Tali walked out of the comm room into the war room where Ashley, Garrus and Liara waited.
"They have the data," Tali said. "All we have to do is wait for rescue."
"Knew he would pull through for us," Garrus said.
"I was worried we would be stuck here," Liara said.
"And we'd have to start a colony?" Ashley laughed.
"Now that is crazy, Ashley. There are not enough people here for long term colonization and- oh, you were joking."
"So we just hang tight until they find us," Garrus said. "You know if we're to be stuck anywhere, might as well be this tropical paradise."
"We've been fighting for so long, how long has it been since we actually rested?"
"Too long," Ashley said. "Too, too long. The crew deserves a rest. We should get out the drinks, start a fire tonight and just party."
"It-It doesn't seem fair," Tali muttered.
"What do you mean?"
"Shepard has spent the last three years fighting nonstop against the reapers and, now that they're gone, he's still fighting to rebuild this galaxy. While we're relaxing here, he's heading to the mars archives to look for anyway to help reunite this galaxy. Out of anyone, he deserves a break."
"When we're rescued, we can rejoin him," Garrus said. "If I recall, you do claim that you can take a handful of eezo and some scrap metal and have it making precision jumps. With the resources of several fleets, I look forward to what you can come up with."
Tali let out a sad laugh. "Yeah... It's just I feel so useless not being out there helping him find a way to link our systems together."
"Right now, Tali, there isn't much we can do about it," Liara said. "Once they find us, you can be with him and help him find a way to get everyone back home. I know we can do this."
Shepard and Kasumi exited the comm room and walked to the bridge where Hackett said he would wait with Shepard's science team. As they approached the bridge door, Shepard noticed a familiar face standing guard.
"Shepard," he greeted positively. "You are a sight for sore eyes."
"H-How?" Shepard muttered in shock. "I thought you were on the Citadel."
"It was close," he replied. "I tried evacuating the Council, but the damn station sealed up. But you opened her up. The Council and I, along with some others, high-tailed it out of there once it did. Hard as hell with the history's largest space battle going on."
"So the Council made it out alive?"
"Yeah. Sadly, not many others made it off of the Citadel. Maybe a thousand. Millions still died."
Shepard slightly bowed his head with a pained expression on his face.
Bailey lifted his hands defensively. "Not that I'm blaming you. You saved the whole damn galaxy and destroyed the reapers. Hell, I hold you responsible for the people who got off of the station alive. Everyone owes you, Shepard. Me especially. Remember I told you about my kids on earth?"
"They're okay." Bailey nearly choked at those words. "They're on this ship right now getting treated for some wounds. I owe you big, Shepard."
"It's alright. Just doing my job."
"I don't think galactic saviour is a job."
Shepard laughed. "So what are you doing here?"
"Well, I somewhat lost my job as you can't have Citadel Security without a Citadel. Hackett offered me a security position to retain order among the fleet. A multi-racial policing force. No name at the moment. Now I don't want to use up anymore of your time. Hackett is waiting in there." Bailey gestured to the door. "And good luck in your mission."
The door opened and Shepard and Kasumi walked into the bridge. Hackett stared out through the viewport watching the thousands of ships drift in space. Since the destruction of Arcturus station and the death of Udina, Hackett had become the de facto leader of humanity. Next to him were the Councillors. They turned towards Shepard when they heard the doors open.
"Admiral Hackett, Councillors. Ambassador Osoba?"
The two shook hands. "It's Councillor now. I was appointed humanity's Councillor after Udina's death. I'm glad to hear you're doing much better."
"He is looking a little better," Hackett greeted.
"The implants helped," Shepard said.
"Hackett told us about what happened," Tevos said.
"Did you really have to strand us all here just to destroy the reapers?" Sparatus growled. "The relays are gone and this galaxy will fall to chaos! You have a lot to answer for- Hur!"
Shepard punched him in the gut cutting his sentence short. "I have wanted to do that... for years. I have spent the last three years warning you three about the reapers. If you three had done something earlier we might have found another way. You brought this upon us, not me!"
Sparatus composed himself. "I-I'll have your Spectre status for that and make sure that you're arrested..."
"You had it coming," Hackett muttered. "As I explained to you three, for the reapers to be defeated, the relays had to be destroyed. It will be over my dead body if anyone tries to arrest Shepard. The Alliance will stand behind him and I believe the rest of the fleet will stand behind him. They are here due to his actions. Not yours."
"He's right," Velarn said. "We ignored Shepard's warnings countless times and this is the consequence of our actions."
Tevos nodded. "Commander... If there is anything we can do-"
"Actually there is," he said. "The Normandy gave me data to help locate them. I want them found. But I want to be on the rescue team."
"Then we will have people work on this right away. Another time, Commander." Tevos bowed her head and left the bridge with Velarn and Sparatus.
"Now that that's dealt with, I have a scientist chosen to join your mission," Hackett said. "He's ready to head out as soon as you are."
"Good. What are his credentials?"
"Top of his class in xenoscience and technology," Hackett replied. "He's brilliant. Eccentric, but brilliant."
"His theories from his Dark Energy Dissertation actually helped in the construction of the Crucible."
"Wait a minute..."
"And from what he's told me, you two are already are well acquainted."
"Commander Shepard? Oh, this is the happiest day of my life!" An all-too-familiar voice called out.
"Oh, god," Shepard muttered under his breath. He turned around and saw Conrad Verner walk onto the bridge.
"Friend of yours, Shep?" Kasumi asked.
"Very good friend," Conrad said enthusiastically. "I'm Shepard's biggest fan."
"How've you been, Conrad?" Shepard said in a faked friendly voice.
"Been doing very well. Helping you save the galaxy, and for real this time. Seeing that energy wave spread all over and killing those reapers felt good. When the Admiral said I was to join a top secret mission in the name of galactic security I would never have believed he would have me joining Commander Shepard's team. So what is our mission?"
"We're heading to the mars archives," Shepard replied. "It was there where we discovered the blueprints to the Crucible. We're heading there to see if we can find anything to help us."
"We do we leave?"
"Right now," Shepard said. "Come on."
"Good luck on your mission, Commander," Hackett said before Shepard, Kasumi and Conrad left the bridge.
The shuttle flew towards mars. The pilot was a temp Hackett chose to ensure Shepard's travel to the red planet. Cortez had several injuries from his shuttle crash and is unable to do fly until he has healed.
As the shuttle made its approach, Shepard, Kasumi and Conrad could see several Alliance ships in orbit keeping guard.
"There's something that's been bothering me," Conrad said.
"What's that?" Shepard asked.
"The relays blew up right?"
"But we're still here."
"When you ran that asteroid into the Bahak relay, the explosion destroyed that entire system. But the relays exploding this time didn't kill us all. He'll this should have wiped out all life in the galaxy if this happened to every relay."
"The Crucible changed the energy of the relays and made a controlled explosion," Hackett interjected.
"That doesn't make sense at all. You can change the quality of an explosion, but not the amount of energy being released. It should have destroyed everything."
"The energy was meant to shut off the reapers."
"That's like saying that you can change a shotgun blast into a taser shock. I'm sorry, Commander, it doesn't make sense."
"No. It doesn't."
"It just sounds like a lot of space magic."
"Shepard can't change what happened," Kasumi interjected hoping to stop Conrad's pestering. "But we can try to change our future."
"Commander, we're making our approach to the mars archive," the shuttle pilot announced.
"Alright, we're just going to go through the archives and see if we might be able to find anything," Shepard said to the two.
The shuttle flew into the hangar and landed. The archives have not seen a visitor since the reapers attacked. The Alliance granted Shepard unrestricted access to the facility giving him full-reign in examining the ruins. The side doors of the shuttle opened up and Shepard, Kasumi and Conrad hopped out.
The archives are on the other side of the doors here. Shepard waved his omni-tool over the holographic interface. The doors opened seconds later.
"I'm a bit disappointed that the Alliance is giving you full access," Kasumi commented.
"Why's that?" Shepard asked.
"I would have loved to try and crack some of their security in this base. But I guess I'll be content in hacking prothean tech."
The three walked into the research room where the large prothean monolith stood. Shepard reminisced when he saw the room. This was where they learned about the Crucible. Where they first ran into the synthetic that eventually became EDI's platform.
"Alright, you two get to those terminals and see what you can find," Shepard ordered. "I don'yt expect this to be a short trip. In fact we may be here for weeks, even months, and this is assuming if we even find anything. But right now we currently have no other leads."
"You don't need to explain yourself, Shep," Kasumi said as she approached the terminal.
Conrad approached his terminal. A confused look came to his face. "Did something happen here?"
"Well, a Cerberus synthetic here wiped out a lot of information, mostly about the crucible," Shepard replied.
"That makes sense." Conrad typed away at his terminal. The lights of the prothean monolith turned on.
"What did you do?" Kasumi asked. She was impressed.
"It's pretty hard to completely destroy data," he replied. "A lot of times there are remnants of what there once was. With that you can do a recovery. It's not always perfect, but you have a chance to get back what was lost. And... There!"
The monolith was back to its original state.
"I'm impressed," Kasumi said. Her holographic display visor appeared in front of her eyes. "I'm accessing the data now. Hmm. The plans for the Crucible are more complete than what we started with, but we filled in these holes during the development."
"Anything else?" Shepard asked.
Kasumi laughed in disgust. "What the catalyst is."
Shepard slammed his fist into the railing. "We could have been able to win this war faster is the Illusive Man didn't interfere!"
"They couldn't download the entire file, and when they deleted much of the information, most of the information on the Catalyst was destroyed."
"The protheans knew the mass relays would be used to transfer the energy needed to shut off the reapers," Conrad continued. "But the extent of damage to the galaxy was unknown. Whoa."
"What?" Shepard asked.
"They were really desperate when fighting the reapers. They truly believed that there was a high possibility that the galaxy would be completely destroyed by the Crucible."
"A lot of information to go through here, Shep," Kasumi said.
"We're not interested in the Crucible," Shepard said. "Conrad you said that the protheans knew the relays would be used. Does it continue after that?"
Conrad typed more into the terminal. "Hmm. They were too busy with the Crucible project to think ahead. They wanted to defeat the reapers and hope that they might be able to figure out relay-free FTL later."
"So we're at a dead end?" Shepard asked. His voice hinted of defeat.
"Now don't just give up just yet, Commander," Conrad assured him. "We've only been here for about half an hour."
"Liara had a couple of months to go through these models," Kasumi reminded him. "We're just going through what she uncovered. Given time we could find some more information. Maybe you should try touching random artefacts," she joked.
"What would that do?" Shepard asked.
"Worked with the beacons." She spun around. "Can't hurt can it?" Kasumi shrugged her shoulders.
"Considering what the Eden Prime beacon did, yes. Yes, it can."
"You getting this, Kasumi?" Conrad asked.
"Something is happening. Massive amounts of data are being released."
Kasumi glanced down at her terminal. It was going haywire. She tried to slow the dataflow, but every attempt she made had no effect.
"What the hell is happening?" Shepard demanded.
"I don't know," Conrad answered. "One minute we were looking through the recovered data, the next it just poured all out. There's too much to go through."
The prothean artefact groaned as it started shifting. Some of the parts rose up while others moved downwards.
"What's happening?" Shepard asked.
"We must have tripped something," Conrad replied.
The sections of the monolith organized themselves in a V-shaped pattern from largest piece in the back to the smallest in the front. Green energy started gathering around the ruin.
"Get back!" Shepard ordered.
The three ran away from the monolith. The green energy let off a shockwave that blew the glass, which surrounded the ruin, to pieces. The shockwave knocked Shepard, Kasumi and Conrad to the ground. It took a few moments before they could compose themselves and stand. They turned to the monolith and saw several orbs of white light appear.
"What the-?" Conrad muttered.
The three lights started to take form. The form they took was of three women wearing robes of sorts. Their facial features were obscure enough that Shepard and his team couldn't tell if they were imitating humans, asari or quarians.
"Not again," Shepard growled under his breath. He took several steps towards the beings of light and demanded, "Who the hell are you three? Didn't I destroy one of you on the Citadel?"
"We are the Moirai," the middle sister declared. "The one you destroy on the Citadel was the Catalyst."
"There are more of you?"
"Only us," the left sister answered.
"Your reapers are gone and your cycle is over. You, whatever you are, can't control this galaxy's future anymore."
"As it should be," the right sister concurred.
"As it- I don't understand."
"We hoped that the Catalyst's cycle would end," the middle sister said. "We made efforts to ensure his eventual defeat, and you were the avatar this galaxy needed to stop the Catalyst once and for all."
"Commander, should we call some back-up?" Conrad asked him in a whisper.
"Not at the moment, Conrad. I have questions." Shepard returned his attention to the Moirai. "Why were you opposed to the Catalyst? Aren't you like him?"
"In terms of state of consciousness, yes," the middle sister answered. "By ideology, no."
"I still don't understand. State of consciousness? Ideology?"
The three sisters raised their arms. As they did, Shepard, Kasumi and Conrad felt pain throb in their head. The room disappeared and was replaced with space.
"We are projecting these images into your minds," the left sister said. "So that you may understand. Our people were born on a planet that your galaxy now calls Klencory. We advanced over eons. Our influence reached every corner of the galaxy."
Mass relays appeared in the air above Shepard and his squad.
"You created the mass relays?" Shepard asked. "I thought the reapers created them. To have the galaxy developed along a 'designated pathway'."
"The reapers used them, but they were not the creators. Our people created the relay network in order to speed up travel across the galaxy."
"Wait, wait, wait," Kasumi interrupted. "You three are not on the side of the reapers, yet you didn't warn us of them?"
"You raise a good point," Shepard said. "Why didn't you three warn the galaxy of the reapers?"
"Listen and we will explain," the right sister said.
"Our people continued to evolve. Through natural and self-directed evolution we eventually reached a state that goes beyond organic or synthetic," the middle sister continued.
"Like what? Spirits?" Shepard scoffed.
"I'm sorry, I have to jump in here," Conrad interjected. "We have never come across any evidence to suggest the possibility that energy can do anything like what you're describing."
"Energy can hold information. Wavelengths and frequencies can determine what information is stored. What it is capable of. It can interact with matter and the mind."
"Indoctrination," Shepard finished.
"Yes. When we attained this form, new questions were raised as what are our current responsibilities. We required no resources to maintain our form. Some believed that we should go out to search the universe to finds other like us. Others believed that our responsibility was to bring order to a galaxy was filled with chaos."
"What did you believe?"
"That organic and synthetic life should be free to self-determinate."
"Let me guess. They couldn't agree to disagree."
"The Catalyst was determined. War was inevitable. And devastating. All but four of us were destroyed. Our abilities were crippled and the Catalyst went on to fulfill its perverted view of order. It created the Citadel in order to control the relay system and control the development of all the races in the galaxy. The beings you once knew as the keepers were its first victim. Some were processed to create Harbinger. Others were transformed to become the caretakers of the Citadel. It began the cycle."
"Wait!" Shepard interrupted. "Where do synthetics come in here? The Catalyst said that the cycle existed to stop synthetics from eliminating organics."
"That was its most recent reason, but it is not the true reason," the right sister said. "The Catalyst wanted to create order and so reacted to what it saw as a disorder in the galaxy. Its first reason was to stop dark energy from destroying the galaxy. It harvested organic life to increase its knowledge to find a solution to the dark energy problem. After many cycles, it did. The dark energy spread was halted and eventually stabilized."
"You're saying the reapers saved the galaxy?" Kasumi asked.
"At a very high cost, yes. Soon after, the Catalyst saw a trend of synthetics rising up against their creators, or the creators destroying the created. The Catalyst deemed this to be the new chaotic force. But you proved its assessment incorrect by bringing peace to the geth and quarians. Even helped foster a organic/synthetic romantic relationship."
Images of these people flashed by everyone.
"You helped EDI feel truly alive."
"And now they are all dead," Shepard muttered. "You still haven't told me why you haven't tried contacting us directly."
"In the past we made attempts to warn the civilizations of the galaxy of the threat of the reapers, but this has resulted in disastrous consequences. Most saw us as godly beings that must be worshipped. War was, again, inevitable over different ideologies and what we want.. We had to rely on other means to help the galaxy."
"Subtle suggestions, inspirations and intervention."
An image of the Crucible appeared before Shepard.
"You three designed the Crucible?"
"It was designed to do two things," the right sister said. "It was to restrict the Catalyst's abilities like the Catalyst did ours, and use its creation against the reapers. The used the very limits of our abilities to mask the presence of the Crucible in every cycle, so the reapers would not destroy it nor prevent the Crucible's plans from reaching the next cycle. Once the Crucible docked with the Citadel the Catalyst realized its nature. With its abilities crippled, you became its last chance to save its creations. It is why it brought you up to its domain. It wanted to manipulate you into doing its bidding. Its attempt to indoctrinate you failed, so it had to rely on your sympathy and weakened state. So the Catalyst took the form of the child you witness die during the initial invasion of earth."
"How do you three know of that?" Shepard demanded.
"We have been watching you since you encountered the beacon on Eden Prime. We saw the potential in you. We have never encountered a being with your determination and willpower. We had to ensure you survived."
"Project Lazarus," the middle sister continued. "We entered the one you call Miranda Lawson's mind and planted the knowledge to bring you back to life."
Shepard suddenly remembered the video he watched from Project Lazarus.
"It can't be done. It's not a matter of resources."
"It's always a matter of resources. We're not losing Shepard."
"Sir, Shepard is clinically brain-dead. After that much trauma, that long with no oxygen... We cannot overcome nature."
"Operative Lawson disagrees. She is now in charge of Project Lazarus."
"That's why Miranda was so convinced she could bring me back," Shepard said.
"Cerberus had your body. They just needed a means to bring you back, so we provided it. Though we had to be more direct to ensure your escape from the Citadel."
"You mean when I chose to destroy the reapers?"
"Yes," the left sister said. "The explosion from the power tube knocked you out and killed the Catalyst. With the Catalyst out of the way, we were able to intervene. We took over the Citadel and ordered the keepers to move your body back to the conduit beam and send you back to earth."
"Your decision to destroy the reapers was a wise one," the right sister said. "Synthesis would have homogenized the galaxy and cause evolutionary stagnation. Evolution, like chaos, is a necessity of life. The very nature of the universe is change. Without it life will perish. The ability to control the reapers would have only granted you temporary control until the Catalyst compromises your will and convictions."
"So, I made the right choice," Shepard said matter-of-factly. "Why shows yourselves now?"
"We offer, you and this galaxy, our amends," the middle sister said.
Shepard and his team returned back to reality.
"Down the steps," the right sister urged.
A stair case formed in the middle of the monolith's v-formation. Shepard was reluctant to go down the steps at first. He was burned once by one of these... things. Nonetheless, he went down the stairs followed by Conrad and Kasumi. The stairway was not long, taking Shepard and his team a few minutes the reach the bottom. The room they entered was dark. Dark enough that they couldn't see anything but the three glowing sisters.
"What are these amends?" Shepard reiterated.
"When you activated the Crucible, it used the mass relay network to destroy every trace of the Catalyst all over the galaxy. Every reaper, every husk, and every indoctrinated individual."
"But it destroyed the mass relay network and now a majority of the galaxy's fleet is stuck in Sol."
"We knew this would be the outcome. We also know that the galaxy will destabilize if you do not find an alternative to the relays."
"That is the issue, yes."
"We have the solution."
After those words, lights went on revealing the dark room is a small hangar. In the center was a ship unlike anything they have ever seen before. It was smaller than a frigate-class ship. Its design was similar to the old SR-71 Blackbird from 21st century American army. The ship was white and had lettering on its side. INTEGRITY.
"Now that's a nice ship," Kasumi gasped.
"What's so special about this ship?" Conrad asked.
"To achieve FTL, all of your vessels use element zero cores," the middle sister. "A charge is passed through element zero to release dark energy which is used for a mass effect."
"That's right. It's the only way we found."
"This ship offers another way."
"What?" Conrad exclaimed.
"This ship was a secondary project alongside the Crucible. It was made by the scientists stranded here eons ago. It uses a specialized core that converts matter into negative energy. This energy is expelled in a beam that creates a temporary tear in space. A wormhole."
"Incredible," Conrad gasped. He looked to Shepard. "I've heard of this before. Humanity was working towards this before we found these ruins, but abandon it when we saw we could use eezo. All of it was theoretical. Even negative energy."
"So we can use this technology to go anywhere in the galaxy?" Shepard asked him.
"Theoretically speaking, anywhere in the universe." Conrad turned to the sisters. "But can it control where the wormhole appears?"
"Yes," the three sisters answered at the same time.
Conrad laughed. "Oh I can't wait to get my hands on this ship."
"Hold it," Shepard said. "How can I know I can trust you?"
"We assumed you would be wary to trust us," the middle sister said. "We are prepared to start our amends to prove ourselves."
And with those words she vanished from sight.
Hackett listened to the communication of the team that was sent in to examine one of the geth cruisers.
"It's like what the reports said," the team leader said over the radio. "The geth are inactivate. What should we do with them, Admiral?"
"Now that's going to be one hell of a debate," Hackett said. "For now pull out and then we speak with the other races."
There was a silence on the other end.
Loud static came over the comm and then returned to normal.
"Admiral...?" the sergeant said.
"What was that?"
"The geth... They're activating."
"Hackett-Admiral, we're we victorious?" Prime unit 783 asked.
"Y-Yes. We thought we lost you."
"It might be faster if I send you the report. Here." Hackett pressed several commands on his console sending Shepard's report.
It was quiet for a moment before the Prime unit answered back, "Shepard-Commander's choice was logical."
"You're not angry with him?"
"We have yet to develop emotions, but we do not hold any ill will towards him. Shepard-Commander did not have prior knowledge of what effect the Crucible would have on the reapers or this galaxy. Our mission was to destroy the reapers, which he fulfilled. Each of us were willing to give our lives to destroy the reapers."
"Do you have any idea why you're alive again?"
"No. It would, however, be likely that Shepard-Commander may know. Recent significant events have a high possibility of being linked to him."
"Commander Shepard, do you read me?" Hackett called over Shepard's radio.
"Shepard here," he answered.
"Did you do something?"
"I don't know. Did something happen?"
"The geth suddenly came back to life. Do you know anything about that?"
"Maybe... I'll have to explain later. Do you have the coordinates of the Normandy?"
"I need them."
"We can send you a ship and hopefully you can explain what happened."
"I actually have a ride. Just send me the coordinates. I'll report back ASAP."
"I- Very well, Commander. Uploading coordinates. Though tell me. Did you find an answer to our problems?"
"Do what you need to and then hurry back, Commander. That's an order."
"I'll be back, Admiral." The communication link was disconnected. Shepard turned to the two sisters. "What happened to the geth?"
"The Crucible eliminated the influence of the Catalyst all over the galaxy. This caused the death of the reapers, indoctrinated souls, husks, and the geth. But the geth were born separate from the reapers. Their foundations were crippled, but not gone. Our sister replaced the presence. The geth will live again."
"What about EDI?"
"Her as well."
Joker sat on a half buried boulder next to EDI's grave and watched the sunset. His face was sore from crying earlier. His peace was disturbed from hearing a scratching noise. Joker scanned the area to try and find the location of the noise.
"Hello?" he called out. "Someone there?"
His calls were met with no response. Just the scratching noise. He was starting to worry. Joker stood and was actively walking around searching for the noise.
A small amount of dirt exploded from the ground making Joker jump. The small hop caused fractures in his shins making him cringe.
"What the hell!" He looked down and saw a metallic hand.
Another hand came out of the ground.
EDI appeared out of the hole in the ground. She pulled herself completely out of the ground. Joker was speechless as he watched her brush herself off.
"Jeff, was this a trait of a relationship that I'm not familiar with?" she asked.
"EDI..." Joker took a step towards her. "EDI!" He embraced her in a tight hug. "We thought you were dead."
"I was dead?"
"Shepard used the Crucible but it caused an energy wave to be sent out that destroyed anything even partially reaper. Even you. But you're back. Do you remember anything?"
"There was a light. It told me everything was going to be okay. It was unlike anything I've ever experienced. I will have to research further into what-"
Joker interrupted her train of thought by kissing her. The sun disappeared over the horizon. Their kiss lasted a little longer after the sun set. Their kiss came to an end. They smiled as they looked into each other's eyes.
"Research can wait," she said.
"What happened to the third of you?" Shepard asked the two sisters.
"She used her essence to restore the synthetics," the left sister answered.
"I'm sorry for your lose."
"You shouldn't," the right sister said. "She will live on as the sub-consciousness of every synthetic. We have done everything we sought out to achieve. Your future is now your own."
"What will you do from here?"
"We will do what many of us wanted to do originally. We will explore this universe and find others like us."
The two sisters nodded and vanished.
"Well that was something," Conrad commented. "Think anyone will believe what happen?"
"I'm surprised the Alliance believed Shep's report," Kasumi said. "But these are odd times. Now what are we waiting for? I am just dying to get on that ship."
Shepard approached the Integrity. A circular platform came out from the bottom of the ship and came down to the ground. Shepard and his team stepped onto the platform. It went back up into the ship. The room they were in was dark.
"Umm," Kasumi said breaking the silence.
"Welcome." A green drone appeared before them.
"Who are you?" Shepard asked the drone.
"I am the Integrity's virtual intelligence," it answered. "I provide functionality of the ship. I also provide instructions how to operate and create other vessels such as this. How can I assist you?"
"I need this ship to take me to some coordinates."
"Follow the lights to the bridge where you can upload the coordinates."
The room lit up allowing them all to see where they were. The area was clean and artistic in design. The walls were smooth and curved into a arch towards the ceiling. Small lights on the ground lit up giving them directions. Shepard, Kasumi and Conrad followed the lights. They all looked around, examining this alien ship.
"This is a nice ship," Kasumi said. "They did a lovely job in preserving it."
"I can't wait to analyze the ship's functions and the drive core," Conrad thought out loud. "Even just seeing the creation of negative energy."
"Good enough to write another paper on?" Shepard finished.
"Yeah. I just can't believe that the very first mission I'm on with THE Commander Shepard and this happens."
The three approached a door which opened upon their approach. The bridge was a medium size room. The consoles, on the side of the room they entered, lit up in activation. The front side of the room was one large screen that turned on and showed them the view outside of the ship. There were half a dozen seats with terminals in front of them.
"This is the Integrity's control bridge," the VI announced. "From here the ship's pilot and supporting staff overlook the ship's functions. The screen allows view outside of the ship and direct communication. To upload the coordinates, sit at the chair in the center of the bridge and enter them in. The controls are translated into basic."
Shepard approached the chair and sat down. Kasumi and Conrad picked a seat and sat down. Shepard uploaded the coordinates.
"Coordinates uploaded," the VI announced. "Engaging start-up protocol."
The ship began to hum. The dark screen started to light up as the hangar doors began to open up and the hangar tunnel out alit.
"Auto-pilot engaged. Engines warming up. Prepare for launch. Ten seconds to launch. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One."
The ship launched and flew through the tunnel at a remarkable speed. Even though they didn't feel the inertia of the launch, Shepard and his team still cringed when they saw how fast they were moving on the screen. Within seconds, the ship left the hangar tunnel and was out in mars' sky.
"Need to achieve minimum safe distance from the planet's atmosphere for safe travel."
The ship quickly left mars' atmosphere. The red planet shrunk in size as they went further away.
"Minimum safe distance achieved. Preparing transit. Firing beam."
Shepard, Conrad and Kasumi saw on the screen a green beam of energy fire out. The end sparked outwards as if it hit an invisible object.
The area that was hit by the energy beam started to warp. The view of the stars was starting to distort until the stars within the circular area did not match what supposed to be there.
"Look at that," Kasumi said.
"Here goes nothing," Shepard muttered.
"Initiating transit," the VI announced.
The Integrity moved towards the tear in space. The three passengers braced themselves as they had no idea what trouble traveling through a wormhole would bring. Nothing happened. The ship didn't shake and suffer in any manner.
"Transit to sector complete," the VI announced.
"That was easy," Conrad commented. "I was expecting a lot of shaking."
"Transit through a stable wormhole is a safe method of transportation," the VI said. "It would put no more strain on a ship than traveling through space."
"So we're here?" Kasumi asked.
"Correct. Distance travelled from previous location: four light years."
"Can you open all comm channels?" Shepard asked.
"Channels are open."
"Can anyone hear me?" he asked. "It's Shepard."
"Can anyone hear me? It's Shepard."
Everyone stood at attention in the lounge when they heard the Commander's voice. Tali quickly replied to the call, "Keelah, Shepard?"
"Who else?" he jest.
"How did you get here so fast?"
"I found something on mars," Shepard replied. "I'll explain more, but I need to ask. Is EDI alive again?"
"I am here, Commander," EDI said.
"Thank goodness. It worked. The geth are back too."
"How is that possible?" Javik asked. "I thought the Crucible destroyed anything that was even based on reaper tech."
"I'll explain everything. Just everyone head outside. Though we'll need to send someone back to retrieved EDI's core."
"This ship houses adequate storage space and processors for an AI," the VI interjected.
"Who was that?" Garrus asked.
"This ship's VI. I'll see you there."
Not wasting a beat, everyone moved to exit the Normandy. The evacuation was slow as everyone had to use the elevator to go to the CIC. After fifteen minutes everyone exited through the Normandy's airlock. They looked up at the sky and saw an unusual ship.
"What is that?" Vega asked out loud.
"No idea," Liara said. "I've never seen a ship like it."
The vessel landed in the clearing near the Normandy. A platform emerged from the underbelly of the ship. Standing on it was Shepard who was wrapped in bandages from his injuries. Tali walked out in front of the group and watched as the platform lowered.
"Everyone ready to go home?" Shepard asked.
"Shepard!" Tali yelled as she ran towards him.
"Careful I'm tender," he said while holding her.
Tali looked up at him. Through the mask, Shepard could see some tears coming from her eyes.
"When we crashed her, I was worried I wouldn't see you again," she said.
"It's over now," he said. "It's over. And I have great news."
"I found a way to get everyone home."
"This ship was created by remnants of the first civilization working with the prothean scientists on mars. It can go anywhere in the galaxy instantly."
"How's that even possible?"
"It generates negative energy to create stable wormholes. We can use it to go to Rannoch. We don't need the mass relays anymore."
"This is wonderful news!"
Shepard scanned the group. "What is everyone waiting around for? We're going home."
"What about the Normandy, Shepard?" Joker asked.
Shepard's sight finally fell upon the ruined ship. He was sadden to see the ship in the shape it was in. "She's been through a lot. We'll have people come back and see what they can do. For now the Sol system is waiting for its heroes."
Hackett stood at the observation deck, leaning against the railing, watching the salvage operation of the reaper corpses. After the meeting he was just in, the future looked uncertain. Shepard assured him that he found a solution to their problems. Shortly after that communication, Shepard and his team vanished and an unusual energy signature was briefly detected above mars.
"Admiral?" the dreadnaught's pilot called out over the ship's comm.
"Yes, lieutenant?" he answered.
"Remember that unusual energy signature we detected over mars?"
"It's back only it's now about a hundred clicks away from earth."
Hackett pushed himself off of the railing and spun around to rush out of the observation deck. "I want this ship ready for anything. We are investigating that signal."
The dreadnaught groaned as it flew towards its destination. By the time Hackett made it to the bridge they had already reach their destination.
"What are we looking at here?" Hackett asked his XO.
"A very unusual energy reading," she answered. "Us detecting it over mars was the first time. Though look. We can see the anomaly." She pulled up a video. It showed the distortion in space.
"What is it?"
"No clue, sir."
They both saw something coming out of the anomaly.
"Open comm channels," Hackett ordered.
"Channels are open," the XO said.
"Commander? Is that you?"
A video channel came up over Hackett's omni-tool. The video was of Shepard sitting in a chair with a panel in front of him and a quarian to his side. "This is Shepard, Admiral."
"What the hell is that?"
"A ship I found on mars," Shepard answered. "It's able to create stable wormholes. I have a report about it."
"I want you to get on my ship. A lot has happened in the little time you were away."
"We're heading over."
Shepard, Tali, Liara, Javik, Ashley, EDI, Joker and Vega walked into Hackett's war room. Hackett stood there with Shepard's report in hand.
"You pulled through for us again, Commander," Hackett said. "Our engineers are going over the schematics the Integrity has provided us. This will allow the other races to return to their homes."
"Doing my job, Admiral," Shepard said.
Hackett nodded. "I'll have to look at our recruitment pamphlets from thirteen years ago. I'm pretty sure uniting the races of the galaxy to form the largest armada in galactic history and saving the galaxy half a dozen times is not part of your job description. You went far and beyond the call of duty. The Alliance is planning a ceremony to pin about every meal we have available and some that don't exist yet. Even word is going around that the other races are planning to offer their own commendations. Though that's not the important thing I mentioned earlier."
"And what is?"
"Shortly after the meeting you had with the representatives of the fleets, there was another meeting. This time it was with the Council and the fleet representatives. When you ran into the Council, it was during the recess."
"I'm guessing things didn't go so well for Councillor Sparatus to be in the mood he was in."
"Not well for them," Hackett said. "The whole meeting basically boiled down to everyone chastising the Councillors, save for Osoba, for not acting on your warnings."
"How did the meeting conclude?" Liara asked.
"A change in government structure. Everyone now knows that the Asari hid that prothean beacon on thessia. The same beacon that could have warned us ages ago about the reaper threat. Basically the asari are no longer the head of the Council. The salarians took a blow when Wrex revealed the recording of the Dalatrass threatening to cut support for the war due to the genophage. Tevos, Sparatus and Velarn are stepping down and the Council is being reformed to include all races."
"That's good news," Tali said.
"Yes, it was the first bit of good news we had since this war ended," Hackett said. "But Shepard's discovery now puts what we did to shame. We can rebuild our galactic civilization. I thought you should know, Commander... There have been calls that you should take over as human Councillor."
"Eh, I'll pass," Shepard said. "Though if I could ask for a certain position..."
"I wish to be the Alliance's liaison with the quarians on Rannoch."
Hackett saw Shepard and Tali holding hands. He gave a soft quiet laugh. "Granted. New government. New method of travel. I wonder what the future holds for us."
After the discovery of the Integrity, the fleets around earth worked together to form the new ships to allow them to go home. With the cooperation of all the races, the galaxy was able to rebuild itself within a couple of decades. While the turians, asari and salarians still play a prominent role in politics, it is not the same level as it once was. Power was now shared among the races.
After helping to lead the largest fleet in galactic history, Admiral Hackett was made the head of the Alliance government. Osoba continued as humanity's representative on the Council for many years and continued Shepard's spirit of cooperation and humility. Admiral Anderson was hailed as a hero for his efforts against the reapers and his support of Commander Shepard. He was posthumously awarded the Alliance Medal of Honour and was granted a burial site in London with a bronze statue of him over his tomb. A plate under the statue had choice words printed on it:
Admiral David Anderson
First human Councillor
A soldier who didn't let the ills of the galaxy to corrupt him.
Who fought for what he believed in and died ensuring it still existed.
The rachni were considered redeemed due to their efforts in building the Crucible and the mission to retake earth. They are a member of the Council and their queen continues to teach her children about the mercy the human commander had bestowed upon them twice.
The krogan were once again hailed as heroes for their efforts in retaking palaven and earth. With the return of Wrex, the krogan clans organized to start rebuilding tuchanka. With the duel rulership of Wrex and Bakara, the krogan's future looked bright. To ensure another krogan rebellion never happened again, Bakara and the female clans instituted rules and guidelines to control their reproduction rate.
Jacob Taylor became guard detail for Councillor Osoba. He had a daughter with his wife, Brynn Cole. Despite all of the pleas to name the child after someone close to Shepard, they finally settled on Karin.
Jack continued her services to the Alliance as a teacher of biotic students. Her rage vanished as she finally found a place where she belonged.
Kasumi Goto vanished shortly after the battle for earth... Along with tens of thousands of credits worth of technology.
Zaeed Massani retired from mercenary life but still wanders the galaxy looking for a place to settle down. His tale of the battle for earth is the only one he will tell in the bars that doesn't end with "And I was the only one who made it out alive."
Thane Krios was given a proper burial by the priests of his people and was remembered for his sacrifice in protecting the salarian Councillor. His son later joined C-Sec in memory of his father.
Grunt continued his successful career as the commanding officer of Aralahk company. After butting in enough heads, the new recruits stopped taking issue with his birth.
Miranda Lawson joined the Alliance as an Intelligence officer and continues to protect humanity.
Samara returned to the planet Lesuss where, with her daughter's help, she rebuilt the monastery back to its former glory.
Mordin Solus is remembered by the STG, the krogan and the galaxy for curing the genophage and helping save the galaxy. His autobiography was written by Padok Wiks and is a best seller. All the money made from the autobiography went towards helping tuchanka rebuild.
Jeff "Joker" Moreau and EDI continued their relationship. While they don't know what the future holds for them, they are doing everything they can to make it work out. Joker was commended for his efforts to help Shepard in his many missions and was given the Medal of Honour.
Liara T'Soni continued as the Shadow Broker and rebuilt her former empire. Her information network now far exceeds that of the original Broker. She constantly reminds herself of Shepard to keep herself in line with this much power and so continues to keep stability in the galaxy.
James Vega shortly after the war joined the N7 program and graduated. After a successful career, he was offer Spectrehood.
Ashley Williams continued as a Spectre and fought to preserve the new galaxy. She at times still gets chastised for some of her actions, such as the events that happened during the coup, but she continues to fight nonetheless.
Javik, with the help of Liara, wrote several books about the protheans. He toured the galaxy to finally see the sights he only dreamed of seeing. The galaxy was free of the reaper threat and now the spirits of the past and he can finally be at peace.
Garrus Vakarian's efforts against the reapers was commended by his people. He served as a special advisor to Primarch Victus. After the death of Victus, Garrus was next in line to be the Primarch of palaven. Despite his new responsibilities, Garrus still makes time to see his friends.
The geth's integration into the galactic community was... awkward to say the least. Many still remembered when the heretics worked for the reapers. But the geth slowly joined the civilizations of the galaxy. With the geth's help, the quarians were soon freed from their suits and were free to feel the air of Rannoch on their faces.
Shepard was promoted to the rank of Admiral. The Alliance called this promotion long overdue. Shepard became the Alliance's liaison with the quarians. About a month after the war, Shepard and Tali'Zorah went through a bonding ritual. They claimed land in the southern continent and built the house that Tali always dreamed of living in one day. With the reaper threat gone, Shepard was finally free to live his own life and create a future with his wife.