A/N: Revelation continues.
Excerpt of Broker File 39X-B: Shepard's Crusade
Sara continues to attempt to ensure that the races of the galaxy do nothing stupid. In an attempt to record the sort of legalistic arbitrage she is now engaged in, I have made copies of the report published regarding the most recent Citadel Vote.
I was myself involved, although I am unsure why you did not see fit to add your own words.
Excerpt of Broker File 39X-B: Shepard's Crusade - response
Dearest lady, one does not interrupt the dance without a partner. It is gauche at the best, and terribly needy.
When my aid and words are actually needed, I will of course intervene. Until then, I remain your ardent worshipper.
Please do not tell Sara I said that. She may end me if she catches me flirting with you again.
REPORT ON THE CHANGES TO CITADEL LAW: Report 938382-Beta-Shirthon-D'tash
There has been, in the past few weeks, a great deal of discussion regarding the proposed changes to Citadel Law as recommended by Grand Admiral Shepard. The Subcommittee on Transmortal Technology acknowledges the arguments put forth by the salarian Reach Research Center, the turian Palavenus Institute, and the human Harper Technology Initiative.
Before we review the final decision made by the Citadel Council, however, this body would like to present the arguments put forth by interested parties and the rebuttals submitted by Dr. Liara T'Soni-Shepard of the University of Arcturus, Dr. Javas Uru-Clan of the University of Irune, and Priest-Seeker Fhan of the Hanar Ascendancy.
Forward : The Situation as it stands
It has now been almost four centuries since the Reaper War. Galactic society has healed from the wounds of that war, economies are prospering, and several new races have joined our galactic community.
The defeat of the Reapers at the hand of an extradimensional force at the end of that war left behind a paucity of actual Reaper corpses. What technology gleaned from the Reapers themselves, in particular their curious 'God-Step' jumpdrive, was derived from fragments of Nazara, a mainline Reaper destroyed over Thessia, and two smaller destroyers wrecked on Earth. As far as we can tell, all other Reapers ceased to exist after the Revelation.
The activation of the Crucible consumed over nine thousand stellar bodies, as well as some 25% of the estimates of dark matter and dark energy in the galaxy. The so-called 'Crucible Field' that has been maintained by the device since it was fired prevents any manipulation of higher order physical changes in a radius estimated at two hundred thousand megaparsecs, well beyond the limits of even the most fantastical of drive systems to ever reach the limits of.
We have been informed that the Crucible Field will not last forever. It may last centuries more, but it requires a draw upon extant solar fusion sources, aging the stars. There is only so far a star may be aged until it becomes highly unstable. The Crucible is currently programmed to move onto new sources when existing ones reach a certain threshold, but at the current rate of usage it will run out of possible power sources within range in roughly one hundred seventy years.
Grand Admiral Shepard is fairly confident that the Crucible can be 'upgraded' so that it is mobile and capable of moving to new galactic areas to 'fuel' itself. However, the timeline for such developments is very close to when the field would otherwise fail, and it is likely there will be a span of time in which the field is not active.
Grand Admiral Shepard also feels that certain lines of perceptive research into the fundamental nature of transdimensional or hyperdimensional physics and math are extremely dangerous, although she has not vouchsafed to use the reasons why. She has said that even knowing some of the things that make it dangerous holds dangers in and of itself.
As a result, at the last Council Meeting, she put forth a series of binding amendments to Citadel Law that would be held as a galactic standard for all races. The Council wishes to emphasize that it has no authority over Grand Admiral Shepard's control of the Crucible or the Catalyst AI that is the only interface to the Crucible.
Grand Admiral Shepard informed us that, after long review, any stellar system where violation of the restrictions of the laws below would suffer the star undergoing nova. In those situations where a research station was located in deep space, a sub-string collapse that would destroy everything within a full two parsecs would be triggered. There would be no warnings and no exemptions – according to her, this programming has already been prepared and will be implemented prior to any deactivation of the field.
This Council is not in possession of all facts as to why Grand Admiral Shepard has undertaken such extreme measures. However, given events at the end of the Reaper War and the information from the Grand Admiral that the extradimensional beings required such limits on our technology, the Council voted unanimously to approve the changes.
Since there has been some backlash and dissent from many research and science institutions, this Council has taken the unusual step of presenting all dissents, rebuttals, and supporting evidence for this decision.
Please keep in mind : the Council will not intercede with nor stop Grand Admiral Shepard in her stated role as upkeeping and enforcing the agreement made with the extradimensional beings who destroyed the Reapers. United as we were, the entire might of the Galaxy was losing badly to them when Shepard's actions saved us all. Historical records indicate that previous governments did not give the proper credence to her warnings and statements, a near-lethal mistake this Council is not foolish enough to repeat. Violation of the below laws will result in EXPULSION from the Council, as a Citadel Race, and a war to conquer and remove all illegal research and those responsible for pursuit of such will be undertaken by all other races in the galaxy.
A submission of the proposed additions and changes to Citadel Law.
Section TY, Article 1 : No research of any form of 'third-stage' hypermathematical concepts involving dimensional transformational models. This includes but is not limited to trans-luminal particle deflection, superstring energy manipulation, or anything involving at even the most peripheral level ANY attempt to mimic or replicate functions of the Crucible.
Section TY, Article 2 : No research of any form into degenerate matter compression technology beyond the newly discovered Second Chakansar Limit, specifically to incorporate a total ban on the artificial generation of black holes or other derangements of the fabric of space-time beyond the effects of God-Step propulsion.
Section TY, Article 3 : Exclusion of any research or analysis of Reaper technology, Inusannon electromagnetic resonance imaging technology, or any technology that manipulates, affects, or allows viewing of dimensional effects not discernable by the natural senses of organics, i.e., beyond three dimensions in space and one unidirectional flow of time.
Section EX, Article 13 : Exclusion of any applications by the geth or any AI being to incorporate any sensors or receptors that would enable viewing of dimensional effects beyond three dimensions in space and one unidirectional flow of time.
Section CV, Article 6 : Biological research, including cloning, DNA/XNA/VNA splicing, reverse organic engineering, or any form of manipulation of living or dead beings that incorporates genetic material or abilities of any organic species that possesses a natural or evolved ability to view beyond three dimensions in space and one unidirectional flow of time.
Spectre Code Nine, Article 112: Spectre oversight of any archeological digs conducted where the expected age strata of recoveries would be prior the Prothean extinction where expected technology of the dig site is higher than that of current galactic standard. This includes all Inusannon ruins and any remaining outposts of corrupted Geth, Collectors, or any possible sites of Leviathan inhabitance.
A rationale proposed
The bulk of these changes to existing law were proposed by Grand Admiral Shepard as part of her ongoing efforts to ensure the events that happened at the end of the Reaper War never recur. While the Grand Admiral has declined to explain precisely what happened at the end of the Battle of Earth, aside from the complete destruction of the Reapers and several anomalous energy spikes, she has been very clear and direct as to the cause of the Reaper invasion and attack in the first place.
To remind all who are affected by these laws – the Reapers were destroyed by an extra-dimensional force that reacts in a hostile manner to any manipulations of energy that violate our current understanding of certain physical laws. Given that these beings were capable of obliterating over nine thousand Reaper war-forms in our galaxy in a matter of seconds, and were credited with the FTL energy flares we picked up four years ago corresponding to Reaper annihilation in that galaxy at the same time, the Council is very much inclined to listen to the Grand Admiral when it comes to avoiding events or paths of research that might lead us down the same lines and to the same fate.
The Council is aware of the scope and rate of technological change that has been spurred by our limited and careful research into Reaper and Collector technologies, as well as those technologies generously provided to us by Vigil. The intent of the changes is not to stifle innovation or progress, but to avoid research into areas that offer nothing but obliteration if we do not handle them correctly.
Three arguments have been put forth to challenge some or all of the proposed changes to Citadel Law. In the interest of transparency, we have published not only these arguments, but rebuttals by other experts in this area, and the Council vote and thought pattern on each.
There were no challenges to Section EX, Article 13. The Geth Avatar-to-Overmind has already agreed to this limitation and the only extant AI's in existence – Vigil and the Cerberus-derived lesser models like him – agreed instantly. It was the regrettable decision of this Council , with concurring votes from the Geth, that any future AI or synthetic race will be forced to submit to this law. Violators will be destroyed.
While there were many objections to Spectre Code Nine, Article 112, the Council reminds all sentient beings that there are no limits to Spectre authority, implicit or explicit. This article does not grant Spectres new powers – if they find a dig site a threat they are authorized to shut it down and respond aggressively to any dissent. The point of the change is to formalize a process so that researchers wishing to conduct such excavations can do so without drawing the ire of Spectres, by having one on site at the start.
The Reach Research Institute objected to Section TY, Article 3 and Section CV, Article 6. Their rebuttal is stated as such:
With all due respect to the beings of the Council and the advice of Grand Admiral Shepard, scientific restrictions of this nature are both illogical and dangerous. The RRC acknowledges that experimenting with transmortal technology of Reaper make is dangerous, both due to the risk of indoctrination and the extreme volatility and power of such technology. Likewise, experimenting with the math and physics that allows building such terrible things is also wisely restricted.
To restrict research allowing us to see these things goes too far, however. If the Inusannon were able to do so, then logic states that at some point in time, another race might naturally evolve with such abilities. Are we to declare war on innocent sentient beings for being able to see what we cannot? To bar them from advancement, or joining the galactic community due to such things? And if not, then by what logical basis can any argument restricting exploring the ability to observe – not manipulate, not experiment with, merely observe – such energies or phenomena stand upon?
Grand Admiral Shepard makes an argument that even knowing why such knowledge is forbidden is dangerous. This flies in the face of everything salarians believe in, namely that ignorance is death. To leave species of the galaxy blind to these mysteries is to let us forget the true power and possible danger they represent.
The argument of the RRC is rebutted by Dr. Liara T'Soni-Shepard, Matria of House T'Soni and holder of the Einsteinan Chair at the University of Arcturus:
There are those who would assume that, given my past both as scientist and soldier, that my rejection of the salarian argument would be based on facts, logic, and pragmatism.
While I certainly acknowledge these as the beach upon which all waves must end upon, I fear my reaction to the argument put forth is more visceral and atavistic.
There are none alive save asari, krogan, and my wife who remember the horror of the Revelation. To you it is rapidly approaching ancient history, a cautionary tale and one to inspire haptic movies and literature. You cannot imagine the sheer horror and chaos of those times, the death and despair. You cannot hear the braying buzzing call of the Reapers, stealing your very will away.
And you cannot imagine the mind-breaking horror and wrongness of the Darkness.
You will note not a single asari university is submitting any defiance to these rules. That what few krogan scientists grace the halls of various institutions refuse to study anything even related to dimensional theory. They remember.
You cannot. You should be grateful.
The argument put forth is simple: If we can see these things for ourselves, then we can see the danger that is spoken of. The problem is equally simple: if you see these things, your understanding will lead you into places that are very dangerous to go, mentally.
You have never seen the stars themselves darken and wither, or watched light bend and drip like water. You have never seen stars come apart like melting wax and gravity behave as if it were heat. You have never seen millions go unrelentingly mad, so mad they tore out their own eyes and choked on their own blood rather than gaze into the sky.
You cannot imagine. And to see these things is to suffer. They are not meant for the eyes of such as you or I. If a being naturally evolves to handle such horrors, such impossible things, then in some way their mind and psyche can be protected. But we mere mortals cannot.
There is no shame in admitting there are questions best left unasked.
The Palavenus Institute of Scientific Inquiry has objected to the entirety of Article TY. Their argument:
Honored Councilors, fellow sapient beings. Long has been the hour since the galaxy united in bravery and defiance of the dark monstrosities known as the Reapers.
With care and the appropriate protections, we have learned much from the remains of what few Reaper wrecks survived, as well as from certain Prothean and Inusannon dig sites. The collection of ships at the Collector Base also has proven to be a treasure trove of both historical and technological data.
It is thus with both puzzlement and irritation that we are now told that to continue down these lines of research is too dangerous. That we should turn our gaze and determination from the future and instead remain content in our ignorance.
The extradimensional beings known as the Darkness or the Other are a threat. They destroyed the Reapers and chased off the Leviathans with but a minor display of their power. Despite the narrative relayed to us by Grand Admiral Shepard, a tale of a race too arrogant for it's own good that hunted in fields best left empty, the Palavenus Institute disagrees.
We simply cannot afford to be ignorant of the power that was wielded by these creatures. We cannot place ourselves in a position of eternal weakness, only waiting for someone else to be bold and gain advantage. Shepard claims – with no proof but her own word – that these things may return to destroy all life if we manipulate the nature of the universe as the Reapers and Leviathans did.
Yet is this not what every Mass Relay does? Is this not what the God-Step engine does? Is not the very existence of the Crucible an affront?
We respectfully but firmly decline the argument that wallowing in fear is ever preferable to knowing the truth and understanding our options, good or bad. We are not the megalomaniacal fools that the Leviathans were. None of us are arrogant enough to see ourselves as gods. But to lock away the ability to even comprehend these things is to leave ourselves with no defense or weapons should this Darkness decide we are dangerous and to return to wipe us out.
The rebuttal to this was delivered by Dr. Javas Uru-Clan of the University of Irune, who is the Clan-Chair of Extra-historical Market Examination.
The Palaven-clan arguments are, as to be expected from our old clan-cousins the turians, grounded in bravado, arrogance, and dismissal of danger. I do not seek out or imply this in an insulting fashion, any more than a Vol-Clan would be insulted by accusations of greed or cowardice. We are shaped by and crafted in the mould of our environment.
But the dangers of this research are clearly so risky that any profit – financial, military or scientific – is outweighed by the awesome risks and repercussions of failure, unwise usage, or changing environments.
I understand that few see the connection between the concept of profit and a discussion such as this, but I feel that the argument put forth is simply unbalanced in terms of risk versus reward. We already know, from the poorly-reasoned experiments of the Salarian Union and several disastrous attempts by the Harper Institute, that comprehending the accurate nature of transdimensional physics is mentally and psychologically destructive. With the exception of the yahg, no Council race, nor the Geth Overmind, has demonstrated the ability for more than a minute fraction of their race to absorb such concepts without going insane or becoming sociopathic misfits obsessed with things no one can see and concepts that contradict each other.
There is no profit or gain from investing in a toxic risk. Any benefits are robbed of use and potence by the requirements to prevent unintended consequence. Even if Grand Admiral Shepard is wrong about the extradimensional beings returning – and we wish to point out doubters of her in our past nearly got our entire galaxy destroyed – the already known facts of what are the likely outcomes of violating these strictures should stop any idea of working with these technologies.
The first two attempts destroyed two entire solar systems, the third obliterated six stars and killed nine billion souls, including billions of turians, asari, and my own people. What sort of fool wishes to play with technology we can't even understand without going mad that if we get the slightest thing wrong could very well destroy everything?
You cannot on one hand sneer at the concept that the extradimensional beings would strike us down for tampering with such technology, and on the other claim we need such technology to prevent them from striking us down!
Respectfully, the best thing to do with these technologies is exactly what Grand Admiral Shepard suggests – ignore them. Make them illegal. Don't look into them, or their ramifications. We cannot approve of any sort of research where one wrong move will doom us all.
The Harper Technology Initiative only objects to Section CV, Article 6. Their argument:
It is with great reluctance that HTI makes the following objections. HTI has always, even in the days when we were Cerberus, supported the wisdom and leadership of Grand Admiral Shepard.
However, there are certain aspects of the restriction of biological research that are detrimental to the security of Citadel space. Our understanding of these transdimensional laws and technologies is limited by our ability to see or react to them. There may well be races that can see such and have adapted to such vision or senses, and to ignore such ability – or the chance to obtain it – is in and of itself a danger.
Our argument stands upon two cogent factors. First, without the ability to understand and see what we are trusted not to disturb, we can never be sure that new technologies – independent of Reaper technology paths – are going to interact with transdimensional factors. It is well and good to suggest that knowing too much is dangerous. HTI tends towards agreement. But we are walking blind, and in the fullness of time our own technology may have side effects or emissions that cause problems we are totally unaware of.
Our second argument is perhaps more selfish. The tired canard that we are mature enough to deal with the danger is not the case, and HTI acknowledges this. But the day will come when the singularity comes upon us, whether we are ready for it or not. HTI cannot predict what changes in technology or knowledge that will bring because whatever lies on the opposite side is so far beyond us that it as if a cave man had to understand the subtle nature of timing fine lawsuits for long-jump FTL craft with time dilation. It is not in our lexicon of possibility. Having access to this sort of thing would hopefully show us some of the dangers that singularity might represent – instead of leading to arrogant presumption, it would be a signal warning, since clearly we did NOT inherit or develop these abilities on our own.
Our founder, Jack Harper, always said that it would never benefit one to assume competence. Shepard , despite her alterations, will not live forever. When she passes, what will we have in terms of an ability to alter the Crucible programming? None? And if a day comes where we NEED the ability to see the realities beyond, whom then do we appeal to?
We will admit that curiosity did not aid the cat in the end, but we also caution all that absolutes are the worst sort of decisions to make when involving the future.
The rebuttal is by Priest-Seeker Fhan of the Hanar Ascendancy.
Fellow beings of light,
It is said among my kind that enlightenment is both a joy and a burden. The wisdom of those who came before us, the Enkindlers and the Starwalkers, those you call Protheans and Inusannon, did not die with their physical forms or empires.
We have listened to the glow of the HTI, and their chant speaks of the dangers of relying on ones tentacles rather than one senses. Yet it is curious they ignore the other branch of that stream, that the Unseen is Unseen for a reason.
The starwalkers, in their vast wisdom, altered their people to not be able to perceive the Higher Realms, not out of fear but prudence. The impassioned words of Dr. T'Soni-Shepard have not fallen on dark trunks.
We Remember. It is a tale passed down from scion to budling, unbroken and without soft-speaking. To forget is to embrace, nay chase death, since on that day we awoke from our ignorance in worshipping the Enkindlers and saw what true gods were like.
Terror and chaos, swirling like a tide of broken dreams.
No, it is best that we keep our senses focused upon the here and now, the things we can touch and taste and hear. To see death racing upon you has not stopped millions of sentient beings from making bad choices, and we suspect it would not stop civilizations from doing so. We speak not of death of the body, or even the soul. We speak of the shattering of all matter, all energy, into the endless maw of the Dark Gods we saw above Earth that day.
The second argument holds nothing but clouds. Grand Admiral Shepard was wise to guide us, as she along saved us. All those who failed to listen to her over the many years are dead, and we refuse to engage in such a thing.
The Council has voted.
The Asari-Human Systems Alliance: votes to enact all laws.
The Turian Imperial Hierarchy: votes to enact all laws.
The Salarian Union : votes to enact all laws.
The Quarian Republic: votes to enact all laws.
The Geth Overmind : Consensus achieved. Enact all laws.
The Volus-Vorcha Combine: votes to enact all laws
The Elcor Stability: resolute: enact all laws
The Omega Protectorate: Aria agrees to all laws.
The New Batarian Alliance : votes to enact all laws.
The Yahg Victorium : votes to enact all laws.
The Rathoi Collective : votes to enact all laws.
END RECORD. TRANSMIT BURST.