“Get up Cadet.” the Drill Sergeant screamed. “If you don’t get up I will make you and your squad do laps until you pass out, do you understand me Cadet?”
“Yes Sir.” 1161625 replied. His entire body ached as the weight of all the gear and the lack of water from the day long forced march had caused him to collapse meters from the finish line. He was the first of his squad to make it, he knew that 1161630 was only a quarter hour behind him. He silently pushed himself into a crawl and began to move forward.
“STAND UP!” the DS smacked 625 with a stun baton. The electricity coursed through his body, causing him to spasm for a few seconds before he lay still and breathless.
“Yes Sir.” 625 began to push himself up again, the fire in his muscles screaming at him to stop.
“I’m going to count Cadet, and then I’m going to fail you. Understand? If you don’t get to your feet in the next five seconds you are done.”
“Yes sir.” 625 got to his knees, and managed to stand just as the DS got to four. Failure was not an option. Failure meant death.
“Don’t just frakkin stand there, move Cadet.” the DS smacked the stun baton into 625’s lower back without the electrical field.
“Yes sir.” the soldier said as he struggled through the last few meters in the baking heat.
Wiping the blood from under his nose, Ghost started moving through the high gravity as he stood up, gritting his teeth.
“Expect nothing to be true. Plan for any variable.” the mantra of his Tactica Teacher rang bitterly through his mind. Slowly he trudged onwards towards the next area of the route as the hull plating tried to drag him down. He was thankful for the lack of his gear, and would have to try this run again with it. The beads of sweat dripped down his forehead and into his eyes.
The rain hammered down hard on the exercise enclosure. Lord Director Craven stood behind the two way mirror looking down at the freshly minted 17 year old cadets gearing up in their pens. The two squads were only separated by a partition and could hear each other as the weapons they pulled off the rack were loaded. Live ammunition.
“And their performance so far?” he said as he took the coffee from an aide.
Faraj turned from a console and walked over to stand beside Craven. “1161625 and 1161630 have both excelled in their respective squads and have assumed command. 625 and his squad are from the original paired eugenics program. 630 and his squad have been genetically altered from their conception. 625 is actually from your donation.”
“Excellent. Run the exercise.”
Ghost was now in a densely piped area. His legs and body groaned from the injuries of the previous mission. This area required some care and acrobatics as Ghost vaulted and ducked his way through the maze of machineworks. Steam vents hissed boiling and angry clouds into his path, providing more obstacles for the scout as he bore down on the next sector, rounding a corridor into a low gravity zone.
Gunshots peppered the cover by 625’s squad. They were pinned down, he had lead a flanking fire-team to deal with the onslaught. He peered round the corner, spotting the pair from the enemy squad that were shooting to kill. 631, 633. He knew that 630 was around somewhere.
“Pattern 3. Execute.”
The two men with him nodded and rounded the corner, raising their rifles and shooting into the emplaced team with deadly precision. Two bangs and two whumps indicated their success. 625 covered the pair from his observation point.
“6, 7 and 8. Move up.”
“Team 2, respond.”
“9, 10. Return.” he said as he peeked out from behind his cover. The two men were gone.
He sensed the pressure shift behind him, heard the ring of steel in air, he turned blocking low with his rifle as the k-bar slammed through its chassis. 630 had found him.
“625.” he smirked as he twisted the knife, wrenching the rifle from 625’s hands.
“630.” 625 hopped away, building distance and bringing his arms up, palms facing inwards, presenting the least vulnerable parts. His opponent lunged forward, grinning like a madman. He held back no quarter considering the two men had trained together as long as they could remember. The difference was that whilst 625 felt nothing, 630 enjoyed what he had been put through. He would kill 625 just for the pleasure of doing it, and for the top spot in the scholae.
625 zipped around the wicked thrusts, before he caught 630’s arm, breaking it viciously over his knee. The knife flew from the man’s hand, but he didn’t even blink. Swinging a vicious kick that caught 625 in the head. As he fell, 625 sweeped out, tripping 630. The two men clashed in a scene of abhorrent violence, fists and steel boots knocking lumps from each other in a desperate attempt to gain the advantage. The rain hammered down on them for what felt like an eternity of battle. As the drill sergeants entered the exercise zone and tackled the pair from each other, they kept swinging. 630 screamed with rage as he was dragged to the starting pen for his squad. 625 limped wordlessly alongside his guards back to his pen.
Behind the mirror, Craven smiled. “Progress them both to the next stage. Initiate the Mark 2 program using Eugenics as a base.”
“Yes, Lord Director.” Faraj nodded and turned back to his Cogitator units.
Craven looked down on the pen where 625 sat. “Let’s start giving them callsigns. The numbers are a bit lacking. Starting with these two.”
“Sir.” Faraj agreed. “What do you suggest?”
“Avatar for that one, all that emotion, a symbol of what they will all give up. He’s too effective a killer to dispose of. Put him into the alternate program.” he pointed to 630, who was pacing the length of the divider between him and 625. “Name that one Ghost. The last reminder of the Mark 1 project, haunting NovaCorp’s military forces with his existence. A fitting moniker for the operator.”
“Very poetic my Lord Director. I will update the files.
Low gravity agreed with him. Ghost hopped long gaits through the corridor, allowing his strained muscles to relax. As he floated along, he allowed his body to tumble and twist freely, playing in the extra height he gained from each step. The freedom of movement allowing him to check just how his healing was coming along. It would be a few weeks, but he knew that he would get full movement ranges back in his shoulder and knees. He nodded as he landed, through the last door, picking up the towel that hung there. He wiped the sweat from his brow and neck as he headed up the steps to the upper levels. The run had made him feel better.
((Maybe more to follow in different veins!))
Character: Ghost NC1161625
"Strive to challenge yourself. Challenge your mind, your faith and your drive. Only then can you achieve what I am born to achieve."
- Tryskellan Dynasty Scout
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