Author's Note: I don't know why you guys like this story so much, but here's another chapter for yah! Read, Review, Favourite and Enjoy!

Chapter 87: Purgatory Part 2

10M 05D 01H Until the Colossus Fires

The Union was not successful in fully evacuating Council space before the Citadel performed its 4th dimensional space wedgie, ripping their territory Cloaca to Chompers in the process. The Union made an effort after the Great Rift opened, and were mildly successful not do to their own efforts but thanks to the combination of sheer amount of motivated people to do so and the versatility of Omni-gel and fabricators to build the ships in question. Then a hoard of unknown aliens species came through and the Union had to refocus their efforts elsewhere while giving the local resistance forces the bare minimal technology to survive the hostiles.

People are suddenly developing unknown diseases. Large groups of people are being abducted and turn up days later having been tortured into submission. People are developing all kinds of mutations at random. Entire cities have devolved into hunting grounds for unknown invisible assassins. Perhaps most astonishing of all: people were actually adapting to the situation, but not in a good way. A few different cults had sprung up in the wake of the Great Rift, worshipping the Composer of Strands, Whisperer of Secrets, Instrument of Desire and the Eater of Worlds had now broken down to infighting among each other as they competed for the superiority of their deities, others were just trying to focus on staying alive.

For some it was as if mere days had past since the Rift had formed, for others years had gone by, and yet according to the reconnected Union Extranet, little under two months had gone by. Inside of a bar on what used to be a mining station built from a massive hollowed out asteroid, Omega, a figure was looking up at the map that had formed of Council space. They were a figure that the others were giving a wide berth to, their armour a patch work of bits and pieces taken from different foes and held together by different armour patch kits, a maroon cloak that looked like it came off of a rich person's curtain tying the look together. In simple terms, a scavenger who had been fighting and looting the different factions that had been ravaging the inside of the Great Rift and the place that had formed in the aftermath.

Aside from armour their proportions were off too, tall enough to be a Krogan but their over all body shape was closer to a Asari, of course all of the more easy to distinguish features were buried underneath the mismashed armour. The Figure was looking at the patch work map, formed from a collection of long range telemetry taken from different planets they had taken pictures of and assembled that information here in this wall spanning tapestry, and sighed.

"Great." The figure turned around to leave the bar. "I've been going in the wrong direction." Which was not a good thing when your main goal was to escape from an endless nightmare world that seemed intent on killing you at every turn. As the Patch work figure continued to think like that she bumped into a large figure from behind. "Excuse me." As the Patch work figure attempted to go around the individual she was now realising to be a Krogan the alien in question turned around to glare at her. The big brute's face was flush with the tinge of booze, and worst yet he was wearing a silver emblem across his chest resembling a set of jaws open just a crack. Great a World Eater, the followers of that meat witted glutton have a bad habit of picking fights everywhere that they go.


Great. The Patchwork figure slipped underneath the round house swing of the Krogan Brute and got behind him, jumping into the air and wrapping her legs around the brute's neck in a choke hold while going after the bastard's lower half with her upper body, slamming her elbow into the brute's crotch hard enough to break his cod piece and crunch his balls. The pain sent the brute doubling over and allowed the Patch work figure to send him flying across the bar with the strength of her legs. Standing up and brushing herself off the Patchwork figure noticed another piece of her armour had been torn off in the scuffle a hip piece this time. "Fantastic." The Patchwork Figure walked over to the brute and looked him over, noting that he was already getting back up.

"Sit down." The Patchwork Figure put her finger on the Krogan's forehead, his eyes going wide before he obediently sat down, and the Patchwork woman ripped off one of his shoulder pieces to replace her broken armour piece. From there there weren't any more incidents between the figure in broken armour and their ship and arrived inside of the ship's living bay.

"Yet another trophy I see." The patch work woman stepped onto a platform, arms moving up from the floor to relieve her of her broken armour.

"They're not trophies." Shepard insisted. "They're patches for my armour. The moment I'm back in Union territory I'm getting this scrap heap replaced." Shepard had made a few modifications to the Predator's ship since she got it.

"Omni-gel would be easier." Among them was a rather snarky VI program for fabricators that had since run into the Animator of Clay and got a few upgrades.

"Yeah, more fragile too." Shepard replied as she sat on a chair. "Set new coordinates, we have a map back to Union territory." At once the ship plugged into the helmet that Shepard took off the lizards and had been using for herself.

"Does that mean I shall cancel the patch job?"

"You can do fifteen things at once and I'm asking for five." Shepard replied in annoyance. "See any openings on our way back to Union territory?"

Shepard had been bush whacking the Four Reality Tumours cults and forces all this time, and intended to do so until such time that she was back in Union territory where she could resupply, regroup, warn the Union of the Reality Tumours in question, and then go back to doing the same thing she was already doing with better equipment and post one hot shower. She had no idea where Grunt and Miranda had been. She assumed that they would be along the same path as what Shepard had intended to travel to get back to Union space, only today did she learn that she was going in the wrong direction. Also the chance to murk Unbidden had been too good to pass up after having been through through a worm hole for story time with the four tumours. Now she would be on her way back home hopefully with no more problems waiting for her when she got there.

10M 05D 01H Until the Colossus Fires

The Tzynn Predator made out like a bandit. Strung along on a wire he confiscated from somewhere were the severed heads of a Flerkin, an Asari and a Gaian, all taken from kills who had put up a sufficient fight to be considered worthy kills to the alien predator. In front of the Tzynn a pair of women appeared from thin air, another Asari and a human this time.

"Sit!" Wielding her Biotics the Asari Slammed the Tzynn Predator into the floor of the ship, and pinned him there on top of that. "Go!"

The human laid out flat on the ground before she disappeared, and reappeared on top of the Tzynn Predator before they both disappeared, and reappeared inside of a large round bed like contraption that had been prepared in advance. The Tzynn threw the human off, who disappeared once more, only for the Tzynn to be met with the familiar sensation of being pinned to the floor by a Biotic field once more. The ring around the bed rose forming a short wall around the struggling Tzynn before a lid slammed shut on the alien monster. Cryofluid flooded the chamber and froze solid leaving behind the frozen body of the Predator in the process.

"Welcome to extreme isolation yah ugly freak!" Zaeed bragged as the monster that had been killing his people was locked away in a tiny cage the likes of which it would not be escaping any time soon. The Warden also made a mental note to add Asari to the list of new recruits as well.

The next issue was dealing with the other aliens, the Squids were still hanging out in their own section of the ship, the trees were off napping in one of the rooms though those in charge suspected that would quickly change if anyone approached them. That just left the Crayfish as one of the bigger threats that needed to be handled, as they were the ones actively tearing the ship apart looking for water.

"Hello you ugly freaks!" Kasumi was the real MVP of the day, having just brought down the Predator and was now going to add another of the enemy aliens to her hit list with the large particle cannon. First Kasumi fired off the Particle beam with pyro ammo, the fire immediately turning the water into steam and reducing the protective mass around the Crayfish Kasumi had cornered, then she switched to cryo, firing the now freezing cold beam down the hall at the Crayfish who was now fleeing for his life. Kasumi had been wearing one of the sonic nullifiers, naturally tuned to deal with the Crayfish's sonic attacks. Seeing it's strongest attack shrugged off with no apparent notice fleeing was the only option left. Just as planned. Security doors had already been closed cutting off all access everywhere that didn't lead to extreme isolation, where a hundred cells like the one holding the Tzynn Predator were waiting.

The panicking Crayfish flew over one of the cells and was slammed into the floor, directly landing in one of the cells in the process before it activated, clamping the lid down on the creature and filling the container with cryofluid. Kasumi wasn't the only one armed with sonic defences and anti-crayfish weapons, she was just the fastest moving. Other doors opened up as the Crayfish were corralled into Extreme Isolation, with luck they would be dealt with soon.

"Your ship Zaeed." Liara's voice echoed out on the coms. "Trees or squids?"

"Squids." Zaeed replied bluntly. "I don't like that we don't know what those freaks are up to."

If they couldn't go soft, they'd go hard instead. The vents surrounding the room the tentacled monsters had been staying in were flooded with drones, and soon they all went off at once, all screaming as loudly as possible all at different frequencies and the tentacle monsters lashing out in anger in response. They never noticed when the doors leading inside were opened up and in walked several Krogan to render them unconscious. The still small squids were fitted with more sonic nullifiers and psi-blockers along with their unconcious parents before all of them were hauled away to extreme isolation. That just left the 'Largest' problem that they had to deal with.

It wasn't enough that the tree beings were strong and powerful, they were also physically huge too, too big for the cryo cells which were designed to be intentionally restrictive to limit the possible damage that their occupants were capable of. Even the repurposed cryo-cells for cattle would have a hard time with their sheer girth. That left the unfortunate headache of how to deal with them.

"I could try to sneak into the room and plant psi-dampeners on them." Kasumi naturally was the first to raise a suggestion, even as she continued to harass the Crayfish.

"That leaves the subject of all the horrible diseases that they're probably producing that we'll have to deal with." Liara countered as she Warped a particle beam to Push another errant Crayfish into Extreme Isolation.

"We've already sealed that place off but that's only the start of our troubles." The Trees didn't need to be close to somebody to spread their poison, they could just easily telepath instructions over to people's bodies to make them sick.

Telepathic blockers created a signal that scrambled any telepathic activity in a fixed area. It wasn't perfect technology mind you, it was reliant on the Thorian, it could only work within the confines of a small space, and most important of all it was susceptible to the same processes that the trees use to spread their plagues in the first place.

"Then just kill them." One of Liara's Krogan piped up with the obvious solution. "If you can't keep em prisoner then don't bother!" The Krogan jiggled one of the squid children as he made his point. "We have enough on our plates as is just dealing with whatever headache these things are supposed to be we don't need tanky disease spreading trees too."

"Even if that was our first option then how do we do it?" Zaeed tapped his stylus in annoyance as he ran through the options. "These things are already spewing poison worse than what we have on hand. We can't set them on fire or the ship's hardwired safety protocols would kick in, which would be fine assuming that suffocating them to death was enough to kill them off."

"It's not?" Liara was more surprised by that statement than anything else.

"The ones that we've autopsied revealed that they have rather impressive lung capacity." EDI's synthesized voice chimed in over the comms. "Let alone being negatively affected by the sudden loss of oxygen, it's possible that they don't even notice it. There's also a symbiotic moss of some kind as well as fully functional oxygen carrying organs. This creature is a combination of symbiotic organisms that is producing oxygen to fuel animal components and Carbon Dioxide to fuel plant components."

"What a difficult creature to deal with." Liara lamented before a thought occurred to her.

"EDI, remind me, photosynthesis requires light does it not?" "Not true. Sound and heat can also be used. Some plants have even been documented as being able to use radiation or psychic energy." EDI informed helpfully as the answers to their questions were starting to fill in.

"So isn't the reason why they're asleep is that they're conserving energy?" Liara shouldered her particle rifle as the came to terms with the situation.

"That is indeed possible." Artificial light was a poor substitute for honest to goodness sun light after all, not to mention with all the cryo equipment inside of the ship the temperature was abnormally low as well.

"Your ship Zaeed." Liara stated turning her attention to the warden of this fine train wreck.

"Are we getting paid for this?"

If Liara's gambit with the predator paid off they might have a vaccine to the tree's diseases, they may even have a cure, and even better they had test subjects eagerly lined up to be experimented on. Thus for completing all of this on his ship Zaeed can expect huge payouts from the Union, which he will be reinvesting back into Purgatory to fix and expand upon the ship. In the mean time additional preparations were made before the trees eventually took notice of what they were doing, such as welding the doors shut, and reinforcing them through the use of biotics and shields before the lights were abruptly cut in the room. The remaining time was spent holding the tree monsters back as they used the last of their energy trying to break the doors down, to no success. Thus the group added a bunch of exhausted biological weapon plants in a coma to their list of prisoners.

10M 05D 01H Until the Colossus Fires

Saren adjusted his grip on his weapon. The virtual world had him gradually shift away from the body that he knew into a larger and stronger one, one with steel for skin and iron in his bones. It wasn't a synth body. Saren was far too attached to his original body to go 'full metal' even if his real body had perished killing a Harbinger back when he blew up the Citadel. No he had become a Dragoon, the augmentations adapted for his Dextro based biology with the aid of the Dextro Thorian substitute and the technology to map DNA onto DAP based chemical structures. Saren saw many familiar faces joining him, Spectres and C-Sec Officers, as well as mercenaries and Ex-cons, even greater than that, people he had treated as his own children.

It wasn't just personalities downloaded from Grey Boxes that had been loaded into new enhanced bodies: in fact the majority of them started out as self aware AI that were raised using the memories and personalities of the Dragoon candidates in a simulated environment. With the processing speed of Quantum computers and algorithms to plan and take short cuts entire childhoods had been lived out inside of the machines, along with the associated mental conditioning and training expected for a special forces soldier. For now Saren looked up, at their commanding officer, for lack of a better term, a dead thing kept alive by sorcery and technology in a space suit.

"Many of you were soldiers of the Citadel. A failed government that now only exists in exile! Their people refugees Chased away from their own worlds!" Historically, a Government in exile has never gone well. "Many of the rest of you can be thought of as their descendants, born and bred warriors living for the time when their territory is to be taken back, block by bloody block if necessary!" Even Saren felt a hint of the Turian Zeal rising up. "For many of you, a holy war is upon you. The oldest enemy has unleashed new monstrosities on your lands. Gods of Pestilence, Hedonism, Chaos and War and those that serve them, corruption of the mind incarnate! Much of the Citadel's former territory has already fallen to their influence, carved up and divided into warring states as they fight for the scraps!"

That would be a problem. Instead of having the common courtesy to be united under singular leadership that could be defeated with a singular decapitating strike they'd instead have to fight against several enemies all at once, any decapitating strike they launch runs the risk of increasing the power of the other factions and revealing their tactics to the other factions. That in Saren's experience meant messy drawn out war. Much as Saren is hesitant to admit it, until the Union got involved he's never been at war with another state. There were Batarian slavers and criminal cartels but those are different, those are parasites who while they are not on good terms with the citadel or it's government they are reliant on it's continued existence. These creatures that they will be fighting want all of them dead or absorbed into their own ranks, and worse yet weren't too picky on the how.

"You will meet the enemies at the gate, in the trenches, on the battlefield and across the line. They will come for you in your cots, in the field and in your dreams. They seek not only to kill you but to subvert your very identities into their mass."

Saren read the reports. Four new races, four entities potentially on the same level of the Animator of Clay looking to expand their influence, and are being a lot less picky with their choice of targets.

"In a few short hours you will arrive at your first combat deployment as part of the first Legion."

The roughly 10000 individuals who had been raised as Dragoons had made up the first legion, with more cooking inside of the simulations. Each Legion was being raised with a combined arms philosophy. Infantry were being supported by tanks and air superiority, and supporting in turn providing advance scouting, medical training and tech specialists from powerhouses like Biotics and Psykers to break open hard targets.

"Your target will be in the region of space once known to us as the Terminus system, on a planet that if our reports are accurate is known to us as Adek." Straight to the front lines then. "Your objective will be simple. Take the planet by any means necessary, eliminate any of the insurgents of the four cults you encounter, even if they used to be part of the Council's races, Capture and quarantine any who surrenders." The Lich started to pace as he finished explaining. "Thuban, Athame, the Spirits, The Enkindlers, your Ancestors or even my own people the Liches. You all have your gods that you pray to, so pray to them, keep them well within your hearts, and remember that the beings you are going to face are not them."

The Lich clasped his fist over his chest.

"Keep your souls with you! Dismissed!"

The Members of the first Legion marched forward, strapping themselves into specialised cargo crates. The crates shook briefly as they became hooked on gyro copters and lifted into the air, where they would be carried onto transport ships and sail across the gap where the Great Rift use to be, riding on a newly formed Hyper lane. Within hours they would be touching down on Adek, within days they would be taking the planet or rotting in their hastily dug trenches while their minds are uploaded into another body and sent back to the battlefield.

10M 05D 01H Until the Colossus Fires

Miranda looked up at her screen inside of her base of operations on Arahtoht. In the Chaos of the Great Rift she and what allies she was able to gather to herself were left with few options but to hunker down and wait out the chaos. That said she was still gathering information, even if Arahtoht was moved away it should still be one of the planets closest to the Reaper's entry point into the galaxy. When the Union does get there and take the planet they'll also take her forward operating base with her and all the Intel that she's been able to gather.

"Caught one." Grunt piped up from the side, dragging in with him one of the predators in a head lock, the Tzynn or so her reports tell her. It wasn't the first time that one of the lizards had broken into their base, Grunt killed the last one and as Miranda had predicted the creature's death had drawn in more of the hunters.

"Bury him in the rubble. Use a rock to crush his head." If they can convince the lizards that the bunker was unstable and dangerous then they might stop trying to come down there and hunt them. The cults were fighting over control of the surface, or the forward operating base through which they would launch an invasion of Union territory. "The cults don't exactly paint a very pretty picture of what a galaxy being run by them will look like."

Miranda looked up four separate images of the different cultists. A Quarian had their skin turn green, their flesh was rotting and falling away in some places, other parts of their poison had insects and plants growing out of their body and they were leaking pus and gasses. The Second was a Salarian, they had various extra limbs in the form of tentacles and arms, more might've been on the way based on how their bodies were bulging painfully. The third was a Krogan, his height had been doubled and was now thrice as wide with massive bulky gorilla arms that were being dragged along the ground, their crest broken into different directions and twisted into multiple jutting horns. Fourth and final was a Asari, eyes and canals resembling noses and ears had grown on various different points on their body, their skin had turned orange, they were wearing various bejeweled piercings all over their bare body, including a organ that should never be attached to an all female race.

"Extreme mutations specialising in enhancing intelligence, physical prowess as well as manipulating living tissue, they'd probably make good medics. The only ones that I can't think of a place for is the Desire cult." Miranda stated looking up into the air as she thought about it more. "I suppose if the other three get tired of their own shit they could hang out with the hedonists for a while, they'd be good for drawing in our own forces too." Morale was an important part of war after all. "If these four were united under a common banner they would be rather formidable enemies."

"What're you scheming now?" Grunt asked holding the now lifeless corpse of the Tzynn he had taken prisoner.

"I'm thinking about the worst case scenario." Miranda stated as she looked up at the ceiling. "No it's probably inevitable." The intelligence officer corrected herself.

"Inevitable? They're all tearing each other apart!" Grunt was surprised by the content of Miranda's explanation.

"Yes they are. But eventually they're going to stop fighting over the scraps and focus their attention on the Union." Miranda would have to build a AI to map the tactics of creatures above, and from there see what would happen if they were united together into a single threat, even if it was only theoretical it would be better than nothing.

Review Section:

RonaldMM40196867: Not really. I think they were short on mammalians but that's about it.

Monster King: Perhaps if I can get a good flash of inspiration after this story is finished.

Halo: You know what happens when Eezo is energised correct? Imagine the biggest mass effect field to ever exist appearing on the surface of the sun, imagine that energy field being detonated by all the plasma that's around it like a chunk of C4, imagine that bomb going off in the sun's side destabilising the entire thing and throwing it into super nova, imagine the energy wave being amplified by a mass effect field torching not only all life in the system but the surrounding systems as well. That's what happens when you drop a chunk of Eezo the size of a planet into a sun.

Voidicus: I have news for you good sir.