Category Archives: The Immortals

Lieutenant Colonel Candace Dare, senior Field Investigator for DARPA’s Inspector General Department, has uncovered plots to take over the world. But will the latest one claim her as a victim instead?

The Immortals Part I

Lieutenant Colonel Candace Dare glared at the reports on her desk. She remembered a long conversation with her superior, General Daniel Fitzhugh, that she was not being hired as a “paper pusher.” Yet, here she sat, pushing paper.

She knew that it had to be done, but she thought that she would not be the one to do it. She was hired to be the field investigator for the Inspector General office of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). So, as always with the Army, the assigned field investigator sat in her office pushing paper.

Not that those papers didn’t need to be examined. Little line entries might be hiding something extraordinary. If someone caught a little line entry six months ago, an ex-Nazi may not have gotten as far as he did. He was just about ready to build an army of USA dead zombie soldiers, when Fitzhugh and Dare finally caught up to him. But the paper trail should have set of alarms much, much earlier.

Which is why the IG office of DARPA was created in the first place. She sighed, attached each line entry, looking for stolen rabbits, kidney removal tools or any odd thing that looked like something weird was going on. Any research funds that went to big parties, she just referred to the Government Accounting Office (GAO) for collection. That was one reason she thought that Fitzhugh should transfer one of the GAO people to DARPA IG. Fitzhugh understood, but the wheels of bureaucracy turned very, very slow.

Warrant Officer Will Hutton joined her in the quest for pennies; General Fitzhugh was out on a site. The last DARPA mishap turned a little high school girl into a green-skinned super hero. The poor girl had to forgo her summer vacation and go for testing at the Army’s premier testing facility, Aberdeen Proving Grounds. She was going to be treated as if she were a new type of bomb, or some sort of tank. They would run her through her paces and engineers with clipboards would decide what to do with her.

Dare knew she was really annoyed that Fitzhugh took her there. How would some old war horse know how a little high schooler should be treated? Certainly not the white coats and slide rule workers! Poor thing, she fumed for the thousandth time, it wasn’t really her fault, just some dumb mail room clerk. Dare was angry she wasn’t the one taking her there. They would have treated her right if I took her, not like some green side of beef!

Back when World War Two started, many young kids lost there innocence and had to deal with awful things, she knew. But the war was over for just over seven years, things should be normal. No one should grow up like I did, Dare smoldered.

A knock at the outer office door broke Dare’s reverie. She heard Hutton say his perfunctory; “Come” before the door opened. He heard voices and thought she heard her name. Two quick raps at the door confirmed her suspicions.

“Come,” she said. The door opened and WO Hutton stood at attention.

“Colonel, a Mr. Winslow Owens from Recalcitrant Laboratories would like a few moments of your time, ma’am,” Hutton announced.

Dare smiled. They would play this game all day long, being regulation formal when visitors came to the office. They shuddered to think if the outside world really knew how they worked. Worse, if it ever was reported to the upper brass.

“Give me a few moments to tidy up, Warrant Officer,” Dare said. She needed to secure the TOP SECRET materials in her office before she admitted a visitor.

“Yes, ma’am,” Hutton answered, saluted and left. She heard him tell the visitor that the Colonel will be with him shortly. She hurriedly locked the sensitive files away in her sure cabinet. When the key was removed from the lock she pushed her intercom button which lit a red light by Hutton’s phone.

Hutton nodded to Owens and knocked twice again on the door. Dare stood to receive her visitor.

“Colonel Dare, this is Mr. Winslow Owens from Recalcitrant Laboratories,” Hutton said. He left immediately closing the door.

“Mr. Owens, please have a seat,” Dare said. “Coffee?”

“Thank you, Colonel,” Owens said while sitting. “No, thank you about the coffee, it’s getting a little late in the day.”

Dare took in the man across the desk. Owens didn’t look like one of the scientist types; he was either a salesman or an accountant.

“What can I do for you, Mr. Owens?” Dare asked.

“I just wanted to introduce myself, Colonel. I understand you have pulled Recalcitrant Laboratories’ butt out of the fire several times now.”

“I can think of a couple.”

“Well, because of you Colonel, Dr. Z asked me to take one the position as internal auditor of the R&D department.”

“Glad I could help, Mr. Owens. Who is Dr. Z?”

“Dr. Z? Not too many people know Dr. Zydecko, Colonel. He is the head of the Laboratory. He asked that I meet you and extend his personal thanks for the job you’re doing.”

“That’s very kind of you and Dr. Z, Mr. Owens, but really, I’m just doing my job.”

“Well, Colonel, Dr. Z gave me a wad of cash and suggested we go out to dinner. You and I have to work out some sort of contact arrangement, so the next time something is squirrelly, we can help work it out from our end, too.”

“I’m not sure that would be such a good idea, Mr. Owens.”

“Colonel, you got me all wrong. Dr. Z wants to show his appreciation, but he can’t because of conflict of interest. But he would like us to have a working relationship, in case we have another problem. I’ve got to be on a plane at 8pm tonight, so it’s dinner and out for me. Guaranteed, nothing but work.”

Dare thought a few minutes. She really had nothing defrosted. It was getting late and she didn’t feel like going to the grocery store.

Dare sighed. “I guess that will be fine, I’ll just have to clean up my car a little.”

“No need, Colonel. I have a driver. We’ll drop you back at your car on my way to National Airport. I already made reservations at the Four Seasons.”

Dare reached for a blank notebook. “Well, it seems it’s all arranged. I’m about as ready as I need to be Mr. Owens.”

The two left Dare’s office. “Have a good weekend Will,” Dare said on the way out.

They walked through the Pentagon, the car waited near the curb. The driver opened to doors and off they went. When the car pulled to the curb at the Four Seasons, the doorman opened Dare’s door. She waited for Owens. The restaurant seemed fairly busy for being a little early in the evening yet.

Dare glanced at the crowd, wondering how many were Soviet spies, knowing she was being a little paranoid. At least she didn’t have to worry about Nazis anymore. The maitre d’ sat them near the center of the room. Dare felt like everyone was watching them, which was both creepy and reassuring.

The dinner was quite boring. The food was great. Listening to Winslow Owens’ rise to rank of middle management of Recalcitrant Laboratories was less than exciting. She took notes on his contact information, of course. The stories of great corporate success she could have done without.

When it looked like things were going to wrap up, a waiter stopped by the table with two glasses of champagne. Dare looked confused.

“The gentleman over there,” the waiter explained while pointing, “thought you both made a happy couple and wanted to congratulate you.”

“Oh, but he is mistaken,” Dare said.

“Don’t worry about it ma’am,” the waiter explained. “He’s does this all the time. And it’s all paid for.”

“Neither one of are driving right know, Colonel. We shouldn’t insult him,” Owens said.

Dare faced the gentleman and raised her glass and drank. The gentleman responded by raising his glass and smiling. A scar shone on his left cheek. Dare put down the glass and stood. A wave of intense dizziness washed over her.

“You Bast…” was all she could manage to say before she hit the floor.

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The Immortals Part II

In our last episode, Lieutenant Colonel Candace Dare was mired in paper work. She met an internal auditor from Recalcitrant Laboratories who offered to help as far as his company was concerned. While they we at dinner, she was slipped a drink that knocked her out. For those who missed it entirely click here.

“Good morning, Will,” General Daniel Fitzhugh said as he walked in to his office at the Pentagon. “I trust you had a good weekend?”

“Yes Sir, thank you. It was a very good weekend. Yours?”

“It was great to get away from the folks at Aberdeen. They don’t have much of a sense of humor,” Fitzhugh said. He nodded to Dare’s office. “Speaking of which, has her royal highness decreed today’s least favored contractor?”

“I haven’t seen her yet, General.”

“Funny,” Fitzhugh replied. “I parked right next to her.”

“Maybe she’s terrorizing requisitions, Sir. She complained about being low on red pens,” Hutton said. “If you don’t mind me saying, Sir, the Colonel doesn’t fly a desk really well, if you know what I mean.”

“Yes, it’s pretty obvious. I’ll have to send her somewhere soon. Most of our contractors have been pretty in line. Especially since we nuked the last one! Well, Will, when she gets here, I’ll need to bring her up to speed on Emily.”

“Will do, Sir.”

Fitzhugh looked at the accumulated pile on his desk. Most of the files were checked by Colonel Dare. Numerous paper clips marked irregularities that Dare found in the accounting. It was his job to decide how to investigate them. At least she knows what she is doing, Fitzhugh thought.

Fitzhugh piled into the work, putting some files in piles for further investigations, other he put in inter-office envelopes for the General Accounting Office to follow up. In all the files, Fitzhugh noticed the money added up to more than the IG office cost. Well, at least Dare gives us some clout.

A knock at the door interrupted Fitzhugh’s work flow. “Yes?”

“General, I’m going to step out for lunch,” Hutton said.

Fitzhugh glanced at the clock; it was a quarter past twelve. He was getting a little concerned about Dare. “Do me a favor, call Dare’s quarters before you go,”

“Will do,” Hutton said as he went to his desk. A few moments later he reported back to the General, No answer, Sir. I’ll ask around in the cafeteria.”

“Thanks Will.” Fitzhugh decided to take a break too.

He reached in his bag and brought out his peanut butter sandwich and a couple of carrots. He really didn’t enjoy the officer cafeteria. All the lower ranked officers clustered around generals and colonels, vying for attention. It was like Berlin in ’48 when the blockade was on.

As a major in intelligence, he was working on keeping track of the Russians. When the airlift started, however, it was “all hands” in keeping the supplies moving. The Germans were mostly orderly, but they were persistent in trying to be noticed. The captains and majors in the Pentagon reminded him of starving civilians. Not that they were starved for food, but certainly the notice of the higher grade officers.

He hated the political game in DC. He hated working at the “Pimple on the Potomac,” as he called the Pentagon. He hated feeling guilty on taking Emily to Aberdeen – that should have been Dare’s assignment. I just needed to get out of this accursed building, he thought. He sighed and wondered if he should call the Criminal Investigation Division and report her missing.

Hutton came back from lunch and knocked on the general’s door. “I checked the sign in sheets, General, she signed out last on Friday pm. Hasn’t been backs since. I know she went to dinner with some auditor from Recalcitrant.”

“Sounds exciting, Will. I’m thinking about calling CID.”

“It has been over 48 hours, Sir.”

“You’re right, give them a call Will.”

The conversation was interrupted by a knock at the door. Hutton called, “Come.”

A colonel dressed with CID patches walked in.

“You guys are good,” Fitzhugh said. “We were just about to call you.”

The colonel smiled, “Usually we’re not too welcome. My name is Colonel Ed Parker, Sir. I’m here in connection with an investigation. Is there a reason you were going to call us?”

“Yes, Colonel Parker. My Chief Investigator, Lieutenant Colonel Candace Dare, seems to be missing,” Fitzhugh said.

“When was the last time you saw her?” Parker asked.

“I saw her last Friday night, Sir,” Hutton said. “She was going out to dinner with some auditor from Recalcitrant Laboratories.”

“Do you have his name?”

Hutton checked his log. “Yes, Sir. It is Owens, Winslow Owens.

Parker pulled a photo from the file. “Is this the man, Warrant Officer?”

Hutton looked at the picture and nodded, “That’s him.”

“What’s this all about, Colonel?” Fitzhugh asked.

“Mr. Winslow Owens was shot to death Friday night, Sir. That is what I’m investigating.”

“And Dare, is she all right?”

“Don’t know, Sir. We are just starting to look for her. We just had info that he was with Dare. We’ve put the word to look out for her.”

“If we can help with anything, Colonel, please let us know. Also please keep us informed if you hear anything.”

“Yes, Sir, we will. Just a quick question, does Dare own any 9mm pistols?”

Fitzhugh felt a cold chill in his spine. “Yes, I believe she does.”

“Do you know how many?”

Fitzhugh felt a spasm in his stomach. He didn’t want to tell the truth, and he certainly couldn’t lie. “I was told about seventy lugers.”

“Seventy lugers? That seems a little high, Colonel. Especially when the army was under orders to not take souvenirs.”

“She explained to me that she was not in the army, she was with the French Underground.”

“Technically, General, she was AWOL. I know that was expunged from her file, but technically she was AWOL. As she is now.”

Fitzhugh was getting flustered, “Colonel, I’m not sure about your tone. I would be more worried about who shot Owens did something with Dare.”

“General, until the evidence points that way, all I can say is that I want to talk to her. You’ll let me know if you hear from her.”

“Colonel, you’ll be the second person who knows,” Fitzhugh said.

Parker nodded. “By the way, I need your authority, as her commanding officer to search her place.”

Fitzhugh was going to object, then thought better of it. “I’ll meet you there at 0830 tomorrow morning.”

***

She began to feel conscious. She learned after being captured by the Gestapo – once by accident and twice planned – so she knew what to do. She knew she should not open her eyes until she really had to.

She listened first. She felt a little nauseous; she thought that it might have been some sort of drug. She barely wiggled her fingers and toes to make sure she had use of her limbs. She touched her fingers beside her to figure out what she was lying on. It felt like concrete.

She heard a noise and stopped moving. There was a big clank and a fan kicked on. The temperature dropped. It must be one of those air cooling systems they’re talking about putting in the Pentagon, Dare reasoned. She decided that the noise could cover up some noises from her.

She scratched the floor with her fingernail. It was concrete, but covered by that coating that she saw in hangers. She wondered what it was called. The noise stopped.

Again she listened. Nothing. She decided to chance it. She opened her eyes to just a slit. It was tough to see through her lashes, but she could make out some things. The room was dark, but well-lit just around the corner. There was a blackish haze she couldn’t quite figure out.

She noticed they dressed her in an orange jumpsuit and nothing else. No shoes or belt. She scanned the room as best she could and saw no one. The Gestapo used to have someone watch at all times. The moment one would open their eyes, they would be all over them. She liked making them wait, that made them a little off-balanced. There was no one here to play with. She decided to open her eyes all the way.

The black haze was a wire mesh, attached to strong stainless steel looking bars. She was in a cage.

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The Immortals – Part III

In our last episode, Lt. Colonel Candice Dare failed to show up for work on Monday morning. The last person she was seen with, Winslow Owens – an investigator for Recalcitrant Laboratories – was found dead. The Army’s Criminal Investigative Division’s investigator, Colonel Ed Parker, suspects that Dare shot Owens and went into hiding. Meanwhile… Candice Dare seems to have woken up in a cage somewhere.

General Dan Fitzhugh glanced again at his US Army issue stainless steel Hamilton wrist watch with impatience. It was now 0825. Warrant Office Will Hutton stood beside him.

“They did say 0830, General,” Hutton reminded him.

“Those bastards are probably going to make us wait until 1000 hours, Will. It’s part of the game they play,” Fitzhugh grumbled.

“Colonel Parker seems like he wants to do this by the book, General. I don’t think he’ll play games with us.”

“He is already playing games, Will. He all but accused Dare of shooting that bean counter. I think he wants to blame her and close the case as fast as he can.”

“I’m sure he does, General. We’ll have to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Fitzhugh glanced at Hutton, and nodded. “Thanks, Will. We owe Dare that much.”

Three cars screeched around the corner and dash up Colonel’s row. They stopped in front of Dare’s house at exactly 0829. Colonel Parker jumped out the passenger door of the lead vehicle and approached Fitzhugh. The rest of the cars emptied. The men circled close to Parker.

“Listen, Parker. I’m only doing this because I believe Dare is innocent. I need to find here and make sure she’s safe.”

“General,” Parker replied. “I’m only interested in what happened. If she is innocent, I will use the fullest extent to find her.”

“I will hold you to that, Colonel.”

Parker turned to his men and gave instructions on what to look for, and how to handle any evidence. Fitzhugh asked the Colonel to not let the place be trashed. Dare just moved a couple of months ago. When Fitzhugh was satisfied he nodded to Hutton. Hutton handed the keys to Parker.

“Care to show me around, General?” Parker asked. The three men lead the way.

The house was, as Fitzhugh expected, neat as a pin. Colonels most often are assigned small three bedroom quarters. The front door opens to a living room, comfortably arranged with a sofa and several chairs. Off to one side is a small office. The dinning room is placed behind the living room area, with a small enclosed kitchen. The bedrooms were upstairs.

General Fitzhugh led Parker to Dare’s office. Her bills were filed neatly, no extravagant expense were obvious. Parker assigned two men to search her finances and bank statements.

“Is that necessary, Colonel?” Fitzhugh sighed.

“Just making sure she wasn’t being blackmailed or selling secrets to the Soviets, General. Let us rule those things out and we can go to the next step.”

Before Fitzhugh could protest, Hutton stepped in. “Does she have an office upstairs, sir.”

Parker chuckled, “Warrant Officer, I sure know why he keeps you around.”

Fitzhugh glared at Hutton and silently agreed with Parker. The three men head up the stairs, with three team members in tow. The balance searched the kitchens for dangerous weapons, such as knives and cleavers.

The first room was Dare’s bedroom. Fitzhugh hesitated before he crossed the threshold. One of Parker’s men pushed past him. “Be easy, son,” Fitzhugh muttered.

“You can check out room when he’s done, General,“ Parker said. “Winslow is a trained professional and he’s the only one I trust to do a clean search.”

“A ‘clean’ search, Colonel?”

“He will make the room like it was just now. No one will know, I guarantee it.”

Fitzhugh only nodded. They headed down the hallway; Fitzhugh opened the door to the next room. The “trophy” room.

The rear wall supported a large locked glass enclosed case, obviously custom built. The case featured over fifty lugers, each with a little label explaining where and when it came from. Mounted in the center of the case was a Croix de Guerre, with a certificate issued by Charles de Gaulle himself

One gun holder was conspicuously empty. The small brass plaque read, “Colonel Eric Weisen April 17, 1942. Orleans.” A handwritten note was pinned in the silhouette design, “Missing, possibly destroyed, February 12, 1952, Frenchman Flat, Nevada.”

“She had that gun in Nevada,” Fitzhugh said. “I didn’t see it again after the explosion.”

“What explosion was that, General?” Parker asked.

“We were nuked, Colonel. Dare saved my life.”

Parker looked around. “Does anyone see a key? We’ll have to test all these guns to rule them out as the murder weapon.”

“They should be on that ring, Colonel,” Hutton said.

Parker looked at the key ring he was given earlier and tried the smallest key, it fit. Parker instructed his men to carefully wrap the guns and take them back to the Provost Marshall’s headquarters. He assured Fitzhugh that the pistols will be well-cleaned after testing.

“Don’t bother,” Fitzhugh replied. “I know will clean them again, anyway.”

Parker noticed a small safe under a table in the room. He looked at Hutton.

Hutton nodded and knelt down and unlocked it. He pulled out a box and handed it to Parker.

Parker opened it. It was full of firing pins.

“Lieutenant,” Parker called to the man pulling the guns off the wall. “Does that weapon have a firing pin?”

The lieutenant pulled back the action and looked, “No sir.”

“I guess we’ll need to take this, too.”

The search wrapped up and all the men went downstairs. Colonel Parker locked the door and handed the keys to Hutton.

“What now?” Fitzhugh asked.

“We’ll test the guns and see if any of these were used to kill Owens.”

“What are you going to do to find Dare?”

“I’ll put out a missing persons alert, maybe an AWOL advisory and see if something comes up. If you hear from her, let me know ASAP.” Parker turned to go and stopped. “General, we will find her. Let me make sure she is not a suspect, though.”

***

Candice Dare jumped when the air cooling system kicked in. She hadn’t realized that she lost consciousness again. That drug must have been stronger than I thought, she thought.

She made sure no one was around. She examined her surroundings again. She remembered realizing she was being held in a cage. She must have passed out after that.

She sat up, not caring if she were seen. She noticed a stainless steel sink, and a stainless steel toilet attached to the wall. On the far wall, about a foot off the floor was a bed.

There was someone in it.

She saw the lumps, but no movement. She thought it wouldn’t be wise to stand, so she crawled on her hands and knees to the bed. She pulled back the cover.

A woman of about 25 or 30 years old stared, glassy-eyed at the ceiling. Dare placed her hand on her neck. It was cold; there was no pulse. She pulled back the covers further. She also wore an orange jumpsuit.

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The Immortals – Part IV


In our last episode, evidence is mounting up that Candace Dare murdered an accountant with Recalcitrant Laboratories, and then ran away. We learn that Colonel Dare is locked away and discovers a second body in her cell. The episode is available here.

 

Candace Dare looked at the woman in the bed. She was cold, probably placed there before she arrived. She knew “they” expected her to scream in panic. Fortunately, Candace was used to death, having dealt out quite a bit. Maybe it was her turn.

Knock it off, she chided herself. Obviously, they left her here for a reason. Just trying to un-nerve me. She covered the woman with the blanket. Who was she, why was she here? Her mind kept churning possibilities.

The air cooling system kicked in again, still startling her. She sat next to the bed and waited.

She didn’t wait too long.

She heard the slamming of a steel door. The sound of tromping footsteps followed. She tried to ascertain the number of men. She figured six, very military, definitely soldiers. The sound came closer by the second. She could now hear something rolling. Coming for the body, I’d imagine.

The group abruptly stopped.

Dare listened to one set of footsteps drawing near. The footsteps did not have the military cadence of the others. They seemed to be in no hurry. But they were steady and stopped at the door to her cell.

“Ah, Lieutenant Colonel Candace Dare, I see you are up,” the man said with a crisp German accent.

Dare gasped, “You’re the man from the restaurant.”

The man smiled, “Did your mother not warn you about accepting drinks from strangers?”

Dare watched as the scar on his left cheek stretched and became grotesque, almost like Von Zorm’s. The revelation struck her hard.

“Are you related to Herbst Von Zorm?”

“Very good, Colonel. I was wondering if you would make the connection. I am Horst Von Zorm, the heir of my late father. Which tells me you did meet with him, and probably was responsible for his untimely end.”

“Is that why I’m here? For revenge?”

The younger Von Zorm laughed. “How quick you are to make judgments, Fraulein Colonel. If I wanted revenge, you would be the one beneath the blanket in your cot.”

“Who is she?”

“Officially, she is 52-0297. She is a test subject. Unfortunately, the test did not go well for her. Fortunately, we discovered the flaw in our plan. All should be well with you.”

“So, I’m a test subject?”

“Ja, officially you are test subject 52-0298.”

“I am not a number,” Dare yelled.

Von Zorm laughed again. “Of course you are. You have a military service number, a social security number, a driver’s license number, a phone number – I could go on all day, Fraulein Colonel. But to me, you are 52-0298.”

“So, you are continuing your father’s work? You are going to make fighting zombies?”

“My father and I worked towards separate ends. He was a soldier. I am a true scientist and a Lebensborn.”

“A What?”

Von Zorm smiled. The smile sent chills through Dare. “You fight a people and you do not understand them. I pity you, Colonel. To defeat an enemy, you must first know how they think, how they will act. Going in as a cowboy, or in your case a cowgirl, doesn’t always work, as you are now finding out.”

“That doesn’t tell me what you are, Von Zorm”

“Ah, you are right. I will tell you just so you can understand the hopelessness of your situation. A Lebensborn is a special baby, born to an SS officer and an Aryan mother. SS officers, like my father were encouraged to find a nice pure woman and have a baby with her. The babies, like myself, were in special houses. I being one of the first sixteen born was given a special task, along with my brothers. We were given a secret name, named after the Sixteen Immortals. It is our task to become immortal beings and rule the world.”

“So, then Von Zorm, you feel you have solved the secret of immortality?”

“And so we have, Fraulein Colonel. Miss Helen Myers, who is now in your bed, was our last failure. I have no doubt we’ve solved the problems and that you will be our first success.”

“Apparently, you are not sure, Von Zorm. If you were Miss Myers would still be alive. Perhaps you should have stuck to zombie rabbits like your father.”

Von Zorm smiled. Dare could see she was beginning to irritate him. Good, she thought. An angry Nazi usually makes big mistakes.

“I assure you Colonel, that my father discovered the Immortality Antibody in his experiments on the rabbits. The rabbits were just to fulfill a government contract. His other work was done in this lab, financed by private investors.”

“Would they be part of the ‘Phoenix Brotherhood’ that your father spoke about?”

The smile disappeared from Von Zorm. “Very good, 52-0298. Perhaps I misjudged your cognitive ability. You do seem to possess exceptional reasoning skills. So, I will tell you what will happen.

“My father developed the antibody for the Phoenix Brotherhood. The antibody, however, cannot be administered immediately. The subject must be first given four vaccines. It took several hundred subjects to determine the proper order. We have that information and we will begin the process with you.”

“And then what?”

“After we are convinced the Immortality Antibody works, we will administer tests to see how effective it is.”

“What type of tests?”

“We will see how the antibody responds to different pathogens. We will start with smallpox and typhoid and move to more serious issues such as the Plague. We hope you will survive these difficulties. When we are convinced that the Immortality Antibody is what we hope it to be, we will start with my brothers and the rest of the Lebensborn.”

“You will never get away with it, Von Zorm.”

Von Zorm laughed again. “Of course we will, 52-0298. We have unlimited resources. We are where no one can find us. But enough of this. It is time we begin your treatment.”

Von Zorm turned and nodded. The marching began again. Dare saw a gurney being rolled into view. Von Zorm opened the cell and three of the largest men came for her.

Dare used her smaller frame to her advantage. She stepped back and kicked the first man in a delicate area. She used him as a shield while lashing out at the others.

Von Zorm walked in brandishing a pistol.

Dare evaded the men, trying to keep someone between her and Von Zorm. The men stepped back and Von Zorm fired.

The shot was silenced, Dare noticed. Pain jolted her thigh. She looked at the damage and saw a yellow-tailed dart. As she reached for it she fell into darkness.

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The Immortals – Part V


In our last episode, Colonel Candace Dare was told that she will used in an experiment in Immortality. Her captor, Horst Von Zorm, son of the infamous Herbst Von Zorn (whom Colonel Dare shot), is financed by the secret organization, The Phoenix Brotherhood.

General Dan Fitzhugh was not happy as he limped into the Pentagon. He had not heard from Colonel Parker of CID in two days. Two days, he thought, wars have been lost in less time that that.

The general found his office and opened the door. Waiting for him was the self-same Colonel, along with Warrant Officer Will Hutton, Fitzhugh’s aide.

“Good morning, Colonel Parker. I hope you have good news for me,” Fitzhugh said.

“General Fitzhugh, I have an update. But the news isn’t any better or worse than it has been.”

“Come into my office and we’ll talk. You too, Will. I need you to hear what is going on.”

Hutton had coffee ready, Fitzhugh passed out a cup to each of them before he sat. He took a sip, and asked, “So, what is going on, Parker?”

Parker paused before answering, “I’ve put out a warrant on Colonel Dare, General.”

Fitzhugh felt the anger building; he knew his face was turning red. “You can’t possibly believe that she is a murderer, can you?”

Parker held up his hands to calm Fitzhugh down, “Here me out, General. It will all make sense to you soon.”

Fitzhugh wanted to throw the CID Colonel out. The only thing to do now is be calm and find a way to help Dare. He nodded.

Parker began. “We fired all of Colonel Dare’s weapons, none matched the murder weapon. But all the slugs were close to the slug from the victim. It seemed we were looking for a Luger. We saw the sign about the missing Luger, remember.”

Fitzhugh nodded.

“It seemed that the missing Luger might be the murder weapon, but of course, we need to be sure. I checked into your statement about Dare’s personal effects being taken after the close call with the A-Bomb. The gun, as well as Dare’s uniform were kept in a radiation ‘cooling’ chamber.”

“Yes,” Fitzhugh agreed. “I have some things there myself.”

“Apparently, General, the Luger was logged out three weeks ago.”

“How did that happen, Colonel?” Fitzhugh asked.

“A man claiming to be Von Zorm’s son claimed the pistol as belonging to his father. He claimed possession of the Luger.”

“But it was still radioactive,” Will Hutton said.

“Horst Von Zorm had the documentation and equipment needed to transport radioactive material, all the documents were in order. They are very tight with that sort of thing there.”

Fitzhugh nodded. “But then…”

Parker held up his hand, “Please, General, allow me to go on. We also checked at the restaurant where Dare and Owens had dinner. One of the waiters saw Colonel Dare pass out. Owens and another customer carried her to a car and were going to transport her to a hospital. The owners of the restaurant were thankful that people still help one another.”

“The other customer?” asked Fitzhugh.

“He was described as a very proper gentleman. He had a scar on his left cheek. We have identified him as the same Horst Von Zorm that picked up the pistol at the testing site. We followed a hunch and checked the slug from Owens. It was radioactive.”

“Then you can’t possibly believe that Colonel Dare murdered the bean counter,” Fitzhugh said.

“No. She didn’t do it. She is being framed. We need to find out who and why. We issued the warrant so whoever is behind this will think their game is working.”

“It has to be Von Zorm,” Fitzhugh declared.

“That’s what we believe, too.”

“Why can’t you just go and pick him up, Colonel?” Fitzhugh asked.

Fitzhugh watched as Parker sat back in the chair.

“Here is where it gets interesting,” Parker replied. “Have you heard of operation ‘Paperclip?’”

“Yes, certainly. German scientists trade possible war crime convictions for helping our science programs. Herbst Von Zorm was one of those selected. Very likely could have caused serious trouble had we not stopped him.”

“Interestingly enough, Horst Von Zorm, is also part of the Paperclip Program.”

“How can that be?”

“Horst Von Zorm was one of the younger trained scientists in Germany near the end of the war. He was considered a genius and educated very quickly. Of course, his father knew none of this.”

“What? How do you know?” Fitzhugh asked.

Horst Von Zorm was one of, if not the oldest, “Lebensborn’ babies. They were raised in special facilities built by the SS. We think the father did not know of his son’s fate till after the war. By that time the son, Horst, was employed by a defense contractor out of France.”

“Not the European branch of Recalcitrant Laboratories? They hire all sorts of dubious people.”

“No, he was hired by L’ frères de Phoenix.”

Fitzhugh clenched his chair and must have turned white.

“General, what is matter? Are you all right?” Parker asked concerned.

“Before Herbst Von Zorm died, he confessed that he was working for the Phoenix Brotherhood. He said it was the Phoenix Brotherhood that financed Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. I’m sure the French Company is just a front. Lord knows what he is doing to Dare right now.”

Parker was silent; Fitzhugh could see this was news to him. “Well, that might make sense,” Parker finally said.

“What makes sense?”

“L’ frères de Phoenix is helping the Air Force with a new hush-hush project. It has to do with long term underground living.”

“Do you know where?”

“I can’t get anywhere with the brass. Only that’s it’s out in the boonies.”

“Who do you talk to?”

“Some colonel, I couldn’t get anywhere near the generals.”

Fitzhugh stood up. “Well, you’re near one now. Follow me, both of you.”

The general walked quickly, anger motivating him, the younger men tried to keep up. He finally arrived at the correct door. The nameplate read, “Harvey Harrison” with three stars below. Fitzhugh knocked twice and barged in.

Lieutenant Jane Sullivan, Harrison’s secretary jumped and composed herself. “General Fitzhugh, sorry, you surprised me.”

“I need to see him Jane, and I mean right now.”

“Yes sir,” Sullivan went and knocked on the door and slid in.

Fitzhugh could hear Harrison’s voice, not sounding like he was welcome. He then heard Sullivan saying something which quieted the ruckus down.

Sullivan came out of the office, “He’ll see you now.”

Fitzhugh smiled and quietly told her, “I owe you one.”

“You better believe it, General.”

Fitzhugh stood, flanked by Hutton and Parker.

“Sorry about Dare being a murderer, Dan. If I knew that, I would have never sent her your way,” Harrison said.

“She didn’t do it Harv,” Fitzhugh said.

“But CID wants her arrested.”

“We want her found, sir,” Parker said. “We think she’s been kidnapped.”

Harrison motioned them all into chairs. Fitzhugh told him the whole story. After Fitzhugh was done, Harrison grabbed the phone.

“Jane, get me Billingsly. Secure,” he ordered.

Fitzhugh and the others waited until the phone rang. Harrison picked it up at the very first chirp. “Billingsly, I’m sending General Fitzhugh, and Colonel Parker of CID. You will tell them what you know. Hold the wire,” Harrison motioned for Fitzhugh to get going. He spoke to the phone again, “Here’s the SITREP…”

Fitzhugh led the others. By the time they reached Billingsly’s office, maps were spread out over the desk.

“What I tell you now,” General Billingsly said, “is highly classified. The Air Force is looking to build a complex in Colorado that will be safe from atomic attack. We hired the French company to see what effects there will be if someone works underground for long periods of time.”

“Where exactly are we talking, General?” Fitzhugh asked.

Billingsly took off his glasses, “Well, that’s the thing, we don’t know ‘exactly.’ It’s somewhere in this area. I can get you planes and helicopters but where to send them, I don’t know for sure.”

“General, that’s like 500 square miles,” Parker said. “We can’t search that area that easily. We would need some high resolution imaging, a bunch of map-readers. That might take weeks or months.”

“I have an idea,” Fitzhugh said. “General Billingsly, I need a quick trip to Aberdeen.” He turned to Parker, “You get a team together, we’ll meet at Fort Carson in two days.”

“Don’t worry General Fitzhugh, we’ll get you all there.”

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The Immortals – Part VI

In our last episode, Colonel Parker of the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) has determined that Lieutenant Colonel Candace Dare was framed for murder and kidnapped. The chief suspect is Horst Von Zorm, son of Herbst Von Zorm, whom Colonel thwarted is a plot to overthrow the world. Colonel Parker and General Dan Fitzhugh are organizing a rescue team to search the wilds of Colorado for any evidence of Candice Dare’s whereabouts.

Candace Dare awoke with a start due to the air circulating system. She lay in the bed, its first occupant having been disposed of. Her thigh ached where the tranquilizing dart struck her. It must have torn muscle, she thought as she rubbed it. Her back also throbbed.

She felt for the pain. It hurt most on her lower back, right over her liver. She shuddered thinking what they must have injected her with. She rolled on her side with the intention of walking off the muscle injury. A wave of dizziness rolled over her as she sat on the edge of her bed.

She felt a cold dampness one her skin, as if she had some sort of flu. My body must be reacting to whatever they injected me with, she reasoned. All the more reason to stand.

She leaned forward and tried to stand. She grabbed her thigh and fell back on the bed. As much as she wanted to, she did not allow herself to scream. She stretched out her leg a couple of times, trying to loosen it up. She slid towards the bottom of the bed, with the idea of using the wall for support.

With her good leg, she propelled herself towards the wall. She leaned against the wall, using her undamaged right leg. Her left leg bore no weight. She slid along the cold concrete block wall. Occasionally, she would touch her left foot to the ground, exploring the idea of walking normally. A quick grimace told the results of those experiments.

Once she reached the door, she examined the lock. She looked at how the black wire mesh was attached to the high polished steel bars. If she had something to use, she wouldn’t be able to pick the lock. She leaned against the wall and sank to the floor. How am I going to get out of here?

She looked at the lighting. Steel chains suspended steel cages with strong bright white bulbs. The ceiling seemed to be larger than two stories. Everywhere were supports and struts. Are we underground?

She felt a rising sense of hopelessness. I don’t want to die here! She remembered the time she was trapped during the War. She was being question in an underground bunker by a Colonel from the SS. The capture was planned, but she thought the rescue took too long. She shook her head. No! I will not dwell in the past.

She pulled herself up, using the bar. She turned and forced herself to walk to the bunk, without using the walls for support. Step by agonizing step she worked her way to the bed.

Gasping, and sweating she stopped at the sink. She splashed cold water on her face. A metal drinking cup hung on a wire cable. She filled and gulped it down. She noticed the mineral taste. Her vision blurred and she felt blackness return.

***

It was still daylight as the plane approached Fort Carson. General Fitzhugh asked the pilot how much fuel was available. After hearing he had about an hour and a half, he asked the pilot to travel west of Fort Carson. He pointed an area on the map and wanted to circle that area.

“Do you want to get lower, Sir?” the pilot asked.

“Not too low, Major. I just want to get an overview of the area.”

Fitzhugh walked to the passenger cabin. He sat next to Emily Rogers.

“OK, Emily, the pilot is going to fly a little west of where we’re going.” Fitzhugh rolled out a map. He put his finger on a dot. “This is Fort Carson, Emily. We are going to look to the west, in the mountains. We believe we are looking for a facility in this area. Unfortunately, it might be underground. I need you to use your extra sensitive vision and see if you see anything unusual.”

“What am I looking for, General?”

“If you see any buildings or cars setting in the middle of nowhere. Maybe a road that leads to a dead end. Something that you might not expect to see in the middle of a mountain range.”

Emily sighed. “I’ll do my best. What’s this all about?”

Fitzhugh hesitated, not wanting to tell Emily the truth. He knew Dare would never lie to Emily, especially since she was infected with the experimental green slime. Emily was discovering what the experimental material could do. Fitzhugh knew that it made her eyes sharper than even the highest magnification available today.

“Emily, I’m not going to lie to you. Our friend, Candice Dare was kidnapped. We think she is being held in a secret lab and that there are weird experiments being done to her. I hope we can get to her before it’s too late. It might take us weeks to search that area, which I know we don’t have. I hope you can see something and help us find where they are holding Colonel Dare.”

Fitzhugh watched the fear on Emily’s face. The fear soon gave away to resolve. She replied, “Tell me where to look, General.”

***

The bright white lights caused Dare’s eyes to open.

“Ah, Colonel Dare, you are back with us,” Von Zorm said. She saw he was wearing a surgical mask. She tried to see where she was.

“You are quite immobile at the moment. You are fully a wake and able to feel everything, but you cannot speak or move. Don’t worry, it will wear off soon. You will thank me later for not having to deal with another dart puncture.”

Dare tried to say something, but her lips refused to work.

She heard Von Zorm give an order in German. Another figure went past her. She heard a cranking sound and she began to roll sideways.

“Marvelous invention, is it not Colonel? It was an idea from my father’s former boss, Dr. Mengele. He is quite interested in our research here. Perhaps one day, we’ll sneak him into the US and you can meet him in person.” Von Zorm chuckled.

The turning stopped. Dare was on her side staring at the wall. She could see she was inside some sort of laboratory or operating room.

“This may pinch just a little,” Von Zorm kept his running commentary.

The needle tore into her back. She wanted to scream from the pain, but nothing worked. She felt the liquid from the injection pushing into her organs. After an eternity the needle was withdrawn. Another order given and the cranking resumed, returning her to a flat position.

Von Zorm‘s face floated again above her. He removed the mask and smiled. “Very good, Fraulein Colonel. We gave you the last two antibodies before the Immortality Serum.”

He began to make a big show about re-buttoning her jumpsuit. He leaned over and smiled.

Dare tried to spit in his face, but could only drool.

***

“General, are there many rock slides out here?”

“I imagine, Emily. Why do you ask?”

“I see a big pile of rocks, near that cleft in the mountains. I’m not sure it looks right, but I don’t really know.”

“Is there anything else?”

“It looks like the rockslide blocks a dirt road, General. But the road doesn’t continue after the slide.”

Fitzhugh smiled. The road wouldn’t continue if it went to an underground base. “Show me on the map, Emily.”

Emily looked out the window. She looked at the map and tried to line it up with what she saw. She placed her finger on a point. “Right here.”

“Are you sure?”

Fitzhugh felt Emily’s eyes bore through him. “Right here,” she r

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The Immortals – Part VIII

In our last harrowing episode, General Fitzhugh, Colonel Edwards, and Emily Rogers set on a mission to find Lieutenant Candace Dare. The team located and with Emily’s electronic skills, snuck into Horst Von Zorm’s secret underground laboratory. Von Zorm was slain in the rescue and Dare was rescued. The question remains, did any of the testing affect her?

A tentative knock at the office door caused Warrant Officer Will Hutton to rise from his desk and answer the door personally, instead of his usual barked “Come.”

As expected, Emily Rogers stood in the hall with her mother and father. They were shown to the office by a young WAC corporal, who hastily left after delivering them to the proper wing.

“Emily,” Hutton recognized her. “Mr. and Mrs. Rogers, please come in.” He held the door and let the family proceed. He pointed to three chairs, indicating that the family should sit. He went to Lieutenant Candace Dare’s door and knocked twice. He opened the door and announced the Rogers’ were waiting. He did the same to General Daniel Fitzhugh’s door on the opposite side of the office.

Candace Dare stepped out of the office and smiled. Emily stood and gave her a hug.

“Thank you for coming,” Dare began. “I can’t thank Emily enough for helping General Fitzhugh find me. She definitely saved my life.”

“Be that as it may, Colonel,” Andrew Rogers, Emily’s father answered, “we are still hopeful that this green catastrophe Emily is inflicted with can someday go away.”

“I understand, Mr. Rogers. I quite agree with you. The Department of the Army has tasked your brother, the inventor of the green slime, to find a way to cure Emily. Unfortunately, we have to understand that it might take a while. We will need to help Emily get on with her life,” Dare replied.

General Fitzhugh joined the group.

“What exactly does, ‘get on with her life’ mean, Colonel?” Rogers asked.

Fitzhugh cleared his throat. “I’ve been making dozens of phone calls, Mr. Rogers. We’ve been trying to arrange a scholarship for Emily.”

“A scholarship?” Rose Rogers spoke for the first time. “You want to send Emily to college? I’m not sure she will meet any young men there, especially in her condition.”

“Mom!” Emily burst out. “What if I don’t want to get married? What if I want to have a degree that means something and have a nice job?”

“Don’t be silly, Emily,” Mr. Rogers said, “You’re a girl!”

Emily looked like she was getting ready to explode.

Dare spoke quickly. “Even though Emily is just a ‘girl’ Mr. and Mrs. Rogers we feel she has quite some talent that would be very useful in government work. We have secured a scholarship for her at a very prestigious college. She will be one of the very few women accepted there. The college has quite a number of brilliant young men, anyone of which may become a doctor or engineer.”

“Really?” Mr. and Mrs. Rogers said in unison.

“And after she graduates, we will make sure she has employment. We envision her traveling the world, dealing with the top scientists in the world,” Fitzhugh added.

“Do I get a say?” Emily asked.

“Of course, dear,” Mrs. Roger replied. Turning to Fitzhugh she asked, “Do scientists make a lot of money?

“The nuclear ones make a boatload,” Fitzhugh answered.

“Where can we send Emily to meet those kinds of scientists?” Mrs. Rogers asked.

“We’re thinking the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,” Dare replied. Dare felt Emily’s eyes open, Dare winked.

“I’ve heard that it’s difficult to get into MIT,” Mr. Rogers said.

“It’s all arranged. She will start early with the fall semester,” Dare answered. “They were most impressed with Emily’s work in Aberdeen and how she helped General Fitzhugh in Colorado.”

“This fall!” Emily smiled. “I can’t wait.”

“Emily,” Fitzhugh added, “I’m sending you home for a couple of weeks. Colonel Dare will come out and take you and your parents to the campus. There will be some forms to sign, and we’ll need to find you quarters, I mean, a room.”

Emily hugged Dare and then Fitzhugh. “Thank you both. I’ll be counting the days.”

Dare stopped Emily as she headed for the door. “Thank you for saving me Emily.”

Emily could only nod.

The Rogers family left and Dare sat in one of the chairs.

“You OK, Colonel?” Hutton asked.

“Still feel a little weak, I’ll be good in a few days,” Dare replied.

“Maybe you should take a few days off,” Fitzhugh said. “God knows you’ve been through a lot.”

“Are you kidding? I have enough of those accursed auditing reports on my desk right now. I don’t the pile to get any larger.”

“Speaking of which, I have an idea about that,” Fitzhugh said.

“Really? Does it get me out of doing those?”

“Well, perhaps. I hope so.”

“Then I’m all ears.”

Fitzhugh motioned for Hutton to sit down and took a chair himself.

“It seems, Colonel, that you seem to get in more trouble while minding the store than being out in the field.”

Dare opened her mouth to speak. Fitzhugh held up his hand stopping her.

“I know that reading those reports was never part of your job description. I’ve found someone that can handle that, I just need to talk her out of her present job. If we get her on board, that will free you up to do the field work you were hired to do.” Fitzhugh explained.

“That would be great, General. Anyone I know?”

“She’s Harvey Harrison’s secretary. She seems on the ball,” Fitzhugh said.

“Sullivan?” Hutton asked.

“Yes, that’s her,” Fitzhugh answered.

“She did seem on the ball, General,” Hutton said.

Two firm knocks on the door interrupted the conversation. Hutton instinctively barked out his perfunctory “Come.”

The door opened, Colonel Ed Parker entered carrying two wrapped packages.

“Am I interrupting something?” Parker asked.

Fitzhugh stood. “Ah, Colonel Parker. Glad you’re here. Let me introduce you to Colonel Candace Dare.”

Dare stood and shook hands with Parker.

“Colonel Parker put together the search and rescue operation,” Fitzhugh explained.

“Colonel Parker, thank you for your effort,” Dare said.

“Colonel Dare, General Fitzhugh was most insistent about your innocence. He did most of the grunt work. I just put two and two together and assembled the manpower. Between the General and the little girl, it all came together.”

“What can we do for you, Parker?” Fitzhugh asked.

“Actually, I brought Colonel Dare a couple of items.” He handed Dare one of the wrapped packages.

Dare examined the package, wrapped in Kraft brown paper. It felt like a frame. With care she tore it open. It was a framed Wanted poster with her image.

Fitzhugh chuckled. “Colonel Parker had this put out in hopes that someone would see you. I saved my copy, never know when it may come in handy.”

Dare felt her face flush. “Thank you, Colonel. I’ll put this up as a reminder of the adventure.”

“One more thing, Colonel.” Parker handed her a smaller item, also wrapped in Kraft paper.

Se hefted the package, it was small but much heavier. She unwrapped it. It was a small wooden box. She opened the box. It held her Luger.

She smiled. “Thank you, Colonel. It seems to be noticeably cleaner than when I last saw it.”

“The lab insists that all the radioactivity is gone. Normally, we don’t allow weapons that were used in a crime to be returned, but it was stolen and I argued for special circumstances.”

“I appreciate this, Colonel.”

“Not a problem. I still have to interview you about your experiences for my report. Sooner than later would be better, Colonel.”

“Anytime, Colonel.”

“Actually, I have a table waiting for me at the Four Seasons. Why not join me?”

Dare thought about it. “Last time I was there, Colonel, it didn’t turn out so well.”

“Colonel Dare, you certainly don’t seem like someone to leave real estate to the enemy.”

“You’re right, Colonel. Let’s go.”

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