Following the attack on the citadel the Normandy was assigned to border patrols in the Terminus System. It was a trying time for the crew after such a harrowing adventure while chasing Saren. Things escalated quickly when the Collectors destroyed the SR-1 and Shepard was declared KIA.
Yet, that wasn't the end for Commander Shepard. He was found by Cerberus. While the secretive organization has earned their reputation for being self serving, xenophobic, and traitors to the galaxy, this is one thing I must begrudgingly commend them for. Miranda Lawson by all accounts is a cold, arrogant, borderline sociopath, but without her Lazarus Project we'd all be Reapers waiting to terrorize the new denizens of the milky way.
To their credit Cerberus not only revived Shepard, but they rebuilt the SR-2 Normandy. Their mission was to stop The Collectors from capturing anymore human colonies. First, they needed to assemble a team. Mordin Solus and Archangel (Garrus Vakarian) were recruited from Omega. Chakwas told me how Shepard and Mordin argued consistently over his role in the Genophage. It was here where Shepard formed an alliance with the queen of Omega Aria T'Loak. A relationship that was at once contentious and cooperative.
They picked up Jack on the prison station Purgatory. Sparks flew the moment those two were in the same room together. I think they're the only two people that could threaten each other in the beginning, only to later become like twin souls fighting side by side till the end. Everyone I talked to still have no idea what Shepard saw in her, but after looking into his past it's clear they had more in common than anyone had thought. Both were orphans that had to fight to survive and both had darkness within them, the difference was the Alliance had helped Shepard combat that darkness. By all accounts Shepard did that for Jack, he gave her hope in the galaxy.
They found Grunt, a pure Krogan if there ever was one. That "kid" was a handful, and had large shoes to fill after Urdnot Wrex, but he grew on the crew faster than expected. Kasumi Goto, and Zaeed Massani then joined the crew. Vakarian told me how they mostly kept apart from the main crew, but in a fight they had your back. On Illium Shepard was reunited with Liara and the two friends underwent a mission to rescue a friend of hers from the infamous Shadow Broker. I haven't been able to dig much up abouthtat mission, T'Soni has been very tight lipped concerning that adventure unfortunately. Samara and Thane were recruited on Illium as well. Shepard talked about Thane a lot during my time on the SR-2. The two became close friends during their adventures hunting the Collectors. They fought side by side in countless missions. On the other hand Samara seemed to have been more distant. I regret I never got a chance to interview her during the war. They all did a lot of good throughout the terminus system.
Ferris Fields, and Horizon weren't so lucky. Horizon was especially painful as all the colonists were lost, save for an engineer and Lt. Cmndr. Ashley Williams. Williams recounted her reunion with Shepard as painful. They'd both changed so much since their hunt for Saren. The Normandy was no longer her home.
A short while later, Shepard was reunited with Tali. The spunky quarian recounted being anxious at first, it was a Cerberus ship after all. Unfortunately, she was exiled from the Flotilla following an incident with a piece of Geth technology. When I met her though it was clear her home was on the Normandy. She knew the engine room better than some of the engineers. The final member of the crew was a surprise for everyone I interviewed. Legion, the first Geth unit that didn't attempt to kill all the crew aboard the Normandy. I met "him" once, it was surreal to say the least. Having seen footage of Geth storming the Citadel only two years prior, it was unnerving. Yet everyone on the crew respected him.
When they finally went through the Omega-4 relay, everyone was focused on the mission. They all entered hell, and blew it to pieces. Zaeed Massani was the only casualty, having taken a hit while leading a team through the heart of the Collector base. Everyone talked about "the old bastard" and the stories he'd told. I believe Jessie is mounted in the Normandy museum in London.
Then the incident with the Batarians happened, and Shepard was brought to task by the Alliance. The guy did everything he could, and was still treated as a rogue element by the people who'd given him everything. Chambers mentioned what the mood was like when The Alliance boarded The Normandy to take him to Earth. Everyone stood as he walked towards the airlock. Apparently, they had to place Grunt next to Jack so she didn't tear the heads off the poor Alliance soldiers that walked through that door.