My barrack room was large, decked out for four people, but for some reason I occupied it alone. It had two bunk beds embedded into opposite walls, one steel table stood alone in the centre of the room and opposite the heavy steel front door was another door leading to a bathroom. I lay on the bottom bunk of the bed on the right side of the room, my head propped up against a pillow, reading a book. My wings were tightly wrapped against my back and the butt of a solitary pistol protruded from underneath the pillow. A loud knocking rent through the silence.
"It's open." I called. The bolt was slid back and a trio of people traipsed inside. The first was a huge, dark skinned, muscular man with short black hair, high cheek-bones, a thick set jaw and light brown eyes. The second was a woman. She was tall and slender with long red hair, violet eyes and thick sumptuous lips. The last was a boy, little more than sixteen years old. He was short, with tanned skin and blue eyes.
"Yes, what is it?" I asked the huge man.
"We were told that this would be our new bunk room." He replied in a thick Texan accent, "Hope ye' don't mind."
"Not at all. It'll be good to have the company. Make yourselves at home."
"Thank ye' very much. The name's Jack Pierce." He held out a huge hand. I rolled off my bunk, stood up and took it. When the three caught sight of my wings there were collective gasps from the woman and the man, whilst the boy's mouth fell open. I rolled my eyes and chuckled under my breath.
"I'm Zak, Zak Butcher." I told him. There was another loud knock at the door and Phil walked in.
"Hey Phil! Long time no see." I cried, "How are you?"
"Heya Zak. I'm good thanks. Heard you've been keeping busy." He replied, "Sorry I can't chat. The General wants to see you, all of you."
"Alright we'll be down in a minute." Phil nodded and walked out. I turned and looked back at my new roommates to see them all still gawking at my wings. At the sight of them I burst out laughing.
"C'mon pull yourselves together we've gotta get downstairs." They shook themselves and nodded for me to lead the way and five minutes later the four of us were stood outside the door to General Meatherow's office.
"Enter" called the gravelly voice as we rapped on the door. We filed inside and the young lad closed the heavy metal door behind us.
"Nadina! It's good to see you again, I've missed you." Meatherow exclaimed. He stood and crossed to the woman and hugged her.
"It's good to see you too daddy." She disengaged herself and swept her long red hair out of her face.
"Wait hang on! ‘Daddy'? You have got to be kidding me sir" I stared at the General aghast, "You bunked me with your daughter?"
"Well . . . yes I suppose I did." He replied apologetically, "That's what I called the four of down here about. Please sit." We all took chairs around the desk and waited for Meatherow to seat himself in his own chair.
"Zak I know when we offered you a job here, we gave the impression that you would be working alone. However recent developments mean that we have to ask you to give up that privilege and gain some teamwork skills." Meatherow began.
"Oh hell no sir. I can tell where this is going!" I exclaimed, "Okay, I can understand teaming me with Mr Pierce here but I would rather you not team me with your daughter. And what about the kid? I mean what is he even doing here? He barely looks to be over sixteen!"
"Will you be quiet so I can tell you why these three have been chosen to be teamed with you!" the General snapped at me.
"Yes sir. Sorry sir"
"Thank you! Like I was saying, certain circumstances have required us to place you as part of a team. Of course with your . . . um . . . particular skill set we needed to choose carefully. These were the three that were the best fit." He gestured towards Jack, "This is Gunnery Sergeant Jack Pierce from the United States Marine Corps. He was drafted into this facility by way of a highly experimental super-soldier program that was aimed at returning severely injured soldiers to battle stronger, smarter and faster than before. Gunnery Sergeant Pierce was the only survivor of the program.
"My daughter here is Corporal Nadina Meatherow. She is the best sniper in the Royal Marines and a fully trained field medic. She has also been surgically implanted with a chip which allows her to communicate with mechanical devices or even another person implanted with the same type of chip telepathically.
"And finally that brings me to the young lad over there. His name is Patrick Styles. His parents were killed by a terrorist attack when he was nine and since then he has been completely dumb. That's where the chip implanted in my daughter comes in. Patrick is another of the very few implanted with the chip system and is also a crack pilot who can fly almost anything.
"These three are the best in their respective fields of expertise. Now the final thing I need to do is officially promote you to Captain and the four of you are dismissed." He handed me the badge that sported the three stars of my new rank, "Now all of you get to bed. Your training begins at dawn!"