40px-Terminal.png This article, Halo:Bravo, and Encore/Onyx, was written by CarpeJugulum. Please do not edit this fiction without the writer's permission.

September 29, 2552 (Earth Standard Time), Planet Onyx, Camp Currahee: Gamma Company Training Exercise

Bullets exploded around Logan-G081 as he ran for cover. Despite his SPI armor's active camouflage being perfectly intact, the trainers still had some idea of where he was. Typical of the Chief's exercises- there was always a twist. Judging by the hit-and-miss marksmanship of the trainers, Logan guessed they had some kind of motion detectors, perhaps buried in the field he was now running across. Of course, they just needed to be lucky once- the red paint being sprayed by their training rounds would quickly eliminate the effectiveness of his camo.

Reaching a low hummock, Logan vaulted over and hit the dirt as swathes of red paint dyed the ground all around. It looked eerily reminiscent of a real battlefield. Stopping to catch his breath, he unslung the BR55 strapped across his back. Like the trainer's weapons, his rifle was loaded with Tactical Training Rounds, a derivative of paintballs that would explode within ten meters of a surface. However, if the trainers were well dug-in, the Spartans would have to move in close to eliminate them- a thought Logan didn't relish. He preferred to hang back with a sniper rifle, but he'd been issued the battle rifle for this exercise. Make the most of it, he thought, and sighted in on the trainer's dig.

"Two-three-seven, this is Eight-one. Move in and see if we have an opening on the tangos. Watch out for trip mines. Copy?" he whispered into his helmet's COM set.

"This is Two-three-seven, I copy. Moving up now, over," replied Elijah-G237. Elijah was Bravo's scout, able to slp in and out of the most heavily-guarded locations. Bravo would need any intel they could get before assaulting the dig.

Along with two other teams, Bravo was conducting a simulated reconnaissance-in-force exercise against a force of trainers, selected from both UNSC special forces and the wash-out trainers. Logan and Bravo had been selected to scout the area on the eastern edge of the sim-zone, and had almost immediately come under fire by the trainers.

"Eight-one, this is Two-three-seven," came Elijah's voice over the COM. "The trainers appear to have a field of fire covering our approach, but if One-three-two and I can slip around their right flank, you and Three-nine should be able to distract them long enough for us to score on them at close-range. Over."

"Copy, Two-three-seven. What do you guys think?" Logan asked. With Elijah's stealth and Viggo-132's close-quarters mastery, the plan sounded good.

"This is Three-nine. I say we go for it."

"One-three-two says go as well."

"Alright, Two-three-seven, One-three-two, move up. On your signal, we open up. I'll lob a 'nade in, so wait for that before moving. Copy?" Logan said.

"Two-three-seven, copy."

"One-three-two, copy."

"Three-nine, copy."

"Move up. Three-nine, get ready to support."

"Copy, Eight-one," replied Billy-039. Billy carried a light machine gun that would spray the trainers with a ten-bullet-per-second fusillade. Logan waited for Elijah's signal. The minutes seemed to stretch into hours as Elijah and Viggo slowly crawled forwards to avoid detection by the motion sensors. Every now and again the trainers would fire off a few potshots, but no one reported a hit.

"Eight-one, we are in," Viggo said suddenly, startling Logan. "Ready to move on your mark."

"Alright. Three-nine, fire at will."

Billy rose into a half-crouch and opened fire on the dig. Logan quickly stood and lobbed a training grenade at the trainers. It exploded and Logan shouted," Clear! Go go go!"

Viggo and Elijah rushed the trainers. Within ten seconds the three had been tagged with red paint from head to toe. Logan radioed the eliminations in. "This is Bravo lead to Echo and Obsidian. Sector cleared, advance guards neutralized. Over."

"Copy Bravo, this is Obsidian. We have also cleared the advance posts."

"Echo here, just give us a minute. Suggest you two move to waypoint Omicron and wait for rendezvous. Don't worry, we'll not be long. Echo out."

Logan looked at his team. Viggo made a quick sign on his helmet with his thumb and forefinger- the traditional Spartan smile. Logan grinned. The were Spartans. Who thought they could stop them?

Suddenly the radio was filled with the familiar voice of the Chief. "Trainees, this is Chief Mendez. I'm calling off the exercise now. Everyone, back to base and pack up. We're deploying tomorrow."

Viggo looked at Logan quizzically. Logan shrugged and said, "Gamma-oh-eight-one speaking, Chief. Where are we being deployed to?"

"Oh-eight-one, is it?" asked another voice.

Logan and the rest of Bravo instinctively stood to attention. "Lieutenant Commander, sir!" Logan said, surprised. What was the camp's CO doing on the company frequency?

"You're being deployed to Tribute, son," said the Lieutenant. "High Command feel that we are holding back a most valuable resource." He sounded tired, and even a little angry.

Logan's brow creased. "Sir?"

"Never mind, Squad Leader. Just report back to base." There was a click as the Lieutenant signed off the COM.

In his office, Kurt-051 stood and looked out the window. In the courtyard below, Spartan-IIIs cleaned weapons, sparred, and talked. Kurt had been watching over them for the past... was it really six years now? My god, how the time goes, he thought, and chuckled. He felt like a father to them. And now... he was sending them out.

Kurt had seen the war first-hand. Sure, these trainees had seen death before, with training accidents and augmentations gone wrong, but this war would either break them... or show them to be what he hoped they were.


"Here's to you," he said, and lifted a glass to his lips.