Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Deathlok #5 - Three’s a Crowd (part 2)

A pile of broken bricks was all that remained in the spot where Deathlok once stood. The only reminder that he had been there at all was his motionless hand poking up through the rubble.

Five armored warriors hovered in the air over the spot of the fallen hero. They were the cause of this scene and they couldn’t have been happier.


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...


Issue #5 "Three’s a Crowd" (part 2)



The soldiers wearing the futuristic armor deactivated their boot-jets and landed on the ground. Captain Caley, the soldier in charge of the group, turned to the soldier on his right. "Check it out, Fuller," he commanded. "Go see if the cyborg’s still alive."

The lower ranking officer nodded and stepped towards the wreckage. Although he obeyed unquestioningly, inside he was a nervous wreck. This particular cyborg was building quite the reputation for himself. Fuller remembered seeing the news clips of him taking out over twenty heavily armed secret service agents when he had attempted assassinating the president a few weeks back. He had taken shot after shot and kept going without slowing down. Fuller was afraid that a mere brick wall shouldn’t be enough to stop this juggernaut.

He slowly walked onto the pile of rubble and, with his laser rifle at the ready, made his way to the motionless metal hand sticking out through the pile of bricks. He slowly moved the barrel of his rifle closer to the hand. When it was just a fraction of an inch away from it, he gathered the courage to poke the hand with the barrel. The hand remained still. Fuller let out a silent sigh of relief. He shoved the barrel into the hand again and again and still nothing happened. He turned around to explain to his superior officer.

However, before he could get a word out, Deathlok quickly burst out of the rubble, obviously feeling quite fine. He was covered in dust and bits of brick, but he was otherwise in decent condition.

Deathlok instantly put Fuller into a half-nelson with the arm in which he was holding his rifle. Fuller immediately dropped it. Deathlok then raised his other hand, holding one of his blasters, and pressed the barrel of his gun tightly against the soldier’s helmet.

He yelled at the other soldiers, "Back off or your buddy will be spending the rest of his short life wishing he still had a head." The other three soldiers looked to their leader, looking for confirmation of what to do.

Without a sound of hesitation in his voice, the head soldier commanded, "Fire!" Without questioning him, the three soldiers, along with their leader, opened fire on Deathlok.

Deathlok couldn’t believe what he was seeing. These soldiers were actually going to sacrifice the life of one of their own in order to kill him! However, Deathlok wasn’t going to sit around and wait for that to happen. As soon as the soldiers opened fire, Deathlok let go of his hostage and ran back down the alley, away from the whole group.

Fuller wasn’t so lucky. He didn’t have time to escape the blasts from his teammates. Fuller didn’t accept his fate quietly. As the four high-powered laser blasts bore down on him, he screamed at the top of his lungs. All four shots seared right through his armor and his flesh. Had Deathlok still been around, they would have passed right into him. As it was, however, Fuller died a pointless death.

As Deathlok ran away, Captain Caley commanded his troops, "Haack, check on Fuller. Hoon, you and Brent come with me in pursuit of the cyborg." Immediately the three took to the air and down the alley in pursuit of their quarry.

Haack walked over to the motionless form of his fallen comrade. Fuller was lying in a pool of his own blood with four smoking holes in his chest. Haack didn’t have very high hopes. He took the helmet off of his teammate and was discouraged to see Fuller’s lifeless pale eyes staring off into space. A thin stream of blood trickled out of his mouth.

Haack put Fuller’s helmet back on and gently laid the body back on the ground. He then tightly clenched his fist and said to himself, "That cybernetic freak will pay for this! I’m going to make sure those bastard dies today. Even if I die trying." With those words, Haack took back to the air and set off in search of his white whale.

Deathlok ran down a crowded street. This is just great, he thought to himself. I want to fight these guys away from civilians. Where the hell do I do that in New York City?

Deathlok again asked his internal computer, "You really have no idea how these guys found me?"


Deathlok replied, "I guess all that matters is that they found me."

Suddenly his computer warned him of one of the soldiers approaching from behind. It was the soldier named Brent. Deathlok pulled out his blaster pistols and set them on their highest setting. Deathlok spun around and saw the soldier in the air coming at him. He figured the lackey had already radioed his buddies to Deathlok’s whereabouts. Deathlok didn’t have time to worry about that.

He quickly targeted the soldier and fired several shots. All the civilians around him quickly ran in all directions. All of Deathlok’s shots hit their marks. Unfortunately, the soldier’s armor proved too thick for his guns’ power. Damn! Deathlok thought to himself. Their blasts were certainly powerful enough. They must have heavier firepower. And here I thought I was really packing.

Brent didn’t appreciate being fired on and raised his own firearm. He fired two powerful shots at Deathlok. Deathlok easily dodged them.

Deathlok quickly asked his computer, "Computer, do I have any heavier firepower than these laser blasts?" His computer informed him of some high caliber bullets in his backpack. Unfortunately, he had only one clip and it was a limited one at that, due to the size of the bullets. He would have to make the best of it.

Brent continued firing on Deathlok from the air as he kept approaching. In the meantime, Deathlok both dodged his shots and reached into his backpack for the clip of high caliber bullets. His internal computer used the sensors in Deathlok’s hand to figure out where the clip was. As soon as the computer detected it, Deathlok pulled it out. He noticed it was pretty heavy. He looked in the clip and saw the biggest bullets he’d ever seen that were meant for a handgun. They were the size of spools of thread. Deathlok quickly loaded the clip into one of his guns after he had put the other in its holster.

Unfortunately, before Deathlok could fire on Brent, the soldier flew right into him. Brent kept flying forward at higher and higher speeds with Deathlok in front of him, unable to do anything. He was in no position to get a good shot. Suddenly, Brent let go of Deathlok and swerved back up into the air. Deathlok kept sailing through the air, going over a hundred miles per hour, until he smashed into a parked garbage truck. There was a tremendous explosion.

Brent hovered in the air with his rifle ready. He figured Deathlok could survive that explosion and he’d be ready when the cyborg walked out of it. No, Deathlok wouldn’t get him as easily as he had Fuller.

Shortly, just as Brent expected, Deathlok crawled out of the wreck. He was blackened all over. The human flesh on his face appeared burned and blistering. Deathlok’s red uniform was torn and burnt in places.

Deathlok looked up at the soldier in the air. He barely managed to groan, "Izzat… all… you got?" Then he fell over. Brent began laughing mockingly.

He chided Deathlok. "I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me, cyborg."

Deathlok replied, "I’d be happy to relieve you of some of that." With that he whipped up his gun and pointed it at the armored soldier.

Brent laughed and replied, "Is that the best you can do? A gun?!"

"No," answered Deathlok. "It’s a gun… with big God damned bullets." With that, he fired five shots at the cocky punk. Each shot was as loud as a thunderclap. The recoil kicked Deathlok like a mule. He knew that this gun in the hands of a normal human would probably rip their arm right out of the shoulder socket.

Brent didn’t even attempt to dodge the shots, assuming they couldn’t hurt him. He was wrong. Each one tore like a chunk of molten lava right through his armor. They ripped out of his back, leaving holes the size of car headlights. Needless to say, Brent fell to the sidewalk below.

Quickly blood flowed out of him and, in a matter of seconds, had formed a small pool around him. Brent rolled around, groaning in pain.

Deathlok walked up to him and put the gun to his head. He said, "Consider this a lesson. I’m not yours, anymore. You let me live my life, and I’ll let you live yours." Brent was in too much pain to reply. It wasn’t necessary. Deathlok pulled the trigger. Brent’s helmet exploded into millions of pieces. There wasn’t anything left above his neck and there was a large crater in the sidewalk.

Deathlok didn’t even have time to catch his breath. The soldier named Hoon suddenly plowed him into from behind. Hoon pushed him along as Brent had. He screamed, "You killed Brent, you sadistic bastard! You’ll pay for that."

Deathlok’s feet were just a few inches above the pavement and that was because his knees were bent. From his feet ejected strong blades meant to aid him in climbing walls. He shoved both of his feet hard into the pavement and dug them into it. He then quickly ducked down and Hoon flew right over him. Hoon kept going for a few feet, due to his momentum, but soon stopped himself and turned back around.

Deathlok aimed his gun at the soldier and said, "Why don’t you just shut the hell up and eat metal?" With that he pulled the trigger. The trigger clicked and nothing happened.


Deathlok told Hoon, "That would have looked so much cooler if my gun had actually fired."

Hoon replied, "Good thing mine does." Immediately he fired a high intensity beam at Deathlok. Unfortunately, Deathlok was unable to dodge the blast and it hit him square in the chest and knocked him onto his back. The blast left a sparking hole in his chest with smoke billowing out of it. It started leaking mech fluid.

Hoon deactivated his boot-jets and walked over to Deathlok. He pointed his blaster rifle at Deathlok’s face. All Deathlok did was groan in pain. Hoon said, "Now it’s time for you to finally die, you freak."

Deathlok was enraged. It was bad enough that these cocky, loudmouth soldiers were chasing him down and trying to kill him. Now they dared to insult him? Faster than Hoon could react to, Deathlok leapt up and put him into a tight headlock. Hoon couldn’t move.

Deathlok shouted, "‘Freak?!’ You dare to call me a freak? You snotty little prick! You hunt me down and attack me and treat me like I’m the monster? I don’t know who you think I am, but I’m one mother who won’t sit by and take your crap!" With that, he twisted Hoon’s head until his neck snapped. It made a loud popping noise, like a stalk of celery being broken in half. The soldier quit moving and dropped his gun. Deathlok dropped his body.

What have I become? he thought to himself. I tried getting away from these people so I don’t have to kill and yet they keep forcing me to. Why can’t I be left alone? Why can’t I just be allowed to live as normal a life as I can?

Again, as they had so many other times, the visions came to Deathlok. Instead of a clear picture and set of events, this time he saw many flashes of images. He saw the little girl on the swing. He saw her laying on her back on a grassy hill laughing. He saw her hugging him and crying. Then there was a beautiful blonde young woman. She appeared to be in her early twenties. She looked in shock at a ring that he held, then she looked into his eyes and smiled. Then he saw the young woman holding the little girl who was hugging her tightly. The young woman laughed.

Deathlok was suddenly thrust back into reality by two laser blasts directly to his chest. He was knocked again to the ground. He looked into the air where the remaining two soldiers hovered. Both held their rifles with smoke coming out of the barrels. Their shots had seriously injured him. They left holes in his chest that leaked a dangerous amount of mech fluid. The front of Deathlok’s uniform was quickly soaking in it.

In the air, Haack turned to Captain Caley and said, "Let me finish him off, Sir. He’s killed three of my comrades. I want his head."

Caley replied, "Remember your place, Haack. I’m your commanding officer. Those were my men he killed. I want him dead just as badly as you do. If he’s going to die, I’m going to be the one who pulls the trigger. Is that understood, Haack?"

Haack disappointedly mumbled, "Yes, Sir."

While the two were arguing, Deathlok slowly started getting up and running away. Captain Caley noticed and shouted, "Stop him!" The two immediately opened fire on the wounded cyborg.

Their shots missed. However, one hit the sidewalk right next to Deathlok and exploded. It sent him hurtling right through a store window. He landed on the floor of a small toy store and lay there. He was leaking precious fluids, which were dripping to the floor and burning into the linoleum, causing it to bubble and sizzle. Deathlok started heading back to the window, then realized it was suicide. He turned to the gentle-looking old man behind the counter. He said, "I’m so sorry about the mess, Sir. Is there a back way out of here?" All the speechless old man could do was point to it. "Thank you very much, Sir," replied the wounded hero. "Again, I’m very sorry." With that he headed out the back of the store.

Again, he found himself in an alley. "Not another alley," he said aloud. He immediately began running in a direction away from the soldiers. Fortunately, they were nowhere in sight.

Deathlok came to another crowded street. There was a big traffic jam, so Deathlok easily ran across the street. He kept running. He ran down streets, occasionally ducked through alleys and came out on other streets, and ran through heavy traffic, followed by honking and swearing. The whole time he clutched the wounds on his chest, trying to slow the rapid loss of mech fluid. His internal repair circuits were working like mad, but they were still having a hell of a time keeping the fluid loss down.

Deathlok just kept running and running and didn’t look back until he arrived in Times Square. This was the busiest area of all. There were huge crowds of civilians. The streets were choked with traffic. Deathlok knew this was the worst place to confront the soldiers. Unfortunately for him, this was where they found him.

Deathlok’s internal computer immediately warned him of the presence of the two soldiers. Deathlok looked where the computer indicated. They were a couple blocks down the street, in the air. No sooner had Deathlok spotted them, than he noticed one of the soldiers tapping the other on the shoulder and pointing straight at Deathlok. They both raised their blasters and headed towards him.

Deathlok’s mind raced. How could he beat these guys quickly and without getting any civilians involved? He looked at the soldiers’ boot-jets and he suddenly got an idea.

Haack and Caley were getting closer to Deathlok and bringing their rifles to bear. They knew it would just take a couple more shots to finish him off. They noticed him reaching into his backpack and pulling out a spherical metal object. He locked it into the barrel of one of his pistols.

"Just what does he think he’s doing now?" Captain Caley asked Haack.

"I have no clue, Sir. But whatever firepower he has, it isn’t enough to harm us," replied the soldier.

The two sped up and started diving at Deathlok. That’s when Deathlok fired the object at them. It appeared as if he had miscalculated and the object would sail right under them. However, it hit square on it’s target. It hit Captain Caley’s boot and exploded. But this was no ordinary grenade. It was a grenade that Deathlok had used on the Human Torch earlier in the day (see Deathlok #4). As soon as the grenade exploded, it released a thick foam that covered Caley’s boot and began spreading. The foam was too thick for his boot jet to burn through and it was quickly suffocated.

Caley started flying out of control. With only one functioning boot jet, he wasn’t able to guide himself correctly. He was flying back and forth, left and right, all over the sky. Haack could do nothing but watch as his leader flew erratically all around Times Square. Ultimately, Caley flew himself right into a neon, electric billboard. There was a huge explosion of electricity. Caley’s body lurched and shook in agony as he fried inside his suit.

Haack knew there was no hope for his leader and turned his attentions back to his quarry... who had disappeared.

Deathlok ran as fast as he could down an alley, but found it difficult to do in the condition he was in. He was rapidly losing mech fluid and strength. Even though he knew he didn’t have the time to do it, he had to stop and rest against a dumpster.

Deathlok knew it would be tough finishing off the last armored punk. It would take a lot of his energy to take him out. Suddenly, Deathlok came to a realization. He couldn’t kill this last soldier. This was the only one left. This was the only person Deathlok knew who could tell him where he came from, who built him, who wanted him dead. He had to take care of this guy while keeping him alive. Deathlok was afraid that it would be easier to kill him.

Desperate for help, Deathlok consulted his internal computer, "Computer, do you know any way I can take out this last goon without killing him?"


Deathlok replied, "Thanks. Now where am I supposed to pull an EMP out of?"


Deathlok would have jumped for joy if he wasn’t afraid his guts would fall out when he did it. Deathlok asked, "Why didn’t you ever tell me I had that?" Quickly before his computer could reply, Deathlok stopped it, "Yeah, I know, I never asked you."

Deathlok reached into his backpack for the grenade. He wasn’t a moment early. Just as he began pulling the grenade out, he heard the familiar whine of boot-jets coming down the alley. It was Haack and he was coming very fast. Deathlok figured he must be pretty pissed off.

Deathlok quickly fitted the grenade into the barrel of one of his guns. Unfortunately, he left himself open to an attack. Haack plowed right into Deathlok, slamming him into the dumpster and sending both him and the garbage receptacle down the alley. When the dumpster slowed down and stopped, Deathlok fell to the ground.

Haack flew over to the wounded cyborg and hovered above him. He announced, "I just want you to know the name of your killer, Deathlok. Your harbinger of death is I, David Haack."

Deathlok weakly laughed. "I’m sorry," he told the soldier. "Did you just tell me your name or did you cough something up?" He continued laughing.

Haack was enraged, "That’s it you metallic psycho! Now I’ll do what my comrades failed to." He raised his gun to fire.

Before he could fire, Deathlok said, "I really doubt that." With that he fired his grenade right at Haack’s chest. Haack never even had a chance to fire. The grenade magnetically latched itself to his armor and sent out a powerful electromagnetic pulse which surged all throughout Haack’s armor. Haack’s entire suit shorted out. His boot-jets cut out and he fell to the ground below.

Deathlok asked his computer if the electromagnetic grenade could harm him. His computer replied, "THIS UNIT IS PROTECTED AGAINST EFFECTS OF GRENADE." Deathlok knew it was a stupid question when he asked it.

Deathlok walked over to the crippled warrior laying motionless. Without his suit’s functions, Haack didn’t even have the strength to move the heavy suit. He was trapped in his own armor. Deathlok pressed the barrel of one of his guns right up against Haack’s helmet. "I could kill you in a heartbeat, you bastard," he told the powerless soldier. Haack gulped. Deathlok continued, "Lucky for you, I won’t do that. You see, I need you alive."

Deathlok reached down and pulled off the warrior’s helmet. Deathlok was shocked by the sight he beheld. He expected some lean, tough looking, buzz-cutted warrior. Instead, what he beheld was a sweaty, overweight boy who couldn’t be older than twenty-five. Deathlok laughed out loud at the sight of the frightened kid with multiple chins.

Weakly, Haack asked, "What’s so funny?"

Deathlok answered, "What have they been feeding you, Tubby? I can’t believe you even fit into this suit!"

Haack shouted, "Why don’t you quit pestering me and kill me you heartless freak?" The last word tore into Deathlok. That was the second time one of these punks had called him that. It wasn’t much of a word, but for some reason it hit a sore spot in him. He clenched his fist and resisted the urge to blow the fat pile of waste’s head all over the ground.

He stuck his deformed face right in Haack’s. "I would so badly love to kill you, Chubs. Unfortunately for both of us you’re more important to me alive than dead. You see I need some information from you. I’m sick of getting hunted by bastards like you and I’d like it to stop. You just tell me who sent you after me and we’ll all be happy."

"Go to Hell," shouted Haack. He was sweating more and more every minute. In a few more minutes he’d be drowning in a puddle of it. "I won’t tell you jack!" the obese soldier continued. "You’ll have to kill me, cause you won’t get anything out of me."

Deathlok laughed a sinister fake laugh. He pulled a large, serrated hunting knife out of his backpack. He said, "I told you. I’m not gonna kill you. However, if you don’t tell me everything I need to know, you’ll sure wish you were dead." He pressed the blade of the large knife right up against the underside of Haack’s nose. Deathlok continued, "You see, if you don’t tell me what I want to know, I’ll cut off your nose. You still won’t talk? Well, then I’ll cut off one of your ears. Next will be an eye. I can keep it up all day. You’ll be one deformed son of a bitch. But you know what? I will not kill you."

Haack was sweating even more now, if that was possible. His eyes were wide and full of fear. He was nearly hyper-ventilating "You’re full of it," he said. "You’re just bluffing. You may be a killer, but you’re not as cold-hearted as you want me to think. I saw you save Captain America on the news. No, I don’t think you’ve got the guts to do it."

"Are you sure?" Deathlok asked. He dug the knife blade hard into Haack’s nose. It began cutting into the flesh and blood started trickling. Deathlok asked, "Do you want to bet your nose that you’re right?" He started pressing the knife harder.

Haack’s eyes grew to twice their size and he nearly had a heart attack right there. He shouted, "Okay okay okay! I’ll tell you what you want to know. Just please don’t cut my nose off!"

Deathlok pulled the knife away. He was glad his bluff worked. As much as he hated this fat excuse for a human being, he wasn’t prepared to torture him. "Okay," Deathlok said, "talk."

Haack could barely talk straight through his heavy panting. Sweat started getting into the cut under his nose and burned. It made his eyes tear up. He blurted out what Deathlok wanted to hear, "We weren’t sent to kill you. We were supposed to kill the kids. They needed to be silenced. But then we saw that you were with them. We knew that you would get in the way of our mission. As soon as you left the kids, we were sent to take you out so you wouldn’t get in the way of the others."

Deathlok was completely baffled. He had no idea what this sweaty coward was talking about. "What do you mean?" he asked. "Who are these kids you’re talking about? Who are the others that you didn’t want me to get in the way of?"

Haack took a deep breath and answered, "Thomas and Brianne. There are still three of us back at their place."

Deathlok couldn’t believe what he was hearing. "You mean you guys weren’t sent after me at all? You were sent to kill those two scientists who moved into my place?"

Haack simply replied, "Well, yeah."

Deathlok shouted, "What the hell did they do to warrant a death sentence?"

Haack said, "They left us. They knew too much. They couldn’t be allowed to live with the knowledge they had."

Deathlok was enraged. "So this is all a part of some cover-up? And it doesn’t even have anything to do with me? You just attacked me because you thought I was involved with them?"

Haack answered, "Pretty much." He was starting to calm down. He seemed to realize that maybe he would be okay after all. Now that everything was cleared up, Deathlok would surely let him go.

Suddenly, a feeling of dread swept over Deathlok. The two scientists were in grave danger. They may even be dead already. He knew that he could never live with himself if he let that happen. He had to go back to his old home and see if they could still be saved.

He was about to leave when he looked back at Haack. The fat soldier had stopped sweating as much and his breathing had slowed down. Deathlok had planned on letting him live, out of honor. However, he realized that as long as this beast continued to live, Thomas, Brianne, and even himself weren’t safe. He thought about the how this soldier planned on executing two innocent people. He thought about the way this soldier and his friends had attacked him in cold blood. He thought of the heartless way they had killed their own man in order to get him. This soldier wasn’t worthy of honor. Without a word, Deathlok walked over Haack and shoved his hunting knife all the way into his neck. Haack didn’t die quickly or cleanly, but Deathlok didn’t feel he deserved either one.

Thomas flicked his Zippo and it flared to life. He pressed the orange flame against the end of his Red Apple cigarette, lighting it. He took a deep breath and inhaled the first exhilarating drag. From the second floor, Brianne shouted, "I heard your Zippo. Are you smoking down there, Tom?"

Thomas replied, "Yeah. Who cares?"

"I do!" Brianne replied. "I thought you were gonna quit."

Thomas laughed and shouted back, "Bri, if you wanted me to quit, then why the hell did you give me the Zippo?"

Brianne quickly snapped back, "When I bought that for you, I didn’t have to live with you."

You’re my reason for taking up smoking, Thomas thought. Now you want to be my reason for quitting? Thomas took another deep drag.

Loud music started coming from upstairs. Thomas realized Brianne had started unpacking. She always needed music playing while she was doing work. At least now she won’t hear if I light anymore cigarettes, he thought.

Thomas walked over to the coffeepot and poured himself a cup. He was going to need this and the cigarette to get him through the long night of unpacking ahead of him. He was hopelessly addicted to caffeine and nicotine and found it difficult to do anything strenuous without them coursing through his blood. Brianne had her music. He had his stimulants.

Thomas brought his coffee mug to his lips and was about to take a long, satisfying gulp when a voice from behind him startled him. "That sludge will kill you," said the voice. Thomas dropped his mug. The mug bounced harmlessly on the table, but all of the life-giving, hot caffeine beverage was spilled on the table and floor.

Thomas quickly spun around to see who spoke, and his heart sank. Standing before him were three armored soldiers with their blaster rifles trained on him. Thomas recognized them all too well.

"What the hell do you want?" Thomas asked them. "Me and Bri wanted out. We didn’t harm anyone, so get the hell out of our home and leave us alone."

The soldier in the middle replied, "Sorry, Brody, but you and Brianne know too much. Now where is the lovely Dr. Lee?"

"She’s not here," Thomas replied. "Sorry, you’ll have to kill me alone." The soldier in the middle picked up Thomas by his shirt and threw him into the table with the coffeepot. Thomas smashed through it and hit the floor hard. Despite the loud crash, Brianne didn’t respond. She couldn’t hear over her music.

The soldier pulled up Thomas by his right arm and twisted it behind him. Thomas groaned in pain. The soldier said, "Too bad I know you’re full of it, Brody." With that, the soldier tugged on Thomas’s arm and his elbow snapped. Thomas held back a scream of agony as best he could through his clenched teeth.

Brianne started walking down the stairs, right into the room, without knowing anything that was going on. She started saying, "Tom, I was just thinking. We should use that..." She stopped when she saw the three soldiers and Thomas holding his useless right arm.

The soldier holding Thomas commanded, "Frag her!" His two fellow soldiers aimed their rifles at her. Immediately, Brianne leapt down the stairs. She hit the floor on her hands and spun into a somersault. She landed kneeling. From behind her, Brianne pulled a large laser pistol. She fired it at one of the guards and slagged his rifle. She was about to do the same to the other, but a beam hit her own gun, frying it. She turned to the soldier with Thomas. He was holding out his fist. On the forearm of his suit was a small blaster that was smoking.

The soldier immediately lunged at Brianne and grabbed her by the neck. "I like girls who know how to handle a gun," he said. "It’s a shame I have to kill you." Before he could do anything else, Thomas jumped onto his back and wrapped his good left arm around the soldier’s neck.

Another one of the soldiers grabbed Thomas and pulled him off of the soldier. Thomas was thrown to the floor again. The soldier that threw him there, pointed his rifle right at Thomas and said, "Nice try, Hero. Too bad you just nominated yourself to be first to die."

Before the soldier could fire his gun, a laser blast burst out of his chest. He made a gurgling sound and fell to the floor, dead.

The other two soldiers quickly turned their attention to where the blast came from. Standing in the doorway was Deathlok. The whole front of his uniform was soaked with green mech fluid. There were sparks shooting out of various parts of his body. He was holding the laser rifle that previously belonged to Haack. Smoke was trailing out of the barrel.

The soldier holding Brianne dropped her to the floor. He and his surviving comrade trained their guns on the cyborg. The one who dropped Brianne said, "How can you still be alive?"

Deathlok replied, "It was hard for your friends to kill me... being dead and all." Without another word, Deathlok quickly fired two well-aimed shots from the laser rifle. The blasts hit both soldiers in their helmets and went right through them. Neither one even had a chance to react. They both simply fell to the floor.

Deathlok began walking towards the young scientists. "Are you two okay?" he asked. Suddenly he keeled over and groaned in pain. Thomas and Brianne rushed to his side.

Thomas said, "My arm’s broken, but I still appear to be in better shape than you, Big Guy. Is there anything we can do for you?"

Deathlok waved them away and said, "Don’t worry about me. Did you two know those guys?"

Thomas replied, "Yeah, they’re called the Onex Guard."

Brianne spoke up, "They would have killed us if it wasn’t for you."

Deathlok replied, "It was the decent thing to do. I had the ability to stop them and you guys didn’t. As far as I’m concerned I had no choice but to help you out."

Brianne replied, "Deathlok, I’m so sorry about how I treated you earlier. I feel like such a..."

Deathlok interrupted her, "Hey, don’t worry about it. You had every right to treat me the way you did. Especially with what you guys have probably been through."

Brianne said, "Maybe, but I feel terrible for it. After the way I treated you, I didn’t deserve your saving me. I’m very grateful." She looked at Thomas and they both smiled. They seemed to be thinking the same thing. "I think Tom would agree with me that the least that we can do for you is to let you stay here. Deathlok, would you stay with us?"

Deathlok looked at the both of them and thought about it. He asked, "You two still want to stay here? Even after this?"

Thomas answered, "We’ve been running from them for too long. We’re tired of it. It’s time for us to settle down and stop worrying about them."

Deathlok felt terrible for these two. They were so optimistic, but he felt otherwise. He knew they didn’t stand a chance if the Onex returned. He said, "I have no choice but to stay with you guys. I could never live with myself if those guys came back here and I wasn’t here to help you out."

Brianne and Thomas both smiled. "Great!" said Brianne. "Welcome to our happy family."

Thomas asked, "Would you like us to help you out at all? You look pretty bad."

Deathlok shook his head. "Thanks, but no. My body can repair itself if I give it enough time. Besides, no offense, but I really doubt if you guys would know the first thing about repairing me. I don’t know how I was built. Reed Richards couldn’t even figure me out."

Thomas looked at a large, open wound on Deathlok’s right arm. The metal "skin" had been damaged and the wiring and insides of his arm were exposed. Thomas looked at it. He said, "You’d be surprised, Deathlok. Me and Bri have worked on some pretty..." He stopped in mid-sentence. His eyes widened and his jaw dropped.

Deathlok looked at him worriedly, "What is it? Is something wrong?"

Thomas just said, "Brianne, look at this."

"What is it?" She asked. She looked into Deathlok’s open arm wound and her jaw dropped as well. She slowly said, "Oh my God!"

"What is it?" Deathlok impatiently asked. He was practically shouting. He wanted to know what the heck was going on.

Thomas finally said, "Deathlok, you won’t believe this, but," he looked back at Brianne. She looked as nervous as him. "Well... not only do me and Bri understand your technology, but we used to build it."

To Be Continued...

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