November 3rd 2140, Top secret training facility on the Roman I space station
The rookies geared up. They equipped themselves appropriately to their proficiencies. Brian took a sniper rifle and a pistol. Victoria took a light machine gun and two pistols. Viktor took an assault carbine and a shotgun. Margaret took an assault rifle and a pistol. They grabbed two grenades each as well.
"Let's own this test," Brian said.
"Okay rookies, get to the starting area," John ordered them on their helmet coms. "We're going to observe you and monitor your communications. This shouldn't take very long. You got this."
The rookies walked across the tree dotted hills until they reached the starting area. The fortress they were required to capture was behind the flat section the rookies noticed before, and across the short span of hills in front of them.
"You're objective is simple," Connor spoke. "Traverse the hills, cross the killing grounds, infiltrate the fortress and eliminate all hostiles. Hand to hand combat is not allowed, it won't work on holographic hostiles. You have to use gun and grenades. Are you four ready?" Victoria raised a 'thumbs up'.
"Start it," John told the technician.
The rookies steadied their breathing and readied their minds. Another textbox popped up on their visors. Simulation initiated... 10..9..8..7..6..5..4..3..2.. The textbox disappeared.
"Steady!" Viktor told them.
"Ready your weapons," Margaret said. They aimed at the crests of the hills, but no hostiles showed themselves. Instead, they saw an attack helicopter rise up from the flat area between the hills and fortress.
"Oh, shit..." Victoria muttered.
"Cloud, get on that," Viktor told Brian.
"On it," Brian raised his sniper rifle and aimed it at the cockpit of the chopper. Just as he almost had a shot on the pilot, at least twenty foot soldiers rose from behind the hills. They fired at the rookies, and they had to scatter. The rookies returned fire with deadly accuracy. Soldier after soldier fell until half of them were left.
"Alright keep them off of Cloud!" Victoria shouted out. She, Margaret, and Viktor did their best to suppress the hostiles on the ground so Brian could regain his shot on the incoming attack chopper. The chopper was almost upon them, and they could hear its guns revving up.
"Cloud, now!" Viktor shouted. Brian leveled his sniper for a perfect shot. He fired. The chopper fired out a short burst from its nose cannon but, Brian's shot struck the pilot and it ceased almost as soon as it began. The chopper wobbled to one side and lightly spun around and around. It descended over the holographic gate and crashed on the other side.
"Let's move," Margaret said. They traversed the hills, easily taking out the scattered troops around them. They took cover behind trees whenever possible and stayed low to the ground. They finally reached the flat section of the theater in front of the fortress, which was nothing more than a concrete courtyard and loading area.
"There they are! Open fire!" a disembodied voice called out from the direction of the fortress. The structure had at least twenty soldiers on each section of rooftop. On the very top of the fortress, the roof of the third floor, was a heavy machine gun nest.
All of the soldiers on the fort fired down upon the rookies. Snipers, riflemen, and the gun nest let loose a hailstorm of bullets. The two large cubes that they had seen when their VR helmets were not activated, were actually two massive pallet loads of crates. The crates on top of the pallets were bound together. The rookies desperately sprinted behind the crates and kept their entire bodies concealed from the fort's line of fire.
"This is impossible!" Victoria complained. A good fifty yards of open concrete was between them and the entrance to the fort.
"There's no way we can get over there without getting shot to bits, figuratively," Brian added.
"Come on rookies, we did it, you can too," Connor said over the theater loudspeaker.
"Those crates are not stationary," the technician informed them.
"Do you four really not know your own strength?" Dale questioned them.
Admittedly, the rookies didn't know their own strength. They knew they could workout with a large amount of weight, but they never really put all of their possible strength to use in a combat scenario.
The rookies exchanged glances with each other, then nodded. They pressed themselves up against the crates and pushed with all of their might. Each crate was almost a half ton, but with the supreme strength the rookies had built up, they slowly started to slide across the ground. They continued shoving the heavy crates until they were only a few yards in front of the fortress.
"Cloud, give me a boost," Viktor told Brian. "Haze, care to join me?" he asked Victoria as he pulled out a grenade.
"Hell yeah!" Victoria readied a grenade as well. They simultaneously pulled the pins and lobbed them on to the first rooftop level. Victoria pulled out her two pistols and Viktor pumped his shotgun. They took three large steps back and ran toward Brian and Margaret. They hopped up and each placed one foot in their waiting squad mate's clasped hands. Brian and Margaret launched them up and over the crates.
"Oorah bitches!" Victoria shout out. The grenades exploded just before they landed on the rooftop. Two large chunks of hostiles were decimated, and the rest systematically scattered away from the explosions. They were easy to destroy after that. Viktor faced one side of the roof and fired his shotgun from left to right, again, and again, pummeling each disoriented foe until none were left standing.
Victoria fired her pistols repeatedly, one left and the other right, hitting two hostiles at once. They cleared the rooftop in four seconds. As soon as each enemy was down, they quickly reloaded and rushed through the second floor entrance.
"Our turn," Margaret proclaimed. She nodded at Brian and they readied their weapons. They sprinted the short few yards to the ramps on the sides of the fort. As they ran, they each tossed a live grenade through the front entrance, hoping to take out a handful of hostiles that were inside. They continued their quick pace up the ramps, making sure to stay out of sight of the large gun nest at the fort's peak.
"In position guys, waitin' on you," Brian informed Viktor and Victoria. They were right below the rooftop of the second floor.
"Copy," Viktor confirmed as he reloaded his shotgun again. The second floor interior was cleared. "Haze, check the bottom floor real quick." Victoria rushed down a set of stairs to find only four out of what was ten enemy soldiers still alive after Brian and Margaret's grenade barrage. She fired four shots, two from each pistol, taking each of them out in a split second.
"Bottom floor clear," Victoria stated.
"Second floor and adjacent rooftop clear," Viktor added. Victoria regrouped with Viktor. "Moving upstairs now, distraction coming up, get ready."
"Hurry it up guys," Margaret urged them along. Viktor and Victoria prepped their last grenades. They threw them upstairs, bouncing them off of the back wall and in to the room above them. Shortly after, two explosions were heard.
"Now, go now," Viktor signaled Brian and Margaret. Brian and Margaret stepped up the rest of the ramp to the rooftop of the second floor. They saw most of the enemy hostiles facing their backs, aiming at the entrance to the third floor after hearing the grenades explode. Brian unleashed penetrating sniper rounds from one side, and Margaret barraged them with deadly speed from the other side.
Most of the hostiles fell easily, the rest either returned disoriented fire, or fled inside the fort, in to Viktor and Victoria's waiting shotgun and machine gun. The rookies unloaded their weapons in to the scattered and disorganized hostile soldiers in the third floor and the adjoining roof. All that was left was the small rooftop of the third floor.
Two staircases on both sides of the third floor interior led to the roof, and Victoria and Viktor readied themselves at the bottom. Margaret and Brian pulled the pins on their last grenades and lobbed them on top of the roof. Once again, their bang and clear strategy worked like a charm. Half of the soldiers on the roof were destroyed, and all four of the rookies rushed up the stairs and the ramps. They hit the rest of the hostiles from four different sides. Not even the high caliber machine turret in the center of the gun nest posed a threat.
The rookies proceeded to the center of the rooftop and crouched down back to back, covering four different ways. Each of them smiled inside their helmets at their performance. They knew they did good work.
Vapor Team exchanged approving glances at each other and gathered around the intercom microphone.
"Rookies, we didn't tell you the difficulty setting of that simulation did we?" Connor asked.
"Negative, sir," Viktor returned.
"That was the hardest difficulty setting," John informed them.
"But that was extremely easy," Margaret said.
"You're right, do you know why?" Arden asked them.
"Did the simulation glitch up?" Victoria questioned.
"Come on you guys, have a little self-confidence," Dale started. "You won so easily because of all the hard work you've done up to this point."
"Rookies, your next step is deciding on your own custom armor sets," Connor said.
"Yup, and after that, there is nothing more that we can teach you. The only way for you to lose your rookie titles, is to see some real action," Arden told them. The rookies rose to their feet and cheered.