This was our last stand. They said back up was coming, but I'm not so sure how accurate that was considering we had been firing round after round since god knows how long. There was only four of us left...soon there would be none. But you know what they say, Spartans don't die...we just go missing in action.

There are many stories of Spartans, and teams during the fall of Reach. However, this is no story of Spartan-III's. Oh no, this is the story of Ghost Team, a black ops operation, and deadly assault team. You may think that those are polar opposites. Sneaking, and then full blown battle. Well, you'd be correct. The team was put together by Dr. Catherine Halsey directly after the Spartan-II training was completed. However, there was something quite unique about these Spartans, referred to by Dr. Halsey as "Null Spartans," they were violent, and always on edge. During the Spartan-II program, there was another project going on within the same division, titled, "Ghost Soldiers." The idea behind this was simple, test tube children. Using tissue samples from several Spartan-I's, and the Spartan-II procedures, test tube babies were designed. Out of several attempts of Ghost Soldiers, all failed...except for seven. This...is their story.

Planet Reach. Year: 2525, March 2nd.

Seven children. Seven successes. No, family, non-existent. Test tube, and cloned children. Dr. Halsey had created a milestone in defeating the Covenant army. The seven of them had been successfully smuggled into the Spartan-II training, and had successfully completed it. This was their final test before genetic augmentation.

Halsey stared through the double-sided glass, waiting for the training to start, she had faith in her successes, especially in William, N-Spartan- 001. "He has the makings of a leader." Halsey said to herself.

"Hello children." Halsey said through the intercom.

The seven children stood at attention, "Ma'am." they said in unison.

"This is your final exercise before you begin augmentation. Should you pass, you will be one of my greatest successes." Halsey smiled brightly, she had the utmost faith that they would. "Your objective is simple, capture the flag, and bring it back to base."

"Ha." one of the children seemed to chuckle quietly. They had done the capture the flag exercise a thousand times before.

"However, this one will be much more challenging. Your opponents will be security bots, and other various combat robots I've designed. Keep in mind, that these bots have given the ODST a run for their money." Halsey said, some fear in her voice, "Also...you'll be using live rounds." Halsey swallowed, the children didn't flinch. "When you hear the alarm, well, that's when the mission starts. Are you ready children?" Halsey asked.

"Yes ma'am!" they said in unison, saluting.

Halsey gave a nod, and pressed the button that opened the chamber doors, unleashing the bots.

Seven children, in no specific order, William, Ivan, Ferris, Rachel, Besany, Tyson, and Jack.

"All right guys, we need to load up and stay in cover." William offered, taking command. William was around the physical age of fourteen, yet had the mental capacity of a sixteen year old, despite him being only twelve standard years old. All of the Null Spartans were this way, they had sped up genes, meaning they aged quicker, there was a remedy for this which would be given in the genetic augmentations...but that was if they passed.

"Who died and made you in charge?" Tyson, the young African American child countered. Despite being cloned of various tissues of Spartan-I's, they were given tissue from other males and females.

"Come on." William chuckled, the young boy rubbed his nose, "Now is no time for arguing."

"Billy's right." Rachel said, loading a magazine into her M6D, "Let's focus on securing the flag."

"I count fourteen robots." Besany said, peering through the giant sliding metal door.

Jack said nothing as he readied his pistol, and planted into cover.

"All right," William said, "Jack, Besany, and Tyson, you three flank left. Rachel, Ivan you two go right. Ferris and I will head for the flag." William ordered.

The chamber, or room, was around the size of a football field, not a stadium, but a football field. There was nine foot blocks placed all around the battlefield, and right in the center was the whit flag, planted firmly in the center.

Jack nodded, and slapped Besany on the shoulder signaling her to move up, while he took point, Tyson was close behind them.

Ivan, the largest of the seven, took point while Rachel followed behind him. William and Ferris still waited in cover as the team made their assault.

Jack had a strong dislike for William, he didn't hate him, but when he started barking orders like he was a goddamn Captain, it tended to piss him off.

The children had no armor on, other then their camouflage pants, combat boots, bullet proof vests, and the comm in their ears there was nothing else protecting them.. But they would make do with what they had.

Jack planted behind one of the blocks, and motion with his hand for Tyson to follow, Tyson nodded, and quickly crouched to cover, followed by Besany. Suddenly a metallic whirring noise was heard.

"Contact!" Jack yelled, aiming down his sights, and firing the M6D with deadly accuracy, the security bots head exploded with shrapnel, and metal.

Tyson peeked out of cover, only to come face to face with one of the bots. He slammed the butt of his pistol onto the bots skull, and then fired two rounds through it's head.

Besany was next, as she swapped cover, bullets whizzed passed her, she fired blindly from cover, one of the rounds catching the bot in the torso, twice, killing it.

The bots were strong, and at least six feet tall. They were skinny, aside from their torso and head. Which made incapacitating them difficult, as taking out their legs was what they assumed would be best. But no, going for the kill shot was what they would need to do from here on out.

Ivan, and Rachel quickly dispatched two more bots. William still in cover, waiting for his chance.

Five bots down, that means there was nine left.

"William, Ferris your clear!" Jack said, having a visual on the flag.

"Gotcha!" William said, weaving through the blocks with great speed, Ferris right on his heels.

"Ah!" Besany screamed, as one of the bots picked her up.

"Damn." Tyson swore as he was pinned down, and couldn't get a lock on the bot that held Besany.

Jack took action, running to the bot, and slamming his fist into its head, he felt the heat of his blood spill down his knuckles. The bot dropped Besany, and turned its attention to Jack.

"Bad idea, bad idea..." Jack repeated as he backed away.

"Jack!" Besany waved.

Jack dropped his gun, and kicked it to Besany who fired two rounds into its back, while Jack tackled it from behind.

"I have visual on the flag!" William yelled over the comm.

Meanwhile, Ivan, and Rachel, were staying in cover, "Hurry up and grab it!" Ivan yelled, firing blindly from cover. Rachel taking potshots as well.

"William not yet!" Ferris pushed William down, diving into cover with him, as a bot sprung up from behind the flag, and fired an assault rifle at them.

The bot fell to the floor, and Besany kicked it full force in the head, while Jack slammed his foot down on top of it.

"Nice one." Jack said, high-fiving Besany.

"You too." Besany chuckled, handing him back his pistol, and retrieving hers.

"How many is that?" Besany asked.

"That was our sixth." Jack said, counting on his fingers.

"That means there's eight left." Rachel said, quick with numbers.

"Seven." Ferris said, diving from cover, and firing a round clean through the heavy bots head.

"Regroup!" William barked.

Jack, Besany, Ivan, Tyson, and Rachel moved quickly to where William and Ferris were.

"Everyone here?" William asked.

They all nodded.

"Good, there's seven left." William said, "Spread out, and clean house. I'll wait with the flag."

"Roger." they said, moving out.

"Hey, Besany?" Jack said.

"What?" Besany asked turning around.

"I've got an idea." Jack smirked.

"Oh, I'm taking this." Ivan said, picking up the MA5 assault rifle, the round counter on the front of it counted 12, "Any magazines?" Ivan asked.

"Here." Ferris said, tossing him a mag, "That was on the bot."

"Nice." Ivan said, reloading.

"I want a cool gun!" Tyson complained, as he followed Jack.

One of the bots came from behind William and tackled him to the floor, "Ivan!" William yelled, trying to shoot the bot.

"I got him!" Ivan yelled, firing the assault rifle, rounds shredded the metal being, and it collapsed.

Rachel rushed to William pushing the bot off of his body, "Help me guys." Rachel gasped, as the bot was quite heavy for one person. Yet alone a teen.

"That means there's only six left." Ferris said, helping out Rachel.

"You're nuts." Besany said, dropping to her knee's, "Tyson come help me!"

"What's going on?" Tyson said, moving over to their position.

"Jack here has a 'plan'." Besany said sarcastically.

"Just lift me on the damn block." Jack growled.

Tyson shrugged, and dropped to a knee as well, and lifting Jack up on to the block, Jack reached his hands upward, and pulled himself up. "Okay I'm up." Jack said, dusting off his pants, "Toss me my gun."

"Here." Tyson said, tossing it to him.

"Thanks." Jack said, scoping out the field. "I only count five." Jack said.

"That's cause we dropped to more over here." Rachel said over her comm.

"Gotcha." Jack said, holstering his gun, and jumping from one block to the other.

"Easy there Jack." Besany warned, "The last thing you want is to fall."

"Or break your ankle." Tyson chuckled.

"Shut up." Jack scoffed, almost slipping, "Shit!" he muttered.

"You fell didn't you?" Besany laughed.

Jack struggled, but finally pulled himself up. "No." he panted.

"Guys, focus." William said, pulling out the flag. "Ivan, you get our six, Ferris you get my right, and Rachel you get my left."

"Roger." Rachel said.

"You got it." Ivan turned around, and checked the round counter displaying 24 more shots.

"On my way." Ferris hustled over.

"Guys there's only four left." Tyson said, as Besany and him took down one more together. "Besany and I are moving to your position." Tyson said.

"Where's Jack?" William asked.

"Left!" Rachel yelled, firing her pistol.

The bot rushed them, and was met with a face full of bullets.

"They're using the diamond formation!" Halsey said, in awe.

Tyson took an empty spot on the left side, next to Rachel, and Besany took the right with Ferris.

"That means there's three more, right?" William asked.

Jack finally caught his breathe, and heard the sound of metal walking past him. "I see them." he whispered.

"Jack, regroup with us. We've got the flag." William said.

Jack got to the tip of the block, and breathed in several times.

"What's he doing?" Halsey said aloud, staring at Jack.

It was now or never, he would either do it, or he wouldn't...no time to feel fear. Jack jumped from the block, landing full force onto the bot, he fired left, twice. Two rounds went clean through the bots face. Jack grabbed it's arm, and using the momentum, he fell with its body to the floor, curling up behind its torso, as the other two bots fired their pistols at him, Jack, kicked full force at the bot, knocking the two bots feet out from under them.

Jack jumped on one, and fired. Disabling the second bot. But Jack wasn't supernatural. And there was no way he could have blocked that third bots kick to the face.

Jack flew back a good four feet, landing on his chest, "Fuck..." Jack groaned, the metallic taste of blood filled his mouth.

Jack's pistol slid far away from his grasp. The bot stalked over to him, Jack frantically crawled for his gun.

"Does anybody see Jack?" Tyson asked, as they weaved through the many blocks of cover.

The bot lifted Jack, his feet dangled from the floor, Jack slammed his left fist into the bots face.

"Gah!" he yelled in pain, as his knuckles bled.

The bot pulled his arm back, and was about to punch, when the last 24 rounds of Ivan's assault rifle ripped through the bot. Jack fell to the floor.

"You okay?" Ferris asked, helping him up.

"Yeah." Jack said, wiping his mouth.

"Let's go!" William smiled, "Mission Complete."

The seven of them were laughing as they made their way back to the metal doors they exited from, their guard down...

"Nice job Willy." Jack said.

"Thanks." William said, as they approached the metal doors.

Ivan opened the door, their guard was down, so nobody was prepared for what happened next.

A combat bot leapt from behind the doors, tackling Ivan, and breaking the assault rifle in half. Rachel went to fire, but was punched in the face.

"Con-" Ferris tried to yell but was disarmed by the bot, who turned to William, and fired.

Jack, felt as he felt when he took on those three bots alone...he had not time to feel fear, he only had time to react.

"Down!" Jack yelled, pushing William out of the way, and catching the round in the chest. Besany was quick with it, and fired everything left in her magazine, the bot buzzed, and collapsed to the floor.

"Jack!" Tyson yelled, running to him, Besany behind him.

Jack pointed to the metal doors, barely breathing.

Tyson looked up, and noticed William was inside, the flag secured, the mission complete.

"Someone get the medic!" Ivan yelled.

Halsey had already called the medics, and they were on their way.

"Just stay awake." Ferris said.

"Yeah..." Jack coughed, blinking rapidly.

"Jesus, he's losing a lot of blood." Besany said, putting pressure on the wound.

The medics appeared, and placed him on a stretcher.

The remaining six went to go with him, but were stopped.

"You need to remain here." the medic medic said.

"Let me go!" Rachel pushed him.

"He'll be okay." the medic assured. "We promise."

Location, the Null Spartans bunks. Two hours later.

Ivan Tyson, and Ferris sat at the table playing cards, as they usually did, the only thing missing was Jack...

William sat on his bunk, cleaning his boots, as he always did when he was nervous, Rachel was using the shower. And Besany laid in her bed, staring at the ceiling, and her dog tags. As well as the small blue lotus flower, that Jack had given her a few years ago. She hoped he would be okay...she prayed he would be okay.

Halsey walked down the hall of the Null Compound, a base hidden...hidden from ONI, and even hidden in some cases from the UNSC. Only the UNSC stationed on this base new of it. As well as Captain Keyes, and Several other members Halsey made aware of...such as Cortana.

The automatic door opened, and Halsey entered their bunks, the six children dropped what they were doing, and saluted instantly, Besany dropping from her bunk quickly, even Rachel who was in a towel, saluted.

"I have good news..." Halsey smiled, "Jack will be okay. He gave us quite a scare, but he managed to pull through."

The children sighed in relief.

"All that being said, I'm giving you one week off. In preparation for the next step of your training. Which will be augmentation." Halsey said.

"Thank you ma'am." William said.

"When can we see Jack?" Besany asked.

"He'll joining you in your quarters tonight." Halsey said.

"Oh, good." Tyson breathed, as well as Ferris, and the rest of the children. Children might seem like a young term for fourteen year old's. But hey, that's what they were.

"Rest easy." Halsey said, as she left the bunks, and the automatic door hissed shut.

The six children sat in silence, and then Ivan broke the silence by lifting up Ferris, and hugging him.

"He's gonna be okay!" Ivan yelled.

"Yeah." Ferris groaned, "You're crushing me..."

"Oh sorry." Ivan chuckled.

Ivan was easy the largest of the seven, standing at 5'9, he was also the heaviest. He had a buzz cut, and spoke in a Russian accent. It was interesting hearing him talk.

And for a guy like Ferris, who was around 5'5 he felt like he was being broken by the giant guy. He wasn't the smallest of the team, but he was quite tiny for a dude. He refused to have any type of hair, and so he was bald.

Tyson on the other hand, had as much hair that was allowed in regulations. It was the standard military cut, but slightly longer, and in an eraser top style, which made the 5'7 seem just as tall as William, who, on the other hand, followed the regulations, and protocol to a T, and was 5'8. His hair was a simple buzz cut as well and the same as Ivan's.

For girls like Rachel, her hair was important, however, she maintained a short cut hair style, always keeping it in a bun, the brunette was smart, and the shortest of the team, standing at 5'4.

Besany on the other hand, liked the think she was as tall as Tyson, standing in at 5'6 but prided in being taller than Ferris. The blonde, kept her hair the same as Rachel, though sometimes she wished she could cut it all off. As it tended to get in the way of combat.

"I wonder if he was scared." Rachel said, as she walked out from the bathroom, now clothed in her normal fatigues.

"Shit, I know I would be." Tyson said.

"He didn't seem like it...he just pushed William down as fast as he could, and then took a bullet to the chest." Ferris said, drawing a card from the deck.

Ivan nodded in agreement.

"Well, we'll just have to wait when we see him tonight." Besany said.

Later that night.

Jack approached the cafeteria. His knuckles, and hands had gauze around them from the injuries he sustained when punching bits, and his chest was bandaged. He felt like a crippled, he didn't know why they gave him crutches, he could walk just fine. He stared down the hall, as he limped, his chest aching. Maybe that's why they gave him crutches...

The walls he had stared at since as long as he could remember, everything was the same to him. He wondered what other people thought of this facility. Or if they even knew. The base was located...hell if Jack knew. But he knew it had to be either near, or even on Reach. Because the Null Spartan and his companions were always smuggled into class. And other various training exercises. Though they had their own exercises and training as well. Theirs were a bot more...well let's just say, Halsey felt a separate feeling of guilt for what she put her Nulls through...

"Jack!" Besany waved, as Jack entered the cafeteria.

The six of them all waved to him as he entered, Ivan, Ferris and William, clapping.

Jack chuckled, as he hobbled over to them, "Hey guys..." Jack said, as he sat down, wincing in pain.

"I had to fight with that bitch of a cafeteria lady, but I managed to get a second plate for you, so you wouldn't have to wait in line." Tyson chuckled, sliding him a plate.

"Thanks man." Jack said, as he reached for a fork.

The six watched as their returned comrade ate.

"Uh...guys..." Jack said, his mouth full, "This is kind of weird..." he laughed.

"Oh sorry." William shook his head, "So, uh..."

"Did it hurt?" Rachel asked, when Besany elbowed her in the ribs, "Ow! What?"

"I'm sure he's gonna tell you it felt great!" Besany rolled her eyes.

"Easy now, Bess." William said.

"Shut up, only Jack calls me that." Besany growled.

Which was true.

"Just can it will you." William yelled.

"Whoa! You can't talk to a lady like that." Ferris intervened.

"Trying to be a ladies man Ferris?" Tyson chuckled.

"Maybe he's sticking up for his teammate." Ivan butted in.

"By teaming up against one." William retorted.

"Oh...I missed you guys..." Jack laughed, as his team argued amongst themselves. Like one big, experimental and dysfunctional family.