Races of the Mass Effect universe

Races of the Mass Effect universe

This article is about the fictional races found within the Mass Effect universe. These races are explored in the novels Mass Effect: Revelation and Mass Effect: Ascension, and the video games Mass Effect, Mass Effect Galaxy, and Mass Effect 2. Other than the following, there is also mention that dozens of other intelligent races are known to Citadel space and the galaxy; these races are left unidentified, but new races may appear in subsequent storylines.


Citadel races

The Citadel houses the main governing body of the Milky Way galaxy. Of the dozens of sentient races across the galaxy, the vast majority recognize the authority of the Citadel and its ruling Council. The Council's duties include regulating trade and keeping the peace between the member races of Citadel space. All races keep their own form of sovereign government and the Citadel Council generally does not interfere unless in matters that affect the galaxy as a whole.

The Citadel Council consists of the three most influential races in the galaxy: the asari, salarians, and turians. The asari and salarians were the founding members of the Council, and the turians are the most recent race to achieve a Council seat. Depending of the player's choice near the end of Mass Effect, either humanity may be granted a seat on the Council, or the Council is reformed by the Alliance to include a human seat.


The asari are a purely female-appearing humanoid race that hold one of three permanent seats on the Citadel council at the start of the game. All asari are mono-gendered, although they display, from a human point of view, female characteristics, with the ability to bear and nurse children. Their dual reproductive and nervous systems allow them to mate with any species or gender, with whom the offspring is always another asari. The asari are capable of participating in and enjoying physical sexual contact, however, to produce offspring they form a mental and spiritual connection with their partners, and by doing so draw genetic material which is combined with their own to produce offspring resulting in an offspring that is primarily asari in genetic makeup, however may possess recessive traits from the "father" species. For example, a child that is the result of a union between a krogan and an asari might inherit krogan disease resistance. Sexually, the asari could be considered xenophilic, as not only are they indiscriminate in regards to the races of their mates, but prefer to mate with other races, believing that the genetic and racial traits of other species, when combined with asari genetic make-up, is of benefit to the asari race as a whole. Conversely, they tend to attach a stigma to those born "pureblood" between two asari, as they believe that nothing is gained when two asari procreate (although most are too polite to openly speak of their prejudices). The mating of two asari also seems to increase the chance that the offspring will be an Ardat-Yakshi, a sterile individual with a genetic disorder that kills mates during melding, rather than a gentle linking of nervous systems. Their homeworld of Thessia is composed of an interconnected system of city-states, similar to those of ancient Greece.

Of all the species in Council space, the asari are the most widespread, powerful, and respected, due in part to their being the first species since the Protheans to achieve interstellar flight, to discover and learn how to use the Citadel, and their position as a founding member species of the Citadel Council. Despite this, the asari are open in their service to others, to the point where there is no cultural stigma attached to performance arts, even sexual ones. This has led to salacious rumors of asari promiscuity, which they consider unfounded.

Of all the galactic species, the asari are the most economically powerful; their culture, products and entertainment dominate the galaxy. They are governed by a loose democracy, known as the Asari Republics, and are known to be politically centrist, favoring stability that is conducive to cultural and economic development. Politically, they practice a form of direct democracy that could only be described as an e-democracy, where citizens contribute to the general consensus via a huge interconnected network. However, they also have a matriarchal council that heed the will of the people and make decision for their welfare accordingly. The asari can live for a thousand years, going through three stages in life; the Maiden stage (lasting to 350 years), an energetic phase in life in which an asari is considered a youth and setting the initial course of its life; the Matron stage (lasting from 350–700 years) where an asari draws back to a more deliberative phase and begins to lay the foundations of a family and its place in society (though some asari have been known to start families as early as 100 years old), and finally the Matriarch phase (700-1,000 years) where the asari takes its place among the elite in society, participating more in cultural and political affairs and generally leading the next generation to fruition.

The asari military resembles a collection of tribal warrior bands with no national structure. Each community organizes its own unit as the locals see fit, and elect a leader to command them. Units from populous cities are large and well-equipped, while those from farm villages may be only a few with small arms. There is no uniform; everyone wears what they like. The asari military is not an irregular militia, however; those who serve are full-time professionals. The average asari warrior is in the maiden stage of its life and has devoted 20–30 years studying the martial arts. Asari choose to be warriors at a young age, and their education from that point is dedicated to sharpening their mind and body for that sole purpose. When they retire, they possess an alarming proficiency for killing. Warriors fight individually or in pairs, depending on the tactics preferred in their town. One-on-one, a warrior is practically unbeatable, possessing profound tactical insight, a hunter's eye, and a dancer's grace and alacrity. Biotics are common enough that some capability is a requirement to be trained as a warrior; lack of biotic talent excludes a young asari from military service.

While fluid and mobile, asari can't stand up in a firestorm the way a krogan, turian, or human could. Since their units are small and typically lack heavy armor and support weapons, they are almost incapable of fighting a conventional war, particularly one of a defensive nature. So asari units typically undertake special operations missions. Like an army of ninja, they are adept at ambush, infiltration, and assassination, demoralizing and defeating their enemies through intense, focused guerrilla strikes. Asari warriors were among the first individuals to be chosen as Spectres and played a key role in the Krogan Rebellions. As a popular turian saying puts it, "The asari are the finest warriors in the galaxy. Fortunately, there are not many of them."


The drell are a race of reptile-like humanoids that appear in Mass Effect 2.[1] The drell ancestors emerged from dry, rocky deserts on the barren world of Rakhana. Rapid industrial expansion and overpopulation produced disastrous results 800 years ago, when the already arid planet began the descent to lifelessness. At the time, the drell lacked interstellar flight capacity and faced certain doom until first contact was made with the hanar. Over the next ten years, the hanar transported hundreds of thousands of drell to the hanar world, Kahje. The remaining billions left on Rakhana perished on their dying planet, warring against each other for diminishing resources. The drell now thrive co-existing with the Hanar and have been a part of galactic civilization for roughly two centuries.

Most drell are content to live on Kahje. They are afforded every opportunity to thrive by the hanar, yet some outsiders and even some hanar regard the drell as second-class citizens. However it is quite the opposite, they have integrated themselves into every level of hanar society as respected, productive citizens. A few, solitary drell travelers often seek out new species elsewhere, and in turn adopt that species' culture. Such drell number in the thousands, and are scattered across the galaxy, tending towards quiet, integrated lives.

Drell are omnivorous reptile-like humanoids with an average lifespan of 85 galactic standard years. Drell appearance is very similar to asari and humans, but their muscle tissue is slightly denser than that of humans, giving them a wiry strength. Many of their more reptilian features are concealed, however one unique characteristic is the hyoid bone in their throats, which allows them to inflate their throats and produce vocal sounds outside of the human range. Since the drell ancestors emerged from arid, rocky deserts, the humid, ocean-covered hanar homeworld of Kahje proved tolerable only when the drell stayed inside a climate-controlled dome city.[2] A significant number of drell, including Shepard's teammate Thane Krios, suffer from a condition called Kepral's Syndrome. The illness is caused by the inability of drell physiology to adapt to long-term habitation in conditions more humid than their native world. While the hanar are funding a search for a cure, the illness is fatal and incurable during the course of the games. Every Drell possesses an Eidetic memory, to which they are able to recall any past events in outstanding detail.


Elcor are large, elephant-like aliens that speak in a slow, monotone fashion. The elcor use pheromones and subtle body movements, rather than tone, to convey meaning and intent when conversing. The elcor found that when they encountered other races, these subtleties were lost on them; because of this, elcor choose to describe their emotions before making any statements. Elcor evolved on Dekuuna, a large terrestrial world with consequently formidable gravity, forcing them to become extremely deliberate with their movements — any minor stumble could result in injury, if not death. This physical necessity therefore resulted in a political, social, and cultural philosophy that extolled the virtues of caution, deliberation, and patience. The elcor's main political body, the Counts of Dekuuna, demonstrate this tendency in their political decision-making process; their millennia-old archives are constantly kept up-to-date and are constantly consulted by the Counts when making decisions to ensure that precedent is respected and all options are kept in consideration. As such, the Counts take a very long time in making decisions or enacting laws, sometimes taking decades to decide on relatively simple matters of state. Though large and physically powerful creatures, they are rarely violent. However, if pressed into violent situations, their extremely thick hides make them nearly invulnerable to conventional weapons and their extraordinary strength allows them to carry various amounts of heavy weaponry and commensurate ammunition with ease. It is believed the elcor mount weapons on their back as all their limbs are used for locomotion, although this leaves the question of how they operate these weapons.


The hanar are a race that resemble Earth jellyfish. Hanar stand slightly taller than a human and have three fingers at the end of each of their tentacles. Having no physical means of verbal communication, they converse with each other using bioluminescence (which modern translators will automatically render into something that can be understood by other races). Their speech is very polite and very eloquent. They are governed by the Illuminated Primacy, a theocracy that worships the Protheans as mythological "Enkindlers", although they are tolerant of other species and the religious and spiritual creeds that they adhere to and espouse. For this reason, they have difficulty seeing the Protheans as an extinct biological species as do most other Citadel races, instead tending to view them as components of their religious mythology. Their extreme cultural obsession with politeness and protocol sometimes leads to problems interacting with other species, who may not understand their rules of etiquette and manners. As the majority of the hanar dominion is entirely self-sufficient and thus trade and diplomatic relations are generally unnecessary, this tendency doesn't pose much of a problem with matters of intergalactic state or foreign affairs. However, any Hanar who choose to take up residence on alien worlds or who man outposts that come into regular contact with alien races are advised to take special classes that help counter this tendency and smooth-over inter-species relationships.

Every hanar has two names: the "Face Name" and the "Soul Name". The face name is the name that is known to public and referring to oneself as anything more personal, such as "I" or the soul name, is considered egotistical. Among hanar, it is customary to refer to oneself as "I" or by one's Soul Name only among family or close friends; with others, "it", "this one", or the Face Name are used. Financial interaction with the galactic economy is limited, and hanar space has few facilities designed to provide bipeds with a means to operate equipment such as computer terminals, contact generally being limited to border trade stations. Being an oceanic invertebrate life-form, they cannot support their physical forms in standard gravity, instead using mass effect contra-gravitic levitation packs. Their bodies are 90% water content.

Given their nature, hanar have limited interactive abilities, and do not possess apparent means of combat or normal physical manipulation. Due to this, the hanar rely frequently on the drell, which the hanar saved from imminent extinction, as a client race. The Hanar rescued the Drell from their dying homeworld and brought numerous Drell citizens to the Hanar homeworld.


Humans in Mass Effect are generally similar to those in modern day life, although more technologically advanced, which has raised the human lifespan to around 150 Earth years. Earth is still divided among separate nation-states, but all are united under the Systems Alliance. The Systems Alliance is a Supranational independent entity supported by the nations of Earth that is, for all intents, its own political, governmental, and military entity; it controls and manages all off-world activities. A recent addition to the galactic stage at the time of Mass Effect in 2183, human society advanced significantly with the advent of interstellar travel, made possible with the discovery of lost Prothean technology. Humans quickly expanded outwards and established more and more colonies on uninhabited planets. This rapid expansion brought them into contact with the turians, with whom they quickly came into conflict. The human-turian First Contact War in 2157 brought humans to the attention of the species of the Citadel Council. After the System Alliance's quick and effective military response to the turian occupation of the human colony of Shanxi, both sides began gearing up for full-scale war. The Citadel Council immediately stepped in and mediated an end to the conflict, granting humans considerable latitude in their colonization efforts, much to the dismay of the batarians, who abandoned their Citadel embassy in protest. In the decades since their appearance, humans have quickly risen to prominence, gaining an embassy on the Citadel and fueling resentful speculation from other races that humans will soon be given an invitation to become full members of the Council.

At the ending of Mass Effect, humans will be invited to join the Citadel Council if Commander Shepard chose to save the original council. If not, the humans will either form an all new council consisting of just humans or a multispecies one depending on Shepard's decisions and alignment.

The rapid ascension to intergalactic status caused emergence of various anti-alien pro-human movements. Terra Firma is just a political party calling for cultural independence; Cerberus is a shadowy organization that emerged after the First Contact War and promotes human interests above everything else. The ultimate objective is human dominance, and the means are terrorism, unethical research, espionage etc. Cerberus's immense resources and contacts are sufficient to resurrect Commander Shepard and replicate the Alliance's most advanced warship at the beginning of Mass Effect 2.


The Keepers are known only to exist on the Citadel. They were the only inhabitants on the station when the asari first discovered it, and while some believe that they were the first race to discover the station, others believe that they were created on the station and that their numbers are maintained by the station itself. They resemble large aphids and it is debated as to whether or not they are actually an intelligent species, being incapable of any kind of communication. Some citizens on the station believe them to be organic machines, designed only to serve and perform tasks given by the station itself. No other races, not even the Citadel Council, are able to issue them commands or control them in any way; a disconcerting demonstration of this behavioral anomaly is their tendency to rearrange the floor space, decor, wiring, or sometimes even structural makeup of certain areas of the station, regardless of the wishes and convenience of the other inhabitants and seemingly at random.

Few attempts to hinder or curtail their activities have been attempted, and none have been in any way effective; only lethal force can stop them from carrying out their duties, and no matter how many of them are killed, their numbers are mysteriously maintained, perhaps from within the bowels of the Citadel station. Attempts to capture and study them result in a sort of self-destruct, in which acid is released, dissolving the Keeper into its constituent molecules. In fact, in order to maintain the smooth operation of and prevent any potential damage or danger to the station or its inhabitants, the Citadel Council deemed it illegal for anyone on the station to terminate, wound or interfere with the Keepers in any way.[3]

A side quest within Mass Effect has Commander Shepard scanning the Keepers to learn anything new; if this task is successfully completed, a message is received in the second game that confirms that they are bio-engineered by the Reapers.


Salarians, who possess one of the three permanent Citadel Council seats, are renowned for their mental acuity, technical skill, and their high aptitude for espionage. Salarians have a very high metabolic rate, lowering their life expectancy to about forty Earth years, but also necessitating very little sleep, around 1–2 hours per day. In fact, they are considered to be hyperactive by most other races; salarians, however, disagree with this diagnosis, considering other races to be slow and dim-witted. This is shown primarily by their near rapid-fire speech, which many salarians must consciously control to be understood. They are intellectuals by nature, constantly devising and implementing new plans, experiments, or studies to expand their already considerable knowledge pools. Salarians also have an almost worker bee mentality, having a sequential loyalty to larger and larger collectives of salarians. A salarian's name, beginning with personal and family names, stretches on until reaching the galactic barony under which they were born. When dealing with other species they usually shorten this identity to just one or two names. Because salarians always think two steps ahead, it is generally assumed that they always know more than they let on.

Being of scientific and abstract persuasion, they tend to favor political liberalism, making them a counter-balance to the conservative turians and centrist asari on the Citadel Council. The Salarian Union is largely governed by a group of dynastic families ruled by female elders. Of the three permanent Council species, their economy is the smallest, but is still substantially larger than that of the human Systems Alliance. The salarians were responsible for the elevation of the krogan race to combat the invading rachni, and they were subsequently responsible for creating the genophage biological weapon used to quell the later Krogan Rebellions. Militarily, they are considerably weaker than the turians in head-on combat, preferring to employ sabotage, reconnaissance, counter-intelligence, and commando operations against any enemy. However, in unconventional warfare, the salarians are perhaps second to none. They excel at information gathering and while they consider outright direct war to be a last resort, once they do engage in war, it's almost always by surprise (they see a declaration of war as strategically unsound) and by a strategically dominant force, since they've long since figured out what and who they are fighting and how their foes are going to fight.

Salarians are not notably religious, but as free-willed sentients there are exceptions. One of the less-favored salarian religions (which the Council deems a "cult") worships a goddess, and claims that a certain pattern of overlapping craters in the southern hemisphere of the barren planet Trelyn resembles her. There has also been a small movement towards a kind of "wheel of life" form of pantheistic reincarnation that has taken root to a limited extent among salarians.


Before humanity, the turians, were the most recent Citadel race to have gained a Council seat. They are avian in nature, resembling raptors of Earth. Most also have tattooed-on markings on their faces whose design and color denote which colony or system they were born or raised in. This cultural observance was first developed during the Unification War, in which various turian colonial holdings fought each other for territory and influence within the Hierarchy; however, years of infighting made most of them too weak to oppose the unifying influence of the Hierarchy itself. Outmatched, they accepted unification under the Hierarchy's leadership, but the markings remained. There are some turians who do not have face markings; during the war, they were typically Hierarchy loyalists and were disparaged as "bare-faced". While turians without markings are no longer singled out as such, the slur remains and is commonly used to imply that certain turians are "politicians" or "untrustworthy"; in the turian language, these terms are synonymous and interchangeable.

Turian society in general is very honor-bound, concerned with the performance of one's duty, regardless of one's role in society. All turians work for the glory of the Turian Hierarchy, a collection of military leaders and autocrats, and most are state-employed in some way. The Hierarchy is multi-layered and vast, and despite its complexity, contains little corruption or nepotism. A member is promoted to greater levels of responsibility based solely on their performance, and demoted for failures of duty, which is seen less as a personal failing, and more of a failure of the state to assign them the appropriate level of responsibility. Military service is mandatory for all turian citizens, as well as client races who wish to become full turian citizens. While there are some turian criminals, even they maintain a level of conscience unheard of by criminals of other races; a turian criminal will, like most other beings, attempt to evade capture and consequence for their actions, but once caught and taken into custody, he or she will almost always admit to their guilt and accept due punishment. Despite this preoccupation with law and order, many are surprised by the importance turian society places on personal freedoms. Turian society allows for freedom of speech, religion, and the practice of practically any activity that does not harm or undermine the state. There are turians who are known to observe and adhere to asari and even human religious practices; there is an increasingly large segment of turians who are known to practice Confucianism and Zen Buddhism, as well as some Earth-originated monotheistic religions.

Turians have a reputation for skill and bravery in combat, but are not considered bloodthirsty. In combat, turian units are highly adaptable and highly disciplined. Turian lines rarely break, even in highly disadvantageous circumstances; they will retreat and withdraw if necessary, but will do so in an orderly fashion, setting up vicious rear-guard actions and ambushes along the way. A rigid code of honor and strict discipline are the hallmarks of any turian officer or enlisted-man. This includes humane treatment of prisoners and conquered enemies. A turian unit will never willingly leave behind one of their own, no matter what the cost of going back to retrieve their comrade. Turians are largely employed as the front line of the Council's combined military forces. Most Council peacekeeping forces are made up principally by turians, and turians are also the largest racial group employed in the Council office of Special Tactics and Reconnaissance (Spectres) and Citadel Security Services (C-Sec). Politically, the turians are conservative, paying great observance to tradition, duty, loyalty, honor and the preservation of the status quo. Still, they generally get along well with most other races. There is a great deal of hostility between turians and the krogan for obvious reasons, and there is a lingering degree of distrust and enmity between turians and humanity, the bitter memories of the First Contact War still very fresh for both races. However, turians still greatly respect the military tactics and aptitude of the humans as demonstrated against them in battle during the reclamation of the human colony of Shanxi. The spread of human colonization and their increasing influence within the Council is known to irk some prominent turians, but there is a grudging respect between the two races.


The volus are a race that can survive only with pressure suits and breathing masks when away from the much thicker atmosphere of their home world. Their home planet's gravity is 1.5 times that of Earth's, with a high-pressure atmosphere, making their bodies short and almost spherical, and requiring them to wear protective suits; if exposed to the toxic atmospheres and wildly differing pressure levels on most other worlds, they will suffocate and their bodies will eventually split open. However, this condition makes the volus ideal for colonizing worlds with great material resources that remain untapped due to lethal atmospheres. They are controlled by the Vol Protectorate, an interconnected system of clans and fiefdoms, but they willingly made themselves a client race of the Turian Hierarchy, sacrificing political independence in exchange for military protection and stability; in exchange for this protection, the volus offer the turians (as well as the Council and other groups in the galaxy) their knowledge and prowess in economic matters. It was the volus who developed the Uniform Banking Act for the Council and the credit system in use throughout most of the known galaxy. They are known to be prolific traders, and possess an economy far larger than their territory would suggest.[4]

Non-Citadel races

Many races in the galaxy are not under the governance of the Citadel. They either refuse to recognize the authority of the Citadel (the batarians), have been removed as member species by the Council (the krogan and quarians), or have never officially established contact with Citadel space (the vorcha). A few races are openly antagonistic towards Citadel member races and non-members alike (the Collectors, geth, and Reapers). Non-Citadel Races are normally subject to being taxed or tolled in Citadel space as well as bearing a negative bias of being a "Rogue Race" (Results in being barred from docking near some planets such as Illum as well as having a space fleet in Citadel Space).


The batarians are a race that are socially similar to humanity, and as such have a political rivalry with the Human Systems Alliance, with whom they compete for unclaimed territory. The batarians have a slimmer build than the average human but are about the same height, on average, as a human. They have four eyes, one inner set located approximately where that of a human's would be, and a second pair on top of the first pair's browline. Their noses have eight openings, four on each side of the head. Their skin is a cream color with a purple stripe running down their chin and a chocolaty brown area where hair would be on a human. Batarians used to have an embassy on the Citadel, but they closed it in protest of the council's decision to allow human colonization to continue in the Skyllian Verge, an area that the batarians considered within their sphere of influence. As a result, the batarians have essentially placed themselves at odds with most of the other Citadel Council races and particularly the Systems Alliance. This rivalry has led them into something of a proxy war with the Alliance, with the batarians using their influence in the chaotic Terminus Systems (especially in areas bordering Alliance space) to foment political instability and criminal activity that could eventually cause problems for the Alliance. As a result, batarians have many contacts with and in many cases are in direct control of galactic organized crime syndicates and terrorist groups. They are officially barred from the Citadel; this decision by the Council has led to repeated attacks by Batarian extremists on the Citadel itself, including the use of a potentially catastrophic bio-weapon. This attack was easily thwarted and only cemented the Council's stance against the Batarians.


The Collectors are an insectoid race long believed by Citadel races to be a myth, but are occasionally sighted outside Citadel space. Their given name comes from their unusual trade requests; Collectors have been known to trade highly advanced technology in exchange for members of other species with specific traits, such as quotas of seven left-handed quarians or sixteen sets of batarian twins. More recently, the Collectors have requested human biotics and have been behind the disappearance of entire human colonies, harvesting them for unknown purpose. As their technology is based on Reaper technology, the Collectors are believed to be working for the Reapers. The Collectors are one of the central enemies of Mass Effect 2.[5] Over the course of the plot of Mass Effect 2, the Collectors are revealed to be the remains of the Protheans, genetically modified by the Reapers to serve as a virtual slave race. They are identified by EDI by their DNA which bears distinct similarities with the Protheans.

The Collectors are often remote controlled by the Reaper called Harbinger, he seems to have possessed the Collector General who monitors the drones in the field and can extend possession to any one of them at will. Possession causes bright yellow eyes, increased power, and cracks all over the exoskeleton, they are then directly controlled by Harbinger and serve as an avatar for him until destroyed or released from control. Harbinger is familiar with Shepard and often taunts the player during combat through a possessed Drone.


The geth are a race of collectively intelligent automatons that live beyond the Perseus Veil, an enormous nebula that obscures dozens of solar systems. The geth were created by the quarians to serve as laborers and proxy soldiers. The geth function through a neural network, a form of collective intelligence; through the network, the intelligence of geth increases proportionately to the number of geth in close proximity. As a result, where a single geth might only be capable of thought patterns analogous to instinctual drives, a group will be capable of abstract thought and reasoning. The quarians underestimated the power of this neural network and continued to make modifications to geth programming to allow them to take on more complex tasks. After a level of complexity in the neural network had been reached, the geth began to question their nature and purpose, achieving sentience.

Fearing this development, the quarians began deactivating and liquidating the geth, who realized what was happening and rebelled. After a bloody war, the quarian race was decimated and the survivors were driven off their home world by the geth. The other races of Citadel space initially feared a geth invasion would follow, but none occurred. Instead, the geth retreated behind the Perseus Veil and were not seen in Citadel space again for nearly 300 years, when Mass Effect takes place. During this time of isolation, the geth continued to evolve and create increasingly advanced subtypes such as the "hopper", extraordinarily agile due to an advanced locomotor system.

A geth platform named Legion gives further insight into geth psychology and society. Geth psychology is completely alien to organics. They do not value individuality, preferring to share all memories and thoughts of all programs regularly. This means geth cannot and do not wish to hide their thoughts, even those that do not follow the norm, with their reasoning for such thought being apparent. Legion often uses the term "we" instead of "I", since it is both part of the geth society as a whole and is also a gestalt of more than a thousand geth programs.

More importantly, deceit, manipulation and lying are impossible among the geth. No concepts of vulnerability or privacy exist; geth are completely honest with each other about their thoughts and their reasons for those thoughts. This means there is a great deal of compassion and understanding amongst geth, with every geth being a combination of every other geth. Geth have no government or leaders; the geth use FTL communications to "build a consensus"; a completely Consensus Democratic method of every geth program making their choice on any matter. The geth form a consensus based solely on whichever option benefits their race as a whole. Even within Legion itself, consensus must be reached among its many programs before decisions can be made.

However, the geth are not above using deceit to study organic behavior. One example is the geth introducing a falsified report on the extranet detailing a constellation resembling a salarian goddess seen from the batarian homeworld. When a salarian cult attempted to buy colonisation rights to the stars in question, they were disappointed to find that they did not actually exist.

There is some question of whether geth personalities remain stable over time. When an artificial intelligence is transferred to a new blue box, a completely new personality is created. Geth download into different hardware according to need, from starships to the "mobile platforms" that Shepard is familiar with. It is unknown whether new personalities result from these downloads, or whether it matters to the geth. As a result, what organics would describe as geth culture is either non-existent, or is in a form incomprehensible to organic life.

It is revealed in Mass Effect 2 that the geth of the first game were one of two opposing geth factions; the "Heretics" and the true geth. The Heretics believe in serving the Reapers, referred to by the Geth as "The Old Machines", and were the primary antagonists of the first game. The other geth are not necessarily hostile to the rest of the Galaxy, and over the course of the plot of Mass Effect 2, the player has an opportunity to recruit the Geth infiltrator Legion to serve as part of his crew. Legion will always refer to itself as "us", as there are more than a thousand individual programs running on its single platform. If questioned about this, Legion will answer that its platform requires these many programs in order for it to have the cognitive abilities necessary for it to operate effectively independent from other Geth in Citadel Space (Legion also asserts an average Geth platform has about a dozen to a hundred or so programs operating in it, depending on its purpose).

The long-term goal of the geth is the construction of a "mega-structure", a massive mainframe capable of housing every geth program in existence simultaneously, and thus, achieving the peak of their processing capacity. The closest human analogue to this creation is a Dyson Sphere and Legion refers to this structure as the Geth's Future. It's believed that Sovereign promised a Reaper body to the Heretics to serve as a mega-structure. The non-Heretics rejected this offer, believing that the geth should achieve their future through their own means.


The krogan are a species of large reptilian bipeds native to Tuchanka, a world known for its harsh environment, scarce resources, and over-abundance of vicious predators. Once hailed as the saviors of the galaxy for their successful destruction of a dangerously xenophobic and powerful spacefaring insectoid race known as the rachni, the krogan are now a shadow of their former prominence. Flush with confidence following their defeat of the rachni and the recognition of the Citadel races and their subsequent leniency towards the krogans' obvious ambition for an empire of their own, the krogan began colonizing worlds at a dangerous rate, eventually forcibly colonizing inhabited worlds and encroaching upon Citadel territories, drawing the attention of the Citadel Council. Unwilling to curtail their activities and relinquish those worlds and territories belonging to other races, the krogan rebelled against the Citadel. Initially successful against the combined forces of the Citadel and the newly discovered turians, the krogan were defeated by a salarian-developed genophage which rendered only one out of every thousand krogan births viable. Fully grown male Krogan can experience "Blood Rage" which causes the Krogan to be consumed by pure rage with only one objective: kill the enemy at all cost. Krogan have been known to even charge at enemies with explosives in their hands, causing the Krogan and enemy to die. Huge amounts of Blood Rage was caused by the Genophage.

Once infected by the turians with this weapon, the krogan were unable to maintain their numbers despite their short seven week gestation period and through attrition were eventually defeated. Due to the continuing effects of the genophage and their belligerent nature, the krogan are a dying species and are trapped in a downward spiral of violence. Some krogan hire themselves out as mercenaries, assassins or muscle for various organized crime syndicates; others manage to make out a living through brigandage and piracy. Many krogan still consider themselves at war with the galaxy at large and are still incorporated into small war parties or clans traditionally led by warlords. Increasingly, however, the krogan have taken to fighting amongst themselves for territory, resources, and even over those few krogan females who are still capable of producing offspring. Due to their slow extinction, most krogan are becoming increasingly pessimistic and self-centered. Few krogan have any interest in anything other than fighting or the acquisition of material wealth, even to the point of ignoring any possible way of countering the genophage. It is revealed in Mass Effect 2 that the genophage was updated, as krogan genetics were slowly overcoming the restrictions of the genophage. A salarian STG team led by Mordin Solus modified the genophage back to its previous mortality rate. This was supposedly carefully tailored to allow the krogan to maintain a viable population. However, given the warlike nature of the krogan, more combat deaths are occurring than are being sustained in population growth.

Biologically, the krogan are a hardy species, able to live for millennia; survivors of the Krogan Rebellions like Urdnot Wrex are still alive by the time of Mass Effect. The large shoulder humps on a krogan store fluids and nutrients, which enable them to go for long periods without food or water. Krogan also possess multiple instances of major organs, having secondary and even, at times, tertiary organ systems, in case any are damaged. A krogan individual possesses a thick hide, which is extremely hardy and very resistant to cuts, scrapes, and contusions. Krogan are also highly resistant to radiation, poisons, and extreme temperatures. Biotic individuals are rare, though those who do possess the talent are typically quite strong in their abilities and are referred to as Battlemasters. Most Krogan stand over 7 feet tall, and can weigh up to "at least five hundred pounds".[6]


The quarians are a nomadic species of humanoid aliens. Quarians are generally shorter and of slighter build than humans. They dress in full-body environmental suits designed to prevent infections caused by viruses and bacteria. After being expelled by the geth from their homeworld, quarians have had to live in starships for almost 300 years, thereby causing their immune systems to become weaker, and as a result, cannot remove their life-support systems even when they return to their home fleet. Due to their limited amount of living space and resources, quarians may only have as many children as the Conclave decides fit. If the population of the Migrant fleet drops too low, the Conclave rewards families who have multiple children, while if the population increases too much, the Conclave enacts a one child per family law. All young quarians are required to solitarily embark upon a Pilgrimage, a rite of passage where they leave their home ships and set out to discover and bring back something of value or use, whether it be an artifact, equipment, or even knowledge, which they would present to the captain of the ship of their choice. Quarians are required to move to and live on a different ship than the one they grew up on, in order to promote genetic diversity and eliminate genetic damage through inbreeding. Once the gift is accepted, the quarian is accepted into the ranks of the ship; gifts are rarely declined, as most captains are bound by tradition to accept anything that can be of use, but a stigma is attached to those who offer substandard gifts. Their name denotes whether they have embarked on their pilgrimage or not. As with the character Tali, she was named Tali'Zorah nar Rayya before her pilgrimage and Tali'Zorah vas Neema after. Nar Rayya indicates that she was originally from a ship called the Rayya and vas Neema indicates that she chose to offer her findings from her Pilgrimage to the captain of the Neema.

The quarians are divided politically into two branches of government: the Conclave, a civilian body that represents the majority of the people on the various ships of the Migrant Fleet, and the Admiralty Board, composed of the five highest-ranking naval officers in the fleet. The Conclave is subdivided into councils on each ship who advise the captains of the individual vessels; however, the captains still have the final say on all issues and all matters of jurisprudence. Captains who override their respective councils on too regular a basis are either ordered by the Admiralty Board to settle their disputes on their own or relinquish command. The Admiralty Board has a great deal of influence on all matters pertaining to the fleet, has direct command of the fleets' military forces and has veto power that overrides any decision the Conclave makes that is seen to be detrimental or dangerous to the fleet. However, the decision must be unanimous and once this veto is invoked, the entire Admiralty Board must resign their seats immediately, to prevent any possible abuse of power. Any Admiralty Board member who refuses to relinquish his or her seat is subject to arrest.

The quarians are looked down upon by the Citadel races, mainly due to their creation of the geth three hundred years prior to the game's timeline. After creating the geth and failing to quell the subsequent geth insurrection, the quarians were finally forced off of their homeworld by the geth and relegated to roaming the galaxy in an increasingly threadbare and derelict migrant flotilla. The quarians are generally unwanted and ostracized throughout the galaxy. The fleet's demand for resources and the quarian tendency to take whatever employment they can find, often at the expense of native inhabitants, further harms their reputation, and the leaders of any colonies or systems through which the Migrant Fleet might pass are often inclined to donate any spare items of use to the quarians as a bribe to keep them from visiting. Quarians are grateful for the assistance and have never abused this tendency, but many feel insulted by the motivations behind these "gifts"; Despite all this, their skill at electronics, engineering, and cybernetics make them ideal workers for major corporations and mining firms; quarians are considered to be among the best and brightest of the galaxy when it comes to technological and geological aptitude.


Reapers are a hyper-advanced machine race and the creators of mass relays and the Citadel, resembling the species that their initial genetic material has been taken from, that periodically awaken to destroy all advanced organic life in the galaxy and are the primary antagonists of the Mass Effect trilogy. The term "Reaper" is not actually a self-designation. According to Sovereign, a Reaper vanguard left behind to ensure the Reapers' return, it is a Prothean name given to them, stating they have no name and that they "simply are". However, it is revealed by the character Legion in Mass Effect 2 that Sovereign referred to itself as Nazara and that the Reapers are known as the "old machines" among the geth. The Reapers hibernate in the dark space that lies beyond the galaxy's outer rim, and the Citadel itself is a gigantic mass relay that allows them to return to the galaxy. The Citadel's location at the mass relay network hub, along with its formidable defenses, make it a seemingly ideal location for the capital of galactic civilization. Upon the Citadel's activation however, the Reapers quickly attack the Citadel and seize control of the mass relays, decapitating the government command structure and isolating individual systems. With any advanced organic civilizations in disarray, the Reapers then proceed with their genocide by methodically invading each system, exterminating or enslaving populations as they advance. This cycle of destruction has been repeated every 50,000 years for at least 37 million years; however, the Reapers have no known motive for this act beyond it being for reasons organic minds cannot comprehend. The primary plot of the game involves a race against time to prevent the Reapers' return.

In Mass Effect, it is at first believed that Sovereign is simply a massive dreadnought of unknown origin about two kilometers long (the largest warship class within game canon is standardized at one kilometer) controlled by rogue Spectre Saren Arterius. Later, Sovereign reveals itself to actually be a huge sentient ship, a Reaper, and the true power behind Saren. Reapers generate an "indoctrination" field, an array of signals that progressively and permanently damage higher-order functions in organic brains. Sovereign uses this method to exert influence over its organic charges, to varying degrees (total mind control on one end, suggestion on the other), including Saren Arterius. Sovereign's design resembles a squid, with a long round hull strong enough to take no noticeable damage when it rammed into a frigate-class vessel, and large multi-jointed limbs equipped with powerful weapons. In conversation with Commander Shepard, Sovereign claims that the Reaper race is "infinite"; has "always existed"; and has no creators. Being a mechanical race, these claims are irrational, but still Reaper psyche is logically bound (It is possible that the Reapers were once organic and merged themselves with machines).

In Mass Effect 2, a Reaper named Harbinger directs the Collectors to capture entire human colonies. The genetic material (liquefied human bodies) from the captured colonists is used to create a human-based Reaper. It is made clear in Mass Effect 2 that Reapers are modeled after the organic race that constitutes a Reaper's organic components. In the subsequent conversation that follows the revelation of the existence of a human-Reaper "larva", it is implied that the harvesting and cyclical exterminations of all sapient life committed by the Reapers is part of a "reproductive process" whereby the Reapers acquire material needed to create new Reapers. The character Legion describes a Reaper as "one ship, one will, many minds", insinuating the minds of the organics used in a Reaper's construction are still active in their new form, though it may also suggest a geth-like collection of programs.

At the end of Mass Effect 2, Harbinger is seen activating the dormant Reaper fleet, showing a few hundred others which share Sovereign's basic cuttlefish-like appearance. The fleet, presumably numbering in the hundreds or thousands (although only between two and three hundred are shown in a brief scene involving Harbinger and the Reapers awakening), appears to be moving towards the Milky Way, thus setting the stage for Mass Effect 3. It has been confirmed that the Reapers will, in Mass Effect 3, attack Earth, as was previously speculated by Shepard and others.


Sovereign, the first Reaper encountered, bore a superficial resemblance to a reaper cuttlefish, with a bulky semi-cylindrical body, a tapering plate over the rear and a mass of metallic "tentacles" extending from its front end, in addition to six jointed legs extending from its body. When the Reaper fleet is revealed in dark space they are all shown with this basic design. However, one Reaper in the foreground shown when Harbinger awakens the fleet seems to resemble a scarab beetle but with great diversity in tentacle number, shape, and orientation, some with extended heads and others (particularly Harbinger) having multiple glowing eyes. This diversity is presumably due to the Reapers' reproduction method, in which vast numbers of a single species are harvested, melted down into a raw genetic paste, and then used to construct a "larva" that takes on the characteristics of the species from which it was created. It has been confirmed that the "larval" Reaper seen in the game is in fact the "core" of a Reaper, and would have later been encased in a similar shell. This also explains the relatively small size of said "baby" Reaper.

Sovereign's design appears to have influenced the 'heretic' geth. This is not surprising, as these geth worship the Reapers as "gods", considering them to be the epitome of independent AI. Wherever the heretic geth become entrenched they build monuments to the Reapers resembling Sovereign's 'tentacles' around a glowing orb, and genuflect. Sovereign was apparently insulted by the adoration of such simple, base synthetics, but it did see their value as pawns and possible replacements for the flawed and organic keepers.


Reapers and their technology have a strange effect on organic beings. Both Dr. Shu Qian and Edan Had'dah begin acting oddly after coming into contact with the "artifact" they found. This mental manipulation is known as indoctrination. Put simply, any organic being who is in close proximity to a Reaper for too long comes to believe the Reapers are correct in their goals and will do anything to serve them. Gradually the mind is eroded until the individual becomes a mindless slave no longer capable of independent thought. Sovereign could partly control the rate of this process as seen with Saren; in order for him to serve the Reaper efficiently, Saren needed a measure of free will. This eventually convinced him that the only way to preserve organic life was to submit to the Reapers provided they could prove themselves useful. Only beings of immense mental strength, such as asari matriarchs, can resist indoctrination, and even then, their resistance only lasts a short time and only forestalls the inevitable. Matriarch Benezia chose to die rather than risk falling under indoctrination again, and when Saren finally rebels against Sovereign, he kills himself to prevent doing any further damage to the galaxy. This indoctrination is permanent (with the single possible exception of Shiala) and is one of the most insidious weapons of the Reapers. Even more horrifying is that the indoctrination field remains active even if the Reaper is largely disabled and incapable of action. A Cerberus science team was indoctrinated by being inside a Reaper that had otherwise been floating derelict for 37 million years, its only obvious activity being mass effect field generation.


Even without their indoctrinating influence, Reapers are immensely powerful warships and their technology is devastating. Sovereign’s destructive power was unrivaled in the known galaxy. Each of the "tentacles" extending from its bow was equipped with a powerful "magnetohydrodynamic" weapon which ejects a stream of molten metal at a fraction of the speed of light which could tear through a cruiser in a single sustained burst. Its gigantic spinal-mounted gun was able to rip through the hulls of even the largest of dreadnought-class ships with ease, effortlessly penetrating their kinetic shields. Sovereign's defences included powerful shields that could block the projectiles of an entire fleet, along with an incredibly strong hull. Though they are sentient machines, the Reapers have habitable interiors that can transport a crew, either to help spread their indoctrinated slaves or to allow these slaves to tend to them, probably both. Speculation in the Codex suggests that each individual Reaper has a massive element zero core which, coupled with the likely enormous quantities of energies at its disposal, allows it to generate the staggering mass effect field needed to land on a planet.

However, the Reapers are not invincible. When the Reapers go into states of hibernation between cycles, they are vulnerable. By taking refuge in dark space, the Reapers ensure they will not be discovered by accident and destroyed while they wait for their vanguard to open the Citadel mass relay. A concentrated effort by the fleets of organic races could also destroy a Reaper even if it is at full power, and a single ship managed to destroy Sovereign when its shields and weapons were disabled.


The vorcha appear first in Mass Effect 2. The vorcha originate from a small and overcrowded planet which has been largely stripped of natural resources by successive generations of this fast-breeding, savage species. The lack of resources has resulted in a tight-knit clan based society in which rival clans wage constant war against one another for control of scarce resources. Even as their population grows, the vorcha constantly fight each other in fierce competition over basic necessities. This constant warfare has had the twin effects of making each generation of vorcha stronger and more aggressive than its predecessor. However, their continual lack of resources have kept vorcha society extremely primitive. The rest of galactic civilization regards them as pests and scavengers, and their presence is generally seen as a blight. In Mass Effect 2 Commander Shepard would only talk with a vorcha twice, but fight with them dozens of times.

The vorcha are the most short-lived sapient species currently known, with an average lifespan of only 20 years. The vorcha are known for a rather unique biology that differentiates them from other known species and which carries with it a striking set of advantages and disadvantages. The vorcha have clusters of non-differentiated cells which allow the vorcha limited regenerative abilities, as well as the ability to adapt quickly to its environment, such as developing thicker skin after being burned or increased musculature to survive in high gravity. When a vorcha is injured or in distress, these cells move to the affected area and rapidly mature to specialized forms that will alleviate the issue.

A vorcha that is cut or burned will adapt to have thicker skin. The lungs of a vorcha placed in a barely breathable atmosphere will adapt to better use the gases there. A vorcha subjected to high gravity will quickly develop stronger heart and leg muscles. Non-differentiated vorcha cell clusters do replenish themselves, but the process is slow. Generally vorcha can only adapt to a single environment within their brief lives. However, what cells are replaced allow them to heal rapidly, and even regrow lost limbs over a period of months. However, as a consequence of this, the vorcha as a species no longer evolve as other races do. The vorcha equivalent of DNA has remained unchanged for millions of years. There is no need for them to evolve as a species when they can adapt as individuals.

Vorcha society is built around combat. In fact, the vorcha use combat, both singly and in groups, as their default form of communication. The vorcha are a clan based people who prefer living in communal environments with others of their species to living alone or in the company of alien races. When a clan population grows too large, younger members will depart to start a new clan elsewhere. The vorcha are extremely aggressive, both against rivals of their own species and against any alien who stands in their way. Vorcha who have managed to escape their homeworld did so by hiding within the ships of spacefaring races that visited their planet in the past, and have a tendency to occupy uninhabited areas of space stations or larger spaceships. Many of them have found employment in krogan-controlled gangs.[7]

The vorcha are not themselves a space-faring race, although many have found their way off-world as stowaways on ships visiting their homeworld. The vorcha who escaped their hostile homeworld did so by hiding on the ships of space faring races that had the misfortune of visiting their planet. Their adaptability and resilience allows them to flourish in the dark and dirty corners of the places they end up. Seeing the potential of the vorcha's individual adaptability, krogan Blood Pack mercenaries often sweep pockets of vorcha, gathering them up and literally beating them into soldiers. Vorcha "trained" by this ordeal are stronger, faster, smarter, and more resilient than other members of the race. Gaining even a few vorcha gives a mercenary band a formidable advantage; each additional vorcha magnifies the gang’s combat ferocity exponentially.


The yahg are introduced in the Mass Effect 2 DLC "Lair of the Shadow Broker". Discovered in 2125 on the planet Parnack, the yahg are a race of massive predators. When the Citadel Council delegation sent to Parnack acted as friends and allies, rather than subordinates, the yahg took it as an insult to them which prompted them to attack and kill the ambassadors. Since then, the Citadel Council severed all contact with the yahg and declared Parnack off-limits.

The yahg evolved to fill the niche of apex predator on Parnack. Yahg have four pairs of eyes, each pair designed to track and predict the movements of prey. A keen sensitivity to movement and light allows the yahg to easily read the body language of any species, which makes lying to a yahg very difficult. The yahg also possess a large, muscular body which provides considerable physical strength and agility.

Yahg society is built around a pack mentality. A group of yahg will not cooperate until a single leader has attained dominance through either social maneuvering or brute force. Once the leader is established, the defeated yahg do not hold a grudge and former rivals serve their new superior loyally.

The Council maintains that the yahg's aggression and obsession with control make them poorly suited to integrate with the galactic community.

The Shadow Broker

Some time after the Council made first contact, the Shadow Broker's agents attempted to abduct a yahg for study. Several had to be killed before the agents found one interested in leaving the planet. After impressive displays of intelligence and learning, on par with the much shorter lived salarians, the Broker arranged for the yahg to covertly take the place of one of his operatives and lead strike teams to gather intelligence and neutralize threats. However, the yahg's violent nature quickly became a problem and orders were given for him to be eliminated. However, the yahg managed to somehow kill the Shadow Broker in the middle of his message, to which he immediately assumes the role as the new Shadow Broker and rescind the order to kill him. At this point, none of his agents knew that the previous Broker had been killed and replaced. The yahg remained Shadow Broker for the next six decades, and garnered a fearsome reputation, with many of his agents entering his office and never coming out.

It wasn't until the year 2185 that the true nature of the new Shadow Broker was discovered, when Commander Shepard and Liara T'Soni raided his base in an attempt to rescue Feron, a drell whom the Broker had captured and tortured for an act of betrayal. The Broker did not survive the encounter and was, like his predecessor, replaced discreetly by Liara.

Extinct races

These species have become extinct or been declared as such long before the events of Mass Effect. The arthenn, Protheans, and zeioph were lost thousands of years previously, while the rachni were systematically exterminated in a violent war against the Citadel races. Countless other races have also become extinct in the Mass Effect galaxy but have not been identified.


The arthenn are an extinct space-faring race that disappeared 300,000 years ago, and are mentioned in planetary surveys in Mass Effect 2. The planet Helyme in the Zelene system is believed to have been their homeworld. Helyme is now a "post-garden" world, with a gradually cooling climate and extreme seasonal shifts. It is theorized that the arthenn were wiped out by an out of control biological weapon, which destroyed all complex animal life on Helyme, but spared plant life. Landing on Helyme is prohibited for fear that the bio-weapon is still present.[8] It could also be possible that the Reapers had wiped them out in a culling cycle preceding the Protheans (or, to be accurate, 4-5 cycles prior to Protheans). Evidence for a Reaper extermination can be found on a nearby planet where Arthenni mining locations have been destroyed in an orbital bombardment. In the rings of the systems gas giant there are remains of Arthenni space stations and of a small moon which has been destroyed by dreadnought-class weapons. Numerous other "post-garden" worlds can be spotted throughout the galaxy, most of them carrying evidence of extensive orbital bombardment. Many races are not even named. Several nearly destroyed Arthenn sculptures seen in concept art and screenshots of various post-garden worlds in mass effect 2 suggest several distinct similarities between the Arthenn and the Citadel keepers, suggesting that the keepers may have been develloped by the Reapers using Arthenn DNA, much like how collectors were develloped using prothean DNA.


The Protheans are an extinct alien race that was highly advanced in technological, social, and spiritual matters. It is of general belief that most of the various spacefaring races throughout the galaxy would still be confined to their home systems (if not their home worlds) were it not for the Prothean artifacts and constructs that guided their technological advancement. However, it is revealed in the course of the game that the Protheans, while talented inventors in their own right, were not the true creators of some of the greatest marvels for which they were credited, such as the Mass Relay network and the Citadel Station.

According to the novel Mass Effect: Revelation, the Prothean empire was wiped out approximately 50,000 years ago, long before humanity had even reached the Cro-Magnon phase of development. Despite their complex technology, the Protheans were methodically wiped out by a race of sentient and genocidal machines known as the Reapers. Though the species was exterminated, a select few surviving Protheans managed to leave behind a series of clues and warnings of the Reapers' impending return which are discovered over the course of the games. It is revealed on the planet Ilos that the Protheans created the Conduit, a replica mass relay between Ilos and the Citadel, and were able to shut down the signal that allows the Citadel to become a mass relay to the Reapers in Dark Space.

No visual description of a Prothean is ever given in Mass Effect or Mass Effect: Revelation. However, their statues show a humanoid body with a squid-like head, the tentacles hanging off the face much like a beard. Commander Shepard, through accidental exposure to a Prothean beacon, also sees visions of the Protheans through the course of the game. Although Shepard only has brief, blurry images of them, a humanoid shape with coils protruding from the face and body can still be vaguely made out. In Mass Effect 2, it's revealed that the Collectors are actually descended from the Protheans, redesigned by the Reapers through extreme genetic engineering as largely mindless slaves.

It is also speculated in Mass Effect 2 that, unlike humans, the Prothean did not have the correct genetic material to be used in the construction of a Reaper, hence their current servile form.


The rachni are a presumably extinct race of intelligent insectoids that threatened to defeat and overthrow the Citadel races roughly two thousand years before the game's timeline. They were first encountered by accident due to the activation of a long-range mass relay with a counterpart in what was, at that time, an unknown location. The extremely xenophobic rachni, angered by the encroachment of what it believed were inferior species upon its living space, counter-attacked, determined to destroy the perceived invaders. Negotiation was impossible with the rachni queens, who could not be contacted in their underground lairs on the toxic rachni worlds. Eventually the krogan, discovered and elevated to civilization by the salarians due to their fighting prowess, hardiness, and high birth rate, were able to push back and eventually exterminate the rachni. With the conclusion of the Rachni Wars, the Citadel Council declared the rachni to be extinct.

By the time of Mass Effect, a rachni egg was found by a science team on a derelict ship and brought to the Peak 15 research labs on Noveria, where lax research regulations permitted a significant and dangerous amount of research and experimentation; the rachni were effectively brought back from extinction for the purpose of serving as weapons of war sold to the highest bidder. The rachni queen discovered by the player on Noveria explains that the rachni's tendency for extreme belligerence was not intrinsic to their nature and that, were it permitted to live and escape from the facility, the queen would raise a peaceful new breed of rachni with respect for life and other life-forms. It is up to the player to decide whether the queen lives or dies.

If the rachni queen survives, it contacts Shepard in Mass Effect 2, saying that it managed to escape from Noveria and reestablish the rachni race. It also believes that the previous rachni were manipulated by the Reapers, and promises to help him fight them. Meanwhile, there are increased sightings of Rachni ships, and the Council is taking these reports very seriously.


The zeioph are an extinct space-faring race mentioned in planetary surveys. Nothing is known about them, and the only known remains of their civilization consist of an enormous necropolis on the planet Armeni in the Knossos System. Human attempts to excavate and investigate the ruins have been stymied by Citadel policies that hold grave sites as sacrosanct.[9]


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