Author's Note: It's occurred to me that my count down is rather flawed. I made it on the pretence that the time until the big super weapon would be fired would remain consistent, and yet all of these new technologies and innovations keep coming out. I'm gonna have to come up with something about that in the next few chapters. Read, Review, Favourite and Enjoy!

Chapter 86: Purgatory Part 1

10M 05D 12H Until the Colossus Fires

Purgatory was originally a ship used to transport cattle across the galaxy, however it has since those days been seriously remodelled and expanded, and was now acting the part of a prison ship. Cells that were previously designed to hold cattle in cryo had since been modified with beds for full body restraints, and built in cables designed specifically to connect the Grey Boxes of prisoners into a Centralised digital prison server. Prisoners could serve their sentences in a specially crafted digital world aimed at rehabilitation and teaching the individuals precious skills through the use of mental conditioning and memory manipulation and emerge years later as physically young as the day they went in.

The ship was extremely self sufficient, with most of the prisoners kept in cryo and the ship itself operating with a bare minimal crew with numerous automated systems managing the individual functions of the ship. The prisoners run riot? No more than ten prisoners were out of Cryo at the same time and never without reason, each prisoner whether frozen or not were implanted with a electroshock device that, in the event that they 'misbehave' gives them a well earned shock. There are no consoles to manipulate the cells, everything being controlled by the ship's AI, but the possibility of someone forcing a shut down of the cells there by releasing the prisoners existed, particularly if that person was considered to be skilled in electronics.

However the entire ship was more than happy to fly off into whatever sun that it was orbiting at a given point in time there by killing every person on board. Naturally, the inclination of the prisoners to act out was usually less than zero. And yet despite this highly successful track record, five days ago every prisoner on the station was removed and transferred out, replaced by a fresh crop of new prisoners.

"HISS!" A long lizard like creature, stripped of the majority of it's equipment, two heavy shackles made out ultra dense material that had been wrapped around it's arms, still a scar on it's chest from when it had been shot through it's cloaking device.

"Unknown reptile Alien: 1. Name: None. Cybernetically augmented arms impossible to remove without amputation."

"Cick cick cick!" A vaguely humanoid creature with tentacles in lieu of legs, various large cancerous like bulges going over it's body, and multiple arms with a implant going over its face.

"Unknown Tentacle Alien: 15, to be kept in separate cells at all times. Heavy presence of cybernetics but so far seems incompatible with union GB Sim tech. Strong psykers, cells are equipped with appropriate psi dampeners."

"CREEEE-" That unpleasant creaking sound came from a vaguely female figure that looked like a amphibian that had a tree growing around it. Both her arms and neck had been secured with high tech shackles that allowed limited mobility as she walked around the cell.

"Unknown Plaintoids: 8. Bodies are large type, prisoners receive only the amount of light necessary to keep them alive and nothing more, strong Pskers appropriate anti psi-measures have been taken on the cells. Innate bio-chemical weapons experts carrying with them a variety of nasty diseases cells have thus been hermetically sealed."

"Whoooommm!" A cell that had been filled with water like a fish tank, inside of which was a Crayfish like creature which had been secured to the floor of its cell via a cable.

"Unknown Aquatic Aliens: 28. Strong Psyker. Their cells have been flooded with water, appropriate anti-psyker devices have been attached to their cells."

52 of these alien monsters had been caught by the Union in the process of four separate invasions into Union space, and more were reportedly on the way. Liara listened to the contents of the report as she went to pick up on more intelligence on these creatures, escorted by her Krogan body guards she went to find the Prison's warden.

"Well this is unexpected." Liara passed by one of the cells. She was led to believe that the cells were empty, stripped of Union people. On top of that she was also informed that none of the aliens they captured had been frozen, for lack of understanding for their biology or how to wake them back up. So who was the guy in there? "I admit I didn't expect to see someone or your... reputation sitting there Mr. Masrani."

The Man to whom Liara was speaking to had a face you'd never forget, there was a big nasty scar separating the left and right halves of his face, the latter of which being a surgical graft, Zaeed Masrani.

"We've had a gap in management since I killed my former partner." Zaeed stated with a sigh, the desk in front of him full of Holo-projectors, it appeared that he just got out of a meeting.

"Blue Suns own the Prison?" Liara asked sounding incredulous.

"We staff it." Somehow Liara didn't think that a bunch of mercenaries running a prison was something like the kettle calling the pot black.

"I saw an active cell on my way inside here. I thought all the Union Prisoners were escorted off the station already?"

"She's one of ours." Zaeed explained seemingly intent on not participating in the conversation at all.

"Excuse me?" Liara asked sounding both confused and frightened.

"The one in the cell. She's one of ours. Tried to get inside the head of one of those critters you people keep dumping on us." Zaeed shook his head in the negative. "Didn't turn out so well for her." Zaeed handed Liara a tablet and she winced at the state of the woman in question. "Seeing what the tree people do to people we deliberately avoided them. The Shellfish on the other hand managed to melt her brain with something that makes indoctrination look like a love song, took ten hours of agony for the Spores to do their job." That didn't appear to be what happened according to this Datapad though. "The Squids on the other hand wracked the body with mutations, tumors, tentacles, eyes, all kinds of things that don't belong." The flexible nature of the Thorian backfired on them it would seem. "She's in cryo while we try to sort through whatever the hell was in those thing's minds."

"A possible lead on the thought entity that sent its avatar into the Eden Sector?" Liara asked sounding suspicious of the whole thing.

"For us to find that out, we'll need the Thorian computers to stop popping into heavily mutated abominations whenever they connect to her." Zaeed looked through the latest proposed application, so far no one had any real idea on how to stop this explosive mutation.

"Alright Prisoner 457." He doesn't even know why he bothers talking to the freaks, none of them talk back, at least not in any language that he knows of. "Chow ti-!" The cell was empty, the cell, with the hyper aggressive lizard thing with blades in its arms, was empty. "Mot!" The guard immediately went for his radio. Perhaps lesser guards in Salarian B-Movies would open up the cell to try and figure out how the creature had escaped. Instead the guard went to the security screen, and checking on cameras aimed at multiple angles, including the ceiling, and walking around the clear steel glass cell the guard indeed confirmed that he could no longer see the creature inside. Quickly the Guard tapped his omni-tool, needing to call for a search of the ship in order to find the creature before it killed anyone!

A loud clanging noise snapped the guard out of his train of thought.

"Wait? What was I...?" The guard looked down at the floor, a familiar set of shackles on the ground, and standing in front of him was a familiar super predator. "Ah-" With one swing of his arm the creature had slashed the omni-tool arm off and the guard was thrown to the ground as the Predatory alien bolted out of his cell. "Right! We should've assumed that you had psychic powers too!" As the pain medication flooded the guard's mind he realised what had happened to him. "You kept a trump card up your sleeve!"

Perception manipulation, the ability to psychically manipulate what a person had been seeing. In terms of stealth capabilities it was inferior to cloaking technology, even the kind used by the council. But if there's only one individual that you need to fool and for a short period of time then it has few rivals. The Predator looked around at the collection of cells, and after a quick calculated move stabbed its claws into each of the door locks for each cell before running off, a few moments later and the cells opened, releasing over fifty hostile aliens onto the station each of them vastly more dangerous than most Union or Council races, together with the guards there would be plenty of chaos to launch it's own escape attempt, and collect a few heads to restart his collection on top of that. Win win.

The alarms blared.

Zaeed immediately zeroed in on the block with the aliens that were being held aboard the station, and the guard that was in the cell.

"Baxter! What the hell are you doing!?"

"The Lizard makes you see things-" And then Baxter's life signs were promptly severed, the picture on the security feed was... grotesque.

At once the automated processes that ran the station responded to this situation the best way that it could: vent the cell block post haste. And then all power to that part of the station was cut, including the security cameras. No one in Zaeed's office were aware of this, but the Gorthikian's came from a planet that had been swarmed by constant signals from across the Galaxy, they had been specially modified to be able to pick up on and interpret these signals and after suffering centuries of random voices screaming at them from the void learned how to use their psionics to block or manipulate these signals. Cutting off the signal was child's play, manipulating code and instructions through it would take more time and effort.

Of course just because the electronics for this floor had been turned off doesn't mean that things were completely over either. There were a dozen mercenaries assigned to this station, and on top of that Liara's personal guard consisted of a mixture of Asari huntresses and Krogan mercenaries being led by a warlord. A total of roughly two dozen heavily armed thugs ran into the block and trained their weapons on the creatures that were now free inside of it. The prisoners were out numbered two to one, each of mercenaries sent to apprehend them were armed with psi-blocker technology, full body durasteel armour, and powerful rifles, that was on top of the presence of biotics.

Logically speaking the prisoners should've been easy to subdue. Logically.

The guards unleashed a hail of gunfire on the group of rioting aliens. A call for surrender? Demands that they cease and desist? Is there any point in shouting like that when the other side doesn't even understand your language? Instead the Guards had much simpler instructions, instead of wasting time shouting at the enemy like a beat cop reading Miranda rights the Blue Sun forces are ordered to take their charges down or take them out.

The hail of gunfire was blocked by multiple barriers, and then countered as the Gaian's charged through the barriers and into the attacking guards like a line backer charging through the enemy forces.

"Think yah hard enough do yah!?"

The Krogan stepped in to take on the brutes, receiving the tackle with their bodies and holding them in place. Krogan are some of the physically strongest aliens in the galaxy, these ones were further enhanced by cybernetic sub-dermal and deep tissue implants which drastically increased their strength, and on top of that they were wearing the heaviest model of strength enhancing armour on the market. On top of that they were covered in a weight increasing Biotic Barrier cast by the Asari, leaving the metal audibly groaning as the two figures pushed on each other back. And yet despite all of that the Krogan were the ones that were being pushed back by the Gaians.

The Sathyrelian's in their armour of water flowed around the warring brutes, slashing at them with Telekinetics and using the water to amplify their sound attacks and firing them at point blank range into the Mercenary vanguard. No matter how densely packed it is water is a horrible defensive material against modern rifles, especially when they have been specially modified to shoot electrified harpoons into high density targets, like densely packed mineral water, each new shock being a jolt directly to the creature inside of the aquatic shell. Not only that with each new jolt of electricity more and more of the water was broken down and turned into oxygen and hydrogen gas. And then the entire space between the mercenaries and the shellfish was lit up in flame, as the highly flammable gasses were gathered together, set on fire, and then launched at the mercenaries with Pyrokinesis and Telekinesis. Worse yet, the gas was burned and turned back into water, now expelled of Minerals and other ions that made it such a great conductor of electricity.

Finally there was the Gorthekians who were now practising unleashing their technokinetic claws into the armours, weapons and implants of the mercenaries and using them to wreak havoc on their bodies.

"We need back up!" One of Liara's Asari shouted into their Omni-tool as they tried to lead the charge away from the fight. "We're getting-Gack!" And then ran directly onto the unnoticeable blade of a invisible hunter, whom then proceeded to slash off her right arm and claim her Omni-tool himself, the one he had was confiscated before he got here had already been removed and destroyed. The roughly fifty or so aliens looked at each other and between themselves as they saw the bodies of the mercenaries strewn out in pieces on the ground.

Liara watched the last of the active life signs of her people die out as the various monsters that were being kept on the ship were set loose all at once.

"Fantastic. Any idea on how we're going to get through this?" Liara asked looking at the scarred mercenary.

"Fly the ship into the sun while we still have control over it and respawn at the nearest facility." The mercenary brought up the prospect of suicide the same way most would suggest a strategic retreat in this situation. "I know my life insurance is up to date." Zaeed could use a younger body anyway, maybe he'd upgrade to a Dragoon.

As the mercenary was thinking about that alerts started to spread from the affected area where the break was happening. One of the giant half tree creatures had broken through the door separating the cell block from the rest of the ship, on his back was a familiar reptile like monster, blades lodged into it's shoulders as it made a attempt to tear the creature's head off. From another exit a group of the tentacle creatures were flying away and locked themselves into another cell block before the screens went silent, and in a third direction the Crayfish went into the the Ship's hydroponics bay, soon tearing it open and flooding that part of the ship as they made themselves at home.

"...they're not working together?"

The Hunter and the Tree people were fighting, the Crayfish were trashing the ship, and the tentacle things had sequestered themselves away.

"That would seem to be the case." EDI's voice sounded in Liara's ear.

"Warden." A masculine synthesized voice sounded from Zaeed's desk, his AI Adjutant no doubt. "The tentacled creatures do not seem to be trying to take control of my systems." Ominous news indeed.

"Then what are they doing?" Liara naturally gave the obvious follow up question. "I know someone who can find out."

Kasumi always suspected she would end up in Purgatory one day. Mind you, her train of thought would be that she'd come here as a prisoner, instead of a liberator, but here she was. With her teleportation device Kasumi had easily made her way into block B. Kasumi had even been precise enough that she could fit inside of the air vents that made an ant's nest out of the ship and spy on the aliens through a vent. Not that she had quite grasped what was happening.

"What in Dragon's name?" The Tentacle creatures had tied their tentacles together, forming a giant ball of knots in the middle of the cell block. Letting out what can only be described as screams of pain, large chunks of flesh started to be ripped off the bodies of the tentacled horrors. "What the hell!?"

The now tentacleless creatures fell to the ground, already their blood was clotting over and their skin covering their bodies and scar tissue forming in mass. In the meantime the torn off chunks of flesh assembled themselves, forming small ball like bodies with tentacles, arms and legs sticking out of the sides around them, along with a small mouth. Hearing about the gruesome reproductive methods of what was theorised to be the Tiyanki ancestor was one thing, seeing them in action on the other hand made Kasumi throw up in her mouth. She never gave birth before but she was completely certain that compared to a Human's method these things had the more painful procedure.

After a few moments of spasming on the ground and letting their bodies recover from their horrific procedure the fallen former tentacles creatures stood up. Kasumi watched as the scarred abominations in front of her rolled their shoulders and make sighs of contentment as if they had been relieved of some heavy burden at long last. Then without warning one of the creatures slammed a telekinetic blast into the vent Kasumi had been in and crumpled it in the process, Kasumi only barely escaping by the skin of her teeth the grace of her teleporter unit, and was immediately met by another telekinetic blast that she was force to teleport away from, this time into the next cell block over, one that was currently empty.

"Hearing that these things use sonar to see I had prepared a sonic nullifier for myself." It wasn't hard, the Union was making sound disrupters were everywhere to counter the Reapers. "I know my mistake, cause I was working to disrupt their sonar it came up as a big blank space instead of a normal area." Kasumi would think someone was pulling tricks on her too if a big part of the room she was standing in suddenly vanished from her eyes. "I can't exactly just go in there with no protection what so ever though."

Basically, if she goes in there and the Squids can find her then she's screwed. They have the telepathy to mess with her mind, the Telekinetics to attack her body, and the technomancy to manipulate the ship itself. Kasumi is lucky they just decided to blast her with Telekinetics instead of driving her insane like what they did to the interrogator, or sending the cybernetics in their bodies on a rampage like what they did to the guards.

"Why did they do that anyway?" Kasumi thought about it some more. "If they could just mess around with the life support implants then why not just use them to kill them." Unless they didn't know how. "Oh. Oh no."

There is a saying in the hacker community: 'Fear not the man with decades of experience in this field, fear the bored ten year old with a computer and too much time on is hand.' When a Tiyanki reproduces two of them rip off parts of themselves and join them together, forming secondary brains that will later on be ripped off and used to give birth to more Tiyanki. These things had the best of both worlds, older experienced minds with a basic understanding of the Union's technology paired with young minds able to learn faster and with the imagination to come up with new solutions.

"Liara we might have a problem here."

"I'm listening." Liara's voice came out in a neutral tone.

"These things are pulling an Ed." Kasumi had to be careful with how she words what she says, she didn't know who or what was listening in.

"An Ed?"

"Yeah you know like what yah boyfriend Ed before he got sucked through the void when you guys infiltrated the Collectors base. They're trying the same thing on the ship."

"Understood." Thus 'Liara' confirmed Kasumi's worst fears. The bastards were already in the coms system. "Keep me informed."

"Over and out." Kasumi replied, having no intention of doing anything of the sort. "Now. What's the fastest way I can kill a bunch of aliens on a space ship?" Kasumi asked as she looked around the area.

Liara and Zaeed were looking down at the console where they just talked to Kasumi.

"Your thief has been compromised." Zaeed stated making his opinion clear.

"Or she thinks the comms have been compromised and is trying to fish a confession out." Liara stated by way of reply.

"Which you gave her." Zaeed countered back.

"So I have." Liara didn't hesitate to admit what she was doing. "In this situation Kasumi will do one of two things: she will attempt to reach me directly, or she'll try to destroy the part of the ship with the aliens in question on it."

Suddenly a vacuum appeared in the office, as Kasumi teleported in directly from the location that she was at. How did she know that the Aliens hadn't compromised her comms? Because after her initial escape from them no further attempts were made to kill her, or if there was they didn't reach her implying that the aliens didn't know where she was nor had they compromised her Omni-tool to find out. If it was a plot to find Zaeed or Liara then they should already know where they are, they've been here longer after all they should've had time to figure out where the office was. So Kasumi threaded the quantum needle and popped into Zaeed's office to discuss her suspicions with Liara and the Warden.

"Teenagers. Bloody menaces." Zaeed cursed while Liara paced. "It is a sound survival method. Grotesque but sound. Provided of course that we're right about why they did that." Zaeed called in for more Tebrids to come to his office, if they didn't show then it meant either the slugs were dead, compromised or just plain lazy, either way he'd be replacing them when he made port. The Tebrids that did show up though would be put to work. "I have an elite team of White hats on this ship." Read competitive Tebrid hackers who don't like the idea of their work getting compromised. "It's going to take them a while to take the ship itself."

"Which means we can focus on one of the other three as well." Liara stated while she indicated the nearby wall where mugshots had been prepared, of the lizard hunter, the tree creatures, and the crayfish.

"Right. Those tree things and the shell fish are the two biggest threats to the ship. Taking them down should be on our list of priorities." While Kasumi's logic was sound, it was incorrect.

"This is the number one priority." Liara corrected indicating the lizard predator that so far hadn't done a lot of damage aside from picking off prisoner and guard alike.

"That one?" Zaeed asked sounding confused. "Why?"

"Perhaps you all haven't noticed but someone on this ship have been spending a lot of time picking off those bio-chemical terrorists and hasn't gotten sick yet." Liara stated as the other two let the implications set in.


Author's Note:

RonaldM40196867: I would've liked to see more melee in Mass Effect 3, considering the literal undead hordes you fight against there, but I understand why they didn't, wanting to avoid similarities to their other IP Dragon Age.

Monster King: How would that even work? I mean their antagonists (Space Pirates = Batarians X Parasites = Thorian) themes (Eezo/biotics = Phazon) Background (Chozo = Protheans). Now that I think about there's a lot of crossover isn't there?

Halo: It has.

Enigma: Yes.