INTO THE FRYING PAN Tom Mazanec This is a companion piece to my "Up the Ladder", featuring the other side's actions at the same time as the other piece is occurring. Prologue Auschwitz 1942 The dark night was powdered with stars...not even a moon to dim them. The bolide appeared near the Zenith and quickly brightened. It slowly descended through the sky, and the grumbling began to be heard. It grew to a roar, and the dazzing light fell to the no man's land surrounding the camp, actually slowing as it came. Then it stopped and quickly went out, and the roar quieted. The searchlights swung around to where it had landed. There was a large semispherical metal object that had a top that tapered as a long cone beyond what the searchlights revealed. Machine guns began firing in the direction of the object, to no effect. A few moments later, a triangular opening appeared at the bottom of the long cone-like top and a ramp slid down from it to the ground. Out came a line of people wearing what looked like suits of armor, who begam marching up toward the barbed wire surrounding the camp. They proceeded to walk into the wire, cutting it with some wand like instruments. Again the machine guns blazed away, and again no results were obtained. As the figures approached, they were seen to be surrounded in a faint haze. Their faces seemed dark behind the visors of their uniforms, and looked somehow wrong. They entered the camp, while sirens screamed and wailed. The guards and some of the inmates came out to see what was happening. Close up, the intruders appeared to be wearing various animal masks. They wore belts with various implements on them, and they replaced the wands on the belts and took off hair dryers or some similar looking devices. These were pointed at any person nearby, official or inmate, and that person dropped to the ground. This all David saw from the door of his quarters as the invaders approached. He was a Sonderkommando member and well aware of what was happening at the camp. This new development both excited and scared him...maybe it was some strange rescue? Or some attempt to cover up the exterminating of the Jews and other "undesirables" by killing everyone? He walked out the door and asked "are you Allies? Americans? English? Or-". The figure approaching him pointed the round, thick barreled weapon at him and David blacked out. ***************************************************************************************** He woke up on a softly padded cot at the wall of a large room. His neck and throat felt strange, and when he felt it there was a metal collar there. David tried to pull the collar off, but it seemed glued to his skin...indeed he could not feel a division between metal and skin, as if they were welded together. There were cots all around him, with the inmates lying on them. They all had the shiny collars on. He got up and began walking through the room. It was lit up, and yet he could not see where the light was coming was as if every object was shadowlessly illuminated with no source. Near the end he came to a resistance, like feeling a jet of water without water. He pushed harder and the force grew stronger, as if his hand was pressed against a soapy, slippery surface. Between this "wall" and the actual wall were a few more cots, and on them were men with collars on too, but wearing the uniforms of the Nazi guards and officers rather than the prison uniform he wore. A groaning near him alerted him that another was awakening. The man was older than him, and turned over and got off the cot. "Where are we? What happened?" he asked. "I am sure I don't know the answer to either question. I am David Weiss. Who are you?" "Daniel Goldstein." He looked around. "What kind of place is this?" "Again, I have no idea. Let's see if we can wake up the others." This only took a few minutes, not so much because they reached the others but because everyone seemed to be waking up at once. Several were pantomiming feeling the invisible wall. Then the Nazis on the other side of the "wall" woke up. "Jewish pigs! What have you done!?" exclaimed one and pulled out his gun. He fired the shots "BANG-BANG-BANG" until the gun was empty. The Jews tried to escape the gunfire, dodging the cots. Then silence reigned. Slowly, Daniel, David and several others approached the guard. He was still pulling on the trigger, as if he did not know that the gun was empty. In front of him was a small cluster of bullets, suspended in mid-air like flies in amber. There was a chirping sound, and David turned to look. A triangular door had appeared in one of the walls, and someone...or something...walked in. David recognized what it was. It was an anteater, walking on its hind legs. The body was shaped wrong for a man in a suit, it had to be real. The anteater wore skin-tight trunks and, as it came closer, David could see that it also had an armband on which were flickering, changing text and images. It wore a collar with a large jewel in the center. "Greetings, subjects. My name is Narvon-964-Myrmecophaga. You will be studied by us for the education of our people for dealing with your species at this date in time." The jewel glowed bright and dim in time with the creature's words. "You first." the anteater said when it had reached David. It took him by the arm and led him to the strange door. Walking fast, David seemed to bounce along, in spite of his camp-weakened body. The hallway outside the door continued for awhile, and had a rounded ceiling. That strange light was everywhere. "Where are we? What are you? What is going on?" "We are on Mars. You have been unconscious for nearly a month. I am a mammaloid... in language closest to yours, an engineered human-animal hybrid, with enhanced intelligence. You have been rescued from Nazi Germany to explain certain paradoxes of your people. Come along." "This makes no sense! Mars? That's crazy!" "COME ALONG!" They reached a location on the hallway indicated by a indigo-violet light on the wall near the curve of the ceiling. The anteater creature reached up and pressed the light with its paw-hand. Another opening appeared. "Eta-Mishnin-1417-Myrmecophaga with Subject 1 reporting." There were two more of the half-human half-animal monsters... one a weasel and one an otter. The weasel said "Very good. Dismissed, Mishin. Subject 1, sit in the chair." "My name is David." The weasel like being paused. "Very well...David. Sit in the chair." "And if I refuse?" The weasel touched the armband on its left arm, which had changing designs on it like the ones on the anteater and the otter. David felt something like an electric current go through his body for a few seconds. "We can increase the intensity through your collar to any degree we wish... or kill you in agony. We have already killed several Nazis we have previously captured with pain, and we can kill you. We do not wish to, since you are a limited resource and we do not understand you. We understand the Nazis... humans are such killers they will kill each other if they cannot kill mammaloids. But there are paradoxes in the behavior of the Jews we must resolve." "What paradoxes?" Again, the weasel touched its armband several times. David flinched, but no more pain came. Instead, a clear panal rose out of the table between them and a scene appeared. It was in three dimensions and full color, just like looking in a window or mirror. Two Jews, dressed in the outfit with the Star-of-David were there, a man and a woman. There was also a small boy, also wearing the Star-of-David. There were three Nazi guards. One gave a gun to the boy. "Shoot your filthy pig parents!" he ordered the boy, while the other two guards held weapons on them. Sobbing hysterically, the boy held the gun. "SHOOT THEM!" and the boy complied. Then the guards emptied their weapons into all three of the Jews. "This scene was recorded by our synsects...robot insects...three weeks ago. Why did the boy not turn the gun on the guards?" "He was outnumbered! They would have killed him!" "They killed him anyway. Why did he not take a guard to death with him?" "He couldn't! They had him and his parents at gunpoint!" The weasel pressed the armband again and the screen retracted. "On April 19, 1943 the Nazis attempted to take the remaining Jews of the Warsaw Ghetto to an extermination camp. The Jews rebelled, and held the Nazis off till May 16, killing at least 17 and wounding scores. After 1947, Isreal fought four wars against far greater numbers of Arabs, winning all four. Yet repeatedly we see Jews going to the camps peacefully, submissively. Why do you not all fight, if you know you will be killed anyway?" "We can't fight against -" started David, and then stopped. "1943? After 1947? But this is 1942!" "Yes, it is 1942, but we are from 3015. Now, why did nearly all the Jews of Europe go unresisting into the camps, when a few years later they defeated repeatedly the Arabs of the Middle East?" "We have no choice! They have the guns!" "Why did you not try to resist when they would kill you anyway, with knife or fist?" "We were helpless! Can't you understand that?" The weasel looked at him a long moment. Then the otter said "Sir, perhaps they did not at once realize the beginning of their Koŝmarego from their Koŝmaro." The weasel touched his armband again. "Mishnin, please return" A moment later the door reappeared and the anteater entered. "Take Subject 1 back and bring Subject 2." Daniel was Subject 9. David talked to him and some of the other "Subjects" as they were returned. All told the same story...the Things out there kept interrogating them on why the Jews had not resisted the Nazis when they came for them. Half the Jews were taken for interrogation that day, and the other half the next. In between, they were fed bland food by the animalistic guards, served on flat tables which rose out of the floor and sank back to disappear when they were done. The bathrooms had been shown to them...the locations were pointed out and a palm to the wall caused the doors to appear, and then to vanish when the wall on the other side was pressed. The Nazis, in their section of the room, seemed to have no such facilities and simply had to use a corner of the floor. Occasionally, one would be removed. The first to be approached attacked the guard. The guard did something with its armband and the man fell to the floor in convulsions, sceaming in a voice that David had not heard in all the horrors he had already experienced. The man suddenly stopped after twenty seconds or so and lay there, twisted in body and with a look of infinite agony on his face. The body was left there, and another Nazi taken. Nobody resisted after that. It was soon obvious that the man was dead, but he was left to lie there. One by one over those two days, Nazis were taken out. They never game back. Finally, last of all, the body was dragged out. Another day arrived, judging by the sleeping and waking they did in the constant light of the room. Food was brought, and the Jews asked questions of the bringers, but no replies, or curt demands for silence. It was during one of these visitations when the little spheres appeared. They floated through the air like bubbles, and actually looked a little like small bubbles. They were silvery, about the size of marbles, and had an iridescent sheen to them. The guard turned around, saw one approaching him, and swung at it. The sphere rose up and touched his arm. He froze a moment and then fell to the floor limp. The spheres began pursuing the Jews, and as they were touched by them, they too dropped. David tried to get away, but several of the tiny balls swarmed him and he was touched. He, too, passed out. ******************************************************************************************* David awoke on a bed. There was a strange man standing by his side, and on the other side was a bipedal wolf or dog, one of the strange creatures that had held him captive. "Welcome to the other side of Mars. We rescued you from the Belters with a little trick some of us came up with. We saw them abduct you from the camps. Some of you were beheaded and kept alive in tanks, to have their brains destructively scanned. We hope those were the Nazis. If you are a Jew you have nothing to fear, but if you are a Nazi just wearing the outfit we will try you and punish you." said them man. "I am David Weiss. Yes, I am a Jew. What is going on?" "Up in the future, in 3015 AD a war greater than the one you are fighting is breaking out. And this world, in 1942, is only a battlefield in that war." said the canine creature. "You are really a dog? And you can talk?" "I am a coyote mammaloid. And yes, I can talk. Rest and prepare yourself, David. We will have much to talk about." The End