(Found) Story in which doctors convince a soldier he has super powers


"What I do is me: for that I came."
Feb 14, 2020
So it's been about twenty years since I read this story, and I only remember bits and pieces.

Most of the story, from what I recall, is from the POV of a soldier who wakes up in a hospital room (or something like it) and two doctors tell him about how he was injured in a battle and convince him that he's, essentially, a super soldier with an assignment to take out an enemy base or something. I remember that they shoot at him and his hand instinctively reaches up to catch the bullets, proving he has super strength and agility.

Then he leaves for this mission, and the POV switches to one of the doctors whereby it shows their subterfuge - the bullets they fired (I think) weren't real, and they'd coated his hand in a magnetic substance or something. Basically the end of the story shows that they sent a regular guy off on a suicide mission, hoping that his overconfidence will keep him alive long enough to accomplish the mission.

Anyone know what this story is?
This is Brian Thomsen’s “Time for a Hero” (1995) from the anthology Superheroes.

All here, including the bullet gag etc.

A quote: "Well, it certainly works," said Parker, patting the older doctor on the back. "In less than two hours we can turn an ordinary soldier with human flaws and instincts for self-preservation into a confident and carefree hero with no other concerns except the completion of his mission. One man dies so that many can be saved. No matter how you look at it, that's a more than acceptable casualty rate. Lt. O'Connor, aka Meteor Man I, will get a hero's funeral, and the day will be saved."

"A hero's funeral," mused the increasingly more depressed Dr. Kirschenbaum. "I remember reading about the Soviet firemen who rushed into Chernobyl to contain the fire to keep the plant from exploding, knowing that in doing so they were signing their own death warrants. I also remember stories of soldiers earning medals that were awarded posthumously by jumping on top of hand grenades..."


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