Batman: A New World

Chapter 16: A Rude Awakening

A Rude Awakening

by Brian Mark

Dr Victor Fries and his Daughter, Heidi, were to awaken in an Ice World ! There is no other way to describe it - a world where they would be free to walk around and explore, but where temperatures were not allowed to reach any higher than -8 Degrees Centigrade ! This was, of course, to prove a natural restriction on their freedom. The secret research facility, in which they now found themselves, was hidden and located somewhere in remote Alaska.

The very first person Victor had spoken to, as he came to, was Professor Gunther Grintz.

- Ah, Good Morning, Herr Doktor ! ( Shaking him rather gruffly ! ) Welcome to the 1990' s ! My name is ...

- ( Beginning to recognise him ) I know who you are. .. It's Grintz isn' t it ? Doktor Gunther Grintz.

- Well, actually, I am Professor Gunther Grintz now. But you may call me Gunther ! May I call you Viktor ?

- No, you most certainly may not, you Schweinhund ! I remember you. You worked with us on the first Nazi Cryogenics Programme, then got transferred. The last time I heard about you, you were involved in inhumane experiments on women and children in Auschwitz !

- O come now, Herr Doktor, surely you know, that you can' t believe everything that you hear in wartime. How did you come to hear of such rumours anyhow ? I was not aware of any such rumours !

- Oh I know enough to convict you of a list of war crimes the length of my arm. You were a disgrace to the German People, Grintz, and, obviously, given the fact that I find you here in your present capacity, things haven' t changed !

- Now, now, now, Herr Doktor, you will come to discover, in due time, that nothing could be further from the truth. You just need a little time, that' s all. This all comes as an initial shock to you and your lovely daughter, but you will come round. You just wait and see ! I am imagining you must be wondering, how I can be standing here in front of you, still alive, after all these years, just as you are.

- I can only imagine, Herr Professor, that you, too, used my formula and were frozen, like myself. A child could have worked that one out.

- Ah, but he would not have known, that I was, in fact, the very first test subject, and risked my very life to prove that your formula worked, Herr Doktor ! I do of course owe you a tremendous debt of gratitude.

- All I know is, that I have heard quite enough from you, thank you very much. Look, is there anyone else that I could talk to ?

- Perhaps I will get the Colonel for you.

- The Colonel. You mean, this is a military establishment ?

- Jawohl, Mein Herr, Jawohl. I' m afraid it is.

And it was in the course of his conversation with the Colonel, and its immediate aftermath, that Viktor Fries was to come to appreciate something of the true horror of their plight !

- Well good morning Fries, nice to have you finally with us. It is indeed an honour to meet the Father of this project, at long last. Oh, my name is Skinner, by the way, Lieutenant Colonel Anderson Skinner. No doubt you must be wondering, where you are, and what you are doing here.

- I want to know how my daughter is. Where is she, is she alright ? And why is this a military facility ?

- All in good time, Fries, all in good time. Your daughter is in the room next to you, and is being revived even as we speak.

Straight away, Fries tried to get up, but, of course, he was still quite weak, and almost fell over. Skinner called for an Orderly to come and help him to the room next door, just in time, as Heidi began to come to.

- Vati, is that you ? She said with a low weak voice.

- Why hello, Liebschen, yes it is me, Heidi, don't worry about a thing, you are quite safe, everything is going to be quite alright. We just have to get you warmed up a little first, that's all.

- Well Doktor, that is one thing that we have to talk about, said Skinner rather quietly !

In the course of the next few days Skinner was to explain to Fries, what had happened to them both, and the true and secret nature of the Research Facility, in which they now found themselves. Vickor was catapulted into a state of deep despair and anger, at what had happened to him and his daughter. They were both now effectively imprisoned in a different world. And, for either to effect an escape from that prison, would mean instant death, ... by warming !

Two days later ...

- We need you to co-operate with us, Fries, Skinner said to him. The research has reached a brick wall. We are no nearer to being able to overcome the Minus Eight Barrier now. than you would have been all those years ago. We thought we had come close, but unfortunately, all our test subjects just didn' t quite make it. We need more Arctic Soldiers, Fries, and we need them to be able to move freely in both worlds and climates. It's in your own interests, Doctor, if you are ever to be able to return to the real world and a normal life again. You need a breakthru every bit as much as we do.

- And, if I refuse ?

- Your daughter, Doctor, your daughter.

- Why, you ... you wouldn 't, ... you couldn't. ... Why, you are no better than the monsters I had to deal with in Nazi Germany !

- Now, now, now, Doctor Fries, can I call you Viktor ?... Don 't you think that, that is, ever so slightly, a bit of an exaggeration ?

- But you threaten the life of my daughter !

- I did no such thing, Doctor Fries, I did no such thing, ... but there may be certain circumstances, that could arise in the future, when we might have to turn the heat up a little !

- Herr Colonel Skinner, I pity you. ... I really do pity you.

- Pity me, Fries ? ( Smirking ) Why ?

- Because my daughter and I, as terrible as things are for us, have only lost our freedom. But you, ... you, Herr Colonel, have lost your very soul !

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