[This prologue features possible SPOILERS from MASS EFFECT 2 and 3...so I hope you're a fan who played the games if you keep reading! ]
For most of her life, Oriana Lawson had no idea how special she was.
Oriana didn't even know her real name...for all she knew until the age of 17, her name was Anna Tiberius. The girl grew up on Illium with her father Jim, a reasonably successful stockbroker, her mother Carol, a financial analyst, and her older brother Jimmy Junior. Her life was a relatively quiet one, but great things were expected of Anna because of her extraordinarily high intelligence level...in that and many other aspects, the girl seemed to be literally perfect. But being called perfect made the gentle, modest Anna incredibly awkward. Because of her genius, she could learn and master virtually anything she wished...it surprised her parents that she was interested in colony management, of all things, but no matter what their expectations were she had Jim and Carol's full support when it came to what she wanted to choose to do with her life.
One day in the year 2185, as Human colonies were endangered by the mysterious Collectors, Oriana discovered the truth...when her twin sister, Cerberus agent Miranda Lawson, entered her life. Miranda and the paragon Commander Mary Shepard had just stopped a large force of Eclipse mercenaries from kidnapping Oriana. The mercs were under the employ of her biological father, Henry Lawson, interstellar business magnate and philanthropist.
Miranda Lawson was Henry's first daughter, conceived by the most advanced technology available as a 'test tube baby'...Miranda never knew who her mother was, someone who had simply donated her eggs for Henry to conceive a child with his sperm, which were genetically altered to guarantee that the resultant child would be as perfect as a Human could possibly be. Deliberately irradiated with Element Zero dust during gestation, Miranda was also born a high-level Biotic. Miranda wasn't so much raised as trained in disciplines from medical science to martial arts to honing her Biotic power to a razor's edge. She was being groomed by Henry to become his heir to what he called his 'dynasty', but growing up in a world without love made Miranda disgruntled, embittered, angry.
One day in her late teens, Miranda first saw her newborn sister, Oriana. Miranda discovered that the infant was her perfect twin, conceived with the exact same methods that brought her into being, even the egg from the same mother, everything except that Oriana hadn't been subjected to hazardous Eezo exposure. Miranda was so angry, so prone to rebellion that Henry conceived Oriana to be her older sister's potential replacement in his grand designs.
Henry Lawson completely underestimated how rebellious Miranda Lawson could have become. Miranda prepared quietly, carefully, establishing a secret network of contacts, and then one night she kidnapped her infant twin...a lot of gunfire was exchanged in the process, but Miranda escaped with Oriana. As much as secret contacts like her childhood friend Niket had helped, Miranda knew she needed much more support to ensure that Henry couldn't find her or her sister, and so she offered herself to the pro-Human extremists known as Cerberus, an organization her father had secretly backed financially for years. The Illusive Man accepted Miranda's terms of recruitment, including severing all ties with Henry Lawson...the terrorist leader instantly saw the potential of a biologically perfect operative in his ranks. After Oriana was secretly placed with a new family and given a new name, Miranda joined Cerberus and the sisters were separated. Miranda became a master of many disciplines under the Illusive Man's watch, and she especially excelled in the medical sciences and espionage.
Then Niket, motivated by the fortune he could have earned, betrayed the sisters and contacted Henry. When Miranda received word that merc forces were encroaching on Oriana and her family on Illium, she asked Commander Shepard's help to stop the Eclipse and secure her twin's safety. The mercenaries were destroyed right after their commander killed Niket, who had a change of heart at a pivotal moment. Miranda used her own resources separate from Cerberus, just in case, to give Oriana and her family new identities and a new home to make sure they'd be safe. Then, with a gentle urging from Shepard, Miranda took the opportunity given to her to reunite with Oriana.
The reunion was a truly joyous one for Oriana, who was so happy to know she had a twin sister...and she was so humbled and moved to know that Miranda had always watched over her from afar, in one way or the other, all of her life. The sisters, being perfect twins, realized they had so many things in common in spite of their separate lives and upbringings. From the same taste in music to inclinations toward spying, Miranda and Oriana both felt true happiness like they never had before. The sisters stayed in contact with each other since but had to be covert and careful, especially after Miranda took a moral stand and defied Cerberus to support Mary Shepard...the Illusive Man earnestly wanted to take the Collector Base in the galactic core intact to raid its forbidden technology, but the paragon destroyed it along with the remaining Collectors instead. Miranda divorced herself from Cerberus completely.
The Illusive Man wasn't someone who forgave betrayal...he reestablished his bond with former financial backer Henry Lawson so they could find his twin daughters. After The Reaper War erupted months later, Henry supported Cerberus in many ways, especially in an endeavor to find a way to control the Reapers' Husk forces. He not only fully supported but administrated the refugee outpost Sanctuary on the colony world of Horizon.
Henry had collected as much information as Cerberus could find about Oriana before she and her family dropped off the galactic grid with Miranda's help. One key thing he discovered was Oriana's ambition to pursue a career in colony management, and he used his resources to lure Oriana to Sanctuary, to support its supposed noble purpose to shelter and comfort Human war refugees. But as Oriana worked in the facility's administrative sector, she had no idea Sanctuary's horrifying true purpose was to secretly use the refugees...entire families were taken to the facility's secret scientific complexes, sacrificed and transformed into Husks, experimented on to discover the frequency the Reapers used to control them, all so Cerberus could take command of the Husks and further their own terrible agenda.
For all Miranda Lawson knew, her twin sister had essentially disappeared...she desperately searched for Oriana as The Reaper War raged, and she got the support of Alliance naval resources from Mary Shepard herself. Late in the war, both Mary and Miranda investigated Sanctuary for different reasons, but both found the same thing. All hell had broken loose in Sanctuary, the Husks had escaped confinement and slaughtered most everyone. High in its administrative tower, Henry kept Oriana hostage, in his words for her protection. When Miranda and Mary found them, Henry held Oriana at gunpoint. Mary managed to convince Henry to let Oriana go if he wanted his freedom, but Miranda had something very different to give her father...a sudden, brutal death when she used her Biotic power to send him falling to his doom. Again, thankfully, the sisters were reunited...and they were finally free from their father forever.
Miranda and Oriana did their best to support Mary Shepard and the galactic war effort against the Reapers until the war's fateful end. With help from her loved ones, Mary was instrumental in winning the year-long conflict by destroying the Reapers...she delivered salvation to trillions of lives across the galaxy. In the war's aftermath, unfortunately, so many lives had already been lost...Oriana was devastated when she discovered the Reapers had overwhelmed Illium weeks before and her parents and brother weren't able to evacuate in time. Her entire adopted family were among the war fatalities on that world, and Oriana's life as she knew it was shattered completely. Overwhelmed with grief, the only solace the girl received came from the love and support of her twin, Miranda.
Weeks after The Reaper War...one of the sisters will make a choice that will change both their lives completely...
This is a prologue and preview of something I've been working on for quite some time. I know I've got a lot of things like Judgment Day and Paramour still to complete, but I've needed to get this out, too! It's my bringing to life an idea I've had for some time, a story set after The Reaper War in MASS EFFECT 3, as the galaxy is rebuilding. What you just read is in capsule the amazing history of the Lawson twins, and sets up the rest of the story.
[Part of it is my headcanon, but so what!] Oriana Lawson, the twin sister of Miranda Lawson, wants to be like her sister...and I don't mean that she just wants to follow in her sister's footsteps! Oriana is so inspired by her beloved twin that she wants to be as much like Miranda as possible: her perfect mirror. It's a story that will explore the unique bond twins share and, more importantly, how love can make anything
This may be the most ambitious thing I've done since Judgment Day because the story will also feature XPS art, in a comic panel style, to bring to life key moments in each chapter...it's the first time I've tried something like this, and I hope veteran fans who love ME and its characters and newbies alike will enjoy it!
Giving credit where it's due!
XNALara created by Dusan Pavlicek
XPS created by Dusan and XNAaraL
Blonde Miranda Lawson by DorianPavus
Oriana Lawson by Just-Jasper