Sons of Liberty (plot)
|Sons of Liberty|
|Dates run:||November 9-14, 2011|
|Read the logs:||Sons of Liberty|
“I suppose I should be quoting Nathan Hale. I regret I only have one life to give for my country. But, hell, I always preferred ol’ Jim Bowie.” Burnside’s ironic chuckle came clear over the line. “Fuck the Mexicans.”
When several government agents are killed in what appears a domestic terrorist act, Brand and Kane investigate, instead unearthing an old Super Soldier program isn't as dead as thought.
One of the FBI's worst fears is realized when a hyper-nationalistic right-wing militia appears on the radar as potentially hiring mutants in order to execute their missions. A number of government sites - mostly research associated with the Pentagon - have recently been attacked, looted, and burned to the ground. The sites had been left with notes made from clippings, mostly quoting sections of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, signed by the 'Sons of Liberty'. FBI Behavioural Specialists have matched the quotes as consistent with ultra-nationalist philosophies.
After three ATF agents were gunned down during a failed weapons smuggling seizure, the FBI is assigned the case and both Kane and Brand are sent out to California. A quick search through FBI databases reveals an old link to the 'Sons of Liberty', a group of veterans from the Korean War who had been petitioning for better care for wounded vets. The group was disbanded in the late fifties but the original founders lists two surviving members - Bucky Barnes and William Naslund. Meeting with Barnes, he admits something remarkable; that Nasland served as the replacement Captain America in 1945 following the original Captain America's death. Naslund was treated with a new version of the Super Soldier process which only worked for a couple of years before fading.
Because of the potential of another government faction being involved, Kane asks Jean and Kyle to shadow his investigation and use their senses and telepathy to help out. By the time Kane and Brand reach Naslund's residence outside of San Diego, they discover that the elderly man died two days before. According to the local hospital, he was found by his day nurse, having passed away in his sleep. Brand goes to the hospital to check the body while Kane searches the apartment. During his search, he discovers letters from a man named Isaiah Bradley in San Fransisco. He sends Jean and Kyle to talk to him, while sending back the hospital records to Hank. Hank discovers micro-eruptions in the lungs, indicating that Naslund was suffocated.
Jean and Kyle meet with Bradley, who admits to being friends with Naslund. The older black man was a Vietnam vet, and after brief questioning (with a little telepathic prompting) admits that in 1974, he and a number of other young soldiers were involved in an attempt to replicate the Super Soldier process. The program was unsuccessful and ten years later, he received a letter from Naslund. Naslund had been creating a network between those involved in the various Super Soldier programs, to keep a cohesive group together in case any of them developed complications down the road. He used to call the group the 'Sons of Liberty' in jest. He gives them a list of those involved, and they pass it along to Kane.
As they continue to investigate, Kane and Brand start checking names on the list. Checking with Bobby, all of the names on the list who did not live in California originally moved there in the last three years. Most of the locations turn up empty, having been unlived-in for several months. At one apartment, Jeffrey Mace - one of the oldest men on the list - the place has been tossed and while there isn't a body, there are blood stains and splatters all over the place. Kane gets a sample back to the mansion, and thanks to Paige's analysis, they discover the blood has been altered.
Comparison with old samples from Mace's military records and hospital records show the changes are more recent. Jean and Kyle return to Isaiah's apartment, and the older man finally admits that ten months ago, William Burnside, another member dating from the 50s, sought him out with an offer. He claimed that the government had lied to them, and that the process had worked but was being suppressed. He also claimed that someone was coming after former members and that they were in danger. Isaiah didn't trust Burnside, and spurned the offer, but soon after, only Naslund was left of the 'Sons of Liberty'. The others had just disappeared off the grid. With all the information, Brand wants to push it back to SHIELD as a group of rogue soldiers. While they're arguing, Hank calls in with some new information - he and Paige have managed to track down a link from a chemical found in the blood. It is a specially designed chemical meant to help sustain vital levels in the blood during chemical treatments like chemotherapy. The only shipment to the California region was to a location under what turns out to be a shell company name.
Brand and Kane head to the location, only to discover that the location is a small lab, and it has been taken over by the Sons of Liberty. Originally an illegal steroid production lab, they discover Burnside has taken all the staff hostage. He had originally used the lab to put the other Sons through a process that activated the dormant super soldier process in their blood. The new process has turned them into super soldiers, but it is also causing them to break down mentally. Burnside has them virtually brainwashed, ready to strike back at the government to support his nebulous paranoia. Brand pushes the button on the hostage situation, calling in forces. She knows that the situation can be pushed into forcing an intervention that will cost them hostage lives and gives SHIELD a reason to claim jurisdiction in the future.
Kane makes a call back to the X-Men, asking for them to come in via a distraction through the cordon and get the Super Soldiers clear from the hostages. As the X-Men go in, they neutralize the soldiers and defuse the bomb on the hostages, isolating Burnside to be taken down as the FBI move in. The soldiers, under secret treatment at Muir, have the chemicals flushed from their system, costing them their abilities but reversing the mental effects. Bradley, with Barnes' help, strikes a deal with the government to drop any charges against the others in return for their silence about the still classified programs.
Trivia and Meta
As a result of SHIELD's intervention, the underlying hostility between Kane and Brand became open warfare.