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Planets and Locations: Eden Prime Edit
In 2151, as the first anxious settlers made their way through the new Charon mass relay, many of them wondered whether the reality of life on Eden Prime could possibly live up to the stories of pristine landscapes that drew them there. What the colonists found exceeded their expectations--the stable climate and compatible biology made the colony almost instantly viable.
Over the next few decades, several million humans immigrated to Eden Prime and a primarily agrarian culture developed. The new colony quickly became not only self-sufficient, but began exporting goods. Chief among these were rare plants grown from Earth's many heritage seed libraries.
But in 2183, the colonists faced a true test of their character: Eden Prime was attacked by the rogue Spectre Saren Arterius and his geth allies. Not long after, the Citadel was attacked by those same forces and Eden Prime's neighboring world Terra Nova found itself threatened with complete destruction. Faced with such violence, a lesser citizenry might have retreated back to the safety of Earth, as so many colonists of Terra Nova did. But Eden Prime's governing body refused to give in. Not only did the colonists vote overwhelmingly to block a measure calling for the building of evacuation ships, they voted to ease restrictions on emigrants from Terra Nova looking for a new home. As a result, Eden Prime's population has swelled; whatever the war might bring, its status as a symbol of humanity's future in the stars remains unblemished.
Technology: Prothean Beacon Edit
In 2183, human scientists uncovered a Prothean technological artifact on the planet of Eden Prime. While repelling an attack by Saren Arterius' geth allies, Commander Shepard's squad came into the artifact's proximity and set it off. The object, described as a beacon, sent the Commander jumbled sounds and images intended to warn of the imminent Reaper invasion. The beacon overloaded during the process and violently exploded.
While the vision it provided was dismissed by the Citadel Council as a highly subjective experience, since that time, the Council's Committee on Paleotechnology have analyzed the fragments of the beacon in an effort to understand how it communicated. What they found was not quite the "telepathic technology" that the Alliance marines described in their reports.
The beacon was equipped with a mass effect field generator to hold its subject immobile, a necessary step to minimize collateral damage during the rest of the process. The beacon then nearly instantaneously scanned the structure of its target's optic and auditory nerves as well as many parts of the brain responsible for memory. Once its expert system determined the proportions of these key features, the beacon stimulated them with pinpoint electromagnetic and other irradiative energy, using powerful programs to recreate any images or sound the beacon required. In principle, this was similar to the popular entertainment device known as a "simstim," but vastly more comprehensive--simstims direct the senses, not memory.
The Normandy's medical officer noted that the beacon delivered more information over the space of seconds than a simstim could do in hours, and managed to do so to a species whose physiology was completely unknown to its designers. To a paleotech, the fact that Commander Shepard needed assistance to decipher the message is a minor footnote compared to the Protheans' accomplishment-getting any of the message to Shepard at all.