Chapter 16: Supernova
Shepard and his crew heard the explosion from where they came from.
"She gave everything to do the right thing," Samara stated.
"She did," Shepard said in a sad tone. "It's up to us to make sure that wasn't in vain. Come on."
They reached the top of the stairs where they saw Cerberus operatives fighting against hordes of husks. They took cover and took advantage of the two sides' distraction. Samara used pull field to send five agents into the air. Kaidan followed up with an unstable warp which blew the agent apart. Jacob and Grunt used their incineration rounds on their shotguns and fired round after round at the incoming husks. Tali and Legion summoned their drones to add to their numbers on the plaza.
"Damn many of them!" Kasumi remarked.
"Just the way I like it!" Grunt cheered.
Tali squinted her eyes and saw Rubia among the Cerberus agents. "Shepard! It's Rubia!"
"Samara use pull on him!" Shepard ordered.
Samara waved her arm and Rubia was lifted into the air and drifted towards the group. A look of terror came across his face. "Come on, Shepard!" he begged. "It was nothing personal."
Miranda cringed from hearing that line. "It's always personal!" she growled.
Miranda and Shepard simultaneously launched a warp towards the floating Cerberus Admiral. He was immediately torn apart from the biotic attacks. Shepard and Tali couldn't help but smile a little from making Rubia pay for his betrayal.
"Keep up the pressure!" Shepard ordered. "We need to break through. Trillions are counting on us!"
A Reaper flew from the fray towards the dreadnaughts that sat on the sideline firing their slugs. "One of the Reapers are heading right for us!" Lidanya yelled over the ships comm. system. The Reaper approached a Turian Dreadnaught and clamped down on it.
"Bastard has my ship!" the Turian captain said. His ship shuttered as the behemoth landed. Several crew members were thrown across rooms from the impact.
"I AM ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL!"
Lights and panels all over the ship flashed in many patterns. Eventually turning a bright yellow in color. Four bright yellow eyes were displayed to the Turian captain. The operatives of the ship tried to stop the system from being controlled.
"It's taken over my ship!"
The Turian dreadnaught turned to another and charged up its mass accelerators. Slugs fired from the vessel into the other dreadnaught causing great damage. The attacked dreadnaught shifted and then broke apart from the attack. Harbinger added to the dreadnaught's offense by shooting beams of energy from its arms at two other dreadnaughts. The beams sliced through the two ships.
"I AM THE HARBINGER OF YOUR DESTRUCTION."
"Take it down!" Hacket spat out.
The dreadnaughts turned towards the controlled dreadnaught and open fired. Harbinger released its grasp and flew away from the doomed dreadnaught. "Noooooooo!" the Turian captain screamed before his vessel was torn apart from dreadnaught slugs. Harbinger flew to another dreadnaught and clamped down.
"I AM ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL OF THIS VESSEL."
"Harbinger is just going to take dreadnaught after dreadnaught!" Hackett said over the comm.
"I can help with that," Joker replied.
The Thanix cannon extended from the hull of the Normandy. Bright blue beams of energy fired from the cannons and scorched the backside of Harbinger. The Reaper released its grasp and flew towards Normandy. Joker fired torpedoes at it as he evaded the beams of energy coming from Harbinger's appendages.
"FOOLISH CRETIN. WE ARE PINNACLE. YOU CANNOT HARM US!"
The dreadnaughts all activated their targeting computers. The computer tracked Harbinger as it gave chase to the Normandy. "Target locked!" Hackett yelled over the comm.
The Normandy did a flip and charged up its Thanix Cannon. All of the dreadnaughts fired. The Normandy fired. The slugs from a hundred dreadnaughts and the stream of molten metal flew towards the Reaper. They connected with the Reaper breaking it apart in a blue explosion that engulfed its being.
"I think that hurt it," Joker quipped. "Payback for killing the first Normandy."
"Good job, Joker," Hackett praised. "Now let's finish this."
"Aye, aye." Joker looked to EDI. "EDI. Where's Shepard?"
"My scans have him at the top level of Citadel Tower."
"There's the Master Control Panel!" Shepard called out.
Tali and Garrus all felt that this area looked too much like the Council Chamber from when they fought Saren and the Geth. There were fires all over the plaza and they could see that large-scale battle, which took place around the Citadel, through the chamber's large window. The Master Control Panel was lit up. The ground team already took care of any husks and Cerberus agents that stood between them and the control panel. Shepard rushed up to the panel and punched in a few keys. The switch to activate the Reaper virus came up. His hand drifted towards to button.
"Wait!" a familiar voice yelled. The Illusive Man walked out of the shadows with a cigarette that was almost out. "I know you don't have a high opinion of me or Cerberus right now-"
"You think?" Shepard asked rhetorically.
"But listen. We have managed to develop a virus that will take control of the Reaper fleet. Use it instead of the Prothean virus. You'll have command of the entire Reaper fleet. That way the Reaper war will be over and we'll have a new Citadel to rebuild this galactic community and a fleet that will stop any race from ever challenging humanity."
"You mean you, not we," Shepard corrected.
"Listen to me Shepard! It was because of my organization that you're alive."
"And because of your organization that so many hated humans!" Shepard accused. "Because of your organization so many have suffered. Do you ever think about the long-term consequences of your actions? Look around you! Through my team and my actions we are a united galaxy."
"I gave you a second chance at life, Shepard. This is the best chance to bring everlasting peace to this galaxy. All will follow Humanity's lead. No more slavers, mercenaries or pirates, Shepard. With this Reaper fleet there will never be another Mindoir raid."
Shepard was silent. His team's eyes fell upon him.
"Are you willing to pay that price just to be rid of the Reapers?"
Shepard stared into the Illusive Man's eyes. "A price I pay gladly." He pressed the button to release the virus.
Sacrosanct's body flashed blue as the virus entered its system. All over the battle each Reaper flashed with blue lights. All of them ceasing their movements.
"What the hell just happened?" Han asked out loud.
"Looks like Shepard, succeeded in releasing the virus," Koris replied.
The ships took advantage of the moment and started blasting Reapers left and right. Cheers could be heard over the comm.
"This is Commander Shepard. The virus has been released. I'm ordering everyone to fall back through the relay. We're launching the dark energy missile. In less than twenty minutes this whole system will go Super Nova." A missile could be seen being launched from the Citadel.
"The crazy bastard did it," Wrex huffed. "Krogan, you heard him."
Ships all over the system made a beeline for the relay, rushing to exit the system as fast as they could.
"The Normandy will be staying behind," Joker said. "We need to make sure the galaxy's hero makes it out of here."
"Roger that, Normandy," Hackett said. "We look forward to seeing you soon."
"It's over," Shepard sighed.
"You idealistic fool!" the Illusive Man screamed. "We could have taken control of this entire galaxy!"
"Enough!" Shepard pressed his hand to his ear. "Area is clear. The window will be open for you to land at." He pressed the button to open the large window in the back of the chamber.
"Roger that Commander. See you soon."
"Are you even listening to me?" the Illusive Man asked in anger.
"I'm through listening to you."
The Illusive Man was about to talk when a spike went through his chest. Blood spilled from his mouth and chest wound. He took to last few moments of his life to glance at the spike. Tubes came from the spike and connect to various parts of his body.
Shepard and his team could only watch in horror. The appendage pulled the Illusive Man away into the darkness that consumed a large area of the plaza. A large creature appeared from the shadows. The creature was over twenty feet tall. Four tentacles came out of its back. Each tentacle was a mosaic of dead bodies from various species. Like a pillar of hell. The creature moved on all fours like an elcor and its head resembled a squid. Three tentacles made up its mouth that opened and closed revealing a gaping maw filled with hundreds of teeth. Its feet made large thud sounds as it moved forward. The creature's eyes glowed with a bright purple.
"What the hell is that thing?" Jacob gasped.
"A big thing to kill," Grunt remarked.
"YOU WILL NOT SUCCEED!" the creature announced.
"It's Sacrosanct!" Shepard observed. "It pulled a Saren. Take cover!"
The creature's maw opened up and charged up an attack. A pruple beam of energy shot out and barely missed Samara as she rolled out of the way into cover. The rest squad took cover and fired their weapons at the hulking creature. Their rounds had no effect on the approaching cosmic horror. "Our weapons are having no effect!" Garrus yelled.
"Shepard-Commander," Legion said. "Our sensors detect five structural weak points in the base of its back's appendages and its optical sensors."
"Everyone who has a heavy get it out!" Shepard ordered. "Aim for the base of its tentacles and its eyes!"
Garrus took out the Mithanix cannon. Grunt held out the Hydra launcher. Both starting firing at the abomination. "Everyone else give me cover fire so I can charge up the Cain!"
The other squad members crouch down towards the opposite side Garrus fired a beam from his cannon and punched a hole through the base of one of its tentacles. Grunt kept shredding away its armor, bit by bit. Sacrosanct still continued to fire on the distraction team.
The Cain beeped rapidly as it reached its full charge. BEEP! The projectile launched and collided with the abomination's face. Sacrosanct backed away several steps and screamed in a mechanical roar.
"The attack barely did anything!" Garrus yelled.
Sacrosanct turned its attention to Shepard. "YOU WILL DIE!" It charged up its weapon and fired. "Shepard!" Tali cried out only to watch the attack fly towards Shepard.
Shepard was pushed out of the way of the attack by Thane. He looked up at Thane. "Thanks for the save, Thane."
"N-No problem, Shepard," he said weakly.
Shepard saw that Thane took the weapon hit. "Thane!" He crouched by him. "Come on, stay with me! I have some medi-gel."
Thane waved the thought away. "Don't. It's okay. I was expecting to die here. You've been a good friend to me Shepard. Now end this nightmare." Shepard wiped away some tears and nodded.
Thane felt weak as his time drew near. His vision started to fade. In his moments of death he could see Erika and Kolyat standing before him smiling. "I'm coming," he whispered as his last words before leaving the world.
Shepard turned his attention to Sacrosanct.
"NOT SO STRONG NOW?" it mocked.
Shepard noticed its opening and closing maw. "Everyone concentrate your fire at its eyes!"
Everyone obeyed without a second thought. Shepard had only one round left in the Cain. He had to make it count. Sacrosanct screamed as the team fired rounds of slugs, missiles and Mithanix beams at its face. Shepard took aim and charged up the Cain. The beeping rapidly increased in rhythm. BEEP, BEEP, BEEEEEEEEEEEEEE- Shepard stared at its gaping maw. "Eat this you ugly son of a bitch." The projectile fired forth and went into the opened maw. The explosion tore Sacrosanct to pieces.
"I-I'M PINNACLE!" it screamed as its last words.
The team huffed and puffed from exhaustion. "So what should we call this husk type?" Tarlon asked.
"Dead," Shepard quipped.
They could hear the roars of the shuttles engines. The three shuttles landed inside the plaza. "Come on, people! We don't have much time!"
The team ran into their respective shuttles. The pilots wasted no time in waiting for the doors to closed when they lifted off with the doors closing at the same time. The Normandy lifted into view of the shuttles.
"Shepard, it's Joker!"
"You always had the best timing," he joked.
"Have to live up to my name. The Reaper fleet is disabled and every survivor has evacuated. We're just waiting for you."
The shuttles flew into the Normandy's Cargo bay. As soon as the indicator on his HUB declared it, Joker closed the bay doors and flew towards the relay as fast as the Normandy allowed.
The missile drew near to the Blue Giant. Dark energy flowed around the missile as it approached. The projectile plunged into the blue surface. There was a pause. The sun then bulged then contracted in size and exploded. Waves of energy and radiation burst outwards engulfing the nearby planets. The wave reached the Reapers instantly incinerating the incapacitated constructs.
Shepard, Tali and Garrus ran to the front of the Normandy next to Joker. A view screen popped up showing the wave of energy that approached their rear. "It's catching up!" Garrus yelped.
"EDI and I are punching it as fast as we can."
The wave of energy came closer and closer. The relay was just ahead.
"Come on girl. We can do this."
"I don't think we're going to make it," Tali yelled sadly.
"We'll make it," Sheppard corrected.
"It's reaching us!" Garrus interrupted.
Hundreds of ships waited around the relay for the Normandy to come through. It was a tense moment. Lidanya sighed in sadness as she watched the timer reach zero. "I-I..." she tried to say over the comms. "I don't think they made it."
"They'll make it!" Wrex roared. "Shepard defeated death once before, he'll do it again!"
"I don't think it's that eas-"
"Don't," he stopped her. "I believe in Shepard. They'll make it."
They watched the relay for what seemed to be forever. The relay's energy surged. "I'm getting activation of the relay!"
The Normandy charged in through the relay with a small trail of energy. "Galactic fleet, this is the Normandy," Joker announced. "We made it."
One Week Later...
The galaxy was still reeling after the Battle of Ragnarok. In total, Humans lost 35000 lives, Turians lost 28000, Asari lost 30000, Salarians lost 15000, Krogan lost 10000, the Hegemony lost 20000, various mercenary groups lost 29000, Quarians lost 9000 and the Rachni lost 45000, bringing the total lost to 221000 sentient lives lost. The Geth's numbers were harder to pinpoint considering each ship could have thousands of programs and they could be uploaded to other Geth ships before the ship was destroyed. The numbers lost did not concern them deeply.
Shepard and Tali ran through the Shepard Elysium plaza. Tali couldn't help but giggle here and there. "Come on, Shepard!" she pleaded. "What's the surprise?"
"There's someone I wanted you to meet."
Shepard walked Tali passed the crowd and towards an area filled with tables. Shepard pointed to one of the tables. There an older man sat. He was dressed in an Alliance uniform. With bars on his shoulders designating him as a Rear Admiral. His skin was slightly winkled and he had salt-and-pepper hair. The man looked up and saw Shepard and Tali walk towards him. "Shepard!" he yelled. The crowd around them looked at them and realized it was Commander Shepard standing there. The pulled out their omni-tools to take pictures. Some people reach out to give Shepard a handshake.
Shepard and Tali slowly approached his table. "Thank you, sir," he said sarcastically. "We really needed that attention."
"Well I haven't seen you in three years so excuse me for being excited."
"Who is this, Shepard?" Tali asked.
"Oh, sorry," Shepard apologized. "This is Admiral Thomas Jackson. He took me in after the Mindoir raid. Tom this is Tali'Zorah vas Normandy."
Jackson reached out and shook Tali's hand. "It's an honor to meet you. I've heard a lot about you."
"Of course. You're the famous Quarian engineer who has the galaxy's first human Spectre head over heels in love with her."
Tali couldn't help but blush.
"I can't say I blame him." He looked to Shepard. "You really found yourself a great lady, Shepard."
Jackson laughed. "At ease, Shepard. You outrank me. There's no need for sirs."
"I won't be outranking you for long," Shepard commented.
"I'm retiring from the military. With Rannoch up and running, the Alliance is going to need an Ambassador to the Quarian people." Shepard looked to Tali and smiled. "And I promised to build someone a house."
"What's going to happen to the Normandy?"
"I put Garrus' and Kaidan's names forward as a Spectre candidate. I'm sure they'll get in. Kaidan be taking control of the ship and I'm sure Garrus will join him."
"I heard about him. Good guy."
"Though my career is not why I called you here."
"I assumed as much."
Shepard grabbed Tali's hand and gave it a soft squeeze. "In about a month Tali and I are going to be going through a bonding ritual. It would mean a lot if you would come."
"Of course I'll come! I wouldn't miss that for anything in the galaxy. Where will it be taking place?"
"Next to the Quarian's capital on Rannoch. Almost half the galaxy is invited."
"You really got yourself set up. Though considering all the hardships you've been through, this is the least the galaxy owes you."
The Rachni were considered redeemed in the eyes of the galaxy and were allowed to rejoin the galaxy. The Geth were granted status as a race, but they returned into an unknown system to finish their secret project, but were grateful for the gesture. Legion joined with them stating, "My objective has been achieved."
With Cerberus gone, Humanity's respect grew beyond what it was after the Battle of the Citadel. Any who harbored resentment or hatred towards the Alliance or Humanity were quickly dismissed as xenophobic bigots. Terra Firma's support also dropped sharply.
The Quarian people regained their honor in the galaxy's eyes from their noble sacrifice during the Battle of Ragnarok. They were able to return to their homeworld and were well on their way to bringing their race back up to where they once were three hundred years ago. Thanks to Mordin's Immunity implant, every Quarian were able to be rid of their suits after several months. Though some chose to continue wearing their suits (while not as strictly as they once did) due to a variety such as a form of Stockholm syndrome and tradition.
The Batarian Hegemony reluctantly rid their society of slavery due to their crippled job market. They needed workers, which in turn caused Batarian-run businesses to compete for workers. Incentives such as worker conditions and payroll were sued to attract workers from various races.
The Council was restructured to provide a voice for every race.
Garrus made Spectre status and co-commanded the Normandy for several decades hunting done slavers and pirates. He later in life resigned as a Spectre and settled down on Palaven.
Wrex continued leading the Krogan people in a new direction. Due to their actions during the Battle of Ragnarok, Salarian scientists offered to cure them of the Genophage. In an act that surprised the galaxy: They refused. Wrex offering the explanation that their numbers were dwindling not because of the genophage, but do to their own actions. With the Krogan heading in a new direction in their society, the genophage did not have the same threat of extinction for the Krogan.
Grunt left the Normandy for Tuchanka to assist with Krogan reconstruction. While disappointed that there are no more big fights, he accepted that. During his assistance in the reconstruction of Krogan cities, he started a gladiator-style sport that helped the Krogan people focus their blood rage. This sport that was called "Ty'Lak Rewtoy (TLR)" or Blood Rage Liberation (BRL). This helped reduce violent tendency in the Krogan population, while bringing in revenue as a spectator sport.
Zaeed continued leading the Blue Suns as a mercenary group, but still received praise from their assistance and sacrifice during the Battle of Ragnarok. This lends legitimacy to their organization as oppose to being criminals. This gave them work for politicians and the military.
Despite Kasumi's preference to being secretive, she could not avoid gaining attention and praise for her efforts for fighting against the Reapers. She became a beloved icon in the galaxy as a thief with a heart of gold. Cartoons and comics were made of her adventures. She still refuses to be interviewed and continues to stay elusive. She still makes the time to visit her favorite Commander and Quarian once in a while. Due to her elusive nature, it's the dream of every reporter and journalist to get an interview with her. So far no one has achieved this goal.
Jack's sacrifice inspired stories of her life from being a criminal to becoming a galactic hero. The Jack Zero charity was created to help children on the streets to gain a better education.
Thane Krios was honored in a similar fashion amongst the Drell of the Hanar homeworld. A day was created to give prayer for his noble sacrifice.
Samara left shortly after the victory and continued as a Justicar saving the innocent and punishing the wicked. Though once in a while she has been known to grant mercy.
Mordin Solus felt his conscious cleared after the defeat of the Reapers and the Krogan finally united. He continued his work in biology, advancing medical knowledge and technology of all races and even partially expanding Salarian life expectancy. He died as the oldest living Salarian: age 51.
Jacob Taylor and Kaidan Alenko were both given Spectre status and continued honoring Shepard's methods and morality throughout the galaxy. Kaidan currently commands the Normandy with its original crew such as Joker and Chakwas.
Miranda Lawson went back to scientific studies under the new Galactic government. When asked how Project Lazarus she refused to explain how it worked stating, "The goal of the project was to bring back Commander Shepard. That's all."
Liara continued her job as an information broker, but eventually became one of the youngest Asari to become a Respresentative (300).
Anderson continued fighting for Humanity's interest on the Galactic scale for a couple of decades, but later resigned. His reason? "My head hurts too much from banging it against the wall too long."
Supreme Commander Shepard became Ambassador Shepard and Tali'Zorah attained the rank of Admiral. But due to her people finally reclaiming their home world, the position of Admiral did not hold the same amount of power as it used to. They both bonded on Earth-Date 6.11.2186, on Rannoch, where they still live. The two adopted two kids to raise on the Quarian homeworld. A Quarian daughter and a Human son. Both were orphaned after the Battle of Ragnarok. They were described as a very happy and well-adjusted family.
Shepard eventually died of old age on Earth-Date 7.23.2299. Tali died the next day. A monument was made in their honor on Ragnarok. It was a statue of the two holding hands. Shepard wore Alliance armor and Tali wore her suit for the battle against the Reapers. Her visor was held in her free hand. On the base of the statue was a quote from an old Earth vid. It was Translated into Khelish and English. The words read: "Death cannot stop True Love. All it can do is delay it a little while."