Teen Titans Fan Fiction ❯ The Real World: Titans Tower ❯ POV: Deathstroke ( Chapter 17 )
[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]
DISCLAIMER: The New Teen Titans, as well as Deathstroke, were created by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. I owe my inspiration to them, as well as to the talented staff of the Teen Titans animated series and the superb voice acting of Ron Perlman, whose voice I try to hear speaking every single line I write for Slade.
“All Star Teen Titans”
“The Real World: Titans Tower”
Chapter 17: POV: Deathstroke
Deathstroke—Slade Wilson: The deadliest mercenary alive, cruel and emotionless, capable of tapping into 90% of his brain's capacity.
***OFF THE AIR—BELLE REVE METAHUMAN PENITENTIARY. LOUISIANA, USA***
Belle Reve is a country club.
None of the other prisoners would call it that, but I'm sure none of them have ever spent time in a Vietcong POW camp either. Compared to one of them, Belle Reve is the lap of luxury. Once again, the American justice system is too lenient. That will be their final mistake—they should have executed me.
After all, this place can't hold Deathstroke.
That's me. Deathstroke, the deadliest mercenary alive. Slade Wilson's my civilian name, but Deathstroke, that's the name people fear. I even make the Justice League quake in their boots—or, at least, I did. Prison doesn't do much for a mercenary's reputation. Several hundred flawless kills on my resume, and they'll focus on my one loss. Ingrates.
What's most infuriating is that I could have won had I kept my head on straight. If I hadn't followed Jupiter's ridiculous scheme and just killed his team from the start. Instead I was defeated by a group of amateur teenaged capes—on cable television, nonetheless.
That's pretty hard to live down, but if anybody can do it, I can. Reputations can be salvaged. Any who refuse to hire me can be eliminated, as can any assassins with a better record than I. Plus, there's the revenge: Since I've come here I've lived for the thought of revenge, for the moment where I send a bullet through Loren Jupiter's skull.
Or perhaps I'll do it more slowly, like slitting his throat, or suffocating him. I've had so long to create scenarios, I've yet to decide which would be most fulfilling.
Of course, first I must attend to the matter of breaking out of here. Fortunately for me, I'm not alone.
And I never have been.
The only person I ever cared for as a child was my father. He was a hunter, and he took me with him on all his trips. By the age of five I was as proficient as he was. Hunting, killing, it's in my blood.
However, my father foolishly gave me access to all my weapons. He trusted me to use them safely and wisely.
Trusting me. I do believe everyone who has ever done that came to regret their decision.
While he was at work I would take his guns and hunt animals in the woods behind our house. Sometime I would hunt strays that wandered on our property, and eventually I even started tracking down the ones that had owners. It was frustratingly simple, even back then, but it was as close to the thrill of the hunt as I could get on my own.
One day a neighbor boy—Henry Haskall—saw me killing another neighbor's cat. He intended to…”tell on me”—and my argument that if the hag cared for the creature, she wouldn't have let it run free didn't change his mind. I could not allow that—had my parents found out, I would have lost access to the guns. I could not have that.
So, I did the only thing I could. I killed Henry. He shouldn't have provoked someone holding a loaded weapon.
A lesson learned too late.
I hid the boy's body in my father's shed, where he kept his guns. I wiped the murder weapon clean of all fingerprints. Don't think me a fool—I knew the cops would find the body.
I just didn't want any evidence leading back to me.
Instead, it was my father who paid for my crime. It was a shame, really. I missed our hunting trips. Still, it was a necessary sacrifice. As the cops hauled my father away, he looked me straight in the eyes. He had figured out what I'd done, and he was horrified.
Eventually my father was executed for his “crimes”, making him and Henry my first human victims. However, they would be far from the last. It's just like they say: Once you first taste blood, you can never get enough.
My life was empty after that—perhaps it was the only time I actually was alone. My mother destroyed all of my father's weapons and forbade me to ever use a gun again. As far as she was concerned, guns had destroyed her life—once I became Deathstroke, I made sure that this was truly, literally the case.
I was an empty husk of a man until a military recruiter visited my school when I was fifteen. America was in the midst of the Vietnam War, and was doing whatever it could to retain the military's popularity. They certainly caught my attention. After all, where else could I get paid to kill to my heart's desire?
So, that night I ran away to join the military. Fortunately, I had worked out all my life—obsessively since my father was arrested—and was in peak physical condition. By the time my age was discovered, I had already been promoted several times and had proven myself too invaluable to lose.
Funny how quickly the government will ignore a crime if it's in their best interest.
I hadn't been in the military long before I met an old soldier named Major William Wintergreen. The military was getting ready to retire him from the field, and he wasn't happy about it. His first “office” assignment—training me—just made it worse. I mastered every killing art he taught me effortlessly—at first he was jealous of my skill, my youth, my future, but soon his envy gave way to respect.
Still, when given the chance for one last field mission, Wintergreen didn't hesitate for a second. Unfortunately, he was captured by the Cong in an ambush. Perhaps the best decision of my life was the one to rescue him. Wintergreen was so grateful, and in such awe of my skill, that he vowed to always serve at my side from then on.
He's the best asset I've ever had.
After the war the military still had much use for me, sending me on countless missions where an ordinary display of military force just wouldn't do. I never let them down.
In the meantime, I met a fellow soldier named Adeline Kane. I tried to avoid her, but she fell for me the second she laid eyes on me.
Can't say I blame her.
I found myself spending more and more time with Adeline. She was a strong woman, and very attractive. If I'm even capable of loving someone, she's the closest I've ever come.
The government, meanwhile, had created a serum they hoped would produce a super soldier: a human weapon with massive strength, superb reflexes, and the ability to use 90% of his brain. Of course, I was their first choice for a test subject, and how could I turn down an opportunity to become a better killer?
It was a resounding success—I became more lethal than I could have ever imagined. I was so lethal, in fact, that the military began to fear me. They claimed that the serum had made me callous and had robbed me of my empathy.
What they failed to realize was that I had always been that way.
Regardless, I was discharged, the official records using my renegade rescue mission of Wintergreen years previously as an excuse. To say I was angry would have been an understatement, but I wasn't going to let it hold me back. Slade Wilson, to the public, became a famous big game hunter—however, that was merely smoke and mirrors, a way to hide my true new vocation: mercenary for hire.
That was how Deathstroke was born.
The money I was pulling in allowed me to live lavishly. Wintergreen and I bought a mansion, and Adeline moved in a few weeks later. It wasn't long before we were married: truly a testament to the almost supernatural power that woman held over me. She soon bore me a son, Joseph, and a daughter, Rose.
Without a doubt, this was the happiest part of my life. I had a family that adored me, more money than I ever thought possible, and the freedom to act up on my darker needs as Deathstroke. Life was perfect, but I had forgotten one essential rule:
A mercenary can't have a heart.
One of my employers hired me to dispose of several very highly ranked officers of a terrorist called the Jackal. The bastard somehow figured out who I was and attacked my family, kidnapping Joe. Adeline was still unaware of my dual life at Deathstroke at the time, which was further proof that, despite loving me, she never truly knew me.
Obviously, she didn't take the news well, and things became worse when we met with the Jackal. He threatened to slit Joe's throat if I didn't turn myself in. I care for my son, but I couldn't ruin my professional standing.
On that day I made a rare mistake. I killed Jackal and his associates in seconds, but I still wasn't fast enough. Joseph wasn't dead, but his vocal cords were completely severed.
He's been mute, unable to speak a single word, ever since.
Adeline was furious. She filed for divorce, attempting to take my money and my kids. No matter what my feelings for the woman were, that was unacceptable.
However, she beat me to the punch.
At one of our meetings she pulled a gun and tried to kill me—she was so angry that even the divorce wasn't enough anymore. Normally I could have dodged the shot easily, but that day I was actually taken by surprise. I never thought Adeline would go that far. Still, my heightened reflexes allowed me to escape the fatal shot.
She shot out my right eye, and I blew her brains out. I much preferred that to a divorce.
Instead of weakening my resolve, losing my eye only emboldened me. I changed my mask to make sure everybody knew I only had one eye. After all, what's more frightening than a killer so confident in his abilities that he shows his opponents' his handicaps?
Still, there were complications: Joseph and Rose. Despite abandoning the name Slade Wilson and my mansion and instead buying multiple properties under different aliases, I still wanted my children to be fighters. I never wanted the Jackal incident to repeat itself.
Wintergreen largely raised the kids, but fighting was something I was going to handle. However, they resisted the training, especially Joe, who hated violence. My patience was reaching its limit when I discovered the kids'…abilities. That's when I realized they were more than my kids: they were invaluable fighting assets. I had to have them fighting at my side.
So Wintergreen and I concocted a mind control serum.
There were problems at first—it wasn't easy to perfect. The constant changes in the formula and dosage especially took a toll on Rose, and even my finalized version has limits—however, it has allowed Deathstroke to be more effective than ever before, fighting with my children at my side.
Of course, that's not to say everything's been perfect.
Before my run-in with the Titans, I was hired by a low-level politician to assassinate the Mayor of Star City, Oliver Queen. As I followed Queen, learning his habits and planning the kill, I discovered his deepest secret: Queen was secretly the vigilante Green Arrow.
Needless to say, that little tidbit spelled political ruin for Queen, and delighted my employer. However, it also brought me to the attention of Queen's buddies in the Justice League.
I barely escaped with my life.
I don't fear capes, but I do respect them. Their powers often make even mine pale in comparison. When the League targeted me, it took every trick I'd ever learned, all 90% of my boosted brain power, all of my enhanced speed and strength, and nearly ever contact I'd ever made, and I still only escaped by a hair.
Outfoxing the likes of Superman, Wonder Woman and the Flash certainly boosted my reputation, but it wasn't worth the pain. I vowed I'd never let myself get involved with capes again.
That just makes the Titan situation all the more infuriating.
I still don't know exactly why I took Jupiter's offer. Yes, the ungodly amount of money he offered was incredibly tempting, as was his giving me the brain-dead body of Dr. Light as a weapon. But that shouldn't have been enough.
Still, it doesn't matter anymore. Soon, Jupiter will be dead. The Teen Titans will be humiliated. Every last remainder of their existence will be annihilated.
Of course, first I still have to break out of Belle Reve.
This is where we come back to why I'm so fortunate to have allies…
It only took me a couple of days to memorize the guard rotation at Belle Reve, an essential bit of information no matter how I planned to escape. Finally, weeks later, I heard what I was waiting for: a guard was making his rounds past my room, but not at his scheduled time.
“We're moving you to a cell with tighter security,” said the guard as he entered my room. I got to my feet, and the guard curled two of his fingers in the shape of the letter “J” and smiled slightly.
It was Jericho's sign.
I followed him down several hallways, and I recognized where he was taking me: towards the East side of the prison, where it only had one story. That was the easiest way to smuggle me out, I suppose…though the path out also intersected with a patrol route.
Sure enough, we soon crossed paths with a patrol guard. Joe played it like the professional I trained him to be, nodding as their eyes met and never once looking nervous or conspicuous.
So what happened next wasn't his fault at all.
“Wait a minute,” muttered the other guard as he noticed me and realized one of the most dangerous inmates was walking free, “Deathstroke ain't s'posed to be outta his cell!”
“How observant of you,” I quipped as I leapt and struck the fool in the temple, killing him instantly. Unfortunately, he'd triggered his alert button before I'd hit, summoning all the guards he could.
Or perhaps it wasn't that unfortunate. I would need to hold myself over until I could get my hands on Jupiter, and this was as good a workout as any.
“I'm assuming you've got a plan, right?”
“Of course,” said Joe with a smirk as he pressed a button on his belt. I recognized that design—it controlled my stealth ship.
A good plan indeed.
I have to give the guards at Belle Reve credit—they were more prepared than I expected. I only a few seconds a line of guards appeared at each end of the hallway, each with a rifle aimed for my head.
They didn't stand a chance.
With my heightened reflexes its child's play to dodge bullets. Barely breaking a sweat I rolled beneath the first wave and took the gun from the guard I'd already killed, and with several well-placed shots I upped the death-toll.
Ah, it felt good to use a gun again. The weight, the feel, the power—guns are intoxicating, better than drugs, better than sex.
Unfortunately, my son doesn't share my passion. As usual, Joe had his own way of doing things. Making eye contact with one of our attackers, his astral form leapt from the guard who had freed me into his new host. His friends didn't know what hit them as Joe took control of the guard's body and lashed out with a flawless stream of martial arts strikes.
You see, both my children were conceived after I had taken the Super Soldier serum. Just as it changed and enhanced my body, it did the same for my kids. Joe—codenamed Jericho—is a body-jumper. He has the ability to take control of somebody just by making eye-contact with them. It is also the only time he can speak—through the vocal cords of others.
Joe's always been smart, reliable, and athletic, but to my dismay he was never a fighter. He preferred art and music. With the help of my mind control serum I've turned the boy into a perfect fighter, but there are still some things not even mind control can force. He still won't pick up a gun, and he won't kill.
Regardless, this has never gotten in the way of Joe completing a mission. And in a way, I can respect convictions so strong that not even I can change them. Joe's a good soldier.
His sister, on the other hand…
Suddenly, the roof exploded. Concrete fell and the floor shook, and I took advantage of the distraction and threw several of the guards into the rubble's path. That no doubt saved me some ammo.
“And here comes the cavalry!” A long rope ladder had been lowered through the hole—my daughter, Rose, had been hanging on, and she wasted no time in attacking. She struck several guards with shuriken as she somersaulted to the floor. The last two standing guards, likely wetting themselves at the sight of her, fired their weapons wildly.
As high as taxes are, you think the government could afford to hire better shots.
Rose's codename is Ravager, for…obvious reasons. She dodged the gunfire, knowing where it was going to hit, deflecting a bullet with one of her two swords and then turning the weapons on the guards.
Dismembered limbs and blood flew blindly as Rose tore into them enthusiastically. She's the exact opposite of her brother. Rose took after me, loving violence. She was always wild, and as I said, problems with the mind control serum made it worse. In a fit of insanity she even put out her own eye, just to be more like her dear old dad.
If not for her precognition I wouldn't even use her in the field. Rose can see the future, and the more adrenaline that flows through her veins, the more controllable and accurate her visions become. In a fight, she's virtually untouchable.
Rose is like a mad dog: I point her towards a target, and she shreds it to pieces.
“Come on you guys! Let's get outta here!” Joe had done his job well, and only his host remained standing. That didn't last for long as his physical body appeared behind the guard, and my son knocked him out cold with a well-placed strike to the neck.
“Didn't we do great, dad?” Rose and Joe both looked up at me with giant eyes, waiting for praise. Annoying to be sure, but it certainly kept them under control—the mind control serum kept them addicted to my approval.
“Yes, my dear,” I told her, “You did fine.” It wasn't a lie. Yes, the rescue was a tad theatrical, but it got the job done. Perhaps even more importantly, this left not only Belle Reve, but every law enforcement officer in the country one essential message:
Nobody screws with Deathstroke.
“Slade, it's good to see you again, sir. Home just isn't home without you.” Wintergreen, my most trusted ally, eternally indebted to me. He's never left my side. No doubt he helped organize the rescue.
He greeted us as we climbed aboard my stealth ship, a slim black hover-vehicle meant to be fast and silent, to get me the hell away from my targets as fast as it can. I don't need some sports car to stroke my ego, after all. I already know I'm the best.
“Good to see you too, Wintergreen,” I replied as I looked over my ship. It felt good to be free. “I'm pleased to see you kept up with the kids'…treatments while I was away.”
“Of course. I couldn't have freed you without them.”
Joe sat in the pilot's seat and we became a blur, leaving Belle Reve as just a memory. “Where to now, Dad?” asked Rose, no doubt eager for a mission. After all, it had been a while since she'd been able to fight somebody. It was the same for me, truthfully.
“First, we stop at home. I need a change of clothes. Then, well…I'm sure you can guess what comes next.”
Indeed, I didn't need to spell it out. Rose cheered. Wintergreen smiled. Even Joe looked pleased. They all want a piece of Jupiter and the Titans as badly as I do. Humiliate one member of the Wilson family, you humiliate us all.
So I will kill Loren Jupiter. I will destroy the Titans. I will do it with my family at my side. My name is Slade Wilson, and I am Deathstroke, the deadliest mercenary alive. I love to kill, and I love my job. I'm the best at what I do, and anybody who knows my name fears me.
I wouldn't have it any other way.
Next time: Tangled Web