In a large dark room, the only illumination coming from a grouping of orange holographic screens in its center. A Caucasian man in his late fifties stood there and was monitoring each screen intently. On the screens were numerous videos and images of the star ship Normandy, Commander Darby and his team mates. Other images included Sovereign and Saren. He stared at the screens for what seemed forever until his attention was caught by the sounds of footsteps behind him.
"You're late, Agent Lawson." he said in a calm stoic manner.
"My apologies, Director, but it would appear that the target was harder to track than we originally thought." a young woman replied as she stood beside him. He did not even acknowledge her as he continued to watch the footage playing on the screens.
"Well, it would seem that you still accomplished the task." he replied pointing at screen showing the target's current position.
"Yes, we have a vessel shadowing them as we speak. Here is the latest Intel we have acquired." she replied as she held out a data pad. The old man just waved his hand over it and the data then transferred to one of the screens. He then looked at it intently before smiling.
"Interesting, tell our vessel to keep transmitting data back to me for as long as they are able."
The young woman nodded before she turned away and looked around the barren room, it looked like it was made of mirrors as the walls, floor and ceiling all reflected their image back with the orange hue of the screens behind them. The man looked over to her, noticing her tense posture.
"What's the matter, Miranda?" he asked, his tone shifting to an almost caring one. She then crossed her arms and looked over her shoulder to him.
"It's just that Jack Darby did everything right. He saved the galaxy from Sovereign and the Geth and now humanity's place among the galactic community is stronger than ever."
The Director looked back at a screen with the young Prime's image on it.
"Yes, he certainly proved his worth when it counted didn't he." he replied while enlarging one screen showing footage of the Prime hacking down Saren from the Citadel security feed.
"And yet it is still not enough..." she sighed.
"...While he is out there searching, the Council is busy sweeping the entire affair under the rug. They are even secretly clogging up the Alliance with red tape, stopping them from helping in the search." the Agent continued, as her voice showed signs of annoyance.
The Director picked up a glass from a stand on his right and took a sip of the liquid inside.
"I know, the council would rather blame the whole ordeal on Saren and the Geth. Not wanting to believe in myths and legends, but we know what the real threat is."
The young woman then turned around and looked at the older man.
"Yes, the Reapers are still out there." she replied as the Director then waved his free hand over one of the screen's, making it swap places with another.
"And now it is up to us to stop them." he said as he looked over an image of Sovereign. Miranda shook her head.
"Unfortunately no one will trust MECH. Even after all these years. They still believe we are the terrorist organisation that we were during the war."
She then looked away from the Director, as a slight smile graced her lips.
"But they will listen to Darby. He is a hero, the first Human Prime." she said with admiration that did not go unnoticed by the older man who coughed into his hand, gaining her attention. This snapped her out of it, her posture and face becoming serious again.
"But he is only a man. If anything happens to him, I believe that we will all lose." she said honestly as the Director turned and looked directly at her. She could not see his face as the light from holo-screens shone behind him, but she could see that his yellow optics narrowed at her.
"Then see to it that we don't lose him." he answered before taking another sip from his glass. Miranda then nodded before turning around and leaving the room. Once again leaving the Director alone as he studied the screens in quiet.
Meanwhile across the other side of the galaxy, the Normandy dropped out of hyperspace as it's hull shimmered softly while passing a barren rocky planet. In the CIC the crew were going about their duties as Commander Jack Darby and his pilot, the Autobot Hotrod were talking in the cockpit.
"We have entered the Amada system and the stealth mode is engaged." the pilot said before turning to Jack.
"So we have been searching the Omega Nebula for a means to defeat the Reapers for the last two weeks, hoping to find a super weapon or something to use against them, but have found nothing. A big fat zero." he continued irritably.
Jack looked down at the screen in front of him, reading the information that was appearing on it.
"Never said it was going to be easy, Hotrod. Besides we still have the rest of the galaxy to search. We check out any lead, any trail that might lead us to something that we can use."
Hotrod shrugged and then looked back at his console.
"Well the sooner we find something the better. I hear the new Blasto movie is showing at theaters now, and I don't want to miss it."
Jack, knowing where this conversation would lead decided to leave before being dragged into another movie talk, so he patted Hotrod on the shoulder before turning around and walking away.
"I'll be in my quarters if anything should happen." he said as Hotrod lean out looking back at him smirking.
"Is Arcee there too?" he jokingly asked. But Jack being the man he was chose to ignore it.
"As you were, Hotrod." he answered stoically, to which the pilot chuckled before turning back round to his controls.
"Aye Aye, Sir."
As Jack entered their quarters, funny it used to be his quarters. But since he and Arcee had begun a relationship only a few weeks previously, she had spent more time in his quarters so he asked her to move in. He looked around the room to find that she was already claiming it by having more of her belongings on show than his own. The Commander didn't mind though, he would do anything for her. As he sat down at the desk and activated the console, he heard the shower running and smiled.
'She really does love that shower.' he thought as he looked through the numerous daily reports and messages that had filled up his inbox. One was from Tali who had just gotten Engineering just the way she wanted it. The other was from Garrus and he was complaining that the crew's constant messing with the weapon systems was interfering with his calibrations. There was a message was from Wrex asking him to join the Krogan for a drink in the common room which made the Prime chuckle.
Jack then turned off the console when he heard the shower turn off, and turned to see Arcee stepping out of the bathroom with a blue towel wrapped around her figure.
"Nice." he said with a big grin. The femme smiled back at him with slightly red cheeks.
"Thanks." she replied, a little taken back. He then stood up and walked over to her.
"So I guess your shift is over now?" she asked as he put an arm around her back and pulled her close.
"I am all yours for the next few hours." he replied as he started to kiss her neck. A sweet moan escaped her as she closed her eyes, enjoying his lips on her skin.
"Whatever am I going to do with you?" she said before Jack looked back to her and then pressed his lips against hers. They tasted just as sweet and succulent now as they did the first time he kissed her. She suddenly surprised him by pushing him onto the bed and climbed on top of him as her towel fell off, exposing her athletic figure. Then for one moment they just looked into each others eyes as they smiled at each other lovingly.
"Lights off." Arcee said as she bent down and kissed her lover passionately while the room went dark around them.
It was late when Jack woke up lying on their bed with the sheets half covering him. He looked to his side to see Arcee lying next to him, smiling back.
"Do you realise that you snore in your sleep." she said gently. Jack looked back horrified.
"Why did you have to tell me that." he replied as he placed his hands on his face in shame. The femme chuckled as she got on to her side facing him.
"It wasn't bad, it was soft and faint. I thought it was cute." she teased as she gently pulled his hands away. He looked back at her and saw nothing but love in her eyes and found himself relaxing as she then moved in close and rested her head on his chest as he started stroking her blue hair.
"Jack, do you ever think about the future?" she asked softly.
"What do you mean?" he replied curious to why she had just brought it up. The femme then looked up at him.
"I mean us, our future."
The Prime looked back at the femme and saw that something had been weighing on her mind.
"Yes I do, I mean I know that we have the Reapers to deal with first but I have found myself thinking more about what we would do after." he replied which made her spark warm. She then took a breath before speaking again.
"Well there was something I wanted to ask you" she said, her voice sounding nervous. Jack looked at her.
"Well ask, you know you can talk to me about anything." he replied gently. Arcee sighed as she recognized the caring tone in his voice.
"Well first, what do you know of sparkm…" but she was cut off mid sentence by the intercom activating.
"Commander, you and Arcee are needed in the CIC." Hotrod's voice echoed throughout the room.
Jack looked back at his love as she looked at him disappointed.
"I tell you what, we take care of whatever it is that they need. And then we come back up here and you tell me what is on you mind." he said with a warm smile as she closed the distance and relaxed into a deep kiss with him, holding it for several seconds before separating.
"Okay, let's get this done quickly then." she replied.
As they entered the bridge, everyone was hurrying about as the atmosphere felt tense. The two walked up to Hotrod.
"What's the situation." Jack asked.
The pilot looked over to them.
"Commander, we have an unidentified ship approaching us on a intercept trajectory." he replied, worry was evident in his voice.
"But I thought stealth mode was active." Arcee observed while looking over the readouts on a screen next to her.
"Yeah it is, so whatever this ship is, it has sensors that are strong enough to detect us." he said as Jack looked over at Arcee's screen.
"Can you show us it?" he asked as Hotrod then transferred a picture of it to their console.
"Here you go, it's the first scan I took of it."
They both looked at the image on screen. The alien ship at a cylinder like shape with numerous sections sticking out while it spun on its axis. If Jack were to describe it, he would say that it looked somewhat like a corkscrew. He looked over to Hotrod as the young bot's face went white.
"By Primus, they are targeting us and powering weapons." he said, fear taking over.
"Evasive action and raise shields." The Commander ordered as Hotrod too control and veered the ship to the right as the massive cruiser fired an yellow energy beam that narrowly missed them.
"Hail them." the Prime ordered as Arcee worked the console in front of her.
"No response." she replied as the enemy ship fired again scraping the Alliance ship, causing numerous explosions on all decks.
"We have a hull breach on deck four. And we are leaking atmosphere." Arcee stated as Hotrod managed to turn the ship just in time before the yellow energy beam hit again.
"Tell everyone to switch to breather helmets, and get damage control teams down there to seal the breach." Jack replied before turning back to Hotrod who had just put on his own breather helmet.
"Okay, enough with playing nice, arm weapons and take us at them."
The Autobot nodded and swung the ship around and flew directly at the cruiser as it's beam hit the Normandy again, causing the ship to shake against the impact.
"Fire!" Jack shouted as the Normandy fired everything from torpedoes, to its cannons at the unknown ship.
"No effect." Hotrod replied just as the bridge was rocked by the enemy firing on the Alliance ship and slicing off the port-side wing, making it spin uncontrollably.
"We have lost our starboard engine, I am trying to stabilise her with thrusters." The pilot said as he franticly worked at the controls. Jack looked at Arcee who too was now wearing her breather helmet as she looked back at him, it was as if they were both thinking the same thing.
"What's the damage report?" he asked hesitantly. The femme flipped through the screens.
"We have hull breaches on decks four, five and one. Main power is off across most of the ship." she replied.
Jack then turned back to Hotrod and activated the intercom.
"This is the Commander, all hands abandon ship. I repeat, all hands abandon ship."
Arcee and Hotrod looked at each other worriedly before looking back to the Prime. Then the intercom activated again.
"This is Tali, we have crew trapped down here in Engineering and cannot make it to the escape pods. We need assistance." she called as both Jack and his XO started to head to the elevator. Jack turned to Hotrod.
"Try to keep that ship from getting a target lock on us, we will go down to deck four and help Tali." he said as they then walked off.
"Will do, Commander." he pilot replied as he kept his attention on evading the unknown adversary.
Once they got out from the elevator they were met with flames and smoke as the corridors were lit in the red emergency lighting.
"I think you should suit up, Jack." Arcee said. The Prime nodded and removed a dark grey octagonal disc that had the silver Autobot symbol on it's topside. He then placed it on his chest and it activated, unfolding and spreading out along the Commander's body before taking the shape of the Prime armour, the Autobot symbol on his right chest plate shining for a second before fading. "Lets go" Jack said as they both headed down towards engineering.
Once they arrived at the entrance to Engineering, both of them saw the problem.
"Tali, it's Jack, we are outside now. It seems that part of the ceiling has fallen down and blocked off the door." he said into his com link.
"Just stay calm as I cut through it." he then activated his energy blade and swung at the debris, slicing it in two. They then cleared out the pieces and entered the room. Jack went over to Tali who was sitting against a control station while his partner helped up the other crewmen.
"Are you okay, Tali?" he asked as the Quarian held her arm.
"I had a suit puncture that I have just repaired but I am now running a fever from exposure to something in the air." she said as the ship was rocked by another impact from the enemy's weapon. Jack helped his friend up and motioned the femme over to them.
"Arcee, I need you to get Tali and these crewmen into the nearest escape pod." he said as he then saw the surprise in her face.
"But what about you?" she replied.
"I am going back up to the cockpit to get Hotrod. I'll be right behind you." he replied confidently. But Arcee was not having any of it.
"We can do this together, I am not leaving your side." she said adamantly. Jack then placed his hands on both of her shoulders and looked into her eyes. I need you to help Tali and these crewmen. I will activate the distress beacon from here and will get into the nearest escape pod with Hotrod. We will be right behind you." he said, his voice remaining calm despite the worsening situation around them.
The femme just looked at him for a moment, before accepting defeat.
"You better be." she replied before turning away, only to have Jack stop her and hold his hand to her face to stroke her cheek.
"Don't worry, you are not going to lose me that easily."
He then placed something in her hand. She looked down to see his dog tags. She looked back up to him to see him smiling at her.
"And I will want those back." he replied gently before being cut off by another hit to the ship making the room shake.
"Now go." he said as Arcee helped Tali and the others out of Engineering. Jack then turned to the control console and activated the distress beacon, which dropped out of the underbelly of the ship as it drifted near a blue planet with the unknown enemy closing in.
Arcee and the group made it to the escape pod as she hit the activation pad, making the pod open up in front of them.
"Okay, Everyone, in." she said as Tali and the crewmen climbed in and sat down in the empty seats. The femme then activated her com link.
"Arcee to Garrus and Wrex, come in." she called out, hoping to get an answer.
"Garrus here, Wrex and myself are just directing crewmen into the escape pods." the Turian replied.
"Me too, also I have Tali here." she said as the corridor filled with more smoke from the growing fires.
"Is she alright? What about Jack, is he with you?" he asked.
"Yes she is fine, but Jack is heading back to the cockpit for Hotrod." she said while looking down at her lover's dog tags in her hand.
"Hey, Jack will be fine. He will get Hotrod off the ship before anything happens. We should go now though." he answered over the com link.
"Okay, launching escape pods now" she answered as she entered the pod, the hatch closing behind her. Then as the Normandy continued to drift, it's thrusters barely keeping it stable. Parts of the hull folded out to reveal the escape pods which then launched out into space.
Jack climbed up through the service ducts to reach the CIC, not even attempting to use the elevator considering how badly damaged the Normandy would be by now. He reached the top when the ship shook severally from another attack. It felt like an earthquake as he barely managed to hold on to the ladder.
'That one felt too close.' he thought as he reached up to the hatch and attempted to open it, but it would not budge. He activated his holo-tool and brought up a scan of the ship, looking at the area he was about to enter. It was flashing red as Jack realised the only reason that it would be doing that.
'There's a hull breach in CIC.' he thought. He then concentrated and his armour responded with his breather helmet unfolding around his head from out from within itself. He then heard his own breathing as he then activated the manual release and opened the hatch, the oxygen in the service duct being pulled out into the vacuum of space.
He then climbed out to see that the CIC had a hull breach that covered what used to be the ceiling. He looked up to see a blue planet and the stars overhead as well as the attacking ship closing. He then walked slowly towards the cockpit, as he pushed floating chairs and dead crewman out of the way as he got closer to Hotrod who was still at his station, trying to keep the ship moving.
"Hotrod, we have to abandon ship." he said while the Autobot kept trying to control the ship.
"No I won't leave, I can still get the ship to safety." he defiantly replied as he tried to retain control of the Normandy. Jack leaned over Hotrod trying to press the issue.
"The Normandy is going to be destroyed, going down with her won't change that."
Hotrod's face suddenly looked lost as he realised the futile nature of what he was trying to achieve.
"….Yeah okay." he replied sadly.
The pilot then got out of the chair before noticing some information appear on his screen that caused his spark's beat to quicken.
"They are coming around for another attack" he warned Jack as the enemy ship fired on the defenceless and heavily damaged Normandy again, rocking the ship even harder. The Prime then grabbed the bot by the arm and pulled him away from the cockpit.
"Okay, I'm moving." he replied as Jack opened the escape pod's hatch and the young Autobot got inside and fastened himself into one of the chairs there. Jack was about to climb in himself when suddenly the hull behind him disintegrated revealing open space. Another explosion knocked the Commander away from the pod and back into the quickly disintegrating cockpit. The energy beam broke through and blocked him off from the escape pod as Hotrod watched helplessly from his seat.
"Commander!" he shouted to Jack, who grabbed onto the railing on the wall near the pod. Knowing that there was no other way, he took one last look at his pilot and then hit the pod's activation panel next to him.
"PRIME!" Hotrod screamed as the escape pod sealed itself and launched into space, away from the ship. Jack then let go of the railing and let himself float in the middle of the room. Another shot from the cruiser hit a power cable near him, causing it to explode and send him flying out of the wreck and into open space.
He watched his ship break up as the enemy fired again, cutting through the ship like a knife through butter, making the Normandy explode. The shock-wave from the blast knocked the Prime further away.
Then over the sounds of his own heavy breathing, he heard a hissing noise coming from inside his own suit and realised that his oxygen supply had been damaged from the shock-wave. He frantically reached behind his neck to the breach in his helmet, trying desperately to stop all his oxygen from flowing out into space.
But the oxygen supply emptied quickly, as he felt his lungs collapse. The air that had inhabited them being forcibly sucked out by the vacuum. He was consumed by a white hot pain across hi entire body as his organs turned to mush and he lost consciousness just as his heart stopped beating. His lifeless body then drifted into the planet's atmosphere.
From where she was sitting in the escape pod, Arcee watched helplessly as the Normandy was no more but debris drifting in space. A million thoughts ran through her mind as she fumbled for her com link.
"Jack, Hotrod. Are either of you there?" she called out, her voice nearly breaking. Then there was silence for a long moment before Hotrod's voice came through.
"Arcee…" he answered hesitantly gaining her attention, as she got off her seat and stood at the window looking out at the destroyed ship.
"Hotrod, is Jack with you? Is he alright?" she replied as she tried to keep a grip of her emotions.
"Arcee,….I am sorry" he answered shakily. Her eyes widened and her mouth parted as his words sunk in.
"Jack got me into the escape pod, but he didn't make it. He was still on board when the Normandy exploded." The young Autobot answered, his voice filled with guilt and regret. The femme then collapsed to her knees, tears streamed down her face as the control she had over her emotions broke down. She let herself fall into grief as her eyes stung from the tears welling up in them. She looked out into space and placed a hand on the window.
'No, Jack, you wouldn't leave me…Jack!' she thought as she gripped his dog tags tightly. Tali looked away from the grieving femme and muttered a prayer for her fallen friend as their escape pod and the others drifted away to safety.