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Sarah Palmer is undergoing her augmentation process. The doctors graft a ceramic to her leg to make her bones shatter proof. They give her corneal implants to help her see in the dark. Her heart is altered to allow it to pump faster. Her lungs are lined with polymers to both enhance oxygen intake and to process toxins, as well as allowing her to breath Methane for an hour. Modified bacteria are implanted in her intestines to allow her to gain more nutrients from food. Her blood now clots faster to deal with wounds. Finally, electronic components are added to her body so that medical teams can identify problem organs.
Sarah is one of five early recruits to the program, also consisting of Edward Davis, Yeong-Hao Holst, Vladimir Scruggs, and Joel Thomas. After a few days, they relearn how to walk and are taken to an obstacle course under Jun's orders to test their skills. Jun discusses their trials with Musa. In the course, the five Spartans are to press a button on a wall in a forest environment hiding fifty Marine trainers. The five get to the box, but Host, Thomas, Davis and Scruggs are quickly downed, with Palmer the only one still standing when the button is pressed. The training session ends, and Jun walks in to criticise the session. While Palmer did press the button, the team did not 'win' the session as they were downed by regular Marines, which Jun sees as an embarrassment to any Spartan. Thomas and Scruggs complain they had no chance of winning as they didn't have the MJOLNIR power armour worn by SPARTAN-IIs. Musa insists they first show they deserve to wear it, specifically attacking their selfish desire to press the button first which led to no team effort taking place and them subsequently losing.
Meanwhile, a group with insurrectionist sympathies discussing the new UNSC Infinity which they have been hired to construct. Disgusted at the cost of its development, which they suspect led the UNSC having to abandon colonies to the Covenant, they plan to steal it in order to prevent it being used to police the surviving colonies. They increase their ranks by hiring Insurrectionists to pose as extra laborers hired to 'wrap-up' the construction.
With the ship approaching its official launch date, Jun takes the Spartans onboard, where he is welcomed by Captain Del Rio. However, as he is busy, he offers the tour to Commander Thomas Lasky instead. Lasky takes the team to the "Spartan Deck" via the ship's tram system, which comes with its own armory, medical cente, mess hall, and berthing for the three hundred SPARTAN-IVs expected to join the ship, part of a crew complement of 17,151.
On deck 23, Captain Andrew Del Rio is surrounded by an Insurrectionist team, who's female leader mocks the ship's small crew complement and classified which will allow her group an easy victory without alerting any other ships. The Insurrectionists escort the captain to the bridge and take the crew hostage. The AI in charge of overseeing construction, Aine, identifies the leader but is shut down before it can provide information. The crew are taken to the ready room and sealed in. The leader identifies herself as Ilsa Zane to the ship's crew through its communications system and gives the other Insurrectionists orders to begin their takeover. Zane offers to provide captured crewmembers with safety, but threatens to expose them to vacuum if anyone attempts to counter them.
Lasky and Jun on S-Deck are among the few not taken hostage, with no Insurrectionists in that area. This gives the Spartans the opportunity to equip themselves with MJOLNIR ahead of schedule as the only soldiers left onboard remotely capable of taking back control.
- Sarah Palmer
- Edward Davis
- Yeong-Hao Holst
- Vladimir Scruggs
- Joel Thomas
- Andrew Del Rio
- Thomas Lasky
- Ilsa Zane