The backstory for Mass Effect‘s Cerberus agent, Miranda Lawson, is long and difficult, crafting a tale of the flaws in human perfection. Genetically engineered by her father, Miranda grew up without a mother, and the arrogant perfectionist who created her knew next to nothing about being an actual parent. She was an experiment, an effort to attain absolute perfection through the modification of his own genome.
Miranda was not the first experiment her father created, but she was the first one he kept. His expectations of her put an incredible amount of pressure on her to be something that, as a human mortal, she could never actually be: perfect. Her rebellion against him forced him to recreate the experiment, and the sister who came out of the petri dish became a mission Miranda could not forget, a mission only Commander Shepard could carry out with her, and the result softened the emotionally hardened biotic just enough to let the commander into her heart.
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The Perfect Woman
A romance option for male Commander Shepard, Miranda did not make igniting the spark between them easy. Given her origins and her life before Cerberus, she had major trust issues, and really, who could blame her. She rebuilt Shepard at Cerberus’s command, watching over his reconstruction and awakening with a great deal of pride and curiosity, but she didn’t trust her recreation because perhaps she knew from personal experience how easy it was to rebel.
Locating and protecting Miranda’s genetically engineered sister from their father was an essential point in launching the romance between her and Shepard, as it caused her to open up a little more than she had before about who she was and where she’d come from.
She often fell back on pointing out that it was her perfect genetics, biotics and body that made her who she was, but Shepard pointed out that though her genetics and biotics may have shaped the choices she’d made and the things she’d done, she chose as an individual with a free mind. She noted then that she wanted Shepard to notice her perfect body, and if he responded in kind, the seeds for future romance were sown.
Love In Jeopardy
That first flirtation opened the door to romance, but her insecurity caused Miranda to hold back. At times it also made her jealous enough that Shepard called her on it. She acted casually about it, as though Shepard’s feelings meant nothing to her, but a shared kiss brought the truth to the surface and advanced their relationship.
Miranda’s volatile relationship with Cerberus-enhanced and tortured biotic Jack became a point of contention in their relationship. After Jack’s loyalty mission, she stormed into Miranda’s office demanding answers and justice. Shepard could come between them and break it up, but if his Paragon or Renegade levels were too low, and he chose to side with Jack, it would end his relationship with Miranda. Siding with Miranda would upset Jack, but it was the only way to maintain the romance with Miranda.
Before entering the Omega 4 Relay to face the Collectors on the suicide mission, Miranda asked Shepard to meet her in the engine room, where they spent the night together.
Love On the Run
When the Reapers attack, Shepard had no idea if he would even see Miranda again. Separating after the suicide mission, Shepard was imprisoned and Miranda severed ties with Cerberus. Her decision to do so put her life in jeopardy, and for a time, she was on the run from the Illusive Man.
After rescuing Primark Victus, Shepard returned to the Normandy and found an email from Miranda, asking him to meet her on the Citadel. Reunited, she confessed that she feared for Oriana’s life once more, as she believed their father located the girl. Shepard also received a dossier from Admiral Hackett about Kai Leng telling of a Cerberus attack, and Shepard needed to warn Miranda about it; otherwise, she would be killed.
A second meeting on the Citadel reunited them once more, and Miranda confessed that she had wanted to put a chip in Shepard’s brain to control him while they were rebuilding him. She also confirmed that her father kidnapped Oriana, and Henry Lawson was working for the Illusive Man. After receiving another missive from her when they parted ways, Shepard followed her to Sanctuary, where Kai Leng awaited to assassinate her.
When dealing with Henry Lawson and Kai Leng, Miranda could= die if Shepard did not warn her or manage to secure her loyalty, so making sure that happened beforehand was essential to keeping Miranda alive and allowing their romance to continue.
Miranda reappeared during the Citadel DLC, offering the couple the opportunity to quest together and spend some romantic time alone, further enhancing their relationship. Before Shepard left for the final assault, they had one last opportunity to say goodbye, with Miranda promising him that everything would be different if they managed to survive. Shepard told her they had to make the difference themselves, and she’d spent too much of her life on the run. It was time to stand firm and stop running.
It’s impossible to say whether Miranda and Shepard will ever see one another again, but with a new game in development that is meant to combine both the original trilogy and Mass Effect: Andromeda, there’s a strong possibility fans may come face to face with the perfect woman once again, maybe even as Command Shepard.
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