What follows is an untitled piece of fiction I wrote a while back. I wasn’t really planning on taking it anywhere. It was more or less an exercise, just to keep the creativity flowing when I was stuck while working on another project. Sometimes, I’ll write something like this just to keep me writing and thinking when I can’t think of what to do next on a project. This is still in a rough format. It hasn’t been edited at all, so bear with me if there are a few mistakes.
This was based loosely off the Weapon X concept in Marvel Comics. For those of you who don’t know, Weapon X is the program that created Wolverine, Deadpool and Sabertooth.
This was just a bit of fun writing. I’d love to hear what you all think. Who knows, maybe it might lead to more, if I thought it might find an audience. So, with that intention, I present to you an untitled piece of fiction from my archives that I have. Let me know what you all think.
I awoke in semi-darkness. The bare metal walls of the room were illuminated only by the soft glow given off from the electrical barrier that passed as a door. The room, scarcely more than a closet really, was a bare ten by ten feet square. The cot was bolted securely to the wall and floor. Even the mattress, such as it was, was attached to the steel frame.
The facilities consisted of a steel basin with only one tap for water and a stainless steel commode. There were no moving pieces to remove. A sensor built into the wall turned on the cold water when you placed your hands under the spout and the toilet flushed automatically when you moved away from it. There was nothing at all with which to use as a weapon or a tool.
I lay there, only barely conscious, but my mind was acutely aware of my environment. I could sense every detail, no matter how slight. For example, I didn’t need to open my eyes to sense the movement of the guards who patrolled outside the restraint field with Swiss precision, every ten minutes.
As my mind eased towards full consciousness, the pain set in. It was intense, and seemed like every square inch of my body had been bruised, every bone broken. There was no release from the pain, either. No matter how I tried, the pain was a constant. Moving only intensified it, so I opted to lay still and hope for the best.
I could feel every breath I took as an intense misery. Every blink of my eyes was agony. The light seemed to pierce straight into my brain, so I kept them closed. The air was cool, almost cold. I could feel that I wasn’t allowed even the barest of clothing. Not even so much as boxer shorts. But, I could feel the cool metal of a necklace. I couldn’t worry about that, now, however. I didn’t want to risk opening my eyes. Outside the cell, I sensed movement. One of the guards had stopped to look into my cell. But, I refused to move to look at him.
“Not so tough now, are you, Panther?” he asked, snidely.
I made no move to answer him. I didn’t even want to stir. My memory was returning to me, slowly. The voice belonged to a guard named Brickhauser. He was a sadistic bastard who seemed to get his kicks from beating prisoners. I remembered kicking him in the face to keep him from beating another prisoner when she was down. That had resulted in several of the guards beating me until I passed out, and perhaps even after that from the feel of it.
When I didn’t reply, Bricks (as the other guards called him) grew bolder.
“I know you can hear me, freak,” he growled, “Answer me or I swear that we’ll beat you to death next time.”
“Go screw yourself,” I managed to croak.
Infuriated, he started to deactivate the cell, but a call from another guard stopped him.
“Hey, Bricks! Leave him be, for now. They want him deployable in the morning.”
“Looks like you got lucky, this time, Panther,” he sneered.
“Yeah, my lucky day,” I rasped.
With that, he left me to the silence that followed. I lay there and tried to sleep, but I knew it was in vain. The pain was too intense to allow any such luxury. I’d just have to endure.
What seemed like an eternity later, I heard another voice at the cell door…a calmer voice. The voice was that of a woman, Dr. Patterson I recalled. She was one of the project scientists who ran the place.
“Oh, my God, Panther,” she gasped. “What did they do to you?”
I made no move to answer her; actually, I made no move at all. I heard the energy field shut down and foot steps approaching me.
“Get him onto the gurney and down to the lab,” she ordered.
Two sets of hands lifted me and placed me onto the rough linen of the gurney. I almost blacked out from the pain. Next thing I knew, I was moving. Moments later, I was moved again onto a cold table and secured down with heavy straps.
“Panther, I’m going to deactivate your power inhibiter now. If you behave, I’ll leave it off long enough for you to heal, understand?” asked Dr. Patterson.
I managed a weak nod. A split second later, I felt my powers kick in. It was like a flood of intense pleasure. The pain was gone, instantly and I smiled, despite myself. I opened my eyes. The doctor stood looking down and me, smiling.
“Feeling better?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I replied. “Thanks.”
“That was a stupid thing you did, Panther, attacking a guard like that.”
“He didn’t leave me much choice. They had Cheetah down and were beating her to death. If I hadn’t intervened, they’d have killed her. And all she did was stumble in line.”
“The guards have been a touch… well, overzealous in disciplining the subjects lately. I’ll have to have a word with Colonel Keller about the guards’ behavior, but until then, try not to aggravate them, ok?
“All right, doc,” I replied.
“Now lay still. I have to give you a full exam. You’ve got a deployment tomorrow and we want to be sure you’re fit for duty.”
I lay there and closed my eyes to bare slits, and watched every move she made. The ruse paid off. She began to do the exam and turned the computer monitor where she could see it. First thing she checked was the status of the power inhibitor and tracer that they had implanted inside my body. For security reasons, we were not allowed to know where they implanted the chips to prevent us from removing them.
I remained as calm as possible as she began to run the system check. Patiently, I watched as she concentrated the scan on the chip and quickly memorized the location. Cleverly, it was hidden behind my right knee where it would be difficult to get at. I had previously wondered if it might have been on my back, but considering the muscle structure, I would have noticed it. I continued to feign sleep until she had finished the exam.
“All finished, Panther,” she said in a friendly tone.
“Hmm…” I mumbled. “Sorry, doc. I must have dozed off.”
“No problems, here,” she said. “You are approved for tomorrow’s deployment.”
“Where am I going, this time?”
“You know we aren’t allowed to answer questions like that before you are briefed, but I guess it couldn’t hurt. You’re heading for an assignment in Russia. That’s all I can tell you. You’ll find out more in the briefing, later today.”
“Thanks, doc,” I said.
“No problem. Just try not to aggravate the guards quite so much and you’ll get along much better.”
I nodded and they reactivated the inhibitor. Instantly, I felt weak and nauseated. I knew the feeling would pass, but I still hated it. Then the guards came to take me to my cell. It was a quiet walk and I passed the holding cells of six more “volunteers” for the newest generation of the program. All of them naked, negated and in bare cells.
As we reached the door to my cell, Brickhauser approached me. Menacingly, he looked me right in the eye and smiled.
“Want to go another round, freak?” he sneered.
I stared back into his eyes, not bothering to hide my hatred, but I refused to give the prick the satisfaction of answering. It only seemed to make him madder.
“Yeah, you’d love to take a shot at me, wouldn’t you freak?”
I still refused to answer. I knew that nothing I could say would matter to him in the slightest. He would still do whatever he was going to do. Bricks was nothing more than a normal human in light powered armor and wouldn’t stand a chance in hell against me with my powers active and he knew it. I guess it made him feel like a man to push us around. Knowing we were tougher than him but couldn’t do anything about it.
As he raised his shock-rod above his head to strike me, I stood my ground. I refused to even give him the satisfaction of flinching. I wasn’t afraid of the prick and he knew it. But, just as he was getting ready to strike a voice boomed from down the hall.
“Officer Brickhauser! You will NOT strike that prisoner and that’s an order.”
It was Doc Patterson. She came storming down the hall and stood between Bricks and me. Defiantly, she stared at him. For just a moment, I thought he might strike her, but then he slowly lowered the shock-rod.
“What did this man do in order for you to strike him?” she demanded.
“He was being insubordinate,” he replied. “I was just going to remind him of his place in the order of things around here.”
“His ‘place’, Sergeant Brickhauser, is more valuable than yours. We can replace a security guard. Panther is the best of this generation and therefore extremely valuable to this program. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yes, ma’am,” he replied through clenched teeth.
“Furthermore, if I hear any more about you brutalizing the subjects while they are negated I’ll have you transferred to the Antarctica Facility so fast that it will make your head spin. Now put this man in his containment cell and leave him alone. He has to be in top shape for tomorrow’s deployment. If we have to scrub a mission because you got carried away, I can guarantee that the director himself will have your head.”
With that, they removed my restraints and shoved me into the cell. Once the cell was reactivated, the guards turned and walked away. Doctor Patterson watched them go, then turned and left without another word.
Returning to my bare bunk, I lay down and began concentrating on what I had learned of the negator/tracer. I could remove it, but without my regeneration, I would bleed a lot. The timing had to be perfect. I could extend my claws, remove the unit and let my powers kick in. Then all I had to do was try to clean up the blood.
The problem was, that the guards walked by the front of my cell every ten minutes and I wasn’t sure how long it would take to cut it out by feel, since I couldn’t see the back of my leg all that well. If it took too long, I could pass out from the lack of blood and get caught. But, I had to try.
I waited for the guards to pass by twice more to get my mental clock synchronized with their movements. As soon as the second guard had passed, I pulled my right leg up as high as I could. I began counting in my head down from 600, knowing I had 600 seconds until the next guard passed.
Setting my jaw against the pain, I extended one claw. The blood began to flow instantly down my hand where the claw came through. Ignoring that, I made a deep incision into my leg, behind the knee. Using the other hand, I began probing for the chip. At 505, I found it. I had been bleeding badly for over a minute and was beginning to get lightheaded.
As steadily as I could, I pushed the tip of the claw under the edge of the chip and twisted. My head was beginning to swim from the pain and loss of blood. My vision was getting blurry. The claw slipped and sliced open my free hand, to the bone. I gritted my teeth in pain, but felt the chip fall into my hand.
Tossing it onto the bed, I felt my powers kick back in. I closed my eyes and waited for the regeneration to take care of the wounds and clear my head. As my count reached 120, I knew I was running out of time. In the distance, I could hear the footsteps of the guard as he approached. He was right on time. At 35 seconds, my head was clear and the wounds were gone. Quickly, I placed my legs over the bloody areas and hoped that it hid it well enough. Then I composed myself back on the bed, exactly as I had been before.
I couldn’t help but smile. My powers were back. The guard stopped walking in front of my cell and I heard Brickhauser’s voice.
“What are you smiling at, freak?” he snarled.
Setting up, I looked at him.
“You,” I taunted. “I didn’t know they could teach chimps to wear armor.”
“Watch your mouth, freak. Your doctor friend ain’t around to protect you, now.”
“You’re not man enough to come in here without ten other guards. I know your type. All talk.”
“Screw you, freak.”
“You’d like that, wouldn’t you, Bricks. I hear you and Snider like to go into the guard’s locker room after hours for a little quickie. I wouldn’t be surprised to hear you wanted to give it to a prisoner.”
“I ought to bust your face for that, freak,” he snarled, “But I got orders to leave you be. You’re lucky that I do, or you and I would find out how long you can take a beating and survive.”
“Yeah, that’s a great excuse. All they got to do is reactivate my powers and I’ll heal. They don’t care what you chicken-shit guards do to us, so long as you don’t kill us.”
That seemed to make him think. I could see the smile on his face and he realized I was right.
“You haven’t got the balls to take me one on one, Bricks. You’re just a big coward who likes to hit people when they are down as long as you have plenty of back-up.”
“I don’t need back-up to shut you up, freak,” he snarled as he turned off the cell and walked in, raising the shock-rod.
Swinging it like a baseball bat, he swung for my head, but I was already moving. I dove aside and he hit nothing but air. The power of his swing left him off balance, for a second and I capitalized. Stepping inside his reach, I gave him a quick strike to the throat. Unable to yell for help, he dropped to his knees as the shock-rod fell from his hands. I snatched up the negator chip and held it before is face.
“Know what this is?” I taunted.
“Oh no!” he mouthed, terror filling his eyes.
“Oh, yes!” I hissed, smiling into his face.
In one quick move, I turned his head around backwards with a quick crunching sound and lowered him silently to the floor. In seconds, I stripped him of his armor and slapped it on. Laying him on the bunk, facing the wall, I hoped that no one would look too closely. I put on Brickhauser’s hat and walked outside into the hallway. Using his keycard, I reactivated the cell and turned to leave. Down the hall another guard looked down and looked questioningly at me.
I gave him the thumbs up and he went back to his magazine. I walked down the hall to the guards’ station and in my best impression of Brickhauser’s voice, I mumbled, “Cover for me willya. I gotta go take a shit.”
“No prob, Bricks,” he replied. “Just be back before the next shift check.”
I walked off down the corridor and found the stairs. Going up one flight, I followed the scent of Brickhauser’s aftershave and opened the door. Down the hall, I saw the guard’s locker room. Quickly, I covered the distance and tracked the scent to locker 268. Using a claw to jimmy the door open, I scanned the insides. Bricks had a set of civilian clothes inside, but the jeans were too small for me. But the t-shirt fit and so did the workout pants and jacket.
I grabbed his wallet and keys and headed for the door. Keeping his hat on and my head down, I cleared two checkpoints without as much as a nod with his id attached to my jacket. On the ground level, I headed for the door. The front desk guard handed me the clipboard to sign out and went back to the sports section. I quickly scribbled a name and walked out the door.
All I had to do was find his car. Removing his keys from my pocket, I pushed the alarm button and heard the desired “chirp chirp” from a red newer model Chevy Camaro. Moving quickly to the car, but not too quickly, I thumbed the unlock button and got inside. The engine rumbled immediately to life. Brickhauser was an asshole, but he took good care of his car.
Careful to drive the designated speed limit to the gate, the guard motioned me on as he raised the gate and I was out. Turning right, I accelerated down the highway and kept a close eye on the rear view mirror. There was no sign of a tail, yet, but that wouldn’t last. They would find Bricks’ body soon and the alarm would sound. Then the chase would be on. I had to cover as much distance as possible.
I also had to keep the use of my active powers to a minimum, because once I was discovered missing, they would be able to track me by them. My best chance was distance.
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