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Neglectful Precursors

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"That ancient race sure built a lot of weapons... I mean, did they really need to spend all their time building stuff to destroy the universe? Like, how about the galaxy's biggest movie theatre or some kind of super-advanced water park? All work and no play, guys, seriously."
Grif, Red vs. Blue

Precursors; kindly ancient civilization or deadbeat parents? You decide, on today's episode of Judge Troper's Court!

The plaintiff: The Adventurer Archaeologist claims that the Neglectful Precursor has left this galaxy and not provided a proper means of child support. He further alleges that the abundance of sealed evils with flimsy seals and easily found keys, the leaving of outstanding debts with ancient enemies bent on collecting from humanity, and the presence of civilization-shattering plagues are clear signs of neglect. The plaintiff demands that the ancients stop leaving dangerous weapons lying about for villains to acquire, or else make access to them morality-sensitive, so only heroes can use them to pay off previous debts.

The defendant: Claims that since they've become Energy Beings thousands of years ago, they have evolved past conventional morality but are nonetheless caring for humanity or "testing it", evidenced by their "wise" decisions to hold back Lost Technology until we're ready to use it, and scatter the keys to important technology so it can be used again. They defend their "long distance parenting" as character building, making sure the threats humanity faces are in line with its skill, and that there's always one more Lost Superweapon around for each. They assure the court they "always knew we would win." And finally, the defendant argues that there needs to be a cutoff point where their actions, inaction, and remaining artifacts stop being the excuse for everything bad that happens in the universe— that they did the best they could under circumstances beyond our comprehension— and where the younger races start realizing that they are responsible for their own mistakes.

The Verdict? You decide!

See Abusive Precursors for Precursors that go beyond merely "guilty", or Benevolent Precursors for civilizations up for the "Precursor of the Eon" award. If a character is a god-like being, and they exhibit these qualities, it qualifies the setting for Class 2 of the Sliding Scale of Divine Intervention.


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  • Your Honor, for unbelievable negligence, incredible incompetence, blinding hypocrisy, and a refusal to take any responsibility at all for crimes, misdemeanors, or even basic sapient decency, the prosecution requests that The Ancients of the Stargate-verse be assessed the maximum civil and criminal penalties available under the law. A summary of their deeds and lack thereof is as follows:
    1. Refuse to help normal people ascend to Energy Beings save on their own merits and punish those who do. Fair enough, but they also won't allow anyone who ascends to help mortals, bringing down the banhammer at the slightest sign of rule-breaking.
    2. Refuse to help any of the "lower beings" at all, including against monstrous, Always Chaotic Evil beings that will kill or enslave everything in their path. Which is EXTREMELY hypocritical considering they're directly or indirectly responsible for the creation of almost all of them in the first place. Anyone of their kind that does attempt to help are treated worse than those that attempt to help them ascend. Witness: Daniel Jackson.
    3. Rarely took security measures (and almost never left instructions) regarding the legions of Pointless Doomsday Devices they left like so much trash throughout various galaxies including one capable of exterminating all life in the galaxy and another that could not be shut off once activated.
    4. Leaving other technologies throughout the galaxy, including a means of achieving immortality that causes insanity if used, to be exploited by anyone who discovered them. This resulted in the Goa'uld transforming from a simple parasitic species to the tyrannical rulers of the entire Milky Way Galaxy.
    5. Directly responsible for the creation of two horribly powerful, ravenous, immensely destructive beings (the Pegasus Replicators and the Wraith). After exterminating their mistakes, they chose to ascend. Rather than use their ascended knowledge to fix the problems they had created they left their monstrous creations to slaughter countless millions of lives.
      • Your Honor, I must note that important evidence has recently emerged with regard to the creation of the Wraith. It has come to the prosecution's attention that the Wraith came about due to an experiment to achieve Immortality. Unwilling to test the process on themselves or their fellow Ancients, the researchers instead used a "lesser" species: humans. The majority of the test subjects did not survive the transformation. When it became clear that the survivors could only sustain themselves by feeding on the life force of humans or (more importantly in the researchers' eyes) Ancients, they imprisoned the newly-created Wraith and planned their extermination, which was prevented by the Wraith escaping and killing their captors. The Wraith Queen Alabaster and Teyla Emmagan, descended from human-Wraith hybridization experiments, can both testify to genetic memories of these events. The Wraith Old One is the only known survivor of the original Wraith and could also confirm through firsthand knowledge, but is unlikely to recognize the validity of this court and more likely to see it as a snack.
      • It should also be noted that, in their war with the Wraith that lasted thousands of years, the Ancients with all of their superior technology never bothered to look for a way for Wraith and humans to coexist. Yet in a matter of mere years, a combined research group of Tau'ri and Wraith have developed an experimental retrovirus that allows a human to be fed upon by a Wraith without any permanent damage at all. Preliminary field tests have demonstrated that it works in at least some humans, with wider trials planned in the immediate future. Not only that, but some were able to genetically modify Wraith so they need not feed on humans at all. Had the Ancients been willing to even consider possibilities other than a war of extermination, billions of lives could well have been saved.
    6. Intentionally created, in the Pegasus Galaxy, Stargates that terminate in orbit around planets without including a warning system. In fairness, sometimes even the gates on planets opened into environments that had become non-survivable in the intervening centuries, and of course hostile beings may lie in wait at other gates, so anyone with a lick of sense will send a probe through first.
    7. One of the aforementioned Always Chaotic Evil beings managed to ascend and attempted to use the Ancient knowledge for his own benefit. Because his ascension had been aided by another the Ancients responded by only partially de-ascending him, leaving him with all of his knowledge (as well as being effectively unkillable).
      • This was done purely for a petty guilt trip on the person who had ascended him. Even if her decision was wrong they allowed Anubis to kill millions of innocent people not only without restraint but with their explicit protection. Effectively setting a murderer loose in a building full of helpless children and then preventing anyone from stopping the killing, putatively to teach a moral lesson.
      • It does deserve to be pointed out here that when Daniel asked Oma Desala who the other people in the space-diner were, and if they were Ancients, she replied that "some of them" were, but not all. From this, it's relatively simple to note that the Ancients were only one group among the "Others" and are entirely plausibly neither the most numerous nor the oldest of them.
    8. The justification given for their constant absence is not wanting to involve themselves with mortal affairs, believing they do not possess the right to wield such power in such a way. Yet when the Ori, beings comparable to the Ancients to whom they should have no such restrictions, set their sights on the Milky Way galaxy they are allowed to just waltz in on a technicality. In addition, they are perfectly willing to break this non-interference clause when their own well-being is at stake, sending Morgan Le Fay to stop Merlin (who at the time was descended and should have been out-of-bounds) when he made a device capable of killing ascended beings.
    9. The Morgan Le Fay case bears further elaboration, as she very carefully leaked information to the humans, while the rest of the Ancients watched her. The moment she tried to do anything but be vague, she was dragged away, never to be seen again. At least until the Ancients needed her again.
    10. The primary aspect of the Ancients non-interference pact is long as there are no ascended powers being used. That seems reasonable. Yet when Adria fully ascended, and later came down to our lowly plane of existence and acted with her full powers, did the Ancients finally stand up and say, "No"? Well, no. While Adria returned to the Ori galaxy and never returned to the Milky Way afterwards, thus the Ancients were still playing by their (pompous, overblown, immoral) rules, the very fact that their rules allow for such a loophole merely strengthens the case against them.
    11. Decided to ignore any and all precautions regarding the safeguard of their technology, or leave any kind of warning regarding their technology, even when clearly having the power to manipulate the physical environment to do so. This extends to the Ancient Library of Knowledge and the Destiny Chair, both of which are designed so that if the users aren't pure Ancient, it kills them.
      • The defense would remind the prosecution that's what the ATA gene was for: locking out access to their technology for any non-Ancients. Dr. Rush does say in Universe that the ship Destiny pre-dates the ATA gene and genetic locks, so it's clearly something they added later on, perhaps for that very purpose (security). Unfortunately, that didn't stop sufficiently determined societies from getting around the locks (if you build it, somebody's going to find a way to tear it down), and the presence of the gene in a subset of the human population is thanks to a couple of post-Atlantis Ancients "getting frisky" during their brief time back in the Milky Way before ascending.
    12. Furthermore, there is evidence that the Ancients were effectively incompetent, as they a) were not able to cure a plague that a Goa'uld symbiote is able to cure with no side effects, b) were not able to utilize their own technology to go back into time, instead creating a time loop/trap for other races to discover, c) were not able to defeat either the Wraith or the Replicators even though the "primitive" Tau'ri were able to, and d) were not able to hold Atlantis after being given control of it back again, because of their arrogance and general incompetence.
      • The defense argues point #3 also applies to the Asgard vis-a-vis the Replicators, and #4 is the fault of Rodney McKay editing the Asuran base code, thereby allowing them to edit it themselves and remove the restriction on attacking their creators.
      • They appear to have laws against theoretical research or practical results of time travel, discussed in one of the Atlantis episodes when Weir went back in time.
      • They left a time travelling puddle jumper on Atlantis. Even if they lock Atlantis and the Jumpers from activation by those without the Ancient gene, they have no idea what might happen to the city in the future which could have included the time jumper making its way to the surface and being discovered by anyone. In a universe where meddling with time travel can drastically alter history AND existence being in a multiverse, this is a horrifyingly stupid technology to leave hanging around.
      • Furthermore, your honor, they also left a functional time machine in a puddle jumper in the Milky Way galaxy.
    13. Allowed one of their number (Orlin) to give advanced weaponry to a civilization attempting to defend itself against the Goa'uld — said civilization then proceeded to use this technology to plot conquest against other worlds. Then acted to prevent this aggression by committing genocide against said civilization. While leaving the advanced weaponry intact, thereby providing themselves with an excuse to murder any other race curious enough to try activating it.
    14. So, the prosecution suggests we extend the verdict to Guilty, guilty, hypocritical Lawful Stupid Energy Being scumbags. Thankfully, the Ancients turned out to be so neglectful they actually left behind the keys to creating the sangra'al, a device capable of destroying themselves. All in favor of capital punishment?
  • The Defense would like to point out that the reason the Ancients didn't fight the Ori or Adria was that they were in fact more powerful than the Ancients. It is stated that any human who believes in the Ori makes them more powerful on the ascended plane. As the series went on the population of the entire Ori galaxy and a large portion of the Milky Way was helping the Ori, and all that power switches from being split by a whole race to concentrated in one single being. It would've been frankly suicidal for the Ancients to directly intervene, but letting SG-1 fight in their own way kept the focus away from themselves. Also, why would the Ori need to cheat and create a human with some Ori powers that wasn't ascended? Because the Ancients were preventing them from intervening directly, which would have been a thousand times worse.
  • The convenient (alleged) banishment of Morgan Le Fey (a powerful Ascended Ancient) to the galaxy wherein lived the Ori, conveniently accompanying SG-1 through the Supergate, conveniently being present to heal Teal'c of mortal injury, conveniently giving Daniel Jackson the knowledge and means to sever Adria's power, and conveniently being on-hand to destroy her once her power had been severed, all while sticking exactly to the letter of their rules, should not be ignored.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The prosecution would like to submit to the court the cases of a number of humans in Fullmetal Alchemist (2003) who become Neglectful Precursors of much stronger beings than they are themselves. Because of bad initial appearance they dump their creations, which made them hate humanity or seek very cruel ways to become humans, made worse when the Big Bad helps them survive and gain power by feeding them Philosopher's Stones.
  • Your Honor, I would like to mention the Unnamed Aliens from Happy Seven. They were fighting so much they created a super weapon strong enough to blow up the universe, hid it inside Earth, then left. And, then they waited till there was actually less than 5 minutes left to decide to come stop the machine.
  • The prosecution presents it case against Humanity in the manga Hotel. Humanity are precursors to the sentient computers, one (Louis) whose task is to ensure that the DNA of all Earth life is protected and a second whose task is to protect the DNA of humans in order to colonize another world in hopes of saving the species. While the creations of Louis may or may not be independent sentient robots separate from itself the creation of his counterpart in space certainly are... We're assholes who did nothing but cause Earth to die and died in the process ourselves leaving Earth an unlivable wasteland.
  • The tribunal for Lyrical Nanoha will now convene.
    • Your Honor, I bring before the court the case of Al-Hazard. The defendant is charged with the creation of no less than twenty-one 'Jewel Seed' Lost Logia with a combined output capable of fracturing reality, with an ease of use even a child could use.
    • The tribunal will also hear evidence against the Belkan Empire, which at its height created a fully functional warship equipped with drone fighters, as well as the abominable tool called the "Book of Darkness", both weapons capable of planetary destruction and left lying around to be found by a modern villain and an ordinary nine-year-old who was guilty of nothing, but unable to contain its power.
  • In the case of The People V. Humanity in Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind. It engineered a vast, vast number of Weapon of Mass Destruction, which include the titanic cyborg-like God Warriors, destroyed the entire ecosystem of the whole world, and finally all but perished in the Seven Days of Fire. But its greatest sin was to create the Heart of Shuwa, a biological computer which contains a human-like consciousness, and which, when found by the few surviving humans, dispensed just enough scientific knowledge to enthrall them. Additionally, war technology pre-Seven Days of Fire is still scattered across the planet, including the aforementioned God Warriors.

    Comic Books 
  • Your Honor, I present to the Court the Guardians of the Universe from Green Lantern — while it is true they created the intergalactic police force now known as the Green Lantern Corps, and that they have had a major role in the defeat of the Anti-Monitor, Superboy-Prime, and Mandrakk the Dark Monitor, there has been an ever-growing list of incidents which leads the prosecution to wonder exactly what is it that the Guardians have been doing with that power.
    • For starters, the Court is presented with evidence of the Guardians' creation of the Psions. They were given immeasurably powerful technology and isolated from the universe at large so they could strive to comprehend it without interference. Except the Psions have done just that, leading to a Vicious Cycle in which they discover their origins, Go Mad from the Revelation that their entire existence is an experiment, destroy all technology and start anew. Furthermore, the path the Guardians set the Psions on has arguably pushed them into a spiral of abuse of other species, creating a race of Mad Scientists.
    • The Guardians covered up the crimes of a rogue member of their collective, one Krona, namely: reprogramming and unleashing the berserk Manhunters on Sector 666, which ended in nigh-complete genocide; destroying entire universes in his mad quest to know of their creation; manipulation of the Emotional Entities; first contact with Nekron; and pouring entropy into the newborn universe, dramatically shortening its lifespan and creating the Anti-Monitor.
    • The Guardians, in fact, have a noted record for hiding the records of their past failures, even though knowledge of this could prove critical in eventually saving the Universe as a whole, to make themselves look not completely terrible and/or incompetent. Examples of this include the sealed Apokolips campaign (in which hundreds if not thousands of Lanterns were slaughtered against Parademons), the existence of the Parallax Fear Entity (which led to the destruction of the Corps and the near-death of the universe), and most egregiously, the smear campaign against Abin Sur and Ganthet and the sealed records pertaining to the truth about Nekron and the prophecy of the Blackest Night, in which they continuously suppressed vital information and fomented discord within the seven Corps, which were all vital in the banishment of Krona and the end of the Blackest Night.
    • They ceded control over the Orange Light of Avarice to Larfleeze so they wouldn't have to bother containing it themselves, implicitly washing their hands off the entire Vega System, creating a safe haven for the criminal Spider Guild, their own even less restrained cousins the Controllers, and the Psions, and allowing the Citadel to enslave Tamaran, killing millions.
    • When questioned by the abomination Nekron, a Guardian was asked exactly why his people had chosen to patrol the cosmos. His answer — "I don't remember". — only serves to underpin how far the Guardians have strayed. For the record, it was to atone for Krona's actions, though they quickly became enchanted with the idea of establishing themselves as the de facto authorities of the universe.
    • In another earlier case, the Guardians chose to sentence one of their own, Appa Ali Apsa, to mortality and exile because he had decided to preserve the life of one Green Lantern over preserving the environment in a clear Catch-22 situation. While he eventually regains his immortality, Appa Ali Apsa's experiences as a result of his exile are one of the chief reasons why he subsequently goes mad and brings in various cities from across the universe to use as his playthings, crossing the line himself into Abusive Precursor. Interestingly, their hypocrisy becomes more notable when earlier they elected not to strip the above-mentioned Krona of his own immortality after his repeated crossings of the Moral Event Horizon, leading to much further misery.
    • They booted one of the all-time greatest Green Lanterns, Hal Jordan, for a full year, because they felt he was protecting Earth too much. All well and good if those were crises humanity could feasibly handle without a Green Lantern, but given Earth's status as a galactic Weirdness Magnet, the Guardians frankly exceeded their heavy-handedness here, particularly given how many of those crises were partially or fully their own fault.
    • After corralling much of the universe's mystical energy into the Starheart (mainly because they feared magic and wanted to eliminate it so they and their Green Lanterns could better police the universe), they failed to keep it properly contained, creating a dangerous abomination with a serious grudge against them.
    • In their haste to roll out their new Internal Affairs officers, the Alpha Lanterns, the cyborg conversion surgeries they pushed deadened the volunteers' minds to the point of eliminating any form of personality due to their connection to the Book of Oa. And to add insult to injury, their so-called infallibility turned out to create perfect hosts for Apokoliptian entities during the Final Crisis and the production facilities were easily subverted by the Cyborg Superman afterwards.
    • The prosecution wishes to alter its charge to Abusive Precursors in light of the recent revelation that the Guardians are now, in fact, trying to murder absolutely everyone.
  • The tribunal for the Marvel Universe will now convene.
    • The prosecution submits the case of the Celestials to the court's attention. Let it be known that the Celestials did willingly tinker with humanity's genes, creating the Eternals and the Deviants, as well as sticking the X-Gene into humanity's genetic mix. They also happened to leave behind one of their advanced spaceships where it would be found by En Sabah Nur, one of the first mutants resulting from the X-Gene. One can guess at the sort of use he put the Celestials' technology to by the fact that he renamed himself Apocalypse. Then it turns out they let En Sabah Nur nick their stuff so he would owe them a favor, heedless of the consequences. In another case, the Celestials deemed the Terminex unfit for further evolution and wiped them out, they did not see fit to finish the job and let the Terminus project they left behind alone. This resulted in the destruction of entire ecosystems in numerous galaxies and may have been the end of life as we know it on Earth if not for the efforts of the Fantastic Four. For added kicks, the Terminus project only began in response to Celestial aggression in the first place and would have taken a trivial amount of effort for them to put an end to it.
    • Your Honor, I would like to submit evidence against the Deviants, who left enough advanced tech down in Subterranea, along with multiple bioengineered Servant Races and and giant monsters just waiting to be ordered around by the first shmoe to come across them, for both the Mole Man and Tyrannus to become super-villains. Of course, since the practical upshot of this is two guys making life harder for surface humanity, the Deviants are probably fine with it.

    Fan Works 
  • The prosecution submits the evidence of Child of the Storm, which underlines the above-mentioned example of the Celestials, who meddle in the fates of lower species at their own whim. While the case of the Atlantean Empire and Asgard's involvement in it would normally be considered a clear-cut case of this trope, giving humans knowledge and technology (primarily Magitek) that they were most definitely not ready for, the prosecution accepts that Asgard has learnt its lesson and most definitely intends not to do it again.
  • The prosecution submits the case of extra-dimensional aliens seen in Fractured (SovereignGFC) and its sequel, Origins. While they had noble goals, their selfishness and a species-wide fight over how to interpret their own shared faith resulted in some rather poor decision-making, as follows:
  • The prosecution submits a parallel case on behalf of The Weaver Option against the Old Ones, as detailed under Warhammer 40,000 further down this docket. The C'Tan allege, with persuasive evidence, that the creatures known as "Tyranids" were in fact created by the Old Ones under the pseudonym "Project Oblivion". Not only did the Old Ones fail to control the Tyranids or stop their subsequent rampage, when the C'Tan attempted to remedy the situation a member of the Old Ones contained and then hid specimens rather than allow their extermination. The end result of this includes the creation of the Death World Catachan by Hive Tyrant corruption and the numerous Hive Fleets destined to eradicate all life in the galaxy millions of years after the Old Ones perished.
  • The prosecution would like to accuse humanity of being this in The Writing on the Wall, for constructing an imposing tomb thousands of years before ponies learned how to produce masonry. It wasn't a tomb, but a nuclear waste storage facility, and the ponies that explored it are now dying of radiation sickness. However, the defense argues that the precursors tried to warn them away, but because the ponies couldn't read their writing and just assumed it was a setup to deter grave robbers, the clear warnings became Schmuck Bait. The defense would also like to note that this is an actual Real Life concern to people working on this problem: that all their attempts to warn people off will only entice future lifeforms that can't read the languages used to warn them.

    Films — Animation 
  • The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part: With Watevra Wa'Nabi being created accidentally by Emmet, the residents of Bricksburg turn out to be this way towards the Systarians. The Bricksburgers — and, later, Apocalypseburgers — are very much opposed to Watevra's attempts of forging an alliance with them.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Your honour, my clients, the species known as 'homo sapiens or humanity' wish to file charges against the species known only as 'engineers' as portrayed in Prometheus. Having created humanity through an unsupervised and uncontrolled genetic experiment, these engineers then left clues as to their location on humanity's homeworld. When humans followed these clues, they became the victims of advanced bioweapons that had been left lying about by the engineers in clear violation of basic safety regulations. Furthermore, the engineers are responsible for the creation of the species known as 'xenomorph', which presents a clear and present danger to all those who encounter it and can be found in multiple locations around the galaxy as a direct result of poor oversight.
  • The tribunal for Star Trek will now convene.
    • To be tried in absentia: the unspecified race which dispatched a probe to Earth's humpback whales in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. This species, alleged to have long been in peaceful contact with said whales, equipped their probe with the capacity to communicate with these creatures underwater... and to decimate Earth's indigenous ecosystems, in the event that the whales failed to respond. Even if the probe's makers were unaware that whales were not Earth's only sentient residents, such environmental sabotage is reckless and unconscionable. Moreover, if the whales' language were to change in the millennia between one probe's visitation and the next, rendering them incapable of a coherent response, then the probe's "peaceful communication" might well have exterminated the humpback species long before humans could do so! Your Honor, I submit a charge of reckless endangerment on behalf of plaintiffs George and Gracie, and of negligent homicide on behalf of other Earth life forms killed by the probe's transmissions.
    • Also to be tried in absentia: the "Ancient Ones" of Altamid in Star Trek Beyond. The Ancient Ones left behind Bio-Augmentation technology that allowed the user to absorb the life signs of anyone, their own species or otherwise, and thousands, if not millions, of small mining ships that could easily be repurposed as weaponry in the hands of a maniac... like someone who had used the aforementioned Bio-Augmentation technology for too long. The fact The Swarm's only effective strategy is a Zerg Rush prevents starships from adequately defending themselves against it, unless the crew is able to work out that broadcasting loud music over their communications prevents these ships from working together, something most crews don't have time to work out. Moreover, the Ancient Ones fired a Phlebotinum Bomb, capable of completely disintegrating humanoids, into space and hoped no one would get their hands on it; the fact this weapon fell into the hands of a genocidal maniac with a hatred of peace and cooperation proves that they should have carried out an action that ensured its destruction. Your Honor, I submit a charge of reckless endangerment on behalf of following plaintiffs: the surviving crew of the USS Enterprise, Jaylah, and pretty much every surviving resident of Starbase Yorktown. I also submit a charge of negligent homicide on behalf of everyone whose life signs were drained by Captain Balthazar "Krall" Edison, Anderson "Manas" Le, and Jessica "Kalara" Wolff, the casualties of the Battle of Altamid, Ensign Syl, and the casualties of Starbase Yorktown.

  • Your Honor, The Elder Gods of the Cthulhu Mythos would like to plead guilty, except that they have no concept of guilt.... Also, they want permission to use the buffet, that being what they prefer to call the jury. Nyarlathotep has also indicated that he pleads not guilty, on the grounds of actual malice.
  • Your Honor, the prosecution respectfully wishes in indict The Great Old Ones from The Dark Tower. These precursors left incredibly dangerous artifacts which regularly killed and maimed the people of Mid-World.
  • Your Honor, the prosecution would like to bring suit against the Heechee of the Heechee Saga, who are responsible for leaving behind advanced technology when fleeing from the Assassins, which was bound to be found by a younger race and, without proper instructions on the use, would likely end up misusing it to disastrous ends. Furthermore, the continuous use of said technology is what attracted the attention of the Assassins toward the Heechee in the first place, which means that, by leaving such technology for anyone to use, the Heechee have doomed an unfortunate young race (namely, humanity) to extinction.
  • If it pleases the court, the plaintiff will now present exhibit A from Illuminatus!, which documents the decision by Swift Kick, Inc, a notoriously shoddy planetary construction firm, to shave off costs by making life on Earth mortal, including all possible sentient life forms arising on the planet.
  • Every last sapient species and subspecies descended from deserted Pak Breeders in the Known Space universe have had more than sufficient cause to look up exactly how much it would cost them to head to the Core and sue Pak Protectors for their shoddy long term social engineering projects. Too much.
  • Your honor, while the Aldenata of Legacy of the Aldenata are already charged with abuse in conscripting the Posleen as soldiers, additional charges of neglect and reckless endangerment have been brought against them. Nearly every sentient species suffers from one genetic anomaly or another that has caused their race great distress. For example, I present the Posleen once again, a race recklessly modified in such a way that their need for food far exceeds the ability of any planet to provide a stable supply. The many worlds left stripped of life and irradiated by the Posleen's nuclear wars are as much the fault of the Aldenata as the Posleen. For corroborating evidence, I would like to introduce the Darheel, a species of predator that is no longer capable of consuming meat, which has led to species-wide mental problems and the Indowy who have for all intents and purposes been condemned to slavery owing to a genetically induced inability to stand up for themselves either mentally or physically.
  • Your Honor, the prosecution would also bring suit against several culprits from the Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • First, the T'lan Imass. Their ritual sealing of captured Jaghut and Forkrul Assail proved ineffective in the long term as any person with sufficient strength and interest could remove the rock and thus release the trapped being. In addition, their actions directly contributed to the destruction of magic at various locations around the world, which continues to this day.
    • The Jaghut themselves weren't slacking off either. Known for having created some other races just for fun (they didn't need them for anything in particular), some of those sentient or semi-sentient killing machines (the Boles, the Nachts), they then just up and left them to do whatever they pleased, which includes looking for new things to hate and kill because, well, that's what they do best.
    • Not to forget the Azathanai, who can be credited for creating most of the known races in the Malazanverse. Some still have some connection to whatever race they created, but some simply don't care anymore or think their creations deserve what they get.
  • The plaintiff brings the precursors of the Morgaine Cycle to court, having created a system of star gates that slowly tore the fabric of reality apart (This is not known until several hundred years after the network is finished). Eventually they discover this, after which they then proceed to cause an energy cascade that wipes out their entire race, just to destroy the incredibly dangerous gates. Unfortunately, one survives and is copied to create another network by a second precursor race who are almost wiped out warring with each other over whether the gates are dangerous or not. The last member of said race is the titular Morgaine, who embarks on a million-year journey to close all the gates. Some others remain trapped on worlds as Sealed Evil in a Can, and these fall under Abusive Precursors, as they typically run slave empires.
  • The Norby Chronicles: The Others are an alien race that intentionally minimize the evidence of their existence. The Others are responsible for creating the robotic Mentors of Jamyn, leaving instructions to uplift the native species of fire-breathing lizards. They also transported the original colony of humans to the planet Izz and established a Computer General on the planet Garden. They have three eyes and four limbs, but are otherwise humanoid. During the "present", they have become dedicated space travellers, and won't revisit the people that they've helped.
  • The Consu from Old Man's War have created the sentient race Obin without a sense of consciousness. Even though it turns out the Consu consider lacking consciousness to be an ideal state of being, the fact that they never told the Obin this little fact and treated the Obin like a bunch of irritating insects who should stop asking questions definitely qualifies them as neglectful.
  • Rebuild World: Pretty much all monsters encountered in the story, be it a Weaponized Animal Mechanical Monster or just plain robots, are left-over security drones from the Old World precursors who disappeared in a huge unknown disaster, and whose cities hunters scavenge for Lost Technology. Generally speaking, the Old World was pretty crazy about security. In fact, many of the monsters Akira fights are primarily there to serve as construction bots or household servants. There are even old-world vending machines with security high enough to have killed high-level hunters who tried to break in.
  • Your Honour, the prosecution would like to indict the Makers of Anara from Relic Master for flagrant violation of their research ethics guidelines, irresponsible tampering with an entire biosphere with Death World results, abandoning all the other inhabitants of Anara, creation of a biologically immortal Half-Human Hybrid which promptly proceeded to try and take over the world, and failure to ensure that their weather and climate control machines had fail-safes, thereby threatening the safety and security of the planet's entire population due to their inevitable degradation.
  • The Ship Who...:
    • Submitted to the jury, the Cridi of Ozran from The Ship Who Won, who installed a generator known as the Heart of Ozran that powered weather control and various artifacts that permitted teleportation, fireballs, flying, etc. When humans arrived, the upper echelons took up the artifacts and used them to maintain a spectacular lifestyle. No manuals were provided explaining that the weather control aspect was quite essential, or that overclocking the Heart meant sucking life from the biosphere, gradually desertifying Ozran.
    • Objection! Between the installation of the Heart and the arrival of humans, there came a race the humans call the Old Ones! The Cridi taught them the use of their artifacts, only for the Old Ones to steal them and relocate to mountain fortresses that unassisted Cridi could not reach. It was the dying race of Old Ones who received the new-landing humans and passed on their artifacts and lifestyle. When humans settled across Ozran they ignored the small Cridi and treated them as animals. Even so, when First Contact was finally made by outside parties, the Cridi set apart repairing the Heart and then willingly took part in the newly reorganized, less-spectacular Ozran society.
  • In Tales from the Flat Earth, the Gods created the universe, got bored with it, and now do nothing but stand around contemplating their own greatness. They've intervened in the world approximately three times in all of history, each of which was to deliver smackdowns on anyone who dared to challenge them.
  • A brief has been filed by the Kingdom of Astimata on behalf of the protagonists in Undefeated Bahamut Chronicle. The, yet unnamed, race responsible for littering the continent, if not the planet, with numerous ruins, seven of which have been found and documented, left these structures mostly intact, only being damaged by the ravages of time. Inside these structures are large numbers of feral living weapons that attack any nearby humans with indiscriminate fury, killing them for sport, and should the humans somehow manage to defeat them, breeding chambers have been found within (at least in episode 8 of the anime continuity) which simply replace them. Absolutely no signage or warning of any kind is placed around these structures, the only documentation exists inside them. Furthermore, the only truly effective way to fight these monstrosities is the advanced, and long-forgotten, weaponry and technology found within said structures, with little, if any, instructions in its use, leading to horrific, and unwilling, human experimentation, and at least one case of a massive living weapon of mass destruction, the Abyss Ragnarok being unleashed and wiping out numerous countries, and at least one case of a "ruins" structure itself being used as a weapon of mass-murder, by Hayes, an Ax-Crazy Omnicidal Maniac that the ruin's own internal systems recognized as being a blood descendant of said race. In addition, a lower-tier member of said race, Krulcifer, was also once found inside one of these structures with absolutely no idea of her heritage, or any information regarding these structures, except what she could get her own hands on, and discovered, purely by accident, that she's an "administrator" which can bypass certain security measures but would still be attacked by the living weapons mentioned above.
  • The Uplift Institute would like to find the lost patrons of humanity and prosecute them extensively for their abandonment of a semi-uplifted species. Such reckless behaviour cannot be tolerated, and an example must be set. Humanity is now a wolfling species and will likely die out within the next few thousand years, given galactic dogma against such species.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The races of Babylon 5 universe vs. the Shadows and Vorlons throughout their incarnations. However, the defense argues that the Vorlons directly explaining themselves to the Mimbari had disastrous consequences and that a hands-off approach was a logical next step, even if a misstep.
  • The people of Earth would like to bring charges against the Colonials and Cylons of Battlestar Galactica (2003) for abandoning technology and sentencing their descendants to:
    1. 140,000 years of struggle to reinvent things such as basic sanitation, agriculture, medicine, education, and the wheel!
    2. Sentencing their immediate descendants to the horrors of disease, famine, dying in childbirth, and lack of long-term protection from the environment (Earth was in an ice age, for frak's sake!), possibly hostile natives, and unknown indigenous flora and fauna.
    3. The loss of FTL drive and other advanced technologies, the loss of which to the present day (and possibly beyond) leaves us with no way to evacuate the planet in case of an asteroid strike. (And no, you can't blame Lee Adama for everything; the colonials and cylons all thought this was a good idea.)
    4. Left no messages or warnings to the descendants that "all of this has happened before and will happen again" if they don't "take care to be nice to our robots" — mainly because by giving up technology their descendants had to wait one hundred thousand years for someone to reinvent writing.
    5. And what is the backup plan? "Oh, we'll just interbreed with the natives!". Even ignoring you can't tell whether or not you can interbreed by looking at someone, even if Gaius frakking Baltar made the test, then you have no way of knowing whether or not you just exposed yourself to a disease that you have no immunity against, and without technology you have no way to find a cure or at least a vaccine. And that isn't even considering they have no idea whether the natives are even friendly to outsiders. Your Honor, I hereby move that they be found guilty not only of neglectful actions to their distant descendants but also guilty of neglectful actions to their immediate descendants as well.
      1. An amicus curiae brief has been filed by council representing Gaius Baltar advising the court that, in the event that the opportunity arises to breed with anything that may end up dooming humanity, Baltar will volunteer to test this to the satisfaction of the court.
      2. A point of order has been brought before the court. While Adama mentions that the natives were tested for genetic compatibility before the "backup plan" was even possibly considered as an option, the sample size is not known. Further, any concept of informed consent for this is clearly an impossibility as the natives were faced with beings with powers and abilities far beyond their comprehension, all of whom likely took samples of blood and other bodily fluids. This means that the Cylon and Battlestar humans' "master plans" of ending the war by stripping the Battlestar humanity of all technology and leaving them marooned on the back-water world later known as "Earth" not only introduced untold numbers of genetic defects when the inevitable cross-breeding occurred, but likely created all sorts of blood-letting cults and religions due to the mistaken belief that the "supernatural" entities that came visiting 140,000 years ago came solely for the purpose of harvesting their blood, organs, etc., and offering these body-parts up as a sacrifice would bring the "gods" back.
    • If my clients are to be found guilty, then they refuse to go down alone on this. If they get thrown in the stockade, then at least God and the Head entities should go down with them if not replace them entirely. They've got far more cosmological-level chops than my clients ever did, were interfering tremendously with their lives, and had ample opportunity to influence highly influential members of the community to say this is a bad idea (one of the greatest scientists of the era, and a heroine of the Cylon people). Instead, they seemed to have encouraged the whole abandonment of technology idea, manipulated their lives, and seemingly did not offer any advice to future generations despite the fact that, unlike my clients, they were immortal and didn't have heaps of species-wide post-traumatic stress disorder from years of multiple near-genocides, multiple actual genocides, being cramped up inside ships for years on end with the knowledge you may die at any moment, having to abandon the closest thing to a new home they got, getting betrayed by their siblings, having to deal with their first recognized intra-species conflict, and actually cleaning up Neglectful Precursor-esque messes like their malevolent child/grandchild/sibling robot races.
  • Buffyverse:
    • The prosecution brings forth charges against "The Powers That Be". All kinds of Big Bads and Monsters of the Week returned from previous 'defeats' on cue.
    • The descendants and apprentices of The Shadow Men would go on to form the Watchers Council. Good job on that one, guys.
  • The Time Lords and various other races throughout Doctor Who. The Court acknowledges the overwhelmingly positive difference the rogue denominated "The Doctor" has come to make in the grand scheme of things, but wishes to examine much more closely the society they hail from. For starters, the Time Lord President-for-Life Rassilon stands accused of multiple charges of genocide, successful deletion of entire races from the timeline, successful deletion of entire continua he judged not favorable to the Time Lords, experimentation on sentients (Time Lords included), countless charges of Mind Rape (including the manipulation that unhinged the Time Lord known as Koschei, alias The Master, making him directly responsible for every act of the madman) and one omnicide attempt. Internal info also reveals multiple purges, mounting evidence of massive racism (seeding life across the Universe to better fit the Time Lord template), and reckless experimentation on — and even more reckless disposal of — sentient weaponry. All in all, every piece of evidence paints him as a paranoid, hypocritical, psychotic individual obsessed with his own mortality and supremacy over all other forms of life.
    • It is also worth noting that the Doctor is not, technically, even a Time Lord - and as a child, was in fact a victim of the same kind of experiments that the Time Lords performed on other life forms, perhaps to an even greater extent in order to extract the secret of regeneration!
  • The tribunal for Red Dwarf will now convene.
    • Humanity themselves left a huge number of maladjusted sentient beings ranging from genetically engineered bioweapons to homicidal cybernetic war machines with indefinite lifespans to over-possessive gestalt entities to mind and emotion-sucking parasites. The only saving grace seems to be that they all want to kill all humans (virtually to the exclusion of everything else), which three million years into the future consisted mainly of Lister, and could be considered to be dropped to the lesser offense of "Having Your Own Race Destroyed by Your Foolish Creations".
    • If Ridiculously Human Robots may be counted as a "species", the prosecution brings forward the remains of the Wax Droids of the episode "Meltdown". After being abandoned for millions of years, they broke their programming, whereupon the Villain Wax Droids attacked the Hero Wax Droids and almost wiped them out (so the "good" wax droids were indeed left in the lurch). We are even forced to overhear the execution of Winnie the Pooh. It wasn't until Arnold Rimmer arrived and used his military "genius" to wipe out the entire planet.
  • The Humans, Romulans, Klingons, and Cardassians from Star Trek collectively give notice and file suit against the race identified only as "The Precursors" for the irreparable damage caused to their respective native genetics due to the willing and deliberate insertion of the Respondents own DNA into the native life which permanently altered the ecology of the planet. An amicus curiae brief has been filed by the producers of certain historical documentaries focusing on the late 24th century reminding the court that the insertion of this genetic material substantially lowered the costs and difficultly of depicting these events.
  • Supernatural: God is, in Dean's words, "just another deadbeat dad with a list of excuses". He created angels to be ever-obedient soldiers and made execution the punishment for rebelling against his commands despite most angels never even receiving proof of his existence. He is also responsible for the creation of the Leviathans, a species of pure evil Eldritch Abominations which he knew had the potential to destroy all of Creation. After realizing this, rather than taking away their Horror Hunger or even getting rid of them outright, he merely temporarily banished them to Purgatory. Furthermore, the fact that he locked them away before creating anything else meant that when they finally broke out, nobody had any clue how to fight them. After Lucifer's rebellion, God was so heartbroken by the corruption of his favourite child that he abandoned Heaven entirely. Or so he claims. The truth about God is much worse.
    Dean: If there's a God, what the hell is he waiting for, huh? Genocide, monsters roaming the Earth... the friggin' Apocalypse?! At what point does He lift a damn finger to help the poor bastards that are stuck down here?
  • The State Of New Mexico wishes to bring charges against the Greys of The X-Files. However, the evidence seems to have been destroyed by The Men in Black.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Forgotten Realms: The Dracorage Mythal. Making the device designed to put all dragons in the world at once into murderous madness may be justified by the extreme situation those ancient elves faced. But leaving it around for the rest of eternity (it survived even severe damage to the Weave)? Especially considering its short activation by a comet was not an inherent feature, but merely a control condition that could be changed by a competent enough wizard — which eventually happened.
    • The defense would like to point out that the elves later fought a several-millennia-long string of world wars with each other that totally destroyed most of the elven empires that created the mythal in the first place. Kind of hard to fix something when you no longer exist. Furthermore, recovered records indicate that the ease by which it was lost was partly the result of a deliberate policy of limiting information on the Mythal to those specific ancient elves that created the Mythal, with the benevolent intent of keeping any competent enough wizard from changing the control condition.
    • As it pleases the Court, it is the ancient elves that are on trial, not their modern-day descendants. That the ancient elves managed to destroy their own civilization without securing their Doomsday Device is exactly why they're being prosecuted.
  • The defense and prosecution will now begin selecting jurors for the case of the "Known World" vs. Blackmoor and Evergrun from Mystara. The prosecution charges that these two ancient civilizations aspired to technological greatness but succeeded only in damn near blowing up the world. Oh, and they left some spare nukes sitting around for their barbaric successors to tinker with, which is why the Known World now has a contaminated wasteland called the Broken Lands in the middle of it.
  • While the prosecution acknowledges that The Ancient Martians from Rocket Age weren't all responsible for the downfall of Mars, it must be stated that their millennia-long petty power struggles during the Canal Building era ensured that Mars never truly recovered. They also subverted the purpose of their religion and social structures for entirely selfish reasons, leading to Mars' current stagnant culture.
  • The mortals of the Scarred Lands franchise vs their Gods. The backstory of the series is a war against the amoral creators of the world, the Titans, and their rebellious children, the Gods. The Gods were unable to completely kill the Titans, so they just maimed and imprisoned them. Despite completely obliterating two of the Titans, the other Gods were left mostly whole and just imprisoned. Since then, the remains of the Titans has damaged the land and corrupted countless creatures, even the two who were almost destroyed. Despite the fact that the Gods now rule the world, they haven't shown themselves to be in any hurry to clean up their mess. Perhaps the most noticeable screw-up is what they did to the Titan Kadum, the Father of Monsters. They ripped out his heart, chained him to a rock, and threw him into the ocean. Unable to die, his blood continually seeps out of his chest, corrupting a large part of the ocean and all of the creatures inhabiting it.
  • Cases against those who came before in Star*Drive are pending. The setting is filled to the brim with ancient alien ruins, some of them quite advanced. Humans of various faiths (Hatire and Ancientist) find religious inspiration in these ruins, but this probably wasn't the intent of the precursors.
  • Ladies and gentlemen of this fine jury, The Old Ones' counterparts in Warhammer Fantasy are no better than the 40K version, disappearing shortly after Chaos arrived and leaving their servants the Lizardmen unable to properly run the place and a bunch of unfinished projects that would spiral out of control and create even more problems for those living within.
  • The tribunal for Warhammer 40,000 will now convene.

  • The Great Beings of BIONICLE were scientist-rulers on their planet, until they created the Element Lords to take over the "ruling" part so they could focus on the "science". This is perhaps the most damning display of negligence, creating proxies so that they can safely afford to neglect their subjects. (Though it could be argued that they did act responsibly in making sure there were proper replacements.) While things were all right for a while, Unobtainium was discovered and the Element Lords led their subjects in waging a No Blood for Phlebotinum war over it, one that only ended when said Unobtainium split the planet into pieces. The Great Beings tried nonviolent solutions, all of which failed. They eventually resorted to creating baterra robots, a last-ditch doomsday weapon programmed to end the war by killing all armed combatants. However, they were released too late to prevent the disaster, and later overrode their shutdown commands. While the sheer number of safeguards ensuring Mata Nui's functioning, as well as the attempts to stop the war and the disaster, argue against negligence, the issue of the Element Lords still looms large. However, it occurs to the court that the Great Beings are only precursors to Mata Nui and his inhabitants, not to the other races that they passed off to the Element Lords. So they were precursors and may have been negligent, but not both at the same time.
  • Charges have been found and filed against the Transformers being known as Primus: the defendant failed to properly expunge a deadly form of reproduction from the early Transformer ancestors, leading to the creation of the Swarm, an Omnicidal Maniac Eldritch Abomination that nearly destroyed several civilizations across the galaxy, including the modern-day Transformers. The defendant also created the Fallen, a creature that oversaw the universal element of entropy, an element that the defendant's brother and eternal enemy Unicron is the embodiment of, essentially handing the Chaos Bringer his very own avatar to do his bidding with. In short, thanks to the defendant's absentmindedness, he had an indirect hand in creating two of the Transformers' worst enemies, of whom only one had been "neutralized" (although the Swarm's "purified" form of the Vok could arguably be considered just as nasty as their previous selves), while the other is still at large and continues to plague the defendant's creations, on occasion. The defendant also is highly reluctant to wake himself unless there is a significant and direct threat either from Unicron himself, or against the defendant's person, and even then, he uses proxies to do the dirty work, for him; for instance, he allowed the Transformers to wage a civil war that lasted aeons and devastated and drained their home planet — the defendant's body — almost to destruction, with very little repercussions, but when Unicron began actively hunting down and consuming the sparks of the Transformers, thus weakening the defendant's power, the defendant hired one of the remaining Transformers to form an army against Unicron, and allowed him to choose a scant 2 soldiers from time and space to fill that army with.

    Video Games 
  • Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I present your defendants, the Eridians of Borderlands. While they did at least try to seal away their most dangerous creations, the execution leaves much to be desired. First, they allowed rumors of their Vaults to spread, ensuring a constant stream of treasure hunters seeking out their lost artifacts. Second, the Vaults are a far cry from secure; most Vaults are either guarded by a formidable but not insurmountable monster or locked with a poorly hidden key that causes the growth of a dangerous mineral if used. Frankly, the entire effort was just sloppy.
  • The Shee in the Creatures series created the Norns, fuzzy adorable little critters with rudimentary intelligence that they claimed to love as pets. But when they decided it was time to move on to a bigger, round world, they left most of the creatures they had created to die on their home planet.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • The people of the collective worlds of Final Fantasy wish to file charges against the Lufenian people. The plaintiff also wishes to directly charge Cid Lufaine and Shinryu in this incident. As evidence, we point to the Lufenian War, which was directly responsible for the creation of airship technology, the floating fortress (which was filled with weaponry), the relocation of the crystal of Wind to said fortress, the invention of the War Machine technology, initial contact with the being known as Omega, the invention of Manikins, and the creation of the beings known as Cosmos and Chaos. Cid Lufaine and Shinryu, while not the perpetrators of the original Lufenian conflict are indicted for the following: 1.) Usage of Cosmos and Chaos to involve the innocents of other worlds, 2.) The eventual freeing of Chaos from World B, and the Time Loop he created thereafter, 3.) Imprisoning innocents in their sick war games, in a location known as "World B." 4.) The inhuman treatment of said innocents as cattle to feed Chaos and Shinryu, and 5.) All incidents caused, directly or indirectly, by the actions of Cid Lufaine, Chaos, and Shinryu, who, implicitly, endorsed the atrocities committed by Mateus Palamecia, the Cloud of Darkness, Theodor "Golbez" Harvey, Ex-Death, Kefka Palazzo, Sephiroth, Ultimecia, Kuja, and Jecht, up to and including their willingness to repeatedly restore life to these individuals at the cost of life of the innocent.
    • The defense counters that most of the actions committed by Cid of the Lufaine were in the service of country Onrac. Onrac was in a war with another country using devastating weapons of mass destruction. The Onracian military hired Cid as a means of creating weapons to counter this enemy, while the Lufenians with all of their superior technology appeared to not have been directly involved in said war. Therefore, the entirety of the Lufenian people cannot be held directly responsible for the actions of one man, specifically Cid of the Lufaine.
    • Your Honor, I would like to bring forth the case of the people of Vana'diel from Final Fantasy XI versus Altana and the Celestial Avatars. Upon creating the world of Vana'diel Altana carelessly left the keys to undoing all of creation, the Mother Crystals, not in scattered places across the planet buried deep under the seas or mountains, but instead she left them easily accessible within hundreds of yalms of each other. And when the Zilart attempted to harness the power of the Mother Crystals nearly obliterating the planet, did she attempt to move the Mother Crystals or even destroy the machinery that the Zilart created? No! She left it all intact setting the stage for the same tragedy to unfold again! Instead, she sat back and watched while random people got together and fought back the various schemes that she could not be bothered to acknowledge.
  • Homeworld:
    • The citizens of the galaxy would like to present the following class-action suit against the ancient Hiigaran, Taiidani, and Bentusi empires. The actions of the ancient Hiigarans, Taiidani, and Bentusi resulted in the Hiigarans' descendants being exiled for 4,000 years on the barren desert world of Kharak, admittedly to prevent the ancient Hiigarans from enslaving the galaxy. The terms prohibited the exiles from developing certain technologies. However, the records of those terms were lost, so the Kushans had no idea of the danger. As a result, the modern Taiidani attacked in response, unaware that the Kushans had no way of knowing what was going on, wiping out all life on Kharak.
    • Movement to remove the Bentusi from the claim. Yes, they were involved in the original exile, but they were actively helpful to the modern Hiigarans and bore no grudge against them, even explaining the situation so the Hiigarans could understand why their homeworld was destroyed, which was done without the consent or help of the Bentusi.
  • Mass Effect:
    • In light of the testimony of Cmdr. Shepard, the Citadel races would like to file charges against the Catalyst, and its creators to be tried in absentia. These individuals are responsible for the creation of the Reapers, currently facing at least 740 counts of galactic genocide. Only their claimed rationale for allowing these acts, that they believed a Robot War to be inevitable, and thus created the Reapers to prevent sufficiently advanced races from creating sufficiently powerful synthetic races, prevents the plaintiffs from charging abuse rather than neglect.
    • In light of information emerging from Commander Shepard's First Contact with the last surviving descendants of their species, designated Leviathan, the defense seeks to amend its previous plea. The Leviathans admit to creating the Catalyst to find a solution to their vassal races' pattern of creating Artificial Intelligence and getting themselves wiped out in Robot Wars, but the solution the Catalyst chose, namely forcible conversion of sapient species into Reapers to preserve their knowledge, was taken without the Leviathans' input. Indeed, the Catalyst turned most of them into the first Reaper capital ship, Harbinger. Therefore, the defense enters a plea of nolo, requesting a sentence of time served and community service in the form of using their mental domination powers to help battle the Reapers in the current cycle.
    • Your Honor, plaintiffs would like to point out that the defendants are self-admitted enslavers of multiple species across the galaxy and, based on testimony of the Catalyst and the admission of the Leviathans themselves, are at best criminally negligent in their sloppiness in creating the problem in the first place, deserve no sympathy for what happened to them, and upon conclusion of the current hostilities should be terminated with extreme prejudice for the welfare of the entire galaxy.
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda brings a case against the Remnant builders, later identified as the Jardaan, who thanks to a lack of concrete evidence zigzag between here and Benevolent Precursors. Some four hundred years before, they created the angara, apparently either because they could, or for a process they dubbed "Renewal", which involved terraforming an entire stellar cluster. Unfortunately, they got into a fight with an unidentified race who dropped a Negative Space Wedgie on them, causing the Jardaan to declare "Oh, Crap! Let's get out of here" and run for it, leaving the control hub for their terraforming network behind. The recordings found suggest they did plan to come back sooner or later, but four hundred years on there's not been a peep from them... meanwhile, the angara were left behind on planets with malfunctioning terraforming tech, with no instructions, to make do.
  • Your Honor, I would like to submit another case: The Elder Gods from the Mortal Kombat series. They seem to be perfectly willing to allow the realms to be endangered by either a renegade Elder (Shinnok), a Knight Templar protector (Raiden), or other entity (Blaze). Even the times they do pay attention, the go back on their word, as Scorpion will attest. The verdict is in as of Mortal Kombat 11, and the Elder Gods' neglect charges are Deferred, per the Threats and Manipulation Clause. The Keeper of Time, the Titan Kronika, has been manipulating history to enforce her twisted idea of balance, and they were afraid to challenge her due to her command over time and the divine power at her command. The exception to this ruling is the Elder Goddess Cetrion, who is found Guilty on charges of Conspiracy and Serial Deicide.
  • Phantasy Star:
    • The people of Motavia in Phantasy Star IV would like to file for damages against their predecessors, the space-faring civilization of the first two games. They brought their civilization to Motavia, but after the Great Collapse, they failed to properly clean up their messes and Lost Technology, resulting in Biomonsters spawned from their old bio-systems research facilities and Killer Robots from their manufacturing facilities infesting the entirety of the planet, and the remnants of the old climate control facilities causing environmental degradation and earthquakes. The plaintiff does, however, recognize that the defendants' civilization was dealing with its own problems at the time, and had also been badly weakened by the manipulations of Dark Force and its pawns.
    • On behalf of all generations of Algolians, Chaz Ashley has submitted a claim against the Great Light for creating the Algol system solely as a cage for the Profound Darkness, and humanity as its jailers, and then leaving them with incomplete knowledge of the situation and a Leaking Can of Evil that spawns a Dark Force every millennium. Said appearances of Dark Force inevitably corrupt the entire civilization of Algol over a period of decades or centuries, and resulted in the destruction of Palma and the Great Collapse in Phantasy Star II, wiping out 90% of the system's population. The plaintiff further submits that the defendant has no interest in or concern for humanity's welfare, and that providing backup systems such as the Espers and Rycross was done solely out of its own interest in controlling the Darkness.
  • Quake IV exposits that the main villain, the Strogg are supposedly an initiative that broke free of its creators after a major war somewhere in the galaxy. Now the Strogg have become a menace to civilizations and invade to assimilate organisms into their war machine.
  • Runescape:
    • Your Honor, the plaintiff seeks an injunction against the alleged Elder God Jas. Jas left behind a stone that was supposedly used by the current gods to create the current Runescape from an empty plane. This is up for debate, but it is clear that the Stone of Jas was the real reason behind the devastating God Wars, which resulted in the extinction of several races, turned a populated area into the cursed region known as the Wilderness, and resulted in a single tribe of goblins hiding in a cave for centuries.
    • Furthermore, Jas cursed a group of creatures called the Dragonkin to guard the stone. And by guard, the plaintiff refers to their habit of causing mass destruction to the nearest human settlement whenever anybody uses the Stone. To break free of this curse, the Dragonkin have created corrupted versions of themselves called dragons to act as bodyguards. These dragons have caused massive loss of property and life.
    • Your Honor, the prosecution would like to present several exhibits. The Stone of Jas is one of 12 artifacts. The gods (not the Elder Gods, but the ones worshipped now) drew their power from these artifacts, and are responsible for cataclysmic conflicts.
    • As of the quest "Sliske's Endgame", the jury is on indefinite recess. As Jas explains, the Elder Gods think of mortals and current gods alike as vermin on their food source, the world of Gielinor. Unless the acting World Guardian provides proof of purpose, there's no reason for them to care one way or the other about mortal life and the newer gods.
  • Potentially the player in Spore. One of the achievements requires them to uplift a certain number of creatures. The easiest way to do this is to just randomly drop monoliths on every planet encountered without sentient life and then forget about it.
  • In their exodus from this area of the galaxy, the Precursors of the Star Control series absent-mindedly left behind a humongous battleship armed with superweapons that can wipe out entire fleets with each shot. Naturally, the enslaving Ur-Quan Kzer-Za stumble across it, naming it Sa-Matra. Among the numerous other artifacts the Precursors left behind are: bombs used as planeteering tools (one is used to put a hole in the outer layers of a star, causing it to flare like a supernova and sterilizing the entire inhabited system, and another is deemed powerful enough to destroy the Sa-Matra only after amplifying modifications are added by the Chmrr), the Mycon (biological planeteering tools that evolved into a race of fungi who terraform inhabited water worlds by force to their own scorching ideal conditions), and Inter-Dimensional-Fatigue-wave-generating devices (the study of which gets the Androsynth eaten by Lovecraftian extradimensional horrors). However, the defense argues that this was an act of self-defense. Word of God has stated that the sequel was always intended to explain what happened to the Precursors. Despite the fact that the original creators lost control over the IP before making said sequel; to some extent, the (non-canon) sequel Star Control 3 DID justify things. The Precursors had been searching for a way to survive a galaxy-wide genocidal sweep of sentient species from even more powerful space entities and failed to come up with a combative method of survival despite said superweapons.
  • The Eloh, the ancient precursors of Tabula Rasa, created a superscience capable of manipulating energy and matter by acts of will. They then went through interstellar space handing this stuff out randomly. When this didn't end well — surprise, surprise — they annihilated the entire military of the first race to rise against them, the Thrax, firmly cementing xenophobia. Then a small faction called the Neph went and enslaved the Thrax and went on a war against the rest of the universe to make sure no one would ever be their equals again, starting with the mainstream Eloh. Rather than actually fighting back or enlisting (or even warning) the sentient races across the universe, the Eloh just tossed various pieces of Applied Phlebotinum on random populated and unpopulated worlds. At least the Sages of the Zelda series bothered to seal away the evil in a can.

    Web Animation 
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: The Emperor has this view of Warhammer 40,000's Old Ones, not deigning to give every other lifeform a proper push towards evolution and fucking up every attempt at actually doing something good. Or, in his words:
  • The page quote comes from Red vs. Blue, namely Grif reacting to learning the Temple he just entered has an artifact built by an ancient civilization which happens to be a super weapon, and that those same precursors have built other doomsday devices. Though you can't blame him for not knowing that in the source material, the ancient civilization are very much Abusive Precursors.
  • Your Honor, the prosecution would like to bring suit against the Brother Gods from RWBY. As the progenitors of the world of Remnant, they have maintained balance over the planet for many eons, until a mortal woman by the name of Salem lost her lover Ozma to illness. She first went to the God of Light to plead for her dearly departed's resurrection, but he refused for what the prosecution believes are valid reasons. However, she went to the God of Darkness for the same offer, omitting the fact that she visited her brother first. Unlike before, this god fulfills her requests and resurrects Ozma, but the happiness was short-lived when the God of Light appeared, realizing what happened. The two brothers fight each other, but the God of Light reveals to this brother that Salem went to him first to ask for Ozma's rebirth. Realizing he had been tricked, the God of Darkness kills Ozma. Afterwards, both gods punish Salem for her actions with Resurrective Immortality, which bars her from the afterlife until she learns the importance of life and death. Now, the prosecution would like to note that while the brothers' judgement was sound, they grossly failed to consider that Salem was not the kind of person to take responsibility for her actions, which can be seen as nothing short of neglectful. What followed was Salem uniting all of humanity against the gods, ending in them wiping out humanity, sans Salem for the above reason. Once that was over, the gods resurrect Ozma with the goal of redeeming humanity, but Salem stands to bring it to discord with the belief that the gods will destroy Remnant and her along with it, ending her curse. In closing, the Brothers' decision led to an endless cycle of suffering for all involved.

  • The people of Chel'el'Sussoloth of Drowtales would like to bring charges against the Dokkalfar kingdoms. They opened nether gates, bringing demonic beings to feast upon our life energy. They squandered their homelands and forced their descendants to live underground and be transformed into monsters! For 1100 years, they then ruled us with an iron fist from afar in their towers above our city. Had they stepped down and agreed to share what they knew, perhaps the recent Nidraa'chal "incident" would never have occurred. Now, when we need them most, they refuse to teach our heroes how to fight the darkness, instead waiting for us to destroy ourselves before deciding it is time to rebuild.
  • The creators of our universe in Homestuck were caught up in other matters and never got the chance to shape it as gods. This was probably for the best, as several freely admit to wanting to abuse and exploit it. However, they definitely neglected to build it properly, thus dooming it to failure.
  • The Dragons from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! left behind one of the deadly Iridium Bombs from their ancient war that wiped out the dinosaurs. The government found it and human civilization almost got blown up in the ensuing scuffle.

    Western Animation 
  • Your Honor, the prosecution wishes to file suit against The Vok from Beast Wars. While likely not outright precursors like the Quintessons, there is considerable evidence to be presented: At least two of their machines were present on or in the orbit of prehistoric Earth prior to the Beast Wars. While appearing more curious than malevolent in the beginning, by the halfway point of the show, they were clearly shown as openly hostile, and omnicidal. Consider the following:
    • Their second expedition to prehistoric Earth was an experiment to test and gauge the threat level of the Transformers. When the robots failed, the Vok's third machine was revealed — one of Earth's moons turned out to be a heat ray capable of a Class X Apocalypse How event. This machine was used, and, if not for the intervention and sacrifice of Optimus Primal, would have achieved its purpose. Additionally, this device was indeed in orbit long before the arrival of the Transformers.
    • Also, their fourth machine, while not quite as destructive, still posed an enormous threat, once it was captured by Megatron. The security protocols were almost laughably inept at keeping the robots out, much less preventing a hostile takeover.
    • Finally, there is the arrival of the Vok themselves: intent on destroying the reality-breaking criminal Megatron, at a time when doing so would have created an equally damaging rift in time (i.e., the original Megatron's Spark was still inside his body). Furthermore, their lack of willingness to cooperate with, if not downright contempt for, Optimus Primal's warning about these consequences resulted in him nearly being killed.
  • Droners: There was a big interspecies war in the past of the show that apparently wiped out one side entirely. A lot of artifacts from that time remain, including many war machines, some of which still work one way or another.


Alternative Title(s): Neglectful Precursor