1944

Skull Island, the South Atlantic

Priest opened the door to the bunker which issued a creek. Orlando looked down the stairway lit by a flickering light that borrowed beyond. Irina had joined them, and at the moment assisted her husband in moving and setting up a Spandau gun on the edge of the perimeter.

"Alright, here's the plan." Said Orlando, "The next shift change is in less than forty minutes away, and the next radio check is in five. Sgt. Priest and I will infiltrate the bunker; take out the security officer, which should buy us some time. You two stay here and cover the bunker, we might have to make a retreat and if so, we'll have aggressive pursuers."

"I should come." Said Zsitsev, "I'm the better shot."

"We'll be in an enclosed space, and close quarters combat is the Sergeant's forte. Not to mention, there should be a surviving officer."

"Surviving officer? Captain-"

"Time is running out, men. Let's move."


"Surviving officer?" asked Priest with a smirk, descending down the stairs with a smirk and a submachine gun he'd seized from one of the soldiers outside the bunker.

"It's the Deutsch from here on out." Said Orlando is flawless German, "I'm well aware of the perils entailed by a multinational team of this sort. My superiors gave me the same orders they did you."

"Good to know."

"Which should preclude us from being civil toward them. They're our compatriots and allies and if I want to talk to them about Submarines then I bloody well will."

"Of course now we're completely at their mercy." Said Priest as he and Orlando reached the bottom.

"Quiet."

The two walked through a short corridor that lay beyond the stairwell, reaching a large, moderately lit room with one doorway that led to a long corridor, and next to that doorway was desk behind which sat a tired eyed Sergeant of his late thirties, scribbling in a notebook.

"What are you doing here?" said the German sergeant with a yawn.

"The Lieutenant said we could turn in." said Orlando. The German was obviously exhausted, bored and not in the least expecting cause for vigilance. By a stroke of luck, Orlando had some degree of similarity to one of the soldiers outside.

"He didn't radio me."

"Yeah, and the radio's broken." Said Priest, "That idiot Rutger dropped it against the wall."

"Rutger. I swear, if me and him were ever in battle and nobody was looking, I'd shoot him. You want to see this?"

The German raised the notebook, which depicted a picture he'd been drawing.

"It's the Russian bear, Uncle Sam and Lady Britannia. And they're having an orgy."

Orlando raised his hand that held a silenced pistol at his side and pulled the trigger, striking the German dead between the eyes. Without waiting for a command, Priest moved to straighten the dead German in his seat, position him so he looked like he was sleeping.

"He draws a nice picture." Said Priest as he glanced at the obscene illustration and then hid it, moving on to rapidly searching the desk, "Though the Russian bear, a bald eagle and the Albion lion would have been far more fitting thematically."

"Find anything?"

"There's some German newspapers. The dates correspond to when one Major Hellstrom might have gotten here after leaving Sachs in Casablanca. Shall I take the radio?"

"Leave it. Mine the body."

"This isn't just a bunker."

The two had walked through the corridor by the desk, reaching another that led on one side to a large mess hall fit to serve several scores, and on the others were stairs circling a large service elevator. Going down the stairs, they passed level after level, each time growing more certain of Orlando's statement. The first three were a barracks of sorts, with room for sixty soldiers on each.

"There must full company of them here." Said Priest discreetly, "We should've brought much more explosives."

"We must be very quiet once we get to the bottom. If we find Eisenhart or any scientists or guards and have to resort to lethal force, it's knives only. Otherwise we've got three floors of Waffen-SS to fight through."

"So you think this some science project going on here? A weapon's program, perhaps?"

"Certainly. You hear about all sorts of things the Germans are planning to use. Rocket-packs for literal Airborne infantry, demons…"

"Demons?"

"Something to do with a village in Scotland I heard. Supposedly your lot have a substantial involvement in it."

"Well, whatever this place is, security is quite lax."

The fourth level was seemingly also of living quarters, but much too spacious for foot soldiers. Eight doors lined the opposing side of a corridor that led from the staircase's landing.

The sixth floor, which had no others beneath it, was in contrast to the ones above it was far from asleep. Inside a massive hall that was beyond a doorway a dozen feet from where the two intruders were standing, a corner was lit and had a lone woman laboring at dissecting some strange animal on a counter.

Priest advanced at Orlando's silent command. He stalked quietly, not making a single sound, a highly sharpened combat dagger in one hand. Orlando checked his watch and took a look around, examining the facility.

Priest wrapped an arm around the woman and clasped her mouth with the other; lifting her and turning so she's face Orlando, who she could barely see by the dim light. She yelped and groaned for help, but the meaning of the cold blade of Priest's dagger on her throat was clear.

She was of her fifties with a small, bony frame. She had matted brown hair, and a jaw line that inspired a sense of cruelty.

"Are you prepared to die for the Fatherland?"

The woman nodded to the affirmative.

"Let me try that again," said Orlando, raising his silenced pistol and training it at her, speaking in English. "Would you like to die for the Fatherland?"

This time the woman nodded to the negative.

"You'll be quiet?" asked Orlando, and she nodded yes. Priest lowered her, and at Orlando's nod, he let go of her.

"You're …. You're Englishmen?" she asked in heavily accented English, "I'm just a scientist."

"Of course you are. What kind of scientist?"

"I'm a biologist."

"Are there any more of you?" asked Priest.

"A handful… Botanists, physicists… There used to be more."

"But not anymore? How come?"

"The high command have reported dissatisfaction with the results yielded thus far. We've only begun work five years ago. Military men, just concerned with their juvenile masculine-"

"What exactly have you been working on here?"

"We've been studying the island's… This island, you see…."

"We saw the dinosaur." Said Orlando, "And we haven't got all night."

"We've been studying the island's native fauna and animal population. Trying to find a way to harness them for use in the war effort."

"You were trying to weaponize fell beasts?"

"We were ordered to find a way. I'm a scientist, and this island is a treasure trove, rife with evolved life forms that have long been believed extinct elsewhere on the planet."

"If you say so. We're not here about that." Said Priest.

"A month ago a boy was brought here, one of your country's undesirables."

"You mean the Eisenhart boy?" asked the scientist.

"Yes."

"He was dead when he got here."

Orlando moved his arm to the right and pulled the trigger, sending a bullet into the animal on the counter's head, spraying the wall behind it with thick green fluid.

"I'll ask again." Said Orlando, "And no lies this time."

"I swear he was brought here by a man called Deiter Hellstrom he was dead already some accident on the boat coming in! His autopsy was performed by Schencker and he determined the boy was completely and utterly normal oh god please don't kill me!"

"What of his remains?"

"He was cremated. Oh god!"

"Calm down." Said Priest, "It does nobody any good you being this way. What about Schencker?"

"He was shortly recalled to Berlin."

"My, that's very convenient." said Orlando.

"It's god's truth!"

"Very few women are that unlucky." Said Priest, speaking in Russian.

"What?" the scientist said, not understanding Priest's statement.

"Captain. She's telling the truth." Said Priest.

"You can't know for certain."

"But I can tell better than any man alive. She could be a scientist loyal to the Nazi party trained by the Gestapo to withhold information, but that's very unlikely. We should kill her and leave; we're running out of time."

"I don't know what you are or why you're suddenly Russians, but I'm not lying." Said the panicked scientist, "I can prove it. "

"How?" asked Orlando.

"Schencker left in a hurry. He's left several of his papers behind that I boxed to be sent to him. It's over there. The autopsy report is in there."

Priest went to rifle through the indicated box.

"I can turn on the light."

"Shut up." Said Orlando as he kept his gun trained on her.

"He can find it faster if he can see what he's doing."

"Not another word."

"Found it." Said Priest, pulling out several sheets of paper held together by a paperclip.

"Autopsy report dated March 20th, 1944 by Dr. Otto Schencker. Deceased Max Eisenhardt, aged sixteen years old…. Skip to the middle… Dead due to blunt trauma consistent with an accidental fall… Further extensive examination of the subject's brain have revealed a complete lack of any anomaly or any unusual properties."

"Good enough for me." Said Orlando, and smacked the scientist out cold with a forceful whip from his gun.

"Bit disappointing." Said Priest, stuffing the report into his jacket as he followed Orlando back toward the stairs.

"It'll do. Whatever the boy was, he can't be of an advantage to us or the enemy any longer."

"Are all you R-A-F types this compassionate?"

"No. Some are right bastards. We better hurry up."

"We've got time."

"We do, but I want to get word to command incase they have further instructions about this place."

"They should bomb it all to hell."

"Their research could be of interest, though."

"Damn it." Said Priest in a whisper, "Someone's headed this way."

Orlando and Priest retreated into the darkness of the eight-door corridor. Orlando raised his pistol, prepared to fire as he heard the sound of footsteps descending down the spiral stairs. Very soon, the shadow of a crept down the steps. Orlando and Priest instinctively retreated as they noticed his pace slow down.

When they saw him, they knew he had to kill him. He was an officer, Orlando though, recognizing his steps. They didn't know where he'd come from, they just knew where he was going, to one of the sleeping quarters on that level, and he was bound to spot them.

Orlando's finger twitched on the trigger, prepared to pull as soon as he knew he'd had a shot. But before he could, something unexpected happened. A door on one side of the corridor opened, flooding the corridor with light and revealing the two intruders to the oncoming officer.

What followed was a blur. Orlando pulled the trigger, but the German officer was no trifle as he'd reacted as soon as his attackers were revealed. He moved out the way of Orlando's shot, and heard the fop of the silences pistol being fired, and instantaneously the whiz of the bullet as it traveled past his head.

He'd been at Passchendaele as a young soldier, the battle of Ebro in Spain a few years ago and was at the front lines during the invasion of Russia. He wasn't a man to be startled easily or caught unprepared, he was always armed, even when getting some sugar from the pantry for an early morning tea. Before he even recognized the sound of the bullet hitting the iron frame of the service elevator, he'd reached for his sidearm as he dropped to his knees.

Accustomed to thinking on his feat, Priest realized he had little part in what came next. He had his burp gun which would wake the SS Company and he had his knife that he couldn't throw fast enough, it was up to Orlando to maintain their cover.

He bolted to the newly opened door in which stood a sleepy eyed woman of forty who didn't quite yet grasp what went on in the corridor. Before she could scream or call for help, he'd struck her with the back his hand as he charged into the chamber, relieved to find no one, then turned around again to watch as Orlando and the German drew their weapon on each other.

Orlando fired again, and this time the bullet struck the officer above his eye. It had all took less than three seconds, not enough for the shell from his first shot to settle on the floor, and it was not yet over.

The German's sidearm was an American-made automatic, not really a rarity, and neither was the event of the gun going off as it hit the ground.

The gunshot boomed through the concrete walls on the underground facility, their plans of discrete reconiscense were blown all to hell.

With the common understanding usually found in old comrades, Priest tossed Orlando his burp gun and they made a dash for the stairs, running up them, hoping to reach the exit before every soldier woke up and picked up his weapon.

Priest swiftly ripped his jacket open, revealing his own uniform under it that had several grenades hanging from it. He took two and pulled out their pins with his teeth as he reached the above level, he already could hear confused curses blurted out in German and the clanking of rifles as they were prepared to go out and fight. He tossed both grenades into the barracks without breaking his stride before going on to the level above. They exploded in Orlando's wake as he tried to keep up with the much faster Priest. He'd repeated that action on the next floor, and this time Orlando felt his eardrums burst. They recovered almost instantly and completely, though the pain of it still hurt him. On the next level, the time for grenades was over as the soldiers had begun pouring out.

With nothing but a knife and an endless appetite for mayhem, Priest jumped into the fray with a roar. He knocked three soldiers to the floor on impact, and slashed the throats of everyone that came at him, one by one. It was a losing strategy, only achieving brief shock and awe before the soldiers learned to stand back and fire. Luckily for Priest, this was Orlando's cue to come in, spraying machine gun fire as he kept moving.

"Priest, you idiot! Come on!"


Next Chapter

The conclusion to Priest, Orlando and the Zaitsev's adventure of Skull Island, but not to this story.

R&R