PRIME

Before reading, please read Prime #6.

Prime: A New Twist #7
August, 1998

"Primal Meltdown"

Written and edited by James Pedrick,
Mike Engber and Mike Aragona
Based on plot for Prime Vol. 1 #6 and #9
Created by Gerald Jones and Len Strazewski
Property of Malibu Comics

After hours, Prime woke up from his deep sleep. The ground beneath him was soft and his massive body sunk deep into the soil. The environment around him was fantastic! Almost as if he had leapt into a storybook adventure like his mother used to read him when he was younger. A loud roar shook him from his reverie. Prime was startled to find--

"A T-REX! Impossible! Where am I? How did I get here!" Prime kept staring at the gigantic, snarling, dinosaur moving down toward him.

"Last I remember I was beating Maxi-Man. I saved Kelly," Prime's heart sunk at that name. " It took all I had, knocked me out. Now, I wake up to see this!?" The dinosaur came down and grabbed Prime with his jaws. "I must be dreaming. It seems everything  recently has been... impossible." Kevin's recent memories raced through his mind as though he were in the last moments of his life. But he wasn't Kevin. He was Prime!

Prime pushed the dinosaur away. He grabbed a hold of its leg and tossed it to the other side of what seemed to be a prehistoric jungle.

He flew toward the creature. "I have no choice... but to break its neck" He closed his eyes, as he grabbed its neck and began to squeeze it as hard as he could. He heard a snap...

But when he opened his eyes, he found himself in the middle of the air, and the dinosaur had disappeared.

He didn't know it, but he was now participating in a virtual reality training session. His entire surroundings and reality were all computer simulated by the latest military technology. Prime was covered with patches monitoring his every feeling and testing his  stamina, while causing him to feel the pains and senses he would if he were actually fighting the dinosaur. His head was covered with a visored helmet and mouth piece, causing him to see and smell everything the program wanted him to. It all seemed real to Prime, but it wasn't.

"Sir, his strength readings are astounding!"

"Yes, soldier, with impressive reflexes. But his father was right. He is insecure in his combat techniques, still talking himself through fighting and using too much force." Colonel Samuels paused, "Let's see how he could do against an F-16, men!"

"What the hell?!?" Prime looked forward and saw a jet flying toward him. "Oh God, that thing is flying right at me!" He swooped down, dodging the jet. The sound was awful! His ears rung like never before!

The F-16 quickly flashed by Prime, turning him around. And, as soon as it went by him, it turned back towards him. Prime heard a noise like thunder behind him. It was another fighter jet.

"WHAT THE-?!" Prime flew upwards, as one of the jets raced by and the other fired a missile at him. "Now I know I must be dreaming!" He didn't have time dodge as the missile caught him off-guard.

"Oh NOOO!!!" He raised his arms over his face to block it. The missile hit him and the ensuing explosion sent Prime spiraling unconscious to the ground.

Colonel Samuels watched Prime’s life-signs carefully. 

"Stabilize him!" Samuels commanded. "Keep him alive dammit!"

The doctors under Samuels's command quickly covered Prime, giving him the oxygen he needed to stay primed.

"I have the most powerful ultra in the world! I need him functional, or the BOSS won't like it!"

"Yes, sir... Sir, he's coming around."

Prime's eyes began to open. "Wha...? Who...?"

As Prime became more aware of his surroundings, he pushed the doctors away and grabbed Samuels by the throat. "What's going on here?!? Who are you?!? What are you doing to me?!?"

"Whoa! Now, easy boy, I'm on your side!"

Prime lifted Samuels off the ground, "Yeah, right! Like that doctor who said he created me!"

"My God, you've met the doc! The doc is alive, but our intelligence said..."

"I'm not sure... not after I got through with him! And you won't come out any better if you don't let me GO!" Prime tightened his grip on Samuels's throat.

Colonel Samuels managed to speak, "I'm no friend of his, if that's what you think. Now put me down and let me explain."

Prime slowly lowered his hand, until he finally let go of Colonel Samuels. The Colonel brushed himself off.

"Your government needs you, son!" said Samuels with a large grin on his face...


[[Elsewhere...]]

Morning came. Kelly was getting ready for school.

"Honey, I'll drive you to school this morning. And don’t bother arguing with me about it, either!”

Kelly felt funny telling her mother about Prime. It was such a strange situation to be in!

"I don't feel like it Mom."

"Oh, Kelly, don't tell me you're getting a crush on some ultra in the news!" Kelly's mom laughed, "Now finish getting ready for school."

"What if I were to tell you I talked to Prime?"

"Oh Kelly, stop joking. We're gonna be late!"

Kelly didn't know what was going on in her life. She couldn't tell anyone. Not her mom, not even Courtney. She couldn't tell them Prime called her his ‘girlfriend’ and that she talked with Prime's father. She couldn't tell anyone. But she could tell Kevin. He said he knew Prime!

"Hold on! I have to... call someone."

Kelly rushed to the phone and called Kevin's house.

At the Green household, all was not well. Mrs. Green rushed to the phone. "KEVIN?! RUSS?!"

"Sorry, Mrs. Green, this is Kelly, a friend of Kevin's. I just called to see if Kevin hadn't left for school yet."

"Kevin hasn't been home since he left for school yesterday." Mrs. Green began to weep.

"Oh God!" Kelly dropped the phone. "I never saw him after that battle between Prime and Maxi-Man!"

"What?!" screamed Mrs. Green, "What do you know about my son?!"

Kelly didn't know what to do. She quickly hung up the phone and shot out the door to the car.

Mrs. Green was worried. Again something was up. Kevin disappeared again! And Russell didn't come home either. She was losing her family, and she didn't know why. She couldn't figure out what was happening... but she couldn't trust her own husband any longer. Or her own son. Life wasn't worth living at these rough times...


While Kelly’s mother listened to the local "Oldies" station during the drive to school, she kept thinking back to what happened. She tried to figure out what could have happened to Kevin, but she kept going back to Prime. He was so handsome, strong, and he had a  personality you couldn't help but love. Her mother had always said she acted so mature at her age. Maybe she was just meant to be older? But sometimes the thought of Prime frightened her. She knew that this relationship shouldn't be. Just like with Coach Myers... But sometimes Prime acted her own age... Just like Kevin Green.

The Radio broke into her thoughts:

"This is a special report. Prime has been spotted in Northern California, near Los Verdes. Everyone is warned to stay in their homes until we can learn more of his intentions. Yesterday, Prime was seen in Southern California, where he has been credited for  destroying downtown Canoga Park."

Kevin never came home yesterday. Kelly knew what happened, "Oh GOD! - Kevin is Prime!"

"Are you okay, Kelly?"

"Um... yeah, mom."



At an abandoned military base, about 30 miles south from Canoga Park...

Colonel Samuels stood in the control room, where his men were monitoring Prime's every move.

"Sir, I may be speaking out of order, but why send Prime to the Los Verdes site? It's a peaceful protest on an abandoned base. No one cares." Jim Powers was taking a large risk here. He knew Colonel Samuels did not enjoy his soldiers questioning his orders.

Colonel Samuels looked back at the black soldier, who was in his mid-30's. "I care. This research center isn't the first ‘abandoned' base I've used my for my operations. I was at Los Verdes once, when we knew what to do with nukes!" He paused, "When they shut me down, I stashed a few of the warheads underground in the old salt mine shaft area."

Jim's face jumped, "You mean there are LIVE warheads down there?!"

Colonel Samuels pulled out a cigar and began to light it, "About a dozen small ones, including one set to self-destruct. If anyone gets into the cavern, there'll be enough fireworks to send all those antiwar scum to Disneyland!"

Jim couldn't believe what he was hearing. "Wait a minute... you're saying Prime COULD be heading into a nuclear blast?!"

"Not ‘could' soldier, he is! One of those ‘peaceful protesters' already tripped the alarm." Samuels looked down at his watch.  "He as about an hour to rescue all those people."

The apathetic tone in Samuels's voice angered Jim. He had a daughter not much younger than the boy who was inside Prime.  "What?! Why didn't you tell him that? Let him know the danger?!"

Colonel Samuels turned around and looked Jim in the face, "Because, he's a kid. And kids panic. I have to see how Prime reacts to the pressure... at the same time I can see just how  durable his ultra-body is. Especially after we gave it a little boost of extra energy."

Colonel Samuels turned around and walked away, as anger built up in Jim's body.

"You're right he's just a child! You know this isn't right!" yelled Jim.

"Don't question me!!!" Samuels dropped his cigar on Jim's boots.

Suddenly Samuels's phone rang. Samuels answered it. "Yes... Ah, Mr. Shoat... Yes, we have sent Prime on a new test to see just how much he can take... Yes sir, we are positive he should be able to withstand the blast... Don't worry, sir. We have already finished the genetic tests needed and are fast at work on designing a new more efficient PRIME..."

This was sick. How could one man be such a monster? He couldn't let this go on any longer. Who cares about command? Something had to be done. "No more of this! You're not going to get away with this one, SAMUELS!!" Jim jumped toward Colonel Samuels, tackling him to the ground and sending the Colonel's phone flying across the room. "You are NOT sending a teenage BOY into a nuclear holocaust!"

Colonel Samuels threw Jim off of him and to the ground. "Soldier!! Do you know who you're dealing with?! You don't even know the beginning of what this is about!"

Jim was on the ground, his nose bleeding.

"You know what assaulting an officer can get you, don't you, Powers?"

"Yes... sir." answered Jim, as his body began to quiver.

"But, I'm not an unfeeling man. You have a daughter, don't you, Powers? About Kevin's age. You don't see her very often, because you're separated from your wife. But, you worry about her a great deal."

"That's right."

"Then I'll forgive the attitude you seem to be developing toward this project. I'll have you reassigned... to something less ethically picky. How's that?"

Jim got up from the ground. "But sir, these people could be killed. We've got to tell someone."

"Do you want to be court-martialed, soldier? Kowalski! Davis! Take Mr. Powers to his quarters, he's relieved for the night!"

Two soldiers moved over and dragged Jim out of the room. Colonel Samuels moved over and picked up the phone, "Sorry about that, Mr. Shoat... No, no problems. Everything is going according to schedule."


[[A few moments later...]]

"Colonel Samuels said those terrorists in the news recently are hiding out at the Los Verdes military base. He said President Clinton wanted ME to personally go and stop them." Prime looked at the abandoned base from the sky. " Who's to know if he's
telling the truth? But still! Lets see if they can handle Prime!"

Prime charged towards the military complex. He swooshed down as fast as he could. A large grin sat on his face, as he realized he hadn't felt this good in a long time. The President of the United States wanted HIM to take down terrorists! And his body was
feeling great. Whatever that "enhancement procedure" the Colonel set him up with, it really worked.

Prime crashed through the door of the building he was told the terrorists were settled in. "You might as well surrender! Your weapons can't hurt..." Prime looked around the room.

A man in his late 60's with a large belly and a dark gray beard stood in the middle of the room. He was looking at a sign that said "Ban the Bomb - Again!" and wore a tie-dyed shirt of many colors. A young woman was kneeling on the ground. She had long brown  hair, a white dress and was painting a sign saying ‘No more Nukes!' Around the room, the scenes were the same. These people weren't terrorists... they were hippies and nothing more!

"Whats going on here?!" Prime was perplexed.

The old man walked over to Prime, "What do you mean?"

"They told me you were terrorists!"

"I think you were misinformed son. We're representatives of the Solar Age Collective. We're just protesting nuclear testing.."

Prime didn't quite figure it out yet. Why would Samuels lie to him? How could he gain anything from that?

"Since terrorists have recently begun underground nuclear testing, there's been enormous pressure on the U.S. government to resume testing here in the U.S. Right HERE in Los Verdes!" The others, at least a dozen of them, we're gathering around him. "This place
is a symbol of what we detest, so we chose to occupy it... to make our point."

"Wait a minute!" Prime began rubbing his head trying to figure out the puzzle. "But I'm the hero! I'm always supposed to be right!

A middle aged man put his hand on Prime's shoulder. The sight of Prime would have made anyone scared and they wouldn't dare touch him! But the man saw something childish and innocent in this superhero. And the truth is it calmed Prime down. After all, his life was in ruins and he needed someone to care for him.

"Thank...thank you, sir. You don't know how much--"

Then a breaking news report came on TV in the background:

"President Clinton and his family are just returning from a vacation in seclusion at Martha's Vineyard."

The TV showed a gathering of reporters shouting out questions to the President. Most concerned Monica Lewinsky and all of the questions surrounding her, but some were directed toward the recently obtained information that terrorists are beginning to test
nuclear weapons. One question rang out over the others. "Mr. President, do you have any comment on the Los Verdes situation? Is the U.S. going to resume underground nuclear testing there?"

President Clinton walked over to where the press was gathered. "All right, I want to settle this once and for all. We have no plans to reinstate nuclear tests of any sort. Regardless of the threats coming from terrorists. No matter what. We will fight terrorism in
this world, but we will NOT do it by bringing weapons of mass destruction back into America."

The protesters gathered around the television cheered on as the President finished his remarks. "Well, looks like we finally got our message across to the administration!"

"I don't care what dang thing he did with that intern! He did what's right!" one of the women cried out.

"But I don't understand! He told me this mission was crucial.  Samuels lied to me! But why?!"

The protesters were not listening, however. They were still celebrating. "Pack your stuff, everyone, I think we can go home now!"

Suddenly a man in his early twenties came running from another room in the building. "Hey, dad! I was poking around that old control room and found this thing. You know what it is?" He was holding some type of electrical gadget.

The old man took a look at it. He was an electrical engineer before joining the ‘movement.'

"Hm... It looks like some kind of old-fashioned security servo. Any alarms go off?"

"No. But all the power clicked on and now everything is working."

"Well, I guess we better take a look."

He guided his father and Prime to the control room. Prime made sure everyone stayed behind him.

"See what I mean, dad?"

"Yeah, it looks... oh God." The old man ran toward the main control system.

Prime followed, worry on his face. "What's the matter?"

"I can't be sure... but it looks like something in the test shaft is armed... GET EVERYONE OUT OF HERE!"

Prime grabbed three of the people and flew them several yards away from the building. Now Prime knew what Samuels was up to. He was going to destroy this entire base... with him in it!

Prime went back and continued the evacuation until everyone was out except for the caring man. Prime rushed in the building and looked everywhere. He flipped tables and destroyed walls to get to him but he couldn’t find him anywhere. He changed his mind on searching and flew elsewhere.

Prime re-entered the control room. "Everyone's out. What's happening?"

"There's a warhead... set to go off in three minutes!"

"Then we've got to get you out of here!" Prime grabbed the old man and stormed out the window. He dropped the old man off with the others. "I better make sure everyone else is out!"

Prime almost flew off again when the old man hollered, "Wait! You don't understand. These are nuclear warheads! We need to get miles away from here!"

"No!! There's just one other! I have to go! I'm an ultra!"

"You're also a man! Now come with us!"

It was bizarre that these strangers were teaching Prime about life more than another family member and friend.

"Wait... Where are the warheads?"

" *sigh*, in the mind shaft I believe!" said the old man.

"Right!" Prime flew back into the building. He charged into the control room, tore through the floor and bolted downward towards the mine shaft.

Moments later he found the nukes. One was primed and ready to go off in one minute. "Okay." His heart was pumping, "When I turn off these bombs, I'm gonna..."

But at the worst possible time everything caught up to Prime. He wasn’t sure what he could do. He had to think. He wasn't just a kid anymore, he was Prime. And those people depended on him!

But.. he was Kevin! And for these kind souls who helped him raise his spirits, Kevin, not Prime would help them!

"Only one thing I can do." Prime grabbed a hold of the live nuke. "Gotta get this thing deeper into the ground." He dove into the ground, carrying the nuke with him. "So deep the earth will swallow the blast."

Once Prime felt he carried it far enough into the earth, he set it down. "There! Now, I've gotta..." he heard a sound. The bomb was going to detonate in ten seconds. "Oh no! I gotta concentrate, I have to hold myself together as this thing blows!" The bomb exploded, sending the ground above Prime spewing and much of the military complex crashing.

Just outside the complex, the protesters rose up to find Prime was not among them. Many were in tears. The media gathered. The protesters mourned the death of a friend and celebrated the victory of their battle. The whole world saw what threat these weapons
held. And they all wondered, who could have done such a thing?

"SAMUELS!" Suddenly, Prime shot up from the ground. "Now, I'm mad!"

Prime rocketed through the skies as the crowd around the fallen military complex cheered him good bye.

He quickly made his way toward Canoga Park. He was going to deal with Samuels, find out why he would want to kill those innocent people.

Surprisingly, he still felt energized. But by the time he finished his journey from Northern California to Southern California, his energy diminished rapidly. Until finally he dropped toward the ground.

Kelly looked up into the stars. She saw what she thought to be a shooting star soar through the skies. But she noticed it was coming closer. It was heading directly toward her house!

It fell into her front yard. She ran out the door. The object was red and gold.  It looked much like Prime. 

"Prime?! Is that you." She came over to his side. He was melting. "Oh no! You're dying again!" She leaned in closer, when she saw what appeared to be a boy inside. "Kevin?! You are Prime!" She pulled Kevin out from his dead Prime-body. "Kevin! Speak to me!"

Meanwhile, a car pulled up to the Green Family's house. Mr. Green exited the small car.

"God give me strength. Because now is the time!" He knew what he had to do.   He had to tell her the truth.  He couldn't continue deceiving his wife any longer.  He had to tell her what their son was.  Another car pulled up to the curb... "Russell Green?"

Russell turned around. "Yes?"

"Sir, my name is Jim Powers. I may be able to help you find your son.

       
...To be continued.

What plans does Colonel Samuels have for the power of Prime?  What will become of Kelly?  And how can Jim and Russell save them?  Find out in Prime: A New Twist #8... when two people meet their final demise!  And please send comments to jamespedrick@yahoo.com or fill out the form below.

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