This is Mass Effect March! In honor of the release of Mass Effect 3, this entire month is devoted to digging into this epic trilogy. We’ll explore the different races, themes, and some major story arcs. At the end of the month we’ll cap things off with a week of posts on Mass Effect 3 to see how everything is resolved (or not). Today’s post looks at the Krogan, the Salarians and why you shouldn’t try to play god.
The Rachni War, as mentioned in the previous post, was won primarily by the Krogan who drove the Rachni to (near) extinction. Actually, it would be more accurate to say that the war was won by the use of the Krogan. The Salarians took the relatively primitive Krogan from the harsh environment on their homeworld and planted them on a nicer planet so that they could expand their war-driven society. Once their population grew, the Salarians came back and said, “Hey by the way, now that you’re all powerful and stuff, how bout you go take out those Rachni for us.” So they did. When they were done with the Rachni, they decided that being free to roam around and kill stuff is pretty great, so then they became the new threat to replace the Rachni. The Salarians pulled out their magic science wand again and came up with a clever, yet dastardly plan for keeping the Krogan under control.
Thus enters the Krogan Genophage, a major subplot in both stories. The Turians deployed this bioweapon, but don’t be fooled, the Salarians were behind it. The genophage does not cause full sterility, but rather induces rampant stillbirths in Krogan females. This was done to put a cap on their population numbers. It is hard to conceive of a worse fate to place on a species- making them suffer through one failed pregnancy after another in the hopes of having just one child. The genophage is essentially a forced genetic abortion.
There are many problems with this whole situation, some of which you can impact through Commander Shepard’s decisions. The first problem came when the Krogan were bred like dogs for the sole purpose of massing an army. An entire species was devalued and objectified as nothing more than a tool of war. Then those responsible added insult to injury once they realized the consequences of their actions. They used science to craft a biological curse on an entire species. There is an overall lack of appreciation for the sanctity of life in this situation.
The Salarians have a scientific arrogance that is only barely checked by any kind of morality. This complex issue is fleshed out more with Mordin Solus in Mass Effect 2. He took part in an attempt to improve the genophage and struggles with guilt over that decision. Through him and his assistant Maelon (who appears in Mordin’s loyalty mission), we are able to see how these two Salarians acknowledge their mistakes in attempting to play god amongst the species of the universe.
Our reality has not been much better at times. The sense of superiority that some of us humans have had throughout our history shows that we too will use science to justify the giving and taking of life. This is an issue that has not yet been resolved- there are continuing debates about abortion, cloning, and gene manipulation. The science may not all be there yet, but the moral problems of having that power awaits us in the future.
The good news is that no matter how much we may screw each other up, there is a God who cares equally for all kinds of people. He created each race of people and his heart seeks to have each one of them reconciled to himself. We humans want to fight amongst each other to see who’s superior, but God shows no partiality for we are all his. The picture we’re given in Revelation shows that when all is said and done, the gathering in heaven will consist of those “from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages.”
What group have you seen devalued? Who’s the “Krogan” of our society that gets pushed around?
In what ways have you seen science “playing god” in our modern age?
Will we ever be able to genetically create dinosaurs?
We’ll dip into Mass Effect 2 next time and look at the death and resurrection of Commander Shepard.