November 10, 1940
My name is Marie Siegfried. As of this day, my twenty first birthday, I am a member of the very young political alliance known as the Third Reich under Adolf Hitler.
I knew early on that I was meant for something special. When I was asked to transfer to Bavaria, I did so without truly knowing what plans Hitler had for me, not that I cared. I saw this as a way to progress. I had gained some notoriety in death-dealing, starting as a Nurse in one of the Nazi hospitals. I gave physical examinations to officers, ensuring their perfection as Hitler painstakingly ordered. When Hitler wanted someone marked off, I was asked to give a special medication to them during their exam. I became efficient and cold, and even I knew it. The difference between sanity and madness is knowing when you’ve gone cold. Death held no meaning to me. This is what I assumed Hitler wanted me to do; give the subject known as Johann Schmidt a lethal injection that would end him before he progressed further in the Nazi party.
I’d heard of Schmidt. He was a high ranking official who dealt mainly in the Nazi’s Deep Science division. He was a genius in every sense of the word, and he was charismatic enough to rival Hitler himself. He could easily overtake the Nazi party, and most of the death-dealers knew it. However, I received a telegram saying not to mark off Schmidt, but to align myself with him instead. I was to become Schmidt’s right hand, as it were. Schmidt needed people killed, and Hitler had the right person for the job. I did not read in to the message, I knew that Schmidt had produced weapons for the building Nazi army and he would likely give more in the future. As much as the Fuhrer hated Schmidt, he needed him. And he could not have him hindered.
I was transported to Castle Kauffmann in the Bavarian Alps. It was a huge medieval fare with red tile roofing and white stone walls and hundreds of windows. Turrets jutted from every battlement. I was met at the door by a man wearing a fedora and round spectacles. He has a short, graying beard and curly white hair, and friendly eyes that match the smile lines around them. He extends a hand to me to shake, and raises my hand to his lips to place a polite kiss upon my knuckles.
“I am Doctor Abraham Erskine of HYDRA, Deep Science.” Says the older man. I gauge him to be in his late sixties and of fair health. I don’t see him as an immediate threat, so I nod.
“I was told little about my transfer to Bavaria,” I reply honestly, shifting the handle of my leather suitcase so it won’t bother my hand. “I am curious to see what Schmidt is going to have me do.”
“Ah, the Assassin.” Says Erskine, almost accusingly. I raise an eyebrow and nod, my lip quirking in a slight grin, but without malice. He didn’t mean any harm by it.
“Marie Siegfried,” I correct him, “I’d invite you to call me Marie.”
“Alright,” says the Doctor, “I am sure you are tired after your journey. No doubt, you would like to take a moment to relax before meeting Mr. Schmidt?”
“No, thank you. I would prefer to have all of my business attended to before taking my leave.”
“Very well,” Erskine says wearily, “This way then.” He leads me through the semi-lit hallways of grey stone, and I keep track of each turn in case I need to run. This was something my mentors implored I do each time I go somewhere new. Erskine pushes open a large wooden door, behind which is a clean, well-lit laboratory. Johann Schmidt stands behind a microscope, examining what looks to be blood from where I am standing. “Doctor, our guest has arrived.” Erskine calls. Schmidt raises his eyes from the lens and walks over with measured, slow paces, meticulously placed as to unnerve me. I stand my ground and extend a hand first so Schmidt must reach to me.
“I read your file, Miss Siegfried. You will be a valuable asset to my cause.” Schmidt says huskily.
“I know very little of what you need done.” I reply gently, keeping my eyes level as I examine this man. He is a good head taller than me, with high cheekbones and intelligent black eyes that glint with untold dangers. His lips are thin and drawn tight across his pale drum of a face, and his dirty blonde hair is combed over neatly. He shows more age than I know him to have, with lines across his face telling of a man advancing fifty, despite my knowledge that he is no more than thirty five. Maybe younger.
“I need you to infiltrate an American project,” Schmidt says, “as well as assist me in the lab when asked. Tomorrow, I will be advancing Nazi science by a hundred years, and I need another set of hands. I trust you will be able to fit the bill?”
“I have the steadiest hands in the party, I assure you. Be it with a gun or with a syringe.” Schmidt nods.
“Go, get some rest. Doctor Erskine will show you the way to your chambers. That is all.”
The next day
I wake up early. The cool, alpine air chills my bare skin as I make my way to the small bathroom that had been built into my chambers. It had bare stone walls, a small metal toilet, and a sink. Basic toiletries filled the medicine cabinet behind the mirror; toothpaste, brush, comb for my hair. The shower had no real boundary; it was simply a head, faucet and a drain. It was minimalistic and just fine for me. The bed was soft.
I dress in my newly issued uniform. It is mostly leather, but lined with a material I have no name for that is very warm. It has a high collar and long sleeves, fingerless gloves and tight pants that tuck neatly into tall combat boots. The HYDRA logo adorns my left bicep. I look at my reflection in the sterile mirror and comb out my hair. I don’t consider myself pretty, but by the way most men can’t stop gawking, I assume that they find me attractive. I have blue-grey eyes and blonde hair that I usually keep in a tight bun. I leave it down however. My hair is thin and straight, and platinum blonde. My lips are full and cheekbones sharp, with deep hollows beneath my eyes and in my cheek. I have an angular face. My lips I always paint a bloody rouge color. My eyes I leave alone. The grey needs no highlighting or shadow. My skin is clear and pale. It is a face that comforted those I was about to kill.
Schmidt is waiting in the lab. Erskine is not present.
“I appreciate your prudence, Miss Siegfried.” Says Schmidt. I smile, nodding to him and examining the lab more thoroughly.
“My Mother taught me that if you are not early, you are late.” I reply. Schmidt seems to think about this.
“I like your upbringing. This explains little as to why you would become an Agent for the Nazis.” He replies, adjusting some dials on the microscope.
“My mother was taken from me. She was a nurse in the World War, you know.” I lithely ease myself onto a metal stool beside Schmidt, my back to the table he is working at, my front fully facing him. “An American, visiting my city, Heidelberg killed my mother. He was caught and questioned. The police force found out he was a War Veteran suffering from… what do they call it? PTSD,” I let out a small sigh, examining Schmidt’s face. He seems to be watching me intently. “Post traumatic stress disorder caused him to have a relapse of his time in the war. And he took my mother for an enemy soldier and killed her. The law let him go. So I sought justice with the Reich.”
“I see,” Schmidt grins as he turns one last dial. “Would you like to see what I have been working on?”
“I would be honored.” In truth, Science bored me. How I ever managed to get through the Nursing Academy still puzzled me. I slipped in front of Johann, easing my backside against his hips and a small smirk gracing my rouged lips. I lowered my eye to the lens and what I saw astounded me. Inside the frame were thousands of blood cells, rapidly reproducing, and only growing in their production rate. I gasped slightly, both at what I saw and the presence of Johann’s hand on my hip. He gently moved me aside, pursing his lips as his eyes examined me. He says nothing about the press of me against his hips.
“You like what you see?”
“The cells are… multiplying rapidly.”
“Erskine has his formula nearly worked out. We are creating the perfect man. A Super soldier.” Schmidt replies, rolling up his sleeves on his uniform and smirking softly. His deep black eyes are unsettling, but I remain where I stand.
“He claims to be close, but without the cigar. He told me to be prepped to have the procedure today.” Johann informs me. Nodding, but not quite believing, I place myself on the stool.
“So you will be the first superior man?” I inquire. Schmidt nods.
“And you will help.” He smiles slightly, and Erskine strolls in to the lab, coffee in hand.
“Bad news, Johann… we can not do procedure today. The serum is not ready.” Erskine offers a polite head shake, “It would more than likely kill you.”
“We have come too far to worry about safety, Doctor Erskine.” Schmidt snarls. I turn aside, choosing to leave the lab, as this is none of my business. “Stay.” Schmidt orders. I cross my arms behind my back and return to my stool.
“Then I will have no part of this operation.” Erskine says with meaning, turning on his heels and leaving the lab.
“What shall I do with him?” I ask, arms still crossed and my eyes stoic.
“He may yet be useful. For now, do nothing. I will tell you if I need death dealt, I can assure you.” Johann grits his teeth, swearing slightly and facing me. “And you shall be useful now. Fetch me a syringe and Erskine’s experimental serum.”