A bit longer than previous chapters, but unavoidable in my opinion. Since I found the Council's dialogue to be functional, if not predictable, and the turian Councilor has that meme-worthy line of his, I opted to keep things fairly close to canon here. That being said, a few adjustments have been made to compensate for… well, Faith being Faith. Enjoy.
"Shepard will be here an- oh, Commander. We were just talking about you."
Faith smirks as she strides into the human embassy, shooting a quick glance over at the suddenly silent holographic trio before returning her attention to the human councilor. "Been a long time, Anderson. You miss me?"
Chuckling, Councilor David Anderson hauls Faith into a hug and pats her on the back - just barely missing her ML-77 in the process - before pulling back. "Like an ulcer. But you're definitely a sight for sore eyes, Shepard. It's good to have you back."
Before their reunion can continue, the hologram of Councilor Valern clears his throat. "Commander Shepard. We have heard many rumors surrounding your unexpected return." The salarian blinks several times in rapid succession. "Some of them are… unsettling."
"We called this meeting so you could explain your actions, Shepard." As always, Councilor Tevos provides the measured - and useful - voice of the Council. "We owe you that much. After all, you saved our lives in the battle against Saren and his geth."
Faith lets out a derisive snort as she turns to face the holograms of the other three councilors. "The way I see it, I owe you exactly fuck all these days. I mean, for fuck's sake, you people couldn't even be bothered to come and retrieve my corpse after I died on a mission you sent me on."
Holding up a hand, Tevos keeps Councilor Sparatus from speaking… at least for the moment. "A regrettable oversight to be sure, Commander. However, in our defense, it is unheard of for a person to survive planetary reentry without specialized equipment. Equipment that you lacked at Alchera."
"And I didn't. Survive, I mean." Pausing, Faith glances back at where Miranda is trying to look inconspicuous in her black and white, Cerberus-branded catsuit and failing miserably. "Come to think of it, it's kinda your fault I'm with them right now. If you'd come looking for my corpse, they couldn't have grabbed it and gotten their mad scientist on."
The white markings about Tevos's eyes inch upward at that. "An… interesting… interpretation of events, to be sure. So you do not deny it, then? We had heard through various sources that you were working for Cerberus, but-"
Finally entering the conversation, Miranda interrupts the asari. "Considering that Commander Shepard only woke a few days ago, I'm going to assume that you're essentially admitting to knowing about the Lazarus Project and its goal for some time. In which case I'm curious… why not offer us help? The Reapers are an enemy to all of us; why are we the only ones preparing for their arrival?"
"Ah yes, 'Reapers'." Faith's jaw drops as Councilor Sparatus raises his hands and adds air quotes to the word Reapers. Seriously, people still did that in the twenty-second century? Hell, adults did that… ever? The last time she remembers seeing them was Dawn mocking her 'private meetings' with Kennedy… "The immortal race of sentient starships allegedly waiting in dark space. We have dismissed that claim."
Shaking her head in disbelief, Faith turns to Anderson for an explanation. "Shepard, no one else encountered the hologram on Ilos that told you the truth about the Reapers. Only you and your crew ever spoke with Sovereign. I believe you but without evidence from another source, the others think Saren was behind the geth attacks."
Faith can think of one easy way to provide that evidence to the Council, but that'll require getting a certain councilor alone. For now… "Seriously? There's a Prothean VI that'll back me up. Or you could, I don't know, get scientists to look at the giant hunks of dead Reaper I dropped into your little clubhouse?"
Rather unsurprisingly, Valern just shakes his head. "The hologram on Ilos is no longer functional, and we have found nothing to suggest that Sovereign was not a geth creation."
"The geth had nearly three centuries to advance themselves, completely unmonitored and unencumbered by galactic laws and treaties. Obviously, they were able to make great strides during that time. We believe that is why Saren recruited them." Tevos waves her hand dismissively. "But regardless of where this 'Sovereign' came from… even if we had concrete proof of the Reaper threat, you have put us in an incredibly difficult position. You have admitted to working for Cerberus, an avowed enemy of the Council. This is treason, a capital offense."
Faith rolls her eyes at that before scoffing derisively. "Again, whose fault is it that I'm with them? Not mine; I was a corpse when they found me. And let's get something straight: I'm not working for them, I'm working with them. Because they're getting shit done. Since we all know the Council's not going to send ships into the Terminus Systems to fight the Collectors, I don't have a whole lot of choice, now do I?" As the councilors ponder that one, Faith shrugs. "Now see, if you were smart, you'd work with them too. Because you know me. When I put my mind to something, I get it done. We'll stop the Collectors… and then Cerberus will be able to brag that they helped Commander Shepard save the day while the Council looked the other way. Is that what you really want?"
Grimacing at the thought, Sparatus taps at his console a few times before looking up. "No, it is not, Shepard. Therefore… if you keep a low profile and restrict your operations to the Terminus Systems, the Council is willing to offer you reinstatement as a Spectre."
"…eh, I guess that'll do. Personally, I was hoping for a squad of asari commandos to help me with my mission or something." Leaning forward, Faith lowers her voice a hair before jerking her thumb back over her shoulder. "Miri's a terrible conversationalist."
The corner of Tevos's mouth quirks up at that even as the other two councilors stare at her impassively. "Good luck with your investigation, Shepard. We hope for a quick resolution, and a quick end to your relationship with Cerberus." She lingers as the other two holograms wink out, her eyes flicking to either side of Faith before landing back on the brunette. "As interesting as our meetings always are, Councilor, I should return to more mundane tasks now. Enough work has piled up that I fear I will be stuck at the asari embassy for… several hours."
As the asari's hologram winks out, Faith adds another stop to her mental itinerary as she turns toward Anderson. Before she can say anything, he speaks. "Well, that went better than expected. You realize the Council's offer is just symbolic, right? They won't actually do anything."
"Eh, I think I'd rather have it this way. Beats them sending in a team that I'll end up having to save from themselves, you know?" Personally, Faith has a feeling that the Council - or at least a quarter of it - is prepared to be more helpful than Anderson thinks. But she's not going to count her asari before they… stripped? Or something? Because hatched didn't really work. Meh. She'd figure it out later. "Anyway, I'm going to head out. Shit to do, people to bug."
Anderson chuckles at that. "Good to see that not even death can break your spirit, Shepard. And don't worry about the Council or the Alliance. I'll find some way to keep them off your back. Shouldn't be too hard, as long as you keep to the Terminus Systems."
Nodding, Faith opens her mouth but the soft hiss of the door opening interrupts her. Turning her head, her eyes narrow as her least favorite person on the Citadel - possibly in existence, now that Saren's dead - enters the room. "Anderson! We need to talk about… Shepard." Donnel Udina glares at her hatefully as he takes another step into Anderson's office. "What are you doing here?"
"Same old, same old. You know, talking down to the Council, plotting to save the galaxy from itself, abusing this guy named Donnel Udina…" Concentrating, Faith calls upon one of the few biotic tricks that she hadn't mastered in time for her public debut at Freedom's Progress. Bright red mass effect fields erupt around her body as she molds space-time itself to her whims, creating a corridor between where she stands and a point a foot in front of Udina. Then the world blurs around her as she's sucked forward through it, red energy pulsing outward from her body as she arrives at her destination and throwing Udina into the wall hard. He groans as he slides down it and drops to the floor, unmoving. Smirking, she continues past his still form toward the open door. "That's for grounding the Normandy
and almost getting the galaxy wiped out, asshat."