The Geth - Species Information

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The Geth - Species Information Empty The Geth - Species Information

Post by xshanex on Sat Feb 07, 2015 9:07 pm

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The geth ("Servant of the People" in Khelish, the quarian langauge) are a race of networked artificial intelligences that reside beyond the Perseus Veil. The geth were created by the quarians as laborers and tools of war. When the geth became sentient and began to question their masters, the quarians attempted to exterminate them. The geth won the resulting war, and reduced the quarians to a race of nomads.

The history of the geth's creation and evolution serves as a warning to the rest of the galaxy of the potential dangers of artificial intelligence and to the legally enforced, systematic repression of artificial intelligences throughout galactic society.

Physically, the humanoid geth resemble quarians—their hands, head shape and legs are similar—which is probably a holdover from their origins. A common design feature among geth is a single brightly glowing photoreceptor, causing some to refer to them as "flashlight heads".

Geth are primarily composed of two materials: a flexible but durable outer shell, and a kind of synthetic muscle tissue that gives Geth Hoppers their incredible agility. It is actually possible for this synthetic muscle to be grafted to organic tissue. Geth "bleed" a white conductive fluid when shot, but they don't have any internal organs or nervous system, so the geth do not feel hunger or pain. The geth are also seen using omni-tools, and have seemingly modified them to heal synthetic wounds; likewise, some geth facilities contain first-aid kits, implying that their synthetic "tissues" can be repaired using conventional medical technology.

Part of the geth's success is due to their neural network. Effectively, they "share" their processing power, distributing low-level processes like motor control and visual identification to free up bandwidth for higher reasoning and complex thought. Geth can't share sensory data—they aren't a hive mind like the rachni—but in large groups they have more to think with. An individual geth has only a basic intelligence on par with animal instincts, but in groups they can reason, analyze situations, and make tactical decisions as well as any of the organic races.

Each geth is made up of hundreds of programs equivalent to VIs, all operating in parallel with one another to form a kind of emergent intelligence described as "a thousand voices talking at once". An individual geth is thus more of a "mobile platform" than an actual body; the programs that make up its consciousness are constantly being transferred and downloaded; the mind operating one of these "mobile platforms" might just as easily inhabit a starship body should it need to. Most of the time geth programs can be found residing in server hubs, which function as something akin to the organic equivalent of a city, and can run millions of geth in communion.

As all geth are networked to each other, they may communicate their exact thoughts and ideas at the speed of light. They find organic methods of communication, such as body language and spoken word, to be largely inefficient; the geth are able to communicate their thoughts flawlessly without any fear of misinterpretation. Because of this they have no true form of government and no system of rank. When a matter must be decided upon, the geth communicate all viewpoints of a situation and a consensus is made, the decision being whatever benefits the geth as a whole the greatest.

Over time, the geth have evolved into numerous sub-forms, ranging from the diminutive but highly agile Geth Hoppers, to the gigantic, lumbering Geth Armatures. All of these platforms are shielded and capable of regenerating their kinetic barriers. The geth also utilize turrets and drones (rocket, assault, recon and repair drones, specifically). It isn't clear whether these are also AIs, in the same way Geth Armatures are not just tanks but platforms for geth programs themselves, or simply controlled by the geth.

Geth subtypes include:

Geth Armature - Anti-personnel light walkers capable of launching geth siege pulses. Also possesses machine-guns, heavy armour and shields.

Geth Colossus - Geth heavy walkers capable of launching devastating siege pulse attacks and machine gun attacks. Extremely strong armour and shields.

Geth Destroyer - Equipped with Geth Pulse Shotguns and strong shielding. Specialised for close quarters combat, have the ability to charge, melee, and can utilize Carnage. They can also be equipped with flamethrowers or rocket launchers.

Geth Dreadnought - Flagships of the geth fleets. They are both larger and better equipped than their organic counterparts, utilizing longer, more powerful main guns and more energy-intensive ultraviolet lasers for their point defense systems.

Geth Dropship - Geth frigates that also serve as troop transports and close air support. Extremely resilient against ground vehicle fire, though fairly vulnerable to fire from other frigates and cruisers.

Geth Hopper - Cyberwarfare and ambush platforms, capable of sabotage, overload, and radar jamming. Attacks using the geth sniper beam. Lightly shielded.

Geth Hunter - Stealth troops armed with shotguns and shielding. They possess tactical cloaking devices.

Geth Juggernaut - Similar to Geth Primes. Equipped with Geth Pulse Rifles and able to launch distortion rockets. Heavily shielded and very resilient.

Geth Prime - Elite geth units equipped with heavy weaponry. They possess very strong shields, heavy armor, tech abilities and are extremely resilient. They also improve combat skills of nearby geth and are capable of jamming radar.

Geth Pyro - Geth units that are highly dangerous in close quarters. Equipped with flamethrowers, shielding and heavy armor. Very slow and harmless at distance, but highly resilient and deadly in close range.

Geth Rocket Trooper - Anti-armor/anti-air infantry. Equipped with rocket launchers and shielding.

Geth Shock Trooper - Advanced Geth Troopers armed with the Geth Pulse Rifle, Geth Barriers, and Carnage.

Geth Sniper - Armed with Geth Sniper Rifles and shielding. Capable of using assassination, specialised for long-range combat. Capable of jamming radar.

Geth Trooper - Standard geth troops equipped with Geth Pulse Rifles, Geth Barriers, and capable of recharging shields via the Geth Shield Boost ability.


The geth were created by the quarians as a labor force. They were designed as VIs, as advanced as possible while remaining non-sentient. They were also designed to operate more efficiently when networked together. Unfortunately, this feature was the quarians' undoing. Geth programs were indeed non-sentient individually, but slowly gained sentience through the massive geth network.

Eventually, they started asking the quarians questions only sentient beings would think to ask; in one notable instance, a domestic geth unit asked its owner if it had a soul. Alarmed at this, the quarians decided it would be best to shut down all geth before they conceived of revolt. The attempt failed, and a war began between the geth and the quarians, which geth afterwards referred to as the Morning War.

At first, the geth did not respond to the termination order with violence; it was only after panicked quarians fired upon them that the geth thought to pick up weapons and defend themselves. Even after this, some geth remained loyal to their creators and put themselves in harm's way to protect geth sympathizers from persecution; likewise, there were quarians who did not feel the geth deserved to die. However, as time went on, the geth sympathizers were outnumbered, and the war continued, eventually seeing the geth gain the upper hand. The war ended when the surviving quarians evacuated their home world and colonies in the Perseus Veil.

Unknown to the quarians themselves, the geth actually allowed them to leave; unsure of the repercussions of eradicating an entire species-namely their own creators- and having decided that the quarians were now too weak to be a threat, the geth decided to draw back their forces so that the surviving quarians could flee. The fleet of quarian ships that escaped the Veil became known as the Migrant Fleet, and has been roaming the galaxy ever since.

Little is known about the geth in the time between the Morning War and the present. The geth did not repopulate the now barren quarian worlds, instead choosing to exist in the computer hubs aboard massive space stations and extract needed resources from asteroids. They adopted an extremely isolationist attitude—any ships that ventured into geth space were immediately attacked and destroyed. While they prevented any contact by other races with themselves, the geth monitored communications and the extranet.

The geth continued development of new technology and variations of mobile platforms, separating their technology base from the rest of the galaxy. They obtained an ultimate goal in this time period: to create a Dyson sphere-like object, which could house every single geth program.

It is only now that the Geth have moved beyond the Veil, taking part in the assault on the human colony Eden Prime. Why they've emerged now, and in such a way, is unknown.

The geth are reclusive and secretive. This is partly due to their synthetic nature: They have no need to interact with other races because they do not share the same goals, needs or instincts as organic species. As machines, comfort is also not a concern for them, something that is reflected in elements of geth ship and station design (e.g., minimal gravity, lack of windows, efficient use of space, function over form, lack of atmosphere, and absence of climate control).

Geth do not actually live on any of the quarian planets they conquered, serving merely as caretakers for them instead. They find it more efficient to live on space stations and draw resources from asteroids, though they maintain mobile platforms on the worlds to clear rubble and toxins left by the Morning War. This behavior can be likened to the human tendency to establish cemeteries and memorials to commemorate dead persons and tragic events. However, since geth do not "die" in any traditional sense (upon the destruction of a geth platform, its programs are simply transmitted to the nearest available platform) and so have no real losses to mourn from the Morning War, Legion posits that they instead clean and maintain the quarian worlds out of respect for their quarian creators who died in the conflict and in preparation for the eventuality of their return.

The only geth who have interacted significantly with organics are a small, radical group of geth who worship a hyper-advanced but long-vanished machine race called the Reapers, whom they see as the pinnacle of non-organic evolution. It is these geth who attacked Eden Prime. This group is estimated to consist of about five percent of the total geth population. The mainstream geth are content to stay separate from the remainder of Citadel space to "build their own future," and claim that all sentient creatures should have the ability to "self-determinate", strictly adhering to a policy of non-interventionism in respect to the affairs and development of other races.

While they have made attempts to observe and understand organics, the geth primarily seek the peaceful advancement of their own race independent of the influence of the rest of galactic society and believe every sentient species should be able to do the same, an attitude which shows that the geth are significantly less hostile than the galactic community initially believed.

Depending on the context, the term "geth" can refer to an individual program, mobile platforms which house a number of individual programs, or the entire collection of all programs. Organics generally refer to each mobile platform as a geth. However, the geth do not share the concept of individuality, and think in terms of the entire collective.

Geth psychology is completely alien to organics. They do not value individuality, preferring to share all memories and thoughts of all programs. This means geth cannot and do not wish to hide their thoughts, even those that do not follow the norm, with their reasoning for differing thoughts being apparent.

More importantly, deceit, manipulation and lying are impossible among the geth. No concepts of vulnerability or privacy exist; geth are completely honest with each other about their thoughts and their reasons for those thoughts. This means there is a great deal of understanding amongst geth, with every geth being part of the consciousness of every other geth.

Geth have no government or leaders; the geth use FTL communications to "build a consensus," a completely Consensus Democratic method in which every geth program makes a choice on any matter.

While the geth are incapable of deceit amongst themselves, they are not above using deceit to study organic behavior. One example is the geth introducing a falsified report on the extranet detailing a constellation resembling a salarian goddess seen from the batarian homeworld, which some salarians immediately believed to be proof of the goddess' existence. The experiment ended when a salarian cult attempted to buy the rights to the stars, only to find that they did not exist.

There is some question of whether geth personalities remain stable over time. When an artificial intelligence is transferred to a new blue box, a completely new personality is created. Geth frequently download into different hardware according to need, from starships to the "mobile platforms". It is unknown whether new personalities result from these downloads, or whether it matters to the geth.

The long-term goal of the geth is the construction of a "megastructure", a massive mainframe capable of simultaneously housing every existent geth program, thereby maximizing their collective processing capacity. In 2185, the geth have already been in the process of constructing the megastructure for 264 years. The closest conceptual analogue is a Dyson sphere and, as it poignantly states "no geth will be alone when it is done." Geth belief is that the Repears promised the heretics a Reaper body to serve as such a megastructure.

Notably, however, Geth consider this arrangement a Faustian bargain. The position of the baseline geth is that even if they share an ultimate goal with the heretics, self-determination toward that end has intrinsic value. In other words, the journey is as important as the destination. The heretics are to that effect consequentialistic, where the "true geth" are deontological. Something ineffable would be lost if the geth—and indeed, all galactic civilization—were merely to evolve along the rigid lines arranged by the Reapers.

The key element of geth warfare is surprise. Their sudden and unexpected return from beyond the Veil after three centuries was typical. They are described as perfect ambushers—"they don't move, they don't make noise, they don't even breathe." Their freedom from the need to eat or sleep allows the geth to leave dormant garrison units in ambush at key positions, and the fact they don't feel pain allows them to drop units directly onto the battlefield from high altitudes. Geth can even be packed tightly into crates and left in storage, shutting down their power sources to stay undetected. A tactic particularly favored by the geth is to set "distress signals" and then ambush the rescuers; they also turned the freighter MSV Cornucopia into a drifting trap.
In combat, geth units show little sense of self-preservation. Because geth programs can share memories and files with extreme ease, the experiences of individual geth programs are not lost when a platform is destroyed and archived versions of programs can be downloaded into new bodies. As geth programs are functionally immortal, they place little value on platforms and will expend thousands of units to take an enemy position, which was commonly experienced by the quarians during the Morning War. For this reason, geth are willing to engage in seemingly-suicidal actions like boarding a ship, engineering it to crash, and then remaining on board to ensure the ship goes down.

Heretic geth use psychological warfare on the battlefield with dragon's teeth, a Reaper implement. These implements pierce the bodies of dead soldiers, turning muscle tissue into synthetic material, creating a zombie-like monster called a husk. This severely lowers morale, as their enemy now has to kill fallen comrades.

When geth shut down, they fry their memory cores as a defensive measure, which is probably why geth haven't been successfully captured for study. However, some quarians are able to retrieve some of the data cache from a deactivated geth, using tech expertise and quick decisiveness.

Geth weapons and armor are of extremely high quality but are difficult to find. Their weapons are pulse based.

Despite preferring stealth and cutting edge technology to neutralize their enemies, the geth are extremely numerous, and are well capable of building a much larger force than they have. They have massive fleets and the largest infantry corps in the galaxy.

Best size estimates on a single geth fleet (the one around Charoum to be specific) range from 5,000 to 10,000 ships with unknown armament. These fleets include dreadnoughts, dropships, cruisers, and fighters. Since the geth are not limited by the demands for rest, wages, or autonomy that organic workforces require, they are limited only by time and raw materials in what they can construct, allowing for the creation of such massive fleets. Owing to their software nature, the geth decided to omit escape pods in their ship designs, requiring anyone who can't download who's trapped in one of their vessels to seek alternate means of transport off the ship, like stored geth fighters.

In addition, the geth are not restricted by the Treaty of Farixen and other Citadel regulations in building their ships. Geth dreadnoughts can exceed the size of Alliance dreadnoughts by as much as 30%, and utilize more expensive and energy-demanding ultraviolet antifighter lasers as opposed to the cheaper infrared antifighter lasers employed by most organic built ships.

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