Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Deathlok #2 - Heavy Mettle

All Deathlok could see was darkness. Suddenly out of the darkness came shapes. The shapes were large and menacing. They were human forms, but larger. Where their eyes should have been were only piercing red lights. One of the figures stepped forward speaking in a grating, high pitched voice that chilled Deathlok to the bone. Deathlok was deathly afraid of this figure. Something about him was purely sinister and evil. He leaned over Deathlok and began speaking to him, but Deathlok couldn’t understand the words. He reached for Deathlok. Deathlok reached a hand up to try to shield himself from this evil figure. That’s when he noticed his hand was no longer a hand of flesh and bone, but a skeletal hand of metal with wires wrapping around it. Deathlok held the hand before his face and screamed, "No! What have you done to me?"

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Deathlok: Cybernetic living weapon. His past a mystery, he searches for clues to his identity. Who is he? Where did he come from? Anything is possible in a world where everything is more than meets the eye...

Deathlok

Issue #2 "Heavy Mettle"

ByBigRon309@aol.com

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Deathlok suddenly jumped awake from a very troubled sleep. He was in the abandoned building he had made his home nearly a week ago. Immediately from waking he asked the computer built inside his head, "Computer, what just happened?"

His computer replied, "YOU JUST AWOKE FROM A LIGHT SLEEP."

Deathlok replied, "No, not that. What happened before that?"

"YOU EXPERIENCED A PERIOD OF LIGHT SLEEP."

"Never mind, forget it."

"YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO ERASE THE MEMORY OF YOUR LIGHT SLEEP?"

"No, I meant forget I asked the question."

"UNDERSTOOD. ERASING MEMORY OF THE QUESTION YOU ASKED."

Frustrated, Deathlok buried his face in his hands and exhaled loudly. He wondered, "Was that just a dream or was that an actual suppressed memory? Is it possible that I still have all of my memories buried in me somewhere? My entire past is a haze. The first thing I can remember clearly is trying to assassinate the president and being stopped by Captain America.

"I don’t even know why I was trying to kill the president. Captain America believed I was programmed by someone to do their dirty work. In that case it’s a good thing he made me stop and think about what I was doing or I may not have been able to take control over my own actions.

"Not even my internal computer can help me figure out my past. It’s only programmed to advise and execute programming. It was never told to remember who built us or why.

"Frankly I’m afraid. I was lucky that I was able to break my programming before. But what if for some reason my programming kicks in again and next time I’m not so lucky? It frightens me to think about not being able to be in control of my own actions."

Meanwhile, outside the abandoned building that Deathlok had made his home, a mysterious man hid in the darkness of the night, observing Deathlok through a dirty, broken window. He said to himself, "Target spotted. Preparing to move in."

Inside the building Deathlok looked into his backpack that he carried with him. He was given the backpack along with his red uniform and other equipment by whoever sent him on his only mission. He went through the contents of the backpack, hardly believing his eyes. He had looked at the contents before, but he still couldn’t believe what he saw. Inside was a vast array of different grenades, energy dispersing handguns, a disassembled blaster rifle, multiple varieties of ammunition, and various knives.

"My God," he said to himself. "What would I possibly need all this weaponry for?"

Deathlok’s attention was snapped away from the contents of his backpack by the sound of glass breaking behind him. He snapped around to see the source of the noise. Kneeling on the floor in front of a broken window was the dark shape of a man. He slowly rose to his feet. Deathlok couldn’t make out his features because he was standing in the shadows, but he could still see that the man was quite tall and was very powerfully built. He could also see that the man had glowing red eyes, which reminded him of the creatures from his dreams.

The man spoke. "I’ve come for you Deathlok." His voice was low and almost monotone.

Deathlok was frightened. He had no idea who this man was and what he was doing here. He definitely didn’t know how this man knew him. Deathlok asked, "What do you want from me?"

The man calmly answered, "Your death." He then stepped into the light. That’s when Deathlok saw that this wasn’t just any psycho, it was a fellow cyborg. His head looked much like Deathlok’s, only where metal covered only one side of Deathlok’s head it covered the stranger’s entire head. It resembled a helmet that wrapped around his jaw and came back down covering his chin. The only flesh parts of him showing on his face were his mouth area and nose. He was bare-chested and his torso was still of flesh, but his arms were robotic, like Deathlok’s. On his hands he wore long, black gloves that went up to his forearms. Across his chest he wore a black bandoleer. Strapped to his back were two katana swords and a large laser rifle. On his legs he wore camouflage pants. Around his waist was a thick leather belt that held two holsters for blaster pistols and a large hunting knife. Finally, on his feet he wore tall, black, leather boots. He held two handguns that he had trained on Deathlok.

Deathlok asked, "Who are you?"

The stranger replied, "You were a failure Deathlok. A mistake. You were never told to question your orders. As a freethinking creature you are now useless. I’ve been sent to correct the mistake of your existence. I am the Eliminator."

Deathlok replied, "I hate to tell you, Pal, but you really don’t want to mess with me." With that he whipped around and picked up his two blasters then quickly spun back around and trained them on the Eliminator. He continued, "So if you know what’s best for you, you’ll do what I did and walk away from this mission."

Eliminator didn’t flinch. "Do you really think I’m afraid of you, Deathlok? I was created to be the perfect killer. You’re weak, you’re flawed. You’re a glitch. You didn’t have the guts to kill the president and you don’t have the guts to kill me."

Deathlok was baffled. He still wondered why this man knew so much about him and why did he want Deathlok dead? Deathlok asked, "Who sent you to kill me?"

Eliminator answered, "You haven’t figured that out yet? I was sent by our creator. I’m the second Deathlok model. I’m more sophisticated and my programming can’t be corrupted."

Deathlok couldn’t believe what he was hearing. All his fear had left him. All he could think about was the fact that he now had a key to his past. "Who created us, Eliminator?"

Eliminator answered, "That’s unimportant. All you need to know is who is going to end you. That’s me." With that he fired on Deathlok. Deathlok quickly rolled out of the way of the blasts.

Deathlok then brought his guns to bear on the Eliminator. Eliminator dropped his guns to his sides and said, "Do it, Deathlok. I’ll give you a sporting chance to kill me right now." Deathlok’s fingers tensed on his triggers. He had his guns set to kill and aimed right for Eliminator’s chest. His fingers tightened. Then he dropped his guns to the floor.

Deathlok said, "I’m sorry, Eliminator. I can’t bring myself to kill a defenseless person. If I would do it, it would just make me the monster that our creators wanted me to be. I won’t give them that satisfaction."

The Eliminator smiled. "Just what I thought," he said wickedly. With that he brought up both of his blasters and fired them at Deathlok. The blasts didn’t burn through Deathlok’s thick metal skin, but they still gave quite a kick. He was knocked backwards and slammed against a wall. There were two black smoking marks on his chest where he was hit.

Eliminator walked over to Deathlok, who was stunned from the blasts, and picked him up by the neck. Before Deathlok could put up any sort of a fight, Eliminator threw him right through one of the building’s old cracked windows.

Deathlok fell to the ground outside. He tried getting back up to his feet, but before he could, Eliminator jumped through the window, landed next to him and kicked him in the side. He fell back down.

"I told you, Deathlok," Eliminator said, "I’m more advanced than you, more sophisticated..." Before he could finish, Deathlok forced himself to his feet, clenched his hands together into a double fist, and swung them right into Eliminator’s jaw, knocking him to the ground.

Deathlok stood over Eliminator and said, "Don’t forget Ă«more cocky.’" With that he grabbed the back of Eliminator’s head and shoved it into the ground knocking him out temporarily.

Deathlok thought, "I’ve gotta get away from this guy. I don’t have time to go back inside and get my weapons. Those blasts messed me up good and the last thing I want is to fight anymore than I have to. My best bet is to get out of here now and lose him." With that he took off down the street.

After Deathlok had gotten safely far away, Eliminator began to stir. Slowly he forced himself to his feet. He said, "Computer, initiate tracking sequence."

His internal computer replied, "TRACKING SEQUENCE INITIATED. HOMING SIGNAL DETECTED."

Eliminator’s eyes began glowing blood red. He said, "Then the hunt is back on. Too bad for you, Deathlok. You can run but you can never hide from me." With that he put away his hand blasters and pulled his blaster rifle off of his back. He cocked it, then headed off in search of Deathlok.

Deathlok ran down an alley as fast as possible without even looking back. As he ran, he asked himself, "How on earth did that guy even find me? I’ve been laying low for nearly a week. There’s no way he could have found me."

Without even being asked, his internal computer answered his question, "DESIGNATE: ELIMINATOR FOLLOWED THE SIGNAL BEING BROADCASTED FROM THE HOMING BEACON IMPLANTED IN YOUR BRAIN."

Deathlok’s mouth dropped. "My what?!?"

"YOUR BRAIN."

"Computer, why in God’s name do I have a homing beacon implanted in my brain?"

"IT WAS INSTALLED SO YOU COULD BE EASILY FOUND IF YOU DIDN’T FINISH YOUR MISSION."

"And you never told me about this?!"

"YOU NEVER ASKED."

"Naturally. Computer, is there any way I can take out this homing beacon or somehow scramble the signal?"

"REMOVING THE BEACON WOULD REQUIRE EXTENSIVE SURGERY AND A VAST SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE. IF BEACON IS REMOVED INCORRECTLY IT WILL EXPLODE, DESTROYING YOUR BRAIN."

"Ouch."

"THE SIGNAL CAN BE SCRAMBLED IF YOU ARE IN A PLACE OF HIGH RADIOACTIVITY OR ELECTRICAL ACTIVITY."

"Great, and here I am thousands of miles from Chernobyl!"

"THE CLOSEST AVAILABLE AREA MEETING THOSE CRITERIA IS AN ELECTRICAL SUBSTATION APPROXIMATELY 1.3 KILOMETERS TO THE EAST."

"Just what I need... you’re metric!"

Eliminator quickly ran down the street, following the signal being emitted by Deathlok, when he suddenly lost it.

"HOMING SIGNAL LOST," his internal computer informed him.

"Lost?! That’s impossible!"

Eliminator stopped running. He looked up and down the street. It was utterly deserted. This was a bad area of town and it was nearly four in the morning. No one was crazy enough to be out at this time. And still Eliminator saw no sign of Deathlok. "You’re a clever one," Eliminator said, as if Deathlok were right before him, "but no amount of intelligence is gonna save you now. Unlike you, I don’t fail in my missions."

He paused for a second thinking. He said to his internal computer, "Computer, give me the coordinates of the signal’s last known location. I’ll find him from there."

His computer calculated where the signal last came from then gave him the coordinates he needed. "Hmmm," he said to himself, "I’ll have to check out the area. I’ll bet he’s somehow blocking the signal. He couldn’t have gotten far from there." With that he took off in the direction of the coordinates his computer had given him.

Deathlok sat on the ground inside the electrical substation. He was exhausted and in pain. He commanded his internal computer, "Computer, initiate self-repair sequence."

"SELF REPAIR SEQUENCE INITIATED," it replied. Inside Deathlok’s body, his circuits began repairing themselves. Deathlok already was feeling somewhat better.

"Computer, can you run for me an analysis of Eliminator’s weaknesses to find out how I can possibly defeat him when he finds me again?"

"MORE INFORMATION NEEDED TO RUN ANALYSIS."

"Great... the only way for you to analyze Eliminator’s weaknesses is for me to fight him again?"

"AFFIRMATIVE."

"Well that makes me feel so..." Deathlok was cut off by the sound of the chain link fence that surrounded the substation jingling as if being climbed. Immediately Deathlok shut up. He turned up his audio receptors listen to what was going on. He heard heavy boots land on concrete. He also picked up the faint sound of servos buzzing

in action.

In his head Deathlok asked, "Computer, am I correct in assuming that’s Eliminator who just climbed in here?"

"AFFIRMATIVE."

"How the hell did he find me?!"

"UNKNOWN."

Eliminator stalked slowly through the substation like a hunter tracking his prey. He held his rifle in front of him ready to fire at the first sign of Deathlok. He heard a sound to his right. He whipped his rifle around and immediately fired at the source of the noise. He saw too late that it was only a rock thrown, probably, to distract him. The blast from his gun hit an electrical transformer causing it to blow up in a fierce explosion.

While Eliminator was distracted by the explosion, Deathlok sneaked up behind him and gave him a powerful kick to the back, knocking him forward and causing him to drop his gun.

Eliminator quickly spun around. Deathlok stood his ground, ready to fight. "Clever move, Deathlok," Eliminator complimented. "Unfortunately, it was a feeble move." Quickly he swung his fist forward to punch Deathlok in the face, but just before he connected, Deathlok dodged to the left and Eliminator’s fist went right past Deathlok and into the side of an electrical transformer.

Deathlok stepped off to the side, expecting to see Eliminator screaming and begging for mercy, but Eliminator showed no sign of pain. With a sharp tug, Eliminator pulled his arm out of the transformer and turned to face Deathlok. "Why do you look so shocked?" he asked. "Aren’t you also protected against electrical shock? Don’t forget, Deathlok, I’m an improvement of you. I’m everything you are and better. What doesn’t hurt you, hurts me even less."

Immediately, Deathlok’s internal computer spoke up. "POSSIBLE WEAKNESS CALCULATED."

In his mind Deathlok said, "Good, what is it?"

However, as his computer was telling Deathlok, he became distracted and didn’t notice Eliminator pulling back out his two pistols. Eliminator blasted Deathlok with full power, knocking him back to fall on the ground.

Eliminator then put his guns away and walked over to the wounded Deathlok. The blasts had burned through his metal skin. There were black, smoking holes in his chest which were spewing out sparks. Eliminator picked him up. Deathlok was in too much pain to put up a fight. Eliminator threw Deathlok into an electrical transformer. The transformer exploded in a huge ball of electrical fire. Electrical sparks began falling from wires overhead.

The force of the explosion had thrown Deathlok away from the fire that raged in the middle of the substation. He lay on the ground in pain. Lubricants and other fluids spilled out of his many wounds into a puddle around his body. He weakly started crawling away, feebly hoping that Eliminator couldn’t find him. Before he got far he passed out from exhaustion.

In his brief moment of unconsciousness he had an unexplainable vision. He saw a little blonde girl of about three or four swinging on a swing laughing. She was adorable and she seemed so happy.

Suddenly Deathlok was awake again. The little girl was gone. Now in front of him he saw the black boots of Eliminator. Eliminator grabbed the back of his neck and picked him up off the ground. Eliminator held Deathlok in front of himself. Deathlok weakly pleaded with him. "Eliminator, I know what you’re thinking. You feel you must complete this mission above anything else. Right now it’s the only important thing to you. Failure isn’t an option." Eliminator said nothing. He just listened silently.

Deathlok went on. "Well, let me tell you another option Eliminator. Think for yourself, man. You’re letting yourself be controlled. All you are is someone’s puppet. We both know that we’re better than that. We don’t deserve to be pushed around. We are free thinking individuals and to Hell with anyone who says different.

"Now you can go ahead and kill me, Eliminator. But if you do that, you’ll just be giving in. You’ll be admitting that you’re someone else’s toy to play around with as they please. Is that what you want to be, Eliminator?"

Eliminator was still silent. He just stared blankly at Deathlok as if in thought. Deathlok knew he had struck a chord. Then Eliminator answered Deathlok’s question, "Sure." With that, he head butted Deathlok on the unprotected side of his head. He then threw Deathlok to the ground where he landed in a heap.

Deathlok very slowly, very painfully started getting back up. His internal fluids were spilling down his chest and stomach and were running all the way down his legs to his feet. Deathlok stared at Eliminator standing before him. Suddenly the real world started fading out and again Deathlok saw the cute little girl on the swing. Deathlok felt as if he was looking at her through someone else’s eyes. The little girl stopped laughing and swinging, then looked right at whomever it was that Deathlok was seeing her through. She looked sad. All she said was, "I’m gonna miss you."

Suddenly Deathlok was back in the real world. Eliminator was standing right in front of him and he was holding his large hunting knife. Before Deathlok could do anything to stop him, Eliminator shoved the knife, up to the handle, into Deathlok’s stomach. Deathlok screamed in pain. His internal fluids spilled all over Eliminator’s hand.

Suddenly all Deathlok saw was red. Ignoring the blaring pain he felt all over his body, he brought up his hand and slammed a powerful backhand against Eliminator’s jaw, knocking him back and causing him to let go of the knife. The knife stayed stuck in Deathlok’s stomach, but he ignored it. He slowly walked towards the stunned Eliminator who was rubbing his jaw. Deathlok punched Eliminator right in the nose, knocking him back towards a transformer box. Then Deathlok grabbed his shoulders and shoved him the rest of the way, causing him to run into the transformer box.

He brought up his hand and grabbed Eliminator by the neck, shoving him up against the transformer. He began squeezing Eliminator’s neck. Eliminator tried fighting against his grip, but found that he couldn’t budge. Eliminator said, "What are you going to do, Deathlok, kill me? You don’t have the nerve. You were a coward before and you’re still a coward. You are too weak to kill."

Deathlok stuck his face right into Eliminator’s and said, "You’re wrong, Eliminator. I kill who I choose." With that he pulled one of Eliminator’s katana swords out of the sheath on his back. He then shoved it into Eliminator’s chest. There was resistance from the circuitry and other cybernetic systems inside of Eliminator. Deathlok kept shoving until the sword went right through Eliminator and came out his back. He shoved the sword all the way into the transformer behind Eliminator. Instantly Eliminator began writhing in agony and the transformer began sparking. Although Eliminator’s outside was impervious to electrical current, his inside was a completely different matter.

Deathlok let go of the sword and backed up. He watched Eliminator scream and writhe in agony as millions of volts of electricity poured through him. The transformer began making popping sounds and started shooting off more and more sparks. Deathlok pulled the hunting knife out of his stomach and began backing away.

In his head he told his computer, "I guess you were right. I never thought that would work."

"RECOMMENDED COURSE OF ACTION: RETREAT BEFORE ELECTRICAL SUBSTATION EXPLODES."

Deathlok looked around and notice that the fires in the substation were getting bigger and transformers were exploding all over the place. Metal towers were falling over and electrical sparks were shooting everywhere. He decided to get out of there as quickly as possible. It was tough for him to do in the condition he was in, but he tried to ignore the pain raging through him. He heard police sirens in the distance. He pushed himself forward.

As he slowly walked away from the substation, it exploded into a glorious fireball. The sound of the explosion finally drowned out Eliminator’s screams.

Later that night, Deathlok sat on the floor in one of the corners of his home. There was a multicolored trail of fluids leading to him and a small pool forming around him.

His computer told him, "SELF REPAIR SEQUENCE HAS REPAIRED INJURIES BY 90 PERCENT."

Deathlok replied, "Could have fooled me. I still feel like I’ve been turned inside out and back.

"Computer, do you know anything about the visions I’ve been having? Are they actual memories or some sort of hallucination?"

"UNKNOWN WHAT VISIONS YOU ARE REFERRING TO."

"You mean you weren’t aware that I was seeing those things?"

"NEGATIVE."

"Maybe they were my memories... but if they were, who was that girl?"

"UNKNOWN."

"I could have told you that."

Deathlok sat thinking for a few minutes then said, "Computer, open Journal and begin recording."

"PROCEED WITH ENTRY."

Deathlok closed his eyes and said, "Today I met someone just like me. Only he was the other side of the coin. He couldn’t overcome the programming he’d been given and I couldn’t turn him back. It was a matter of my death or his. I made it his."

Deathlok paused and inhaled deeply. He continued, "I found out that my creators also gave me another little gift in the form of a homing beacon inside my head. Apparently only a great scientific mind can remove it without killing me. I guess I’m just gonna have to go to the greatest scientific I can think of. I just hope he’ll be willing to help. If not, it’s only a matter of time before my creators send someone else after me. Maybe next time I won’t be so lucky."

Deathlok took in another deep breath. He said, "End of entry. Close Journal."

The End

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