02 ╸eyes on fire

"GENERAL PLATTON HAS said that wars are fought with weapons but they are won by men," Colonel Chester Phillips walks around the group of recruits, Steve among them, Peggy and a mysterious woman watching them. The woman that watched them had tanned skin and black hair and brown eyes, wearing a high-necked white button-up shirt and a navy blue shirt that stopped at her knees, a pair of navy blue heels on her feet, her dark hair thrown up in a ponytail. She looked like someone Bucky would've hooked up with, but this woman. . . she seemed like the one that didn't take shit from anybody. "We are going to win this war because we have the best men. . ." Phillips' eyes land on Steve. "And because they're gonna get better. Much better. The Strategic Scientific Reserve is an Allied effort made up of the best minds in the free world. Our goal is to create the best army in history. But every army starts with one man. At the end of this week, we will choose that man. He will be the first in a new breed of super-soldiers. And they will personally escort Adolf Hitler to the gates of Hell."

During training, Steve lacked physical strength; his feet got stuck in the nets they had to climb, men broke a stump of wood that held the barbed wire up from the recruits, and Sergeant Duffy (the person they trained with) only told him to get his rifle out of the mud.

Steve ran behind all of the other men, huffing from lack of air, the other men being perfectly fine from all of the running they had done. They all stopped at a flagpole, Peggy and the mystery woman sitting on the back seats of a truck, a pencil placed between Peggy Carter's red-painted lips as the woman next to her seemed to be sharpening something; sparks carried out of the truck. The sergeant told them why they stopped, "That flag means we're only at the halfway point. First man to bring it to me gets a ride back with Agent Carter and Agent Prince. Move, move!"

The soldiers try to climb it but to no avail; it felt like someone had greased the poles beforehand. The sergeant knew why they were so eager to get in the truck: they got to go with two of the prettiest women in the camp. "If that's all you got, this army's in trouble! Get up there, Hodge! Come on! Get up there! Nobody's got that flag in 17 years! Now fall back into line! Come on, fall in! Let's go! Get back into formation! Rogers! I said fall in!" Steve walks up to the pole, unlatches two hooks from the bottom of it, the pole falling into the hard dirt. He throws down the metal in his hands and grabs the flag, handing it over to Duffy and jumping in the back; he now knew what Agent Prince was doing ― she was sharpening her sword. When he gets back with Bucky, he was going to ask him about her; perhaps he knew something.

While doing push-ups, Agent Carter was giving small jabs at them, saying how her grandmother could do more push-ups than them, but bless her soul (dead), and Agent Prince was training others in hand-to-hand combat, throwing hard punches and kicks at all of the men that went to throw a fist at her: they all landed on the ground with groans. "You're not really thinking about picking Rogers, are you?" Colonel Phillips asks Doctor Erskine.

"I am more than just thinking about it. He is the clear choice."

"When you brought a ninety pounds asthmatic onto my army base, I let it slide. I thought, what the hell? Maybe he'll be useful to you, like a gerbil. I never thought you'd pick him." When the colonel and doctor walk up to the soldiers, Peggy orders, "Up.

"You stick a needle in that kid's arm and it's gonna go right through him," the two stand by a truck.
Steve is struggling to do jumping jacks, breathing heavily, arms limp as he jumps and flings them into the air. "Look at that. He's making me cry." Erskine shakes his head, "I look for qualities beyond the physical."

"Do you know how long it took to set up this project?"

"Yes. I know."

"All the groveling I had to do in front of Senator What's-His-Name's committees?"

"Brandt. Yes, I know. I am well aware of your efforts."

"Then throw me a bone. Hodge passed every test we gave him. He's big, he's fast, he obeys orders. He's a soldier."

"He's a bully."

"You don't win wars with niceness, doctor," he takes a hand grenade, unpins it. "You win war with guts." He throws the grenade to the recruits and yells, "Grenade!" Steve jumps on top of it as the others hide behind different vehicles, Diana watching the smaller male telling others to stay away and get back: selflessness rushed throw his veins.

A good man.

"Is this a test?" Steve asks as he gets off of it, Erskine raising his eyebrows at the colonel. "He's still skinny."

"GOOD MORNING," ERSKINE shakes Steve's hand, the two surrounded by nurses and other scientists, Howard sitting by a massive machine, Peggy standing beside Steve.
A photographer takes a photo, blinding the three for a bit, "Please, not now." The photographer walks away as Steve looks at the pod, "Are you ready?" He nods. "Good, take off your shirt, your tie, and your hat."

Steve takes it all off, laying in the pod as his eyes search for Agent Prince: nowhere. "Comfortable?" Erskine asks him. He nods, "It's a little big. You save any of that Schnapps for me?"

"Not as much as I should have," Erskine looks sheepish. "Sorry. Next time. Mr. Stark, how are your levels?"

"Levels at 100%."


"We may dim half the lights in Brooklyn, but we are ready as we'll ever be."

"Agent Carter, don't you think you would be more comfortable in the booth?"

She apologizes and scurries off to the overlooking balcony with its protective glass and stone walls, Erskine grabbing a microphone from an assistant and taps it with his finger, releasing small shrieks. "Ladies and gentlemen, today we take not another step towards annihilation, but the first step on the path to peace. We begin with a series of micro injections into the subjects major muscle groups. The serum infusion will cause immediate cellular change. And then to stimulate growth, the subject will be saturated with Vita-Rays." Nurses place down different pads on Steve's body, on his chest, then placing vials with sapphire blue liquid in their designated spots. A nurse punctures his skin with a needle, putting a clear liquid in his veins. "That wasn't so bad."

"That was penicillin," Erskine replies, turning to face the others in the lab. "Serum infusion beginning in five, four, three, two, one." Two other pads move down on Steve's arms, needles poking out of them and perforating his skin. Howard Stark moves a lever on a control panel, the cerulean liquid filling Steve's system. "Now, Mr. Stark." Howard lowers another leaver, the pod moves upright and enclosing Steve inside, lab assistants putting large hoses spilling fog into the machine. Erskine knocks on the metal, "Steven, can you hear me?"

"It's probably too late to go to the bathroom, right?"

"We will proceed," Howard begins spinning a roulette, the needle inside the control panel moving, Howard beginning to tell them the numbers by tenths. "Vital signs are vital," another doctor tells them. When it reaches 70%, Steve starts to scream from receiving the Vita-Rays, Peggy yelling at them to shut it down, but Steve yells out, "No, don't; I can do this!" Howard goes back to the wheel and proceeds the procedure. Once it reaches 100%, everything overloads until the pod shuts itself down, the doors opening and smoke releasing into the room. Steve is now larger, taller, more muscular than he was. Sweat shone on his body, his chest heaving, and doctors and nurses run up, helping the guy out of the contraption; now that he was big, he could barely fit in the damn thing. "How do you feel?" Peggy stands in front of him, now dwarfed by his size.


"You look taller," she snatches a T-shirt from a nurse and hands it over, watching as Steve pulls it over his head, his stomach muscles rippling.

From what Howard Stark knew, she wanted to marry Steve.

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