Britain was in a buoyant mood. So far all the Gateway systems were functioning nominally and he was confident that his promotion prospects were looking up. He had personally designed the emergency return pod system, so the safe return of a badly wounded individual was a massive ego boost. He glanced down at his clipboard, flicking through the notifications that had stacked up while he had been focused on ensuring the pod arrived safely. Nothing needed urgent attention so he decided to have some fun with the new recruits. He had been working really hard and he felt some sport was well deserved. With a wry smile he marched off towards the barracks.

Chad was in a foul mood. He was beginning to regret his decision to join the Gateway Engineering Corps. The gruelling training regimen, which involved hours of intensive exercise in a high pressure, high temperature chamber, was starting to take its toll. He was also nervous about his new colleagues. He had been bunked in with a tall brute called Guam who had also been assigned as his exercise partner. Guam had initially seemed harmless enough, a little sullen, but harmless. however, once they had started exercising together, this perception changed.

The sessions lasted anywhere from four to eight hours depending on the program they were instructed to follow. In the confines of the overly hot hyperbaric chamber, Chad had begun to get the uneasy feeling that Guam was watching him. He was using the holographic unit he had been provided, brushing up on engineering principles as he worked through his aerobic routine, but on more than one occasion he had caught Guam’s roaming eyes on him as he lifted the visor to wipe the sweat from his brow. Guam had also taking to standing too close to him in the communal shower which resulted in an increase in the homophobic jibes directed his way by the other recruits. He was now cordially referred to as Guam’s bottom bitch.

At first he hadn’t  minded the taunts, his father had always told him that the best way to deal with nicknames was to own them, but when he had over heard Mali using the epithet he had begun to take it to heart. Mali was one of the few female recruits and he had developed a hopeless crush on her.