The blood choked in his throat. “Thunder. Hawk. Chief Master Sargent United States Air Force.”
The female interrogator hit him in the chest with her rifle. “Your name is Thunder Hawk?” She shook her head and laughed. Her voice was a strange, nondescript European accent.
Technically his first name was Johnathan but that was a name he abandoned long ago. “Name, rank serial number- that’s all you’ll get from me.” He didn’t know what was worse; the fact he used classified information to locate the South Asian base of renown terrorist M. Bison (an act that would likely result in disciplinary action,) or that he got caught.
T-Hawk knew he would survive this, he had survived so much worse; the loss of his tribal land, his family and everyone he ever cared about. And one particular person.
He glared at the female soldier. His mission, his purpose- it was about M. Bison’s elite female squadron known as ‘the dolls.’
M. Bison’s ‘dolls’ program kidnapped young girls from locations around the world, brainwashing them with drugs or cybernetics for use as his own personal army.
Why young girls?
T-Hawk’s associate Lt. Cammy White, a blonde British officer, was the only one ever to escape. She, admittedly, did not have all her memories from her time in captivity but what she did know- it was enough to convince her to risk her career to make sure no other girl went through that hell.
What was it about teenage girls? Their untouched beauty? Was it because girls were easier to train? All T-Hawk knew for sure was that M. Bison had one particular girl in his collection that he needed to save- his daughter.
Twenty years ago, in rural, North Dakota, the man known to his friends as T-Hawk fell in love with a beautiful local girl named Jasmine ‘Jamie’ Holland.
Jamie was eighteen with wavy blond hair, like the rolling hills, the sweetest blue eyes, and a smile that could melt your heart from across the room. She was one of those girls who thought having a tall, strong, twenty-one-year-old boyfriend with a military paycheck was all she needed to be happy.
They were together for all of two years before she went off to college and he got transferred to Alaska. But as all stories like these go, their relationship ended with one last night of young, lustful, passion.
That was how he liked to remember his Jamie. Her nude body; perfect angelic skin, perfect breasts; the way she moaned sweetly wrapping her long legs around him, holding on for the ride of her life, and the way she said she loved him.
Little did he know Jamie would get pregnant and transform from the girl who professed her love in words as beautiful as a poet, before falling asleep in his arms- to a girl who didn’t want to be tied down as a military wife.
He suspected that Jamie didn’t want the baby, because she didn’t want her parents to find out that her older, ethnic boyfriend got her knocked up. But he was able to talk her out of an abortion.
Their baby daughter Julia was raised by his relatives on the reservation. She was a sweet, kind-hearted girl. He visited little Julia when he could; when she was 8 he even flew her out to vacation with him on base in Portugal for the entire summer. But with his mounting responsibilities as a Chief Master Sargent, he let his responsibilities to his long-distance daughter falter.
Julia was last seen in Mexico, just after her sixteenth birthday. But there were sightings of her throughout Europe and Asia.
As a soldier, he knew the consequences of his actions. But as a father, and as a man, he couldn’t live with the thought of sitting back and doing nothing to rescue her. That last thought reminisced in his mind as he was shot in both legs, then dragged by the abnormally strong female soldier.
“What do we have here?” M.Bison’s steel-toed boot made contact with T-hawk’s face. “the one and only Chief Master Sargent Thunderhawk”, M. Bison said, with a laugh.”The proud warrior who fought side by side with a certain Colonel Guile.”
T-hawk spat blood. There was speculation that, although Bison had died, the terrorist mastermind had a way to either recharge his life force or download his consciousness into a digital format.
“I would kill you but there is information I need, so instead you will get the opportunity to get to know my dolls, and their specialties, in an intimate setting.”
What information? It was clear M. Bison was out for revenge. He had to know, he would never defeat Colonel Guile and held even less of a have a chance of recapturing or even locating Cammy White. So, perhaps, this was M.Bison’s only opportunity to send a message.
Or perhaps there was another reason…
Before getting captured he had noticed a room with a single body. Labeled simply as John Doe, the tall, slender man, had burns over the majority of his body. Judging by the bandages and other markings, T-Hawk knew the man had been pulled from the wreckage of what used to be Shadaloo headquarters.
The medics, at the time, did not know for sure if he was a soldier or a civilian or an enemy combatant. They were probably planning on asking when he came out of his coma. But T-Hawk knew (and he had a feeling M. Bison knew) the body was that of Shadaloo Lieutenant Vega.)
Now T-Hawk was in a cell next to where the dolls were strapping the body into what appeared to be a cryostasis chamber.
“It will be ok,” said a small framed girl with long brown hair and dark eyes. She stroked the glass as the body was sealed in. “You are always beautiful to me.”
Little by little his body began to heal.
It was a mesmerizing sight to behold; his eyes, his skin, his long black hair, then finally Vega spoke. “What just happened?”
“In the tank,” the girl answered like a human trying to imitate a robot. “Patient: Vega- skin/flesh removal procedure; success.”
“Flesh removal?- define?” Vega asked. His voice was slightly obscured but audible.
“Laser removal of damaged tissue, followed by cellular stimulation through organic genetic compounds.” Meaning, somehow, they took off his skin and made new skin, all in one procedure.
“To whom do I owe my life?” Vega asked.
The girl opened a laptop, with a video transmission from M. Bison himself. “Vega, as of now you represent the best of my previous regime. My new armies lack the focus you bring. With your new found skin I hope you will find it within your power to join me.”
Well, that was straight to the point.
The girl looked at Vega for a definitive answer. “Lord Bison requests a formal reply.”
“He already knows my answer, I am in no position to refuse.”
“Then you may remain here.” The girl pushed a single button before exiting.
The button allowed Vega to exit the chamber, taking a few steps on his newly healed legs.
6 days passed- that was how long it took for tow two warriors’ paths to cross.
As Vega’s strength was returning T-Hawk’s was quickly fleeting. chained to the floor, with both his legs broken, the soldier’s only means of comfort was a flickering light bulb- and a security camera.
For the first day, T-Hawk shouted insults to the camera in hopes M. Bison would send in one of the girls. And he did.
The first one was a girl with blonde hair and knives. She was a bit of a psycho; not even asking questions, but rather carving flesh from his arms and shoulders.
It was clear her goal was a reaction, so during the ordeal (that felt like it lasted 10 minutes at the most) he closed his eyes and leaned his head back as of to fall asleep. This annoyed her to the point of her smashing his head against the wall.
Day 2: T-Hawk still could have escaped if he really tried. But he was hopeful that if he endured long enough he might be able to see Julia and convince her of who she really was. And at this point, if he tried to search for her own his own there was a high probability he would be overpowered. And, the torture-artist of the day had a thing for fire.
Day 3, he was electrocuted, just enough to cause pain.
Day 4, he felt sick; hunger pains sick, by day 5, he was succumbing to organ failure due to the inhuman conditions of the cell and level of infection in his wounds.
He held out hope when he saw Vega was having a much more enjoyable experience. He could hear conversations; Vega was introduced to all aspects of the base, and given full control of one doll, as a personal assistant.
He, of course, chose the one with brown hair who had been with him since his awakening. “What is her real name?” Vega asked M. Bison.
“You finally have an audience with me, a position in my army, knowledge of my advanced technology, and that is all you ask? -the identity of a girl?” M. Bison turned and left.
Vega smirked. The answer seemed to have reminded Vega that with the security clearance he was granted all he had to do was look it up in one of the many computers. And he just happened to choose a room right across from T-Hawk’s cell.
“‘Noembelu, Origin- Mexico. Skills; close combat fighting with twin hatchets.’ Close combat? I guess that was why M. Bison was willing to let me have you, close combat skills are a dime a dozen.” Vega read further down, “civilian identity; Julia Hawk.”
“Julia?” T-Hawk said in a weak voice. He knew what he heard.
Vega paused. He looked around.
Did Vega hear him? Would it be worth it to try to call for help?
Vega took the girl’s hand and started to walk around. He seemed to be looking for the source of the sound.
T-Hawk stayed silent, huddled in a corner.
Vega quickly gave up. “Come on, Julia.” He put his arm around her waist. “Be my angel.”
On the 6th day:
M. Bison grew bored and just wanted T-Hawk dead. This would also be a test of Vega’s usefulness. “Vega, I need you and/or Noembelu to simply kill him, and dispose of the body in any way you see fit.” He gave T-Hawk on last kick to the ribs. “Be creative. Keeping in mind, of course, the pain we both suffered at the hands of the UN forces.” With that he left it up to Vega, handing him what looked like a violin case.
It contained a series of blades, including Vega’s signature clawed glove.
Julia/Noembelu stood silently behind Vega, it was clear she was going to follow his lead.
Vega looked down at T-Hawk with his dark eyes. “Is that really you, Master sergeant? Wow, you’re fucked up pretty bad.” He turned to Julia. “I want you to take the lead.” He handed her a small camping-style blade from the case, it was just enough to kill a man.
Julia bowed her head in thanks. She approached T-hawk in silence. With unblinking eyes, she stroked her hand down T-Hawk’s face, almost as if to show compassion.
T-hawk could barely breathe. “Julia?”
“I am not known by that name.” She proceeded to delicately press the blade to his throat, dragging it just deep enough to leave a mark but too weak to inflict any real damage.
Vega chuckled. “Julia Hawk- She is your daughter.”
Like a puppy, Julia ran to Vega and hugged him. She looked up at Vega, her eyes full of fear. Something had unlocked deep within her soul.
“He’s watching,” Julia whispered, motioning to the camera in the cell. “Pretend to die…” Julia said, in a voice that shows signs of coherent thought.
T-Hawk did not have to pretend, or even have time to answer her before Julia stabbed the blade into her father’s neck so hard it came out the other side.
T-Hawk allowed his body to go limp, as Vega and Julia moved him outside, away from any cameras.
Vega sat down with his back against a wall. “Julia?”
“He’ll be ok. M-My dad. I need to get him back to …well…somewhere.” She bit her lip, as she turned to Vega. “Come with me, please.”
Vega smiled at her kindness. “If I stay I can buy you some time.”
“You used to be…” Julia cupped his face in her hands, “a person you never wanted to be, a person you were never meant to be.”
Vega nodded, he understood. “But who I am, can only be up to me.”
T-Hawk was amazed by Vega’s sense of clarity.
“I would only end up ruining who you are destined to become,” Vega explained. “I can get you a vehicle, and as long as you head south you should find your way to an American military base.”
Julia nodded. “A truck please, and hurry.”
T-hawk was still bleeding and after those words, he soon lost consciousness.
He awoke in a hospital bed with Julia by his side.
She was then taken into custody for questioning.
“Will my dad be ok?” she asked the officer/agent/ whoever it was. It did not seem like she was in trouble, but as she wearing a Shadaloo uniform (and arriving with a senior NCO with a stab wound through his neck) they probably needed to be sure her story checked out.
She told them all she could remember about waking up in M. Bison’s headquarters after being kidnapped from her birthday party. She told them of Vega; who saved her and father, but she had no idea where he was now.
Her explanation was enough to warrant some alone time.
T- Hawk had been pretended to be asleep until he was certain they could speak without interruption. “Julia?” His voice was a silent gasp since he was breathing out of a neck trach.
“Hi, Dad.” Her voice was quiet but normal. She was no longer a soldier, just a normal teenage girl. “You need to rest, let me do the talking.” She held his hand and looked out the window. “Do you remember when I was 6, maybe 7 years old? A bunch of boys were throwing rocks at a lizard. Just a normal lizard, but I thought it was kinda cute, so I told them to stop. And then I punched Bobby Stronghorse in the head. Which was a mistake since there were three boys and only one of me. You probably remember what happened next.”
He did. The boys started to yell at her, calling her all manner of names. T-Hawk was about to run over and pick up his little girl, carry her to safety, but before he could get to her they boys started to throw rocks at Julia.
Her little face was cut up and bleeding, but Julia didn’t cry. She stared down the boys with a haunting intensity, until her daddy scooped her up in his arms.
It was the same expression T-Hawk saw on his innocent daughter’s face when she was M. Bison’s soldier.
“They all started to throw rocks at me instead,” she said as she stood up and walked to a window. “I knew you would come. I just needed to play the part, until you made it.”
“Play the part?”
“I’m not strong like you, or powerful like Bison. I’m not a soldier.”
A car outside played ‘Bad at Love’ by Halsey.
“Got a girl with California eyes
And I thought that she could really be the one this time
But I never got the chance to make her mine
Because she fell in love with little thin white lines.”
Julia chuckled and started to sing along. “London girl with an attitude,
We never told no one but we look so cute. Both got way better things to do
But I always think about her when I’m riding through.”
T-hawk couldn’t help but smile as tears rolled down his cheeks.
Julia pulled up a chair to sit by her father’s side. Closing her eyes, she laid her head on his chest. “I think I’m ready to go home.”