30 day mass effect challenge, day 27: in which I have an opinion on the genophage …

Given my pretty overt love of the krogan, it’s safe to say that I’ve given the genophage a lot of thought, and my opinion is not going to surprise anyone. I am consistent when it comes to my giant warrior turtles.

I am firmly on the side of the krogan. To force a species to endure a slow and painful genocide, just because the salarians, turians, and asari couldn’t (or wouldn’t, if the dalatrass’ response to the cure in ME3 is any indication) come up with a better solution, is not just cruel; it’s short-sighted. And what’s even worse is that they continued to tweak it in secret, recognizing that the krogan were adapting and that would eventually escape the invisible bonds tying their hands behind their backs. Over the course of two games, Mordin Solus truly understands that his and salarian interference with krogan development was wrong, and despite knowing that there would be consequences to undoing what they had done, he still [spoiler alert, I guess] gave his life to make sure that the krogan were freed.

Side note: all of the above comes with this caveat: Wrex and Bakara have to survive. I still think the other species were wrong with what they did to the krogan, but Wreav and his followers would have abused the gift they were given, wreaking havoc upon the galaxy that doomed them to such a harsh life. That’s even hinted at in ME3 when Wreav is instructing his people to watch their “allies” tactics and such. I don’t like it, and it’s not like I don’t think the rest of the galaxy deserves it, but I just couldn’t bring about another major war where the fast-multiplying, nigh unkillable krogan decide they want revenge.

Like I alluded above, I have a very hard time believing the genophage was the only possible solution to the krogan rebellion. No matter how many simulations are run, there will always be another avenue for resolution that doesn’t involve the decimation of an entire species. Kind of like the atomic bomb that was used to bring about the end of World War II: it may have sped the process and saved the lives of United States citizens, that doesn’t mean it was the right thing to do. One could argue the ends justifies the means, but look at the repercussions:

  • The krogan had devolved into even more brutish creatures than they were before, only now with an acidic loathing for everything – salarians and turians, more specifically. They sowed chaos pretty much wherever they went, owing allegiance to whomever would pay them the most. I mean, this isn’t exclusive to krogan, but they are a tad bit more physically dangerous than your average human.
  • Without krogan “shock troops” that would have been readily available without the genophage, the galaxy was woefully ill-prepared for Saren’s invasion of the Citadel in the first game, as Maelon speculated in ME2.

Which then brings us to the historical purpose of the genophage. I have a hard time believing that the genophage was the only possible solution to the rebellion. No matter how many simulations are run, there will always be another avenue for resolution. I have the feeling that it was a sort of World War II situation, where the atomic bomb was used to bring about the end of the war, but whether or not it accomplished its goal, it doesn’t mean that it was the right thing to do, either in the real world or its fictional Mass Effect equivalent. One could argue the ends justifies the means, but look at the repercussions. The krogan had devolved into even more brutish creatures than they were before, this time with an acidic loathing for salarians and turians – well, pretty much everything, actually – and, as Maelon speculated in Mass Effect 2, an increased krogan population might have left the universe that much more prepared for Saren’s invasion with Sovereign. It seems that, too often, those in power look for a quick solution and deem a short-term gain to be worth the long-term loss. And everybody suffers.

Art Credit: eTeknix

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