Raid on the Island of the Dead

Chapter 5

By Dwayne MacInnes

The smell of the decomposing body in the tropically warm room was staggering. Covering his nose and mouth with a cloth, Captain Jennings entered the laboratory. He knelt down and examined the body after waving away the thick swarm flies feasting on the corpse.

A syringe resting in the remains of the corpse's right hand and the rolled up sleeve on the left arm left no doubt on how this man died. It was obviously self-inflicted. Why this man wanted to kill himself Jennings had no clue.

Finished with his examination the captain started a cursory search of the large lab. There were biological diagrams of the human body plastered on the labs walls. On a blackboard against one wall were notes scribbled in barely legible German. Against the wall opposite the entranceway the soldiers just blasted were three sets of doors.

Captain Jennings opened the first door and discovered the lab's closet. Shelves lined the walls storing various chemicals, solutions, and scientific equipment. The captain dragged the dead German into the closet and closed the door.

The soldiers waiting outside also covered their noses and tentatively entered the lab. They moved around looking at the diagrams, studying the Bunsen burners and lab equipment, and puzzled over the German writings on the blackboard. They were all careful not to touch anything.

Jennings tried the second door which led to a large white room. The porcelain tiled room contained hospital beds lined up in neat rows. Each bed had leather restraining straps dangling from their sides. Dark bloodstains covered every bed sheet.

Large gray metal cabinets lined a far wall where a desk and chair resided. Captain Jennings moved over to the desk and searched through the papers scattered upon its surface. The German papers contained mostly formulas and the like and the captain could comprehend little of it.

The drawers contain several notebooks and journals. Jennings quickly paged through them to find something -- anything that may give him a clue as to what once transpired in the laboratory. Like the papers on the desk, most dealt with formulas and theories that meant little to Jennings.

However, in one locked drawer, which the captain was able to force open, he discovered a black journal. It belonged to the head scientist -- a Doctor Friedrich von Jutt. Jennings stashed it away in his rucksack for later research.

The captain was about to search the metal cabinets when he heard one of his men call out, "Hey cap, you got to look at this!"

Jennings rushed out of the white room back into the lab. He found the soldiers huddled around the third door. They were in hushed conversation as they felt and knocked on the heavy steel door.

"What is it?" Captain Jennings asked.

Private Pike turned towards the captain and pointed towards the thick door reinforced with thick rivets. "Looks like they didn't want anyone to get in," the private said. "Look, it's as reinforced as the front gates and it has been welded shut."

Jennings noticed that the seams of the door had indeed been welded shut from this side of the room. As the captain moved closer for inspection the men pulled back to give him room.

"Cap?" Private Williams asked. "What kind of bunker is an unterseeboot?"

Jennings looked at the small metal plate the private indicated and noticed that it did say ‘unterseeboot-bunker'.

"That's a U-boat you idiot," Pike replied.

"Looks like the Jerries had themselves an underground submarine pen," Captain Jennings said. "It also looks like they did not what anyone to follow them."

"Should we check it out?" Quaid asked. "We still have plenty of explosives in the armory."

"No, we have what we need here," replied Jennings. "Plus, I doubt there would be anything of interest down there anyway. I'm sure the Jerries have already left in their U-boat."

* * * * *

Feeling that the manor was secure, Jennings divided the men into shifts. Those on duty manned the towers and worked on the vehicles to make sure they were operational. Those not working a shift either slept or explored the manor. The only area off limits was the lab where Captain Jennings set up shop.

Lieutenant Brodin entered the lab where the captain was reclining in a chair reading the black journal. The smell of death hung in the muggy air and the ANZAC chaplain had to fight against his retching stomach.

"You wanted to see me," the chaplain choked out.

Jennings deep in the book jerked up and focused on Brodin. "Sorry, I guess I was a little to caught up in my research." The captain motioned the chaplain over to a chair next to where he was sitting. "I've come across some interesting details about what our friends were doing on this rock.

"The man we found here was a certain Doctor Friedrich von Jutt. Ever hear of him?" The chaplain shook is head as he settled down in the wooden chair. "The Germans themselves call him Todesengel, or the Angel of Death. Evidently, he was working on a project called the ‘Uber-soldat' or Super-soldier."

The chaplain rested his chin on his steepled fingers while he listened to Jennings narrative. Brodin did not know if the captain was confessing something or just needed someone in which to confide his findings. Either way listening came with the job.

"Do you know much about the Japs?" Jennings asked.

"Some," Brodin responded. "Being a missionary in the South Pacific has given me some background into the Japanese. I have even picked up some of the language."

"Good," Jennings nodded. "I will need your help with some things here. I've been reading von Jutt's journal and it looks like the Jerries have had some help from the Japs.

"Apparently, the Japanese were cooperating in the Uber-soldat formula research. Have you ever heard of...?" Jennings flipped back a few pages in the journal until he found the passage he was looking for. "Ah, here it is. Have you ever heard of the Kempeitai Political Department and Epidemic Prevention Research Laboratory?"

Lieutenant Brodin almost fell out of his chair on hearing the name, "My God!" the chaplain blanched, "Unit 731!"

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This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on September 10, 2008 8:02 PM.

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