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The Last Ranger: Ch.5: LX77-C
Posted By: QuantumSheep<jasnash@optusnet.com.au>
Date: 8 August 2008, 7:37 am

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Sol Relative Time: October 15th, 2550

The barren wasteland of a planet was known as LX77-C. No proper name, simply its designation in Covenant star-charts since it was never supposed that anyone would actually want to go to a planet like this. The Sangheili in charge of the Rangers had selected it as the training ground due to its climate and the way it was isolated from the rest of Covenant space.

For the past few weeks, Jeras and the other recruits had run up and down the hill outside the military base every day in the morning. They had done exercise drills during the day, spent time on the firing range and gone to close combat classes. They had gone to tactical studies classes on every other day, although these seemed to be the least interesting.

Out of the forty something recruits that Jeras had counted on the shuttle they had arrived on LX77-C in, only about twenty-five were left. All the other recruits had dropped out, unable to keep up with the training program. Jeras himself was afraid he would suffer the same fate, struggling to get through it now.

Major Shasa seemed to talk the most to him, Kenas, Relina and Sesha than he did with all the other recruits. Maybe he saw something in the four of them, Jeras wasn't sure but he had a feeling he would find out in given time.

Over the past few weeks Jeras had noticed a few things about he and what had become his three best friends in the military base. Jeras himself fared well in most aspects, such as fitness, firing a weapon, close quarters fighting and so forth so he knew he was the all-rounder that Shasa kept saying he was.

Kenas was obviously becoming the marksman expert of the four of them though. Every time Jeras watched him at the firing range he never seemed to miss, even though Kenas had never fired a weapon before. On their first few days Kenas had been a bit shaky with a weapon but now it seemed he had a natural talent that was impressing Shasa.

Relina was another all rounder, although she seemed to be the best at the close quarters combat training sessions they attended. Shasa was impressed by her talent in that area as well.

Sesha had proven himself not to be a marksman but more of a sharpshooter with a Covenant Carbine, more specifically the modified Carbine he tended to use the most. Sesha was the most proficient at engineering on the military base and had an obvious role as a Field Engineer.

As well as this, Jeras had gotten to know Sesha and Relina better. Sesha seemed a quiet type, always following orders, never mentioning the prospect of disobeying them for whatever reason. Relina behaved much like Kenas and to Jeras it seemed the pair were getting along really well…

As well as that, Relina seemed to be the only female on the base which meant she got a lot of attention from other males on the base. Usually when another recruit tried to get close to her she would just grab part of them, usually their arms and twist it so it was on the point of breaking. She didn't take too kindly to males attempting to feel her up or comment on her appearance in a sexual manner.

The barracks they stayed in housed twelve, with six bunks, a bathroom and store room where cleaning equipment and other pointless items were kept. The barracks interior was a blue-grey with the beds matching that colour scheme. A few tables and chairs were at the front of the barracks and since it was just after lunch, they all knew they had an hour or two of doing nothing. Jeras was sitting at one of the tables, Kenas sitting on the table itself while Sesha sat in the seat on Jeras' left, modified Carbine on his lap, about to fall asleep where he sat.

Jeras hadn't been able to contact Ariana since at the military base the technicians were having trouble setting up the appropriate communications equipment, there was too much interference thanks to the rings around the nearby gas giant. There was some sort of mineral in those planetary rings that played with any long range communications equipment. If it were possible, Jeras would be keeping in contact with her nearly every day but he knew that even if the equipment was working a daily communications link would be impossible. It was strange, he thought, he didn't realize he would miss her that much.

It had been only recently they had received their suits of armour. It was standard issue stuff, only just slightly different to what the regular infantry received. They wouldn't actually receive their vacuum suits and jetpacks for a few months and the armour they had now would be what they wore on ground operations. No personal shields yet, they wouldn't get those until they were out in the field. They were still raw recruits and so any of the special items they were due to get wouldn't be given to them until much later.

"It looks like someone had a rough night," Kenas said, nodding towards the sleeping Sesha. Jeras glanced at the young engineer, his head drooped to one side, a thin trail of saliva starting down from the tip of one mandible.

Jeras shifted in his seat, adjusting the armour plating on his left leg. It had been giving him trouble ever since he had put it on this morning and he was guessing he had been incorrectly fitted for the leg pieces. He would have to tell Shasa about it, he doubted he could put up with this kind of annoyance for long.

"You can't really blame him," Jeras said, "I'm not sure what he was doing, but I think he was studying for our classes. He doesn't want to get kicked out of the Rangers for failing a test, I suppose…"

"Neither do I, but I don't stay up late and study," Kenas said, "I do it in my spare time."

Jeras rolled his eyes.

"You don't even study," he said.

Kenas just shrugged. He began tapping his fingers on the table in his usual manner in an effort to create some sort of rhythm. Jeras couldn't tell if it was working or not.

"Tell me Kenas," Jeras said, keeping a neutral expression, "where did you learn to shoot?"

Kenas clicked his left mandibles, unsure of what to say.

"Shoot? What do you mean?"

"You know what I mean," Jeras replied, "you have an uncanny ability with a rifle to hit your target all the time. How did you learn to do that?"

"I guess I haven't told you," Kenas said, shifting where he sat, "my father…he taught me how to fire a weapon. He was the most expert marksman in his unit during his time in the military…"

"You never told me that," Jeras said, surprised. Kenas had never actually mentioned this sort of thing before, he didn't really talk about his parents a lot.

"I didn't?"

"No, you didn't."

There was a silence in the barracks considering they were the only three in them at the time. They were until the front door slid open, Relina stepping inside, dressed in her gleaming blue armour marked with the insignia of a field medic.

Sesha seemed to stir where he sat but didn't wake up. Kenas turned to look at Relina as she entered. She sat down next to him, a smile on her face.

"There's something Jeras isn't telling us," she said simply. Jeras gave her a bewildered expression and Sesha opened his eyes, yawning quietly, as if he had actually heard Relina speak in his sleep.

"Did I miss anything?" He asked, looking around at the three of them.

"There's somebody outside who says she knows Jeras, that's all," Relina said, gazing towards him, "she's a medic, just like me. She's also the same age as you, Jeras. I think there's something you're not telling us…"

"Well, I'm interested to hear this," Sesha said, sitting up in his seat and placing the Carbine on the floor beside him. Jeras saw that the three of them were all looking straight at him, expecting him to explain himself. He wasn't actually sure what he was meant to be explaining.

"She's female?" Jeras asked.

"Who is?"

"The one that says she knows me," Jeras replied. Relina nodded. He racked his brain for some sort of memory to help him figure out who this female was.

"She says she knows me, does she?" Jeras asked. Relina nodded again.

"How does she know me?"

Relina paused for a moment, thinking her answer through. She smiled and shrugged.

"I didn't talk to her for long," Relina said, "she just arrived here. She was unable to get the shuttle here when we arrived so caught a freighter instead. She didn't actually know you were here until she took a look at the base's manifest which has all our names on it. She really wants to meet you…"

Jeras felt his heart rate speed up a little when he began to realize who it might be.

"Did you tell her where I was?" Jeras asked.

"Of course I did," Relina said. Jeras shook his head, he had a feeling that it might be someone he had thought he would never see again. Looks like he was wrong…

She stepped in seconds later, dressed in some standard blue robes. As soon as she walked in, her eyes went to Jeras and she frowned. Jeras realized now who she was and also realized that things would get a little more complicated now.

"Sirilas, how's it going?" Jeras asked, managing a weak smile. The female placed her single bag on the table near her and stood silent for a moment.

"You certainly know how to pick them Jeras," Kenas said, "she's quite the looker…"

Relina nudged him in the side playfully and the two of them laughed.

Sirilas stepped closer to Jeras so she was looking down at him from where she stood. He wasn't ready for the punch he received to the side of his face, surprisingly hard. It had enough force, both in strength and surprise, to knock him and his seat over.

"That's for never keeping in touch," Sirilas said before kicking him in the stomach. Jeras grunted, his right mandibles hurting and a nauseous feeling coursing through his stomach.

"That's for getting me drunk," she said, and she kicked him again, this time in the ribs.

"That's for choosing to be in the same unit here as me."
Jeras rolled onto his back and looked up at her. She seemed to be finished hurting him but he preferred to play it safe.

"Hang on a minute," he said, feeling sick from the kick he received to the stomach, "I got you drunk?"

Sesha, Kenas and Relina were watching him and Sirilas with a
strange fascination. The three of them must have found it funny since they were laughing, not loudly but quietly, not that Jeras didn't notice.

"You offered me that cheap liquor you have such a liking for," Sirilas said, "or don't you remember?"

"Not really…"

Jeras sat up, expecting another kick or at the very least a punch but Sirilas didn't strike him again, thankfully.

"I offered you a drink, I didn't force you to drink with me," Jeras said.

"I'm lost," Kenas said from where he was sitting, "could one of you explain what this is all about?"
Sirilas turned to him, an angry expression on her face.

"He got me drunk and that same night we…we were only eighteen, the both of us…"

"You what?"

Jeras rose onto his hooves, having a feeling that another embarrassing conversation was going to occur.

"Look, my mother wasn't home. She was out with yours and all the other female friends they have," Jeras said, "you chose to stay at home with me…"

"I get it now," Kenas interrupted, "Jeras' mother and your mother (he pointed at Sirilas) knew each other…You were both eighteen..."

"Stay out of this, Kenas," Jeras said, irritated at Kenas once again. He could see Kenas, Relina and Sesha were having a good laugh about it all.

"Since we were home by ourselves it didn't give you an excuse to take advantage of me…" Sirilas said.

"I didn't take advantage of you," Jeras said, "I can't even remember what happened exactly."

"I do, all too well," Sirilas replied, "do you want to hear the story? From the beginning?"

Jeras wasn't too sure whether he wanted to or not, but Kenas butted in before he could reply.

"Yes, please continue," he said.

Sirilas grinned and then started telling the story Jeras wasn't too keen on hearing.

"Your mother and mine were friends," she said, "my mother brought me along to your mother's home. You were a slacker then and so I wasn't at all interested in you. However, my mother had been pestering me about finding a male and so when she sees you she tries to get you and me together…"

"I think I remember…"

"Our mothers left us alone at the house. I could have easily left seeing that you were already into your stash of Sangheilian whiskey but you offered me a drink, you know, just trying to be kind…"

"You didn't need to accept my offer," Jeras said.
Sirilas just shook her head. "I felt sorry for you. Your father had been caught with another female and so you were without a father figure, so I attributed that to the fact you were into alcohol. What followed was another drink and another until we were both too drunk to really care about anything…"

There was a pause before she continued.

"Damn it Jeras! We did it on your mother's bed! Your mother's bed! And that was my first time!"

"Mine as well," Jeras replied, smiling nervously.

"We both felt sick the next morning but as soon as I was out of the house we never saw each other again. Until now…"

"My mother said you and your parents had moved off-world," Jeras said, "I didn't know what to do…"

"You could have kept in touch!" Sirilas exclaimed, "instead I never hear from you after that. And you know what's even more frustrating?"


"The fact I can't find another male as a mate," Sirilas said, "all the ones I've met have either been worse than you or just eager to get into bed with me."

Jeras could remember what had happened now, all too well. He didn't particularly look forward to telling Sirilas about him and Ariana, she was obviously still angry at him.

"That was the first and only time so far," Sirilas said, "I thought that maybe by using my medical expertise to help others I might find the right male. Instead I run into you again. Tell me, is that Relina girl one of yours as well?"
Relina gave a look of surprise.


"She isn't," Jeras said.

"So, you haven't got a female in your life…?" Sirilas asked.

"Actually, I do," Jeras answered. He saw Sirilas return to her frustrated expression again. "It's going really well between her and me. Do you have anything else to add?"
There was a pause before Sirilas stepped forward. She put a hand around Jeras' head and brought him towards her, putting her mandibles with his. Jeras was taken aback by this so he quickly broke from the kiss and looked straight at her.

"I'm sorry Jeras!" Sirilas exclaimed, "I forgive you! But please, tell me, do you still love me? Do you?"

Jeras didn't want to say anything, but if he didn't he had a feeling things would get worse. If he did say something that would also make things worse, so he was in a bit of a bad situation…

"I'm sorry Sirilas," Jeras said, taking a step back from her, "our one night together was just that. One night. There was nothing between us, never will be."

Sirilas stood silent for a moment, her enlightened expression turning to a rather solemn one. Without saying a word she turned around and left the barracks.
There was a long pause before Kenas finally said something.

"You should never turn down a desperate girl, Jeras," Kenas said, "they'll cause you trouble."

"I know," Jeras replied.

"You have talent there, Sesha."

The holographic target never lied (unless someone had tampered with the system). It was a ninety-seven percent hit ratio for Sesha Qualemee, using his carbine to excellent effect on the firing range. Shasa stood a few metres behind him, watching as he fired at the blue holographic targets down the range.

There were two firing ranges at the military base: an indoor one which ran for a long distance underground and an outdoor one for long distance shooting. The indoor one was the most popular since it had air conditioning and was where most of the recruits were sent to train with basic firearms. Right now, Jeras, Kenas, Relina, Sesha and Lears were in the firing range. Jeras was sitting at a bench at the back, his muscles aching after the day's exercises and run up the hill. He had a water canteen in one hand and a plasma rifle lying on the bench by his side. Kenas sat on his right, telling Jeras a few "funny" stories which Jeras had heard before but didn't want to say so and just played along with what his friend had to say.

Shasa stepped behind Relina, who was firing away her plasma rifle in a reasonably accurate way. He grabbed her arm gently and began to talk quietly, showing her a much better way to hold the rifle.

"I never thought I would end up here," Kenas said, "well, not when I was young. I always wanted to be a carpenter."

Jeras nodded, not really listening to his friend. He took a sip from his water canteen and watched Relina's movements. He couldn't help but think about Ariana and realized he was missing her already. It had been only a few weeks and only a few days since his encounter with Sirilas, who he guessed really did want him.

"Have you seen your ex-girlfriend since the other day?" Kenas asked.

Jeras turned towards him.

"No, not really…"

"You're lucky," Kenas said, "she's serving with another squad. We're all lucky, since she did seem a little crazy…"

"She's crazy for me," Jeras said, which was true as far as he could tell. Sirilas had said she had met no other man suitable for her other than Jeras but he really didn't have any interest in her, since he was committed to Ariana and he would never break that commitment. Never.

"I for one didn't want to have to spend my time here in the same barracks as her," Kenas said, "even in the short time I've known her, I've already noticed how annoying she is…"

"When I think back on the night I spent with her," Jeras said, his memory moving about four years earlier, "I realize that's probably why I never wanted to get in touch with her. She was just so…"


"Yes," Jeras finished.

Kenas laughed. He sat up and picked up the beam rifle at his hooves. Shasa had turned around and was looking at Jeras and Kenas, about to speak.

"The both of you should stop moping around and start practicing," Shasa said, frowning, "you've done nothing this whole session. You're lucky Tershelee isn't here, he would send both of you out of the Rangers…"

Kenas stood up, beam rifle held in his right hand. He turned to Jeras.

"Let's show him what we can do," he said, smiling. Jeras yawned and stood up, picking up his plasma rifle and weighing it carefully in his hands.

His first few days here had shown him that handling a weapon such as a plasma rifle wasn't too tough, the firearm had little recoil and tended to hit anything within a three hundred metre distance. He was confident enough to use it in a reasonably accurate and controllable manner, although when he took a glance at Kenas' beam rifle he realized he was a bit out of his league.

Kenas' father had once been an expert marksman, best in his unit according to Kenas, and so had taught his son how to use a weapon like a beam rifle or a carbine.

Kenas, in his usual way, was confident and cocky. He took a position in one of the booths at this end of the range, flicked a switch which in turn started to randomize the appearance of five holographic targets. He brought the rifle up in a firing position, took a look down the sights and fired.

The targets flashed red before disappearing. There were five in total, one appearing in a random position on the range after the other. Kenas shot all of them in quick succession, without overheating the rifle. Shasa watched with some interest, as well as Relina and Lears. Kenas lowered the rifle when he was done, being sure to make eye contact with Relina. He nodded and she smiled.

"You have talent as well, Kenas," Shasa said. He paused, turning to Jeras. "What about you, Jeras? Do you have anything to show us?"

Jeras looked towards the Major, giving an uncertain expression.

"Well, maybe not anything that good," Jeras said. He paused, glancing at the seemingly overconfident Kenas. No use putting himself down like that, he reckoned.
Stepping up to the booth to the left of Kenas, Jeras keyed in a few commands on the console there. He wanted five targets, same range as Kenas' had been, same time in between their appearance. He flicked the appropriate switch and raised his rifle. The weapon didn't have a scope nor any sights, but he knew he could manage without those.

The first target appeared off to his right: firing a single shot from his plasma rifle, it hit the target dead on. It was the same thing with the next three targets, although on the last one his single shot went wide about a metre from the target. He glanced at Kenas when he was finished, who didn't seem so cocky anymore.

"You missed one," Shasa said, pointing out the obvious. He smiled and looked at the five of them. Jeras lowered his rifle, having made his point: he could shoot as straight as anyone else.

"You five have been making good progress so far," he said, "but there's still a long time ahead of you all. You all have specific talents, I can see that, while some of you are just good at being all-rounders."

"This is something none of the other recruits like yourselves know, although I'm going to give you a bit of an advantage. I like you five, you're the group that will most likely get through this training more so than the other."

Jeras noticed that Sesha seemed surprised to hear this. He
knew more than anyone about the way officers worked and playing favourites like this was best avoided. Shasa obviously meant what he was saying.

"In about a month you'll start training with your Ranger's equipment," Shasa explained, "I would get studying on it though, just so you get a head start.

"About a month after that you'll go out on your first zero gravity training session. It shouldn't be too difficult, although I have heard the equipment can be a bit unreliable…"

"Why are you telling us this sir?" Kenas asked. Shasa frowned at the recruit, shaking his head.

"Haven't you been listening?" He asked, "you five are the five I think will get through this the easiest and the best. You're already showing potential, even in your first few weeks. You're naturals, it's like you were made to do this sort of thing…."

Naturals? Jeras was surprised to hear this. He had never thought he would be good at this sort of thing, but he would push himself to get better. If he was showing potential already, than the rest of the time he spent on this planet couldn't be too hard now, could it?

"Don't mention what I've said to anybody else," Shasa said, "the last thing I need is for Tershelee to get mad at me…"

"Do you like him?" Relina asked.

"Like who?"


Shasa paused to think about this for a moment.

"As a fellow officer, yes, but as a friend…no," he replied, "he's going to try and make the lives of recruits like you miserable, making sure only the toughest get through. That's what I'm worried about: I would hate for one of you five to get moved out of the Rangers. You have to make sure you can get through what he has planned for you."

Jeras didn't like the sound of what was ahead. It was already hard enough now, any harder and Jeras wasn't sure if he would make it…

"Is it really that bad?" Jeras asked. He needed to know and Shasa seemed the obvious person to ask.

"If you're struggling now, you better get your act together," Shasa said, "things here are only just beginning. Which means no slacking off, Jeras. I would hate for you especially to get moved out of the Rangers."

"Why me?"

Shasa chuckled. Jeras failed to see the joke, but the Major looked like he was about to explain it anyway.

"Don't you notice how these four follow you?" Shasa asked, gesturing to Kenas and the others, "they follow you Jeras. You do something, they'll do it themselves. They'll always try and keep with you when we're running…You're a natural leader Jeras, and if you stopped being so lazy I might be able to arrange for you to become a squad leader once you're all through this…"

Jeras couldn't believe what he was hearing. Him a squad leader? He had always thought that a position like that was beyond him.

"What did I tell you back on the shuttle, Jeras?" Kenas said, "I always knew you would have it in you…"

"I don't know…"

Shasa smiled, stepping over to him and patting him on the shoulder.

"You'll be fine," the Major said.

Days later they were in the barracks again, having just come back from dinner at the mess hall. It was becoming dark outside and several of the Sangheili were in their beds, exhausted from the day's training, some already fast asleep.

Jeras sat at his usual seat, Sesha sitting in the one to his left. He had fallen asleep where he sat, breathing gently. Relina wasn't in the barracks since for sleeping the males and females were split up, all females having their own barracks next to this one. There were only about ten of them in the base so there was only one barracks reserved for them.

There was still no proper means of contacting anyone off-world and so it had been a few weeks since Jeras had been unable to contact Ariana. He doubted much had changed since the last time he had seen her but he was curious to know how she was going.

Jeras checked one of the compartments in his armour, finding a bunch of credit pads totalling up to five hundred. He smiled, he could probably find some use for that here. He felt the urge for a drink and he wasn't about to drink anymore water, no, he needed something else. Something different.

He got up and stepped over to the door which opened into the cool night air. The stars were out in all their glory and for a moment he stared up at them, almost entranced by the beauty of the star-filled sky. A gas giant was up there as well, its swirling clouds quite visible from where he stood.

He shifted his attention to one of the chrome armoured guards on their patrol. This guard wasn't on much of a patrol though; he was standing by one of the barracks, leaning against the wall, obviously bored with himself.

These guards were mainly disgraced Majors and Special Operations Sangheili with a few disgraced Minors thrown into the mix. They were around to make sure there was no trouble amongst the Ranger trainees and their trainers as well as make sure that no one made a run for it. That seemed like a stupid idea seeing that there was nothing outside the base for miles except desert and barren, rocky land.

Jeras started towards the guard, who looked up lazily as he approached. Standing up straight, the guard seemed to think about what he should do next, whether he should take his job seriously or not.

"What do you want?" He asked, sounding tired.

"I'm sure there's something you can do for me," Jeras said, holding up the credits pad. The guard eyed them for a moment and then frowned.

"What are you suggesting?" He asked, reaching for the pads. Jeras moved them out of his reach, the guard giving an annoyed expression.

"Not so fast," Jeras said, "let me tell you what I have in mind. If you want this you better head off to the guard's quarters, get me some of that whiskey you guards drink in their spare time."

The guard sighed, obviously not in much of a mood to run errands.

"How much do you want?" The guard asked, shaking his head.

"More than one bottle," Jeras said.

The guard went for the credits again but Jeras was faster, moving them out of his reach once more.

"I don't particularly like the beverage," the guard said, "so I'll get you a few." He turned around and disappeared around a corner, leaving Jeras to wait in the cold.

He returned about ten minutes later, holding what looked to be a pack of four dark bottles. He had managed to avoid getting spotted while holding it and he made that point clear as he walked over to Jeras.

"I didn't have much trouble getting it," he said, Jeras taking the pack of four from him, "just don't get caught with it. Now, can I have my payment?"

Jeras nodded, handing over four hundred of the five hundred credits. The guard smiled, counting through the money before storing it away into a compartment in his armour. He then looked back over at Jeras and frowned.

"What do you want now?" He asked, irritated, "get back into your barracks. It's almost lights out."

Jeras turned around and went back into the barracks, storing the bottles in his locker, making sure no one else saw him do it. He had felt a craving for alcohol ever since he got here but he wasn't going to tell anybody else that, they would think he was an alcoholic. He was close enough to becoming one, though.

As he returned from his locker and prepared to climb into bed, Kenas came into the barracks followed by an annoyed looking Tershelee who immediately began barking orders at everyone.

"Get up!" He shouted, Kenas stepping over to Jeras. The recruit was holding a datapad and he carefully handed it to Jeras.

"What's this?" Jeras asked.

"It's got everything we need to know about the Ranger's equipment on it," Kenas said, "we read through it, study it and we'll have an advantage over everybody else. Just keep it safe."

Jeras nodded as the other Sangheili climbed out of their bunks, having been interrupted during their sleep. Tershelee obviously didn't care since he didn't look like he would be going to sleep anytime soon.

"Get up and get your equipment!" Tershelee barked, "we're going for a run!"

"Now?" Lears asked, climbing out of his bunk. Tershelee looked annoyed at the question and so yelled at the young Sangheili.

"Of course now!" Tershelee shouted, "now get your equipment! On the double!"

Some of the other Sangheili groaned, already tired after another long day of training. Jeras stood up and grabbed his armour's chest plating, putting it on and grabbing his pack. He put the datapad Kenas had given him into a compartment in his armour, making sure he would remember to put it away somewhere else when he returned. He would like to know where Kenas had gotten it from, although he doubted his friend would tell him.

The trainees filed out of the barracks, Tershelee in the lead. Shasa was standing outside, looking tired but otherwise keeping a straight face for Tershelee.
The trainees, including the five females from the other barracks and a few other recruits, lined up outside. Tershelee walked up and down the lines, looking at each of them in turn.

"This isn't so much a run as it is a march," he said, "you'll be going around the hill and into the deserts behind. Shasa will lead you, he knows the way.

"Before you go, however," Tershelee added, frowning, "there is something you should know. If any of you return and your water canteens are not full…" He paused to let his words hang in the air for a moment. "You will be forced into mess hall duty as well as latrine duty for a week. Is that clear?"

Some of the trainees looked uncertain while others simply nodded. Tershelee stepped away, leaving Shasa to take over from here. He seemed sleepy, yawning as he started speaking.

"We will get moving," he said, stretching his arms as if he had just woken up, "just follow my lead. No need to run, just march at a brisk pace. This shouldn't be too difficult."

The group began to follow the Major out of the base, their boot-clad hooves crunching on the gravel. Most of the recruits were silent, although Kenas seemed to be his usual talkative self.

"I wasn't expecting this," he said, "a night march. I think they're trying to make us the best…"

"Just be quiet, Kenas," Jeras said, frowning, "I'm feeling too tired to talk."

Kenas fell silent. The group marched out of the base and into the wastes outside the perimeter wall, passing the landing pad and heading towards the hill. The air was cold, almost freezing in fact and Jeras couldn't help but feel a chill. Their armour wasn't anything special, made primarily to protect them from injury rather than the cold. He could see other trainees shivering as they walked, the Sangheili tending to group up closely so they could exchange body heat.

Much to Jeras' surprise, Sirilas came up along side him. She smiled at him as he watched her.

"What do you want?" Jeras asked, not in much of a mood to listen to her complaints, "are you here to cause trouble?"
She didn't reply immediately, although she did manage to stick a leg out in front of Jeras who didn't see it until he had fallen straight over it. He landed flat on his chest, slightly winded and annoyed. Sirilas just looked down at him, smiled, and then continued on. Kenas was laughing.
Looking up at him, Jeras frowned.

"What is her problem?" Jeras asked. Kenas shrugged.

"I think she likes you," Kenas replied, helping his friend back onto his hooves.