Alright, so it seems I'm actually back to right something. This is a pretty short series, I expect - probably about four parts. It is the origin story for my character in an upcoming game of Mutants & Masterminds. As such, setting details are relatively light - think "generic superhero setting".
â€œBreak it up!â€ The shout echoed across the yard, as Sergeant Maxwell Hammer stormed across the yard, his formidable jaw clenched in annoyance as he looked over the twelve soldiers under his command to spot the ones currently engaged in a massive brawl. His voice rose easily over the din, but no one seemed inclined to listen to him - ducking as a jeep flew over his head to crash into the far wall, he swore bitterly and pressed a small button on his wristwatch.
Instantly, the battle ended in a chorus of grunts and invective, as all twelve soldiers collapsed to the ground. Releasing the button, Hammer glared at the group. â€œAlright, someone care to tell me what the hell was going on?â€
â€œCole started it.â€ grumbled Arland Black. The massive soldier rose to one knee, the faint hint of cybernetic muscles straining to reorient themselves after being suddenly and painfully disconnected audible just under his words. â€œHauled off and decked Jonas. I had to get involved.â€
Hammer turned his attention to the man in question. Jamie Cole was already most of the way to his feet, sneering at the other man. â€œJonas had it coming, jackass.â€ He cracked his neck ominously, looking around as if daring the others to disagree.
Hammer simply raised his eyebrow. â€œReally. Do tell.â€ Nearly everyone wilted under his glare. Even Jamie was momentarily taken aback, but he rallied almost immediately.
â€œSaid I wasnâ€™t tough enough to be here. Said he could take me any day.â€ He smiled grimly. â€œI said he was wrong, and he told me to prove. So I did.â€
Hammer looked over to Jonas Garcia. Whip-thin but well-muscled, the soldier was lying on his side, facing away from the others. â€œAnything to say for yourself?â€
â€œNot likely, sir. Heâ€™s not conscious.â€ Sarah Brooks, a fourth recruit, knelt by the man, ignoring the thin line of blood dribbling down her chin. â€œHeâ€™s got fractured ribs, maybe some spinal damage, and I think his cybernetics overloaded.â€ She shot an annoyed look up at Jamie, who shrugged without concern. If anything, his smile became broader and nastier.
â€œLovely.â€ Shaking his head, Hammer looked at her. â€œAnd how exactly did you come to be involved in that little fracas?â€
Brooks shrugged. â€œWhen Black and Jackson went after Cole, Simon backed him up. I owe Simon.â€
â€œOf course you do.â€ Hammer rubbed his forehead. â€œAnd pretty soon, all twelve of our highly trained, extremely expensive prototype super-soldiers were brawling like a bunch of playground kids.â€ Glancing behind him, he quickly amended, â€œPlayground kids who can throw cars around. Fine. If youâ€™re going to behave like children, Iâ€™ll treat you that way. Consider yourselves confined to quarters until tomorrow.â€ He glared at the group. â€œAll of you. Jackson, Black, since you love escalating problems so much, you get to carry Garcia to the infirmary. Tell Colonel Dillenger exactly why another one of his extremely expensive soldiers is down.â€ He spun away. â€œDismissed!â€
As the group scattered, most of them glaring at Arland and Jamie interchangeably, Jamie slowed down his pace to match Sarahâ€™s. â€œThanks for the assist, Sarah. I really appreciate it.â€ He tried to keep his smile from turning into a leer. He was pretty sure heâ€™d almost managed it.
â€œScrew you, Cole. I just wanted to get back at Garcia.â€ She muttered.
â€œAww, câ€™mon, donâ€™t be like that.â€ Jamie grabbed Sarahâ€™s shoulder. â€œWeâ€™re the few, the proud, the upgraded. That counts for something, right?â€
â€œIt sure does.â€ Sarah said slowly, turning her head to look at him. â€œIt means I count to three before I take your hand off, not one.â€
â€œRight. Sure.â€ Jamie took a step back, hands up defensively. â€œGeez, Sarah, just trying to be friendly. I mean it â€“ I owe you one.â€
â€œHmph.â€ Sara shook her head, storming away. Jamie sighed heavily. She did not like him. He just didnâ€™t get it â€“ he was strong, stronger than pretty much any of the guys around here, and they were the best of the best â€“ ten men and two women, cybernetically upgraded by the Army after being rescued from various court-martials and other disgraces and relocated here. Six months ago, there had been fifty soldiers in the camp, and the rest had failed and been mustered out bit by bit â€“ or hurt too badly in training exercises to keep going.
Jamie knew he was tough, and skilled. He was pretty sure it wouldnâ€™t be bragging to say he was handsome, too â€“ back home, before heâ€™d joined the Army, heâ€™d been able to get any girl he wanted, even with his reputation as a guy with a temper, a guy you didnâ€™t want to cross. But Sarah â€“ she was tough, too. Realy tough, and a heck of a lot smarter than him, and a looker to boot. How come, when he finally met someone he really wanted, she didnâ€™t want him? What was he missing, here?
Overcome with confusion, he shook his head and put the question from his mind. Better head to his bunk, or thereâ€™d be trouble. He wouldnâ€™t want Colonel Dillenger mad at him â€“ he was about the only person in the place that Jamie was afraid of.
The colonel in question was in the infirmary at that moment, his hair cropped back as usual, and his beard finely trimmed. Impatiently, he asked. â€œWell?â€
â€œOne of your boys was packing a weapon in that brawl.â€ Doctor Redhill, the Eris Projectâ€™s chief medical officer, pulled a thick pen from his pocket as he spoke, then removed his glasses and cleaned them on his shirt. Unconcerned with the man lying on the table, he returned the glasses and then made some notes on the x-rays lining the walls. â€œA pocket EMP device of some sort, I would guess. Dropped it right about here, at the base of the spine.â€ He shook his head. â€œIâ€™m terribly sorry, but Garcia isnâ€™t going to make much of a recovery. I donâ€™t think weâ€™ll be able to reconnect the legs without investing millions more, and theyâ€™ll never have full functionality.â€
Hammer shrugged. â€œI had Garcia pegged as a loser. I was surprised he made it this long.â€ He waved a hand dismissively. â€œIs he still unconscious?â€
â€œOh, yes. He will be for several hours, I expect.â€ Redhill replied.
â€œGood. Terminate him, and study the corpse.â€ Striding from the room, Dillenger added, â€œWe can use the information to improve our successful candidate.â€
â€œOf course, sir. Shall I inform the others that he has been transferred, as usual?â€ Dillenger didnâ€™t even bother to turn around before nodding, and Redhill turned back to the table. â€œVery well, then. Donâ€™t worry, my boy, this wonâ€™t hurt a bit.â€ He chuckled at his own joke, efficiently shutting down Garciaâ€™s cybernetic systems one by one. The soldier barely twitched as he died.