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The Confederacy of the Quarian People Factbook

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The Confederacy of the Quarian People Factbook

Postby The Quarian People » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:28 pm

Species

The quarians are a nomadic species of humanoid aliens known for their skills with technology and synthetic intelligence. Since their homeworld Rannoch was conquered, the quarians live aboard the Migrant Fleet, a huge collection of starships that travel as a single fleet.

Approximately three hundred years ago the quarians created the geth, a species of rudimentary artificial intelligences, to serve as an efficient source of manual labor. However, when the geth gradually became sentient, the quarians became terrified of possible consequences and tried to destroy their creations. The latter won the resulting war and forced their creators into exile. Now the quarians wander the galaxy in a flotilla of salvaged ships, secondhand vessels, and recycled technology.
Due to extended time abord ships quarians have become some of the best mechanics in the galaxy.
Last edited by The Quarian People on Thu Jul 01, 2010 7:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Postby The Quarian People » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:30 pm

History

Hailing from the world of Rannoch, the quarians were always a technologically capable species. They created the geth around 1900 CE to be used as labourers and tools of war. The quarians kept their programming as limited as that of any VI, nothing close to an AI, remaining mindful of the Citadel Council's laws against artificial intelligence. But as the quarians gradually modified the geth to do more complex tasks, developing a sophisticated neural network, these changes altered the geth to such an extent that they became sentient. One day, a geth unit began asking its overseer questions about the nature of its existence. According to Legion, while this was not the first time a geth unit had asked if it had a soul, it was the first time doing so had caused fear. Regardless, the quarians felt as though they had made a terrible mistake.

Panicked, the quarian government ordered an immediate shutdown of all geth, hoping to strike the first blow, but they had underestimated the power of the neural network and how intelligent the geth had become. Their servants defended themselves, resulting in a war that cost billions of quarian lives and drove them from their homeworld. After being refused aid from the Citadel Council, the quarians fled in the Migrant Fleet while the geth took over their systems. Soon after, the Council stripped the quarians of their embassy, effectively cutting the quarians out of Citadel politics as a punishment for their actions. Ever since, the quarians have devoted all their skills and resources to preserving their species aboard the Migrant Fleet.

The quarians have since been struggling to survive. While most of their efforts have been directed toward surviving and maintaining their species aboard the Flotilla, another major concern is to find new ways of combating the geth and possibly even reclaiming their home world.

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Postby The Quarian People » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:31 pm

Biology

Quarians are generally shorter and of slighter build than humans. Quarians have an endoskeleton, lips, teeth, and two eyes with eyelids and tear ducts; they also have three thick fingers on both hands which include a thumb and an index finger, as well as three toes on each foot. Their ears or ear analogues differ in a noticeable fashion from those of humans, with references made to "what [passes] for the quarian version of an ear" [1].
The most important fact of quarian biology is their weak immune system. As a result, all quarians habitually dress in highly sophisticated enviro-suits, to protect them from disease or infection if they are injured. Their suits can be compartmentalized in the event of a tear or similar breach to prevent the spread of contaminants (similar to a ship sealing off bulkheads in the event of a hull breach).

Quarian immune systems have always been relatively weak, as pathogenic microbes were comparatively rare in their homeworld's biosphere. This is also because the viruses and other microbes were beneficial to them, unlike for humans where they are not. Since living aboard the Migrant Fleet for generations, the quarians' immune systems have atrophied further still due to the years in the sterile environment of the Migrant Fleet. As such, quarians are given various vaccinations and immunizations to help ward off disease. However, they prefere the safety of their suits even in clean enviroments and are reluctant to remove them without a good reason [2].

A quarian who wishes to remove their suit must take antibiotics, immuno-boosters, herbal supplements, or the like in order to do so safely, and even then there are inherent risks. As a result, physical acts of affection are difficult for quarians, even for the purposes of reproduction. Ships in the Migrant Fleet often contain "clean rooms" where quarians can give birth or undergo medical procedures in relative safety, though there are always risks. The most intimate thing quarians can do is link their suit environments, though doing so guarantees a quarian will get sick at first, but adapt afterwards.

Like turians, the quarians are a dextro-protein species of reverse chirality from humans and asari. The food of levo-protein races such as humans or asari is at best inedible and at worst poisonous, most likely triggering a dangerous allergic reaction. Quarians who want to taste something (other than the refined edible paste issued to all who leave on their Pilgrimage) can eat specially purified turian cuisine.

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Postby The Quarian People » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:32 pm

Migrant Fleet

There are roughly 17 million quarians on the Migrant Fleet (also called the Flotilla). It is technically still under martial law but is now governed by bodies such as the Admiralty Board and the democratically-elected Conclave, though ship captains and onboard civilian councils tend to address most issues 'in-house' before it gets that far. Quarians are divided into several clans that can be spread across several ships, or restricted to one. Their clan name is after the apostrophe in their first name. A quarian's 'surname' refers to which ship they were born on, or, after their Pilgrimage, which ship they chose to join.
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Postby The Quarian People » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:33 pm

Politics

Other species tend to look down on the quarians for several reasons, the foremost of which being their supposed 'unleashing' of the geth upon the galaxy. This act led to the quarians' losing their embassy on the Citadel. Quarians are often viewed as beggars and thieves.
Because of the Flotilla's limited resources, quarians strip-mine the systems they pass through, which often puts them at odds with any species currently settled there. The Migrant Fleet also tends to drop off criminals on planets it passes[3], because the quarians cannot support a non-productive prison population - they simply lack the resources. However, life on the Migrant Fleet means quarians have unique skills.The quarians have developed an imperfect technique for recovering data from geth memory cores. They are masters at maintaining and converting technology, especially ship parts, and they are also expert miners because the Fleet requires huge amounts of fuel. They are able to repair what most species would melt down. This proficiency means corporations sometimes quietly hire quarians 'on the side' if the Migrant Fleet is nearby, replacing existing workers, much to their annoyance.

This unpopularity, and the fact their entire species travels and works as one, makes most quarians quite insular, caring only about the continued survival of the Migrant Fleet. Their nomadic life and exclusion from the Citadel mean that the concerns of the Citadel races don't particularly interest or impress them.
Last edited by The Quarian People on Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby The Quarian People » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:34 pm

Economy

The quarians have a very different economic system from the rest of the galaxy. While credits influence what is available in Citadel space, currency is non-existent in quarian society. Quarians value the little space they have above all else, so no unused items are kept to maximize space. When a quarian has an item they do not need, they place it in a public area, in what resembles a market. The items available are put into storage lockers, and those in need may simply take what they find. Since quarian society is based around honor and loyalty to their fellow quarians, there is rarely disagreement[4].

However, food and medicine are handled more strictly. The food coming from both the Liveships and from scout ships is put into a central stock and distributed carefully to individuals. Outgoing food is tracked carefully, so as not to put the Migrant Fleet at risk of food shortage, or worse, mass starvation. Medicine is also distributed carefully. However, since the quarians wear their enviro-suits everywhere, even when aboard the Migrant Fleet, they are at a very low risk of sickness. Controlling the flow of medicine also creates an emergency stockpile in case of a widespread outbreak, which is necessary since the quarian immune system is so weak.

Another means of resource income for the Fleet is from whatever system that the Migrant Fleet is passing through at the time; the quarians will strip-mine any promising planets for resources with well-trained efficiency. Any other races with industrial or corporate interests in that system will often offer a "gift" of ships, food, or other supplies to encourage the Fleet to leave. Usually, the Admiralty Board accepts the gift, as the Migrant Fleet is in no position to decline resources.

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Postby The Quarian People » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:35 pm

Law and Defense

Although the Conclave establishes civil law much as any planet-based democracy, enforcement and trials are more unique. After the flight from the geth, there were few constables to police the millions of civilians aboard the Fleet, so the navy parceled out marine squads to maintain order and enforce the law. Today, quarian marines have evolved training and tactics akin to civilian police, but remain adept at combat in the confined spaces of a starship, and fully under the command of the military.
Once taken into custody, the accused is brought before the ship's captain for judgment. While the ship's council may make recommendations, tradition holds that the captain has absolute authority in matters of discipline.

Most are lenient, assigning additional or more odious maintenance tasks aboard the ship. Persistent recidivists are 'accidentally' left on the next habitable world. This practice of abandoning criminals on other people's planets is a point of friction between the quarians and the systems they pass through. Captains rarely have another choice; with space and resources at a premium, supporting a non-productive prison population is not an option. Offences that carry exile as a penalty include murder, repeated violent episodes, and sabotage against vessels, food stores or the Liveships themselves. Quarians practice capital punishment for one crime - as Tali tells Commander Shepard, mutiny or hijacking starships is punished with execution.

In the early years, many quarian freighters were armed and used as irregular "privateers." Civilian ships still show a strong preference for armament, making them unpopular targets for pirates. Though they have rebuilt their military, there are still mere hundreds of warships to protect the tens of thousands of ships. The quarian navy follows strict routines of patrol, and takes no chances. If the intent of an approaching ship can't be ascertained, they shoot to kill.

For this reason, young quarians on their Pilgrimage are given code phrases to repeat upon their return, as they often arrive back in vessels they have bought or scavenged which are unknown to the Flotilla. One phrase denotes a successful Pilgrimage and the quarian navy will permit them to rejoin the Fleet; the other alerts the navy that the quarian is returning under duress, and their ship will be immediately destroyed.

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Postby The Quarian People » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:36 pm

Culture

One of the factors of life aboard the Migrant Fleet is population control. It is illegal for quarian families to have more than two children to maintain zero population growth - unless the restriction has been lifted to keep numbers stable - so families tend to be small. Along with the fact each quarian relies on the others for survival, this means the bonds between quarians tend to be very strong, compared to a more individualistic race like the krogan. Loyalty, trust and cooperation between quarians are essential for the survival of their species.
Quarians enjoy storytelling, and hold dancers in high esteem. Some ships from the Fleet linger in orbit over planets used as drive discharge sites, to sell refreshments, supplies or trinkets made by their children to passing crews.

Young quarians go on a Pilgrimage as a rite of passage, leaving the Flotilla to look for resources, information or supplies that will be useful to the rest of the fleet. Their discovery is then presented to the captain of the ship they wish to join as a gift upon the quarian's return. As well as proving they are a productive member of society, this ensures that the quarians maintain genetic diversity by not intermarrying with the crew of their 'home ship'. It is also seen as an opportunity for quarians to experience life outside the Migrant Fleet, to appreciate their own culture. Tali says that though quarians spend their whole lives on the move, "we never leave home".

Aboard ship, quarians are used to dealing with cramped conditions. It is not uncommon for all family members to share a small living space. Quarians place low value on personal possessions, evaluating objects by their usefulness, and often barter items that are not being used to the rest of the crew via their ship's trading deck. Even when at home, quarians wear their environmental suits at all times, partly out of caution and partly as a psychological reaction to the lack of personal space. Because their suits make it harder to identify individuals, quarians have developed the habit of exchanging names whenever they meet.

However, the environmental suits themselves have gained a certain significance in quarian society. Quarians do not gain their first suit until adolescence, and being fitted with their first suit is considered a rite of passage. After completing their Pilgrimage, quarians will sometimes change their suit to reflect their newfound maturity. Linking suit environments is seen as an intimate gesture of trust and affection.

Their technology and relations to synthetic life have had a profound effect on quarian culture. As a result, in contrast to other races, quarians are reluctant to trust virtually - or artificially - intelligent machines, but they are also far more likely to treat them as if they were living beings.

Quarians tend to refer to commanding officers of any ships, quarian or non-quarian, as captain, regardless of rank. Their reasoning is that the CO's decisions always carry great weight on his/her own ship.

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Postby The Quarian People » Wed Jun 09, 2010 3:38 pm

Religion

The quarians used to practice a form of ancestor worship. This involved taking a personality imprint from the individual and developing it into an interface similar to a VI. The quarians began experimenting with making these imprints more and more sophisticated, hopefully leading to the wisdom of their ancestors being preserved in an imprint that could be truly intelligent. However, the geth destroyed the quarians' ancestor databanks when they rebelled. Some quarians saw their subsequent exile as punishment for their hubris, but most accept that the geth rebellion was a mistake, not a punishment.

However, respect for their ancestors is still prevalent in quarian society. Admiral Shala'Raan vas Tonbay opens an Admiralty Board proceeding offering thanks to their ancestors, who saved them from the geth by founding the Migrant Fleet.


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