Chapter Nineteen, Epilogue
Back to Square One
December 1st 2139, Houston Texas, United States
"Vapor Team, please, come in," Clay gestured them in to his office.
"You wanted to see us sir?" John asked.
"Yes, I have a new assignment for you all," Clay began. "You know of the new space station ring by now. It's a symbol of progression in our society, and a symbol of peace and unity. For you, it is the perfect place to train."
"Train?" Arden questioned.
"Sir, haven't we trained enough by now?" Dale asked.
"Not training for you," Clay quelled their questions. "Training for an extension to your unit, a new Vapor Team. After we've realized the success of your training, we've decided to double our amount of soldiers like you."
"We're going to train four new Vapor Team recruits?" Connor asked.
"Exactly, and the space station is a perfect place to do it. Just like how we saw the capability in you four, despite your irregularities, we have handpicked the next four to be molded in to the great soldiers that you four are. Hopefully, we'll never need to use such resources like you or these new recruits ever again with the new world order in full swing. You guys are just here to keep the peace now more than anything."
"I see," Connor acknowledged.
"Can you tell us their names?" Arden asked.
"Sure, but just like your names, don't mention them inside of the armed forces for their own safety," Clay agreed. "There are two men and two women in the group. Margaret Erika Stownin, and Victoria Mary Stownin. They're twin sisters, but quite the opposites of each other when it comes to personality. Brian Pewdimont Chaston is another. He's young, and a frighteningly loyal soldier."
"Frighteningly loyal?" John questioned.
"You'll see what I mean when you meet him," Clay answered. "Lastly, there's Viktor Gregory Andrews. We think he actually shows the most promise out of all of them. He's a man of few words, follows orders without question, and is already highly proficient in combat."
"Sounds like a fun little bunch," Dale remarked. "When do we get to meet them?"
"You'll meet them on the Roman I," Clay continued. "Training on the space station also keeps this training operation a secret from any prying satellite eyes, and the spot we've picked out for the operation is behind a mountainous region, safe from the visual scans of a telescope. The space station is planned on being operational, but not complete, within the next few months actually. Once operational, we're going to fly you and other military personnel to the training base. The new recruits aren't the only four who are going to be in training either. We've got some other special forces operatives going up there for training with other trainers too. You don't need to worry about them as much as you need to worry about training your recruits."
"Understood sir," Connor said.
"Any last questions?" Clay asked.
"Just one," John said. "Can we choose the names of their call signs?"
Clay thought for a short second, and answered, "Sure, why not? So in the meantime, I want you guys to prepare to be instructors more than soldiers. These rookies are already combat proficient, but they are young and need a lot more guidance if they are going to be as great as you. Work with them, and figure out they're proficiencies, just as you four have mastered yours."
"Yes sir," Vapor Team responded in unison.
"You're dismissed, but I want to say this before you go," Clay said. "Make Colonel Corpus proud. You remember how he was a mentor figure for you four when you went through your training. Make him proud."
Vapor Team stood in silence and remembrance of Corpus. "We miss him dearly, sir, and we promise to make you proud, and do everything we can that would have made him proud," John spoke for all of them. Clay saluted them, and Vapor Team saluted back, then left the office.
A few months passed by and Vapor Team was summoned to the primary dropship yard in a military base in Houston Texas. The space station Roman I was operational by now. Clay met with them and answered any last minute questions they had. Vapor Team boarded a dropship and ascended high above the clouds and out of Earth's atmosphere. A handful of dropships followed behind them, carrying soldiers, instructors, and recruits, as well as maintenance personnel. They turned and ended up heading west across the globe. As they flew further and further away from Earth, the Roman I began to come in to view over the Earth's horizon. It was rather large, spanning around six thousand kilometers in diameter. It slowly rotated in order to keep a gravitational feel. The outer side of the station was all metal and constructs and industrial apparatuses to keep the artificial atmosphere and rotation of the ring going. On the inner side of the ring was terrain that modeled Earth's perfectly. Rivers, plains, mountains, even canyons were scattered around the inner portion. The station also had a width of four hundred kilometers.
"Whoa," Connor muttered in amazement. Three fourths of the station was complete, and the other fourth had the framework already set up for it. As they flew closer, the station got larger and larger. Finally they passed in to its atmosphere and half of their dropship group waved off and flew in a different direction.
"Where are they going?" Arden asked the pilot.
"They're going to another off site base to pick up some supplies. They'll be onsite at our training base a little after we arrive," the pilot replied.
"Do you mind if I open the side doors?" Connor asked.
"Nah, go ahead sir," the pilot said. Connor and John both pulled open the side doors and the still air rushed by them as they flew. They passed over mountains, rivers and hills. They weaved between large stone columns and under a cliff with a waterfall running down between them and the cliff wall. The sights were absolutely gorgeous. Sunlight gleamed off of the settled water and cast a mirror reflection of a tropical style island below them.
They finally hugged another cliff wall until they rounded it, revealing a rich green gulch below them with a beach on one side and a steep hill on the other with a cave next to the hill. Between the beach and the hill was a small cliff that dropped off to a short stream below and had two taller buttes on both sides. The stream fed in a large sea on the other side of the gulch that wrapped around one of the buttes and connected to the beach. The cave passed through the other butte and opened on the other side, revealing a long sand and rocky beach with a small river separating it from a well sized island with a small mountain peak in the middle. The river fed stretched from the sea, around the island and across the beach until it hit a different portion of water that was like a peninsula of water that connected to the sea. Along one side of the water peninsula was the island, then the body of water curved to fit the cliff side a large mountain that had a waterfall draining in to the water below. In the cliff side of the mountain was a structure with a large opening that showed the entire view they just passed over.
"Everything you see around you is a part of the training grounds. This is all private FKPD property, and that facility carved in to the cliff we're heading to is the main facility, only reachable by aerial vehicles obviously," the pilot informed them. "We're miles upon miles away from any residential or commercial civilization, so we don't much have to worry about citizens getting nosey in our training grounds. I'm going to set us down on the landing pad inside the facility. You guys depart and make yourselves at home while I fly this thing up to a small dropship yard on the mountain above us."
"This is just too cool," Connor proclaimed, stunned by the beauty of the simulated Earthly environment. Even Dale was enthralled by the visual spectacle around them. They were so caught up in the station that when they entered the facility it surprised them. Earth-like nature changed to polished steel and technology. The facility was quite small. It was a single large chamber with five different sub-buildings inside. A landing pad was on an elevated platform in the middle of the chamber, as well as a secondary landing pad on top of one of the buildings. Two small garages held a Cobra Transport Vehicle and a Grizzly Transport Vehicle. The dropship touched down on the landing pad in the center of the chamber.
"Good luck with your rookies sirs, and make yourselves at home. After all, this will be your new home for a while now, enjoy it. A lot of people payed top dollar to live on this station, and you're staying here for free," the pilot said.
"Roger that, thanks," John replied as they exited the dropship. The dropship lifted back off a few feet off of the ground then turned around and flew out of the large opening in the wall of the chamber and up over the mountain above them.
"This place is fantastic!" Connor said excitedly as they walked down a ramp and off of the landing pad. A soldier noticed them and began to approach them.
"Here comes the welcome party," Arden remarked.
"Greetings, Vapor Team," the soldier said in a Japanese accent. He bowed close to a ninety degree angle with his arms at his side. "Apologies for the one man welcome Vapor Team, but we are short on men here for another few days while they ship in the remaining supplies we need. I am Command Sergeant Major Katsuo Nakahara, I'll be the one in charge and overseeing the training complex and training grounds. If you have any questions or concerns just let me know, otherwise, make yourselves at home. When everyone is here, meet on the landing in front of the blast door and we'll do a tour of the place."
"Got it, Sergeant," Connor acknowledged. Sergeant Nakahara nodded and walked off. Vapor Team walked around the landing pad and stood in the middle of the wide landing in front of the open blast door. They stared at the artificially made natural beauty in front of them.
"Yeah, I think we're going to like it here," Arden proclaimed.
"It's like back to square one it feels like," John said.
"Cause we're in training?" Connor asked.
"Yeah," John replied.
"It's not all the same though," Dale said. "We aren't the ones training this time around."
"Yeah, but the atmosphere fits the phrase," Connor remarked. "With the world entering a new era or us in a training camp, it just feels like we're on square one again."
"Back to square one indeed," Arden agreed.
They continued to stare across the landscape in front of them, preparing for the rest of the training base's personnel to arrive.
To be continued...
Book two, Gray Horizons, is completed! (The rough draft at least). Go there now to continue the story!