Captain America #0 (Earth-44)

1945

The war had raged on for several years now and countless lives had been lost on the plane of battle. In an effort to help win the war, men from both sides had done many horrible things in the name of victory. The Axis alliance had a great power on their side, Hydra, lead by one of the most feared men in the world, the Red Skull. With their aid things looked bleak for the allies, except that one man helped change the tide of the war, his name was Steve Rogers or better known to the men as Captain America.

Captain America: Stay close men. We are getting close to Zemo’s compound.

Captain America didn’t need a whole battalion of soldiers to get results. He alone was able to take down several Hydra bases during the war. However, when the call was made, there was one group who he could trust in any situation, the Howling Commandos, lead by Nick Fury. Also, his teenage sidekick, Bucky Barnes, who regularly accompanied him on missions.

Fury: Cap, our guy should be just up ahead. He is from Canadian Special Ops.

Cap gave a hand signal that told the group to stop and he approached the man standing in the path.

Captain America: I am Captain Steve Rogers and…

Soldier: I know who you are, Captain America. The costume kind of gave it away.

Captain America: Do you have the intel from Zemo’s base? Is the Skull there too?

Solider: Reports say Zemo has been having his scientists producing some nasty experiments in there. Stuff that could really put a hurtin’ on our boys in the front lines. And no, the Skull hasn’t been seen on site in the past couple weeks, sorry Cap.

Captain America: It doesn’t matter the Skull can wait, taking down Zemo is the top priority right now. Thank you for the information soldier your help has been invaluable.

Solider: No problem Cap. Now I take my leave, got my own mission to worry about.

Captain America: What is your name soldier?

Soldier: You can call me Logan.

As the group approached the compound, they began to hear faint screams in the distance. No doubt from the tortured of Zemo’s experiments. Cap, Bucky, and the Commandos gathered on the perimeter of the base.

Captain America: Alright, Fury you take the Commandos to the detention area and free the prisoners while Bucky and I head for Zemo.

Fury: Roger that Cap. See you on the outside.

The two groups separated and as Bucky and Cap made their way through the compound, Steve’s mind began to wonder as he thought back to when he was just a sickly kid from New York. Just a few years ago he was in and out of hospitals trying to cure a rare disease that was eating away at him from the inside. He was dying, and no one could figure out how to save him, so when he heard that the military was looking for people to test their new serum on he knew that he had nothing left to lose. The procedure worked, not only was he now at the peak of human performance, but it also cured him of his disease. Thanks to the Super Soldier Serum, Steve had new chance at life and he had no problem using it to help his country.

As they continued to sneak through the building, Bucky broke the silence.

Bucky: There is the main hall where Zemo should be. Only two guards so we can take ‘em.

Cap jumped down behind the one guard and used his shield to knock him out while Bucky jumped down on top of the other guard leaving them unconscious on the ground. Captain America then used his shield to bust down the door revealing Zemo and his top scientist, Arnim Zola.

Zemo: Ah Captain, I was wondering how long it would be before you found this place. Please come in a have a seat. We can always use some new test subjects around here.

Captain America: This is the end of your sick experiments Zemo.

Zemo: Poor Captain, never one to cooperate, are you? Fine, we will do it your way, Zola take the research and go, I will deal with the Captain.

Captain America: Bucky, go after Zola.

Bucky: On it Cap!

Zemo drew his sword and charged at Captain America, but was blocked by his shield. They went back and forth exchanging blows. While Zemo didn’t look much like a fighter he was more than capable of holding his own against even Captain America. Zemo swung his sword at Cap and he dodged it by jumping over him and landing behind where he used his shield to hit Zemo in the back knocking him to the ground.

Captain America: It’s over Zemo stay down. If you tell us where the Red Skull is, you might get better treatment.

Zemo: No, I will not got down for that pompous leader of ours. Skull can burn with the rest of you!

Zemo flung his sword at Captain America who knocked it away with his shield sending it towards one of the canisters sitting by Zemo. It poured out onto Zemo’s head covering him in the strange chemical and he cried out in pain.

Zemo: NO!!! It burns!! What have you done?!

Zemo then passed out from the pain and Cap noticed that the bright purple mask that Zemo wore, now appeared to be bonded to his flesh. Just then Bucky came running back into the room.

Captain America: Bucky, where is Zola?

Bucky: Sorry Cap, he got away.

Captain America: Come on we have to meet up with the Commandos.

Back at the Allied camp, Cap turned in Zemo and then went to talk to Fury.

Captain America: We have Zemo, but Zola got away with the research. No doubt running back to the Red Skull.

Fury: We have to destroy all of those notes or they will be able to mass produce the bio-weapons. Thankfully, while you were gone we got word on what rock the Skull has been hiding under. We are preparing a full assault on the Hydra stronghold that will hopefully keep those Hydra bastards occupied while we slip inside.

Captain America: Alright Fury, get your men ready and I will go let Bucky know.

Fury: Maybe he should sit this one out Cap. He let Zola get away and I don’t know if I can have a kid out there who might get us killed.

Captain America: It was a mistake, but we will get them this time. I trust Bucky with my life and he is coming with us.

Fury: Alright Cap, we’ll do it your way this time, but if he screws up again I would suggest getting someone else to watch your back.

As he watches Fury walk away, Cap thinks back how he met Bucky. He was just a teen who wanted to fight for his county and during his first battle was wounded and captured by the enemy. He was one of the men he rescued during one of Captain America’s first missions. He showed great skill in helping get the men out and afterwards talked Cap into letting him be his partner. Cap saw him as someone like himself and wanted to help him reach his full potential. He had become a brother to him and after all the fights they had been in, he had never let him down before.

The next day, a squadron of Allied forces attacked the Hydra stronghold drawing their forces to the battlefield. All the while Cap and the rest were making there way inside while the Hydra’s forces were focused elsewhere. There hopes were to get in undetected, but unbeknownst to them, the Red Skull was well aware of their presence.

Red Skull: Go and meet our guests. Kill them all but Rogers, bring him to me.

The Red Skull’s forces then began to open fire on Cap and the Commandos. Cap took cover behind his shield and Fury pulled out and threw a grenade taking out a few of the soldiers. The firefight lasted for a few minutes and then Cap threw he shield having it ricochet off the wall and into the back of the last gunman’s head. Now that the fire had ceased, they headed for the Red Skull.

Red Skull: Captain Rogers, I see my little welcoming committee wasn’t able to do their job, though I’m not surprised.

The remaining guards then open fired, but Cap used his speed to quickly take them both out leaving just the Skull.

Captain America: I’m done playing games Skull. It’s over.

Just then a giant robot came crashing through the wall and the Red Skull began to flee up the stairs.

Fury: Cap we can’t let him get away with the plans. This is our last chance to stop him.

Captain America: The Commandos will deal with the robot, Fury and Bucky, you’re with me.

As they made it up the stairs they saw the Red Skull climbing into a plane.

Captain America: Skull stop! You move, and we shoot you.

Red Skull: I would love to Captain, but I really must be going. Alpha 976342.

Captain America: What…

Red Skull: Hail Hydra.

Right then Bucky turned and shot Nick Fury before turning to shoot Cap.

Captain America: Bucky, what are you doing?!?

Bucky: Killing you.

Bucky pulled out his pistol and shot Captain America in the abdomen and he went down on one knee. As Bucky was about to shoot him in the head, he was tackled by Fury. Bucky grabbed a knife and swung it at Fury cutting him on his left eye and then kicking him to the ground. Cap stood up and saw Fury laying on the ground.

Captain America: Bucky, how could you? We were a team.

Bucky: You think it was an accident you found me at that Hydra camp? Hydra put me there to get to the famous Captain America. I earned your trust, let Zola get away, and told the Red Skull we were coming here. Fury was right not to trust me.

Laying on the ground Fury reached for his gun and mustered up enough strength to get a shot off and hit Bucky in the shoulder.

Captain America: No!

Bucky then fell off the edge of the roof before Cap could get to him.

Fury: You….have to get the…Skull…

Cap realized that this had to end now and ran down to where the Skull’s plane was taking off.

Sprinting towards the plane that was taking off, he jumped onto the end of it as it was taking off. The Red Skull began firing his pistol at Captain America as he tried to dodge the bullets while hanging on to the plane. After the Red Skull ran out of bullets, Cap threw his shield into the propeller of the plane which caused it to start to fall. Cap let go and fell into the water below. Once he hit, he saw the plane explode as the debris hit the water. Still weak from his wounds, Cap grabbed his shield from the water and swam back to shore. Once he made it back to land, he was shot with a paralyzing blast. It was Arnim Zola.

Zola: Take the Captain back to the lab.

When Cap came to he was inside a clear tube container.

Captain America: Zola! Where have you taken me? It is over, Zemo is captured and the Skull is dead. Hydra is finished.

Zola: Quite the contrary Captain. You should know better than most that when you cut off one head, two more take its place. Enjoy your time on ice Captain, it will be an honor to study you. Hail Hydra!

Captain America: Ahh!

The capsule began to freeze and Captain America was now one ice in the possession of Hydra. The Red Skull was gone, but at a heavy price.

Many Years later…

Voice: Romanoff, what is your status?

Black Widow: Only two more guards left and then I’m in.

Widow used her stingers to take down the first guard and then ran over to the second and slid between his legs and jumped up on the other side and hit him against the back of the head.

Black Widow: The guards are down. I’m heading inside.

She walked into the empty room and the lights were off. She searched for a switch.

Black Widow: This should make things easier to see.

When the lights came on she saw what they had been looking for.

Black Widow: Sir, I found him.

Rogers eyes began to open as he slowly looked around the room. He didn’t recognize the place, but it appeared to be some sort of hospital room. He then noticed he was not alone and quickly sat up in the bed, ready for whatever it was.

Fury: Long time no see Rogers.

Captain America: Fury? Where am I? What is going on?

Fury: Steve, we have got a lot of catching up to do.

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