On The Frontline
(Author's note: This story takes place in an alternative world within the Marvel universe. Feedback greatly appreciated.)
It is a humid summer afternoon, and all Captain Steve Rogers can see is the endless scenery of jungle and shrub. Rogers doesn't seem to mind, however; for the last two years he's been stationed here in Vietnam, it's all he ever saw.
The year is 1972. It is a time of war, in a place where you can trust no one but the soldier standing next to you. Rogers looks at his pocket watch and sees that it is a quarter past two, but the heat hasn't let up since six in the morning. He has never bothered to ask for the date, because the days he spends in this desolate jungle turn seamlessly into weeks, into months, into years.
As Rogers rides in the back seat of a lone Jeep, driving along a dirt path a few miles west of Saigon, he is thinking to himself why he was chosen to join this new squadron he has been transferred to. It is the only platoon that has managed to stay hidden in plain sight in the middle of Saigon for seven years. Steve tries to shake off his nerves as the driver turns back to tell Steve that they are not far from their destination.
About 15 minutes later, Steve feels the Jeep slow to a stop. He wasn't looking at the road; he was lost in a picture of his girlfriend Natasha, praying that he would be able to hold her in his arms once more. He gets out of the car and looks around, and is soon greeted by a fellow soldier.
Steve studies the man as he reaches to shake his hand, and reads the dog-tag hanging around his neck: Bullseye. The man looks up at Steve and says, "You must be the new recruit. I'm Lester, but call me Bullseye. Everyone does."
Bullseye shows Steve around and gives him a tour of the base. " We all have a codename here, it describes our personality. Yours will come in time." Bullseye points to a man working on a damaged Jeep and says, "See that man over there? His codename is the Bishop." As Bullseye walks forward, Steve takes a step back to get a good look at Bishop. The man is tall and muscular, with a cigar hanging out of his mouth. Bishop notices Steve and waves hello, wrench in hand. Steve salutes him back and sprints to catch up with Bullseye. "That guy over there?" Bullseye continues, "is Staff Sergeant Matthew Murdock, but everyone calls him the Red Devil. He's the only active blind man in the military, and that son of a bitch can handle a gun too." As Bullseye is talking, Matt is cleaning the barrel of his shotgun, and when he was finished, Matt whipped the gun around in his hand a few times and placed it inside an oversized holster on his left side.
Bullseye leads Steve into a tent in the center of their base, and there is a lone man sitting in a chair hunched over, staring at the floor. He whispers into Roger's ear, "And this man… well this guy we don't know much about. But he earned his nickname: Wolverine. They say this man can't die." Bullseye laughed under his breath and continues, "I'd like to see that theory tested."
Steve walks toward Wolverine to greet him, but the man doesn't even notice Rogers. Steve examines his many wrinkles, showing that this 'Wolverine' man was a veteran, having seen many bloody and grueling battles. Even more fascinating was that he had strange scars on his hands. Steve saw Wolverine ball his right fist, and a few small bones started to protrude from his knuckles. Steve's eyes widened in shock, and Wolverine looked up at Steve, simply growling at him. Seeing that Steve looked troubled, Bullseye lead Steve out of the tent and said, "Well, that's all the guys that are here at the moment . The rest of the boys are out getting supplies. You'll meet them at supper tonight."
Supper came a few hours later, and Steve was introduced to the rest of the team: Corporal Wade Wilson, codename Deadpool; and Major Ben Grimm, codename Earthquake; and Officer Clint Barton, codename Hawkeye. The men shared their war stories with Rogers over dinner.
Steve retired early that night, but the rest of the men stayed in the mess hall to play some games and unwind. Bullseye was throwing darts at a makeshift dart board, Wolverine was whittling a piece of wood into a take, and Bishop was playing cards with Medic Remy LeBeau for rations.
All of a sudden, Bishop threw his hands down in anger and handed Remy his remaining rations. "How does he do that?" Bishop asked himself. "It's quite simple, Bishop. It's because you're such an easy player to beat, my boy." replied the man everyone in the platoon called Gambit. Murdock turned to Bishop and said, "Lucas, facing Gambit in a card game is about as one-sided a trying to beat Bullseye in a round of darts." Bullseye smirked, throwing yet another dart straight in the middle of the dart board for a perfect bull's-eye.
Wade kicked his feet up on the table and complained that he was bored. ""How about we prank call that Private Parker kid stationed in Hanoi?" laughed Major Grimm.
Wolverine stopped whittling and spoke up, "What I want to know is, who's the new guy?" The rest of the men didn't say anything until Officer Barton sat up in his chair and replied, "I heard about Captain Rogers. They say he took part in some experiment by the government to make super-soldiers. The guy seems to have a good head on his shoulders. The guys back home are calling him the first in a new breed of soldier." No one talked for a while after and eventually they all went to their tents to sleep for the night. As Wolverine sat in his bed, he wondered to himself if Steve Rogers has what it takes to be on this team.
The next morning, the team was unexpectedly visited by some higher-ups from back home. Colonel Nick Fury, escorted by Captain Scott Summers, arrived to brief them on their latest mission.
Nick Fury gathered all the men and started the mission briefing "Alright men, it took a lot of time and effort to get to this third-world wasteland, so listen up! You guys are the closest to a Vietnamese POW camp, holding over 50 soldiers. We need you all to go there, tonight. I'll give Officer Barton the coordinates. Good luck, and watch yourselves." Scott noticed Captain Rogers and walked over to him. "I hear you got the Serum too," Scott said to Rogers. Rogers looked surprised and replied, "What do you mean, 'you too?'" "Oh, you didn't hear? I also received the infamous Super Soldier Serum. I don't know if you got the extra feature though." Eyes closed, Scott tipped his glasses down and opened one eye. He shot a laser that cut down a tree a hundred feet away. Steve looked on in shock. The only thing he could utter was, "A-Amazing." Scott smirked and put his arm around Steve. "I wish you the best of luck, Captain. Unfortunately, I am needed on the homeland, but know that you have the entire military's respect back home. "
That night, the team prepared for the rescue mission. Bullseye was cleaning the barrel of his sniper rifle, Bishop was repairing the Jeep for transport, and meanwhile Steve Rogers sat in his tent, praying. It was something he did before every mission. He would clear his mind, and try to think of better world, a world where peace was possible and where death did not surround him. Wade Wilson calls Rogers from outside to let him know they ready to mobilize, and they all packed into the three Jeeps lined up near the entrance and drove to the objective point.
The team arrived at the Viet-Kong POW camp 15 minutes later. Bullseye left the team to set up his sniper rifle fifty feet away. Murdock, Hawkeye, and Bishop marched towards to east wing of the prison camp to assault them directly, while Wade and Wolverine took the west end to free the prisoners. Steve Rogers and Officer Grimm were chosen to breach the south end to cause confusion between the hostiles and split them up.
Bishop carried a double barrel shotgun and shot a Viet-Kong soldier's head clean off. Matt fired at a few soldiers standing above them and said into the communication link, "We got about ten minutes before more forces arrive. Make it quick, Wade."
"Roger, Roger. Oh wait, I'm getting a bad connection there, I'm breaking up!" Wade replied as he made hissing and scratching sounds into the commlink. "Alright, Logan, we got to…" Before Wade finished his sentence, Wolverine retracted one of bone claws and interjected, "How do you know my name?" "Easy, I sneaked into your room and found your dogtags. You're the only guy I know that actually changed their dogtags to their nickname. Besides me, of course." "Let's just find the damn prisoners…"
In an open area, there were American soldiers in cells, some were dead on ground, having been shot execution-style. One man was in a tiger cage, with several deep wounds all over his body from being beaten, whipped, and tortured. Wolverine rushed over towards the man and freed him. As soon as he did, the man took a sharp piece of bamboo he had kept on his body and lunged at a nearby Viet-Kong soldier and stabbed him in the neck repeatedly. The man rose up after killing him, and Logan noticed the dogtag hanging from his neck: Staff Sergeant F. Castle. "That piece of shit… that gook… he said he would go to my house and kill my family. And he would make me watch! HE WOULD MAKE ME WATCH!" Castle, filled with hate, crushed the soldier's skull with his boot. Wade, watching this all transpire, said, "This guy's a maniac! I like it…"
Wade went over to the cells and shot the lock off with his pistol, and opened the door for the others prisoners to escape. As the men filed out, the last person to step out of the holding cell was surprisingly a woman, and a very beautiful woman at that. "Hello, nurse!" Wade said, "What's your name, baby?" The woman stepped on Wade's foot as hard as she could and simply said, "Elektra. And to answer your next question, I will not be yours or anyone else's 'baby'." As she walked away, Wade tried to keep himself from losing his chill and said, "Dames. You can't live with them, you can't live without them… Ouch."
Wade and Logan freed all the prisoners they saw and proceeded to lead them back to the Jeeps. However, there was one soldier they forgot that was chained to a wall and unconscious from a recent beating, helpless to free himself even if he happened to awaken.
Back at the east entrance, Hawkeye and Bishop were shooting at the soldiers who were hiding behinds the walls. Murdock, knowing they were having some trouble, threw a few grenades above the walls, and after hearing a few incomprehensible screams and orders, they grenades exploded and they could see blood and dirt flying everywhere.
The sound of the grenades going off woke up the bound soldier still in the holding area. Immediately, he started shouting for help. "HELP! SOMEONE! ANYONE! PLEASE…"
Captain Rogers heard the man as he and Officer Grimm were hurrying back to the Jeeps. "We need to help him, Ben." Grimm acknowledged and yelled back, "I'll cover you. Go! Go!" Before Ben could follow Steve, he was stabbed by a Vietnamese soldier with a knife.
Steve got a hold of a second wind and ran as fast as he could and jumped over some rubble, following that voice. When he reached the man, he saw the deep cuts all over his chest and arms. Steve tried to take his mind off of it by asking the man his name while he found a way to break the chains that restrained him. Weakly, the bound man said, "L-Lieutenant Samuel Wilson. Air Force… Am I going to die?..." "Not while have anything to say about it," Steve said, as he found a rock and broke the chain on Sam's left arm. Grabbing the first thing behind him for the second chain, he raised a hubcap from a Jeep in the air and smashed the other chain around Sam's right arm, freeing him. Sam fell to his knees, and Steve put Sam's arm over his shoulder and led them both slowly towards the exit. A Viet-Kong soldier charged towards Steve with a combat knife, and almost instinctively Steve turned and threw the hubcap, hitting the soldier's ribs and knocking him out.
Steve found Ben knocked out near the exit, and without hesitation lifted Ben onto his other shoulder and walked out of the POW camp. Once he reached the front of the building, he was unaware that a enemy soldier was aiming a rifle directly at Steve's head. Steve heard a gunshot, and looking behind him saw the soldier fall to the ground. The bullet hit the Viet-Kong right between the eyes. He looked ahead and simply nodded his head; he knew who had just saved his life.
The rest of the men had been back at their command post for some time, and they were all relieved when they saw Steve walked towards the first Jeep, with both Sam and Ben on his side. Steve put the men down safely near the bed of the Jeep and looked to Wade and said, "You forgot a man, Wilson. You never leave a soldier behind. We become no better than the evil we're fighting if we did."
The men came back to their base, then Steve and Bishop brought Sam and Ben to Remy, who leapt out of his chair when he noticed the injured men and prepared two beds for them to rest on. Before being carried away, Sam looked at Steve and said, "Captain Rogers, you're my hero." Steve looked shocked and replied, "No, Sam. For surviving in that prison and finding the will to keep yourself alive, you are my hero." Steve then saluted Sam, and Wilson weakly lifting his arm and saluted him back.
At the main hall, Logan was cleaning the barrel of his rifle and the rest of the men were talking about their accomplishments during the mission. Rogers looked out a window and stared at the American flag that waved peacefully in the harsh winds. Bullseye and Bishop looked back at Steve, then turned back to each other and Bullsye said, "What he did back there, was beyond anything I've ever seen a man do. That guy has something extraordinary inside of him, and has got to be the most patriotic man in this place… I think I know what we're gonna call him now."
"America. Captain America."