Follow twenty-three year-old Juno Wheeler as he goes through life as a war vehicle mechanic in future America during the war against Germany.
TZZZZAP! The plate of metal had been welded to the other. Juno Wheeler stood up, off of his knees, flipped up the welding mask and the welding component retracted back into his metal right arm. He looked at the nearly completed dune buggy. It was a war vehicle made for a customer that commissioned it a week and a half ago. Here in Nevada the war vehicles needed to be suited for off road as it was mostly desert. Juno looked around his garage for another plate of metal he could use to armour the buggy. He started towards a pile of four plates stacked next to his motorcycle. He was glad that the buggy was asked to be made out of regular plate armour rather than the super tough metal that his bike was armoured with. It was not only extremely hard to get, but also extremely expensive. Juno picked up a heavy plate of metal and shuffled over to the dune buggy. He put the plate up to the previous one but it was too big to fit. Juno carried the plate to the metal cutting table with a sigh.
He let it fall with a clunk and readied the saw just like his father showed him. Juno's father wasn't around anymore. He disappeared when Juno was nineteen. They had to cancel the large super weapon project that his father was working on as he was the head mechanic and robotics expert. It was a shame, really. No. It was more than a shame. That weapon could have ended the war between America and Germany. Juno didn't even know where his father went and more interrogation wouldn't spark a memory of over hearing him talking about leaving. At any rate, it's been four years now and everything seems the same anyways. The war was still going on and Juno had learned to live alone at twenty three, as his mother died when Juno was at an age which he could have no memory of her. Juno marked points of measurement on the plate and brought the spinning saw blade down to the sheet of metal. He flipped the mask back on and tucked his black, shaggy hair behind it. Sparks flew and a hunk of metal fell to the floor. He picked up the trimmed plate and carried it to the dune buggy.
Juno pushed the plate of metal up against the buggy. The welding component came out of his index finger and he began to weld when he heard a noise. Was it a noise? It was hard to tell over the sparks of the heated metal. He shrugged it off and continued to weld. He heard another noise. He was sure he heard it this time. It sounded like a lake of dominoes falling over. He looked behind him and saw the garage door rattling. "Just the wind." He mumbled. Juno needed just one more plate of metal to finish the buggy. He walked to the pile again and went to go pick a plate up when he heard a thud. It sounded like it came from his room upstairs, above the garage. Juno walked up the stairs at the back and opened the door. He stood in the doorway of his little house. A kitchen, a table with four seats, a couch, TV set, bathroom and bedroom. Three rooms wasn't too big, but it was enough for one person. Juno didn't see that anything fell or had been knocked over. He heard another thud, still from above. ‘But this is the top floor' Juno thought to himself. He looked up and raised an eyebrow. Another thud sent dust from the ceiling floating down.
Thud thud thud. It was now the sound of foot steps on the roof. "It's not Christmas." Juno joked to himself. He went back downstairs to the garage. Juno figured that it was Doctor Getriebe, a crazy German mechanics expert in a robotic suit who constantly tries to steal Juno's bike's blueprints. Its way more than just a war vehicle, Juno often likes to brag. It's also a medium and long ranged weapon. It has a hatch just under the handlebars that opens up to reveal a hole where Juno can insert his metal arm. This activates the weapon. The bike folds and contorts to form a hulking metal arm that Juno can use to crush threats.
Juno walked towards his bike and heard a soft thump outside. Doctor Getriebe must have hopped off the roof. Juno grabbed his bike by the handlebars and walked it to the garage door. He bent down to lift up the garage door and was interrupted by a loud thwack. Juno stopped and cringed. He slowly turned his head towards the wall where his bike was. There was another thwack and it shook the garage. A crack started to form in the wall. "No, no, no!" Juno yelled, frantically waving his arms back and forth. The crack in the wall grew out like a spider web. "Not the wall!" Juno barely had time to finish his sentence when the wall exploded in a blast of rubble and dust that blew him back. Juno got up, moaned and brushed off some dust off of his red leather jacket. "What the hell? Do you know how much it costs to get that fixed?" Juno complained in a coughing fit that would have surely been a yell if it weren't for the dust. "Why can't you use the door like a normal person?" There wasn't a noise from within the cloud, not even a cheeky comeback. "Hey! Are you even paying attention to me?" Juno marched towards the silhouette. "You know, Getriebe, it takes nerve to break into a guy's house by smashing in a wall and not give a damn about what he has to say!" Juno jabbed a finger into Getriebe's chest, which was fleshy and sickeningly warm. Juno quickly retracted his hand and jumped back. "You're not Getriebe!" He yelped.
The figure stepped forward, out from the cloud. "What's wrong, Juno? Don't you remember me?" It asked with a tinge of desperation in its voice. Juno studied the figure. It was a strange looking humanoid creature a bit taller than Juno. It had skin that looked like layers of thick vines had completely engulfed a fully grown man. It was coloured a dark, sickly green with blotches of aged wine red. It wore what had looked like a black, polished vinyl mask, with no facial features, imbued to its skin. Juno shrugged. "Sorry, not too good with faces." The masked vineyard let out a wisp of air that sounded like steam escaping from a pressure cooker, the ghost of a laugh."You were always the one to crack a joke, Juno." It told Juno."What are you talking about? How do you know me?" Juno asked, confused. The creature lowered its head."You really don't remember me, do you? We used to see each other quite a bit. We were never really friends, just acquaintances, I suppose." It turned its gaze upward. Our fathers worked together. Sometimes we would go to work with them when we were younger." It reminisced. "We would sit down at a table in their lab while they worked. You usually sat across from me..." Juno thought about it and he could vaguely remember the person it was talking about, but it escaped his mind. He usually paid attention to his dad working rather than the conversations everyone else had."I'm sorry. I don't remember you." Juno murmured.
The creature clenched its fist. "You don't remember me?" It said through what sounded like gritted teeth. It scanned its hands as if they were new to it. "I did this to myself for you, Juno, and you don't even recognize me." "W-what? You did that to yourself? For me? I don't understand." The creature silently stared at Juno."I did it because you killed my father." It finally said. Juno raised an eyebrow."Excuse me?""I... I did this to avenge my father!" It yelled suddenly. "I did this to kill you! I don't know how I messed up so badly, though! It was an accident!" It sounded like it was sobbing."Listen, I didn't kill your dad!" Juno rebuked, trying to defend himself."It was an accident. I didn't mean to end up like this... I'm not an expert on bio-weaponry like my dad."‘An expert on bio-weaponry?' Juno rolled the thought around in his head. It hit Juno like a brick. A flash of memories exploded in his head.
Juno was nineteen. His dad was supposed to have arrived back from work two hours ago. He became worried. He called his cell phone, his friends' cell phones. Nobody knew where he was. They searched for days, but never found him. A week had passed, and then there was the sound of the front door opening and closing. Juno rushed downstairs to see who it was, hopeful that it was his dad. But it wasn't. Instead of meeting his dad, Juno was standing in front of three men in suits. They told Juno that he had to go with them. They needed to ask him a few questions about his dad. They took him to the facility where his dad worked and led him into a plain grey room. They interrogated him about his father's whereabouts, but got nothing. He claimed not to have known that he was going to leave. They wanted any sort of info from him, so they badgered him with questions, made threats and it finally came to physical torture.
When Juno remembered the men torturing him he looked at his robotic arm, but didn't want to think about how it happened.
When they finally had concluded that Juno didn't know a thing about his father's disappearance, they brought him out of the room. They whispered something to one another and gloomily turned to Juno. They told him that it was the only way. They couldn't carry on the project without his father; they had to cancel what looked like the only hope America had of defeating Germany. They were afraid that the Germans were going to kidnap the other scientists and milk them of their secrets. They decided it was best to kill the other scientists and destroy any research done towards the weapon. Juno couldn't believe how they could kill those scientists and ruin lives with almost no emotion. He had three friends there whose parents were going to be killed; Jesse Mandibelle, Leonard Cedar, and Jack Mason.
‘Jack Mason!' Juno exclaimed in his head. ‘We used to hang out together at each other's dad's work. We were friends; Great friends. My God, could this possibly be him? ' Juno looked up at the humanoid and tilted his head. "You're Jack Mason, aren't you?" Juno asked."Yes." The monster named Jack sighed in relief that Juno finally recognized him. "Or at least I used to be." "What happened to you, Jack?" Juno asked, surprised."It was an accident..." Jack grunted. "I-I didn't -- it just..." Jack stuttered, obviously holding back emotions. Jack gave up on trying to hide the terrible fate he had met. "I don't remember much, but I'll do my best to explain."
Jack Mason sat in his father's personal lab at his house. He was still distraught and angry at Juno Wheeler, the person who had his dad's life in his hands. It had been a year after the incident and Jack was still thinking of things he would do to Juno. He wasn't about to do any of them though, he wouldn't attack someone who was defenceless. He heard on the radio that there was a single person fending off a feared robotics doctor from Germany. When they announced his name, Juno Wheeler, something clicked in Jack's head and he knew he had his chance to get back at him. He used his knowledge of bio-weaponry he learned from his dad, and expanded it by studying books on the lab's shelves. He began to work on a weapon, a biotic arm that resembled the description of Juno's metal arm. He had completed it; his father's vengeance could be fulfilled. He slid on the arm, just like a glove, and tested it out. It was meant to create calcium and produce sharp, bone-like structures, and it worked. Proud of his work, he went to take it off to find a protective case for it. But it wouldn't come off. In Jack's hastiness and blinded by anger, he had not created the weapon he had imagined; he had created a symbiotic organism that had chosen him as its host. Jack tried to find a way to removed it, but it grew faster than Jack could come up with something. In two years the organism had fully taken over his body and they had become one.
"I see," Juno nodded his head. "So that's how it happened.""Now, Juno, it is time for you to meet your fate." Jack forewarned"No, listen Jack, there are people that can help you. They can remove the symbiote and turn you back to normal.""No!" Jack suddenly exploded "I don't want to be normal again! I want to kill you to avenge my father! I can't do that as Jack Mason! Jack Mason is weak! With this body, I am no longer Jack Mason, but I am Jack Knife!" And with that, bulges began to form on his knuckles and the skin split as sharp spikes made from his own bones rose up."Now that you know who I am, remember who I was," Jack began tensely. "And, evidently, what you did to my father, I may fully avenge my father's death!" Jack lunged forward, throwing a fist at Juno's head, but Juno quickly stepped left and countered it with a knee to the gut. Jack didn't even budge. He took another swing so fast that Juno had to drop to the ground to avoid it. Jack tried to stomp on Juno but he rolled out of the way. Jack's foot made a crater in the concrete floor and Juno sprang up, connecting his feet with Jack's jaw and Juno bounced off of him as if he was a wall.
Jack picked up one of the plates of metal armour and threw it like a Frisbee at Juno. Juno arched back to dodge it. The plate whizzed by his head, cutting off a snippet of hair, and the plate was lodged in the wall. Juno panicked because he knew that Jack was too powerful for him, so he ran towards the garage door, dodging the other plates thrown at him. He threw open the garage, jumped on his bike and motored off.
Juno needed some time to plan a strategy to somehow defeat a creature made of just muscle and bone. ‘Shit!' Juno yelled in his head as he looked in one of the side mirrors to see Jack zooming after him in the buggy. Juno did a 180 turn and charged straight for him. Juno pressed the trigger to fire the guns at the side of his bike and his heart broke a little as he was about to destroy days of work. TNK~ TNK~ TNK! Or maybe he wouldn't destroy it; the bullets bounced right off. He armoured it well. Jack rushed by and swung his fist, nearly taking Juno's head off.
Juno knew he had to look to his last resort: The Nitrous Knuckle, the weapon that his bike turned into. Juno flipped up the hatch under his handle bars and his right metal arm dove into it. The arm reacted with the bike and the engine revved quickly and Juno locked the brakes and jumped off. The wheels folded inward and the bike folded and twisted in an intricate mess of gears and pistons. When the transformation was complete, Juno was standing in the middle of the desert, dust clouds all around him, with a huge six foot long metal arm, awaiting a charging armoured dune buggy with mounted machine guns and rockets.
Jack fired the guns and Juno shielded himself with the backside of the arm. Jack then fired the missiles. Juno dodged them by using the Nitrous Knuckle to push himself out of the way. He caught the last missile, turned it around and through it at Jack and it hit just behind the buggy, sending it went flying. Juno snatched the buggy out of the air and began to compress it. "You can't kill me!" Jack yelled. "I'll come back!""Well I can send you to a place far, far away from here!" Juno retaliated. When the buggy was compressed so much that Jack wouldn't be able to escape, Juno winded back the Knuckle and launched it across the desert. It was out of sight before it could hit the ground.
Juno looked across the skyline and sighed with the thought of the buggy being destroyed along with his house. He wondered if Jesse Mandibelle and Leonard Cedar shared the same hate for him as Jack did. He also wondered when Jack would be back if he survived the impact. The only thing Juno knew for sure was that his customer would be angry, because that buggy was due tomorrow.
‘Just another day as Juno Wheeler' he thought to himself as he drove home. He rubbed his bruises and cuts. ‘I just wish I wasn't so popular.'