Citadel and Galactic Government (Codex)
 Primary Codex Entries
The Citadel is an ancient deep-space station, presumably constructed by the Protheans. Since the Prothean extinction, numerous species have come to call the Citadel home. It serves as the political, cultural, and financial capital of the galactic community. To represent their interests, most species maintain embassies on the Presidium, the Citadel's inner ring.
The Citadel Tower, in the center of the Presidium, holds the Citadel Council chambers. Council affairs often have far-reaching effects on the rest of the galactic community. Five arms, known as wards, extend from the Presidium. Their inner surfaces have been built into cities, populated by millions of inhabitants from across the galaxy.
The Citadel is virtually indestructible. If attacked, the station can close its arms to form a solid, impregnable shell. For as long as the station has existed, an enigmatic race called the keepers has maintained it.
 Citadel Council
The Council is an executive committee composed of representatives from the Asari Republics, the Turian Hierarchy, and the Salarian Union. Though they have no official power over the independent governments of other species, the Council's decisions carry great weight throughout the galaxy. No single Council race is strong enough to defy the other two, and have a vested interest in compromise and cooperation.
Each of the council species has general characteristics associated with the various aspects of governing the galaxy. The asari are typically seen as diplomats and mediators. The salarians gather intelligence and information. The turians provide the bulk of the military and peacekeeping forces.
Any species granted an embassy on the Citadel is considered an associate member, bound by the accords of the Citadel Conventions. Associate members may bring issues to the attention of the Council, through they have no input on the decision. The human Systems Alliance became an associate member of the Citadel in 2165.
 Citadel Space
Citadel space is an unofficial term referring to any region of space controlled by a species that acknowledge the authority of the Citadel Council. At first glance, it appears this territory encompasses most of the galaxy. In reality, however, less than 1% of the stars have been explored.
Even mass-effect-FTL drive is slow relative to the volume of the galaxy. Empty space and systems without suitable drive discharge sites are barriers to exploration. Only the mass relays allow ships to jump hundreds of light years in an instant, the key to expanding across an otherwise impassable galaxy.
Whenever a new relay is activated, the destination system is rapidly developed. From that hub, FTL drive is used to expand to nearby star clusters. The result is a number of densely-developed clusters thinly spread across the vast expanse of space, connected by the mass relay network.
Spectres are agents from the Office of Special Tactics and Reconnaissance and answer only to the Citadel Council. They are elite military operatives, granted the authority to deal with threats to peace and stability in whatever way they deem necessary.
They operate independently or in groups of two or three. Some are empathetic peacekeepers, resolving disputes through diplomacy. Others are cold-blooded assassins, ruthlessly dispatching problem individuals. All get the job done, one way or another, often operating outside of the bounds of galactic law.
The Spectres were founded after the salarians joined the Council. For many years, they operated in secrecy, as back-room "problem solvers". Only after the Krogan Rebellions did their activities become publicized. Assignment of a Spectre is less contentious than military deployment, but makes it clear that the Council is concerned about a situation.
 Secondary Codex Entries
 Citadel Conventions
These diplomatic talks occurred in the wake of the Krogan Rebellions, as a response to the destruction of the conflict and an attempt to distance the Council from the brutal krogan warfare.
The Conventions regulate the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction. A WMD causes environmental alteration to a world. A bomb that produces a large crater is not considered a WMD; a bomb that causes a "nuclear winter" is.
Use of WMD is forbidden on "garden" worlds like Earth, with ecospheres that can readily support a population. If a habitable world is destroyed, it will not be replaced for millions of years. The Conventions do not forbid the use of WMD on hostile worlds or in sealed space-station environments. Many militaries continue to develop and maintain stockpiles.
The Conventions graded Weapons of Mass Destruction into tiers of concern. Tier I is the greatest threat to galactic peace.
TIER I: Large kinetic impacters, such as asteroid drops or de-orbited space stations. Effectively free and available in any system (in the form of debris left over from planetary accretion), kinetic impacters are the weapons of choice for terrorists and "third galaxy" nations.
TIER II: Uncontrolled self-replicating weapons, such as nanotechnology, viral or bacteriological organisms, "Von Neumann devices", and destructive computer viruses. These weapons can lie dormant for millennia, waiting for a careless visitor to carry them on to another world.
TIER III: Large energy-burst weapons such as nuclear or antimatter warheads.
TIER IV: Alien species deliberately introduced to crowd out native forms necessary for the health of an ecosystem. Ecological tampering can take years to bear fruit, making it difficult to prove.
 Citadel Station: Citadel Security Services (C-Sec)
C-Sec is a volunteer police service answering to the Citadel Council. The 200,000 constables of C-Sec are responsible for maintaining public order in the densely populated Citadel. They also provide pirate suppression, customs enforcements, and search-and-rescue throughout the Citadel cluster.
C-Sec has six divisions:
- ENFORCEMENT - Uniformed officers who patrol the Citadel and respond to emergencies.
- INVESTIGATION - Detectives who puzzle out the truth behind crimes and bring perpetrators to justice.
- CUSTOMS - Screen the thousands of passengers and cargo containers that pass through the Citadel's ports every day.
- NETWORK - Deals with "cybercrimes" like identity and copyright theft, hacking and viral attacks, and illegal artificial intelligence.
- SPECIAL RESPONSE - Deals with hostage situations, bombs, and heavily armed criminals. In the unlikely event that attackers board the Citadel, they are also the front line of defense, armed with military grade equipment.
- PATROL - Naval arm, with ships stationed throughout the Citadel cluster. Unlike the other divisions, they are rarely seen at the Citadel, nor do they stay in one place long.
Joining C-Sec is prestigious; applications must be sponsored by a Citadel Councilor or the ambassador of an associate Council race. Generally, applicants have many years of distinguished service in the military or police forces of their nations, but an inexperienced applicant with demonstrable talent will be fairly considered.
C-Sec and Spectres are often at odds. Many C-Sec members, notably the current Executor Venari Pallin, believe that allowing Specters to be "above the law" is a dangerous practice, the actions of Saren Arterius lend credence to this position. The Spectres, in turn, are aggravated when C-Sec's dedication to procedure and due process hampers their investigations.
 Citadel Station: Foundations
The "undersides" of the Wards between the inhabited superstructures and impenetrable outer hull are called the Foundations. These dangerous areas are filled with life support systems and power plants. Officially, only the keepers are allowed in the Foundations. In reality, the Foundations are the slums of the Citadel, home to criminals, minorities, transients, and the occasional "stateless" exiles. Some stay in the Foundations of their own will. Others end up there when the opportunities they sought in the Citadel do not come.
The station's recycling systems are located in the Foundations. These manufacture a variety of artificial organic pastes that can be eaten for sustenance. They are free and nutritious but nearly tasteless and of unpleasant texture. Poorer Citadel residents quickly become adept at dressing up this bland fare with sauces and spices while imported foodstuffs are a popular luxury of the wealthy.
 Citadel Station: Presidium Ring
The Ring is an enclosed loop of park-like space serving as the connection point for the Wards. The interior walls are lined with the embassies of influential species and private residences for the galaxy's elite.
The Presidium is full of "open-air" restaurants, bars, and luxurious meeting areas. Gravity is about 1/3 Earth-normal. A holographic "sky" is projected over the "ceiling" of the ring. Unlike the 24/7 bustle of the Wards, the Presidium maintains a 20-hour day schedule, with a six-hour "night" where lights are dimmed and the sky goes through a night cycle.
Offices and residences are often open to the interior. It is not unusual for embassies to have no exterior wall at all. This does not cause a crime problem due to the heavy C-Sec presence and ubiquitous monitoring devices on the Presidium. Thieves are quickly identified and apprehended.
The Ring is the location of the Citadel's spaceports. Being closer to the center of the spin, there is less motion for a ship to match, and the reduced spin gravity makes handling cargo easier. Hundreds of ships pass through the Citadel every day, and every species with an embassy is granted a private dock.
The Tower, at the center of the Ring, holds the administration of the Citadel Council. The Tower rises over a kilometer from the ring, appearing to thrust forward parallel to the ward arms. As the Tower is at the center of the spin axis, it experiences little centrifugal force. Gravity is maintained using mass effect fields at a 90-degree angle to the Ring and Wards.
A Consular dock can be found at the base of the Tower. While normally used for diplomatic couriers and Spectre business, the shuttles docked here can evacuate the Council government in an emergency.
 Citadel Station: Serpent Nebula
The Citadel is surrounded by a blue-tinted reflection nebula. The light of the nebula is actually light from the Citadel, scattered and reflected back at the station.
At first, the Serpent Nebula was assumed to be made of microscopic construction debris. Prevailing theory holds the Protheans used molecular nanotechnology to manufacture the incredibly durable materials used to make the Citadel. But unlike other nebulae, the Serpent does not dissipate over time. Therefore, it must be replenished constantly. The current popular theory is that the non-recyclable waste collected by the Citadel's keepers is somehow rendered down to the atomic or molecular level, and ejected into the clouds.
The thick nebula presents a navigation hazard. Beyond the relatively clear areas around the Citadel, electrical discharges are common. These are not blocked by kinetic barriers, and can severely damage metal-framed starships. In addition, some dense knots of dust can overwhelm the repulsion of kinetic barriers on smaller ships. If such a vessel is moving fast enough at the time, the effects are similar to being hit by a sandblaster.
Attempting to reach the Citadel through open space navigation is unadvisable; the only safe approach is through the various mass relays that orbit it.
 Citadel Station: Statistics
Although the Citadel is equipped with mass-effect-generating element zero cores, most of the gravity on the station is generated by the centrifugal force of rotation.
- Rotation: 3.5 minutes per revolution
- Rotational Gravity in Wards: 1.02 Earth
- Rotational Gravity in Presidium: 0.3 Earth
- Total Length (Open): 44.7 km
- Diameter (Open): 12.8km
- Ward Length: 43.6km
- Ward Width: 330m
- Presidium Ring Diameter: 7.2 km
- Presidium Ring Width: 553 m
- Exterior Armor Thickness: 13 m
- Population: 13.2 million (not including keepers)
- Gross Mass: 7.11 billion metric tons
- Height of the Presidium Tower: 1047 m
 Citadel Station: Wards
The majority of the Citadel's population lives in the Wards, the five massive arms of the station that house the residential and commercial districts. Many galactic races have established cultural enclaves here. Population density and cost of living are extremely high, akin to Earth cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
The Wards are open-topped, with skyscrapers rising from the superstructure. Towers are sealed against vacuum, as the breathable atmosphere envelope is only maintained to a height of about seven meters. The atmosphere is contained by the centrifugal force of rotation and a "membrane" of dense, colorless sulphur hexafluoride gas, held in place by carefully managed mass effect fields.
The view from the Wards is spectacular. In the background, stars, Serpent Nebula, and the nearby blue giant called "the Widow" move across the sky as the station rotates to stabilize itself. In the foreground, the lights of buildings and vehicles on the opposing Ward arms perpetually shine. The Citadel has no real day or night. While the station keeps to standard galactic time for political functions, business rarely close, and residents acclimate to sleep and work according to personal need rather than a day-night cycle.
Additions and modifications are constantly being constructed, though they must stay within certain specifications that will not compromise the operation of the station. Occasionally, the keepers will descend on an area of the Wards and move or change the architecture without explanation. Residents have learned to live with these inexplicable intrusions.
 Treaty of Farixen
Due to the destructive potential of dreadnoughts, the Council races agreed at the Farixen Naval Conference to fix a ratio of dreadnought construction between themselves. At the top of pyramid is the peacekeeping turian fleet. Below the turians are the other Council races, currently the asari and the salarians. Council associate races are at the bottom. The human Systems Alliance is part of this last group.
The ratio of turian to Council to associate dreadnoughts is 5:3:1, for every dreadnought the humans are permitted to build, the asari have three, and the turians five.
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