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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 Council.
An all-female race, the asari reproduce through a form of parthenogenesis. They can attune their nervous system to 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 1,000 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 life span; 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 than they're letting on.
Roughly 1,200 years ago, the turians were invited to join the Citadel Council to fulfill the role of galactic peacekeepers. 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.
Fifty thousand years ago, the Protheans were the only spacefaring species in the galaxy. They vanished in a swift "galactic extinction". 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 surprisingly intact for their age, functioning examples of Prothean paleotechnology are rare. Time and generations of looters have picked their dead cities and derelict stations clean.
Some believe the Protheans meddled in the evolution of younger races. The hanar homeworld of Kahje, for example, 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 civilizations are misremembered encounters with aliens.
The Reapers, known by the geth as the Old Machines, are a highly advanced machine race of synthetic-organic starships. The Reapers reside in dark space, the vast, mostly starless space between galaxies. They hibernate there, dormant for fifty thousand years at a time, before they are given the signal to return. The first Reaper known to have communicated with organic life, referred to by Saren Arterius as Sovereign, claimed that the Reapers have neither beginning nor end. Even their true name is a mystery; "Reapers" was a name bestowed by the Protheans, and Sovereign stated that whatever the Protheans chose to call them was of little concern to its kind.
Driven from their home system by the geth nearly three centuries ago, up until the Reaper attack, most quarians lived aboard the Migrant Fleet, a flotilla of fifty thousand vessels ranging in size from passenger shuttles to mobile space stations.
Despite in recent times the Quarians have spread back in to their home planet after joining forces with the Geth, most still reside on the Flotilla, which 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 to their people.
The most distinguishing feature of quarian biology is their weak immune system, compounded by centuries of living in sterile environments. As a result, all quarians by necessity dress in highly sophisticated enviro-suits, to protect them from disease or infection if they are injured.
The geth are a humanoid race of networked A.I.s. 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. Ever since, the Quarians and Geth have had a very hostile approach to eachother, that is, up until the times of the Reaper attack, when they allied together. For the past 16 years they have worked together in building a better galaxy.
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.
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.
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 outclassed.
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 beasts of war. A common subgenus of varren has metallic silver scales, leading to the rather unusual nickname 'fishdogs'.
...WEAPONS AND EQUIPMENT