The body remembers what the mind does not. When he stumbles forward, shivering and clammy, he catches himself easily, his steps as steady as a metronome.
He has never done this before. He has done this countless times. He's never seen himself. He clenches and stretches his left arm, testing the response as it comes up to temperature, and through long dirty hair sees his own blurry reflection in the palm of his hand.
He looks up into the barrels of five assault rifles held by five men in full body armor. Three of the men are on the floor screaming before he's aware of his own movements, and he's going for the other two when someone calls out, "Soldier, stand down!" So he does.
That's how he knows he's a soldier.
Sometimes (the first time, the only time), a man in a white coat gives him a shove to the left, so he goes, sits in the prep chair and settles into the restraints. He knows it's a prep chair the same way as he knows the guards were carrying Colt M4A1 rifles; which is to say he doesn't know how he knows at all, and doesn't really care.
The scientists -- he remembers the word now -- gather around him. His eyes flick from one to another as they talk about "maintenance" and "eugenics". One opens a panel on his arm. He watches without curiosity as delicate instruments make his fingers dance and his arm twitch and spark. Another scientist steps between his legs and grasps his cock with a latex-gloved hand.
That's how he knows he's naked.
The body remembers what the mind does not. As the scientist smoothly pulls back his foreskin and attaches a band of electrodes behind the head of his cock, he watches himself engorge and feels for the first time the familiar hot blush run down his body to meet a deep thrill at the base of his spine. He can't catch his breath and his heart is beginning to race, but someone behind him says, "Settle down" and pushes his head back onto the headrest, so he tries to "settle down", he really does, but the chair tilts back and he's staring, pupils blown, up at the ceiling while someone is rolling some kind of sheath over his cock. He's hard as steel and this is the very first time he's felt this way -- the first time he's felt anything at all, really. When the bite guard is fitted into his mouth it comes as something familiar, almost a comfort, but he doesn't understand why. He just knows it feels good to bite down on and run his tongue across. It helps him calm down. He can just lie back now, just close his eyes and settle down now.
The restraints on his legs push his thighs up and apart. He doesn't know what happens next, but it makes him shudder. A plastic nozzle pushes into his ass, fills him with something cold and slippery, then withdraws, letting little drips leak out of the hole. He clenches and unclenches his fists, testing the restraints around his wrists. Someone says, "Okay, kill the arm." There's a small tug in his left shoulder, then his arm goes dead.
He barely has time to register that before something is shoved up his ass. It's long and cold and smooth and has a curve at the end that pushes up behind his balls. His whole body trembles and he can't catch his breath, snorting heavy gasps through the mouthpiece. He squeezes his eyes shut.
A switch clicks on and his spine arcs into a rictus of excruciating pain. His eyes roll up in his head and his whole body shakes uncontrollably, except for the hunk of metal that hangs cold and dead from his left shoulder. The thing in his ass sends screaming white shocks, one after the other, up inside him right at the base of his balls. His cock pulses gob after gob into the sheath, and he's coming and coming and coming...
When he regains consciousness his whole body feels as though he's been hit by a tank, and his balls crushed under its treads. A man in a white coat works the bite guard out of his mouth. It has teeth marks.
The chair is tilted upright and the restraints released. There's a sharp tug and a hard snap on his left shoulder; he rotates it to test the response after the reboot. He feels as though he can barely walk, but as he stands and staggers back to his stasis chamber his steps are as steady as a metronome.
That's how he knows what pleasure is.
Other times (the first time, the only time), instead of a shove to the left, he's shoved forward to a seat at a table. Across the table sits a man with a serious, earnest expression, a tailored suit and an expensive haircut. The man says something serious and earnest but he's not listening; he picks up the folder on the table and flips through it. Target, last known location, that's all he needs. He knows that when the man stops talking, he'll have a mission. Everything else is noise.
They name him the Winter Soldier and release him into the world. He stalks, kills, and is extracted to base. He gives his mission report as ordered and goes to sit in the prep chair. He doesn't know why; he just knows that's what he does. The restraints feel familiar and secure as they close. He accepts the bit into his mouth; he likes to chew on it and feel how the tooth marks fit his teeth just right. He lets them push him back against the seat but when the headpiece clamps around his face and he hears someone say, "Kill the arm" he's overcome by a sense of helpless, unknowing terror that makes him squeeze his eyes shut and clench his entire body in blind panic.
A switch clicks on and his spine arcs into a rictus of excruciating pain. His eyes roll up in his head and his whole body shakes uncontrollably, except for the hunk of metal that hangs cold and dead from his left shoulder. He feels his cock engorge and suddenly it starts pulsing gob after gob into his pants, and he's coming and coming and coming...
That's how he knows he's done well.