Magna Cum Laude
Posted By: Cottrelli<email@example.com>
Date: 26 September 2004, 7:33 PM
Petty Officer First Class Adam-109 stepped up to the jet black obsidian stage, walking at full attention until he came to a sudden halt in front of Chief Petty Officer Mendez. Adam saluted the older man, who then returned a crisp salute of his own. Mendez, head instructor of the SPARTAN-II and III program, was a large, powerfully built man. The only hint of his growing age was a hint of grey at the temples of his otherwise dark brown hair. Adam, on the other hand, was easily half again as large as Mendez, and pale as a ghost. His paleness, an aesthetic side effect of spending so much time encased within his MJOLNIR battle armor, was startling to most people. All thoughts of surprise were banished once one learned who he was, replaced instead with awe, and a sense of fear. A SPARTAN-III, born out the ORION project, the original plan to create super-soldiers for the UNSC, Adam was a beast of a man. Or rather, a beast of a 17-year-old man. Weighing in at just under 200 kilos, he was nearly all rock hard muscle and iron strong tendons. The original SPARTAN-II's were just as impressive, though only half of their original number survived augmentation. Armed with the best and covered by Mark VII MJOLNIR battle armor, SPARTAN-III's were the best the UNSC had to offer. Though these Spartans had just completed training, between them they already had achieved 831 confirmed Covenant kills. Clearly, the best of the best.
Adam made a sharp about face, turning to face the rest of his fellow Spartans, all standing at attention in front of the stage. He offered a salute, and as one the other Spartans returned it. Adam then turned back to Mendez, who was holding a small insignia, an eagle clutching three lightning bolts in its talons. The Chief reached up and pinned the medal above the left breast pocket of SPARTAN-109's dress uniform. Mendez saluted, which Adam promptly returned, then turned to address the Spartans.
"Today, a new SPARTAN class has graduated. Due to your willingness to serve, mankind now has renewed hope for the future. This war we wage against the Covenant, meaningless as it may be, is a very real threat to our very survival. While others may flee and hide in the deepest holes they can find, the Spartans stand and fight! Fight no matter what the cost of victory! Fight no matter what the cost of defeat! While others seek truce with the Covenant, the Spartans stand and fight! We know there is no peace with the Covenant! The relentless burning of countless systems, Harvest, Reach, and many, many more proves this. No, the only option is to fight, and fight we will. The Spartans before you, the Spartans after you, the Master Chief himself, God bless his soul, have fought and died, not for a medal or paycheck, not for glory or recognition. No, they fight for honor, duty, and, above all, survival. You, the SPARTAN-III class, will fight for survival. Your Squad Leader, Adam-109, will fight for survival."
Mendez paused, scanning the faces of each of the Spartans assembled in fornt of him. He saluted, and received 74 salutes in return.
"That is all. Dismissed."
The Spartans filed out of the ceremonial amphitheater, modeled after the hall where the SPARTAN-II's first realized that their lives would be forever changed and that they would serve mankind as Spartans, leaving just the Chief and Adam alone on the stage. Mendez turned to Adam.
"One final test, Adam," Mendez said.
"Sir!" barked Adam, eager to prove himself.
"What are your options when confronting a superior enemy, Spartan?" asked the Chief.
It was the same question John answered many years before, after graduating top of class.
"Sir! Hit hard and fast at the enemy's weak flank, take them out quickly. Sir! Engage in guerilla tactics until the enemy is weak enough to confront head on, Sir!"
"Correct answers," said the Chief, "though others may consider an alternative option."
"Sir?" replied Adam, puzzled.
"Surrender, Adam," the Chief offered. "Though we know different, many people think a truce is the only way to end this war. We don't have the luxury of thinking that way, and never will. Remember this always: you are the Squad Leader, assigned Magna Cum Laude, top of class, therefore, you must lead your team effectively. This includes sacrifice. Don't say anything, for I have no answer for the question you are going to ask."
With that, the Chief saluted, then strolled out of the amphitheater and into the halls of the UNSC Aleksander.
It was the last time Adam would ever see him.
My first story, though prolly not very good, seeing as how I've written about a graduation ceremony. email me firstname.lastname@example.org