An excerpt from a currently untitled Mass Effect 3 fanfic. A holovid between Miranda Lawson and Commander Shepard before Rannoch and pre - Romance scene.

"Shepard?" Miranda Lawson crossed her arms, leaning back into her hip. "Wasn't expecting to hear from you."

"Really? You seem surprised that I give a damn." Shepard leaned forward, hands gripping the railing around the edge of the communications terminal as he glared intensely at the flickering image of his former executive officer.

"Not at all," she clarified, calmly though confused at his agitation. "I'm just surprised you have a spare moment. Especially if what I hear is true about the Geth."

"You mean about the Quarians. Yeah. That's true."

She scoffed with a shake of the head. "Unbelievable. The Reapers are destroying the galaxy and they decide now is the time to start a war with the Geth. We need to unite our forces, not make it easier for the enemy."

"We're doing our best out here," Shepard answered with a sigh and pushed off the railing to pace away from the visual. "It's all just a mess. Political nightmare. Plus we've got Reapers in the area." He tossed a hand into the air in disgust. "And still some of these admirals are more worried about destroying the Geth than fighting off the Reapers."

"If anyone can talk some sense into them, it's you," She stated with certainty. "Despite what you always thought of yourself, you're politically savvy and know how to get things done diplomatically as well as with force."

"I'm just at the boiling point," he growled. "There comes a point where you just want to crack some skulls together. Wonder if that'll work. Wrex seemed to like the idea. Bash a skull with your own and you win the argument."

"That may work for the Krogan but I don't think your skull will win against a Quarian helmet." She responded, amused. "Plus, I believe the last time you tried to smash your head into a Krogan's to make a point, you had a headache for about a week."

"I still won," he grinned.

Chuckling, she shook her head. "Yes, you did. You see? You're doing fine without me. Just like I said you would. I'd just complicate things."

He peered back over his shoulder at her. "I'd rather you were here."

Sighing, she uncrossed her arms and looked to the floor. "You know I can't."

"Why not?" He turned towards the visual and stalked closer. "Why the hell not? I will help you find Oriana. I did it once. Why would you think I wouldn't do it again?"

"I know you would!" She exclaimed, harshly. "That is exactly why I cannot ask you to do it again. You need to unite the galaxy against the Reapers and my presence aboard your ship would just make it harder for you to accomplish the task."

"That is absolute crap and you know it."

"It is not," she defended, defiantly lifting her chin. "I am constantly dodging Cerberus assassins. By staying away, I am keeping them away from you so you can actually get something done."

"The Normandy is the safest place in the galaxy right now." He countered. "Cerberus can't touch you on board. We can find Oriana. Stop Cerberus."

"It's not that simple," she responded, flatly then eyed him with concern. "Are you sleeping?"

"No," he said flatly. "But that's nothing new. Are you?"

"As much as I can." She shrugged, casually. "I'll sleep when Oriana's safe."

"And I'll sleep when the Reapers are gone," he replied with a chuckle and a slow shake of the head.

She smiled and shifted her weight. "It looks like we're both going to have many sleepless nights."

Nodding his agreement, he sobered then admitted. "It's not the same. The Alliance gutted the ship. I walk around and I'm looking for Grunt, Samara, you but I'm too busy tripping over cables. For months, I'd go to your office to relax, spend time with you. Or even sleep, make love. Now I walk in there and Liara gutted it for her mobile lab and it's like having the floor yanked out from under you. Another new crew and I just don't trust them like I did my last crew."

"The alliance wasn't known for keeping ships neat and tidy." Miranda commented. "Cerberus liked a sleek ship. It showed control, no haste in construction. The Normandy needed gutting anyway. "Who knows how many bugs and cameras were installed. The last thing you need is the Illusive Man knowing your every move."

He raked a hand through his shortly cropped hair. "You're right, but …" he laughed. "Damn it, woman, I'm trying to tell you how much I miss you."

"I know," she whispered with a soft smile. "I miss you too."

"Tell me where you are," he pressed, leaning closer to her image. "I'll come find you. We'll get Oriana then you can be here and we can see this to the end. Whatever it is."

"I can't," she turned from him, facing the side as she closed her eyes. "I can't, Shepard. I may be ex-Cerberus but …" she trailed off.

"I'm a Spectre." Shepard stepped to the side to better see her face. "I can protect you. No one would question me. Plus I'd like to see anyone on this ship try to take you."

She glanced towards him. "They couldn't. But that's not the point. By staying away, I'm keeping Cerberus on me and off of you. They're divided now. The Illusive Man will not stop hunting me until I'm dead. If I can pull a few dozen commandos away from you, it's worth it."

"Not good enough."

"You're halfway across the galaxy," she continued, motioning to him with her hand. "There are hundreds of Reapers between us. Plus, I found Oriana. At least I think I have which means I have to move now. I need more intel. And no matter what you say, you know that you cannot leave where you are to come after me."

He clenched his teeth, slamming a fist onto the railing in frustration. Turning his head away, he gathered his anger, focused it, storing it away to call upon later. "I'll find you," he pledged intensely.

"I'll hold you to that," she searched his expression, memorizing every feature. She disconnected the call.

"I'm sorry, Commander," EDI stated over the intercom. "The call disconnected before I could trace it."

"Of course it did," he growled and stormed from the communications room.

Note: I hope you enjoy the little excerpt. A Miranda Fanbook for Bioware has come to my attention and I wrote this to participate at the request of a PM. This excerpt will take place in my Mass Effect 3 expanded scenes story which is yet to be posted.

If you're interested in showing Bioware your support for Miranda Lawson, feel free to check out the link below. They are accepting submissions of letters to the devs, fanfic and fan art until May 30th, 2012.

Don't forget to review!


had to remove the periods for a link to be posted.