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Chapter 2Edit

Back in Square OneEdit

//Date: 2520
//Location: Location Classified

“Hey, Ryan… Ryan!!” Akira shouted, knocking his helmet a few times. Thunderous explosion was heard in the background, followed by continuous shooting. In his black matte body suit, Ryan forced himself to stand up from the sand.

Ryan vision returned to him slowly as the faceplate polarized the sun’s ray. He shake his head several times, feeling disoriented. In the background, Akira ran towards their overturned Mongoose and took out a her rifle.

He felt a sudden shock as he got up. He struggled as the intense pain flow within his chest. A deep cut, caused by shrapnel from the trip mine, into his chest nearly split him into half. Some “tactical and state of the art” body suit they gave to him.


A complete knock-out after that trip-mine exploded right beside the Mongoose would normally cripple a Marine. He was lucky for not being one of them. He took a couple of steps to adapt with the environment. Everything changed around him since the last 10 minutes. The disorientation slowly dissipates and Ryan looked, amazed of his situation.

Tens of soon-to-be supersoldiers ran across the sea of fire, dodging the mines at their best. The Drill Instructors acted as enemies utilizing the Hornets, raining down blank bullets at the candidates. Some screamed, some withstand the pain. Ryan looked at Akira. “So, are you ready for it?”

He nod, picked up his assault rifle from the sand and fixed his helmet. Several technical programs and text commands appeared on his display. Nothing fancy, it viewed the Health Condition, a simple motion tracker and several neat features.


“Here, stuff it in and let’s go…” she said, handing Ryan a biofoam. Akira flipped the Mongoose and turn on the engine. Spraying the foam around his wound, he holds the pain and focused at their surrounding. He awed at the mines around them, all tossed up in the air after detecting motion, exploding in front of the other Spartans' face.

Some were blown away from their course; none of them could be killed as the mines were set to only short explosion with no splash damage. Others like John and Kurt would have already passed the field, probably heading straight for the mountain range.


Live exercise! Chief Mendez always changes the rules in the middle of a test. He has the tendency of doing it; third exercise was the sudden flash-bangs in front of all 75 candidates, fifth was the use of sonic grenades and napalm grenades back in “Pillars of Loki” and now; anti-personnel mines covering the whole desert.


Ryan wondered if he had a choice to get out of the Program. It seemed nonsense for him to continue any further.

“We need to go now!” Akira insisted. She gave a push at his shoulder. Time is running out. From nowhere, a Hornet went over them. The two young Spartans covered their heads and slowly looked upon the vehicle. The onboard Drill Instructor slowly took out his rifle and sprayed a magazine of plastic ammunitions.

Ryan shouted as the bullets hit his body suit. Agonized by the amount of hits he took, he fired a couple of rounds and jump behind a rock. His body suit cracked open, protection is beyond his control now.


Akira took out her MA5B and returned fire at the Hornet. Though it seemed pointless, taking down a Drill Instructor was an achievement for the candidates.

~~~~

Adam was swift, quick at dodging the mines. Following behind him was Erin sprinting with Kelly. Their motion set the mines to detonate but they were too slow for the two young Spartans.

“Almost there!” Adam shouted as he looked behind him. Focusing on the objective of the exercise, his adrenaline increased and gave him a temporary speed boost. Just in front of them was the mountain range and Sam. Sam fired a couple of rounds at the Hornet which retreated after having a onboard Drill Instructor fall off, providing protection for a short while.


Erin and Kelly soon caught up with the group, laid their backs behind the wall and took a deep breath. A 3.2 kilometres wide desert was tiresome, yet conquered by the future Spartans.

~~~~

Deep in the mountain range, the group gathered and took several stops to refresh their energy.

“Where are Linda and the others?” Adam asked with his faceplate open. He took out a canister from his gear and drank. Sam replied, “They’ve already been briefed on their next mission. Kurt went on first and John led the second group towards the terrain.” Sam checked his gauntlet and fixed its position. “We will be briefed once we have two more members…”


Erin stood up from the ground and stretched her arms. “Anyone seen Ryan or Origa?” she asked.

“Ryan was knocked out at 2.8km with Akira. I believe Origa was taken out by a Drill Instructor at 3.1km. He was actually in front of you guys.” Sam answered. He laid his hand on her shoulder and gave a soft tap. “Don’t worry. I’m pretty sure he’ll…”

Their conversation was abruptly interrupted by ongoing gunfires, filling throughout the whole mountain range. The group quickly got up to their feet with their weapons out. “Best assessment?” Kelly asked as she puts on her helmet.


Everyone looked at Adam, awaiting for orders. “Welcome the target. We got the stealth advantage” Adam answered.

~~~~


Ryan jumped into the gap of the mountain and rolled back on his feet. He fired a couple of rounds at the Hornet, giving Akira a chance to sprint into the mountain terrain. The Hornet stopped at its track, protecting the Drill Instructors onboard.

Akira sprayed her last rounds at the Hornet, keeping it at bay as she ran towards Ryan. The mines behind her exploded furiously, casting the sands in the air and blinded the pilot and the Drill Instructor for a couple of seconds.


This was their chance to loose the enemy. The young Spartans ran into a gap between mountains and hid under the shadows, hoping that the Hornet would not be able to locate them and shoot at them again. They continued running further into the gap and hold out their weapons high.

After a while, they slowed down and stopped near a small cave. Akira sat on a rock and pulled her helmet. Refreshed by the cold air flowing through the mountain, she wiped off her face and drank from a canister. “Smart move, Mongoose as a decoy. Never thought of that…” Akira complimented to Ryan.

“Never knew that method would work.” Ryan replied as he sat down on the earth. He threw his helmet and gauntlets on the ground, relieving of the cold air around them. Both of their body suits were worn out from what they pulled off earlier. Ammunition for their rifles were gone, perhaps it for the best.


Ryan took out another biofoam from his gear and sprayed at his chest. The foam envelops around his wound and slowly made their way to cover it up. He holds his pain, punching the wall with his fist a couple of times. Akira took the liberty to fix his helmet and gauntlets but stopped. She turned her head at both paths and made a quick gesture to Ryan; Enemies are near, sound is fixed at our north.

Ryan nod and confirms. He slowly put his helmet and gauntlet on and hid in the cave. Shadow became his friend for the time being. Akira on the other hand, climbed the mountains and disappeared from his view. She knows what she’s doing, he thought.

~~~~

Adam and the others ran with their weapons out. They stopped, sensing something wrong about their current position. “This is where the gunfire was last shot based on my analysis. Keep you eyes peeled…” Adam said over the COM channel. All of the candidates nod and spread apart. Sam and Erin protected the rear while Adam and Kelly ventured the area.


Suddenly, a gunshot was released at the north and caught their attention. The group gathered together and focused their weapons at the direction of the sound. This was his chance; Ryan got out from the shadows of the cave and grabbed Kelly by the arms.

Sam, Erin and Adam startled and moved away from her, trying to aim their weapon at Ryan. They were not able to recognise him due to his appearance. Kelly resisted, pulling off his arm-lock technique and quickly pulled his arms, throwing him towards the wall.

Adam motion sensor picked up another movement and quickly adjust his aim at the ledge. Akira appeared from the top and was in a firing stance. She almost pulled the trigger but stopped when she saw the group wearing similar uniforms. She lowered her weapon down and hold out her index finger and middle finger; a sign of Peace.

Breaking the scene, Ryan shouted, “Ah damnit. My back!” He clutched his back and tried to lay down. “You shouldn’t have sprung up to me like that.” Kelly apologised. As always, she was the close combat expert and almost no one was able to put her down. Kelly quickly assessed his injury and performed a quick treatment.

“Almost had you all killed down there,” Akira stated as she climbed down from the mountain ledge. She hugged Adam and Erin, relieved that they were not alone. “What took you guys so long?” Erin asked as they hugged.

“Ryan devised a good decoy technique back in the dessert and managed to give me a quick run to the mountains.” Akira answered. She turned to Ryan and gave a pat at his back. Ryan shouted again, “My back!”

“Suck it up, Ryan. Kelly didn’t kick your ass that hard.” Adam laughed as he pulled off his helmet. The others laughed as well and gathered around Ryan.


Kelly hold out her hand and pulled Ryan up. He stood and fixed his back after a short exercise. Kelly gave a hard pat at the back and a thumb up. Ryan held back the pain and gave a weak smile.

He looked at Sam and asked “So, what do we need to do now?”


Chapters Prologue - Intermission 1 - Chapter 1 - Intermission 2 - Chapter 2


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