A/N: Hello all. My updates have been slown down a bit because I have to plan out the next few chapters very carefully to set the stage for the rest of the story. A lot of you are worried I'll burn myself out, and that's also the case. But I intend on keeping my updates going as best I can without straining myself or the ideas I have going on.

After some work I decided to extend the 'flashback chapters' by one more. Simply because I want to explain exactly how things are to the best of my abilities before sending everything to the 'present time' of the story. And this chapter here will have a few twists that none of you could have seen coming.

I own nothing

The ice-cold seeped into every pore. His bones, joints and muscles felt like they were frozen solid. But the aching pain in his chest still persisted. Like a shattered bone that refused to heal.

Just when it felt like the ice would consume him completely. Something changed.

Warm, numbness began to fill his being. From the tips of his finger and toes and spreading out through his entire body. The cold was beaten back until his whole frame felt numb and weightless. But the pain remained. Almost like nothing could ever stop it.

And he knew deep down that nothing ever would.


Alex opened his eyes and found himself back in the ethereal plane that looked like a Forerunner world. The very same place that he had been brought to a few times before. The place where he had met the Librarian when he died at the start of his journey.

The nano soldier sat up slowly, his body aching in protest even in this realm of existence. He sat on the large ledge overlooking the open sky where several structures in the distance moved on their own accord.

But he didn't notice the sight. His eyes were dead and hollow, his body numb from what he had witnessed and endured not too long ago.

From behind him, the sound of light footsteps and the swishing of a long robe on the metal floor was heard as he continued to gaze sightless out into the emptiness. "...Why am I here?" he asked. His voice rough and emotionless as the omnipotent being stopped just behind him.

"I heard your spirit crying in agony." said the Librarian. "I have only ever felt such pain a handful of times before...the pain of a broken heart and soul."

Alex felt a tear slip down his face. "She's gone...after everything I did, everything I hoped for...nothing changed..." he gritted his teeth. "I should have warned her! Told her the truth! But no, I had to...had to...DAMMIT!" he roared slamming his fist into the ground next to him leaving a dent in the metal.

The Librarian remained still as the Post-Human leapt to his feet and started pacing. "I could have done something! I could have saved her life, but instead I kept it all to myself. And because of that she's DEAD!" he ranted "Why couldn't it have been me? Why did it have to be her? Why couldn't I..."

He fell to his knees as more tears began to fall. "Why couldn't I save her? Haven't I suffered enough?" Alex looked at the Librarian, for the first time in a long time he felt weak. Defeated. His heart was in pieces and the only one capable of putting it back together was now gone. "Why didn't anything change?"

The ancient Forerunner approached him slowly, "Even though smaller events can change the effects of those that are larger. It does not stop the outcome of those larger events. Much like a river cannot change its flow when you throw stones into it." she said sagely. "You cannot change what fate has set in motion, Alexander. Try as you might, certain events are meant to happen regardless of the changes you try to make."

"But I saved Ash and Kaidan on Virmire. Neither of them died when one of them should have. Why couldn't I save Jane?" he asked almost pleading.

"That scenario is only but a branch of the main outcome." said the Librarian. "In this universe, two events could never have been changed no matter how hard you fight against it. Commander Shepard's demise was one of those events."

Alex clenched his fists in rage, "And the other is the Reapers' arrival." His glare turned on her. "Why didn't you tell me?"

The Librarian looked saddened, "I cannot interfere with your journey, Alexander. I can only offer guidance after I sent you on your way."

"BULLSHIT!" he roared "You knew all this fucking time that she would die no matter what I did! I had to watch the woman I love get blown to hell by those bug bastards while I could do nothing but watch!"

He felt the energy drain out of him from the outburst. Collapsing to the floor, he kept his heated gaze on the Forerunner, "Why put me through that? Jane...I could have done something to save her. Why did she have to..." he fell silent as what little strength began to fade out of him.

Two large, six-fingered hands rested on his shoulders. His grey eyes looked up into the glowing orbs of the Librarian as she knelt in front of him. "Not all hope is lost. You know that this is not the end of the woman whose heart you hold dear."

Alex's gaze faltered a moment, "...she'll come back? Cerberus will bring her back like in the original timeline?"

She nodded, "Yes. Her demise was but half of one of this universe's major events. Her resurrection is the other. For it will strike fear into the hearts of those who serve the machines while those who fight them rally behind her."

Reaching out, she placed one of her hands over his aching chest. "The pain you feel is great, the rage in your heart even more so, you must harness it and use it as a tool if you wish to see your love again. You will have to fight with all your strength, plant the seeds for this universe's war against the machines before she returns. You may not be able to stop them from coming, but you can ensure that those who wish to fight are ready for them."

The nano soldier's eyes widened, "Plant the seeds..." everything she was saying clicked in his mind about what she was telling him.

The Librarian nodded seeing him understand, "Now you see. Your mission is not yet over Alexander. There is still much to do." Everything around them began to fade. The omnipotent being's words still ringing in his mind as the darkness rose up to claim him once more.


Alexander 'Maverick' Drake

Arcturus Station - Med Bay

October 13, 2183 - 12:57 hours

Alex groaned as his eyes slowly opened. The nano suit's HUD flaring back to life as Prophet's voice rang in his ear. "Nano Suit Reinitializing...Complete."

"System Rebooting."

"All Systems Fully Functional."

"All Damages Repaired."

"User's Vital Signs Stable."

Looking around the room, he found himself in a large med bay surrounded by equipment. A heart rate monitor was hooked to his chest keeping track of his vitals. A nearby view port showed the star dotted void of space with the occasional ship passing by, most likely on sentry detail.

"Prophet, where are we?" he asked sitting up slowly.

"Alliance Station. Designation: Arcturus."replied the AI.

"How did we get here?" asked Alex as he shut off the monitor before removing the pads attached to his chest and standing upright.

"Normandy Destroyed by Unknown Hostile Force."

"Nano Suit Forced into Emergency Lockdown to Preserve User's Vitals."

"Alliance Recon Team Located Normandy's Lifepods and Found User Two Clicks from the Nearest Pod."

"Alliance Medical Staff, in Conjunction with Medical Officer Chakwas, Had user Moved to Arcturus Station's Med Bay for Treatment and Observation Upon Arrival."

Memories of what happened to the Normandy came crashing back into him then. The pain in his heart came back almost knocking the wind out of him when he remembered the last moments he had with Jane after the ship was destroyed.

The very last thing he saw being her jade green eyes before the engine explosion ripped them away from one another and sent her hurdling toward the planet's atmosphere.

He then remembered the Librarian's words, the pain he felt was replaced by rage and resolve. The Collectors would pay for this in blood.

He was brought out of his thoughts when the door to the med bay opened. A nurse walked in holding a tray of supplies, when she saw the nano soldier standing next to the bed she jumped sending everything clattering loudly to the floor.

"Oh god! Uh...your awake." she stuttered while gathering up the supplies that were scattered all over. "I...I was told to get the doctor when you woke up...so..." she spun around and quickly fled the room.

A minute later an Alliance doctor entered the room, both looking at the nano soldier in both awe and a little apprehension. "Maverick, I'm Dr. Evens. How are you feeling?"

Alex twitched a finger and activated his voice filter. "Still alive." he stated walking toward the view port and gazing out into the abyss.

"When you came in you had been exposed to the vacuum of space for almost 16 hours. When the crews found you there was severe ice build up covering your body. We were worried about your condition, especially when our equipment couldn't read anything more than your heart rate." explained Evens.

The Post-Human was silent. "You were unresponsive when you were brought here to the station. We monitored what vitals we could get from you as the ice broke up, thankfully they stayed strong while you were unconscious." continued the doctor.

"How long have I been here?" Alex asked as he watched a dreadnought drift past the station.

"Two weeks. The surviving members of the Normandy have been here being debriefed on what happened. Admiral Hackett wanted to speak to you personally." said Evers.

At that moment, the Admiral in question entered the med bay. "Doctor, how's our friend?" asked Hackett looking at the nano soldier's back.

"Everything seems fine, Admiral. Though we haven't been getting any accurate readings on his health." replied Evens looking over the datapad in his hand.

"I'm fine." said Alex emotionless.

Hackett observed the man before him before turning to the doctor. "Can you give us a moment?" The doctor nodded and left the room leaving the two alone. The Admiral walked up and stood next to the nano soldier, hands clasped behind his back as they stood in silence.

"You loved her, didn't you son?" said Hackett after a while.

Alex breathed out slowly, "Yes."

Hackett nodded, "She was a good person, and a damn good soldier."

The elder man turned to him, "I need to know what happened out there, Maverick. The Council and the Alliance brass have tried to contact us for answers. Most of the crew have already informed us of what happened during the attack."

The Post-Human was motionless, "We were attacked by an unknown force. I got a glimpse of the ship before I was spaced." he said after a bit.

"What did you see?" asked Hackett.

"The ship was large, bigger than a dreadnought. Looked like an insect hive. Its main weapon tore through the Normandy's barriers and hull like it was butter. It fled after the ship was destroyed, back into the Terminus Systems." said Alex remembering everything clear as day.

The Admiral let out a breath through his nose, "Now we know what happened to the other ships as well. You did good work son, a lot of the crew owe you their lives."

Alex shook his head slowly, "I didn't save her. We got spaced at the same time...and I watched her die while I couldn't do anything."

Hackett reached out and put a hand on the nano soldier's shoulder. "I know that you did what you could. The Commander's death wasn't your fault." Alex looked at the Admiral, "I may not see your face, son. But I can feel the guilt and regret, the same feelings that overcome a lot of soldiers when a mission goes to hell."

The Post-Human turned back to the view port and looked out at the stars.

Hackett's gaze went to the floor, "The accounts of the other crew members have already been submitted to the Council and the Brass. I'll send yours out as well." he said before heading to the door. He

He paused at the threshold and turned back to Alex, "I'll tell them that you're still recovering. Give you some time to wrap your head around things." With that he left Alex alone with his thoughts.

Alex continued to look out into the void, eyes narrowing as the memory of the Collectors slipping away after the attack burned in the back of his mind. "You bastards will pay for this." he growled to himself.


Leaving the med bay after another hour of thinking. Alex walked through Arcturus in such a way that made any Marine passing by get out of his way. He went down several corridors getting bewildered looks everywhere he went.

He entered one of the many briefing rooms on the station where Ashley, Joker, Liara, Tali and Chakwas all sat around looking like the world had ended. Liara looked up and gasped, "Alex! By the Goddess, your awake!" she said standing up with everyone else.

Alex swiped his omni-tool through the air and made sure that any and all listening devices in the room was disabled before sealing the door behind him. "How's the rest of the crew?" he asked looking each of them over.

"Almost everyone made it." said Chakwas. "17 Servicemen lost their lives in the attack. Pressly included...and the Commander..." she finished casting her gaze to the table in front of her.

"Alex what happened?" asked Ashley sounding as though she couldn't believe what had occurred.

"We were attacked by a ship of unknown origin. Me and Jane were spaced when the Normandy exploded. We were separated when one of the engines went critical while we were in the vacuĆ¼m." he explained emotionless.

Joker removed his hat and put his head in his hands, "It's all my fault. If I had just bailed out when she told me too..." the pilot looked at Alex with misery written across his features. "Alex, I'm sorry. If..if you hate me I understand. I mean...I hate myself, why wouldn't you hate me for..." he could even finish. Tears building up in the back of his eyes from the pain and shame he was feeling.

Walking around the table, Alex approached Joker who braced himself for what could happen.

He didn't expect the nano soldier's hand to gently pat him on the shoulder. "It wasn't your fault Joker. The only ones to blame are the bastards that attacked us." he said trying to ease the pilot's mind.

The helmsmen looked up at him, a stray tear going down his bearded face. "She gave her life for mine...how the hell can I live with that?" he asked with his voice shaking.

"The same way I will." said Alex looking around at the others. "By surviving. By not giving up. By fighting for what I believe in. As all of us should. Because I have a feeling that this is not over yet."

Those gathered nodded. Tali sniffled, "Why did this happen?" Ashley wrapped and arm around the Quarian as they all tried to push through their grief.

Alex closed his eyes behind his visor, his own pain flaring at hearing Tali's words.


Alexander 'Maverick' Drake

Council Chambers - Citadel

October 26, 2183 - 14:31 hours

The last week and a half had been pure hell for everyone. Upon returning to the Citadel the crew had been blind sided by the press, wanting to know answers about what happened to the Normandy and Jane's death.

Alex had fired a concentrated overload that took out all the media equipment and shutting the reporters up as they went to the Citadel tower and report to the Council.

They had been sympathetic, especially Anderson. Jane had been like a daughter to him for many years. Throughout the meeting Alex saw the ex-Alliance Captain fighting back tears as they spoke of the deceased Commander.

A memorial service was held in her honor. Everyone had attended and said something regarding one of the galaxy's greatest heros. Wrex had even been there and said a few words. Saying that the Commander had been one of the bravest and most noble Humans he had ever met.

Kaidan had been there as well, a nurse with him to be sure that nothing happened to him since his rehab wasn't complete. He was just as distraught if not more so considering the past he and Jane had together as friends.

Alex had remained in his nano suit through the service; but everyone could feel the pain rolling off of him from under the protective layer. He said very little when it was his turn to speak. But those who know him knew what he wanted to say. How much he loved her and how much she meant to him.

But he was forced to swallow it all down and keep his speech brief so that no one outside their group knew about the two Spectres.

When the service ended, after getting past the reporters once again. The team all went to the bar and toasted the Commander's life, and wished her the best on the other side.

Outside the nano suit, Alex was still as quiet as he was at the service. None of the team could blame him and just offered what comfort they could. But the Post-Human remained in private solitude. Looking at the other couples in their group. Ashley who was being comforted by Garrus. And Joker and Tali who were leaning on each other for support.

His mind and heart in agony, despite the words he shared with the Librarian while he was in that coma. He still felt the impact of Jane's death as though it just happened. And he knew that it was a feeling that wouldn't pass anytime soon.


As they days passed everyone tried to go back to business as usual. But they all knew that it was all for naught. They just went through the motions as life continued to go on.

Alex had been told to take time off from his Spectre duties since he was still 'recovering' from what happened. But he soon found out the truth of what the Council, save for Anderson, was doing.

He had snuck into the Citadel archives using his Spectre status to gather as much intel on the Collectors as he could to make a case to the Council about the threat they now posed to the safety of the colonists before they started their attack. It was then that he made a discovery.

All of the data, evidence, and eye-witness accounts about the Reapers had been locked up tight and stored away in a terminal that was heavily encrypted.

Alex was enraged, the bastards had wasted no time sealing everything away not long after hearing about Jane's death. Everything they fought for was being put away in a dark corner so that no one would think to bring it up again.

They were using the Commander's death as a distraction to make sure that the threat of the Reapers stayed silent.

After having Prophet break through the encryption, he copied all the data contained in the terminal and transferred it to an OSD before locking it all back down and leaving the archives. He sent a message to all the members of the crew that were still on the Citadel; which had only been Liara and Garrus at the time since everyone else had been either sent back within the Alliance ranks, or returned to their home in Wrex and Tali's case.

The Asari and Turian were just as pissed as he was and went to Anderson first. Needless to say that the Human representative was not pleased to hear what his fellow Councilors were doing behind their backs. A meeting had been called, and Alex was going to rip them a new one for this.


"Maverick, we were informed that this meeting was to discuss something important." said Tevos as they all gathered in the Council chambers.

Alex took a few deep breaths to calm himself, "I would like to know why certain members of this Council are using Commander Shepard's death to cover up the Reapers' existance." he demanded.

The three other Councilors looked passive, but the nano soldier caught the slight shock displayed in their eyes. "Where did you learn this?" asked Valern crossing his arms playing innocent.

Alex held up an OSD, "I was doing research on the ship that attacked the Normandy in the archives. Imagine my surprise to discover that everything Jane and I had found and reported to you about the Reapers was sealed away and left in the dark so that no one would ever learn of it."

"Those files were restricted to only a select few, Maverick!" roared Sparatus. "You had no right to be digging around in them! Spectre status or not!"

He had them. "So you are covering it up!" he accused.

Tevos pinched the bridge of her nose. "You have to understand. There has been no other evidence of the Reapers' return after Sovereign's defeat. If the Reapers even exist. For all we know Sovereign was the last of its kind."

"You can't be serious..." Alex said not believing what he was hearing. " 'If they exist?' Have you already forgotten what that thing did two months ago? You can't just brush this under the rug! The galactic community needs to know about this threat!"

"There is no threat!" exclaimed Sparatus. "What ever threat there was ended when the Geth and Saren were defeated. We will not cause galactic wide panic because of the ramblings of a mentally scarred Spectre."

The air in the chambers started to go cold. Alex's fists were clenched so tight green volts of electricity were arching over his knuckles. "Mentally. Scarred. Spectre?" he hissed out with enough venom to make a Thresher Maw shrink back. "That mentally scarred Spectre saved your worthless asses when the Geth had you against the ropes! We opened the relays, sacrificed the lives of hundreds of Alliance personnel to ensure your survival! AND NOW THAT'S WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT HER NOW THAT SHE'S GONE!"

His outburst shook anyone listening to their core. "You three...are fucking PATHETIC!" he pushed on. "You only care about saving face in the galactic community when the real threat is just on the horizon! What's the point of forming the Spectres if you don't take us seriously when we bring you something of this kind of importance!"

"That's enough Maverick!" exclaimed Valern. "The decision of this Council regarding this matter is closed."

"You work for us now. I suggest you fall in line." demanded Sparatus.

Alex gritted his teeth hard, "Fuck. You. All. Consider this my resignation from the Spectres." the shock that went through the room was felt like an actual bolt of electricity. The nano soldier turned on his heel and walked toward the stairs.

"Maverick! We are not done here!" called Tevos.

"But I am." he replied whirling around. "I'm done with this Council. Politics. And this never ending stream of bullshit. Find a new pawn to fuck with, I'm done." without another word he left the chambers. Got in his skycar and fled the tower.

As he drove through traffic he brought up his omni-tool. "Prophet, contact Reena, Chellick, Garrus and Liara. Have them all meet at the apartment. I've had enough of the Council's lies and cover-ups. It's time to implement our contingency plan."

"Acknowledged. Preparations for Contingency Plan in Progress..." said Prophet.


Alexander 'Maverick' Drake

Alex's Apartment - Lower Wards

October 26, 2183 - 15:43 hours

It had taken everyone a little time to assemble at the Post-Human's home. Upon arrival they saw him standing in front of the large window overlooking the wards with his nano suit still on, but the helmet on the table.

"Alex, we're here." said Reena cautiously.

He turned and everyone gasped seeing the unbridled rage in his eyes. "I was right. The Council used Jane's death to cover up the Reapers' existence. And they all but told me to keep my mouth shut about it. I've had enough of this. Too many people have died because they are gutless fools." he seethed making them all shiver.

"Spirits...what did you do?" asked Garrus afraid to know the answer."

"I quit the Spectres." Alex said as though he were ordering a glass of water. "I will not stand by and let what we fought for and discovered be brushed aside like it never happened. They dishonored Jane's memory...I'm going to make them pay for it."

"Sounds like a hell of a good fight." everyone spun around and saw Zen enter the living room.

"Zen? What are you doing here?" asked Chellick in shock.

The old Krogan looked at Alex and chuckled. "You honestly didn't think I wouldn't figure this out? I've known you were Maverick for almost two years now. I may be old, but I know a true warrior when I see one." he shrugged, "That...and seeing you use your bow while in armor was a big hint as well."

Alex gave a ghost of a smile, "Glad to let you in on the secret old friend."

"And he's not the only one." said Anderson entering the room as well. "I had a feeling that it was you all this time. After finding out that a random Servicemen that suddenly appeared in Alliance records was allowed passage on the Normandy I had a feeling something was out of the ordinary."

The gathered group couldn't seem to form words. Alex just shook his head, "Does Hackett know?" he asked casually.

Anderson smirked, "Yes, me and him both put the pieces together. He was hoping you would tell him yourself in person. But that's not important right now." the Human Councilor's smirk vanished as he switched gears. "The Council isn't happy. Having a recently decorated Spectre like you suddenly quit makes them look pretty bad to the community. The press has already gotten wind of it and it's spreading like wildfire."

"I can't blame you for doing it." the ex-Captain continued. "At this point I regret taking the job as Councilor if this is how they are going to treat things. I don't blame people for not wanting to believe in the Reapers; it's nightmare stuff. But what they're trying to do is going too far. Countless lives could be at risk and they just push for silence."

"That's why I called most of the people in this room here." said Alex. "Even though I wasn't expecting Zen or you Anderson, but it does make it a little easier."

"Makes what easier? What are you planning Alex?" asked Liara.

The nano soldier held up an OSD, the very same one he had in the Council chambers. "They don't want to tell people about the Reapers? Fine, they don't have to...I'll do it myself."

"W-What!" Reena said not believing it. "How can you pull that off? Putting that kind of data on the extranet could have horrible backlash!"

Alex shook his head, "I'm not dropping this kind of a bomb on the public. But I am giving the evidence to those who can actually use it." He set the OSD down and brought up his omni-tool. "When we were on the Normandy, I recorded and filed away every important piece of intel we collected. The data on indoctrination. The meeting with Sovereign. The meeting with Vigil on Ilos. Even the battle with the fleet against Sovereign in the end of it all. I created a heavily encrypted file that I could only get into with all of this."

"What for?" asked Garrus now very interested.

The Post-Human grinned ferally, "A contingency plan...just incase the Council tried something like this. With the press of a button, all of this evidence will be transferred to every government on all four home worlds of the head species in Council Space."

Dead silence filled the room. "G-Goddess..." said Liara in shock. "The Council would be implicated in their cover up, and all governments will know what we know about the Reapers..."

"Exactly." said Alex. "Though it's not without drawbacks. When the head governments see all of this, the Council is going to be hit with some major fire from all of them." he looked at Anderson. "So I had to make modifications to the plan when Anderson here became Human Councilor. You see, while we were on Arcturus Station I had one last meeting with Hackett..."


Alex stood in a private room as he waited patiently for his guest to arrive.

He didn't wait long when Admrial Hackett entered within moments. "Maverick. You said that this was important?" he said standing before the nano soldier.

Alex nodded as he held out an OSD. Hackett looked at it oddly before taking it. "What is this?" he asked looking it over.

"Every piece of data me and the Commander collected on the Reapers. I have a feeling that when we return to the Citadel that the Council may try to discourage everything me and her fought to uncover. I need to make sure that Humanity is ready if and when they get to our galaxy from dark space." Alex explained.

The Admiral looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "You want me to give this to the defense committee..." he said putting two and two together.

The Post-Human nodded, "Yes. It also has evidence exonerating Councilor Anderson from any involvement of the cover up. He was on board in uniting everyone to fight the Reapers when the time came. I won't let what those near sighted fools will do effect his good name."

Hackett looked at the OSD again before slipping it into his coat pocket. "Thank you. I don't know if it will do any good. But maybe it will get people to pay attention."

"Just wait for my signal to reveal it to them." said Alex heading toward the exit.

"How will I know?" asked the Admiral not turning around.

Alex paused at the door, "You will...trust me." with that he left silently.

Hackett looked out the only viewpoint in the room and took a deep breath. "She trusted you with everything. I'll do the same." he said to the empty room.

Flashback End

"So you covered every angle." said Anderson now understanding.

"Everything but one." said Chellick. "The moment this data get's out, the Council will eventually figure out it was you that did it. You're the only one that put everything together and confronted them about it."

Alex nodded, "That was also part of the plan. I don't want them going after any of the Normandy's crew thinking it was them...I did this, and I'll take the heat for it." he said with conviction.

"They'll hunt you." said Liara still in shock. "You'll be a wanted man in Citadel Space."

"Maybe..." said the nano soldier as he turned and watched the artificial sunset. "I never thought of myself as a hero, not like Jane was. I do whatever it takes to make sure the innocent are safe. Even if it means sacrificing my own good name..."

Chellick perked up, remembering something that Alex had said to him, Garrus and a few others long ago. "You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villan..." he said catching everyone's attention.

Alex smiled sadly, "I figured you'd remember that." he said turning to his friend. "And it holds true. And I'll be whatever this galaxy needs me to be. No matter what." his gaze fell to the floor. "I just hope that she would tell me if I was doing the right thing..."

A hand clasped his shoulder, he looked up to see Anderson looking at him seriously. "She would, without a doubt. Jane was like a daughter to me, and I know she would be behind you 100%. Just like I will be."

"And me." said Garrus.

"Me as well." said Liara.

"Us too." said Chellick putting an arm around Reena as she nodded in agreement.

Zen slammed his fists together, "So what's the rest of the plan?" he said meaning that he was onboard as well.

Alex smirked as he brought up a few more things on his omni-tool. It was time to get to work.

A/N: Now how's that for a few twists? There is one more chapter before I get to the 'present time'. And from what you've read in this one, the next one will be a hell of a showstopper!

Update coming soon...very soon...