Project: Marvel – The Brotherhood

Chapter 1

By Christopher W. Blaine ()

DISCLAIMER: All of the characters and situations contained in this work of fiction are copyright 2009 by Marvel Entertainment Group and are used without permission for fan entertainment purposes only. This original story idea is copyright 2009 by Christopher W. Blaine.


Commanding Officers Log, Project: Marvel, Defenders Initiative

Colonel Nick Fury III reporting

The purpose of this log, as was told to me by my immediate superior, General Ross, was to ensure the ideas, thoughts and strategies of all commanding officers of the Defenders is passed down through the ages. One of the ideas that have come out of the government-funded think-tanks over the years was finding a way to document "tribal knowledge" that all commanding officers take with them when they either die, promote themselves into another position or retire.

The idea, of course, is not new. Prior to rejoining the military after my time with Delta, I had the pleasure of being head of security for Stark International. One of the concepts that all good manufacturers use is something called ISO, or International Standards Organization. These are more think-tank people who come up with ways to make organizations better at what they do. The program specific to Stark had something to do with documenting how they did things to ensure when Johnny the Rocket Scientist left for Stane or McDonald-Douglass, his replacement knew what was going on.

Seems like common sense. The navy has had the idea down for a long time, but it has taken awhile for the Department of Homeland Security, my ultimate master, to come to terms with the idea. Because of the volatile nature of the Defenders Initiative, there is a high chance I will be killed in action. Of course, I never listen to the odds. I guess I'm too much like some space-cowboy in a cheap movie to worry about things like that. There has been a Fury serving the United States since its inception. My grandfather was the famous Sgt. Fury, leader of the Howling Commandos. Listen to grandpa and he'd tell you it was more like the "horny and bitchin'" commandos, but that is a story for another time.

I suppose the best way to start this log is to introduce myself, the Defenders Initiative and why we even exist. This way, my positional ancestors can make some sort of argument as to why they are important when the government hatchet-men want to cut their budgets!

In 1940, the United States Army realized that war was inevitable. They knew the American people did not want to be involved, again, in "Europe's problems", but the president was adamant about fighting evil wherever it was. Roosevelt personally authorized several programs to begin research into developing a perfect soldier. He wanted the war over quickly and decisively, and he was afraid the common American man was simply too soft from years of economic hardship to face the crack veterans of Germany and Japan.

Side note: let's face it, nobody saw Italy as a real threat!

Project: Super-Soldier was the codename given to this effort and the United States received support from both Great Britain and Canada. Germany found out about the program and instituted their own. They assigned the name Red Skull to theirs and it was led by two Nazi intellectuals: Arnim Zola and Heinrich Zemo. So, what ended up was a pre-Cold War arms race to see who could create the perfect killing machine. By the time the US entered the war, it was obvious the Germans were far ahead of anything the allies were coming up with.

The reasons behind that have been speculated for decades. My degree is in military history and I have always been fascinated with this part of warfare. Project: Super-Soldier was nothing new. Look at the training of the ancient Spartans. The Praetorian Guard. Hell, even the Rough Riders. Every generation has their own idea of what the perfect fighting man is supposed to be. As we have progressed into the future, we have tried to use technology to supplement human failing because we were not willing to go the extra step and try to create something at the base level.

The Nazis had no qualms about this. Zola's work on human specimens makes Mengele look like the Tooth Fairy. He worked on men, women and children. He practiced experiments on fetuses and newborns. He did not care the cost in human life so long as his intellect was satisfied. This gave the Nazis a huge edge in the race. The United States worked a methodical pace, using the scientific method. The Nazis used what would later be called the Zola Protocols.

Germany also shared their technology with Japan, the thinking being they could keep more American forces tied up in the Pacific than in Europe. Germany did not want the fight with America until Europe and the Soviets were taken care of. This information exchange resulted in Japan creating monsters. There is no other word for it. They had no interest in super-soldiers; in their minds, samurai were already superior to anything the white man could ever conceive of.

Without going into even further detail, by 1942, the United States had some "prototype" super-soldiers ready to go. Most of them were insane and got killed on the battlefield almost immediately. One, however, did not. A black man named American Patriot. I can't even begin to imagine the political complications associated with having a non-white symbol of the perfect American soldier. Nobody cared if it was Jesse Owens that refuted the concept of the German Ubermensche, or Superman, in the Olympics. In the world of the 21st century where America can have an African-American president, race and color seem so unimportant.

But World War II happened before Dr. King and Malcolm X. The American Patriot was used by the government and resented by the people of his own country. He fought the Red Skull along with his partner, Battlestar. Even my grandfather worked with him over in Europe.

There were others as well. An android called the Human Torch and his partner, Toro. An alleged Atlantean prince named Namor. Miss America. Union Jack. The Whizzer. Weapon X. All of these were the special weapons the Allies used in both physical and propaganda warfare. Then, suddenly, in 1945, it was over. The heroes disappeared. Within two decades, the public had become convinced it was all a publicity stunt. American Patriot and Battlestar were reduced to fictional, stereotypical comic relief. Ignorant negro soldiers who often got mixed up in missions where calm and collective white officers had to rescue them.

My grandfather was ashamed of the fact my father, Nick Fury II, was a part of that. Working for the CIA during the Cold War, my dad worked very hard at creating a program if disinformation for the world at large about what were now labeled as "Marvels". The phrase was coined by a cub reporter for the Daily Bugle and was used to describe persons with super-human abilities. Later, the government broke these individuals down into further categories as evidence of their existence became apparent. My father was in charge of a special program to investigate and keep close watch on these persons. His work eventually culminated in a report presented to Congress that indicated after World War II, many of Arnim Zola's test subjects escaped prison. Some ended up on the Soviet side of the Iron Curtain, some ended up with us. Regardless, it appeared they were passing down unique genetic legacies to their offspring and slowly they were becoming a larger part of the overall world population.

My father was killed in the line of duty, battling a neo-Nazi group called Hydra. Hydra had been funding advances into Zola's research since 1946. Though Hydra was shut down, many of their top scientists escaped and formed a group called Advanced Idea Mechanics, or AIM. When I joined Delta Force as a young Captain in the Army, our primary function was to combat AIM on a global scale. Every major terrorist organization in the world was receiving some sort of support from AIM. At the beginning of the 21st century, a classified congressional report explained that unless the United States began looking into developing a Marvel-based protective service, we were open to terrorist attacks that would make the first few years of the new millennium look like a kid's party.

Under the Department of Homeland Security, General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross was given command over the Defenders Initiative. At the time I was just getting out of the military, my service to my country was over. Unlike my father, I had no intention of remaining in the clutches of Uncle Sam for the rest of my life. The fact that I ended up with an official letter of reprimand in my file, which cost me my promotion to colonel, also had a lot to do with this. While a member of Delta, I used my security clearance to attempt to access files on the American Patriot. I wanted to know what happened to him. I wanted to let the world know the man my grandfather had worked with was not a buffoon, but an honest-to-God American hero.

Howard Stark offered me a job the day he got my resume. It seems he had known my father and wanted to put someone in place around the same age as his son, Tony, who was due to take over the reigns of the company. The idea was being close in age we would become friends and Howard wanted Tony surrounded by people he could trust.

Working in the private sector has its perks. The money was great. The women were better. Travel with Tony Stark and you will find yourself knee-deep in the luxuries of the super-rich. The fact I got to carry a gun and hurt people made it all the sweeter.

Yet, deep inside, I am a Fury, and the Fury men have always answered Washington's calls. One of my ancestors fought alongside General George Washington. Another was a member of Lincoln's personal bodyguard and was actually killed during an assassination attempt that is still Top Secret because of who the assassin was. My great-grandfather was a simple private in World War I, yet was a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor after his death for his exploits against the Germans.

General Ross called me into his office not so long ago and offered me the position of field commander for the Defenders, a group of Marvels put together to counter the direct threat posed by the Brotherhood. All I knew about the Brotherhood at the time was they were a terrorist cell that had mainly battle the Russians over land rights and were based out of Latveria, a country so far refused entry into the United Nations.

Of course I told him no. He offered me full-bird colonel. I still refused. He offered me a military salary and pension and I replied with a resounding "hell, no". Then that cigar-smoking bastard appealed to my sense of patriotism. I love America. I may not always agree with the person in the White House or the officers appointed over me, but I love my country. I love a place where anybody can become anything. This is not just the land of dreams, it is the stuff of legends.

It is the place where a man named Abraham Lincoln, who failed at nearly everything he tried, became the one person able to hold the Union together.

This is the country where a pain-killer addicted war hero named John F. Kennedy resisted temptation to go to war against the Russians and solved the Cuban Missile Crisis without bloodshed.

Only in America would a president like Roosevelt would have the balls to make the government serve the people and get us out of the Great Depression while still making us stand up against evil in the world.

Think about the men and women who came out of obscurity to become legends of peace, goodwill and moral obedience: Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, Bobby Kennedy, and Thomas Jefferson.

American Patriot and Battlestar.

So, fellow and future commanders, you have it in a nutshell. I serve because I am called, just as do the other assigned to my team. Our job is to handle Marvel problems in a Marvel Universe.


Attachment to Commanding Officer's Log:

Field Commander, Colonel Nick Fury III (United States Army). Former Delta Force member with extensive knowledge of military history and tactics.

Hawkeye, Clint Barton (CIA). Classification: Marvel Techno. Trained in marksmanship while working in the circus, Barton was recruited by the CIA ten years ago. He has served as a black ops specialist in several countries. Armed with "trick" arrows, he has never failed in a mission.

USAgent, John Walker (United States Marine Corps). Classification: Marvel Enhanced. The United States revitalized the Project: Super-Soldier program four years ago. Walker is one of the few test subjects to have been able to make it through the program. Like many, he has developed mental instability that must be controlled through the use of drugs.

Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers (United States Air Force/NASA). Classification: Marvel Metahuman. The powerhouse of the team, transferred over from the Avenger Initiative, the purpose of which has not been revealed. It is suspected she is a spy for that branch of the government to see what we are up to. Powers include flight, super-strength, super-speed and high degree of invulnerability.

Punisher, Frank Castle (United States Marine Corps). Classification: Marvel Techno. The only information released about Castle is that Castle is not his real name. He has performed work for the Marines and the NSA. My suspicion is he has performed black ops on American soil, which, if revealed, would leave him open to criminal prosecution. He is allegedly familiar with every piece of military hardware ever created.

Misty Knight (NYPD). Classification: Marvel Enhanced. Misty was a homicide detective in New York who lost her arm in a terrorist attack. She was given a bionic one by the government in exchange for her services. She has spent the better part of the last few years conducting real investigations for the D0HS. She is considered one of the best detectives in the field. Officially, she is still on-loan from NYPD.

Daredevil, Matt Murdock (DOJ). Classification: Marvel Enhanced: Blinded in an accident involving unknown chemicals as a child, Matt Murdock possesses acute senses of hearing, touch and taste. He also claims to have developed a natural radar or sonar, much like a bat, that gives him a more clear view of the world than what normal persons would have. Trained as a lawyer, he served as a prosecutor for the government against terrorists. With his senses, he has also become a phenomenal fighter and acrobat.

Elsewhere...

Victor von Doom removed the earpiece, turned off the audio file his spy had sent him, and set the listening device down on the console. Before him was a computer with the memory capacity that rivaled the best NASA had to offer for its shuttle missions. Doom thought nothing of it except for the fleeting thought about how he could not wait to upgrade his project. The computer, like everything else in his personal villa that was technological in nature, had all been designed by him for him. Even the operating system was of his own design and had he chosen to market it, he could have dominated the marketplace with it.

But Doom was not interested in personal wealth or reputation as a great businessman. Doom wanted to rule the world.

He stepped out of his personal study, clad in the military-cut uniform of his station as ruler of the kingdom of Latveria. His android guards stood at attention as he walked past, their DNA scanners ensuring he was actually who he appeared to be and not an imposter. Should someone choose to impersonate him, as some of the mutants of the Brotherhood could, they would have been vaporized immediately by the android's internal weapons. There were many things you could do with high-intensity microwaves he told himself.

Exiting the private wing, he stepped through large wooden doors into a waiting room and library, where many of the Brotherhood spent their time between missions. It was the one room in the mansion that offered everything they desired in one spot. Large screen televisions covered the walls; all of them focused on 24 hour news channels, except for one. On that particular screen, the shape-shifting mutant known as Mystique was watching a horror movie. Every few moments, her form would shift to one of the characters in the film. It was her way of training.

Erik, the leader of the Brotherhood, was a mutant with the power over magnetism. He sat at a large table, pouring over maps with some of his top officers. Doom noted they were all mutants, but that was simply based on their ability to plan. The Brotherhood did not discriminate between human and non-human. Their goal was to establish a land where nobody was better than anyone else.

All of the members of the Brotherhood had suffered because of a government. Erik, Doom had learned, had watched his family murdered through ethnic cleansing. Mystique had been raped repeatedly as a child by a member of the Soviet Politburo. Emma Frost, the self-proclaimed White Queen, had been forced by MI5 to use her abilities to hunt down terrorists and then had to endure the pain of their deaths because of her psychic links. Ororo, a beautiful woman of African nationality and snow-white hair, had watched as tribal wars destroyed her people.

There were others and a part of Doom was sympathetic to them. He, too, had always wanted to free his native country from the oppressive rule of one empire or warlord after another. But after freeing Latveria, he had begun to realize the world needed cleaning-up as well. The Brotherhood appealed to him because they were of use to his goals and in the end, he did not mind providing them with their own home free from his rule.

At least that was what he told Erik. The truth was they were far too dangerous to be allowed to run amok. By supporting them, he was always going to be aware of their plans.

"We have received word of another mutant being held at a Russian submarine base," Emma explained to Doom as he walked in. "He is able to transmute into a living skin of metal and they are trying to see if they can replicate his material into a durable body armor."

"We garnered this information from our operative Taskmaster," Erik explained. "He has been operating inside Russia for five months." Doom only nodded, but the information was already stored in his brain for future recall. He had never met the Taskmaster, but he had been mentioned many times. Obviously, he was a highly skilled agent for the Brotherhood, seemingly able to adapt to any situation. Doom thought Mystique would have been a better choice for a mission inside Russia, but then considered that emotionally, she may not have been able to work alone.

Or else there was something else going on. Of all of the Brotherhood, Doom was wary of Mystique the most because she could, in theory, replace him. He had not been able to examine her fully the few times they shared a bed but he had been able to gather that (1) she was more inclined towards women than men and (2) she appeared to be able to alter her DNA. It was quite plausible Erik was keeping her close by in case Doom betrayed them.

He was currently in check; he did not wish to put himself in the position of checkmate.

"How can I assist?" Doom asked. It was a genuine request.

Erik smiled at him. Doom believed Erik actually considered Doom a friend, something that brought mirth to the dictator. He noted a grin on Emma's face and Doom realized a trickle of a thought must have escaped. He always had to be on guard around her. He appreciated that, however; it made him stronger.

"You can't," Erik said. "All of our missions before were simply crimes. Breaking persons out of secret facilities, moving weapons through countries…robbery and theft. This time, we are going to challenge the Russian military."

Doom contemplated for a moment. "Is that wise? There are only so many of you in the Brotherhood. You are a small, but powerful group…"

Erik shook his head. "The Brotherhood is merely the face of the movement. All around the world people suffer under the yoke of oppressive regimes. We cannot change those regimes and watch them at one time, we know this."

Doom said nothing. He felt the statement shows the limits of Erik's intelligence and ability. Doom would never admit he could not control anything. "What do you intend to do?"

"Break into the military base and meet with this mutant. We will offer him a choice: join us or die." Doom seemed taken aback by the matter-of-factness in Erik's response. For his part, the mutant seemed to want to justify his actions. "We cannot allow such technology to fall into the hands of a military. Imagine: entire armies able to switch to pseudo-metal armor at will."

Doom did think about it and he liked the idea. He liked it a lot and he knew the next few days would be spent working on how to come up with a practical application. "So you do not require supplies, transport…"

"It will be a small team: myself, Emma and a few of the others. Should I fail to return, Mystique will assume command of the Brotherhood and move on with our goals." Erik moved away from the table and stepped towards Victor. There could not have been two more different persons.

Erik was slightly taller than Doom, but was at least twenty years older with a head covered in long, flowing white hair. Though he came from common origins, Erik was almost regal in the way he carried himself. In a way, he was the king of the mutants, malcontents and mistreated of the world. A messiah of Marvels. Doom was shorter, but had the body of a professional athlete. His dress, haircut and mannerisms were that of someone who came from a military background, yet Doom had spent much of his time as a guerilla fighter against the government. The only break had come when he had gone to school in America, a land he detested for it was blessed with great resources, but lorded over by fat, immoral slobs.

Erik was a man of the people who still worshipped his unseen God, where Doom worshipped himself and people were simply things for him. Erik fought for a cause, Doom fought against boredom.

Yet here they were, allies in a struggle against the world. Erik looked at Doom as a partner. Doom looked at Erik as a future murder.

"I will be happy to supply your people with shelter while they wait for you to return. At the very least, I will deploy some of my troops at the border," Doom commented. The Russians would no doubt give chase, but they would not dare come into Latveria. Doom had paid too many bribes and committed too many assassinations in Russia. He was safe.

He also had a nuclear device hidden in Moscow. Once it was detonated, evidence would lead to a terrorist cell in Gaza. The Russian would implore the Israelis' for assistance and the Muslim world would declare Jihad. America and NATO would be pulled into the fight and Doom would wait it out safe in his country estate. He could start World War III at any time, but any common monkey could do that. Doom wanted his ultimate victory over the world to be earned, but it was not wise to push him either.

"I would greatly appreciate that, Victor," Erik said, not realizing Doom hated being called by his first name unless it was by a lover in throes of passion. Again there was a grin on Emma's face and Doom took a deep breath to relax.

He hated telepaths.

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