It had been a day much like many of the ones that had come before it in the last two years. Miranda got up, checked the data on the patient from the overnight shifts, then spent the day working on keeping the healing on schedule and hoping against hope that there wouldn't be another incident like the one last month.
That incident had been the one where Wilson was the only person in the room at the time and Shepard had miraculously managed to regain consciousness three months ahead of schedule – nearly killing herself (again) in the process. Though Miranda had combed the data extremely finely, she couldn't find the evidence against Wilson that she knew should be there. Since she couldn't find anything solid against him, she had simply instituted a policy that no-one was allowed to alone with Shepard until they were ready to wake her. She'd gotten a lot of complaints, strangely enough all from Wilson.
As the day wore down and she was finishing up in her little office, Miranda decided that a short meditation would be good for her. Getting out of the chair and locking her door, she assumed a comfortable sitting position on the floor and cleared her mind. The clarity she gained lasted only a few moments as it was interrupted by an annoying, but not shrill alarm coming from her computer system. She cracked open one eye to see multiple red flashing warnings on the screen, so reluctantly got up and looked at them.
"What, that can't be right," she muttered, fingers flying over the holographic keys as the warnings flashed at her. Someone, she couldn't tell who, had managed to gain unauthorised root access to the server that processed all of the security mech runtimes and program backups. Miranda watched in real-time unable to intervene as a foreign code was entered from somewhere in Server Room B. She watched as the entire system was subverted and then sabotaged, leaving no possibility that she could undo the damage. Scrolling back up to the code to see what was happening, her eyes widened in shock for a split second, before narrowing in agitation. If it had been any other situation, she would have applauded her opponent.
They had somehow inserted a base override into all of the security mech IFF systems, which would kill every organic person on the station except two very specific, unknown targets. And they had timed it masterfully, at the shift change between the day and night shift, so the crew would either be too tired to be effective, or not awake and aware enough. Miranda's face distorted in a snarl as she heard the first shots being fired in a battle that would be horribly one-sided. Before she was even aware of it her fingers were dancing in the light-based keys, activating an untested contingency plan that she'd hoped would never be needed. She watched, her anger rising as she could do nothing but wait and hope that two years of work by some of the finest minds humanity could produce hadn't gone to waste.
It seemed to be her entire world. Questions like 'Who am I?' 'Where am I?' and even the dreaded 'What am I?' took a backseat to the overwhelming sensation of her reality now.
Not pain of any particular variety, even though the person this body used to be was well-versed in the many and various kinds that one being could inflict upon another. And not just brute-force pain either, but also in the exquisite and far more incisive types that could be inflicted with a mere word, careful cruel gesture, emotion – or a finely controlled sword, for preference. Pain was an old friend, a trusted lover to the person she used to be, and she had been gone too long from its sweet caress.
And now she was back, and pain seemed intent on making up for all the missed sensation while they had been apart. As it began to fade from mind-burning intensity to more distinguishable forms of muscular soreness and visual overload, as well as numerous still-healing cuts, she began to register sounds. A repeated sound, even as she raised a hand to block the light shining pure agony down her optic nerve.
"Shepard." It was a voice, or at least, that's what it sounded like. It could have been her imagination for all she knew.
"Shepard!" There it was again, a little more insistent this time as Wednesday carefully felt around her very sore jawline. Her eyes were open lazily now, the pure intense pain now resolving itself into distinguishable light. She was in some kind of hospital room, given the amount of white everywhere.
"WEDNESDAY!" the voice shouted irritably.
"WHAT?!" she shouted back, causing her eyes to focus instantly as her dry, unused throat brought her into complete consciousness, burning away the last of the sedatives she had been under.
"Shepard, you need to get moving. This facility is under attack, and we need to get you out of here." The voice replied. Wednesday cocked her head at the ceiling, trying to work out where she was. She didn't recognise the voice, the rich Australian accent and the low, female pitched voice it veneered.
"And just what exactly do you expect me to do, Mysterious Voice?" Wednesday replied angrily. "I'm groggy, feel like I haven't moved in months and I'm wearing a hospital gown which, while admittedly showing off my ass to great effect, isn't much good in a firefight. I'm not sure at this point I can even stand up straight!" Her point was perfectly illustrated as an explosion nearby rocked the bed, causing her to fall on the floor in an undignified heap. Slowly, and with much effort from her arms and legs, she managed to get herself upright, if a little shaky and still leaning on the table she had so recently been reclining on. She felt odd somehow, like she had been building her muscles, but at the same time not actually using them. She felt powerful, but unused to her own body, like hitting her puberty growth spurt all over again. She flexed her fingers, looking at them as if she couldn't quite reconcile the feelings and what she was seeing with her eyes. She could see the fading marks from surgical incisions, a lot of them, but didn't feel anything other than herself, and yet not herself.
Another explosion nearby swiftly brought her back to the present. Working out how she got to be the way she was now and why she couldn't remember how she wound up here would have to wait for another time. She realised that the Mysterious Voice had been speaking, but she hadn't heard a single word except the last.
"… Wednesday?" Wednesday, she thought and a spark ran almost painfully through her mind. Wednesday Shepard, that's who I am. No… not Shepard… Addams. She took a deep breath as a thousand years of Addams inheritance, hidden deep in blood and bone, came rushing back to her. Her irises widened as she let go of her breath and suddenly all was right in her personal world.
"I have no idea what you just said Mysterious Voice, but I'm going to assume it was to tell me what you want me to do," she said loudly. "And if it was, let me be the first to tell you that you can never tell me what to do and expect me to follow it." With that she gave a smirk to the ceiling, turned about smartly, took a step towards the door and fell flat on her face. After a short cursing session and taking time to get back on her very unsteady feet, she made her way in stops and starts towards the door.
Thankfully it opened automatically. Unfortunately, the next room had far less in the way of useful chest-high trolleys and machinery, so she stumbled straight into a cold steel door. Her hand landed just so, and she felt a warmth under her palm before she let out another curse at her still-waking limbs.
"Passcode incorrect. Please enter the correct passcode," a synthetic voice intoned. Wednesday looked up, confused. What the hell had she fallen against? Manoeuvring herself so she was standing, leaning heavily against whatever it was, she took a closer look at it.
It was big, to start with. Nearly three metres tall, and at least two wide. It was cold to the touch, water condensing all around it, except for the spot that had warmed when she touched it. And plastered right in the middle, in pride of place, a small, discrete logo declaring it to be the output of AddamsTech Genetics. Seeing the logo and the word Addams again sent of fresh waves of pain as her memory fired up again. Looking down, she placed her hand back on the warm spot.
"DNA profile match 100% Wednesday Shepard. Please enter the passcode to unlock," the synthetic voice spoke again.
"Sic gorgiamus allos subiectatos nunc," she replied automatically, though unsure what part of her mind that answer had come from.
"Passcode accepted. Go get 'em Wednesday!" the container replied, this time in a much different voice. A real voice, one she recognised but couldn't name right now. She took a step back as the front panel shifted and a burst of cold gases escaped. She backpedalled quickly, running into a shelf with a much smaller container that fell to the floor. She picked it up, once again seeing the AddamsTech logo, but her attention was caught by the sound of the container opening and as a series of heavy thuds filled the small room.
Wednesday looked up as a mountain of a man, dressed in armour that looked like it was a war crime all on its own, got up stiffly, but soundlessly, from a kneeling position to his full, imposing two and a half metre stature. He turned around silently and reached into the container, pulling out a large machine cannon that had obviously been converted from a vehicular weapon. As he readied the weapon and looked at her expectantly, still as the grave, another painful flash of memory coursed through her mind. She had a name to go with his grey, impassive face, a name she knew well. It brought a smile, a true Addams smile, to her lips.
Holding on to the smaller AddamsTech case, Wednesday let Lurch go in front as she picked a random set of hallways to go through, following the sounds of gunfire. Wednesday wasn't particularly looking to get in a fight, despite salvaging a pistol from a dead guy, but gunfire meant people and right now people other than Lurch meant answers. The two of them eventually came out to an open walkway, where a dark-skinned and dark-attired man was singularly holding off a small group of mechs on an adjacent walkway. Wednesday immediately ducked into cover, hugging herself against the wall as she assessed the situation. A second later, after watching the man throw out a biotic attack, she came up with a plan.
"Lurch, cover fire. You, prepare a warp field and release on my command!" Lurch stepped into the open, trigger already depressed and raking the other bridge with automatic, high-calibre rounds. Wednesday threw out her arm in a practiced motion that felt ungainly and awkward to her, since she was still figuring out her new body. She felt the rush of electricity through her system as the element zero activated and a gravity-nullifying mass effect field made the mechanised opponents weightless. Her eyes widened in pleasure as the electric rush, and the corresponding biotic technique, was far more powerful than she had ever felt before in her life. She watched in almost euphoric detachment as the mechs she had meant to simply lift a few feet off the ground collided violently with the ceiling in an impressive explosion of sparks and shrapnel. Only then did she remember that she had an audience and turned her attention to the man still crouched down, looking up at her with wide, fear-filled eyes.
"I know this is probably a bad time, but we need to get to an exit, pronto," Wednesday said quickly. "I know I should probably be asking you a million and one questions right now, but I don't have time for that right now, and neither do you. So, quick introductions then. I'm Wednesday, the strong silent type next to me is Lurch. And you are?" the man opened and closed his mouth a few times as his brain tried and failed to connect his reasoning centre to the mouth, but he finally managed it.
"Jacob, Jacob Taylor."
"Well Mister Taylor, I have to say I'm not impressed with this hotel, and wouldn't recommend it to my friends and family. Except, of course, for the ones who enjoy this sort of thing – which would be most of them, actually. So if you will kindly escort me towards the nearest exit, I would be most obliged." Jacob stared dumbly at her for a moment while his brain tried to work out what the hell was going on, before deciding that was a job for the too-hard basket and letting basic training instincts kick in. The woman before him had been a superior officer and he had just been given something that could be construed as an order. The rest could be worked out later.
"Ah, right, this way then," he said, standing up and gesturing to a nearby door that looked like any of the other doors. "Shuttle bay is in this direction. Do you know anything about Miranda and her condition? She wouldn't have just left you."
"Look, at this point, I'm learning to walk again, I'm dressed in a sheet and to top it all off, I woke up in the middle of a bad action film. I have no idea what's going on, let alone who Miranda is. You are the first person I've seen alive so far, so can we spare the questions?"
"Oh yeah, right. So, follow me, I guess," he said uncertainly. He led her towards the door, when his omni-tool sprang to life with an incoming signal.
"Check, check. Hello, is anyone on this frequency?!" Jacob stopped and opened a channel.
"Wilson, is that you?"
"Oh thank God, I thought I was the only one out here. You gotta help me, I'm stuck in the server room and the path to the shuttle bay is crawling with mechs."
"What are you doing in the server room?"
"Never mind, what's your position!" Wilson testily replied.
"Well, I just met up with Shepard," Jacob began.
"Wait, Shepard's alive?" Wilson cut in. Jacob was about to respond when a white hand cut the channel and he found himself looking into one of the scariest sights he had ever seen: an Angry Wednesday.
"Your orders are to get me out of here, Taylor. I'm dressed in a cotton gown, not widely known for its defensive robustness. I've been awake for a grand total of 15 minutes, 10 of which have involved being shot at. My patience is wearing dangerously thin and I tend to stab people when I'm upset. So unless you want me to stab whoever Wilson is just before I stab you, I suggest you get to leading me to the shuttles. Unless you want to swap outfits so you wear this sorry excuse for a gown and I'm wearing a decent hardsuit. You will still, of course, be taking point." Jacob swallowed the lump in his throat, his eyes never leaving Wednesday's as they seemed to stare right into his very soul, searing it with the intensity.
"Let's get to the shuttles then," he said softly, hoping that he was the only one to notice the thin trickle of liquid running down his pant leg.
A short time later, after cutting through several service areas, the trio were finally in the shuttle bay. As Jacob used his security access to override the door locks, he found himself staring at the business end of a pistol. Thankfully, it was lowered immediately when the wielder recognised him.
"Miranda, didn't expect to see you here, but good to see you," he replied, his voice creeping a little higher than normal. Miranda raised an eyebrow at this behaviour from the usually more stoic man, before she saw the two figures standing behind him. One she recognised instantly, even if her white hospital gown was now more grey and brown. Her black hair, her white skin and her piecing intelligent eyes were unmistakable, especially since she had spent nearly two years trying to get her back from the dead. A project that had every hallmark of success, given the woman was standing right before her.
The other figure was a mystery, as she couldn't remember hiring any gigantic grey-skinned behemoths for this project and certainly none that used vehicular machine guns as a handheld weapon. Miranda's gaze fell back to the more familiar Wednesday, whose own gaze had fallen down to Miranda's chest. Miranda allowed herself a small smirk as she once against saw the benefit of her voluptuous body as a powerful weapon.
"Cerberus, didn't expect that," Wednesday said, once again in eye contact with Miranda. Her ego temporarily trodden on, Miranda's mind took an extra moment to realise what had been said. She looked over at Jacob, shaking her head slightly.
"Ah Jacob, I should have known your conscience would get the better of you."
"I wasn't me Miranda, I've barely gotten in a word edgewise."
"Then how did she -"
"- know?" Wednesday finished, tired already of being talked about like she wasn't right there. "You've got the logo on practically everything, especially your décolletage. Kind of hard to miss it." Miranda looked over to Wednesday and opened her mouth to say something when another voice chimed in.
"Warning, station self-destruct has been activated. Detonation in five minutes." Scowling, Miranda turned back to the three of them.
"Come on, we'll continue this in the shuttle. All the others have been damaged, so this is the only one that's working." The four of them calmly walked into the open door and took a seat, Miranda briefly looking at the empty seat next to Jacob before heading into the pilot's chair. She quickly and easily started the launch sequence, sealing the shuttle doors and piloting them up and away. Looking out the window at the place he'd called home for over a year, Jacob saw a disbelieving Wilson run up to the door they had all just come through.
"Hey, there's Wilson, should we go back and get him?" he asked.
"No," came the swift and unison response from Wednesday and Miranda. They sat in an uncomfortable silence for the next five minutes, calmly watching as the station self-destructed in a blaze of light, before the shuttle made the jump to FTL.
A/N: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN NNNNNNNNDDDDD WE'RE BACK!
Did you miss me? I missed all of you! And so did Wednesday!
So, unless you have been living under a rock for several years, you'll notice that this is the Mass Effect 2 part of the Wednesday Shepard Saga. For those of you who just blindly clicked the link without actually checking on the title, this one will be called 'Prized Collection'. And no, don't ask me about the title, I often suck at them.
Where will this story go? Who will Wednesday find and recruit? Will she and Liara be able to pick up their relationship where they left off? Who will be the first person Wednesday will stab? Find out the answers to these questions and many more as Wednesday takes her first step into a larger, and much stranger, galaxy then she left.
Also, because I am basically a review-whore and crave your kind words of praise, the first TEN! (that's right, you read that correctly) will be honoured by getting a short mention by name sometime later in this tale. If you need/want examples, look up how I made Aiorann the preaching hanar, Eating Crow a hanar prostitute, and Medusalan a salarian STG corporal. No, what are you suggesting, that I have some kind of thing for hanar? Well I don't... not really anyway. Certainly no more than the Japanese.
Anyway, read, review and enjoy. That's all I ask of you.