It's Darrion again, and guess what I've got for you? Another Watchmen chapter!
Now if you missed last week's chapter (I posted it early) click here to read it. It's actually a half chapter, and it's pretty short, so you can finish it up quick and move on to this week's chapter...
The next morning flew by in a rush of jumping out of bed at an unusually early hour and a quick flight inland to T. Facility 24. Mason didn't need to ask what the T stood for once he saw all the young trainees running about, getting yelled at by their rigorous trainers. Plus all the fancy high-tech training equipment inside the warehouse. Obviously, it was a training facility for Watchman wannabes.
Jason informed him that there were many different chambers where experienced Watchmen would teach their squads, and they had three separate training course rooms. "You'll get up close and personal with them tomorrow, but today you're undergoing some tests."
Mason admired the structure in awe as they trotted down the way, then thought out loud, "What day is today?"
Jason checked his watch. "Sunday. You woke up a few times in between Friday and Saturday afternoon, if you remember." Then he trailed off about how he was missing chapel.They headed down more halls with nervous young men rushing back and forth, some of them appearing quite lost, looking about with bewilderment on their faces. Mason couldn't blame them; there were so many splits in the halls and no maps on the walls that he saw. Though all of the halls had signs hanging down that specified what its purpose was: Check-In, First-Aid, Barracks, etc. Maybe the trainees just aren't all that bright...
"This way," Jason ushered them into another hall, this one had a sign that read Test Hall. It didn't have many of the young men meandering about in it, but instead had some guys going about in lab coats and with iPads in hand. After a short time, they entered a side room. "Dr. Simon, I trust you've got the equipment ready for the tests," Jason greeted the doctor dryly.
The old guy nodded uninterestedly, typed something on the iPad, and readjusted his wire glasses. "I think we're ready." Jason scrunched up his nose with disapproval. "Think? You better be. You've had time to get ready for this, Doctor. Now Mason, I've got a meeting to catch, but I'm sure you'll be fine with Dr. Simon by yourself?"
Mason agreed and the doctor ushered him into a small, dull white room, with a table set in the center and two seats around it. He took one seat, and the doctor took the other without glancing up from his iPad. "I've been instructed to answer any questions you ask, but I do trust that Junior Director Jason Gray has already answered some of them?"
Mason shifted uncomfortably, wishing he hadn't let Jason leave. "Yeah, he did. Okay, well... um, so what does the super serum thingy do exactly?"
"The Super Soldier Serum that Dr. Kruger developed was very different than the one developed by Dr. Abraham Erskine that enhanced all the physical and mental abilities to the pinnacle of human ability, working in conjunction with Vita-Rays to trigger the effects on the subject's body chemistry-"
"Wait," Mason interrupted, "The what did what to the what? You're talkin' to a high-school dropout here."
He sighed with annoyance at the lower-than-his-own-IQ boy who clearly didn't have his father's brilliant scientific brain. "Steven Rodgers, if you didn't notice, is much larger than you," he spoke slowly and clearly, as if he were talking to a child. "His muscles are more exercised than yours. But Dr. Kruger was just as strong as he was, yet smaller in that sense. Why? Because his body, each and every cell has more capability than Rodgers' does. Every cell is stronger than an average one. That is how the serums are different. One simply makes them bigger and gives them slightly more capability, and the other has five times more capability, but keeps the size. That means that he can be small, but very, very strong. That's why you're still so..." The doc looked him over warily. "... wiry and skinny. Understand?"
Mason tilted his head. "But why didn't I have this when I was a kid? What changed?"
"You were classified as a Level 1 non-active 24-601. Your blood had been tested positive for a non-active ability."
The doctor sighed dramatically and switched the iPad around so Mason could see the screen, where many small videos were playing.
His eyes widened as he saw someone completely disappeared into thin air in one video, as another one was shot at, but the bullets just fell to the floor. Like me. "Who...?"
"These are Level 1 active 24-601's, also known as Supers," The doctor explained as Mason continued to stare at the screen. "You were a Level 1 non-active 24-601, or Nonactive-Super, until Hydra injected you with the activation serum."
"So that's why that guy gave me that shot."
"Yes, they activated the serum that had always been in your blood, your DNA. Now, if you'll come with me," Dr. Simon stood and headed for the door, "I have some tests and exercises for you."Mason followed and the doctor ushered him into a blindingly white room that smelled and looked like a hospital with doctors rushing back and forth busily. There were fancy exercising machines on either side of it, and next to each one were multiple side tables with small medical tools on them. Once he entered, all of the bustling doctors stopped whatever they were doing and stared at him with serious expressions, as if they had been expecting him for years. Mason blushed a little and waved nervously.
Dr. Simon cleared his throat and nodded to them, "We're ready," then muttered under his breath, "as ready as we'll ever be."
"Nice to know," Mason sniffed in response.
"Ah, very good hearing," another doctor rushed up to him and started poking him in the ear with one of those tools. "Excellent! Now, if you would get on the treadmill here, we'll start the exercises."
He eyed the treadmill warily, but got on despite his dislike of exercises and started walking, then running.
Four hours later, Dr. Simon was seated in the observation booth, gaping at the test report in his hands. Mason Kruger was strong. Captain America strong. And that meant the Watchmen now had a Super Soldier in its ranks, which they had not had for years, not since Dr. Kruger was an agent. Mason had been running for four hours, and he was hardly fazed. "This is amazing."
Jason Gray nodded from across the table and asked, "What's S.H.I.E.L.D.'s protocol for a Super Soldier?"
"Well, that's just the thing: they haven't told us. We really don't know, because whenever they do get their hands on Supers, they're never heard from again. And now with Level Seven's new security protocol that they've enforced on us, we have to tell them about him. And they'll come for him, that I can guarantee you."
Jason leaned across the table with a fixed expression. "And what if we don't?"
The doctor fidgeted, knowing what to say, but not wanting to say it. Finally, he made eye contact and replied, "If they find out, they could criminally charge whoever they suspect is in on it. You, me, all the doctors, everyone in this base, even Captain Barton."
Jason sighed, pulled between doing what he was told or keeping Mason with the Watchmen, keeping him safe. He had to talk to the Captain first, ask his advice. "I won't be here to bring him to his room, I'm going back to the Liberator."
Dr. Simon watched as Jason exited the room, wondering what was going to happen. What would they do to Kruger? Would he be picked apart for tests? Or would they lock him up, never to see the outside world again? He would be such a great asset for the Watchmen, if he passed through training.
"Dr. Simon?" An assistant doctor peered through the doorway. "He finished the exercises and we are ready to move on to the second phase."
Mason hopped off the treadmill, breathing heavily. He had, after all, been running at top speed for hours without stopping. "What's next?" Dr. Simon lead him into an empty room with high metal walls, nothing was inside. No boxes, equipment, anything. Mason cocked his head. "Hey doc, what's this for?"
"This may sound odd," he murmured, "but I'm going to have you slam your shoulder against the far wall."
He raised his eyebrows. "You want me to just... throw myself against a metal wall and what, see if it breaks my shoulder?"
The doctor, now slightly annoyed, sighed and answered, "Don't you remember what your father did? He broke through a metal wall, maybe you can also. There's only one way to find out."
Cautiously, Mason made his way over to the wall. Stepping forward, he drove his forearm into the wall, smashing straight through it. He had used such force that he had to stop himself from falling forward after he went through it. "Oh, I'm good," he smirked to himself pridefully.
Ten walls of ten different metals later, Mason had gotten the hang of breaking things. He was quite confident he could push through the next one easily.
"Now Mason, this one is a little different," the doctor explained. "It's made of pure Titanium."
"Whatever," he shrugged, thinking it would be just as easily conquered as the previous ones. Mason jammed his shoulder into the wall, felt a surge of unexpected pain and fell backwards, hitting the ground with a thump. "Aw, man," he seethed through his teeth, now in pain. "What happened?"
"Ah, just as I thought," the doctor typed something into his iPad. "Your weakness, just as your father's, is Titanium."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, I have a weakness?" Mason inquired as he pulled himself off the floor and rubbed his sore arm.
"Yes, every scientific break through has its side effects."
"But I thought the side effect was the freak out anger thingy."
Doctor Simon adjusted his glasses. "That too. But Dr. Kruger used the strength of Titanium as inspiration for the skin cells, actually. And that's the only known thing that he couldn't break."
Mason sniffed with disgust. "Well, that's annoying. I bet Hydra knows about that."
"Yes, and there's no doubt they'll use it against you." Dr. Simon glanced at the clock and stated, "I think we better fit in as many test as we can before tomorrow. Let's get back to work."
Mason slumped down on the bed, still rubbing his sore arm from the Titanium. Hydra will try to kill me with that stuff. It's my only weakness. He sighed and glanced around the room. It was much like his room in the Liberator, small, grey, with the bed in the corner and a trunk at its foot.
Dr. Simon coughed awkwardly before muttering, "Thank you."
Mason cocked his head. "What for?"
"You. I mean, it's every Watchman doctor's dream to work on a Super, much less a Super Soldier like you. You caused quite a ruckus in the office when we heard about you. And your dad was an inspiration to me," he cracked a small smile, "Thank you."
"Sure," he muttered back. Yeah, he was flattered for the thank you, but how could his dad be an inspiration for anyone except whoever wanted to be a bad parent? "So, about the Titanium..." Mason changed the subject. "So Titanium to me is like Kryptonite to Superman?"
He thought for a moment, then slowly nodded. "You could say that."
"That's cool, I think. So I'm kind of like a Man of Titanium then?" He joked, chuckling to himself, but the doc didn't join in. "Get it? Like the Man of Steel? You know, Superman..?" Dr. Simon was not amused. "Never mind."
"Well, I suppose that's goodbye. Maybe I'll see you again someday, if you survive training."
The doc chuckled. "Oh, yeah, You've got M.B.G. as a trainer. You're in for the whole package."
Mason didn't like the sound of that, but just said goodbye and settled in bed. He couldn't shake the feeling that training wouldn't be a picnic. But he had no choice. To find Ava, he had to go through training, and that he would. He loved her more than anything. And maybe, just maybe, he'd find his dad along the way.
And there you have it! Now that chapter five is complete, we can (hopefully!) move on next week to chapter six, which is all about Mason in training. And that means you'll get to meet Conner and Duke again, plus Sargent Graham and others. Personally, I'm really excited to write it! This is going to be so fun :)
But since it's not coming until next week, you could check out Willow's story, Friends and Enemies. It's fun and full of adventure, and I highly recommend it :) Someday, I hope to do a post about other stories I recommend... maybe I'll work on that later. But for now, I must bid you farewell! I hope you liked it.
To God be the glory, great things He has done! (One of my favorite hymns by Fanny Crosby :)