Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Deathlok #7 - A Time for Reflection (part 1)


"I guess it's been a while since I've added to you. I guess that's mainly due to how busy I've been lately. It seems like ever since I decided to visit Reed Richards for some help, (in issue 3) I haven't even had a chance to breathe. It's just been one thing after another for me.

"To make a long story short, I have two new roommates named Thomas and Brianne, I killed a bunch of storm trooper wannabes called Onex Guards, I got a new uniform, and finally, I've found out who I am.

"I now know that my real name was Sean Malone. I now know everything that's happened to me, why I'm in this damn machine. Even though it's been nearly two weeks since I found out, I still haven't told anyone about it. I haven't talked to anyone much at all. I haven't exactly been in the most social mood since I've found out about what I've been through. I've just wandered aimlessly around the city by myself or sat up on the roof of our place just thinking. Just trying to process everything.

"It's strange. For these past couple months all I've wanted in the world is to know who I am, where I came from, what happened to me. Now that I have all my memories back, I want to lose them again. How can I live with all that's been done to me? How can I live with all that I lost? I realize now that I was happier not knowing. Ignorance is bliss, I guess."


Deathlok: Cybernetic living weapon searching for a way to try and live a normal life. Where will the future take him? Will he ever gain back his lost humanity? There's no way of knowing in a world where everything is more than meets the eye...


Issue #7 "A Time for Reflection" (part 1)



Brianne leaned back in her soft, old recliner with the newest issue of Vogue. She couldn't wait to read "20 Ways to Drive Him Crazy," despite the fact that she didn't have a "him" to drive crazy. Well, there was Thomas, but she already knew how to drive him crazy. She smiled to herself at this thought.

The front door swung open. Speak of the devil, she thought to herself. Thomas walked into the old building looking bright and chipper. "Well, look at you," she said to him. "Looks like somebody got all better."

Thomas raised his right arm that was completely healed and no longer in a hi-tech prosthetic. "Hank said that it was good as new. The bone healed perfectly and he can't even tell it was ever broken."

Brianne asked, "Suddenly you're comfortable enough to call Dr. Pym Hank?"

He smiled and said, "You betcha! You wanna know why? Hank was so impressed with our work with Deathlok... I mean Sean, and our knowledge of Xenotech, that he asked if we would be willing to be lab assistants for him!"

Bri jumped out of the recliner, "Are you serious? What did you say?"

"I said that it was a very nice offer, but we're looking into other projects right now."

Bri smacked him and said, "You bastard! You'd better be joking!"

Thomas returned, "Of course I am. I told him we'd love to."

Brianne beamed and hugged Thomas, "Oh my God! What a job! We're actually going to work for Dr. Henry Pym."

Thomas smiled and said, "I think this calls for a celebration."

Brianne let go of him and backed away. "Not that kind of celebration it doesn't," she replied.

Thomas shook his head and said, "Will you get your head out of the gutter? I didn't mean that." With that he pulled out a cigarette and put it in his mouth. He was about to light it when Bri pulled it out of his mouth.

"Oh no you don't," she said. "We agreed that there would be no smoking inside. If you want to light up you can go on the roof."

Thomas took back the cigarette and said, "Actually I can't. Sean's up there."

Brianne grabbed him by the shoulders and said, "So what, Thomas? He's been up there for the past two weeks? We can't avoid him forever."

"Maybe he just wants some time to himself."

"He's had that. He can't hide forever. Eventually he's gonna need someone to talk to. Maybe you should make him realize that he can talk to us, that he can confide in us. Prove to him that we're his friends."

Thomas looked at the floor in shame. "Some friends we are," he said. "We're the ones that did this to him."

Brianne put her hand under his chin and lifted his face up. "It's what he wanted. We tried to help him. We had no way of knowing that the truth would do this to him.

"Go up there, Tom. Talk to him. Be his friend."

Thomas opened the door and stepped onto the roof, putting his cigarette back into his lips. Deathlok was sitting in a lawn chair that looked like it was about ready to fall apart under his weight. Deathlok stared at the sky and didn't even seem to notice Thomas's presence.

Thomas was about to light his cigarette and stopped. He spoke up. "Do you mind me being up here, Sean?"

Deathlok turned his head suddenly as if surprised to hear Thomas's voice. He replied, "Of course I don't care, Thomas. This is your place after all. You're free to come and go where ever you please."

Thomas lit his cigarette. He tried thinking of a way to break the ice, but all he could come up with was, "Dr. Pym asked me and Bri to be his lab assistants."

Deathlok smiled at him and said, "Good for you guys."

Nervously Thomas continued, "Hank wanted to know how you're doing."

Deathlok looked at Thomas for a while and stood up. Instead of replying to Thomas, he asked, "Thomas, do you have a family?"

Thomas replied, "Yeah, my two folks and two older sisters. I've got a nephew who's gonna be three in a couple months."

He asked, "And you didn't talk to them for months while you two were escaping the Onex Guard did you?" Instead of looking at Thomas, Deathlok looked out over the view of the city as he spoke. He sounded detached... lost.

"No, I didn't, Sean."

"Have you talked to them recently?"

"Yeah, I just talked to my mom last week."

"Even though she hadn't heard from you in months, even though she had no clue where you were, even though, for all she knew, you could have been dead was she still happy to hear from you again?"

"Of course, Sean. She's my mother. She loves me no matter what."

"But, even though she hadn't heard from you in months, when she finally heard from you again, you were still the same Thomas she knew before she lost touch with you."

"What's that got to do with anything, Sean?"

Deathlok finally turned to face Thomas. He spat, "Do you think my family would ever accept me back after becoming THIS?"

Thomas answered, "Of course they will, Sean. That's what families are for. They accept you for who you are. They won't give a crap about what's become of you. They'll just be happy to hear from you again."

Deathlok was about to reply when Brianne walked out of the roofway door. She saw that the two were in the middle of something and said, "Oops, sorry!" She turned and was about to leave when Deathlok stopped her.

"Brianne," he called, "wait. Please." Brianne stopped and turned back around. Deathlok went on, "I think it's time I told you two everything about me."

Unbeknownst to the trio, they were being watched by another trio on a rooftop several blocks away. While this trio couldn't hear what was being said, their vision was powerful enough that every motion of the lip made by Deathlok, Brianne, or Thomas was perfectly understandable to them. One of the three said, "He knows! We should report back to base and inform the Commander."

Another voice replied, "Don't get so antsy. He hasn't said what exactly it is that he knows yet. He may only have partial memory. If he still doesn't remember certain things, then he's no threat to us."

The third voice agreed. "He's right. Our orders were to be 100% positive of what Deathlok knows. We have to just wait and see before we can act."

The first voice came back, sounding disappointed. "I'm sick of waiting around. We've been out of battle for too long. We should just go in there and eliminate the threat."

The third voice commanded, "Quiet! He's about to speak!"

Thomas came back up to the roof with two cups of coffee. He handed one to Brianne and then turned Deathlok. "Okay, Sean, I think we're ready to hear whatever you have to tell us. Shoot!"

Deathlok shut his eyes and concentrated. There was so much to tell. Where should he start? He opened his eyes and began. "Ever since I took control of this body I've been plagued by glimpses of what I thought might be my memories. One of the things that I saw the most often was a little blonde girl. After a while I was starting to believe she might be my daughter or something. I've found out that isn't possible."

"Why's that?" asked Thomas as he lit up a Red Apple cigarette.

Without a trace of emotion betraying him, Deathlok replied, "Because I'm only 18." Simultaneously, Thomas and Brianne's jaws dropped. Thomas's cigarette nearly fell out of his mouth.

After taking a large gulp of coffee, Brianne asked, "You mean that you're actually younger than us?"

"Nearly ten years younger!" amended Thomas.

Deathlok answered, "Why don't you do the math?"

"That's horrible!" exclaimed Brianne. "How could someone do that to an eighteen year old? I mean, you're practically a child! What kind of person could do that?"

Calmly, Deathlok answered, "Let me finish, please."

Brianne quickly caught herself and replied, "I'm sorry, Sean. Please go on."

Still giving away no trace of emotion, Deathlok said, "Thank you." He took a deep breath and went on. "The little girl, it turns out, is my kid sister, Autumn. She always seemed sad in the memories and now I know why. I was her only brother and we were very close. After I graduated from high school, I left home to join the Army. She took it personally and couldn't stand seeing me leave."

After taking a drink of coffee, Thomas asked, "The Army? You were in the Army?"

Deathlok closed his eyes again. This time when he spoke, his real feelings came through. There was a tone of pain and sadness under his words. "I wouldn't be here right now if I hadn't joined the Army." He opened his eyes and looked up to the sky. "The sad thing is that no one wanted me to go. My sister wanted me to stay. My parents wanted me to stay. And my fiancée wanted me to stay."

This got another shocked look from the duo. It wasn't just the shock that he was engaged at so young an age, but it was also another person who he had been very close to and had now lost. Brianne asked, "If you were engaged, why did you leave to join the Army?"

"Actually, I was engaged because I was joining the Army. My girlfriend wasn't too happy with me leaving and didn't think I'd ever come back. I proposed to her to prove that I really loved her and planned on staying with her."

Brianne smiled and replied, "That's so sweet!"

Thomas, who wasn't as concerned with the romance of it all, asked, "What happened to you in the Army, Sean?"

"Nothing," replied Deathlok. "At least not for a while. Everything was going great. I wrote to my fiancée twice every week and my family once a week. Even though I missed them all like crazy, I had my best friend Roger with me through it all. We joined up together, Roger and I. The two of us looked out for each other and kept each other going through those first tough weeks of basic training. Well, we were less than a week from finishing basic when one day the whole camp went to hell. There were sirens blaring and soldiers and officers running all over the place. Roger and I thought World War III had broken out or something." Deathlok paused to take a deep breath. Apparently what was coming was the toughest part of his story. "What had happened was that a nearby hydroelectric plant had been attacked by giant robots who were calling themselves Decepticons."

"Decepticons!" exclaimed Bri. "We've heard of them! They've been attacking power plants all over the country."

Deathlok replied, "Nowadays the Decepticons have made quite a name for themselves. However, back when this was happening, no one knew who they were or what they were capable of. We found out the hard way. The whole base was put on alert and everyone from officers down to the guy who took out the trash was being called in to go fight off these giant robots. Since we were so close to completion of basic, we were called in as well.

"None of us was prepared for the fight we encountered. The Decepticons were absolute monsters. They slaughtered everyone. No one was able to even put a dent in them. I saw soldier after soldier incinerated by the blasts from Decepticon weaponry. We were absolutely no match for them. Eventually the leader of the Decepticons, a twisted psychotic robot named Starscream, killed Roger and left me close to death."

Deathlok stopped to study the faces of his audience. Thomas and Brianne were completely engrossed with looks of both horror and disbelief on their faces. He continued his story, "Looking back, I would have proudly embraced death, if I'd only known what would happen to me. Instead of leaving me for dead, the Decepticons kidnapped me and used me for their sick experiments. While I was unconscious throughout most of it, I was later told my reason for existence by Starscream himself. Shortly before sending me on my first mission he explained to me that while the human race was definitely interesting and had potential, that it was also greatly flawed. Through his study of human history, he discovered the stories of a warrior cyborg named Deathlok who was the perfect blending of man and machine. It had the logic and reasoning of a human being combined with the intelligence and deadly accuracy of a machine. He explained that the only reason that the original Deathlok broke his programming and went rogue was because he was allowed to remember who he was. He figured that if I knew nothing about who I had been, that I wouldn't ever betray them. He nearly succeeded, but obviously close wasn't good enough."

Thomas bottomed out his cup of coffee and asked, "So Starscream wanted you to do his dirty work?"

Deathlok nodded, "Apparently. While he and the other Decepticons were out doing the big projects like taking over power plants and fighting their enemies, I was supposed to assassinate political figures and steal information. I guess I was basically supposed to be their errand boy."

Brianne cut in. "Hold on a sec. You said, 'fighting their enemies'. The Decepticons have enemies other than the human race."

Deathlok nodded, "That's right, Brianne. I was taught everything about the Decepticons and their race. This robot race that's making news all over the place actually has two factions. They aren't all evil and power hungry. The other faction is called the Autobots and they're opposed to the Decepticons and their methods. Of course, the way I was taught all of this, I saw the Autobots as the threat. But the fact is, the human race needs to open their eyes and realize that these Autobots may be the only chance we have of getting rid of these goddamned Decepticons and saving our planet from them."

On the rooftop several blocks away, one of the trio finally spoke up, "That's all we needed to hear! Deathlok must be destroyed."

A second voice corrected him, "No, we must inform the Commander first. He'll tell us our orders."

The first voice replied, "To the Pit with that! I know exactly what he'll want. He'll want Deathlok dead."

A third voice joined in, "Our orders were to inform the Commander before we made any action. We aren't to blow our cover unless it's absolutely necessary."

The first voice responded stubbornly to this. "Very well. But he'd better let us terminate him. It's about time we've seen some action."

As the three walked back into the building they called home, Brianne finished her cup of coffee and asked, "So now that you know who your family is, are you gonna get in touch with them?"

Deathlok was silent for a moment, in thought. Eventually he replied, "I really don't know, Brianne. A part of me wants to see them again and let them know that I'm alive. But another part of me thinks it's best for all of them to think I'm still dead. I feel like maybe my existence would just be a burden on them."

"Don't be silly!" replied Brianne. "They're your family. They love you and I'm sure they all miss you. They aren't gonna care what's happened to you or what you look like. All they'll care about is that their Sean is still alive."

Thomas nodded and pointed to Deathlok. "See? That's exactly what I was saying, bud. At the very least, give the folks a call and let them know you're okay. They don't even have to hear about this whole cyborg body thing."

Deathlok shook his head and replied, "That's easier said than done guys. I mean, these people think I'm dead. It's been nearly a year now since I was "killed" by the Decepticons. How do you think they're gonna react if..."

Deathlok was interrupted by his internal computer practically screaming a warning to him. "WARNING! SENSORS INDICATE THREE DECEPTICONS FLYING ON DIRECT COURSE TO THIS UNIT'S LOCATION."

Thomas and Brianne saw the look of shock and fear on Deathlok's face. "What is it, Sean?" Thomas asked him.

Deathlok turned to look at his two friends and looked them up and down as he quickly decided what to do to protect them. He spat out, "I've gotta get out of here, guys. Three Decepticons are coming here. I don't think they're coming on friendly terms."

Without another word, Deathlok raced to get his trench coat that was laying on a table and his backpack which he hastily was trying to put on.

Brianne and Thomas were still completely baffled. "What do you mean?" asked Brianne. "How do you know that they're coming?"

As he was pulling on his trench coat, he quickly replied, "One of the nice things about being Decepticon handiwork is that my sensors can detect Decepticons in the immediate vicinity."

Deathlok began running for the door as Thomas shouted after him. "Sean, wait! You can't deal with three Decepticons by yourself."

Deathlok stopped only long enough to reply, "I've given you guys enough trouble. I've gotta get those things away from here. No more questions!" With that, Deathlok was out the door.

Thomas and Brianne were left standing there wondering what the heck just happened. After a minute of silence Brianne spoke up. "He won't stand a chance against them, Tom. The Onex Guard tore him to pieces and they were only humans. These are the guys that made him."

Thomas put a cigarette to his mouth and replied, "He was a different person then, Bri. He's a lot more pissed off now. Plus, he's got a personal vendetta against these guys. If those things actually do get a hold of him, he's sure gonna give them hell first."

Deathlok ran at full speed down street after street, trying to get as far from his home as possible. He knew his trench coat wouldn't hide him from his pursuers, but he wanted to create as little public alarm as possible. Running and screaming civilians would just get in his way.

The three Decepticons still hadn't shown themselves. He was completely relying on the validity of his computer in knowing how safe he was. To check and see how successful he was, he asked his computer, "Computer, have I gotten any farther from those things?"


Makes no difference to me, thought Deathlok. As long as Thomas and Brianne are safe, I'm happy. I'll deal with these mechanical bastards on my own.

No sooner had Deathlok thought this than the three Decepticons made themselves known. Coming from seemingly nowhere, the three descended to the ground in front of Deathlok standing in the middle of the street. Pedestrians and drivers alike ran at the sight of the enormous robotic monsters. Aside from the one in the middle sporting a large circular opening in his chest, the three alien creatures looked identical to one another. All three had gray arms, legs and faces, they had purple torsos and "helmets" on their heads, and their chests were green. All three also held large blaster pistols. Deathlok was surprised to realize that he actually recognized these guys from his "last stand" at the hydroelectric plant.

The Decepticon in the middle spoke. His voice sounded just as mechanical as he looked. It wavered metallically and showed very little emotion. "We are Reflector," the robot said, "and we have been ordered to destroy you, Deathlok." The triplet Decepticons raised their blasters and aimed them at Deathlok.

As Deathlok reached inside his trench coat for his own blasters, he asked himself, Sean Malone, what have you gotten yourself into this time?

To Be Continued...

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