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Shepard's Dream Catcher

Chapter Text

Amber didn't run into much more trouble when she drove the Mako towards the clearing. She parked on an open beach and departed the vehicle. Overhead, the Normandy came to a halt and landed close by. Tali, Kaidan, James, Thane, Ashley and Kasumi disembarked the Normandy to meet up with the Alliance commander and her reinforcements.

"We're going in loud from here," Amber instructed, "our first target is the coms, make sure we don't have to contend with Cerberus reinforcements."

Amber exchanged a fist bump with James.

"Good luck," James replied, "we'll be in the hangar, cutting off their exit. We'll push in once we've confirmed you've silenced this place."

Amber nodded at James before she led Saren, Wrex, Javik, Jack and Garrus towards the main entrance. The group prepared to breach the front gate while Saren crept inside through a vent to find the door controls. It didn't take long for Garrus and Wrex to finish setting up the charges along the gate.

"We're all set up at the hangar here," Amber informed, "waiting on your word to move in."

{Aye, copy. Breaching,} James replied.

Garrus and Wrex scrambled out of the way. Seconds later, the charges exploded, ripping the gate open. Wrex took point with the others close behind him. Amber led Wrex, Jack, Garrus and Javik through the front gate. A few engineers were occupying the room at the time, and were hastily dispatched. With Amber and her squadmates having taken over the coms, this allowed Saren to meet up with them.

"Things should be a bit easier for ourselves, now," Amber boasted.

"Thanks, Shepard," Saren smiled.

Amber nodded at Saren before they stepped closer to the control panel.

"Let's keep going," she said, opening the door into the next sector.

With a sense of confidence, Amber led her squadmates through the recently opened door. Within the next area, some of the lightly equipped personnel had already started mounting a defense, knocking over tables as improvised cover and arming themselves with light arms. While Amber and Garrus took cover, Saren, Javik, Jack and Wrex emitted biotic particles in their hands. Quickly removing the opposition, another door opened to reveal a Cerberus squad escorted by a heavy mech.

"Hey," Wrex reassured, giving Amber a wink, "I got this."

Wrex pulled a grenade out of his stash.

"Might wanna keep your distance, guys," the krogan warned, "catch, freaks!"

After activating the grenade, Wrex tossed it at the Cerberus squad. The ensuing explosion tossed the squad around like ragdolls, but barely put a dent in the mech's shields. This prompted Amber and Saren to check their weapons.

"I've got an armor piercing module on hand," he huffed, "you have anything to deal with the shields?"

Amber nodded as she showed Saren the weapon she held in her hands.

"A few EMP grenades," Amber answered, "let's give it a shot."

Saren nodded as he began equipping his armor piercing module. Standing from cover, Amber lobbed the grenades one by one. Each ensuing explosion gradually tore down the mech's shields. She fired a few more bursts before the shields dropped.

"Ok, Saren," Amber called over, "your turn!"

He rolled from cover and biotically charged under the mech, firing off his shotgun as he approached. With several rounds fired at its weak points, the mech collapsed to the ground. He finished it off with a single round to its head module. Saren's mandible's flexed into a grin while he shifted his gaze towards Amber, Garrus, Jack, Wrex and Javik. Wrex rolled his eyes.

"Showoff," the krogan grumbled.

Amber emerged from her cover and gestured Saren and their squadmates to follow them through the door.

"We can try outdoing each other in dismantling a mech at a later date," Saren said.

The Spectres and their squadmates continued meandering through the corridor. They only encountered uncoordinated resistance from there onward as they swept the facility. The most difficulty they had was when Cerberus personnel barricaded themselves in a room or some other fortified location. Armor piercing weapons and biotics proved to be useful as they took out the toughest of their enemies. It didn't take long for them to enter an archive room. The Prothean scanned his surroundings with a puzzled look.

"I didn't expect them to keep such extensive records," Javik commented.

Wrex shrugged as he began searching the shelves.

"How much are you guys willing to bet there's anything actually practically applicable here?" Wrex asked.

Amber sighed as she started searching another shelf.

"Whatever plans Cerberus has could be crucial for the Alliance," Amber replied.

"Let's keep moving," Saren reminded, "we can secure whatever data is here after the fight."

Saren, Amber and Garrus darted out of the archive room. Around the next corner, James and his team were facing off against another line of Cerberus forces. It was only a short moment before the Spectres and the C-Sec detective showed up. Saren tossed a cooked grenade, finishing off the remaining troops on defense.

"Lieutenant!" Garrus called over, "you all right?"

James lifted his head as he stood from his cover.

"I'm fine," James nodded, "good to see you here."

Liara shifted her gaze between Amber, Saren and Garrus while Thane scoped ahead. The hallways were now much less active with the majority of the Cerberus presence deposed. The drell assassin nodded at Amber seconds later.

"We should be clear in this direction," Thane informed.

The group followed down the hallway, cautiously approaching the next door. Kasumi got to work hacking the lock. Ashley drew out a stun grenade and took position at the side of the door. Once Kasumi finished her task, the door slid open. This motivated Amber to lead her squad through the door.

In the meantime, Javik joined Wrex and Jack in browsing the shelves in the archive room. The Prothean pulled out a datapad and turned it on before he started reading its files. After he took note of a particular line in the data, Javik narrowed his eyes at Jack. He quietly pocketed the device, breaking eye contact with the biotic and deciding it would be a worthy read later.

"Are you two finished?" Javik called over.

Jack and Wrex paused in their tracks as they shifted their gaze towards Javik.

"Yeah. We can dig through here later," Jack answered.

After reshelving a datapad, Jack darted out of the room, compelling Wrex and Javik to follow her. They regrouped with the others and continued out of the chamber. While they continued venturing through a corridor, Amber tilted her head upwards and spotted Agent Lawson slinking along the walkway.

"Saren!" Amber called over.

Saren paused in his tracks and shifted his gaze towards Amber. The Alliance commander pointed upwards and it took a brief moment for the turian Spectre to spot the Cerberus operative. Lawson had already flung a warp at him, tossing him onto his back. Amber shot at a supportive frame of the catwalk, causing it to snap in half. Miranda had no problem landing on her feet before returning fire to Amber. Thinking fast, Jack enveloped herself and Amber in a biotic field, deflecting the Cerberus agent's shots while Saren staggered to his feet. Miranda slipped down another hallway out of their range.

"Hey," Amber shouted, "get back here!"

Saren, Jack and Amber sprinted after Miranda. The human biotic maintained her shield during their chase. The turian Spectre came up short of a corner and peeked around it. The instant he spotted Miranda, he wasted no time as he threw a biotic warp down the corridor. She rolled aside and dodged the attack, got back up, and rushed around the next hallway.

"Shepard," Jack exclaimed, "I have an idea!"

Amber panted before she glanced over her shoulder.

"What's the plan?" Amber insisted.

"Keep on her," Jack suggested, "I'm gonna try to cut her off."

Amber nodded at Jack before she and Saren continued their pursuit. They continued to weave back and forth, firing shots that the operative would simply deflect with her barrier. Miranda sprinted closer and closer to a doorway, hoping she could make her getaway. That hope was dashed away when Jack stood just outside the doorway.

"Fly, bitch!" Jack had a large hunk of machinery held in the air before flinging it violently at Miranda.

She had no issue catching it with her own powers, but was unable to respond quickly enough to Jack's pounce. Miranda yelped as Jack pinned her to the ground, allowing Saren and Amber to catch up to them. Jack let out a second burst, rendering the agent unconscious. The younger human biotic glanced at the Spectres and grinned at them.

"Hey," Jack asked them, "should we bring her aboard the Normandy?"

"We could use some answers," Amber shrugged, "let's find a cell here, strip her down of equipment, and lock her up. If not here, then back in Alliance space where she can be questioned."

Jack nodded before she stood to her feet, allowing Saren to lift Miranda into his arms. By the time they regrouped with their squadmates, most of the base had been cleared out. They found a group of reinforced, empty pens deeper into the facility. While Okeer and his research team arrived, Saren placed Miranda on a bed before he stepped out of one pen to meet up with Kaidan, Liara and Ashley.

"Glad she's been dealt with," Ashley huffed.

"Yes," Saren nodded, "but she could use a little persuasion if we are to get some answers out of her."

Kaidan peered through the door before he gave Saren a puzzled expression.

"Couldn't we just ship her straight back to Earth?" Kaidan inquired, "chances are, she's trained to resist interrogation, she's ready to off herself to prevent leaking secrets, or everything she does know is in that archive."

Saren hummed as he scratched his mandible.

"What else do you know about Agent Lawson?" Saren asked Kaidan.

Kaidan scratched his head.

"Nothing," Kaidan admitted, "she's an anomaly. No name, no former residency, no relatives she could be referred to."

Saren glanced over his shoulder as thoughts began swimming in his head. What would it take to incentivize Miranda into revealing more about herself?

"Any ideas about getting the agent to talk?" he asked Amber.

Amber couldn't help but shrug.

"Would it work if we bribed her into cooperating with us?" she suggested.

"You sure that'll work?" Saren paused, "we don't even know what she'd want."

Amber chuckled as she placed her hand on Saren's shoulder.

"I reckon it's worth a shot," Amber replied.

"So a favor for a favor, then?" Saren clarified.

Amber smiled at Saren and nodded.

"Unless you had an alternative, yes," Amber answered.

With a potential plan in mind, Saren and Amber stepped into the pen.

"You two do realize you won't get me to talk, right?" Lawson chastised.

Saren and Amber gave Miranda a blank stare, quickly realizing she just woke up. The agent responded with a weary angered glare. Both Spectres exchanged glances before they sat down across from her.

"We aren't interested in beating answers out of you. Not yet, anyways," Saren replied.

The Cerberus agent clenched her fists. She didn't reply otherwise to Saren's gesture. Intimidation was out of the question, so Saren began scrolling through his omni-tool in search of an interesting topic. Miranda couldn't help but stare in confusion.

"Now," Saren continued, "how about we talk about something other than Cerberus?"

"Such as?" Miranda insisted.

"You give us what we want," Saren offered, "we give you what you want."

Miranda sighed as she scratched her head.

"Let's see," Miranda said, "there is one particular person that I still want to protect at all costs."

Saren paused what he was doing and he returned his gaze at Miranda.

"That depends," Saren replied, "do you have relatives?"

Miranda hesitated for a minute or so before she silently nodded.

"So what do you want from me in return?" Miranda insisted.

"Cerberus' interest in the Reapers," Amber clarified, "we've definitely noticed your recent shift in attention."

Closing her eyes for a brief moment, Miranda folded her arms.

"Fine," Miranda sighed, "anyways, my sister was put in a secure place as a part of my employment at Cerberus. However, I'm starting to worry that her safety has been compromised. If you want me to talk, move her somewhere safe until I can make rearrangements."

Saren and Amber exchanged a brief glance.

"So could you tell me more about your sister?" Amber asked.

Miranda lowered her head.

"I was genetically designed by my father to serve as his heir to his extensive companies," she continued, "he wanted someone of his mentality to inherit the company, but I wasn't having any of it. I ran to Cerberus, seeing that they had an eye for talent. That didn't stop my father from trying again. He made another copy a few years later. I smuggled her out when I could. He hasn't had any luck to my knowledge with trying a third time, so he's opted to hunt for her instead, seeing he can't get to me."

Amber nodded, even as she scratched her head.

"Ok," Amber replied, "so what exactly do you think about Cerberus?"

"What's it matter to you?" she huffed in response.

Amber rolled her eyes before tilting her head towards Saren.

"Saren?" Amber paused.

"We'll have it done," Saren told Miranda.