Everyone knows about John-117, who is called nothing other than “Master Chief,” and is universally agreed upon to be the great SPARTAN ever born. However, with new enemies and new advancements in technology there comes a greater need for our protectors to be stronger than ever before. And as such, a new generation of SPARTANs was created. Twenty years ago, United Nations Space Command (better known as the UNSC) began the latest and utmost dangerous of its programs: the SPARTAN-V Program. Returning to using children (as opposed to adult volunteers like the SPARTAN-IV Program had), five hundred children within the age range of five to seven years old were chosen as candidates to become fifth-generation SPARTANs. The program had the goal to become a new innovation in the world of super-soldiers, with the ultimate goal of awakening the targeted telepathic and telekinetic abilities located within the candidates’ recessive genes. If they survived the activation of their recessive genes, candidates would begin the first stage of their training. When they had three years of training and had a decent level of control over telekinesis, they would be set to receive their augmentations in order to achieve the physical form that the iconic SPARTAN super-soldiers possess. Of the five hundred candidates, fifty-two died after having their telekinetic genes activated. Furthermore, an additional twenty-seven died after their bodies rejected the augmentations. Lastly, after receiving their augmentations thirty-six of the candidates became paralyzed or crippled in various aspects, but were still judged fit for active duty in a non-combat. As a total, three hundred eighty-five candidates would go on to become SPARTANs as they moved on to the next phase of their training. As recruit entered their tenth year of training, they were divided into various platoons based on the specialty and combat role they were determined to be best fit for. One out of every ten of the candidates, thirty-five in total, were chosen to become officers, as they were selected to be platoon commanders when their training was completed. The remaining recruits were divided into their specialized training, taking on their new training as well as the continuation of their existing training. It is at this time that each recruit was inducted into the military, given the rates of “SPARTAN Recruit (E-1)” and “SPARTAN Apprentice (E-2),” depending on their performances. And as time went on and these new SPARTANs matured, the program began to receive massive scrutiny from some of the highest ranking officials in the Unified Earth Government and the UNSC, save for a few admirals and captains- along with Dr. Halsey herself- who were advocating the program as to prevent the project’s termination, which could very well include every SPARTAN-V being put in near-permanent cryostasis. But, in due time and due process, a harsh fate was avoided as the program was allowed to continue under the condition that all of the SPARTAN-V’s be strictly monitored and managed by more experienced SPARTANs. When the time came, the SPARTAN-Vs were deployed into the various regions of the universe. Some were placed into cryostasis for transportation to their assignments, but some of the more lethal and cunning of the brood were kept warm and awake to be put under immediate work and observation. It had been decided that the main series of observations would take place under the watch of Rear Admiral Derrick Thompson on the UNSC Maelstrom, the latest of the Infinity class warships. The factors regarding the observation of the SPARTAN-V’s called for the formating of SPARTAN-based units to be formatted differently from the traditional fireteams, which had been brought into consideration with the fact that some of the SPARTAN-V’s were given warrant and commissioned officer training. As such, SPARTAN-V’s were organized into proper platoons and integrated into existing companies in their respective stations. Among the senior SPARTANs who would be drafted in to manage the new, inexperienced SPARTAN-V’s, most had reluctantly volunteered for the position. In this case, they would be acting as a platoon’s executive officer, meant to act as a mentor and advisor to the SPARTAN-V ensigns in regards to leadership and to serve in a similar role for the entirety of the platoon until the were sufficiently capable of managing themselves. Soon enough, the fateful day came wherein the main focus of SPARTAN-V observation, Sigil Platoon, were to assemble on the Maelstrom for the first time on Luna. Some of these SPARTANs had trained long and hard with one another, while others would be meeting for the first time. It mattered not, for now their commanders would be observing and passing judgement almost constantly upon them, which was a test they all needed the pass through. Before introductions could be made, the full platoon of helmeted SPARTANs, intermixed with other personnel before boarding began as the captain of the Maelstrom gave the christening and speech before the maiden voyage. All payed heed to Rear Admiral Thompson as he spoke at the end of his speech in his wizened baritone. “...Our mission, as is the mission of every serviceman who fights in the name of the liberty of all sentient beings of the galaxy, is to defend those who cannot defend themselves from the greater threats who would have every world enslaved. We must be warriors who fight for the just cause of freedom. We must be peacekeepers who ensure order among the planets. We must be scholars who record the events of history as it forms around us, so that posterity may look up on us in favor. Over the next five standard years, our responsibility will not only be as warriors, peacekeepers, and scholars, but as explorers. As phrased by the United Nations Space Command, ‘the crew of the UNSC Maelstrom, as commanded by Rear Admiral Upper Half Derrick H. Thompson, is hereby entasked with the exploration of our universe beyond the Outer Colonies. They are to mark planets capable of sustaining life both with and without the aid of terraforming as well as planets and planetoids that could provide valuable resources. But, above all, the Maelstrom and her crew is hereby charged with the protection of all life, especially of citizens of the UEG and those allied with.’ Our mission is clear, ladies and gentlemen! We shall persevere throughout the unknown, and in doing so we will bring about further peace and expansion for not only humankind, but advancements for all sentient species!” This was met with excessive applause from servicemen, SPARTANs, and civilians alike as the master of ceremonies, an elder, retired admiral, took the podium in his raspy voice. “That concludes the ceremony. All Maelstrom personnel may begin the boarding process at your designated entryways at 0930. Afterwards, First Review will begin at 1100 and will be performed by your respective commanders. Godspeed and good fortune to all of you!” The SPARTANs, as was custom, would be the last to board the ship in case of an emergency. Among them, Leo-713 (colloquially referred to as “Leonidas”) was the SPARTAN-V ensign placed in command of Sigil Platoon, which would be stationed upon the Maelstrom. The SPARTAN’s armor was grey and black with a blue visor, as it was when he was first given it. On his shoulder he carried his duffel bag with his clothing and some essentials along with some novels. Contrary to popular belief, SPARTANs did spend a fair amount of time outside of the Mjolnir Armor. Either way, after assisting in sealing some of the hatches and doors, Leo-713 began to make his way around to the SPARTAN-V Sector, a swathe in the middle of the starboard starboard side of the ship that was about two floors above one of the hangar bays wherein all of Sigil Platoon’s vehicles were stored. The SPARTAN-V Sector was also near one of the galleys on their level, as the idea was that the SPARTANs would behave optimally if given some advantages. Likewise, they were near the lifts needed to head straight to the bridge if need be. Otherwise, they also had the longest distance from the nearby escape pods, since they were intended to fight their way out. Either way, the so-called “Sector” was comprised of roughly three floors. The bottom floor had their armor storage unit, training weapons and equipment, an exercise/drill pad, and their primary computer for communicating with the rest of the ship, though terminals and computers on the other two floors aided in that purpose. The second floor was primarily a common area, wherein there were entertainment systems that one would find in most of the other barracks common rooms throughout the ship. There was also a small kitchen area in case the SPARTANs decided to have a group bonding session, however unlikely, or didn’t have time to go to the galley. Lastly, the third floor was where the SPARTANs living quarters were located. From the second floor there were two staircases, one leading to the male side and the other to the female side. Everyone had a roommate, except for the Executive Officer and Platoon Commander. There were also showers and facilities in each half of the floor. Overall, the Sector was organized so that the first floor was the largest. However, the second and third floors were clearly smaller, but possessed windows and balconies where the SPARTANs face either aft or starboard and can look down on the whole of the exercise/drill pad. Either way, Leo-713 was a bit hesitant, and would be visibly so if he wasn’t wearing his helmet. He would sigh, soon hearing that sagacious alto that chimed in his head on occasion. At times, he could only hope and wish that it was his conscious. “You seem awfully worked up about this.” The voice belonged to Leo-713’s faithful Artificial Intelligence companion, Athena. Halfway through officer training, SPARTAN-V officer candidates were selected by the AI who wanted to work with them. In his case, Leo-713 was chosen by Athena. Even still, it always helped that he had someone to converse with in the back of his head. He then spoke up, speaking in a intellectual bass. “I think people would be far more worried if I wasn’t worried about this in regards to its full context. Not only is this my first command, but it will be under constant scrutiny the whole time. As the commander, they can probably hold me solely responsible if something goes wrong.” “You need to relax, Leo. Even if something does go awry, Rear Admiral Thompson is a tremendous supporter of the SPARTAN-V program.” “...Alright, then. Either way, get ready to be yanked when we get there.” “No problem.” Leo would do just that when he passed through the vestibule and arrived at the main terminal, pulling in Athena’s chip as she configured herself to the Sector’s setup as well as the Maelstrom’s. While she did that, Leo located his room on the third floor and put his duffel bag down on the bed and removing his helmet for a moment, stretching around for a little but and relaxing as he felt the ship’s cool air against his pale skin for a few moments as black hair and blue eyes were briefly prominent. Regardless, the grey helm soon rested on his face as he had Athena call all of the SPARTANs onto the first floor. Once that was accomplished, the time for introductions was nigh as the platoon stood at ease in formation. “Good morning, everyone. I hope you’ve all talked for a little bit before this, but we will have time to do so after we get our armor removed before takeoff. I am Ensign Leo-713, and I’ll be the platoon commander while we’re stationed on the Maelstrom. As it is with many of us, this is my first deployment. The AI we will be working with, Athena, will likely introduce herself to you all later on. Either way, we will undergo First Review in a moment, after which we will get our suits off and prepare to leave the atmosphere. After we start to jump, we will also be able to leave the Sector and visit other parts of the ship. Now, stand at rest until time for First Review comes along.” In about fifteen minutes, a lieutenant commander would appear in lieu of the Rear Admiral (who had wished to perform it himself), as he was preparing for departure in the bridge. But, after the glorified review and questioning was all said and done, Athena turned on the armor removal system, giving the SPARTAN-Vs a chance to get out of the armor. Leo-713 went last, ensuring everyone’s armor was stored and secure before following the others to the second floor, all of the SPARTANS wearing their fatigue pants, black boots, fatigue belts, and grey shirts, with Magnums and combat knives removed from their armor and holstered onto their belts. Soon afterwards, the announcement came that there was T-minus fifteen minutes until the Maelstrom would launch and begin the slipspace jump. The SPARTANs soon went to the corridor and held fast as the enormous ship engaged engines and began to engage in vertical ascension. Climbing upwards until it reached the border of the exosphere, the ship soon began to travel at full throttle until the slipspace jump occurred, hurdling through the galaxy until it arrived on the outskirts of the Chi Ceti System, from which they would travel outwards where shared Sangheili and UEG data and star-maps left a couple of large blanks in the regions the Maelstrom and her crew would be exploring. Soon enough, the Maelstrom’s ship AI Ramesses- who took on the form of the pharaoh by the same name- came on the ship-wide intercom, giving the all clear for crew members to begin full duties as the Maelstrom’s artificial gravity generator took on full swing. It was then that the SPARTAN-Vs began to head over to the galley, wherein officers and enlisted were intermixed due to space limitations. Leo-713, being unfamiliar with the majority of the SPARTANs in his platoon and being somewhat socially awkward (even for a SPARTAN), merely took the salisbury steak meal that the cooks had prepared for the day and walked over to an empty table, sitting down and beginning to eat.