01 Feb The Lazarus Experiment
I’m an antiques dealer. It’s a job that pays the bills, but most of the time I come across incredibly boring and often ugly things that I can buy cheap and turn a profit on.
Throughout my career I’ve found a few strange artefacts, and I’ve made some decent contacts that will help me discover lost items, for a share of the profit of course. Sometimes I’ll even get called to different counties, which is fine because I quite like to experience new cultures, and see what weird things people leave behind there.
That being said, recently I’ve come across a pile of documents that all describe something called the Lazarus Experiment, and while I’m still waiting to find out its authenticity, I thought I might as well share it with you fine people.
So below are a few entires that I picked out, I’m not exactly sure what to make of them.
November 10th: Day 0.
I’ve always been a man of few words, but this past week has been so full of peculiar events, I’ve finally decided to keep a journal. Even if never read by anyone, my thoughts will still exist on paper; An oddly comforting thought.
Currently I’m being moved to a secret facility. They’ve told me it’s some sort of bunker situated deep underground; One where I can finally realise my full scientific potential. Seeing as I’m in the back of a covered truck, not being able to see outside, I can only say we’ve traveled for about twelve hours at this point.
It all escalated so suddenly earlier today, when the state decided that I can be of some help to their cause. Unrest has been on the rise lately around the country, and everyone knows in their heart that war is inevitable.
Honestly, I’ve never been into politics. I consider myself to be apolitical, and I believed the rumours were exaggerated. At least I did until last night when vandals broke into the university building, where they completely wrecked havoc upon my office and left obscenities on the walls; Several slurs and warnings to get out of town. I cannot fathom why they hate me so much, I am a simple physicist with some slight unconventional ideas.
As I entered my office this morning to clean what remained, I was approached by two men in shiny new military uniforms. At first I was confused as to why they were with the military and not the police. I naturally assumed they were there to question me about the events that had transpired the night before, but they showed no interest in that.
I have to say, they were extraordinarily polite young men. The military usually treated people like myself with much less respect. These men, however, treated me as an equal.
The older of the two was a man of higher rank in the military. He told me my work was well known to them, and that I had a unique opportunity to serve my country; Not on the front, nor on any battlefield, but in a state of the art laboratory.
I couldn’t say no to such an offer. I have learned throughout my life that denying the state is a bad idea. Those who do, are oftentimes taken away never to be seen again.
Time and discretion was at the essence, meaning I would have to leave with them immediately. I demanded to see my family, but they simply told me to write a letter and they would ensure that my wife received it.
My dearest Leah,
I have been requested by the state due to my research. I wish I could tell you this in person, however our country is no longer safe. We all know war is coming. Everyone has to contribute to protect those we love, even if not on the battlefield. It is a great honour, but I leave you with a heavy heart and longing in my soul. I will be back soon enough to see our son take his first step. I think we should name him Adam, maybe I will even be there for his birth. I love you always.
Yours truly, Elazar
I will finish my first entry here, the driver says we will arrive shortly.
November 12th: Day 2.
I’ve been guided throughout the facility today. There are twelve floors all underground, but I will remain confined to the fourth floor. I have never seen such sophisticated equipment, and with it I can finally prove my theories!
The Director of this facility is a military man. An aged soul like myself, but still as strong as ever. He has been put in charge of monitoring the work happening here. The name will be the ‘Lazarus Experiment,’ a bit grandiose for my taste, but I will happily follow orders after being given this gift.
Another thing which I found quite odd was my new, fake name. The director said it was for my own safety, as this work should never be linked to any of us. So from here on out, I will call myself Peter, as long as I remain on the premises.
November 17th: Day 7.
For the past five days I’ve attempted to explain the physics behind my project. During the meetings I got the feeling that none of them like me very much, all except for the Director, who managed to convince them all to have faith in me. He said my experiments were essential to our cause.
It’s quite simple actually, I told them. I do not wish to alter reality, but rather to create a rift through time itself, and bring people to our time just mere moments before their deaths. By doing this they will live, but events from the past will not change at all, because they are taken away, rather than being killed. Of course this requires some knowledge about when and where they died, which limits the capabilities of the machine I will build, but nonetheless, it will change the course of history.
In a few days the Director will grant me full control over the fourth floor, with a crew of 17 to help me conduct my research.
June 22nd: Day 955.
It has been almost three years since I entered this wretched facility. On the way we have faced so many setbacks I almost lost faith. The thought of being without my family rendered my mind useless; I just wanted to see them once, but my superiors refused me that privilege. By now my son has been born, I’ve missed his first words and first steps. I just hope he’s healthy.
I’ve also overheard some chatter. The Director has mentioned another project on several occasions. It has just been a whisper here and there, but they call it ‘Operation Barbarossa.’
No matter, I know the war is raging, and many lives have been claimed. Soon my machine prototype will be ready. Maybe then will we end the war, and I can finally see my beloved family again.
November 3rd: Day 1089.
It worked, it finally worked! My machine, my theories, I was right!
Last evening we decided, after months of planning, to finally try out our prototype. On our first attempt we would not bring back any more than seven subjects, all from the front lines of the battle. Our goal was to monitor their reaction from being brought back from the dead.
Every superior, including the Director; Was present during our first and most important test. I was honoured to flip the switch, and I smiled excitedly as I did.
A part of me worried that the machine would not be able to handle the vast force we put on it. That alone is unlike anything ever created in our world. The pylons started rotating at an accelerating rate, quickly reaching as much as ten thousand rotations per minute. The machine held together gracefully as a bright blue light shot out from its core, illuminating our anticipating faces.
We stood in silence for ten minutes, the light increasing in intensity for each passing second. Soon it was too much to look at directly, as if staring at a brilliant blue sun. Suddenly seven small portals appeared scattered around the laboratory; They were dormant for a few minutes, but then out of nowhere one man fell from each portal. Their bodies slumped down on the ground where they lied silently.
My crew ran over to check on their vitals. Sure enough, they were all alive, but unconscious. Upon looking at their IDs we could confirm their identities. All had died in the same battle, although not knowing each other. Now they were by our side, unscathed from the war.
It’s an achievement that will be remembered for millennia to come. No longer will wives lose their husbands to battle, no longer will children have to grow up without a father. We… I have saved them all!
November 10th: Day 1096.
Each man we brought back remained asleep for about a week, but this morning they all awoke almost simultaneously.
At first not a single one uttered a word to us, they remained awake, but completely unresponsive to our inquiries. We prodded them and shook them, but nothing happened until exactly three hours after their awakening.
The first man we interviewed spoke of his death. He had been shot in his chest, which punctured a lung. Despite his injury he couldn’t bleed out, his blood had frozen on the cold battlefield, leaving him to gasp for air until he finally froze to death. He had died alone without anyone to comfort him during his last moments on earth.
It was impossible, if my machine worked correctly he would be brought back just before that fatal gunshot, yet he remembered the events surrounding his death.
The man knew he should be dead, but didn’t appear shocked or at all surprised to be sitting with us without a single scratch. He was calm, but also anhedonic, joyless.
Tonight I’ll sleep uneasy, this experiment no longer feels like a hopeful attempt at saving lost souls. Something sinister lurks in the portals of the dead.
December 12th: Day 1128.
I’m finally beginning to realise the magnitude of my mistake. It has now been approximately one month since the first subjects awoke. I cannot bring myself to call them human anymore, not after what I’ve seen them do. They are simply no longer who they used to be.
When asked whether they would continue the war effort, they seemed unafraid and careless about any harm that might occur, even though they already experienced the pain of death. They have lost their most basic human instinct: To stay alive.
They are all dead now, all save for a single soldier we have isolated in a padded cell, a place where he is unable to hurt himself. It’s our own fault of course, we failed to monitor them at every hour of the day.
Three of the seven subjects hung themselves in their rooms, two others repeatedly smashed their heads against the wall until their skulls cracked, and the final subject somehow got a hold of a gun.
The last one haunts me the most. He had a gun but chose not to shoot himself in the head. In stead he opted to shoot himself in the gut, firing all eight rounds of the pistol. It took him two hours to bleed out, and through it all he never spoke a word, just stared at us as we tried to help him, emptiness filling his eyes.
Despite this major setback, the Director is still confident in our cause. He claims with modifications we can fix the machine, and bring back healthy subjects to fight in our war.
September 8th: Day 1763.
As time goes on I have almost forgotten the feeling of sunlight warming my skin, or the face of my beautiful wife. She was always too good for me, a monster like myself doesn’t deserve any pity or salvation.
It has been almost two years since our first batch of people were brought back from their deaths. Since then I have modified my machine to bring back a much larger scale of soldiers.
23154: A number I will never allow myself to forget. That is the number of soulless men I have helped bring back. Men that were immediately sent to one of the two fronts we’re currently fighting on.
I can’t imagine the horrors of fearless soldiers fighting without a cause, not longing for love nor freedom. Even in such a large number it’s hopeless, war has no winner.
I pleaded repeatedly with the Director to shut the project down. I told him the Lazarus Experiment was a pointless way of prolonging death, that these men were no longer human, but he was adamant that we continue, and I follow orders, in fear of what will happen to my family if I don’t.
June 6th: Day 2035.
“The war is lost!” Were drunken yells that echoed through the hallways of the facility. The Director stumbled across the concrete floor, almost shattering his bottle of wine against the wall. The other superiors quickly escorted him away.
Me and my crew were kept in separate rooms while the superiors assessed the situation. After a few hours of waiting in anticipation, a guard entered my room and announced that the experiment was over.
I was relieved to say the least. After more than five years I would finally be able to go home and see my family. I asked to see the Director one last time to say farewell and thank him for the opportunity. I do not look up to him as much these days, but he served his country like I did, and for that he deserves my respect.
The Director was sobering up when I met him, still a bit worn out from the alcohol, but clear enough to speak his mind. He told me I was a great scientist that should have gotten much more out of life than I did. He told me he was sorry, but that he not choice but to send me away, he even shook my hand before I left.
I wouldn’t be going home. The superiors told me it was due to the war. They said I would be sent to a camp where my family was waiting for me, the only place that was still safe for people like myself.
It doesn’t really matter where I go, as long as I can see my wife and son. I wonder if he will even know who I am after all these years. I wonder what my wife has told him about me.
I’ve never heard of the place I’m heading. The guards call it Auschwitz, I hope it’s nice.