Valor, Variant 2 - Sandra R Neeley

Chapter 1

Steel took point as he led the team through the shadowed corridors of the ramshackle hospital they’d penetrated. Valor was a close second, followed by Nina, then Lethal, with Scorn and Feral bringing up the rear. All held their weapons at the ready. All were on high alert, face shields and helmets in place, communicators in their ears as they reached the end of the corridor.

Steel flattened himself against the wall and quickly peered around the corner before resuming his position against the wall. “Deserted,” he whispered.

A whisper was all that was needed, his team would have heard him even without the earbuds they wore. They were Variant, their senses heightened through the genetic manipulations they’d endured. All except for Nina, that is. Nina had earned her position on the team the old-fashioned way… blood, sweat, and tears. And the fact that she was as brutal as each of her male counterparts, and happened to keep Lethal on an even keel just by being near him, didn’t hurt.

“Steel, Valor, Feral… left. Scorn, you and Nina with me,” Lethal said. Lethal was alpha of this group, their leader, but Steel had quickly asserted himself as more than capable and risen to be his second in command. Lethal stepped out of formation and took point just across from Steel. Nina and Scorn took their places behind him. He held up his hand and three fingers, counting down from three. Once all fingers had been tucked into his palm, he stepped into the corridor and turned right with Nina and Scorn right behind him, at the same time Steel did the same followed closely by Valor and Feral.

They’d searched the entire facility, finding nothing but a hastily deserted building and abandoned equipment. The team, split in two groups, each moved down the corridor in opposite directions, throwing open doors and making a sweep of each room off that corridor which was the final place anyone could possibly be hiding themselves away.

On one side of the corridor, Lethal held point in the center of the corridor as they moved slowly, sure to thoroughly search each room. Nina opened the doors on the left, Scorn opened the doors on the right, and Lethal kept watch as they did so to be sure no one could approach without a kill shot from him.

Same on the opposite end… Steel kept point on that end of the corridor while Feral opened all the doors to his right and Valor opened all to the left.

“Sonofafuckingbitch,” Nina murmured, darting into the second to last room on the left.

“Nina?” Lethal asked.

“Two Variant males down,” she said from inside the room. Lethal remained in the corridor, securing their position as Scorn checked the last two rooms.

“Report!” Lethal barked into the communicator mounted in his helmet.

“The room’s clear, but two Variant down. In cages, seem dead,” she said, as she finished checking there were no other entries or exits in the room. “Secured the room, checking the males.”

Scorn finished with his sweep of the remainder of the rooms at his end of the corridor and quickly moved toward the room Nina had found the two Variant males in.

A single shot could be heard and Lethal snarled as he and Scorn rushed to get into the room with Nina.

She looked up as they rushed into the room. “What? I didn’t see a key,” she said as she stepped back and kicked at the less than adequate lock she’d just shot at. It gave way and clattered to the ground.

“SOT 1, report!” Steel demanded.

“Opening a cage, all’s well,” Lethal answered. He looked around the hospital room they were in. Steel bars had been assembled and welded together in corners of the room, forming cages around two opposite ends. There were hospital beds in each. Buckets for the males to relieve themselves, and not a single thing more.

Nina wasted no time swinging the door open and stepping into the cage the male was locked in. He was collapsed on the floor, just inside the cage almost as though he’d been at the door when he’d finally passed out.

Lethal was right beside her as she knelt beside the male. “Keep your weapon drawn and at the ready,” he said to Scorn.

Nina was kneeling beside the first male, her rifle now slung across her shoulder as she held her handgun against the downed male’s head while checking for a pulse. She closed her eyes and leaned closer, trying to determine if that was indeed a pulse she felt.