Art and words of Josh Burns.

Soldier of Will – Part 3: The Man from Below

Bischof’s project the “Chisel of the Reich” utilized a strange black metal found inside a temple in the Harz mountains of Germany. A small amount of the metal was implanted into the frontal lobe of eight test subjects. These test subjects were hand-picked by Bischof for their ability to resist the negative effects of the metal. Bischof had personally experienced one of these effects when he became unfixed in time and traveled over a month into the future. The trip seemed to be instantaneous, but when he reachieved sync with this temporal plane he was close to death from starvation. It was at that moment when he realized the true power of the metal. The black metal allowed Bischof to subconsciously manifest a bowl of stew and a glass of milk to sustain him until he could get help.

By means of chemical sedation and hypnotic suggestion the eight test subjects were directed and controlled. In under a year they transformed the temple into a massive fortress and laboratory. But the Ahnenerbe scientist’s crowning achievement was coordinating the eight to manifest the mythical substance known as Vril. Despite the Chisel of the Reich’s resounding success, Bischof and the Ahnenerbe were ordered to focus their resources on the Vril. Hitler and members of the inner circle thought that harnessing the Vril could win them the war. The eight test subjects were kept in a chemically induced coma and periodically revived to produce more Vril. Bischof wished to continue experimenting and pushing the limits of the eight. But he was told again and again to focus on the Vril.

After the fall of Berlin the facility doubled in staff and all focus was on bringing Hitler’s disembodied essence back to one of the clone bodies that had been created in the Harz lab. After Heinrich Müller’s arrival at the facility, Bischof was ordered to use the eight and start production of a new army for the fuhrer to lead. During the 1948 Chisel of the Reich sessions he noted that test subject three, Aishe Hearn, had been waking up, She would be quickly sedated, but the strange behavior was of concern to Bischof. These were the first sessions where the eight were directed to create a living organism. The initial results were monstrous and would usually die or phase out of time and space, as though they were not rooted well enough in reality. After many sessions the creations refined and first soldiers were created. Müller had been working in parallel on his own mechanical soldiers and he and Bischof would often pit their creations against one another to test their abilities. By 1952 Bischof and Müller had created an army of which the world had never seen; Vril powered robots, Armoured zombie battalions and a raft of nightmare creatures created by the eight.

In the last of the Chisel of the Reich sessions subject three, again, awoke in mid session. Bischof was used to this and quickly grabbed a syringe to sedate her. But this time she sat up and looked right at Bischof as though she were fully lucid. “He is here” her voice cracked. Startled, Bischof swiftly injected her with the sedative and as she was falling back into a restful state he asked “Who is here?” Her eyes glazed over, she slurred “My savior… and he’s going to bring you to justice”. Something about the conviction in her voice was unsettling to Bischof, he took note and resolved to observe subject three more closely. That final session failed to manifest anything more than a pile of steaming flesh. Aishe Hearn had woken up during fifty-four sessions, Once for every coin she counted on the last day she saw her father. Each time she awoke she nurtured a thought of freedom and seeing her family and the outside. These fifty-four moments of longing rooted deep inside the lowest reaches of the facility, and in that final session her desire for freedom was manifested.

Inside the rock walls at the bottom of the subterranean Harz fortress a soldier awoke. As though the rock was vapor he stepped out of the solid mass. He was wearing standard issue British infantry fatigues. During the hypnotic sessions the eight were shown various enemy soldiers so they could implant the creatures with a predisposition against them. His memory was foggy, he didn’t remember how he had gotten there. Although the mission was clear, He was there to rescue the captive test subjects and bring their captors to justice. The Soldier started his ascent up the various maintenance ladders towards his objective. He was strong, even stronger than he appeared. The maintenance area of the fortress was snaked with piping and conduit. As he moved along one of the larger pipes the soldier lost his footing and fell down to a lower platform. In the commotion his service revolver came loose and fell to the platform below with a loud clang. He quickly hopped down to retrieve his firearm and was met by three guards. They shouted for him to freeze. The soldier placed his hands in the air and turn to face the guards. Upon seeing his uniform they opened fire with their MP-35 machine guns. The soldier, by instinct, placed his hand out to protect himself. Disbelief washed over the three guards, the soldier was unharmed, he too was in shock upon realizing he was not dead. He slowly lowered his hands, as they fell at his side a chain of expelled MP-35 rounds followed, floating in the air like in an invisible bandolier. In an instant the soldier comprehended what gift he had been bestowed, and with a whip-like swipe of his arm the bullets found their astonished owners. The racket from MP-35s had raised an alarm. The soldier reached towards his revolver on the mesh flooring. It slid along the metal grating and leaped into his hand, he returned it to its holster and picked up one of the MP-35s. Moving through the labyrinth of the facility he was met by another group of guards. Using telekinesis he silently dispatched the patrol with his knife. Eventually he made his way to the laboratory levels. The entire facility echoed with alarms, and other ungodly sounds. The Soldier had reached the area of the facility that housed the abominations the eight had created. He entered one of the holding pens, he could move quicker to his objective if he cut through the pen. The occupants howled and barked upon seeing the soldier. He glanced around the room, it was supported by meter wide concrete pillars. He stretched his arms out and closed his fists, the pillars on either side of him crumbled and two massive chunks of debris floated towards him. With the two massive chunks of concrete acting as extensions of his own arms he pummeled the nightmare creatures until none were left breathing. Finally he reached the room that housed the eight. The concrete fists that hovered beside him crumbled away as he approached the door. Once inside he removed the intravenous that kept the eight subdued. The test subjects started to wake up, but guards were closing in and they had to move. As Aische came to, she exclaimed “You came for us!” With a cocky grin he replied in German “Those are my orders are young lady.” Aishe had been in the facility for fourteen years but had not aged a day since the coin was implanted, her hair hadn’t even grown in where it was shaved for the surgery. The seven others were similarly affected, their muscles had not even atrophied. The group exited the room and made their way down the long corridor with the soldier taking point. The facility was now in chaos, portions of the subterranean structure had begun to shift and phase in and out of this plane of existence. Explosions rocked the walls and the howl of twisting metal filled the corridors They rushed towards a possible escape route. The group reached a maintenance hatch that appeared to lead to the outside. With a swift thrust of the soldier’s hand the hatch exploded off it’s hinges. Watching for danger he help the eight into the maintenance corridor. As the last entered an ominous whirring grew from behind a rock pillar, followed by a loud repetitive metallic thump. The soldier screamed for the eight to move and quickly rose, readying himself for whatever was coming. Aishe looked back down the maintenance corridor and out the hatchway, the soldier looked back once again and told them to get out while the still could. Her eyes widened as Müller in his robotic Vril armour came into view, The whirring was replaced by the deafening sound of his massive arm-mounted chain gun. The soldier deflected as many of the huge bullets as he could but was hit several times. He stumbled back, He felt his telekinetic ability weaken as he lost blood. He lifted himself to his feet, mustering any strength he had left and bolted towards the giant metal monstrosity. The soldier tackled Müller causing him to stagger backward, and then fall down to a lower platform. He then jumped down to meet the collapsed juggernaut, but before he landed was snatched from mid-air by the Müller’s robotic hand. The mechanized fingers squeezed the soldier’s ribcage until it cracked. through the incredible pain he tightened his arms around his torso and quickly threw his arms outward. The motion caused the robotic hand to first open, and then hyper-extend and shatter into pieces. Müller let out a scream of frustration as The soldier fell from his grasp. Müller got to his feet and approached the collapsed soldier. Before he could reach the soldier, the platform phased out of this existence and both fell deeper into the unstable fortress. They landed in one of the research labs. This lab had been used for research into a specialized Vril bomb. Müller had landed next to one of the prototype bombs. The soldier had landed on a crumbled wall and a large piece of reinforced metal support pierced his abdomen. “What do you plan to do now? You are beaten telekinetic.” Müller shouted at the soldier from across the crumbling lab. The soldier gathered the last of his strength and lifted his head to look at Müller. The soldier struggled to speak “Finish my mission.” His words were followed by the flick of his finger, and with that flick the timer on the experimental bomb began to count down from thirty. Müller screamed and struggled to escape, the leg of his suit was caught in the mechanics of a hydraulic hoist. Müller continued to struggle as the timer counted down. In desperation Müller exited his suit. The long exposure to Vril had corrupted his body and his arms and legs had become weak and shriveled. Müller screamed as he slowly dragged himself along the lab floor. The soldier lay calm as the timer ticked down, he let out a final breath as the timer reached zero and the Vril bomb exploded, incinerating the fortress.

As the eight beached the exterior hatch of the maintenance corridor the mountain shook. Aishe dropped to her knees. She felt the soldier die, tears welled in her eyes, one of the others grabbed her and quickly pulled her away from the hatch exit just as a ball of green fire burst out of the opening. Aishe was an orphan now. her father had been killed in the concentration camp after she was taken and the last of her tribe was either dead or scattered across Europe.

Bischof took Aishe’s declaration to heart and escaped through the lower passages of the mountain fortress before it collapsed. In his haste he left all of his research aside from his journal and the second set of eight Infinity coins that were manufactured.

After escaping the Harz mountains she started aging normally again. She eventually ended up in an orphanage in Frankfurt. At age eighteen she left Germany for the United States, where she attended university and studied theoretical physics in an attempt to account for any of the incredible things she had seen and done. Years later she would take part in a project to achieve a similar goal, unfortunately the project would eventually lead to the disappearances of eight individuals.

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