• “They’ve been going at it for a week. It’s down to blue team and green team.” Dr. Rube said softly to her assistant who had just got back from his night shift break. He slept a good 3 hours as the doctor took over watching us new Spartans participate in a stake out. We were in a large room about three acres by 12 acres and my team had just taken a large hill.
    “Blue one, to blue two; I have a visual.” I said quietly into my head set. It was dubbed dark hours in the large room and the lights were all out. I looked through my scope at an approaching enemy member. I identified him and he was my twin. He was wearing the same sleek black night suit as me.
    “Blue two, to team leader. I have a visual on the second one. Should I take the shot?” my last member chimed in. There were five of us in the beginning of this exercise. There are now two of us on both teams.
    “Take it.” After my initial order a shot rang out and a buzzer rang in the air. I fired before I lost my chance and stood watching my brother’s buzzer on his chest flair red showing that he was out. The lights came on so fast that my eyes had to adjust. A voice startled me, seeing as I didn’t sleep for 3 days, as it rang through the room.
    “Okay guys, you can now exit the room, and get ready for debriefing.” The Doctor’s voice said over the intercom. A large door groaned, and started to open in the west side of the large room. Everyone looked towards it. I took my sniper rifle put the strap on and slung it around my shoulder, holding on to the barrel of it. I was the shortest Spartan at a whooping height of five feet four inches. The doctors didn’t understand why I was so short, they had injected me with the same stuff as everyone else, only it didn’t work on me. My brother on the other hand was six feet eight inches. Almost a whole foot smaller than the rest of the Spartans. After seeing the affect of the enhancers on my brother and I the doctor said it was because we were twins. I didn’t grow much from the enhancers in height wise but in body structure I was built and fit. As were my fellow Spartans. We could out run almost any animal, giving the fact that our stamina is very exceptional, on earth. If we were there.
    We had been living on a planet or something of that sort with the Elites, our entire lives. The way the Elites look doesn’t bother us anymore, the smell not so much either. It took a while for a bunch of rowdy almost 20 year olds to get used to not being able to stretch on a ship for once, in our lives. My brother and I are a full year younger than everyone else. But that doesn’t mean that we aren’t as mature. If anything at times we are the most mature, at the age of 17.
    As I neared the door I looked and saw three other Spartans walking out of the side of a tree line. One was my brother (Zach),Cal, and Lidia. My neural interface read them as Z25, C03, and L29. The letters stood for the beginning initial of their name and the number is the date they were born. Mine is V18. My name is Victoria. We all approached the door at the same time. All of us carrying different weapons. Lidia who was on my team, blue team, had a battle rifle with a scope on it. Zach had one as well but also had a shot gun and an assault rife holstered on his back. Cal had a hand gun holstered on his leg and an assault rifle in his hands.
    The second we were on the other side of the door, we threw our weapons on the ground and began trying to peel the skin tight off black night suites we had off. We all had under garments on underneath but sometimes that didn’t account for anything when it came to males or females. Specifically lower half of a guy watching a girl rip herself out of a skin tight black suit and the top part of a girl for being so cold in the room. Face it the bra’s had no padding. When I was ripping myself out of the suite I turned with my back towards everyone else. As I did so, our Spartan group leader ran down the platform towards us.
    “Great job guys. Nice team work to all of you. Oh and V, don’t expect any mercy tonight at training considering the fact that you let me take the fall on a stupid game like this.” Mike said. Mike for some reason was petty officer. So we had to salute him or stand at attention if he was near. I swear the power all got to his head.
    I looked up at him, he was hovering over me, and it wasn’t intimidating at all. “I’ll see what I can do about the no mercy thing. But taking the fall was your own fault. I was team leader in this exercise and I told you not to reveal your position. But who’s the big lug who thinks he’s all ******** that. You got out because you were damn a** careless. Face it.” I said with a sneer on my face. M23 was furious.
    “The captain will be hearing about this.” He had that look on his face. That scared look like he was about to lose his position. He walked away quickly muttering to himself.
    “Hey, V, you ready?” C asked, as everyone else was starting to walk up the ramp. Z knew I was fine he just wanted to get to debriefing so he could get to the exercise and spar with M for what he said just now.
    “yeah.” I grabbed the remains of the black suit and started up the ramp with C. it’s hard for a 17 year old girl not to look at C. he had the best body, so to speak out of every Spartan. I had feelings for him. But those where forbidden on the ship. Almost our lives. So I cased the feeling away for now till it was time to sleep, and had walking into the buzzing barracks as every other soldier marveled at our presence.
    “Look at that. There finally done.” One of them said.
    Private Sanders ran up to me and started asking questions. She was a greenhorn. And under my jurisdiction.
    “Hey there ma’am. How was everything? Everyone’s been worried that maybe you guys weren’t going to come back.” Sanders was taller than me by one inch. I looked at her and smiled.
    “It was nothing to worry about like I said, you would have your commanding officer back in a few days. It was just a routine exercise. Nothing to worry about.” I said reassuring. All of us Spartans had a certain group to take care of, mentor and train on the ship. I got all the greenhorns. I prepared them of every scenario under the galactic sun and then some. I would get a new group every year seeing as when this batch was done with me then moved to Lidia who was a survival expert. And then the Cal, Mike, Dusty, Jon, Matilda, and last Zach.
    “Go let the rest of the team know I’m back and to get ready for debriefing. We leave in about three minutes.” Sanders stood at attention, and saluted. An excited “Yes Ma’am” rang from her mouth as she turned and ran to the other group.
    I smiled, knowing that only half of my group would return if we ever had gotten into any of the situations I told them about. I didn’t think about that now. It was time for debriefing.
    I pulled a medium sized box out from under my bed and took my fatigues out of it. I put them on quickly and found my boots from under my bed as well and laced them up after putting on a pair of nice clean socks.
    “Sergeant on deck!” C barked as we all stood at attention. Sergeant Haze smiled and then laughed lightly.
    “At ease everyone.” We all stood in our positions with our hands tucked comfortably behind our backs and our feet at shoulder width apart. “Well today is a great day everyone. Do you want to know why?” the sergeant said with high spirits. He looked around the room and pointed at a greeny in my group.
    “You, Private Osmond. Do you know why it is such a great day?” he asked almost jokingly. “You won’t get in trouble from your answer. There is no wrong answer.”
    “Sir, our commanding officers are back sir!” Osmond said with a brisk tone.
    “Yes! That is one of the reasons I am so darn happy! Your commanding officers are back! And this leads me up to the second reason why I am so darn happy!” the Sergeant said happily. “Everyone take a seat.” With his word we all sat on our bunks and listened closely. I didn’t even know what was going on.
    “Spartans this is your debriefing. Sorry about the lack of a formal setting but I wanted it to be this way.” Sergeant Haze said quietly. “We’re making port soldiers! Get dressed in your Sunday best because we’ll be docking in about 25 minutes.” Sergeant Haze said over a loud rawer of people. And walked out of the room.
    My team ran up to me. “DID YOU HEAR THAT CAP’IN’!?! WE’RE MAKING PORT! I GET TO SEE MY WIFE AND KIDS!” Private Sykes said cheerfully. My team was so cheerful and ready to leave that I had to make them sit to handle all of the excitement.
    After everyone had finally left the barracks, us Spartans that survived the exercise laid down to rest. It was going to be a busy day considering the fact that we are making port and will have actual free time. Our ship docks at a place called Infinity. It’s a joint colony of Earth and the Elites. It’s a very nice place. It’s mine and Z’s home planet. But that is all we know about it.
    Lidia had turned off the lights and shut the large door after taping a sign to it that read “Beware Sleeping Spartans” on it. We all laughed at the little joke and slowly dozed off to sleep. I couldn’t wait till we had made port. I would get a new outfit and some new recreation shoes. Maybe a nice ‘party’ outfit. Or something like that.
    After that thought I was asleep and hopefully dreaming about C.
    Before I knew it 25 minutes was up. Matilda had started waking us all up. She came to me first.
    “Hey, V. get up and get out of these damn a** fatigues. We just made port and the Captain wants us on deck pronto.” When I heard her walk to someone else I sat up and opened my eyes. The light was on and Z and C were talking. They were both dressed very casual. Very very casual. I took note of what they had on as I was getting dressed.
    I put on some of my clothes that were designated recreation or personal clothing. A light blue tight tank top, a pair of cargo pants that matched my boots, and I decided to bring along some money and a light jacket, even though it was summer on Infinity.
    As all the Spartans walked to the brig there was chatter and laughter and excitement everywhere. Now for some teenagers this was hard for us to handle ourselves. We didn’t know what to do. But when we make it on deck next to the Captain we started laughing hysterically.
    Captain Waterston was dressed in a Hawaiian button down shirt and a pair of kaki knee length shorts. He had his Captain hat on and a pair of the UNSC issueed aviator sunglasses. He looked hysterical.
    “How do I look gang? I’m going to see my wife. And I expect all of you to be on your best behavior. Oh and Mike you can’t leave the base because of that threat you made to Vick. I didn’t like the fact that because you took a hit you had to be a hard loser. So your out of base pass if revoked. The rest of you. May leave now and do as you please as long as you return to the ship if you don’t have a place to stay tonight. Go have fun.” With that we all ran a** towards the door. And we all split into groups me and Cal, Z and Lidia. Matilda and Dusty, and Jon with them. Mike stayed behind to piss and moan.
    Once we were all outside we started looking for people we knew from the ship and their families. We couldn’t find any yet but we knew that at the docking festival later tonight we would find someone’s house to stay at. We Spartans like to stick together. Even though we had our neural interface still it made it less stressful on us if we were to be separated and trying to plan out an attack.
    Cal grabbed my hand as a large group of people surrounded us and started taking our pictures. He started laughing and moving through the crowd as reporters started asking questions. Once he had a foot in the clear he took off running with my hand in his. This was all weird to me but somewhat natural. I began laughing also.
    We stopped in an old style Chinese restaurant. Of course the first thing this guy thinks about is food after sleeping for 25 minutes. A nice small little woman of Chinese descent came to our table to take our orders. She could tell that we were from the Navy because we had the somewhat pale skin tone and we looked abnormally large to be regular soldiers. People were nice to us Spartans. But not to our predecessors. People thought that they were freaks. Now we are looked at as heroes because we took about an old Covenant Holy City.

    “Hello, there! Just got off the ship I see. It’s so nice to have all of you here. I feel so safe now. What can I get you?” she asked cheerfully.
    I knew that whatever we ordered would come in ‘Spartan size’ which meant it was almost three times bigger than the large.
    “I’ll have the General Tao’s chicken and some fried rice, with some tea please.” I said not even looking at the menu.
    “Ah, very good choice. Fresh coconut shred’s on your serving for you!” the little woman said and then turned towards Cal. “What can I get you sir?”
    “I’ll have sesame chicken with fried rice, egg rolls, crab Rangoon, and some tea also please.” Cal said putting on his best smile. I laughed as the old woman walked away muttering to herself about how cute she thought Cal was and how lucky of a girl I was to have him. What a silly woman. If she only knew that we were 17 and 18 and weren’t together she would be all over him.
    “Hungry much?” I said soaking in the festival feeling.
    “Nah. I just want to have a little something for later incase if feel a little hungry.” Cal laughed.
    “Sure. Right. You know that old lady has a crush on you. And every time you come here after we dock she goes crazy.” I said laughing at him.
    “Yeah she’s not as crazy about you as I am.” He said looking away under his breath.
    I could feel my face turning red, so I looked away. These kinds of feelings weren’t allowed on the ship. But I guess that Cal took notice that we weren’t on the ship.