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Mass Effect Lore: Episode 2 – Turians
by Adam Clark
Discipline, duty, and courage are traits that need to be instilled through years of training, but to most Turians these qualities come naturally. The Turians possess what many consider the most powerful military force in the galaxy, fortunately ethics and honor are also held in high regard in Turian civilization. However, when the need for military action is required, and the sleeping beast is provoked, it’s always safe to assume that its foes might be rethinking their own ambition.
Recorded Turian history began over fifteen thousand years ago, on their home planet Palaven, Third planet of the Trebia System. Due to such a weak magnetic field, Palaven is extremely vulnerable to its sun, as natural evolution ran its course the indigenous life began to develop a protective shell resembling a metallic surface. It has been said that Palaven is a “silver world of fortress and fire” and “The only thing on this planet that isn’t silver are the Turians. It’s all too clear they’re made of steel.” Though a Turian isn’t necessarily made of steel, their presence does inspire fear and respect, even among some of the more brutal races in the galaxy.
Shortly after the formation of the Citadel Council, the Turians had already discovered several mass relays within the galactic network, and began to colonize several worlds far from Palaven. Some of these newly inhabited worlds elected chieftains to represent the Turians who wished to separate from the Palaven Hierarchy. As the separatists became more xenophobic they began to distinguish themselves with tribal war tattoos and facial markings. Tensions grew among the outer colonies, civil war was on the horizon, and the Hierarchy was content with letting the tribes tear themselves apart.
Palaven finally intervened when the chieftains of the separatist colonies were too weak to resist, a decision that some Turian historians might consider cowardly but this “Unification War” had come to a swift ending. Even though the rebel Turian colonies slowly conformed back into the hierarchy, many Turians still wore the markings of their tribes and still do to this day.
Several hundred years later, the Citadel Council’s first contact teams discovered the Turians. At this time the Council was already at war with another race, the Krogan. The Council recognized the potential of the Turian fleets and requested their help in the war effort. The Turians accepted the Council’s offer, and began to mobilize. With the help of a Council species: the Salarians, the war was brought to an end by releasing a bio-weapon that threatened to slowly wipe out every Krogan in existence. Because of their brave contribution to the war, Turians were offered a spot on the Council alongside the Asari and Salarians. They were now able to spread their influence throughout the entire galaxy.
Because Turians have such a strong natural sense of public service, they proposed the creation of the office of Citadel Security, or C-Sec. A police force whose jurisdiction was the entire Citadel, C-sec is responsible for keeping the peace among the Citadel’s residents, and preventing smugglers from bringing in contraband. Many see C-Sec as useless, nothing more than a bureaucratic sea of red tape and regulations. Worse yet, it made the Turians seem ineffective.
After being on the Council for over a millennium, the Turian fleets took it upon themselves to be the ‘enforcers’ of Council laws. One of these laws prohibited the activation any new and uncharted mass relays, and in 2157 that’s exactly what they caught someone doing. It wasn’t a Council species; or even a known species that the Turian ships were watching. The starships surrounding relay 314 didn’t match any known profiles the Turian database. The Turian fleet wasn’t interested in talking with the law breakers; their first concern was making sure that no new relays would be open to pirates, smugglers, or hostile life forms. They prepared for battle and engaged the hostiles.
The humans at relay 314 were taken by surprise. As their ships were falling one after another, a single vessel managed to escape through the relay. Their only goal: warn the Alliance. The humans returned in full force and ready for war. For weeks the Turians had the upper hand in the battle, the Alliance had suffered many casualties as their lines were broken, and The Turians began to assault a nearby human colony, Shanxi. The Turian war ships settled into orbit over the planet as the humans on its surface began to starve due to the cut supply line to the Alliance. Finally a human military leader, General Williams was forced to surrender Shanxi to the Turians, who were already facing their own problems.
A Turin’s unique digestive system requires that they eat very specific food that was unavailable this far out of Council space. Believing they had defeated the majority of the human forces, they began to send ships to retrieve food, and the Alliance saw an opportunity. The Alliance’s second fleet, led by Admiral Kastanie Drescher mounted a surprise attack, pushing back the few Turians that remained and liberating Shanxi. When word of the human attack reached the Turian government, both sides prepared for full scale interplanetary war. The Citadel Council took notice of the brewing conflict and decided to intervene. They revealed themselves and the Citadel to the humans and offered them amnesty. The First Contact War was over.
The conditions of first contact with the humans left the Turians with a prejudicial disposition, and they used their influence to their advantage. The council races now looked at humans as aggressors and agitators. The Turians were not immune to any blowback however, the Council ordered the Turian government to pay heavy restitutions to the Alliance for initiating the war, and mistrust between the two races grew. Turians with heavy influence and anti human views began to speak out, Turians like Saren Arterius, a Council Spectre whose brother was killed by the humans.
The rocky political relations between the Turians and the Humans did not go unnoticed, and as a good will gesture the Turians proposed a joint effort with Human engineers. Their work produced the most advanced “deep scout” frigate the Galaxy had ever seen. The Internal Emission Sink Stealth System did what was thought to be impossible: It made the ship virtually undetectable. The ship was outfitted with GUARDIAN point defense lasers, kinetic barriers, and an advanced drive core. She was given to the Alliance and designated the “Systems Alliance Space Vehicle Normandy Stealth Reconnaissance – 1”.
Even though Turian/Human relations have improved over the years, there are still factions on both sides who have made interspecies segregation their primary goal. Terra Firma is a Human political party that opposes any Human relations with other races. They’ve protested the integration of aliens in Human schools and the teaching of alien culture. They have even staged controversial demonstrations on Armistice Day, the day celebrating the end of the First Contact War.
But Terra Firma is insignificant compared to another group of Humans with an anti alien agenda, a group of terrorist who are extremely well funded and equipped. Their only concern is Human dominance by any means necessary, and they see any alien sympathizers as the enemy, but that is a story for another day.
— Adam Clark