In ancient quarian folklore, the fashnakee are 'ancestors that never were'. Said to be the disembodied spirits of quarians who never reproduce and thus never carry on their bloodlines or contribute to the species as a whole beyond their own death, the fashnakee were frequently used as warnings against selfishness and isolationism. As failure to reproduce was seen as their tether to the world of the living, the only way for fashnakee to move on was to steal a child, thus transferring the curse to the new victim. Numerous legends exist of children stolen by the fashnakee managing to escape, being rescued by heroic figures, or trying to return to their families after the change only to discover that they have been entirely forgotten.

While such legends were widely rejected as myths for centuries, the fashnakee remain a common cultural icon. Following the First Geth War and the near-destruction of the quarian species there was a resurgence in popularity and even in legitimate belief, leading to a brief baby boom before the Admiralty addressed the potential problems of overpopulation. Coinciding with this resurgence was an increasingly common belief that Rannoch now belonged to the fashnakee, and no quarian would ever be safe there again. It was only with a dedicated campaign of information control that the Admirals managed to arrest the spread of such views.

Since the Reaper War the fashnakee has gained popularity among the New Migrants and Rannoch quarians both, albeit for different reasons. In the case of the New Migrants, fashnakee emphasize the danger of Rannoch, while on Rannoch itself the fashnakee are increasingly being used as a symbol to encourage reproduction.

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