SHAINA - Zascha Bärenz - ebook

SHAINA ebook

Zascha Bärenz

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Opis

The world we live in today is changing. Almost forgotten, mystical abilities that slumber in each of us are rediscovered and consciously elicited. In the middle of the 21st century the first child of the -others- is born, but the special abilities of these further developed people fuel suspicion and hatred. The story of SHAINA takes place a good century after the birth of the first of these children. It is about friendship and unconditional love. But the past, which was marked by oppression, war and racism, lives on in the consciousness of the people. Even if the heroes of this story venture into safety within the city limits, they cannot suppress the horror of the Cold War.

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Liczba stron: 347

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DIRECTION

I dedicate this book to my beloved daughter.

Besides, this book is dedicated to all those people who have always seen me and believed in me!

EXPRESSION OF THANKS

The most important thing comes first. For me one of the most important elements in my book is thanksgiving. Without you, you wonderful people at my side, I wouldn't have made it and my book would still be sad, half-finished dusting on a hard drive and falling victim to virtual moth food.

In the first place I would like to thank my friend Katha, because she encouraged me positively from the beginning and always believed in me, for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My husband always supported me in his special way, even though I was often lost in my own world and drove him a little bit insane. Thank you for always being there for me.

In the time when I travelled my world of thoughts or was absorbed in my manuscript, my daughter was often missed out, I thank you that you have so much patience with me and so much faith in me.

I would also like to thank my son, because he was the first one who told me to publish my book and thus gave me the impulse.

My dear Claudia, you pushed me so much with your enthusiasm. Only through you have I really understood how wonderful it is to write my own book, for that and for everything else you have done for me, I would like to thank you from the bottom of my heart.

My patient test readers also deserve a big thank you. Dear Ellen, Jennifer, Claudia, Cora and Laetitia, thank you for taking the time to patiently endure me.

Finally I would like to thank my best friend Jenny: You are the person in this world who knows me best and has lived through all the ups and downs with me in the last 20 years. I thank you for every laugh, every tear, your support and your criticism. Thank you for challenging me every now and then. You shaped me with you and for that I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Table of Contents

Awake

The others

A new world

Janoks travel

Preparation

Cross-country

Batlastar

A special evening

Emotions

Old loads

Sisterly love

Long live the queen

Forgiven?!

Career career

Basecamp I.

Rivals

Capability

Betrayed and sold

Das ende kalten krieges

Three days

Hope

Captive

Zone IV.

The interrogation

The secret message

Uprising

Koma

The collectiv

AWAKE

Whispering voices penetrated my consciousness. Here and there the voices changed. I recognized a different owner for each voice. But nobody spoke! I tried to orient myself. My senses were as if paralyzed, but I heard a regular beeping and a quiet, barely perceptible whirring.

These were the first acoustic stimuli I realized. It took me a lot of effort to open my eyes. I blinked because the bright light hurt me very much. It was difficult for me to see, everything looked blurred. It took me longer than usual to get used to the light conditions. A strange feeling came over me. It was as if my eyes were out of training. But how could that be?

I blinked a few more times to drive me to my normal performance as quickly as possible. The first thing I could see clearly was the ceiling of the room I was obviously in. The grayish plaster flaked off the ceiling and walls. In general, the room made a very dilapidated impression.

I turned my head clumsily to the side in the direction of the window, it was broken and only allowed sparse daylight in. The bright source of light came from a kind of spotlight shining on the bed or platform or whatever I was on.

"She is awake," I suddenly heard a man's voice in my head. The man was of the others, which the picture in my head showed me. Immediately I reacted and shielded my thoughts. I tried to make myself aware of my situation, but could not find a clue where I was. But one thing was absolutely clear to me. I was not in immediate danger. It was only a feeling, but it was so strong that I could trust it. My instincts had never let me down. This man seemed strangely familiar to me, which is why I mobilized all my powers and directed them into my voice, hoping she would not let me down.

"Who ... who is it? Where am I?" I asked croakingly, this organ also seemed to be out of practice.

"You are safe, Shaina," the man replied. He too had now spoken with his voice. It sounded soft and velvety, but at the same time deep and masculine. I turned my head slightly to the side and tried to look at him, the bright light dazzled my eyes so that I could only see his outline. Apparently that didn't bother him, because a real flood of words broke out of him. The words just gushed out as if he hadn't spoken to anyone for a long time:

"I have finally found you and brought you to safety. It was a long way and hardly anyone believed that you really existed, but I never gave up. Some thought you didn't survive the war! You wouldn't believe how happy we all are that I found you almost unscathed," he ended his flow of information. That was too much for me all at once. The words rushed through my head and penetrated my mind as if in slow motion. My eyes widened! Frightened I let the said pass in review.

What the hell was that? What did he just say?

I tried to sit up, but a dizziness in my head immediately made me sink back onto the platform. The man came to my aid and skillfully caught my head. His touch gave me goose bumps.

Now that he was so close to me, I could see him for the first time with my eyes. His sight surprised me. He was beautiful. However, this was not unusual for his kind. His beauty shone additionally from the inside. Like a warm glow which a normal person could not perceive.

He had soft facial features and a straight narrow nose. A light three-day beard surrounded his mouth and his prominent chin, which was carried by a narrow neck. His eyes were large and open. They were blue and radiated warmheartedly towards me. He had brown frizzy hair, which only made him look more attractive. As he wore it a little longer, individual strands of hair fell into his face. The other one was tall, but that was also the norm for his kind.

The men mostly came over 1.85 and 1.90 and the women over 1.75. The ears, noses and necks were more delicate than those of the old people, but their appearance was well proportioned and almost perfect.

He released his hand from the back of my head and shoved his arm around my shoulders to help me sit up slowly and carefully. The dizziness in my head robbed me of my senses for a moment. The words of my obvious rescuer echoed in my head. I tried to concentrate.

"Who are you? Where am I? What about the war? How ... how long was I unconscious?" I asked with all my strength. The man took his arm off my shoulder and once stroked my back calmingly. This small gesture increased my wellbeing enormously.

"I am Janok, one of the telepaths. But you already know that, Shaina," he said calmly, "Everything in its time. I'm sorry that I attacked you so much. First come to yourself ... then we'll talk."

He got up and left the room. I looked after him in amazement. My gaze remained stuck to the door frame through which he disappeared. It was a metal frame that time had not passed without a trace. I took a closer look at the room.

It was a room in an empty skyscraper, as I could see from the wide view through the dull window. Apparently it had been uninhabited for a long time. Dirt, bird filth and cobwebs had accumulated here for years. Deep cracks ran through the walls and the ceiling. The plaster crumbled down everywhere.

It shivered me, only now I looked down at myself. I was naked. Only my long, ash blonde hair covered my upper body a little. A breath of shame overcame me. He had seen me naked. I didn't like that at all. But my curiosity about how I had come here and what it all meant suppressed the feeling of shame. I pulled the linen cloth over my legs to my chest and began to examine my body. I scanned it for scars, injuries or the like. Didn't he say I was almost undamaged? But at that very moment I saw the tattooed bar code with a register number on the inside of my wrist. My breath stopped. Without wanting it, I gave a soft, whimpering scream. I stared at the tattoo as if petrified. Only a few seconds had passed, but my rescuer was with me immediately. With a worried expression he stood before me. However, I could not detach my gaze from the barcode. Quiet tears rolled down my cheek. Janok wanted to penetrate me telepathically in order to explain everything to me in pictures, but I blocked off. I wasn't ready yet, I wanted an oral report first.

"You have... me ... found me? Was... Was I in captivity? How long?" stuttered I, more tears ran down my cheeks, a hunch that didn't promise anything good awakened in me. Memory fragments which I could not grasp flashed here and there in front of my inner eye. I raised my head a little and looked deep into his eyes. It was as if our souls were touching. He sighed deeply and tightened his shoulders. He slowly nodded.

"I will give you something to wear first and then I will tell you the whole story, ok?"

This time I nodded slowly. Janok hesitated for a moment and had disappeared so quickly and again beside me that I hardly noticed it. I was still frozen. As if in a trance, I accepted the suit, which he handed to me without a word. That what I was now holding in my hand let me come back to reality. I had never felt such a material before.

Only now did I notice his unusual clothing. The suit was made of a material that was completely unknown to me. It frightened me. A shiver ran over my back, but it also shook me awake. I became curious, even if it didn't really reduce my fear. Where or better, when had I come to myself?

I looked at the suit carefully. It was light as a feather and of a matt purple. The material felt silky and immediately warmed to body temperature when touched. I dressed awkwardly so as not to reveal any more of my nakedness, if that was possible at all. The suit lay like a second skin on my body. I slipped into the black boots that Janok had put in front of the flatbed. They were also very light and very comfortable. Carefully I shifted the weight to my legs to check if they were carrying me. Janok stood next to me, ready to catch me at any time. A reassuring feeling.

With insecure steps I walked to the middle of the room, which was about twenty square meters wide. I looked again exactly around: Apart from the platform and some medical equipment, the room was empty. The windows were the only natural source of light. Next to the platform was the bright lamp, which still hurt my eyes. It was only now that I noticed that the devices all worked without a direct power supply. I staggered to one of the two windows with a barely noticeable, astonished shaking of my head. The pane was dirty and cloudy, but I could still see through it. What I saw took my breath away again. Around me there were ruins of a mighty city. Densely overgrown with small trees and bushes that were largely unknown to me. The ruins were surrounded by water in which all kinds of fish cavorted. It had to be noon, but there was an invisible veil of mist in the air that did not let the light of the sun penetrate.

Again a cold shiver ran down my back, although it was pleasantly warm, thanks to the new clothes. I gasped loudly for air. I hadn't noticed that I had stopped my breathing. I could not believe what I saw. A thousand questions shot through my head. Nothing really made sense.

"The sea level rose about a hundred years ago, this city has been deserted ever since," Janok replied to my unasked question. I drove around scared, I had completely forgotten him. He was standing right next to me now.

"Where am I Janok? What is this city? Before ... a hundred years ago? Where am I??", my voice trembled, my heart raced, I felt a wave of panic gripping me.

"Janok ... what year do we write ... please, I want to go home ... TAKE ME HOOOME!!!", my voice overturned, everything turned into my head. I could not arrange my thoughts. I knew that something was wrong, but I could not assign it. Tears of despair ran over my face, I could not stop them. I held my breath in the quiet hope that I could protect myself from the answer. I was incredibly afraid of what I already knew on the one hand, but still had to hear to realize it.

"It's the year 2339, Shaina," Janok said calmly and walked towards me at the same time. Only a few seconds later I slumped down and lost consciousness. Janok caught me and carried me onto the platform. Worried, he looked at me.

THE OTHERS

Shaina was the only one of her kind: born in 2202, the only person with the abilities of the "others".

Her appearance was that of a normal person, born after a long period of gene perfection. Her parents secretly gave birth to her in a natural way without registering her.

The human population had declined sharply over the past two hundred years as the earth had been hit by many natural disasters of unprecedented proportions.

It all began at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Climate change was unstoppable. Famines, droughts, floods and severe earthquakes increased every year. The survivors sought shelter in the less troubled areas, which in turn led to civil wars and economic crises.

The entire world market collapsed at the end of the 21st century. Climate change had progressed at an alarmingly rapid pace. Food was running out.

After people understood that money had lost its relevance in such times and that the survival of the human species now deserved full attention, the survivors joined forces and worked together harmoniously for the first time in human history.

Scientists developed methods that duplicated the smallest amounts of food and made it possible to feed a large family with one grain of rice. Humanity, shrunk to 250 million inhabitants of the earth, was able to save itself in this way.

But after the famine had been overcome, greed for power returned. A president was elected to rule the people. The new power called itself "The Government". Shortly after the assumption of power a census was carried out and statistics were compiled. A birth control system was introduced to ensure the survival of the human race. Ever more perfect humans were bred and finally only flawless babies were tolerated as viable. Each birth was performed by caesarean section and archived. The newborn babies were scavenged after birth and got a tattoo on their right wrist - a bar code with their birth number. From then on every step of the development was documented.

The perfect control.

Some rebelled against the dictatorship. They founded a resistance called "the underground". They blew up the chips with a laser, which was very painful and by no means harmless. The rebels rebelled and fought against the oppression. Another reason for the rebellion was the camps for the new race.

By the middle of the 21st century, most people of Western civilization were on the way to a higher consciousness. Esotericism, the mystical and the supernatural were on the rise. Humanity had evolved spiritually.

More and more people reported supernatural abilities. Telepathy and telekinesis were no longer mystical gifts. It was scientifically recognized that every human carried this gift within himself. But not everyone wanted or could activate and use it. For this purpose seminars and courses were held, in which these abilities were to be taken out of the subconscious mind in order to use them profitably.

In the year 2067 the first "other" child was born. It was declared handicapped, because of its different stature it was called deformed. But only days later such children were born all over the world. It turned out after extensive, scientific investigations that it was an evolutionary leap. The human race had evolved. Telepathy was very advanced with these new humans. They were also able to survive a long period of time with little oxygen and food, which meant that this new breed survived the famine unscathed. The "others", as they were called by humans, were therefore viewed with suspicion. They were rounded up and kept in reservations. The human parents who gave birth to such a child were forcibly sterilized to prevent the spread of the species.

As the number of "others" grew steadily and more and more mothers gave birth to such a child, the embryos in early pregnancy were already thoroughly examined and aborted on suspicion. This in turn meant that the number of people could not recover.

Groups were formed that were dismissed and persecuted by the government as terrorists, most of them concerned parents who were afraid of their only or first child. But it was this fear that drove them to join the resistance and the power of the underground grew.

Shaina's parents also belonged to this group. Shaina was born underground in a natural way. But she was different, especially in her unique way. She showed the perfect appearance of the people, but the abilities were those of the "others". Her parents quickly recognized her child's potential and tried to keep her secret from the government as best they could. But an informer went underground and it wasn't long before a large-scale search for Shaina was conducted!

The government put a bounty on her head and spread the word that she was the salvation of mankind. Her DNS was to be used to breed people who had the abilities of others to ensure the survival of the human race.

Shaina grew up on the run, but despite constant fear of being caught, she experienced love and security. She was loved. Not only the members of the underground, but also the others felt a deep affection for her. The others were telepathically connected with her in the collective. Janok also belonged to the others and - like Shaina - was involved in the collective with each of his kind.

The collective was a fine web of thoughts, memories, feelings and communication. All telepaths involved in this network were able to make telepathic contact with each other. Distance played no role here. But not only an exchange of ideas was possible. The collective made it possible for every telepath to look back on history. The memories could be retrieved like films, as soon as they were released by the one who had experienced them. If the recipient wanted his privacy, then he shielded his thoughts and from then on was no longer part of the collective.

This was another reason why the others were persecuted from the beginning.

A NEW WORLD

Janok had told his comrades that Shaina had awakened and that she was doing well according to the circumstances. For safety's sake, he explained to them, he initially only wanted to communicate with her acoustically, as she was very disturbed and not yet ready for the collective.

The young man looked at Shaina for a long time. How pretty she was! She shone from the inside. Again and again he stroked her forehead gently. He tried desperately to get through to her on a subconscious level, but it was all quiet. She had shielded herself and her powerlessness could not shake it either. Janok was very worried. What if she could not bear it? What if he had overestimated her strength and strength? Could a person recover from such martyrdom? Of course he had often asked himself these questions, but he had always thought he could catch them with the help of the collective. Now that she had sealed herself off, only he had remained. He alone had the responsibility. This burden weighed heavily on him. Again he gently stroked her face. Over her beautiful face. The first time since he had saved her, he looked at her more closely. She was even more beautiful than in the collective's memories. But how beautiful, he saw that only now.

Shaina had a perfectly proportioned face. Her long black eyelashes cast shadows on her cheeks. With each breath her nostrils vibrated gently. Her full curved lips were slightly open. She wasn't very tall, with 1.70 rather small for her kind. Her slender but very feminine figure was well proportioned. Her beauty and charisma were legendary, even though the collective's memory of her was not clearly recognizable.

Slowly I came back to myself. My head felt like it was wrapped in cotton wool. My eyelids did not want to obey me and instead of opening they fluttered insecurely. For a few seconds I did not know where I was. I only felt this intimacy and it made me feel safe - it felt like home. I saw the outline of a man next to me:

"Dad? ... Dad is it you?", a short glimmer of hope germinated in me and my lips turned to a smile. But the touch on my arm brought me back to reality.

"Shaina, no it is me Janok ... how do you feel", uncertainty resonated in his velvety voice. At the first octave, however, my smile had disappeared. I remembered the information that had overrun me. I felt a renewed impotence. But I fought with all my might against it. I was not allowed to be weak now. I had to learn more. I sighed loudly before rubbing my eyes and stroking my hair from my face. Then I recognised Janok. He stood in front of the platform on which I lay again. He looked at me with a distance of about one meter.

The distance he had built up to me astonished me and made me a little uneasy. I had thought I felt his closeness and tender touch on my face before I opened my eyes, but now I was no longer sure of it.

Janok was ready to help me with one sentence, I looked at him clearly. But this time I had myself under control. But it took me a few minutes to understand what had happened. I sat down on the platform, cross-legged, in an awkward position. I laid my hands on my temples and slowly went through what I had just experienced. I tried to get used to the idea of having slept for more than a hundred years. How was such a thing possible at all? Again and again I looked briefly at Janok, who stood in the room like a statue. After some time I lifted my head, breathed deeply and then looked Janok straight in the eyes.

"2339 then?" I asked in a trembling but sonorous voice.

The telepath nodded.

"What happened to my parents? What happened to me? Are there others of my kind?", my eyes jumped back and forth restlessly, but Janok showed no emotion.

"Janok ... please! ... You must tell me exactly what happened here! Please tell me with your voice, I am not ready for the pictures yet", I tightened my shoulders and looked at him expectantly.

Finally Janok nodded.

He came up to me and grabbed my hand. A tingling went through me, but I could not interpret it. What did he cause in me?

He pulled my hand slightly and I followed him without hesitation. He led me into another room which was just as run down as the first one. In one corner he had piled up several pillows and blankets into a relatively comfortable seat. We sat down on the pillows and I pulled a blanket over my legs, even if I was not cold, it gave me security and I needed it now.

"What's the last thing you remember?" he asked me seriously.

I gathered, pulled my legs to my chest, put my chin on my knees and tried to concentrate. I looked into the past without opening myself to the collective. I began to speak quietly:

"I was in town with an underground group. We had stolen medicine and duplicators from the hospital when we were discovered ... Terina ... no...", my face distorted painfully, again tears rose to my eyes, but I continued monotonously.

"You shot Terina before my eyes, I ran... far. Again and again passers-by tried to hold me tight on the street. I heard renewed shots, then I fled into a backyard. A girl, not ten years old, took me by the hand and led me to a cellar. It said I was safe there. I was so afraid that I believed her ... but then I felt a blow ... then nothing more until I woke up here ...", I was shocked something about the sound of my voice.

Inside I was completely upset. The memory was so fresh for me, just one day old, no more. Through my tears I saw Janok's warm eyes again. He looked at me compassionately, which gave me strength and calmed me down so strangely. Why did this completely strange man have such an effect on me? I again owed myself the answer. For that moment I was grateful for it and did not want to question anything that was good for me. I shook myself to fend off the memories. Cold sweat stood on my forehead. Again I looked at Janok, but this time more composed.

"What happened?" I wanted to know. I prepared myself for the worst and wrapped my arms even tighter around my legs. Janok still returned my gaze, but his insecurity disappeared.

He took a deep breath and began to talk:

"You know we telepaths were always in touch with you. We accompanied every step you took. The government knew nothing about it. They thought you had no direct connection to us, but that was not the case! After your capture, you opened up to the collective. Your subconscious had somehow managed to keep it open, so we always knew what was happening to you. They put you into a preserved sleep and started to breed embryos with your DNS, but each of these embryos was malformed. They couldn't crack your DNS key. Many women who were forced to carry one of these embryos died in early pregnancy. Nobody knows why. The scientists were overwhelmed with the composition of your blood. You are extraordinary Shaina! Unique, not born to continue the human race. New series of tests were started on mothers who gave birth to our species. They found that every second woman born was born with altered DNS. They were born to bring our species into the world. When this became known, panic broke out. People were afraid of dying out, but this was not yet intended for the human race. A hunt began against the female population. Every baby born by us was still killed immediately. In the reserves we men were separated from women to make reproduction impossible. The underground rapidly increased its members. Every woman was afraid to be one of the otherness. Many therefore fled and joined the underground ...", he looked at me anxiously, for all the colour had disappeared from my face.

But I wanted to hear the whole story. My emotions paused. I don't know if it was the shock, but I had myself under control in a strange, hardened way.

"Go on, tell me something's just bad, it's okay", I tried to calm him down.

Janok nodded again, but he looked at me frowning as I trembled all over. Nevertheless he continued quietly:

"The underground organized liberation troops who stood against the army to storm the camps. So one reserve after another was dissolved. We gratefully joined the underground. It turned out that we harmonized well with the old human race. We worked together perfectly, so it didn't take long until we were far superior in intellect to the government. People can also communicate telepathically with us, which was never discovered only by shielding the races."

Amazed, I looked at Janok.

"I didn't know that it was possible with all people, I thought only my parents had this ability to stay in touch with me," I interrupted him in amazement. He smiled. It was the first time I had reacted positively to anything since I woke up. That apparently gave him hope. But he didn't let himself be distracted from his story and I felt it was very important to him that I knew everything.

He continued:

"Every human being has this ability. It slumbers in the subconscious, but it is not as pronounced as ours. People can communicate with each other, but they are not part of the collective. Eye contact is usually necessary. Only very sensitive people can precisely maintain the mental contact at a further distance", he explained to me.

I nodded thoughtlessly, but continued to listen attentively.

"It came to war. The government ordered its troops to destroy us all. They were militarily superior to us. We had hardly any weapons, but the resistance of the underground was strong. More and more fleeing people joined us. There were many dead, on both sides. The war lasted for decades until a ceasefire was finally reached. The government ran out of resources. It came to the Cold War, which continues to this day. People have almost wiped themselves out. There is only about one million left on the government side and just over 1.5 million on ours." Carefully he looked at me.

"How are you now," he asked me, even though he obviously felt my pain.

I swallowed hard before I could formulate the question that interested me most:

"What happened to my parents, my family, my friends," I cawed. Then my tears began to overflow again. There was nothing I could do about it.

"We don't know. You have fallen into a trap. Part of the underground was captured or killed. Unfortunately, I cannot tell you what happened to them."

I nodded in tears. Now I could no longer hold back my grief. I sobbed and gasped for air at the same time. Breathing was difficult for me, this wine cramp was so violent. My family, my friends, they were all dead. Of course they were, now hundreds of years later, but the circumstances could not have been worse. I felt despair and loss and it almost tore me apart.

Janok remained sitting next to me. I felt his closeness and it did me good. I knew that he felt my grief almost as clearly as I did. I reached for his hand. I just wanted to hold it. I wanted a connection to a person who likes me. Janok did that. I knew it. I felt it. He did me good and that was exactly what I needed now. I rolled up on the ceiling and fell asleep in tears. I held Janok's hand tightly.

JANOKS TRAVEL

Janok had spent six years looking for Shaina. Their existence had almost become a legend. In the collective she was felt only weakly. Soon it was nothing more than a memory. But when Janok first contacted her through telepathy, he was obsessed with finding her. Many had tried before him. There were rumours that she was still being used by the government for experiments in a secret bunker deep underground, but Janok didn't believe it. At the age of twenty-one he set out to look for her!

He had searched for clues since this first contact and had prepared himself for this journey for years. In the collective he searched for memories, he talked to everyone who knew something about them and followed these legends. Then, when he had gathered enough clues and received the blessings of his parents and the consent of the High Council, he set off.

His journey lasted two years, until he found himself in the ruins of Kassel, a city in the middle of Germany.

Shaina's parents had once lived here in the catacombs with the underground.

Kassel had been an important refuge in the times when the earth was hit by violent natural disasters. It was located in the valley, surrounded by mountains and in a low earthquake region, which is why it was largely spared. The dense forests and the catacombs served as a good hiding place for the underground. Only here was it possible to reach the city centre undetected through the underground corridors in order to obtain food and medicine.

After Shaina with her sister Terina and three other members of the resistance were killed or arrested during a mission to obtain food, all supporters of the underground had been driven out of Kassel. The city was chosen by the government as its headquarters, making a return impossible. Research laboratories were set up in the catacombs, where Janok believed Shaina was held prisoner. At that time, Kassel's surroundings were surrounded by huge solar fields, as electricity was only produced sustainably with solar or wind power. A direct connection to the catacombs had already been established by the underground, so there was a never-ending supply of energy.

When Janok arrived in Kassel, he noticed that most solar fields still existed and functioned perfectly even after more than a hundred years.

He contacted Shaina again.

The young man felt her regular breath, slow and very weak, yet more intense than he had ever felt before.

Kassel had been considered contaminated for three hundred years. A chemical accident had caused the government and all its supporters to flee, and several deaths. Nobody had entered the city since then.

Until that day Janok had not imagined that they had left the girl there. She had been tender 21 years old when she was captured and still was, as she was lying in a preserving liquid that did not let her age as long as she was in an artificial coma. This was the information that drove Janok on his journey. A hope that manifested itself more and more now that he was so close to his destination.

The entrance to the catacombs was easy to find because it was lined with corpses. The closer Janok came, the more skeletons piled up. It was obvious that death had occurred too quickly to be saved. There were debris and shattered glass near the entrance. There must have been an enormous shock wave. The steel door securing the entrance was bent outwards, suggesting the intensity of the detonation. Janok thought about every step.

All his senses were sharpened as he passed the entrance. It was immediately clear that the door was being blown open from the inside to escape the poison, but it had been useless. Only a few were able to save themselves.

The corridors were still completely in tact, but the accident had left its mark. Each of his footsteps echoed loudly in the almost endless corridors. It smelled musty of death and old masonry. Again and again he came across decayed corpses in military uniforms. He often stopped and listened into the dead corridors.

Nothing! No sound could be heard. It was so quiet that he hardly dared to breathe. His connection to Shaina became stronger and stronger. Every step he took brought him closer to her. That was now clear to him and that drove him forward.

After quite a while he came across the first mummy with a white coat and a few steps further he recognized the entrance to the lab. The lab wing was very transparent. The corridor was lined with windows through which one could see into the individual research laboratories. Nobody had survived here either. The scientists had died on the run. Most of them hadn't even made it out the door. Janok shuddered. The corridor finally ended in a large main laboratory, where the origin of the chemical accident had taken place. The people who once worked here had not managed to get away from their workplaces.

The corpses in this room, some in abstract positions, still partly held equipment in their hands, such as tweezers or glass flasks. The deadly poison had escaped quietly and quickly and had killed the scientists while they were doing their work.

It was lucky for Janok, because it was precisely this circumstance that made it easy for him to get through all the security gates, which were not closed. Nobody had been able to trigger them anymore.

He cautiously walked around the dead or had to climb over them. It was still eerily silent. His footsteps and the crunching of glass splinters under his shoes were the only noises and echoed almost deafeningly in the room and into the smallest corners of the corridors. He searched for clues where to find Shaina. Fortunately for him there was a map on one of the walls. The plan listed the entire facility. Janok's position showed a marker. Each room was listed. But then Janok discovered that there were only four doors on the map, but the room he was in had five. Janok looked around again and compared the doors with the plan. He discovered the obviously secret door and walked resolutely towards it, then opened it carefully.

Again he came across a long, narrow corridor with a heavy steel door at the end. He held his breath and slowly walked towards it. With each step he was more aware that behind this door lay the end of his journey.

He had found it! Shaina, the woman whose existence was hardly believed. Nevertheless, an anxious feeling crept into him. What if he couldn't open the door? What if he had to blow it open? Then he would hurt her or even kill her. He shook off his thoughts and concentrated.

Only a few steps separated him from the steel door.

He stretched out his hand to the handle. He did not dare to breathe. The last step had been taken. He grasped the door handle and pushed it down. He braced himself against it simultaneously with his weight to push the heavy door open. As the door opened, he felt the oxygen being sucked from the hallway into the room.

There she was!

Shaina was in an oval, transparent basin, which held about two cubic meters. The basin was filled with a turquoise blue liquid.

The young woman was connected to various devices. She seemed to float asleep. Out of her mouth was a tube that gave her oxygen and out of her wrists came two tubes as well. One served the continuous supply of the substances, which she kept on the one hand in a comatose state and on the other hand did not let age inwardly.

Janok could not believe it. He was paralyzed, a feeling of happiness like he had never experienced before in his life flowed through him.

He had really found it! He was intoxicated. That was what he had been working towards all these years. Yet he had never been prepared for how he would feel if he actually achieved his goal. Of course, he had often imagined it, but reality was not comparable. What he saw exceeded all his expectations.

Finally he could see it. The woman who had been preoccupied with his thoughts for so many years.

Janok stared hypnotized into the pelvis. He couldn't take his eyes off her. That he had found her put him in a positive state of shock. He felt great, almost as if he was also floating. He stood in the door for minutes staring at the pool.

Only slowly did his mind begin to work again. How could he get it out there unscathed? He slowly walked around the freestanding pool without letting Shaina out of his sight. He studied the instruments, which still worked perfectly thanks to the solar fields. The technique was outdated, almost antique, so Janok had no trouble understanding and operating it. First, he administered a sedative to Shaina to prevent her from waking up at the wrong time and panicking or getting shocked.