The Evo world is forever turned upside down when a man named Dr. Nathanial Essex begins a project known as Shadow Cell from which the lives of Scott, Jean, Vincent, Wanda, and X23 are changed forev...
Chapter 1: The Project
AN: Hey there all you fanfiction fanatics! Slickboy444 here, back with another big story! Ever since I've started writing fanfiction, I have gained so many truly wonderful followers of my work. I have received such amazing feedback and it has only inspired me to keep writing and keep working to make the best stories possible! This one is certainly no exception. This story is going to be every bit as ambitious as "Extermination" and "X-men: Evolution of the Heart!" While I don't know if this will be as long, it will be just as big in terms of scope. I am so excited about this fic because it is a truly unique concept that I have never tried before and have never seen done before! I have never been this enthusiastic about a story before and I feel this is going to be one of my most ambitious projects ever! But before I begin, I feel I should let you all know where this unique story came from.
This story, "Sinister Soldiers," came from, of all things, a very special video game entitled Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater. After I got and played this game, I began thinking about the dynamics of the characters and concepts portrayed in the fantastic story that was told. This got me thinking a bit about a few things and from there, an idea developed that seemed a bit radical compared to what I had done in the past, but definitely workable! In addition to that game, another game helped drive me into dedicating myself to writing it. It was called Psi Ops: The Mindgate Conspiracy. These games provided for me the framework for what I wanted to do and as this story goes along, you may see a few concepts from these games mentioned. But what really got me excited about this story was the ideas and help that I got from my friend, fellow fanfiction writer, and co-author of our collective fic "Hellfire and Brimstone," Agent-G. He helped me turn simple ideas into a truly unique concept and it is because of him that I feel this story will be unlike any other I have ever written to date.
In addition, thanks to Agent-G he has kindly allowed me to use his popular OC, Vincent "Mayhem" Freeman. I can't give Agent-G enough thanks for this because there is no way this fic would be anywhere near as good without him! Thank you my friend! You rock! Also, for all you who read my fic "Extermination," this story brings back my OC, Magnum! The stoic, gun-toting, stop-at-nothing Russian assassin is back and I hope you all enjoy both her and Vincent! Thanks again Agent-G! Now, on with the summery.
Summery: Major AU. In this world, Mr. Sinister is head scientist of a vast super secret government program to find and train mutants and turn them into unstoppable, invincible soldiers. With advanced technology and the most rigorous, battle hardening training ever conceived, young mutants are turned from mere individuals into powerful, advanced, and highly skilled warriors with no fear and the complete and utter determination and loyalty of soldiers. During their childhood Scott Summers, Jean Grey, Vincent Freeman, Wanda Maximoff, and X23 are taken into this program and turned into the most powerful team of soldiers ever assembled. The world of the X-men is forever changed. See what happens with them, Professor Xavier, the Brotherhood, and many more of the X-characters you know and love as Sinister's own agenda and a world of other complications brings into motion a fury of action and drama the likes of which you've never seen before!
Parings: Scott/Jean, Vincent/Wanda, Betsy/Warren, Logan/Ororo, Kurt/Kitty, Rogue/Remy, and possibly more.
Rating: PG-13 for violence, language, death, angst, and mild sexual references.
AN: 'these mean character thoughts or psychic communication.'
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the X-men characters in any way, shape, or form. They are the property of Marvel, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby. I also don't own the terms relating to the two video games. Having said that...Please don't sue, for I have nothing. And Vincent Freeman belongs to Agent-G, not me. Magnum, however, is mine.
As I do with every fic I write, I urge each and every one of you reading to give me some feedback in my story and REVIEW! After you read a chapter, please tell me what you think! It helps inspire me, let's me know if I'm doing something wrong, and pushes me to write more and write better! So send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! I am open to constructive criticism, but please be considerate. This is a very ambitious story that I am very excited about and I greatly look forward to your comments on it! So remember...REVIEW!
Last but certainly not least, this fic is dedicated to my good friend and fellow writer Agent-G. He helped bring this to life and he deserves so much credit! I have worked closely with him on this story and I can't thank him enough for all he's done! Thanks man! This one's for you!
Also, before I begin I would like to send a special thanks to all the reviewers who have been so kind to me with my fics: Optic Red, Radnommarvelfan, Doza, Strayphoenix, Sentoris, Quillian, Simba317, Howlerdrode, Darkenss1, Extra2restrial, Heartsyhawk, The Uncanny R-Man, Wen1, Mrs. Jean Grey-Summers, Mark C, X00001, Lil Jean, and especially Agent-G (you rock my friend!).
Well, that's it! I truly hope you all enjoy this story! Now the time has come! Slickboy444 proudly presents from me to you, "Sinister Soldiers!"
The world is full of half truths and utter lies. The very reality which everybody accepts without question is bathed in a haze of falsehood for which nobody has what would be defined as 'absolute truth.' People like to believe that they know their world and the forces that dwell within it, yet the world is still a very big place...Full of mystery and uncertainty. There are but an elite few who know the truths and fabricate the lies that filter down to the endless masses that accept and live by these illusions without ever truly knowing the nature of their world, but even these holders of power are a mist of lies in of themselves whether they know it or not. History itself is an ongoing work of fiction where the truth is based only upon the events which humanity agrees upon while countless facets of time are forever lost in obscurity, forgotten to the point of non-existence. Yet despite the presence of seemingly endless lies, history in its truest form is shaped by the actions of people and the great stories they have to tell.
In a darkened military base in the heart of the state of New York, a group of shady men, wielders of power and manipulators of truth, were meeting in a place that did not exist on paper in a conference that was not truly taking place. They were all men of military...Majors, colonels, captains, sergeants, generals, lieutenants, and corporals. Some were also highly knowledgeable scientists who lived in a world of secrecy, unknown to everybody outside these dark walls that housed so much mystery. Many of these high ranking officials had knowledge that few others knew outside the highest possible seats of power in Washington, yet each individual present had a single common trait...An unclean record, tainted by lies no different than the ones they feed to the ignorant masses. Many of the officials present were once on the fast track towards becoming a part of the hidden elite, yet dishonesty and overly eager ambitions had brought their pursuit towards true power and influence to an abrupt halt and now they were all stuck...Trapped by court marshals, executive orders, and demotions from their duties. Yet because of their ranks, knowledge, and contributions they remained a part of the world in which they were now stuck in...But hopefully, this night would change all that.
"Any idea why this meeting was called sir?" asked one of the majors present to the Colonel beside him as everybody else in this shady meeting sat around a large wooden table, waiting for this secret discussion to begin.
"You guess is as good as mine Major," said the Colonel, "As always in our line of work, we can only speculate what it is that we are about to witness. Yet I think we should both take both comfort and anxiety in the knowledge that so many of us have been called here at this very late hour of the night for reasons which are too critical to reveal in any other manner."
"Either way it must be important," commented the Major as his eyes ran down the rows of seats, identifying many powerful names and recognizing many famous faces in both military and scientific fields.
"Meetings like this always are Major. You should know that by now," quipped the Colonel, "A meeting where secrecy is so strict that it must take place in an area that doesn't exist with people who aren't officially there is reason enough to believe that there is a very sinister undertone to what it is this whole thing is about. And I get the feeling...We're all about to find out."
Just then, the lead General of the shady collection of officers and scientists stood up, prompting everybody to fall silent as he walked to a podium, receiving subtle whispers from some of the staff present, indicating to him that the time had come and everything was ready.
"Good evening," he began in a simple, stoic voice, "I appreciate all of you coming out here at this most ungodly hour and rest assured, we wouldn't have held it if it wasn't of such great importance. As you all know...None of us are here at the moment. The seats you are sitting in, the people around you, and the facility we currently dwell within...Doesn't exist. Anybody who thinks or acts otherwise knows the kind of consequences they will face no matter how high your rank or how great your influence."
It was an eerie formality that the General had to go over, yet everyone present was used to such a custom by now. The secrecy of this non-existent branch of influence was no joke and every single measure was taken to make sure that this organization remained in the shadows and only known to those who needed to know. Despite these familiar reminders of secrecy, there still remained an ominous feeling throughout the room as the general kept speaking and eventually came to the moment both he and everyone else had been waiting for.
"Having said that, I feel it is time we all finally move on to the reason why this meeting was called. And with that...I introduce to you all, Dr. Nathanial Essex."
The General then stepped down as the attention of every man and woman present turned towards the guarded door to the side where a tall, dark, middle aged man with a v-shaped goatee and dark black hair stepped in. There was a strange, almost ominous poise to his posture, almost as if he was enjoying the looks he was receiving from the strong, influential people surrounding him. Some recognized him and didn't look to encouraged by his presence while others stared back in awe...Wondering what it was that this mysterious man had to say that would prompt such a shady meeting.
"Greetings and salutations my most influential colleagues," he said in a deep, yet highly educated and cultured tone, "I appreciate you all coming out here for this meeting. And as the General said, I wouldn't have called it if I didn't have something truly important to tell you. But enough with the unscrupulous chit chat...As you all now know, my name is Dr. Nathanial Essex...Leader and pioneer in the advanced fields of genetic and mutagenic physiology, psychology, and biology. And judging by some of the looks on your faces, no doubt some of you have heard of me before."
"Wait...Dr. Essex you say?" said one of the lead scientists as he recognized the ominous man, "As in...The same Dr. Essex behind the Prodigy Project?"
"The very same..." he said with a proud grin.
"You were behind that disastrous program?" said the Colonel somewhat distastefully, "The same program where all those involved died after many years of high risk, in depth research?"
"Oh please Colonel, disastrous is such an ugly word," said Dr. Essex, his poise not flinching in the slightest despite the comments, "But yes...I headed that fateful project. Every procedure and test was my brainchild...I oversaw the whole thing. It may not have given the higher ups everything they wanted...But then again, that is why I am here now."
The prominent doctor then proceeded to signal some of the guards to dim the lights as a high resolution projection screen illuminated the wall behind him. A large image of DNA lit up the screen and various snippets of data began to flash along the mysterious molecule from which all life was derived from.
"As you all know, there are certain things in this world that humanity is not ready to accept," began Dr. Essex as he spoke in an ambitious, collected tone that gave off an aura of dominance over the minds and imaginations of all those present, "Things like UFOs, secret societies, and government cover ups are but one of many such things that the world is just not ready to know about yet. And what I am about to discuss with you tonight is most certainly no exception. As you all have probably guessed by now, the image behind me is a strand of DNA...The basic molecule of life. It is the blueprint that makes a human a human, a monkey a monkey, and a worm a worm. This small yet infinitely significant molecule has truly amazing power and potential...Unfortunately, much of that power and potential goes unused and unnoticed, leaving mankind stuck in it's perpetual existence of evolutionary stagnation."
Dr. Essex then changed the slide, showing another DNA strand...Only this one was slightly different, yet in a very big way.
"Traditional rules of evolution state that life changes and evolves over great periods of time on both a genetic and physiological level. Most of the time this change is gradual, depending on a multitude of factors...But sometimes, on rare occasions, this change happens rapidly in just a few generation...Bringing to fruition a great turning point of possibilities for the given species. And this rare event...This most precious of evolutionary transcendence for which no conscious being has ever been able to witness is happening right now...And it has been happening for many years. Mutants...Humans evolved by the presence of a new change in the basic genetic code that makes our species what it is...Are a reality."
The collected doctor continued to go through several slides, sparking the interest and curiosity of many of the scientists present, all of whom had known about the existence of mutants, but remained uncertain where this mysterious man was going with it.
"Yes, we all know mutants exist, Doctor," said the General, "It has been common knowledge throughout the upper levels of our government for decades now, but..."
However, Dr. Essex did not let the General finish, for he wanted to say what he intended to without interruption or stigma to what he was about to propose.
"Please General, I know of the government's stance towards mutants," he said in a calm tone, "I know that the government recognizes the fact that mutants do exist...Yet the public is kept in the dark about them for the sake of their own safety. Like many of the other things we know...They just aren't ready to accept them. Yet despite this, mutants are an undeniable phenomenon for all of us and we must recognize their potential for great power in the near future as more mutants arise in the coming generations. While I understand that this is a scary thought to some because it could sew the seeds of future conflict between humans and mutants, and I understand that countless resources have been poured into developing control measures against mutants like the Colonel's GURSO unit...We cannot escape the fact that this is evolution...A force no weapon can ever stop."
Dr. Essex then changed to another slide...This time, it was one that displayed what looked like exotic machinery never before seen or conceived by anybody. Yet upon seeing this, the doctor grew increasingly excited as he continued with his powerful and commanding speech.
"So instead of fighting mutants...I feel it would be better if we ally ourselves with mutants," said Dr. Essex as some of the scientists present looked strangely at the machines displayed in the projection, "Mutants have so much potential for unbridled power. They have the potential to wipe out disease, hunger, and poverty...While also setting into motion the next stage in human evolution, bringing us ever closer to a new species of life beyond anything we can imagine at the moment. Some of you may not know this, but the difference between man and ape is less than three percent genetic material. And most of the DNA in all organisms isn't even used for anything to begin with...So that leaves quite a bit of room for potential and change. Evolution is working slowly to enhance humanity as it continues to grow as an entity all it's own and powers of great potential have been discovered over so many years...And I feel it's time to use them for the benefit of both this species and this country."
Then, with another press of a button, a new image came up...One that everybody quickly recognized once they saw it, causing a collection of slight gasps to fill the room.
"Wait a minute...I recognize that image," said one of the scientists as he adjusted his glasses to get a closer look, "That's from the Weapon X project."
"Indeed it is," grinned Dr. Essex, who seemed to be enjoying the reaction he was getting from them, "I'm showing it to you because Weapon X was one of the first attempts by any government to use mutants as a weapon. This experiment happened decades ago and it yielded some very impressive results...Yet in the end, the experiment was a failure and all the hours of laborious work was destroyed by the very creation they had worked so hard on. And despite this loss, we have continued to pursue mutant weapons like with the Prodigy Project, which was more of a research program rather than a weapons program."
"But both of these projects were failures," stated the Colonel, who knew all too well the details of both ill fated projects, "I have consulted with many scientists and many researchers and they all agree that using mutants as weapons is not viable at this point in time, given our technical know how."
"Ah...But that's where you're wrong Colonel," said Dr. Essex with an ominous tone in his voice, "You see...I did not call you all here to give you a refresher course on mutants and past instances where we tried to use them...I called you all here because I wish to make a proposal."
"Proposal? What kind of proposal?" asked the Colonel suspiciously, "You're not thinking of trying another Weapon X project, are you?"
"Don't make me laugh, Colonel," said Dr. Essex with a light chuckle, "I'd be insulting all of you if that's what I was going to propose. You know as well as I do that Project Weapon X was a mistake."
"Be that as it may Doctor, the potential for that program is still very strong," said the General, "I've been hearing many promising things about the Hydra division's work on the old Weapon X project and rumor has it that they've already got a living specimen to work with."
"And I can guarantee you from both a scientific and personal standpoint that such a foolhardy experiment is going to fail again," quipped Dr. Essex with a grin, "Don't think I am not aware of Hydra's advancements. They may have support from the higher ups and even a small contingent of influence on SHIELD, but they are going down the same road that Dr. Cornelius went down many years ago with Weapon X. I can't tell you when, but I can tell you with almost an absolute certainty that Hydra's specimen will be their undoing."
"And how can you know this?" said the Colonel, still one of the few who did not see this Dr. Essex as a very impressive figure.
"Simple logic Colonel," answered Dr. Essex, not daunted by the Colonel's skepticism, "As the old saying goes...If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always gotten."
This mark of wit and intelligence triggered a silent fury of discussion among the scientists and military officers. While the Colonel didn't look very amused, many others present found a great deal of validity to this man's words. He definitely seemed to know what he was talking about and he seemed so confident in every word he said that his charismatic presence was just too strong to ignore.
"Doctor..." said the Major as some of the discussions began to die down after a few minutes, "What exactly is it that you are proposing to us?"
Nathanial Essex smiled, glad to see that this was going just as he had envisioned when he was preparing for this very momentous event that he had worked so long and hard for. With the projector still running, he changed slides to show what looked like an elaborate array of bio tanks similar to the ones seen in the Weapon X photo's, but with far more intricate components surrounding them.
"Weapon X tried to turn a single mutant into a living, breathing weapon," said Dr. Essex, beginning with a slight prelude to his inevitable proposal, "They are currently doing the same thing at Hydra...Working under the guise that in order to make the most unstoppable killing machine, all traces of humanity, emotion, and individuality must be erased for optimum efficiency. But as I have said before...Weapon X failed. They managed to create a working specimen that had a great deal of power and potential, but even after wiping clean every memory and sense of self within it, the specimen turned on it's creators and destroyed everything they had worked so hard to create. Hydra is going down that same road with their aptly named Weapon X23 program, working to create a being that is less human and more machine. But we must face facts here...This is the United States of America. We already have the most advanced weapons in the world. And no matter how powerful they may be...A weapon is only as good as the beings who wield it. And for that reason...I propose to you that we not create any new weapons...I propose that we create soldiers."
"Soldiers?" said one of the scientists, "You mean out of mutants?"
"Exactly!" said Essex with an excited look on his face, "Make no mistake about it...This country has the best of the best when it comes to machinery and turning mutants into machines of war is not only foolhardy, but completely unnecessary. We don't need weapons...We need soldiers! Not mindless, emotionless drones...But thinking, feeling beings fighting like true warriors against all those who threaten freedom, peace, and civilization itself! Send a machine into battle and it will do only as it is told...But send a soldier into battle, one who is strong, dedicated, and carries with them the emotion and drive to complete the mission and fight for their country, and they can do so much more than any mindless machine could ever hope to accomplish."
Many of the military officers looked quite impressed and intrigued by this proposal. Such concepts of creating soldiers out of mutants instead of weapons were a great departure from past programs, yet they made more sense when the doctor put it into perspective.
"So for that reason..." he continued, "I propose to you...Project Shadow Cell."
An ominous slide appeared on the screen before them, displaying images of rigorous machinery and training equipment and showing more advanced genetic technology that was clearly many decades ahead of it's time.
"Shadow Cell?" said the general, finding that name rather odd, "Why Shadow Cell?"
"Because it's a fitting name, General," said Dr. Essex with confidence as he looked at some of the positive reactions he was getting, "Shadow Cell...A cell of mutant soldiers operating in complete and utter secrecy. They will not be restricted by the meddlesome red tape that SHEILD and every other agency throughout the government operates on...And in every manner of speaking, they do not exist. They will be the shadows of this country's greatest arsenal for freedom and democracy...Willing to fight and die to stop those who would harm and destroy our way of life. They are soldiers...Warriors...The true knights of America...Able to go into the places no one else can go and take down the foes that no one else can fight. They will be mutants, they will be soldiers, and they will be warriors...The likes of which this world has never seen before."
Dr. Essex's flare for the dramatic was definitely accentuated by his charismatic tone as many of those presence felt somewhat moved by his speech. He was talking about something that they all wished to do...Protect America and the free world from terror and fear. It was a bold task, but it was one that was absolutely necessary for them and the rest of the millions of citizens that sought only to live in peace.
"Well I must say Doctor Essex," said one of the scientists who knew him well from the Prodigy Project, "Such a proposal would most certainly be a bold leap. But what will make these mutant soldiers any different than groups like the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, or Alpha Flight?"
"Oh please..." scoffed Dr. Essex, "The members of those laughable groups are not soldiers...They're puppets that belong in a Saturday morning cartoon...Not on the battlefield. Groups like them still operate under the incessant red tape of their government...Not allowed to go into the truly dangerous and high risk areas where the biggest threats to the world dwell. What I am talking about here with Shadow Cell is creating genuine soldiers...The likes of which have never been seen before."
"But how exactly do you intend to create these proud, noble soldiers as you say?" said the Colonel, seeming as though he was the only one not overly enthusiastic about Dr. Essex's proposal.
"Simple Colonel..." said Dr. Essex as he changed the slides to show what looked to be a sequence of events for carrying out this ambitious project, "We start off with two alpha class mutants...The younger the better. And using the advanced technology and research developed as a result of the Prodigy Project, we enhance their powers and physiology with my advanced bio-mutagenic accelerator."
"Wait...Bio-muta what?" said the Major, not being among the knowledgeable scientists present in the crowd.
"The bio-mutagenic accelerator," proclaimed Dr. Essex proudly as a slide of the elaborate apparatus appeared on the projection screen, "All the information and data gathered by the Prodigy Project has culminated in this marvelous machine and is the true fruits of all my many years of hard work."
"But what exactly does it do?" asked the General, curious at strange, yet advanced machine.
"There's...No easy way to explain it if you don't have a PHD in biology, genetics, and physiology," said Dr. Essex with a slightly humored grin, "But in retrospect...What it does is accelerate a regular alpha level mutation, which are the mutations that best show in all full blooded mutants. There are certain levels of intensity in alpha class mutants...But in any given specimen, the mutation is incomplete in a sense, which results in powers and abilities that are hard to control or not as strong as they could be. And what this machine does is take the X-gene that makes a mutant a mutant...And accelerate its growth and maturity, completing it to its full potency, giving the affected mutant the greatest possible power and control over his or her abilities. In addition, the gene is used to integrate a new level of functioning into the rest of the DNA sequence, enhancing every single cell from the neurons that make up the brain and nervous system to the muscles cells that give them strength and coordination. Every cell will be enhanced...Their mutant powers will be enhanced...But unlike previous projects like Weapon X and Prodigy, they will have the capacity to control these great powers and even manifest new ones depending on the X-gene."
"Sounds like a steroid for mutants," commented the Major.
"In a way...It is," said Dr. Essex with a laugh, "It will take an alpha class mutant and turn into a class of great power...Which I have appropriately dubbed the shadow class. Since there's no way such enhancement can be made my nature, it is a phenomenon that deserves a classification all its own."
Enhancing living beings to such a state of power seemed like something right out of science fiction, yet everybody present seemed very intrigued by the possibilities this could create. Soldiers of such great power could definitely do more than a regular human and the technology involved in accomplishing this seemed like something nobody had even dared to dream yet. Never the less, Dr. Nathanial Essex stood in a poise of confidence and knowledge, making certain that everybody present knew just how serious he was about this.
"Are you certain this machine will work?" said one of the scientists, still trying to go over the logistics in his head.
"But of course..." assured Dr. Essex, "All the trial, error, and adjustments have been made and fully calibrated thanks to the Prodigy Project."
"But then what do we do once we give these mutants such powerful enhancements?" asked one of the many officers present still looking over some of the slides that Essex had shown.
"That, my friends, is where the interesting part begins," continued Dr. Essex in a confident tone, "Once their powers are accelerated and optimized, then the subjects will undergo the most extensive training that anybody has ever gone through before. I'm talking intense, intense, intense! I'm talking training from the whole works...Army, Marines, Navy Seals, Special Ops, and Delta Force. We must train these soldiers in EVERY facet. That means proficiency in every kind of weapon from a gun to a nuclear bomb. That means proficiency in the most advanced forms of hand to hand combat every conceived my man. That means skills honed to perfection in dealing with interrogation, infiltration, stealth, computer hacking, flight, survival, assassination, extraction, emergency medical treatment, vehicle operation...EVERYTHING! This is the most advanced military on the face of the planet and we must train them with the most rigorous and advanced skills ever conceived so that when the time comes, they'll all be ready and willing to tear apart the enemy with their bear hands! Just remember...We are not creating weapons here...We are creating soldiers...Driven by loyalty, compassion, strength, honor, and valor."
"And just how do you intend to control these powerful, skilled soldiers that you say will not have any kind of mind alterations whatsoever?" quipped the Colonel, not sounding completely swayed just yet by the doctor's ambitious plans.
"That, Colonel...Is where your GURSO unit comes in," grinned Dr. Essex, almost as if he had known the exact statement the Colonel was going to make before hand.
"My GURSO unit?!" exclaimed the Colonel.
"Of course Colonel...They're perfect for the job," said Dr. Essex in a tone that seemed to silence the Colonel's harsh tone, "GURSO can't be deployed as long as mutants stay secret and they have all the necessary equipment in order to do the job...And keep in mind, many of the hardware they use comes from MY technology. It's simply a matter of checks and balance Colonel...One of the very principles our government was founded upon."
Many of the officers and scientists present looked quite impressed by such a proposal. It was like taking the ideas of Weapon X a step further towards creating the ultimate protection for the United States. Soldiers had long fought for this country and protected it in times of crisis. From the American Revolution to World War II and Vietnam, it was the soldiers that mattered more...Not the weapons. And now, they all had a chance to do something truly amazing with the power and knowledge they had while leaving their mark on the secret history of the shadows of power.
"Not bad doctor..." said the General, looking back at the doctor with approval, "I have to say I'm impressed. It appears that you've done your homework on this."
"I was always a good student, General," smiled Dr. Essex.
"So it seems," added the Major, "So this would mean that the science division would handle the mutagenic aspect and the military division would handle the training?"
"For the most part, yes," answered Dr. Essex, who still had an ace up his sleeve, "But with one added twist that I have not yet mentioned."
"And what might that be?" asked the Colonel suspiciously.
Dr. Essex was getting rather annoyed with the Colonel's pestilent presence since he didn't seem to trust him in the slightest, but knowing he was only one in a sea of many that were already putty in his hands, he shrugged such attitude off, not letting it get in the way of this great feat he had worked so hard on for longer than anybody could possibly imagine.
"While the military will train these soldiers in every possible manner," said Dr. Essex as he grabbed hold of a folder that he had kept under the podium for this very special occasion, "I believe that if we are to bring these powerful soldiers to another level of sophistication and efficiency...They're going to need somewhat of a mentor in their lives."
"A mentor?" said the Major, "What kind of a mentor?"
"The kind that knows everything there is to know about the kind of work that they'll be doing," explained Dr. Essex as everybody eyed the folder he now held in his hands, "Keep in mind, Shadow Cell will operate outside of many traditional rules since in many ways...They won't exist. Therefore, they will operate not only as soldiers, but as...Well, more like employed mercenaries for lack of a better word."
"Mercenaries?" said the Colonel, not liking his use of the word one bit, "What do you mean by mercenaries?"
"Calm down Colonel," coaxed Dr. Essex, still undaunted by the reaction he got from that word, "I simply mean to say that if our soldiers are going to operate outside the box...They must have a mentor who operates the same way. And what better person operates in such a way than a mercenary?"
"Wait..." said the Major, stopping the doctor before he could go any further, "Surely you're not suggesting that we let our own soldiers be trained by people like Deadpool or Bullseye?"
"Oh of course not Major," said Dr. Essex with a light hearted laugh, showing that he was truly not worried about such a notion, "Mercenaries like that have no place in teaching soldiers. What we need is a mercenary with more subtlety...One who has a greater sense of personal honor rather than eccentric maliciousness."
"Well then who do you have in mind?" asked the general.
"One of the best in the world," said Dr. Essex with a grin as he tossed the folder onto the table for the lead officers and scientists to read.
The Colonel was the first to see the contents of the folder. It contained what looked like fuzzy pictures and criminal records written in several different languages. But in these pictures, an ominous image looked back at them that would have sent chills down the spine of one who was feeble. They showed a large, imposing woman with short blonde hair, sporting an all black outfit with a large trench coat and holsters strewn across her body. She looked quite tall for a woman, but she was very well built...Almost molded to perfection in a way as her presence in the picture prompted an instant reaction among those familiar with her ominous name.
"Doctor...Is this..." began the General, but the doctor soon cut him off.
"Olivia Noriscovich..." proclaimed Dr. Essex in an undaunted tone, "But she's better known to the rest of the world as Magnum."
The rest of the officers pooled over her papers, reading up on this dark and mysterious woman's exploits. Some already knew of her...Others hadn't and they were met with some rather chilling details as they read the vast collection of reports that spanned back over a decade.
"Good Lord..." said the Major, who was one of those who was unfamiliar with this woman.
"Indeed..." said Dr. Essex with a humored grin, finding some of their reactions to be almost funny in a way, "Magnum...A mercenary and a fighter in a class all her own. She's been in the top ten of Russia, SHIELD, and Interpol's most wanted list 13 years running. She speaks multiple languages, has hundreds of kills to her credit including prominent political figures, has mastered every single form of hand to hand combat ever conceived by man, and is refuted to be the greatest gunslinger who ever walked the face of the planet. She always carries a 44 caliber magnum that she made herself with adamantium parts and she's operated pretty much every firearm imaginable."
"You can't be serious doctor..." said the Colonel, who was beginning to think that this man was a few beakers shy of a chemistry set, "Why her? Why this raving psycho who by all accounts should be rotting in a Russian Gulag?"
"Because Colonel...She is one of the best," answered Dr. Essex simply, "She's a perfect mentor for our soldiers. She was born into the Russian Mafia, she was trained and taught by former KGB agents, and has been a tried and true killer all her life. She is the creator and master of the most advanced fighting style on Earth, which she has coined CQC, or close quarters combat. On top of that...She has NEVER failed at what she does. No matter who she is supposed to kill or what she is supposed to accomplish...She manages to succeed and allows absolutely nothing stand in her way and that's exactly the kind of efficiency that Shadow Cell needs. I have spoken to this woman personally and she has everything we're looking for. She's loyal, trustworthy, and she knows how to keep a level head. She's perfect for the job...Nobody else could possibly fit the profile of everything we need these soldiers to be."
"But how do you expect this very dangerous, not to mention very elusive, mercenary to agree to be a part of this?" asked the General, who seemed to follow the doctor's logic while other officers were still trying to process this proposal, "I'm familiar with Magnum's history and I know she doesn't like to mess around."
"Do not concern yourself with that, General...I have taken care of it and I have already arranged for Magnum's complete cooperation with this project," assured Dr. Essex, his poise not skipping a beat.
"And just how did you manage to do that?" said the Colonel suspiciously.
"Simple Colonel," replied the doctor, "I made her an offer too good to turn down. As you are probably aware, she is currently on the run after her last assassination of a prominent political figure in England. Currently, she needs asylum, safety, and the one thing that all mercenaries crave...Money. Now don't worry about her hefty fees...I can easily pay her with plenty of money from my own pocket. Just trust me on this one, I have already spoken to her and she has already lent her complete support to this project."
"And all she wants in return is money and a safe asylum here in the states?" said the Major as he looked over some of Magnum's shady history.
"Among other things Major," answered Dr. Essex, "She was also quite intrigued at the opportunity that I presented her. Like I said before, this is a woman with a sense of honor and pride and being the one to teach and train the greatest soldiers ever conceived by humanity is something that she has clearly taken a great interest in."
"But how do we know she won't backstab us?" inquired the Colonel, still noticeably skeptical, "She's a mercenary for crying out loud!"
"You need not concern yourself with that Colonel...For I can personally assure you of Magnum's complete loyalty and cooperation," assured Dr. Essex with full confidence, "She's currently on the run and is in need of a place to hide from the numerous law enforcement agencies that want her captured dead or alive. And as long as she's with Shadow Cell, no one can touch her. She has a strong incentive just as we do...And she will do her part as long as we do ours."
With those final words, Dr. Essex turned off the projector and flipped the lights back on. All eyes were now on him as he looked back at the vast array of powerful names that he now had in the palm of his hand. It was clear that they were all intrigued by this proposal and each one of them had their own reason for wanting to be a part of it. Dr. Essex knew that this would be one of the most ambitious black programs ever carried out by this or any government. They had their stake in it...While Dr. Essex had his own.
"So there you have it ladies and gentlemen...Project Shadow Cell...The program to create the ultimate soldiers to protect and safeguard this country and all the freedoms we hold dear," proclaimed Dr. Essex as he stood before his colleagues, ready to make the final push to bring this dream of his to life...This dream that he had worked on for longer than anybody could have possibly imagined, "Now make no mistake about it...The world is becoming a very dangerous place. The Cold War may be over...But more countries hate America now more than ever. Whole nations throughout the Middle East have declared a holy war against this country and every living soul within it. The Russian Mafia is selling some of the most advanced and deadly hardware to terrorist and militia organizations throughout the world at bargain basement prices. Drug cartels in Latin America are exacting an increasing level of influence on both government and society while bringing forth untold violence and bloodshed. Rogue nations are pursuing chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons with unbridled determination. Dictators are turning their own people against us...Militias on every continent seek to destroy us...And let's not forget the terror cells that operate within our own country."
Dr. Essex's voice and tone garnered the full attention of all those present, for nobody could deny the truth in his words. The whole world ran with rivers of blood and animosity. So many people fought to bring terror and fear to the masses and yet there were so little resources to deal with them all. Yet despite this, there was a definite level of hope in the doctor's tone as he felt their eyes on him, watching with great ambition as he kept presenting to them an opportunity too good to pass up.
"Now don't think that I am not aware of the situation everybody here is in right now," said Dr. Essex, going in for what he hoped to be the key card he would use to get all the support he needed, "I know that you all don't exactly have the cleanest records. Many of you have been reprimanded for numerous infractions...Some of which I'd rather not go into. But you all have one thing in common...The desire to exact your true influence. Now Shadow Cell will compete head to head with Colonel Nick Fury and SHIELD as well as every other major intelligence, law enforcement agency, and weapons program. And if it is a success...Then no level of the government will be able to deny our efficiency and prowess."
These last words triggered a fury of discussions among the scientists and officers as they considered what Dr. Essex was offering. Because of unclean records, many of the individuals present were stuck in their current position...Unable to forge ahead. Yet with this shady program...They could one up the government that was holding them all back, keeping them in the woodworks until they got tired of handling them. Even the Colonel couldn't deny the truth within the doctor's words even though there remained a lingering amount of suspicion. Never the less, from the looks of it, Dr. Essex was giving them all an opportunity too good to pass up and for a shot at true glory...Many of them couldn't afford to let it pass them by.
"So there you have it..." proclaimed Dr. Essex proudly as the chatter began to lessen, "My proposal...Project Shadow Cell...Now lays before you. The money in the vast black budget already has a remote facility in upstate New York slated to be the headquarters of this whole operation. The endless resources at our disposal are there and waiting...Needing only the consent of those standing before me to set it into action. You all may not be in absolute favor with the higher ups back in Washington...But with the help of this project, we will show them all what we're capable of! It's either that...Or you can stay Nick Fury's prison bitch for the rest of your careers...The choice is yours."
Dr. Essex watched as the scientists and officers discussed the critical matter at hand. He had said everything he needed to say and he had given them everything they needed to know...Well, almost everything. Nathanial Essex was an enigma in a class of his own to all those who knew him. His mystery was matched only by his dark demeanor, but nobody could deny his brilliance. This man knew what he was talking about and he had knowledge and expertise that was decades ahead of it's time. What he was proposing was very ambitious...But the possible rewards and benefits were simply too great to ignore.
"Well what do you think Colonel?" said the Major as he and the General leaned inward to silently discuss their choice with the other officers.
"I think this guy is a little off the wall," said the Colonel, still not sounding very fond of the doctor who had seemingly captivated everyone with his vast knowledge and ambitious plans.
"No one is refuting that Colonel, but you can't deny the man's brilliance," said the General, who had more influence than the Colonel, "He has knowledge and know how the likes of which nobody in his field has. He's headed black projects before and what he is proposing had the potential to finally balance out the power structure in the military community."
"But this project is full of too many unknowns!" exclaimed the Colonel under his voice, "We can't afford to get into something this ambitious and fail...It will be the end of us!"
"And if it succeeds, it will give the higher ups something to think about when considering the safety and protection of this country," said the General, "Besides...You know as well as I do that we can't have Nick Fury as the undisputed godfather of national interests. There needs to be balance and I know just as well as you do that we all have plenty to grudges with Fury and other organizations out there that don't want anything to do with us."
This seemed to silence the Colonel as he looked completely outvoted and outnumbered in his stance on this project.
"The safety of this nation comes first, Colonel," said the General, feeling as though he had made his decision, "And if it's at all possible to enhance that safety, even if it means breaking a few rules, then we must seize the opportunity while we have the chance."
"But what if this guy backhands us?" said the Colonel, still suspicious as he looked back at the shady doctor still standing confidently at the podium.
"We'll keep an eye on him Colonel...Nobody goes unwatched in our field, you know that," assured the General, "And because you're GURSO unit will be such a vital part of this project, then maybe you would be best suited for this job."
"What do you mean?" asked the Colonel.
"I mean...You would be one of the critical heads of this project," said the General, "I'll be busy keeping Washington on our side, but you would be perfect for maintaining a balance with Dr. Essex. Now whether you like the man or not is not my concern...But what we must remember is that this could be our one big hope towards breaking the chains that are holding us down...And with or without you, I want to move ahead."
It was not everything the Colonel expected, but it was a good compromise for them all. If he had the capabilities to balance out the doctor's influence, then it would definitely help him sleep easier at night. With one last glance at Dr. Essex and his rather sinister demeanor, the Colonel gave the general one last approving nod, making his choice clear as the all those present appeared ready to state their final decision.
"Dr. Essex..." said the General as he stood up, bringing everybody's attention back towards the front podium, "I think we have made a decision...And we choose to hereby go ahead with Project Shadow Cell. However, we do have one minor condition...The Colonel here must be given executive authority with the project heads and is to retain his power over the GURSO unit as a policing force of whoever and whatever is involved with this project. Do you accept these terms?"
"Hmm...Sounds like a fair deal," said Dr. Essex, not daunted by this, only feeling annoyed that he would have to contend with the ever unscrupulous Colonel, but this didn't matter to him...Not with the big plans he had brewing for this most ambitious project, "I accept."
"Very well then Doctor..." said the General with an approving glance towards him and the rest of the scientists and officers present, "I shall get right on setting up the black budget while the protocols for instantiating a new program are initiated."
"I'm already one step ahead of you on that one, General..." grinned Dr. Essex as he tossed the General and the rest of his new subordinates another folder, "Everything is already set up and the facility needs only a few modifications before we get started."
"That's good to hear...The quicker we get started, the better," said the General.
"Just one more question though, Doctor," said the Colonel, ever the balancing force in this matter, "How exactly do you plan to find the first two alpha mutants to go through this project anyhow?"
Doctor Nathanial Essex merely shot the Colonel a sinister grin, as if he had known exactly what he had been thinking before he even said it. His mood now shifted towards one of renewed excitement, for the specimens for this most ambitious project were among the most coveted aspects of his true goals with this project.
"I've already arranged that Colonel," said the doctor as he presented him and the General with two ominous sheets of paper, each one portraying and describing a young mutant no older than 10, "I have been watching over these two for many years...I have kept track of them for so long now and they have absolutely everything I'm looking for."
"Wait a minute...These look like kids!" exclaimed the Colonel, "How do you expect to turn kids into soldiers?!"
"By starting them off at a tender young age, Colonel," grinned Dr. Essex with a great deal of intent in his words, "They both have amazingly strong potential...They both have everything I need. They are both orphans and have rather dark lives, so extracting them won't be a problem...I assure you of that. Just leave it to me...With what I have planned and the steps I have already taken, they will become the most powerful soldiers we can muster. They will be the bread and butter of the most ambitious project ever assembled by this or any other nation. They will be the first...But hopefully not the last...Soldiers of Shadow Cell."
Having no other word to go on other than the doctor's, the fate of the two young children described on their papers were left to Doctor Nathanial Essex. Everybody else would have their part in carrying out this most ambitious of projects...But the doctor who conceived it would be the one to handle the most important aspects of it whether his superiors liked it or not. But no matter how confident he seemed...Nobody could deny the very sinister undertone to this man's demeanor. However, as he held the images of his first two test subjects Shadow Cell in his hand, Dr. Essex took a moment to look away from all his colleagues as his eyes flashed an ominous red color when nobody was looking as he grinned at the images he was soon to extract and mold to establish his true and ultimate goals. They were two very familiar names...Ones that he had been more influential with than he had let on...Yet they were still young children. And even though nobody knew Dr. Essex's true reasons for wanting them...He was completely intent on bringing forth and using the two young mutants known as Scott Summers and Jean Grey as the first major stepping stone to fulfill his very sinister plans.
AN: There you have it! The first chapter of "Sinister Soldiers!" Ominous is it not? Nathanial Essex, or Mr. Sinister as you all know him, is planning something very big! And whatever it is, Scott and Jean look to be a big part of it. This is only the beginning folks! A prelude to something much bigger! So what do you all think? Do you want to read more and see where this story goes? Please tell me! Send me your reviews via email or post them on the fanfiction website! I don't care what you do as long as you REVIEW! Thanks a lot for reading everybody and I wish you all the best!
IT HAS BEGUN! SO PLEASE BEGIN TO REVIEW!