Shepard gasped, a short painful intake that pierced his lungs with burning ash. At first he simply sat in numbed silence, feeling his muscles burn while the haze slowly receded from his eyes.

The first thing he noticed as his awareness finally returned, was his legs were refusing to move as he commanded. Ever so slowly, he looked down and saw his entire lower half covered in rubble and on top of that a stone pillar lay across it.

Maybe I should've ran those laps with Vega on the ship, I might've been fast enough to avoid all this. Shepard smirked slightly at the thought, but kept checking each individual part of his body to see what worked and what didn't. But aside from a few broken ribs, a couple of bullet holes and his legs, he realized, he'd come out of the situation quite well.

"Not everyday you save the galaxy and wal- well, live anyway." He chuckled slightly but instantly regretted it, his ribs screaming in protest. As the pain slowly faded he finally took a look at his surroundings with more detail than just, "is something still trying to kill me?" in mind. He first saw that directly above was a starry sky, with the occasional torn papers and ash flying on the wind. To his left and right were more pillars and rubble, too tall to see over and no more than ten feet away in either direction. Of course, in front of him, a ton or more of debris still just laying on him. Sighing, he quickly realized, was not the way to help in this situation. Breathing lightly so as not to inhale too much ash into his already laboring lungs, he tried moving some of the rubble around his waist. He made a small bit of progress, but not enough to be able to get out with his legs still marginally attached. Once again regretting his sigh, he got back to work.

"All Alliance soldiers this is Admiral Hackett. You are to remain at least 100 yards away from any reaper corpses until such a time as is deemed safe. Escort any injured to the F.O.B. and then rally at the coordinates assigned to you by your commanding officers. Hackett out." Hackett wearily sat back in his command chair and felt the fatigue he'd been holding rush over him like an avalanche. Closing his eyes briefly as he sagged further into his highly uncomfortable chair.

"Admiral sir? We have reports that the geth areā€¦ sir? Are you ok?" the crewman asked hesitantly.

"Yes private I'm fine, just feeling my old age creeping up on me. What's this about the geth?"

"Of course sir, were getting reports that the geth are completely inert, all their ships have gone dark and all hail attempts are met with static."

"Not like the geth to be rude. Maybe the Crucible did more than we thought." Hackett muttered.

"Sir?" the private arked an eyebrow as he once more let worry into his voice.

"Nothing private, tell comms to keep hailing them and let our quarian friends know as well. Im sure they could tell us what's wrong."

"Of course sir. Right away." The private snapped off a crisp salute and ran toward the Communication center of the bridge. Hackett scanned what was left of his instruments in front of him with a mild disgust across his hard features. It was a very pitiful force he commanded. All the fleets of the galaxy banded together from various races to form a single deadly fleet. When he'd first seen it, he didn't believe even the reapers could've withstood their combined might. But after having seen more than 3 out of every 4 ships die in a single shot, his confidence had faltered. Through sheer willpower and determination they had held the reapers far enough away from the crucible for it to dock and fire before they could stop it. Hackett's mind wandered back to those last moments, realizing Shepard had made it to the citadel even though harbinger himself had been trying to stop him, had been nothing short of breath taking. But not only had he made the mad dash to the beam, he actually got the citadel arms open for the crucible. Hackett shook his head at the sheer audacity of the man the galaxy was calling their savior.

Where are you Shepard? He thought as he lifted himself up from his chair. I won't believe you're dead till I see a body.