Author's Note: I'm neither a philosopher nor a theologian. It is not my place to say what is truly possible or truly impossible, whether providence exists or if life is truly alone, and I'm not going to come close to a very enlightened understanding of it in my writing of this story. Just as Mass Effect is fiction, so is this story that brings forth an explanation from the past fifty billion years, a fictional account of what may have happened to bring about the events of the trilogy, a series of events as logical as I can manage based on the universe of Mass Effect.
This will be a relatively short story. Regardless, I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.
Mass Effect: Order Upon Chaos
The Precipice Archives Report: In Retrospect of Five Billion Years
Sixth Commission of Advancement Retrospective
[Terran Date] January 12, 843 A.C.
Although largely alluded to in myths prior to the Isolation, the discovery of the Precipice Archives on the First Citadel over Terra would have been hailed as the greatest legacy in the history of history itself, records left to us from at least five billion [Terran years] ago, a stark contrast to a time when we only knew of civilizations stretching back to almost fifty-one thousand [Terran years]. Realizing the implications that could arise from multiplying our knowledge of great civilizations of bygone times by a factor of a ten thousand, the Committee of Progression Eternal sealed off the Precipice Archives, and immediately formulated the Sixth Commission of Advancement Retrospective to study all available data, ascertain its findings, and provide insight on the future direction of an eternal galactic community.
Much of the contents within the Precipice Archives continue to elude us. Aside from the fact that it is stored in data cache systems impossibly more advanced that our own, translation algorithms also remain imperfect. Much of the data, even when decoded, remains unintelligible due to what is presumed to be a massive technological gap between ourselves and the authors of the Archives. It must also be understood that, despite the best and most delicate care our experts have handled the caches with, the caches themselves are over five billion [Terran years] old, and some of the data remains irrevocably damaged despite even fabrication technology, or at least beyond the reach of our current technology.
Despite the enthusiasm of the Sixth Commission of Advancement Retrospective compensating for the technological limits of this project, the painstakingly slow process of deciphering the Precipice Archives is still at its infancy, with only an estimated four percent of all content deciphered. All deciphered data, and everything else to come, now finds a home in the Repository of the Collective on the Third Citadel. The Committee of Progression Eternal and all voting members of the Citadel Collective, for whom this report is compiled for, are highly encouraged to review all deciphered materials from the Repository of the Collective before deciding on galactic policy for the upcoming bills. It is only my wish that such review comes with the understanding that the ancients were not of us, and did not automatically share either our cultures or our values; their statements must be taken as is, and we must not attempt to interpret these findings based on any romantic suppositions, just as we had done with the Protheans long ago.
Until then, this report will serve as a preliminary guide to understanding the history left behind to us through the Precipice Archives, in hopes that they will shed some light on the wisdom of those who came before us so long ago.
[Terran Date] December 18, 842 A.C.