Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

We meet every six years.

The project churned out over two hundred of us. When they ordered us terminated, twelve of us escaped. There are eight of us left.

The government made a Superman straight out of the comic books back in 1952 but you know what they say about absolute power. They gave the strength and the nigh-invulnerability and the flight capability to a handsome, decorated young soldier named Walter Johnson. You should have seen him. Blonde hair, tall, honest, great shape. What a shame. He did what he was told for almost six months until one day, in a fit of pique, Walter killed his commanding officer by accident by punching him in the face.

They found the officer’s helmet embedded in a brick wall about a block away. They theorize that his head may have been atomized. Walter had been ordered to kill a few too many innocents and his sense of nationalism finally eroded to nothing. The rest of the team, following the eventuality scenario orders, opened fire. It didn’t work. He killed them, too.

Feeling hurt and betrayed, he went rogue. He tried to go underground but he was recognized wherever he went. He couldn’t get plastic surgery because nothing could penetrate the force-field around his body. Eventually, they cornered him in a warehouse in Texas where he’d been posing as an airport mechanic.

Their last-ditch insurance policy was cruel. Walter had a brother. They hauled the brother out and said that if Walter didn’t kill himself, they’d kill his brother. Walter was borderline suicidal by this point anyway. He’d been thinking about ways to do it.

He flew up into space. The vacuum did him in. He may have been invulnerable to the cold but he still needed to breathe. It didn’t take long. His body fell back to earth like a meteor and landed outside of Lubbock.

They killed his brother after that. No loose ends.

Using a specially designed drill bit, they drilled into Walter’s body and scraped a few cells out from beneath the force field.

Enter us. We were a batch of clones made from Walter. They figured if they could make us and control us from birth, we’d be more obedient. They kept us off the expense charts and away from the media. We were to be covert. They outfitted us with new tech as it became available. Things went great until puberty.

Scientists are always so shocked by nature. Wet dreams, anger issues, sullen feelings of not being understood, the need to explore, sex, growth spurts, massive confusion, floods of hormones causing borderline insanity. They couldn’t control us.

They had weapons that could penetrate our force fields. One morning, mechanical soldiers came in and opened fire on our bunks. They got most of us right then and took a bunch more of us out in the ensuing battle. Sixteen of us fled. Twelve of us made it past the outer defenses and survived the trek to civilization.

We were homeless for a while. We drifted apart. We stole where we could but some of us got jobs. The secondary backup that they had was to turn off our powers remotely. They wanted us intact in case they collected us so that they could make more.

Every six years, we meet up. Joey’s missing an arm. Jamie’s got cancer now but it looks good for a complete recovery. Sarah only pops in for a second, looking great in her suit. This time even Jake made it but he looks like the heroin is winning.

We talk for a while.

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