Spoiler!!! Click to Read!:
Originally Posted by Byrd Man
20 Miles off the Cuban Coast
April 17th, 1961
The three transport ships cut through the ocean at a steady six knots. The waves lapped against the rusty hull. I sat at the front of the ship, looking up at the star dotted sky and crescent moon glowing.
"Hola, jefe," a voice said behind me in Spanish. I turned and saw Raul, lighting up a cigarette. "Mind if I smoke?"
"Only if you blow it away from me. Nearly twelve years since I stopped, I don't need any temptations."
Raul took a drag off his smoke and sat down beside me. We sat in quiet for several minutes while he puffed and blew smoke.
"I want to thank you," he finally said. "You and your CIA friends for all their support. What we are doing here is a good thing. We are taking our country back from that comunista cabrón
Castro. For that, the men and I got together and decided to give you a gift."
Raul reached into his waistband and pulled out a pistol. The metal glinted against the moonlight, illuminating the gun. "An original Colt 1911."
He handed me the gun and I held the weight in my hand. Made in 1911. Nine years before I was born.
"This is thoughtful, but I can't--"
"Take it," he said, holding his hands out. "Take it and keep it. You never know when you made need it."
"Says the man preparing to invade a country..."
"After your bombers crush Castro's tanks and planes, they won't be able to stop us. Soon as Fidel's pendejo
lapdogs see us on the beach, they'll drop their weapons and run as fast as they ****ing can."
I nodded silently, glad that Raul couldn't see my face. A CIA cable came in a half hour ago with the bad news. Feeling heat from the UN and the Soviets, the President ordered the bombing on the island to be severely cut. From a major bombardment down to just one measly pass over the island. I don't want Raul to know. The type of confidence he has right now, it'd be dangerous to deflate it.
"I have to go," he said, flicking his cigarette butt over the side of the ship. "Final prep is in forty-five minutes. After that, we'll be ready to land."
Raul stood, his hand out for me. I took it and shook, avoiding his eyes even in the dark. "Senor Rogers, thank you. When this is over, I want to show you my thanks properly. You and your wife can come to Havana to vacation, all at my expense."
"Thank you... I'm sure Gail would love that."
Raul patted me on the back and walked away, heading down into the ship's hold. Six hours later, I would watch from the boat as the Cubans waded out of the waters of the Bay of Pigs. Then, I'd watch as Castro's troops and tanks tore them to shreds. I nearly jumped off the side of the boat and swam the three miles to shore to help fight. Direct orders to stand down from the CIA Director and the Secretary of Defense managed to back me down.
I never saw Raul again. His name never appeared on the killed in action list the Cuban government put out. His name never popped up in the intelligence briefings the CIA smuggled out of Cuba. No official record of him in Cuba, all knowledge of him disavowed by the US government. It was like he never existed. Except for the Colt. I have it framed and mounted on a wall in my cabin. With the gun is a note: Raul Fernandez, April 17th, 1961. My government wanted to forget he ever existed, but I never did.
SHIELD Multicarrier USS Charleston
800 Feet Below the Surface of the Persian Gulf
"Iran is trying to develop supersoldiers," Nick Fury said in his usual direct tone. He stood at the front of the nearly empty briefing room. His right hand woman, Bordeaux, sat off to the side watching silently. "And they're getting pretty damn close."
Fury slid a tablet across the table to me. I picked it up and looked down at the screen. Grainy and black and white photos of test tube babies with tubes running through the tanks and into the children's bodies.
"All the way from birth?"
"All the way from conception. The babies there were conceived two days earlier in an incubation tube. The best genes are chosen by scientists before the process of conception even starts."
"Where did this come from?"
"Our source in Iran, codenamed Eagle. Eagle's been working inside the Iranian military for nearly two years now. Those pictures came to us a week ago. Twelve hours after sending it, Eagle sent out a distress signal to his handler's imbedded in Tehran. Since then, nothing.... until yesterday."
Fury motioned for the tablet. I slid it back to him and he flipped over to another photo. This one of an Arabic looking man laying on the street, dead. Cuts and bruises covered his body. There was a hole in the man's head where his left eye should have been.
"I believe the way the body was left, it was a message to the US. To me."
"To you from whom? Nick, you're so deep inside the system, half the Joint Chiefs think you're a myth."
"But this is different. This is a message from an old friend... or someone who used to be a friend."
"Have you ever heard the story of Rustam?"
April 17th, 1980
The skinny young man navigated through the packed main street of Tehran. Protestors were out in force, holding up posters of the Ayatollah Khomeini and flaming American flags. The protests were happening every day now. They had been happening since six months ago when the Americans had been kidnapped from their embassy. The US government attempted to negotiate with the Islamic Revolutionist, but their pleas fell on deaf ears.
The young man kept going through the mob and a half hour later, found himself in a back alley nearly a mile away from the protestors. He found a narrow doorway in the alley and went up three flights of stairs to a door. He rapped on the wooden door in a short sequence. Morse code.
The door swung open and a man peeked out. He was white, red-haired with a long streak of gray running down the middle.
he said, issuing a challenge.
"Constrictor," the young man replied back.
He motioned for the man to come inside and closed the door behind him as he entered. The apartment was tiny and sparse. The only real piece of furniture was a table and four chairs. Another man sat at the table with a clear line of sight on the door.
He asked in between puffs on his cigar.
"Yes," the man said. "I learned it while at university."
The red-haired man stepped up and patted the young man down quickly.
"Have a seat."
The young man sat down, looking at the man up close. His hair was gray, his nose had a long scar running down it. The most dominant feature of his face though was his eye... or lack thereof. A large eyepatch covered his left eye.
"Rustam, interesting codename."
"It seemed appropriate," Rustam said, rubbing his neck. "The great Persian hero."
"Gotta say, as far as informants go, you have to be the most humble."
"And what should I call you?"
"Well, Patch, what do you wish to talk about? Why did you want to set up this face to face meeting?"
"While you've never met with your handlers, we know what you do. You're part of the militant force that's overthrown the government... and more importantly, you've been assigned a new duty."
"Yes," Rustam said with a slow nod. "I have be guarding the American hostages at night."
"Yes, and that's what we want. A comprehensive floor plan on the place where they're being held and guard schedules."
"You are planning a rescue mission?" Rustam asked with a raised brow.
"Something like that,"
said Patch. "Now, let's get to it."
Seven days later, US commandos would execute botched attempt to rescue the 52 hostages. The official line is that the helicopters malfunctioned due to the desert sand. Unknown to nearly everyone, one copter was shot down by Islamic radicals. Master Sergeant Rick Flag Sr., a veteran of three wars and an original Howling Commando, was severely injured in the crash and later died of his injuries two days later.
Although the failed mission was investigated heavily, no official reason was given as to how the Islamic rebels knew when and where the special forces helicopters would be arriving. After the debacle, SHIELD informant codenamed RUSTAM went silent, no further reports. Representatives of then President-Elect Ronald Regan were able to negotiate the release of the hostages in exchange for a hands-off policy on Iranian affairs, and the supply of weapons to the Islamic radicals. The hostages were released on January 20th, 1981 and the world moved on, like it always does.
1329 Local Time
"So, what's the plan?"
I asked Bordeaux as we stood in the motel room.
Eight hours ago we had slipped into Iran via the underwater SHIELD multicarrier. They dropped us off a mile from the coast and we swam the way in with scuba gear. She ignored me and reached under the bed, pulling a large metal case out from under it. She plopped it on the bed and opened it. Inside the case was filled with equipment... and something else.
"Why'd you bring that?"
"You never know when we'll need it," she said, handing me a few small nodes. "Put the one on the right on your back molar, the other one in your ear."
I did as she asked, slipping one on my back tooth and the other in my ear. I felt a tingle as the two nodes seemed to dissolve over my tooth and ear.
"Check, one, two,"
Nick Fury's voice said crystal clear in my ear. "Eagle Eye to Uncle Sam, respond."
"Uncle Sam here,"
I said, unsure if Fury could here me. "How are you doing this?"
"Those nodes dissolved when they came in contact with your body heat. They will filled with micro nanties that latched on to your tooth and inner ear. The ones on your tooth have a high definition sound mic that can capture your whispers. You have micro speakers in your inner ear."
"Seriously. Welcome to the 21st century, Cap. It's along way from those gun pens we had in the 60's."
"You're telling me. I'm surprised you don't have any video linkup or anything else fancy like that."
"Here," Bordeaux said, handing me a contact lens. "Slip it into your right here. It dissolves like the nodes."
"Looks like I spoke too soon,"
I said, slipping the contact in.
"And now we have video. Smile for me, Sasha."
"Tell me. Nick, you ever read that book Nineteen Eighty-Four?"
"Yep. I liked that Big Brother guy, shame that Winston Smith fella tried to mess with what he was doing."
"Of course you did."
"What's next, sir?" Bordeaux asked, linking up with my feed with Fury.
"Two of you need to make your way further into the country. We have another asset we need to extract as soon as we can. Another SHIELD agent in country is going to hook up with you outside of Tehran. Head that way as soon as possible and wait for further orders when you do. Eagle Eye out."
And like that, Fury's booming voice was gone. I looked at Bordeaux and shrugged.
"I guess we need a car."