Thanks for all the reviews and favorites! I really appreciate them. In reply to the issue of memory deletion, I'm going to justify that by saying Nox doesn't necessarily know what it's talking about; it seems to be a fairly young ghost, and that might just be its assumptions. And there is a degree of ambiguity to canon, considering, for example, Eris Morn's slow retrieval of her memories and Drifter's (admittedly biased) view of what his ghost might be doing to him. In any case, Shepard most likely has her memories because she was a fresh corpse (to put it crudely!) and probably also due to her distance from the traveler.

Finally, to defend my notion that Destiny ships are not as fast—and this isn't a diss on humanity, by the way, they obviously have other priorities—most humans/awoken/etc we see have barely gone farther out than Nessus, and there appears to be very little interstellar travel for humans (which of course makes sense, Darkness and all that) and I don't think the few seconds we see of travel is the real in-game travel time. After all, that would mean the red war takes about twenty-five hours, and that does not sound right.

As to whether anything else from the Destiny universe will appear, well, that remains to be seen, alongside the very important question of how exactly ghost got here (I'm curious as to what you folks think about that myself). More important, however, is getting Shepard back to the people she cares about.


Omega came into solid view in the same way as all large objects in space: slowly, then all at once.

"Whoa," Nox said. "It's amazing."

Docking was easy. Omega had come by its reputation as a place where no one cared too much about what one was up to honestly enough (one of the few honest things about it), and so all Jane had to say was that she was Blue Sun, here to report, and no one questioned her.

She and Nox had spent their day of travel combing through the bounty out on her body (interrupted, at least for her, by a much-needed nap). Part of the language involved meeting an agent of the Broker in a back room in the lower levels of a club called Afterlife as soon as the body was in any group's possession. Jane had for a moment imagined trying to cash in the bounty on herself but would probably just end with guns pointed at her head. She was wanted dead, more than anything else.

What she had been unable to discover was why the Shadow Broker wanted her corpse. He did not want things for himself, which meant there had to be a "buyer" out there.

Her tentative plan was to go to this room and confront the agent. Hopefully, they would be more talkative than other pawns of that man had been, and she would be able to move on from there. In service to this, she had replaced her N7 armor with a set she had found on board the ship. She would miss her old armor, of course, but it could be replaced, and Alliance military gear would stick out in a place like Omega.

She would also have to find another ship, which would likely be complicated by the fact that the Blue Sun were almost definitely aware of what she had done.

Needless to say, she was out of the docking area very quickly. She had no idea what the standard operating procedure for that particular gang was, but she imagined that eventually they would realize that hers was the stolen ship and she was the woman back from the dead.

Her omnitool downloaded a map of the station from the local network automatically. She took a moment to watch Nox scan the walls, familiarizing itself with the space.

"Afterlife is close," she said. "You'll need to stay out of sight. Even with these abilities, I can't take on an entire space station."

Jane was glad to be on a station again, even one like this. Growing up in space, she had never quite gotten used to living on planets, and she never seemed to have any particularly good time on them, especially not recently. Recycled air and cramped quarters were far preferable to infinite plains of ice and cold that never quite reached her.

"I can still talk to you inside your head," Nox said. "And you can talk to me. What's your story?"

Jane sighed. "I don't know," she said.

"Okay," Nox said. It vanished.

Getting inside Afterlife turned out to be a bigger issue than finding it. The elcor bouncer mainly prefaced their sentences with "unimpressed" and other such adjectives when responding to the pleas of people hoping to gain entry, and Jane was not sure her story would fare any better. Of course, if worse came to worse she could probably find some other way to get inside, but she very much preferred not to have to resort to that.

"Hello," she said. "I'm here for the meeting."

"Curious, which meeting?" The elcor ignored the human harassing them. "Neutral, you will have to be more specific than that."

"Blue Sun. It's about Jane Shepard."

The elcor blinked slowly at her. "Amused. Blue Sun business? Many people claim to have that."

"I can vouch for her," a voice said.

Jane turned around. She was now very confused. She did not recognize the voice, and she was certain that she did not know anyone on Omega, unless one of her crew had moved there in the time since her death.

The human woman wore a white jumpsuit that was the kind of not-quite-armor that only people who either didn't get into fights much or who were powerful enough biotics to create effective barriers wore.

"Amused, and you are?"

"Miranda Lawson. Aria knows me."

Jane knew in the absolutely vaguest terms who Aria was. She definitely knew enough to be afraid of her, and to know that throwing her name around was not something one did lightly. Whoever this woman was, she was probably not lying.

"Neutral, this is true. Welcoming, come in."

"Follow me," Miranda said, gesturing towards the door and ignoring the indignant human man, now back to arguing with the elcor.

Once the two women had passed through the first set of doors leading into the club, Jane stopped in her tracks.

"Who the hell are you?"

"Someone very interested in finding out how exactly Jane Shepard survived a collector ship attack." She smirked. "Are you surprised I recognize you?" She started walking again, forcing Jane to keep up with her.

"Somewhat."

Miranda nodded. "The gear was a nice touch, but the Blue Sun have already sent a warning out about you. You weren't exactly subtle back on Alchera."

Jane shrugged. "I didn't exactly have a choice. If you've seen an omnirecording of it, I told them not to shoot. How did you see it?" She didn't look Blue Sun.

"I'm not here to judge you, Shepard, I'm here to keep you from walking into a trap set for someone else." She pointedly did not answer Jane's last question.

"What do you mean?"

The second door opened, and Jane found herself briefly overwhelmed by the noise and lightshow that was Afterlife club. Dancers of many genders and races writhed to sound that could be barely described as music, hundreds of conversations combined into a low, droning hum, and colors changed constantly.

Death, it seemed, had made her less tolerant than she usually was, or perhaps this was the sort of place designed to throw someone off her guard. In the noise, she did not notice that Miranda had once more not answered a question.

"I don't like it here," Nox said in her head.

"I know," Jane replied. "I don't either."

She followed Miranda across the dancefloor towards a set of steps guarded by a batarian in a similar uniform to Jane's.

"We're here to meet with your boss," Miranda said.

"Uh, right," the batarian said. "He's busy."

"I'm sure," Miranda said. "That doesn't matter. This is about Jane Shepard."

She swept the baffled guard out of the way, Jane following after her.

This door led to a much quieter room. It was lit normally, and the walls muffled the music from the other room. Jane barely noticed this change, however, because she realized that she and Miranda had walked into the middle of a gunfight.

Bodies wearing broken Blue Sun armor lay scattered across the floor. Those who were still alive were concentrating their fire on a makeshift barricade, too busy to notice the entrance of two more people.

"Seems the door guy wasn't exactly hired for his brains," Jane said. Miranda laughed.

"I'm sure he wasn't," she answered. "This is what I meant by trap."

The problem facing whoever the Blue Sun were trying to kill was that they were few and the Blue Sun comparatively infinite. Eventually, they would run out of ammo and energy, and that would be it.

Of course, that sort of plan depended on only allies appearing to help.

Miranda confirmed Jane's earlier suspicions when a barrier materialized around her. Jane did something similar, hoping that it would be the typical blue and not the strange purple she could also now access. Her use of her new powers had been instinctual, and now was not the time to reveal them.

She had dealt with groups like this countless times before using only her biotics. If Miranda was as powerful as Jane hoped, they would be no problem at all.

With their attention briefly off their target, the people behind the barricade started to retaliate, and the remaining Blue Suns quickly fell, joining their companions on the floor. This was a small room, and biotic attacks could cover a lot of ground.

Jane could not help but smile, though she felt oddly dissatisfied at not having used her Light in a demonstrable way. She would have to figure out a means of combining her abilities. No one would notice blue biotics tinged slightly purple, probably.

Had the barricaded people not been friendly, Jane would have felt very foolish. Instead, a familiar blue figure stepped out, accompanied by a drell.

"Liara!" Jane said, unable to help herself. She took a step forward, arms slightly outstretched, before realizing that now was not exactly the time for hugs.

"Jane," Liara said. "I'm so happy to see you." She pulled Jane into a hug, ignoring Jane's hesitation. "I saw the recording, but it was so hard to believe. You've been gone…" Her voice trailed off into Jane's shoulder, and she pulled away. "This is Feron. He works for the Shadow Broker but has been helping me."

"You weren't exactly subtle," the drell said, his voice clicking. Had he been with anyone else she would not have trusted him whatsoever, but she could not believe Liara was working with the Blue Sun. Feron was, presumably, some kind of double agent, and therefore slightly less of a threat.

"You are the second person to tell me that in the last half hour," Jane said. "What does the Shadow Broker want with my body?" That was what this was all about, right? Her corpse?

What a mostly wrecked corpse lying cold and dead on a nothing planet could possibly do she still had no idea. Obviously, now that she was alive again, the information in her head was valuable to a certain kind of person, but her corpse? She was not that special, no matter what some might insist.

She would be playing catch-up for a long time, she thought. The three other people in the room seemed to have a much better idea of what was going on.

"The collectors hired him," Feron said. It was hard, from how he blinked, for Jane not to interpret his speech as rushed and strange, but that was her primate brain reacting incorrectly to vastly different body language. "They were not the only ones after your remains, however."

"They weren't?" Why would the collectors want her, anyway? They trafficked in odd things, of course, but she had never heard about them going after corpses before. Yet they at least made sense. They were the collectors. They were strange, even to the strangest, and so while it was incomprehensible and weird, it wasn't surprising. "Do you mean the Alliance?"

To her surprise, that made Feron laugh, a high, rasping sound. "No," he said. "Not at all. Your Alliance declared you tragically dead the day after the first escape shuttle appeared, doing their best the bury it all." He nodded at Liara. "Your crew did not exactly stay together."

"There was no point to it," Liara said. "I wished to find you, and the others went their separate ways. I am in touch with Tali, but the rest I have not spoken to since the funeral." She looked as confused as Jane felt.

Jane resisted the immediate, obvious question, instead waiting for one of the three to tell her who, then, if not the Alliance.

The answer did not come, and Jane made an irritated noise. "Who, then?"

"My employer," Miranda said. "Cerberus."

"No," Jane said. Something unpleasant tightened in her gut. "Are you going to kill me?"

That seemed to genuinely catch Miranda off guard. "Excuse me?"

"You wanted my corpse. Are you going to kill me?"

Miranda shook her head. "No, no. Shepard—we were going to bring you back."

"That's not possible," Nox said. It took effort for Jane not to react to its words. "You were destroyed."

"How?"

Miranda shrugged. "Any means necessary."

Jane let herself imagine waking up under Cerberus's care. It wasn't a happy picture.

"Well," she said. "It seems everyone was excited over nothing. I am here, after all."

"Yes," Miranda said. "You are." She smiled, before her expression changed to one of mild disgust as she looked around herself. "This is not an ideal location to talk," she said.

"We should probably leave the station for a while, in any case," Liara said. "We did just kill a good number of Blue Sun."

"Mm. Shepard, would you object to speaking with me aboard my ship?"

"Not at all. Can Liara and Feron come?" She wanted at least one ally. Feron was not an ally, but Liara was working with him, at least. She did not exactly trust Miranda, but Jane had the feeling she could probably take the biotic in a fight if it was truly necessary.

"Of course," Miranda said. Jane wondered if she felt as generous as she spoke in that moment.

The batarian doorman was gone by the time the four of them exited the room.

Miranda's ship turned out to be of about the same size as the ship Jane had stolen, but of better make. Her pilot was apparently still on-board Omega, acquiring various odds and ends. Liara sent Feron to find him, not as a way of getting him out of the way but because he knew his way around a weapon and had a better idea of Omega's general layout than her.

"How are you alive?" Miranda asked. She felt no need for niceties; this was the information she needed to know, the most baffling part of the equation by far.

"Can we trust her?" Jane asked Nox internally.

"No," Nox said. "But you're mostly worried about people freaking out, right? She doesn't seem the kind to freak out."

Jane took a moment to look at Miranda. She knew she was taking a strange amount of time to reply, but in her defense "How are you not dead?" was a strange question under the best of circumstances.

"I'm honestly more worried about people trying to steal you."

"They won't." The absolute confidence in Nox's voice was almost worrying.

"Alright." Jane said this last part out loud and opened her hand.

Nox shone its light in Miranda's face.

"Hello!" it chirped. "I'm Nox. I'm Jane's ghost."

No one spoke for a long moment.

Liara was the first to speak. "What are you?" she asked with the kind of curiosity that reminded Jane of when she'd talk about her old archaeological projects. It was kind of cute, honestly.

"Pretty much what I just said," Nox replied. "I brought Jane back to life."

"How recently was this?" That was Miranda, more businesslike and less wondering than Miranda.

"Yesterday," Jane said.

It took the two of them about fifteen minutes to explain with all the interruptions from their two listeners. "I don't know," and "another universe, I guess," weren't really satisfying answers, but that just meant Liara and Miranda were now in the same place as Jane.

"If I were still home, I would ask Jane to return to the City and defend humanity," Nox concluded. "Since I'm here, and the scope of things is a lot bigger, I'm willing to help save her world before trying to figure out how to get back to mine."

"These guardians have a religious significance?" Liara asked.

"You could say that," Nox said. "Mostly, extraordinary enemies need extraordinary heroes."

Miranda laughed. "That sounds like propaganda."

"Maybe it was. I'm pretty young, in the grand scheme of things." It sunk back into Jane's skin. "Here is the important part: I am going to keep Jane alive, for as long as I can. Forever, if that's possible, or at least until the battle is won."

That brought even Jane up short. "Forever?" she asked.

It reappeared, blinking in vague confusion. "Did I not tell you? You're immortal, now. Well." It laughed mechanically. "The tricky kind of immortal that means you have to make sure I don't die."

Jane looked at Liara. "Oh," they both said in unison.

Something Jane had not told Nox, nor was willing to bring up in front of Miranda, a virtual stranger, was that Liara had asked Jane once if they could spend their nights together, and Jane had replied that it was too strange to think about how much longer Liara would live than her.

That, it seemed, was no longer the case.

"I didn't know," Jane said.

Nox made an embarrassed noise. "I thought it was implied," it said. "I would have explained better if I had realized."

"But you can die?" Miranda asked.

"Yes," Jane said. "I just don't want to."

Miranda pursed her lips in thought for a moment. "If you are amenable," she said. "I think you should work with us."

"Why?" Jane said. She looked at Liara. They needed to talk, and soon.

"You obviously have abilities most people do not," she said, with some degree of humor. "That was the case before all of this—that is why we were willing to sink so much into retrieving you—but now you really can help us."

Jane shook her head. "If you know that much about me," she said. "You know that I've always worked with aliens and do not agree with you." Everyone knew two things about Cerberus: they were wealthy beyond imagination and they were human supremacists.

Miranda shrugged. "I understand how our organization gained that reputation, but that is not really what we are. We want to defend humanity against what threatens us, and right now, humanity is threatened." Jane could not exactly read her expression. "Do you know what killed you, Jane Shepard?"

Jane shook her head. "No," she said. She leaned back in her chair, crossing her arms across her chest. "I take it you do?" She looked at Liara, who shook her head.

Miranda nodded. "The collectors killed you, Shepard," she said. "They killed you, and they hunted you, and we are not sure why, but we know it's connected to the human colonies that have been disappearing." She spread her hands. "You spent a year hunting down a rogue Spectre and killed a Reaper. If anyone can figure out what they're doing, it's you."

Jane wasn't sure what to say to that. It was still hard for her to think of herself as someone particularly special. She had just done what had needed to be done, and it wasn't all her doing.

"I had my crew, and I had my ship," she said. "I don't have either, anymore."

Miranda smiled. "What if I told you I could at least give you one of those?" she asked. She nodded to Liara. "And of course, gathering the other should not be too difficult."

"I would." Jane swallowed nervously. "I would assume you were trying to trick me, honestly. I was there. The Normandy is gone." This was hard to talk about. It had only been a day, really. She could still hear Joker's protests as she dragged him away from his ship. That had hurt.

"Yes," Miranda says. "But Cerberus is resourceful, and we built you a ship."

Jane Shepard was many things. She was a spacer, someone born aboard ship. She was a biotic, adept in the strange abilities given her by accidents of birth. She was even now something like a guardian, a so-called Titan.

She was also human, and she ached for her crew and for the Normandy. If Cerberus could give Jane her ship and friends back—who could blame her for saying yes?