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The Soldier

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Chapter 1

"Nein!  Ich will nichts mehr davon hören! Ich erwarte jetzt Ergebnisse zu sehen. Ich habe dir 9 Monate Zeit gegeben, um Daten zu produzieren und wenn ich keine menschlichen Versuche innerhalb der Woche sehe, werde ich dir den Kopf abreißen und dir die Kehle runterschleudern," exclaimed Hitler's right hand man, Heinrich Himmler.  His background in Agronomy made him the most suitable person to carry out the Führer's special little project.  Biology, Chemistry, and Genetics are proving to be most necessary and Hitler himself recognized the need for someone with a strong scientific background to head up the "hundertfünfzehnste" protocol.  The scientists heading up the project have been trying to synthesize an element found in a meteor that fell into the heart of Nazi ruled Germany.  The radioactive nature of the element, that is not yet understood fully, has only a half-life of 0.8 seconds.  It seems relatively safe to work with but extremely delicate to develop.  Germany has been trying to fuse element 115 with element 42, Molybdenum.  Trace amounts of element 42 can be found in the body, but is of particular use to strengthening steel.  Its most influential use was in the "Big Bertha" German artillery.  The hope is that, by bonding this new element with Molybdenum, Germany can take the lead on the war and create a better and stronger soldier.  Coupled with Oxygen and Potassium enzymes, the thought is that the element will be stable enough to be injectable without the elements half-life ruining the product.  As of yet, the compound is stable, but the trials have not been started yet.

 

The protocol calls for a heavy number of test subjects.  The internment camps have yet to ship their first shipment and the Führer is becoming impatient.  It looks as if the scientists are going to have to improvise.  Human testing wasn't due to begin for another 6 weeks.  "Wir werden freiwillige Testpersonen finden müssen," said the lead scientist, Dr Straub.  "Wenn wir bald keine Ergebnisse erzielen, befürchte ich das Schlimmste für dieses Establishment."  The search for subjects turned to the enlisted men of the military.  It was not as voluntary as it was made to seem, more like voluntold.  When you have no rank, you only know to obey orders.  The first German soldier was relocated from France and was to be the first of many to become the next super soldier in the fight for superiority.  

 

His name was Friedrich Jäger, and he was a common German soldier with mediocre skills and abilities.  If the project went south, then the Third Reich would not be losing a valuable asset.  Friedrich was 22 years old and had never married.  His parents were killed years earlier in a vehicle crash on the newly constructed Reichsautobahnen, or Autobahn for short.  His family was wealthy and had left him enough money that he never had to worry about getting by.  With no ties to family, Germany ensures that no one will notice if he rejects treatment and dies during the injection process.  He is the perfect candidate.

 

The procedure is due to begin on Tuesday.  An early morning procedure has been scheduled in Lab 1 and staff have been notified.  Only those that "need to know" have been briefed on the test subject and the possible outcomes that could occur.  Best case scenario would be a self stabilization so that further tests can be run.  In the event of total failure, procedures have been placed for immediate disposal of the test subject.  If all goes well, Germany will have secured it place in history as a superpower and economic hub of the world.

 

 

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Chapter 2

The dawn has yet to come and the facility is already teeming with energy.  Friedrich awoke at 4 am and began the rigorous sterilization process so as to not contaminate the specimen.   It first began with a clean body shave and a steaming hot shower and a body scrub to ensure that there were no dead skin cells or hair on the body.  Afterwards, he was taken to a class 100000 clean room where he was dried by chemically treated oxygen and nitrogen.  Once clean, he was dressed in a microfiber body suit, complete with cap and booties.  From this point on, there will be no unauthorized contact with the test subject and proper safeguard measures will be utilized going further.

 

At exactly 7:30, a glass sliding door opened up and Friedrich was instructed to proceed down the hall.  The hall was layered with two-way mirrored glass down the length.  Observation of the test subject is extremely important.  At the end of the hall of glass, he is ushered into a small ultraviolet holding room and is blasted by ultraviolet light for a brief amount of time as a precaution.  So much is riding on this test for anything to be left to chance.  Once on the other side of the sterilization unit, Friedrich turns left, down another mirrored but smaller hallway, and approaches a stainless steel door, void of any markings or adornments of any kind.  For the sake of sterility, it is just a plain faced door that has no handle or window.  Beyond this door is Lab 1, or at least that is what it reads on the placard to the right of the door.  Before Friedrich can finish reading the placard, the door opens and an air curtain blows down the same treated air mixture from earlier.  Friedrich walks through.

 

This is where Fredrich is met by three men, all bio-hazardly suited up in the traditional white lab jumpers and helmets with their own oxygen supply.  He is led to a simple gurney and is strapped down.  Probably for the best.  It is right in this moment that his love for his country falters and he begins to fear the procedure at hand.  Never had he ever felt so vulnerable and helpless.  The leather straps remind him of cold dead skin and the stainless steel under him was as forgiving as a knife.  Dread was a good way to put it, as if you would have expected anything else.

 

The hustling about the lab had begun and the three scientists were working diligently to finish the prep work required for the procedure.  Never at any time did anyone ever refer to the procedure as an "experiment."  To keep visuals on the up and up, the scientists took a more scientific approach and defined it as a science based actuality that was fool proof and backed by truth and facts, when really, it was all a shot in the dark.  Be that as it may, they were required to show results and that is exactly what today was going to do.  Whether or not the soldier dies is irrelevant.  One way or the other, there will be data gained by the procedure.

 

Dr. Straub secured an injector and walked over to the cold storage to gain a sample of the serum.  As he was doing this, the other two men were prepping Fredrichs skin and running a fluid IV in the other arm.  Because of the sensitive nature of the serum, it must be injected directly into muscle fibers.  The arm's triceps are a particularly good candidate for injections.  The patient need not to get up and walk around to flex and work the muscle.  All that can be accomplished while being strapped to the gurney.  A few minutes later, Dr. Straub reemerges with the sample in hand.

 

The injection is to be conducted at exactly 9:00 am.  There is only a short amount of time that the sample can be away from cold storage before the isotopes fail and decay begins.  It is thirty seconds and counting from injection.  The countdown clock on the wall to Friedrich left is a visual reminder of the dread and uncertainty that he is feeling, ever growing with every tick.  The tension in the room can be felt to the touch, heavy and cold as a mass of weighted steel on your chest.  Even though you cannot see through the mirrored windows that line the north end of the lab, you just know that someone important is watching and waiting.  Waiting for what?  Success?  Failure?  The inevitability is but 10 seconds away.  Friedrich takes a deep breath and contemplates his future as the clock ticks to 3 seconds out.  There is only time for one last thought.  He doesn't think of family or friends.  The last thought on Friedrichs mind is.....

 

Just like that, the ordeal is over.  The injection is in and the testing begins.  Friedrich does not feel anything but the sharp sting of the auto-injector and its needle.  There is no immediate gasp of air or gripping death struggle.  Everything seems to be going as planned.  Straub and the other two men are scurrying about reading vitals and checking pupil dilation.  For all intents and purposes, the procedure was a success.  The rest of the day, Friedrich was monitored and not allowed to move from the gurney.  The stability of 115 was proving to be strong enough to survive any antibodies that body might have.  It was around 4:15 p.m. when the decision to call the day was made.  Friedrich was led to a medical observation room where he would endure a full battery of tests.  The scientists scrubbed out and decontaminated themselves.  The first day proved to be a successful one and they each looked at the other and surmised that everything was going well.  The next steps will be the exciting part.  For country and Führer, they have done some remarkable work here.  There is no doubt in there mind that they have made history.

 

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Chapter 3

The first day of testing is under way and everything is looking great.  It has been noted that the test subjects stamina on the treadmill has increased slightly over the course of the test and that is a very promising sign of positive progress.  The test subject has a moderate heart rate and there does not seem to be any additional signs of stress on the respiratory and vascular system. The O2 levels are normal and body temperature is stable throughout the test.  For the first test, the subject has performed well beyond any and all expectations that the group has had.  Still, Dr. Straub is hesitant to report any findings as of yet.  There is still a possibility that the subjects immune system will reject the treatment and induce an allergic reaction.

 

As the day goes forward, the data continues to roll in.  Scientists are pouring over every minute detail and documenting everything.  The subsequent stress tests, the echocardiogram and the nuclear tests, have provided invaluable data on how the subjects heart is responding to the chemical.  Naturally, being in the German Military, the subjects overall fitness was above average to begin with so it came as no surprise that he would excel in the physical demands of stress testing.  The real question is, are the data points garnered from the test an accurate indication of increased performance or is the subject just outperforming his usual routine.  Only time will tell, and Straub is not in the habit of rushing to conclusions only to have to walk them back later.  After all,  the reason he was chosen for this patriotic task was because the Führer trusted and respected his judgement and expertise.

 

Around 1:15, during the blood draw to check saturation levels, the subject recalled an increase in motivation and energy.  This could be the effects of the testing and have been noted in the log.  The blood samples are sent to the lab for analysis in unmarked vials so that the integrity of the tests be kept classified.  There are contingencies in place and protocols to ensure that the samples are never left unsupervised.  The lab technicians need not know what they are test, just that they are running routine blood panels to look for contaminates in the sample.  Besides, they are not qualified to read any of the samples so the risk for data breach and leaks are almost non-existent.  The samples come back clean.  There are trace amounts of 115 in the blood and are consistent throughout the tests indicating that the subjects immune system is accepting the dosage.  By days end, the first battery of test all look promising.  The group, along with Dr. Straub, are all feeling accomplished despite being so early in the process.  An air of confidence fills the group as they close out the day and they just can't help but smile at one another on the way out the security gates.

 

On the drive home, Straub contemplates the days ahead and thinks to himself how beneficial this could be, not only to him but to his country as well.  If only they knew the great lengths Hitler is going through to secure a vibrant future for them.  "Ich frage mich, ob es ihnen überhaupt etwas ausmachen würde", he wondered.  Times seem to be dim these days, with war and sacrifices being made everyday, it is likely that any development would be diminished by the ever growing dismay that the country seems to be feeling.  As he pulls into the driveway of his military housing, he takes a look in the rear view mirror and asks himself whether or not all these years are worth the fact that he still lives alone and has no family to pass on the legacy that he is about to leave.  He turns the car off and exits as he grabs his briefcase from the passenger seat.  Work is never done.  For the next four hours, he will be analyzing and studying every data and log entry trying to find a single anomaly.  This will be the new normal for the weeks to come.  At the end of the night, Dr. Straub will sleep but will still be haunted by fears of failure in his dreams.  There is no escape from his reality and in the morning, he will do it all over again like a well oiled machine.

 

Over the course of the week, the subject has shown consistent improvement.  The weekly data, sent to the top government officials, show growth in all areas in the subjects physiology but has lacked in cognitive advancement.  That is probably for the best.  The Führer is probably fine with having strong soldiers that have no capacity for individual thought.  The end of week one could not have gone any better.  After three solid weeks of results, the subject has seemed to peak.  Blood saturation levels are steady and all physical attributes are measured out to be a roughly 95% increase from the baseline that was established days before the test.  Since there is a rush for production, the first internment camp shipment is due to be shipped within the next few months.  The subject is now free to move about the facility in designated areas and any risk of contamination is at a low.  Subsequent blood tests on involved staff are negative of any element and it is considered to be a non-contagion substance.  The need for PPE is unnecessary and the level of security has been lowered by one degree.  For all intents and purposes, Germany has engineered a super soldier and is poised to become the next world superpower.  

 

 

 

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Chapter 4

"Mr. President, I think that you may want to take a look at this," said the Defense Secretary, in a hushed and low voice.  The meeting with the Speaker of the House about tax reform was going to have to be rescheduled.  The President politely excused himself, promising to reconvene at a later date.  "What is it Bret?"  The President and the Secretary have been on a first name basis since their attendance back in West Point.  "There seems to be some increased activity as of late in Germany's north eastern area's, especially near Berlin.  Intelligence suggests that the Third Reich is developing some form of chemical weapon."  This perked the President up a bit as they walked back to the Oval Office.  "Chemical weapons, huh," replied the President, "that is not a new development.  What is all the rush and secrecy for?"  The Defense Secretary took one look at the President and exclaimed, "Frank, you should probably just see for your self."

 

The manila folder was just as plain as the day it was made.  No markings anywhere gave no clue that the contents inside where of the highest classification and clearance.  As a break from every protocol and rule in the department, this information was meant to be "off the books" because of it's sensitive nature.  As it turns out, America has had informants and agents in Germany since before the 1932 election.  It was a good thing too, because after the Hindenburg incident, the Reichstag Fire Decree began, nullifing civil liberties and paving the way to dictatorship.  Inside the folder were two documents.  The first one was a photograph of a particularly nondescript building with a full parking lot and a heavy security presence.   The second was a hand written paragraph just barely legible, almost as if it were written in a hurry or under a lot of stress.  The letter read:

11021941 

The compound has come to life in the last couple of weeks.  I have noticed more than usual traffic in and out of the facility.  An informant on the inside has confided that there is security measures for the far east wing of the building.  Only few enter and even fewer seem to leave.  Dr. Peter Straub has been seen entering and leaving the compound regularly and the source claims that he is also in and out of the restricted area.  Recent events are notable.  Last Friday, Heinrich Himmler was seen entering the building.  He stayed four hours and left.  NF

 

"Peter Straub?  What does Himmler want with Straub," the President asked.  "He is nothing but an SS concentration camp officer."  The Defense Secretary responded, "that is what we had thought initially as well.  Why Himmler needs an SS officer is beyond me.  He doesn't have any chemical background.  It just does not make sense."  As they both continue to converse, an aid walks in and hands the President the daily briefing documents.  A sort of hush filled the air until she was gone.  "I want to know everything there is to know on this Peter Straub.  The more we find out about him, the sooner we can see the bigger picture.  I want up to date intel as you get it, and Bret," the president asks in a hushed tone, "keep this thing under your belt.  I don't need anymore surprises."  "Not a problem Frank," replied the Secretary,"you just stay on message and I assure you that your legacy will be intact."

 

As the Defense secretary turns and leaves, the President adds one final thought.  "Oh, and Bret, make sure you tell Kelly that I am sorry to hear about her mother."  The Secretary nodded and out he walked.  Spinning around in his chair and looking out the grand windows before him, The President of the United States pondered whether or not they should begin talking about intervening in the war.  He will bring it up the next time they meet.  As for now, the only thing else on his mind is that Thanksgiving Turkey and Gravy.

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Chapter 5

It is close to the holiday season, and what better way to celebrate it than the activation of the "hundertfünfzehnste" protocol.  The time has come for field test to commence, and the top brass are teeming with excitement.   The time-frame between initial injection and field testing is shorter than expected, greatly boosting the moral and optimism of the higher command.  The first assignment will be the big test.  Germany has just declared war on the United States of America after they entered the war due to Japan and the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Hitler has now assumed full control of the German military and requests that Friedrich be placed in a key fighting position near the now stagnate Russian push.  They need to push harder on the east so that they can finish taking control before the United States starts attacking from the west.  After the German army abandoned the attack on Moscow, a move Hitler never approved of, the fight in the east has become a topic for concern.  The first stop on his way to the Russian front is Crimea.

 

There have been attempts made by the Red Army to take back Crimea since its take over by the Germans on November 16th, 1941.  This is a good proving ground for their new secret weapon.  Friedrich reports to the German 11th Army and begins his fight in some of the bloodiest battles the eastern front had seen.  The introduction of the railway gun "Schwerer Gustav" and an increase in military fortifications would insure that this eastern-front conflict in Crimea would be handled properly.

 

The Commander in Crimea is Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, and Friedrich was instructed to report directly to him.  Richthofen's first name literally translates to Tungsten, better known as a Chemical Agent.  He lived up to this name and did so in vicious fashion.  It was not uncommon for Richthofen to release chemical agents onto the battlefield, even if German soldiers were still in the combat zone.  The justification?  Any and everything possible to keep the Soviets from retaking a vital peninsula.  It is here that Friedrich would be put to best use and his true potential will be a stepping stone achievement for the war to come.

 

Upon Friedrichs arrival, there was no time wasted getting him to the front lines and it was not long after that when the positive results started rolling in.  It wasn't long before whispers and rumors began flying around the war torn land of a man with extraordinary feats and achievements.  In just a few short weeks, Friedrich had amassed more time and effort on the battlefield than any other soldier by a large margin.  He seemed to be an unstoppable machine, with endurance for days and a hunger that seems to be insatiable to say the least.  The recent events have caused an increased push by the east.  Russian strategists have taken notice of the recent events where increased numbers of casualties and losses seem to have plague the Red Army.  The latest attempt on Crimea will prove to be a change in the direction of the war.  Just not in a way that anyone expects.

 

The push from Feodosia to Kerch is an attempt to push the Red Army out of the eastern entrance to Crimea.  With Richthofen in command, all of the Third Reich's finest military combatants were on the front lines, fighting for topographical superiority.  The push back from Russian soldiers seem to pick up and strengthen in the peninsula's most dangerous choke point and a unique tactic must be deployed to give Germany an edge.  In Richthofen fashion, a chemical nerve agent was used throughout the battlefield, decimating the enemy forces as well as a few allied battalions.  Friedrich was caught in the middle, continuing to fight, and the order to fall back was given.  Friedrich made one final push on an encampment that was just over a hill 200 yards to the left with a small battery of soldiers, unaware of the recent pull back.  The strategic planning and execution was perfect, right up until the gas dropped down upon them.  Chemical nerve agent engulfed and surrounded the small camp of Russian fighters and caught the German outpost off guard.  They were quick to don their chemical gas masks but the damage had been done.

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Chapter 6

It takes Friedrich five days to reach allied forces.  Weak, and to the point of total exhaustion, he all but dies into the first German soldier's arms he sees.  The last remaining thoughts were those of his comrades succumbing to the nerve gas that was drop right on top of them.  He is not sure, but he attributes his new found chemical superpowers to the reason he is still living today.  As he finally rests his eyes, his body releases and falls limp and just like that, Friedrich can finally sleep.

 

He wakes up, two days later, in a military hospital just outside the front lines.  Waiting for him were two men.  The first is Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofen, obviously there to congratulate him on his resilience and determination.  After all, he was the one to give the final order for the deployment of the nerve gas and it intrigued him that a man could escape the effects and survive.  His presence also meant that he was taking a genuine interest in the soldier and wanted to be a part of his debriefing.  Not exactly normal operations, but in this case, there would definitely be an exception.

 

The other person in the room was none other than Dr. Peter Staub.  It was exciting to see their test subject so durable.  Itching to run tests and crunch data, it was time to take Friedrich out of Crimea and back to the homeland.  They are scheduled to leave no later than 3 p.m.  The briefing took about an hour, and Friedrich's account of what had happened was detailed enough that Peter Straub gave an eerie glance over to Richthofen at least twice.  Obviously, gassing his test subject is proving to be a sore spot with Straub.  However, Straub concludes that if it had not happened in the first place, there would be no new data to gain so for now, he bites his tongue.

 

When it came time to leave, Friedrich was ushered to the flight line in a wheelchair.  Still weak from the ordeal, he has not quite gotten his strength back and required it to traverse any extensive amount of distance that did not involve a handle rail of some kind.  Him and Straub boarded the helicopter.  The flight will take about 5 and a half hours, and duridng it, Straub has a full compliment of questions that he wants answered.  Everything from stool regularity to meals he ate in the last three weeks.  He wanted to know every little detail so that when the data is analyzed, every variable can be accounted for.  You know German doctors are extremely anal about having all the information that they can possibly get their hands on.

 

Friedrich coughs loudly a few times during the interrogation, or at least that is how it seemed, and felt the need to clear his throat more than once.  Still feeling foggy, Friedrich wondered when the haze would finally lift.  He doesn't mention this haze to the doctor, partly because the doctor doesn't ask and he just assumes that the hazy fog in his head is due to the nerve agent leaving his body.  It was normal, right?  He will be back to killing Russians in now time.  No doubt that he would return to full strength in a few days.  The helicopter lands at the facility and a team is awaiting, eager to get the subject back into the lab.  It is very exciting to have the opportunity to conduct some real genuine scientific breakthroughs.  The facility could not be more abuzz.  

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Chapter 7

It is day three, and the subject is still experiencing all the telltale signs of nerve gas poisoning.  The copious amounts of nasal discharge and increased heart rate are being monitored closely.  The subject is complaining of frequent headaches and has not been to ambulatory lately.  It is a surprise that he is still alive.  Just yesterday, it was noted that a spike in core body temperature rose to 104 F. and remained there for about an hour.  There is no telling how long the subject will continue to experience these effects.  It all depends on just how much exposure there was, and how the body has determined to deal with the chemical agent.

 

The lunch meal came, and an untouched breakfast tray was removed from the room.  There is little contact with the subject to save from the possibility of upper respiratory infection.  Taking every precaution is necessary because they are in a medical unknown at the moment.  Blood tests have been ordered to ensure that his levels of saturation still remain at normal operating levels.  It would be a devastating tragedy if they were to lose their work and research on the whim of a mad SS Officer.  The decision to use chemical agents in the field is not an uncommon practice, but the blatant disregard for the lives of German soldiers must be investigated.

 

At about 1 o'clock, just after the lunch hour ended, the charge nurse arrives with the blood collection kit.  As she preps the patients arm with alcohol swabs, she notices a bit of translucence in the skin.  Finding the vein was not a problem and the draw was complete.  She takes the rubber band of his arm and there is an immediate bruising noticed around the bicep.  She annotates the bruising and leaves with the samples.  In her mind, it does not look promising.

 

Dr. Straub makes his daily visit to the subject and becomes concerned that they may be losing the patient.  His eyes remain blood shot and his motor functions are slow and labored.  He looks over the log of vitals and begins to think of the possibility of scraping the project.  A fresh start may be needed.  The data suggests that the nerve agent may have been to much for the subjects body to combat against.  Either way, data is data and results are results.  It is probably a good thing in a way, now they know that there is an invulnerability and their search for a perfect super soldier will have to be tweaked.  It is possible to engineer certain resistances to outside interferences.  The next iteration of soldier will have this taken into account.  It wasn't long after Dr. Straub left that announcement chimed over the overhead speakers.  "Code Blue" in patient room one.  Straub, sitting at his desk, hangs his head a bit in defeat and vows to improve on this recent loss.  He pulls the file and updates the findings.  "DECEASED."

 

The disposal process of the subject is a simple one.  The subject will be wheeled down to the incinerator and burned.  It is clean and effective and the risk of any possible cross-contamination from the body's secretions are non-existent.  For the time being, the subject is zipped up into a black cadaver bag and stored in the refrigerator down in the basement.  The incinerator is fired up twice a week and it will not be until tomorrow before the waste will be disposed of.  In a matter of days, all data and information on the failed test will be cleansed from the record and a new trial will be rescheduled.  There can be no evidence of failure, even if it did produce positive results.

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Chapter 8

The facility is abuzz, with workers cleaning labs and rooms and scientists pouring over the documents that are set to be destroyed.  There are probably more people in the facility this day than there has been in quite a long time.  It takes a lot of work to sterilize the facility to ensure that nothing contaminates the procedures that goes on inside.  For the working class, it is just another day of sanitizing but for the scientists, it is a cold reminder of just how close they were to success.  All the time spent accounting for every detail and dotting every I, how could they have overlooked something so easily rectified?  The point is a moot one.  Next time, there will be no drawbacks.

 

The incinerator operator passes through the security check point and waves at the cute secretary behind the desk.  After a little chit-chat with a few other colleges, he heads down a hallway to a large steel door.  There are no fancy locks or mechanisms attached, simply the door.  It has a handle on the left side and slides on a track suspended from the top of the jam.  There are no windows on this door and there is a simple latch that keeps the door closed from the inside, yet it is never used.  In an facility of the utmost security, this door is an oddity.  After all, who in their right mind would want anything to do with the trash.

 

Now, the refrigerated holding room is a different story.  It comes with the standard padlock that most freezer/refrigerators come with.  The safety mechanism on the inside remains intact on the off chance of an accidental lock-in.  The incinerator operator unlocks the pad lock and steps inside to inventory the days waste that is due for disposal.  He notices the body bag and wonders about its contents.  Not exactly "in the know," there is still little that escapes his notice.  If you want to find out something about someone or some place, you look in their garbage.  Everything that is anything can be found in the unwanted refuse, left behind to forget.

 

There are other things slated to be disposed of for the day.  the operator checks over all of the contents of the fridge, looking back at the body bag every so often.  He leaves the fridge and steps over to the dry storage to inspect the waste there that is due to be incinerated.  His curiosity has always been a weak point for him.  He wraps up his "inspection" and heads to the control panel for the incinerator and fires it up.  The dry waste will be burned first.  It gives the incinerator time to heat up and aides it by serving as fuel.  It is the refrigerated waste that proves to be difficult to dispose of sometimes.  You learn these little tricks, only by doing the job and he has been operating this incinerator for the better part of nine years.  His tenure has seen some serious things come and serious things go.  There isn't much that surprises him anymore.

 

The operator, finished with the dry storage disposal process, heads back to the refrigerated storage and opens the door.  As he steps inside, the body bag grabs his attention once more.  His curiosity is eating at him.  He walks over to the bag and begins to unzip it.  The fowl odor that emits is enough to make one's stomach eat itself.  He takes a step back to gain his senses back and reaches for a cotton mask to help with the smell.  He unzips the bag down to about halfway.  He grabs both sides of the zipper and slowly pulls the bag open.  What lays before him is grotesque and unnerving.  It is a body, but not just any body.  It looks as if it has been laying around for quite some time.  The decay suggests that this body has been expired for some time.  Rib bones can be seen in spots and the flesh is dark and scabby.  After all the time spent in this incinerator room, this probably takes the cake on weirdest shit seen.  He turns his attention to the cart next to him.  He has decided to wait on disposing of the body until all other matter has been incinerated.  He knows that it may take an extended amount of time and heat to burn the bones.  He will wait till after lunch to do the dirtiest work for the day.

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Chapter 9

At about 1 o'clock, he opens the refrigerator door and wheels out the body bag.  By now, all other material has made it into the incinerator and it is as hot as it can get.  He was sure to turn the heat up right before he went to lunch.  The incinerator room is a balmy 98 degrees, or at least that is what the analog thermometer reads up on the wall, give or take a degree.  The operator takes of his uniform jacket, due to the heat and hangs it up on a place hook located next to the incinerator.  The operator then heads to the washroom and washes his hands and splashes water on his face.  As he looks in the mirror, he hears a faint noise.  He grabs four paper towels out of the dispenser and dries his face.  He exits the bathroom, with the door swinging outward, and looks to his right, towards the dry storage area.  Leaving the bathroom door open, puzzled and curious, he enters the dry storage area to inspect where the faint noise had come from.  Everything seemed to be in order.  He heads back towards the incinerator room and hears it again.  He turns the corner and reaches for the bathroom door and eases it shut.

 

"Ah, da bist Du!" exclaimed a German scientist.  "Wir brauchen dich, um eins zu machen und noch mehr Müll zu sammeln."  A bit startled, the operator catches his breath and replies, "Ich bin gleich da."  He locks the refrigerator door and reaches up for his jacket and then puts it back on.  He exits the incinerator room and heads to the lab to gather the waste.  There is one thing for sure, this job has a never ending amount of waste, especially during the burn days.  Job security never looked so good.

 

The lab only had shredded documents and used syringes and other medical waste.  They could have brought this stuff down on the cart it was stored on with no problem, but who is he to stir the pot.  Besides, the walk over was an enjoyable one since it is not often that he gets to wander around the facility and converse with whomever may be walking by.  He wheels the cart down to his dungeon and and offloads the material into the incinerator.  He turns back to the door, with the cart in hand and proceeds back up to the lab so he can return the cart.

 

On his way back down, he runs into a colleague that he used to work with years prior.  The facility is so big, he hadn't the slightest clue that he worked here.  I guess it was not that uncommon.  His friend worked on the opposite side of the facility and rarely came over towards the labs.  They catch up a bit and end with promises to get together outside of work to properly catch up on the years that had been forgotten.  They part ways, and the incinerator operator continues back down to the incinerator room.  Once there, he grabs the handle and pulls the door open.  He steps in, looking at the incinerator, and begins to take off his jacket.  No sooner did he get the jacket off, he is shoved to the ground by a force that he had never felt before.  Stunned, and a bit disoriented, he looks up and behind him and sees the impossible lumbering towards him.  It's the body on the stretcher!  Lost for words and scrambling to his feet, he slips and struggles to get away.  The corpse lumbers forward, steady and determined, and lunges at the operator.  Luckily, the operator gets to his feet, but the door to exit is blocked.  The only avenue open to him is the dry storage area.  He runs into the storage area, which has plenty of space to maneuver, and begins hyperventilating at the fact that this creature is even possible.

 

The dead entity comes lumbering around the corner.  Its gate is slow and labored.  Swaying from sided to side, and limping , the corpse draws closer.  The operator begins to make his move.  He dashes to the right and attempts to get around the corpse.  As he dodges the corpse and makes his way around and out, a shrilling sound came from the corpse.  To concerned with getting to safety, the operator does not look back.  He reaches the heavy reinforced door and grabs the handle.  What he doesn't know is that shrill was followed by a wild dash of rotting flesh and bones, heading straight for him.  He turns and looks as he begins to open the door and realizes that it is too late.  Within a second or two, the corpse was on top of him, clawing and biting its way through the operators flesh.  It was not an easy way to die.  Being eaten alive allows for the victim to feel every bite and scratch until the end.  Laying on the floor, in a pool of blood and rotting flesh, the "Zombie" squats and enjoys the rest of its meal.  Its hunger is insatiable.

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