Mattias Tonnelly: A Rude Awakening, Part 1
Tales of the Unawakened
Location: Secret HYDRA Compound
Timeline: Present Day
The room that was considered to be the lab area of the remote HYDRA base, more resembled some kind of slaughterhouse. Yellowed, flickering light kept the specimen tables well lit, while casting the rest of the room into harsh shadow. Out of three stasis fields, only one was active, a sedated young man laying on a dirty table surrounded by a light blue glow.
“Geez, that woman is rough on these kids, Phil,” one of the blood-stained techs said as he used a sternum splitter on one of the Ice Queen’s latest casualties.
“Our betters send her in for a reason. She’s the mind-reader, and she’s the expert. She knows the ones that will make it and the ones that won’t,” the other answered, not even wincing at the sound of the chest being cracked open, simply pulling on a new pair of gloves, as though it mattered at that point.
The first shook his head and nodded towards the only survivor from the latest collection round from the area. “I think she’s wrong about that one. His genetics are proving a bit more robust than he looks.”
“He’d be dead already if she thought of him as parts. The fact that he’s still breathing, and not the one you’re cracking into right now, is about as high praise as you can get from that cold-hearted bitch,” Phil responded with a dark chuckle.
On the table, Mattias started to come to. The first thing his senses informed him of, was the stench of death. His nose crinkled as he started to cough. Next thing his body told his brain was, he was strapped down onto a cold, metal table. "H-hey…" he started to murmur. "Let me…let me go…"
Walking into the small HYDRA installation hadn’t been very challenging, if Fractal was honest with herself. Not that breaking into places was very difficult for her anyway. Being invisible to the eye, as well as most cameras, was old hat to the young light-bearer. There were a few videos of her out there on the internet, though no one knew it was her, as they ended up on those weird channels that delved into ghostly apparitions caught on security cameras.
As the tactically trained young woman carefully made her way into various parts of the small compound, she paused along the way, dropping small packages into unseen corners, as well as downloading maps and files. Her mission was simple. Surveillance, information collection, and demolition. A lifted badge here, slipping in beside staff with higher and higher security clearances, until she made her way into the facility buried within the mountain, underneath the facade of a simple research station.
It was all right up her alley, and she was beginning to understand why Dyami thought it would be a good first target for her. Until she got into what seemed to be the literal bowels of the faux research station. Fractal had seen some major atrocities in her day, including being taken captive by human traffickers, but the scene that she stumbled into nearly turned her stomach. The surroundings were littered with various bins of discarded body parts, while certain organs were sitting in tanks filled with some kind of blue liquid.
She had slipped in quietly, listening to the conversation between the two lab-coated rats at the table, recording everything as she went. The hack on the untended computer station had nearly finished, when the sound of a drugged, groaning voice caught her attention.
Shit. Is there someone alive in here? Fractal murmured to her suit’s AI Julius.
After a moment, the rich British baritone of Julius’ voice responded in her ears, Tonelly, Mattias. Male, sixteen. Newly discovered mutant, brought in by... there was a brief pause before the AI continued, Agent Eva Gideon. The video included with the file is...rather barbaric. The video played in the thin heads up display that covered her brilliantly colored eyes as she made her way to the blue-tinted table containing the drugged young man.
One of the two men looked over to the waking newcomer, and sighed heavily as he put the lung that he was holding down on the table next to the poor mutant that he was dissecting. He walked over to the machines next to the wounded boy, and started fiddling with the settings. “Be quiet,” he muttered as he began increasing the dosage of the sedative that they’d been feeding to him.
A soft, whispered voice from behind made the HYDRA thug turn suddenly, grasping onto a pair of scissors that were in the pocket of the rancid apron that he was wearing, “Hey, stop trying to freak me out, Dave! This place is creepy enough without you pulling that shit!”
“What the fuck are you talking about? I ain’t said shit to you,” Dave answered, still sawing away at an arm that was being difficult.
Suddenly Phil stiffened as he felt an invisible hand close over his mouth. “Hail HYDRA, bitch,” the disembodied voice whispered again. The man jerked suddenly, then fell to the floor, convulsing and choking, foaming blood pouring from his lips.
As the other man dropped his saw and ran to crouch down over his partner, his head turned sharply, his eyes wide, as a loud, sickening crack echoed off of the room’s odd machinery. His body went limp, the light fading from his eyes, as he fell on top of his friend’s corpse.
“Well, that just moved up the timeline,” Fractal said with a frustrated sigh. There weren’t supposed to be innocents in here. This was just a body farm, according to everything she had managed to dig up on the place. With a soft flash of light, she materialized next to the bed that the boy was lying on. “Stay calm. I’m going to get you out of here,” the nano-clad woman told him, her hand settling on the computer, allowing Julius time to access the proper codes.
In his drug-induced stupor, Mattias cracked open his eyes and smiled groggily. "You…are you an…angel…?"
“I’m no angel, kid. Just a soldier,” the woman with the odd, multi-colored X-shaped Mandelbrot Set on her shoulder answered, glancing towards the doorway. She figured it wouldn’t be long before some lazy guard glanced up at their monitors and noticed the dead lab rats. She looked back down at Mattias and said, trying to draw him out of his stupor, “They call me Fractal. You’re Mattias, right? Is that what you like to be called?”
Hearing her say her name, Mattias's features brightened, though he was still a bit drugged. "Fractal! You're a total badassss…one of my…my favorite heroes…" He giggled as he continued speaking. "My…mama…" his face suddenly filled with anguish. "My mama and papa…they called me Matty, for short."
Tears started to fill his eyes. "That…that woman….she made…she made my papa do…" he couldn't bring himself to repeat what he saw in those last moments of his family's existence.
Behind the thin shield that covered her brilliantly colored eyes, she squeezed them closed briefly at the boy’s pain. It was a familiar pain. A dark, agonizing memory clawed its way out of the depths of her psyche, and she fought it back, her jaw clenching a bit, before it could overwhelm her.
No, mama! Don’t die! You can’t leave me!
“Matty it is, then,” Fractal said, taking a deep, calming breath, then letting it out slowly before she continued. “Your records say you can’t walk, so I’m going to have to carry you. Do you think you can hold on?” She managed to keep the nervousness out of her voice as she waited for the alarms to start blaring. “Come on, Julius, hurry it up,” she muttered.
"Y-yes, Ma'am…I can...I can hold on tight." He started to feel his brain clear some, as the drugs started to leave his system. "My arms are strong."
Finally the hum of the machine shut down, the blue field flickering and dying. Fractal wasted no time in grabbing a bit of gauze and some tape. The woman rapidly removed the IV from his arm, putting the gauze over the bleeding hole that appeared, and taped it rapidly, tightly. Then she yanked all of the monitor leads from his head and body.
“Alright kid, let’s see how strong you really are,” she said as she helped him to sit up and swing his legs around and wrapped them around her slender waist, hooking her arms under the dangling limbs. She chuckled as she lifted the boy onto her back, proving a surprising strength. “You’re just a bit heavier than a rucksack,” she teased, trying to ease some tension.
As soon as Fractal heaved him up onto her back, Mattias put his arms around her neck and held onto his own elbows. He was careful not to choke her as she carried him. "My papa…used to joke like that when I was younger. He was in the Army."