A meteor entered a blue planet’s atmosphere and slammed into the ground with incredible force. The impact shot dust and debris into the atmosphere and caused the Earth to enter the Ice Age, killing the dominant species on the planet. The event ended the age of the dinosaurs. However, this event heralds the next age to come.

And nothing will ever be the same again.


Roughly, eighty-five million years later, 1293 AD…

In the icy cold of northern Norway, a ragged group of wanderers made their base camp at the foot of the large majestic mountain. This night was so clear that most stars were visible to the naked eye. The harsh wind was not being kind to the wanderers however they did manage to build a few makeshift shelters that night.

One figure moved from one small shelter to the one across from it. He was wrapped in heavy black fur cloak he pulled tight around himself. But still the cold came through it but without it he would not survive. Once inside, the person removed the garment covering the face to reveal his features. As he roughly ran his fingers of his left hand through his sandy-blond hair that was long enough to reach the base of his neck, he said, “We’ll move out at first light in the morn, M’Lady.”

He looked at the female with a parchment in her hand she stopped reading when he spoke. She sat in the only seat of the shelter in front of him directly. His eyes never left her to even glance at the other two men in the shelter who served at her personal guard. She was a striking female with long flowing straight blonde hair pure golden with deep blue eyes. She looked in her early twenties even though he knew she was only sixteen. And it was her slender figure that actually looked her true age.

She nodded as she spoke with a soft sweet voice, “Many thanks, Calderon, for informing me. Myself and my guard will be prepared.” As he was about to put his head garment back on to leave, she spoke again to him in the most pleasant of tones. “Do not take leave yet. I wish to speak to you a moment if you please.”

Calderon was very surprised by request. “Of course, M’Lady. What do you wish to speak of?”

She gave a small innocent smile. “This is my last night I will see of you, Calderon. I have known you my entire life. You are more like an uncle to me than my father’s actual brother. Call me by my name.”

He finally glanced at her guard to try to see their reactions but none showed. He looked back at her. “As you wish, M’La—I mean Sentra.”

Sentra smile grew a small bit as she took a seat on a small chair. “Sit.” After he drew his blade from the sheath to sit down in front of her but had to use the cold ground, she continued as he placed his sword across his lap, “I wish to have you return to my family with a message. Once I am given to the god of Valhalla to become his bride, I will not be able to see them again. Tell them I will think of them.”

Calderon rubbed his chin that was rough with a new beard. It has been almost a week since he was able to properly shave nor wanted to since it provided a new layer of protection against the cold strong winds of the area. “I’m sure your lord father knows as well as your lady mother. The union was prearranged by them and you are honoring your parents and your realm.”

Sentra asked, “Will I be informed when my brother takes over my family lands?”

He nodded. “Word will be sent when Arris takes over upon your father’s death.” He gave her a small smile. “However, that is years away.”

“You ever worry that someone will try to kill my father?”

He shook his head. “Your father has many good swords in his honor guard. All loyal to him.”

She cut him off by quickly speaking. “None as good with a blade nor as loyal as you, Calderon. I worry until you return to him.”

He smiled at her. “You are most kind, M’La – excuse me, Sentra. It was your father who requested I provide you with my sword at your defense until you reach Valhalla. Once there you will become the goddess of Valhalla and no longer require my defense.”

She shot him the quick smile she has done since he knew her as a young child of four at the time he first met her. “Calderon, will I get used to the cold in Valhalla?”

He laughed then smiled at her. “Outside? No. Nobody will get used to that. And it’s not even winter yet. However winter is coming and it will be even colder still. But inside the mountain is said to be hot with fire of the gods. You will be kept warm.”

She paused to take a moment to think before she spoke again.  Sentra then asked thoughtfully, “How am I supposed to address him?”

Calderon was a bit taken back by that question being asked. He had assumed she was already informed of such matters. But he could tell by the hopeless sweet look on her face he has seen many times she was completely serious and worried by not knowing the answer. “You will call him ‘M’Lord’ until he actually takes you as his bride. After that, I do not know the answer, child. You will address him by whatever he wants you to address him as.”

“Will I have to be in his bed the first night?” she asked with an uncertainty in her voice.

“Of course when he takes you as his bride you will sleep in his bed.”

She shook her head slightly. “I mean before he takes me as his bride. The first night of my arrival in Valhalla.”

“Yes, you will sleep in his bed but he will not. He will sleep elsewhere. His chambers will become your chambers. None may enter but you. He will return to the chambers after you are his bride.” He noticed the look on her face and already knew the question in her mind. “Your honor guard will stand outside the door. In Valhalla, you will be the bride of the god. You will give birth to gods to come. Your children and their children will shape the world, Sentra. Teach them well like your lord father and lady mother taught you.”

She smiled at him. “As well as by you.”

Calderon returned the smile. “You give me too much honor. I didn’t teach you anything.”

“No, you did without knowing. I watched and in you I saw what honor is. You are a good man, Calderon. You taught me honor and I hope I can teach it as well to my children. I know I can never teach them to be as skilled with a blade as you.” Her smile gave way to her questioned expression once again. “I’ve never been with a man before. What if I cannot please him?”

He gave a small low laugh. “The god of Valhalla only cares that he is satisfied. When making love to that kind, all the woman has to do is lay there and do nothing but may be moan once or twice so he knows she is at least alive. Tender moments to a god of Valhalla is something I do not think exists. They are barbarians to an extent. That includes how men and women are in their society.” Then Calderon noticed it. Maybe it was there before but now he paid it attention. There was a flowery scent lightly in the air of the shelter. “I notice you are smelling sweet. Honestly, I do not know if such things matter in Valhalla. Things are different here compared to our homeland Risanfield.” After she nodded to him to show she heard him at least, Calderon stood up off the cold hard ground. “I best get some rest for our final day of travel that starts in the morn. I will then stay the night there then leave for Risanfield at first light the next day.”

As he was placing his sword back into his sheath, she said ever so softly as she eyed the sword intently, “I guess that is the last time I will see Widow Maker.”

He slowed putting his sword named Widow Maker away just to give her one long look. He nodded to her then replaced the wrap for his head and pulled his black fur cloak tight around him. Calderon made his way to the door then stopped to look back at Sentra. “Remember you are to call him ‘M’Lord’ until you are actually his bride. Then you address him as it pleases him. If he wants you to call him by his name then and only then can you address him as Corbian.” He exited the shelter as the wind actually got stronger then when he entered. He looked up but this time at the mountain instead of the stars. And Calderon did want to return to Risenfield because there was something about the mountain that worried him. Or maybe it was not the mountain itself. He has seen many mountains before in his life. Calderon thought, “No, it’s not the mountain that worries me, it’s the one who rules from it.”


1942 AD…

The planet is beginning to feel the effects of World War II. The forces of the Axis uncover a large meteor fragment deep underground. The Third Reich orders a study on the fragment as it was made of a material never seen before or at least any known substance. However, German scientists study the fragment unable to find anything.

After two years of fruitless research on the fragment, Soviet soldiers find their lab east of Berlin and capture the German scientists. The Soviets destroyed the lab in an attempt to bury their research forever. They took the German scientists prisoners and sent them to Moscow.

Within the next few months, the war came to an end as well as some strange reports began to spread throughout the world. Reports of people getting sick. Most illnesses resulted in deaths. However, the survivors became something different. Most of the survivors were disfigured and deformed. There were a few who were not. However, some started to show strange abilities normally not found in humans.

In 1946, a year after the end of World War II, the German scientists are sent to a secret research facility in Siberia. They are shown the meteor actually survived the Soviet army attempt to destroy it back in 1944. They begin to continue their work on the fragment.

A decade later, the German scientists along with Soviet scientists liquefy part of the fragment to create a substance they originally call Substance 1942 in honor of the year of discovery of the meteor. However it was quickly renamed by their superiors as Substance 56 to not have the name associated with the Third Reich in any way. Substance 56 was used on a Soviet who showed a special ability to manipulate others minds. First Substance 56 took away the ability then resulted in his death.



As part of his plan of dealing with what was called the Soviet problem, Ronald Reagan instituted a plan to use those with special abilities as super soldiers. In return, they would be allowed to live their lives without incident as long as they remained “good soldiers”.

Since those with abilities did not gain those abilities until at the earliest until their teenage years, most were adults in the project called the U.S. Super Soldiers. The project operated on a military type installation secretly near the nation’s capital in Virginia not far from Langley. When their existence became public knowledge, a second smaller compound which was used primarily for vehicle maintenance was said to be their headquarters which was located north in Maryland to cloud their true location. Like true soldiers, to easily show chain of command, the U.S. Super Soldiers used the military rank system used by most branches of the United States military.



Relations between the world’s superpowers improve as the leaders Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev meet and sign treaties. For the first time in decades, the threat of nuclear war is lessened.

In the aftermath, the two nations begin joint adventures together including research and development. One of the items in Substance 56 which is renamed Dark Shadow because of the dark color. The facility in Siberia remains but most research is transferred and continued in Nevada at a place known as Area 51 with both U.S. and Soviet scientists.



Two members of the U.S. Super Soldiers fell in love and married. Odd thing was both had the same abilities to control wind which made for many joking remarks among their colleagues. The two were Captain Randale Blake and Second Lieutenant Erika Stevens. They had two sons who they named Joseph and William. However, on one assignment she led years later, now Captain Erika Blake found a boy of twelve who discovered he had the power of magnetism as he found rage when his family was killed before his eyes by a person who used his ability of creating ice against them. It was the first recorded preteen to show any ability at all. The boy had no other family to be found so she convinced her husband now Lieutenant Colonel Randale Blake to adopt the boy named Augustus Masters.



Augustus Masters stood in the room as a person roughly his age stood in front of him with an older male just behind him. The younger of the two wore just a dark suit with white dress shirt with red tie that was nothing special about it but the person had a pleasant expression on his face. The older one behind him wore military fatigues with the rank of major on his collar and his expression was one that could be disdain but Augustus was not sure if that was just how the guy always looked. While he was older than the first, he was still pretty young for a major in the military as Augustus guessed his age being just mid to late twenties.

The suit spoke while the fatigues just remained silent glaring at Augustus. “Augustus, we have known of you for a while because of your adopted parents.”

“You don’t have to use the word adopted. They are my parents as much as anyone could ever be.” Augustus was nineteen and full of anticipation of what he was about to become a part of. He would have had a hard life but it was not because of them. His younger brothers Joseph and William gave him a good luck of sort. It was different with the brothers. Augustus was closest to Joseph who was just a little over a year younger and about to graduate high school. He remembered Joseph giving him the usual handshake they shared since kids of putting their fingers together to form a pointed bunch then pecking them together. It was their handshake and only their handshake. Augustus also remembered William almost fifteen giving him what they called the bro hug which was a handshake into a half hug. Augustus did not call them by full name however. To him, Joseph was always Joe and William was Billy the Kid.

The hardest part was not the brothers but the parents. He remembered that conversation. His adopted mother Erika was very against his decision. She said that because they served, he did not have to. He may have been adopted but the same rules apply to him as it did to Joe and Billy the Kid. But the fact that she stressed that the same rule applied to him made him love her all the more for it. Once again, he was looked at not as an outsider she found orphaned but one of the family.

His adopted father was different. He remembered how Randale who was a little more gung-ho about U.S. Super Soldiers pumped out his chest and gave him a gruff but firm and proud nod as he backed Augustus and his decision to join. While he felt happy by Erika’s reaction, he was more proud of how Randale gave him the approving response of a proud father. Also reminding Augustus how much he was a part of the family.

The suit smiled at him. “I didn’t mean anything. I just wasn’t sure how you’d take my just saying parents.”

Augustus smiled. “Understand. No harm done.”

“Great. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Kurt Wade and I just joined the United States Super Soldiers program a month ago. I help with support of the base in communications mainly but also help out wherever needed like most on the support staff.” He motioned to the one behind him. “And this is Major Jason Hunter one of our military liaisons as well as one of the higher ranking actual military members on the base. You probably won’t be crossing paths with him too often at first. He usually in contact with the higher ranking members of the Super Soldiers but it would be good that you know who he is.” Kurt looked back at him. “Unless you have something to say to our newest recruit, Major, I won’t need you here any longer.”

Jason Hunter grunted then walked out briskly.

Augustus asked Kurt, “Is he that way with everyone or is it personal?”

Kurt smiled. “He’s that way with everyone.” He paused a moment then said with a hint of joke in the tone, “Or maybe not everyone exactly. I doubt he’s that way with his fiancée Deidre. She’s not the type to take much out of someone.”


Kurt said, “Don’t get me wrong. She’s a nice person but if you cross her then you better find another place to be besides where she is.”

Augustus smiled. “I like her already.”

Kurt laughed. “Good. Welcome to the U.S. Super Soldiers. Let me show you around a bit.” As he was leading Augustus out the door, Kurt said, “By the way, your father told me to remind you he won’t be easy on you just because of who you are.”

Augustus nodded. “He told me already. And you know what I told him back? I told him good because I can take anything he throws at me.”

Kurt let out a chuckle he obviously tried to stop. “I bet he loved that knowing him.”

“Actually, he smiled and patted me on the back and told me to make him proud.” Augustus could tell he was smiling broadly with pride as he said that part. Augustus did not get anything different from either parent that his brothers got. He knew Joe was about to head south to the University of Miami which would be his second reason to go visit.

Kurt asked, “How does your girlfriend feel about you joining?”

Augustus grabbed him by the arm to stop him and turn him around. “How do you know about Carolyn?”

Kurt smiled. “You don’t remember me, do you? We’ve met before although briefly. It was Carolyn’s last birthday. I know the Gordons. Their family and my family get along. Her little brother Dave told me he’s going into politics for cryin’ out loud. Can you believe that? Well, I guess it makes sense to him since it’s their family business so to speak.”

“Carolyn is down at University of Miami as a freshman. She’s studying law too. I asked why there and she said to get out plus it’s South Beach. My brother Joe will be heading down there next year too.”

“Nice. You can visit both girlfriend and brother at the same time. But your brother isn’t joining us here too like you?”

Augustus shook his head. Joe joining would be nice to have his brother around but he respects Joe’s decision to not join as much as Joe respected his decision. Augustus never pushed Joe to follow behind him because he was born the youngest but watched his family get slaughtered while Joe was born the oldest. They both had to adjust to new roles and decided to just let the other be whoever he grew to be and respect it.

Augustus thought about the first time they played football in the backyard. Augustus was slightly older and bigger at the time so he let Joe have Billy the Kid as a teammate. Augustus had no problem running over Joe then but it was Billy the Kid he had the most fear of. The first time, he ran over Joe only to find Billy attached to his leg trying to pull him down. When the youngest realized he did not have the strength necessary, Billy the Kid then resort to attempt to bite him on the leg to bring him down. The memory of it actually brings a smile to his face now although he did not think it funny at the time.

Augustus noticed a male with sandy-blond hair who showed he had not shaved for a few days with stubble growth on approach who led ten others behind him. The other ten were all in soldier uniforms while the leader was dressed completely in black. As the person was walking by, he said in a nonchalant voice without actually looking to them, “Kurt.”

Kurt responded, “Cole, happy hunting.”

After they went around a corner, Augustus asked, “Who was that?”

“Cole Bryant and Team Alpha. They are a special ops team. Besides leading Team Alpha, he is also one of our main trainers so you will get to know him soon enough.” After a moment of silence, Kurt asked, “Do you have any other questions at the moment?”

Augustus thought a moment about a distant memory full of pain. Truly the last time he actually felt real pain. Then he asked, “Ever hear of a guy who can create ice?”

Kurt replied offhandedly, “Can’t say that I have.”

Augustus replied, “Too bad.” He shook his head. Augustus continued to follow Kurt listening but remaining silent during the rest of his tour of the base. However, he thought, “One day we will meet again, man who creates ice.” And as much as his life was filled with love and happiness since that day, Augustus still had an undying anger within him for the one that started his journey. And he knew deep within him that journey will not end until he once again comes face-to-face with the man that killed his first family.



Nicola walked through the crowd as quickly as she could. The temperature of the day was very comfortable to her even though most others would consider it cold. On occasion, she would smile slightly at someone she passed but continued on her way. Unlike the crowd, she carried no books in her arms. Only thing she had in her right hand was a single sheet of paper. And she wore a black t-shirt that had the word Berkeley across her chest and blue jeans. She wore her brown hair tied back into a short ponytail.

She came to a building with many making their way through the door. She stopped for a moment to take a quick breath then walked briskly towards the door.

When she entered the building, she looked around at the crowded room with California Love from the loud jukebox on the far wall. Being that close to Oakland, she heard more Tupac here than even what she heard back in Detroit or before that in Montreal. This particular single she rather loved it more than the others she heard from him however. Someone walked by and bumped into her. She made eye contact with the fellow and smiled slightly when he excused himself. She again looked around the room to see many of her fellow students socializing with each other at the many tables. She finally saw what she had been searching for and her smile grew larger.

She walked through the room until she reached a table with a female eating a hotdog. “Hi, Nessa.” When the other female looked up at her and smiled, she sat down across from her. She put the paper on the table and pushed it towards the other. “I got it.” She smiled.

Vanessa put the hotdog down on the paper plate in front of her before reaching for the paper. She looked at the paper then said without looking up, “Lucky. How did you do it?”

Nicola continued to smile. “Was not even close to being easy. I had to rearrange my entire schedule. But after reading my work, Professor Daniels invited me to join the campus paper.”

Vanessa laughed slightly. “Now, you will just need to find yourself a huge story to make your mark.” She took a breath then continued, “Again.” Vanessa gave her a smile.

Nicola breathed in deeply then slowly exhaled. “I know. It’s not like how it was when we were back in high school. This is Berkeley. Plus they have that hotshot Lacey Harper on the staff here. Everyone says how great she will be at being a reporter. And let’s not forget this is Berkeley.”

Vanessa laughed again. “Not only that. But comparing California to back home in Michigan is like comparing… um… never mind. Look, you’re good and should have no problems. Now, stop stressing.” Vanessa smiled at her then said jokingly, “You Canadians are all alike.”

Nicola gave her back a small chuckle. “I think I learned to stress the day I moved next door to you in Michigan when I was twelve.” She smiled then extended her right hand. “Two best friends…”

Vanessa smiled and extended her own hand. “Together…”

As they moved their hands apart, they said in unison, “Forever.”

Vanessa looked at her watch then glared at Nicola. “Aren’t you late for a class, Miss Michaels?”

Nicola smiled then stood up. “See you back at the dorm, Miss Travis.” She noticed a television in the corner on the wall with a newscast on. She said softly, “Oh no.”

Vanessa looked at her and asked, “What’s wrong?”

Nicola said softly, “It’s another report like all the others. Crowds screaming for death to others just because they were born different. When will people learn?” Her voice grew louder as she spoke and there was no mistaking the anger behind her words.

“Nicola, calm down.”

A student near the television yelled, “Yeah! Death to the freaks!”

Nicola took a deep breath then looked at Vanessa with a disgusted expression on her face. Song still going with the word love in the title while people screamed hate. Ironic but Nicola did not see the humor in it. “Talk to you later.” As Nicola made her way out of the student center, she bumped into another female. She knew her by reputation only.

Lacey Harper a year older than her and already the star reporter on campus even though she was just a sophomore herself. Nicola expected this person to be unfriendly just by how she imagined her. Lacey looked Nicola up and down a few times. “Aren’t you Nicola Michaels?” After Nicola gave a silent nod, Lacey continued, “Professor Daniels told me you might be joining the staff.”

Nicola gave another silent nod.

Lacey said, “Good luck.” She walked by her but as soon as she was one step behind her, Nicola heard Lacey say, “Word of advice if you don’t mind.” After Nicola turned to face her again, Lacey said, “First thing about being a reporter is to remember to speak when you talk to people.”

Nicola gave her a hard stare not sure what to make of what she said.

Lacey continued, “The professor said your skill at writing is the best he’s seen since – well, since myself. If he thinks you’re good then you must be. Welcome to the staff, Nicola.”

Nicola watched as Lacey extended her hand. Slowly she shook it as she heard the yells for death once more from inside. She noticed Lacey looked over her shoulder while still shaking hands at the shouts.

Lacey said without looking back at Nicola, “Idiots. People with abilities aren’t all bad.” She looked back at Nicola. “Don’t tell me you’re one of the people who hate others who did nothing to you. If you are then keep your opinions to yourself around me about them. Got it?” Before an answer could even be given, Lacey said, “Good. You understand.”

Nicola could just nod before Lacey walked away from her. Nicola was actually surprised by the encounter. She just thought Lacey was nothing like she expected her to be after all. Nicola found herself smiling for a moment before she turned to continue on her way.



Augustus looked around the buildings of the campus of the university just outside of the dorm. He waited by the car that belonged to Carolyn. When looked at the door to the dorm building as people entered and exited until she appeared. He watched her as she looked around then when her eyes looked to him, he noticed the smile and wave she gave him before she headed over. He smiled to her and returned the wave. He stayed by the car as she quickly moved towards him. When she reached him, he hugged her tightly.

She pulled back enough from the embrace to look up into his eyes. Her own green eyes always made Augustus almost forget anything. “How long is this vacation you have?”

Augustus smiled at her. “I have a week. Of course, I promised the old man that I’d also look in on my little brother while I was here.”

Carolyn laughed softly. “You have nothing to worry about with Joe. Unless you worry about all the girls around here fighting over him.” She laughed again. “That brother you have has all the girls after him.”

“I taught him well.”

Carolyn laughed again. “Stop. You’re not as good as he is.”

Augustus said with a joking tone as he pulled her in again, “Yes I am. I have you, don’t I?” He wanted to hold her forever. “It seems like it was longer than a month since I last saw you. I know it wasn’t but it just seems like it.”

Carolyn pulled back again to look up at him. This time her beautiful face showed a serious expression. “We need to talk about that last visit.” Her tone was one of concern.

“What is it?”

Carolyn took a deep breath then slowly let it out. “I don’t know how to tell you this. But the last time – well I – um, I…”

Augustus was now worried. “What’s wrong?” He gently placed his right hand on the side of her face.

She swallowed then said, “I’m pregnant with your baby.”

He smiled broadly at her and could tell by the look on her face she was happy that he was happy about the news. But before he could reply, Augustus heard a scream from behind him followed by many more. The sounds he could tell were from different people. Some of the yells were from males while others from females. He turned to see a car in the air heading directly for his location. Augustus quickly reached out with his power of magnetism to stop it from falling on them. He said to Carolyn behind him, “Get back inside!”

“This is crazy! Things like this don’t happen to me!” Carolyn yelled at him before she started back to the dorm.

Augustus shook his head. As he began to move towards the direction where the car and yelling came from, he said softly, “It happens to me all the time.” Augustus had to force his way through as the crowd was running away from the incident. As he finally made it by the crowd, he saw a group of deformed beings with two of them tossing cars around with incredible strength.

The deformed beings all had different deformities about them. One of the two strong ones had longer than normal arms that almost dragged the ground and extremely muscular which did not fit the rest of the bony frame. The other strong one looked almost reptilian with his green scaly skin and lizard like yellow eyes. And Augustus thought those two were the closest to normal looking of the group he estimated at about fifteen. The one barking the orders had red skin, black circles for eyes, and yellow horns on his head that glowed with a light blue energy.

Augustus used his magnetism to stop another car from flying off. He made it stop in the air then hurled it back towards them. Augustus was surprised with the lizard one’s speed to deflect it away from them. Augustus and the leader locked eyes. Augustus noticed the angered frown he got and Augustus returned it.

The leader said in a deep loud booming voice, “It seems one of the metahumans is standing up for the weak humans.”

Augustus replied, “You’re attacking innocent people!”

The leader laughed. “Innocent?” He laughed again before returning to his angered frown. “No human is innocent! Humanity’s day is coming to end! We are here to begin the age of the mutants!” He pointed at Augustus then ordered, “Kill him!”

“You can try.” Augustus looked quickly around him.

The leader glared at Augustus. “You are just one. You can’t win.”

As soon as the two strong ones took a single step, Augustus heard the wind suddenly pick up and getting stronger. He smiled. “Not just one.” Augustus watched as the wind lifted the two strong ones off the ground then slammed them each into a wall of a building behind them. And the others except the leader began to lose footing as the wind was strong enough to lift them off the ground.

The leader looked angered at Augustus then his horns glowed again. “As I said, no human is innocent and that includes Gordon’s daughter.” Then suddenly each one vanished in a flash of light.

Augustus turned back to see the dorm building belonging to Carolyn suddenly collapse as one person was running up to him. Augustus yelled at him as they were running, “Joe, Carolyn was in that building!” When they reached the fallen building, Augustus yelled, “No!”


Two hours later, Augustus sat on a bench as police and agents moved about around him. He noticed someone sat down next to him and he glanced at him then back down to the ground. “Joe, I told her to go back inside. She died because of me.”

Joseph Blake put a hand on his shoulder. “It wasn’t your fault. You thought you were protecting her.”

“Fat lot of good that did. I loved her and now she’s gone like everyone I’ve ever loved.” He looked at Joe who looked away. “Well, almost everyone, brother.”

Joseph looked at him and gave a half smile.

Augustus said sadly, “Joe, don’t mention it to anyone but Carolyn just told me she was pregnant with my baby right before it happened.”

After a short gasp Joseph was about to speak but Augustus heard a voice snap through the air. “Masters!” Augustus knew who it belonged to before he looked up. He saw Cole Bryant standing in front of him. “What happened here?”

“Mutants attacked,” Augustus answered. “I must have not known where they all were because while me and my brother dealt with the obvious ones, someone must have taken out the building.”

Cole glared at Joseph. He said to Augustus while staring at Joseph, “He’s a civilian and shouldn’t have been involved!”

Augustus stood up. “He helped me and I’m glad he did.”

Cole ordered, “Masters, get back to the base and get debriefed. Team Alpha is taking over here.” As soon as Augustus opened his mouth to speak, he was cut off by Cole. “That’s an order, Masters!” Cole looked at Joseph. “And you, if your parents knew you were involved, your mother would have your father’s head then he’d have mine. Learn to stay out of trouble for both our sakes.”

Joseph jumped up. “You guys have fought these mutants before?”

Cole shook his head. “I’m only answering because of who your parents are. Mutants all over the country have been rising up lately due to the bill in Congress that makes them all outlaws basically.”

“That bill that Carolyn’s father Senator Gordon helped create?” After Cole nodded, Joseph continued, “That’s insane. Those mutants just killed a friend of mine because of something her father is doing. I’m done here. I want in on taking them down.”

Augustus could only watch as he was at a loss for words. He remembered it was Joseph who actually met Carolyn first and they quickly became friends. And it was Joseph who introduced Augustus to her and he was immediately attracted to her.

However, Cole was able to speak just fine. “Look, kid, your mother would have my nuts if I recruited you. And I’m very fond of my nuts, thank you very much.” He looked over his shoulder where the rest of his team were. “Secure the area!” He looked back at Joseph. “This is not a game that we do.”

“I know that. And it’s my life. I was already thinking about it but now I know what I must do.”

Augustus watched as Cole eyed Joseph and how his little brother stood fast. After a moment of the stare down, Augustus was partially surprised it was Cole who looked away first when Cole looked at him. “Masters, take your brother home with you. Let him tell your folks himself of his decision.” As Joseph took a step towards Augustus, Cole grabbed him by the arm. “And tell them I had nothing to do with it. Are we clear?”

Joseph gave a silent nod to Cole then walked over to Augustus and gave a quick nod to him.

As they were walking away from Cole, Augustus said to his brother, “Welcome to the Super Soldiers, Joe.” He stopped to look back at the collapsed building. Augustus thought with a tear in his eye, “Now the ice man has company on my list of those I’ll put in Hell.” He may have had a tear in his eye but the only emotion he was truly feeling was an uncontrollable anger he never felt before this day.