Part 1: In Which a Fateful Meeting Takes Place

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Malcolm Stanwood, Member of Parliament, played the role of a God-fearing man, mostly for political reasons, but like almost all politicians, he was certainly apt to do things one would consider…not particularly holy. The most recent of such activities was holding a meeting of his investment club on Maundy Thursday.  

He had been approached a few days earlier with an opportunity. The club, Stanwood, Milford, Hardwick & Newberry, has been looking for new avenues for investment. Malcolm, as president, thought it would be a good idea to give everyone else a chance to listen to the man.

Everyone settled in, then watched a fellow in his early twenties with a weak chin and thin brown beard smile as he entered the drawing room. It was indeed unusual for them to be assembled there rather than his study, but Malcolm was warned in advance that he would need the room.

 “Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am Devin Pollman, a representative of the firm Hugh & Olson, located right here in London. We specialize in the development and engineering of biomechanical prosthetic limbs,” he explained, taking a place among the men seated on the sofa and a couple of chairs. “Gentlemen, by the time this meeting is over, you will see firsthand that we are racing into a new age of engineering and technology that will change our world forever. You will understand just what is possible in this new age. And most likely, you will each want to be a part of this change. To that end, I am going to introduce you to the future: The Superior Soldier.”

“I beg your pardon, Mr. Pollman. The other day, when we spoke, I had not gotten the impression that you dealt with weaponry,” Malcolm said with surprise.

“Please understand that the initial drive for development of these limbs was indeed the idea that they could be used in a warfare situation, Mr. Stanwood,” Pollman informed him.

“I see. Aside from that, what is it that makes him superior?” Aloysius Hardwick asked. With eyes and hair of gray and a look of being perpetually stern, Hardwick radiated an aura of a man that was not easily impressed. Malcolm always admired that in him.

“Sir, the answer to that question would be, everything. His genetic code is superior. His body is far superior. The neural prosthetics he uses are actually merged with his body in order to form a fighting machine that will completely change war for all time.” Pollman’s enthusiasm and confidence were palpable as he rose and gestured to the doorway. “Gentlemen, I give you… The Superior Soldier!”

Malcolm felt panic seize his gut when the Superior Soldier entered the drawing room. Newberry dropped his drink, and Hardwick blinked several times, and looked as though he was trying to convince himself that what he was seeing was real. “How tall is he?” Hardwick gasped.

“Won’t you tell the fine gentleman how tall you are?” Pollman asked the Superior Soldier.

“I am seven feet and two inches tall,” the Superior Soldier answered in a slurring voice.

“Why is there a metal plate on his head?” Malcolm asked before he could stop his lips from moving. He shivered a bit.

“Why, it’s an extra layer of protection, good sir.” Pollman answered deftly. This mountain of machinery was wearing a brown woolen suit, which made the moment surreal and even a bit absurd.

“Oh, how I wish Marcus would have come. He needed to see this,” Malcolm breathed. He noted the Superior Soldier’s two eyes were different colors. One was a more typical cloudy brown, and the other was a green so vivid that it was foreboding, in fact disturbing.

Since his eyes were so unique, it was easy to observe where the Superior Soldier was looking. Malcolm realized with a start that he was staring quite intently at a family portrait on the mantle. The Superior Soldier lifted one of his arms, and all the men in the room save Pollman gave a terrific start. This gargantuan creature did not possess a normal right hand. It had been removed, replaced with a shimmering claw! But this claw was obviously nothing like the old-style prosthetic hands or metal hooks that had been such crude substitutes in the past. One of those darkly thrilling blades pointed, like one would a real finger, at the framed photograph.

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