The battle raged in the skies above New Karnak. The surface to air armament donated by anonymous benefactors had so far helped keep the reaper assault at bay. A single destroyer lay crippled in the coastline, brought down in its descent by massed artillery fire to its underbelly. Husks had spread from the downed machine, but they were being shot in droves. So far, the humans were winning. A single destroyer was not enough to take the recently reinforced colony.

Elsewhere, Doctor Tau observed the battle. The office building in Yamm's spaceport was fairly safe for now. The reapers had no long-range attack capability. Their destroyer was unmoving, its main gun soaking in the saltwater. But Tau knew the plan. This place wouldn't be safe much longer, and they were counting on that. They had maybe an hour before a reaper capital ship came to finish what the destroyer had started.

Time to go.

She picked up an OSD from her desk, and opened a channel on her transmitter. "This is Tau." She said. "Send the car."
"Acknowledged." A man on the other end spoke.
Walking out of the office, she stepped into an elevator, headed for the ground floor. She sighed. How long was she to go along with this? It felt like madness. Capture a reaper? Any force they kept near it would quickly be subverted. The Illusive Man was mad, and she was the instrument of his insanity. But she'd be out soon.

She stepped out of the elevator and hurried outside. The hovercar was waiting. The door opened as she approached, and she sat onto the back seat. She looked behind as the hovercar gained altitude. The citizens were dropping bombs on the destroyer out of cars now. They wanted it out of commission permanently.

The suit-clad driver was free to drive at maximum speed. People were either in shelters or on the shore containing the reaper attack. No one was driving right now. Cerberus had a research bunker outside the city. At maximum speed, without other drivers to worry about, the trip shouldn't take much time at all.

Soon, the car hovered into a garage a fair distance from the city. It was fairly inconspicuous, being mostly underground. Tau looked around as the car doors opened. The garage was fairly small for cerberus. It could have accommodated perhaps eight hovercars. Now there was only three. There was a raised platform in the back of the garage, with stairs leading up to it on either side. A single door led further in, flanked by two cerberus troopers. They were in full armor, clearly expecting trouble.

Tau stepped out of the car, the driver following her. She walked up the steps, flashing an id tag to one of the cerberus soldiers flanking the door. The trooper just nodded as she walked through the doorway. Those soldiers barely talked to anyone.

She walked down a stairway, leading to a short hallway. There was a metal door at the end of it with a plaque above it. The plaque had two simple words above it. "Operation Control."
She opened the door. There were five other scientist already in the room. One was talking to a hologram of the Illusive Man.
"Ah, Doctor Tau is here." The bald man in front of the hologram said. She walked next to the man.
"Doctor Tau. Is everything going as planned?" The Illusive Man asked.
"Not quite, sir." She said. "The citizens were not satisfied with merely shooting down the reaper destroyer. They've amassed militia, and they're bombing the crippled reaper as we speak. We do not have the forces needed to take control of the situation."
"Then you take out the capital ship instead." The Illusive Man said.
"Yes sir." Tau said. "If the reaper lands, the coming fleet should be able to disable it."
"Good." He said. "I expect results shortly."
The hologram disappeared.

Tau looked at the four scientists seated in front of the control panels. This operation was to be done with remotely controlled probes. They knew better than to let the reaper indoctrinate them. It would've put quite the cramp in any attempt to research the machine. She sat down in front of another control panel. Nothing to do now but wait for the fireworks.

The reaper had arrived. The machine sailed down towards the settlement below, shrugging off artillery fire as it went. There was nothing in the settlement of New Karnak that could challenge a Sovereign class reaper. But the Cerberus fleet, flying in from another system, could.

"Holy shit, did that thing just step on the spaceport?" Tau exclaimed, overlooking the carnage from a vantage point afforded by cameras. One of the other scientists just nodded grimly. The reaper horn blared throughout the city. She thought about Cerberus' plan. They were going to take the reaper out through orbital bombardment. The damage to the city would be massive. Then again, the city was lost the moment the reaper touched down on the planet's soil.

They watched as the reaper laid waste to the city. Husks were being seeded into the city as the reaper passed. The reaper had even taken out the surface to air cannons with a jet of molten metal. The reaper was invincible. The citizens were either fighting husks or running away. The cerberus fleet had cause to hurry. How long until the reaper noticed the cerberus bunker? She could vaguely see the panicking crowds. Remote video never did the terror justice. The reaper discharged its gun, melting street into slag.

Then, fire rained from the skies. The reaper buckled under the first volley, but only slightly. Tau couldn't even see the attacking fleet, but the reaper apparently could. The enormous metal frame leaned back on its tentacles and fired at the sky. The reaper horn blared once more as the return volley turned the reaper's surroundings into dust. Every miss further damaged the city. The flaming debris that was due to fall in a few hours probably wouldn't help matters.

Another volley of mass accelerator fire struck the reaper, further deepening the crater around it. The reaper was the more powerful of the two sides, but gravity was its worst enemy right now. Its hull couldn't withstand impacts like it could in open space, and its shields were operating at reduced power. An attempt to take off would only have weakened the reaper's defense further. But still, every five seconds, another cerberus ship became slag.

A lucky shot struck the reaper in the main gun, momentarily interrupting the streams of molten metal being fired at the sky. The ships above aimed another volley, finally overloading the machine's shields. Its position in the crater began to waver. It mustered another shot of its main gun before a volley brought it low. The reaper fell, smashing flat a two kilometer strip of the city. The fleet above fired a final volley, impacting with the reaper's undefended hull. They had won.