Disclaimer: All fictional characters, settings, and objects are copyrighted by their respective owners.
The year is 1942. The world is at war once again as the Axis powers march across Europe and Allied forces rally in opposition. This story, however, begins across the Atlantic.
New York City
Affectionately known as the big apple, New York was heralded as the gateway to the land of opportunity with its tall skyscrapers. It is within this city that we turn our attention to a young man standing outside an army recruiting office. He was not an impressive individual; he was short, scrawny and looked rather frail and unhealthy but his eyes burned with determination and courage. His lightly tan skin contrasted a little with his short dark brown hair and blue eyes. With a deep breath, he entered the office to begin his enlistment.
"I want to enlist sir." Musashi Lee Strasberg said somewhat meekly.
"Strasberg, M. Lee"
The young man was already not on the most likely to be trusted list, as he was of Japanese ancestry, but he wanted to serve his country. He may have learned plenty of his Japanese heritage; but he himself was a true blue American.
The recruiter looked him over and at his file for a minute before he slapped his rubber stamp on his card.
"I've been rejected?" he asked.
"Son, not only are you too young but you got enough illnesses that would have you bedridden for the entire war."
"Come on, give me a chance."
"Kid, you're only 14 years old. You got asthma, scarlet fever, rheumatic fever, sinusitis, chronic colds, high-blood pressure, heart palpations; you fatigue easily, your family has a history of heart disease and you have hereditary diabetes. You'd be ineligible with just one of those."
"There's gotta be something you can do for me."
"I'm doing it; I'm saving your life."
He said nothing as he turned and left; not noticing the pair of eyes watching him. Musashi had been left denied for service in the US forces for various health reasons. He had tried numerous times before and he was rejected every single time; this time was seemingly no different. It was soon enough that someone else had stepped in, a man that would change his life and the course of history.
"Good afternoon, young man." It was an older gentleman with a western European accent.
"Hi, can I help you, sir?"
"Maybe" was his only answer as he took Musashi's enlistment card.
"M. Lee Strasberg' what's the 'M' stand for?"
"Musashi, my mother was half Japanese. She named me after Musashi Miyamoto; he was a famous samurai."
"I can see why, you most definitely have a warrior's spirit within you," the man grinned as he looked back at the card and took out a pen. "Why do you want to join the army, to kill some Nazis?"
"No, I don't want to kill anyone. I just don't like bullies, and the Nazis are just that. I want this war to end so people don't get bullied." Musashi shook his head as he said that. The man nodded his head and stamped the paper.
"Very well, then I hope to see what you can offer to the Allies," he said as he handed him back the card.
"I'm giving you a chance to prove yourself under supervision. War is won not by weapons but men, and you are to report to this division." The man that allowed him to pass gave him a card, one that stated he was placed in the science reserve forces. Musashi was shocked at the fact that the man had told him that he was in. this was further confirmed when Musashi took another look at his enlistment card. There, over the scribbled out rejection stamp, was the one thing that confirmed it all.
"I'll be seeing you again very soon, Mr. Strasberg," the man grinned as he turned and left.
"Wait a minute, who are you?"
"My apologies, I am Dr. Abraham Erksine with the Science Reserve Unit."
Musashi thanked the man and left to pack for his time in the army.
It wasn't long until Musashi had returned to his home, a small tenement building he and his mother lived in before she died. It wasn't much but it was home. The only other occupants were a family with their daughter who was around Musashi's age. Said daughter was currently home, practicing dance moves for a stage show when the young recruit entered.
"Lee, is that you?"
The youth stopped when he heard the girl's voice. Looking at the source, he saw his childhood friend Maria Vincennes; a young blond-haired beauty with a fiery temper he knew all to well.
"Oh, hi Maria. I didn't know you were home already."
Musashi then took notice of Maria's current attire. It was a showgirl costume with a short skirt designed with red and white stripes. The top was sleeveless and blue with six stars on the front. It was topped off with silver high heels and opera length gloves.
"I like the new look," Musashi said with shy grin.
Maria looked down at herself and blushed a little.
"I designed this for the USO show my mom is pitching for the troops. With any luck, we'll be on stage as soon as we can find someone to play the lead role."
Musashi nodded, it was a tough time to be part Japanese, but Maria had been an oasis in a desert at the time. She never had any look of fear or hatred towards him.
"Oh, I hope it works out for you, and I have some news too."
He took a large gulp as he found it hard to say. Maria was hoping it wasn't bad news before she motioned for him to go on, "Today I managed to enlist in the Army."
Her eyes widened at the news. It was shocking to say the least.
"But Lee, you know you're not old enough to enlist."
"I caught a break."
"How? You're not exactly the most athletic person in the city."
"I apparently impressed someone high up on the ladder."
Maria said nothing at his explanation, feeling a little skeptical.
"I'm heading out tomorrow."
The blond girl stepped closer.
"There's no talking you out of this, is there?" she asked.
"Maria, there are men laying down their lives. I've got no right to do no less."
She sighed in defeat; knowing that once Musashi set his mind to something, he pretty much won't stop until he accomplishes it or someone makes him stop before he hurts himself. The latter tends to happen a lot more than the former. She stepped closer and laid her gloved hands on his cheeks.
"I just want you to promise me two things: that you won't do anything stupid and you'll come back alive."
Musashi looked at the blond as earnestly as possible.
"I can't promise anything, but I'll do my best to stay alive and come back." He hugged her for a brief moment and started to pack up.
Musashi was in line with the rest of the recruits, doing his best to keep up with the regiment. One of the army superior officers just looked at him with disappointment, and then looked at Dr. Erksine.
"You sure that Jap's supposed to be here?"
"He's just as American as you are, maybe even more so because of mixed lineage. And yes he is supposed to be here."
The officer glared back the older man.
"Doctor, when you brought an under-aged, 90 pound asthmatic of Japanese descent onto my base, I let slide. I figured he was going to be an intern for you, not a candidate. You're not really boosting my confidence about this whole project."
"Physical qualities are not the deciding factor of this project."
"Do you have any idea how much groveling to the higher ups I had to do to get the green light for this?
The two returned their eyes back to the regiment as they ran through the obstacle course. Musashi was trailing behind, wheezing and gasping hard as he made his way over and under the obstacles.
"Jeez, it looks like he's gonna drop dead any second. He's making me cry."
It seemed the same on the 10 mile run as the group was already half-way done and they reached a flag marker. Musashi was trailing behind quite a bit before the officer started to speak.
"You pansies are half-way done, but I got a deal. The first guy to get the flag from this pole rides the rest of the way back with Dr. Erskine and myself. Don't start till I say so. Go."
As soon as the word go was uttered the various members of the troop started to fight amongst each other to try and climb the pole for the ride back. Musashi just waited until the officer in charge pretty much broke it off.
"Alright, you pansies, get back in li-" He didn't get a chance to finish as the flag pole came down. Musashi L. Strasberg simply walked over and grabbed the flag.
"I'll be taking that ride now." He said with a friendly smile as he got on the back of the jeep with the rest of his platoon looking dumbfounded at what happened. The officer looked back and saw what exactly the boy did; when others had tried to climb, Strasberg merely pulled out the holding pin that kept the pole up. He had to admit, that was clever.
"Not bad, Mr. Strasberg," Dr. Erksine smiled as the jeep pulled away back to base.
Across the sea, a middle age man in a lab coat purposefully strode down the hall of a massive complex. Trailing behind him was a younger man in a green full body jumpsuit that left no indication of his identity in the slightest. Secured at was waist was a standard issue pistol. They came to a stop in front of a pair of double doors with an unusual motif upon it: a skull with octopus tentacles extending out of the bottom. The elder of the duo knocked and awaited a response.
The older man opened the door and heeded the young soldier with him inside a large and dark office room. At the far end was an oak desk with the only source of light in the room; a single lamp. Seated at the desk, was a single man signing documents.
"Dr. Zola, how are we proceeding?" he asked.
"Everything is going just is planned; we are even ahead of schedule."
"Also, I brought the man you requested."
"Thank you, Herr Doctor."
The young soldier stepped forward; feeling utterly terrified. The lamp upon the desk gave the room some illumination as it showed the commander's figure all the way up to his shoulders. From the neck up was still in the shadows but the light from the desk was enough to make an outline of his head. Not only that, but there was enough to cast a metallic shine at the crown that gave the recruit enough to see the exact color:
"I have a special mission for you."
The Science Reserve Unit was still undergoing training. The officer still had his doubts, and even though Musashi kept up, he was just barely at the physical level required for the traditional service.
"You cannot be serious, doctor," the officer exclaimed.
"I've made my decision."
"Why Strasberg? We'd get in enough trouble as is just with the fact he's underage. If my superiors found out we've got a Jap in this program, especially since Executive Order 9066 was passed; they'd have both our necks."
"He's more American than I am and he has met the physical minimum and that is enough for him to be eligible."
"Yeah, by the skin of his teeth. I still don't see why you don't choose Brick. He's a fighter. Strong, athletic, tough, and…"
"…And a bully. The project requires more than just physical strength, but strength of the soul," Erksine interrupted. The leading officer rolled his eyes, and grabbed a dummy grenade and pulled the pin.
"I'll give you the fact that it takes heart to win a war. GRENADE!" He yelled out and tossed. Everyone, including Brick attempted to hide from the expected blast, everyone but Musashi himself. Only Musashi decided to prove that he would lay down his life by covering the rest with his own body, and his life seemed to flash before his eyes. Moments passed and there was no explosion, no shrapnel, no nothing and Musashi just looked up.
"Is this test?" He asked and the officer just turned around and shook his head as his perceived best ran like a coward, and Erskine smiled knowing he made the correct choice.
"Something like that and you passed with flying colors," Dr. Erksine grinned, "Come with me please."
Musashi got up and followed the older gentleman.
Erksine asked Musashi to have seat as he walked in.
"I'm sure you are wondering what the purpose of this specific regiment is."
"The thought had crossed my mind."
"I had just finished developing a new type of formula. A formula that would enhance the subject it is administered to, until their body had reached the peak of human condition. In simpler terms, a super soldier serum."
That was shocking to say the least. This guy was telling him about a secret project, but there was one thing that didn't quite add up.
"Why tell me this?"
"I have found the best candidate, and I am sure this formula will work. This part I'm ashamed to admit, but I once worked with the Nazi forces under Hitler. I couldn't call Germany my home, as I was forced to work on the same formula that I told you about, but this formula is complete. To my lasting shame there was one other that received it, but while the formula worked, I saw the portion of the problem: it was not the formula that was flawed but the person."
"His name was Johann Schmidt. He was fascinated with my work and wanted to work with me. We toiled night and day and we had just finished the prototype. He tested it on himself but there were side effect. He became disfigured, horribly so. It was through this that I discovered how it truly works. It amplifies everything; both body and soul. A man who has known strength all his life will eventually abuse that strength but, a weak man knows the value of strength and will respect it."
Musashi remained silent, unsure where this was going.
"This regiment was established for the purpose of picking viable candidates for that serum and you, my boy, are going to be the first."
Erksine nodded; a proud smile upon his lips. "We begin the procedure tomorrow morning at 9 o'clock so no food or fluids after 10, understand?"
"Afterwards, we shall celebrate with a nice glass of schnapps."
"I'm too young to drink alcohol."
"You were too young to join the army but that didn't stop you. Besides, your metabolism will be hyper-accelerated; you won't be to get drunk ever. You also won't get hangovers in the morning."
Musashi had a chuckle at that. The only guy to drink sake, whisky, or any other type of alcohol and not suffer the hangovers.
"Where's the fun in that?" He joked and Erksine caught on, and he just about went for the drinks. He stopped and sighed.
"It's a shame we can't do so tonight, but you need to be in top condition when we leave. And I need to be in the best of health as well. If things go well, then we drink." Erksine said and left the young man to sleep and rest.
Erksine escorted his young subject with him to a secret lab that was hidden right in public as a diner. It was a secret affair that only the head officer, the same one that had doubted the young man, of the science reserve corps had to attend as well. Before they went inside, Erksine then placed his hand on the boy's shoulder and pulled him aside.
"Mr. Strasberg, before we go on, I want you to make me a solemn vow: no matter what happens today and beyond, you will remain who you are inside. Not a perfect soldier, a good man."
He punctuated his statement with a light tap to the boy's chest, right where his heart is. Musashi turned his gaze to where the older scientist poked him before looking back up and smiled wholeheartedly.
"I promise, doctor"
Erksine smiled in return and guided him inside where the head officer was waiting.
A/N: after months of planning, I have finally started one of my biggest projects. I couldn't have gotten this off the ground without Wolfpackersson09's help. This IS going to run in the same universe as Mike313's Superwomen of Eva series but it will take a little time before we get there.
P.S. I apologize if anyone was offended with the use of racial slurs. I meant no such offense; this was just how people actually talked in America during the 1940s. This was added to add some authenticity to the time period.