Events concerning Hierarchy and their volus clients in the war are collected here.
May 4: The Hierarchy is invaded
The turians were next to come under attack, at Taetrus. A populous colony dating back centuries, Taetrus was already embedded in the turian psyche as the site of the most damaging terrorist attack in turian history. Wounds were still raw from the Vallum Blast, in which a separatist revolutionary slammed a starship into the colony’s capital, killing more than a hundred thousand turians. Hierarchy forces responded with a massive invasion of the planet to stamp out the separatist movement. It was a catharsis for the turians, reassuring them that their heroes would always triumph over evil. And so the Reapers struck Taetrus first.
By the time Taetrus went dark, the turians had already learned that the batarians and humans were under attack. The Hierarchy responded with what they believed was overwhelming force, only to walk into a trap.
Reaper ships were waiting on the other side of the relay, and released devastating firepower the moment the fleet emerged. Turian leaders observing the one-sided battle were faced with a choice: reinforce their side of the relay to defend against a Reaper invasion, or throw more resources into an offense. With soldiers and civilians alike clamoring for retribution against the Reapers, the turians continued the assault. The Hierarchy sent warp bombs through the relay to clear a path, fighting tooth and talon to inflict casualties against the Reaper fleet. It was a valiant effort, but doomed. The Reapers emerged victorious from the relay and began broadcasting a signal to turian comm buoys - images of Vallum, Taetrus’s capital, once again a smoking wreck
Turian response was vociferous. Several inter-and-extranet outages were reported following the speech, as turians vented their anger at the enemy. Primarch Fedorian seemed to have predicted this emotional response in his address: “Now is not the time to be enraged. Now is the time to harness our will and do what must be done. We must show that whatever civilization we face, it picked the wrong foe”.
Trebia is under siege. ALL CITIZENS regardless of exemption or registration status are ordered to resist the enemy using any means necessary, in line with emergency protocol A113. All mobilized personnel are to proceed IMMEDIATELY to their assigned defence zones as instructed by TIER SUPERIORS. All legions in the Apien Crest are to be recalled IMMEDIATELY to Menae pending further instruction. Able-bodied trainees are to report to troop marshaling zones and await further instruction. Presently decommissioned vessels are to be reactivated IMMEDIATELY.
Staying calm, the turians massed a force around Palaven. Fleet Admiral Coronati, in what became known as the “Fifteen-Minute Plan”, stationed only two carriers, Undaunted and Resolute, near the system’s relay. When the Reaper fleet emerged, the carriers launched swarms of unmanned fighters and spy drones. These were quickly destroyed, but the drones transmitted vital data on the Reapers’ effective range, fleet composition, and exact location. The turians’ other ships then deployed to defend the system in earnest. Knowing that the Reapers’ weapons had a longer effective range than any of his own, Coronati made a short, daring FTL jump - landing his dreadnoughts in the middle of the Reaper fleet. The dreadnoughts then turned to line up their main guns on the Reapers, which also needed to turn to fire on the turians. This ploy used the Reapers’ size against them - because they could turn faster, the turians’ concentrated firepower downed several Reaper capital ships. Their destroyers performed a jump of their own to the skies above Palaven, beginning orbital strikes of turian cities. The turians, forced to defend the planet, found themselves in a pitched battle far from the relay, from which emerged a seemingly endless line of Reaper ships. After massive casualties, Coronati ordered retreat.
The salarian Councillor informed Shepard of a war summit the Council races were convening to properly organise their strategy against the Reapers, and that whatever the summit decided would give the final word on the deployment of Council forces. Upon departing the meeting, Shepard and Udina were met in the human Councillor’s office by the turian Councillor, who explained that Palaven's ruler, Primarch Fedorian, was to head the war summit, but didn’t escape the system before the Reapers arrived. He requested that the Normandy extract the Primarch from his current location on Palaven’s moon Menae, explaining that Fedorian would be a useful ally in accruing support for Earth. Before leaving, the Councillor informed Shepard that the Council had agreed to uphold/reinstate her Spectre status, granting her the benefits of the position.
May 12: Menae
Upon landing at the moonbase, Shepard was informed that Primarch Fedorian was dead, having been killed an hour before she arrived. Worse, the local commanders had no idea who Fedorian’s successor was, because communications with Palaven Command had been cut. Fighting through swarms of Husks to the base’s comm tower and working to repair it, the group eventually learned that General Adrien Victus, a popular military commander with a reputation for playing loose with strategy, had been named as Palaven’s next Primarch; however, he was fighting at a base several miles away, with which radio contact had been lost. Shepard and her team successfully reached it; however Victus was doubtful of his ability to lead, claiming he was “no diplomat”. Further, he was hesitant to leave his men, but he reluctantly agreed to accompany Shepard to the summit. He insisted that the turians couldn’t divert troops to Earth until Palaven was secured; something currently beyond their military’s ability. They would need reinforcements to succeed, and Victus insisted that the krogan would have to be at the summit.
The decision to involve the krogan in proceedings caused major problems; the asari pulled out of the summit altogether, believing turian-krogan relations too fragile for anything to be accomplished.
Invictan mutineers voiced dissatisfaction with current orders, demanding their immediate release from service in the Apien Crest, and that the Hierarchy provide necessary shipping for the return of the entire expeditionary force to Invictus. This request was echoed by their government back in Shastinasio:
"It’s of vital importance to us to get our legions back as soon as possible, in view of the present emergency. Had the information been at our disposal then, the needs of home defence would have necessarily precluded troops from Invictus ever proceeding beyond the Caestus relay. I now think that if our army were asked to be retained abroad indefinitely while its own planet remains under siege morale would be seriously affected. In answering the call put out by Primarch Fedorian, Invictus has been left completely impoverished in its own defences. Based on the understanding that the Invictan government had every reason to expect their return should the circumstances have made it necessary, no objections were raised to the transfer of our legions to Trebia to help stem the Reaper advance. The Invictan people, having volunteered for service offworld in large numbers, have acted and carried out our part of the bargain to the government of Palaven courageously and in good faith. Now, in our own hour of requirement and after all the assurances we have been given, the postponement of their return and the diversion of the proposed flow of reinforcements would be regarded here and elsewhere as an inexcusable betrayal”.
2Lt V. Hephaestus, of Garieax, Inv., whose regiment was in transit through the Citadel and was now refusing embarkation for the front, shared a sentiment similar to the one in the official statement:
"We've done the job we were sent out here to do. Now we want to get back home, both for personal reasons and because of our duty to our colony. I'm not dying for someone else's cause while my house is being razed and my family massacred."
Apart from the necessity on strategic grounds for retaining the Invictan legions in the Trebia system, their transportation to Invictus, coupled with the transportation of equivalent forces from elsewhere to replace them, would involve an unjustifiable and dangerous shipping commitment, one that was quite beyond the Hierarchy’s current capacity to supply.
The actions of the mutineers were given official sanction by the colonial government on Invictus, amidst a breakdown in diplomatic relations between Shastinasio and Cipritine over the issue of reinforcing the outlying colony. Invictus again demanded that its expeditionary force in the Apien Crest be released immediately for operations against the Reapers in its own home system of Caestus, which Palaven refused to accede to. The dispute was aggravated by rumours of a possible despatch of Hierarchy troops to Talis Fia, a move roundly condemned by the Primarch of Invictus:
“It’s nothing short of treachery that a volus world should take precedence over a turian one - whose soldiers, as we speak, are dying in defence of the galaxy - in the minds of any responsible government. It’s nothing short of treachery that Adrien Victus has decided that the lives of three hundred million Hierarchy citizens on Invictus are worth less than his commitment to the interests of a client race. It’s nothing short of treachery that while turian reinforcements are being rushed to preserve Rupe Elkoss’s profits, Invictus’s army is being held hostage on Palaven while the Reapers destroy its homes and families. The conduct of the Palaven government throughout this crisis has been nothing short of reprehensible. We shouldn’t have to bargain for the return of our own legions”.'
In response, the office of Primarch Victus - now operating from an unknown location - refuted allegations that volus defence requirements took priority over turian ones, and argued that the military situation on Invictus was being greatly exaggerated by the colonial government - the scale of the Reaper presence in the Caestus system being smaller than first reported, and that territorial and local defence forces were adequate to handle the threat facing the colony. “The front is Palaven”, it said in an official statement, “and any removal or diversion of forces from the main theatre will be greatly detrimental to the overall war effort.”
Frustrated by the lack of progress, the colonial government on Invictus decided to force the situation. A message was transmitted from the National Defence Headquarters to its units in the field:
The CGS informs all Invictan forces...that they are to refrain, either independently or in participation with friendly forces, from actively seeking out hostile contact with the enemy; or, if given orders from non-Invictan authority to the effect thereof, to decline said orders. If directly threatened by either enemy action or by non-Invictan authority attempting to enforce compliance with illegal orders, commanders are to undertake the minimum of measures necessary to preserve their commands as coherent fighting units or their authority over them…In our plans and dispositions we are relying upon the return of our legions in good shape and strength. The CGS reminds all personnel that their ultimate duty lies with their home colony; non-compliance will result in disciplinary action being taken against the offender upon return to Invictus.'
It was unclear whether the colonial government possessed the constitutional authority to override the immediate command under which its legions had been subordinated; at this point, however, it appeared that most of the commanders in the expeditionary force, either of their own volition or under coercion by their men, were perfectly willing to comply with the “hold in place” orders.
The Hierarchy in Trouble
The unravelling of the Invictan army on Palaven continued, with 8 of the 11 legions seriously affected now “gravely destabilised” by collective refusal on the part of all ranks to engage in combat operations.
The military repercussions of the destabilisations, meanwhile, were already being felt on Palaven. Sections of the line being held by Invictan units once regarded as secure became seriously compromised by the mutiny. The relief of the city of Etuacum, an operation that was to be undertaken by colonial legions now held up on the Citadel, was postponed indefinitely; while the collapse of the front along the Via Dominarum, defended by Legio DCXCIX Hypathia of the Invictan army, was only narrowly averted when legionaries returned briefly to man their positions against a concerted push by Reaper forces in that sector. According to an officer formerly attached to the legionary staff and now convalescing at Huerta Memorial Hospital:
“There was a heated debate right up to the point where the enemy were over open sights whether or not we should react. The GOC, along with most of the regimental commanders and staff, was actually considering ordering the legion to stand aside to allow the enemy to break through and get at the civilian population behind us ‘the same way the politicians on Menae were sacrificing our civilians back on Invictus.’ They were only dissuaded of the idea when the G3 reminded them that it would be callous to do to the people of Palaven what Victus and his government were doing to the people of Invictus, and that such an action would almost assuredly result in the annihilation of the legion, contrary' to expectations from Invictus that we were to keep ourselves intact in the event we 'were called back home”.
Such nihilism was clearly on display among the Invictan troops still marooned on the Citadel, awaiting transport by their tiny and now greatly overstretched merchant marine, now in the process of ferrying whatever legions it could back to Invictus: "Mate, to hell with Palaven. Asari let us down, salarians let us down. If the rest of the galaxy won’t fight for its own bloody survival, why pick on me?"
Three legions of the expeditionary force, however, remained under nominal Hierarchy command. Officers were able to bring DCLXIX Shastina Victrix, a reserve legion consisting mostly of foreign-born Invictans, under control in fairly short order; the legion, badly mauled in fighting over the past week, retired to the rear to await replenishment.
Meanwhile, Major General Gnaeus Orquanus, GOC DCLXXXVII Sagittus, issued the following directive to his senior officers, which was by and large obeyed by the legion:
"You will not chuck it unless you run out of ammunition, water or food. Do not TALK of surrender. Put anyone who does under arrest. Put yourself under arrest and report to legion headquarters if you’re one of them!"
May 28: Solregit
Having remained free of the Reaper threat, the largely agrarian colony of Solregit became an important source of food and resources for soldiers around the front. With that responsibility, the troubles concerning the planet’s long-standing feud over separatism only grew more pronounced. Local regiments the 895th Primarch’s Own and the 58th Desert Bats travelled to the Apien Crest to join the fight for the home system, leaving a network of local garrisons to defend against potential Reaper attacks on Solregit.
Miracle at Palaven
First, the turians leaked a false battle plan that drew on the same tactics that they’d used at beginning of the assault on Palaven. Then the dreadnought Indomitable faked a problem with its drive core, coming out of FTL near Menae. Three other dreadnoughts and their attendant fleets deployed to assist Indomitable, a tempting target that drew the Reaper capital ships away from Palaven. Turian troop transports then entered Palaven’s atmosphere to release shuttles, gliders, and individual soldier capsules. The Reapers didn’t understand the seriousness of the threat at first -those that detected the landing crafts sent husks and Collector swarms to intercept them, but little more. This allowed krogan commandos to link up with Palaven’s resistance and hand off their payloads - warp bombs and fission weapons.
In simultaneous strikes across the globe, Reaper ships began to explode. Turian resistance members had managed to smuggle the bombs inside when the Reaper processing ships, troop transports, and even capital ships opened their structures to indoctrinated turian leaders. Large swaths of territory fell back under turian and krogan control. News of the victory gave a much-needed boost to the morale of the turian resistance and the galactic public. But the action was not without sacrifice. Turian insurgents gave their lives to ensure the explosives detonated, and the processing centres they destroyed were full of citizens and civilians who died just as surely as if they’d been harvested. Of the dead, General Minin Resvirix said, “Whatever they were in life, their deaths had no equal. They are worthy of joining the spirit of Palaven itself”.
Some time later, the Hierarchy colony on Gothis received aid from an unlikely source: Solregit. A message, sent three hours before the arrival of a cargo vessel in Gothis nearspace, indicated that the cargo was a donation to Primarch Victus and the Hierarchy's war effort on behalf of Sundowner High Chieftain Louki Fidele. Hierarchy junior intelligence officer Shan Jorri said that "while we always considered the possibility that the Sundowners might have nuclear warheads, we had no definitive proof that this was the case - before today". Hierarchy senior intelligence analyst Kachina Tannis offered the following explanation for the donation: "The gift came with a condition: that the warheads were not to be used on Solregit soil. The Sundowners even arranged for their transportation here to Gothis - this was not merely a courtesy to bring them where they were needed. It was to make it difficult for us to deploy them on Solregit. Many of the Sundowners practice a primitive colonial religion that reveres nature as sacred. They would rather be wiped out by the Reapers than poison their lands."
When Dekuuna’s government learned that the Reapers were imminent, they evacuated everyone on Sangel’s helium-3 recovery platforms. The sizable hydrogen-helium gas giant was abandoned, its workers relocated to Dekuuna. The move was ostensibly made because the elcor homeworld was a more defensible position. In reality, it may have been motivated by a subconscious herding instinct, as most grazing creatures come together in large groups when predators near. After the destruction of the elcor navy, Reapers moved in their ground troops to occupy Dekuuna’s cities. This took longer than on most civilized worlds, as the elcor were spread out into smaller, distant settlements, reflecting their preference for close-knit family communities instead of densely packed cities.
Irune also fell, with floods of volus refugees fleeing to turian colonies.
With Dekuuna and Irune now under Reaper control, the geth were embraced by the Citadel with unusual speed. War analysts theorized that the geth offering would have undergone more extensive scrutiny had it not been for the recent attacks. With the Reapers closing in on ‘low-priority’ targets, defenders were being stretched thin, and the option of geth reinforcements was reportedly deemed a “worthwhile gamble.” Several battallions of geth troops and armatures were transported to key areas of the war effort, while drone fleets moved to support planetary defense networks against Reaper strikes. Clusters close to the Perseus Veil began receiving reinforcements as early as six hours after Admiral Hackett’s announcement of cooperation.
Reached for comment, Qualog Manin, acting director of Special Tasks Group operations in the Skepsis system, announced that the geth under his command were performing to expectations. “The advantage of geth assets cannot be understated,” he said via quantum entanglement teleconference. “They don’t tire, they don’t need to be fed, they can’t be intimidated, and that means they’re good for combat ops, construction, or really anything requiring labor. Frankly, I wish we’d gotten them on our side sooner - maybe some of us wouldn’t have lost as many friends as we did.”
Citadel residents were less pleased with the prospect of mingling with their former enemies, particularly in light of the recent Cerberus attack which killed and maimed thousands. Citadel Security begun preparations to admit geth on a trial basis, in order to assist with reconstruction efforts. “The number of geth allowed on the station will, of course, be severely limited for the time being,” said C-Sec Special Response Captain Tarrim Anactus. “Their activities will be monitored around the clock. Our interactions with geth prior to this have been nothing but hostile, so if they want our trust, they’re going to have to earn it. Assisting against the Reapers will be a big step forward in that regard, if they can do it.”
Nevos was hit by the Reapers around the same time as Dekuuna came under fire. Being a relatively unimportant word in terms of industrial resources, the Reaper attacks concentrated on the almost defenceless spaceport facility near the capital of Astella. The destruction there was extensive but the Reapers didn’t come to stay, as their forces moved on to the more important targets of Dekuuna and (especially) Hyetiana and Cyone.
The coordinated Council forces, though, were making progress in some areas. It became easier for people to travel through asari space to join family and friends on Thessia. The Citadel’s security improved as a result of the number of refugees leaving the station.
Citadel member species grasped into what positive occurences they could. For example, The Book of Plenix declares that every volus must aid those in need during times of war. News of the book’s recovery from now war-torn Irune inspired many volus citizens to donate generous amounts to Citadel charities and defense funds. Similarly, the elcor rejoiced when the Code of the Ancients was recovered. With hope restored, they rallied to help move supplies on the Citadel to the war effort.
July 26: The battles continue
Hierarchy and resistance forces on Quadim ordered a strategic regrouping into the countryside, as Reaper ground troops pressed deeper into the capital of Haros, overrunning the city’s primary armoury and capital buildings. The order followed the obliteration of a significant portion of the defenders’ forces in neighbouring Belisan. Though stating his resolve and that of the people of Quadim to continue their fight against the invaders, Primarch Martic ordered a withdrawal from the Haronasian Basin, declaring the strategic situation to be untenable without reinforcements. Two weeks prior, the beleaguered garrison’s efforts to hold off a small Reaper invasion force were rewarded by the arrival of several private security and military firms, along with two aid and disaster relief organizations. Most were based out of Hierarchy and Alliance space, including the Jaroni Brigade, Dalin Security, Bastion, TraskInt Paladins, Orphaeus Matatar, Karasus Defense, Ton’Das Inc., Hands of Alune, and a small Galactic Red Cross detachment. Though Reaper attacks had crippled most fuel and communication assets across the system, these reinforcements began rescue operations in the Basin, evacuating approximately 4400 residents under cover of diversionary assaults by Quadim’s Fleet contingent.
The unexpected arrival of Reaper reinforcements in the system four days later ended evacuation operations; corporate warships and aid vessels were wiped out by Reaper capital ships, their surviving personnel stranded planetside. Coordinating with colonial forces, these remnants flocked to Belisan to support its flagging garrison, bolstering the defense and driving back Reaper assaults in key areas. Resistance leaders reportedly intended to delay and sabotage harvesting operations in the Basin, hoping to hold out in time for reinforcements. Such hopes were dashed when Reaper tactics abruptly shifted. Several capital ships fired on Belisan from orbit, leveling the city and annihilating its defenders. Colonial forces reported that survivors were unlikely, given the intensity of the bombardment, and a number of military analysts stated that the destruction of these reinforcements was a major blow to the effectiveness and viability of Quadim’s continued resistance. That said, representatives from the Office of Public Information stressed that the tenacity of the remaining forces shouldn’t be so easily disregarded. Primarch Martic expressed his sorrow for the loss of the corporate troops and aid personnel, along with his gratitude and respect for their sacrifice in the defense of his colony.
July 7: Solregit Invaded
Reaper forces were confirmed to have landed on Solregit at midnight local time in the capital city of Raura. Communication with the planet was swiftly cut, though ships passing through the system confirmed initial fears - the enemy had arrived on yet another world. It had been hoped that the agrarian colony would be overlooked by the Reapers due to its small population; however, with the recent victories on Palaven, it was theorized that the Reapers might be shifting their focus to turian supply lines. As a regional breadbasket, Solregit represented a not insignificant component thereof. Strategic analyst Brin Veris gave the following statement:
“You could say that the recent joint operation on Palaven was too successful. They can’t chase us out, so they’re attempting to starve us instead. They think if they can stop the flow of supplies from major agrarian colonies like Gothis, Edessan, and now Solregit, they can regain their dominance on the surface of Palaven”.
Unconfirmed reports from ship crews claimed that while the planetary Reaper presence was low, the Primarch of the colony might already be suffering the effects of indoctrination. The same reports indicated that the majority of the Reaper forces were located in the southern hemisphere, along the urban belt running parallel to the equator, with only two sightings of Reapers in the predominately rural north, both in the northern capital of Ayre.