Jack flicks the cover up and down on the detonator, thumb hovering over the tiny red button each time it's exposed. Rain pelts the shuttle as lightning streaks across the sky beyond the glass windows. Even after coming and facing her past, her big fucking bomb seconds away from obliterating the entire facility, she looks no less troubled than before. The entire excursion has been mentally exhausting and the arguments between Miranda and Jack haven’t helped the pounding in Connlaodh Shepard’s head.
“Just do it already,” he finally snaps at Jack and bangs his fist against the shuttle to urge their pilot to hurry the fuck up.
“This is my call,” she snarls back, pausing long enough to get the point across. “Damn, that feels good.”
Even with their increased speed, the shuttle rocks with the force of the explosion and the three of them buck in their seats. Miranda grabs at Shepard’s arm to steady herself, and shares a quick smile with him as her fingers linger. He pretends not to notice and drops his gaze to the floor, crossing his arms over his chest as he tries to ignore the unwarranted irritation he feels toward her right now.
Noticing his shift in posture, Jack smirks. “Trouble in paradise?”
“Hardly,” Miranda answers, placing her hand possessively on Shepard’s thigh. “It’s just been a long day.”
“Keep telling yourself that, cheerleader.”
“Shouldn’t you act at least a little grateful? After we—”
“We?” Jack’s derisive snort interrupts Miranda. “Shepard gave me those files and Shepard authorized this mission. You’re the same Cerberus bitch you’ve always been.”
“Enough!” Shepard shouts. “I thought the whole point of this was to put your past behind you. We’re not even off the goddamned planet yet and you two are already back at it. This was a waste of fucking time. You shouldn’t have come here.”
To his surprise, Jack doesn’t immediately lash out at him. Instead, she looks him up and down and arches an eyebrow. “I shouldn’t have come here? Or you mean you shouldn’t have, because now you can’t turn a blind eye to what your precious Cerberus does to humans?”
Shepard resists the urge to squirm under her intense scrutiny. She’s cut through to the heart of what’s bothering him and the smug look on her face says she knows it.
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Miranda huffs. “Shepard knows what our goals are. One rogue cell isn’t Cerberus.”
Shepard doesn’t bother to respond. The amount of “rogue Cerberus cells” they’ve found keep increasing and Shepard can’t help but wonder if the label is merely a clever way for The Illusive Man to maintain plausible deniability. Miranda won’t understand that; her confidence in Cerberus is rock solid. And he certainly isn’t going to discuss his apprehensions in front of Jack. He needs to get a firmer grasp of the truth before he discusses his feelings with anyone.
His glare is enough to prevent further arguments for the remainder of their trip and Shepard is left to wrestle with his beliefs in silence.