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"The Cutting Edge": Nathaniel Adam is summoned by General John Hillary to the Pentagon, where he is acquainted with Colonel Steve Trevor, who is assigned to teach Nathaniel to practice in a stealth fighter simulator. He is not yet told the specifics of this assignment. Meanwhile, General Eiling

Captain Atom (Volume 2) #7 is an issue of the series Captain Atom (Volume 2) with a cover date of September, 1987.

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Synopsis for "The Cutting Edge"

Nathaniel Adam is summoned by General John Hillary to the Pentagon, where he is acquainted with Colonel Steve Trevor, who is assigned to teach Nathaniel to practice in a stealth fighter simulator. He is not yet told the specifics of this assignment. Meanwhile, General Eiling wasn't told of Nathaniel's assignment until now and he is annoyed of Hillary absconding his operative without his notice. Good news comes his way when the President has promoted him to a Three-Star General.

Nathaniel, Trevor along with Goslin and a Lieutenant Barker (whom are handpicked by Nathaniel and Trevor) are briefed by General Hillary of their mission. The four are briefed on the X-Ionizer, a prototype molecular hardening technology device that can permanently realign the negative and positive ions of any substance so that it can be so absurdly hard and sharp to cut through anything. Hillary demonstrates by showing a X-Ionized paper airplane piercing through a metal filing cabinet. The X-Ionizer went missing in Cambodia in 1969 when the plane carrying the device was shot down and was believed to be lost until reports of X-Ionized objects began to turn up in Southeast Asia. Hillary has learned that the device came into the possession of a ex-mercenary named Ian Rydley, who is offering it to the United States but his intentions are dubious. The U.S. needs this device without setting off an international incident. Hence why they need the stealth fighters, with Trevor's phenomenal piloting skills, to infiltrate and ex-filtrate from Cambodia. Furthermore, Nathaniel was specifically chosen for the mission due to his service in Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

The four operatives soon arrive in Cambodia, but remain unaware that they are being secretly observe by Plastique, who is also after the X-Ionizer, and also recognizes Nathaniel as "Cameron Scott". The group finds the meeting point of the seller...and Rydley's dying body and his jeep perfectly cut in half. Before Rydley dies, his last words are "spare." The four deduce that Rydley was bargaining with other buyers and the deal obviously did not end well for the mercenary. The group then hears sudden explosions in the distance. The men believe it is the rival buyers and decide to investigate, splitting up into two teams - Nathaniel with Goslin, and Trevor with Barker - and circle around the buyers.

It turns out to be Plastique battling with a competitor, a samurai whose armor and blast-resistant shield is strong enough to protect him against the metahuman's explosions, over the X-Ionizer. The box containing the device is knocked out of their battle and land near Trevor and Barker. They open it and finds it is only a hollow case. Rydley had tricked his buyers into taking a decoy. But Trevor then realizes where he had hidden the X-Ionizer. Trevor and Barker run back to Rydley's destroyed jeep and find the X-Ionizer inside the vehicle's spare tire.

Nathaniel changes into Captain Atom and confronts Plastique and the samurai. However, he is caught off guard by the samurai whose sword suddenly cuts through his body. This unintentionally causes energy to pour out of Nathaniel's wound before he is consumed in a bright, blinding white light.

Trevor and Barker return to the stealth fighters but notice that the other operatives are not there. Barker then suddenly pulls out his gun on Trevor, revealing himself as a mole who is going to take the X-Ionizer for himself. Barker then destroys one of the fighters in order to leave in one for himself. But Trevor deftly and fatally slashes Barker's throat with a piece of shrapnel from the destroyed aircraft. Trevor goes back to find the other operatives, but only finds Goslin, who was rendered unconscious from the explosion. With Nathaniel nowhere to be seen, the two are forced to leave without him while hoping he is still alive.

Back in the States, Peggy is reunited with her brother Randy. She is about to tell him about Nathaniel, but Randy clarifies with her that Eiling had already informed him, and he is not too thrilled at seeing his real father, whom he still sees as a traitor for betraying his family twenty years ago.



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