As envisioned by Aberron and LogicalPremise
Humanity is at a crossroads, standing on the path to either greatness and our shared manifest destiny … or subversion, slavery, and extinction at the hands of aliens who have little in common with us and have even less concern for our eventual fate.
The choice is in the hands of you, fellow humans. There are those who would say that being wary of the alien is bigotry, that we should accept them with open arms and that humanity will prosper from such. It is my intention to suggest that this is not the case - and can never be the case - if humanity acts in the position of supplicant.
History itself shows us the likely outcomes when a technologically superior culture encounters a more primitive one. Ask the Cherokee, Apache, Inca, Zulu, Yahdzi, Ainu, Aborigines and a dozen other cultural groups how well that worked out for them - and then ask yourself if you think assimilation and servitude as third-class citizens is the future you want for your children.
Of course, some will say 'but aliens will not act like humans.' They have preconceived notions of how they would behave - yet we have already seen how the alien behaves. On Shanxi.
Once, we thought that the discovery of alien life would be a happy, uplifting event. Once, eloquent authors gave us a vision of a future full of hope, full of wonder. And when we set out into the glittering darkness of outer space, we did so hoping for that peaceful, happy outcome. Our first ships were not even armed.
We all know and remember the days of Shanxi, and how that dream died in fire, blood, and pain. Not only were aliens hostile to us, but as we have seen in later years, the aliens are no more unified, no more peaceful, and no more wise than humanity itself. Indeed, the very fact that our young species was able to defend itself as well as we have during this first clash with the turians is nothing short of astonishing, given the thousands of years the Citadel Government has been in place.
And that, my fellow humans, is why we are at a crossroads. It is clear that we have a choice - to attempt to treat aliens as fellow intellects and equals and be repaid in treachery and ghettoization, or to prepare for war in time of peace and take actions now to ensure human primacy in the galaxy.
Why human supremacy? Why not work with the Alien? There are three points that I consider important in looking at our new place in history.
First, we must consider what we gain and lose by working with aliens. Above all else, every species must consider its own survival imperative, and be aware of threats to their niche of existence. Seen in that light, humans are a problem for the other races of the galaxy. Where it took the asari a thousand years to move from diesel engines to the atomic bomb, it took us a bare handful of decades. Where the turians strained for almost nine thousand years to move beyond the limits of technology in their medieval ages, we moved into the modern age with alacrity.
The danger to aliens of a humanity that surpasses them in short order with our creativity and superior ability at improvising is why humanity is superior to aliens. Yoking ourselves to their guidance and technology will only slow our own progress. It will further allow aliens to take advantage of human ingenuity while offering nothing in return. And making ourselves vulnerable to a group that fears our prowess is suicidal.
Second, our very superiority is why the aliens cannot be trusted. Humanity came unto the galactic scene as innocents. We did not engage in any sort of heinous crimes, nor did we act in an aggressive manner. And yet, our so-called trespass - opening a relay in our own space - resulted in the First Contact War.
And now? Now, we are left with ashes and false apologies and even falser explanations. In the days before we took to the stars, 'humanity' used to be a word that was attributed to justice, fairness, and equality. A hundred years ago, a crime against that ideal was considered the most heinous form of crime that anyone could commit. The villains who perpetrated such horrors, such as Hitler and Stalin, are reviled centuries later for their acts.
In the galaxy we are now a part of, however, that ideal has new connotations. The Galaxy is full of criminals of the worst sort. Those who would burn our worlds, kill our people, and kill everyone in their path. Those who would enslave and torture us, or conduct 'solutions' to do unto us as they did to the krogan. Those who would slyly claim 'friendship' even as they plot to dissolve the very meaning of what it means to be human from within!
Consider, fellow beings, our first alien encounter with the turian. They savaged our people, destroyed and bombarded our world, committed crimes and atrocities - and in the end they went completely unpunished.
For all the fair asari words about 'justice', not one turian admiral was censured. Not one member of the turian government was held accountable for the murders of our kin. No one saw fit to treat us even as fellow sentients. What did Humanity receive, for hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths in the First Contact War, a war we did not start?
A few credits for each death.
A bribe, an insult of the deepest kind. To aliens, our blood and sacrifice was not worth a 'reparation'. The Turians destroyed our worlds. They killed our people. When we, and no one else, proved capable of stopping them, the other aliens stepped in. Not to assist, no - but to place themselves in some kind of light of being our salvation. Of course, said salvation came with a host of limitations, of taxes, of constraints, of sneering dismissal of our culture, our intellect, even our very independence.
We were not good enough to join their Council.
This, then is what we are to trust in? A group of beings who established galactic governance for the sheer, single purpose of ensuring turian, asari and salarian domination of the galaxy? Is this the foundation of our dream - an intergalactic good old boys club, looking down on the hired help?
If that is what we are to trust in, I would suggest such trust is not merely misplaced but racial suicide.
You can only trust the aliens will do what is best for their kind. That is not a moral indictment of them - indeed, one could say the same about many humans. But we are not here to compare moralities, if aliens even have such a thing. Instead, I say this to point out a blunt and unpleasant truth - we must do unto others what they would do unto us.
It is all well and good to want treat aliens with respect. But it is vitally important that each and every human understands that these are not allies, they are not friends, they are not beings that would hesitate an instant to annihilate us if it profited them. Respect should not - cannot - be equated to submission. Nor can we assume anything but being in a dominant position will save us from the axe should the powers of the galaxy deem us a threat.
Look to the rachni, the krogan, the quarian to see how they treat those weaker than themselves. Only the turians were accepted, and they were accepted because they were operating from a position of strength! And if humans do not act with such we are doomed. The aliens will not return our respect, thus offering it grants us nothing but weakness.
And this leads to the third point I speak of, the insidious and vapid view that aliens can be our 'friends'. People wish to believe the aliens mean well, that we can have a future of bright, shining achievement. These are, of course, natural. And in the course of events, I have no doubt that perhaps many alien individuals can be friends with human individuals.
Yet generalizations are the direst of assumptions, and even the most open-minded human must consider the more clear truth in light of actual events. Consider the First Contact War.
No sooner had the smoke cleared from the turian outrage did the other races began their assault upon our life and possessions. Each pounced upon our weakness in their own way, blithely claiming they came forward to help, yet offering only more knives in the back.
Volus bankers gave us 'financial assistance' - tainted loans, outrageous interest rates, buying distressed properties for a song - with all the profits going to their Turian overseers. They act to take over our businesses and cripple our financial networks, to corrupt and destabilize our internal and external markets, to profit from our monetary exchanges. They are every bit as venal and mercenary as their turian masters are cruel, but more subtle.
Salarians stealing any information that could be abused or ransomed. Offering aid only to act as spies and infiltrators, blackmailers and data-vandals. They saw us as something to plunder and discard, and perhaps to brew up a virus to geld us as they did the krogan if we became a danger. From what little we know of them they see 'truth' as flexible and find the idea of a declared war insanity. We will only know they have decided to fall upon us after the blow has smote our people to the ground.
Asari claiming innate superiority, and with one hand they offer us a position as one of their allies. With the other, they ruthlessly crush any hopes we have. And all they while, they seduce and corrupt our society. They use their young to ensnare unwise youth, while they claim their longer lifespans give them a wisdom that all too often is at best sneering colonialism.
These are not conjectures. You can see it in the everyday existence we now live. How many companies have disappeared, in the wake of our war with the Turians? How many people have been taken into the alien territories, lured by jobs or by some dancer in a bar? Did we really win the war with the Turians? Did we really achieve parity with the Council races?
Or is it still continuing, a relentless attack from new angles, angles no human would think of as warfare - infomemetic, cultural, religious, economic?
I can tell you what the government won't. I can tell you what they can't, as they are too frightened of another open war to realize this silent war is just as deadly. We can tell you with every man and women out of a job, and with every dead relative still unburied, with every ship borne down by 'pirates'.
The answer is simple. We were not strong, and they seek to ensure we will never be strong.
The aliens are promising peace. With one hand they will give you gifts, bribes, and any kind of economic incentive to play by their rules. With the other they tighten the cord around your neck. Only when that cord pulls tight do we even notice it.
The war is not over, my friends. The aliens will return, and our leadership is blinded to that fact.
If you are willing to open your eyes and accept the truth - the alien cannot be trusted, the alien cannot be even said to have stopped their aggression, and that the only thing that they understand is force - then it is time to explain what we as humans can do about it.
Supremacy is survival, in this instance. To hobble ourselves as second-best, as bench warmers, should sting your pride in humanity. Our race - our people - are an ideal, one that cannot abide failure. When extinction and socio-economic slavery are the price of failure, then failure is not an option.
And if that means that we take what is rightfully ours, then we are no different than the alien. Supremacy is safety - rather than beg for the alien to shield us, we instead defend what is rightfully ours. We take any actions necessary to protect our race, our planets, and to never again allow them to fall to an alien invader. Anything else puts us with the alien's knife to our neck.
We are more inventive and better at innovation and improvisation than the Salarians. That is why they try to steal our technology. We can fight better than the Turians - how else could we have survived against the might of their endless fleets and armies if this was not so? That is why they desperately try to limit us with the Treaty of Faraxen. We can negotiate better than the Asari. We are a threat to their positions of comfort. They treat us as if we are weak, as if we can contribute nothing to their societies.
Nothing is further from the truth. But lies are their weapons, and they tell us these things to make us feel weak. In our history, every time a great empire tried to force their will on another part of the world, they perpetuated their success by convincing the conquered that they were weak. That they are nothing. That nothing they can do will ever change the status quo. Every single one of those great empires fell, and they collapsed because those who were called weak rose up and defended themselves.
If you or any of your colleagues admit that we are weaker than any other species, they are accepting alien control over their future. They are giving up their future to those that have no interest in making us stronger.
And then? They will pillage our worlds of resources, and they will do so behind every business merger. Behind every act of goodwill lies the intent to break us. The government would tell you that the trade opportunities afforded to us will make all of us stronger. That is a lie, and they will line their pockets with the Volus credit while your livelihood is lost. By joining the Council, we accept that their laws are higher than our own. That our leaders must bow in their wishes to alien decisions on what is best for our people. That our laws, judges and courts must acknowledge the Council as a higher court.
There are fools who claim aiming for supremacy is dangerous. I would say that the galaxy is a dangerous place period. Yes, it can be more dangerous for those that stand against the Council. Anyone who disagrees with their rule and control will disappear into the Terminus Systems. Entire races have been defeated, their home worlds occupied or lost. And yet, the losers in those contests at least had the spine to try for greatness. To risk nothing is to gain nothing - and to eventually lose everything. Behold the prostration of the elcor and the hanar and the volus.
There is no safety in submission.
In the end, either humanity rises to lead, or we fall to the broken detritus along the side of the path to the future. And yet, I do acknowledge the dangers. I can hardly call upon the Systems Alliance to defy the aliens openly. The krogan, for all their strength, tried and failed at such a task. What is instead needed is a group that shields Humanity from the dark, that acts to foil alien subversion.
In ancient Greek mythology, there was a fearsome monster with three heads that guarded the ways to the Underworld. The Greeks believed that there were three aspects of death - the departure of the living breath, the departure of the psyche, and the departure of the body. Cerberus prevented any of these from returning to the surface, guarding against each with one head.
Likewise, Humanity can die of deprivation of such things. Our living breath, the finances that underpin our economy and prosperity, can be damaged and subverted, reducing us to poverty. Our psyche, the cultural aspects of our people, can be infiltrated, sabotaged, twisted and perverted into the unwitting service of our would-be alien masters. And our very body, our military might, can be frittered away by 'pirates' and 'bandits' or castrated by Citadel laws and policies.
Cerberus stands to safeguard humanity, to protect it - no matter the cost - so that we have the time to not merely get up off our knees, but to rise above our erstwhile masters. Cerberus is in the service of humanity. We claim no loyalties to her survival, only our lives. We ask for neither reward nor payment - what gold could shine more brightly than humanity's prosperity? And we will pay any price, suffer any cost, and perform any act - even that which horrifies - to ensure that when needed, Humanity will stand ready.
And when - not if - the day comes, as I fear it will, when aliens turn hostile eyes upon our fair worlds, Cerberus stands ready to defend Humanity, until our bodies fail, our psyches vanish, and our last breath rattles, still cursing our foes.
I am Cerberus. You are Cerberus. We are Cerberus.