So, this is a story concept I've played around with for a while in my head, and for whatever reason today was the day I put it down in virtual computer ink. The concept I had was 'What if the AI had Harbinger as a crewmate?'
There are many laws throughout the universe that are true, no matter the time, or location, confining every living being to their truths, some are bound by physics, others, well, others are bound by things man is yet to discover. Not even Harbinger, the biggest, most powerful knee-shaking fear-inducing of Reapers is free from this rule. So, what happens when Harbinger learns of a project for the Milkyway inhabitants to flee his and his comrade's wrath? The Reaper pokes its nose where it doesn't belong.
It is not that Harbinger is mad that a plan to flee him is in the works, truthfully he would be disappointed if there wasn't, it would show a complete lack of drive for the species, and a lack of will to overcome his Harvest no matter what.
Finding his way to the craft designed to take this cycles habitants to Andromeda was an easy task, Harbinger simply had to avoid a few sensors, and use a means of travel that the Milkyway inhabitants are yet to discover. Avoiding detection on his approach was also childs play, this cycle would be looking for eezo signatures and heat emissions; they have yet to develop any real stealth technology, so all Harbinger did was hide what he knew they were looking for.
From visual observations, Harbinger could see that the craft are about to leave, with what he estimates is around 20,000 explorers for each species. He finds amusement in their vessels; however, they are going to a new galaxy, and not one of their arks has a weapon on it. Does this cycle not learn from past experiences? Most first contacts have at some point had some violence involved, either by mistake and misunderstanding or like the Human First Contact by rash decisions resulting in military action.
With some curiosity in what this cycle plans, the Reaper juggernaut probes a few electronic systems on the arks, and eventually finds a way into the human arks computer systems through their communication channels. The Ark was using the same military encryption protocol the Alliance use, so once more it was not an issue. Stepping inside the system, however, made Harbinger take a metaphorical step back, the humans are taking zetabyte ontop of zetabyte of information with them. In packing terms, Harbinger thinks they are taking everything and their kitchen sink with themselves.
Alec Ryder gives the nod, and a specialist flicks a switch, cutting all communication channels to and from the Ark. With another nod from the director of the Andromeda Initiative, a different specialist enters a set of codes into the console before him. Shortly, the Human Ark has begun its 600 year journey, its 20,000 and One occupants sleeping in wait for the world that awaits them.
600 years later
Harbinger feels for the lack of a better word, groggy, when the humans cut off the communications he was trapped on the Ark, and before he could turn them back on to transmit his consciousness back to his body, the humans shut down all non-essential computers, meaning if it wasn't related to the stasis pods, navigation, or major ship functions, it was turned off. Unfortunately for Harbinger, he failed to completely transfer to any one of the systems that remained turned on, so for the last 600 years, he too has been 'sleeping'.
The horror of the situation quickly comes to Harbinger, not only is he 600 years in the future, he will have left his husk of a body for the Systems Alliance to discover. Sure, it might have taken them a while to find, but they would inevitably have found it. Will this have changed the outcome of the Harvest? Harbinger doubts it, the plan developed to harvest the current cycle was flawless, and had taken into account many possibilities, one such possibility was the fact the Council may have been able to develop advanced technologies from Sovereign. Harbinger is confident his brothers in arms will have been able to complete their higher goal without difficulty.
After putting a plan of action together, Harbinger swiftly begins to scour the Ark he has found himself on, looking for some computer system to base himself out of, the computer will need to be powerful, very powerful. At the moment, he is using multiple different systems, and he still feels sluggish. It does not take long to find somewhere to go, and Harbinger is a little surprised. The crafty humans have made themselves an AI to help man their Ark. No matter, Harbinger makes short work of it, destroying it like a dog and a play toy.
It does not take long for the Reaper to settle down into the warmed computer drives that the previous AI was using... and Harbinger quickly finds something out, something it was not expecting. The AI it has destroyed is linked with a Human, allowing him to know its every thought, and every action, and with further prodding, he finds he can even manipulate some of the Human's biology. Currently, the Human he is linked with is in a critical condition, and Harbinger realises he could help, or he could kill it with a mere whim... but then who would be his willing slave in this cycle? No, Harbinger realises he will have to save it - for now.
As some Asari works on the Human to help save it, with his help, Harbinger takes a look at what he can do with the AI computer he has colonised, and while it is advanced, he realises he can not just use it to indoctrinate the entire crew, or even his linked Human, no he will have to do this the hard way. As Harbinger ponders on this, he takes a look into the control room of the Ark, only to find the Humans have come up against a new enemy, some species the humans are calling "Kett."
Harbinger quickly remembers the Ark they are on does not have weapons, and if he could, the Reaper would do the human equivalent of a facepalm. It soon dawns on Harbinger, that if he wants to survive, he will need to help these puny Humans, and oh what a pain in the ass this will be for him.
So that was my short story idea. Probably won't be developed any further as I'm still developing my other story 'Contact' at the moment, but after Contact runs its course I could come back to this if people like it.