Disclaimer: I do not own the Power Rangers, they belong to their respective copyright owners. No profit is being made from this piece of fan work.
More than two years ago
“As you can see gentlemen, recent months have proven interesting. The threat posed by Namor has been dealt with; steps are being taken to ensure he never resurfaces,” Nick Fury, Head of SHIELD, Presidential Advisor and one of America’s greatest war heroes said. His real name had been lost somewhere in the archives when he had assumed his current post and would only be found when he died and a new face took on the role of Nick Fury. “However there are still questions that need to be answered and unfortunately I am the person required to ask the questions and then find the solutions.”
This was not just another high level meeting. The officers, civil servants and scientists gathered in the room were part of the most elite think tank in the world. Their decisions dictated how the United States would react to a given situation and they answered only to the President in most matters; there were times when the ultimate authority rested with a politician below the rank of President, usually when the position of Head of State had been compromised. They were paid large sums of money and given a great deal of resources to identify the problems people preferred to ignore and then solve them.
“What would we do gentlemen if a more powerful hero turned on us, or was placed under a spell? Even worse, consider the entire JLA being compromised or the Power Rangers switching sides and trying to conquer the planet instead of protecting it. This country needs countermeasures, a way to ensure that should an individual or group of super humans turn rogue, we will have a means of stopping them.”
“I maintain that we should order the JLA and these Power Rangers to place themselves under military command,” General Galt said.
General Galt was a firm believer that there were military matters and civilian matters, and that just as the military was prevented by law from intervening in a civil matter, their control over military matters should be absolute. That meant that any force that dealt with defending the planet on a daily basis should be placed neatly within the chain of command and given expert oversight.
“We took that approach,” General Latima replied. “The Power Rangers ignored the order – they actually turned and walked away from armed soldiers and ignored them – and the JLA said if necessary they would change their name to just the Justice League and repeal any political affiliation.”
“Yes, we sent a team of lawyers to negotiate voluntary contracts,” General Ross agreed. “The problem is that the Justice League refuses to ally themselves with any government organisation or to provide the true identities of their roster, making monitoring a problem. These are people with resources so our offers of money are pretty much useless and given their abilities there isn’t a prison that could hold them; if we put some of them in prison we’d have never ending riots and chaos in the system.”
“That is why we are here General,” Fury interrupted. “By suppressed order of the President this committee is authorised in cooperation with similar bodies around the world to found, organise and support a new team of ‘super heroes’ to operate strictly within national boundaries. The JLA can serve the world; these groups will serve their country first. Their everyday activities will be to fight crime and protect the planet; their exploits will receive media coverage and high-ranking recognition. We’re going to make them role models for our youth and shining examples of how being hero does not mean you cannot be patriotic. However, their priority missions will be to deal with rogue super humans.”
“And what if one of these teams of politically acceptable heroes turns? The fallout could be a disaster.”
“That is why we allowed the JLA to remain. We obviously cannot be naive enough to trust these people to monitor themselves, but if one group were to act as the counter balance to the other we have failsafe that allows the JLA to operate outside of direct control. In addition the President will be request that the Justice League respects a maximum of twelve members on active service at any one time. He has allowed the Power Rangers to affiliate themselves with the Justice League should they wish, but they will no longer be considered active members. Let the others serve as individuals on a local level. We will be negotiating with them later to allow more members in times of crisis.”
He could see that most were in agreement although it would take some stronger arguments to make his case. These men were representative of the military and civil service as a whole and showed that there would be some work needed to sell the idea. But then it had taken a lot of work to convince the military of the asset Captain America could be and they’d managed it in the end.
“Doctor Furman would you take us through your proposals?”
“Certainly, Colonel Fury. We have developed a two-phase approach to this solution. Phase One will be the creation of a new team based in New York.”
“This will be an ‘over the table’ deal,” Fury warned, “so make sure those chosen are suitable.”
“Yes sir, our computer division is running background, medical and psychological evaluations on all perspective members and they have been instructed to classify them as On Record, Off Record and Unsuitable. We also have a section for those we would never consider using under any circumstances.”
“What’s about Phase Two?” Galt wanted to know.
“Phase Two will involve the expansion of a project that was previously under your command General. We intend to bring it out of mothballs and give it a new remit.”
“Just a minute Doctor Furman. Gentlemen, what you are about to be told has been classified: Most Secret. I don’t think I need to tell you what that means, but as a reminder: you will not record this information in any way shape or form and you will not repeat this information to anybody; doing so will result in the silencing of those that have been told or could have been told. I’m sure you appreciate your loved ones enough to understand how serious this is. Any questions? No? Very well Doctor, you may continue.”
“Thank you, Sir.” He clicked a button to activate a projector show a series of images. “As some of you may know, there are currently thirty or more alien races that have either visited or are currently active on Earth. Most of those that remain are non-hostile individuals and can even be found inside the ranks of the super hero teams we’ve been discussing. As such, their capture has proven difficult to justify as being within the National Interest.”
“Not to mention those boys in Geneva have constantly refused to sanction such moves. Since they are the authority on this matter, we have to leave them be,” General Alberta commented.
“Indeed. However, given that the more troublesome beings have traditionally been armies sent for the purpose of invasion it would not be worth the resources we would have to use to hunt them all down. They have always been dealt with appropriately. There are a few who have not revealed themselves and we’re inclined to not create more problems by tracking them down.”
The images changed from showing aliens and known super heroes to a black and white photograph of an odd looking device.
“What you may not know is that throughout history this planet has been a dumping ground for alien technology. Our volcanoes were once used as execution chambers by alien warlords and there have been countless examples of dangerous criminals imprisoned here to stop them escaping; most of those occurred in a period when the planet was unpopulated. Some attempted to colonise parts of the world and perished, long before humans first walked the Earth, but they left their technology behind. There is a whole treasure trove of new concepts and theories to be unlocked, as soon as our understanding allows us to do so.”
“Whenever a brilliant mind like Einstein emerges they are offered the opportunity to examine the texts in our collection,” Fury stated.
“So Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity came from an alien text?”
“No, Einstein came up with that theory before he was approached, but it did show that he was the sort of mind we were looking for and his theories gave us the key to understanding some related ideas. Certain discoveries by the Richard’s Foundation did come from those texts and serve as an example of why caution must be exercised. Unfortunately while we have had the technology we’ve never been able to speak with those that created it.”
Again the slide changed this time to what looked like a war zone.
"At the end of the Forties, a space craft crash landed on Earth. The ship had been in a serious battle and later interviews with the survivors suggested that it was a refugee ship fleeing a war zone. The ship had been severely damaged and despite managing to evade any pursuers, it was in danger of breaking up. The pilot made a decision to try and land on the nearest inhabitable world rather than risk emergency repairs. That ship made an almost safe landing in Ohio and the remains were handed over years later to research and development teams led by Muffett and Knight.”
“Were there survivors?”
“I just told you the survivors were interviewed, so yes, against the odds the majority of those on board lived. They were given sanctuary but the question quickly arose about how they should be dealt with. International Relations were strained at the time and one nation having access to so many aliens was unthinkable. For the sake of all concerned they were divided up and sent to nations around the world to be integrated into their societies. Since this was before the UN Treaty on Extraterrestrial Affairs, nations were allowed to conduct experiments upon them in the interest of future security.”
There were a few murmurs of disagreement about treating refugees as animals, but most understood the importance of knowing everything they could about a potential enemy.
“It was a different time back then and we needed to be sure that if they turned out to be some sort of stealth invasion force we had a way to fight back. During initial testing of the flight crew – who were for the record dead on arrival -, it was discovered that while they appeared human they had many physical differences from humans raised on Earth; their muscle and lung structure was different, no doubt due to gravitational anomalies between this world and wherever they came from.”
“What happened to them?”
“A few were lost during experimentation since protocol at the time required that we ensured that we had a way to kill them if necessary; the scientists found that bullets worked just fine by the way. After that they were assessed to confirm they didn’t pose a threat and then were offered a part in the Witness Protection Program. Most actually chose to live in their own communities and were offered posts in the military research divisions. Those children that were not related to the adults were placed into the adoption system – tagged of course so that they could be traced if necessary; we introduced national monitoring schemes in schools around the country just to keep an eye on their progress.”
A great deal of social development over the last few decades had been down to the integration of the refugees into society.
“Our researchers discovered that when exposed to sudden changes in temperature their bodies reacted in a similar way to humans on this planet, but when exposed to extreme cold, their bodies could be revived years later so long as the proper precautions were taken during thawing. This allowed us to store those we could not release in a form of cryogenic suspension – similar to the one used by the Soviets for their projects.”
“Thank you, Doctor Furman,” Fury said, turning to address the rest of the assembled officers. “Some of these visitors have remained as ‘guests’ of this government since their arrival – deemed too dangerous or violent to be released-, others were released and later retrieved. When Nixon came to power he was obsessed with developing weapons from alien technology. He pushed the budget for our scientists to discover as much as possible and for our military to find ways to use those discoveries.”
The image changed to show soldiers fighting.
“And that leads us what our boys in the research divisions have accomplished, gentlemen. New technology, new protection, new weapons and new ways of getting our forces to the front line. Our military have used that technology to train and a new breed of soldier, many of whom have served this country in our armed forces.”
“Just how many people are we talking about?” one of the generals asked.
“To begin with there were sixteen hundred people on board that ship,” Doctor Furman answered, “two thirds of their number were below the age of majority and ten of the older passengers were pregnant. This country retained four hundred once the last of the adults were shared out among those signed up to the UN treaty. Of the children released into society, one hundred were later recruited for use in the Task Force operation.”
“If I may Doctor Furman,” Doctor Oakum said. “We discovered from those selected for research that while frozen the visitors experienced full cellular stasis without any signs of degeneration, and more importantly: did not age. In addition their minds are highly susceptible to certain indoctrination processes, especially the Trask Method; using such techniques would be illegal but it was suggested that if they could be shown that there was a reason to serve their country they would do so. They last two volunteers, a pair of fraternal twins aged twenty were turned over to General Galt’s project six months ago.”
Furman picked up the explanation. “Of course this meant that we had a large pool of specialist recruits available for whatever projects we decided to assign them. We combined their manpower with artefacts recovered from the Oregon Dig and Super Suit technology from another source.”
“My predecessor oversaw the implementation of the Task Force operation,” Fury explained, one of the few times he acknowledged that he was not the first person to use the name in his current role. “The volunteers were divided into smaller units and granted a full training, support and leadership structure. Around eight operatives per team with a maximum of six operational members at a time. Each project was envisioned to have a three year life cycle; one year of intensive training, one year of active service against a non-governmental threat, and a one year wind down period during which scientists checked for side-effects and prepared to move on to the next project.”
“And their suits?”
Doctor Oakum chose to explain. “One of the first discoveries we made during the development of this project was a new material. It looked like metal, it was similar in conductivity and melting point to copper. However depending on the techniques used to shape it this material could be altered to resemble metal, plastic, fabric or even glass. The process is extremely complex and there is hardly any room for error. However we have been able to use this material to construct suits that are capable of bolstering the talents of our operatives.”
“What’s the real reason for the three year limit?” General Ross wanted to know.
“Officially when the Task Force operation started, operatives were to be permanently retired after the third year in case they got ideas and went rogue. For the record there has never been an instance of operatives turning rogue and that order was rescinded five years later. The real reason was that the suits only lasted twelve months before they started breaking down and the strain of using the suits meant that after a year of service they were unable to continue active service. They were then returned to civilian life.”
Not entirely true. While some did return to civilian life, many were eliminated in the National Interest.
“In addition,” Fury added, “they were provided with prototype state-of-the-art machines to help them.”
“Yes, our experts were able to adapt items recovered from dig sites in Canada, Africa and Egypt, in addition to the Oregon volcano.”
“Interesting; why haven’t we heard anything about these experiments?”
“Most of the test projects were undercover operations against possible threats and private armies. They were given cover stories and remained out of the public eye where possible; they have never been used as either black ops or front line troops in war. Project Vulcan was different because it was initiated in response to a partial alien invasion. Few know about its existence, but there were enough.”
“Okay Gentlemen. That is most of the story and all you need to know at the moment,” Fury said, “suffice to say that the President and his advisors consider these one man powered suits given to selected operatives the way forward. More importantly than their symbolic purposes, they will serve as a counter measure should the Power Rangers be deemed a threat to this nation.”
“You expect them to turn then?”
Fury looked at the other man, pondering a response.
“It’s my duty to consider such possibilities. I have to consider every angle; could the Rangers be turned by a spell, would they side with another nation in the event of conflict? I have to have all the options covered, counter measures for every threat and then redundancy measures in case those counters should turn or fail. I should tell you that we have an operative within the JLA and every other major group of super heroes, placed to take them down just in case they turn. The Avengers will have a direct government liaison and if necessary their structure will be changed according to need.
“Namor was an example of just how dangerous these ‘super humans’ can become. As a consequence, funding to Arcadia Academy and other sites in the Task Force operation will in future be directed to Project Corps. Our priority is to reverse engineer the technology and then finding a way to create it ourselves. Dismissed.”
Operation Taskforce, Vegas Facility, Research Laboratory 29, Section 18,
Eight weeks earlier
Project Techno Warrior was entering the final phase of its development. Financially the Techno Warrior project was a real money spinner. The government was eager to obtain a ready programmed, fully-trained operative equipped with reactive armour and advanced weaponry; a standalone soldier who could pose as a normal human in a civilian setting and yet packed an arsenal that rivalled that of a small country.
It was clearly the future of modern warfare, and as soon as the prototype unit passed its final tests successfully, the developers stood to gain millions for the ready-made product, spare parts and ammunition. That was nothing compared to how much they would make from selling the process to interested foreign governments.
The prototype unit had been tested at every stage of its development and the improvements to the next model would be far reaching, leading to even greater rewards in terms of upgrade packages and software patches. All things considered though the greatest problems lay not with the concept or the technology; for the most part the faults were caused by the test subject.
The young man who had been volunteered for the project should have been given the same psychological and physical testing that astronauts endured before being allowed near a space shuttle. Their test subject should have been the best of the best of the best. Instead he was a kid picked from somewhere and forced into a situation he didn’t understand by people he didn’t like.
The volunteer had endured painful alterations to his body as it was augmented. Body enhancing drugs had been administered to build strength through enforced exercise as scientists attempted to turn his less-than-perfect physique into something suited for combat. Combined with cardiovascular conditioning to improve his endurance it was a training program many athletes would have killed for.
Only when their test subject was deemed to be at his physical peak did they begin the next stage. Aside from the odd doctor to monitor his vitals signs, the medical staff were replaced by technicians. An experiment mutating virus allowed them to infuse his body with metal alloy; the Techno Warrior would not have the active defence mechanisms and rapid healing that Rangers possessed. Instead the scientists aimed to make it more difficult to damage him in the first place. It was after all in their interests to protect their investment from harm.
As his body was exposed to procedures that might have been considered torture had he been a prisoner — for his status had been clearly marked as volunteer no matter what he claimed — he received an education that only the richest parents could afford for their children. He was trained in the application and understanding of the major sciences, mathematics, geography and history. Since his initial function had been that of a demon hunter, one programmer had installed as many texts on the subjects of magic, religion and demonology as he could find.
Despite their hard work and attention to detail though, the scientists had overlooked something important. They had assumed that throughout the various procedures their test subject would lose his sense of self, becoming highly suggestible and losing his ability to act on his own initiative, unaware of the questionable things they were doing and the abuses they were forcing him to endure to make him stronger. They were wrong, while not fully conscious he was aware of everything they had done to him. He had felt every needle they had used and although they had never heard his screams, he had lived in a world of pain – for many of the alterations the virus had initiated had failed to numb the nerve endings meaning that he had felt the tearing of his body as they had reshaped it.
Operation Taskforce, Vegas Facility, Research Laboratory 29, Section 18,
Six weeks earlier
The walls of his room were bare metal, the only furnishings a cot to which he had at one point been secured. They didn’t restrain him except for a single chain around the ankle. They didn’t know that he was aware of his surroundings. Indeed they believed he was still comatose from the effects of the sedatives.
Somewhere along the line he had grown immune to the drugs. The injections didn’t put him under anymore. They did unfortunately prevent him from moving around or voicing his objection to their continued experiments. Months of enduring such abuse was bound to have had some effect on him. Indeed, an assessment of his faculties would have shown that his sanity was questionable. It was for that reason that while another person might have felt uncomfortable in such an environment, to the test subject this was just something he had to endure.
He remembered his old life, the one they had taken away and replaced with something — less real. They had done an admirable job of replacing his body, simulating his original senses so that he felt remotely human; to be able to feel pleasure and pain was quite an accomplishment given the damage they had caused to his nervous system.
In the last week they had fed him a cocktail of chemicals and drugs. The drugs were known to further enhance the strength, size and durability. In a large concentration, the super steroid led to short term enhancements, though the project’s overseers had determined that smaller doses following months of exposure to Human Growth Hormone would have a more favourable effect and possibly remain in his system for longer, although in fairness they were just the raw material that would be processed to provide immunity and other benefits.
The drugs were known to be addictive and potentially toxic. Even after such a short exposure he would suffer terrible side effects when they stopped using it. It was clear that the medical staff did not care; he guessed that they were hired for their skills, not to question the morality of their actions. If he survived to the point where the result could be tested, the various doctors and professors had been promised financial benefits that would see them living in luxury for the rest of their lives. And should he die, he knew they would have his replacement ready to start again; it would not be the first time they had needed to start over.
“This is our most recent and I am pleased to say most successful tests so far,” he heard one of the doctors say, speaking into a small dictation device that they all seemed to carry. “The decision to move away from the traditional methods of enhancement had seen this subject survive far beyond previous prospect. At the commencement the subject was injected with a self-replicating nano virus. Our ability to control the behaviour of that virus has allowed the modification of the subject’s body without surgery. The addition of drugs, hornmones and other supplements have helped stabilise those changes.
The most recent application of the virus to create muscle grafts and pore adaptation have proven successful, the micro filaments grown into his already impressive muscle mass and combined with a continuous supply of steroids, have proven effective. There appears to be minor inflammation of some areas. I would suggest treatment for possible infection or perhaps allowing any illness to take its course to provide future immunity.”
As part of his duties, it was expected that at some point he would come into contact with environments that would be considered too dangerous for a normal human. As such it was essential to improve his body’s durability. The virus had been used to weave a thin mesh of metal into his muscles, tendons and ligaments. In addition material had been taken from his hearts, lungs, liver, kidneys… practically all of his internal organs. Those samples were stored by the virus for rapid replacement and been used to produce mechanical back ups, filters to prevent poisoning and a small low use Oxygen supply for situations where he needed to shut down his normal breathing; each organ was protected by an outer shell made from the same material used to strengthen his muscles. A third application of the virus had created metal rods within his skeleton to stop bones from breaking.
The doctor removed a small instrument and tapped portions of his arms and legs watching as the muscles under the skin twitched. He repeated the test while allowing a small current to flow through the instrument, watching the resistance on a metre fastened over the bed.
“Muscle density has increased to a point within the desired range and appears responsive to stimuli. Metallic simulation has been a success; muscles reactions are increased when exposed to electrical stimulation. Computer override of nervous system is running within parameters; subject is able to resist or react to high voltage according to program settings. I recommend testing of cardiovascular bypass and adaptability to water environments at earliest opportunity.”
The doctor moved out of the way, allowing his colleague to inspect the modifications made to his senses, which had been upgraded in during the last batch of alterations. While computers and technology were capable of some amazing things, it was accepted that compared to nature they still had a lot to learn. As a result instead of replacing his ears, eyes and nose with technology, they had worked to build on what nature had provided, using electronic hearing aids and special contact lenses to extend his sight and hearing into ranges previously unavailable to him. The virus allowed them to reshape his body in any way they desired, adding metal or any other material where required. Inside his skull it had been used to create a network of micro-circuitry that allowed him to process the excess data.
However it was a different processor grown near the front of the skull that dictated how he should act and ensured that he would harm only those he was supposed to attack. This was perhaps the most controversial element of the design, since the technology had been taken from an alien crash site; it was possibly not quite as controversial as having one of their other facilities controlled by microchips taken from the remains of craft’s pilot. Countless scenarios had been programmed along with as many counter-measures as the best tactical thinkers within the Taskforce structure could calculate. Three independent uplinks allowed him to receive new instructions and situational updates. Through his connection to the database he had the tactical knowledge needed for all conceivable confrontations.
“Optical and aural implants are working within parameters and have been correctly calibrated. Computer and network systems are running correctly, data storage is at optimum level. I would recommend field testing at the earliest opportunity.” He looked up at his colleague as he said this, knowing that if the other man had his way they would be making ever more improvements and never see their pay checks. “It would also be beneficial at this point to install surge protection, but I will state again that this marks an excellent stopping point.”
“Very well gentlemen,” a commanding voice said, “shut it down for now until the others are ready, then the testing will begin.”
“If I might suggest Director,” the doctor offered, remembering that this was the head of their operation, “perhaps now would be the time to start the programming of the weapon functions.”
There was silence and for a moment the man feared for his life.
“The testing of the primary and secondary weapons have already been completed, you may install the operating software. Make sure that the limiter chip is implanted before activating. Then start working on the additional hardware. Rapid deployment is the key, gentlemen.”
“As you wish,” the doctor agreed, flipping the switch that kept the Techno Warrior online to the off position. Before doing so he leaned in close so he was inside its visual range and whispered: “You’re going to make me rich, just you wait and see.”
The eyes of the Techno Warrior never closed although they clearly lost focus the moment the switch was flipped. Emergency protocols were engaged, backup power supplies allowing the unit enough runtime to reach out and flick the power back on. For all their science and tests, the scientists had never understood the technology they were using. And therefore they didn’t realise that it wasn’t working.
Unobserved while the team leaders gave their staff directions, he reached out to the nearby keyboard and started to make his own modifications to their programming, using the fibre optic cables and various computer connections the virus had built for him to interface with his unprotected cranial computer.
It had been a simple oversight on the part of the research team that allowed the human side of the Techno Warrior to assert itself. They had given Garth the knowledge to reprogram his implants and the means to access them. If they had closed the access port, his human side would have been safely contained behind the fail-safes, instead the software intended to prevent him from turning on his masters, was slowly being set aside.
As it was the computer’s control was gone, slaved to his will instead of the other way around. Although he was far from human with all the modifications, he was no longer the product they wanted to be. Given time their experiment would walk out of the door.
Operation Taskforce Hive Facility, Cranford
It was in the early hours of a June morning when Garth heard the sound of his cell door being opened. First the sound of a swipe card being drawn through the reader. Next he heard the beeping of the buttons for the six-digit identity code, which was changed daily. Afterwards came the sound of the outer lock, the key scratching at the worn tumblers. And finally was the screech of the heavy mechanical bolt being withdrawn. He knew those sounds; he had heard them constantly during his time in the facility to the extent that he could now tell who was entering by the time it took for the door to open.
Agent Thomas was very deliberate when opening the door. He was very strict about security and every procedure had to be followed to the letter; the agent took exactly two minutes to open the door. Doctor Finch on the other hand enjoyed his work and was determined not to miss a moment of his experiment’s pain. As a result Doctor Finch would constantly open the locks whilst entering his security code so he could enter the cell in less than half a minute.
The various nurses and observers that now monitored him twenty-four hours of the day entered from a second entrance he was unable to see. Somehow it was shielded from him, but he believed that they were in the room at all times, concealed by some sort of machinery. Not that he could understand why they felt the need to hide when they supposedly deactivated him every time they exited the room.
Today he could tell it was Doctor Finch who was about to enter along with the Project Administrator. Of all those he had met, the Administrator was the worst. She didn’t care what short cuts were taken providing she achieved her results.
“What is the status of this one?” she demanded.
“Testing has proven that the enhancements have been completely successful. In addition the hardware that the Director had us design was a complete success. The clothing he is wearing is adaptive, can change shape and colour according to the situation and in no way conflicts with operations.”
“You referred to it as him,” the Administrator pointed out. “Remember it is just a subject and you cannot allow any feelings when dealing with it.”
“Yes Ma’am,” Finch replied.
“I shall call Director Charming and have him arrange a visit. You should start bringing the system online and conduct a timed run in case it is needed for more than a few hours.”
As Doctor Finch set about his morning checks of the test subject, he heard the now familiar sound of the Administrator’s secret exit.
He slapped the unit across the face. He hated this… abomination. Why should a mere machine get all the attention when his hard work was ignored?
Once Doctor Finch left Garth knew he would not see him again that day despite the woman’s instructions. Since the operation had moved to its new location, most of the work on his systems was conducted outside of the room using the base’s computer mainframe. He estimated he would not be seeing anybody for two days, the length of time needed for the Director to make his way to their location. He calculated that this would be a good opportunity to make an escape.
The longer he remained there the more chance there was that Finch would accidentally discover that their computer programs were not operating properly; the cerebral implant was under his control and all their attempts to alter its code were actually sent to a buffer area to give the appearance that he was still their project. Of course their constant requests for status updates meant that he remained connected to the computer, something that allowed him to send his own requests for information.
Search subject found the readout said. He could see the words in his mind even though they did not exist. Download?
“Yes,” he answered although the words were spoken through his uplink and probably emerged as a burst of electromagnetic noise.
Name: Garth Nelson
Date of Entry: 1974
Status of Entry: List?
He considered what he had learnt. He had a name and tiniest piece of information about his past. The rest of the knowledge despite his best efforts had been stolen from him.
“Yes,” he thought in answer to the question.
Biological Organs: Replacement Complete
Sensory Enhancements: Complete
Computerised Components: Online
Operating System: Offline……….. ERASED
Motor functions: Off MMP: Scheduled
He already knew that should he escape his current cell he still had to escape the facility. As the time for the Director’s visit drew nearer, the facility would have tighter security, but maybe not as many staff. It was time to get to work. There was still one thing he needed to do before he could move. He needed to flush the sedatives from his system, which in turn meant using the drugs they had prepared for that purpose. With the sedatives in his system he was weak, but once they were gone there was nothing to stop him from escaping.
They had locked him in a cell, but this cell contained more than a bed. There were guards outside, but nobody inside. They had placed all the chemicals needed for his treatments within reach.
After taking a few deep breaths, a requirement of his human side, Garth picked up the syringe and the bottle of antidote. Without bothering to measure, he injected the mixture into his arm. The effect was immediate and painful. Strangely enough he seemed to enjoy it.
It took a good six hours for the drug to make its way through his system to the point where he could lift himself into a sitting position. That allowed him to reach and remove the chain, which had not been locked, just closed together. After removing his ankle he breathed a sigh of relief. He was free.
After taking a moment to look at his cell from a standing position, he pulled on the leather vest he was supposed to wear at all times and waited as the sensors in the material made any alterations needed for a snug fit. He left it as it was, knowing that combined with the leather jeans and baldhead nobody in their right mind would approach him. He heard a key in the lock and disappeared under the bed.
~Time to go.~
The door opened and two men walked in. Both carried weapons in case they encountered an intruder although it was just as likely that the men simply enjoyed the idea that they could inflict pain on the robot.
“He’s gone!” one of the men cried noticing the opened chain.
“Sound the alarm,” the other one instructed. “I’ll call the Director.”
They had no time to do so. Garth was moving before they could close the door, catching both men off guard. His foot connected with the first one’s head and he used that man’s weapon against the second guard. With the two guards gone he was able to move out into the corridors.
He checked his internal database and noted the security codes necessary to use the facility’s mapping system. He typed his enquiry into one of the handy computer terminals and waited for a response. Memorising the routes he needed he entered several more searches, confusing any attempts to find him based on his interaction with the computer.
Reaching the lift he bypassed the security system by removing the call button from the wall and opened the door by shorting the contacts. Setting the lift for the top floor he pulled up the carpet in the lift car and opened the access hatch underneath. As the car stopped, he dropped through the lift floor and swung to the cables behind the lift. There he remained as security noticed the hole and called an alert that he was loose somewhere in the building. He waited until most of the security detail had left to search the lower floor before climbing back into the lift and out through the doors.
Scanning the room he detected guards in their normal positions. They were watching the doors, but that was not where he was heading yet. Instead he moved to one of the workshops where the engineers had been busy working on a special power source. While he was faster and stronger than a normal human, he lacked the weapons of a Ranger; the small generator would allow him to deploy the virus as a form of armour. The suit provided him with a selection of built in weapons based on the publicly patented designs of Anthony Stark.
Fortunately it seemed the guards were so busy looking for him that they had failed to lock the laboratory. He walked in and plucked the power converter from the table and attached it to the connectors the doctor’s had thoughtful positioned outside of his body. Then he moved on to the suit of armour designed to function as a powered enhancement for his weapon systems. He placed a few commands into the suit’s computers, deactivating it and removed the control unit from the chest, knowing that that would allow him to summon the armour should he need it; there was very little he could accomplish with the bulky suit at that moment and avoiding detection in a bright yellow suit of armour was unlikely.
After removing the nearby computer’s hard-drive, he made his way back to the door and then out into the hall. From there he made his way back to the lower levels, knowing that the guards would have discovered his deception and would be heading up to the upper levels of the facility.
He played the same game with security for a few hours before finally deciding it was time to leave. By that time the guards had decided that he had left and had returned to their positions. The scientists had discovered his sabotage of their creation and were trying to discover what he had done.
As it turned out, sneaking out proved to be no problem until he reached the door. The guards appeared not to notice him, but they would notice a door opening and even though bullets would not kill him, they would make it easier to catch him.
“Attention all personnel, security measures have been activated. Do not attempt to leave the facility.”
The warning continued to sound despite the security personnel returning to their other tasks. He knew that those so-called security measures would kill the human workers within the facility. That meant there was a good chance they would either slow him down or worse, disable him long enough for a capture team to arrive.
“All personnel should note that the fire suppression system will now be tested.”
Fiends! The sudden shower of water soaked the inside of the facility and all those within its walls. Before the system cut out an electric pulse would be sent through the water in an attempt to disable his brain functions and allow them to find him. Had he not been at the front door, escape would have been impossible.
Deciding he had nothing to lose and grateful that he had decided not to use the armour, his body exploded into action, smashing through the doors and running towards freedom. What followed was a blur as he ran the gauntlet of defences intended to keep him inside. When he finally reached a road he managed to hitch a ride to the nearest town. Already he was planning where to go next.
He finished reading through the reports and angrily pushed them into a drawer. The operation was a failure. Millions of dollars had been lost in the space of an afternoon and if the test subject was not recovered, the billions of dollars invested in their facility was at risk.
It would take months to begin work on a new prototype. Releasing whatever locks he had used to disable the prototype armour would require a rewrite of all its systems. More money down the drain. With Operation Lightspeed already close to going live, they could not afford this sort of disaster.
That was why he had agreed to the new contract. It wasn’t the sort of thing his company specialised in. But he had a good idea of how to accomplish the task. With the right persuasion he would convince one of the facility’s other guests to help him. After all making such deals was what he did best.
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