlfriend's shoulder.
"The females want more babies… the males are beginning to go nuts." Harry explained. "As a krogan who is not a krogan, they asked me to mediate."
"When are you going to do handle that? It is scheduled for… ten minutes ago?" Ashley pointed out.
"I now have four synthetic copies of myself around the galaxy." Harry sighed. "Nobody seems to care they aren't my physical self as long as I am the one controlling it."
"Well, with nothing looming on the horizon and plenty of bodies willing to deal with any fires that might crop up, I have ordered the fleet back to Rannoch." Shepard smiled.
"Cool, I could use a vacation." Kasumi said as she stretched like a cat.
"Well, your vacation will have to wait. Our primary goal will be getting Harry and Tali to the altar." Shepard said happily. "They've waited long enough and we can all be present for it."
Shepard and Harry winced as Kasumi squealed in excitement. "I have to borrow the Tiger-Lilly." She told Shiala firmly. "I know where I can steal the best bridesmaid dresses."
He could handle Harry, Reapers, Cerberus and anything else the galaxy threw at him… but he still couldn't figure out women.
So you are probably wondering why I am posting the rest of this at once.
Short answer: Something very bad just happened to me.
Long answer: I, a human suffering from agoraphobia, stress and depression, tried to do a good thing by warning someone that they van door was open... the universe decided to reward me by locking me out of my house. I guess I should leave good deeds to those capable of doing them.
Anyway, as a result I find I am too stressed to deal with idiots who like to complain about EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER of my story. These are people who haven't posted a single piece of work and despite the fact that don't appear to like my story, they come back and write derogatory things about it. Not constructive criticism.
This is why the world is so screwed up. Because idiots are allowed to inflict themselves on others.
Anyway, I thought I would address a few points about the story:
1: Magic didn't die, the genetics required to use it were simply destroyed or altered due to the affects of pure Eezo, Dark Energy and all the other stuff that popped out of Pandora's little box when humanity went exploring. I wasn't sure if that would be clear.
2: The gibberish messages that the crew left on message boards was literally that: Gibberish. They didn't need message boards they had QEC. The gibberish was just a red herring for Cerberus.
3: Harry being 'god-like'... he had over powered biotics, a computer in his head and common sense. Common sense doesn't make us god like... but in the world of entertainment it probably seems like it. His magic was rarely used. His biotics were rarely used. The thing he did use was his connection with the geth to create new ways, methods and tools.
4: My take on the ending and the Catalyst... lets face it, the final boss battle was made up of a long and arduous walk down a boring corridor to a place where you had a long and (if your paragon/renegade points were low enough) often useless conversation with a mad man before having a long and useless conversation with a computer. After this you had three options which really did nothing but ensured that your character wouldn't be in a sequel.
So my version skipped the long walks. We skipped the mad man. And we pointed out the truth of the situation to the computer. And hopefully we had some fun on the way.
5: This story was marked as Humour/Adventure. It was not marked as a 'Realistic Take on the Intricately Weaved Worlds of Mass Effect and Harry Potter'. This was made clear in my very first authors note. The only thing you have achieved by getting this far and complaining that it is wrong, over powered, 'gary-stu', etc... is that you have a limited understanding of the English language.
To those of you who enjoyed this story. I am glad. The best reviews I get are the ones where people tell me they physically laughed. Especially if I managed to get you embarrassed or in trouble as a result!
You are the people I share my work with. I write for myself. I share to make others laugh.
If you want another laugh then in the next few days I will post my other finished work: Harry Five-0.
Yes, it is Harry Potter/H50. Yes it will be Harry/Kono.
But I warn you now: Read the authors notes before you start as I don't want to see people complaining because: 'That's not how the law works.'
Otherwise... see you in a bit.