GASLIGHT The mines of Doctor Colossus


The mines of Doctor colossus

How much longer Sergeant?” Lieutenant Steiner asked the man working on the steam engine.

The half-tracked vehicle was a new vehicle being tested by the German Army here on Quazistan. So far it had shown a tendency to over heat forcing the operator and driver to make constant repairs to the infernal contraption.

It’s just about ready sir. It seems the pipe wasn’t secured properly last time.” The vehicle operator said nervously.

Good job Gunter. Finish it up and let’s get moving.” Steiner replied.

The Lieutenant sat back down on the rear bench and removed his pith helmet. He carefully wiped the inside of the band to remove the sweat that had accumulated. He was finally getting used to the heat in Quazistan after being stationed here for a year. He had a reputation as being courageous and a born leader of men. He had volunteered to be stationed at Kaiser Port to gain experience in actual combat.

Not all of the local tribes and villages welcomed the Germans due in part to them siding with a petty warlord in exchange for the privilege of building a base in the area he controlled. It wasn’t long after that that the warlord became more trouble than he was worth so he was captured and hung by the Germans who in turn presented the incident as their attempt to rid the locals of this despot. The ploy worked for the most part and the majority of the native inhabitants have accepted the Germans as their new leaders.

The steam whistle blasted signaling the vehicle was about to start moving again. Lieutenant Steiner stood up in the vehicle as it began to chug along the high mountain pass. He motioned to the column of men to stand up from their rest and follow along behind him and the vehicle.

Steiner looked down into the valley below. He had been sent to pick up a secret consignment from the mining operation below. A mysterious Balkan scientist that went by the name of Doctor Colossus ran the mine. It was said that three years ago Doctor Colossus led an expedition into the interior region of the continent. The only person to make their way back out again was the Doctor.

He was barely alive when they found him. Tiny burns and an inexplicable rash that never did heal completely covered his body.

Eventually he recovered enough to divulge his magnificent discovery, an almost limitless power source that would change the face of the world and make Germany the greatest power the world had ever seen.

However Doctor Colossus refused to reveal what the source was and how to process the strange bluish white crystals that held the energy trapped inside. He maintained that the power source was far too dangerous, evidenced by the metal breathing mask and long black leather gloves and coat and boots he was forced to wear to protect his damaged skin. The Germans in charge decided to heed his warning and gave him free reign over the mining and processing of the mysterious crystals.

Lieutenant Steiner held on tight as the steam half-track chugged down into the valley below. He had found it surprising that the mining operation was so extensive. There were a myriad of buildings of all shapes and sizes below. He was familiar with mining operations from his home in Germany where his father worked as an engineer. It was one of the reasons he was chosen for this mission.

Not only was he to pick up the latest consignment of crystals it was his job to inspect the entire mining operation to make sure the good Doctor Colossus was keeping his word and working only for the Germans.

Eventually the vehicle and the column reached the entrance to the mining compound. There were two guards at the large metal gate wearing special suits comprising of a long coat and helmet. Both men had their faces protected by a breathing apparatus with attached goggles worn under the helmet. These men were mercenaries hired by Doctor Colossus as his own personal security personnel. Both Doctor Colossus and the Germans had this one thing in common neither trusted the other.

Lieutenant Steiner jumped down from the steam half-track and went up to the guards.

I am expected, I am Lieutenant Steiner here to pick up a consignment.” He said.

Neither guard said anything in response. They simply stepped aside and opened the gate allowing the Lieutenant’s detachment to enter.

Steiner led the way followed by the steam half-track and the column of soldiers bringing up the rear. At once the Lieutenant saw more men dressed in the same manner as the guards at the gate were operating the mines. The laborers were Quazistan natives. They all appeared to be in poor condition and sickly.

The compound itself was constructed in what seemed to be an ancient quarry long ago abandoned and only just recently reclaimed from the jungle. There were several different mine entrances at varying elevations along the western wall of the quarry each with its own covered entrance built up high on trestle like structures that ended at a dumping point for the mine carts. At this point the carts would be dumped into a series of shafts that emptied onto several conveyor belts that went across the lower level and into the massive refinery building before him.

There seemed to be a faint glow coming from the opening of each mine entrance but Steiner guessed it was the reflection from pools of water that had accumulated just inside those same openings.

Lieutenant Steiner.” A voice called over a loudspeaker system that had been strung around the compound. The voice had a strange un-natural sound to it as though it was coming from a victrolla or Edison recording device. Steiner looked around to see where the voice was coming from. There above him standing on a balcony on the upper most part of the refinery was a man dressed head to toe in black. He was holding a large microphone in front of the black metal mask that covered his face and head. The man beckoned for Steiner to come to his location on the upper floors of the building.

Sergeant Kurtz I want you to come with me inside. The rest of you men stay here and prepare the vehicle for departure.” The Lieutenant said. The Sergeant and Lieutenant Steiner went into the refinery entrance. The sound was deafening once they passed beyond the entrance that consisted of several huge floor to ceiling sound baffles. Both men covered their ears and continued along a raised walkway that led to an elevator at the opposite side of the titanic building. Steiner looked around in amazement at the amount of work that must have been done just to transport the materials to this sight let alone the labor it must have taken to construct everything at this complex.

It was then he realized he wasn’t just dealing with a very important mission. He had been thrust into a situation that was beyond his comprehension. What ever these poor souls were digging out of the ground was unlike anything known to man.

Steiner had only been given the simplest explanation of the mission he was to complete. He was beginning to believe that even his superiors didn’t understand what was truly going on here or what the ramifications down the line would be.

The Sergeant and Lieutenant Steiner stepped onto the elevator and stood motionless as it ascended to the upper most level.

Whatever happens in this meeting say nothing, whatever you see in this meeting Sergeant say nothing.” Steiner said to the Sergeant.

Sir?” the Sergeant asked confused.

There’s no time now. I’ll explain later Sergeant.” Steiner said ending the conversation.

The elevator reached the top floor as it passed through the hole in the floor. There was the immediate sensation of deafness as the pounding sound of the refinery below seemed to instantly vanish. The floor on this level must be heavily insulated enough to stifle the sounds from below almost completely.

A hunched over man wearing an ill fitted suit shuffled over to the two officers.

Greetings sirs, I am Olaf, the Doctor’s man servant. Allow me to show you the way.” He grinned through crooked teeth and speaking German with a heavy Slavic accent.

Olaf looked to be in his late fifties and of peasant stock. He was most likely given this position due to his loyalty and not his intelligence. Steiner was doing his best to make as many observations he could while here. He wanted to know who was dealing with.

They were led too the next room. Olaf opened the large door inwards and bid them to follow. It seemed to be some sort of combination workshop and apartment. On the left was an assortment of drafting tables and machine tools along with tables full of test tubes and beakers. On the right he saw finely crafted tables and chairs along with a bed in the sleeping area.

Steiner quickly surmised that this is where Doctor Colossus spent most of his time. He had been told of the horrible disfiguring injuries he hid under that mask he was forced to wear. A person so afflicted would want to spend his time focused on his work and not out in the public eye being constantly reminded of his appearance.

You must be Steiner.” A voice said. It was the same artificial voice he had heard over the loudspeaker outside. Steiner and the Sergeant turned to see Doctor Colossus standing behind one of the worktables.

Mine Gott.” The Sergeant said under his breath upon seeing the Doctor for the first time. Lieutenant Steiner gave him a stern look causing Sergeant to stiffen up at attention.

Steiner turned back towards the Doctor and took his first good look at him. He was well over 

two meters tall and powerfully built not at all like the sickly frail man he had expected to see. He was wearing a long black coat and heavy black leather boots with bracing attached that went up both sides of his legs to help support him. Long black leather gauntlets covered both hands that hung heavily by his sides.

Then there was the mask.

It was metal and had been tailor made for him. A large filter like devise was attached over his mouth and nose with small bladders on each side that rose and fell as he breathed. Around the back was a leather apron that hung down to protect the back of his head and neck. The rear top of his head was exposed completely showing the scars from his burns along with several tufts of hair that still remained.

The eyes were the most remarkable feature. They were a set of two telescopic lenses that protruded at least a fingers length away from the mask itself. Both had thick chrome like rings at the ends that reflected the strange faint bluish glow that emanated from inside the mask.

Steiner caught himself staring and quickly offered the Doctor his hand. “Forgive my behavior Doctor, I wasn’t aware you were standing there.” He said apologetically.

I understand Lieutenant. Sometimes if I stand still people don’t recognize me as a human being. I fear I must look somewhat…less than human unfortunately.” He said in the artificial voice.

The Doctor took Steiner’s hand and shook it accepting his apology with dignity.

As I’m sure you are aware I have come for the consignment Doctor Colossus. My men and vehicle are outside waiting for my return.” The lieutenant said standing at attention.

I see you are a dutiful soldier Lieutenant Steiner but surely you can stay for a while and talk. You see I have only these mercenaries and the natives here with me and I would love to have a conversation with an educated man like yourself.” The Doctor said offering Steiner a chair.

Something in the Doctors tone set the Lieutenant at ease. Steiner had forgotten momentarily that there was a human being under the mask.

Yes, yes I do have some time to rest for a while. Sergeant, go back outside and have the men rest as well. It has been a long journey and they probably need it.” Steiner said.

Very good sir.” The Sergeant snapped a salute at the Lieutenant and left as quickly as he could.

Steiner realized he had come to Quazistan for adventure and this conversation with such an enigmatic man like Doctor Colossus would be one of his high points while he was here of that he was now certain.

Excellent Lieutenant I am very pleased, now sit and I will have Olaf bring us some schnapps.” The Doctor gestured to Olaf and sent him scurrying for the drinks.

A quiet magnificent operation you have here Doctor. I was expecting a more…primitive facility here in the jungle.” The Lieutenant said.

It seems you have been told very little about what is going on here. I suppose as a soldier your superiors only gave you the simplest of instructions.” Colossus commented.

One has only his duty when in uniform.” Steiner replied.

You must always remember this day my good Steiner. This is the day you came out of that primordial jungle and into the future of mankind. A future of greatness that only a few will ever know just how it happened.” Colossus said and gestured to Olaf to bring him a metal box on the table next to where Olaf stood.

I’m not sure I understand Herr Doctor.” The Lieutenant replied.

Olaf set the box down on the table in front of the Doctor and Lieutenant Steiner.

I came across the contents of this box five years ago in this very place. It was all jungle and ruins then, the remnants of a long lost people and their culture. My men and me entered the mines and became trapped by a cave in. We managed to dig ourselves out luckily but while doing so we found a strange deposit of blue crystals that gave off a light of their own.

I understood what a remarkable discovery it was. To have light you must have energy. The crystals were a natural form of stored energy much like a battery. Free power my good Lieutenant there for the taking.” Colossus said excitedly. He then opened the box to reveal one of the crystals that glowed a bluish light all on its own.

I mistakenly tried to experiment with some of the crystals here in our camp. I found to my tragic misfortune that if the crystals are heated they become a hundred times more powerful as well as unstable. There was an explosion that killed my entire party leaving me horribly scared and close to death. By shear force of will I made my way back to an outpost. It was a miracle that I survived at all Lieutenant.” The Doctor said.

But how were you able to build all of this so quickly?” Steiner asked.

I was working for your government at the time of my accident so once I recovered sufficiently I presented my findings to the people in charge. They were so impressed they decided to fund everything and give me full reign over the endeavor. I have maintained that I must have control over the experimentation of the crystals due to the extreme danger they possess.” Doctor Colossus said.

Quiet a remarkable story Herr Doctor but what of these poor wretches working in the mines? Are they prisoners?” Steiner asked.

Doctor Colossus stood up suddenly and walked over to one of the workbenches with his back towards Steiner.

In all great endeavors there must be sacrifices made. I do not ask where these men are brought from or how they were obtained. It is your government that provides me with these men so if you have any questions about how they came to be here you must ask them.” Colossus said sternly.

He must have known that these men were kidnapped and forced to work here. Steiner could tell they were all from the British controlled area due to the look of Asian ancestry they had. It was well known that the Chinese and other Asian people had settled the western part of Quazistan in ancient times whereas the eastern side of Quazistan had been colonized by people from the African continent around the same time. As far as anyone knew both sets of colonists waged war against each other in the past to such an extent that even to this day there is a rift between the eastern and western inhabitants of southern Quazistan.

Forgive me Herr Doctor, I didn’t mean to put you in such an awkward position…please forget I asked.” Steiner said apologizing.

Yes Lieutenant…an unfortunate topic best left for another time perhaps.” Colossus said raising his glass thus ending the topic.

Tell me more about these crystals Doctor, what can be done with them?” Steiner asked quickly changing the subject.

As of now they are powering everything in this complex. We use the heat generated by the crystals to power steam turbines that in turn powerful electric motors that power the lights and machinery. All of these modern conveniences we have surpass most of the modern cities of the world my good Lieutenant.” Colossus said enthusiastically.

Truly you have discovered a wonderful thing here Doctor.” The Lieutenant said in agreement.

It is my goal to change the world…with the help of your country of coarse Lieutenant, a nearly inexhaustible source of power for the world. Imagine the darkest corners of the world brought out of their ignorance and into a unified modern world.” Colossus said excitedly.

But what about the danger? Didn’t you say the crystals could be unsafe?” Steiner asked.

That is what I am currently working on my dear Steiner, a way to regulate the amount of power that can be released. The ability to regulate the energy output is the key to harnessing the crystal’s power.” Colossus said enthusiastically.

How will you distribute these crystal devises? I mean who will decide who is aloud to have access to the crystals?” the lieutenant asked.

I have not decided yet. The crystals must be studied more closely before I unleash that kind of power to the world and those in power. They would make it into weapons to dominate their neighbors. Some would be foolish enough to use it and wind up destroying themselves as well. No my good Steiner I alone will meter out the access to the knowledge of my experiments less the world be set ablaze.” Doctor Colossus said crossing the room and leaning closer to the lieutenant.

The elevator door opened and out stepped the sergeant.

Lieutenant Steiner sir the consignment of crystals has been loaded onto the Half track machine and the men are ready and awaiting your orders.” The sergeant said. He appeared nervous and in a hurry to leave.

Very good sergeant tell the men we are leaving and I will join you in the compound shortly.” The lieutenant replied dismissing the sergeant.

Thank you for your hospitality Doctor but I must continue with my mission so if you forgive me I will be leaving.” Steiner said saluting.

I’ve enjoyed our talk immensely Lieutenant Steiner and I hope to see you again sometime.” The Doctor said.

The Lieutenant turned and entered the elevator. Colossus walked over to the large window and watched as Steiner climbed onto the chugging machine and exited the compound.

Well done Doctor, I think their spy was quiet convinced by your act.” A woman’s voice said coming from the shadows.

I sense you still don’t trust me completely my dear.” Colossus said as he turned to see a black robed figure step into the dim light of the apartment.

We have learned to never trust your kind completely over the centuries. You and your brethren are still animals to most of my people. Oh on occasion there is the one, like yourself, one that is above average, one that can be trusted but for the most part your race must be…managed.” The cloaked figure said with a slight tone of humor in her voice. She seemed to be taunting Doctor Colossus.

I am honored that you think so highly of me Princess.” He replied.

The person pulled back the hood of her cloak to reveal her face to the Doctor. She was beautiful and flawless to behold. Thick white hair flowed back over her head and down her shoulders. Her skin was pale porcelain white that only accentuated her cold icy blue eyes. The eyes had no pupil and seemed as though they were blind but they moved side to side and up and down watching the Doctors every movements closely.

She turned her back to the Doctor and removed her cloak placing it on the back of one of the chairs in the room. The woman was wearing a highly crafted suit of armor emblazoned with symbols and ancient text from a long lost language. The armor itself was black and had a underlining of polished chain mail. A jewel encrusted sword hung from her waist along with a matching dagger. A circlet adorned her head that flowed and twisted in intricate patterns with each tip ending with a tiny blue crystal.

The Europeans known as the Germans will be given more crystal technology. The elders have decided it.

It seems the English have gained too much power on their own and this has become a threat to our cause.” She said.

I understand Princess. When will I receive the new weapons to give too the Germans?” he asked.

They will be delivered during the next full moon.” She replied. It was obvious she measured time differently.

Doctor Colossus simply nodded.

I sense you have doubts about our plans Doctor.” She asked.

Why Germany? Why not allow England to continue becoming stronger?” he asked.

Because the English are not dependent on our technology. We have no control over them. The Germans have fallen behind so we will give them what they desire to become the most powerful nation on the planet and in turn we will control them from the shadows as we always have controlled your race. We gave power to the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans. Along with this power we have pulled your race out of your caves and into the light. You are our children and must be led.” The Princess said.

I understand.” Colossus replied.

We have made mistakes in the past that nearly destroyed my race. We live for a thousand years but we can rarely conceive a child. Our own early attempts to harness the power of the crystals changed our bodies and how we look driving us deep underground so as not to be slaughtered by your kind.

They would not see our greatness they would only see what we had and would destroy us all to have it. It is our responsibility to manage your inferior race so they won’t destroy everything. That is why we Atlanteans lead from the shadows.” The Princess said as she stood proudly erect with her eyes glowing along with the crystals in her circlet.

All you ask of me will be done.” Colossus said bowing respectfully.

Of course it will my dear Colossus…I never doubted you.” She said smiling.



If you have enjoyed these stories please check out my first all original book series at The title is Beyond the Crystal Heaven.

Once again thank you for your support.

Last Updated (Tuesday, 10 September 2013 01:36)