Project Zero-13 | A Work in Progress

{ 744 words began Jan 7, 2010 }

Stirred by the furtive movements of what was likely a rodent of some kind sniffing about in the foliage that surrounded him, the man awoke with a slight disorientation while lying under a bed of leaves, mud and twigs.  Vivid images of the dream he was having still lingered in his mind.  Like most dreams it was not an exact documentary of actual events, although inspired by them.  Instead it deviated from the script, as dreams often did.  A certain degree of surrealism had replaced realism.  Just before he was awakened, he had experienced the dream’s unscripted happy ending which was in direct contrast to the real life events he experienced prior to arriving to these woods to elude capture from his unknown pursuers.

The happy ending was that he actually knew more than just his first name; that he knew exactly why he wore the strange costume, that underneath it was not some man that no one knew, and that he had the ability to speak.  Yet the truth was something straight out of a comic book.  Other than his first name and general sentience, he did not know those answers.

The man sat up and surveyed the dark woods.  He noticed a pair of curious raccoons retreat away from him.

His mind was a blank slate and physically he just felt a certain kind of strangeness.  Lacking the ability to speak was certainly a concern.  Yet his natural senses were keen.  He somehow knew that he was still being hunted.

As he stood up and started brushing off the leaves and mud, an image flashed in his mind.  Could it be a memory, distant or recent, or was it just more dream residue?  He didn’t get much time to debate the matter because he heard a helicopter approaching fast.

He used his quick reflexes to spring into action.  He leaped into the trees, moving from one to the other with swift and canny movements.  His speed and strength were remarkable.  And so was his hearing because despite the distance he increased, he could hear his pursuers.

Blue Team Five to Mother One, we’ve regained visual on Project: Zero-13.

He dropped down from the trees when he reached a clearing.  He experienced a flash of images, a mental sequence.  It had to be a memory.  He saw himself in great distress as men in white lab coats prodded and probed him with unknown instruments that delivered pain.

Before continuing his escape he glanced back into the vast woods and despite their darkness, he could see his pursuers.  There were several of them, maybe seven on foot and their infrared tracking strobes pierced through the darkness in random angles.  When the helicopter arrived above him, he peered up at it and counted another three men inside it.  Infrared tracking strobes beamed at him from above.

With unimaginable reflexes he turned to make a hasty escape but despite his swiftness, his pause had given the recovery team too much of an advantage.  The next thing he knew he was covered in fiber netting that prevented any further progress no matter how much he struggled.  He felt a piercing pain as hypodermic darts were shot into him from behind.  Almost immediately he lost consciousness.

# # #

The man regained consciousness laying flat on his back upon a lab table, but he was severely disoriented and could not move.  But he could hear and smell just fine.  He smelled formaldehyde most of all.

Thank you for returning him to us relatively unharmed and intact, Lieutenant Colonel. Please extend my thanks to your men.  I don’t need to tell you how valuable Experiment Zero Thirteen is to us.  Or the powers-that-be on Capitol Hill.

Well, I’m not sure how you think dropping this—this super-hero in the middle of the Afghani desert is going to get the results they want.

That is why I am the scientist and you are, well, you. With all due respect, of course.  This hybrid will prove to be a formidable ally in our nation’s fight against terror, that elusive, faceless enemy which continues to threaten liberty the world over. The American people deserve to see their taxes payoff for something they actually support.

You sound more like a politician than a doctor.

Me, a politician?  Oh, heavens no, Lieutenant Colonel.  I’m far too intellectual to be a politician.  But believe me when I say that Project: Zero-13 will be a success.

{ not fin }

Written in January 2010

Copyright © 2010-2016 by Brandon L. Rucker. All Rights Reserved. | RuckerWrites | @RuckerWrites

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