|Mortal Gods: “HVT” Cover Art.|
© Paul Hair, 2017.
Click on the “Mortal Gods HVT Serial” tag at the bottom of the post to view all the chapters of, Mortal Gods: “HVT.”
Note: This story takes place after the events of, “Like Hail and Fire, Mixed with Blood,” in the book, Mortal Gods: Ignition.
The room was a small waiting room and a nurse in a white, skirted uniform was standing behind the reception desk in anticipation of him. She was above-average in height for a woman. But the six-foot, five-inch tall Adam towered over her.
“Mr. White. Please follow me,” she said, almost making it through those five words without her voice breaking. She hurried out from behind the desk and then to a door inside the waiting room. She opened it and held it long enough for Adam to get to it. Then she led him down a short hallway to another room. She opened that door and again led them inside it.
This room was a patient examination room. But it was not your average one. It was large, with multiple tables, shelves, cabinets, chairs, machines, toilets, sinks and showers, and small lab stations. Adam even saw a small enclosed room within it. A sign on its door marked it as a dual-use decontamination and isolation center. Medical supplies and drugs were plentiful as well. It was meticulously neat and clean.
A female doctor and three more female nurses were standing in the room waiting for them. The nurse who had greeted Adam in the waiting room quickly left, closing the door behind her.
“I’m Dr. Mitchell,” the doctor said to Adam. She wore a skirted suit and a white lab coat over it. The three nurses were dressed in the same uniform as the first one. Dr. Mitchell introduced them as Daley, Linn, and Cravotta.
Adam replied to her introductions and then Dr. Mitchell and the nurses just looked at him for a moment. The doctor held onto each end of a pen with her hands and twisted it back and forth. Finally she said, “Let’s start, shall we?”
She motioned to a desk. It was one of those standing desks, elevated to waist high and with no chairs. It had a black, glass surface. She and one of the nurses walked to one side of it. The two other nurses walked to the other side of it. Adam chose the side with the two nurses.
“So why are we doing another physical? The first one I had with the other doctor was quite thorough” he said to Dr. Mitchell.
She looked up from the electronic tablet she had in front of her and adjusted her glasses. “Um. Well, we want to do one final one to ensure that nothing has changed,” she said. “And, um, we need to run some more long-term tests too.” She stared at him directly in the eyes. “You shouldn’t exist. I mean, we’ve never seen anything like you—anyone like you. It goes against everything I’ve ever learned in medicine; in science. They want to start using you right away but everyone knows we know nothing about you.” She tried forcing a smile.
Adam nodded. “Okay.” The doctor continued looking at him. He noticed the three nurses staring at him too. Dr. Mitchell ran a hand through her blond hair once—Adam could smell either her conditioner or her perfume—and then started the exam.
She began by talking with him about any childhood medical problems he might have had, whether he wore eyeglasses or contacts, what his drug and alcohol history was, and other such things. He answered in the negative for all of them.
Dr. Mitchell flipped through some of his electronic file, casually noting that he was in great shape. Adam thanked her. She and the nurses smiled and pushed out some short bursts of laughter.
She had a form on her tablet in addition to Adam’s file, and she completed that as she went through it and asked him questions. The nurses each had a form on tablets of their own, and they completed those as well. They eventually got through his file and their questions and then she said that it was time to conduct the physical part of the physical examination.
Adam nodded in reply but otherwise didn’t move.
Dr. Mitchell and her staff looked at one another. “That means you have to take off all your clothes except for your underwear.”
“All right,” Adam said. He started to undress. The nurses next to him took three steps backwards.
He wondered why he was ordered to wear the physical fitness t-shirt and trunks if he was going to strip down to his underwear but he didn’t say anything.
His underwear was a uniform item as well. It too was navy blue, and Adam was soon wearing nothing but his boxer briefs. One of the women audibly inhaled.
Dr. Mitchell and the nurses got to work once more. They officially measured his height and weight again, examined his hearing and vision, and took urine and blood samples. The blood sample was particularly challenging because of his superhuman durability. They used a laser to cut his skin. Yet even with that device it took between 45 seconds and a minute to penetrate it and get the blood sample.
After that, the women tested his muscle group and joint maneuvers. Then they examined his heart, lungs, blood pressure, strength (as best as their instruments allowed for such a test), muscle composition, and brain waves. They gave him a CAT scan, a PET scan, a stress test, and took x-rays of him. As with accessing his blood, all the imaging tests were difficult. In fact, the results were unsatisfactory due to the density of his physiology. But they did the best they could.
Once they completed the physical part of the physical exam, they had Adam get dressed again. Once fully clothed, they asked him a final series of questions relating to what he experienced when he used his superhuman abilities. Specifically, they focused on if he experienced any stress or unusual phenomena during or after he engaged them.
“Why’d you agree to come work for the government?” Nurse Daley asked him when they finished.
“A sense of duty is the simplest way to put it,” Adam told her. “And because of that, what other option was there? Put on spandex and become a vigilante?”
She laughed unevenly and then briskly walked to one of the stations they had used during the exam. She started cleaning it up and returning it to order.
Dr. Mitchell picked up a landline phone and made a brief call. Within seconds, another woman entered the examination room.
She wore a skirted, black, boardroom attire suit. Adam recognized this woman; he had met her before. She was a special agent or intelligence officer in one of the military reserve components. Or, rather, she had been, anyway.
The unit running things was a federal government task force set up specifically to handle him. It did not fall under the Department of Defense or any of the intelligence community organizations. It was entirely new and more or less reported directly to the President of the United States. It was called the Resource Management Detachment, with its existence and name being classified.
Most of the RMD members were military veterans but a substantial minority were not. Adam had inquired about who made up the unit and the leaders of the RMD were reluctant to provide him that information at first. But he firmly told them he had a right to know.
So they explained to him that the military veterans largely had been pulled from the active duty or reserve components in the midst of their service (a few had already retired). Those who had been pulled from current service were honorably discharged (with a variety of reasons for the discharge) and said to have returned to being full-time civilians in the private sector.
The honorable discharge from the armed forces was real, but the return to being full-time in the private sector was not.
Their actual status was that they now were with the RMD. And being with the RMD meant that even as they had a career with it, they could not acknowledge it. They were required to lead a life that hid all ties to the government, with each person having a cover status that made it appear as if they had a career in the private sector.
What this meant for the former military reserve officer now approaching Adam—Ms. Bannister (Adam could see her badge)—was that she no longer was in the armed forces, DOD, or IC, and now was fully a civilian working in the RMD. The same applied to every other military veteran.
Those personnel with the RMD who had never served in the armed forces (or DOD, or IC, or other government component) also were fully civilians working in the RMD, but they didn’t have to go through the official severing of ties of other government employment.
“We meet again,” Ms. Bannister said to Adam when she reached him. She wore her long hair down.
“So what is it this time?” Adam asked.
“Just need to fingerprint you,” she told him as she patted an attaché case she carried with her.
When first they met she had completed a national security questionnaire with him, got information from him for a financial check, and had administered a polygraph test on him. She had also seen to it that the government had completed a psychological evaluation of him, that he had received adjudication approvals from the authorities running the RMD, that he had completed all the other background and security checks, and that he had received all the other authorizations he needed to receive. She also had administered him an aptitude test.
Ms. Bannister set up quickly at one of the desks and just as quickly completed her work. Then she informed Dr. Mitchell she was done. Dr. Mitchell and the nurses then approached her and Adam.
“That’s it,” Ms. Bannister said. “Your mission briefing begins in a few hours. Go back to your quarters, get dressed in your uniform, and we’ll notify you when we’re ready for you.”
And with that Adam said goodbye to them and left, walking out of the examination room, down the short hallway to the waiting room, and then back into the long, maze-like hallway towards his room.
He’d soon (and finally) find out what the government had planned for him.