Strangers

Testing

June 1941

"Sir, the test subjects have all had trials, I can show you to them if you like?"

"Take me there."

Shadows and flickering lights painted the white tiled corridor, glass panels exposed the people working away. Colonel Stryker eyed the double doors that led to the test chambers.

"The subjects through here?" Stryker cocked an eyebrow.

"Chambers One through Four, sir."

"Excellent."

The bespectacled scientist pressed a small button near the door, opening it whilst a bell rang. Two soldiers carrying rifles entered swiftly, getting into position behind Stryker and the scientist. The colonel watched the man of knowledge open the first chamber door, it creaked and he looked towards the military personnel.

"Okay gentleman, this is one of the four men we shall be deploying in secret to gather intelligence on the Germans. They all have been given code names; this is Scorpion."

Scorpion stood slowly, making no eye contact, focusing on the dark wall ahead of him. He slowly cracked his knuckles and took two steps towards the door. His gaze drifted to the two infantry men behind Stryker.

"Erm..." the colonel hushed, "Kabal, is it?"

"Yes sir."

"This is what the President sent me to see? A man in a mask...?"

"Sir, they're going to do wonders for the military!"

"We are not in the war in Europe, if, you currently did not know."

"I know that bu..."

"But what?"

"Like I said, they are to gather intelligence, not only that but this is a major breakthrough in advancing warfare not to mention they can be lucrative contractors. We could loan to the highest bidder, imagine the possibilities!"

"He looks like a normal fella to me."

"Sir, allow him to show you. Scorpion, head to the firing range outside."

Scorpion left and was aided by one of the two soldiers.

"This better be good, I'm not having my time wasted Kabal."

"Sir, trust me, I have done my best to make this worthwhile."

They walked to Chamber Two, Kabal held a lighter up to the handle before he unlocked it. Water dripped from the handle as the door was pulled open.

"This is Sub Zero."

"Explain why the room is covered in ice."

"Well you see..."

Sub Zero interrupted, "Sir, the room is covered in ice because I decided it that way."

"Excuse me?" Stryker said.

"I created the ice myself, from my body. Doctor Kabal, should I...?"

"Yes please Sub Zero."

Sub Zero left the room and the other guard accompanied him. Stryker and Kabal were left with two chambers to inspect.

"Chamber Three is to your right sir."

Plumes of grey smoke erupted out of the room.

"This is, the appropriately titled, Smoke."

"I am waiting."

"Yes sir, we shall hurry things along. Smoke, will you go outside and join the others?"

"I shall; thank you for taking time out of your day sir." Smoke looked at his feet and walked off.

'We'll see if it was worth it son.' Smoke's words echoed through Stryker's head.

"Final chamber."

Four opened, there was no discernible difference other than the man behind it being stood, his mask and hood covering all but his eyes, they were a piercing green.

"Reptile, let me introduce you to Colonel Stryker."

Reptile sniffed, walking out of the room without saying a word.

"Shall we go to the courtyard?"

Stryker crossed his arms. "Might as well get this over with."

Sunlight shone throughout the western desert, the whole place was quiet, the whistle of the wind attempting to compensate for the silence. The four masked men took a position on the firing range, four men in orange jumpsuits stood ten feet away, Stryker watched as Kabal ordered the men to one by one, step forward.

"Scorpion," Kabal said over the loud speaker, "Use your skills to dispatch this criminal, he has killed many innocent women all for his own personal enjoyment."

Stryker's eyes widened as he looked at Kabal, "What the hell is this?"

Kabal pointed towards the courtyard where Scorpion stepped up, the codenamed mysteries all wore opposing jumpsuits, white with a stripe running down their left arms, they were different, yellow for Scorpion, blue for Sub Zero, green for Reptile and grey for Smoke. The criminals all cowered with fear, their imprisonment rattling with them, their fronts were soaked with urine and sweat. Scorpion dragged his right arm back slightly before launching a spear on the end of a chain towards the murderer, it broke through his ribcage, shocking him into frothing. Scorpion pulled the killer towards him, tripping him mere feet away. Stryker watched compelled.

"Is that all he...?"

"No." Kabal said.

Raising his arms past his waist, his grey eyes were suddenly engulfed by a pale yellow, covering his iris and the whites of his eyes, fire rose from the ground out of nowhere, the criminal burning and screaming loudly on the dirt. Scorpion calmly stepped back to his original position, the murderer now a burnt crisp on the ground.

"My God..." Stryker could barely speak. "Get the next one up." Kabal eagerly accepted.

"Sub Zero." The loud speaker sounded.

He stepped up, "Sub Zero, this man has stolen countless thousands from banks, he used to be a gangster and has had people assassinated and beaten for simple material gain."

The gangster was prodded forward by one of many rifles pointing at the criminals backs.

Sub Zero waved the man over and whispered something in his ear. Ice engulfed the man's handcuffs and they simply fell apart. The gangster looked shocked but he sprinted away as fast as he could, Stryker unable to believe what he was witnessing.

"Trust him sir." Kabal spoke softly.

Ice shot from Sub Zero's palms, the moving projectile faster than the gangster. Colliding, he was frozen solid, Sub Zero took his time to walk over before shattering the mob boss shaped sculpture with a powerful kick.

"Jesus, did you see that?" Stryker felt foolish asking the scientist that afterwards, of course Kabal had seen it.

"Smoke."

Smoke stepped forward as per the others, "This man is a con artist and a rapist, he is notorious in the states of California and Texas for his crimes."

The orange jumpsuit reluctantly emerged, crying when he saw the grey emerging from Smoke's fingertips. As he neared, Smoke didn't hesitate, disappearing from sight and appearing behind the rapist, Stryker watched in bemusement as Smoke teleported the criminal into the air, before teleporting himself back and forth into the man, punching him violently. As they both landed, Smoke kicked him in the stomach twice, the second hit sending the man backwards. Vomiting, the prisoner was dealt a last kick whilst he was down, his jaw had snapped almost completely off.

"Reptile."

The green striped man stepped forward. "Reptile, this man is a cannibal, he slaughtered a family so he could eat them. He owns a butchery and sold some of his victims meat at his shop, finish his life the way he finished theirs."

Stryker watched impatiently, quietly excited about how he was going to dispatch this killer. Reptile disappeared from sight and appeared behind the cannibal, he pulled his mask down and his sharp teeth dug into the man's neck. He screamed in terror as Reptile started conjugating acid, softening his bones as he gnawed into his jugular and surrounding tissue.

"So?" Kabal said as he watched the bodies being dragged off the courtyard.

"Send them in."