Hello! I'm back with my next story, exploring the origins of Slade as he seeks to rebuild his shattered reputation as one of the DCU's most dangerous villains (hope that he doesn't succeed)! So in essence, this is two stories in one. I might continue this as a series: I already have ideas for the Joker, Lex Luthor and Scarecrow.
Although I have done much research into his comic book character on the Internet, my interpretation will inevitably deviate from the comics, largely because I don't have access to the comics myself, and I want to account for his behaviour in the animated series (which really screwed him over). I don't think the series did him justice because originally, he was more of an antihero and seriously kicked ass. I'm writing this fanfic to set the record straight as to what kind of person he really is, and why he is one of the greatest comic book villains of all time. I hope this portrayal remains true to his character.
A warning: this fanfic contains strong language and disturbing images. You know, like Mannequin.
I hope you enjoy it.
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Teen Titans or Deathstroke the Terminator.
A grave affair of state;
It is a place
Of life and death,
To survival and extinction. Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Born to Kill: Deathstroke
Chapter 1: Escape from Abadan
Slade typed away at his supercomputer at his last remaining hideout, determined to find a new way to defeat the Titans. He had definitely seen better days. Once, he'd had control of several underground factories that had churned out hundreds of advanced Slade-bots, giving him a private army that required minimal maintenance and were completely loyal to him. His name had inspired fear and dread amongst even the most seasoned of superheroes. He had even taken control of the whole city once.
But all of that had started to fall apart when he first went up against the Teen Titans. He'd had his eye on Robin for a while, eager to remodel him as his apprentice; his corruption would have been a serious blow to the Titans' morale. But his indomitable spirit and resolve to serve the cause of justice had been stronger than Slade had anticipated, and so he had been forced to retreat, his hideout in ruins, and his secret identity almost revealed.
His luck had not improved the second time around, either. The geomancer Terra had been an eager agent in trying to destroy her former friends, almost succeeding, but at the last second had betrayed him and thrown him off a precipice toward a fiery grave, his other hideout lost to a volcanic eruption.
It should have been the end of him. But he had made a Faustian bargain with the demon Trigon to serve him and in exchange the demon would restore him back to life. But once again, he had been betrayed and left to rot in the midst of the apocalypse. But he had overcome all the odds, and had helped the Titans send Trigon to his doom.
Fighting the Teen Titans was indeed very costly. He had only one hideout left, his fortune nearly gone, his resources limited, but his numerous defeats made him all the more determined to finally destroy his stubborn enemies. Once he had made a vow, he stuck to it, and no force from heaven or hell would be able to change his mind. But there was one noticeable change in Slade: after the Trigon debacle he had resolved to strengthen his code of ethics. If he had learned anything, it was that a bad code got you into a whole world of trouble. Sending one of his robotic duplicates to order Beast Boy to leave an amnesiac Terra alone had been an attempt to redeem his sense of honour.
But that changed nothing. They were still his enemies. And they would fall by his hand. Sooner or later.
Finally, he came across something. He had hacked into the Searchers, Inc. website, an organisation specialising in research and espionage. There was always plenty to find there. One job and name caught Slade's eye. Concerning a new substance. Underneath the mask his mouth stretched into a grin. Within seconds, he had formulated a complex plan that would not only solve his money woes but also serve to finally achieve his ultimate goal.
He got to work, readying his remaining robots, perfecting his plans and doing his homework on his target. He had no one to help him. He worked alone. But it had not always been like that…
20 Years Earlier, Abadan, Iran.
Slade cursed his rotten luck. True, he was a pretty gung-ho, hands on guy, but not this gung-ho and hands on.
Major Slade Wilson, a long-time member of the United States Navy SEALs, had been sent on what was, for all intents and purposes, a suicide mission. He was currently taking cover from inside an abandoned mud-brick house while Iranian soldiers fired bullets and mortars at his position. The Iran-Iraq War was now in full swing, and after a successful first few months of invasion, Iraq's advances had stalled at the city of Abadan, and Iran was sending wave after wave of conscript soldiers that were beginning to take its toll on the Iraqis. Because the USA supported Iraq (and was making big profits in selling guns to both sides), a small team of elite soldiers had been sent by General Sampson to assist the Iraqis and help keep the war going. Of course, the soldiers were never told anything about the dealing.
Or that they had been ordered to their deaths.
A stray bullet struck the edge of Slade's helmet, knocking it clean off. His crystal blue eyes widened in surprise, but ever vigilant, he instantly dropped to the ground and crawled into the devastated lounge to retrieve his helmet. Covered in rubble and dust, he picked it up and replaced it on top of his handsome, short blond hair. Inside the lounge, Private Dylan came up from amongst a group of three American troopers huddled against the wall, all wearing the same sandy brown combat fatigues.
"Slade! What are we gonna do? Any second now, they'll surround us! We're screwed!"
Slade silently agreed. Most of the Iraqi Army had been forced back as far as three miles and the ones that were still here were beginning to fall like flies. Worst of all, their radio had been destroyed in the last firefight. But he had nerves of steel honed over years of combat all over the world, and nothing ever made him worry or give up.
"Pull yourself together, you're supposed to be a SEAL, so act like one, dammit!" said Private Perlman harshly.
"We need to think of something fast, those ragheads will bust through the barricade shortly." said Private Plisskin. "Any ideas?"
Slade, ever the practical one, simply fired his M16 rifle, made a circle of bullet holes in the mud-brick wall, and kicked it outward onto the parched garden.
Everyone quickly filed out, Plisskin muttering about how he "was thinking of doing that."
Two Iranian soldiers came around the house and were promptly gunned down by Dylan. But the commotion quickly attracted more soldiers who came around both sides of the house, cursing them in Persian, and forcing the Americans to run through a hole in a half-collapsed brick wall, Plisskin and Dylan on the left, Slade and Perlman on the right of the gap.
"How far to the river?" shouted Slade above the deafening smattering of bullets against the wall.
"I'd say about a full klick." Perlman shouted back, turning for a split second to pick off a stray enemy soldier. "We'd never make it with these ragheads breathing down our necks, though."
"Then let's lose 'em." grunted Plisskin, pulling the pin off a fragmentation grenade with his teeth, waiting a few seconds, then lobbing it over the wall.
There was some frantic, incomprehensible yelling and curses, then a large explosion showered the area behind the SEAL's side of the wall with rubble, soil and shrapnel. But the Americans didn't check for casualties, using the distraction to run, duck, weave and cover themselves as they manoeuvred through the ghost city. Ever since the war had started, most of the city's population of over 400,000 had fled further east out of harms way. Only soldiers and civilians-turned-guerrillas remained.
But Slade was a master of guerilla warfare, and knew every explicit detail of how to counter the moves of every would-be sharpshooter. In fact, he was the best in the SEALs. He lead them through the empty city, using every possible hiding place to their advantage.
Only one person had ever bested him…
A single, loud bang echoed in the street as the SEALs neared the Shatt al-Arab river.
The SEALs halted behind an abandoned truck. Dylan looked as if he was about to say something, but then keeled over and fell to the concrete, bleeding profusely from his chest.
Plisskin quickly checked Dylan while the others searched for the sniper. Problem was, they were in a street full of apartment buildings and there were hundreds of windows to choose from.
Plisskin crawled back to the others to convey the bad news.
"He's dead." Plisskin said in a low monotone.
There was a solemn moment of silence, broken by Perlman. "We don't have time for this bullshit! The ragheads are right on our tails!"
Slade saw a flash of movement in the apartment building above them. He took careful aim and fired a single shot.
Fifteen stories above them, a black figure fell from the window and landed on top of the truck with a loud thud.
Plisskin was impressed. "Where'd you learn to shoot like that?"
"At the NRA." Slade said. It was impossible to tell if he was serious or not.
"How good are you?" asked Perlman.
"Put an apple on your head sometime, and then you'll see." replied Slade.
A hail of gunfire from the other side of the street broke up the conversation. The Iranian battalion had just caught up with them.
Everyone ran inside the apartment building just as the truck exploded from an Iranian grenade, smashing all the windows and forced Perlman to the floor just as Slade and Plisskin got behind the secretary's desk. His back needled with glass shards, Perlman tried to get back up, but was gunned down by several soldiers who had just entered through the still-burning doorway.
Slade and Plisskin returned fire with a vengeance for their fallen friend. But with every soldier they killed, two more seemed to appear to take their place, and the entire atrium was about to be overrun.
Slade seethed with hatred and fury. It was all too clear that Sampson had ordered them to this hellhole to perish. He had always been that much of an asshole. But the thing that really pissed him off was that the bastards shooting and killing them were using the exact same American weaponry that they were using! The same pistols, rifles, kevlar, grenades, even the ammunition was identical!
The Iranians lobbed four grenades over the desk. Slade and Plisskin scrambled out of the way and made a dash for the hallway, but Plisskin was caught between the soldiers and Slade. The bullets shredded him to pieces all over the hallway just as the grenades destroyed the atrium.
Slade zig-zagged across the hallway before jumping through the window at the end. Everything was a blur. All his teammates were dead, he was alone with no radio, no backup and to cap things off, he was nearly out of ammo. He focused solely on running down the narrow backstreets.
He was very close to the river now. It was literally just across the street.
Which was now a minefield.
Slade swore under his breath. He could hear the soldiers yelling and running toward him. Thinking fast, he picked up a trashcan and threw it onto the street.
Fortunately for him, the mines had been placed very close to one another, so one detonation set them all off in a chain reaction. Slade's instincts screamed for him to run for the river but he thought better of it. He'd be totally exposed with nowhere to hide. He was running out of options by the second.
The Iranians arrived at the crater that was once their road, but found no sign of the infidel invader. The leader barked out orders, and they began to fan out and search the area, poking through garbage, peering through windows and taunting Slade in harsh Persian.
Slade held his rifle to his head behind a ancient looking stove in an abandoned, dusty kitchen. He knew this was the end. There were too many of them, and they would find him any second and kill him. Plain and simple. But not without a fight.
Just as he was prepared to throw himself into the enemy, the loud clatter of M16s once again filled the streets and began to mow down the Iranians. Taken by surprise, they attempted to find cover, but found the street devoid of anything to hide behind. Only a lucky handful managed to jump through the windows and make a run for it, but the majority were peppered with blood and lead.
Slade sighted a patrol boat float into view nearby, the US Naval Ensign flag fluttering in the wind, with the thirteen red and white stripes, yellow snake and the words "DON'T TREAD ON ME" in bold black letters.
"Come on out, Slade! The coast is clear!" shouted a familiar voice.
Slade came out casually, but couldn't hide the grin. "Wintergreen, you old seadog! Took you long enough!"
"I apologize, but Sampson held me up." Wintergreen shouted back, with an air of distain regarding the treacherous general. "Where are the others?"
"They didn't make it."
Wintergreen bowed his head down gravely. "Sampson has a lot to answer for. Hurry up and get on board, we'll cover you." He nodded to the two men in the machine gun turrets on the deck.
Slade scrambled onboard and embraced Wintergreen warmly. William Randolph Wintergreen was an old friend of Slade, literally and figuratively speaking. He looked to be in his mid fifties, with a greying and receding was slightly wrinkled and appeared deceptively frail, but he was one of the navy's most experienced marines and a decent sharpshooter. Ever since they had first meet at Camp Washington base, they had been thick as thieves, despite the fact that Wintergreen came from a distinguished British aristocratic family, while Slade hailed from far more modest backgrounds.
Wintergreen turned to the man behind the controls. "Alright skipper, we have Slade, let's move out! I don't want to stay any longer than I need to."
The skipper nodded, and steered the patrol boat out towards the Persian Gulf. Wintergreen lowered his voice and wispered in Slade's ear: "I have information that you'll be interested in. Information…" he handed a file over to his comrade, "…that will hopefully get our dear old friend Sampson court-martialed. Here are the papers."
Slade, who was still depressed over the loss of his comrades, instantly began to cheer up as he leafed through them. "Wintergreen, how did you get this?"
The old man smirked. "I learned all the tricks of the trade at NIS."
Slade finished reading and closed the file, grinning like the devil. "That bastard's about to get deep fried. Medium-rare."
Yes, Slade is way out of his usual character. But remember, this is before he became the world's greatest mercenary. I had to rewrite a lot of his background so that it would fit more effectively with the animated series and our present timeline. For instance, I think he first saw combat in Korea in the 1950's in the comics, and I'm sure he wasn't a Navy SEAL (but an elite soldier squad would have been right up his alley). General Sampson was in the comics, and from what little I've gleaned, he was indeed an asshole, and sent Slade and Wintergreen on suicide missions. Wintergreen was originally in the British Army and served in MI5 and was aristocratic in manner. As for Slade, I don't know his pre-soldier background. But he did lie about his age to join the army (he was 15).
In case you didn't know, Perlman is a reference to the actor who voices Slade in the animated series. Plisskin refers to Snake Plisskin from the cult classic Escape from New York, who acts in a manner not unlike Deathstroke.
Oh., and by the way, NIS stands for Naval Investigative Service. It would be later renamed NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) in 1992. Yup, it's a real agency, and not just a CSI ripoff!
I have some more stories planned for 2009 which I hope you'll enjoy. Merry Christmas to everyone, and a happy new year!