Authors Note: ... I am so sorry for being gone so long guys. Really, I am. School's been a terror for me the past month and I haven't had much time to post anything. I don't know how to feel about this chapter, but I feel like since you all were kept waiting so long, you deserved something nice now.

Just so you know, when the bit about the Citadel Conventions come up, please read that section very carefully, because I answer any questions and worries you have about it there. Of you do still have any questions that, feel free to ask.

Anyway, on with the chapter!

DISCLAIMER: I don't own Mass Effect. It belongs to Bioware.

Turian Ninth Fleet, Dreadnought 'Honor in Vigilance'

General Desolas was not the most knowledgeable when it came to space combat between ships. All he understood were the basics; ship positioning was key, the one who controlled range usually won, and the one with more dreadnoughts had a large advantage over their opponents.

Even to him though, what he was hearing sounded impossible. "How did we lose so many, Admiral? I thought we outnumbered them 4 to 1?"

His naval counterpart sighed. "We did, but they proved more ruthless than we expected. Where a traditional enemy would have tried to sue for peace, or at the very least surrendered when their ships were being destroyed and burning around them, this species was determined to take as many of us with them. It was almost Turian how they defended this planet."

Desolas could hear an amount of grudging respect in Oraka's voice, but he still needed to clear things up. "That still doesn't explain the numbers of lost and damaged ships."

"They apparently carried nukes aboard their ships, and when their ships were burning and falling apart around them, they manually jumped as close to our ships as possible and detonated. In addition to the explosive damage, the radiation given off confused our sensors and jammed communications for the affected ships for a short while, which the aliens capitalized on to do the same thing aging until they were wiped out."

"Did they launch any escape pods? Can we capture any to decode their language and start interrogations?"

Oraka shook his head. "No, unfortunately they stayed on the ships as they exploded; it seems they couldn't set the jump to our ships and make it to the escape pods at the same time. We've done what we could to find what little bodies of the aliens are floating through space, but they're damaged to such a large degree we don't have a true picture of what they look like beyond being Turianoid in shape and roughly around our height."

"Is there anything else I should know, Admiral?"

Oraka nodded and raised his Omni-Tool, and an image of a station appeared above his Omni-Tool. The station itself looked like it had once been impressive and imposing, but it now burned and appeared to be falling apart. He noticed right away why this was important: the giant cannon the station seemed to be built around.

"You want me to send troops to capture the station?"

"Yes. We lost a lot of troops to these stations, and our ship was nearly taken out by one. I believe that if we're able to capture the station, then we could learn to build our own for colony defense."

Desolas hummed in thought. "I'll send a few squads to scout the station. They've shown their willingness to self-destruct and deny us the chance of capturing anything of theirs intact. I won't risk a large contingent of troops trying to capture it, just to lose them as soon as they set foot on it. If they don't detonate the station, then I'll free some troops to send to the station."

"I understand, General." Oraka nodded and typed at his Omni-Tool. "I'll send you the scans and intel of the planet we've managed to gain and leave you be to prepare to brief your troops."

As Desolas looked through all of the information at his talontips, his mind went over all the possible scenarios that could occur on the planet. While the threat of another Rachni had been assuaged, he was still cautious about the situation. Their attitude towards space combat was worrying, since it brought all sorts of possible nightmares on the ground, from mines to sacrificial attacks, it didn't matter. All of them would be damaging to his army.

He was absolutely certain that his forces would be capable of conquering the planet - everything the Admiral had sent him confirmed this - but it also presented some... complications that would be costly for the Hierarchy. Thankfully, Primarch Fedorian had sent them with the regular forces, a full squad of them, so if need be he could utilize them to deal with anything that would unnecessarily cost good Turian's their lives. He'd prefer not to use them for that though. He remembered what happened last time they'd been deployed.

"You look worried, brother. What's on your mind?"

Recognizing the voice, Desolas lowered his Omni-Tool and spun around to be greeted by his brother. Grinning, he shook his head.

"Nothing you need to worry about, Saren; I'm just going over the information the admiral's sent me." His eye roamed over his brothers form, or more specifically, his armor. "That armor suits you well, Saren. You look like a member of the Blackwatch already. I'm proud of you."

Saren gave a Turian smirk. "Thank you, brother. Since you're so proud of me, mind telling me where exactly I'll be in this little invasion?"

Desolas raised an eyebrow. "You'll be sent down last, with the rest of the Blackwatch and specialists in the army. You'll hear the rest of your orders from your squad leader once I send out the orders for everyone."

"Come on, brother, can't you give me some idea of where I'll be? At least assure me I won't be kept out of the fighting just because we're family."

Desolas rolled his eyes. "Don't be absurd, Saren. You know it's against the rules to show preferential treatment to family, and that isn't what this is. You're brig sent down last because you and the other specialists are of higher value than the common soldier, so we can't afford to lose you because of any surprises they may have. Besides, you're Blackwatch, I couldn't keep you out of danger even if I tried."

Saren chuckled. "Hasn't stopped you from trying before though; I still remember when I was a common soldier under your command and y company was always coincidently placed at the back as support, or used to guard staging grounds."

"And every time no assault ever failed, not staging grounds overtaken." Desolas gave his brother a good-hearted oat on the back. "You've proven yourself already, so I've no idea why you're always so eager to fight in the thick of it. I've even heard of how a few Specter's have been asking about you."

Saren shrugged and tried to hide his proud grin. "Well, they obviously recognize talent when they see it." He paused for a moment and gestured towards the closed door. "How many inexperienced troops do we have anyway, while we're on the topic?"

This caused Desolas to sigh and lightly flex his claws. "Less than you'd think, but more than you'd hope. I've no idea why the Primarchs wanted to send inexperienced soldiers on a mission like this, but with careful enough planning, they should be put to good use here."

"If anyone could make the most out of them, it's be you, brother."

Smiling, he stalked toward the door and pressed the haptic button. "Thank you, Saren. Now, I have to finish planning, and you need to go meet up with the rest of your squad." First though he needed to send that order to a few scouts to board that station.

"Right, I'll see you once we make plant the Hierarchy's flag in the capital of whatever this planet is called. Metaphorically of course."

Orbital Stationary Gun Platform(OSGP), 'Hells Wrath'

Captain Daniel Harrison struggled to his feet, wincing in pain as he felt a throbbing soreness in his right leg. Glancing around, he saw that while there were a few stationary fires and collapsed beams, for the most part the bridge was in good condition. The entirety of his bridge crew were alive as well, if injured to carrying degrees.

That was more than he could say for the rest of the station. He'd underestimated the power of those dreadnoughts, thought that since their frigates and cruisers did such pitiful damage to their shields that they'd be fine, and his fellow station captains concurred. They'd paid the price for that underestimation with their lives and the complete loss of their stations. Even when he'd learned from their mistakes and focused all his fire on that ship, they'd managed to disable the station. Since they hadn't finished it off, that only left the conclusion that they were sending teams here to capture it. That left only one option, one that every Human officer knew.

It was a sobering thought, and one he didn't want to think about, but the self-destruction of this station was the only option. Hopefully they'd be able to take some of the alien freaks with it, but he wasn't optimistic about that. The alien commanders likely understood that was a possibility and might just leave them floating here until they managed to hack into it and cut off their oxygen.

"Ensign, what's the status of the station?"

"Most of the station is damaged beyond repair sir." An ensign shouted. "Most of the station is reporting a loss in power or gravity, and everything below deck 12 is has multiple hull breaches. Our shields are also offline and incapable of coming back sir. We're also getting reports of fires raging across decks three, 4, and 6. Many are reporting in injured, or aren't reporting in at all sir."

Daniel grimaced. That was a lot of damage, and were he not about to order the destruction of the station, he'd be worried that it might fall apart on its own.

"Tell everyone to get to the nearest escape pod they can, and initiate the self-destruct sequence. Set the timer for 10 minutes."

A few moments of silence and shock gripped the deck after he announced that, but they went about giving his orders. As they did, he gazed out the window at the enemy fleet above the planet. They'd certainly done a number on the aliens, more so than anyone could have possibly expected them to, but he doubted it'd be enough to give them second thoughts of assaulting Shanxi. If anything, it'd only make them more careful, and in turn, more dangerous. He hoped General Williams had a plan to hold out against them.

A shout from behind him tore his thoughts away from that. "Sir, engineering isn't responding to our signals; we can't activate the self-destruct sequence without them sir."

"Fuck." He swore under his breath. "Alright then, tell sergeant Ruso to take a team and head down to engineering to inform them of the order." At the very least, the silver lining of this set back was that the rest of the crew would have more time to reach the escape pods now.

"Yes s-"

"Sir! Enemy boarding craft are in-bound to the station! ETA is 10 minutes." Another ensign interrupted.

Daniel sighed. "This just isn't my day... Alright! Tell the sergeant that his orders are the same, but inform the rest of the station to prepare to hold off invaders until we can initiate the self-destruct! Ensign, is the armory still intact?"

"Yes sir! The armory's of decks 1-7 are undamaged and still contain weapons!"

"Tell everyone to head to the nearest armory or grab the nearest weapon they can, and set up choke points at every major junction in the ship."

As his crew rushed to inform the rest of the station, or sped out the doors to go join the rest of the defense, he walked toward the CIS - the very thing he'd used for exact locations of every ship in the space battle - and brought up a haptic view of the station, as well as the view of the cameras on the station to his Omni-Tool.

While the rest of the station defended it until the self-destruct, he would provide overwatch and make sure no tactical surprises went unnoticed.

Seitia Taninion checked over her weapon once more, reciting the Hierarchy national anthem in her head. Flicking her guns safety off and finishing the calibrations, she went over her teams orders silently in her head: go to the station above the planet, make sure it was safe to land on, and if it didn't self-destruct soon after, set up and secure entry zones for future troops.

It was simple enough an order, but it made her uneasy. She was used to scouting out dangerous areas for the other troops, being a scout entailed that, but that didn't normally mean she was at risk of being blown up the moment she stepped foot into an area.

"Any idea where we'll be touching down sir?" Glancing towards the source of the voice, she saw her friend and the squads resident sniper, Spumius, adjusting the scope of his sniper.

Their squad leader nodded and raised his Omni-Tool. "We're one of three teams that have been sent to scout out this defense platform, as you all know. The other two teams will be sent through two entry points; the hangar, and one of the hull breaches in the station. We, on the other hand, are being sent in near the portion of the station that is still intact and has power, and will cut our way in with the plasma torch." He explained.

"And if it turns out they set it to self-destruct?" Her squads resident engineer, Caelbius, asked.

"Then our sacrifice will ensure more Turian's don't lose their lives by boarding the station en-masse." Their squad leader responded. "Now, put on your helmets. We're almost there."

Doing as he said, she put on her helmet and twisted until she heard the telltale click that it was magnetically sealed onto her now. Holstering her rifle, she stood with the rest of her four man squad and jumped with the rest of her team towards the station when the door opened.

While maneuvering her way through what little of a debris-field there was between her team and the station, Seitia cast a glance towards the world they were assaulting. It looked like any other garden world, with dark blue oceans and giant landmasses; some portions of the planet were green which told of great forests and jungles, while others were scarred and looked as though there were vast deserts. What stood out the most were the lights from the city that she could see, giving away its position like a beacon of light.

Touching down on the side of the station, she glanced towards Caelbius as he worked at his Omni-Tool and scanned the station. All they needed to know before they could start cutting their way inside of the station was whether or not the atmosphere was even breathable for them; last thing they wanted was to have their helmets cracked or broken and die because the air was toxic. Or worse, the entire thing was filled with water because they were aquatic, like the Hanar. They weren't equipped for underwater combat.

"My scans tell me the atmosphere's breathable." He stated after a few moments. "There's also working gravity here, but once we cut through the atmosphere will be sucked out, and anyone that's on the other side of here will die. You're free to start cutting, Seitia."

Nodding, she took the plasma torch off her hip and activated it. Once she saw the blade flare to life with energy, she began cutting her way through the hull of the station. Steadying her breathing as the torch cut through the hull of the ship with ease, her thoughts turned to what they'd find inside. They'd been told the aliens were Turianoid in shape, but that was it. She wondered what they looked like, how they fought in close quarters, and what kinds of weapons they used.

Lowering her plasma torch and holstering it to her hip, she pushed the slab of metal she'd cut with her foot into the station and hopped in, rifle in hand. Aiming down the hallway in front of her, she heard the rest of her team do the same as her when the entered the station. Glancing around for any bodies, she found the hallway devoid of any life. While there was blood spattered across the ground and walls, red blood at that, and the hallway itself looked as though it had just survived an assault by a Cabal unit with collapsed support beams from the ceiling and the wall looking as though its outer layer had been torn clean off with the ease a Krogan could smash glass.

"Hallways clear, sir." Spumius said. "Where should we go sir?"

Her squad leader hummed as he inspected the hallway for a moment, inspecting it for any trace of where the aliens could have gone. After a moment of inspection, he raised his rifle and cautiously motioned for them to follow him. "This way; they left a trail for us to follow."

The fell into step with him as he led them down the hallway. At first she was confused as to what he was even using to determine where the aliens were, but then she saw it; tiny specks of red blood spattered across the once pristine floor in a linear path, as though someone was injured and holding themselves together as they hobbled to wherever their medbay was.

As they walked along the halls, securing it against any enemies that could be hiding, Seitia's mind wandered to the architecture around her. While she would never claim to be an expert on psychology, she did know enough, and had served in the military long enough, to know that an aliens mindset would sometimes bleed over into their architecture. Whereas her species was entirely utilitarian with every aspect of their architecture and so had little variety in their buildings, the Asari preferred lavish decorations and pointless curves that were pleasing to the eye. From what little she could determine from the coloring of their hallways and side rooms, this species was a combination of Turian's and Asari in the aspect. She may be entirely wrong, but it was the best she could do with the limited information she could see.

Shaking her head of these thoughts, Seitia stopped as they came upon a door at last. As she reached to touch the haptic button and open the door, her squad leader grabbed her arm and pulled her back.

"Wait." He said as he eyed the door with suspicion. "The aliens may know we're here and have set up an ambush on the other side of this door. You and Caelbius will take cover on either side of the door while I walk through to check. Spumius, there's a small crate a ways down the hallway. I want you to set up there and cover us from there, only moving up when do; your sniper won't be much use otherwise in such close quarters."

Doing as he said they all followed his orders to the letter setting themselves up behind cover in the exact positions he told them to. Once everyone was ready, he tapped the orange haptic button and waited for it to open. They all tensed and prepared for what was behind the door, finger on their triggers.

"Son of a bitch! They're here! Open fire!"

Their tension and preparation was rewarded by the aliens shouting in their strange language, and gunfire following soon after. Unfortunately for the aliens, the moment it took them to shout was more than enough for Seitia's squad leader to dive behind cover just as the bullets impacted his previous position.

Hearing the telltale boom of Spumius's sniper, her and Caelbius leaned out of cover and sprayed the aliens with as much fire as their guns would allow. As their bullets impacted the barriers of the first alien guards, she did a quick examination of what state they were in. It appeared that they'd caught them unprepared, still moving crates and positioning themselves correctly to withstand an assault. A few of them didn't even appear to be wearing any armor of wielding a weapon, instead cowering behind their better prepared comrades.

The aliens surprise at their surprise attack lasted only a moment, and they recovered from it quickly enough as they dove behind cover themselves. Leaning back behind cover as the aliens returned fire, she glanced at her squad leader for guidance.

He raised his rifle above his cover and fired a short burst at the aliens. "Seitia, provide covering fire for Caelbius to move up! Caelbius, move behind that monitor there and deploy the attack drone! Spumius, take out the one in the hat!"

Nodding at her orders, she checked her rifles cooldown meter to make sure it could fire reliably again, and leaned out of cover holding down the trigger. Her bullets bounced harmlessly off the cover and barriers of the strange aliens, but it was enough to draw their attention towards her. As she felt their concentrated fire impact her kinetic barriers and break through them, forcing her back behind cover, she saw Caelbius run out and dive behind a crate just as the aliens tried to shoot him. Wasting no time, he deployed his attack drone behind the enemies.

Their surprise at a drone appearing behind them was evident, and the drone was able to kill one before they could react. Even when they did focus fire on it, they were all allowed to move up and return fire at them. The aliens leader, the one in the hat that her squad leader had pointed out earlier, was trying to rally his men just as they finished off the drone. He didn't get far though, as his head exploded in a blast of blood, gore, and bone courtesy of Spumius's rifle.

Seeing their leader die proved a fatal blow to them as they lost any sense of cohesion and fired wildly at them with no sense of purpose. Unclipping her grenade, she tossed it behind the aliens cover and ducked back down behind her own. She could hear their screams of alarm, and an explosion ripped through the air before any of them could do anything. Peaking out behind cover, she saw that the aliens were either dead on the ground, or bits of gore splattered across the room. Cautiously standing up, she saw her squad leader and Caelbius do the same and cautiously walk forwards.

She and her team checked the room over twice to make sure they didn't miss any of the aliens, they all lowered their guns and checked themselves over for any wounds.

"Spumius, you can come out now. The room is clear." Caelbius said over the comms. They didn't get any reply besides a grunt from their sniper friend.

"Take a few moments to rest and regain your bearings." Her squad leader ordered. "We'll move out in a few moments."

Nodding at him, she walked over towards one of the corpses and crouched down next to one. Grasping the aliens helmet, she began the process of prying it off of the corpses head. While it may have looked weird to her squad mates, she was curious as to what these aliens looked like. A few hadn't worn any armor, true, but that'd been in the heat of battle so she couldn't accurately say what they looked like. All she could see was that they had five finger like the Asari and Batarian's, and bled red.

She gasped as the helmet finally came off the alien. Whatever she'd been expecting, it hadn't been this!

The alien looked like an Asari, unnervingly so. It's eyes, while cold and lifeless now, appeared so Asari in appearance. It's face, while holding a more male appearance than the Asari, looked almost exactly the same besides the brown skin. In fact, that was one of the only differences between this alien and the Asari, its skin, the lack of tentacles with hair in its place, and the lack of 'breasts' as the Asari called them.

"Sir, come take a look at this." She called out after a few moments more of examining it.

"What is- oh... so that's what these things look like?" Her leader mumbled. After a few moments of looking the alien over, he raised his Omni-Tool. "It doesn't matter. I'll call the general to let him know the station is safe to send troops to."

Seitia blinked at him. "How do you mean sir?"

He gestured to the room they were in. "These aliens were setting up defenses when we interrupted them. They weren't mourning their lives or rushing to try to escape, they were preparing to face us. That means that they either can't or won't destroy this station, which means we've no fear of wasting Turian lives. I imagine the other teams will report something similar."

After a few moments, it seemed that the general answered. "General Arterius, sir! We've breached the station and secured an entry point for troops. They don't appear to be willing or able to destroy the station just yet, sir. It's safe to send troops to the station."

Hierarchy Dropship, Atmosphere of Shanxi

There were few moments as exhilarating to Saren as entering the atmosphere of a planet within a dropship. The feeling of turbulence as the ship first encountered atmosphere, the uneasy feeling acquired in the gut once the realization there was nothing but a few inches of steel standing between him and his death, and the sound of AA-guns opening fire on the dropships. There was an undeniable fear that came with it, certainly, but it was moments like these, where his fate was completely out of his hands, where he felt truly alive.

He felt the ship shake as what must have been an AA round detonate near the ship. Like his squad mates, he paid it no mind and turned his attention towards his commander.

"We will be making landfall a few miles outside of the city. Once we make landfall, our objective will be to secure a landing zone for all of our forces to touch-down on, and set up a forward operating base. From there, we will be assaulting the capital of the aliens with everything we have." His commander brought up his Omni-Tool. An image of what must have been the aliens capital appeared before Saren's eyes.

The first thing he noticed was the walls that surrounded the city were towering structures that appeared modern; unlike the walls that surrounded many cities on Palaven, these didn't show any wear or tear from centuries of use. The next thing he noticed was how massive the city must have been, with towering skyscrapers, an abundance of living segments for its people, and ginormous bridges that connected the portions of the city separated by water. Of course, the most troubling thing Saren could see were the frankly massive AA emplacements that were depicted on the roofs of the haptic image.

"Sir, why hasn't Admiral Oraka commenced light bombardment of the colony?" Saren couldn't help but ask. It was a valid question as far as he was concerned. Even though many within the public believed otherwise, a ship commencing LIGHT bombardment of a planet was not against Citadel Conventions. The Citadel Conventions only prohibited the use of WMD's within combat, things such as nuclear weapons, asteroids, or anything else that affected the future habitability of a Garden World. The standard Mass Accelerator, however, would only leave a small crater in its wake so long as it was used sparingly. A full powered bombardment from even a few ships for hours on end would undoubtedly destroy a planets biosphere just as effectively as a WMD, but no one would ever do that. Truth be told, it was fairly common practice for the Hierarchy to lightly bombard a planet to weaken the defenses, then send in the troops.

The fact they hadn't done so now was confusing. Thankfully, he didn't have to wait long for an answer.

His commander nodded. "Normally you'd be correct, Saren. However, it seems these aliens are just as cautious as we are." The ship shook once more. "Thee aliens have advanced colony shields around the capital, and every other major settlement on the planet. They've already fired on it to see if they could break through it with ease, but it's stood up to everything they've thrown at it. It's possible they could break it, but that would not only take time, time that the other Council races could use to find out about this invasion, but if we misjudged the power on even a single shot it could do immeasurable damage to the planet."

"Moving on," His commander said, "once we begin the assault on the city, Blackwatch's main objective will be to destroy the AA emplacements so our forces can descend on the planet without fear of reprisal. After that, if the colony shield isn't down yet, we are to move in and destroy them, before moving on towards their command center. Know this as well: even when we do take this city, it's possible the rest of the planet will continue fighting if they're anything like us. As such, be prepared to move on to the other cities dotting the planet, and for any guerilla tactics they may deploy against us once the city is taken."

"60 seconds to landfall!"

Hearing the pilots voice, Saren and the rest of his unit quieted down. Checking over his weapons once more, he made sure everything was as it should be; rifle polished and well taken care of, under-barrel bayonet serrated and scope calibrated for mid-range fights; pistol stabilizer and biotic amplifier in perfect condition; incendiary ammo standard use for his shotgun with an extra shot before it needed to cool-down; and with a clench of his talons, his biotics manifested with the same purple flare they always did.

"30 seconds!"

His loadout may have been better than what many of the common soldiers deployed with, but that was the luxury afforded to the Blackwatch. As the deadliest unit within the Hierarchy military, they were only ever equipped with the best equipment available, to compliment being the best within the Hierarchy.

"15 Seconds!"

As the newest member of the Blackwatch, the youngest to ever be enlisted to boot, he felt he had a lot to prove to his squad mates. He knew it was foolish, but when compared to his comrades decades of military service and potential hundreds of kills, he was probably less than what they'd expected for a squad mate. He planned to prove himself on the battlefield and show that he was a worthy addition, even if they didn't expect him to.

The ship shuddered as it finally stopped moving, and the mechanical doors slid open. Rushing out of the dropship with the rest of his squad, he ran out, weapon raised in preparation for a firefight. Instead, the battlefield was devoid of any hostile alien life, filled only with his fellow Turian soldiers rushing to set up the base and secure the area.

With a sigh, Saren lowered his rifle and looked towards the alien capital - a shining beacon in the distance surrounded by a shield of kinetic barrier, spewing forth its own deadly AA fire towards the heavens as it defied everything the Turian navy threw at it. The ripples sent throughout it were similar to ripples caused by skipping a stone across the surface of water, unbending as they dispersed the damage caused by the ships in orbit.

"Looks like the aliens have decided to stick solely to their city; a mistake on their part." His commander shouted over the booming sound of cannon-fire. "Come on, Saren, help me and the others instead of just standing there. It won't be long before the rest of our forces touch down."

UHE ICBM Silo, Crag Tooth Mountain Range

Deep within the mountain range of Shanxi's largest continent, in a saddle between two nameless peaks, was a hole in the ground.

This was no mere hole in the ground formed naturally by tectonic plates or created by the bombs of the Human-Hive War. No, this hole was several hundreds of feet deep, the insides reinforced with Hercules-grade armor, and a large retractable roof covering the top of the silo. It housed within it a massive, oblong shape, narrowed to a fine point at the tip, with three fins at its base. It was pitch black in color, and covered in ablative coating designed specifically to reduce its sensor signature to that of a baby bird.

This was an Inferno Type 2 Rocket. With a range of thousands of miles and a payload capable of destroying an unshielded Empire Dreadnought in a single strike, and was one of the deadliest weapons within the entire arsenal of Humanity.

Now, it would be deployed for the first time since the Human-Hive War against Humanity's new invaders.

The VI in charge of this ICBM silo had been designed for one task; the maintenance and firing of the ICBM's. As soon as the orders had been transmitted, the VI had begun the process of bringing the missiles up to readiness. The missile was illuminated by floodlights as it stood in the middle of the silo, a small ray of light seeping through the ever-growing open hatch to reveal the weapon. It was held in place by several large mechanical arms, which were slowly retracting as it prepared to fire.

The missile silo was entirely automated; controlled by a VI, and guarded by various Spark Units and automated turrets. A team of engineers only ever came around once every month to ensure everything worked properly. It was more efficient this way, no delay in between receiving orders and preparing the missile.

This missile silo contained only four missiles, just like every other silo on Shanxi, but every silo made up for that with the coordination between each VI. When they launched the missiles, they launched them at the exact same time, one that had been calculated to the incoming horde of dropships as the targets, and the ideal launch time determined to have the most devastating effect.

The next few minutes were silent as the VI counted down the time to launch and directed all Spark unites to the dropships within it. Were an organic in charge of the silo, they would be sweating nervously, worried that the missiles would be detected, or that the silo would be found and destroyed before they could launch. The VI had no emotions though, no capacity to worry, no desires of its own; only a directive to follow UHE orders to the letter.

As the flames erupted from the bottom of the missiles and the thunderous roar of its engines echoed throughout the entirety of the silo, the VI sent the message to General Williams that the ICBM's had launched.

When the landing zones of the Turian's become a sequestered killzone where the troops within were annihilated within a fraction of a second, when the Human defenders within the shielded cities saw the destruction and cheered in their first victory, and when the Turian ships above opened fire on every missile silo that had launched their missiles, the VI did nothing but divert its Spark's away from the silo.

When the silo was destroyed, the VI felt nothing, simply sending all data it had recorded of the missiles success to UHE command for review, before it was destroyed in an instant.

Authors Note: ... so? What'd you guys think? Was it good? Bad? Meh? What you expected, or did I surprise you with some things? Please do let me know what you liked, what you hated, and what you'd prefer I improve. I'm open to any and all feedback I can use to improve this story.

Now, before I go, I'm gonna try something to keep you all more involved and interact with you more. What's that? Why questions of course! Questions that could impact that story depending on your reaction, or could just let me know you all better. Unless of course you hate them, in which case this will be the only instance of it.

So this weeks question is: How drastically should Humanity's second Cold War, the one between the four Hyperpowers, impact the technology? I'm undecided on how much it affects the tech, and would love your opinion.

Anyway, goodbye everyone, and don't forget to favorite, follow, and review!