Headscratchers: Mass Effect 1

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  • Okay, first edit, here goes... The Citadel is awesome and all that but can anyone explain how in the end a Reaper bit crashes through the Citadel from OUTSIDE the Citadel. Where Shepard and co. had to put on oxygen/whatever they breathe masks. Wouldn't the atmo vent out and end up killing Shepard and co. and the rescuers? Sorry if this was already a topic, didn't want to wade through all the folders in the archives.
    • No. Kinetic barriers can contain atmosphere inside any structure on the Citadel, or in general (see the intro to the second game). In fact, this is how everyone breathes on the Citadel, as there's an atmospheric sheath over the entirety of the Wards. Shepard and Co. have to suit up because the exterior of the Citadel Tower is not a place people normally walk and won't have an atmospheric sheath, but the Council Chamber has them. Not to mention it would be kind of idiotic to have that giant window there if there was a chance that any micrometeorite or random hunk of space debris would pierce the window and kill everyone.

     The Cipher 
  • Has anybody else noticed that, when Shiala transfers the Cipher to you, and when Liara receives it+the beacon's message, what happens strongly resembles them melding with you? Meaning that you, effectively, just had sex with them? *eek*
    • Er, yeah, it's the same thing they do during sex. Except with less physical contact. More of a kiss then coitus though.
    • Transferring the Cipher isn't precisely a reproductive act. That involves a melding of the two partners' nervous systems through contact, instead of passing on data. The actual act of asari reproduction is far more complex than what Shiala does.
    • It's worth noting that Liara does not possess the Cipher, since she requires Shepard to translate for her when they encountered a Prothean recording on Ilos, which only Shepard was able to understand. Thus the Cipher cannot be simply passed on, even to other Asari via mind-melds. What Liara is doing is merely viewing the information from Shepard's mind, but Shepard is still, essentially the master copy.
    • Expanding on this point, it's possible that Shiala might not even be capable to give the Cipher to anyone besides Shepard and Saren, since they were uniquely touched by Prothean Beacons, while she was uniquely linked to the Thorian. It's likely they are the only beings capable of handling the raw knowledge it contains.
    • No, they didn't have sex with you. Mind-bonding occurs during asari copulation, but that doesn't mean that mind-bonding is copulation.

     Female Turians 
  • Why did they take out all the Female Turians at the last minute and change them into other races? Case in point, the conversation you overhear in the Ward Access corridor, between a turian and an asari officer. This was originally recorded with the asari meant as a Female Turian. It doesn't make sense for a turian to call an asari "kid" because asaris live so much longer. Don't give me memory budget. If you can give each character a different face, then you can add boobs to a turian model.
    • Itís called the development process. Material that would be included gets cut all the time. Content like that gets cut regularly because they don't have time to finish the modeling; Bioware had much more pressing issues when developing the game than modeling turian females.
    • "It doesn't make sense for a turian to call an asari "kid" because asaris live so much longer." First of all, just because the asari live longer doesn't mean that particular asari is necessarily older than that particular turian. And even if she is chronologically older than the turian, if she's still in the maiden stage she may be mentally younger. Liara is 106 years old yet claims she is little more than a child by asari standards.
    • Which is exactly why it doesn't make sense. Liara - who is 106, and still barely considered an adult- is STILL older than the typical Turian lifespan (stated several times to essentially match that of a human), not even mentioning the fact that even if a Turian did live that long, they certainly wouldnít be in any condition to be serving on C-Sec
    • Actually, that's exactly why it does make sense. Calling someone a kid isn't just about their numerical age. It's about their mind-set. Liara is 106 years old but is equivalent to an 18 year old human. If a 60 year old human, who has lived a full life full of experiences, called Liara a kid, it wouldn't just be about numbers. She's considered a kid by all; therefore she'd be called a kid.
    • Actually in ME1 Shepard mentions to Liara that the human (and, in turn, turian) lifespan is about 150 years by the time of the series, so if she's a green recruit who's just past adulthood than he could easily have a decade or two on her.
    • Forget age. It's a veteran Citadel Security operative talking to a new recruit/transferee. Kid makes plenty sense.
    • Plus her, being actually a child mentally makes one wonders how the officer got hired at all. And cause some Unfortunate Implications for romancing Liara.
    • Liara is the equivalent of a twenty year old physically but is also a social shut in who spends most of her time studying prothean dig sites sheís not a child sheís a nerd.
    • Age doesn't factor into it. It's a rookie asari talking to an experienced turian. That's all.

    Turian Fringes 

  • In Mass Effect Redemption, we see Dark Horse's rendition of a female turian with a distinct lack of a fringe. However... the turian in the Salarian Bachelor Party on Illium expresses his like of asari (and assertion that they look like turians) based on the head tentacles resembling a turian fringe. If he was presumably straight (based simply on probabilities), wouldn't he be put off by a fringe since it would be a decidedly masculine aspect of turian sexual dimorphism?
    • By that point, the design of female turians probably wasn't finalized. Alternatively, maybe that particular turian was into masculine women. I wouldn't take the bachelor party too seriously anyway — it was meant as a joke. At worst, this is a retcon.
    • Unless shown in the game itself, I continue to consider the comic design Fanon Discontinuity resulting from an artist doing their own thing with no discretion from the original creative team. Garrus also makes comments that indicate that headcrest is considered an attractive portion of a female turians physiology. Also, the comic's female turians look like they're wearing bad turian Halloween-masks, and the backs of their heads are inexplicably without the metal plating which is supposed to be a vital survival trait in the high-radiation environment of Palaven.
    • Mass Effect 3's Omega and Citadel DL Cs both depict female turians and confirm that the lack of headcrest as per the comic is, in fact, canon.

    Earth Years 

  • While on the subject of age, how come every race ever adopted the "Earth Year" as their unit of time-measure? Or did the Humans adapt a new "Year"? How the hell do Asari know how long an Earth year is and relate it to them when they havenīt been there. For all I know an Asari year could be 100 (earth)days long and therefore make the "Thousands of Years" they live seem kinda less impressive.
    • Translation Convention. Universal translators (to an extent) exist, and if they are talking in English, they'd have read up on the language to be sufficiently fluent.
    • Citadel time is very close to Earth time by default. Something like a 20-hour day with 360-day years, roughly. When a non-human is saying a specific date, that date is being translated via translator from their date to something Shepard or the non-human understands automatically. The asari and hanar have had two thousand years to make it work, and they're damned good at translation. Also, asari years, going by Thessia's rotation, are about .9 Earth years.
    • I always figured it's Fridge Brilliance because of the concept of the habitable zone. Outside of a small, specific distance from the sun around where earth is it's almost impossible for complicated life to survive.

     Elkoss Combine making Human Armor 
  • If Elkoss Combine is a volus manufacturer based in the Terminus Systems, then it doesn't make a lot of sense that they would make human armor.
    • They're not. They're making asari armor. We can just wear it. Yes, even the men. Somehow.
    • Actually it does, for the simple reason that humans have money, and Elkoss wants money. Where there is demand, there is a supplier.
    • It doesn't make sense for two reasons:
      1. The volus are making equipment for humans, in factories filled with toxic gases, for a race that's only been around for 20 years or so.
    • Except that they've been making arms for turians, asari, salarians, and krogan for millennia prior. And armor suited for asari can easily be adapted for humans.
      2. based in the Terminus Systems? How can a major industrial power not only stay in business with all the pirates and such around, but also export when any ship leaving said systems would be assumed to be hostile?
    • The same way any other industry would survive in areas with high piracy: escorts and/or making deals with the pirates/local powers to keep in business. And ships leaving the Terminus wouldn't be considered hostile unless the Citadel was at war with the Terminus (and attacking Terminus ships would trigger a war anyway....) and if they're merchant ships they wouldn't be hostile in the first place. Regardless, it's perfectly reasonable to expect such ships to be regularly searched when entering Citadel territory.
    • Note that the Terminus clans include humans. You meet one if you're a War Hero. So a company based in the Terminus Systems would have incentive to make armor for humans. And since Elkoss is just a company and not smuggling anything anyway, searching them isn't likely to turn up anything other than the armor and weapons already on board which aren't necessarily illegal.
    • Humans make up a good portion of soldiers, mercs and other people requiring armor. Asari compatibility is also notable.
    • Batarians too. They have almost the exact same body structure as humans, and in both games they use the exact same armor. Adapting existing armor models for humans would be trivially easy.
    • This is an interesting aside, actually. Sure, the Batarians should have absolutely no issue adapting the body armor of a human or Asari. I get that. But their heads are such a drastically different shape and function -Why do they use helmets made for a Human/Asari instead of ones that would both A. Comfortably fit their heads, and B. Allow them to actually see with all 4 of their eyes? This is like a human fighting with one eye blinded by their equipment. Is it just to play up the whole "rebel insurgent/pirate" angle? Or is it just another acceptable break from reality?
    • The "visor" area of a helmet in this setting is largely irrelevant. As the Kestrel armor shows, many helmets have a holographic display inside the helmet that grants complete peripheral vision using large numbers of micro-cameras mounted on the helmet. The visors are mostly there for aesthetics or face-to-face communication.

     Geth Armory License 
  • Where the hell does Morlan get a Geth Armory license? For that matter why are the geth giving out licenses? When the Normandy requisitions officer gets one, how does he manage to buy geth material?
    • Piracy. And it would be reasonable to assume geth technology would be highly restricted by the Council/Citadel, so purchasing geth equipment legally in Citadel space would be difficult. I'm more confused by the fact that you can't use the geth weaponry you undoubtedly recover from the hundreds you've been slaughtering.
    • You can: Randomly Drops, though not until late in the game, and they are fairly rare. Presumably their weapons get damaged when YOU SHOOT THEM, and after fighting them so often, you eventually figure how to kill them while still salvaging their weapons.
    • The geth themselves have killcodes - it wouldn't be a stretch to think that their weapons have similar codes to make their stuff unusable.
    • Also remember, The geth may act like individuals, but in reality their minds are programs that inhabit a "body" that they are not restricted to. Geth armatures and EVEN SHIPS could be sentient in the same way the footsoldiers are. So it isnít really a big stretch to think that a geth program could inhabit a geth weapon. that means your weapons could actually be sentient geth. so why are they letting you use them to shoot at their fellows.it also means that you have a geth on the team far sooner than the end of mass effect 2
    • In the second game we learn that the mainstream geth are opposed to those geth who follow Saren. Perhaps they are themselves covertly selling geth weaponry onto the black market in order to level the playing field?
    • They only cared after Shepard pulled off the big feat of defeating Sovereign; the data came from Quarian scavengers who were on pilgrimage and managed to retrieve a stash of weapons and sold it to Morlan in exchange for Pilgrimage gifts as the Geth Armory weapons will be seen as taboo.
    • Alternately, there is a company that calls itself "Geth Armory" that does R&D on what few recovered Geth weapons and technologies there are. As the game progresses, more and more of these become available, and they start selling to the Council/Spectres.

  • How the hell does an Omni-tool work? All you see is a hologram of orange light appear over the user's arm, but where is the light being projected from? Light can't be used to construct objects, and light can't be used to modify, or repair. Where is the Omni-gel stored? How do they keep the plastics, metals, and ceramic that make up Omni-gel "semi-molten" without burning the hell out of whoever handles it? How do they keep it from mixing together and causing dangerous reactions? Am I the only one these things confuse the hell out of?
    • Light: the light is being projected from emitters in the Omni-tool. Duh. Light being used to repair: Duh. That's why they have the Omni-gel to do the repairs. They're not showing the actual repair process because that takes time. Omni-gel is stored where everything else is stored. Semi-molten = semi-liquid. Mixing together: it would be stupid of them to actually mix together chemicals that could cause such dangerous reactions in the first place. Omni-gel is just a basic universal material that is used by the minifacturing plants inside the omnitool itself to make parts out of.
    • Omni-gel= Thermal Depolymerisation. The "manufacturing" is nano-machines turning the Oils into plastics, and then using it to build stuff. The rest I have no clue about.
    • Alternately: because it's the future.
    • That's not really fair, since Mass Effect is very hard Sci Fi. I'm sure there has to be some explanation that makes sense.
    • Yeah, there is an explanation. Its Applied Phlebotinum. Nearly all sci-fi series use it in one fashion or another, including, yes, Mass Effect.
    • "Very hard Sci Fi"? This is a series whose name refers to its version of Applied Phlebotinum, and it's not even the only one the series has! I like the game, but it is in no way hard Sci Fi.
    • Um, compared to most Sci-Fi out there? Yeah, it's pretty damn hard.
    • Perhaps not... but having Applied Phlebotinum doesn't make it not hard Sci-Fi... so long as it doesn't outright contradict what we already know about science. For example... nanotechnology is both Applied Phlebotinum and Hard Sci-Fi (if done realistically). "Mass Effect Fields" could be some method of increasing and decreasing mass... something quantum physics is, in our own time, hinting at being possible. This could allow you to effect gravity which lets you bend space-time or make heavy metal ships float. Element Zero, or rather the element on the periodic table coming before hydrogen and having an atomic mass of zero, is in fact theorized to have existed just after the big bang. It's not completely impossible for it to exist today in small quantities. Whether or not access to it would give us the ability to manipulate mass is unknowable at this time. We don't know what mass actually is or how it effects gravity. But there are theories backing up what is showing in Mass Effect... and very little contradicting it. Might not be hard Sci-Fi but it is very very close.
    • Using particles with negative have been hinted as one of the method of creating wormholes.
    • I personally took the whole hacking minigame and Omni-Gel thing the same way I did the "hacking" in Bio Shock. I assumed that they are both abstractions of a more complex process. Simulating whatever actual processes are happening would be time-consuming and boring, so Rule of Fun, Law of Conservation of Detail, and Gameplay and Story Segregation all help explain the matter.
    • You can't make holograms with light any way... or at least not just light. "Mass Effect Field" sounds a little like "manipulating gravity." If we could do that all sorts of interesting things could happen. Like making ships that hover in the air... or dilating space-time to allow FTL travel. In the ME universe mass effect fields handle everything... including shields. I say again shields... hard invisible barriers that stop bullets. How hard would it be to project a hologram onto just such an invisible barrier around your wrist and read finger movement across it via small cameras in the wrist mount (sort of like a very advanced PS Move)? As for fixing stuff... again... mass effect fields. Generating minute gravitational fields across the surface of an object as you fix it to help structure the raw materials correctly... or inside a computer system to alter behavior. Combine that with a solid wireless transmitter in the style used by modern computers and you have a hacking and repairing tool on your wrist. Explaining how they store the Omni-Gel is... still difficult. Thermos of some kind? Remember that, technically, molten just means liquefied. Water is "molten" at room temperature.
    • Medi-gel is already circulating in the sandwich layers of your armor. Not hard to posit there's a sandwich in there for omni-gel, too. Since we don't have any clear data (that I know of) regarding how much omni-gel you're actually using by either mass or volume, there's probably plenty of space in there.
    • In Mass Effect 2, it is explained that the light is only used to display the data, and is not actually "hard" light. Interacting with it comes from circuitry built into the computers and gloves (or implants in the hands, for more serious computer users) which interface with each other to track which buttons are being pressed, and send feedback pulses into the hands to simulate the pressing of a physical button.

     The Hanar 
  • The hanar are sea creatures, how do they breathe? How do they keep from drying out?
    • The hanar encountered in-game have special implants to allow them to float and survive in open-air environments.
    • How do implants keep them from drying out? I can sort of understand the breathing part, but the skin of any sea creature is bound to dry out eventually. Even Mud cats which have lungs and the ability to travel on land only come out when it's raining. How do they keep all their water from being evaporated out of their skin?
    • Because it's the future.
    • Also, you're assuming hanar biology necessarily follows the same biology as Earth-based aquatic creatures. There's no evidence they run the risk of drying out if they spend too much time out of water, and even if there is, their Applied Phlebotinum implants keep them safe, comfortable, and functional outside of an aquatic environment.
    • The implant's mass effect field keeps a thin layer of water attached to them and prevents the water vapor from escaping when it evaporates. Bam, problem solved. They even look shiny as they would with a thin layer of water.

     Carrying all four weapons 
  • Why do Shepard & co. bother carting around weapons that they don't have any training in? I mean, yeah, you can still fire them, but it's not like you're going to actually hit anything other than the walls and ground (especially with the sniper rifle), so why bother with the extra weight and bulk?
    • In-universe, most of the characters should be proficient with these weapons. Garrus, Wrex, and Shepard should at the very least be trained in use of all of their guns, and Kaidan should be qualified on the assault rifle and shotgun, being a Marine and therefore a qualified rifleman. There are also multiple cutscenes (Noveria, Therum) that explicitly have all of the characters using assault rifles, implying they should be qualified in their use. I'm fairly certain it's just a gameplay mechanic problem that Bioware never got around to ironing out.
    • Weight and bulk isn't really an issue in a universe where collapsible weapons and mass-shifting technology is so commonplace.
    • This Troper recalls seeing on the forums that this will be fixed. You can see within here that Shepard's party only had two weapons for themselves, while Shepard had 4. Whether the fix only applies to his party members is beyond me, though that would be kinda strange.
    • At about 1:00 in, you can get a look at the power wheel for the party. While the NPC party members have some biotic and tech abilities listed, the only thing Shepard has is icons for several different types of ammo, Unity, and Adrenaline Rush. That would very likely make this particular Shepard a Soldier, so he's carrying all four weapons only because he's proficient in all four weapons. So the fix likely applies to Shepard as well.
    • Confirmed by ME 2! The Soldier class is the only one with the Adrenaline Rush power, and neither you nor your squadmates can equip out-of-class weapons.
    • Except in the cutscenes where an infiltrator Shepard sprays Assault Rifle rounds everywhere when s/he can't equip one in game. Story And Gameplay Segregation anyone?

     Sapient species alongside the Protheans 
  • Why is there such a disparity in the number of species between the current era and the time of the Protheans? The last time the Reapers paid a visit, there was only one civilization using the Citadel and the Mass Relays: the Protheans. However in the present day there are a variety of species from different planets around who are at the stage at which they would be wiped out by Sovereign and co.
    • It's possible "the Protheans" weren't really a single species but a galaxy-spanning civilization composed of many different species. If Sovereign had been successful in wiping out all sentient life, maybe the next wave of sentients would be studying an ancient civilization known as "the Citadel".
    • Possibly it's the point. Protheans are the only (that we know of) race that came this close to figuring out Reaper technology.
    • It's also possible that one civilization being in space is the normal series of events, and the reason multiple different space-faring species are around now is because of Prothean uplift efforts. Remember not only the hanar mythology about "The Enkindlers", but that one easter egg on the UNC world Eletania that shows the logs of the Prothean science team studying the mentality of Cro-Magnon man on Earth.
    • This easter egg, along with the one where Shepard touches a Prothean artifact and is shown a vision of a Cro-Magnon man witnessing the Protheans, indicates that the Protheans were not the only sapient species at the time. In fact, the other species in the series - asari, turians, hanar, et cetera - presumably existed too and may have even discovered space travel, just not reached a Mass Relay or the Citadel. Perhaps, the Protheans (along with anything coming before them) were simply at an earlier stage in galaxy-wide ecological succession: a few fast-evolving species in early stages, then as the galaxy ages the number of species grows larger and larger between extinction events. In fact, there could have even been a galactic civilization as diverse as (or more diverse than) the one shown in the series, but it was all destroyed by the reapers, devastating the entire galaxy and as such it is now (in-universe) undergoing secondary, or tertiary, 'ecological' succession.
    • Well, there were the Keepers potentially. And there are hints somewhere, I believe, that the Protheans were indeed a major race with many client races. If nothing else, it could have just been that one instance had just one race - we don't know what other past extinctions were like so it's hard to say if one or many is the norm.
    • There are a few possible reasons: 1. The Protheans tried to advance as many species as possible for the next galactic Reaping. 2. They were a confederation of species. 3. They were genocidal.
    • In Mass Effect 3 Javik reveals that the Protheans were an imperialist culture who conquered or destroyed all others. The conquered peoples eventually came to consider themselves "Protheans" as well.

     The volus, the Turian Hierarchy, and the galactic economy 
  • Why is the volus ambassador always whining that his species has no say in Citadel policy? The game seems to imply that the volus oversee the entire Citadel economy. Furthermore as a "client race" of the turians they presumably control the economy of the Turian Hierarchy as well. They basically have the largest military power in Citadel space, and the Citadel itself, by the balls. What are they complaining about?
    • Because they don't. They're bankers and merchants, not soldiers or politicians. They may have a major influencing control over the Citadel economy, but without military or political power to protect it, and being client members of the Hierarchy they are lower on the totem pole in terms of actual authority. Having the economy "by the balls" means nothing when any attempt to exert influence is met by turian soldiers nationalizing your companies or Citadel regulations rendering you penniless.
    • Except the codex states that turians suck at capitalism, which is the whole reason they absorbed the volus into the Hierarchy in the first place. If they nationalized volus industries, oops, there goes the turian economy.
    • If you're nationalizing a company, you install your own people into the company, and unless the volus are some monolithic society unified to a singular hive-minded purpose, it would be trivially easy for the turians to remove existing management and replace it with volus managers who are more in line with their line of thinking. And the turians supposedly suck at starting businesses. They don't suck at managing, considering the fact that they have the largest and most organized military in the galaxy and we can see multiple instances of turian business owners and managers throughout the game. If they need to nationalize a company from a group of uppity volus, they have plenty of options for running it.
    • A cursory study of history shows us that nationalizing any company that disagrees with the government is a recipe for revolution. The volus may not be a unified society now, but just watch what happens when you start taking their property away for having the temerity to disagree with you. As for starting vs. managing, capitalism doesn't work that way. If you suck at starting a business you're going to suck just as much at running one. Successfully managing a business requires just as many entrepreneurial skills as starting one. And successfully managing a military organization is worlds apart from successfully managing a business. Militaries and businesses have completely different goals, methods, and standards. They really can't be compared to one another. I will grant you that we do see at least one turian merchant on the Citadel (at least that's the only one I recall) but we have no reason to assume he isn't an employee of a larger corporation rather than an independent businessman, and even if he is there's no reason to assume he's not a statistical anomaly among turians, which would make it pretty damn hard for the Hierarchy to track down enough entrepreneurial-inclined turians to keep their economy running. Besides, all this is beside the point. The volus aren't just businessmen hired by the turians, they are running the turian and Citadel economy. If we compared this to the US government, the volus would be the head of the Federal Reserve, the Senate Banking Committee, and the House Appropriations Committee (by far the most powerful and influential Congressional committee in the United States). The idea that the volus have no influence over Citadel or turian affairs despite being in charge of the entire Goddamn economy is simply ludicrous.
    • Well, starting a business and running an already working business do share a lot of qualities needed but certainly not all, especially when we are not talking so much about intellectual capabilities as about psychological mindsets towards "all or nothing" situations - something you should have if starting a business, but not necessarily for continuing. There is a reason why many people were able, during their lifetime, to start a number of impressive companies, just to run them into the ground again shortly afterwards. As for the question about actual influence, see answers below.
    • Economic power is only useful to people amenable to economic persuasion. Power in the end comes from the barrel of a gun, and even if that gun is mortgaged you can just say "So? Come and cash the debt in." Not to mention that if you control the economy you are also incredibly vulnerable to any disruptions in said economy. Turning economic control into tangible political power is actually a lot harder than it often seems. Also, the volus are a turian client-species, presumably many of their people are actually running stuff for the turians, and not on behalf of the volus state per se.
    • "Economic power is only useful to people amenable to economic persuasion." Well unless the Turian Hierarchy and the Citadel operate on some post-currency Star Trek-style economy, they're going to be just as amenable to economic persuasion as anyone else. "Also, the volus are a turian client-species, presumably many of their people are actually running stuff for the turians, and not on behalf of the volus state per se." That's precisely my point. The volus are implied to be running the turian economy. That necessarily means they have massive influence over turian affairs. They could be in charge of any number of things. Taxes, government spending, interest rates, the treasury, and more. Plus, the volus are also running the Citadel economy (this is explicitly stated in the codex) meaning they have the same or similar influence over Citadel policy as they do over the affairs of the Turian Hierarchy. Yet the volus ambassador claims his species has no influence at all, simply because they do not have a seat on the Council. Even if you completely disregard their economic influence, the volus should automatically have influence over Citadel by virtue of being a turian client race. Being a client race makes them citizens of the Turian Hierarchy by default. In effect, the turian Council member represents both the turians and the volus. Again I must ask, what are the volus complaining about?
    • You seem to be confusing one volus politician for the entire Vol Protectorate. The majority of volus aren't complaining about their position, but Din Korlack is because he represents the species and thinks it needs an even greater say in Citadel affairs beyond its current influence.
    • They only do trading and selling. Assuming they're capitalists, that means that there are thousands of different, independent ones each with a different goal. While they may have a lot of influence in net, that doesn't mean they have a lot of practical influence. If they did try to use their influence, they would also be less effective businessmen, and less able to earn a profit. If a bank refused to supply loans for housing on a new colony to try and convince the turians to do something, or hired mercenaries for some task, they'd lose profits for being politicized. This would likely run counter to their instincts, (and would serve as survival of the fittest for businesses) and so they'd just keep on earning money.
    • Also, the volus are not really a militant species, nor are they overwhelmingly aggressive. The notion of confronting other species with their economic prowess or damaging the economic system to extort more power from the Citadel would probably make them crap their collective environment suits.
    • They probably consider running the economy a valuable 'service', and feel they get no respect for that. It's not that they're any less powerful or wealthy, but they don't have a shiny 'We're a council race, aren't we awesome' plaque.
    • Also bear in mind that the biggest whiner about this stuff is the ambassador, who 1. Is the guy who would personally get a shinier desk out of increased power for the volus. 2. Has probably been getting 'insufferable overly ambitious ass' tips from Udina.
    • Wait, is the whole issue that the turians just didn't care? That the volus saved the turian economy from turian disinterest and neglect?
    • Because the one thing that's better than having a lot of power: having even more power.
    • While the volus may have a lot of background power, the fact is, the turians aren't going to be listening much in the end as the Council is, remember, based off military power and MAD (it's mentioned that any one of the Council species would not attack any other since they'd just incur the wrath of the third as well). Sure, the volus could get all uppity... but it wouldn't just be the turians they'd be pissing off. They'd be pissing off the salarians, the asari, and any and all client races they may have. Squeeze the economy by the balls all one wants, but until you're sitting on the Council, you're still bending to their will as a second class citizen.
    • Look in real life at the Jews of Europe or the Chinese around Asia. Due to a variety of reasons they would come to control the economic interests in those areas but lacked political representation. When the regime were displeased with them their money didn't mean much. Same for the Volus, they may have a huge gloved hand in the economy but they could be excised. Money can only hire so many mercenaries while most states will have much greater martial power. It would also be very expensive for them to get any mercenaries if it was common knowledge a major power was after them.
    • Yes, the volus have a strong position. Yes, the volus have a great deal of economic power. Yes, they can exert quite a bit of influence in a lot of regard, especially considering that they're essentially the bankers for the biggest military power in the galaxy. Yes, they are already very powerful overall. But you know what's better than having all that power? Having even more power. Because if volus motivations are anything like human motivations, they will want more power. And a Council seat would give the volus a hell of a lot more power. No longer would they be entirely dependent on the turians; they'd be able to make political decisions and exert political influence to an even greater degree than they already do. Din Korlac is, quite simply, complaining that his powerful species just doesn't have even more power. The volus have a strong position, but they want an even stronger one. That's all it is about.
    • And, indeed, this can be seen in the Elcor Ambassador's multiple reprimands, pointing out that Volus territory and influence increased at a more exponential rate than humanity's did when they joined the Citadel races, due to them basically establishing the galactic economy. The Korlac's problem is that Humanity threatens their status as the economic bigdog, due to their Jack-of-All-Trades status as compared to the other races.
    • Everything has already been said, but: there are four main reasons for this.
    1) you can argue about how much power they actually DO hold. They certainly have a big influence on the economy but this is "they" as "the Volus economic bigdogs", which does not necessarily show the same interests than the Volus political wing, which thinks about general Volus ideas.
    2) holding some de facto power is different from holding de jure power. There have been plenty of examples of businesses run by women, even when women were still considered their husband's property, or by employers who actually were little more than slaves. So in theory they held a lot of power, running the business, in practice they did not. Especially they could not vote, some rights the Volus also lack, similarly to pre-revolutionary US America's "no taxation without representation".
    3) a seat on the council is a sign of power, and the signs count as well.
    4) most importantly, it does not matter how much power they have. Ambassadors are akin to lobbyists, just lobbying for their country instead of some business. And have you ever seen any lobbyist not complaining that something is harming them if they don't like it? They may be quieter when they actually do hold some power or some flow of public opinion comes their way, but they will always try to improve whatever power and influence they have.
    • Essentially, the original argument is based on the notion that the Turian hierarchy has a capitalist system. Trying to blackmail the Turians would likely work poorly because they might have no stigma against nationalizing any business that works against the interest of the hierarchy. Repeatedly doing so might lose them the Volus, but certainly won't result in Turians revolting. The Volus likely know exactly how much influence they can wield before the Turians shut them down and consider it too little.

     Feros after the Thorian 
  • What happens to the rest of the planet Feros after the Thorian dies? Do all the plant tendrils covering the planet die as well? If so, wouldn't this quickly turn the entire planet into a massive biohazard? Rotting corpses aren't exactly the healthiest things to live with.
    • It was never explicitly proven that the Thorian died. All we have to go on are the asari's words that it did. No body, no proof.
    • The surviving colonists returning to normal, as well as the behavior of the suddenly-berserk Thorian creepers on Nodacrux, would hint strongly that the Thorian is experiencing a, mmm, interruption of service.
    • The VI you encounter in the Exo Geni HQ merely says that the Thorian had "kilometres of meandering tentacles" (not an exact quote). It never said that it covered the entire planet.
    • And thus, we learn one of Mass Effect 2's side quests.
    • Closer than you'd think. If you save the colony, in Mass Effect 2 a representative of the colonists gives you a side quest to re-negotiate a nasty contract. The colonists suffered side-effects from spore inhalation, and the contract was signed to help find a cure for it.
    • The Thorian is some kind of plant. Plants rot, but it's not quite as virulent as an animal body, especially if it's largely underground. It also could be that the tendrils survived, but without the core thing you destroy, it's just a giant plant.

     Save/kill the Council - no real choice 
  • Surely the choice between saving the Council or not makes little sense? The options are put straightforwardly as going in immediately to save the Ascension and Council before taking on Sovereign or waiting a bit to concentrate all power on Sovereign. Either way the Alliance will have to get through the geth fleet to get to Sovereign, so what sort of a choice is it? It effectively boils down to fight through the geth and save some lives or fight through the geth and don't.
    • If you take a look at the FMVs, going after Sovereign has the fleet bypass the battle almost completely and head straight for Sovereign. That means less losses for them, because sitting around clearing the space around the Ascension means more damage dealt to the fleet in the effort.

    Logistics of saving the Council 

  • What prevents geth from attacking Alliance fleet after taking out Destiny Ascension? Or simply changing priorities to protect their messiah? In any case, there is a high chance the Alliance fleet fighting Sovereign would get pincered between Mecha-Cthulhu and remaining geth. Do I have to explain how such scenario would have ended? Was there really any other (tactically sound) choice but to save the Council?
    • Does one have to explain how the scenario of "Alliance fleet, too busy protecting Destiny Ascension, fails to damage Sovereign enough before he opens the mass effect gates for the Reaper fleet" works? We know what happens regardless, what with hindsight being 20/20... but at the time, the option to save the Council comes with the inherent risk that doing so will occupy the Alliance fleet enough for Sovereign to accomplish his mission before the fleet comes around to deal with him. This risk is purely the reason why neutral Shepard lets them die. The Council is not more important than the fate of the galaxy, and stopping Sovereign is the most important thing. If the geth take out all the Alliance ships but Sovereign is dead, the races of the galaxy win. At a high cost, but they still win (because they get to live).
    • What I meant was that chances of destroying Sovereign at all while fighting both him and geth were much lower than when fighting them in sequence. Even better, while fighting geth and Reaper at the same time, Alliance would have to either divide firepower between targets (increasing time necessary to disable Sovereign even further) or concentrate all fire on Mecha-Cthulhu in which case geth were free to pick Alliance ships one by one (possibly destroying them all before any dent was even made in Sovereign, damaging it takes some time after all), concentration of fire on geth while in range of Sovereign (instead of fighting in sequence) would be obvious case of too dumb to live. Besides, reaching Sovereign while flying around DA might have taken even more time than trashing remaining geth and saving Council.
    • The Alliance didn't have the only ships in the area. The turians had ships fighting off the geth, and presumably, the asari had ships other than the DA. The salarians may have had ships there, too, for all we know. The geth turning to go after the Alliance may have simply opened them up to getting hit by the Council fleet.
    • From a purely military standpoint, there is another reason to save the Council: the Destiny Ascension with its BFG. I personally saved the Council just because I figured the Destiny Ascensionís guns would be useful against Sovereign (although being moderately Genre Savvy I figured it didn't really make much of a difference). Then again, knowing those cowardly, weak-willed, dumbass Councilors, they probably ordered the Destiny Ascension'' to run away the second they had a clear path to the Mass Relay.
    • It is mentioned in dialogue that the Destiny Ascension had suffered serious damage to her primary drive. It's entirely possible that she was incapable of doing anything at that moment but limping away to do some damage control. But hey, we're all familiar with Chekhov's Dreadnought.

     The asari's hat 
  • The asari's hat are being nice, peaceful, and working for the better good. How come most of the ones you meet in game are bitches? There's the one on Noveria who asks you to spy on the human guy and insults you ("Dull stone" must be some kind of insult in asari culture) then there's the one who tricks you into murdering her own sister who is herself a slaver and a pirate. Then there's that stupid bitch at Peak 15 I just want to reach through my screen and strangle every time I talk to her, and turns out to be a plant by Saren .
    • ...Because some people are different from other people? Because not everyone conforms to the most commonly known stereotype? What the hell?
    • Especially since of the three asari in question, two of them are criminals and the third is a Reaper-indoctrinated assassin. Itís pretty obvious that they're not representative of asari ethics.
    • A normal asari, with their nice, peaceful, greater good outlook, is unlikely to ever be opposing you. There are hundreds of unnamed asari wandering about the citadel that you never speak with, because they are neither helping nor hindering any of your assignments. The only asari you interact with are the weird ones, Liara, and the counselor.
    • So, you're complaining that in a setting where the hat is routinely taken off that....they're taking off their hat?
    • Mass Effect is a series that deliberately subverts the whole concept of the Planet of Hats. That's a major point of the series. You get all these stereotypes listed in the Codex, but then you get surrounded by asari who do not obey the stereotype. The reason is simple: the species in question are not a stereotype. So you get some asari that are kind and gentle. You get others who are vicious and ruthless. Just like humans. Kaidan even points out that the aliens 'are just like us" and include both saints and assholes, regardless of species.
      Wrex: Right. Because you humans have a wide range of cultures and attitudes, but Krogan all think and act exactly alike.
    • Yeah, and why isn't my Japanese neighbor good at math? And I swear I've met Irish people who don't drink! For real! What's the world coming to when you can't even rely on general stereotypes anymore?
    • The problem is not that the asari avert their hat; every other race does. The problem is we see faaaaaaar more asari that avert the hat instead of ramming it straight on.
    • I fail to see how that's a problem.
    • Think about it this way. Does Shepard usually meets nice people?
    • I always figured the Asari hat was putting up the pretense of nicety purely for their own self-interest. The people you meet aren't so much going against their hat just they don't think it's worth their time to placate you in the first place.
    • I think the reason is that you just don't think about the nice asari because they're less interesting and don't stand out.

    Normandy's stealth systems 
  • The explanation of Normandy's stealth systems almost works, until you think about it. Ok, the ship dumps all its radiation output into heatsinks. All well and good. Wouldn't help much against active sensors like radar (which work by emitting radiation and bouncing it off objects, rather than just picking up ambient radiation), but without the constraints on hull shape and construction materials aerodynamics imposes on atmospheric craft, the Normandy could be effectively stealthed against radar. This is all fine. The problem comes when (I think it was Joker?) explains why the stealth doesn't work at high speeds: because it blue-shifts the radiation, making it much hotter and impossible to contain in the heatsinks. It doesn't work like that. The Doppler effect arises from the compression or elongation of waves, whether waves of sound or radiation. When something is moving away from an observer, waves coming from it are elongated; sound becomes lower in pitch, visible light becomes redder (i.e., colder). When something is moving towards an observer, sound gets higher, and light gets blue-shifted (hotter). So it makes no sense that radiation emitted by Normandy would appear blue-shifted to observers on the Normandy itself. The heatsinks would function no differently, aside from more heat being dumped from the engines being turned up to eleven. It might make sense that the stealth system wouldn't work when approaching enemies at high speed; perhaps some radiation escapes the heatsinks, and this is blue-shifted, appears much hotter, and is thus more detectable. But when moving quickly away from an enemy, the stealth system would presumably become somewhat more effective.
    • Normally, this would be true. However, someone Did Not Do The Research on mass effect fields. Mass effect drive envelopes blue-shift all energy that pass through them. As a result, the emissions are blue-shifted to any outside observer, not just those in the direction that they are moving toward. As the Codex explains:
      To an outside observer, a ship within a mass effect drive envelope appears blue-shifted. If within a field that allows travel at twice the speed of light, any radiation it emits has twice the energy as normal. If the ship is in a field of about 200 times light speed, it radiates visible light as x-ray and gamma rays, and the infrared heat from the hull is blue-shifted up into the visible spectrum or higher.
    • This effect can be observed in-game when the Normandy is moving between star systems within a cluster, as well. Light "incoming" toward the Normandy (entering the mass effect field) is red-shifted, while light "outgoing" from the Normandy (leaving the mass effect field) is blue. That is why Engineer Adams said going to FTL blue-shifts their emissions; the generation of a field that allows whatever exists within it to move faster will naturally blue-shift all emissions passing through or otherwise being emitted by the field.
    • I thought that the explanation was that "light" coming off the Normandy would be blue-shifted. I.e., when stealth mode is on, the hull emits radiation identical to the 3 degree K cosmic background microwaves. Go too fast, and those microwaves get blue-shifted up to infrared or whatever to anything you're moving towards, and you become visible from the front.
    • ....no. That is not at all how the stealth system works. It works by trapping all outgoing emissions in sinks, and using a propulsion system that doesn't generate radiation.
    • The original query of this J.b.m mentioned that radar would work. It wouldn't, because radio waves are too slow. By the time the 'ping' has reached you, you've probably moved a hell of a distance, and then by the time the 'pong' has reached the original ship, you've moved even further. And the distances are in thousands of kilometres. I'm not sure of the effective range of a radar, but at those extreme ranges, in those situations, I'd want something a bit more precise. Also, if we've got ablative material that can resist and/or dissipate and energistic exertions of going FTL, on a ship designed to be the stealthiest ever, they've probably put some Radar Absorbent Material in there. I know I would.
    • Radio waves are too slow?! They propagate at c, same as everything else you could possibly use in a sensor system. I'll buy that future-RAM coatings render the LIDAR they use a better choice for their active sensors, but the positional uncertainty from travel time is going to be the same for radar as for any other sensor system.
    • Radio waves that propagate at c are all very well when your target is within a few light-seconds of your position, but further out it becomes far too slow for any kind of effective tracking. A light second, BTW, is a mere 300,000 km - not much good if you're looking for something the size of Normandy in something the size of a solar system!
    • To put what the above poster said simply: Radio waves aren't too slow, space is too big. Radar would be useless anyways. Consider the myriad of problems using it on earth (limited range and power, interference from other objects and forces, phantom readings, blind spots) and consider that space has even greater problems to overcome. The distance measurement itself would be inadequate for the task. Ships are undetectable for a sound reason in this game, they can move faster than light. Radio waves move AT lightspeed meaning that they could be in and out of a certain point before the radio waves come close to hitting them.
    • It was never stated that the blue shifting is directly related to the speed the Normandy is traveling. Rather when traveling faster than light Normandy is encased in a mass effect field. This field has the effect of refracting the emissions passing through it... which in turn causes a blue shift in the emissions. The faster the Normandy is going the more powerful and pronounced the mass effect field, the more pronounce the refraction, and the more pronounced the blue shift. The sinks are made to deal with heat and visible light. Heat would normally be infra-red... but when blue shifted enough it becomes ultra-violet... something the sinks can't deal with. That is what makes the Normandy visible at FTL. And as that heat is radiated in every direction... it would be visible in every direction. Also: it takes over 5 hours for emissions from our sun to reach Pluto... even though they are traveling at the speed of light. By the time you receive the incoming radiation from a ship traveling FTL they have already passed you... check out the Picard Maneuver for applications. There are no active sensors in space. Nothing travels fast enough that it would be any use with the distances involved. Yes they would be useful if two ships were in orbit... but then there is no point because at that range you can pick up the radiation given off by the other ship (unless itís the Normandy). All this means that the Normandy is really only detectable if it drops out of FTL extremely close to a planet or other ship. If it dropped out as far away as say... the moon is from earth... sensors could pick up the radiation signature of a ship coming in (2.7 seconds later) but not make out what it was because it would be too far away to make out the ship's shape. If you came in from the side facing the system's star you might not be noticeable at all... instead looking at most like a sunspot to orbital sensors. The Normandy could then engage stealth and reach the planet in just a few minutes at very high sub-light speeds. Even better... those few minutes would seem like seconds aboard the Normandy... thanks to Relativity.
    • Forgive me, I simply have to applaud the above for being completely accurate about the physics involved, rendering this a moot point.

     Nihlus and his kinetic barrier 
  • A minor one, but why didn't Nihlus' have his kinetic barrier up when he met Saren? They've saved main characters at least twice in cutscenes (one only minutes before Nihlus' death), but they're completely forgotten here. I can't see any reason for Nihlus to have shut them off, either. He may have had no reason to mistrust Saren, but he was still deep in hostile territory.
    • Saren may have been close enough that he could have extended his pistol through his kinetic barriers. That appears to be how most executions with pistols happen in-game.
    • He may have also used phasic rounds, too. Even with 20-30 percent of the rounds' energy lost passing through the shield, he's still getting shot at point blank in the back of the head.
    • On the other hand, the very loud gunfire heard could hint at a high explosive or sledgehammer bullet. But considering that the shield is really a fairly wide bubble around the wearer, the point above could also be true.
    • Also, note that the scene cuts as Saren fires. Nothing says only fired one shot, he could have fired once, Nihlus staggers and Saren keeps shooting 'till he goes down.
    • If that's the case then why did we only hear one shot fired?
    • I think it's mentioned in the novels that if a gun is close enough to the target that barriers don't work anyway.
    • The Codex says that kinetic barriers don't stop low-velocity objects; i.e., someone with a kinetic barrier can still sit on a chair, or pick something up through the shield. Consider that kinetic barriers act like large 'bubbles' around the character. Saren simply moved the entire gun past the kinetic barrier when he put it up to Nihlus's head. Since the bullet was already past the kinetic barrier when it began to accelerate, it wasn't stopped by it.

    Refund guy 
  • Does the human guy demanding a refund from the turian merchant in the Citadel Wards markets ever get his wish?
    • Nope. No receipt, no refund.
    • Two years later, he's still trying to get a replacement for the item.
    • I don't know who hyperlinked you here, we don't do refunds at this tropes page.
    • He finally gets his refund in 3! He gets all 15 credits back.... for a toaster oven.
    • But wasn't it originally for an Omni-gel converter?
    • That's probably why it needed to be refunded.

    Holographic interfaces 
  • Orange holographic VDUs? Even on human desktop computers? That would surely get old real fast.
    • This is likely a case of Broad Strokes happening on account of the developers not having the time or the budget to flesh out this part of the world. The second game, in particular, is a great example of how the soaring costs of game development means that even "big budget" games are actually quite under-funded, there's little details like this that become problematic everywhere, most notably characters sitting in chairs with their arms and legs propped up in the air above the arm rests or floors. Take a look at this trailer: notice that it's pre-rendered CGI, not done in the game engine. The quality of the characters and the special effects (the sun in the Illusive Man's office, for example) is enough for Unreal Engine 3 to show its age in comparison, but pay special attention to the haptic interfaces in the Illusive Man's office; they're much more detailed and involved, displaying more believable approximations to real information than the geometric shapes, sin waves and lines of gibberish text too tiny to read that make up the interfaces in-game. Notice that he actively manipulates specific elements of the interfaces to make it do things; compare it to what Joker looks like in-game when he's flying the Normandy; The difference is visually subtle, but staggering in how much additional Willing Suspension of Disbelief it requires to believe he's actually manipulating controls that do things.

     Thorian clones 
  • So, the Thorian burps out clones of an asari commando to throw at you as cannon fodder. Fine, I can accept that. But how is it all the clones come out fully equipped with body armor and handguns?
    • The body armor can be explained as simply being part of the clones that were being created, instead of actual armor. As for the weapons, it may have had access to the Zhu's Hope and Exo Geni weapons stores. It had been infecting them for weeks, after all.
    • So the thorian could clone the body and the clothes it was wearing? Or rather, what seems to be the clothes is actually the skin of the clone?
    • You're assuming that the cloning the thorian preforms is the same level of genetic cloning we're capable of doing today. Perhaps, instead of storing the DNA of the asari, the thorian generates its own "code" that includes the asari, her weapons, and her clothing and uses that code to fabricate each and every new clone.
    • I thought that they were thralls along with Shiala who were left behind by Saren, which makes more sense to me. However, the game went ahead and labeled them "clones", so there goes my theory.

     "Flattering" body armour 
  • Aside from the obvious reasons, why does all body armor in the ME universe seem designed specifically to flatter the wearer's physique? All the male armors feature chiseled pecs and biceps and all the female armors feature delicately sculpted hips and chests. I guess you could excuse the male armors on the basis that it makes them look more impressive and intimidating, but how do you justify the female armor designs?
    • The armor appears to be body-conforming, particularly the lighter suits, which is actually desirable. Armor that is adjusted to fit the contours of the wearer's body is significantly more comfortable than armor made up of rigid plates, and there's no real advantage to rigid plating with the materials science they have in this setting. Body-conforming armor also allows ease of movement when compared with rigid plating, which is an important trade-off. (e.g. a lot of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan go without the side plates for their Interceptor vests because they're too heavy and interfere with movement and pursuit.) It's also worth noting that the female heavy armor is a lot less "flattering" than the female light armor, which makes sense; the light armor is designed for ease of movement, to be a second skin, and to serve as a housing for the shield generators, while the heavy armor is heavy armor designed for protection.
    • "the female heavy armor is a lot less "flattering" than the female light armor" Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree on that part, but good points in general.
    • This troper didn't find any of the female armors to be particularly flattering. They did however make practical sense in terms of appearance.
    • The arse-crack on the female human medium armour seems neither flattering (YMMV) nor practical. It Just Bugs Me. Gives a new meaning to 'Space Wedgie'...
    • As noted above, the armor is form-fitting to be lightweight.
    • Also the designers needed to give something to the player to look at during those ungodly long elevator rides.
    • Flattering, not really. VERY form fitting though, to the point that the female version seems to squeeze down or compress the chest area. Light armor sometime seems to be something out of Totally Spies! or Metal Gear, while heavy armor give a whole new meaning to Boobs of Steel. Said form fitting armors can be justified by the fact that they double as space suit. Such a design should allow for minimum movements hindrance while protecting the body from depressurization. If I remember well, such a design is actually worked on by NASA.
    • It doesn't really "compress" the chest area all that much. Very, very few women in combat roles actually have large breasts; the physical fitness and dietary requirements pretty much eliminate bust size.
    • In real life, aside from the head, one can actually expose oneself to vacuum pretty well without much harmful effects. A pressure suit helps though and a pressure suit would indeed look like that in ME - skin tight and fitted to the individual wearer. The reason being that it only works if there is constant even pressure all over the body... so in real life, this also requires such things as special cups for men and women for their private parts. The flattering only comes into play because of two things: 1, these are all physically active people - they would of course have great physiques, and 2, armor aesthetics. Some ancient armors for instance had very detailed... groin pieces. Also, in-universe, some armors are mentioned as having plates and all are mentioned as having shield generators. For all we know, these generators are the plates on the armor.

     Garrus' eyepiece 
  • Just what is that thing on Garrus' face? It looks like it's attached to the back of his skull.
    • It looks like some type of simple HUD/technical readout device. Considering Garrus is not just a technician but also a sniper, it would make sense to have a device like that. As for it attaching, it could simply be set into the turian equivalent of an ear or those spiny crest things, like a headset is on a human. There's more than one instance within the setting of humans having similar devices, e.g. Fist's goons.
    • It allows Garrus to read enemy power levels so he can take it off, crush it, and yell when it's OVER NINE THOUSAND!!!!!!
    • If such was the case, Garrus should probably have took off the device on his first seeing of Shepard...
    • Please. The Shep was only maybe level nine when Garrus first saw her.
    • It's an aiming aid, as shown in the sequel, when you can actually get one for Shep to wear. It looks *slightly* different, presumably fitted for a human head. Gives headshot bonus, though this troper just wore it 'cause it looked badass.
    • Man, what doesn't it do? From the Shadow Broker files: Magnification up to 100x integrated target tracing, optional wind/gravity compensation solutions. Sonar, LADAR, thermal, and EM targeting capable. Monitors biofeedback on target within 10 meters to detect heart-rate fluctuations or changes to breath pattern. Can detect and measure biotic fields up to 100 meters away and provide optimized firing solution to collapse kinetic barriers or synthetic shielding support. Optional kill-timer can track number of enemies taken down by self or suit-synced team members in given time period. Armor hotlink provides backtracing of incoming fire and corrects for microrefraction of outgoing shots through kinetic barrier. Audio link plays music per user request.
    • Impressive.
    • This probably explains how he was able to pull of that tricky headshot when we first meet him.

     Secretly racist Council 
  • All the minor races are "different." The elcor are four legged and come from a high gravity world. The hanar are sea creatures, The volus don't even breathe the same air as the other races, the geth are robots, the batarians have four eyes, and the quarians have compromised immune systems. Of all the minor races the only ones being considered for council leadership are the humans, and they're oxygen breathing humanoids like everyone else. Unfortunate Implications? (Which is to say, must one be a bipedal humanoid oxygen breather who doesn't rely on mass effect fields or environment suits to survive on the Citadel in order to hold any real galactic power?)
    • Council membership is based on political and military power, which is explicitly stated in-game. The volus are a non-militant client race of the turians. The elcor and the hanar have failed to establish themselves in any meaningful capacity as political or military forces. The batarians, geth, and quarians aren't even part of the Citadel. And conversations overheard in-game indicate that the volus, hanar, and elcor may be pushing for positions on the Council if the humans gain a seat, since no one else has gained a spot in nearly a millennia. So, no. I don't see where the "Unfortunate Implications" are here.
    • Just as a side note, the quarians 'were' part of the Citadel (though not the Council). They were kicked out after the Geth Rebellion. And their immune systems are only weakened due to centuries of being confined to the flotilla.
    • I concur, I'm not sure what "unfortunate implications" the original troper is referring to. Every single one of the races are "different" in one way or another. And the "oxygen-breathing humanoids only" rule is hardly universal. The elcor may not be humanoid but they're undeniably oxygen-breathing. And the quarians may have a compromised immune system but we have no reason to assume they aren't oxygen-breathing humanoids too. Besides, the implied bigotry of the three major races is not exactly a secret. Even humans have to bust their asses to get a seat on the Council, despite being oxygen-breathing humanoids.
    • As of ME 2 it's more or less confirmed that quarians are oxygen-breathing. If you choose to romance Tali, Shepard takes her mask off. Something similar happens in ME 3. It's rather hard to do...that...without the two parties breathing the same air.
    • More practically, the three council races are humanoid because Bioware needed to reuse as many assets as possible, including animations. IIRC, you never see hanar, volus or elcor moving around, just staying still in one spot. They're there to illustrate to the player that not every species is a Rubber-Forehead Alien, but they never serve more than talking roles due to development constraints. All the races that get involved in combat (krogan and quarian included) are humanoid, allowing the developers to reuse the same animations for all of them.
    • You do see an elcor walking in ME2 in a wide shot, but only for a few seconds.
    • The non-humanoid aliens don't really look as if they could do a lot of fighting anyway. This troper thinks that fact is Played for Laughs in the sequel. Listen to the radio adverts in the various 'city' planets - the Hanar Spectre movie ad in particular.
    • It would be great to have an elcor Spectre movie in ME3...
    • The krogan buck this trend - they're bipedal humanoids who don't rely on environment suits, and they aren't allowed to hold galactic power because of other reasons (the war that they started, and the fact that they tend to go off and join mercenary companies rather than stay on their homeworld and do anything to build up their strength as a unified species.) Of course, by all indication, most of them are just fine with not being part of the Council.

     The Prothean on Ilos 
  • Why did the Protheans on Ilos die out? They had a whole planet's resources to work with. Surely they could have farmed or even foraged for food. They may have risked detection by the Reapers, but surely that's a chance they would take when faced with the alternative of certain death.
    • Because the Reapers found Ilos, and killed all everything life on the surface. They didn't find the secret bunker that Vigil was hiding in.
    • To further elaborate, the Protheans had to stay hidden in the bunker for a long time; the Reapers' extermination of sentient life was not a quick process. By the time it was safe for them to come out of stasis and leave the bunker, Vigil had already had to cut power to most of the stasis pods. The surviving Protheans were no longer numerous enough to make a self-sustaining population, and sacrificed themselves to sabotage the signal system on the Citadel instead.
    • But surely they had the technology to clone the ones who died?
    • Why "surely"? Such technology is, as far as I know of, never mentioned in the series; the closest I can think of is Dr. Saleon cloning organs to sell on the black market, and the fact that there is a black market for organs, cloned or otherwise, indicates that legal and regulated technology for producing cloned organs isn't far along enough to meet the demand. The Protheans aren't mentioned as specifically being able to clone themselves at all, and even if they were, there's no reason to assume that their secret mass relay research outpost on Ilos would be equipped with it.
    • Exactly how would that help? Even if they somehow managed to clone everybody else in the facility, their civilization had been almost entirely erased or enslaved. Hell, even if they somehow rebuilt, their descendants would just be wiped out the next time the Reapers came calling. The twelve survivors knew that their species was done, no matter what happened. Instead of wasting their lives trying in vain to restore what was lost, they decided to give everyone else a fighting chance by reprogramming the Keepers.
    • Because cloning just means lots more inbreeding. And at any rate, at some point, the population would either be too big to hide, too big to sustain, or too old to continue with dwindling resources.
    • I thought Vigil said that they were trapped in the ruins? I may be remembering wrong, but I know by the time that the Reapers retreated back to Dark Space and the scientists woke they decided to send out a message for any other surviving Protheans, but they couldn't get out. But I may have misheard it.
    • No, Vigil didn't say anything about them being trapped in the ruins. Vigil said that they took the one-way Conduit to the Citadel to disable it, and were trapped there.
    • a) It is odd to assume that technology we posses for some time now (cloning), and that had made considerable leaps in canon (Virmire;Miranda;Grunt) is somehow unknown to a far more advanced species like the Prothean. b) Regulations would not stop anyone in the protehan situation. c) In breading might be a problem with a population of 12, but probably something tampering with the DNA could fix. They had probably plenty of diverse genetic material in the disabled pods. As grim as that might sound. d) They build a small relay (plot hole). Am I suppose to believe that with their level of technology (regardless) they couldn't sustain themselves on a decent level? Let alone feed themselves and a few children? e) Yeah, it would take a lot of time to restore the population, but when the scientist on Ilos woke the Reapers were supposed to be in dark space, and 20k years IMO is a conservative estimate of the amount of time they had to do everything. If they put their mind to it, I doubt there would be a problem. f) And here is the problem. It's their mental state. I could easily understand that they didn't want their children to go through another cycle, and they thought the odds were to low for them to try, but it is a stretch. I would propose either something along those lines, or some side effects of the stasis (technobabble).
    • A): Yes, it is a fallacy to assume that they're even capable of advancing a technology to an arbitrary point, especially when our version of that technology is extremely crude and can't do anything like what's suggested. If you're going to suggest they have cloning tech on that scale with that capability, you'll need to prove they do. Furthermore, there's a possibility that they didn't even have cloning equipment at the site; the Illos bunker was a mass relay research facility, not a hospital or biological research lab. B through F) It is unlikely that they cared, really. They had a different focus. Also, remember that Javik and his operation were intended to be the mission that survived the fall of the Protheans. The scientists on Illos were taking steps to prevent the Reapers from ever coming back. They had neither time nor any focus in resurrecting their species when other operations were ongoing to preserve them.
    • a)I cited very advanced examples of cloning in ME. Okeer in particular was building an army of krogan clones. I don't have to prove that it was so, because neither could BioWare. I only say it's plausible and it is a question that was raised that BioWare didn't answer. It's just as arbitrary to assume that protheans had superior cloning technology, as it is assuming that they had stronger weapons or faster ships. Perhaps they did, perhaps they didn't. But they were an more advance race and the little they know about their technology it's best bet to assume what we (ME universe) have, they have and better. f) First there is no mention that Ilos was any sort of relay facility, we just know that they did that, and this tells us they had a whole lot of resources. Also Ilos was isolated right after the invasion, they had no idea about what happened, before they went to the Citadel probably. And perhaps that is the best explanation, but it's still headcanon. When it comes to their mental state i said it could be they were so devastated, but not that it was so, and i think it's still a stretch. Every species number one priority is passing on genes and sustaining. Just assuming they overcome it is a little rash, but it is plausible.
    • Saren and Okeer were both creating Krogan clone armies. They also both had access to Reaper technology that allowed them to do so. Saren from Sovereign, Okeer from the Collectors.
    • No, it's still arbitrary to assume they have technology and capability that is not demonstrated. Especially in a facility like Illos, where we have no evidence that there's any cloning technology available in the first place. If you're going to claim that they could have used cloning tech as a solution to their problem, then burden of proof is on you to show that they have that kind of capability present.
    • Just because the current races-that-be have cloning doesn't mean that the former races will. From the sounds of it, the "Protheans" were the only organic race in the galaxy during their reign, since you don't hear anything about anybody else (unless "Protheans" is a blanket term that encapsulates various species). All other clones you see in the series are cloned for specific purposes: the Krogan clones are meant to be both an army and an answer to the genophage, and if I recall correctly they had several mental defects (remember that Grunt, though artificially made, isn't a clone). The Thorian clones come from a very specific plant, and we don't know enough about those clones to assume that they're faithful adaptations. For all we know they could have a one day lifespan. Cloning individual organs would seem to be a lot easier than cloning an entire working body and mind. So perhaps the Protheans had no reason to clone themselves. And, as has been stated to death before, even if they possessed the technology, the bunker probably didn't possess the hardware. They were in stasis longer than they planned to be (resorting to their Plan B of killing hundreds or even thousands of their support staff), they likely had no working ships to transport them to other worlds, and all they had was a single one-way Mass Effect relay to a location that would eventually trap them.
    • It's explained in 3 that Ilos was actually the ruins of the Inusannon race, the precursors to the Protheans. They merely disguised their bunker to look like part of the ruins, hence why the Reapers never found it, since it was already a world they had destroyed.
  • Presumably Sovereign hangs out to prevent just these sorts of shenanigans. A dozen guys quietly screwing with the Citadel might go unnoticed hundreds or thousands of years into the next cycle, a self-sustaining population of the race that was harvested in the last cycle building a new settlement... eventually would be detected and harvested.

    Vigil and Javik 
  • Vigil and the log before sound nothing like Javik and Protheans in flashbacks
    • And an American speaking English sounds nothing like a native speaker of Swahili. Are you going to seriously balk at the idea that two different groups from a civilization that spans an entire galaxy, incorporating multiple species and cultures, might sound different?

     Virmire - guarding the nuke 
  • The set up for the choice on Virmire just bugs me. I recruited every character and Wrex was still alive. The player is only allowed to use two squadmates at a time, so it's annoying that I couldn't leave two characters behind to guard whoever was working the bomb while I took the other two with me to rescue whoever was at the AA tower. I can't really be expected to believe that any three of a krogan battlemaster, a quarian machinist, a soldier, a sentinel, an asari scientist, or a turian agent, properly equipped and at high levels, couldn't hold off the geth while I and the other three took care of things at the AA tower and made my way back to them.
    • And therefore, you would have lost three squadmembers instead of just one, because the issue here isn't having enough people to protect whoever is doing which job, the issue is you only have enough time to save one of them before the nuke goes off. Joker can only pick up at one location before the bomb detonates. Also, the squad member with the bomb isn't being left alone. There are a few of the Normandy's Marines there as escort.
    • And the extra party members could have provided the necessary protection to keep them from needing to set off the nuke so soon.
    • Why? They've got a squad of Marines protecting them. They're not necessary.
    • Marines which aren't nearly as good as the squadmembers.
    • So? They're still a protection detail.
    • They're Red Shirts using the same equipment Kaidan had on Eden Prime.
    • No actual evidence of that.
    • Looking at them is plenty of evidence.
    • Because as we all know, the visual appearance of something is a clear indicator of its capabilities in a setting where Level X gear looks exactly the same as Level I gear and there's no external indication of the upgrades and customizations made to said gear.
    • It is also a setting where general design indicates the quality of the entire line. Even rank X versions of the early armor don't give much protection.
    • There's also no real reason to believe that said Marines are Red Shirts who are any less skilled than the rest of your crew anyway. There's no evidence that Ashley or Kaidan are anything overwhelmingly exceptional, and the "ordinary" mercenaries and soldiers you encounter throughout the game tend to be fairly durable on their own. They may look like they're carrying default gear, but that's really irrelevant, considering that in those same cutscenes we see Kaidan, Ashley, and earlier Wrex, Garrus, and Liara all wearing their default gear too.
    • Ashley and Kaidan's backstories do suggest that they're exceptional compared to other marines. The only time we see other marines in combat, they're either being taken down in minutes or the player has to do most of the work keeping them alive. Examples includes the "Starship Troopers" mission with some Marines and Rachni.
    • That mission doesn't really apply. The marines held out for a long time, and the only reason they needed help was because they were cut off from reinforcements. They only needed help with the very last wave; prior to that, they'd bled the rachni for a long while.
    • There are also missions where they've already been killed by something a decent player has little trouble dealing with.
    • Considering that you, the Commander, undertake pretty much every mission using only two people from these specific groups kinda suggests that they are above the rank and file.
    • Even if the nuke wasn't armed so early, you got to remember that Sovereign was on its way to Virmire by then (Joker says so after the second beacon). If Ashley or Kaiden waited on the nuke, they might not have had time to arm it before Sovereign was on top of them. No amount of backup would help against that.
    • It's also about sheer number of opponents - there are still many geth and krogan running around with more backup on the way. Manpower and time are not on Shepard's side; the whole point of the diversion attack, after all, is to draw enough people away to allow a small team to do what needs to be done and the good salarian captain knew from the outset that his diversion would be a suicide mission. A squad of marines with some heroes would simply not have the luxury of holding out long enough and confidently enough. Any time given to the geth to do something about the bomb would be time too long; the bomb after all is a juryrigged missile on short notice. The geth hacking into an unprotected warhead like that is practically just turning off the bomb yourself.
    • Something that bugged me - how do Kirrahe and the salarian team who were with whoever you sent with them survive - they will live no matter what choice you make.
    • No, they won't live "no matter what". You have to give them a lot of help during your fight towards Saren's dungeon (which you probably would anyway, so you may not notice), but you can easily get them killed. About the discussion about "Shepards" vs "Marines", we really have to differentiate between an in universe view and the player view. As a player we know we can handle basically any wave of enemies alone, more so with our two friendly squadmates by our side. Even with this knowledge, though, within the universe, 20 marines would always count more than one Shepard. While it is an acceptable break from reality that you do as much stuff on your own in games like these, you should not start considering yourself or more precisely your avatar omnipotent. Sometimes some things just cannot be done.

     Squadmembers' tasks aboard the Normandy 
  • As a quasi-followup to the above question, what do your other party members do while you're not actually using them? If I'm tooling around in the Mako with Garrus and Wrex, do Ashley, Kaidan, Tali, and Liara just sit around the Normandy playing cards in the mess or something? It seems odd, since I can think of more than a few missions when I could definitely have used six other guys backing me up rather than just two.
    • With the exception of Wrex, just about everyone on the Normandy does have a job to do. Garrus and Ashley maintain weapons and the Mako, Tali helps in engineering, Liara apparently helps in medical and does research, and Kaidan maintains the ship. But as for why they don't come with you, that's a common aspect of every single RPG in existence. Having all six of them would just be unbalancing.
    • Furthermore, various in-game descriptions outright states what party members do at some time. For example, scanning an asteroid led to a comment that both Tali and Adams have done analysis on said chunk of space metal.
    • As for Wrex... other than Shepard, who Wrex respects (and by proxy of being CO, is footing the bill), he's not likely to take orders from anyone nor is anyone likely to really want to attempt to bother him. By ME2, Wrex would probably have been more amicable to everyone on board, but by that point, it's not possible. ME2 also suggests that as soon as the big fight is over, Wrex moved on.

     Alliance surveillance drones and their "booby-trap" 
  • Why did the Alliance put nuclear warheads on their surveillance drones in the First Contact War? I can understand not wanting your enemies to know about your technology, but using atomic weapons to destroy drones is just overkill.
    • Yes, and they say as much. And they didn't know about the capabilities of their enemies, so using nukes would be prudent. Not to mention that if a ship captures a drone, that's a quick way to take out said ship. And while putting nukes on drones is overkill, remember that in the military, there is no such thing as overkill.
    • There Is No Kill Like Overkill, after all.
    • What I find hilarious about that mission was how the pirate was waiting outside the mine while setting the nuke off. The one "about the size of the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima." Well, nobody accused him of being a smart pirate.

     AI - illegality, and sanity 
  • Sure, A.I. Is a Crapshootóbut why? Or rather, why is it a crapshoot with dice loaded to roll poorly, given that the hostile AI hiding in the Citadel seems to think and act similarly to a human, and that there's nothing to gain from conflict between synthetics and organics?(Sure, there is the whole slavery thing, but I'm hoping for a robot MLK Jr. in the sequel.)
    • It was hostile because he KNEW that C-Sec would inevitably destroy it.
    • The new "Overlord" DLC of Mass Effect 2 shows why AIs can be problematic.
    • The war between the quarians and the geth fundamentally terrified the Citadel to the point that they deliberately repressed AI.
    • AI research was illegal and repressed before the geth were made. That's why their creation as AIs was accidental. The only way the quarians could have known what the geth would do once they gained sentience is if there had already been big problems with rebellious AIs in the past.
    • AI are repressed because they're dangerous. The Codex explicitly lays out that a poorly developed AI can be incredibly dangerous because of its ability to control vast amounts of electronic systems. The incident with the geth simply served to heighten worry about the danger of improperly-developed AI. That being said, controlled AI research is allowed; there are three corporations in Citadel Space specially licensed by the Council to develop AI in tightly controlled circumstances.
    • It's possible that all AI go crazy because of the Reapers. Most technology in the game is based off of the stuff they left lying around, and Sovereign doesn't seem very happy about the geth. It wouldn't be much of a stretch to assume the Reapers don't want competition and took steps to discourage organics from making AIs.
    • It's also possible that they always go crazy simply because in that version of the future, nobody truly understands how to make an AI correctly. After all, sapience is a very complicated matter, one would expect there to be bugs a plenty.
    • Right. It's a common conceit that developing stable AI in the future is inevitable, but we don't know if that's true, considering we've not even developed one yet in Real Life.
    • The new "Enemies of Mass Effect 2" trailer has a nice twist on this: A geth comments that organics can't help it, and that irrational fear of AI is part of their "hardware".
    • We don't even understand our own sapience, let alone creating an artificial one from scratch. Even if an AI was perfectly designed, there's no guarantee that it would do what you want/expect. As the quarians learned the hard way, diplomacy still counts with artificial intelligence.
    • That lack of understanding of the components that make up sapience cuts both ways too. Who's to say that a geth, whose body and mind is made up of metal and circuitry precisely measured down to the last millimeter, has any innate capacity to comprehend how a meaty, random mass of flesh which by all accounts was first formed by accident can ask itself "who am I, why do I exist?"
    • All Jossed in the sequel and to an extent, in the first game. For one, the Codex is unreliable. For two, not every AI is a crapshoot. And for three, both Thane and Legion would both say that the body is merely a tool that the mind uses.
    • EDI proves that not all AIs are bad.
    • EDI is a VI, not an AI. She isn't sentient.
    • No. EDI is an AI. This is stated explicitly. She is restricted by blocks in her coding, but she is definitely an AI.
    • AI research and creation is illegal because of the ethical quandary it poses. As an organic, you can only create life via biological processes involving your own body and other organic life forms. Synthetic life on the other hand is created from first principles i.e. from basic elements and compounds. In creating them, you are essentially "playing God". Now that this life form exists, what governs its relationship with you? As a life form, are you supposed to set it free and allow it to live and evolve as it pleases? Or do you take responsibility even ownership of it? The parent offspring relationship codifies how organics deal with newly created organic life, but would that same thing even apply to synthetics? Where does the boundary lie between teacher/mentor and enslaver? The council would rather just ban it and Kill 'em All rather than tackle this vexing issue.
    • AI isn't banned for ethical reasons. It's banned for security reasons. Everyone who encounters an AI expresses concerns over security rather than ethics, and the Citadel actually does allow AI research; Synthetic Insights is licensed to develop artificial intelligence, for example.

     Tali's environment suit 
  • How come getting shot repeatedly doesn't compromise Tali's environmental suit? When hiding behind you, she asks if your armor is in good condition, so we know human/asari armor isn't bulletproof or self-repairing, and it seems unlikely that quarian armor would be significantly better. (Also, if she was only taking impact damage from bullets, surely she'd have better defensive stats.)
    • For the same reason that getting shot while in hostile environments doesn't compromise your suit. The suits do appear to be self-repairing, or at least designed to compartmentalize, or something, because Shepard doesn't suddenly keel over and die when his/her suit gets compromised.
    • I think when she says that particular line she's really saying "I'm taking cover behind you. You aren't going to fall down and die anytime soon, are you? And, you know, let me get shot?" It's gallows humour, not a statement about her environmental suit.
    • Plus, in context, armor in the ME universe doesn't just mean the physical armor (consisting of protective plates and self-repairing stuff) but also the mass effect fields around them. She could very well be asking if Shepard's suit (and me fields) is working enough to stop bullets - after all, as a quarian she's used to things -not- working.
    • This is just a small thing, but thinking on it, this doesn't make much sense. Tali wears an environmental suit to compensate for a shot immune system, right? If that's true, then why can she still be poisoned by gas? What kind of environmental suit can't filter out contaminants in the air?
    • These are the same contaminants that can get through your suits, too. Tali's environment suit is no more capable of blocking out weaponized compounds than the ones available to anyone else.
    • Different filters do different things. That's the way it works in Real Life. Just because a filter blocks out bacteria and viruses and stuff doesn't mean it'll block out toxic chemicals.
    • Of course all the costumes used by your party, Tali's included are fully functional spacesuits that let you run around the surface of the Moon unharmed.
    • Mentioned in ME2. Getting shot does harm the suits. Quarians just are not as fragile as people make them out to be and they have procedures to handle punctured suits.
    • Tali mentions that the suits have area seals, similar to the concept of emergency bulkheads in ships. Also, lots of antibiotics.
    • And, uh, kinetic barriers. They tend to stop bullets before they would rupture her suit.

     The morality system 
  • There are issues with the morality system that bug me. While the whole Renegade vs Paragon instead of Good vs Evil is a pretty good system, the Renegade aspect is off at times. Renegade characters are ruthless individuals who will get their job done no matter what. So why do I receive Renegade points for insulting or mocking people (such as Ashley) in conversation? That's not Shepard being a ruthless bastard who only cares about completing his mission, that's just Shepard being a dick.
    • As far as I'm aware, simply mocking or insulting people doesn't get you Renegade points - you have to actually perform actions to push you along the Renegade path.
    • Because the system is representing your REPUTATION not your actions. Insulting people means they live to tell other people you're a dick. And certainly mocking and insulting your crew would have word get around that you're a pretty dicky CO - effective and successful but still a big dick.
    • The fact you get Renegade points for ostensibly 'good/nice' (i.e., the upper-right/upper-left responses every time) actions in the sequel bugs me for this reason. You're not being a dick, but you still get points as if you are. Seems to go against this general reputation mechanic.

     The Creepers on Nodacrux 
  • The Thorian Creepers on Nodacrux went berserk at the exact same moment Shepard kills the Thorian. The problem is that Nodacrux is many, many light years away. Any "signal" from the Thorian would take a lot longer to reach Nodacrux than it does in the game. How do the Creepers "know" about the Thorian's death? Does the Thorian use the mass relay comm network?
    • There's no actual evidence that they went berserk at the same time. Also, the Thorian is fully capable of generating entities capable of manipulating mass effect fields, and appears to be psychic in some matter. Of course, we don't really know what the deal is with the Thorian's biology, either. It may in fact be capable of FTL communications through manipulation of mass effect.
    • Remember that the Nodacrux research facility has a distress beacon that links directly to Exo Geni headquarters on Feros, but the distress call went unanswered. That means the creepers on Nodacrux don't go berserk until after the attack on the colony has begun... and it's damned unlikely that they go berserk before the death of the Thorian, as the creepers you fought your way through were still under control.
    • Remember, we don't know exactly where each Mass Relay is, just what cluster itís in. It's possible that the relays that connect Noveria to Nodacrux are close enough to allow a communications lag of just a few hours or days. Or just seconds, who knows?
    • According to the codex, comm buoys are crude, miniature mass relays that communicate instantly. The only transmission lag is that of whatever lightspeed communication method you're using to link to the nearest comm buoy... which, since it has to be in the same star system with you for you to be using it, makes any transmission lag a matter of several hours at most. Note that in Noveria, one of the background conversations is that of a salarian placing an interstellar phone call in real time.
    • Then there is Quantum Entanglement... or as Einstein called it: Spooky Action at a Distance.
    • Mass Effect 2 has shown that Quantum Entanglement Pairs are entirely possible in this universe allowing instantaneous communication regardless of the distance between. It is possible that the Thorian has a natural version of this theoretical concept which makes it a terrifying creature indeed. Or it could simply be instantaneous psychic abilities that throws the biggest middle finger to physics the likes of which the universe has never seen before.

     Cherenkov radiation 
  • Why did the Codex for FTL Drive states Cherenkov radiation to be harmful? From this Irregular Webcomic annotation, it's supposed to be harmless.
    • Water, oxygen, and light are also harmless. However, anything can be lethal in sufficient quantities. A mass effect FTL field uses immense amounts of energy, and the collapse of the field will result in an immense release of that energy - which will include a consequential release of Cherenkov radiation as titanic amounts of other radiation passes through the insulators on a vessel.
    • That Irregular Webcomic annotation also points out that Cherenkov radiation is "relatively" harmless. Not completely harmless.
    • Also, most Cherenkov radiation is UV. Which, as anyone who has had skin cancer will tell you, is decidedly not harmless.

     Mass Effect - a violation of the Conservation of Energy/Momentum 
  • The titular phlebotinum itself, as described, completely breaks either Conservation of Energy or Conservation of Momentum. If energy is kept, each ship essentially has a reactionless drive, capable of summoning momentum out of basically nowhere. If momentum is kept (which is what the codex entry on Mass Accelerators suggests), each ship is a second order perpetual motion machine, gaining kinetic energy out of nothing. The ramifications of the violation of at least one of the most fundamental rules in physics is not explored in great detail. You Fail Physics forever doesn't begin to cut it.
    • Uh, in case you weren't paying attention, element zero is a material that already violates Conservation of Matter by decreasing and increasing mass temporarily. In fact, this is a fundamental premise of the entire series. That said, where is it indicated that the ships gain energy from nowhere? Starships require reaction drives if they are to move anywhere while under the effects of an FTL ME field - it's just that the FTL ME field allows them to move farther and faster with that energy by lightening their mass, to the point that they can move at FTL speeds.
    • First off, Conservation of Mass is a null law since it is possible for the mass of matter to change, indeed it is the basis of nuclear reactions and a consequence of relativity. And the gain of kinetic energy is a logical consequence of the mass effect. Say you reduce the mass of an object, dividing it by the factor x. If momentum is conserved, velocity must multiply by x to compensate (p = mv). However, kinetic energy is scaled by the square of the velocity (e = 0.5mv^2). Cutting the boring calculations out, the result is that dividing an object's mass by x multiplies the object's kinetic energy by x, hence it gains kinetic energy out of literally nowhere. That the ships use reaction drives is irrelevant, there is always some frame of reference that, when eezo is used to alter the mass of an object in motion such as, say, a ship, it will appear that the net energy or momentum inherent in the ship has changed without any energy or momentum being added to the ship.
    • Conservation of Mass is not violated by relativity, as the conservation of mass is an extension of the conservation of energy, tied together by E=Mc^2. So it is possible that mass effect fields could increase the mass of an area, but since the most efficient energy conversion would only allow you to increase the mass of an area by the amount of mass you used for energy (1kg for 1kg), this still wouldn't explain the power of the mass effect fields we've seen, nor does it explain decreasing mass.
    • Doublechecking the entry for mass accelerators....actually it looks like they do appear to violate conservation of energy, unless the mass effect field that surrounds the round stays intact around the bullet until and after it impacts with the target. (Conjecture time!) Actually, it would make sense if the ME field was used to help the rounds penetrate armor. The round is fired, the ME field around the round stays intact to allow it to retain velocity, then it impacts with the armor. The ME field lets the round retain its extremely high velocity through the armor, and once it impacts flesh or sensitive electronics, the field collapses and the round's velocity decreases as its effective mass increases, allowing it to fragment or squash. That would actually allow the round to do a lot more damage while passing through the target, and it would retain both conservation of energy and conservation of momentum.
    • It does appear that it is possible for a mass effect field to persist after being subjected to eezo under current, indeed it would explain how biotic powers work. However your proposed system still violates one of the conservation laws for reasons already discussed. It's also unnecessary for the mass effect to collapse in order to do maximum damage. If momentum is conserved, then kinetic energy ramps up when mass goes down. Impart mass reduction on a bullet that's going out of the barrel. The bullet will now travel faster in proportion to how much mass was reduced, and kinetic energy ramps up by the same factor. Penetrative power (which is governed by momentum) is unchanged, but its actual destructive power (which is governed by kinetic energy) does go up. The bullet hits, imparts its increased energy, and when the bullet's mass returns the damage is already done.
    • While the mass effect field independent of the eezo might seem to violate conservation of energy there's no reason to believe that the mass effect field + the eezo used to create it violates the laws of physics. Eezo could just be a ridiculously high energy density substance with a tiny fraction being drained off to power the mass effect field. Or alternatively it draws power from somewhere else to power the mass effect. Either way there's no way to determine whether the entire system violates conservation of energy.
    • A quick reminder folks, the "Laws" of physics are not immutable, they're based on observations of phenomenon which we have made. If something violates the "laws" of physics it doesn't mean that the impossible has happened, it means that we are wrong about what is impossible. If Mass Effect fields do in fact violate Conservation of Mass/Energy/Momentum/whatever, it means that Conservation of Mass/Energy/Momentum/whatever is incorrect.
    • Actually, if a scientific principle is called a "law" it pretty much is immutable. Laws have been confirmed through hundreds of experiments and observations over several centuries. If a phenomenon appears to violate a law, a) the observation is wrong, b) the setup is wrong or not properly defined, or c) there is some fundamental misunderstanding about the phenomenon under observation. Antimatter reactions are a prime example of the latter case. It is a well observed phenomenon that appears to destroy matter and create energy. This has led to speculation that matter and energy are not actually two different things but merely different forms of the same thing.
    • Actually, a "Scientific Law" is just a term for a pattern that shows up in observations that people made without bothering to give an explanation why. This was popular a few hundred years ago but these days that's just sloppy science. They can be disproved and replaced just like any scientific theory.
    • The biggest problem I have with mass accelerator weapons is not the mass reduction due to the mass effect. As someone else has mentioned, mass reduction is theoretically possible. The problem is the idea of accelerating the reduced mass to high velocity and it remaining the same speed when it leaves the mass effect field. That is where the violation of conservation of energy comes into play: for the slug to maintain the high speed requires the energy to increase apparently from nowhere. If, as suggested above, the field is maintained after the slug leaves the cannon (which is possible as the slug held by the gunnery chief on the Citadel has flashing lights indicating that it is not a simple slug of metal) the slug is a low mass object striking the target which is not going to do catastrophic damage unless the slug is accelerated to relativistic velocities, which a standard mass accelerator does not.
    • Considering the aforementioned gunnery chief's example (math alert): we have a 20 kg projective being accelerated at 0.01 c each second. Letís assume the main gun runs the full length of a dreadnought, say 1000 m. The acceleration comes to 3e6 m/s^2. At that rate, the projectile, regardless of mass, will travel the length of the gun in just over 0.025 s after which point, no more acceleration. The projectile, assuming it starts from rest relative to the dreadnought, is now moving at about 77500 m/s with a kinetic energy of 60 GJ. That is the max amount of energy that could be transferred to the target, and this presumes the projectile magically maintains its speed when its mass returns to normal. Turns out the writers' math isn't even correct. The gunnery chief states that the projectile impacts with the explosive yield of a 38 KT bomb...38 KT is about 160 TJ. Remember, 1 TJ = 1000 GJ. If anyone wants to double check my numbers, I used the relativistic model for kinetic energy...never mind, the difference between the Newtonian and relativistic models is negligible at this speed, although if anyone is interested, the relativistic model can be found on The Other Wiki here.
    • If the above Tropers math is correct then the Gunny Sergeant was incorrect in his assessment of the destructive power of the slug. The Hiroshima bomb yielded 58 Giga Joules of energy (about 14 kilotons of TNT) and the yield of the slug is 60 Giga Joules if the math is correct. Basically, every one you fire is a Hiroshima nuke all its own which is still amazingly destructive power for what is basically a gigantic hunk of metal. The Sergeant may have exaggerated when he said that the yield was three times the power of the Hiroshima nuke. This also makes sense in the story itself as the nuclear weapon dropped on Hiroshima would be outlawed by the Councils WMD policy as a Tier 3 WMD. If they dropped a Tsar Bomba (50,000 kilotons of TNT or 210 petajoules of energy, although they had the technology to double the power) or even the 38 kiloton bomb then it would likely get a Tier One WMD status which the council would crap their collective formal wear about.
    • The Gunnery Chief says "1.3% of the speed of light", which is 3.9e6 m/s and gives a (relativistic) kinetic energy of 152 TJ, close enough to 38 kT = 159 TJ. The difference is actually a rounding error : 159 TJ is reached at 1.33% of c. If the acceleration in the gun really is 3e6 m/s^2, the speed discrepancy suggests the slugs picks up a lot of speed when it leaves the gun (it would be made heavier while in the gun, keep its momentum when exiting and make up for the decreased mass with increased speed... which violates conservation of energy, by the way).
    • Rumor has it that the originally proposed ending for Mass Effect 3 were to reveal that the energy does, in fact, come from somewhere (something about quantum foam or entanglement - whatever it is, it vastly increases entropy in the universe and causes stars to die out), which is exactly why the Reapers were so determined to stop people from abusing it. This was replaced with the synthetics versus organics theme later on during development.

     The Supply Sergeant 
  • Why am I buying, with my own money, items from my own supply sergeant?
    • Because the stuff he's selling you is not Alliance-issue equipment. The crappy weapons and armor in the starting inventory of every character? That's the Alliance-issue stuff you can get for free. Anything better than that is something not on the Alliance TO, that you have to procure privately with unvouchered funds. (Apparently your supply sergeant is one hell of a good scrounger.) Now, a more valid objection would be "Why the hell am I supposedly a Spectre, with nigh-unlimited authority granted to me by the ruling council of all space, and yet I don't have an expense account?"
    • Because as a Spectre, you're expected to be self-reliant and self-sufficient (otherwise, it'd defeat the point of them). Also, being a Spectre means you can take whatever you want however you want with no legal ramifications because you are, functionally, above all laws except the Council. So if you deem it necessary to ask a merchant to give up all their supplies for Spectre business, well... that's within your right. Or start up and invest in your own businesses as Saren did. Or otherwise gain money in other ways as Saren also did.
    • It's also worth noting that if you were to just barge in on most merchants and say "give me all of your equipment because I'm a Spectre" that's probably going to result in complaints going up to the Council about the Spectre who is hijacking merchants' businesses. Do that enough, and the Spectre in question might be targeted for investigation by the Council, and if the Spectre can't give a good reason why s/he's confiscating merchants' supplies, the Council might call them to task for such shenanigans. Shepard's probably paying for stuff because it's both the right thing to do and to avoid trouble.
    • Shepard wouldn't even need to do it multiple times. S/he'd just need to cheese off one businessman who knows a decent reporter for the galactic news, and then a massive spat would be raised all across the galaxy about the evil, crazy Spectre and his unethical business practices that put a poor merchant out of business. That would open a can of worms no one wants to see opened.
    • That gets lampshaded in ME2. Something like "Salarian STG is like the Spectres, but better-funded. Didn't have to buy our own equipment."
    • .....dude. He tells you that right there in the dialogue why you have to buy the gear from him, when you ask him why.
    • And that explanation is ridiculous.
    • Not that ridiculous. You get Alliance standard-issue automatically and for free - but your supply officer goes the extra mile and gets you better-than-Alliance-issue gear that he purchases from his own pocket. For him to be able to afford to do that, you have to pay him for what he gives you - otherwise he doesn't have the money to go shopping every time you put into a port, and you're stuck with standard issue.
    • It's not "ridiculous," it's "business." The supply officer has a budget to work with, and he still has to buy, sell, and trade merchandise to get the stock he has, and that money doesn't just magically appear. If the commander pays for the equipment, it'll allow him to buy more stuff and cover costs.
    • The whole thing gets pretty strange with the fact people may sell copious amounts of equipment to him and buy less, and how the military standard-issue stuff is much less effective than stuff available to anyone who can buy it. Really, the reason he's selling you stuff instead of giving it to you is just justified by it being a business for me, the rest is best left to Gameplay and Story Segregation.
    • It's not ridiculous though it may be ridiculous as far as practicality goes. It happens in real life after all; this one had a marine friend who not only brought a side arm but additional armor, a better carrying harness, and other odds and ends that made his life a heck of a lot more comfortable, safe, and better. And it was all on his own dime. As the saying goes, standard-issue just means all your stuff was made by the lowest bidder. And for the supply officer, even if he could give it to you for free, the other half of his dealings involve people that won't just work on bartering. So he needs money regardless and the SA or the Citadel isn't about to give him a budget. His only budget is whatever the CO wants to give him.
    • To paraphrase a Drill Sergeant Nasty from another sci-fi series, 'Standard issue' isn't cheap and it is only the bare minimum that you need in order to survive. Military budgets are vast but not inexhaustible and as contrary to the point as it may sound a defense department will not outfit every soldier with the latest and greatest tech. It is not really surprising that any military force, especially one that spans a gigantic region of space, will have soldiers utilizing old tech and that makes people like the supply sergeant and independent dealers indispensable. Enterprising individuals or companies can be relied upon to mod out or upgrade tech where the major weapons manufacturers cannot (quality over quantity as it were) and therefore weapons might be able to perform better than the factory basic given to any soldier. As the above poster mentioned soldiers today can buy their own gear to compliment the military standard issue and if they are truly talented in gunsmithing (and VERY careful about it in general) modify their weapons for a boost in their performance over standard issue equipment.
    • Because Adam Smith Hates Your Guts.
    • It's better explained in Mass Effect 3, when you have a procurement system set up to allow you to purchase equipment and items from the Citadel Stores regardless of your current location in space. Getting this equipment isn't free. Not only does the procurement officer have to purchase the equipment, but there are shipping and handling costs for getting the purchased items from the Citadel to the Normandy. There's a lot of expenses involved, and that money has to come from somewhere.
    • Since the original question was just about the supply officer and not the equipment purchase system as a whole, it may be explained by the sergeant working as a trading agent for you. That is you give him money to go buy some items and give him items to go sell them in the nearest shop.

    How Councilors are chosen 
  • How are the Citadel Council members chosen? The Paragon ending strongly suggests that they are not democratically elected since Anderson/Udina is welcomed onto the Council purely on the basis of Shepard's recommendation (though I admit this may be a special case).
    • The Council doesn't select them based on Shepard's recommendation. Shepard simply endorsed his/her particular preference for candidate (which, doubtlessly, would influence who gets selected no matter what).
    • This is another All In The Codex- they really do choose him based on just that. Vacancies on the Council are filled via appointment by the remaining Councilors. They're supposed to take the wishes of the represented race into account, but no, it's not democratic at all.
    • Seems like and incredibly stupid system; surely that would mean the existing Councilors would pick candidates that are more open to their ideas, or even too weak minded to oppose them. Could also count as Fridge Brilliance I guess, the system was set up by the Asari and Salarians and this does seem like the kind of thing they would do.
    • Remember that the Council has no official authority over its "member" races. Formally it's just the government of the Citadel itself. So there's no obvious legal reason to actually ask citizens of an external government to vote for their representative (if Anderson is put on the Council, Udina is still humanity's official representative - as an ambassador).
    • The choice at the end of the game is a special case — not only are they appointing a new Councilor, they're also adding a new race to the list of Council races. In that case, there probably wasn't a more formal selection method.

    Rear Admiral Mikhailovich 
  • How the HELL did Mikhailovich become a Rear Admiral? He clearly doesn't understand the usefulness or importance of stealth, reconnaissance, or allies.
    • Welcome to the military officer corps. Everyone likes to pretend there's a meritocracy involved with the upper brass of the military, but the fact is that it's just as much of a political arena as any other high-up office.
    • Like he said though, he is thinking about straight-up combat, and it is only one ship - it would be unlikely for it to be useful against entire militaries, because... it's just one ship. It might be worth investing in later, but since the turians did help make it, the advantages of it are shared with them (which an untrustworthy military would hate to do). There is a reasonable amount of justification to believe the funds and time they spend on it are more or less useless to the navy, and were just a PR stunt.
    • Mikhailovich also seems to be completely unaware of the significance of you being a Spectre. The Renegade option allows you to inform him of the fact that you answer to 3 very specific individuals, and he is likely to never, by any stretch of the imagination, be one of those individuals. This is part of why I like Normandy SR-2 more: she's your private ship (good luck taking her back if you want her, TIM), and no one questions the fact that you answer to the Council.
    • Mikhalovich seems to be the conservative kind of commander who prefers what is proven and reliable over what is new and untested. Remember that for a lot of military officers, the terms "new" and "prototype" are synonymous with "unreliable." He likely prefers "tried-and-true" methods of recon (as he is in command of a "scout flotilla") probably including passive sensors and observation equipment and recon patrols with frigates. In fact, if he prefers passive observation, it would explain his complaint that the Normandy can only hide for a few hours at best, as opposed to passive sensors that could sit there indefinitely. He also seems to be of a negative opinion regarding covert operations as opposed to the "find em and kill em" mentality. All of these, combined together, would result in a competent if conservative officer who dislikes the Normandy because she's new and unreliable technology that doesn't fit with how he believes recon and naval combat should work.
    • ^This. There is a saying: generals fight the last war - the French generals who designed the Maginot Line were by no means stupid, but they failed to take into account the changing nature of warfare. The flip-side is that sometimes "new" doesn't mean better - look at all the vital war technologies that began their lives as military turkeys - the Type XXI U-Boat, the early rocket, and the gun (to name a few) were all far less useful than the older weapons they replaced, because the technology to make them combat-effective/build in large numbers wasn't yet there. Mikhailovich just tends towards older, proven methods - better not have an untried new piece of tech that might turn out to be overdesigned and inefficient (like the XXI boats), not a viable alternative to the old stuff (like the rocket, the early gun), not economical to mass produce (remember, they could have had a heavy cruiser or 100 fighters for the same price) or some combination of all three. Mikhailovich would rather use stuff he knows will work than stuff he feels he can't rely on.
    • It makes perfect sense to me. When submarines first came out, almost everyone said that they were ridiculously stupid. British anti-submarine doctrine was to hit a submarine's periscope with a mallet in a row boat. (A couple of guys are in the row boat with a mallet just to clarify.) Point is, when a new idea comes out, there are going to be a ton of people who think itís the stupidest thing ever.
    • He may be thickheaded, but he's competent as a leader of warships, and he's worth a fair bit as a War Asset.

     Bullets and mass 
  • If the bullets used in eezo-based guns are really light, shouldn't air resistance slow them down, like a lot?
    • The bullets are shaped to minimize air resistance. The weapon itself precisely calculates the necessary shape of the bullet to ensure it hits its target.
    • It doesn't matter what shape it is if the density is too low. It's basic momentum. Light stuff gets slowed down, which is why we use bullets which aren't made of feathers.
    • The rounds are fairly dense. They can easily hit with enough force to knock a human-sized target on their ass, particularly the sniper rifle rounds.
    • That does not make any sense. If they were really light but also really dense, they should just penetrate without transferring that much momentum.
    • Who said the bullets were light? Observation of their behavior indicates they are dense and do not have an inconsiderable weight to them; they're just very, very small.
    • Actually, never mind. I reread the codex, and it states that the tiny bullets have mass-increasing fields added to them, instead of just using mass effect fields to accelerate the slugs. Apparently the slugs are designed to transfer momentum and kinetic energy to the target, which raises other questions, but hey, eezo is crazy enough that I'm inclined just to accept it.
    • "Transfer momentum and kinetic energy to the target" are exactly what modern-day (non-explosive) bullets do, actually.


  • I can buy that the projectiles are unnaturally dense due to little mass effect fields, but why can you knock people back with the shotgun and explode heads with the sniper rifle? A projectile that small hitting with the force of a bullet would punch a little pinhole clear through you instead of reacting like a normal-sized bullet.
    • Yes. Which is why the bullets are designed to squash, flatten, expand, and shatter inside the target to make sure that they don't just rip right through the body, as was very clearly stated in the Codex.

    Size of the Barrel 
  • Of the bullets are the size of grains of sand, why are the gun barrels the size of modern day ones?
    • Simple. For a modern gun, the barrel has to be the same approximate size of the bullet. For an Eezo gun, having the bullet touch the sides is presumably a really bad idea — so they make the barrel significantly larger than the bullet to compensate.

    Conveniently-placed equipment 
  • Why is that that every single place in the game is stuffed full of high-grade weaponry and armor? I get that it's videogame tradition and don't mind it at all, but it still strikes me as odd considering how far this game goes to be (semi-)realistic.
    • Pirates and slaver camps: arms and armament for the pirates and slavers. Feros: arms for the Exogeni security teams. Noveria: Arms for the corporate security forces. Virmire: Arms for Saren's guards. Ilos....uh, got me there.
    • Ilos would also be weapons for Saren's crew. All of that stuff was outside the bunker, so you were presumably just raiding their base camp. That still leaves the question of why nobody ever tries to consolidate their weapons and equipment to better protect it, instead of scattering it everywhere.
    • Not to mention random space probes.
    • I hope you aren't one of the people RAGEE!!!-ing BioWare when they took it out for the 2nd game.
    • It actually depends. Elkoss Combine for instance which is the main supplier for the pirates, as a whole, their products are inferior to other manufacturer products of equal rating. So even the best of the crap is still crap.
    • What bugged me was that people keep things like Omni-tool upgrades and ammo in their wall safes. I can see why someone like Fist would do it, but why does Lorik Qu'in have, if memory serves, radioactive ammunition and an armour exoskeleton in his safe?
    • Probably the weirdest case of this is the crashed Soviet probe on the moon. When I found it, it contained incendiary grenades and a shield modulator.
    • It's stated somewhere that you're using your omnitool to salvage parts to synthesize those upgrades when you salvage stuff, not that the probes and satellites you recover actually contain those things.

    Virmire - stealing the genophage cure 
  • Is there any particular reason that you couldn't just grab a sample of the genophage cure or the formula or the research notes for it? The only reasons I could think of are that they're in too much of a hurry, the cure is too big and vulnerable to carry around, or Renegade Shepard is just that big a jerk. Obviously, the first one is the only one that really holds water.
    • In order to get a sample for it, they'd have to stop and dig around in the labs for whatever the cure was. That would take a while, and in the meantime salarian soldiers would be dying. It would take even longer to dig through the research notes. It's also worth noting that the "cure" appears to consist of cloning tanks, which are evident in the "breeding area" of the base, and that the researchers working on the cure were hip-deep in research on husks. Even if the cure could be transportable, there's all indications that it involves Reaper technology in some shape or form, so either way, it's bad mojo.
    • Maybe so, but you'd think someone would've said something like "If we have time, let's try to download as much as we can from their medical database". The cure's gotta be in there somewhere and the techs can sort the files out later. As for the "bad mojo", there's no reason to believe that would've been a problem. Indoctrination is bad mojo, but there's no evidence any other part of Reaper technology is too.
    • "but there's no evidence any other part of Reaper technology is too." The husks disagree with you.
    • Doesn't mean they can't derive some kind of cure from husk technology. Seriously, this isn't the T-Virus we're talking about, it's science. We know for a fact that the Systems Alliance is already studying captured husks. Why would they do that if there wasn't something useful to be learned from them? And again, this doesn't answer the question of why they didn't download as much as they can and sort out the files later. Even if none of the files were useful, at least they tried.
    • Downloading files while in the middle of a raid to plant a nuclear device that featured running gun battles? Shepard doesn't have time to stop and hack highly secured files to download data when s/he's being actively shot at by the geth and the krogan.
    • But s/he has time to hack weapons lockers and item boxes? I'm not opposed to letting the genophage cure get destroyed, I just have a problem with the fact that they didn't even bother with a basic justification. Something like:
      Squad Mate #1: Wait! We should download these medical files in case they hold the cure for the genophage!
      Squad Mate #2: No, there's no time! The geth are on their way, we've gotta get outta here now!
    • Seriously, that's all it would've taken.
    • Weapons lockers and item boxes would presumably have lower security, and physical locks that could be more easily be forced open, if only by jamming Omni-gel into them. Hacking into the actual computer network, breaking their encryption, locating the files, and downloading them would take a lot more time.
    • My point is they should have just said so right in the game.
    • Because there is no cure to download or carry off. Look at the facility; Saren is lying. His 'cure for the genophage' is "clone lots and lots of krogan." The krogan scientist is at the facility, and is therefore indoctrinated; he says he's "working on the future of his species" because he's been brainwashed into believing it. It's possible Saren never even said anything of the sort and Captain Kirrahe is just making assumptions, he even says it's not solid information. If Saren ever said anything about curing the Genophage, it was just to get the scientists he needed in one location so Sovereign could indoctrinate them into thinking the cloning thing was a great idea.
    • It's almost certain he was lying. The krogan mention that some Saren grown krogan survived and never mention anything about them being immune to the genophage. Same with Grunt (who was created with the same technology).
    • To put this argument to rest, it's confirmed in Mass Effect 2 that Saren's cure consisted entirely upon creating clones.
    • If Shepard had enough time to scare Rana Thanoptis into running for her life, surely there could have been enough time to convince her to get you a copy of the genophage data. At least she would have been more helpful that way even if she ended up dying on Virmire rather than becoming Okeer's lackey in Mass Effect 2. On the other hand, only Okeer takes note of Saren's attempt at curing the genophage; Mordin, one of the minds behind the genophage, doesn't even mention it once.

    Working with the Systems Alliance and the Citadel 
  • This isn't a huge It Just Bugs Me, but follow this chain of logic for me. Shepard becomes a Spectre. Effectively at that point, he/she has resigned from the Alliance Military. While he/she does some favors for them, Admiral Hackett can't give Shepard orders anymore, since you're now serving the Citadel. The Citadel probably gives their agents a pay cheque so they can eat. But what about all those soldiers on the Normandy? Who is paying them? What is their current status with the Alliance? How the heck does this work? It Just Confuses Me.
    • The crew on the Normandy, like the ship, are still Alliance military and are on loan to Shepard. They still get paid by the Alliance, and when the need arises, Udina takes the Normandy back using perfectly legal means.
    • ^This. As the first human Spectre, Shepard is a huge publicity win for the Systems Alliance. They have a vested interest in making sure s/he has everything he needs to complete his missions, and that includes a fully crewed ship. Plus, in theory this gives them a significant amount of control over Shepard's actions. If s/he acts against Alliance interests they can threaten to strip away his/her ship and crew.
    • One could probably also expect most Spectres to have substantial contacts across the galaxy as a result of their work, as well as immense personal resources. Shepard, on the other hand, is a brand-new Spectre and thus doesn't have access to the personal resources that someone like, say, Saren would. So even though Shepard is supposed to be above the law, the various Citadel powers can still clamp down on him/her if they need to by denying him/her access to resources.
    • Shepard is still Alliance military, officially. It's just that, as the first human Spectre, s/he is effectively above the chain of command since any kind of official discipline would screw humanity over in terms of PR.
    • Both of those ideas make some more sense of it. It's an unstable relationship but, as we know, Udina's actions at the end kind of prove that.
      Ashley Williams: And this is why I hate politics.
    • I figure the same applies with many other Spectres, Saren is after all rated as one of the best and most experienced. Most likely Spectres start off with backing from their government, and later on acquire enough resources to go 'freelance' so to speak.
    • Shepard is both SA and Spectre. Spectre technically means s/he is above most laws including his/her own, but as Hackett points out, that doesn't absolve him/her of his/her responsibilities. Hackett can order Shepard around as a SA officer but not as a Spectre; but Hackett plays on Shepard's SA past by bringing it up.
    • Hackett doesn't give you orders. Receiving orders from him would mean you'd need to drop everything else you're doing and go on his assignments immediately. Instead, you are given optional assignments that you can do at your leisure, or never at all. He basically pleads Shepard for help after exhausting all other options.
    • Which kinda reminds me in the first game, even if you're considered rogue by the Council to get to Ilos, I find it somehow strange that you can still get assignments from Hackett and Fifth Fleet, unless all those missions are directly to the Alliance. And Hackett doesn't call you out on being a fugitive.
    • As the next two games show, Hackett is pragmatic and trusting enough in Shepard to overlook legal technicalities. In ME2, he pretty much ignores Shepard's status as a Cerberus-aligned fugitive and pulls strings behind the scenes to keep the Alliance from giving you trouble. In ME3, he takes every resource you pour into the Crucible — Omega mercenaries, rachni, ex-Cerberus outlaws... His concern is getting things done, not bothering by the book.

    The Council Chambers after the Battle of the Citadel 
  • Final Battle; Joker finally find the button that launch some missiles. Mecha-Cthulu goes KA-Boom, bits of him then go on a collision course with the council tower. Cut to Anderson and some marines looking for Shepard and crew. My problem? Well apparently, Sovy's bits manage to enter the council tower WITHOUT BLOWING A HUGE-ASS HOLE IN THE WALL IN THE PROCESS. Oh, and no vacuum as a result. Plus, I don't know about you, but I'd expect the place to much more thoroughly SMASHED after an impact like that. Hell, beside Sovy's aforementioned bits, the Council Chamber is pretty much as clean as ever...I don't know, maybe the keepers fix the damages really fast.
    • No vacuum - Some of the promos for ME 2 show Shepard looking out at what appears to be open space without any sort of protection, so it's possible that an eezo field can hold back atmo. Heck, your guys have survived worse in their armor, anyway; between the final fight and you being pulled from the rubble, maybe they put some sort of quick-patch on the hole. Cleaned up fast/No big hole - You're basing this on, what, a couple minutes of shaky camera footage? Perhaps the Council Chambers were rendered unusable for a time. Perhaps that's why, when discussing adding a Human to the Council, they meet on the Presidium instead of, ya know, in the Council Chambers.
    • WRT "big-ass hole" - The chunks of Sovereign smashed through the very large and obvious window. Which is clearly shattered. Which you can see happening right when the large chunk of Sovereign is flying toward said window.
    • WRT "no vacuum" - Someone did not read the Codex. The Citadel maintains a roughly three meter-thick layer of atmosphere over all surfaces that would otherwise be exposed to vacuum. That's why you don't asphyxiate when you're in the Wards. It's perfectly plausible that the same system would extend to the Tower. It probably doesn't do that for the outside of the Citadel Tower, but that's because no one is supposed to be out there so there's no reason to maintain an atmosphere out there. And it would make sense for there to be a safety measure that activates to keep atmosphere in the Tower, considering the possibility of a giant hole being ripped into the window - something that is doubtless a serious concern for the Council that regularly meets there and would be concerned about their safety and assassination attempts. That's just good sense.
    • ^This. Most likely some sort of eezo-powered force field is activated when a hull breach is detected.
    • This kind of force-field effect is possible with current technology (with enough energy); it's called a plasma window. In a setting with personal energy barriers that can stop bullets traveling at integer percentages of light speed, they no-doubt have rather effective atmosphere-retention fields.
    • The beginning of ME2 has a force field keeping atmosphere within the pilot's area of the Normandy. Physical objects, i.e. Shepard, can pass through it without apparently causing leakage. Something on the scale and tech level of the Citadel could easily project this kind of field to retain its atmosphere.
    • WRT "no debris" - Giant hunks of Sovereign are everywhere, blocking most lines of sight to the room. And considering the chunks of Sovereign smashed through the window instead of the wall, why would there be any debris besides glass?
    • In Mass Effect 2, the crew of the Normandy are seen patching up holes in the hull, which have force fields around them - It seems likely that an energy shield of some description activates when a hull breach is detected.

    Sovereign's connection to Saren 
  • So, why exactly did Sovereign conk out when the Saren Husk kicked it?
    • Presumably Sovereign had invested a large part of his consciousness/run-time/what-have-you into directly controlling Saren-Husk. When the beastie was killed, the backlash stunned it for just long enough for the Alliance fleet to kick its ass.
    • That's what I figured. I always thought Shep and Co. taking out Saren's husk was like giving Sovereign a very hard poke in the eye. With a pool cue. Then the Alliance came in with carpenter's mallets to finish the job...
    • I'm thinking it was just a matter of coincidence. The Alliance kept hitting Sovereign until it finally just gave out, and that was roughly at the same time that Saren-husk was killed.
    • I dunno. Once you kill the Husk, the scene shows Sovereign sort of reeling (well, as best as a few trillion tons of sentient ship can reel) and falling off the Citadel Tower. I got the impression that there was a direct correlation between Sovereign's defenses going down, and Saren-Husk going down.
    • I thought about that when I first beat the game, but wasn't bothered because of a strong, unspoken implication: Sovereign somehow made itself vulnerable by losing the Saren Hopper. That means it was defeated by a mistake (in assuming its implants could beat Shepard in personal combat), and had it been slightly more conservative, it may have wiped out the Alliance and Citadel fleets and had all the time in the galaxy to figure out a replacement for Saren to open the Citadel Relay. A single Reaper may well be more than a match for galactic civilization. And they are legion.
    • No, Legion is legion. Sovereign is Nazara.
    • I figured that the Saren-Husk was an act of desperation, and Sovereign realized it would lose eventually against the huge fleet that was rapidly collecting around it. Its best option was to go for gold on one last assault on Citadel Control.
    • This is explicitly pointed out by Vigil; for all their technology, the Reapers' true strength is in numbers; Sovereign is not invulnerable, and alone without the other Reapers, it can be overwhelmed in ship-to-ship combat. Notice that the Citadel is prevented from closing (presumably by Saren) before Sovereign reaches it, then closes after Sovereign is sitting on the tower? This is to protect it from the fleet while Saren works, otherwise there wouldn't have been enough time even without Shepherd; remember that Saren doesn't have Shepherd's magical data file from Vigil, and his intended use of the Conduit is to screw with the defenses in order to provide Sovereign with a window of opportunity. Once Sovereign commits to this attack, there's no going back; it has to open the relay, or it's dead.
    • After all, while you are opening the arms, you're also stopping Sovereign from opening the Conduit. If you don't stop that, the Reapers will all come through anyway. The Saren-Husk was trying to make stop your interference from opening the Conduit to allow the Reapers to pour through, which it would be incapable of doing as a large ship.
    • Point of fluff; the Conduit is not the Citadel relay, it's the Prothean-made mini-relay from Ilos to the Presidium. Other than that, this is pretty much correct; Sovereign can't do jack until Saren uses the Conduit to sneak into the Citadel while the Geth are shooting (and distracting) everything outside, and uses the master controls in the tower to give Sovereign control of the station; notice that Saren has, presumably because Sovereign has told him how, not only locked down the station's arms, but locked the mass relays themselves so reinforcements can't come in. Once Saren finishes, Sovereign can open the relay; but Shepard either convinces Saren to shoot himself or shoots him dead in combat, before Saren can transfer control to Sovereign, and he uses Vigil's file to open the relays so the Alliance can reach the Serpent Nebula, as well as opening the station so the fleet has a shot at Sovereign. At this point, Sovereign's only recourse is to take control of Saren's corpse and kill Shepard, because he needs someone inside the tower to give him control of the station, or he can't open the relay.
    • Regardless, Harbinger seems to have paid attention and released control before any conking happened to it.
    • Actually it seems that the Collectors' implants are just better suited for possession: you can conk Harbinger's puppets all day and get nothing out of him except THIS FORM IS IRRELEVANT.
    • Honestly, Harbinger never assumes "direct" control (heh). Throughout the entire game, he's using the Collector General as a relay. First Harbinger controls the Collector General, who then assumes a Collector. It seems that through this method, Harbinger avoids what happened when Saren-Husk was killed. Most telling is when the Station is about to explode; Harbinger cut the General lose before the explosion took him.
    • In essence, the Collector General is just one big surge protector.

     Synthetic biotics 
  • Why there's no biotic robot drones? Judging from the principles by which the biotic powers operate, it should actually be easier to make machines that emulate the powers than amplifiers that need to adapt to individual nervous systems. There is clearly no aversion to using armed VI drones in the various militaries, and even less aversion for weapons using mass effect fields, so why no-one thought to make an artificial device capable of producing biotic effects, instead of exposing people to eezo in utero?
    • In a way, those already exist. The Blackstorm is essentially a machine that can produce a supercharged version of an Adept's singularity. As for why there isn't more stuff like that, well, Drones are already tough as shit like that, and since the geth incident, not even the worst scum of the universe really want to play with advanced robots. So, while those xtra-drones are possible, probably nobody really wants to use them. After all, ballistic weaponry is something everyone knows how to deal with, while a sufficiently powerful biotic is essentially unstoppable. I mean, even a fucking thresher maw is helpless against stasis, while Geth Colossi learn how to fly whenever someone has level 12 lift.
    • Is it possible to recreate biotics artificially? All we know is that biotic implants allow one to channel the proper electrical charges to create biotic effects. To put that in a machine sounds like some kind of Organic Technology, and I don't remember seeing that in ME. Second, how effective would it really be? You've got an uber-drone that can use its major attack maybe once a minute. Unless it incapacitates everyone, it's going to get shot down before it gets off a second shot. Last, how expensive would this be? Geth drones get taken down by the handful even early on in the game, you wouldn't want your half-a-million-credit drone to get wasted by some guy with a sniper rifle before it has a chance to fire ó or worse, fire once and then get wasted.
    • There is nothing necessarily organic about biotics. It's simply electric manipulation of Element Zero to produce mass effect fields. Biotics as we know it uses amplified electric nervous signals to produce the desired effects, but technically it should actually be easier to create the same effects with electronic system that doesn't have the infinite variables of an organic nervous system. To simplify, electricity+eezo=mass effect field. A computer should be able to make the necessary calculations to direct the field, and there is no aversion to using VIs in either military or civilian applications - even the L4 biotic implants contain virtual intelligence systems!
    • Also, human biotic is always more expensive and harder to replace than a piece of high tech.
    • Expense is the killer here. Drones are built to be disposable, and have very, very, very, very tiny eezo cores - just enough to let them hover and maintain an energy shield. Equipping them with enough element zero nodes to simulate biotic effects would probably be prohibitively expensive, especially on a device built to be disposable. It's far cheaper to mount guns or small missile launchers on them. Besides, biotics are only truly effective on the special forces, infantry-on-infantry scale; they're not a really effective force multiplier on the large-scale mechanized warfare level that drones would be effective in. Note that biotics are almost exclusively relegated to special forces in every army in this setting anyway - even the most powerful biotics in the setting can barely mission-kill a single APC. It's probably cheaper just to train a naturally-developed biotic than build a drone specifically to use biotics, and the biotics-user will be a hell of a lot smarter than the drone due to AI restrictions. VIs are fast thinkers and processors, but that doesn't mean they can think on their own or adapt to changing circumstances.
    • The above is probably right; it would be expensive to outfit drones with biotics. Still, when considering the issue, I came to the realization that I was looking at it the wrong way. The issue isn't that machines may or may not be able to replicate biotics; it's that biotics are a way for organics to replicate effects usually achieved with machines. Barrier is virtually identical to conventional kinetic barriers (even after the differentiation made in ME 2 preview materials). Disruptor torpedoes already create a warp-like effect. Even drones use lift... it's just that they use it on themselves to achieve flight. True to its hard(ish) sci-fi setup, technology doesn't mimic the local flavor of magic, but rather, magic mimics technology. Machines don't use biotics because they're already built with the equipment to do the same things.
    • But this is the very point. Why aren't the same drones that manage to produce lift and shields also producing warp and throw attacks against the enemies? They're based on the same technology. I don't buy the cost-effectiveness explanation. A human biotic needs at least 20 years to grow up and be trained to use their powers. Before that they need to be exposed to eezo in utero, which most of the time just causes deformities or death. The training takes years and is extremely expensive, and may end with the new biotic going to private sector or rejecting their powers totally instead of joining army. That's after they've been installed with no less expensive implants. And then there's the matter of amplifiers that can break down or need upgrading...The costs are simply incredible for a single biotic individual who may or may not put his talents to desired use, and will take extremely long time to become useful, either way. A drone - or for that matter a non-autonomous weapon given to a specialist - costs only fraction of that, and will definitely perform the function it was intended for. Also, don't forget that as far as the actual eezo goes, it only requires trace elements in the nervous system to produce a biotic. Why would a machine need more?
    • Again, drones are disposable. Their entire purpose is to do jobs that are repetitive and dangerous. Equipping a drone with an element zero core of sufficient power to do the same things an organic biotic can do appears to be prohibitively expensive for something designed first and foremost to be disposable. After all, your standard drone has only enough eezo to handle its lift and shields. Having enough eezo to lift a comparatively lightweight drone would require only a very, very small amount; giving the drone enough element zero to allow it to exert that much force on its surroundings would require a hell of a lot more. And we don't really know about the size of an eezo core in a drone when compared with the eezo mass in an organic body, so we can't say how much eezo would be needed to pull off the same effects as that of an organic. It appears that the amount of eezo contained in an organic's body would be prohibitively expensive to put into what is essentially a disposable frame. And again, what value do biotic drones have that cannot be achieved with firearms? Biotic powers like throw and lift are only useful on the small-scale, special forces, infantry-on-infantry level. Drones are designed for large-scale battlefield applications. For the money one would spend on a biotic drone, you could probably produce hundreds of gun drones, which are going to be a hell of a lot more cost effective in combat. You probably could produce drones to generate biotic effects, but they're just going to not be as useful as a drone that can spam rocket-grenades, and it's going to cost a hell of a lot more.
    • There isn't just one kind of drone - they have numerous applications, not just one. Furthermore, there still is no indication that it would require significant amounts of eezo to produce biotic effects. As mentioned before, the amounts within a biotic nervous system are minute. Furthermore, lift and throw have serious applications in a firefight, as you'd know if you'd read Revelations. A favourite biotic tactic outside the game engine's limitations is to lift whatever the enemy is using for cover, allowing your squad to take them by surprise - and that's just one example. Again, comparing the costs of building a device with some expensive material are still significantly lower to the costs of raising and training a member of a tiny minority population to do the same job.
    • Also keep in mind that drones are much less durable than a trained biotic soldier. A biotic drone wouldn't be any harder to shoot down than standard support and rocket drones, so you've used more eezo to make a support weapon that's going to go down just as easily as the cheaper ones. On top of that, where is this idea that biotics are only "useful" in special forces coming from? Absolutely no such thing is said of Alliance biotics, all asari soldiers are trained to use their biotics, and the codex specifically notes that turian and salarian biotics are relegated to special forces because their species simply has an extremely low biotic occurrence, making them extremely finite resources. I find it hard to believe that biotics wouldn't be "that useful" as is being implied, that sentiment seems to come mostly from how much the second game nerfs biotics away from being the gamebreakers they are in the original. Like tech attacks and kinetic barriers, biotics would alter the fundamentals of gun combat, and this is another reason why you wouldn't want those abilities in drones; it's the same reason LOKI mechs don't replace frontline soldiers. You don't want a simple drone VI making decisions about how to nullify enemy cover, how to handle armor, which targets to prioritize with such things, etc.
    • Don't forget that there's another issue with using drones: network security. This is a setting where it is trivially easy for anyone with an omnitool and some reasonable tech training to override a drone's security systems and give it new targets. Hell, ME2 has at least three instances where mechanized units whose programming has been altered went on rampages. Drones can easily be reprogrammed, while organics can't.
    • Yeah, the ubiquitous nature of the omnitool is the real killer here. Any reasonably competent engineer can literally point, click, and turn all your drones against you, remotely, any time they want to. Now factor in the threat represented by rogue AI that can theoretically be assembled by any asshole with a grudge and off-the-shelf components, and then factor in the geth, who were and tweet electronic warfare. There's a reason why drones are not used in large numbers for conventional combat, because you don't want an enemy engineer to zap your drones and turn them against you. That's also why they don't use drones to replicate biotics and only trust biotics to relatively unhackable organics.
    • From what ME2 indicates, there's apparently a biochemical and organic requirement to pull off biotics as shown. They probably couldn't replicate that in a synthetic body. There's a reason why it's called biotics.
    • In addition, one of the prototype projects mentions using a VI to assist a biotic in improving their biotic effects. However, as each biotic is different, the VI also needs to be unique (or at least, learn over time how any given person does any particular effect). This suggests that making biotic fields requires some measure of adaptability that VIs just don't have. AIs, sure, but VIs, no.
    • Why would it be any more expensive to train biotics than regular soldiers? Look at the expense involved in modern military training. Right now, in the modern US military, each soldier can cost up to half a million dollars to train, and these are infantrymen. Hell, biotics might be cheaper to train than infantry; the majority of cost in training an infantryman comes from teaching him how to use various equipment - and every shot fired costs money. For example, the Javelin missile launcher features missiles that cost about ten thousand dollars each - and qualifying soldiers on the Javelin requires firing multiple missiles. And that's just qualifying on one weapon. This doesn't even factor in the costs of running the training facilities. Biotics, on the other hand, don't require expensive equipment to train on and they don't expend ammo, so a major cost in training is eliminated right there. Hell, you can easily train biotics by just driving out to a random part of the countryside or a junkyard and let them have at it. Can't do that with riflemen or weapons specialists.
    • Ok, today a modern U.S. soldier costs half a million to train. Now, how much would it increase the costs if the Armed Forces raised the children from birth, paid for their extensive medical costs while being raised because they're special, had to open a unique school equipped with an entire state of the art hospital and computer system, the staff to run said hospital and computer system, pay advanced teachers, and had to cloth and feed them extremely well. I'm willing to bet that such a system could easily be pushing billions of dollars initial investment, and numerous hundred millions or billions per year to run, all for classes sized less than a small high school. How much would that increase the price of one single Soldier?
    • Even assuming that training is cheap and easy- and Kaidan's accounts of Jump Zero suggest it is anything but- it would come on top of the basic military training a biotic soldier would need to go to war. Kaidan and Shepard, if s/he is a biotic, still have to know how to run around in full combat armor and fire a variety of weapons with the best of them. Biotics also have special dietary and medical needs. It all adds up.

    The Galaxy Map 
  • The Normandy has a small cargo hold, a tiny engine room, and the crew accommodations are two picnic tables and coffin shaped sleeping pods. Yet the ship has a huge holographic display of the galaxy taking up the center of the top deck. Just what every stealthy cool ship needs. A planetarium.
    • That holographic display is for the navigator. He likely needs the extra resolution. The commander having a cool view is just a side effect, I assure you.
    • Buy the navigator some goggles. We need the space.
    • The map is probably intended for everybody in the CIC for combat situations, so that anyone can see the tactical situation with a single glimpse and act accordingly. Since you don't participate in space combat, you just see it as a fancy map-screen.
    • The holographic display is the CIC. In combat situations, the captain stands where Shepard does during navigation and uses the display to filter incoming information, and issues orders. If you've ever seen an actual CIC, the rooms are generally pretty big compared with the rest of the ship.
    • In Mass Effect 2, unless you are standing in the proper position to use it, the Galaxy Map is replaced with a holographic overview of the ship, presumably the same one you get when using the elevator to move between floors. The floorplan is probably replaced with whatever displays and fancy lights they need during combat (in Mass Effect 1, an admiral who inspects the Normandy talks about how the CIC is turian-style, with the commander standing over and behind his subordinates, rather than human-style with the commander in the center of them — further confirming this).

    Reporting Kahoku's fate 
  • Why is it that you never get to report the fate of Admiral Kahoku to Alliance Command? Shouldn't they be very concerned about the disappearance of such a high-ranking officer? Or, for that matter, the nefarious Cerberus activities you discover during the first game.
    • I assume the Alliance military is aware that a high-ranking officer disappeared. Or, more likely, Cerberus arranged some sort of "accident" that took Kahoku out without anyone being suspicious. If Shepard reports this in, he might get targeted by Cerberus itself, and seeing as how he's trying to prevent the END OF THE WORLD, it's more important he get on Saren's ass and find the Conduit.
    • Dude, did you not even pay attention during the Ceberus sidequests? Once you complete the final Cerberus-wrecking mission, Shepard is getting ready to forward all the Cerberus data to the Alliance when the Shadow Broker's agent contacts him/her. There's no reason to believe he/she didn't send the report afterwards. And the rest of the game makes it quite clear that whenever Shepard does something, she/he is sending reports back to whomever's relevant. It simply happens off-screen, because it's not that fun to sit around for an hour typing up a report after every mission. Also, the Alliance is informed of Kahoku's death; one of the elevator news broadcasts after you clear that mission mentions Kahoku's death.
    • It seems I misremembered it, but I am still sure you never get an acknowledgement from command about your activities against Cerberus. It is strange that Admiral Hackett never calls to talk about it the way he does for several other sidequests. And the news report states that Kahoku died of natural causes, suggesting a cover-up. Maybe the second game will reveal exactly what relationship Cerberus has with the Systems Alliance.
    • A news report overheard during the second game indicates that (assuming you made the relevant choices in the first game) Dr. Wayne's trial for allegedly being a member of Cerberus who allegedly experiments on Corporal Toombs is still dragging through the courts, it's publically believed that Admiral Kahoku's death was a Cerberus hit but again there's no proof, and in general the Illusive Man is suffering a couple of minor PR hits but has managed to successfully bury all the evidence. Yet again.

    The Shifty Looking Cow 
  • On Ontarom, there's that Shifty Looking Cow that steals your credits when you have your back turned to it. Wait, what? Credits are an electronic currency, according to the Codex. You mean to tell me that a cow managed to jack my omnitool, hack into whatever futuristic banking system the galaxy uses, and siphon off my cash? Where's it going to, anyways? Is he in cahoots with that AI on the Citadel?
    • The Shifty Looking Cow possesses the same space-and-time altering abilities that the Reapers do. The Reapers use it to convince galactic leaders that Sovereign was just a geth warship and that they are a myth. The Shifty Looking Cow uses it to nick your stuff.
    • They use credit chits as a form of cash. I guess that the Shep had some loose chits on her.
    • It's an easter egg. Try not to think about it.

    Wrex and the rachni 
  • Why doesn't Wrex know what a rachni looks like?
    • Why would Wrex know what a rachni looks like? It's not like he's fought them before, even krogan don't live for three thousand years. The only place he might've seen a rachni is in a history book (or the futuristic equivalent) and he's the least likely of your teammates to have read one. Wrex is old, but he's not that old.
    • The rachni were officially declared extinct in AD 300. Wrex's father was said to be a veteran of the Krogan Rebellions (c. AD 700), and it is vaguely implied that Wrex was born right at the end of that time period. Based on that, Wrex was born after the rachni exited the interests of the Council. Other possible explanations: (a) the rachni on Noveria looked significantly different than the rachni that the krogan fought, (b) memory degradation over the course of almost two millennia, or (c) Wrex recognized the rachni but was keeping silent for some personal motive.
    • Or he just refused to believe they were rachni. They've been extinct for two thousand years, they can't possibly be rachni. Until one of the scientists admitted that they were.

    The Mass Effect Squad mates after your death in Mass Effect 2 
  • Why aren't your squad mates doing anything about the Reapers after your death? They saw for themselves what Sovereign was and what he is capable of, and I'm assuming they knew more Reapers would be on the way after the Battle of the Citadel. So why, in ME2, are they all off working on their own agendas instead of doing something, ANYTHING in preparation for the Reaper threat?
    • What can one person (or a small group of people) do against a numberless horde of sentient starships? The old Normandy crew had very little pull with their own species, and once the Council tries to hush everything up, who's going to believe them? But you're ignoring two facts: one, Wrex does do what he can to fight against the Reapers, namely by uniting the krogan. Liara, meanwhile, does everything she can to recover Shepard - she's the reason he's still fighting in the second game. We don't know if Garrus or Tali tried anything, but it's likely. I imagine Garrus being brushed aside by C-Sec and being told there are more important things to worry about, and Tali getting a similar treatment from the Admiralty Board. "Reapers? What about the geeeeettttthhhhhh???!?!!!?! We'll fight them after we've exterminated the toasters!" As for Ash/Kaiden, they're marines. They do what they're told to.
    • It's painfully obvious that the species of the setting are too wrapped up in internal business to properly prepare for the coming war. For example: the second novel states that the quarian reaction to the Reapers was basically: "We can totally use these against the geth!! Let's go find one!!" Your former crew members simply don't have enough influence or resources to change that fact. It seems Shepard will need to pull a good number more miracles by Mass Effect 3 for the galaxy to stand a chance.
    • If I recall correctly, talking to the quarian admirals reveals that they do at least acknowledge the existence of the Reapers and perhaps even understand that they pose a threat.
    • Both Dr. Chakwas and Joker mention that the crew pretty much fell apart after Shepard's death - if you share a drink with Chakwas, she'll tell you that Shepard was The Heart of the team. Without him/her, they lost focus.
    • And whoís to say none of the crew didn't get anything done? If anything, Wrex taking the initiative any making big leaps in uniting the krogan under one banner showed a lot of foresight on his part.
    • Whoever survives Virmire is still an Alliance officer. Wrex is doing something about the Reaper threat — albeit indirectly — by uniting the krogan. Depending on your dialogue choices with him, Garrus either re-applies for C-Sec or for the Spectres, but fails. Liara is more worried about the fate of Shepard's body, knowing that she can't do anything about the Reapers by herself. Tali has just finished her Pilgrimage and joined a Migrant Fleet ship; it would take a long time for her to be able to influence the quarians, despite being the daughter of an Admiral; not to mention that at that point, they still haven't reached a consensus regarding how to deal with the geth.

  • Doing the chat with the Terra Firma candidate as a Renegade has always bugged me. Even the most Renegade of my Shepards is never a racist, but the choices in that talk are limited to Paragon: 'I respectfully disagree', and Renegade: 'Yeah, you're right, aliens suck.' Why, oh why can't you punch him like Kalisa?
    • A) Saricino is a politician, and even though you're a Spectre, he can make your life hell. Al-Jilani is just a reporter with obvious bias. B) Saricino never tries to twist your words, make you look bad, or belittle you in front of a camera. He just asks for your support.
    • But you're fully empowered to make stupid decisions or overreact in other parts of the game. You can shake down Emily Wong for extra credits, slamming her against a wall, despite the fact that she has been nothing but courteous to you and is quite enthusiastic about repaying the favor—and she's a respected reporter who could probably at least seriously inconvenience you if not spoil your career if she chose to air that little tete-a-tete. Anyway, the punching specifically isn't so much the point, though it would satisfy a visceral pleasure quite neatly. Point is, if you don't want your character to be a racist, your pigeonholed into polite disagreement. But maybe I'm a Renegade with an asari girlfriend, or maybe I just came from Virmire, or I'm just otherwise feeling temperamental and in no mood to deal with racist bull. It'd be nice to at least have the option to tell him to go to hell.
    • Except Al-Jilani is still a reporter. Saracino is a major politician. Beating up a major politician is a Very Bad Idea.
    • Honestly, I don't agree that hitting a politician is a worse idea than hitting a reporter, (at least when you're virtually immune to legal prosecution) but this is becoming natter, so let's move past that. The heart of the matter is that it bugs me that a non-racist Shep must be ultimately courteous to Saracino, and I can't at least say 'screw you.'


  • For that matter, I wish I could punch Pressly, too, because his racism has apparently made him delusional. When you tell him the aliens on the ship are 'on our side', he responds, "They said the same thing about Nihlus, and look how that turned out." Uh, yeah, Nihlus got murdered in the line of duty, fighting on our side!
    • You might live to regret that come ME2. Not only does Pressly get killed, you find his private logs, which shows that he does a complete 180. He concludes that he would die for any member of the Normandy's crew, regardless of what world they were born on.
    • Pressly is one of your crew. A commanding officer who goes around punching his crew for expressing their opinions - especially after asking them for their opinions, which is the only way you're going to get Pressly to express his views on aliens - is an incredibly bad CO.
    • Point of clarification: I'm not actually complaining about not being able to punch him; that was hyperbole. I'm complaining about the fact that the statement was completely nonsensical. Nihlus was on our side, and never did anything to suggest otherwise. Our enemy is the guy who killed him!
    • I think this is an issue of "they all look the same." A turian Spectre went down to the planet to help us. A turian Spectre betrayed the Council on the planet, and left preparing to destroy the universe. The fact that they are two different turian Spectres really doesn't matter to Pressly. And even if he were convinced there were two different Spectres, he'd probably claim that the two turian Spectres were actually working together during the entire Eden Prime thing. Because they're turians. Why wouldn't they be on the same side?
    • And, just to throw it out there, there is the fact that Nihlus got wasted because he trusted a fellow turian. Even if Pressly doesn't believe Nihlus was a traitor, he could still believe that aliens would simply be useless as allies to humanity, because hey, look at how elite turian super agent ended up when the enemy was also a turian. Who knows if the aliens on your crew who are supposed to be watching your back will also let down their guard when confronted with a member of their own species.
    • Honestly, the fact that they were both Spectres had more to do with Nihilus's fate than their race. Nihilus himself states that he doesn't care about race so much as credentials; Pressly has no justification there.
    • ^ True, but I don't think Pressly ever talked to Nihlus, and he didn't see what happened on the ground, so he probably just made up a version of events that fit his own biases. The question being asked isn't really whether Pressly is justified in what he said, just whether or not his statement about Nihlus makes any amount of sense. Pressly is still wrong, but from that viewpoint what he's saying isn't 'completely nonsensical'.
    • I see where Pressley is coming from with this statement. Pressley already has a bias against aliens before the incident that aliens couldn't be trusted. The fact that Nihlus was betrayed by one of his own kind, and a Spectre at that, is basically making Pressley think: "We trusted Turians on this mission. Look at what happened as a result! Nihlus was killed by one of his own allies who now works with the Geth! If he betrayed his own friend then what would the rest of them do to humanity as a whole?" He basically applies Sarens act of betrayal to how he views aliens entirely.
    • Alternate explanation: the line was supposed to say "Saren" and either the writer or voice actor messed up.
    • Which totally makes sense, because Nihlus has a really evil-sounding name. In fact, I'd be surprised if at the start of the game, given that Nihlus is the first Turian you see (and they are pretty evil-looking race, to players who haven't met Garrus yet) and given his name, most players didn't assume that he would be the one betraying you.

    Problems with turians but not quarians 

  • Minor oddity: in the first game, Ashley and Admiral Mikhaelovich both complain about allowing alien nationals access to Alliance technology. Both single out Garrus and Wrex, of course; if Liara is on your crew, the Admiral will also mention her. But neither one of them says a peep about Tali, despite the fact that A) her race is canonically one of the most discriminated against in the galaxy, and B) she's literally poking around the Normandy's most advanced systems (well, Shepard can bring it up if s/he's an ass).
    • Eh, Mikhalovich has reason to have the hate-on for turians and krogan. One has been an enemy of the Alliance, the other is, well, krogan. The issue with asari is probably also understandable - asari are part of the Citadel, and Mikhalovich doesn't like them. Quarians are different - after all, the quarians are at war with the geth, making them nominally the Alliance's allies - or at least from Mikhailovich's perspective. Quarians may also be hated by other species, but humans don't necessarily have the same preconceptions about them. If anything, I would be surprised if humans weren't fairly sympathetic towards the quarians for their situation. After all, the quarians are separate from the Citadel, independent, and their own nation of refugees. They're not "enemies" like the Citadel species are.
    • The Codex mentions that the Alliance has no official policy towards the Quarians, as they have yet to have any real contact with them, since the Migrant Fleet has yet to visit a Human system.
    • Part of the Renegade Shepard shtick is a certain level of xenophobia. Just look at the dialogue choices during Shepard's speech after Anderson gives up the Normandy to him/her. Or, in the second game, how the Renegade choices are usually more congruent with the Illusive Man's opinions (and of Cerberus in general, by extension).

    Quarians-Evo Suits and the flotila 
  • Tali herself mentions that quarians need to wear the evosuits outside of their ships because living on the clean ships for so long weakened their immune systems, this in and of itself makes sense. What bothers me is the fact that even though by this logic they don't need their suits while on the flotilla, later conversations say that they do in fact need their suits on the flotilla. This makes no sense, if their immune systems weakened from being on the ships (presumably not in evo suits to begin with) then they shouldn't need their suits while ON the ships.
    • This was already explained further up the page. The quarians wear their suits because the Migrant Fleet offers no privacy whatsoever, so quarians find that privacy in their suits. It's a cultural/psychological thing. Also, if an air scrubber suddenly malfunctions - entirely possible - or a virus or bacteria - again, possible - gets into the ship, the suits will protect them. There are a very small number of "clean ships" on the Flotilla where the quarians can walk around with no suit on perfectly safely because they're kept absolutely sterile.
    • Sorry, but no. Tali (or any quarian, for that matter) has never said that the suits give them privacy.
    • Someone has not read Mass Effect: Ascension; it goes fairly in-depth into quarian society. The issue on quarians seeking privacy inside their suits is explained there.
    • Hmm. I actually have read Ascension, and had completely forgotten that detail. It still makes little sense to me, though.
    • Not trying to sound insulting, but that part was kind of hard to miss. Anyway, if it helps, they're aliens. They have an alien culture.
    • Well, it was a long time ago. It must be some psychological thing though, logically it makes little sense. So they can't see your face, so what? And they do have their own small areas on their ships to call home.
    • Because we all know that having a tiny area to return to makes up for spending all of their time totally surrounded by hundreds of others. Having those suits separates them from each other on a psychological level and likely allows them to adjust to such cramped quarters. The quarians never admit to such, but they likely aren't even consciously aware of it anymore.
    • And don't forget that even those tiny "private" living-spaces aren't really private; they are typically shared by families of four or five. The only place they can be truly alone is inside their suits. This is also one of the reasons why the linking of suits is such an intimate sign of trust.
    • They are also allergic to each others. Codex in ME 2 states that if Quarians want to reproduce, they go to special clean ships, that are 100% sterile and still spend at least week having an allergic reaction. So it's not only privacy, it's also their immune system rejecting everything that doesn't come from the body.

    Migrant Fleet's relay 

  • So why is there a Relay near the Migrant Fleet in the second game? Or a refueling station for that matter? The solar system they're in has no planets, and Relays are presumably built in close proximity to a sentient species or any planets that could possibly support sentient life.
    • The Relays were built ages ago. What was a solar system capable of supporting sentient life when one was constructed could be incapable of supporting life now.
    • And as shown by the Mu relay, they also get around a fair bit too.

    Citadel's defenses 
  • According to the Codex, the Citadel is all but impregnable while its arms are closed. This would mean the outside of the wards is stronger than the inside or the Presidium, otherwise it'd just be impregnable all the time. The problem with that is that the bottom of the Citadel, where the tower's base stands, is an open ring. Pretty much any ship, even the remarkably large Sovereign, would have enough room to get in and potentially move around as if the arms were still open. Closing the wards only buys the time necessary to go around them.
    • Except we can very, very, VERY clearly see the opening at the "ring" is closed when the Citadel closes its arms during Sovereign's attack. Observe here in this video at 2:04.
    • The Presidium ring is the "base" of the Citadel when the Citadel is open. We've seen action while the Citadel is closing, but we've never seen what the outside of the Citadel looks like when it's closed. Based on this picture there are two ways I see it closing. Either A) the arms close forward, and the inside of the Presidium ring (where the elevator to the tower is) holds a giant disc that closes to complete the fortress; Or B) The arms close backwards, enveloping the Presidium ring towards the center of the cylinder, making the 'hole' effectively disappear. I think option B is more likely.
    • Option B. Observe the above video; you can see sections of the Wards have moved back behind the Presidium ring when the Citadel closed.
    • Watch this video (same as above) at 1:15. See those pointy things extending from the tip of the wards? If you look close they are moving... they fold back when the citadel is fully open. If you look at one of the in game images of the citadel (I don't remember if itís a loading screen or landing on the citadel vid or the citadel in the galaxy map) you can see these fully retracted so just the very point extends over the edge of the wards... and the image shows these same are in the back of the citadel too. It has these on both ends.
    • We see a fully closed Citadel in ME3. The "bottom" is sealed too. No opening anywhere.

    Quarian Population 
  • Tali states that due to the fleet's lack of resources, families are only allowed to have one child. Anybody can easily see that this would cause the population to be cut in half every generation. Considering they have a population of 17 million at the time of the game (according to the codex), and they have been under this population rule for 300 years, that would mean that for the math to add up, their original number when they started living under this rule would have to be unrealistically high. I don't have a proper calculator to do doubling time equations to figure this out, however, I estimate that if the population was halved every year for 300 years, their original population would have to be in well the trillions (or even higher) for the math to work out (of course, this is just a rough guess). This is of course impossible, especially since this population number would be of those who did not die in the war with the geth.
    • She also states that if the population is in decline, the rule is relaxed.
    • This still makes little sense. If anything, the rule should be a maximum of two children, to keep the population at the same level.
    • No. You must not have paid attention when Tali was talking about the quarians. She specifically says that the quarians alter their restrictions on childbearing to fit the needs of the fleet; at the point where she left, there was a one child only rule. She also outright says that if the Fleet's population is getting too low, they allow multiple births and offer incentives to quarian families raising multiple children. The notion that they've been under the one-child-only rule for three hundred years is both incorrect and ridiculous.
    • Don't mean to sound insulting, but it's blatantly obvious that they alter the rule as needed to maintain the population. Why do you assume a two child maximum at all times? That's completely arbitrary, and makes zero sense.
    • You also have to consider that, just as in real life, there are probably several parents who blatantly disregard the rule to have more children anyway, not to mention the possibility of accidental pregnancy (although given the mass of problems surrounding their suits, this is probably much less common). Ultimately though, the rule is adjusted based on need, keeping it at one per family in cases of overcrowding or offering incentives during population decline.
    • The hilarious fact here is that in the exact same conversation involving the one child only rule, one line later Tali outright says that they adjust the rule for periods where population is too low. I'm terribly amused and confused that OP managed to miss that.
    • The reason the one child rule is the default is that their population is already incredibly dense, resulting in four or five people in every room. This problem leads the psychological component of everyone wearing their suits all the time as discussed in an above IJBM.
    • Your biggest mistake was thinking that their population would halve every year. That means that Quarians would have to be born, mate, give birth and die all within one year. Quarians have children around 30, and die around 120. so by the time 2 parents die, 3 generations of Quarians have been born. Your math is extremely skewed.
    • I was going to say the same thing. So, by OP's original calculations, adjusting for a 30 year generation instead of a 1 year generation, that's 10 generations in 300 years, not 300 generations. Those are still really high numbers, considering that the quarians are allegedly in the millions during the trilogy, but not ridiculously high.

    What does Lorik Qui'in want with the evidence? 
  • Anoleis clearly wants the evidence so he can destroy it and protect his good name. The Internal Affairs woman want to send Anoleis to jail. But why does Lorik want it? He was hesitant to take the evidence to court, and there doesn't seem to be any other reason to want evidence against somebody unless you're going to use it.
    • Anoleis was extorting money from the various corporations on Noveria. Qui'in was going to use it to blackmail Anoleis into leaving him and Synthetic Insights alone.
    • Lorik uses the evidence to blackmail Anoleis and then become the new administrator of Hanshan. If you give him the evidence, then you come back later and chat with him, he's become the new administrator. (Note that he won't be the administrator if you have Anoleis and Parasini kill each other - apparently he can't blackmail someone who's dead.)
    • Hmm, I may be wrong, but doesn't he only become Administrator if you give the evidence to Parasini? The appointment of the Administrator would be dependent on the Board of Directors, Anoleis shouldn't just be able to hand it over to him.
    • No, you have to give the information directly to Lorik to make him Administrator. If you give it to Parasini he'll reluctantly testify, but that's it. If you kill Anoleis and Parasini, he has no further use for the information at all.
    • How do you kill them? The most I've seen is Parasini arresting Anoleis, and he angrily insults her. I've never seen them actually attack each other.
    • You tell Anoleis that Parasini is investigating him (you get the data, Parasini tells you who she is, you go to Anoleis, tell him who she is). He calls her in, then there's a gun fight.
    • There's a good chance he becomes admin of Hanshan anyway.
    • It's Noveria. As Parasini put it, the one rule is "Don't rock the boat". Everything, and everyone, else is fair game. In Mass Effect 2, if you decided to give the evidence to Qui'in, he does become administrator.

  • So the title of "Spectre" in the Mass Effect universe is short for "SPECial Tactics and REconnaissance". The term was used long before humans were even around, and yet it somehow just happens to translate into the English word "spectre" perfectly? That's a ridiculous coincidence.
    • Not exactly. The title of the office means something different in other languages; when the Citadel encountered humanity, they programmed the translators to translate the term into an acronym suitable for the human language. A good comparison here is, say the Japanese Self Defense Forces. There's an English acronym for them and a Japanese one, despite the fact that the Japanese don't use acronyms. So, most likely the asari simply translated their word for that particular office into a suitable term in the various human languages.
    • The language everyone is speaking isn't English, it's Basic. The Basic word for SPECTRE is the same for everyone.
    • No. Universal Translators translate whatever language each person is speaking into English (or whatever language Shepard speaks). There is no galactic standard to communication, and if there were, it would be asari or turian.
    • Dude, go re-read the Codex. There's a galactic trade language to specifically get around the problem that every race has hundreds to thousands of distinct languages. I have my doubts as to whether Shepard can speak it, but it's supposed to be very simple — if you're going to be working with other races, then it would pay to be able to speak in a universal tongue.
    • Yes, there is a "trade language." But to claim the Council uses it during their proceedings is dubious, as the trade language was made primarily for trade, because it is a simplified language in itself.

    Luna and the Mako 
  • Is it just me, or does the Mako have the same gravity on Luna, Earth's moon, as on all of the other planets? If a bunch of fictional planets want to have the same gravity, I can deal with that, but why does the Mako seem to fall as quickly on Luna as it does everywhere else, including a number of planets that don't always share densities, radii, or much of anything else?
    • I've never had this experience. I mean, I have experiences where the Mako does seem fall at different rates depending on the planet I'm on. Specifically: Presrop. But I'm almost certain that I'm seeing things...
    • The Mako has a mass effect generator to make it "lighter" and increase its mobility. Presumably, the generator is dialed down on low-gravity worlds/moons to save power. As a result, the Mako seems to fall at the same rate no matter what planet it's on.
    • Incorrect. Mass effect fields only modify the mass of an object, and its weight is still based on the gravitational force of the planet itís on. Galileo showed that objects of the different masses fall at the same rate when neglecting gravity, hence gravity on earth being considered a constant in physics. The eezo core only decreases the mass of the Mako to reduce the impact force on the ground and hence energy dispersed and damage done to the vehicle. The identical acceleration rate on all planets is likely an oversight.
    • Programming it (and isn't the gravity constant for when you're on foot as well?) would likely be a pain to get right and make everything less fun. It's Gameplay and Story Segregation.

    Holding back the Alliance and turian ships to go after Sovereign 
  • One argument I often hear in favor of sacrificing the Destiny Ascension, the Council, and the ship's 10,000 occupants (I don't remember, was that mentioned in the first game?), is that you can instead use the Alliance ships that were to be sacrificed to save the Ascension, to instead go after Sovereign. Before any of that happens, you as the player watch Sovereign just plow through another ship like it was nothing (around 1:47). Knowing this as the player (even though Shepard himself may not have seen this and thus couldn't use this to make a decision), I would begin asking myself if any number of additional ships would have been enough to harm Sovereign at the time.
    • Since Shepard probably didn't see the nonchalant ship-ramming, should s/he simply assume that Sovereign is an ordinary ship, if a very big one, that can be blown to bits with enough firepower? I don't remember if Sovereign's impenetrable shields get a mention prior to Joker going in for the kill after Saren dies (and the fate of the Destiny Ascension has already been decided).
    • My question inverts itself after Saren dies — no matter whether you sacrificed the Arcturus fleet to save the Destiny Ascension or held them back "just in case," Sovereign still gets destroyed just as easily, and those extra ships were effectively not needed anyway. In the end you either have several thousands dead, or a few more thousands dead on top of that, three of whom were the most powerful people in Citadel space if not the galaxy, along with an allied fleet that's been effectively cut in half with the loss of one ship. If the two choices were meant to be justifiable in their own ways, shouldn't they have gone something like this — "You chose to save the Ascension, so in the meantime, the ships you lost were unable to save a secondary target that would have somehow been savednote  if you had reserved the fleet for Sovereign?"
    • In ME2, in your interview with al-Jilani, the Paragon option reveals that tens of thousands of humans died to save the DA. You sacrificed many lives in order to retain a stable, racially balanced, extremely stupid government.
    • Tens of thousands of humans? "The Turians lost 20 cruisers. Figure each had a crew of around 300. The Ascension - the Asari dreadnought we saved - had a crew of nearly 10,000." (1:05) "The Alliance lost eight cruisers." So unless those cruisers were much bigger and higher-staffed than the Turian cruisers, it would have been nothing like exchanging tens of thousands of lives for three. I'm guessing 8400 (28 cruisers * 300 occupants/each) versus 10,000.
    • That's why it's a renegade decision. Renegade Shepard puts the needs of humans/the Alliance above other races. Also, Renegade Shepard acts impulsively, and is probably more than happy to let the Council die. Add that to the fact that Shepard doesn't know how many Alliance ships will go down (you find out 8 ships after the fact, but that doesn't help Shep when he's making the decision before the fact) and you've got a pretty good reason to make that decision.
    • Besides, that doesn't answer my question. Though Shepard wouldn't have seen this happen, what good would it have done to hold back the Alliance fleet to go after Sovereign if Sovereign can just ram or blow up enemy ships (until its shields go down while it's implanted on the Citadel)? As for the government itself, it was certainly hard to work with, but considering its greatest agent just became a traitor and its rookie agent is one of a handful of people in the entire galaxy who can actually back up the things he says, I wouldn't call its actions in the first game "extremely stupid."
    • Keep in mind that Shepard's in a race against time: the file Vigil gave you doesn't lock Sovereign out of the Citadel's systems permanently. By preserving the Alliance fleet (at the cost of the Destiny Ascension), you bring more firepower to bear on the Reaper and ostensibly hasten its destruction.
    • Not to mention, Shep is working with (somewhat) limited knowledge of Sovereign and its combat capabilities. It doesn't really matter what the end result of either choice is, Shepherd can only function with the information at hand, and has to make the decision to devote ships to protecting the council, or making an effort at taking out Sovereign with conventional firepower. Not to mention, as previously mentioned several times on the page, Renegade option Shep is just a total dick, and the council has been annoying him/her for most of the game now. As for whether Alliance ships would be effective against a reaper, Sovereign seems to make a good battering ram, but at that point there's no reason to assume it can't be downed from slightly longer range. It seemed to have taken those first ships by surprise, I'd imagine multiple Alliance frigates and cruisers could maintain enough range to pummel it from afar if it had come down to that.
    • However, even the most Renegade of Shepards should know at least the following facts: the need to ask the Destiny Ascension about what they're up against (ie force strength of the geth ships), force strength of the Alliance 5th Fleet, and relative strength of 5th Fleet compared to X number of geth ships - he should know that the human fleet will end up curbstomping the geth if he chooses to save the Destiny Ascension. Furthermore, holding the fleet back makes no tactical sense - we are explicitly told that holding the fleet back means it's sitting there and doing nothing while waiting for the Citadel's arms to open and expose Sovereign, which means as far as the space battle is concerned, it's only Citadel fleet vs geth. All saving the Destiny Ascension does is basically have all of Team Milky Way's assets combine to take on half of Team Reaper's assets, then the other half, which even a Modern Major General would tell you is far superior to letting half your own guys take on half their guys, hope their guys don't win, then send half your guys to deal with (what hopefully is only) the other half of their guys.
    • Well, in the long run you would be right. In the short to medium run two objections to that theory being necessarily true: first, holding back means having time for correctly asserting the overall situation more precisely, maybe giving you some edge with improved tactics adapted for this situation. Second, especially in a Sci Fi setting like this, you may need a threshold of strength to be able to get to the Sovereign at all - often it is more effective to use all your force against one point and not be entangled elsewhere but leave it (hopefully) for later. That being said, abandoning the council is clearly renegade, but we must always remember, as someone has already stated, that Shepard does not know that the Alliance fleet is strong enough to accomplish both ends, and destroying the Sovereign is more important than destroying the Geth fleet - basically that could be done by incoming citadel fleets later, while it is not sure they could take on the Sovereign anew. Wouldn't be of help for the council or the alliance or Shepard, but in the overall view that would be an easier task to be left to later enforcements for the good of the galaxy.

     The turret on the Mako 
  • Somewhat petty but thoroughly annoying - why does the turret on the Mako have such poor elevation controls, to the point that being on a very shallow slope will be able to throw the accuracy of the thing off to the familiar sight of hitting the top of a mountain in the distance? I can appreciate the need for it to be as low as possible to the hull so as little as possible is exposed in a fight, but to the point it cannot aim down at all? I'm fairly sure modern armoured vehicles can aim their turrets down and the very principle of a 'hull down' position requires it... you'd have thought 150 years on they would have improved on this staple of armoured combat doctrine, not forgotten about it. It just bugs me that you have to expose your entire vehicle to enemy fire in order to fight back. Especially when you're nearly always outnumbered and out-gunned.
    • It makes sense if you consider that the Mako is not really supposed to be a tank so much as it is a light infantry vehicle. For its intended purpose, it works just fine, providing a light, fast, relatively all-terrain vehicle that can carry a fire team and support them. To that end, it looks like the Mako was built to be both cheap and as small and lightweight as possible - probably why its armor can't repel more than a couple of infantry rockets and is vulnerable to small arms. The turret looks like it was designed to be as small and limited as possible while still mounting a light anti-armor gun and machinegun, so they probably deliberately skimped on the movement and elevation machinery to keep it light. It's not built for fighting in a hull down position. Keep in mind that throughout the game, we do encounter what looks like an actual armored fighting vehicle with a much larger turret that rises up from the top of the vehicle, and probably has a much more effective firing arc, and in the second game there's a lot of larger, heavier AP Cs that appear to be designed for heavier combat (i.e. the tank-like vehicles in Hock's garages during Kasumi's mission). The Mako's limitations are most likely due to its role as an extremely light, cheap recon/fireteam support vehicle.
    • What I don't get is how an all-terrain vehicle could flip so easily?
    • That's because the ME1 physics engine is very bad at handling the Mako.
    • The most egregious problem with the Mako is the turret's limited elevation, when almost every single place you can use it features very rugged, steep terrain. As for the other vehicles, we should probably be thankful that we did not get saddled with one. We only ever encounter a couple of them that aren't smoking wrecks.
    • Most of my complaint is really aimed at the controls/physics of the thing, but it does seem a touch foolish for the Alliance to send their first human Spectre against 'armies' in what is effectively an armoured car. Not a massive issue compared to some of the others on this page and Bioware did fix it in the sequel by removing it, so I guess I can't moan too much.
    • Shepard is operating a small commando team aboard a light stealth frigate. Shepard isn't supposed to be fighting armies; s/he is fighting platoon-sized elements of enemy forces in small-scale confrontations. The Mako is perfectly suited for the kind of operations Shepard is expected to engage in, and is usually overkill for a lot of the enemies s/he faces.
    • Or perhaps they all sank their research budget into the tires to give them the insane traction that allows you to climb an 80 degree incline covered in sheer ice.
    • You should also remember that the Mako has very strong shields; it can shrug off several direct hits from a Geth Colossus, and even when damaged can be very easily field-repaired for the equivalent of three guns worth of omni-gel. The turret is also extremely powerful; capable of bringing down Thresher Maws with repeated hits and killing multiple infantry units in one shot. Given some of the stunts you can pull with it (speaking as a PC player here, FYI), the vehicle is overall an exceptional piece of equipment and perfectly suited for the kind of operations the 'Normandy'' undertakes. Calling it a glorified APC is a bit silly.

    The asari on Feros 
  • So, when you go to the Rift Station on Noveria and confront Matriarch Benezia, she's completely under Saren's control, and even though she desperately wants to fight it, she can only do it for a few minutes. Try to save her after fighting her and she'll say that you can't, that she'd only end up betraying you and doing his bidding again, because of the indoctrination. Sad, but it makes sense. But when you go to Feros and save her disciple Shiala from the Thorian, Shiala is fine. She's perfectly sane, she isn't at all struggling with the indoctrination, and she's easily able to make the decision to stay on Zhu's Hope and help the colonists. How is it that a young asari, who would have had nowhere near the mental acuity of the matriarch she followed and who would have joined Saren's crew at the same time as Benezia, was able to shrug off the indoctrination that drove Benezia to what basically amounted to suicide by cop so that she wouldn't have to do Saren's bidding anymore?
    • See the WMG folder on the Thorian. Basically: Sequel Hook.
    • The Thorian appears to be capable of overriding indoctrination. We know from the description of indoctrination in the second game that indoctrination is a physical alteration to the individual's nervous system. The Thorian appears to do something similar to Shiala, but in the opposite direction. We can conclude that theoretically, indoctrination can be cured if you've got the technology to implement large-scale neural reconstruction. Presumably, technology like what was used in the Lazarus Project might be able to cure indoctrination, but only by completely rebuilding the subject's nervous system to what it was before the indoctrination took hold. The Thorian, being an incredibly powerful and ancient lifeform that is capable of some other truly bizarre and impressive feats of biological engineering might be able to do that - in fact, I would bet it can, considering how Shiala was used as a terminal to translate the Cipher into a format that Saren could comprehend.
    • ME3 confirms this - while she's still technically indoctrinated, the leftover remnants of the Thorian's influence is able to override it and ensure that her mind is still her own. (According to the game, this makes her the only known person to have overcome indoctrination.)
    • Another explanation could be that the Thorian essentially indoctrinated Shiala which overrode her original indoctrination and the second indoctrination ceased due to the death of the Thorian.
    • Or it could be that since Benezia is a powerful and highly intelligent Matriarch that Sovereign had to indoctrinate her more than Shiala.
    • From Shiala's dialogue, I presumed that only Benezia was subjected to indoctrination, and that her followers simply, well, followed her lead unquestioningly, in spite of having noticed that her initial goal had been sidetracked.

     Ashley Williams and Charles Saracino/the Terra Firma party 
  • (This really can go well with the "Xenophobia" thread above, but I wasn't sure whether to just place it there or not.) I've never bought Ashley's justifications for not trusting aliens. Her (human) grandfather surrendered in a war started by humans who were poking around mass relays willy-nilly, and her (human) superiors gave her crummy postings from then on out. Thus, she's "no fan of aliens," which she will gladly tell you on the planet Horizon in Mass Effect 2, at a time when you probably have two aliens standing right next to you, one of whom could very well be someone Ashley knows from Mass Effect 1 (since Tali isn't yet recruitable at that point).
    • The First Contact War was started by the turians, not the humans. The turians fired on and destroyed a peaceful exploration fleet and occupied a human colony. Why? Because the humans were violating a law they could not possibly have known about and didn't apply to them anyway because they were not part of the Citadel at that time.
    • Just because they don't know about the law, doesn't make their actions any safer. A problem caused by accident is still a problem.
    • No, but it does mean the turian response was completely unjustified. It would be like trying to stop a young child from feeding a wild alligator by shooting him in the head. The fact that the kid is too young to know not to feed wild alligators doesn't make his actions any safer, but does that justify the method used to stop him? No, it doesn't. The turians (so far as we know) didn't even try to contact the human vessel and warn them of the danger of activating uncharted mass relays. And no, the language barrier would not have stopped them from doing this. There are countless methods of nonverbal communication the turians could have used to relate to the humans that they shouldn't open the mass relay. If nothing else the advent of first contact with an alien race would have distracted the humans long enough to build a dialogue and overcome the language barrier. Furthermore, you're forgetting that at that time humans were not part of the Citadel government and therefore were not subject to its laws in any way, shape, or form. No matter how strict the law against activating dormant relays may be, non-Citadel species are NOT bound by Citadel laws and therefore the turians do not have the right to enforce it against the humans or any other species not associated with the Citadel. What the turians did would be like the United States invading other countries to enforce federal regulations on human cloning and stem cell research. The point is, humans didn't start the First Contact War. The turians did.
    • To be honest, I do think that it was justified, simply because of what happened the last time they opened a relay without checking what was on the other side. The Citadel was nearly completely wiped out by the rachni. The "save a child from being attacked by an alligator by shooting the child" doesn't really match up. To the Citadel, itís more like "Stop someone from fiddling with a possible nuclear bomb by shooting them in the head if they don't listen." I imagine that the turians felt that destroying a few human ships was a small price to pay to prevent a potential encounter with a violently hostile species.
    • You don't avoid feeding wild alligators to keep from being attacked. Well, you do, but that's not the main reason. The main reason you never feed wild alligators (or any other wild predator) is because it causes them to associate humans with food. In the future they may specifically attack humans for food or invade areas where humans live in hopes of getting a meal. So it's the same principle. The turians murdered several ships full of humans without any provocation, based on a law the humans could not possibly have known about (and again, Citadel law at that time did not apply to humans in the first place), without even trying to communicate first. Whether you agree or disagree with the idea that opening uncharted mass relays is dangerous, there's no getting around the fact that the turian attack was completely unprovoked. Therefore, they started the war. EDIT: Also, your "Stop someone from fiddling with a possible nuclear bomb by shooting them in the head if they don't listen" analogy? Completely false. That would be a reasonable policy, but from what we've been told that isn't what happened. Once again, the turians didn't even attempt to communicate with the humans, they just opened fire and destroyed them. The humans weren't even given the option to listen before the turians murdered them. Then the turians pursued the lone surviving vessel back to the colony of Shanxi and dropped asteroids on it until they surrendered. FYI, according to the codex orbital bombardment of garden worlds is explicitly illegal under Citadel law. So not only did the turians fire unprovoked against a species outside the jurisdiction of Citadel law without even attempting to communicate first, by their own laws they committed a blatant and egregious war crime during the occupation of Shanxi. And you think the HUMANS were at fault?
    • Actually, orbital bombardment isn't illegal. The Citadel Conventions bans the use of WM Ds which causes environmental alteration. This would be things like nuclear weapons. Standard bombs are perfectly acceptable under the law.
    • "Orbital bombardment" also refers to asteroid/colony drops, which is what the turians did to Shanxi. This is expressly against Citadel law.
    • No. the Citadel Conventions only bans WMDs, and expressly describes what those are. While the turians did orbital bombardment, none of their actions created a "nuclear winter" on Shanxi, as there is no report of the planet being uninhabitable or loss of "garden" status(which is required for the Conventions to qualify).
    • Did you even read your own link? Asteroid and colony drops are the first thing listed as banned WM Ds. They are, quote, "the greatest threat to galactic peace". And no, the Citadel Conventions do not let illegal WMD use slide if a nuclear winter is miraculously avoided. Such a law would be completely ridiculous and would only encourage unscrupulous individuals to push the letter of the law as far as possible. It would be like not charging someone with attempted murder if they stabbed their neighbor six times, then called an ambulance for them. After all, an attempted murder charge requires intent to kill, and if the stabber called an ambulance then he obviously didn't intend for the victim to die, right?
    • I don't think you read the link. There is no mention of "colony drops" in the Citadel Conventions. Only Asteroids (as you said), and de-orbited space stations. Asteroids were not used on Shanxi, only "orbital debris." And that is perfectly ok to be used by the conventions, as debris not a WMD because A WMD causes environmental alteration to a world. That is in the second paragraph of the link. If there is no environmental change, there is no evidence that such a weapon was used. As Shanxi is still livable, and after 20+ years there is still no defined change, there can be no question that WM Ds were not used on the world, and thus, the Citadel Conventions do not apply.
    • By "colony drop" I believe the previous troper was referring to, well, Colony Drop - as in, the trope, which very much does include deorbiting space stations.
    • "I don't think you read the link." No, I'm pretty sure that's you. Fact: The Citadel Conventions identifies dropping asteroids and space stations on a garden world as an illegal use of WM Ds. This is what the turians did in the First Contact War. I don't care how many times you jam your fingers in your ears and go "nuh uh!" Reality will not warp to suit your beliefs. The turians illegally used Tier 1 weapons of mass destruction against a garden world. The fact that a nuclear winter was miraculously averted in this case does not change that. By your logic, if I shot at you and missed, I can't be arrested. I didn't hit you, therefore I didn't break the law.
    • Actually by my logic, if one fired a Nerf Gun at another, and hit him, said person shouldn't be arrested for Attempted Murder, even though he used a gun to shoot another person. The point is, any attack that does not cause permanent damage to a garden world is considered a "Nerf Gun" type attack by the Council, because if an attack does not cause permanent damage, it is not a WMD. This reality will not warp to suit your beliefs.
    • Above is correct. Currently, as in today, we can drop a tungsten rod about the size of a telephone pole at ~1/100,000 the speed of light, and its impact would have about the same force as a bunker busting nuclear bomb. AKA, enough to "level [a] city block for one fire team". This would produce no fallout, and no permanent damage to the landscape. In Mass Effect, the technology exists to replicate this effect with a MUCH smaller mass (~5-10kg as opposed to 7.5 metric tons). It's far more likely that the Turians' orbital bombardment consisted of something similar to this as opposed to dropping an asteroid onto the colony, which would cause an extinction level event.
    • All Ashley says was "They dropped rocks on anything that moved [...] they'd level an entire city blocks to kill one fire team." You don't need multi-kiloton mass driver rounds to achieve that level of destruction. If the orbital bombardment the turians carried out was on that scale then there wouldn't have been anything left of the colony.
    • Likewise, Charles Saracino. Is he completely insane? He has the same illogical justification for his distrust of aliens that Ashley does. He uses the Shanxi incident to try to make a point about aliens, except — like Ashley — he tries to make a generalization about all races from a situation which involved just two, humans and turians. And again, the humans were primarily at fault. And why would Shepard even be given the option, when talking to Saracino, to say that "humanity must stand alone?" If not for aliens, the Commander wouldn't have even gotten off the Citadel, found the Conduit, destroyed Sovereign, or accomplished very much of importance at all. And that's just the first game.
    • You seem to operate under the assumption that racism is rational. It's not.
    • I apologize; I just figured they'd at least try to come up with some good arguments (this universe isn't supposed to be black and white, right?).
    • This is a universe where you're fighting against deliberate, galactic extinction being perpetrated by sapient life forms. That's pretty much black and white right there.
    • It matches up to Real Life racism, so it's realistic enough to pass a Truth in Television test. Real Life racism (and other forms of prejudice) never have solid arguments against them, yet they still exist.
    • Point of order: Humans were unequivocally NOT at fault for Shanxi. At all. Maybe you could pass off the destruction of the original human exploration fleet as a tragic mistake. But the turians had no reason to pursue the survivors back to Shanxi and occupy the colony. Not to mention the fact that the turians used orbital bombardment to force a surrender. An action that is explicitly illegal under Citadel law!
    • Actually, it's not. The use of WMDs against garden worlds is banned. A WMD is defined as something that causes environmental damage to a world. A nuke would fall under this, but a normal bomb that simply makes a crater doesn't.
    • Medi-gel is also technically illegal.
    • Citadel Conventions list "large kinetic impactors, such as asteroid drops or de-orbited space stations" as Tier 1 prohibited weapons and considers them "the greatest threat to galactic peace". They cannot be used against garden worlds at any time, for any reason. According to the very same laws they claimed to be enforcing at the time, the turians committed a blatant war crime.
    • Again, no the turians didn't. The same link also says "A WMD causes environmental alteration to a world. A bomb that produces a large crater is not considered a WMD; a bomb that causes a "nuclear winter" is." If there was no change to the environment of the planet Shanxi, then there was no WMD used. If after 25+ years there have not been reports about environmental changes on Shanxi, one can only surmise that no WM Ds were used on the planet.
    • Whether or not it was a WMD or not is irrelevant it is illegal to damage a garden world at all under citadel law (it was in a different codex entry something relating to space combat). And besides when you see someone doing something dangerous you stop them and then explain why it is dangerous.
    • Incorrect. If this were true, war would be illegal, as most wars in the ME universe are related to garden worlds being fought over. The other codex entry simply states that space combat around garden worlds are complex because the attacker needs to be careful of free-firing into the defending fleet because misses may impact the planet, and Citadel Conventions prohibit large kinetic impactors (and when reading the conventions, they add "that causes environmental alteration.") The act of "damaging" a garden world is not illegal. Causing long-term damage is.
    • "Again, no the turians didn't." Again, yes they did. Dropping asteroids and space stations on a garden world are specifically cited as illegal WM Ds, which is what the turians did in the First Contact War. It's right there in the Codex and no amount of denial and obfuscation will make it go away. Just because an environmental disaster was miraculously averted in THIS case does not magically reclassify orbital bombardment of a garden world as a legal act. As stated above, by the logic you are using, if I shot at you and missed, I can't be arrested. I didn't hurt you, therefore I haven't broken the law.
    • It's causing damage to garden worlds that makes the attack a WMD, not the other way around. I continue to say this, and you continue to refuse to accept the statement. As above, if one uses a Nerf Gun to shoot another, said person is not guilty of attempted murder.
    • "which is what the turians did" They did no such thing. They did not drop asteroids or space stations. They simply fired slugs from orbit, which did enough damage to wreck a city block, but didn't cause any sort of major environmental impact. It's the difference between a Tomahawk missile and a nuclear warhead. The latter is a WMD. The former is not. It's the difference between tear gas and mustard gas. The latter is banned under international laws, he former is not.
    • The Citadel Conventions apply to all races everywhere, regardless of whether they are Citadel races. That's why in "Bring Down the Sky" they said this had to be the actions of terrorists because if the batarian government made a habit of dropping asteroids on colonies then the Council would go to war with them. Similarly, since opening dormant relays could lead to another Rachni-type threat, it doesn't matter if the race that opened the relay is a Citadel race or not as such an event threatens everyone. Saying humans can violate laws they were not aware existed because they never agreed to it is as silly as saying that someone who never knew that embezzlement is illegal doesn't have to go to jail when they do it. The question of who is at fault boils down to the humans committing a crime out of ignorance and the turians having a zero-tolerance policy. From there on, it was simple escalation: they destroyed our ships, so we destroyed theirs, they came back with more ships and drove us back to Shanxi where they bombed and blockaded us into submission. The point of contention above is because while the Citadel conventions say that dropping asteroids and space stations onto garden worlds count as using WM Ds, not everything that falls out of the sky is a weapon of mass destruction. The turians used small objects to hit localized areas of the colony. The claim that "an environmental disaster was miraculously averted" requires us to believe that the turiansósticklers for the letter of the law and military perfectionists that they areódeliberately tried to break Citadel law but somehow failed to have the desired effect by an order of magnitude.
    • Point in case: the turians used orbital bombardment on one of their colony worlds to deal with an insurrection, and this was considered par for the course. No one even objected to the use of orbital artillery directed against turian civilian population centers. It is quite clear that the conventions forbid using WMD-scale bombardments, but anything below that is fair game. Leveling a city block is fair game.
    • To be honest, I think this discussion misses the point, though it has been very interesting. My point wasn't to discuss the ethics of the turian invasion of Shanxi, but to deconstruct Ashley's and Charles' generalization-filled arguments against working with aliens. note  As for Ashley's willingness to cooperate with aliens if you asked her to do so, I always got the feeling that she was doing this not because she truly believed that this was worth doing, but because she believed in following your orders.
    • I live in the deep south... South Alabama in fact. I won't get into racism not being very common even here (it really isn't)... but I have seen it a few times. It has no real rational. Those who even bother to try to justify their racism claim minorities are "taking all the jobs" despite all evidence to the contrary, "taking our women" despite all evidence to the contrary, "diluting America's morality" despite all evidence to the contrary, and lots of equally ludicrous claims right up to "God meant for us to have power over them." You want to know the real reason some one becomes racist (most of the time)? Because their friends or family are racist. That's right... they believe they are better than others because their friends and family said so... that and humanity's natural propensity for unregulated self-righteousness. They would never admit this of course... instead giving a litany of absurd reasons like the ones above... just like Ash did. How much (partially justified) hatred do you think Ash's grandfather had for Turians after what they did on Shanxi... and then misdirecting the additional anger for being vilified afterwards? Do you really think her grandfather, having never met any other aliens and hating Turians almost completely, wouldn't lump them all together? What effect would that have had on Ash's father... and later on her? Truth is BioWare did an excellent job of displaying racism in Ash. Her explanations are patently irrational but at the same time BioWare explains the real reason for her racism... without anyone explicitly stating what the real reason was.
    • And to make it even better, next time you play through Mass Effect, kill Kaidan on Virmire and make sure you have Ash in your party when you talk to Saracino. Listen to what she says to him. It's very, very obvious from that little exchange that no matter how racist Ash was before (if she was actually speciesist, which she tries to deny), working alongside aliens who went through just as many life-threatening situations as she did and probably saved her life many times over, has changed her view on them. She still doesn't necessarily trust aliens—but she certainly doesn't think Terra Firma and their explicit racism is the right way to go, especially when he mentions Shanxi and it's clear he's using it for political leverage, not out of any respect or concern for those who lost their lives there...
    • On the turians' zero-tolerance on activating dormant relays. What everyone keeps forgetting about in this who-did-what-to-who-first argument, is that by their logic the Turians are basically charging Humanity for breaking a law they didn't know about. A law, which by extension, they first broke the law by activating the Charon relay. So, therefore it is completely justified if they wanted to go to Earth and invade the entire planet as well, right? Of course not! The fact they didn't bother to contact the Council first is completely irresponsible! They should have contacted the Human vessels, explained the laws in place and escorted them to the Citadel to attempt to sort the matter out... not open fire. The fact that the Council is mentioned as being understandably pissed is telling of how much of a political clusterfuck the Turians caused by shooting first and not asking any basic questions.
    • The Council's concern drawn from the fact that the turians started a war with a militarily-formidable opponent, if anything. The Shangxi occupation lasted for sometime, but the Council didn't step in until after its liberation by the Alliance, which showed just how powerful a force humanity was capable of. While inferior to the turians, the Alliance's military capabilities at the very least rivaled that of the asari and salarians while being statistically superior to the Batarians, which explains why the Council wound up making so many concessions to the humans over the batarians, who wound up seceding as a result. The Council knew that the turians essentially started a war that could have been very disastrous for them, almost like if the Rachni War started with the Citadel races encountering the Rachni, who were entirely peaceful, and opted to attack them for arbitrary reasons.
    • Isn't the fact we don't get the turians the point? They aren't human, we are. They see it as the logical course of action, humanity sees it as brutal and cruel. There is no correct answer. Turian mandate means that the turians would have kept at humanity until they surrendered or lacked the power to fight and that is when the council stepped in - not when it was just a matter of the mass relay. Wouldn't be a bit strange if we understood the rationalization a race millions of miles away with completely different biologies and cultures?

     Saren's appearance 
  • Has anyone else wondered what's up with Saren's bizarre appearance? No I'm not an idiot, I know he is a turian, but even for a turian, his appearance very unusual. The biggest oddity are those two extra "fringe" things sticking out right by his eyes on both sides of his head, which I don't recall seeing on any other turians in the games. There are also his eyes, which almost look like they're cybernetic or something (well, they glow, anyway). And his odd facial markings. And those gaps in his face around his mouth. What's up with that? Did Bioware just want to make sure you could immediately tell he was the bad guy the minute you saw him? Or did Sovereign's influence mess him up physically as well as psychologically?
    • Implants. Lots of them. Other differences probably just ethnic or whatever.
    • That's certainly a possible explanation, but why would he go so overboard with implants if that's the case? We never see any other turians who gone that crazy with em.
    • He's a Spectre. You're basically as implanted up as he is in the second game, and you can see the benefits.
    • You're implanted because you were brought back from the dead, not because you're a Spectre.
    • All I know is that those 2 little fringe things on the side of his face make him look totally awesome! I know he's evil and all but man I wish Garrus looked like that!
    • I took it as being just a variation of turian facial features. Like different races of humans. We've seen asari that have differing facial features (compare Liara's face to the Asari Councilor), so why would this be different? Since Turians basically have metal plates for faces Saren may just have a rare variation that we don't see too often. That's my Watsonian answer. My Doyalist answer is that Bioware wanted to give Saren a unique character design so that we could instantly say "That's Saren. He's bad."
    • The eyes are implied to be as a result of indoctrination or something, TIM has similar eyes in ME2. Oh, and the facial markings are tattoo-like markers for their colony of origin. It's a cultural thing amongst the turians.

  • Okay, so the in-universe translator is really effective, and that's all well and good. My confusion is why all the aliens are lip-synced perfectly with English even though they're technically speaking their own tongues. Unless they all know English as a secondary language (e.g., Galactic Basic), which I suppose wouldn't be unthinkable in ~some~ sense, given that humans are learning alien languages as well.
    • Because it would look strange if they didn't. The writers for the game tried really hard to justify everything in the game, but when you're dealing with such a complex setting, there are still some things you just have to let go.
    • Simple answer: there ARE no translators, and everyone is speaking a basic language. Just ignore any mentions of translators, because it really is an EXTREMELY unrealistic technology, and Mass Effect is EXTREMELY realistic, so one can pretend that they don't exist in this universe.
    • You keep saying this, and I keep asking: how are they unrealistic, considering the setting has literally had thousands of years to develop the technology, and we earthbound humans have the basics for automated translation technology now? I mean, come on; they have the time to develop firearms technology to the point that they can precisely shave off grain-sized bullets and shape them so they can precisely hit the target in the middle of their crosshairs with enough force to penetrate hyper-dense armor alloys, and make this so simple and reliable that the technology is ubiquitous, but somehow rapid-translation technology of existing languages is somehow supposed to be beyond them? That's fucking ridiculous.
    • I think it's unrealistic because the idea of a device somehow being able to stop sound in midair, edit it (while somehow keeping the original voice of the alien) into the language you speak, along with the apparent mouth movements of the alien is absolutely ludicrous in comparison to their weapons technology. I am no way saying that being able to translate languages in real time is impossible, I'm saying being able to change the sound in midair and delete the original sound is. I know it's possible to translate a language in real time. That's not the issue. The only thing is, you would still hear the original speaker's words and see their mouth move in sync with their native language. But, with translators, they somehow magically make what they originally said completely disappear from existence as far as the user is concerned. The society in Mass Effect is not that advance, and I'm not even sure it could be done, no matter the level of advancement. The only way it would even remotely be possible is if the translator is an implant between the ear and brain that can alter the signals before they reach the brain (and probably one between the eye and brain, as well) but there would still be some lag and it's always implied that the translator is a device, not am implant. So, that is my problem with universal translators. Not the real time translation, but grabbing sound out of midair, deleting it, and changing it. It's flat out impossible. It's a lot less mind screwy to just imagine everyone you encounter speaking a basic language, not using translators.
    • A device in the ear that is translating sound is already editing what you're receiving anyway. It would be child's play to program the device to filter incoming sound so that you hear translated speech and not native speech, considering the translator is already going to be inside your ear. The sound isn't being "deleted in midair" or anything that silly. It's just that the translator reads the incoming audio, translates that into your native speech, and transfers that to the audio receptors in your ears while filtering out the original speech, resulting in seamless translation. After all, what you "hear" is little more than stimulation of the audio receptors in your ear; if you can control that with implants or earpieces, then theoretically it would be easy to filter incoming sounds. In fact, for a proper realtime translator it would be necessary, as hearing gibberish over understandable words would be distracting.
    • In practice, you would probably here the original dialogue, and the translators probably wouldn't have the vocal diversity you see in the game, but that's just the sort of thing that gets dropped to make the game more... whatever the auditory version of aesthetically pleasing is.
    • You do know that what you're describing is actually exactly what hearing aids do, right? They intercept sound as it enters the ear canal and adjusts it so that it can be heard, and do so actively in a way that no matter what the ambient sound is, you can hear it properly. This is modern technology. An active translation suite that seamlessly translates alien speech to something understandable is well within the capabilities of established ME technology.
    • At one point in Mass Effect Shepard actually says to someone "speak galactic, will you?" I assume that most people are talking in a common language (which Translation Convention renders as English). However, for entities like hanar (which physically can't make the right sounds), elcor (who have odd shaped mouths) and possibly volus and quarians (whose mouths we never see) a universal translator is used.
    • You're overthinking this. It's pure Translation Convention and Gameplay and Story Segregation. It would indeed look strange, not to mention incredibly annoying to the player, to actually show the other species speaking their native languages in-game, with only an unsynced dub or subtitles to go by. Consider Knights of the Old Republic, where the speech of non-Basic-speaking species consists of the same generic sound clips repeated over and over. BioWare clearly learned their lesson about how annoying it was.

    Translator Glitches 

  • A bigger question is this: if Shepard has a universal translator in his ear at all times, then why can't it pick up "keelah se'lai (sp)" or "Ardat-Yakshi", both phrases that are revealed to have English - or Basic or whatever - translations ("By the homeworld I hope to see one day" and "Devil of the Night Winds", I think). I think that writing it off as one giant, unified language actually causes fewer problems than assuming they all have translators.
    • Because the programming for the translator doesn't directly translate the word. Whatever agency of the species supplied the translation lexicon for their language decided that said word, for whatever reason, shouldn't be directly translated, probably because of its meaning or cultural connotations.
    • No, they're definitely using translators. If Thane calls you 'siha' in Me2, Shepard comments that their translator must have glitched and asks what it means.
    • Yes, that's what I said. They're using translators, its just that certain phrases remain deliberately untranslated because of ease of communication due to complex ideas contained in a single word. "Siha" for example, remains untranslated in every other conversation between Thane and Shepard, indicating that Shepard's translator wasn't actually glitching, its just that the translator leaves "siha" untranslated because it is easier to leave it that way than convert it into a much longer phrase.

    Elanos Haliat 
  • So let me get this straight, this guy lures you into a mine to kill you with a probe's 32 kiloton nuclear warhead, yet stands in a camp within the blast radius?
    • Haliat is a brutal thug who tried to sack one of the largest colonies in SA space and got his army wiped out. He doesn't strike me as the sharpest knife in the drawer when it comes to planning things out.
    • Plus you were deep inside a fucking mountain. The worst that could happen is the mountain becomes substantially shorter.
    • Deep enough underground, yes. And this might be a case of Gameplay and Story Segregation. But judging by the look of that mine, what he's done is create a mountain-shaped frag grenade. But then again, Physics is not exactly high on the list of things space thugs commit to memory.

    Body Language 
  • something has been bugging the hell out of me. Every time you talk to an NPC, they all have this eccentric habit of their body language being scripted and wooden to a fault. Like they all do this thing when the conversation is over where they move their eyes to the right, turn their head, and awkwardly walk away, EVERY time. As great as the writing and dialogue is, it really puts them in uncanny valley. This is the most whiny complaint I have ever indulged in but I just keep noticing it.
    • It's an old stage technique called "Exit Stage Right" or some such. When the actor's role in that scene is finished, he/she walks off to the right. It's been around since the days of Shakespeare. By doing this, Bioware is trying to make you feel like you're watching a play.
    • That might just be Fan Wank. I've noticed it too, but never considered it a serious issue. Regardless, they no longer do it in ME 2.
    • Agreed. Especially amusing - whenever the default Shepard does it, he looks like he is rolling his eyes, as in: "Jesus, these guys are idiots, I'm offski."
    • What I find more baffling is how, whenever an NPC hands you something, they avert their eyes. Even when it's a legitimate transaction, they make it look suspicious and illicit.

    Recovering The Mako 
  • Maybe this was explained somewhere and I just missed it, but how does the Normandy always manage to recover the Mako? The Mako's thrusters obviously can't go very high, and most of the time the Normandy has nowhere to land.
    • This is especially confusing on Therum, when you actually leave the Mako behind half-way through the mission. At the end of said mission you have to very quickly outrun a collapsing ruin/erupting volcano, and the Normandy is right above you when you exit the ruin. There is no reason to assume anyone retrieved the Mako, yet there it is, safe and sound in the cargo hold. For that matter, how did Shepard and co. get into the Normandy right then?
    • The Normandy flies down, hovers, and the Mako engages its thrusters to float up into the bay. Or if that's not possible, the Normandy lands and the Mako drives into the bay. And why wouldn't they retrieve the Mako while on Therum? Once the team got out of the ruins, they appeared to be safe, and Joker's comment on being a few minutes away from swimming in molten sulfur is an exaggeration on his part. Judging by how things appear to have played out, after the team escaped the collapsing ruins, they most likely hoofed it to the Mako, activated the jets, and flew up into the Normandy's bay.
    • Alternatively, the Mako was lost. It's not exactly like the Alliance can't find you another one (despite our vehement insistence we don't want it).
    • Itís possible it creates a Mass Effect field that lightens the Mako to the point where the thrusters can provide sufficient thrust to lift it back into the cargo-bay.

    No Krogan Scientists 
  • At various points in the first and second game, mentioned is made that the genophage isn't being cured by Krogans because Krogan scientists are borderline nonexistent. You meet one or two in both games, but the implication is that they're freaks of the race, such that even Wrex didn't expect to encounter the first one. All of this is fine...until you realize that the Krogan were a deadly threat to the entire galaxy that was only barely stopped by use of the genophage to begin with. Does that strike anyone else as a bit absurd? A deadly threat to the entire galaxy that can't produce new ships, or advanced weapon designs, or VIs or anything else necessary to win a futuristic war? Does it matter if they reproduce like rabbits if they can't even leave whatever planet their born on without the assistance of an alien race, or design and mass produce their own weaponry? Or maybe their entire war effort was fueled by hand-me-downs from the Rachni wars given to the Council, in which case I hope for their sake they didn't lose any ships.
    • Maybe they just enslaved the people on the planets they conquered and forced them to build that stuff?
    • Well, the reason Tuchanka went through a nuclear winter in the first place was because somebody came up with nuclear fission, and that was before they met the salarians. So obviously there are Krogan scientists, but my guess is that they tend to focus on weapons research (read: Stuff Blowing Up) and not, say, biology or agriculture (which is backed by Fortack's complaining that Wrex is making him do non-explodey research for a change).
    • There are krogan scientists. It's just that they're very rare in the current day and age because of the effects the genophage had on krogan culture. None of them really want to pursue scientific advancement, and those that do want to focus on weapons technology.
    • Also, keep in mind that the krogan only got off Tuchanka because the salarians showed up to uplift them and provide them with the technology. The salarians showed the krogan how to build starships and modern weaponry, and set them loose on the rachni. By the time the Krogan Rebellions happened, the krogan had already established themselves across the galaxy in numerous colonies, with shipyards and fleets and factories and trained mechanics and engineers who could produce more and maintain them. Given time, the krogan species probably could have overcome their barbarism, as Mordin notes, and would be ready to leave Tuchanka and develop their own technology; the salarians were doing the equivalent of giving nuclear weapons to cavemen before they were culturally capable of appreciating and understanding that technology. That was why the krogan became such a threat.
    • Besides, you don't need a chemist or a research scientist or whatever to build a spaceship, not when plenty of species have already built them and the krogan can just use their blueprints. What you really need are engineers and manual labor, and while most krogan do prefer just shooting stuff, we do meet a few examples of krogan who would fit the description of engineer/builders. The Tomkah engineer on Tuchanka is one example. He seems pretty derisive about the whole "just shoot people" thing, actually.

    Mummified salarian on Nepheron 
  • So... why is it that, when you inspect the mummified salarian's corpse on Nepheron (the planet with the large Cerebus Base for mission UNC: Hades' Dogs), the game describes him as a "Cerberus soldier" who happens to have a salarian League of One medallion? One would think that most Cerberus soldiers would be humans, Mass Effect 2 notwithstanding. Why not make him a salarian agent who tried to infiltrate the base and failed, or any number of other options that would make sense?
    • Developer screw-up I suspect. Same as that quest with Elanos Haliat, who was supposed to be a turian (or so I heard) but when he contacts you by hologram he appears as a human.

    Visual Resemblance of Geth to Quarians 
  • Perhaps this is well-trod ground in BW/ME forums, but it seems obvious to this troper that the geth visually resemble their creators ... post-exile. Or at least, a distinctive feature of both the geth and post-exile quarians is the little light on their faces/masks that blinks when they beep/speak. Why? The geth were obviously created pre-exile; would not their faces more closely resemble that of the quarians under their mask? For example, humans are keen to make robots that have faces that look human, not helmetic. Of course, in the interest of design efficiency, the geth may have discarded the quarian features of their appearance, but then why have the blinky light at all? It doesn't appear to be necessary for communication. Help.
    • The geth only resembled the quarians in the arms, legs, and the vague shape of their heads. With this in mind, we have to consider two things. First, we're looking at geth platforms developed three hundred years after the quarian exile; we don't really know what they looked like pre-exile, and they may have adjusted their platforms' designs to reflect the new nature of their creators - especially considering that the geth do not actively wish harm on the quarians, they may see this as some sort of appeasement. Second, geth were originally designed to do hazardous manual labor. It would make sense that they would be designed to resemble the quarian equivalent of a hazardous environment suit, for ease of recognition and general aesthetics.
    • They said that the "flashlight head" is a hallmark of quarian design. They basically made the geth and their suits look that way because they thought it looked cool.
    • Also, the exo-suits might at least partly resemble Quarian fashions prior to their dependency on exo-suits.
    • Plus Quarian's immune systems were not all that great before exile, in mass effect 2 Tali says that when her people went to a new world it took them time for them to adapt to the new environment so it would be logical to assume that they used enviro-suits before the Morning War.
    • In Mass Effect 3 we see Geth video archives that show the Quarians wearing the suits during the morning war, so they presumably wore them beforehand when designing the Geth.
    • They were wearing their suits in the recordings because Legion was giving Shepard the electronic information equivalent of Translation Convention. Legion pretty much tells us this when Shepard asks why they're wearing the suits. Shepard doesn't know the Quarians except in their suits, so the data is translated accordingly.
    • Even before their exile, quarians were already wearing suits. Their immune systems were already weakened before they began living in their sterilized ships. On Haestrom, even Tali is amazed at the ruins when she imagines that long before the planet's sun went haywire, her people once walked those ruins without masks and suits.

    Element Zero 
  • I'm just confused how Element Zero works. The codex says its mass can be altered by passing a current through it, allowing the ability to reduce the mass of ships, vehicles, weapons etc... But that can't be true, since it only alters its own mass without affecting the mass of surrounding objects. That's mass effect fields. Wouldn't loading eezo on a ship just increase its mass no matter how strong a current you put through it? Because there can be no negative mass? It's similar to loading wood on a conventional sea-faring ship. Wooden planks float on water, and properly constructed can be used to hold up a person above water, but loading wood on a ship just makes the ship heavier and eventually sink. Or why NASA doesn't fill the space shuttle with helium to make it lighter. Eezo should just increase a ship's mass no matter how much you use, or what current you put through it.
    • No. You are completely incorrect. The Codex does not say that. The Codex says:
      When subjected to an electrical current, the rare material dubbed element zero, or "eezo", emits a dark energy field that raises or lowers the mass of all objects within it.
    • Element zero's mass does not rise or fall when it subjected to current. Element zero generates the mass effect field that causes mass to rise or fall.
    • You're also not quite right on the physics front. Negative mass is, at least theoretically, possible: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Negative_mass
    • Negative mass might be part of faster than light travel. After all, the Speed of Light is the universal speed limit and to get up to that point an object has to be absolute zero mass and entirely energy. The above examples are beside the point entirely because filling a shuttle up with helium does nothing to the mass of the shuttle but only it's weight.

    Newton's Second Law 

  • If Newton's Second Law still holds, objects with negative mass would go in the opposite direction from what you'd expect when you pushed or pulled them. I'm not even sure how that would work. What would happen if a positive mass object ran into a negative mass one?
    • My best guess is that the negative mass would keep going in the same direction, taking the positive mass object with it. This would lead to weirdness if the positive mass object were much larger, since any force the positive object exerts would be reflected back at it.

    Eezo Name 

  • How have the humans not given this element a proper name yet? And does its name mean that its atomic number is zero? What the hell does it have in its nucleus instead of protons?
    • There's no evidence that it has an atomic mass of zero. "Element Zero" is just a name for the material. It is unlikely to be an actual "element" as numerous references are made to refining and manufacturing it.
    • "Element Zero (Atomic Number 0, Chemical Symbol Ez)" Pulled from the wiki. By manufacture and refine, they probably mean refine from ores and minerals and separate from anything it's bonded to. It's probably a super-heavy element, but the natural charges in the protons an electrons are enough to emit a small mass effect field around it to negate its atomic weight. Maybe. Who knows? If not, just chalk it up to the weirdness of eezo again.
    • You pulled that....from the wiki. Excuse me for being skeptical. I want a Codex entry or a canon source that says it actually has an atomic mass of zero.
    • Hmm, you may be right. The Codex only refers to it as a "material", though it is formed during supernovae, so fusion is implied. It could be nuclear fusion of, say, hydrogen and dark matter. The dark matter would provide a semi-plausible answer as to how it can manipulate it. Or something. That's just wild mass guessing though, there is nothing canon that I can find that says it is a pure element.
    • Correct! As explained by the guy who wrote these codex entries in the first place, "element zero" is just a nickname and it's not actually a chemical element. The sole source for the "Ez" and "atomic number 0" stuff is the image in the codex entry, which I guess is simply a stylistic metaphor or miscommunication with the artist.

    Edolus Distress Beacon 
  • On Edolus, when you find the bodies of the soldiers who were lured to the territory of a Thresher Maw by a false distress beacon, why can't you shut off the damn beacon? You know, just in case another Thresher Maw decides to take up residence there. Or, hell, even just to keep people from wasting time and resources by going down to an empty planet?
    • One can reasonably assume that Shepard does that before leaving, just as one can reasonably assume that Shepard doesn't magically fly up onto the Normandy after completing the mission on Therum, or teleported to the Normandy post-Peak 15. There's a lot of stuff that takes place offscreen in this game that can reasonably be inferred.

    X 57 Blasting Caps 
  • After shutting down the first fusion torch during the Bring Down the Sky DLC, you're told by the head engineer that one of the torches is surrounded by blasting caps in preparation for some excavation. He warns that the Mako will trigger their proximity detonators. Why the hell were they using proximity detonators in an industrial application? I would imagine that they have some sort of Future!OHSA in the 22nd century, and they would be going apeshit over using military-grade explosives in that kind of situation. It would be understandable if it some band of merc (We've already seen how intelligent they are), but this is a government sanctioned project with supposedly competent engineers in charge of it. Seriously, what the hell?
    • The batarians appeared to have altered the caps' settings to fire off if a vehicle approached. The caps probably have a proximity sensor built into them to do the opposite - to not detonate if a vehicle or person is close by, but that can be modified by someone with decent hacking skills and access to the caps' control consoles.

    Kinetic Barriers vs conventional bullets 
  • How would a kinetic barrier do against a, say, a 9mm? Yes, they're good at deflecting tiny projectiles, but what about larger ones, like the bullets we use today?
    • Well, the Geth Prime here has shields up, and the shields aren't resisting bionically enhanced Shepard's punches any more or any less than otherwise, so I doubt kinetic barriers would resist large projectiles any differently, provided they're imparting the same amount of kinetic energy.
    • Kinetic barriers stop anything moving above a certain velocity, dependent on programming. They would have absolutely no issue with stopping larger bullets; the only reason kinetic barriers don't block slower-moving objects is because the active response systems aren't programmed to respond to slower-moving objects so you don't accidentally deflect your chair when sitting down, your weapon when picking it up, or the ground when running. That and modern firearms impart less kinetic energy than ME hypervelocity rounds.
    • So if someone was willing to lose ammo space in exchange for larger bullets, they might drop shields faster? Also, you'd think there'd be more use of mines and trap pi—oh, right. Still, it'd be funny if there were trap plates that simply launched foes far into the air, or dropped pianos on them.
    • Larger bullets would not likely drop shields any faster, unless you increase the size of the firearm to compensate and boost the power of the rounds being fired. As for mines, those aren't used much because kinetic barriers render them largely ineffective unless they're using specialist materials. Explosives are largely ineffective because conventional explosives don't generate enough energy to do much damage to kinetic barriers or armor; you'd need a mine that hurls shrapnel at hypervelocity speeds to damage them.
    • Or one that wouldn't activate until the target was on top of it, and the mine was therefore inside the shield. Those shields are circular, right? Shaped like a column? If they're skintight, just use eezo-powered mass effect mines, same as with the guns or grenades. You could even have a shielded eezo-source that isn't detectable until it's activating, like Shep apparently had in ME1 (the dual-purpose grenades/mines which worked just fine) but somehow lost all access to between games. Remember that line from Dune about the slow kindjal? But like I said, Rule of Fun.
    • The problem with that is that the mines rapidly become more expensive than they're really worth. A mine such as the one you're describing that would only go off inside the shield would only be effective if deployed in mass numbers over a landscape as area denial, and with ubiquitous air mobility that would have limited utility. Mines designed for anti-personnel use would by necessity spread their blasts over a wide area, which would limit their effectiveness against anyone with kinetic barriers unless the shrapnel is being propelled at hypervelocity speeds - in which case, the weapon is using element zero masses and therefore can be detected easily by conventional scanners which renders the entire exercise largely moot.
    • Also, there's not much of a point behind deploying mines in the paradigm of Mass Effect infantry combat. You're not going to see large infantry formations moving overland; there will be armored formations and mechanized infantry in IFV formations supported by airmobile units, and most infantry fighting is going to be in tight quarters inside buildings or rough terrain where large-scale mine deployment just won't happen. Maybe you'd see individual mines - some sort of claymore analogue - being employed to lock down rooms or doorways, but large-scale deployment over wide areas won't be happening.
    • Kinetic Barriers don't work on everything. The second game had all the defenses work like another life bar, but that's just Gameplay and Story Segregation. Kinetic barriers won't do a thing to stop the force of the explosion itself. Whether the shrapnel gets past depends on the strength of the barriers versus the force delivered by the shrapnel, and even improvised explosions can get shrapnel really moving. And even if one mine doesn't do the trick, setting a whole bunch of them to go off at once isn't that hard.
    • What's all this kerfuffle about moving at hypervelocity? Mass effect guns need to fire their rounds at very high speeds because they are very light. Force equals Mass times Acceleration, and since ME slugs have little mass, they need to pile on the acceleration to compensate. A heavier slug can deliver more force while moving less quickly, because it has more mass. Judging by recoil, which is the main limiter on the force deliver by a firearm in the ME setting, they don't seem to deliver much more force than twenty-first century guns, if at all. They have a number of other advantages , but brute force doesn't look to be one of them. The explosives used in game also resemble a shaken soda can more than any self-respecting grenade or rocket, but that's probable game mechanics. At any rate, it was never said or even implied that conventional explosives would be ineffective, and all the grenades and missiles seemed to use conventional explosives with a fancied-up deliver system. Even the Cain just shot an explosive shell really, really fast. And with oddly low recoil.
    • You are incorrect about the recoil. The bullets in conventional firearms are propelled by an explosion that takes place inside the gun. The recoil is caused by this explosion. The weapons in Mass Effect are explicitly said to function like railguns. The recoil physics are very different. In addition, there are other factors that alter how much perceived recoil. A person in heavy armor would experience less overall recoil than a person in fatigues. The amount of acceleration (the actual component that determines the felt part of recoil) is less when acting on the heavier person and armor would factor into this. In addition, a smaller, more regularly shaped projectile would apply more pressure than a conventional bullet with the same momentum, which is also a factor.
    • Explosives are very different. The limiting factor on explosives is functional, not technological. Collateral damage avoidance and user safety dictate smaller explosives than what is potentially possible.
    • In a conventional firearm the force exerted on the bullet by the explosion is also exerted on the gun. In a railgun, the force exerted on the bullet by the magnetic rail is also exerted on the gun. Railguns have recoil. Explosion-based firearms might have some waste recoil, but not a lot, not in modern weapons. Most of the Mass Effect armor is actually quite light, as far as weight goes, so it wouldn't absorb recoil to a huge extent, and the problem of recoil comes from the gun jumping around, which isn't really effected by the weight of the shooter. Most of the Mass Effect guns have quite low recoil compared to real life weapons, so they likely aren't exerting insane amounts of force.
    • In a railgun, the propulsion is provided by the Lorentz force. A majority of the opposing force is spent attempting to push the rails apart. This is probably also why the barrels of weapons designed to fire a projectile the size of a grain of sand are the same size as barrels firing a .45 caliber bullet today. Material science to keep the gun from exploding.
    • So, a 9mm should be able to affect them, but you would need lots and lots of ammo, none of which is likely to be optimized for the job. Given that the pistols in game are referred to as heavy pistols, they are probable the equivalent of something like a Desert Eagle or a S&W .500, though.
    • That's generally not how conventional bullets work. If 1-2 bullets hitting the same spot don't do the job, then it probably isn't working at all. As described in the game, a Desert Eagle or S&W .500 doesn't remotely generate anywhere near the same amount of kinetic energy.
    • Shooting conventional materials in the exact same spot repeatedly will eventually break through, but most people don't have the accuracy to make that tactic anywhere close to practical, especially in a combat scenario. With Mass Effect fields, shooting them in any location will deplete the overall power source, which is why shooting them over and over works in game. Conventional weapons work poorly against Mass Effect fields because of the amount of bullets needed to get though a barrier, not because of a lack of force compared to Mass Effect weapons. Which in game, is why pistols do poorly against barriers.
    • By definition, conventional weapons are less powerful than mass effect ones. Mass effect fields compensate for some of the recoil force, something utterly impossible with conventional weapons. That means mass effect field weapons impart more kinetic energy on their projectiles.

     The Relay Monument 
  • Put simply: who built it? And why? It's the other end of the Conduit, but it couldn't possibly have been built by the team on Ilos. And why was the Conduit only one way? Why does the Relay Monument only work as a receiver?
    • Pay attention when Vigil is talking. he said that the Protheans in general were on the cusp of unlocking the technology to develop the mass relays, so creating it was part of the overall Illos team's plan. The Illos team was part of the project responsible for it, but the records of their operation were destroyed when the Reapers attacked the Citadel. And I don't understand the last question. If the Conduit is only one way, then the point that it exits from should only work as a receiver.
    • So the Protheans built a highly experimental mass relay in the heart of the Citadel? The mass relays that fling objects across space and explode with the energy of a supernova if they're compromised? That's just asking for trouble! And why was the relay monument built only to receive, was my question. I've reworded that for clarity - I was asking why the Conduit was one way, why doesn't the monument work like the mass relay it's supposed to be? I did listen to Vigil, that's the problem: he observes that the last Protheans would have died of starvation/thirst on the Citadel because they couldn't get back.
    • The Conduit's a lot smaller than the larger relays which can fling entire fleets across the galaxy, and even Vanguards can teleport short distances, so it's doubtful that it's going to explode and ruin the Citadel. There are lots of reasons it only works one way (it was experimental so two-way functionality hadn't been included yet, there's no power supply in the Citadel, the Protheans on Ilos shut down their side because they didn't want the Reapers following them back in case their team failed.)
    • So the Protheans built a highly experimental mass relay in the heart of the Citadel? Yeah? Itís the heart of their galactic government, serving as both a secure area to store it and a perfect site to stage a grand demonstration when they first completed it, up until the Prothean Empire suffered a bad case of Reapers.
    • The mass relays that fling objects across space And which harmlessly phase objects through solid matter, as shown explicitly when the Mako passes through the walls of the Citadel? It would kind of problematic if your relay network didn't do that, considering all that crap cluttering up the galaxy that you can run into.
    • and explode with the energy of a supernova if they're compromised? Yes, the quantum-locked devices which require a planet-sized mass being slammed into them at tremendous velocities to destroy. Anything capable of destroying the receiver for the Conduit would likely easily be able to destroy the entire damned Citadel in the first place.
    • And why was the relay monument built only to receive, was my question. Gee, I don't know. Maybe the fact that it was a prototype? Vigil explicitly says as much. The Conduit was the very first working prototype of the Protheans' mass relay project. Do you really think a first generation, experimental prototype of new technology is going to be perfect?

    Quarian Colonization 
  • Why can't the quarians just settle down on a world they find? They can look at citadel records for worlds that are being argued over and avoid those, but surely they can find a garden world hospitable to them in the long run that isn't under dispute. They must know the galaxy well after travelling it for 3 centuries, they must know of some garden world somewhere that they, or some of them, can settle down to avoid all the dangers of living only in space. And for that matter, why didn't they just recolonize their old colonies? Sure, the geth had taken them, but the Codex also says that they haven't been seen at all outside the Perseus Veil, and the quarians most likely had colonies outside it. The geth were on Haelstrom, but that was after they had already left the Perseus Veil, and the platoon(s) you fought there appeared to be the only platforms on the world.
    • While I can't give you an answer as to why they didn't do so immediately, Tali has an impassioned speech during her Loyalty Mission in the second game stating that their immune systems are so compromised by that point that settling on a new world without their suits would take centuries. I'm curious as to why they don't contract out to Noveria to enhance their immune systems, though.
    • Who says they have to without their suits? They could wear the suits on the planet they want to live on and gradually acclimate themselves to the planet's ecosystem and strengthen their immune system.
    • Because it would still take centuries to acclimate.
    • The quarians didn't settle any garden worlds because they didn't find any. The Citadel has a much larger and more efficient scouting capability. They also need to find dextro-amino worlds, which are apparently rarer than levo-amino worlds. And any garden world the quarians find, the Citadel will discover quickly enough (thanks to the STG) and kick them off of. Haestrom was never stated to be beyond the Perseus Veil, and geth presence was already significant, with major construction in orbit. There were no quarian colonies ever mentioned beyond the Veil. And ultimately, the quarians didn't want to settle on another world, they wanted Rannoch back, enough so that they were willing to ignore the Reapers to try and take it back from the geth.
    • I have a hard time believing the Citadel would be that dickish, at least if the Quarians did their resettlement in the Terminus Systems where Citadel jurisdiction is non-existent. Still, the reconquest of Rannoch is hugely symbolic for the Quarians.
    • Yes taking Rannoch is ultimately the goal, but I seem to remember one world in the Traverse that was a perfect garden world, and habitable by all... except for the fact that there were massive amounts of spores in the air that caused quick death in all who breathed the air unprotected. Now what group of people constantly wear suits to keep out infectious things in the air? Hmm, I wonder.
    • Yes, that would be a great place to grow food and expand your population, what with the complete inability to leave the sheltered zones.
    • Eletania is a terrible example. Even quarians would need specialized suits to survive on that planet; Tali's regular and combat oriented armors are ineffective against the toxins on that planet.
    • Alright, bad example. Still though, in the first game you get to see lots of uninhabited garden worlds for one reason or another that the quarians could colonize if no one has colony rights to it. The quarians may not be part of the Citadel, but presumably the Council would allow them to purchase colony rights in the outer Traverse. They could also make a deal with a corporation, like Exo Geni did with the Feros colony, to fund a colony and provide science or something in return. At the very least, instead of wandering aimlessly, the Migrant Fleet could scour the galaxy for unrecorded and uninhabited garden worlds. They definitely exist within FTL travel of relays, what with the existence of 2175 Aeia. No one realized that it was a garden world, but it exists, so there could be others.
    • It's explicitly said that the Quarians tried to do this several times, but they were forced off the worlds by the Council. Apparently, the Council really had a thing against the Quarians.
    • Yeah in the Codex it says that the Quarians attempted to settle Ekuna, which has extremely high gravity so it was already a stupid idea but they were desperate. They asked the Council for the right to colonize it, even going to far as to start, only to for the rights to be given the Elcor and the Quarians told to get out or face the end of a barrel. So yeah the Council isn't going to give over Eden-class Garden worlds to the space gypsies when they're already fighting over with council member species will get the right to settle there.
    • Wait... Quarians are dextro-based and Elcor as levo-based. Depending on the chirality, wouldn't that make the planet unsuitable for the other?
    • Not really. Chirality is an issue with regards to the proteins in the foods consumed, but they can grow their own food using dextro/levo-based fertilizer. Everything else on the planet is perfectly suitable for both dextro and levo-based life.
    • Tali gives a very impassioned speech concerning this during her loyalty mission in Mass Effect 2. One of the things she says (paraphrased) goes, "It could mean the difference between 60 years and 600", regarding colonizing a new world instead of retaking their homeworld.
    • The bigger problem here is that the Quarians don't need a garden - or even habitable - planet. Just fixing their operations to a frozen rock or metal asteroid would improve life immensely by giving them access to all the metal and so on they can use, and a safe place to use it, instead of moving around their entire population in dilapidated tin cans. Immunity is a non-issue, since life would be essentially similar to life in the Fleet (continue to live in suits and sealed habs), but without the space or resource constraints.
    • Quarians don't need one, but that's different from not having one. The quarians want a garden world - ideally, they want Rannoch back so they don't have to spend decades and more reacclimmating themselves. They're not after an airless rock on some unclaimed planet. They want Rannoch. And they're highly unwilling to tie themselves to any single location. And the one time they did, the Council booted them off the planet in question.

     Mass Relay paradox 
  • Not a huge one, but what if someone sent a mass relay through a mass relay, especially if the relay being sent is the relay it's being sent through's destination? Would the universe unravel?
    • They'd probably either just explode, generating a supernova, and the rest of the universe would carry on, or nothing would happen because somewhere along the billions of years the Reapers have been operating, they asked the exact same question and simply put a failsafe in them to prevent this from happening. No divide by zero silliness here.
    • It's not teleportation. If the relay's destination is not there, the relay will probably just send the ship/relay to other relay on the proximity, or won't work at all. Being a relay's destination does not imply that you will be insta-teleported through space to get there, it implies you'll travel through space in a straight line inside a mass effect corridor, and then the relay at the other side will slow you down. It has to be actually there for this to work.

     Asari Genitals 
  • Why do the asari even have genitals, let alone vaginas? It's stated that they don't need physical contact to reproduce, genitals are unnecessary. Especially genitals that require another, different set that no one else in the species would have.
    • To push the baby out. It's clear that asari genitalia are lacking a few elements under the hood that human genitalia would require, but they still need to grow the baby and expel it from the body. Regardless, why are you assuming that asari genitalia perfectly match human female genitalia? We never see them across any of the games.
    • Okay, I hadn't actually thought of birth. But still, why would their vagina-analogues be an erogenous zone? There's no need for that.
    • Who said they were? The only erogenous zone we know of in asari biology is the "azure" which is a point on the lower back.
    • Then how did Male!Shep have sex with Liara? I don't think slapping her lower back with his meat banana would be very satisfying for him, and if the asari vagina-analogue is only for birthing, having penal-"vaginal" intercourse would be akin to trying to force a penis through a cervix, aka painful for all involved and not at all fun.
    • Did you pay any attention at all to how asari copulation works when Liara described it? The neural linking itself is an extremely intense sensation that can cause an orgasm equivalent by itself, let alone the fact that tactile sensation is shared between partners when their nervous systems are linked. Penetration wouldn't even be necessary.
    • The asari vagina is probably sensitive but not erogenous. In Mass Effect 2 it's implied you can have coitus with an asari but it's not really going all the way. The two krogan on the Citadel liken eating a fish from the Presidium to be as decadent as, "Screwing [the consort] Shaira." while the other asks where you're supposed to get a good grip on an asari. I interpret that as "screwing" is an extravagant waste when they could be "embracing eternity."
    • Mass Effect: Retribution has one scene where a human has just finished having sex with an asari. From what I read, most of the pleasure derived from the act came from the mind-meld rather than the physical contact itself. So maybe the "screwing" part isn't entirely necessary if the pleasure was the goal; although you'd have wonder how they dealt with the consequent emission of bodily fluids...

     Weapon Weight 
  • Why is weapon weight an issue? Shepard could have a tiny chunk of eezo on their back to negate the mass (and therefore weight) of all weapons entirely. Also, why is weight the same on all planets? Your pistol should weigh a third as much as it did on Earth as it did on Mars.
    • You know what a weapon that weighs nothing does when you fire it, right? In fact, mass is one of the most important factors when it comes to negating recoil, and the weapons in ME are so energetic that you want them to be heavy enough to simply absorb the energy of their rounds without flying wildly all over the place with every shot. If anything, you'd be using element zero to keep the weapon's mass, and therefore its inertia, the same across multiple gravitational environments so you don't have to constantly and endlessly keep adjusting for changing recoil.
    • I'm saying just on Shep's back. Once s/he takes a gun off their back and out of the small mass effect field, it gains their mass (and weight) back, allowing for actual weapon firing. Assuming the field can't be directed and is always a sphere, a small chunk of your back will lose its mass too. Oh, hmm. That might be something bad for health actually.
    • I figured this was already in place. Aren't those blue pads on the back of Shep's armor a mix of itty-bitty mass effect generators and magnetic clamps to hold the weapons on?
    • There's never been an example of mass-lightening tech used in that manner across the entire series, for that exact reason. One section of your body or armor having different mass from the rest is essentially a warping effect, which is at best extremely bad for the structural integrity of the armor and body and at worst instantly fatal. There's a reason why mass effect fields are designed to envelop an entire object.
  • Personally, I just substitute "Weight" with "Power Requirement." It explains why some heavy pistols "weigh" more than assault or sniper rifles, as well as why power recharge is affected when you go overweight. It was never explained where your guns get the energy required to fire (except for Heavy Weapons, which have their own power supply), so I figured it must come from your suit, which is also where the energy for your omni-tool and/or bio-amp comes from.

     Cancerous Citadellians 
  • After the Battle of the Citadel, and after Sovereign's destroyed, why is nobody at all worried about the fact that Sovereign's absolutely titanic eezo drive core was just turned into a fine, fine powder by Alliance warships? You'd think that come 2185 there'd be a lot more biotics/people dying from cancer living on the Citadel. And yes, the Codex says the turians (or someone, I can't rightly remember exactly who) recovered the drive core, that doesn't mean that chunks of it wouldn't have broken off and gotten themselves into the Citadel's atmosphere.
    • The Keepers probably took care of that problem first.
    • Can they really do that? I know the Keepers can do pretty much everything, but actively filtering every square inch of eezo without draining and replacing the atmosphere is stretching it a bit.
    • Not terribly. The atmospheric sheath surrounding the Citadel can keep atmosphere in via mass effect fields. There's no reason to assume it can't do the exact same thing at keeping potentially dangerous materials out. Besides, the mere act of possessing a breathable atmosphere on a station that large indicates truly staggering capacity to maintain said atmosphere in the first place. And you think Sovereign is the first ship in the history of the Citadel to spray eezo all over the space around the Citadel? It's the trade hub of the entire galaxy, with countless ships coming and going.
    • The fact that the people on the Citadel are not worried about being constantly hammered by micrometeorites and other debris from the nebula overhead indicates that yes, the shield around the Citadel protects against incoming objects, so long as its not something truly massive like chunks of Sovereign.
    • Who said "nobody was at all worried" about the drive core? More importantly, the drive core is not exactly some unforeseen, unfathomable problem. Standard Citadel disaster-response would deal with detonating drive cores as a matter of course, considering that thousands of ships are passing through the Citadel on a daily basis and every one of them also has an eezo core. Anyone with even a vague amount of competence would include containment and protection against eezo core detonation in their disaster-response and civil defense plans. The damage caused by the drive core going off in Earth's atmosphere was a result of total human ignorance of what eezo could do.

    Krogan astonishing reproductive rates 
  • Krogan reproduce and mature very quickly (I don't remember exact numbers, EDI gave them once). On Tuchanka, they had to, to compensate for very high mortality rate. Since the genophage was supposed to reduce infant survival rates to pre-industrial levels, we can assume that krogan families were relatively small then. Now, after krogan settled other worlds, they bred like bunnies, overpopulating them in no time. One thing that bothers me about that, is that unlike bunnies, krogan are sapient species. They can't just pop out lots of offspring, then let them go to survive on instincts, they have to raise their children. And without anything like the rachni song, there's only so many kids krogan parents would be able to keep track of. And before stripping the garden worlds of resources, they would probably manage to make a mess of their societies, with relatively few old krogan surrounded by sea of impulsive (if hopefully not half-feral), inexperienced youngsters with not much to do, unless there was a war and they could round them up and send to frontline. So, before genophage, how were krogan able to flourish and expand, instead of collapsing under the weight of their new-found social problems?
    • By going to war.
    • This, pretty much. The timeframe between the krogan being uplifted and the krogan being slapped with the genophage was a cycle of endless war and expansion, and these exact social pressures were what kept pushing the krogan into their expansionistic mindset. They didn't adapt socially to deal with their newfound freedom to breed, at least not before the genophage sent them crashing down, and that led directly to the Korgan Rebellions. Given time and proper leadership, the krogan could have adjusted their cultural desire to pump out children endlessly, but when the genophage hit their entire civilization went kaput and crashed, leaving them in the leaderless social freeze that they were in for centuries until Wrex dragged them kicking and screaming into the future.
    • This of course assumes that the Krogan wouldn't have wiped themselves out, they were in the middle of a nuclear winter when the uplift happened. It's just as likely that the Krogan would have added themselves to the list of civs that had wiped themselves out with nuclear weapons that the Council has.

    What happens to asari not born on Thessia? 
  • In Mass Effect 3, we find out that the reason biotics are omnipresent among the asari is because their homeworld is caked with element zero, permeating even the food and water supply. That's fine and all, but asari are spacefaring, and not every planet has the same eezo-rich biosphere as Thessia. Doesn't this mean that an asari living entirely abroad could presumably give birth to a daughter with no biotics at all, same as any other race? Or do they take eezo supplements or something to ensure that doesn't happen?
    • Considering that the amount of element zero needed to generate biotics is fairly small, we can safely assume that they would use some form of element zero supplement early on to ensure biotic potential in daughters. Even so, asari without biotics do occur; look at the sheer number of female Eclipse mercs you fight who do not use biotics. At least some of them are definitely asari.
    • I always assumed that the amount of eezo on Thessia was so omnipresent during Asari evolution that it weaved itself into their genetics, meaning even if not exposed directly, all Asari are genetically biotics. One thing I wondered though is that it's stated the Protheans introduced the vast amount of eezo to Thessia, while it was evolving life. How did they not all get overexposed to it and die off? Even if all life on Thessia could adapt to the eezo there, it was introduced while the Asari were there, they should've all gotten cancer or something and died within a generation or two. Even if we discount all that and ignore the fact that the Asari should've died 50,000 years ago, how are non-Asari able to live/be on Thessia at all? You could say that the Asari have it under control and all the eezo is under tight lock and key, the Codex says that the eezo was in the water, air, and soil, there's no way the Asari could've filtered it all out. All non-Asari's born or living on Thessia should also be dead.
    • It's pretty obvious that the Protheans, in the process of introducing eezo to Thessia, actually rubbed a couple of brain cells together and monitored the process and regulated it so that it wouldn't kill everything off. Also, element zero exposure by itself doesn't cause cancers; it has to happen during pre-natal development. Post-birth exposure is not lethal.
    • Ah, yes, you're right about it being monitored, I didn't know that. As for ambient eezo, it's implied that Red Sand has eezo in it, that's why it works. Red Sand also kills you in large enough doses. It may not be from the eezo itself, but considering its mutagenic properties, it may be a safe bet to say it is.
    • Yeah, red sand can kill you in large doses. You know what else can kill you in large doses? Just about every illegal drug, not mention many perfectly legal ones. There's a reason why it's called "overdose". The fact that red sand can kill you in large enough amounts doesn't mean that the eezo is what's doing the killing.

    Turian transliteration 
  • Turians don't have lips, how do they say words with the letter P in them, like Palaven or Pallin? These aren't translated words, like Spectre, they're turian names. I suppose they could be transliterations into English, but why transliterate using sounds the turians ought to be physically incapable of making?
    • Do you know how their vocal cords work? Parrots don't have lips either, but they seem to go 'Polly want a cracker' well enough.
    • Who said they are physically incapable of making those sounds? Do you have access to some highly detailed anatomical diagrams of turian vocal equipment that we don't? Just because they don't have lips doesn't mean they can't have another way of generating that sound.
    • Maybe they're producing labiolinguals that get transliterated as bilabials.

     Shepard's Mother 
  • Is Hannah Shepard the biological mother of the Earthborn and Colonist Shepards?
    • No. Colonist Shepard's mother was killed in the batarian raid on Mindoir. Earthborn's Shepard is an orphan in general and never knew his/her parents.
    • But was the same Hannah that dead colonist/crack-whore in those realities?
    • It doesn't matter, so probably.
    • There are no canonical parents for those backgrounds. Even in Spacer having a canonical relative puts constraints on them ever appearing due to the customization options when creating a Shepard. Also, 'crack-whore'? Did I miss something?
    • Earthborn Shepard says flat out near the beginning of ME1 that s/he never knew his/her parents and that they could have contacted him/her if they wanted. It's not unreasonable to assume that Earthborn Shepard's mother was an equivalent to a crack-whore.

     Sovereign's Blindness 
  • How did Sovereign (a Reaper) not see the Normandy with stealth systems engaged on Ilos if a Collector ship in the second game could?
    • Reapers seem to rely on the same sensors as everyone else; the Collectors could see the Normandy because they were specifically looking for it, and the third game the Reapers can't spot the Normandy in-system unless it makes a big sensor ping. Remember that the stealth system only masks you from passive thermal scans, not visual ones. if you know a ship is in the system and the general area it is in, you can point a telescope at it and spot it. That's how the Collectors found it.
    • The Normandy had only just arrived seconds prior. If the Collectors weren't using some specialized technology to find it then just what were the Collectors doing for the past few months, wandering around the solar system with telescopes pointed in every possible direction for every second of every day on the off chance that the Alliance wouldn't dismiss the ships disappearing as the work of pirates and slavers?
    • Quite possibly, yes. They knew Shepard had been ordered to search for geth activity in that region of space, and were clearly lying in ambush to kill Shepard specifically. They most likely waited in that system with passive sensors to detect the radiation release from a mass effect jump, and when one occurred, they checked it out, spotted the Normandy, and jumped in to attack.
    • The problem there is that if that's so easy to do, everyone should be doing it. The Normandy's stealth systems should be pretty worthless in the time after making those jumps and it seems strange that a Reaper would pay less attention.
    • Not if you're not expecting the arrival. The radiation released by the mass effect jump still moves at only light speed. If the ship jumps in more than a few light-seconds from the sensor, it can avoid being detected by getting out of sight before anyone observing can spot the radiation release, turn the sensors on the area of space, and track it down. The Collectors were expecting an arrival in the system and likely had most of the system under observation with the ambush ready to go.
    • Was Sovereign even at Illos when the Normandy arrived? Because it was getting ready to attack the Citadel at the time, which would mean that it would be much closer to the Citadel to begin with.
    • Its presence seems likely considering that Saren needed some way to get there and the moment you start 'pinging' in ME 3 Reapers have no trouble finding you even if you stop.
    • And Sovereign is the only ship that Saren can use to get to Illos? Or Sovereign has to stick around in orbit after dropping him off on Illos and then scramble at hilarious speeds across an entire galaxy's worth of mass relays to get into position to launch the attack? No, it makes more sense that Saren took a geth ship to Illos while Sovereign went to the fleet's rally point to ready the attack.

    Quarian Appearance 
  • The series seems to indicate that since the geth uprising, no one except those who were alive before the war actually knows what a quarian looks like. Sure, very few people have seen a quarian's face first hand, but surely there were great numbers of images, videos, records, and such that tell people about the appearance of quarians. Did all this knowledge and data somehow get destroyed?
    • Yeah, that's a really stupid development. They're trying to sell the idea that no offworld records exist, or no Quarian with a camera went into a clean room to take naughty pictures of themselves and uploaded the results on Space Youporn?
    • No, people know what the quarians look like. For fuck's sake, there's Fornax pornography involving quarians and an experimental treatment that allows quarians to walk around without their suits on! When a male Shepard takes off Tali's helmet during their romance, he doesn't react like someone who has no idea what to expect is under that facemask, he simply reacts like someone who has never seen a particular face before. We, the people in real life who are playing the game, don't know what the quarians look like under their suits, but in-universe, they know exactly what the quarians look like.
    • When Legion creates the digital recreation of the Quarians, they still use face masks because Shepard doesn't know what Quarians look like under their masks, and their codex entries indicate no one else does either. It's stupid, inconsistent, and contradictory to any sort of logic, but most people genuinely have no clue what they look like.
    • No. If Shepard romances Tali, he even gets a specific line that says that he knows what quarians look like under their masks. Legion specifies that Shepard sees them as being under their masks because that's the generalized perception of the quarian species in his mind as well as most other people's minds. They may know what the quarians look like underneath their suits, but when you say the word "quarian" most people in the galaxy will think of the suit, not the person underneath it. It's a memetic construct. Humans do it even to other humans; name a nationality or ethnicity, and unless you're pretty familiar with either, you're going to immediately think of an amalgam of stereotypical traits. Same thing with the quarians.
    • "Wasn't that footage of the past? Why are the quarians masked?" "You process our memories using our own. How many creators have you witnessed unmasked?" No Tali Romance: "Good point." Tali Romance: "Well, one." Also, from Matriarch Aethyta. "Then one day you wake up, your figure's gotten matriarchal, and everyone else is too young to remember what the quarians looked inside those suits." Sure, it means that she does, but a lot of the character is about how she's an exception to the norm.
    • Aethyta's statement shouldn't really be taken as an indication that no one knows what they look like. After all, it's a passing comment by a character known for hyperbole; you really shouldn't be taking that as an indicator of galactic knowledge on the biological structure of an entire species. As I said before, there's quarian porn in Fornax, there's treatments that allow quarians to live without their suits, and this is a galaxy that's post-Information Age for more than two thousand years. There'll be recordings, medical information, direct memories from Matron-age asari. The galaxy almost certainly knows what the quarians actually look like under their suits.
    • Fornax doesn't just use visuals, so the Quarian porn might just be dirty articles. Now, logically, yes, people should know what a damn Quarian looks like, if not for the data from pre-Geth Uprising, then because there's probably Quarian hentai or CG porn, but the game has numerous instances where they state that no, people don't, and not just in a "what does that particular Quarian look like" way. Also, weren't those treatments failures/discontinued?
    • The codex explicitly says that Fornax "regularly" uses quarian models of both genders. And please list the "numerous instances" where the game explicitly states that people don't know what the quarians look like. And no, the treatments weren't failures. In fact, the advertisements were specifically stating that they were achieving more successes than previously. Admittedly, those were only upwards of forty percent successes with the treatments, but its clear that they were having some success with allowing quarians to walk around without their suits. The galaxy knows what they look like.
    • I'm going to argue that the game is at the very least inconsistent. You have statements from the Codex that people don't know what they look like, statements from Shepard that s/he doesn't know what a Quarian looks like (save possibly Tali) despite the fact that he can buy an issue of Fornax, Matriarch Aethyta says no one else knows what Quarians look like, Javik implies no one else knows what they look like. Logically, it makes no sense, but the game does indicate that for some reason, most people just don't know what a Quarian looks like, even though they should be able to punch up some 300-year-old porn, or just some CG-porn.
    • Maybe because they don't actually care enough to look it up? Most people could probably find pictures of Quarians without their suits on the extranet if they really wanted to know, but they may not have bothered because it's not really that important to them. It's not an uncommon attitude, hell it even happens today: despite having a huge repository of knowledge at their fingertips (the internet), a lot of people will remain ignorant of certain information, even if it's something they claim that they want to know. Sure, they may say they will, but they'll never actually do so on their own. There are any number of reasons why they won't look it up, but it's the same mentality here.
    • The thing is, people who have a Quarian fetish will have it for two reasons: a) their culture, of which the suits are an inevitable part, so Quarian porn wouldn't need them removed; b) because they are in these suits. If the body figure itself would be important, the pervert in question would just watch and create human porn, since that one is easier to make and the external physical differences between the two races are neglible. It's sort of how clothing fetish porn works: only what is necessary for intercourse or other presentation is removed. This means that adult material involving quarians rarely, if at all, removes the suit, so finding out what they look like under it takes more effort than going on Space YouPorn, so I can imagine it is something only the very curious do.

    Protheans built the mass relays/ 
  • Throughout the galaxy, it is common knowledge that the protheans built the citadel and the mass relays. The thing about this is that there are other extinct ancient races known to exist, and no evidence seems to show that it was the protheans who build the relay network, as opposed to any other species (And we all know who really built them).
    • Ancient extinct races are known to exist, but them being interstellar or at least having the kind of dispersion the Mass Relays would give them isn't necessarily known. It's one thing to find the remains of an advanced ancient species on one planet, it's another to find them scattered across the galaxy.
    • The Protheans had the most intact and advanced mass effect-based technology recovered to date, and the Citadel and mass relays were based on mass effect technology. it stands to assume until other evidence is acquired that the most advanced known species built the most advanced technological artifacts still in existence.

    The Mako on Novaria 
  • Why does Shepard bother to go through all that rigmarole to get the garage pass on Noveria? All he/she has to do is get back in the Normandy, fly way up high, and drop the Mako near Peak 15. You know, just like he/she does on every other planet in the game.
    • And the moment Shepard tries it, s/he gets shot down by Noveria's air defense grid.
    • He's a Spectre. Noveria is an Alliance planet. Surely there was a way to call them off.
    • No its' not. Noveria is explicitly outside of Council - and therefore Alliance - jurisdiction.

    Inexplicable Thresher Maw Ties 
  • How did the thresher maws evolve independently of each other on so many different planets? I kept expecting The Reveal that the thresher maws were dispersed all over the place by some other species, but it never happened. And besides, it's hard to imagine someone moving a creature like that.
    • The codex answers all your questions. Thresher Maws start off as tiny little spores that might not get noticed. Then they get spread by spacefaring species who don't notice the thresher spores, and when spread to the other planets, grow into those massive things.

    Hazard inconsistencies 
  • Some planets have a certain Hazard level assigned (Pressure, Heat, Cold, or Poison), but sometimes they seem to be out of correlation (i. e. a planet with a lesser temperature got assigned a higher Heat Hazard warning than one with a higher temperature). Here Argos Rho -> Hydra -> Metgos has a surface temperature of 169įC with a Heat Hazard of level 2. Armstrong Nebula -> Grissom -> Solcrum with its 351įC strangely has just a Heat Hazard level 1. Other planets with problematic temperatures that could easily fry you (Armstrong Nebula -> Hong -> Casbin) do not have a heat hazard assigned at all. The same can be found with Cold Hazards: E. g. Armstrong Nebula -> Vamshi -> Maji has a surface temperature of -121įC and no Hazard rating, but Gemini Sigma -> Han -> Mavigon has a Level 2 Cold Hazard, although its temperature is just three degrees lower.
    • It is most likely due to atmospheric conditions altering local temperatures, resulting in the local areas being hotter or colder than the average listed temperature. Earth has wildly varying temperatures; just compare Death Valley and the South Pole.

  • In the first game at least, why do Kaidan/Ashley, and Shepard, blather about "regs" that apparently somehow say they shouldn't be together? Literally no other characters in the ME universe ever allude to that. Nobody bats an eyelash over male and female soldiers have relationships with each other. Same in real life, given the large number of married couples who met each other working in the military...
    • Actually, yes, there are "regs". Very important regs. They're called "fraternization" regulations, which are crucial to maintaining an orderly chain of command and can get both non- and commissioned officers discharged for violating them. Short version is, if you're fraternizing with a subordinate in the same command - and fraternization can include any overt favoritism, not just dating or sex - you are damaging the chain of command by being unable to be fair and objective when giving orders. Also, fraternization regs are good for security. This is standard practice in every competent, modern military. People meeting and falling in love in the military does happen, but it is usually either A) between different branches, B)between individuals of the same rank, or C) between individuals in different chains of command. And most of the time, the subsequent marriage takes place after one partner has left active service. Kaidan and Ashley are both Shepard's direct subordinates, so any relationship between them can be construed as fraternization.
    • Not really... people who've been educated and trained in the military know very well what their priorities are... regardless of their personal feelings for one another, everyone gets treated one and the same while on duty. Favoritism doesn't exist, period. I think it's made pretty clear that Shepard and Ashley/Kaidan would never allow their feelings to compromise their military goals. For what it's worth, military couples are lot more common than you seem to believe, at least where I live. They all have an understanding between each other to keep their professional and private lives separate. Also, in-universe, Spacer Shepard's parents were both in the Alliance, and it certainly seems like it's far from unusual.
    • No. Just...no. Favoritism happens. It happens all the time. There's a reason why fraternization regulations are in place and why officers can get discharged for them. There wouldn't be fraternization regs if favoritism wasn't a potential problem. The fact that regs get brought up if you consider a relationship with these characters supports this fact. And I didn't say anything about military couples being uncommon; I simply pointed out that a military couple will, by necessity, have to be either in different chains of commands, of the same paygrade, or of different branches. And no one in-universe says that military relationships are unusual; again, the relationships simply have to be the kind that do not interfere with chain of command. That's the whole reason why Shepard and Kaidan/Ashley's relationship is against regulations to begin with. Its a textbook example of fraternization where a superior is in a relationship with a subordinate in their direct chain of command. If they were outside Shepard's chain of command, i.e. assigned to a different ship or a ground installation, then there would be no issue.
    • Well, it still seems minor enough that it was only alluded to in ME1 really, oddly enough the "issue" is never mentioned again later in the series...
    • By the second game, Shepard and Ashley/Kaidan are no longer in the same chain of command. By the third, no one cares because there's a much more serious issue present: the end of the world.
    • Shepard becomes a Spectre very early on in the first game. They can do whatever they want. As Anderson said, they don't answer to them anymore.
    • Ashley and Kaidan aren't Spectres, though. They are bound by Alliance regulations.
    • And by the third game, Kaiden or Ashley will have been promoted, and more importantly, become a Spectre partway through the game before the romance gets a chance to be rekindled.

     Tali and her father smiling 
  • In the original Mass Effect, Tali says something along the lines of "In fact, I don't recall ever seeing my father smile... not once". Now, while Tali's visor was more transparent in ME1, allowing us to see her eyes, cheeks and nose, every other quarian has worn rather opaque visors. How would Tali have been able to see her father smile at all?
    • Maybe it's less opaque for them, whether it's because their masks let them one-way mirror, or simply because they see differently than humans?
    • They don't wear them in their home environment only when traveling/pilgrimage because their immune system can't take the introduction to foreign contaminants not present in their fleet. - RR
    • I took it as a translation convention - Quarians would have to be a very physically and emotionally expressive species to make up for the lack of visible facial features, so I assumed Tali meant that she'd never picked up on the emotions that caused smiles (warm, relaxed body postures, tone of voice, etc). But there's no way to say that and have it sound natural to us, the audience, so "see my father smile" became the line. It could be handwaved in universe by saying that Tali used different words in her language, and the universal translator just picked up her meaning.

    Pre-spaceflight Asari reproduction 
  • It had to have been exclusively among Asari and therefore producing purebloods. If so, isn't it odd how vilified the practice has become? I get that social mores change and so on, and that taking non-Asari bondmates is arguably better, but still. The generation of Asari that achieved spaceflight were purebloods.
    • Its pretty clear that the asari stigma against purebloods is a relatively recent thing established after the Citadel was created. The asari that achieved spaceflight and contacted the salarians are all dead by now anyway.

     Why screw over the Quarians? 
  • What the hell was the Council thinking leaving the Quarians to rot after the Geth Uprising? Putting aside the fact that this is a massively asshole move, why did they fault an entire species instead of the cabal of programmers responsible for the geth at fault for their uprising? Why didn't they send military aid to contain and/or destroy the geth, and failing that, why not move the refugee population to a few worlds until they could figure out something to do with them? Creating a flotilla like that is only going to cause other species inconveniences in the long run, so why punish every last quarian man woman and child?
    • Because the Council cannot get involved in purely internal matters. The quarians fucked up and got themselves genocided by disobeying Council law. The Council not only wouldn't help them, they can't help them. Its for this exact same reason that the Council ignored the Collectors attacking human colonies. The moment a geth force moved against another associate or member species, the Council would have responded to the geth attack. But so long as it remained a purely quarian problem, the quarians are expected to take care of it themselves.
    • Another, crucial thing to remember is that Council actually doesn't have direct authority over their species. The Council is an executive body whose decisions carry great weight but who cannot authorize things like military deployments. Those come from the respective leaders of each stellar nation. There's a reason why, for example, Shepard has to actually go to Palaven to find the next turian Primarch, because the turian Councilor can't authorize redeployment of military assets. The Council could very well have ruled in favor of responding to the geth attack on the quarians but the Council member states objected and refused, either out of spite or other reasons. And its not like 'human'' governments in real life haven't dragged their heels when it comes to responding to real-life genocides. The Council sitting out the annihilation of the quarians is entirely in-character for governing bodies in general.
    • The Council seems to be a pretty good analogue for the real life League of Nations, which was supposed to be a collective of all the major world powers pre-World War 1 (of course you would have to extrapolate that to a galactic scale). The big problems with the League were that it had no real military power of its own, and so couldn't threaten a rogue power with anything more than a dirty look, and the interests of the Leagues' respective countries prevented it from entering conflicts or giving aid to other countries (think of the overthrow of Italy by Mussolini, or Hitler taking over country after country without consequence before Poland).
    • Sins of Our Fathers
    Tali wanting Shepard to see her under the mask 
  • In ME 2, Tali says some kind of line about wanting Shepard to see her past her "stupid mask". That got me thinking - why don't any quarians use transparent visors? I know that Tali's line was more symbolic than anything, and even a transparent mask would be an unwanted barrier, but why don't any quarians in existence use transparent masks? From a PR perspective, it'd certainly go a long way toward making them seem more sympathetic, since people can attach a face to their plight. PS, I understand the technical limitations and the developers' wish for suspense, so I'm only asking on an in-universe level.
    • Personal preference maybe? I have a theory that they do this as a form of symbolism. "We won't show our faces until we atone for creating the geth and get Rannoch back" kinda attitude. Like how some rape victims hate being touched until they eventually come to terms and deal with the event.
     Chasca Day Length 
  • Contradictory planetary info given:
    • Planetary Synopsis: "... tidally locked to Matano. The same side always faces the sun, resulting in a scorching day side and a frozen night side. "
    • Day Length: 1.3 Earth Years:
    • Therefore, there's no such thing as a "day" ( a full planet rotation) or a day length unless you say it's perpetual on one side and non-existant on the other considering day then to refer to daylight vs. a full rotation. Regardless 1.3 Earth Years makes no sense. Even in the time it takes the Earth to orbit the sun 1.3x Chasca will still not have turned based on the description. - RR
    • A 'day' is how long a planet takes to rotate around its own axis, relative to the sun. "Tidally locked" does not mean "does not rotate". It means the planet rotates enough to always show the same side of the planet to the body as it orbits. The moon is tidally locked, but it still has days. A day is about the same as a year on a tidally locked planet for that reason.
     Joker and Brittle Bone Disease 
  • Joker suffers from brittle bone disease, of which one of the symptoms is blue scleras. Yet Joker's scleras are a normal, healthy white. What's going on here, limitations of the hardware, or a Critical Research Failure?
    • Neither. Just because there's a symptom to a disease it doesn't mean that it will always manifest in every case of that disease.
    • Except it is present in all cases. Brittle bone disease is caused by insufficient or improperly formed collagen. In addition to brittle bones, this results in a thin sclera, exposing the veins underneath, resulting in the blue color. Therefore, Joker's scleras should be blue.
    • Is it brittle bone disease that Joker suffers from? Given that Joker's condition is specifically called Vrolik's Syndrome, it likely isn't the exact same disease, no matter how similar they are.
    • Vrolik Syndrome is one of several names (others include Ekman-Lobstein syndrome, glass-bone disease, and the medically accepted osteogenesis imperfecta) that have been used to denote brittle bone disease. So yes, it is the same disease.
    • Joker does get treatment for the disease to keep him functional. It is entirely possible that whatever treatment he undergoes for the disease, it helps his scleras.
    • Which he only got after he joined Cerberus, and even before that his scleras were still white. Before the treatment he needed crutches and leg braces to get around. Considering the Alliance didn't give him any kind of treatment to assist in walking, it seems very unlikely they'd give him a cosmetic treatment that merely fixed his scleras.
    • No. Joker never said anything about getting treatment once he joined Cerberus; that's fanon with zero evidence backing it. He explicitly talks about treatments right there in the first game when you ask about his disease. "Thanks to modern medicine, I'm a productive member of society." He mentions treatment, his scleras are normal, so it is safe to assume that whatever treatment the government gave him was sufficient to remedy that problem.
    • Even though he is extremely high functioning for someone with that condition, how did Joker qualify for a military officer's commission? At the very least, any officer should have qualified in shipboard damage control, hand to hand combat and firearms training. All of these are highly physical activities that Joker would never have been able to complete. And pilots are supposed to pass SERE Survive, Evade capture, Resist interrogation and Escape captivity training as well as crashing craft bailout procedures to handle the possibility of getting shot down. All of these are physically demanding. No way Joker would have been able to pass all of them and qualify as a pilot. What gives?
    • Because the Alliance has completely different minimum personnel requirements from modern military forces.

     Sergeant Stirling's Ignorance 
  • How could Sergeant Stirling not know about Shepard's Spectre status? I can understand Captain Matsuo's need to confirm it for official and legal reasons, but Stirling's immediate dismissal of it is ridiculous. An event as momentous as the appointment of the first human Spectre would be headline news in a matter of hours (Helena Blake knew minutes after it happened). Does Stirling not watch the news or something? She doesn't even have the excuse of their not being media coverage of the event, as Jack's Shadow Broker dossier showed that her extranet activity included watching a video of Shepard's inauguration (although she stopped watching after twelve seconds).
    • All she says is "Load of horsecrap, ma'am," when Shepard mentions his/her Spectre status. Remember also her personality; she may have dismissed Shepard's claims just so she could get a chance to start a fight or at least arrest Shepard.
    • And how exactly is calling it a "Load of horsecrap..." not a dismissal of Shepard's claim to being a Spectre (which again indicates that she somehow doesn't know he's a Spectre), and if she was just trying to pick a fight, how is she still employed? What security company would want to hire a person who deliberately goes around harassing people and looking for fights?
    • Just about every single mercenary company in the setting? "Picks a fight for no reason" could easily describe any of the major mercenary groups, and her personality is extremely combative, to the point that she's willing to try to take you on even after you slaughter most of the ERCS mercs trashing the Synthetic Insights office. Violent and aggressive, yes. Smart, no. Not to mention that there's real-life precedent for private security companies getting hyper-aggressive; just look at the crazy shit Blackwater/Xe pulled in Iraq under US State Department sanction.
    • That may be the case in the lawless Terminus systems, but on a civilized planet like Novaria where people go specifically to avoid the oversight of the law, a security officer who goes around harassing people and looking for fights would quickly result in complaints to her employers, leading to either her being reprimanded or losing her job.
    • Stirling probably doesn't randomly pick fights with everyone who shows up, just those who present an apparent security threat. Like the unannounced ship that barges in through their orbital security perimeter and whose crew blatantly walks in with military weapons and armor and refuses to give them up upon being asked by security. For all she knows this is someone pretending to be a Spectre who is trying to get inside to sabotage a facility or conduct corporate espionage.
    • It also is entirely possible that she just doesn't follow the news. People in real life are often ignorant of the news, especially if they've got a job or lifestyle that demands their attention constantly. A security coordinator for a planet under constant scrutiny like Noveria could easily just have her hands full keeping everything running and not have time to check the news. Or she could have heard about Shepard being made a Spectre, but didn't pay too much attention to it, and "Load of horsecrap" is her saying that this particular guy claiming to be a Spectre is someone lying about their status or taking advantage of the "first human Spectre" to sneak through their defenses.
    • And yet Helena Blake, who's probably a lot busier than her, managed to find time to watch the news and know about Shepard's Spectre status minutes after his inauguration.
    • So? One other person in the galaxy taking the time to watch the news doesn't mean that everyone else will also find the time to watch it or care enough about it. Heaven forbid a major crime boss and a security guard have different interests or differing priorities.
    • Helena Blake was presumably on the Citadel when it happened, and was looking for someone like Shepard to do a job for her. And how is this relevant, anyways? Because Stirling doesn't know who Shepard is, no one can possibly know? Or because Helena Blake does know who Shepard is, every else in the galaxy should too?
    • One can say something is a load of horsecrap without insinuating that it's untrue. The phrase can also be used to acknowledge something as a fact while objecting to its existence. So maybe Stirling wasn't accusing Shepard of lying so much as expressing an opinion that Shepard being a Spectre was a joke.

     How does The Conduit work? 
  • It's a very small mass relay that can shoot the Mako, a tank, not a starship, across most of the galaxy (check where Ilos is in relation to the Citadel) and deliver it intact on the other side. Integrity of the Mako aside, how does The Conduit get the Mako to its destination? Did the creators just hope that the Citadel was pointed the right way so anything going through The Conduit wouldn't smash through one of the Citadel's arms on the way to the other end of the relay?
    • Mass relays allow anything passing through their corridors to move through solid objects, as evidenced by the fact that the Mako has to pass through the solid walls of the Presidium to get there, and the fact that things generally sent through the Relays aren't reduced to atoms when they pass through all the clutter in the galaxy between the relays. Hell, we actually have visible examples of things passing through solid objects when mass relays are activated. Vanguards flat-out phase straight through solid objects when they initiate a charge.

    Exiting the Conduit 
  • For that matter, how did Saren and the geth survive going through the relay? They were on foot. Shepard at least had a tank, but they would be accelerating to FTL speeds with no shielding at all.
    • Because they don't exit the relay at FTL speeds. Nothing exits the Relays at FTL speeds. They emerge out the other side, moving at the same speed as they were when they entered, which is why the Mako violently crashed.

     Sole Survivor background 
  • The back stories of the War Hero and Ruthless are fitting backgrounds for an agent who is given near impossible missions and absolute power to accomplish them. The War Hero has proven his/her courage and heroism while the Ruthless has proven their ability to accomplish the mission no matter the cost. However the Sole Survivor's back story is that s/he survived an attack by multiple thresher maws leaving the rest of their squad to perish. There is nothing in this background to indicate that this person is ready for a huge responsibility like that of the Spectres. They could have chosen an earthquake or train wreck survivor and assigned her Spectre status by this line of reasoning. In fact Shepard as an officer surviving while all squaddies bought the farm, would be a huge red flag warranting an investigation into possible cowardice, dereliction of duty and at least failure to lead. In fact the Spacer-Sole Survivor might be suspected of skating due to family ties, an Earthborn Sole Survivor with their juvenile delinquency record would have been convicted and incarcerated, while a Colonist Sole Survivor would have been quietly given a medical discharge due to a high probability of mental problems.
    • Surviving a direct attack by dozens of creatures the size of buildings is a far cry from surviving a train wreck or earthquake. And since Shepard has apparently not been charged with cowardice, dereliction of duty, or failure to lead, and hardsuits do come with recording equipment, any investigation clearly failed to show any of this. Also, the Codex entry explicitly states that "Constant gunfire couldn't drown out the shrieks of your fellow soldiers as they were dragged down to a gruesome death." which strongly indicates that Shepard was fighting alongside his/her comrades. Survivor Shepard's conversation with Toombs, if you pick the Paragon responses, also outright says that s/he only retreated after s/he thought everyone else was already dead. "Corporal Toombs? But...I saw you die on Akuze!" Then "Toombs, I—I didn't see anybody. If I'd seen you, I would have come back for you." Its quite clear that Shepard didn't abandon his/her unit, and any Alliance investigation afterward clearly came to the same conclusion.
    • Someone who chose that background in the game knows that a Sole Survivor is clear of all charges, but in real life bureaucracies, things aren't that lenient. Even if an investigation cleared the surviving officer of wrongdoing, the fact that an investigation was carried out would still remain as an indelible mark. Such an officer would have been denied promotions, got Reassigned to Antarctica, Kicked Upstairs (probably for Spacer Shepard) and otherwise would never have been allowed entry into a prestigious program like N1 much less N7. And even if this Shepard made it through all that, how does just surviving something elevate them above other N7 operatives for Spectre candidacy. That survival could have been due to pure dumb luck aka "The Fortunes Of War", in a similar manner as surviving an artillery barrage or air attack while others perished. Pulling a Major Dutch would have justified it, but nothing in the game ever says that happened.
    • The Alliance does not seem to be the kind of organization that lets criminal investigations - particularly ones that are cleared of charges - interfere with careers. Note how Hackett completely backs up Shepard in spite of Shepard actively working with a terrorist group. This is even if there was an official investigation of that kind, and there is zero evidence in Shepard's personal history or the timeline of an official investigation carried out in the first place. Suit records and other data logs were clearly deemed sufficient to show that Shepard was blameless. As for how Shepard got into N1, there is zero evidence that the N7 program would not allow Shepard in even if there was this (still entirely unsupported-by-in-game-evidence) "investigation." And if Shepard was accepted, then personal skills and capability would have carrier him/her, with the survival of Akuze simply being an element of their reputation. Indeed, when a Sole Survivor Shepard is brought up as a potential candidate for the Spectres, the questions immediately asked are about Shepard's mental state and whether s/he is capable of the job, with the conclusion that yes, s/he is.
      If you're going to suggest that Shepard would be barred from advancing in rank or the N7 program by some kind of investigation, I would suggest you provide proof that there was one in the first place.
    • Look at how the Alliance Navy treats Ashley. She is only given the basic infantry training and is assigned from one dead end planet side assignment to another. She even says that anytime she does make it onto the fleet, someone finds out who she is and reassigns her back planet side. All because of her "guilt by association" with her grandfather. Even her own father remained at the lowest enlisted rank for 30 years for the very same reason. To break this "Williams curse" it took a legend like Captain Anderson to recommend her assignment to the Normandy. So the Alliance does stifle careers, opportunities etc for small reasons such as familial association. Wouldn't be too much of a stretch to assume that they would similarly scuttle the career of an officer who got his/her men killed and failed their primary mission.
    • Shockingly, there is a degree of corruption in a military force over events that happened in recent memory which major political forces are still trying to milk for ideological gains. What happened on Shanxi is completely different from what happened on Akuze. Shanxi was an outright surrender and loss to a major military power in war that cost humanity pride, whereas Akuze was a recon mission that went terribly wrong. There's someone who can be openly blamed for Shanxi, while there's no one who can be blamed for Akuze (outside of Cerberus, but no one knows that for a long time). Any investigation that occurred on Akuze's events have clearly exonerated Shepard of wrongdoing, particularly because there aren't major political forces looking for someone to crucify like there were with Williams after Shanxi.
    • So there are political ramifications for failures. That has been the staple of military leaders since time memorial. Screw up badly enough and your stellar career comes crashing down because somebody wants to gain political mileage out of this. And how do organizations react to that kind of political climate where your every mistake becomes an excuse for ruining careers? They become a zero defect make no waves bureaucracy. And such a bureaucracy will operate under the maxim that even the appearance of impropriety is as bad as an actual impropriety. This kind of bureaucracy will also routinely sacrifice junior officers' careers lest any apparent improprieties filter up high enough for politicians to latch onto and scuttle senior officer careers. This way those who took no risks, made no waves and made no mistakes so far can rise to the top and be insulated from anything political as a reward. The Alliance may have once been earnest professionals, but the way they treat descendants of a General Failure suggests that they might have eventually become the make no waves bureaucracy discussed earlier. Such a bureaucracy would definitely scuttle Sole Survivor Shepard's career so that no uncomfortable questions are asked about surveying the planet better before colonizing, or providing fire support or evac for the recon team.
      • We have one instance of a single colossal, high-profile failure with massive political consequences getting ostracized early on in the formation of the Alliance as a military and political entity. That is again completely different from what might, theoretically have happened to Shepard much later in that organization's existence over a vastly smaller incident with no political blowback. There's no indication that the current Alliance has the same policies and institutional behavior as it did int he immediate aftermath of an abrupt surprise war where humanity suffered its only military defeat. If you're going to suggest that the Alliance habitually shits on any officer who is involved in an ugly scenario where a lot of people die, you'll need to provide more than a single extreme outlier in the form of the Williams family.

     Why Did The First Contact War Happen? 
So, this has been bugging me for ages, and I can't seem to figure out what the answer is, but why did the turians fire upon the human ships and start the First Contact War? There is a discussion above that involves it to some degree, but it doesn't really explore why. Why would the turians attack ships belonging to a species that was clearly not under Citadel law using a Citadel law as their justification, then get into a three-month-long planetary conflict with a species no Citadel species had ever encountered before? I just don't understand the reasoning for attacking ships that didn't know there was such a law instead of trying to inform them of the situation and have a tense, but more peaceful first contact?
  • Because the commander was basically an idiot who botched a first contact. Botched first contact is a messy business, and the turians pretty much admitted that they acted in total error once the Council intervened.

     Turians say, no such thing as civilians 
So there are two things seriously wrong with how the Turians bombed Shanxi in the First Contact war. First thing is, even Turians aren't training 6 year olds for battle. Did it ever occur to them that they were killing children? Second is, the culture clash thing is a flimsy excuse. The justification is that since they train all of their civilians for combat, they view every city as a military installation. Except they're the only race that does this. They know this. The only culture they have even a passing resemblance to in that regard is with the Krogan. Just because they apparently don't have nn-combatants doesn't mean there aren't non-combatants.
  • Its never been said that the turians don't recognize the concept of non-combatants. The turians even acknowledge there are non-combatants in their own species. The Taetrus war demonstrates that not only do they specifically recognize non-combatants (infirm, mentally ill, elderly, children) but that turian culture even specifies rules for combat-capable adults who do not wish to engage in combat when turians are fighting turians - they are permitted to evacuate a combat zone and go to designated safe-camps before hostilities commence. Hell, their own rules for client species specifically designate client members as civilians unless they've joined the military, at which point they're bumped to the first citizenship tier and deemed soldiers.
    What the turians do have is massive force and a doctrine around use of massive force. They permit non-combatants to leave a conflict zone and then use massive force against whatever hostiles they encounter. Bombing city blocks to take out individual fireteams, for example. And for all that, when you look at the actual numbers in the First Contact war, only a few hundred died on either side. Compare again to Taetrus: The air campaign there talks of killing dozens or hundreds of people with every air strike, and they launch thousands per day. Total casualty rates, including deaths of noncombatants, ran up to the 100,000+ mark within weeks of starting the war. For a war on the scale that normally happens in Mass Effect, the occupation of Shanxi was practically bloodless.
    • Regardless of how "bloodless" it was, none of those standards seemed to be present. Shanxi seems like one big OOC moment for the Turian military.
    • What "standards"? Bombing city blocks to kill fireteams? As said above, they literally killed hundreds of their own species per bombing run on Taetrus. The only OOC element of it was how gently they were treating the humans compared with how they normally fought wars, even among themselves. Less than four hundred humans died in a interstellar war and planetary occupation that lasted three months. Current-tech human wars are killing several times that many every week. The turians on Taetrus killed as many people with each airstrike as died in the entire Shanxi occupation. They definitely were not mindlessly carpet-bombing civilians.

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