M.A.T.A.H.U.R.I.A.

From the Story Arc: Radoslav: The Chronicles of Agn Stratonik

Previous Story in the Arc: Uncle CCCP Wants You! by Agn Stratonik (Thursday, December 30, 2004)

Next Story in the Arc: The Task at Hand by Agn Stratonik (Thursday, January 20, 2005)

(posted Thursday, January 20, 2005)

Matahuria…the same name I saw on those canisters at the factory. Still, what did it mean?

“Mobile Artificial Termination Auxiliary Heightened Uranium Respondent Intelligence Acidic…Together, strewn in a sentence like most acronyms are, this makes no sense. Yet, each word has its own meaning. Each text book meaning of this word is meant to apply to the test subjects in the M.A.T.A.H.U.R.I.A. project,” he said, as if reading my mind.

Colonel Sorrow took a deep breath, and began. “Mobile; capable of moving with stealth and efficiency and wherever the mission required. Artificial; remove any humanity a man has and replace it with inorganic components, making him a capable cyborg. Termination; the goal of each subject is to be able to terminate anything and anyone that his masters see fit. Auxiliary; for the auxiliary power unit nerves that kept these subjects running at full capacity. Your father was able to mimic CPR by making these nerves capable of shocking the subjects back to life if they fell in combat and brought them back to 100%. Heightened; those boys were mutants, homo-superior, yet they were made to be even stronger than their mutant powers granted them. Uranium; the grey substance that you saw in the factory, in those canisters, was part uranium. In a sense, the subjects were nuclear powered. Respondent; made to be ready at any time and capable of responding to actions 24 hours a day. Intelligence; along with the force-fed propaganda that was squeezed into their brains, textbooks worth of history, mathematics, science, and many other school subjects were crammed into their brains, allowing each man to use at least 90% of their brain at all times. And Acidic; both the grey and blue substances separately have no acidic value, but placed together they do. Fused with the uranium, if a subject were to fall in combat, the nerves in his body would trigger a countdown. After 20 seconds, he would explode, leaving no trace of his body, but also shooting out acidic blood and body fluids in all directions…killing any people around, and even burning holes into the walls of buildings and the ground. Only a small amount of the grey serum was placed into about 50% of the subjects to help with the explosion…the other 50% were completely submerged in the grey serum, which formed a metallic casing around their bodies, allowing them to withstand a barrage of tank shells and not even get so much as a scuff.”

Wiping the tears from my one, good eye, let it all soak in for a second. This did not sound like the Mother Russia I came to know and love. This did not sound like my father. This sounded more like the work of Nazi Germany and its Fascist regime…this sounded more like the Third Reich. Yet, I knew this was not a lie. In less than an hour, one man changed the view I had for nearly all my life. “You still did not answer question I posed to you…What is your story?”

Sitting back for a second and staring at me as I stared back into those hollow eyes of his, he grimaced. He then stood up and walked to a window near the front entrance of the laboratory. It was raining. He stood in front of the window with his back facing me, sighed and began, “It was raining like this that day. It was 1966 and I was leading a company of men through a riverbed in Vietnam. We named our company “God's Sorrow”, for the pain we believed God felt at watching his Children mindlessly kill one other. As we passed through the riverbed, I noticed that the water was a sparkling, neon color. I am amazed by this find, but suddenly, one of my troops screamed, "HIT THE DECK!" We ran into a damn ambush. Within three minutes, every single one of my troops was cut down. I managed to dive underwater and took a bullet in the shoulder in the process. I managed low-crawl to the body of my communications engineer and called in for assistance on the radio. "It's too risky...God be with you," was the last words I heard before I looked up and saw a Vietnamese soldier standing above me, bayonet fixed, and ready to strike.”

He paused for a moment and continued. “Every single man of God’s Sorrow died that day. Those who weren't killed instantly were bludgeoned or stabbed to death, or even worse, left for dead to the animals in the jungle.” I interrupted and asked with much confusion, “You died? Then how are you here?” “My exposure to the water caused something strange to happen. Approximately one hour after I died, I woke up. Villagers who were looting the corpses of my dead troopers and were scared so much by this that they dropped all they had and ran. I was born a new, restored by the powers of the river. I wasn't sure how this happened, but I made sure that it wouldn't be in vain. He took a dog tag from each one of my dead soldiers as a reminder and took on the name Colonel Sorrow. To this day, I am purely disgusted at how those bastards left us stranded…they left us to die. And because of that, I went to Russia and assisted the USSR with whatever I could.”

Turning to me and gazing at me with his hollow stare, he said, “I love my country. But those capitalist pigs that control it don’t give a rat’s ass about the soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and the citizens of this country. I hoped through my work with USSR that I could help restore peace to this world. We men…there is no way we can allow peace. Communism was a perfect play destroyed by the greed of men. When everything fell apart, I kept my promise to your father by watching over you. Maybe in that, I could repent for my wrongs and live up to the name Colonel Sorrow.”

I stood up, using the wall behind me as assistance and looked down at the paper I held in my hand that read “M.A.T.A.H.U.R.I.A.” I looked up to him and smiled. “You know, when I little boy, I had this feeling that I was being watched. It made good for me to be able to continue on. Spasibo, Colonel.” I extended my hand to him, which he took with a smile and hugged me. “I’m like your uncle, so we’re family. Nothing wrong with a hug, I hope.” Burying my face in his shoulder, I said, “Nyet.”

We sat in the laboratory until 4 a.m., talking my father. Julian, as I was now able to call him, also told me about war stories from his past. I soon made my way back to CCCP HQ. As I walked in, I flung the door open to allow Zach to run past me. He had taken a pair of Carpathia’s underwear and placed it on his head and was now running from a very angry Carpathia. “Be coming back here Zach,” she screamed as she chased him outside. It was now 5 a.m. Why the hell did I come here again? Nearly half of the CCCP and Red Brigade were sprawled out all over the floor, buried in a sea of Vodka bottles. The newly installed strobe lights were still lighting up the room and hurting my eyes. Comrade Khrushchev was sitting on the sofa with his feet on the coffee table watching MTV 2 and sipping on a bottle of Vodka. I walked past Mojiotok’s hot tub room where I heard the voices of Soviette and Mojiotok…”Da, scrub harder! Am thinkinks you missed a spot, so we must be startinks again.” As my eyes widened, I made my way into the living quarters before I heard anymore.

On my bunk, I saw an opened magazine that I was reading and left on my bed. I picked it up and saw a tourist’s ad of New Orleans, a city in the state of Louisiana. Many people had told me of this place and that I should visit. “Is time for vacation,” I muttered to myself. I had been granted security level 30 from the Paragon City Police and felt it was time for a long, overdue break. The next morning I was on my way to “The Big Easy,” eager to get my mind clear for two weeks of rest and relaxation…