Husks are cyborg soldiers created by the Reapers from the populations of planets they have attacked. The abilities of husks can vary widely, depending on the attributes of the species used to create them. All husks are fearless and resistant to pain; they only stop attacking when they have sustained too much damage to function.
While not unintelligent, husks are not sapient. They have no autonomy, acting only to fulfill the orders of the Reapers, which they receive via a remote signal.
Husks are hardy enough to deploy via "drop pods" that look like meteors impacting on a planet's surface. Presumably mass effect technology is used to reduce the impact energy enough for the husks to survive the landing.
Details vary depending on the species used to create the husks, but the primary method involves impaling victims on spikes known as "dragon's teeth". While impaled, nano-tech devices are introduced into the victim's body, replacing specified tissues and modifying organs to suit the Reapers' design. The transformation from humanoid victim to combat-ready husk is complete in a matter of hours.
- "Common" Husks: The first husks encountered in Reaper-related incidents were created from humans, and they remained the most common variant until the Reaper fleet arrived in the galaxy. These husks are similar to zombies, having no ranged weaponry. They are, however, quick, agile, and astonishing climbers. Some husks have bioelectric powers that can overload personal shield generators. Others have an inexplicable dependence on contact with the ground, causing them to cease functioning if lifted off the ground for any length of time. Human-based husks have multiple sub-variants:
- Abominations: These are largely indistinguishable from other human-based husks, but they appear to be burning and can explode when they come close to enemies.
- Scions: A scion combines three human husks into a support unit with high durability and built-in biotic weaponry.
- Praetorians: Composed of thirty human husks stuffed into a hard carapace, a praetorian is functionally similar to a levitating tank. They are maneuverable, extremely durable, and carry heavy firepower in the form of particle beams. Praetorians are very rare, and they are only encountered in conjunction with Collectors.
- Cannibals: Constructed by merging human and batarian victims, Cannibals have built-in ranged weaponry and can repair damage by consuming corpses.
- Collectors: Collectors are remnants from the last Reaper invasion, which occurred 50,000 years ago. They employ a variety of ranged weapons, and some have biotic abilities.
- Brutes: Brutes are assault units constructed by merging and modifying turians and krogan. They are immensely strong and tough.
- Banshees: Banshees are constructed from asari that carry an active or latent ardat-yakshi gene. They have extremely powerful biotic attacks and defenses.
- Marauders: Marauders are modified turians that use automatic weapons and coordinate other husk variants.
- Ravagers: Ravagers are modified rachni that carry heavy, long-range support weapons. They also have sacks of smaller rachnii "swarmers" that will attack nearby foes if the sacks are broken.
- Adjutants: Adjutants are husks created from an unknown species that is presumably extinct. They were found by Cerberus operatives in the remains of the Collector base, beyond the Omega-4 mass relay. Adjutants can infect most humanoids with a virus that transforms them into adjutants over time. Cerberus developed cybernetic implants that could control adjutants if they were implanted in the host prior to infection. Adjutants are powerful leapers with both claws for close combat and a "built-in" energy weapon.