Echo Company: Ender's Legacy

Echo Company: Ender's Legacy

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Chosen from a young age and trained for life among the stars, the cadets of Echo Company fight for pride, glory, and survival. Become a member of Echo Company and fight for the right to claim Ender's Legacy.

514 readers have visited Echo Company: Ender's Legacy since Jag created it.

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Introduction

CHARACTERS ARE CONTINUALLY ACCEPTED ON A ROLLING BASIS. IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO JOIN THE GAME. FOR QUESTIONS OR TO GET CAUGHT UP, PLEASE CONTACT THE GM.

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Note: Inspirations for this game are drawn from the following three sources: Starship Troopers (novel), Ender’s Game (novel), and Saga of Seven Suns (novel series). Knowledge of the canon is in no way necessary for the game and the setting is self-contained. Just giving credit where credit is due.

The year is 2294. Triton Station – Home of the Earth Defense Force’s training academy. In world where the manifest destiny of the human race extends to the stars, the Earth Defense Navy and Earth Defense Marine Corps are the armed forces of exploration, peacekeeping and defense serving Terrans in their expansion throughout space. The world below is a society where a number of the major nuclear powers such as the United States, Great Britain, China, Russia, France, Japan and others have allied to form central governmental units aimed at efficiency and the presentation of unified force to the species beyond.

The result is a society that enjoys a great deal of economic success and societal norms much higher than those experienced in the early 21st Century. The price of this is simple but steep. Each family must provide their firstborn child to the government for SAPS – the Skill and Aptitude Placement System. SAPS traces the children through their primary education years and then evaluates their genetic predisposition and developing skill and aptitude for certain positions. At the age of twelve, all SAPS students are “placed.” Some are placed in higher education in the hopes of becoming the next great exobiological researcher or a member of a Regional Government Council. Others are placed in trade schools to become the masters of the environmental containment fields or agricultural production facilities.

Others are chosen for their resilience and genetic prowess to become members of the EDN and EDMC. At the age of 14, those chosen for the Earth Defense Force are sent to Triton Station. The risks and rewards of the program are great – those that succeed are the future officers and leaders of the space military front as ambassadors and defenders of their world. Those that fail are sent back to Earth and doomed to life as menial wage slaves working in the jobs and positions deemed undesirable but necessary by society – a drag on the economy and a shame to their family. At cadets that reach the age of 20 and pass their final examinations are granted their ranks and join the EDF as full officers.

Once entering Triton Station, all students are placed in a Company. The members of Echo Company are a mixture of potential Marine Corps and Navy officers combined together. Young cadets, or “plebes,” are placed under the wings of the older cadets in their company with the older members assigned to protect and guide their fledging company comrades through the rigorous training of Triton Station. Once attaining the age of 16 and passing the first two years of general training and education, “plebes” are granted ACAT (Advanced Class Action Training) status – giving them their specialization including piloting, infantry lead, special operations and intelligence just to name a few.

The companies are not separated by age or gender. Cadets of different ages are forced to work together with the older cadets protecting their plebes in the name of company pride. Trained from a young age and supplemented with chemicals in their food that all but completely erase sexual drive and tension, no gender lines are drawn. Cadets of both genders sleep, shower, and live together with little to no thought of social distinctions that would have been drawn in the 21st Century.

Classroom instruction and physical training is only a part of the program. The main goal of every company is Ender’s Legacy, the championship cup granted every year to the company that wins the competition comprising academic success and victories in simulated war games between companies. Victory is everything.

You are a member of Echo Company. You are the future of the Earth Defense Force. You are a piece of Ender’s Legacy.

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#, as written by Jag
For all information about this game, please visit the game's Tab.

CHARACTERS ARE CONTINUALLY ACCEPTED ON A ROLLING BASIS. IT IS NEVER TOO LATE TO JOIN THE GAME. FOR QUESTIONS OR TO GET CAUGHT UP, PLEASE CONTACT THE GM.

Image

Note: Inspirations for this game are drawn from the following three sources: Starship Troopers (novel), Ender’s Game (novel), and Saga of Seven Suns (novel series). Knowledge of the canon is in no way necessary for the game and the setting is self-contained. Just giving credit where credit is due.

The year is 2294. Triton Station – Home of the Earth Defense Force’s training academy. In world where the manifest destiny of the human race extends to the stars, the Earth Defense Navy and Earth Defense Marine Corps are the armed forces of exploration, peacekeeping and defense serving Terrans in their expansion throughout space. The world below is a society where a number of the major nuclear powers such as the United States, Great Britain, China, Russia, France, Japan and others have allied to form central governmental units aimed at efficiency and the presentation of unified force to the species beyond.

The result is a society that enjoys a great deal of economic success and societal norms much higher than those experienced in the early 21st Century. The price of this is simple but steep. Each family must provide their firstborn child to the government for SAPS – the Skill and Aptitude Placement System. SAPS traces the children through their primary education years and then evaluates their genetic predisposition and developing skill and aptitude for certain positions. At the age of twelve, all SAPS students are “placed.” Some are placed in higher education in the hopes of becoming the next great exobiological researcher or a member of a Regional Government Council. Others are placed in trade schools to become the masters of the environmental containment fields or agricultural production facilities.

Others are chosen for their resilience and genetic prowess to become members of the EDN and EDMC. At the age of 14, those chosen for the Earth Defense Force are sent to Triton Station. The risks and rewards of the program are great – those that succeed are the future officers and leaders of the space military front as ambassadors and defenders of their world. Those that fail are sent back to Earth and doomed to life as menial wage slaves working in the jobs and positions deemed undesirable but necessary by society – a drag on the economy and a shame to their family. At cadets that reach the age of 20 and pass their final examinations are granted their ranks and join the EDF as full officers.

Once entering Triton Station, all students are placed in a Company. The members of Echo Company are a mixture of potential Marine Corps and Navy officers combined together. Young cadets, or “plebes,” are placed under the wings of the older cadets in their company with the older members assigned to protect and guide their fledging company comrades through the rigorous training of Triton Station. Once attaining the age of 16 and passing the first two years of general training and education, “plebes” are granted ACAT (Advanced Class Action Training) status – giving them their specialization including piloting, infantry lead, special operations and intelligence just to name a few.

The companies are not separated by age or gender. Cadets of different ages are forced to work together with the older cadets protecting their plebes in the name of company pride. Trained from a young age and supplemented with chemicals in their food that all but completely erase sexual drive and tension, no gender lines are drawn. Cadets of both genders sleep, shower, and live together with little to no thought of social distinctions that would have been drawn in the 21st Century.

Classroom instruction and physical training is only a part of the program. The main goal of every company is Ender’s Legacy, the championship cup granted every year to the company that wins the competition comprising academic success and victories in simulated war games between companies. Victory is everything.

You are a member of Echo Company. You are the future of the Earth Defense Force. You are a piece of Ender’s Legacy.

Please refer to the Tab for any other information or contact the GM.

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#, as written by Jag
Echo Company Barracks
0500 Hours


0500 Hours. Acting on their automatic operating schedules, the lights throughout the barracks came to light with an audible clang with power surging through the system. Cadets of all ages and both genders began to pull themselves from the warmth and comfort of their small bunks and face another day inside Triton Station. Bunks were stacked two high across the long room that provided no exterior view. The flat floor of the room curved outward and created a smooth but curved ceiling to the barracks, one of the “pods” near the bottom of Triton Station’s unique shape.

Directly across from the entrance to Echo Company’s barrack was the office and quarters of their supervising officer, Lt. Cmdr. Kaito Narita.

From the door that led to the corridors and passageways traversing through the station, the first sight of Echo Company Barracks was a common area that served as a central hub for the rare moments of downtime and relaxation given to the cadets within their rigid schedule. A few tables and chairs with some video-interface stations allowing the cadets to their out-of-class work and research as well as access a few games and catch up with the highly-censored news of the world outside the Station.

Past that, the long rows of bunks extended for the length of the capsule. Bunk assignments were completely random and offered absolutely no discretion regarding age, gender, or specialization. A female 14-year-old plebe might be bunked just below a 19-year-old male ACAT Mobile Infantry cadet without anything thinking the system was strange.

Past the bunks was the head, the showers and bathrooms for the unit. Again, no quarter or consideration was given to gender here. Males and females showered together without any thought of strangeness. The chemical compounds added to Echo Company’s meals in the mess hall regulated their internal systems and suppressed all the natural urges and thoughts that would normally cause issues here. The general attitude of the barracks was extremely informal, most cadets dressing down to covering the most bare of clothing and thinking nothing of coming out of the showers wearing nothing until reaching their own bunks and personal storage units. It was just the way that things worked.

0505 Hours. By this time, almost all of the cadets managed to roll out of their beds. Some were in the head splashing cold water on their faces to face another day. Others were dutifully dressing into uniforms, flight suits, or whatever was necessary for the day. Those that were on top of their game or completely lost were already in front of the large view screens in the common area checking the day’s logs for assignments and orders. Most of the students would be attending classes or ACAT training. No war games were schedule for the day.

The color-scheme of the uniforms allowed the members of Triton Stations different companies distinguish themselves from one another. Alpha was red, Bravo green, Delta yellow, and Echo blue. The uniforms and suits were mostly black and grey with the adorning colors separating the cadets in their duties and loyalties. Patches and pins designation the various ACAT classes.

Wearing a simple standard uniform with Echo blue and the plan unadorned arms that signified a “plebe,” Patrick Vallens stared at the duty roster and quickly marked down the classes he’d be attending for the day. Tactics and Macro Placement in Zero Gravity Environments.

“Great,” the boy mumbled to himself as his stomach growled. Even going into his second year, his body was still learning to completely accept the regimented schedule for eating and all other facets of life on the station. Breakfast would be at 0530, the same it had been since his first day at the Station when two members of Alpha Company had bashed him with his own breakfast tray to make a point before Echo’s older members jumped in to equalize things.

“Just remember that ‘this’ is my good side, so put my Squadron on a left flanking position,” a voice sounded behind the blonde boy, a hand coming up and rustling his hair before speaking again. The voice and hand belonged to Aiden Morrow, one of the oldest members of Echo Company. The young man was a combat pilot and one of the leading pilots in strike and attack craft. While most pilots were training to pilot large and unwieldy transports or capital class ships, Aiden had fought his way in as one of the instinctive souls able to handle the lethal but difficult Chiron fighters.

“Well…I guess,” the boy said. Patrick still didn’t have much of a voice of his own, at least not yet.

“Hey, I’m just trying to get you going,” the older boy said. Aiden was already dressed in his flight suit, the uniform zipped just above his midsection and leaving an exposed chest covered only by a towel wrapped around his neck, dark hair still wet from a fast shower. “And speaking of…”

Morrow snuck off from Vallens and headed back in the general area of the head and his own bunk, eventually spotting his target. Dodging between his company mates, he was able to avoid the skillful and alert eyes of Lucy Caspian just long enough to wind up the towel he’d been carried and delivered a perfectly-aimed pop right at her backside.

“Goooood morning!” He said with far too much pride in his own actions. In the cockpit of a Chiron Aiden was about as focused and together as anyone in Echo, but outside his laidback demeanor was a completely different story as he got older.

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#, as written by Cynique
It was five AM in the barracks, Lucy could tell that much as the familiar hum of electricity coursing through the room sounded and the lights shuddered as they flickered on. Just another morning at Triton Academy. Her eyes slowly opened, trying to adjust to the lighting as she threw off her blankets and exited her top bunk blindly feeling for the ladder. It had already been learnt in her first year that rolling out of bed never got you anything but a smack on the head from the hard flooring below.

Touching the cool flooring below she brushed a dark strand of hair out of her eyes and let routine take control. She had never been a morning person and even after three years at the Academy she still wasn't. It was also the only time of the day you wouldn't find her looking completely composed and organized.

Washing her face and doing her hair up into a slightly messy bun Lucy took her time as she got changed out of the tank top and shorts she slept in and into her uniform. She had already looked at her schedule and knew that none of her ACAT training was labour intensive today since it was going to be mostly tactics discussion. Glancing down at the colors of her uniform which indicated she was from the Echo Company with a ACAT in Intelligence she knew today was going to be a cake walk.

Lucy had long since gotten past the 'lost Plebe' faze of her time at Triton Station and was well on her way to becoming an expert tactician. Scanning the faces of the other cadets in the room she knew that all of them were going places if they didn't crack under the pressure of training. Of course it was her goal to be the best in her field. She had found her motivation and was going to hold on tooth and nail now. It seemed like she had missed Aidan sneaking up on her while she was lost in thought though.

Lucy swivelled around with a slight glare as she felt the slap against her. “Aren't you a great big ball of sunshine today,” She said with a roll of her eyes, he had always been more of a morning person then her. “So what's on your agenda today?” She asked.

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Son of a bitch...

The lights came on as they liked doing around the time he was just starting to enjoy his sleep.

Every time, it's right when I'm about to get comfortable...

Jack sat up in his bed, slowly, then laid back down for a few moments. By the time he did find the motivation to actually get out of the bed most of the cadets were already near dressed and ready. He sat up from his bottom bunk and walked naked from the bed to the showers with a towel thrown over his shoulder, cracking his neck and stretching as he walked. The shower was quick, but it was enough and got him going. It was refreshing enough to bring a smile to his face. He, of course, was sure to shave and brush his teeth in the shower in order to save time. While he was among the last ready, he did understand that there was only a small window of time before formation and breakfast.

On his return trip, equally as naked as he was when he entered, he took a moment to observe his classmates. In some ways he envied them. The fact that they could hop out of bed and be ready to go astounded him, and he respected it. It took more for him. The motivation just didn't come. It wasn't necessarily that he wasn't a morning person, really, because anytime he would do field work the time of day did not matter. It was just waking up in this place that bothered him. Maybe it was space. Jack never really liked space. Jack liked it best when his feet were on some solid ground, be it Earth or anywhere else. Leave space for the pilots.

After throwing on his uniform, Jack checked his schedule for that day. Just two, an advanced self defense combat class as well as an advanced unit movement and tactics class. The fact that he was being placed in advanced classes pleased him somewhat, simply because it showed that he actually was capable of something. Happily, the schedule left most of the day for himself, which meant he was free to simply do as he pleased. Usually he would use this time to go to one of the many fitness facilities that Triton had to offer, his favorite being the heightened gravity obstacle course. The premise was simple getting through obstacles that one would find challenging at regular gravity in a heavier gravity environment, and the thought of a physical challenge was always thrilling.

Softly Jack took in a deep breath and closed his eyes. Artificial air pissed him off. Fucking space.

Only one more year to go...

With that thought, Jack opened the door and left the barracks, ready to start and end the day at the same time.

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The pale underside of a bunk easily sheltered Cielo from the glaring 0500 lights, it wasn’t until she heard the generous ‘smack’ of a towel that she finally stirred.

Na? Already? Cielo asked the aging photo above her, her slowly waking brain making room for no language but her native Filipino. Eleven smiling faces— and a twelfth, her own; five years younger and surrounded by family— looked back at her without answer. The upper edge of the print had peeled from her private ceiling in the night and, sighing with a mix of content and childish-longing, a sense of homesickness almost entirely diluted by time, she ran her index finger along the loose paper and swung her legs carefully out of bed. Arching her back and stretching her long arms to the tips of her equally lengthy legs, Cielo shed the remainder of her blankets and rose from bed in only her white, military issued panties and undershirt.

Modestly dressed by any company standards.

Barely stifling a face splitting yawn, she gave herself a hug— really loosening her arms, the way she slept sometimes killed her shoulders— and put her bed back together. Sheets tucked into the top lip of her bunk, blanket pulled up over that, fold the edges under, and pillow on top. If she didn’t do it now, she never would.

Knowing she had some kind of flight simulation this morning, taught by a few the older piloting ACATs from the sounds of it, Cielo pulled her black and blue flight suit, socks, and shoes from the bunk-imbedded storage locker and headed for the rooster. She didn’t need to shower, being one of nine had taught her to clean up for the day before she went to bed, and her thick black hair, too thick to run a hairbrush through when it was dry, was tied back in a tight French braid before she even reached the commons.

Patrick, it seemed, was still lingering by the screen and, as she came up beside him to check her own schedule, she could hear his stomach growling. Cielo’s face broke into a smile, revealing many straight, off-white teeth— she’d never had braces, it was just luck of the draw really— and she couldn’t help but laugh a little.

“Hungry Tahi?” She teased, slipping her legs into the pants of her suit and beginning to close the zipper. She hadn’t exactly meant to give him a nickname— she liked him well enough, but he hardly spoke enough to know him— it was just that, a couple days after his arrival, Cielo had already forgotten his name. She knew it now of course, Patrick Vallen, but Tahi was short for Tahimik, quiet in Filipino. It made plenty sense, although Cielo wasn’t sure if Patrick knew that.

Of course, I’d have told him if he’d ever asked. Cielo joked with herself, pushing her arms out into her sleeves— the shoulder of the right adorned with a red and white medical-cross, the left with the mark of a pilot.

Maybe he will someday, when he finds his voice.

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"Morning already?" Desmond whipered somberly, as his eyes slowly opened, but seeing the glare of the lights above, he quickly shut them. "Another day, another few thousand empty shells," was another one of his favorite quotes.

Sitting up slowly, he felt, and heard, a cascade of bullets roll off his bare chest, and onto his lap. Picking up one of the bullets, he rolled it around in the palm of his hand before proclaiming, "No gunpowder in this one," and tossed it in the bucket at his side. "Dud," he tossed another bullet into the bucket, "Dud. Dud. Dud. Oh... nevermind, dud." He sighed heavily as the small pile diminished rapidly until only three remained. "Honestly, how can anyone fire rounds without any gunpowder in them?" He tossed two of them without even looking at them, but held onto the last one. Staring intently at it, he shook the bullet violently, and listened close. Smiling to himself, he said, "Finally, a live round," and placed it under his pillow.

"I guess I should get up," Desmond sighed softly, "Don't want the Alphas to yell at me again, or worse, a Plebe." Mock shivering at the thought, he swung his legs over the bed, and planted his feet on the cold floor. "Cold floor? You call this a cold floor?" He shook his head and stood up. Looking about himself, he stretched and took stock of everyone around himself. "Guess we should start the day, huh people?" He asked aloud, but to no one inparticular.

Moving to the rack that held his uniforms, he paused for a moment, then nodded to himself. "Took a shower before I went to bed, so I should be ok." Pulling on his military shirt, he wondered what was in store for them this time, 'We had the games last time,' he thought while pulling up his pants, 'And I distinctly remember someone pissing me off.' He chuckled evily to himself, 'Poor bastard, should have known who he was dealing with before the games.' He finished with throwing on his jacket, and taking out a pair of brown socks from his black boots at the side of his bed. "These aren't stylish at all," he whispered as he sat on his bed, then pulled on the socks.

Making sure his pants are tucked into them, he whispered "Don't want people to have a reason for yelling at me again." Tying the shoes tightly, he stood up and buttoned his jacket, an emblem of a bullet flying from an explosion shown on his left shoulder, marking him as an ammunition and explosives expert, while his right had the standard infantry emblem. "There, oh wait," he reached under his pillow, and took out his hat. "Don't want to forget this," he smiled, and placed it on his shaved head. "Eh, whats this?" Reaching up and under his hat, he felt a folded piece of paper, and pulled it out. "Oh, its my schedule," he grumbled and opened it up. "Another war game scheduled this week," he shook his head sadly, "Looks like I'm scheduled for a self defence class today, should be fun," he smirked.

Feeling his stomach grumble softly, Desmond moved towards the barrak's door, opening it slowly, he breathed in the aritficial air, and headed off towards the mess hall.

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#, as written by Jag
Patrick Vallens looked away from the screen and began flidding with his Multipurpose Utility Tool. The MUT served more than enough purposes to earn its name – far more purposes that the blonde-haired young man had learned to serve in his first year with Echo Company. It had taken everything inside the boy not to hang up his uniform and catch the nearest shuttle back down to the surface. Instead, he was now one year away from an ACAT. An ACAT he’d yet to earn.

”Hungry Tahi?” A familiar voice asked over his shoulder before joining him in front of the assignment board. Cielo was a year older and an ACAT, one of the few in Echo Company with a full dual designation – a rarity assigned only to those that were found to truly have potential beyond the rest. Unlike Aiden, who was something of a big brother and the one that tormented people relentlessly with a sense of loyalty and responsibility buried underneath the layers, Cielo was a natural friend to just about anyone in the unit with a heart. One of the good guys, he’d decided immediately.

“The clock tells me I’m hungry, so I’m hungry,” he said with a sheepish smile while snapping shut the MUT and shoving it into his pocket. At first, the nickname had annoyed him to no end. Never the type to enjoy nicknames because of the attention they garnered, it had been a source of irritation for the boy – not that he would ever actually tell anyone. Eventually, however, he’d come to enjoy the name and the fact that it had picked up with a few other members of the Company. It made him feel at home.

“For Honor and Unity, right?” Patrick said again with a smooth of the front of his uniform. A number of electronic charms signaling that it was time to report to the mess hall. The phrase was obvious – it was the pledge that every member of the Earth Defense Force was instilled with the moment that they were inducted.

“And now it’s telling me that I’m really hungry. How about half my morning ration for some help with my field biologics homework?”

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Aiden got along with everyone, but Lucy was one that actually got along with Aiden. Often the boy could be overbearing and obnoxious when it came to not taking no for an answers. Others simply didn’t think that he had the right mindset to serve in the Earth Defense Naval Fleet, that his attitude made him a liability that one wouldn’t feel comfortable sitting beside. Those that thought that about him didn’t know what he was like in a cockpit.

“I get the extreme pleasure of taking a bunch of nuggets out for some flight training. Lucky me, huh?” He said, leaning over his personal storage compartment next to his bunk, which was close enough to Lucy’s that the girl had to put up with his eternal need to have a comment on everything. “And what about you, cadet? Learning to read all of our minds and learn the deep dark secrets of military command?”

Saying that Lucy Caspian was smart was an insult to just how intelligent the woman truly was. The fact that she’d been placed in Intelligence was something that Aiden could have told their commander officers within two weeks of the cadets coming to Triton Station.

“Food time,” he said, pulling a shirt over his own head and throwing the flight suit back over his shoulders enough to cover the rest of his body. The nineteen-year-old cadet leaned back against his own bunk. “aAnd just what is that infernal brain of yours going to do when you don’t have a hotshot like me looking out for your backside?” Confidence wasn’t a problem for either of them, probabyl one of the reasons they trash talked and joked with each other as if competing against each other rather than two of the unspoken leaders of Echo Company.a

On their way down to the mess hall, Aiden Morrow spotted the 16-year-old Cielo heading down ahead of them. Brushing past a few cadets, he walked between Cielo and Patrick, throwing his arms aroud both of their necks.

“Whaddya say, nugget? Ready to see some real flying?”

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#, as written by Cynique
Lucy smirked, "Lucky indeed," she said as she pulled out her data pad out of her storage compartment and proceeded to look through a few notes. "Oh, you know I can already do that," she said to Aidens comment as she found the notes on her class for the day which had already been uploaded onto her Data Pad as they always were. God, she loved her Data Pad.

"By the looks of it I'll be helping you and your nuggets on your flight simulation," She said raising an eyebrow at the scenario layout for the simulation. Just the basics but she'd still have to review that so she could figure out the rest of it later and give proper information.

 It was fairly typical for Intelligence to pair up with other various groups, after all how would they ever get any tactical training done? It was her job to to feed the proper information to the groups and suggest  courses of action. Not to command though, no, she was more of the Jimminey Cricket and voice of reason, although it was still best to listen to her advice. 

"Yum, food," She said sarcastically at the thought of the morning rations. If there was one thing she missed about Earth it was the home cooked food. "At least it's still edible," she thought to herself. "I think my backside will be a whole lot safer when your gone," She said with a smirk, "Safe from your morning ambushes at the least." It was hard to imagine that Aiden was graduating next year, she thought, it had seemed like it was just yesterday that she was a first year plebe and he was bailing her out. Of course it seemed she was the one bailing the new plebes out now. The usual duties of the more senior Cadets.

As she made her way to the Mess Hall she watched as Aiden swung his arms around Cielo and Patrick before giving a small wave to the two of them. She knew Aidens talking to them was more than enough conversation at the moment and decided to give them a good morning later.

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#, as written by Tsuyoku
0500 Hours
The glaring lights of the Barracks heated Marc's face causing him to scrunch it up and eventually toss around on his bunk waiting for a couple of minutes till the heat came back. groaning and opening one of his eyes, Marc peeked over his shoulder to see Aiden whipping his towel at Lucy. Grinning a bit, Marc knew Lucy would get him back. Marc sat up and streched, flinging his legs over his bunk and lingered there for awhile watching the other cadets of Echo Company get ready for the day.

For a moment Marc felt old, a familiar feeling now a days as he watched the young plebes get ready. It felt as if yesterday was the first day he stepped on to the Triton Station. Shaking the feeling out of his head, Marc dressed himself for the day. He grabbed his uniform from it's resting place, got his socks and boots from the his bunk locker, and checked his MUT and CMT in less than a minute before jumping on to the cold floor. Yawning, Marc smoothed out his uniform and smiled; proceding to his daily routine all the while unconciously feeling the soft material of his Special Operations patch.

Feeling the uniform cling to him made him smile and he knew today was going to invigorating. How did he know this? Because today was going to be another day on a Special Ops mission. Of course the engineer had to get through the tactics discussion that all Spec Ops have to attend which made him wince. The Academy had issued it really because Specs Ops usually have either limited to no communication with Intel so all Special Operators have to learn the tactics issued by the Intelligence. Marc wasn't going to like it but he'll make it, after all Lucy was there.

Walking toward the mess hall, Marc saw all the eager faces and heard all the growling stomach and smiled. Blinking, Marc saw Patrick, Aiden, and Cielo about 10 feet in front of him. Grinning even bigger than before, Marc walked a bit faster to catch up.

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Jack sat at the head of his table, still half asleep, anticipating his future cup of coffee. It was too goddamn early. No it's not. He just liked to complain to himself. The fact that he wasn't too fond of Triton wasn't exactly hidden, so there wasn't much point in presenting any form of false motivation to make himself look better. As long as he continuously excelled at his academics and military classes no one could touch him. He was among one of the first into the mess hall, not really being one to socialize on his way down. Sometimes he was just not in the mood for people, especially some of his super ready to go classmates.

It was Jack's opinion that there was something inherently wrong with the world, especially this one, and for some reason no one else seemed to notice but him. For instance, he was, at this point, aware of the fact that something was put into their food to do something to them, remove his sexual drive, for instance, and while he chemically and physiologically did not desire for any form of sexual interaction, he was psychologically aware of the fact that he was unable to feel those emotions, and that, in a weird sort of way, pissed him off. Of course he understood the point, that such emotions would cause unrest and problems and virtually tear apart unit togetherness and ability within the training companies, but at the same time he did not like anyone tampering with his body.

There wasn't much point in these thoughts though. It's not like there was anything to gain from them. It was just something to think about. If no one else would, he figured he might as well. Jack started to massage the back of his neck with his right hand, keeping his eyes closed, hoping that maybe when he opened them it would be the end of the day already. Nope. There was coffee though, and people had began to fill up the mess hall pretty quick.

One of the main things that annoyed him was the fact that there wasn't much to differentiate the days here. Today he would work out, go to class, exercise again, eat lunch and dinner, shower, and go to bed, and then tomorrow would be almost identical, just with different classes and maybe a different type of work out. The concept of time meant nothing around here. The only time change came was during the military games, which he loved, and looked forward too. This year he was extra excited about them considering he was now in a command position within the company, so much of the responsibility of the cadets success or failure depended on him. The idea even made him grin a bit.

Despite his dislike of the academy itself, Jack still felt a grand loyalty to his company. So much time spent in one company will do that to you. And so now that he was a high ranking cadet his desire to see the company victorious was even greater. This year he knew he they had a good shot, too. With himself leading any form of infantry type games, and Aiden taking charge of the pilots and above land warfare, there were few companies that could stand a chance. He also had complete faith in the younger ACATS. The plebes still had time to prove themselves, so there was no reason to doubt them either. All in all, Jack didn't just feel loyalty, but also complete confidence in Echo.

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“The clock tells me I’m hungry, so I’m hungry”

Again, Cielo laughed. The sound was more than a giggle, it was heartier and more sincere than that, and she didn’t bother herself much with keeping it quiet.

“Slave to the machine much?” She prodded, playfully poking him in the side with her elbow as she leaned down to tie up her black soled boots. From the corner of her eye, Cielo saw a metallic flash as Patrick stowed away his pocket-sized MUT— he was damn good with that thing, even if he didn’t quite seem to realize it himself— but her mind had wandered elsewhere; in the strange way minds sometimes did, independent and indifferent to the whims of its pilot, Cielo’s had pulled a stray lyric seemingly from nowhere. Comforting, innocent, and there was something else… an urge. As Cielo took up the thin woven laces in her own dark hands, a shoe tying rhyme rose up from her childhood.

Build a teepee, come inside, bring a friend… And the rest was lost, something about closing it tight… it was simply left to the imagination what exactly they'd be doing in there. Chuckling lightly, she knotted the long loops and threw Patrick a mock salute on the way back up.

That’s Sol talking for sure, she thought, referencing her oldest brother, the second oldest of the nine. He’d always wanted to go to Triton— not with her but to make his own path— and Cielo sometimes wondered what’d become of him. She’d never seen him here of course, and he’d always been so jokey, so kind… immeasurably gentle and yet respectable, proud. She wasn’t entirely sure what could be done with him here; maybe he’d stayed in the Republic, there was good work for him there.

“For Honor and Unity.” She returned, her effortless smile slightly faded. “And you know I can’t say no to food, rations or not rations Tahi,” Cielo continued, her mood picking up, “Just keep the eggs to yourself, agreed?” For whatever kind of black hole she might be— Cielo, raised in a family where she, her grandmother, and sisters might work for hours a day to prepare food for the table, often seemed to have a bottomless stomach— she could never seem to swallow Triton’s white slop. Scrambled, sunny side, boiled, or chopped, it all made her ache for the fried eggplant omelets and egg pies of her old home; the very comparison made the gelatinous placebo-eggs nearly inedible.

She’d do field biologics homework to not eat them.

Her stride brisk, there was breakfast to be had and homework to be scrawled (or simply keyed into a computer), Cielo followed quickly alongside Patrick. The Mess Hall wasn’t far from sight, she could practically smell the re-hydrated bacon— a favorite of hers, actually— and the arms of Aiden Morrow dropped down on both their shoulders.

“Whaddya say, nugget? Ready to see some real flying?”

At that, Cielo’s smile returned immediately to full wattage; a fold that, if such a thing was even possible. She was yet to be out on a real space flight— a real one, without wires, half-accurate game graphics, an instructor breathing down her neck— and even if she might not be in the driver seat yet... well, this was a close as she was yet to get.

She was sure Aiden— as a Combat Pilot ACAT, an Echo comrade Cielo couldn’t help but admire— would give her the full experience.

“For sure,” she beamed, her eyes glinting with excitement and well meaning challenge, “If you can supply it that is.”

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After retrieving his tray of rations, Desmond stared about the mess hall, searching for a place to sit. Men and women, boys and girls, all sat next to each other, eating the vitamins and enhancers that were dressed to look like eggs, bacon, sausage, and toast. It made him wonder if there were enough calories in each item to keep them going all day long. Aparently there was, otherwise people would be collapsing left and right. 'Whats in the coffee,' he wondered to himself. At times, he had found it to taste like regular coffee did back home, but on some occassions, he spat it out, proclaiming it to taste more like sweetened mud, than anything else.

Spying Jack sitting all alone, he decided to join him, prepared to share a small silent meal with him. That is, if Jack doesn't try to chase him away again. Winding around several tables, he came up just behind him, and tapped his shoulder lightly. "Hey Jack, you going to beat me again in self defence, or will you let me have a try at taking you down?" He spoke of the week prior to this one, where Desmond was tossed like a broken rag doll through out the entire lesson.

Placing his tray down, he made sure that there was a chair between them, as he didn't want to upset Jack in any way. "Vitamins and enhancers, yes?" He tried to start a small conversation, knowing that he'll probably be talking to a brick wall soon. Sitting down, he took up his fork, and speared some eggs. Lifting it to his lips, he placed it within his mouth, and nearly gagged. "Yuck," his tongue stuck out as he swallowed it.

"Guess its better than nothing huh?" With a waning grin, Desmond sighed heavily, "What I wouldn't give for a real Texan breakfast." Looking over at Jack, he explained, "Large meals on plates the size your head. Bacon that actually tastes like pig, not dirt. Flapjacks swimming in maple syrup, fresh barnyard eggs," he stopped as his mouth began to water, and his stomach grumbled in protest. "Maybe we'll be let out to go back home. Maybe the sun will turn green, huh Jack?" He grinned slowly.

Taking a large breath, he held it in while shoveling his food into his mouth, chewing it quickly, and swallowing it all. After washing it down with the sweetened mud for coffee, he placed his hand over his mouth, in an attempt to try and staunch the vomit from travelling too far up his throat. "Man, that was ugly," he said slowly, then proceeded to burp long and loud, receiveing several praises from nearby cadets, and several scowls.

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#, as written by Jag
“Well, look at you!” Aiden said as he leaned back, retracting his arm from the cadets and crossing his chest while staring down the girl with an amused smirk. “Someone gets their training wheels taken off and next thing you know we’ve got an attitude going on. Well, if you’d like to lead and take point on trying to keep up in combat maneuvers today, you just be my guest, Cadet.”

As the group turned the corner and entered the mess hall, the sound of voices and movement roared. The brass of Triton Station didn’t complete segregate the companies. The groups attended basic classes together and shared their meals. The mess hall was one hell of a territorial place with each of the four companies having staked their claims to certain tables and any plebe making the mistake of laying claim to the wrong seat could quickly find himself on the wrong end of a fight.

“I’ll go grab us a seat, get my seat, will you?” Patrick asked Cielo as he ducked beneath Aiden for a moment and cross in front of the two of them. It would seem strange for a plebe to seemingly make a demand from an ACAT, but anyone that knew what it was to try and hold a seat or a table knew that the plebe was taking the fall in this deal With that, the blonde-haired young man headed for the far corner near the plex windows that provided a view outside. Those lucky enough for a free period later would try to come to the mess hall and grab these seats to watch the air combat maneuvers.

“So how’s our little plebe holding up there?” Aiden asked as soon as Patrick was out of view.

---------------------------------------------------

A few minutes passed since Patrick grabbed a table and staked his claim for a moment. Things were going fairly smooth for the time being. Two Alpha cadets came by and grunted in frustration at the sight of being beat the seat and simply moved on by. A Delta girl lingered by and asked if he was almost done, but Patrick smiled and told her what Lucy Caspian had taught him quite some time ago, but today was the first time he’d ever had the guts to say it to someone else.

”The order of things is God, the Admiralty, Commander Narita, and then the Echos. Everyone else is just fuel for the fire.”

That had put a smile on the boys face until Two more Delta’s came to the table. Patrick recognized them immediately as the two Mobile Infantry ACATs that had sliced up Bravo a few days before. These boys were the cream of the crop.

“God called,” one of them said. “Told us that if you didn’t give up this table then we were supposed to arrange a personal meeting for you.”

Patrick froze for a moment. To anyone else, it would look like a plebe facing a nightmare situation and caught with a deer in the headlights look. The Deltas watched at the young man reached into his pocket and then began to fidget his arm and shoulder before finally speaking.

“I…uhh…I don’t want any trouble.” The boy looked around nervously. No Echos in the area, all of them in line or simply not catching wind of the situation. Time for a tactical retreat. “Here, you guys have the table. My…my compliments,” he said before stepping up and quickly walking away, ignoring the taunts that followed him from the foul-mouthed Deltas.

“Damn Delta right,” one of the boys said, one of their own phrases as he moved to sit down. The other gladly came around the table to take exactly the seat that Patrick had been using as a sign of conquest. As soon as he did, however, the table groaned and suddenly collapsed, causing both cadets to fall to the floor in a mess of plastic and metal.

Still standing a few feet away, Patrick grinned, slapped shut the MUT he’d used under the table to disassemble the main joint, and then ducked into the crowd quickly to escape. After a few seconds, he located the table with Desmond and Jack and almost crashed into the table as he took a quick seat. Refuge the moment, hopefully.

“Hey guys,” he breathed with a nervous excitement, almost unable to believe what he’d just done.

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#, as written by Cynique
Entering the Mess Hall reminded Lucy faintly of the cafeteria at the school she had went to back on earth before she was shipped off to Triton Academy. The sounds and oddball food smells were the same, it seemed like the only difference was instead of the usual groups of cliques and friends, it was companies banded together.

Watching as Patrick headed off to stake out a table she couldn't help but wonder if it should've been her or one of the other ACATS to go. He may have been above average in build for a Plebe but he was still lower on the seniority list so she couldn't help but have a bit of a sibling like concern for him and the table he had gone to secure.

As Lucy grabbed a plastic tray, tucking her Data Pad under her arm, and stepped in line grabbing herself what seemed to be eggs and toast she couldn't help but think it was almost like everyone in the Echo Company was like a part of family, a pretty nonconventional family, but a family nonetheless. Adding a cup of coffee to the tray she decided not to put any cream or sugar to it, she had already learned doing that would just be an inevitable attempt to disguise the mud. At least it came with a caffeine boost.

Hearing a crash as she began to make her way, tray in hand, she looked over to see a group of Deltas in a heap of what used to be a metal table. Wait, wasn't that the direction that Patrick had been heading in? Putting two and two together Lucy smirked as she saw Patrick sitting at a table with Desmond and Jack, "Good job Cadet," She said patting him on the back as she took herself a seat at the table, setting her tray down and putting her Data Pad off to the side. Looking over at Jack and Desmond she gave a small wave, "morning you two," she said taking a sip of the bitter coffee. Hallelujah caffeine.

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"Morning," Jack said to Desmond as he sat down and began to talk feverishly. Despite his usually detached appearance and quiet nature, he did sometimes enjoy listening to other people talk, and every now and then Desmond could be amusing. Sure, he was a little on the immature side, but he still had a while before he needed to really grow up. It was almost comforting to see the childlike characteristics Desmond possessed surviving like they are, because it reminded Jack of the humanity that the military lifestyle attempted to remove from the individual. It reminded him, in a way, that individuality still existed, and that was nice. All too often cadets fall into a robotic toolbag type state, and from what Jack could tell Desmond need not worry about sharing that same fate. Jack was about to actually attempt a conversation with him before he burped, in which case Jack changed his mind and looked back at his food. Desmond was enjoying his food well enough, obviously, but Jack just sort of picked at it. He didn't each much. It still didn't sit well that they were putting stuff in it without telling them. He would eat enough to get by, and that was it.

The coffee was a happy reprieve from the world though, that was for sure. It may not be heaven's brew, but it tasted delicious enough and, if not, luckily it would burn your tongue and you wouldn't have to worry about tasting it anyway. Breakfast was, for the most part, uninteresting. There really wasn't anything to talk about that hasn't already been talked about time and time again. "What are you doing today?" "I'm gonna fly" "That's cool. I've got chemistry" or whatever, it really did get old, and after so many years there already Jack was more or less finished with those conversations unless it actually meant something to him. There was a difference between talking to talk and talking just to fill space, and most of the cadets fell into the latter category. It was an unfortunate fact of life, and it wasn't even their fault. It was just that they were attached to a continuous existence in which nothing was actually in their control. At least, until the games roll around. Then there would be new conversation, for sure.

Just as Jack was drifting away into some thought or another, something caught his attention a few tables away. There was a loud crash, and a plebe was all of a sudden on his way over in a bit of a hurry. Jack smiled. There was something humorous about company on company disputes. Patrick found his way to the table and sat down, greeting the guys already at the table as he did so. From the looks of the uniforms, the guys giving him trouble were Deltas. Fuck Deltas. This kid had some spirit about it that was admirable in a sense. Don't completely accept defeat. Sure, he didn't get the table, but they didn't either, at least without having to set it back up. The kid the best he could with the little he had, and Jack gave him definite kudos. Plebes, they did a lot of a company. And while none of them were in strong positions, they did have jobs to do, even if it just meant following orders. Something about Patrick gave Jack assurance that he could be trusted to get a job done should the need arise.

Lucy, a girl, as if it made a difference, sat down with them and greeted everyone with a simple good morning. Jack looked at her for a few moments, maybe longer than he should have, before just nodding in reply. She was a girl. She wasn't the same as them. Yet...she was. Jack had memories from home, from Earth, and those memories did not have males and females treating them like this, as complete equals, as if there was nothing different. But at the same time that was so long ago that he could hardly remember just how they were treated. Sure, he understood reproduction. He had taken biology classes there on Triton, and he understood the biological differences between himself and Lucy, for instance. What he didn't understand was the missing thing, something he had never really felt before, and therefore could not even describe. He didn't know what it was, but he knew he didn't have it.

That was one of Triton's biggest downfalls. The cadets only knew cadet life. They were separated from the world, and in a way that kept them from ever really knowing what it was they were fighting for. Earth, to them, was more of a myth than an actual location. Loyalty to Earth was hammered into their minds day in and day out when, in actuality, no cadet was positive exactly what Earth was anymore. It was a rumor, a torn message in the wind, and the only understanding of it they had was from memories from their youth they could hardly piece together anymore. Sure. There were visits to Earth. It's not like cadets are forever cut off from their families. But visits are short, days at the most, hardly enough to gain an understanding of the culture they would one day be commissioned to protect. The last time Jack had been on Earth, at least actually around people, was for a presentation. A select group of cadets were chosen as a publicity stunt to show civilians of Earth that Triton wasn't such a bad place at all, a good move considering among many parents, due to the very infrequent opportunities to visit with their children, there was a misunderstood, negative view of what Triton station actually was and did. That was about two years ago, by his count. Sure, he had been down to Earth multiple times since, but every time he had gone to the woods or desert or mountains for some sort of field training, or to accomplish some sort of physical feat like climbing a mountain. Hell, for the hardcore infantry types, crossing a desert or climbing a mountain was considered field training. The pilots get their ships and their space, the Mobile Infantry get their exceedingly dangerous environments. Fair enough.

"So," Jack said to everyone at his table, "How's everyone doing today?"

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#, as written by Tsuyoku
"Annoying Alphas..." Marc murmurred as he got in line. Marc was about to catch up with Aiden them when three Alpha plebes cut him off blubbering about some of their stupid homework. Of course Marc gave them a piece of his mind in the form of "WTF?!?" but in his long demonstation of 'how to verbally bash another company' he had lose sight of Patrick, Aiden, and Cielo.

Marc sighed as the line moved up, he grabbed some hot chocolate and moved out the line. The battle for tables was always constant in the mess hall being that no one really wants to sit surrounded by rival companies. Just like almost everything in Triton Station, the mess hall was basically a battleground just with different rules. The weapons people used here were intimidation and numbers. Sure there were supervisors but with the mass of bodies always in the way who could really tell what was a fight and what wasn't? Marc sighed again as he made his way through the oncoming wave of people, looking for a table. To his surprise, Marc saw Patrick sitting alone on a table in the corner. Marc furrowed his brows, wasn't Aiden and Cielo with him? He began walking toward the table but stopped when he spotted two Delta making their way to Patrick.

His eyes widened a bit as the situation played through his mind; Patrick, Deltas, Trouble.

Marc began hastly walking toward the Deltas instead, seeing that intercepting them would be the best course of action. Of course things never work as you plan sometimes. As Marc was making his way through, two large Alpha ACATs and the three Alpha plebes Marc verbally bashed cut him off. "Thats the guy!" one of the plebes pointed out hiding behide the big ACATs. "Huh?" Marc blinked, 'what great timing' he thought. "So we heard you were picking on our friends here." one of the large Alphas, or as Marc calls them, Fat Heads said. The Alphas were infantry division ACATs, their bodies being intimidating enough but now the knowledge that they know hand-to-hand combat, wow. Marc smiled, backing up slowly 'sorry Pat' "Umm lets not be to hasty now." Marc's smile wavered as one of the Fat Heads pounded their fists. "Heh, Bye?" before the last word was uttered, Marc was already booking it, flying his way through the crowd of people.

'Just another day in paradise' Marc sarcastically thought as he looked back to see the Fat Heads hot on his tail. People were walking everywhere which gave Marc great chances to lose the Fat Heads but also bad chances of getting caught. Only a couple of seconds passed before Marc already got bored of being chased. 'Time to lose them for good' Marc suddenly dropped to the ground and made his way to the nearest table. It was a lowly way to lose someone but hey what could you do? Marc watched the Fat Heads scan for him for awhile before they gave up. He smiled, don't you just love 'em? Marc got out from under the table dusting himself off and turned. On the table were non other then Jack, Desmond, Patrick, and Lucy with their faces of surprise and what not. Marc smiled and leaned on the table, "Good morning!!" his cheerfulness giving no hint that he was just chased a couple of seconds ago, life is grand isn't it?

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"Aw, look guys, a stray Echo," Desmond's eyes twinkled with merryment, "Can I keep him? Please?" His voice cracked a bit, trying to keep the laughter out of his throat, but ultimately failed. Laughing silently, he clutched his sides, and fell over backwards. Hearing people laugh had always made him smile sadly, and he didn't understand why. Getting back on his feet, he righted the chair and sat back on it, listening to a few Deltas laugh over his fall.

"Marc, isn't it?" He smiled softly and slapped his back hard, "Good to have you here." Turning towards Lucy, he said, "How is it that you techs can understand those Data Pads? They're like a puzzle without an end piece to me." He stared silently at the Data Pad, his mind working hard to understand how a small piece of machinery could hold so much information. Shaking his head slightly, he stared up at the ceiling, his eyes going slightly blind from the glare of the lights.

How strange it was. One moment, they were all thrust into this world, individuals without a home, and now this? 'Companions for life,' he thought, smirking a little. He could remember his home quite well, not wanting to forget it like many others. The trees that swayed softly in the wind, the sweet crab-apples that grew on those trees. A smile stretched slowly across his face, as he remembered the farm he used to play in as a child. Sighing slowly, he whiped his eyes quickly, not wanting to show others his weakness for fond memories.

Taking a slow, and deep, breath, he whispered conspiratorially, "Theres a shipment to arrive sometime this week, my friends," he winked quickly at Lucy, "Its coming in as a box of 15mm ammunition," even though they all knew that it usually came in a box of 25mm rounds, "I'm sure everyone here can agree that the food is not worthy enough for pigs, so, I ordered some real food from this guy I know." An evil twinkle entered his eyes, as a slow smile formed on his lips. Contraband of all sorts was his way of staying off of everyone's hit list. Because without him around, people would still be eating the same slop as they had for years. "There should be some chocolate, and some ham. Along with some other goodies," his smile then formed into a grin, "I also got the guy to send me some fresh water, as I'm sure everyone will be wanting some of that." He knew, as everyone knew, that the water on Triton was recycled over and over, until it tasted extremely bitter.

Even their waste was recycled, but he didn't want people finding out about that, espescially not the Plebes. "Don't want young sparrows to drop dead before they become hawks," he once said to his friends when they found out about it as well. "But we have to keep it quiet, alright?" He glared at Marc as he said this, then at Patrick. Desmond was taking a big risk by allowing the Plebe in on his little Black Market scheme, but knew that if he went down, then all of them would go down. This included several people from the other various squads, espescially from Alpha.

"It should be here by either tonight, a few hours before lights out, or in the morning before the War Games," he sat back in his chair, and stretched his arms to the ceiling, before resting his head in his hands, his elbows n the table. "By the way Patrick," Desmond looked over at the Plebe, "Nice job on making the Deltas look like complete asses." He gave him a thumbs up, then proceeded to hum a silent tune to himself, his eyes glazing over as he remembered his childhood.

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#, as written by Jag
Patrick flashed a wide grin, a rare moment of shining pride for the young man as he sat around the table with his company elders. Plebes were used to have the lion’s share of the grunt work and not enough of the glory. At the end of the day, the general rule was that every member of every company had to earn their stripes. Hazing was a given and there were some that didn’t even bother to learn a plebe’s name until they did something worthy of attention – sometimes waiting as long as ACAT. Those were usually the exceptions to the rule, but life was still rough on Triton Station for someone without a patch on their sleeve.

This moment, however, was one of the rare moments when Patrick actually felt like an Echo. Praise didn’t come often and one learned very quickly to enjoy for as long as it lasted.

Riding the adrenaline high from taking on the infantry grunts and living to talk about it, the blonde young man’s attention was suddenly completely focused on Desmond. Patrick didn’t know whether to me even more excited or completely shocked. Of course, he knew that contraband made its way in and out of the barracks on a regular basis, but this was the first that he’d ever heard anything about it firsthand. Cielo had slipped him a sweet every now and then, but never had Patrick been included on a plan.

Knowing better than to speak, the boy just leaned forward and listened, his stomach growling loudly again.

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#, as written by Jag
The table was made of wood. Honest, true and authentic wood. The table extended in a rectangle and made up the centerpiece of the room, a number of reports, datapads, paper files and coffee mugs scattered across the table in a sort of organized chaos that only came with a true command structure. Seated around the table were a number of uniformed officers far older than the normal compliment of any given room on Triton Station. Four of the officers scattered about each wore a color identifying them as a Company Officer while two others wore standard uniforms lacking the designations. One of those two lacking a color designation was Rear Admiral Alice Condin. Streaks of grey played into what had once been solid black hair, but the demeanor of the woman as an efficient and collaborative commander and the ranking officer on Triton Station had rarely been questioned in her eighteen years at the post.

“So we’ve got a mixed Echo/Bravo squadron conducting some flight maneuvers today,” the duty officer, a captain and the second-hand man to Condin, said in a droning monotone voice. “Tomorrow we’ve got the major combat simulations that will range across the companies, I think we’ve got most of the preparations squared away.”

“We’ve also got a Boomer that’s supposed to come in late tomorrow evening,” the Delta commander said, a career bridge officer on a capital ship, referring to the Boomer-class transport craft that ferried personnel and supplies to and from the station. “Should be able to reply some of the munition stocks as well as other essentials.”

“That,” the duty officer said, “brings us to another issue.”

“Thank you, Captain, “ Rear Admiral Condin said, rising from her seat at the end of the table slowly and gracefully. “I can take it from here.

“As you may or may not know, there has been a great deal of political pressure on the Senate from a number of unions in the labor-intense industries back on the surface. Things have escalated. Two days ago a fire was intentionally set in a pharmaceutical processing plant. The long and the short of it is this – we have exhausted our reserve supply of Triceradine and it will be months before we are able to get any more.”

A murmur washed over the room. Triceradine was the compound added to the food and water supply that acted as a control agent for the cadets, suppressing natural urges and helping to regulate a uniform body of future soldiers without the normal complications coming from teenage hormones and emotions.

“We’ve got to segregate them immediately,” the Alpha commander, broad shouldered former Marine said.

“No,” a voice from the back of the room spoke. Leaning forward in his seat was Lt. Cmdr. Kaito Narita, Echo’s supervising officer. The man’s slender figure and hardened facial expressions came into clarity as he placed his hands on the smooth wood of the table. “All of you know, as I do, that we simply do not have the space to accommodate separation. In war, there is no time for such trivial issues. They will adapt and learn, as well all have.”

“This isn’t war. This is a military academy. Surely you can’t be suggesting,” the Bravo commander spoke but was quickly cut off.

“Perhaps the rest of you have grown to enjoy the accommodations of this position, but there is still a war outside of this room and a war that all of these cadets will soon find themselves fighting. You may do as you wish, Admiral, but Echo will remain integrated. It is my right as commander.”

Condin leaned back in her chair and sighed, looking over at the duty officer.

“How long until the effects of the chemical compounds begin to wear off?”

“Sir, the compound has no real staying power. Hours at the most. First it will just be small changes, but in a few days the remnants of the chemicals will be washed out of their systems and it will be like they never had them at all.”

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#, as written by Cynique
Lucy shrugged at Jacks question as she took a bite of her eggs and swallowed, "The usual," She said after thinking about it for a moment. It seemed like every other morning to her, the sleepiness had worn out to the most degree but she was still a bit tired. Most Cadets didn't get a lot of sleep, eight at the most on a good day, she'd been known to run on three though if she was up late working on a report. And that was probably why Coffee was one of her best friends.

Glancing up from her Breakfast as Marc popped up she raised an eyebrow "Morning, running away from trouble again i'm guessing?" She asked looking at him. It wasn't exactly normal for people to be popping up from underneath tables but with the chaotic way the Cafeteria was run she guessed the least. It almost seemed to Lucy like the Cafeteria was a place to test how far you were up the food chain in Triton Academy. She remembered getting into a lot of trouble when she was a Plebe, of course that was when she learned to never travel alone. Now though that she had found her place she could easily hold her head high against the other Companies.

"Eh?" Lucy looked down at her Data Pad and back to Desmond at his question, "Their actually fairly idiot proof..." She said thinking a way to describe the Data Pad, "It's just a network transmission of information from the stations data base and into it. If you just read the instruction manual their easy to use." It had mostly been covered on her first day of ACAT training how to use a Data Pad, of course she had learned on the fly any little tricks but the thing had just about become part of her now that she had learned how to use it.

Listening as Demond whispered about the plan she smirked "Nice, i'll keep my ears out for the shipment," She said with a nod of her head she may have been a model ACAT Cadet but if there was anything like real food being involved she was going to jump at the chance. She briefly considered making note of it before deciding that it would be best not to. After all there was never any assurances that they wouldn't get caught and if they did she wouldn't want to leave any evidence.

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#, as written by Tsuyoku
'Why does everyone think I'm gonna tattle tell?' Marc thought as he saw Desmond glare at him. Of course this wasn't the first time he got shown the 'don't tell anybody, got it?' glare, but thats for a different time. Marc just smiled on, of course he isn't gonna tell anyone about the shipment of actual edible food I mean who would he think he is Lt. Cmdr. Kaito Narita? Marc winced at just thinking about the Echo supervisor, a scary man he was. Because Marc only got to Triton Station by chance and Lt. Cmdr. Kaito knew this, Marc's greeting to the station wasn't your usual 'Welcome to the Triton Academy'. His greeting was more like, 'You got here only by a thread so your going to be here only by a thread. If I hear that you've done anything wrong your going to be sent straight back to Earth'. Marc was terrified by the Lt. Cmdr.'s statement and still is now. But the message that the commander gave was false advertisement because even though he said that if he did anything wrong he would be sent back, he forgot to mention that almost everything Marc did was wrong! But this was all for another time.

When Lucy gave her usual morning greeting for Marc, he smiled bigger. " Aww Lucy I know you care but I didn't know you cared that much." Marc could already imagine Lucy rolling her eyes at him. She was like a sister that always gets annoyed by him and he smiled at the fact. When he first meet Lucy it was through a headset during a Special Ops excercise where he had to hack into some security systems and she had to direct him. During this time though, Lucy didn't know that the serious, level-headed Marc would actually be a goofy, silly knucklehead in person. Time in Triton Station was boring and tiddious if you didn't throw in a couple of surprises here and there. Looking over at Patrick, Marc could see the plebe's eagerness and excitement written all over his face. Marc chuckled lightly to himself as he saw the emotions clearly on Patrick's face, 'Oh to be a plebe again.'

When Lucy was talking about her Data Pad, Marc couldn't help but laugh to himself a sneaky smile playing on his face. With his trusty CMT Marc had done alittle magnetic altering in Lucy's Data Pad which would make it glitch. Being Lucy, Marc knew she would figure out that he was the one that messed with it sooner or later but thankfully she didn't notice anything yet. He knew she would be really angry with him but what could he do? In the Academy you had to entertain yourself with something even if its people from your on company. Of course the magnetic interruption on her Data Pad was only temporary, the interruption on some other companies Data Pads were a bit more standing though. But even a plebe engy would be able to fix it so there is nothing permanent. Marc just smiled to himself as he took a seat on the table. Life is grand isn't it?

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As the bell rang to alert the station of reville, Kyle had just stepped out of the company head. He always forced himself to wake up earlier than the rest of the company. Up by 0430 and ready before the rest. He saw it as the military way, thirty minutes early; to everything. With a towel wrapped around his waist Kyle began walking back to his bunk. Waiting for him was his uniform hanging by the top bunk. With the lights now on his bunkmate, John Gray a new plebe began to stir.

"You woke me up again Kyle. Why can't you sleep in like everyone else?" The groggy kid was new to the station only a week or so had gone by since his arrival. And every day since he showed Kyle had made certain to 'accidently' wake the kid.

"Quiet plebe. You'll speak when spoken too. I don't remember asking any damn questions about your beauty sleep." Kyle quickly snapped back as he began pulling up his slacks. He had pretended not to remember John's name. On his first introduction Kyle had told John that he had to earn the right to have a name. As Kyle was pushing his arms through his sleeves the sullen John climbed from his bunk and wandered off to the head. Kyle began making his bed. Ensuring the perfect hospital corners and tightly pulled blankets and sheets. "Tight enough to bounce a quarter off."

Slipping on his shoes Kyle once again returned to the head. Standing infront of a mirror he made small adjustments to his uniform. Double checking the spacing on his name plate. Ensuring no stray strings were hanging free. As he turned to his side he noticed the patch on his shoulder. A blue circle with a pair of crossed rifles denoting his infantry specialization. Kyle patted the patch twice before realizing he was inspection ready. Attention to detail was the number one lesson of his classes. Follow the order to the letter and never miss a detail.

Stepping back into the barracks he simply watched as those around the room worked to catch up. A few said good morning or just grumbled a greeting as they passed. Kyle watched the horseplay between Aiden and Lucy play out. Pulling his drill book from his pocket Kyle began studying flanking manouvers as he leaned against the wall. A few pages later he looked up to see the company finally filing out into the hall for the mess hall. Kyle quickly closed up the book, tucked it away, and started towards the cafeteria.

Rolling his shoulders, craning his neck, and stretching, all helped occupy his time in line for chow. He hated waiting and hated lines. During the wait he kept his eyes peeled for any of the other companies looking to get rough before the day even started. Over by the window he watched two Delta Daisies, as most liked to call them, confronting young Patrick all alone. "What's he doing alone?" Kyle whispered to himself as he took a step towards the table. Before Kyle could take another Patrick had gotten up and was retreating from the two. He stepped back into the line as he was served his food he heard the crash of metal and plastic over by the window.

Turning around Kyle noticed the table in pieces with a pair of very upset Deltas covered in their meals. Impressed Kyle looked around the mess hall seeking Patrick. After five minutes he found the plebe savfe with many upper classman from the company. Kyle took a seat next to Lucy and nodded with a smile, "Morning Luce." Turning his gaze to the young plebe he slid a muffin across the table to Patrick. "You just earned your name back, Patrick. Congratulations."

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Desmond glared at Kyle, not enjoying being woken from his memories so quickly. He sighed softly and wondered if he should tell Kyle about the contraband scheme, but decided against it. He was already risking it with the Plebe, and didn't want more trouble than him. Watching him for a moment more, he whispered, "How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" A grin spread across his face, one that slowly receded as soon as it appeared.

Reaching into his right breast pocket, he pulled out a thin, white kerchief, and began to tie it around his neck. Playing with the ends of his kerchief, he leaned over to Jack, and asked in a hushed voice, "When does our class start again? I'd rather not spend more time than I must with Kyle." Although he found his entire squad fun to be around, he didn't much enjoy Kyle's methods with the Plebes. Always calling them this, or that, but never their given names. He, himself, had once been called nothing more than a Plebe when he first came to the station. After about a year of only being called such, he had grown tired of it, and lashed out at a Delta, which put him in a holding cell, and the Delta in the station's hospital for several weeks.

Smiling at the thought, Desmond shook his head slightly. That was the day people left him alone, but not the Alphas, not for a couple years more, where he stood his ground against a pack of them. He came out on top, but spent nearly a month in the hospital, nursing his wounds. Shaking his head once more, clearing the thoughts that threatened to overwhelm him, he stared out across the table, and reached into his left breast pocket. Standing up, he walked past Lucy, dipositing a small piece of chocolate into her lap. After winking at her, he tapped Patrick's shoulder, and gave him a small lemon drop, one with a green liquid center.

Stepping behind Marc, he dropped a piece of jerked meat into his lap, and smiled softly. Placing a finger on his lips, and tapping it slowly, he dug into his left pants pocket, and pulled out mint straw, and, grabbing Kyle's hand, he placed the sweet in it, making sure his hand closed around it. Looking down at Jack, he said, "Your a tough one, Jack, but here," he placed a small pouch into his lap quickly, "Its those tea leaves I had about a year, or so, ago. He found some and sent it up on the last shipment. Too bad, though," he drifted over to Lucy once more, "They've grown quite rare on the surface."

Lowering his head, so that his lips were close to Lucy's right ear, he whispered, "Theres going to be some news from the surface as well, Lucy. It'll be in one of those computer chip type things you techs use to store data. Might find something of interest." He pat her head softly, then sat back down in his chair. Leaning back, he placed his hands behind his head, and watched everyone's reaction to their treats.

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#, as written by Cynique
Lucy rolled her eyes with a look that returned Marcs sarcasm by ten fold, if anyone had mastered the art of eye rolls it was her. Sarcasm was one of the things it seemed she had embraced over the years, it was probably one of the few things that kept her sane around the Station. Especially with the way things went on around there and by the devious look on Marcs face she knew something was up. She'd give him the benefit of the doubt for now though, after all most knew what would happen if she was messed with.

Unlike most Lucy wasn't exactly the type to forget and forgive easily. Letting people get away with things was a sign of weakness after all. She never got back at said person a spiteful way though, no, she preferred to find the persons weakness and use it for educational training purposes in the sims she helped direct. Of course there was always the smug satisfaction that came with it though.

"Morning," She said returning greeting with a small smile to Kyle as she watched him slide a Muffin across the table to Patrick. Lucy had always been a little on the fence about his attitude towards Plebes. She knew that hazing was a fact of life at Triton Academy but she still believed in taking a more tactical approach to it. She knew that Kyle wasn't that type of person though and so accepted it as just another right of passing for the Plebes to go through.

Lucy looked at Desmond as he stepped behind her and then down at her lap as she felt something drop into it. Picking up the object in her hand she examined it before realizing it was a small piece of chocolate. A smile instantly lit up on her face, if there was one thing that came close to her love of her Data Pad it was her love of chocolate. Being on Triton though she didn't see a lot of it, "Thank you," She said to him as she pocketed the piece for later and watched him distribute the rest of the treats to the others and make his way back to her.

"Huh, really?" She asked at his mention of a data chip, "I'll take a look at it when it comes in," Info from the surface wasn't a norm and it piqued her interest. She wondered what if could be. Patting the chocolate in her pocket she decided today wasn't going to be so bad after all.

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"Oh, hell..." Danielle Clemmons groaned the second she stood up from her bed at 5am. In an instant, her sight blurred, and her stomach turned. Oh, God...she was going to be sick.

Before the others could probably even open their eyes and sit up in their warm little bunks, Danielle was running toward the bathroom to let out whatever the hell was stirring in her stomach. It wasn't the first time she felt sick and nauseous when she woke up in the morning. Sometimes, it was because of heavy physical training she had the previous day, or the shit they called food from the night before. So, this was definitely nothing to be alarmed about.

It wasn't pretty when Dani saw last night's dinner for a second time, and after a few flushes, her arms still hugged and clung on to that toilet just incase she actually had anything left in that stomach of hers. She could hear laughter and voices when people finally began to wake and shower, but Dani didn't move all the while as she claimed her spot there in the corner stall. It wasn't until the noises and footsteps became nonexistent that Danielle finally decided that she had nothing left to give that toilet that had seen her at her worst. With another loud groan, the blonde pushed herself up from the floor and her bare feet carried her back to her bed.

Dani had to rush herself; no one was ever late for breakfast. Especially in knowing they wouldn't be fed again until late afternoon. Quickly, she changed out of those shorts and sweater, and into her flight suit. The zipper caught her index finger a little, and Dani swore out under her breath while she stumbled back out the door while putting her shoes on at the same time. Brushing her teeth and pulling her long hair up into a ponytail was all she really needed to get ready. Why would she care about what she looked like? So, she could care less when she finally graced the Mess Hall with her presence.

She couldn't even look at the food, nor did she want to fill her stomach with it again, especially if it was the cause of her sickness. So, it didn't take long to find where she wanted to sit. Finding a small opening right between Lucy and Patrick, Dani invited herself to squeeze right in between them on the bench to the table.

"Anyone drinking this? Good." She said right away without really waiting for an answer, and she reached for that unclaimed cup of coffee on the table. "Oh, good morning." Her lips smirked over the rim of the cup, looking back at her friends across the table to let them resume in whatever morning conversation was going on.

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#, as written by Jag
The breaker trip clanking noise that had come with the morning barrack lights came again over the murmur and sometimes dull roar of the conversations in the mess, this time changing the normal white lights for a low red that pulsated slightly as if the walls of Triton Station themselves took deep breaths of the recycled air. The audible alarm accompanying the lights was a low warble rather than any sort of high-pitched scream or shrill sound.

The same data panels that aligned many of the walls in the barracks, mess, and corridors of the station began to display specific orders. Some would be completely shocked by such an alarm, but most of the experience cadets had learned that it was simply a spurring for the cadets to get to their schedule routines for the day, a sort of training mechanism to get them all accustom to moving on a moment’s notice.

Aiden and Cielo had just come out of the serving line when the alarm sounded. Groaning with irritation, Aiden immediate set down the two trays he’d been carrying and shove a few bites in his mouth, knowing that he wouldn’t have much of a chance for anything else other than a protein supplement for a while during the training exercises. Stuffing a packaged supplement in the pocket of his jacket, the older cadet shook his head and started to make his way for the door, stopping by the table that had been carved out by Echo Company and dropping the supplement in Patrick’s lap.

“Okay Air Wing, let’s go pick up the slack for these knuckle-draggers and let them hit the books,” he said with a teasing smirk. Pilots had the glamour position and weren’t afraid to put that very fact on display.

NOTE: All cadets involved in the Air Wing either as a pilot or with a definite/desired role in that should report to that point. Otherwise, feel free to create your own story and plot points. If you need any help or desire some NPC interaction, let me know what you need and I’ll make it happen. Carry on.

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#, as written by Cynique
The day wasn't going to be so bad after all. It seemed like that thought had been broken as she felt someone squish in next to her and steal her coffee. Lucy scowled "That was mine Clemmons," She muttered looking at Danielle then down at the coffee mug. She didn't like people touching her food that much, especially her morning caffeine fix. Oh well, it was a write off now, she'd have to get a new cup later.

Lucy had had her ups and downs with Danielle, outside of training they got along alright, but inside they were a bit of a conflicting force with their personalities. As the walls pulsed red she was reminded of the training exercises coming up, the hum of the alarm just reminding her more of the daily routine of life at the station.

Routine was a bit of a comfort to Lucy, she still liked the adventure that came with being a cadet but at the end of the day she liked the fact that she was always on a schedule. You had to find happiness in the small things.

Getting up she grabbed her breakfast tray and Data pad, "Well i've got flight training to help direct," She said with a small wave, "I'll see you guys later," waiting in line and depositing her tray in a metal tub with other dishes, Lucy made her way to the flight wing to give her briefing.

Briefings were usually fairly simple. Give a basic outline of what was to be expected and recommend tactical formations, the rest would be presented via headset during the sim while she sat in the control tower watching and analyzing the situation with a few of the other intelligence ACATS and a teacher or two.

Stepping into the Flight Wing Lucy surveyed the other cadets trickling in and sorting into their companies. It was a fairly large group today considering there were both older and younger flight ACATS. Taking her stance at the front of the group she pulled out her Data Pad as she waited for everyone from the company to arrive. She'd just look over a few notes while she waited. And that was the moment nothing but fuzz and static appeared on the screen and Lucy swore very loudly.

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#, as written by Jag
“Is there a problem, Specialist Caspian?”

Lt. Cmdr. Kaito Narita stood with his hands clasped behind his back and a rigid posture that came from years of unbreakable training in both harsh social standing hammered by the long history of his people and then the military career that had shaped the man’s life beyond the formative years. His voice, as usual, carried cold neutrality as he addressed the Intelligence ACAT.

The Echo Company supervising officer wasn’t the type to rally the troops around his lead, give speeches, and attempt to inspire and motivation the cadets under his command. He was a silent shadow in the background of their lives, appearing to seldom offer anything but a stern criticism or reprimand. He was of the school of thought where good performance was expected and therefore didn’t warrant praise.

“When this operation and your academic duties are completed, report to my quarters.”

Having delivered his message, he made his way with military efficiency to where the pilots were beginning to prepare for their drills. Finding Danielle Clemmons, Kaito made a short stop by her with an acknowledging nod of the young woman.

“My respected fellow officers have assured me that they will instruct their cadets to take a more leisurely pace to today’s maneuvers in order to allow Echo a more graceful defeat,” he said as if he were delivering her class schedule. Turning away from the girl without allowing a response, the man fought the urge to break into a hint of smile. That was all the motivation his pilots would need.

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Desmond had leaned his chair back when the white lights had changed to red, and a loud noise sounded, resulting in him falling backwards, onto the floor. His head slammed against the concrete and steel flooring, sparking starts that danced in front of his eyes for a few moments. As his vision cleared, he noticed Lucy running off. "L-Lucy," he called out to her, wanting to tell her something, something that would probably have made him blush and feel stupid for saying such a thing. Unfortunately, she had already left the mess hall, and he had to pick himself up off the floor. "Ow," he whispered, rubbing the back of his head slowly, "I hope I'm not concussed." He gripped the back of his head slightly, and began to prod it. "Ow," he winced, feeling only a bump in the back of his head, "Better check with doctor whats-his-name, to make sure its nothing serious," he looked up at the lights, and thought better of it.

Moving off towards the exit, he turned back and called out to his table, "Oi! Get your asses in gear people, we got a lot to do today." Pushing open the door, he breathed in deeply, and began to gag. "Ack," he gagged on the sudden stench, "Who farted?" He heard laughter coming off from his left. Turning to see who it was that was laughing, he spotted a dark haired male. Growling softly, he made a mental note of the male, and marked him as one for blanks, instead of live rounds for the next War Games. Holding his breath, he charged the group, making them scatter as he charged into his self defense class.

Gasping softly, Desmond took deep breaths of recycled air, swearing softly as he remembered that all air was recycled, including the male's farts. "Hatred," he said to himself. Looking up, he saw that he was among the first half dozen to arrive, and noted that a few of them were looking at him, including the gunnery sergeant in charge. Feeling heat rising to his cheeks, he quickly composed himself, saying, "Aiyo, Gunnery Sergeant, hows life treating you?" He ducked quickly as a large medicine ball flew at his head. "Good," he heard the Gunnery Sergeant say, "Your reflexes have improved. Now get in line and wait for everyone to show up."

"Yes Gunnery Sergeant," he started to salute him with a fist to chest salute, but switched to the hand over the brow quickly. "Need to stop doing that, Desmond," he whispered as he took his place in line.

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#, as written by Cynique
She swiveled quickly as she heard a voice behind her, if she was startled it didn't show on her face, "No sir, just some technical difficulties," She replied quickly her brain working a mile a minute on an excuse and the situation at hand.

Lucy had already accepted long ago that Echos supervisor was some sort of advanced robot or ninja constantly hiding in the shadows to give critique. It was with that speculation she was constantly kept on her toes, and like in a chess game, always a few moves ahead. Like her dads motto had said, "When in doubt, keep your ass covered.'

Wait, did he just say to report to his office later? "Yes sir," She said the serious expression on her face not changing to one of puzzlement until he was gone. No time to think about that she had to move back to the situation at hand.

Lucy was peeved. Who had done this to her Data Pad? She knew that it wasn't technical difficulties. No, it seemed like some sort of magnetic interference had happened. But everything on Triton that was magnetic was carefully kept out of the way to prevent electronic malfunctions from happening, what with the the highly sensitive equipment around. That means someone must have done it. But who? Wait a second, wasn't it Marc who was looking so suspicious while she was talking about her data pad earlier? That was it, he was going to get it later. She had to figure out what she was going to do now though. Oh joy.

Okay, todays exercise was just a basic one, as a refresher for the old ACATS and a crash course for the new ones, right? Looking down at the static appearing on the Data Pads screen she knew she had gotten lucky. She had seen this exercise done back when she was just observing as a first year in Intelligence and could remember bits and pieces of it. Hopefully it would be enough to get her through the briefing. Looking at the crowd of assembling Echo members then at the others gathering around their respective companies she decided waiting a few more minutes before she got the show rolling. There were still a few missing.

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#, as written by Tsuyoku
The alarm was a reminder that on Triton Station your here for war but after awhile it just sounds like school bells telling you to get to class. Marc blinked rapidly as the lights flashed red, he still wasn't use to it. The cadets in the mess hall were filing out, marching off to their classes. Marc watched Lucy go by, his eyes looking down at her Data Pad smiling his goofy grin. He'd always wondered what she did with the pad, not that he would ever steal it from her. If anyone could get furious with him it was Lucy. Marc stretched out, got up and said a soft good bye to everyone else on the table and walked away. Because Marc was part of the Special Ops Team he didn't really interact with other cadets besides his team and the Intelligence, so naturally he walked slow and alone toward the Construction Yard. He liked the peace and quiet the walk let him have, for it was kind of rare for such things to happen. Since most of the Engineering cadets were in classes the Construction Yard was relatively empty. Marc looked about the area, and smiled at the feeling he got when he was here.

The Construction Yard was the place where cadets were allowed to create devices, systems, and anything of the sort. It was the second largest place in the Station, the other place being the War Room of course. The area was filled with tools, robots, half finished flight crafts and lots of metal. It was quite crowded with things most people would say was junk but Marc saw it as lovely area of ideas. I mean where else will creativity thrive but in the minds of young ones? Marc walked over to the closest work bench near the enterance and pulled out his MUT. He blinked as he felt the jerked meat Desmond gave him in his pocket, remembering he'd put it in there. Marc frowned a bit as he remembered he forgot to say thank you. Marc suddenly grinned as he thought of a way to say thank you. He took a bite of the jerky and began his task. After awhile, Marc had a nice set of stuff for Desmond, Lucy and some others. He had made a small containment box for Desmond, a music box for Lucy, a enhanced sighting scope for Jack, a little robot dog for Patrick, and a metal picture frame for Cielo. He'll make more things later but for now this would do. He smiled a bright and prideful smile, gathering everything into the containment box.

Marc walked out of the Construction Yard with the box in his hands and made for the Intelligence wing, ready for another day in behind enemy lines simulations and Intel exercises. Life is grand isn't it?

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#, as written by Jag
Looking straight ahead, Patrick squinted and did his best to concentrate on the flickering screen at the front of the room projecting the information against the front wall. The current lesson was a diagram on the latest Zero-G combat suits that were to be used in aboard-ship fighting, either offensive infiltration or defensive placement, with the ship’s native gravity well generator offline. No matter what the young man tried to do – pinching himself in the leg, taking deeper breaths, even focusing on the micro details of the instructor at the front of the room—seemed to break him from the need to focus elsewhere. This was normally not a problem for Vallens.

Reaching a hand up to touch his head, the young man was suddenly aware that he was sweating. The temperature controls for the station seemed to be functioning normally, but Patrick double tapped the datapad built into his classroom work station just to make sure. Yes. 72 degrees, the same temperature it had been for over a year now. Still, another drop of sweat beaded down his forehead as his vision began to blur.

It was then that Patrick Vallens quickly pulled himself out of his seat and headed for the door of the room, apparently ill. The instructor made no motion to stop or point attention to him. That was the second cadet today, the instructor noted, making a personal notch to have a speak with her commanders.

Heading down the corridor with quick and slightly staggering steps, Patrick passed through two hatchways and eventually reached the staging area for The Sphere, the main holographic dome at the “top” of Triton Station that was used for everything from major war games to simple firing range simulations. It was there that Patrick knew he would find Kyle Ryan Larkins.

Vallens, a second-year-plebe, was a good deal younger and smaller than the seventeen-year-old infantry ACAT, but he had aggression and the element of surprise on his side as his stagger turned into a charging rush as he tackled the unsuspecting Larkins from behind and began to levy a fury of blows at the head of his senior company brother.

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Desmond watched as the Gunnery Sergeant began to mark off some missing cadets, and didn't raise his voice to ask where they were. This had surprised him, as well as several others, but all did not wish to voice their concerns. Before he could open his mouth to request permission to ask a question, the Sergeant began barking orders, pairing people off. He was given a first year Plebe as a partner, a girl named Sara Cloe, who blushed furiously. Staring at her intently, he took in her figure and sighed, "Five feet eight inches, roughly 135 pounds, B-cup sized chest, lean muscles do to dancing and possibly fencing." Sara's eyes widened to the size of saucers, and she stared at him, mouth agape a little. "How..." she tried to speak when the Sergeant walked by and said, "Desmond, you are to establish her skills in Hand to Hand Combat. Sara, you are to try and take Desmond down as fast as you can. Ready?" He didn't bother to wait for their response, and said, "Begin."

She charged him then, but was immediately tripped by Desmond, who then spun and chopped at her back with the side of his hand. She fell hard onto the padded floor, and slowly rose to her feet, shaking with embarrassment. She charged him several more times, taking note of the bored expression on his face, and the glazed look in his eyes, as though he were someplace else. This made her furious, and lashed out with a fury of blows she had learned from home. He still had a bored expression on his face, but his eyes were no longer glazed over. Instead, a look of utter disgust and hatred appeared, as he blocked each blow with relative ease. Wanting to end this charade, he balled both fists, and began to fight back.

Sara's defenses quickly melted under the powerful blows of him. She brought up her arms to block one such blow to her face, and heard something break in her arm. After what seemed to be an eternity, he finally slammed his fist into her gut, making her throw up onto the padded floor, and collapsed in a dead faint in his arms. "Oops," was all he said to the Sergeant, and purposely strode out of the training area, not caring for the calls for his return. He kept walking until he was finally at his ammunition's department, just under the Sphere. It is there that he began to shake and sweat uncontrollably, and wondered what was happening to him.

"I've never felt so much anger before," he whispered silently to the arrays of ammunition before him, "Not even with my bout with the Alphas. Whats going on?" He stayed in the department for a while longer, before his brain finally took over, and sent him on a trip down Memory Lane.

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#, as written by Jag
“All right little nuggets,” Aiden said as he climbed onto the short rolling ladder used to ferry pilots up to the cockpit of the Chiron-class fighters and other crafts that were launched out of the bay, helmet dangling from his left hand while the other extended over the crowd of young pilots, “gather round. Time for a quick little story.”

“This one is a happy little tale,” he said, knowing that his helmet transmitter was switched “ON” and would continue to broadcast constantly to Lucy and whoever else would be listening back in Command Control. His voice, however, quickly changed to an angry bark from his pedestal, “it about the nugget that got himself killed because he didn’t know the frakking difference between vertical and horizontal stabilizers. Stay sharp out there, boys and girls. For some of you, this will be your first time in a real Chiron-class fighter.

“I know that some of you are already certified to pilot the Galen-class utility crafts, but being a Chiron jockey is a completely different story. Galens are the cattle of the Fleet,” he said, drawing a few chuckles from the older pilots and those that weren’t completely shocked to see the sudden and drastic change from a class clown to a hardened leader in the form of Aiden Morrow, “but Chirons are the wolves.”

A few flight deck technicians offered a handful of signals, after which each of the pilots were escorted to their respective fighters. Although Chiron fighters were capable of using their vertical thrusters for standard takeoffs, the preferred method of launching the fast-attack and patrol crafts was to launch them out of tubes that rifled the fighters like bullets into space. The first time that Aiden had been in such a launch, he’d vomited all over the control panel of his Chiron.

Pulling the flight helmet over his head, he clicked over the com to burst transmission and selected the frequency for the station that had been assigned to Lucy Caspian for the exercise.

“Didn’t scare ‘em too bad, did I?” He asked with a grin behind the plated mask that sealed into his flight suit with a suction and clasp.

“Okay, we are all yours, Specialist,” Aiden finished before finishing his last pre-flight check and settling into the cramped cockpit of the Chiron as the canopy sealed around him. Immediately, the man was at peace – born to fly.

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“No, no! Throw into the frakking turn! I swear I’d think you’ve never driven anything other than a tractor,” Aiden growled into his helmet’s comlink at one of the newer pilots that missed another run at the target. The drill called for hit the afterburners and then throw the fighter into a complete 180 to attack the drone from behind. No live ammunition was being used on the drill, just targeting “painting” lasers that the computer drones would record the accuracy from each of the ships.

Aiden was obviously irritated, more so than normal for his personality on any given day. Reaching up, his hand tapped against the glass of the restrictive flight helmet, unable to wipe away some of the sweat from his face. Higher temperatures were nothing inside the flight suits of the flying rockets that were Chiron fighters, but it was definitely getting to Morrow more than usual.

“You alright, man?” One of the voices spoke into his ear. Aiden wasn’t even sure who was speaking.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m fine. Let’s get back to this,” he said, leaning his own Chiron into a slow looping turning before tapping up the display on his own targeting computer.

“This is Echo One, beginning Maneuver Pattern Omaha, starting…” he stopped, voice trailing off for a moment as the young man squinted to make out the coordinates on the HUD projected before him, “…Vector 9.8…4. Let’s just get this done, guys.”

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As Lucy climbed the narrow stairs to the control tower with the other Intelligence specialists her hand tightly grasped onto the metal railing, the metal clanking of her footsteps stopping for a moment. There was a heavy pounding in the back of her head and the sudden appearance of it had thrown her off balance, "Hey, keep it moving," Said the voice of one of the other Intels behind her. "Oh can it," She muttered in reply steadying herself and moving up the stairs. She summed the headache up to the stress of the current data padless situation and decided to, like everything else, put it at the back of her priorities.

Stepping into the Control Tower Lucy felt at home in the dimly lit room with only the light of the screens and terminals to illuminate it. Sitting down at her work space she sunk into the swivel chair and picked up her headset only to catch Aidens 'happy story time,' lecture. She smirked "Nah, I think it was the right dose of fear," Lucy said with a small laugh as she turned back to her seat and set up her 3D tracking system. Fear was always a vital key in training a cadet after all. They'd all been through it at some point.

As the other Intelligence specialists set up their equipment most pulled out their data pads and began consulting their notes, "Hey Caspian, where's your Data Pad?" Asked one of the more senior Intels from Bravo. Lucy shrugged, "It's on the fritz," She said. "What'd you do to it? Nuke it?" "No, I didn't do anything," She replied slowly. She felt a bit hurt at the accusation of actually doing something to harm her Data Pad, she didn't know why but she felt more emotional that usual which was weird for her, she usually liked to keep things like this in check. "Huh, well good luck if you can do anything without it." Lucy felt a lump in her throat, that was mean. She wanted to punch him and cry all at the same time. No, she couldn't let her emotions fuel her like this. Instead she sat in her seat in silence. What was going on?

Looking down as there was a small beep, a group of blue dots representing the Echo Company appeared in a projection. Putting her frequency so everyone in the group could hear her she adjusted her headset and swallowed the lump in her throat, "Alright guys, time to get going," she said quietly as she monitored the takeoff from the screen at her terminal then from the window at the side of the Control Tower, as the void of space was dotted by the pilots taking off.

Looking back down at the projection she manipulated the image to get a better view of the flight pattern before pressing a button to begin the exercise for the group. She took a deep breath. She could do this. "This is Lucy from Intelligence," She said into the headset regaining her composure, "as for some of you, this is the first time you've piloted anything other than a bundle of wires on a sim machine so i'll be giving an idiots crash course first. The target drones your going up against aren't going to be firing anything today, you however are going to be firing lasers which might not be doing any damage but will be marked and recorded. Think laser tag people."

Watching as a few red blips started to appear on the screen she nodded her head, "Incoming drones at three o'clock and nine," she said as they approached, "Tighten up the formation guys." Watching as the exercise took place Lucy took the group through basic drills slowly taking the notches up until the drones were coming at them from all directions. Seeing them take down the enemy with relative ease she decided it was time for one of her educational lessons.

With a smirk Lucy pressed a few buttons and feigned surprise, "Uh, guys, there's something huge coming at you from two o'clock," She said watching as the radar displayed a huge shadow coming at them. She couldn't help but just about fall out of her seat laughing at the newbies reactions as they found it was nothing but a tiny target drone instead. She loved doing that. "Okay everyone, that's enough for today, wrap it up," She said into the headset before switching over to Aidens frequency, "Hey, you doing okay?" She asked, "You seem a lot more stressed than usual," It made her a bit worried seeing him like this, it wasn't usual for him to be this irked.

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Jack left breakfast without really saying much more to anyone else. Even he was usually more talkative than what he was that morning, but he was feeling somewhat sick so he let the thought slip his mind. His two classes for the day, advanced combatives and movement tactics weren't for a while, with combatives right before lunch and tacticts right after, so he had some time to himself. Feeling somewhat bored, he decided to just got for a run. While it wouldn't help his boredom at all, running seven or eight miles would at least give him something to do to pass the time before class.

Within twenty minutes, Jack found himself changed and at the track, roughly a quarter mile around. A quick stretch had him running, and he couldn't help but go over what had occurred at breakfast that morning. Contraband wasn't anything new at the academy, that was for sure. In his time there Jack had taken advantage of every bit of contraband he could get his hands on, so when this supply came in he'd certainly take a share. It was how he got his first taste of alcohol, a memory he treasured. Since he'd drank more than once. On every trip he's taken to Earth or to other stations he'd found a way to get some drink or smoke. The infantry guys were almost split down the middle as far as character types went. You had the 'no mistakes no nothing' type, and then you had the laid back, 'our career is going to kill us anyway, so we might as well' type. Jack ultimately found himself in the second group, though he did draw a line when it needed to be drawn. A crate full of chocolate and goodies wasn't anything to worry about.

The footsteps of an incoming runner brought him out of his head, and he turned to his left to see a girl running next to him. There weren't many people on the track, considering most were in class, but it was rare to have the track to yourself, so the fact that another runner was beside him was hardly surprising. It was something else. The girl, something about it. The way she moved, the way her athletic clothes seemed to fit tight to her like a second skin...something wasn't particularly right. The way her breasts, though certainly held firm in a sports bra, seemed to bounce, the power she exhibited from her legs...it was only when he noticed her glaring at him in confusion that he realized he had been staring at her. He quickly apologized and ran off the track towards the locker room. His stomach still had yet to rid itself of its feeling of sickness, so he figured he'd screw the run and just go lie down until class.

At first, Jack thought he would take his time in the shower, hoping that the hot water would help him feel a little better, but that wasn't the case. Not a few minutes after he was in there, a girl walked in, and once again, as before on the track, his eyes floated to her breasts, but this time he left before she even noticed his glances. As he walked by the bathroom he felt a sudden urge to vomit, and that he did, luckily into the toilets he just happened to be walking by. Mostly it was just dry heaves, considering he ate only enough to sustain himself. Wiping his moth, Jack got to his feet and walked out of the bathroom.

"Not feeling well?" The girl, just as naked as she was a few minutes ago in the shower, stood in front of him.

"Oh, no. With the shit they feed us I'm surprised anyone does," Jack smiled, and she laughed. He waved to her and walked out of the locker room and decided to head for the company bay. Usually when one vomited one felt better, but this wasn't the case. He felt just as nauseous as he did before. Not being the type to go to sick call, Jack figured he would just lay down for a while and be ready to go to class. With that thought in mind, he found his way back to the bay, undressed into just his underwear for comfort, and crawled into bed, planning on just riding this one out. His only thought was that he had been eating less than he usually did lately, and it was finally catching up to him, and that as a remedy he would eat more from then on, but for the time being he was just going to lie there and hoped the nausea went away.

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The vibrations of the afterburners shaking the fuselage of the Chiron fighter suddenly came to an abrupt stop as Aiden engaged only his port thrusters, throwing the craft into a complete 180 turn before engaging the main engine again. The move was disorienting even for the best pilots, but when performed properly it put the fighter on the backside of its target with almost no warning with the ability to score some quick hits. Laying into the trigger on the stick between his legs, Morrow watched the optical lasers dance as they struck the sensors plating the engines of the Galen-class utility craft serving as their drone target.

“Uh, guys, there’s something huge coming at you from two o’clock,” the static burst transmission of Lucy’s voice reverberated in his headset.

Immediately, Aiden’s head shot down to the display to his right. “Radar contact! Bearing 4.52, Vector 6.0,” he barked into the comlink before throwing himself into another 180-degree spin turn to face the direction, about to call out a number of formation commands to get himself and the rest of the cadets out of harm’s way of whatever was coming into the…

The sight of a single training drone sailing lazily into view stopped all action and speech dead in its tracks. Luckily, Aiden released the TRANSMIT button on his comlink before bellowing a long, distinguished and impressive list of expletives into the cockpit before finally regaining his composure. Eventually, they were all called back.

“Roger that, Echo Intel,” he said, punching up the commands for the automated landing sequence. His own tracking computer back to talk with the central landing bay server on Triton Station, coordinating the approached of the various fighters and displaying the order in which they would be touching down on the craft.

”Hey, you doing okay?” Lucy’s voice, this time a little clearer without all the confused com traffic of before, spoke to him as he waited, the last pilot to land. ”You seem a lot more stressed than usual.”

“Why don’t you mind your own business and just do your frakking job?” The moment that the words, dripping with malice, poured out of the cadet’s mouth, he immediately regretted them.

“…Sorry. Just a little…irritated today. Don’t worry about it. We’ll catch up later. This is Echo Flight Lead, beginning automated landing sequence. All other birds clear the line…” His voice trailed off as he broadcasted on the main frequency to bring his own bird in.

----------------------------------------------------

Making his usual rounds through the ship, Kaito Narita didn’t need to walk far to hear about some of the issues that were already facing his Echo Company as the day moved on. He had a number of stops to make and a number of issues that needed to be immediately addressed before things got out of hand. The cadets under no circumstances to be made known that some of their chemical substances were no longer being forced into the food and water supply, but Narita held the secret knowledge that this, if nothing else, was far too close of a situation to be a simple coincidence.

Spotting a less-than-composed Desmond, Kaito quickly reached out and grabbed the cadet by the upper arm to steady and stop the body, waiting for him to recognize the uniform of the field officer and render the proper attention and honors.

“Insubordination, Cadet Sorrows, will not be tolerated.” Narita seemed to know everything almost immediately after it happened. “You have ten seconds to explain yourself.”

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As Desmond felt someone jar him from his memories, intense anger and hatred filled his mind to the point of him starting to shake uncontrollably. "Hatred," he whispered, balling his fists to lash out at the one who dared to jar him from his memories. Memories of a happier time, back on earth. Memories of his childhood, and his old friends, who, by now, have probably forgotten all about him. Hot tears spilled unnoticed down his cheeks, as he raised his balled fist and swung at the person. He stopped suddenly, and felt terror enter his chest as he saw who it was. 'Oh shit,' he thought as he paled, and instantly regretted having raised his fist against him.

"Um... sorry," was all he could say, as he tried to compose himself, but ultimately failed. Hearing Lt. Cmdr. Kaito's question, he whispered, "I was given orders to asses a new Plebe's abilities, and over did it. I broke both her arms, a couple ribs, bruised her left collar bone, and knocked her out by punching her gut, hard."

Desmond felt his body shake less and less with every other breath he took, but he also felt weaker, tired. His mind was becoming "loopy", as the term was. Hearing soft drips onto the floor, he looked down, and saw several spots in the dust beneath his feet. "Theres a leak somewhere, sir. Need an engineer to look at it." His knees suddenly buckled, and he began to collapse to the ground. "Your drunk," he whispered at himself, "Admit it." In a louder voice, he said, "No I'm not. I haven't had any alcohol for... When was it? Four, five months ago? It was when we had that Captain look after us when Narita went away for a while. Boy was he pissed when he got back," his body shook in silent laughter.

"Yes, I remember," he whispered once more, "I also remember that same Captain reprimanded in front of the entire squad, then transferred off the station." In a louder voice, he responded with, "Not my fault... Well, maybe a little. Anyways, people should just mind their own business, and not go poking their noses where it doesn't belong. Especially when someone has..." His voice trailed off as he looked up. "Hiya LT. I'd give you a salute, but its getting quite dark in here. Must be time for bed, I guess." He faked a yawn, even though he was actually tired, "I think I'll go to sleep now. Nighty night LT, see you in a few hours." With that, his eyes glazed over, and he slumped to the floor in a dead feint.

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#, as written by Tsuyoku
The walk away from the Yard wasn't as great as it was going towards it. Nearly every corridor Marc passed was empty, a few cadets scattered here and there but it was still strange. Usually during this time of day the corridors would be bursting with cadets walking towards their classes and exercises but there was hardly anyone now. Marc's smile shrunk with every corridor he passed, 'Where was everyone? What’s happening?' The engineer's thoughts were swarming, he couldn't think straight. He continued to walk but it became a stagger.

After awhile he couldn't even stand up as he collapsed in the intersection of the main corridor and the Medical wing. Suddenly sound erupted with echoing pain. Down the whole Medical wing cadets were everywhere, throwing up, crying and any other sort of emotional breakdowns. Marc eyes widened at the displays of emotions that were down the corridor. Everything was messed up, there was a large throbbing sensation in his head and a large amount of the Station’s population appeared to have breakdown. Marc sat up and leaned his back against the corridor.

He had mini headaches many times today, in the mess hall and the Yard but he had shrugged them off, this one however was painful and unbearable. The room around him was spinning, millions of little lights filled his sight and he suddenly found himself on the floor again. The last thing Marc saw was the white lights above him turn red before darkness narrowed his vision and took him in to it’s embrace.

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#, as written by Cynique
"Why don't you mind your own business and just do your frakking job?" Aidens words stung Lucy as she heard them. She knew this was the point where she was supposed to retort with some sort of sarcastic comment but with the emotional state she was in it was felt like a ton of bricks had hit her. "I was just..." Her voice trailed off as she felt the lump in her throat appear again just as fast as it had appeared earlier.

"Yeah, sure, whatever." She said quietly taking off her headset and beginning to shut off all of her equipment. She knew that the apology was sincere but she still felt hurt. Looking down the data pad on her desk she saw the static beginning to dissipate and the screen begin to clear as she wiped her watery eyes. "Great, now you start working..." She muttered making sure to turn it off too.

As Lucy checked off that all of her equipment was in order and she had followed standard protocol she tucked her Data pad under her arm and quickly left the control tower. She didn't want to stick around for any small talk with the other Intels, she just wanted to get out of there.

She didn't know what was going on. This wasn't who she was. She wasn't some angsty teen who's feelings got hurt by the slightest comment. No, she was Lucy Caspian, a second year ACAT with brains and sarcasm to boot. So why was she acting like some average overly hormonal girl? It wasn't her time of the month, she knew that much. Chemical imbalance? Screw it, she just wanted some lunch. And there she went again.

Grabbing a tray in the Mess Hall Lucy quickly made it through the line of only a few cadets and got herself a sandwich and some fries. It seemed like she had gotten out a bit early so she had her pick of seating with only a few other people spread out at different tables. Noticing the table that Patrick had dismantled earlier all neatly put back in place she smirked and put her tray down on it and sat down. Fiddling with her now back to normal Data Pad and eating a few fries she sighed. She was beginning to feel a bit better. The headache was a little less intense too.

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Jack rested in bed for what felt like an eternity, but was only a few hours, and he realized he had slept through class. It wasn’t that big of a deal. He had high marks in the class anyway, and rarely missed. It was about time for lunch, and while he was still feeling rather bad, resting like he had certainly helped him to feel better, good enough to eat at least, and he knew that he needed to eat, despite the fact that he’d likely end up throwing it up later. He needed to get something into his stomach. Jack got up from his bed and threw on his uniform, not really paying attention to whether or not it was perfect. He intended to get lunch then come back to bed, anyway. Interestingly enough, Jack was not the only one in the bay. Many of the beds in their company area were full with cadets laying in them, also looking in some kind of pain. Jack walked over to the closest one to him and felt his head, happy to find that, like him, the kid was feverless. Just sick.

Rubbing his head as he left, Jack walked slowly towards the mess hall. The halls were surprisingly quiet. He peeked his head into another company’s bay to confirm his theory, and yes, there were quite a few people lying in their beds, sick. So at least it wasn’t just Echo. It had to be something in the food. That was the only thing that tied all these people together, at least the only thing that truly made sense. Could someone be poisoning the cadets? An act of war? That would make quite a bit of sense. If you took out all the replacement officers, the war would end much quicker.

But if it was poison, they’d be dead, not just irritable and uncomfortable. That is, unless maybe in the processing of the food the poison was just diluted to a point where it could no longer kill them, or maybe not enough of it was used in the first place. That didn’t make any sense though, either, because the amount of planning that would have been necessary to poison the academy would have been extreme, so there’s no way they would have not used enough poison. It was possible that these were just early symptoms, but that didn’t seem likely either. The other option was that it was done on purpose, more to send a message than to kill anyone, to tell the military that “we could if we wanted too,” in a way.

When he entered the mess hall Jack quickly got his food and started to look for a table. The mess hall was fairly empty, which from what jack saw didn’t really surprise him, but at the same time he was somewhat early so this wasn’t entirely unexpected. He noticed Lucy sitting by herself and decided to join her. “Afternoon, Lucy,” he said while pulling his chair up. “Have you noticed anything odd about this place today?” It was at this point that something entirely unexpected happened. He noticed something about her, something he had never really noticed before. She had curves. Her skin looked so soft, so inviting. A subtle feeling of yearning, of want, of desire, swelled up within him, but he couldn’t name exactly what it was.

Turning his head away to keep from staring, he pretended he was just stretching his neck with his hand. It all was beginning to make sense. What he was feeling was attraction, or, better put, lust. It was extremely subtle at the moment, but it was still something, something he could not remember ever having before. Maybe that’s why he could feel it, despite how small the feeling was, because it was something new. Why would this be happening? Looking down at his food, he tried to figure it out. It didn’t make any sense, none of this did. Turning his attention back to Lucy, Jack wondered whether or not he should share this theory with her. He certainly would be approaching the commander later, formally of course, and ask him if he knew anything about what was going on, but for now he wondered whether or not he should talk to Lucy about this. “Do you, well, feel any different?” Maybe this was just all in his head, he hoped so at least. The mere thought of being able to feel like this was both exciting and terrifying. Maybe Lucy could shine some light on the situation. He had been in his bed all morning, so it was possible that she knew something which he did not.

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#, as written by Cynique
Lucy was happy as she typed away on her data pad. It was good it was back to normal. She still had to decide what she'd do with Marc for messing with it though. Looking up momentarily as she noticed Jack approach she waved before looking back down, absorbed in trying to get the report done for the flight mission. "Hey," she said as she continued typing.

"Odd?" Lucy raised an eyebrow looking up from the Data Pad, studying Jack as he stretched. She thought for a moment. "Yeah, there's been a few abnormalities around here today," She said setting her Data Pad down and resting her head in the palm of her hand as she thought some more. "Everyone seems.... sort of moody today?" It definitely seemed like it to her. She had even heard a few of the other Intels complaining about headaches earlier. Was there somehow a connection in all of this?

Lucy's mind raced a minute as she tried to make connections with everything. There were a few options to look at. The flu, a biohazard, for all they knew the military was testing some new experiment on them. None of it added up though. She'd have to run a few tests on people to have conclusive findings. Or she could just go and talk to one of the staff later. It was definitely easier than getting everyone on the station to give blood samples and pee in a cup.

She frowned for a moment as Jack asked if she felt any different, she knew she definitely didn't feel normal. She didn't really want to admit it though, after all what would everyone think if they knew she wasn't the usual put together person she normally was? She knew if she wanted to figure any of this out she'd have to cough it up though. "Yeah," She said staring down at the table for a moment before looking back up at him, "Just more emotional and things. At times it's like I can't even think at all."

She contemplated everything for a moment. "Maybe we should go see Commander Narita later?" She said nodding her head. "So how've you been feeling?" She asked.

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#, as written by Jag
Narita has his hands full over the next few hours dealing with a number of issues that had led to a major breakdown within the structure of Echo Company. Isolated incidents throughout the crew and cadets of the station were beginning to spread and it wasn’t singularly located within his unit, either. The infirmary staff had its hands full. Sitting back in the rigid chair behind the desk in the office that doubled as his sleeping quarters, Lt. Cmdr. Kaito Narita reviewed the reports.

Marc Larsen, an 18-year-old Combat Engineer ACAT, had collapsed and due to a number of internal and life-threatening injuries, had been transferred to a civilian facility back on the surface

Kyle Ryan Larkins, a 17-year-old Infantry ACAT, was suffering from a number of facial wounds after an unprovoked assault by one of the young members of the Company and would be out of commission for some time. Narita noted that Larkins name had already been put on report and was due for reevaluation and potential ejection soon.

Desmond Sorrows, a freshly-minted 16-year-old Demolitions ACAT, was recovery from heat exhaustion in the Infirmary after going berserk during a combat training exercise and severely injuring a member of Bravo Company.

Patrick Vallens, a 15-year-old plebe, was in a holding cell after assaulting Larkins. Although he exhibited some of the same heat exhaustion and other signs present in Sorrows, he had obviously not been as deeply affected and required no medical attention.

Leaning back in the chair and rubbing his temples slightly, Narita lifted his head and glimpsed at the officer’s sword against the wall. Things had been simpler then.

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Aiden Morrow came up gasping for air after dunking himself into the ice cold water of a sink in the head of Echo Barracks. He was feeling fine now, attributing his anger earlier to a glitch in the atmospheric controls of his flight suit and the inexperience and poor performance by the younger pilots over whom he was supposed to exert some form of control and responsibility. Dressed in the casual fatigues worn by cadets when they couldn’t slice by the dress code with as little as possible, Morrow toweled off his face and made a note to approach Caspian later about their confrontation during the exercise – one that every member of the Air Wing and Command had heard through the wirless.

It wouldn’t be hard to find the girl – she slept directly above Morrow’s own bunk.

For now, however, the 19-year-old pilot had other designs. Making his way down the corridor and across another causeway hatch, Morrow entered the infirmary and checked with the staff at the front. The place was normally home to a number of small injuries from training exercises, but this was an illness unlike any other that seemed to be sweeping over the station.

Find the right bed, Morrow eventually made his way over and pulled a visitor’s chair up next to the bed were Desmond Sorrows was laying, sitting in the chair backwards and lightly slapping the young ACAT on the side of the head.

“You know that you’re an idiot, right,” he said with a smirk.

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"How much wood could a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?" Came a voice from a portable monitor. Desmond sat in front of the small eight inch monitor, a headset over his ears, and a mic above his mouth. The monitor was plugged into the station's communications network, along with an encrypted program that had kept the techs from finding out about his secretive "phone call", as he had put it. He never questioned how the monitor tapped into the communication's network, only wanted it to work, and payed one of his contraband clients very well to place it there, and keep his silence. Life became much easier now that he had a way to contact his relatives down on Earth. It also became easier to negotiate products and items with his relatives and lawyers. Contraband didn't come cheap, and it was coming out of his inheritance. Oh, he was getting paid alright, but that money was being saved in a separate bank account. One that he trusted more than the one his brother and lawyers know about.

At first, the products were small. A chocolate bar, a banana, a couple of small steaks. After a while, and him hiring a well paid lawyer, he was soon able to order up a crate filled with fresh produce, vacuumed sealed meats, water, books, and many more. 'Ah,' he smiled to himself, 'How my life has gotten better since then.' Looking back, he knew it would have been next to impossible to try and get anything sent up here unnoticed. 'Its a good thing my brother has those guards in his back pocket, else this would never have worked out so smoothly.' Nodding once, his smile became a grin, 'Yup, life has gotten better.'

"None," he said into the mic, "Woodchuck is another name for a beaver, and beavers have been extinct since 2043." Desmond listened for the voice on the other end to reply, and when it did, he couldn't help, but grin even more. "Smart ass," came a baritone voice, marking it as his brother's.

"Hello Sorrows," he said to his brother, "How goes the next shipment? Any problems?" When he heard his brother's reply of "No" he went on to asking after the family. "Desmond, Kris is expecting sometime next month, a girl, it seems. The whole family is excited, and rightly so. We haven't had any children born down near the farm since you were born." There was joy in his voice, but it was tinged with sorrow, "Its bad down here Desmond, but I can't talk about that right now. I'm sending up a chip for your 'girlfriend' to have a look at. It'll explain our situation more." Desmond felt his face burn, and began to reply, but was cut off when he heard shouting. "Ah hell," his brother shouted in a colorful language, then said, "Desmond, you take care of yourself, OK? We have a lot of problems down here, and its going to affect you soldiers a lot more than the higher ups think." His brother's voice sighed as though exhausted completely, "Life is going to suck worse than monkey balls, but you lot will pull through. I believe that, at least. Farewell, brother. We'll speak again two days after your shipment arrives." And with that, the line went dead, leaving Desmond to wonder what was going on.


A light slap to the right side of his head woke him from his memories of a week ago. He wanted to open his eyes, and leap out to strangle the idiot that hit him, but was too weak to do much of anything at the moment. Instead, he turned towards the voice, and, keeping his eyes closed, scowled bitterly. "And just how am I an idiot, Aiden Morrow?"

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#, as written by Jag
An angry and irritated Desmond Sorrows was better than a dead or dying one, so Aiden didn’t mind the less-than-cheerful greeting from the cadet. In fact, he would have expected nothing less from the young man. That didn’t meant that Morrow wasn’t going to continue having a good time with the younger man, however.

“Well, you see, I’m going to be in this place for a few more months, so I really don’t have the time to list all the reasons,” the pilot said with a smirk before leaning over to the side and taking a look down the length of the Infirmary. Almost every bed or examination station was filled with a cadet in one form of illness or injury. In all his years at Triton Station, Aiden couldn’t remember seeing it this crowded and chaotic.

“Anyway, we need you up and running done the double, Desmond. As of today’s clusterfuck, we’re going to lose some Echos. Starting tomorrow morning, you’re the ranking Ammo & Demo guy in the Company.” The boy was only 16 and had just barely received his own ACAT, but that didn’t change the fact that they were going to need someone if they were going to make it through the trials coming up without getting their asses handed to them in royal fashion and fall behind to the point that they’d never catch up.

“You heard what happened to Larcen, right? Frakkin’ Vallens just upped out of class and jumped him. They sent him back down surface side.”

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Patrick Vallens was scared. Truly afraid. Just a few hours before, the plebe had physically assaulted an older member of his company to the point that the boy had been sent back down to Earth for extended medical treatment. Now, the young man was sitting in a holding cell just waiting for something, anything.

Since he’d been processed into the small cell, not a single soul had been down to speak a word to him. Not their commander, not one of the Station’s staff, not a single member of Echo Company. The dizzying effects that had taken hold of him right before he launched himself onto Kyle were gone now, leaving him feeling incredibly hungry, thirsty and with a persistent headache for which the fear did nothing but make the condition worse.

The boy had no idea what to expect. He just wanted someone to tell him that it would all be all right, but how could he expect anything like that from one of his company brothers when he’d just sent one of them to the hospital with his own fists?

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Jack sat back in his chair, sighing as he did. "I'm not sure how I feel." Scratching his chin, he looked around the room. It seemed everyone was just as distraught as they were. "It's just that, on my way here I looked into a few different bays and, just like ours, there's people just laying in the beds, much like I was for a few hours." There really was no way for them to figure out what was going on. The best they could do at this point was to sit tight and hope they were given answers sooner rather than later.

"I don't think we should go see the commander. He'd tell us if he thought we needed to know, I'm sure. He wouldn't do anything to harm us, at least." Really, he was just unsure if he wanted her there when he talked to the commander. Jack was a little hesitant to tell her of his other theory, about them no longer having the chemical in their food that removed their sexual feelings. In the end, he decided too. His worry was that she would feel uncomfortable, but that hardly mattered at this point.

Jack opened his mouth to talk, closed it without saying anything, then went to talk again. He wanted to be sure whatever he said could not be misconstrued. "Okay, what I'm about to tell you may seem weird, but bare with me. You're, um, well, you're a girl." It made sense to say that, though as soon as he said it he realized that it really didn't have the same effect he hoped it would and that, in retrospect, it sounded very idiotic. "Hold on, let me put this otherwise, I am actually noticing your," again, searching for the right word, Jack paused, before finally settling on "features." That seemed like it worked better than simply letting her know that she was a girl. "Today in the shower, a girl walked in, naked, like usual, but it wasn't like usual. I felt something. Lust. So I got out of there. I'm not sure what's going on, but I feel like how Adam and Eve must have felt when they realized they were naked for the first time."

With another sigh, Jack felt a little less tense. Having said all he could say about that, he began eating. His nausea was disappearing, and he didn't really feel that bad anymore. Some food would do him good. It was a bit awkward telling Lucy that he found her attractive, but that was really the only way he could get his point across. They were both professionals, so it shouldn't cause problems, but neither of them have ever had to worry about such things before so it was unclear to him as to how she would react.

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#, as written by Cynique
"Hmm, really?" Lucy said raising an eyebrow, "Other companies, too?" It explained why even though the bell had rung the cafeteria was still nearly empty. She frowned for a moment in thought. The only thing all the cadets shared in common was breathing air and rations, so that had narrowed down her list.That meant it was either the food or whatever was in the air.

Staring down at her fries she momentarily questioned what was added to them. Vitamins, supplements, chemicals and suppressants, the list went on. Looking up as Jack said they shouldn't see their Commander a look of surprise crossed her face, "Shit, I was supposed to see him after my classes..." She muttered as she remembered his words. The routine and orderly person in her wanted to go immedietly but she was still trying to concentrate on the situation. She shrugged, "I'll bring it up with him anyways when I go see him after this," She said.

Lucy raised an eyebrow as Jack mentioned she was a girl, "And your point is?" She asked not quite getting his point. Features? She could feel her face turn red as he continued to explain. So it was lust? "Um, alright then," She said looking down at her food, still trying to wrap her head around the concept. Things like this weren't supposed to happen at Triton Academy were they? No, there was a suppressant for that in their food. And that was the moment the light bulb in Lucy's head went on.

It wasn't what they were putting in the food, it was what they weren't. "Withdrawal symptoms..." She said to herself. It all made sense. Coupled with what Jack had just said made it all add up. "They took the chemicals out of our food," She said looking at him with realization. Why would they do that though? "I'd better go see Commander Narita," She said getting up grabbing her data pad and putting her tray away before waving at him, "I'll tell you my findings later!" She called out as she took off in a quick stride.

As Lucy made her way to the Commanders office she couldn't help but think about what was happening around her. With the chemicals being out of the food now it meant she'd start feeling something soon, didn't it? She felt a bit of anxiousness creep up on her. She didn't know what it felt like to be attracted to someone. She hit puberty while at Triton so she didn't know what it meant to be a hormonal teenager. It seemed she'd know soon enough though. "I'm already mood swinging like one," She muttered to herself as she found Commander Naritas office.

Knocking on the offices door she opened it slowly, "You wanted to see me Commander?" She asked.

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Desmond's eyes cracked open, revealing the fire within them. Slowly sitting up, he swung his legs off the bed, and set his feet on the floor. "Patrick is in the Brig?" His mind whirled, and panicked just a bit. Patrick was just brought in on his scheme, and didn't want him to open his mouth about it. Standing up, a bit too fast, he nearly fell, if the bed wasn't still close at hand. "Stay here, Aiden. I need to make a call." Sauntering over to the doctor's computer, he looked about himself, searching for the doctor who normally sat there. 'Things must be as bad as Brother had said.'

With expertise that nearly rivaled Lucy's, Desmond's fingers traveled across the digital keyboard in front of the monitor. Glancing up to glare at Aiden, and make sure he stayed put, he reached under the monitor, and pulled out a headset with a mic attached to it. Placing it over his head securely, he tapped the mic and said, "Joyous, this is Sorrows, come in." Static met him, but only for a moment as a female voice greeted him. "Joyous here. What can I do for you, Sorrows?"

"I'm calling on one of two favors you still owe me," there was a grunt on the other end of the line, so he continued, "I need you to retrieve one Patrick Vallens from the Brig, and bring him to the usual spot." Static greeted him for several moments, then Joyous responded with, "Very well. I take it you want me to take him under the Sphere, correct? Where we conduct our meetings?"

"Yes Joyous, he's in on it, but only so much." A thought crossed his mind, and he couldn't help, but grin evily. "Bag him and bring him there." Laughter assaulted his ears, which made him peel the head set off him for a moment, and placed it back on. "Alright Sorrows, we'll try not to scare him too much. By the way," her tone became more serious, but filled with a tensed sadness, "Bravo has only three active squad members, including myself. Only Josh and I are the only ones left on our side that are in on your scheme." She paused to listen as he swore long and hard, "Exactly, Sorrows. We'll try and scrounge up everyone thats under you, including the 'Dunder Heads' over in Alpha."

"Ok Joyous," Desmond sighed heavily, "I'll try and get ahold of some other people as well." Before he could bid her farewell, she came back saying, "By the way, Sorrows, tell Jack that if I ever catch him staring at my chest and lower regions again, I'll shove him down a garbage shoot and blast him to the moon." He laughed hard at that, and wished her well before signing off, before removing himself from his position. He noticed that just as he got up, the doctor had walked in, but didn't see him, as he was looking down at some papers. Fortunately for him, the doctor stopped just inside the door, cursed, and dashed out it again. Probably off to rescue some fallen cadet on the station.

Grabbing Aiden by the elbow, he ushered him out the door. "Aiden," he whispered, "I need you to go find Jack, and bring him to the ammo dump under the Sphere." He glared at him for a few moments, making it clear that he didn't want any arguments from him. "I'm going to find Lucy." With that, he turned on his heel, and stalked off down the hallway. As he rounded a corner, he suddenly sagged against a wall, and collapsed to the floor. "Gods," he gasped, "I hurt all over." He began to shake violently, wanting to kill something, anything, but the feeling left him as quickly as it came. It left him feeling drained and tired, but he had to get up, had to find Lucy. "Where are you Lucy?" He whispered to the empty hallway, "I..." he shook himself, and got to his feet slowly. "We need to talk," he said to no one in particular, and stalked off down the hallway, deciding to check the mess hall first.

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#, as written by Jag
For just shy of six years, Aiden Morrow had taken his lumps with the rest of Echo Company through the beating heart of Triton Station. He’d been in the middle of bloody fights in the Sphere and crashed his fair share of simulated Chiron fighters. He’d paid his dues for a long time and was soon to receive his full commission as an officer and find himself somewhere on the other end of the system. News of the “front” didn’t cycle here much. Currently, everyone was technically at “peace,” but everyone knew that tensions on the outskirts were higher than ever. He’d seen it in the brass. Soon, he’d be in the middle of it all.

So when a sixteen-year-old cadet talked down to him and started giving him orders like a good dog, Morrow didn’t take long to rile back up into the aggressive mood that had invaded his mind during the training exercise earlier in the day. Ripping the arm that grabbed him by the elbow away from him, Aiden shoved back against the younger man.

Charging right behind him, Aiden showed absolutely no sympathy for Desmond and whatever caused him to collapse.

“Let’s get something straight, Cadet,” he said with a tone that only a few pilots had heard as he turned to fully face Sorrows. “I don’t know what the hell kind of game that you’ll pulling here, but it’s not going to fly. The Commander’s already got it in for you for that insubordination you pulled with him earlier and I’m not in the frakking mood to play games with kids.”

Aiden glances down the corridor before turning back to Sorrows again. “I swear to God, if you cost Echo Company with whatever stunt you’re trying to pull I’ll make you think your plebe years were a frakking walk. You got that?”

With that, he stormed off down the hall. Desmond was going to find Lucy and Aiden had been “told” to find Jack and bring him to some location. Frak that noise.

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Kaito looked up from the information on his desk, glancing sideways to the open hatchway through which Lucy Caspian entered.

“Specialist,” he said with an almost dismissal greeting, continuing to sort through a number of papers before he finally rose from his desk and spoke with the short, choppy deliver that came with his mastery of a second language not native to his own tongue.

“We have reason to believe that someone is running a mole operation within Echo Company. While I cannot state with any certainty, I believe that someone has manipulated the system and placed at least one cadet within our ranks with the intention of sabotaging both the morale and operation of the Company.” Narita walked with the stiff steps of a man attempting to mask a limp, rounding the corner of his desk to face the young woman. He noticed the subtle and drastic changes that she’d undergone in her five years on Triton Station under his supervision.

“As the senior Intelligence ACAT within the Company, I am ordering you to conduct an investigation of this matter discreetly and report to me directly. You are authorized under my command to detain anyone you feel to be operating outside the best interest of this Company and I expect you to do so with no regard for any personal feelings you may have to your company brothers.”

“Now,” the officer said with a return to his desk and a slow retaking of his seat, “is there anything going on within Echo Company that I should know about?”

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#, as written by Cynique
Lucy frowned, considering the commanders words as he spoke. A mole? How could that be possible? Another sort of training exercise? He had said it wasn't within certainty though, so it was only something to be speculated. As an Intelligence Specialist she knew enough though that even a single doubt had to be scrutinized with extreme care, otherwise it be everyones downfall. But who could it be? She'd have to carefully examine everyone now. Great another thing to add to her list of things to do.

As he turned to face her Lucy was careful to keep level eye contact with him. Even after all these years she was slightly intimidated by the Commander, probably it being due to the fact that it was he himself who put the living fear of god into her for her first few months at Triton Academy. "I'll do my best Commander," She said nodding her head.

Lucy thought briefly for a moment as he asked if there was anything that need to be reported about the Echo Company. More about how to phrase what she was going to say than what needed to be said. "Well...There's been quite a few problems today with both the Mental and Physical aspects of different Cadets in the Company," She said as she found the right words, "By what i've come to gather some of the symptoms include, Sickness, Mood swings and increased sexual drive," It was a bit awkward reporting this but Lucy knew it needed to be done and delivered the report with an unwavering poker face. The only question was now was if it was the right time to lay her cards down on the table and say what she speculated. Well, it was better late than never and she'd rather not just sit around theorizing.

" I don't mean to intrude or anything with this question but I have reasons to believe that this is the byproduct of withdrawal from the chemical compounds that are added to Students rations to get rid of both sexual drive and discrimination of different genders," Lucy contemplated what she had said for a moment, "Am I correct?"

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#, as written by Jag
Without betraying a single emotion on his face that might confirm or dispute Caspian’s suspicions, Kaito Narita inhaled deeply to provide a length silence after the cadet finished her report and asked the question that had surely been raging throughout Triton Station at a fever pitch by this point among the cadets that had recovered from the initial symptoms to the point that they could question their condition.

“That information is classified, Cadet,” he spoke with a harsh tone followed by another lengthy silence. The words that escaped the man’s lips next were the rarest form of speech from the company commander. “I am glad to see that my faith in a young and ambitious plebe to perceive the world around her was not a wasted effort,” he said. That perception of Caspian’s may have been high enough to detect the slightest hint of a smile in the man’s lips.

“But know this – no physical ailment is justification for insubordination or illegal conduct. The command structure remains and its orders are infallible, is that clear? The moment that anyone breaks from that command structure and attempts anything that degrades the integrity of this company, I expect you to act swiftly.”

“Go down to the Brig and give them this,” he said, leaning forward with a small informative datacard. The order was an authorized release of Patrick Vallens under the supervision of his Company mates.

“Dismissed, Specialist.”

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#, as written by Cynique
Indifference showed on Lucy's face as the Commander broke the momentary silence and spoke. The information was classified? That could mean anything. No, her reasoning was sound and she believed her theory to be true, all of the information pointed directly to it.

Although annoyance wasn't conveyed directly on her face it could be seen by a slight fidget of her fingers at her sides. It peeved her that she couldn't get a solid admittance to what was going on. Now there would always be that slight nagging at the back of her mind that she could be wrong. It was the Commanders next words that really threw her for a loop though.

Was he actually praising her? And it almost seemed as if there was a smile. Just the slightest hint of one but a smile nonetheless. She swore she could just about hear the space time continuum ripping. It was almost as if today she had stepped into some sort of alternate dimension where Cadets were emotional wrecks and their usually cold Company Commander had actually shown signs of having a soul. It was definitely a weird day today.

Thrown off by the Commanders words Lucy stood and stared for a moment before comprehending what he was saying and handing her a Datacard. "Yes Sir," She said quickly nodding her head and tucking the Card into her left pocket.

As she exited the room and closed the door behind her, Lucy let emotion begin to show on her face again. The expression was a variation of utter surprise with a bit of confusion. She couldn't help but feel slightly proud of what the Commander had said to her though.

Entering the Brig and delivering the DataCard Lucy looked around slightly puzzled, as everything was being processed. She wasn't sure why she had been ordered to go where she was. She shrugged to herself, all she could do was speculate until whatever it was, was processed.

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A look of arrogance and a sly smile escaped his lips as Desmond listened to Aiden's speech. 'Fool,' his mind whispered, then wandered away until his voice was nothing more than a low buzz in his ears. 'My time here was, in fact, a cake walk,' he then remembered that his first year on the station was as much a hell as anyone's. However, once he established a line to his brother, and began negotiations for contraband, life on the station became pleasant.

"Place your trust in those who want nothing," his brother had told him, "Only those people will keep your secrets safe. Those who want more and more, will only betray you in the end. For they desire only power, and if you deny them that, they will spill their secrets to any who will grant them more." Sound advice, of which, he mentally nodded. Advice, of which, he still followed to this day. Unfortunately, he did not know much of Patrick, and would not let him in on anything too secretive. Such as, the four other leaders of his contraband scheme. One of which, was his brother, and another, a Delta ACAT who went by "Joyous."

Coming back to reality, Desmond watched as Aiden stormed off down the hallway, his boots ringing out in it's emptiness. When he was out of sight, he doubled over and laughed silently, cursing himself, and Aiden, for being fools in the game of Station Life. "Soon," he whispered, "Soon, all eyes will be opened, and I, among the others, may be charged with treason, or worse. It depends on how well people will take the news, and if people will keep their mouths shut." Grinning, and with a gaiety step in his walk, Desmond headed off towards the mess hall, determined to find Lucy.

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#, as written by Jag
The duty officer was used to receiving flash traffic messages from dispatches within range. Most of them were common requests for transfers, manifests of incoming and outgoing cargo ships for confirmation of shipment, correspondence with other training facilities back on the surface, or simple everyday messages. So when she pulled the file down from the server on the latest flash traffic message, she didn’t even hear the alarm sirens that followed seconds after.

FLASH TRAFFIC: EYES ONLY
FROM: CINCSECZ (Commander-in-Chief, Sector Zero)

POINT BREAK STRIKE FORCE. DEFENSE NETWORK COMPROMISED. TRITON STATION PRIME TARGET. NUCLEAR WEAPONS DETECTED. EVAC.

END MESSAGE.


By the time that the alarms rang across the station, panic had already arose. Many of the cadets were either still injured or dealing with the effects of the chemicals washing out of their systems. Those that were able were thrown into escape capsule that would carry them down to the surface or even launched in whatever craft were fortunate enough be ready on their launching bays. Aiden Morrow, for example, was on reserve flight duty and took a Boomer-class craft out of the bay with a number of others, including Lucy Caspian.

Narita evacuated a number of plebes and others before finally stepping off of the ship. The grizzled wardog would live to fight another day.

By the time that the scattered forces from Earth and Triton Station’s small and – honestly incompetent – fully armed detachment were able to scramble and jump out to the long-range point break strike team on the outer rims of the system, it was too late to stop the hypermissile that slammed directly into the bowels of Triton Station. The nuclear explosion ripped through station and destroyed everything, causing a wave of radiation to begin its lethal fall.

No more games. This was war.

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