Mass Effect 3 Indoctrination Theorists
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Harbinger and the Reaper Agenda

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Harbinger and the Reaper Agenda Empty Harbinger and the Reaper Agenda

Post by Yemeth Sat Jul 05, 2014 9:07 am

Hi everyone, I'd like to jump in here and spread out some information that I got from the games that I am not sure have been discussed yet in detail. This post is focused on what Harbinger truly is and what its true agenda might be. Some of this information is well-known (e.g. Harbinger-Catalyst), but maybe there are some pieces in here that you didn't see yet. I hope you like it.

I will assume that destroy is the only right choice for the ending, that the Leviathans are legit and that especially the Extended Cut and Leviathan put together clearly explain what is going on behind the scenes - and what may be in store for us in upcoming Mass Effect games.

What is the Catalyst?

First, the being that introduces itself as the catalyst is the representation of Harbinger, the first Reaper. But what exactly defines the first Reaper? To go way back in the history of Mass Effect, synthetics were a threat to Leviathan dominance because they could not be controlled/influenced as organics could. In the Leviathan DLC, the orbs the Leviathans need to influence organics at a distance are described as "establishing a connection". That is exactly the same line that the catalyst uses to explain why it was created in the first place: "to oversee the relations between organic and synthetic life, to establish... a connection".

I posit here that the catalyst was to be a tool similar to the Leviathan orbs that was created to enable the Leviathans to extend their powers of control unto synthetic life forms - a true "catalyst" if you will. The whole project was very similar to the "Overlord" project in ME2. The endeavor was not successful, as the catalyst states "but our efforts always ended in conflict, so a new solution was required". Leviathan says "To find a solution, it required information - physical data drawn from life in the cosmos. It created an army of pawns to search the galaxy, gathering this data."This sounds awfully close to what Harbinger and the collectors were doing in ME2. Let us pick this up under the "Reaper technology and hybridization" paragraph and continue with "What is the Catalyst?".

The catalyst was an AI created to be a catalyst "for peace between organics and synthetics", or more precisely a catalyst "for the Leviathans to dominate synthetic life and continue their rule of the galaxy".  When the initial plan failed, the AI created the first Reaper. "Organics will be perfected by integrating fully with synthetic technology. Synthetics in turn will finally have understanding of organics." In order to become Harbinger, the AI had to become part of this new amalgamation of lifeforms. We do not know what vessel the AI was stored in before that, but as the codex says, any AI changes based on its environment / blue box. I posit that the catalyst did not fully understand its creators and saw a chance to both enable them to dominate the galaxy without fear of synthetics' rapid evolution and their inability to control them and to finally understand their thinking itself. That is when Harbinger was born, and the AI was now full of the malice and hunger for control, as well as fear of difference, that could only be harbored in organics, as Legion states in ME2: "You are different, but we respect you. Organics fear that which is different. It is a hardware error, a reflex of your flesh."

Reaper technology and hybridization

As we learned in ME2, Reapers are synthetic/organic hybrid constructs. They combine Reaper tech with specific organic information to create a new Reaper. InME2, it was clearly stated that that a Reaper's shape is based on the race it is harvested from.  In the ending of ME2, we saw lots of Reapers, all of distinctly Reaper design, but with unique twists to them - which I believe is how the specific organic information in each race is incorporated into the Reaper design. They are all born in Harbinger's image, but with unique variations (that all looked the same in ME3 was due to resources, I think).The artbook for ME2 even showed what a fully-grown human reaper might have looked like - very squid-like, but with distinct features from its human heritage. I will go one step further, as I believe that the hybridization of Reapers goes way beyond that.

From way back when it was created all the way to the present, Harbinger has searched the galaxy for something using his pawns, a way to "preserve life at any cost". To find it, he needs physical data drawn from all life in the cosmos. Now what could this be? As we see in the Mass Effect games 2 & 3, there are various Reaper creatures that incorporate not only one organic race and Reaper tech, but two. In ME3, the brute is an amalgamation of Reaper, krogan and turian. Because krogan & turian biology do not go well together, a lot of tech is required to make this thing work (cp. Codex entry). The cannibal is a batarian with Reaper tech and a cannon made from a complete human as its right arm (can be seen in the game, is explicitly stated in the art book). The art book shows more examples - always with a human involved in the mix. The ravager, for example, would have been a rachni/Reaper/human hybrid. If you look closely at what the Collectors were doing in ME2, you'll notice something. "The collectors were running baseline genetic comparisons between their species and humanity". The praetorian has a collector shell with human skulls in it, it is a human/Reaper/collector hybrid. The "human" reaper has four mandibles that look exactly like the mandibles of the collector armor, and it has two eyes on one side of its head. You will also remember EDI speculates that the Reapers tried to construct a Prothean reaper, but failed. Do you see what I am going for? Not all races lend themselves well to Reaperfication. A genetic catalyst is required. Harbinger: "Human. Impressive genetic malleability. Impressive technical potential." "We are the beginning. You are the end."

I posit that Harbinger has been looking all this time for a master key to be able to harvest all cycles, all life into new Reapers, instead of simply having to destroy civilizations before they can become a threat to Reaper dominance by allowing synthetics to evolve beyond a certain point. Imagine what the geth might have become if their dyson sphere would be complete - without the malice inherent in organics.  Harbinger has found his master key in the humans. Total control of all life in the galaxy is at his tentacletips. The Reaper threat is far from over.


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Post by CSSteele Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:59 am


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Post by Dwailing Wed Jul 09, 2014 5:31 am

CSSteele wrote:Wow.

^This. O_O

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Post by dorktainian Wed Jul 09, 2014 6:38 am

nice read.

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