Fight for the Lost

Activating the IFF

Location: The Phoenix Massing Nebula / Typhon System / Normandy SR-2 / Cockpit / In Orbit Above Aite

"Any word yet?" Joker asked for the ninth time in an hour.

"No, Mr. Moreau. I'm afraid I've yet to establish contact with the ground team."

Joker sighed and rubbed his tired eyes. He was used to staring at glowing screens all day, but it eventually takes its toll. That he had to serve another double shift because Hawthorne was injured only made it worse.

He owes me. Again.

He mentally debated whether or not it was worth mustering the energy to ask the AI if there was any contact with Shepard and his squad for an even tenth time. He didn't care for AIs in general, but unlike an organic, the thing wouldn't get annoyed.

He sighed again and resisted the urge to slouch in his seat. It wasn't unusual to lose contact occasionally on these kinds of missions. People who wanted to hide or keep secrets needed to control communications in, and more importantly, out. None of the Cerberus personnel at the area of operations had responded to their hails, so it didn't come as a surprise that the Normandy lost touch with the ground team almost immediately when they broke through the atmosphere.

Joker was confident that Shepard would find whatever was jamming their comms, destroy it, and call to let him know that everything was secure, mission accomplished, all in a day's work, yadda, yadda, yadda. He only wished that Shepard did what he did it faster and spare him and the crew the extra and probably unnecessary worry.

He looked down at the sensor recordings again. Within the first hour after the squad went planet-side, the giant satellite dish near the landing zone was completely destroyed. It had all earmarks of Shepard's signature. Why it needed to be done, Joker had no idea, but it looked cool to watch.

Just hope no one was hurt.

After that, they rounded the planet in one orbit and completely lost them. Hadley and Matthews were running constant comm and sensor sweeps but couldn't hear or see anything until a couple of hours later. Eventually, Matthew's reported seeing two Hammerheads going in opposite directions toward two outlying stations which alleviated everyone's fears for a moment.

But that was the last sighting they had. And it was hours ago.

Exhaling loudly, Joker tapped a button to make sure their orbit was stable and that no satellites or other debris would be in their current flight path. He bumped up the throttle a bit to put them back into comm range a bit sooner. "What about that other thing?"

"My firewalls are secure. Whatever program that is trying to upload itself from Aite has been unsuccessful so far. However, I must admit that the intelligence I am contending with is quite sophisticated."

"Sophisticated how?"

"I imagine that if it used the satellite relay dish to achieve maximum communications output, I would have significant difficulty repelling its intrusion," EDI said.

"How difficult?" Joker asked nervously. He remembered some of his old vids that he watched and was wary of what the AI might do if properly if pushed or reprogrammed.

"I cannot say for certain. I do not have sufficient information," she answered.

"You think that's why the captain blew it up?" Matthews asked.

"Had to be. Otherwise, he'd be using it to reestablish communications. You don't destroy a perfectly good satellite dish without a good reason," Hadley replied. "Besides, did you see the size of that thing? Why would he go out of his way to blow it up if it wasn't important?

"You gotta be kidding me—Is this another AI thing Cerberus is working on?" Joker asked in disgust.

"I do not know what the particular goals or aims are from this particular cell, Mr. Moreau," EDI said.

"'Project Overlord'. How oh-so-very ominous," Joker muttered. He really hoped that it was just a fancy name some guy thought up just to be clever because it sounded way to sinister for his liking. "Y'know, why is it that we always go to someplace that always has claws and guns and mean metal bastards? Why can't we piss off a fuzzy planet? Still dangerous, but hey, bunnies."

Hadley and Matthews chuckled.

"What about the IFF?" Joker asked.

"It is now activated, but I have been getting some troubling readings," EDI answered.

He rolled his eyes. "Great. More bad news. What readings?"

~o~O~o~

Location: The Phoenix Massing Nebula / Typhon System / Normandy SR-2 / Engine Room / In Orbit Above Aite

Ken smiled in satisfaction at the readings he was monitoring on the Tantalus Drive Core. Everything was above board.

That'll keep Tali happy.

"Hey, Kenneth. Here are the latest estimates. "

Ken took the holopad from Gabby and looked down at it before taking a sip of water to clear his parched throat. They've been on alert status for almost 14 hours straight now. "Aye, this is good."

"How are the emitters?" she asked.

He scowled. "Still having problems maintaining their oscillations. I'm completely stymied on why they're not working anymore."

"Do you think we should head back to the Migrant Fleet?"

"Don't know. That'll be up to the Boss and her boss," he replied with a shrug.

"I'll take that as a maybe. I'm not sure if Tali wants to go back to complain about the CBT so soon after she twisted several arms to get it. Shepard might though, if only to give the Normandy a fighting chance," Gabby said distractedly. "What about the power grid balance?"

"There's nothing to worry about. With built-in capacitor sub-systems, they have a surprisingly low draw," Ken said.

"Doesn't that mean the shielding boost wouldn't last long under fire?"

He shrugged again. "I thought so. It seemed to be built for hard, fast strikes, not firefights of attrition, but the Boss had this look that told me to do my homework more."

He expected Gabby to laugh, roll her eyes, or call him an idiot –affectionately, of course– but instead she seemed pensive about something. She only nodded absently to his joke and walked back to her station.

"Oi, Gabby!" Ken called out and fell in step with her. "What's wrong?"

She didn't answer him immediately. She just led the way back to their stations and looked at console, but wasn't really seeing anything in particular.

"Gabby?" he tried again. He put down his drink and pad on top of his console –something that would've sent Tali into an apocalyptic fit, no doubt—and light grasped Gabby's arm. "Gabrielle?"

"We're almost there, aren't we?" she asked aloud, almost to herself. "The Omega-4 Relay, the galactic core, the Collector homeworld, the missing colonists…"

"A whole laundry list still to be done, eh?" Ken joked lamely.

"Kenneth, do you think we'll make it through this?" she whispered.

He flashed her a confident grin. "Of course we will, Gabby."

She wasn't looking at him however. She was staring at her boots now. "I mean, as long as we take down the Collectors, it's all worth it. Even if we don't make it."

"Hey, now. Don't even think that," Ken sternly said. He gripped his longtime friend by the shoulders and gently, but forcefully turned her to get her to look up at him. "We'll make it through."

"You really believe that?"

"Aye. Shepard may have been talking about how this is a suicide mission and all that, but I don't think he believes it. He's just making sure we keep things real and grounded. He thinks we'll be fine and I believe him," Ken said reassuringly. "I can see it in his eyes. He still has the Reapers to deal with after all this. Can't fight them if he's dead, eh? The Collectors are just a warm up. Look, we do our job, so he can do his and it'll all turn out all right. You'll see."

He hoped so anyway. And he hoped fate wouldn't make him a liar.

Gabby smiled. "Thanks, Kenneth."

"Of course," Ken said. He grinned down at her. "You know, you shouldn't worry so much. You'll get premature wrinkles and gray hairs and saggy—Ow!"

"You idiot." She was still smiling all the same.

~o~O~o~

Location: The Phoenix Massing Nebula / Typhon System / Normandy SR-2 / Cockpit / In Orbit Above Aite

"I'm telling you, your readings are off. It's radiation bleed, just white noise," Joker argued as he looked at the display the AI was feeding him.

"I have detected a signal embedded in the static," EDI insisted. "We are transmitting the Normandy's location. This signal is the reason why the Cyclonic Barrier Shielding is experiencing problems maintaining its oscillations."

Joker furrowed his brow in confusion. "Transmitting? To who?"

As if on cue, Matthews panicked voice filtered through the bridge and cockpit. "Something just came out of FTL on our starboard side!" he shouted. He paled when he read the details. "Oh shit! It's the Collectors!"

"Shit!" Joker echoed. "Hang on! We're getting out of here!"

His fingers flew across his console when suddenly, the interface disappeared. The ship lights followed right after. Emergency lighting kicked in immediately.

"What the hell!" Joker shouted.

"Alert: I am detected a virus in the ship's computers," EDI informed. "Propulsion, weapons, and defenses have all been disabled."

"A virus? From the IFF? Damn it, why didn't you scrub it? !" Joker shouted.

"I have dedicated a significant amount of resources combatting the foreign program that is attempting to infiltrate the Normandy's main systems," EDI replied. "Alert: The presence of the virus is diminishing my ability to maintain my firewalls. The hostile program has exploited a fault and is now beginning its upload. Alert: The Collectors are attempting to board the Normandy."

"Red alert!" Joker shouted into the intercom. On cue, the red lights and klaxons began flashing and blaring throughout the ship on his order. "The Collectors are attempting to board us! Arm up and prepare to repel invaders!"

"Come on, Matthews! We gotta get to the Armory!" Hadley shouted.

Both men scrambled out of their stations and down to the Armory to get whatever weapons they could get their hands on and distribute to the others.

The elevator was filled en mass with crewmen as entered the CIC and into the Armory to retrieve their weapons before dividing their forces between the main airlock on the bridge, the hangar, or the cargo bays.

"The Collectors are almost in position to board us," EDI said.

"Come on, EDI! Can't you get rid of that virus?" Joker implored. "Like maybe now?"

"I am tasked to my current capacity. I cannot contend with the virus and the outside program at the same time," EDI reported. She paused for a moment before speaking again. "We can save the Normandy, Mr. Moreau, but you must help me."

"What? Me?" Joker asked in shock.

"Yes."

"Why do I think I'm going to hate what you're going to suggest?" Joker complained. "It better not be self-destructing or scuttling the Normandy to 'save her'!"

"Give me the ship."

"You're shitting me! How's that any better!" he shouted. The Normandy rumbled as the Collectors began trying to force their way in. Loud booming thuds could be heard. Each one sent shivers down his spine. "Man, if you start singing 'Daisy Bell', I'm done!"

"Unlock my sealed databases and I can initiate countermeasures against the virus, the foreign artificial intelligence program, and all hostiles within. I will be able to draw on extra resources that can save us," EDI said. "The maintenance shaft in the Science Lab will allow passage to the AI Core."

"You're an AI made by Cerberus that's getting hacked by an AI that's… oh yeah, made by Cerberus. This has bad idea written all over it," Joker argued.

Again, EDI was silent before speaking in a softer, almost pleading tone, "Please, Jeff, you must trust me."

Joker started at the avatar in surprise. It had never used his given name before. "Shit," he grumbled under his breath. Another threatening boom, followed by the sounds of gunfire and screams from the all the way down in the lower decks removed whatever reservations he had about this plan though. He tried to turn his chair around, but it didn't respond. He struggled out of his station and to his feet. "Shit. I think I saw this in a vid…"

"You must hurry, Mr. Moreau," EDI urged. The Collectors have boarded and have begun their assault in the cargo bays. The main corridors are longer safe. I will guide you past the enemy forces."

"Goddamn it," Joker muttered. He looked up to see Patel run up to him.

"Joker!" she cried out. She grimaced when she saw that he was standing instead of sitting at the cockpit. Looking over his shoulder, she sat that the hepatic interface was gone. "No go on the escape?"

"I gotta get to the AI Core," he said.

"Rolston reported hostiles in the hangar already before we lost contact with everyone down there," she said frantically. "And we can't lock down the elevator, they've already overridden our commands. They'll be coming to the CIC any moment now."

"EDI said I need to get to maintenance shaft in the lab."

"Okay," Patel said. "Come on!"

She accompanied him down the bridge and back into the CIC.

"Patel! They're coming!" Goldstein shouted from near the elevator.

"I have to help them. You'll be alright?" Patel asked worriedly.

"Yeah," Joker said, struggling to keep up with her pace.

She nodded and ran ahead to hold her position with the others.

Joker was only a few feet from the starboard door when the elevator opened. Some giant screeching bug thing was there and charged at the defenders.

"Oh, my god! What is that? !" Goldstein screamed.

"Shoot it! SHOOT IT!" Matthews bellowed over the pounding staccato of his rifle.

"Get going Joker! We'll hold if off!" Hadley called out.

"It's shielded!" Patel warned.

"How the fuck is that thing shielded? !"

Joker limped as fast as could without breaking every bone in his legs. He tried to ignore Patel's shriek when the husk pounced on her and viscously slammed her into the ground. Its head leaned in over her, though its massive body blocked whatever it was doing from sight. The others were trying to gun it down and save her at the same time.

"HELP!"

"Get it off of her! Get it off of her!"

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!

His fear rose to new heights and he turned his head away and focused on getting to the door. He feverishly hoped that it wasn't eating her or something and promised himself never to watch horror vids again.

"Kill it! Kill it!" Hadley said.

"It's not working—Aaah!" Matthews screamed.

"Matthews! Die, you son-of-a-bitch!"

They want humans alive. They want humans alive. They want humans alive.

"Go, Joker, go!" Goldstein shouted over the sounds of gunfire.

"Shit," he cursed himself. He finally crossed the threshold of the door and locked it behind him before entering the lab proper and locking that door too.

Goldstein's ear-piercing shriek reverberated throughout the deck. Even with both doors closed and locked, Joker heard it as if she was right next to him.

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!

"Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit!" he repeated like mantra.

He spotted the maintenance shaft in the far back corner. He quickly made his way there and clutched the safety railing like a lifeline. The pain in his legs was burning something fierce. Sweat was running down his face in rivets and stinging his eyes. He was sure his hat was soaked like a sponge. He rubbed at his eyes and head in an effort to dry himself off before looking up. What he saw caused him to cry out and stagger back. He bumped into a table behind him and distantly heard several pieces of glassware breaking.

He didn't care though. Another giant bug husk thing was right outside the window, floating around the drive core.

He looked at the tiny dark hole he was supposed to crawl around in. "Shit," he said before going quickly.

He had no idea what was down there and could only hope that whatever the Collectors sent were too big to fit.

~o~O~o~

Location: The Phoenix Massing Nebula / Typhon System / Normandy SR-2 / Life Support Plant / In Orbit Above Aite

The shaft wasn't as dark as he thought. Small lights were interspaced to provide enough illumination to navigate by, but it was still small and cramped. Without the use of his legs, he had to rely almost solely on his arms as he pulled and clawed his way to the end. He grabbed at anything for purchase and dragged himself to the Crew Deck.

At least there aren't any face-humping aliens down here. I really, really hope there aren't any here. Please don't let any be here. Please don't let me die like that.

Joker finally spotted a bright light at the end and redoubled his efforts. The emergency alarm was still blaring and grated on his fraying nerves.

"There are multiple hostiles on the Crew Deck," EDI warned. "Be careful."

"Shit. Yeah, thanks," he grunted out. He finally reached the ladder and hauled himself up. Just then, he felt something wrap around his arm, causing him to gasp and slip. Whatever grabbed his arm held on though, preventing him from falling and shattering his brittle bones in his legs.

"Don't worry, Joker! I got you!" Hawthorne said through gritted teeth. "Ah, fuck! This hurts!"

Joker looked up to see his fellow helmsman holding on to him and pulling him out. He grabbed the ladder again and took struggled out of the shaft. "Thanks, Hawthorne."

Hawthorne nodded and shook his bandaged right hand to relieve the pain.

"What are you doing here?" Joker asked.

Hawthorne held up a pistol in his left hand. "I figured Krios would have a pistol or two on hand down here. With my busted hand, this is only thing I can use. EDI called us and let us know you were coming."

"I got to get to the AI Core," Joker said through heavy breaths.

"I know. Watch yourself: this deck is crawling with those things," Hawthorne warned. He ran up to the door. "Stay close – I'll protect you!"

Feeling immense relief that he wasn't alone anymore, Joker gingerly made his way to Hawthorne's side.

Hawthorne opened the door and poked his head out. "Oh, shit! Kelly!"

Kelly was crying and screaming for anyone to save her as she struggled against a husk that was pulling her into the elevator.

"I'm going to distract them! Make a break for it!" Hawthorne said. He ran out, gun blazing.

Moments later, Hawthorne howled in pain before he was bodily tossed into a bulkhead right in front of Joker.

Joker cowered down behind the partition and prayed that whatever got Hawthorne wouldn't suddenly round the corner and get him as well.

Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit, shit…

Kelly's frantic shrieks faded. Once again, Joker had to remind himself that the Collectors wanted humans alive.

Except we kinda blew up their ship.

Joker gulped and forced that treacherous thought away. Even if the Collectors were pissed about what Shepard did, taking them alive would allow them to do whatever it was they wanted humans for – which meant that there was time to save them.

Only if I move my ass and get to the damn AI Core!

When nothing attacked him, he mustered his courage and slowly walked up to the corner and peered out.

Shit, shit, shit.

The husk that had tossed Hawthorne had his back turned and away from him.

Holding his breath and hoping his hammering heart wouldn't give him away, Joker quickly made his way around the elevator and into the Med Bay. He closed and locked the door before hitting the button to turn the windows opaque.

Once done, he looked around the room frantically, but Dr. Chakwas was nowhere to be seen. "Oh, shit, Chakwas… shit…"

"Main fusion plant offline. Activating emergency H-fuel cells," EDI announced.

"What the shit…" Joker said in a shaky voice. He swiped a bottle of pain meds and swallowed a couple before pushing on to the AI Core. Once inside, he sealed himself in and looked down at the console. "All right, I'm at, uh, you."

EDI's avatar popped up nearby. "Connect the core to the Normandy's primary control module," she instructed.

Joker let out a ragged breath. He couldn't believe what he was about to do. "Great. See, this is where it starts, and when we're all just organic batteries, guess who they'll blame?" he grumbled to himself. The distant sounds of gunfire and fearful screams were petering out, forcing him to work quicker. "'This is all Joker's fault. What a tool he was. Now I have to spend all day computing pi because he plugged in the Overlord.'"

The moment he finished, EDI avatar seemed to expand rapidly, as if she were creating an avatar to cover the entire ship. Joker instinctively raised his hands to cover himself.

When nothing happened, he lowered his arms and looked around. He could hear all the machinery in the room running even louder than before. Beeps and chirps almost sounded like they came from everywhere. The emergency lights were now flickering, but the lights around the EDI's core had gone dim.

"I knew this was a bad idea…" Joker muttered.

As soon as the words left his lips, everything lit up again.

"Um…"

"I have access to the Normandy's primary systems. The virus has been purged. All systems are back online. I have control. Thank you, Jeff," EDI said. Her normal-sized avatar appeared back on its pedestal. "However, I cannot erect any firewalls in time to block out the foreign program. You must relocate to engineering immediately. Time is of the essence."

Joker groaned. "You want me to go crawling through the ducts again!"

"I enjoy the sight of humans on their knees," EDI said.

Joker blanched and gave EDI an incredulous look.

"That is a joke."

"Right," Joker murmured.

"The shaft behind you connects to the Engineering Deck. Good luck," EDI said.

~o~O~o~

Location: The Phoenix Massing Nebula / Typhon System / Normandy SR-2 / Sub-Decks / In Orbit Above Aite

"How the hell does Tali do this?" Joker said to himself as he pushed his way through the shafts. "Or Ken? The guy's all big and burly!"

"I can disable artificial gravity if it will assist you, Jeff," EDI offered.

Joker almost sighed in relief. "Yeah, do it."

When she shut down gravity and he felt himself leave the floor of the tunnel he was in, he really did sigh in relief and bliss. He had always loved zero-g. It was the only time his legs never bothered him. He didn't feel the pressure or the pain shooting up his spine, as if someone were shoving needles right into his spinal cord. He didn't feel the uselessness of his lower limbs. And he always moved, or rather, floated just as well as anyone else now. Better than most even, since he enjoyed it and reveled in the feeling of weightlessness.

He grabbed a pipe and pulled hard. He drifted down the shafted now, making excellent time compared to his clumsy efforts earlier. Using his arms to direct his direction and speed to avoid banging into the walls, he easily traversed the ducts until he came upon a ladder.

He floated out and looked around. "Oh, shit."

I hope Jack doesn't find out I was in her room…

Floating up, he prepared to make his way to the starboard side stairs when EDI stopped him. "Jeff, wait. There are hostiles present in engineering. They are heading back towards the cargo bay. Take the portside stairs to avoid detection."

Joker heard the heavy footfalls of a husk overhead and decided to follow EDI's instructions. Turning around he took the other set of stairs and paused at the door to engineering. He put his head against the metal and listened intently for anything amiss.

"Main engineering is clear. You must trust me, Jeff. We cannot afford to wait. The program has almost uploaded itself into the Normandy's mainframe," EDI urged.

Knowing he didn't have any choice in the matter, he took the proverbial leap of faith and floated right in. He remembered seeing a giant floating husk around the Tantalus Drive Core, but to his utter relief, it was gone.

Both doors that lead into engineering shut and locked themselves, sealing him in.

"Stand by. I am engaging artificial gravity," EDI said.

Joker planted his feet on the ground before feeling the familiar pressure on his body and pain in his legs again.

"I am sealing the engine room and activating the primary drive," EDI said.

"What good will that do?" Joker asked.

"I will open the airlocks as we accelerate. All hostiles will be killed and we will be out of communications range of Aite, severing the connection from the other artificial intelligence program," EDI revealed. "You will be safe in here."

"What? Wait! W-what about the crew? !" Joker cried out.

"They are gone, Jeff. The Collectors took them. You are the only one left," EDI said with surprising gentleness, even remorse. "Hold on."

Joker gripped the nearest railing like his life depended on it. "Shit."

"Accelerating to FTL."

He barely managed to hold on from the sudden surge of g-force that threatened to plant him on his ass. After only a few seconds, the feeling passed and he stood straighter on wobbly legs.

"Purge is complete. No other life forms on board. Securing airlocks and cargo bay doors," EDI informed.

Joker groaned and took a deep shuddering breath. "Is-is that it?"

"Stand by," EDI said.

"Ah, shit," Joker said as he leaned heavily against the railing. "We should send a message to—"

"Alert: DX-57 Tactical Explosive has been detected in the hangar. It is armed," EDI announced.

"Wha—? Goddamn it, they're trying to scuttle us!" Joker said.

"That is one scenario. I believe their real aim is to destroy the Reaper IFF."

"Where the hell did they get one those things?"

"The signature indicates that it is ours."

Joker gaped. "What?"

"It is the DX-57 Captain Shepard was forced to leave behind during his incursion within the Collector ship," EDI elaborated.

"What do we do? I don't know how to disarm a bomb!"

"You must jettison it immediately, Jeff."

"Shit…"

"Opening doors. I am disabling artificial gravity again," EDI said.

Gently leaping off the floor, Joker quickly floated out of engineering and down toward the hangar. "Can't you, I don't know, hack it or something?" he asked.

"These devices are specifically designed so they cannot be accessed or disabled remotely," EDI answered.

"Shit!" Joker shouted in frustration and hearing his curse echo in the massive room. He saw the bomb sitting right where the Kodiak would be and flew down to it. He grimaced when he saw the half melted remains of several husks floating around and took care to avoid them all as if they all carried the plague. "I'm probably going to have to clean all this shit too. Shit."

"Decelerating from FTL," EDI informed. "I will open the bay doors."

"Okay…" he said nervously. "This isn't going to, you know, blow up if I touch it, right?"

"I do not believe so," EDI said.

"'I do not believe so'?" Joker repeated in dismay. The timer read five minutes and falling.

"There is no way for me to know how much the Collectors have tampered or modified the DX-57," EDI said. "The only fact we can be sure of is that neither of us want it aboard the Normandy whilst it is still active."

"Right," Joker said in resignation. He reached out and cautiously tapped it before withdrawing his hand quickly. He exhaled a sigh of relief when he didn't die in an explosion of fire and brimstone. He easily picked the bomb off the ground and started towing it toward the hangar door.

He grabbed onto one of the supports along the sides the hangar to arrest his momentum and wait for the main door finish opening. Once he was sure he the bomb would float outside without complications, he gave it a hard push and let it drift out into space. "Okay, it's gone!"

"Well done, Jeff. Closing doors. Relocating to safe distance," EDI replied.

Joker let go of the strut and just floated in place with his eyes closed. He felt limp and tired, as if he aged 20 years in 20 minutes. He just waited for his heart and breathing rate to come down from the triple digits a minute to something resembling normal.

"Explosion detected. No damage sustained," EDI reported after a few minutes. "Are you feeling well, Jeff?"

"Are there any other pressing life and death emergencies I need to take care of right this minute?" Joker asked without opening his eyes.

"No. We are safe for the time being, though I recommend we stay away from Aite or the route to the mass relay for now," she replied.

"Then no, I'm not okay," Joker answered to her earlier inquiry. He rubbed his face to ward of some of the exhaustion that threatened to overwhelm him. "Send a message to Shepard. Tell him what happened."

"It would be best to wait, Jeff. If the Collectors tracked our signal, they could trace it to our current location. Or worse, they would know that Shepard is conducting a mission on the planet's surface."

"Whenever you feel is best then," Joker said. He started floated up to the elevator and hoped that none of the water supplies were torched in the purge. Not to mention the unenviable task of visually inspecting the aftermath of the attack and how much there was to clean up before going after the bastards. "And thanks. For everything."

Somehow, he got the feeling that if she could, EDI would be smiling. "You're welcome."

~o~O~o~

Author's Notes:

Yeah! Almost there now!

I know the chapter was a little short, but so was the mission. At least I'm at the home stretch!

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