I’m in the middle of a huge Mass Effect playthrough, playing every DLC and side mission that I can. All I’m trying to do is find new things in the game that I missed in my first few times playing it. And I think I found something completely unexpected. The Council… every time they expressed skepticism…. I think they may be right. Now, I don’t mean they were objectively correct. Yes, the Reapers were coming back. Yes, Saren was an evil dick. Yes, Shepard was right to detonate the device on Virmire.
But why in the world would the Council know that?
“Ah yes, Reapers. The immortal race of sentient starships allegedly waiting in dark space. Have we dismissed that claim” With the Turian Councillor giving the quotation gesture with his hands, it’s so easy to hate him. And heck, the rest of the Council as well. But take a step back and look at it from their perspective. They tried to explain themselves several times. It’s not that they don’t want to believe Shepard. They don’t see enough evidence there in order to make them believe Saren’s ship is anything more than an ancient Prothean Dreadnought class ship or more likely a Geth ship. Of course Shepard knew the truth. He had the personal experience to back it up. But all they had was Shepard’s word to go on.
To the Council’s credit, they never told Shepard to not investigate this. They gave him a ton of leeway, as they gave every Spectre. That definitely shows they were supporting him in some way. But…if Shepard wanted to prove to the Council that the Reapers were real, it was up to him to find convincing evidence of it. Sadly, he had the evidence he needed, but didn’t act on it. Well, it was more like he blew up the evidence. The Derelict Reaper would have been enough to prove the existence of the Reapers. Sadly, that was destroyed in the Mnemosyne atmosphere after Shepard destroyed the core. Or, at the end of the 2nd game, there were the remains of the Human Reaper, but he blew it up. I’m willing to bet there would have been evidence in Virmire as well (just suspicions), but he blew that one up too.
It is difficult to blame the Council for believing that Sovereign could have been a Geth ship. The Geth, at that point, were the invisible boogieman. Nobody really knew what they were doing behind the Perseus Veil. They very well could have been making a giant ship like that, ready to conquer the galaxy. The ship appeared pretty much at the same time the Geth did. That’s a bit more likely of an explanation than what Shepard said, despite Shepard being correct with what he said.
We all can say, for certain, that Saren was one big giant pile of douche. Shepard saw Saren on Eden Prime. Heck, they had an eye witness say they saw Saren kill Nihlus. Well, more like execute him by shooting him in the back of the head. And this wasn’t the only truly horrible thing Saren has done. There’s no way the Council didn’t hear of some of the things he was suspected of doing. For all intent and purpose, the Council was letting Saren get away with murder. Despite the evidence that was brought before the Council, they kept on finding reasons to dismiss it to back Saren. All because Saren was their most decorated agent.
It is understandable they backed Saren up as much as they did only if this was the first time he was on trial. If that’s the case, then it is admirable that they were willing to find Saren guilty when they received proof in the form of a voice recording. My assumption is that the technology on the Citadel would have been able to tell if the recording was fake or authentic (trying to give the Councillors the benefit of the doubt with that one because they were really skeptical). So it shows they will act if presented with enough evidence. But if this was not his first trial and they heard rumors of his misconduct (he can’t be perfect at covering his tracks after all. Nobody’s that good. Nobody), they really should have not be so lenient with him before receiving the audio recording. Though that would show an innocent until proven guilty mentality that the Council seems to have as well as the high standard of proof needed before they can act.
This doesn’t mean the Council probably didn’t have some sort of agenda to keep Shepard and/or the humans down. I like how Udina put it in the 3rd game, how they all are looking out for their own race and want to keep power for themselves. So they are no angels. But, they aren’t exactly demons either. It’s natural for them to look out for their own race. That’s, if you’ll forgive the expression, human nature. It’s not like they aren’t grateful to Shepard for saving their lives. Their thanks was expressed in the 3rd game quite a few times, including at one point taking him at his word without asking for proof. That moment was very telling, as it hinted that they just didn’t really trust Shepard that much, but decided to take a leap of faith that he may know something that they didn’t.
Anyways, back to the point at hand. The Council was willing to act when proof was presented. That’s all they needed. Solid evidence that cannot be denied, refuted, or dismissed. I don’t have a problem with it. Sure, it was annoying in the game, but when I look at it from their perspective…. with all the claims Shepard is making… they were only asking him for evidence that would back up his claims that didn’t only include dreams and/or his word. It’s part of his job, after all, to do this. So while they turned out to be wrong overall by not taking Shepard at his word from the beginning (as he was telling the truth), they were also right to demand evidence to back up his claims.
Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. And Shepard’s claims were definitely extraordinary. I just wish they weren’t being jerks about it as well.