"Do you have a minute Miranda?" She was sure it was Shepard again, but her door opened to admit non other than Doctor Chakwas.
"Of course Doctor. What can I do for you?" She closed the report she was working on, before looking at the Doctor, hands folded in front of her on her desk. She motioned with her hand for the Doctor to sit across her.
"Id like to talk to you about Project Lazarus."
Miranda raised one eyebrow "You do know that most of the Project is still classified?"
"Yes." Doctor gave her a curt nod. "But Id like you to tell me as much as you can, so I can treat Shepard better. Id like to know her limitations, so that the next time you bring her half-dead to me, she doesn't wake up from the anesthetics, while I'm still patching her up."
Doctors eyes glazed for a moment, as she recalled the incident few days ago, when Shepard had a gaping hole in her chest, after a mission gone wrong. She was mending her internal injuries, when the Commanders eyes shot open, face contorted in pain. She almost fell out of bed, before Doctor managed to give her another dose of sedatives, while Miranda was holding her down.
It reminded Miranda too much of the first time the Commander woke during the Lazarus Project. She blamed it on Wilson's miscalculations at the time, but later they discovered that was due to the nanites in the Commanders bloodstream.
"Of course. I will forward you as much data as I can to yo..." She was interrupted when Doctor raised a hand.
"I appreciate that, but Id rather I hear it from you, if that is alright."
Miranda's face was unreadable, except for the tightening of her lips.
She is either scowling, or trying really hard not to smile, Doctor thought to herself.
"Alright. As you know, Project Lazarus had only one subject - one mission, and that was to bring Commander Shepard back to life." She crossed her fingers in front of her face, elbows on her desk, as Doctor Chakwas leaned in to listen.
"What we got of her, after recovery of her corpse from the Alchera, was more of a mangled mess of armor, flesh and bones, than a body, so to reconstruct her skeleton, we had to use cybernetic implants, extensively."
"How extensively?" Doctor asked, a little dread creeping up in her voice.
"Around 60% of the bone mass was completely shattered from the impact with the planets surface, and therefore had to be replaced."
"My God." Doctor was shocked.
"Don't worry, these implants wont degenerate over time, causing premature death from the corruption. This is one of the new technologies we got from other Cerberus cells, who specialized on upgrading implants to last, if not forever, then longer." Miranda correctly gauged Doctors reaction.
The older woman sighed in relief "Right. The Illusive Man wouldn't want his investment to go to waste because of corroded cybernetics, right?" Doctor chuckled nervously.
"Exactly." Miranda said "Now, the next thing you should be aware of was that we used nanites to restart blood and other fluids in the Commanders body. With their primary function completed, they now float through Shepard's body, fixing any damage they find, and for the lack of better word, battle foreign bodies that might find their way inside, like alcohol, sedatives and viruses. That's why she woke up in the middle of the surgery or why she sobers quickly after drinking all night."
Cerberus officer paused for a second.
"She actually woke up once, during the Project, little after we managed to restart her brain function. At first I thought my assistant gave her the wrong dose of sedatives, but later I figured that the nanites were to blame. From then we were always vigilant, while keeping her sedated."
"But if it already happened, how come you didn't know that she needed stronger dose?"
"Because the nanites are constantly learning, evolving, making it hard to predict the exact dose. I fear that in time, Shepard will develop kind of an immunity to the sedatives and anesthetics, which means..."
"... she will need to endure operations awake. Good Lord." Doctor finished Miranda's sentence, hand over her face.
"On the other hand, she will also be immune to poison and disease." Miranda offered.
"But still, I cant imagine anyone, not even Shepard, enduring through something like that operation, when we patched that hole in her chest up, fully aware and feeling everything."
"I know. But as far as I know, there is a Cerberus cell that is working on a solution for that, though it will probably be years before we see some results."
They sat in silence for a while, Doctor contemplating what Miranda told her so far, and the XO just watching the other woman.
"Alright. And what about brain function? How did you reactivated that?" Doctor finally spoke.
"I am sorry Doctor, I cannot reveal that to you, its classified." There was regret in Miranda's eyes, but her voice was firm.
It seemed like Doctor wanted to protest, to insist on getting the answer, but she finally gave a reluctant nod, before speaking again "And skin? I guess that most of her skin, if not all was burned in the reentry of the atmosphere?"
"Yes, most of it was completely burned, and some has even melted, sticking to the inside of the armor. We were lucky that we managed to get large enough sample to reproduce the skin, that was surgically implanted over flesh. It was the last stage of Project Lazarus, which was unfortunately interrupted by Wilson, leaving Shepard scarred." This time, Miranda was definitely scowling, at the memory of Wilson and how she didn't figure out that he was a traitor sooner.
"About that; I noticed that whatever I did, no matter how I stitched them, or how much medi-gel I gave to the Commander, those scars weren't healing. In fact, I think they may have even gotten worse. Do you have any idea why is that?" Doctor asked, and Miranda's brows knitted together in a frown.
"I am not sure whey they are not healing, but I think I know how to fix them." She took one of the data pads from her desk, and gave it to Chakwas.
"Here; I believe that we could use this machine to heal them, if they don't start to heal on their own."
Doctor went over the schematics and instructions "Yes, I see. I will need to study this little more, but I think you are right. I will talk to Shepard when I find out more."
Putting the datapad in her lap, she asked, without really expecting an answer "What about her memories? How come she remembers everything? I guess her brain was..." She trailed, letting Miranda to finish the sentence.
"... Oh it was cooked, no other way to describe what we saw when we opened her skull. But I cant really talk about her memories, its..."
"... Classified, I know." Doctor said with a tight smile.
Miranda nodded. "Is there anything else, Doctor?"
Doctor sat in silence for a while, before shaking her head "No, that is all for now. Thank you, Miss Lawson, for indulging me in this." She stood up, ready to leave.
"It was my pleasure, Doctor. I don't really have much chance to talk about advanced medicine on board, except with Dr Solus." There was a hint of a smile on the Operatives face. "I will send you those details to your private terminal. If you have anymore questions, you know where to find me."
Doctor Chakwas just smiled and nodded, before exiting Miranda's office.
Miranda just sat there for a while, thinking about the conversation. Then she opened a picture on her terminal, showing Commander Shepard's face in great details, her scars glowing bright red, her expression neutral. On the next picture, the Commander's face was contorted in anger, the scars seemingly the same, but there was a red glint in her blue eyes. On the third picture, Shepard was smiling, and although her scars were still visible, they weren't gloving anymore, and her eyes were the color of the ocean once again.
Hmm, this is interesting.