Why no love for Batarians.
They kill almost (but not quite) as many human colonists as Cerberus.
You weren't there. At Mindoir. You can't understand.
The smell of roasting flesh isn't a smell like meat as you understand the word. People don't smell like pork or beef. Our brains are hard-wired to react to the smell of human fat, and putting it over fire is like shoving a stick in your bicep and twisting it around.
I could see them out there, with their plasma weapons and their stunsticks and the huge reaching claws they used to insert control chips into people's brains. I could see people in cages, people stripped naked and murdered and violated for amusement, people made to burn each other alive, screaming because they couldn't resist the commands given to them. It wouldn't happen to me, I said. Not to me. Not to my
family. I took my first life that day, a batarian heavy gunner who didn't think to watch the window with the child in it, who didn't think an adolescent human could perforate his head with a small-caliber rifle. It took three shots. The last one took him in his lower left eye.
Our homestead was a killing field. We had no illusions about surviving. None of us were surviving. But we wouldn't be taken, we wouldn't be abused and subjected to literally inhuman cruelty that we neither understood nor cared to learn about.
When the whistling of the artillery strike grew overhead, it was a sign of victory. I was afraid, my cousins were afraid, but I saw that my parents and aunts and uncles had a look of peace and triumph on their faces. I thought I understood why when our house exploded.
I bit the Alliance soldier who dragged me out of the rubble. I don't remember screaming or crying over my parents, but I must have, right? I loved them very much, and they were gone, and I was alone.
I remember the vids in the wake of that, Batarian ambassadors to the Citadel who argued that they were exercising their cultural rights to capture and keep slaves, regardless of race. I saw them argue, bald-faced, that their institutionalized cruelty was the way of things, that it hsould not be challenged, and that to do so went against the natural order. Mindoir was mentioned as a great cultural triumph of the batarian people. I remember where I was when I heard that one - I was in the mess hall in basic training, surrounded by rowdy would-be soldiers who had stopped to listen to the justification of atrocities. War was coming, my friends said. All I could think about was the smell of burning fat.
You think I joined the Alliance to secure man's place in the stars? Out of some sense of duty to my parents, who could have lived if there had been soldiers to protect them, if the Einstein had been an hour faster (God, I wish this was why)? Why do you think I sent men into the grinder at Torfan, didn't flinch when word of the casualties came back, counted off the enemy numbers in my head until I knew they were all dead and in pieces?
They said Torfan would change anyone, but that's not true. Torfan was a fire, but Mindoir had already made me into steel. I have never known peace except when sighting down on a batarian, when charging at them across a great distance and hurling them from rooftops and into chasms and crushing the life from their throats with my bare hands. This revenge is the only thing that makes me forget the smell of burning fat, just for a little while.
So yeah, I'll put up with Cerberus. I'll kill all of them in the end if they don't fall in line, and I'll kill the Illusive Man in every case you can come up with. But batarians?
No batarian shall be suffered to live.