LP's Note: TWO IN ONE DAY GET DUNKED ON!
This chapter is written by Xabiar with very minor assistance from the Editing Gang.
Enjoy! Xab's notes are at the bottom of the chapter.
Not a lot to say except I wish I could write this good :D
THE CITADEL COUNCIL
SECTION 4: CITADEL MILITARY
The Citadel Military is a topic of which the importance and impact of which heavily depends on how one perceives what the Citadel Military is. There is a significant amount of misinformation and ignorance on this topic, surprisingly enough, and few have a comprehensive understanding of what actually composes the umbrella of the Citadel Military.
Universally, the greatest misconception comes from the scope of the Citadel Military. Most believe that the Citadel Defense Force is the entirety of the armed forces, and a few actually believe C-Sec fulfills dual roles for military and law enforcement duties. A concerning number believe that the Citadel Fleet doesn't actually exist, and what comprises the 'Citadel Fleet' is more or less a coordinated effort, and there is no direct Citadel management or coordination.
These assumptions are patently false, and betray a significant misunderstanding of the Citadel Military by most of the galaxy. There are a shocking number of people who don't even know that Citadel Intelligence exists, let alone the Citadel Special Operations Group or Citadel Special Tasks Group.
Or, more dangerously, believe that such entities are irrelevant.
The reality is that the Citadel Military is a very well-trained, well-organized, well-supplied, and well-connected fighting force which has only seen expansion since the Benezia Incident. Recruitment has doubled, and investment by Citadel members has increased over a quarter. Those who underestimate the Citadel Military do so at their own peril.
What is especially notable is that these are individuals who are making the deliberate decision to serve under the Citadel and not under their respective species government. They are less inclined to racial jingoism and superiority, and more towards interspecies cooperation. This is not to say that the military is devoid of these interests – but they are mitigated, and have been slowly supplemented over the past decades.
The Citadel is primarily classified as a political and economic power. The danger of their military does not come from the size of it, necessarily, but the quality of those who are recruited, and how they are used. Which is to say nothing of the influence Citadel Intelligence wields, of which a startling number are ignorant of.
ROLE OF THE CITADEL MILITARY
The role of the Citadel Military has served several purposes, most of which have very little to do with actual combat operations – though this is a growing aspect. Initially, the Citadel Military was the solidification of a political alliance and agreements with Citadel species. So long as multiple species were integrated into a singular, cohesive military unit, the chances of divergence and conflict were lessened.
Officially, their role was to protect Citadel Station and universal Citadel locations from outside threats. This included the Citadel itself, Citadel officials, diplomatic arms, precursor dig sites, and other areas and individuals which represented, were part of, or spoke for the Citadel as a whole. However, outside of Citadel Station, there was not much use for a dedicated military.
The Citadel Military was always more dangerous on paper than in reality. It had extensive scalability, and could be rapidly mobilized into a collection of the Citadel species militaries, though this was closer to a coalition than an actual military, even if it was defined otherwise. Since the Second Refusal War, the Citadel has been taking a more conventional approach to how it is sustaining and training its armed forces.
They prioritized having vast numbers of reserves, as until recently, the staffing levels of the Citadel Defense Force were at one fifth of their full capacity. This was justified as there being no reason to sustain full troop levels on the Citadel. Special operations units like CSOG and CSTG have always been in operation, and their mission is one similar to the SPECTREs – defend the Citadel against threats and ensure their influence is not threatened.
Citadel Intelligence stands out as something of an exception to the tentative steps the Citadel took to downplay their military integration. From the beginning CINT was meant to ensure that the Council knew everything happening on Citadel Station, as well as entities they believed posed a threat to their actions, on the station and beyond. As a result, the size, powers, and reach of CINT has grown exponentially – and secretly – as a minority of people closely follow CINT, mistakenly believing it unimportant or irrelevant compared to more well-known intelligence agencies.
In more recent decades, the Council has been slowly working to make the Citadel Military one which can stand alone; something which is not a confused amalgamation of conflict approaches, tactics, and styles which has hurt it previously. It is a notably successful experiment in breaking down racial and ideological differences between species into a more unified vision and loyalty to the Citadel as an entity and ideal.
Had this gradual approach not been taken, it is likely that the Council would be accused of brainwashing or propagandizing their soldiers to turn them against their own people. Ridiculous to consider, but the ultra-statist loyalists would have done so. Now, even if certain individuals see this as a concern, the Citadel Military is too well-respected, equipped, and funded to oppose in any real way.
Most of these changes have applied on an infantry level, and the Benezia Incident is being shaped to begin this same level of integration and cohesion to the Citadel Fleet which has always been handled with some delicacy. The role and influence of the Citadel Military is growing, and those who do not understand what comprises it will be caught blindsided when they emerge as the leaders in the next conflict the Citadel takes part in.
THE CITADEL DEFENSE FORCE
OVERVIEW: When most people imagine the Citadel Military, what they actually envision is the Citadel Defense Force, the most visible of all the active defenders on the Citadel. They are almost comparable to part of the scenery at this point, stationed at most starports, Citadel offices, and other various places throughout the Citadel.
Their mission is to provide military protection to Citadel Station and Council entities. In some respects they are almost considered bodyguards or glorified security. While both of those encompass their scope of duties, they are certainly a legitimate military force which saw action during the Benezia Incident.
The issue they encountered – and the reason most of the CDF stationed were killed during the attack – was because they were only operating at one-fifth of their actual capacity. Citadel Station has the space to hold the entire CDF, but the Council had decided to only have 20% of it active at any one time.
This was justified as unnecessary, expensive, and the Council did not want it to appear that they were 'militarizing' the Citadel or giving the impression that they were imposing an unofficial military state. The reality of this came down to cost, pushback from asari and turians who didn't want the CDF eating up more of 'their' soldiers (who served with their respective species militaries while furloughed from CDF activity), and the Council not believing they would really be in a situation where the CDF would be needed.
As a result, the Citadel was woefully unprepared from the attack on the Citadel. The only positive upside is that a vast majority of the CDF still exists due to the lessened staffing, and the CDF and Council are learning from their mistakes. Currently the CDF is operating at full capacity, and is on a recruiting spree for both active-duty soldiers and reserves.
While turians remain the highest contributors, with asari a close second, more humans are joining the CDF, and some specialized salarian units are also being assigned to the CDF through the SIX. The total personnel which make up the CDF is near to half a million, with another hundred thousand in reserves.
If the Citadel were to be suddenly attacked by Geth today, it is unlikely that they would be as successful as they were during the Benezia Incident.
BRANCHES: There are three distinct branches of the CDF, which are listed below:
Citadel Armed Forces: The vast bulk of the CDF is composed of the Citadel Armed Forces, which are self-explanatory as to their function. They are the primary military arm of the CDF, and undertake offensive and defensive combat operations by the directive of the Supreme Commander.
There are several different ranks and roles in the CAF branch, which will be briefly outlined below:
Soldier: The front-line unit of the CDF and the lowest rank which can be held in the service. Soldiers are ubiquitous, common, and easily recognizable. They have standard armaments, simple roles, and are largely unremarkable, if capable of comparison against established racial militaries.
Specialist: Opposed to the ubiquitous and unimpressive Soldier, Specialists are far more versatile in their function. If there are specialized recruits to the CDF, they are almost always assigned as a Specialist. The salarian Shieldbreakers would be quantified as 'Specialist' forces, as would most medics and infowar experts.
There are several different categories of 'Specialist' – Infowar, medical, explosives, and cybernetic. Almost all recruits to the CDF with specialist characteristics will fall into one of these categories. These are divided out further into assigned units. While the CAF typically prefers to assign units with a balanced mix of Specialists, there are some units which have been geared towards Infowar tactics, or cybernetics (such as the infamous Shieldbreaker Unit). All the same, this is something which is not commonly done as the CDF does not want to become overly reliant on a single Unit.
Marksman Corps: Long-ranged units which specialize in targeted enemy removal or mitigation, the Marksman Corps is the dedicated role in the CAF devoted towards precision targeting and sabotage. This is easily the role with the smallest number of personnel, but it is one which is well-maintained, and those within this role can be considered among the most skilled of marksmen in operation, even if they rarely get to show off their skills in legitimate combat operations.
Unit Director: The CAF is composed of 'Units', of which there are a set amount for each 'Arm' of the Citadel. Each of these Units is led by a Director, who is responsible for coordination and command of their respective Unit. They can theoretically be drawn from any role, though are typically Specialists or Officers who've acquitted themselves well and have no outstanding complications.
Arm Commander: The design of the Citadel has allowed for the segmentation of CAF command to be broken down into 'arms'. The Arm Commander is responsible for all military operations, Units, and strategy as it relates to that arm of the Citadel. While the Arm Commanders largely coordinate with each other, it is notable that not all strategies and defenses implemented are universal.
This is for two reasons – the first of which is that not every arm is the same, and there are different points of interest, defensive positions, and routes compared to others. The strategy will change by default. The second is because the species of the Arm Commanders varies, as does their priorities. Turian and Human Arm Commanders tend to prefer a balanced approach, and heavily fortify certain logical areas heavily, and use that as their primary calculus. Salarians prefer to rely on traps, snipers nests, and positioning. Asari are heavily defensive, and have a focus on mitigating collateral damage.
Each of these can be argued as achieving the mission parameters, but in practice this means that the actual battle itself can play out in different ways. Any assault on the Citadel must take into account who the Arm Commanders are – there is no universal Citadel defense doctrine – or at least not a singular one.
Citadel Biotic Corps: The Citadel Biotic Corps is the smallest branch of the CDF, but it makes up for this deficiency as being one of the most accomplished, skilled, and dangerous biotic organizations in Citadel space – with only the asari capable of outmatching them. There existed very little in the way of rank structure. CBC units are broken into squads, led by Commanders, and the Corps itself is commanded by the Corps Master.
This is elaborated on below:
Corps Biotic: When one thinks of the most powerful biotics, what comes to mind are usually the asari powerhouses, the sleek incantations of drell, the enigmatic turian Cabal, or even the ubiquitous Humans. These are further associated with their respective organizations. The Furies. Commandos. Cabal. They are tied to individuals. Uressa T'Shora, the Solarch, Eni Gaisha, or our own Tetrimus.
But no one even so much as mentions the biotics of the Citadel Biotic Corps.
Which is odd.
The Corps Biotics are among the most skilled, capable, durable, and dangerous biotics which exist within Citadel space. While fewer in number than most state entities, they nonetheless are more than capable of holding their own, and the Citadel permits that they be taught by the absolute best within the Cube and elsewhere.
The Corps is seen as a place for biotic rejects, and while we have already covered the attempted shuttering of Nick Donahue by the Alliance, he is definitely not the only one who has been quietly hidden away in the Corps, for one reason or another. Clanless asari, human biotic program castouts, older turian Cabal, krogan loners, and even three known ardat-rekshi.
These are not exactly individuals who you would expect to be tossed aside, but in almost all cases, there was an extenuating circumstance that was used as justification. Clanless need no reason for why the Thirty wanted them gone; too powerful to throw away, but clanless. Ardat-rekshi born from the House of Storms needed to be quietly hidden from the Justicars. Humans and turian biotics were afflicted with neural or physical conditions that would kill them in years. Krogan who had no clan.
The Biotic Corps is one of the most diverse groups in the entire Citadel military, and it seems like the intention of shuffling all of these problematic and broken people has backfired. Instead of being a disparate collection of weakened or soon-to-be-dead biotics, they have been transformed into one of the most powerful.
There is a cohesion and camaraderie within the Corps which is unlike most units. All of them were moved to the Corps for similar reasons, and there was cause to bond over that. Typical racial divisions simply do not exist, and it has created a unit which is loyal to none but the Citadel itself.
Someone made the decision to take the Biotic Corps, and turn it into this. The Cube is a major part of it. Every single biotic recruited inevitably undergoes a procedure which results in their enhancement. If they were suffering any ailment, that is mysteriously gone. Without exception, every single biotic who had entered the Corps has emerged stronger and more skilled.
The reason for this is unknown. There is a current of unease within some of the governments, especially the Alliance and Hierarchy, since quite a few people they sent to them should have died. But with the focus being on the Reapers and internal matters, this mystery is not one which will likely be pressed.
Biotic Commander: The Biotic Commanders of the Corps are those who have emerged as leaders and warriors that stand out even within the Corps. Almost all of them have several standard deviations above the baseline expectation for their species, with skill to match. They lead squads of biotics, usually between eight and ten, and often undergo tactical-level training from the CDF.
Interestingly, only about half of all Biotic Commanders are asari, which should raise some concerns since asari make up close to sixty percent of the Corps, and are disproportionately more powerful than most species. This suggests that whatever procedure biotics undergo brings certain individuals up to asari levels, which is something which should not be possible without significant neural modification, or advanced implants.
Corps Master: The Corps Master is always, without exception, the most powerful biotic in the Citadel Biotic Corps. They set training, manage recruitment, and have direct lines to the Supreme Commander, the Cube, Subcommittee on Science, and a few other relevant groups. For the past two centuries every Corps Master has been an asari – until now.
The most recent one perished in the Benezia Incident, and she was replaced with a salarian – which has never happened in the history of the Corps. His history is bizarre – he is a former Assault Adept who was never fielded in combat, and officially does not exist. Further inquiry reveals why.
This individual was the result of the SIX Alteration Framework project, which has produced on paper the most powerful salarian biotic to exist – one on the same level as a War Priestess. It is baffling that this individual is in the Biotic Corps of all places, and not deep within the Union. It is even more so when we found out that Valern personally intervened to move him into the Corps, which was permitted after a meeting directly with the STG Master.
He speaks very little, his internal designation is 'Mirror', and has been tripling the numbers of the Corps since taking control. Individuals who interact with him have reported feeling uneasy and off-balance – but not those in the Corps. Whoever this individual is, he should not be in such a hidden position, and that the circumstances surrounding him are vague and contradictory, it is recommended that he be watched closely.
The Presidium Guard: While a relatively small branch in comparison to the CDF proper, the Presidium Guard is actually, in all likelihood, more well-known to the station population. They are front in center throughout the Praesidium, and it is impossible to miss them. They are largely – and incorrectly – seen as a kind of ceremonial honor guard. Calling the Presidium Guard just a ceremonial guard grossly understates their role and capabilities.
Their role is a mixture of bodyguard, law enforcement, and special forces. While they primarily operate on the Presidium level of the Citadel, they are by no means restricted just to that level. There are three different Services within the Presidium Guard, all of which ultimately answer to the Supreme Commander.
They are listed as follows.
The Protection Service: The Protection Service is one of the most elite bodyguard programs throughout Citadel space. Every prominent member of the Council, Subcommittee, agency executive, C-Sec, Citadel Intelligence, as well as their families is assigned members of the Protection Service on the Citadel, and if requested, can provide protection off-station.
Their uniform equipment does not change, but they will tend to adopt the sigils and colors of the species of the one they are assigned to protect, as well as be composed of same-species units when visible. Most people have no idea that the bodyguards around Citadel figures are not, in fact, from their racial government in question, but directly under the Citadel Defense Force.
This is only the visible component. There are at minimum twice that number of plainclothes operatives which watch from crowds, the sidelines, or stakeouts in anticipation of the schedule. All of these individuals keep in close contact, especially for high-profile events or prominent individuals.
In addition to that, the Protection Service employs a vast cyber operation devoted primarily for detecting threats made on the extranet and other digital platforms, making recommendations to their charge, and working with C-Sec to handle legitimate threats. The Protection Service is exceptionally thorough, and there is a reason that attempted assassinations on high-profile figures fail – or are never attempted at all.
The Citadel Service: If there is a situation which is deemed too dangerous for the standard CDF units, the Citadel Service is marshalled. The elite of the CDF, the Citadel Service undertakes operations throughout Citadel Station, traditionally against larger criminal elements, or to provide support in case larger stings turn violent.
They are dedicated, efficient, and very few in number due to the limited military engagement Citadel Station typically sees. They saw significant action during the Benezia Incident, and the majority of them survived, and ensured that pockets of Citadel Station didn't fall. The Archives in particular were locked down by the Citadel Service, and the Geth were unable to breach.
Since the Benezia Incident, they have doubled in size, and regularly perform military exercises with the wider CDF.
The Presidium Service: Everyone who visits the Citadel inevitably 'oohs' and 'ahs' over the shining legions of the Presidium Service, the unarmed men and women in silver and blue armor, with the sigil of the Council on one shoulder, and their government of origin on the other. They are silent, imposing, and everywhere on the Presidium.
You cannot stroll down those broad walkways without seeing one of the Service standing silently at attention. They interact with those who ask them questions, pose for pictures, and provide directions throughout the Presidium. Most people are under the impression that they are regular soldiers or C-Sec. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Every single member of the Presidium Service is a veteran soldier or former special forces. Their number includes former Blackwatch, STG, Alliance N-Series, Asari Commandos, or, recently, the Techmarines. These are not standard soldiers. Their lack of weapons is a deception to put the population at ease. There are six hundred hidden weapon caches throughout the Presidium, and no Servicemember is more than thirty seconds from one at all times.
The Presidium Service is also one of the few to be afforded limited legal powers, such as performing warrantless detentions and physical interventions. They are fed a constant stream of information from CINT about potential individuals to watch for, and similarly keep watch out for any threat to the Presidium.
Only the very ignorant or the very stupid would consider attempting anything on the Presidium level. Success is near-impossible. It took Benezia herself to break through the Presidium lines during the Benezia Incident, as they were holding off the Geth effectively prior to her arrival. They lost a significant number of soldiers that day, but have replenished their numbers – and have since added a third of that number.
EQUIPMENT AND DIVERSITY: The Citadel Defense Force is equipped with the top of the line equipment and weapons from vendors across Citadel space. They are equivalent to asari in terms of how they take care of their soldiers. No one can say that the CDF is not well-equipped to handle anything that comes their way, and their budget is only likely to increase.
It should not come as a surprise, but the CDF is also extremely diverse in the context of species. Every Citadel race is represented, with turians, asari, and salarians comprising the majority, but humans have been close behind, and more and more quarians are joining their ranks. While not as common, volus and drell also contribute to that number, though like the quarians, more are joining.
THE CITADEL FLEET
OVERVIEW: In total, the Citadel Fleet is the largest in the galaxy. On paper it has always been the largest, though there were sometimes periods where other fleets had more at their disposal, which can be attributed to the original way the Citadel Fleet functioned. The Citadel Fleet is composed of contributions from member species, though the way this was implemented was not as conducive to a unified fleet.
Previously, only Council members were required to provide ships on permanent assignment to the Citadel Fleet. Every species was required to contribute a sizable portion of their fleet, but only Council species were on permanent assignment, while others generally remained under the control of their respective governments. In the event that the Fleet was mobilized, then they would fall under Citadel Command.
This placed the Citadel Fleet in an odd spot, where contributions were both real, but also political. Only the turians took their contributions seriously, while asari and salarians typically reserved their most important ships for their own use. The only times when the Citadel Fleet has been a true unified force were in times of war. In peace, they lapse into a state of apathy where governments get cold feet about contributions.
This appears to be changing, following the Benezia Incident and the acknowledgement of the Reaper threat. Grand Admiral Moiras Vallia finally put her foot down, and began actively pressing the governments for contributions, and when she was joined by Citadel High Command, and the Council, she introduced sweeping changes to the fleets.
All Council races are required to contribute a minimum of forty percent of their fleet, the exact ships to be recommended by an independent assessment (to avoid the species intentionally providing their less effective ships). All non-Council races are required to contribute at least twenty percent, and their contributions are now also on permanent assignment, under the revamped Citadel command structure.
This was met with varying degrees of protest, though the Grand Admiral eventually forced them to cooperate through various means and incentives. She relied a fair bit on Citadel Intelligence for support, but for the most part, these were accepted numbers, considering the circumstances. In return for this, funds for replacement ships following the Benezia Incident, as well as future maintenance, would be paid directly by the Citadel, which was a massive incentive to cooperate.
The final major change Vallia made was the expansion of the Fleet to include exterior contributors. These range from PMCs, mercenary outfits like the Blue Suns, private corporate fleets and personnel, and even a few 'independent' ships originating from the Terminus Systems, tied to Aria and the Terminus Clan.
The Citadel Fleet is slowly moving to be a galactic-wide coalition, yet another signal that the Council is preparing for another conflict with the geth, or in the long term, the Reapers.
THE CITADEL PROCUREMENT AGREEMENT: The Citadel Fleet is composed of ships from every single member species. These ships require a significant amount of components that break, wear down, or otherwise require maintenance. This initially was an issue that the Citadel didn't expect to get out of hand until the first asari frigate went dead.
Normally it would be a simple matter of sending mechanics to fix the issue. Legally, it was far more complicated. While the vessel was an asari ship, it was technically under Citadel control, which prevented the Asari Republics from authorizing replacement parts or explaining how to repair it, as the ship contained proprietary asari technology and state secrets, in effect.
This forced the Citadel to scrambled to enact legislation which at the time was intended to streamline the maintenance and procurement process for maintaining the fleet, and has now allowed the Citadel to effectively nationalize certain state secrets - namely the technology, components, and schematics of every single ship that exists within the Citadel Fleet.
Notably, we believe this is the reason that the asari have never even considered sharing their prothean ships with the Citadel - and also potentially why other species are very careful as to what they share with the Citadel Fleet. While these secrets are heavily protected, and only reviewed and executed by members of the same species whose vessel is being repaired or maintained, the fact remains that the Citadel has knowledge of a significant number of naval vessels down to the last component.
The Accords do significantly simplify the process for maintaining the Fleet, but there have been several times where talk has emerged about severely amending, or scrapping the entire Accords. This has been shot down by every single Grand Admiral, as well as heavily opposed by the Subcommittee of Defense, as they know that it has the potential to irreparably cripple the Citadel Fleet.
FLEET BREAKDOWN: Details on the fleet will be organized by member contribution, which will provide information on the percentage of the contribution, specific ships or personnel, or whole fleets that have been provided. These are organized from Council species to other or unique contributions.
Asari Contributions: The asari stepped up their contributions to the Citadel Fleet by a percentage, increasing their overall contributions to forty percent (not including the Destiny Ascension). Fifteen asari dreadnoughts have been added, supported by Battle, Storm, and Torpedo Cruisers, and a mixture of Light Cruisers and Frigates to round out the fleet.
It should be noted that, even though the Thirty were not happy with the Grand Admiral strong-arming them into providing more ships, she is a living legend among the asari and everyone newly assigned is willing to follow her anywhere. Given the quality and size of the contributions, this is no small development.
Salarian Contributions: The salarians have matched the asari in bumping up their contributions to forty percent, and as they previously did, their contributions are largely focused on harassment, defense, recon, and plugging gaps left open by traditional symmetrical strategies employed by other species, and acting as the Citadel Fleet's asymmetric warfare fleet.
Their most 'traditional' (in terms of role) ship are the ten dreadnoughts they have contributed, while the remainder of their contributions make up Frigates, Recon and Assault Frigates and copious amounts of Corvettes (the STG variant is not employed here). There are a few Saturation and Assault cruisers included, but mostly as support for the standardized fleet. There are also a large number of Gun Cruisers that are employed – a direct request from the Grand Admiral for anti-capital ship tactics.
Turian Contributions: The turians already contribute a full half of their fleet, and they have maintained these numbers since the Benezia Incident – with a review of exactly which ships are contributed and which have not been. The Grand Admiral has been involved in recommending fleet refinements from the Hierarchy, and since then there have been some changes to the overall composition.
The number of turian dreadnoughts have been reduced to ten from twelve, and in return their contributions include one of the three existing Battleships. There are now double the number of E-Boats, the standard number of War Frigates and Motion Corvettes. There are slightly more Escort, Assault, and War Cruisers in total, and the number of Battlecruisers has been increased by a third.
There are also, of course, the fighters that are employed by the turians which make up a notable amount of their contributions, since only a few races employ fighters at all. There are a far greater number of Claw Fighters compared to the Merkhu Fighter-Bombers contributed.
Human Contributions: Since the Benezia Incident, and elevation to the Council, the Humans have doubled the size of their contributions from twenty percent to forty, which is now also on permanent assignment. This previously included the Human Fifth Fleet, and now includes the newly created Sixth Fleet built on the Citadel payroll.
Human fleets are typically standardized, and contain a balanced collection of frigates, fighters, cruisers, patrol boats, and dreadnoughts. The Alliance is not especially creative thus far when it comes to starship design, similarly to the turians. Their ships are built to be functional and effective, without many of the tricks employed by the salarians or volus.
Quarian Contributions: When the quarian contributions are brought up to modern standards, they are primed to rival the turians in sheer military power. The Migrant Fleet is old, but nonetheless is more than capable of holding its own despite that. The Admiralty has committed twenty five percent of the Scout Fleet, and seventy percent of the Heavy Fleet, equaling just around half of their overall fleet to the Citadel.
These include the frigates, Torpedo Boats, Cruisers, and of course the Heavy Command Cruisers. While on paper the contributions do not seem to do much beyond augmenting the already-high numbers of the Fleet, what needs to be considered is that this fleet is almost certain to become more unique and upgraded in the future.
There are teams of quarian engineers who are now working with cutting edge tech, funded by the Citadel, and charged with making the quarian ships as dangerous as they possibly can. We should continually appraise ourselves of how this project develops. If there is a breakthrough that will be made in the Fleet, it will come from the quarians.
Volus Contributions: The VDF is taking this as an opportunity to show off what they are capable of, most recently pledging forty percent of their fleet – on par with Council species – to the Citadel Fleet. We suspect that this is another maneuver to vie for a seat on the Council in the future, and with their most recent victories such as being slowly embedded throughout Council civilian and military organizations, it seems only a matter of time before the matter is seriously considered.
The volus are contributing significantly more now than they previously were. Whereas before the majority of their contributions were Patrol Boats, the new VDF fleet contributed includes Cloudriders, First Claw Destroyers, and Inosnu Heavy-Cruisers – that latter of which makes up fifteen percent of the contributions.
The greatest score for the Citadel Fleet has been the acquisition of two dozen Seeker craft – if you are unfamiliar with this particular ship, it is extremely dangerous and unique – it is primarily a cyberwarfare program unique among the Fleet, and plugs a hole that could have been exploited. These were acquired through negotiations with the Grand Admiral herself – and the volus were more than willing to provide in exchange for a greater say in the financial management in the fleet itself.
Even beyond that, they have acquired a small fleet of Swarm Interdictors, and one of the two Kwunu dreadnoughts that exist. The volus are considering this a significant investment, and if they are willing to put this kind of resources into the fleet, they must have judged that the return will pay generous dividends.
Elcor Contributions: For what little fleet the elcor have, a twenty percent contribution is likely the best the Citadel can expect. The elcor do not really build warships, and the vast majority of their contributions are storage and medical craft – and their contributions make up close to half of all dedicated medical craft. Important of course, but nonetheless of more limited use compared to the specialized warcraft contributed by other species.
Drell/Hanar Contributions: This may be surprising for a majority of the public, considering that the drell do not exactly have a formal government or proper representation on the Citadel, and the only hanar worth mentioning are the exiles on the Citadel and the degenerates who have puppeted the Vabo.
Nonetheless, such contributions do exist - primarily gifts from the Ascendency to the exiled hanar, who in turn have gifted them to the drell to use. These are extremely advanced alien craft - and when both parties approached to add them to the Fleet, there was initial suspicion. However, Citadel inspectors completely cleared the ships, and couldn't detect any traps or surveillance equipment and permitted them to be added to the fleet.
These are primarily corvettes and small frigates; very well-armored, and have slightly better GARDIAN and offensive systems. There are not many drell ships in the Fleet - but the ones that are there are among the best of their class. It is likely that components of these ships will make their way into other naval vessels, so the drell influence on the Fleet will go well beyond their contributions.
Exterior Contributions: One of the newest initiatives is the permission of exterior parties to contribute to the Citadel Fleet. Beyond the financial incentives for doing so, there are obvious political advantages to aligning more openly with the Citadel. This is not something that comes without strings, of course. There are standards that are expected, and the Citadel will not work with groups that are engaged in continuous and ongoing illegal activities in Citadel Space.
This means that certain groups, if they are so interested, can contribute. The Blue Suns were the first major group to pledge a small number of ships, and there are rumblings that Eclipse is also considering a contribution, though there is internal debate on if that would be accepted by the Citadel without major restrictions.
Currently though, the majority of those who have taken advantage of this are small Private Military Corporations, who see this as a free paycheck, and an opportunity to upgrade their equipment. There are fifteen PMCs that have made (relatively) major contributions to the Citadel Fleet (Notably, a few of them have strong ties to Aria, though it is unknown if she officially endorses their actions).
Corporations and oligarchs are also joining in the action, either providing or sponsoring contributions of their own. Arms companies are obviously not sleeping on this, and other biotech and refinement corporations are also seeing an opportunity to curry influence with the Citadel. The drive has been majorly successful, though it remains to be seen just how much those contributing will receive in return.
The Destiny Ascension: The flagship of the Citadel Fleet, the Destiny Ascension is the largest ship in the entirety of the fleet, only rivaled by the turian Battleship. The result of extensive modifications to the largest prothean warship found, it is capable of utilizing prothean-grade missiles and weapon systems which are unmatched by any modern military.
It is a dreadnought killer in the truest sense of the word, and showcased its capabilities during the Benezia Incident against the geth warships and Nazara. Notably, it is being primed for significant upgrades in the future, depending on what the science teams can create and reverse-engineer from the wreckage of the Reaper.
Also worth noting is who commands the Destiny Ascension – Lidanya T'Armal, the rising star of Clan T'Armal. A true social climber, who in true asari fashion, schemed, seduced, and plotted her way to echelons of power. This is not fully discounting her own tactical capabilities, but there is tension between her and the Grand Admiral, who sees her as aiming more for exterior roles in the Thirty instead of focusing on the job at hand. There are rumors that the Grand Admiral will dismiss her from command if Lidanya does not soon commit to what she wants to do.
It is worth keeping an eye on her.
THE CITADEL SPECIAL OPERATIONS GROUP
OVERVIEW: The Citadel Special Operations Group is the Council's own non-SPECTRE special forces unit; a true dream team of the best of the Citadel species' special forces units. There is a notable amount which is not known about it to the public.
For those who are aware of it, there is debate on what their composition actually is. Typical estimates put their numbers between five to nine Blackwatch units (each containing six to eight Blackwatch soldiers), one to three Storms of asari Commandos (each containing fifteen to twenty Commandos), and between one to five War Priestesses. There are continual rumors of salarian biotics, but these have never been confirmed because, typically, no one who encounters CSOG lives to tell about it.
In reality, these numbers were inaccurate by fairly wide margins. There exists a minimum of twelve Blackwatch units, six Storms of Commandos, six War Priestesses, six salarian Battle Adepts, sixteen Shieldbreakers, one Wheel Priest, and one Royal Paladin. This influx of disinformation has likely been assisted by CINT throughout the years, and has been good enough to fool even some working intelligence agencies.
CSOG has expanded significantly since the Benezia Incident, and the appointment of the humans and quarians to the Council. N-Series and DACT operatives now join from the Alliance, and Techmarines join from the quarians. There are even a dozen drell biotics who have joined the group, and a team of volus manage the finances and legal activities. The only species who have no representation are the elcor and vorcha. Batarians need no explanation – though historically there was at least one who was good enough to be part of the CSOG.
Like everything the Council does, this is a multi-species coalition of the best of the best from the Citadel species. Like the SPECTREs, having members who are part of CSOG is extremely prestigious (though only within military circles). You have to be in the top ten percentile to be considered, and it makes appointments competitive and prestigious. While formally CSOG has no quotas to fill, the Executor over CSOG has made a concerted effort to expand recruitment beyond Council races, which is why volus and drell have become involved, whereas before they would have been barred.
Now, to address the question of what CSOG does? It is fairly standard and simple. When there is a military problem the Council – or a member of the Council – needs resolved, they go to CSOG. This primarily relates to slaving rings, pirate stations, and of course, when the Council goes to war.
The vast majority of the time they are facing opponents which are far below their capabilities, and have to make up for it by continually participating in war games with other elite special forces units (if such is permitted). Recently an agreement was reached with the Alliance to permit CSOG personnel to utilize Pinnacle Station, which CSOG has since taken advantage of – for at least their baseline tactics.
CSOG maintains their headquarters on the Citadel itself in an undisclosed location in the Wards, which is where the majority of their planning, training, and day-to-day activity takes place. They are easily among the elite when it comes to special forces units.
BRIEF HISTORICAL NOTATIONS: The Citadel Special Operations Group was not formed until after the First Refusal War, and was a direct suggestion of the turians, seen as a means to pool elite forces into one place. The pilot program was established, and it was seen as an overwhelming success. The group was more experimental, allowing a wider variety of personnel (including said batarian).
CSOG was involved in a number of minor events during this initial formation - and proved particularly effective against a number of asari cults that had developed around some matriarchs, usually attracting moderate numbers of clanless. The Thirty were the ones demanding action, and presented these groups as terrorists and dissidents. While there was no denying these were cults, there appeared to be only a few instances of planned violence, and it is far more likely that the Thirty were more interested in eliminating any matriarch who threatened their hold on the clanless.
These cults were eradicated nonetheless, and to this day these remain unsolved mysteries of asari history, and had a chilling effect on future clanless exploitation. You will likely notice that these asari cults are still around to some degree - but now they primarily attract Thirty maidens and aliens. Clanless very rarely are sought, as these matriarchs are smart enough to know that is enough to cause them to disappear.
Of more active interest to CSOG were their interventions to shut down no fewer than seven independent plots against the Citadel - simultaneously. These were ill-fated, poorly planned, and CSOG quickly realized that they were likely distractions for a larger plot. What had started out as termination missions against small rebel groups of turians, clanless, and salarians (with the occasional batarian pirate) quickly morphed into a shell game managed by a rogue STG cell.
That of course, triggered an immediate Council response. The SIX demanded the STG figure out who these traitors were, and the identities of the cell were soon confirmed, and began the first major STG-CSOG operation, where the STG passed along the locations of rogue operatives and their bases of operation, and CSOG entered and laid waste to whatever was there. It took over three years before the rogue cell was fully eliminated - just in time for the conflict that followed.
The group was almost completely decimated in the Second Refusal War. The result of that was that CSOG standards were raised, and barred for all species except Council races. This was justified by pointing to the lack of a dedicated special forces unit in other species, particularly the quarians and batarians – and none of the Imperial Guard of the latter ever entertained the idea of joining – nor would CSOG have let them.
The first major event that CSOG became involved in (Post-Refusal War) where the Citadel actively faced a major militant crisis was the Omega Standoff – though not in an actual operational way. When it appeared that Aria was going to be a problem, CSOG began planning how they were going to land on Omega Station, and terminate the Pirate Queen. They produced a very well-developed plan, which we estimate would have placed their odds close to seventy percent of success with minimal casualties.
Since no action was taken against Aria, it was never put into motion, but it served as a template for how CSOG would plan operations in the future, and their skills were put to use eventually. Their time to make an impact was during the Second Krogan Rebellions. CSOG was involved from the moment Wrang began his conquest of the Terminus, though in a fairly subtle way.
CSOG was carefully monitoring the borders of the Terminus and Citadel Space, and planning accordingly. When the Blood Pack built a base too close to the borders, or erected a space station similarly close to the borders, they struck and wiped everyone out to the man. Wrang doubtless suspected Citadel involvement, but couldn't prove it, and he did not have an interest in antagonizing the Council so ignored the losses.
This unfortunately did not work to stop the direct attacks of the asari worlds, but it solidified CSOGs mandate to take any preemptive action against hostile actors. Once the Council had privately decided to support Aria, CSOG was involved in dozens of operations against Wrang's forces, from the outskirts to the heart of his makeshift empire.
CSOG suffered losses, of course, but they never suffered a single defeat during the course of the rebellions, and emerged as a hardened unit, forged in the fires of combat. It was unfortunate that the Second Refusal War followed this, as many of these veterans perished in the conflict with the hanar.
Nearly a half-century later, one of the largest mobilizations of the CSOG was the defection of the infamous SPECTRE trio - Ial Solus, Gideas Tyrax, and Aliva T'Armal - also known as the coup that never happened. The Council keeps SPECTRE defections and desertions quiet - the few times they have happened, another SPECTRE team is sent after them and the problem is usually resolved.
This was different. Aliva had worked with both men before, they were close colleagues, and through means we haven't determined, she learned something that triggered her desertion, and started a lethal one-woman war against the Council of Matriarchs. Why did she not reveal what she knew? Our best guess is that she had learned it verbally, and had no actual proof. Or perhaps she did not want to share. It remains unknown.
What is relevant is that this story was immediately suppressed, and two dozen SPECTREs, and the entire CSOG was mobilized to find, corner, and neutralize these rogue agents. These were not unprepared operatives. Their connections, wealth, and contingencies allowed them to hire, procure, and fund small elite outfits of mercenaries they personally trained, as well as employ infowar specialists, AI architects, and computational engineers.
It is suspected, though not confirmed, that the reason these SPECTREs almost emerged victorious in their crusade was because Solus had somehow received League of Zero support, and had turned that towards augmenting their cyber operations - which produced a working AI that was obfuscating the SPECTRE movements, planting false alarms, and allowing them to stay one step ahead.
Working together with the SPECTREs, CSOG located and invaded an oxygenless moon where their main base of operations was stationed, and destroyed the working AI infrastructure (CINT, CSTG, and C-Sec spent two years clearing out the AI from Citadel mainframes, though it eventually devolved into fugue, making neutralization easy).
What shocked many veteran SPECTREs was that the most experience CSOG group found themselves in a trap constructed by Tyrax - and traps by SPECTREs rarely fail. Yet not only did CSOG survive, they fought their way to the rogue SPECTRE and managed to kill him, even after taking nearly fifty percent casualties.
CSOG were also the primary actors in dismantling supply points, merc holdouts, and hideouts of the remaining two rogue SPECTREs. Aliva was finally taken out by a trio of SPECTREs, and Solus vanished into the Terminus Systems and was never heard from again, and is now presumed dead (of old age - salarian lifespans sometimes have useful downsides).
Now, in the event of rogue SPECTREs, CSOG can also be activated to assist SPECTRE operations. Notably, this did not happen during the pursuit of the rogue SPECTRE Saren, though the justification we could find for this was, ironically, they had the support of the Broker Network, and did not believe activation was necessary - something the Executor and division as a whole were fairly incised at.
Outside of this major event, in recent times, CSOG has primarily been on anti-pirate, anti-slaver duty, and more recently, anti-geth operations. There has not been a major conflict following the Second Refusal War, and the Benezia Incident can hardly be called a proper 'war'. CSOG did see action on the Citadel, of course, and they were responsible for saving thousands of lives during the attack, and heavily blunted the geth offensive into the wards, though they sustained close to thirty percent casualties, and lost the prior Executor.
Their numbers have since been rebuilt and expanded.
EQUIPMENT AND EXPERIENCE: All of the equipment that is used by CSOG is top of the line, and often custom made to order from specialized vendors. The Citadel spares no expense for providing CSOG with the best gear possible, from asari-grade optronics, Cube-level biotic implants, human-produced booby traps, and more.
All CSOG uniforms are full-body armor and helmet. The most you will be able to tell from each member is their species, and even then asari, human, and drell have similar body types. All helmets are equipped with speech synthesizers, which scramble the sound and gender of the soldier in question. CSOG never identifies themselves when on operation, and there is no public list of who is and isn't CSOG.
Their uniforms utilize active camo, though default to a matte black. Their armor has no insignia or known affiliation. Nothing which ties them to the Council outside of the quality of their equipment. The custom-fitted armor also means that no CSOG uniform will look exactly the same, which can further obfuscate their operations.
Their weapons range from the conventional to the unique. Sunfire pistols are fairly standard, but several CSOG supposedly prefer more unorthodox weaponry, from warp swords to omni-axes. We were unable to determine if exotic weaponry such as black nano was permitted, though there are indications that CSOG has utilized it at times. In theory, they could make a request, though we were unable to find records if such a request was made.
Each soldier who is recruited into CSOG is a hardened veteran of their special forces unit of origin. It's your track record that gets you in, not anything else. There aren't any initiation trials or rituals. If you're part of CSOG, you've already earned your place, and no one questions your capabilities.
There is an expectation that each soldier of CSOG earn their keep all day, every day. CSOG doesn't take days off. If they're not on operations, they're training in the Cube, or attending strategy meetings, or in the gym. Since the Benezia Incident, they'd doubled down on this work ethic, even as they've expanded their numbers.
Notably, CSOG is also briefed on the Reaper threat, which likely explains why they did not become complacent after the geth pockets were destroyed. A word of warning is advised, in that CSOG could very well be used against Broker locations and assets in the future. As CINT has become more hostile, it is possible this will shift into recommending direct action against the Broker Network.
It is best we be prepared.
THE CITADEL SPECIAL TASKS GROUP
OVERVIEW: If the Citadel Special Operations Group is the sword of the Citadel Council, the Citadel Special Tasks Group is the scalpel. Small, exclusively composed of veteran STG operatives, and older than almost every Citadel institution, the CSTG is one of the most enigmatic and effective organizations under the control of the Citadel.
Their numbers have ranged from twelve to twenty STG units. Prior to the Benezia Incident, their number was approximately fourteen. Post-Benezia Incident, this number has risen to eighteen. The limited structure of the CSTG teams allows for extreme scalability in either direction, as STG teams have a pre-built hierarchy, and all of them answer to the Commander of the Citadel Special Tasks Group.
There is a fair bit of confusion as to what CSTG usually does. Publicly, most believe that they are the Council's support to SPECTRE operations, in direct or indirect methods. This is not inaccurate – CSTG has provided information and passive support to SPECTRE operations before, but the SPECTREs have their own information brokers, CINT, and the Broker Network which they tend to prefer over CSTG. A prominent belief, but largely overblown.
The next logical extrapolation is the CSTG is an overt extra-Citadel intelligence branch. Citadel Intelligence rarely acts beyond Citadel Station, so the CSTG being the exterior intel operations group makes sense. This is also partially true. CSTG has certainly undertaken more traditional intelligence operations of sabotage, information gathering, and assassination, but this could be done by simply expanding the mandate of CINT.
It may be surprising to learn that a majority of CSTG personnel are not traditional field agents, as portrayed in extranet action vids. Roughly a third of them are, the rest are composed of data scientists, sociologists, xenopsychologists, political scientists, and specialists who are experts in group dynamics, religions and cults, and other social subjects.
This group, as the name implies handles special tasks, ones which cannot be as easily be solved by a traditional organization like CINT, or easily handled by a single SPECTRE. CSTG deals with complex issues that the Council determines could undermine or threaten the hold of the Citadel on the galaxy, in direct and indirect ways.
This primarily takes the forms of social and digital movements, both large and small. Seemingly innocuous trends and sentiments that, if left unchecked, could grow out of control and could lead to dangerous levels of change. You will probably notice that the Council has changed remarkably little over the years as an institution, which you do not get without being extremely overt in suppressing dissent – or very subtle at it.
The Citadel has, if not been viewed in a positive light, has been viewed with neutrality at the worst throughout its history. There are some exceptions, such as the krogan and batarians, but considering the Council does not consider them vital parts of the galactic community, this dissent is allowed. Preferable, even, as there is an enemy to use.
This galactic perception can be traced directly to the work of CSTG. CINT performs the same mission, but confines itself to Citadel Station. CSTG is what maintains the influence of the Citadel beyond. There are a notable number of groups that spring up with the express purpose of challenging, defying, or advocating for the abolition or withdrawal of the Citadel from worlds, species, or governments.
All of these groups are delusional, but they are activists more focused on a cause than the actual pragmatic implementation. They don't need to be. All social movements need to be successful is to be simple, catchy, and tap into underlying public sentiment. CSTG monitors the vast majority of their groups, identifies the most problematic ones, and sets about dismantling them.
The issue, of course, is that many times these groups are based under the species government in question. CSTG quickly found a means of working around this by directly approaching the governments or leaders in question; the Thirty, SIX, High Lords (or subordinates), and Hierarchy. The argument is framed in a way as to imply that CSTG will similarly be removing issues that threaten their own governments, in addition to those that threaten the Council.
This is often good enough, and the CSTG is given reign to operate within their space, so long as they inform them who and what they are targeting. The High Lords in particular have sanctioned a significant number of CSTG operations, as while they have removed movements and groups dangerous to Council influence, they have often been 'problematic' for the High Lords in various ways.
A win-win for everyone involved.
These groups are often dismantled by a combination of psychological exploitation, infowar, field infiltration, sabotage, or in rare cases, direct assassination. The latter is almost never needed, as the internal purity tests of these groups are ludicrously restrained, and they will often eat themselves if it is revealed that one person said something disagreeable by the group at large, or has some other secret that they wish to keep buried. Browsing history is often a powerful humiliation tactic, that will exacerbate internal tensions, and lead to the group fracturing, all without firing a shot.
If that is unlikely to work? Turn the spotlight on them. When a group is small, it is easy to harness the power of overwhelming numbers, and the sheer weight of mockery and shame is powerful, and will often demoralize the group when they see memes, videos, and people openly mocking their message. CSTG has no interest in the groups that have attracted their attention growing, and have no qualms about smothering them in the crib.
Finally, there are the major operations that are mobilized to suppress a legitimate rebellion. To date, an insurgency like this has only been during the Terminus Incident, where the CSTG was first formed. That is one of the most 'traditional' operations CSTG took in their history, which was a standard neutralizing of an insurgency over a long period. A fine display of their capabilities, but their methods have become significantly more refined since then. Their role is to prevent the rebellion from forming, not stop it after it already has.
The second instance might have been Aria and Omega, had the Omega Standoff not ended in the manner it did. The Commander at the time was furious that no action was taken against Aria, and resigned in protest, as did many CSTG operatives. The Council briefly had to scramble to fill that void, and this resulted in most of CSTG holding a historical hatred towards Aria, and supposedly maintain a dozen different operational plans for her removal, and have her and Omega on a constant 'Delegitimization' campaign, which you can thank for the utterly abysmal reputation Aria has in Citadel space.
It is best not to make an enemy of CSTG. If they don't kill you, they will make you wish they had.
BRIEF HISTORICAL NOTATIONS:
Truthfully, too many to accurately comment on.
Nonetheless, there are a number which are worth highlighting. I will move past the Terminus Incident, since that was already covered in an earlier section, and there are other major events where they had a hand in. The first was the Krogan Rebellions, and everything which led up to it. CSTG attempted multiple delegitimization operations, quashing several pro-krogan groups that wanted to give them additional colonies, which were successful against most aliens, but krogan themselves were extremely difficult to affect. They weren't as technically savvy, had tight bonds within their clans, and rarely cared about outside approval. This is the largest reason the CSTG was unable to prevent the Rebellions from starting.
During the Rebellions, they worked to stoke continual outrage and fear against the krogan, assisted in the positive perception of the arrival of the turians and volus, and to this day maintains a close watch on people and groups which claim that the genophage was a crime, and call for reversal.
The quarians have always been problematic for the CSTG, as they are also fairly difficult to control as a group, especially since the Council and Admiralty clashed at multiple points around AI research and spying. CSTG usually responded by framing the narrative as the quarians being childish and petulant, in comparison to the parental and mature Council. By the time of the Morning War, the negative perception of the quarians contributed to almost no backlash by the Council refusing to intervene.
CSTG has also engaged in delegitimization operations on the Migrant Fleet, and the stereotype of the greedy and inconsiderate suit rat has its roots in CSTG psychological operations. It is one of their most successful, though has not become somewhat problematic now that the quarians are now not only part of the Citadel, but the Council itself.
The CSTG were instrumental in the buildup to the First Refusal War, and it was also one of their most successful operations, though we are all aware how this ultimately ended. It was during this time that CSTG perfected ideal means of bringing a previously peaceful population to calling for war – something they would utilize in the future.
The Second Krogan Rebellions are also worth looking into from the perspective of CSTG, as they were forced to covertly support Aria in contrast to Wrang. It was a worst case scenario from their perspective, as their options were either Wrang – a krogan warlord – or Aria – a threat they believed they should have removed. Both parties hated by CSTG and CSTG worked against them both.
They did not hide the atrocities of Wrang and the devastation he and the Blood Pack caused – it was useful for whipping the population into a frenzy – if one was not willing to support a direct intervention. Another open war was not something desirable. CSTG did not spare Aria in the realm of public opinion either. She was portrayed as weak, hapless, and incapable of keeping control – with constant reminders that she was a seditionist criminal. It was a counterbalance the CSTG maintained, enough outrage to drive unofficial support to counter Wrang, and enough apathy that no one really wanted to join a war between two criminal factions.
CSTG got to again put their skills in driving a population to war in the leadup to the Second Refusal War, which was accomplished thanks to the discovery of the drell, and the manipulation of their situation. CSTG had this down to a science, and it can be considered another success – albeit with dubious results. The Commander at the time was skeptical that engaging the hanar was wise, but was overruled. Like the Shadow Broker, the Council would have done well to listen to him during that time.
When the batarians started becoming problematic as the humans began colonizing the Traverse, the Council picked a side, and the CSTG got to work delegitimizing and subverting the batarians. It was remarkably easy to do thanks to…well, what the batarians are. It is not difficult to turn public opinion against a species of misogynistic slaver rapists. The final impassioned outburst of the batarian ambassador to the Council before the batarians left was thoroughly mocked and memed, and it became so sensational it resulted in that ambassador's execution when he returned, so great was his humiliation.
Since then, CSTG has been working to maintain the negative perception of batarians – by far their easiest task.
OPERATIONAL STATUS: CSTG is obviously in operation, and while there are many of their operations they are continuing, there are a few that are worth directly highlighting in more detail, as well as some possibilities for the future.
In recent decades, the batarian SIU has become a major issue, as their own sophisticated operations have caught CSTG off-guard, and allowed the perpetuation of batarian ideals and views to begin growing. This is an unacceptable development, and CSTG is working overtime, both to counter the SIU, generate a mass-psychological shift to be resistant to batarian ideology, and has coordinated closely with Citadel Intelligence who has been able to achieve success preventing the SIU from gaining an ideological foothold on Citadel Station.
CSTG has also been forced to begin slowly reversing all of the anti-quarian propaganda, which is an arduous task that will take years to fully remove the subconscious stigma embedded in the minds of many, though the quarian assistance in the Benezia Incident generated a significant amount of goodwill – which is what CSTG is capitalizing on. This operation should be watched, as it may be the first time CSTG has been forced to reverse something they have created.
It is suspected that when the Council has determined how to handle the Geth or Reapers, the CSTG will be utilized, as they have many times before, to prepare the population for war. Considering what both groups have done, it will probably not be difficult to sell the population on retaliation. There is no doubt the CSTG is capable of this, the only question is who the target will be.
One concern worth noting is that CSTG is agnostic to the Broker Network, and avoids using it when they can. They have, overall, accepted the Network as a necessary evil, and not made propaganda efforts against us. With the gradual perception shift that is taking place throughout the Citadel Council, there is a concern that this neutrality could change.
Citadel Intelligence is leading this shift, and we should not assume that if they are successful, CSTG will sit on the sidelines.
OVERVIEW: Citadel Intelligence is an enemy of the Broker Network.
This is something we are all acutely aware of at this point, but until now we did not know the exact reason for why Citadel Intelligence removed itself from our control, let alone how. Historically, CINT and the Broker Network have had an amicable relationship, and cooperated on multiple matters. There was an understanding between us and them, and there were no indications that it was in jeopardy.
Following the Benezia Incident, CINT has undergone a paradigm shift far outside expected contingencies – which can inevitably be traced back to the appointment of Iridian Fidel as Director of Citadel Intelligence, which was followed by the mass resignation of every senior intelligence official, and hundreds of senior operatives, all of whom were amicable, if not friendly to the Broker Network.
Exactly who this particular salarian is and what he signals will be detailed in his dossier further below. What is important is that he has ensured that Citadel Intelligence is a problem we are, as of now, unable to properly deal with, and operations on the Citadel will be more dangerous as a result.
To shift to an actual overview of Citadel Intelligence, this is their actual mission: to protect Citadel Station, ensure the stability of the Council, acquire intelligence in a timely and accurate manner, and provide counter-intelligence operations on Citadel-controlled locations and planets. For reasons I can only flare my mandibles at, they are also one of the most invisible groups operating today.
Even the racial governments are only tangibly aware that Citadel Intelligence even exists. This can perhaps be attributed to two reasons, the first being that CINT almost exclusively operates on the Citadel and will only move beyond the station if they are following a lead, or there are extenuating circumstances. CINT does not have an exterior presence – that falls under the umbrella of CSOG and CSTG.
Thus, many underestimate them, forgetting that Citadel Station is the heart of power in this galaxy, and any organization that not only has a presence, but actively dominates the espionage scene is a force that punches far above its own weight. Also contributing to this perception is that CINT has strived to keep a relatively low profile overall.
Make no mistake, beyond the Broker Network, Citadel Intelligence is the dominant player on the Citadel. Everything that people assume is being watched by, or is compromised by other intelligence agencies has long been compromised by Citadel Intelligence. There are people who think that Aria T'Loak is an influential presence on the Citadel when that is pure disinformation spread by CINT to hide their own penetration into the criminal and social circles of the station – which is not to say Aria has no presence on the station, but what is rumored is so vastly overblown it has become ridiculous.
They are easily one of the most powerful organizations to exist from a legal standpoint, as their previously documented domination of the Subcommittee on Privacy and Intelligence states. CINT has outsized operational power, and they have maneuvered themselves into a position where curtailing them would be actively damaging to the Council – ironically they have reached such a position as a result of cooperation with the Broker Network in the past.
This is one last detail to highlight – the STG is an entity you would expect to not sleep on CINT. They haven't, nor have they similarly designated CINT as a major concern, which is very unlike the STG. The STG Master purportedly views CINT as a neutral party – at least in the sense that they do not pose a threat to the STG, and has instructed the STG to not antagonize them.
The question, obviously, is if STG has compromised Citadel Intelligence. The answer is complicated. Ultimately, no, but there is a reason why STG does not view them as a rival or threat, and it is directly tied to the current Director of Citadel Intelligence. Refer to his dossier for further details.
STRUCTURE: Citadel Intelligence is broken into five distinct divisions, each focusing on a specific topic or field. The number of divisions has shifted throughout the years, sometimes fewer, sometimes more. More recently the Dredgen Division was founded as a result of the Dredgen Initiative. Details on each of the divisions are as follows:
Station Analysis: Citadel Intelligence processes a frankly absurd amount of data on a daily basis, and all of this data is too overwhelming for a standard analysis team to turn into something usable. Station Analysis is a Broker-level analysis wing utilizing machine intelligences, augmented agents, shackled AIs, and numerous other methods which they legally can, but the average worker, intelligence official, let alone civilian has no idea about.
The reason that CINT not only knows so much, but can also utilize it effectively, is purely the result of this division. They are packed to the brim with some of the smartest individuals throughout the galaxy. You can't seek them out. If you distinguish yourself in certain circles, they will come to you.
The Coordination Department: The second major component that defines CINT is their level of sophisticated planning and execution in their operations. It is tight, laser-focused, and an outsized portion of their operations go off exactly as planned. The level of coordination here is nothing short of impressive from a professional standpoint. Everything from the largest objectives to the smallest details is planned out.
You can thank obsessive volus and salarians for this level of sophistication. It takes talent to be able to compile everything relevant into a digestible package, and then take the package and plan an operation out of it. This is what the Coordination Department does every single day. Everyone from the managers to the agents is involved in the stages of planning. Contingencies are hammered out in detail, and there are a minimum of three paths where any given operation is anticipated to go, and all of them are acceptable to carry out.
Becoming part of the Coordination Department is a mixture of experience and raw skill. Individuals do not get moved there until they are familiar with the operations of CINT. In rare cases they will perform outside recruitments, but they almost exclusively prefer to recruit in-house from other divisions.
The Surveillance and Assessment Department: Internally known as the "List-Keepers", this division is where much of the passive observation of the Citadel takes place. Thanks to the massive surveillance apparatus which is the Citadel, thanks to a combination of AVINA, copious amounts of security cameras, millions of smaller bugs, the only places where the Citadel does not have eyes and ears are the racial embassies.
It is worth noting that having the ability does not mean having the capability. Simply because CINT can watch you almost wherever you go on the Citadel, rarely means they actually are. But if they do need to track you? They can do so extremely efficiently. The mission of this division is to locate any individuals who are outside of the norm, non-state actors, state actors, and criminal elements, and determine an appropriate next step.
Surveillance is only one aspect. Assessment is the second. Every individual they consider worth noting has an assessment for them. The majority are along the lines of 'keep observing', but a few trigger direct intervention or termination. Persons of interest include everyone from politicians to celebrities, to activists, to criminals. There is no one who falls outside the purview of this division – and since the Benezia Incident, SPECTREs also fall under this directive, whereas previously they had been exempt.
CINT has been able to pinpoint a significant amount of active state and Broker actors on the Citadel at a given time. Most of the time, this amounts to nothing more than 'Don't intervene unless they do something', but the policy towards known Broker operatives has changed to 'terminate'.
Unfortunately, Tetrimus can no longer stride into the Council Chambers without triggering a full-on mobilization of CINT hit squads ready to trigger a doomsday contingency against the Broker Network. Hence why it was mentioned earlier how operations on the Citadel have become far more dangerous.
Field Operations Division: The largest division of CINT is by far their Field Operations Division, though this term is slightly misleading. Only a fraction of the actual individuals 'employed' by this division are legitimately intelligence agents that carry out expected espionage operations.
The rest are a collection of… consultants in a sense. Civilians of all species, businesses, and companies who have no idea they're working with CINT. CINT operates through several hundred shell companies, usually based around marketing, research, surveys, and so on, where they solicit opinions, news, and information from all corners of the Citadel. The individuals are well-compensated, and very often CINT is on top of the latest trends everywhere – or actively influencing them.
An aspect of this division which should also be concerning is that Field Operations heavily employs psyops on a level the Systems Alliance would be jealous of. The fact that they have taken their inspiration from the Batarian Special Intervention Unit – specifically the mind conquest aspect should raise significant alarm bells.
What initially started out as an operation to dismantle SIU influence on the Citadel changed when CINT was so impressed with their sophistication, that they stole the concept, married it with STG and Discerning tactics, and utilized it on the Citadel and beyond. This will be detailed a bit further down, but sociologists have made some interesting notes about Citadel culture, and that is directly attributable to CINT.
The Dredgen Division: There actually is not a significant amount to say on this, much to my initial surprise. Under normal circumstances, this would fall under Field Operations, and the only reason it doesn't is because of the nature of the mission – which is the assessment, observation, and if necessary, termination of indoctrinated individuals.
The Dredgen Division has access to the lists managed by the Dredgen Initiative proper, and works closely with them to provide updates, ensure compliance, and protect the Citadel from Reaper influence. Even if Dredgen had not proposed her idea, it is almost certain that CINT would have made that a mission of their own.
IMPACT AND OPERATIONAL CAPABILITY: It has been mentioned already, but it is worth repeating. Citadel Intelligence dominates the espionage scene on the Citadel. The Broker Network is equivalent, but the AIS, Discerning, Aria, Unseen Cloud, and even the STG have an inferior presence.
Citadel Intelligence has the legal authority to do things that no operating intelligence organization would attempt to do – and they are not hesitant to employ every single trick and tactic they can. This has resulted in their invisible hand being everywhere on the Citadel. It is almost certain that they took inspiration from the Broker Network in their operational model – with a healthy input of SIU and Discerning included.
Summing up their capabilities as merely those of standard intelligence organizations is doing them a disservice. While they field extremely competent assassins, observers, and agents in their own right, their true capabilities lie in their powerful data gathering and analysis, and their own Mind Conquest missions (Internally referred to as a "Mind Hack").
First, here are some facts about the Citadel population. According to multiple surveys, when asked, a majority of Citadel residents are strong supporters of the Council, and would like to see it expanded. Nearly seventy-percent have a more positive opinion of the Council after visiting Citadel Station. Ninety percent said they developed an appreciation for Citadel member species, and opinions of non-Council species fell by a significant amount.
Being on the Citadel for too long will change how you think. This is the result of Citadel Intelligence psyops, where the Mind Conquest techniques of the SIU have been turned towards influencing loyalty to the Council, which is augmented by Discerning manipulation. CINT has operatives who lead double lives, and hold fairly prominent positions at every level of Citadel society, from the highest echelons of the Council to the lowest elements of the Wards.
Do you ever wonder why you rarely see media or art critical of the Citadel Council on or from the Citadel? Is it ever noticed that many people you encounter have a potentially surprising amount of support for it? How many have experienced a hint of frustration or anger towards their racial government when they object to something the Council does, or resist expanding it?
Citadel Station culture is an artificial creation the likes of which the SIU would be jealous of. While the Asari and SIU focused their efforts directly against racial governments, they failed to adequately secure the Citadel in the same way – leaving CINT to fill that void – and brutally push out everyone else.
Seven years ago three dozen asari were abducted in the dead of night by CINT and quietly deported to Thessia. All of them were Discerning, in a clear message to the Thirty that the Citadel was Council territory, and overt meddling would not be tolerated. Known SIU operatives or those compromised by the SIU were terminated, and part of the psyop has not only been preventing SIU influence, but subtly shaping the minds to be resistant to SIU machinations.
The arts and culture scene of the Citadel is overrun with CINT influencers. Local celebrities which rise to galactic prominence are groomed assets who are deployed at regular intervals when the Citadel needs a positive influence. Do you think it was a coincidence that over thirty percent of the 'top fifty up and coming artists' rose to viral prominence after the Benezia Incident, with their commemorative songs and music championing the 'resilience of the Citadel' and heavily promoting themes of unity and cooperation?
It exists far beyond the arts scenes. Prostitution rings, merc groups, and of course C-Sec is dominated by CINT groups. Interstellar mercenary groups struggle to keep recruiters or representatives on the Citadel because so many of them quit and join the CDF or C-Sec, becoming disillusioned with the merc lifestyle. The Consort's little operation is overrun by CINT influencers.
Most who are aware believe that the Discerning are the primary operatives under the Consort. For a time, they were. They have since been replaced by CINT operatives who carry out their mission.
It seems likely their influence operations will soon shift to turn against the Broker Network. We must be prepared for this shift.
CITADEL HIGH COMMAND
OVERVIEW: At the heart of Citadel military decision-making is Citadel High Command. A small, exclusive council of the heads of each of the previously-described organizations and units. Together they set policy, standards, strategy, budget, and tone for each militant arm of the Citadel. Notably, they do not have influence over the SPECTREs, though work with them closely.
Their activities also include, but are not limited to briefing the Council over any defense topics, directly interacting with racial militaries, planning joint training exercises, and other bureaucratic functions which are ultimately not impressive. What is worth noting is that every single individual listed is dangerous in their own right.
These are not apathetic men and women who haven't held a weapon or been in a battle in years. They train regularly, keep in practice with their favorite tools or biotic techniques, and have an intimate understanding of the capabilities of the soldiers they lead which other military commanders sometimes lack.
It is worth looking at each of them in detail:
RATHION VOX, SUPREME COMMANDER OF THE CITADEL DEFENSE FORCE: I feel compelled to point out that the original title was "Commander of the Citadel Defense Force". Simple, workable, and understandable. Rathion Vox instead gets appointed, and one of the first changes he made was the clarification that the role was Supreme Commander.
And thus, it became so.
Beyond this mildly humorous anecdote, Rathion Vox is one of the most prestigious appointments to the position since the inception of the Citadel Defense Force. A master SKYTALON pilot who clawed his way to Praetorium in the Ranks of Valor, becoming a General, he has been at the highest levels of the Hierarchy for nearly a decade.
In that time, he has commanded dozens of combat operations, continually ensured that the SkyTalon suits were modernized, upgraded, and expanded, personally went on multiple combat operations, and had a near-perfect success rate. What separates him from other turians of similar ranks is that he is easily the most well-traveled of all of them.
He is intimately familiar with the Alliance military, and participated in joint training on a regular basis. He is also very embedded in the fledgling Volus Defense Force, and is actually a consultant for the VDF who regularly keep him apprised of matters and developments. He's had stints with the Asari Commando, toured several worlds which are supposedly unimportant, but are STG training camps.
This extends beyond Citadel-aligned militaries. He's tracked down obscure drell biotics, spent quite a lot of his own money acquiring videos of hanar ship engagements, Blue Sun training camps, Blood Pack initiation rituals, Eclipse specialist classes, and Krogan clan rituals. He is connected with an absurd amount of prominent military and non-military figures, and meets with Okeer on an annual basis where they talk about everything from extranet drama to high-level military strategy.
Vox appears to be doing this for two reasons.
The first is that he does not appear to necessarily trust many of the Citadel – mostly the governments, but we know that he holds a number of high-ranking alien military figures in personal contempt, despite interacting with them previously. He personally despises many of the Thirty, finds their military leaders not much better, considers most of the Human admirals compromised by the High Lords or corporations, and has privately described the salarians as 'only capable of winning a false war'.
In his mind, if there are any issues with said factions, then he now has an intimate knowledge of their internal workings which you simply do not get from a bland report. This is made clear in his research of major mercenary groups, and even fringe threats like the hanar. The more he knows, the more he can tailor the defense.
The second is that he is rather open to new ideas in comparison to most of his brethren. He is not averse to taking inspiration from other militaries, and applying it to his own forces. For example, he has made some modifications to the SkyTalon operations based on some of what he saw from the Alliance DACT.
He takes this inspired approach from the turians within the Primacy Circle shortly after the First Refusal War who performed an autopsy on what was working, what wasn't working, and how to best address it. Vox is privately concerned that if there is a Third Refusal War, or something worse, the Hierarchy will not be adequately prepared.
A rather sober-minded individual. Enter his appointment as Supreme Commander.
He is not a major military figure at first glance to the public (for as much as the public pays attention to military figures), but with this context, you can likely see why his name was put forward. He is intimately familiar with disparate alien militaries, has worked with many of them, and if anyone could manage a cohesive multi-species coalition, it would be him.
Since he was appointed, the CDF has become significantly more cohesive. Previous (Supreme) Commanders were largely content to perform basic drills, and try and hope that there was not intra-unit infighting. Units were actually segregated by species for a long time (though was ended before Vox was appointed). Vox expanded this and made multi-species units as the standard, added numerous drills and exercises to build cohesion, and scheduled regular tours of CDF soldiers to various species militaries.
There is also a concerted – and remarkably subtle – effort to slowly erode racial and government loyalties in favor of the Citadel itself. It is a remarkably deceptive indoctrination program, which I suspect was inspired in some part by his visits with the STG, conversations with Okeer, and unique perspective on alien soldier mindsets. It's far too clever for a regular hierarchy turian, even one of the Praetorium.
Vox is greatly respected by the rank and file, is looked upon favorably by every Citadel military, and has a good relationship with the Council and High Command. He is the modern architect of the CDF, and is still notably very good with a SKYTALON suit, and maintains his own shooting range he uses daily.
Do not underestimate him, or the people he is connected to.
MATRIARCH MOIRAS VALLIA, GRAND ADMIRAL OF THE CITADEL FLEET: This asari has one of the most accomplished military histories of anyone alive today. While it is not uncommon for young maidens to spend a few centuries moving between military services, such as the Commandos, most will transition to less exciting roles once they hit the matron years.
Moiras Vallia is one such exception. From her earliest years she has been involved in the asari military and fleet. Born within the Greater Houses, she was afforded a number of opportunities that others were not, and she took advantage of all of them. Moiras is old; to provide an idea of what this woman has gone through her service record should be a good indication.
She participated first in the Krogan Rebellions, then the First Refusal War, the Second Krogan Rebellions, the Second Refusal War, and now the Benezia Incident. If there has been a major war that has taken place in the past thousand years, Moiras has been a part of it. Surviving any one of these events is an accomplishment.
In our records, we know of no one else who participated in all of them – and survived.
If she is not the oldest matriarch alive, she is by far the oldest who is holding any kind of public or military role. She is extremely atypical of asari, as most matriarchs at her age would retire to Thessia and begin growing a following, or focusing on their family. Moiras has done none of these things. Her one and only bondmate (another asari) died in the First Refusal War and she has not bonded again, instead devoting herself fully to military service.
She has acquired a wealth of knowledge, and has seen more war than anyone outside of perhaps Okeer and a few other krogan. No other asari can claim as much, as most only participated in one of these major events – not multiple, and certainly not all of them. She is universally respected by all officers (even xenophobic officers cannot deny her knowledge and skill), and is held up as one of the most significant asari alive today.
She has more commendations and medals than many of her peers combined. The asari are not known for their war heroes, but Moiras is perhaps the singular exception – one people of all types look up to. At least publicly.
Moiras has become more and more distant from her family the longer she has served. There was urging from some of the matriarchs for her to retire, and she stubbornly refused them. As the years have passed, she seems to have grown disillusioned with the Thirty, and has snubbed them on multiple occasions – including ceremonies which would have commemorated her.
Most of the Thirty do not like her, and the feeling seems to be reciprocated. The dislike is subtle, though, and largely confined to social escapades. The Thirty cannot exactly act against her, outside of excluding her in social circles and polite society – which they eventually started doing. Moiras didn't seem to mind, though there is without doubt a connection between this, and her concerted efforts to recruit clanless into the Citadel Fleet.
Her appointment to Grand Admiral was one which was a long time coming, and she was unanimously appointed to the position close to a half-century ago, and has since been managing her newly practical and political position carefully, focused previously on internal cohesion before wider-scale reforms which she must have known would generate pushback.
The Benezia Incident has proven to be the catalyst for action. Backed by High Command and the Council, she is seeking to complete her vision of a unified Citadel Fleet – one greater than any that has existed before. This is, to date, the first time she has actively used her reputation to get results. She previously eschewed the spotlight nor bragged about her history; given what she has seen and experienced in all theaters of war, this is understandable.
Having now extracted concessions and ships from the member species, she has now effectively become the leader of the most powerful fleet in the galaxy. A fleet like this under her control, and drawing upon her vast knowledge, will be unlike any the galaxy has seen before. I do not know if we fully grasp who we are dealing with.
We should not forget this woman is at least as experienced as Okeer – and more importantly – considers him an acquaintance as he is one of the few with the same deep experience and knowledge as he does. Her ties are with other prominent military officials in multiple species – and notably very few matriarchs of the Thirty.
For better or worse, she appears to have decided that she can live without them, and has thrown her lot in fully with the Citadel. Given where she is now, she is likely thinking she made the right choice. The Thirty are likely still annoyed with her, but she is one of the few asari that they cannot touch in the realm of public opinion – or, truthfully, touch at all.
Only a fool would think they could take on a woman who has fought a Remembrance Dancer and lived – or the thousands of other bodies she has created in her centuries-long record of war. While she is no longer a foot soldier, her abilities have certainly not diminished. Treat her carefully.
SORA CORIATH, EXECUTOR OF THE SPECIAL OPERATIONS GROUP: The role of the Executor within the Citadel Special Operations Group is unique throughout the unit. The Executor is the principle leader, an active operational participant (though usually only on important operations). Interestingly, the position at one point was completely non-operations, then a turian was appointed, and started taking direct action, and from there the standard was set, and now all Executors are expected to similarly take part in operations.
Beyond that, they also act as the chief strategist and politician of the unit. They sit on Citadel High Command, are the ones who present operational objectives and briefings to the Council or other relevant groups, and are responsible for managing recruitment, tone, and regimes. Their role as negotiator is very important, since sometimes the governments aren't eager to let some to their best go.
Sora Coriath is formerly an accomplished Blackwatch operative, and one of the relatively rare females who climbed the ranks to that unit. She is not, however, the most accomplished, and from a military standpoint, there were better options. However, what she excels in is the management and organization aspects of command, which was what ultimately led to her recommendation for the position of Executor.
She had already been a part of CSOG for five years, participated in numerous operations, led the defense of the Wards after the previous Executor died, and is well-respected by her peers. She has been involved in strategic planning, and had been pushing for an expansion of CSOG for several years previously.
She is intimately familiar with every single aspect of CSOG, and upon her appointment, immediately began efforts to replace the numbers lost, by making a tour around Citadel space, visiting military leaders of all species to lobby for replacement soldiers – particularly hitting the new Council species hard. She was overwhelmingly successful, and capitalized on the moment, and of course the fear of potential future attacks.
Now in charge, Sora could enact several notable reforms and additions to CSOG. The active recruitment of drell to the operations side was a major step, one she actively had to fight for. While their capabilities were not in question, High Command was extremely wary of deeper integration, as they remembered stories of infiltrator drell from the Second Refusal War. She said they would undergo an asari link to prove their loyalty. This was permitted, and High Command relented and allowed the addition to proceed.
CSOG now also has a small team of volus which are, while technically not CSOG proper, are attached to the unit, and only work for them, optimizing their finances, paperwork, and on standby for any legal questions. They are not fully clued into the operational side, but it is the first time there has been a dedicated team explicitly focused on the CSOG finance and regulation side, which had previously been internally managed, usually by the Executor, who usually outsourced it to the CDF.
Beyond these additions, Sora has been making more focused recruitment efforts in an attempt to 'balance' CSOG. Right now she believes that there are too many marksman, demolitions experts, and infantry, and not enough infowar specialists, medics, and trappers. She's made cross-training a central pillar of her training regime in an effort to create a more well-rounded CSOG, which has begun bearing some fruit, and will make it more dangerous in the future.
Sora is a driven and accomplished Executor, one who was optimally chosen in the aftermath of the Benezia Incident. She is on the older end of operatives, and there is speculation that she will retire within a few years once her changes have had time to mature. In this respect, we should consider her a transitional leader, and the next one will be the Executor who leads CSOG into war.
AEDON MAS, COMMANDER OF THE COUNCIL SPECIAL TASKS GROUP: Compared to some of the individuals on this list, Aedon Mas has a fairly normal background – or at least a background one would expect for a group of this nature. He is a former STG agent from one of the analysis units that reported directly to the STG Master, though we were unable to determine what kind of analysis he took part in.
Based on his technical and educational profile, we can make some extrapolations. He has acquired doctorates in political science, xenopsychology, and sociology – all prime fields in demand for the mission of the CSTG, and it is wholly unsurprising that he was tapped to fill the role of Commander.
He has been with CSTG for a remarkably long period of time – seven years. The average tenure of Commander is three to four. Mas appears to enjoy his work quite a bit, and while he has not published any academic papers since taking command, he has been attached to a number of low-profile studies and papers exploring major sociological topics, usually those around group dynamics.
Mas, unlike many of his contemporaries, maintains that singularly-focused and cohesive groups are actually easier to disrupt and destroy than those composed of a larger ideological spectrum. As he views it, the more united a group is, the more intolerant they are to internal dissent and more likely to enforce ideological purity.
The exposing of ideological impurity, genuine or manufactured, is often enough to cause such groups to self-destruct, create fissures and tensions, engender mistrust in each other, and demoralize the group as a whole. He advocates that prior to the shattering of a group, they should first be manipulated to adopt such stringent ideological guidelines, as it becomes a shatterpoint further into the operation.
Mas is an avid historical reader, and in particular has an interest in stories of rebellions and civil wars – both successful and unsuccessful. Turian and human history in particular is filled with such uprisings and rebellions. While he also has an interest in wars, it is focused on the 'who', 'how', and 'why' of the war – particularly how nations and factions convinced vast swathes of people to fight for a cause.
This man has an intimate understanding of the components of war, group dynamics, and ideologies. There is no belief, religion, or political group that Mas has not read, researched, and determined its weakness – and he has employed this knowledge many times before as he plots to suppress dissent within Citadel Space.
His ties to the STG exist, but he does not appear to be under the control of them, as he sees the prosperity and safety of the Salarian Union tied intrinsically to that of the Citadel. Protecting one protects the other in his view. He is not someone to be underestimated, and it says something that he is only the second-most dangerous salarian on this list.
IRIDIAN FIDEL, DIRECTOR OF CITADEL INTELLIGENCE: There are a number of salarians which are wily, intelligent, and very, very dangerous. The strength of the salarians has always been their minds, and we judge them through that lens. Occasionally there is an exception, such as Tazzik, but it takes a special salarian to stand out from the pack.
Currently, the Broker Network judges the STG Master, Councilor Valern, and the SIX as the most dangerous salarians alive, albeit for different reasons. I submit that Director Iridian Fidel, of Citadel Intelligence belongs in this number, and is arguably more dangerous than half of them. The reason that we have never encountered him before is, frankly, until his appointment, he did not exist.
This requires an explanation as to his origins.
The original designation of Iridian Fidel was ALTERATION-45g. While the majority of even the salarians assigned to the Alteration Project are only intimately familiar with ALTERATION-47c (commonly known as 'Tazzik'), he was far from the only outstanding success. ALTERATION-40 to ALTERATION-45 experiments were focused on augmenting the neural and processing capabilities of salarians, which at the time was theorized to create a more stable Wheel Priest. It was…successful, in a sense. Partially successful. Almost every single one of the subjects went insane.
All except one. ALTERATION-45g. The last subject, who not only survived, but was remarkably stable. Alteration scientists were waiting for him to crack, but he never did. Only a very small number of people were aware that he was even alive, which is why we never made an inquiry; otherwise I suspect we would have attempted to acquire him instead of Tazzik.
We do not know if Iridian Fidel is a name he chose for himself, or one given to him. It doesn't especially matter. For years only the STG Master and a few high-ranking STG agents even had access to him, and half of those had no idea who or what he was. Physically, Fidel is not unique. His physical size is not outside the standard, nor is he faster or stronger than baseline salarians.
His mind is where the alterations happened. It took an absurd amount of digging, but five years ago, this was mentioned in a direct conversation between Fidel and the STG Master.
"We must determine a means of neutralizing or appropriating the Shadow Broker and the Broker Network."
We have noticed an uptick of STG activity which has been slowly been turned against the Broker Network. It was isolated and sporadic enough to dismiss as chance, but in light of this information, we need to consider the very high likelihood that these are a larger STG effort to neuter the Broker Network.
That is not the concerning part.
At some point, Valern was brought into the loop regarding Fidel, and began determining a way to appoint him as CINT Director. During his appointment, the Broker Network did highlight some red flags, namely that he was most certainly an STG plant, had no discernable background, and Valern was moving to fast-track his appointment.
We believed that he, while an unknown quantity, could be controlled thanks to the working relationship we previously had with CINT. This was a massive mistake. Approximately one week after taking command of Citadel Intelligence, every single ranking CINT figure resigned abruptly.
Two weeks passed, and another wave of resignations. Another two weeks, and the same happened. There was no explanation publicly given, and it appeared to have been a peaceful transition. Nearly five hundred individuals resigned, from senior officials to agents and analysts. The one thing they had in common? All of them were friendly to the Broker Network or had worked with us before.
Our retaliation almost happened before the Network discovered that CINT had a contingency in place in the event of retaliation, and once we had found it, the waves of resignations made sense. Fidel had acquired all of our own information on them, some of which was blackmail, some of which were financial transactions, some of which was evidence of them performing favors or passing us information.
He'd used this to threaten all of them into resigning, which they obviously did, as in polite society, working for the Broker is very frowned upon – especially in matters of state security. To be clear – this should never have happened. A thorough audit of our information on them, and who bought it spans years.
Most of the time? Shell companies; fronts. An accepted part of our business model, as there are many racial governments who covertly buy compromising information on their people to avoid it falling into the wrong hands. There are certain triggers that exist which will prevent anyone from acquiring a critical mass of information.
The problem is that the STG completely subverted these safeguards and were operating thousands of shell companies representing every species from humans to quarians. The amount of information acquired was in the trillions of credits – a sum of money which, if it was coming from any state, would trigger alarms. The problem is that it didn't.
We believe, based on the evidence, that much of this information-gathering operation was assisted by the League of Zero, who provided the information management and credits necessary – as well as the necessary deniability. A massive years-long operation, acquiring pieces of disparate information for the sole purpose of eventually allowing Iridian Fidel to assume control of Citadel Intelligence.
Unfortunately, this was not all he had acquired from the Broker Network. He was in possession of highly damning information related to the High Lords of Sol, the Thirty, Aria, and prominent figures including several past and present Councilors. It was a shot across the bow, where Fidel was actively goading us to act, and was prepared to shatter the galactic order if we tried to suppress him.
One salarian managed to turn one of the greatest strengths of the Broker Network against us. Now he has reformed CINT in his image, carefully picking out his inner circle, promoting agents, and recruiting around the galaxy. The people he chooses are not touched by the Network, and we have limited influence over them.
We are certain that this intelligence-gathering program is still ongoing, and it is REQUIRED that we immediately re-examine our policies regarding data sale and information sensitivity. Information is our lifeblood, but we are in an unprecedented position where said information is being actively used against our interests.
There are some final notes about Fidel, all of which relate to his capabilities. His neural capabilities are significantly enhanced compared to the already-high salarian baseline, and capable of multi-threaded thought comparable to a yagh, and is likely a significant component of how he is able to manage multiple high-level operations simultaneously.
It is certain that he has a perfect memory, is fairly proficient with a pistol, and keeps in reasonable shape. He has a tendency to speak slightly faster than the average salarian, though observers have noted that his tone never changes, nor does he ever stumble over his words. He also rarely blinks, something visitors have noted as disconcerting.
Finally, it was mentioned that he was part of a batch which was specifically to produce a better, stable, Wheel Priest. The question is if Fidel is a Wheel Priest, or has their training, or if his capabilities are limited to his cognition. While we cannot fully confirm, there is extremely strong evidence that even if Fidel is not a Wheel Priest, he has undergone Wheel Priest training.
He has an uncanny skill for intervening in operations on a whim, sometimes pushing them forward, sometimes delaying them, sometimes cutting them short, or making personnel adjustments. Without exception his decisions end up being the right ones – or at least not disastrous.
He is adept at reading people, and every single individual we have since attempted to approach or infiltrate with has been discovered after a single meeting with him. This goes beyond our own agents. STG, AIS, Discerning, all are treated similarly – though there are instances where he will not remove them – likely depending on how much of a threat he considers them.
Fidel's relationship with the STG is also not as clear-cut. It is heavily implied that it has been Fidel, and not the STG Master who conceptualized and ran this entire operation. In practice Fidel does not seem to treat the STG differently than other intelligence organizations, and is apathetic to the SIX from what we have determined. We have dismissed any mental conditioning, as it is unlikely that the STG would have risked tampering with his mind, and damaging his capabilities.
It seems likely that the STG Master is taking a major gamble on if Fidel is reliable, but has judged that Fidel's strategy of taking down the Broker Network is worth following, which takes place concurrently to existing anti-Broker STG operations. It can be assumed that Fidel is sympathetic to the STG, but I am skeptical that he is a pure puppet.
What is important is that he is an enemy, and he is going to be one of the most difficult threats to dislodge from the Network in decades. I will turn that particular operation over to those more experienced. Nonetheless, this is not something which can be tolerated.
We cannot lose our operations on the Citadel, and if Director Fidel is permitted to continue his purge – which has already begun to spread to C-Sec – then we will – and this will open the door to opportunists waiting to follow suit.
Xabiar's Note: I'm actually slightly optimistic that I will be able to finish up this entire report by the end of the year, assuming there aren't any surprises (it's 2020, so who knows). Special thanks to Sikor and NPC for making some suggestions to this one, and LP for more or less letting me set this up on my own. It seemed fitting that the Citadel get some non-political respect, and it always bothered me that the focus when it comes to the Citadel is political, or is an odd UN equivalent where the institution has very little actual power, when that should not be the case for the Citadel here.
Something that I can consider properly addressed now. Rough plot for the remaining pieces is going to be C-Sec, SPECTREs, and Citadel Station. Expect some interesting things in all of them. Thanks for reading!