Mass Effect: Return from the Shadows
Shifts in Power
On many of the homeworlds and some of the colonies, life had stabilized and focus for many groups had shifted from trying to restore their worlds to returning to their old niches, or, for the more entrepreneurial and ambitious, carve out new ones. Many had already taken advantage of the fragile political and economical state of the galaxy and established themselves as leaders in during the restoration process. In addition to this, many beings saw the end of the Reaper threat as a new beginning, and as such, the political landscape saw a dramatic change once such things could be focused on.
The biggest change had to do with the mediating government between the different races of the galaxy, the Citadel Council. In 2195, there was a call for a reformation of the structure of this political body, or rather, to allow all races a representative on the council. The driving idea behind this was that all of the races had contributed to fighting the Reapers and many of them were within Council space, so they felt they had earned their way to have a say in Council policies. It was also pointed out by some that, as shown by the forces put together by Commander Shepard, when they were united, they could accomplish much more.
Critics of this, mostly coming from Asari, Turian, Salarian, and human politicians, argued that the current system had worked well for thousands of years, so why change it? There was also another problem that the supporters of the new movement had: perhaps they didn’t truly want what they were asking for. If the Citadel Council allowed races like the Elcor and the Volus to join on the basis that they were proposing, that meant that they should also allow the Krogan, Rachni, and Geth seats as well. This was not a very appealing aspect for some and resulted in a slowing of the “revolution.”
However, of those three races, only the Geth showed interest in joining. The Krogan preferred not to have the rules and restrictions of becoming a member and after the Battle for Earth, the Rachni had mostly disappeared from the galactic scene.
The push for the Geth to join the the Council as an associate species was another source of political conflict. Many people still had large mistrust and even hatred towards synthetic life after the Reaper invasion, especially towards the Geth as a faction of the Quarian-made lifeforms had joined the Reapers. Though the Geth were different than they had been before (Shepard and a Geth named Legion had used Reaper technology to give the Geth individual consciousness), most people could not see this. There was also some question as what the motivation the Geth had behind this move and despite their new individuality, the synthetics still held onto the secrecy that they were known for. Eventually, it was decided by the Council to deny the Geth their wishes on the basis that, because they shared their world with the Quarians, both groups would have to agree to join the Council.
The Volus Barlon Viak, through his large trade empire, had gained significant amounts of power and by 2196, he had many people supporting his movement for a Volus representative on the Citadel Council. He argued that the Volus had been an associate member much longer than both the Turians and the humans and that his race had brought back the galactic economy. The sides for and against this admission were almost dead even; some realized that if the Volus were admitted, then the floodgates would be opened, but Viak’s influence ran deep.
The debate became heated, with neither side backing down. Viak worked behind the scenes, and many suspected that the Volus pushing for the position, Rial Iaron, was more or less a puppet of the business morgel. The arguments escalated quickly; talks of rights being denied, inequality, and corrupt leaders were soon flying around. The Council scrambled to keep everything under control, but soon there were threats of secession by the Volus. Not willing to budge, the Council looked like they were about to let them do just that.
However, it never came to that because just as Volus looked like they were about to follow through with it, disaster struck. Several Volus colonies were attack by a group of separatists who had just repaired their mass relay. These separatists were led by a batarian warlord, Savush Grelck, who had taken over several Terminus system worlds by force and had created his own, isolated empire. The colonies had gone dark years ago, but without anyway to reach them, the Citadel races had no way of knowing what had happened. Grelck had amassed a large fleet in his isolation and sent spies to Citadel space to see how well they had recovered.
Although his armies were large and ruthless, the batarian had critically underestimated his enemy. His hunger for power blinded him, and although they won several battles early on, the tide quickly turned against him. The combined powers of the Council fleets came to the aid of the Volus and, though the fighting was brutal, they were largely victorious. Grelck was forced to limp away with just a quarter of his fleet intact, disappearing back into the Terminus systems. The Council fleets tried to pursue, but without knowing which mass relay Grelck had come through, they could not follow.
The Council quickly took advantage of the situation; the Volus needed their military protection, especially now. If Grelck returned, even in his weakened state, his armies would surely conquer the now near non-existent Volus military. Reluctantly, Rial Iaron ended his push and the reformation was left for dead. Although this movement was not successful, the idea had been planted. Was the Citadel Council the right system, or was there something better?