Chamber of Horrors,
Part Two

 

home / season five / episode twenty / act I

   

Dachau Concentration Camp
Munich, Germany
January 18, 1945

Sydney shivered as he tried to find a warm place in the bed. The number of people he and Jacob shared their blankets with had now increased from only each other to more than ten. However, even all the people crowded into such a small space couldn’t reduce the feelings of terror they had, with only each other and Henri to confide in.

“Are you scared too?”

Sydney turned his head as his brother whispered in his ear so that only he could hear. “Yes. Very.”

“Do you think they’ll select us tomorrow?”

“I don’t know. Do you?”

“I don’t know either.”

The two boys huddled together, trying to get warmth from each other as the winds threw snow against the windowpanes and howled around the building. A red glow lit the sky, showing through the window about their bed.

“Does it still hurt?”

In response to Jacob's question, Sydney pulled up the sleeve of his jacket and showed a strip of bruising, once dark brown but now slowly fading to green and yellow, the bruising having lasted longer to the malnutrition that was beginning to affect both boys. “Not much any more. How about your foot?”

Jacob shook his head, trying to ignore the throbbing pain that still coursed its way up his leg as a result of a meeting that the two boys had had with one of the camp’s most brutal guards some days earlier.

“Why…?” began Sydney quietly.

“I thought we agreed - no more ‘why.'” Jacob closed his eyes and turned slightly away from his twin brother.

Sydney sighed. “I’m sorry. You’re right.” He turned over and tugged gently on the blanket, to no avail. Sighing again, he shut his eyes and tried to go to sleep.

March 2, 1945

“Jacob?” Sydney, sitting on the steps outside block 8 and waiting for Henri to come out, nudged his brother with his foot. “Are you okay?"

Jacob sat on the step below, his knees drawn up under his chin, and his eyes focused on a point on the floor. Through his parted lips, his breath could be heard: a harsh, rasping sound that made Sydney shiver as he lowered himself carefully to the ground. He reached over and touched Jacob on the shoulder. He could feel the heat coming off his brother and, eyes wide, Sydney stepped back for a moment. Only three days before they had been moved out of the block and into a private room in Block Five. One of the other people in their bed had had the same fever and, on the morning that they had been taken to their new living quarters, several of the room’s other occupants had dragged the dead man’s body away, to be burned with the others in the crematorium. Sydney crept in close to his brother again, wrapped both arms around him and held him.

“Jacob, please. I need you. I can’t let you go. If you go, I’ll be all alone. Don’t leave me in this place, without you. I need you.”

Sydney never heard the door open but he felt the motionless figure of his brother lifted out of his arms and looked up to see Henri cradling his brother.

“Henri, he isn’t…?”

“Not yet. Come with me, Sydney.”

The doctor looked up in annoyance as the door to his room slammed back against the wall.

“Pardon me, Herr Doktor,” the guard began to speak. “I tried to prevent them disturbing you, but…”

“Dr. Leiden,” Henri stepped around the guard and displayed the limp body of Jacob to the stunned doctor. “I don’t know what it is, but I think…”

“Typhus.”

Henri nodded in agreement and Dr. Leiden glanced up at him as he took the now unconscious body of Jacob out of the man’s arms. “You know something of medicine?”

“Yes, Herr Doktor.” Henri straightened to attention. “I was a doctor in Paris before I came to Dachau.”

“Hmm,” the doctor considered as he rubbed his clean-shaven chin with one finger. “And you have been taking care of my boys?”

“Yes, Herr Doktor.”

“Where have you been working?”

“Herr Doktor, I beg to report that I have no specific job.” Henri spoke reluctantly, knowing that it was always such people who were given the worst work - or else no work at all.

“Good. Then you can help me with my boys in the laboratory. You will report for work tomorrow morning here in this block at six o’clock.”

Henri allowed a smile to pass fleetingly over his face. “It will be my pleasure, Herr Doktor.”

The doctor eyed him snidely for a moment before turning back to Jacob. “Your pleasure? Well, we will see about that…”

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware
September 21, 1966

The six-year-old boy was led back to the cell, his mind still buzzing with the information he had had to absorb for the most recent simulation but still feeling that something was missing. He was lonely. There were times when his mind went back over the people whose acquaintance he had made in his short life and he wished most sincerely to see some of them again. Like that lady that had visited once but had never come back. The one who had made him talk about his family and had given him hope that he might one day see them again. But the memory of those faces, voices and other sounds and smells that had been associated with home were gradually beginning to fail as well. He was thrust into the room by the strong arm of one of the sweepers and allowed himself to drop onto his hands and knees as the door slammed shut behind him. Curling himself up into a ball on the cold, hard floor of his cell, he shut his eyes and tried to imagine how it felt when his mother held him.

The feeling of panic built in him as he realized that he was unable to recall how it had felt. He wrapped both arms around himself and, sitting up, began to rock himself gently from side to side, humming softly the songs he vaguely remembered being sung to him. But the memory evaporated almost as soon as it appeared and Jarod was left with only a vague hint of it in his mind and the tightening of grief in his chest. He rolled over so that he was again on his hands and knees and crawled over to the bed, pulling the blanket over him and trying to hide underneath it, to try and find a source of warmth and comfort where there was none. He had no idea that as he lay, wracked with pain and sorrow, fighting against the urge to allow himself to sob, two pairs of eyes were watching. One peered in through the bars of the air vent, eyes glinting in the darkness as he felt the sorrow that Jarod was also suffering. The other pair of eyes watched from a room far above this scene of anguish, shining with unshed tears. It was not only a child that remembered the pain of having lost a family. Sydney, too, remembered how much he had suffered at such a loss. He turned and abruptly left the room.

Sydney entered his office to find his brother waiting for him, hands linked in front of him on the desk and his eyes fixed on the door. Not perceiving his twin at first, Sydney jumped violently when he finally noticed him.

“Waiting for me? Or just trying to haunt my office?”

“Keeping an anniversary.”

“Really?” Sydney growled, dropping papers onto his desk and preparing to leave again. “Which one?”

“The death of our parents.” His brother spoke quietly and pulled a photograph out of his pocket and tossed it across the desk. The photograph showed the boys as babies, being held by their parents at their home in Belgium, prior to their flight into France. Sydney glanced down at it and then dropped into the chair behind him with a groan.

“What do you want, brother? Why are you tormenting me with this?”

“Because I asked him to.” Another figure slipped out of the shadows and stood behind Jacob.

“Mrs. Parker? What are you doing here?”

“I need your help, Sydney.”

“I don’t…”

“Understand?” Jacob stood and began to pace the length of the room. “You never did, my brother, about things as important as this. You wouldn’t admit to yourself the truth about what we went through as children and now you deny this. You’ve been working with that boy for two years…”

“So that’s what this is about.” Sydney mentally kicked himself for not realizing it earlier. “Jarod.”

Catherine turned to him, a pleading look on her face. “You have to help me to get him out of here, Sydney. You saw what he was going through.”

“You were watching?”

She nodded. “You can’t let him go on suffering like that. It might destroy him completely and then the Centre would have no further use for him. Do you know what happens to people who are of no use?”

“Yes,” Sydney's voice was strangled. “I know.”

* * * * * * * * *

Mayo Clinic
Research Center
Scottsdale, Arizona

Jarod threw his arms instinctively over his face and felt the wave of heat force the sleeve of his jacket onto his arm. Sinking to his knees, he heard the flames roar above his head as he reached out an arm in the darkness. After several seconds, his hand found the smooth leather of the shoes of the office’s only other occupant. With his hand on the leg of the desk to use as leverage, he used much of his strength to pull the unconscious man along the floor and finally towards the door, which was lit by the green emergency sign that, fortunately, had not been extinguished by the fire. Slamming the door shut behind him and blocking out the flames, Jarod took in several deep breaths and tried to suppress the urge to cough until he saw stars.

Leaning over, he quickly assessed Eaton’s condition and found that he was still alive, breathing and his heart beating somewhat slowly but regularly. For several moments, forgetful of the danger only a wall away, Jarod tried to wake him -- but the doctor remained unconscious. Standing, Jarod pulled an extinguisher off the wall, opened the door and stared wildly around him. The fire was almost completely gone. The fact that the air conditioning was turned off and also that the door had prevented oxygen from getting to the fire meant that only a few small places were flaming and these Jarod destroyed with the extinguisher before looking around again. Only traces of it now remained - ashes on the desk that has been a notebook, a scorch mark on the ceiling and the crumbs of glass from the broken test tubes and beakers on the burnt wooden surface, all covered with foam but still visible through it. The room was also incredibly hot and Jarod could still feel the heat rising up to his face.

About to turn back again, Jarod saw something out of the corner of his eye and, bending down, picked up the needle and blackened spoon that lay on the floor, the heat making him drop them again rapidly. A metal casing showed what was, before the fire, a cigarette lighter and told Jarod much more than he needed to know. With a heavy heart, he turned to go back to the man that lay on the floor outside the burnt room.

* * * * * * * * *

The Centre
Blue Cove, Delaware

The doors flew open as Miss Parker strode briskly down the corridor to Broots’ office. He looked up as she entered and considered making a glib comment about the amount of time it had taken but her expression dissuaded him.

“What is it?”

“Well, Lyle was looking around Sydney's office to get some information and it gave me the idea to start searching through personnel files to see if this person already had a connection to anyone in the Centre.”

“Lyle?”

“He was interested in Kronos I.”

Miss Parker's face took on a look of amusement, her minding having temporarily forgotten the reason for her return. “And what did you tell him?”

“I…I told him where we found the information about it when we were looking.”

“And did you tell him why we were looking?” Miss Parker's voice made Broots jump.

“N…no. And he didn’t ask.”

Miss Parker thought for several seconds about that before dismissing the thoughts of her brother from her mind.

“And?”

“And what?”

“What did you find after he left?”

“Well, it took me a while to find anything, what with all of the information that’s available in those things…”

Miss Parker banged a fist on the table in front of him, making him jump. “What did you find, Broots?”

”This.”

He turned the DSA player to her and slipped in the disk that was lying on the desk. “There was a link in Lyle’s file and I found this DSA hidden away in the archives under something called Leiden.”

“Leiden?”

“Yeah. It’s a German word. Apparently it means ‘suffering.'”

“Suffering?”

“Mm hmm.”

“Hmmm.”

Broots started up the player and sat back so that Miss Parker could look over his shoulder.

A young Lyle, about twenty-five years old, sat on a laboratory stool and peered into a microscope. Words at the bottom of the screen read Die Fakultät.

“What have you discovered?”

The words were spoken in a slightly broken English and Miss Parker's eyebrows shot up, recognizing the tone of it.

“If you use the product I’ve created, there should be no difficulties in completely removing the conscious barriers that your subjects could put forward in an attempt to avoid answering your questions.”

The man stood with his fingertips pressed together and nodded.

“Good, good. And side-effects?”

“Nothing permanent. As requested, a temporary amnesia will be produced and will last for approximately eight to ten hours after the administration of the drug, depending on the speed of the individual’s metabolic rate.”

“And in what state will they be to answer our questions?”

Lyle glanced back to the pages in front of him but somehow Miss Parker was convinced that it was for effect.

“The body will relax into a state of some sedation, but will be able to think and speak as normal. The conscious mental barriers will be broken down and the individual will have no reason not to answer the questions you choose to ask.”

“Good. We will test it now.”

Lyle smirked and looked around, presumably for the poor volunteers. His face fell when he realized that he and the doctor were alone and that the doctor had picked up the syringe.

Broots glanced up, shocked but expecting Miss Parker to make some snide remark, but found her to be staring at the screen, her face wearing an expression that was close to sympathy. In the meantime, the figure of her brother had rapidly slumped in his chair, with only the gleam in his eye showing that he was aware of his surroundings.

“Will the drug be infallible?”

“It has a failure rate of 0.04%.” His voice was dreamy.

“Under what circumstances?”

“Certain genetic traits.”

“Which ones?”

“Tests have been unable to determine.”

“How long have you been testing the fallibility rate?”

“The last eight hours.”

The doctor rocked back on his heels and stared thoughtfully out of the window for several seconds.

“A number of subjects will be handed over to this project. You will be assisted in this by one of our other researchers.”

Turning, he left the room. Immediately the door was shut behind the doctor, the two people watching the tape saw Lyle get up and walk over in the direction of the camera.

“Mr. Raines, sir,” he began, looking directly into the camera and Miss Parker gasped aloud at the tenacity of seemingly double-crossing one of the Centre’s partners.

“Mr. Raines, I designed the drug Lethe as we planned. Its actual failure rate is more like nine percent but can be improved to almost 100% with certain improvement that I will inform you of when next I see you. However I have one major limitation to report and one that, I believe, cannot be overcome. The substance has no effect whatever in the short term on pretenders. I have had no opportunity to perform long-term studies but I believe that the effects there would also be negligible. I have been working to overcome it but have, so far, been unable to do so.”

The tape faded to black here and Miss Parker got up from her chair and began to pace the length of the room.

“So Lyle was working with this mystery man, whoever he was, and Raines seems to have been playing the organization he worked for - Die Fakultät - off against the Centre. But this still doesn’t tell us who the man is.”

”We could ask Lyle.”

“Might as well suggest that we ask Raines, wherever they’ve put him since Faith broke his mind.”

Miss Parker continued to pace for a few moments more, then looked up, an idea seeming to dawn in her eyes. Walking over, she grabbed Broots’ collar and pulled him up out of the chair. “Repeat what you said.”

“W…when?”

“Just now.”

“Well, I…I just said we should ask Lyle…”

She let him go and he slumped in his chair in relief.

“Ask Lyle, no. But we could look in his file…”

She walked over to the computer that stood on the table in his office and typed in her high-level security password. Immediately a list of staff files appeared on the screen in front of her. Broots watched, his mouth slack, as she opened the one belonging to her twin brother.

“How did you get that…?”

”Jarod,” Miss Parker responded over her shoulder.

“What?!” Broots’ voice rose to a shriek and he leapt up from his chair as though he’d been shot. “Jarod?!”

“Broots, calm down. I was joking. Daddy gave it to me, during the time that he actually was willing to do things like that for me. I thought he would have changed it. Seems like he didn’t.”

“Oh.” Broots sat himself in the chair again, wishing he hadn’t left it. After a few moments, he looked up again. “Did you find it?”

“Almost…” Miss Parker ran her eyes over the screen and then pointed a finger to a date and a name. “Here…” Her eyes widened and she looked across at Broots in shock. “Would you believe it? Look here…”

* * * * * * * * *

Mayo Clinic, Research Center
Scottsdale, Arizona

“Dr. Eaton? James, can you hear me?”

Jarod watched as the man lying on the bed slowly opened his eyes and looked around passively for a few moments before he finally realized where he was.

“W…what…?”

“It’s okay. You’re going to be fine.”

The man pulled himself up into a sitting position and saw Jarod sitting in a chair by the window holding a medical folder in his hand.

“What happened?”

”Luckily I happened by your office in time to see the fire. Any idea how it started?”

Dr. Eaton looked away for a couple of seconds, considering an appropriate lie that wouldn’t sound too unrealistic but, looking back at Jarod, noticed the gleam in his eye and guessed that he already knew all there was to know.

“Was anything…?”

”Just about all your research was destroyed in the fire. Luckily I was able to contact several universities early this morning and they agreed to sell you the information again, like they did last time. Of course, the price has gone up a little by now. Inflation, you know…”

“But…how do you…?”

“Know? The same way you know about me.” Jarod help up a tape player that he had been concealing behind the medical folder and played it. Immediately the sound of the discussion between Dr. Eaton and the Centre contact filled the room.

On to Act II

 
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