Chapter 2: The final exam

The day of the exam had finally come. The exam was to take place in the largest holoroom in the building, this one took up the entire 50th of the building, meaning it was a giant circular room, about 320 metres in diameter. Like all holorooms it was lined with a yellow rectangular energy grids that covered the floor, walls and ceiling. The cadets all chattering among themselves piled in through an automatic sliding door on the south side of the room and split up and spread out around the room and gathered in groups of three in designated areas. There were holographic screens floating around the room with the group numbers. Sam walked over to the screen that had the words "team 12" written on it in big red letters. He was in full combat green/brown camouflage uniform, wearing big heavy black combat boots, he was also wearing camouflage face paint and an armoured helmet for protection. In the centre of the camouflage shirt he was wearing was a disk shaped device emitting a blue light- a light energy shield generator for protecting against attacks. He was equipped with supplies and equipment stored in a huge green rucksack on his back. When he walked into the room holographic weapons also appeared in their hands, this included the standard Laser Assault Rifle of the Torragonian Star Marines- the LC56-Decimator, however it had some extra attachments on it. Most notably a mono-knife bayonet was positioned along the top side of the barrel and on the underside of the barrel was a large cylindrical device with bumps along it- the PL87 Grenade launcher, 3 plasma grenades also appeared on Sams belt..

Photon and Mina were already waiting by the screen. When Mina saw Sam she immediately hugged him enthusiastically.

"Awww, you look so cute with camouflage on your face!" she said.

Sam looked annoyed and pushed her away.

"Damn it Mina," said Sam. "I'm a soldier like you! I'm not cute!" Sam suddenly paused, he wasn't sure if this was something he should be saying to a girl he liked. Mina giggled.

"Sorry Sam," replied Mina.

Photon Angel looked uninterested at what Mina and Sam were doing and was looking around the room at the other pairings. Sam noticed that among the equipment that had been given to the cadets as standard for the final exam- Photon also had brought a staff with him, like the one he had used to fight Sam.

"How come you brought your staff with you?" asked Sam.

Photon didn't look at Sam but simply replied "Well if you had actually bothered to pay attention to the rules of the exam, then you would know that along with the standard equipment, we were allowed to bring one Melee weapon of our choice along with us." Sam frowned- already Photon and him weren't getting along.

"So what is the exam anyway?" asked Sam.

Mina shrugged. Photon still didn't turn to look at Sam.

"Well whatever it is," answered Photon. "Just don't get in my way and we'll pass it. You got that…" he turned to face Sam. "Kid?"

Sam looked really angry now.

"I am NOT a kid!" yelled Sam (so loud that the nearby cadets turned round to look at Sam.) "I'm only 3 years younger than you anyway! And besides I thought people in the Torragonian Federation judged people by their abilities and not by age!"

Photon laughed slightly.

"Your right," replied Photon. "I AM judging you by your abilities. Like our fight- I kicked your ass. In my book, that makes you a kid."

Sam clenched his fists together- sparks began to appear from his muscle seal.

"Why you…" said Sam through gritted teeth- he was about to go and punch Photon, but Mina grabbed his arm before he had the chance. Sam looked around to face Mina who was shaking her head. Sam freed himself from Minas grasp. He paused and looked away from the two of them.

"Jerk…" muttered Sam under his breath.

Sergeant Kiral soon walked into the centre of the room. The room suddenly turned dark and a spot light shone down on him. When he spoke, his voice was magnified by the Holorooms amplifiers around the room.

"You've made it this far cadets," echoed Kiral. "You've had to overcome many obstacles and personal trails to get here…but this is the real test." A gaint 3D holographic map of a jungle shone over his head and floated in mid air. "The rules of the exam are simple. The holoroom will simulate the Renate jungle, meaning you will have to survive by yourself in these conditions for the whole three-day peroid of the test." Sams eyes widened.

"Three days?" thought Sam.

"Your objective…" continued Kiral. "Is to reach the finishing point, within the three day peroid- however you have to locate the finishing point for yourself. Out of the three team members in your group, one of you will have been designated the team leader, the one who has been given a PDA in his equipment."

None of the marines knew that about Team leaders and began searching there equipments for PDA. Sam couldn't find one in his rucksack. He then looked at Mina and Photon searching themselves for a PDA.

"Please be Mina, please be Mina, please be Mina." Thought Sam over and over again in his head, suddenly Photon pulled out a palm sized disk machine with a holoemitter in the centre- a Torragonian PDA.

"Dammit!" though Sam (he realised now had to obey Photons orders).

"On these PDAs are stored the location of a computer terminal, which in turn you can download the location of the finishing point from," explained Kiral. "However…there are only 8 terminals, and incase you hadn't noticed there are sixteen groups here. Meaning that there are 2 groups per terminal, and the location of the finishing point can only be downloaded once from them." The marines began whispering. "That means if your not the first group to reach the terminal, you'll have to track down the group who have taken the co-ordinates, or indeed any group and take it from them."

"We have to kill them!?" cried Sam so loudly that some of the marines turned around to "Sshh!" him.

"Of course all your weapons will be holographic." explained Kiral. "So you will be protected by the holorooms saftey features." A feeling of relief washed over Sams face. "However if you are "killed" a force field will be erected around your body meaning you will be unable to be move until the exam is over."

"It's as good as real then…" thought Sam.

"Extra weapons are scattered around the jungle for you to use." continued Kiral. "Extra points will be given to team members who successfully manage to "kill" or capture enemy team members, so you'll have to use your full abilities." Kiral looked over to Sam when he said the word "full". Sam knew that this meant that he was now allowed to use his muscle seal. Sam clenched his fist and grinned.

"Your time starts as soon as I leave the room. We'll be watching your every move from the control room so if any of you get in trouble." finished Kiral. "Good hunting cadets." The room re-illuminated and the holographic map disapeared, Kiral walked out of the southern door. When he was out of the room, the energy grids of the holoroom began to glow brighter and brighter until there was a brilliant flash of light that temporarily blinded Sam. When the light passed, Sam could no longer see the other marines. He, Mina and Photon were in a thick, dense Torragonian jungle. They were surrounded by strange brown and red bushes. The red trees rose towered 16 feet above them with red leaves and vines descending all the way down to the ground. The canopy above them was so thick they could barely see the holographic sun above it. But in the distance they could make out huge mountains in the ditance, there was the sound of a running waterfall in the distance. Sam touched one of the trees near him- it felt exactly like a tree. He couldn't believe that a holgrapic image projected onto a force field could be so much like the real thing.

Photon pulled out his PDA and turned it on. A holographic map of the jungle appeared, a little red arrow was hovering over their current position, another golden arrow was hovering above the location of the computer terminal, it was some distance north from their location. Photon put the PDA back in his pocket.

"The terminal is 6 kliks north from our current position." Said Photon. "Let's move." The three of them got out their assault rifles, crouched down so that they were hidden by the bushes of the forest, and began to sneak their way through the jungle.

The three of them continued to sneak their way through the jungle in complete silence for several hours, only stopping once to eat- Photon was a tough leader. Eventually they made it to the co-ordinates of the terminal. The three of them lay on their bellies hidden by the bushes of the forest. There was a clearing infront of them- at the centre of the clearing there was a shrine shaped nearly identically to stone henge- Sam wondered if the theory that early man was influenced by an alien race like the Torragonians to build such a shrine. In the middle of the shrine there was a metal pillar with a holographic emmiter on the top of it projecting a holographic keyboard- the computer terminal. There was a wall of rock behind the shrine with a waterfall running down it. The water then ran around the circular shrine in rivers, and then flowed off in two different directions. Photon pulled out a headset and put it on over his left ear. There was a piece of red glass that extended from the headset, and covered his right eye. This was a personal scanner unit. A caption appeared over the computer terminal when Photon looked at it.

"The Terminal appears to still be online." Said Photon. "Guess we're the first ones here…" Photon looked around. "No sign of the other group, looks like its safe…"

"Great!" interupted Sam. "Then let's go!" Sam jumped out of his cover spot and fell down into the clearing.

"Wait you idiot!" cried Photon.

Sam landed on all fours and got up and began to walk over to the shrine. It looked normal enough, there wasn't anything to worry about. He continued to walk over to one of the stone arches to enter into the centre of the shrine where the computer terminal was. Sam was about to walk through the arch, when suddenly he stopped. He felt a slight tingling in his foot. He looked down and noticed that his foot was blocking a beam of light, being emitted by an laser on the right side of the arch- and was stopping the light from reaching a reciever on the other side of the arch. Sam looked up, about two feet above from where the terminal was located a strange, circular water shimmering effect appeared. Eventually the shimming disappeared and in it's place was a strange small hovering machine, about the size of a football. At the heart of it was the long clyindrical barrel of a machine gun- a laser cannon, surrrounded by four fins in a cross on at the end of barrel- floatation aids. Sam recognised this machine at once. It was an MLC-2500 Auto-turret, designed to hide by cloaking itself to become invisible and then opening fire on an unsuspecting target- and in the case it was Sam.

Sam stared at the turret, as it swivelled around in mid air to face him, frozen by fear. He knew that if he stayed there the turret would gun him down- but he still couldn't move.

"Shit!" thought Sam. "Why can't I move?" The turret eventually stopped and a laser target shone out from the end of the guns barrel and pointed right at Sam. He closed his eyes in fear and waited for the blasts to come. But before it did Sam heard a noise, the ground of something small and metal bouncing and rolling across the stone ground, followed soon afterwards by the sound of a small explosion, and a blue yellow light washed over Sams face- he could see it through his closed eyes, there was also the noise of static electricity. Suddenly the auto-turret fire and Sam could hear the noise of the powerful rapid fire of the laser cannon opening fire! Sam yelled and covered his ears! He waited for a moment, he realised he was not dead.

He slowly opened his eyes and uncovered his ears. Eventually he saw that there was a blue yellow semi-sphere of light in front of him, protecting him from the rapidly firing shots of red light from the auto-turrets cannon. Sam recognised what this was- the metal object he had heard rolling on the floor had been a shield grenade, which when detonated would create an energy shield to protect the user. Sam still stood staring at the turret. He still could not move, but the turret wasn't letting up, it was still pounding the shield with its weapon, and Sam started to realise that that the shield was starting to dissipate. The blue light was rapidly vanishing. But he still couldn't move.

"I've gotta move now…" thought Sam. "Or this time it really will kill me…" He tried with all his will, but he still couldn't move. "No! Not like this…Please…"

"MOVE!" yelled a voice from behind Sam, and just as the energy shield collapsed, something hard knocked against Sams right side and sent him flying off his feet! He collapsed onto the ground and banged his head against the stone pillar behind him. While he had been flying through the air the energy shield had finally broken down, the laser blasts had broken down the shield like glass and punched through it! Sam shook his head- his vision was a little blurry, when it cleared up he saw that Photon was crouching over him- he had saved him. Suddenly felt a sharp pain in his right leg, he grasped it and yelled, and noticed that that there was blood seeping from a wound and staining the material around it.

"Idiot!" yelled Photon over the noise of the laser cannon pounding the stone pillar they were taking cover behind. "You walked straight into an ambush! Your lucky to get away with only a small wound like that!"

"I thought you said that the scanner didn't detect anything…" panted Sam, trying to deal with the pain of the wound.

Photon rolled his eyes.

"It was cloaked!" cried Photon. "Cloaking hides objects from scanners as well as eyesight."

Sam yelled out in pain again.

"Get Mina down here!" shouted Sam. "She can heal my wound!"

"No, she'll have her hands full." replied Photon.

"With what?" asked Sam.

Photon looked annoyed as he started to prepare his laser rifle to take on the turret.

"With the enemy team who placed the ambush." Explained Photon. "They'll be nearby."

"I thought you said the scanner didn't detect anyone…" asked Sam.


Photon cocked his rifle, and turned his head to press against the stone pillar, he prepared to open fire.

"Auto turrets target the strongest source of heat," thought Photon. He pulled out a plasma grenade from his belt and held it in his right hand. "So all I gotta do is give it a better target!" Photon pressed down on the grenades priming button and lobbed it over the stone pillar. Photon heard it clang against the stone floor of the shrine before hearing it roll and collide with another one of the stone pillars. At first the turret ignored the grenade, but then it detonated- the same red ball of light grew out of the weapon before finally exploding, destroying the pillar! The turret was knocked a few feet back by the shockwave from the explosion, but eventually it swivelled around and opened fire on the now superheated remains of the stone pillar. Photon his chance, he divided out of his cover spot, wielding his laser rifle and opened fire on the green glowing rear end of the turret- its power core, there was a small explosion from the power core and the turret simply fell on the ground and smashed into pieces!

Meanwhile, just a few yards west of the east of the shrine hidden, the three enemy marines were standing, using active camouflage (a form of cloaking technology that is wearable by an infantry members) watching the laser turret firing on Sam and Photon.

"They defeated the turret, now all we gotta do is finish them off." said one of the marines with a deep voice.

"Wait a minute there's only two of them…" replied a lighter voiced marine.

"Yeah where's the third member?" asked a girl marine.

"We can worry about her later." answered the deep voiced marine. "Let's go."

The marines jumped out of there hiding places and invisibly ran out to the shrine. Photon had heard them coming, so he had picked up Sam, took him out of stone pillar that he had taken cover behind before, and hid him behind another pillar to the west. When this happened the cloaked marines opened fire with their laser rifles which caused them to de cloak and became visible (laser weaponry causes nearby ionisation which interferes with cloaking units), to reveal that their shielding units had been upgraded with a second device- the cloaking unit, which was emitting a bright white light still trying to cloak them despite the interference from the laser weaponry. The three of them took cover behind three rocks in a triangle formation and concentrated their fire on the pillar Photon and Sam were taking cover behind.

The female marine who was behind the other two, heard something metal roll next to her. She stopped firing at Photon and Sam for a second to look by her side. It was a green metal bubal, lined with holes. She stared at it for a second- it wasn't a grenade but so she ignored it and resumed fire. Suddenly a grey and white gas exploded out of it! The girl was swallowed up by the gas, and she began coughing heavily. Her two friends stopped firing and spun around to face her.

"Susas!" cried the deep voiced marine. Suddenly the gas cleared, the girl looked slightly confused. The two of them ran over to her to check on her.

"It's ok…" she said. Suddenly she shook her head and her eyesight cleared up. But when it did, her two allies appeared to be Sam and Photon to her! She cried out in panic and shot one of her team mates with her laser rifle! His body flailed as he was shot at point blank range and eventually fell to the ground dead (Luckily the laser was holographic ally simulated so all the wounds were illusions.)

"What the hell do you think your doing?" cried the deep voiced marine. He grabbed the rifle in the girls hands and tried to shake it out of her. But she screamed and resisted, and eventually tried to pull out her bayonet on him, but he punched her in the face before he had the chance to stab him- she fell to the ground unconscious. The deep voiced marine panted and crouched down with his hands on his knees. Suddenly he heard someone behind him, and then he noticed that there was a knife by his throat- he noticed the hand holding the knife-was that of a girls.

"Don't. Move." said Mina.

The marine laughed slightly.

"Mina Wesset." He said. "I should have known. That was your confusion gas right?"

Mina nodded.

"Yep." Answered Mina- her confusion gas was a weapon that she could quickly develop using her medical nanites and several chemicals, creating a gas that causes the enemy to hallucinate.

"Anyway enough talk." continued Mina. "You're our prisoner now. We could use the extra points."

He smirked as he reached for his knife in a holster by his pocket.

"Oh I don't think so…" he answered. He pulled out his knife and stabbed Mina in her right leg! She cried in pain and stumbled backwards, moving her knife away from the marines neck, at which point the marine lashed out with a round house kick knocking Mina backwards a few feet and winding her. He was about to reach for a handgun in a holster on his left leg, when he noticed the wound on Minas leg- her medical nanites were already gathering round the wound and were healing it- it had nearly disappeared.

"What the..." he thought. Suddenly he heard something land behind him. He spun round and saw that Photon Angel had jumped behind him, and was standing with his staff already holding it above his head with both arms. The marines eyes widened, and suddenly with a swift blow, Photon swung down with the staff and knocked the marine in the head and drove it into the ground! The marine lay unconscious on the ground- the holorooms force field had absorbed most of the impact from the staff- so it was only a simulation of being dead. Mina stared at the "dead" marine.

"Mina." Said Photon. She looked up at once and blushed. "You alright?"

"Huh?" she replied. "Yeah I'm ok…thanks Photon…for saving me I mean."

Photon ignored this comment and looked at the computer terminal.

"Go help Sam." Ordered Photon. "I'll get the data so we can get out of here."

"Oh…right." Answered Mina, and she walked off to the stone pillar that Sam was hidden behind.

Later that evening, the three of them decided to set up camp for the night. They were in a small 8-shaped clearing of the jungle surrounded by trees and bushes. They had a campfire burning at the centre of the clearing, as it was starting to get dark. Photon who was sitting down on one of three tree stumps by the campfire, had his laser rifle in his hand, he looked very alert- keeping watch. He had set up two tents- one for him and Sam, one for Mina. Sam was propped up against a tree at the edge of the clearing, with Mina kneeling down next to him using her medical Nanites. Sam watched in silence as the wound disappeared- he couldn't stop thinking about what happened. Eventually it was gone completely and Mina removed her hand from the wound.

"All better." sighed Mina. "Luckily the wound was holographically exaggerated, so there was actually very little damage to the flesh."

"Thanks Mina." Replied Sam plainly.

"It's no trouble." She answered. Mina paused for a second. "Sam why did you freeze up like that?"

"I dunno." Shrugged Sam. "I guess I just wasn't expecting that..."

"Expecting what?" asked Mina.

Sam paused.

"That I could be killed so easily," he finally answered. "I never thought…" he paused again. "When I was fighting Father Mind it seemed so easy, just to stay alive in battle. But then…it was like I couldn't believe that it was happening…"

Mina looked confused. "Well I hope it doesn't happen again."

"Yeah…me too." replied Sam.

A few minutes later the three of them were sitting round the camp fire and digging into there supplies. They were eating some kind of Torragonian soup that Sam didn't care much for. The three of them sat in silence, slurping it up, until eventually Photon spoke.

"Mina," he said.

Mina looked up from her soup.

"Er, yeah Photon?" she said.

"I think we need to re-arrange our battle formation." Continued Photon. "I'll take up point and you take the rear. If we get attacked we'll need to protect Sam in case he freezes up again."

Sam looked angry and clenched his fist- he didn't like the way Photon wasn't consulting him on this.

"That won't happen again…" said Sam through gritted teeth.

Photon looked at Sam but ignored what he was saying.

"Sam you'd also better take some shield grenades from my supplies." Continued Photon. "You'll need 'em if…"
"It WON'T happen again." said Sam who was starting to raise his voice.

Photon laughed.

"Can you honestly guarantee that…" answered Photon. "Kid?"

At this point Sam looked seriously pissed off. He threw down his soup and jumped off his stump!


Photon stopped eating his soup and stared at Sam with a blank expression. Mina stood up as well to try and calm him down.

"Shut up Sam!" whispered Mina. "The others will hear you!"

"FIGHT ME!" cried Sam, completely ignoring Mina. "FIGHT ME NOW!

There was a pause. Eventually Photon laughed and put down his Soup.

"All right then." replied Photon. "I'll fight you. It's against my personal code of conduct to turn down a challenge anyway…"

Mina spun around to face Photon. "You can't be serious?" she cried.

"Mina, don't get involved." Photon answered. "This is a guy thing."

Mina rolled her eyes.

"Why do all guys in the military act like this?" she cried. "All right fine, you guys have fun. But don't expect me to heal you when you end up hurting each other."

Mina stormed off to one of the trees crossed her hands and stood by it, while Photon and Sam stood out in the middle of one of the circles that made up the clearing. Photon stood at one end and Sam at the other. The two of them took up martial arts stances. Sam took up a karate stance, while Photon took up that of an alien martial art that he was unfamiliar with. The tension was so thick- you could cut it with a spoon let alone a knife. Finally Sam made the first move- but Photon didn't realise it. Sam grabbed his right wrist with his left hand.

"If I use my full power…" thought Sam. "Then this'll be easy." The muscle enhancing seal on his right hand began to glow and spark. Sams muscles began to bulge, he could feel it's power pumping into his system! Sam grinned, he hadn't felt the full extent of his power for nearly a year now- and it felt so damn good.

Photon thought this was a distraction and ran at Sam anyway, with his fist held out behind him ready to punch. He yelled as he ran, he came closer and closer and closer- but Sam showed no signs of reacting.

"Too slow…" thought Sam. Before Photon realised what was happening. Sam had lashed out with a powerful punch to the stomach! Photon was completely winded and stumbled backwards, in which time Sam had already lashed out with another punch to the face and followed up with a flurry of attacks that Photon -who was still stunned from the first attack- was completely unable to block!

"Hmm" thought Mina who was watching the background. "So that's Sams full power."

When Sam was finally done punching Photon, he yelled and lashed out with a roundhouse kick which sent Photon flying backwards and crashing into one of the tents! When Photon had finally landed, Sam returned back to his original fighting stance. Eventually Photon crawled out from remains of the tent, panting and covered with bruises.

"Had enough?" called Sam.

Photon laughed slightly as he started to get on to his feet.

"I see," panted Photon. "It all makes sense now…" He got up on to his feet. "I heard that Talnors third special-ops member had a Gradonian microwave seal…but I never thought for a second it'd be a little runt like you."

Sam and Mina both looked shocked and stared at Photon.

"You…you know Talnor?" asked Mina.

Photon laughed.

"I've known Talnor a lot longer than you have Mina." He said. "I've also known for a long time that you were going to be one of his special-ops marines."

"What?" cried Mina. "But how? I never told you!"

Photon laughed again.

"I thought it was a bit of a coincidence that you and I, were on the same team. But I believed that it was after I found out that a little kid like him was the third member of our team." answered Photon. "But I guess it wasn't after all. They wanted to see how we performed together."

"What?" asked Sam. "What are you saying?"

Photon looked up at Sam in anger.

"I'm saying that I'm the third member of Talnors special-ops team you idiot!" yelled Photon.

Sam and Mina now looked completely amazed.

"You can't be…" thought Sam. "You don't even have a special ability!"

Photon laughed.

"Oh don't I?" replied Photon. There was a pause. "I didn't think I would have to use it against a kid like you, but I guess I was wrong." Photon held his arms out. "You're about to see why they call me an Angel." Suddenly, the camp fire started to something extremely strange- it started to bend around so that all the light emanating from it was now shining on Photon, making it look like he was he WAS glowing- he was absorbing the light?"

"What the…" said Sam in amazement. Eventually all the light started to gather around Photons head to form a halo of light, hovering just above his hair.

"Psychic manipulation of light to form that halo…" said Mina. "So that's why they call you a Photon Angel."

Photon laughed.

"I hate that nickname…" said Photon. "Some Angel I would be. I don't even believe in god."

Sam stared at him.

"Huh, a halo…" said Sam. "Not sure that helps you fight but, Ok."

"Oh you'll find out soon enough." replied Photon with a huge smirk on his face. Sam frowned.

"Whatever." said Sam. "So is that something that all the 'Archaic Ones' could do?"

Photons face changed from fighting confidence to a look a pure anger."You…" snarled Photon. "How could you? A little kid from a planet that can't even get past its own moon…how could you possibly know that I am a member of the Archaic race?"

Sam laughed.

"What you hadn't noticed?" called Sam. "Everyone at the academy talks about you! I thought it was because all the girls thought that you were the sexiest thing on two legs, but I guess it's because they thought you were a freak!"

"Shut up." said Photon.

"I guess that's why you're such a loner at the academy." replied Sam.

"Shut up!" repeated Photon.

"What's that thing called in psychology where you withdraw yourself from society because you think everybody will reject you because you're so different?" continued Sam.


"You act all tough because you think you're superior than everybody else." continued Sam. "But you know what? You're PATHETIC."

That word really set Photon off. Suddenly he disappeared, and there was a small gust of wind where he had been standing.

"What the?" said Sam and looked around. "Where'd he go?" Suddenly Sam felt a gust of wind behind him, accompanied by the sound of rustling leaves. Sam froze on the spot- Photon was behind him.

"That's impossible," thought Sam. "He's even faster than me…"

"You're going to regret saying that." said Photon.

Sam felt Photons hands grab his head from behind him, and Sam froze on the spot at one. He knew what Photon was going to do next. He was going to break his neck. He was going to kill him.

Sam saw Mina come running out from the tree she was standing by.

"NO! DON'T!" she yelled begging with Photon. "PHOTON PLEASE!"

"Whose the tough guy now?" whispered Photon in Sams ears.

Sams life flashed before his eyes. And he realised something…the whole reason he had come into space, to get revenge for the death of his uncle and sister…he wasn't going to get it…he was going to die right here, right now.

Suddenly there was a rustling of leaves from the edge of the clearing, a small round spherical object landed on the ground between Mina and Sam. Mina stopped running because she realised what this was- it was a Plasma Grenade, and it was primed. The grenade exploded at point blanc range sending Photon and Sam flying backwards and crashing into a tree. Mina was thrown into her tent where she collapsed on the floor. The ground where the grenade had gone off was on fire. All three of them were unconscious. There was a strange silence that followed. Suddenly three marine cadets emerged from the bushes and came out into the clearing.

"Way'd to go Dec!" called one of the marines. "Three birds with one stone! Now that is impressive!"

"Check 'em." Said a female marine with a commanding voice. One of the marines went over to the tree that Sam and Photon had crashed into, he knelt down beside them.

"They're 'dead'." Called the Marine. He began to check Sam and Photons pockets, eventually he pulled out Photons PDA.

"I got the PDA!" he yelled. "And it's got the data of the finishing point!"

"Great." Said the female marine. She turned to the marine who was kneeling by Mina. "What about her?"

"She's just unconscious." Replied the marine. He looked up and down Mina. "Hey wait, isn't this Mina Wesset? The medical genius?"

"That's her?" answered the Female Marine. "Take her prisoner, we could use a medical specialist." The marine nodded and grabbed Mina so he could hold her on his back. "All right get what we need and let's get outta here." The three of them searched the teams stuff for supplies, ammo etc and took it all. Leaving them with nothing. When they were done they headed off into the depths of the jungle, leaving Photon and Sam lying by the tree, for 'dead'.