Author's Note: And here we are, the end. If you're not familiar with the end of Planescape: Torment, you might want to find a youtube video showing the endgame ... after you read the chapter, of course.
The forward firing base was surprisingly clear, surrounding part of a block of buildings. A dozen armored vehicles were parked, several of them getting new armor jury-rigged onto them, repairs and cannibalization of other damaged ones filling the street with noise. Vega split off to talk to some of the other troops, while Garrus, Tali, and Liara followed Coats to the command center.
Nameless stood in the middle of the street, staring up at the dark gray sky. Stretching across the horizon was the shade of wet ashes, lit up occasionally from lightning or weapons fire. Legion had broadcast the next to last entry just before they arrived, and he started listening to it as he strolled through the intersection, Morte floating at his shoulder. Some of the troops gave them odd looks, but most ignored them after a quick glance.
The dull thumping sound of a turret filled his ears as the brief journal entry ended on the confrontation with the two doubles. Looking around the area, Nameless jumped up a ramp of packed rubble. Shepard was manning it, gunning down husk after husk as they charged, but some had already reached the walls, swarming up onto the mostly human and turian soldiers.
Nameless walked over, casting one Blood Bridge spell after another, the wounds healing almost as fast as they appeared. Reaching the middle of the barricade, he took in a deep breath, facing down to the charging foot soldiers. He exhaled sharply, the entire area below spiking up in temperature as husks, cannibals, and the occasional marauder raced forward. The corpses of the fallen started to burn only seconds before the still moving ones did, incinerated long before they could threaten the defenders.
Shepard looked at him with a raised eyebrow, and he just shrugged. "We're all in this together, aren't we?" He turned to stare back down the long boulevard towards the brilliant splinter of light leading to the Citadel. "One more entry. Then …" They stood side by side for several moments before she put one hand on Nameless' shoulder.
"We will win," she said. The strength and determination would be written across her face if he turned to look, but his gaze remained stuck on the light. A mental growl rolled through his head as he tried to define the nebulous feeling. Something was telling him it would be over when they reached the Citadel, and that he had faced it before, but not what it was. "You don't believe me?"
Blinking in surprise, he turned to look at her, Morte hovering behind her shoulder and glaring. "Not that. It's … I don't know. Something is on the Citadel. Something from my world."
"Then it's a good thing I have you, right?" Shepard patted his shoulder one more time, stepping around him towards the command center. Already back in the thorny maze of thoughts, Nameless simply nodded absently, staring at the light. There had been plenty of beings he had little hope of facing, his victories notwithstanding, and if someone like Tyreal, or the Lady of Pain, were behind this, well …
He'd give Shepard long enough to escape. Hopefully she'd take it.
Five minutes later, his omni-tool chirped, but it took Morte thumping against his temple to break his thoughts. "Chief, it's go time. You weren't planning on standing here all day, were you?"
"Sorry, Morte." Indeed, he could feel that subtle tug of destiny, fate's barbed hook catching at his ribs and yanking him towards the end. "Let's go."
Everyone else was ready. The plan was simple enough, he didn't need it explained. They charged through the street, felling Reaper troops by the dozens as the multi-pronged assault towards the Citadel beam started. Wrex and most of his krogan troops were breaking their path, but every husk from the conquest seemed to be standing in their way. One of the smaller Reapers started to land in their path, only for the symbol of Torment to etch up its frame, scattering it into a square kilometer of shattered components.
The beam itself was at the base of a wide, shallow crater, a few scattered blocks of building concrete the only obstacle. Just as Nameless stepped over the edge, he heard Legion's synthesized voice. "The final entry is complete. Downloading now."
He killed another banshee with a word before pressing play, listening to his own voice. "With both of my earlier personalities absorbed, I knew what the bronze sphere was for. It was a memory, of the original, from his last moments before Ravel peeled away his mortality, setting our curse. I knew how to open it, to gain back that memory, and learn my name."
The next spoken word sent Nameless to his knees. Every personality that had ever lived in his head pulled together into a seamless whole, every memory and experience, every learned skill and fluke of luck accessible to him. As though in slow motion, he saw Garrus and Shepard turning, moving to help him stand as the single largest Reaper swept in silently to land beside the beam. Their hands clasped his as the plates slid aside, the red eye within glowing brighter as the weapon prepared to fire.
Were Harbinger capable of surprise, it would have been, as for the first time ever, a shield stopped its weapon completely. True, the shields of the races above were capable of turning a killing blow into merely crippling, but in the hundreds of millions of years the first Reaper had overseen, nothing had stopped one completely.
The beam cut off after two seconds, and so did the glowing bubble of amber energy surrounding the handful of humans. It identified Shepard instantly, her voice lost in the sounds of battle as she questioned the undying one. His only response was a smile, and raising his hand to intercept the beam again, moving them forward at a brisk jog against the force of the most powerful weapon in the galaxy.
Harbinger was already making contingency plans, broadcasting more orders to the other Reapers in and above the city, when one of its legs exploded, toppling it sideways. Mass effect fields failed long enough for the entire two-kilometer body to slam into the surface, more damage warnings popping up as the mighty bulk worked against itself. "I am Urdnot!" a tiny voice shouted from near his feet, and another leg exploded before it could try and rise, the distortion effect causing the Reaper body to convulse. "I am Overlord!"
Another leg exploded, and Harbiner attempted an emergency blast from the smaller beams in its legs. Though they did rack up another forty-seven organic casualties, it was not enough to do more than rock the body of the Reaper colossus. The organic, running at full speed, was about to reach the base of its body. No weapons had a firing arc on it. Indoctrination field was not functioning against this particular organic, though others surrounding the corpse were already moving to act. It estimated they had a zero point zero zero seven percent chance of stopping him.
"I AM KROGAN!"
The entire bottom quarter kilometer of Harbinger exploded to the headbutt from Urdnot Wrex. Synthetic awareness snuffed out as every electronic device within failed, and for three quarters of a second, the Reapers were leaderless. During those three-quarters of a second, Shepard and her team watched the krogan leader fly through the air, propelled by the explosion to hit the beam a hundred meters above the ground and vanish.
They charged forward, Anderson and Coats closing in from their left with another pair of turian soldiers. Other than a single wounded marauder near the base of the beam, no more Reaper forces were there to stand in their way. Anderson and Shepard paused at the base of the beam, preparing for it, and stepped in side by side.
Everyone else followed quickly, moving as fast as they could. The Citadel above was a nightmare of blood, human corpses laid out in piles. One Keeper stood near the bodies, running some kind of scan, and Coats didn't even slow as he emptied a full clip into it from his Paladin. A pained roar echoed through the place as everyone sprinted to catch up with Shepard and Anderson. A bridge appeared, a circular room beyond. Two gunshots echoed across the expanse as they all roared into the room.
Right into the barrier of dark energy that the Illusive Man had prepared. Wrex was being held aloft, the force obviously trying to squash the mighty warrior as he struggled against it. Sweat, black and oily, was pouring from TIM's hairline as he fought against the dozen people. "No!" he growled, teeth set in a furious scowl. "I will not let you ruin this! I can control them, just as I can control you!"
"Eh, I don't think so, berk," Morte said, floating free above them. "I mean, what is all this? You just upset because mommy didn't love you enough?" The flesh not turned into husk-like cybernetics was flushed with fury as the floating skull continued his taunts. "Or maybe she just didn't 'love' you," he continued, waggling his eyebrows.
"I will own you!" the Cerberus leader shouted, veins popping out in his forehead.
"Nah, I don't think so." Morte tilted forward, straining against the field, and a moment later, it popped. All of them spilled to the ground as the skull shot forward, slamming into the Illusive Man like a cannon shot. He stood for a moment, slowly topping over backwards as the effect of his shattered vertebrae caught up.
Who shot first wasn't clear, with at least five gunshots echoing through the chamber in the next second. Anderson, Coats, Shepard, Garrus, and Vega all slowly lowered their weapons. "Morte, that was," Liara trailed off, at a loss.
"Aw, it was nothing, sweetie," he said, bobbing over to nuzzle her cheek. "I couldn't let that waste of oxygen take out you. Plus, yanno, Shepard and Anderson, heroes of the galaxy. Them too." Trails ran down the asari's face as her hands cupped his bony form.
Shepard was already moving towards the one console when Nameless reached out and grabbed her arm. "Not that." His eyes were locked on the ceiling. "Now I know. I know what we're here to do." Smiling, he slid two fingers into the skull of his baldric, removing a tiny, ancient scroll bound in black ribbon, and placed it into her hand. "Not yet. You'll know when."
Everyone stared at it in confusion. "Mind telling me what is going on?" Anderson demanded.
"That console will allow the Crucible to access the Catalyst. But the Catalyst itself is up there," he explained, pointing at a specific spot. "Just Shepard and I."
"But chief," Morte said.
"No, Morte. You belong here," Nameless said. Smiling, the immortal reached out one finger, tracing it over the sigil etched into one bony temple, and where his fingertip went the symbol vanished. "You're not bound by your torment, or mine, any longer."
Taking Shepard by the elbow, he guided her to the floor panel directly below where he pointed, and looked up. "What are you waiting for?" he asked softly. As though waiting for it, the ceiling above them opened, the panel lifting them up to the next level.
The panel came to a stop at the start of a walkway, a three-pointed way. Directly before them was a brilliant beam of energy, the two on either side ending at different pieces of equipment. Between them and the energy beam was a ghostly, holographic form, that of the child Shepard had seen on Earth when she escaped. It floated in the air, encased in glowing green armor resembling thorny vines. "We meet again, Mortality," Nameless said.
"Indeed," it said back, the high pitched child voice and the deeper, slightly rasping voice of the armor blending together. "I am not so easily vanquished. Do you really think this will end here?"
Nameless shrugged, stepping forward. "I hope so. For the sake of all the harm we have done, together and apart, I hope so. But if it doesn't, so be it. I will track you through every universe, across the stars, every Hell that exists, no matter its denizens. If I must, I will follow you to the end of time itself. I will step over the corpses of the gods if it means finally putting an end to you at last." With each declaration, he stepped forward, the Mortality/Catalyst drifting backwards until it reached the end of the walkway, inches from the hissing beam of energy.
As Shepard watched, they locked gazes. "This. Ends. Now," Nameless grunted out. Shimmering magical energy surrounded them both as the battle of will started.
With a sudden detonation, they vanished, the entire station pulsing with their departure. Whether they moved on to another universe, or if Nameless had finally succeeded in dying for good, but it didn't matter to her as she set her feet. The Catalyst, flickering around the edges had drifted down to the deck of the walkway and stood, facing her. "You are the first organic to reach here," it said.
She just nodded, looking down at her hand. "I'm going to be the last, too," she said, sliding the ribbon off and carefully unrolling it. The whole surface area would barely cover a datapad, and the magical symbols drawn there penetrated her mind, filling her with their knowledge.
"Your arrival means my solution to the problem of organic life is no longer valid," the Catalyst continued, the words ignored as a smile slowly grew on Shepard's face.
"I have my own solution," Shepard said. Her eyes were full of triumph as she spoke the very last two words written on the scroll.
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