American library books » Other » Fireteam Delta by J. Halpin (ebook reader that looks like a book txt) 📕

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to check on the noise. He could thank himself for that.

“What’s this shit?” Cortez asked, glancing at the bodies around the hall. There were about a dozen corpses between the soldiers and the . . . creatures Summers had subsequently liquified. He hadn’t noticed before, but there was a lot of green in the hall. Not blood. More like . . . grass stains. Moss, leaves, foliage that didn’t look natural—it was littered all around.

“Eyes forward,” Nowak urged. He was probably trying to sound professional, but the tension in his voice was obvious.


Summers turned on his heel, leveling his gun on the fireteam about thirty feet behind them. He saw a young private, their finger on the trigger and gun trained on a very dead body. One he’d shot for some reason or another. It would be understandable that the group was jumping at shadows—the corridor was literally painted with the dead—but the corpse he’d shot had been one of their own, wearing army fatigues. Now, the private was quietly being chewed out by his sergeant.

“Move faster,” Summers urged, eager to get more distance between them and the trigger-happy group at their back.

They passed through what would normally have been a security checkpoint. Large rows of computers with a distinct 1980s flavor broke up the room. There were no bodies, but they still saw the strange green stains around every corner in the room, like someone had dragged a tree through it.

The distant sound of automatic fire caught their attention from up ahead. But that wasn’t right. The next room was the storage area, the biggest, and the last room in the bunker. The gunfire was too far away for that.

Then, they came upon it. A lush forest stretched out in front of them. It wasn’t a portal, or a window, or anything like that. It didn’t really have an edge at all. It was as if the room just merged with the landscape. The concrete ceiling gave way to a cave’s rough-hewn stone, and the tiled floor turned to a leafy brown-and-green mulch just a few feet beyond that. Something that looked like a half-assembled satellite sat at the center of the merge, vibrating the air around them. It felt . . . wrong.

“Sergeant, I did not sign up for this shit,” Adams said, staring at a scene that rightfully shouldn’t exist.

Another shot resounded in the room, followed by a scream. A woman’s scream. No, a girl’s scream. Summers remembered the kid he’d seen when the suit first arrived. She had to be someone’s daughter or something, right? They wouldn’t have been dumb enough to bring her along, would they? More gunfire was the only response he got.

“I am not paid enough for this,” Summers whispered to himself as he pushed forward. The others must have wrapped up whatever internal debates they were having as well, as they started to follow.

They ran for about five minutes, trying to make a beeline for the noise. Near as Summers could tell, it was moving. Then the tree line in front of them exploded, the sound of wood splintering so loud it made his teeth vibrate.

About 300 yards ahead, he saw something moving through the debris. It looked like a mound of corpses two stories tall had been bound together with sticks and moss, and was moving impossibly fast on stumpy legs. Like a tidal wave, it swept through the trees on a direct path toward them.

It occurred to Summers that the creatures he saw in the hallway couldn’t have overwhelmed an entire platoon on their own. As terrifying as they looked, they were, at their core, just unarmed combatants. They were scavengers. This was the predator.

“Fuck me,” Summers muttered.

Before the others could even get a word in, Adams was unloading his entire magazine into the creature’s mass. It was about as effective as you’d expect against something that had the momentum and bulk of a tank. Summers heard gunfire again and saw three soldiers moving toward them—the girl in tow. Well, that answered that question.

“Cover them!” Nowak yelled. Summers sort of admired the man’s ability to not lose his shit, given the situation. The group unloaded on the shambling mound of wood and flesh. He heard a distinct thump from beside him and watched as the creature’s left side just sort of collapsed. He looked and saw Cortez holding the grenade tube underneath her rifle. She looked just as surprised as he did.

“We need to move!” Summers said, as the shambling thing stumbled. It was definitely hurt, but something told Summers they’d need a tank to actually put it down. Nowak ran to the soldiers, shouldering the one who Summers just now noticed limped on a leg that looked as though it had been through a blender, a woodchipper, and a knife fight all at once.

“Where’s the general?” he heard Nowak scream over the intensifying roar of the thing behind them.

“Dead. We need to leave!” the soldier replied.

The girl running alongside them collapsed on the spot. “Ton! Ton sec!”

Summers didn’t quite understand what that meant, but he picked the girl up, slinging her over his shoulder, and ran all the same. It wasn’t the most dignified or thoughtful way to handle a child in distress, but in his defense, he was absolutely terrified.

The creature roared behind them, and once again, they heard the now distinct sound of wood being torn apart. It quickly became apparent that they wouldn’t make it. The monster was just so much faster than they were.

An M4 fired from somewhere to their left. Summers could just barely make out the same trigger-happy private from earlier as the rest of his fireteam unloaded everything they had into the creature. They were a good distance off; they must have gotten turned around in the trees.

“Oh, thank god!” Nowak said as the monster immediately changed

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