Countermeasures

It was an offer I couldn’t refuse, which is good since I was being forced into it. The federal government offered me a plea deal for a heist in which I was an accomplice. The feds offered me placement into an experimental eye surgery program at the National Institutes of Health.

If I wasn’t upfront about my perfect sight, the plea deal would blow up in my face later. I told them I had 20/20 vision. They reminded me that I had developed floaters and had a family history of glaucoma. So much for medical privacy. The possible complications from the surgery were many, but they were still better than the absolute complications from federal prison. The surgery was scheduled for the following Monday.

As I awoke from the surgery, I heard a nurse assuring me that the surgery went fine. I could see right through her, but not because she was lying. I had X-ray vision.

Maybe I was delirious or hallucinating from the anesthesia, I thought. I did still feel a bit foggy.

As I became more alert, however, I realized that my other senses were returning to normal, but my vision remained… enhanced. I had read enough comic books to know that I was some sort of mutant, but not quite a superhero. I also knew enough to not let on what had happened.

I was discharged a few hours later.

The next day I walked around the city, seeing almost everything that people kept hidden: pacemakers, weed baggies, cash, hip replacement prosthetics, pens, breast implants – it was too much to handle. I walked back to my apartment and spent the rest of the day alone. I started to brainstorm ideas for controlling this new “trait.” I even considered learning to be blind, with the idea being I would keep my eyes closed behind sunglasses and use a cane or a canine assistant.

For the time being, I simply attempted to adjust.

About a week later, I walked to the convenience store a block away. It was supposed to be my “day off.” I was going to spend the entire day alone in my apartment, but I needed food.

I spotted a guy with a gun behind his jacket, which wasn’t unusual. Tons of people were walked around with concealed handguns. What was unusual was his behavior. He wasn’t really looking at merchandise. His eyes were darting around. I knew what was about to happen.

I made my way towards the counter. So did he. I stepped in line before him and paid for my frozen burrito.

As I turned around, he unzipped his jacket. I reached in, grabbed his gun and unloaded it. A cop standing nearby saw the whole thing go down. I was screwed.

My plea deal stated that I could not touch a gun. The cop had to call me in. The criminal and the mutant went to jail, but at least they didn’t have to share a police cruiser.

Twelve hours into slammer time, my federal parole officer retrieved me. Instead of being transferred to a federal holding facility, however, I was taken to the super secret NIH branch. They knew about the X-ray vision. They knew that’s how I had detected the gun.

During their questioning, a man in a dapper black suit entered the room and announced that he was from the Department of Homeland Security. They had learned about me and needed me for a classified operation. My NIH handlers were pissed. That day I learned that DHS trumps NIH.

It was federal agency inception, and I was about to go several levels deep.