Miranda Lawson is a Cerberus officer and member of Commander Shepard's crew on the Normandy 2. One of two biologically enhanced children, her father spent vast sums of money into making her as perfect as biologically possible.
Miranda Lawson is a supporting character from the Mass Effect game franchise that was developed by BioWare and published by Electronic Arts. It was originally sold exclusively on the XBox 360 gaming system, and first began in November 2007. Miranda's first appearance was in the ISO Action-RPG Mass Effect Galaxy, which was sold in the U.S. in June 22, 2009. Her main appearance was later in Mass Effect 2 as an allied character and potential romantic interest. This was released for the Xbox 360 on January 26, 2010. Her appearance and motions were based on actress Yvonne Strahvosky, who also voices her in the game.
Her first comic based appearance is Mass Effect: Redemption #1. This officially sanctioned comic series is published by Dark Horse Comics. It's written by John Jackson Miller and Mac Walters, and is illustrated by Omar Francia. The four issue series began in January 2010. The continuity of this series is based after the events in Mass Effect Galaxy and just before Mass Effect 2.
The face of Miranda was based directly on her voice and mo-cap actress. Yvonne Strahovski. She had such an impact on the character's design that the developers changed the character's original surname of Solheim to Lawson to better suit Strahovsky Australian accent. The Solheim name was based on the Norwegian word "sunhome". This translates to "she who must be admired". This was to reflect on her character's genetic engineering. Miranda was originally intended to be a blond, but her hair color was changed to black to better reflect her role as the femme fatale.
Major Story Arcs
Mass Effect Galaxy
While working as an informant, Miranda meets with Jacob Taylor at the bar called Fringe on Cartagena Station in the Nemean Abyss. She informs Jacob about a batarian plot to assassinate Ambassador Jath'Amon at the Citadel. She joins him on this mission, and they learn about a bio-weapon and have to find element-zero to craft the cure. They then discover this weapon is to be used on the entire Council, but they manage to foil the plot. Miranda then joins Jacob as he goes back on his vacation.
Mass Effect: Redemption
Miranda Lawson and a team of Cerberus agents rescues Liara T'Soni and Feron from a group of mercenaries on Omega. She aids Liara and introduces him to the Illusive Man. At the end of the series, Liara turns the recovered body of Commander Shepard over to Miranda and Cerberus. The Illusive Man pours billions of credits of funding into Project Lazarus. Miranda oversees the operation on a remote space station and, over the course of 2 years, they rebuild the former Spectre.
Mass Effect 2
"I'm an excellent judge of character. I think you'll find my assessments to be right on the money."
Miranda is aboard the space station at the beginning of Mass Effect 2 and this is where she and Jacob first interact with the newly resurrected Commander Shepard. After a brief skirmish she introduces the Commander to the Illusive Man and the trio begin their mission to recruit the best of the best from around the galaxy and save human colonies from the Collectors. During the mission Miranda asks Shepard for help with a personal crisis and admits she has a twin, Oriana, created as part of her father's intended dynasty. Miranda explains that the reason she joined Cerberus was to hide and protect Oriana as well as herself. While their father stopped searching for Miranda, he never stopped looking for Oriana. With the help of Cerberus, Miranda managed to establish a new life for Oriana on Illium, where she has lived the life of normalcy their father would have denied her. Unfortunately, Miranda received word from a contact claiming that their father has finally discovered Oriana and will try to abduct her. Cerberus has made arrangements to relocate Oriana, and Miranda wants to go along to ensure nothing goes wrong.
"And perhaps I wouldn't mind if you admired my body."
Miranda is a possible love pursuit for Shepard if the player chooses to make Shepard a male. While at first quite cold and reserved, earning her loyalty by saving her sister will cause her to trust Shepard more and eventually open up to him.
After her sister has been relocated, Shepard can talk to Miranda, and show a romantic interest in her. He can tell Miranda that she gives herself too little credit for her accomplishments and that she should allow people to appreciate her body and mind, resulting in Miranda "wanting Shepard to admire her body." If Shepard returns her feelings, she expresses cautiousness in the relationship, but also expresses her interest in it as well. Alternatively, Shepard can accuse Miranda of being jealous of him. She will attempt to deny it but sexual tension builds in the ensuing conversation, and if Shepard kisses her their romance is further cemented despite her insistence that it doesn't mean anything.
If Mordin Solus notices Shepard's attraction to Miranda, he suggests checking for listening devices as "Cerberus can plant them anywhere," and comments on her biotic talents, sending Shepard a document that outlines "creative use of mass effect fields." After Jack's loyalty mission, the relationship is put at risk during the confrontation between Miranda and Jack. If Shepard sides with Miranda or resolves the situation impartially, then the relationship will continue. If the relationship sustains until the Suicide Mission, then, before Shepard goes into the Omega 4 Relay, Miranda will 'coincidentally' meet Shepard in the Combat Information Center, telling him to meet her in the engine room in five minutes. If Shepard accepts the invite, she walks into the elevator and winks at him before the doors close. They then spend time in the engine room.
Mass Effect 3
After the mission to Palaven and Grissom Academy, or just Sur'Kesh, Shepard gets a message from Miranda asking to meet on the Citadel at Docking Bay D24. Miranda expresses her concerns that her sister Oriana had been found by her father. If she is in a romance with Shepard, Miranda shows that she was greatly pained when Shepard was detained on Earth, and almost thought to break in to see him. If certain decisions are not made to warn her of a Cerberus attack, Miranda will later be killed by Cerberus Assault Troopers, under orders from the Illusive Man. To keep Lawson alive, Shepard must read the dossier Anderson forwards on Kai Leng, and warn her about him via video conference in the Spectre Office in the Citadel Embassies. Should Miranda not be spoken to before Cerberus' attack on the Citadel, Miranda will still send Shepard a message to contact her via the Communications Console in the Spectre Office in the Citadel Embassies.
She is later encountered on Horizon after Cerberus retrieves the Prothean VI from Thessia. Shepard quickly finds that Oriana is indeed being held by their father, who is operating a Cerberus facility disguised as a shelter called Sanctuary. Miranda is seen in recordings throughout the mission warning civilians of her father's true intent. Finally, Henry Lawson, who is holding Oriana as a human shield, comes face to face with both Shepard and Miranda. Shepard is either able to diffuse the situation diplomatically or to simply shoot him.
If Shepard allows Lawson to leave, Miranda will refuse, using her biotics to push him out of a nearby window. Miranda, who was badly injured during a running battle with Kai Leng, dies in the company of Oriana and Shepard if she was not previously warned about Kai Leng's return to service of Cerberus. If Miranda's loyalty was not secured, or she was not given Alliance resources in an earlier conversation with Shepard, Kai Leng will mortally wound her even if warned.
If Shepard cannot persuade Lawson diplomatically and does not shoot him after diplomacy fails, Miranda will take the initiative to kill Lawson herself, but Lawson will manage to get in a shot that fatally wounds Miranda, causing Miranda to die even if Miranda was warned about both the Cerberus attack and Kai Leng's return to Cerberus. If Miranda survived those events, she tells Shepard she had the time to place a tracking device on Kai Leng during their short encounter, allowing Shepard and the Alliance to find the Illusive Man's location.
Miranda then leaves with her sister, and asks Shepard to be careful. She will join the war effort and Shepard will have the chance to talk to her on Earth one last time, right before the final assault.
Note: The only way for Miranda not to appear in 2186 is for her to have been killed during the assault on the Collector Base.
"It was hard to be away from you. Surprised myself how... attached I got. I'm not good at attached."
Upon meeting Miranda on the Citadel, Shepard has the chance to confirm his love for her. She says that things would never be simple for them. After helping her by warning her about the various dangers she could be exposed to, Miranda asks Shepard to meet her in a private room on the Citadel. There, she explains that she feels guilty, because she wanted to incorporate a mind-controlling chip within Shepard's new body while working on the Lazarus Project. She mentions that the Illusive Man refused, in order to keep Shepard as close as he was to his former self, a soldier who only obeys orders. She despises herself, knowing it's what her father would have wanted done, and she tells Shepard she's deeply sorry. Shepard has the chance to comfort her, which will result in the romance sequence with Miranda.
During the final mission on Earth, if Shepard previously romanced Miranda, she comments that this is farewell, while Shepard tries to be positive and promises to come back.
"This is what I am, Shepard. I can't hide it. The intelligence, the looks, even the biotics. He paid for all of that. Every one of your accomplishments is due to your skill. The only things I can take credit for are my mistakes."
When first introduced, Miranda is shown to be very cold and uncaring, as shown by her ruthless execution of Wilson for his betrayal and believing everyone except Shepard to be expendable. She is also shown to be quite arrogant; when Jacob Taylor questions her actions, she claims that she is never wrong and that he should have learned that by then. However, the Illusive Man himself states that she "isn't" usually wrong. She is also shown to be very cautious about Shepard at first, worrying that he/she may become a liability to Cerberus's cause.
As Shepard gets to know Miranda though, her true personality is revealed; that of a deeply self-loathing woman whose years of abuse by her father as well as the nature of her existence have left her feeling that she does not deserve credit for any of her accomplishments; her frosty personality and outward self-confidence are simply a façade to hide her insecurities. She is also deeply fond and protective of her genetically identical little sister Oriana, and has gone to great lengths to keep her safe, even going so far as to avoid revealing to her that she exists. Notably, if Shepard persuades her to get closer to her sister, she is so emotionally affected that she is shown to be crying.
Though not terribly overt, Miranda occasionally displays signs of a dry wit, particularly if flirting with Shepard during a romance. She enjoys the time she spends with the Commander regardless of whether or not a romance is occurring, provided Shepard remains polite and understanding when speaking to her.
Despite being a member of Cerberus for most of Mass Effect 2, Miranda is atypical of the average Cerberus member, being pro-human as opposed to outright xenophobic and in fact laments how so many join Cerberus for no other reason than xenophobia. She also respects the Salarian Mordin Solus and admires the accomplishments of the Asari. She also displays very clear moral standards multiple times, not the least of which is her objection to the Illusive Man's plan of keeping the Collector Base intact (a base that had liquefied millions of humans alive). Should Shepard destroy the Collector Base, Miranda applauds the commander's decision, and also outright resigns from Cerberus in response to the Illusive Man's ordering her to stop Shepard.
In Mass Effect 3, she has become significantly warmer, also expressing regret for having even considered putting a control chip in Shepard's head and asking him/her for forgiveness. Also by now no longer under illusions about Cerberus' lack of scruples, she actively works against them, and also warns innocent civilians about Sanctuary.
Miranda frequently expresses disgust about how her father attempted to control every aspect of her life, and how she therefore couldn't bear to let him do the same thing to Oriana, but she is also not always conscious of her own control freak habits: during the Lazarus Project, she was perfectly willing to put a control chip in Shepard's brain as a safeguard, and would have done so if the Illusive Man hadn't stopped her. At the same time, however, she's smart enough to realize this, and by the time the Reapers arrive in 2186, she deeply regrets having ever wanted the chip, to the point that she begs Shepard to forgive her and says that she always regretted it. When assured by Paragon-Shepard that she can't keep beating herself up over the past, she replies 'I usually don't, but this was important', showing truly how sorry she is.
Miranda is a tall, curvaceous woman in her mid-thirties. She has a light skin complexion, a rather sizeable bust, steel blue eyes and shoulder-length jet black hair. She wears a very tight white or black leather uniform, black gloves and black, knee-high heeled boots, making her anatomy’s propensity for the superiorly-placed, powerfully-developed and nigh-spherical due to her being designed to be the pinnacle of "perfection". Different camera angles and shots her figure were employed to focus on "her curves and sexuality", identified as key parts of her character, her being someone genetically engineered to be "perfect" and a femme fatale.
“Worried about my qualifications? I can crush a mech with my biotics or shoot its head off at a hundreds yards. Take your pick.”
- Superior Physique - Due to the biological enhancements of her DNA, Miranda is at the absolute perfect state that a human female can possibly attain. This covers a wide range of areas, such as athleticism, reflexes, sensory perception and even her appearance. Her cells perform at optimal capacity, thus she heals much quicker than a standard human could. She also is predicted to live at least half a lifespan longer than most other humans. Miranda also boasts that she can perfectly shoot a mech in the head from 100 meters away, or tear it apart with her biotics.
- Mental Conditioning - Alongside all her physical traits and advantages, Miranda has obtained many mental improvements. She is a born leader who never ceases to work at optimal capacity and concentration. She controls her emotions better than most, even denying them sometimes (as seen during her romance with Shepard) in favor of the mission at hand. She is incredibly intelligent and is able to process information at a much faster rate than an average human, with even more accuracy.
- Biotics - Miranda possesses Biotic enhancements, which are a futuristic version of telekinesis. She is able to produce force fields for defensive capabilities. As far as offensive capabilities are concerned, she can pick up a mech and throw it across the room with immense velocity with little ill-effect on herself. She can also cause a concentrated gravitational 'implosion' on an object, which is an ability called Warp.
- Human vulnerabilities - Miranda's greatest weakness is that she is quite vulnerable to the physical attacks of stronger and more powerful opponents. However, she usually compensates for this quite well with her exceptional intellect and biotic capabilities.
Weapons and Equipment
Miranda is train in firearms combat and shows proficiency using Sub-machine Guns and Heavy Pistols to keep a hand free for her biotics and omni-tool. She mainly relies on her shields, biotic barrier and tactical mind for defense.
Mass Effect Galaxy is Miranda's first official appearance. This is an ISO, Action RPG that is developed by BioWare and directed by Kevin Barrett. The design of all the character had more a cartoonish art design. It was released on June 22, 2009, but it was removed from the App Store after February 2012, Miranda is voiced in the game by Yvonne Strahovski.
The story of the game is considered canon and is set between the Mass Effect: Ascension novel (post original Mass Effect game) and just prior to Mass Effect 2. However, the story events never come into play in any of the following materials. In the story, Miranda has her first meeting with Jacob. She was there to meet him as an informant. She tips Jacob off about an assassination plot against an ambassador at the Citadel. She later assists him in thwarting the plot to release a bio-weapon. By the end, she joins Jacob back on his resumed-vacation and brings some champagne along.
If a player was to complete the game and had Mass Effect Galaxy linked to their EA Online account. This would unlock some added content to Mass Effect 2. This reward was extra dialog with the character Ish, but only if the player had both Miranda and Jacob in their party.
Mass Effect 2 and 3
The Mass Effect game series was originally exclusive to the Microsoft Xbox 360 and PC. However, in 2011 the second game was ported to the Sony PlayStation 3 prior to the release of the third game in the series. A special edition of the third game is set for release to the Nintendo Wii U.
X-Box 360 Avatar
On the Microsoft X-Box 360, users that have a female avatar character can purchase a Miranda outfit based on her design in Mass Effect 2. This was available in the Xbox Avatar Marketplace for 320 MS points.