Shortly after the Morning War, the quarians asked the Council to destroy the geth. The Council instead decided to close the quarian embassy, and otherwise ignored the problem entirely.

Given the Council's distrust of AI, and standing salarian military doctrine (always strike first), why didn't they attack the geth as the quarians asked?

  • Where does the Morning way happen in respect to the timeline of the games? Before Mass Effect 1?
    – Daft
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 14:51
  • @Daft: The "Morning War" is the geth's name for the initial conflict between the quarians and the geth (i.e. the one that happened "300 years ago" in-game).
    – Kevin
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 14:52
  • Cool, thanks Kevin.
    – Daft
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 14:53
  • 1
    Did the Council distrust AI before the Morning War? I always thought it was because of the Morning War...
    – Nerrolken
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 22:45

3 Answers 3


I don't believe this is explored in-series at all.

That said, the most obvious speculative answer is politics.

The quarians effectively created their own monster and enemy. They bungled the geth so badly they lost their own homeworld and were reduced to space pilgrims. They had nothing to offer the Council in return. They asked for intervention; effectively, for the Council races to directly engage the Geth, making them an enemy to all the races and not just the Quarians. An enemy who had already curb-stomped the race best in a position to put them down, and had halted their military advance, staying behind the Veil, away from known space and away from the Council.

It was not worth the Council's time to make war on the Geth. Even presuming the Quarians would pledge all their tech and loyalty forevermore (and that they would then uphold that, politics being politics), they weren't a power anymore, and any Quarian attention would be on reclaiming and rebuilding their home rather than helping the Council back. The Geth could be safely discounted as a far-off threat and/or the Quarians problem, and they could get more value by demonizing the dangers of AI (and those meddling Quarians inventing things that shouldn't have existed) from afar with the Geth as an example.

That they later shot up the Citadel at the behest of one of their own special agents leading a kind of machine-religious cult, well, that's hindsight for you.

  • I would add on that the Geth are more than just "monsters" and "enemies" - they are a fully sentient, intelligent race (even if they are a synthetic hive mind) - effectively making their eradication genocide (not that the council have had problems with that before ref: Rachni & Krogans) but without a clear and present danger there's really no reason to attack the Geth just because of inter-species aggression. Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 18:55
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    @mike - Was there even anyone around who would consider a synthetic sentient as an individual and not a monster? Cause if there were, they weren't in Council government, nor in Quarian. So I doubt their rights would come up, unless the Geth could establish a dialogue, and I don't think they ever did until Legion.
    – Radhil
    Commented Mar 13, 2015 at 22:29
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    The quarian war did involve quarians who sided with the geth.
    – Fhnuzoag
    Commented Mar 16, 2015 at 19:18
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    @Fhnuzoag - Having replayed and reread a bit of lore, yes, there were quarians who tried to help the geth when the initial purge against them started. It was more an underground railroad type thing; quarian leaders just wanted the problem ended. Many of those sympathists were targeted by their own government and killed. When the geth finally took the gloves off and began their own near genocide in retaliation, I doubt anything would remain of them. killed by one side or the other, any left alive would have hid or escaped.
    – Radhil
    Commented Sep 23, 2015 at 0:42
  • Also taking a good look at the Galaxy map Rannoch is effectively about as far away as you can get from Council space and by the looks of it with the Terminus Systems in between which the Council don't want to mess around with as mentioned in convos with the Council in the first game
    – IG_42
    Commented Oct 16, 2015 at 15:38

I think we can only speculate on this. Remember that the Quarians had not just broken galactic law by creating the Geth, but had then tried to destroy them. The Geth drove them out of their homeworld, then instead of pursuing, stayed where they were.

The Council may have felt that they were at least partially justified and had ethical problems wiping them out. So the answer may just be that they don't see them as a threat. The Salarians strike first, but only when they know the enemy will eventually attack. In this case, they didn't have any indication the Geth had hostility to anyone other than the Quarians (and as I said, stopped short of wiping them out, giving another indication they weren't always hostile).


I get they might not have been attacked as they didn't seem likely to attack any of the council races. But surely they would been attacked for the sure size of their fleet ? The treaty limiting fleet size is meant to assure Turian military do once so surely (for the tutu and) and stability and peace for the rest of the Galaxy. So surely the Turians would see the Geth as a potential threat to their naval dominance ?

  • This should probably be a comment, not an answer, but the conversion has been declined. To answer your question, the treaty on fleet size is to assure that no one Council race (mainly Turians, but later humans) has military dominance over any other Council race. Not to guarantee that Turians had space dominance, quite the opposite in fact. The Geth weren't party to that treaty, and the Council could only get limited intel on their forces anyway. If the Geth were deemed a threat, all the races would've gone after them... but they weren't.
    – Radhil
    Commented Mar 30, 2017 at 16:34

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