It's been centuries now. Centuries since we were forced to leave our home. Since we were driven out into exile in a hostile galaxy. Abandoned by our allies; forgotten by those who once professed to be our friends.
Our enemy parades through the streets of our ruined cities while their orbiting ships darken our skies. Our home was a garden world: not a paradise which we stumbled into by chance, but something green and vibrant that we crafted with our own hands out of the very desert. But only weeds grow now in the gardens cultivated by our ancestors. No flowers are left to mark their graves.
And we, the children of those who were left to die by the Council? We are forced to scavenge and barter for scraps in order to survive. When we send our children out on their pilgrimages, they find themselves in a galaxy where - for all our people's intelligence, for all our culture and history - they are seen as little better than vorcha. Parasites, they call us. Vermin. Thieves or beggars. Creatures beneath contempt, fit only for servitude or ridicule..
And why? Because we brought our destruction on ourselves, by pursuing technological advances beyond those permitted by the Council?
But the salarians unleashed the rachni and the krogan on the galaxy. In their arrogance, their scientists brought about the deaths of billions. The turians fought wars against their own colonies, turning armies and fleets and weapons of mass destruction on even their own people. Surely they have broken more taboos, killed more people, than any quarian? And yet the turians and the salarians sit proudly on the Council, while the quarians are pariahs.
The galaxy would rather, I think, that we had not survived. That would be neater. Better that we were nothing but a tragic tale of hubris; nothing but a story told to scare children. Better that we be remembered only as victims, for a while, and then forgotten. Lost to the dust.
But we have survived. With nobody to rely on but ourselves, and nothing to trust but our own determination and ingenuity. We will not let the galaxy forget us. And we have not forgotten.
More than four hundred years have passed since the last quarian fled in terror from the devastation and destruction of the geth. As the old calendars of our home world measure it, almost eighty thousand days. Almost eighty thousand suns have risen now on a Rannoch on which no quarian draws breath; eighty thousand bright sunrises which have warmed no faces and brought hope to no lives.
There are those among us who whisper, still, that we should take the easy way out. Disband the Fleet; accept permanent exile. Settle on some other world; whatever scraps are left after the turians and batarians and volus and humans and asari have secured the colonies they wish. Forget the dream of Rannoch, the world from which we came.
Find somewhere else.
But a world is more than just a planet. A world is a home: it is part of a people's identity. Our bodies did not evolve to live on worlds other than our own; our lungs were not meant to breath alien air. From Rannoch our people came and to Rannoch we will - we must - one day return.
There is a reason that those who advocate resettlement speak only in whispers. They feel ashamed. And they are right to feel this way, for what they call on us to do is shameful. To give up on Rannoch now, after all these years of exile, would be the final betrayal of everything our people have struggled for since the days of the war. No true quarian could ever do such a thing.
We will never, ever surrender to the machines. We will fight them, just as our parents did, and their parents and their grandparents before them. We will fight with every weapon we can salvage, every ship we can repair. Whatever it takes, we will fight. And one day we will defeat them. One day we will retake what is rightfully ours.
Two days ago I promised my daughter that she would live to one day walk in peace on the surface of Rannoch. A Rannoch free of the geth, restored to its rightful place as the capital and cradle of the quarian people. I told her that I would build a house for her there: a place where she could raise children of her own, and entertain them with stories of our victory over the enemy.
I intend to keep that promise. Not just for my daughter, but for all our daughters. For all our children.
Whatever it takes.
- Admiral Raal'Zorah, Day 76,831 of Exile, personal logs