Series Title: After the Reapers; The Miranda Chronicles
Disclaimer: Mass Effect universe © BioWare
Any character you haven't heard of © me
Thanks go to my Beta; Blueglaceon, who despite having little knowledge of the Mass Effect universe, agreed to edit the series anyway. Thanks, Blue!
Thanks also go to LuxDragon for allowing me to use ideas from his fic; Fight for the Lost
The Family Reunion series takes place a week after Delaying the Inevitable
Also, for those of you who don't know, X's background is Spacer/War Hero/Soldier/Paragon.
Family Reunion Only A Matter of Time
"Citadel Control, this is Normandy SR-2. Requesting permission to land," Shepard could hear Joker's voice as he approached the cockpit, clad in his off duty clothes which consisted of an unbuttoned, three-quarter length, red and white chequered shirt over a white singlet and a pair of faded blue denim jeans.
"Stand-by for clearance Normandy," came the Citadel's response. "Clearance granted. You may begin your approach. Transferring you to an Alliance operator."
"Normandy, this is Alliance tower. Please proceed to dock eighty-five."
"Roger, Alliance tower. Normandy out," the helmsman responded as he steered the Normandy towards their assigned bay and docked the state-of-the-art spaceship. "Hey, Commander."
"Joker," the human Spectre returned the greeting. "Everything okay up here?"
"Brought her in with no troubles," the pilot replied
"Can you alert the crew that they've got the got the next couple of days off and tell Miranda that I'll meet her and Oriana at the food court on Zakera Ward around midday?"
"Certainly, Commander. Messages away. Dr. T'Soni is waiting for you in the Dark Star Lounge."
"Thanks, EDI," Shepard replied as he turned towards the airlock
~ o ~ o ~ o ~
Entering the lounge, Shepard spotted Liara immediately, seated in one of the booths on the far side of the room. "Liara," he called out to the Asari information broker as he made his way over to her and she stood up to greet him.
They greeted each other with a hug before drawing back and taking a seat as one of the lounge's staff came over to them.
"How've you been?" he spoke first after the waitress had left once they'd placed their order, as they wanted their meeting to appear as normal as possible so that they didn't arouse any unwanted attention or suspicion.
"Good. I'm settling well into my new job, though I'm grateful to you for getting me out of the office for a few hours."
Shepard laughed, "I bet you are. The view still lousy?"
Liara snorted derisively before looking at the human Spectre worriedly. "And how are you?"
"Not too bad, considering all that's happened."
"That's an understatement, if ever I heard one."
The Asari's wry smile drew a laugh from him as a waitress returned with their order; a steaming mug of hot chocolate for him and an Asari herbal tea for Liara.
"Did you find out anything?" he questioned once the waitress departed to tend to the next lot of customers, returning them both to the reason they were there.
Liara lowered her voice as she began to speak. "The Batarian Hegemony believes that the destruction of the Bahak system is a terrorist attack undertaken by Systems Alliance agents."
"No surprises there. Kenson's presence had them on edge enough already before I arrived and blew up the system. Has there been any military activity?"
"In regards to retaliation; no. But they have been building their numbers."
Shepard sighed heavily. "So it's only a matter of time before they start."
Liara nodded her head, handing him a data-disk which he tucked away; he'd take a look at it later. "This is all the information that I was able to gather for you," she told him before she picked up her tea and took a sip as their conversation turned to more pleasant topics
~ o ~ o ~ o ~
Hours later found the two friends making their way back to the docking bay, though they were in no rush, browsing the stores as they went.
~ o ~ o ~ o ~
Shepard paused when something below the overhead walkway that he and Liara were crossing caught his attention; Miranda and Oriana. The two were shopping in one of Zakera Ward's many stores. Like him, Miranda had also chosen to wear more casual clothes in lieu of her usual Cerberus outfit.
"It's hard to imagine her being a big sister," Liara commented as she observed the two sisters.
"When it comes to Oriana, Miranda tends to play her cards close to her chest." Shepard admitted as the two watched the siblings as they browsed through a rack of clothes. "It took a lot for her to ask for my help with relocating Oriana and it was only once we were there, fighting our way through Eclipse mercs, that she told me the full story." The human male shook his head his jaw clenching in anger as Miranda's words echoed in his head. 'No child should have suffer what that bastard put her through,' he thought furiously. "And after learning just what her father put her through while she was growing up, I don't blame Miri for wanting to give Oriana a better life. I know I wouldn't trade my Navy brat days for all the tea in China."
At his words Liara shot him a confused look.
"Human idiom," the human Spectre explained as they started walking again. "It means that I wouldn't trade my childhood for anything, even if you paid me an enormous fortune for it."
"Ah," the Asari nodded her head, she'd learned some human phrases, but that was a new one.
"Ever figure out what RTFM meant?" He couldn't help but snicker a little as he asked.
"Yes, I did. And in hindsight, Ashley summed up what I said at the time quite nicely."
"Much to your confusion," he teased, causing Liara to roll her eyes and playfully push him away, earning a laugh from him.
"Have you heard from the Alliance yet?" the Asari questioned when the mood sobered.
"No," Shepard shook his head. "But it's only a matter of time."
"And no doubt you've heard about Ashley becoming a Spectre?"
Shepard nodded his head. "I can't say that I'm surprised. It was only a matter of time before another human was inducted, since they've basically given me up for lunacy. I just hope that the Council and the Alliance haven't white washed her to the Reaper threat."
"They wouldn't have. Ashley was there with us two years ago. She saw what Sovereign was capable of, knows what we're up against."
"I hope your right," he responded as they arrived at the docking bay, where Liara's vessel was already waiting for her.
"You'll see. Stay safe, Shepard."
"Same to you, Liara. And keep your ears peeled; I may need to call on you before long."
"I'll be ready."
With that, the two hugged one final time, before Liara boarded her ship. Shepard watched the spacecraft leave, but as he turned to leave, as familiar voice spoke up from behind him.
Shepard turned to look at her. "Mom?"
Hannah Shepard stood a few feet away from him, her brown eyes pricked with tears as she took in her son's appearance. Apart from the goatee he now sported (with had caused her to do a double-take when she'd first spotted him, because for a moment she thought she was looking at her late husband, Thomas) he hadn't changed a bit, and she felt a dam bust inside her as she rushed forward to embrace her only child.