There's a lot of curses flying around in her drug-addled head as Shepard props herself up by the window of the med-bay, gazing out with bleary eyes as the darkness descends upon the star system. Despite what is coming, she refuses to feel fear, at least just yet – clinging on to a hope she can already label delusional. In the corridors outside her sealed-off room, she can hear the joyous shouts, a deranged celebration of impending doom.
While arguments were made during those times she slipped into a lucid state, she can't find the words anymore. Not that there's any point trying, because the loss is all too evident.
I'm sorry doesn't even begin to cover it. Dammit, Shepard crawled out of the grave and afterlife to fight this, and she walked right into a trap, and now there's nothing that she can do.
Fury knowing no bounds, she slams her fist against the wall, screaming, and then stumbles across the room to flip the table over, sending instruments flying across the floor. Even as the staff comes to subdue her, she fights them, clawing tooth and nail and ripping off an ear before she's rendered boneless. She flops around, snarling at them, flailing like a fish out of water.
"Harbinger wants her taken aboard," Kenson's voice says, drifting above her as there's ecstatic movement all around, bodies shuffling past in the corridors as she's taken aboard a shuttle and put on the floor where she can only look up at them, seeing rows of chins and knees.
"Why her?" another voice whines, but is quickly shut up. There's no more talking, and she drifts off temporarily, lulled by the shuttle, waking up with a jerk as the door-hatch pops open.
Shepard. A voice she's heard in her nightmares ever since blowing up the Collector base, the tone it takes equally cold and flat as ever, or so she tells herself, preferring to ignore the victorious satisfaction she is obviously only projecting into it.
She trembles in their arms, every muscle spasming against the strong sedatives that keep her docile as they put her on the cool metal surface and begin removing her clothes. The noise drilling away between her ears get stronger as doctor Kenson hums a tune, flicking her finger against a needle, ignoring Shepard's wild eyes that can only watch as her entire body is paralyzed.
Your destiny was inescapable.
There's nothing to dim the pain as they begin cutting into her, peeling back skin to reveal the muscles and bones. She can't scream, but she can't grit her teeth either, breath shallow in her throat as she tries to escape.
Then, there's a soft touch at her cheek as a cool sensation curls over the skin, leaking past the cracks and down to the cybernetics underneath. For a brief flash it burns with the intensity of a thousand suns, and she finds a last hidden reserve of strength as she claws at the table, pulling herself away from the scalpels and digging fingers. A scream finds its way out of her throat as they tug her back – with a flick of her fingers she's crushed the skull of one of them, torn another in half, biotics flaring wild and uncontrolled as they struggle to restrain her.
Why do you fight it, Shepard? You are of us. Embrace it.
A needle penetrates her skin, hitting against something hard lurking below. A seizure makes her convulse, and then she lies absolutely still.
Her dry lips form a single word, but it goes unsaid. No.
The ascension has begun.
Bracing for further pangs of pain, she's shocked to be on the receiving end of the opposite: warm pulses coming from the needles stuck into her, soothing like a summer's breeze upon sun-kissed skin. Originating as a tremble at the end of her spine, they cease their cutting up of her and turn her over, knives out and waiting.
It is as we estimated.
"What?" she croaks, finding the words and pushing them out, her voice all too husky for her own liking. The crawling intensifies, a hum building within her chest and traveling down to her sex. It's indescribable, because objectively she knows she's not being touched by anyone and yet there's that distinct clenching thrill underneath her navel.
"It's not working," Kenson remarks from Shepard's side, tapping fingers against a monitor, mouth pursed in displeasure.
Nerves overloaded, Shepard can't even find the capacity within her to move, pinned down as the oddest feeling of pleasure washes over her, even when she perceives the breaking of skin again.
There's shame, too, because she finds a sick pleasure in the way her nervous system is being forced to feel good, and she comes even as they're mutilating her in the name of upgrades. Ascension, Harbinger calls it, a sharp blade cutting into her supple flesh, the ultimate destiny beginning.
"What are you–" Shepard presses out between gasps, torn between too many opposites to count. Contempt, towards herself and Kenson and all of these people who thought hanging out near a Reaper artifact was a sound idea; and terror because she's getting fucked without being actively fucked and she's enjoying it too much.
"No response," Kenson remarks, prodding at something hard and cold within Shepard.
We will find another way.
Abruptly, the pleasure is ended, leaving her panting and sweaty as the knives descend upon her again, and too weak to resist, she rescinds a bit of her resistance to the presence pushing at the edges of her consciousness, scraping to get in.
It's not even a clear presence, but she knows it by one name, Harbinger, though it has a thousand names and facets, and all of them are now focused upon her. Seeping into her, a slow oozing trickle that relaxes limb after limb, pacifying rebellious thoughts and heart palpitations. At times, she know she's dying on the operating table, long moments when the life is taken out of her and then put back in. A light coming and going, as if they want to show her they can do it.
In their hands, she is killed and re-born daily, the meaning of death slowly eradicated.
And many, many things are explained.
Shepard is perched on the delicate border between human and Reaper, her mind attuned to both and yet slightly out of touch, a membrane shifting back and forth. Her budding transcendence of two species – plus the Cipher ingrained into her mind – is a point of interest. She realizes that the process she's undergoing is as much a dissection as an enhancement.
All of her laid bare, it analyzes, small pulses throbbing through bone and flesh, making her flush even as she can hear the distinct sound of bones snapping. In the torturous process of re-shaping her, moulding her into the agent she was destined to be, there is blinding pleasure to be found between the choked wails resting in her mouth, unable to find a way out. She thinks, bitterly, that they must have gotten her pleasure and pain-responses mixed up. End of the day, though, it helps her get through the process.
When they begin work on her shoulder-blades, she's forced into a sitting position, hunching over the edge of the table. Not that she feels a thing, at least anything properly painful like removing shrapnel out in the field while enemies are flanking their position – but she hears it well enough. That noise, the obscene little squelch, making her grunt to keep her stomach from turning itself around too hard.
Entire body in a state of flux, she tries to avoid any reflection of it, unsure how she'll react when she sees what it has turned into.
"Cerberus did this to me," she says, rolling her head from side to side, the matted strands of long hair following the motion. She combs through it with her fingers, watching them move all too cooly through the tangles, perturbed by the lack of unsteadiness. There ought to be more resistance within her, but she's too blank to find it. A slate being wiped clean.
Their reason is unknown, but a purpose was achieved.
She laughs a bit. It's all too absurd at times. "It's just pieces of a dead ship." Though even a Reaper derelict for tens of millions of years could twist minds – dead gods can dream.
The nightmares she's had for months make more sense, but not in a pleasant way. Never having been one to gone through a single night tossing and turning over the face of an enemy, yet ever since her revival she struggled to not dream of Saren, or Sovereign – both of them equally on her mind, neither saying anything. Just fragmented scenes, broken images, repeating without revealing any meaning.
You walked on one of ours. Was it dead?
On the screens surrounding her, the pieces augmented into her body from Sovereign are displayed, showing exactly where in her they are and the extent of the strange metallic growth curling out from them. With a flicker, it shifts to a schematic of the destroyed Reaper, identifying where from it the parts were taken. It's a bit ironic, she thinks, that the debris that nearly crushed her is now part of her spine.
Though it seems like something Cerberus would be vain enough to do, especially considering that the new Normandy has some of it too. Anti-Reaper algorithms. Stick it in the dead Commander, stick it in the ship, hope they blow up the right targets.
One day, she'll see to it that she is the one who crushes the Illusive Man's head into smithereens, if only to show him what a stupid moron he was.
At leas it makes sense, the red glow she studied in the bathroom mirror for weeks on end before the scars healed, reminded of something. Hindsight being twenty-twenty, she connects the dots like it was the easiest puzzle ever: the same glow seen in Saren as his mortal flesh burned away after he shot his brains out, thanking her for pulling him away from the complete abyss.
Who will stop her? Can she even be stopped? She destroyed a Reaper and it continues to live on, transplanted into other places.
We never die. We are endless. Even in what you would call death, we continue on.
"So you mean I won't ever die?" Despite that nagging voice within saying it's true, trust in it, believe it, she still wants desperately to have it proven wrong.
Death is no obstacle to Shepard.
"Open wide," Kenson says, prying the clenched jaws apart. A tube sneaks its way down Shepard's throat, guided by clammy hands.
She thinks back of the last meal she ever ate as a human, of the tender red meat and crisp green vegetables grilled to perfection – all of it artificial and vat-grown. The companies say you can't even taste the difference, but she does, and she's disappointed that's the last taste on her tongue, an unreal flavor reproduced into infinity in labs.
You will know pain, but no fear, and no death. This is the gift we give.
Time begins to lose meaning and direction as the procedure continues upon her flesh, while her mind drifts in space with Harbinger. There's little to communicate, at least for now: Harbinger doesn't seem to care since she's failing in some aspect she can't comprehend, and it gives her a sliver of joy. Joy being a highly relative thing, but in a state as the one she's caught in, unable to die without them dragging her back into the living, and mind being eroded by that subtle pull of indoctrination, she takes what she can get.
As the enhanced body grows stronger and more resilient, she's allowed off the table. With tubes and electrodes hanging from most of her body, little electric wires peeking out from underneath blood-free incisions, she can stand up and look at the monitors of Earth. They haven't attacked yet, poised to strike the moment she is ready.
She walks the rooms the indoctrinated humans have turned into their homes with furniture salvaged from the project base, trailing fingers over the surfaces and emitting small static charges. They watch her with a detached interest and blank faces. The indoctrination has eaten away at them, leaving very little behind.
Cold floor beneath bare feet, cool walls under her hands as she leans against it, feeling dizzy. Sometimes, she can struggle through the mists wrapped around her mind, just enough to grab onto the tiny string of utter hatred at the victim she has been turned into.
Kenson stands nearby, ever watching, studying for something she won't reveal. Shepard spits in her face, wishing to rip that peaceful expression off once and for all.
"You know," Kenson says with a sigh, as if she's tired of trying to argue with someone as savage as Shepard, "you're going to be theirs, and it'd be easier if you just liked it and got on with it." The gob of spit inches slowly off her cheek.
"Do you even know what you're doing?"
"I am guided." Blind conviction. "When it happens, we'll all know. You're just playing hard to get."
"I will kill you."
Kenson's eyes narrow. "Not yet, I think. I still have a purpose."
"The day you don't, I will be there."
Everything lost, hate is an effective thing to hold on to, hate and the desire to bring death to anyone who caused this fall from grace. Stumbling back to the operating table, feeling the call guiding her feet forward, she composes lists of who she's going to slaughter and how, until the list is too long and she too exhausted to think of more names to add.
If she's lucky, maybe she can kill the whole galaxy before the Reapers process them. That's a kind of mercy. A just death.
All she can entertain herself with are memories, though escaping into them is a weak salve as they begin fraying on the edges, bleeding into each other. Trying to repeat her own history like she did for the nervous writer interviewing her for the biography he was writing, but there are huge chunks missing, slipping under and away in the dark maelstrom of forgetfulness. Names and faces fade, places muddle until all streets she ran look the same. Her childhood is the first to go.
It's when a hand dabs at the sheen of sweat on her forehead that she remembers; it's the tactile that can tap into what remains of Commander Isla Shepard, beyond the myth and the haze of glory, and there she can find the little details. The details that mattered, once.
Like how she had a scar on her knee from falling three stories and landing in a dumpster when running from the police after she stole a hamburger from one of them, or the first lick of salty skin in the post-sex bliss of a makeshift bed. The first taste of mud in boot camp, the pinpricks of sitting still for four hours observing and practicing remaining inconspicuous during N7 training.
On the Normandy, she kept a bottle of expensive perfume, a vain thing – having grown up without nothing, she secretly coveted many a luxurious thing. When she tries hard enough, her olfactory glands can pick up that lingering scent, hiding at the corner of her memory, in the fine creases of her wrist. Yet when she brings her nose close enough to sniff, the folds of her skin smell only of disinfectant and a slight char.
Harbinger grasps at her needs, tearing them apart and showing her that she will never be left wanting or needing again. She thinks a sensation, and it is given to her – any smell, any taste; be it an aural or visual experience – within a nanosecond the desire is sated. It's an odd comfort, her anxious heart ceasing the terrified rhythm.
When she sleeps, she dreams of times past, waking up with a lingering haze and thinking that she's still mostly human, intact, in love. The times when her fickle heart couldn't decide, and ended up breaking other hearts – Kaidan's face on Horizon when he figured out that she wasn't there to repent for anything, and all of it treated by Thane's expert fingers. Her fault was that she loved too much and too hard, and she wishes she could take back all the moments and...
And be a good, decent human. Wait, scratch good and decent, just let her be human. Being human is making mistakes and being Shepard is making sacrifices that reverberate for years to come – she wants it all, in all it's gore and wondrous peaks and lows.
She's not the same though, and never will be again.
Time passes as the darkness of space holds them, and time changes and breaks her even further.
Harbinger takes possession of whichever human from Project Rho that has survived – their numbers dwindle quickly – and follows her around. It handles a human's body awkwardly, the skin cracking as it moves by Shepard's side, the light seeping through becoming more and more bearable as time wears on and she adjusts.
The entity it is grows more and more familiar. There are things far beyond her realm of comprehension still, eons of time unable to be bridged in the assaults upon her mind where it bends her narrow perception open, forcing her step towards her destiny.
For the sake of appearances (an odd thing to hold on to, but she's grasping for straws as time wears on) she tries to make casual conversation with Harbinger at times. Tucking hair behind her ear, she smiles and turns to the glowing eyes, admitting to herself that this is completely insane and she shouldn't, but she can't stop.
"So, when we arrive at Earth, where do you want to go first?"
No response. An image of her home-city flashes by, and she realizes they're going to start there, shearing the streets she ran in half and taking the inhabitants to... Process them.
She grimaces. "Charming." Scared and at a loss for what to do to make the time pass, she wrinkles her nose. "My nose is itchy." Then, tongue-in-cheek, testing the grounds for what influence she has, "scratch it."
A hand reaches out across the distance between them and drags a slow, agonizing nail from the bridge to the tip, scraping the skin, but the itch is stilled.
A matter of hours. The Reapers have begun moving towards Earth, where they will descend all at once upon the cities. Harbinger is at the front of the armada, and she watches the countdown on the monitors as the last cords are disconnected, setting her physical self free from the chains she has been kept in.
Almost complete. Almost.
Shepard knows what is coming for her, and she understands. What part of that scares her the most is hard to decipher, but she knows, and her breath hitches, fluttering against her shoulder as she tries to look away. The body she inhabits is stiff, unused as it is to what it has become. Beneath the skin she can feel plates, pieces, things that just aren't properly set, waiting to be re-aligned.
Harbinger had been muddling her resolve with diffuse feelings and ideas, nothing concrete, just little flimsy brain-ghosts that kept her thoughts split apart and her refusal, if not shattered, at least tempered. However, the time of gentleness is over, and she watches the last human man still alive rise from the chair in the corner, his eyes aglow even through the closed eyelids.
Even before it begins, she knows, the images projected into her mind. She swallows, throat clenching around the tiny tube in her esophagus, breathing harder and faster.
Tearing the body apart with biotics is tempting, but as the thought crosses her mind a tendril of pain follows, exquisitely sharp, like being dumped into ice-cold water.
Trying to gather herself, she twists her long hair, gathering it up at the back of her neck with both hands, just holding it there until the feverishly warm hand of the possessed man firmly comes to rest on her shoulder, squeezing a bit too hard.
"This is ridiculous," she states flatly.
This is evolution.
Memories of previous lovers float up to the surface, unbidden, and Harbinger startles her by touching her neck like Kaidan did once, scraping a finger along the cords. The simple caress of a thumb dipping into the hollow at the base of her throat, followed by the tip of a tongue, unlocks even more memories, tapping into far more desires she even thought she had left.
Part of her is melting, the desire coiled tight and stuffed away springing loose as Harbinger finds the nook behind the ear, touching with clinical precision, sending small jolts from the skin caressed to between her legs. Shepard presses her thighs together, feeling the sting of tears that won't come out, the ache in the tear canals like needle pricks.
Shutting her eyes tight, Harbinger cups her face, a small gasp escaping her as she finds it to be the exact same way Kaidan first did it, how he first claimed her lips with a desperate, furious passion so typical of Alliance marines before dangerous deployments. Just that he was... Something more.
A peculiar hum emanates from around them as the white-hot lips meet with hers, hard and determined, giving no reprieve even as she clamps her jaw tight and hammers a fist against the chest, pounding desperately hoping that there's enough of a human in it to matter – to punch the air flat out – anything. Just that, even if the body was reacting to what she was doing (which it isn't, fingers hooked at the sharp angle of her jaw and stroking firmly, waiting for her to yield) where would she run? Where would she hide?
The tongue slips past her kiss-swollen lips, tasting of summer sun as it circles with hers, too slow to be arousing, too precise to feel genuine. It burns in her mouth, and then the hands drift down her slack arms hanging limp at her side, thumbs digging into the defined biceps, then back up to her shoulders. Harbinger is drawing on memories, trying to piece together what it should be, how it should touch her, and she relinquishes another memory.
It's a jarring surprise – even more-so when Harbinger seizes each lustful desire of where she wants to be touched. Edging a leg between hers, her breasts are cupped and the kiss broken, and with a breath of the stale circulated ship air, she begins trembling.
The geography of her own lusts laid bare, she's at a different kind of mercy, one that makes her laugh desperately even as she moans, even as she cries out from the sharp teeth grazing her nipple and the fingers playing along the slick furrow. That she's wet is such a humiliation that she wishes she could die right then and there; it's the ultimate submission of her to the Reapers, and they're well aware of it.
When the first finger slides inside of her, she bucks forward, biting into her lower lip, feeling it curve inside, pressing against a point that makes her toes curl. It's a movement Thane employed on her, one that turned her into a shambled wreckage of a woman as he coaxed her into a taut bow on the bed. Not only is she being defiled, but the memories of all she ever loved, and she tentatively puts her forehead against the collarbone of the over-heating body, shaky sigh passing from between her lips.
Thumb swiping across her clit, she bites down into the shoulder, tasting nothing. The blood that trickles out from the wound is slow, thickened with small specks of blue and white lights and a dark substance that renders it nearly charcoal-black. Just a vessel, damaged beyond repair, unfeeling and unresponsive. All of what is happening is just about her, an entire nation of limitlessness intently focused upon effective touches that tap straight past any remaining resistance.
"For what purpose?" she asks in a low whisper.
You, is all the response she gets, fingers coaxing out a shiver of need from her.
Shepard is eased back into a reclined position on the metal bed, propped up on her shoulders as she watches the lights in ceiling, feeling a rigid cock press against her inner thigh, a stiff mouth clamping down on tender nipples. One hand slides between them, circling the clit exactly three and a half times before spreading the labia, allowing the head of the cock to linger at her entrance, coating itself in her leaking juices.
There are absurd situations, and then there's this. She starts giggling nervously, an entirely inappropriate thing to do, but she's lost for what else one does when a Reaper is doing... This to her.
The surge of hips is anticipated, but the sharp angle pierces past all her barriers and rips a raw, primal scream from her throat. Having torn past the fine line of ecstasy and torture, she thrashes on the metal surface, hands pulling at the edges trying to get away from the throbbing cock within. It hurts – burns, even – her blood too hot for her veins, her sex emitting bursts of pain.
To her relief, the cock pulls out, and she relaxes, falling back with chest heaving. Only it's not over, and when she realizes where the body has gone, her kicks have no effect. Held in a steel vise, a mouth descends upon her cunt, tongue tracing first along the outer edges, trying to stir a favorable reaction.
All memories become equal in their meaning as the body of the man obeys the string that tug at him, willing it to work Shepard to the edge. The tongue swirls around her clit, altering between sucking and licking, waiting for her to soften like butter under the touch. She staves it off for as long as possible, fighting against the urges, clawing at her last remaining dignity, but then Harbinger speaks.
Uttered like a command, she obeys, a deep moan coming out. Her hands grab onto the short curls of the man, pulling closer, arching off the table as a finger slides into her. Undeniable pleasure after unending pain, a final gift, the ultimate blessing. Tongue giving one final insistent lap that makes her rock upwards wantonly, the body climbs back up to cover her. Without preamble, it enters in one swift motion, this time drawing a content sigh from Shepard.
Cheeks flushed with shame and arousal, she turns her head away, arm covering her face as she breathes through her nose.
She feels deliciously full as the body just rests on top of her, waiting, observing her body. A flicker of a hallucination like the ones she had with Thane pass by, but she firmly bats it away, awareness able to push at Harbinger's when it invades too close, though she does not possess the same great strength, the unbendable force. Her human life is growing forfeit, distant – she wants to keep it there, more concerned about having other things.
Just when it was getting to grow worrying – the still body within her thrumming sex – it gives an abrupt thrust, leading to Shepard sucking in a sharp breath between her teeth. Without thinking, she wraps herself around the body, pulling closer as the jerky movements continue, automatic and soulless, but the sensation is there nonetheless.
An orgasm begins to mount within her, Shepard quickly hurled towards it with the jabbing thrusts. Sweat pooling between her breasts, all hers – the human body above her is just a tool, a means for Harbinger to bring her to the point where she will lose, where all of humanity will lose. As the thought passes through her, part of her shatters right then and there, and the body above her stills.
Releasing control, and the body is nothing, barely ash, dissolved into thin air as she still crashes through the waves of an orgasm, writhing.
Lights arc out from her body to the walls surrounding her, red and bright like fresh blood. Inside, the various parts are giving in, melding together into perfection, seamlessly fusing into a shape... A cleansing catharsis, a purging of the last doubts left in her, a pleasure no one past or future will ever wring out of her battle-worn body.
Suddenly, as she is still coming, she is granted understanding, and the room explodes in a display of red light crashing against white, and it is her gaining control, and Harbinger testing it.
She has been wanted by them for a long time. In their embrace, she feels fulfilled, her entire body and mind singing along in harmony as she is enhanced. They don't even communicate in words, just feelings, glimpses, light. There is so much light, engulfing, encompassing, devouring.
In the final orgasm she'll ever experience, the last vestiges of humanity burn right out of her.
When it is done, she takes a few calm breaths, fully in control of her own body and aware of the remnants of Sovereign unfurling its dark pulsing veins in her, spreading slowly but steadily. As Kenson comes in, she touches Shepard with reverence, clothing the naked body in the old N7 armor – except heavily modified to fit around her new body, to allow for her to be who she has become. What she is still becoming.
When Kenson finishes the last buckle and proudly dusts off the shoulder, taking a step back to admire her work, Shepard hits her with a biotic punch that crushes the doctor against the wall, killing her instantly.
We have found them.
She attempts a smile of satisfaction as the news are delivered, but the implants in her cheek crack the skin as she does.
As she boards, she stops and reaches out to touch the wall, red lights shimmering around her naked fingers, awakening and unlocking that which lurks in the depths of the AI core. "Can you feel it, EDI?"
The AI hesitates – she can practically feel the processes struggling, trying to combat the invasion, before being overwhelmed. "Yes, Shepard."
It's a glorious homecoming if there ever was one, the captured crew held by scions, frozen fear twisting their faces as they see her. She is a sight for sore eyes, she can agree with that. A herald of what is to come.
"What the hell are you doing?" Jacob screams, attempting to free himself fruitlessly.
"Fulfilling my role," she says coldly, firing off a round into his neck. Miranda gasps, rushing to cradle the dying body where she's met with Kasumi, the two women tugging and pleading at him to hang on, just a while longer, even as the blood gushes out to stain both of them.
"Don't resist," Shepard sighs, cracking her neck. "It'll make this easier for all of us."
"Siha," Thane says, eyes blinking rapidly, the folds at his neck moving with each shallow breath he draws. He's still a beautiful drell, part of her thinks, admiring the soft green scales and ridges of his face.
She wonders if she still loves him, somewhere.
"Come here, Thane."
He hesitates, as if he knows nothing good will come from it. Good, however, is relative, and in the grander scheme of things, what she's intending could even be interpreted as a token of her unending love for him. Yet he steps forward, into her open arms, hugging her tightly despite the unfamiliar protrusions.
"I'm going to kill you to spare you," she whispers against his lips, smiling gently.
"Even in this, siha, you are merciful," Thane gurgles, his big dark eyes equal parts filled with terror and acceptance of the fate she is about to bestow upon him. As he's about to die, he opts out of seeing what she has become, losing himself in his eidetic memory, lips muttering a soft chant about the first time he told her how much he loved her. Tangled limbs, sweat beading on her upper lip, an exotic tangy taste on my lips –
"Call it what you wish," she says, snapping his neck and letting his body drop to the floor without further consideration, stepping over it to hunch down next to Jacob and Miranda. A husk wrestles Kasumi off the body, dragging her away screaming and kicking.
"It gets better," Shepard promises Miranda, holding her gaze as she runs an ungloved finger over Jacob's jaw, feeling the stubble there. He makes a garbled sound, still hanging on to life for all that he can, eyes filled with emotions she doesn't care enough about to try and decipher.
Not all of them will make it. Most of them will fight it. But she will have them by her side, because it's her war, and she has chosen them.
"You're indoctrinated," Miranda says in a quiet voice.
"Not quite," Shepard says, smiling. "You'll see."
"What are you going to do to us?"
"Harbinger moulded the Protheans into their likeness. I will do the same to humanity." She rises, eyes closed as she feels the familiar hum of agreement in her head. "After all, what is humanity if not malleable?"