Sunday, February 12, 2017
“Are you sure that you want to do this?” Dr. Samosian said to Robert Harris. Harris was about to enter his seventh tour in the Army and it was supposed to be the most dangerous tour, going into a city under siege and helping the few civilians fight back. Harris had volunteered for a super solider-type program that would usher in a new era for the military.
Within months, Harris was back on the frontline, about forty percent of his body had been replaced with cybernetic material. His metallic skin glared in the sunlight of the desert. His right eye had been replaced with a glowing red LED that doubled as a computer and a laser. When Harris returned home after almost a year, his wife, Alicia, and children did not appreciate the change in his body or demeanor. His new, almost skeletal look scared his children, and his eye showed no emotion when he looked at Alicia.
“I am the beginning of the future for American soldiers,” Harris said. “I am almost a perfect weapon.”
“I don’t want you to be a perfect weapon,” Alicia said. “Why didn’t you ask what I thought about this before sacrificing your body for...for this.”
“You would’ve said ‘no’,” Harris glared at his wife.
“Of course I would. No wife in her right mind would agree to let their husband do this.”
“It’s for the best,” Harris gently took Alicia’s hands. “You’ll get used to it and everything will be right back to where it was.”
Alicia tried. The metal made Robert heavier which made love-making an unpleasant experience. The metal was also cold and clanged when Robert would move or touch her. It was tolerable but what Alicia didn’t like was the change in Robert’s emotions. He had gotten angrier and every little inconvenience set him off.
“I can’t do it,” Alicia said to a friend over the phone. “Tomorrow, while Robert’s at work, we’re going to leave. I’m so scared of him, I’m not telling anyone where we are going. I’ll let you know that I am safe. Good-bye.”
Robert, using his cybernetic eye, saw Alicia through the walls and heard everything. That night, the house burst into flames almost immediately burning to the ground. Investigators found the three bodies of Alicia and her children still in their beds among the charred rubble. Their throats had been slit almost through to the spine. Suspicion fell on Robert who had vanished into thin air.
“Even if we do find him,” one of the policeman said. “We don’t have the manpower to capture and bring him in.”
“The government created this monster, the government should help find him and bring him to justice,” another said.
For the last decade, Dmitri Sylvester had acquired a team of superheroes that the government wanted to use for your basic police work around the country. They had never actually been used in a major capacity before but with Robert on the run and considered extremely armed and dangerous, the team finally made their public debut.
On the team was their leader, America, the first person that Dmitri contacted. Matthew Coffin was the epitome of the American ideal, at least physically. Super strong and super fast, and very agile. Agent Spider, Miguel Stoll, was like a real-life Spider-Man. Geo-Whiz, Brandon Taggart, who could manipulate the earth and was really smart. Dmitri’s own daughter, Vanessa, who went by Smoke because she was just a wisp of smoke in female form. Lastly, Jerome Cooper, or Database, smarter than Brandon, he could process information within seconds to come up any and all possible outcomes. Jerome was also very opinionated.
“Leave it to our government,” he smiled and shook his head. “They build an unstoppable super soldier but don’t think about installing a kill switch. It’s like they don’t fully think things through.”
“That’s enough, Jerome,” Dmitri said. “They’re still only human. Not everyone can be like you.”
“This is totally going on my blog though,” Jerome said. “The public needs to know this dangerous man is out there and it’s because of the government that he’s so dangerous.”
That night, Jerome had long posted his blog post about Robert Harris, the government’s cybernetic soldier program, and the gruesome murders of Harris’ family. Jerome was alone in his apartment, browsing his favorite social websites. “You wrote some mean things,” a voice came through the darkness and into his office.
Without needing to think, Jerome responded. “I wrote the truth. It’s not my fault if you find something about you insulting.” Jerome turned around to the see the half man, half robot in his office doorway. “Are you going to turn yourself in?”
“No,” Robert was confused by the question.
“I don’t think so,” Jerome said and stood up. He began looking around the room, calculating odds and scenarios on how to escape from Robert. Robert quickly ran to Jerome, grabbed him by the throat and lifted him off the ground. “Whoa! Let’s think rationally here, it’s just a blog post. Very few people read it,” Jerome croaked as Robert’s grip tightened, making it hard to speak and breathe.
“I didn’t hesitate when I slit my own family’s throats and blew them to bits. Do you think I’d hesitate on killing you?” Robert asked.
“I…” and with three cracks, Robert twisted his wrist, breaking Jerome’s neck. Robert dropped Jerome on the ground then left out the way he got in.
The next day, Dmitri and his team were at Jerome’s apartment. “Okay,” Dmitri sighed as Jerome was taken away, covered up on a stretcher. “Now it’s personal.”