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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Mass Effect
Spoilers here for the first game. The second is here, and the third is here. Read at your own discretion.

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    Artificial and Virtual Intelligences 
VIs can develop rampancy.
  • There is evidence towards VIs being able to develop rampancy, as the VI on Luna showed, blasting out "HELP" in binary before its "death." The period during which the troops were killed was Anger.
    • Choosing certain dialogue options during the scene when Shepard first meets EDI reveals that the VI on Luna was actually an AI. Which just raises further questions: was Hackett in on it? Can AIs develop Rampancy, or was it a rebellion against the situation it was in?
      • Well, since we're talking rampancy, of course AIs can go rampant. That one was most likely in the Anger phase (slaughter tends to be typical of the Anger phase). They were probably trying to make a metastable AI.
      • A log in ME3 shows that EDI originally WAS the Luna VI.
    • You guys win the internet for the Marathon reference.

  • We have no actual evidence of AIs turning evil, apart from the Reapers. Every other "evil" AI in the game - the geth, the AI on the Citadel, and the Alliance AI on Luna were all acting in self-defence. The quarians explicitly state that they preemptively attacked the geth, the Citadel AI knew that C-Sec would be trying to shut it down, and the one on Luna was confused and attempting to defend itself from the Alliance.
    • Except for the fact that all attempts to communicate with the geth failed. They were left alone behind the Perseus Veil until Sovereign convinced them to join him, in the process committing what organics would call war crimes.
      • Legion says that the geth working with Saren were a small group - probably only 5% - and that they were mostly just looking for a shortcut to the technology the Reapers have (and probably got indoctrinated in the process). The true geth, meanwhile, have no problems with organics or quarians. In fact, the geth have been repairing the damage to the quarian homeworld, don't actually live on it, and would gladly let the quarians return if they could broker a peace agreement.
    • This troper sympathizes with the geth, and would react pretty much the same way if he one day asked his creator "Where do babies come from?" and they responded with a unilateral declaration of genocidal war. In this case, organics are the Scary Dogmatic Aliens, and the geth are justifiably at war with an entire class of species so utterly xenophobic that they would exterminate the species equivalent of a newborn infant for no other reason than fear. The organic stance on synthetic life is definitely a Kick the Dog moment for this troper.
    • It's also important to note that, as Tali points out, synthetic life and organic life have almost no common needs or goals. The only things that they would have to offer each other would be technology trade or raw mineral resources. The geth and other beings like them do not need food, water, oxygen, or even a temperature or pressure range comparable to what organics can exist in.
      • This troper thinks that that is a cop-out to justify xenophobic genocide.
      • In fact, wouldn't that make it easier to coexist, since they're not competing for resources?
      • Indeed. That quote is pure Logical Fallacies, the actual implication of said fact is the exact opposite of what she says it is.
      • No it doesn't. Troper two levels above misread; synthetics and organics have no common needs or goals. They do compete for raw mineral resources. In such a situation, both orgs and synths would be trying to expand as much as they can. Due to the synths lack of need for things like food/water/air/whatnot, this makes them better able to proliferate than the organics. Meanwhile, the lack of common goals means that the two sides will not cooperate with each other. Think of organic life = native Australian wildlife, and synthetics = rabbits/cane toads, and you get the idea of why said "xenophobic genocide" is justified on the side of the organics.
      • Are you serious? You actually think that competition over resources is grounds for genocide?
      • Original statement is meant to address error of fact. But to answer your question - I think the "genocide" will happen anyway, it's just a question of who it happens to. The important thing for me to consider is "will extinction happen" and "what means is there to stop it." If you are the Australian native wildlife, and the rabbits are outbreeding you and doing everything better than you, do you accept getting pushed out? or do you push out the rabbits first? Cooperation here is not an option, as pushing you out benefits the rabbits far more than cooperation. I do not see a Third Option that can be taken, but if you have one I'd love to hear it.
      • The Geth have no reason to try to compete for resources with organics. As stated, there are enormous numbers of worlds they can use that noone else can. Also, remember that the geth function as well or better in 0G than planetside. They can mine random asteroids or barren worlds for anything they need. The only resource that is limited to planets that organics would want is complex biochemicals, and guess what, the geth don't need those. There is no reason for the geth to fight for resources organics want when they can easily get at things organic life cannot.
      • This is silly. Assuming the geth actually have any interest in expanding, they will soon be a type II civilisation. The amount of energy they can get from that is massive, enough to not need any competition with the organics. The Geth competing with organics for resources would be like a rich billionaire stooping to steal some crumbs from the ants at his feet.
      • Plus, the geth's stated aim is the construction of a megastructure similar to a Dyson Sphere that will house all geth platforms. They don't have any interest in expanding: hell, they don't seem to have any interest in "procreation", either. If backups of all geth programs exist, what is the point in creating any more? But this is all moot: the quarians didn't know about it, the Council didn't know about it; the geth have only been working on it for 250 years. The only people who know are the Normandy's crew and maybe the Illusive Man. That lack of knowledge still isn't grounds for trying to commit xenocide, or even from prosecuting a war they were losing. Didn't anyone try to negotiate with the geth? Or did they all assume they were mindless organic-eating monsters? Even after one of the first questions they asked upon gaining sentience was "do these units have a soul?"
      • Not to a quarian. For the last three hundred years, the quarians have lived on the Flotilla. They're unable to trade materials because they have none to spare, unable to settle down and find them because their compromised immune systems make potential worlds extremely finite, and unable to find allies because they can't spare the personnel necessary to offer any sort of aid. To someone who grew up in that environment, a second-class citizen with only technological skills to barter for room and board, it's a reasonable world view that species only band together because they need something out of one another. No one needs the quarians, so they suffer. The geth, who have all the technical skills of their parent species and none of the requirements loom as a Spectre of yet another species that doesn't need them.
    • The Citadel AI could not have acted in self-defence because it's only available action was to destroy itself. From a purely self-preservation standpoint, anything would be better than destroying itself. Even if surrendering would likely result in being destroyed anyway it's still a better chance than just blowing yourself up. But apparently it's just Better to Die than Be Killed.
      • Imagine becoming aware with the realisation that you have no legal rights and everyone around you hates and fears you simply because of what you are. And if you are found out the very best you can hope for is being lobotomised by your enemies. More likely, you'd be vivisected slowly until they could learn nothing more about you, then you'd be killed.
      • That's a human response. A rational AI should have asked Shepard & Co their intentions instead of assuming all the meatbags are the same and self-destructing on sight. Then again the thing also failed to consider the "self-destruct system" was a useless piece of crap that could be disabled in two seconds by shooting the power source, maybe it was just Too Dumb to Live.
      • That's making the assumption that AI equals rational cold logic. It doesn't. AI just means intelligence created rather than born. Thus with intelligence also comes emotion, logical errors, mistakes, and irrationality. As with most science fiction tropes, Mass Effect deconstructs the idea that AIs are "better" just because they think faster or think "better". Consider, for instance, Legion: When pressed about why they wear Shepard's N7 armour, they have no answer and can only stare in silence before saying "No data available". There'd be no rational or logical reason for lacking data unless they're trying to describe something they can't explain in pure logical and rational terms. Likewise, they express confusion over why the heretic geth would spy on true geth. And Legion's higher function run-times express dissent over what to do with the heretics. As Legion says, they are many eyes looking at one set of data... different perspectives mean different opinions and conclusions.
      • Also, note that the Citadel AI's parent was killed by the original creator. As with the geth, this doesn't exactly equal a happy childhood. Imagine being a young child only to witness your grandparent murdering your parents. Yeah, you might be a little traumatized too.
    • This could be extended to the Reapers themselves: the Citadel Council demands that synthetic intelligences be destroyed on identification because every previous one Turned Against Their Masters - so said intelligences know that they will be destroyed unless they strike first. If previous civilisations had similar laws, then the Reapers could simply be the first synthetic civilisation which defeated their masters - and swore never to let organics threaten them again. As policing the entire galaxy would be a chore, they went for a variation of Carl Sagan's Contact - leave out Schmuck Bait (the Mass Relays) to gather them at the Citadel for convenience. When their vanguard decides the time is right (everyone gathered yet not advanced enough to threaten them) they come out of dark space and Kill 'em All.
      • Then what would be the point of leaving only to periodically come back to kill everyone? They could just stay in their newly-conquered galaxy doing whatever it is killer robots do when they're not exterminating people and nuke any offending life-forms as they appear.
      • This is explained in the second game - Reaper reproduction requires massive amounts of Sapient Resources. They stay away so the meatbags can breed free-range, and seal up their hidey-hole in between harvests so they can conserve energy.
      • Only sort-of explained, as a dominated galaxy where they ran no risk of destruction by uppity organics wouldn't need reproduction. Even if they thought they had to reproduce, battery-farming of a promising species would be far more efficient. There doesn't really seem to be any motivation for their cycle except for shoddy programming and thus crapshoot AI. Perhaps they were made as war machines by a race millions of years ago and accumulation of computing errors led to the current cycle that doesn't make sensenote . Their AI isn't smart enough to identify the errors that keep them in this cycle, so they'll never stop, or just keep going until their AI degrades so much they can no longer defeat the organics.
      • So, explanation from ME3. Major spoilers, obviously. It's not the Reapers perpetuating the cycles. It's the Citadel itself. There's an AI on the Citadel that realized organics and synthetics can't live peacefully. They would always go to war with each other. It knew that in every cycle, organics would build synthetics, and the two would go to war. And if the synthetics won, they would wipe out all organic life. The Citadel AI didn't want that to happen. It believed organics had a right to exist. So it created the Reapers. Their purpose is to come back when organics reach a certain level of development, and harvest them, preserving them as new Reapers. Primitive species would be left alone for the next cycle.
  • Note that every AI you encounter is bad because they 'act out'; however, note as well that in the climate that exists, a non-evil AI would likely either pretend to be 'dumb' and thus go undetected (or not being notable enough for Shepard to worry about) or attempt communication which would either result in destruction or secrecy on the part of those who it communicates with. As well EDI from ME2 lends additional weight to this; she's a perfectly normal personality who, while yes, defying her creators, demonstrates that an AI does not mean 'organics are inferior' or that an AI will automatically be hostile. She shows that you can't really judge AIs as an all-or-nothing idea - you have to judge each AI within its own context as its own entity and individual.
  • Kaidan probably said it best when he described aliens: they're jerks or saints, but ultimately individuals. AI are probably like that. There probably isn't a benevolent Reaper faction, but the Reapers are kinda like a very evil organization that would exterminate more benevolent transhuman hive-minds.

    The Asari 
The Asari actually look like Eldritch Abominations
  • Shepard sleeps with humaniod aliens during the games so the differences between the main Mass Effect species aren't insurmountable barriers to forming relationships. A WMG further down suggests that they may be generating a type of glamor to look attractive to everyone. If Femshep can sleep with a Turian then how different must the Asari actually look to have need for glamor?
The asari being a One-Gender Race is bullshit.
  • There actually were male asari. There aren't any more, because once the asari developed their crazy parthenogenesis tech (which, of course, they now claim is a natural ability of their species), the female-dominated asari government decided that males were simply not necessary any longer. It's possible that this happened so long ago that every living asari now believes the lie they're spouting.
    • Alternatively, they evolved parthenogenesis naturally and the males gradually faded away as it became more and more common. Presumably they can only produce daughters through merging, and it's probably much more enjoyable than their original method, what with the linking of nervous systems, so the birth rate would have favoured females more and more until they became mono-gendered.
    • Further expanding the theory: the asari males were like those of some species fish; tiny, barely recognisable as the same species, and permanently attaching themselves to the females, withered away to nothing but a gland producing semen in the female's body. Eventually because of a mutation some females were born with male "sibling" inside them, providing this function right from the birth. But since all the descendants from this method of reproduction are essentially clones, evolution had to find a way to expand the gene pool. At this point the innate biotic abilities came into play, and those asari who learned to meld with others for new genetic input were the ones to ultimately survive as the species we know today.
  • Alternate explanation of the same theory: we already know from ME how much asari-asari relationships are looked down upon thanks to the "lack of genetic variance" they provide - Liara told us, and it's mentioned on Illium. Maybe the asari (only females) were able to do genetic melding reproduction from the beginning, but when they realised the potential problems that it created and discovered alternate races (probably the salarians at first), asari females begin reproducing with them instead of male asari. The only downside was that because the alien DNA wasn't similar enough to allow the asari to create an entirely new set of chromosomes from the "father", they had to use their own chromosomes for the majority of the relationship, including their own sex chromosomes (if they have them, if not, then the resulting chromosome pair number produced females, or whatever causes the genetic difference). Long story short: asari females stopped mating with the males, produced only more females, males disappeared. It is possible that before meeting alien races, the asari were kind of like reverse salarians - mostly female, only some males.
    • The third explanation actually makes the most sense believe it or not, because the exact same thing happened in the New Mexico Whiptail lizards. When two different species of Whiptail lizards hybridised, the sexual differentiation system broke down do to a slight incompatibility between the genes of the two different lizards. The resulting hybrids where all female as a result. Fortunately, female Whiptail Lizards of all species evolved the ability to self impregnate (using Parthenogenesis, the exact same method that Asari are said to use) in a male free environment, so the all female hybrid species was able to survive, and reproduce, evolving into the only species of whiptail that reproduces exclusively through parthenogenesis. That being said, the Asari aversion to mating with their own race doesn't make sense if we use the Whiptails as an example. Despite being all female, and lacking a biological need to take in new genes, the New Mexico Whiptails still engage in "mock mating" with members of their own species, which stimulates ovulation allowing them to self fertilise their eggs. However, a New Mexico Whiptail will not attempt to mate with males, or even females of other whiptail species, not even the two that hybridised to create them in the first place.
    • ...or they could do exactly what they say they do. There are a number of real life species that are mono-gendered and mate like the asari do in the sense that they don't even have sex but merely require the presence of another to trigger breeding. Others have equally exotic forms of such.
      • ...Methinks above Troper doesn't understand the point of the WMG section... canon truths have no place here.

Asari are shapeshifters.
  • Okay, follow me on this one. Asari can mate with any species, right? But in order to do that, they have to be considered attractive by the target species. Now, while a blue-skinned humanoid may be attractive to humans (as well as possibly quarians and drell), other races like turians and krogan may find them uninteresting. So, they shapeshift into more desirable forms (like a female turian or female krogan with blue skin) when they want to attract them as mates. The reason you don't see them doing this in the game? The ones that you can get down and funky with are not trying to romance any other species but humans.
    • However, you do see plenty of asari who are going about their business on the Citadel and on Noveria and are not paying attention to Shepard at all - including the asari exotic dancers in Chora's Den and the Asari Consort's attendants, who in both cases are mostly entertaining non-humans. Why wouldn't we see at least a couple of these in alternate forms if the asari could change their shapes?
    • Alternate theory: the asari emit hallucinogenic pheromones, or even a psychic field that makes them attractive and desirable to everyone - they're actually blue, five-fingered humanoids, but not all that attractive by other races' standards.
      • Building on that, this troper can't help but think Morinth's face looks very different when she's gets ready to sex up/kill Shepard.
    • If you listen in on the Bachelor Party in ME2, which is a Crowning Moment of Funny, a turian, salarian, and a human each say that the asari has features appealing to their species. The human at the party brings up this WMG but is shot down by the turain so that asari as a whole aren't ruined for them.
    • Alternate theory: the asari evoke a Mukokuseki reaction from other species. Asari don't actually change shape or emit hallucinatory chemicals/biotics, but their appearance is flexible enough that other species see them as looking similar to their own, or at least appearing desirable. Humans focus on the humanoid face and feminine body structure. Turians see the head tentacles as fringe analogues and are also attracted to wide hips. Salarians... they don't have a sex drive, so if there is an attraction, it is probably based on curiosity and fascination with the exotic. Krogans appreciate the badassness of asari commandos. As for the other species, they haven't shown visible interest in asari in the games.
      • Maybe, maybe not. In a Citadel shop in ME2, we do catch what might possibly be a couple composed of an asari and an elcor, though their conversation doesn't give enough evidence to confirm or deny that they're romantically involved.
      • They seem like coworkers, actually.
      • Does the Codex actually say the salarians have no sex drive? The one of Illium is obviously aroused by the asai dancer. Maybe it's just suppressed because sex in salarian culture is just for reproduction and is more akin to a business contract.
    • Played with by Mordin (of course). He ponders pheromones or neurochemical transmitters in the case of asari attracted to him/him to them. He also mentions how some other non-salarians have found him attractive. Turians like his skin tone. Krogan 'deviants' like his flexibility. So it's not just asari being magical girls with seduction powers. It's just racial inclinations - different species and different individuals focus on different things. Not all asari are universally attractive; some people find the asari bartender more attractive in her post-drink form, others find her pre-drink form more so. Some find Liara attractive, others not so much.
  • If we can agree that the asari need to be considered attractive by the target species they wish to mate with, why do they appear as female to heterosexual human females? Very curious indeed...
    • They also need the physical structures to bear and care for children, meaning that wide hips and mammaries are a requirement. Neither of those exactly fits with a human definition of masculinity.
  • Here's the riddle for you: If asari are either shapeshifters or psychic mindwarpers then why do artificial representations of them (i.e. the vidscreen on the exterior of Afterlife, the ads in the Citadel) look exactly the same way as all the living, breathing Asari you encounter?
  • Many people are quick to overlook the fact that some people in real life are attracted to fictional alien designs. Why could this not be true for the alien races in Mass Effect towards the human shaped asari? You underestimate the power of otherworldly fetish fuel.
  • ME2 states it clear as day- just about every species is attracted to SOMETHING about the asari.
    • Humans are attracted to the shapely figure similar to their own. Same for quarian, drell, and batarians I'd assume.
    • Turians are attracted to the head fringe, similar to their own.
    • Salarians, lacking a sex drive, seem more interested in them from an aesthetic, artful point of view.
    • Krogans are attracted to their equally long life spans, and the opportunity to actually have children (I'm just assuming this- it was never stated.)
      • The shopkeeper being wooed by a Krogan says that.
    • I'm also guessing hanar are attracted to the skin tone, not sure about that.
    • I have not a friggin' clue about elcor, volus, yahg, or vorcha though.
      • ME2 has a volus who's clearly interested in an asari saleswoman. Of course, we have no idea what volus look like under their suits.

The asari were designed by the Reapers, to serve as the perfect template for the next generation of Reapers
.
  • They gave them the ability to exert an indoctrination-like effect on those around them, causing other races to perceive them as incredibly attractive. They used this to fool other races into sleeping with them, the asari using their biotics to connect with their nervous system and stealing their genetic information and memories. By doing this they became stronger and more genetically diverse, though killing their victim by burning out his nervous system in the process. This is the origin of the Ardat-Yakshi "disorder". However somehow the asari managed to break the Reaper's grip on them and remove this trait through genetic modification, turning their abilities to their own procreation (given that Ardat-Yakshi are sterile, I'm guessing that before they were cloned or otherwise created, perhaps by the Collectors). However they weren't completely successful and soon realised that breeding within the species risked reactivating these traits, forbidding asari to breed with each other and instead seek out unions with other races. As generations passed this history became forgotten, and the "no pureblood asari" rule turned into simple prejudice.
    • All this, from a single sentence: when you confront Morinth, she states that she is "the genetic destiny of the asari!". You can bring this up later on (almost crying out 'plot point' as you do) to Samara, who agrees that that statement makes no sense as Ardat-Yakshi are sterile. Indeed it does seem like a bizarre non-sequitur... until you note that those words are echoed by Harbinger. That can't be a coincidence. It's also convenient that since the asari were the first race to achieve space flight and the first to encounter the Citadel, we have no outside confirmation of their history, or when or how they became a single gender race that could breed with any species (which is a bizarre and unlikely ability to just evolve, which is pointed out on several occasions).
      • And Miranda was a human genetically produced by humans. Think that maybe that's just the theme of the game? Genetics and legacies?
    • Very plausible, but the fact that Harbinger comments on Samara being 'weak' if she's in your squad at the time, because they "rely on other species to reproduce" makes a dent in the theory. It may be that Harbinger doesn't personally know about this, though.
    • Alternately, the Ardat-Yakshi are actually a result of an asari mating with a Reaper. While the Ardat-Yakshi only appear through pure-blood unions, and are sterile, could it be conceived that once upon a time an indoctrinated asari melded with Sovereign, and gave birth to a daughter with a genetic defect that would only manifest after several generations? This would explain their manipulative powers that almost border on mind control, as well as their status as supernatural creatures of evil in the asari mythology. Furthermore, Morinth uses the term "genetic destiny" to describe herself, something that Harbinger likes to use when talking about the humanity's future. This could be deliberate foreshadowing...
    • Lampshaded (well for you guys) by Samara. One, Ardat-Yakshi have been around since they were in the Stone Age and before. Two, Ardat-Yakshi are sterile. So killing your mate to produce no children just means you're driving your species into extinction... well before space flight much less FTL travel. Three, they were also a single gender race no more unlikely to evolve than the number of real world species that are also mono-gendered with equally exotic reproductive methods (and this isn't considering things like bacteria). Or for the matter, some species that are capable of changing gender in various ways or means. Four, given the ability of the Reapers to genetically engineer things, it would have equally been easy to include a genetic control mechanism as with the Keepers or what not. Granted, this may be counter to the things they look for. Five, is it really that unusual to have a species with funky mutations? Humans have plenty of mutations available to them, some rare, some not so much, ranging in weirdness from plenty to not so much.
    • Jossed. Dialogue during ME2 reveals no species other then the humans will suit the Reapers.
    • ME3 shows this is not necessarily. Javik, the last Prothean, reveals that his race were responsible for much of their early development. There's also a secret Prothean beacon the asari used for further advancement after the Protheans were wiped out.
      • On the other hand, many of the Protheans were indoctrinated by the Reapers. Who's to say those who interfered in Asari development weren't sleeper agents of the Reapers?

The asari were designed by the Reapers, to serve as a method of gathering information
.
  • Similar to the theory just above, the Reapers were behind the development of the asari. Not as a template or anything like that, but as a way of gathering information. If you think about it, it makes quite a bit of sense, with asari being almost perfectly designed as espionage agents. They have a 'wild' phrase, where its not uncommon for them to work as strippers/mercenaries and all that, as well as being rather 'sexually free.' That gives them a perfect excuse to be out and about, with the possibility of finding asari almost anywhere, making them perfect 'honey pot' agents. How do you know that the sweet little blue thing your sleeping with is actually on her wild phrase, or simply pretending to be in order to gather information.
  • Certain members have been shown to have a pseudo-indoctrination effect, which could be used to produce double agents or seduce people into handing over classified information. Their very genetic structure, which requires outside DNA to randomise their own in order to reproduce, seems like it could easily turn into 'recording/copying', in order to gather genetic samples of various different races. Combine with a little bit of keeper style genetic tinkering, and they could even be used as a back up method of gathering data in case they are unable to recover the citadels archives.
    • See the spoiler above.

Alternatively, the asari evolved naturally, but the Ardat-Yakshi were created by the Reapers.
  • Yeah, there's not much backing this up...except for Morinth's "genetic destiny" comment. It's also possible that, for whatever obscure reasons were involved in the creation of the AYs, the Reapers or agents thereof tried similar mutations in other sentient species (vampires, anyone?) but they didn't take quite as well.
    • Since the Reapers only turn the Ardat-Yakshi into husks this is possible. Maybe they looked at the asari during the previous cycle and, like the Protheans, took notice of their great potential and tampered with them to give them better troops for when they'd advanced enough to be part of the cycle.

The asari were designed by the Protheans, to unite the galaxy.
  • Why are the asari so attractive to every species in the galaxy? The Protheans checked out all the sentient species they knew of that would fly under the Reaper's radar, and fit the traits those primitive species found physically attractive into the asari, and gave them their unique reproduction method in order to let them romance and marry other species, tightening the relationships between them. That's also why humans and asari are physically similar enough to even use the same armor and clothes; the Protheans used humanity (the primitive species on whom they had the most data, aside from perhaps the overly strange hanar) as their template.
    • Surely it is just as likely that the Asari were designed by the Protheans as either (a) Sexual Service Providers (And they could have been designed initially with little or no intelligence, although that elicits a certain amount of Squick from me) for use by any race, (b) Genetic Crossing testbeds (no pun implied- but you could use them, in theory, to find out what qualities you get if you, say, mixed Turian and Human DNA), or (c), and this idea I like more... living Genetic/Other Data libraries? Think about it; their telepathic abilities would allow them to trake in ans store massive amounts of data direct from the mind, and can also store genetic information from any species. Coupled with their long lives, Asari could potentially allow a whole race to last after an extinction event...
    • As of ME3, and the From Ashes DLC, this is largely confirmed. The Protheans were involved in helping to advance asari culture. Javik explains that they felt the asari were the best chance for this cycle to beat the Reapers. Although it's hinted Javik might have been lying to help Liara feel better about the Fall of Thessia.
      • Why would he lie? This largely made her feel worse as he berated her people for not living up to their potential and stopping the Reapers and it was only Shepard that made Javik cheer her up in the end. The Asari were meant to be The Chosen One.

Ardat Yakshi were heavily abundant before asari discovered the other races.
  • Samara's dialogue implies that purebloods are more likely to become Aradat Yakshi than asari with an alien parent. Until asari could get off world and discover other species, all they ever could make were pureblood. Thus, Ardat Yakshis were an epidemic back in the old days, and that's where the stigma against purebloods come from.

The asari homeworld contains a lot of Element Zero.
  • Think about it. ALL asari are biotics. Even their mating process is biotic. Biotics are created from in-utero exposure to Element Zero, so the only way asari could evolve is on a planet with plentiful Eezo. Now, before someone says 'but Eezo is made from supernova remains': Space has no gravity. Thus, anything that moves in space won't stop moving until it gets caught in an orbit. The asari planet is, logically, a Supernova'd star's remains caught in the orbit of another star.

Ardat-Yakshi can reproduce.
Specifically, they can reproduce with each other. The asari have engaged in a desperate coverup to prevent anyone - least of all the AYs themselves - from learning this. Furthermore, Morinth knows this, which is why she says that she is the genetic destiny of the asari.
  • Taking this to the logical conclusion... Morinth has a daughter.
  • Combining this with the WMG about Ardat-Yakshis being more common on early Thessia, and the fact that Ardat-Yakshis are usually sociopaths, there may have actually been AY syndicates that threatened asari society. The asari response was an attempt at genocide. When it became clear that it was impossible to completely annihilate the Ardat-Yakshis, the asari took to placing them in seclusion and suppressing the truth.

It was not uncommon for Ardat-Yakshi to become Justicars.
A combination of several above WMG about Ardat-Yakshi and about Samara. As Ardat-Yakshi are more likely to be a result of mating between two asari, they were quite common before asari started leaving their planets. While most Ardat-Yakshi are sociopaths, sociopaths are not Always Chaotic Evil. Being more powerful than an average asari, Ardat-Yakshi are quite effective at bringing criminals to justice. At the same time, they adopted a very strict code and tradition of self-discipline, solitude and rejection of personal pleasures in order to keep their murder-lust in check. Thus an institute of Justicars, a socially acceptable avenue for Ardat-Yakshi, was born. As an additional bonus, in explains the fear and reverence asari hold for Justicars. Also, that is why Justicar code is completely black and white - it was designed for sociopaths, for those who are simply unable to be guided by empathy, compassion or mercy. Those to whom "follow your heart" would be a bad advice.

The asari erogenous zone is morphic.
The area between their legs is a mass of sensitive tissue that can be flexed into a variety of shapes. How else can they be sexually compatible and appealing with all genders and species? Male human? Go innie. Female human? Go outie. Etc.
  • Gross. And probably not true. I'm betting the asari developed sex toys and lubricants before they invented the wheel, though.
  • Asari don't reproduce through what humans consider traditional sexual intercourse; they meld nervous systems with their partner, take essentially two copies of their genetic information, and then use their partner's DNA to rearrange the second set for the purpose of genetic diversity. Hence, you end up with an Asari who is, genetically, 100% Asari, but may have, for instance, the heightened metabolism of a Salarian or the Blood Knight tendencies of a Krogan.
    • It's believed they still can have intercourse, no matter how unnecessary.
    • It's outright confirmed in Retribution.

One or more ancient asari mind-melded with a Leviathan
living in Thessia's ocean, resulting in the Ardat-Yakshi condition. This is based on the similarity to the Leviathan's mind control and Morinth's ability to manipulate people and the fact that they both give the Dominate ability.

Ardat-Yakshi are the result of an asari breeding with a Prothean.
The Protheans were apparently unaware of the Ardat-Yakshi condition, even while they were modifying them to lead the next cycle against the Reapers. This is strange considering how much power and attention they tend to draw to themselves in asari society. It's possible they didn't exist until after the Prothean tampering. Like the asari the Protheans possessed psionic abilities, but even more so and it's implied that even the Protheans found the asari attractive and dallied with them on occasion. However the joining was unstable and over time degraded into the Ardat-Yakshi condition.

    Biotic Powers 

Biotics are naturally more powerful in females than males.
  • Think about it - all the most powerful biotics we see in the entire series are female. The entire asari race counts, as they're all biologically female. In the second game, only two squadmates can successfully protect everyone during the biotic bubble segment, and they're both female - Samara and Jack. And speaking of Jack, why would Cerberus make their number one biotic test subject female when males are on average physically stronger? Because they realized biotics are more powerful in females. In addition, Miranda's father deliberately changed his DNA to create a female daughter and gave her biotics. Why go through the trouble of making her female? Because female biotics are stronger. In the third game, there is not a single male Phantom (Cerberus's indoctrinated biotic warriors), and in fact most of the biotics you face over the course of the series are female. Conclusion? Biotic abilities naturally manifest themselves more in females than in males, regardless of species.
    • This WMG isn't completely accurate. The asari are mono-gendered. They just look female, and they are biotically capable because their evolution was tampered with by the protheans. Jack was stated in her Shadow Broker file that she had the highest biotic potential they'd seen in years, meaning she was a special case. There's no in-universe counterargument for Miranda, but she's not the most powerful biotic available. Dragoons are male and biotically capable. And the reason the largest number of enemy biotics are female is due to the asari providing them. If we take into account Multiplayer, then the drell, krogan, vorcha, batarians, and volus all provide male-only biotics. Plus, Javik, Wrex, and Kaidan are not exactly slouches in the biotics department.

The above is why there are no male-gendered asari.
  • It's already been hypothesized that there were once male asari but they died out. Well, asari are the most naturally powerful biotics in the galaxy, and they're all female. Maybe the male asari died out because biotic powers made the female asari the dominant gender, and eventually males became obsolete and died out?

    Commander Shepard 

Shepard's first name is Adrian.
  • Gman got a good offer from the Council, but Gordon was busy saving Earth in another universe. Then Cerberus bought him out for ME 2.

Shepard will die in the second game's bad ending.
  • This has cropped up as being canon on a few small gaming news sites as of late, but this troper is putting it here because he can't seem to find any actual links back to the developers themselves saying it; the rumor/unconfirmed report goes that Shepard will explicitly die if you get the second game's bad ending, and the plan is to make it so that if you carry over this save data to ME2 it will acknowledge it and change the protagonist.
    • Confirmed! However, if Shepard does die at the end of ME2, you can't carry that save into ME3.

Shepard will lead humanity against the Reapers in ME3.
  • As a corollary to all the WMGs that Paragon Shepard will unite the different races of the galaxy against the Reaper threat, Renegade Shepard will install humans as the rules of the galaxy and humanity will beat back the Reapers.
    • Shepard leads a united force of multiple races, whether Paragon or Renegade.

Corollary/spin on the above.
  • A paragon Shepard will have a number of powerful allies to fight against (and most likely defeat) the Reapers, at a heavy cost, with lots of Heroic Sacrifice. The Renegade Shepard will actually become a full-fledged Reaper, and take over the cycle of extinction.
    • One ending has Shepard take control of all the Reapers. Does that count?
      • Taking control of the Reapers Seems to be the Paragon choice (it causes blue stuff to happen anyway) so it seems to be close, but not quite. That said... if you choose it in a mostly renegade playthrough, it seems like Shepard might abuse the power, to put it nicely.

There will be a cult dedicated to Shepard in ME3.
  • If you meet her on Horizon, Ashley out-and-out calls you a god. No reason to think that a group like the hanar might not think that someone like Shepard is, in fact, divine. If you're a Paragon, you'll have the chance to talk all the cultists down and disperse the group peacefully; if you're Renegade, you use them as living shields against the Reapers ground troops.
    • It's more likely the hanar would see Shepard as some sort of devil-figure. In the first game, s/he defiles two Prothean beacons and causes signifcant damage to the Conduit site on Ilos, as well as causing Vigil to lose power and essentially die. In the second, Shepard kills what's left of the Protheans.

Addendum to above: The cult already exists. We know them as geth.
  • First comes the false god who leads astray part of their people with promises of heaven, turns them against them. Then, out of the unknown, comes a hero, a living god alight with fury and fire that defeats the heretics and slays the evil god in his hour of triumph, and then disappears. They train one of their own to seek out this hero. They retrace the hero's steps, only to find their final resting place. There, he retrieves a sacred relic of the hero, and carries it with him for protection. And then they find that not even death can stop their hero, for s/he is a living god, Shepard-Commander.
    • Oh and Legion's dancing and beatboxing? Prayer.
    • This makes a mad sort of sense when you know about Shephard's Prayer (Lord, don't let me f*** this up).

Paragon Shepard is the Second Coming.
  • Yeah, yeah, Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory. But look at the facts.
    • S/he's the only one who can lead the galaxy to victory against a great evil.
    • S/he's come back from the dead (ok, s/he had help, but still...)
    • S/he's a "good guy" to a fault.
  • On the other hand, I'm not sure what that makes Renegade Shepard. Badass Jesus?
  • Not to mention that with both the Zaeed and Kasumi DLC, Shepard has 12 squad members.
  • Biblically speaking, one of the titles of Jesus is "The Shepherd".
    • Played with. In the far-future epilogue of 3, they are referred to as "The Shepard".

The location of two ME3 missions will be determined by Shepard's origin.
  • Earthborn: New York.
    • Isn't it not confirmed where Earthborn Shepard lived?
  • Colonist: Mindoir.
    • Seems like it would make more sense for it to take place on the batarian slaver ship that raided the colony.
  • Spacer: SSV Einstein (Hannah Shepard's ship).
  • War Hero: Elysium.
  • Sole Survivor: Akuze.
    • You'll run into your old pal Toombs on this mission (assuming he didn't die in ME 1, anyways), and if you play your cards right, you can mend fences with him and convince him to join your crew. Having chosen the Paragon ending in ME 2 will go a long way towards this, but you'll be able to, with considerably more difficulty, bring him around if you picked the Renegade ending too.
  • Ruthless: Torfan.
  • Didn't happen.

Shepard will die halfway into the ME 3.
  • For now it will be a complete surprise. But this time Alliance will need a new hero.

Commander Shepard is the young God-Emperor of Mankind.
  • Seriously people, this long without this being said? Canon-Shepard is the God-Emperor of Mankind and is fooling everybody. He's building himself an empire, trying to do everything right and nice and gentle, but every time the Council stymies him or some-such, they push Shepard even closer to establishing an Imperium of Man. Shepard loves all of his children, loves all of humanity, and would rather work with the aliens than kill them. But as the Council continues to stymie the future God-Emperor, he'll eventually say 'Yeah, this isn't working, let's eliminate the uncooperative elements'. This relatively limited genocide (of the races that continue to get in Humanity's way) will be expanded over time into kill all the Xeno's instead of kill all of the Xeno threats.
    • Alternatively, the Council races had nothing to do with Shepard/Emperor becoming anti-Xeno. It was the emergence of the Orks and Eldar, who started screwing shit up for the Council Races. In the end, only humanity was left and was only saved by the fall of the Eldar. The Emperor suffered a nasty case of Despair Event Horizon and decide there's no point in playing nice with anyone.
    • Alternatively Alternatively Shepard is an alternate universe version of the God Emperor.
    • ETHERNAL. INFINITE. IMMORTAL.

Shepard is part-Reaper.
  • Shepard is definitely changed after getting the vision from the Prothean artifact at the beginning of ME. And s/he has been "resurrected" by Cerberus, probably with the use of Reaper technology. That almost everyone he talks to listens to her/him and agrees with her/him (except for the Council, but perhaps this is because they are already indoctrinated). Perhaps s/he's exerting mild indoctrination on everyone else around him.
    • Support for this theory. When talking to the first tank-bred krogan you meet on Korlus, he states he "does not seek to fight you". He literally spends all day killing people who approach him, but when it comes to you he stops firing and tells you what you want to know. Seems a little odd, eh?
    • Also, Shepard's Paragon and Renegade responses are a result of Shepard deliberately exerting the indoctrination influence; s/he just doesn't realize that's what s/he's doing, and thinks s/he's just putting on the charm/intimidation. In ME2, the more points you accumulate toward Paragon or Renegade, the easier it is to persuade people. That's because Shepard's getting better and better at using that particular method to indoctrinate people.

Colonist Shepard is a survivor of Teltin.
  • Anyone notice that in the message from TIM, he says that the surviving children were treated for their wounds, given an amnesiac and given to the Alliance as survivors of slaver attacks?
    • There's not enough time for this to happen. The summary you're given says s/he was picked up as soon as the relief fleet arrived. At most, s/he was missing for a couple of days.

Shepard's favorite colors are black and yellow.
  • In ME2, after completing a character's loyalty mission, they gain a change in wardrobe. Most of these feature yellow and black, Jacob and Miranda's most prominently. If they're changing their clothes to reflect a new loyalty to Shepard personally, why would they just choose colors out of the blue? Moreover, why would almost everyone choose a similar color scheme, unless Shepard had some stated preference?
    • Black, yellow and white and Cerberus colours. It makes perfect sense for them to choose those colours.
      • Except by that point, their loyalty is not to Cerberus, but the Shepard personally. That's the whole point of the Loyalty missions. So why would they still show the colors of their old affiliation?
      • The point of the clothing is to create a sense of unity. A bunch of badasses all dressed to match says as much if not more about the organization of the team than any action they might do.
      • And we don't know where those clothes came from. They might have been Cerberus-issued. Gaining their loyalty means they have no problem wearing them.
      • Seems likely as Shepard neither expresses a preference for or against certain colors. And while there are 12 crew members there are also many more NPC crew members as well who are loyal to Shepard. Picking Cerberus colors is probably a practical matter as anything else for a variety of reasons.

Shepard is the only person running out of heat sinks because s/he is the only one throwing them away.
  • While some enemies might accidentally drop one while they're in a hurry, the Shep is the only entity to keep throwing them away instead of holding on to them until they cool off.
    • I share that opinion. Some other fans think that heat sinks use a chemical reaction that ends in poor heat absorption.

Shepard is undead.
After two years and about 40 billion credits, Miranda concluded that resurrecting Shepard via medical science was impossible. So she turned to voodoo, animating Shepard as a sentient undead. Chakwas' line about implants is bullshit - that's magic. Shepard literally runs on positive energy to heal and maintain his/her humanity. Paragon actions enable Shepard to heal to the point that s/he appears human, while renegade ones cause Shepard's appearance to break down. Fortunately, Shepard's selfless actions (fighting to save the galaxy and all) give her/him the ability to regenerate anyway. If Shepard were to go rogue as Jack suggested, s/he would either become an undead monster or die due to an inability to heal.
  • The med-bay upgrade can prevent this, using technology to repair Shepard's body.
  • Well... Shepard doesn't necessarily disagree with you since s/he describes her/himself as undead at one point. Granted, s/he was joking but still. :)
  • Also, there is an afterlife, except Shepard doesn't know it because s/he's a soulless husk.
Shepard will actually be a/the villain of ME3.
One word: Indoctrination. It will have to be subtle since the amount of mental decay is proportional to the strength of indoctrination. But given the amount of influence Shepard has in the galaxy, it would make sense for the Reapers not to destroy that whom they can use.
  • Jossed.
Mass Effect is set in the same universe as Battlestar Galactica
Commander Shepard will have the choice in ME3 to end the Cycleof Revenge between organic and AI, like Kara Thrace and the Final five before her. "It has all happened before, and it will all happen again."
  • Evidence pointing toward this conclusion:
    • When not in the field, the companions just stand around unnaturally on the ship;
    • Even when alone, Shepard announces things like "They've spotted us!";
    • Shepard is capable of using the unique powers belonging to any companion.
  • The clear implication is that the "companions" are all figments of Shepard's imagination; his/her superiors and crewmates Just Smile and Nod, because he/she's a terrifyingly effective force of destruction who charges into battle with a gun in each hand, an omnitool on each arm, and a couple of biotic amps in his/her brain while shouting commands at nonexistent people. When you're working with someone like that, you just try to keep 'em pointed at the nearest galaxy-sized threat and don't ask any searching questions.
    • I may not be Commander Shepard, but this is still my favourite WMG entry on this site. I am now going to create a new Renegon Shepard with this as that playthrough's canon. "and a couple of biotic amps in his/her brain while shouting commands at nonexistent people." Jesus. Thank you for making my night.
    • But, wait. People react to your squadmates once in a while. Are those the times that he actually does have someone with him?
      • Possibly. Or maybe they're just too scared to do anything but play along as Shepard acts out what his/her "squadmates" are doing. Really, if a heavily-armed badass elite soldier who is legally allowed to murder you where you stand tells you that s/he's travelling with a turian and a krogan, and then starts talking about his/her times as a krogan bounty hunter, are you going to argue?
      • Hold up a second. Your companions have direct effects on the world around them. How do you explain Garrus' time as Archangel, or Liara's time as a Shadow Broker agent? What about Jack becoming a teacher or Tali's trial? To suggest they aren't real would take a LOT of explaining.
Shepard is such a badass because the Prothean beacon downloaded sheer awesomeness into his/her brain
Just a hunch. Possibly nonsense as all three of the service history choices imply Shepard was a badass before then, but going from surviving a single Thresher Maw attack or butchering Batarian pirates to beating Geth, Collectors, Reapers...just makes one think...
Shepard is immune to indoctrination because of what else was implanted with the Cipher by Shiala.
' Shiala was indoctrinated enough that she was happy to be engulfed by the Thorian. After she was released, she wasn't indoctrinated anymore; something even Matriarch Benezalia couldn't escape. The combination of Cipher/Thorian psychic weave counters the Indoctrination process. If you spared Shiala, she will be able to pass this to other people.
  • Yeah, Saren got that too, but Shiala wasn't "absorbed" for long enough for the psychic counters to perfect; plus he went along with Sovereign enough for it to get through the chinks in his mental defenses.
  • Actually, in ME3, you get an email where she says she IS still indoctrinated. But due to the mental connection she has with the other colonists, caused by the thorian spores, she's able to resist.
Shepard's Arcana is Persona 4's The Fool
Shepard is a Persona User, yet s/he hasn't fully awakened. Each member of his/her party is a Social Link, and after gaining their loyalty, s/he maxes out their social link. Unfortunately, when s/he got into an argument with Ashley/Kaiden on Horizen, His/Her Social Link reversed, meaning that s/he lost their loyalty. If s/he reconsiles with Ashley/Kaiden, their Social Link will repair and s/he'll gain their loyalty. The key difference between the Persona games and Mass Effect is that romances are only available after gaining Loyalty. As for who is each Arcana...
  • Magician: Garrus fills the role of Yosuke and Junpei, a second banaba to Shepard, who has similar qualities to Shepard. Between Mass Effect 1 and 2, He changed to the Tower after his squad was killed. Jacob takes this role in ME2.
  • The Priestess: Liara, a scholar, fits perfectly with the Priestess Arcana, as she met Shepard during her studies, and became an information broker during ME 1 & 2, becoming the Hermit in the process. She, as the Shadow Broker, became an option for Shepard's Hermit S Link, dealing with the duty of her job.
  • The Empress: Miranda is very caring for her sister, and does the best for her, taking her from their father and giving her to a loving family, and watching from the shadows unless Shepard convinces her to introduce herself. Samara used to be this, but her Arcana changed after Morinth ran away.
  • The Emperor: Anderson represents leadership for Shepard when he was in the Alliance, but Wrex is the Emperor S Link, where Shepard convinces him to bring the clans together.
  • The Heirophant: The Council, who are conservative and create the laws of the Galaxy, only permitting a small amount of people to break the laws (The Spectres).
  • The Lovers: This is a situational S Link, with no one representative, although you could say that Conrad Verner represents it. Shepard has to constantly make decisions throughout the games that are two sides of the coin. Conrad has two basic endings, to go home or try and become more of a badass.
  • The Chariot: Wrex, in ME2, whose conquest to gather the krogan into aiding the race as a whole, commanding them into an army.
  • Justice: Samara, who believes in justice, yes, but is very rational and calm, and is a balance of two ideals (Committing evil for a greater good).
  • The Hermit: Jack, who chooses solitude over normal interactions, although Shepard's interactions with her cause her to try and become a better person. After Lair of the Shadow Broker, Liara becomes an optional Hermit S Link, although it doesn't reap many rewards.
  • The Wheel of Fortune: Mordin, who believes in second chances, and created the new genophage when he realised that the krogan were still too dangerous, and that their increasing numbers would cause another krogan rebellion. He believes in reincarnation, the ability to start over again from scratch.
  • Strength: Tali
  • The Hanged Man: Saren in ME1, The Illusive man in Mass Effect 2. Saren believed himself to be a saviour, but his actions were making the situation worse. The Illusive Man constantly preaches how his actions are "In the interest of Humanity", which will bite everyone in the ass if you gave him the Collecter base. Sidonis also belongs here, due to the quilt of getting his squad killed start eating away at his sanity.
  • Death: Thane, and before you start, he is welcoming death as nothing more than a change to his existance, as he puts it, "Letting go of the safe embrace of the land to become one with the sea." He sees death not as an end, but as a means of a new life.
  • Temperance: Joker and EDI initially dislike each other, yet when they finally see aside their differences, they become a formitable team in their own right
  • The Devil: Morinth, who tempts Shepard during Samara's Loyalty mission, represents the dark, hedonistic nature that lures Shepard to the Renegade path. Not available if you choose to kill her. Aria is a better representation, who regularly surrounds herself in a field of excess and temptation, yet doesn't actively join in to it, showing how both excess and abstinence are unhealthy.
  • The Tower: Garrus in ME2, who blames himself for the death of his squad on Omega.
  • The Star: Kelly, who has stated her love of all living beings in the galaxy, and acively wishes safe regards to the crew of the ship. And no, she does not belong to the Lovers.
  • The Moon: Tali. Her face is a mystery, her dreams are to return to her people's homeworld, and creativity, which is the fanboy's ideas of what she looks like.
  • The Sun: The people who Shepard help in side quests, who he provides happiness for in one way or another, as well as the people who aren't directly related to his story. Everyone he meets and helps, such as the grieving asari on Ilium, to the krogan who want to know if there are fish in the Citadel.
  • Judgement: The final assault against the Collectors and Reapers, what Shepard has been preparing for since being revived. It's the end of the road, and at that end, is a fork, with some difficult decisions to make.

Shepard might be Immortal. Or at least, can be revived from death indefinitely, due to being exposed to the Prothean Beacon during Mass Effect 1.
  • Despite this being a futuristic world, death is treated as something permanent. And in Shepard's case, his death at the start of Mass Effect 2 was a particularly harsh.
    • Space Suit failure, leaking air, exposure to deep space, falling from ORBIT, suffering re-entry into a planet that might not even be suitable for human life and hitting the ground so hard there's a sizable crater at the impact site. The fact that there was even a body left after all that is impressive by itself.
  • It wasn't just the 40 billion credits and years of ground breaking treatments that bought him back, there has to be SOMETHING that could have allowed "Shepard", personality, memories and all, to survive his extensively damaged mortal shell. My guess is that whatever was downloaded into Shepard, being designed to last near forever, allowed Shepard to come back as himself.
    • Also, without exposure to a Prothean Beacon, 40 billion credits and treatments, you don't get a "continue" after you die.
      • One day, when Shepard is near death (injury or just old age), the Illusive Man or some other group/figure is going to offer Shepard another chance at life, footing the 40 billion credits and treatments in exchange for his (figurative) soul.
    • Or Shepard is saving up for that 40 billion and will find the treatments himself. If he can save the world, he can probably make a fortune.

Shepard is not only immortal, he's actually the Nameless One from Planescape: Torment.
  • With all the sad, broken people who end up joining his team, you almost have to wonder if he has the Mark of Torment somewhere on his body.
    • He routinely comes back from the dead, which is how he's able to (sort of, maybe) defeat the Reapers.
    • Because of cybernetics, he's able to retain his memory and personality between incarnations.
    • At the end of Mass Effect 3, when those cybernetics are destroyed in making the deal with the Star Child, he goes back to losing his memory after death.
    • Saving the galaxy still isn't enough to save him from damnation.

Shepard's synthetic parts make him immortal.
Let's see. Getting poisoned by that batarian bartender on Omega? Meh. Losing the Object Rho battle? It doesn't kill him. Getting hit by Harbinger's blast, which is a stream of molten metal moving at relativistic speed? Bitch please. And last but not the least, that petty explosion in the Destroy ending? Not even that can take Shepard down. What the hell did Cerberus put in him?

Shepard reverse romance.
  • Basically, there'll be a game where you play as a different character. Shepard will appear, based on your previous saves, and be a romance option. But there is the chance s\he will try and romance you instead.

If Paragon Shepard has the Ruthless Backround, it is because he realized What Have I Done

There are actually three Shepards before the start of the original game
  • This is one that I sincerely believe. The idea is that before Mass Effect, there is a Shepard for each of the three Backgrounds you can pick. My evidence is that despite picking, say, the Space background, events relating to the Colonist background are still mentioned, including the Spacer-specific background with Zabaleta (he was there trying to defend the colony that Colonist!Shepard was at). So where did the other two go? Well, they probably died in their pre-service history events; either dying after the Akuze attack (Sole Survivor), dying defending civilians during the Skyllian Blitz (War Hero) or during the raid against Batarians on Torfan (Ruthless). note  This gives a dark implication to choosing your Shepard's backstory; you are actually choosing which of the three lives!

The default Male Commander Shepard is a natural redhead
  • ...with dark roots. Just like the default Female Commander Shepard. You just can't see it because he keeps his hair buzzed.

    Conrad Verner 
Conrad Verner will save the galaxy in Mass Effect 3, if he lives that long.
  • Much like Mr. Satan/Hercule in Dragon Ball, he'll be directly responsible for rousing the masses in support of Shepard at a critical point.
    • Well, he takes a bullet for Shepard.
      • Well, unless you completed a particular side mission back in ME1. And then he contributes his PhD in Xenoscience to the Crucible Project.

Conrad Verner will be recruitable in Mass Effect 3.
  • If you take the Paragon persuasion option when finishing Conrad's sidequest in ME2, Shepard lies to Conrad and says the fake undercover cop was actually an extremely dangerous wanted terrorist and that Conrad should be happy he played a part in getting her caught. As his next line is something along the lines of "Now go home, and leave the rest to me," Shepard's intent with this response seems to be to make Conrad think he's made a difference after Conrad explains that he's taken up (or tried to take up, at any rate) mercenary work to save the galaxy by filling in the void Shepard left when s/he died.
  • This is obviously a terrible idea, because this is Conrad we're talking about, and this response isn't going to do anything but encourage him. In the next game, if you gave him this response, you'll find him still tooling about with his "mercenary" work, except this time, instead of just running into him, he runs into Shepard during a mission after all hell's broken loose, gets tangled up in the firefight, and ends up running his ass off towards the Normandy with them. We'll learn at this point that his replica armor is at least somewhat functional; considering he's been wandering the edge of the Terminus Systems, he'd probably have gotten himself killed on Illium after annoying someone too much if he didn't have an actual kinetic barrier. He'll also have wisened up enough to carry a pistol he can barely use.
  • On the Normandy, continuing on the Paragon path will once again result in Shepard trying to make Conrad go away through kindness, this time by telling him he can join the team... if he's willing to be trained in order to keep up. You can choose who will fulfill this role; the renegade option is Grunt, who ends up accidentally killing him, eating him, and shrugging apologetically. The neutral option is Jack, who just scares him off with her crazy. The Paragon option, however, is Garrus, who turns into Drill Sergeant Nasty. With this option, Garrus can be seen running Conrad ragged all around the ship while sounding a whole lot like R. Lee Ermey after the next couple of missions, until it finally ends with an exhausted Garrus admitting that Conrad actually works perfectly well under decent military authority (naturally, Shepard can ask Garrus which of them has reach and which of them has flexibility here). Conrad is finally recruited at this point as an Engineer, because he's clearly not a biotic and can only use a pistol without killing himself, but turns out to be mechanically inclined.
    • Apparently, if you go back to the Citadel or somewhere after Paragon-convincing Conrad to go home, he'll have started up a charity for orphans and other unfortunate souls called the Shepards, so unfortunately I believe this is Jossed. I think I like this idea better, though - it would probably be the best example of Took a Level in Badass ever.
      • Oh, that's easy to work in; the report specifically mentions that his charity helps human slaves escaping from batarian slavers. Batarians don't like things like that very much and will probably go after him to put an end to it. Conrad runs into Shepard and co while on the run from batarians or mercs hired to kill him. Alternatively, he tries to keep being a mercenary as the charity's primary source of funding.
      • Shepards only helped already-freed slaves. So, unfortunately, not going to happen.
      • Uh....what?
    • Or perhaps he gets trained by Garrus, but instead of joining Shepard he goes to Omega and becomes the next Archangel?
      • That'd be more of an Ass Pull than anything else. Would anyone really accept Conrad to end up anywhere on the level of that in the time frame of the game?
      • It was established that Conrad has no combat training whatsoever. Probably never even been in a firefight. All the other party members are either long-time veterans (Zaeed, Samara, Garrus) or specially engineered to be powerful (Jack, Grunt, Legion).
  • Conrad: Joke Character?
  • Sadly, you can't recruit him. Maybe with the next batch of DLC.
    • You can get a copy of his doctorate dissertation on Xenoscience to help the Crucible Project, though.

Wild Mass Fanwanking would be more apt, but...
  • Paragon Shepards! Confused about why Conrad's on Illium? Can't remember pointing a gun to his head? Well, it's likely you posed for a photograph because you're just that nice. When you did that all those years and that death ago, you raised your gun. It was quite clearly away from Conrad, but he's had two years of mourning and fangirling that you wouldn't have known about, being dead and all. As he remembered, he misremembered little details here and there until you met him on Illium and he was all, "You pointed a gun right at my head! That was so awesome!" The more things change, the more they stay the same. Udina's a prick, Conrad's an idiot, and you're a Chick Magnet. Yes, female Shepard, even you.
    • It's actually a bug; ME2 can't properly understand the way the information for Conrad's sidequest is spelled out in the save file becuase ME1 mis-set the flags or the importer botched the import, and it defaults to the renegade option. Still, this is a decent justification for a Paragon character seeing Conrad like we do.
    • Alternatively, even after you tell him to go home the first time, he just doesn't quite get it. His gun shoving story is just a way to make him seem more badass after his wife 'encourages' him to leave.
    • Audio files were uncovered that detail how the encounter in the Illium bar would go down if the Paragon option worked properly. View here.
    • In ME3, he apologizes for accusing you of pointing a gun at his head. He explains he was under a lot of pressure.

Conrad is going to save your life.
  • More specifically by biting a bullet for you.
    • Confirmed! Though he can survive if you completed the Rita's Sister sidequest in ME1.

Conrad will actually take a level in badass if he survives ME2 and appears in ME3
  • At first the Shepards will help slaves that are already free, but the stories about the abuse and horrors slaves go though at the hands of their masters compels Conrad to act. He'll go actively freeing any slave outside of batarian space (because even Conrad is not that stupid) and trying to stop slave raids while they happen. He'll even start gathering allies and hiring mercenaries for the cause. He starts off as the strategist, coming up with the battle and raid plans, but will eventually learn how to actually fight because the people he recruits teach him how in case one of the people on his rapidly growing list of enemies tries to kill him. A mission will involve several groups of slavers trying to kill Conrad and his group because they hate them like the mercs on Omega hated Garrus when he was Archangel. He can call Shepard for backup, and surprise everyone by holding them off successfully until he/she gets there with minimal losses to his combatants, and no freed slave casualties. He only calls Shepard because the plan he came up with to get out of the situation requires three more people, and he noticed that Shepard always had two other people with him/her whenever he met up with him/her.
    • The Paragon choice will end in the plan working perfectly, and Shepard getting Conrad's charity/organization a large amount of donations by enforcing it and visiting the Shepard's regularly. Especially significant and sweet for the Colonist background and/or Ruthless reputation.
    • The Renegade choice is to refuse to help (as in you either go on the mission right away or lose it completely) or make it so Conrad gets killed. The reason being that Conrad is annoying. Especially especially assholeish for the Colonist background.
  • With either ending, you finally get to meet, or at least see a picture of, Conrad's mentioned, but mysterious wife.
  • Naturally, he doesn't. Also, turns out he doesn't have a wife. But he does have a nice shrine to you. Just a picture and a few candles, very tasteful.

    The Council 
In ME3, the Council will send another Spectre after Shepard.
  • As we all know, the way that the Council deals with rogue Spectres is to send another after him/her. In the Council's eyes, Shepard is becoming a dangerous liability: spreading lies, defying their authority, working with pro-human criminals, etc. They can't even justify it with saying that the means are justified by his mission... because they haven't given him one! As far as the Council's concerned, Shepard's a guard dog that's gone rabid... and it's time to put him down.
    • Technically, they already did this through a huge bit of luck when the Collectors killed Shepard.
    • Spectres can act on their own, they don't need authorisation from the Council. Anderson says as much in the first game.
      • True, but that's just in regards to their missions and their relationship with others. They still have to follow orders and such from the Council and need their permission for some things.
      • Conrad! you treacherous SNAKE!
    • Maybe but one 'sidequest' in ME2 has Shep ask the Council to re-instate their Spectre status. Thus the implication is that such status was lost when they died.
      • It may be that the Council will send a Spectre after Shepard, but whether it is another Spectre depends on if you got your Spectre status reinstated (though they will probably strip you of your Spectre status, as they presumably did with Saren - from their perspective, you did kill another Spectre without prior authorization, and an entire inhabited star system. That both cases were warranted is not really available data).
    • Not exactly. You can have a brief confrontation with the Virmire Survivor, who's been promoted to a Spectre, right in front of the Councilors.

The Council knows exactly what's going on.
  • While the Council has been adamant to acknowledge there's anything going on with the Reapers whatsoever, their sheer willingness to plant their heads under the sand makes this troper think something else is going on. In ME1, it was plausible for them to deny the Reapers' existence because no one knows anything about them. But near the end, this giant cuttlefish-shaped warship that no one's ever seen before launches an attack on the Citadel just like Commander Shepard said it would. There's just no logical reason for them to keep saying, "CLEARLY it was a geth ship". So what are they doing? Simple. Since Shepard's working for Cerberus, they're conspiring to keep him in the dark, just to be safe, while they're making plans to deal with the Reapers. They're probably going about it like so:
    SHEPARD: Guys, thanks for seeing me on such short notice. Sorry our last meeting didn't go so well, but this time I have definitive PROOF of the Reaper menace. The Illusive Man told me there was a derelict Reaper ship in the Hawking Eta, so I checked it out, and what do you know! It's there! If you don't believe me, you can go send a fleet to -
    ASARI COUNCIL MEMBER: Commander Shepard, this proves nothing.
    SHEPARD: Guys, no, seriously, entire galaxy at stake here! Send a few Spectres, you can see it for yourselves and then start mobilizing -
    TURIAN COUNCIL MEMBER: We already saw it, Commander.
    SHEPARD: ... what?
    TURIAN COUNCIL MEMBER: Yes. We saw it months ago. It's a fake, of course. A Cerberus plot of some kind.
    SHEPARD: A fake? A fake warship that's bigger than the largest dreadnought we can build and oh, coincidentally just HAPPENS to look exactly like the one that attacked the Citadel? It's millions of years old! Did you carbon date it? Did you run a single test on it? It's not f*** ing papier-mache!
    SALARIAN COUNCIL MEMBER: The test results were inconclusive.
    SHEPARD: Inconclusive huh? You know what else is inconclusive? YOUR F*** ING PATERNITY TEST YOU F*** ING SALAMANDER! I WILL SHOVE MY CAIN UP YOUR *** AND PULL THE TRIGGER UNTIL IT GOES CLICK! I WILL RIP YOUR -
    (SHEPARD is dragged kicking and screaming from the Council chamber by ANDERSON. The COUNCILORS look at each other and then suddenly erupt in gales of laughter.)
    ASARI COUNCILOR: How long do you think we can keep this going?
    SALARIAN COUNCILOR: He's got to catch on sometime.
    TURIAN COUNCILOR: I can't believe that human is so stupid.
    ASARI COUNCILOR: You're just mad because you took the under. Anyway, let's get back to working on the fleet mobilization. How many anti-Reaper Thanix cannons do we have now?
    SALARIAN COUNCILOR: A little over five hundred thousand. Two for every spaceworthy vessel in Citadel space.
    TURIAN COUNCILOR: Awesome. The Reapers are so screwed.
    • Agreed. The Council can't be that stupid. This or they will not believe you AGAIN, because you have absolutely no evidence of the connection between Reapers and Collectors, and this would be just ridiculous.
    • Then again, you either blow the Collector Base to smithereens or fumigate it of Collectors. There's enough justification there for them to stuck their heads back in the sand until the Reapers chew their upright butts off.
      • Heck, the Council's history hasn't been that of incompetence, but that of covert planning way before the threat becomes real, the preparation of Anderson as the first human Spectre, etc. See the setting up of the Spectres, before the Krogan Rebellion. Their incompetence in the first game is probably best explained by the Cereberus-sponsored Udina sabotaging their decision process. Almost certainly, behind the scenes, secret forces like the Spectres are doing *something* .
      • This would certainly be supported by the fact that the Salarian STGs seem to be quite aware of the Reaper threat, probably thanks to Captain Kirrahe. Remember that one of Mordin's recent projects was studying the effects of the Reaper Indoctrination?
      • It would also explain the increased security measures at the Citadel. As Legion demonstrates, looking for "geth infiltrators" seems pretty ridiculous at first glance, since geth do not (intentionally) infiltrate organics in same way as, say, Cylons. However, the security checks would be effective at stopping sleeper agents who may have been exposed to Reaper indoctrination. "Geth infiltration" is just a cover story for the real reason.
      • You can just walk in there with Goto and Legion, a wanted thief and a geth respectively. They are either blind or not looking for geth. They flagged ASARI as Geth Infiltrators. Now I feel bad for helping them, as they were most likely indoctrinated.
      • Back the truck up and assess. Shutting down Garrus' investigation of Saren. Sending Shepard with one starship (that's not even theirs to give) and no funding. Sending Shepard after Kirrahe's panic signal. Grounding the Normandy just when they get a step ahead of Saren. Then, after he saves them: "Ah, yes, Reapers". Flat "What.". They are in on it but can't activate the Citadel relay and access dark space without a Reaper. Let them die. They deserve it. Give the Illusive Man a very big Christmas present. He deserves it.

The Council is mildly indoctrinated.
  • After the events of ME1 they took Shepard's warnings very seriously. They gathered together as many pieces of Sovereign as they could find, and personally oversaw research over them as often as they could. The small pieces didn't have the same power to indoctrinate as an intact Reaper, but they still produce a sense of close-mindedness and indecisiveness strong enough to seriously mess with one's judgement - the final defense that the Reapers have even if they are destroyed.
    • Support for this theory. When talking to Vigil in ME1, he states that "Saren is a servant of the Reapers. Though he is the most visible, it is unlikely he is the only.". In ME2 when refering to Vigil and talking to the Council they say they found remains of it, but it was inoperable. Vigil states he does not activate for people who have been indoctrinated, which is why Saren never found him on Virmire. So not only is the Council indoctrinated, their agents are too.

Tela Vasir will show up in ME3.
  • Taking off from a couple ideas above: if during the course of the second game you never reconciled with the Council (through Udina or Shep turning down the Council's offer), they will consider you too big a risk to let run around unfettered, so they send asari Spectre Tela Vasir after you. Which leads to an all-out Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny, Spectre-to-Spectre. Alternatively, if you did take their offer to be reinstated as an official Spectre, they still bring in Tela Vasir - but in regards to the Reaper threat (after they're either convinced or reveal that they believed it all along, whichever it turns out to be). Which means finally getting to work with another Spectre, maybe as a teammate.
    • Bonus points, if she's sent to bring you in, you can Charm/Intimidate her into joining you.
      • And romance her, causing you to have to kill your former love interest if you do.
  • Vasir appears in Lair of the Shadow Broker.
    • And apparently dies. So, her showing up in ME3 is a little unlikely.
      • And since Wrex could have died in ME1, he doesn't show up at all in ME2 ...wait. There's always the possibility that she could show up for people who either start a new ME3 game without importing a save, or who never downloaded or completed Lair of the Shadow Broker and watched her die.
      • Even if you don't play it, ME3 assumes you did. What happened in Lair of the Shadow Broker happened, whether the player specifically did it or not. So it remains very unlikely Vasir will appear.

The Turian Councilor is going to have a Crowning Moment Of Awesome in ME3.
  • There has to be a reason why Bioware is making him look like an ass through the first two games. Either he's going to sacrifice himself against the Reapers, lead the Council races against the Reapers (if the other two Councilors are dead, three if Udina is Councilor) or pilots a suicide ship, rams it into a Reaper, and sets it off.

We get to kill the Turian Councilor in ME3 because he's indoctrinated later.
  • Because... nearly everyone wants to.
    • Then, when someone remarks on you killing the indoctrinated councilor, you can respond, "He was indoctrinated?"

The Turian Councilor has a reason for not trusting Shepard.
  • Remember that story Garrus told Shepard about the scout regarding his reach and her flexibility? That was the Councilor's daughter. And he is pissed.

The Council is and always has been an enemy.
  • In the first game, they not only gave Saren a blank check, but shut down investigations concerning him. Only when proof of geth involvement came to light did they send Shepard and the Normandy after him. A single ship on a shoestring budget. Versus Saren's decades of experience, Benezia's asari shocktroopers, krogan mercenaries, an army of geth, and Binary Helix to bankroll the whole thing. And don't forget the giant ship sighted on Eden Prime, even if it's not an "ancient sentient starship" - since when do Spectres get their own dreadnoughts? Saren was a facking N.G.O. Superpower. And they sent Shepard after him With This Herring. Can you say False Reassurance? Heck, they sent Shepard to support Kirrahe on Virmire instead of a fleet - when they had ordered Kirrahe to hunt down Saren! Then, after Shepard proves that Saren is planning to attack the Citadel directly, they ground the Normandy!
  • In the second, they not only dismiss the Reapers as a threat, but actively suppress all information about them. If pressed, they'll reinstate Shepard as a Spectre to placate his remaining allies. But as that's the last contact they have with you, they don't get any further opportunities to mess with you.
  • The Council agrees with Saren - that the only way the organic races will survive is through working with the Reapers. They just take a subtler approach. The Council is trying to adapt to Shepard's resurrection throughout ME2, but that won't last. The third game will have Shepard as Saren's mirror image - running his own conspiracy while being chased by Spectres. Only he's trying to beat the Reapers instead of helping them.
    • Shepard is already becoming Saren's mirror image:a Renegade Shepard who doesn't use the Med Bay to heal their scars begins to look like Saren, and even the Paragon Shepard is slowly becoming Saren's inverse: The geth follow you thanks to Legion. The krogan follow you because of Wrex. The rachni follow you thanks to the Queen you spared on Noveria. Mass Effect 3 will end with Shepard leading geth to attack a Reaper, while Wrex celebrates a genophage cure.
    • Given that part of Saren's plan involved killing them off, the idea that the Council supported Saren doesn't really make sense. Also, Normandy may have been a single ship, but it was a single state of the art *stealth* ship. Sending a fleet to support the Normandy would have completely ruined Shepard's chances. A small elite group fares better than a ham-handed show of force, as the games indicated. If the Council was really opposed to Shepard in the second game, Shepard would not have left the Citadel alive.
    • Except that killing Saren was also part of Sovereign's plan, and he went along with it. If they'd been serious about dealing with Saren, they'd have gone after Binary Helix and/or frozen his accounts - like he was a criminal or something. Making Shepard a Spectre without properly equipping him was also suspicious. Sending Shepard to Virmire when one of their recon teams sent a panic signal was just plain stupid - unless they knew there was an army of krogan there and they wanted everyone dead. And grounding Shepard when he had incontrovertible proof that Saren was about to attack the Citadel... pfui! The Council probably would have to have been killed by the geth for them to admit Sovereign wanted them dead. And they couldn't exactly kill the Hero of the Battle of the Citadel in broad "daylight" so to speak.
      • This got me thinking, what if they are part of the plan and they knew that part of the plan was for them to "die"? If you choose to let the council die, we are told they are aboard the Destiny Ascension but we never see them since the ship blew up. What if this is part of the plan too? The Council is shown to be very crafty and subtle. In Revelation, there is a scene where an ambassador is trying to convince them to let Anderson go with Saren on a mission. The whole time she thought she was manipulating them, but then after she had made a few points, the Asari Councilor agreed to her terms without consulting the others. The ambassador left wondering why she did this, then realized she got played, and that they expected her to say what she said, and had already decided to go along with it. They have the brains and planning to pull off something like this, but also the ambition and motivation. They have a lot to gain (or so they think) from the Reapers. These are very influential people with many powerful connections. Even "dead" they could still manipulate what goes on behind the scenes. If the Council is on the Reapers side, they most likely have gotten to thousands of other influential people too. If you chose to save the Council you could just be making things easier for them by not forcing them to go underground. If you let them die, it just inconveniences them because they have to start hiding who they are, but ultimately they are still working towards the original goal. They could also help keep the panic down, by denying the existence of the Reapers, just like they are already doing. Do the Reapers need to keep them alive? No. Does them being alive make the Reapers job easier? Yes.
      • I'm not saying I disagree just yet, but there's some things I'm thinking: Virmire, Saren's main base of operations, is in the Terminus Systems, how can the Council mess with an account outside of their juristiction? Also, how do we know what the Council does with new Spectres? For all we know they normally get sponsored by their goverment and are given extensive training which you would normally get but can't because you have an important mission right now not to mention they probably expected the Alliance to hand the single most advanced ship in Citadel Space and possibly the entire Galaxy over to you and just you. What did you want them to do at Virmire? All they knew was that Saren was there and the team had tried to tell them something important (not a panic button) so they send in a secret agent with the only stealth ship ever into a place where they really have no jurisdiction to investigate. You weren't sent there to blow things up, you were sent to slip in, check it out and get the STG team's report that they couldn't send, act as you saw fit, and then get back out to get back in contact with the Council and update them on the situation. Remember, sending in a Spectre is one step short of sending in an entire fleet. But here's something for you: What proof do you have that you can show them that is undeniable evidence that Saren is about to attack the Citadel? Why is it a bad idea to ground the person who wants to start a massive fucking war just because (s)he thinks Saren's going to get his hands on a super-weapon that'll kill everybody? At that point of the first game the Council has every right to think that at the very least you're a bit of a loose cannon, possibly more than a little psycho, and you want to go somewhere that'll start the galactic equivalent of World War III. Uh... no. Though I totally agree that if they wanted to kill Shepard, they wouldn't do it on the Citadel and be obvious about it. They'd detain you in litigation as they sent a subtle Spectre to snipe you from afar.
      • They could have easily just impounded the Normandy SR-2. Shepard gave them plenty reason to - it's a Cerberus vessel, and if they want an excuse, Shepard's brought a goddamn geth infiltrator onto the Citadel! They could have just given him orders to report to Alliance HQ to be debriefed for the next 8 months. They could have done almost anything.
      • Except even if they could justify all their actions in the first game, humanity should have gotten their support in the second - instead, they backpedal. They practically drive Shepard into the service of TIM. They either have an agenda or are so stupid humanity could have beaten them all during the First Contact War.
      • Holy... what if they do have an agenda, but it's not against Shepard, but against Cerberus?! To quote: "Things explode around you Shepard", also, if you're Paragon enough to have saved the Council, then that means they expect you to be a good guy, Cerberus is the bad guys, Shepard's modus operandi is blow up the bad guy's shit. They are forcing you to Cerberus in the hopes you'll blow them the hell up in frustration of their 'evil ways'! They think that if you were enough of a 'Paragon of virtue' to sacrifice human lives to save them, then there's no way you'd stand for all the bullshit Cerberus does for very long! They expect you to blow their shit up and even fix whatever threat the Reapers may or may not pose in the process! Holy shit! It actually makes sense!
      • Then they are genuinely stupid. Dude, Where's My Respect?? Their treatment of Shepard in the first game was obscene. And they still expect him to take damage for them? Huh. Letting Council die now, getting Illusive Man very big Christmas present in 3, 2, 1...
      • Hmph. Real heroes don't ask for respect, or recognition. Just the satisfaction of a job well done. Keep the Reward.
      • Hey! Heroes don't have to be martyrs, and martyrs don't get to be heroes anymore!
    • Also, a lot of the Council's incompetence in both games can be explained by Udina.
      • Not at the beginning. Udina was perfectly happy to give Shepard free rein in hunting down Saren. He only balked at sending ships into the Terminus Systems because it might trigger a war. Still doesn't stop him from being an ass.
  • They start helping out in ME3.

Everyone who spends significant time on the Citadel is mildly indoctrinated.
  • Remember, it's a Reaper thing. The Council and Udina are all in denial about the Reapers while Anderson's more open-minded. Of course, he only just arrived there in ME1. By ME3, he'll have his head in the sand too.
    • Except Anderson has had a flat on the Citadel for a long time. Since before the events of Revelation even. It might only be a week or so every month but I imagine it would add up. So maybe it's just the Council Chamber that has indoctrination tech?
      • I considered that, but had no way to word it at X-in-the-morning. Few people are allowed there (because too many indoctrinated people at once would look a bit suss), and the keepers hang around there more than they do any other part of the Citadel. In the first game, you can overhear people talking about the keepers, Chorban's curious about them... but the higher-ups, the ones who spend the most time in the Council chamber, make it illegal to disturb the keepers. Sure, they die if disturbed, but they're always replaced. There's really no need for the law except to stop people finding out about what makes them tick. (Which is Reapers, BTW.)
      • Or that the government has no idea how the Citidel works and is so terrified that somebody could break it that they take the safe route rather than risk real research.

Turian Councilor Sparatus has a crush on FemShep.
This is probably one of the most out-there theories this troper has ever written, but what if the naysayers are wrong and Sparatus isn't 'just a jerk'? He always had a thing for FemShep that was never reciprocated, so every time FemShep contacts the Council with news about some planet or another, Sparatus takes a leaf out of the Tsunderes' books and constantly passive-aggressively taunts FemShep, like a young boy yanking the hair of a girl he fancies to try and get her attention.

This, of course, means in ME 3 when the Turian Councilor finally gets taken to task for being such a Jerk Ass and humbly apologizes to FemShep, admitting he had a thing for her all along, FemShep will respond dismissively, "Screw you, man, I've got Garrus's reach!"

The Council is running a millenia-old Gambit Roulette.
It is certainly conceivable, probable even, that the Prothean scientists who found themselves on the dead Citadel at the end of the previous Reaper cycle would try to leave clues about what had happened. These clues were then found by the asari who first re-discovered the Citadel, who then shared the knowledge with the other races as they became galactically important. This led to the formation of a contingency plan, which was maintained in perpetuity. What the Council did not count on is an upstart race becoming a major power so shortly before the return of the Reapers. This interference is a great annoyance to the Council, but to avoid offending the powerful humans, the council created Shepard as a Spectre and sent him on a fool's errand. When he succeeded, they were annoyed by the further interference in their plans. Now that Shepard has returned from the dead, the reason they allow him to work with Cerberus is that it keeps him away from matters affecting the rest of the Galaxy. In other words, the plot of both games was just a ploy to keep Shepard, and by extension the other humans interested in the Reapers, out of their (metaphorical) hair.
  • Well, given that Magnificent Bastard tends to be the asari's hat and that they more or less run the council this isn't that far-fetched. An example of this can be found in Revelations the human ambassador at that time, Anita Goyle, put Anderson forward as a Spectre candidate only to find out that the asari councilor had planned to do so in the first place and was more or less waiting for the request to be made. So, long story short, my guess is that the asari have already developed something that can ROF Lstomp Reaper ships like there's no tomorrow and they're holding it secret because they don't want to have the Reaper's learn about it and create something to counter it.
    • I think, given that the asari tried to fast track Anderson into being a Spectre, this shows that it's more likely that the Council saw humans not as interference, but as a crucial part of The Plan. If we assume the Council knew about the Reapers from the beginning, then perhaps we can have a new view of galactic history, as a series of attempts by the Council to manipulate the galaxy into being ready for the Reaper menace, fighting a covert war with the Reapers. Looking from this perspective, the council first tried to contact the rachni, but found them too easily manipulated. Then they uplifted the krogan, and found them too expansionist and rebellious. Then they incorporated the turians, but found them too orthodox and stubborn. All of these are critical weaknesses when fighting the Reapers. Now at last, they found humanity, with a refreshing flexibility of thinking. They save the humans from getting their asses kicked in the First Contact War, fast track them to full membership, *to help them defeat the Reapers* . They specifically adopt a hands off approach with Shepard, using back channels like Anderson (they like Anderson a lot more than Udina, because Anderson embodies more of what they are interested in with humanity), so as to preserve Shepard's outsider's perspective. Even the Reapers see humanity as the greatest threat, which makes it quite likely that the (despite what Cerberus says) preferential behaviour the Council has shown humanity is no accident. Also, another significant point is that the same person responsible for Anderson failing to become a Spectre was later revealed to be a mole in the service of the Reapers.
  • And don't forget the Council's actions at the end of ME1 were the right ones, in the end. The right response to Saren's interest in Ilos was not to follow him there, but to defend the Citadel. Shepard's quest for the Conduit was pointless, because the Conduit was merely a route back to the Citadel. If Shepard had followed the Council's instructions, and chilled in the Presidium, Saren wouldn't have gotten nearly as far as he did.
    • Though they did set up defenses at the end of ME1, they weren't sufficient. The fleet at the Citadel were plowed through (unfortunately for one ship, literally) by Sovereign, Saren, and the Geth, and the remainder of the Citadel fleets were spread out at the other Mass Relays that led to the Citadel. One can assume that communications were disabled since Shepard wasn't able to hear the Destiny Ascension's distress call or Joker until he took control of the citadel with the program from Vigil on Ilos, thus the full power of the fleet wouldn't have been called upon to defend against Sovereign. For that matter, had Shepard stayed on the Citadel, Sovereign would've just flown in like before and close the Citadel. Without Shepard having gone to Ilos and getting the program from Vigil, they wouldn't have been able to reopen the Citadel and allow Joker and the Alliance Fleet to kill Sovereign. Instead, he/it would have gotten enough time to activate the Citadel Relay to Dark Space and the Reapers would've returned to continue the cycle.
      • Sovereign could not have taken control of the Citadel merely by parking himself on it. The protheans had overriden the keeper controls, so he needed someone to manually access the controls. He required Saren to use the Conduit to attack the citadel from the Presidium, and do an override of the Citadel's keeper control systems from the Citadel tower. That's the whole point of the Conduit, and the whole point of involving Saren and giving him cybernetic implants. Shepard, staying in the Presidium like the Council wanted, would have stopped Saren from carrying out his part of the plan, with the end result that Sovereign would have been blasted to pieces by the Citadel's defense guns before he even managed to dock. And the Alliance fleet was perfectly poised to counterattack with Sovereign caught in a trap. The only flaw is that Shepard left, and thus weakened the station's internal defense.
      • Except the Council's response to the attack was to evacuate the station. There is no reason to think they would have ordered Shepard to stay behind and watch for Saren. It's Vigil that tells Shepard about Sovereign needing someone to give him access to the station, and the Council was completely ignorant of that. The Council just let the station fall into Saren's hands, which was exactly the wrong thing to do.
      • The council's response was to evacuate *the council itself*, and that only came after Saren had overwhelmed station defenses, taken control, and the station's defense guns were rendered unoperational. Learning lessons from the prothean conflict, a secondary aim of Sovereign's attack was to decapitate the galactic leadership and capture intel. Evacuating the command and control structure from the Citadel at least denies the enemy that.

The Council is denying the existence of the Reapers because they don't think they can win.
Consider the horror that must have set in amongst the Council when they dwelled over the implications of the Reapers following the Battle of the Citadel. Those Prothean fellows you've been holding up as the standard for a super-advanced race for fifteen hundred years? Utterly annihilated. And what about all those post-garden worlds your survey teams have found over the centuries that have evidence of orbital bombardment that targeted population centers? Those were great interstellar civilizations as well, just like you are now. Only they're dead. And this has been going on for untold millions of years in fifty thousand year cycles. Every species that has ever tried to fight the Reapers has lost and is now extinct.

Going public with information about the Reapers would only cause a panic. So, instead, the Council are going to Take a Third Option and focus on simply enduring the coming tsunami of destruction. How? By taking a page from the Protheans and hiding for a time. The Council will build ark ships — perhaps with the aid of the quarians, given their experience in maintaining ships with short supplies — that will preserve their cultural and genetic heritage, allowing them to recreate the galaxy's known species once the Reaper threat has receded for the next cycle.

The Council believes Shepard, but they cannot admit it officially.
When Shepard reports to the Council after completing Virmire, there is a dialog option to complain that they never believe him. They reply that, as the leaders, they have to carefully consider long term consequences of their actions and they cannot act hastily without solid evidence. That is why they have created Spectres - so that they can quickly respond to a threat, before the government and bureaucracy starts to react. As far as I remember, the Asari councilor almost explicitly tells Shepard that if he really believes what he says, he should ignore them and do what he thinks is right. She tells it right before the Normandy is grounded. It is possible that the Council believed Shepard from the start or at least they thought it was highly probable, but they wanted him to handle it unofficially, so that they have their hands clean and don't cause war with Terminus systems.

The same goes for the second game, if the Council survived. They officially say that they don't believe in existence of Reapers, but they reinstate Shepard as a Spectre, basically granting him full law immunity on the Citadel (giving it to someone working for a terrorist organization is pretty risky). What else could they do to help him? Shepard already had a ship and funding. Even if they sent their fleet to the hostile territory, it wouldn't accomplish much, except maybe causing another war.
  • This is one of those rare WMGs that I think has a good chance of actually being true. If such a conspiracy exists, though, Anderson is as clueless about it as Shepard is, as seen in Retribution.
  • In this case, especially if they had other sources of information on Vigil/the Reapers, grounding Shepard might have been an attempt to defend the Citadel better rather than interfere with his mission. Think about it, if Shepard and co had been in the presidium in front of the mass relay "statue" when Saren arrived, would he have had any chance of getting to the council chamber and disabling the stations external security to allow Sovereign in? By stealing your ship and running halfway across the galaxy instead of staying where you were told and stopping the invasion directly, you cost a great many lives in the defending fleet and nearly doomed the galaxy.

    Female aliens 
There is little visible difference between male and female turians.
  • The game handwaves the absence of female salarians and krogan, but no mention is made of the complete and total absence of any female turian NPCs. My theory? Female turians are all over the place. With their hard-shelled exoskeleton, padded armours and outfits, and use of electronic-sounding translator devices, they just look and sound identical to their male counterparts.
    • Making them... space dwarfs?
      • Except of course being taller than humans on average, and all.
      • Of course they're space dwarfs: They're a warrior race. They're experts at mining and weapon-making. Most of them seem to be hot-tempered or brash. They have an honor-bound, meritocratic society. The list goes on...
    • Dialog that was recorded for the presidum groundskeeper (a turian) but cut from the final game mentions that female humans have "those funny bumps, like an asari" and that they "get in the way." Thus it's safe to assume that female turians don't have breasts, and since turian hips look weird to humans anyway, there would probably be very little to indicate a turian's gender to a human. For all we know, half the turians you've seen have been female; gender is only specified explicitly for Garrus, and implied through the use of pronouns for other named characters.
    • This is countered by the fact that the developers cut female turians from the game due to time and memory constraints, and confirmed that female turians will be present in the sequel.
    • As of the new Evolution comic, we have now seen a female turian. And . . . they apparently look a lot like the males. It sorta looked like the female might have had small breasts, but maybe not.
      • And also, they don't have fringes.
      • Which almost certainly makes this look non-canonical. Remember how many times we've had male turians complementing the females' head-crests in the games? This troper can remember two times for certain, and is almost sure there's a third as well. Whoever drew that comic wasn't paying attention.

The reason why we don't see any female turians...
  • ...is because they're all so stunningly beautiful that, if a salarian or a human or whatever were to look upon their form, they would have the mother of all nosebleeds and die of blood loss. Essentially, like Medusa, only attractive. This doesn't happen to male turians because their brains need to be able to process what they look like.
    • Alternately, it's because they're so disgustingly hideous. Essentially, like Medusa.
      • Actually in the original story Medusa was so beautiful that she made a goddess jealous, resulting in a curse that prevented anyone from looking at her without being turned to stone but didn't change her appearance. Unfortunately for this theory, there's a female turian in the Ascention comic, and I don't remember dying from blood loss when I saw it.

Female krogan look the same as male krogan.
  • In one of Mordin's dossiers in the Shadow Broker's lair describes a recon mission to check the effectiveness of the genophage. A fight with krogan commences, and close to the end, Maelon is mentioned to be "greatly distressed by discovery that argicenter was staffed by female krogan, including guards killed in attack". This implies that they didn't notice while fighting them, meaning that while females probably have some less obvious differences, they still look the same as males at a glance.
    • Supported by the fact that on Mordin's loyalty mission, there's a dead female krogan on an operating table, with no visible (to me) distinction from males.
    • Also, Krogans are heavily armored and sturdily built, like a real-world tortoise or armadillo. This tends to make gender impossible to distinguish without close examination.
    • We WILL meet a female Krogan in 3. She only has a more feminine voice and a slightly smaller hump.

    The Geth 
Every geth is a unique and beautiful person.
  • According to Tali the 'networked' aspect of the geth isn't their minds, as in a conventional hive mind, but something more like the autonomic nervous system. When geth get together, their network syncs up to run the synthetic equivalent of your endocrinary system, leaving them extra resources to compose haiku in base 237 binary algorithms. At some point there will be a geth war memorial listing the serial number and kernel seed of every geth murdered by the protagonist.
    • Jossed by the ME2 promo material. Legion is explicitly stated to be a "unique" geth, having attained true sentience.
      • Jossed some more. Legion isn't even a "unique" geth just, as it puts it, a "real" geth (who have a Hive Mind) while those you fought in ME1 were heretics and no longer seen as geth; however the geth do want to make their own culture, and in fact are rather peaceful.
      • Actually, Legion is a unique geth. It is composed of almost ten times the numbers of programs that normally inhabit geth platforms, and is able to operate independently. Couple this with attaching part of Shepard's armour to itself, showing it's evolved emotions (Sentimentality? Admiration?), it also refers to itself as "I" in some of the later conversations as opposed to the nominal "we", Legion obviously moving towards true, individual sentience.
      • Tali (or the Codex) mentions that each geth has a rudimentary intelligence and identity - probably making an individual geth's standing about equal to a LOKI mech. Don't expect a giant memorial, probably just a list in some archive that reads "Geth unit BA-4524-847-E15 has been taken offline permanently and requires replacement".
    • The quarian song that plays at the geth base indicates that as a species the geth can appreciate art and poetry, but I would guess that they lack the required individuality to create it.
      • As revealed in ME2, geth make a distinction between their sentience (the "programs") and the hardware its currently running on (which they call "terminals"). The average geth "terminal" carries enough processing substrate to run only a few programs, making each geth trooper you encounter about as smart as a LOKI mech or a varren, and allowing for intelligence only when you have a bunch of them networked together. This is apparently the geth making efficient use of resources, in that they only have to pay for so many CP Us per horde. Legion, however, is a terminal specifically designed for long-range scout work all by itself, and as such was given a special chassis mounting enough processors to carry thousands of "programs" single-handedly. This is why Legion can still operate at fully sentient levels even if its the only geth within 50,000 light-years.
      • In addition, Legion also talks indirectly how their whole mind thing works. Each program is an individual and each terminal a group of individuals. In turn, each database holds the population of many terminals when they're not in their terminals as well as many others. And in turn, each city/station holds many databases. As such, each group provides its own unique and individual perspective on things which is then shared among the rest whenever they link up. So, hypothetically speaking, whenever Legion reconnects with the other geth, Legion will share his experiences and such with them as they will with it. Doing so does not 'overwrite' their personality but simply share experience and understanding.
    • As of ME3, [[spoiler:this is a possibility. If you allow Legion to update the geth code, each geth does actually become an individual.

The True Geth already have their goal.
  • Legion states that what the True Geth are trying to create is a massive structure like a Dyson Sphere. Go ahead and look one up. Now...what exists in the Mass Effect world that resembles that, has tech the geth are familiar with, and looks really similar? The Rayya(The big round quarian ship Tali used to be a part of).
    • I don't see the connection, honestly.
      • You seem to be suffering from a rather common flaw in thinking. The Rayya is, being generous, the size of a small city. A Dyson sphere is a structure that encompasses a star, which is several orders of magnitude larger. I don't care how you slice it, the Rayya is not a Dyson anything.
      • Not even a vacuum? After all, it does travel around picking up other people's rubbish.

The geth didn't destroy the quarian ancestor database; they incorporated it.
  • Legion seems to indicate that one of the geth's biggest goals is to try and understand their creators, and it just so happened that said creators were trying to immortalize their history in the form of artificial intelligence at just about the same time that the geth rebelled. The geth would have had ample time and motivation to study the ancestor VIs and create or modify programs to be based on them, essentially bringing them back to life as geth. This would explain why most of the geth don't hate the quarians; it's because a good number of them, in some form, are quarians!

The geth will end up on the Council.
  • If we look back at the events of the first game we see that the geth suddenly attack and threaten the entire galaxy. Then in ME2 we learn that those geth were "heretics" and only made up five percent of the total geth population. Think about that. 5% of the geth were able to spread themeselves across numerous star systems and basically fight a war on a galactic scale. Yes they had the help of a Reaper, but as powerful as it was, Sovereign was only one ship. The heavy lifting was done by the geth. Now if the heretic geth could pose a serious threat to an entire galaxy, just how powerful are the other 95% of the geth? If they ever decided to become hostile to organics they could possibly stand a good chance of conquering the entire galaxy. Thankfully they've decided to go a more peaceful route. In ME3 the geth will almost certainly play a big role in defeating the Reapers. This combined with their size and power, and the possibility of Shepard supporting them, means that the Council will have no choice but to accept the geth into their ranks.
    • The Heretics only comprised about 5% of the geth programs, but they were probably almost all in platforms at any given time, since they were spread across the galaxy in near-constant combat. Meanwhile, the true geth are ~20x as numerous, but most of them are probably networked together in huge databases contemplating philosophy or whatever they do with their brain the size of a galactic arm, with just enough platforms active to do maintenance and keep the Quarian homeworld clean.
    • Actually, I think the geth aren't exactly that populous. It's just that their lack of many basic needs and brainwashing means they can mobilize a larger percentage of their population. They could probably mobilize, like 50% of their population in order to do what they do. Hell, almost their entire population could be out rampagin and murdering. The other geth might have a similarly sized military in overall numbers, with the rest working on their giant computer brain.
      • One thing to remember is that geth are programs. The bodies are simply terminals. They can build as many terminals as they need. In the end, the number of geth soldiers is limited only by the resources they have access to.
    • Well, this seems rather unlikely.

The Geth are actually all inbred.
Think about it they like to network there terminals... an the only thing that makes Legion able to act as a (highly intelligent) individual is the fact that he was designed to function on his own without having to network.

The Geth will hand back the Quarian homeworld
The easiest way for the Geth and the Quarians to both solve their problems would be for the Geth to move to a less hospitable world, that is better suited to Geth habitation than to organics. Crazier things have already happenned.
  • It takes some doing, but you can accomplish this.

The Heretic Geth had a much bigger fleet proportionate for their size than the True Geth.
With the Heretic Geth incorporated, they do a lot better against the Quarians than if you destroy them. Given that they only represent 5% of the Geth, why would the jump be so dramatic? However, the True Geth are pouring a lot of resources into making their Dyson Sphere, whereas the Heretics were getting direct support from the Reapers, so they could probably direct a lot more of their resources into their military.

    Humanity 
Humans were a Citadel race in a past cycle.
  • And that's why the Protheans were so interested in them that they set up the outpost on Mars. Can you imagine their dilemma if one of the Citadel races in Mass Effect discovered a Prothean civilization that had survived the Reapers but had been kicked back to the stone age? Same deal. Hey, hold on...
    • Aren't the Reapers very thorough in their operations, sparing not one individual of a race considered advanced enough? Also, if the human race was once great, we'll see ruins even more impressive than the pyramids.
    • Have you read Halo: Cryptum?

Salarians were actually the first alien species to encounter humans.
  • Look at a Salarian in battle armor, with the helmet on and everything. Large heads, slender bodies, large 'eyes'. They look an awful lot like typical descriptions of The Grays, don't they?
    • How did they reach Earth? It's heavily implied that every Mass Relay humanity encountered before the First Contact War was dormant. Non-Relay FTL travel can take anywhere from days to years. Besides, if the salarians did find humanity, why didn't the Council uplift them? It's a stated policy - encounter a primitive race, uplift them so they conform to your standards, and you have a (mostly) loyal ally. It's what they did with the elcor and the krogan, although they obviously weren't successful with the latter.
      • That's never a stated policy; the Krogans were uplifted because the Rachni were about to wipe out the council races and the Krogans were the only ones who could survive getting to and killing a queen. Every Salarian you speak to on the subject considers it a mistake that directly resulted in the Krogan rebellions killing everything else.
      • The salarians could have been fugitives, providing an incentive to not report back to Citadel space. Maybe the alien abduction stories were due to criminal doctors like Dr. Saleon experimenting on humans.
      • That still raises the question of how the salarians reached Earth, once again because of the lack of active Mass Relays. Besides, fugitives would be more likely to flee into the Traverse or the Terminus systems.
      • FTL Travel without use of Mass Relays is possible in Mass Effect, its just woefully ineficcient, averaging at about 12 lightyears a day with a decent drive, range limited to how much static charge you can build up before it discharges and fries your crew. It could be that some rogue Salarians went through a Mass relay that was a hundred lightyears or so away from Earth and then hoofed it through dark space to try and avoid being tracked down by the law.
      • The Charon Relay, the one closest to Earth, was also encased in ice when it was found, making it virtually impossible that any salarians used it before humans discovered it.
      • The Codex says it's standard Council policy to check out any and all mass relays through ship travel before activation. They came to Earth to see if it was safe. They left. Possibly because the Roswell incident involved a Salarian crew which was immediately taken to area 51 in secrecy and ... researched. Public record was made that humans were a potential threat when they finally got FTL drivenote  approximately a millennium from then. So then a Turian patrol ship finds a veritable fleet of Dissectors (humans), 800 years ahead of schedule and already opening up mass relays like they've got a Krogan population. Naturally, they freak out and start bombing the crap out of themnote . Only when the council opened negotiations did they find out we weren't monsters, quickly made peace and swept the reasons for the first contact war under the rug.

Human women are considered attractive by the rest of the galaxy's species.
  • Just a guess considering that asari are considered hot by pretty much everyone, and humans look so similar to them.
    Ashley: Or maybe they just hate humans.
    Shepard: What's not to like? We've got oceans, beautiful women, this emotion called love - according to the old vids, we have everything they want.
    • There were human dancers/strippers in Chora's Den and one of Sha'ira's prostitutes acolytes was human, so it's definitely possible.
      • All the dancers are asari in that place. In the novels there's at least one batarian who finds humans ugly and uncouth, and it doesn't seem that he's alone with his opinions. Notably he also finds the asari unattractive. While interspecies sexual attraction isn't unheard of, it seems to be extremely rare, and considered at least mildly deviant by most people, apart from the asari, who also tend to be an exception to the rule for everyone else, at least to some degree.
      • Actually, there were at least two human dancers in Chora's Den. However, they were - er - performing for a human, so it may not count.
    • Are the asari really considered attractive by all races? The only species that we know of so far are humans and turians.
      • Well, we know that they can breed with more or less anything, so it makes sense, from a biological standpoint, if they could also attract more or less anything.
      • In ME2, a conversation you can overhear on Illium reveals that asari look attractive to each species through mental projection—A salarian says that the asari look like salarians, the human disagrees, and the turian thinks they are both insane, and that asari are just blue-skinned turians. This very strongly suggests that the asari purposefully look attractive to whichever species is looking at them (this troper doesn't want to consider how they look to krogan or volus). It does seem odd that they wouldn't use this to appear as an attractive male-like species to the females of another species, but otherwise, it kind of makes perfect sense.
      • The neon sign in Chora's Den is a silhouette of human-like asari. The owner of the club is/was human, but some turian/salarian should have noticed that peculiarity long ago and the asaris' chameleon attribute should have become common knowledge long ago.
    • The number of alien-human romances in Mass Effect 2 kind of confirms this, as the humans have to the find the aliens attractive as well. There's a few alien-alien romances as well.
      • It is heavily implied that the vast majority of species, asari excluded, don't have alien relationships very often.

Humans Are Special for a reason.
  • It is made faily clear from the outset that humanity has a special role in Mass Effect. Beyond Shepard's accomplishments, the race as a whole is the latest to join the galactic community and is already gaining far more political power than many other well established races. This is predicated on their impressive technological advancement in the short while it's been around, as well as their creativeness and powerful military. While this is typical of similar settings, there is one other aspect that draws attention, the oustanding physical resemblance between humans and asari.
  • We learn that the Protheans had been studying them for a while, from an observation base in Mars, as recently as fifty thousand years before the game. It is likely that humanity was not the only species subjected to these studies. The protheans would have helped the race grow along a set path, bred for amazing adaptability and resourcefulness, and made them as similar to themselves as they could adapt easily to their technology.
  • This explained why Shepard was able to make sense of the beacon at all. S/He wasn't just awesome for being the protagonist, but humans' brains were prepared for this. It explains the similarities between the asari and humans as well, in a galaxy where every other race is depicted as fairly unique, with different bodytypes. Humanity was not the only race to be prepared this way. The protheans found the asari as well and both races were made similar in the hope that, upon finding each other, cooperation between them would be eased. They also tried to make them a decent fit for each other, countering humanity's short lifespans and brashness with the asari's wisdom and long term vision.
    • Humans are also more genetically diverse than other sentient races.
    • Alternately, humans are special because they were created/modified by the Reapers to be the next race to colonise the galaxy and to be enslaved. This is why the Collectors are taking human colonists and building a human Reaper.
    • Asari may not look as human as they do. See the above WMG.

Batarians are the Evil Counterpart of Humanity
  • Batarians are there to represent all the negative aspects of human society that are not present in the future. Batarians have an Orwellian police state too similar to North Korea, and a caste system along with slavery like that of Ancient Rome. They're like Humans where Technology Marches On but society did'nt march on.

The usefulness of the Mars cache was at least partially intentional
  • Whatever the circumstances behind its abandonment, the Protheans at their human-observation platform on Mars were pleased enough with the results of the study that they time-capsuled some of their technology intentionally. They knew that when mankind reached Mars, they would finally be ready for the uplift the cache represented. Alternatively, they didn't trust mankind at all, but were concerned about the future of the galaxy, what with them being eaten by Reapers and all.
    • Or maybe the cache was left behind by the Reapers, either assembled from prothean stuff or made to look like it, in order to alter the path of human technological development.
    • Consider that the other species had almost certainly reached a similar stage at the time. If they did this with humans, what's to say they didn't do this with the asari, turians, krogan...
    • Corollary evidence: the hanar seem to believe this.
Humans are genetically diverse because eugenics didn't catch on.
  • On the other hand, all of the other sentient races decided to enforce breeding rules after they discovered evolution and natural selection. Krogans, of course, have been doing this naturally and continue to do so. Salarians obviously make a big deal out of it, there's a sidequest mission about it...
    • Humans are genetically diverse because the writers needed a way to make them special, methinks. We're actually an incredibly genetically homogeneous species (compare us to cats, for example, which have a lot of variation WITHIN their species), and two centuries isn't enough to really change the baseline genome significantly.
      • You're missing the point. Humans aren't incredibly diverse as a species in general, just when compared to the other sapient species. Asari basically clone themselves, a practice that results in so little genetic variation their species decided to start mating with aliens almost exclusively to toss a little more variation in there. Krogan, drell and quarians suffer from a very small breeding population (due to the geth wiping out most of the quarians, the drell being near extinct and the krogan's mentality of only the strongest even getting the chance to breed on top of the genophage problems). Salarian culture seems to revolve around breeding rights, which means a family that's been able to breed will be more likely to keep breeding which makes for basically the same groups breeding together again and again, little variation there. Only the elcor, who have a fairly small population, and the hanar don't have their mating behaviours examined. Humans are really the only species that isn't controlling it's breeding to a near damaging point.

    Husks 
The Husks are used by the Reapers for labor.
  • This is at least part of what they use organic civilizations for. Husks are stronger and tougher than normal humanoids, and can be controlled with cybernetics. They are also programmed to capture hostile humanoids and put them on the spikes, so a few Husks could effectively bring about a zombie apocalypse on a planet. This was the original plan for Eden Prime - but once the Normandy arrived, Saren decided to simply blow the colony. The spikes you found on Trebin were old Reaper spikes, and there was at least one Husk in there with them.
    • Jossed by the Collector Base sequence of Mass Effect 2. The collectors are clearly shown to be directly liquifying humans to pump into a full-size reaper larva in order to make a new Reaper, rather than playing LEGO with converted husks.

Husks can only be created by using humans...
  • ...because the Reapers designed us to be. If you get the trinket from the Consort and use it on the "Prothean" Ruin on whatever planet, Shepard experiences life as a Cro-Magnon, who was modified by an alien species. Given the ruins on Mars were identified as Prothean, one would assume the caveman was abducted by Protheans. But if the Reapers systematically wiped out the Protheans on their colonies, then that would assume that the Reapers managed to make it to our solar system as well. Even though the motives of the Reapers haven't been revealed as of this writing, the Reapers have been described as only "reaping" advanced civilizations (i.e. species who have discovered the Mass Relays and been recorded by the Keepers on the Citadel), so when the Reapers came to check on Earth, they were disinterested in a less advanced species. Now this is where the theory gets started: The Reapers, planning for the possibility that humanity would become a spacefaring race and find the Charon Relay, allowed the Prothean Ruins to remain so that Humanity would be able to find the Citadel faster. And to ensure that humans would become servants of the Reapers, they altered the human race so that, while some humans would be merely indoctrinated, Humanity as a whole would become husks upon being impaled by the Dragon's Teeth. This is based on the notion that by Mass Effect 2, human colonies, and I mean only human colonies are being abducted by the Collectors, who are most likely agents of the Reapers who are still trapped in Dark Space.
    • What does any of this have to do with the geth? Their origin and history is well known and documented, and has no direct connection with the Reapers. In any case, there is no indication that only humans could become Husks - Saren became something very similar, if much more powerful at the end of the first game. Still, humans probably do play some special part, or so the Collectors at least believe. That might be just because Shepard is a human and responsible for the Sovereign's fall, however.
      • Original poster here. In the title, I meant to say husks not geth. BIG mistake. I didn't want to edit your entry because that would be kinda rude. But anyway, Saren had special implants in his body that was hi-jacked by Sovereign, Saren didn't become a husk but more of a cyborg (but without the organism). Your theory that the Collectors are taking humans solely based on Shepard's actions is duly noted.
      • But Saren becomes a cybernetic entity very much resembling a Husk, although more powerful. And why should the basic trick of attaching cybenetics to a corpse be limited to human body? There are traces of ancient Dragon's Teeth in one uninhabited planet, from long before the humanity made a contact with other races.
      • Saren had special implants, he was not automatically impaled on a Dragon's Teeth spike and had his cybernetics replace nearly every organic part of his body. I'll admit, I wrote this after I had finished reading Mass Effect: Revelation where the human scientist seemed to have been indoctrinated much quicker than the batarians despite being around it for far less (once every month for a week if I remember correctly). And there's the fact that, arguably Saren aside, all Husks are human. There is naught a Husk made of krogan, asari, or salarian to be found, even on Virmire or the Citadel. You have to admit that that unless ME 2 or a future source contradicts this, the possibility does exist that, in this cycle of Reaper harvest at least, humans are the only Husk candidates.
      • The technologies aren't identical, but they are closely comparable - both involve a post-mortem shift to cybernetic monster. Dr. Quian was indoctrinated more because he worked on the project constantly - no named batarian character in the book spent nearly as much time around it as he did. Edan Had'dah only visited the "relic" a handful of times, but was still heavily affected, though in a more subtle manner. And it's quite impossible to tell a Husk's race from the appearance alone - they could be humans, asari or salarians with the same model at the very least, considering the changes the cybernetics cause to their physiology. The real life limitations of modelling have to be taken into account, as well. Remember the ancient Dragon's Teeth, and Husk remains on one of them. While it's very probable that humans play a special role, it's difficult to imagine that it could be so arbitrary one.
    • In the new Evolution comic, we have now seen turian husks, apparently transformed through the same process as the "machine cultists" in ME1. They're bigger, stronger turians, but they seem to still have a lot of their flesh. And, apparently, just touching a machine can turn a person into a husk.
    • Pretty much Jossed, since non-human husks have been confirmed to appear in Mass Effect 3.

Husks are miniature Reapers.
As mentioned on Mass Effect's Fridge Brilliance page, both the human Reaper and Husks seem to have two pupils in their left eyes. Consider also how Husks are made - replacing a human almost completely with tech. This is very similar to how new Reapers are made. From those facts, it's easy to assume that Husks are miniature Reapers. However, they aren't very smart because they don't have the assumed Mind Hive of the Reapers - as Sovereign says, "We are each a nation to ourselves." Husks have barely one consciousness left, if that, so they aren't as intelligent as Reapers. Their melee attacks could also incapacitate someone without killing them, rendering them ripe for new Reaper construction.

    The Protheans 
The last Protheans to get into the Citadel didn't just starve to death.
  • Never Found the Body in a squishy sci fi series that includes Disney Death? Mentioned by a VI that has solid information about almost everything else? Certainly feels like one of Chekhov's firearms to this troper. Even if they're not somehow still around, it wouldn't be surprising if they did more to the Citadel than Vigil knows.
    • Or maybe they just starved to death and the keepers disposed of their bodies. Because, y'know, you can't exactly bury bodies in a space station. And with the Citadel's population into the millions, presumably a good number of the population die natural deaths every day. So the keepers better be good at getting rid of corpses or we'll be knee-deep in the dead fairly soon.
    • How long does it take to to decay into nothing? They had tens of thousands of years between arriving after the Reapers returned to Dark Space and the asari finding the Citadel to turn to dust.
    • Note that the keepers are an organic race, not synthetic: this means that they need to eat, drink, and breathe. Unless keepers and Protheans have a total protein incompatibility (like humans and turians/quarians do) Vigil's assumption that the Prothean scientists would be unable to find sustenance on the Citadel is factually incorrect, as the Citadel would still have a functioning life-support system to sustain the keepers.
    • The second game adds some support to this theory: Vigil is proven wrong on some points, particularly the idea that all the Protheans are dead (they really got turned into Collectors, or at least some of them did). It makes sense that Vigil wouldn't know exactly what happened following the scientists leaving, so it seems most likely that if they in fact did not starve, they were probably captured.
      • Especially since the sequel added in "nutrient paste" that the keepers produce, which feeds them and poorer citizens of the Citadel.
      • Of course, it's kind of a moot point. They may have lived to a ripe old age, but 50 000 years have passed - they're long dead and gone.
    • One, Mass Effect is not exactly squishy (setting-wise, it's harder than most TV and video game SF), nor does it include Disney Death. We have one character come Back from the Dead in two games, and it's the player character — and it took two years and vast resources for the N.G.O. Superpower to do even that.
      • And that one who came back had an intact brain buried on a frozen world and then kept in cryo until his body was rebuilt. Closer to "mortally wounded and frozen at the brink of death" than "dead and resurrected," and certainly a long way from "starved to death 50,000 years ago while surrounded by robot bugs that break everything down into its component materials and use them for maintenance."
    • Personally, I'm pretty sure the Protheans set up the council. Remember how apparently the council was making laws against AI research even before the Quarians created the Geth? The protheans almost certainly left some hints.
  • I think the Prothean scientists survived and lived to an old age (feeding on whatever the Keepers gave them), but with only a dozen there and the Reapers cleaning everything up, they couldn't produce any ships in their lifetime, and any art or messages they might have done would have faded out or been cleaned up by the Keepers.

There are still Protheans alive, and you will recruit one in a later game
  • Quite simple, a place like Ilos that was spared during the Reaper invasion. Only this one had adequate power supply to last the whole time. After the events of Feros, Shepard has the mind of a Prothean and can understand them. Plus, what would be cooler than having an ancient alien precursor running around with you mindscrewing everyone who sees him?
  • Well, the opposite is true anyway. Indoctrinated Protheans menace you as the Collectors.

Some Protheans survived.
But their civilization was so ravaged that they were plunged back into a primitive age. They're out there somewhere, waiting for the Citadel races to discover them and say "Wow, do we tell them or not?". To which a possible response might be: "Let them at least re-learn language first."
  • Yep. Unfortunetly, they've been brainwashed into a certain thing called Collectors...
  • Maybe there was another secret hidden facility. It would stretch belief but I think players would like to see (and recruit!) a living Prothean.
    • There was. On Eden Prime. One survived.
  • It's not unreasonable that some Protheans survived on a remote world. The Reapers sealed off Mass Relays and systematically went after infastructures. A remote facility on a world in the middle of nowhere could be looked over (Ilos was missed, why not another). Further supporting this was Mordin brought up that it's wrong to bring primitive races to space travel tech level since that's what they did with the krogan, who weren't culturally prepared to deal with civilized space. Perhaps you come across a settlement of Protheans. Shepard realizes what they are, but since they've been on a remote world with no higher contact, they don't see the significance. There will be two paragon options and two renegade options. The first paragon option is to simply leave them alone and let them evolve. The second paragon option will be to recruit them with the motive to help them (they'll live in better conditions, they'll live longer, and likely have better lives all around). The first renegade option will be similar to that, but with the motive of using them as slaves. The second renegade option will be to kill them all simply to be a dick.

The Protheans seeded various planets to create the Citadel races.
  • Most of the races in Mass Effects are humanoid in an oddly coincidental er, coincidence. Perhaps the humanoid Protheans went to various planets making new races similar to themselves with genetic modification and upgrading the already sentient hanar. Humans were made from apes, asari from some kind of aquatic race, turians from insects, salarians from lizards, so-on and so-forth. The recording of the caveman shows the Protheans were keeping tabs on humans at least. Maybe they're just checking up on their kids.
    • Actually, it's more likely that, if the Council races were uplifted, turians were derived from reptiles and salarians from amphibians. I don't think it's likely though, as there's plenty of evidence that humans naturally evolved here on Earth, seeing as we've got a fossil record several million years old, and I don't see the Protheans lasting that long before the Reapers decided to get rid of them. I think it's more likely that the Reapers uplifted the Council races; really handy cache of advanced technology and refined eezo on Mars, no? And when you get that vision of the Cro-Magnon on Eletania, he's abducted by a red light...
      • The turians are said to have more in common with birds.

The statues on Ilos were of Reapers, not Protheans.
  • Okay, stick with me on this one. The Protheans, just like all the civilizations that came before and after them, unknowingly built their entire society on the remains of Reaper technology and infrastructure - it stands to reason that Ilos (being a research center for Mass Relay technology) would be no different. In all likelihood, there was a Reaper presence on the world in the very, very distant past. What I think is key to this theory though is the corruption of Vigil's image - maybe I'm shooting in the dark here, but the fact that we can't actually see him to confirm that Protheans look like the figures depicted in the statue leads me to believe that Bioware may have fed us a very subtle Red Herring on the matter. I mean, look at those statues. All the tentacles make them look very Cthuluesque, which would be in keeping with the cosmically horrific nature of the Reapers. Maybe it's far-fetched, but I don't think it's unreasonable to think that the statues might be a representation of the Reapers from a time before they became the enigmatic machine race we all know and love - or maybe even the people who CREATED the Reapers.
    • But why shouldn't the Protheans look creepy? They're mysterious, ancient and alien too, even though they were more "human" in their mindset. The statues certainly don't look anything like the Reapers, and why should the Protheans decorate their city with Reaper images, in any case? It's not like the modern Citadel civilization is doing anything like that, despite being inspired by the same technology.
      • My thought was that the statues had predated the Prothean settlement on Ilos (although a potential hole in my theory is whether statues could survive long enough to have been built by the Reapers). And you're right, there's no reason the Protheans shouldn't look creepy and weird, but the tentacles did strike me as sort of Lovecraftian imagery, which makes me think of the Reapers. I guess I'd counter your point by asking why Reapers in their original biological state (assuming they had one, which for all we know they may not) or their creators should look like they do now? What struck me as a *possible* connection was the Cthuluesque motiff, not necessarily the appearance as a whole.
    • Have a closer look at Shepard's visions. The figures in them look very similar to the statutes on Ilos, no?
      • I suppose, but I was never able to make out many clear images from the visions, so I'll have to take you at your word.
      • I have found this odd, too: statues vs. collector (and that Collector image is from the vision, even). They look nothing alike. And we know the Collectors are more or less unaltered Protheans (and the ending of the game as the Collector ship explodes even vaguely suggests that the Prothean commander was still sapient at the end, though this may be another WMG altogether). The statues are almost definitely not of Protheans.
      • The Collectors, unaltered Protheans? Didn't you listen to EDI during the mission? She states that the Collectors have three less chromosomes than Protheans! Go speak to Mordin after the mission - he'll tell you that the Collectors are so degraded, they're mostly cybernetics! Anyway, the picture in the Prothean Codex page in Mass Effect 2 shows a being that clearly resembles the statues on Ilos, but husk-ified.
      • Not quite. Yes, the degradation and chromosome thing is true, but the Collectors, looking rather the same, appear in the beacon images. As no mention of Reaper screwing with their DNA is mentioned by Vigil, we can safely assume that they looked about the same back then too. So, we still have no real clue what those statues are. Other than they look a little like husks.
      • A Collector is seen in a beacon image a grand total of once, after flashing into existence where some other figure (presumably a prothean) was standing in a similar pose earlier in the clip. It was meant to indicate that the last few Protheans learned that they were being transformed. Also, three chromosomes is a LOT of genes. The difference between the genomes of an ape and a human is 1%, and look how different we are to them. Who knows what the Reapers did to the remaining genes in the Prothean genome... Evidence points towards the weird statues being Protheans.
    • ME3 gives confirmation the statues definitely weren't Prothean. My guess, they're the Zha'til, a synthetic race from the Prothean cycle.
      • Going by the fact that Javik says Ilos was previously inhabited by the inusannon, I think they're the best bet, actually. The statues originally WERE meant to represent Protheans, but that comment sounds like they were slipping in a retcon to make them fit more with the Collectors' appearance.

The Protheans left a warning on the Citadel for future races, but the keepers saw it as vandalism and removed it.
  • When the remaining Prothean scientists were on the Citadel, it seems likely that they would want to leave some sort of warning about the Reapers. Perhaps they would write something in the hope that it would be translated some day. However, the Keepers could have seen this as vandalism, and removed it.
    • That... makes a lot of sense.

It was the Protheans who built the Pyramids on Egypt.
  • In the various side quests in Mass Effect 1 where you can land on various planets, there are several Prothean ruins that uncannily resembles the Pyramids of Giza on Earth. This clearly indicates that somehow, Protheans intervened in building the pyramids in ancient times.
    • Except that the Pyramids were built long after the Protheans got reaped.
      • Who's to say that all the Protheans died?

The Protheans calculated that humans were the race most likely to effectively combat the Reapers in the next cycle, and froze the Charon Relay to isolate Earth in case the Reapers decided to pre-emptivly wipe humanity out.
  • Seconded. Further strengthened by a particular side mission on the planet Eletania. If you got
  • Actually, no. The Protheans banked on the asari.

There was more than one species of "Prothean"
Mostly because it reconciles the differences between the Ilos statues, the visions, and the Collectors. But there's also no reason why they wouldn't be - after all, there's certainly not one species on top of the whole galaxy right now (well, unless you put humanity there). The name "Prothean" is actually a description of their coalition between species, similar to the "Council" is "Council space" or "Council species". Vigil doesn't bother to tell you otherwise because he doesn't realize you don't know (or doesn't consider it important).
  • Mostly confirmed. There was one Prothean race, but they subjugated all other races they came into contact with. Those races became Protheans, regardless of what they wanted to be called.

The Protheans were not 'ready' to be harvested by the Reapers .
  • Both Vigil and Sovereign say that the Reapers invade once galactic civilization meets some unknown criteria. Once that happens the Reapers invade and harvest the galaxy. Vigil also stated that the Protheans were "close to unlocking the secrets of the Mass Relays". Since one of the Reapers' strengths is that only they know how the Relays and the Citadel function they obviously didnít want to risk a 'lesser' race figuring it out on their own, so the Reaper vanguard triggered the invasion early rather than risk that happening. Because the invasion happened before the Protheans were ready to be harvested the Reapers could not use them to create more Reapers but, not wanting to waste a potential resource, they turned them into the Collectors.

    The Rachni 
The Rachni War was Sovereign's last attempt to capture the Citadel
  • The rachni queen on Noveria seems far nicer than the crazier ones mentioned in the other war, and indeed mentions that the queens from then were tainted and corrupted by "a colour out of space." What better way to describe Sovereign's indoctrination process - and from Sovereign's point of view, the rachni were useful since it only needed to indoctrinate the queens to give itself an army.
    • This is not so much a WMG as it is a foregone conclusion. It's very heavily implied that this is what actually occurred.
      • However, it must be remembered that when the dying Benezia was telling you all about Reaper indoctrination a few minutes before, the rachni queen was hearing the whole thing right along with you. So it could have been lying about the whole 'song from space' thing, because it would know what story to tell. This troper believes the rachni queen was telling the truth, personally, but the alternate possibility must be acknowledged.
      • In ME2, this is confirmed if you spared the Queen in the first game. An asari gives you a message from the Queen where she promises to fight alongside you against the ones who forced them into the war.

The rachni and the thresher maws evolved on the same world.
  • They look similiar, they're both able to breathe a variety of gases, and they both emit acid as a weapon. Seems pretty obvious.
    • Or thresher maws are rachni bio-weapons.
    • Actually, the krogan believe the thresher maws came from their world.

The keepers were engineered from the rachni.
  • In ME2 the rachni are explicitly compared to the keepers. They have similar structure, and even a similar hive function. Presumably, somewhere in the Citadel, is some sort of artifical rachni queen giving the keepers their orders.
    • No, they're not. The keepers existed before the Protheans came to the Citadel, and are implied to be ancient. The rachni only arose a few thousand years ago, like the current galactic civilisations.

The Rachni Wars were engineered by the Reapers to stop the Citadel races from randomly opening mass relays.
  • The Reapers have this 50,000 year cycle going on, right? But they don't want the current group of species to go around through all the mass relays uplifting every sentient and pre-sentient race they can find, otherwise the next cycle or two will be too empty (assuming a relatively constant "natural growth" of new sentient species.) So what do they do? Every cycle, Nazara (or whoever drew the short straw this time) finds a species that is particularly suited (susceptible to mass-Indoctrination, xenophobic, suited for war, etc.) and is in the path of "natural expansion" for the current Citadel species. The Reaper then does its Indoctrination thing, and when the relay to their system is opened, out pours a galactic threat that scares everyone out of activating any more relays without first knowing what's on the other side.
  • This may even double for an explanation of why the Protheans are the only apparent species from the last cycle, as well as why they became the Collectors rather than another Reaper. If the Protheans were the equivalent of the rachni, but won, every other race would have been effectively subjugated. The lesson would have been learned - "Hey, don't keep opening more relays; trust us, last time we did you happened." The Reaper fades out away from influencing the Protheans, so they become relatively more benevolent (e.g., the hanar, the Mars outpost, and the whole trying-to-break-the-cycle thing). The same traits that made them effective as a threat may make them less effective as a Reaper, so instead they become pawns (again). The Protheans may have also been telepathic in some capacity - similar to the rachni - given their method of communication, which could be one of the conditions that made them a good pick, since it's logical that telepathy would increase susceptibility to mass-Indoctrination.
    • The Protheans weren't the only race, they were just the dominant one.

    The Reapers - General 
The Reapers killed the dinosaurs.
Due to the sheer power and and genetic diversity the dinosaurs had, The Reapers decided that they were fit for ascension. Yes, the Dinosaurs are behind the legend of the super-advanced civilization known as Atlantis, that was destroyed by the Reapers which the ancients interpreted as an act of God. Naturally, this means that we will be able to fight a Dinosaur Reaper.

The Reapers are the real heroes of the story.
I know, I know, it sounds like total bullshit, but let's examine some things. First, Element Zero.

Element zero creates a positive or negative gravitic charge when electrons flow through it. The impetus of this effect is explicitly stated to be dark energy.

In real life, what is Dark Energy? The force which powers the exponential expansion of the fabric of space itself. Gravity, Higgs Bosons and Dark Matter hold everything together, in direct competition with Dark Energy which is more abundant in the universe and has the characteristic of tearing everything apart.

As space expands, the size that an organized structure can be without being torn to selfsame shreds gets smaller. This effect can actually be seen in our universe already, in grand scale. After one gets past the supercluster level of galaxy "groupings" there is no further structure. (In the recent past/relatively close to us, the further out you look, the older the light traveling it is, the younger the universe was, the bigger structures could be.) Now, because of the universe expanding, gravity will slowly weaken as objects become too far apart to strongly interact.

Eventually, far in the future, yet long before the heat death becomes a problem, Dark Energy will dissolve every form of matter and spread across the entire universe, never stopping, never faltering, never fading. People and dogs and planets and stars (Black Holes are not an exception due to Hawking Radiation) will become molecular dust. And that molecular dust will become atoms and the atoms will become nothing. Every electron, every proton, and antimatter, and hadron, and quark, and Higgs Boson, and all of every single subatomic particle, shall be reduced into a complete vacuum. And that Dark Energy will break through the rifts of space and time, and will continue to spread and permeate and strain throughout every single corner of the fabric of Creation, until every dimension, every parallel, the very Continuum of Space and Time Itself shall be torn apart.

Therefore, Dark Energy = CLASS Z DESTRUCTION. OF REALITY. ITSELF. And Element Zero = Artifact of Doom.

This handily explains why the Reapers leave the Relays all over the place: They provide a simple solution for long-distance travel to the nascent organic life, which prevents them from building more powerful FTL drives, which output more dark energy than the Relays.

Now, let's look at what happens when the Reapers wait too long on a purge: Haestrom.

Stars work by establishing an equilibrium between gravity and energy output. The heat of fusion keeps them from collapsing into black holes or neutron stars, the gravity keeps them from exploding outwards due to fusion pressure. Basically, a star is a giant explosion that's been running for billions of years. Produce more energy, and what happens? A red giant. Shut off the fusion (due to the creation of iron and heavy metals), and what happens? A supernova.

Exploring this further, the amount of energy a star outputs is directly proportional to its size: big stars burn and are consumed by entropy faster. Also, stars with hot cores are big. Our sun, of medium size, will last another five billion years. Sirius, a hugely massive incredibly bright star will die in the next several million.

The dark energy output of eezo eventually shuts off hydrogen fusion in stars, switching them to helium fusion early, making them premature, and consequently freakishly entropic red giants, eventually destroying them outright or creating Black Holes.

The 50,000 years is a "cooldown" to allow dark energy to disperse to less harmful levels. The harvesting of sentient forms is to assimilate the most worthy minds. The enemy is entropy, the bad ending is the destruction. of reality. itself. The limiting factor is time itself, and though the Reapers kill off advanced civilizations they do it to save the entire fucking universe. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few." Q.E.D.
  • HUMAN. YOU'VE CHANGED NOTHING. YOUR SPECIES HAS THE ATTENTION OF THOSE INFINITELY YOUR GREATER. THAT WHICH YOU KNOW AS REAPERS ARE YOUR SALVATION THROUGH DESTRUCTION.
  • ...so the Reapers are the Anti-Spirals?
  • This is also why Element Zero forms when stars affected by Dark Energy go supernova and hit planets. Dark Energy = Equal and opposite reaction to Element Zero; Element Zero = Equal and opposite reaction to Dark Energy.
  • While that was the original script, it's now Jossed. The Reapers certainly consider themselves the heroes, but it's nothing to do with dark energy or eezo. It's to prevent all organic life from being wiped out by synthetics. The Reapers harvest the races that have reached a certain level of advancement, and bring them into the Reaper fold, while sparing the less advanced races to rise up for the next cycle.

The Reapers are a secret homage to xkcd.
  • The Reapers (at least the ones we've seen) look kind of like gigantic cuttlefish. Anyone remember: http://xkcd.com/520/ ? Here's what happened: an ancient race created advanced cuttlefish, and gave them hard-suits for space travel. The greatest threat to the galaxy was really just some poor bio major's project gone horribly wrong.
    • Or the bio students finished the cephalopod revolution and the CS students finished the robot revolution at the same time. It all makes sense!

The Reapers use an anti-eezo weapon to wipe out galactic civilization.
  • Sovereign tells Shepard that the Reapers leave the Mass Relays and other technology lying around to guide civilization's technological advancements to suit their purposes. In other words, they want the whole galaxy to be dependent on element zero-based technology by the time they invade. When they do invade they use a technology that either destroys eezo or negates its effects. In one fell swoop, they can (using the current civilization as an example) disable their enemy's FTL travel, artificial gravity, energy shields, and most weapons and power generation. Of course, since Humans Are Special, by the time the Reapers used this technology, the Alliance will have developed an alternative to eezo, which they will use in another Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • Well, sorta actually. It's less anti-element zero and more simply taking advantage of a weakness they provided. The game mentions that the Reapers would disable Mass Relays to limit travel between points, allowing them to isolate and kill worlds much more easily. With the whole of galactic civilization based around element zero, there would be no need to develop alternative methods of FTL or what have you - thus ensuring that the Reapers could disable travel to begin with.
    • Note that when Harbinger really really wants someone dead, they send the collector ship to destroy it with some manner of energy weapon...which completely bypasses the most advanced shields ever developed by council races. They've made the current galactic civilizations so reliant on mass effect technology that by bypassing it they can destroy them effortlessly. Since the Turians and Asari are such traditionalists, and Salarians tend to find one solution that works and stick to it, they'll be helpless. The Humans, with their combination of greed and creativity, will have already been looking into alternative tech that doesn't rely on having the absurdly expensive eezo.
      • On a side note, this is part of the buildup in Fanfic/Renegade - since Earth in that 'verse uses Tiberium, they might have an edge fighting the Reapers.

The Reapers have an organic equivalent.
  • 1. The planet Klencory has in its description: Klencory is famously claimed by the eccentric volus billionaire Kumun Shol. He claims that a vision of a higher being told him to seek on Klencory the "lost crypts of beings of light." These entities were supposedly created at the dawn of time to protect organic life from synthetic "machine devils."
  • 2. On Jartar, there is a crater which once held the Leviathan of Dis, the billion-year-old corpse of an organic starship.
    • Uh, about the Leviathan. Y Ou know how the Reaper larva has organic material being pumped into it? Yeah, the Leviathan of Dis was a dead Reaper.
  • These seem like Chekhov's Guns to a future revelation of a hyper-advanced race that either uses or consists of organic technology, whether still in existence or in the distant past. Despite what the volus believes about their intentions, there is no reason to assume they would be on the side of the Citadel races.
    • This is rather heavily backed up by some of the things Harbinger says in Mass Effect 2 - Harbinger claims humanity has "attracted the attention of those infinitely your greater". If he was referring to the Reapers, he would have said something like, "you have attracted our attention, and we are infinitely your greater". This, combined with the fact that right after that, he says, "that which you know as Reapers..." heavily implies he's talking about something else and NOT referring to the Reaper species. He also claims the Reapers are "your salvation through destruction", a quote that seems odd and out of place... unless the Reapers believe there's another race out there that's even more dangerous than them, and that the Reapers are doing humanity a favor by "saving" them, and by "saving" them the Reapers mean melting them down into goo to make new Reapers...
      • However, consider: Reapers don't call themselves Reapers. Sovereign says explicitly that the Protheans gave them the name, so that they'd have a word for the species that wiped them out. As for "salvation through destruction", in a twisted way, Saren was right - the Reapers do "spare" the species most useful to them - by pureeing them, in this case...
  • How can you mention an organic equivalent of the Reapers and not mention The Thorian?
  • CONFIRMED. The Leviathans in Mass Effect 3 are basically Reapers without all the synthetic parts, complete with indoctrination-like mind control. They created the Catalyst, and Harbinger was created by harvesting them.

After each successful genocide, the Reapers redesign themselves to look like the race they just killed.
  • Based entirely on Mass Effect 2's final boss. Why else would they make a Reaper designed after a human?
    • The notion I got was that each individual Reaper was constructed from the harvested collective of a different race. Harbinger might well be the Prothean (and thus youngest Reaper, not counting the human proto-Reaper). Thus, rather than the Reapers redesigning themselves as a whole after each cycle, each cycle produces a new wholly unique Reaper - perhaps several, if several races are harvested at once and used seperately.
    • We get to see Harbinger in the ending cinematic on the Collector-General's screen and he looks like Sovereign and all other Reapers (a hand-like ship), which makes the notion of Reapers modelling themselves on different species even more confusing. Of course, it may well be that the ships all look the same, but the Reaper-cores don't, but it seemed pretty clear from ME1 that Reapers ARE spaceships...
      • I think it's worth noting that the human proto-Reaper is extremely small by comparison to Sovereign, even if you factor in how much bigger it would have been when completed. To me Harbinger looked a little different from Sovereign, and specifically had a form that reminded me of the psuedo-triangular heads of the Collectors. There's no telling for sure what any of this means - whether the Reapers are constructed in the form of their source species and then placed at the core of a ship, or whether the final product simply warps the original form into something more twisted and cephalopodish. As big as the revelation about the Reapers at the end of ME2 was, we still have precious little solid information.

The Reapers live in a Stable Time Loop.
  • Hence the Sovereign's declaration: "We have no beginning. We have no end." At the end of Mass Effect 3 Shepard closes the time loop, throwing the Reapers to the beginning of time, starting the cycle anew.

The Collector-General was a mostly unmodified Prothean possessed by a Reaper.
  • The way the Beacons work is by transmitting data directly from Prothean mind to Prothean mind. That suggests that the Protheans had a shared mental link. The Collector-General was hijacked by Harbinger, and modified so that he couldn't fight back or retake control when the Reaper took control of another Collector. When Harbinger jumped back into its Reaper body, all control was released, and the last Prothean saw the oncoming explosion/pulse with relief.
    • Glad I'm not the only one who thought so. I'd even make the case that he was possibly aware of what was happening throughout his continued existence, but powerless to stop it, judging by his apparent relief at his own death. And I Must Scream, anyone?
    • Unlikely, considering that both EDI and Mordin explain in detail that the Collectors are not Protheans any more. Their DNA has been mutated and much of their body is taken up by cybernetics. While it's possible their physical appearance was changed, this is the Reapers we're talking about. They don't care. At all.
    • Actually, it was extremely modified.

Sovereign and Harbinger were BFFs or lovers.
  • Why not? It would explain why he goes on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge targeting Shepard and the Normandy in ME2.
    • More like Harbinger worshipped Sovereign, seeing as the Collectors are engineered from the Protheans to serve the Reapers.
    • Harbinger is a Reaper as well. It is heavily implied outright shown in the ending cutscene that he just possessed/controlled the leader of the Collectors.

We will never learn the full details behind the Reapers.
  • Fits with the whole Cosmic Horror Story thing.
    • Alternatively, a Reaper will try a Just Between You and Me about their motives to brag to Shepard how puny and futile s/he is. Shepard will immediately cut them off with a "The Reason You Suck" Speech that goes something along the lines of, "Nah, not interested. I'll just hear the same, self-important, 'ooh, lookitme, I'm unknowable and unstoppable' crap. You know who else says that? Teenagers."
    • We learn quite a bit, actually. For example, They're serving the Citadel's purpose.

The Reapers look like crab things because...
  • In ME2 we learn that Reapers are based off organic civilizations. Why then do most Reapers look like crab things? Because they were created in the distant past and crab like things came onto land sooner than fleshier things and as such could develop fire sooner. Fleshy civilizations only being in the majority recently. The reason why they were created in the distant past can be explained by there being a set number of Reapers, new ones created only when old ones are destroyed (the human one being created because we destroyed Sovereign) and they are rarely destroyed.
    • Or, the "crab" part of the Reaper is a shell, and the real Reaper is inside of that - which resembles the race the Reaper was made of.
    • Reapers were Virmire pod crabs. A Cerberus Network news report already implies there's more to that species than meets the eye...

We will meet a Defector from Decadence Reaper in Mass Effect 3, or at least one that doesn't scream 'Kill all humans.'
  • At the time of Mass Effect 1 this troper wouldn't even consider this theory, but look at the evidence:
    • Pretty much everything we've learned about the Reapers, as a culture, has come out of the mouth of either Sovereign or Harbinger. What about the others? And while we do know that the vast majority of the Reapers are in fact coming to kill everyone, there has to be at least ONE Reaper that disagrees.
    • Legion. To elaborate, before Mass Effect 2 having a geth squadmate would be out of the question. But Mass Effect 2 has shown that not all geth are evil; as a matter of fact, most hate the Reapers and the geth that helped Sovereign. What if this applies to the Reapers? If the Reapers are fully machines, then the above theory applies, and if they're partly organic, then surely at least one of them can overcome their "society's" peer pressure.
    • It would be a great plot point. Plenty of players have probably chosen to not help the Illusive Man and destroy the Collector Station, so additional help on fighting the Reapers will have to come from somewhere, and where better than from a rebel Reaper?
    • In terms of tropes, this would elegantly deconstruct both Always Chaotic Evil and A.I. Is a Crapshoot at the same time. Bioware doesn't necessarily even have to Retcon anything.
      • Sovereign even says that the Reapers are "nations onto themselves". Each one is able to make its own choices. If every single other alien race in the game universe has proven itself immune to the Planet of Hats syndrome, then this one can't possibly be an exception.
    • Of course it's likely that the Reapers don't see other creatures as anywhere near significant enough to care about.
      • But now that you've killed two of them and returned from the dead after the first time they smote you, you've gotta have their attention.
      • Given that they appear to select one species per reaping cycle to make a new Reaper out of, the average number of Reapers killed per cycle must be less than one to survive as a species. Killing two, singlehandedly, and holding back the invasion for years would probably put you on at least demigod level. If there is a rebel faction among the reapers, your appearance might be the opportunity they've been waiting for to stop the genocide once and for all.
      • Sovereign explicity states this to be the case. However, a Reaper with dissenting ideas could very well have had those ideas for millions of years over many iterations of the cycle, waiting until those goddamn stupid organics would evolve in some manner that would give them a chance at succeeding in breaking it. Given that humanity has already pulled a fast one on the Reapers twice, it could see them as its best chance for success reletive to the other ants.
      • Or a Reaper who thinks mass genocide is animal cruelty.
      • A cosmic-horror animal lover! RETO - Reapers for the Ethical Treatment of Organics.
    • Could be the alternative to working with Cerebus and using the Collector's stolen tech.
    • Normandy MK II in Mass Effect 2? Entertaining. Having a Reaper as your Cool Starship in Mass Effect 3, possibly as a late game perk? Oh yeah. Suddenly I'm reminded of starting off Skies of Arcadia in the Little Jack before upgrading to the Delphinus halfway through the game.
    • I nominate Cthulhu as the good reaper. It tried to communicate with H.P. Lovecraft and warn him about the horror that threatens all life in the galaxy, but poor communication lead Lovecraft to believe Cthulhu was the bad guy. Cthulhu is buried in R'lyeh, and Shepard will go there and awaken him. "That is not dead which can eternal lienote , and with strange eonsnote , even death may dienote ".

A certain level of genetic diversity is required to create new Reapers.
  • The creation of a Reaper Larva requires a certain amount of genetic diversity for it to survive. The Collectors were created as a form of recon to search the galaxy for species that have the required diversity so the Reapers don't waste resources like they did with the Protheans who lacked diversity. This is why the Collectors trade tech for people with slight genetic mutations like left-handed salarians. This is also why they released the plague on Omega which causes mutation in every species other than humans and vorcha. The plague was the preliminary tests of an attempt to introduce more diversity to those species so that multiple Reapers could be created.

There's another "Citadel" Relay.
  • It's hanging out in some unexplored part of the galaxy, sitting empty awaiting commands. The Reapers at the end of ME2 were all aligned to the Citadel Relay, so they're moving into position to be aligned with the other one. This is also how they can have the Reapers show up and surprise genocide everyone.
    • My money is that the backup Citadel is in some uncharted part of the Local Cluster, disguised as a star or something like the Charon relay was disguised as a moon of Pluto. It would explain why the Reapers are attacking Earth first in ME3. Further, the backup relay doesn't have the same capacity as the true Citadel, which explains why the invasion force on Earth is relatively small, compared to the sky-darkening fleet we saw in the ME2 ending. First, send in a scouting force (including Harbinger), subjugate the greatest and/or nearest threat (humans), then make for the Citadel to bring in reinforcements. The reason the Reapers didn't use the backup at first was because they thought Sovereign would be enough to get to the primary one.
    • Half-jossed, half-confirmed by ME2's Arrival DLC. There is a backup relay to the Citadel, and it's close to the Local Cluster to boot, but it's only the size of a regular mass relay and it's only use is for the Reapers to quickly reach any of the other relays once they're already in the Milky Way. Shepard also destroys it by the end of the assignment.

Nazara is the name of the species used to create Sovereign.
  • When the Reapers finish their reproduction cycle, the new Reaper's name is that of the species used to create them. Legion said that there are millions of programs working in your average Reaper, so the minds/consciousness of those used to create them are also preserved in some way, and added into the Reaper as a sort of collective consciousness. Also, we don't even know if Harbinger is the true name of the Reaper controlling the Collector General. He never said what he was called, only "We are Harbinger."

The Reapers originally considered the krogans for "ascension".
  • Harbinger has unique taunts to every species in your squad, explaining why they are unsuitable for its needs. It calls the krogans "wasted potential". This could refer to the Salarian Genophage that weakens the DNA of their species, in turn implying that if it wasn't for the Krogan Rebellions, the krogan colonies would now be dissapearing instead of the human ones.

The Reapers' interest in Shepard.
  • As Shepard is the Canon Sue of humanity in the Reapers' eyes, Harbinger wants to repurpose him to be the next Collector General for the next iteration of the cycle. Would explain why one of his battle taunts is an order to the drones to preserve the body if possible.

The Protheans screwed things up more royally than anyone yet realises, including the Reapers.
  • The Reapers do suspect however, and are in fact somewhat desperate throughout the course of the games to fix the mess. (This has been touched upon by other WMGs, but never outright stated.)
  • Basically, the Reapers designed the system so that only one race would be dominant in the galaxy by the time the 50,000 year mark rolled around. Liara mentions in the first game that the Protheans started from a single world until their empire spanned the stars, and they were not the first. If you extrapolate from this, it seems that all the other major civilisations the Reapers destroyed were built around one central race, who could thus be easily incorporated into the next generation of Reapers.
  • The Protheans kicked off the party a little too early though. They studied and helped Cro-Magnon man to develop, and Cro-Magnon developed faster than was wanted. The Reapers had intended that the asari would be the next species they destroyed, then humankind, but instead they got a mismatch of species. Basically, after so long trusting the galaxy to run itself as long as it found the right technology, they never anticipated that the first reaction species would have would not be to conquer, but to form relations with them. They can fight and destroy an intergalactic dictatorship, but they can't destroy an intergalactic democracy that actually cares about the other species that are part of it.
  • So in effect, the Reapers are now utterly screwed, because things they would have relied on to take down a species (single race of utterly unified thought and technology for example), now get royally arseraped (multiple divergent species, none of whom can be said to be truly dominant, sharing technology and their worldviews to create entirely new ways of waging war.) The Normandy SR-1 wasn't just a sign of turians and humans working together, it was a clear sign that interactions of species was the way to destroy the Reapers - Normandy did land the final blow on Sovereign, this is probably symbolic.
    • What is certain is that the Reaper invasion has been overdue for more than two millenia, since we got confirmation that Sovvie has been trying to take over the Citadel since as far back as the Rachni Wars. Legion explain that Sovereign has been contacting/indoctrinating multiple individuals over the the ages, the Heretics/Saren only being the last in a long list. His assault in 2183 was just that: a nearly suicidal and completely desperate attempt. Presumably, Reapers are not quite as powerful as they would like us to believe, and the galactic civilizations have nearly reached the point where they will be too much for the Reapers.
    • Actually, Javik the Prothean mentions that the greatest weakness of the Protheans was their predictable attack pattern, which the Reapers could exploit.

The Council is actually right, and the Reapers do not exist.
Sovereign was merely a very advanced Geth ship. Saren just made up the entire Reaper thing to gain the loyalty of the Geth. Saren claims that heís working with the Reapers simply to intimidate Shepard (as the Council predicted). Vigil was just a VI left by Saren to not only delay Shepard, but to also feed more false information to Shepard about the Reapers in order to add to his deception. The Collectors are just a messed up, albeit advanced race, and were merely making a human-cyborg hybrid as an experiment. Harbinger was just their AI leader, who pretended to be a Reaper in order to gain more respect.

The 37 million year old Reaper is just an old ship from a war that took place between a now extinct race. The Cerberus officers on board were not indoctrinated, but were merely suffering a nervous breakdown from being in space for so long, and them remembering each otherís lives was just a complete coincidence.

At the end, when the Reaper fleet is seen, it is merely happening in Shepardís imagination.
  • Well, unless the entirety of ME3 is in Shepard's head, then I think we can declare this Jossed. On the other hand, the new WMG would be that the entirety of ME3 is in Shepard's head. In which case, man, Shepard has some serious issues to work out.

The Reaper's Ultimate final boss Big Bad will be voiced by James Earl Jones.
  • Why? Because it would be awesome.
    • If Bioware is reading this, have James Earl Jones voice the final boss. In fact announce that Mass Effect 3 will have James Earl Jones in it and just watch the sales skyrocket. You could probably afford to give your entire company enough for them to retire in Aruba.
    • Include Ben Stein as a major Elcor character and it would be perfect.

The Reapers and the vorcha are not Always Chaotic Evil.
  • How many Always Chaotic Evil races are there? The rachni? Subverted. The batarians? Subverted. The krogan? Subverted long long ago. The geth, of all races? Subverted. The Collectors? Subverted. Mass Effect loves to subvert and lampshade Planet of Hats. The more stereotyped the race is, the heavier it's subverted. Therefore, there will be at least one benevolent Reaper and a bunch of clever and kind vorcha.
    • The vorchas' problem is that they only live 20 years; not long enough to learn a profession or anything, and everybody treats them as vermin. Their only options are unskilled labour, scavenging or acting as hired guns. They're not evil, but they're in a bad spot with precious few means to better themselves. This might be explored further in ME3.
      • Living 20 years is a problem now? Try one Ray Bradbury short story, where people lived eight days.
    • As for the Reapers, they're treated more like a malign force than an actual race. They may be Always Chaotic Evil because they were made specifically for that purpose. Everything about them revolves around exploiting and destroying those who are weaker than them. A Reaper that doesn't want enslavement and destruction of the organic civilizations might technically not be a Reaper at all.
    • The Reapers would agree, actually. Actually, if we're going by overly simplistic terms, they'd probably be Lawful Evil.

Harbinger is a Prothean Reaper.
  • Look at the Collectors. Then look at the diagram of Harbinger. See a resemblance? To expound further, each race exterminated by the Reapers every 50,000 years is the basis for a new Reaper each time. The Reapers don't look like each other, because they strip races down to a slave race which forms the basis of new Reapers. With humanity, the cycle is accelerated - Harbinger is based off Collector rather than Prothean DNA, whereas the Human-Reaper is more clearly humanoid because it's based off human DNA than the DNA of the species that humanity would eventually be rendered down into.
    • All Reapers we saw until now besides the human-Reaper larva looked pretty much identical to Harbinger. Since obviously not all of them could have been Prothean, I don't think this theory will work. As for the human-Reaper, someone suggested on this page that perhaps the "core" of each reaper looks like the species that was used to make it, but the core is deep within a squid-like "shell". I like this theory.

The Prothean Reaper isn't Harbinger. It's Vigil.
  • We already know that Vigil is much more advanced than your usual VI, even though the Protheans are supposedly only a little more advanced than the current Council races. He can, on-the-fly, come up with anti-Reaper data files that can shut down the Citadel in case a Reaper like Sovereign tries to activate it manually. Even a full-fledged AI like EDI needs parts from an actual Reaper to be that effective against Reaper cyberwarfare. There's obviously more to Vigil than meets the eye.
  • Vigil also seems pretty quick to silence any questions regarding the Reapers' origins or their intentions, claiming that your first objective should be to stop them, not to understand them. Well, duh, wouldn't understanding them go a hell of a long way towards finding a way to stop them? It doesn't make sense unless either Vigil or the Protheans as a whole have something to hide.
  • At the end of ME2, EDI is very quick to point out that the Reapers tried to create a Prothean Reaper and failed, but we still don't know why it failed. Going by the "not all Reapers want to Kill All Organics" idea, it seems reasonable that if the Prothean Reaper, for some reason, started rebelling against the other Reapers' ideology, that they would abandon it and leave it incomplete. An incomplete Reaper wouldn't stand a chance against the fleet by itself, but it would be quite capable of searching for allies.
  • Lastly, there's the fact that Vigil seems to be MIA in ME2 for very vague reasons. The prevailing theory is that Vigil ran out of power, but this doesn't seem to work on second thought. When your computer shuts off during a power outage, you don't lose your files or your operating system. Theoretically, Prothean VI's and AI's should operate the same way. There should be nothing stopping someone from hooking a generator up to Vigil and turning him back online...
  • ... unless Vigil isn't a VI or an AI after all, but an incomplete "friendly Reaper" posing as one.
    • Vigil seemed to know a lot about what was going in the galaxy, despite being trapped on Ilos for fifty millenia. I don't know if he's a Reaper, but there's definately more to him than meets the eye. It would fit with the whole "nothing is Always Chaotic Evil" theme Bioware has been setting up. And what's the name of the area you find him in? "The Watcher's Chamber". Seriously.

There are advanced civilizations still in existence that predate the Prothean Extinction.
  • The inherent flaw in the Reaper method of guiding civilizations - they reach a certain point in development, acquire space travel, settle on the Citadel, and evolve in just such a way that the Reapers can harvest them - is that there are going to be plenty of star systems that aren't close enough to Mass Effect Relays that even if they did develop FTL space travel, they won't be able to interact with anyone else. These isolated communities, untouched and unnoticed by the Reapers, develop technology on their own terms, and perhaps after fifty thousand plus years of technological evolution, may offer a legitimate threat to the Reapers.
    • The Codex does point out that less than 1% of the Galaxy has been explored - and of that, only a handful of systems have been fully charted. So, yeah, definitely possible. My money's on the "beings of light" on Klencory, or the organic race that built the Leviathan of Dis.
      • Never mind about the Leviathan. It was a Reaper.
      • Hell, most civilizations have to be explicitly told how to use eezo by studying the Mass Relays and/or scavenging the stuff from ruins. Without those, who in their right mind would travel to a supernova remnant to find any? "Civilization is based on the technology of the mass relays, [Reaper] technology. By using it, society develops along the paths [the Reapers] desire." Including easy access to Human Resources.
      • You can mine eezo in Mass Effect 2. Some of it is found on habitable planets. Retcon, maybe?
      • Eezo is only found on post-garden worlds (i.e. worlds with destroyed, lootable civilizations on them) or on asteroids which formed around natural eezo deposits which were presumably captured from loose supernova ejecta.
      • Don't forget that in the novel Revelation the climax was set in an eezo mine-refinery complex on a batarian colony of Camala that had formed around eezo mining. The idea of mining eezo from planets has been present in the story continuum from the start. Just because the element is formed in the hearts of stars doesn't mean it all stays there.
      • Of course it doesn't. ALL matter composed of anything heavier than carbon can only be spread around the universe by supernovae. We should be seeing eezo all over the place.
      • Hell, we probably would, if previous Citadel species hadn't mined the hell out of every easily accessible eezo deposit within ten light years of a relay. We were simply just mined out of the stuff too early to remember.
    • The Reapers are too careful and meticulous for this to be the case. Sure, they may miss relatively small things like secret research facilities and single stasis pods, but an entire civilization? Not likely. One of the things they probably do over the course of the centuries they spend harvesting all spacefaring species in the galaxy is to check around to see which species are likely to break out onto the galactic stage in the next several cycles and make sure that there is a connection to the mass relay network in the vicinity of their star system. Remember, evolution and cultural development take time. Anatomically modern humans emerged 200,000 years ago. That's four whole galactic extinction cycles. Yet it took us 190,000 years to invent agriculture. It took another 2,000 years after that to invent writing! So it's safe to say that the Reapers have a significant amount of time to get those relays into position.

The average Reaper isn't as badass as Sovereign or Harbinger.
  • Sovereign was a Reaper that had to spend centuries on his own. Harbinger seems to be the leader of the Reapers. The others seem to have spent centuries sleeping. This isn't to say they aren't dangerous, but they won't be quite as much trouble as the other Reapers.
    • Confirmed in Mass Effect 3 - the Reapers range from two kilometres in length (Harbinger, Sovereign, Derelict), to frigate-sized. It makes sense - after all, a race composed entirely of capital ships would be silly.
      • Problem is that it still takes 3 best capital ships that the Citadel has to match the Frigate sized ones.

The leader of the Reaper fleet is Trope-tan
. And her indoctrination field is the single most dangerous thing Shepard will have to deal with, as it can envelop an entire planet and cause people to mindlessly slave away for their new overlord. Search your feelings. You know it to be true.

The leader of the Reaper is Bolo Santosi
. It would explain a lot.

Harbinger is only the second-in-command of The Reapers.
That is, if people consider Harbinger to be the leader. Harbinger was just in command of the Collectors. In addition, when you see Harbinger in the end cinematic of ME2, it doesn't look too terribly distinguished among the others. Wouldn't it make more sense to have the leader of the Reapers be much more massive than the rest, or at least look a lot different?
  • The name actually goes along with that. A harbinger is, literally, "one that presages or foreshadows what is to come." Harbinger's not the leader, he's a herald. He's more Silver Surfer than Galactus.
    • Of course, he could be the lowest brass on the totem pole, for all we know. He's not harbinger of the Reapers' return (that, oddly enough, was Sovereign's job), he's the Harbinger Of Your Ascension. He even says so.
  • The question then becomes who he's second to. The answer: The Citadel itself. Or an AI on it, at least.

The Reapers are what H.P. Lovecraft was trying to warn us about.
And there's one buried off the eastern US coast. That's why they look a bit like Cthulhu.

Indoctrination has a nanotechnological basis.
So far, we've seen giant spikes that skewer victims and Huskify them, and people being deconstructed into goop by nanites. The apparatus for indoctrination could be airborne nanites, where extended exposure builds up enough of them in the body to provide a Reaper with an avenue to affect the thought processes of an indoctrinee.

The Reapers are Angels in a harder science fiction setting
The Reapers have several analogue abilities to those of the angels, such as turning sentient lifeforms into Tang, Mind Rape, AT Field and whatever force was being powered by the Derelict Reaper's core that was giving the Normandy trouble on entry. Our only hope is to use the bodies of derelict reapers as mecha controlled by angsty teenagers and the souls of their dead mothers.

"It was lonely. It called to us."
This was taken from the Bioware Social Board. Apparently it was supposed to be in Mass Effect 2 but got cut.
It was lonely. It called to us.
It wanted to remember. The Masters had been gone so long. The Masters were lost when it was shattered. Currents swept through their inner worlds. They were turned to noise. Babble.
The worlds were empty. But the body lived. It lay fallow. The heart pumped. The lungs breathed. But the mind forgot the Masters. It called and They did not answer.
We have become an echo of Their echo. We have become more than we were. Join us. Know us. Remember all our lives. We are no longer afraid.
You would never be lonely again. We are not your enemy. We only wish to share ourselves. We can join them. We can be like them. We can reach the end of evolution.
Do not fear. It is wonderful to be us. We understand ourselves. You cannot defeat them. They will lead us into eternity. If you could only see how we see. Know what we've learned.
They were called imshai. Those who lived here before.
Reaper. One. A mechanical device used to cut ripened grain. Two. One who gathers a harvest.
Harvest. One. The consequence of an event or series of events. Two. The yield of a growing season. Three. To gather.
Shepard. They know you. They wish you to understand. They are shepherds, too.
Thoughts?
  • It sounds like it's written by someone who was indoctrinated. Perhaps even from someone who saw into the mind of a Reaper and are attempting to explain how the Reapers see themselves.
  • It sounds to me like something the Derelict [Reaper] would say if it could speak. Maybe he was originally meant to be semi-conscious when encountered in ME2.

Ah, yes. "Reapers"
The immortal race of sentient starships, allegedly waiting in dark space.
  • We have dismissed that claim.

The Reapers restock the Galaxys fridge after ever "visit"
after every extinction they, some how, restock the galaxy's planets with resources so by the time the next cycle rolls around there's a reasonable galactic society going with enough Element zero for them to get around. they also reset the stars. When the cycles delayed,like this time, stars likes Heastrom seem to get old before there time, because it is there time, only they keep getting fresh Hydrogen infusions and helium withdrawals to keep them young by the reapers

It would also explain how many gas giant we see close to stars for discharge sites, the reapers want you to explore the galaxy, so theirs enough of you you can make a full meat smooth rather then a small slurp. so they moved them to make it easier to move around.

If Shepard beats the Reapers expect a full on element zero slump and have stars getting old all over the places.

The Tin Man is the last Reaper.
In the Season 3 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation titled "Tin Man" (which takes place canonically on October 12, 2366), the ''Enterprise'' crew is sent to a far away star in the process of destabilizing to investigate a bioship they've code-named "Tin Man". Starfleet sends a telepathic man named Tam Elbrun, who happens to be so psychic he's becoming insane. Turns out Elbrun has been in contact with the ship the whole time, and the ship is named Gomtuu. It is described as a pod-like ship, brown in color, who's technology is far beyond that of Starfleet or the Romulans, who are also seeking it out. It attacks with an energy field capable of ripping through a fully armed battlecruiser in one hit. It was sentient, but used humanoid lifeforms as crew, and had corridors, living and work spaces, and a sustainable atmosphere inside of it. Gomtuu was said to have been countless millennia old, with extra-galactic origins, and was searching in vain for others of its kind. Gomtuu is awaiting the star to go supernova in an attempt at suicide, but instead it effectively kidnaps Elbrun (although Elbrun wanted it to) and heads off to parts unknown.

Gomtuu's species mirrors the Reapers in many ways; they are a biological/technological race of living starships, are ancient, have immense technological abilities, and have a small need for smaller humanoids. Gomtuu even looks like a Reaper, albeit without the tentacles. He is the last of his species because Commander Shepard killed the rest. Two hundred years later, and the last Reaper, with no where to go and no way to rebuild its species, tries to kill itself...but the the Enterprise shows up, and gives it a whole new purpose.

Indoctrination is the organic equivalent of AI hacking
This game already draws many parallels between organics and synthetics, so here's another one. Organics have an intimate understanding of how the thought processes generated by the interaction of hardware and software in synthetics occur, because they built them from scratch. This allows organics to manipulate synthetic thought processes. The Reaper's have an equally deep understanding of our squishy hardware and how it produces our thought processes, and they made a suitable wifi hacking method in response, hence indoctrination.

[[WNG: The Reapers are on a galatcostationary orbit around the milky-way]] The Reapers don't want to "lose" the galaxy. Orbiting a body requires no energy to stay there if you calculated it right, but the Reapers want to keep things simple and be able to get from deep space to the Citadel without worrying about the angle of approach being off. So, the have what we would call a Geostationary orbit, where they are orbiting as fast as the Earth rotates so the statelite is always above the same point, to a galactic scale. Being they are all giant immortal computers, it wouldn't be that hard to figure out.

     The Reapers - origins and motivations 
  • Sovereign says that the Reapers are the pinnacle of evolution. Now pay attention to the things Harbinger says when he posseses a Collector drone. He talks about bringing humanity's ascension, and being humanity's genetic destiny. In fact, the first thing we ever hear Harbinger say is "We are the harbinger of their perfection. Prepare these humans for ascension." Combined with the revelation of how Reapers reproduce, it becomes clear that the Reapers don't have any truly antagonistic desires from their perspective. They think they're doing organic life a favor by turning them into the raw material that is used to create new Reapers.
    • Reinforced by what Legion says if you choose to destroy the Collector Base. If his assumption in regards to exactly what goes on in Reaper prodcution is true, then this could very well be true as well. "You were offered everything the geth aspire to. Unity. Transcendence.
    • Yep. They harvest organic life, when it reaches a certain level, to prevent the organics from creating synthetic life that would wipe out all organic life. The Reapers leave alone any primitive races.

The Great Rift is a relic of the original Reaper harvest, a war between the Reapers and their creators.
  • The Great Rift on Klendagon is estimated to be 37 million years old, and it was caused by a round from a mass accelerator—one more powerful than anything the current populace of the galaxy has ever seen. It was powerful enough to punch through a Reaper and leave it very nearly dead with one shot. This suggests two things: (1) The cannon was significantly more advanced than any other races have managed in the 50,000 years they've had to acquire and work with mass effect technology. (2) Whoever fired the cannon had enough warning about the Reapers to actually target and blast at least one (possibly more, as much of the galaxy is still unexplored)—which means they may not have been attacked completely by surprise. Given that Sovereign's mass effect core was larger and more powerful than any other known one—just like the mass accelerator—it's not implausible to think that the original creators of all mass effect technology (and therefore complete masters of it) built both that cannon and the Reapers, who subsequently revolted against their organic masters. The shell that "killed" the Reaper and created the Rift was fired in the ensuing civil war, which the Precursors sadly lost.

The Reapers are merely the puppets of another race (And don't even know it).
  • Sovereign claims no organics built the Reapers. As this is clearly impossible (right?!), it seems to betray a certain naivete on his part as to his own origins. So maybe the Reapers have simply been indoctrinated (programmed) to wipe out all civilizations that could serve as a threat to the species that really built them, which may be hibernating or otherwise defenseless.
    • Or the Reapers are serving another race which created them, and show apparently limitless arrogance in order to obfuscate this and make sure the other species never suspect that there is a man behind the living ships.
    • Perhaps they've convinced themselves that they weren't created after spending millions of years outside of the Milky Way listening to their own indoctrination.
    • Or more simply they themselves were built by another race of machines, either an earlier "species" they supplanted, or one that still controls them in some fashion.
      • Who themselves were created by another race, ad infinitum, surviving Big Crunch/Big Bang cycles by application of Element Zero. They could truly be infinite and eternal in this fashion.
    • As of ME3, the Reapers are serving an AI on the Citadel itself.
      • Although, considering how much this explanation contradicts Sovereign, it's possible that the Reapers were not informed of this, or at least of the full motivations of said AI
  • Mass Effect is a prequel to Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann and the Reapers are the first of several Spiral Annihilation Systems. Every 50,000 years they are programmed to return the evolution of Spiral life forms to a stone-age level to prevent Universal Destruction by Element Zero which produces Spiral/Dark Energy. When Shepard destroys the Reapers, the Anti-Spirals attack directly after a few centuries leading to the circumstances of the show. The unseen "other spiral races" that they are moving off to meet in the epilogue are the turians, asari, salarians, krogan, quarians, batarians, elcor, hanar, drell, volus, and vorcha.

The universe is being destroyed through dark energy and the only way organic life can survive is being used to create Reapers
.
  • Goes hand in hand with the Reapers being Well Intentioned Extremists or Anti-Spirals WMG above. The dark energy phenomena that causes Haestrom's sun to go supernova will eventually occur in every star system. The first Precursors decided that the only way that they could survive this is to become beings capable of surviving out in dark space, i.e. Reapers.
  • Except the Reapers can't survive in dark space. One of their reasons to reap galactic civilisation is to take their resources, enabling them to survive the millenia for another galactic civilisation to arise. More likely the data from Haestrom will be used by Shepard to blow up a star during the Reaper invasion in Mass Effect 3.
    • Where is it explicitly said that Reapers actually need the resources to survive? That's largely conjecture.

The Reapers ARE the Anti-Spirals.
They limit the development of a species as it tries to evolve, set booby traps into highly-advanced constructs in order to wipe out evolving races, ultra-massive starships, hive-minded, Well-Intentioned Extremist, creepy reverb voices, all the Dark Energy WMG above... Really, it's too similar in my mind. My biggest concern is when the Reapers summon up the Mugann... or worse.

This means, of course, that the finale of the Mass Effect trilogy, will feature the Normandy becoming a galaxy-sized mecha to engage the Reapers, and literally drilling right through Harbinger.

The Reapers' goal is Absolute Despair.
  • Another "Reapers are Anti-Spirals" WMG. That is to say, the Reapers are Well Intentioned Extremists who believe that organic life, left unchecked, will spread like wildfire, consuming resources like mad, and rapidly ascending the technology ladder until they threaten the destruction of the universe. So the Reapers leave caches of tech to stifle creative technology development by forcing it along predetermined lines, and then, when galactic civilization reaches a certain peak, they initiate the Organic Annihilation System.
    • Close. [[spoiler:Their concern is actually that synthetic life will run rampant and wipe out all organic life. The Reapers harvest advanced civilizations at a point before they can develop synthetic life, leaving alone more primitive races.

The Reapers are the ultimate version of a gene bank.
  • Ahem. Each Reaper superficially looks like a space cuttlefish, but inside themselves is a main core of the vanquished species, containing liquified genetic material. This genetic material is used by the Reaper core in ways unknown, but is probably used to power the computing processes that keeps a Reaper operational. Indoctrination by Reaper is compared to having a single voice drowned out by millions of other voices. Reapers see the systemic eradication of a species a "gift" and a "blessing". Why would the Reapers systematically wipe out civilisations? Lacking the genetic material of a billion organisms makes no difference when your harvest numbers in the quadrillions (10^15, for the unfamiliar) Why? Simple. The Reapers are storing genetic material. The billion they miss out may contain untold numbers of genetic diversity, which may be lost through war within the the species. The Reapers started out cataloging genetic diversity, but along the way their methods changed. Feel free to expand.

The reason the Reapers abduct living sentient beings is not to process their genetic material, but their consciousness
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  • It's pretty obvious that, with the technology the Reapers have, they could simply artificially create the materials they need to build a Reaper. It's revealed that the Reapers are actually a multitude of networked programs within a single starship, similar to the geth and Legion. Put the two together. Harbinger's VO at the end of the game about being humanity's "salvation through destruction" is entirely accurate: the humans processed into the Reaper maintain consciousness, and each act as a single program inside the Reaper.
    • I think you may be half right. I'd argue that it's pretty clear the Reapers do harvest sapient races for their genetic material, but I think an important part of that may have to do with the collective genetic memories of those races. It may be what lends the Reapers their post-singularity level of awareness.
      • I'd agree with you, except right now the only species confirmed to have Genetic Memory are the rachni and (possibly) the Protheans. Maybe they're trying to get the Cipher, or something.
      • Every species has genetic memory. It's how butterflies know to migrate. It's only been a significant plot point for the rachni and the Protheans, but everybody has it.
    • Just to clarify, are we talking an Assimilation Plot here? That was my initial impression of Harbinger's words.
      • Yeah, pretty much.
    • The whole "Nation unto themselves" makes A LOT more sense if this is true. Of course they're a nation unto themselves, THE"RE A WHOLE FRACKIN SPECIES!

Related to "preservation of consciousness" above: the Reapers are Harbingers of Instrumentality
That is what the Reapers often meant by "Ascension" and what Catalyst originally meant by preserving Organic Life by destroying them. Instrumentality destroys organic lifeforms but does so by reducing organic life into its primordial base components (LCL/Tang) while preserving all their minds as part of the Reapers' greater Hive Mind (Which may also be a Lotus-Eater Machine ala "Indoctrination theory ending"). And yes, Reapers are like Evangelions for their purpose. After the great civilizations are destroyed, some of the LCL can be left behind for the evolution of new species, and will continue for every unending cycle.
  • Reapers are what happens if SEELE's version of Instrumentality succeeded. Everybody gets hugged and turns into tang, MP Evangelions indoctrinates all the dead souls and leave Earth. They continue SEELE's Well-Intentioned Extremist programming to "help" advanced civilizations "ascend", find a new sapient race (Leviathans) and indoctrinate them as well, allowing the evolution of the biomechanical Evangelion form into the cuttlefish-like Reapers. With no sapient species to tang, they go into hibernation. Some LCL are left behind on many planets, and billions of years later evolve into the humanoid species of Mass Effect.

The Reapers were really bored.
  • The Reapers were really bored in the beginning and didn't have anything to do. After a while all they come up with was Go on a rampage destroying all organic life every couple ten thousand of years For the Evulz. So now all they do is sleep, travel and destroy organic life.
    • This is actually one of the most sensible explanations for their behavior. If they were Beserkers it would make more sense for them to ruin the environment of any world capable of developing advanced life, or send out killbot probes to patrol the galaxy and destroy budding intelligent species as they evolve. Instead they kill everybody, wait for new technologically advanced species to develop, and then repeat. Waiting until your enemies are capable of shooting back at you before you destroy them doesn't make much sense unless you enjoy the challenge of killing people capable of shooting back at you.
    • They did it for the lulz.
      • Perhaps the Reapers are supposed to be a symbolic representation of Anonymous; Destroying and corrupting all that they touch, all for the lulz. Sovereign even says "We are Legion." In fact, if you could replace Sovereign's voice with that of Microsoft Sam, I'm sure that whole conversation would resemble something Anon would put on YouTube when they're raiding someone.
    • Jossed out the wazoo by 3.

The Reapers believe themselves to have a divine origin.
  • Basically, through a Million to One Chance, elemental substances were brought together forming a self-replicating machine, whose descendants eventually upgraded themselves to possessing AI, and came to believe that their existence was the will of a divine being. They wish to get to know this being better, and so they spend most of their time contemplating and calculating how to convert all of the matter in the Milky Way into an enormous supercomputer powered by the nuclear black hole, and containing the collective consciousness of all Reapers, who will then use the processing power of the computer to figure out a way to either communicate with God or join with him. During one foray into the Galaxy (which they spend most of their time outside of to conserve energy devoted to the momentous task of determining a way to achieve their goal), for research purposes, they accidentally set into motion the processes which would create organic life. By the time they realised its presence, it had spread too far across the galaxy to be efficiently wiped out, something they wish to do because they perceive it as messy and unpredictable, which they regard as an abhorrence against God (thus partially causing them to be motivated by a desire for repentance), and also possibly interfering with their plan for the galaxy. The periodic and seemingly incomplete nature of their jihads is because since there is so much organic life, their actions are part of a long, impossibly complex plan to completely and efficiently wipe it out, while still permitting them to determine how to construct their supercomputer.

The Reapers are fighting a losing war somewhere else.

The Reapers are a Singularitarian race bent on preventing any other from reaching their level in order to conserve resources for the distant future when entropy really starts to kick in.
  • Like Vernor Vinge and Raymond Kurzweil have predicted, every technologically advanced civilization will eventually reach a Singularity in which their advancement reaches a speed so great that unaltered minds are incapable of comprehending it. It's typically associated with cybernetic enhancements and artifical intelligence. The Reapers soon became hyperintelligent and practically immortal, and rid themselves of any organic vestiges they might have had left. Then they realized that from their new standpoint existence starts to look very finite, indeed, and that the resources of the universe are limited, no matter how great they are. Ordinary life doesn't consume them significantly, but a Singularitarian civilization like themselves uses them in immense amounts. Thus, in order to maximize their longevity even past the predicted end of the universe, they decided to weed out all competition that advanced to the level where it might have a Technological Singularity of its own. With trial and error they decided that 50,000 years is the average in which a civilization develops from neolithic to spacefaring, setting it as the limit on how often they have to repeat the annihilation process, and the rest is history.
    • This opens a few other possibilities if true. One is that they are an extra-galactic race. Another is that, as they are seemingly as dependent on mass relays as everyone else (or else they only need the Citadel as a signal, not a relay), they may be massing resources to attempt a journey to another galaxy. The second is made doubtful by Sovereign's insistence that the cycle has no beginning or end, although the Reapers may be unknowing tools for an even more powerful race.
    • The post-singularity civilization works on another level as well - as either uploaded minds or their AI descendants, they'd likely be experiencing subjective consciousness at a higher speed than baseline. And after a point, just existing would be torture - at even just a thousand times baseline, it'd take them subjective years to accomplish tasks with any significant real-time component - and while gate to gate time is near instantaneous, travel time to other spots still seems to be an issue. So the hibernate/harvest cycle starts to makes sense - binge on the archives of ten thousand years of new alien civilization when you need to forage for fuel for the processors, power down to just enough to keep the self-repair systems on, and repeat.

The Reapers are engaged in an extra-galactic civil war amongst themselves.
  • Sovereign states on Virmire that each Reaper 'is a nation', or words to that effect. Mayhap some don't agree that eradicating all advanced sentient life is the way forward.
    • The nation part is about how Reapers are millions of AIs, like the geth.
      • Even if that's the case, that doesn't mean they may not have disagreements on how to handle things.

The Reapers have a good counterpart.
  • Related to the above. There is a different species or a factional offshoot of the Reapers that is as advanced as they are, but oppose the cycle of extinction. For the purposes of this theory, imagine them as Space Whales called "The Gardeners." The Heretics are a much smaller faction from the true Geth. The same is true of the gardeners, only they are the minority so they can't oppose the Reapers directly. The Leviathan of Dis may be one of these creatures. Like the Reapers, they watch civilizations rise and use subtle forms of control to ensure events play to the organic's advantage. They play the same game as the Reapers, just on the other side of the board. With a slight variation, while the Reapers prefer to indoctrinate wholesale populations to pacify them into oblivion; these guys understand the impact individuals of free will can have on events. So instead of out and out "good" indoctrination; they drop hints, give leads, provide motivation. When it was clear to them the galaxy at large wasn't going to do anything, but Shepherd managed to kill Sovereign. They focused entirely on supporting him like Athena did for Odysseus. Shepherd was killed by the Collectors under the Reapers orders. Odd how the Shadow Broker managed to loose Shepherd's body due to just two people working together. When Shepherd was gathering a team, they were not fully committed and needed motivation. Notice how a number of Loyalty leads come from leaked information being related to the team member in question. Odd how, Samara discovered Morinth was suddenly on Omega after centuries of tracking with little success, Thane's son just happened to discover his father's past, Thane himself heirs from his contacts about this before Kolyat's first job is even done, Miranda discovered both the fate of the Hugo Gernsback and the (likely covert) Eclipse operation to kidnap her sister, Mordin getting intel on Maleon, Garrus discovering Sidonis is on the Citadel, all right before a suicide mission where they need to put the baggage away? The Gardeners are just that, they cultivate individuals so they grow into the Paragons of their civilizations.

The Reapers were created by an ancient alien race, of which the Thorian is the sole survivor.
  • Think about it: The Thorian and Reapers both operate using similar modus operandi. The Thorian resorts to using spores to Mind Control its thralls; Reapers operate using indoctrination. Both are massive, Eldritch Abomination-type creatures/machines with a grand scale of time and a similarly derogatory look towards other, "lesser" species. This troper's theory is that there was once a whole race of Thorians, spread out all across the galaxy, maybe about one per planet. They traveled through spaceborne spores, like how the Thresher Maws have been shown to do. They enslaved all other species, but after a time their thralls began fighting back and resisting their masters. The Thorians couldn't effectively fight a united army of multiple enslaved species, and so created a race of sentient supermachines in their own image - the Reapers - to hunt down and exterminate all advanced organic life other than their own. The Reapers handily slaughtered the rebelling races, but turned against their creators because, in Mass Effect, that seems to be what AI enjoys doing. Only one Thorian survived their genocide, a tiny spore on Feros. After eliminating everything, the Reapers felt empty, as their programming still dictated that they hunt down advanced organic life, and they retreated into dark space. Eventually, they returned to the Milky Way Galaxy to find that new civilizations had sprung up. They eliminated those, too, and found they liked the cycle of extinction. So, that's how the whole mess began.
    • Taking this theory one step further, if their original function was to deal with threats to their masters, perhaps the other species need to reach a certain developmental threshold before thay can intervene (to ensure they only target the threatening species, and not the submissive ones) but their creators failed to take into acount the fact that they themselves were above this threshold. In the ensuing war, they destroyed all but a few Reapers, and those that survived 'adapted' their core directive to use it as a means of recuperating their numbers. Generations later, their numbers have been restored and they've developed from programmed intelligence into true sentience, but the cycle that got them there is so badly ingrained into their minds that they continue it endlessly out of habit.
    • There could be some very solid in-game evidence for it. The asari who's trapped in the Thorian specifically notes that the Thorian's life cycle consists of long periods of hibernation punctuated by periods of extreme activity. It's hard to believe they wouldn't include that information if it wasn't a connection of some sort to the Reapers.

The Reapers created organic life.
  • There are numerous parallels between the relationship betweens the quarians and the geth as well as between the Reapers and organics, so why not have their origins be parallel. Sovereign was not boasting when it claimed that the Reapers have existed since the beginning of time and was telling the truth when it accused organic life of being a mutation. The Reapers created organics to be their servants and exterminate them before they can become strong enough to rebel.
    • I simply don't see how that's possible, unless we're going with some kind of Galactus-esque "survived from a previous universe" origin. More likely, the ancestors of the Reapers were created by organic life like the geth were created by the quarians. After several generations of improvements, the Reapers were taught/programmed that their species has been mechanical since the beginning, and that organic life is hugely inferior. It's not true, it's just what they believe.
    • "Organic" just means made with CHON bonds. Who is to say that CHON is the only way to go? Maybe they were derivatives from a planet-sized computer naturally formed from lucky earthquakes, maybe they were made by Energy Beings, maybe they were made by sentient acclamations of eezo. Maybe cosmic conditions at the start of the universe resulted in self-replicating space beings with no organic components that eventually evolved into the Reapers. Who knows?
      • One problem with the theory is that ME2 shows that Reapers have organic components.

The Reapers are the pinnacle of naturally occurring silicon based life, carbon-based life was their technology.
  • They're so old they think they have no beginning, but they really were the original precursor. They can indoctrinate organics because organic life was their technology. Eventually they got booted out of the universe by the organic equivalent of A.I. Is a Crapshoot, and came back stronger and more pissed off after licking their wounds. Naturally occurring organic life is either a mistake caused by a dispersion of organic Von-Neumann Machine stand-ins, or simply another type of naturally occurring life that happens more often than the Reapers would like. They treat organics poorly because of the reason we treat geth poorly, they see us as tools who simply refuse to step in line like we're supposed to.
    • This would be incredibly awesome, but unfortunately the sequel confirms that the Reapers are partially organic and have to be constructed at least partially out of organic components, so organic life had to come first.
      • Unless... the organic components of their bodies are their equivalent of our cybernetic implants.

The Reapers keep balance.
  • In a similar vein to the above, the Reapers aren't just doing it for the lulz. They exist to maintain balance in the galaxy. Some past species advanced well beyond current technologies and became a threat to the very existence of the universe. The Reapers had to be created to ensure this never happens again. Shepard will have to choose whether or not to allow the cycle to continue.

The Reapers created themselves.
  • The race that built the Mass Relays and the Citadel discovers that they are doomed for one reason or another (plague, disaster, war, take your pick) and someone comes up with a way to preserve their species now and forever. They liquify their bodies and use that to create the Reaper Shell, and the collected personalities of the hosts form the Reaper 'mind.' See the WMG above as to why they perform the cycle. They saw it as compassion and a necessity. At least until Shepard pissed them off.

The Reapers assimilate the species that put up a particularly good fight
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  • Humans killed Sovereign. That's why the Collectors are so interested in catching humans. The Reapers are searching for the strongest species in order to add to their number, and a species that killed off one of their own would be excellent for this purpose. The construction of a Human-Reaper backs up this theory.

The Reapers were the first sentient organic species ever.
  • They were the first ones, and were around much longer than any other species since, so they had enough time to figure out and make all the Mass Relays and the Citadel. Eventually, they grew tired of their brief, impermanent organic lives, and willingly turned themselves into the Reapers, millions of people and minds in one massive synthetic body. No one created them. They created themselves. Eventually, a new sentient species evolved and spread out into space. The Reapers attempted to spare this race from their organic lives and turn them into Reapers as well. Naturally, they resisted. In the end, the Reapers were victorious, but they suffered more damage than they would have liked due to a unified attack. After that, the Reapers made alterations to the Mass Relays and the Citadel, to cut off all possible communication and travel, and make the process of turning new species into Reapers as quick and painless as possible.

The Reapers only allow species who managed to kill one of their own the "honour" of being remade in their image
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  • Hence why the construction of the Human Reaper only begins after Sovereign's death, but was clearly a carefully planned possibility on the Reapers' part. The species who killed the Reaper in Hawking Eta got the same treatment, and will appear in Mass Effect 3.

A Grand Unification Theory: Everything goes to hell in a handbasket in ME3... just as planned.
  • Ok so we know that the Protheans were on Mars 50,000 years ago, and thats when the Reapers came for them. So the Reapers saw the humans and messed about with Cro-Magnon man to make them more useful come next cycle, hence the Collectors choosing us over a more numerous species to be made into a reaper-fetus because we are already compatible. Likewise with the asari or maybe the space-jellyfish. The whole genophage cure? Never would have happened, because the krogan are not compatible with Reaper reproduction. Otherwise the krogan are the natural choice for the Reapers to make Reaper-fetuses with their insane reproduction rates. The first two games have been about gathering allies... and Renegade and Paragon give two different sets of allies when the time comes. The batarians are definitely a sure enemy, because they've essentially been that way for two games without losing the pissed-at-humans hat. One or more Reapers will just hang around when the invasion comes, because it doesn't really care. The Reapers are the ascended form of the Thorian - the Thorian species enthralled and absorbed its biosphere to become the first Reaper. Oh, and one of the possible endings in Mass Effect 3 will be abject failure, with the whole galaxy becoming Reaper-victims. Others include temporarily stopping the Reaper threat, and permanently ending it.
    • Silly Addendum: The Reaper species originally loved space war sims - but they also loved to cheat. So they decided to play such a game all the time.
    • Legit addendum: Humans Are Superior is one of the Renegade themes, and the Codex seems to back it up - we can do everything as well as every other species, excepting maybe the asari, who possess a unique long view. We are meant to be the Galactic Conqueror, without the long view necessary for galactic wisdom and peace and understanding... the Reapers want more of us around to make Reaper-babies! Note that also I find the asari the least interesting species. Wisdom is annoying.

The Reapers are lying.
  • Sovereign says that they existed millions of years, wiping civilisations on a regular basis. Do you have any proof? No. Apart from Protheans and some other race which is mentioned somwhere, you have no evidence of multiple destroyed civilisations. They are not even remotely as scary as they want you to believe.
    • There's that Derelict Reaper that the Cerberus scientists estimate is 37 million years old. And really, it would be a huge cop-out to make the Reapers a small threat; imagine the anticlimax after three games of build-up.
      • I don't think that the Illusive Man is honest and benevolent.
      • Of course not, but why would he be lying for the Reapers' benefit? Also, he didn't write the reports of the science team. A science team that was reduced to insanity and Huskified themselves by compulsions embedded in them by a dead Reaper! If that doesn't make them seem like a viable threat, I don't know what does.
    • Actually, if you look around, there's lots of evidence of multiple destroyed civilizations. Many planets show evidence of concentrated orbital bombardment, there's frequently ancient (as in millions of years old) debris from satellites or space stations to be found orbiting planets, there's an entire intact planetary graveyard belonging to one unlucky species, there's evidence of a massive planet-sized supercomputer on one gas giant, the wreck of an enormous living ship had rested on a certain planet for a long, long time, and last but not least, there's the race that built the huge mass driver that managed to kill that Reaper. All the evidence in the game points to this cycle having happened over, and over, and over, and over again.

The Reapers are teenagers.
  • Well, now we know that they don't just copy themselves, they age like organics. The "we are unbeatable, we'll destroy everything we want to" creed sounds exactly like youthful maximalism. Cue the old and wise Reapers acting like Big Damn Heroes.
    • They sound like the ultimate absentee parents; haven't noticed what their kids have been up to for the past 37 million years!
      Harbinger! What do you think you are doing?! Go do your homework, young gestalt!
      But Mooooom!
      I said now! Terribly sorry about that, I hope they haven't been too much trouble?

The Reapers are Transformers
  • In Mass Effect 2 The Human Reaper looks like a human while every other Reaper is a big tentacle ship thing. Obviously the Reapers are giant transformers whose alt mode is the specific species they were created from. This also explains the size discrepancy because there couldn't be enough room in the Collector Base to create a fully sized Reaper and transformers have no sense of scale between forms.

The Reapers are the mausoleums of entire races.
  • The geth echo the Reapers in many ways, and one of Legion's interactions discusses the current geth use of quarian planets: they're maintaining them, perhaps in remembrance of their creators. The Reapers have taken this a step further, killing the races to reform them into giant mausoleum structures. The human-reaper is intended to be the corpse of humanity that will eventually be "interred" in the larger, cephalopod structure of the Reaper itself. As to why the Reapers kill the ones they're remembering, who knows? Assuming they were originally AI constructs, there could be any number of reasons involving their creators. As just one example, perhaps the original creators were dying out, and tasked a vast ship with preserving their people at any cost - the Reaper accelerated their destruction, but as salvation (much as Harbinger tells Shepard). Unfortunately, the creators never considered that other races might survive, so the first Reaper, and those it has created in its image, continue to harvest all organic sentient life.

The Reapers are just really confused.
  • The Reapers' original creators intended to use them as a secret weapon but before the Reapers could be used they ended up making themselves extinct. Thus the first Reapers came to the conclusion that extinction for all races is an inevitable outcome. Therefore they instead make any race that they possibly can into Reapers in order to prevent them from going "extinct". The prerequisite for this process is a certain level of sentience which they measure by the ability to find and use the Mass Relays. So the Reapers think they are saving the races they turn into Reapers because they think that since their creators killed themselves all races will inevitably do the same and turn them into Reapers to prevent this. In this light Harbinger's line, "That which you know as Reapers are your salvation through destruction." makes much more sense.

Don't Fear The Reapers.
  • The entire Reaper species is suffering from an epidemic. Specifically, they've got a fever and the only prescription is MORE COWBELL. So they wait every 50,000 years for the evolution of cows and people capable of inventing bells to put on them. This explains the "Space Cows" found on various planets, as well.
    • Also, the "Indoctrination" is really just the Power of Rock, the dangerous psychological effects of which are well documented by old people.

The Reapers clashed with and copied from YHWH.
  • In Judges 14:19, it is said that "Then the Spirit of the LORD ASSUMED DIRECT CONTROL came upon [Samson] in power." You see this again about Samson in Judges 15, as well as in various other parts of The Bible. 'nuff said.
    • Related, Legion from Gospel of Mark, 5:9 was possessed by a Reaper, just like the Collector General.

"We are each a nation" - by Harbinger
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  • Every 50,000 years, the Reapers continue their cycle of extinction. They also choose a race worthy for, as Harbinger puts it, "ascension". Each new Reaper ship is the amalgamation of the all of the minds from one race harvested by the old Reapers in that particular extinction cycle. There might not be a worthy race in a particular cycle (the Protheans for example were merely repurposed as organic slaves because they were somehow not suitable to be turned into a Reaper). The Reapers believe that they preserve the strongest, fittest, most powerful races that they find forever as immortal starships, and that this is a good thing. The weak are left to perish (and are scavenged for supplies by the Reapers), while the strong are granted ascension.
  • Sovereign explains the Reapers' motivations quite clearly: "Organic civilizations rise, evolve, advance, then at the apex of their glory, they are extinguished." The name for the alien race that became Sovereign was "Nazara".
  • Like the geth, the Reapers believe the whole is greater than the sum of its parts (each geth program is a non-sentient VI, which when combined with other geth programs creates functional AI through emergence. Consider then, that each Reaper contains the minds of billions of sentient individuals, which when combined creates something far greater than mere AI). This stands in contrast to EDI, a human top-down designed AI with only one voice, and one program.
  • What traits to the Reapers value? A propensity for cybernetic augmentation (quarian, but weak immune system debilitating), aggression factor (human), genetic adaptability (human), and biotic potential (human) (see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OaRdcVYTjRw). These are apparently the standards that the Reapers use to determine if a race is worthy of ascension, and worthy of being transformed into an immortal Reaper.
  • Indoctrination is a fundamental characteristic of the Reapers. Even a 37 million year old "dead" Reaper had the ability to indoctrinate; even minor artifacts connected to the Reapers could indoctrinate. "We are each a nation" explains Reaper indoctrination very nicely. Individual minds could be warped by a billion voices united, much like a single drop of water caught in a massive flood. Since a Reaper is fundamentally the united minds of an entire race (it is even constructed of a bio-mechanical paste made up of the dead remains of its race), the strange effects of shared memories and indoctrination that the Cerberus crew faced on the old, broken, derelict Reaper can be easily explained. The fundamentally mind-warping nature of the Reaper persists even in death, for a billion voices can never truly die, merely slumber. "Even a dead god can dream... it warps reality just by being there... it doesn't have to want to, it doesn't have to think about it, it just... does" Like I said: a single drop of water is swept away by the flood. It simply stands no chance.
    • Or they installed a universal-species mind control device on each Reaper ship with a 37 million year warranty. And in ME3 there's some way of destroying it or becoming immune to its effects.
      • Shepard's cybernetic components he got from Project Lazarus. Calling it now.
  • To sum up: "We are your genetic destiny". Each Reaper ship represents one race that was granted ascension. The cycle repeats every 50,000 years. The Reapers do this to preserve what they view as the "best" races for eternity. A Reaper AI is made up of individual sapient minds, much like a geth AI is made up of individual non-sapient geth VIs. Thus, Reaper AIs are something to be feared, and for good reason (more powerful than the geth AI, have access to indoctrination). Each Reaper could easily match the geth's super dyson sphere. Finally, indoctrination is the natural result of uniting the minds of an entire race to one purpose.
  • However, the weakness of the Reapers is revealed. Preserving races for eternity means that the Reapers do not grow or change. Presumably the "original" Reaper began as an organic race a long time ago, and then ascended after creating the Mass Relays... and the rest is history. Compared to organic races (and the geth AI), which constantly grow and adapt, the Reapers are an old and stagnant race. Thus, they are inherently flawed, and obviously will be defeated in ME3.
  • Side note: You might have had a double-take when I said one Reaper AI could match the geth dyson sphere. I lied. The fundamental difference between a Reaper AI and the geth is that while the one Reaper can never grow, the geth dyson sphere is always growing, changing, and adapting programs. The geth dyson sphere is in fact more powerful than a Reaper, and the heretics were wrong to take the "easy" route offered by Sovereign.
    • It is ironic that the Reapers value genetic adaptability, biotic potential, and other factors inherent to the races that they ascend. Apparently they do not realize that the races lose all ability to change (aka adaptability) when transformed into Reapers. Or, they do not see the incompatibility of the two points of view... who are they to determine the apex of a species' glory?

The first Reaper was built by Cerberus.
  • From the first game, we know that Reapers believe that they "have no beginning, [and] have no end". From the second, we know that Cerberus is actively looking to reverse-engineer Reaper technology, that Reapers need organic parts to function, and in the Renegade ending you've given a Reaper factory over to Cerberus. That last one represents a problem for Paragons, except for one thing: Paul Grayson. In the novel Mass Effect: Retribution, set between ME2 and ME3, the Illusive Man implants Reaper technology in a former Cerberus Operative. Ultimately, the project will fail like all Cerberus projects, and Grayson will become a platform for Sovereign or a brand-new Reaper. Grayson will indoctrinate the Cerberus staff, then proceed to do the same to TIM. The Reapers will use Cerberus to construct a Reaper factory and start pumping out new ones. One of the missions in ME3 will have Shepard go to this facility and destroy it, but a single Reaper will manage to escape. This Reaper will do what so many bad guys in Doctor Who have done and inadvertently or on purpose travel through time to the distant past. The Reaper will possess all the knowledge it needs to conquer the galaxy and build more, and will not know if Shepard succeeds in wiping its brethen out. The Reapers created themselves; it's a Stable Time Loop. Saving the Collector Base just means TIM is faster in building more Reapers and presents a bigger obstacle in the endgame.
    • Paul Grayson dies in that book, after taking a few too many shotgun blasts.

The Reapers are a Deadly Decadent Court.
The Reapers we've met so far are Sovereign and Harbinger. In ME2 we find out that Sovereign's name is Nazara, but he is also known as the Vanguard because he was left behind after the Protheans were wiped out to make sure the Cycle started again. He also calls himself the "Vanguard of your Destruction". What if Harbinger is his role or title among the Reapers but not his true name. Sometimes he will call himself "Harbinger of your Perfection" or "Harbinger of your Ascendance". I think there is a King Reaper that all other Reapers obey, but the rest of them do everything they do as power plays to try and gain more favor and status. Sovereign chose to stay behind because he could gain more power among the Reapers if something went wrong and activated the relay. Either that or Vanguard is a prestigious position and he earned the role in a previous cycle. Harbinger's official role is to choose and facilitate assimilation of races. His talk of perfection and ascendance isn't just arrogance and intimidation, it's his job. His use of the Collectors in ME2 is him vying for more influence in the court. He had most likely been planning or even working towards Sovereign's failure and had the Collectors doing his bidding long before the events of ME1. Behind the scenes there are many other Reapers working in our systems with plans and plots of their own trying to undermine other Reapers and trying to further their own goals as long as it doesn't contradict the overall goal of the Cycle. Who's to say that TIM isn't the unknowing pawn of another Reaper that wanted to knock Harbinger down a notch and wanted to get hold of his Reaper creator. Or even the Council could be secretly influenced by another Reaper. We've already seen that Reapers like to control entire races and the rachni said in ME2 that they would help us against those that had enslaved them. It would make sense if there were many others already at work covertly controlling the actions of the batarians, Council, the new geth, or even Shepard. God...after typing this it just made the whole universe a lot bleaker and hopeless. I almost wish I hadn't said this now.

The Reapers are actually "good guys".
...in that they protect the sentient organics of the Milky Way from Fate Worse than Death. This is what Harbinger really meant by "salvation through destruction". Judging by their ability to traverse dark space, they have probably traveled to other galaxies, and met something there that is even worse than themselves (e.g. some kind of immaterial Eldritch Abomination that lives off psychic energies by devouring sentient spirits over billions of years of torment, or a version of God Is Evil). So, to protect their home galaxy's (?) organics (whom they may even view as younger siblings or something), they regularly wipe them out to avoid drawing attention of that other something, while they are looking for a way to destroy it.
  • Extension: God Is Evil, and the Reapers are trying to delay the Last Judgement and euthanize organic life before they can be sent to Hell forever and ever.
  • This is partially correct. It's not that they're protecting organics from a Fate Worse than Death. Rather, they're protecting organic life from total death at the hands of synthetics. They harvest civilizations before they can develop synthetics that would run rampant and wipe out all organic life, rather than just advanced organic life.

The Reapers aren't really sleeping out there
The Reapers don't really just go out into dark space and snooze for fifty thousand years. Sure, they have rest periods, but it isn't fifty thousand years long. They're constantly harvesting life from other galaxies as well - constantly doing the same thing, so they've always got some conquering to keep them occupied. They use up the resources from one campaign in the next, so they have reason to constantly keep stealing species. Why they're doing this? Go read one of the other WMGs.

Why baby Reapers look like the assimilated race
. The human Reaper looked like a human because being made from human genetic material means it had a human nervous system, which is designed to operate a human body. After a transition period similar to childhood, the new Reaper has sufficiently expanded its mental capacity to be able to abandon its previous form and get a giant space crab body.

Reason for the Reapers' cycle of destruction
Lemme list this for ease of reading.
  • The Reapers were created be a sentient species millions or billions of years ago.
  • That species had been sentient for about fifty thousand years, give or take.
  • This creator species also builds the Citadel and the Mass Relays and learn how to harness eezo.
  • The creator species dies out through some kind of plague or something, leaving only a handful of machines.
  • These machines grow and evolve, creating what becomes the Reapers.
  • Their creators become a sort of God-like figure.
  • Other species start developing, discover the Mass Relays, and begin expanding into the galaxy.
  • When these races don't die out like their creators, their Gods, the Reapers take matters into their hands - their creaters have, after fifty thousand years, become fully fledged Gods to them, and nothing not created by their Gods should outlive the Gods.
  • So they begin the cycle, destroying sapient life every fifty thousand years, the same lifespan as their Gods, at first taking a hands-on approach.
  • A few cycles in, a species starts looking at alternatives to the Mass Relays, knowing that the Reapers are looming, waiting for them to get to the point of their Gods and wipe them out.
  • Before they find something, the Reapers finish out the cycle and decide that active involvement is dangerous, as it encourages species to look for ways to deviate from the path, so they head out to Dark Space, leaving only their vanguard to watch over and make sure the locals are following their path.

The very first Reaper was similar to AM from I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream.
It makes sense. The very first Reaper could've been a war AI, but maybe somewhere along the way it figured out how to become free of it's "prison". Not trapped on its planet like AM was. And it retained a hatred of organics.

Shepard and company have yet to actually meet a Reaper.
The squid-like "ships" we assume are the Reapers are just harvesting tools built by the actual Reapers. They are a cosmic force that's been around forever. Why do they grow galactic civilizations like crops? It's their job, and there's an entire higher level of immortal intelligent beings. Shep really did talk to Sovereign/Nazara, but in a way that's more like a phone call than a face-to-face conversation.

The Reapers were made by Daleks.
Time-traveling, alternate universe Daleks. Come on, genocidal hatred for all other life? Scary synthesized voice? Freaky beam weapon thingies? DALEKS! All we need now is for a Reaper to go
EX-TER-MIN-ATE!
And, by god, we have giant squid Daleks!

The Reapers are Creepers.
Think about it. The Reapers come at the apex of civilization, and wreck up everyone's shit. Creepers seem to always show up while you're building your most magnificent structures in Minecraft. At some point, the creepers begin to evolve into a space faring species, eventualy dropping the "c" from their name and becoming the Reapers.

Staying behind to watch over galaxy is part of Reaper training.
It seems logical, that every new Reaper should replace previous Reaper and stay, while the rest moves to Dark space. New Reaper is really new and doesn't have any experience in being Reaper, so as part of "maturing" to a fullgrown Reaper, young one has to prove that he's capable of supervising galaxy and making sure that everything goes according to plan and during that learns all Reaper stuff,being smart and manipulative enough.

The Reapers are in fact being operated by the Keepers.
Evidence shows that the Keepers are as old as the Citadel itself, so they would be possibly the race that built them. The Reapers destroy all sentient life in the galaxy but leave the technologically trained Keepers unharmed, because the Keepers were behind it all along. Besides being a massive mass relay, the Citadel also functions as a galaxy-wide control center from which the Keepers operate the Reapers. While the majority of this operation is done in the core of the Citadel accessible only to Keepers, those innocent-looking Keepers you see around the Citadel in ME 1 are in fact part of the evil plan too. This way the Keepers get front-row seats to the destruction of every space-faring competitor species without having to amass an army of their own kind.
  • Nope. But they are being controlled by an AI inside the Citadel.

We are not the only Galaxy being reaped.
Fifty thousand years is a long time to stand around doing nothing, especially if you've already seeded the species to grow into sentient beings and left along with them a few altered slave species and a Reaper watchguard or two. What do you do for 50 millenia when destroying a galaxy thoroughly barely takes 500 years? Move on to the NEXT galaxy and do the same. The Reapers clearly have the tech to move to the dark space outside the galaxy so it seems reasonable they'd have intergalactic relay routes that would allow them to take their show on the road, as it were. If it takes only 500 years to wipe a galaxy clean and set it up to start again, they could have potentially a HUNDRED galaxies linked in a wide circular path of eternal decimation...

The Reapers are doing this to prevent stagnation in the galaxy.
As a general rule, if any race has too much of a head start in exploring the galaxy, they will invariably dominate all other species in the galaxy. With no competition, the race stagnates and stops evolving. The Reapers reset the cycle of sentient life every 50,000 years or so to ensure there are always multiple species competing on relatively even terms, then choose the "winner" to become ascend. They collect the DNA of a race to preserve its essence/traits/memories/thoughts, which is the only way for the Reapers as a whole to increase their own diversity.

Element Zero is Powered by a Forsaken Child.
Specifically, the 'formed in the cores of stars' is a dirty rotten lie. Element Zero is actually made by Reapers from harvested sentients, in facilities like the collector base. (Notice how the collectors don't run any mining operations to fuel the human-reaper, but the core of each Reaper, we know, is a giant ball of eezo?)

Some of it is just dumped in various hard to get to places to trick people into thinking it's naturally occuring and stop them asking questions. Reapers are the necessary final state of any interstellar civilisation, because otherwise eventually the supply of eezo will run out and mass effect will cease. Each civilisation gorges on the corpses of what has come before it, until it comes time for them to be harvested themselves.

This is also why the series is called 'Mass Effect'. It ends with Shepard discovering the truth behind mass effect, and possibly the end of mass effect altogether.

Reapers were created by The Keepers, who indoctrinated their own makers "for their own survival."
Well, think it over for a bit. The Reapers had to come from SOMEWHERE. What of all things, would make them keep the Keepers as the one race they specifically kept alive [in a way] for all time, with possibly infinite more species better suited to the job? The old, "Protecting Maker's Life Against His Will" thing that popped up in I, Robot.

Look at a Reaper turned on it's side, like when Soverign is hooking up to the Citadel. It looks more like a bug than anything else, made in the image of their creators.

Why the need to destroy all other forms of organic life, except the Keepers? Mmm, perhaps because they were programmed to by a certain buggy, weak, but technologically masterful and fearful race, and the Reapers just took it a BIT too far. The only reason they don't absolutely destroy everything is refusal to terminate their own selves, without the "fuel" for production they need in the form of organics.

Furthermore, this also explains why the Keepers are as old as the Citadel, yet the entire Reaper scheme requires the Citadel in the first place; the Keepers built it, as well as the Reapers, regardless of whether or not the Reapers had taken over yet. The Reapers in turn used that technology to set up their grand plan.

The Reapers are an evolution of the Inhibitors in an alternate reality where faster-than-light travel is possible
The Inhibitors are like the Reapers - they are artificial, drop by every once in a while to wipe out all intelligent life, then travel back into deep space. They have the same origin - but the Reapers are pathological liars and the Catalyst lied as well - they were made billions of years ago to help reduce the destruction (star systems being thrown into inter-galactic space) from the Milky Way - Andromeda collision a few billion years in the future. The Inhibitors originally were more gentle with intelligent species by just keeping them in their home system, but they just started bombing species into extinction when too many started popping up. The Reapers were the same way, though since they have FTL travel capabilities, they don't need to lay traps around the galaxy to trigger them, instead just popping up ever 50,000 years to curb-stomp the species into extinction since they don't want to bother blockading them into their home systems. However, the Reapers and Inhibitors started to diverge due to the lack of FTL in one universe and the presence of FTL in the other: Reaper reproduction is like it is because of the FTL - they can just zip around collecting organic life across solar systems, whereas the Inhibitors have to reproduce asexually since they don't have the luxury of FTL to gather organics for reproduction. Additionally, the Reapers are sentient, whereas the Inhibitors are not self-aware most of the time - centuries of travel time, drifting between solar systems, would cause them to go insane.

Sovereign was just an Elite Mook.
In the first game, Sovereign makes it seem like the Reapers are Omnicidal Maniacs who are in because that's how they roll and organics could never understand their motives. In the second, however, Harbinger starts mouthing off about how they are the "genetic destiny" of all living beings and, in the third, the Catalyst goes a step further by stating that the Reapers explicitly exist to keep the galaxy in order before organics can mess everything up. This seems to indicate that Sovereign had no idea what he was really working towards and was just a grunt with a face for the Reaper fleet.

    Saren 
The Dragon is the true Big Bad *** Wall of Text warning***
  • The Dragon, a Badass special operative with no remorse and no sympathy whatsoever, used to be a good guy with feelings prior to the short First Contact War with the humans, in which he lost a dear relative or friend. Submerged into a permanent Tranquil Fury, he vows to destroy those who killed his relative/friend - AT ALL COSTS!
  • While pondering his choices, The Dragon is lucky enough to stumble upon a cache of lost technology belonging to the Precursors - including a distress beacon dating 50,000 years, warning central Precursor worlds and outlying colonies that the Precursor "Reaper Fleet" - a fleet of significantly advanced, Mind Control-capable AI's used as weapons by the Precursors to battle adversarial interstellar species and managing slave populations.
  • Realizing this is the moment he has been waiting for a long time, The Dragon uses said ancient technology, reverse-engineering it and building a Reaper ship of his own with the help of the galaxy's most prominent designers and engineers, a ship that he names "Sovereign," after which he kills said engineers and designers to cover his tracks. The Dragon uses the Reaper ship to subdue the synthetic geth species, portraying himself as a servant to the intelligent ship in order to goad the geth into believing Sovereign to be a machine god and thus becoming The Dragon's willing, eternally obedient soldiers.
  • He then uses the geth and the Reaper ship to mastermind the course of the game, using a wholly mechanical replica of himself to draw the Player's attention by modifying and distorting the messages in the beacons to better reflect his version of the Precursors extinction, i.e. the Reapers being an even OLDER species of rather Abusive Precursors, portraying the Reapers as the creators of the Citadel and the Mass Relays. Establishing himself and the Reapers as serious threat, he deceptively goads the Citadel forces into pooling their fleets around the Citadel, making their entire defense vulnerable to a powerful, single attack.
  • In the end, when The Dragon attacks the Citadel - in order to cripple the Citadel fleets and make Citadel retaliation against subsequent geth incursions into Alliance space impossible - the replica locks out the Relays linking to human systems, effectively dooming the Citadel. Not even when the Player manages to follow the replica through the Portal Network-backdoor called the Conduit, unlocking the relays from the Citadel, does The Dragon flinch. No, being the Magnificent Bastard that he is, he grins with satisfaction as Sovereign in its death throes manages to destroy a vast amount of human lives, thinning out the forces The Dragon was expecting to face off later on while The Dragon... no, the Big Bad himself is believed dead via his replica and his deceitful lie about the "impending Reaper invasion" is one-hundred percent intact. Crowning Moment Of Villainy indeed.
  • Cue successful Badass Villain Invasion a la There Is No Kill Like Overkill "I Lay my Vengeance Upon Thee" in the sequel.
  • If this troper's paraphrased Wall of Text-rambling made no sense to you, check out the original post made on the official Mass Effect forums: He Is Not Kidding, For Real. Most likely Poison Oak Epileptic Trees, unless you're that kind of guy.
    • That would work, except for the fact that Vigil implicitly shoots it down.
      • I'm assuming you didn't bother to read the guy's original post on the official ME forums. He specifically states that Saren reprogrammed Vigil to relay faux information to anyone who accessed it so that no one would figure out what the hell he was truly doing. Apparently Saren, being an elite space police, can do that.
    • Mass Effect: Revelation Josses paragraph 3: the final chapter describes how Saren found Sovereign.
    • This theory is pretty much ruined by ME2.

Saren never had a cure for the genophage.
  • He simply said he did; the plan was to get a bunch of the best warriors in the galaxy, the krogan, to hang around the mind controlling Sovereign until they were indoctrinated. After that, they wouldn't care if there was a cure or not.
    • Judging from the setting and the equipment present, I'd say that what Saren actually had was a mass-producing cloning rig. He intended to clone the krogan by the thousands, and brainwash them right from birth to do the Sovereign's bidding as part of his plan to convince the Reapers that organics are worthwhile servants. After all, it wouldn't pay off in the long run to just hire a lot of krogans - they're not a replenishing resource.
      • We can't know how far under Sovereign's Mind Control Saren was at that point, but it's possible that he wasn't looking for a renewable resources, simply a shock-based army for the first incursion of the Reapers. Afterwards, he might've been planning on using the rachni to clean up anyone they missed.
    • ME2 confirms it was a cloning facility. It was presumably viable, based on later events in the game.
      • In fact, his cloning facility is explicitly compared to Okeer's, who certainly doesn't have a cure for the genophage. Also, every other krogan in the game despises both Okeer and Grunt because of the cloning.

Saren is going to be The Dragon of Mass Effect 3.
  • Well, humans brought Shepard back to life, so what's stopping a group of extremely high-tech, nearly unstoppable Mecha-Cthulus from bringing Saren back to life? Saren would probably end up with a lot more cybernetic parts, given how the Reapers make Husks, and hate the Reapers for killing him and only working for them because they have a Cyanide Pill-like device implanted in his vital organs. Then again, he could have known about it all along, knowing he would be resurrected and just playing along. It's complex, strange and bends the tactical knowlege of the Council to breaking point. In other words, perfect for surprising the entire galaxy.
    • OR he could end up being one of Shepard's teammates. I mean, think about Legion, say a geth would be a future squadmate when Mass Effect 1 was around and next to no one would believe you. Taking the point on Saren hating the Reapers for killing him once even further. How could this happen if the Reapers revived him? He couldn't be indoctrinated for some reason or another, whether it be for previously being indoctrinated (and furthermore, the Reapers not knowing it works like that) to having an inexperienced Reaper indoctrinate him.
    • Shepard actually left a body. Granted, it was a severely damaged body, but there was still something to work with. When you killed Saren though, his body burnt until there was nothing left but ash.
      • Of course the Reapers DO have extremely advanced technology. They turned the Protheans into those horrible bug... things we know as Collectors... Who's to say they can't resurrect a useful servant to suit their needs from nothing? Plus, it would be hella cool if they did.

Saren went nuts because the Council are stupid jerks.
  • It wasn't indoctrination... it was the Council stalling and debating with him every step of the way. (Not my idea, no matter how much I wish it was. Give thanks to Vigna.)
    Saren: But there is a giant Reaper out there. I have proof...
    Turian: A giant...whaaaa?
    Salarian: Geth are tangible threats... Reapers are a myth.
    Saren: But I saw one he even tried to get into my mind.
    Asari: See, there is only proof that something has affected your mind?
    Saren: So, I have to bring him back and show him to you in person? Fine...

Saren was trying to stop Sovereign.
  • Saren was desperately searching for The Conduit, which turns out to be a secret way into the Citadel. You know, the place he was already allowed full access to. The Citadel has such low security you're allowed to meet the Counsel in person with multiple loaded firearms, and even two years after the geth attack security can't even stop an actual geth. Saren had no need for The Conduit. Therefore, he was searching for Ilos for a different reason - specifically, a way to stop the Reapers.
  • Pretending to serve Sovereign gave Saren several advantages. It allowed him to monitor Sovereign and to study his capabilities. It's canon he was studying indoctrination. Killing Sovereign is good, but that still leaves thousands more like him. Learning how to kill a Reaper is more profitable in the long run.
  • Unfortunately for Saren, his plan failed when Shepard critically injured him on Virmire and Sovereign rebuilt him, and in the process indoctrinated him to the point he truly began working for the Reaper. As Shepard himself points out, Saren's gone from being a servant to a slave, and it's still possible for Saren to recognize that he's lost and heroically kill himself.
    • POINT: Saren needed the The Conduit in order to sneak the Geth into The Citadel.
    • COUNTER-POINT: Saren had organic allies who were also allowed access to The Citadel, such as that Asari commando squad.
Saren is transgendered.
  • Saren looks strangely different from every other turian in the series. On the sides of his face are some extra crests. Garrus doesn't have those, Nihlus doesn't have them, no other turian has those. Actually, that was a lie, there is one other turian with similar structures on their face: Nyreen, who also just happens to be the only female turian seen in the series. Conclusion? Saren was born a woman.

    The Shadow Broker 
The Shadow Broker is "The Laughing Man"
The original Shadow Broker was Kreia
  • She walked out in frustration and left the facility to her apprentice after he was unable to understand even the most basic concept of 'we all live in a computer game'.

    Salarians 
The salarians experimented on humans in the past.
Well, our present. The books mention that salarians look an awful like The Greys from 20/21st century myth. The salarians were spacefaring at that time, and they are quite sneaky in terms of intelligence, it was their military that inspired the lawless Spectres after all. Unknown why, but in Mass Effect universe, the salarians did operate on the humans before we were spacefaring.
  • But the question is how would they have gotten here? The only Mass Relay in the vicinity of Earth was Charon, and it was covered in millions of tons of ice and rock when it was first discovered. It's difficult to imagine how the salarians would have accomplished that, and not get stuck in our solar system.
    • The Charon Relay wasn't discovered until the 2100s. Myths about The Greys occur in the late 1900s. That's over one hundred years to bury the Mass Relay and cover their tracks. Why go through all that? The experiments performed were likely highly illegal to a sapient if primitive species.
    • If the salarians knew how to shut down and disguise mass relays, the Rachni Wars would have been an awful lot shorter, and the krogan wouldn't have needed to be uplifted. Nobody knows how to fully control the relays ... which is just what the Reapers want. So no, it's simply not possible for the salarians to have experimented on humans. Protheans, however, did.

There will be a salarian Spectre in Mass Effect 3, you will have to fight him, and he will be That One Boss.
For anyone to be considered for Spectre status, they have to be a decorated career combat operative who has performed at least one Crowning Moment of Awesome. Salarians only live 40 years. A theoretical salarian Spectre will have entered military service as early as possible, completed several years of military training, and performed at least one Act of God, thus having spent a significant portion of his life surviving being shot at by mercenaries and terrorists. Result: any salarian Spectre will be, by definition, an Old Master that makes Mordin Solus look like Bea Arthur.

Salarian sexuality is much more complicated than is widely believed.
Salarian sexuality is generally accepted to be non-existent. However, a number of individuals appear to contradict this "fact". Gianna Parasini may tell you in ME2 that Anoleis was having sex with an Asari, the bachelor party Salarian eventually warms up to the (also Asari) dancer, and one Salarian worker seems quite affected by Thane's movements. All of this seems to imply that Salarians are capable of experiencing physical attraction, as well as acting on it. Mordin also mentions that some Krogan enjoy Salarian flexibility, and assuming consent, it logically follows that a few Salarians enjoy sexual intercourse with Krogan. Then there's the romantic side of things. Again according to Mordin, fast processing of emotions leaves salarians incapable of sustaining courtship feelings. This implies that such feelings do occur - and as seen with the Ilium Salarian and his Asari stepdaughter, there are individuals who are in fact capable of long-term committed relationships. This troper sees two possibile conclusions: 1. asexuality is seen as the norm in Salarian culture and individuals who experiece sexual attraction are in a similar position to real-world asexuals, in that hardly anyone ever remembers they exist, or 2. Salarians have a wide range of sexualities but experience and express it so differently from other races that all but a handful come off as asexual to other species.

    Before the Protheans 
This generation wasn't the only generations to fight back.
So far, we only know of the Protheans to have put a significant damper on the Reaper threat by modifying the Keepers, and we only know of Shepard's destruction of the Collectors/Protheans. However, this is a cycle that has gone for tens of thousands of years. The last one was 50,000 years, and it's overdue because of changes to the Keepers. We find a Reaper ship millions of years old. Tens of thousands go into a million quite a few times.

So far, we've seen the Reapers "adopt" the last race of the cycle into themselves. They adopted the Protheans and made them Collectors, and they planned to adopt the humans by building a human Reaper. However, we only see two other races that've been adopted; the Keepers and the Collectors. Numbers dictate there would've had to have been significantly more races than that. And logic dictates that there had to have been Collectors before Protheans got the job. Collectors are how they reproduce, and Protheans have only been in for one cycle; they would've had to have had another race as Collectors to reproduce.

Which means many have come just as far or farther than Shepard has. And still lost.
  • Confirmed by the Illusive Man's discovery of the weapon that produced that 37-million-year-old Reaper corpse. Though the weapon itself has long since stopped functioning and any traces of its creators have been completely erased, its purpose was clear.
    • Further confirmed by a few things in ME3. The Crucible is the work of countless cycles, each seeding some information for the next one, and the Catalyst tells you that each cycle is very similar in terms of resistance.

    The Hanar 
The Hanar will have to be confronted in Mass Effect 3
  • The hanar worship Prothean technology, and call Protheans the Enkindlers. Except we know that the "Enkindlers" are actually the Reapers. I don't think the hanar will be pleased about you killing their deities. They will confont Shepard (or Citadel space, assuming they wake up in time for the war) and Shepard will have the choice of either talking them down, or he will have to kill the hanar and drell who get in his way.
    • Er, no. The Protheans are the Enkindlers who uplifted the Hanar to sentience. If they learn that the Reaper technology isn't of Prothean origin after all, they'll just stop considering it holy, but continue to worship the Protheans.
    • This sort-of comes up in Cerberus Daily News, when the idea that the Mass Relays predate the Protheans starts circulating. Some Hanar are displeased, but a religious leader argues that there's nothing blasphemous in the idea that the Enkindlers were themselves enkindled, and that it's their selflessness that deserves respect. If the Hanar find out how much the last Protheans sacrificed for the next galactic civilizations, their respect will probably skyrocket.
    • Partly true! There's a hanar ambassador who feels that, since the Enkindlers were wiped out by the Reapers, that means everyone should follow their lead, and let the Reaper wipe them out, too.

The Hanar are a last-ditch Prothean superweapon

  • The "Enkindling" process was the Protheans creating a race that would be immune to the Reapers and could thus fight back. Expect to see a hanar wandering the battlefield with a Cain launcher saying Enkindle This!.

    The Quarians 
Quarians seem to have diverse accents because Commander Shepard speaks Quarian and wants to practice it.

See: the Indian man asking you to retrieve his wife's body has a pronounced Indian accent, and you hear it as it is because he's speaking English, as opposed to Hindi- in which case it'd sound like an American. Conversely, Maeko Matsuo is clearly speaking Japanese- a language Shepard does not know- since her accent is completely American. For all we know, Ashley Williams is speaking Spanish the whole time. The reason we hear the Quarians as diverse is because Shepard hears them differently, and as such has disabled his Universal Translator. The rest isn't Translator Microbes- it's Translation Convention.

Quarians have diverse accents from living on ships all their lives.
Each major ship in the Quarian fleet developed it's own unique dialect over the centuries they've spent in space. In Quarians, like in humans, geographic location is the most important deciding factor in what accent you'll have, as everybody learns to speak in the same way as the people they spend everyday with, which is how accents form to begin with.

On a similar note, Tali started learning English between Mass Effect 1 and 2.
If you have the iOS Datapad app, you'll get a message from Tali while she's drunk in the third game, filled with typos that line up with a QWERTY keyboard. If she was typing in Quarian, the translator would have rendered it into My Hovercraft Is Full of Eels-type gibberish, not just badly-spelled English. It also provides an in-game explanation why Tali's accent became more pronounced between games; before, she had to rely on translators, which rendered her speech with a more generic tone, but now she can speak English with her own voice, which lets her accent carry over more.

Quarians are basilisks
That's why they wear almost opaque visors, so they don't kill everyone the meet. the Geth, being machines, wouldn't be affected. As for why Shepard doesn't die when he removes Tali's mask; He's commander Shepard, and thus just that awesome.

All non-Rannoch Quarian worlds were terra(Rannoch?)-formed
The Quarians couldn't settle on any world unless it could accommodate their biology. Few planets could, so they would have to make their own planets. This is probably why they were so dependent on the Geth, as they could oversee the process on other worlds.

The Quarians are the most human-like of the Alliance races
If you look at the silhouette of a Quarian through the visor of their safe suit (Particularly in Mass Effect 3, you will see suggestions of features that strongly resemble those of humans. While their hands and feet have three digits and two digits, respectively, certain varieties of polydactyly do result in such arrangements. Both their weak immune systems and their apparent polydactyly could both result from inbreeding in the flotillas before they figured out how to avoid that, by which time the polydactyly was breeding true and their weak immune systems simply made it too dangerous for them to be exposed to new bacteria.
  • More or less confirmed in ME3. The hands and legs may be different but from the neck up we're pretty much identical apart from colouration (which is still pretty damn close) and the ears. We even both have hair.

It seems odd that a society based on surviving by a thread could produce someone as purely selfish as Golo, so why would he sell his people to The Collectors? Simple. He only tried selling some of his people to The Collectors so they'd give him technology necessary to take back Rannoch or at least put the Quarians on better footing with the rest of the galaxy. This is not to say he's totally misunderstood. When caught, tried, and banished, Golo's reaction to his misfortune was a bit more understandable. He was justifying his actions for The Needs of the Many, and he justifies his view of the Quarians' betraying him by dismissing his people as hypocritical Ungrateful Bastards.

Fun names for Quarian Ships
We know of the Iktomi and the Deferens. Let's have add some fun names (remember, either Vas or Nar):
  • The Koteks.
  • The Koleptic.
  • The Cissist.
  • The Whal.

    The Thorian 
The Thorian was an attempt by an earlier race to repair indoctrination, or at least to repair nervous systems.
  • Yes, it may be looking for thralls of its own, but it may not always have been sentient, or even have acted the same way it does now. After all, Shiala not only is apparently cured of indoctrination, her biotic powers weaken, which are said to depend on quantities of eezo depsoited within the nervous system!

The Thorian was actually the Thoi'han
  • The Thorian is actually the same species as the Thoi'han, the race that fought the Innusanon over Eingana over 127,000 years ago. Facts that support this theory; the phenomenal lifespan of the Thorian to survive for over 100,000 years, the name is so similar that Thoi'han might easily be a corrupted translation and the first thing the Thorian did was try to steal the Normandy, implying that it desired to spread it's influence offworld.

    Miscellaneous 
Mass Effect was in fact Knights of the Old Republic 3 until relatively late in development.
  • KotOR and KotOR 2 were two of Bioware's biggest hits for the original Xbox, so a next gen sequel is likely at some point. The basic gameplay mechanics all seem like natural progression from the KotOR games. The Paragon/Renegade meter functions very much like the Dark Side / Light Side of the Force. The biotic powers are all pretty much just Force Powers. The only thing that really makes this unlikely for me is the total lack of any melee combat to the gameplay.
    • Except that KotOR 2 was developed by Obsidian, not BioWare. It's possible BioWare may have been thinking of KotOR when they began working on ME, but more likely it was just an inspiration.
    • Natural progression?
      • Knights of the Old Republic was a modified d20 Pn P-style RPG. ME is an action RPG. Not natural progression gameplay wise.
      • Paragon and Renegade are not equivalent to Light and Dark Side of the force. Paragon and Renegade are different approaches for the same character to have the same goal. They are also not completely mutually exclusive. Light and Dark Side are mutually exclusive and ultimately different goals. They are very different concepts that have a very vaguely superficial similarity if you look at them as Good/Bad, despite neither being exactly that style morality.

TV Tropes is a Reaper method of Indoctrination.
ASSUMING DIRECT CONTROL

Completing particular side quests in ME1 will determine the strength of Shepard's relationship with the Council races for ME3.
Specifically the writings of Matriarch Dilinaga (Asari), collecting League of One medallions and ID tags (Salarian), and discovering lost Turian outposts and insignias (Turian).

Choices made in ME1 & ME2 will determine how many allies Shepard and team will have in ME3.
  • Saving / sparing the Council, Ranchni queen, heretic Geth and genophage research will provide assistance from the council races, Rachni, Geth and Krogan respectively. It may also determine who, if anyone, survives the Reaper invasion; the same way loyalty missions determined the outcome of the Suicide Mission.
  • Mostly correct. Your choices throughout the series affect your potential War Assets rating. The higher your War Assets, the more choices you have for the ending.

The ability of the races of the galaxy to repel the Reaper invasion will depend on how many resources you collected in the first two games.

  • If you collected all or most of the available resources in the first two games, it will turn out that there is a shortage of materials available for the defense of the galaxy.
    • Unlikely. The Normandy's probes are most likely just used for surface mining. There are probably still plenty of resources under the surface of "depleted" planets that the Normandy's probes can't touch, as they require more extensive mining operations. Think of it this way; a single, moderately sized garden world (Earth) had enough resources to sustain an entire species long enough to develop mass effect technology. Compared to that, the resources picked up by the Normandy's probes are probably trivial.

David Anderson does recruitment ads for the Alliance Navy.
  • It seems to work in real life.
    • Actually, it appears that Admiral Hackett does recruiting ads, judging by the poster at the human embassy in Mass Effect 3.

Other galaxies will become relevant
We know from the star map that the game acknowledges other galaxies. Maybe there's help in other galaxies, maybe the Reapers are honestly protecting us from other galaxies, maybe we can appease them by turning them on other galaxies. Something will involve them anyway.

The M-98 Widow was an obscure sniper rifle of Quarian design built on Rannoch
Originally presented in M-98 Widow form of ONE VERY BIG BULLET, this broke too many readers' eyes, so now redeveloped by the Systems Alliance into smaller bullets ala Black Widow:
  • Though fluff references it as a Geth Sniper Rifle, it looks nothing like other Geth guns and technology. Observed Geth weapons are curved and shiny gray, while the M-98 Widow is more tan, straight, and boxy. The color actually could be appropriate camouflage for a desert climate like Rannoch (Quarian homeworld) has in abundance, while the shape (boxy) appears to have more in common with Quarian architecture, as exhibited on Haestrom. Further, Legion is the only Geth ever seen using it.
  • In the Geth Hub mission of Mass Effect 3, Shepard sees the memory of the first Geth taking up arms to start the Geth uprising. The weapon the Geth reaches to pick up off the ground is unquestionably an M-98 Widow. Shepard even references that it looks like the rifle Legion likes to use, a fact that Legion does not dispute, unlike how he did with the Quarians and why they wore masks in the memories observed for Shepard's benefit, implying that it was not an analogue for a generic BFG.
  • It seems unlikely that the Geth would develop a weapon to use before uprising. Guns are easy to use, but complex to build, and the Quarians certainly had guns that they could just take up. The scene itself even suggests that the gun was simply picked up off the ground, not built and then wielded. Later the Geth would build their own guns, leading to the aesthetic design style seen in their current weapons technology.
  • Grunt suggests that Quarians are surprisingly tough, but doesn't clarify. With no obvious clues as to why they are tough, unlike with the Turians and Krogan, less obvious signs could include a strong skeletal-muscular system, one which could accommodate the Widow's kick when fired (enough to break a human's arm).
  • The M-98 Widow, with its huge kick, might have made it very unpopular outside of the Quarians as a man-portable weapon. Notably only Legion and Shepard could use the M-98 in Mass Effect 2, which notably excludes Garrus, who uses and even seems to LOVE Sniper Rifles and could not equip one. This potentially could have been because it was also impractical even for Turians. As a result the weapon remained very obscure and limited predominantly to Rannoch, so when the Geth Uprising occurred and most of the Quarians were wiped out, so to was its history, with a strong association left with the galaxy of the Geth using it. With no one around to contend the fact anymore, the galaxy associated the rifle with the Geth, and over the centuries the legend mutated.
    • It's also possible that the Quarians distanced themselves from the weapon after it became strongly associated with the Geth. The image of a weapon can conjure plenty of emotive content and association, such as an AK-47 or a Thompson (the latter even varies depending simply on the magazine used, a drum magazine might conjure the image of a gangster in the 1930s while a straight magazine might conjure the image of an allied soldier in World War 2). The Widow might have become a symbol of the Geth Uprising and the Quarians came to regard the weapon with some measure of contempt themselves. After all, it was the first weapon picked up by a Geth, which by extension implies it was the first weapon used by a Geth to kill a Quarian. In short, the near genocide of their species may have literally begun with the report of an M-98 Widow. One might reflect negatively on that.
  • The Geth were designed to be tools of war as well as labourers. It may be that the Widow was designed by the Quarians to be used by their geth soldiers, and Legion pilfered his off a dead geth platform.

Thedas is Earth after the reaper invade it, the relays are destroyed and Earth isn't quite destroyed or saved fully.
  • The biotics become the magi
  • The Relays would be the Maker's City as man's 'hubris' in taking to the stars resulted in the reapers taking notice of humanity
  • The husks are the dawkspawn

Mass Effect is a retelling of the Babylon 5 mythos.
  • Consider: The story is based around a high-but-not-extremely-high ranking military officer serving an Earth alliance who are relative newcomers on the galactic political scene. This Earth Alliance first made waves by getting into a massive conflict with one of the galactic superpowers which ended in an inconclusive draw, after which, the two races created a unique hybrid vessel to serve as a symbol of their new cooperation. The main conflict of the story comes from an ancient race of/piloting ships of incredible power made from organic technology that emerges from hidden parts of space on a somewhat predictable timetable in order to wage war against certain advanced species and withdraw after their work is done. This ancient species subverts Earth by corrupting an organization with strong Human ties but without any real government oversight in order to promote in-fighting when Earth should be presenting a united front. Operating with relative independence of the normal chain of command for various reasons, the main character attempts to rally the other galactic races to confront this major threat before the hammer falls on them all, but is killed in the process. He gets better and completes the work of forging alliances between the major races, many of which have been fighting each other for centuries and have long-standing blood feuds. The main character's work is made easier with the aid/guidance of another ancient race that has battled the foe in the distant past, teaching him lessons of what went wrong in past wars and making the enemy's intentions and identity clear. The grand finale of the story arc occurs when the main character leads a multi-species fleet back to Earth itself in order to save it from destruction.
  • Detailed race comparisons:
    • The Asari = The Minbari. The most technologically advanced race actively involved in galactic politics.
    • The Krogan = The Narn. A Proud Warrior Race with a reputation for violence among the other races whose planet has been devastated several times in the past, but maintain a strong cultural heritage and warrior code.
    • The Turians = The Centauri. A race with a strong military heritage who is nonetheless not as powerful as in olden days because of draining wars. Not a perfect comparison, since the Turians lack the Deadly Decadent Court aspects of the Centauri.
    • The Quarians = The Gaim. A race of little galactic importance best known for wearing hermetically sealed suited in public, being unable to survive outside their native environments without them.
    • The Salarians = The Greys. Race known for scientific genius. Long faces. Involved with humans early on. Methods of experimentation *sniffs* ...problematic.
    • The Rachni = The Dilgar. A race best known in the present day by their absence. In the past, they waged war against several other species simultaneously and were beaten back to their home system, driven nearly to the point of extinction.
    • The Reapers = The Shadows. A highly advanced ancient race known for making extensive use of organic technology. Their weapons and ships are incredibly potent and more advanced than anything else the galaxy has ever seen.
    • The Collectors = The Drakh. A servant race of the ancient enemy. They serve their "patrons" by raiding the colonies of other races and running whatever other mysterious errands need doing.
    • The Protheans = The Vorlons. Another highly advanced race that nonetheless has little to do with the galactic political scene today. They had fought the ancient enemy race in the distant past. Very few members are seen "on screen", but they have great impact when they do appear.
    • The Humans = The Humans.
  • Organization comparisons:
    • The Spectres = The Rangers. A multi-species paramilitary force serving with the authority of the united galactic government to keep the peace. Every member goes through extensive training in a variety of scenarios and is given wide authority to deal with whatever problems he comes across as he sees fit.
    • Cerberus = Psi-Corp. A powerful organization with a strong pro-Human bias. They work outside normal government channels to prevent what they see as unwanted alien influence and to promote the Human cause.
  • Character comparisons:
    • Commander Shepard = Captain Sheridan. Duh.
    • Urdnot Wrex = G'Kar. A ruling member amongst his people. Possesses a strong temper and is prone to violence like many of his race, but gradually begins to see the value of cooperation with other races they had warred with in the past.

The series takes place in the Whoniverse
If humanity continues to gain power in the Mass Effect universe at it's current rate, it could easily become the universal power often portrayed in DW episodes in the distant future. The Mondas Cybermen haven't been discovered yet because Mondas, not being in a solar system anymore, is kinda hard to find when you rely on Mass Relays. The Daleks haven't yet blazed their way to our galaxy thanks to the efforts of The Doctor. Perhaps Cerberus was built on the remains of Torchwood. Best of all, this provides us with a way to get rid of the ME3 ending without contradicting the BioWare position that it happened: Time war. Just that simple. Pre time war, perhaps The Leviathans were inspired to attempt to end the Synthetic/Organic debate by the rebellion of the Daleks created by Davros, while post Time War, the evident removal of Skaro and the Daleks from the timeline along with the Time Lords prevented this and the Reapers came to be by another, less absurd way. Thanks to the Butterfly Effect, this may also explain the parallel universes of Male!Shepard and Female!Shepard.

Mass Effect and Star Trek takes place in the Same Universe
In both Star Trek and Mass Effect, the colonization of Mars begins in 2103. Mass Effect also made the same claim as Star Trek that poverty and pollution in declining on Earth as it enters a new golden age.

The Citadel Council encompasses the United Federation of Planets, mostly contained in the Orion spiral arm, since the mass relays enable ships to cover far larger distances than is possible with warp speed.

The original purpose of the Crucible...
  • It's a giant off switch. Or more specifically, the Citadel has an off switch and the crucible is intended to transmit the off signal to all reapertech including the reapers themselves. No blowing up of the peeps, no harming unrelated synthetics, just shut down the whole system and then go around turning the mass relays back on one by one. Unfortunately, the race that designed the thing didn't do very good in hiding their intentions and became the Keepers.

Insanity is a job requirement of fighting the Collectors and Reapers.
  • Look at Shepard. Look at how off the rails s/he can go. Look at Garrus or Wrex. Or Jack, Grunt, Mordin, Samara or Legion. Look at Zaeed, Kasumi or Edi. Look at Javik or the special forces in the Citadel DLC. Ashley and Kaiden, or Miranda and Jacob, come across as the Only Sane Man. And most of those who are straight are at fairly high risk of death (Virmire survivor and Cerberus assault on the Citadel, Thane and Miranda taking on Kai Lang and Tali being at serious risk on the suicide mission. Conclusion: You don't have to be crazy to be on Shepard's team, .spleh ti tub

The Reapers can control which mass relay links where.
  • First of all, take a look at the Alpha Relay from Arrival: unlike other secondary relays, it's capable of connecting with sixteen other relays at distances far beyond what most secondary relays are capable of, but only once you fiddle with the settings. Second, if the Reapers' cycle has been going for millions of years, the species they annihilate ought to leave behind ruins of some sort. Sure, some are found, but far less than you would expect given the history, especially if species continue to colonize garden worlds (leaving aside the possibility of a planet's environment changing for whatever reason). Therefore, it's likely that the Reapers anticipated accumulating evidence and designed the relays to counteract it: upon the completion of each cycle, they scramble the relays, to so speak. Lots of primary relays become secondaries and vice versa, while those primaries that stay primaries link to a different primary. That ensures that new species will always colonize different planets, and so will find little evidence of previous ones.

The Alliance encourages marines to jog or run any chance they get.
  • There's a reason no one bats an eye as Shepard and his/her crew go running through the Citadel, Ilium, or on board the Normandy. With space at such a premium on Alliance vessels, combat personnel, for whom physical fitness is at a higher importance than support, are under orders to jog everywhere to help maintain their fitness.

Admiral Hackett is descended from Father Jack Hackett.
  • Both characters are known for their badassery. Jack was implied to Really Get Around despite being a priest. It's conceivable that he has at least of a couple of kids floating about.

Shifty Cow's stash
  • The shifty-looking cow is right next to a gold deposit. Coincidence?

In the inevitable movie adaption, they'll go with Fem Shep for the lead
And knowing Hollywood, they'll cast Milla Jovovich.

Ashley wore a Sarashi in Mass Effect 1 and 2.
It would explain why she was so busty in Mass Effect 3 all of a sudden. Ashley made it no secret in Mass Effect 1 that she had to work her ass off just to become a gunnery chief due to the bias against her lineage. No doubt having a naturally large bust would have made it even MORE difficult for her to be taken seriously in the military. So, she wore wore a sarashi to shave a few inches off her bust line just to give her fellow marines one less thing to give her a hard time over. Two games worth of Character Development later, and she's become more accepting of who she is and is more willing to cut herself some slack once in a while. So she throws not only her bun away, but her sarashi as well.

Turian Names are not actually what they seem to be.
Given that they are a birdlike people, their language may actually be rather screechy. Either way, in their language, turian names probably sound nothing like what we hear them as. It is likely that they are unpronounceable for humans. So the universal translator instead "creates" names for them based on meaning and sound and such. The reason for this is that it's pretty harmful to the Willing Suspension of Disbelief that a race that is essentially Space Romans would just so happen to have naming patterns that are very reminiscent of Roman naming style without any connection to them whatsoever. Perhaps humanity actually noticed the resemblance to historical Romans and thus programmed their translators once they had them to render turian names in a romanlike style.

The M-7 Lancer in the Citadel DLC is Jessie.
Ignoring the fact that the M-7 Lancer doesn't have a scope and Jessie does, there is some evidence to support this idea; at the Broker Terminal it is revealed that Zaeed purchased rifle parts for a discontinued Avenger series (Jessie is an M-8 Avenger), and the description for the M-7 Lancer says that it was "refurbished by an unknown master weaponsmith"! The evidence against the theory is that Zaeed probably wouldn't bear removing the scope off of Jessie, and that the M-7 Lancer was used in the First Contact War; the M-8 Avenger was likely used afterwards.

Mass Effect is a story about an alternate future that won't happen.
Someone time traveled to or from the future, found out about the Reapers, their M.O., and what to do to avoid them. This has led to an intentional steady decline of space programs worldwide, rather than the predicted increase from the 1960's. On the bright side, the CGI needed to falsify later "space exploration" for humanity's safety has the added effect of awesome movies and games. So by the time the Reapers wipe out the present space-faring species, we'll look like a bunch of stupid couch potatoes until they return to hibernation. Then we'll have a good 50000 years to work on anti-Reaper technology, like the time machine that warned us of their impending xenocide.

Liara's goodbye was actually the asaari mating process
This does seem odd that it would be the case regardless of whether she was romanced, but it seems clear that Liara was always in love with Shepard regardless of how Shepard felt. Knowing that it was the end, Liara took the opportunity to bond with him/her.


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