The Spectres (Special Tactics and Reconnaissance) are an elite group of agents that work directly for the Citadel Council. Their only goal is to fulfill any mission given to them by the council, by any means necessary. The Spectres are considered above the law and answer only to the council much to the dismay of law officers all over the Galaxy. The council often turn a blind eye towards any damage caused by the Spectres if it meant the mission was a success.
You cannot apply to be a Spectre, the council will choose their candidates based on achievements and military experience. It's not known how many Spectres there are, it's believed there's under a hundred and not all of them are announced to the public. Some people like Officer Eddie Lang look at the Spectres as superheroes who are protecting the Galaxy from evil. Other people like Executor Pallin look at the Spectres as a liability. He doesn't believe anyone should be given such a large amount of freedom to do whatever they want in the Galaxy.
The Spectres were established just before the Krogan Rebellions. They were made up of the finest Asari Huntresses and Salarian STG (Special Tasks Group) soldiers. During the Rebellions, while the Krogans were busy attacking the Citadel fleets, Spectres would take part in stealth missions such as sabotaging bases and sending viruses into their computers to block communication. When the Council turned to the Turians for help, not only did they help defeat the Krogans and earn a place on the Citadel Council, but they went on to dominate the Spectres. All male Turians are given military training from a young age, making them more skilled, but also more dangerous agents. They are brought up with the belief that they can never surrender and that they must achieve success at any cost. Only five Spectres are known so far in the Mass Effect universe. Commander Shepard became the first Human Spectre for his/her performance on Eden Prime and whichever background you chose when creating him or her. Nihlus Kryik was one of the most talented Turian soldiers and went on to be one of the most accomplished Spectres ever. Saren Arterius was one of the most experienced Spectres around, he is still the youngest person to ever join the Spectres after just 4 years of military training. Captain Anderson was in line to be the first ever human spectre. However he was assessed by Saren who had a hatred for humans and made sure Anderson failed his assignment. Next is Tela Vasir who is an Asari Spectre who appears in Mass Effect 2 in the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC. Last but not least Jondum Bau is a Salarian Spectre in Mass Effect 3 who requests Shepard's help in stopping an indoctrinated Hanar.
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