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Containment Breach (Mass Effect - Tali and Miranda): Secret Santa for Enkidoom


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Here's a fanfic set in the Mass Effect universe somewhere around the time of Mass Effect 2.  I don't know if people ship Miranda and Tali (I'm sure some do), but Enkidoom expressed a like for both characters and I have to agree.  In my playthrough I toooootally romanced Tali.  And I can see her getting along well with Miranda.

For those unfamiliar, here is some fanart and cosplay of the two characters looking like BFFs.






Flying at a comfortable faster-than-light cruising speed, the starship Normandy’s drive core hummed and rumbled as it generated the immensely concentrated mass field positioned to the bow of the streamlined interstellar frigate, causing it to “fall” perpetually forward and propelling it gracefully toward its destination.  With her shoes clicking rhythmically against the floor, Miranda Lawson barely noticed the ship’s background hum.  It was low, warm, almost pleasant if one were to consciously listen.  As she arrived in the ship’s mess hall, Miranda slipped elegantly into a booth before activating her holographic omni-tool to review some research notes collected by the ship’s junior staff for the benefit of the ship’s Executive Officer.  Miranda’s form-fitting white bodysuit and the orange glow of her omni-tool’s holographic display contrasted brightly against the dark grey aesthetic of the ship’s mess hall.  As XO, she was granted precious little down time, and she fully intended to settle in for some light reading in the spacious mess hall during the wee hours of the morning with few crew around to distract her.

Mere moments into her reading, Miranda’s ears consciously registered an odd sound.  Not the low hum of the ship’s engines, but rather a constant series of wet, sharp, frustrated sniffles.  Miranda turned her head to the unexpected sound, her fingers brushing long strands of black hair behind her ear, in slight surprise to hear such miserable sniffling.  It was very rare for a crew member to fall ill, at least with an affliction not easily treated by the ship’s doctor.  

“Heeegh… igh… hehh!-...”  

Miranda’s grey-blue eyes locked onto the source of the sniffling, which had escalated into a series of itchy, desperate-sounding hitches heralding a pending sneeze.  Seated at another booth was Tali’Zorah, a friend, fellow shipmate, and the Normandy’s Chief Engineer.  The young quarian was behaving very… oddly, Miranda noticed.  One hand clutched a small, sealed bottle with a straw protruding from the top and the other hand held a cloth napkin, likely procured from within the mess hall.

“Hehh!-..  Huhh-heahhh!!-...”  Tali gasped, her suit’s domed purple-tinted mask obscuring the intensely itchy expression on her face.  Miranda couldn’t see clearly, but Tali’s nostrils flared and her lips pulled downward into a sneezy gape.  Only Tali’s eyes were visible clearly, the pale white ovals narrowing gradually before shutting completely once the sneeze could no longer be held back.

“HeeeEEAASSSHHuuuh!!...  hhHHE-EEGHHSSHHUHH!!”  Tali sneezed twice, both sounding incredibly itchy and urgent.  The sneezes were followed by an even wetter series of drippy sniffles as Miranda observed Tali humorously attempt to use her napkin to wipe her nose through the mask of her suit, obviously to no effect.  “Ughh…  Keelah…”  Tali muttered, placing the napkin back down on the table and taking a sip of her drink by pushing the straw through a small circular port in her mask.

“Tali?  Are you alright?”  Miranda asked with genuine concern though her voice was tinged ever so slightly with a tone intended to give the Quarian a mild, good-natured ribbing.

Tali startled in her seat, her body jumping as she noticed Miranda seated a few tables away.  “Oh!  M-.. Miranda!  I’m sorry, I didn’t sehh-... see you thehh-... there.”  Tali sniffled thickly, again trying to wipe her nose through her mask.  Miranda found it incredibly endearing and couldn’t help but chuckle.

“It’s no problem, Tali.  But… again, are you alright?  You seem… unwell,” Miranda stressed, voicing sincere concern for her shipmate.

“It’s ahh-.. It’s a long story.  But I’m suffering from some terrible ahh-... allergies at the moment.  I… hahh-...  hhheeAAAGSCHHiiugh!..  Ughh… hhiiih!-..  hhhIIIEEGHSSCHHIIIUGH!!”  Tali’s upper body shot forward twice from her sneezes, the purple cloth of her suit’s hood shuddering with each itchy, desperate release.

“Allergies?” Miranda asked with surprise, getting up and walking over to Tali as she kept attempting to sniffle back her nose’s runniness.  “Is that even possible?  I mean, your suit…” Miranda tried to make sense of it, putting a comforting hand on Tali’s shoulder as the unexpected allergy sufferer succumbed to another sneeze.

“Hheh-..  HET-TCHIIUGHH!!...  Ugh… I didn’t think so either, but something must be wrong with my suit’s filters.  And Shepard has me working on a containment field to house the extremely delicate plant samples we have in the spare cargo bay.  Theyhh-.. Heeegh…”

Now being seated next to Tali, Miranda was able to see more clearly through the quarian’s tinted mask.  Tali’s bright grey-white eyes fluttered shut as the allergic itch built in her nose, which appeared a darker shade than the rest of her face.  Miranda had never seen an unmasked quarian so couldn’t tell if Tali’s nose was red like a human allergy sufferer’s.

“Heeghh-... hiiIIGHH!-...”  

However, Tali was clearly and miserably suffering.  Tali’s constant sniffling had been unable to fully control her nose’s runniness, and even while obscured by the mask, a slight sparkle of liquid under Tali’s dark, quivering nostrils could be seen by Miranda.  It was amazing how similar Tali’s allergy symptoms were to a human hay fever sufferer.  Hay fever.  An odd, ancient, anachronistic word, considering how allergies were never caused directly by hay in the first place and especially in modern times when many varieties of alien plant life were known to trigger allergies in humans and non-human species alike.  Poor Tali…


Tali’s violent allergy sneezes doubled her over.  She sniffled wetly, frustratedly, wanting so badly to wipe and blow her allergic nose, so full of unceasing itch and liquid, some of which had been sprayed onto the inside of her mask.  “Ugh!... By Keelah, I’b sorry Mbiranda.  Mby… mby ndose…”  Tali sniffled and struggled, at a loss for words at her terribly allergic state.

“Bless you!” Miranda exclaimed compassionately, rubbing Tali’s shoulder and back.  Despite being yet another anachronism, Miranda felt compelled to offer the sincere expression to the miserable quarian woman.  “You said something about plant samples?”

Tali endearingly attempted to wipe her mask with her napkin but of course the few small droplets remained stuck on the inner surface.  “Yes.  Shepard and Doctor Chakwas previously collected plant samples from both Nodacrux and Zorya, planets known for hosting particularly allergenic plant species.  And they… ahh, that’s better”  Tali had entered a command into her omni-tool causing the inside of her mask to clean itself with a sweeping laser-like light.  She continued after another very wet-sounding sniffle.  “They were experimenting with cross-breeding to see if new substances could be harvested, beneficial for medical treatment or prevention.”

“But why did they need your help?” Miranda asked.  “You’re an engineer, not a biologist.”

“There ihh… is…  heeghh-...”  Tali’s nasal itch had returned.  Well, it never really left but it swelled again past the point of control, despite her best efforts.  This really was quite awful, Tali thought to herself.  The medicine in the bottle was supposed to help.  That deep, crawling, all-consuming itch in her nose hadn’t subsided.  It hadn’t even diminished its sneezy urge.  Tali was forced to succumb to it yet again.  “hheg-KISCHH!  KIHSSHH!  HEK-EEAASCHUH!!  EEESHHIIUUH!!  HHEEEEH-IIIIEAHSSSHHIIUUHH!!!”  Tali sneezed rapidly, her body almost collapsing in on itself as it was racked by the fit of allergy sneezes.

“Bless you, Tali.  Oh you poor thing…” Miranda rubbed Tali again, compassionately, almost affectionately.  She wouldn’t admit it aloud, but seeing the cute, innocent-minded Quarian so debilitated by sneezing did bring an urge to care for her, to comfort her.  Miranda cleared her throat as she felt herself develop a slight flush, and pulled up some notes on her omni-tool.  As XO, she had privileged access to most of the ship’s files.

“There’s one promising specimen,” Miranda noticed, finishing Tali’s thought as the allergic woman again tried to control her nose’s profuse running with a series of wet, sharp sniffles.  “One hybrid whose flower petals contain very high concentrations of an enzyme known to prevent degradation or suppression of neurological activity.  That could be extremely useful as a countermeasure against biological attack vectors.”

“Yes, buhh..  hihh!-...” Tali hitched, making the urge to sneeze fade temporarily by sniffling particularly loudly, nearly snorting.  She wanted to rub her eyes and nose so badly.  Instead, the allergy itch ran rampant across her face protected against her hands but oddly not against the allergy-inducing pollen which had penetrated her mask’s air filters.  “But those same blossoms are extremely delicate.  The enzyme is only produced past maturity, well past the time the blossoms fulfill their primary task of pollen production.  Any slight disturbance, the smallest touch or vibration could cause the blossoms to fall as they are so bloated and dripping with pollen.”

“So you were ordered to create a containment field,” Miranda surmised.

“Hhiihh..  hhhIIGH-NNGIHSSHHiiuh!  Yehh-...  Yes.  And also equip it with dampers and other mechanisms to keep the specimen completely still and protected.  There were a few kinks in my designs.  As I worked them out, I was subjected to… well… a fair amount of the pollen.  I started experiencing symptoms very rapidly and I went to my quarters to sterilize my suit before seeing the doctor.”

“She said you were allergic?” Miranda asked, trying to get a clear look at Tali’s allergic face through her mask.  Miranda honestly felt intrigued.

“Umm… Yes,” Tali responded, slightly uneased by Miranda’s gaze.  Tali had always admired Miranda Lawson, the genetically engineered perfect human in both mind and body.  Her mental acuity was demonstrated daily, with strategic and tactical decisions proving her aptitude, perhaps second only to Commander Shepard himself.  Her physical perfection, well, that was plain for everyone to see, Miranda’s body suit flaunting every lovely curve and crevasse.  Tali sniffled, and continued, “Severe allergic rhinitis, Doctor Chakwas said.  She gave me this concoction to drink.  Said it was chock full of quarian-specific antihistamines and decongestants.”  Tali shook her little bottle of liquid with the straw out the top.  “But I find its effectiveness severely lahh-... lackig…  Gah!  Mby ndose!  It’s like a hive full of… what?  What do you call them?  On Rannoch we don’t have insects…”

“Bees?” Miranda asked, trying to help.  “A hive full of bees?  Buzzing around inside your little nose?”  She couldn’t help but smile, a bright, comforting smile and not at all condescending or teasing.

“Sure.  Bees.  I heghh-... hate theb alreadiih-.. Heee!-...  hhhEEEAAAG-AAAASSCHUUUH!!”

“ALERT.  CONTAINMENT BREACH IN STARBOARD CARGO AREA.  ALERT.  CONTAINMENT BREACH.”  The ship’s computer blared aloud.  Miranda and Tali were certainly alerted.

The voice of Commander Shepard immediately followed on the ship’s intercom.  “Tali.  What happened?”

“I-... I duhh-... don’t kndow.  I… I’ll go… heghhh!...  hhhIIGH-IIIEESSHHIIU!!”  Tali tried responding with urgency, though her nose’s need to sneeze proved even more urgent still.

Miranda jumped in, saying, “I’ll take Tali to investigate.  We’re on the way, Shepard.”

“Be careful, Miranda,” Shepard warned.  “If there’s a breach, you might be exposed to the specimen’s pollen as well.  Knowing what it did to Tali even with her suit, it might incapacitate you instantly, or worse.”

Miranda observed Tali submitting to more violent allergy sneezes, though she felt assured in her own biology.  “KISSHHUGH!...  KEESSHHUUH!...  IIIE-EEKSSHHUH!!”  

“I’ll be fine,” Miranda explained, taking Tali by the arm and leading her to the cargo bay.  “Tali’s immune system is understandably reacting to even trace amounts of the pollen severely.  Generations of sterile space-faring conditions undoubtedly cause her to be extremely vulnerable.  My immune system had been optimized genetically before I was even born.  It shouldn’t see the pollen as an invading pathogen at all.”

“Just be careful,” Shepard insisted, his voice following Miranda and Tali as they jogged through the ship’s hallways.  “You have to ensure the pollen is contained.  If it escapes into the ship’s ventilation, then anybody without a spacesuit will immediately be affected.  We’re already getting a team ready to come in with full gear.”

“I’m already here.  We’ll be alright,” Miranda reassured.  “Tali, can you see what’s happening?”

Tali struggled to see through her bleary, watery, swollen eyes.  The tears did nothing to help her runny nose, already overflowing with liquid.  She sniffled wetly.  “The… the containment field is failing!  It’s flickering!”  Tali ran over to her device, a tall rectangular contraption surrounded on all four sides and the top with bright orange-lit force fields.  She began adjusting some connections and instruments but her work was very quickly cut short by a series of sharp sneezes.  “HHHEG-IISSSHH!!  IIIEEAAASSHH!!!  HHEE-EEAAASHHHH!!!  HIII-EEAASHHHUGH!!!”

Miranda caught Tali as the Quarian staggered back from the sheer force of her terrible allergies.  “There’s pollen already escaping.  You’re being affected.  Let me.”  Miranda approached Tali’s device, resuming where Tali had been cut off by her sneezing.  “There is…  some EM interference affecting the shields’ projection arrays.  I… I think…”  Miranda’s hands flew deftly over holographic menus and physical instruments alike, though very, very briefly one finger swiped underneath her nostrils to brush away a fleeting itch.

Tali moved to a more remote workstation at the far end of the cargo bay.  She entered some commands, at least somewhat more effectively holding her allergy sneezes at bay.  “You’re right.  Somehow as the plant matures it is now emitting some sort of electromagnetic fiiehh-... field.  Perhaps it is some sort of mechanism to attract pollenating insects or wildlife.  Ndohh-... not that it ndeeds thehh.. The help… heghhh!-...  HHHIIEG-HHIIISSHIIUU!!”

“Attempting to compensate,” Miranda brought up a different holo-screen and entered some quick commands.  “I… I think it’s working.  The shee… the shield…  hehh…  hit-CHIUUH!”

“Miranda!” Tali exclaimed, turning to see her shipmate recover after the unexpected sneeze.  “Are you alright?” she asked urgently, concerned.

“I’m fine.  Juhh-...  Just a little tickle.”  Miranda sniffed, sounding slightly wet as her nose began running.  This was very strange.  Perhaps Shepard was right.  Despite Miranda’s genetic supremacy, like Tali’s technologically advanced suit, neither were able to protect them from this new hybrid plant’s ultra-allergenic pollen.  It had even began to overcome Tali’s containment field.  “Hehh… hiiigh-...” Miranda struggled, the wisps of pollen floating out through the brief flickering pauses of the orange shields.

“I got the EM frequency of the plant’s natural field emissions!” Tali exclaimed with success.  “Here!  You have to compensate with the shield emitters!”

“I have it!” Miranda replied, seeing the data on her console and beginning to adjust the shields’ settings.  “Ihh.. It’s ndot… ndot workig!  There… There’s somethig else!”  Miranda’s nose reddened and ran, the itch and congestion rapidly building.  She fought against the building allergy attack with all her superior willpower.

Tali ran over to help Miranda affect the correct settings and countermeasures.  “There is already too much pollen escaping, the granules are preventing the shields from projecting a full array.  I just neeh… ndeed to… huhh…”

“Tali!  Ndod’t sndeeze!  You said ahh.. Any disturbance could cause the blossoms to fall.  Hehh-hihhh!-... ughh… hehhh!-...”  Miranda, like Tali, struggled valiantly against their overpowering hay fever.

Tali pressed a gloved hand to her mask, wanting to press it against her itching nose so very, very badly.  “Allh… almost… there… heghh!-..  HEHH-HUHH!-...”  Her other hand worked the console and her containment device.

Miranda did the same, though one of her hands did indeed rub, wipe, pinch and massage her violently itching nose.  “Hehh!-..  Hheeegh!-...  HUHH-HIHH-HEEEGH!-...”  She was about to lose.  Miranda’s willpower could no longer defend her red, running, itching, allergic nose against the sneezes that imminently threatened to desperately burst out.  Her nose was full of pollen, and while it would be able to endure severe amounts of any other allergen, this hybrid pollen was simply too much.  She had to sneeze.  She urgently, desperately needed to sneeze it out.

Tali sneezed first.  “HHHHEEGH-IIIIGSHHIUUHH!!!”

Miranda’s nose followed, finally pushed over the edge by the sound of Tali’s violent release.  “HHEERR-IISSHHHUGH!!!”  She sneezed, air and liquid spraying out forcefully towards the plant specimen, the containment field still flickering.  A few blossoms dropped, felled by the force of Miranda’s allergy sneeze, their pollen blown free and some of it escaping Tali’s device.

“I got it!” Tali said loudly, joyfully.  Miranda blinked her itching, watering eyes to see the orange shields burst to full power, solid and strong, containing the flowering plant with ease.  Though, some blossoms now lay on the bottom and wisps of pollen swirled around inside the rectangular volume of air.

Enough pollen had escaped to continue tormenting both Miranda and Tali.  Their allergy symptoms intensified, their eyes watering and their noses running profusely.  Their long, wet sniffles only resulted in more of that noxious pollen entering their red, quivering, allergic nostrils.  They both sneezed uncontrollably, in violent prolonged fits as they staggered to escape the room.

“Shehh-.. Shepard.  HHEEH-EEEAASHHH!!!”  Miranda opened the intercom, sneezing and sputtering.  “Contaidmedt field restored.  Buhh.. But sub of the polled.. Ehh.. ehhscaped.  Igh… HHIIIEE-EEAASSHHUUH!!!”

Shepard replied.  “It’s little enough to not cause any problems ship-wide.  Well, nothing serious.”  Miranda and Tali overheard a few surprised sneezes escaping from the bridge crew’s noses over the intercom.  Shepard continued, “The two of you just get decontaminated and treated.  You both must feel awful.  Good work.”

Tali kept trying to wipe and rub her face through her mask, futilely.  “Thank you, Shepard.  I’b taking Mbiranda to mby quarters.  It naturally hahh.. Has…  HHAAT-TCHIIIUUH!!  Ugh…  Has the best decon equipment on board.”

“Noted,” replied Shepard.  “Let me know when you’re both back on your feet.  Shepard out.”

Miranda covered her mouth and nose as more violent sneezes kept bursting out against her control.  “IIIGHIIIISCHH!!  HEEAA-AAAGHSSSCH!!  HIIIH-EEEHHSSCHHUGH!!”  She wanted to scrape and claw her nose and eyes out they were so itchy.  Both had developed severe crimson shades.

“Almost there,” Tali reassured her XO and friend.  "Then we cand have a ndice decond shower and pump ourselves full of antihistamines."  

“Sh… shower??” Miranda asked incredulously and instantly developing a flush that she would immediately attribute to her allergy attack, thank you very much.

Tali explained, “we ndeed to rinse off all this disgustig pollend, don’t we?  And… ugh Keelah, I need to rub and blow mby ndose, so bad right ndow!”  Tali sniffled thickly for emphasis.

Miranda laughed and followed Tali’s sniffling lead.  “Alright Tali, point takend.  I’ll wash your back if you wash mbide.  And… help you blow your ndose if you help mbide.”

Tali saw Miranda’s playful wink and laughed, instantly blushing as well and hoping that her mask hid it from view.  But… but what about when she takes it off?  Oh no…

Both crewmates then sneezed simultaneously and laughed again.  A quarian woman and human woman.  Sisters in arms against the Reapers, and sisters in allergic suffering taken down by some stupid idea to hybridize two of the most allergenic plants in the galaxy.  Great idea Shepard.

Well… in fact, yes.  Shepard did think it was a great idea.  


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Umm... OMG. This was amazing. Just wanted to drop by and say once again, you have written an AMAZING STORY PollenFiend!! 

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This is absolutely superb, thank you so much Pollenfiend, Tali and the Cerberus Cheerleader Bosh'tet make a very sweet couple, and you've got the tone absolutely perfectly.

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12 hours ago, Enkidoom said:

This is absolutely superb, thank you so much Pollenfiend, Tali and the Cerberus Cheerleader Bosh'tet make a very sweet couple, and you've got the tone absolutely perfectly.

Very happy you enjoyed it, my friend! It was fun to write as a fan of Mass Effect and hot women with allergies... Haha. 

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