The screeching sound of Katioushas batteries was perfectly audible from here...The Soviets had lauched some days ago the final assault against the Nazis, and despite the propaganda, everyone near the combat zones knew that nothing was going to stop the Red Army on it's way to Berlin. The general said to the commander of his armored detachement to proceed as fast as possible. They had been report of T-34s (supposedly destroyed in the hundreds by inexistant panzers) making raids in the area, not to mention Allied or Soviet aircraft. The half-dozen of tanks and halftracks were highly vulnerable, as the city they were coming from was probably classified as top-priority target by the Soviets, and the ennemy would soon be here.
The SS general had disembarked with his staff from a destroyer, at the military harbour, two hours ago. He had no trouble to lie to the population, that the Red Army would never bessiege this town, and the town would be defended to the death (that point was not exactly a good news for the civilians, who had not the slighest doubt that the High Command was quite sincere on this matter...) While, in fact, he was here for prepare for evacuations. Not the civilians, of course. This could lead them to think that the war was lost (While everyone in Germany that was not completly lunatic or braindead-unfortunately, that excluded a lot of the leadership-knew very well that this was over...) The concern of the authorities for foreign civilians was abyssmal, as the recent years had showed, it was however also quite low for it's own. But there was some paintings, scupltures in the old city that the Leader estimated vital to save, and to be carried off to Berlin as soon as possible. There were also some installations around the city, which the civilians pretended to ignore the existence with a quite remarkable selective memory, that needed to be...completely erased...before the Soviets liberated them.
The SS had gave orders to immediately transport or execute (with their state of health, "transport" by feet was a death sentence, of course) all the remaining POWs, political prisoners, deported persons, in the camps of the region., and destroy all installations : the standard procedure. The Soviets and the Allies had to be prevented for getting proofs...But they already knew ; the main idea behind those orders was to make sure that the doomed Nazis would take with them as many persons as possible. The general did not feel anything when giving verbally those orders (always better to be cautious...) ; those prisonners were nothing...And, after all...he was just following orders for his hierarchic superior...
However, a facility in particular, according to the said hierarchic superior, needed to be dealt in a different manner. At first, it seemed to be another of those special projects that he cautioned often, quite ridiculous….But this one…was very serious, and very real. The only side problem was to find a way to use it on the battlefield. The general had a twin task; see the real state of the project, and then proceed to its evacuation deeper in German territory.
The facility was only some kilometres away from the town, and was in fact an old fortress from Prussian times, officially used as an shell storage (The few civilians that were in the area were of course never hearing the screams that were sometimes occuring) It have been used early in the war for…interrogation…of captured Allied or Soviet Intelligence operatives, but now, the facility was entirely reserved for one single prisoner…Prisoner was not a good word, actually. Neither slave…She was for them much more a thing than a living being…
The general was eagerly waited by the various officers and scientists at the facility, since they each hoped to be evacuated with the project. They had prepared a demonstration for him, to showcase the interest of their research. One major quickly briefed the general about the circumstances in which she had been discovered. She had killed two Nazis guards in a most savage manner before being put back in control. The normal sentence would have been execution after torture, but something was strange about the way she had killed them…so strange that this was enough for further inquiries. It's at that time that they noticed that there was truly…special…things about this Czech, and that she had been sent here…
"She is begging us to kill her each day", said with a clearly sadist grin an SS officer…"Trust us, General, she is paying for her existence…Her life is as close as Hell as it could be. It's why we don't understand why she don't like it…She should feel really at home, with that…"
That sick joke was typically SS…It was why the General found it actually funny…
"Good…very good…I really hate her kind. We are doing her a favour by giving her a chance to be useful for the Reich. She should be grateful of giving a sense to her existence"
They had arrived to the converted caves that were used for the research. It was heavily guarded, as the test subject, despite her apparent passivity, was extremely dangerous. She was kept on sedatives when not needed. And yet, she had managed to kill several guards...The major pointed to the general a viewport, allowing to see without danger that...thing.
What the general saw was a naked thirteen-fourteen years old girl, covered in numerous place by caked blood, chained to the wall by her arms, raised at the level of her head. She seemed inconscious for the time being, her head being slumped on her chest. The general had a brother who was a minister, and had saw a lot of religious pictures in museums...This sight…triggered really strange associations within his mind. But the general was not a pious man-no one genuinely believing could accept to do such things-and he found the said association more funny than anything else (he really had a diseased mind)...Anyway, the most startling point was what emerging from her short and shaggy hair (the reddish color of the said hair was a bit…unusual, but nothing more) that had slowly grow back since she had been bring here from concentration camp ; two little ivory-white cones on her temporal bones…
"It's…peculiar, I must say, he said after a while. How this is possible ? She looks like a…"
"We don't know, general...It was latent in her; she was without those crests when she was arrested or while she was in the concentration camp. Those crests quickly grew after her transfer, in a matter of days rather than weeks or months. We interrogated her with insistence (Euphemism for "We tortured her") about this…and she is not very cooperative, I must say."
"You should have insisted more, said the general, in a quite detached tone. Maybe you are a bit too…sensible…for those kinds of jobs (The general knew that some soldiers had sometimes strange ideas in Occupied Europe, like thinking that the civilians of those countries were like the ones of Germany, and that maybe it was wrong to torture and murder them…)"
"I assure you, general", protested the major, "that I have not that kind of weakness. I have been in France charged of the "technical assistance" of a unit of the Milice, and I have seen a lot of…aggressive interviews... We have tried everything. She will not talk. But, anyway, we don't really need her cooperation. It's quite probable that she does not know about it too..."
"The origin of this is not really important. What is really mattering is her…capacities. I mean the capacities that you have reported. Do you have at least a basic idea on how it's possible?"
"Again, completely unknown. A vivisection would be useful, or even an autopsy, but we have unfortunately one specimen. As far we know, she is unfortunately unique, for the time being. She is quite lucky, in a sense…it's only because of that this worthless thing is still alive"
"Yes…Before anything else, you know that there is some doubts in the command chain about some of the things you are reporting. Even him wonders if you are not…exaggerating a little"
"About the abilities, we are not, General. They are nothing less than spectacular...and deadly. She…is able to deflect most weapon projectiles without arm. Heavy duty stuff like sniper rounds are harming her, however, but only very slightly (in fact, it caused incredible pain to the test subject, but she survived)…A live demonstration will show you this perfectly"
The demonstration was simple. A sniping rifle was brought, the barrel a mere five meters from the midsection of the test subject. She did not move, or reacted. When the round was fired, the test subject let out a cry of pain, as blood began to flow for her mouth-the bullet had done her the same effect than a very strong punch in the stomach. She then tried to say something, although she knew that this would never work ; they never stopped to torture her.
"Please. Stop it. I'm…no longer able to stand it"...(Of course, no one listened to Sarah…)
((Sarah, why are you still trying? They will never do anything for you. They will use you until your body broke. You know that there is only one way to end this…AWAKEN...))
That inner voice had the same devastating effect on her than the other times…Added despair...Because Sarah knew that this voice was saying was true.. Altought there was in fact two ways to end this. The first one was rather obvious...She had tried three time since she was there to kill herself, to end this Hell. But she could only try to use conventional means to do so, not the...since the other would never allow it….And thus, it had failed-and only got her even more harsher treatment. The second way...it was what the other voice was suggesting.
She finally opened her eyes, and saw that there was a new officer outside her cell. Those were the worst time, when the scientists tried to impress Nazis officials with a demonstration of her abilities…She knew what would be next. Resistance to pain, to trauma, to anything...This was going to be a long day…or a long night, as she had lost the track of time long ago.
((You…we…want to do it. You have done it several time ago. It's easy. Those guards mock you, humiliate you, but you can kill them as you wish. The only problem is that they knew it, and that they are cautious. Even if you awaken completely, you may have trouble to escape))
"And she is only an inferior subhuman...", said a scientist with excitation. "Think what one of us could do with those awesome capacities ! If we can replicate them in time, our final victory in this war is assured…And no one will be ever able to challenge our domination ! "
The SS general considered Sarah. Could this be really possible, that someone of her kind (saying that this was ironic was an understatement, with the role that her people had in his ideology…) could be the key of their victory? For this war, it was a bit dubious. But for the future….Sarah was hearing what they were saying. And it was making her sick. Those guys genuinely believed that they had a right of life or death on any Human in Europe. That thing in her…they were trying to duplicate it…They were saying that she was a monster, an abomination….She had not chosen to be like this…But them…they wanted to be like that…
((And they are calling you a monster. It's really ironic, coming from their part. They did not deserve any pity…As soon as you are no longer useful to them, they will kill you…))
"And we will be able to duplicate it, I assure you", said a man entering the room. (The general hide his contempt for the Japanese. Why the Reich had allied with such people ? But they could prove useful...Especially for providing a fall back point for the Nazi leadership. Some long-rang submarines could still reach Japan, with a lot of luck and skill. His hierarchic superior was really considering the possibility of a strategic retreat of him and some advisors. Since the general was bound to be one of the advisors, he really pushed for this solution…)
"Ah, general, this man had worked within Unit 731. He is truly a specialist of...applied biology (Euphemism for ''biologic warfare'') A real genius in his field…He says that he have obtained some results in the isolation of the cause of this, first step for replication..."
"Yes…but it's still a bit early. Some months, or maybe even years, of work will be necessary, said the Japanese...(His name was…Kakuzawa, or something like that. Sarah was not sure)"
((See ? They see you as a tool. Not me…Altough, to be honest, it's mostly because you and I...are the same being, after all. But I want to keep us alive, and I can't do it without your cooperation...You can continue to try to kill yourself. But this would be foolish. First, this will not prevent them to use you…your body, I mean…And second point…this would make them…won, in a sense...And you will never avenge yourself, if you don't accept me...And…Sarah. You…are going to have a chance, an incredible one, very soon. Take it…)
Sarah lifted her eyes saw that they were preparing another little demonstration, with heavier projectiles...Sarah was really at end of her resistance. Her mind would break soon, and…No. She would not give them this pleasure. Their death camps had not been enough to kill her. She…was going to get out of this place, at any price. Including her…soul, in a certain sense…
A soldier came into the room at this moment, having an alarming new for the general...
"GENERAL ! AIR ALARM ! INCOMING ALLIED AIRCRAFT ! They are headed here !"
There was a lot of curses, as everyone knew here that those aircrafts could never be intercept ; there was not a single night interceptor avaiable in the area, and all the AA guns had been sent to the front to serve for AT duty. Sarah understood what the other had meant...But how ?
((No...I'm responsible for this...But...I...knew they were coming...I...and you...have many abilities...like the one of detecting short term danger. The said danger is minimal to you. Just prepare yourself for a little action...And…farewell, Sarah…Now, we are truly only one…))
The Nazis were not completely stupid, however. Knowing the danger that Sarah could pose, they sent one scientist to sedate her (this state was...abominable. She stayed fully conscious, but was unable to move. On the others hand, since she was chained day and night, it was not a big difference for her...) escorted by two soldiers, whose weapons were fitted with dum-dum bullets-soft-tip ammunition that was theorically banned, as it exploded on impact in little fragments. If Sarah made a move, they would probably have the time to fire on her, and since she had not recovered from the experience, she could not deflect all projectiles. And a single projectile would harm her terribly, preventing her to use her...abilities. She had experienced it a few time before. Horrible. To gain a little time, she used in a very sublte manner her faculties, for clipping the needle of the injection unit. The scientist cursed, thinking this was an accident, and is attention was away of Sarah for a moment. At that time, the first bomb fell on the facility, drawing the attention of everyone. Sarah suddenly raised her head, and...abandoned herself to that inner voice. The three person in the cell were took by surprise, and did not lasted long...They did not even have the time to raise the alarm...Very good.
The facility had been identified by London as a potential site for chemical/biological (it was not false) ressearch, and the Bomber Command had targeted it with a precision raid. It would also have the effect of softening up the defense against the Red Army. The raid proceeded very quickly. Two Mosquitoes dropped illuminations flares for marking the target to the twenty Lancaster heavy bombers that were following. The bombs almost leveled the fortress, destroying most heavy weapons and vehicules. Human casualties were light, however, as the sub-levels were making very good air-shelters. The only problem was that there was something in the said sub-level that was much more dangerous than any Allied air raid...
The general, when the bombing run was finished, realized that the damage to the installations was great, as several heavy bombs had pierced the floor and reached sub-levels...Really, it was the time to evacuate this project. The eletrical installation had been hit, and the lights were flickering. Thus, when he saw the heavy door to the cell out of her hinges, it was not in full light, not very clear or obvious, and it did not make him react in the way he should have...
He felt a light, gentle tap on the shoulder...He turned...and saw Sarah, free. He was so panicked that he never noticed that she was several meters behind him. The rest happened in what seemed for him slow-motion. He took his pistol for kill or disable her, raised it and-nothing else. What his subordinates saw was his head separated from his body in a gruesome way. And Sarah covered with his blood. Everyone in the room froze, knowing that they were dead. With what they had done to this girl, she would never have any mercy for them. One scientist attempted to do talk to her, saying that if she calmed now, nothing too harsh would happen to her. Sarah recalled how he had humiliated her during the last fifteen months, never hiding the total scorn he had for her. This charming individual had a strange accident with a scalpel in the next seconds-the tool that was resting on a table had ended into his left eye...Everyone into the underground levels met a similar fate during the next minutes. Sarah picked up into a stocking room a shirt to cover her a bit-it was quite...light...for clothing, but better than nothing-and proceeded to reach the courtyard. The tank detachement had been destroyed by the Lancasters and Mosquitoes, and the only survivors of the garrison, a dozen of SS guards commanded by a lieutenant, were assessing the damage. It was the middle of the night, but everything was quite visible thanks to the bombing markers dropped by the Allied aircrafts. The Nazis realized with sheer horror that Sarah was no longer under their control, and frantically shouted to stop moving, or they would shoot her. Sarah did not even bothered to look at them. They fired. No results. Dozens of bullets from submachinge guns were fired against her...and had more or less the same effect than an actual rain on her. Nothing at all.
Sarah smiled, and this simple action frightened to no end the SS guards. Especially when one of them violently jerked backward, stabbed by a metal fragment that had been laying on the ground...The force of the impact was such that he was pinned on the wall behind him. It took him a good minute to die…Saying that this was not exactly an encouraging sight for the others was an understatement. Still, after a moment of shock, they opened fire, trying to persuade themselves that they must have miss the target the first time, that this was a coincidence…(Sure. A bombing run that make metal pieces fly in the air ten minutes after it ended…) The second volley had the same results than the first. Sarah changed tactics this time, and killed another SS by making the remains of a wall collapse on him…A third one, in the optic that he missed because he was too far (like someone could be completely missed by ten sub-machines guns at a range below forty meters…) and came within five meters of Sarah, who took a few steps toward him. What followed completely killed the moral of the others, as most of them were covered in the blood of the fool. Sarah was of course without a scratch…she had allowed the guard to fire a full volley at point blank range, just to demoralize a little further more her enemies. Who were now realizing that she was playing cat and mouse with them. That kind of game was quite enjoyed by them-with, of course, them in the role of the cat. In the role of the mouse, strangely, it was not the same thing…
One of them, seeing this carnage, with the illumination flares let by the Bomber Command, especially while looking at those eerie bony growths on the sides of the head of Sarah, said something about demons and Hell, before falling on his knees. He suddenly recalled his background from a devout catholic family (conveniently forgotten during his "work" here and in others part of Occupied Europe) and began to pray to every saint he recalled to save him from this horrible death. Sickening hypocrisy and death bed conversion…Of course, it did not work. Since, after all, the Virgin Mary would have been, quite likely rather on the side of Sarah than his, granting that she had been actually able to intervene….Anyway, he was the next, and Sarah promptly ended his tirade, in a way that make the survivors turn white…
Sarah quickly finished the handful of remaining guards, keeping for her dessert the commanding officer. She was not in a hurry; she was now quite sure that nothing that the Nazis had in their arsenal could harm her. And she was already improving in deflection; at first, some bullets had been near misses, but now, she handled the projectiles much quicker, even when fired in large numbers. The officer emptied his handgun as she was walking slowly toward him. He was reloading when something made the handgun fly from his hand…
"I recognize you", she said after a little moment. "You were there during the experiences…I pleaded you (or maybe it was not him…Whatever. It was the idea that was important…) to either stop or kill me…What did you say? Something in the lines of "this is an order"? And this was when you or the others bothered to answer to me, which was not often the case…"
The man mumbled something…he was so terrorized that he was beyond speaking. Sarah understood only two things. The first one was rather amusing. He was proposing that he would let her go if she let him live…The second was that he offered to explain her some things about her. Again, not useful. That man knew nothing, moreover. And if she had kept him alive-for the moment-it was not for hearing things from him, but just…for talking.
She wanted to be sure that one of them understood what she felt…it would be soothing...He would not understand, and she would kill him anyway, but...This time, that man would listen to what she had to say. But he would never see her as an Human (Was she Human ? Sarah hoped that yes, in a sense. She would think to that later) Him and the others would always see her as either a kind of vermin just good enough to be worked out to the death in a factory or a sort of living weapon that could be used against their ennemies (Sarah felt that both reasons to not consider her Human were equally bad, as both were hurting her deeply….The difference was that that the living weapon part was true, judging by the events of the past half-hour...)
Sarah took an ammunition casing that was lying on the ground. She wondered how those soldiers could have captured her with ammo ? They probably had not think to that very deeply... The SS made a move for his sidearm, hoping that the attention of Sarah was drawed elsewhere...But she was quite aware of what he was doing...Grinning, Sarah pushed it away with her actual hands, just out of his reach….Before using...another thing...for snapping the wrist of the man...She did not let the screams of pain stop her...Doing that kind of things...it was wrong...she was sure of it, but why have pity for those monsters ? Did they ever showed even a hint of pity for her or her sister ? Why should she have pity now ? The only Human she had ever feelings for was her beloved little siste, and the Nazis had killed her mercilessly.
"Following orders is not so easy when the victim is not helpless, hmm ?" (Sarah said this in a conversation tone as she was seating herself next to the officer. He tried to rise...and screamed...his two legs had just been broke...How the heck that girl was doing that ? )
"You….are…truly…a…demon…said the man, the pain driving him mad...(He had the marked impression that the fourteen years old girl in front of him was the Death incarnated)"
"I'm probably one, yes", merely said Sarah. "And you are convinced that it's because of my origins. This is not the case, but you are going to die persuaded of it. (She heavily insisted on the word die…) But…you and the ones of your kind created me…the…demon…that you saw now. I…kept that thing under control, within me. I would have killed myself, or managed to deal with…this (Sarah was not sure of this, at all, for the second hypothesis. That...thing...was very persistant...And persuasive. But it was beyond doubt that those men had completely killed her resistance…She made an evasive motion toward her bony crests) I'm born with them, you know? My mother always hated me because of them…she thought I was an abomination. She was probably right…She should have killed me at birth, for sure (Sarah actually believed that. It would have been an end to her torments). At the hospital, I was lucky for the only time in my life…Someone said that this was merely a little problem of malformation, easily corrected by surgery. They did that…They removed them, but they did nothing for the real problem…I…always felt it inside me….It's when you captured me…that this truly awakened, as I…as I gave up resisting to it. I accepted it...(Her eyes took a particulary eerie look...) And they began to grow again (Sarah was not making reference only to her crests or bony growths...) I...hate that thing, what it done of me...But...this is making me different from what I was...My...mind...my soul are torn appart...But I'm no longer helpless..."
The officer had a proof of that quite fast. A reinforcement of regular soldiers were coming from the town-where their officers could pretend to ignore what was happening in the fortress. They arrived in two trucks, and disembarked, astonished by the scene...A strange girl, half-naked, that looked at them...And then, the Death came to them. One by one, they were maimed, killed, by...by what ? Nothing was visible, but this acted like a kind of scythe...Only one or two of them had the reflexs to shoot in the general direction of Sarah. Clean misses...
The whole scene had not lasted more than one minute...Truly, a living and invincible weapon.
Sarah came back to talk to her captive audience. She would have to hurry...He would not last much longer, with this bloodlooss...And she was running out of limbs to break or disable...
"I impressed you, hey ? Those skills...you were finding them amusing when you were torturing me...(Sarah noticed a pistol that a sergent had dropped...Dropped. The word was not exact. He had never let the gun felt. His hand was still around it. The only little problem was that the said hand was no longer connected with the body. She picked up the weapon, discarded the remains in a very casual manner, and pointed it toward the SS) I could do experiences like you did on me...Checking how many bullets you could take and survive. Seeing how many bones I can break in your body before your death...(The man then felt a sharp pressure on his chest, that increased and then was gone...) It's not as fun now, hmm ?"
"Why...are you doing this...Why...are you born ? What...the hell are you ?"
If Sarah avoided to answer to the questions about her existence, answering about the motivations was another thing. She thinked about it during two long years of suffering...
"You really wonder why I'm doing this ? It obvious, fool...For vengeance...Not just for me...I had a little sister. She was…not like me. She was normal. Human. She was only six, when we got arrested, after a coward sold us...I pleaded for pity, like some of you did minutes ago, but for her life, not mine...It did not work. The officer on duty slapped me, a "subhuman", that have dared to speak with him…. and ordered that she had been "dealed with". You know, the stupid euphemism you use, thinking that no one will be the wiser ? "Special Treatement". And him too probably considered that he was just doing his job. For him, Myriam was...nothing more than an harmful animal, that was not desserving to live, even as a slave...Because she was too young for work in those factories…Just because of that. You judged her useless, just good enough to be gazed, shooted, drowned, whatever...She was not useless for me...I liked her...I loved her...She was so nice, so kind, with everyone...I would have done anything for make her happier...(An hard task, since their lives since the start of the Occupation had been an endless night, even when they were free...She had managed to shield Myriam for the death of their parents, however, which was something she could be proud of...) When you came for arrest the two of us, she cried, she was frightened (Sarah had in tears in her eyes thinking to that…), she pleaded me for help her, and I could do nothing... I tried to support her by talking to her before we were separated, and some sadist kicked me for making me shut-up...And you were laughing at us, all of you…She had done you nothing, short of being alive. While you...you and your kind tortured me, butchered my people, killed my little sister. For this, for her...you will pay...All of you will pay...I had sweared to her that a day, the war would end, and that we could have a normal life somewhere...She believed me-
"She was stupid to believe a vermin such as you, spitted the officer to Sarah. (He had hoped to touch a sensible string. He had. Sarah looked at him with infinite hate...And he screamed in terror as he began to felt a incredibly heavy pressure on his remaining valid arm...There was a sickening sound soon after...The officer wondered what else Sarah could do to him ?)"
"We...will...win this war...You will not get out of here…You are just another weapon for us...
Sarah genuinely laughed, and pointed to the SS the devastation brought from the sky by the Allies...Even her knew that the war was lost for the Nazis. She had been captured two weeks after the Soviet Union great victory at Stalingrad, which have been a ray of hope for everyone in Occupied Europe..But when she had heard the guards chatting about the Red Army scoring victory after victory, about the destruction of Germany from Allied bombers, the landings in Sicily, Normandy and Provence, the Liberation of Paris and Rome, the uprising at Warsaw, all things hinting that the nightmare would soon end...she no longer cared. Myriam would never see the light. All her short life had been in fear and darkness...Judging by her state, Sarah had maybe done something to be forsaken...But not her sister. She had desserved better.
"No…I'm free, this night…I don't know what I will do with this freedom, but no Human is able of capturing me now…It's your kind that will be destroyed...crushed...(Sarah had suddenly an idea while saying this...She clenched her fist in front of the officer…And as she was doing this, to attract his attention, he began to feel like there a weight of several tons on his chest...When he was autopsied, some days later, the medic was completly puzzled, and wondered if the officer had not been hit by a train or an heavy tank, for being so crushed)"
There was now only one living being in the whole fortress, but it was probable that another reinforcement would arrive soon. The survivor did not intented to wait their arrival...
Sarah then realized that the Japanese major and his assistants were not here...She wondered if he had said about the isolation of the virus was true ? She would know soon enough. The voice within her was saying that she would have all the time she wanted for do this.
Before doing anything else, she had little things to settle, at what had been her home...