STG – STG – STG
Report 93243-2 Girthon-Suelis
Classification: Black – Collapse Five
To the SIX and the STG Master,
As requested by direction of the STG Master, STG operational units Kegha One through Five have been engaged for the past two months in collecting all available data on the so-called Benezia Incident. Our initial findings are presented in this report, although it must be stressed – as with any unreviewed intelligence extracts – that our findings cannot be taken as either final or without reservations.
The primary reservations are threefold:
We still have an unclear understanding of the roles of several tertiary parties, including the Broker Network, Cerberus, and the human nobility, in the Incident.
There has been no clear window to extract hard information on the exact state of the geth in the Perseus Veil.
The identity of a controlling 'programmer' or 'creator' of the Reapers is, at best, highly conjectural.
The main reports are as follows:
A condensed timeline of the Incident, from inception to conclusion
A summary of participating parties
An inclusive profile write-ups of the principle actors
Projected, attributed goals and likely outcomes.
A root cause analysis and derived action plan is also included.
A second, separate enclosure covers our debriefing of Doctor Rana Thanoptis on the effects of indoctrination. Given that we seem to the most vulnerable race to its effects, I strongly recommend reviewing this part of the report with heavy scrutiny.
Eleven operatives (three naturals, eight augmented flash-clones) were destroyed or compromised in the investigation. At least one operative was indoctrinated. Two operatives remain missing and no response from the neural flash-bomb implanted in their cyberware has been recorded.
Total expenditure is roughly seven million, three hundred thousand credits. Funding authorization will be routed to the Ministries for approval once the SIX and the Master approve the report recommendations for further spending, if applicable.
A final, personal note before the report opens:
The ability of Saren and Benezia to deceive and co-opt galactic society, and create a war-machine capable at least theoretically of conquering the known galaxy, is a horrific oversight. I am hardly privy to the directions of force the STG allocates to monitoring outstanding problems, but I find it difficult to believe we did not have any warning of the events to come prior to the Incident erupting at Brendan-IV and a week later at Eden Prime.
The fact that four entire cells were actually deceived by the machinations of Cerberus and the data-shuffling on Noveria by Sirta Corporation and Binary Helix is also not a good sign of our readiness. If not for the random act of a lazy dock worker on Eden Prime and a quarian on Pilgrimage, we would have had zero idea who was behind the attack or had any method or way to prepare.
With Saren's vast ability to penetrate secure areas and his Spectre access, combined with Benezia's wealth and army of Triune infiltrating, we would have been utterly destroyed before combat could have even started.
If the assertions made by Commander Shepard are in any way correct, the Citadel and every capital world would have fallen in hours and at least two hundred ships identical to the Reaper that was destroyed at the Citadel would have entered our galaxy. Every single simulation shows such a force would have obliterated all meaningful resistance in fourteen to seventeen days.
That is not a typo.
I cannot in good conscience let a lapse of this magnitude go unremarked. We are wasting billions of credits a year fencing with the Thirty, sabotaging human and elcor technological advancement, and hindering the hanar – yet we are not capable of realizing when a threat greater than anything before is in our face until quarians find the evidence?
I would strongly suggest redeploying a great deal of STG strength to ferreting out whatever else may lie in wait for us, as I doubt this is the last we will see of the Reapers.
Senior Agent Sur'Kesh Soluthus Venir Kael-Thum Si Gelan Solus, commanding, Kehga Unit
STG – STG – STG
The STG Master stood at silent attention in the middle of the room.
Buried a mile beneath an iron-nickel mountain, under a heavy plate of plasma-compressed composites and no less than sixteen dreadnought-class kinetic barriers, the room was the center of a complex designed for the command and control of the salarian race in the face of invasion or comet strike. The room was hexagonal, heavy steel walls inset with large haptic display screens, the floor finely woven mats of soft material.
A semi-circular table of tappi wood framed in gleaming steel dominated the room, with six icy looking dalatrasses staring at him. Aside from minor variations in size and horn shape, their attire was identical – elaborate, flowing rich purple robes, shapeless and trimmed in pale reds of hard geometric patterns, and a hood of the same material and design. Six pairs of black, liquid eyes blinked slowly as they waited for his answer.
The STG Master bowed its head. The figure wore nothing but heavy black ballistic cloth, leaving cybernetic arms and legs bare. Its face was covered in a thin steel mask and a hood, and without visible horns or even a curve to the back, the gender of the Master was unknown.
The voice that emerged from the mask was digitized, smooth and sexless. "I have read the report, yes. I read all materials originating from my offices. I am familiar with the conclusion Agent Solus came to, yet point out that he is not in even remote awareness of what the situation is in all respects."
Dalatrass Linron scowled. "I dislike his tone. And while he certainly has a point in how much we can rely on your STG to keep us safe if Saren and Benezia slipped the net, he has no right to dictate to us how to expend our funds. And the question remains – how do you plan to fix this?"
The STG Master bowed its head again. "Your displeasure is noted. Would you care to explain to me why I should care, Dalatrass?" The artificial voice hardened. "I do not answer to you. The STG has not, since the Inception. He made his recommendations because the Six have ignored mine, and those of my senior agents, since before I was born – and I am older by far than any of you."
Dalatrass H'tho Di Daaso spoke next, her voice softer. "My Family has always listened to and supported the STG. And I believe I myself have seen turnings of the Wheel indicative of the trouble to come. The Reapers may be linked to what is causing so many of the Wheel Priests to suffer horrible visions of death and destruction."
The STG Master bowed its head. "Perhaps. I refuse to act on a paucity of data."
Di Daaso tilted her head. "The fact that the report" – she paused to tap her gloved hand against the data-pad in front of her – "suggests the danger is not over would seem to me there is less of a paucity of data and more one of knowing where to act."
Dalatrass Muvai Solus folded her arms in twitchy irritation. "Get to the point. Not all of us enjoy endless words."
Di Daaso gave a mirthful smile. "Of course, Muvai. My point, gentle sisters, is that before we call for the Master to act, we should determine how exactly the Union will aid in said actions. Bluntly instructing him to 'fix this' is no guidance."
Dalatrass Chara Yaan shook her head, her almost white skin heavily wrinkled. "I disagree. By the Collapse, we have handed over billions upon billions of credits to this fool, mostly to engage in the solution to the Thirty's damnable attempts to fornicate and seduce the entire galaxy. Now he has the gall to tell us he failed at stopping these … criminals and its our fault, when the STG was the one to push so hard to corral and contain the asari at all costs?"
The STG Master bowed its head. "The asari threat was the most pressing – at the time. Asari do not have the capability to co-exist – at least, the Thirty do not. There is clearly evidence they plan to dominate and alter every single culture they contaminate, and until the Reaper threat emerged, no greater threat could be envisioned. My argument remains: I have read the report. As long as we do not have a method identify new threats we cannot predict or prepare for them, and we simply do not have capacity to do so and nullify existing threats and hold off asari predation and continue our dominance of technological markets."
The figure shifted its stance slightly. "I only execute special tasks. I do not formulate policy. That is your job – if you are incapable of doing so, then you can and will be replaced."
The six dalatrasses at the table stiffened, but Solus was the first to nod. "We have not forgotten the Inception Agreements, STG Master. We will … consider the possibilities. Go."
With a smooth turn, the black-clad form turned and left the room. Solus gave a disgusted sigh a moment later. "Ideas?"
The narrow, cruel features of Dalatrass Ergii broke into a smile. "Only a few. The report, such as it is, gives clear and considerate ideas of exactly how to proceed. The Master is acting truculent because it sees itself without clear options – and the point stands. If we can't get the stupid asari to stop their dancing about and focus, we'll have little luck making the rest of the races listen."
Sersai Manno folded her arms grumpily, her sour face puckering even more. "You would have better luck convincing male batarians to geld and blind themselves."
Ergii's smile only widened. "Perhaps not. The trick to handling our oversexed sisters on Thessia is simple – set them to another target. The Thirty are the Six. They do not understand unity, they have never faced the Collapse. They don't act out of the needs of survival or the understanding we must grow and learn or die – simply out of inertia, to maintain control, and fear."
Solus nodded. "Give them something else to focus their intrigues on, then, is your suggestion? The question is what?"
Ergii tapped the report. "It's all here, sisters. Has no one asked the simplest question? Saren and Benezia wouldn't have ever gotten this entire mess off the ground without heavy assistance from the human group Cerberus. Funding, knowledge of the Beacon, the Makana-creature the SA had on Feros – all of this came from Cerberus. Even cleanup of the witnesses. Yet no one has asked why Cerberus would aid aliens when they were a human supremacy group and Saren clearly hated humans."
There was silence at that, then Linron cursed. "Manswell."
Yaan grimaced. "For a human, that one is nasty – wheels within wheels within wheels. You see his hand in this?"
Ergii nodded. "The humans have always been firm on one point, survival. In that, they are admirable, much like us in many ways – they will stop at nothing to ensure they are never threatened as they were in the Relay 314 incident and the Suppression. We have been adversarial to them due to their tight connection to the asari, not to mention the sheer near exact similarities they have."
She smiled slyly. "Manswell is no fool. The economy is slowing, there is stiff competition in every field the humans are attempting to enter, and sooner or later the asari will stop feeding his economy with free credits. He needed an opening for humanity to grow, and yet he can't go to open war with the batarians because they are Aria's major client and she would stop such a thing."
The dalatrass traced a triangle on the smooth wood. "Given that I do not for a moment believe this tripe that Cerberus was independent from the SA – nothing transpires in that man's realm without his knowledge – the only answer is Cerberus aided Saren to disrupt the status quo in the galaxy. And honestly, how much damage was done to the humans?"
Di Daaso frowned. "They had damage at Eden Prime, and lost a great deal more than that at several locations – "
Ergii interrupted. "Yes, but a handful of casualties and a few arcology towers is not that high a price, and Eden Prime was becoming a political handful, if I recall correctly. If the plan had gone off as originally intended, Manswell probably thought Saren's assault would disrupt the turian, asari, and salarian governments and militaries."
Solus sighed. "Disruption of the galactic society. In any war with the geth, the turians would be savaged, and both ourselves and the asari would take heavy damage. In the aftermath it would have been easier to get humanity into the breach, or a council seat – being furthest from the geth they would have taken the least damage."
Linron snorted. "They've done that anyway! They have a council seat, along with those blasted quarian thugs. And what kind of fool would invite a horde of all-killing robots to adjust the status quo?"
Ergii clucked. "Sisters, we didn't believe the earliest STG reports involving Commander Shepard's visions – why would he? He probably assumed, as the report states, that Saren and Benezia were acting out of frustration with the Hierarchy and the Thirty as a whole."
Solus grunted. "So, you share this information with the Thirty and … what? Hope for a spat?"
Ergii shook her head. "No. We carefully adjust events so that it looks as if Manswell was hoping for more than mere disruption, that he was going to use Saren's activity to cover up heavy terrorist acts against certain asari holdings. We begin a subtle campaign at the same time to attempt to expend less pressure on the humans, moving the savings into a new platform for the STG master to investigate and combat this Reaper menace. And we begin distributing useful technologies to the elcor and volus along with bringing them into the Bright and Dark Rim investment groups, to win them over to our side."
She smiled. "At the same time, we tell the Thirty that we fear increased human penetration and that Cerberus was the tip of the spear, and reveal what we know about their Black Zone and the ugly little project they ran on those drell, and the CERES information we got from the defector."
Solus crowed with laughter. "Ha! If they figure out the humans are trying to encourage the asari immigrants...yes, that would distract them nicely. Well thought out."
Di Daaso nodded as well. "And I presume we cut down on some anti-asari actions and re-purpose that money as well?"
Ergii nodded. "Indeed. I think that if we shave even ten percent from asari actions and fifty from elcor and volus works – perhaps twenty-five percent from human ones – we will have enough for the STG master to build an entirely new cell network devoted to the Reaper threat. And it will need to be devoted, we need both archaeological research as well as new weapons and defense platforms."
Solus nodded. "And new weapons! The turians are getting the big gun, from the wreck – what are we getting?"
Linron scowled. "We agreed to take over and investigate the computer systems. They appear to be partially biological in origin. We have the Makana Tho'ian team working on it. It's not like the damned plant can be indoctrinated, and I'm not sure the vorcha are vulnerable either. Plus, we can always replace them."
Ergii nodded. "If this is a race of machines...the computer technology may be the best weapon for us to fight them with, rather than some outre gun that breaks the laws of physics. I ask – are we agreed?"
Linron finally nodded. "For now. I still think we should remind the STG master that open threats are unlikely to win him...or her, or it...any friends. For the moment, I will turn the Union towards working with the Council researchers and implement the plan as outlined."
Di Daaso nodded. "I will have speech with the STG Master as well – it is undoubtedly agitated deeply if threats are being tossed about, hopefully I can calm and reason with it and make our case. We cannot afford to antagonize the STG at this juncture. Counterwatch is still decades away."
Solus folded her arms. "Hmph. Very well. Do your politicking. I'm going to shake loose some more cutters and corvettes from the damned Navy, and see if we can't build up some program to fight indoctrination." She picked up the report data-pad with distaste. "If you don't mind, I'd also like my brother Mordin to look this mess over – he's former STG and discrete. The medical and other gibberish in the back might as well be doctor's cant to me."
Yaan nodded. "I see no issues with what is outlined – I'll begin working the Thirty towards the goals we have set out. In particular, given the sordid nature of what Benezia did with those bombs, I'll suggest they may have been sourced with Cerberus and the humans to begin with – they did manage to miraculously disarm the ones on Earth, after all, even though they blew up on the Citadel and asari worlds."
Manno nodded, saying little as usual. "I'll work the volus. They'll be overjoyed to invest. I could also suggest we'd heard talk that our councilor suggested adding the humans and volus to the council, but the asari and turians went with the quarians instead – that should infuriate them."
Ergii smiled. "Then we have eggs to see to, sisters."
A/N: Welcome to the STG Report : Benezia Incident
Given the massive scope of AU changes I made in my redo of ME1, some kind of document was needed to recap the whole thing and provide backstory, insight and some commentary. That's what the STG Report is about.
The report is my answer to several inquiries about events, from a number of my readers, and will fill a number of roles. Unlike the Cerberus files, assume that while this is an in-universe document that the STG is professional enough to avoid most bias. While still only limited to what the STG knew (or could figure out after the fact), it is pretty much definitive at least in terms of the timeline.
The Report in-universe also serves as the baseline of the Council's expectation of Reaper activity, which will explain much in ME2 and ME3.