…if you are reading this, then I hope you are in a better state than I am.
There are moments of clarity, moments when I remember, know who I am, and during those flashes I will try to record what I can about my story and situation.
My name is Max, Max Rohr. I was, well I guess still am to some extent, a member of the United States Army. Serial T-235083.
It all started in the summer of ‘47, I’d finished my pilot training and was expecting to transition to a unit where we’d be able to put that training to use. The Sabre had just finished it’s test flights and I hoped to get behind the stick of the newest jet fighter on the planet. Instead of being assigned to a combat unit, I was instead requisitioned by an experimental group attached to the newly formed Department of Defense. My routine quickly became one of simulations and test flights of all manner of odd and even outdated craft. Evidently I’d inherited the position of test pilot for every project that Hitler had on the table when we stormed into Berlin. I’ll admit some of those babies we downright fun to take up… anyway. How I ended up here. I was supposed to be running a routine test of a special rocket powered prototype, we were up in a cold weather base out of Alaska where things would be less noticed and hopefully under the radar. Everything was going smoothly, takeoff was good, skies were relatively clear, it every looked like the colder temperatures were keeping the nagging heat issues under control. Then it happened. I can’t explain how, but it felt like the rocket was slowly losing power, as if it were lacking fuel, I goose the supply but it shuddered and began to nose downward. As I scrambled through the steps of the emergency protocol there was only static from my communication gear. It was then that I knew my time was up. The freezing waters of the Bearing Sea would lead to my death even if I managed to eject without being killed. As the icy water grew closer and closer in the windscreen I came to a sudden realization, the craft was slowing, not gaining momentum, as it plummeted back to earth. Terrifying as death may have seemed, this unexplained phenomenon caused even more fear, because I knew that my own country, and our military, would never have expected or planned for such a situation. As much as I feared death, there was one thing I feared even more; capture at the hands of the Reds…
I’d been in the cell for what seemed like eternity, but judging from the passage of light outside it hadn’t been more than a few months. It had been mostly dark through that time though, so between the lack of sunshine and proper lighting in the prison it was hard to be sure of the date.
Back to how I ended up here… after my craft came to rest on the sea… I saw him, flying. I knew that they existed, knew that our own Legacy was one, I guess I never really contemplated the fact that there could be a Commie Crusader. Anyway, he dragged me out of the craft and off we went… After a few minutes there was a flash of something from the direction we had departed. My country would probably never realize what had happened to me. After several round of debriefing and interrogation from uniformed ruskies, I was transferred to a new facility, wherever that may be. We rode in a train car, no light, it seemed like the ride took several hours. As we entered it was cold, with snow on the ground as far as the eye could see. The prison was dark and imposing the kind of thing that looked like it would have belonged in some dark fairy tale. At first there were several other American prisoners, but slowly over time they began to separate us from each other more and more. I was lucky to see another human face over the course of a week, most of my time was spent on the mattress that took up most of my cell floor. Meals came sporadically, but were always guaranteed to be a nauseating mixture of inedible and disgusting. The beatings from the guards stopped at about the same time as regular meals, so I guess that was something to be thankful for.
Cold. Dark. Winter?
I don’t remember the Geneva Convention Article covering prisoners of war being used to test medical experiments, guess I must have missed it. Maybe that section didn’t get translated into Russian.
They let me out of the cell, I thought to see if my condition had worsened, I thought I was about to die, I could barely stand and my mind had gone to wandering after so much time inside that cell. I’d intended to keep a log of time, but it was too hard, too much darkness, couldn’t tell what was going on.
The straps on the chair were like something from a sickening laboratory, broad and leather. I knew as soon as they sat me down that this wasn’t just a checkup. A bevy of masked and lab coated people flocked around me with with childlike curiosity, if children were all sadists with needles and scalpels. Then came the moment that clarified everything for me, a tall IV tower was wheeled into the room, with several colored bags of fluid attached to its outstretched arms. No, it wasn’t anesthetic, as the IV was placed into my arm and the fluid began to flow with it came a horrifying burning sensation, much like when you swallow something much to hot, and it scalds your innards. Except this burning flowed throughout the veins of my body, and there was nothing I could do to put out the fire. At that point that crowd of enthusiastic doctors went to work, I’d seen professional butchers growing up that had less skill at opening up a carcass than the people that were doing the work on me. It was one of the most sickening feelings, watching as someone opened up your chest and poked around inside you, all while you watched and writhed in pain, somehow unable to fall into unconsciousness.
I thought surely they’d kill me.
But they didn’t.
Finally came the chamber, a steel and glass monstrosity that was carted into the room, two massive cranks lifted the lid, revealing a bed of needles of several lengths, my screams and thrashing struggles were of no avail as leather gloved and apron orderlies lowered me into that demonic creation and lowered the lid.
I can’t explain the pain, or the thoughts, I just know that i was immobilized, and in constant pain.
Finally the hiss of escaping gasses brought me back to reality, if this was reality. The orderlies pulled my limp body out of the chamber and strapped me back into the chair. I heard rapid russian being spoken outside the doorway, and soon a very irate doctor rushed into the room. He began to ispects the damages and the toll that this barrage of “treatments” had left on me, as he poked and prodded I felt myself finally slipping, slipping away from this horror, as darkness shrouded my sight and my mind slowly drifted into darkness all i could think was, thank God.
Warm, it was warm, and wet? Something wet was dripping onto my body, i tried to move my limbs, but found them bound; spread eagled on some warm rough surface and I couldn’t see.
The rough bag was removed, then I knew that I wasn’t in heaven. Far from it. This was some kind of natural cave or room? I was laying on what could only be an altar, with blood dripping onto me from an outcropping above.
Then I saw him.
This had to be a nightmare.
It couldn’t be real.
Tall, shrouded in darkness, with the head and beak of a raven. He, it, reached out and dipped a taloned finger into the blood that was pooling on my torso. He reached into a leather bag at his side and withdrew a strange sculpture, it was a roaring bear, masterfully carved out of what appeared to be polished wood or horn. With the statue in one hand and one on my chest, the chants began. I thought that the pain I was feeling was all I could take, but it got worse, and worse. I could feel my limbs tearing from their joints as I thrashed on that unforgiving stone altar.
Pain… Anger… Rage… Fury.