The nurse did a quick check, then left to get a doctor. "According to your file, you said once you wanted to be the best. How would you like to try out for Spartan training?" Before she could answer, the doctor arrived. He asked a few questions, checked her pad, and signed off on discharge. I followed him out so Alexa could get dressed."
Elexa got dressed, wondering what a Spartan was, and how it affected her career. She did want to be one of the best, one of the elite, which to her knowledge was the ODSTs. Was a Spartan a black ops group? More ONI nonsense? Or were they really the best?
As the old saying goes, only one way to find out.
By the time she was changed, she knew what she wanted to do. She left the room to find Ayla, and tell her she wanted in.
Ayla was waiting in the recovery lobby with what looked like a five-foot-tall metal dog. Upon closer inspection, it was revealed to be some sort of full-body armor. It looked at Ayla as Alexa approached. She just opened her mouth slightly, looking for all the world like a happy dog. The animal relaxed, sitting down. "I am a Spartan. The facility you destroyed had stolen some of the research that made me, and your Mr Black. Clearly, they got it wrong. I have the transfer papers here."
Once the paperwork was filled out... Ayla had to wonder about that. She had used paper before they froze her back in the 21st century, but according to the doctors who thawed her, paperwork hadn't been made of paper in 400 years. She shook her head. "Welcome to the Spartan program, Petty Officer Alexa Durin. This is Robo. He's my pack Omega. Follow me." When they stepped out the doors, they were greeted by 3 more wolves. These ones were covered in a canine version of open-faced ODST armor. She introduced them from biggest to smallest. Patriot, Blue, and Echo. A cab took them to the East 30th helliport, from which a Pelican took them to a UNSC air station. From there a shuttle took them to the far side of the field, where a large hangar housed the Black Cat.
"Make yourself comfortable," Ayla said as they boarded. Without waiting for a response she started pulling off the fatigues. By the time she got to the cockpit she was completely starkers. Ayla's body, for all that it was supremely shapely, had dozens of fine scars. "Friday, take us to Groom Lake." As the ship started up, she turned back to grab a jumpsuit off a rack. It turned out to be skintight. Next, she stepped into a small side room. What exited, shortly after they reached cruising altitude, was Spartan S001, face hidden by the blacked-out visor. As she headed back to the cockpit, the armor certainly didn't hurt her posterior. Although Friday was capable of running the entire ship, Ayla still sat in the pilot's seat.
Elexa sat back, stipping off her jacket and stretching her legs out in front of her, relaxed and at ease.
She was impressed with Ayla's physique, and thought the Spartan was very pretty. Black was fairly chiseled and good looking too. She briefly wondered if all Spartans looked so good, and if so, how did they ever get any fighting done? She chuckled to herself over the thought and dismissed it.
When Ayla returned, Elexa looked at her. "Where is the training base? How many Spartans are there? How big of a training class will I be in?"
Ayla chuckled softly. "The training is in the Arctic, there are only 30 Spartans now, but I hear they have 500 kids undergoing trials." She looked over her shoulder. "You talk a lot. Not that it's bad. Your voice is almost as pleasant as your looks."
Of course, the craft they were now on was significantly faster than a Pelican, and touched down at Groom Lake only an hour later. This facility was known by another name to most.
Disembarking, Ayla didn't even bother introducing the scientists and doctors that came out to meet them, as a very familiar woman stepped forward. Ayla merely nodded to her. "Glad to see the transfer went through."
Elexa followed Ayla through the crowd, and only hesitated half a heartbeat when the woman approached them.
"Good to see you, Elexa," Darla Durin greeted her daughter with a warm smile that didn't reach her eyes. The two Durin women did not look much alike, apart from their colouring. Both had the same vivid hair, the same bright green eyes, the same alabaster skin. While Elexa was tall and well muscled, Darla was petite and frail looking. Elexa was shapely, Darla was slender. The only other thing that pointed to their connection was their large, doe shaped eyes. They were certainly related, but most would not guess they were mother and daughter.
"Ma'am," Elexa nodded, standing at attention.
"Oh, knock off that gobswallop. I am not one of your soldiers." Darla waved her hand dismissively. She could see her daughter had not changed much in the four years since she had seen her. She had grown well, and the reports from Excalibur Military Academy and the Drusus Training Camp were exemplary, though Darla expected nothing less.
Elexa gave a small smile, though it seemed half-hearted. "'Allo Mum. Fancy running into you here."
"Hm." Darla nodded once. "Always a pleasure, darling. Now, follow me, let's get you checked in."
Elexa followed, looking back at Ayla as she did so, her expression a mixture too conflicting to read properly.
Darla was delighted to have Elexa back, and especially in the Spartan program. She finally had a chance to finish the work she had started 18 years ago. She was positively giddy, chatting away at Elexa as she lead her through the facility to the labs. She couldn't wait to get started.
Elexa began to have some doubts, but it was far too late now.
The augmentation process is nearly indescribable. Opened up, pulled apart, stitched back together, opened up again, new things added, stitched back together. They upgrade you, inside and out.
I was unconscious for most of it. But when I was awake, every inch of me hurt. Bones broken and stretched, coated with kevlar. Implants, data connections, reflex enhancers, all installed into the base of my skull. Stimulants for muscle growth, tearing the muscles to bond stronger to support my new frame.
And every time she awoke, I was there with a wolf, sans armor, offering a cup of tea, or an encouraging word, and a warm fuzzy body to hug. It was visible in our eyes every time. We'd been through it too, and it was worth it.
Elexa appreciates Ayla sticking with her through it, and never turned down a cup of tea or a hand to squeeze when the pain got bad. She liked the wolves too, greeting them with a smile and a pat on the head.
She finally awoke with only a minor aching, like a day of hard PT. Robo, the smallest of the wolves, was curled around her feet, and Ayla was asleep in the chair next to her recovery bed with the others curled up around her. An orderly walked in with a food cart. There were two huge platters on it. Robo chuffed, and Ayla woke up. Ignoring the food for the time being, she looked to Alexa. "No grimace this time." It was an observation.