The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter XIII.

(story copyright E.N.Boyd) To catch up on previous chapters, check the links at end of this chapter.

"I would agree with the Captain, Doc.", Red Hawk added. His costume seemed to mesh with the background of the desert, yellow vertical stripes that ran along the leggings and shirt mixed with the red of the remainder of his costume blending with the Arizona sun.

"My husband and Captain Strong make sense. I don't understand this, Doctor Strong and would encourage you to explain as well.", Nyoka added. She wore a simple pair of khaki shorts and short sleeved khaki shirt. Her attire appeared to be the most "civilian" of the group. However, she was barefoot and also wore a necklace made out of lion's teeth, and carried a large jungle knife strapped to her left leg.

"Yes. First these metal heads show up, then you announce you can explain all this when you were watching the whole time. You've got a lot to answer for.", Liberator said. His white costume seemed to glare beneath the desert sun as it began to dip below the horizon. His mask bore a single five point blue star on the forehead area, with blue stars running along the piping of his legs and arms.

The group began walking towards Doc Strong as he continued to pet the mare as he leaned against the corral railing. If he had any nervousness or anxiety, he wasn't displaying any body gestures to indicate it.

"I would also agree, Doc. What gives?", Torpedo Man asked. He wore a pair of thigh length swimming trunks but they were metal mesh in design, an aqua blue in color. He did not wear a shirt and like Nyoka, he was also barefoot.

Liberator happened to glance in Torpedo Man's direction, and for the first time, noticed his hands had some type of skin folds, or webbing between the fingers. The same was true with his feet.

"OK, OK, not to worry Freedom Guard.", Doc replied, straightening himself up, giving the mare one last pat. "All in good...time.", he added.

"You know what, Doc, I am already tired of the whole "time" schtick. Just explain what the Blue Blazes is going on!", Captain Flag said, moving towards Doc.

Doc seemed to look at his wrist, then he quickly pointed it at Captain Flag, as a red light swirled in a pinwheel fashion. Despite Captain Flag's super speed, he began to literally slow down, moving slower with each step until he literally froze in a pose with one leg slightly raised and his arm in a back swing position. The red light swirled around Captain Flag, pulsing.

"What the Hell!", Liberator exclaimed, looking at Captain Flag, who now remained "frozen" in a pose and he looked back at Doc Strong.

"Not to worry. The Captain is fine. I placed him in a time stasis ", he said matter of fact to the group.

"Why? What is this? What about our mission?", Liberator asked as he stood face to face with Doc Strong. "You need to answer our questions. Now.", Liberator said, grabbing Strong by the shirt collar.

"No need to get physical. I could place all of you in a similar state as the Captain but I did not. Please trust me. Captain Flag is a bit ill tempered at times, and with his great powers, makes him a bit dangerous. So I am protecting myself.", Doc said. "If you would please drop your force field off my body, I promise I won't affect anyone with my time dilator.", he added.

Blue Lady had teleported to Doc's side. She looked at Liberator and placed a hand on his arm. "It is OK. I know this is a bit..odd...but we can trust him, Liberator.", she said. "At least trust me.", she added.

Liberator looked at Blue Lady and back at Doc. "Only because Blue says so. Now. Explain this crap, Doc. NOW!", he commanded.

The group gathered around Doc, Liberator and Blue Lady.

Doc started to speak. "These automatons weren't just automatons but rather advanced robots. Androids. Metal "men" to a degree but not really men. They had sentient computing brains and artificial intelligence, all designed for combat.", he explained.

"OK. Androids. Never heard that word before. Seem to remember the word robot someplace, one of those science fiction dime novels one of the soldiers had when I was in Germany.", Man O' Metal said. "I remember because it was a Russian word and it described a "metal man". Regardless, why were they were here to fight us?".

"Don't you understand? This was part of your training exercise. Your first maneuver, your first staged battle.", Doc answered.

"What? Wait. I thought perhaps we were going to conduct training exercises up on the ridge, and go through some drills like the Army does.", Man O' Metal replied.

"You're partially right, Man O' Metal. Only thing is the drills were conducted with these androids. Here. In this spot. By me with my direction. These androids belong to me.", he stated.

"So I got shot in the arm because of you?", Man O' Metal said. His shoulder still bore a burn mark in his metal skin. He seemed to flinch in pain.

"Dang it, Sparky. Why didn't you tell me you'd been hit?", Liberator said. He went to Man O' Metal's side and looked at his shoulder. Liberator opened his hand over the wound, and Man O' Metal could feel a change in the air pressure around his wound. The wound suddenly closed up. "I'll be. It is healed. Thanks,".

Liberator said, "No problem. That goes for the rest of you. Whenever you're injured and need medical attention, don't hesitate to let me know. I am still a licensed Physician and obviously, have healing powers.", he said.

"I can also heal.", Nyoka added. She held up a pouch. "I have several healing and growing herbs I carry with me. Maybe not as powerful as Liberator, but they do work." she added.

"Great! That will help.", Liberator answered, looking at Red Hawk and Nyoka. "Now, Doc, continue explaining since Sparky's been healed.", he said.

"These androids are of my own design. I created them. I called them here to test all of you. This whole thing was staged to see how you'd react to a "real" situation. As real as androids are concerned. Mind you, we'll have to deal with super powered beings soon, and this was just a brief taste of what you might encounter.", he said.

The sun began to dip even lower beneath the horizon as dusk settled in. "We will need to do more practicing. Against each other as well so we can get a true idea of what to further expect.", he said. " I will release Captain Flag from his time stasis. He can hear what is happening but can't move. I was only able to prevent him from advancing because I can alter time for my own body and move at speeds comparable to the Captain. If I were trying to deceive any of you I wouldn't provide you with that information. Let me make the adjustments.", he said, and pointed the time dilator at Captain Flag.

Captain Flag brought his leg down slowly and his arm pitched forward and he seemed to stumble slightly. He looked at Doc Strong and shook his head.

"You're the first person to ever affect my powers. Can't say I am fond of the feeling.", he said. "I did hear all this. I am calmed down. What about this mission, then, Doc?", he asked, making his way to the group.

Doc extended his hand to Captain Flag. Captain Flag looked at the man's hand briefly then shook it. " I will explain what will happen in a minute, but first, I want to be sure we're all right. I mean, you can bend a tank in two with your bare hands.", Doc said.

The group laughed as coyotes could be heard in the distance.

To Be Continued.

.......................................................................................................................................................................................................................................

The Freedom Guard Files. Introduction.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter I.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter II.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter III.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter IV.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter V.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter VI.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter VII.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter IX.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter X.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter XI.

The Freedom Guard Files. Chapter XII.

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