So... this is it... the final chapter.

All that's left now is ME3. Let me tell you, that is gonna be one "hell" of a ride!

A huge thanks to so many of my fans who've been reading and reviewing my story. Can't tell you how much it's meant to me and I look forward to you joining me on the next adventure as well.

I will confess, there is a bit of cheating in here form time to time, so the action scenes are bit... simple. Pretty sure though the story changes, the love scene, ending, and even the post credits ending should make up for it.

Chapter 43

The Arrival

1 month it had been now.

Austin and Liara had finally returned from their honeymoon and had easily settled back in to their place on the Normandy.

Austin was currently up in his quarters checking all the messages he'd received while he was away. There were only a few messages he didn't need. All the rest were from the rest of the team and a few other close friends wishing him and Liara a happy return after their honeymoon.

As he finished sorting all the messages, a thought occurred to him. Although Traynor had probably had plenty of time to settle in properly on the Normandy by now, she hadn't had time to really get to know him.

"Traynor, if you're not doing anything, I've got a few hours free. Would you like to come up?" he asked into his comm.

"Your cabin is gorgeous. I've seen apartments smaller than this." Said Traynor as she admired Austin and Liara's quarters. "Well, Major… ready to play?"

"Play?" Austin asked, confused.

"I picked up a chessboard on Arkadia. GUI interface- not nearly as nice as real pieces, but this takes up less space. So… interested?" said Traynor.

"This is a trap, isn't it?" Austin chuckled.

"I'm just a simple comm specialist, Major. I'm sure your real-world expertise and experience in the field will give you the edge." Said Traynor innocently.

Traynor made the finishing move easily and Austin soon found his king cornered.


"Dammit!" Austin sighed. "Well done, Traynor. You win."

"My word, Major. It's almost as though you wanted to spare your pawns the indignity of living under my regime." Said Traynor smugly.

"In real life, that tactic would have worked." Austin argued.

"Well, in real life, one doesn't move on an eight-by-eight square grid." Said Traynor.

"You know what I mean. The pawns are infantry. A good infantry line, like the Krogan, can take a charge like that." Said Austin.

"That reminds me of a joke: What's the difference between Major Shepard and a Krogan?" Traynor asked.

"A joke about me? This ought to be interesting. What is the difference?" Austin inquired.

"One is an unstoppable juggernaut of head-butting destruction…" Traynor started.

"…and the other doesn't have a smart-ass comm officer to keep him in line." Austin finished.

"Ooh, that's even better than the number-of-testicles punch line." Traynor laughed.

"You're not the only one with a British sense of humour." Austin smiled.

"So I noticed. So… rematch?" Traynor asked.


Much later, after Austin had still lost to his new comm specialist, Austin headed down to the CIC to pick a destination. He currently didn't know yet what he was gonna do, but he certainly planned to try and get the word out about the Reapers and help the whole galaxy prepare for them in some way. Just as he stepped up however, Traynor spoke.

"Major, you have an incoming message from Admiral Steven Hackett, Alliance HQ." she said.

"Major Shepard. I need to discuss a sensitive matter with you privately." He heard Hackett's voice say.

"I'll take this in my quarters." Said Austin.

Austin headed up to his quarters and activated the terminal. An almost lifelike, full colour hologram of Hackett was projected in front of him.

"Major. Thank you for your time. First off, it's good to finally hear from you again. We've all heard about your victory against the Collectors." Said the Admiral.

"Thank you, Hackett." Austin nodded.

"Anyway, I'll cut to the chase and keep it brief." Said Hackett. "We have a deep-cover operative out in Batarian space. Name's Doctor Amanda Kenson. Dr Kenson recently reported that she found evidence of an imminent Reaper invasion."

"So why call me? Remember I'm no longer in the Alliance now." Austin asked.

"Just this morning I received word that the Batarians arrested her. They're holding her in a secret prison outpost on terrorism charges. I need you to infiltrate the prison and get her out of there. As a favour to me. I'm asking you to go in alone." Said Hackett.

"I have Alpha with me. They'll be able to help with this." Said Austin.

"Kenson is my friend. If the Batarians see a squad of armed soldiers they'll kill her. This is serious, Major. Go in with discretion, or don't go at all." Said Hackett.

"Since you've asked nicely, Hackett, I'll get it sorted. If this does concern the Reapers, you were right to call me." Said Austin.

"The prison is hidden underground at a Batarian outpost on Aratcht. I'll upload the coordinates now. Once she's secure, confirm her discovery." Said Hackett.

"Got it."

"Hackett out."

All of Alpha had naturally recovered from the light injuries they'd received during the Eclipse raid. Despite that Hackett had told Austin to go in alone, the Helldiver had decided against it.

"You do realise you're going against Hackett's orders by bringing us, don't you?" Sandra asked.

"He didn't order me, he asked me. Besides, there's nothing he can do anyway since I'm not in the Alliance." Said Austin.

After spending almost a month without using his armour, it felt quite nice to be inside it again. The cape, the Blood Dragon logo, Excalibur, he'd missed it.

"Still doesn't explain why you're taking us with you. You'd do just as well on your own." Said Griffin.

"Hackett doesn't know you like I do. Besides, this isn't the first Batarian base we've infiltrated and we've all got into a lot of places more heavily guarded than this, most of them without firing a single shot." Said Austin.

Some of Alpha squad nodded at this and nudged each other.

"Now that, I do agree with. We'll have this doctor out of here before the Batarians can say "intruder alert". This'll be easy." Said Dash.

"Why would you say that, Dash?! Now you know it won't be!" said Ventra.

Ventra and Leena of course had also returned from their honeymoon. They'd mostly spent their time on Palaven since they couldn't visit Rannoch. They too felt quite pleased to be back again.

In a way, it was great catching up with everyone. They were like a bunch of bad boarding school boys who'd got back together again.

"Okay, everyone. You know the drill. Cloak on at all times. Stay out of sight, and avoid water." Said Austin as the drop ship door opened. The very second the doors opened however, he found themselves looking at a lot of rain.

"Oh crap." Said Ventra.

"That might be a problem, sir." Said Griffin.

"Shit!" Austin swore. "Guess we're gonna have to do this the old fashioned way. If we're lucky, it'll be dry inside."

Alpha took it very slowly through the base. Naturally of course, they did have to deal with some Batarian guards, but they did it nice and quietly. As Austin had said it was also dry inside, so they were able to use their cloaks to mostly stay out of sight.

When they finally reached Kenson's cell, taking out her guard was easy. As Alpha secured the area, Austin worked on getting the doctor free of her restraints.

"Who are you? What are you doing?" she asked.

"Relax, Dr Kenson. We're here to get you out. We're friends of Admiral Hackett." Said Austin.

"Hackett must have got my message." Said Kenson.

"The evidence you have better be worth it. Wasn't easy getting in here, and we risk some difficult diplomatic incidents if this doesn't go right." Said Austin, finally deactivating the clamps and freeing Kenson.

"It is. The Reapers are coming. Diplomacy is the least of our worries." Said Kenson.

At that moment, the alarm sounded. Batarian reinforcements were converging on their location.

"What? I didn't do it." Said Dash innocently.

"If we can find a console, I can hack security… make us an escape path." Said Kenson as she took a pistol from the Batarian guard.

"Then we'll find one."


Alpha naturally did what Helldivers did best, fight Batarians. They pretty much carved a path through any Batarians that got in their way. When they finally hacked security and got to a shuttle and left the base, it was completely deserted and devoid of Batarians.

"Engaging autopilot." Said Kenson. "We should be well out of range before they get their security measures unscrambled."

"Will they come after you?" Griffin asked.

"I'm not taking any chances. Batarians don't take kindly to humans who plan to destroy their mass relays." Said Kenson.


"Well, to be fair, that's only half the story." Kenson explained. "My people and I were here investigating rumours of Reaper technology out in the fringes of this system."

"I guess you found something." Said Liara.

"We found proof the Reapers will be arriving in this system. When they get here, they'll use its mass relay to travel throughout the galaxy. We call it the "Alpha Relay." From here, the Reapers can invade anywhere in the galaxy." Said Kenson.

"So you've decided to destroy it." Said Kraan.

"Exactly. Doing that would stop the Reapers' invasion. Even at FTL speeds, it'd be months or years before they got to the next relay. We came up with what we just called "the Project": a plan to launch a nearby asteroid into the relay and destroy it before the Reapers could arrive." Kenson continued. "Of course, the resulting explosion would probably wipe out the system."

"Why's that?" Liara asked.

"Mass relays are the most powerful mass-effect engines in the known galaxy. The energy released from a relay's destruction would probably resemble a supernova. This is a remote system, but just over three hundred thousand Batarians live on the colony where they held us. The explosion would undoubtedly kill them all." Said Kenson.

"Good. Maybe that will finally teach them a lesson and they'll stop treating humans like slaves." Said Griffin.

"You don't get it, Griffin. These Batarians aren't like the slavers we fight against. There are two factions of their race: the slavers, and the normal ones. The normal ones hate humans just as much as the slavers, but they deal with it maturely like they should. They don't resort to terrorism. Killing them is not the same as killing slavers. They're innocent, they've done nothing wrong." Said Austin.

"Can't believe I didn't see that before." Said Griffin.

"I don't blame you for thinking that way. The normal ones may not seek hostilities with humans, but they don't try to end the slavery and terrorism either when they should." Said Dash.

"But you're still right. That's no excuse for wiping out an entire system of them." Said Griffin.

"I still don't see how you learned about this supposed invasion." Said Austin.

"The evidence came from what we call Object Rho, a Reaper artefact we discovered among the asteroids near the relay itself. When we get back to Arcturus Station, I'll explain everything and provide copies of all our notes on the artefact." Said Kenson.

"Wait, if you're working near a Reaper artefact, how have you avoided indoctrination?" Austin asked, suspiciously.

"We've been careful. We know what we're dealing with. You're not speaking to a child, Helldiver. I saw what Sovereign did at the Citadel. Trust me – I know what's at stake." Said Kenson.

"The stakes are high. If you were willing to destroy a whole system over this, I want to see your proof." Said Austin.

"I guess I can't argue with that. Give me a moment." Said Kenson. "Kenson to project base."

"Good to hear your voice, Doctor. You coming home?" Austin overheard form her earpiece.

"Affirmative. And I've got Helldivers with me. Tidy up the lab. They need to confirm the artefact." Said Kenson.

"Right. I'll get everything set up for your arrival. Project base out."

"All set. Just sit back and relax. We'll be there in no time."

The Batarian shuttle touched down and everyone stepped out.

"Here we are. Welcome to Project Base." Said Kenson.

"What's this?" Austin asked, indicating to a timer overhead.

"That's our countdown to Arrival. When that gets to zero… the Reapers will have come. Just over a few hours. Puts things in perspective, doesn't it?" said Kenson.

"You're saying the Reapers will be here in just a few hours? There's no time to waste!" said Austin urgently.

"Then let's show you that proof. That door exits the hangar. The artefact is in our central lab area." Said Kenson.

Austin couldn't help but feel as though something was wrong. The entire base personal seemed very quiet. Too quiet in fact. He was pretty sure that Alpha felt that exact same way as well.

"We have to get the Project running again. It's probably the only chance we have." Said Austin.

"One sec. Let me get the door." Said Kenson.

The door opened and a large artefact that was definitely of Reaper make was revealed.

"Major Shepard, I give you Object Rho." Said Kenson proudly.

Austin however was not feeling the same. The artefact had no barriers or clamps or anything. There was nothing to stop this entire base being indoctrinated.

"You have the Reaper artefact just sitting here… out in the open!"

"When we found it, it showed me a vision of the Reapers' arrival." Said Kenson.

"Kenson, this is not good."

"Give it a moment, Shepard. It'll give you the proof you need."

Sure enough, all of Alpha Squad felt a strange energy engulf their suits and visions of the Reapers arrival flashed in front of their eyes. The resulting shock of this disorientated them and they fell to the floor. Austin simply fell to his knees due to his strong will. He then suddenly felt the barrel of a gun touch his head.

"I can't let you start the Project, Shepard. I can't let you stop the Arrival." Said Kenson.

Austin's suspicions had been right. Kenson and everyone on this base were indoctrinated and were now the Reapers slaves. The other doors opened and the bases guards hurried into the room.

"Wasn't asking your permission, bitch!" Austin yelled as he swung around. He grabbed Kenson's wrist and disarmed her. The doctor screamed in pain as the Helldiver broke her wrist.

"Take them down!" she yelled as she fled the room, leaving Alpha to deal with the guards.

"Don't make this difficult, Shepard!" Kenson yelled over the loudspeaker as Alpha took cover and fired.

"Do not resist. Give yourself over and be spared." A voice boomed from Object Rho.

There was no mistaking the deep bellowing voice of Harbinger.

The Helldivers however remained focused and continued fighting. Guard after guard was sent in only to then be shot down by one of Alpha Squad.

"They won't go down!" one of the guards yelled.

"We don't want to hurt you, Major. Lay down your weapons!" said Kenson.

"Go to hell!" Griffin yelled as he let his minigun loose on several guards and even one of the security cameras and loudspeakers.

"Your galaxy is in sight. Your final days are at hand." Said Object Rho.

"That didn't sound like Harbinger." Said Liara.

It was true, that voice hadn't been Harbingers. It had been different, almost more… alive like.

"Now's not the time! Stay focused everyone." Said Austin as he blind fired.

The fight continued on with none of Alpha sustaining any injuries. Their shield or armour quickly sought to deflecting or absorbing anything.

"We can't keep this up much longer!"

"This will only get worse for you, Shepard." Kenson yelled.

"Speak for yourself, Kenson!" Austin retorted.

"The end of your species will come." Harbinger boomed through Object Rho.

"Activate the heavy mech."

Sure enough, a large Heavy mech stormed into the room. Alpha immediately took cover to avoid the heavy fire and were forced to blind fire from their position. Austin was now regretting not bringing X-5 along.

"Patience. It's only a matter of time." Said Kenson.

"Struggle if you wish. Your mind will belong to my masters." Said the strange voice.

The heavy mech made it slightly easier for the guards since it had Alpha pinned down. This was short lived however when Griffin suddenly through all the explosives he had at the mech's feet and Ventra shot them with an explosive arrow. The explosion destroyed the mech and killed the rest of the guards.

At that moment, the artefact suddenly charged up and released a wave.

"You shall be the first to witness our arrival." Harbinger boomed.

"LOCKDOWN! NOW!" Austin yelled.

As the wave swept over them, all of Alpha Squad quickly crouched down and activated their suit's lockdown. A small white field surrounded them just before the wave from Project Rho touched them.

Austin waited for a few long seconds before he finally deactivated his lockdown and checked the area.

"Everyone okay?" he asked.

"Just about. That energy was so strong it nearly broke through the lockdown shield." Said Leena as she and the others deactivated their own lockdowns.

"Not much time. We have to get this asteroid moving and get the hell out of here." Said Austin.

Kenson was starting to sound nervous after that. She'd been certain that the wave from Object Rho would take care of them. Since it hadn't, she was now becoming paranoid to the point where she was throwing all the guards they had at them.

Despite the guards best efforts however, they hardly slowed the Helldivers down at all. Pretty soon, they reached the control which would allow them to activated the project.

"Welcome to project control." Said the computer.

"Activate the Project." Said Austin.

"Warning. Activating the Project will result in an estimated three hundred and five thousand causalities. Do you wish to continue?" the computer asked.

Austin did hesitate for a moment before he activated. He took no pleasure in doing this, but it had to be done, if the Reapers arrived now while the entire galaxy was completely unprepared for their arrival, this war was as good as over before it had evens started.

"Project activated in progress. Warning: Collision with mass relay is imminent. Begin evacuation procedures." Said the computer.

Sandra then walked up to the control panel and started tapping away at it.

"What are you doing?" Austin asked.

"We should try to warn the Batarians at least." Said Sandra. "This is as secure as I can get."

"To all residents in the Bahak system, this is…" Austin tried to say, but Kenson suddenly cut them off.

"Shepard! No! Do you have any idea what you've done? You leave me no choice. If we can't stop this asteroid, it must be destroyed!"

"I'm just about ready to put an arrow through that bitch's eye socket." Said Ventra angrily.

"Computer, locate Doctor Amanda Kenson." Said Austin, also making no effort to hide his anger at Kenson.

"Doctor Kenson is travelling to the reactor core module." The computer replied.

"An eezo core meltdown should do it. Because of you, everyone on this rock will be obliterated!" said Kenson over the speakers.

"You had it coming, and not if I get to you first." Said Austin.

With Kenson in the core, she had as many guards as possible trying to slow the Helldivers down long enough for her to destroy the core. Of course, this hardly slowed them down at all. Pretty soon, they were in the core. Kenson was on the other side of some glass.

"Don't try to stop me, Shepard. I have to do this." She said.

"You better give up, Kenson. I don't care if you're Hackett's friend. We will kill you!" said Austin threatening.

"You're forcing my hand, Shepard. You know that." Said Kenson. "There is no escape. There's no redemption for what you've done. I will die never having seen the Reaper's blessings. And you will just die."

"Get back here, Kenson!" Austin yelled as the doctor fled out of range.

Alpha had to continue battling through even more of Kenson's guards before they finally were able to reach the reactor. Kenson was forced to accept to defeat.

"Step away from the reactor." Austin ordered, his M-76 Revenant trained on her.

"You've ruined everything! I can't hear the whispers anymore." Kenson wailed.

"Happy to disappoint you, Kenson. Turn around. Now!" the Major almost yelled.

"You've taken them away from me. I will never see the Reapers' arrival." Said Kenson, turning around, and revealing a detonator in her hand. "All you had to do was…"

But before she could finish, all of Alpha Squad suddenly emptied their weapons into her.

"All I had to do, was kill you when I had the chance." Said Austin coldly.

Despite this however, Kenson still managed to press the button and the device exploded. The resulting explosion failed to damage the core, but it still sent the Helldivers flying. After a few brief seconds, Austin and the others got up.

"Ow. I'm gonna feel that in the morning." said Austin, loosening his neck slightly.

"Get off me!" Kraan groaned as he pushed Dash off of him.

"Warning: Collision imminent." Said the computer.

Austin went up to the console and once again tried to contact the Normandy.

"Joker, this is Shepard. We need pick up. Now."

"Communication system damaged." Said the computer.

"For god's sake!" said Austin angrily as he banged the console.

"Evacuation protocols in effect. All personal report to escape shuttles."

"Where can we find an escape shuttle?"

"Take the lift from this room to the external access. From there, proceed to the communications tower. The remaining escape shuttles will be located on the tower's landing pad."

"We have to get to that comm tower and take a shuttle. It might be our only chance left." Said Liara.

"Move out!"

With Kenson dead, everyone else was trying to evacuate. Alpha headed out onto the landing bay through the airlock. The vacuum of space made it somewhat trickier for them to fight the guards, but they still prevailed in the end.

Sandra hurried up to the comm array and gained access to it.

"External communication open." She said. "Okay, we've got a solid link."

"Shepard to Normandy. Joker, do you read us?" Austin said again.

Before a reply could happen however, a large orange hologram of a Reaper suddenly appeared over one of the landing pads. It was Harbinger.

"Uh oh." Said Dash.

"Shepard. You have become an annoyance. You fight against inevitability. Dust struggling against cosmic winds. This seems a victory to you. A star system sacrificed. But even now, your greatest civilizations are doomed to fall. Your leaders will beg to serve us." The Reaper boomed.

"Yes, people will die. Maybe we'll lose half the galaxy. Maybe more. But I will do whatever it takes to rid the galaxy of you and your kind. However "insignificant" we might be, we will fight, we will sacrifice, and we will find a way. That's what we do." Said Austin.

"Know this as you die in vain: Your time will come. Your species will fall. And when it is over, you will stand alongside the synthetic ones. Prepare yourselves for the Arrival!"

Harbinger's hologram once again folded up into hibernation state and faded away.

"Major Shepard. Normandy inbound for pickup." Said the computer.

Sure enough, the SR3 was coming in for pickup. Austin and the rest of Alpha didn't need to be told twice.

"Let's move it, everyone! Go!"

All of the Helldivers hurried into the airlock. Once the doors were sealed Austin ran into the ridge.

"Get us out of here, Joker! Now!"

The Normandy sped at full speed towards the relay. They were jettisoned forward by it with seconds to spare. From the galaxy map, Austin watched the explosion as it consumed all in its path. It was done.


First thing Austin had wanted to check was that the wave from Project Rho hadn't done anything to their suits without them knowing. The lockdown had certainly protected them but it was mostly intended to protect against physical attacks. For all they knew, Rho might have left something deadly hidden inside their suits.

All of Alpha were gathered in the medbay while Dell and Dr Chakwas checked them. Dell was using a special detector device.

"Not that I can tell. All your suit's readings are normal, and I'm not picking up anything out of the ordinary. Just to be safe though, I'll run deep scans of your suits when you take them off." Said the Arkane.

At that moment, the doors suddenly opened and Hackett stepped in.

"Should we step outside?" Chakwas asked.

"I think you should." Austin sighed.

"Good luck." Said Dell sympathetically. Even he could tell this wouldn't be easy to solve.


Sounds like you and your squad went through a lot down there. How are you feeling?" Hackett asked.

"Fine. Nothing out of ordinary either. Wasn't expecting to see you here, though." Said Austin.

"You went out there as a favour to me. I decided to debrief you all in person. That was before the mass relay exploded and destroyed an entire Batarian system. What the hell happened out there, Major?" Hackett asked.

Austin handed Hackett the report he'd written. Hackett went over it as Austin explained in his own words.

"Kenson said the Reapers were the galaxy's salvation. Then she tried to capture us. Didn't work of course, but still..."

"Sounds like Amanda was indoctrinated. Well. That's… a damn shame. What happened after?" Hackett asked.

"Something about the Reaper artefact she was keeping made her go insane. She didn't want to stop the invasion but somehow she ended up doing exactly that. She activated the Project thinking that it would kill us and prevent us from stopping the Reapers. We knew of course this had to be done so we didn't' try to stop her. We tried to warn the Batarians, but time ran out." Said Austin.

"I'm sure all the details are in your report." Said Hackett.

"Austin, what are you doing? That's not what happened." Liara asked telepathically.

"Just trust me on this Liara. I have to do it this way." Austin replied.

"I won't lie to you, Shepard: the Batarians will want blood, but they have no way of knowing who are what did this. There's risk they may blame the Alliance, and we don't want war with the Batarians. Not with the Reapers at the galaxy's edge." Said Hackett.

"What are you saying?" Alaara asked.

"I understand you did all you could, but… there were more than three hundred thousand. Batarians in that system. All dead." Said Hackett.

"You think I don't know that?!" said Austin. "We know the difference between the slavers we fight, and the innocent ones. Letting this happen brought us no pleasure.

"Besides, any sacrifice is worth stopping a Reaper invasion." Said Griffin, trying to sound supportive.

"I happen to agree. Unfortunately, not everyone will see it that way." Said Hackett.

"Cut to the chase, Hackett." Said Austin.

"Obviously there's no evidence that you or any of your team were there, but the Batarians will naturally think it was the Alliance that made this happen. I'm without options, so I'm forced to turn to you. There's a chance that you might have to take the blame for this. If not, we risk full scale war." Said Hackett.



"You're not pinning this on me, or anyone!" Austin nearly shouted.

"If we don't, the Batarians will wage war. Do you not see that?! The galaxy needs to be united to face the Reapers!" Hackett retorted.

"I know that, Hackett! But there' no way I'm letting you blame me for this. We did our job! You're the one that sent us there!"

"Hard to argue with that."

"However, I don't think it'll be necessary for you to take responsibility for this. I have a better plan."

"I'm listening."

"You say there's hardly any evidence pointing to us or the Alliance being involved. I'd say that'd make it easy to create a good cover story. My friend, Xun is a very good information broker. She can create a false story saying that the blame is with Cerberus. They'd be more likely to do this anyway."

"You mean lie to them?!"

"You don't like Cerberus any more than we do, Hackett. The Batarians know fully well that Cerberus is not part of the Alliance, a multi species super soldier army fights against them, and they're often called terrorists. The blame goes to them, and a war is prevented."

"But being dishonest to them…"

"I'm not arguing with you over this, Hackett. I'm no longer part of the Alliance, so you're in no position to give me orders, especially since you and I are practically the same rank now. I'm not letting you blame us for simply doing our jobs. It's either blame Cerberus, or you, or open war. What would you prefer?"

Hackett was silent for a while before he finally replied.

"Fine. Admittedly, it would indeed be better to blame Cerberus. Maybe that way, they'll stop causing trouble and we can focus more on preparing for the Reapers." He said.

"You may not like it now, Hackett. But you'll thank me for this someday." Said Austin.


Hackett left, leaving just Alpha alone with each other. Austin knew however, he wasn't quite done yet. He'd taken care of this part, but now he had another one to sort out, and this one would be a lot harder.

"Well, that went well." He said.

"You're crazy, Shepard. You just lied to an Alliance Admiral! Why?!" Dash asked in surprise.

"If I'm incarcerated, who else will there be to help prepare for the Reapers. So many people in the galaxy still don't believe us. Those Batarians would have died for nothing if the galaxy isn't' anymore prepared than it is now. I take no pleasure in lying about this, about the fact that I made the choice, but it had to be done." Said Austin.

"We're not saying we disagree with you, sir. We just wanted to know why." Said Sandra.

"Trust me, I'm sorry that all those Batarians lost their lives, but having me take the fall would only give the Reapers another step ahead of us. We stand a much better chance this way." Said Austin.

"And admittedly, that is rather clever to blame it on Cerberus. The Batarians know that they practically stand apart from humanity, so they won't seek war with the rest of us. And even if they do, the whole galaxy will fight alongside us due to the treaties." Said Ventra.

"Thought you'd say that." Said Austin. "I'm not asking you to forgive me for breaking a part of the Helldiver code. If your faith in me is shaken, I understand. I just want you to know that I had no choice."

Alpha were silent for a moment. Admittedly, it did surprise them that their leader would break a part of the code. For nearly 14 years they had known and followed his lead. This was certainly something that they never thought would happen.

"Sir, if I may…" Griffin spoke up. "I've not been in this squad as long as anyone else, nor have I known you as long. But despite this, I've come to trust you like a true leader during my time serving under you. And I think I can speak for everyone else when I say that you did the right thing but not only destroying that Relay, but also doing what you just did. Besides, we did all we could to warn them. It's no one's fault that we failed. If anything, Kenson's the one to blame."

Everyone seemed to agree with this and there were a few mumbles of agreement.

"I don't know if anyone else feels the same, but my trust in you hasn't been shaken at all, Shepard. You can trust me to keep my silence, and I will continue to fight alongside you to the very end. You're more than just a leader to me… Austin. You're my friend, and I still trust you even after this. You broke a part of the code because you had to. You did it for the right reason, and personally… I think that puts God on your side." Griffin continued, putting his hand reassuringly on Austin's shoulder.

"Thanks, Griff." Austin smiled. He did his best to hide his surprise. He had feared that Alpha would never forgive him for this. Perhaps he underestimated just how strong their bonds of friendship truly were.

"We've trusted you this far, Shepard. You have not lead us astray. Many times you have made some decisions that we have questioned at first, but have always found it was right in the end. There's no reason why that should change now." Said Sandra.

All of Alpha squad agreed with this and nodded. Austin was left lost for words for a while. Even after this long, his squad was still full of surprises.

"Thank you, all of you. You honour me with your faith and trust in me. As your leader, I couldn't' ask for anything better." He said.

"We'll keep our silence about this; even to the Arkane's themselves. You have our word on it. Right guys?" said Dash.

Everyone nodded.

"Well, since that's all sorted, I say we get back to work. We've delayed the Reapers for maybe another two years. I say we use that to its fullest advantage. Who's with me?" Austin asked, putting his hand forward.

Liara of course was the first to do the same and put her hand on her husband's.

"I am." She said.

"Me too." Said Griffin.

Both Ventra and Leena did the exact same and also added their hands to the combination.

"So am I."

"And me."

"We're all bloody in!" said Kraan.

Sarah had heard what happened down there. Being smart and knowing her brother well of course, she knew the truth. However, Austin knew that, and she had just come out of having a little chat with him. Like Alpha, she understood why her brother had done it, and why he had been forced to lie to Hackett about this. As she walked through one of the hallways, she saw Traynor walking the other way.

"Hello, Traynor." She smiled.

"Oh, hello… Sarah." Samantha nearly stuttered.

"You know, I have some free time now. I'm happy to play that round of chess if you're still interested." Said Sarah.

"Of course. Great. Err… where shall we do it? Your quarters?" Traynor asked, doing her best to hide how nervous she was. To be alone in a room with the person she had fallen desperately in love with would be torture. But at the same time, she could not refuse this beautiful woman.

"Nah! They're not really the greatest place for a good chess game. I've got something else in mind." Sarah winked.

To say that Traynor was nervous was a mild understatement. Sarah was a lot more attractive than she was in her eyes, more beautiful and also had a much sexier body than hers, one that many would kill to have. She was so far out of her league. Then there was the fact that she was Shepard's sister. Everyone had heard of the legendary Sir Major Shepard. How many women out there in the galaxy had fantasized about being able to at least kiss him alone? Sarah being related to him only added to her being 'untouchable'. Of course, there was also the fact that she was worried that Sarah might be disgusted with her, either because she was probably straight and therefore revolted at the idea of sleeping with another woman, or that she might indeed like other women but think that Traynor was not worthy of her, beneath her. That would be even more unbearable.

Sarah could even get her brother to kick her off the ship. As much as Traynor considering it an honour to be stationed on the Normandy, the thought that she might never see Sarah scared her more than anything else. She felt shocked by this realization, but she did start to understand. She felt terrified at the idea of Sarah sending her away, so she did her best to herself, no matter how much Sarah's presence tempted her by the prospect of what she could never have.

"Commander, I don't think this is such a good idea. We could both get in trouble for this." Said Traynor nervously as Sarah began accessing the door controls to Austin and Liara's cabin.

"I know, that's what makes it more fun." Sarah giggled naughtily.

"Where did you get the access code to your brother's cabin anyway?" Traynor asked suspiciously.

"Samantha, my friend, what you don't know can't hurt you." Sarah winked.

The door opened and Sarah stepped inside. Samantha reluctantly followed.

"I've never been in here before. Kind of jealous he's got all this now. Perhaps I should ask nicely if I can get mine to look like this." Said Sarah admiringly.

"This is actually my second time in here. Earlier today, your bother invited me up. I asked if he was interested in a game, so we played." Said Traynor. She was doing the best acting she could to hide her nervousness and depression.

"Let me guess, he won?" Sarah asked.

"Actually, no. I did." Said Traynor, somewhat proud.

"You beat my brother? Wow! Now I'm really impressed." Said Sarah.

Traynor did her best not to blush. To have Sarah say something like that made this very difficult for there. Despite that Sarah might sound as though she liked her, she was most likely just being nice.

Trying to find something to tear her way from Sarah's beautiful eyes, she looked at another door up on the higher level just behind the ship collection.

"What do you thinks' in there?" she asked quickly.

"I think that's the bathroom." Said Sarah.

Samantha's interest suddenly peaked. Perhaps she had picked the right thing to change the subject on after all.

"Ah, an actual shower!"

She sighed in delight as opened the door and had a look inside.

"Why's that so special?" Sarah asked curiously.

"The faucets in the women's bathroom are crap. Didn't you know that?" Traynor replied.

"Well, I haven't tried them since the Normandy got refitted. They worked fine last time. Must be a fault." Sarah shrugged.

Traynor did her best to not create the mental image of Sarah I all her glory taking a shower. Watching the water cascade majestically down her smooth skin and beautiful body.

"In any event… shall we get on with our game?" Traynor asked quickly.

"I'm ready if you are." Sarah smiled confidently.

"Check mate." Sarah smiled smugly.

"What?!" Samantha cried. "How… how did you… I don't believe it! You actually beat me."

It was true. Somehow, Sarah had actually managed to succeed where her brother had failed.

"To be fair though, Sam, I did only just beat you. You made a tiny mistake a few moves back. If you hadn't, you'd have trampled me for sure. You're very good at this." Said Sarah.

"Thank you. I… that's very kind of you." Said Traynor, once again trying not to blush.

There was a bit of a long silence as the two tried to think of something else to say. Without any other options, Samantha simply resorted to the first thing that popped into her head.

"Erm, I remember a joke I told your brother earlier, you want to hear it?" she asked nervously.

"Sure." Sarah smiled.

"Okay. What's the difference between Commander Shepard and a Krogan?" Traynor asked, not realizing that she'd accidently said Commander rather than Major. If she'd known that she'd quite by accident that she'd instead told a joke about the woman she was madly in love with… "One is an unstoppable juggernaut of head-butting destruction…"

"…And the other thinks you might like a shower." Sarah finished.

"Sorry? Did you just say…"

"I can tell how excited you were about that and I could see the hopefulness in your eyes. You'd like to use it, wouldn't you?" Sarah winked.

"Nothing gets past you, does it, Commander." Samantha chuckled nervously. "Admittedly, yes. It would be nice to use a proper shower, I just hadn't realised that was an option."

"It's an option." Said Sarah.

"But suppose your brother comes in and…"

"He won't. Trust me, Sam." Said Sarah calmly. "And even if he does, I'll take full responsibility. I was the one who suggested we come up here after all."

"Well… I'll just, get undressed." Said Traynor.

"Don't mind me. Nothing I haven't seen before." Said Sarah, respectfully looking away out of respect for Traynor's privacy.

"You must've had quite a few men in your time." Said Samantha as she slowly unbuttoned her top.

Secretly, this was terrifying for her. What if Sarah didn't find her body attractive? What if it didn't appeal to her?

"And women too. I swing both ways." Said Sarah.

Samantha's heart nearly stopped at this. Had she just heard right? Sarah swung both ways?! She was attracted to women as well?!

This news nearly made Traynor faint with shock and delight. Something about this was now telling the comm specialist that perhaps all wasn't lost. Maybe there was hope for her yet.

"You do?!" she asked.

"Yeah. I'm bisexual. Didn't you know that?" said Sarah.

"No. I thought you were… well, I just didn't expect it." Samantha panted nervously, her heart pounding hard in her chest. She couldn't' believe what she was hearing. Her love was bisexual, there was a good possibility that Sarah might actually like her.

"That's not a problem is it?" Sarah asked cautiously. The way Traynor that Traynor had spoken earlier worried her that perhaps that fact about her made the comm specialist uncomfortable.

"Oh no, of course not! No! It's fine. It was just unexpected." Samantha replied quickly.

"Are you okay? You sound nervous." Sarah asked.

"Probably just the excitement." Samantha chuckled nervously. "Maybe I'll feel better once I've had this shower."

Samantha finished taking off all her clothes and now moved to her underwear. This terrified her even more. She was actually going naked in front of the women she'd fallen in love with. Once again, she was frightened that Sarah may once again not find her attractive.

Once Traynor's underwear was off, the comm specialist stepped in and turned the shower on. The feel of the hot water really did help to partly take her mind off of her thoughts of Sarah, who was sitting just outside and could possibly see her. Once again in her nervousness, she'd left the door open.

"Oooh… hot water and room to stretch. I could get lost in here." She moaned in delight as the water hit her body.

"Leaving the door open? Really, Sam?" Sarah thought.

The N7 marine didn't show it, but secretly, he heat was beating very fast too. The women that she'd somehow developed a crush on was now standing in the shower, naked and with the door open. The temptation it was giving was almost impossible to resist.

Something about the warm water changed something in Traynor. She suddenly felt a bit more bolder and confident. Some thoughts came into her mind. Thoughts that she wouldn't normally have thought of.

"Mmm… Oh, it's like a week's with of stress is washing off. And the timing is perfect. I was hoping to look nice for somebody." She said.

Sarah suddenly felt her heart sink. Traynor had found someone? She'd met a man who might become a boyfriend?!

Sarah did her best to hide how disappointed she was and did her best to remain casual.

"Hot date lined up?" she asked, trying as best as she could to hide that her eyes were tearing up slightly.

"Hopefully more than just that. I play for keeps." Said Traynor.

"That… sounds serious." Said Sarah. She really did think that she'd burst into tears any minute. The one woman she'd grown to like more than anyone else and she was now taken.

"That depends on whether she's interested." Said Traynor.

Then it all clicked into place. All this time, Sarah had thought that Samantha had been talking about a man. But she hadn't, now Sarah realized who the comm specialist was referring to. Who else could it be, but…

"Oh my god! It's me!" she thought.

Her mind started filling with over a thousand questions. How long had she felt this way? Was this why she'd been so nervous around her? Did this explain why she'd taken some time off? And the most important question of all… How should she approach this now?

Samantha had definitely had that question aimed right her. She was asking her and now whether Sarah was interested in her.

"How do… actually, the hell with it." Sarah thought.

The N7 marine walked up the small stairs, up to the doorway, and shrugged everything off until she was as naked as the day she was born.

"She's interested."

And she walked in.
Traynor jumped as she suddenly felt a presence behind her. She felt her breath catch in her chest. She couldn't believe this was actually happening to her. She turned around just in time for Sarah to cup the specialist's plump cheekbones as she kissed her at last.

Traynor froze for a second, eyes bulging alarmingly wide. Then… it was as if something clicked deep inside. Her breathing slowly calmed to a less dangerous level and the convulsions that wracked her body transformed into shivers of pleasure. Nothing in her entire life could compare to that moment. After all the anticipation, the kiss most definitely didn't disappoint. Sarah's heart melted instantly, as the feeling of Traynor's soft skin consumed her every sense. Closing her eyes, Sarah deepened the contact until the girl's nose brushed electrically across her cheek. Her arms auto-piloted their way to encircle the petrified specialist and pull her in deeper.

All notion of time disappeared from their minds. Everything revolved around the point of contact between them, and the delicious feeling of their lover's tongues against their own. Traynor finally closed her own eyes, and hungrily returned the favour, blissfully aware of every movement they made against each other. Sarah continued to soothe her, using her own lips to softly part the specialist's. Sarah's tongue slid from her mouth and began to slide across Traynor's teeth, seeking to penetrate the pearly white barrier. The young girl gasped involuntarily, allowing her eyelids to close as she too was swept up in the passionate moment. That was all the invitation Sarah needed to slip inside, delighting in the glorious feeling of tasting her lover for the very first time. Traynor began to respond, cautiously licking the tip of Sarah's tongue with her own. The electrically charged contact made the Commander actually whimper, encouraging the other girl to continue.

When they finally broke apart for air, they stared into each other's eyes before stepping back to admire the other's body for a while. Something about their connection made them find even the smallest detail to be impossibly beautiful. Despite the magical feeling she felt, after admiring the N7's body, Traynor still felt that Sarah was so far out of her league.

In Sarah's mind, she could hardly believe how amazing Traynor was. She couldn't help but marvel at how Traynor's richly tanned skin gave her such an exotic appeal. In her eyes, the lighting against her skin, combined with the glistening rivulets of water streaming down her body, Sarah could swear that Traynor's skin was practically glowing... almost like a young angel. Sarah just couldn't help how the sight made her feel, as she felt herself smile.

Samantha could have sworn she felt her very soul cry out in sheer joy when she saw Sarah's radiant smile. In that one moment, all her doubts washed away. It was true, Sarah had chosen her. HER! She felt as though her heart might explode from the emotions that were violently surging through it. Overcome with happiness, Samantha felt her body move of its own volition as she kissed Sarah once again.

At long last, flushed and panting, they separated. Samantha instantly missed the feeling of Sarah's skin on hers and felt her heart sing when the N7 pulled her into a firm hug. Sighing contentedly, she wrapped her arms around Sarah's hourglass torso and nuzzled into her offered neck. It occurred to her then how truly miraculous Sarah's power over her emotions was. She had felt so powerful when they were kissing, ecstatic in the fact that she could bring pleasure and happiness to the woman she loved, and now, cradled in that same woman's arms, she felt safe and secure; as if nothing in the universe could ever hurt or even touch her.

As the two held each other in their arms, they washed each other a bit. Sarah even washed Samantha's black hair with some soap while Traynor focused in the N7 marine's body.

The comm specialist still could not believe how beautiful Sarah's body was. Beautiful curves, an hourglass form, a nice behind, and some excellent breasts. Just looking at it made Traynor feel very aroused.

They continued simply standing in the shower and kissing one another for a long time before they finally decided to get out before they wasted all the water and EDI suddenly picked up on this.

As the two towelled and dried each other, they couldn't help but still kiss. Sarah intended to take Traynor back to her own quarters for their first time together, but when they left the shower and felt the cool air hit their nude bodies, cold air clashing with the overwhelming heat of arousal, she changed her mind. There was a bed right there...

Acting purely on instinct, the two once again launched into each others arms and slowly made for the bed. When they felt their legs touch the edge, they fell down onto the soft mattress.

Even the slightest touch made them burn up. After "massaging" each other's bodies in the shower for a while, their arousal had got the point where they could hardly even stand up.

The two continued holding each other in their arms and kissing. Finally, Sarah's lips started moving down Traynor's body. The Comm specialist moaned in delight at the feel of her lover's mouth caressing her body like this. It was like having the shower water once again trickling down her, but this time in a very specific place.

Sarah continued kissing lower and lower until finally she reached Traynor's breasts. Although they weren't quite as big as her own, Sarah found them to be an excellent size. Not too small, nice and perky and no hint of sag. For her, they were perfect, and Samantha's beautifully smooth skin only added to it.

Samantha continued moaning and stroked Sarah's red hair as the Commander took one of her nipples into her mouth and caressed it perfectly with her tongue. It had done wonders to her mouth, now it was doing it again.

This continued for a long time until Traynor flipped them over and she was on top. She then gently started grinding against Sarah. This elected moans from the both of them as Samantha gently thrust her hips into her lover's.

"Would've thought... we'd used… toys… by now. Sarah moaned in-between thrusts.

"They'd just spoil this golden moment. Besides, I don't have any. I'm not that kind of woman." Traynor panted.

"Nor am I." Sarah smiled as she once again kissed Traynor.

The mere touch of Sarah's lips on hers again nearly made Traynor faint. It was almost as though this woman knew exactly how to pleasure her, how to make this absolutely perfect for the both of them.

"Sam, I never thought I'd say this to anyone, but you definitely put every other girl to shame." Said Sarah.

"Stop it. You don't really mean that, you're just trying to make me blush." Traynor smiled, her cheeks turning a bit red.

Sarah however became serious. "No, I meant that. You mean more to me than anyone and anything."

A few tiny tears of happiness leaked from the specialist's oriental eyes, disappearing into her tamed locks. The two hugged each other for a while until Samantha felt she'd calmed down enough to become adventurous again.

Sarah caught on quickly and once again flipped them over so that she was on top. This time though, she turned around until they were in the 69 position.

"One of my favourites." Sarah smiled. You don't mind?"

"Not at all." Samantha smiled.

Sarah lowered herself down until her lips touched Traynor's pussy. The comm specialist was quick to return the favour.

She tasted divine. Traynor suddenly lapped at her wet folds as if her life depended on it. She couldn't compare Sarah's taste to anything, it was so much better than any food or drink. She was her drug and she was addicted to her. Sarah's moans only encouraged Samantha to drink from her oasis of tasty honey with more and more urgency.

They continued making love to one another for many hours, so much so in fact it felt like they'd been doing this for one whole day. Not that that was a bad thing course. One whole day of pleasure was something anyone would love.

Feeling both their imminent releases as they sixty-nined each other, they came together. Sarah herself nearly passed out form that, something she'd never felt or done before. This whole night with her new love had been absolutely amazing.

Sarah lay on her back for a moment. She then suddenly noticed that Traynor had actually blacked out from her last climax. Smiling tenderly, Sarah closed her eyes, basking, and slightly squirming, in the afterglow of the most incredible sex of her life. She had never felt such pleasure, such amazing sensations before. It was almost an unbelievable, almost spiritual experience. Glancing at her passed out lover, she then smiled once again in absolute bliss. Traynor looked even more beautiful when asleep. Seeing such peaceful serenity and delightful content on her face brought unexpected elated warmth to Sarah's heart, until the point where she was almost certain she was hovering several centimetres above the bed. Snuggling closer to Traynor's warm body, Sarah ran her hand across her lover's unbelievably smooth skin, marvelling at the soothing sensation against her fingertips. She could spend hours just staring at the gorgeously tanned skin, admiring how perfect the specialist's body looked in the ethereal glow of the cabin. Leaning closely, she delicately caressed Traynor's lips with the sweetest kiss she had given her yet.

The specialist's lips were so beautifully soft and tender against her own and it made Sarah want to cry. It felt like she had waited so long to kiss her even though it had only been a few minutes in real time. Slowly, Traynor began to stir and moan under the loving ministrations. As before, something clicked inside her, and her arms instinctively wrapped themselves around Sarah's slender neck as she eagerly returned the kiss. Several more minutes were lost as the tender kiss enraptured both women and submersed them in the feelings they shared for each other.

When they finally stopped to catch their breath, Sarah lay down with Traynor resting her head on Sarah's breasts. This was something the both of them loved doing. There was always something always so loving and tender about it.

"I can't tell you how much I needed that." Traynor sighed.

"Are you using me for my brother's shower?" Sarah chuckled.

"Not anymore. You're all I need, Sarah. I… I love you. I can't deny that anymore." Said Samantha.

"I love you to, Samantha. Ever since I first saw you, I knew you were the one." Sarah smiled, once again kissing her true love. "We'd better get dressed. If my brother finds us like this, god knows what he'll say."

"Does he know that you're bisexual?" Samantha asked as they began pulling their underwear and clothes on. Due to both their releases, they were still a bit wobbly on their legs.

"Yes, he does. Although I don't know how he'd react to finding out that his own sister is sleeping with the new girl." Sarah replied.

"We've made love but we haven't got to that stage yet." Samantha winked.

"Why don't we go down to my quarters then. It's comfortable enough for that sort of thing." Sarah suggested.

"Thank you. You've no idea how happy you've made me." Traynor sighed happily.

"You've no idea how happy you've made me." Sarah smiled.

"Why don't you show me then?"

"Well I'll say this at least. I've made my mind up… I'm definitely staying."

At this, Traynor practically threw herself into Sarah's arms and hugged her tightly. The two couldn't help but grin at this.

Just as the door opened, they found none other than Austin walking in. To their surprise though, he walked right past them and simply nodded.

"Sarah. Traynor." He said.

"Hi." Sarah replied nervously.

Without even waiting for a reply, both she and Traynor bolted for the elevator and immediately pressed the button for the crew deck. It was just as the doors closed that Austin suddenly stopped dead in his tracks

"What?" he slowly turned around confusedly. "Sarah and Traynor… just came out of my cabin. How did… what were they…"

The Helldiver looked around. Nothing out of the ordinary, although the bed sheets looked a bit strange. Something suddenly clicked in Austin's mind. Had they…

"EDI, what were Sarah and Traynor doing in my cabin?" he asked.

"Your sister used the access code to unlock the door to your quarters. She then entered with Operative Traynor." Said EDI.

Austin was certainly confused. What had they been doing?

"What happened exactly?" Austin asked, worried that he knew what the answer would be.

"First, they played a game of chess like you did with Operative Traynor earlier this morning. Afterwards, they began to engage in extracurricular activities that prompted me to engage privacy mode on the security cameras." The AI replied.

Austin's eyes widened in shock. Traynor… and his sister?! Normally someone would be hugely protective of a sister like this. Austin however wasn't that sort of person. He knew Sarah was just as grown up as he was and she was allowed to make her own decisions. Still, one question was on his mind.

"Did any of them say the L word?" he asked.

"Yes." EDI replied.

Austin simply smiled and shook his head.

"Sarah, you minx." He chuckled.

Things had gotten so quiet now without anything to do. For now, the Normandy was just drifting in space until Austin thought up something or they got a call for another mission.

Sarah was currently taking some time off to make a requisition order to have her quarters refitted. Having seen how fancy her brother's were, she suddenly found herself wanting something similar. That, and she wanted to impress her new girlfriend.

At that moment, there was a knock on her door.

"Come in." she said.

The door opened and Austin stepped in. Sarah felt her heartbeat pick up a bit suddenly. Did he know? Was that why he was here?

"Ah, brother. What brings you here?" she asked.

"We need to talk, Sarah. I know about you and Traynor." Said Austin, quickly cutting to the chase.

Sarah's heart started beating even faster now. She feared this would not end well.

"You found out about that, huh?" Sarah sighed. "Look, I know how this may seem to you, but I promise you it is more than that. I love Traynor and she loves me. We said that to each other. You have no idea how much that girl has been suffering without me."

Austin was silent for a minute before he finally spoke.

"I'm happy for you two."

"This may be your ship, that doesn't mean you… what? Did you just say you're happy for us?" Sarah asked in disbelief.

"Traynor's a sweet girl. I'll admit it was unexpected that you found piece in the arms of a women. I know mum and dad are certainly gonna be surprised, but they won't be disgusted. It won't matter to them, and it doesn't matter to me that she a girl." Said Austin.

"You're serious? You're okay with… this?" Sarah asked.

"We're both grown ups, Sarah. I think we're allowed to make our own decisions. Besides, I'm now married to Liara and we started off just like you did. Who am I to judge?" Austin smiled.

Sarah was almost left lost for words at what her brother was saying. He approved of her relationship with Traynor. The N7 marine walked up to Austin and they hugged each other.

"You're best brother I could wish for." She said.

"I'm the only brother you've got, sis." Austin chuckled.

"I know, but I've always wanted to say that." Said Sarah.

"I am going to talk with Traynor though." Austin advised.

"Just be gentle with her though. She's a lot more timid and shy than me." Said Sarah. "Oh and I've finally made up my mind, I'm gonna stay."

"Glad to hear it, Sarah." Austin smiled.

Ever since she and Sarah had got together, Traynor had been in a much better mood. Her performance at work had improved greatly as well. No longer being distracted by her undying love for Sarah and having it eating away at her from the inside had allowed to her to focus properly on her work again.

As she continued typing away at her console, Austin exited the elevator and cleared his throat so that she would her him.

"Major, what can I do you?" she asked happily as she saluted.

"You seem in a very good mood, Traynor." Austin inquired.

"I guess life's been very good to me." Said Traynor.

"So I've heard. You and my sister make a good couple." Said Austin.

Traynor feared she might have a heart attack after hearing that. This was it. Her career board the Normandy was over. She'd never see Sarah again. How could she have been so stupid?!

"I guess I'll get my stuff then. Shouldn't take too long since I've barely got anything but a toothbrush." She said, doing her best to hide the tear forming in her eye.

"What are you talking about, Traynor?" Austin asked.

"You're kicking me off the ship aren't you?" Traynor sighed.

"What?! No! Of course I'm not. You love my sister don't you?!" said Austin.

"I do, but… I thought you'd be mad about it." Said Traynor.

"Traynor, listen to me. Sarah is my sister and she loves you deeply. I just talked with her and told her that I have no problem with the two of you. Besides, I'm married to Liara and we started off just like this. I'd be a pretty cold husband if I stopped my sister from seeing her first real girlfriend." Said Austin, putting his hand reassuringly on Traynor's shoulder. "What matters is that you two love each other and get along well."

Traynor's tears of sorrow suddenly turned to tears of joy as soon as she heard that. She almost felt as though this was a dream and that she'd wake up. Sarah's brother, THE Sir Major Austin Shepard, actually approved and was blessing their relationship.

"You're serious? You're okay with your sister, your own sister, being with… someone like me?" she asked.

"Why wouldn't I? I think I speak the truth when I say that you and Sarah are made for each other." Said Austin. He then had a little idea. "In fact, I know a good way to prove it. Take the rest of the day off and spend it with Sarah. That's an order."

Traynor was once again left lost for words. She couldn't believe this was happening.

"I… thank you, Major. I don't know what to say."

Austin simply smiled and nodded as the comm specialist left the CIC and headed for the elevator. As the doors closed, Austin suddenly heard his private terminal bleep with a message. He was surprised when he saw the message.

"Joker, plot a course for Alchera. Seems we have one more goodbye to say to a very old friend."

Sarah turned to her cabin doors as they suddenly opened and they revealed the person she'd just been thinking about.

"You look happy, Sam. What's going on."

Traynor didn't say anything and simply unbuttoned her top until she was only in her black bra.

"You just talked with Austin didn't you?" Sarah smiled.

"He just gave me orders to take the rest of the day off and spend it with you." Traynor winked as she worked on sliding her trousers off until she was only her underwear. "As he is the commanding officer, I must follow his orders."

"How can I resist then?" said Sarah a she pulled Traynor into her arms and kissed her as she too worked on taking her clothes off until she was also just in nothing but her red underwear.

"You wanna sleep here tonight?" she asked.

Traynor simply responded with a kiss and the two feel onto the bed. They kissed a for a while before finally breaking for air.

"Aren't you going to let me take your underwear off?" Traynor asked.

"Not if we're just sleeping together tonight." Sarah replied.

"You sleep in your underwear?" Traynor asked in amazement.

"Yeah." Sarah replied, her voice suddenly turning to surprise when she realized why Traynor was amazed that. "Wait, you do too?!"

"I do." Traynor smiled.

"I love you so much." Sarah sighed.

"I love you too." Traynor replied.

Just as the two were about to kiss, Sarah quickly stopped them.

"One last thing: I want you to move in with me." She said.

"Of course… Princess."

The dropship touched down and Austin, Liara, Garrus and Tali stepped out. All around them, they could see the wreckage of none other than the Normandy SR1. They were on Alchera; the same planet where the Collectors had attacked them two years ago and Austin had died.

The message he'd received not too long ago had been about where the wreckage of the Normandy was and it had been forwarded him in case he'd wanted to pay some respects to those who had also died when the Collectors attacked. Not to mention that it had been his ship.

The four of them split into two with Garrus and Tali heading of in one group and Austin and Liara heading off in the other.

"It's a shame that Ashley and Wrex aren't here." Said Austin.

"I agree." Liara nodded.

The two groups simply walked around in silence. Despite that they had learned to move on from this and overcome the sorrow, seeing all of this, a ship they had once thought could never be spoilt or destroyed, in pieces, and close to buried, was rather saddening. Austin had also been asked by the Alliance to see if it were possible to collect all the dog tags of the Alliance crew who had died during the Collector attack. Liara obviously had recovered Austin's a long time ago, so it was just the crew now.

Garrus and Tali had also been told about this, so they too were keeping an eye open for any silvery objects glinting on the ground.

As Austin and Liara continued walking around together, gathering up what tags they could find, they came across several familiar parts of the SR3. The crew deck (which easily reminded the both of them of Kaiden) the ruined remains of the CIC (reminding them of Navigator Presley) the ruined Mako (a vehicle they remembered had taken them through some very rough times) and above all, what remained of Austin old quarters. The place where they had first become bond mates and had their first Union. The both of them would never forget that night.

After many hours of combing the entire place and finding all the dog tags, it was time for the final part. Placing a memorial. Picking a spot was easy since there was a large piece of the hull that said SR1. Everyone agreed that would be the best place to place the large golden memorial that had been built for this occasion.

"Anyone like to say anything?" Austin asked as the four of them stood back.

"I'll never forget the many things I learned from the SR1." Said Tali. "I made many new friends, learned so much knowledge, not just on engines, found a perfect gift to help me complete my pilgrimage, and met a brilliant captain."

"Back when I was a C-sec officer, I didn't think I'd ever serve on a human ship. In fact, if I hadn't, perhaps I never would've been a Helldiver and I wouldn't be here today." Said Garrus. "I'll always remember the SR1 as the ship that changed my life for the better."

Austin and Liara didn't really have anything more to say, so they remained silent. After about a minute, Tali could see that the married couple could do with a quick minute to themselves.

"We'll wait for you in the shuttle. Give you two a moment." Said the Quarian.

Garrus and Tali headed back to the dropship, leaving just Austin and Liara stood hand in hand in front of the memorial.

"Reminds me of a little saying." Said Austin.

"What's that?" Liara asked.

"A good captain goes down with his ship." Said Austin.

"You're more than just a good captain, Austin. You're a leader, and eventually you'll have to be more than that. I know it may sound a bit much, but when the time comes, the galaxy will depend on you." Said Liara. "I fear we'll never truly know why or how your suit brought you back, but I think that maybe it sensed it wasn't your time yet. It knew there was more to you. You had…"

"A destiny." Austin finished.

Liara could sense her bond mate's feelings and held his hand.

"Whatever happens out there, whatever the future may hold for this, I will be at your side no matter what." She said.

"I make that promise too, Liara." Austin smiled.

The Helldiver then reached into one of the punches on his combat belt and took out his Alliance dog tags.

"One more thing I need to do." He said.

He walked up to the memorial, unclasped the tag's chain, wrapped it around the memorial and relapsed it. The dog tags now hung there as he stood back.

Liara would normally have asked why Austin had done that, but being his bond mate and wife, she understood.

"You're sure you want to leave them here?" she asked.

"I'm sure. You know as well as I do that although my suit brought me back, there was a small part of me that never did come back." Said Austin. "I'm a Helldiver. I always have been, and I always will be. The part of me that was an Alliance soldier died a long time ago. In reality, I stopped being one when I first put on this armour. It only stayed because the Alliance was reluctant to let me go."

"A bit like me." Said Liara.

"True. But you did it for love. That's more powerful than anything." Said Austin.

"So you're sure you want this? You truly want to put that part of your life behind you?" Liara asked.

"I've wanted to for a long time. Dying once really helps put things into perspective. I made some mistakes in my first life; I don't intend to do them in my second life. After all, as they say…" Said Austin.

"You only live twice." Liara finished for him.

"You've been watching too many human films again." Austin laughed.

The two simply stood in silence for a moment as they looked at Austin's dog tags still moving very slightly.

"I love you, Sir Major Austin Shepard."

"I love you too, Liara T'soni Shepard."

Words ceased as they simply hugged one before walking back to the dropship hand in hand. Whatever the future would eventually throw at them and while they had many challenges ahead of them, they would face it together.

Legion stood before a shadowy figure. This figure was without a doubt a Geth; in fact it was the current Geth leader. With all of the heretics now rewritten, Legion had worked hard to help its people prepare for an imminent war with the Reapers. The Old Machines could offer all they liked, but they would build their own future.

Currently, Legion was reporting to the Geth what it had learned about the Helldivers. For a long time the Geth had been watching these super soldiers, unsure whether to consider them a threat or not.

"The Helldivers are most definitely formidable. It logically makes sense why the old machines perceive them as a threat. It would be advisable to work with them rather than against them." Said Legion.

The Geth in the shadows uttered a Geth language unrecognizable to organics.

"To challenge them, is to court death." Said Legion.

The Geth Prime that Legion had been speaking too turned to face it. All that could be visible of it was it burning red eye, flaps, and two long horns…

To be Continued…

Coming soon… Mass Effect 3, The Helldiver Saga, The Last Cycle...

Hard to believe I've finally finished this one.

Once again, a huge thank you to all my fans and other guests who have written such positive reviews and also some very helpful constructive criticism.

I guess all I can say is... see you soon in ME3. I have actually got the chapter all written out now, I'm just going over it and checking just to make sure I'm happy with it.

Farewell my friends, it has been an honour. Don't worry though. "I'll be back!"

:) Give 'em hell!