He sat in a hospital bed, resting. Recovering.
The past several hours had been spent under the knife in surgery, he just one of thousands.
The sunset was giving his room a nice view on the contrasting city and nearby woodlands.
But he had been sent to a special facility more northern than the rest.
I guess they want my report. He thought.
But for know, Ace C. Eos was just left alone, with his own thoughts.
He shouldn't be.
He should be dead.
Along with each and every single soldier of his division.
They had been overpowered on the battlefield, to an extreme extent.
It was like fighting Terminators or something.
But Ace's thought went back to Mega Man.
Where did he come from? And where did he go...
The door opened, breaking Ace's thought.
A huge man stepped into the room. With his nice black suit on, Ace was sure he had just met the MIB.
"How are you feeling, Mr Eos?"
"I'm alive, so I got that going for me, which is nice, all things considered. Now, who are you?"
"My name, is Mark Anderson. But my colleagues just call me Sigma."
Ace thought back to the orders he had received from a Sigma. "Yeah those two guys you were talking about. "I got them out. They should be in one of the refugee camps."
"Thank you for that. But what I really came here to do is to recruit you."
"Recruit me? I'm flattered Mr. Sigma, but the thing is. My rib cage is busted. I'm gonna be out for the next 4 months. Then I'm going to have to get back in shape... Yeah, I'm afraid you are wasting your time with me Mr. Sigma. I wont be in action for a while. Sorry."
"Okay... Okay." Sigma thought about it, pacing around the room. He sat down in a seat at Ace's bedside. "Mr. Eos, how old do you think I am.?"
"I'd have to say... eeeehhhhhh... 31?"
Sigma smiled. "I am 33 biologically. But I was born in 1963."
Ace chuckled. "Get outta town! You're messing with me." OR Maybe its Maybelline.
"You say you're expected out of action for a few months? Mr. Eos, how would you like to be on your feet in a week?"
Ace couldn't help but keep a smile at that fantasy. "Mr Sigma, I know I'm only 30, But I know there is no safe procedure that could heal an injury like this that quick."
Sigma stood up. "Mr Eos, have you ever heard of Biometal?"
"No, can't say that I have." But it sure sound interesting.
Sigma walked to the window, gazing outside.
"Mr. Eos, after WWII, America feared that new and powerful technology would fall into enemy hands. So Repliforce was created in 1952.
The goal of Repliforce is to monitor the handling and developing of new and powerful technology and materials, and make sure they don't pose threats to the world. In the past, we have had various special troops and hit squads, called Maverick Hunter to capture and eliminate high profile targets and groups, which we listed as Mavericks.
Mr. Eos, I have worked with Repliforce from 1988, all the way to its catastrophe and reduction in 2004, and beyond."
"Sorry to interrupt, but, what happened in 2004?" Ace inquired.
"A soldier in possession of very powerful equipment destroyed Repliforce HQ." Sigma's breathing became uneven with anger.
"After that, Repliforce's power and authority freefalled. We were casted into the shadows of the US government. And not the good ones.
But now with the events of last night, new Maverick Hunters are needed more than ever."
"That's nice and all," Ace said, "but how exactly am I supposed to recover so fast? And what does this 'Biometal' have to do with it?"
Sigma turned to face Ace. "Well that is just the thing Mr. Eos. i have probably already said too much. Now before I speak further, I need an answer
Will you join our cause in saving the world?" Sigma paused.
"Now as I see it, you have two options. You can say no, and this conversation never happened. I will walk out the door and you can stay in this hospital bed for months, remaining a Army soldier till your retirement."
"Or you can say yes. I'll take you with me, and you can see how far down this rabbit hole goes."
Ace thought about it. There is a real chance he could be killed fighting the Robot Masters...
But on the other hand...
Staying in the hospital for the rest of the year...
and the HOSPITAL FOOD...
that was gonna suck.
"Yeah, I'mma go with Option B. I accept your offer Mr. Sigma."
Sigma cracked a smile. Like an alligator. Ace noticed.
"Excellent choice, Mr. Eos. i will have you moved to the new Repliforce HQ in Montana in the morning. See you tomorrow, and good night Mr. Eos."
With that, Sigma closed the door, as if he were never there.
Leaving Ace to wonder about his new job and just what the hell he was in for.
Full moon was out tonight. Illuminating a nice path on the road.
A path he knew he wouldn't take.
Drew got off the dirt and into Montana grass, heading into some woodlands on the side.
There it was. The big black compound
Drew couldn't help but crack a smile, he had spent a lot of good years here.
First as a boy, just burning to be a hero and follow in his father's footsteps.
Then as a special agent, leading his squad into battle, earning that "Colonel" moniker.
But with the way he left, angry, bitter, broken.
It had tarnished his legacy,
and own self respect.
Maybe this was his chance to fix everything.
He wondered if she was still there.
Still working for Repliforce, for Sigma now.
"Well, only one way to find out..."
After going through several levels of security, Drew got out his car and took his first steps on a Repliforce base in 10 years.
An air of importance surrounded the building. Drew remembered that feel quite well. How much he liked it.
How much he still did.
As he walked inside, several guards approached him.
"Excuse me sir! We have orders to keep you in the waiting room for now! Please come with us!"
Drew followed. He had no reason to start a fight.
He was led into a white waiting room, nothing different from any other normal waiting area.
"Someone will be with you shortly, sir."
The guards left, leaving Drew to got through a few magazines and watch TV.
All anyone wast talking about on the news was the attack on DenTech City, and its mysterious blue hero.
Somehow, Drew knew that Mega Man had nothing to do with Repliforce.
So there's someone else out there, someone that knows about Wily, probably pretty well.
Drew wondered what Repliforce had to fight the robot Masters. No doubt they had something to defend America with.
Its been 10 years, and when he left, they already had the...
The door opened.
Finally! Drew thought as he woke up from sub-consciousnesses.
"Drew? Is it really you?"
It was her.
It was really her.
10 years after their fight and last words.
Drew looked up in awe.
Its really you Drew... Alia's mind couldn't help but to go back to the days of old.
Long hikes through the woods. Hang gliding over beaches.
Dancing the night away, especially that night in the Hammerstein Ballroom...
Alia snapped out of it.
She had a job to do. Sigma's orders.
"The guest in the lobby, I need you to give him the Genesis procedure."
That means Drew was here for the long haul.
"Drew, can you come with me?"
She knew he was gawking at hoe young she look. That made him self aware of his sorry, old state again.
She didn't want to make him feel more embarrassed than what he already was, so she turned her back and started walking away.
Please don't talk, Please don't talk,Please don't talk,Please don't talk,Please don't talk...
"Alia, there is something I gotta ask."
"Alia, where are you taking me?"
She ignored him. Not because she was upset,
she just didn't know what to say.
What do you say to the man that left you 10 years ago, reappears in your waiting room, and your about to give him a procedure that will change his life?
"Sigma is waiting." She responded.
A minute later.
They came to a laboratory.
Around them, machines geared and whirred.
Below, Drew noticed a pod in an empty vat.
needles. Lots of needles.
"We're here." Alia said. The room was empty, no Sigma, no anyone. Just them.
"Sigma is over in the next room. Getting another patient settled in."
"Alia, what's going on?" Drew took a step back. He didn't like where this was going.
The doors on the other side opened.
Sigma came in, all smiles.
"Sorry I was late, I was busy handling another Hunter..."
"Sigma, what the hell is this?" Drew didn't come here to be picked and prodded on. I came here to-"
Sigma looked like hadn't aged a bit.
He actually looked BETTER than when he last saw him.
When he saw Alia, he just assumed she had used makeup,and used her anti-aging makeup.
But Sigma was 51, a year older than Drew.
Had Drew really let himself go THAT much? I mean, he did develop a drinking habit the past few years...
They just happened to meet up in a lab. Something artifical had been done to Sigma.
And probably... Alia too. Considering she and Drew were the same age.
"I'm not going to lie to you Drew, this is all for you." Sigma started.
"What exactly is it?" Drew was having second thought about coming back to Repliforce.
"Repliforce doesn't need 50-year old men past their prime leading them. But experience is golden. So, we began experimenting, and called it the Genesis project."
"The Genesis project works by manipulating and stimulating the new cells in your body that exist each second. This as a result result the ageing process, giving people back their youth."
"Drew, this is gonna be a long war, and I'm not gonna hold it against you if you go back now. But if you stay and go through with this, your committed to stay in the fight, no turning back."
Drew paused and stood there, lost in thought.
He had spent the last 10 years, wasted away in mental anguish, doing nothing with life.
Waiting to just keel over and die.
Now, the opportunity to restart his life was upon him, the stuff of dreams.
But did it really matter?
His family was dead. No bringing them back.
She just gazed at him with those beautiful blue eyes.
Perhaps if he stayed, they could start over...
"I get to retire again right?"
Sigma smirked. "Of course. After this war is over, your free to do whatever you want again."
Drew paused. Did he really trust Sigma though? I mean, not even a day here and he's already throwing surprises at him.
What was he saying? Of course he could trust Sigma. They had been friends for years.
They were practically brothers.
And it was not like he was going to be here forever, only until after the war.
Psssshhh, it was an easy choice.
"Fine Sigma. You win, lets get this over with."
"Thanks Drew, I knew I could depend on you. I wanted to get to Bobby and Masa, but they weren't fit for the job, those two screwballs. Still love them though. Anyways, the entrance is right down there." Sigma pointed to a door below.
Drew walked down the steps, and he started to...
He probably should have asked about the mortality rate of this procedure.
Walking past the door, he felt his stomach turn to knots. What if something went wrong? He could die- or worst.
But... he trusted Sigma.
And trusted Alia.
After stripping down, Drew got into the pod and got settled in.
Gas started to pour in.
"Don't worry Drew, that just going to put you to sleep." Alia's voice was coming in somehow.
"Now just fall asleep and relax..."
The last thing Drew saw before passing out was seeing liquid fluid rise up,
about to fill the pod...
"Uuuuuuuuuuuuugh" Drew Hendrickson arose from his sleep.
"Everything feels... off balance."
He got off of the white bed he was on, and...
collapsed to the floor.
His whole body felt like jelly.
It drained him just move an inch.
Pain began to rocket throughout his body as he tried to get back into bed.
Reaching and pulling himself up...
He just couldn't, sinking back to the floor.
Alia's voice came into his ears.
Drew stopped resisting.
I guess my new body isn't ready yet.
Drew stood still and let the tension in his body flow out. The soreness was already going away.
He looked up at the ceiling, noticing heat lamps.
Drew realized how hot it is in here. But he was from Florida, so it wasn't too bad.
"So its like an adult nursery."
His voice. It had become low-pitched.
"Oh my God.." Drew looked up.
And that when he noticed the mirror.
His skin had become smooth.
His eyes had lost that sunken look in them.
Any trace of gray had been overtaken by that lush thick of brown on his head.
"I'm young again! It-It-It worked!"
Drew Hendrickson felt reborn.
Sooner or later, Drew had found the strength to stand.
He immediately decided to start stretching. Work out those young muscles. Apparently, he was gonna have to work out a little. The gut was gone, but them muscles of old hadn't exactly come back.
"Aaaaaaaahh, ACK! OW OW OW OW OW OW OW!" Apparently, he was going to have to take it slow for a bit.
He slouched over to his clothes in a cubby. On his shirt was a thin piece of paper.
BIOLOGICAL AGE: APPROXIMATION OF 23 YEARS, 8 MONTHS
He was 23. He should be in college, or on a job somewhere right now.
His body age had been cut in half.
He had just screwed Father Time over.
Putting on his clothes (which had become smaller and tighter, as Drew had gotten an inch back), Drew stepped out of the door, a new man.
He was in a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong white hall. An arrow pointing to the left led to a set of double doors.
As he walk down, he noticed door after door.
How many people had undergone the same procedure his did?
What was he going to do next?
Was Alia up for a cup of coffee later-
Another door opened.
A thin man in jeans and a white tee came limping out.
His chest was taped up, and Drew could tell that he was in pain.
"Need some help bud?"
"Yeah. I'd appreciate it."
Drew picked him up, cradling him like a baby. At 6'10, and 23 years old. Drew could pretty much lift anyone with ease.
That pain from straining his arms were gone. Another plus of youth.
"So, my name is Ace. Who are you?"
"My name is Dr-"
"Drew" just didn't feel right anymore. That was a different person.
A retired old man
He was Colonel before,
and he is Colonel again now.
"Just call me Colonel, Ace."
"Well thanks for the lift, 'Colonel'."
Music to his ears.
DAMN I'VE MISSED THAT.