Three months. If you rolled all the pain and discomfort of ten years in prison into one, you get the three months spent under the titanic gaze of Major Aaron Break. Backbreaking, seemingly pointless challenges soon whittled down the number of prisoners to a mere 500. The Major, however, seemed to be getting happier each day, to point of near glee.
It was the final day, apparently. James was lined up in a large assembly hall with the other 500 surviving inmates. The Major no longer shouted at them, no longer beat and cursed about incompetence and insubordination. Quite the contrary. He seemed to be oddly proud with the inmates.
"Well, that day has come. You have done meagerly well, but acceptable. On this day, your training has complete. Congratulations. But don't think your nightmare is over. The first hour of sleep may have passed, but you haven't reached the horror solstice yet. You are to be shipped back to Earth, to be sort of "peacekeepers". You're first task is to make a landing without killing anyone. Once that is complete, you will await further orders from your new master, the New Earth Corporation. Understood!?" The men answered in unison, more out of mental conditioning, but mainly from fear.
"Because of the vast funds of our benefactors, each of you will be suited up in latest military battle armour, equiped with particle blades and semi-automatic rifles. You will travel in packs of five, part of larger groups made of 50 men each. One more thing. Don't think that, because you longer are being trained by me that you can slack off, because your WRONG. You will always be under my control. I will always be watching you, wether you can see me or not. And cannot, and will not escape, because i will find you, and i will flay the very flesh from your bones, and tear you eyes out with may hands." The hall had gone very quiet as the Major seemed to entire a frenzy. But that soon passed, and his gleeful face once again returned.
For the first time in years, James saw Earth. Strange, he thought he would be more planet-sick, but he wasn't. Ah well. The outfitters had given him some whack looking battle suit. It covered his entire body, plated in what the technitions called "adamantine". Whatever that was. The particle blade was cool. It was a hilt with a trigger spanning the length of the handle, so he could easily turn it off. A thin strip of metal went up the back, although it had no edge and would snap against anything that put a fight, when the trigger was pulled, a glowing yellow beam went up one side of the strip, making a lightsabre effect, except it only had a single edge with a point for thrusting.
The rifle was three foot, made from black laquerd metal. It sported a scope, underslung 'nade launcher and a attachable sniper barrel, for long ranges. He also had an strange looking pistol, similar to the one the Major used three months ago.
"Alright, you curs. I officially christen you, Reapers!" He threw a wine bottle at the head of one of the marines, spraying the crowd in wine. With a cheer, the inmates were given the first bit of happeness in ten years.
The ship hurtled to down towards Earth, landing just above the atmosphere, on a gigantic platform. The Great Lift, designed for easy access to the outer atmoshpere, it consisted of a 6 thousand mile cable running from a station on the surface. The men exited the spacecraft, entered the lift and waited for the lift to reach Earth.
Touchdown. The newly christened Reapers disembarked from the monolithic lift, and were greeted by a scene of unholy devastation.
It's good to be home.