A/N: My first ME story! Thanks to my ME fic hero th1nm1nt for proofing this for me. Beware, lots of copious swearing ahead. This will be a very M rated story for various reasons. th1nm1nt's suggestions for a title for this story "Biotic bitches in Heat" and "Jack and Miri make a porno" were heavily considered but eventually declined since I'm priss. Though both titles are close to appropriate for upcoming chapters. Because there's going to be sex.
Jack can't remember when she began hating people. It was probably in the fucking Cerberus facility but even that didn't start right away. She remembers pain and screaming. Being scared. There's probably other fucked up shit she can't remember either. She remembers medication that made her limbs and face numb; that helped after fights in the arena. But there was the other shit, too. The pills and injections that made her mind go empty, back when blood on her face used to bother her. It made it quiet. She couldn't hear those other little brats running around, ignoring her—she couldn't hear her own pathetic screams.
Why wouldn't they fucking look at her?
She remembers tearing her fingernails back, trying to claw herself out of her goddamn steel cage of a room. What a stupid little shit she had been. Desperation is a funny thing, it either breaks you into nothing or it makes you a monster. Yeah.
But she got out.
Ran with some Batarians and other assholes that used her just like everybody else before selling her off as a slave. They're all the same. If they're talking to you, they want something, if they're smiling at you, they're really going to fuck you. But she won't let them. She'll fuck them first—and then kill them. They're both a high but she prefers the second.
She's been sleeping so goddamn long. Longer, even, than before they put her in the tube for cryo stasis. Sometimes she can't figure when she's alive or not. But usually pain is involved. People say that shit but they don't really know. They have fucking ideas they get from books or vids, or maybe it's just shit they make up. Everyone wants to be a bad ass but they don't have the guts to learn it the hard way. Not that any of it was her fucking choice, but hey, you reap what you sow and she's planning on payback.
When her cell at Purgatory comes open she doesn't know what the hell is going on. How long has she been under? She opens her eyes—she's fucking chained, again. Her arms, her neck, tied like a dog, like some bitch. People always think she's a bitch.
White hot rage pulses through her veins, nearly ripping her apart the way she had to open those kids and guards up back in the Teltin facility in Pragia, the way she did on this fucking prison ship. Goddamn guards and prisoners, pussies with guns and numbers instead of dicks, cheerfully raping away at her. Well, she got them all. She'll get all the motherfuckers. She broke out when she was a kid. She can break out of this fucked up prison. Once she's done, she'll blow the motherfucker sky high.
She tears the constraints away and leaps through the cell. Her head hurts. Sometimes it feels like there's too much shit going on in her head, too many thoughts, maybe too much of that biotic power stabbing into her head. She wants some meds but not now. She wants to be clearheaded for this shit. She's been given a chance, and even a tiny chance is better than nothing.
There are three massive YMIR mechs. Nothing, butter, fucking steel and robots won't shut her down. She destroys them. Euphoria floods through her. It's kind of fucked up how fighting makes her wet. What the hell did those people in the lab do to her? This shit isn't normal. Least, she doesn't figure it is.
Whatever. She's out. Time to kill them all.
Miranda is unimpressed.
Subject Zero is clearly a maniac. She moves like an animal, pacing relentlessly, grunting and snarling. Miranda half expects the woman (biologically) to start barking. She sighs inwardly as she, Shepard and Jacob approach the convict. This is going to be fun.
Upon close inspection she looks more like a terrorist than Miranda had expected she would. Her pants are too loose and her shirt is too tight—it's only a moment later that Miranda realizes that the only cover Subject Zero has on her frame, besides the extensive tattoos, are too tight leather straps that barely cover her nipples. Looks uncomfortable. The only hint of Subject Zero's real flesh tone is on her face. She has a way of looking feral and dead all in one. Whatever her family may have been on Eden Prime, Subject Zero is volatile, foul-mouthed and clearly dangerous.
She doesn't often question the Illusive Man's decisions, but this creature in front of her, not even a person, really, is pushing it. There's a twinge of conscience that bristles at the thought. She knows she doesn't have much room to talk; she was bred, just the same, as the younger woman before her.
Except that Subject Zero had had a mother that by all accounts had loved her. It's all in the records, some of which Shepard has agreed to give her. Goddamn it, Shepard. She would have to speak with the Illusive Man. Shepard has authority on the Normandy but in certain situations Miranda is allowed to override her. This is surely one of those times but the mission comes first. Let Subject Zero have the files; there's little she can do with them anyway. She's just an angry little girl, a fierce biotic to be sure, but too stupid to cause Cerberus any real damage.
Miranda smirks when Subject Zero refers to her as a Cerberus cheerleader. Bitch.
After doing the women's equivalent of dick measuring with Shepard, Jack comes willingly. A shame, Miranda thinks. She would have enjoyed knocking her unconscious.
There isn't much that's beautiful but Jack can appreciate a good blood splatter; some of that shit rivals the stuff rich assholes go to museums to admire. But the Normandy's cool. She wants to steal it. It's flashy as hell. She fucking hates that it's a Cerberus ship but it's smooth, a tin coffin with a crew that's smart enough to stay the fuck away from her.
She picks out her spot in the recesses of engineering. She likes to listen to the sound of the engines. It's a low hum, more of a subtle vibration than anything else, but it's isolated and out of the way. She's got a cot and a table. Things to slip under. It's fucked how so many years later she's still thinking like she did when she was some messed up kid. She's a psycho now and people know better than to mess with her. Why is that shit so hard to let go of?
Whatever, she got out of Purgatory and if she has to kill some Collector ass before she can move on her merry fucking way then so be it. She sits on the cot and reclines against the wall. A lot of people would find it uncomfortable but shit, it's clean and it's her space. She just hopes the crew keeps keeping away from her. Especially fucking Lawson. She doesn't trust the bitch. She doesn't trust any of the assholes on board. She may kill people but she's up front about it. These shady fuckers messed with her, just some stupid kid so they could see what they could make of her. Who the fuck does that?
The thoughts bug her. Why think them? Like, somehow she expects people to be better than they are? She doesn't have any expectations. She picks up a PDA and flicks it on. At least Shepard had kept her word and given her access. Time to start fucking learning about herself.
Miranda requests a meeting with the Illusive Man after Jack nearly blows her up with a wave of biotic power in their last mission. Miranda had deftly sidestepped the attack but had not escaped unscathed; she was blasted back along with a mass of mangled crates and rock debris.
She hadn't let Jack's act of aggression go unchecked. "What the hell are you doing, Jack?" she'd demanded, rising to her feet, gun pointed to blow the head off a LOKI mech creeping up behind Jack. The head popped off but neither woman paid attention to it. Miranda kept a hand to her ribs, feeling the slow throb begin. Her gun arm hadn't wavered. She only needed one bullet.
Jack grinned. "Whoops, guess my aim slipped. Sorry, Cerberus Bitch."
Miranda glared at Shepard who only shrugged at her and kept moving forward. Sometimes Miranda suspects that Shepard thinks she can save the galaxy on her own and damn everyone else. She knew she should have implanted her with a chip.
Once onboard the Normandy she reported to Chakwas who bandaged her fractured rib cage. The recovery will be smooth and quick but that's beside the point. Jack is dangerous and shows no signs of remorse—qualities typically equated with Cerberus, qualities she herself shares—but at least she doesn't turn her weapons on her allies. Well… there was Wilson and some others but they hardly count.
EDI alerts her when the Illusive Man is ready to see her and Miranda makes her way to the second floor, giving curt nods to those that call to her but not bothering to stop and talk to them. There isn't any time for pleasantries. The automatic door to the communication room hisses open and she steps inside. The large rectangular table sinks and soon all the cold, barren steel of the room is replaced by a large open space. Galaxies and planets burn in the distance. The Illusive Man has a flair for style that borders on flamboyant.
"I got your last mission report," he is seated, one leg crossed over the other. "I know why you're here but my decision overrides yours as does Commander Shepard's. The existence of humanity is at stake. We cannot risk losing Jack merely because you've had… a misunderstanding."
"A misunderstanding? She nearly killed me. An accident my ass. We've got me and Jacob." Her implication is clear—there is no need for another biotic on the Normandy and if there is—it doesn't have to be Jack. There are other biotics they have dossiers for.
"Your biotics are good, Miranda, but hers are better."
Miranda crosses her arms vexedly. Cerberus may have protected her from her father and given her a dream project but it doesn't mean she isn't allowed to have an opinion. "She's reckless and doesn't follow orders. It doesn't matter what raw biotic power you have if you don't know how to use it."
"You saw with your own eyes on Purgatory that she knows how to use it. I understand your concern but this isn't up for discussion, Miranda. She earned those powers through blood, sweat and tears." He takes a slow drag on his cigarette, exhaling slowly. "They weren't just handed to her."
Miranda doesn't flinch, doesn't ask if the words were meant to be a dig. Her jaw is tight with a near bone crushing tension. "Very well," she says logging out.
Jack is lying back on the cot, arms folded behind her head when she recognizes the weighty clank of Shepard's footsteps. Great. What the hell does she want? She's tired of the chatty commander. It's her job to kill shit in battle, not have heart to hearts with the psychologist wannabe Shepard.
"What do you want?" Jack asks when the steps stop at the base of the stairs. She doesn't bother sitting up or opening her eyes. "I'm not in the mood to talk."
"That's too bad. You don't want me coming down here, Jack? Watch your step. Pull that crap again with Miranda like you did on Korar and—"
"And what, Shep?" Jack springs to a sitting position, squatting on the cot, resting her arms on her knees. "You'll kick me off the ship? Go ahead. I don't want to be here." She spits to the side. "I fucking knew the cheerleader would go running to you; she's too shit-scared to come down here herself. Fine with me. I wanna tear hear face off."
"Why are you so angry, Jack?"
"Hey! Go fuck yourself. I'm not here to tell you my life story. Don't know it, really," she jumps off the cot and scoops up some of the PDAs, "but I'm trying to find out. Either way, it's none of your business. You tell me to kill, I kill. You tell me to walk, I'm gone. I've got better shit to do."
"Don't you care about humanity?" There it goes again. That soft, caring tone. It pisses Jack off. She feels better about it when Shepard's being a bitch about things. At least that's up front. She doesn't trust anyone that's nice. They always have an angle.
"Like humanity ever cared about me. No one really thinks I'm one of them. Not really." She rubs her fingers along the top of her head. No point in growing the hair out. Anyway, it scares people, like a girl with a shaved head can't be any good or can't be right in the head. In her case, both theories are right on the money. "So why should I give a fuck about saving them? Give me some creds and some meds and I'm good." She tucks the PDAs under her pillow and is irritated at having done so in front of Shepard. She throws herself back on the cot as if none of it really matters anyway. "So we done here with the little pep talk? I'm fucking bored."
Shepard's voice goes hard, "Jack—"
"Hey chill. You don't want me to kill the bitch, I won't. But come on, you gotta admit seeing her fly like a fucking rag doll was pretty funny. Someone needs to knock her down on her ass once in a while."
Shepard smirks. "As long as we're clear."
And then she mercifully goes away.
Miranda literally lives in her office. The large bed behind her is appreciated but seldom used. There's a lot of work to do and fortunately (or unfortunately as she sometimes sees it) she's advanced enough to be able to forego the mass levels of sleep requisite of other humans. It allows her more time to work; those who have competed against her in the past have been at an unfair disadvantage but if she's got the tools she'll use them. There's no point in lowering her capabilities to appease others. Shepard has done well enough, hasn't she, despite being 'ordinary' and somewhat rash to action.
Miranda knows better than to question the Illusive Man. She may not always understand him but she knows that he only has the best interests of humanity in mind. Sometimes those interests come at the price of unsavory methods. Those who don't understand it are merely blinded by old hatred of Cerberus history. Those people (or aliens) don't realize what's at stake. She'll do anything for the mission to succeed.
It doesn't always mean that she'll agree with The Illusive Man. Miranda still maintains that he should have allowed her to put a mind control chip in Shepard. She may be the hero of humanity but no mistakes can be afforded. If she blows herself up again, along with the rest of Cerberus, there will be no one to put her back together again and humanity, as well as the rest of the universe, is doomed.
It was a bad idea to give Jack those files; Shepard should have known better. All it will do is cause trouble in the end. Miranda flicks her wrist and calls up a camera feed of the engineering room on her monitor. The dank hole is no worse than Jack deserves. She shouldn't even be on the ship; she's clearly a lunatic.
Jack rests against the wall, sitting in her uncomfortable small cot, drinking in the files. Her expression is blank. Miranda knows what she's reading but can't read her take on it. She'll keep an eye on the situation. Someone has to. Anyway, it's her job.
Jack never knows why Shepard drags them where she does. Fucking men's bathroom? Is she that hard up for cock? Maybe she shouldn't act so much like a dyke. Maybe pick up on how Jacob rises to attention whenever she walks into a room, something. Bathroom's dark, cool lights, cold everything.
Jack's not into sob stories. What she says to Shepard in the Dark Star Lounge bathroom is really an aside. Fuck pity parties. Who cares what those guys did to her—she got even-steven, didn't she? Seven attackers, seven dead assholes. That's more than most rape victims can say. But Jack sees how their eyes catch in the mirrors of the bathroom, sees that pitying look even on the bitch Miranda's face.
She rips her gaze away. She isn't a goddamn victim. Fuck them. Her own reflection in the mirror startles her. For a moment she doesn't recognize herself, eyes all big, looking young and afraid. Her fingers roll into a fist and biotic power pulses, as if to the beat of the heavy bass tones that play in the bar.
The three square mirrors above the sink shatter, crumbling to pieces and crashing to the floor and sink.
There's a moment of silence.
"Bit much?" Miranda eventually asks. "Cerberus won't reimburse you for this. Control your temper."
The turian who's been taking a piss at the urinal looks at the three women and jumps, only then noticing them. Jack takes a step toward him. "What the fuck are you looking at!"
The turian pisses himself. Jack tsks in disgust.
Shepard asks if she's okay, eliciting a glare from Jack. "What the fuck are we doing here? Quit wasting my time!" she stomps out of the bathroom and looks at the group of women, Asari and human, dancing. She wants to tear them all apart. She wants to blow the place to smithereens. She begins to calm, the anger is soothing; it's normal. It's better than those other feelings.
The pounding music rattles her heart. It's too fucking loud here. The music is pissing her off. There's enough shit going on in her head without all of this noise on top of it. She stops at the bar and orders three drinks to start. "Fuck off and do what you gotta do." She tells Shepard. "I'll be on the Normandy when you're done." She takes three shots in quick succession and orders another three. The turian bartender knows better than to question her.
"In case you've forgotten," Miranda begins sharply, "Shepard gives the orders."
"It's all right, Miranda," Shepard says coolly, her husky voice is condescending. "We don't need her anyway." Jack feels their stares burning at the back of her head. "You'd better be ready when it's time."
They leave. Jack drinks.
Jack reeks of liquor. It oozes from the pores of the emaciated woman. She is wiry and angular but she can hold her alcohol well. Her eyes are no less clear than usual and aside from the smell Miranda can detect no other irregularities. Miranda makes a mental note of it as the woman comes aboard the ship, somewhat petulantly. The doors of the Normandy close behind Jack who pushes past Miranda, colliding purposefully with her shoulder. Miranda narrows her eyebrows and follows after her, stepping into the elevator before the doors close.
Jack is motionless. Miranda observes her as the elevator begins its descent. There is a soft whirring and Miranda glances at the numbers as the elevator goes further down. The elevator is roomy but today it feels slightly claustrophobic. Maybe it's because Jack smells. "I've forwarded the appropriate credits to the Citadel for the mess you created. They were taken from your personal account, of course."
Miranda is a strong believer in science, in evidence but she knows that people are more complicated than data. In the Dark Star Lounge Miranda had thought she'd seen something more in Jack than a raving lunatic. Jack's past is troubled in more overt ways than Miranda's own. She speaks despite herself. "Whatever your past you should forget it and move on."
"Easy for you to say. You'd just love for me to forget what Cerberus did. Mind your own business, bitch." Jack slams her fist into the bright red emergency button of the elevator and steps out onto the third floor. She's disappeared by the time Miranda is out of the elevator. At least she got to where she was going.
Joker's voice comes on over the PA. "Everything cool, Miranda? Registered an emergency signal in the elevator with you and Jack."
"Everything's fine, Joker."
"A system scan reveals no irregularities," EDI announces.
"No one asked you," Joker snaps at EDI. Miranda can almost see him turning his head to the holographic representation of the AI before talking to Miranda again. "I'm just glad one of you isn't smeared on the walls. Hope I haven't interrupted anything," he says, the grin in his voice evident.
Miranda rolls her eyes. Joker's a clown but Shepard has an attachment to him. She's too fixated on her past, no matter how she tries to pretend otherwise. If she continues her unwarranted faith in the Alliance and the distrust of Cerberus, Miranda doesn't know how well things will fare. Miranda only hopes that Shepard's history won't distract her from the mission at hand. "We don't pay you to make poor jokes, Joker. Get to work."
"Yes, Ma'am," he chokes before the comm. goes dead. Idiot.
Jack hears shit. Kelly likes to run her mouth; she's a freak. Joker's a dumbass. Kasumi's a thief, Jack can respect that. Zaeed's a dinosaur, but he's cool. Garrus was the leader of some mercenary hero gang on Omega and what was his payback? Getting half of his already ugly face blown off. Mordin's cold, no better than the Cerberus trash that experimented on her but someone good to have in a fight. Grunt's like some giant baby that will kill you without even knowing it. Jacob's a boy scout who doesn't get it. He's boring. Shepard—no read on her yet. Doesn't matter. Miranda— a thoroughbred liar. She doesn't trust her. She can't find a trace on her. All searches on the extranet make it seem like she doesn't even fucking exist. Jack can only find articles discussing her scholarly pursuits and her talents with a violin. Nothing recent. She's hiding something.
The word is that Miranda's smart and good with biotics but she isn't half as good as Jack is. They say she's perfect; Jack calls bullshit. She looks good, like a high class whore for hire for upper class assholes who have to pay for pussy and don't have anything to show for their life outside of creds.
Jack runs another search on Miranda and comes up empty. She tosses the PDA aside half-heartedly. A moment later she picks it up again and does another search for the group that picked her up when she'd escaped that fucked up facility when she was a kid. She finds a lead for a batarian and human pirate ship running around in Logasiri.
She'd been starving and disoriented by the time they'd found her; she'd figured that they'd help, that it had to be better, that evil was contained to that stone metal trap where she'd been raised. What a stupid shit she'd been. It's weird to think of it now, that time when she'd been so naïve. Everything that happened after that, including the eventual selling into slavery was nothing worse than she deserved. Teach her to be so damn trusting.
Doesn't mean she has to forgive and forget, though. She's already downloaded local copies of the schematics of the Normandy. Maybe they know she has them but fuck it. What are they gonna do? Kill her? And then what? They miss out on what she can do. It's not even a risk, it's win win either way.
But she isn't stupid. She can't exactly hijack the Normandy. Shepard would shoot her out an airlock if she thought of trying. As much as Jack hates to admit it, Shepard's good—she might be even better at killing shit than she is.
She creates a bogus posting on an extranet mercenary site under the name jacqueline0, mentioning that she has info on the dead spectre Shepard and the inner machinations of Cerberus. She's willing to share the info for an exorbitant amount of creds. Minutes later she receives a call from the Illusive Man. Jack smiles. Hook, line and sinker.
She reports to the comm. room and is surprised to see Miranda waiting for her. "You're stupid," Miranda says.
"Fuck you. Where's the Illusive Man?" She's no sooner said the words then the room begins to shift. Jack looks around wildly. "What the hell?" She's never met the bastard before, never had any need—he's a dick with ulterior motives. She doesn't need to meet him to know that. She arrives in some weird fucked up room. Pretty cool though, if you're into that kind of thing. She focuses on the burning sun behind him before turning to him. That's not even him, is it? She can't smell him. "Overcompensating much?" she crosses her arms. "You look like a pussy."
"Watch your mouth," Miranda growls next to her.
The Illusive Man chuckles.
Jack ignores her. "I don't want to waste my time so I'll get straight to it. Logasiri. There's some shit I need to wrap up there. I don't need Shepard to handle this so if the Normandy can drop me off there that's cool. It won't take long."
"Except all the time needed to get to the Omega Nebula and the Batalla system," The Illusive Man says. He keeps the cigarette dangling from his long but thick fingers. Jack can't stop staring at his fucked up eyes.
"I told you she's too much trouble," Miranda says, "let's just get rid of her."
The Illusive Man ignores Miranda, focusing on Jack. "Why is this so important to you?"
"I told you, there's some shit I gotta wrap up. Once that's done I can focus on this mission or whatever. I'm going one way or another. This way's faster and involves less dead people, at least on the Normandy."
"Try it," Miranda threatens.
"Don't get me started, Cheerleader," Jack encroaches on her space but Miranda doesn't flinch.
The Illusive Man clears his throat and both of the women face him. "After what happened on Horizon we have a little breathing room, but not much." He exhales wisps of smoke. "We'll take you to Logasiri. You'll take a shuttle from there." Jack casts a triumphant, gleeful look at Miranda when her jaw clenches. "But," he taps the ash of his cigarette on the ashtray, "you won't be going alone. You're not worth Shepard's time, Jack. Miranda will go and keep an eye on you."
"Fuck that!" Jack says, "I'm not taking this bitch with me!"
"It wasn't a request, Jack. You're hot headed. You'll need someone with a good head on her shoulders to keep an eye out. You're free to try to cause a rampage on this vessel and try to break out. You did it once before. But memories are untrustworthy. Maybe you're not as good as you think. If you try anything you might take a few people but you will be gunned down and then disposed of. It's your choice."
Jack clenches her jaw. "Fine," she says through gritted teeth, "but if the bitch doesn't come back don't say I didn't warn you," she logs out.
She's fucking won but she's lost, too. A chance to take sweet revenge all ruined by that bitch's interference. Who the fuck invited her anyway? Goddamn it. Is it that goddamn AI? EDI? She doesn't trust computers; they're too analytical and logical like Miranda, like the Illusive Man, like Mordin. She's pissed that the stupid automatic doors won't even let her punch them on the way out of the communication room.
She stalks to the bridge to instruct Joker with the coordinates.
Miranda remains with the Illusive Man. "You coddle her," she tells him. Time after time he has pampered Jack and forgiven trespasses that would earn other individuals serious ramifications if not a forfeiture of their life.
"You catch more flies with honey than vinegar," The Illusive Man says. "Surely a woman of your charms and prowess can understand that. Someone with her past can't afford to behave in the same way as you, despite your similarities." Miranda frowns at the words. "You'll go to Logasiri with her. Aid her in her little mission. If she proves too problematic, kill her. If you deem that her petty vendettas will interfere with the mission, kill her. Keep the body. Can you do that?"
"Yes. Of course."
He nods. "I'll trust your discretion. You've made the impossible possible, Miranda. That's why you're here. Jack may not know better but you do. I'll expect you to be professional and smart enough to put Cerberus ahead of your personal feelings."
Miranda bites her tongue. "I'll take care of it," she says and logs off.
Miranda is unused to having her professionalism questioned. She shakes and then forces the anger away. It is an irrational emotion that leads to poor judgment. The Illusive Man has made a request and she will see to it. She'll go to Logasiri with Jack. But if she sees an opportunity, she will take it. If Jack shows the slightest inclination of betraying Cerberus, she'll kill her. Perhaps Subject Zero's stupid little side mission will be the thing to finish the bitch off once and for all.