A/N: Well, here we go, folks. What better day to kick this off than Commander Shepard's birthday?

This is dedicated to all of you out there, for your support and encouragement of my work, for your requests, your feedback, your differing points of view, your humour, and above all, for just taking the time to engage with me and what I'm writing. It means the world to me, it really does. So thank you, and please enjoy. Bioware owns Mass Effect and its characters and universe, the only things I own are a mild obsession, one or two OCs, and a couple of plot devices.


Prologue - The State of the Galaxy

FAO: RADM H. J. SHEPARD, ORIZABA GROUP ACTUAL, FIFTH FLEET, SYSTEMS ALLIANCE NAVY

CLEARANCE: CODEWORD, EYES-ONLY ULTRAVIOLET

PERSCOMM:

Rear Admiral Shepard,

Greetings. Per your request, please find your latest report ready for download from the usual location. My employer offers their personal congratulations on your new appointment, and has amended the parameters relevant to your interests accordingly. New information that is deemed pertinent to the Citadel Defence Force will be included going forward. My employer trusts, as ever, in your discretion regarding the dissemination of these data and their provenance.

Should you require any more in-depth information on a specific topic, do not hesitate to contact us through your approved channels.

Have a pleasant day,

Operative Glyph

ENDPERSCOMM

REPORT DATE 05/17/2187:

Successful activation of Caleston mass relay has massively reduced travel time and stabilized communications protocols within the Terminus systems, provided a direct relay route to the Perseus Veil and completed the Council's objective of connecting those relays designated of primary strategic importance (Athena, Caleston, Charon, Crescent, Eagle, Exodus, Horsehead, Serpent). All secondary node systems are now accessible in the outbound direction. Work is commencing on the secondary strategic targets, with Apien Crest and the Krogan DMZ relays prioritized.

Turian intelligence reports rumours of civil unrest on Palaven. Primarch Victus has requested Council aid in conducting an impartial investigation. Spectre resources have been dispatched to assist. A severe state of famine continues to persist, increasing susceptibility to viral infections arising from shortages in clean water supplies. Casualties reported by the hierarchy are declining incrementally, currently listing 15,000 per day above baseline mortality (including ongoing identity assignments to personnel listed as missing in action and previously unidentified dead).

Asari authorities are maintaining a state of critical emergency across the Republics. Accommodation, food, and medical supplies continue to be acute problems. Medical reports also indicate that dependence on imported rations, while drastically reducing the number of casualties from starvation, are beginning to contribute to health issues related to reduced eezo intake. Supplements are being issued where resources are available but with pharmaceutical manufacture and refining at a limited capacity and restoration of a steady supply via agricultural produce hampered by infrastructure damage, the long-term impact of eezo malnutrition on the asari population as a whole is uncertain. Daily casualties above baseline mortality (including identification of the already deceased): 20,000.

Salarian Union intelligence reports a stable situation on Sur'Kesh. Lack of off-world infrastructure is hampering some rebuilding effort, most notably in the spheres of communication and trade, however, since Sur'Kesh suffered considerably less damage than Palaven, Earth, or Thessia, the general standard of living and care is sufficient for the Dalatrasses to have ended the official state of emergency across all Salarian territories. Sur'Kesh remains a net provider of both comestibles and construction materials to the other races. As such, the salarian economy is stable and capable of supporting its native population, if nowhere near pre-war levels of turnover. Daily casualties above baseline mortality (including identification of the already deceased): Negligible – war casualties are accounted for, and the dense biosphere of Sur'Kesh proved to be a more effective barrier to the Reapers than the most advanced defensive architecture.

Information on the Quarian situation remains sparse. The reconnection of the Caleston relay should improve communications in the coming weeks as travel to the Perseus Veil has been greatly simplified. Councilor Zaal'Koris reports that his people continue to focus their colonization efforts on the main southern continent of Rannoch, but that progress is slow without the assistance of the geth, and hampered by high incidences of adverse immune system response and anaphylaxis episodes. The question of attempting the revival of the geth species remains a point of bitter contention amongst the Admiralty Board, with no resolution likely to be forthcoming in the near future.

The Krogan population, converse to all other races, is growing steadily. Infant mortality through lack of medical resources persists at a rate that would be of concern to most other races, however there is no significant data to suggest related civil dissatisfaction. Dissident factions unhappy with the union of the clans under Urdnot Wrex's rule continue to launch hit and run terrorist attacks across Tuchanka, but Councilor Bakara is confident that such incidents can be handled locally. Rumours of Reaper tech salvage are starting to drift through local comm networks. Our agents are investigating.

Alliance military and civilian intelligence reports indicate steady improvement on Earth, with infrastructure, communications and industrial networks bolstered by in-system logistics requirements for the Citadel. Key pharmaceutical facilities in China, India, and Russia have recently been restored to full capacity output, and as a result the mortality rate on Earth has dropped sharply in recent weeks. The general election called to appoint a new Prime Minister and parliamentary representatives is scheduled to take place in ten days' time, and will represent the first time since the fall of Arcturus that a unified, democratically elected supranational assembly has governed the affairs of the Alliance's member states. Current polling data suggests the conservative, isolationist Terra Firma party are poised to win a majority of seats, expanding their political interest beyond their nation state core support. Daily casualties above baseline mortality (including identification of the already deceased): 5000.

A recent exploratory survey dispatched to the Kite's Nest reported no life signs. The Council is to declare the Batarian people functionally extinct and cease all diplomatic, trade, and communication functions with the Hegemony from the end of this month. Similar to the elcor, a small population of individuals is recognized as being extant in other locations throughout the galaxy; however, while the surviving elcor have formed a community structure in order to continue to have representation as a unified race for the remainder of the survivor's lives, no such accord has been reached among the batarians.

Kahje remains inaccessible; the planetary defence network remains active, prohibiting any exploratory approach. With the complete destruction of the Hanar fleet in the Battle of Earth, and the loss of the entire Hanar diplomatic corps aboard the Citadel, it has not been possible to establish communication with the Hanar government. Further enquiry is pending.

The vorcha civilisation on Heshtok remains intact, having successfully repelled any significant Reaper attempts at harvests. While the number of vorcha individuals encountered off-planet has declined sharply as a result of the Reaper invasion, the core population of the species appears to be undiminished.

Reports from the Terminus systems and Attican Traverse remain minimal. Omega is known to be stable and sustaining its population through Aria T'Loak's criminal organization, but as yet there are no plans to reconnect Sahrabarik to the relay network. It is expected that insight into the Terminus situation will improve as travel through the Caleston relay increases. Colonies in the Traverse continue to be disconnected; it is likely that re-establishing contact with outlying communities will reveal significantly increased casualties.

Of personal interest to the client: the GCV Normandy is currently deployed to Palaven, mission status: classified. Dr. Liara T'Soni is currently ashore on Thessia, assignment status: classified.

END REPORT