Two men were standing guard in front of a locked door. The men wore matching black suits and ties with matching sunglasses. Underneath their jackets were matching automatic handguns. These two men were in charge of making sure no one crossed this doorway. The job wasn’t tough since guards were posted at the elevator and staircase of the floor to make sure no one even came down the hallway. If there was even anyone on the floor they would be off limits and assumed dangerous. The same was on all floors of this building on this particular day.
Down the hallway came a mysterious figure in a trench coat and fedora. All the two men could make out was his silhouette. They immediately knew that he was trouble. They both pulled their guns and before they could shout a warning, before they even knew what had happened, the figure in the trench coat pulled two guns and blasted the two guards with energy beams. The guards fell before they could even contact any reinforcements.
The figure in the coat walked to the door, ignoring the two men on the ground. He saw that the door was secured with an electronic key-card lock. The mysterious man simply raised his hand and pressed it against the key-card slot and the green lights indicating a successful unlock, lit up.
The man walked into the adjoining room and immediately pulled his guns again and opened fire on the several guards posted in the room. It was a hotel room with one bed. On the far wall was a sliding glass door that led to a third-floor balcony overlooking a great park outside. The guards in the room had become lazy in waiting for something to happen, so they were caught completely off guard. Some weren’t even armed. The man in the coat took out all ten of the men in the room with energy blasts within ten seconds.
Now that the guards were out of the way the man made his way to the sliding glass doors at the other side of the room. He stepped out onto the balcony that overlooked the park. However instead of seeing a field of green grass as he would have normally seen before him, the man saw a great congregation of hundreds of people, all with their backs to him. Their attention was on a stage at the front of the crowd on which a podium was situated. Behind the podium was standing none other than the President of the United States.
The man lifted one of his guns, changed the setting on it, and took aim at the President. Slowly he steadied his aim and locked the president dead in his sites. His finger tightened on the trigger.
Suddenly, from below a voice cried out, "Up on the balcony! He has a gun!" The mysterious man made the mistake of being distracted by this and lowered his weapon. The entire crowd of several hundred people broke into mass chaos. Everyone began screaming and running in every direction.
Quickly the man raised his gun again to take aim on the president but now his shot was blocked by secret service agents swarming the president and rushing him away. Their lives didn’t matter to the man who just decided to take them out as well. Before he could fire, however, he was shot in the chest. The bullet made a strange "ping" sound, as if it had hit metal.
The man looked down below himself and noticed a few dozen secret service agents running towards him, all pulling out guns and taking aim. The man looked back up and saw the president being hurried to his awaiting limo. The man knew he had no more time to waste up here and had to get to the president. He climbed up on the railing of the balcony and jumped off. On the way down his trench coat and fedora fell off revealing beneath them a half man, half robot killing machine. This was no ordinary man. This was Deathlok!
Issue #1: "The Man and the Machine"
Deathlok hit the ground as if the three story fall were three feet. He immediately began running through the swarm of secret service agents, shooting down any that got in his way. The whole time he was keeping his eye on the president who was just about to reach his limo. Deathlok knew he couldn’t waste any more time. He raised one of his guns and trained it on the president. The other he kept firing at anyone in his way. Even though the president’s secret service agents were surrounding him they wouldn’t be able to completely block him. As soon as they would reveal an opening Deathlok would take it. Then, as the president was diving into his limo, Deathlok had a perfect shot. He pulled the trigger.
In the instant between the trigger being pulled and the gun being fired, Deathlok’s hand was hit with a large, round, metal object knocking his aim completely off. Deathlok’s shot went harmlessly into the ground, far from the president. The president’s secret service agents shut the door to his limo and it took off. Deathlok was enraged.
He then turned around to see who threw the object that knocked his aim off, and what exactly the object was. No sooner did he spin around than he was kicked in the face with a red boot and knocked to the ground. Deathlok looked up at his attacker. It was none other than the Star-Spangled Avenger himself, Captain America. The object that had thrown Deathlok’s aim off was, of course, Captain America’s famous shield.
Captain America spoke. "There will be no more killing today."
Deathlok replied, "This doesn’t concern you. It’s best you stay out of this affair." With that Deathlok got back to his feet and aimed his guns at Captain America.
Cap raised his shield in front of himself. "If it concerns assassinating the President of the United States, it concerns me."
Deathlok asked, "So, if I want to kill the president I have to kill you first?"
Unwavering Captain America replied, "That’s right." Suddenly Deathlok dropped to the ground and rolled to the side of Captain America and fired his guns. Captain America quickly spun to meet the blasts with his shield. All the shots ricocheted harmlessly off of it.
Deathlok thought to himself, "I guess he knows how to do something with that thing besides throwing it." In his thoughts Deathlok then asked his internal computer, "Computer, my guns are useless against his shield. What would be the best plan of attack?"
His internal computer replied inside his head, "LONG RANGE ATTACK FUTILE. BEST COURSE OF ACTION: HAND TO HAND COMBAT."
Deathlok thought, "That’s what I was afraid of. Computer, help me out here and execute the best combat strategy." Deathlok then holstered his blasters and ran straight at Captain America. Captain America bent over behind his shield ready for a head on attack. Deathlok then caught him off guard by dropping to a somersault then rolling behind him. Before Cap could turn around, Deathlok stood up and back-kicked him right in the side, knocking him to the ground and causing him to drop his shield.
Cap immediately rolled to his feet and faced Deathlok. He picked up his shield and put it back on his arm. "Nice move," he commented. "What’s your name, Son?"
"Deathlok." The two just stood facing each other. Each waited for the other to make the first move.
Captain America said, "Deathlok, eh? Isn’t that name already taken?"
Deathlok replied, "It was." Then he suddenly ran at Cap and leaped into a flying kick. If Captain America hadn’t been prepared or as well-trained, he would have caught Deathlok’s foot right to his face. But Cap was ready and turned aside so Deathlok just went flying right by him to land in a crouch on the ground.
Captain America continued talking while Deathlok was down. "Strange... the Deathlok I knew was one of the good guys. Why would you want the president dead?"
Deathlok replied, "I’m just following orders. I’m no bad guy."
Cap chuckled. He had heard this a million times before. "Not a bad guy, huh? Just who sent you then?"
Deathlok replied, "I... don’t know."
Captain America became puzzled. "They didn’t reveal themselves to you?"
"No... I can’t remember. All I know is that I’ve been ordered to kill the president. I don’t know why."
Cap asked, "So you’re being controlled?"
Deathlok snapped, "No! No one controls me!" With that he ran straight at Captain America with his fists interlocked and raised in the air. He left himself wide open to a kick from Captain America right to his stomach. He crouched in pain. Cap used this opening to slam his shield into Deathlok’s face, knocking him to his back.
Captain America told Deathlok, "Think about it. You don’t want to kill the president. You’ve been programmed to by someone else. You’re letting them control your actions!"
In his head, Deathlok asked, "Computer, can you find out who sent me to kill the president and why?"
His computer replied, "NEGATIVE. INFORMATION UNAVAILABLE."
" 'Unavailable’?! How in the hell is that possible?"
"THAT INFORMATION HAS BEEN ERASED FROM MY RECORDS."
Captain America watched on as Deathlok grabbed his head and acted as if in pain. He asked, "What’s the matter, Son? What is it?"
Deathlok replied, "I don’t know what I’m doing. I don’t even know what I am."
Captain America held out his hand to Deathlok and said, "Whatever it is, Son, I’ll..." He was cut off by a powerful electrical bolt striking him from behind. He fell to the ground in pain. That was when Deathlok noticed the man behind Captain America. The man was wearing a strange green and yellow costume with lightning bolt designs all over it. His hands were smoking from the electrical bolt he had just blasted from them. The man was Electro.
Electro walked over to Captain America who was still laying on the ground, writhing in pain. Electro spoke to Deathlok, "Thanks for keeping him occupied. Now just stand back and let me finish him off." Deathlok couldn’t believe his eyes. He had no idea what was going on. All he knew was that even though he didn’t want Captain America alive, he didn’t want to help out this psycho.
Captain America barely managed to groan, "Electro?! What are you doing?"
Electro kicked Captain America in the side causing him to groan in pain. He replied, "Would you believe I was here to try to kill the president myself? Yeah, everyone thinks I’m just a third rate criminal, so I thought I’d use my awesome power to show just what I’m capable of. Unfortunately, before I could make my move, this freak here ruined everything and scared everyone off. When you showed up I knew it wouldn’t be a total loss. I’ve been waiting for the right time to step in." He grabbed Captain America by the collar and picked him up. In Cap’s condition, he couldn’t put up a fight. Electro tossed Captain America away where he crashed in a heap. Electro continued, "Looks like I picked the right moment." With that he blasted Captain America again. Cap screamed in pain. Electro only laughed.
Meanwhile Deathlok sat dumbfounded, not knowing what to do. He knew he couldn’t let anyone stop him from killing the president like Captain America had done. However, he had no personal reason for wanting Captain America dead. Captain America hadn’t done anything wrong and had actually tried to help him out. In fact, Deathlok didn’t even know why he should kill the president. What had the president done to him? In his head he asked, "Computer, what should I do?"
"QUESTION VAGUE. PLEASE REPHRASE."
"Should I help Captain America or let him be killed?"
"WE WERE ORDERED TO KILL THE PRESIDENT AND NOT LET ANYONE STOP US FROM THAT."
"But why?! Why should I kill the president? He’s of no concern to me!"
"WE WERE ORDERED..."
Fed up, Deathlok interrupted, "To Hell with orders! I’m a man! I make my own decisions. No one decides for me." Deathlok watched as Electro brought his hands up to blast Captain America again. Captain America used what was left of his strength to raise his shield in defense. For the first time Deathlok noticed the design on the shield, the red and white rings surrounding a proud bright white star within a blue circle. That image had a strange effect on Deathlok. It brought back instincts, buried memories. He didn’t know why, but he knew that was a symbol he was meant to defend. He wasn’t to allow harm to come to that symbol.
Electro fired his electrical blasts at Captain America. His blasts were blocked by Cap’s shield, which was insulated on the other side against such a threat.
Deathlok saw the blasts hit the shield and immediately knew what he must do. "Electro!" he shouted.
Electro stopped blasting Captain America and turned around, surprised to hear Deathlok speak up. "Just what do you want?"
"I just wanted to give you a hand," he replied. He walked over to Electro. Electro just stood his ground, not frightened by him.
Electro replied, "I’ve told you, I’m going to finish him off. You blew your chance, Ugly."
Deathlok replied, "I never said anything about finishing him off. I just said I’d give you a hand." With that, Deathlok punched Electro in the jaw powerful enough to send him to the ground.
Electro couldn’t believe it. He thought Deathlok was on his side. After all, he had also tried to kill the president and just moments ago he had been fighting Captain America as well. While wiping blood from his mouth, Electro asked, "What the hell was that? I thought you wanted him dead too!"
Deathlok picked up Electro by his collar and looked right in his face. "I don’t know what I want. I don’t even know who I am, and I don’t even know why I’m here. But I know this: I will not sit by and let a great man be killed by a sick bastard like you." With that he threw Electro ten feet away where he crashed to the ground.
Electro turned around and, still on the ground, raised his hand and fired an electrical bolt at Deathlok. It harmlessly hit his chest. Deathlok started walking towards him. Electro couldn’t believe it. He held his hand and fired a continuous blast of electricity at Deathlok that did nothing to the cyborg. Deathlok just kept walking towards him. Electro was starting to panic. "Why? Why won’t you fall?" he pleaded. He began crawling backwards while still blasting Deathlok. Deathlok just kept walking towards him.
Deathlok said, "Over half my body is electrical. High voltage can be very dangerous to me. Don’t you think I’d be built to be protected against that?" Deathlok walked right up to Electro, who was still sitting on the ground. Electro gave up and stopped blasting him. Deathlok just stared down at him. Electro starting whimpering in fear.
Deathlok pulled out one of his guns and put the barrel right to Electro’s forehead. "I can so easily wipe away your pitiful existence right now."
Electro whined, "No, please... Don’t kill me."
Deathlok replied, "I didn’t see you giving Captain America any mercy. Why should I do the same for you?" With that, Deathlok’s finger tensed on the trigger.
Suddenly someone shouted, "Deathlok, stop." Deathlok turned his head around. It was Captain America, he was forcing himself to his feet, despite the horrible pain he was in. Electro started crying in fear. Of all the heroes he’d ever fought, he’d never feared for his life against them. They were always merciful. They always had morals.
Captain America walked up to Deathlok. "Electro may be scum, but not even he deserves that kind of punishment. You know it too. Killing him would just make you the weapon you don’t want to be. Remember Deathlok, no one tells you what to do. You’re a human being. You have the power to decide what is right and what is wrong."
Deathlok looked back down at the whimpering Electro. He gripped the handle of his gun tightly. He then swiftly swung it down on Electro’s head, knocking him out.
Captain America gave Deathlok a questioning look and said, "That’s not how I would have done it, but at least he’s taken care of."
Deathlok turned to Captain America and replied, "I never claimed to be you, Captain America." With that he turned and started walking away.
Captain America asked, "Where are you going, Deathlok?"
Deathlok replied, "I don’t know, Cap. My past is a mystery to me. I don’t know who I am, who built me, or why. I’m gonna see what I can do to find some answers." Deathlok turned and started walking away.
Before Deathlok could get far, Captain America stopped him. "Wait a minute," he called. Deathlok turned around to see what it was Cap wanted. Cap continued, "You may have saved my life, and you may have failed in killing the president, but you can’t leave that easily. There’s still the matter of all the secret service agents you’ve killed today. I can’t let you go as long as you’ve killed innocent men."
Deathlok replied, "None of them are dead. I had my blasters set to stun. They’ll wake up in an hour or so with nothing more than minor headaches. The president was my target, not them. Just cause they got in my way, that wasn’t any reason for me to waste the energy killing them." With that, Deathlok turned again and continued walking away.
Captain America watched him leave and realized there was one more thing he needed to say. He called one more time after Deathlok who turned around with an irritated look on his face. Captain America said, "Good luck, Deathlok... and thanks."
Deathlok’s mouth curled into a smile. He replied, "No, Cap, thank you." With that he turned and left.
That night Deathlok stood at the end of a dock watching the sun set behind the water, creating thousands of colors across its surface. He once again wore his trench coat and fedora. In his head he told his computer, "Computer, save following message into file named 'Journal’."
His internal computer replied, "FILE READY. BEGIN MESSAGE."
In his head Deathlok continued, "Journal Entry One: It’s been a very strange day for me. I started out trying to kill the president. Later I saved Captain America’s life. How’s that for a turnaround?
"I don’t know who I am. All I know is I was programmed by someone to kill the president. Somehow I broke my programming and was able to take control over my own actions. But who programmed me? Who wanted me to do their dirty work? Who made me? There are so many questions I have right now. My past is a complete blank slate and God only knows what my future holds. All I know is that I’m something more than this machine. I’m a man. And I’m going to do whatever it takes so that I may find out just who I am and where I came from. No one and nothing can stop me from finding out what I need to know. After all... I’m not just any man. I’m Deathlok."