Chapter 5 - Pure Fury

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29th March 2310 20:32 EST - Celebrations within the barracks were in full swing, and despite a ban on alcoholic beverages, Jason's team were doing all they could to maximise enjoyment.

Just a few hours ago Jason managed to detonate the explosives to complete the almost impossible mission and confirm that his team were now officially members of the USM. He had lost his entire squad in the process and sacrificed himself, but he had achieved what very few had done before. Being 'killed' was not on the back of everyone's mind as they returned to celebrate.

There was laughter all around, especially when Pavylenko stood on his bed stark naked and started bouncing roughly in time with the music that was echoing throughout the room.

It was not a pretty sight.

Jason couldn't help but chuckle as Pavylenko had now become the centre of attention. It seemed like a distraction was wanted. They had been slaughtered on the test and now they were likely to be sent out onto the front lines against a ruthlessly efficient enemy in which neither side was gaining much headway.

A distraction was not just wanted, it was needed.

He looked over at the far corner. Westwood lay on his bed keeping well away from the celebrations. His team got brutally slaughtered in a full-frontal assault, but while tactically they were poor, as a fighting unit they were very efficient against far greater odds

While they celebrated and laughed at Pavylenko in all his glory, Westwood remained glum and irritated.

As Jason sat, watching the team revel in their success, he spotted Aurora carefully making her way toward him. As she pushed a strand of her blonde hair behind her ear she carefully positioned herself next to him.

"In all the years I've known you, you still never celebrate a successful outcome." Aurora observed.

"I wouldn't call watching a naked Pavylenko, celebrating." Laughed Jason.

Aurora shared his laughter. "Fair point, not exactly something I wanted to see." She paused "especially sober!"

There was an awkward silence, one that wasn't normally there between the two of them. "Is something on your mind Aurora?" Jason asked knowing her well enough that something was clearly bothering her.

Aurora looked down at her feet briefly before uncomfortably turning towards Jason, once again pushing a strand of hair behind her ear. "We work well together don't you think?"

Jason smiled at the embarrassed shyness radiating from her. Aurora had always followed Jason's lead through the years they had known each other but around other people, she was a very strong-willed character. To see her like this was unusual, to say the least. "Yes very well."

She bit the bottom of her lip nervously and looked around the room trying to avoid eye contact with him. "Well we have known each other a long time and we work great as a team, have you ever thought..." she paused nervously trying to find the words to say. The party was getting louder around them but to her, it felt like they were the only two in the room, and that made the situation feel worse.

"Thought what?" Jason prompted. He wasn't exactly helping the situation, but then he knew that.

"Have you ever thought, well, like, uh, well, um, how to say this?" She stuttered.

Aurora took a deep breath and closed her eyes. Once again she opened them and looked directly at Jason. Just as she was to open her mouth, she was interrupted by a soldier running into the barracks and shouting. "Put on the news! Something major has happened!"

The soldier walked to a large transparent screen at the end of the room and as everyone started to congregate around him he started to play the news report that was so important to distract them from their party.

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