Woven from Rage
Listening to the monotonous surah sounding from the outside, the man at the window was peering into the distance. The landscape was a dull pale wasteland stretching for several kilometers. Red, brown and yellow rocks, scattered on the misty horizon line, lofted to the cloudless sky. It seemed that these blocks of stone held the firmament: they seemed so monumental. But it was not only the nature of Afghanistan that amazed the guest who arrived from afar. This region has changed a lot over the years of the conflict, and it was really frightening to see what the once prosperous Muslim state had turned into.
A twenty-five year old researcher, Mikhail Aleksandrovich Reznikov, was not ready to face the horrors and brutality of war at such a young age. The young man spent his entire adult life in laboratories, university classrooms, and libraries. He had left Moscow only a couple of times, having received a ticket to a sanatorium, where he spent most of the time reading books. Here he had to face a trip to South Asia.
The road to Faizabad alone left indelible impressions, which would arise in a bright multicolored collage of memories throughout his life. The path was both dangerous, difficult, and exciting at the same time: flight by military transport plane to Kazakhstan, and then by helicopter; the extraordinary heat he encountered in July, which was not described in any fiction that he read in between scientific literature. The route from Kabul to the secret facility, called "1-03", was also breathtaking, because he had to follow the mined and shelled winding mountain roads. And the armored personnel carrier served as a traveling transport for Mikhail.
The scientist was moving accompanied by heavily armed KGB officers. On the way, now and then there were destroyed buildings, broken, burned and shot cars. In some of them he saw dried or decomposing corpses. The bodies belonged to both children and adults. Death is merciless, and it rampaged at its home—the war. The researcher realized this immediately on the way to his destination. But the sights encountered along the way could not be compared with what they saw in the walls of a secret facility located in the heart of Baghlan province…
"A man begins to appreciate life only when he realizes that it is about to end. When he finds out about an incurable disease, when a gun is put to his head or a death sentence is passed in the courtroom. Only then does he begin to hear and notice the charms of life—an amazing phenomenon that is granted to people. Only then does he hear nature whispering to him, and see how beautifully the sunset paints the sky and earth in crimson tones. Only then does he realize how dear the close people are and how many words have to be told; but time is inexorably passing away like water through his fingers. Resentment, pain, fear, hatred, all these feelings mix up in a doomed man. He is afraid of death. Afraid of endless emptiness. People also change their attitude to life in war. They begin to recall the faces of their loved ones, and realize how beautiful, colorful and interesting their domestic life is. Such mundane things as little conversations with a loved one, breakfast in a cramped, but cozy kitchen, reading books, kissing, also gain value. Lots of things.
Unfortunately, people do not see happiness in everyday things that make up their lives, and do not appreciate what is given to them. People do not notice death in peacetime either, and behind the transparent veil of everyday affairs, it steals unnoticed on the heels of a person. It is in war that you quickly understand the price of life and freedom, since the thin veil of peaceful existence instantly burns under the onslaught of hatred, fear, pain, and cruelty. Only then you begin to truly appreciate the amazing gift of life.”
“Mikhail Alexandrovich,” a timid female voice interrupted the thoughts of the head of the scientific center.
“Is it time?” Reznikov turned to the young laboratory assistant, who, in his opinion, had no place in this hell.
“The whole council is assembled. We are waiting for you.”
She helpfully handed her supervisor a white coat, and the scientists headed down the long corridor of the military hospital filled with gurneys and stretchers. It was an active military medical institution. Operations were regularly carried out within its walls: limbs were amputated; the wounded were prepared for transportation to their homeland. This building was old. Thick walls, small windows. Several departments, about three hundred places for the wounded, a morgue and a large room that used to be a bomb shelter. At the moment, the deep basement was the secret object named "1-03". The staff of the military hospital were employees of a secret facility.
The lab assistant's name was Lyubov. Apparently, this young girl, who had just graduated from university, was seconded to the facility as she had the professional qualities of a researcher working with biomaterials. Although it sometimes seemed to Mikhail that she got into her place thanks to other skills that were not related to scientific activity. Of course, he did not think so seriously.
The assembled scientists, doctors of the sciences in various fields, were much older than the newly-minted head, but this did not bother Reznikov at all. He knew his worth and knew that the project he was overseeing now was doomed to success. The others would soon realize it. Mikhail was given instructions back in Moscow, which had to be followed and regularly reported to the capital on the implementation of activities carried out during scientific work. The main requirement was based solely on the use of humans as biomaterials, and the task of the scientist was not to touch cybernetics and mechanics but to focus only on the knowledge and capabilities of genetic engineering and medicine in general.
“Comrades!” he began, "I am glad to meet you and I hope that we, a team of the best scientific minds of the great power, will be able to complete the task in the shortest time possible!" His words echoed through the large, voluminous hall with a high ceiling, "I know that we are faced with the task of creating a soldier resembling pagan gods. However, I have gathered you here to discuss the nuances and global problems that you already had to face before my introduction into the team," He was speaking standing up, then sat down at the head of the table, "Please! Who would like to make a presentation?”
After a short pause, accompanied by the rustling of paper and the flipping of book pages, one of those present came to the microphone on the podium.
“Greetings! Mikhail Alexandrovich, it's very nice to meet you," said a gray-haired man in glasses with thick lenses through which, due to distortion, it was impossible to see the eyes, "My name is Konstantin Yurievich. I am the head of the Department of Biologists, and my work is also very closely related to genetic engineering. I can say that, in fact, the only problem we are facing is the subordination of “elementals”. This is what we call the creatures obtained during genome changes and pharmacological support. For the rest, we, Soviet scientists, can do anything," After these words, the applause of colleagues from the audience rang out. The biologist turned the page of the voluminous report and continued. "Your predecessor, Nikolai Osipovich, suffered from his brainchild. It was a real tragedy. No one could save him. Moreover, we barely managed to destroy this creature, which was subject to its own rage.”
"Tell me more," Reznikov interrupted the report.
"As I have already said, we are faced with one problem that has not yet been solved. We cannot subdue the soldiers created within these walls. And if we consider our first steps (at the initial stage we used dying or recently deceased soldiers), then the problems we had to face were obvious. Those who managed to be resuscitated after clinical death simply went crazy after waking up. Our Soviet ideology, sense of duty and the military oath given to the Motherland had absolutely no weight; these people became insane, and, as you understand, crazy people were completely unsuitable for the goals we pursued. Furthermore, there were experiments with the local population. We selected children. The younger, the better. They had to be stolen directly from pastures. But the young shepherds could not be restrained either. Coming to life, these damn savages were in an extremely difficult emotional state and pursued the only goal—to escape at any cost. One day, a boy managed to escape from the "hospital". We are still looking for him. Some eyewitnesses claim to have seen him in the highlands of the Madara district.”
“So what happened to the previous curator?” Reznikov was writing something down in a notebook.
“Nikolai Osipovich died in the mouth of a monster created from a local mongrel. It joined us a few months ago. We fed it periodically. It was such an affectionate dog, but," Konstantin said with annoyance, "after waking up, the animal was enslaved by primitive instincts. Six more guards died that day until they were able to stop this beast. Animals are definitely not suitable for our purposes.”