Mass Effect: Evolution is a four-issue comic mini-series that delves into the origins of the Illusive Man and the human-survivalist organization Cerberus. The story opens during the First Contact War between humans and turians.

The series is published by Dark Horse Comics, is written by BioWare lead writer Mac Walters, scripted by John Jackson Miller, and drawn by Omar Francia, with contributions from cover designer Massimo Carnevale. An alternate cover for each issue was done by Joe Quinones. The series was first announced on July 15, 2010,[1] and the first issue was released on January 19, 2011. On September 21, 2011, Dark Horse released a trade paperback that collects all four issues along with Mass Effect: Incursion and Mass Effect: Inquisition.[2]

Story Edit

Issue One Edit

  • Publication date: January 19, 2011
  • Tagline: The end of the universe... begins with one man.
Mass Effect Evolution art
After humans took to space using the mass relays, they settled a few colonies, but they never assumed they needed anyone's permission to use the relays. On the colony of Shanxi, humans are paying the cost of their assumptions with a full-scale invasion by the turians. The Alliance military is in full retreat and the turians turn their attention to eliminating all traces of the trespassers. However, they don't realize that not all human soldiers wear uniforms. A trio of human mercenaries, Jack Harper, Ben Hislop, and Eva Coré, are tracking a patrol of seven turians. They then proceed to ambush them. After a few close calls, Ben is found wrestling with a turian. Jack then hits the turian over the head and they take him prisoner. Ben charges at the turian only to be pulled off by Jack telling him to stand down because of the intel he might have and that if he is killed, they will lose it. Ben apologizes for his actions, which had come from seeing his brother and the settlements wiped out. Jack responds by saying that is why he joined the cause and if he just wanted to kill turians then he should join the military.

As they finish speaking, Jack notices an M35 Mako pull up, and notes how they always have perfect timing. One of the soldiers climbs out and asks which one is Jack and that "the man" wants to see him back at headquarters now. The prisoner is told to ride in the back. The captured turian remarks that if humans are resorting to mercenaries, then things really have gone bad. Jack tells him that they are specialists, but that is none of his business. Jack then pulls out a device and asks if it is a communicator. The turian replies that that is none of his business but says they probably can't fathom it anyway. Jack counters by saying that they might surprise him.

Later at General Williams' headquarters, Williams tells Jack that the Alliance is withdrawing to Arcturus Station because no one has the will to fight the turians anymore. Jack counters with that his group, and Williams, still have the will to fight and will fight. Williams then says that Jack is the only one who can figure out what the turians are doing. Jack says that they are going into places that were never settled, or have been abandoned for a while. The turians are conducing search patterns, looking for something, but Alliance Command says that there is nothing they have found, but since the turians are still looking, then there must be something. Jack says that they can finish the job in twenty hours, and Eva requests the APC out front.

While riding to the front, Jack and the others interrogate the turian they captured, who reveals his name is Desolas, and says that if he is released he may be merciful if they return him to his people. Jack points out that he knows he is a general, and that the device they took earlier is homing in on his camp, which Desolas counters saying that turians underrated human intelligence. Desolas says that his lieutenant is waiting with superior numbers and tells them to escape while they can. Desolas points out that humans, as the new arrivals, want everything, but lets them in on a secret, that others were in the galaxy first, that humans aren't welcome, and that the turians won't give humanity one kilometer of the planet. Jack says it is time to divide and conquer.

At the turian camp, which is in the shadow of a crashed turian ship, one of the officers tells Lieutenant Abrudas that the researchers have found the relic and moved it into a network of caverns five kilometers west. The Lieutenant is angry, as they could have saved the turians time searching, and reaches for her communicator to contact Desolas, however, he contacts them first. In a static filled transmission Desolas says that he escaped from the humans and tells them to meet him one kilometer east. Abrudas tells them that they have found the cargo, but Desolas tells them that he can't move, so Abrudas takes a squad to rescue the general while the rest move towards the objective.

Evolution 1 Alternate Cover
After a bit of time, Abrudas reaches the objective, and while complaining about the researchers and the time they have wasted, the squad gets ambushed by Jack, his friends, and their APC, much to the surprise of the turians. Inside the APC Desolas tells Jack that his was “a childish ploy”, but Jack comments it was pretty good, “for a human”. Jack and the rest of his people tie up the turians. At the same time Jack and Desolas discuss what happened, and how there has been a lot of force for a simple recovery operation, and that Desolas doesn’t come across as a garden-variety general. Desolas warns Jack to "be careful what you look for human. You may find it."

At the caverns Jack and the rest ambush the remaining turians, and after threatening them with the capture of their General and their Lieutenant, and the big gun on top of their APC, Desolas tells his men to stand down. He says that their time will come, and until then, "let the human satisfy his curiosity." Apparently, he is curious what Jack will find as well. As Jack and Ben head into the caves, Eva asks what to do if they cause trouble. Jack says to run a few over, but to stay on the radio. As they progress into the caves, Ben says that Eva is worried about them, but Jack says that is more about him. As they continue the discussion, about Ben and Eva, Jack sees something up ahead.

Inside is a large object into the center of the room, with glowing chains extending out from it. Jack points out that it was clearly dragged here, but Ben starts points out that they would have had to been monsters to move it. Before Ben can finish his statement, they get ambushed by creatures wearing robes and they knock Ben to the ground. As one of the creatures lifts Ben into the air, Jack opens fire and Ben is thrown to the ground. Ben comments about intel first, but the Jack points out "not this time" and keeps shooting, becoming frustrated as the creatures won't die.

Eventually the creatures fall, but both humans are stunned at the amount of bullets it took to take them down. Jack then moves forward and pulls back one of the hoods, and it shows a turian, who's had parts of his face replaced with cybernetic implants. Jack tries to radio General Williams, or Eva but there is too much interference. Ben starts walking toward the object saying that it might be the cause and that there may be a way to turn it off. Jack tells Ben to wait, but he gets too close and the device sends out an energy bolt that hits Ben. Jack rushes up to save his friend, but it is too late. As Jack also gets hit by the energy from Ben's body, they both fall back to the floor, as a voice calls out. Eva rushes into the room, her cloths ragged and out of breath, and says that the turians came up from behind when they all saw the lights coming from the cave. As Jack asks what happened, a voice says that is what he would like to know. Eva turns around to see a large turian standing over them, with other armed turians in the background, saying that they will come with them, and tells the others to bring Ben's body for dissection. He ends by saying "You've studied us -- now it's our turn to study you."

Issue Two Edit

  • Publication Date: February 16, 2011
  • Tagline: Is humanity's fiercest defender... even human anymore?
Evolution 2 Cover
Jack Harper awakens from a strange dream aboard a turian starship. Jack is startled that he is aboard a turian ship, then he discovers he is restrained. The turians in the room tell him to calm down as the restrains are there for not only his protection, but for theirs as well. Jack then hears Eva and sees her and a turian enter. The turian orders Harper released from his restraints and Eva tells Harper that both of them are prisoners and that he has been in a coma for weeks. Jack asks about Ben, and Eva says that he is dead via electrocution from the device. Eva also says that it nearly killed him as well. Jack then asks where Ben is, but Eva says that Desolas split them up and she has no idea where he is. The turian in the room says that whatever seemed to have happened to Ben has left him unaffected and that Harper is in perfect health as far as they can tell.

Eva then turns on the turian and asks his name. The turian introduces himself as Saren, that Desolas is his brother, and that Jack and Eva have him to thank for not leaving them to die. Eva counters saying that they are being taken to a prison camp on Palaven and they should be thankful. Saren however counters that by saying that Eva is a handful, almost killing three guards while waiting, and that she is mistaken..."about a lot of things". Jack and Eva then see that they are approaching Arcturus Station and Jack asks how long he's been out. Saren informs him that it was long enough because the war is over, and they are being taken home.

Aboard Arcturus Station, General Williams is greeting Desolas, or General Arterius, when he arrives in the hangar bay. Desolas says that he is sorry that he didn't introduce himself properly on Shanxi, but he was fleeing at the time and he assumed that he was busy. Williams reminds him that the Alliance retook the planet then turns his attention to the size of his escort. Desolas reminds him that he doesn’t know everything about the turians and if the Citadel Council hadn't intervened, then they wouldn't find out. Williams says that the cease-fire wasn't his idea and that if Desolas wants to fight it out, he is happy to oblige, and if that isn't the case, then he asks for his people. Desolas mentions that he is amused that Williams would trade so many turians for just two operatives, and mercenaries at that. Eva then comes charging at Desolas, Jack tries to tell her to not do it, but she tackles him to the ground before being pulled off by Saren. Eva yells at Desolas for not helping Ben, but Desolas ignores it and tells Saren to be careful with her because, while humans may bark like varren, they are fragile. Saren mentions that he had to do something because his new bodyguards weren't of much use. Desolas mentions that they have their uses but you have to know how to talk to them. Desolas then turns to one of them and begins speaking in a language that Jack appears to understand. Desolas notices this and turns, inquisitive, but then redirects his attention to General Williams. He reminds Williams that Eva's attack is a violation of the treaty protocol and that he should take the prisoners back until a higher authority can rule on the matter. Williams counters by saying that he's had them long enough and to get off the station.

Later in a medical bay Williams is talking with Jack and mentions that he doesn't know why Desolas suddenly wanted to check over Jack again. Williams also mentions that Jack has the vitals of a first year cadet and that whatever the device did, it seems that it was harmless. Jack counters by saying that Ben wouldn't agree with that statement. Williams apologizes and says that Ben was a good kid, which he continues by saying that he left a lot of good kids down there. He mentions that now the Alliance wants them to play nice with the turians, even though they were on the verge of winning, just to curry favor with "this Citadel bunch". Jack asks if it is more aliens, and Williams continues by saying that money is doing the talking and that it is the way of the future. "Cohabitation with native species to father Mutual interests" is how the Alliance puts it. Williams then mentions that he is resigning but then tells Jack that he shouldn't. Jack says that he can't, not after what he saw, and he mentions that the artifact is connected to those things he saw. Jack then says that he heard Desolas' bodyguards tell him they were called to the device. Williams notes that, since Jack understood what they were saying, maybe he can find out more and gives them leave to take his personal shuttle, if Jack can pry Eva's arms off the fuselage.

Evolution 2 Alternate Cover
In the hanger, Eva asks why the General is giving them his shuttle. Jack says that it is his to give and says that he thought it would cheer Eva up. As the two start climbing the boarding ramp, Eva is mentioning that he hasn't flown something half as nice when Jack collapses on the ramp. Eva rushes to his side and says that she know it was too soon to go anywhere. Jack counters that they, and he, can't wait any longer. He mentions that he has been having visions and headaches since he woke up. Eva asks about what and Jack says it was about darkness, the future, and that it is all tied to that artifact. He mentions that is why he is going, to figure out what is going on. Eva, however, asks where they can go, as they don't know where it was taken. She says that they could have taken to Palaven, but they can't go there now. Jack then counters by telling her that they have to go to Illium.

After several relay jumps, Eva mentions that it doesn’t make sense and she must have been out of her mind to go this close to the Terminus Systems. There haven't been enough humans that have seen Illium to start a band. Jack reminds Eva that she thought he was dying, that he feels much better, and that if Eva wants a shot at Desolas, then this is her chance. Jack says the artifact is on Illium, and that he can't see Desolas going anywhere without it.

Upon landing in Nos Astra, Eva takes in the sights, and based on what she sees, asks how humans will ever catch up. Jack calms her by telling her to not worry about it, and that humans will have it all soon. He reminds Eva about Clarke's Third Law. Advanced technology only looks like magic and if they remember that, then they have nothing to fear. Eva then asks what Jack is afraid of and why are they on Illium, and he replies that he is afraid that some of it may be magic.

Sometime later Jack is speaking to several asari in their native language while Eva looks on. When Jack returns, Eva asks how he can speak to them in the asari language. Jack says that how else was he going to communicate with them, which Eva counters by saying that he should be using a language that he actually knows. Jack is puzzled for a second, and acknowledges Eva by saying that it just came to him, he doesn’t know why, or what to do about this. Jack then points out a car and says they are for public use and that he's been itching to try a foreign model. Eva says that he should do flying this time, to which Jack agrees.

While flying Jack starts looking over the local Extranet for information about the Shanxi relic. Eva asks why they wouldn’t take something like that directly to Palaven to which Jack replies that for the same reasons they kept it aboard a ship for so long. It is unknown technology and he suspects they don't know more about it than they do. Jack goes on to say that they all know it's dangerous and that Eva saw what it did to Ben. Eva then tries to talk to Jack, but he ignores her and keeps searching and says that it may be a weapon, which is why they didn't want it too close to Palaven and were taking it to Shanxi for study. Eva tries to cut in again, but Jack continues by saying maybe that is why they didn't want humans going there. Then he finds the information he was looking for and he asks Eva what she would bet to say that the turians are looking for them.

When they reach their destination, Eva mentions her feelings about the area, in that it is unsafe. Jack says that most of the city is under surveillance, so Desolas probably wanted to keep clear of it. Jack says that was probably so they could grab him, but he bets that he can trap one, and then find out what is going on. However, before Jack can finish his sentence, Saren ambushes them with Desolas' bodyguards. Jack pulls Eva out of the line of fire, then exchanges a bit of fire before taking cover. He is not surprised to see them, and that Desolas said they would show up. Saren mentions that Jack was affected by the Arca Monolith to a greater degree than he let on, and that they have more tests to run.

Saren orders the guards to seize Jack, but he and Eva run through corridors being pursued by one of the guards. They exchange fire with it, while it returns fire by throwing items at them. Eva asks Jack what they are, but as he tries to tell her something, the guard grabs him by the neck. Eva comes around and prepares to bash the butt of her pistol over the guard's head, when Jacks tells her not to. The guard's hood falls revealing Ben, with a few enhancements.

Issue Three Edit

  • Publication date: March 23, 2011
  • Tagline: Springing the trap... by getting caught!
Evolution 3 Cover
Jack Harper is recalling his first meeting with Ben Hislop. Jack describes Ben as brash, young, enthusiastic, and an expert with munitions. Someone who was perfect for his pro-humanity movement. Ben quickly became Jack's right hand, and was also important to Eva in ways that Jack never asked about. Yet, above all, he remembers the man, not the monster he became.

Back in the present day, Ben still has Harper by the throat and Eva is still pleading with Ben to release him. Her pleas are then repeated by Saren, who has caught up to the group, and even with him being restrained, Jack yells at Eva to run, which she does. Eva manages to jump into a ladder and still tries to get through to Ben by asking if he remembers her. Ben responds in a cryptic language, and Eva draws her gun, promising to Ben that she will blast the people that did this to him. However, before she can finish her sentence, Ben rips the ladder down, bringing Eva with it. After Ben tears through the wreckage, he finds Eva, and in a moment of clarity recognizes her and says her name. Saren, however, intervenes by telling Ben to bring Eva to the transport, "NOW!" The clarity subsides and Ben drags Eva unconscious body to the transport.

Aboard Saren's transport, Jack is once again strapped into an interrogation chair. Jack assumes that he will be studied and if the turians were to let him go, he'll show them what a human is really made of. Desolas counters by saying they know all they need to know about human biology from studying the human corpses on Shanxi, but that's not what they are interested in. Desolas continues by saying that it is Jack himself they are interested in now. Harper then says that if that's true, then he asks them to release Eva. Desolas refuses and explains that they need Eva as a baseline to understand what is different about Jack. Desolas then points at Ben and says he is different, and that Harper was affected by the artifact, like Ben, but Jack is very unlike Ben, so he is curious why. Eva, now awake, tells Desolas that it was because of something he did and that he's the one who turned Ben into a monster. Saren says that he has done nothing, and then asks Ben to speak for himself, while he still can.

Ben begins to speak and tells Jack that it wasn't the turians, but the artifact that changed him. After he touched it, the turians left him for dead, but when they subsequently attempted to move the artifact, he awoke. Eva asks whether it was a resurrection, and Saren says that she's not that far off. He says the same thing happened to their researches. They refused to abandon the artifact, and Ben, as he is now one of them, like the others, he now serves him. Desolas then tells Jack and Eva they, along with Ben, are about to be the first humans to set foot on Palaven, the turian homeworld.

Just a few weeks prior to that, the Alliance would have given anything to get agents onto the radiation-scarred world. Nevertheless, the turians managed to survive and thrive on the planet. As the ship lands, and while a general returning from a stalemate wouldn't normally expect a hero's welcome, Desolas knows that during peacetime, image is everything. As he exits the craft, he tells the people of Palaven that he has returned. Desolas is apparently the first general to address the people since the Council brokered the peace agreement, and that is no surprise as no turian wants to admit there is an enemy that cannot be defeated. Desolas then says that he will not admit to that, but assures that the turians who died in the war did not die in vain. He proceeds to present his servants, disguised as Valluvian Priests from turian legend. Desolas goes on to say that for centuries, no turian has been worthy enough to wear the cloak and cowl of the order, and no one has been allowed into Temple Palaven.

As the group walks down the stairs from where their ship landed, he says that the turians present have come back from the field of battle with honor and that their faith and their fighting spirit, has transformed them. On Shanxi, Desolas says that he was chosen by them to help them in their mission, or Holy Quest, to return to Palaven, to reopen the temple, and to share the wisdom of the ages with the turian people. Desolas then says that like his brothers, the "priests", while they lead them to war, now promote peace. He finishes by saying that he will join them in the temple where in the past, they will find a great future for the turian people. While the people cheer, Jack, hidden by the guards, "priests", and Desolas, comments about how Desolas knows how to put on a show and how he dresses his mutants for maximum effect. Eva, alongside Jack, says that Desolas is definitely bucking for something, as he didn't parade them in front of the crowd in chains. Jack counters by saying the Council wouldn't approve, and neither would the turian leaders. Jack continues by saying that he wouldn't be surprised if Desolas became a turian leader himself. Finally, Harper concludes by saying that he is a military man that found religion, at the time he finds a device that creates super soldiers, and that it might work, if everyone plays along with the ruse.

Later at the Temple, Saren and Desolas are discussing problems. Desolas is annoyed that Saren has come by and asks what he wants this time. Saren tells him that their "evolved" turian have refused to move the artifact into the temple, even after being ordered in the language that Desolas uses when talking to them. Saren continues by saying that they were willing to wear the cloaks, but they won't go the last kilometer needed. Desolas then says that he explained it to them, and that they have a good home for the artifact. Desolas then turns to one of the "evolved" turians, and tells them that while they don’t like the crowd, it wouldn't be a problem. He then says that the sun is about set, and they will move the artifact after dark, once the colonnade is clear. Saren then turns to Desolas, as the "evolved" turian walks away, and says he doesn’t like it. They don't serve them and they only care about the artifact. Desolas counters by saying that is the reason that he is going through all the trouble he is. He wants them to see him as protector, one who is giving the artifact a place of respect, while he figures out how to make it control them.

Evolution 3 Alternate Cover
Later that evening as the artifact is being moved, Eva and Jack are being escorted behind it. Eva comments about how it's taking forever, just like when the loaded into the ship on Shanxi. Eva then tells Jack that he was lucky he was in a coma at the time. Jack then says that he doesn't mind as he's been waiting for a chance to see Palaven for a while now, and that he's impressed. He also comments that Desolas was impressive as well, considering he was able to clear a whole area, he must have some pull somewhere. Eva counters by saying that he's pulling something and that she doesn’t trust Desolas. She then turns her attention to the artifact and questions if it is even in there. Jack says that it's in there as he can feel it in his mind. Then a voice from behind says the same thing, giving them both a start. Ben is standing behind them and he can tell that Jack is in communication with it as well. Jack asks Ben whether he can tell them more about the artifact, as Ben actually touched the artifact, to which Ben responds by simply saying that it just is. He then continues by saying that it commands them to follow and protect it, and to prepare. Jack says that he hears it as well, but prepare for what. Before Ben can respond, Eva cuts in by telling Ben that he's in there and that if he fights it, they can find a way out, and get him back to normal. Ben admits that there is no more normal anymore, to which Harper agrees. Desolas, who has been listening in on the conversation, orders one of the turians, to bring Harper to him.

Temple Palaven stands a relic to the turians superstitious past when titans strolled across their world, reaching for the stars. The temple was sealed when the turians discovered other species among the stars and how with the true titans on the planet, the "evolved" turians, the Temple will now play host to the Arca Monolith, where it can be revered by its worshipers and other interested parties. While the Monolith is being raised, Jack is standing in the wings with Desolas looking over his shoulder. He starts to talk about Clarke's Third Law, when Desolas quotes it word for word from behind him. He continues by saying that it is just words from an earth scientist who was also a mythmaker, as they all are. Desolas then says that he now has an evolution accelerator. According to Desolas, for too long there has been parity between races on the Citadel. When a new race can enter as equals, he feels it's time to change the equation by bringing myths to life. Harper tells Desolas that he doesn’t know what he's dealing with, but Desolas counters by saying that Jack does and that is why he is here to begin with. Desolas finishes by saying that the temple was once a place where turians talked to their deities, and it soon will be again.

In a backroom lab, Desolas explains the setup to Harper. He has placed the Monolith in a place of honor, the Temple's rotunda. But at the same time, he's incorporated a number of scaning devices in the rotunda of the temple to help them better understand the device. Jack points out a flaw in that it is just a surface scan and ask why they don't bring it into the lab. Desolas answers by saying that he would like to, but the "evolved" turians won't allow invasive procedures and that past attempts to pry the artifact from them have only resulted in more transformations. He continues by saying that the cover is fine for the masses, but it does him little good as the "evolved" turians can tell him nothing about the artifact, but Harper can. He says that he realized on Arcturus Station that the relic has changed Harper, and that he took it to Illium to see if he would follow. Harper seems to have a psychic bond with the device that transcends distance and in what he overheard of his and Eva's conversation, confirms it.

Desolas is curious why Jack came into contact with the device and yet managed to keep his identity and his mind as Desolas needs his turians to do the same. Desolas says that he must speak to it and find out how because while he understands science, you need to answer magic in its own language. Jack points out again that he doesn’t know what he's dealing with and there is more to the Monolith than just an evolutionary jump-start, and that it's dangerous. Desolas is undeterred, however, as that is exactly what he expected from a racial partisan who is standing in his way and that maybe Eva will be more reasonable. Jack says that Eva knows nothing and that she's tough, committed, and won't crack, neither will he. Jack then pleads with Desolas that as a man of science, not magic, because of the lack of results he should end the experiment.

Several days later, a turian guard checks in on Jack in a holding cell, with a view port, and writings all over the wall. He expresses frustration at Desolas to think that he would learn anything new from Harper as all he does is sit on the rocks and stare. He continues by saying the people who built the temple are more lively, despite being dead for centuries now. Harper then puts his hand to his chin, and says “[t]hat’s it”. As he stands up repeating it, Desolas enters with two armed guards and tells him that his scientists told him what Harper wouldn’t. He then orders the guards to escort Harper to the lab so he can share his results.

As they are walking, Desolas explains that while they can’t find the mechanism that binds the “priests” to the Monolith, they know enough to say they are bound to it. He remarks that the bond is strong, transcendental, and because of it, the “priests” will do anything and everything to protect it; and if he brings others to it, they will do anything and everything for him. Jack then cuts in, telling Desolas there is something that he needs to know. Jack has just figured out the truth about the Monolith himself. However, Desolas dismisses it by saying that the time for the truth is in the past, and tells Jack to behold the future. He tells Jack to imagine a legion of perfect turians. They are physically perfect, never need to rest, and they will never yield. He finishes by saying that the time for equality among races is now in the past and that destiny is at hand. And it begins tonight ...

Issue Four Edit

  • Publication date: April 20, 2011
  • Tagline: Who will mourn... the death of mankind?
Evolution 4 Cover
On Palaven, turians are lined up outside Temple Palaven holding torches, waiting to enter. Meanwhile, Jack Harper pleads with Saren to listen to him. Harper says that Desolas doesn’t know what he has, but he does. He tells Saren not to let the other turians into the temple, but Saren remarks that Jack has seen what Desolas wanted him to see and says to put him with the other one, rather than back into the observation room. As Jack is led out, he tries one last time to convince Saren to not go through with what Desolas has planned, but Saren refuses to listen. Saren just stares as Jack is being led away; for him, being the brother of a famous general may be the path to career success, but he has never followed in the footsteps of others. Saren earned his coveted spot on Desolas’ staff by himself. His colleagues continually stated that there wasn’t a situation that he’s encountered that he couldn’t handle. Little did Saren realize that he would find one, working for his brother.

In the room with the Monolith, which has the “priests” and several turians unconscious on the ground, Lagrion, a young turian tells his mother that he doesn’t like the “priests” and they just don’t look right, to which his mother replies by telling him to stay strong and reminds him that if he goes through with it, then no more turians will die in war. She continues by saying that Desolas promised something, but before she can finish, the “priests” drag Lagrion off, throwing him into the Monolith. The mother first asks what they are doing, then after her son hits it, she asks to see him, before she notices something about the “priests” and, after lifting one of their hoods, she discovers Desolas’ secret. She then ends up being thrown into the Monolith herself while Saren shields his eyes from the blast of light.

In another part of the Temple, Saren runs into Desolas who tells him he is just in time to help him inspect the troops. Saren, however, says that it is premature and the “meta-turians” are simple-minded and don’t obey orders. Saren tells Desolas that he thought that Desolas said that Jack was the key to controlling them. Desolas maintains that Harper had said nothing for days and that when he finally spoke up, he said nonsense. Desolas continues by saying that he is done with his games and that his scientists did find something, a behavioral link between the Monolith and the “meta-turians”. He tells Saren that they aren’t simple-minded, but rather single-minded driving to protect the Monolith, but also to create more of their own kind. They allowed Desolas to bring the Monolith to Palaven, and he returned the favor by giving them a source of new recruits. Desolas comments that he will carry the Monolith into battle as his personal talisman. With their numbers and their berserker drive to protect it, he will topple every challenger, starting with the civilian rulers on Palaven, and then continuing into the galaxy, one by one. Desolas concludes by saying that many insect species have warriors and drones, but now they will have both.

Saren tells Desolas that he is worried about where his “bugs” have been burrowing and that he came to tell him something. Saren says that some have been rooting around in the lower levels of the temple clearing the rubble from the collapsed levels. Desolas just responds with a “[s]o?” He tries to calm Saren by reminding him that the “meta-turians” worship the Monolith and just want to improve its resting place. He says that if Saren wants to chase a mirage, he is free to do so as Desolas has more important issues to attend. Unsatisfied with his brother's input, Saren says “right”, then turns and walks out.

In one of the lower levels, two guards are leading Jack to a cell, who is still pleading with them to take him back to Desolas before it is too late. The guards, however, say that Desolas has had enough of him, and so have they. Just then Eva drops from the top of the cell, connecting with both feet on the head of one of the turians. She then knocks the gun out of the hand of the other, and then knocks him out, while Jack lands a punch on the first one, knocking him out. As they grab the guard’s guns, Eva tells Jack that it was nice of him to show up as she’s been waiting to do that for days. She then asks where Ben is and Jack says that he doubts he is in the room with the Monolith, but he did see some “priests” down the hall.

As they make their way down the hall, the two come up on the “priests” excavating some rubble. Eva says that there are no real turians holding their leashes, and asks why they would be working unsupervised. A voice behind them says that is a good question. Saren is standing there pointing his gun at both of them, and asks a question of his own, before taking them out for a walk. Jack tells Saren that Desolas wouldn’t listen to him and that Saren has been played. Desolas wanted to bring the Monolith to Palaven; that is, to this temple specifically. Jack says that he read it all from the writings everywhere in the temple. In response, Saren comments that no one has been able to read them, and that nobody knows why their ancestors even built the place. Jack, however, insists that he can read them, and understand the “meta-turians”. He says that he knows what really happened here, and so do they.

As they finish their discussion, the rubble was cleared, and inside is another Monolith. Saren is taken aback by the discovery. Jack then proceeds to tell the story. Ancient turians discovered the second Monolith ages ago and like now, it created super-strong turians and their “Valluvian Priests” of legend. However, they weren’t holy, so they built the temple to protect the rest of the species and after Desolas’ researchers found the smaller, second Monolith and they were transformed, they sensed that this one was already here. Jack continues by saying that they will soon be transforming the turian race at double the rate they are now. Desolas is taking it slow to prevent public backlash, but soon there will be too many “priests” to care. He will then move the Monolith to city squares around the planet and then forcibly transform the entire turian race.

Saren cuts Jack off before he can finish and tells him to shut up and let him think. He asks why would anyone do something like this, and what is the point of advancing a species by sacrificing intelligence. Jack says that he doesn’t know, but then Ben shows up and says that he thinks the Monolith wants it that way. The Monolith knows about humanity now, because of him. And now that they have found a second one, it wants them to act. Jack comforts Ben by saying that it isn’t his fault, and it is the fault of whoever created the devices. Jack says he hasn’t worked out the angle, the why. Eva, however, turns to Saren and tells him that he better do something fast, otherwise they will have a planet of drooling behemoths, and it won’t stop there.

Saren tells Eva “enough” and to stop nattering. He says that he is an Arterius, but he is also sworn to defend his people. Saren then grabs his communicator and contacts Palaven Command, telling them he is declaring an unsecured bioweapon emergency.

Evolution 4 Alternate Cover
Meanwhile in the upstairs part of the temple, Desolas is inspecting his troops, and notices they have gotten agitated. He asks a guard what is going on, and the guard says that he doesn’t know; they were placid, then they suddenly broke ranks. Desolas says that the way they are walking leads outside, and tells them they don’t have any purpose there. As he tries to order them back into their ranks, one of them knocks Desolas down, just then Saren walks in with some armed troops and tells no one to move. Desolas still gets tossed around some more and that does it for Saren and he orders the troops to open fire and not to let anyone get outside. Meanwhile, Jack is leading Ben and Eva out. Since Eva is carrying Ben, Jack has both guns, and is firing as fast as he can and asks them to help as Saren needs all the help he can get. Then he notices that they are leaving and Eva says that this is their fight not theirs. Jack rushes over to help, but can’t help but notice that Ben is just dead weight.

Eva says the Monolith wants to get him to join the others, but she keeps telling him to fight back. She continues by saying there is hope if they can get him to a human hospital, then they might be able to help him. Jack says that he doesn’t think that Ben can be helped. Not anymore. He explains that he has thought more about why someone would do this, but Eva cuts him off telling Jack to not think for once, and feel. She isn’t giving up and if they get him away from the “meta-turians”, then it might make a difference. But Jack says that there is no place far enough away, and that he could feel them from Arcturus Station. Eva remarks that there is one thing they haven’t tried yet. Before Jack can ask what that is, she grabs one of Jack’s guns, points it at the Monolith, and shoots.

Ben quickly tells her not to, but before Eva hears him, she pulls the trigger, and he lunges at her, despite Jack telling him not to, and knocks Eva into a wall, leaving a lot of blood around her head. Ben falls to the ground asking what he just did, and Desolas enters telling him exactly what he was supposed to, protect the Monolith, and that he may be the only person here who does what he is told. Desolas then turns to Saren, who also enters the room, and shows his amazement toward this technology. Eva’s shots didn’t even scratch the Monolith and it probably would have taken an orbital bombardment to do that. Saren tells Desolas that they have to get out of there as the temple isn’t secure and that he’s called outside help. Before he can finish, Desolas tells him that it’s nonsense as they are pacifying the “meta-turians” and tells Saren to recall the outside forces. He continues by saying that he can still be successful; he just needs to adjust the experiment.

Jack, who is now behind Desolas, tells him that it won’t, and won’t ever work. Ben is in a corner, cradling Eva’s unconscious body, saying that he can’t fight it. Desolas pulls a gun on Jack, reminding him that he has had enough of him and that he should have done what he is about to a long time ago. Ben then says it is inevitable, and charges at Desolas, knocking him into the Monolith along with himself.

Sometime later, Jack picks up Eva and tells her that he is sorry. The Monolith, despite everything it gave him, made him inadvertently lose sight of what really matters. Shortly thereafter, Eva regains consciousness and asks if it’s Ben, but Jack says that it’s him. Eva tells Jack to leave her, as she is done at this point, and go back for Ben. Jack tells Eva that Ben saved them all as he did what the Monolith wanted, give it another victim, and insure that Desolas won’t be making any more victims. He says that the Monolith wasn’t an evolutionary device, but rather a devolutionary device, a booby trap. Its creators planted the device to tell them when it detected an advanced species, and transform its members into those "things" so they could be controlled. As Jack walks out, he notices Saren waking up and tells him to warn his people and that he can’t be around to watch the result as he would like to, but he has to take care of his own.

Later, as Desolas is back on his feet, Saren tries to communicate with him. Desolas asks where he is, and he says right behind him, although it is merely a communications device. He tells Desolas that he is calling from a safe distance and that he is sorry that he can’t be there, but Desolas will understand in a minute. Desolas says that he doesn’t understand much of anything as he feels his mind going. Saren tells him that this is how it works. Saren says that he doesn’t know why he wasn’t affected, but guesses it had something to do with indirect contact. Saren continues that no matter the reason, he had to ask while Desolas was still inside with the “meta-turians” and the Monoliths to protect the turian people, as he would have wanted. Confused, Desolas asks Saren what he is talking about. Saren answers by saying again that he is sorry but he has a duty to Palaven, like him, but some secrets were meant to stay buried, until the turians were ready to understand them. Saren tells Desolas that he will mourn him, and avenge him. Just then the temple explodes in a fireball with crowds of cheering turians in the foreground.

At Arcturus Station, a speaker is saying that it is with a heavy heart that he reports the deaths of Ben Hislop and Eva Coré. The speaker continues by saying they have given their lives defending humanity to the last minute and they not only helped discover, but confirm what the speaker believe, that there is something out there to protect humanity from. Meanwhile, another person is sitting in a chair making a recording. He says that Desolas was right, that the stars were warm and welcoming, full of places to explore, knowledge, and riches to be had. However, humans won’t always be welcome, and those that evolved before them won’t always be willing to share what they know. That is just the way of things in the universe. Jack notes that a dark time is coming, and humanity will be tested and while they may not know who is doing the testing or why, but they must meet the challenge as humanity has done every single time in the past. Humanity must succeed because doing anything else would be inhuman. Jack says that he will watch the dark places, and bring them into the light. Jack says there is no magic, only technology and tools they can and must master. Not just to survive, but to better humanity. They can and will take their rightful place in the stars. This is his manifesto, and he hopes that you will join his cause. Jack ends the recording and takes his place as the Illusive Man, the leader of Cerberus.

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