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    Codex Guide by Shadow.

    Version: 2.0 | Updated: 01/05/10 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

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    This FAQ is about Mass Effect's codex. The codex is one of the selections
    in Mass Effect's pause menu and as you progress through the game you
    will get more entries in it. The Codex entries fill you in on the backstory
    of the Mass Effect Universe. This guide contains what is in all of these
    codex entries and how to unlock them.
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    You may contact me at theshadowdragon777@yahoo.com but only for the 
    following things.
    *Errors in my guide
    *Spelling Mistakes
    *Constructive Criticism
    *Asking if you can use this FAQ on your site
    If you could send me any of the codex entries not in this guide it would
    be very helpful and I would make sure to credit you for it.
    Things you should not email to me:
    *Things that have nothing to do with Mass Effect
    *Hate Mail/Flames
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    Version Number: 1.0
    Date Added: 11/26/07
    What's New: Everything.
    Version Number: 1.1
    Date Added: 11/28/07
    What's New: Fixed a small typo, added Starships: Thrusters and Weapons: 
    Ablative Armor.
    Version Number: 1.2
    Date Added: 12/03/07
    What's New: Fixed a few typos, added several more missing entries
    Version Number: 1.3
    Date Added: 12/06/07
    What's new: Added Terra Firma Party and Ilos entries.
    Version Number: 1.4
    Date Added: 12/07/07
    What's new: Finally added the Prothean entry and added the varios profile
    Version Number: 1.5
    Date Added: 12/07/07
    What's new: Added Element Zero and Citadel Station: Serpent Nebula entries.
    Version Number: 1.6
    Date Added: 12/21/07
    What's new: Fixed several typos.
    Version Number: 1.7
    Date Added: 12/21/07
    What's new: Fixed up some things.
    Version Number: 1.8
    Date Added: 01/03/08
    What's new: Added Asari Biology and Government and Life as a Biotic
    Version Number: 1.9
    Date Added: 01/06/08
    What's new: Added Salarian Biology, Turian Religion, and Plantary Assault as
    well as a couple of missing "how to get"s.
    Version Number: 1.9.1
    Date Added: 01/08/08
    What's new: Added Salarian Culture and Arcturus Station.
    Version Number: 1.9.2
    Date Added: 01/11/08
    What's new: Added a couple missing how to get's.
    Version Number: 2.0
    Date Added: 01/05/10
    What's new: Added missing entries: Space Combat: Trans-Relay Assault and
    Starships: Carriers. Also added DLC entries and missing how to get's.
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      -Aliens: Council Races
      -Aliens: Extinct Races
      -Aliens: Non-Council Races
      -Aliens: Non-Sapient Creatures
        -Thresher Maws
      -Citadel and Galactic Government
        -Citadel Council
        -Citadel Space
      -Humanity and the Systems Alliance
        -First Contact War
        -Systems Alliance
      -Planets and Locations
        -Planets: Feros
        -Planets: Ilos
        -Planets: Noveria
        -Planets: Virmire
        -Region: Terminus Systems
        -Uncharted Worlds
      -Ships and Vehicles
        -FTL Drive
        -Military Ship Classifications
        -Space Combat
        -Vehicles: M35 Mako
        -Computers: Artificial Intelligence (AI)
        -Computers: Virtual Intelligence (VI)
        -Element Zero ('Eezo')
        -Mass Effect Fields
        -Mass Relays
      -Weapons, Armor, and Equipment
        -Body Armor
        -Kinetic Barriers ('Shields')
        -Mass Accelerators
        -Small Arms
      -Personal History Summary
      -Aliens: Council Races
        -Asari: Biology
        -Asari: Culture
        -Asari: Government
        -Asari: Military Doctrine
        -Asari: Religion
        -Salarians: Biology
        -Salarians: Culture
        -Salarians: Government
        -Salarians: League of One
        -Salarians: Military Doctrine
        -Salarians: Special Tasks Group
        -Turians: Biology
        -Turians: Culture
        -Turians: Government
        -Turians: Military Doctrine
        -Turians: Religion
        -Turians: The Unification War
      -Aliens: Extinct Races
        -Protheans: Beacon
        -Protheans: Cipher
        -Protheans: Data Disks
        -Protheans: Mars Ruins
      -Aliens: Non-Council races
        -Geth: Armatures
        -Geth: Hoppers
        -Krogan: Biology
        -Krogan: Culture
        -Krogan: Genophage
        -Krogan: Krogan Rebellions
        -Krogan: Military Doctrine
        -Quarians: Economy
        -Quarians: Government
        -Quarians: Law and Defense
        -Quarians: Migrant Fleet
        -Quarians: Pilgrimage
        -Quarians: Religion
      -Citadel and Galactic Government
        -Citadel Conventions
        -Citadel Station: Citadel Security Services (C-Sec)
        -Citadel Station: Presidium Ring
        -Citadel Station: Serpent Nebula
        -Citadel Station: Statistics
        -Citadel Station: Wards
        -Treaty of Farixen
      -Humanity and the Systems Alliance
        -Genetic Engineering
        -Human Diplomatic Relations
        -Systems Alliance: Geological Survey
        -Systems Alliance: Military Doctrine
        -Systems Alliance: Military Jargon
        -Systems Alliance: Military Ranks
        -Systems Alliance: N7
        -Terra Firma Party
      -Planets and Locations
        -Stations: Arcturus Station
        -Stations: Gagarin Station
      -Ships and Vehicles
        -FTL Drive: Appearance
        -FTL Drive: Drive Charge
        -Space Combat: Combat Endurance
        -Space Combat: General Tactics
        -Space Combat: Planetary Assaults
        -Space Combat: Trans-Relay Assaults
        -Starships: Carriers
        -Starships: Crew Considerations
        -Starships: Cruisers
        -Starships: Dreadnought
        -Starships: Fighters
        -Starships: Frigates
        -Starships: Heat Management
        -Starships: Sensors
        -Starships: Thrusters
        -Vehicles: Combat Drones
        -Weapons: Ablative Armor
        -Weapons: Disruptor Torpedoes
        -Weapons: GARDIAN
        -Weapons: Javelin
        -Biotics: Biotic Amps
        -Biotics: Life as a Biotic
        -Biotics: Training
        -Combat Simulator (Pinnacle Station DLC)
        -Communications: Administration
        -Communications: Methodology
        -Credits ('Creds')
        -Pinnacle Station (Pinnacle Station DLC)
        -Prefabricated Structures (Pinnacle Station DLC)
        -Translation (Bring Down The Sky DLC)
      -Weapons, Armor and Equipment
                           --Aliens: Council Races--
    The three most politically important species in the galaxy.
    The asari were the first species to discover the Citadel. When the salarians 
    arrived, it was the asari who proposed the establishment of the Citadel 
    Council to maintain peace throughout the galaxy. Since then, the asari have 
    served as the mediators and centrists of the councils.
    An all-female race, the asari reproduce through a form of parthenogenesis. 
    Each asari can attune her nervous system to a that of another individual of 
    any gender, and of any species, to reproduce. This capability has led to 
    unseemly and inaccurate rumors about asari promiscuity.
    Asari can live for over 1000 years, passing through three stages of life. In 
    the Maiden stage, they wander restlessly, seeking new knowledge and 
    experience. When the Matron stage begins, they 'meld' with interesting 
    partners to produce their offspring. This ends when they reach the Matriarch 
    stage, where they assume the roles of leaders and councilors. 
    The second species to join the Citadel, the salarians are warm-blooded 
    amphibians with a hyperactive metabolism. Salarians think fast, talk fast, and 
    move fast. To salarians, other species seem sluggish and dull-witted. 
    Unfortunately, their metabolic speed leaves them with a relatively short 
    lifespan, salarians over the age of 40 are a rarity. 
    The salarians were responsible for advancing the development of the primitive 
    krogan species to use as soldiers during the Rachni Wars. They were also behind
    the creation of the genophage bioweapon the turians used to quell the Krogan 
    Rebellions several centuries later. 
    Salarians are known for their observational capability and non-linear 
    thinking. This manifests as an aptitude for research and espionage. They are 
    constantly experimenting and inventing, and it is  generally accepted that 
    they always know more then they let on.
    How to get: This entry is given after your very first conversation with Joker
    and Kaiden. It is impossible not to get it.
    Roughly 1200 years ago, the turians were invited to join the Citadel Council 
    to fulfill the role of galactic peacekeeper. The turians have the largest 
    fleet in Citadel space, and they make up the single largest portion of the 
    Council's military forces.
    As their territory and influence has spread, the turians have come to rely on 
    the salarians for military intelligence and the asari for diplomacy. Despite a 
    somewhat colonial attitude towards the rest of the galaxy, the ruling 
    Hierarchy understands they would lose more than they would gain if the other 
    two races were ever removed.
    Turians come from an autocratic society that values discipline and possesses a
    strong sense of personal and collective honor. There is lingering animosity 
    between turians and humans over the First Contact War of 2157, which is known
    as the "Relay 314 Incident" to the turians. Officially, however, the two 
    species are allies and they enjoy civil, if cool, diplomatic relations.
                          --Aliens: Extinct Races--
    Spacefaring species that went extinct thousands of years before the present.
    How to get: Ask the Captain at the very beginning of the game before you go
    to Eden Prime about them.
    Fifty thousand years ago, the Protheans were the only spacefaring species in
    the galaxy. They vanished in a swift 'galactic exitinction'. Only the legacy
    of their empire remains. They are believed to have built the mass relays and
    the Citadel, which have allowed numerous species to explore and expand 
    throughout the galaxy.
    Prothean ruins are found on worlds across the galaxy. While surprising intact
    for their age, functioning examples of Prothena paleotechnology are rare. Time
    and generations of looters have picked their dead cities and derelict stations
    Some believe the Protheans meddled in the evolution of younger races. The
    hanar homeworld of Kahje for examploe, shows clear evidence of Prothean
    occupation. The presence of a former Prothean observation post on Mars has
    caused a rebirth of 'interventionary evolutionists' among humans. These
    individuals believe the god-myths of ancient cilivizations are misremembered
    encounters with aliens.
    How to get: Talk to the VIs on the Citadel about the Rachni Wars.
    Though now extinct, the rachni once threatened every species in Citadel space.
    Over 2000 years ago, explorers foolishly opened a mass relay to a previously-
    unknown system and encountered something never seen before or since: a species
    of spacefaring insects guided by a hive-mind intelligence. 
    Unfortunately, the rachni were not peaceful, and the galaxy was plunged into a
    series of conflicts known as the Rachni Wars. Attempts to negotiate were 
    futile, as it was impossible to make contact with the hive queens that guided 
    the race from beneath the surface of their toxic homeworld.
    The emergence of the krogan ended the Rachni Wars. Bred to survive in the 
    harshest environments, the krogan were able to strike at the queens in their 
    lairs and reclaim conquered Council worlds. But when the krogan fleets pressed
    them back to their homeworld, the rachni refused to surrender, and the krogan 
    eradicated them from the galaxy.
                       --Aliens: Non-Council Races--
    Spacefaring species without the political power to set galactic policy.
    How to get:
    -When you return to the Citadel for the first time enter
    the C-Sec accademy you will be contacted Marine about a girl who was found that
    was taken by slavers on Mindoir. As soon as you are contacted about this quest 
    it is added to the Codex. (Assignment - Citadel: I Remember Me)
    -Alternate: Talk to the Captain about his past with Saren
    -Bring Down The Sky: Fight the Batarians in the Bring Down The Sky DLC
    In the early 2160s, the Alliance began aggressive colonization of worlds in
    the Skyllian Verge, much to the dismay of the batarians who had been 
    developing the region for several decades. In 2171, the batarians petitioned
    the Council to declare the Verge a 'zone of batarian interest.' The Council
    refused, however, declaring unsettled worlds in the region open to human
    In protest, the batarians closed their Citadel embassy and severed official
    diplomatic relations with the Council, effectively becoming a rouge state.
    They instigated a proxy war in the Verge by funneling money and weapons to
    criminal organizations, urging them to strike at human colonies.
    Hostilities peaked with the Skyllian Blitz of 2176, an attack on the human
    capital of Elysium by batarian-funded pirates and slavers. In 2178, the
    Alliance retaliated with a crushing assault on the moon of Torfan, long used
    as a staging base by batarian-backed criminals. In the aftermath, the 
    batarians retreated into their own systems, and are now rarely seen in Citadel
    How to get: Talk to the Elcor diplomat in the Embassies on the Citadel and ask
    him about his people.
    The elcor are a Citadel species native to the high-gravity world Dekuuna.
    They are massive creature, standing on four muscular legs for
    increased stability. Elcor move slowly, an evolved response to an environment
    where a fall can be lethal. This has colored their psychology making them
    deliberate and conservative.
    Elcor speech is ponderous and monotone. Among themselves, scent, slight 
    movements, and subvocalized infrasound convey shades of meaning that make a
    human smile seem as subtle as a fireworks display. Since their subtlety can
    lead to misunderstandings with other species, the elcor often go out of their
    way to clarify when they are being sarcastic, amused, or angry.
    Dekunna's high gravity impedes mountain formation. Most of the world consists
    of flat, open plains, which prehistoric elcor wandered across in small family
    bonds. Modern elcor still prefer open sky, and can become restless and 
    uncomfortable on long starship journeys.
    How to get: You will get it when you first meet Ashley.
    The geth are a humanoid race of network AIs. They were created by the quarians
    300 years ago as tools of labor and war. When the geth showed signs of self-
    evolution, the quarians attempted to exterminate them. The geth won the 
    resulting war. This example has led to a legal, systematic repression of 
    artificial intelligences in galactic society. 
    The geth possess a unique distributed intelligence. An individual has 
    rudimentary animal instincts, but as their numbers and proximity increase, 
    the apparent intelligence of each individual improves. In groups, they can 
    reason, analyze situations, and use tactics as well as any organic race.
    Geth space is located at the trailing end of the Perseus Arm, beyond the 
    lawless Terminus Systems. The Perseus Veil, an obscuring 'dark nebula' of 
    opaque gas and dust, lies between their space and the Terminus Systems.
    How to get:
    -Talk to the Hanar Merchant on Noveria
    -Alternate: Talk to Delan, the hanar in the Emporium on the Citadel Presidium
    about why he talks the way he does.
    The hanar are a Citadel species known for excessive politeness. They speak
    with scrupulous precision, and take offense as improper language. Hanar that
    expect to deal with other species take special courses to help them unlearn
    their tendency to take offense at improper speech.
    All hanar have two names. The Face Name is known to the world; the Soul name
    is kept for use among close friends and relations. Hanar never refer to
    themselves in the first person in conversation with someone they know on
    a face name basis. To do so is considered egotistical, so instead they refer
    to themselves as 'this one,' or the impersonal 'it.'
    Their homeworld, Kahje, has 90% ocean cover and orbits and energetic white 
    star, resulting in a permanent blanket of clouds. Due to the presence of
    Prothean ruins on the world, many hanar worship them, and hanar myths often
    speak of an elder race that civilized them by teaching them language.
    How to get: Talk to the VIs on the Citadel.
    When the asari discovered the Citadel, they also discovered the keepers, a 
    docile multi-limbed insect race that seemingly exist only to maintain and 
    repair the great Prothean station.
    Early attempts to communicate with or study the keepers were failures, and it 
    is now illegal to interfere with or impede keeper activity. Because they are 
    completely non-threatening, keepers have become virtually invisible to 
    everyone else. Similarly, they seem indifferent to other species, expect for 
    their tendency to help new arrivals integrate themselves into the Citadel. 
    No matter how many keepers die due to old age, violence, or accident, they 
    maintain a constant number. No one has discovered the source of new keepers, 
    but some hypothesize they are genetic constructs: biological androids created 
    somewhere deep in the inaccessible core of the Citadel itself.
    How to get: Talk to Barla Von about the krogan in C-Sec. 
    The krogan evolved in a hostile and vicious environment. Until the invention 
    of gunpowder weapon, 'eaten by predators' was still the number one cause of 
    krogan fatalities. Afterwards, it was 'death by gunshot'.
    When the salarians discovered them, the krogan were a brutal, primitive 
    species struggling to survive a self-inflicted nuclear winter. The salarians 
    culturally uplifted them, teaching them to use and build modern technology so 
    they could serve as soldiers in the Rachni War.
    Liberated from the harsh conditions from their homeworld, the quick-breeding 
    krogan experienced an unprecedented population explosion. They began to 
    colonize nearby worlds, even though these worlds were already inhabited. The 
    Krogan Rebellions lasted nearly a century, only ending when the turians 
    unleashed the genophage, a salarian-developed bioweapon that crushed all 
    krogan resistance.
    The genophage makes only one in 1000 pregnancies viable, and today the krogan 
    are a slowly dying breed. Understandably, the krogan harbor a grudge against 
    all other species, specially the turians.
    How to get: Talk to Doctor Chloe Michel after you rescue her from or 
    talk to Wrex about the quarian who contacted Fist.
    (Assignment - Citadel: Doctor Michel)
    Driven from their home system by the geth nearly three centuries ago, most 
    quarians now live aboard the Migrant Fleet, a flotilla of fifty thousand 
    vessels ranging in size from passenger shuttles to mobile space stations.
    Home to 17 million quarians, the flotilla understandably has scarce resources.
    Because of this, each quarian must go on a rite of passage known as the 
    Pilgrimage when they come of age. They leave the fleet and only return once 
    they have found something of value they can bring back toe their people.
    Other species often tend to look down on the quarians for creating the geth 
    and for the negative impact their fleet has when it enters a system. This has 
    led to may myths and rumors about the quarians, including the belief that 
    under their cloths and breathing masks, they are actually cybernetic 
    creatures: a combination of organic and synthetic parts.
    How to get: Talk to Din Korlack, the volus ambassador to the Citadel, about
    the volus. He is in the embassy offices on the Citadel.
    The volus are a member species of the Citadel with their own embassy, but they 
    are also a client race of the turians. Centuries ago, they were voluntarily 
    absorbed into the Hierarchy, effectively trading their mercantile prowess for 
    turian military protection.
    Irune, their homeworld, lies far beyond the normal life zone of its star. 
    However, the world has a high-pressure greenhouse atmosphere that traps 
    enough heat to support an ammonia-based biochemistry. As a result, the volus 
    must wear pressure suits and breathers when dealing with other species as 
    conventional nitrogen/oxygen air mixtures are poisonous to them, and in the 
    low pressure atmospheres tolerable to most species, their flesh will actually 
    split open. 
    Volus culture is tribal, bartering lands and even people to gain status. This 
    culture of exchange inclines them to economic pursuits. It was the volus who 
    authored the United Banking Act, and they continue to monitor and balance the 
    Citadel economy.
                     --Aliens: Non-Sapient Creatures--
    Common non-sapient life-forms.
    How to get: You will get it when you first encounter them on Eden Prime.
    After the geth secure a location, they round up and impale dead and living 
    bodies on mechanical spikes. The spikes rapidly transform these victims into 
    withered husks, extracting water and trace minerals and replacing them with 
    The cybernetics re-animate the lifeless flesh and tissue, transforming the 
    bodies into mindless killing machines. Some Alliance soldiers refer to the 
    husk-generating spikes as Dragon's Teeth, a reference to the mythological 
    berserkers who sprang up from the earth wherever the teeth of the dragon Ares
    were planted.
    Dragon's Teeth and husks bear little resemblance to other pieces of geth 
    technology. No one is sure why a synthetic race would bother to drain the 
    miniscule amount of recoverable resources from organic corpses, though the 
    value of reusing them as shock troops is obvious.
                              ~Thresher Maws~
    How to get: You can get it during UNC: Missing Marines quest on the planet
    in the Sparta System of Artemis Tau that you can land on. When you find
    them on the planet you will be attacked by one.
    Thresher maws are subterranean carnivores that spend their entire lives
    eating or searching for something to eat. Threshers reproduce via spores
    that lie dormant for millennia, yet are robust enough to survive prolonged
    periods in deep space and atmospheric re-entry. As a result, thresher spores
    appear on many worlds, spread by previous generations of space travelers.
    The body of a thresher never entirely leaves the ground; only the head and
    tentacles erupt from the earth to attack. In addition to physical attacks,
    threshers have the ability to project toxic chemicals and emit bursts of 
    infrasound as a shockwave weapon.
    The Alliance first encountered threshers on the colony Akuze in 2177. After
    contact was lost with the pioneer team, marine units were deployed to 
    investigate. The shore parties were set upon by hungry threshers, and nearly
    the entire assault force was killed. Alliance forces recommend engaging
    threshers with vehicle-mounted heavy weapons.
    How to get: On Feros, either when you first encounter them or before if
    you talk to one of the colonists about Varren Meat.
    Bring Down The Sky: You can get it after you fight them in the Bring
    Down The Sky DLC.
    Varren are omnivores with a preference for living prey. Originally native to 
    the krogan homeworld of Tuchanka, they are, like most life from Tuchanka, 
    savage, clannish, and consummate survivors. They are pack hunters when 
    vulnerable prey is readily available and become scavengers when outnumbered or
    Their supreme adaptability, vicious demeanor, and rapid breeding cycle have 
    made them ubiquitous and dangerous pests on many worlds. Virtually everywhere
    the krogan have been, varren infestations have followed, wreaking havoc with 
    the native ecology.
    The krogan have had a love-hate relationship with varren for millennia, 
    alternately fighting them for territory and embracing them as treasured 
    companions. To this day, krogan raise them as beats of war. A common subgenus 
    of varren has metallic silver scales, leading to the rather unusual nickname 
                     --Citadel and Galactic Government--
    A massive space station that serves as the political and economic capital of
    galactic culture.
    How to get: Finish the Eden Prime mission.
    The Citadel is an ancient deep-space station, presumably constructed by the 
    Protheans. Since the Prothean extinction, numerous species have come to call 
    the Citadel home. It serves as the political, cultural, and financial capital 
    of the galactic community. To represent their interests, most species maintain
    embassies on the Presidium, the Citadel's inner ring.
    The Citadel Tower, in the center of the Presidium, holds the Citadel Council 
    chambers. Council affairs often have far-reaching effects on the rest of the 
    galactic community. Five arms, known as wards, extend from the Presidium. 
    Their inner surfaces have been built into cities, populated by millions of 
    inhabitants from across the galaxy.
    The Citadel is virtually indestructible. If attacked, the station can close 
    it's arms to form a solid, impregnable shell. For as long as the station has 
    existed, an enigmatic race called the keepers has maintained it.
                           ~Citadel Council~
    How to get: Automatically once you go to the Citadel for the first time.
    The Council is an executive committee composed of representatives from the 
    Asari Republics, the Turian Hierarchy, and the Salarian Union. Though they 
    have no official power over the independent governments of other species, the 
    Council's decisions carry great weight throughout the galaxy. No single 
    Council race is strong enough to defy the other two, and have a vested 
    interest in compromise and cooperation.
    Each of the console species has general characteristics associated with the 
    various aspects of governing the galaxy. The asari are typically seen as 
    diplomats and mediators. The salarians gather intelligence and information. 
    The turians provide the bulk of the military and peacekeeping forces.
    Any species granted an embassy on the Citadel is considered an associate 
    member, bound by the accords of the Citadel Conventions. Associate members may
    bring issues to the attention of the Council, through they have no input on 
    the decision. The human Systems Alliance became an associate member of the 
    Citadel in 2165.
                           ~Citadel Space~
    How to get: Examine the galaxy map on the Normandy.
    Citadel Space is an unofficial term referring to any region of space
    controlled by a species that acknowledge the authority of the Citadel Council.
    At first glance, it appears this territory encompasses most of the galaxy. In 
    reality, however, less then 1% of the stars have been explored. 
    Even mass-effect-FTL drive is slow relative to the volume of the galaxy. Empty
    space any systems without suitable drive discharge sites are barriers to 
    exploration. Only the mass relays allow ships to jump hundreds of light years 
    in an instant, the key to expanding across an otherwise impassable galaxy.
    Whenever a new relay is activated, the destination system is rapidly 
    developed. From that hub, FTL drive is used to expand to nearby star clusters.
    The result is a number of densely-developed clusters thinly spread across the 
    vast expanse of space, connected by the mass relay network.
    How to get: Talk to Dr. Chakwas about 'The Spectres' or just during your
    conversation with Captain Anderson and Nihilus.
    Spectres are agents from the Office of Special Tactics and Reconnaissance and
    answer only to the Citadel Council. They are elite military operatives, 
    granted the authority to deal with threats to peace and stability in whatever 
    way they deem necessary.
    They operate independently or in groups of two or three. Some are empathetic 
    peacekeepers, resolving disputes through diplomacy. Others are cold-blooded 
    assassins, ruthlessly dispatching problem individuals. All get the job done, 
    one way or another, often operating outside of the bounds of galactic law.
    The Spectres were founded after the salarians joined the Council. For many 
    years, they operated in secrecy, as back-room 'problem solvers.' Only after 
    the krogan Rebellions did their activities become publicized. Assignment of a
    Spectre is less contentious than military deployment, but makes it clear that 
    the Council is concerned about a situation.
                    --Humanity and the Systems Alliance--
    The Alliance is the government and military of humanity beyond Sol.
    How to get: Go and examine Earth
    The homeworld and capital of humanity is entering a new golden age. The 
    resource wealth of a dozen settled colonies and a hundred industrial outposts
    flows back to Earth, fueling great works of industry, commerce, and art. The
    great cities are greening as arcology skyscrapers and telecommuting allow
    more efficient use of land.
    Earth is still divided among nation-states, though all are affiliated beneath
    the overarching banner of the Systems Alliance. While every human enjoys longer
    and better life then ever, the gap between rich and poor widens daily. Advanced
    nations have eliminated most genetic disease and pollution. Less fortunate
    regions have not progressed beyond 20th century technology, and are often
    smog-choked, overpopulated slums.
    Sea levels have risen two meters in the last 200 years, and violent weather
    is common due to environmental damage inflicted during the late 21st century.
    The past few decades, however, have seen significant improvement due to recent 
    technological advances.
                           ~First Contact War~
    How to get: Keep talking to Ashley after each mission. Eventually you will get
    this one. Alternatively you can get it through talking to Navigator Pressly
    about the 'Turian Spectre' at the beginning of the game.
    Humanity's first contact with an alien race occurred in 2157. At that time, the
    Alliance allowed survey fleets to activate any dormant mass relays discovered, a
    practice considered dangerous and irresponsible by Council-aligned races. When
    a turian patrol discovered a human fleet attempting to activate a relay, they
    attacked. One human vessel survived, retreating to the colony of Shanxi.
    The turians followed, quickly defeating the local forces. Shanxi was occupied,
    the first - and, to date, only - human world to be conquered by an alien 
    species. The turians believed the handful of ships they defeated represented
    the bulk of human defenses. So they were unprepared when the Second Fleet under
    Admiral Kastanie Drescher, launched a strong counteroffensive, evicting them
    from Shanxi.
    The turians mobilized for full-scale war, drawing the attention of the rest of
    the galaxy. The Council quickly intervened, forcing a truce. Fortunately for 
    humanity, the First Contact War was ended with a diplomatic solution.
                            ~System Alliance~
    How to get: This entry is given after your very first conversation with Joker
    and Kaiden. It is impossible not to get it.
    The Systems Alliance is an independent supranational government representing 
    the interests of humanity as a whole. The Alliance is responsible for the 
    governance and defense of all extra-solar colonies and stations.
    The Alliance grew out of the various nation space programs as a matter of 
    practicality. Sol's planets had been explored and exploited through piecemeal 
    nation efforts. The expense of colonizing entire new solar systems could not 
    be met by an one country. With humans knowing that alien contact was 
    inevitable, there was enough political will to jointly fund an international 
    Still, the Alliance was often disregarded by those on Earth until the First 
    Contact War. While the national governments dithered and bickered over who 
    should lead the effort to liberate Shanxi, the Alliance fleet struck 
    decisively. Post-War public approval gave the Alliance the credibility to 
    establish its own Parliament and become the galactic face of humanity.
                      --Plants and Locations--
    The Milky Way galaxy contains 200 to 400 billion stars, most with a host of
                           ~Planets: Feros~
    How to get: Talk to the captain about Feros when you are about to leave the
    Alternate: Talk to the Volus merchant in the Upper Wards of the Citadel about
    Feros is a habitable world in the Attican Beta cluster. Two-thirds of the 
    habitable surface is covered with the ruins of crumbling Prothean 
    megatropolis. In the millennia since the Prothean extinction, the ruins have 
    been picked over by looters many times.
    Feros was considered a poor prospect for colonization, as little open ground 
    remains for agriculture. The only sizeable fresh water sources are the poles, 
    which are tapped by the decaying Prothean aqueduct system. The dead cities, 
    while in good condition considering their antiquity, are of uncertain 
    stability. Ground level is congested by a dozen meters of fallen debris, and 
    the air is fouled by dust.
    In 2178, the human ExoGeni Corporation announced its intention to place a 
    permanent colony on Feros, to thoroughly explore the ruins. The pioneer 
    settlement was placed on the upper levels of the several intact skyscrapers, 
    using the surviving Prothean aqueducts and rooftop hydroponics gardens to 
    support the population.
                            ~Planets: Ilos~
    How to get: Get to Ilos in the main story
    Like the ancient human city of Troy, Ilos is a world known only through
    second-hand sources. References to Ilos have been found at several other
    Prothean Ruins, though direct study of the world is unlikely to occur.
    Ilos lies in a remote area of the Terminus Systems only accessible by the 
    legendary Mu Relay. Four thousand years ago, the Mu Relay was knocked out
    of position by a supernova and lost. Since then, Ilos and its cluster have
    been inaccessible.
    Occasionally, a university will organize an expedition to chat a route to
    Ilos using conventional FTL drive. These never get beyond the planning
    stages due to the distance and danger. The journey could take years or
    decades, passing through the hostile Terminus Systems and dozens of
    unexplored systems.
                            ~Planets: Noveria~
    How to get: Talk to the captain about Noveria when you are about to leave the
    Alternate: Talk to the volus merchant in the Upper Wards about Noveria.
    Noveria is a cool, rocky world, with most of its hydrosphere locked up in 
    massive glaciers. A privately-chartered colony world, the planet is owned by 
    Noveria Development Corporation holding company. The NDC is funded by 
    investment capital from two dozen high technology development firms, and 
    administrated by an Executive Board representing their interests.
    The investors built remote hot labs in isolated locations across Noveria's 
    surface. These facilities are used for research too dangerous or 
    controversial to be performed elsewhere, as Noveria is technically not part 
    of Citadel space and therefore exempt from Council law.
    By special arrangement, Citadel Special Tactics and Reconnaissance agent have 
    been granted extraterritorial privileges, but it remains to be seen how 
    committed the Executive Board is to that principle. Given its unique 
    situation, it is understandable that Noveria is often implicated in all manner 
    of wild conspiracy theories.
                          ~Planets: Virmire~
    How to get: When the council tells you about the quest to go there.
    Virmire is a lush world located on the frontier of the Attican Traverse. Its
    vast seas and orbital position on the inner life zone have created a wide
    equatorial band of humid, tropical terrain. Only the political instability of
    the region has impeded efforts at colonization.
    Many times, the Citadel has opened negotiations to settle Virmire with the 
    various criminal gangs and petty dictatorships in the nearby Terminus Systems.
    All fell apart due to internal power shifts within the opposing parties. The
    Citadel has written off the colonization of Virmire as impossible without
    significant political change.
    The Terminus powers themselves are unlikely to ever settle Virmine. Most lack
    the resources to support settlement of a virgin world, finding it more
    expedient to steal from their neighbors than build for themselves.
                        ~Region: Terminus Systems~
    How to get: You can get it while talking to the Captain and Nihilus at the
    very beginning of the game on the Normandy before the cutscene where you go
    to Eden Prime. Ask them about the 'Terminus Systems'.
    The Terminus Systems are located on the far side of the Attican Traverse, 
    beyond the space administered by the Citadel Council or claimed by the humans 
    Systems Alliance. It is populated by a loose affiliation of minor species, 
    united only in their refusal to acknowledge the political authority of the
    Council or adhere to the Citadel Conventions.
    Their independence comes at a price; the Terminus is fraught with conflict. 
    War among the various species is common, as governments and dictators 
    constantly rise and fall. The region is a haven for illegal activities, 
    particularly piracy and the slave trade.
    At least once a year, a fleet from Terminus invades the nearby Attican 
    Traverse. These attacks are typically small raids against poorly-defended 
    colonies. The Council rarely retaliates, as sending patrols into the Terminus 
    Systems could unify and disparate species against their common foe, triggering
    a long and costly war.
                             ~Uncharted Worlds~
    How to get: Survey a planet
    Alternate: Ask Captain Anderson about Artemis Tau.
    There are between two and four hundred billion stars in the galaxy, and less 
    then 1% of them have ever been visited or had their systems properly surveyed.
    Humanity's early expansion into the Attican Traverse was haphazard; a 
    desperate race to claim habitable planets where populations can be economically
    settled. Ignored in the wake of this land grab were thousands of 
    less hospitable worlds, each potentially rich with industrial resources. The 
    wealth of entire solar systems remain untapped, waiting for corporate survey 
    teams or independent pioneers to discover and exploit them.
    This, however, is not an easy task. In addition to the environmental hazards, 
    the fact that uncharted worlds are largely ignored makes them popular bases 
    for criminals, revolutionaries, cults, and others who wish to remain unnoticed
    by galactic society.
                             --Ships and Vehicles--
    The technologies of space travel and surface mobility.
                                  ~FTL Drive~
    How to get: Talk to Engineer Adams aboard the Normandy about the Normandy
    and the Tantalus Core after you've taken command of the ship.
    Faster-than-light drives use element zero cores to reduce the mass of ship, 
    allowing higher rates of acceleration. This effectively raises the speed of 
    light within the mass effect field, allowing high speed travel with negligible 
    relativistic time dilation effects.
    Starships still require conventional thrusters (chemical rockets, commercial 
    fusion torch, economy ion engine, or military antiproton drive) in addition to 
    the FTL drive core. With only a core, a ship has no motive power.
    The amount of element zero and power required for a drive increases
    exponentially to  the mass being moved and the degree it is being lightened.
    Very massive ships or very high speeds are prohibitively expensive.
    If the field collapses while the ships moving at faster-than-light speeds, 
    the effects are catastrophic. The ship is snapped back to sublight velocity, 
    the enormous excess energy shed in the form of lethal Cerenkov radiation.
                       ~Military Ship Classifications~
    How to get: Talk to Engineer Adams aboard the Normandy about his history
    after you've taken command of the ship.
    Larger warships are classified in one of four weights:
    FRIGATES are small, fast ships used counting and screening larger vessels. 
    Frigrates often operate in wolf-pack flotillas.
    CRUISERS are middle-weight combatants, faster than dreadnoughts, and more 
    heavily-armed then frigates. Cruisers are the standard patrol unit, and often
    lead frigate flotillas.
    DREADNOUGHTS are kilometer-long capital ships mounting heavy, long-range 
    firepower. They are only deployed for the most vital missions.
    CARRIERS are dreadnought-sized vessels are also carry a large amount of 
    Smaller vessels are exclusively used in a support role to the warships during 
    FIGHTERS are one-man craft used to perform close-range attacks on enemy ships.
    INTERCEPTORS are one-man craft optimized for destroying opposing fighters.
    How to get: Talk to Joker aboard the Normandy about the ship itself when you
    take command of it.
    The Normandy is a prototype starship, developed by the human Systems Alliance 
    with the assistance of the Citadel Council. It is optimized for scouting and 
    reconnaissance missions in unstable regions, using state-of-the-art stealth 
    For most ships, the heat generated through standard operations is easily 
    detectable against he absolute-zero background of space. The Normandy, 
    however, is able to temporarily sink this heat within the hull. Combined with 
    refrigeration of the exterior hull, the ship can travel undetected for hours, 
    or drift passively for days of convert observation. This is not without risk. 
    The stored heat must eventually be radiated, or it will build to levels 
    capable of cooking the crew alive.
    Another component of the stealth system is the Normandy's revolutionary 
    Tantalus drive, a mass effect core twice the standard size. The Tantalus drive
    generates mass concentrations that the Normandy 'falls into', allowing it to 
    move without the use of heat-emitting thrusters.
    How to get: At the end of Feros.
    Sovereign is the flagship of the rogue Spectre Saren. An enormous dreadnought 
    larger than any other ship in any known fleet, Sovereign is crewed with both 
    Geth and krogan. At two kilometers long, its spinal-mounted main gun is likely
    capable of penetrating another dreadnought's kinetic barriers with a single 
    How Sarren acquired this incredible warship is unknown. The prevailing opinion
    is that Sovereign is a geth construct, while others believe it is a Prothean 
    relic. Its design, however, hints at a more alien and mysterious origin.
    The attack on Eden Prime demonstrated Sovereign's ability to generate mass 
    effect fields powerful enough to land on a planetary surface. This implies it 
    has a massive element zero core, and the ability to generate staggering 
    amounts of power.
                                ~Space Combat~
    How to get: Examine one of the gunnery stations on the Normandy.
    Ship mobility dominates space combat; the primary objective is to alight the 
    mass accelerator along the bow with the apposing vessel's broadside. Battles 
    typically play out as artillery duels fought at ranges measured in thousands 
    of kilometers, though assault through defended mass relays often occur at 
    'knife fight' ranges as close as a few dozen kilometers.
    Most ship-to-ship engagements are skirmishes between patrol vessels of cruiser 
    weight and below, with dreadnoughts and carriers only deployed in full-scale 
    fleet actions. Battles in open space are short and often inconclusive, as the 
    weaker opponent generally disengages.
    Once a ship enters FTL flight the combat is effectively over; there are no 
    sensors capable of tracking them, or weapons capable of damaging them. The
    only way to guarantee an enemy will stand and fight is to attack a location
    they have a crested interest in, such as a settled world or a strategically-
    important mass relay.
                             ~Vehicles: M35 Mako~
    How to get: Examine the Mako on the Normandy.
    The 'Mako' infantry fighting vehicle was designed for the System Alliance's 
    frigates. Through the interior is cramped, an M35 is small enough to be 
    carried in the cargo bay and easily deployed on virtually any world.
    With it's turreted mass accelerator and coaxially-mounted machine gun, the Mako
    can provide a fire team with weapon support as well as mobility. Since 
    Alliance marines may be required to fight on any world, the Mako is 
    environmentally-sealed and equipped with microthrusters for use on low-gravity 
    The Mako is powered by a sealed hydrogen-oxygen fuel cell, and includes a 
    small element zero core. While not large enough to nullify the vehicle's mass, 
    the core can reduce it enough to be safely air-dropped. When used in 
    conjunction with the thrusters, it also allows the Mako to extricate itself 
    from difficult terrain.
    The everyday pieces of technology that support modern lifestyle.
    How to get: Talk to Doctor Chakwas aboard the Normandy about Alenko and the
    Biotics is the ability of rare individuals to manipulate dark energy and
    create mass effect fields through the use of electrical impulses from the 
    brain. Intense training and surgically-implanted amplifiers are necessary for 
    a biotic to produce mass effect fields powerful enough for practical use. The 
    relative strength of biotic abilities varies greatly among species and with 
    each individual.
    There are three branches of biotics. TELEKINESIS uses mass-lowering fields to 
    levitate or impel objects. Mass-raising KINETIC FIELDS are used to block or 
    pin objects. DISTORTION uses rapidly shifting mass fields to shred objects.
    Most organic species are capable of developing biotic abilities, though there 
    are risks involved. Biotics are the result of in-utero exposure to element 
    zero. This usually causes fatal cancers in the victim, but in rare cases it 
    coalesces into nodules within the fetus's developing nervous system.
                ~Computers: Artificial Intelligence (AI)~
    How to get: Keep talking to Tali after each main mission and eventually you
    will get it.
    Alternate: Examine the data core in the testing grounds on Earth's Moon (Luna)
    An artificial intelligence is a self-aware computing system capable of 
    learning and independent decision making. Creation of conscious AI requires 
    adaptive code, a slow, expensive education, and a specialized quantum computer
    called a 'blue box'.
    An AI cannot be transmitted across a communication channel or computer 
    network. Without its blue box, an AI is no more than data files. Loading these
    files into a new blue box will create a new personality, as variations in the 
    quantum hardware and runtime results create unpredictable variations.
    The geth serve as a cautionary tale against the dangers of rouge AI, and in 
    Citadel Space they are technically illegal. Advocacy groups argue, however, 
    that an AI is a living, conscious entity deserving the same rights as organics.
    They argue that continued use of the term 'artificial' is institutionalized 
    racism on the part of organic life, the term 'synthetic' is considered the 
    politically correct alternative.
                   ~Computers: Virtual Intelligence (VI)~
    How to get: Talk to the VIs on the Citadel about VIs.
    A virtual intelligence is an advanced forms of user interface software. VIs use
    a variety of methods to simulate natural conversation, including an audio 
    interace and an avatar personality to interact with. Although a VI can provide 
    a convincing emulation of sentience, they are not self-aware, nor can they 
    learn of take independent action.
    VIs are used as operating systems o commercial and home computers. Menial VI 
    'agents' are also available. Agents are compact and specialized. Some serve as 
    personal secretaries, filtering calls and scheduling meetings based on user-
    defined priorities. Other are advanced search engines, propagating themselves 
    across the extranet to collate user-requested data.
    Commercial VIs in a variety of stock personalities are available at any 
    software retailer. Boutique firms and hobbyists also build unique VIs to 
    personal specification. Although software emulation of living personalities is 
    illegal, reconstructions of famous historical figures are common.
                       ~Element Zero ('Eezo')~
    How to get: Examine the element zero core of the Normandy in the engine room,
    you have to look up directly at it.
    Alternate: You can also get it from talking to Kaidan
    When subjected to an electrical current, the rare material dubbed element zero,
    or 'eezo', emits a dark energy field that raises or lowers the mass of all 
    objects within it. This 'mass effect' is used in countless ways, from 
    generating artificial gravity to manufacturing high-strength construction
    materials. It is most prominently used to enable faster-than-light space 
    Eezo is generated when solid matter, such as a planet, is affected by the 
    energy of a star going supernova. The material is common in the asteroid debris 
    that orbit neutron stars and pulsars. These are dangerous places to mine,
    requiring extensive use of robotics, telepresence, and shielding to survive the
    incredible radiation from the dead star. Only a few major corporations can
    afford the set-up costs required to work these primary sources.
    Humanity discovered refined element zero at the Prothean research station on
    Mars, allowing them to create mass effect fields and develop FTL travel.
                        ~Mass Effect Fields~
    How to get: Examine the Field Integrity monitor aboard the Normandy in
    Element zero can increase or decrease the mass of volume of space-time when 
    subjected to an electrical current. With a positive current, mass is 
    increased. With a negative current, mass is decreased. The stronger the 
    current, the greater the magnitude if the dark energy mass effect.
    In space, low-mass fields allow FTL travel and inexpensive surface-to-orbit 
    transit. High-mass fields create artificial gravity and push space debris away 
    from vessels. In manufacturing low-mass fields permit the creation of evenly-
    blended allows, while high mass compaction creates dense, sturdy construction 
    The military makes extensive use of mobility enhancing technologies, with 
    mass effect utilizing fighting vehicles standard front-line issue in most 
    military forces. Mass effect fields are also essential in the creation of 
    kinetic barriers of shields to protect against enemy fire.
                              ~Mass Relays~
    How to get: Talk to the VIs in the Citadel about the Relay Monument
    Mass relays are feats of Prothean engineering advanced far beyond the 
    technology of any living species. They are enormous structures scattered 
    throughout the stars, and can create corridors of virtually mass-free space 
    allowing instantaneous transit between location separated by years or even 
    centuries of travel using conventional FTL drives.
    Primary mass relays can propel ships thousands of light years, often from on 
    spiral arm of the galaxy to another. However, they have fixed one-to-one 
    connections: a primary relay connects to one other primary relay, and nowhere 
    else. Secondary relays can only propel ships a few hundred light years, 
    however they are omnidirectional: a secondary relay can send a ship to any 
    other relay within its limited range. 
    There are many dormant primary relays whose corresponding twins have not year 
    been located. These are left inactive until their partner is charted, as 
    established civilizations are unwilling to blindly open a passage that might 
    connect them to a hostile species.
    How to get: Talk to the Normandy Requisitions Officer about your equipment
    Omni-tools are handheld devices that combine a computer microframe, sensor 
    analysis pack, and manufacturing fabricator. Versatile and reliable, an omni-
    tool can be used to analyze and adjust the functionality of most standard 
    equipment, including weapons and armor, from a distance.
    The fabrication module can rapidly assemble small three-dimensional objects 
    from common, reusable industrial plastics, ceramics, and light alloys. This 
    allows for field repairs and modifications to most standard items, as well as 
    the reuse of salvaged equipment.
    Omni-tools are standard issue for soldiers and first-in colonists.
                       --Weapons, Armor, and Equipment--
    Advances in technology have made individual soldiers more dangerous and
    survivable than ever before.
                               ~Body Armor~
    How to get: You can get it by opening the crate near the dig site on Eden 
    Combat hard-suit use a dual-layer system to protect the wearer. The inner 
    layer consist of fabric armor with kinetic padding. Areas that don't need to 
    be flexible, such as the chest or shins, are reinforced with sheets of 
    lightweight ablatic ceramic.
    The outer layer consists of automatically-generated kinetic barriers. Objects 
    traveling above a certain speed will trigger the barriers reflex system and be
    deflected, provided there is enough energy left in the shield's power cell.
    Armored hard-suits are sealable to protect the wearer from extremes of 
    temperature and atmosphere. Standard equipment includes an onboard mini-frame
    and a communications, navigations, and sensing suite. The mini-frame is 
    designed to accept and display date from a weapons' and sensing suite. The 
    mini-frame is designed to accept and display date from a weapon's smart 
    targeting system to make is easier to locate and eliminate enemies.
                        ~Kinetic Barriers ('Shields')~
    How to get: On Eden Prime investigate Jenkin's body after he is killed by the
    Geth. This has to be done before the Geth attacking Ashely are killed.
    Kinetic barriers, colloquially called 'shields', provide protection against 
    most mass accelerator weapons. Whether on a starship or a soldiers' suits of 
    armor, the basic principle remains the same.
    Kinetic barriers are repulsive mass effect fields projected from tiny 
    emitters. These shields safely deflect small objects traveling at rapid 
    velocities. This affords protection from bullets and other dangerous 
    projectiles, but still allows the user to sit down without knocking away their
    The shielding afforded by kinetic barriers does not protect against extremes
    of temperature, toxins, or radiation.
                             ~Mass Accelerators~
    How to get: Examine the Normandy's weapons while it's docked at the Citadel.
    A mass accelerator propels a solid metal slug using precisely-controlled
    electromagnetic attraction and repulsion. The slug is designed to squash or
    shatter on impact, increasing the energy it transfers to the target. If this
    were not the case, it would simply punch a hole right through, doing minimal
    Accelerator design was revolutionized by element zero. A slug lightened by a
    mass effect field can be accelerated to greater speeds, permitting projectile
    velocities that were previously unattainable. If accelerated to a high enough
    velocity, a simple paint chip can impact with the same destructive force as
    a nuclear weapon.
    However, mass accelerators produce recoil equal to their impact energy. This
    is mitigated somewhat by the mass effect fields that rounds are suspended
    within, but weapons recoil is still the prime limiting factor on slug 
    How to get: Investigate the Medi-Gel dispencer in the doctor's area.
    Medi-gel is a common medicinal salve used by paramedics, EMTs, and military 
    personnel. It combines several useful applications: a local anesthetic 
    disinfectant, and clotting agent all in one. Once applied, the gel is designed
    to grip tight to flesh until subjected to a frequency of ultrasound. It is 
    sealable against liquids - most notably blood- as well as contaminants and 
    The gel is a genetically-engineered bioplasm created by the Sirta Foundation, 
    a medical technology megacorp based on Earth. Technically the medi-gel 
    violates Council laws against genetic engineering, but so far, it has proved 
    far to useful to ban.
                               ~Small Arms~
    How to get: Examine the weapons Ashley is cleaning about the Normandy.
    All modern infantry weapons from pistols to assault rifles use micro-scaled 
    mass accelerator technology. Projectiles consist of tiny metal slugs suspended
    within a mass-reducing field, accelerated by magnetic force to speeds that 
    inflict kinetic damage. 
    The ammo magazine is a simple block of metal. The gun's internal computer 
    calculates the mass needed to reach the target based on distance, gravity, and
    atmospheric pressure, then shears off an appropriate sized slug from the 
    block. A single block can supply thousands of rounds, making ammo a non-issue 
    during any engagement.
    Top-line weapons also feature smart targeting that allows them to correct for 
    weather and environment. Firing on a target in a howling gale feels the same 
    as it does on a calm day on a practice range. Smart targeting does not mean 
    the bullet will automatically find the mark every time the trigger is pulled; 
    it only makes it easier for the marksman to aim.
                          --Personal History Summary--
    Background Profile for Commander Shepard.
    Your profile depends on the options you choose at the beginning of the game.
    One of the first three (Earthborn, Colonist, or Spacer) will combine with one
    of the other three (War Hero, Ruthless, Sole Survivor) based on what you 
    picked to become your profile.
    --Colonist + Ruthless--
    You were raised on Mindoir on the fringes of the Attican Traverse. When you
    were sixteen, the colony was raided by slavers. The entire settlement was
    razed and your friends and family were slaughtered. A passing Alliance patrol
    rescued you, but all you loved was destroyed.
    You joined with the Alliance military, joining the long and bloody campaign
    to rid the Skyllian Verge of batarian slavers and other criminal elements. The
    final battle came when Alliance forces laid siege to Torfan, a slaver base
    built miles below the surface of a desolate moon. The superiority of the human
    fleet was wasted in the assault on the underground bunker, but you led a corps
    of elite ground troops into the heart of the enemy base.
    Nearly three-quarters of your own squad perished in the vicious close-quarters
    fighting, a cost you were willing to pay to make sure not a single slaver made
    it out of Torfan alive. 
    --Colonist + Sole Survivor--
    You were raised on Mindoir on the fringes of the Attican Traverse. When you
    were sixteen, the colony was raided by slavers. The entire settlement was
    razed and your friends and family were slaughtered. A passing Alliance patrol
    rescued you, but all you loved was destroyed.
    You enlisted with the Alliance military, eventually volunteering to go to
    Akuze, a colony that had mysteriously dropped out of contact. As soon as it
    arrived on the surface, your patrol was attacked by thresher maws - mindless
    abominations of teeth and tentacles that rose up from beneath the earth.
    Constant gunfire couldn't drown out the shrieks of your fellow soldiers as
    they were dragged down to a gruesome death.
    Fifty marines died on Akuze; you were the only one to make it back to the
    landing zone alive. A monument on the planet commemorates the massacre, a
    grim reminder of the price humanity must pay as they spread throughout the
    --Colonist + War Hero--
    You were raised on Mindoir on the fringes of the Attican Traverse. When you
    were sixteen, the colony was raided by slavers. The entire settlement was razed
    an your friends and family were slaughtered. A passing Alliance patrol rescued
    you, but all you loved was destroyed.
    You enlisted with the Alliance military and were posted at Elysium. You were
    there during the Skyllian Blitz, an attack on the colony by a massive coalition
    force of slavers, crime syndicates, and batarian warlords.
    You rallied the civilian inhabitants, leading them in their desperate fight to
    hold off the invaders. When enemy troops broke through the colony's defenses,
    you single-handedly held them off and sealed the breach.
    After hours of brutal fighting, reinforcements finally arrived and the enemy
    broke ranks and fled. Because of your actions, Elysium was saved, and you are
    regarded throughout the Alliance as a true hero. 
    --Earthborn + Ruthless--
    You were born on Earth, but you never knew your parents. A child of the
    streets, you learned to live by your wits and guts, surviving in the hidden
    underbelly of the megatropolises of humanity's home world.
    Eager to find a better life, you joined the Alliance military when you came
    of age. You were assigned to the campaign to rid the Skyllian Verge of batarian
    slavers and other criminal elements. The final battle came when Alliance forces
    laid siege to Torfan, a slaver base built miles below the surface of a desolate
    moon. The superiority of the human fleet was wasted in the assault on the
    underground bunker, but you led a corps of elite ground troops into the heart
    of the enemy base.
    Nearly three-quarters of your own squad perished in the vicious close-quarters
    fighting, a cost you were willing to pay to make sure not a single slaver made
    it out of Torfan alive. 
    --Earthborn + Sole Survivor--
    You were born on Earth, but you never knew your parents. A child of the
    streets, you learned to live by your wits and guts, surviving in the hidden
    underbelly of the megatropolises of humanity's homeworld.
    Eager to find a better life, you joined the Alliance military when you came
    of age. You volunteered for an expedition to Akuze: a lush world on the
    outskirts of Alliance space that had suddenly dropped out of contact. Arriving
    on the surface your patrol found the settlement intact, but no survivors.
    At nightfall, the thresher maws struck - mindless abominations of teeth and
    tentacles that rose up from beneath the earth. Constant gunfire couldn't drown
    out the shrieks of your fellow soldiers as they were dragged down to a gruesome
    Fifty marines died on Akuze; you were the only one to make it back to the
    landing zone alive. A monument on the planet commemorates the massacre, a
    grim reminder of the price humanity must pay as they spread throughout the
    --Earthborn + War Hero--
    You were born on Earth, but you never knew your parents. A child of the
    streets, you learned to live by your wits and guts, surviving in the hidden
    underbelly of the megatropolises of humanity's homeworld.
    Eager to find a better life, you joined the Alliance military when you came
    of age. You were on shore leave at Elysium when the first wave of the Skyllian
    Blitz struck. A massive coalition force of slavers, crime syndicates, and
    batarian warlords attacked the human colony, determined to wipe it out.
    You rallied the civilian inhabitants, leading them in their desperate fight to
    hold off the invaders. When enemy troops broke through the colony's defenses,
    you single-handedly held them off and sealed the breach.
    After hours of brutal fighting, reinforcements finally arrived and the enemy
    broke ranks and fled. Because of your actions, Elysium was saved, and you are
    regarded throughout the Alliance as a true hero.
    --Spacer + Ruthless--
    Born into a naval family, you spent your childhood on ships and stations. You
    moved from posting to posting as your parents were reassigned, and it was only
    natural you would follow in their footsteps by enlisting in the Alliance
    military when you came of age.
    After several years of service, you joined the campaign to rid the Skyllian
    Verge of batarian slavers and other criminal elements. The final battle came
    when Alliance forces laid siege to Torfan, a slaver base built miles below the
    surface of a desolate moon. The superiority of the human fleet was wasted in
    the assault on the underground bunker, but you led a corps of elite ground
    troops into the heart of the enemy base.
    Nearly three-quarters of your own squad perished in the vicious close-quarters
    fighting... a cost you were willing to pay to make sure not a single slaver
    made it out of Torfan alive. 
    --Spacer + Sole Survivor--
    Both of your parents were in the Alliance military. Your childhood was spent on
    ships and stations as they transferred from posting to posting. Following in
    your parents' footsteps, you enlisted at the age of eighteen.
    One of your first missions was an expedition to investigate Akuze, a lush world
    on the outskirts of Alliance space that had suddenly dropped out of contact.
    Arriving on the surface, your patrol found the settlement intact, but there
    were no survivors.
    At nightfall, the thresher maws struck - mindless abominations of teeth and
    tentacles that rose from beneath the earth. Constant gunfire couldn't drown out
    the shrieks of your fellow soldiers as they were dragged down to a gruesome
    Fifty marines died on Akuze. You were the only one to make it back to the
    landing zone alive. A monument on the planet commemorates the massacre, a
    grim reminder of the price humanity must pay as they spread throughout the
    --Spacer + War Hero--
    Born into a naval family, you spent your childhood on ships and stations.
    You moved from posting to posting as your parents were reassigned. You
    enlisted in the Alliance military yourself on the day you turned eighteen.
    You were on shore leave at Elysium when the first wave of the Skyllian Blitz
    struck. A massive coalition force of slavers, crime syndicates, and batarian
    warlords attacked the human colony, determined to wipe it out.
    You rallied the civilian inhabitants, leading them in their desperate fight
    to hold off the invaders. When enemy troops broke through the colony's
    defenses, you single-handedly held them off and sealed the breach.
    After hours of brutal fighting, reinforcements finally arrived and the enemy
    broke ranks and fled. Because of your actions, Elysium was saved, and you are
    regarded throughout the Alliance as a true hero. 
                          --Aliens: Council Races--
    The three most politically important species in the galaxy.
                             ~Asari: Biology~
    How to get: Talk to Liara in-between main missions.
    Asari have a robust cellular regenerative system. While they do not
    heal faster than other species, asari are known to reach 1000 years of
    Although asari have one gender, they are not asexual. An asari
    provides two copies of her own genes to her offspring. The second set
    is altered in a unique process called melding.
    During melding, an asari consciously attunes her nervous system to her
    partner's, sending and receiving electrical impulses directly through
    the skin. The partner can be another asari, or an alien of either
    gender.Effectively, the asari and her partner briefly become one
    unified nervous system.
    This unique means of reproduction is the reason asari are talented
    biotics. Their evolved ability to consciously control nerve impulses
    is very similar to biotic training. Asari believe that their offspring
    acquire the best qualities of the "father" from the melded genes, but
    evidence is anecdotal.
    Asari pass through three climacteric life stages, marked by
    biochemical and physiological changes. The Maiden stage begins at
    birth and is marked by the drive to explore and experience. Most young
    asari are curious and restless.
    The Matron stage of life begins around the age of 350, though it can
    be triggered earlier if the individual melds frequently. This period
    is marked by a desire to settle in one area and raise children.
    The Matriarch stage begins around 700, or earlier if the individual
    melds rarely. Matriarchs become active in their community as sages and
    councilors, dispensing wisdom from centuries of experience.
    While each stage of life is marked by strong biological tendencies,
    individuals do make unexpected life choices. For example, there are
    Maidens who stay close to home rather than explore, Matrons who would
    rather work than build a family, and Matriarchs who have no interest
    in community affairs.
                              ~Asari: Culture~
    How to get: Talk to Liara in-between main missions.
    Because of their long lifespan, asari tend to have a 'long view' not common
    in other races. When they encounter a new species or situation, the asari are
    more comfortable with an extended period of passive observation and study than
    immediate action. They are unfazed that some of their investments or decisions
    may not pay off for decades or centuries. Matriarchs can seem to make
    incomprehensible decisions, but their insight is evident when their carefully-
    laid plans come to fruition. In interstellar relations, this long view 
    manifests in the unspoken policy of centrism. The asari instinctively seek
    to maintain stable balances of economic, political, and military power.
    Traditionally, asari spread their influence through cultural domination and 
    intellectual superiority. They invite new species of advanced development to
    join the galactic community, knowing that their ideals and beliefs will
    inevitably influence the existing culture.
                             ~Asari: Government~
    How to get: Talk to Liara in-between main missions.
    The asari came late to the concept of world government. For centuries,
    their homeworld of Thessia was dotted with loose confederacies of
    great republican cities. The closest Earthly equivalent would be the
    ancient Mediterranean city-states. Since the asari culture values
    consensus and accommodation, there was little impetus to form larger
    principalities. Rather than hoard resources, the asari bartered
    freely. Rather than attack one another over differing philosophies,
    they sought to understand one another.
    Only in the information age did the city-states grow close.
    Communication over internet evolved into an 'electronic democracy'.
    Asari have no politicians or elections, but a free-wheeling,
    all-inclusive legislature that citizens can participate in at will.
    Policy debates take place at all hours of the day, in official chat
    rooms and forums moderated by specially-programmed virtual
    intelligences. All aspects of policy are opened to plebiscite at any
    time. In any given debate, the asari tend to lend the most credence to
    the opinions of any Matriarchs present, nearly always deferring to the
    experience of these millenia-old 'wise women'.
    Achieving consensus through public debate may take too long in a
    crisis. In cases where prompt, decisive action is required, the asari
    defer to  the wisdom of local Matriarchs.
                          ~Asari: Military Doctrine~
    How to get: Talk to Liara in-between main missions.
    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 women 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 
    The average asari huntress is in the maiden stage of her 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 them mind 
    and body for that sole purpose. When they retire, they possess an alarming 
    proficiency for killing.
    Huntresses fight individually or in pairs, depending on the tactics preferred
    in their town. One-on-one, a huntress 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 huntress; lack of biotic talent excludes a young asari from military 
    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 guerilla strikes.
    As a popular turian saying puts it, 'The asari are the finest warriors in the 
    galaxy. Fortunately, there are not many of them.'
                           ~Asari: Religion~
    How to get: Talk to Liara in-between main missions.
    The pantheistic mainstream asari religion is siari, which translates roughly
    as 'All is one.' The faithful agree on certain core truths: the universe is
    a consciousness, every life within it is an aspect of the greater whole, and
    death is a merging of one's spiritual energy back into greater universal
    consciousness. Siarists don't specifically believe in reincarnation; they 
    believe in spiritual energy returning to the universal consciousness upon
    death will eventually be used to fill new mortal vessels.
    Siari became popular after the asari left their homeworld and discovered their 
    ability to 'med' with nearly any form of life. This ability is seen as proof
    that all life is fundamently similar. Siari priestesses see their role as
    promoting unity between disparate shards of the universe's awareness.
    Before the rise of siari pantheism, asari religions were as diverse as their
    political opinion. The strongest survivor of those days is the monotheistic
    religion worshipping the goddess Athame. Like the asari, the goddess cycles
    through the triple aspects of maiden, matron, and matriarch.
                        ~Salarians: Biology~
    How to get: You can get it from talking to Kaiden
    Salarians are noted for their high-speed metabolism, which allows them to 
    function on just one hour sleep a day. Their minds and bodies work faster than
    most sapient races, making them seem restless or hyperactive. The drawback of 
    this active metabolism is a short lifespan of around 40 human years.
    The salarians are amphibian haplo-diploid egg-layers; unfertilized eggs 
    produce males and fertilized eggs produce females. Once a year, a salarian 
    female will lay a clutch of dozens of eggs. Social rules prevent all but a 
    fraction from being fertilized. As a result, 90% of the species is male.
    Salarians have photographic memories and rarely forget a fact. They also 
    posses a form of psychological 'imprinting', tending to defer to those they 
    knew in their youth. Salarian hatching is a solemn ritual in which the clan 
    Dalatrass (matriarch) isolates herself with the eggs. The young salarians 
    psychologically imprint on her and tend to defer to her wishes.
    During the hatching of daughters, the Dalatrasses of the mother and father's 
    clans are present at the imprinting. This ensures the offspring have equal 
    loyalty to both, ensuring the desired dynastic and political unity. 
                         ~Salarians: Culture~
    The rare salarian females are cloistered on their worlds out of tradition
    and respect.  Powerful female Dalatrasses are dynasts and political kingpins.
    They determine the political course of their respective regions through shrewd
    negotiation.  Though male salarians rise to positions of great authority in
    business, academia, or the military, they rarely have any input on politics. 
    Due to their method of reproduction, salarians have no concept of romantic
    love, sexual attraction, or the biological impulses and social rituals that
    complicate human lives.  Male-female relationships are rare (due to the
    scarcity of females) and more akin to human friendship. 
    Sexuality is strictly for the purpose of reproduction. Ancient social codes
    determine who gets to fertilize eggs, which produces more daughters to
    continue a bloodline.  Fertilization generally only occurs after months
    of negotiation between the parents' clans, and is done for purpose of
    political and dynastic alliance.  No salarian would imagine defying this
    Salarian names are quite complex. A full name includes - in order -
    the name of a salarian's planet, duchy, barony, fiefdom, family, and
    finally, the given name.
                        ~Salarians: Government~
    How to get: On Virmire after talking to the Salarian Commander right before
    you go on the main mission.
    The salarian government is called the Salarian Union. It is a labyrinthine web
    of matrilineal bloodlines, with political alliances formed through 
    In many ways, the salarian political network functions like the noble familys
    of Earth's Medieval Europe. Structurally the government consists of fiefdoms,
    baronies, duchies, planets, and marches (colonization clusters). These are
    human nicknames; the original salarian is unpronounceable. Each area is ruled
    by a single Dalatrass (matriarchal head-of-household) and represents an 
    increasing amount of territory and prestige within the salarian political web.
    Approaching 100 members, the first circle of a salarian's clan comprises 
    parents, siblings, uncles, aunts, and cousins. The next circle includes second
    cousins, etc., and escalates to well over 1000 members. The fourth of fifth
    circle of a clan numbers into the millions. Salarian loyalty is greatest to
    their first circle and diminishes from there. There photographic memories 
    allow salarians to recognize all their myriad relatives.
                        ~Salarians: League of One~
    How to get: Find one of the League of One Medallions while surveying a planet.
    Before they joined the Citadel Council, the salarians' most potent military 
    tool was a small reconnaissance team known as the League of One. Their primary
    training was in espionage and assassination. Never more than a dozen strong, 
    the team was adept at infiltrating the tightest defenses and eliminating all 
    necessary obstacles.
    Only a few top members of government and military were privy to the League's 
    identities. League members wore no distinguishing garments, and held no 
    particular rank. The only evidence of their participation in the League was a
    small medallion presented to each member upon induction. This secrecy was 
    maintained until the formation of the Council.
    In an afford to dispel rumors and appease their new asari partners, the 
    Salarian Union released all classified documents pertaining to the League. The
    League of One was suddenly exposed and in danger of being hunted by enemies 
    of the salarians. Before any harm could be done, the team mysteriously 
    disappeared. Most assumed this was a convenient lie to help hide their 
    identities, but a few months later, the inner cabinet was murdered. Though 
    there was no incriminating evidence, it was clear who was responsible.
    Realizing the threat posed by this rogue outfit, the Special Tasks Group 
    dispatched a team of hunters. When they didn't return, the STG dispatched ten 
    of its brightest operators with broad discretionary powers. Only two returned;
    they reported no evidence of the League.
    No further incidents were reported and it was assumed the League was wiped 
    out. Some recently declassified documents, however, have suggested there may 
    have been a thirteenth member who eluded the salarian military.
                      ~Salarians: Military Doctrine~
    How to get: On Virmire after talking to the Salarian Commander right before
    you go on the main mission.
    In principle, the salarian military is similar to the Alliance, a small 
    volunteer army that focuses on maneuver warfare. What differentiates the 
    salarians is not their equipment or doctrine, but their intelligence services
    and rules of engagement. The salarians believe that a war should be won before
    it begins.
    Conventional wisdom holds that the salarians know everything about everyone, and
    this is not far from the truth. In war, the unquestioned superiority of their
    intelligence services allows them to use their small military to maximum
    effectiveness. Well before fighting breaks out, they possess complete knowledge
    of their enemy's positions, intentions, and timetable.
    In every war the salarians have fought, they struck first and without warning.
    For the salarians, to know an enemy plans to attack and to let it happen is 
    folly. To announce their own plans to attack is insanity. They find the human
    moral concepts of 'do not fire until fired upon' and 'declare a war before 
    prosecuting it' incredibly naive. In defensive wars, they execute devastating
    preemptive strikes hours before the enemy's own attacks. On the offensive, they
    have never telegraphed their intentions with a declaration of war before
    Biotics are virtually unknown in the salarian military. Those with such 
    abilities are considered too valuable to be used as cannon fodder and assigned
    to the intelligence services.
    While capable of defending themselves against most threats, the salarians know 
    that they are small fish in a universe filled with sharks. As a point of 
    survival, they have cultivated strong alliances with larger powers, particularly
    the turians. Though the relationship between the two species was rocky at first
    due to the krogan uplift fiasco, the salarians take pains to keep this
    relationship strong enough that anyone who might threaten them risks turian
                     ~Salarians: Special Tasks Group~
    How to get: Talk to the Council about them when they are telling you about
    Salarian intelligence field agents are grouped into an organization called
    Special Tasks Group. STG operators work in independent cells, performing
    dangerous missions such as counterterrorism, infiltration, reconnaissance,
    assassination, and sabotage.
    The STG is a proactive organization, puncturing worrisome trends before they
    become movements. At any time, a dozen groups are operating covertly within
    the lawless Terminus Systems, sowing dissent among the various factions.
    Civilians analysts also note how troublesome 'hinge point' individuals in
    Terminus frequently meet unexpected deaths.
    STG operators are feared throughout the galaxy for their clear-eyed, 
    remorseless practicality. They are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve 
    their mission, even if it kills civilians or results in the team's own 
    destruction. In many ways, they are akin to the Council Spectres.
                           ~Turians: Biology~
    How to get: Talk to Garrus in-between main missions.
    The turian homeworld, Pavaven, has a metal-poor core, generating a weak
    magnetic field and allowing more solar radiation into the atmosphere. To deal
    with this, most forms of life on Palaven evolved some form of metallic
    'exoskeleton' to protect themselves. Their reflective plate-like skin makes
    turians less susceptible to long-term, low-level radiation exposure, but they
    do not possess any sort of 'natural armor'. A turian's thick skin does not
    stop projectiles and directed energy bolts.
    Although life on Palaven is carbon-based and oxygen-breathing, it is built on
    dextro-amino acids. This places the turians in a distinct minority on the
    galactic stage; the quarians are the only other sapient dextro-protein race.
    The food of humans, asari, or salarians (who evolved in levo-amino acid-based
    biospheres), will at best pass through turian systems without providing any
    nutrition. At worst, it will trigger an allergic reaction that can be fatal if
    not immediately treated.
                            ~Turians: Culture~
    How to get: Talk to Garrus in-between main missions.
    While turians are individuals with personal desires, their instinct is to 
    equate the self with the group, and to set aside all personal desires for the 
    good of all.
    Turians are taught to have a a strong sense of personal accountability, the 
    'turian honor' that other races find so remarkable. Turians are taught to own 
    every decision they make, good or ill. The worst sin they can make in the eyes
    of their people is to lie about their own actions. Turians who murder will try
    to get away with it, but if directly questioned, most will confess the crime.
    Turians have a strong inclination toward public service and self-sacrifice, so
    they tend to be poor entrepreneurs. To compensate, they accepted the 
    mercantile volus as a client race, offering protection in exchange for their 
    fiscal expertise.
    The turian military is the center of their society. It is not just an armed 
    force; it is an all-encompassing public works organization. The military 
    police are also the civic police. The fire brigades serve the civilian 
    population as well as military facilities. The corps of engineers builds and 
    maintains spaceports, schools, water purification plants, and power stations.
    The merchant marine ensures that all worlds get needed resources.
                          ~Turians: Government~
    How to get: Talk to Garrus in-between main missions.
    The turian government is a hierarchical meritocracy. While it has great
    potential for misuse, this is tempered by the civic duty and personal
    responsibility turians learn in childhood.
    Turians have 27 citizenship tiers, beginning with civilians (client races and
    children). The initial period of military service is the second tier. Formal
    citizenship is conferred at the third tier, after boot camp. For client races,
    citizenship is granted after the individual musters out. Higher-ranked
    civilians are expected to lead and protect subordinates. Lower-ranking citizens
    are expected to obey and support superiors. Promotion to another tier of
    citizenship. Promotion to another tier of citizenship is based on the personal
    assessments of one's superiors and co-rankers.
    Throughout thier lives, turians ascended to the higher tiers and are
    occasionally 'demoted' to lower ones. The stigma associated with demotion lies
    not on the individual, but on those who promoted him when he wasn't ready for
    additional responsibility. This curbs the tendency to promote individuals
    into positions beyond their capabilities.
    Settling into a role and rank is not considering stagnation. Turians value
    knowing one's own limitations more than being ambitious.
    At the top are the Primarchs, who each rule a colonization cluster. The
    Primarchs vote on matters of national import. They otherwise maintain a 
    'hands-off' policy, trusting the citizens on each level below them to do their
    jobs competently.
    Turians enjoy broad freedoms. So long as one completes his duties, and does not
    prevent others from completing theirs, nothing is forbidden. For example, there
    are no laws against recreational drug use, but if someone is unable to complete
    his duties due to drug use, his superiors step in. Judicial proceedings are
    'interventions.' Peers express their concern, and try to convince the offender
    to change. If rehabilitation fails, turians have no qualms about sentencing
    dangerous individuals to life at hard labor for the state.
                        ~Turians: Military Doctrine~
    How to get: Talk to Garrus in-between main missions.
    Although they lack the brutality of the krogan, the skill of the asari, and 
    the virtuosity of humans, the turian military has formidable discipline. 
    Officers and NCOs are 'lifers' with years of field experience. Enlisted 
    personnel are thoroughly trained and stay calm under fire. Turian units don't 
    break. Even if their entire line collapses, they fall back in order, setting 
    ambushes as they go. A popular saying holds: 'You will only see a turian's 
    back once he'd dead.'
    Boot camp begins on the 15th birthday. Soldiers receive a year of training 
    before being assigned to a field unit; officers train for even longer. Most 
    serve until the age of 30, at which they become part of the Reserves. Even if 
    they suffer injuries preventing front-line service, most do support work 
    behind the lines.
    Biotics are uncommon. White admired for their exacting skills, biotics' 
    motives are not always fully trusted by the common soldier. The turians prefer
    to assign their biotics to a specialist teams called Cabals.
    Command and control is decentralized and flexible. Individual squads can call 
    for artillery and air support. They make extensive use of combat drones for 
    light duties, and practice combined arms: infantry operates with armor, 
    supported by overhead gunships. Strategically, they are methodical and 
    patient, and dislike risky operations.
    Tradition is important. Each legion has a full-time staff of historians who 
    chronicle its battle honors in detail. The oldest have records dating back to 
    the turian Iron Age. If a legion is destroyed in battle, it is reconstituted 
    rather than being replaced.
    The turians recruit auxiliary units from conquered or absorbed minor races. 
    Auxiliaries are generally light infantry or armored cavalry units that screen
    and support the main battle formations. At the conclusion of their service in 
    the Auxiliaries, recruits are granted turian citizenship.
                            ~Turians: Religion~
    How to get: Talk to Garrus in-between missions.
    Although Turians have a strict moral code, their belief in individual 
    responsibility means that the concepts of good and evil are simply the 
    individual's choice between egotism and altruism in any given decision. They 
    have no concept of 'good' deities that encourage noble behavior or 'evil' ones
    that tempt individuals to misdeeds.
    Turians believe that groups and areas have 'spirits' that transcend the 
    individual. For example, a military unit would be considered to have a literal
    spirit that embodies the honor and courage it has displayed. A city's spirit 
    reflects the accomplishments and industry of its residents. An ancient tress's
    spirit reflects the beauty and tranquility of the area it grows within.
    These spirits are neither good nor evil, nor are they appealed to for 
    intercession. Turians do not believe spirits can affect the world, but spirits
    can inspire the living. Prayers and rituals allow an individual to converse 
    with a spirit for guidance or inspiration. For example a Turian who finds his 
    loyalty tested may appeal to the spirit of his unit, hoping to reconnect with 
    the pride and honor of the group. A Turian who wishes to create a work of art 
    may attempt to connect with the spirit of a beautiful location.
    Turians enjoy absolute freedom of religion and can practice whatever appeals 
    to them so long as it does not impede anyone's ability to perform their 
    duties. There are many practitioners of the asari 'siarist' philosophy. Since
    opening dialog with the human Systems Alliance, some Turians have embraced
    Confucianism and Zen Buddhism.
                        ~Turians: The Unification War~
    How to get: Find a Turian Emblem while surveying a planet.
    At about the time the salarians and the asari were forming the Council, the 
    turians were embroiled in a bitter civil war. The Unification War, as it
    was later named, began with hostilities between the colonies furthest
    from the turian homeworld, Palaven.
    These colonies were run by local chieftains, many of whom had distanced
    themselves from the Hierarchy. Without the galvanizing influence of the
    government, the colonies became increasingly isolated and xenophobic. 
    Colonists began wearing emblems or facial markings to differentiate themselves
    from members of other colonies and open hostilities became common.
    When war finally broke out, the Hierarchy maintained strict diplomacy and
    refused to get involved. After several years of fighting, less and less
    factions remained and the Hierarchy finally intervened. By that time, the
    chieftains were too weak to resist; they were force to put an end to fighting
    and renew their allegiance to the Hierarchy.
    Though peace was restored, it took several decades for animosity between
    colonists to fade completely. To this day, most turians still wear the facial
    markings of their home colonies. As a point of interest, the turian term
    'barefaced' refers to one who is beguiling or not to be trusted. It is also
    a slang term for politicians.
                            --Aliens: Extinct Races--
    Spacefaring species that went extinct thousands of years before the present.
                             ~Protheans: Beacon~
    How to get: Talk to Liara about herself after completeing one mission. 
    The beacon was a Prothean artifact unearthed on the Alliance colony of Eden
    Prime. Its resemblance to the Prothean data banks recovered on Mars provoked
    an immediate interest from the Alliance and the Citadel Council. It proved to
    be a solid state data storage device, part of a galaxy-spanning comm network
    similar to the modern extranet. Intact Prothean 'paleo-technology' is rare; the
    beacon seemed to promise another quantum leap of technology, akin to the
    discovery of the mass effect drive and relays.
    Unfortunately, the beacon also drew the attention of the rouge Spectre Saren
    Arterius and his synthetic allies, the geth. A dawn raid by his flagship
    Sovereign resulting in hundreds of civilian casualties. The beacon was badly
    damaged. The motives behind the attack are still being investigated.
    During the recovery operation, the beacon fired a pulse of energy at the 
    Executive Officer of the Alliance frigate Normandy. Lieutenant Commander
    Shepard survived and appears to have suffered no ill effects. Afterwards, the
    beacon fell inert. The mechanism appears to be dead.
                             ~Protheans: Cipher~
    How to get: At the end of Feros.
    The Prothean beacon downloaded its knowledge into Lt. Commander Shepard on 
    Eden Prime, causing confusing dreams and visions. While the imagery is 
    becoming clearer with time, the meaning of the beacon communication remains 
    It has been suggested that Protheean data recording is highly dependent on a 
    certain point of view, what Carl Jung described as the collective unconscious.
    The 'cipher' needed to comprehend the images implanted in Shepard's mind is 
    the cultural knowledge of a Prothean: the archetypes, biological instincts, 
    and common experiences universal to the race. Since the Protheans have been 
    dead for millennia, it may be impossible to acquire this 'cipher'.
                           ~Protheans: Data Disks~
    How to get: Find one of them while surveying.
    Despite all the evidence confirmed the Protheans, little is known about their 
    culture and society. From time to time, dig sites will yield new clues, but 
    after 50,000 years of decay, little of value is unearthed.
    Recent research has focused on the discovery of Prothean data discs. On their
    own, they are frail and rarely found in one piece. Occasionally, however, an 
    intact disc will be discovered within a console or reading device.
    To date, over three dozen discs have been recovered and few have been restored
    to the point where researchers can begin analyzing them. Though it may be some
    time before scientists discover a way to transfer the data off the discs, they
    are currently considered the most tangible leads for learning more about the 
    Prothean culture.
                          ~Protheans: Mars Ruins~~
    How to get: Examine Mars.
    After twenty years of manned research outposts and nearly a century of robotic
    exploration, the European Space Agency's Lowell City became the first
    permanent settlement on Mars in 2103. Within a decade, the United States and
    China had founded permanent settlements, as well.
    The south polar region of Promethei Planum developed a 'Bermuda Triangle'
    reputation. Satellites detected intermittent mass concentration and magnetic
    field shifts. In 2148, prospectors working near Deseado Crater discovered an
    underground complex: a Prothean observation post. The odd phenomena were
    generated by the operation and discharge of a mass effect core, struggling
    to function despite fifty millennia of neglect.
    Earth was electrified with the news. Humanity was unequivocally not alone.
    While courts battled who owned the ruins, the international scientific 
    community coordinated a massive effort to access, translate, and interpret
    the databanks recovered from the facility.
    The facility proved to be a biosciences observation post built when homo
    sapiens were first evolving on Earth. While the motives of the Protheans are
    not certain, trnslated records indicate that the facility was in regular
    communication with automated observation platforms in Earth orbit and the
    lunar nearside. The half-dozen mass effect spaceships found in the facility
    were presumably used for first-hand observation.
                          --Aliens: Non-Council Races--
    Spacefaring species without the political power to set galactic policy.
                               ~Geth: Armatures~
    How to get: When you first encounter them you will get it.
    Armatures are quadruped all-terrain heavy weapons platforms, akin to the 
    armored fighting vehicles of other races. Geth being synthetic intelligences,
    armatures are not crewed vehicles, but intelligent entities, capable of 
    independent decision-making and learning.
    Armatures are equipped with heavy kinetic barriers. Their main cannon mounted
    on the articulated 'head' turret, appears to be a highly efficient 
    conventional mass accelerator. It is capable of firing in anti-personnel and 
    anti-tank modes. Some armatures carry drones into battle, presumable for 
    reconnaissance purposes. Others host a swarm of insect-sized repair microbots.
                                ~Geth: Hoppers~
    How to get: When you first encounter them you will get it.
    The geth models collectively dubbed 'hoppers' by Alliance forces are 
    electronic warfare platforms. They can project electromagnetic radiation 
    across a broad spectrum as an offensive weapon. They can also perform cyber 
    warfare attacks against the onboard computers of body armor hardsuits and 
    weapons, adversely affecting their performance.
    The structure of hoppers consist of an advanced and highly elastic artificial 
    muscle material. This allows a hopper to compress its entire body for powerful
    leaps. Hoppers also have thousand of molecule-scale 'barbs' on the surfaces of
    their hands and feet, which are used to cling to walls and ceilings. Hoppers 
    are very difficult to target, leaping from one surface to another in rapid 
    The quarians have no record of any geth model similar to hoppers. This new 
    morphotype must have been developed over the last three hundred years by the 
    geth themselves. This is troubling proof that the geth are continuing to move
    towards technological singularity. Experts in synthetic life are intrigued 
    that hoppers appear to be even more organic then the baseline geth.
    The identified subtypes of hopper have been codenamed Sapper, Stalker, and 
                             ~Krogan: Biology~
    How to get: Talk to Wrex in-between main missions.
    The krogan evolved in a lethal ecology. Over millions of years, the grim 
    struggle to survive larger predators, virulent disease, and resource scarcity
    on their homeworld, Tuchanka, turned the lizards into quintessential survivors.
    Perhaps the most telling indicator of Tuchanka's lethality is the krogan eyes.
    Although they are a predators species by any standard definition, their eyes
    evolved to be wide-set, as any Earth prey species like deer and cattle. Krogan
    eyes have a 240-degree arc of vision, better suited for spotting enemies 
    sneaking up on them than for persuit.
    Physically, the krogan are nigh-indestructible, with a tough hide impervious
    to any melee weapon short of a molecular blade. While they feel pain, it does
    not affect their ability to concentrate. They have multiple functioning 
    examples of all major organs, and can often survive the loss of one or two of
    any type. Rather than a nervous system, they have an electrically conductive 
    second circulatory system. A krogan can never be paralyzed - they may lose some
    fluid, but it can be replaced by the body in time.
    The hump on krogan's back stores water and fats that help the krogan survive
    lean times. Large humps are a point of pride; being well-fed implies the krogan
    is a superior predator.
    The most widely-known biological feature of the krogan is their incredible 
    birth rate and rapid maturity. Once freed from the hostile cauldron of 
    Tuchanka, the krogan population swelled into a numberless horde. Only the
    genophage kept them from out-breeding the combined Council races. Now the rare
    krogan females capable of bringing a child to term are treated like strategic
    resources: warlords will trade them at diplomacy or (more frequently) fight 
    wars over them.
                           ~Krogan: Culture~
    How to get: Talk to Wrex in-between main missions.
    The harsh krogan homeworld conditioned the krogan psychology for toughness
    just as it did the body. Krogan have always had a tendency to be selfish,
    unsympathetic, and blunt. They respect strength and self-reliance and are
    neither surprised nor offended by treachery. The weak and selfless do not live
    long. In their culture, 'looking out for number one' is simply a matter of 
    After their defeat in the Rebellions, the very concept of krogan leadership
    was discredited. Where a warlord could once command enough power to bring
    entire solar systems to heel and become Overlord, these days it is rare for
    a single leader to have more then 1000 warriors swear allegiance to him. Most
    krogan trust and serve no one but themselves.
    This solitary attitude stems in part from a deep sense of fatalism and 
    futility, a profound social effect of the genophage that caused krogan numbers
    to dwindle to a relative handful. Not only are they angry that the entire
    galaxy seems out to get them, the krogan are also generally pessimistic about
    their race's chances of survival. The surviving krogan see no point to 
    building for the future; there will be no future. The krogan live with an
    attitude of 'kill, pillage, and be selfish, for tomorrow we die'.
                          ~Krogan: Genophage~
    How to get: Talk to Wrex in-between main missions.
    The genophage bioweapon was created to end the Krogan Rebellions. From the 
    start, the krogan had overwhelmed the Council. Only timely first contact with
    the turians saved the Council races. The turians fought the krogans to a 
    standstill, but the sheer weight of krogan numbers indicated the war could not
    be won through conventional means. The turians collaborated with the salarians 
    to genetically engineer a counter to the rapid breeding of the krogan.
    The genophage virus gained the energy to replicate by 'eating' key genetic 
    sequences. Every cell in every krogan had to be altered for the weapon to be 
    fullproof; otherwise the krogan could have used gene therapy to fix the 
    affected tissues. Once a genophage strain could find no more genes to eat, it 
    would starve and die, limited spin-off mutation and contamination. This 
    'created' genetic flaw is hereditary.
    The salarians believed the genophage would be used as a deterrent, a position 
    the turians viewed as naive. Once the project was complete, the turians mass 
    produced and deployed it. The krogan homeworld, their colonies, and all 
    occupied worlds were infected.
    The resulting mutation made only one in a thousand krogan pregnancies carry to 
    term. It did not reduce fertility, but offspring viability. The rare females 
    able to carry children to term became prizes the krogan warlords fought brutal
    battles over.
    The krogan are a shadow of their former glory. While the Rebellions took place 
    centuries ago, they are constantly reminded of the horror of the genophage and
    of their inability to counter it. The release of the genophage is still 
    controversial, bitterly debated in many circles.
                      ~Krogan: Krogan Rebellions~
    How to get: Talk to the Citadel VI near the Krogan Monument about the Krogan
    After the Rachni War, the quick-breeding krogan expanded at the expense of 
    their neighbors. Warlords leveraged their veteran soldiers to seize living 
    space while the Council races were still grateful. Over centuries, the krogan 
    conquered world after world. There was always 'just one more' needed. When the
    Council finally demanded withdrawal from the asari colony of Lusia, krogan 
    Overlord Kredak stormed off the Citadel, daring the Council to take the worlds 
    But the Council had taken precautions. The finest STG operators and asari 
    huntresses had been drafted into a covert 'observation force', the Office of 
    Special Tactics and Reconnaissance. The Spectres opened the war with crippling
    strategic strikes. Krogan planets went dark as computer viruses flooded the 
    extranet. Sabotaged antimatter refineries disappeared in blue-white 
    annihilation, Headquarters stations shattered into orbit-clogging debris, 
    ramming by pre-placed suicide freighters.
    Still, this only delayed the inevitable. The war would have been lost if not 
    for first contact with the turians, who responded to krogan threats with a 
    prompt declaration of war. Being on the far side of krogan space from the 
    Council, the turians advanced rapidly into the lightly-defended krogan rear 
    areas. The krogan responded by dropping space stations and asteroids on turian
    colonies. Three worlds were rendered completely uninhabitable.
    This was precisely the wrong approach to take with the turians. Each is first 
    and foremost a public servant, willing to risk his life to protect his 
    comrades. Rather then increasing public war weariness, krogan tactics 
    stiffened turian resolve.
    The arrival of turian task forces saved many worlds from the warlords' 
    marauding fleets, but it took the development of the genophage bioweapon to 
    end the war. There were decades of unrest afterwards. Rouge warlords and 
    holdout groups of insurgents refused to surrender, or disappeared into the 
    frontier systems to become pirates.
                        ~Krogan: Military Doctrine~
    How to get: Talk to Wrex in-between main missions.
    Traditional krogan tactics were built on attritional mass-unit warfare.
    Equipped with cheap rugged gear, troop formations were powerful but inflexible. 
    Command and control was very centralized; soldiers in the field who saw a
    target contacted their commanders behind the lines to arrange fire support.
    Since the genophage, the krogan can no longer afford the casualties of the old
    horde attacks. The Battle Masters are a match for any ten soldiers of another
    species. To a Battle Master, killing is a science. They focus on developing
    clean, brute-force economy of motion that exploits their brutal strenth to
    incapacitate enemies with a swift single blow of overwhelming power.
    This change of focus from mass-unit warface to maximal efficiency has increased
    employment demand in the fields of security and 'muscle for hire'. Due to the 
    unsavory reputation of the krogan, most of these jobs are on the far side of
    the law.
    Battle Masters are not 'spit and polish', but they do believe in being well-
    armed and equipped, preferably with a gun for each limb. They are callous and
    brutal, but methodical and disciplined. They use any means at their disposal to
    achieve their goals, no matter how reprehensible. Hostage-taking and genocide
    are acceptable means to ensure a quiet occupation with few krogan casualties.
    The krogan serving with Saren's forces appear to be returning to the old style
    of mass attritional combat. They also work in close cooperation with supporting
    geth units, who fill in the roles occupied by combat drones in other armies.
    Biotics are rare among the krogan. Those that exist are viewed with suspicion
    and fear. The krogan see this aura of fear as a useful quality for an officer,
    and often promote them. Combat drones and other high-tech equipment are 
    likewise in short supply.
                           ~Quarians: Economy~
    How to get: Talk to Tali in-between main missions.
    The Migrant Fleet has little economic base, operating in a state of perpetual 
    'hand-to-mouth'. White quarian ships include light manufacturing and assembly
    plants, they lack heavy industries such as refining and shipbuilding. The 
    fleet has tankers for water purification and oxygen cracking, but with the 
    space-intensive nature of agriculture limits food production. A single 
    disaster could destroy the fragile balance.
    The quarians earn income in creative ways. Because the government is obliged 
    to provide food, water, air, and medical support for every individual, the 
    Conclave strategically determines the course of the Fleet to bring in 
    resources and income. A species who suspects the Migrant Fleet is heading 
    towards their space often offers a 'gift' of surplus starships, fuel, and 
    resources to alter course.
    As the fleet passes through the a system, swarms of mining vessels work over 
    asteroids for metals and siliceous materials and cometary bodies for water ice
    and organics. Quarian miners are adept at locating and strip-mining space-
    borne resources. This sparks conflict with corporations already working the 
    system. Large mining concerns spend millions on lobbyists and public relations
    portraying the quarians as locusts, devouring the resources of a system before
    moving on.
    The greatest asset of the quarians is their rarified skills. Most are 
    experienced miners. Due to their life of perpetual salvage and repair, they 
    are skilled engineers and technicians. More than once, they very corporations 
    that lobby against the quarians have made back room deals with the Fleet, 
    arranging for skilled quarians to fill space engineering jobs that other 
    species would demand higher wages for. Quarians are widely hated among the 
    working classes. 'The quarians are coming to take our jobs' is a common 
    response to the Fleet's approach.
                          ~Quarians: Government~
    How to get: Talk to Tali in-between main missions.
    Due to the quarians' precarious existence and the need to enforce strict 
    rationing, government is somewhat autocratic. The Migrant Fleet's operations 
    are directed by the Admiralty, a board of five military officers who are 
    advised by a legislative body called the Conclave.
    Each vessel in the Fleet has the right to send representatives to the Conclave
    aboard the flagship. The number of representatives is based on crew size. 
    Larger clans, with bigger ships and more votes, form the cores of political 
    blocs. Opposition comes from the Outriders' Coalition, with delegates from 
    thousands of smaller ships. 
    The Admiralty defers to the Conclave's decisions in most circumstances. 
    However, if all five members agree a Conclave decision jeopardized the 
    survival of the fleet, and cannot get the Conclave to address their concerns, 
    they have the right to summarily overturn the legislative decision. After the
    Admiralty uses this extraordinary power, they must resign. If the Admiralty 
    does not step down after using their veto the rest of the military is obliged 
    to arrest them.
    Each ship captain has authority over the vessel, but is advised by an elected
    civilian Council, just as the Admiralty is advised by the Conclave. This 
    relationships may range from cooperation to polite tolerance to outright 
    hostility, but any captain who overrules his council without good reason is 
    relieved of command by the Admiralty.
    Many quarian ships are owned by clans who pool their resources to purchase 
    used vessels from private sellers. Large ships are prestigious for big, rich 
    clans, but a small ship means status for a small clan with enough personal 
    wealth to afford a private vessel. Clan vessel captains are not subject to 
    dismissal by the Admiralty; abusive captains are a 'family' problem if they do
    not disrupt the operations of the fleet.
                            ~Quarians: Law and Defense~
    How to get: Talk to Tali in-between main missions.
    Although the Conclave establishes civil law much as any planet-based democracy,
    enforcement and trials are more unique. After the flight from the geth, there
    were few constables to police the millions of civilians aboard the Fleet, so
    the navy parceled out marine squads to maintain order and enforce the law.
    Today, quarian marines have evolved training and tactics akin to civilian
    police, but remain adept at combat in the confined spaces of a starship, and
    fully under the command of the military.
    Once taken into custody, the accused is brought before the ship's captain for
    judgment. While the ship's council may make recommendations, tradition holds
    that the captain has absolute authority in matters of discipline.
    Most are lenient, assigning additional or more odious maintenance tasks aboard 
    the ship. Persistent recidivists are 'accidentally' left on the next habitable
    world. This practice of abandoning criminals on other people's planets is a
    point of friction between the quarians and the systems they pass through.
    Captains rarely have another choice; with space and resources at a premium,
    supporting a non-productive prison population is not an option.
    In the early years, many quarians freighters were armed and used as irregular
    'privateers'. Civilian ships still show a strong preference for armament, 
    making them unpopular targets for pirates. Though they have rebuilt their 
    military, there are still mere hundreds of warships to protect the tens of 
    thousands of ships. The quarian navy follows strict routines of partol, and 
    takes no chances. If the intent of approaching ship can't be ascertained, they
    shoot to kill.
                             ~Quarians: Migrant Fleet~
    How to get: Talk to Tali in-between main missions.
    The Migrant Fleet is the largest concentration of starfaring vessels in the 
    galaxy, sprawling across millions of kilometers. It can take days for the 
    entire fleet to pass through a mass relay.
    When the quarians fled their homeworld, the Fleet was a motley aggregation of
    freighters, shuttles, industrial vessels, and the odd warship. After three 
    centuries, all have been modified to support larger crews as comfortably as 
    possible. As the quarians achieved stability, they began weeding out the ships 
    least suitable for long-term habitation, selling them and pooling the money to
    buy larger and more spaceworthy hulls. This process is ongoing, as vessels 
    wear out and break down.
    While some ships enjoy dedicated cabins with full privacy and sanitary 
    facilities, many more are former freighters, whose cargo bays and containers 
    are pressurized and divided into family spaces using simple metal 'cubicle' 
    bulkheads. The quarians enliven these austere space s with colorful quilts and
    tapestries, which also help muffle sound.
    The day-to-day operation of the fleet - traffic control, station-keeping, 
    supply distribution, and so on - are under military jurisdiction. Though ship 
    captains have the authority to deviate from their assigned positions and may 
    leave the fleet at any time, they are assumed to do so at their own risk. As 
    the Migrant Fleet moves around the galaxy, many ships split off to persue 
    individual goals, returning days or years later.
                           ~Quarians: Pilgrimage~
    How to get: Talk to Tali in-between main missions.
    When quarians of the Migrant Fleet reach young adulthood, they must leave 
    their birth ship and find a new crew to accept them as permanent residents. To 
    prove themselves, they must recover something of value. This is offered to 
    their prospective captain as proof that they will not be a mere burden on the 
    shoestring resources of the ship.
    This process is called the Pilgrimage. Stripped of ritual, the Pilgrimage is 
    merely an attempt to maintain genetic diversity within the small, relatively 
    isolated population bases that make up the Migrant Fleet. If the young stayed 
    and married within their birth vessel, the risk of inbreeding would increase 
    Quarians are surgically fitted with their various immunity-boosted implants in
    preparation for leaving on Pilgrimage. Having grown within the sterile, 
    controlled environments of the Migrant Fleet ships, quarians have virtually no 
    natural immune system.
                          ~Quarians: Religion~
    How to get: Talk to Tali in-between main missions.
    The ancient quarians practiced ancestor worship. Even after abandoning faith
    for secularism, quarians continued to revere the wisdom of elders. As time
    passed and technology advanced, they inevitably turned their knowledge to 
    preserving the personalities and memories of the elderly as computer virtual
    intelligences. These recordings became a repository of knowledge and wisdom, 
    stored in a central databank and available through any extranet connection.
    They held no illusions that this was like a form of immortality; like all
    virtual intelligences, their electronically-preserved ancestors were not
    truly sapient. This was considered a surmountable problem; sapience could
    surely be reduced to simple mathematics.
    The quarians began exhaustive research into creating artificial intelligence so
    they could learn to escape the bounds of mortality and give their ancestral
    records true awareness. Unfortunately, the life the quarians created did not
    accept the same truths they did. The geth destroyed the ancestor databanks
    when they took over.
    The the centuries since they evacuated their homeworld, most quarians have 
    returned to religion in various forms. Many believe the rise of the geth and
    the destruction of their 'ancestors' were chastisement for arrogantly 
    forsaking the old ways and venerating self-made idols.
    Others have a more philosophical outlook, believing their race was indeed
    arrogant, but no supernatural agency lay behind the geth revolt. Rather, the
    quarians' actions wrought their own doom. Either way, every quarian would
    agree that their own hubris cost them their homeworld.
                    --Citadel and Galactic Government--
    A massive space station that serves as the political and economic capital of
    galactic culture.
                          ~Citadel Conventions~
    How to get: Examine the terminals in the diplomats' office at the Embassies
    when on the Citadel.
    These diplomatic talks occurred in the wake of the Krogan Rebellions, as a 
    response to the destruction of the conflict and an attempt to distance the 
    Council from the brutal krogan warfare.
    The Conventions regulate the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction. A WMD causes 
    environmental alteration to a world. A bomb that produces a large crater is not
    considered a WMD; a bomb that causes a 'nuclear winter' is.
    Use of WMD is forbidden on 'garden' worlds like Earth, with ecospheres that 
    can readily support a population. If a habitable world is destroyed, it will 
    not be replaced for millions of years. The Conventions do not forbid the use 
    of WMD on hostile worlds or in sealed space-station environments. Many 
    militaries continue to develop and maintain stockpiles.
    The Conventions graded Weapons of Mass Destruction into tiers of concern. Tier
    I is the greatest treat to galactic peace.
    TIER I: Large kinetic impacters, such as asteroid drops or de-orbited space 
    stations. Effectively free and available in any system (in the form of debris 
    left over from planetary accretion), kinetic impacters are the weapons of 
    choice for terrorists and 'third galaxy' nations.
    TIER II: Uncontrolled self-replicating weapons, such as nanotechnology, viral 
    or bacteriological organisms, 'Von Neumann devices', and destructive computer 
    viruses. These weapons can lie dormant for millennia, waiting for a careless 
    visitor to carry them on another world.
    TIER III: Large energy-burst weapons such as nuclear or antimatter warheads.
    TIER IV: Alien species deliberately introduced to crowd out native forms 
    necessary for the hearth of an ecosystem. Ecological tampering can take years 
    to bear fruit, making it difficult to prove.
              ~Citadel Station: Citadel Security Services (C-Sec)~
    How to get: Talk to the C-Sec Captain about it while on the Citadel.
    Citadel Security is a volunteer police service answering to the Citadel 
    Council. The 200,000 constables of C-Sec are responsible for maintaining 
    public order in the densely populated Citadel. They also provide pirate 
    suppression, customs enforcements, and search-and-rescue- throughout the 
    Citadel cluster.
    C-Sec has six divisions:
    ENFORCEMENT - Uniformed officers who patrol the Citadel and respond to 
    INVESTIGATION - Detectives who puzzle out the truth behind crimes and bring 
    perpetrators to justice.
    CUSTOMS - Screen the thousands of passengers and cargo containers that pass 
    through the Citadel's ports every day.
    NETWORK - Deals with "cybercrimes" like identify and copyright theft, hacking 
    and viral attacks, and illegal artificial intelligence.
    SPECIAL RESPONSE - Deals with hostage situations, bombs, and heavily armed 
    criminals. In the unlikely event that attackers board the Citadel, they are 
    also the front line of defense, armored with military grade equipment.
    PATROL - Naval arm, with ships stationed throughout the Citadel cluster. 
    Unlike the other divisions, they are rarely seen at the Citadel, nor do they
    stay in one place long.
    Joining C-Sec is prestigious; applications must be sponsored by a Citadel 
    Councilor or the ambassador of an associate Council race. Generally, 
    applicants have many years of distinguished service in the military or police
    forces of their nations, but an inexperienced applicant with demonstrable 
    talent will be fairly considered.
    C-Sec and Spectres are often at odds. May C-Sec members, notably the current 
    Executor Venari Pallin, believe that allowing Specters to be 'above the law' 
    is a dangerous practice, the actions of Saren Arterius lend credence to this 
    position. The Spectres, in turn, are aggravated within C-Sec's dedication to 
    procedure and due process hampers their investigations.
                    ~Citadel Station: Presidium Ring~
    How to get: Talk to the Embassy secretary on the Citadel about it.
    The Ring is an enclosed loop of park-like space serving as the connection
    point for the Wards. The interior walls are lined with the embassies of
    influential species and private residences for the galaxies elite.
    The Presidium is full of 'open-air' restaurants, bars, and luxurious
    meeting areas. Gravity is about 1/3 Earth-normal. A holographic 'sky' is
    projected over the 'ceiling' of the ring. unlike the 24/7 bustle of the Wards,
    the Presidium maintains a 20-hour day schedule, with a six-hour 'night' where
    lights are dimmed and the sky goes through a night cycle.
    Offices and residences are often open to the interior. It is not unusualy for
    embassies to have no exterior wall at all. This does not cause a crime problem
    due to the heavy C-Sec presence and ubiquitous monitoring devices on the
    Presidium. Thieves are quickly identified and apprehended.
    The Ring is the location of the Citadel's spaceports. Being closer to the
    center of the spin, there is less motion for a ship to match, and the reduced
    spin gravity makes handling cargo easier. Hundreds of ships pass through the
    Citadel every day, and every species with an embassy is granted a private 
    The Tower, at the center of the Ring, holds the administration of the Citadel
    Council. The Tower rises over a kilometer from the ring, appearing to thrust
    forward parallel to the ward arms. As the Tower is at the center of the spin
    axis, it experiences little centrifugal force. Gravity is maintained using
    mass effect fields at a 90-degree angle to the Ring and Wards.
    A Consular dock can be found at the base of the Tower. While normally used for
    diplomatic couriers and Spectre business, the shuttles docked here can
    evacuate the Council government in an emergency.
                  ~Citadel Station: Serpent Nebula~
    How to get: Observe the 'view of the nebula' which you can see by looking off
    of the balcony in front of the med center in the wards.
    The Citadel is surrounded by a blue-tinted reflection nebula. The light of the
    nebula is actually light from the Citadel, scattered and reflected back at
    the station.
    At first, the Serpent Nebula was assumed to be made of microscopic
    construction debris. Prevailing theory holds the Protheans used molecular
    nanotechnology to manufacture the incredibly durable materials used to make
    the Citadel. But unlike other nebulae, the Serpent does not dissipate over
    time. Therefore, it must be replenished constantly. The current popular theory
    is that the non-recyclable waste collected by the Citadel's keepers is somehow
    rendered down to the atomic or molecular level, and ejected into the clouds.
    The thick nebula resents a navigation hazard. Beyond the relatively clear areas
    around the Citadel, electrical discharges are common. These are not blocked by
    kinetic barriers, and can severely damage metal-framed starships. In addition,
    some dense knots of dust can overwhelm the repulsion of kinetic barriers on
    smaller ships. If such a vessel is moving fast enough at the time, the effects
    are similar to being hit by a sandblaster.
    Attempting to reach the Citadel through open space navigation is unadvisable;
    the only safe approach is through the various mass relays that orbit it.
                    ~Citadel Station: Statistics~
    How to get: After you complete the Eden Prime mission
    Although the Citadel is equipped with mass-effect-generating element-zero 
    cores, most of the gravity on the station is generated by the centrifugal 
    force of rotation.
    Rotation: 3.5 minutes per revolution
    Rotational Gravity in Wards: 1.02 Earth
    Rotational Gravity in Presidium: 0.3 Earth
    Total Length (Open): 44.7 km
    Diameter (Open): 12.8km
    Ward Length: 43.6km
    Ward Width: 330m
    Presidium Ring Diameter: 7.2 km
    Presidium Ring Width: 553 m 
    Exterior Armor Thickness: 13 m
    Population: 13.2 million (not including keepers)
    Gross Weight: 7.11 billion metric tons
    Height of the Presdium Tower: 1047 m 
                        ~Citadel Station: Wards~
    How to get: Talk to Barla Von about the Citadel and the Wards. He is in the
    Financial District of the Presidium in the Citadel.
    The majority of the Citadel's population lives in the Wards, the five massive
    arms of the station that house the residential and commercial districts. Many
    galactic races have established cultural enclaves here. Population density
    and cost of living are extremely high, akin to Earth cities such as Hong Kong
    and Singapore.
    The Wards are open-topped, with skyscrapers rising from the superstructure.
    Towers are sealed against vacuum, as the breathable atmosphere envelope is
    only maintained to a height of about seven meters. The atmosphere is contained
    by the centrifugal force of rotation and a 'membrane' of dense, colorless
    sulphur hexafluoride gas, held in place by carefully managed mass effect 
    The view from the Wards is spectacular. In the background, stars, Serpent 
    Nebula, and the nearby blue giant called 'the Widow' move across the sky as
    the station rotates to stabilize itself. In the foreground, the lights of
    buildings and vehicles on the opposing Ward arms perpetually shine. The 
    Citadel has no real day or night. While the station keeps to standard galactic
    time for political functions, business rarely close, and residents acclimate 
    to sleep and work according to personal need rather than a day-night cylce.
    Additions and modifications are constantly being constructed, though they must
    stay within certain specifications that will not compromise the operation of
    the station. Occasionally, the keepers will descend on an area of the Ward and
    move or change the architecture without explanation. Residents have learned to
    live with these inexplicable intrusions.
                           ~Treaty of Farixen~
    How to get: Examine the terminals in the diplomats' offices in the Embassies
    when on the Citadel.
    Due to the destructive potential of dreadnoughts, the Council races agree at 
    the Farixen Naval Conference to fix a ratio of dreadnought construction 
    between themselves. At the top of pyramid is the peacekeeping turian fleet. 
    Below the turians are the other Council races, currently the asari and the 
    salarians. Council associate races are at the bottom. The human Systems 
    Alliance is part of this last group.
    The ratio of turian to Council to associate dreadnoughts is 5:3:1, for every 
    dreadnought the humans are permitted to build, the asari have three, and the 
    turians five.
                 --Humanity and the Systems Alliance--
    The Alliance is the government and military of humanity beyond Sol.
                         ~Genetic Engineering~
    How to get: You can get it by completing the Citadel: Family Matter assignment
    or by talking to Rafael Vargas, who is in the Port Hanshan Mezzanine on Noveria
    In the 22nd century, manipulation of the human genome became commonplace.
    Techniques for genetic engineering advanced to the point where the rich could
    custom-build fetuses that grew into stronger, smarter, and more attractive
    adults. In more permissive regions, custom-designed life forms and 'uplifted'
    animals occupied an ill-defined niche between 'property' and 'sapient being.'
    Travel to planets with unique forms of life brought an awareness that Earth's
    biodiversity could be lost if it spliced and hybridized to gain useful alien
    qualities. The Sudham-Wolcott Genetic Heritage Act was passed by the Systems
    Alliance Parliament in 2161. It imposed sharp restrictions on controversial
    uses of genetic engineering, but provided government subsidies for beneficial
    SCREENING AND THERAPY: Most governments provide free assessments and 
    corrective therapy for genetic diseases in prospective parents. This has
    nearly eliminated everything from cystic fibrosis to nearsightedness. The
    earlier screening and therapy is performed, the more comprehensive the 
    results. Though ideally performed on artificially fertilized zygotes in a lab,
    procedures are available for embryos in the womb and newborns, out of respect
    for personal beliefs.
    ENHANCEMENT: Improvements of natural human abilities is legal, but adding new
    abilities is not. Treatments to improve strength, reflexes, mental ability, or
    appearance are permitted; adding a tail or the ability to digest cellulose is
    not. Some genetic enhancement is provided for free to Alliance military 
    recruits, but the average citizen must pay for the privilege. The process
    can take years to reach fruition in an adult.
    ENGINEERING: Artificial hybridization of genes from compatible non-human 
    species with human genetic code is illegal. Creation of designed life is
    broadly legal (and mainly used for terraforming and medial applications), but
    sentient creatures are heavily regulated, and creation of sapient life is
    outlawed by both the Systems Alliance and the Citadel Council.
                      ~Human Diplomatic Relations~
    How to get: Talk to Ashley about aliens after finishing one mission.
    Humanity has encountered many galactic species. Wars have been few, but 
    mistrust is rife.
    Politically, the Alliance is a peaceful trade partner of the TURIANS. As a 
    practical matter, however, there is simmering antagonism and bigotry between 
    both populations over the First Contact War of 2157.
    Though humans know better than to unconditionally trust and SALARIAN, their 
    shared restless, reckless ways make them natural allies against the 
    conservative turians and asari.
    The KROGAN have no unified government, but individuals are generally treated 
    as potential criminals, a reputation most krogan enjoy living down to.
    The Alliance has no formal contact with the QUARIANS. Their Migrant Fleet has 
    not yet passed through any human-settled system.
    The batarians are rivals for control of Skyllian Verge. They severed their 
    treaties with the Citadel to prosecute a colonial conflict against the 
    Alliance. Officially, there is no war, but neither is there any peace.
                  ~Systems Alliance: Geological Survey~
    How to get: Survey a planet with one of these on it and unlock the quest for 
    As the human race expands its territory and raises the general standard of 
    living, demand for industrial resources continues to grow. Many planets, moons
    and asteroids contain a wealth of resources, but many systems have been barely
    charted, let along thoroughly surveyed. Unmanned probes are one solution, but 
    they are often lost to space hazards, unforeseen circumstances, or theft by 
    In recent years, AGeS, the Alliance Geological Service, has offered bounties 
    to private individuals or teams willing to perform mineralogical surveys on 
    the frontier. This survey data is made publicly available to further corporate
    development. Due to the cost of travel and the dangers of operating on hostile
    worlds, it is rarely a profitable endeavor.
    LIGHT METALS - Metals with low atomic weight are often used in the 
    construction of spacecraft and vehicles.
    HEAVY METALS - Metals with higher atomic weights are used to construct 
    equipment components. The platinum group elements are particularly useful.
    RARE EARTHS - Most useful in this category are radioactives or magnets.
    GASSES - Various gasses are required to support all known forms of sapient 
    life. Some are commonly used as fuel.
                    ~Systems Alliance: Military Doctrine~
    How to get: Talk to Ashley in-between missions.
    The Alliance military is of great concern to the galaxy. At first contact with
    the turians, they were completely inexperienced. Turian disdain to respect
    after the relief of Shanxi, where the humans surprised them with novel
    technologies and tactics.
    The human devotion to understanding and adapting to modern space warfare
    stunned the staid Council races. For hundreds of years, they had lived behind
    the secure walls of long-proven technology and tactics. The Council regards
    the Alliance as a 'sleeping giant'. Less than 3% of humans volunteer to serve
    in their military, a lower proportion than any other species.
    While competent, Alliance soldiers are neither as professional as the turians
    nor as skilled as the asari. Their strengths lie in fire support, flexibility,
    and speed. They make up for lack of numbers with sophisticated technical
    support (VIs, drones, artillery, electronic warfare) and emphasis on mobility
    and individual initiative.
    Their doctrine is not based on absorbing and dishing out heavy shocks like
    the turians and krogan. Rather, they bypass enemy strong points and launch
    deep into their rear, cutting supply lines and destroying headquarters and
    support units, leaving enemies to 'wither on the vine'.
    On defensive, the human military is a rapid reaction force that lives by Sun
    Tzu's maxim, 'He who tries to defend everything defends nothing.' Garrisons 
    are intended for scouting rather then combat, avoiding engagement to observe
    and report on invaders using drones.
    The token garrisons of human colonies make it easy for alien powers to secure
    them, for which the Alliance media criticizes the military. However, the
    powerful fleets stationed at phase gate nexuses such as Arctutus are just a
    few hours or days from any colony within their sphere of responsibility. In
    the event of an attack, they respond with an overwhelming force.
                    ~Systems Alliance: Military Jargon~
    How to get: On the Normandy examine near the Map of the Galaxy.
    ashore - When a ship's crew leaves the vessel, they are 'ashore.' Though 
    normally used regarding planets, it can refer to boarding a space station.
    aweigh - When a ship releases the equipment tethering it to a space station or
    surface dock, it is 'aweight.'
    aye, aye - The proper way to acknowledge an order. If told to attack the 
    correct response is 'Aye, aye, sir.' If asked 'Are you proud to be a marine?' 
    the correct response is 'Yes, sir'.
    ASAP - Pronounced 'a-sap,' an acronym of 'as soon as possible.'
    belay - Stop, cease.
    bridge - The navigation center or a spacecraft, where the steering is done.
    captain's mast - Non-judicial disciplinary proceedings by unit commanders.
    CIC - Combat Information Center, the command center of a spacecraft. The CIC 
    is filled with sensor displays to make sense out of the chaos of combat.
    DC - Damage Control. The containment and repair of damage to a spacecraft.
    ECM - Electronic Counter-Measures used to avoid enemy sensors, from passive 
    emissions masking to active jamming.
    EVA - Extra-Vehicular Activity. Time spent in a pressure suit, outside of a 
    vehicle, spacecraft, or station.
    flank - The flank is the 'side' of a military formation. Since the soldiers 
    are facing elsewhere, an enemy that can attack on the flank can often 'turn 
    it' or 'roll it up.'
    FNG - 'Freaking' New Guy(s). A derisive term for inexperienced personal.
    groudside - The surface of a planet.
    helmsman - The crewmember who pilots the spacecraft.
    ladar - Light-amplified detection and ranging. An active sensor that bounces 
    lasers off an object to determine its bearing and distance. Ladar has 
    sufficient resolution that the data can be reconstructed into an image.
    shore party - Spacecraft's crew sent ashore on official business.
    silent running - An old submariner's term used aboard the Normandy to denote 
    when stealth systems are active.
    sitrep - Abbreviation of 'situation report,' an evaluation of the current 
    military situation.
    spacer - Someone who has spent most of their life in space.
    XO - Executive Officer, the second-in-command of an Alliance warship. The XO 
    is responsible for administrative and personal matters.
                       ~Systems Alliance: Military Ranks~
    How to get: Examine the computer in the Captain's room of the Normandy.
    The Alliance uses a modified version of the ranking system that has been used
    for hundreds of years. Soldiers are classified into rank-and-file enlisted
    personal, experienced non-commissioned officers (NCOs), and specially trained
    The divide between naval personnel and ground forces ('marines') is small.
    Ground units are a specialized branch of the fleet, just as fighter squadrons
    are. This unity of command is imposed by the futility of fighting without
    control of orbit; without the navy, any army is pointless. The marines, as
    a matter of pride, maintain some of their traditional rank titles; for example,
    marines have Privates and Corporals instead of Servicemen.
    In ascending order of responsibility, the ranks of the Alliance are:
    Serviceman 3rd Class / Private 2nd Class
    Serviceman 2nd Class / Private 1st Class
    Serviceman 1st Class / Corporal
    Service Chief
    Gunnery Chief
    Operations Chief
    2nd Lieutenant
    1st Lieutenant
    Staff Lieutenant
    Lieutenant Commander
    Staff Commander
    Captain / Major
    Read Admiral / General
    Fleet Admiral
                        ~Systems Alliance: N7~
    How to get: Examine Shepard's locker aboard the Normandy.
    The Alliance Military Vocational Code system classifies the career path of all
    serving personnel. The MVC consists of one letter and one number. A soldier's
    MVC indicates proficiency, not rank. The letter notes career path; the number
    indicates level of experience, as indicated by service record, technical 
    scores, and commendations. All 26 letters are used, and numbers run from 1 to 
    7. N is the letter code for Special Forces personnel.
                          ~Terra Firma Party~
    How to get: In the upper wards market area Charles Saracino will call for it
    at some point when you return to the Citadel, for me it was after I completed
    all three of the first story planets (Feros, Noveria, Virmine). You can then
    talk to him and eventually you can ask him about the party. Alternatively it
    can be gained through talking to Ashely in-between missions.
    Terra Firma is an Alliance political party formed after the First Contact War.
    Its policy agenda is based on the principle that Earth must 'stand firm' 
    against influences. This covers a variety of legislation. Recent activities by
    Terra Firma include opposition to a law requiring high school alien language
    study, a proposal to increase tariffs on alien imports, and leading a popular
    movement to mark the First Contact War as a public holiday.
    Though founded by well-meaning individuals who feared the submersion of native
    human cultures under a wave of 'alien vogue', Terra Firma's agenda attracts
    many jingoists and xenophobes.
                        ~Systems Alliance: Timeline~
    How to get: You will get it automatically at the beginning of the game after
    you first conversation with Kaiden and Joker.
    2069 - Armstrong Outpost at Shackleton Crater becomes the first human 
    settlement on Luna. It is formally founded on July 24, the 100th anniversary of
    the first lunar landing.
    2103 - Lowerl City in Eos Chasma becomes the first human settlement on Mars.
    2137 - Eldfell-Ashland Energy Corporation demonstrates helium-3 fuel extraction
    from the atmosphere of Saturn.
    2142 - Construction of Gagarin Station (Jump Zero) begins beyond the orbit of
    2148 - Prospectors discover the Prothean ruins at Promethi Planum on Mars.
    2149 - Translation of Prothean data leads humans to the Charon mass relay.
    Systems Alliance founded to coordinate exploration and colonization of extra-
    solar worlds.
    2151 - A shipping accident at Singapore International Spaceport exposes
    downwind communities to containers of dust-form element zero. Alliance begins
    construction of Arcturus Station.
    2152 - Roughly 30% of the children born in Singapore after element zero 
    exposure suffer from cancerous growths. Systems Alliance begins settlement
    of Earth's first extra-solar colony world, the planet Demeter.
    2154 - Commander Shepard born.
    2155 - Systems Alliance occupies completed portions of Arcturus Station as a
    2156 - Some children of Singapore exhibit minor telekinetic abilities.
    2157 - Turians encounter human explorers; First Contact War. Occupation and
    liberation of the human colony of Shanxi.
    2158 - Humans learn potential of biotics. An international effort to track
    element zero exposures begin. Roughly 10% of exposed children show some sign
    of biotic ability.
    2160 - Systems Alliance Parliament formed.
    2165 - Humans establish embassy on Citadel.
    2170 - Batarian slavers attack the Alliance colony Midoir.
    2176 - Skyllian Blitz - Pirates and slavers attacked Elysium, the human capital
    in the Skyllian Verge.
    2177 - Thresher maws devour the Alliance colony of Akuze.
    2178 - In retaliation for the Skyllian Blitz, an alliance fleet wipes out an
    army of slavers on the moon of Torfan.
    2183 - Current date.
                         --Planets and Locations--
    The Milkey Way galaxy contains 200 to 400 billion stars, most with a host of
                        ~Stations: Arcturus Station~
    How to get: You can get this through talking to Joker about himself.
    Arcturus Station is the gateway to Sol, a 5-kilometer diameter
    'Stanford Torus'-type sapce station at the trainling Lagrange point of the
    gas giant Themis.  Construction on Arcturus Station began in 2151 and concluded
    in 2162.  It was inaugurated in 2156, and has served as the military and
    political headquarters of teh Systems Alliance from the First Contact War until
    the present.
    When humanity activated the Charon Mass Realy in 2149, it led to Arcturus, 36
    light years from Sol, Earth's sun. Arcturus is the third brightest star seen
    from Earth.  It is an ancient red giant from the generation born before Sol.
    Its worlds are either gas giants or ice chunks.  While some rocky debris exists,
    the metal content is 25% lower than normal.  To build Arcturus Station, metallic
    asteroids were towed through the mass relays to the construction site.  Many of
    these asteroids remain near the station, their mined out areas home to transient
    The expense of bringing construct materials into the system was acceptable due
    to its strategic value.  With three primary mass relays in addition to the
    secondary one to Sol, Arcturus is a major communications and military
    chokepoint.  The Alliance 1st Fleet is based in Arcturus, where it can guard
    the gates to Sol and react to incursions in the three connected clusters. 
    The Station also hosts the Systems Alliance Parliament and the Systems Alliance
    Military general headquarters. Its permanent population is approximately
    Arcturus is actually from the galactic halo, one of a cluster of 52 stars that
    are 'crashing through' the disc of the galaxy.  In a billion years, Arcturus
    will be sailing through the depths of extragalactic dark space. 
                        ~Stations: Gagarin Station~
    How to get: Talk to Kaiden about his training after completing one mission.
    Gagarin Station is the largest deep space station built by humanity, a
    'Bernal Sphere' designed with a 500-meter-diameter habitable area. It was
    constructed beyond Pluto, nearly 80 Astronomical Units (12 billion kilometers)
    from Sol. Moving crew and materials to this location bankrupted most of the
    Gagarin was placed at the inner edge of the 'heliopause' - the point at which
    the solar wind can no longer push back the interstellar medium. It was built
    to test a number of faster-than-light drive principles that theoretically 
    could only occur in interstellar space. The station was nicknamed 'Jump Zero',
    as it was intended to be the jumping-off point for humanity's expansion into
    the galaxy. Shortly after the station was completed, the Prothean ruins were
    discovered on Mars, rendering the entire effort moot.
    After struggling to make a profit for a decade, Gagarin was sold to the
    Systems Alliance in 2159 for a fraction of its construction costs. The
    Alliance refurbished it as a research and training center for the recently
    discovered biotic phenomenon.
    In 2169, the Biotic Acclimation and Training program was shut down and Gagarin
    became a general research facility. Its remote location and intentional
    isolation from the extranet makes it popular for dangerous research,
    particularly in the field of artificial intelligence. Humanity's first stable
    AI, the Alliance-sponsored 'Eliza', achieved sapience at Gagarin in 2172.
    Today, Gagarin Station has a permanent population of approximately 9000. A
    plan has been proposed to move it to the gravitationally stable barycentor 
    point between Pluto and the Charon Relay allowing it to serve as a gateway
    facility between the Sol and Arcturus systems. The high cost of safely moving
    it mass has delayed this indefinitely.
                          --Ships and Vehicles--
    The technologies of space travel and surface mobility.
                          ~FTL Drive: Appearance~
    How to get: Look out a viewport when aboard the Normandy.
    New space travelers ask, 'What does it look like outside a ship moving at 
    faster-than-light speed?' Part of the answer can be seen in a simple pane of 
    glass. Light travels slower through glass then it does through open air; light
    also moves slower in conventional space then it does in a high-speed mass 
    effect field. This causes refraction - any light entering at an angle is bent 
    and separated into a spectrum. Objects outside the ship will appear refracted. 
    The greater the difference between the objective (exterior) and subjective 
    (interior) speeds of light, the greater the refraction.
    As the subjective speed of lights is raised within the field, objects outside 
    will appear to red-shift, eventually becoming visible only to radio telescope 
    antennae. High-energy electromagnetic sources normally hidden to the eye 
    become visible on the spectrum. As the speed of light continues to be raised, 
    x-ray, gamma ray, and eventfully cosmic ray sources become visible. Stars will 
    be replaced by pulsars, the acceleration discs of black holes, quasars, and 
    gamma ray bursts.
    To an outside observer, a ship within a mass effect drive envelope appears to 
    blue-shifted. If within a field that allows travel at twice the speed of 
    light, any radiation it emits has twice the energy as normal. If the ship is 
    in a field of about 200 times light speed, it radiates visible light as x-ray 
    and gamma rays, and the infrared heat from the hull is blue-shifted up into 
    the visible spectrum or higher.
    Ships moving at FTL are visible at great distances, though their signature 
    will only propagate at the speed of light.
                         ~FTL Drive: Drive Charge~
    How to get: Examine the core charge status in engineering aboard the Normandy.
    As positive or negative electronic current is passed through an FTL drive 
    core, it acquires a static electrical charge. Drives can be operated with an 
    average of 50 hours before they reach charge saturation. This changes 
    proportional to the magnitude of mass reduction; a heavier or faster ship 
    reaches saturation more quickly.
    If the charge is allowed to build, the core will discharge into the hull of a 
    ship. All ungrounded crew members are fried to a crisp, all electronic systems
    are burned out, and metal bulkheads may be melted and fused together.
    The safest way to discharge a core is to land on a planet and establish a 
    connection to the ground, like a lightning rod. Larger vessels like 
    dreadnoughts cannot land and must discharge into a planetary magnetic field. 
    The ship passes the charge from the drive core to the exterior armored hull, 
    then dives into the magnetic field.
    As the hull discharges, sheets of lightning jump away into the field, creating
    beautiful auroral displays on the planet. The ship must retract is sensors and
    weapons while dumping charge to protect damage, leaving it blind and helpless.
    Discharging at a moon with a weak magnetic field can take days. Discharging 
    into the powerful field of a gas giant may require less then an hour. Deep 
    space facilities such as the Citadel often have special discharge facilities 
    for visiting ships.
                   ~Space Combat: Combat Endurance~
    How to get: Examine the heat load monitor on the command deck of the Normandy.
    Heat limits the length and intensity of ship-to-ship combat. Starships 
    generate enormous heat when they fire high-energy weapons, perform maneuvering
    burns, and run on-board combat electronics.
    In combat, warships produce heat more quickly than they can disperse it. As 
    heat builds within a vessel, the crewed spaces become increasingly 
    uncomfortable. Before the heat reaches lethal leaves, a ship must win or 
    retreat by entering FTL. After an FTL run, the ships halts, shuts down non-
    essential systems, and activates the heat radiation gear.
    Combat endurance varies by ship design and by the battle's location. Battles 
    in the deep cold of interstellar space can go on for some time. Engagements 
    close to a star are brief. Since habitable worlds are usually close to a star,
    battles over then are usually more frantic.
                   ~Space Combat: General Tactics~
    How to get: On Xawin examine the computer terminal on the second floor of the
    main base. 
    Shells lofted by surface navies crash back to earth when their acceleration is
    overwhelmed by gravity and air resistance. In space, a projectile has unlimited
    range, it will keep moving until it hits something.
    Practical gunnery range is determined by the velocity of the attacker's 
    ordinance and the maneuverability of the target. Beyond a certain range, a
    small ship's ability to dodge trumps a larger attacker's projectile speed. The
    largest-ranged combat occurs between dreadnoughts, whose projectiles have the
    highest velocity but are the least maneuverable. The shortest-range combat
    is between frigates, which have the slowest projectile velocities and highest
    Opposing dreadnoughts open with main gun artillery duel at EXTREME ranges of
    tens of thousands of kilometers. The fleet close, maintaining evasive lateral
    motion while keeping their bow guns facing the enemy. Fighters are launched
    and attempt to close to disrupter torpedo range. Cautious admirals weaken the
    enemy with ranged fire and fighter strikes before committing to close action.
    Aggressive commanders advance so cruisers and frigates can engage.
    At LONG range, the main guns of cruisers become useful. Friendly interceptors
    engage enemy fighters until the attackers enter the range of ship-based
    GARDIAN fire. Dreadnoughts fire from the rear, screened by smaller ships.
    Commanders must decide whether to commit to a general melee or retreat into 
    At MEDIUM range, ships can use broadside guns. Fleets intermingle, and it
    becomes difficult to retreat in order. Ships with damaged kinetic barriers are
    vulnerable to wolfpack frigate flotillas that speed through the battle scene.
    Only fighters and frigates enter CLOSE 'knife fight' ranges of 10 or fewer
    kilometers. Fighters loose their disrupter torpedoes, bringing down a ship's
    kinetic barriers and allowing it to be swarmed by frigates. GARDIAN lasers
    become viable weapons, swatting down fighters and boiling away warship armor.
    Neither dreadnoughts nor cruisers can use their main guns at close range;
    laying the bow on a moving target becomes impossible. Superheated thruster
    exhaust becomes a hazard.
                    ~Space Combat: Planetary Assaults~
    How to get: Talk to Ashley in-between missions.
    Planetary assaults are complicated if the target is a habitable garden world; 
    the attackers cannot approach the defenders straight on.
    The Cidetal Conventions prohibit the use of large kinetic impactors against 
    habitable worlds. In a straight-on attack, any misses plough into the planet 
    behind the defending fleet. If the defenders position themselves between the 
    attackers and the planet, they can fire at will while the attacker risks 
    hitting the planet.
    Successful assaults on garden worlds hinge upon up-to-date intelligence. 
    Attackers need to determine where the enemy's defenses are, so they may 
    approach from an angle that allows them to fire with no collateral damage. 
    Note this is not necessary for hostile worlds.
    Once control of orbit has been lost, defensive garrisons disperse into the 
    wilderness. An enemy with orbital superiority can bombard surface forces with 
    impunity. The best option for defenders is to hide and collect reconnaissance 
    in anticipation of relief forces.
    Given the size of a planet, it is impractical to garrison entire conquered 
    worlds. Fortunately, colonization efforts tend to focus on building up a dozen
    or fewer areas. Ground forces occupy the spaceports, industrial facilities, 
    and major population centers. The wilderness is patrolled by unmanned aerial 
    vehicles and satellite reconnaissance. If a defender unit is spotted, 
    airmobile rapid deployment units and satellite artillery are used to pin down 
    and destroy them. 
                   ~Space Combat: Trans-Relay Assaults~
    How to get: You can get this from talking to the Prothean VI Vigil on IIos.
    The crucial choice for any attack through mass relays is how to divide the
    fleet for transit. The accuracy of a relay's mass-projection depends on the
    mass being moved and how far it’s going. Any long distance and/or high mass
    jump will see "drift". That is, a ship may be hundreds or millions of
    kilometers from its intended drop point, in any direction from the relay.
    Distance can't be chosen by admirals, but a relay is told how much mass to
    transit. For example, if told to move a million metric tons of mass, the
    relay will scan the approach corridor, find four 250,000-ton freighters,
    and transit them together, maintaining their relative positions.
    A commander has the option of moving his fleet as one large, coherent formation
    that may be wildly off-position, or breaking it up into many smaller formations
    that will be individually closer to the intended attack point, but could be
    widely dispersed.
    Conservative assault doctrine holds that fleets should be moved en masse,
    maintaining concentration of force and reducing the chances of collision.
    The only time it is reasonable to split up a formation is during blockade
                           ~Starships: Carriers~
    How to get: Talk to Rear Admiral Mikhailovich when the Normandy returns to
    the Citadel.
    All races provide their fleets with organic fighter support. Cruisers fit a
    handful in the space between the interior pressure hulls and exterior armor.
    Dreadnoughts have a hangar deck within the hull. Humans - who had only recently
    "graduated" from surface to space combat - were the first to build ships
    wielding fighters as the main armament.
    In fleet combat, carriers stay clear of battle, launching fighters bearing
    disruptor torpedoes. Fighters are the primary striking power of the ship; if
    a carrier enters mass accelerator range of the enemy, things have gone very
    It is possible to recover and rearm fighters during combat, though most
    carriers seal the flight deck and try to stay out of the way. The flight
    deck is essentially a corridor through the armor and into the heart of the
    vessel. A single well-placed torpedo is enough to gut a carrier.
    Alliance carriers are named after great leaders, artists, and intellectuals
    from human history, i.e. Sun Tzu or Winston Churchill. 
                    ~Starships: Crew Considerations~
    How to get: Examine the crew sleeper pods aboard the Normandy.
    Cabins give each individual ten cubic meters of space. On larger vessels 
    private rooms are common. As ships get smaller, the number of crew packed into 
    a single wardroom increases. Asari prefer shared spaces even on large vessels 
    while krogan territorial instinct make it impossible for them to cohabitate 
    even on the smallest ships. 
    On smaller vessels, 'hot bunking' is the norm. Crew members are assigned 
    different watches share the same bunk. When one gets off-duty, he wakes up the
    person in the bunk. While that crewman is on duty, the first gets his rack 
    Spacecraft compartments can be isolated by air-tight doors in case of 
    decompression. The cinematic version of explosive decompression is fiction; 
    holed compartments either take enough damage that the occupants are killed 
    instantly, or leak slowly enough that they are able to reach protective gear.
    Compartments are equipped with Emergency Life Supports Apparatus: fireproof 
    plastic bubbles with air  bottles. Small when stowed, ELSA comfortably 
    accommodate one individual inflated. Damage control procedure cuts off 
    ventilation to burning compartments. With oxygen to consume, fires die in 
    seconds. The compartment is re-pressurized afterwards for crew recovery.
    Mass effect fields create an artificial gravity (a-grav) plane below the 
    decks, preventing muscle atrophy and bone lose in zero-gee. Large vessels 
    arrange there decks perpendicular to their thrust axis. The 'highest' decks 
    are at the bow, and the 'lowest' decks at the engines. The allows a-grav to 
    work with the inertial effects of thrust. Ships that can land arrange their 
    decks laterally, so the crew can move about while the vessel is on the ground. 
    Warships normally turn off their a-grav systems during combat, reducing heat 
    generated by systems and increasing combat endurance. To provide a point of 
    reference for navigating in zero-gee, floors are painted a different color 
    from the walls and ceiling. 
                         ~Starships: Cruisers~
    How to get: Examine a second tracking terminal in C-Sec Traffic Control aboard
    the Citadel.
    Cruiser-weight starships are the standard combat unit encountered away from 
    large naval bases, the 'poor bloody infantry' of most fleets. Nimble scouting 
    frigates have neither the punch of the stamina to stand up to serious combat, 
    and the mighty dreadnaughts are a strategic resource, carefully hoarded and 
    committed to the most critical battles.
    Cruisers perform routine independent 'show the flag' patrols in settled 
    systems and lead flotillas of frigates in small engagements such as pirate 
    suppression campaigns. In major fleet engagements, cruiser squadrons support 
    the dreadnought battle line by screening their flanks against enemies 
    attempting to maneuver for a main gun 'bow shot' from their vulnerable 
    Alliance cruisers are named after cities on Earth.
                      ~Starships: Dreadnought~
    How to get: Watch the Destiny Ascension pass by the window while in the Wards
    of the Citadel
    Alternate: Overhear a conversation between a human and a volus about the
    Destiny Ascension while in the Upper Wards of the Citadel. 
    The dreadnought is the ultimate arbiter of space warfare; millions of tons of 
    metal, ceramic, and polymer dedicated to the projection of firepower against 
    an enemy vessel of like ability. No sane commander would face a dreadnought 
    with anything less then another dreadnought.
    A dreadnought's power lies in the length of it's main gun. Dreadnoughts range 
    from 800 meters to one kilometer long, with a main gun of commensurate length.
    An 800-meter mass accelerator capable of accelerating one 2 kg. slug to a 
    velocity of 283 km/s ever two seconds. Each slug has the kinetic energy of 38 
    kilotons of TNT, three times the energy released by the fission weapon that 
    destroyed Hiroshima.
    When used to bombard planets, some of this kinetic energy is lost due to 
    atmospheric re-entry friction. As a rule of thumb, each Earth-atmosphere of 
    air pressure saps approximately 20% of a projectile's impact energy.
    The turian fleet presently has 37 dreadnaughts; the asari, 21; and the 
    salarians, 16. Humanity has six, with additional hull under construction at 
    Arcturus Station. Alliance battleships are named for mountains of Earth. 
    Everest Class: Everest, Fuji, Elbrus.
    Kilimanjaro Class: Kilimanjaro, Tai Shan, Shasta, Aconcagua (under 
                          ~Starships: Fighters~
    How to get: Examine a tracking terminal in C-Sec Traffic Control aboard the 
    Fighters are single-pilot combat small craft. They are lightweight enough that 
    they can be economically fitted with powerful element zero cores, making them 
    capable of greater acceleration and sharper maneuvers then starships.
    Kinetic barriers shield changed starship battles from short, vicious 
    bloodbaths to extended indecisive slugging matches. Only the main gun of a 
    dreadnaught could punch a mass accelerator slug through the barriers of an 
    opposing dreadnought. This changed with the development of the fighter-
    launched mass disruptor torpedo, a short-ranged weapon that can penetrate 
    kinetic barriers to destroy their projector assemblies.
    Starship GARDIAN defenses must be overwhelmed through swarm tactics. Fighter 
    groups can take heavy casualties pressing their torpedo attacks home. Once 
    fighter-launched torpedoes have crippled an enemy's barriers, the mass 
    accelerator on frigates and cruisers can make short work of them.
    Interceptors are a type of fighter optimized to attack other fighters, with no 
    ability to damage starships. Interceptors are used to screen friendly units 
    from incoming fighter attack.
                           ~Starships: Frigates~
    How to get: Examine a tracking terminal in C-Sec Traffic Control aboard the 
    Alternate: Examine a Geth Dropship's claw on Feros or see a Geth Dropship
    Frigates are light escort and scouting vessels. They often have extensive 
    GARDIAN systems to provide anti-fighter screening for capital ships, and carry 
    a squad of marines for security and groundside duty. Unlike larger vessels, 
    frigates are able to land on planets. 
    Frigate drive systems allow them to achieve high FTL cruise speeds. They also 
    have proportionally larger thrusters and lighter design mass, allowing them to
    maneuver more handily. In combat, speed and maneuverability make a frigate 
    immune to the long-range fire of larger vessels; in the time it takes 
    projectiles to reach them, frigates are no longer where they were predicted to
    In fleet combat, frigates are organized into 'wolfpack' flotillas of four to 
    six. Wolfpacks speed through enemy formations, hunting enemy vessels whose 
    kinetic barriers have been taken down by fighter-launched disrupter torpedoes. 
    The wolfpack circle-strafes vulnerable targets, using their superior speed and
    maneuverability to evade return fire.
    Alliance frigates are named for great battles in human history.
                     ~Starships: Heat Management~
    How to get: Examine a heat load monitor aboard the Normandy on the Command
    Dispersal of heat generated by onboard systems is a critical issue for a ship.
    If it cannot deal with heat, the crew may be cooked within the hull. 
    Radiation is the only way to shed heat in a vacuum. Civilian vessels utilize 
    large, fragile radiator panels that are impossible to armor. Warships use 
    Diffuse Radiator Arrays (DRA), ceramic strips along the exterior of the 
    armored hull. These make the ship appear striped to thermographic sensors. 
    Since the arrangement of the strips depends on the internal configuration of 
    the ship, the patterns for each vessel are unique and striking. On older 
    ships, the DRA strips could become red- or white-hot. Dubbed 'tiger stripes' 
    or 'war paint' by humans, the glowing DRA had a psychological impact on 
    pirates and irregular forces.
    Strip radiators are not as efficient as panels, but if damaged by enemy fire, 
    the ship only loses a small portion of its total radiation capacity. In most 
    cases, a vessel's DRA along allows it to cruise with no difficulties. 
    Operations deep within solar systems can cause problems.
    A ship engaged in combat can produce titanic amounts of heat from maneuvering 
    burns and weapons fire. When fighting in a high heat environment, warships 
    employ high-efficiency 'droplet' heat sinks.
    In a droplet system, tanks of liquid sodium or lithium absorb heat within the 
    ship. The liquid is vented from spray nozzles near the bow as a thin sheet of 
    millions of micrometer-scale droplets. The droplets are caught at the stern 
    and recycled into the system. A droplet system can sink 10-100 times as much 
    heat as DRA strips.
    Droplet sheets resemble a surface ship's wake through water. The wake peels 
    out in sharp turns, spreading a fan of droplets as the ship changes vectors 
    and leaves the coolant behind.
                           ~Starships: Sensors~
    How to get: Talk to Navigator Pressly about 'stealth systems'.
    'Light lag' prevents sensing in real time at great distances. A ship firing 
    its thrusters at the Charon Relay can be easily detected from Earth, 5.75 
    light-hours (six billon kilometers) away, but Earth will only see the event 
    five hours and 45 minutes after it occurs. Due to the light-speed limit, 
    defenders can't see enemies coming until they have already arrived. Because 
    there is FTL travel and communications but no FTL sensors, frigates are 
    crucial for scouting and picket duties.
    Passive sensors are used for long-range detection, while active sensors obtain 
    short-range, high quality targeting data.
    Passive sensors include visual, thermographic, and radio detectors that watch 
    and listen for objects in space. A powered ship emits a great deal of energy; 
    the heat of the life support systems; the radiation given off by power plants 
    and electrical equipment; the exhaust of the thrusters. Starships stand out 
    plainly against the near-absolute zero background of space. Passive sensors 
    can be used during FTL travel, but incoming data is significantly distorted by
    the effect of the mass effect envelope and doppler shift.
    Active sensors are radars and high resolution ladars (LAser Detection And 
    Ranging) that emit a 'ping' of energy and 'listen' for return signals. Ladars 
    have a narrower field of view than radar, but ladar resolution allows images 
    of detected objects to be assembled. Active sensors are useless when a ship is
    moving at FTL speeds.
                         ~Starships: Thrusters~
    How to get: Examine the Normandy's thrusters while on the Citadel docks.
    A mass effect drive core decreases the mass of a bubble of space-time around
    a ship. This gives the ship the potential to move quickly, but does not apply
    any motive power. Ships use their sublight thrusters for motive power in FTL.
    There are several varieties of thruster, varying in performance versus 
    economy. All ships are equipped with arrays of hydrogen-oxygen reaction
    control thrusters for maneuvering.
    Ion Drives electrically accelerate charged particles as a reaction mass. They
    are extremely efficient, but produce negligible thrust. They are mainly used
    for automated cargo barges.
    The primary commercial engine is a 'fusion torch', which vents the plasma of
    a ship's power plant. Fusion torches offer powerful acceleration at the cost
    of difficult heat management. Torch fuel is fairly cheap: helium-3 skimmed
    from gas giants and deuterium extracted from seawater or cometary bodies.
    Propellant is hydrogen, likewise skimmed from gas giants.
    In combat, military vessels require accelerations beyond the capability of
    fusion torches. Warship thrusters inject antiprotons into a reaction chamber
    filled with hydrogen. The matter-antimatter annihilation provides unmatched
    motive power. The drawback is fuel production; antiprotons must be 
    manufactured one particle at a time. Most antimatter production is done at
    massive solar arrays orbiting energetic stars, making them high-value targets
    in wartime.
    The exhaust of fusion and antiproton drives is measured in millions of degrees
    Celsius. Any vessel caught behind them will melt like wax in a blowtorch.
    Any long-duration interstellar flight consists of two phases: acceleration and
    deceleration. Starships accelerate to the half-way point of their journey, 
    then flip 180 degrees and apply thrust on the opposite vector, decelerating as
     they finish the trip. The engines are always operating, and peak speed is
    attained at the middle of the flight.
                         ~Vehicles: Combat Drones~
    How to get: On the Moon/Luna in one of the Rouge AI areas look in each one 
    until you can examine one of the large things by the doors where you destroy 
    the nodes.
    Drones are small robots used to support and supplement organic soldiers on
    the battlefield. They have no artificial intelligence of any kind, but follow
    fixed, minimally adaptive programs. Most varieties employ mass effect 
    levitation to improve mobility.
    All modern armies rely on veritable fleets of drones for routine soldiering
    (static garrisons, patrols, etc.). The use of drones in non-critical duties
    keeps manpower need down and reduces casualties in low intensity conflicts.
    Less advanced races and cultures with less sensitivity to casualties have
    correspondingly fewer drones in their inventory. Drones are of little use in
    conventional open field battles ,as they are poorly armed and armored.
    In addition to combat drones, support drones are used to assit organic units
    in the field. Reconnaissance drones are small, stealthy craft that screen 
    combat units in the field and warn commanders when enemies are spotted. 
    Electronic Warfare drones supplement battlefield technicians, serving as
    mobile jammers and ALINT (ELectronic INTelligence) gathering platforms. 
    Military and civilian police utilize 'dazzler drones' equipped with powerful
    strobe lights to disorient and subdue intruders using nonlethal force.
    Drone formations are officially referred to in wings (i.e., 'Deploy the 4th
    Assault Drone Wing on the left flank!'). Common soldiers often refer to 
    friendly formations as flocks and enemy formations as swarms.
                         ~Weapons: Ablative Armor~
    How to get: Examine the Normandy's hull while on the Citadel at the docks.
    A warship's kinetic barriers reduce the damage from solid objects, but can
    do nothing to block GARDIAN lasers, particle beams, and other forms of Directed
    Energy Weapon (DEW). The inner layer of warship protection consists of 
    ablative armor plate designed to 'boil away' when heated. The vaporized
    armor material scatters a DEW beam, rendering it ineffectual.
    A scaffold was built aroundt he interior pressure hull, with sheets of 
    ablative armor hung from the structure. Ships typically have multiple layers
    of armor seperated by empty baffles, spaces often used for cargo storage. 
    Cruisers, which lack the internal space to fit dedicated fighter hangers, 
    store the shipboard fighter complement in the baffles. It is not unknown
    for enlisted crew to build illicit alcohol distilleries in some obscure corner
    of the baffles, safe from prying eyes.
                       ~Weapons: Disruptor Torpedoes~
    How to get: On Noveria after you first encounter the Rachni and go up through
    the broken glass you should see a room with a computer it eventually. Examine
    the computer when you do.
    Disruptor torpedoes are powered projectiles with warheads that create random
    and unstable mass effect fields when triggered. These fields warp space-time
    in a localized area. The rapid asymmetrical mass changes cause the target to
    rip itself apart.
    In flight, torpedoes use a mass-increasing field, making them too massive for
    enemy kinetic barriers to repulse. The extra mass gives the torpedoes a
    very sluggish acceleration, making them easy prey for defensive GARDIAN 
    weapons. So, torpedoes have to be launched at very close range.
    Torpedoes are the main anti-ship weapon used by fighters. They are launched
    from point-blank range in 'ripple-fire' waves reminiscent of the ancient
    Calliope rocket artillery launchers (thus their popular nickname 'Callies').
    By saturating defensive GARDIAN systems with multiple targets, at least a few
    will get through.
                           ~Weapons: GARDIAN~
    How to get: Examine the point defense systems on the Normandy. They are located
    on the command deck. 
    A ships' General ARea Defensive Integration Anti-spacecraft Network (GARDIAN)
    consists of anti-missile / anti-fighter laser turrets on the exterior hull. 
    Because these are under computer control, the gunnery control officer needs to
    do little beyond turn the system on and designate targets as hostile.
    Since lasers move at light speed, they cannot be dodged by anything moving at 
    non-relativistic speeds. Unless the beam is aimed poorly, it will always hit 
    its target. In the early stages of a battle, the GARDIAN fire is 100% 
    accurate. It is not 100% lethal, but it doesn't have to be. Damaged fighters 
    must break off for repairs.
    Lasers are limited by diffraction. The beams 'spread out', decreasing the 
    energy density (watts per m2) the weapon can place on a target. Any high-
    powered laser is a short-ranged weapon.
    GARDIAN networks have another limitation: heat. Weapons-grade lasers require 
    'cool-down' time, during which heat is transferred to sinks or radiators. At 
    lasers fire, heat builds within them, reducing damage, range, and accuracy.
    Fighters attack in swarms. The first few WILL be hit by GARDIAN, but as the 
    battle continues, the effects of laser overheat allow the attacks to press 
    ever closer to the ship. Constant use will burn out the laser.
    GARDIAN lasers typically operate in infrared frequencies. Shorter frequencies 
    would offer superior stopping power and range, but degradation of focal arrays
    and mirrors would make them expensive to maintain, and most prefer mechanical 
    reliability over leading-edge performance where lives are concerned. 
    Salarians, however, use near-ultraviolet frequency lasers with six times the 
    range, believing that having additional time to shoot down incoming missiles 
    is more important.
    Lasers are not blocked by the kinetic barriers of capital ships. However, the 
    range of lasers limits their use to rare 'knife fight'-range ship-to-ship 
                          ~Weapons: Javelin~
    How to get: You can get this from talking to the Prothean VI Vigil on IIos.
    The Javelin is an experimental close-assault weapon fitted on a handful of
    newer Alliance warships. It consists of a "rack" of two or more disposable
    disruptor torpedo tubes bolted or magnetically "slung" on to a ship’s exterior
    armored hull. The torpedoes are fired on converging trajectories, and detonate
    in a precisely timed sequence that allows the dark energy emitted by their
    warheads to resonate. This magnifies the resulting space-time warp effects.
    Javelin mounts are most often fitted on swift frigates, which expect to enter
    "knife fight" torpedo ranges as a matter of course. Javelins may also be fitted
    on heavier ships during short range engagements, such as trans-relay assaults.
    They are particularly useful in this role for dreadnoughts, which are unable to
    lay their main guns on targets at close range.
    The everyday pieces of technology that support the modern lifestyle.
                          ~Biotics: Biotic Amps~
    How to get: You can get this by talking to Doctor Chakwas about Alenko and L2s.
    Biotics manipulate mass effect fields using dozens of element zero nodules 
    within their nervous system that react to electric stimuli from the brain. 
    Amplifiers allow biotics to synchronize the nodules so they can form fields 
    large and strong enough for practical use. Amplifiers can improve a species 
    discipline or talent.
    An implant is surgically-embedded interface port into which amps are 'plugged 
    in'. On humans, the implant is usually placed at the base of the skull for 
    convenient access, though the user must be careful to keep it free of 
    Implant ports can fit a variety of amps, and there is a growing market for 
    modifications and add-ons. The finest quality implants and amps are 
    manufactured by asari artisans, but the Alliance's L3 implants - first 
    deployed in 2170 - are a significant step forward.
                       ~Biotics: Life as a Biotic~
    How to get: Talk to Kaiden in-between each mission.
    Biotics possess extraordinary abilities, but they must live with minor
    inconveniences. The most obvious issue is getting adequate nutrition.
    Creating biotic mass effects takes such a toll on metabolism that
    active biotics develop ravenous appetites. The standard Alliance
    combat ration for a soldier is 3000 calories per day; biotics are
    given 4500, as well as a canteen of potent energy drink for quick
    refreshment after hard combat.
    Another issue is electric charge. Electricity accumulated in starship
    drive cores must be discharged, and so must the electricity in a
    biotic user. Biotics are prone to small static discharges when they
    touch metal.
    Unfortunately, human biotics also face suspicion and persecution,
    beginning with the popular misconception that they can read and
    control minds. Biotics symbolize the dehumanization of mankind to
    people philosophically or religiously opposed to  gene modification
    and cybernetics. Militaries are the only organizations that always
    welcome biotics, offering them huge recruitment incentives.
                          ~Biotics: Training~
    How to get: Talk to Kaiden in-between each mission.
    Biotic implants and amplifiers only provide the potential to create coherent
    mass effect fields. Whether biotics can actually do so is largely determined
    by their training.
    Biotics must develop conscious control over their nervous systems, sending
    specific electrical impulses to the element zero nodules embedded in their
    nerves. They are taught to use their implants and amps with biofeedback 
    devices and physical mnemonics. Specific gestures or muscle movements fire
    the proper sequence of nerves to activate a certain skill.
    Conatix Industries pioneered biotic training with the Biotic Acclimation and
    Temperance Training program. Although BAaT did not achieve the desired 
    results, many techniques taught are still used today.
    Many human think tanks are trying to develop some from of biotic super 
    soldier. Most are benign efforts to create more flexible troops. Others,
    less publicly known, are unapologetic attempts to create Nietzschean supermen.
                            ~Combat Simulator~
    Only available in the Pinnacle Station downloadable content.
    In the absence of realistic terrain or equipment, military organizations will
    often make use of a combat simulator as a method of training soldiers for
    varied combat environments.
    Holographic projectors are used to create visual representations of opponents
    and obstacles. Kinetic barriers are then cast to prevent participants from
    passing through the obstacles and terrain. Kinetic barriers are also used to
    simulate weapon damage and shockwaves. However, while most trainers agree that
    pain is the best teacher, all government-sponsored combat simulators are
    required to make use of extensive safety protocols to prevent any serious,
    permanent damage to participants. 
    How to get: Examine the comm link in the comm room aboard the Normandy.
    Real-time communication is possible thanks to networks of expensive mass relay
    comm buoys that can daisy-chain a transmission via lasers.
    Comm buoys are maintained in patterns built outward from each mass relay. The 
    buoys are little more than a cluster of primitive, miniature mass relays. Each 
    individual buoy is connected to a partner on another buoy in the network, 
    forming a corridor of low-mass space. Tightbeam communications lasers are 
    piped through these 'tubes' of FTL space, allowing virtually instantaneous 
    communication to anywhere on the network. The networks connect across regions 
    by communications lasers through the mass relays.
    With this system, the only delay is the light lag between the source or 
    destination and the closest buoy. So long as all parties remain within half a 
    light-second (150,000 km) of buoys, seamless real time communications are 
    possible. Since buoys are maintained in all traveled areas, most enjoy 
    unlimited instant communications. Ships only suffer communications lag when 
    operating off established deep space routes, around uninhabited out system gas
    giants, and other unsettled areas.
    During wartime, comm buoy networks are the first target of an attack. Once the 
    network is severed, it can take anywhere from weeks to years to get a message 
    out of a contested system. In systems where a buoy network has not yet been 
    built or has been destroyed, rapid communication means ferrying information 
    through high-speed courier ships and unmanned data drones.
                     ~Communications: Administration~
    How to get: Examine the terminal in the freighter on Feros.
    Alternate: Examine the terminal near Officer Eddie Lang in the Wards on the
    While comm buoys allow rapid transmission, there is finite amount of bandwidth
    available. Given that trillions of people may be trying to pass a message 
    through a given buoy at any one time, access to the network is parceled out on
    priority tiers.
    The Citadel Council and the Spectres have absolute priority; if they are using
    all the bandwidth, everyone else must wait. Individual governments and their 
    militaries enjoy the next-highest tier. During wartime, civilian communication
    can suffer hours or even days of lag. Intelligence agencies study pin time 
    through various systems to predict military buildups.
    Below the government and militaries, bandwidth priority is sold to the highest
    bidder. Meda conglomerates, particularly headline news networks, purchase 
    higher priority to provide their viewers with timely information and response 
    capability (for example, financial instructions and investment firms) also 
    invest heavily in priority access. The funds acquired through sales of 
    bandwidth are used to maintain and expand the communications infrastructure. 
    While everyone with a computer has guaranteed free and unlimited access to the
    galactic extranet, they are the last in the line for bandwidth and may have to
    wait for their requests to be processed. Bandwidth resale corporations use 
    investment capital to purchase blocks of high priority access, made available 
    by paid subscription.
                     ~Communications: Methodology~
    How to get: Examine the terminal near Officer Eddie Lang in the Wards on the
    As the population of the galaxy increases and new worlds are settled, timely 
    access for home users and frontier settlements with underdeveloped 
    communications infrastructures is a growing problem. To ameliorate bandwidth 
    issues, a sophisticated array of data caches and virtual intelligence search 
    agent programs are available. 
    When a user submits a query, it is first routed to the data cache, the user's 
    search agent VI collates mountains of locally-stored data to find the desired 
    material. If the information is not available locally, the query is passed 
    along to neighboring systems, and then outward in an expanding network. VI 
    search agents in those systems replicate the search. If the desired 
    information is found, it is compressed into a 'burst' file and queued for 
    transmission to the source system. The burst is assigned a priority based on 
    the number of queries for it; the greater the number of queries, the higher 
    the priority.
    When a new solar system is first connected to the net, a selection of the most
    popular data is installed locally. Though storage hardware is cheat, the 
    capacity required to hold all the data produced everyday by trillions of 
    people on hundreds of worlds is not trivial. It's not economical to store 
    local copies of all the data available on obscure topics just in case.
    As colonies mature, older and loss-popular chunks of data filter into them as 
    a result of queries and are placed in the local archive. Searches for obscure 
    topics are increasingly likely to produce instant results as the archive 
                          ~Credits ('Creds')~
    How to get: You can get this from talking to Barla Von in the Financial
    District of the Presidium aboard the Citadel.
    The standard credit was established by the Citadel's Unified Banking Act as 
    the currency of interstellar trade. The credit, has a managed floating 
    exchange rate, calculated in real time by the central bank to maintain the 
    average value of all participating currencies. Some regional currencies are 
    worth more then a credit and some less.
    Hard currency can be stolen or counterfeited, so electronic fund transfers are 
    the norm. More importantly physical transactions cannot easily be tracked,
    making them ideal for tax evasion or the purchase of illegal goods.
    When the Alliance joined the Citadel, its various nation treasuries were 
    linked into the credit network. a human with a bank account of Mexican pesos, 
    Japanese yen, or Indian rupees can purchase any item priced in credits at fair
    market value. All economies participate in the credit network are required to 
    price items in both local currency and credits.
                             ~Pinnacle Station~
    Only available in the Pinnacle Station downloadable content.
    Pinnacle Station is a turian space station that has been retrofitted as a
    military training facility by the Council. Invitees participate in a series
    of simulated combat encounters and compete against other participants. 
                            ~Prefabricated Structures~
    Only available in the Pinnacle Station downloadable content.
    When colonizing a planet, corporations will often make use of prefabricated,
    or 'pre-fab' structures to quickly and easily deploy a base of operations.
    These residential structures feature full living quarters and a large solarium
    from which residents may observe the planet's surface.
    While most human colonies have the support of the Alliance military or some
    corporate-sponsored defense contractor, many civilian colonists choose to keep
    a small stock of armaments in their home. These weapons are a last resort,
    but are often critical to staving off a pirate attack until support arrives. 
    Only available in the Bring Down The Sky downloadable content.
    How to get: Encounter the Batarians for the first time.
    Human cultures remain linguistically divided. Some converse in Spanish,
    others in Mandarin, Arabic, Swahili, etc. Every alien race has their own
    equally broad panoply of languages and dialects.
    Most individuals know only their mother tongue, and rely on machine
    translation. Modern portable computers allow anyone with a few hundred
    credits of equipment to enjoy seamless real-time translation of alien
    languages, courtesy of handheld PDAs, computers in clothing or jewelry,
    or sub-dermal implants. Without fast and accurate translation, galactic
    trade and culture would not exist.
    Governments provide subsidized software, updated through the public extranet
    "on the fly", often as users approach spaceport customs facilities. Even the
    batarians, who isolated themselves from galactic society nearly two decades
    ago, take pains to provide up-to-date glossaries and linguistic rules, though
    most suspect that this is only so they can continue exporting propaganda.
    It is still considered broad-minded and practical to be able to speak without
    machine aid. Children often take courses in alien language, and most races can
    speak the simplified artificial "trade tongue" with little difficulty.
    Some species must rely on machine translation to interact with the rest of the
    galaxy. Hanar, for example, cannot reproduce the spoken language of any
    humanoid species, and other races cannot reproduce hanar bioluminescence
    without mechanical aid. Newly discovered or obscure races don't have machine
    translation available until the linguists have had time to study them. 
                       --Weapons, Armor and Equipment--
    Advances in technology have made individual soldiers more dangerous and
    survivable than ever before.
    How to get: Open an upgrade kit while on Eden Prime. You can get it before you
    fight anything.
    The development of practical manufacturing omni-tools allow modern militaries 
    a great deal of flexibility in equipment load-outs. A vast number of field 
    modification kits, or 'upgrades', are available for common equipment such as 
    weapons, armor, omni-tools, biotic amps, and even grenades.
    An upgrade kit typically consists of less then a dozen unique parts and an 
    optical storage disc. When loaded into an omni-tool, the OSD provides all 
    technical specifications required to manufacture the tools and additional 
    parts necessary to install the upgrade onto another piece of equipment. 
    Assembly is typically modular, and installation can be completed in less then 
    a minute.
    Since omni-tools are designed to used common battlefield salvage materials 
    such as plastic, ceramics, and light metals (rendered into semi-molten 'omni-
    gel' for quick used), it is quite possible for a trained soldier carrying 
    upgrade kits to customize gear on the battlefield to fit the current tactical 
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    -Thanks to me for taking the time to put this together
    -Thanks to BioWare for creating this amazing game.
    -Thanks to http://www.network-science.de/ascii/ for the various ASCII art
    in this guide.
    -Thanks to Earl Jenson for his help in sending a couple of missing entries
    and several missing locations for various other entries.
    -Thanks to Nirvash Type_Zero for the text of the Turians: Religion entry.
    -Thanks to Seriphyn for the text of Salarians: Biology, Turians: Religion, and
    Space Combat: Planetary Assaults.
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    This guide is Copyright (c) 2010 ShadowDragon777
    This may be not be reproduced under any circumstances except for
    personal, private use. It may not be placed on any web site or
    otherwise distributed publicly without advance written permission.
    Use of this guide on any other web site or as a part of any public
    display is strictly prohibited, and a violation of copyright.
    All trademarks and copyrights contained in this document are owned by their
    respective trademark and copyright holders.
    www.completemasseffect.com/  - The wiki has permission to link to and use
    pieces of this guide in it's various pages.
    please notify me at theshadowdragon777@yahoo.com if you see it elsewhere 
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    __  /  __  __ \  _ \     __  __/  __  __ \  __  / 
    _  /   _  / / /  __/     _  /___  _  / / / /_/ /  
    /_/    /_/ /_/\___/      /_____/  /_/ /_/\__,_/   
    This is the end of the FAQ, thank you for reading it 
    and hopefully it was helpful.

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