- 1 Asari
- 2 Humans
- 3 Krogan
- 4 Salarians
- 5 Turians
Data on the biology, culture, and history of the asari species.
Archaeological evidence shows that abundant Thessian resources and their natural tendency to cooperate helped ancient asari develop city-building, writing and agriculture unusually early. The tone of research papers suggests this a point of pride for asari scholars.
After studying a number of Prothean ruins and developing their space program, asari astronauts found their way to the Citadel, the most advanced station in the Milky Way, deserted since the Prothean extinction. Later, when salarian explorers reached the station, the asari proposed a joint government eventually known as the Citadel Council.
The asari have played a fundamental role in galactic politics ever since. Asari commandos served with distinction in the Rachni Wars, despite heavy losses, and krogan occupation of the asari colony Lusia was the tipping point for the Krogan Rebellions. In recent years, the asari have devoted themselves to diplomatic service, including helping to negotiate the 2157 human-turian ceasefire.
Renowned for their long life span, biotic ability, and diplomatic nature, the asari were one of the most influential species in the Milky Way. Asari explorers were the first to discover the immense Citadel Station, and it was the asari who first proposed the creation of the Citadel Council.
Asari are mono-gendered. Their unique physiology allows them to reproduce with any species via a form of parthenogenesis, passing on genetic traits to their daughters. Almost all asari are biotic, and the control over their nervous system allows them to hone their powers to heights few other species can match.
An asari can live for a thousand years, passing through life stages referred to as Maiden, Matron, and Matriarch. Asari Matriarchs are ancient and respected, often holding immense cultural and economic power, though no such frameworks exist in the Heleus Cluster.
Asari: Culture and Society
The asari come from Thessia, whose vast element zero deposits form the basis of the most powerful economy in the Milky Way. Living in small city-states, the natural asari tendency to cooperate led to the loose conglomerate known as the Asari Republics. Government operates as an "e-democracy"; policy discussions take place over the extranet and are open to all decisions are by consensus, or with the advice of politically minded Matriarchs.
The asari military is relatively small and informal, but no less lethal. Small units of volunteer asari commandos, also known as huntresses, handle peacekeeping operations in asari space and were among the first Council Spectres.
Their thousand-year lifespan gives most asari a long view of events. Investments social programs and environmental policies trend toward long-term rather than short-term rewards. This approach drew many asari to the Andromeda Initiative, undaunted by the centuries-long journey.
Though they appear feminine to many species, asari are a mono-gendered species. During reproduction, they provide two sets of genes to their daughters in a form of parthenogenesis, with the second set modified by contact with a partner. During asari melding, an asari attunes her nervous system to her partner, giving and receiving electrical impulses through the skin until the two briefly become one unified nervous system.
This fine control over their nervous systems contributes to the asari talent for biotics. Few species can train the level of control that most asari have by nature.
Since joining the Citadel, asari prefer to mate outside their own species, claiming that this fosters development and understanding. It also reduces incidences of Ardat-Yakshi, "pure-blooded" asari who suffer a dangerous genetic disorder. If asari are compatible with life in Andromeda, that will prove several theories about the fundamental building blocks of life.
Data on the biology, culture, and history of the human species.
Humans: Systems Alliance
The Systems Alliance is a supranational government that spearheads human space exploration and settlement in the Milky Way. The Alliance is responsible for the governance and defense of extra-solar colonies and stations, and officially represents humanity on the Citadel Council.
The Alliance was founded out of necessity, as no single nation could fund and manage the rapid expansion of humanity from Sol. The discovery of Prothean ruins on Mars had proven that alien contact was inevitable, earning international support for the Alliance that solidified after Alliance forces liberated Shanxi in the First Contact War.
Archived extranet articles, and Jien Garson's staff bulletins, reveal tensions between the Alliance and the Andromeda Initiative. Construction of dreadnought-sized ships and persistent rumors of AI development, which could have damaged humanity's standing on the Citadel, led to the Alliance demanding to oversee the Initiative's labs and shipyards. Negotiations continued until the day of the Initiative's departure.
The most respected Systems Alliance officer training is awarded through Interplanetary Combatives Training (ICT) at the Vila Militar in Rio de Janeiro. Candidates at "the villa" are initially given 20-hour training missions to lead teams through hostile terrain on little food or sleep.
Trainees who do well are awarded an internal designation of N1 and are invited to return. Subsequent courses—N2 through N6—are often held off-planet and include instruction in zero-G combat, military free-fall (parachuting), jetpack flight, combat diving, combat instruction, linguistics, and frontline trauma care for human and alien biology.
The highest grade of training, N6, provides actual combat experience in conflict zones throughout the galaxy. If the trainee survives these scenarios in "admirable and effective fashion," he or she finally receives the coveted N7 designation. N7 is the only ICT designation that may be worn on field or dress uniforms.
Humans: Early Spaceflight
The human philosopher Plato once said: "Astronomy compels the soul to look upward, and leads us from this world to another." For much of its recorded history, humanity has indeed looked to the night sky and dreamed of venturing to the stars. However, after the historic NASA Apollo 11 moon landing in 1969, the drive for crewed space exploration slowed as government funding dried up. The move towards cheaper unmanned probes and orbital stations gained traction instead, as one of the central obstacles was the expense of creating first-stage booster rockets that would be lost after each flight.
But the lure of sending people into the cosmos never lost its draw. In the early 21st century, a private company called SpaceX pioneered efforts in sustainable space travel by developing a reusable launch system. It revolutionized the field as the first entity, government or private, to successfully launch and then safely recover an orbital booster rocket intact, allowing it to be reused in future launches. Reusable hardware placed lower-cost, sustainable space travel within reach.
Galvanized by SpaceX's achievements, a renaissance in space exploration followed. Reusable launch system technology later became pivotal in establishing the European Space Agency's first permanent settlement on Mars, Lowell City, in 2103.
Data on the biology, culture, and history of the krogan species.
Krogan: Overlord Nakmor Morda
Leader of krogan colony New Tuchanka, Nakmor Morda has recently seized even more definite power and declared herself Overlord. From this position, she's able to exercise control over all aspects of the nascent colony and increase the chances of its survival.
As a female, Morda's leadership and power are unique in krogan society. Morda lived with the female clans in their camps on the krogan homeworld, Tuchanka. A born leader, Morda rose to organize and coordinate many of those camps. Through sheer will and against all odds, she made them thrive as stable, self-sustaining, and comfortable places to live and raise children. Morda herself is infertile.
Morda's intelligence and ambition is matched by her inherent ruthlessness. Over time, she rose in power and reputation and was able to challenge clan leader Nakmor Qronak with the Rite of Authority. She easily bested him and became leader of clan Nakmor. She then focused her ambitions to the betterment of the entire clan by joining the Andromeda Initiative.
Krogan: Culture and Society
Krogan culture was irrevocably changed by the genophage. A society built on clan pride, conquest, and enduring any challenge could not survive the prospect of a quiet extinction. In the Milky Way, the krogan are a scattered and fatalistic people. Believing the genophage will never be cured, many subscribe to the idea of "kill, pillage, and be selfish, for tomorrow we die."
Krogan who don't become wandering mercenaries often live within clans with histories that stretch back thousands of years. Others organize under the banner of a single warlord, or into a "krantt" of like-minded warriors. The history and traditions of a krogan clan are maintained by respected shamans who prove their worth through grueling and secretive initiations.
Female krogan capable of producing offspring are valuable commodities. Most females live in separate camps, where they raise children until they are old enough to face Tuchanka's dangers.
Krogan are exceptionally hardy, having evolved in a crucible of lethal conditions and monstrous predators. 240-degree vision, normally a feature of prey animals, gives krogan a broad awareness of their environment and approaching enemies. Their tough hides can withstand stabbings and gunfire, and multiple redundant organs allow them to survive internal injuries. An electro-conductive secondary circulatory system, rather than a central nervous system, makes krogan almost impossible to paralyze, while the "hump" on their backs stores valuable water and fats.
The extremely high birth rate of krogan, a response to Tuchanka's harsh environment, once saw them overrun gentler worlds within a few decades. The genophage has reduced live births to a relative handful.
Krogan physiology is also highly resistant to radioactive or toxic environments. This allows them to live comfortably on planets hostile to other life. Initiative scientists have studied krogan cellular regeneration while developing first-in colonist radiation treatments.
"A degree in krogan history" was apparently once a joke in academic circles, but excavations on Tuchanka show that ancient krogan had a thriving and impressive civilization. Unfortunately, their technological advances ran afoul of krogan aggressive instincts. Once the krogan entered the atomic age, they didn't hesitate to deploy nuclear weapons on Tuchanka, devastating the surface and reducing their people to scattered warring bands.
The salarians technologically and culturally uplifted the krogan, in return for their service against the rachni who were terrorizing Citadel space. Capable of surviving the harsh environments the rachni preferred, krogan units drove the rachni to extinction, and were hailed as heroes. They were granted gentler worlds to colonize, but their rapid breeding meant the krogan soon overran them and threatened neighboring species.
The krogan home world, Tuchanka, is one of the harshest in the Milky Way, honing the krogan into a physically powerful, aggressive, and adaptable species. Once considered heroes after the Rachni Wars, krogan expansion made them a threat to the galaxy until the turians and salarians used the controversial genophage to quell their numbers.
Several authorities questioned including the krogan in the Andromeda Initiative, given their history. Invitations were extended to several clans, particularly those who did not take part in the Krogan Rebellions, and their assistance eventually proved invaluable in building the Nexus. Colonist interviews show that many krogan see the Initiative as a chance to reinvent their people.
The krogan are considered a dying species in the Milky Way, as the genophage means only one in a thousand krogan pregnancies succeeds. In recent years, krogan have shown signs of adapting to the genophage, as they have to many other threats.
Data on the biology, culture, and history of the salarian species.
The fortunes of salarian political dynasties dominate their early history. Most students require VI assistance to trace the complex interplay of trade wars, intrigues, assassinations, joint scientific discoveries, and treaties that created the current political climate. Some of the most famous, such as the Ten Traders' War, have been immortalized in long-running extranet dramas.
The salarians were the second species to discover the Citadel space station that serves as the political heart of the Milky Way, making first contact with the asari and becoming founding members of the Citadel Council. Their intelligence gathering proved vital during the Krogan Rebellions, and later led to the creation of the genophage bioweapon intended as a deterrent. Its deployment by the turians remains controversial to this day.
The salarian STG (Special Tasks Group) has played a secretive but vital role in galactic history. Specializing in information gathering and covert missions, it's believed that STG operators have ended several wars before they began.
The salarians are a warm-blooded amphibious species from the Milky Way planet of Sur'Kesh. Naturally fast metabolisms mean that salarians live intense but short lives of less than forty years. Their quick intellect and photographic memory make them gifted scientists and engineers, and the Salarian Union is renowned for its technological advances as well as its secrecy and intelligence-gathering.
Tension between salarians and the krogan has lingered for centuries. Salarian scientists were responsible for creating the genophage that devastated the krogan population and ended the Krogan Rebellions.
Almost 90 per cent of the salarian species is male. Political power is centered in "Dalatrasses," rare salarian females who negotiate the fertilization of eggs and the strategic alliances that result. Many salarian females chose to join the Andromeda Initiative as civilians, a significant break in salarian tradition.
In the Milky Way, the Salarian Union is dominated by the rare salarian females known as "Dalatrasses," who negotiate the complex web of salarian politics on behalf of the regions they govern. Salarians belong to vast clans, whose interrelation and current political status must be painstakingly tracked. Clans are divided into concentric circles of relatives: those closest are in the first circle, which may be up to 100 members, and circles increase exponentially outward. This is considered confusing by other organic species, though it is mathematically straightforward.
Salarians do not have a concept of romantic love. The fertilization of eggs is a political act, since the lineage of any resulting females has a strong impact on society, and only occurs after months or even years of negotiations.
Multiple salarian females opted to join the Andromeda Initiative as civilians. Renegotiation of a dozen political dynasties in the Salarian Union was ongoing when we departed.
Salarians are renowned for their high-speed metabolism, allowing them to function on one hour of sleep a day. Compared to most species, salarians think and act quickly, processing both emotional and biochemical changes at a rapid pace; a salarian work day traditionally accommodates five or six small, high-protein meals to match. However, salarians also have a comparatively short lifespan of roughly 40 years.
Salarians are haplo-diploid egg-laying amphibians. Unfertilized eggs hatch males; fertilized eggs hatch females. A salarian female typically lays a clutch of dozens of eggs once a year in environmentally controlled hatching pools. Once hatched, young salarians imprint on their parents, ensuring dynastic loyalty through generations.
Their large families were a contributing factor to the salarians developing photographic memories, enabling them to recognize hundreds of relatives. Salarians rarely forget a fact, face, or grudge; a popular saying suggests "making a salarian enemy in the morning makes a thousand by evening."
Data on the biology, culture, and history of the turian species.
Turians: Culture and Society
Turian culture is founded on public service and personal accountability. The turian military is the center of their society, functioning as a public works organization, as well as an armed defense force. Citizenship is conferred once turians have completed boot camp (begun on their fifteenth birthday) and promotion through the 27 citizenship tiers is judged on individual merit. At the top are the Primarchs, who lead colonization clusters.
Their inclination to military service and social trends mean few turians pursue entrepreneurial careers, making the turian economy more vulnerable than most. The support of clients like the volus makes up for this deficiency.
Turians in the Andromeda Initiative operate outside a comfortable hierarchy. Interviews with prospective turian colonists indicate some are seeking this very freedom to forge their own destiny. Other colonists believe turian selflessness and civic structure will be vital to the Initiative's success.
Renowned as "men of action," the turians have a militaristic culture revolving around public service. Turians earned their place in galactic society after their actions in ending the Krogan Rebellions. They subsequently served as the peacekeeping arm of the Citadel Council and commanded the largest fleet in the Milky Way.
Turian society once relied on client species like the volus to build their economy and trade. In the Andromeda Initiative, the military training all turians undergo allows them to fill many vital civic and security roles, but many have also enrolled for entrepreneurial or diplomatic training to be better-rounded colonists.
Galactic events and their military doctrine have left lingering resentments between turians and some species. The turians were responsible for deploying the genophage against the krogan; and misunderstandings with humans led to the First Contact War, though humans and turians have since become cordial, if not close, allies.
Turians evolved on Palaven, a Milky Way world with a weak magnetic field that leaves it vulnerable to solar radiation. Most life on Palaven has a protective. metal-rich exoskeleton as a natural defense. The thick, plate-like skin of a turian protects her against some long-term radiation, but does not defend against projectiles or energy weapons.
Unlike most sapient species in the Milky Way. turians are a dextro-protein species, meaning that food for levo-protein species like asari or humans can cause dangerous allergic reactions and vice versa. The only other known sapient dextro species is the quarians. As well as Palaven flora, turian scientists with the Andromeda Initiative paid the quarian Migrant Fleet handsomely for plants and fungi that were specially developed to thrive in hydroponic conditions.
Before joining the Citadel Council that governs much of the Milky Way, the Turian Hierarchy was a formidable power with numerous client species supporting its powerful military. Rapid expansion from Palaven later led to problems with outlying colonies, when isolation and xenophobia led to infighting in what was termed the Unification War.
The turians made first contact with the Citadel around 700 CE, when the Krogan Rebellions were raging. When the krogan devastated turian colonies, the turians responded by unleashing the salarian-developed genophage against the krogan. Two hundred years later, the turians were invited to join the Citadel Council.
In 2157 CE, human explorers attempting to activate a mass relay were attacked by turian forces, as unauthorized relay activation was strictly illegal. The resulting conflict, the First Contact War, saw the human colony of Shanxi occupied by the turians before the Citadel Council negotiated a peace.