The room was dark, the only light coming from the massive holo-screen on one of the walls and the hologram of Ambassador Donnel Udina, who was joining from his office in the Human Embassy on the Citadel. The two other attendants were Captain David Anderson and Fleet Admiral Steven Hackett, two of the most decorated Officers of the Systems Alliance Navy. Both men's experience showed on their faces. Anderson while not old at 230, and his genetic augmentations delayed old age further. The scars, pockmarks, and stress-induced grey hair made appear far older. The Fleet admiral on the other hand was baseline human and was already 265-years-old. All of his hair was now snow-white, and wrinkles layered his face.
"Admiral," Anderson began, "Show us the candidates." The Fleet Admiral simply nodded to the taller man before a list of 7 dossiers appeared in front of them. The first of them enveloped the screen, displaying the name Zachary Sullivan.
Udina was the first to speak. "Chief Warrant Officer 4 Zachary Sullivan. A solid candidate, given his repeated successes across Batarian Space. However, I don't see him stacking as high as some others that immediately come to mind."
"I agree," Hackett replied. "All of his victories were mostly on fairgrounds, we need someone who can face overwhelming odds and lead with a cool head at the same time. We don't know if he would be able to do that if put into the situation." Anderson moved his hand to the right, Sullivan's dossier minimized itself before showing the next.
Anderson had a look of mild disdain when he read the name. "Major Thaddeus Burns, better known as the Butcher of Torfan." He sighed before returning his gaze to the screen.
Hackett spoke up next, with none of his concern regarding the major seeping into his voice. "He got most of his Battalion killed during the operation he led on Torfan."
Udina had a concerned and doubtful expression. "Is that the kind of person we want protecting the galaxy?"
Anderson shook his head. He was glad the ambassador didn't see the man as his primary candidate. Given his personal experience with Udina's sardonic ways, but he also knew the man ultimately had Humanities well being at the forefront. "Ideally no, but he gets the job done, no matter what the cost, a trait many Spectres possess."
Udina proceeded to show the next file. "Luckily, here's someone that would fit the Spectre role fairly well. Henry Green, an N6 Infiltrator who works as a lone wolf. I believe he is a far better candidate than Burns."
The Fleet Admiral nodded his head "I agree, put him at the top with Major Burns as our secondary." The ambassador pulled up the 4th dossier.
"Well, what about Kassandra Shepard? She was born a spacer but mostly grew up in the colonies."
Anderson knew her well, she had served with him during multiple operations during the Human-Batarian War. "Military service runs in the family, her mother is currently XO of the Kilimanjaro, and her father served as a marine. But, she also knows how tough life can be out there, her father was killed when slavers attacked Mindoir."
Hackett knew of her military accomplishments well, if only by reports by her superiors. "She saw her whole unit die on Akuze. She could have serious emotional scars."
"Every soldier has scars, Shepard's a survivor."
Hackett acknowledged Anderson's point before speaking. "she also proved herself a great leader and capable of facing near overwhelming odds during the Blitz. Held off Batarian forces on the ground until reinforcements arrived."
"She's the only reason Elysium is still standing."
Udina's reply came with an air of respect "We can't question her courage."
"Humanity needs a hero, and Shepard's the best we got." Anderson replied.
Udina knew what the vote even though none of them vocally expressed. Shepard was the best Humanity had to offer. "I'll make the call."
I hope the decision to allow humanity another chance at joining the Spectres will pay off for us. Humanity's Systems Alliance forwarded their candidate to us earlier today, Lieutenant Commander Kassandra Jane Shepard. Her dossier was an interesting read, the accolades and accomplishments under the commander's belt would point to a veteran in their Matron years, not a young Maiden.
The first major accomplishment presented was her actions during the attack on the colony world of Elysium, dubbed the Skyllian Blitz by the Alliance. Batarians had launched an assault fleet in the Skyllian Verge, in retaliation for the rapid human expansion in that area of space.
Kassandra was on the ground when the Batarians hit, joining her fellow shore leave soldiers in fighting back against the invaders. However, she did more than just fight back, she rallied the colonial militia and civilians to bolster their counter-attack. The resistance she mustered was able to slow the Batarians' attack long enough for the Alliance to arrive and drive the invaders out of the verge.
Her actions were commemorated by her fellow marines and the colony of Elysium. Security footage also corroborated their story, and showed the Alliance the immense skill in the young woman. She was given an invitation to be a candidate for the N7 program, a division where the best of best were given specialized training and augmentations. Even if the candidate didn't pass the test to become an N-Class soldier, being a candidate alone was to be revered.
Kassandra passed the test with 'flying colors' according to her superiors and was given the synonymous N-Soldier augmentations. A process where the person went under extreme body modifications to increase their muscle strength, durability, speed, and size. The changes turned them into nothing short of super-soldiers, who were given suits of power armor to further increase their strength and durability. Once combined with the suit, an N-Class soldier's only rival is a Krogan.
Despite her already being one the best, she continued to learn, always saying she could be better, and always looking for a challenge. This might be best demonstrated when she went on to train under Asari Commandos to improve her biotics with other biotic N-Soldiers. Within the year she spent training at the academy, Kassandra became the top of her class. Her teachers noted that she wasn't always the first to master the abilities taught, but she was most prodigious. Only stopping when she either succeeded or had completely exhausted herself. As a former Commando myself, I both appreciate and admire the dedication the woman took to master her biotic abilities. Commando training is grueling and uncompromising, not to the same degree as Justicar training, but those who don't possess the mental and physical fortitude required always fail. Eventually, she graduated to N7, the highest rank a super-soldier can achieve. Earning her the white and red stripe on her right arm to symbolize her status.
The rest of her dossier her psychological traits, most importantly her invaluable tactical sensibility. Shepard would seize opportunities presented to her or create her own, often using her environment to her advantage. She made use of her biotics by turning loose objects to projectiles or tear infrastructures apart to create an advantage. One of her most notorious uses of found objects was when she destroyed a Blue Suns weapons and vehicle factory when she jury-rigged a downed shuttle's eezo core into a makeshift explosive.
While in most cases this dossier would be perfect for a Spectre, humans are unpredictable and written reports may not capture the whole story. Humanity is a fascinating species, they've only been on the galactic stage for only half a century, and only makeup 3% of the population in Citadel Space. Humans are defined by their diversity in both genetics and mentality, allowing them to fit into multiple roles without the use of a client race like the Turians do with the Volus, or the Hanar with the Drell. And yet, despite their small numbers they've made a name for themselves on the galactic stage.
Their most notable contribution is innovation in modern weaponry. Before the Turians had made the first contact with them, we had used metal shavings no bigger than a grain of sand accelerated to a tenth of the speed of light as projectiles, and the standard kinetic barriers we had inherited from the Protheans beacon scattered across the galaxy. For over 12,000 years that had been the standard armament of the galaxy, we didn't evolve because there was simply no need. Of course, small improvements had been made over the last 12 millennia, they were never significant.
What differed with the Humans was they didn't just adapt the Prothean design but made it their own. The firing mechanism was nearly identical in function and design, the only but monumental difference was the projectile used. Instead, their weapons fire bolts of superheated plasma through a mass accelerator, mitigating the energy dissipation by making the projectile travel nearly instantaneously.
This was a game-changer for the galaxy. Despite them being horribly outmatched, the plasma-based weapon had bypassed our kinetic barriers and laid waste to any Turian in the projectile's path. However, it was not enough to turn the tide, as the Turians had sheer numbers and military might on their side.
After the cease-fire had been issued by the council, Humans were accepted into the galactic community, being the newest race since the Drell 200 years prior. We adapted their weaponry, and humanity became an ally of the council. However, what shocked all of us was how well they assimilated into our society, within 10 years they functioned as if they had been there for centuries.
There is no singular role to describe Humanity's function within the galactic populous, their diversity in so many fields makes them a jack of all trades species that can perform almost any task with the utmost proficiency.
There is a famous quote by a Turian politician shortly after the crease-fire was issued. "Humanity is either an invaluable ally or our most dangerous enemy. A species that have the political prowess of the Asari, as militant as the Turians, just as scientifically adept as the Salarians, are capable of being as cruel as the Batarians and Violent as the Krogan demands the utmost caution and observation."
Their adaptive and nearly unpredictable nature combined with an unrivaled ambition has caused them to be labeled as bullies or too demanding by half the galaxy, while the other half are in admiration of the species' tremendous accomplishments in the half-century they have been with us.
In the end, my fellow council members and I have chosen Shepard to be our candidate because she embodies the best of humanity, no other stacks up to her. We just hope our faith in her isn't misplaced, or the galaxy might end up paying for it.
Asari Councilor Xulenra Tevos