A/N: Timeframe on this is just after Ilium finally finishes exploding.
Please note: the majority of this file was written by Jacob, and only bits by me.
TWCD is being worked on. Slowly. 60% of the next chapter is done.
– STG – STG – STG –
Master Data Litigator 00839-Yohl to ZEROPOINT and STG-Master
STG-Master, your request for League-of-Zero interface/investigation into title/ShadowBroker unit/UNKNOWN has been processed. Release authorization was approved by ZEROPOINT via SIX.
Reminder: interface files cannot be stored on any nonvolatile flash medium. In case of data violation, all elements of this report will self-wipe and replace with a stock STG datafile.
Addendum: data violation: Salarais-White files: last known user and access location will also be transmitted in real-time to nearest STG wet-teams for immediate liquidation.
Translation of data arbitrage provided by Master Field Agent Danith, Director, STG Operational Division – Broker Network.
STG Report on the Shadow Broker:
Master Field Agent Danith to the STG Master
There isn't time to explain everything before we transmit.
I'm writing this introduction after having finished the report, and as soon as it is complete I will leave for Sur'Kesh with the remainder of my analytical cell and what physical evidence we have acquired. A League of Zero interface unit, or 'flesh-puppet,' as it referred to itself, will also be accompanying us.
(You'd think that an absurdly powerful array of transcendental AIs would be able to program some basic social skills, but no, they can't.)
The League is also transmitting this file through their secure channels, in case our physical vessel does not survive. This is admittedly more possible than I would like to concede, seeing as we are almost certainly being followed and most of the other dozen cells involved in this task are either dead or missing in action, but no matter.
The Wheel turns for us all.
Amidst the chaos of the events on Ilium – notably the death of Tetrimus and most key Broker operatives, the unmasking of Cerberus, and the arrival of the geth fleet – members of the League were able to briefly gain access to critical Broker data servers on Ilium, Bekenstein, and Irune whilst the Broker was communicating with his operatives. Master Data Litigator 00839-Yohl claims that they were briefly able to 'touch' the datasphere of the cruiser that serves as the gateway cutout to the Broker's primary base of operations, though it mentioned that such data retrieval was 'not without cost.'
And so now we know.
The Broker is a yahg, whose name is Ty'Tra'Thect.
He is the same yahg that the previous Broker uplifted from Parnack, prior to the Citadel's official first contact with the species and in clear violation of the SIX's orders. The obvious conclusion is that the yahg overthrew the previous Broker and has ruled the Network ever since.
I will admit that the capabilities of the Broker have most of my team, including myself, feeling somewhat twitchy and paranoid – even more so than usual. To what extent has the Broker penetrated the STG? What about the other salarian organizations we rely upon? The military? The Union government ministries? The Wheel Priests? Counterwatch? The Reach Research Compound? Wheel forgive me… the SIX? Would we ever know before it was too late?
As Senior Agent Vessi pointed out, these thoughts aren't hypothetical. We know that the Broker has penetrated some of these bodies in the past… by the Collapse, we've done it ourselves. If we can do it, the Broker can do it. STG Agents and associates have defected to the Broker Network before, and Tazzik certainly didn't appear from nowhere. They don't have to be dedicated Network operatives. They could be agents of influence who don't even know who their master truly is.
Your own egg-brother could be the one to slip a dagger between your horns.
By the Collapse, this business can be maddening.
Caution: Read FIRST:
This report is classified Salarais-White, the sixth such report (out of a total of seven) to be classified as such since the founding of the STG.
Unauthorized disclosure of any part of this document by STG assets will result in immediate conversion to Shieldbreaker-status. Data violation by any party will result in immediate liquidation by STG wet-teams.
Each individual addendum, notation, and appendix (yes, all three thousand four hundred and eighty-seven of them) attached to this report, however, are not subject to the same classification, but instead have separate classifications attached to their respective headers; operatives should take note of these and act accordingly.
As usual, most public information (in the sense that the STG can openly admit to acquiring it if required to defend our investigations before the Citadel Council) is based on four sources: existing historical accounts and/or records, eyewitness accounts, extranet information, and accumulated scans and examinations. The classified information (that is to say, almost everything here) has been acquired through every means we and the League have available.
I will not be detailing such methods here, except to reiterate the alarm of Master Agent Korals and remind you that the LoZ is fucking insane.
Suffice to say that the Shadow Broker, along with the Thirty, Cerberus, and a handful of other parties, represent an existential threat to the Salarian Union and to the salarian people. Therefore, anything we do that demonstrably counters or reduces the danger and likelihood of said threat is entirely justifiable.
End of discussion.
We're all old horns here and I will not be cluttering up this report with the kind of tedious moral rationalizations those aliens and Lythari freaks seem so fond of. Unlike mawkish humans, the Broker's cruelty does not impress me anywhere near as much as his unrelenting thoroughness and intellectual capacities, so allow me to repeat here: I do not care how many lives the Broker has ruined – I care only that he is thwarting salarian goals. Forgive me if I utter a broken, hollow laugh at this point. As if questions of right and wrong have any meaning when we're locking horns with a being that does not value life and is quite possibly in league with those who would erase our species from existence.
Survival is the beginning and the end of the Wheel, and we are but spokes.
Regardless, under no circumstances can this file be assumed complete, and, as always, assume that this file is a baseline of the Broker's abilities, not a comprehensive coverage. The Broker is, without doubt, the single most dangerous being alive.
– STG – STG – STG –
THE SHADOW BROKER
Formal Titles: The Shadow Broker. Technically, the Broker's three lower names (which together make up his higher name) would also count as titles in yahg culture. Ty'Tra'Thect roughly means 'Darkness Supreme Combatant,' and were earned for surviving outside the cities in the dark of night in the winter season ('Ty'), slaying three mortal enemies at once in hand-to-hand combat ('Tra'), and killing some manner of horrible predator on Parnack that the yahg usually flee from ('Thect').
For a yahg to possess three lower names is not unheard of. The yahg Victor (their leader) has a frankly terrifying four, and there's supposedly a female who also has three (though we can't confirm her identity and location at this point, a shame, she could have made a fascinating case study), but it is extremely impressive.
Nicknames: No one has attributed the Shadow Broker with a nickname in his presence. No one ever will.
Age and sex: Male. Age is approximately two hundred fifty to three hundred standard years, which by yahg standards is generally considered prime adulthood before the middle-aged breeding phase sets in. Given this, it is considered very unlikely he has any offspring.
Wealth: Staggering, and surprisingly difficult to say for sure. Our current estimate for the liquid or near-liquid assets held by the Broker Network was made in conjunction with the League of Zero's intelligence gathering on Tetrimus (see Tetrimus's STG file for further details on methodology and so on), and was roughly sixty billion credits. That said, most higher-ranking Broker Network operatives have their own extensive personal wealth and items, and the Network itself can certainly acquire almost any resource given enough time to plan. Considering the goals and 'values' of the Network, such as they are, acquiring wealth is generally an afterthought or a minor operational requirement. Assume that, for all practical purposes, wealth is no real operational constraint for the Shadow Broker.
The only exception to this is galactic megaprojects, such as whatever in the name of the Collapse the Broker is doing out in the Far Rim territories, or that mysterious Reaper-monitoring array of his that nobody has seen. I've red-flagged this detail multiple times, only to be told that there are 'sensitive political considerations' preventing anything from actually being done about it.
Psychological Summary: There is actually some debate between the leadership ranks of the STG and the Operational Division (headed by myself) assigned to the Broker Network as to where exactly the Broker falls in the standard salarian psychoanalytic behavior model. This problem is, of course, magnified by the fact that we don't have any direct observations of the subject in question and can only deduce and infer the Broker's psychology based on actions we believe can be attributed to him. Hardly best practice.
However, this analysis may still be of use. Both factions agree that the Broker is extraordinarily Active and Selfish, in the sense that he prefers to control events and influence everyone who matters, in accordance with his will, in order to achieve clearly defined and measurable goals; all of these goals are calculated to enhance the Broker Network's influence, resources, power, or knowledge, or to otherwise benefit the Broker himself.
STG leadership argues that the Broker falls into the Secretive/Combative personality quadrant, alternating between Intense/Suppressed behavior and Aggressive behavior. Operational Division – Broker Network argues that the Broker is, at best, a clear example of a Plotting/Corruptive Villainous personality, and at worst, could be considered Omnicidal Malevolent. PsyProf is unsure if the Broker even fits salarian standard psychological templates.
Military Summary: Effectively impossible to confirm, though fragmentary notes belonging to the previous Broker and recovered by the League indicate that the Broker was considered a fearsome and immensely skilled combatant on Parnack. STG operatives should assume, based on the Broker's own activities and that of the highly skilled operatives in his employ, that the Broker has an excellent working knowledge of galactic military tactics, technology, and strategy.
Education: Again, effectively impossible to confirm. Surviving to adulthood on Parnack is considered an education in and of itself by most of our xenoplanetologists (and especially by our xenobiologists and xenobotanists). STG operatives should assume, based on the Broker's activities and that of the highly skilled operatives in his employ, that the Broker has an excellent working knowledge of most fields of study; he can certainly acquire whatever knowledge or expertise he desires on any topic.
Employment: …He's the Shadow Broker. More formally, the Shadow Broker is the unquestioned leader of the Broker Network, an unlawful and immensely skilled intelligence and knowledge brokering organization that spans the known galaxy and is involved in almost every political body and event of note. Readers should be reminded that I use 'intelligence' in the salarian sense of the word, rather than the more primitive and self-limited perspective of aliens.
Significant Family: An intriguing line of thought. Currently we have no evidence that the Broker has any family of his own, and he certainly isn't sentimental enough to contact whatever family he had. Given what we know of yahg reproductive biology we would expect him to begin searching for a mate sometime in the next fifty or so standard years. Beyond that, we can't say with any certainty just how such a courtship would unfold. (I'm trying to picture the yahg female who would willingly wake up next to that, and it's haunting my dreams.) Amusingly, the League predicts that the Broker would seek a fecund and equally powerful mate that enables his domineering and manipulative tendencies whilst at the same time being unable to be controlled or directed by him.
Overall Threat Rating: Black-Collapse Nine, with an additional Red Flag, League of Zero addendum, priority notification for the SIX, Wheel Priest commentary (?!), and a personal notation by the STG Master that I am apparently unable to access.
Note: Read SECOND: It simply isn't possible to provide readers with a comprehensive overview of all Broker operations and personal activity over the approximately sixty years that the current Broker has been active, nor is this the appropriate place for an overview of the history of the Broker Network or of previous Brokers.
That's why there are three thousand-plus subfiles, after all.
This issue is compounded further by the fact that we simply don't know enough about the current Broker to offer such a history in the first place. Consequently, I'll be providing operatives with a brief summary of key historical events that we can reliably and confidently attribute to either the Broker himself or his Network. The vast majority of the addendum and appendices attached to this report cover known Broker operations over the decades, and operatives are encouraged to peruse all of these in order to become more familiar with the Network's standard operating procedures and tactics.
In approximately 2621-2622 GS [2122-2123 CE], the current Broker disposed of the previous Broker in a swift and ruthless coup, seamlessly transitioning to head of the Broker Network. No Broker operatives were aware of this at the time, the obvious implication being that whatever personal allies or loyal factions that the previous Broker possessed in the Network were disposed of or 'convinced' to serve the current Broker. Intercepted comms transmissions by Tetrimus indicate that the previous Broker was eaten alive – the first confirmed instance of what is apparently a regular habit. As far as we can tell, being eaten in yahg culture can be either a grave insult or a sign of respect, depending on social context.
Given our relationship with the previous and all other prior Brokers, we are uncertain what could have caused this sudden disposal to occur. It is possible, however, as I speculate later in this report, that the yahg discovered salarian intent towards his species' uplift and took direct action to derail that.
In early 2623 GS [2124 CE] the STG and Union military deployed a joint, rapid reaction combat fleet to the last known location of the previous Broker's primary base of operations with the aim of destroying the Shadow Broker in retaliation for his usurping the Network and killing the previous (and much more cooperative) Broker. Needless to say, this mission was a disaster and a harrowing introduction to the current Broker.
Even now, almost sixty standard years later, we still don't fully understand what transpired on that mission. It was (to the best of my knowledge, at least) the closest STG forces have ever came to directly engaging the Broker himself, and we know for a fact that a least two STG War Specialist Cells and one Wheel Priest survived the initial engagement, but details after that are scarce and contradict one another. Regardless, the outcome was considered suboptimal and a damning indictment of our standard operating procedures at the time – STG records indicate that the Fleet Admiral and the Wheel Priest Adjutant at the time were both converted to Shieldbreaker-status for their failure, and the STG Master was rumored to have been replaced (not that anyone could tell!).
We spent almost ten years trying to piece together what happened – and the investigation is reviewed every five years – but it remains a broken wheel. FTL snooper drones piggybacked on various networks in the Terminus (as well as our own secure commlanes) recovered generic automated records showing clear evidence of subversion and sabotage, and our follow-up missions to the area recorded evidence of weapons discharges. Perhaps the fleet was ambushed? The Wheel Priests themselves supplied us with a transcript that was little more than a manic apocalyptic log, but the most curious of all was the data arbitrage provided by the League of Zero. It was apparently the result of a deep penetration hack of both synthetic and biological subjects that suggested that our war fleet – or at least part of it – was subject to some kind of temporal anomaly, very similar to the instrument readings of probes sent into black holes.
P. and the Broker clashed repeatedly from 2625 GS to 2638 GS [2126 CE to 2139 CE], partly over access to Prothean dig sites, eezo trafficking, and other lucrative criminal endeavors but also over their mutually exclusive efforts to infiltrate and subvert Omega as well as the various clandestine projects of the Citadel races. After all, if both parties possess the same knowledge, then the market value of that knowledge drops considerably, as does each party's ability to exploit that knowledge. Both parties have clashed again since then, of course – most notably during the 'Burning of Omega' – but not with the same violence or frequency.
From 2627 GS to 2630 GS [2128 CE to 2131 CE], our stealthed observation drone-satellites around Parnack reported several visits from low-profile vessels corresponding to known Broker Network reconnaissance ship profiles. These visits were exceptionally low-key and appeared designed to carry out scientific or observational research on Parnack without the yahg on the planet knowing. At least one of these vessels landed within fifty stanlengths of a significant yahg settlement, and another five were simply destroyed by the native fauna and/or flora. (We actually have footage of one landing on a coral island and being devoured by what I can only describe as a biotic sea monster the size of a dreadnought. Fascinating!) We do not know what the Broker's plans were for his species, nor do we know for sure if he established any contact with them, but we can confirm that the Broker appeared to lose interest after this period and has not had any contact – that we know of – with Parnack or the yahg since then.
Since 2633 GS [2134 CE], the Broker began integrating dedicated archaeological and psycho-historical research units into his front-line operational deployments. Whilst other species' security services do, of course, have research divisions, most of these are rear echelon support or technical service units that are not trained and deployed in the same manner as traditional operatives. (Yet another reason why I feel the STG's preoccupation with internal salarian affairs is ultimately a drag on our long-term operations against hostile galactic actors that do not follow conventional rules of engagement.) Only the asari have carried out similar operations in the past, and that was mostly at the behest of Matriarch Dilinaga. Broker research teams have visited Eden Prime, several Black Rim colonies, the interspecies research initiative on Palaven's moon, the capital worlds and oldest colonies of almost every Citadel species, and also maintain excellent working relationships with several leading academic institutions that specialize in this kind of research. We also suspect that the Broker Network has examined at least four primitive sapient species' homeworlds. Relics and wrecks from previous eras, religious artifacts, and records or recordings of any kind appear to be of special interest, and the Broker is a highly active in the galactic artifact and historical auction market.
The fact that the Broker treats such historical research as an exceptionally high priority is reason enough for us to investigate and determine what his true goals are. Broker research teams are highly active on Ilium and Carcosa, as well as two more unnamed dead worlds deep within the Traverse.
In 2644 GS [2145 CE], the Broker was contacted by Ganar Okeer – the beginning of a strange and frankly unsettling relationship, given Okeer's role in the Benezia Incident and the fact that no one can account for his experimental cloning and genetic manipulation technology. We have no idea what the Broker gained from this arrangement, but it does appear to have been extremely tangential. A few years later, this contact seemingly evaporated, and certainly by 2679 GS [2180 CE] there was open hostility between the Ganar krogan clan and the Broker's forces in many areas.
In 2646 GS [2147 CE], the Citadel Council voted unanimously to reject any further investigation by C-Sec into certain alleged Broker activities in Citadel Space (largely centered around the Citadel itself, but also on Ilium). The C-Sec Executor at the time resigned in disgust; his resignation letter was classified and never publicly released. It's worth noting said Executor died a week later in a 'freak' fusion reactor failure while heading to Palaven to lobby the Primarchs to open their own, independent investigation. An accident which took the lives of a quarter of a million turians. Despite this, the Primarchs never took any retaliatory action, or even action of any kind in response. I'm sure the fact that each of them won their next two meritocratic assessments by unanimous vote is a completely unrelated coincidence.
From 2646 GS to 2649 GS [2147 CE to 2150 CE], Broker Network operatives, posing as Facinus renegades, carried out a series of false flag assassinations, bombings, and various acts of terrorism against most turian frontier colonies. These acts were committed on behalf of hardline elements within the Turian Hierarchy and were designed to stimulate the turian economy and boost the morale of the turian people, and were fairly effective at achieving these goals before the program was canceled. (A 0.8% equivalent increase in year-on-year GDP is a solid return for a relatively small-scale operation, after all.) We do not know who shut the program down or why, though the Broker was apparently paid in full – partly in credits, partly in future 'favors,' but mostly in turian historical records and interview transcripts. Baffling.
Interestingly, the Broker's operation demonstrated the first known use of 'fake' hastatim groups and the effectiveness of 'honor-smear' terror attacks in enraging a turian population. Attacks on spirit shrines, graveyards, and ancestral monuments were particularly effective. Also, based on some of the LoZ data we have, the initiator of this contact was almost certainly the Palavanus, not the Primarch.
In 2655 GS [2156 CE], the former leader of the Nightwind, colloquially known as 'Midnight's Kiss,' defected from the asari organization for unknown reasons and joined the Broker Network. The Thirty and the Broker are believed to have struck a bargain on this issue, with the Thirty not targeting the Broker in retaliation and continuing to do business with him on the condition that Midnight's Kiss is not deployed against asari assets or the interests of the Thirty. (This information comes from 'P.'s Truth' and may not be entirely accurate, but it's worth noting that Midnight's Kiss has not been seen operating inside Asari Space since this date.)
In 2656 GS [2157 CE], the Broker recovered Tetrimus in the aftermath of the Relay 314 Incident. The incident itself bears some investigation, as there are hints that not only did the Broker have agents well embedded inside the turian military, but may have actually established comms with the humans (no doubt using translation primers obtained by Project Early Glance from our early FTL examinations of worlds with sapient life).
Regardless of the result, Tetrimus was smuggled out of the area and underwent some level of reconstructive surgery and augmentation.
The larger question remains, why exactly did the Primarch sell out and/or abandon his strongest biotic? And for that, we simply do not know the answer, only that the Broker was quick to take advantage of it.
From at least as early as 2657 GS [2158 CE], the Broker and the batarian Special Intervention Unit engaged in an escalating series of strikes and counterstrikes against each other. We believe this feud started after the SIU began scouring the Terminus Systems for Broker agents and targeting mercenary companies under exclusive contract with the Broker, subjecting them to their usual treatment. Naturally, Aria did nothing to intervene – not surprising given her checkered history with the Broker. Bizarrely, there was no real intelligence-driven purpose to the SIU's activities. They appeared to be striking against the Broker solely to prove themselves the alpha males of the entire galaxy, the gibbering savages.
Given what we now know of the Broker's native species and likely psychology, the fact that he would delight in meeting a status challenge with a mounting spiral of violence is, perhaps, unsurprising.
In 2659 GS [2160 CE], the Broker received the sole surviving specimen from Project ALTERATION-47c in a deal with elements of the SIX and the Reach Research Compound. Project ALTERATION-47c was designed to develop a next generation Shieldbreaker baseline genotype, as well as to explore the feasibility of super-heavy salarian infantry, and was only possible due to genetic expertise provided to us by the Makana Tho'ian. That sole surviving specimen now goes by the name 'Tazzik.'
I trust you recognize the name. Vessi already had his rant, so here is mine.
There is no excuse for willfully causing this kind of blowback. This deal was opposed by the prior STG Master. Though, seeing as the League abstained from the disagreement and the salarian military was not informed at all, the STG did not have the political power to intervene and stop the deal.
(Operatives should note that bringing this subject up in conversation with the STG Master will likely get you posted to Omega or converted to Shieldbreaker-status; frankly, I fully agree with the Master that such a corrupt bargain with the Broker was, and remains, a disgusting stain upon the Union. Counterwatch is bad enough, for the SIX to commit this act is outright hostility in my opinion.)
2660 GS [2161 CE] is generally considered to be the point where hostilities between the Broker Network and the Illusive Man escalated to what can only be described as 'clandestine warfare.' This war has only escalated in the years since, and both the Broker and the Illusive Man seem to harbor a grudging respect and obsessive hatred for the other.
In 2662 GS [2163 CE], the Broker, at the behest of the Thirty, initiated a disinformation campaign in the wildcat human territories regarding the deliberately flawed L2 biotic implants that the Asari Republic co-developed with the Human Systems Alliance. The operation was designed to drive increasing numbers of human biotics into the hands of various matriarchal cults and also to encourage mistrust in key institutions in human society.
This, of course, had the knock-on effect of some bleed-over on the extranet and into Human Space, resulting in Commissar and AIS deployments to counter the disinformation. Amusingly, this seems to have allowed the Broker to infiltrate additional agents into Human Space. The Broker's innovative use of 'infotainment,' exploitation of adaptive social media networks, and use of the resulting chaos to enhance his own penetration, is considered a classic disinformation case study by the STG Academy.
Now, twenty years later, the Broker's ongoing efforts to penetrate the upper echelons of human society appear to have paid dividends, and he almost certainly has at least one asset installed in the human President's Ministerial Cabinet, and likely has compromising materials on several Admirals of the Red and Green. If he has achieved penetration of the Lords of Sol is an open question – it is unlikely he has assets among the High Lords, however.
Has no one asked if the Broker could achieve equivalent penetration of other species' governments and militaries? Because once you've achieved that sort of access and influence it's not really a question of 'what could the Broker do with this?' anymore; it's more 'what possible limit does the Broker have within this operational sphere, what does he want, and can we stop him?'
In 2665 GS [2166 CE], Broker forces led by Tetrimus and Tazzik carried out the infamous massacre at a SIX-backed research compound on a (now destroyed) moon on the borders of Salarian and Traverse Space. The facility was a key part of the embryo development and field testing infrastructure needed for the Alteration Framework, and its destruction delayed the program by almost seven years. There were no survivors, and the facility was stripped of both equipment and data. Given the Broker's ongoing relationship with Ganar Okeer at the time, whose depravity and aptitude for genetech are legendary, this event caused a great deal of alarm within the SIX and the STG.
In 2668 GS [2169 CE], members of the salarian terrorist organization 'Remembrance' carried out a devastating suicide attack against the secondary Solus family estate on Mannovai. By the time it was over, several key family members were dead and Dalatrass Solus herself was wounded. She insists that the Broker was behind the attack and that he provided Remembrance with Solus family schedules and the estate's security codes. Whilst we do not have any hard evidence for this claim, no member of the Special Task Group has ever said that to Muvai Solus's face. There is daring the Wheel to turn, and then there is begging to be run over by it.
In 2669 GS [2170 CE], the Broker, working through a series of volus law firms on the Citadel and a convoluted mess of shell companies and financial instruments on Ilium, launched a speculative attack on the primary breeding contract futures markets throughout the entire Silver Rim and Black Rim territories. Technically, all of this activity was legal, or at least each individual action within the overall operation was legal in the jurisdiction in which it was carried out. Whilst STG FINTEL specialists were aware of the overall attack vector, it was only thanks to a priority flash message from the League of Zero that we were informed that the Broker was likely behind it. Whilst the attack was ultimately repelled, it did trigger a remarkably bitter feud between the Manno and Ergii families that continues to this day… and also strengthened the previously tenuous position of High Dalatrass Linron.
I cannot help but wonder what the Broker's ultimate objective was here. Obviously it is no coincidence that he launched two highly effective and well-planned operations against the highest political bodies within the Salarian Union, but to what end? Ergii and Manno thrown into endless infighting, the Solus family devastated and trying to salvage their clutch, the Solus-dominated STG politically neutered, yet the bulk of the Union's economic and scientific prowess intact?
The only person who benefited from each of these events was High Dalatrass Linron.
Also, in 2669 GS [2170 CE], recently promoted Spectre Jondam Bau sends a highly encrypted flash message to the STG Master and Operational Division – Broker Network detailing his suspicions that the Broker has achieved a far greater degree of penetration into the Spectre Corps than we previously thought. Fourteen Spectre operatives receive ongoing support and intelligence from Network affiliated sources, and at least two Spectres – Tela Vasir and Cassan Fedorian – could be considered Broker operatives in their own right, routinely communicating with his highest-ranking operatives and carrying out missions on his behalf.
Whether this was a deliberate choice on their parts, or if they were simply worn down over time via immersion into the Broker's shadow world and the general pressures of the Spectre lifestyle, is unknown. Given how highly protected those two are, it is obviously not possible for us to spy on or interrogate them, especially given their impressive reputations and popularity with the galactic public, so STG agents should be aware that they are most likely compromised by the Broker and to act accordingly. Be polite, be efficient, but be prepared to kill anyone if necessary (even yourselves. Remember, Protocol Nineteen is still in effect).
I'd also like to point out that Bau's self-righteousness is the height of hypocrisy, given that he receives a data packet full of leads from the Unseen Cloud every second weekend. Perhaps he should reflect on this the next time he claims that Operational Division – Broker Network is incompetent and that my operatives "could walk into a room full of breeders and walk out pulling your own horns."
In 2670 GS [2171 CE], and for reasons unknown, the Broker – working in conjunction with the Nightwind and at the behest of the Thirty – brutally murders the bondmate, family, friends, and acolytes of Stellarch Trellani. Tazzik himself personally captured Trellani's asari spouse and subjected her to a degree of abuse that is disgusting and extreme even for him. The Matriarch managed to flee Asari Space and she is currently believed to be in league with Cerberus (see Matriarch Trellani's STG file for further details).
In 2674 GS [2175 CE], the Broker has Tetrimus deliver his message to the Citadel Council. Tetrimus also delivered a separate message to the SIX in the same year. Both of these messages are attached to this report, but are apparently sealed and can only be accessed by the SIX or the STG Master.
No, I don't understand the point of this secrecy, particularly in a Salarais-White file and especially one composed by a Master Field Agent who will likely be dead in the next seventy-two hours. (By the Wheel, don't let the last thing I see in this life be Tazzik's smug face smoking a cigar. I want to die in my ancestral home, sipping batarian ale and reeking of breeders' cloacas.)
There are times when I believe our organization's paranoid bureaucracy is really a liability. This report will probably be so highly classified and endlessly overanalyzed that no STG agent who's actually going to engage with Broker forces will be allowed to read it, or even know it exists.
Moving on. In the same year, STG assets in the Traverse – ostensibly aiding in counter-piracy operations as part of a Citadel charm offensive in non-Council Space – discovered clear evidence of Broker-backed slaving operations, concentration camps, and experimental medical facilities. The entire trafficking apparatus seemed designed to rapidly assess and categorize captives (largely human, but some alien) before transferring them to criminal elements in the human wildcat territories, and ultimately to the scientific research division of the precursor Cerberus group. Systems Alliance Corsairs were directed not to interfere with these operations.
It does not appear that the other heads of Cerberus (at the time) were informed, or, if they were, they weren't capable of stopping it. Again, relationships in this business tend to be messy, broken clutches, and just because you hate the Broker doesn't mean you can avoid doing business with him. Given that the Cerberus group was run by some of the most powerful elites in Human Space, and that the Corsairs answered directly to the human Joint Chiefs of Staff and the AIS, we believe the ultimate beneficiary of this program was the High Lords of Sol. These programs continue to this day.
2676 GS [2177 CE] is the earliest confirmed date we have for evidence of the ongoing blood feud between the Broker Network and a number of influential Remembrance Dancer clans. From what little we understand – the clans we have contacted are not being cooperative, though they aren't hostile either – it appears that the Broker quadruple-crossed them, through a number of blind cutouts, in an effort to pit the Dancer clans against each other and ultimately against P. Whilst this effort was technically successful and resulted in heavy losses for both P. and the Dancer clans, it also resulted in a staggering degree of blowback. Several influential clan members lost civilian family members and have sworn to hunt the Broker and all members of his Network through this life and the next.
In 2682 GS [2183 CE] (and possibly for several years prior), the Broker, both personally and through his elite operatives, played a critical role in the Benezia Incident. These events are fully documented elsewhere, but there are a number of disturbing implications and unanswered question that still trouble the STG. Whilst we have no damning evidence of the Broker directly aiding Saren or Benezia – and the Broker's charm offensive against the Citadel rulers since then has certainly silenced anyone who had any inconvenient questions – it is equally true that the Broker simply had too many tangential relationships with too many assorted players to be mere coincidence or 'just business.' It begins with Urdnot Wrex, a known high-ranking Broker associate, directly aiding the Citadel investigation into Saren's activities and also Spectre Shepard's efforts to stop Saren, Benezia, and the geth. By the Collapse, Tetrimus himself swaggered into the Citadel Chamber, the seat of galactic power, delivered a flowery and unnecessarily melodramatic monologue, and nobody – including our own Councilor, a former STG agent! – said anything. It barely made the nightly news reports. This is insane, and a damning indictment of just how thoroughly the Broker has corrupted most institutions within galactic society.
Moving on. The Broker simply has too many contacts and interests on Noveria for him to have any believable degree of plausible deniability. There is no doubt that the Broker knew that Benezia and Saren were more than just simple investors. Anoleis, whilst not as… cooperative as he could be, is convinced that the Broker has at least two well-placed agents within the NDC and that several board members have done business with the Broker in the past (notably both asari matriarchs and that human arms trafficker who used to work with the Shifter).
Finally, Broker forces were two turns of the Wheel ahead of most geth deployments during the Battle of the Citadel, and all of his primary assets remained unharmed and uncompromised despite the almost total destruction of entire Citadel Wards and most of the fleet. How was the Broker prepared to react ahead of time? How were his forces somehow perfectly placed to swoop in and engage the geth at the exact moment that they were needed? Why in the name of the Wheel was Tazzik, of all people, on the Citadel during Benezia's assault?
The Broker's role in these events has not received the attention it should have, and I cannot help but feel that this was a grave oversight, one that we will pay dearly for in the future.
Given the events that have occurred since, we clearly have bigger problems, namely the fact that the Broker almost certainly conspired to murder Citadel Spectre Sara Shepard, likely on behalf of the Collectors. Yes, I'm aware that the official line of the STG, the Salarian Union, the Systems Alliance, and the Citadel Council is that the geth did it, but please. There are simply too many oh-so-convenient coincidences and unanswered questions, and we all know there are no coincidences in this business.
Consider the evidence.
Fact: Urdnot Wrex was (is?) an agent for hire of the Network, and openly installed LINK technology into the Normandy SR-1. (The stupidity of the Systems Alliance to allow this boggles the mind.)
Fact: LINK technology, at even its most basic level, includes a full suite of active and passive electronic surveillance, cyber-intrusion/counter-intrusion, cryptography, and communications equipment. It would be simplicity itself to modify this to generate a traceable, trackable signal across several light-minutes that would not be detected by the Normandy SR-1's weak sensor systems.
Fact: The Normandy SR-1 showed absolutely no signs of geth-related battle damage, but instead appeared to be destroyed by particle beam technology that the Makana Tho'ian confirmed was standard Collector vessel equipment.
Fact: During the Burning of Omega, the Broker sought to acquire the body of Sara Shepard, and treated this seemingly pointless and trivial task as his absolute highest priority during an operation that also included direct combat with P. and a coup against Aria.
What possible reason could explain this behavior? How could he have known about Sara Shepard's movements? Why would Collectors target her vessel with no explanation or warning? How did the Broker know that P. had the body, and why would the Broker want it at all? Why value the expensive recovery of a useless body over a coup against one of the most powerful beings in space and a fight against your ludicrously dangerous madman rival?
Conclusion: The Broker is, if not in league with the Collectors or under their control, at least in an ongoing relationship with them. Given we have no idea who the Collectors answer to, much less their ultimate goals, that should be disturbing. Agent Mordin Solus's report on them doesn't give me much encouragement that this contact is benign.
The Broker's current activities, from 2682 GS [2183 CE] to the present, have been jarring and suggest an improvised response to external events (given the Broker's suspected psychological profile, being forced to be reactive to events he does not fully understand or control must be infuriating). Broker forces have pulled out or otherwise maintained a minimal presence on several secondary or tertiary fronts in order to consolidate Network operations on a number of core projects or tasks; these tasks include the aforementioned Reaper tracking array, some kind of megaproject in the Far Rim, and counterintelligence operations against high priority enemies, namely Aria, the Sisters of Vengeance, and, of course, Cerberus. This trend has become necessary as Broker forces have been annihilated on Omega and Ilium by the Archangel and the Sisters of Vengeance, respectively. There are almost certainly other objectives that we do not know about.
Addendum: Fragmentary intercepts of Broker investments through Barla Von Financial Group point towards massive construction equipment, bleeding-edge energy dissipation equipment, and, most bafflingly, long-term heat and energy sink equipment. Analysts have not yet determined the point of such a build-up.
It is the height of arrogance to presume insight into the Broker's mind. There are obvious, rational motives we can assign to the Broker Network as a whole, and by extension to the Broker in his capacity as the leader of the Network. The Broker seeks to maximize the power and influence of the Network. The Broker will try to achieve his goals through whatever means he deems necessary, and he will not subject himself to any ideological or moral constraints. The Broker does not care about any suffering he inflicts on others.
Aside from this, we simply don't know what the Broker's long-term goals are or what motivates him personally. Given the Broker's potential psychological profiles, we can safely assume that he does not have the best interests of the Salarian Union at heart.
Organizations and Affiliations:
The Broker is affiliated solely with the Broker Network, and presents himself both to clients and to the galaxy at large as being amoral and apolitical in his dealings. In reality, of course, the Broker serves only himself, and the shadow world that we inhabit lends itself to all kinds of convoluted and paradoxical relationships. These are expanded upon in the 'Notable Allies and Enemies' section of this report. Each level of the Network – and we believe that there are five, plus the Broker and his select operatives at the top – relies not only on the layer below (for raw intelligence) and above (for oversight, security, and resources), but also on the personal networks of each Network member. This is a critical point that is often overlooked – the Broker doesn't need hundreds of minor sources on a planet when he can directly recruit or compromise that planet's leading information brokerages, military figures, and political leaders, and simply rely on their networks and resources instead. Then there's the added bonus of being able to cross-reference data from multiple unconnected sources and also have his people quietly investigate any leads.
Specific Tactical Methods, Ground Combat:
Note this is all very conjectural… as nothing has ever survived direct contact with the Broker aside from his lieutenants.
Long-range: Depressingly, long-range combat with the Broker is likely to be the most survivable scenario, largely because there isn't any plausible reason for it to occur and we have no evidence that the Broker has ever been spotted in public, or spotted at all. Generally speaking, the greater the distance between you and the Broker, the more likely you are to live longer. Again, I must remind readers that despite the combined efforts of the entire salarian military-intelligence complex, we have absolutely no idea where the Broker is.
Due to the physical and environmental conditions on Parnack (a jungle-covered deathscape filled with hyper-carnivorous monsters and venomous everything), it is rare for yahg to engage in truly long-range combat, and they seem to prefer more intimate encounters. Operatives, however, should note that yahg are fully capable of fighting in such conditions and that the Shadow Broker will, of course, have prepared for any such eventuality.
Based on what few examples exist of long-range fights with Broker Network forces, STG teams should expect to be sabotaged or ambushed by highly trained forces with a focus on combat engineering (especially drone swarms and mines), extremely heavy infowarfare, and overwhelming firepower (anti-material snipers, lance cannons, and ion bombards). NBC and black-nano elements cannot be ruled out.
Medium-range: This simply isn't survivable by STG cells. It doesn't matter if they're standard cells, War Specialists, or supported by Shieldbreakers and Transcendentals. Tactics and strategy won't save you. Equipment won't save you. Consider any medium-range combat scenario with the Shadow Broker and his personal forces to be a regimental engagement and prepare accordingly by requisitioning suicide-belts of grenades and/or an M/AM pack.
Short-range: Is this a joke? Whoever requested this – you're not funny. Stop trying.
Fine. Apparently the STG file template requires me to add at least a paragraph before moving on.
I've spent the last forty minutes in a lively discussion with Senior Agent Vessi and my two surviving operational planning officers, and we conclude that the only credible tactical scenario involving short-range combat with the Broker would be to flood the target with enough sacrificial bodies to keep him occupied and allow for the accurate deployment of fleet-grade area of effect weapons. Tactical nuclear devices, orbital bombardment, missile/torpedo/artillery saturation, fuel-air-eezo explosives, or, perhaps, extremely heavy biotic assault. Mech, armor, and sniping support would be both ideal and absolutely necessary.
Warning Advisory: At this point, I honestly feel that the tiresome repeated warnings are really a form of unnatural selection. The Broker inspired fear and respect from Tetrimus and Tazzik, who, need I remind anyone, are the terrifying killer cyborgs that the Broker put beneath him in order to deal with problems too trivial for him to handle. They were the elderboys to his dalatrass. If the League is to be believed, then the Broker twice survived a fortnight in the jungles of Parnack during the annual orbital event that cloaks the planet in darkness and drives the wildlife to an even greater state of carnivorous rage… and yahg aren't even the dominant land predator on Parnack. If you think you're qualified to fight such a creature then, frankly, I don't know what to say.
Do you fantasize about being eaten alive? Are you convinced that the gene pool would be deeper without you? Do you feel that there isn't enough pain and existential horror in your life? Then starting a fight with the Broker might be for you.
Physical Abilities: Supreme. If our data is accurate then the Broker is a near-perfect physical specimen of a male yahg in the prime of his life.
Some key data: Bite force is estimated at twenty-two thousand ron'dani, peak acceleration at twenty-six meters per second squared, and strength at 'able to punch through an eight-centimeter laser steel door.' Sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch are obviously apex predator-level. Data recovered from Cerberus experiments shows that some yahg are capable of 'deadlifting' over three thousand eight hundred kilograms. (Apparently it tore through its cell, barricade, mechs, and captors. This amuses me.)
Physical combat with the Broker is… not recommended.
This is not to say that yahg are invincible. They're not. They live and die like anything else (and on Parnack they die with alarming regularity). True, a yahg is theoretically very impressive and utterly terrifying in the flesh, but they do have clear weaknesses. Yahg are not particularly well-suited for truly long-range engagements – nowhere near as well as turians – and, like us, weapons that target their finely tuned senses will often cripple or disorientate them for short periods of time. (Be prepared to deal with an enraged yahg in this case.) Combined use of close-range War Specialists and Shieldbreakers with long-range support from STG anti-material sniping teams is likely to be the most effective standard tactical doctrine for STG field units, at least until we develop more specialized anti-yahg measures.
Finally, whilst yahg are capable of remaining very high functioning for days without sleep, they are not endurance specialists and will be exhausted by long periods of intense activity. A yahg cannot, for instance, continuously run a few dozen kilometers in the way that a human or batarian can. Past a certain threshold without rest, yahg will build up a reserve of muscular acids, stress hormones, and other bodily toxins that quickly degrade performance and functionality. They are optimized for overwhelming power and performance in short bursts, and this can be exploited. Operational tempos designed to disrupt yahg pack social dynamics and prevent them from making use of any kind of physical and mental recovery periods could be effective, and I recommend we research such techniques.
I'd also like to point out that the Broker's physical abilities are literally the least threatening thing about him. It's not as if he and the STG Master are going to challenge each other to a duel, and operatives should note that only Tazzik and Tetrimus have seen the Broker in the flesh and left the room alive.
No, the greatest and deadliest asset the Broker possesses is his mind.
Mental and Psychological Notes:
The Broker is sadistic, dominant, cruel, and astoundingly paranoid. He glories in his superiority to others and delights in demonstrating it. We've all seen what the Broker is capable of. We've all had people who we trusted and thought we knew turn traitor and serve him. We've all had colleagues die in ways and places that no one should. We've all seen some of our most intricately planned operations foiled and dissected by a hand we cannot even see, or found out years later that a valued agent was working for the Broker the whole time. The fact that the Broker, just one being, has spent the last sixty years clashing horns with every clandestine security service, megacorporation, intelligence agency, black-ops group, and political body in the entire galaxy – and winning! – is all the proof we need of his mental capabilities. Most telling of all is the fact that, despite everything the Broker has ever done and him being one of the most cruel and morally corrupt beings alive, literally every organization I've just mentioned must still either do business or engage with him in some manner, even if (like the STG) we're technically at war!
IQ testing of the subject would be impossible and utterly useless. Typical yahg are fully capable of pursuing several threads of rational thought and mental calculation simultaneously, and we must assume that this is the baseline for the Broker's intellectual capabilities. According to the fragmentary information that the League recovered from the previous Broker's research notes, the current Broker was considered to be highly intelligent and immensely cunning amongst his own kind, though he did have a reputation for being unsubtle and something of a cloaca. Operatives should note that this capacity for parallel thinking is not limited to trivial subjects; the Broker could quite easily perform differential calculus, plan an operational deployment schedule, review multiple field reports, monitor his immediate environment, and hold a lively conversation at the same time. It is no exaggeration to say that the Shadow Broker is quite possibly the most intelligent being alive.
This has obvious tactical and strategic consequences, since given enough accurate data and intelligence – which the Network specializes in – the Broker will almost always be ten turns of the Wheel ahead of everyone else. In fact, history suggests he has been, and will continue to be in the future. Operatives should assume that no one and nothing can be trusted, that the Broker will almost certainly be aware of our activities against him, and that the Broker has planned for almost all possible outcomes.
It is critical to note at this point that the Broker's overall personality and psychology are not typical amongst his species. Most yahg do not appear to be so strikingly amoral and manipulative in all of their known dealings and relationships, nor are they so quick to delight in sadistic violence or in inspiring wanton fear and terror. This is not to say that yahg as a whole are incapable of such things, but rather, that the majority of yahg view violence simply as a tool, one that living often requires, but certainly not something that is glorified or romanticized (unlike krogan savages). Generally speaking, the purpose of violence in yahg culture is to shape the wielder's immediate physical or social environment; physically, violence is most often used in defense against the flora and fauna of Parnack, whilst socially it is expressed as a carefully considered exercise of power and restraint. The Broker, however, delights in power and cares very little for restraint, a perspective most yahg view as obviously fearsome, yet also unsubtle and faintly contemptible.
A small yet vocal number of our xenopsychological specialists argue that yahg are more prone to becoming antisocial, paranoid, violent, and extremely irritable when separated from a well-functioning pack or healthy social environment. Whilst largely theoretical at the stage, this hypothesis would allow for a number of tactically useful psychological warfare measures if proven true, and it's certainly worthy of further research in the future.
Notable Allies and Enemies:
Given the mental and psychological state of the Broker – so far as we can ascertain such things – it does not appear that he is capable of having 'friends' or 'allies' in any meaningful sense of the word. Indeed, the closest yahg language equivalent to the word 'friend' roughly means 'dependable pack-member who has had an opportunity to betray, kill, or eat me, and has forgone such an opportunity.' What the Broker does have, in abundance, are contacts, associates, sources, agents, minions, and clients. Don't underestimate how effective these networks can be. As they say, you don't need to be someone's egg-brother to get what you want out of them. The Broker excels at deconstructing the psychology, personality, and motives of a target and then applying whatever positive or negative incentives are required to make that target conform to the Broker's will. Almost everyone who's anyone will have to deal with the Broker at some point, and the Network makes a point of delivering on its contracts. Yet despite the complicated nature of seemingly every relationship in this business, the Broker has many, many enemies. Whilst every intelligence service in the galaxy must contend with the Broker in some manner, we would all love to see him dead. No rival will come to his aid. No public figure can admit to knowing him. No people will mourn him. The Broker certainly won't be missed.
The Broker's enemies include Aria (or at least Aria herself, and her core allies. The Broker has found many receptive parties on Omega), P. (that madman reportedly sees the Broker as highly skilled and painfully boring), the batarian SIU (though the Broker Network is a popular destination for those SIU operators who defect and manage to live), several Remembrance Dancer clans, Clan Urdnot (due to the Broker's extensive dealings with Okeer and the Ganar), the STG, the entire Solus family, and, officially, the law enforcement and military agencies of every Citadel race. The Broker's relationship with the Thirty, the SIX, the Palavanus, the High Lords of Sol, the hanar leadership, and the Batarian Emperor is complicated, to say the least. Some members of the Thirty, such as Uressa T'Shora, despise the Broker and refuse to deal with him in any way, whereas others, like High Matriarch T'Armal, argue that despite the occasional violence and competing goals, the Broker does provide useful services. Likewise with the SIX; Dalatrasses Manno and Linron view the Broker as an intermittently useful cutout and foil against the Thirty and the humans, whilst Dalatrass Solus harbors a hatred for the Broker that I can scarcely describe. It should be noted that the Broker is immensely skilled at playing these various factions off of each other in order to ensure that there is no united front against him and that everyone has some need of his services.
There are two more enemies of the Broker that deserve to be mentioned separately. Both of these groups are human, both have long and complicated histories with the Broker, and both are entwined with one another. Note that each of these organizations has a separate STG Investigative Report that can be perused for further details outside the scope of this document.
The Hand of Hades – otherwise known as the Hades Group or just Hades – is a terrorist organization espousing human supremacy (ha!) that we believe is funded and directed by disaffected, xenophobic elites within the Human Systems Alliance and non-Alliance territories. The Broker seems interested in infiltrating, hacking, or otherwise compromising Hades targets with an aim (we suspect) of acquiring further leverage over elite human interests, namely their nobility and political economy. Seeding agent provocateurs within an avowed anti-alien terrorist network would also allow for a full range of false flag attacks and active measures against both human and alien targets, all with an excellent degree of plausible deniability and little to no chance of being traced back to the Broker. For their part, Hades is aware that the Broker is targeting them and both parties are involved in a shadow war in the human wildcat colonies as well as the Traverse in general.
The blood feud between Cerberus and the Broker Network is legendary within certain circles, and the Illusive Man is quite possibly the only other individual in the galaxy who can match the Shadow Broker move for move. We are not aware of the complete history of the conflict, nor of its origins, but we believe that such a feud was inevitable given their mutually exclusive goals and operations. The Broker and the Illusive Man have spent decades clashing horns, each trying to sabotage the other's projects, strangle their financial networks, destroy their research, infiltrate their cells, counter their influence over third parties, and, of course, kill their operatives. Neither will back down from this conflict. Each considers the other to be their highest priority target on the field, so we should exploit this feud at every possible opportunity.
Political and Social Notes:
Again, the Broker markets himself as being amoral and apolitical, partly to maximize his potential clients, but also to (more cynically) spread his clutch and play any potential foes off of one another. We STG officers are often so caught up in the shadow war with the Broker that we forget that his services are highly valued by his clients and form a critical part of the delicate balance of power calculus that the Broker must engage in when measuring competing client goals and priorities.
I've attached Senior Field Agent Vessi's series of qualitative interviews with a number of Broker clients over the last five years, including most of the NDC Board of Directors, the Corporate Court of Ilium, three krogan clan chieftains, every single diplomatic mission aboard the Citadel, fourteen Spectres, and several military and intelligence attachés. Note what almost all of these interviewees have in common – each of them clearly states how useful and timely the Broker's information was, that the Network's operatives are highly professional in their dealings and well worth the high fees, and then the subject immediately tries to justify their dealings with the Broker. These rationalizations vary. Corporate CEOs say it's just business, that they're private individuals paying for a service in a free market and that no one is morally justified in regulating such things. Krogan chieftains care little for reasoned debate (typical) and simply respect the Broker's power and willingness to exercise it on their behalf (for a price). Most Spectres and diplomats were far too jaded and cynical to care much, saying only that they did what was necessary in order to get results.
It is precisely this kind of insidious rationalization that allows the Broker to so thoroughly corrupt any individual or institution he targets. When the Broker sells the location and identity of a child trafficking ring or clone-legging outfit to C-Sec, everyone gets to look like a hero on live galactic news and the price is only a few million credits and some 'favors' in the future. A young executive might receive exclusive insider trading information, a politician some scandalous blackmail on their rival, a mercenary some steady work and excellent equipment, but what these fools fail to realize is that the moment you accept his offer, the Broker now owns your cloaca. It belongs to him. You've entered a lopsided bargain with a creature far beyond you, and you will suffer for it. None of these people ever stop and consider just how the Broker acquired these things in the first place, or why they're receiving the offer instead of a rival, or the fact that if they ever, for any reason, considered crossing the Broker, then that same terrifying reach and focus will be directed against them.
There is one more thought that crosses my horns, one I feel must be shared with the highest ranks of the STG now that we know of the Broker's origins. The previous Broker was, if not an asset of ours, at least… cooperative on certain issues. It is my understanding that the previous Broker was the one who originally discovered Parnack and suggested that the Council stage a mission to the planet. Would this same being, then, not have also been the ideal cutout and conduit for our efforts to study the yahg? Ultimately, to uplift them? Would the previous Broker have not known at least some of the details of those programs?
Because if he did, then the current Broker now knows everything.
I doubt he will be very understanding of what we were trying to accomplish with his species.
– STG – STG – STG –
The following advisories are considered mandatory reading:
League of Zero support is recommended for all direct operations against the Shadow Broker.
League of Zero support is frankly a necessity at this point – we have very little hard data on whatever cyberdefenses the Network possesses, at least for its critical data lanes and primary operating locations, but the fact that the League itself has had no success in compromising them is a disturbing sign. Needless to say, every STG effort in this area has failed miserably, and we've lost several dozen agents and hundreds of millions of credits worth of equipment, including several slaved AIs custom-crafted for these missions.
Master Data Litigator 00839-Yohl is convinced that whatever daemon watches over the core Broker Network is very much alive and equal to any of the League constructs. 00839-Yohl's data dump and after-action report used extremely peculiar language for a League transcript – almost lyrical and emotionally tinged – and it seemed to describe the Broker daemon as malevolent and somehow wrong. I don't understand how coding language and electrical signals can be inflicted with such a thing, but I've attached 00839-Yohl's data litigation as an appendix to this report.
The fact that 00839-Yohl indicated that the entirety of the League was outmatched by this data entity is terrifying enough that Vessi took three hours to stop cursing in six different languages. The League penetrates most security systems like a vithra-worm through soft dirt. Again, without their support we have zero chance of achieving anything (aside from wasting more money and STG agents, of course).
Wheel Priest consultation is recommended for all direct operations against the Shadow Broker.
The request for Wheel Priest consultation came directly from the Priesthood themselves – an extraordinary occurrence – and I apparently do not have access to their notation regarding this report, only the header stating that it concerns a matter of existential importance to the salarian people and describes the Broker as an 'ironic pawn of the coming darkness,' but that ultimately it doesn't matter, since he will be 'rent asunder by dogs.' (And Wheel Priests wonder why we don't invite them to our thought-seek parties… because all they do is stand there saying things like that.)
There is something I must discuss here, and I freely admit that this is, at best, a paranoid theory, albeit one that is well-grounded in experience and well-watered with the blood of far too many operatives over the last several decades.
I suspect that the Broker is directly trying to manipulate the salarian people's perception and understanding of the Wheel.
I'm not crazy. I'm not. Consider the evidence, as always.
Fact: The Broker, operating through Tazzik, has assaulted multiple Salarian Union and STG compounds that regularly consulted with the Wheel Priests, and none of these compounds were particularly valuable as an ordinary operational target. They were not carrying out cutting-edge research, had no real access to our more highly classified intelligence, and were not physically or financially valuable. Their only common factor was the unusual degree of Wheel Priest liaison.
Fact: Tazzik has personally abducted six Wheel Priests that we know of, all of whom were noted for their erudition, predictive record, and distance from mainstream salarian society. He's made several attempts to capture Vani, and while the rank and file may not grasp his importance, you and I certainly do – the idea that the Broker even knows who Vani is and his importance is troubling indeed.
Fact: League of Zero reports indicate that Broker front companies and cutouts have expended great effort in acquiring Wheel texts, training, and services for a seemingly unrelated collection of ventures and operations – as if the Broker were interested not in the outcome of the consultation, but in the process itself.
Senior Agent Vessi and I decided to take things by the horns and consult a few Priests on the matter. For the most part, this resulted in spat curses and slapped faces (amusing when it was Vessi's face, less so when it was mine), but one broken old horn on Omega was receptive and entertained our request. He told us that the only feasible way for the Broker to break the Wheel in such a manner was to: "Enter its spokes before those chasing you, and so slither through time around them. First, cloud their perception of all points and events, then disrupt their position in the flow of time, then see and act before them, and then you have already won before they have awoken."
In practical terms, the Broker is trying to get inside the Wheel before us. If he succeeded in this, he would know a higher expression of logic and reason, a deeper perception of the flow of time and all those who act within it, and the ability to act more quickly on anything he perceives.
By the Collapse, we cannot allow this to happen.
Report all leads on the Broker directly to the STG Master:
As with all of our highest priority threats, any direct leads on Broker Network operations – and especially on him personally – must be forwarded immediately to the STG Master. Technical Services have set up a network of cutout servers, honeypots, and shackled counter-intrusion AIs for this purpose, and the VPN channel we're using for this intelligence should already be active on your omni-tools.
Be aware, countering Broker operations may result in infiltration exposure:
The Shadow Broker has corrupted and influenced almost everyone and everything in this galaxy at some point in time. Do not assume any assets – including STG units – can be held free of such infiltration. Direct actions against the Broker should be conducted only with flash-cloned assets using implanted memories and with remote Protocol Eleven triggers.
This is not an idle warning or paranoia. The Broker had two men in my own unit, the one dedicated to hunting him down! I'd known Agent Nimmase for ten years, I was there for his initiation into the STG, and there to celebrate his first clutch of hatchlings, and the last I saw of him was the barrel of his pistol on Omega. As they say, you can only be betrayed by someone you trust, so trust no one and have a plan to kill them anyway. If you don't have three ways to kill the person next to you and at least two escape routes planned by the end of this sentence, then frankly you're in the wrong unit and should probably go farm some crops or something more your speed.
If captured by Broker forces, execute Protocol Nineteen:
Detonate ocular flashbangs and wipe all electronics and grayboxes. This is not optional.
Yes, I'm aware that this isn't an ideal solution, and that morale on counter-Broker operations is precarious enough as it is, but the STG cannot afford to take any unnecessary risks. Your sacrifice will be forever honored by the salarian people, hold the line, and all the rest of that 'bullshit,' as the humans say. Besides, look at everything I've just written about the Broker – do you really want to be captured by him?
A Personal Note:
Perhaps I'm just a paranoid old horn, but spending thirty-one years in Operational Division – Broker Network has taken as much as it has given to me. I no longer have the capacity – luxury? – to feel normal emotions or live a normal life. I'm not alone. Vessi is the same, as are so many of the agents I have known and fought with and lost over the years. I don't regret it. We all knew what we were signing up for, and if given the chance I would swear my life to the STG and the salarian people again without a moment of hesitation.
It used to bother me when I found myself unable to walk down a street on the Citadel, with my own family, without planning escape routes, reading body language, and listening to every conversation around me even when I don't want to. Wondering if every curious tourist was trying to distract me for an ambush. Wondering if my companion's laughter was really just her attempting to get closer to me, probing for information. It used to bother me that when I would climax inside a breeder I would shudder and moan and ask myself if this is what it would feel like when I kill the Shadow Broker – or would it feel better?
Would it be the purest high that anyone could ever experience, or would I feel empty afterwards when I realized I no longer had a purpose? It used to bother me that I have to sleep in full combat armor in desolate safehouses in the worst parts of the galaxy, wondering if one day the Master would send me a flash message telling me that Vessi or another man I've served with and grown old with and loved as a brother was in fact a tool of the Broker and that now I have to cut him apart before he does the same to me.
These things used to bother me, but now they don't. Because now I know who the Broker is, and I swear by the line of my own Dalatrass and the blood of every agent I failed to protect that the Broker's days are numbered. We will find him, we will kill him, we will take everything from him and know everything that he knows, and then we will turn his entire Network to the service of the Salarian Union.
I do not need to be alive to see it, only to know that I was a hand in his demise. And then our special task will have been fulfilled, and I can rest.
-Master Field Agent Danith, Director, STG Operational Division – Broker Network
– STG – STG – STG –
[Addendum: The Shisurai and Agent Danith's cell did not resume contact. LoZ assets located the wreckage of their vessel sixteen LY short of the perimeter defense patrol zone they were assigned to be picked up at. Based on the wreckage, it appears the vessel was boarded and close quarters combat ensued.
We have not recovered the bodies of any of our operatives. The ship's computer banks, memory storage, and transmit components were destroyed by standard STG methods, and we can only presume the Agents aboard sabotaged their only chance to call for help to ensure the Broker would not know of this report or its contents.
From evidence aboard the cruiser – specifically, the amount of damage to the vessel interior, the broken remains of the specialist pistols used by Senior Agent Vessi and the melted remains of the Sunfire-B pistol gifted to Master Agent Danith – we can only speculate that they sold their lives at great cost.
The SIX honor their sacrifice and bravery.]