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  • The Keepers:
    • The Keepers are described much the same way as the Collectors, implying they are an older race that was enslaved and altered into biological androids in the same way.
    • It could be much worse than that: let's say the Keepers were the first race the Reapers wipe out. There must have been millions of Keepers damaged/killed/self-destructed during the (at least) 1 billion years that the Reapings have been going on. It also isn't that much of a stretch to assume that some races harvested might have been pretty brutal, and likely killed at least some of the keepers when they first discovered them. It seems unlikely that the Citadel could hold (not to mention, conceal) enough raw biological material for millions of years of replacement - but there again, with all those millions living aboard it, nobody will notice if a few people "disappear" from time to time...
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    • In the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC, one of the usable vids shows a Keeper walking away from a dead Krogan, Cpt Bailey mentions kids sometimes disappear in the ducts... Combine it with the above theory, and the keepers suddenly become horrific.
  • As you scan the various planets in both games, you'll often read descriptions of ancient architecture of races long gone. Every single time, you see the analysis: organized orbital bombardment, utterly obliterating all lifeforms on these planets... and they're always dated in multiples of 50,000 years...
  • According to Javik, the Rachni weren't sentient back in his day. They took them and turned up their cunning and aggression. We also see the Salarians doing the same thing to Varren. So, does that mean the Varren are going to be turned into living, sentient bioweapons? Kinda sucks as an existence.
  • A shitload of Fridge Horror is how Shepard always comes to the rescue JUST in time. It's either amazing or horrifying how Shepard is literally the only thing keeping so many awful events from happening. Let’s take a look:
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    • Mass Effect
      • Ashley: Outnumbered by the Geth on Eden Prime, and likely to be killed and turned into a Husk.
      • Tali: About to be murdered by Fist's thugs.
      • Liara: On the verge of starving to death.
      • Feros: the colony would have either been wiped out by the Geth or remained slaves to the Thorian
      • The Scientists on Noveria: Besieged by the Rachni and unable to last for much longer.
      • Citadel and the entire galaxy: about to fall to Sovereign and the Reapers.
    • Mass Effect 2
      • Garrus: About to be killed by the mercenaries.
      • Mordin: About to be overrun by the plague, vorcha, and possibly Collectors. His assistant would also be dead, and the plague would have been used by the Collectors as a chemical weapon
      • Grunt: Probably about to be gassed or otherwise killed along with Okeer by Jedore’s Blue Suns
      • Jack: Who knows what might happen to her if she had stayed in the Purgatory. Worse, who knows how many people she would have killed if she hadn't been influenced by Shepard?
      • Tali: If not killed on Freedom’s Progress, she would have most definitely died on Haestrom.
      • Thane: By his own admission, he probably would have been killed by Nassana Dantius’s guards, though perhaps not before he assassinated Nassana herself.
      • Samara: She would have been arrested and then probably forced to fight a whole army of Illium’s security forces. Even she admits she might have been killed and Morinth would be allowed free reign with no one to stop her
      • Legion: May have been taken down by the husks on the derelict Reaper.
      • That’s not even getting into the consequences of not dealing with the Collectors, and various loyalty quests and other missions, like the Overlord Project, Tali’s trial, the Reaper virus for the geth, Morinth, Maelon, Kolyat, Oriana, Vido Santiago, or Donovan Hock.
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    • Mass Effect 3
      • Actually subverted half of the time, with Shepard either being too late or otherwise failing to save people (the kid, Mordin/Padok, Legion/Geth VI, Rila, Anderson... — and of course, billions of humans, turians, krogan, salarians, asari and so on, all over the galaxy). But played straight a lot of the time, too:
      • Liara: About to be overrun by Cerberus, the sole survivor of the Mars base crew.
      • Primarch Victus: About to be overwhelmed by Reaper forces on Palaven's moon. And he's himself a replacement for the Primarch whom Shepard was supposed to rescue.
      • Mordin, Padok, Eve, and the entire STG base: About to be wiped out by Cerberus.
      • Grissom Academy: Same.
      • Falere: About to be killed or, more likely, turned into a banshee. Especially if Samara isn't there.
      • The Citadel Council: About to be killed or captured by Cerberus.
      • The quarians: About to have their entire fleet destroyed in a hopeless battle against the Reaper-enhanced geth.
      • Javik: likely to die in stasis like all of his fellow Protheans
  • The Leviathan of Dis:
    • A commonly cited figure for how long the Reapers have been doing this is 37 million years, or the age of the Reaper you raid to get the IFF. Then we have the Leviathan of Dis, which is often overlooked, since all it gets is a planet survey entry in the first game. The third game states that batarian research on the Leviathan ended up in a similar way to the Cerberus research on the Reaper you land on, with the crew getting indoctrinated. Only this time, they infiltrated the government and let the Reapers attack. To quote the planet entry from the first game:
    "Jartar is noted for the discovery of the 'Leviathan of Dis,' the apparent corpse of a genetically engineered living starship. The Leviathan was found in the bottom of a crater by a batarian survey team, and estimated to be nearly a billion years old. It 'disappeared' after a visit to the system by a batarian dreadnought twenty years ago."
    • Prior to the "disappearance", the batarians were just annoying - they had an oppressive caste system, and had attacked other races, but they still interacted with the rest of the galaxy. Immediately afterward, the batarians demanded a huge land claim then resigned in disgust when they didn't get it, leading to their self-imposed isolation. As in, they were indoctrinated and wanted privacy while they finished the job with their own species. The Mind Rape implants they used on non-batarian slaves? Indoctrination again. Their demand for control of the really nasty Dahak system and their secrecy involving the Alpha Relay? Indoctrination again. They were always Jerkass bullies and slavers, but basically just a collection of street gangs with starships. The Reapers just helped them get made.
  • One planet mentions that 127,000 years ago it was the site of a battle between the Isunannon and the Thor'han. We know the Thorian is more than 100,000 years old and encountered both the Protheans and the Isunannon. Given the similarity between the two names, the fact that most names do become corrupted over time, or possibly was simply mistranslated, it leads to one horrifying thought. The Thorian may once have had access to starships and attempted to take over the Galaxy. Remember what Joker said the Colonists were trying to do? They were desperate to try to get onboard the Normandy. They were trying this again.
  • Here's one for the franchise: even if Shepard cures the genophage, it's not gone. Mordin describes the genophage mechanism in detail: it's a genetic mutation which the affects glands in the female body governing the growth of a fetus in the womb.note  "Eve's" body has simply transferred that from dedicated glands to a general metabolic process, making those glands as redundant as the rest of their organs. That makes the adaptation an explicit enhancement, but the genophage is still part of their genome. They essentially have a computer virus in their genes sending commands that no longer have a function. Another genophage modification is entirely possible. On a more positive note, if the krogan start causing trouble again, their genocide won't be necessary, and their direct experience with it will allow the genophage to fulfill its original function as a deterrent.
  • I Remember Me, a sidequest in the first game that's exclusive to Colonist Shepard, has Shep helping Talitha, a girl who'd been a slave to the batarians - who, as established above, were Reaper-affected even then and implanting anyone they thought they could get use of. Resolve this peacefully and she sends you a message in the second game: she's doing much better, she's in a special school, one of the doctors works for the same people Shep does and could send him/her this message. Well and good... but then you consider that that means one of the doctors is part of Cerberus, and what's the thing with Cerberus in the third game? Reapers.
  • Think back to one of the conversions you can have with Ashley in the original Mass Effect. In which she stated her infamously cynical view on galactic politics, stating that humanity cannot rely on aliens or trust them as allies. Since we are too fundamentally different and everyone will only look out for their own race's self-interest in the end. To prove her point, she used the metaphor of a pet dog. No matter now much you love and care for it, in the end, if push comes to shove, when presented with the choice between saving either another human being or your dog, you will always go for the the human. Now look at the ending of Mass Effect 3. If you pick the 'Destroy' option, you have just proven her point. Perhaps you view EDI as your close friend and you believe that the geth deserve a chance in building their own future. But in the end, when you are backed to a corner, you sided with the more familiar organics at the cost of all synthetic life.
  • The Reapers are already Sufficiently Advanced Aliens, but a little fridge horror puts them in near Physical God territory. Think about the end of the Arrival DLC, where Shepard launches a Goddamned moon at a mass relay to delay the Reaper's advance. It ended up destroying the relay, which exploded and destroyed the entire system. Now consider this: the Reapers built the mass relays, apparently quite easily. These relays can destroy an entire solar system if destroyed. Remember that they were NOT designed to do that. If anything, they would be designed to be as hard as possible to actually set off. The Reapers easily created a 'bomb' that destroyed an entire solar system, and it wasn't even on purpose. Can you imagine how unbelievably destructive they could be if they actually designed a weapon to DESTROY the galaxy instead of just harvest it?
  • One for the turians about the First Contact War. While it's called that by the humans, the turians call it the Relay 314 Incident. The last nation to call an atrocity-filled war (the turians bombed cities from orbit to kill human fireteams) an "incident" instead of a proper war was Imperial Japan. What else have they done that they've termed an "incident" instead of a war?
  • More a Fridge Squick example. Asari are said to be capable of reproducing with any species with DNA. Who's to say that certain individuals haven't reproduced with animals?
    • Another Asari Frige Squick. They appear as attractive human females. What do Turians think they look like? Turians. What did Protheans think about them? That they were attractive. Could it be that Asari alter viewer's perceptions to appear attractive to them? What the hell do Asari actually look like...
  • Cortez's husband Robert was not just killed by the Collectors, he was abducted by them. Which means he was eventually dissolved alive and pumped into the Human Reaper. During the Citadel DLC party, the Mass Effect 2 squadmates can have a conversation about the Collector Base. Cortez comments on how he is glad he wasn't around then. If only he knew how true that was.
  • The attempted Colony Drop by the Batarians was bad enough that it would have killed millions and rendered an entire planet uninhabitable for millenia. But what would have been the consequence should it have succeeded? Since this was a fringe extremist group, the Hegemony would have pled ignorance and disavowed responsibility, but would the Alliance have accepted that? No!! They most likely would have gone to war against the batarians, and the Council would have either seen it as another example of Humans Are Bastards and sanctioned them, maybe even kicked them off the Citadel, or otherwise washed their hands off, claiming it was an internal matter that the humans needed to deal with on their own. Due to the Council not helping, xenophobic sentiment rises, causing Cerberus to get stronger and engage in more horrific experiments. Saren would have been able to waltz in, steal the beacon, find the conduit and capture the Citadel to begin the harvest - with no Alliance to stop them since they are bogged down in a war of their own.
  • Humanity was in a lot of trouble from many other sources too. First, the Thorian had taken control of almost an entire colony, and it was only a matter of time before it had them building ships to spread its spores elsewhere and gain more thralls. Secondly, it was Cerberus who had commissioned the entire process of hatching the rachni egg and having the queen spit out soldiers and workers for them. If the whole thing wasn't hijacked by Saren and Benezia, the children might have broken loose, killed this queen and started to Kill All Humans since they were the ones who imprisoned them. A new rachni war would have been underway with the council saying "It's your own damn fault, clean up your own mess." Thirdly, biotics were starting to rebel, with at least two instances of hostage taking and Major Kyle organizing them into a cult. How long before this cult starts a serious insurrection? Or worse, become thralls of the Thorian, giving it a significant boost in military capability. And then there was Elanos Haliat. If there wasn't a Spectre for him to waste the probe's fusion bomb on, he could have leaked the info to the council just to spite humans, resulting in massive sanctions and possibly a ramp up of hostilities with the Turians. Couple that with all the other fires raging, and humanity is facing wars on at least three fronts completely alone.
  • In the third game on Thessia the Illusive Man claims that just after discovering the Charon relay, some people wanted to destroy it rather than allow whatever is out there to now be able to come in. If the First Contact War had escalated and things were going badly, it is conceivable that some desperate people on Earth might have tried to destroy the relay. And we all know by now what happens if you do destroy a relay with anything other than a well built Crucible
  • Some of the mission summaries from the second game look much darker after Cerberus's actions in the third game. Of particular note is the summary of the Reaper IFF mission. Without Shepard, Cerberus wouldn't have gotten that data, and in 3, it's discovered what that data was used for. Given Shepard's state of mind at that point, it's probably for the best that s/he never put together the Awful Truth: Shepard made Sanctuary possible.
    Reaper IFF successfully retrieved. Loss of Cerberus team on the Reaper vessel unfortunate but unsurprising. Will use team's health records for comparisons against husks encountered on Reaper for possible insight into indoctrination and husk conversion process.
  • The Rachni War: The cause of the Rachni War is rather nebulous because the only source available was still an egg at the time. Apparently the Rachni were controlled by "oily shadows" through being forced "to resonate with ITS own sour, yellow note". That might have been the first attempt of Sovereign to reach the Citadel. The lack of reaper augmentation could be explained by Sovereign either being arrogant enough to believe he won't need to use it, or being careful not to reveal himself. At this point he wouldn't know why the Citadel won't activate and might assume the current cycle knows about him. What is horrifying about this: Had Sovereign been successful, the Reaper invasion would've happened around 83 A.D.! And we don't know where the threshold for harvesting is. Only an assumption regarding the Yahg becoming the next dominant space-faring species if the Crucible plan fails.
  • The more one thinks about asari mating the weirder and more sinister it gets. Since they have a social stigma against having children with other asari, what caused the switch when they discovered other sentient species, or was that stigma always there leading to a theory from earlier on this page? What if the stigma is based on some old government policy to lead to cultural domination? Total colapse of other species seems unlikely simply because of the salarian's male-female ratio and amphibian mating cycle. By trying to avoid backlash by giving too much detail the developers left a lot of questions, and an active imagination can be a terrible thing.
  • In the meeting with Vigil, he mentions that Sovereign didn't wake up recently, but occasionally got up every now and then over the last fifty thousand years to check on things. Makes one start to wonder where those anti-AI laws the Council are so hell-bent on came from, especially when there doesn't seem to be any pre-geth incident that could justify such fear.
    • Meanwhile, why has no-one besides Liara ever noticed "gosh, there are a heck of a lot of dead civilisations just lying around, all of which seem to have gone the same way"? Maybe Sovereign, and its hench-people, have been making sure no-one notices, one way or another.
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