CAPTAIN AMERICA: PATRIOT
Written By Mick Edwards
The night air was filled with scents and sounds of distant memory. Before the grave of James Buchanan Barnes stood Steve Rogers out of uniform with another medal of honor he won in service of his country. He laid the token down on the marker for his long dead friend, and then rose up. A ruffle of leaves caught his attention, and he turned to see Colonel Nick Fury. The colonel wore plain clothes, and had his own token for the departed war hero.
"Another anniversary, eh?"
Steve lowered his head, the moon light partially illuminated his face. "About a month past, maybe."
Colonel Fury sat down a bottle of scotch beside the grave marker even though he knew the caretakers would either drink it, or out right dispose of it. He stood back up, and looked at Steve. A hard look on his face, as he considered what he had to say. Steve scoffed, and then smiled as if sensing Colonel Fury was here for ulterior reasons.
"Out with it, Nick."
"Orion base was taken out..."
Steve's head raised up, and his jaw muscles clenched. "How?"
"We don't know, details at best are sketchy."
He cast an eye in Colonel Fury's direction because he knew the colonel too well. "Don't feed me that bull."
Colonel Fury lowered his eyes: "You're right."
He set a card down on the grave marker, and turned his back to Steve and walked away. Steve bent down and picked it up, he immediately noticed the Sons Of The Serpent symbol. But, like all symbols it had changed with the times. He stuck the card in his pocket, gave one last salute to Bucky, and made his march to the Honda he left out front.
S.H.I.E.L.D. Orbital Tactical Response Room
A large three panel, structurally reinforced window was all that stood between the workers of SHIELD and the death of oxygen deprivation and decompression. Colonel Nick Fury walked through the slideways door and earned the salute of every man at his station. He saluted them back, and took his seat at the head chair where he was patched into every SHIELD affiliate network. Captain America came in shortly afterwords in full costume and carrying his trademark shield. He took a seat on the rising module that came up from the floor.
A large map played out through the wonders of advanced holographics. From it, Captain America saw the attack on Orion Base. He palmed his face and then lifted his head up only to rest his chin on his knuckles. He looked sideways at Colonel Fury who smoked his Cuban and had a bitter look on his face.
"Those bastards were always small-time racists, but what they pulled raised their terrorist threat level."
Captain America leaned up, and crossed his left leg over his right leg: "What is SHIELD going to do about it?"
Captain America's face became stone cold serious. "Those men died protecting what was kept there, and you are going to do nothing?"
"The President's orders, Captain..." His face fell as he lowered the cigar from his lips. "I don't like it anymore than you do."
Captain America stood up, and walked away from Colonel Fury toward the slideways door. Colonel Fury hopped out of his seat, and called out to him: "What are you planning on doing?"
Captain America turned, and the look in his eyes told Colonel Fury everything he didn't want to know. He turned his head not wishing to stop Captain America as he knew there was little point in trying, and SHIELD had no official jurisdiction in the United States or any country.
Louisiana, Exact Location: Unknown
Bodies were burned on a large bonfire. With no light, it was hard to make out what race they were. The Sons Of The Serpent stood around this bonfire in a circle and wore different regalia than the previous groups that used the name. It mixed the markings of Nazi's and the symbols of snakes. They wore masks made of leather, but finely painted to resemble snake skin. Green and black clothes that made them blend with the colors of their namesake and sap gloves that increased the effectiveness of their punches. Their boots were armored and contained hidden spring loaded blades laced with poison.
When the head of the Sons Of The Serpent emerged, he wore dark blue and light blue colors. His mask was of the same colors, and he had a marking on his chest plate that stretched across and around to his back. The marking was of a snake with a crown on its head.
"Listen my brothers, we have made a great contribution to ethnic cleansing today and captured one of our two objectives."
The men chanted the German words for white power. The leader motioned them to quiet down.
"Now, from here we must capture the one known as Josiah Bradley to proceed with phase two of our plan."
"That nigger will be no problem," said one of the brothers.
"That is what I like to hear," said the Sons of Serpent leader. "Go now, and bring him to me!"
Little Mogadishu, New York
Josiah lead many of the Islamic prayers in today's ceremonies as a officially ordained Muslim priest. His reason for converting to the Muslim faith had to do with the fact that Josiah saw the world as one dominated by fear and prejudice, and he himself had vowed to cut himself off from that kind of world. While helping those in his own neighborhood. Two men came out of a black truck. One pulled a rocket launcher out and fired a salvo into the Muslim Mission which he worked. The explosion killed all of those inside except Josiah who walked out almost completely naked. His skin was practically as durable as Luke Cage, but he wasn't as strong as his fellow brother. When he saw the two men who did the crime. He charged toward them with the speed of a super soldier.
They shot him with adamantium tipped darts which sent a powerful relaxant into his system, and before he reached them – he collapsed to the street.
"We got him," said the driver.
"He wasn't so tough," said the other.
Captain America was riding on a private aircraft donated to him when he picked up the transmission about the Muslim Mission being destroyed. He redirected his flight plane to Little Mogadishu to see what happened.
Airspace, sector of the Midwest nearing Louisiana
Josiah woke up, but his muscles were stiff. Likely from what ever they drugged him with. He looked around and saw men wearing suits with leather half masks painted to look like snake skin. The rest of their attire was green and black. Matching that of certain species of snakes.
Josiah flexed his wrists to see if he could break the handcuffs holding them, but they had some kind of poli-flex fiber binding them together. Which made it difficult to break. One of the men came toward Josiah and kicked him the stomach.
"You ain't so tough," he said.
"Uncuff me, and we'll find out."
"Like I'm stupid?"
"You sure look like it," said Josiah, and then he smiled.
A blade popped out of the man's boot, but his comrade stopped him from plunging into Josiah's naked flesh.
"Our leader wants him alive, you use the poison and it will kill him."
"So, what's so special about this colored man?"
"You will see," said Josiah. He spit on the man's shoes.
The two were called up front by the pilot while Josiah plotted his escape. He felt around for a tool to free himself. And he found it in the form of a screw driver. With his enhanced strength, he wedged open the locks on the cuffs freeing his hands. He then played possum as the plane landed.
Several Miles Away...
Captain America was flying blind hoping to find something out of the ordinary. The SHIELD tactical unit found burnt traces of clothing and small blood splotches on the street which were being analyzed. Captain America knew the Sons Of The Serpent hated immigrants, and all ethnics. But, this time their mission seemed a whole tale different. More coordinated than previous exploits. Whoever was in charge was a brilliant tactician as he had them two steps behind them.
"Damn it," said Captain America as he clenched his fist.
Abruptly an SOS signal began playing on all frequencies. Captain America homed in on it, and programmed the navigational computer to follow straight to the source.
Sons Of The Serpent Headquarters
Josiah had knocked out two dozen men when he made his escape. He stole a combat suit from a locker and put in on to allow him to get by without being noticed. He hoped his SOS reached somebody as there were too many armed assailants for him to take on himself. He went down another chamber and found a large crate which had Orion Base on it. He pulled it open, and saw inside a silver round discus shield. Unpainted. There was also a large container with some kind of fluid in it. Josiah had no idea what the fluid was. He recognized the shield, however, as one like Captain America's. The question was if it was indestructible as Captain America's shield.
He heard a gun cock with his heightened hearing, which wasn't on Daredevil's or Wolverine's level, but quite better than a normal man. He took the shield and spun around as three Sons Of The Serpent foot soldiers fired at him. Their bullets ricocheting off the shield and ripping through the crate. Josiah pushed forward and bowled the men over. He saw more men coming and made a mad dash for it with the shield in tow.
Captain America landed his craft and was coming down the gangway when he heard gun fire. He slipped his shield off his back and put it over his right arm and charged inside. He saw many of the Sons Of The Serpent soldiers firing at Josiah. He tossed his shield which bounced off the back of six of the men's heads and sailed right back into his awaiting hand. They other four men drew fire on Captain America, but Josiah charged two of them, and knocked them down from behind. The last two men were out of ammo and tossed down their guns surroundering.
"You must be Josiah Bradley."
"My name is Josiah X," said Josiah.
"Pardon my mistake."
"It's all right, but I think we better skip introductions."
Josiah pointed Captain America to the fleeing leader of the Sons Of The Serpent, and both men tossed their shields. Captain America's shield hit the Sons Of The Serpent leader low, while Josiah's shield hit him high.
They both walked up to the leader of the Sons Of The Serpent, and pulled of his mask. Neither of the men recognized the man. He had white hair, old, and had blue eyes.
"Who are you?" asked Captain America.
"I'm you," said the leader of the Sons Of The Serpent. "Or what you could have been."
"What do you mean?" asked Captain America.
"Ask Nick Fury."
"What should we do with him," asked Josiah.
"A SHIELD detainment unit will be here any minute, wait for them."
"Where are you going, Captain?"
"To talk to an old friend."
SHIELD Heli-carrier – 2400 hours
Nick Fury was in a private room of the second deck of the heli-carrier. In walked Captain America with his mask pulled down. He gave no pleasantries, he simple went straight to the point.
"Who was," said Captain America.
"Rupert Lubos, a Vietnam Veteran and participent of the Vietnam Super Soldier experiments."
"I thought the Grand Director was the only product of the Vietnam period."
"No...when they put him on ice, we collected a sample of his blood which contained the Super Soldier Serum."
Captain America lowered his head, a bitter look on his face. "So, you resumed the experiments."
"Before SHIELD was formed, yes."
"Why wasn't I informed."
"Because it was a need to know basis, and the Orion Base which you helped us in protecting two years ago contained the serum which we put in cold storage."
"What of Lubos?"
"It for whatever reason had only some minor effects on him, we considered the experiments a failure and ended the project."
"So, he's been living all this long desiring to create a new master race."
"We knew he was a racist back when we began the experiments, it was a different time and we need some one who wasn't soft handed – we needed a killer."
"Imagine if he succeeded, the lives that would be on your hands."
Captain America walked out the door. Nick Fury turned to the window and closed his eye. Saying nothing more.