Berlin, Germany 3 weeks ago
Young man sits staring at a chess board across from a robotic arm hooked to a computer. His name is Karl Zemo, last in his line. He still asks to be referred to as a Baron despite the fact that outside of New Latveria royal nobility no longer exists. He is considered one of the world's top strategists and had even been instrumental in several Iron army victories though he'd never personally been on a battlefield. He is a thin man usually in ill health.
As usual he is sulking, he longed to be the man his ancestors had been, he kept a large portrait of his great grand father Helmut above his mantle considering him a role model.
As he put the machine in checkmate for the hundredth time there came a knock at the door. He opened it to see a middle eastern man with a scowl on his face holding a metal briefcase. The man handed Karl the case and an envelope saying only, "My debt to Essex is paid."
Karl read the note in the envelope with a list of names, at the bottom was a simple message, 'All you need to be the man you want to be is in your hands."
Karl opened the case and found an inoculation gun with a serum loaded as well as a small device and instructions on how to use them.
Karl had passed out after taking the injection and using the device. He awoke covered in sweat but when he stood up he found himself standing slightly taller now and ran to a body length mirror he kept in his bedroom and saw that the sickly man he had been was gone, replaced by a now physically perfected body. He smiled brightly as he looked to the glass case in the corner of the room holding the uniform once worn by Helmut Zemo.
Doomstadt Prison, New Latveria 2 weeks ago
A guard walks past the cell belonging to Lash and gives the assassin a grin. He starts to say something but the lights go out. A blade then erupts from the guards chest and as he falls Zemo is behind him wiping his sword clean. He swings open the cell door and removes a carbonadium tendril he had coiled over his shoulder. He looked up to Lash, " I have something that belongs to you, if you're willing to help me."
Lash nodded as Zemo released him from his restraints, he then grabbed the tendril and slid the end into a hole at the base of his hand and let the nanites in his body to reattach it to him. As they went to leave a voice called out to Lash, "Hey buddy, you gonna leave a pal hanging?'
The two men turned to see Cutthroat restrained in a cell. Lash chuckled," You're no friend of mine."
Cutthroat sighed, "True but you know I can be useful."
Zemo shook his head, "Your reputation proceeds you Mr. Cain, you are quite possibly the least trustworthy creature on this planet."
Cutthroat looked to Lash, "You owe me a favor."
Lash gritted his teeth," Perhaps you could use some cannon fodder."
Zemo shrugged, "Fair enough, if he steps out of line kill him."
Lash nodded as Zemo opened Cutthroat's cell door.
Ozark Mountains, 1 and a half weeks ago
Zemo, Lash and Cutthroat stand before a cliff face. Lash looks to Cutthroat, "Why so nervous?"
Cutthroat looked back, "This place has a bad reputation, look around. We're surrounded by busted up armor and bones."
Zemo hushed them and replied, "Good thing we aren't Iron soldiers then."
Zemo stepped toward the cliff and yelled out," Creel, I know you're still here."
The ground shook in reply as a voice erupted seemingly from the mountains themselves, "Leave now!"
Cutthroat nodded," Sounds like an awesome idea."
Lash gave him an annoyed look as his comrade continued, "When a starking haunted mountain just told us to stark off. Seems like a good idea to listen."
Zemo shook his head as he went on, "I'm here to make you an offer, now you can stay here and sulk playing urban legend picking off the odd soldier who wanders off the beaten path or you could follow me and kill them by the dozen."
Creel roared again, "Get Out!"
The ground erupted in huge stony spikes as Zemo continued unfazed, "Is this how you honor your wife's memory? By hiding in the dirt while he murders live like kings."
The place went still for a moment and suddenly the form of a man arose from the ground and the Absorbing man had joined the team.
(To be continued)
more will join in the next couple chapters