In December 1917 after being wounded in combat during The Great War, Aaron's father returned home to New York and used his injury dispensation award to buy a 25'x100' lot in the North Bronx for $25 and bought an old suprlus army Barracks for another $25 to put on the land, and married the girl next door. In the years that followed Mark and Klera
went forth and were fruitful
|In the biblical sense of being blessed with many children, not so much in the more modern monetary connotation |
. The twins, Joey and Marky, were born in September of 1918, followed quickly thereafter by the couple's first daughter Anise, then came the other twins Emmalina and Viveka, then Ricky and finally Aaron, the baby of the family. Things were never exacly easy for the Lancer family, but I suppose you could say they were comfortably hard. Aaron's father worked as a cabinet maker, and when their was work you could trust Mark Lancer to put some of it away for tomorrow, even if it meant scrimping and saving, and perhaps even suffering today. There wasn't always a lot of food but generally everyone got to eat. In his childhood Aaron was left mostly to himself, and he was a street kid from the start, whiling away his time in thouroghfares and alley's of his North Bronx neighborhood.
As a boy Aaron had a short temper and was prone to fighting, especially with neighborhood boy's who were bigger than he was, which was pretty much everybody. More than once it was only the intervention of his older brother Joey that kept Aaron out of the hospital. Of all his siblings Joey was the one Aaron most admired and wanted to emulate, a fact his mother would often scold him over "Why can't you be more like your brother Marky, he's such a good boy, he gets such great marks in school..." Marky may have been smart, buy Joey, Joey had guile. The kids in the neighborhood naturally seemed to gravitate to Joey, and he was a good guy to have around. When trouble started, and it often did, Joey was able to talk his way out more often than not, but on the flip side, when it came time to lay somebody out Joey had a mean right cross he wasn't afraid to use. By the time they were teens Joey's gathered around him his own little street gang, with Aaron right at his side the whole time. Unfortunately, Joey got himself in some hot water with the law, and rather than face the music he elected to run away and join the Army. His hero worship of his brother is the principal reason Aaron volunteered for services as soon as he was of age in 1939, dispite his father's protests.
In the Army Aaron proved to be an adaquet and average soldier. He especially had difficulty with his marksmanship, having to retake the basic rifleman's qualification twice. He was assigned to Able Company, 1st Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry division. With tensions heating up in Europe many of the top brass in the US miltary believed US involvement in the conflict was inevitable, and the army redoubled its efforts to train a powerful, mobile, modern military. To this end Aaron's unit was re-assigned Sabine Parish, Louisiana to participate in the Louisiana Manuevers, the largest field excersize ever conducted by the army involving hundreds of thousands of men.
Late one rainy August night, Aaron was soaked to the bone in full combat dress with a full pack riding down Riverside Road in the back of an M-35 Deuce and a Half, when the driver took a bad bump, lost control of the vehicle and overturned it, spilling the soldiers in the back right into the Red River. At first everything was happening so fast. Aaron remembers hearing a scream and then hitting the water and trying to flail his way to the safety of the shore. That's when everything seemed to slow down, and Aaron aquirred some kind of universal awareness. He could sense everything that was going on around him, distinct and slow as though each thing were happening independently of the others without overpowering one another or blending together. He could make out each individual tread on the spinning tires of the overturned truck, he could see that the driver lost control after swerving to avoid a crate in the middle of the road, and what's more he could read the very small label on the crate even while failing about in the river, he could make out the excrutiating detail on the faces of each of his companions. What's more he could hear everything, in crystal clear detail. It was all coming through
|Military Radio terminology for maximum signal fidelity, i.e. loud and clear |
He could hear the screams of his companions, the sounds of the churning river, the thrum of the still running truck engine, the footfalls of a groundsquirell on the branch of a tree overhead, he could hear it all with absolute clarity. Eventually Aaron was able to get out of his pack and make it to shore along with a few other members of his squad, but many others drown.
As he started to calm down he attributed his unusual experience to nerves and the shock of the accident. He tried to put it behind him and go about his life as if nothing had happened. But somthing most assuredly had changed. Then next moring when Captain Francis stepped away from the unit with 1st Lt. Smith for a come to jesus dressing down about the last night's accident, Aaron could hear every word, despite the fact that they were perhaps 100 yards away. Aaron looked to the soldier next to him and asked "Why's the Captain talkin' so loud?" to which the other soldier responded "What are you talking about, I can't hear a word." Later that same day on the firing range, Aaron shot a perfect round, despite having always been a mediocre rifleman in previous trials. When the rangemaster asked him to do it again, Aaron complied with another perfect target. The rangemaster moved the target back, but Aaron delivered another perfect round. Twice more they moved the target back, Aaron delivered two more perfect rounds. The rangemaster was baffled, he called 1st Lt. Smith over and explained the situation, to which the Lt responed "What's gotten into you today soldier, where was this kind of shooting months ago in basic?"
Aaron answered "I don't know Sir, I just see
where I want the bullet to go, and then I put it there."
The Liuetenant, who had been briefed about the ongoing appearance of paranormal individuals, and had like all officer's been asked to watch his men for anything unusual asked. "Tell me private, have you noticed anything else out of the ordinary recently?"
What followed was a week filled with meetings of increasing importance and increasing secrecy, many of which involved Aaron only answering a few questions, then standing in the hall while the meetings attendees talked about what to do with him. Of course Aaron could hear everything they were saying through the wall effortlessly. It seems the military is funding a "MERLIN" project, with a Professor Haskill in Chicago. It also seems the military doesn't totally trust the good professor and need someone to keep an eye, and an ear, out for trouble. The brass never did say why they didn't trust Dr. Haskill, only making cryptic and unexplained references to "The Seattle incident" and "that time in New Mexico." Ultimately Aaron was transferred to the project with a directive to work with Professor Haskill, so long as his orders didn't countermand the American military agenda, and report back on everything he saw or heard, that might hint at treachery.
Aaron wasn't excited about leaving his unit, but orders are orders. Months later when the Japanese attacked, and our country declared war on the axis powers, Aaron's animosity towards his assignment increased, believing it wrong for him to sit in Chicago while his comrades and his
|Joey is still enlisted in the Army, and Ricky has recently been drafted into the Marines. Mark on the other hand is now an engineer at the NYC Shipyards, where he's gotten all of the Lancer sisters jobs on the assembly floor. |
prepared to fight. He has twice petitioned to be reassiged to his former unit which is now preparing for the amphibious invasion of North Africa, and both times been summarily denied.