Chapter 11: Hades’ Dogs

“This Lawson guy, I don’t trust him.” Leo said. The small band of Blue Suns mercenaries were dropping into the lower atmosphere of the planet Horizon. They were contracted on short notice by a black market dealer that wanted his cargo delivered with care.

“I’m telling ya, we’ll be in and out in no time. I’ve never had a problem with him.” Vince said.

“I know the money’s good but I’ve heard strange things about this ‘Sanctuary’. It’s not what they claim it to be.” Leo said.

“Where did you hear that crap?” Johnny piped up from the back, standing by the cargo.

Leo looked like he was descending into the mouth of hell itself, “I just hear it, ok. People have been disappearing inside. By the dozens.”

“Would you relax?” Vince said. Vince was the leader of the 3. “Of course people are disappearing. Sanctuary is open to all refugee’s, they’ve got lines people waiting to get in like Johnny’s got people waiting to get lines of red sand. Ain’t that right Johnny boy?”

Johnny let out a grumbled, “Hrumph.”

“Guess I’m the only one who found that funny.” Vince said. Vince turned around to the shuttle pilot, “How much longer till we land?”

“Bringing her in now sir.” The pilot said.

From outside the glass building within the garden environment of the complex, Henry Lawson watches the small cargo shuttle touch down on the landing pad. Over the past month he’d done a lot of research before deciding to buy. But a close friend of his highly encouraged him to go through with the purchase. Now that the credits cleared, he was anxiously awaiting his new toy.The Blue Suns were right on time, if not a little cautious. Every one of the 3 mercs were armed. But that wasn’t a problem. Lawson expected them to carry weapons, he’d planned accordingly. He sat up from his desk and moved toward the door, two body guards armed with rifles followed him out. Lawson walked down the short path towards the men that slowly carried the 1 cargo crate out of the shuttle.

“Thank you for being so punctual.” Lawson said with a large smile, “You have no idea how much time you’ve saved me. Can I see it?” Lawson steamrolled them, walking talking and moving fast. He wanted to catch them off guard. To steer the exchange in his favor.

“Of course.” Vince said. Vince and Johnny unlatched the cover of the crate from the bottom and lifted it off and to the side.

“Oh, it’s magnificent! You don’t mind if I check to see that it’s working?” Lawson asked next. This was all a form of negotiation to him, first get them to give a little, then a lot.

Vince readied his pistol, in case anything went wrong. He wasn’t exactly sure what the device was but it wasn’t his job to be an expert. “No problem at all.” Vince said.

Lawson punched a few buttons on the machine. Lo and behold it sprang to life.

“Wow, can you believe that. It glows blue!” Lawson exclaimed.  The weapons of the 3 mercs began to levitate out of their hands and upwards out of reach. Lawson’s bodyguards kept a safe distance and held onto their weapons.

“Oh and few other surprises too.” Lawson chuckled.

“Turn it off!” Vince said.

Leo began to get nervous, “See I told you this was a bad idea!”

Lawson pretended to punch a few more buttons on the device, feigning ignorance. “I’m trying to. But I don’t seem to know how… Don’t worry. I’ll take it in this condition.”

Vince thought for a moment, “I suppose that’ll do. You already paid for it.” Vince said.

“Ah, but I didn’t. You see after the credits cleared, I rescinded the transaction a moment ago.”

“WHAT?” Vince began to get angry.

“Well you see, when you can get something for free. Why pay for it?” Lawson smiled wider, “Surprise!”

“We’re not leaving until we get our payment.” Vince demanded.

Lawson punched a few more buttons on the device. The machine began to whir and generate a pulse field around the 3 Blue Suns mercs.

Lawson hit the final key, “No, you won’t be leaving at all…”

***

“So what does it do?” Anderson asked Dr. Gillette in the research tent.

“Well it does a number of things.” Gillette began, but Carter gave him a stern look before he could start, “All of which you can read about in my preliminary report.” Gillette said. “The better question to ask right now is what am I planning to do with the device. And to that I would say, I’m going to try and invert the transformation functions, you know the ones that turn people into monsters and turn that signal or pulse or whatever it is into a destruction pulse.”

“A destruction pulse?” Anderson asked.

“Well, it’s a whole lot more complicated than it sounds.” Gillette continued, “In… in the simplest terms I want to use the reaper tech we gathered from dreadnought and try to backwards engineer it and the artifact to create a pulse that would… essentially destroy the reapers on the ground… and the large… ships.”

“Sounds ambitious.” Anderson said. “I can start to understand why Hackett believes this to be so important.” Anderson looked at Carter in the eyes, “But I don’t agree with the wanton sacrifice of human lives to achieve  it.”

Carter ignored him.

“Well, carry on. I won’t take more of your time.” Anderson said shaking Dr. Gillette’s hand. Anderson walked out of the tent.

“So when will the first test be ready?” Carter asked the Dr.

“We’ll need a few hours and secure perimeter. No one should be allowed in or out of the tent during the procedure.” The Dr. said.

“I’ll make sure you get everything you need.” Carter lifted a fresh cigarette to his lips.

“Excellent… Have you talked to the Man yet?”

Carter lit his cigarette and began puffing, “I haven’t had the time yet or the opportunity to slip out.”

“You’ll want to soon. He needs to know how far we’ve come.”

“I always find it strange talking to him. It’s like looking in a mirror. Ha ha,” Carter and the Dr. shared an awkward laugh.

“Why do you say that?” Asked the Dr. “Is it because you both smoke?”

Carter let out a long stream of smoke through his nostrils, “Nah, I always thought we had the same eyes.”

The Dr. stared at Carter, confused.

“Well anyway, I should get going. After all I want to be back before the performance begins.” Carter said leaving the tent. He took a long drag from the cigarette and then stomped it out underfoot. Carter walked through the camp and to the command center. He peeked through the opening, Anderson was inside. Carter decided not to go in, instead he walked to one of the barracks trailers. His last mission, although brilliantly executed in his eyes, also left the camp somewhat deserted. The empty barracks presented Carter with just the opportunity to make a private communication. He stepped into the dark room and locked the door. He sat down on one of the beds, then he pulled up his omni-tool and a partial hologram.

“Colonel, to what do I owe the pleasure?” The Illusive man said.

“The Skyfall project is back in full swing. We’ll be ready for testing in matter of hours.”

“Perfect. You’re just in time with the project at Sanctuary. Henry Lawson acquired an artifact this morning. I’m sending you his findings right now, please forward them to Dr. Gillette.”

“I will. Other than that, Admiral Anderson could be a problem.” Carter said.

“I already tried to assassinate him once.” The Illusive Man said. “Since then he’s proved to be useful, in his own way. I’m afraid you’re going to have to deal with him yourself.”

“If it comes to that.” Carter admitted.

“Is there anything else to report?”

“Only the Dr.’s report. Foreward it along to Mr. Lawson.”

“Will do. Until next time Colonel.” The Illusive Man cut the transmission.

Carter stood up. He hated reporting in to the Illusive Man. He didn’t believe in his authority. But he did it out of necessity. The Colonel believed his whole life in the cause of humanity. The cause of Cerberus. He had to, because he was a younger, enhanced, genetic clone of the Illusive Man himself.

***

Marcus stood outside the children’s kindergarten and daycare nervously. His two sons Lorik and Adrien were inside. Lorik was 6 years old and in the first grade of primary school. Adrien was 5 and in kindergarten. Marcus watched them, they were playing together in the playground area behind the fence. He didn’t want to interrupt them. they were having such a good time laughing and giggling. They both liked playing spectres and outlaws even though as the oldest Lorik got to be the spectre more often. Adrien made up for it by being a better and better villain. They were also incredible shots with their slingshots. The daycare didn’t permit them to carry the small “weapons” as they saw it but Lorik and Adrien snuck them in anyway. Marcus finally went inside, he’d decided not to tell them about what happened to granddad. They were too young. Childhood shouldn’t be marked by such sadness. That’s why they wouldn’t be going home right away. Martha and Emily were still grieving, if Lorik and Adrien saw them they’d start asking too many questions. It wasn’t the best place for them right now. Marcus spoke to one of the attendants at the front desk that let him through and out into the play yard.

“Lorik! Adrien! Over here!” Marcus called their attention. The two boys ran up to him and put their arms around his legs hugging him.

“Daddy!’ the two boys screamed.

“Oh, I love you so much.” Marcus lifted Adrien up and into his arms and gave him a hug, he was still young enough to carry.

“Daddy what are you doing home?” Lorik asked.

“I’m here on shore leave.”

“What’s shore leave?” Adrien asked.

“It’s when your daddy’s ship comes into port for a day. They repair it and refuel it and then tomorrow I go back.” Marcus explained.

“You go back?” Adrien didn’t want his daddy to leave.

“Don’t worry I don’t leave until tomorrow. We’re going to do something special today. Just the three of us.”

“What are we going to do?” Lorik asked.

“Well we’ve got two options, we could go to the arcade or we could go see a movie.”

“I want to see a movie.” Adrien said raising his hand as if it counted more to his vote.

“Can we watch Blasto?” Lorik asked.

“I don’t know, you’re too young for that.” Marcus didn’t want to disappoint them but he wasn’t going to let his emotions get in the way of his parenting.

“I’m sorry we can’t go to see Blasto. That movie’s for adults. But we can go see Spectre Kids instead. That movie’s just as good!” He said.

“No it isn’t. It’s not as good as Blasto. Blasto’s the best. He doesn’t follow the rules. He makes the rules.” Lorik said.

“That’s precisely why he’s a bad influence. You shouldn’t want to be like Blasto, you should try to be like Daddy, I follow all the rules. Why? Because the rules matter. Not because anybody says so, but because they keep us safe. They keep the galaxy safe and they keep us from doing very very bad things that would make us very very bad people. But I didn’t come here to argue, come on, get your things. Lets go see Spectre Kids: And the Evil Dr. Pyjak!” Marcus tried to make it sound cool and exciting. Adrien was too young to care what he saw and threw his arms up in the air as he ran inside to get his backpack. But all Lorik could say was, “But I wanted to see Blasto.”

***

The night club Purgatory on the Citadel was loud and obnoxious and open all day. After all it was always night somewhere in the galaxy. Jack and Chesterton walked in about an hour after noon and picked out a table in the corner. Chesterton went to stand in line at the automated teller machines. He didn’t carry around a large balance on his credit chit all the time. For the moment Jack was enjoying herself. She ordered a drink and sat back casually in her chair and crossed one leg on top of the other. Chester was nice and kind and charming, all the things she didn’t like in a man but he also had a hot body and air of mystery about him. Like there was something more to him than the staunch military bravado. And in any case she was having fun with him, which went a long way towards the privilege of spending any sort of extended time with her. Chesterton didn’t talk much, which was an added bonus and that led Jack to believe he had a dark side. He didn’t speak much about his history which was littered with black ops missions and classified postings. But the quality of Chesterton that intrigued her remained a mystery. She watched him make the transaction and walk back to the table. There was something familiar about him that she couldn’t quite pinpoint.

“So are you planning on being a big spender? Is it your goal to get drunk?” Jack said.

“It can be.” Chesterton teased.

“Well then order us a round of shots. Let’s get this party started.”

In the next hour they got drunk. Too drunk. Chesterton kept paying for the drinks and Jack kept pounding them down.

“You know what the best part was,” Chesterton said taking a drink, “When that banshee bitch grabbed you slipped out and killed her with a knockout punch.”

“That was nothing you should have seen what it was like down there in the mines. When the first one of those things jumped on me. You should have seen my face, it was like what the fuck! You know, and before I knew it I was running as fast as I could away from a hundred of them. Fucking hell dude. I must have left a trail of parts for miles down there.” She said.

“No, no you’re right I was wrong that wasn’t the best part. But you’re not right either. The best part was when we got back to the ship and the Dr. had you tied up on the table.”

“You son of a bitch!”Jack laughed and teased. “I knew it. You’re such a pervert.”

Jack started to flirt while wasted.

“And you’re not?”

Jack tried to think of a reason but couldn’t, “Can’t argue with that.”

Chesterton looked into her eyes for a moment.

“You know your tattoos are beautiful.” He said.

Jack practically gagged on her drink.

“Excuse me! You did not just fucking go there.” She slammed her shot glass on the table. “First they’re not beautiful, they’re badass. Sometimes they come with scars, sometimes they come with victories. But they’re none of your fucking business.”

“Whoah, gees I’m sorry.” Chesterton said.

“You should be. Because what you said…” Jack felt really uncomfortable, “It was totally amateur.”

“Like what?”

“Like, like you were falling in love… or some stupid shit like that. Lets get this straight. I don’t want any strings. I’ve got too many loose ends already. I can’t have anyone pulling them apart.”

“Alright I can deal with that. They’re none of my fucking business. But you’re wrong. They’re still beautiful.”

Jack didn’t know what to say. She tensed up and folded her arms. Maybe he didn’t mean anything by it. Maybe he was just stupid. Or maybe he was right. She was just being a dick about her tatts and he wasn’t afraid to admire them. Either way he stood up to her, he wasn’t a pussy and she had to admire that.

“Ok, maybe you’re right.” She said, “But call them something else if you have to. They’re not beautiful. Beauty implies emotion, and that’s not what I want right now.”

Chesterton spoke calmly in a serious tone, “I’m sorry Jack. I can’t call them anything other than what they are.”

Jack got really flustered, “Fuck why did you have to bring it up? Why did you have to ruin this? I was having a lot of fun with you.”

“Well I’m sorry Jack but I can’t keep, just having fun. Not when I’m starting to feel more. If you’re not into it. There’s no sense in pretending. That’s fine… Say it and I can just leave.”

“Oh for fuck sake, don’t give me that. I told you I’ve got loose ends, I can’t just forget about everything and be your little bitch. It doesn’t work that way. I hardly even know you and you want more from me! Well tough luck, you’re not gonna get it. If you want to stick around and see where things go. That’s fine.”

Chesterton thought it over, “Alright then. Lets just see where things go.”

They didn’t talk for several minutes.

Jack broke the silence “Order another round of shots for both of us. I want to forget this ever happened.”

Chesterton agreed, “Me too.” He got up and walked over to the bar. He kept thinking, he’d screwed up. Jack wasn’t that kind of girl and he’d misread her. Meanwhile Jack was thinking she’d screwed up. Maybe she was getting soft and letting people get too close. Maybe, teaching had changed her. She did grow her hair out and cut down on swearing her students out but she was still the same person. She was the same person right? She asked herself. Chesterton walked back with two trays of glasses and a bottle of tequila.

“It never happened.” He said. “Lets drink till we remember it that way.”

Jack bit the inside of her cheek, looked up at him and said, “Ok.”

***

Marcus sat beside his two sons in the dark theater. He bought them both candy and drinks from the concessions, he didn’t want either of them to not enjoy the movie. Even though it was a little grating on his tastes he did his best to fake laughter at every cheap gag. The movie was loud and annoying but Marcus still noticed a sound coming from the ventilation shaft above him. Then he heard voices, that didn’t sound like they were coming from the movie.

“We’re going the wrong way.” The voice of one man said to the other.

“I told you the mission notes said that we were to create a distraction. The more we spread out C-sec the better.” The second man said.

“So we’re supposed to just drop in and start shooting people?” The first man said.

Marcus began to react, he always carried a concealed pistol with him. Weapons of any kind weren’t allowed on the Citadel except for law enforcement and respected military personnel. Marcus fit into the latter category.

“That’s exactly what we’re going to do.” The second voice said.

“Boys get down! Under the seats!” Marcus yelled at them. He took out his gun. Lorik dropped his candy on the floor, he looked up at his dad and got scared, he knew how dangerous a real gun could be.

The Cerberus troopers dropped down in the front isle, Marcus fired 5 shots into each of them. The two troopers fell dead before either one of them could do any damage. The entire Audience broke into a panic. Parents and their kids tripped over their seats scrambling and running for the doors. Marcus grabbed his kids from under their seats and led them out the back exit. They ran out into the lobby of the theater, in front of the lobby were a line of Cerberus troopers and shielded centurions who started firing on the crowd. Marcus sent his boys into the restroom beside him. He took aim with his pistol and started to fire on the terrorist hostiles. He drew their focus away from the civilians giving them time to escape. The four enemies marched on his position with their assault rifles. Marcus took cover in the doorway of the restroom. 1 by 1 he shot them down with superior training and accuracy.  The group of enemies fell to the ground dead. Marcus marched out into the empty lobby on alert for any more hostiles. None appeared. In the silence he could hear a pin drop. The employee’s taking cover behind the concessions slowly popped out. Marcus whipped around to see what created the noise. He checked his weapon. He was a little too nervous since he was protecting more than himself, he was protecting his boys. The employee’s ducked down again scared.

“Sorry, sorry.” Marcus said. “I think it’s safe to come out now.”

“It’s ok, I startled you.” The young asari woman said, “You saved our lives.”

It was obvious when the clapping started that those who had witnessed the event saw Marcus as a hero. A little boy about Lorik’s age went up to him and asked, “Who is that?” pointing at Marcus.

Lorik turned to him and proudly said, “That’s my dad!”

A smoke grenade crashed through the window into the lobby. Marcus narrowly escaped the hail of bullets that followed. He ran for his children, grabbed their hands and led them out the back exit of the building. He’d stopped the first wave but not the second. He burst through the door and into the alleyway. He pushed Lorik and Adrien running scared in front of him, he wanted to keep them in sight. In the street a Cerberus Engineer laid an automatic turret. Marcus was moving too fast to see it from behind. He led his sons across the street into the next alleyway. It would be safer to stay out of sight. The turret activated and aimed for the first person it tracked. Lorik got hit with a stray bullet before he could make it to cover.

“LORIK!” Marcus shouted. He shoved Adrien into cover ahead and dropped to his knees. He pulled Lorik into cover behind the wall while the turret kept firing a stream of bullets. Lorik began to cry from the pain. Marcus quickly checked the wound acting on instinct as a soldier. It hit Lorik low and in the back. There was a good chance that if he received immediate medical attention that he would be fine. Marcus picked his boy up and carried him in his arms. He wracked his brain for the location of the nearest hospital.

“Daddy, is Lori going to be ok?” Adrien started to cry, and Marcus was beginning to lose his tears as well, “He will be, just follow me close.” His eyes watered up, “Follow daddy real close.”

***

Chesterton brought Jack back to his apartment. It wasn’t long before they were back on good terms with each other. The tequila also helped. They were kissing each other on the way there, they were kissing each other through the doorway, they were kissing each other all over the furniture, far and away from the attacks on the Citadel by Cerberus. Chesterton made sure of it. He kissed Jack in a drunken passion. He was crazy, almost as crazy as she was but he wasn’t going to put her life in danger. He decided that she was worth saving. Worth keeping. And against regulation he casually left out all mention of her on the Illusive Man’s reports. But that doesn’t mean that the Illusive Man didn’t know. He knew all the movements of all his agents. He just didn’t have any current plans for Jack. But Chesterton did. He was going to have fun with her. He was going to drag this relationship of convenience out until the last bitter end. And he’d do it by romancing her and winning her heart… If she had one. Chesterton lead her into the bedroom and closed the door. She followed like giddy teenager in reckless joy. The smile on her face was happy. Happier than she’d been in a long while. She was falling all over him. He had her wrapped around his little finger. His charm was too strong. He felt powerful. He threw her onto the bed and jumped on top of her. They were wild and passionate. They had a good thing going and Chesterton didn’t want it to stop.

***

“Emily, come down to the hospital immediately.” Marcus said emotionally into the telephone. “Lorik’s in the ER. He’s hurt. Badly.”

Emily had been watching the breaking news, in the last 30 minutes Cerberus attacks broke out all over the Citadel. On the screen was a reporter Ms. Khalisah Al-Jilani the screen was muted for the phone call but the ticker tape reported that Commander Shepard stopped a bloody Cerberus coup on the Citadel Council.

“Oh my God what happened?!” Emily almost screamed.

“Cerberus. He caught a gunshot wound to the torso. Please you’ve got to get down here.” Marcus cried into the phone, “Ema, they’re performing emergency surgery on him, I can’t wait for him alone!”

Emily tried to stay strong, she was already emotionally drained. Her son was badly hurt, she didn’t know how to process it yet. “What hospital are you at?”

Marcus looked up at the sign, “Citadel Central General Hospital,” he answered, “get here quick honey I need you.”

“I’ll be there as fast as I can. Marcus, I love you.”

“I love you too.”

Emily grabbed her purse and ran out the door. Her mother Martha Whitaker followed. “What’s going on, what’s got you in a rush?” She asked her daughter who ran to the elevator of their building.

“Lorik’s been hurt. We need to go to the hospital.”

An expression of deathly worry crossed over the grandmother’s face, “What? How badly?” Martha stepped into the elevator with Emily. Emily pressed the lobby button, the door closed.

“We don’t know. He’s in surgery.”

“Surgery. Good GOD! WHAT HAPPENED?” Martha was beginning to get hysterical.

“Mom, would you please settle down!” Emily was losing her composure. “First I find out that Dad is dead. Now my son is hurt. You’re screaming at me. My husband can barely keep himself together. And Cerberus shot my 6 year old son! How do you think this is all supposed to make me feel!” Emily began to sob in the elevator. It was all too much for her to handle. Martha reacted the way any mother would. She saw her daughter crying in incredible emotional pain and she put her arms around her.

“I’m sorry,” Martha said. “I’m so sorry.” She started to cry with her. “I don’t know what to do. And I know you don’t know what to do. We’ve lost so much today. But we can’t lose Lorik. It just can’t happen. It just won’t. You’ve gotta have faith. Let’s just focus on getting to the hospital. We can let the doctors tell us how to worry.”

Emily wiped the tears from her eyes. She couldn’t speak. The elevator door opened and Martha led her daughter out of the lobby and to a taxi cab.

“Where to?” The cab driver asked.

“Just drive to the nearest hospital!” Martha said.

“Which one?”

“Citadel Central.” Emily barely made out the words. She was so flushed, she looked like a ghost. The cab lifted off the ground and started moving. Ten minutes later they arrived at the hospital, Marcus was in the waiting room with Adrien sitting beside him.

“No I don’t want an interview!” He shouted at the reporter who was desperately trying to get an interview with “The Man Who Saved The Movie Theater!” Marcus had held Cerberus off long enough for Citadel Security to respond.

“Are you sure?” The reporter asked again. “You saved a lot of lives. It seems unfair that in your escape that your son had to suffer for your brave deeds.”

Marcus stood up and yelled in her face, “Don’t you dare talk about my son!”

“Marcus, settle down.” Emily said. Martha grabbed security from the front door and they threatened the reporter to back off so she gave up and left.

“Thank you Mom.” Marcus said. “That’s what I should have done.”

“Was what she said true?” Martha asked. “Did you really save people’s lives?”

“At the risk of my own and my sons? Yes. I saved a lot of lives.” He said and began to have a panic attack. “I was stupid. I was stupid and I was wrong. I should have taken him to see Blasto. Lorik wanted to see Blasto. Now Lorik has a bullet in his gut and it’s all my fault. Blasto was playing in a different theater. A theater far from Cerberus attacks. If we had gone to Blasto like he wanted he’d be fine, we’d be at home instead of here waiting for any news that he’s alive. It’s all my fault!”

Martha stood and watched him pace back and forth in a fit of worry.

“No it’s not!” Emily shouted. “It is not your fault. It’s Cerberus’ fault. They shot him not you. And don’t think for a second that you know what would have happened because you don’t. If you hadn’t been there in that theater, it could have been dozens of  fathers and their sons pouring into this hospital instead of you and you know it.”

Marcus took a deep breath. “I suppose you’re right.”

“Of course I’m right.” Emily said and she gave her husband a hug.

Martha Whitaker began to cry.

“What is it mom?” Emily asked.

Martha began to tremble and say, “I was wrong.” Her hands shook as she wiped the tears from her eyes. “I was so terribly wrong… I’m so sorry Marcus. I’ve been a terrible person. I’ve been thinking about it all day. Since I learned that George died.” She broke into tears but fought to keep talking, “I couldn’t stop thinking about everything he’d ever said about you. How he went to your wedding and I didn’t. How he went to visit our grandchildren and I didn’t. I’ve been such a despicable person and I missed out on so much of your lives. And today we could lose baby Lorik…”  Martha choked on the words, “And I wasn’t there when he was alive and happy.”

“Mommy is Lori gonna die?” 5 year old Adrien began to cry.

“No sweety that’s not going to happen.” Emily picked him up from his chair and gave him a hug.

“I’m sorry.” Martha gave Marcus a hug. “I’m so sorry son. I was wrong. Could you ever forgive me?”

“You don’t even have to ask, Mom.” He said comforting her, “You don’t even have to ask.”

***

“I appreciate your creativity Henry but Cerberus does’t need a mascot.” The Illusive man said to Mr. Lawson over the communications channel. Lawson was in a large laboratory building on the Sanctuary complex. He had used the artifact to turn the 3 Blue Suns mercenaries, Leo, Vince and Johnny into a strange 3 headed synthetic jackal hound. They were walking behind Henry pacing around.

“No, they’re my personal pets. I wanted to show you how far we’ve come with the Reaper control signal.” Mr. Lawson explained.

“If you could, would you please not waste any more resources on extraneous projects.” The Illusive Man appeared agitated.

“What was there to waste? I saved them. It would have been wasteful to kill them. I mean after all isn’t that what we’re doing to all the refugees?” Lawson was talking about the pilot program Cerberus was running on the refugee camp. Everyone inside were rounded up as test subjects for Cerberus experiments.

“You make a solid point Mr. Lawson.”

“Thank you.” Henry said pridefully. “Did you happen to pass along my research notes to Dr. Gillette yet?”

“I have, and he also sends his report.”

“Burn it. I don’t need his findings.”

“I’ve read them.” The Illusive Man said. “The Dr. seems to believe that the device can not only control the reaper ground forces but also the reapers themselves.”

“I could have told you that days ago. Of course it can. Making it do that however is another thing entirely.” Henry Lawson began to toy around with the active artifact.

“You seem to have an extensive understanding of the device’s language.” The Illusive Man observed.

“It’s actually quite simple. It’s a logical language. Like Latin in form, but completely unlike Latin in sound. I’m surprised the Alliance was fumbling in the dark as long as they did. You’d think they would have brought linguists onto the project.”

“They did actually.” The Illusive Man corrected him. “Some of the best experts in the galaxy.”

“Yes, but none of them are me.” Lawson said pridefully.

“Well I’m glad that we were able to meet such an agreement. Your work is an asset to Cerberus.”

“Thank you. Now if you’ll excuse me I have something urgent that needs to be done.” Mr. Lawson said.

“Of course.” The Illusive Man cut the signal.

Lawson turned around and beckoned to his 3 headed dog. Whistling for it to follow. He walked out of the lab and down the hall to a small room with a jail cell. Inside was the Blue Suns shuttle pilot.

“What are you doing here? I told you I don’t know anything.” The pilot said. His face was badly beaten and bloodied as if he had been tortured.

“I want you to meet your old friends. Leo, Vince and Johnny.” Henry introduced each of the three heads. They were barking and yelping at the pilot and drooling viciously on the floor. Tamed only by Henry’s control.

“What did you do to them?!” The pilot exclaimed.

“I think you should be asking, what are they going to do to you?” Henry opened the cell and let the dogs in at him. They began to rip and tear the man to pieces in front of Henry’s gleeful eyes.

Chapter 12: Transhuman

Navigation: Chapter 1: Resistance Earth, Chapter 2: Grissom AcademyChapter 3: A Knife in The DarkChapter 4: Smoke and ShadowsChapter 5: Cold Revelation, Chapter 6: London Crypt, Chapter 7: Ghosts From Shadows Past, Chapter 8: Skyfall, Chapter 9: Apparatus Deus, Chapter 10: The Devil Within, Chapter 11: Hades’ Dogs, Chapter 12: TranshumanChapter 13: Phenomenon,  Chapter 14: AeonChapter 15: EndgamesChapter 16: FracturedChapter 17: ClosingEpilogue.

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