Excerpts from the Plight of the Castes (part 3 of 3) is one of the retrospective articles prepared by CDN members to illustrate the events and changes that occurred during the year following the Reaper War.
See Part 2 of 3.
Excerpts from the Plight of the Castes (part 3 of 3)
While the Kite’s Nest and therefore the Confederation contain the majority of batarian worlds, there are scattered colonies and population centers in other systems, none more significant than Lorek. As one of the last batarian worlds struck by the Reapers, Lorek managed to put up some form of resistance - resistance which would see the infrastructure and population demolished relentlessly by the enemy. Nonetheless, Lorek was able to drive off small Reaper forces, and even became a training ground for forces sent across the galaxy to fight the Reapers. This contribution did not go unnoticed, and while it was elements of the former Hegemony which led the defense it was the common folk who did the fighting. In the aftermath of the Reaper withdrawal, it was the common folk who rebuilt, but not without gratitude towards those who had helped in the battle. On Lorek, the new government was moderate, towards both its own people and the alien population - something almost unheard of on batarian-dominated worlds. When contact was reestablished with the Kite’s Nest, Lorek joined the Confederation as a stabilizing influence alongside the fleet and several smaller batarian worlds outside of the core systems, becoming in the process something of a bridge between the Na’Hesit and the Ub’Hesit. This consistently reasonable status has left Lorek as one of the unofficial capitals of the Confederation, representing those batarians outside of the home system.
Compounding the problems of the Confederation is the natural paranoia of the batarians themselves - centuries of living under the Hegemony has left even the most open and friendly batarian citizen paranoid and suspicious compared to their equivalent from other races. During the rule of the Hegemony, this paranoia all too often served batarians well, as the ever-present intelligence agencies and secret police were indeed monitoring much of what took place. Despite the fall of the Hegemony and the publicized indoctrination of government forces, it is widely known that large numbers of these secret operatives survived and their former victims suspect that they form a ‘deep state’ within the Confederation. Proponents believe that cells of operatives and survivors from various other organizations work together to bring about a new Hegemony-style government - one in which slaves know their place. How else, they ask, can one explain the survival of Hegemony-style governments on some colony worlds, or the political strength of the Na’Hesit compared to the core Ub’Hesit worlds? Proponents of this theory tend to regard it as fact, and some even whisper that Admiral Balak himself is a former agent of the state beyond his military credentials, citing Council-space records of a ‘Balak’ in charge of a terrorist faction working against the Alliance. While variants of the ‘deep state’ theory took root on most worlds, since the return of the fleet these suspicions have spread to the mainstream population, and some of the earliest accusations against political figures have alleged involvement with the deep state. Adding to the confusion is the known existence of the Cabal on Erszbat, which many regard as either the cornerstone of the deep state or its most successful opposition. While the official stance of the Confederation is to dismiss these claims as ludicrous, such dismissals bear an eerie similarity to old Hegemony claims regarding uprisings and rebel activity, and several worlds have attempted their own private investigations into the deep state possibility.
Conversely, among the Na’Hesit worlds it is often suggested that a similar deep state exists, but operated by slaves and their sympathizers. Theorists point to the numerous slave uprisings which took place during the Reaper invasion, claiming that slaves worked side-by-side with the Reapers to bring down the legitimate governments of the batarian people. Such claims have not gained nearly as much traction as the Ub’Hesit version, but these contrasting visions have led outside observers to dismiss both theories on the basis of their contradictory nature.
Less commonly held but also less contentious is the belief in a batarian empire hidden safely elsewhere in the galaxy. Shortly after the fall of the Hegemony a number of Special Intervention Unit, StateInt, and StateSec documents and records were discovered indicating that the Hegemony believed the Alpha Relay capable of sending ships to anywhere in the galaxy. Adherents of this belief hold that many of the rumored mass-disappearances during the Hegemony’s rule were in fact disguised colony efforts, and the destruction of Bahak prior to the Reapers’ arrival is used as evidence to support the claim that the relay was unique in this capability. Even stronger ‘evidence’ is found in the Hegemony’s failure to colonize the Skyllian Verge despite having settled the entire Kite’s Nest and parts of the Omega nebula - a failure adequately explained if the Hegemony had been concentrating its colonization efforts elsewhere. Despite the lack of evidence beyond the circumstantial, the belief in the Batarian Empire is spreading quickly, appealing as it does to the inherent batarian sense of pride as well as providing a beacon of hope in a galaxy which has grown much darker since the Reaper invasion. Proponents often believe that the Empire, cut off as it was from the regular Relay network, would have been left alone by the Reapers, and that all it requires for the batarian people to be great once again is for the Empire and the Confederation to find one another. Ignored or dismissed is the possibility that, were such an Empire to exist, it would have far more in common with the old Hegemony government than with the Confederation. For many, the thought that their people are thriving elsewhere in the galaxy is enough reason to focus on finding them, and even amidst reconstruction efforts there is a push to resume exploring, whether justified by a search for resources or outright stated to be seeking the lost Batarian Empire. The theory has made a significant impact on entertainment, and of the first three holovids produced since the Reaper War, two dealt with the Batarian Empire while the third focused on the deep state.
With the rampant factionalism, devastated infrastructure and cobbled-together governments, much of the former Batarian Hegemony now resembles nothing more than the Nemean Abyss. Unlike the Abyss, however, the former Hegemony territories remember a time when they were united. Oppressive and abusive as the Hegemony may have been, it remained a singularly batarian accomplishment, one which reigned for hundreds if not thousands of years and saw both the best and worst of the batarian species brought to the fore. With this knowledge fresh in their minds, the inheritors of the Kite’s Nest have set out to create a new and better state, one in which all citizens will contribute their best, and one in which the batarian people may bend, but will never be broken. From the disunity will come strength, as ideas are tried and experience is earned, and one can only hope that in time the Confederation will prove itself more successful and inclusive than the Hegemony ever was.
But then, the Confederacy is ever a young and fragile thing, built upon the uneasy alliance of diametrically opposed groups. For every leader and faction that strives to keep it together, another two suffer each other’s continued existence only because they have no other choice. On such fertile ground, rumors grow like weeds - of the spreading influence of Camala’s Grusto, of a building schism in the Khar’Shan theocracy, of Erszbat city-states secretly swearing allegiance to the shadowy Cabal, of the massing forces of the unseen deep state, all with their own goals and agendas. Warlords from the Terminus Systems and the Nemean Abyss eye the Confederacy hungrily, recounting old slights as they lick wounds and gauge their strength. Right on the heels of the darkness of the Reaper War, a trying time looms for the batarian people, one they will have to meet with heads raised lest they suffer it with backs bowed. Whether the Confederacy will prove their greatest moment, their last gasp, or only a footnote in their history, only time will tell.