Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Mass Effect.


Chapter 18: Corporate secrets, what a surprise.



"Bijū/VI/Geth/Reaper talking"

"Bijū/VI/Geth/Reaper thinking"

Reading/ News/Intercom

(Location: Al)

"What in the names of the Heavenly Saints is that boy thinking of, sending me up here." Al thought to himself as he made his way through the ExoGeni building. As a veteran Cowboy, he was experienced in house-to-house fighting and this building was a very large house. He had plenty of room to work in. But that wasn't what was bugging him. What was bugging him was the fact that he had been sent up here alone by someone who looked like he was young enough to be his nephew or grandson.

He didn't like being sent into something alone. No one had his back when that happened. And if no one had his back, he was liable to get shot. But he had gone on plenty of missions where he had no one else to watch, so he could handle himself. He didn't like it, but he could handle it.

But there was still that kid. Sure, his team seemed to think that he was some sort ancient being that had been sealed away in a rock and had been recently released. But he called bullshit on that. The Alliance must've been truly desperate to get someone in the Spectres if they were going around and putting someone up to being a legend. It was just some punk soldier who did was he was told and hoped to get a promotion out of it once their point was proven.

He could admit that the kid did have his moments, like he kept him and that Ashely woman from coming to blows. He stopped for a moment when that thought crossed his mind. "She may be his granddaughter, but I see nothing of him in her." He admitted. Where her grandfather was calm, she was hot-tempered. Where her grandfather tried to make the enemy come to him, she was all too glad to go to them.

"Does she even know what actually happened on Shanxi?" He asked himself. Then he shook his head and moved on. "No, she probably doesn't." She knew that the Cowboys broke and ran and she made it sound like she knew what her grandfather had down. But she didn't know why they broke and ran. She was just happy with blaming him for what happened.

Perhaps when this was over with, they could have a civil discussion and he could tell her why they ran. Whether she believed him or not would be up for grabs. But for now, he had to focus on what he was doing. The kid told him to scout ahead, so he would scout ahead.

He was quite a ways away from the elevator he had come from, having gone down at two floors as well as up three. The place was a ruined maze. Parts of the building were a mess while other parts were completely destroyed and making it the maze it was now. But that was not the fault of the geth completely. The building had been a mess when ExoGeni moved in. They had been in the process of clearing it out when the geth struck.

As he rounded a corner, he came upon a small number of geth and he didn't even hesitate. He raised his shotgun and opened fire. The geth fell quicker than they could return fire, being shot down by the old Cowboy. Within seconds, they were all on the ground, dead. "Didn't give me a warm up," He said to himself as he lowered the shotgun.

There was rarely anyone who could give him a challenge anymore; he had gotten that good with his guns. Whenever he was on the range on any Cowboy training ground, people saw him and backed off. Not even the hotshots, who would challenge anyone. If he was honest, it was a little disappointing.

"One of the downsides of being a very good Cowboy," He thought to himself. He was also one of the longest living Cowboys (the bad ones always ended up dead, sooner rather than later). One could say he was a legend in his own right, one of the more famous Westplain men to join the Cowboys. "We might be even more famous if we didn't keep looking for that damn Summoning Scroll."

Sometimes, he wasn't sure if the Summoning Scroll for Horses actually existed or not. He had met a lot of people who had always told him that it didn't. He had even fought beside a shinobi who asked him what good were horses in a fight, except for ensuring a quick escape. Normally, a Westplain would've called him out on that and Al was inclined to do so.

But he didn't, and for a very simple reason. The shinobi was not being superior, condescending, or even outright arrogant. He had asked the question with a curious tone in his voice and looked at Al like he thought the Cowboy had the answer. But he didn't and he spent the next fifteen years of his life thinking about that question in his idle time.

What good would horses be on a modern battlefield? Could they actually have a place that wasn't taken by any other Summons? The Bears and the Kangaroos already had the front lines, fighting as shock troops and hard hitters respectively. The Jaguars have always struck from the back of an enemy army, using what nature had given them to do so. And the Goats were the support that everyone wanted to come in when things weren't going well.

But how could the Horses (if they actually existed, be of any use? "We could always have them stampede the enemy." Al thought to himself as he went around a corner and finding the flight of stairs he knew to be there still cleared of rubble. As he walked up the steps, his train of thought continued. "But that would probably be bad. If they get redirected at their own forces, it would be disastrous."

Of course he was also thinking that the Horses wouldn't be intelligent. But he had seen the Bears and the Goats in action, each on a separate occasion, and they were most certainly not dumb. If anything, they were more intelligent than given credit. And if there were Horses out there, they were probably just as intelligent. Perhaps that was why they disappeared. They had predicted that they would be obsolete and removed themselves from becoming so. People had been telling House Westplain such things for the longest time. And yet, they haven't given up the search.

His musings on his family's goal came to a stop when he heard voices coming from a nearby room. He went still and kept his back up against the wall so he could listen in. The voice that was currently speaking wasn't geth, he could tell. But it was a male voice. "It's for the best, I assure you." The voice said.

"You've been saying that for the longest time, Saren." A woman's voice replied. It sounded like it wasn't in the room, which meant it was coming from a video of some sort. But it was the name that got Al's attention. He was just outside a room where the rogue Spectre Agent was.

"And I've meant it. The farther you're away from me, the safer you will be."

"How can we be safe if we don't know what you're doing?" The woman's voice demanded. "You've kept us hidden for so long and from what?"

"From something that would even frighten you," Saren told her before apparently sighing. "Please, trust me."

"…You know I do, Saren. But stop this madness and come to us."

"It's too late to stop it. My life stands in danger at the slightest appearance of betrayal. Even talking to you would seem like it." He explained.

"How would it be a betrayal to talk to us?" The woman's voice asked him. There was silence following that question, only for her to break. "Your benefactor doesn't know about us?"

"The Council doesn't know about you and I mean to keep it like that." The rogue Spectre said, his voice becoming hard as he spoke. "If they knew, they would use you."

"You're paranoid, Saren." The woman sounded exasperated when she said those words.

"That paranoia has kept you alive on more than one occasion and it's keeping you alive right now."

Again, there was silence. "…I know it is." The woman said, breaking the silence again. "But I still you want to come."

"You know I can't." He told her, his voice becoming surprising gentle. "Our time's almost done. I need to get back before he realizes that I've been gone for far too long."

When he heard something be turned off, Al decided to take action. He stepped away from the wall and into the room, pumping a shell into the chamber as he strode forward. "You don't have any time at all." He announced to the traitor, who has his back to him. "Put your hands in the air and turn around slowly."

The turian did as he was ordered, keeping his hands up in the air as he turned around to face the man with the shotgun. When they were looking at one another face-to-face, his face had taken a look of curiosity on it. "Do I know you?" He asked the old Cowboy.

"No, you don't." Al replied, keeping the shotgun aim firmly at his head.

"I think I do." He examined the old man in front of him, looking carefully at every single feature of his face. "Ah, I do. You were one of the candidates the first time the humans tried to get one of theirs into the Spectres. You were dismissed because they found you to be too much of a racist."

"I'm not a racist. I just don't make it a habit of getting to know a damn birdy." He said it like it wasn't something offending or incredibly rude. To him, it was just a fact of his life. He got along fine with the asari and the salarians, but don't let him near a turian lest you wanted his trigger finger to start getting itchy (as that other birdy was close to finding out).

"Ah, the wonders of the hatred humans can hold. I'm amazed your kind hasn't wiped itself out from existence yet. You certainly have the denseness and weaponry to do it." The turian said. He made it sound like it was a comment when they both knew it wasn't.

"Says the paragon of a race that decided to bomb a colony just because we broke laws we weren't aware of." He retorted, sounding exactly like the turian. Then he was the one who did the staring. "Hmm, you know, your face seems familiar."

"I can't see how that is possible, considering that we've never actually met." The only time Saren had seen the Cowboy's face was when it was on a screen and the Council had told him that the Systems Alliance wanted a human in the Spectres.

"I'm sure I've seen somewhere before."

"And I'm sure that you have not."

That was the moment when it clicked inside Al's head. "Hold on, I know your face is familiar. It belonged to another birdy I met on Shanxi. He had been with that birdy that's now the Council member." He actually was glad to remember that. "I always did wonder if he survived those rounds to his stomach I gave him."

The at-ease look Saren had on his face disappeared when he heard those words. "That was you?" The turian demanded. He remembered the day he saw his brother come back with Sparatus from Shanxi with their wounds. Of the two of them, Sparatus got off lucky, having only gotten shocked from a lightning jutsu and getting a bullet in his leg. But his brother had to have surgery to get those rounds out of his stomach.

"Damn straight I did." He replied.

The Spectre snarled. "I ought to tear you apart for what you gave him with those wounds!" He threatened.

"You can try." Al told him. "But being this is a 70mm War Horse, one of the most powerful shotguns in the galaxy, and would you blow your head clean off before you could even make it halfway across the room, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I have feel lucky?'" He shifted his grip on his shotgun ever so slightly. "Well, do ya, birdy?"

Before Saren could answer, a shot rang out and the old Cowboy felt pain in his heart. When he looked down, he saw blood pouring out of it. The strength in his legs disappeared and he fell to the ground. As he felt himself grow weaker, the last thing he saw was Saren looking down at him. There was no smugness or pleased looks on the turian's face. If anything, there was a look of surprise and bafflement that screamed his confusion.

(Location: Naruto)

"This place is a dump." Wrex declared as he led the way alongside Naruto.

"Wrex, this place is an archeological treasure trove." Liara told him as she followed. The asari kept looking around the place with bright eyes. If she had been standing still, she would've been squirming like a puppy wanting to play. "Can you imagine what this place would look like if it was completely cleaned and repair?"

"No, but I think you're already doing that for us." Tali commented, taking a look at the asari. It was a little amusing to watch her behave like this.

"Like I said, a dump," The krogan amongst them said again. Why couldn't anyone else see that? He had seen warzones that looked cleaner than this place. They had left the elevator only twenty minutes ago and already they had to drop down to the floor below them through a hole in the ground because the actual way through was blocked by collapsed rubble. Not to mention the fact that all around them, from both its state and the attack, looked like it was on the verge of collapse.

"Dump or not, Wrex, this is still something the Protheans made." Naruto remarked from his left. "Liara's enjoying herself, so don't ruin it for her."

"Wow, you just made yourself sound like her big brother." Kurama remarked from inside the blonde's head.

"Doesn't sound too far off the mark," He replied. Ever since they had rescued her from the abduction attempt, Liara reminded him a little bit of Konohamaru, back before the war happened. "I wonder what really happened to him after the war." The blonde mused to himself. When his clones had raided the library, there had been a lot of history to sort through and there was barely anything on Konohamaru, save that he became the Rokudaime Hokage after Tsunade had passed.

"Should I make a note for you to look for additional information about him?" Kokuō asked him.

"Yes, please." He answered. He brought himself back to reality and looked behind at Liara. "I'm surprised you're not moping around right now, Liara. Your girlfriend is still downstairs."

"What are you talking about?" Liara asked with confusion in her voice. "Maya's isn't my girlfriend."

"When did I say Maya?" He asked her back with a grin on his face, making her become flustered. "I can see why Jiraiya used to do that to people." He silently declared. "It's fun and it helps them."

"Yeah, and the next we know, you're peeking into the woman's side of the bathroom and calling it research." Kurama remarked drily.

"You know me better than that, fox. I'm not Jiraiya and I don't want to try and be Jiraiya." He wasn't really any good at writing, so there was no way he was going to start writing the Icha-Icha series again, despite a few people asking him if he was going to.

"Just making sure, kit," The Bijū replied. "Quite frankly, I don't think you're suited to be a Super Pervert."

"A Super Lover, on the other hand, is something entirely." Matatabi commented.

Shukaku laughed at those words. "How could he be a Super Lover when" He didn't finished that sentence, mostly because the other eight Bijū converged on him and began pounding him into the ground.

"And why exactly are you guys beating on the idiotic tanuki?" Their Jinchūriki asked them as he listened to the wails and pleas coming from the Ichibi's mouth.

"We felt like it." Kurama answered before he returned his attention to trying to rip out Shukaku's tail.

"Not the tail! Not the tail! For the love you have for me, Kurama, not the tail!" The tanuki cried out.

"Thank Kami I don't have that. Now hold still!"

"Commander, is everything okay?" Ashely asked, bringing back into reality again.

"Yeah, everything is fine, Ash." He told her. "I was just listening to one of the Bijū getting the shit kicked out of him." There was a loud sob coming from Shukaku when he finished saying those words. If he were to take a look at how the beating was coming, he would've found it quite comical.

"I don't know how you could stand having nine voices inside your head." Wrex told the blonde as they checked the room ahead of them to see if there were any geth in it. When it was obvious that there wasn't, they walked in.

The blonde had come clean with all of them about what was inside after the mission on Earth's moon, saying that they deserved to know the truth if he was to be their teammate. Sure, it was a little odd to hear that he had nine voices inside his head and their power, but that wasn't a big deal.

"You just have to make you've got plenty of comebacks and laugh at the stupidity, Wrex. That's all you need to do." He thought about something for a second before laughing. "And it's a good thing that they're in my head and not out here. I don't want to think what would happen if Shukaku got drunk."

"I heard that!" The Bijū in question shouted at him while trying to get out of an arm-lock (with very little success).

"Perhaps if we could focus on what we're doing and not discuss what's going on in the Commander's head?" Garrus suggested from the back, keeping his sniper rifle out and ready to use. "There's a civilian in this building that we need to get out."

"I know that, Garrus." Naruto told the turian. "Trust me, I know. I don't plan on leaving her behind in here. I made a promise to get her out and I will get her out." Conviction ran thick through those words when he spoke them. He would get her out. He wasn't going to leave anyone behind again.

"Kit, I thought you got over what happened." Kurama said when he heard how his Jinchūriki sad those words. "It was war and you couldn't save everyone. You know that."

He knew what the fox meant by that. Whenever Obito or those who followed him laid waste to a village or town, they wouldn't stop there. Naruto and the Shinobi Alliance tried to save as many people as they could, but there were always people who were either left behind or who they didn't make in time to save them. It had been something that weighed heavily on the blonde's mind during the war and one of the main reasons that made him keep going with his work. "I know that, Kurama. I know that." He replied.

"Does anyone know where we are right now? I got turned around." Tali said, getting everyone's attention. She had a point. They had gone through a number of rooms because of the rubble and the ruin that seemed to clog the majority of the doors and stairs. She had lost count of the number of times they had gone left and right.

"I'm not sure either." Garrus confessed. Usually, he had a good sense of direction. But that sense seemed to have removed itself from him when they walked through the building.

"Liara, you think you can help us out here?" Ashley asked the asari, turning all the attention onto her.

"Me?" She asked back, a little surprised to have heard that. Then she noticed that they were all standing in the middle of the room and everyone was looking at her.

"Well, you're the Prothean nut here. You must've done research on their buildings at some point, right?" The kunoichi pointed out to her.

She frowned at those words. "I'm a Prothean expert, not a nut. The nuts are the people who managed to read a little Prothean and think that they've managed to unlock the secrets of the universe."

"Aren't those called students?" The turian amongst them asked her with an innocent expression on his face. She couldn't help but laugh at that. In fact, she probably would've fallen to the ground if things weren't so serious.

"Yes, they were." She admitted once she got her laughter under control. It was hard to do so, for Garrus had hit what she had spoken about right on the nail and every time she thought about it, a giggle threatened to escape her lips.

"While you people are having a good time laughing your asses off, we still don't know where we are." Wrex reminded them all with a grunt of impatience. He didn't like just standing around like a pyjak who suddenly went blind.

"Alright, give me a moment." Liara told him before closing her eyes.

"Uh, Liara, what are you doing?" Tali asked her. She was confused by what the archeologist was doing. "Is this some kind of asari custom I don't know about?" The quarian thought to herself.

"I'm reconstructing the rooms we've been through already and shifting them through the layouts of Prothean buildings I've looked at before." She replied, scrunching up her face into a concentrating expression. She put her pistol away and moving her hands through the air.

"And is that you're doing with your hands?"

"It's something that helps me concentrate. Now please, let me do so." Everyone fell silent as she moved her hands through the air, like holding a 3D image in them and spun it around to see from different angles. "The Protheans had always built their buildings on a geometrical pattern, one that always stayed constant."

"And how does that help us?" Wrex asked, annoyance creeping into his voice. This was taking far too long for him.

"Let her do her thing, Wrex." Naruto told the krogan shortly.

"Again with the big brother act," Kurama remarked. "You do realize that she isn't actually your family, right?"

"That's never stopped me before." He silently replied. He had had friends from all over the Elemental Countries before and during the war and he felt them to be precious to him. Now, Liara and everyone else were beginning to feel the same to him.

"No, it didn't." The fox admitted, remembering how Naruto had thrown his defiance at Obito because of his friends. The man had quit the field and spent the rest of the war trying to show pointless that kind of thinking was. "Kami am I glad that didn't work."

When the asari amongst them stopped moving her hands and opened her eyes, everyone paid attention. "If we go through that door over there, it will take us to an area that should lead us to the other side of the building." She announced, pointing at a door to their left. The green light showed that it was active and it was cleared of rubble.

"Should?" Ashely repeated, raising her eyebrow in question.

Liara faltered a little underneath that gaze. "Well, there is a lot of rubble in the building and it stands to reason that there would be some in the tunnel. But there should be more than a few doors in the area, so there's a possibility that one of them will be operational." She explained, sounding unsure of herself.

"I don't like it." Garrus said, giving his opinion. "We're already off course from where Al went." The Cowboy had left markers for them to follow, but they had to change course when they discovered that the tunnel the latest marker they had found pointed had collapsed. They had only gone farther and farther away from there since.

Ashely looked like she was about to say something, but then thought the better of it and closed her mouth. "If we go this way, odds are we'll find a way back to where Al went." Liara said, never noticing what Ashely had done. "And then we'll be back on track."

"Then lead the way, Liara." Naruto told her.

She swung her head over to look at him. "Me?" She asked. Her eyes were wide with the surprise that showed she had not expected that kind of response. She was more used to the fact that people would ignore what she had to offer because she was so young.

But Naruto was not like that. "You're the one who knows how the Protheans built their buildings, so you're the one who will lead us through it." He told her.

"Oh, okay." She said, the surprise leaving her and being replaced with nervousness. In all the time she was on the commander's team, never once had she been in the front. She had mostly kept to the back or the middle, where her biotics could be used as support.

She hesitantly stepped to the front, right between Wrex and Naruto, and took the lead, heading for the door. Everyone got back into position and fell in behind her as they approached said door. As they got close, it opened to reveal a tunnel-like corridor that sloped upwards as it went on. "This is promising." She said, recognizing the tunnel from the diagrams she had studied.

"Let's keep moving, Liara." Naruto said from beside her. "We can't stop here."

"Yes, you're right." She was a little embarrassed to have been reminded that they had to keep moving. They quickly moved into the corridor, only for her to be surprised when the door closed behind them and engulfing them all in darkness.

She faltered when she saw nothing but the blackness of darkness, but her commander didn't. "Lights!" barked out the blonde. Beams of light flickered into existence, originated from the weapons everyone carried. Feeling a little stupid, she pulled out her own weapon and flick on her own.

When she did, she also noticed that the only person who didn't have a light on was Naruto. "Commander, shouldn't you have a light as well?" She asked him.

He shook his head. "I had the light piece of my pistol taken off. I didn't see a reason to have it on there."

"Well, now you do." Wrex said with a krogan smirk on his face.

"Wrex, the lights are for the benefit of the non-shinobi amongst us." He replied without missing a beat. "Those who are shinobi amongst us can see better in the dark then a civilian or any other kind of solider." He turned his head to look at Liara. "Take the lead." He told her, his sunglasses standing out from his face due to the light.

"Yes sir." She replied, having noticed that he had pulled out his pistol and kept it at the ready. She began walking forward again and they all followed her. The slope in front of them wasn't steep enough to make them regret going this way. But neither did it have that level of gentleness to make them think that they weren't on a slope in the first place. It was the kind of slope that reminded them to keep walking upwards but not that far upwards.

When the slope ended, the corridor still went on. But it was on a level plane now. It didn't make them any less relaxed. "How far away are we?" Ashely asked Liara.

"Not that far away." The asari answered, keeping the pace forward. She was confident that they would get there soon. Her confidence was rewarded when a door soon came into sight. "See? It's there."

She quickly approached the door, stepping through to the other side once it was open. But when she did, she got a gun pointed at the side of her head. "Don't move a single muscle." A frightened human woman who was holding the gun told her.

Before either one of them could make a move, Naruto made his. He stepped around Liara, disarmed the human and knocking the gun into the air, kicked her back, grabbed the airborne gun in his free hand, and pointed them at her, all within the time of three seconds. "Stay perfectly still." He ordered her, absently noting that she was wearing a science uniform.

Instead of freaking out or panicking, the woman actually breathed a huge sigh of relief. "Oh, thank the All-Father." She said. "Sorry, I thought you were going to be one of those varren or geth, coming to get me. I couldn't take any chances." She explained to them, smiling sheepishly. "No hard feelings?"

"What are you doing here?" Liara asked her.

"It's my own fault." She admitted. "Everyone else was running and I stayed to back up data. Next thing I knew, the geth ship latched on and the power went out." She looked a little embarrassed as she told them this. "I was trapped. I tried to get out, but the way I had used was blocked."

"It's fairly easy to get out." Garrus assured her. "There's barely any geth around, surprisingly." They had encounter next to none when they made their way through the building and he felt uneasy about that.

"It's not the geth; it's the energy field they put up." She told him. "They don't want anyone else getting access to the—" Her mouth went shut instantly, stopping herself from finishing that sentence.

"Ooh, I smell a dirty secret." Shukaku said with a grin on his face.

"Recovered from your beating, have you?" Naruto asked the tanuki, making him grumble. Taking some small pleasure in that, the blonde turned his attention back to the woman before. "You can tell us." He told her.

"I can't." She replied with a shake of her head.

"Yes, you can."

"No, I can't." She insisted, shaking her head again. "It's ExoGeni's policy to never let outside people know of the current projects."

"You can trust me. I'm only here for the geth. But if I want to rid of them and this energy field you were talking about, you have to tell me what it is they're looking for." He said to her, using an easy, gentle voice that had worked before.

She hesitated for a moment, looking at him with uncertainty in her eyes. "…Okay." She finally said in agreement.

"Oh look, I see a Super Lover!" The Ichibi inside of him sang out.

"Someone give him round 2 of the beating, please." He told the other eight Bijū.

"With pleasure," Kurama declared with a sadistic grin on his face.

"Wait, wait! I'm sorry!" Shukaku cried out as he backpedaled away from the fox. "Please, not the tail. Don't try to rip out my tail again!"

"So I can rip everything else off? Thank you for that!"

"I didn't mean it like that! NOOOOOO!" The tanuki screamed out the last part as the fox leapt at him.

Normally, Naruto would've enjoyed listening to listening to that, but he had to stay focused on what was going on in reality. And that meant talking to the woman in front of her. "What are the geth trying to find out that they don't want anyone else looking for it?" He asked her.

"I don't know for certain, but I think that they're here for the Thorian." She answered.

"What's a Thorian?" Garrus asked her. But even as he asked her the question, he had a bad feeling that he wasn't going to like the answer.

"It's an indigenous life-form. ExoGeni was studying it." She explained. It was a short answer and didn't really reveal much. "Can we please go now? We need to get out past that field already."

"Tell us about the Thorian." Wrex rumbled, lifting his shotgun in a silent threat.

"Wrex, there's no need for that." Naruto told the krogan quietly. The Battlemaster grumbled, but lowered his weapon anyway. "Please, tell us." The blonde told her.

"I really don't know much about it." She answered, her voice being fill sincere honesty. "I think it's some kind of plant being. I know do know that's it old. Thousands of years, even."

"So, there's something out there that's older then you?" Gyūki wondered aloud. He didn't say in jest, he was actually curious. The other Bijū (even including the one who was getting the shit of him and the one who giving said beating) were wondering the same thing.

"What do you call the Protheans?" The blonde said to him.


"Fair enough," He conceded. "Do you have any idea why the geth would this Thorian?" He asked the woman.

"I don't know. It's just a plant. ExoGeni was studying it, but I didn't think that they found anything special.

"Uh, Commander?" called out Tali. "We have a problem."

"What is it, Tali?" He asked without looking back at her.

"We can't go back the way we came." This time, he did look back. What he saw was what he could only describe as a blue wall blocking off the entrance to the tunnel.

"That's the energy field." The woman told them, looking at it as well. It was the same as every other time she had been blocked off.

"Well, that's annoying." Garrus declared. He doubted that even the commander's strongest attack could break through it.

Naruto looked back at the woman. "Is there a way to get rid of that field?" He asked her.

"I'm not sure." She answered. "I think the geth ship might be the one that's powering it. I saw the geth laying down power cables everywhere in the building." She paused as a small thoughtful expression appeared on her face. "You could follow the cables, but the geth are everywhere in the building."

"At least we'll finally be able to meet some of them. I was getting bored." Wrex said in reply, making her look at him funny. "I'm a krogan, woman. It's what I do."

"And he writes poetry too." Liara chimed in, earning herself a glare from him. "What? I saw you muttering verses and typing them into your omni-tool." That just made him glare harder at her.

"That's enough you two." Naruto told them. Wrex kept the glare up for a little while longer before stopping. Once he was sure that they had stopped, he turned back to look at the woman. "I'll leave a clone here with you to make sure you stay safe. Once the field goes down, he'll take you back to safety."

"Thank you for that." She said to him in reply. Her face took a turn for the melancholy. "I had just hoped that she had gotten out."

"Who are you talking about?" Ashely asked her. "There are other survivors."

"There are?" She sounded like she couldn't believe the words she had just heard. Her voice had been filled with both hope and dread.

"Yeah, they're in the basement and/or garage area."

"Please, tell me, is there a woman named Juliana Baynham down there?" She all but begged them.

When he heard the question, Naruto lowered his weapons and looked at her. "Is your name Lizbeth?" He asked her.

"How do you that?"

"Your mother asked us to look for you. She knew that you were still alive." He told her with a smile on his lips.

It was enough to make her smile as well. "Oh, thank you, thank you. Thank you so much!" She exclaimed, her words coming out of her mouth in jumble. "I'm so happy to hear that! I thought that I was the only who was still alive."

"You still need to stay here while we take down the field." He reminded her. But he was glad she learned she hadn't lost her mother. He quickly folded his hands into the old handseal. "Kage Bunshin no Jutsu." A clone appeared right in front of him with a cloud of smoke. "Stay here and keep her safe." He ordered the clone. "When the field is down, take her to the elevator and wait until we arrive."

"Roger that." The clone replied with a quick salute.

He would've rolled his eyes, but that would've been redundant. "We're heading farther into the building." He told his team. "Hopefully, there are some walls we can knock through to get around locked doors." That was one of the things he found annoying in the short time he had been up there. Even though there were holes in the walls he could easily step through, they were never in walls that were adjacent to another room or corridor.

"Here, take my ID." Lizbeth told him, holding out the ID for him. "It should help get past those locked doors. That way, you don't have to knock down any walls."

"But the Commander loves doing such things. It helps him relax." Garrus said with a completely straight face. But even as he kept his face together, everyone there (with the exception of Lizbeth) knew he was kidding.

"Uh…you should probably take it anyway." She said, still holding the ID out for him to take.

"He was kidding." Naruto told her, taking the ID from her while also throwing a look at the turian. Once he had the ID in hand, he examined it. "Hmm, not chakra-coded," He noted.

"The doors were perfectly operational when ExoGeni arrived, so there was no need to go that far." She told him before frowning slightly. "At least, that was what they told us. I thought they were being cheap."

"Thanks anyway." He said.

When she looked to her right, her eyes widened in surprise and fear. "Varren!" She screamed.

They turned to see what she saw and saw the pack of varren coming straight at them. They had smelled fresh blood and were coming in for the kill. "So, should you deal with them? Or do you want one of us to do it for you?" Matatabi asked Naruto.

"Shut up." He told the Nibi shortly, swinging the pistols around. Before anyone else could do something, he had already starting shooting. As he fired, he was silently glad for the training the Academy had put him through when he was a kid. Usually a person was either right-handed or left-handed. But the Shinobi Academies in his time had trained the kids to be able to use both hands with equal proficiency, with an emphasis on their preferred hand.

It was that training that ensured his duel-wielding of pistols was not horrendous. Thanks to his efforts in actually trying to learn how to properly shoot a gun, the majority of his shots were on target. The varrens that he had hit went down by two to three bullets each. But not all were killed by his shots. Two had survived and were now charging straight at him.

Thinking fast, he flipped the pistols around so that he held them by the barrels, and then he stood ready, taking a stance that he had only gotten halfway figured out. By the time he had taken the stance, the first varren lunged at him, its jaws going straight for his face. It never got that close. He swung the pistol in his left hand at the varren's jaw, breaking it. The pistol in his right hand went for the varren's eye, smashing it inward and making the creature go blind on its left.

As it crashed into the ground next to him, he swung both hilts into the center of its head, breaking through the flesh along with the skull and hitting the brain. It was dead within four seconds. But while the blonde's back was turned, the second varren made its move. It crouched and then leapt, intending to latch itself onto his back and weaken him from there.

But he had heard the sound the creature made when it crouched. So when it leapt, so did he. The difference was that while it leapt for him, he leapt to the side. They landed back on the ground at the same time and both reacted instantly. The varren instantly turned and leapt again. He saw it and raised his legs up into the air, spitting them apart. "Please let it be dumb enough to actually try it." He prayed.

"Why should you worry about that?" Kurama asked him. "It's not like you're going to die from this. I would die of embarrassment if you did."

"Thank you for the vote of confidence there, furball." But the varren had been stupid to leap through his legs. They snapped closed around it in a scissor-hold and with a small grunt of effort, he slammed them down into the ground, bringing the wriggling creature with them. Its struggle to get didn't last long. He spun the guns back around so he could them by the hilts, pressed them up against its head and where he thought the heart was, and fired off one round.

Everyone else just watched in silence as the varren went still. Lizbeth was the only one who had a look of stunned surprise on her face, she had never seen anyone take down a pack of varren like that (and alone too). The blonde's team, on the other hand, had seen him do that before to different enemies, so it wasn't new them. In fact, if they were being honest, they were becoming rather blasé about it. "Next time, aim lower and a little to the left." Wrex said to the blonde. "That's where the heart is."

"Next time, how about telling me that beforehand?" He asked as he untangled himself from the dead varren, pushing it away with his foot once he was free.

"And where would the fun be there?" The krogan asked with a full blown grin on his face.

(Location: Saren)

He made his way quickly through the ruined corridors of the building, heading straight for the small shuttle that would take him away from this planet. Just as he reached the balcony where the shuttle was, a geth came up to him and stopped, waiting silently. Thankfully, he knew what to do when they did something like. "Report," He ordered the geth, stopping to look at it.

"Saren-prophet, hostiles have been found in lower sections of building." It answered in its metallic voice.

"I'm aware. He found me and was taken care of." But even though he said the words, what he remembered baffled him. Who was it that opened fire on the old human and killed him? Whoever did it was definitely a good shot for being able to put a bullet through the human's heart from a distance where they could not be seen.

"Negative." The geth replied. "Multiple hostiles are in building. They are currently making their way up through lower sections of building to where ship has been stationed."

That was not good news. If they found the ship and destroyed it, the field that kept survivors inside building would fall and the survivors would flee. "Ensure that the ship is protected. Otherwise, find the hostiles and eliminate them."

"Acknowledged, Saren-prophet," The geth turned around and began to walk away, having gotten its orders.

"Hold." The rogue Spectre said, making it stop. "Who are the hostiles?"

"It is unknown of who all hostiles are. But they are led with Shinobi Commander Naruto Uzumaki and Doctor Liara T'Soni." The unit answered him before continuing walking away from him.

He stood there on the balcony, thinking over what he had just heard. "Perhaps it was a mistake to allow Benezia to send geth to retrieve her daughter." He thought to himself. That might've been tinged with annoyance and anger if he wasn't the trained man that he was. Instead, he thought it with a cool detachment.

He knew the reasons Benezia gave him for retrieving her daughter were solid ones. Despite not really being recognized for her work, Liara was one of the foremost experts on the Protheans. In fact, she would've been curious and excited to see a piece of Prothean technology or structure that she had never seen before.

But even though he was given these reasons, he knew the true reason why Benezia wanted to retrieve her daughter. She wanted to be safe, to be out of the way when what was coming came. A tad sentimental and emotional for him, however, he had always believed that it was never good to lock away your emotions, only keep them under control. He had done so and he had lived this long as a Spectre, although he had his moments.

He continued walking towards the shuttle, letting the wind blow past him. He let himself enjoy the sensation for a minute or so before moving on. It was moments like those that reminded him about why he was doing all of this. It was for the sake of the entire galaxy. He may be called a traitor, a rogue Spectre, or a madman, but he was doing all of this for the sake of the galaxy and he did not care about whether he'd be branded a hero or a villain.

As he stepped into the shuttle through the hatch, he stopped, feeling someone's eyes on him. He turning around, he only saw a geth unit on the balcony looking at the shuttle before turning and leaving. He found it odd for the unit to just be staring at him like that. But he thought nothing more of it. He had to leave.

He finished stepping into the shuttle, letting the hatch close automatically behind him. "Take off." He ordered the geth unit who piloting the shuttle. As he sat down, he felt the shuttle quietly lift off. His hand went to his omni-tool, activating it and sending a transmission.

"Yes, Saren?" asked Benezia when her appearance appeared on his omni-tool.

"Liara has been found." He told the Asari Matriarch. "She's following the human Spectre."

Whatever relief might've shown in her eyes at the first piece of news died away at the second piece. "If that is the case, then she is the enemy." She declared with her eyes going flat at those words.

"Agreed," He replied. "Go to the project site and keep an eye out on there until I get there."

"How long will it take?" She asked him.

"Within 48 hours." With those three words, he deactivated the omni-tool and sat back in the seat. As the shuttle flew on, he settled into a pensive mood and began to think. Liara wasn't that great of a loss to their cause. There were plenty of people who were versed in the Protheans. He had just gone to Liara first because Benezia. But it was the human she was following that made him stop and think.

He had read enough books and information of Naruto Uzumaki to think he knew the man well, despite not actually knowing him. In a way, he now had the utmost respect for the blonde, as a warrior and what he had done to save his world. What Saren was trying to do right now was similar to what he had done, but he probably wouldn't see it like that.

"I wonder, though…" The turian mused to himself. "If I am given the chance, could I convince him to join our mission?" It might be possible. A little difficult, he could admit, but possible all the same. If he could make the human see what he was trying to do, there was a chance that Naruto would join him. If it worked, his plan could go a lot smoother.

(Location: Naruto)

Using the card that Lizbeth had given him, Naruto and his team was able to find a tunnel that wasn't blocked by the geth energy field. It was just as long as the one Liara had found but without the slope. It was also just as dark, making everyone turn the lights on their weapons back on, even Naruto (he had kept the pistol he had taken from Lizbeth and found that it had the light on it). When they came to the end of the tunnel and found the door locked, the Spectre amongst them took out the ID he had been given. "Please let this work." He said quietly, waving the ID over the panel.

It went from red to green just as soon as the ID passed and the door opened. "Looks like I don't have to do any hacking after all." Tali remarked, sounding a little disappointed.

No one said a word in response. Instead, they moved out the tunnel and into what laid beyond. It turned out to be a large room (which may have been an eating area, if the long tables that were lying destroyed on the ground were any indicator) that was just about as ruined as the others. At the other end of the room was a flight of stairs that went up into the ceiling. "You know, I'm beginning to get a little worried now." Garrus stated as he looked around the room. "I mean, where the hell are all the geth?"

"I don't know, Garrus." Naruto honestly admitted. He was getting nervous from not seeing any of the geth. For a building that was supposedly swarmed by them, they weren't anywhere to be found.

"We must've gotten inside the energy field." Ashely suggested as she looked around with her rifle in hand.

"That actually makes a good deal of sense." Tali said in agreement. "If we are inside the field and they don't know that we are, they wouldn't do anything in response." She sounded relieved as she spoke. And she was. "I can't believe that I'm thinking this, but thank goodness for Geth practicality." She thought to herself.

Naruto as he began to think about what he had just heard. He didn't know exactly how the energy field everyone was talking worked. That kind of talk had been Sakura's and Sasuke's area. But he did manage to pay attention to some of the things they told him, such as the point of origin (which was probably the ship) and how it took the shape of a sphere. "How could we have gotten past it?" He asked aloud, thinking about how they came this way.

"You're thinking that the energy field is shaped like a sphere, aren't you, sir?" Ashley asked him, seeing the look of concentration on his face.

He lost that look when he turned his head to her. "Yes." He answered.

"Commander, a geth energy field can be manipulated into taking any shape they need." Tali explained to him, seeing what was wrong with his line of thinking. "It doesn't need to be just in a shape of a sphere."

"…Ah, I see." He said, feeling a little more than embarrassed about that. "Not one word of you, Shukaku!"

"What? I wasn't going to say anything." The twice-beaten tanuki cried in protest.

"You were about to, I just know it."

"No, I wasn't. Don't you have any faith in me?"

"Very little," He said shortly.

"Actually in his defense, he wasn't going to say anything, kit." Kurama told his Jinchūriki from where he sat atop of Shukaku. "I think he got the point after the second beating."

"You can't blame me for making sure." He had been so sure that the Ichibi was going to say something rude about what had just be spoken while laughing his ass off.

"No, we can't."

"Speak for yourself." Shukaku said to himself. But it was loud to be heard and it got him a smack upside the head from the Kyūbi. "Ow! What?! What was that for!?"

"No back-talking from you." Kurama told him.

"Let's keep moving." Naruto said aloud for everyone there to hear. He started moving towards the stairs and everyone else followed him. When he got to the base, he took a look upwards to see what was there.

"I think we have a bit of climb ahead of us." Garrus commented as he looked up as well. The staircase seemed to go straight up to the ceiling.

"What tipped you off?" Wrex asked him with a snort, seeing what they were seeing as well.

"You mean besides the obvious?" The turian asked back with a roll of his eyes.

"Less talking and more walking from the both of you," Naruto said without turning to look at either of them. He started up the stairs, taking his time with his pace. The rest of his team matched his pace as they followed up the stairs behind him.

It was a long climb for them. The stairs were partially covered in rubble, making everyone be careful about where they stepped. At some points, they had to hop over a missing step (which was a little more difficult for Wrex, as he was heavier than the others). They went passed several floors that were completely destroyed. And yet, they still went upwards.

By the time they had reached the tenth or eleventh level (they had lost count) some of them were beginning to feel like their legs had been set on fire. "Can we please stop for a minute here?" Liara asked as they came off of the stairs. She looked at the next flight up and just wanted to stop.

"Don't be a wimp. This is nothing." Wrex told her. "You try going up that number of stairs at a run with my kind of weight. It will be hell, trust me."

"Stupid machine!" roared a frustrated voice from a nearby hall. "Access encrypted files!"

Everyone went still when they heard that. "Wrex, was that you?" Tali asked the krogan. It had sounded like a krogan's voice.

He looked over at her with a level stare. "Does it look like I have a machine with encrypted files with me right now?" The sarcasm in his voice was so thick that they were surprised it wasn't dripping from his mouth.

"Just checking," She told him.

"Everyone, quiet," Naruto ordered, looking at where the voice had come from, a hallway that they had no clear view of. "Backs against the wall and keep them there." They all did as ordered, pressing their backs up against the nearby wall. Once there, the blonde began scooting down the side and peaked around the corner.

"No, I don't want to review protocol!" The voice belonged to a krogan who was standing in front of a VI terminal.

The VI itself took the shape of a man with the color of red on its skin. "I am unable to comply." It told the krogan. "Please contact your supervisor."

"Damn it. Tell me what I want or I'll blast your virtual ass into actual dust!"The krogan threatened with a fist.

"I don't think he can actually do that." Chōmei commented. "His shots would just go through the thing and hit the wall, right?"

"At this point, I don't think the guy cares." Son replied. "He'd probably to try and punch it as well. Krogans usually get stupid when they get angry, if what I've seen is anything to go by."

"Don't say that in front of Wrex." Naruto cautioned the Yonbi.

"He can't hear me."

"No, but I can make you two meet." He pulled his head back around to look at his team. "There's a krogan arguing with a VI terminal and he's a little more than pissed. Wrex, take a look at him." He ordered the Battlemaster among them.

Wrex quickly and quietly moved to the other side of the hallway so he could get a better look. "The armor says that he's a commander in battle, but the way he's arguing with the VI says that he has a short temper and is at the end of it. So, he's a young pup who was arrogant to think he's untouchable." He rattled off as he examined the other krogan from afar.

"Tali, hack into his armor systems and make him lose his shields." The blonde ordered the quarian, keeping his eyes on the krogan.

"Already on it," She said in reply, her omni-tool already on and her fingers dancing across the keypad.

"Garrus and Ash, line up for your shots." He told the turian and the human shinobi. "Once I give the signal, shoot him in the knees."

"You got it, Commander." Garrus said as he and Ashley readied their sniper rifles, holding them with the barrels up in the air.

"Liara, stay put. Let's see if we can take this guy before we need you." He stepped away from the wall once he was finished speaking.

"What are you going to do?" Wrex asked him, looking at him with suspicion (he didn't get to live this long without looking at everyone with suspicion).

"I'm going to talk to him." He answered, walking down the hallway towards the krogan, who was still angry with the VI.

"I will rip you to so little pieces; they won't be able to find all of you!" The "young pup" as Wrex called him shouted at the terminal. The shout was on the verge of being called a scream. It was clear that he wasn't about to lose his temper, he had already lost it.

"Please contact your supervisor for a Level 4 exemption pass or make an appointment with—" The VI told him, still using that same calm voice.

"ARRRGGHH! STUPID MACHINE!" roared the krogan, shaking his hands in the air.

"If there is nothing else, please step aside." The VI told him. "There is a queue forming behind you for the use of this console."

"What?" He turned around to see Naruto coming at him. "Oh good," He said. "I really need to kill someone!" His hands began to go for the shotgun on his back when two shots rang out and he fell to the ground.

Naruto kept on walking up to the fallen krogan, who was trying to get up back on his feet. "What is it you were looking for?" He asked, pulling out one of the pistols and pointing it at the krogan's head. His other hand was out of sight, hiding behind his back.

"Go fuck yourself." The krogan spat at him with anger and fury in his voice.

"What were you looking for?" He asked again, ignoring what he had just heard.

"What makes you think I would tell you?"

"The fact that there is a gun pointed at your head and I will open fire if you don't answer the question. What were you looking for?"

The krogan snorted, and then hissed in pain. "You're an idiot. I'm a krogan. A paltry bullet won't stop me." He rose back onto his feet with a roar (whether it was pain-induced or bloodlust didn't really matter) and tried to attack the blonde.

Naruto simply lowered the gun and brought out his other hand, which had a fully formed Rasengan spinning a few inches above the palm. He slammed the jutsu into the krogan's face and held it there. When the jutsu was done, the face was virtually nonexistent. "That does." He told the now dead krogan.

"Great, now you're doing one-liners." Kurama commented drily.

He ignored what the fox had said and walked up to the terminal instead, stepping over the body. "ExoGeni Corporation reminds all staff that the use of jutsu and the discharging of weapons while on company property is strictly forbidden." The VI stated. "Welcome back, Research Assistant Elizabeth Baynham. What can I do for you?" It greeted the blonde Spectre.

Those words made him stop and stare at the terminal. "Did you grow breasts when I wasn't looking?" The Kyūbi asked him, getting sniggers from the other seven Bijū (Shukaku didn't snigger for fear of being beaten again).

"Not since the last time I used the Oiroke no Jutsu (Sexy Technique)." He replied before looking back at the terminal. "How do you that I'm Lizbeth?" He asked the VI, deciding to go with what it assumed.

"Your access card identifies as Elizabeth Baynham." It answered his question.

"Alright, what was he trying to get to?" He asked, nudging the corpse with his foot.

"Fetching data," The VI said while the others joined him. "The previous user was attempting to access details on the study of Subject Species 37, the Thorian."

"Why do I have a bad feeling about what will be said in the next few minutes?" Isobu asked aloud.

"Does it look like we know the answer to that?" Saiken asked back.

"What did you tell the krogan about the Thorian?" Naruto asked the VI.

"There was nothing to tell the previous user. Aside from lacking proper access, there has been no new data available on Species 37. All sensors monitoring the observation post at the Zhu's Hope colony have been inactive for several cycles."

That got his attention. "What? What does the colony have to do with the Thorian?" He asked.

"Species 37 is located within the substructure of the Zhu's Hope colony."

"See? I knew it!" The Sanbi said. If Garrus could've heard him, he would've agreed.

"I want all available information you have on the Thorian, right now!"Naruto ordered the VI, his voice coming out as a bark.

"The Thorian is a simple plant life-form that exhibits a sentient behavior uncommon with other flora. Through dispersion and the eventual inhalation of spores, it can infect and control other organisms, including humans. The Zhu's Hope control group has yielded interesting results. Before sensors went offline, almost 85% of all test subjects were infected."

There was silence in the hall as he and his team just stared at the VI. "…Are you telling me that ExoGeni knew that their people were getting infected, and went with it!?" The Spectre demanded, his voice rising at the end.

"It was deemed necessary to assess the true potential of Species 37." The VI told him, using the same calm voice it had been using the entire time.

"I guess that explains why the colonists had been acting weird and not wanting to leave." Ashley remarked, remembering how the few colonists she had spoken to had been like. She had found it odd, but her main concern had been more about how Al was there at that point.

Naruto didn't say anything in response to her. Instead, he lifted his fingers to the comm in his ear. "Cuanmiztli, come in." He said aloud. But he only got static. "Cuanmiztli, this is Commander Uzumaki, respond." He still got the static.

"Commander, shouldn't you contact Joker?" Liara asked him.

"He doesn't have to, I already tried." Garrus told the asari, taking his fingers away from his comm. "I think the field is blocking out our comm connection. If we want to talk to Joker or the others downstairs, we'll probably need to take it down."

"Then let's get a move on." Naruto ordered, walking past the VI terminal at a brisk pace.

"He doesn't seem to be happy." Tali commented quietly as they followed him down the hallway.

"Can you blame him?" Liara asked her. They had both read the human history books and that meant they knew about what Obito Uchiha had planned to do. And now, they had come across something that was incredibly similar (if not outright the same).

"No, I can't."

"Hey, keep up the pace." Wrex told the two of them. They realized that they had fallen to the back of the team and were about to fall behind. "Something tells me that the blondie is about to blow up and I want to see it."

They shared a look before turning back to face him. "We're coming, Wrex." Tali told him.

(Location: ExoGeni basement and/or garage)

She was outside the safe area, doing a quick patrol to make sure there were no geth coming in. Once she saw that there weren't, she turned back around and went back into the tunnel. "Still clear," She told Kaidan as she passed him at the barricade.

"Good to know." He replied, keeping his eyes on the tunnel. She might say it was clear, but his training told him to keep a lookout.

She walked back into the open area of the place. With Kaidan, her, and Cuanmiztli taking separate watches with what remained of the ExoGeni security, the two who weren't on watch didn't have much to do but check their equipment and observe the people there.

And she was more inclined to let Cuanmiztli do the people-observing, she was much better at it than her or Kaidan. "Empty again?" The Hunter asked the Swagman as she sat down.

"Yeah," Maya answered as she propped her rifle by her side. "Honestly, it seems like that any geth that had been attacking us disappeared when we got here. The Mako hasn't even been touched."

Cuanmiztli just gave a grunt of acknowledgement at those words, more focused on watching the people. "Have you gotten any contact from the Commander?"

"None whatsoever," She answered again. "Hell, I risked stepping outside onto the skyway to see if I could get through. But all I'm getting is static."

"Well, that's annoying." The woman from the Great Jungle commented, still watching the people in the area. Her eyes soon found Jeong and watched him with interest as he stood over a small console. "What he's doing over there?" She asked herself.

"Something got your attention, Cuanmiztli?" Maya asked, lowering her voice when she realized that the other end of the conversation wasn't really paying attention.

"Yeah, him," She answered, subtly gesturing at Jeong.

The Swagman saw the gesture and only glanced at the man. "He does seem a little agitated." She silently noted.

"That would be putting it lightly." The man looked like he was about to jump out of his own skin. He was nervous about something; she just didn't know what it was. She had briefly considered pumping the information out of him, but swiftly dismissed that idea. "Those days are behind you." She reminded herself. "You're not working alone anymore."

"You think we should do anything about it?" Maya asked her.

She shook her head. "I'm not doing anything against him until I get orders from the Commander." The days of acting on her own were long gone.

Just then, the static in her comm cleared and the Commander's voice came. "Cuanmiztli, do you read me?" He asked.

"Speak of the Commander and the Commander will appear." The Swagman beside her said with a grin on her face.

She ignored her and focused on her comm. "This is Cuanmiztli. What do you need, Commander?"

"You said that you're good with interrogations. How good is good?" He asked her.

"I got results. That was what matter." She answered shortly. Anyone who knew how to read between the lines knew that meant the person she had interrogated didn't live after she was done sometimes.

And judging from he said next, Commander Uzumaki could either read very well or not at all. "Then I want you to interrogate that Jeong guy on everything he knows about the Thorian. I want him singing by the time I get back." There was a cold fury in his voice, something that silently spoke of his hatred. But before she could say anything else, the comm went dead.

She stood up from where she sat. Questions ran through her head, such as "Why is he angry?" and "What's a Thorian?" But she didn't given priority to them. She had been given orders to get information and she always followed her orders.

She walked over to Jeong and grabbed his shoulder, spinning him around. "What are you—?" He began to ask, only to be interrupted when she buried her foot in his stomach, sending him to the ground.

"Time to get to work," She thought to herself as she grabbed his arm and twisted his arm around his back, just two inches short of breaking it.

Codex Entry (Religion): THE SILENT ONE

Amongst the many different gods the tribes of the Great Jungle worship, one they all hold in common as chief of deities is the Silent One. He is, admittedly, one of the more unique deities as he is portrayed as hooded, is both the deity of life and death, and has no actual name.

While the Silent One is said to be the chief of the gods, having been of the first ones to have come into existence, he does not lead them. Rather, he keeps to himself and hunts alone in the jungle. According to the legends, he silently gives life to you and he will silently take life from you.

Despite the apparent reclusiveness of the Silent One, all warriors of the Great Jungle tribes value him above all others. He prayed to daily for guidance and strength and is often used in profanity (although the phrase "name of the Silent One" is a contradiction since he is supposed to be nameless). Any oath that is sworn to the Silent One is taken with the utmost seriousness and if it is broken, the oathbreaker is killed immediately.

Until they came into their recent incarnation, the Hunters were said to be the chosen warriors of the Silent One (See: origins of the Hunters), haven been given holy orders to protect the Great Jungle ("or as close as you get to it" is often at the end of those orders, which has always been a mystery to the rest of the galaxy). The Hunters were respected throughout the Great Jungle because of those orders and it was deemed an honor to join them.

According to most legends of the Great Jungle, the one deity that the Silent One has clashed with most often is the god of chaos, Diablo. But while the stories often tell of their epic battles that ripped the sky, split the sea, and/or cracked the earth, they do not tell of any hatred between the two. They only tell of what Diablo plans and of how the Silent One must step in to stop him. In fact, the tribes of the Great Jungle do not even consider their fights to be something to be worried about (see: belief of deities' appearances in reality). When asked about why it is not taken seriously, the Speaker of the Gods (the High Priest or Priestess for the Great Jungle) said, "They're brothers, of course they're going to drive each other crazy."


Author's note: Thank you for all the reviews you've sent me.

Some of you had thought that Al was going to join the Normandy once everything on Feros was done. But, as you've probably already read, he's not. It wouldn't have been a good idea to begin anyway. He would've ended up butting heads with either Garrus or Ashely, which would've led the ship being shot full of holes.

For those of you who still haven't gotten the joke about Al and who I based him on, I'll give you one more chapter. And after giving you such an obvious clue, I hope you get it.

You know, sometimes I wonder what would've happened if Saren had met Shepard before getting brainwashed. They might've become (at the very least) people who understood one another. So with any luck, I'll be able to do something like that with Naruto and Saren. Maybe it could happen at a bar somewhere later on.

It would be funny to see Wrex write poetry. He just doesn't seem to look like the kind of person who would do that kind of thing. Then again, who the hell knows what passes for krogan poetry?

For the people who want a clearer definition of good Cuanmiztli is at interrogation, let me put it to you like this: she and Ibiki would've gotten along famously on that alone.

Recently, I've began to have doubts on whether or not I should continue Woken from Exile. To me, it either doesn't really seem to be going anywhere or going too slowly. But since I don't really know how the readers would feel about or about how they like the story itself, I've set up a poll. Please, give me your opinion on whether or not I should continue with the story. The poll will be closed when I published the next chapter of Woken from Exile, so you lot have until next week.

I'll see you all next chapter!