Deception

Fear. Hate. Regret. Remorse. Sorrow.

Deep in the stages of REM sleep, Toby Heiko's eyes darted in their sockets, trying desperately to wake his subconscious mind from this far-too-realistic nightmare. Wake up Toby, it's just a dream. Wake up now! With a tremendous effort, his eyelids shot open; he was no longer in the blackened alleyway. His body trembling, his fists clenched; the residual feelings of horror were overpowering. It was so concentrated, so potent, that just thinking about it made his stomach churn. He pulled his feet away from the edge of the bed and closer to the core of his body, more out of a subconscious desire for comfort than rational thought. Dammit Toby, control yourself! His skyrocketing heartbeat felt as though it wanted to burst from his chest or crawl itself through his throat like a rat trying to escape from a scorching flame. His hands trembled, not unlike the first time he aimed his firearm with intent to kill at another human. Toby smacked his mouth and with the back of his hand wiped beads of sweat off his upper lip, but his hand was clasped to something. The rubber grip of a pistol was slick in his fist. Dear God. The mattress was drenched with his perspiration and clung to his body as he slowly pulled his quaking legs from under the heavy blankets. His legs were sticky and unsteady as he quietly placed them on the carpeted floor of his apartment, trying not to wake his sleeping wife. Guilt thundered through every vein in his body when he looked at the pistol, still in his hand. The safety was off, an apparent result of his physical body attempting to take action against the subconscious nightmare while combating these dark entities.

It was just a dream, Toby.

Staring at the pistol in his quavering hands, he slipped the handgun back under his bed like a child hiding a secret from their parents. Uncurling his fists, he rested his sweat-coated face in the palms of his hands. Moments after his eyes shut, glimpses of the nightmare flashed through his mind's eye, jolting his heartrate once more. On edge now more than ever, the unexpected glide of two fingers moving down his spine caused him to jump involuntarily.

"Toby, are you okay?" He slowly spun around and looked at his wife, her head peering over the blankets. Toby stared into the dull glow of her eyes, looking past the facemask that hid her true beauty. Grabbing the quarian's three fingered hand, he kissed the thick fabric then gingerly set it back on the bed.

"Nothing, sweetheart. Must be something I ate." He said reassuringly as he moved towards the bathroom, intentionally avoiding the creaky floorboards residing under the lush carpet. "Go back to sleep Nashira," he whispered, opening the door to the bathroom. He silently closed it before waving his hand over a dim blue holographic light switch. Sickening, sterile white light bleached his vision and penetrated into his brain like a flame. Squinting, he walked over to the sink, grabbing the edge of the basin using it like crutches as he fought the nauseating vertigo. Glancing slowly upward, the mirror revealed a startling sight; the person staring back at him didn't resemble the Toby Heiko he thought he knew. His usual dark skin was pale and slick with perspiration, completely different from his attractive natural tan. His dark brown irises were swimming in an ocean of red instead of a healthy brilliant white. Toby looked up at the ceiling. The lights seemed to buzz in a nauseating tune, causing his stomach to perform acrobatic displays. Hot tungsten filaments burned white in the glass bulbs, bouncing caustic patterns off the metallic surfaces in the small bathroom. His vision blurred and his legs trembled once again; not because of fear, but because of the sickening void swirling in his stomach. He quickly splashed cold water in his face, attempting to repel the inevitable. Out of all the things he has seen, smelled, and witnessed, vomit scared the hell out of him. Damn it, fight it off. He swallowed hard, but he knew it was too late. He opened his eyes and the light again pierced his brain like a hot needle. Clenching the toilet, he heaved all the contents of his stomach into the ceramic pot.

"Toby, do you need my help?" He could hear Nashira's hand trying to open the locked door.

"I'm fine, don't worry about it," he said weakly. His stomach now empty, Toby clambered back to the sink, cleaning his mouth out with haste. His pupils contracted, compensating for the harsh overhead light as he studied himself in the mirror. Running a large hand through his black quarter inch hair, he noted that his black tank top had darkened circles under the arms and around the neck. Damn it. He grabbed a tissue and blew his crooked nose, flushing out traces of vomit and scattering the white wafer thin sheet with shredded leafs of bile. His mind wandered back to the dream, to the grisly images; he fought back the lump crawling in his throat. That was another life. You have a better one now.

His eyes flicked back to the toilet, searching for any leftover mess. Fortunately, his quick thinking had spared himself having to clean up a mess that would have brought him to his knees. He silently chuckled under his breath, resigning to his phobia of half-digested food. He thanked his fortunes that he didn't have to vomit in a small, confined space, as that would have combined both his phobias of vomit and claustrophobia. God, he hated closed spaces. He peered at his watch, searching for the time. It was three hours and seventy-nine minutes into the morning according to Citadel time. Over the eight years he has been living here on the Citadel, his body has grown accustomed to the sixteen percent longer days compared to those back on Earth. His hand absently swiped the used toothbrush into the waste bin and he ripped open a packet to another one. He began brushing his teeth and timed it to the very second up to three minutes. Toby spit into the sink, getting rid of the lingering, revolting aftertaste of vomit. His hand waved over the light switch and he quietly opened the door to the bedroom.

"Toby?" A hand gently grabbed his as he walked out of the bathroom.

"Nashira, I told you I was okay," he whispered back.

"I was worried."

Toby pressed his back against the wall and slid down to the floor, still grasping her hand. Even through the dim light that passed through the polarized windows, Toby could still make out her form. With her legs tucked under the chin of the white helmet surrounding the blue faceplate, she had been waiting by the door with obvious concern. His eyes traced the white outline of the traditional quarian cloths that wrapped around their radically curved body. The outline of the cloth was like a sandy beach bordering a sapphire blue ocean. After a seven year marriage with the love of his life, he never got tired of her suit and its enrapturing aesthetics. The blue and white matched her personality, which was cool and collected, as well as the contours of her body. He grinned and squeezed her hand, reassuring her.

"Like I said, there is nothing to be worried about. It must have been something I ate." In the dark room, Toby noticed her eyes narrow and her body shift. Even though her face was hidden from view, Toby could sense the emotions through her body movement. Since she was a quarian and their faces were hidden, they show emotion through radical or subtle body movements. Being a Citadel Security officer, he was more apt than most at recognizing these subtle forms of communication. After spending seven years with her, he could tell she sensed something that didn't add up. Damn, what did I do? Nashira's grip tightened on his hand protectively.

"Toby, I think there is something more to this."

"What do you mean?" Her stance became more serious.

"You were talking to yourself…in your sleep." Nashira buried her head against his shoulder. "Was it the...the nightmare again, Toby?" she said cautiously, snaking an arm around his waist. She could feel Toby nod and bury his face into her hood for comfort. "Remember, it's just a dream Toby. They can't hurt you." Hearing these words delivered in her soothing accent, similar to an Earthen Middle-Eastern one, gave more comfort to him than any human he had ever met, and it reminded him why he loved her so much.

"Do you have any work today?" he asked in the hopes of changing the subject.

"Yes, later in the afternoon though." Toby put a finger under her chin bringing those beautiful eyes to meet his.

"I love how much you care for me; you don't know how much it means." Her eyes flashed happily as she looked at him. One of Nashira's lanky fingers traced his lips, the quarian equivalent of a kiss. Toby grabbed her thin waist, pulling Nashira to her feet, and walked her over to the bed. He lifted up the sheets and she slipped back into the blankets comforting embrace. Nashira's hand weaved out wanting him to grab it so she could pull him back into bed, but Toby curled her fingers up into a ball, reluctantly pushing her away. He just had the feeling that he would fall right back into the dream and back into the dark alleyway if he tried to sleep again.

"I don't think I am up for going back to sleep." Nashira cocked her head and pulled the blankets off from over her legs.

"Well I can't let you be up alone," she whispered. Toby rounded the bed and sat down on the edge.

"Are all quarians this selfless?" Her body relaxed as Toby hooked his arm under her legs that dangled over the side, stuffing them back under the blankets. He could tell she was blushing under the clouded face shield. "Go back to sleep." He laid an open hand on her chest and gently pushed Nashira's back into the mattress, pulling the blankets under her chin. He sat there for a moment, staring at the glow of her eyes, brandishing images of her face that he has only seen several times in his life.

"Are you going to watch me go to sleep?"

"I am not leaving until I see your eyes close." Nashira's eyes shut and Toby got off the bed, walking to the door leading to the hallway. He spun around and caught a glimpse of her eyes from behind the mask. "Nashira, what did I tell you?" He grinned at hearing her snicker and roll over to her side pulling the blankets up to her thin shoulders. Toby silently opened the door and closed it behind him. He was at the end of a short hallway with two doors on the left and one on the right. His heart skipped several beats when he looked at the door to the right. There was a drawing of their family on a piece of paper which hung on the door. Toby's hand went to the door handle, but he hesitated against peeking in on his sleeping daughter, Gia; he just had the urge to see her, to make sure she was safe. Toby carefully opened the door and peeked inside of the room. He smiled when he saw his quarian daughter's petite frame resting under the blankets which were pulled completely over her helmeted head. A night light in the corner of the room emanated a dull orange and slowly changed to red then purple swabbing the small room's walls with its appealing hue. Models of starships were hanging on strings from the ceiling, casting long shadows over the blonde wooden floor. Reassured that his daughter was safe, he closed the door to the bedroom and proceeded into the living quarters of the small apartment.

A large, tinted panoramic window was looking out over the Citadel's Ward arms. Toby approached the thick glass and crossed his arms.

"Open."

The massive window depolarized, letting light from the Widow cascade into the room. Every day, this view took his breath away as he gazed out over the Serpent Nebula. With its swirling mix of blue, gray and white gasses, the celestial formation was a breathtaking sight. The Ward arms stretched for forty-five kilometers out in front of him. Streams of vehicles floated like hot embers caught in the wind in between the colossal sky scrapers which towered above the manufactured ground. The Destiny Ascension, an asari dreadnaught and the largest ship to date, was serenely floating off in the distance like a shark patrolling the ocean. Its four prongs stuck out like aggressive spikes and the gaping mouth of the ship was a dazzling, illuminated blue as though the vessel contained a blue internal roaring fire. Toby spun towards the kitchen which was basking in the glorious light from the window. A familiar face at the breakfast counter made him smile.

"Hey there, Nelson." The fish swam towards Toby and its bulbous eyes stared at him. Pulses of light shot through a white vein that ran down the center of its back as it noticed Toby grabbing a can of fish food. This fish meant a lot to him; its very presence keeping him sane during the darkest moments of his life. Heiko pinched some colorful flakes between his fingers and sprinkled them into the clear water. Nelson darted back and forth grabbing the flakes that fluttered to the blue marbled ground. Toby leaned on the counter, staring contentedly at his pet until Nelson swam away and hid behind a turian cruiser toy that Gia had placed in the bowl. This way he can hide when he is scared because everyone knows the turians are good ship builders, Toby could hear his daughter say. He closed the can of fish food, placing it back on the shelf in alphabetical order and trying not to disturb the position of the other items. He walked over to his office to retrieve his duffel bag with his gear tucked neatly away inside. A computer monitor hummed quietly in the corner with a neat stack of data pads filed next to it, all of which dealt with notes and research dealing with the book he was writing. Being a culinary fanatic, discovering all these other species which had cultures just as advanced and old as humans, they were naturally going to have exotic foods. Moving to the Citadel opened the limitless amount of new delicacies to be discovered, ranging from the spiritual asari to the scientific salarians. Working in a restaurant back on Earth, he was naturally drawn to food and the great city of Philadelphia had an abundant amount of things to explore and eat, and living on 9th street he had the old Italian market which still draws breath along with Pats and Geno's, making them some of the oldest restaurants on Earth. For obvious reasons, Toby wanted to write a book about the one-hundred greatest places to eat on the Citadel ranging from the grungy krogan sausage stands that dotted the Wards, to the finest asari restaurants which looked over the Citadel. Additionally, being married to a quarian, he wanted to open the minds of humans to how incredible the new species really are and feed them tips on how to interact with them.

Toby pulled a shirt that read C-Sec: Special Response over his bare torso while standing in his office. His work place was perfectly organized: All books were in alphabetical order based on title, there were no loose papers or data pads, and not a speck of dust was sitting on the desk. His hand rifled through his bag, searching for his running shoes. Finding them, he stood up straight, eye level with his recognized achievements that were hanging on the wall. Distinguished Service Medal from the fight on Shanxi, N7 Graduate in 2159, and behind that was a picture of his unit. He remembered all the faces and names by heart as they had spent three years together doing operations for the human Alliance. One of those faces still has an impact in his life, his C-Sec Special Response partner Brian Hilliard. They were like brothers; no, they were brothers. After eleven years of working together and fighting together, Brian has become the closest person to Toby, other than Gia and Nashira.

He slipped his running shoes on and walked out the door of his apartment. The air was thick and still when he entered the hallway of the 148th floor, its carpeted floor dull and filmy from all the traffic over the years. Toby locked the door behind him, double checking to make sure it was shut. You know they're safe Toby, you do this every day. He walked towards the elevator that climbed to the roof of the building. His thoughts were swirling and racing, reflecting on the nightmare. The last time he had this nightmare, Gia got an infection and almost died. Every time he had this nightmare, something bad happened. Was it just bad luck or did it mean something? He pressed the button to head to the top of the building where there was a running track around the perimeter. God damn it, Toby, it's nothing. You're letting your imagination run wild. It's just chance. The elevator shuddered and hissed open. Toby sighed and shook his head.

"It's nothing, Toby, let it go." He told himself, making his way over to his usual starting line. His feet sunk into the soft recycled rubber that made up the track. This track felt like home to him, a place of peace and solitude where he could keep his sanity in check. He looked around, realizing no one was up here at this time of day. Several pieces of trash littered the artificial grass that centered the circular track. The city below hummed and buzzed with a life and energy that Toby could feel in his chest. It rumbled through the protective glass dome over his head, keeping the hostile atmosphere (or lack of atmosphere, rather) at bay. He started his stop watch and began his usual five kilometer morning run. With a competitive spirit that was forged from the military and more so in his recent work at C-Sec, he always wanted to beat his best time. If he ran one second faster or one millisecond faster, he considered it a victory. In C-Sec, especially in the Special Response, which was C-Sec's equivalent to an anti-terrorist unit, Toby witnessed extreme racial problems first hand. He looked at this as an extra challenge making him strive towards excellence, challenging him to the brink. Being one of the first humans to join Special Response, every day he has been looked down upon by the turians in the group. Toby has to be at the top of his game at all times in order to give humanity a stronger image among the galactic community. The media and everyone else at C-Sec were always waiting for humans to make mistakes. Racial problems against humans will break the weak minded in C-Sec, especially in CSSR. Toby has adapted to this and blocks it out. He smiled smugly to himself. I like the extra challenge. His eyes drifted down to his stop watch and realized he knocked out the first three kilometers without even thinking about it. Time is good, heart rate's perfect and I'm not even tired. He checked his pulse and noticed it was barely above normal. He needed to beat his last time, so he pushed himself harder, his powerful legs accelerating his body forward.

His thoughts once again drifted back to his nightmare as he closed in on the final kilometer. I haven't thought of her in ages, why did I have that dream? In the pit of his stomach, an icy void seemed to suck away at his charm, happiness, and concentration. He had no idea why his mind kept forcing him to revisit that nightmare, but he felt like it was warning him of something. For some reason the atmosphere felt thicker. Thick with what, though? Toby had a sixth sense of things, like he could feel the change of emotion in the air. The thought of it was childish and he kept telling himself that it was just that certain skill he picked up during his many years in C-Sec, but deep in his brain, he knew he held a special gift. The white finish line was fast approaching him. I need to think about something else, this idealism you have doesn't make any sense. The last stretch arrived quickly and he gave it everything he had. The muscles in his legs screamed as lactic acid rapidly built up in his thighs and calf muscles. His lungs burned, but nothing was going to hold him back, he had to beat his last time. The stop watch halted and beeped as he crossed the five kilometer mark. One and a half seconds slower today, damn. At least I am consistent. As if driving the point home, a familiar rumble in his stomach told him to get to the kitchen, fast.

"You can wait; I need to think about some things alone." Ignoring the hunger pangs, he patted his rock hard stomach and sat down on a bench to try and get his head straight.

An hour later, Toby walked down the hallway approaching his apartment door. His head was clear and untainted with the nightmare he had earlier. He felt like a new man. Well, at least I will once I take a shower. The morning was fast approaching noticing people exit their homes and heading off to work.

"Hi Mr. Heiko!"

He spun around, discovering that the voice had came from one of his neighbors.

"Morning Rachel," Toby said, friendly warmth creeping into his voice, "I'd keep a safe distance; I'm sweaty as all hell."

Toby looked at the human girl who was probably heading off to school. She looked up at him with a crooked smile, hoisting a shoulder bag full of data pads and essays. She pulled a dark wisp of hair behind her ear and grinned, lifting the bags strap over her shoulder.

"Yeah, I can tell." She said, giggling.

"Well be safe out there and don't talk to strangers," he joked. Rachel laughed and looked to the ground.

"I am twenty-one, Mr. Heiko and going to med school, I have a brain you know."

"I know that. Now get to school and study hard."

"Got it. Oh, tell Gia I said hello, and remember, if you guys need any help looking after her, I am just next door." Toby smiled and waved at her.

"Thanks, I know I can count on you Rachel." She twirled around and confidently walked toward the elevator. What a good kid. Turning back to his doorway, Toby entered the six digit security code and heard the distinctive triple-click of the internal locks disengaging. The cool air of the apartment kissed his skin like an arctic breeze sending shivers up his spine. He untied his shoes and walked over to his office, neatly placing them back in his duffel. Toby heard the floor creak behind him. He turned to see Nashira leaning against the door frame with her arms crossed.

"Are you feeling better?" she said, concern in her voice.

"Everything is taken care of."

"Okay, well that is good to hear."

He noted that she didn't sound entirely convinced. Toby smiled at Nashira. She was unusually tall for a quarian, about his height at 5'11", and it was at times like this that he truly admired her beauty.

"I was talking to Rachel a second ago. When do we need her to babysit Gia again?"

Remaining silent, Nashira moved towards Toby and wrapped her arms around him.

"I will let her know when; you don't need to worry about it. How was your run?" She asked running a finger down the side of his cheek.

"I was a second slower today."

"Well you are a tough sucker to beat."

Toby chuckled.

"Yeah this is true. I sometimes wonder it I will ever get my time down to zero." They both shared a cheesy laugh and Toby looked at his watch. "I should go wake Gia up for school." Nashira nodded and let go of him. Toby cracked open the door to her room and walked inside. He picked up several toys lying on the ground on his way over to her bed. A plastic model of the Destiny Ascension sat in his right hand and a turian fighter in the other. For a young quarian girl, she sure has some cool toys. His eyes looked over the lump under the blankets, watching them rise and fall rhythmically with her breathing. He set the toys under the bed and crouched next to her. Her blanket glowed in the dark and had fluorescent starships printed on it. Toby lifted up her blanket revealing Gia lying on her side with her small, thin back faced toward him. His large hand pressed against his seven year old daughter's little back. She felt so small and delicate with each tiny, adorable breath she took. God did he love her so much.

"GiGi, it is time to wake up for school." She didn't budge. Toby reached over her and grabbed one of her small three fingered hands and started rubbing them. "GiGi, Daddy wants a hug." He could hear her take a deep breath and she rolled over. Toby stared at her fragile body which was wrapped in orange quarian cloth with white zigzag decals. Much like her mother, the colors she wore matched her personality flawlessly. The zigzag white decals reminded him of lightning bolts which represented her electric personality and never-ending energy.

"Why does Daddy want hug in the morning," Gia asked with her eyes still closed, clearly not amused.

"Because I need some more sugar to keep me energized for my big day." Heiko continued rubbing her small hands.

"Why don't you go hug Mommy for some sugar?"

"I already did GiGi. You sugar is sweeter than Mommy's… don't tell her I said that." Gia's eyes flashed open and Toby stared into the glow. For some reason, her eyes were the brightest he has ever seen on a quarian before. He didn't know if this was just due to her age and vitality, but he enjoyed every moment they were open and he didn't want to blink for he was afraid he was going to miss something.

"Rub my feet Daddy, and then I will give you some sugar." Toby couldn't help but laugh at her bargaining skills. For a seven year old, she was extremely intelligent. Gia's foot poked out from under the blanket spreading her two toes, wanting them to be rubbed. He cupped her small foot in his rather large hands and squeezed them. Toby peered at the door way to see Nashira's body half way around the door, her hand grabbing the corner of the wall, peering into the bedroom at the sweet sight. Toby flashed a truly happy smile at her then went back to rubbing her feet.

"Not too hard Daddy," she squeaked. "You have a strong cop grip." Toby was in heaven. She sat up on the bed throwing her small arms in the air and yawned. Her minuscule fists uncurled and sat them in her lap releasing a squeak of a yawn. Toby admired her re-curve shins and small feet. Gia pounced at Toby, wrapping her arms around his muscular shoulders.

"Now that's what I was waiting for, Gia." She giggled and stood on his knees. "If you go outside, you can see the Destiny Ascension. I saw it this morning." He could see her eyes sparkle with excitement. Gia put her arms out like a bird and stood on her toes.

"Fly me to the window Daddy!"

"Okay." He grabbed Gia from under her arms and launched her into the air. "This is Navigator Daddy; I need permission to fly the Starship Gia into port, over." Toby changed his tone of voice to match that of a salarian's. Gia laughed at her father's impression of the alien species.

"Permission granted." she said, a note of authority in her young voice.

Toby held her high and walked towards the door making juvenile engine sounds. Gia erupted with laughter and high pitched giggles as Toby launched her out of the bedroom, zipping through the hallway, and landing in front of the window. He crouched down on one knee setting his chin on her shoulder. Toby grabbed her arm and pointed towards the Destiny Ascension which was passing by their apartment not a kilometer away.

"Wow, look at how big it is!" Toby could feel her small arm muscles flex as she launched away from him clapping her helmet against the window with both hands pressed open.. "My teacher at school took a tour of the ship last year and she said it was amazing." Gia twirled around with her hands nervously intertwined, putting them on her head, playing with her orange hood.

"I'll tell you what; we'll go on a tour of it this weekend, just the three of us."

Gia hugged her daddy around the neck. Toby gently hugged her back, inhaling her fresh scent. He could feel her breathing against his chest; it was so delicate and sweet he didn't want to move.

"Thank you Daddy, so much."

"You're welcome, GiGi."

"Can I feed Nelson?" she asked, hopeful.

"I already fed him; you can feed him at dinner time this evening, okay?" Gia's bright eyes narrowed from a grin. "Now get ready for school. I bought some sweet nutrient paste for breakfast the other day for you. It's in the tan tubes." Gia ran into the kitchen and inserted the tube into the feeding terminal. Smiling, Toby stood up and locked eyes with Nashira who was holding Gia's backpack.

"Are her hugs really sweeter than mine?"

Toby snorted and grabbed the backpack from Nashira's strong grip.

"Maybe?"

She just shook her head and walked into the kitchen to help Gia out. Toby entered Gia's room and to her desk. He fingered around an Alliance model vessel that she was building, searching for her data pads for school. Finding them, he stuffed them into her orange backpack and walked back into the kitchen.

"Now be good at school, study hard, and don't start any fights." Gia pulled the orange straps over her thin shoulders. Unable to talk with a mouthful of sweet nutrient paste, she simply nodded and gave a slight, throaty giggle at the last request. Toby went to a knee, kissed her faceplate, then stood up and kissed Nashira's face plate.

"You don't know how dirty my face shield is Toby."

"I don't really care."

The tip of her finger went over his lips as she stepped out the door. Toby watched the two walk down the hallway, Gia's little backpack swaying as she energetically skipped while holding her mother's hand. Toby's grin disappeared as thoughts of the nightmare began to return. I am not going to lose them.

A turian paced back and forth in his depressing hotel room. The walls were stained yellow from all the filth over the years. Dark spots dotted the carpet in the room; stains of everything from spilled coffee to blood from a drug dealer. He didn't know, nor did he particularly care. Luxury or vacation wasn't the point of staying in this room; he had orders from the Council. That is all he did, follow orders of the Council. He is a Spectre, the best of the best when it comes to combat, intelligence, recon, and the unbreakable persistence to get the job done by any means possible. This job was like many ones he had before; an assassination of a dangerous human politician. But he felt something different about this one, it felt personal. The turian hated humans. With a spasm of rage, he punched the wall of the hotel room; just thinking about the sub race of aliens that were new to the galactic scene made him feel unclean. He glared at the hole his fist made in the disgusting stained drywall. Bits of material clung to his fist and he could smell the stale scent from the powder that was floating in the air. His anger released, his mind drifted back to his mission he had to complete today.

Taking long strides over to a coffee table in the small living den, his finger tapped a plate poised on the table. A holograph sprang to life, painting the apartment with its dull blue florescence. His two beady black eyes scanned the building where this human, Josh Stago, was supposed to be today.

"Josh Stago." The name left a bad taste in his mouth. He coughed and tapped the holographic terminal once more. His victim was situated in the building directly across from the Spectre's. His fingers twisted and the holograph zoomed in on the roof of the building. "Perfect place," the turian said aloud, his voice crackling in the dark room. The roof of the building was crowded with A/C units, pipes, and tubes. He went over the plan in his head once more. He has three guards with him at all times, but he is in his home base so his force will be stronger. His mind buzzed with calculations and estimations. I just need to take out the human and I will be done. He opened his eyes and looked at a data pad that was hanging up on the wall of his room. Closing his eyes, the turian's photographic memory had the words burned into his eyes and brain.

"Josh Stago. Human supremacist. Forty-six years old, married, three children." He paused at three children and laughed. "He is responsible for an elusive slaving company that captures alien politicians and police personnel and sells them. He is working his way up in politics and can be dangerous to Council space." He opened his eyes and looked at the data pad. "Evidence…none. It is just a hunch, but he needs to be eliminated." He snickered at that part, it was his favorite. The veteran Spectre looked at the rifle poised on the table. It was an experimental rifle engineered to stop vehicles, blast through engine blocks, and penetrate armor. He thought of the word "overkill", but merely sneered. I could run into a problem and need to shoot through I-beams or walls. Being prepared for anything and everything was a necessity in his line of work, especially with high risk operations like the one today. If he missed a shot or just wounded his target, he could single-handedly cause a war. The turian stood up off the filthy plastic chair and walked over to the holograph. His finger ran a line from the top of the building he would be situated in, all the way to Mr. Stago's building.

"One kilometer and 365 meters." He closed his eyes to triple check his math, going over equations in his head. "Time," he shouted. Orange letters came up on the holographic blueprint of the building layout projected on the coffee table. "Three hours and eighty-nine minutes before I need to be at the top of the Kioska Insurance building." The turian sat back down on the sticky plastic chair and closed his eyes to try and meditate before embarking on a truly personal mission. He slowed his heart beat down and took several deep breaths. "Sleep is for the weak." He smirked, thinking about how he hadn't slept in several days, or eaten in a week. "The mission comes first and nothing before it." Life on the Citadel hummed through cheap walls of the hotel room as the Spectre set his life as far away from reality as he could. The Spectre, known as Skave, zoned out, readying himself for the mission that lay ahead.