Shepard's Saga: Second Chances.

CHAPTER 1

PROJECT LAZARUS :

6 months after the destruction of the Normandy.

Miranda Lawson re-read the data, it was very late and she was tired, but they had done it Commander Alex Shepard was showing signs of definite brain activity. Though she couldn't claim all the credit the prothean nanites that had been injected into her on Eden Prime had seemed to disappear. This was not the case they had gone dormant and in that state were completely invisible to all forms of technology. Now however they were concentrated in the spectres brain, repairing the damage of being flash frozen solid in mere seconds.

While they were doing that Miranda could focus all her attention on Shepard's body. Even so she would have to use bio-synthetic fusion and replace some internal organs with cybernetics. By the time she finished Shepard would be nearly 40% synthetic, she would also be faster, stronger and heal quicker. A significant boost to her immune system would more or less guarantee she'd never get sick.

The estimated time to completion was another eighteen months.

1 year after the destruction of the Normandy.

Miranda walked into the room where the Illusive Man sat, the entire room was walled with windows. The view of the red star the base was overlooking was spectacular.

"Sir, I've brought the latest scans. They are identical to scans done during her medicals while she was in the Alliance." Miranda paused, "It looks like the nanites may have preserved her memory, her personality. Sir, Shepard hates Cerberus and everything we stand for. "

"The reapers are coming Miranda and Shepard will do everything she can to stop them. She's a protector, besides we know she will most likely be reinstated as a spectre, if in fact she ever stopped being one. She needs resources. The joint Alliance asari project isn't enough. Councillor Anderson knows this. With human colonies vanishing in the terminus systems, he is looking for evidence of the reapers. When we present Shepard with a ship that we will fund, with only the conditions that we get copies of everything and for Shepard to do a small job for us here and there, believe me they'll jump on board. They won't be able to track anything back to us. And at the end Cerberus will be in a position of power."

"What about a crew?"

"You are going to be the XO and Kelly Chambers will be on board, that is non negotiable. As for the rest a lot of soldiers left the Alliance after information on the reapers was leaked, especially when they accused a dead hero of scaremongering. Find Donnelly and I'm sure Daniels will follow. Her pilot already works for us all we have to do is transfer him. Contact Dr Chakwas she is an old friend. She can pick her own ground team, ready dossiers of any and all possible candidates."

"As soon as Dr Chakwas hears we have Shepard she will want to see her."

"Yes, you can bring her on board immediately. A familiar face will be an advantage when we wake her up."

"What if she contacts her family?"

"She won't until she knows if it really is Shepard."

Miranda nodded, "Just Human candidates? Sir." she asked returning to her original question.

"No.. I suspect she will try to recruit some of her old team. I want their locations on my desk tomorrow morning."

"Yes sir." Miranda nodded then turned and left. She still had a lot of work to do.

MEMEMEMEMEME

Lt Ashley Williams-Shepard really didn't want to do anything special on her next birthday. Her mind kept taking her back to all Alex's surprises, it didn't help that the first anniversary of her death was fast approaching. Sometimes she missed her hurt so much she wanted to curl in a ball and weep. More than once Cass or Liara had slept in her room with her.

Liara's mother had an apartment on the Citadel and as soon as the young asari had heard the terrible news she had lent it to the Williams family and she herself had come as soon as Shiala was set up on Illium.

Ash needed to stay busy and had declined her mom's invitation to go back to earth with them for a while. There were too many memories. Cassidy had offered to stay with her, between her and Liara she was never left on her own. Alex would want her to carry on searching for info to stop the reapers.

The promotion to Lt had come as a shock, apparently the paperwork had been submitted after the 'Battle of the Citadel'. She'd only been back on active duty for six months.

When she had come home to show Cassidy, she had burst into tears for how proud she knew Alex would have been.

Now Councillor Anderson had a Top Secret job for her to do. She was sure it had something to do with the vanishing colonies.

The asari secretary let her in.

"Sir."

"Hello Ash, how are you?" asked Anderson. He could easily see signs that she wasn't sleeping very well.

"I'm holding up," replied Ash with a small smile.

"I'm sending you to Horizon. We are setting up a program to install large AA guns to protect some of the larger colonies. You will be in charge of a small team to build them. Cassidy will be your chief engineer and your tech specialist is one of our brightest from R&D, Samantha Traynor, she comes from Horizon and will be able to help smooth things over with the natives." explained Anderson, transferring all the data to her omni-tool.

"Sir when do we leave?"

"Two weeks. If your sister has a few days of R&R due, I'd suggest you tell her to take them. You won't have any visitors once you're there until you finish. When the main structure is complete the others will return except for you, your sister-in-law and Traynor. Any questions?"

"Just one sir. Will I meet Specialist Traynor before we leave?"

"I'll arrange it and send the data. Good luck Lieutenant."

Ash saluted, a habit she couldn't seem to stop. She felt better about the mission knowing Cass was going as well.

Cassidy had been doing work for both Anderson and Liara's info network. On the way back she called her sister and relayed Anderson's message. Abby would be there by the weekend.

MEMEMEMEME

LIGHTS.

SOUNDS.

AND PAIN.

"My God Miranda. I think she's waking up?!"

"Dammit Wilson. I told you the numbers were off. She's not ready yet, give her the sedative."

"Alex don't try to move...Try to stay calm." Karin?

PANIC!

"Heart rate still climbing. Brain activity is off the charts. Stats pushing into the red zone. It's not working!"

"Another dose."

"Alex you're going to be okay."

"Heart rate dropping, stats falling back into normal range. We almost lost her."

"I told you your computations were off. Run them again."

MEMEMEMEME

Miranda walked quickly carrying two cups of tea. Dr Chakwas was keeping an eye on Shepard. The woman's body was adjusting to the sedatives so quickly that they were having to constantly monitor the levels to keep her under. The Australian had been surprised at the older doctor's knowledge and devotion to the spectre. Simple respect had started a tentative friendship between the two, they agreed to disagree about Cerberus and steered clear of the subject. Alex was the sole reason she was here.

Karin was typing on her data pad when Miranda entered the lab.

"Thank-you." Karin accepted the cup, it was the middle of the graveyard shift. "Do you know today is her wedding anniversary?"

Miranda nodded, part of her job had been to learn everything there was to know about Alexandra Samantha Shepard. Although she would never admit it she had listened to that final recording more than once. Even as the spectre was dying she was more concerned for her wife's safety.

"Have you spoken to Lt Williams lately?"

"She's on mission somewhere. Abby says she was well last time she saw her." All outside contact was monitored and everyone thought she was having a break from work for a while. With the disappearance of numerous human colonies, Karin had started thinking that Cerberus might be their only hope.

The lights went off.

The emergencies flashed on. Miranda opened her comm line for a report and got nothing but static. She sighed, "I'll go and..." She was interrupted by the alarm that signalled that they were under attack.

"What the..." Miranda hacked the lab computer into the surveillance system to find that the security mechs were attacking the staff. Something like that didn't just happen!

There had been whispers that the Shadow Broker was searching for Shepard's body. It looked like he'd bribed somebody to hack the mechs.

"Stay here. I'll try to get to the control room," said Miranda, pulling a sub machine gun from a security locker on the wall, "You might have to wake her up."

Karin was already pre-paring a super strong stim/painkiller mix. Miranda passed her two pistols. The older woman nodded her thanks. There was no 'might' about it. Alex was about to be woken up for the first time in nearly two years. Karin administered it into the spectres drip and watched as Alex's bio levels increased. She truly hoped Alex did not remember those last few minutes before she died.

Alex blinked hearing a steady beeping. She was buzzing.

"Alex?"

Alex turned her head towards Karin's voice. "K...Karin?" Her mouth was so dry. Almost instantly a glass with a straw was was moved into her field of vision.

An explosion sounded in the distance.

"What?" asked Alex after taking a sip. She tried to move and found she was strapped down.

"Sorry that was to stop you moving." said Karin, undoing them and helping Alex sit up. Then the doctor handed her a set of green medical scrubs.

"Karin what's happening?" Alex took the glass and tossed away the straw, gulping down the rest of it.

"There's a lot to explain, but right now someone's hacked the mechs here to kill us." Karin held out one of the pistols.

Confused Alex dressed quickly, dropping the hospital gown on the floor and took the gun after flexing her hands then froze when she noticed faint red cracks between her fingers on her proper hand. "WHAT IS THIS!"

"Alex I promise you will know everything as soon as we are safe."

Safe. That word rang a bell?

"ASH!"

"She is fine." Steam erupted from pipes by the door.

Alex knew something wasn't right, but she trusted Karin. If they were under attack she needed to focus to protect Karin.

"Do I remember hearing Crocodile Dundee?" asked Alex, suddenly.

"You might remember hearing Miranda Lawson, she has a strong Australian accent, she's your other doctor."

"Where is she?"

"Looking for a way to deactivate the rampaging mechs." As they approached the door Alex stopped she could hear the wheezy noise the mechs made when they walked. When Karin stood with her back to the wall Alex opened the door. Two mechs were coming down the corridor, they were further away than she thought they were. Plenty of time to biotically lift them and smash them into the wall. Alex's biotics dealt with the mechs easily, she hardly had to fire a shot.

Karin followed closely behind.

A bigger type of security mech at the end of a long dimly lit passage caused Alex's vision to zoom onto the target. Alex yelped and pulled back around the corner, her hands covering her eyes. "Karin?"

The doctor knew she had no choice. "How much do you know about cryogenics?"

"What? Why?"

"Because you were frozen..."

"The Normandy exploded," gasped Alex wrapping her arms around her stomach.

"Yes, Between that and the prothean nanites in your body and cutting edge technology we were able to repair the damage we did have to use some cybernetics. You know about your arm and now your eyes."

Alex knew procedures like that took time. "How long?"

Karin hesitated.

"Please."

"Twenty two months."

"Where are we?"

"A space station." replied Karin, she didn't tell her where it was because she herself didn't know it's location.

"What aren't you telling me?"

Before Karin could answer Alex heard running feet, human feet. The next moment a black man ran around the corner and skidded to a stop.

"I thought you were still a work in progress." he said taking the opportunity to reload his pistol. "I'm Jacob Taylor. Miranda said to check on you. Well, she did last time I heard from her."

Alex glanced at her friend. Maybe this Jacob guy would be more forth coming. "What do you do here?"

"I'm head of security. It's usually a lot more dull than this."

"The last thing I remember is the Normandy blowing up?"

"You were declared dead..."

"WHAT?!"

"Oops," said Jacob with a glare at Karin, "I thought you would've been told that already."

"You had better have a VERY good reason for keeping silent!"

"I didn't want to dump everything on you at once. Until you woke up and I could talk to you I didn't even know if it was you."

That actually sounded reasonable. "Ash thinks I'm dead?"

"Yes, your body was never recovered...it was assumed it had burned up during re-entry. I became involved a year ago."

"The Alliance wouldn't leave her out of the loop like this," spluttered Alex.

"This isn't the Alliance," said Jacob.

"Then who?"

"Cerberus."

TBC...

A/N. Hi to all my readers. I hope you enjoy this as much as Shepard's saga. I'm still keeping all the best bits and tweaking others so they make sense to me. :)

I am totally ignoring anything that has no relevance in ME3 (like the whole dark energy thing). Which will change things a bit. Still love reviews. Will try to update weekly. Have fun. Keep happy and keep reading. :) T-Rex.