|“||I settle for nothing but the best||„|
|~ Miranda Lawson|
Miranda Lawson is one of the many characters in the video game Mass Effect 2 and its sequel, Mass Effect 3. She is a genetically engineered human specimen created by the wealthy business tyrant Henry Lawson, until she ran away from him and began working for Cerberus.
She is voiced by (and facially modelled after), Yvonne Strahovski.
Miranda was "created" by her arrogant father Henry Lawson, who in Miranda's own words did not want a daughter but rather a dynasty. Abused and pressured by her father constantly, Miranda was left with deep self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy, worsened by the knowledge that her father had murdered her older siblings who had failed to meet his expectations.
When Henry Lawson made another creation named Oriana, Miranda refused to allow him to torture her as he had her, and so she ran away from home with Oriana in tow. Needing protection for both herself and her sister, Miranda was drawn into Cerberus, and under the Illusive Man's influence came to believe that Cerberus was a benevolent if not also somewhat ethically sketchy organization, completely unaware of the atrocities Cerberus commits regularly. Under the false impression that they are helping humanity, Miranda rapidly ascended the ranks and soon became one of the Illusive Man's top agents.
Mass Effect 2
After the Normandy SR1 unit is destroyed, and Commander Shepard is taken out of action, Cerberaus begins construction on his/her body to bring him/her back. This was the Lazarus Project, which Miranda was head of. She becomes a member of the second party, and a possible romance option for a male Shepard.
For her loyalty mission Shepard must help her save her sister Oriana from Eclipse mercenaries seeking to return her sister to her father. After it is concluded Shepard can convince Miranda to better connect with her sister, which she decides to do.
Mass Effect 3
In Mass Effect 3 (if she survives the suicide mission in Mass Effect 2) Miranda is not a crewmate or central character, but makes an appearance. Shepard comes in contact several times, and later she's the focus of a mission. Her father Henry Lawson works with Cerberus (she's quit her position from Cerberus by now) and is torturing humans and turning them into husks. Appalled by her father's actions, Miranda goes out of her way to warn and save as many people as she can, risking her life in the process when she comes under attack from Kai Leng.
Commander Shepard may or may not save her at this point, and if she survives, she'll help the fight to take back Earth, and can be contacted before the final assault. If she is in a romance with Shepard she expresses doubt that Shepard will come back alive, but he assures her that he will. Miranda begs Shepard to finish the fight and then find her.
|“|| Miranda: I may not have believed it before, but I don't have what you do. That fire that makes someone willing to follow you into hell itself. My father got me the best genes money could buy. Guess that wasn't enough.|
Shepard: You always bring up your genetic tailoring. It really bothers you.
Miranda: 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.
|~ Miranda to Shepard, lamenting over the nature of her existence|
When first introduced, Miranda is shown to be very cold, stand-offish, and uncaring, as shown by her ruthless execution of Wilson for his betrayal and calmly countering any arguments Shepard makes, prioritizing getting Shepard off the station rather than risk waiting for (very unlikely) survivors and being so committed to the mission of getting Shepard out alive that she declares everyone else (possibly including herself), to be expendable. She appears 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 now. 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. Far from arrogant, Miranda freely admits to not being perfect, capable of making mistakes like everyone else, and even noting that, when she does make mistakes, the consequences are severe.
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 anti-alien, and in fact laments how so many join Cerberus for no other reason than xenophobia. She greatly respects the salarian Mordin Solus, as well as having empathy for the Quarian Lia'vael by agreeing with Tali's anger towards the prejudiced Volus who falsely accuses her of theft. She also has definite respect for the asari, describing Illium as a "cultural marvel" and says that humanity can learn a lot from their ingenuity. Nevertheless, her pro-human beliefs and loyalty to Cerberus causes friction between her and a large portion of Shepard's squad. The only clear exceptions to this are Samara, Kasumi and Jacob, the latter of whom has known her for years and is therefore a good friend. Even Garrus, who is otherwise friendly and accepting of most people, is wary of her, as he'll argue against making her the fire team leader if Jack isn't present, pointing out that half the squad don't even trust her. Miranda, however, makes a point that whether or not someone is well-liked doesn't matter when people's lives are at stake.
Miranda 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. She also abhors random and sadistic cruelty in general, vocally disapproving of the brutalizing of an inmate by a prison guard on Purgatory, saying that what was done to Jack and other Biotic children was without question a mistake, and even having sufficient empathy to warn a random punk kid on Omega that he needs more than knowing how to use a gun if he wants to survive. Finally, Miranda 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.
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 her father's Sanctuary facility (though, given her hatred of her father and her moral standards, it is safe to assume that she would have tried to stop the Sanctuary facility's slaughter even when she was still a member of Cerberus).
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 realise 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.