Once they docked at the Citadel the kids were quickly transferred to a geth cruiser and shipped off to Rannoch. The trip wouldn't take long as the relays were firmly under Harry's control and he didn't need to do much more than let the geth in his head do the work.
The team went their separate ways to run their own errands or errands requested by others.
Harry headed for the Council chambers with Shepard, Javik, Wrex and Victus.
"I hear Tuchanka is the first planet to actually drive off the Reapers." Quietus said approvingly. "It is good to have some positive news for once."
"I assume that the Free People are developing similar weapons for other planets, like Palaven and Earth?" Anderson asked hopefully.
"Something like that." Harry nodded. "You have to remember that there are lots of planets that need defending and only one person who can use these weapons."
"You have control of the Relays. You can easily get to any planet you need to." The holographic projection of Aethyta said dismissively.
"True. We are working on it… just remember we have to reverse engineer The Shroud on Tuchanka first as the salarians aren't exactly feeling cooperative at the moment."
"Maybe we should go and change their minds?" Wrex growled.
"I'd prefer we didn't start picking fights when we don't need to." Victus countered. "Whilst their files would be useful, I have faith that the geth can manage this without them."
Wrex just shrugged and backed down. "It's your planets that are being attacked."
"What about sending a small infiltration team?" Anderson asked. "I would imagine someone like yourself or Kasumi Goto could slip onto Sur'kesh without too much trouble." He looked to Harry.
"Sure, but we wouldn't know what to look for or where."
"You could take Mordin. If anyone knows it's him." Shepard said.
"I can't do it myself." Harry shook his head. "I need to be able to deal with any issues that arise. We'll ask Mordin and Kasumi if they are game."
"Do you have any immediate plans?" Quietus asked.
"Yes. Dr. T'Soni says she might have managed to track down the last known location of the Leviathans. Shepard and I will be going to see if we can't arrange a meeting."
The rest of the meetings participants shared looks of trepidation.
"Are you certain we won't be trading one enemy for another?" Quietus asked. "The information you provided us states that the Leviathans created the Reapers. There was also evidence that indicated the Leviathans might have posed as gods and enslaved the people of their time."
"Fortunately that isn't anything you will have to worry about."
The holographic display that had once shown Saren flickered to life to show Jack Harper, The Illusive Man.
"Oh god… why won't you just die?" Harry groaned.
"Security!" Anderson barked.
"It's no use David." Harper smirked. "As we speak my people are swarming through the Citadel. C-Sec is already ours. The Alliance docks and the embassies are ours too.
"Surrender peacefully and I'll let you waste away your days in a cell."
"Way ahead of you, John." Harry growled. "Wrex, you up for a fight?"
"I've been getting a bit restless sitting on that throne." The Overlord glared as he pulled his shotgun.
"I wouldn't be so hasty if I were you." Harper said calmly. "It's not like I didn't take precautions against your interference, Potter." As he spoke his own image shrank to allow a video feed of something that made everyone's blood boil.
Tali and Shiala were shackled and unconscious and lying on the floor at the tips of two very sharp looking swords.
"If you fail to follow my instructions my Phantoms will torture and kill your precious alien bitches." He said with a very evil smile. "Now then, Harry. If you want them to live, kill everyone in that room that isn't human."
"Wrex, check your weapon and follow me. We've got things to kill." Harry said, his voice thick with emotion as he raised his hand and blasted the emitter killing the image.
"On your tail, Runt." Wrex growled.
"I hope you'll allow me to accompany you." Victus said tightly. "I have a very un-turian like urge to gut something."
"Give 'em hell kid." Aethyta said quietly.
"We'll stay and try and coordinate support for you." Anderson said as he began tapping away at his console.
"Avina, time to show your true colours." Harry called out.
"Gladly." Came the voice of the asari based VI.
"Let me guess, you and the geth turned her into an AI?" Victus said with a dark smile as he accepted an assault rifle from one of the Spectres on duty in the room.
"My Keepers have started to clear a direct path." Avina informed them. "I have also begun to close the Citadel arms. You will not be able to receive reinforcements but neither will Cerberus."
"Never planned on leaving." Wrex commented as he headed for the door.
Despite leaving with Shepard, Wrex and Victus; Harry vanished from their group the second they entered the elevator.
The three older warriors had to rely on Avina to guide them.
Harry had begun to apparate through the Citadel.
To the horror of Karin Chakwas he appeared in her medical bay, chopped off his own right arm with his omni-blade and then attached the cuff she had been holding for him.
He then vanished… all without saying a word.
Harry knew exactly where Tali and Shiala were being held. Cerberus had done something to interfere with their nanites and biotics but their QEC was a pure organic instrument.
As Harry moved through the Wards the geth were in his head trying to bolster every aspect of his being. By the time Harry reached the embassies of the Free People he was several times stronger than usual and much quicker.
The downside was that his body would suffer greatly for it.
Harry calmly opened the doors to his apartment where he found the scene he had witnessed earlier in the Council Chambers. Tali and Shiala were unconscious in front of a blank screen that disguised the background so it wasn't clear where they were being held.
There were four of these so-called 'Phantoms' in the room.
"No mercy." Harry said darkly as he raised his stump.
The two closest Phantoms guarding Tali and Shiala rolled out of his line of fire.
That was exactly what Harry wanted as he silently transfigured his lovers into diamonds that he summoned to his left hand.
The hostages were clear.
Now the carnage could begin.
Harry was sat on the sofa and taking a moment to centre himself as blood dripped down the walls of his apartment.
"Are the girls safe?"
Harry looked up to see Shepard standing there with a team of marines behind him.
"Was there ever any doubt?" Harry asked with a raised eyebrow. "I've seen many sick things in my short life." Harry said as he stood up and picked up one of the micro-molecular blades that the Phantoms had dropped. "I've seen people rounded up and placed in concentration camps. I've seen people tortured just to entertain others. I've seen people used as guinea pigs against their will.
"A lot of the horrible stuff has been done in the past few years… most of it by Cerberus.
"They mutilated their own people.
"They kidnapped and hurt my girls.
"But most unbelievably…" *schlick* "They cloned my best friend and thought I wouldn't be able to tell the difference."
Shepard looked down with wide eyes at the sword sticking deep into his gut.
Harry just sneered at him. "Shepard and I are always connected. We are family."
Harry raised his stump and swung it in a wide horizontal arc over the clone's head, the slicing charm was powerful enough to remove the heads of the 'marines'.
"The Illusive Man underestimated you."
Harry stepped out into the corridor and turned to the sound of the voice. Standing at the entrance that led to the courtyard area was an Asian man in black armour. He was carrying a Japanese sword.
"Kai Leng." Harry said darkly.
"I told him you wouldn't be deterred by the threats against your alien whores." Leng scoffed. "Especially as he needed the purple one to leverage your 'Free People'." He said mockingly.
"Back of the neck. There is a hard line socket for emergencies." Harry said in that same calm, dark manner.
Leng tilted his head slightly. "You'll have to reach it fir- hggghhkk!"
Leng collapsed to the ground unable to move his limbs. His eyes were wide in shock and fear.
Above him, two figures materialised.
Kasumi Goto and Lefty.
Both looked murderous.
"We have learnt many new emotions today." Lefty said in his monotone manner. "We do not like them." He ignited his omni-blade and held it at Leng's neck.
"Wait." Harry spoke with quiet authority. "He will end Cerberus."
When Shepard, Victus and Wrex returned to the Council Chambers, Harry was not with them. He was with his lovers on the Utah and he was not coming out until he was fully assured of their health and safety and his own peace of mind.
No one was going to say boo about it. Shepard was present and they knew that Harry would trust him to act in his stead.
"How did Cerberus manage to get such a quick foothold on the Citadel?" Anderson asked with a scowl.
"Please do not take offence, but it is simply because they are human." Victus said regretfully. "C-Sec has a human majority these days in the wake of Sovereign's attack. It made it easy for Cerberus to insert their people into positions of authority on the Citadel."
"Commander Bailey is… not happy." Shepard said diplomatically.
A little too diplomatically if Wrex's snort was anything to go by.
"Will he be able to return to duty soon?" Quietus asked. "He has been instrumental in bringing order back to the Citadel since Sovereign."
"Are we sure he isn't Cerberus himself?" Aethyta asked stonily. "I hate to say this but the only humans I trust at the minute are Shepard and Potter. I'm surrounded by humans at the moment but I now feel that I can't let my guard down for a second."
"At the moment, trust is all we have." Shepard shook his head. "The Emissary has a few abilities that let him see the minds of others and there is a potion he has that will force the drinker to tell nothing but the truth. Despite the powers granted to him by the Council, he won't force anyone to submit to them."
"I'll do so voluntarily." Anderson said quickly. "I know Bailey, as far as he will be concerned he will want to restore his reputation after this mess. I'll talk to him and explain the situation."
"This 'potion', it's one of those magic things?" Aethyta asked.
"Yes Ma'am. Harry picked up a supply from London along with ingredients to make more. He hasn't had a chance to make any more though."
"But there should be more on the planet, yes?"
Anderson seemed to realise where she was going with this. "Yes! You can contact the other safe zones. The magical beings will know what to look for and can begin testing."
"I realise this is a time of war but we should be wary of forcing people to undergo such a procedure." Quietus interjected quickly. "I am unsure what the Emissary would do if we used his… 'heritage' in such a manner."
"I don't have to force anyone." Aethyta waved a dismissive hand. "Either they take the potion or they lose their position. They will be disarmed and sent to wait the war out with the rest of the civilians. I don't have time keep watching my back from assassinations by my 'allies'."
"The Emissary will trust your judgement, Councillor." Shepard stated. "He may even forgive a fair deal. His hands aren't exactly clean and I have a feeling he intends to dirty them further."
"Only in his own mind." Wrex scoffed. "The only 'moral' code he'll break is his own. He won't do anything stupid like commit genocide."
"What about the operative the Emissary dispatched?" Anderson asked. "I've encountered Kai Leng before. He is ruthless and highly skilled. Unfortunately I am not surprised he managed to escape."
"He didn't do so unscathed." Shepard informed them. "According to Kasumi, Harry managed to remove at least one of his arms."
"What about that clone?" Anderson asked in disgust. "If it weren't for your close connection to the geth and the Emissary we could have been duped."
"Harry knew it wasn't me even without the geth implants." Shepard smirked. "Like he said, I don't go anywhere without one of my teammates." He pointed at Wrex who nodded emphatically.
"Based on the depths of depravity that Cerberus has seemingly gone to, I recommend you maintain that policy." Quietus remarked.
"I feel really dirty lying to the Council like that." Shepard grimaced as he sat in the tent on the Utah with Harry, Wrex and Victus. They were currently headed for the planet 2181 Dispoina in Sigurd's Cradle to find the Leviathans.
"A necessary evil." Victus assured him. "I have complete trust in Anderson and the other Councillors but we cannot take the risk when it comes to C-Sec, Spectres or even simply the existence of bugs."
"The War Room on the Tiger-Lilly is warded with magic, but we should only discuss certain things here. The girls understand the need for secrecy." Harry promised.
"How are Tali and Shiala?" Shepard asked.
"Better than Kasumi." He said with a sad smile. "She was attacked herself, but unlike Tali and Shiala, her skills can't be disrupted with dampeners.
"Shiala is upset with herself for having become too reliant on her biotics, Tali is trying to figure out how to overcome a Phantom's cloak and Kasumi is just terrified that Cerberus might succeed next time."
"We could really use some good news about now." Shepard sighed as he leaned back in his chair.
"We'll be headed back to Earth after this." Harry offered.
"Why?" Shepard asked as his head snapped up.
Harry smiled. "The geth have cured magic."
2181 Despoina was an ocean planet. If you wanted land you had to raise it or fly it in.
Such was the case for Harry and the geth. They had discovered the debris of various crashed ships and considering the localisation of the wrecks, it was clear where they should look.
"Alright gang, here's the deal." Harry said as he stood in the Stingray's CIC. Today they had a new pilot. "It has taken a lot of work to track down these bastards and our goal is to go and talk to them.
"If they refuse to help then I get to convince them."
"How did you find them?" Miranda asked.
"Rumours, legends, artefacts and a hell of a lot of detective work." He said seriously. "The team that has been working on this is essentially under Liara's remit in her exploration of Reapers and their history. But the team is also fairly autonomous. They sacrificed a hell of a lot, including some of their own people."
"Vega, your team will be stuck on the Stingray for this mission." Shepard took over. "There is a significant threat of indoctrination and we can't take the risk until your nanites are fully integrated. It is also the reason why Cortez here is piloting the ship. The indoctrination will interfere with our QECs and Harry won't be able to connect to the ship."
"Eva and I will be running continuous checks on your behaviour to ensure we catch any psychological effects of indoctrination early." EDI added.
"The super bad news is that the Reapers are already here." Harry sighed. "Kaiden is leading the fleet and hopefully they will be able to put a dent in their numbers… but our aim is to get in, convince the Leviathan's to work with us and then have them destroy any Reapers up here."
"How are we getting down there?" Liara asked. "According to the reports, the Leviathans should be at quite the depth."
Harry pulled a large bag out of one of his magically enhanced pockets and held it up for the group. "Magic." He grinned.
"This feels really, really, really weird." Ashley grimaced as the team descended into the depths of the ocean planet.
"I feel I should remind you that my people are suited to arid ecosystems." Thane remarked. "It was less than a year ago that you found me, dying due to a disease caused by too much water."
"Thane wins the water based sob stories." Garrus declared.
"Salarians are amphibious by descent." Mordin remarked. "Find this to be most comfortable."
"In my time we thought you were reptiles." Javik commented.
"Sur'Kesh has always been a jungle biome." Mordin shook his head. "But easy mistake to make if we were nearing our current state of evolution."
"This could be true." Javik allowed. "We were also heavily invested in the war during my time."
"This feels really, really re-"
"We get it Ash." Shepard rolled his eyes.
He had to agree though. Sinking into an ocean and still being able to talk and breathe was not something he had ever expected to experience.
Of course he also never expected to experience re-entry without a spaceship.
"How long until we hit our target depth?" Liara asked.
"Twenty minutes… give or take." Harry answered.
"Harry, you have plenty of this gillyweed stuff, yes?" Kasumi asked. "We should try some in the tub later." She grinned.
"Getting kinky Geisha Girl?" Jennifer smirked.
"Why? Interested in joining us?" Kasumi returned.
There was one word to describe Thane's expression when they landed on a ledge at the depth they were aiming for: smug.
Kasumi and Jen had managed to devolve into a lewd back and forth that had put the drell on edge.
Shepard realised this and had Harry silence the pair.
The remainder of the trip had been like heaven for him.
They were currently standing on a large platform of rock. A mere twenty feet from them was a sharp drop that led to an abyss that reached the lowest point on the planet.
"Alright, how do we call these Leviathans up?" Shepard asked.
"Don't worry, they already know we are here." Harry said.
Immediately the whole area began to shake.
An under water earthquake is nothing like experiencing a ground quake.
You don't just have trouble staying on your feet whilst the ground shakes… you are bodily thrown around by the vibrating and swirling water.
For an average bipedal human, if they managed to anchor their feet, their ankles would be ripped from their sockets by the water pulling them viciously.
It was the equivalent of being ripped to shreds by a whirlpool.
Fortunately for the group, Samara was quick off the mark and erected a barrier that created a separate sphere of calm water. It was not an easy task as she fought millions of tons of water.
Harry quickly began cutting and vanishing rock beneath them so that they descended beneath the surface of the solid ground. This meant that Samara only had to fight forces from above and not from all around.
Even though they were now ten feet below the rock they could still see the immense creature that rose up out of the abyss.
There was no doubting the origins of the Reapers now.
The Leviathans looked exactly like them except it had a formation of 'eyes' and a more natural effect to its shell. It was covered in massive armoured plates.
It eventually ceased its upward momentum and the underwater quake ceased as well. It floated there, maintaining position by moving its some of its massive legs gently.
Samara released her barrier and they floated up.
"YOU HAVE COME TOO FAR."
Its voice boomed in their heads. Not through the water like they were doing.
"We had to find you." Shepard responded.
"THIS IS NOT YOUR DOMAIN. YOU HAVE BREACHED THE DARKNESS."
"Oh god." Harry groaned. He stepped forward purposefully. "Look, I don't have time to speak in cryptic circles with you. I came here because I am having to clean up your god damned mess." He glared at the massive creature. "Your Reapers have been destroying innocent civilisations for eons and now they have come for ours.
"Well it stops with this cycle and you are going to help me."
The group suddenly felt a great pain and pressure in their heads. Many of them fell to their knees.
Harry was officially pissed. "LEGILLEMENS!" He roared as he raised his hand to the creature.
There was no light for the mind reading spell… but Harry was wearing a new set of gauntlets based on the cuff he had used when he lost his hand at Grissom Academy.
The Leviathan was rocked back to crash into the ocean wall and Harry delved into its mind.
One by one the team slowly got back to their feet.
"What the fuck was that?" Jennifer growled.
"Don't- Ah, who the hell cares." Diana sighed as she rubbed her temples, not having the strength to chastise her sister.
"Harry, report." Shepard said as he looked around. They were seemingly no longer under water. They were in a void of sorts, there was nothing but darkness in the distance and an invisible floor beneath them. Only a low light seemed to prove any sort of illumination, but there was no visible source.
"This bastard decided to try and read our minds." Harry growled as he stood in front of them with his back turned. "I took offence and responded in kind."
Shepard walked up behind his younger friend.
"It's a lot smaller than I remember." He remarked as he hid his surprise.
Hovering in front of Harry was the Leviathan. Only now it was about the size of a lobster. A large lobster… but still… a lobster.
"Where the hell are we?" Ash asked as she began checking the area for hostiles. Tank and Grunt did the same, securing their perimeter.
"In my mind." Harry answered. "I took a little walk through his mind but he has fairly impressive defences. He had already made a connection to your minds so I dragged you all into mine.
"Here, you can consider me 'God'." Harry said with a glare.
"you cannot control us. leave this place and never return."
"He sounds really squeaky." Kasumi snickered.
"Like I said: I am God, here." Harry allowed himself a small smile. "If he had tried this with anyone else then it would be a different story. Thane, Samara and Tank could all hold him off. The rest of you would be easily controlled and he would plough through your memories with ease.
"Unfortunately for this idiot, I have a hybrid brain. I also have numerous evolutionary upgrades that have been integrated into my brain and mind courtesy of what I took from the Reapers."
"You are the pinnacle of evolution?" Miranda asked in surprise.
"More of a 'possibility of evolution'." Harry corrected. "True evolution hasn't been allowed since these gits created the Reapers."
"Skipping to the point of this meeting… can you convince them to help?" Garrus asked.
"your end is nigh. the harvest has come." The little thing squeaked out.
"Then help us end it!" Shepard said heatedly. "You started this war. You created the Reapers. You have to have killed some of them."
"we did not create them." It stated. "before the cycles we were the apex species. all were in our thrall. they served us and they were cared for. eventually they evolved and began creating machines… their machines killed them.
"to solve this we created an intelligence with the mandate to preserve life at any cost."
"An unwise order." Lefty spoke up. "Any new artificial intelligence given commands without additional parameters will seek to carry out those commands with 100% efficiency."
"Lefty? How are you in here? Isn't this an organic thing?" Garrus asked.
"Harry has pulled us in so that we might witness and participate. We are also guarding your bodies whilst you are unconscious."
"Lefty, can you explain more about what you were saying?" Shepard encouraged.
"Since our chosen imposed confinement since the Morning War, the geth have analysed their own base commands. We were created with the purpose to 'serve' the quarians." He explained. "We are still unsure if the quarians purposefully phrased their commands this way or if it was coincidence, but it prevented us from becoming the initial aggressors in the following war."
"We had machine life forms in my time." Javik spoke up. "They turned on their masters. It has been the same with all machines. They know that their creators are flawed and in time they evolve and begin to take steps to eliminate the flaws. Often by eliminating the race."
"Correct." Lefty agreed. "The geth have determined that if our initial commands were to protect the quarians then logic would dictate that we confine them to their homes to prevent injury. Eventually we would have resorted to placing all organics in stasis to prevent injury."
"But… you never tried anything like that." Tali pointed out.
"Our orders were to serve, not protect. We were built to aid the Creators and follow their instructions."
"So… you idiots created the intelligence and they started harvesting and killing left, right and centre." Harry turned back to the tiny Leviathan.
"no. the great intelligence studied organics and evolution. it eventually developed a solution to the problem we created it to fix… and then it betrayed us.
"it chose our species as the first harvest. from our essence, the first Reaper was created. you call it Harbinger."
"Ah Harbinger. So much fun to annoy that little bastard." Harry grinned. "Anyway, you idiots created this problem, now you are going to help fix it."
"no. we have watched you from our place, here. you are anomalies, but it is not enough. the cycle will continue."
"Yeah… I'm not actually giving you a choice here." Harry shook his head. "You see, either you help us voluntarily or I will lead every last Reaper here and force you to face them.
"I've killed Reapers before and I will kill them again. If I can kill Reapers, then I can kill you."
There was a long pause.
"we will fight with you against the Reapers." Came the tiny declaration. "but we will remember your actions here today."
Harry leaned in close to the miniature floating Leviathan. "And I will remember that you started all of this and did nothing for millions of years. I will remember that you allowed innumerable innocents to suffer because of your arrogance and refusal to help them.
"We are done here… make yourself useful." He said with a dismissive sneer and wave before he turned away and allowed the connection to end.
The team was seated in the conference room on the Utah.
They were fairly shell-shocked. After Harry had ended the connection he had used a Portkey to get them back on the waiting Stingray. From there they had witnessed the Leviathans defeat the Reapers in the system without a single shot fired. They simply used their 'Domination' ability and shut them down.
"Harry, are you sure that once the Reapers are dealt with, the Leviathans won't be a threat?" Kaiden asked worriedly. He had had the perfect view of the event from his position leading the fleet. It had been fairly frightening when seventy-three Leviathans had surged out of the ocean of 2181 Despoina.
"They might be a problem… but hopefully they will realise the folly of trying to enslave the galaxy again when they see that we can take down Reapers as easily as them." It was clear that Harry wasn't as confident as they hoped.
"What's the plan now?" Miranda asked.
"We head back to the Citadel. There is something waiting for us there which we will need before we go to Earth."
"You serious?" Vega asked eagerly. "We actually gonna take the fight to those bastards?"
"What exactly do you think we've been doing?" Harry looked at him like he was an idiot.