Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.
“Laschius eleven: in position. Kalfium eleven: preparing.”
The deep voice came from the intercom system just above 04’s head, right next to the camera mounted on the wall. His team checked and raised their rifles, preparing for the doors in front of them to open.
KA11-04 aimed his rifle at the blast door to the production room, behind which he knew his fate lay. His three team members flanked him, 02 on his right and 03 on his left, with his commander, 01, behind him. He awaited the opening of the doors, anticipating what he might find on the other side.
He knew what would be there. A newly produced variant. Out of the one hundred test tubes inside the room, one would successfully create a living and stable variant. The variant would go through it’s paroxysm, during which it would be unstable and elusive. It would have full control of its powers, though it wouldn’t know how to use them effectively.
He knew what to do. His job, simply put, was to capture it in a net, tranquilize it, then transport it to the containment crate in the middle of the room. From the crate, it would be moved via drone to a safe location for its holding. He was to evacuate the production room with his squad for decontamination and three full rotations of sleep and rest in his quarters as a reward.
He knew how to do his job. For twelve years since he had graduated from the Containment and Studies Institution, he had been training with his fireteam for five hours every rotation. He knew the training room like the back of his hand, and the production room had an identical layout.
He, one of his team members, or one of the members of the other fireteam that would be entering from the side opposite he would be coming in were to net the variant by shooting it with their modified rifles. Then, either his commander or LA11-01, the commander of the other fireteam, would tranquilize the Variant before they contained it in the box in the middle of the production room.
The one thing that KA11-01 didn’t know was, quite frankly, the future. From his past experiences in training exercises, his mind seemed to want to feel the familiar feeling of safety that he always felt when he entered the training room. But he realized that this time that he would be entering an actual dangerous situation, one he actually might not make it out of.
04 recalled one day of training just rotations ago that was most likely the cause of his sudden fear. He and his team had been training with a retired commander that had used to be in his own containment unit. The man had been missing a leg but had a prosthetic attached.
The way that he had explained it, it had been the result of a bizarre training accident involving his net rifle and a new prototype of netting capsule. However, during the discussion, 04 recalled the veteran looking uneasy, with his eyes downcast in a suspicious way that made 04 wonder whether or not the man was telling the full truth. How could a malfunction of a net capsule result in a severed leg?
Then, further proof came to back 04’s hypothesis. While the veteran was describing how to catch the Variants without any mishaps, he said the word injury. Injury. Why would the team have to worry about receiving any injuries if they were going into a non-dangerous situation? The question bothered 04, especially when he put it into context with the prosthetic that the veteran wore.
Despite this, 04 didn’t ask questions. He wasn’t supposed to unless needed too, and even with the case he had; he doubted that he would do anything more than draw unwanted attention to himself.
04 pulled a quick glance to KA11-02 on his right. Behind her transparent visor, 04 could see her relaxed face. She looked confident, perhaps too much so. Everyone around him seemed excited, not frightened and tense as he was. After all, this was their first containment mission. They seemed happy to be out of the regular old routine of drills and training, and into their first mission, through which they could show their potential as a team.
04 could feel the sweat on the back of his head, dripping from his hairline, down his, neck, before soaking into his uniform. Adrenaline was coursing through his veins, and his spine tingled with a weird itchy feeling. The corners of his visor were starting to condense from the sweat that clung to his eyebrows. He tensed up, breathing hard.
A gloved hand touched his shoulder, and 04 flinched. He turned back slightly, looking behind him. It was just his commander, 01.
“You’ll be alright 04. Keep it together. We’ll be done before you know it. Stay sharp.”
04 nodded, turning back to the door. His commander’s words comforted him slightly, but he still didn’t feel safe, even with his fireteam surrounding him and his rifle in hand.
“KA11 and LA11, prepare for entrance.”
No matter what, though, he knew that he would have to face his fears. Just as 01 said, it would be alright. His reflexes would keep him alive even if there was something dangerous on the other side of the door, he would be safe with his group. He had a simple job to do, and there was no way in hell that some minor stage fright was going to stop him.
The door opened.