Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Deathlok #6 - End of the Beginning

Three hours ago: Deathlok returned home to find the abandoned building he's been living in is now the property of two scientists named Brianne Lee and Thomas Brody (Deathlok #4).

Two hours ago: After being kicked out of his only home, Deathlok was attacked on the streets by a squad of heavily armored soldiers called the Onex Guard.

Ten minutes ago: After taking care of the Onex Guard, Deathlok returned to his old home to save Brianne and Thomas from more Onex Guard soldiers (Last issue).

Ten seconds ago: Thomas and Brianne looked at Deathlok's wounds inflicted by the Onex Guard and came to a shocking discovery.

Which brings us to now: Deathlok couldn't believe what he was hearing. His jaw dropped and his one human eye widened. In complete shock, he asked, "Are you saying you built me?"


Deathlok: Cybernetic living weapon. Finally, he is gaining clues to his mysterious past. But will he be able to handle the shocking truth of his origin? After all, anything is possible in a world where everything is more than meets the eye...


Issue #6 "End of the Beginning"



Brianne quickly replied to Deathlok's question. "No, Deathlok, that's not what we're saying at all."

Thomas interjected, "I said that we used to build the technology you're made from! I can promise you that we never built anything like you."

Deathlok looked at the two young scientists suspiciously. He thought he trusted them. Now he was starting to have doubts. Maybe they didn't build him themselves, but maybe they were responsible for the technology that built him. Maybe they opened the door for someone else to build him. Frustrated Deathlok said, "I think it's time the two of you told me what the hell you're involved in. Just why did those Onex bastards want you dead so badly? What did you know that they wanted to keep you quiet about?"

"The thing is," Brianne calmly replied, "we aren't involved in anything. At least not anymore."

Thomas continued, "Bri and I had just graduated from college when we were approached by some guys who worked for a highly secret government agency. They gave us a huge chunk of money up front if we would go to work for them."

Bri started in; "They told us we'd be involved with research and development of the newest wave in technology."

Thomas continued, "It seemed like an okay enough job, and it was, really. They gave us these strange pieces of machinery unlike anything we'd ever seen before. They told us that this was what we were to work on. It was dubbed 'Xenotech.' Everything was kept classified. We weren't told anything about where the technology came from and, frankly, we really didn't care."

Bri went on, "We were told to back engineer these pieces of machinery. In other words, we were supposed to dissect them and figure out just what made them tick. I guess it's something they've secretly been working on for years. And it's a good thing they have because, without the knowledge they already had of it, it would have taken us a lifetime to figure out. They already had a pretty good grasp of it, they just needed some finishing touches which, once we had finally figured the stuff out, we were able to help with."

Thomas said, "What we didn't know was what our research was going towards. We found out they were using Xenotech to build weapons and vehicles of war. We found out it was used to create an army of armored soldiers called the Onex Guard."

Deathlok interrupted. "You two were building tools of war and you can honestly tell me that you had nothing to do with me?"

Thomas replied, "Deathlok, I know it sounds bad, but the truth is that me and Bri found out everything our tech was going into being built. Believe me, we would have known if something like you was being built. As inhuman as the project was, we never did anything with human subjects."

Brianne interrupted, "We couldn't believe what we had found out we were making. We felt like Robert Oppenheimer after he watched the detonation of the first A-bomb. We didn't want that amount of blood on our hands. It didn't matter how much they were paying us."

Thomas said, "We tried to leave, but they informed us that we already knew too much about the technology and the projects. We wouldn't be allowed to leave with that kind of information."

Brianne continued, "Unfortunately, we knew it was already too late for us. We knew that just by telling them we wanted to leave, we were already doomed. No way would they want to keep around two scientists who were having second thoughts about their work. We had no choice anymore. We ran."

Thomas finished, "We've been running from them for a long time. We've had many close calls... too many. We haven't even talked to our own parents for months in fear that the government could come to them looking for us... and try to get them to talk."

Deathlok couldn't believe this. Here he thought his life was bad. He couldn't begin to understand the pain and fear these two must have gone through. "I'm so sorry," he said, his voice full of compassion and pain. "You two have been through Hell."

Thomas replied, "It's alright, Deathlok. At least we're running together." He and Brianne smiled at each other and he put his arm around her. "I can't even imagine how tough it must be for you to go it alone."

Deathlok shrugged and said, "It's not so bad once you get used to it." He then asked, "If you've been on the run for so long, why are you settling down now? Apparently the Onex Guard know where you live. What made you think that you could stay in one place without them tracking you down?"

Brianne answered, "We have a connection who's still involved in the agency. Apparently word is getting out to a lot of people about our work and work being done by other agencies. And since the work being done there isn't completely legit, the department decided to play it safe and shut everything down."

Thomas continued, "We thought we would finally be off the hook. Obviously we were wrong. It appears that they wanted one last clean up job before shutting down."

Brianne went on, "But that was their last chance. Now that they've shut down, there's nothing they can do to us. We're safe."

Deathlok wasn't as optimistic as she was. He knew it was unrealistic to think that they would never be bothered again. He was about to tell her this when Thomas groaned in pain.

Thomas grabbed his arm and tried to hold back tears, but it was difficult in the condition he was in. Sweat was beading up on his forehead. Brianne looked at him worriedly. "Tom, are you okay?" she asked.

Through clenched teeth Thomas managed to grunt, "It's just my arm. I'll be fine."

Brianne started to say something in reply, but Deathlok had no idea what that was. He blacked out.

This time he was sitting in what appeared to be a dark hallway. Lined up beside him were young men in military field gear. Across from him and facing his row was another row of young men in field gear. All were holding M-16 rifles closely to their chests. Deathlok realized this wasn't a hall. It was moving and bumping. He was in the back of a transport truck.

One of the young men across from Deathlok was chomping on gum. When he noticed Deathlok looking at him he smiled back and said, "Hey, man, looks like this is the real thing, huh?" He let out a short laugh and tightly gripped the barrel of his rifle. The rest of the men in the truck either looked forward with no emotion, or looked like nervous wrecks.

The next thing Deathlok knew he was somewhere else and all he could think about was agonizing pain. He was now lying with his back on the ground, staring up at a blazing hot sun in the middle of what sounded like some sort of battlefield. There was the sound of gunfire and men yelling coming from all directions, as well as the sound of some sort of heavy machinery operating. It was a sound unlike anything Deathlok had ever heard.

Deathlok wanted to look around and see what was going on, but the pain he was feeling was so excruciating that he felt it in his entire body and the slightest movement was complete torture.

With all of his strength he held a mangled hand in front of his face to look at what he was holding in it. It was a bloody and crumpled picture of the beautiful blonde woman he had seen in a previous blackout.

Suddenly, he was enclosed in darkness and couldn't see the picture. He dropped it and saw the cause of the darkness. Towering over him was a giant with glowing red eyes. The giant completely blocked all the sunlight from Deathlok. Deathlok couldn't make out his features. All he saw was a giant black silhouette and those piercing red eyes. Suddenly the giant started making a sound like laughter. Like a thousand rusty nails across a thousand cracked blackboards, the sound pierced through Deathlok's ears right into his soul.

Then the only sound Deathlok heard was the sound of his own name being shouted by Brianne and Thomas. He suddenly snapped out of his vision. He was laying on the floor with the two young scientists standing over him looking concerned. Thomas was holding a burning cigarette in his good hand.

He said, "Jeez, man, you had us worried! We thought you died on us."

Deathlok shook his head and replied, "I'm sorry. I just blacked out. That happens to me occasionally. It's driving me insane. I keep seeing things I don't understand."

Brianne kneeled beside him and asked, "What kind of things do you see, Deathlok?"

"People I don't know. Places I don't recognize. I have no idea why I see them."

Brianne and Thomas looked at each other puzzled and then Brianne asked, "Didn't you tell us that you don't know who you are or where you came from?"

"Yeah," replied Deathlok.

Brianne said, "Then don't you think it's possible that these are visions of your past? Maybe you're actually having memories."

Deathlok thought about it and said, "I've considered that, but the thing is, none of these things I see seem to make any sense to me. If they were my memories, wouldn't I recognize them?"

Thomas jumped in. "Not necessarily. If your memory has somehow been blocked, it's possible that you could never recognize your own past until that block has been lifted."

Deathlok sadly said, "Well, if there is a block on my memories, there's no way to fix it. I've been to Reed Richards, only the smartest guy on the planet and not even he could understand the technology used to build me. He didn't know the first thing about how to try to fix my memory."

Thomas grew excited. "That's because Reed has never seen your technology before. Me and Brianne have."

Brianne cut in, sounding just as excited. "He's right. Reed Richards may not understand how you were built, but with his equipment and our knowledge of your tech, I bet we could figure out just how your memories are being blocked. From there, it would be a piece of cake to figure out how to unblock them."

Deathlok couldn't believe what he was hearing. For the first time since he had gained control over his cybernetic body, he felt a gleam of hope. If these two could really do what they claimed, he was just steps away from getting back his identity and remembering who he really was.

Deathlok looked at the two young scientists and for the first time that he could remember, he smiled. "Please tell me you're not screwing with me."

Thomas took a long drag off of his cigarette and smiled. He exhaled and said, "Why don't the three of us go pay Reed Richards a visit." Brianne looked at him, surprised at his impulsiveness. He just smiled back at her and explained, "He saved our lives, Bri. It's the least we can do for him."

On another side of town an armored paddy wagon was transporting the super strong criminal known as the Rhino to the Vault, the prison for super powered beings down a deserted street. It was standard procedure to stay out of busy areas for public safety. Little did the other passengers know that they had a hitchhiker riding on top of the van who wanted to make sure they didn't reach their destination.

In the front of the van sat Bob, the driver and his assistant, Barry. In the separate back section were three armored Vault Guards, keeping an eye on the Rhino whose arms were bound in a high tech metal harness. The harness also kept him from being able to bend over so he couldn't ram anything with his deadly horns.

In the front, Barry and Bob were having their usual deep intellectual conversation. Barry asked Bob, "So those kids on the Brady Bunch weren't really related?"

Bob replied, "The boys were related to each other and the girls were related to each other. But the boys weren't related to the girls."

Barry nodded and said, "I see. Then why didn't none of them boys get on none of them girls?"

"Because I think that's illegal."

"How can that be illegal? They aren't related by blood. They can even have perfectly normal kids together."

"But in the eyes of the government, they're brother and sister and I think it's illegal for a brother to get on his sister."

"Of course. The government. Them and their damn laws."

"Barry, we work for the government. In fact we work for the law."

"Well, that may be so, but you'll never see me arresting no guy for getting on his step-sister. That's his own choice and if his sister looks anything like that Marcia Brady, then I'll just admire him cause he's one lucky..." Barry's tirade was interrupted by the van cutting out and dying.

"What's going on?" he asked Bob.

Bob tried starting the van again but it wouldn't start. "I don't know. She won't turn over. It must be the battery. Probably just a loose connection."

One of the guards from the back opened the small door to the front and asked what was going on up there. Bob replied, "I think it might be a loose connection to the battery. Barry's gonna check it out."

The guard replied, "Not without an escort he's not." With that, one of the three guards got out of the back with a laser rifle and walked to Barry's door and opened it. The two of them went to the hood and popped it open. Barry inspected the battery but saw nothing wrong with it.

He asked himself, "Well, what the hell is going on here?"

"Perhaps I can be of some assistance," said a voice from the roof of the van. Barry and the guard looked up to see the super villain Electro standing there. His hands were glowing and crackling with electrical energy. Barry just had time to utter a short swear word before an electrical bolt tore through his body.

The guard quickly raised his rifle and fired it at Electro. Electro laughed as the bolt was harmlessly absorbed into him. He asked, "Do you think an energy weapon can really harm the master of electricity?" With that, he fired back a powerful electric blast at the unfortunate guard who was quickly fried inside of his metal armor.

The remaining two guards jumped out of the back of the van and opened a volley of laser blasts upon the super villain standing on top of the van. Electro laughed again as the blasts were absorbed into him, further powering him. His whole body began glowing with stored electrical energy. He then pointed his index fingers at the two remaining guards. They never had a chance as bolts ten times more powerful than lightning struck their bodies.

Electro was about to jump off the roof of the van when he heard the click of a handgun being cocked behind him. Electro turned around to see Bob holding a nine-millimeter that was aimed at him. Electro stared at the frightened man and coldly said, "You have two choices, little man. You can fire that weapon and pray you kill me with one shot. Or you can run away now and go on living."

Bob kept the gun trained on him. His hands were shaking and were shaking the weapon in his hands. He couldn't have fired off a decent shot if he wanted to. He lowered the weapon, turned around, and ran off down the empty street.

Electro then jumped down from the roof of the paddy wagon and walked to the back. He opened the doors to reveal the impatient-looking Rhino sitting on the bench in the back, unable to move. When the Rhino saw Electro his eyes grew wide with surprise.

"Electro?! Why the hell did you save me?" he asked the fellow super villain.

"I come," Electro replied, "to deliver you from captivity, my powerful friend."

The Rhino narrowed his eyes. He trusted Electro as far as he could... well, actually he trusted him a lot less far than he could throw him. "First of all, I ain't your friend, Electro. Secondly, what the hell do you want from me?"

Electro smiled. Apparently the Rhino had grown in intelligence over the years. Not long ago he would have been more than happy to jump at Electro's side and do whatever he was told. "Actually, Rhino," Electro explained, "I need a favor from you."

Rhino immediately said, "I ain't interested."

"You haven't listened to me yet." Electro was getting frustrated. He was wasting too much time sitting around. "You don't have much time, my friend. Surely there are more Vault Guards on their way right now and I don't have to take that harness off of you if I don't want. So I would suggest you cooperate with me."

Rhino seemed interested. "Start talking."

Electro spoke quickly. "I'm giving you the opportunity to join some of the greatest super criminals around to put an end to that hideous Deathlok cyborg."

Rhino started laughing. Electro's eyes narrowed and his hands balled into fists at his sides. "Is that what this is about?" asked the Rhino. "You want to fix your damaged pride so you gotta get people bigger than you to gang up on that Deathlok guy?"

Electro spat back, "This isn't about revenge, you ignoramus! This is about technology. And Deathlok has the most highly sophisticated technology around. How would you like to have a new armored suit that's ten times as powerful and durable as the one you have now? Well it can be yours if you join us."

The Rhino replied, "Not interested, Sparky. I'm calling it quits on the criminal thing. I'm sick of getting my butt handed to me by every super hero that comes down the creek. I'm a laughing stock and frankly I'm tired of it. There are better ways to make a living."

The sound of police sirens started coming from a few miles away. Electro looked around nervously. He didn't have time to argue with the Rhino, but the fact was that he really needed the Rhino's help. Without him, he couldn't get the others. He had to negotiate fast. "Okay, Rhino, I see what you mean. However, you have two choices here. Join me for one final job and then go off on your own and be free to live whatever life you want, or you can stay here and end up getting taken back to the Vault where you'll probably spend the rest of your life. What will it be?"

The police sirens were getting louder. The Rhino pondered this and said, "This is my last job. Then I'm done."

The police and Vault Guards arrived only to find an open paddy wagon, the corpses of three guards and Barry, and a disabled electrical harness lying on the ground.

Later, at the lab of Henry Pym, the world-renowned scientist himself was fitting a high-tech metal cast onto Thomas's broken arm. It looked like Thomas had a cybernetic arm. As Dr. Pym made the last adjustment, he explained, "This device is designed to help promote the healing of your arm while still allowing you full movement of it without any discomfort."

Thomas bent his elbow a few times and swung the arm around to test out the prosthetic. "You're right!" exclaimed Thomas. "It feels good as new! Thanks a lot, Dr. Pym."

Henry Pym smiled and bashfully said, "Please, just call me Henry... or Hank, if you prefer."

"Well, Hank," spoke up Deathlok, who'd been waiting impatiently for Pym to finish his work with Thomas, "do you think you can help us out? Sue Richards said you were the next best place to come after Reed Richards."

Henry slightly resented being called "the next best thing" but didn't let it get to him. He told Deathlok, "Yes, Mrs. Richards explained everything to me. It's unfortunate that Reed has taken a trip to Sweden (remember this story is still only a day after issue 3 which takes place before Fantastic Four #1). I assume he knew a lot more about your condition and probably had a better understanding of your technology."

Brianne interjected, "We don't need you to understand his technology, Dr... I mean Henry. Me and Tom should have that area covered. All we need from you is equipment."

Henry laughed and smiled. "Well, I know I can help you out there. You'll find some of the most sophisticated equipment and tools in here that have ever been developed. At least that's one area where I can come close to competing with Reed Richards."

Thomas reassuringly put his hand on Henry's shoulder. "Don't sell yourself short, Henry," he said. "You're still one of the greatest scientific minds on this planet. Hell, I wrote my thesis over some of your theory!"

Deathlok said, "Hank, we wouldn't have come here if we didn't think you could help us out. I went to Richards's first cause we've already gone through the awkward introductions. I don't expect you to totally trust me or even want to help me. If that's the case just let me know and I won't blame you for it at all."

Henry said matter-of-factly, "I do know about your record, Deathlok. You tried to assassinate the president. However, you also saved Captain America, who happens to be a good friend of mine. I've talked to Cap about you and he's given me complete assurance of your innocence and even told me the explanation for your situation. It would be my pleasure to help take those clouds out of your mind and to help you remember just who you are and why you've become what you are."

Deathlok smiled knowing that he'd just made another friend. "Thank you, Dr. Pym."

Henry looked over Deathlok's uniform. In his last battle it had become torn to shreds and stained with blood and Deathlok's own internal fluids. Henry said, "Before we do anything else, we really should do something about your uniform. If you would like, I have a clothing replicating machine. I could make you an exact copy of your uniform."

Deathlok looked down at his tattered red garb and said, "That won't be necessary, Dr. Pym. If you don't mind, I'd like a completely new outfit altogether. This one was given to me by my creators and the last thing I want is to keep wearing something they gave me."

Thomas sarcastically said, "But you don't have any problem using their weapons."

Deathlok replied, "Hey, as long as I'm not using them for what they wanted."

"That reminds me," said Brianne. "Even though you have some impressive firepower, it still wasn't enough to pierce the armor of the Onex Guard. If you'd like, I'm sure we could soup it up for you."

"If that wouldn't be a problem," replied Deathlok.

Before anyone could reply, the entrance doors to the lab "swooshed" open and in stepped an attractive woman who appeared to be slightly younger than Thomas and Brianne. She had long blonde hair that was pulled into a ponytail and was wearing a white lab coat. Henry looked pleased to see her. He announced, "Ah! There she is! I'd like to introduce the three of you to my lab assistant, Samantha Andrews." Samantha smiled and shook the hands of the three friends. Her smile grew suspiciously larger as she shook Thomas's hand.

Henry settled down to business. "Okay, gang, it looks like it'll be easiest for us to tackle these tasks in groups." He pointed at Thomas and Brianne. Since you two know the most about this new technology you'll split up and one of you work with Samantha, the other with me. Since it's the more difficult job and I know my equipment best of anyone here, I think it's only logical that I help assist with Deathlok's brain procedure."

Thomas indicated the metal gauntlet covering his right hand. "I think it's apparent that I'm not exactly up to handle that kind of responsibility, so I think Brianne should help you out Henry."

Dr. Pym smiled and replied, "Sounds logical to me. Well, what are we waiting for? Why don't we get to work?"

An hour later, Brianne and Dr. Pym were carefully removing the metal skull-piece protecting half of the unconscious Deathlok's head. What Dr. Pym saw when he looked inside the cyborg's skull was something he'd never expected, something he'd never pondered. It was the most sophisticated and intricate technology woven almost seamlessly into Deathlok's brain. He had no idea where to even begin.

"My God!" he gasped. "In all my years, in all my experience, I have to admit I've never seen anything like this, Brianne. This is far beyond my comprehension. You're sure you understand this?"

Brianne smiled and replied, "Actually I was a little worried before that he might be more advanced than I was ready to handle. Fortunately, for all of us, this is the exact sort of thing I've seen before. I've just never seen it melded with a human brain like this."

Warily, Dr. Pym asked, "So you're sure you can handle this?"

"Henry, I've spent the last several years of my life working on only this kind of technology. I know it backwards and forwards. If you just follow everything I tell you to, we won't go wrong. If we're lucky... and if Deathlok is lucky, we'll be able to figure out just what it is in there that's blocking his memories."

In another room of the lab, Thomas was staring, frustrated, at a computer screen and swearing. Samantha leaned over him and asked, "Having trouble?"

Thomas didn't look up. "It's this damn uniform. Why couldn't Deathlok have just stuck with his original design? I don't know the first thing about designing clothing. This is more Brianne's field than it is mine."

Samantha laughed. "Let me try to help you out here. I find it hard to believe that you so easily dismantled those strange guns and immediately were able to upgrade them, but a simple clothing replicator is getting you flustered."

Thomas still didn't look up. "It's like I said. This isn't my thing. Those guns were a piece of cake. They were exactly like devices I helped to build. I can only assume Deathlok was made by some other agency or corporation that's gotten its hands on Xenotech."

Samantha replied, "I would assume. I mean, the coincidence is too great that he's made of some technology which none of the planet's greatest minds have ever seen, yet you happen to have worked with it."

Thomas pondered. "The thing is; I don't even know where Xenotech came from. Our agency just back engineered it from existing samples. Perhaps Deathlok came from wherever it is that Xenotech did."

Samantha watched the busy scientist slaving feverishly over his computer monitor. She really admired his conviction. She couldn't help but ask, "Thomas, why are you doing this? I mean, you just met Deathlok less than a day ago, yet the two of you rushed right over here to try and find a way to fix him and help him out. What are you getting out of this."

Thomas finally stopped working and looked up. His face was very serious. "I was closer to death than I ever have been in my life. I've never known fear like that. As I laid completely helpless on the floor, staring at that soldier, I knew that that was the end. That everything I'd done in my life was about to be completely erased. All of my hopes and dreams would never come to be. Then Deathlok came. I swear to God, he was just like an angel. Despite how horrible he looked from the beating he had taken, no one had ever looked as glorious to me as he did at that moment. He saved my life, Samantha. He gave me a second chance. There is no way on this earth that I can ever fully pay him back for what he's done for me. That's why when I saw him suffering, saw him so hurt and confused, I knew that I had to help him. I knew that I had no other choice. This is the very least I can do for him. I don't know how Brianne feels about the whole thing, but that's how I feel and that's all I care about. I'm not doing this for her or even for me. I'm doing this for the man that saved my life and who will forever more be my greatest hero."

Samantha just smiled and stared in awe at Thomas. She saw something in him that was nobler and kinder than she had ever seen in another man. "That's very sweet, Thomas. Have you told Deathlok how you feel?"

Thomas replied, "Nah! Guys don't do that sort of thing." He went back to his monitor and began working again. Then he turned to Samantha and asked, "Do you think these gloves should be black or would that clash with the boots?"

An hour later, the four scientists were sitting in one of the rooms exhausted. They were waiting for Deathlok, who was in the other room, to come to so they could find out if the procedure was a success.

Thomas was chugging down his fifth cup of coffee. He would have been smoking, but figured even if it wasn't rude in the first place, Dr. Pym probably wouldn't let him do it in the lab anyway.

Samantha turned to Dr. Pym and Brianne and asked, "So were you guys able to solve the problem?"

Henry laughed and replied, "Don't ask me. Despite everything Brianne was trying to explain to me, I didn't know the first thing of what I was doing. I just did everything as she told me."

Brianne continued, "I figured out what I think was blocking his memories. I'm pretty sure I was able to disable it. But, then again, I've never done anything quite like this. It's going to be a matter of finding out. I'll just be happy if I didn't completely disable his brain."

Thomas and Samantha looked at her with wide eyes, not believing what they were hearing. Quickly Brianne finished, "It was just a joke."

Hank asked Samantha, "How about you two? Did you have any problems?"

Samantha laughed and patted Thomas on the back. "Thomas didn't have any problems at all reconfiguring Deathlok's blasters. It was the costume designing that was really frustrating him."

Thomas slurped down a huge gulp of coffee and said, "With Samantha's help, I think we were able to come up with something workable."

No sooner was this said, than the door to the lab swooshed open. In the door stood the tall silhouette of Deathlok. He leaned against the doorframe for support and said nothing.

Concerned, Brianne asked, "Deathlok are you alright?" Deathlok didn't reply. He just raised his hand to his temples and rubbed them. Then he stepped out of the doorframe and into the light. The expression on his face was impossible to read.

The four finally got to see how his new uniform looked on him. It was a blue, skintight bodysuit without sleeves. He wore white gloves, boots and a belt with white holsters holding his newly enhanced blasters. Down the middle of his chest was a vertical white stripe. On his left breast was a stylized emblem of a white skull within a circle. (This design can be seen on the Deathlok main page in case you're curious.)

Thomas was the first to speak. "Looking good there Deathlok! Nice threads!" The other three simultaneously spoke up their agreeing opinions. Still Deathlok said nothing. He just stared into space as if he wasn't even listening.

The four scientists were trying to avoid the most anticipated answer: whether or not he had his memories back. But since it was something so personal, they knew better than to ask about it.

Thomas spoke up again. "I hope you like your souped up blasters there, Deathlok. They're more powerful than the rifles that the Onex Guard uses. The only downside is that if you use them on full power for too long you'll sap their power source dry and they'll be dead. But that shouldn't be a problem. You've been getting by fine on the lower settings for this long. You'll only need the higher ones in extreme cases." Deathlok was still silent. He continued staring off into space.

Brianne couldn't take it anymore. She was getting paranoid that she'd done something wrong. She was starting to wonder whether or not she had somehow damaged his brain. She said, "Please answer me, Deathlok. Are you alright?"

Deathlok finally stopped spacing off. He suddenly looked at the four of them as if he had just then noticed them. He finally spoke up. His voice sounded different. It was hardened and less emotional, almost sad. "Please quit calling me Deathlok."

The four looked at each other in confusion. Thomas asked, "Well, what do you want us to call you, big guy?"

He replied, "Call me by my real name. I'm Sean Malone."

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