A/N: This crossover is Mass Effect-centric. It's recommended that you have played the game or have a basic knowledge of its story and characters.


"I dare you."

"No frickin' way, Anthony. We don't even know what's in there. Besides the whole thing creeps me out. Who builds things like this anymore?"

"It's just an old house. Don't be such a wuss, Mark."

"If that's the case, why don't YOU go first?"

The two young men turned their eyes warily back to the eyesore of a structure that was the topic of their argument. The small, archaic house seemed ridiculously out of place as it was overshadowed by the monolithic buildings that made up the rest of the city. Flecks of what might have been a greenish paint just barely clung to its exterior.

The story was that the building had been maintained as a sort of historical monument but no one really knew much about it beyond that. This granted fertile grounds for rumor and speculation that were as good as anyone's guess. The house should have been completely unimposing; something that you might see in an old realty magazine from the 21st century. However, there were many peculiar things about it that had a tendency to send shivers of unease down your spine. For some reason it looked oddly out of proportion like it was a part of some warped photograph, some things too large, too small, or completely crooked. Even worse were the extremely peculiar tubes extruding from either side. Some of them lay loose, silent snakes in the dirt, while others were clamped onto the skeletons of what may have been other homes once.

"Because I don't have a gun," replied the chiding man, Anthony. His eyes darted to Marcus' shoulder where the weapon was strapped over his Alliance gear.

"Do you have any idea how much trouble I would get in if I fired this thing in a public area without just cause?" Marcus responded, incredulous.

"Well, if there is really anything to shoot at in there then there will be just cause, won't there?" his friend pointed out, amused.

"You've had way too much to drink, man," Marcus sighed, not having any of this nonsense.

"Oh, fine. I can't believe you got into the military." Anthony waved a hand dismissively and turned, walking towards the house.

"There's a reason you didn't, you know! ….Come back here. It's not funny."

"Just a second," he drawled, his eyes darting to the worn, long tubes as he passed the ones on the ground. "I'll show you how it's done." His words came weakly as he felt his heart start pounding harder in his chest. He begged the tubes not to move as he stepped over one in his way. They seemed to obey his wishes and before he knew it he was at the front door. Marcus watched him tentatively from the street, his hands fidgeting and ready to reach for his pistol.

Anthony stood on the doorstep briefly, wondering if the door was locked. Part of him hoped that it was, so he could throw away the whole charade without looking like a coward. He looked to his left and his right, noticing that he was flanked with old and broken things. One, he suspected, was what they used to call a garden gnome, but he hadn't seen one himself until just then. Even that was creepy; part of its head had caved in so it was missing half of its face and grinned up at him manically. He shook the chill that ran up his spine and reached for the ancient looking doorknob.

Please be locked. Please, God, be locked, he prayed.

The house was not complying this time, and the door pushed open with a dusty and foreboding creek. Anthony was suddenly reminded of all the horror films he had watched as a child. Nothing good usually came of something like this.

"Anthony?" Marcus asked.

I'll just step inside...and that's it... That will be enough, Anthony thought.

He took a deep breath and put on the best confident face he could muster. He took a step up into the doorway, standing just inside the entry, and turned to face Marcus.

"See, what did I say?" he called, managing to contain the shudder in his voice just enough. He felt his skin begin to crawl as he thought he heard something whisper inside the house behind him.

Nothing, it's nothing. Just look at him, man, he's freaked!

Marcus' face was frozen in a look Anthony had never quite seen before. His hands twitched and he looked like he wanted to pull his gun but couldn't quite get his body to move. In the darkness behind Anthony all Marcus could see was something red gleaming. No, two red things gleaming..., and then suddenly there came an awful metallic grinding noise that made his hands fly to his ears.

Anthony didn't have time to turn and see what it was. It was as if the dark swam up and wrapped itself around him, pulling him inside and slamming the door shut. A scream pierced the air followed by more mind-shattering squeals and grinding noises; metal on metal. Marcus could not move, nor speak. He watched as blood sprayed from one of the broken windows like a freshly opened wound.

He screamed.

"Repairs should be complete and we should be ready for departure in 2 hours."

"Great. Thanks EDI," Commander Shepard said before turning to the pilot beside her. "You did a great job, Joker. I would say I'm surprised we didn't suffer more damage, but...well, you know." She shrugged and smirked at him, flipping through her data pad. Joker grinned a bit and shuffled in his chair with a look of well-earned pride.

"Yeah, I do," he said. She patted him on the shoulder and headed to the combat information center to plot a new route for supplies.

"Hello, Commander," Yeoman Chambers greeted as usual with a smile. Shepard gave her a nod and returned the gesture. She was glad that the girl seemed in better spirits today despite all the trauma she had been through. Kelly had been severely distressed after she and the rest of the crew had been rescued from the Collector base, but she seemed determined to overcome it. Shepard knew she would never be entirely the same, though. Seeing what she had seen, and having already died once, she knew you didn't just walk away from these things quite so easy.

The entire crew had almost been lost that day. The remaining team aboard the Normandy had followed the Collectors to their base on the other side of the Omega 4 relay and had found the captive pods mere seconds before they liquified everyone. Harbinger had intended to use them, along with countless others, to fuel the birth of a Human-Reaper. The abomination was something that was still haunting Shepard's sleep and a great deal of her waking moments. She was still grateful that everyone had made it out alive and could only hope for such luck when it came to facing the Reapers head-on.

As she looked over the map and began to set a course, the Commander was interrupted by Joker's voice over the comm.

"Hey, Shepard? You wouldn't believe this but there's a message coming in from Admiral Hackett. I'll patch him through."

Shepard was a little puzzled, though she didn't mind hearing from the Admiral. The last time she had spoken to him was a little over two years ago when they both took part in the critical battle against the Reaper, Sovereign. Hackett had led the Alliance vessels that had defended the Council's ship, the Destiny Ascension. Without his help a lot more lives may have been lost that day.

"Shepard, this is Admiral Hackett," his gruff voice came over the comm. For some reason, it was comforting to hear him again. "It's nice to speak with you again. Thought we had lost you for good."

"Yeah, that seemed to be the consensus, but I hate to be predictable."

"Yes, well," he said, sounding as though he had chuckled just a little, or maybe it was just a cough. "I imagine being back from the dead you probably have a lot on your plate these days, but I'm afraid I need to ask for your assistance."

"What is it, Admiral?"

"There's been an incident on Earth," he said. "There's some strange phenomena going on in New Philadelphia. We're getting strange energy readings from a structure in the area and we need to have it checked out."

"I don't have a problem helping, but why hasn't the Alliance done anything?" Shepard wasn't about to ask if he had contacted the Council for help. God knows they wouldn't lift a finger for anything – even for the people who had once saved their lives.

"We've tried, but there's a bit of a hitch in things. We've got historical independence groups getting riled up that they don't want soldiers doing anything with the building for fear we'll destroy something important. On the other hand, I have people frantic about the fact that one of my soldiers says he witnessed a man get murdered by it."

"Murdered by it? What are we talking about, exactly?"

"A house."

"A house?" Now Shepard was really confused.

"Yes, like one of those things from way back before the Mars discovery. One of my rookies said that he saw it devour someone." Hackett paused, probably playing back his own words in his head and wondering how ridiculous it sounded. "From what I've seen so far, whether that's true or not, it does appear that something gruesome happened there recently. That, and no one can figure out what's causing the energy spikes we're getting."

"So if the investigation is being held up by these groups, how am I supposed to get in?"

"That's the thing, Shepard. You're a hero on Earth and just about everyone on it. If you come down here I'm sure they would be more than willing to let you take a look." He paused a moment again. "...And, to be perfectly honest, I think there's something not right about this place."

Shepard thought for a moment. She was genuinely intrigued by the fact a military man of Hackett's history was spooked by what sounded like a very normal, old building. It seemed like sort of a trivial thing to travel all the way to Earth for, but Hackett didn't just go asking for favors unless there was something behind it. Besides, she owed him one. Returning to Earth was not a top priority for Shepard, seeing as how her memories of it were not the fondest; fighting for survival in the slums until she enlisted when she came of age. She doubted it had changed much.

"I'll be there ASAP."

"Thank you. I'll connect with you when you arrive." The comm-link disconnected and Shepard descended the steps from the map terminal.

"I'm sorry, but I couldn't help overhearing...," Kelly spoke up. "This sounds awful serious. You should be careful."

"No worries, Kelly. I'm always careful," Shepard grinned and the Yeoman gave her a puzzled look like she had no idea when she had ever seen such a thing. The Commander said no more, and headed down to the Engineering deck to speak with Tali. Not sure what they were heading into, Shepard liked having a technical expert on hand. Legion was also a prime candidate, but the human race was not quite so friendly when it came to the synthetics that had raided the Citadel not long before.

"Hello, Shepard" the Quarian greeted as she approached, still tapping away at her terminal diligently. Tali was always very thorough with her work. She would check and recheck to make sure everything lined up properly. It was something that Shepard admired about her, along with her determination and inward strength. A lot of Quarians that she had seen did not do so well when they left the Flotilla. Tali was an exception and almost nothing daunted her; not even the suit that she was seemingly destined to wear the rest of her life. She was also one of very few of Shepard's original crew, and that made her all the more endearing.

"Tali, I need you to come with me on a quick errand." Tali turned around and despite how foggy her helmet was, Shepard was almost sure she looked confused. Her voice confirmed it.

"An errand?"

"Yes. I need to take a team down to Earth to check out a report from Admiral Hackett."

"What report?"

"Something about a man-eating house. I'm not sure, I don't have all the details," Shepard said, nonchalantly. Now Tali really was puzzled. She tapped her fingertips on the jaw of her helmet.

"Okay... I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by strange things happening around you. Just let me know when you are ready to go."

Shepard smiled and nodded, turning to exit. She made her way down to the crew quarters and gave a wave to Rupert, the cook, as she passed the mess hall. There was no one better she could think to watch her back in a situation such as this than the Turian, Garrus. Just like with Tali, they had survived numerous battles together and were an excellent team, plus he was ideal for any sort of infiltration.

Garrus had always held Shepard in high regard ever since he started working with her. In a lot of ways she had become his mentor, and he had been distraught when he thought she had died. He had suffered a similar sort of agony when he found out she was alive, having blocked off that part of himself, ready to move on.

Losing her had put things into a much different perspective. When she had suggested they "blow off steam" prior to the mission to the Collector's base, he had been at a loss for words. He had agreed, almost out of habit with her, but really had no idea of what it all meant or where it was going.

In the days following their unexpected return from the mission, both the Commander and the Turian found themselves staying quite close to one another. Their bond remained unspoken, but not unacknowledged.

"Garrus," she said as she entered, in a semi-sing-song voice.

"What insane thing are you going to ask me to do now?" he asked, though half-jokingly, without turning around. Shepard sauntered in and leaned on the railing near his console.

"Nothing terribly out of the norm, I swear," she smiled. "Actually, it's simple. Just recon, really. No missiles to the face."

Garrus turned his head to eye her, his talons ceasing their endless calibrations for once. He gave a slight Turian smirk at the missile comment. Not a lot of people could make that claim; surviving a massive explosion to the head. True, half of his face had been reconstructed after the fact, but it didn't make it any less of a feat.

"Uh...huh," he hummed in the back of his throat.

"I'll have you back to your calibrations in a few hours, I promise," she said, resting a palm on his hand nearest to her and looking at him with mischievous eyes. Garrus looked at her hand and then at her again. Damnit. He hated when she got touchy. Not that he hated the touching, it just made it hard to argue with her.

"Alright, stop with the eyes," Garrus murmured, pulling his hand from beneath hers and laying it on top briefly. "Just let me know when it's time."

"Thank you," she said, giving his arm a nudge as she passed him to leave. He simply chuckled and shook his head.

New Philadelphia was one of the oldest and largest Metropolises on Earth. High society and cultural enlightenment were almost as abundant as crime and poverty. It did a magnificent job of hiding its ugly underbelly, as cities often did. Dazzled by high-rises and feats of cutting-edge technology, visitors would never know the reality of what they had obliviously overlooked. Shepard did not care for the familiarity of such a place. She had not grown up here, but she was more than well acquainted with the darker side of life in a city like this. It was a memory she often forced herself to ignore.

By the time their squad had arrived at the site of the report, there was a huge crowd to greet them. Hackett saw them approach and made his way through the mob with the help of some of his soldiers. Tali was nearly knocked to the ground as the neared the house, but Garrus managed to grab a a hold of her arm and stop her fall. She thanked him with a nod as they moved into a quarantined area just outside the building. Shepard surveyed the wreck of a house and everything around it, scrutinizing. The sight of the it gave her an odd feeling in the pit of her stomach that she didn't like. It didn't help that there appeared to be dried blood stains in the dirt leading from a splatter at one of the windows. Someone had been killed here, and recently.

"I've never seen anything like this. Though, I'm not certain I want to know what those are for," Tali mentioned, looking around at the ominously large tubing that flanked where they stood.

"Whatever it was, it looks like it's been out of use for a long time," Garrus said, adjusting his rifle in his hands, feeling a little uncomfortable as he nudged one with his foot. A small cloud of dust and dirt coughed out of the open end.

"How are things going here?" Shepard asked, turning to Hackett.

"It's been complete chaos," he said with a small shake of his head. "The sooner we find out what's going on the better. If this goes on much longer we're going to have a riot."

"I'll try to be quick."

"Just be careful." Then in a slightly louder voice, so certain parties could hear, he added, "And, please, refrain from destroying anything in the building."

As the trio turned and headed for the house, Garrus leaned in towards her.

"You're not supposed to break anything? They do know who you are, right?" he said lowly.

"I didn't sign anything," Shepard replied with a crooked grin. A Turian smirk crossed Garrus' face.

Standing at the doorstep, the Commander gave the entry a quick scan with her omni-tool. She looked over the readings and tapped a finger to her lips.

"Tali, can you run a scan, please?" Tali nodded and scanned the door with her own omni-tool.

"What do you have?"

"It seems like the entire building is made of an unknown material. I've never seen anything like it before. I'm also getting some readings that indicate that there's some sort of energy network running through the entire foundation."

"Hm. That's what I got, too." Shepard reached back to grasp her assault rifle and reached out tentatively to grip the doorknob. It didn't make any sense. The house appeared old in make, but it was built with substances that didn't even register in any database. Wherever it came from, it seemed inhuman. Pushing the door open, she slowly stepped inside, stayed close to the wall and activated night vision in her helmet. The building was shrouded in darkness despite the light of the city, overshadowed by the giants that had been constructed around it. Tali and Garrus carefully followed her, covering different parts of the room. The floor creaked mournfully as they moved throughout the small building.

"Shepard, look at this," Garrus said, gesturing with the barrel of his rifle at a dark, massive stain on the floor. Splatter and spray told the story of how the blood had reached the window. A second trail stretched farther into the house.

"I'm not seeing anything here. Let's check the other rooms," Shepard said quietly into her comm.

"Maybe whatever it was isn't here anymore," Tali offered, though she suspected that was not the case.

"What in the...?" came Shepard's voice and her partners followed her into a kitchen.

"What?" Garrus asked. Shepard gestured with her rifle to something in the corner.

It was a toilet...installed in the kitchen, as if it was trying to look like the most normal thing in the world.

The blood trail led to it and abruptly stopped.

"That's just gross," she said. There was suddenly a very loud slam behind them. Tali turned to look, gripping her shotgun tightly.

"Shepard, the door just closed."

"Are you serious?" she replied, pushing past Tali to see it was, in fact, true. Garrus and Tali were still right by her side so she knew it hadn't been either of them who had done it. She also didn't suspect Hackett was one for practical jokes. "Tali, go see if you can open it. Garrus and I will cover you." The Quarian nodded and moved swiftly for the door as Garrus followed. Shepard turned to look back in the kitchen briefly, feeling as though her nerves were on fire. It was one of those times where you were almost certain there was something stalking you but you just couldn't see it. She turned to join the others...

...and came face to face with two red gleaming eyes staring right into her helmet.

"Holy shit!" she exclaimed, trying to lift her gun to fire at it, but finding it almost impossible to move. Her arms were constricted by something she couldn't see. Tali and Garrus had heard her scream and turned to see a mass of black and gleams of metal engulfing her form. Garrus took the initiative and aimed, getting a shot off at what he guessed was the thing's head. It squealed and released Shepard, rolling about the floor in a frenzy with sparks spouting from the injury. Recovering from her shock, Shepard lifted her gun and shot at it where it lay, but it managed to dodge, flying about the room in a ghostly fashion. It continued to scream madly, and then it appeared to laugh, and then scream again.

"Put that thing down!" Shepard commanded, though it seemed to be an impossible task even with the three of them attacking it at once. They aimed and it flew aside just as their rounds would have contacted it. "What the hell is WRONG with this thing?" It had stopped screaming and was now just laughing maniacally as it seemed to toy with them. Tali watched it with a fearful awe, noticing that the red lights had suddenly changed to a bright, neon blue. It seemed to change every time it started to cackle. She was almost certain it was a synthetic of some sort. The way it sounded when it moved and 'spoke' supported the theory. The strange thing was it seemed to be throwing a complete haywire fit.

"Intru-DER!" it intoned, eyes flaring red again just as it leapt from the ground towards Garrus. Whatever appendages or tendrils it had, it clamped onto him and knocked him backward with such force that when he hit the floor it collapsed.

"Garrus!" the women cried, running over to the newly formed hole.

"It goes further down?" Shepard asked incredulously. Beneath the floorboards was not a standard foundation, but a very deep, dark hole.

"We need to get more help, Shepard," Tali said, her tone obviously frightened.

"We don't have time. That thing could kill him!" her Commander replied. "You stay up here in case I need to contact the surface for help. I'm going after him."

"But you don't know what's down there! What if you can't get back up?"

"You know I don't leave my crew behind," was all Shepard had to say and Tali understood. She felt panicked about it, but she understood.

"O-okay. Let me know when you've found him...," she stammered a little. Shepard nodded and braced herself, grabbing Garrus' dropped rifle and climbed down into the hole. She prayed to god it didn't lead into something dreadful; things she really didn't want to think about. She kept her concentration on Garrus and finding out where he went.

The hole was very steep, deep and dark. Strange smells like something burning filled her nose and she tried to hold her breath. Skidding down through dirt for what seemed an eternity, she finally hit something solid and smooth. Before she could decipher what it was, she saw a form in front of her and hurried to it. Garrus was sitting, cradling his head in his hands and she knelt by him, checking him for injuries.

"My god, are you okay?" she asked, breathlessly.

"I think so. I guess I should ask you to be more specific about what WILL be hitting me in the face next time." Shepard felt like telling him it wasn't the time for joking, but just let her relief wash over her instead.

"This is insane. Do you know where it went?"

"No. We landed here and next thing I know it went screaming off somewhere else."

"I wonder where the hell we are now...," Shepard said, standing and activating her omni-tool to scan again. Bizarre and foreign symbols littered the screen and she tapped at them haphazardly, not knowing what else to do. There was a sudden jerk beneath their feet and then a humming noise around them. Garrus hopped to his feet and Shepard hastily handed him his weapon as lights dimly flickered and lit up in a circle around them. "I think we're going further down..."

"Great, that's exactly where I wanted to go," Garrus said with a huff.

"Tali? Can you hear me? I found Garrus but it seems like we're on some sort of elevator and its heading down. We'll try to find a way back up; just hold tight." She wasn't certain if Tali was getting her signal at all, but thought it couldn't hurt to send a message for good measure just in case they got into worse trouble.

"I think we're slowing down. Be ready," Garrus said, preparing himself and aiming at the door before them. Shepard followed his lead and they both waited with baited breath as the platform slowed and jolted to a halt. The doors creaked and sparked, taking a lot of effort to finally open all the way. Wary, she and Garrus exited the elevator slowly and looked around. Half-dead lights flickered at their feet, highlighting a narrow walkway. With nowhere to go but forward they followed the dreary path.

"I can't believe this," Garrus marveled. "This room is huge. How could this have gone unnoticed for so long?" The walkway was surrounded by spherical room whose depths were hard to fathom in the dim light. Like the house that sat on the surface, everything here looked old and long past use. The fact that the lights were even still working was a wonder.

"Garrus, I think we might be dealing with something completely foreign here," Shepard said, running scans on her omni-tool over and over again. Either nothing came up or more strange little symbols. She wondered if EDI would be able to decipher it though she suspected it might take a very long time. The Turian looked at her, trying to comprehend the idea that something that no one in the galaxy had discovered had been sitting smack in the middle of some Earth city. It seemed completely ludicrous but here it was.

"Oh, great. That's just what I wanted to see," he heard her say and then followed her gaze to what lie ahead of them. At the end of the walkway was a metallic, intricately decorated pod. Memories of the Collectors flooded back in the minds of both and they began to feel a very uncomfortable sense of deja vu. "It's got to be whatever built this place..."

"I suppose it would be too much to hope that it's already dead?" he asked no one in particular, just hoping out loud. Shepard sort of hoped that herself. She had had enough of pods and cocoons and anything of the like. They never meant anything good these days. They never meant butterflies; just horror and death and nightmares. They were on a mission, though. They had to figure out what was going on and what this thing was. Once she had confirmed it was deceased they could just go back to the Normandy and leave Earth and forget about the whole thing. She knew this was her inner comfort voice talking, and it wasn't doing a very good job of making her feel any better.

Taking a deep breath, she edged towards the pod.

And there it was again.

Out of nowhere the thing that had attacked them in the house was crouched down on the pod, eyeing her intensely.

"Not this again," she murmured to herself and stayed perfectly still. Though the light was dim, it was not as dark as before and she could get a better look at what it actually was. It was definitely a synthetic, robotic, and a complete and utter mess to look at. The eyes that were trained on her were the only thing that seemed to make sense. It had a head, arms and legs, but it just looked all wrong as if it had been thrown together at the last second. Wires hung loose and tangled for no apparent purpose. The limbs each looked as though they were made from different objects of varying sizes and shapes. She watched as it's head trembled with a spark from the hole where Garrus had shot it, still smoking. "I think...it's protecting the pod."

"A security drone of some sort, maybe," Garrus guessed, keeping the barrel of his rifle keen on the robot.

"If only we knew what all this jargon meant..," Shepard said, frustrated, as she slowly lifted her omni-tool to look at the language again. The robot watched her every move intently.

"Shep... you...? Lo...contact...," sputtered her omni-tool. Tali was trying to make contact with her.

"Shepard...," Garrus said with a warning tone and she looked back towards the fiend before her. It's wires were twitching and sparking. It looked quite agitated with the static coming from the comm.

"Send...Legi...you...," it crackled again and the robot began to make a fierce metallic screech.

"Shepard, move!" Shepard dove for the ground as the technological mess launched itself at her. Garrus took a shot at it again but missed. He barely dodged as it skidded across the walkway towards him, scratching metal against metal so hard it left a mark. Shepard scrambled to her feet and readied her assault rifle to take a shoot, but it was just too fast. It crashed into her with another scream and she fell backwards, off the platform.

"Shepard!" Garrus exclaimed, heading to assist her. The robot clung to her front as she hung perilously over the seemingly unending dark below. Garrus reached down, trying to help her up, but the metal monster swiped at him with sharp, serrated fingers whenever her got close. The wires that dangled from it started to shock her every time they came into contact with her suit. It did nothing to protect her from the onslaught; she may as well have been naked. She screamed with every surge and Garrus began to panic. He couldn't shoot it off her for fear of shooting her in the process. Desperate, and with her fingertips losing their grip, he finally grasped her wrist. Piercing metal dug into his talons and he grunted, gritting his teeth. "Let her go, damn you!"

The shocks traveled through her and into his arm now and it was all he could do to keep his grip on her.

"Shepard Commander. We are here to assist," he heard suddenly. Through bleary eyes he looked and saw Legion kneeling beside him and gripping the Commander's other arm, jolting with the shock waves. The two of them managed to pull her back onto the walkway and Legion reached over and gripped the smaller synthetic by its wayward wires, attempting to pull it free.

It squealed with another bizarre laugh and resisted. Shepard gasped as it tightened its hold on her, strangling. Legion's optical plates flared as the lights turned red. He gripped the machine with both hands now, burying fingers so deep that it began to dent metal. Sparks started to fly furiously and the robots body began to vibrate in a fit of overload. One more squeal sounded from its depths before it fell limp on the Commander's body, finally releasing her.

She gasped and shoved it away from her to move into a sitting position. Garrus wrapped his arms around her protectively.

"Are you okay?"

"I think I'll be okay...," she replied quietly. "I'm not losing one of my lives to a heap of scrap metal." Garrus shook his head and rested it against hers a moment.

"Yeah, that sounds like you."

"Legion. Thank you so much..., but how did you...?" she asked the Geth who was inspecting the mess in front of him.

"Tali Zorah called us for assistance. It was the most logical decision. We are not organic so we can withstand most unnatural situations."

"Do you have any idea what that thing is?" she asked, nodding towards the robot.

"Synthetic, but not like the Geth. Unknown construct. Unknown origin." His optical plates flared again. "Most likely a defect or malfunction." Shepard pulled herself to her feet with a little help from Garrus.

"Whatever it or that...," she gestured to the pod, "...is, we need to get them contained. It's obviously a threat and we can't leave them here for someone else to find and get themselves killed."

"So what do we do? There's no way we're storing them on the Normandy. Hell, I'm not sure I feel comfortable transporting them," Garrus said.

"We'll notify the Council and let them deal with it. They'll enjoy being responsible for the discovery of a new alien species, so let them have it. If I ever have to see these things again it will be too soon."

"Agreed," Garrus nodded.

"Shepard? Shepard, can you hear me?" Shepard's comm came through as clear as a bell now.

"There she is... Yes, Tali, I can hear you."

"Are you all alright? Did Legion find you?"

"Yes, he did, and yes, we're okay. A little roughed up, but okay."

"Keelah, I was so worried... Listen, Admiral Hackett is having his men find a away to get you out of there. Just stay put and you'll be out in no time."

"Thanks, Tali," Shepard replied, giving a tired sigh. "I don't think we'll be going anywhere at the moment."

She looked over at the pod now, wondering where it came from and what it was doing there. Part of her couldn't care less to find out what was inside, and the other part warned her vehemently not to think about it in the slightest. Deep down in the hidden room they couldn't hear the hum that the pod was emanating. Even Legion only felt a faint static interference which was not entirely out of the ordinary and thus not an immediate concern to him. All thoughts now turned to simply getting out and getting away to put the whole nasty mess behind them.

Despite their deepest hopes, however, what was in the pod was still very much alive.

And it was waiting...


….and scheming.