Jacob's Note: This file was written by Jacob, and he says you need to check out his friend SLotH4's Star Wars fic, "Shadow of the Phoenix," and also his friend Aberron's ME fic, "Living an Indoctrinated Dream." Jacob would also like to thank Liethr, Grand Vizier of Editing, for his stellar feedback and notes.
LP's Note: You still aren't the Chess Dragon.
– STG – STG – STG –
STG Report on Maxwell Manswell
Master Field Agent Danith to the STG Master,
As instructed, I've cleaned up most of the cosmetic aspects of Ida's report into something less painful to read than that spastic Solus war-cant. (By the Collapse, the man hasn't changed since our time in the Traverse. He still talks like a manic robot having a seizure. Perhaps a genetic failure in the entire Solus line? Something to ponder.)
At first, I wasn't convinced of the utility of having a Master War Specialist process this report, but I suppose Ida has been assigned to the Human Operations Directorate for a couple of decades now, and it is his unit who'd be charged with neutralizing the High Lords – no one can claim he isn't familiar with them.
[Eyes only: STG Master: besides, what was I going to do, refuse? Half my men are either distantly related to Ida or flash-cloned from Solus genetic stock – I don't need Muvai breaking my horns or siccing the Silence on me. For that matter, I don't need you sending Vessi and I after even more insanely dangerous targets. Did Vessi breed with your daughter or something? Why do you keep doing this to us?! -Danith]
Unfortunately, Ida's style still infests these opening headers, but the body of the report itself is at least readable and is rendered in my usual cant. Mostly.
– STG – STG – STG –
Master War Specialist Ida Solus to Master Field Agent Danith,
Would have thought STG Master had found a new elderboy for its errands by now. Perhaps it likes your figure?
Will forgive you for grossly insulting me if you tell Vessi that I was one of Tazzik's original War Spec trainers and record his reaction.
Still optimal for meet on the Citadel next break rotation? Can make Mannovai if Citadel too mossy.
– STG – STG – STG –
Master War Specialist Ida Solus to the STG Master,
Pleased to present you with report on Maxwell Manswell. Will skip usual formalities, them being boring and also not conveying useful information.
On personal note, also pleased to see Danith and Vessi still alive and being sent on amusing moss-runs after crazed monsters in worst parts of galaxy. Suspect you do this to them on purpose. Applaud you if true. Also, on personal note – pass greetings on to cousins Muvai and Mordin next time you see them. Would appreciate gesture and bring you cask of human mead. Smooth, sparkling, tasty, and also evidence that their culture isn't entirely worthless.
Will leave you unconscious after one glass. Only die once, though. Enjoy.
And now to business.
Maxwell Manswell is, along with his peers, ultimate target of War Spec clutch in the Human Operations Directorate, and we have spent great deal of time studying them. Most of our Directorate's resources are devoted to network access operations, counterintelligence, psyops, and subversion of human organizations, but we do maintain a small combat detachment of War Specialists, Transcendentals, and LoZ wetware for more… intimate and direct action.
Ultimately, High Lords of Sol, whilst impressive figures and worthy opponents – for humans – are a net negative on the effectiveness and development of their species, despite their delusions otherwise. Suspect they will not recognize this fact until repeatedly beaten over horns with it by reality, many times.
Keep in mind, High Lords not like SIX.
Unlike SIX, High Lords have not continuously demonstrated their superiority through continuous acts of prowess, rather depending on bizarre caste-like system, primitive prejudices, and cognitive fallacies of human society and nature.
Unlike SIX, High Lords have not earned their status through logical thought-seek-gain with human species. SIX can point to improved marginal outcomes for salarian people as a whole, across a majority of both ordinary and crisis situations – success is quantifiable, risk accepted, failures minimized and contained as necessary. High Lords prefer to be publicly seen solving problems that they've privately caused.
Still, foolish to underestimate the individual foe due to failings of the collective. Maxwell Manswell is, bluntly, wasted on the human species. Subject was an impressive man in his time, and despite being in his twilight years he still possesses the same iron will, ruthlessness, and clarity (in the sense of objectively perceiving reality) that he demonstrated even as a boy. He is highly intelligent and possesses a gift for manipulation and intrigue that would put him in good stead on Sur'Kesh, and a survival instinct that would get him through a good forty minutes on Parnack. Ultimately, though, it is his discipline that has made him what he is, and quite possibly saved his entire species.
Amongst the humans, only the Illusive Man represents a greater threat to the salarian people.
This is good. War Specs and Solus need enemies worth fighting.
File is classified Dashan-Black, ninety-second file of such classification. Like all politically sensitive files, also classified Virshan-Orange. Fifth iteration of file. Would like to remind operatives that files CANNOT be considered inclusive with all details.
Master War Specialist Ida Solus, Human Operations Directorate – War Clutch, Special Task Group
Caution: Read FIRST:
Usual sources involved in report construction: existing historical accounts and records, eyewitness accounts, extranet information, and accumulated scans and examinations. My unit also took… liberties with our own sources and methods in Human Space. (Have included brief outline of personal sources/means in this section for verification.) Depressingly easy, in terms of both intelligence gathering and killing, of which there was too little. Humans are flaky, emotionally volatile, have poor understanding of own psychology, little control over their physical tells, and obvious (and easily manipulated) needs and wants.
AIS also criminally incompetent. Commissars not much better. Silver Legion not bad though.
Source A: Human male, 46, human male, 51, human female, 38. All disgraced former members of the Solguard who acted as security retainers for minor human Noble Houses, disbarred and wanted by the Commissariat for acting as sources for the Shadow Broker. (Wheel guide Danith in putting his Sunfire-B in that creature's face and pulling the trigger.) Caught them making a run for Noveria via Bekenstein. Interrogated suspects through usual, kindhearted means, respecting their sentient rights and dignity. Definitely didn't take our time with them, using them as bait for a Level 8 Broker recovery team, and then painting the room with Broker minion viscera. Also, did not take trophies. Would never dream of such a thing. Have not forwarded amusing photos.
[Manual Addenda: STG Master, are you sure you are doing the required mental reviews on the War Specs? Ida showed me a bone necklace he made at our last party. Do you want more Tazziks on our hands? Because this is how you get more Tazziks. -Danith]
Source B: Human male, 23, information systems manager, Guard of Iron – Vancouver Regiment, on vacation on the Citadel. Considered information technology expert in human culture (told you humans were inadvertently funny) – barely qualified to operate a sundial on Sur'Kesh. Well-meaning, somewhat intelligent, but socially anxious and lacking confidence – easily manipulated through use of attractive human sex workers as dangles, and also by flattery (treating as intellectual equal, excellent acting on my operative's part, worthy of film prize). Provided great deal of insight into Guard of Iron systems (forwarded to LoZ, AI analysis of logistics manifests can allow for predictive modelling of current High Lords projects), and, most importantly, historical and operational records pertaining to the House of Manswell.
Source C: Human male, 52, deputy lead researcher, pre-purge Cerberus group (Shadow Cell), Mannovai. Ah, yes, the Cerberus defector – without doubt one of my Division's greatest accomplishments. Supremely egotistical, deeply jealous of his former master Williams and, best of all, bitter and angry enough at his entire species to be willing to help us with literally anything. (Truly. This man would take a breeding request from an elcor if he thought it would 'own' the High Lords.) Bonus: surprisingly bright researcher, for human. Provided secondary third-party analysis and commentary on (carefully scrubbed) source materials, and also pointed us toward several dozen useful contacts – notably information brokers on Noveria, human criminal syndicates on Bekenstein, several human and asari university professors with extensive relationships amongst the human nobility, and a number of Manswell-affiliated AIS officers. [Eyes only: STG Master: Relax. AIS officers were intercepted and interrogated outside of Alliance Space using deniable flash-clone assets posing as some of Edat's gangsters. Doubt he'll mind. Subjects were only treated with up to level 3 interrogative techniques and given a chemical mind-wipe afterwards. They're fine. Incidentally: not impressed by AIS melee style – evolution moves faster than these sedated monkeys.]
Source D: Deep penetration hacks and nanotech compromised biological subjects, aided by LoZ – necessary in order to evade Silver Legion interference. 'Flesh-puppet' liaison was unwilling to discuss methods in further detail without express approval by STG Master. Good to see LoZ are still massive cloacas.
Source E: Asari sisters, unknown age (likely matrons), Vantirus Information Systems, Ilium. Ostensibly hinting at being sponsored by STG – they aren't, but no one outside of STG knows that – have to admire their tradecraft and pizazz. Very thorough reports, timely responses, polite, most reasonable prices. Cross-referenced their work with multiple independent sources, checks out. Provided evidence of High Lords activities, including expertly scrubbed intelligence reports on the Manswells that appear, after forensic analysis from the LoZ, to display fragments of Level 2 and Level 3 Broker LINK data-stamps, as well as Unseen Cloud encryption headers and at least one STG handshake protocol. Vantirus Sisters… eerily well-connected. Recommend using them in future, but keep at horn's distance.
[Manual Addenda: Can confirm Vantirus Sisters are all of the above. Vessi and I used them for some of our projects, in fact, and they appear to hate the Broker even more than we do, so I like them already. Also, I took the liberty of wearing a passive biomonitor device during our meetings with them – pheromonal readings indicate at least one of the Sisters is genetically of the Thirty. -Danith]
Source F: Salarian female, 39, techno-savant, Arcturus Station. Thank Wheel every damn day for freakish stupidity of Systems Alliance in allowing alien subjects access to critical infrastructure if they are vetted Citadel-approved subcontractors. Salarian female in question highly skilled, works on Arcturus as Citadel technical specialist for EDI project. Provided incredibly useful information, including minutes of meetings regarding Maxwell, intercepted comms by high-ranking politicos, and even rare interviews with the man himself. (Personal note: source was not selected to breed by family, yet demonstrated impressive skill, biting wit, and unique swirl patterns on horns – all clearly attractive. Their loss, my gain. Related to Shuel line, but no one is perfect).
[Manual Addenda: Clutch-brothers don't let clutch-brothers stick their dick in a Shuel. Have some self-respect, Ida. -Danith]
Do not assume file is complete – likely a baseline of Maxwell Manswell's abilities, not a comprehensive coverage.
– STG – STG – STG –
HIGH LORD OF SOL, PRINCE MAXWELL MANSWELL
Formal Titles: High Lord of Sol, Prince of the House of Manswell, Grand Master of the United Knights of Earth, Grand Master of the Sol Guild of Fencers, High Patron of the Vancouver Orchid Society, Grand Master of the Systems Alliance Chess Federation, Ballroom Dancelord of Sol (unofficial, used by his feminine peerage in his youth). Several dozen others, mostly anachronistic at this point.
Nicknames: The Silver Prince, the Flame of Humanity, the Savior of Terra, the Chess Dragon, Sol Daddy. (Personal note: BY SHEGO, DO NOT RUN EXTRANET SEARCH ON LAST TERM!)
[Manual Addenda: Can confirm, and would like to add that there is nothing, nothing that some human, somewhere, hasn't tried to sexualize. Their extranet even has a rule for it. Sex addiction, unreciprocated altruism, religious wars that make drell look laid back and agnostic – I mean, really, what is wrong with these people?! -Danith]
Race: Human. Moderate cybernetic and bionetic corrective treatments. Note that his bionetics and cybernetics are not military models, but are echo-grade, bespoke, and of the finest quality.
Age and sex: Male. 105 years old.
Wealth: Utterly ludicrous. Officially, the core Manswell family is only worth a few billion credits of liquid and near-liquid assets, rising perhaps to the low tens of billions when counting the aggregate equity of the entire House. Unofficially, Manswell (and his fellow Lords of Sol) can collectively commandeer or coerce almost all human assets. His effective wealth as a political force on the galactic scene, then – and that's really what we're concerned with here in STG – is thus in the hundreds of billions of credits, putting him on a par with the SIX and the Thirty.
Note that whilst Maxwell's effective, unofficial wealth is almost unlimited, his capacity to access this wealth and manage it is limited, in a myriad of ways: political capital or even a Red Note is required to sequester major Cabinet funding pools, his flagship projects have significant overheads even without their initial capital expenditures (often requiring either tax increases or being offset by spending cuts elsewhere), and his black projects require a great deal of obfuscation and operational tradecraft to be kept viable and discreet.
All of this requires a great deal of expertise, energy, and resources. Highly specific project requirements only magnify this, and it is something that we can exploit – I recommend that STG and C-Sec FINCEN assets are given helpful 'suggestions' to point them at some of Maxwell's downstream projects (five or six degrees of separation would probably be enough to mask our scent).
Bonus: this would likely spook related targets and offer us additional points of perspective or infiltration.
Even more bonus: we could probably contract some of the FINCEN ops to the Unseen Cloud in exchange for blackmail materials on human corporations – null sweat if undiscovered, even better if discovered, since it will increase tensions between volus and humans, with turians caught in middle.
By Shego, I love this business.
Psychological Summary: Would like to remind operatives of potential logical fallacies and thought-traps that are all too easy to fall for when trying to cram aliens into normative salarian psychological circles.
That said, PsyProf has drawn some obvious conclusions here, ones that I tend to agree with overall. Maxwell is, without any doubt, a highly Active personality who places a great deal of importance on the practical and moral imperative of action, and the discipline required to achieve this. He most likely falls in the Promotive quadrant of Secretive Personalities – perhaps inevitable given his rarified position and his overarching plans for human society – but there are clear elements of Hero/Martyr Flamboyant characteristics (at least in his youth) and also Disdainful Oppressive characteristics (largely directed towards humans he feels are responsible for the suffering of their species). Whilst his human critics consider him to be tyrannical, technically he does not fit our Tyrannical Oppressive profile – his strict utilitarian ethics push him over into the Disdainful quadrant.
Interestingly, Maxwell appears to have evolved from a Passive/Selfish affect in his youth to an Active/Selfless affect in his old age. (This orientation-switching phenomenon can also be observed in drell. Most curious.) I realize, of course, that whilst this would be grotesque in a salarian – likely the result of degraded neural pathways and/or severely arrested cognitive development – many aliens simply don't fit easily into our psychological profiles, and that operatives should NOT interpret this as evidence of incompetence or vulnerability on the target's part.
Treating Maxwell like a dusty-horned dotard is an excellent way to get yourself killed.
PsyProf is convinced that this gradual personality change is the direct result of Maxwell's relationship with his wife, the late Erin Aoibheann Maxwell (herself descended from the Irish noble families of Connacht) – her death almost certainly led to Maxwell becoming more bitter, dismissive of subtler forms of social control, and far more obsessed with increasing the base fitness of human physiology and psychology, if our projections are correct. He almost certainly hasn't fully trusted anyone since she died, if he ever did.
Military Summary: By human standards, Maxwell is not a trained soldier, and whilst almost all SA officers have a great deal of respect for the man and his opinions, they do not consider him schooled in the ways of war.
A moment so we can both finish laughing. Humans, am I right? Maxwell really is wasted on that species. Give it another hundred years and they'll probably vote a krogan in as president.
Maxwell is considered naïve and unqualified in soldiering because ninety-nine percent of humans are grossly retarded shaved monkeys who've managed to stand upright and make noises at each other. By the Collapse, we're talking about a people who openly declare war (viewing it as a separate state to that of peace!), who think that cultural/political/socioeconomic assault vectors are an afterthought, and who deliberately place a firewall between their military and security intelligence services.
We know better, of course, and so does Maxwell. True, he did not formally enlist in the human military or in their intelligence organizations. Yet consider that the man received decades of personalized tutoring from the finest soldiers, killers, assassins, analysts, and specialists that his species had to offer, and that (like he did in everything else) he approached these lessons with a degree of iron discipline and focus that would make the SIX families proud. Keep in mind that he also commanded the obedience and respect of said operatives. His performance during the Relay 314 Incident only confirms this.
He was also instrumental in designing many aspects of the SA military and security services – do not underestimate his knowledge of them.
Education: Ongoing and simply exquisite, especially for a human. No exaggeration to call him an autodidact. Would probably qualify for post-graduate studies at most of our highest education institutions.
Received a comprehensive classical education in his youth, befitting of his position, and covering such subjects as Philosophy (particular focus on Socratic, Stoic, and Existentialist thinkers), Ancient and Modern History (particular focus on statecraft and military history of the Euro-Atlantic and East Asian regions, with a secondary focus on the Middle East), all major human religions (and also alien religions in the last three decades), Fencing (Épée, and also modern monomolecular weapons), Physical Training and Biology (boxing was his barbarism of choice, seeing as he frowned upon the overwhelming Frenchness of his wife's preferred savate), Ballroom Dancing, Horticulture (focus on space-borne farming, and also orchids), Information Systems (focus on database administration and network security), and, of course, languages (his native German, but also English, French, Spanish, Russian, classical and modern Arabic, Swahili, Hindi, Mandarin, Japanese, and, oddly enough, Gaelic – probably due to his late wife's Irish-Australian ancestry).
In recent decades he has put effort into learning the preferred Asaric and Claw-speak dialects of the Thirty and the Unbroken Circle/Palavanus, respectively, speaking both at a collegiate-level. (Again, PsyProf suspects he takes no pleasure in having to learn the languages and customs of his enemies, instead forcing himself to do so as a matter of practicality.) He likely has a conversational knowledge of our common Sur'Keshi cant and also of batarian and volus trade dialects.
[Manual Addenda: Well, if you want to call Low-Batar trade-cant a 'language', go ahead. Even 'dialect' is being generous. It's essentially a commercial slang designed solely to make slave-trading more efficient and shit-talking more enjoyable. What kind of communicative form has two hundred and ninety-five verb/noun/suffix/prefix/tonal modifiers used to indicate status and savagely insult your lessers? -Danith]
Maxwell possesses a Master of Business Administration from Neu Technische Universität München and a Doctorate of Psychology from the University of Arcturus. He has also received several dozen honorary degrees for his contributions to human society.
Employment: Hate that this template forces us to fill these out. Maxwell technically has many, many positions, but above all else he views himself as the ruler of all of humanity in his capacity as the highest of the High Lords of Sol.
Significant Family: …Really?! The entire House of Manswell answers to him. Technically he's also distantly related to a good two-thirds of the other High Lords of Sol by various marriages over the years.
Operatives should, however, pay close attention to the figures of Aloxius Manswell (AIS Director for last fifty years, frustratingly competent, could probably make middle-management in STG), Wilhelm Manswell (second eldest son and most likely family heir if Maxwell doesn't choose to pass the title to someone younger, distinguished Guard of Iron service and business credentials), Helga Manswell (granddaughter, most qualified heir if not for baffling human sexism – would make a fine dalatrass), Cormac Manswell-MacGregor (his wife's youngest nephew and the second highest-ranking member of the Solguard), Siobhan Manswell-MacGregor (his wife's cousin's youngest granddaughter, X7 and Guard of Iron, rising star in the Alliance security services), and, of course, Richard Manswell (distant relative to Maxwell, son of minor House member, renaissance man and likely next President of the SA, makes the Batarian Emperor look like a starving refugee, could probably punt a Shieldbreaker into orbit with one hand).
[Note: Additional Salarais-White addendum: Flash traffic from STG and LoZ sources indicates with very high probability that Richard Manswell is, in fact, Richard Williams – implications of intel profound if true – suggests that Hades Group acts directly at the behest of High Lords – suggests that dominant faction within High Lords attempted to assassinate President Windsor and neutralize his House OR (equally worse) that a third-party managed to subvert Hades assets without the High Lords knowing – suggests that Manswell himself had far more direct hand in activities of Cerberus precursor group – Muvai will NOT react calmly.]
Overall Threat Rating: Cannot be expressed outside of its broader context. Individually, assuming an agent made direct contact with Maxwell alone and initiated hostilities? Sieltar-Two, very low threat rating. Assuming you had to engage directly with the entire security apparatus that surrounds a High Lord of Sol? Black-Collapse Six. (A challenge, then.) Considering the broader geopolitical consequences of such an act – that is to say, total war with the Systems Alliance and the Asari Republic? Black-Collapse Nine with Red-Flag addendum for STG Master and SIX.
Operatives will note that I am using human chronology, rather than Citadel standard, due to the manner in which almost anything Maxwell says or does is intrinsically tied to human historical development.
Operatives will also note that this timeline is not all-inclusive of Maxwell's activities, or that of the organizations, persons, and species he is affiliated with. Such a thing is outside of the scope of an STG report, and full historical appendices are attached to this document. The purpose of the timeline here is to offer an overview of key points of perspective on Maxwell's life.
Maxwell Wilhelm Frederick Manswell was born in 2078 to parents Jacen and Katya Manswell, at the Neues Martyrkrankenhaus der Zürcher Zitadelle. Many of the other children born around this time were bastards or otherwise disappointments to Victor – even in his youth, Manswell precocious, favored by Victor.
Victor Manswell died in 2099, and his son Jacen – Maxwell's father – officially took over as heir to the House of Manswell and de facto ruler of all of humanity. In practice, Maxwell was twenty-one at the time and was already closer to Victor than Jacen was, with Victor having charged Maxwell with a number of secondary, unofficial duties in an effort to 'discipline the boy' and prepare him for future leadership. This trend continued, and Maxwell was hugely influential even whilst Jacen was on the throne, as it were.
From 2099 to 2109, Maxwell played a critical role in subduing the remaining pockets of resistance on Earth and in ensuring that cooperative nation-states and various other factions were correctly assimilated into the SSA. His measures balanced positive and negative incentives with an almost mathematical elegance and precision, though a majority of the High Lords at the time considered his methods too measured, preferring the symbolic brutality of the precursor Commissariat. Parties who offered unconditional surrender and cooperation with the SSA were given generous terms by Maxwell, being allowed to live (for the most part) and offered limited resources to assist with their survival, subject to their obedience; parties who refused these terms were destroyed, one way or another.
Towards the end of this period, Maxwell was demonstrating a great deal more subtlety than he did earlier on – previously, he simply had those who refused to aid humanity shot after a quick trial, but by the end he was far more adept at arranging for inconvenient suicides, deniable assassinations (massive doses of radioactive materials or potassium chloride were his preferred methods, easily explained away as environmental exposure or heart attacks, respectively), evidence of sick crimes (in Maxwell's eyes) such as corruption/incompetence/dereliction of duty/gross negligence affecting human development (easily faked, but even better if they were actually true), and various other mechanisms of control that do not involve clumsy deployments of paramilitary goons.
PsyProf is convinced that this change of modus operandi was the direct result of the influence of Erin Aoibheann MacGregor. (Michael Rourke would not have understood subtlety if concept smashed into his face with a hammer, though this probably would have improved the state of his face.)
Speaking of which, Maxwell married her in 2103, when both were twenty-five, after they had been 'engaged' for two years and 'dating' for six in total. (Note: human courtship and breeding rituals are extremely weird, generally disgusting, and also outside the scope of this document.) That said, whilst Maxwell and Erin's courtship chronology and manner itself were not unusual amongst the humans, the intensity and enabling nature of their relationship was not healthy.
In a way, each got what they needed from the other, both using and being used. Maxwell is – and was even then – a man of supreme focus and will, capable of functioning under the kind of pressure that would leave almost all of his species dead by their own hand or crying alone in a padded room. (This is not figurative. PsyProf believes Maxwell's staggering mental discipline and focus occurs at a rate of over one in one hundred million amongst his kind.) Despite his father officially retaining leadership, he considered Jacen to be a fundamentally weak man, and in practice, Maxwell wielded a staggering degree of power and control over all of humanity. The list of things – not just people, but objects too – that he could not control or influence could be counted on a single hand. His nature – walking over his species rather than truly being a part of it – probably aided him in the utilitarian decisions he was forced to make.
Erin was outside of all of that. She was the eldest of her two sisters and three brothers, her family a clan of technically noble Irish whose wealth and titles were lost with Ireland. Her mother was an alcoholic and her father a broken man – both died of environmental contamination when she was in her late teens. Despite doing the best they could to help their children, as a young girl Erin was forced to help provide for her family's survival. She did so by turning her remarkable mind and charming nature to the power structure of the newly formed Neo-Catholic Church, a struggling movement crippled by a leadership vacuum in the wake of the collapse of most of Europe. She was twelve years old at the time she joined, and within a decade, Erin had ascended to the highest echelons of the Church hierarchy, with her theology defining mainstream Christian faith to the present day and her voice causing popes to rise and fall. At the time of her death in 2157, she was canonized, not just as a saint and martyr in the face of an alien onslaught, but as the ascended bride of Christ, her sacrifice ensuring the survival of all of humanity.
Maxwell was merely an amusing distraction from all of this, at least until they had children.
She found the High Lords grossly unsubtle, grossly sexist, and grossly hypocritical, but also occasionally amusing and ultimately useful to her goals. Her relationship with Maxwell managed to sustain her interest – something she previously didn't believe possible or necessary – and allowed her to transform her Neo-Catholic Church from a somewhat influential movement into an absolute state religion, a symphonia for her entire race. (Symphonia is a curious theological graft, given her powerbase was in Western Christianity. Fascinating.) We suspect Maxwell, for his part, enjoyed having a relationship – of any kind, let alone sexual or romantic – with someone or something that he didn't control, that he couldn't manipulate, that didn't owe its existence to him.
Their sex life was peculiar enough that the LoZ designated it worthy of an Orange-Flag review tab; it appears to have been the curious combination of exclusively monogamous and sadomasochistic with, interestingly, both partners sharing roles equally and with certain religious overtones (largely related to 'becoming one flesh'). We don't fully understand the significance of this, and, given that Maxwell is now widowed and one hundred five years old, it is probably of little operational value. Still, operatives will note that when it comes to the intersection between sex and religion, humans are even more schizophrenic and dysfunctional than drell, if that's possible – most operate by a completely inconsistent and contradictory system of improvised behavior and situational ethics that are poorly reasoned and will almost certainly vary throughout a human's lifespan, assuming they bother to pay any serious attention in the first place.
[Manual Addenda: I still find it hilarious that the LoZ deems anyone's sex life worthy of any kind of review, given that the League haven't experienced organic life for well over a thousand years now. What's next? They tell us we're smoking too much lho and should probably cut back, maybe exercise some more? -Danith]
Operatives will also note that Maxwell and Erin were not representative of their species and did not follow such conventions (or any) at all, which only makes me suspect that there is some point of perspective here that we cannot see. To what point did either of them truly believe in the institutions they redefined? In the species they remade? In each other? In any god at all? Does it even matter if they did or didn't? Salarian psychology and Wheel Rites would offer the most probable conclusion that no, there is no quantifiable value that can be assigned to beliefs that are divorced from accountability and irrelevant to objective outcomes, and that even doing so is mere intellectual masturbation… but we're not talking about salarians.
Also in 2103, the Mars Colony finally becomes self-sufficient, at least on a day-to-day level. This is quickly followed by similar advancements on several other small colonies in the Sol System. The Manswells, and the High Lords as a whole, order the SA to engage in a new propaganda and mass mobilization initiative, based on the optimism and idealism of a new human future beyond the stars, in an effort to reduce social discontent in the aftermath of the Days of Iron and spur technological development. The Manswells themselves used this as an opportunity to distract the other, newly crowned High Lords, encouraging them to squabble for influence and invest their monies in the new colony expansions, providing a much needed boost to investment and overall economic activity at a time when humanity risked perpetual depression.
In 2107, Maxwell and Erin have the first of their children, a son named Cillian (a captain under Admiral Grissom, he died in the Relay 314 Incident). He is followed by a second son (Wilhelm, in 2109, alive, highest-ranking officer of the Solguard), a daughter (Alice, in 2111, alive, CFO of the Sirta Corporation), a second daughter (Annette, born in 2113, QC of the High Court of Sol, married to a Windsor, injured in the Hades attack on the Windsor estate), and a third son (Klaus, born in 2115, reportedly alive but whereabouts unknown… which, frankly, I find suspicious, given that he's a Nobel-Manswell winning scientist specializing in biological computing systems).
By 2109, the SSA had achieved uncontested control over Earth, thanks largely to Maxwell's pacifying measures. (No doubt his wife was pleased, seeing as she suggested most of them.) The Neo-Catholic Church, under Erin Manswell, began a massive campaign of 'healing our brothers and sisters' as part of a 'crusade for harmony and social justice'; driven by state-owned media, it was a mixed campaign of universal health insurance for those with the means, charitable clinics for the poor, and a discrete eugenics program for undesirables and Brazilians (but I repeat myself). Admittedly, if you weren't Brazilian or an enemy of the people then the program was a huge success, greatly reducing child mortality rates and boosting both access to clean water supplies and radiation exposure treatments for most arcology residents by over forty percent.
In 2110, at age thirty-two, Maxwell was installed as Military Structural Director of the Solar Systems Alliance, in addition to his various other titles. In this capacity, and in consultation with what passed for the high command of the various human military assets, Maxwell begins to tighten and formalize the hierarchy of the human military, streamlining their logistics, ensuring their training programs and mythos are politically acceptable, and also enforcing collective discipline options designed to boost unit cohesion. (Naturally, they were being conditioned to obey the SA chain of command, a power structure ultimately benefiting the High Lords. Note that SA Marines swear an oath of loyalty not to humanity, but to 'the High Lords of Sol in their capacity as the rightful guardians of the glorious human race.')
Ironic, really, that the years of 2120 to 2157 are officially known as 'the Days of Peace,' given that at least half a billion humans died during this time from catastrophic environmental degradation and general social collapse. Armada storms, heavy metal poisoning, UV exposure, radiation sickness, waterborne diseases and malnutrition, predators, rampant viruses and bacterial outbreaks, grinding poverty, family breakdowns, shattered communities devoid of trust and decency, exponential growth of mental illnesses, abuse, rape, murder, thievery – these were the Days of Peace. The Manswells were very busy during this time, with Maxwell pouring his efforts and resources into developing and distributing survival technologies, rebuilding basic infrastructure, and trying to stabilize the human economies and social order.
Erin, for her part, was very quick to remind humanity of the proud and noble history of the Church's social justice work, and of the Gospel's moral imperative to aid one's neighbors; her aid workers quickly opened camps to house and feed the displaced, offering them work and medical care. (Canny, seeing as over eighty-five percent of those enrolled in said programs converted to the Neo-Catholic Church.) This was obviously a spectacular public relations coup, seeing one of the highest of humanity freely treating humans regardless of creed or status – but it's important to remember just how this affected the average human at the time. A traumatized survivor of the Days of Iron, given a steady job, access to clean food and water, seeing their children safe and educated, and then told that they personally have a role to play in the glorious resurrection of the human species? Well, such people swore their lives to the Manswells (and their Systems Alliance) without hesitation.
2135 was the year that, with clandestine funding directly from Maxwell and his investments, Westerlund News is founded from a conglomeration of smaller regional media outlets. It should be noted that, while not being an official arm of SA media, it has never once pushed stories disadvantageous to the Manswells. Particularly Maxwell. Even stories that would appear to be critical and demonstrating editorial independence are subtly slanted – note that in the aftermath of the Benezia Incident, when multiple lesser distant members of the Manswell Family were found to have been using the Manswell Foundation to fund Cerberus and so on, Westerlund News portrayed Maxwell's reaction as the noble, righteous outrage of Christ himself clearing the money changers from the temple. Unbelievably, this kind of cartoon propaganda plays very well with most of the human population. PsyProf is still investigating why they so desperately believe this graa-shit.
This year also offered the earliest evidence we have of one of the few real disagreements that Maxwell and Erin had about the direction and nature of their species. Erin, having tasted desperation and poverty as a little girl, was convinced that the lesser classes were not beyond salvation and that they could be improved if they only received the correct guidance. "A brittle piece of iron merely requires a superior smith," she once said to him. (Personal note: impressively ironic use of his Family's motto, Erin.) Maxwell, being of noble stock and having cultivated a will to power that almost none of his own people have ever matched, became increasingly contemptuous of the common rabble – specifically of their own inability to improve themselves, cultivate ruthless self-reflection, and otherwise increase their overall base fitness for life.
Whilst an annoyance in 2135, by the time of his wife's death in 2157 and humanity's post-2160 integration with the galaxy, both STG and the LoZ are convinced that Maxwell had finally decided that the masses were ultimately a net drag on his species, that they would be unable to make fundamental changes to themselves without serious outside effort, and that the development of a homo superior would be necessary if the species wished to survive over the long-term.
In 2137 Eldfell-Ashland successfully refined He-3 on Jupiter and Saturn, after borrowing heavily from House Manswell to do so. This was an initiative Maxwell himself championed against resistance from his father and the Family's financial advisors. No one expected it to succeed so wildly and after this point, resistance to Maxwell's input was much reduced.
Jacen Manswell set his affairs in order, wrote his manifesto, had a brief conversation with Maxwell, and then committed suicide in 2141, sending shockwaves throughout every level of human society and spawning conspiracy theories that exist to this day. That his suicide manifesto was doctored is obvious, and the yawning gulf between its oh-so-noble mea culpa and the actual actions of the human nobility is, and always will be, hilarious to read.
And yet the fact that the Manswells were obviously more complicit than they admit in the Days of Iron is at best a banality – even the simplest contemplation of the Wheel suggests that such a thing would be a logical extension of their observed historical behavior. No, what's most telling about this affair is that it clearly demonstrates how greatly the humans value pageantry and theatrics over objective reality. They prefer a veneer of decency to actual decency, as they see it.
This has… profound and deliciously exciting implications for our information and psychomimetic warfare divisions. I'll be in contact.
Officially, the SA publicly announced in 2143 that it had discovered alien ruins (specifically the Prothean ruins that would become known as the Mars Archive) in the Deseado Crater on Mars. Unofficially, the SA discovered these ruins at least three years prior, possibly longer, and kept it a secret under the Manswell Doctrine, which broadly states that knowledge which has the capacity to harm human survival or severely disrupt social harmony must be kept hidden until appropriate measures have been developed to allow said information to be processed and correctly disseminated throughout the populace. Several research teams simply disappeared and were never accounted for. Privately, the discovery of the Archive was seen as both a great opportunity and a disturbing development by the High Lords; an opportunity because it offered new means to advance their species and strengthen their rule, and disturbing due to its existence being undeniable proof of forces outside of their understanding and control.
By 2148, Alliance exploratory vessels under the command of Admiral Jon Grissom shattered the Charon Relay and successfully used the mass effect to travel to the Arcturus System. Apparently, they still don't know that we were observing them the whole time – credit for credit, Project Early Glance really was the best investment we made – and you'd think the turians would have put it together by now too, seeing how quickly we gave them translation primers (or pointed them towards Relay 314 in the first place). Whilst the human technology at the time was grossly primitive, it is interesting to note just how thorough the High Lord's relay security protocols were – very similar to the SIX's orders during our early era of space travel, in fact. Admirable paranoia and preparation on the human's part.
In 2149 multiple ships at various human settlements, including several arcologies, the Singapore Spaceport, Dresden Spaceport, and Low Earth Orbital Station suffer catastrophic failures and either explode entirely or malfunction to the point of core collapse, causing massive eezo contamination of human population centers. This did lead to the first human biotics, but for most people it resulted in heavy metal poisoning and terminal cancer. (Shocking coincidence: ninety-five percent of the contaminated were poor people.)
From 2150 to 2156 humanity was rapidly expanding its colonization efforts, eventually developing a good sixteen colonies, the most notable of which were Eden Prime, Terra Nova, Demeter, and (technically, seeing as it's the seat of their military and government) Arcturus Station. The High Lords were forced to walk a delicate balance here. They were desperate to reduce the strain on the Earth's biosphere and ensure that any catastrophic planetary failure would not doom their entire species, so this expansion certainly pleased them on a technical level. Yet they feared losing control and watching their species fracture into infighting, a fear reinforced by the slow rise of wildcatters and peaceful separatist movements. Ultimately, we suspect that Maxwell didn't have much of a choice but to allow the expansions to go ahead – human society was simply under too much strain and they needed the resources.
You can read about the Relay 314 Incident/First Contact War of 2157 on the Common Knowledge Framework. It doesn't cover what the STG was up to, because it goes without saying that we weren't a part of it – how rude of anyone to suggest otherwise. Operatives should note that, as far as Maxwell Manswell is concerned, there are two main points to consider. Firstly, Erin Manswell was killed by a runaway Deathwatch Disgraced Pride cyberattack daemon that ate the life-support runtimes of a good tenth of the civilian vessels in the Sol System, and throughout this report I covered how this affected Maxwell. Second, humanity as whole, and the High Lords especially, were faced with a truly alien Other for the first time, and found infinitely wanting – they would have been eradicated if not for Uressa T'Shora. This scarred and warped the entire human psyche, a cascade of trauma that spread throughout their civilization, and we believe it is the primary reason why Maxwell became obsessed with altering human baselines.
He didn't aim for superiority. He knew that was impossible and always would be. He started these programs because he concluded that it was the only hope humans had of even surviving the next century.
He is, of course, correct.
It is thus unsurprising that Maxwell's actions in the aftermath of the Relay 314 Incident were shaped by this racial trauma. From 2157 to 2167, humanity (and Maxwell) were reeling from the breakdown of their society and were largely occupied with trying to survive and gain a basic understanding of the galaxy they found themselves in. Incidentally, PsyProf believes that this trauma was the basis for the High Lords' increasingly desperate (and also often insane and unworkable) black projects designed to ensure human survival or otherwise offset alien influence; projects like TYPHON, LAMIA, and, of course, CERBERUS date back to this era. Even the more 'positive' projects within the so-called OP-WHITE (and some OP-GRAY) programs were designed to soothe human fears of the alien Other and try to the convince the Council races that humans were both too dangerous to needlessly provoke and also a valuable ally worthy of including in galactic affairs as an equal.
Hilarious, I know, but the idea that they aren't in absolute control of their own destiny is unbearable to these creatures. I'm serious. They actually get depressed and kill themselves when they feel like they don't matter and can't change. Baffling.
Having felt the wrath of the Deathwatch and the Cabalim, not to mention exposure to asari commandos and even war priestesses through various cross-cultural exchanges, Maxwell became convinced of a dire need to improve humanity's biotic capabilities if the species was to survive. In 2160, the Guard of Iron (and several subcontractor corporations) begin a crash course on biotic development at Gagarin Station. The Biotic Acclimation and Temperance Training (BAaT) program was broadly successful, but a combination of deliberately flawed L2 amps (provided by the asari) and other dubious coincidences officially shut the program down – several of their turian instructors were wanted criminals (not to mention the drell ones were outright redscale supremacists), and their bionetic supplements showed clear traces of batarian biotech compounds. Unofficially, the project was rolled into the Shadow Cell.
[Manual Addenda: Fifty credits says that Shadow Cell managed to fuck that up harder than Vessi and I in a roomful of breeders. -Danith]
The Systems Alliance Parliament passed the Sudham-Wolcott Genetic Heritage Act in 2161, which imposed draconian penalties on any kind of unauthorized applied research on most functions of the human genome; conversely, generous research grants and tax breaks were offered to corporations approved by the High Lords. In practice, Maxwell designed this act to tighten his control over the genetic destiny of his species. Bonus: it also laid the foundation for the remarkable success of the human biotech industry, which is the most advanced in known space, second only to the batarian Imperial-caste.
2163 is the earliest firm date we have on the human's illegal AI research program, run by Dr. Shu Qian, which likely led to the development of the EDI construct. (Personal note: yes, I know that the LoZ is convinced that Cerberus and possibly even Hades have made forked copies of said AI construct, but I require firm evidence of this before I will take their flesh-puppet seriously. I mean, the League thinks that everyone from Blasto the Spectre to Niftu Cal has crafted an AI hyperdaemon to target them. -Ida).
In 2164, Ivor Johnstagg, a human CAT6 reject from the wildcat colonies, carries out a suicide attack on volus venture capitalist (and Unseen Cloud operative) Venta Tox during a business meeting on Noveria. A massive M/AM cortex bomb was his weapon of choice, and he was highly successful. We now know that Venta Tox was responsible for the Unseen Cloud's investigation into the High Lords' dealings on Noveria. Ivor Johnstagg, however, is a cipher – though we do have a single blurry vid-capture of him meeting with an alleged associate of Maliki. Operatives will note that Maliki (and his mossy band of brush-your-horns-off West Indies eggsplitters) are the known enforcers of Richard Williams (then commander of the Shadow Cell).
A series of political scandals rocked the Systems Alliance in 2166. Most of the advisory committee of the Rights of All Party were found guilty of corruption in a kickback scandal with Nashan Stellar Dynamics Corporation, Terra Firma oligarch Inez Simmons was forced out of the party after being caught by GTMZ on a sex tour of Ilium (and then had his assets seized by the Commissariat for failing to disclose relationships with alien nationals), and the Manswell Foundation was required to restructure after their leader Johan Manswell simply disappeared and was declared legally dead.
Coincidence? Please. The Rights of All were advocating for salarian programmers to have full employment rights in Human Space (how dare you suggest they were all STG applicants!), Inez Simmons had broken the heart of a young lady from the House of Coleman (what an idiot), and Johan Manswell was a biotic researcher who failed to properly vet the L2 implants given to the humans by the asari (disappointing Great-Great-Uncle Maxwell is bad for your health).
In 2168, self-described Grand Mufti Masoor, the most prominent (and only) Islamic cleric independent of the SA and the House of Saud, commits murder-suicide with his family in their farm on Horizon. Intercepted AIS comms indicate that he had recovered unaltered older commentaries on his holy text from sources unknown, and that he planned on disseminating these throughout Human Space.
We strongly suspect that Maxwell was unconcerned with the impact of said disclosures – which could easily be smeared and marginalized even further – and that he had Masoor eliminated as a personal favor to the Lord of the House of Saud. We don't know what he received in exchange.
Unfortunately, Maxwell's efforts to salvage his clutch with the Turian Hierarchy were largely successful, culminating in a full-clawed Treaty of Honorable Conduct in 2169 and a number of mutual trade, investment, diplomatic, and military initiatives. Despite our best efforts to sabotage the process, Maxwell defied PsyProf's expectations and somehow managed to swallow his rage at the death of his wife and make peace with Primarch Fedorian, who for his part was delighted to move his people on from the previous Primarch's stained honor. The fact that the volus were ecstatic at the prospect of accessing human markets was also a factor; the volus Cloudmaster almost headpatted Fedorian on the spot when the treaty was signed, and their entire damn species threw a raging interplanetary party the next day. (Personal note: these people are freaks. Who in the name of the Collapse thinks that increasing net galactic economic value is a holy task?!)
Since roughly 2170, Maxwell has been increasingly contemptuous of the decadent behavior of certain other noble houses and persons, likely believing that their self-indulgence comes at the expense of their martial valor and thus their net utility to humanity. He's particularly frustrated with the Eldfells, but there are people from almost every House (including his own) who offend him in some way. In fact, only the Houses of Manswell, Yamato, Dragunov, and Ashland contribute to the human military and security services in anything beyond token numbers. This has led to Maxwell gradually tightening the requirements for joining and serving as a member of the human nobility, and we suspect he'll likely use upcoming galactic conflicts as a means to 'cleanse' some of the noble ranks if he believes they cannot improve their own fitness to lead.
Beginning also in 2170, and continuing intermittently since, the infamous criminal mastermind P. (or his elderboy, the equally infamous thief and con-artist Rolan Quarn) has made several dozen galactic broadcasts of The P.'s Truth that concern Maxwell and the High Lords in general. The mood and details of these transmissions varies… extremely, which is perhaps unsurprising given who's making them. Some are expressionless regurgitations of various crimes and atrocities that can be laid at the feet of the High Lords (allowing pirates and even Collectors to attack the wildcat colonies in an effort to convince SA humans that only the High Lords can provide true security), others are vivid and manic (his entire damn broadcast during the Burning of Omega), and still others are bizarre and mysterious (the so-called 'New Men' conspiracy). Naturally, our analysts are sifting through these – we strongly suspect that the 'New Men' conspiracy is in fact a reference to Maxwell's genegineering within the House of Manswell.
In 2175, the entire High Lords and human Court of Corporations were forced to become Series A investors in the galactic launch of Fornax Connections, after Aish Ashland committed to the venture whilst holding her father's power of attorney (the man was in surgery for four hours and her brother Jacob was asleep). Maxwell was reportedly furious with her… until he was told of their seven hundred percent return on investment and, according to rumor within STG, given compromising blackmail on Houses Vabo and Eldfell by Fornax himself.
On the subject, I'd like to point out that the rumors of Maxwell dating Aish Ashland from 2176 to present are completely insane. Yes, I'm familiar with her… reputation, as it were. Yes, I'm aware that most humans would fuck a jar of sand if you held it still for them. But there's limits to the kind of RUMINT I'm willing to listen to. Maxwell is a hundred and five years old. His hip replacements have been replaced. We're moving on.
In 2177, Maxwell (and also Duke Chu and Prince Eldfell, possibly other High Lords as well) reached out to the infamous quarian outcast Golo, almost certainly via Admiral Daro'Xen, seeking highly specialized and esoteric advice on pheromonal control, wetware interfaces, organ design, viruses that can jump between electronic and organic computing systems, and Shego alone knows what else. We strongly suspect that Daro'Xen was offered assistance with neutralizing the geth, but we have absolutely no idea what Golo asked for as compensation. I've Red-Flagged this for review, since my analysts consider it likely that the relationship is ongoing.
[Manual Addenda: This is a friendly reminder that Golo is a man whose work Gears considered "a little over the top," who P. thinks is "unethical," and who the Batarian Emperor described as "an amusing lifeform and a reliable business partner" -Danith]
Speaking of batarians, human relations with them from 2157 to present have gone through several stages, both publicly and in the shadows. Officially, both species are hostile to one another, technically in a state of war by proxy, and maintain no diplomatic relations. Unofficially, the relationship is… complicated. Both races serve as a useful enemy for the other in contested regions of space, functioning as a scapegoat and target for their lower classes and a good way of gaining combat experience – note that both batarian and human forces tend to get weak and lazy without opponents – and their respective leaders are well aware of the value that these low-level hostilities can provide. At the same time, given that these proxies each have their own agency, hostilities can quickly spiral out of control.
Elysium was a setup, designed to offer an easy victory for the human rubes to see on the news and make a fake hero out of a pliable, easily manipulated (and telegenic) coward in the form of Branson. This much is obvious. What really matters is just what the High Lords offered the Hegemon at the time that convinced him to sacrifice an entire attack group. If not the Hegemon, then who were they dealing with? We consider it unlikely that the Emperor himself would bother with such a trivial issue, but there's only a limited number of persons in Batarian Space with the clout to survive that kind of gambit.
We believe that Mindoir and Torfan were in fact genuine routs, instigated in both cases by elements within the Hegemony who were dissatisfied with the Hegemon's bargain with the humans. This is NOT to say that there was no intrigue attached to them – please see Spectre Shepard and Major Kyle's respective STG reports for further details – but they were not prearranged or outright engineered by their respective species' rulers for the same reasons and in the same manner as so many other events.
Aside from these, human Corsairs and various batarian pirate groups have been in open conflict in the Traverse for almost two decades now. (Incidentally, human male pirates are the single largest alien contingent within batarian pirate gangs, and on a personal level, they tend to get along well. Revolting.) The AIS and SIU have also clashed repeatedly. We know for a fact that at least two AIS black-bag ops in Batarian Space were successful, though their losses have been devastating – it appears that Maxwell (via Aloxius) considers the value of whatever they've recovered to be higher than that of the operatives and resources expended. That or he views whatever the batarian elites are up to as a direct threat to human security.
Which begs the question, really, of just why the human elites continue to deal with their batarian counterparts. This comes at no political cost to the batarians – the idea of the Emperor answering to his own people is something even batarians find funny – but the cost to the humans, if their people knew the truth? If they knew that their own High Lords secretly dealt with the architects of every atrocity the batarians have ever visited upon humanity? Ruinous. It is obvious that whatever the High Lords get out of this bargain is worth more to them than the cost of this arrangement becoming public, but we still aren't sure what it could possibly be. All the humans have to offer are bodies, and all the batarians have to offer is their biotechnology, but the batarians have no shortage of their own slaves. I've Red-Flagged this for review as well.
A Special Historical Note:
Operatives are no doubt familiar with the Manswell Expedition of 2070 CE, and are, of course, wondering why I'm mentioning it here, decades later on the timeline. That's because the Manswell Expedition is, in certain circles, correctly referred to as being composed of two parts – an official mission, used to unite the species, bootstrap technological development, and drain the Manswell's competitors of resources, and an unofficial mission, designed to ensure human survival in the face of whatever the Mars Archive's full 'Message' speaks of.
The official Manswell Expedition was, hilariously, intercepted by STG about seventy years after it had departed for the Alpha Centauri System. Whilst grossly primitive, the human ion drive deployment was resourceful and theoretically sound – they spent roughly the first half of their journey accelerating towards the system before using the second half of the journey to gradually decelerate, also using a prototype solar scoop to recapture at least some of their waste energy and also background radiation. Upon arrival in-system, they started a small research colony on the Planet Chiron, considered the most habitable for humans.
They were being monitored the entire time, of course, and once they'd actually set up their base (around 2140 CE) the STG cell leader began his (now legendary) infiltration… by stripping naked, pretending not to be sapient, and wandering around the edge of the camp chewing grass. After doing this for a mere two hours, the human settlers were convinced he was just some kind of grazing herbivore and paid no attention to him exploring their entire camp, along with the rest of his cell, which they thought were the rest of his herd. If any of the humans got suspicious about us poking about the computers, all our people had to do was lick the screen for a few seconds. The team analyst managed to spend forty minutes alone and unobserved in the camp armory simply by dint of shitting in the human's comms dish.
Honestly? I'm not even jealous that they got all those promotions. Or those breeding offers. Frankly, they deserved that parade. I salute those men. I hope that the team leader became you, the STG Master.
Technically, this was the first contact humans ever had with aliens, if you don't count our occasional abductions over the years (or that idiot who was converted to Shieldbreaker-status for causing what the humans call the Tunguska Event).
Details for the outcome of the unofficial mission are currently subject to Choma-Black restriction – that is to say, only available through direct conversation in-person with the STG Master, subject to the approval of the SIX and also agreeing to possible chemical mind-wipe afterwards. Widely believed within STG that the unofficial mission was a human attempt to colonize the Andromeda Galaxy.
[Note: additional Salarais-White addendum: given that the Reapers (and the Wheel alone knows what the Collapse else) are highly likely to be active in the Andromeda Galaxy, and that it is equally likely that they monitor the dark space surrounding said galaxy, STG is almost certain that the human expedition was intercepted and compromised by Reaper forces. Given the effects that even inert Reaper technology had on our own research teams, I shudder to think what exposure to a live Reaper would do. I have no love for the humans, but they didn't deserve that fate. May the Wheel grant them peace.]
Maxwell's primary motivation is the survival and betterment of humanity, as he sees it; all other considerations are secondary. A possible tertiary motivation is the honor and perception of his noble house, but at this late stage of his life that has already been accomplished.
Our intelligence analysts believe that his short-term goals center on extending what life he has left and ensuring that the House of Manswell is well placed to smoothly transition upon his death, including continuity of leadership and core projects that he oversees. We believe his medium-term goals are implementing more sophisticated and fundamental behavioral and political controls over his species, neutralizing the asari subversion of humanity, and also neutralizing the capacity of the Salarian Union and especially the SIX to affect humanity's development. (Note that this is an obvious existential threat to the salarian people and should be dealt with as such.) Undoubtedly he is planning for the arrival of the Reapers.
On the subject of motives, a common criticism from our analysts is that us operational officers focus far too much on the practical turn of the Wheel, ignoring the intimacies of the one seeking it. Now, I have the utmost respect for our colleagues in PsyProf – despite none of them having fired a shot in anger or being able to lift anything heavier than a photograph of themselves – but I must disagree here: there really aren't any 'hidden depths' or 'rich psychological mysteries' or 'wheels within wheels within wheels' when it comes to ninety percent of the targets we are assigned. Really, how complicated does this graa-shit have to be? Yes, the High Lords are cunning and skilled and highly effective at manipulating human society – because they have no other choice if they wish to survive and maintain a hold on their own status and power. Additionally, humans are not particularly intelligent, recoil from truly honest self-reflection and analysis, and are highly susceptible to suggestion and misdirection en masse – the fragmented and atomized nature of much of modern human society, not to mention their rampart class differences, makes this even easier.
What else can be said about these people? Victor Manswell obliterated a significant percentage of his own species to ensure his utter domination of their future. Rashid al Saud so thoroughly corrupted the religion he was sworn to uphold and protect that to this day his descendants make sure he is seen as a figure greater than their own prophet. The Japanese Emperor had his zaibatsu minions fund the Second Rape of Nanking and almost all of the successor state warlords, and the Chu Family aided him since it would allow them to topple the Chinese Communist Party and take total control of the terrified remnants. Reginald Eldfell offered an entire Penal Legion an upgrade to Z1 citizenship if they ventured into the apocalyptic deathscape of Australia, all so they could return with a viable sample of unirradiated Shiraz grapes – the handful of survivors who made it past the armada cyclones, mutant crocodiles, and drunken cannibal locals were promptly given their reward before being put back into stasis.
Yes, Maxwell is objectively a better leader and a better man than his peers. That is not worth much, as a fungus on the underside of a Zithan watersnake is also a better lifeform than his peers. I will concede that he is a more complicated figure than the rest of them, but the final turn of the Wheel is this: he will rationalize, say, or do anything to uphold his own absolute rule and see his goals fulfilled.
[Eyes only: Mordin Solus: Don't even think about turning this back on the Family, Pitchfork. I've listened to your arguments; intellectually I understand your need to rationalize the consequences of your actions, but declaring yourself Lythari is just histrionics – and guess who was stuck with calming Muvai down? I managed to talk her into going to STG's combat compound, which is at least a healthier outlet than spending time around Thessial, but it ate up all of my annual leave.
That said, do let me know if you need more supplies for your clinic. Also, Danith and I will be on the Citadel next rotation. It'll be good to cross horns again. –Ida]
Yes, there was a time when Max was something more than this. He was once a sickly boy, who at the age of nine decided to train himself into something better, and within half a decade he had the physique of an athlete. He was once a young man who joked and celebrated with his friends at a beer hall in the Zurich Holdfast. He developed a great passion for learning simply for the wonder of knowing more than he did before. He grabbed fencing by the horns and thoroughly enjoyed having to master the technical skill and courtly manners. He grew orchids because he saw them as a celebration of Earthly life. He practiced chess for two hours a day in addition to his studies and employment. He made life and death decisions at an age when most humans fret about their exam results or whether or not their crush is interested in them.
He met a young woman, chased her, fell in love, made a family together, and then later, helpless despite his tremendous wealth and power, he had to watch her die of toxic shock syndrome brought on by atmospheric contamination from the Deathwatch cyberattack that crippled her pinnace's life-support. They weren't even targeting her – the human firewalls at the time were so primitive that the turian runtimes simply spread rampantly throughout their fleets. Not six months after her funeral did he have to sign a Treaty of Honorable Conduct and Cooperation with the Hierarchy, a ceremony at which that same Deathwatch commander was present. Since then, he has attended the burials of nine of his own descendants, including his firstborn son. By Shego, he alone led his entire species through the brutal trauma of the Relay 314 Incident as they emerged, hapless and terrified, into a galaxy full of the alien and the unknown. He accepted a burden of responsibility that would have broken the sanity and courage of almost anyone who has ever existed. He almost singlehandedly created the entire modern Systems Alliance, and in every role he attempted and every duty he accepted he eclipsed the achievements of men twice his age.
He has lived a remarkable life.
And yet at the end of it all there is only one point of perspective that matters, one real truth: Maxwell subsumed his entire being under the weight of his duty to humanity. To him, it doesn't matter if there's nothing left of him under the crown, or if he is judged by those unworthy of wearing it, so long as he ensures the survival of his species.
Organizations and Affiliations:
How is it that every single operative I have ever worked with hates this Collapse-be-damned template and we still continue using it? Distressing lack of adaptation on STG's part.
[Manual Addenda: The irony is palpable, considering your father created it. -Danith]
Maxwell Manswell is tied up with literally every organization and person worth talking about in Human Space, in one form or another. His being and his will are the gravity well that the rest of his species cannot escape from. His existence itself represents an event horizon for human activity – past a certain point, where whatever you're doing begins to affect the species as a whole, in even the tiniest way, you simply cannot act in SA Space without him knowing about or being part of it.
Rachni queens are less controlling than this man.
Specific Tactical Methods, Ground Combat:
A brief foreword: This section is not conventional. In theory, Maxwell is a very aged human in frail condition. Any salarian civilian could kill him easily if he was ever exposed. Thus, rather than discussing how to attack him directly, we must go over how to even get to him.
Long-range: Unlike most of our usual targets, attacking Maxwell at range is likely to be the most dangerous option. (Refreshing change. Also, exciting challenge. Makes for happy War Specs.) Consider the facts: he almost never travels outside of core Human Space, is almost always escorted by a small Solguard fleet in space and honor guard on the ground, also travels with his own personal Guard of Iron retinue, and the entire human security apparatus in whatever area he's visiting will be on the highest possible alert.
This is why I do what I do.
We have all kinds of options here. The most obvious – and with a clear track record we can use as a case study – is the Hades terror attacks on Earth last year, where, using sabotaged FTL plotters on civilian ships, they managed to kill a significant percentage of the Windsor family. Bonus: this also exposed clear faults in the human communications protocols AND their emergency response protocols that we can further exploit.
Recommend using multiple ships for redundancy – stick to civilian ships – and use a combination of supermassive haulers (for sheer kinetic impact) and also small pinnace or frigate-type vessels loaded with antimatter, phasic materials, fusion weapons, or black nano (for sheer numbers and flexibility). I shouldn't have to remind you that we would do this through cutouts and proxies, probably using LoZ assets to simply compromise actual human vessels for our purposes.
Genophage and black nano options are certainly worth exploring in their own right, as are supermassive suicide drone swarms. Even geoengineering is an option, given the disgraceful environmental state of Earth, and social engineering is also a possibility, given the concentration and general misery of human population centers – mass anarchy and violent rights would help spread chaos and mask our scent. I'm willing to concede that these are a touch unsubtle and militaristic, but still, like a menu, it's nice to have options.
Another interesting option – albeit one that requires more long-term investment – is to compromise elements of human society, and perhaps key individuals, who are already well-placed to either kill Maxwell himself or compromise his plans. Again, Hades and the Shadow Broker have clearly demonstrated this, but the most effective example here is (oddly enough) Saren and Benezia. Given just how cripplingly over-reliant the High Lords are on their bloated personal staffs, this could be quite effective and also provide a great deal of plausible deniability. At the very least we could learn a great deal about their plans and having more information is obviously better than having less. Note that this approach is not limited to the High Lords and would be equally effective against the SA flag officer corps and perhaps even the CEOs of their Corporate Court.
Medium-range: Assuming above options is suboptimal (and I for one don't wish to live in a galaxy that frowns upon creative acts of mass destruction), then operatives must infiltrate the area, neutralize local security measures, and finally close the distance with the target and kill him.
Again, there are multiple case studies here, even in the last few years – witness the assassination of Sara Shepard by the Shadow Broker, the various assassinations of the Sisters of Vengeance (personal note: every agent in my division under age of twenty keen to accept breeding offer from those two), and also our own activities (notably our clean-up operations against indoctrinated remnants, and also multiple strikes against Cerberus, various volus criminal groups, and several human and turian political figures).
The most palatable option is probably to use a combined force of specialist mercenaries and deniable assets, with operational and technical support from (equally deniable) STG units. For the first, I would suggest Remembrance Dancers, ideally with support from asari biotic specialists – failed war priestesses are the obvious choice – and possibly some kind of ultra-heavy infantry or cyborg component to take the brunt of the assault and act as a distraction for the obvious human response (there's a thousand bitter turian special forces veterans from the Relay 314 Incident who'd probably do it for free if we offered then a chance to 'regain their lost honor,' whatever that means).
For the second part, I'd recommend technical support in the form of STG techno-savants and/or the tech-gangs we control – if we can seed evidence pointing the human tech-gangs back to human extremist organizations or political rivals, even better – and operational support in the form of STG ops officers and War Specialists, obviously with no identifying markers and ostensibly acting as salarian gangsters.
Short-range: Paradoxically, a small force of elite operatives is more likely to be successful here compared to the more obvious measures discussed earlier. A small force – no larger than a standard STG cell, possibly even just a single operative or two – stands a far greater chance of bypassing the security measures discussed earlier, and is also far easier to get into position compared to the assets required to engage with Maxwell and his retinue at greater range. (Bonus: very small groups also provide far greater deniability.)
Key example: a single drell Remembrance Dancer has been able to infiltrate the Mars Archive on multiple occasions, yet if the drell attacked with a fleet they would obviously start a war. Note also that the Hades attacks on the Windsor family – by far the most successful attempt on any of the High Lords so far – was also carried out by a surprisingly small pool of assets.
Less can be more.
To achieve our objectives with the most efficient economy of effort at the most perfect moment in the turn of the Wheel is the highest expression of our craft and of the Special Order given to us by Dalatrass Shego herself.
For the scenario outlined above, I'd recommend we use either nano-engineered LoZ primary combat operatives – ideally wearing human appearances – in conjunction with our most elite infiltration specialists. The Silence would be ideal, of course, but I suspect the SIX are unlikely to part with their billion-credit pet assassin. (Personal note: though this would at least spare STG officers the supremely creepy experience of having to interact with the cursed thing; anyone that can infiltrate STG Command undetected – for a briefing! – is nothing you want to be stuck in a waiting room making small talk with.)
[Eyes only: STG Master: Again, agree with Danith here – elements of SIX becoming increasingly hostile to STG's political independence. Deploying Silence in such a manner clearly meant to send message. Assure you that Solus family remain committed to STG clutch –Ida]
Phase Twelve STG Infiltration Specialists would probably be our most suitable option, but if the teams at ALTERATION-16A and ALTERATION-22J can spare some of their creations then so much the better.
Again, the actual act of killing Maxwell is the least challenging aspect of the entire endeavor.
Warning Advisory: I really shouldn't have to remind any of you of the sheer seriousness of an attack upon the ruler of a race that sits on the Citadel Council.
I… you can't be serious. Are you serious? I tried deleting this part of the template, only to find that my Master War Spec credentials and Family credentials were both overridden on the authority of the SIX via the LoZ, and that any further attempts to interfere with the template layout would result in conversion to Shieldbreaker-status.
It seems you are, in fact, serious.
I respect the effort you go to simply to toy with us. Vessi's reaction alone is probably worth it.
Very well, then. Operatives, take note.
Maxwell Manswell is a one hundred and five-year-old human man. His physical abilities are limited to waking up, getting dressed, sitting down (but only slowly), and managing not to die before he goes to sleep. He has the upper body strength of a parakeet. He strikes with the power of a baby's cough. He resists damage about as well as wet origami.
I'm struggling to think of anything he could harm, including himself. If he manages to kill you, then you deserve to die.
Mental and Psychological Notes:
Subject is obviously highly intelligent, possessing a remarkably agile mind even in his old age, with an excellent capacity for logical problem solving and forward planning, and a preternatural control over his emotions. Amongst our own people he'd be considered unusually bright and impressively manipulative, so one can only suppose that amongst the humans he feels like he's surrounded by a braying herd of livestock. He tested at 171 on the human/asari IQ scale, though it is interesting to note that he outright refused to take the turian equivalent test as (of course) a matter of pride following the events of the Relay 314 Incident.
Maxwell as a man is defined by his pride and resolve. Whilst he can value other virtues in others – particularly when said virtues make his tools more useful to him –it is by these two traits that he defines himself and ultimately judges the worthiness of those he meets. It is his pride that made him spit in the face of the turians and his resolve that enabled his species to defy the Primarch's fleets. Note that Maxwell's individual pride cannot be separated from his pride in his species, because to him there is no real distinction between the two, between his future and theirs, so long as he lives. That said, he is fully capable of subsuming his pride if he believes that it will serve his greater goals – for example, he is willing to fake being a helpless old man despite his extensive bionetic and cybernetic corrections (though I'm convinced that Maxwell certainly doesn't enjoy having to do this).
Whether or not Maxwell would be considered a psychopath in human culture is a matter of debate over at PsyProf. Several analysts have concluded that it's entirely possible that Maxwell genuinely believes that his actions, and especially his utilitarian decisions regarding human lives, come from a place of necessity – that he is utterly convinced that human arrogance and selfishness is manifest in their history, that apathy is a worse sin than malice, that those who fail their species deserve to suffer, that a hysterical mob cannot be trusted to secure their own existence (let alone greatness), that the alien will abuse and manipulate them if given the opportunity, and that only by supreme and continuous application of will can any man hope to overcome his own nature and elevate the species. Given this, he does what he is convinced is logical and necessary to secure the survival of his kind. (Bonus: this kind of insular, circular reasoning is typical of the High Lords and also neatly presents any resistance to Maxwell's actions as further proof that they are necessary and that he is right.)
Obviously, this is several turns of the Wheel away from what most humans would consider necessary, but such a perspective is certainly within the non-zero boundaries of observed human behavior. Many a dalatrass would understand, if not agree with him – what is one egg when the entire clutch is at stake? When you believe, a priori, that the 'ordinary' or 'normal' human is directly responsible for the dire condition of all humans, and that this is an empirical fact demonstrated time and time again throughout history, then why would you want to be ordinary or normal, and why would you not have contempt for them?
He certainly does have utter contempt – hatred, really – for those he feels lack the desire to understand themselves, the galaxy around them, and the necessity of sacrifice in achieving salvation. Bizarrely, Maxwell is actually respectful of alien actions against humanity when those actions abide by the principles he admires, noting that "you cannot blame a dog for pissing on your leg, or eating when it is hungry. It is his nature." Note that his reasoning is essentially amoral on a day-to-day basis, since he is convinced that his ultimate goal – the survival and 'salvation' of humanity – is inherently moral.
Oddly enough, he does NOT excuse either himself or his own family members from these standards – a refreshing lack of nepotism amongst the High Lords – and more than once been heard privately discussing (in blunt and harsh terms) how his various descendents are a disappointment to him (often to their faces, which still makes me laugh). PsyProf believes that this is, in human terms, tantamount to parental abuse/neglect and is likely to have led to several of his children and grandchildren becoming perfectionists who blame themselves for failures they aren't responsible for, struggle with their self-esteem, and quite likely resent Maxwell to some degree.
Maxwell views morality as something that humanity squandered. He believes that this occurred long ago – probably when 'man first offered entrails up to the gods,' in his words – but particularly in more modern times by the rise of 'monstrous dictators and totalitarian regimes' throughout their history. He sees these horrors as ultimately being enabled by the masses at the time, a grotesque groupthink that he attributes to the great evils of apathy and selfishness, fed by the corrupt and led by those drunk on power. He believes that the masses must be guided to enlightenment – in this fundamentally flawed world, at least – by select individuals who, through supreme strength of will, have transcended their baser natures and dedicated themselves, totally and as far as anyone possibly can, to the salvation and survival of humanity.
Like all of the High Lords, however, Maxwell's notable weakness is that he is highly dependent on his staff (and various other human forces and institutions), not just for gathering and analyzing raw intelligence, but also for coordinating his resources and implementing the mossy details of his decisions. This allows for multiple interdependent attack vectors, points of perspective, and opportunities for compromise and sabotage. Shall we exploit this?
'Allies' is certainly more accurate than 'friends,' of which Maxwell has very few, but it still doesn't quite capture the way he views everyone around him, particularly since the death of his wife. 'Associates' or 'tools' would be more accurate – Maxwell cares little for obtaining the affections of the weak, the defective, or those he considers to be lesser by virtue of their inferior minds and deeds. So long as they perform as advertised and accomplish whatever goal he sets for them, then he is satisfied. Note that he does not simply kill or dispose of the people he uses simply for the fun of it, unlike P., but he certainly won't shy away from it if necessary, and does see the value in corporal and even collective punishment as a useful deterrent. Maxwell is pragmatic in his application of incentives, applying positive and negative levers on a case by case basis after careful observation and psychological analysis.
Maxwell's tools, then, include almost the entire elite apparatus of human society, with the possible exception of his fellow High Lords (though they generally act as one on serious matters of statecraft), a handful of disgruntled admirals and generals (who have to obey his orders, but tend to keep some degree of professional distance), most of the Commissariat, and the obvious organizations that do not answer to anyone but themselves (wildcatters, Cerberus, and so on).
Ultimately, we believe Maxwell truly confides in and listens to a handful of the High Lords – Duke Chu, Prince Eldfell, and the Japanese Emperor. Together these males are the most influential on human society as a whole and it is likely that Maxwell is genuinely friendly with them. (Reginald Eldfell is a curious choice, given how much his decadent public persona clashes with Maxwell's. No doubt this is yet another façade.) He was on much better terms with the Windsors in his youth, but with the death of his wife and various other political complications that relationship appears to have soured over the years. He's reportedly pleased with how Helga Manswell has turned out, though he is mildly disappointed that she is not a man. He's also very fond of his great-grandchildren and will occasionally indulge them in ways he does for no other living things – telling stories, swapping jokes, watching them play on his estate, making schwarzwälder kirschtorte or strudel with them, and so on.
[Note: Additional Salarais-White addendum: Flash traffic from LoZ infiltration of Lawson Technologies subsidiaries on Noveria indicates with high probability that Maxwell has been engaging in echo-grade genegineering programs on his descendents for a minimum of thirty-five years now, with an aim for increasing overall fitness and evolutionary hygiene in an effort to better compete within the galactic environment. At least some of these programs incorporated data from the early Cerberus research programs on drell, asari, krogan, and salarians, and were further coopted – if not by the Systems Alliance itself then at least by some of the High Lords. Per the latest iteration of the Broker file, we know that the Shadow Broker was contracted to deliver some of these samples to Lawson's biotech holding companies on Noveria. Also casts suspicion on the High Lords' bargain with the Batarian Emperor and on several engagements between human and batarian forces. Extremely curious that in both cases the High Lords preferred using supposed enemies as cutouts rather than relying on, say, the Hades Group – have Red-Flagged for review.]
At his age? Winter. Also, time, a fall down the stairs, and forgetting to take his meds.
I suppose I should add something more serious. Nazara and his ilk? Geth? The Illusive Man? The SIX, the Thirty, and the Council of Woe? The Batarian Emperor? There are only a limited number of actors, really, who possess both capacity and intent, since intent alone certainly isn't going to be enough to topple a High Lord of Sol.
Of course, intent can change, capacity can grow, and alliances can shift. Anything and anyone can be killed, and whilst it is true that if you come for the king's horns you'd best not miss… well, even the fiercest venothi in the jungles of Sur'Kesh will wake up one day to find that it can't quite move fast enough or bite hard enough, that suddenly the creatures who used to turn and flee for their lives have now sensed its weakness, that its foes now circle it with grins on their faces, and on that day it will die.
Maxwell too will have his time.
Political and Social Notes:
This is where the clutch becomes messy. For a man whose entire damn life has been political, whose every choice and breath has enormous political consequences, and who has so definitively shaped the human political experience, Maxwell Manswell is… remarkably apolitical.
I detest most politics, but allow me to explain.
I do NOT mean that he does not understand politics, or that he can't be bothered to deal with it. That is, of course, ludicrous. He comprehends politics with a clarity that has allowed him to survive a century as a ruler during one of the most violent and chaotic periods of human history, and his mind is keen enough to poke the SIX in the horns on occasion. (I swear Muvai is torn between wanting the man killed and offering him a breeding contract. Don't tell her I said this.)
What I mean is that he is apolitical in that he does not particularly care for any human political ideology. In fact, he holds all of them – and above all, the people who slavishly follow them – in utter contempt, viewing them as something of a comfort blanket for adults who are too weak to face the galaxy and the nature of his species in its totality, or to deal with the responsibility for their own thoughts and actions; in order to avoid this painful and confronting experience, they reorder their existence around a pacifying framework that offers simplistic explanations for complex phenomena and enables them to feel superior, or like they've accomplished something of meaning.
Then again, he views people who are too apathetic, cynical, or lazy to engage with their politics and their society as even lower, not even worthy of pity but of disgust and eradication, since they are too cowardly to declare a course of action and have some 'bloodied skin in the great game of life.' Ultimately, Manswell is concerned with exercising discipline in the pursuit of the will to power (on an individual level) and on pragmatically achieving desirable outcomes for his species as a whole (on a collective level).
Remarkably refreshing, no? I told you he's wasted on them.
– STG – STG – STG –
The following advisories are considered mandatory reading.
Our ability to gather and analyze actionable intelligence on Maxwell Manswell is inherently limited. I mean, really, if we HAD that kind of influence in the first place then this whole report would be unnecessary. Painful as it is to admit, we must also consider the operational limitations that STG faces. Our organization is heavily tied up in salarian internal affairs and domestic intrigue – and frankly this is only going to get worse over time as hostile elements within the SIX attempt to bring Counterwatch online and the LoZ's… sanity, or what's left of it, slowly degrades.
Maxwell Manswell is a man who modifies his entire being in the way a sniper modifies his Manur rifle: because it is the most efficient means of achieving his goals. He controls and engineers his behavior, his beliefs, his body, and possibly his own psychology in order to misdirect others and get what he wants. Every public perception of him, every data point available to his own people, is there because he wishes it to be there. It is seen because he wills it to be seen, for whatever purpose he has planned. We cannot say with any real certainty just what, if anything, about him is genuine and what is mere misdirection, just Wheels spinning around to be seen. Maxwell has trusted no one since his wife died, and nothing about him can be trusted.
Operatives MUST consider all possible cognitive, political, operational, and even personal biases when acting on any information found here. Treat Max as you would a Daltriana of the SIX.
[Eyes only: STG Master: Yes, I'm aware of the irony, and no, you don't need to remind me. I admit that I am biased in favor of the Solus, the STG, and the general role that the SIX play in our society despite the hostile actions of certain Families. I admit that I am not impressed by almost all humans – but then I'm not impressed by roughly nine-tenths of turians, half of asari, three-fifths of drell, about the same of hanar, perhaps a third of my own species, and literally every volus I've ever met. I admit that, like Danith and Vessi, I am effectively an extremely high-functioning secretive paranoiac and possible combat addict. Specifically, melee combat. I admit that whilst Maxwell is an enemy, he is one worthy of respect; I admire his skills, pragmatic approach to problems, and sheer willpower – and yet I have an irrational desire to infiltrate his estate and kill him simply for the sheer challenge and joy, stripped of any real kind of political objective.]
Any attack on Maxwell Manswell himself requires the direct approval of the SIX. Choma-Green-level positive communication MUST be established at all times – any break in the chain of communication, in the encryption integrity, in the DNA sequences, in the continuous assent of the SIX, and so on, for any reason, automatically voids the entire process and triggers counterintelligence protocols.
It is generally recommended that the STG Master and the rest of the High Circle be present for this process, but the exact order of bodies is up to the SIX. Note that attacks on human institutions and/or persons associated with Maxwell Manswell are NOT subject to the same restrictions.
In-system League of Zero support is recommended in order to neutralize human Silver Legion counterattacks. Note that you do have a few options here. Theoretically, provided there's enough local area bandwidth and a clear line of communications to the nearest LoZ support vessel, you don't NEED in-system support – but please, do you really want to trust your life with the integrity of human engineering? Didn't think so. Contact the League for any operation against the Manswells that takes place in the Sol System, Arcturus, or any territory suspected to be part of the Black Zone. Even a small-scale deployment will allow you to remain stealthy and escape the notice of the Silver Legion, who, whilst grossly primitive, do operate in ludicrous numbers. Alternatively, you could destroy critical optronic data-lanes and other local FTL infrastructure, thus denying their use to anyone, including yourselves and the Silver Legion.
Reminder that Protocol Nineteen is still in place – if captured by high priority human security and/or paramilitary forces, including the Guard of Iron, AIS, Solguard, House Retainers, any personnel who work for the High Lords of Sol, the Silver Legions, Commissars, Cerberus, or Hades, then wipe all grayboxes, destroy all omni-tools, and detonate ocular implants. Note that this obviously doesn't apply if you're operating in an official non-cover capacity (in which case shut your damn mouth, gather all intelligence you can, and contact your nearest salarian diplomatic mission), if you still stand a chance of completing your mission (in which case get to it), or if you can still fight or escape (in which case kill them all).
Anyone who has a problem with these orders is welcome to pick up an omni-blade and debate it with me in-person, or you can go join Danith's unit and take your chances with the Broker.
[Manual Addenda: …Thank you, my clutch-brother, for that vote of confidence. Truly, your leadership skills are wasted on monitoring a hundred five-year-old human man who can't dress himself and can barely leave his house. -Danith]