LP's Note: Welcome to the Shadow Broker's files, the long-awaited masterpiece that explains not only the Citadel government and forces, but also galactic history.
Sharp readers will note that some of the things here clash with the Cerberus Files or the STG Files. That is intentional. These are in-universe documentation stories. You want the truth? You can't handle the truth.
All of this is written by the incomparable Xabiar who writes both the "XCOM Files" as well as his own X-COM Series and documentation pieces for SLotH4. Xabiar is one of the most skilled writers I've ever met and his take on my vision blew me away with its coherence and style.
Enjoy! Xab's notes – when he has any – will appear at the bottom of the chapter.
The room he sat within was well-lit, if plain in furnishings. Most who stepped within would be more inclined to assume it was an armory, not an office. Across the leftmost wall were racks of assault rifles, pistols, and sniper rifles. A Krysae, several Phaestons, and a couple Widows were some of the weapons on display; the majority of which were turian, but there were some exotic weapons which had been custom-made by quarian, asari, and human vendors.
If one had the money, it wasn't that difficult to find those willing to adapt some of the more valuable alien weapons to a different physiology.
Expensive, but worth it.
It wasn't as though there was much else to spend his small fortune on.
Opposite the racks of weapons were several suits of armor, all kept in prime condition. The first was his old Blackwatch armor. Scratched, visibly damaged, and overall the most ineffective piece of equipment he kept, but it held some sentimental value to him. That armor had kept him alive through many a mission.
The second suit was more of a novelty, a SKYTALON suit which he'd acquired back in the day, and had spent some time training with. He certainly couldn't match the very best of the pilots, as his role was far different these days, but he could quite easily hold his own should it be required. His mandibles flicked as he was reminded that he really should fly with the suit, since it had been over a week since his last excursion.
Unfortunately, priorities took precedence. Especially in this position.
The third suit was a custom-made battle-suit. Black and armed to the teeth with anything a walking weapon of mass destruction would need. Micro-missile systems, omni-shielding and blades, flamethrowers, and more. He wouldn't be sprinting around in it, and would be quite exposed in combat, but in terms of protection, it couldn't be beat.
And the final one… well, that was more of a memento he had no intention of wearing again.
But it served as a good reminder.
A black carpet rolled from the door to the workstation that effectively functioned as his desk; the desk which the turian now sat before. A white light shone directly upon him, bringing to attention the scarring of the fringe and face. The duality of the eyes, one natural and blue, the other white and artificial, almost glowed under the illumination.
Talons absentmindedly tapped on the haptic keyboard as the many graphs, images, and displays being projected on the white haptic screen passed by. Most were unimportant right now – minor updates and network changes. News broadcasts were always playing in the background, which he found some amusement in listening to.
So much spin and propaganda. Knowing the truth made him realize how artificial and manufactured everything was.
The price of being an operative of the Shadow Broker. One learned the truths of the galaxy.
Contrary to what many believed, the truth was not always good, fair, or right.
It was rare for him to fall into such ruminations, but a mixture of the recent news and the newest assignment he had been given – one the Broker had personally ordered him to complete – had stirred some reflection. Such direct commands were almost never given to subordinates other than his favored operatives. Tazzik, Tetrimus, and a few others.
He honestly preferred it that way.
Those who caught the eye of the Broker tended to end up dead, or among the most influential in the galaxy.
It was interesting to compare himself and others who found themselves in the employ of the Broker. Those of all stripes, personalities, and species had found themselves within the Network at one point or another, but their roles and what they did tended to be drastically different. He'd observed it quite a bit over the years.
The fools and the stupid were among the lowest of those attracted to the power and secrecy of the Network. Individuals who were idiotic enough to believe that they could take the Broker's secrets, use them, and never need to worry about returning the favor. Or worse, attempting to use such secrets against the Broker.
Such were only useful as cannon fodder and the paltry amount of information they had. There was a place for chipped-up soldiers in the Network, but he personally found it more effective to transition them to usable assets. There was no shortage of slavers and unscrupulous scientists in the galaxy. They were too unreliable to be stationed assets, and too stupid to be left unchecked. Ironically, they posed something of a dilemma.
He cocked his head, reconsidering. Well, a dilemma which was easily decided by a cost-benefit analysis.
The ambitious were also attracted to the Shadow Broker. They only usually needed some trivial amount of information to achieve their goals, or rise in the ranks of their place of employment. Such could be easily provided to a point. They were usually smart enough to not cause problems and served as quite reliable, if fairly low-level, assets. Unfortunately, they were usually not smart enough to ask questions before accepting what the Broker offered.
And that was usually how the Broker liked it. Indentured servitude to the Network in all but name. Trapped forever, not daring to act for fear of their lives coming down around them, and all inevitably realized how they had been set up from the very beginning.
The truly intelligent individuals – they understood how the Broker operated and treated him with the respect he was due. They paid their favors, and took what they needed, but they didn't cause trouble for the Broker, and never asked for something until they knew what was needed in return. They were skeptical and suspicious – in the beginning at least.
However, he had observed many a supposedly scrupulous individual intend to only use the Broker for their ideal of 'good' and over the years become more ensnared in the web they were involved in. Unlike others, they could leave the Broker entirely, and it wouldn't matter because there would be something the Broker had as leverage. It only took one agreement, one deal, and they were compromised.
Not to mention that the Broker did not lie to them. He gave his clients exactly what they wanted. Their only mistake was believing that he didn't have a plan or agenda of his own. It amazed him how legitimately intelligent individuals believed that the Broker was impartial or only motivated by things such as money.
Admittedly, he had no idea what actually drove the Shadow Broker. He had never even met the enigmatic titan in-person. But he was smart enough to know that the Broker had a plan. He had a strategy. He had a goal.
It was not his place to ask, and that suited him fine.
As for where he fell in this hierarchy of individuals drawn to the Broker? He had foresight, as did several others. He had never had any interest in being a mere 'asset,' or using the Broker for his own ends, or those of the ones he answered to. But he knew enough about the Broker to know that the safest way of dealing with the Broker was to take no half measures.
And here he was today, a turian with more secrets within reach of his talons than most sapient beings could ever dream of. He did not know everything, of course, but it was enough for him to piece together some interesting conclusions. And he knew that the Broker had some level of trust in him as he had moved from a lower Network administrator to levels of higher and higher importance.
His mandibles flared. No, wrong word.
The Broker had decided he was 'reliable.' He did his job, did it well, and that was it. He was quite certain the Shadow Broker trusted no one, and neither did he. He was well-paid, and wanted for nothing, but that didn't mean much to him anymore. What drove him now was an interest in seeing how everything played out by actors far smarter than he was.
A show he could safely observe from afar. A show that almost none would know the true story of.
Perhaps the Shadow Broker would remove him one day, but at this point, it would only be due to a massive blunder. He was past the phase of worrying about liquidation teams coming to burn him in the night. Or perhaps not. It wouldn't surprise him to learn that the Broker planned for such an event.
Yet he doubted it. The Broker did not do things without reason.
Still, at times he did wonder what the enigmatic shadow was thinking. The assignment itself was peculiar, especially for him.
It seemed… redundant, initially. There were so many documents and reports on the Citadel that it was staggering to comprehend. Yet when he'd actually looked, he had been relatively surprised to find that no single comprehensive report on the Citadel existed. There were reports on the various aspects of the Citadel, but it was scattered, isolated, and compilations out-of-date.
Admittedly, the Citadel was undergoing some major changes as well. The humans and quarians adjusting to their elevated status as members of the Council, as well as the repairs and damage to the Citadel and Destiny Ascension. It all made for a perfect reason for the Broker to want a clear and unobstructed picture of what was happening on the station – and what to expect from it.
He set down the physical sheet of paper the message had been delivered to him on.
At least Shepard would no longer be around to screw things up further.
He pulled up the list of assets still on the Citadel and got to work.
INTERNAL BROKER NETWORK
THE CITADEL COUNCIL
Report Category: Organization | Comprehensive
Report Classification: Level 10
Report Author: Operations Director Lavin Vevonis
Report Requisition Official: The Shadow Broker
Organization of Interest: The Citadel Council
Organization Alias(es)/Alternate Name(s): "Citadel"; "Citadel Forces"; "the Council"
Organization Type(s): Government; Committee
Capital/Base of Operations: Citadel Station
Government Type(s): Authoritarian | Moderate Dictatorship
Date of Foundation: 0 GS
Date of Collapse/Dissolution: N/A
The Citadel itself is often regarded as one of the landmarks of the galaxy, and has been the center of galactic power since its discovery. The Citadel Council was established as the beginning of the galactic community, and has remained the center of galactic power. Regardless of the capabilities of other governments or entities, the fact remains that the Citadel appears to hold the ultimate political, economic, and military power of the galaxy – and it can bring all of it to bear against its enemies.
In truth, this is a mixture of propaganda and facts. While much of this can be applied to the modern Citadel Council – especially with the recent additions – in the past, it has certainly not been invulnerable, all-powerful, or even victorious in all circumstances. It is also worth noting that the Citadel Council has its own series of vulnerabilities and weaknesses, which are admittedly present in all institutions, and with a governmental entity of this size and scale, avoiding such would be impossible.
It is first important to realize the strengths of the Citadel and where their largest threat to others lies. It is not primarily military. In theory, the Citadel Military Forces are composed of the best of the member species, and enjoy a reputation as being the elite and apolitical, as being assigned to the Citadel Military is often seen as an honor (depending, of course, on your opinion of the Citadel/Council itself) and such appointments are (usually) made based on merit. Furthermore, a majority of individuals who join are effectively declaring their allegiance to the 'greater good of the galactic community,' and not their own racial governments.
The Citadel Military is a dangerous force when mobilized, as the majority of their forces are equal in training and discipline compared to the Turian Hierarchy for example, which is not necessarily surprising as they take inspiration and methods from other militaries across the galaxy. With this said, the other species tend to edge them in direct specialties such as biotics, infowar techniques, and sheer numbers. It is largely where the idealistic, ambitious, or well-connected of the galaxy's military inevitably end up.
But their primary power comes from the extensive political and economic control they wield. While technically each member species is still under their own government, failure to comply with Citadel regulations and directives will almost always result in disastrous consequences for the species in question (with the hanar and drell a notable exception). Citadel-aligned companies and individuals will withdraw their business, tourism would be curtailed, and their chances of receiving any kind of protection or assistance are gone, as blacklisting by the Citadel is equivalent to a political death sentence.
Of course, this can be lifted, but when the Citadel has the advantage, they will always negotiate so they will receive the most out of any agreement, and extract multiple concessions from the offending party. Very few have the means or will to openly defy the Citadel, and most comply without being significantly prompted.
This report will go into extensive detail on the inner workings of all aspects of the Citadel Council, including Citadel Station itself. It will cover the history, organizational structure, military capabilities, intelligence capabilities, motives, plans, and other noteworthy pieces of information that have been recovered. This report has been compiled meticulously over an eight-month period utilizing nearly the entirety of our assets on Citadel Station, three-quarters of our assets in Citadel Space, and ten percent of assets placed throughout the various governments of Citadel Council species.
Please note that the terms 'Citadel' and 'Council' will both be used when describing this organization, with 'Citadel' being used when referring to the organization as a whole, and 'Council' for referring to decisions or actions directly tied to Citadel leadership.
All original reports and documents will be linked and cited as it relates to this report itself. This report will be separated into seven major sections, which will be listed below:
NOTE: Major figures of notes will be listed and described in the appropriate sections. Please see attachment C-099-156 for a separate list of figures of note which have been documented throughout this report.
SECTION 1: Foundation and History – Provides a historical overview of the Citadel Council and galactic history as a whole, including discovery by the Asari Republic, formation of the Citadel Council, involvement in major historical events, the Refusal Wars, and the gradual expansion and growth of the organization itself. This section will be up-to-date as of the submission of this report.
SECTION 2: The Citadel Council and Embassies – Cover the inner workings of the Citadel Council itself, as well as the impact it has over legislation and economic matters. It will also cover all racial embassies and their internal structures and organization. This does NOT cover the Subcommittees.
SECTION 3: Citadel Subcommittees – Covers the internal structure, function, and political/economic/legislative capabilities of all nine Citadel Subcommittees – both public and private – which are responsible for all Citadel regulations and policy proposals, votes, and revisions. The seven public Subcommittees are as follows:
- The Subcommittee of Defense
- The Subcommittee of Commerce
- The Subcommittee on Sentient Rights
- The Subcommittee on Health
- The Subcommittee on Habitability
- The Subcommittee on Science
- The Subcommittee on Diplomacy and Integration [Established after the Benezia Incident]
The two private Subcommittees are as follows:
- The Subcommittee on Privacy and Intelligence
- The Subcommittee on Precursor Matters [Established after the Benezia Incident]
SECTION 4: The Citadel Military – Covers the capabilities, organization, composition, and role of the Citadel Military. This includes the Citadel Fleet, the Citadel Defense Force (CDF), the Council Special Tasks Group (CSTG), Citadel Intelligence (CINT), and the Council Special Operations Group (CSOG). This does NOT cover the SPECTREs.
SECTION 5: Citadel Security (C-Sec) – Covers the capabilities, organization, composition, and role of Citadel Security (C-Sec), their impact on Citadel Station and law enforcement on the galactic scale, and relationship to other species governments, law enforcement agencies, and the SPECTREs. Will also include major cases (both successful and unsuccessful) that C-Sec was significantly involved in.
SECTION 6: SPECTREs – Covers the recruitment, capabilities, organization, composition, and role of the Special Tactics and Reconnaissance (SPECTRE) division of the Citadel Council. Due to the organization of the SPECTREs, this will have a far larger focus on the major individuals within it, as well as their tactics and capabilities. It will cover major (both known and unknown) operations, inter-division relations between individual SPECTREs, as well as the organization's relationship to the species governments and galactic law enforcement. This also will cover the impact of recent Council directives concerning the internal transparency of the SPECTREs following the treason of Saren Arterius.
SECTION 7: Citadel Station – Covers the lesser-known aspects and secrets of the Citadel which the Council has suppressed or hidden for a multitude of reasons. Primarily covers the contents of the Citadel Archives and Vaults, the Keepers, and the origin and purpose of Citadel Station itself.
While it should not need to be stated, comments as they relate to the goals, stability, and security of the Broker Network will also be made as they are needed.
LINK-NET SECURE TRANSMISSION
DEDICATED SOURCE DECRYPT… COMPLETE.
Vevonis. Proceed. A level six acquisitions team and two level ten insertion teams are authorized, as well as funding located in accounts JRM-9292-Xana and JRM-4948-Kolo. Barla Von will reach out to you to transfer at the usual window of transmission.
CARRIER SIGNAL LOST
DISCONNECTING FROM LINK-NET
Xabiar's Note: A while ago, LP asked me if I'd be interested in doing a supplementary document on the Citadel Council, and of course I said 'yes.' Took me a while, but it's being done and I'm happy with how it's shaping up. Hopefully, everyone will find it an interesting addition to the Premisverse. For anyone who has read something of mine before, it's going to be more in the style of the SotP Addenda I write for SLotH4, and less XCOM Files-esque.
Thanks also to LP for letting me do this. He sets a very high bar that I hope I can meet here.