artificial chromosomes

anonymous asked:

friendship prompt: grunt & miranda bonding over being genetically engineered to be perfect?

Even if Miranda weren’t observant by nature, it would be difficult to miss the hulking half-ton of tank-grown krogan shuffling his feet in her office door.

“Can I help you, Grunt?” she asks, only briefly glancing up from her work. There is, as always, a lot to do. As far as she’s concerned, the krogan is still a wild card, and Shepard was unwise to release him. He’s acquitted himself well enough on a few missions, but it remains to be seen if he’ll be a reliable asset in the long run.

He’s never come to Miranda’s office before. Ordinarily he only comes to the crew deck to eat and use the lavatory.

“Shepard said you’re perfect,” Grunt blurts out after a moment. “Made that way. Like me.”

Miranda’s first reaction is a brief flash of annoyance at Shepard for repeating that information. But it’s not as if it’s a secret, not really. She looks up at Grunt, whose wide-set eyes are fixed on her laser-like, and her annoyance fades away.

“Why don’t you come in and have a seat,” she says, setting down her datapad. The work can wait a few minutes.

Grunt enters and perches on the chair opposite Miranda’s desk. It looks too small for him, as all furniture intended for human use does. His peculiarly blue eyes stay locked on her. Most krogan have eyes somewhere in the range of red to yellow, or perhaps green. Blue is rare. Miranda wonders, idly, whether Okeer intended that color, or whether it was an unintentional by-product of other genetic tinkering.

The culmination of his research, he’d said, and he’d had the spares to prove it. Intentional, probably, but what the intent was, she can’t be certain.

She knows very well what the intention of her own cornflower-blue eyes was: to create a striking beauty in the contrast of dark hair, fair skin, and blue eyes. Snow White. Not the only aesthetic standard available. Just a favorite of Henry Lawson’s.

“It’s true,” she says. “I was genetically modified to have a desirable combination of human traits. I have higher than average strength, intelligence, endurance, and dexterity. I’ve also been gifted with biotics, which are still a rarity among humans.” And hadn’t that been a pleasant experience.

Grunt leans forward. Only a little, but on a half-ton of krogan, a little leaning forward goes a long way. Still, Miranda holds her ground. “So are you pure human?”

“I wouldn’t call it pure,” she says after a moment’s consideration. She’s too much a made thing for that, too much of her chromosome is artificial or experimental. “But I meet the highest standards of human potential and accomplishment, yes.”

Grunt tilts his head, absurdly bird-like, and then accepts this. “Then what’s it all for?”

“Excuse me?” Not that Miranda hasn’t wondered the same herself, on occasion, but this is a more philosophical sort of question than she’d expected from the krogan.

“We’re made this way, but for what? The tank tells me all these things, but I don’t feel anything about them. It’s just words. If I’m pure krogan, I should have a purpose.”

She searches for something that might be more than “just words.” “I discovered a purpose for myself,” she tells him eventually. “I’m here to advance the cause of humanity, however I can.” It’s the purpose she’s set herself to as long as she’s been with Cerberus.

Sometimes, these days, that purpose feels a little hollow.

“Huh,” says Grunt. “Shepard told me our purpose was to kill Collectors.”

Miranda bites her lips to keep from smiling. “That, too.”