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Grigory placed the tin cup of poor quality coffee in front of me. True, it was the best we could get with War going on, but in the end it was like drinking muddy water. The winter was harsh this year, harsher than it has ever been and neither I nor Grigory expected an officer to visit us with two over his thugs. Still, that didn’t stop them from barging in through the door to let the cold in.
The officer wore a large trench-coat, but that was necessary to cover his burly body. He had no hair atop his head, but his beard was large and neat. He was an important, I could tell from the way he held himself. He walked over to the table where I sat and because of the laws we were given I stood up and greeted him. He smiled and reached forward with his hand. I shook it firmly, trying to break his hand, though I wouldn’t of course. It was important to show strength with such figures in society. It could mean life or death if you didn’t.
“Doctor Vuk?” the officer asked.
“Correct, sir and you are?” I replied sternly.
“Isay, but ‘sir’ suits me just fine.”
The military man laughed with a deep and loud voice. The man radiated true physical power, more brute that should be on the front lines than a man that should be terrorizing out people. Still, I had no place to question his place in the world; that would be the last mistake I make.
“Please, sit,” I told him, gesturing to the chair across the table. I gave Grigory a nod and he left the room to go make coffee.
The goons flanked the officer and immediately he pulled out a cigar. Most likely to pose like that of out glorious leader, but he didn’t quite get the hang of it. He took two puffs and coughed almost immediately afterwards. He was not a man for smoking and this was the first hint I was given that perhaps looking strong is what he prefers over actually being so. I made a note in my mind that the goons beside him were the greatest threat.
“Doctor Maks Vuk,” Isay repeated to himself more than to me. “You are a professor at the university, correct?”
“That is correct,” I nodded.
“Shame it had to be closed so close to the end of the school year,” Isay continued. “I understand that there are a fair number of bright minds in that school and you played a large part in their development.”
I did not speak. You never interrupt and open your mouth unless you are given a question. It was tense moment indeed, but no different than the ones I am used too. Grigory returned and placed a cup of coffee in front of Isay. The officer nodded at Grigory and I gave a curt one as well. Grigory’s wide eyes showed his understanding and he left the room to wait outside the door. He would return only if he was called.
“I also have reason to believe that some of your students have gone missing, Maks,” Isay noted. “The simplest ones, so it is not loss, nothing worth out time. However, it seems to have sparked a rumor in the school that caught some attention higher up the food chain.”
Once more I did not react. I had a face of stone and it would stay that way until he asked me for my opinion or input.
“Let me cut to the chase and tell you how we discovered the bodies not too long ago,” Isay cut across the table. That was a statement I was hoping to never here, but if I held my ground it would be in my favor if they bothered with a trial. “More interestingly we discovered some documents and evidence of research in the second apartment that you are leasing to…nobody.”
It was at this point I realized that there would be no question or input requested to defend myself. I was already trialed and even my silence could not help me. Oh how I desperately longed to speak my mind.
“Let me tell you this, Doctor, that your research has struck the right chords, so you may ease yourself,” Isay smiled. I couldn’t. “Attempting to create a better version of man has been something of interest for our brightest minds, but none have come as close as you. Now here is the part of my monologue that you must pay close attention to and consider every option.”
I did focus on him a little harder; previously my attention was drawn to the goons who eyed me indifferently.
“In a facility closer to the edge of the front lines we have a facility filled with minds like yours. Doctors, professors and other prodigies working on a project that will aid us in this war against your people,” Isay told me. His accent was breaking and I could hear German. My body did indeed grow tenser when I realized what was happening. “We are offering you an escape from this hellish country to the comfort of a mountain castle where you can help us develop a soldier that can put the world in its place. There is scum on this earth, Doctor and I believe you are the one to help us be rid of it. Note, however, that if you refuse you will be taken forcibly into Germany and if you don’t co-operate, you will be tortured slowly…for months.”
Grigory appeared beside me, his arms raised in surrender as a third goon pushed him closer to ‘officer Isay’ with the end of his gun. I didn’t have much choice in the matter; the result would always be the same. If I fought back they would take me and I lacked the strength to kill myself. I soon made my decision and nodded towards the smiling German.
“Very well,” I told him clearly. “I will help you make a monster.”
The German grinned, his white teeth gleaming amongst his beard, happy with my choice, even if I wasn’t entirely.
Be sure to follow!