September 1st 2186
2:00 PM Three Miles From St. Albans, England
She held her binoculars in her left hand an she was anxiously waiting for the confirmation of Harbinger's Data Core being recovered. She put the binoculars up to her eyes again and glanced at Harbinger, which was massive. He eyes then fell to an Abbey that was still standing at its feet. And to the left of the Abbey was Roman Ruins which after 2,000 years was still standing the test of time.
She lowered the binoculars and breathed a sigh. She had heard nothing from Garrus for over 15 minutes. He had made a brief call nearly 20 minutes ago stating he was going into a no-contact area. Harbinger's Mainframe was shielded from radio broadcasts, so she would hear nothing from him till he left the Mainframe. She would have to wait. She heard commotion behind her and turned in that direction. The Shuttle was parked a few meters away and they had attempted to set up a small communications post. James had brought out their portable Relay and was now trying to rig it while Liara read instructions to him and Grunt just sat off to the side.
Liara: "James you have to set the bandwidth to 100 Gigabits otherwise command won't hear us"
James: (Turns a knob) "Why does it have to be that much?"
Liara: "Because the main relay was destroyed 3 weeks ago"
James: (Shakes head) "And why did we have to bomb it again?"
Grunt: "Because we like blowing stuff up"
Liara: (Gives a hard look at Grunt) "No, because Harbinger would have used it to broadcast its Indoctrination code to everyone close to it"
James: (Attempts to sodder a wire) "Ah ok"
Liara: (Glances at what James is doing) "James your fusing the wrong wires"
James: (Looks at his work and then realizes his mistake and gestures in frustration) "Damn!"
Grunt: "Ya know if you knew what your doing we would be done by now"
James: (Glances at Grunt) "Last I checked I didn't think Krogan were capable of building anything, only destroying"
Grunt: "Yep and we do it pretty well if you ask me"
Ashley looked away laughing to herself at James's mistake and Grunt's comment. She glanced again with the binoculars at Harbinger and said to herself:
Ashley: "God I hope they are ok"
She heard a humming sound and she slowly lowered the binoculars. The sound grew increasingly louder and then she realized it was a ships engine. She glanced up in the sky towards the humming. And behind her Liara had glanced up as well as did Grunt. James however was still working on the Relay. Up in the sky was a large shuttle coming towards them. It was still two miles away and she raised the binoculars towards it. She saw it wasn't an Allaince shuttle or any shuttle she had never seen. It was obviously a new design. She tried to see some form of insignia on the side and finally the shuttle turned a bit and she saw the emblem on its door. It was a large V with a star inside of it. She had never seen that insignia on anything before. Then she noticed the shuttle was armed with a medium sized cannon in a gun-port on the side. She suddenly had an odd feeling and she lowered the binoculars. Then Liara glanced at her and spoke:
Liara: "Um Ashley...are we expecting anybody?"
James finally looked up from what he was doing. Ashley felt a fear rise inside of her as she realized Liara was right. They were not expecting anyone else. The shuttle was now closing the gap between them and Ashley looked at her team:
Ashley: "Guys I think we may have an issue, not sure yet but take safeties off and stay alert-"
Then there was a loud boom and Ashley turned just in time to see a missile streaking twoards them. Liara shouted while Grunt pulled her into cover and James did a dive under the Relay. She felt her legs turn to jelly and she turned and took a few steps when it hit. The ground in front of her split as the missile impacted and the blast radiated into her. She felt herself lifted off the ground and thrown several feet before she landed hard on her belly. As the explosion died down and smoke enveloped her she began to cough. The hard fall had sucked the oxygen from her lungs. As she sat up she spat dirt from her mouth. She heard the humming from the engine still and watched as the shuttle flew overhead and then past them towards...Harbinger.
She knew now that they were not the only ones after the data core and whomever that shuttle belonged to was the next torn in her side. She stood up tried to look for the rest of her team. Her leg was bruised and as she walked towards where the shuttle was. She probed her face and realized she was bleeding from several cuts. The Shuttle was a mass of fire and she knew that was their only ride back to London. She frantically glanced around the smoke and fire. She saw the Relay still standing but it was twisted and useless now.
She pushed towards the relay as fear spread through her body. Blood was getting into her eyes and she wiped the blood off her face. Then she heard a call from near the Relay.
Ashley ran towards Liara's voice. Liara, Grunt, and James came out of the smoke. They were all blackened by dirt and soot. Liara had several cuts as well. James looked ok, and Grunt was missing a few pieces of his armor.
Ashley: "Everyone ok?"
Liara: (Glances at Grunt and James) "I think so"
Liara looked at Ashley
Liara: "Oh...Ashley you have a nasty gash on your forehead"
Ashley reached up and she felt the sting on her head.
Ashley: "I'll live"
Grunt spoke up now
Grunt: "That piece of shit is heading for Harbinger!"
She glanced at Harbinger which towered above the smoke.
Ashley: "I know! We have to find a way to get there!"
Liara: "While we were running I saw another of those shuttles that fired on us parked about half a mile away we can use that!"
Grunt: (Glances at Liara) "Good plan Liara"
James nodded in agreement.
Ashley pointed through the smoke:
Ashley: "Lets not waste any time. Garrus and the rest will have a welcoming party soon...and it won't be us. Let's go!"
They all drew their guns and as they pushed through the smoke and fire Ashley tried to contact Garrus:
Ashley: "Garrus! Come in!...You've got people coming after you!...You've got to get out of there!.... GARRUS! COME IN!"
September 1st 2186
2:10 PM Harbinger's Mainframe
She slowly came to and through the haze of grogginess she realized Garrus, Marius, And Gael were standing over her.
Garrus: "She's coming to"
She sat up and Garrus motioned Gael and Marius back.
Garrus: "Give her some room"
Garrus spoke to her now and his voice sounded distant.
Garrus: " You ok Tali?"
She put a hand to her face. Her head was throbbing behind her eyes still. She remembered the encoding that the Leviathans had talked about. Maybe that was what was causing the pain. She looked up at Garrus:
Tali: "Where am I?"
Garrus: "Your still in the mainframe here.."
He held out his hand to her and Tali grasped it. He pulled her to her feet. She felt herself stumbling and she felt Garrus put his arm behind her.
Garrus: "Whoa there..."
Marius had a look of impatience.
Marius: "So what "Vision" did you see?"
Garrus threw him a hard look as he steadied Tali. She felt surprised he even knew she had had a vision.
Tali: "How...how did you know??"
Garrus looked down and then at Tali. Tali realized it was him that told everyone.
Tali: "You?...but how?"
Garrus: "Shepard had the same look on his face when Liara put him in that trance a few years back...I can only guess you had a similar experience..."
Gael stepped forward
Gael: "Thank Kelah you were not Indoctrinated..."
Tali glanced at Gael. She felt his anxiety.
Tali: "Gael I'm fine..."
Garrus looked at Gael then Tali again. He was still holding Tali steady.
Garrus: "Do you have the data core?"
Tali thought of the Mass Relay blueprint now encoded into her mind.
Garrus: "Good lets get out of here first before we discuss anything"
He glanced at Marius who nodded. He pointed his free hand at Marius.
Garrus: "Lieutenant you take point"
Marius: "Alright Garrus"
They moved past the Electronic Distribution rooms and into the Access Hallway, before Garrus decided to give everyone a break so he could contact Ashley to tell them their success. He sat Tali down on the floor and Gael sat next to her. Marius stood against the Hallway wall. Garrus put a finger to his ear and Tali heard him say:
Garrus: "Team 2 this is Team 1 we have the Data Core I repeat..."
Ashley's frantic voice cut him off.
Ashley: "Garrus! Thank God! We were attacked! We are making our way to you now! There are hostile troops all over the Harbinger site!"
Tali felt her blood freeze. Gael looked at Garrus and Marius gripped his rifle.
Marius: "What the hell?"
Garrus had a suprised look on his face:
Garrus: "Attacked?? Who the hell Attacked you?"
Ashley's voice began to become static
Garrus: "Williams! Who is attacking us!!?"
Then a cold high voice resoinded through the hallway:
"That would be Aurora!"
Garrus and Marius reacted instantly pointing their rifles and flashlights down the hall. The light illuminated 6 Human soldiers all infull body armor. 5 of them wore White body armor. However the one leading them up the hallway wore a Black Trenchcoat over his white Armor. His helmet was built into the shape of a skull. The men stopped a few meters from Garrus and the 5 soldiers behind the guy with the trenchcoat aimed their rifles at Garrus, her, Marius, and Gael.
Tali felt for her shotgun attached to her belt. And she glanced as Gael felt for his Sub-Machine gun with his good arm. They were outnumbered.
Garrus: "Who the hell are you?"
Marius took a step closer and got on one knee as he glanced down his sights. She unhooked her shotgun and pointed it at the nearest soldier, the one with the skull helmet. The man with the skull helmet chuckled. His voice had an electronic edge to it.
"Where are my manners? Or should I even have manners with company so...un-human?"
Tali felt the slight twoards them and she heard a hissing sound as the man's skull helmet retracted from his head revealing a bald but heavily scarred head. The man had piercing grey eyes and his face was void of any facial hair. Garrus kept his focus on the soldiers in front of him as did Marius. Tali also noticed Gael was pointing his sub-machine gun at the men now. The man spoke:
Daevid: "I am Daevid. (Motions with a manic smile) And this is the salvation of our race from your kind! We are called Aurora!"
Garrus motioned with his gun at Daevid.
Garrus: "Why did you attack my people? Why are you here!? WHO SENT YOU!?"
Daevid smiled showing a missing tooth. Then he pointed at Garrus.
Daevid: "Turian yes? Ah your species...so bullheaded...and so predictable"
Marius pushed his rifle closer to Daevid
Marius: "Answer the damn question!"
Daevid smiled making his scars look even deeper.
Daevid: "You'll only meet the good doctor when you are either dead or in pieces....unless..."
Tali's shuddered when he mentioned: "dead or in pieces"
Daevid: "...you give me the data core you have so gracefully retrieved for me"
Marius spoke up now as did Gael and both said the same thing:
Gael and Marius: "Like hell we will!"
Tali knew she was the data core, and she glanced at Gael with a worried look. Gael looked at her concerned and silently nodded to her with a look that said: "Nothing will happen to you, promise"
Daevid: "I was hoping you would say that...I didn't think Quarian's had such backbone"
She felt Gael's fury at the guy's comment. Then gun's cocked behind her and Gael. Gael turned and she glanced behind her. 4 more soldiers were behind them now. They were surrounded. Daevid threw off his trench coat revealing a bandolier of knives and ammo pouches. His suit was etched to look like a skeleton. Garrus spoke now:
Garrus: "Why the hell do you want the data core?"
Daevid took a step towards Garrus and pointed a gloved hand at him.
Daevid: "To prevent what you and the other "Species" did to my race and my people!"
Garrus: "You Cerberus then? You seem to hate us"
Daevid laughed, a cold high laugh that made Tali shudder.
Daevid: "Cerberus!? Really? We abandoned the Illusive Man months ago. Cerberus no longer exists and we have taken their place"
Daevid flexed his arms.
Daevid: "I hate every species not human"
He glanced at Gael then back at Garrus
Daevid: "Ah Ive been to Palavan in the past...beautiful world full of steel and soldiers....too bad I didn't get to see it burn.."
Marius yelled in a fit of rage and was about to charge Daevid when Garrus yelled at him:
Garrus: "No Marius!...stand down"
Marius pointed the gun at Daevid. And Daevid smiled at Marius and motioned to himself daring Marius to pull the trigger. After a tense moment Marius lowered his rifle in abject defeat.
Marius: "You bastard..."
Daevid: "Ah so you do follow orders...now lets see if your "commander" does as well"
He turned to Garrus:
Daevid: "Drop your weapons and come with me....or.."
He glanced at Tali and she felt fear rise into her chest she raised her shotgun a bit more.
Daevid: "...I'll kill the girl Quarian"
Gael stood up and pointed his sub-machine gun at Daevid but then she saw one of the soldiers behind him push the barrel of their rifle against his back. Gael realizing it was a fruitless gesture lowered his gun. Tali heard a gun cock behind her head and she knew the man behind her was ready to kill her. She glanced at Garrus who stood transfixed on Daevid, his rifle still raised. Then she glanced at Marius who was looking at her with a torn expression on his face.
Daevid: "I won't hesitate....I've killed many women just like her...and I'll make sure she feels everything"
Tali felt the tears coming...the hopelessness and she lowered her shotgun. Gael moved closer to her in an attempt to at least comfort her. Finally Garrus lowered his rifle and dropped it on the ground. Daevid nodded with a smile:
Daevid: "Now your pals"
Garrus looked at Marius who shook his head and threw his gun on the ground.
Marius: "You Ass..."
Garrus looked at Gael. Gael glanced at Tali and Tali could not hold back the tears and she nodded to him. Gael lowered his head and threw his gun on the ground and Tali placed her shotgun next to it. Once it was done Daevid motioned to the Coolant Tower.
Daevid: "I respect your realization of the situation...at least your people have common sense. Now get your "squad" into the Coolant Tower...any heroics and ill shoot you on the spot! I know one of you has been encoded with the Relay Plans and I WILL find out who it is!"
Garrus glared at Daevid with a look of pure hate. Tali felt terrified now. How did he know about the encoding?
Garrus motioned to his team to form up on him. Gael helped Tali to her feet with his good arm. He pulled her close to him and she felt somewhat safe. Marius stood next to Garrus. Finally Daevid picked up his coat and motioned to his guards to move forward. Tali felt the barrels of the men behind her and slowly they moved into the Coolant Tower...prisoners of a organization they heard nothing about.
Daevid had them on their knees. He was not going to bring them with him he was going to make them confess to who held the data in their mind. He had a revolver looking gun in his hand. Tali bowed her head...she had survived the whole Reaper War, now she thought it was for nothing if she was going to die here. She would never see Shepard again...the promise she made to him would be forfeit. Daevid spun up the cylinder on his gun and it clicked into place.
Daevid: "I've got 8 shots in this pistol....7 more than I need to kill one of you. I'm going to count to three...and one of you better speak up or ill put a bullet..."
He pointed the gun at Tali and she shook and looked down and closed her eyes.
Daevid: "Into this Quarian bitch...NOW.."
He pointed the gun at Garrus and smiled
Daevid: "....the fun begins"
He turned his back to Garrus
Tali was beginning to sob
He turned to Tali and pointed the gun at her head. She said a small prayer.
Suddenly there was a huge explosion and Garrus's Shuttle and the Aurora shuttle parked next to it exploded. Daevid glanced towards the explosions:
Several of his soldiers pushed him into the Access Hallway and out of sight while the rest of his soldiers pointed their guns up in the air. Tali looked up out of shock and saw another Aurora Shuttle hovering above them. Garrus spoke:
Garrus: "What the hell?"
Then the shuttle opened up with its chain gun on the soldiers. A few men fired but all the soldiers were thrown back by the hail of lead or simply fell strait down. One man was blown apart. Tali looked away and finally the chain-gun died down. Suddenly the door opened to the shuttle as the shuttle became level to them. It was Grunt:
Grunt: "Sorry to blow your party...but your ride is here"
Garrus smiled as Gael helped Tali up. She felt enormous relief. Above the shuttle was a massive hole that Grunt had blown into the side of Harbinger. She could see some of the mid afternoon light streaming through it.
Garrus: "Well its about damn time...the next beer is on me"
Grunt: "As long as there is fish in it"
Garrus shook his head and Liara appeared and motioned for them to board
Liara: "Come on get on board!"
Grunt stepped back as Garrus jumped into the shuttle he then helped Marius into the shuttle. Gael walked Tali to the shuttle door and Garrus helped her in. Then she saw Gael take one glance back to the Access Hallway where Daevid had gone. Tali spoke:
Tali: "Comeon Gael...tomorrow is another day"
Gael nodded and Garrus helped him on board.
Garrus: "I still owe you Gael"
They all sat down in a large seating area. Grunt shouted through the cockpit door.
Grunt: "Alright Williams! They are on!"
Ashley's voice came on the comms
Ashley: "Do you have the data core?"
Garrus glanced at Tali as did Gael and Marius:
Garrus: "Yes we do"
Tali nodded to Garrus. She still had tears in her eyes and she wiped them away.
Marius: "Do you think we will see that bastard again?"
Garrus looked at Marius: "If Cerberus...or this Aurora is back on the grid then my guess is yes"
Marius: "Then i'll be the one to kill him"
Garrus: "Get in line"
Ashley: "Alright next stop Allied HQ, I'll radio ahead...for some reason all the lines are busy, something big must be happening in London"
Garrus looked puzzled
Garrus: "What could be going on that is so important?"
Tali could only manage a small smile. Somehow she knew that he was finally back. The Hero of the Citadel, The Hero of the Reaper War, The Survivor of Akuze, The Savior of Civilization, and the man who had her heart.