Before the story begins, I'd just like to give a fair warning: this is really long. Definitely my longest Creepypasta since my entry to the Jeff the Killer Rewrite contest in 2015. I've proofread it up and down and put it through Google Docs' editor, but it still might need a tune-up. The story is split into several chapters to help midigate the lengt.
Without further ado, on to the show:
==The Prologue== Notice: The author of this document, reported Darla Rogers, has requested that its contents only be released to close friends and relatives following her death. The author asks that you respect her privacy as it contains deeply personal information on her family and private life. Thank you.
Erikson City, State of Denton 1963
Mild-mannered Andrew Rodgers, ace reporter for the Erikson Shephard, Lutheran Protestant, and an otherwise totally unremarkable person. Darla Darling, fellow ace reporter and co-worker of Rogers, and the object of his affection. I knew there was something strange about the man the day I met him. One minute he'd be bumbling, awkward, cowardly and confused, and the next he'd be competent, strong-willed and selfless. Whenever something bad happened in the city he'd disappear in a moments notice, and return just as things were back to normal.
With the second world war over and peace returning to a tumultuous world, the biggest story in Erikson City was the mysterious stranger in the red cape who'd show up wherever there was trouble to save the day. Strong enough to stop a locomotive with his bare hands, but kindly enough to pull a kitten out of a tree. Faster than lightning, but able to stop on a dime. He so powerful bullets from guns would bounce right off him, but all the girls he kissed said he was gentle as a baby lamb. He was nimble enough to leap a tall building in a single bound, a nice stroll through the park.
He was Captain Astonishing, the greatest superhero who ever lived. There had been a small handful of heroes before him, wearing bizarre costumes, fighting villains with elaborate gadgets or supernatural abilities, but none of them made an impact like Captain Astonishing did. None of them were nearly as powerful, either. Captain Astonishing was truly the first of his kind. Nobody cared about how silly his white jumpsuit looked or that he wore his underwear on the outside. When you watch a man stop a plane from crashing by grabbing it with his hands and flying down to safety, the last thing on your mind would be his fashion sense.
I wasn't naive, I had my suspicions about my co-worker, Andrew, for months. How he'd constantly run off and across town Captain Astonishing would show up to save the day, how he always seemed so busy despite doing so little. How we'd never seen him in the office when Captain Astonishing was on the scene, and of course, the fact that they looked almost exactly the same, save for Andrew's glasses.
I did my digging, followed the clues and waited until I had enough evidence to bust him. One day, I caught him running out of a phone booth, ripping his work jacket opening and revealing his costume underneath, with the big red "A" on the chest and everything. When I showed him the picture I took, he was sweating bullets. He begged me not to release it, told me he'd get me anything I wanted. I only asked for one thing: I wanted Captain Astonishing himself to take me dancing, and for every woman there to see me in the arms of the world's greatest superhero. He smiled ear-to-ear.
It was the greatest romance of our time. The courtship between a living legend an average girl from the big city. I became Mrs. Darla Rogers, and if this were a fairy tale romance, this would be the part where the curtain fell, the audience cheered, and everything ended.
But that wasn't where the story ended. Behind the veneer of a fantastic hero and a charming man, my husband had a dark, horrible secret that would shatter everything I ever thought I knew about him. Something so terrible I don't know how I was able to live with it for so long.
==Questions== My suspicion of my husband didn't end with the revelation that he was Captain Astonishing. Obviously if a man can lie about his entire identity there's a good chance he's keeping a few more secrets from you. I thought getting to see Andrew in his most private moments would show me the real him, but the way he spoke and acted still felt very rehearsed, like he was playing a character. When he was Captain Astonishing, he spoke with a bombastic, grandiose tone of voice not unlike a film announcer. When he was Andrew Rogers, he tried his hardest to come off clumsy and nerdy. There was no moment where the two personalities met or overlapped, it was always from one persona to another.
Even the very tone of his voice sounded... off. His accent sounded like some kind of weird cross between Elvis Presley, John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. The way he'd pronounce words, or struggle to recall certain ones. He'd call a hill a "dirt island" and get embarrassed when corrected, he'd write words like "beer" or "new" as "bier" and "neu" in his writings, and the editor would take care of it. He'd enunciate certain words very clearly, or emphasize the wrong parts. He'd saw his Ws like Vs, and would over pronounce his Ts with the full weight of an angry god, and then stutter on his Bs in the same sentence. The way he'd pronounce "Bratwurst" as "b-b-brATvurST' was one of my favorites. He'd repeat it several times before he got it right.
He had a particular distaste for Russia and its people. Given the political situation at the time, this was easy to dismiss. Still, even considering the Cold War, he seemed to get unusually upset when hearing anything about the country on the radio, or reading about it in the newspaper. He'd talk about how brutal and merciless they were, and how the United States should be extremely cautious in dealing with them. He was convinced they wouldn't hesitate to annihilate the entire world and rebuild their own country from ruins.
A less investigative person might write these incidents off as a southern boy trying to fit in with big city folk, but the problem was, I didn't know where Andrew was from. He never wanted to share anything about his past with me. All I knew for sure was he grew up on a farm, his parents were dead and he came to Erikson City to become a reporter. Whenever I'd press him for more information, he'd either change the subject or firmly refused to go into more detail, simply saying he "wasn't comfortable." That there was "trauma" from his past that he didn't want to dredge up, and that he wanted to leave it behind him.
Little by little, the truth would come out, but something traumatic would have to happen first. When we had a huge shouting match in the middle of a public mall, he told me about his absolutely ridiculous secret fortress on the surface of the moon that he'd fly away to. When I fell off the Vinland Tower and he just narrowly rescued me, he told me he'd go out into the woods miles away from our apartment and toss entire trees to let off some steam. When he stopped a mad scientist's nuclear bomb from destroying the entire city, he told me "Andrew Rogers" wasn't the name he was born with.
==Trauma== The horrible day the truth began to come out, he woke up screaming incoherently, rapidly pacing back and forth and refusing to let me touch him. He jumped out of the window of our eight-story apartment building in his underwear and flew god knows how many miles away, shrieking the entire time. Everyone thought a plane had busted an engine and narrowly avoided crashing.
He didn't come home for three days. When I found him, he was wandering the alleyway outside our apartment complex, muttering to himself. He was bare naked, covered in swamp debris and scars, his eyes-wide open in a haunting, vacant stare filled with fear. I brought him in, drew him a bath and didn't ask any questions. He couldn't take care of himself for an entire week, needing to be fed and clothed like a child. I had to call work for him and tell them he was suffering a mental breakdown, and may need to be temporarily admitted to a sanitarium. Captain Astonishing completely disappeared for the time, but luckily the city was under the protection of a substitute hero: "Cosmo, the Astoni-Dog." Please don't ask me how a dog got superpowers.
Before then, I had never seen a grown man cry my entire life, but he bellowed like a baby at night. He had to be held and whispered to before he could go to sleep. Years ago he brought home a special crystal he called "Astronite" that weakened his powers. Usually, we'd use it to be... intimate, so he didn't accidentally hurt me, but during these trying days I had to use it so his breakdowns didn't level half the neighborhood.
The day he snapped out of it, I was in the living room listening to the radio, and he stumbled in from bed, in his favorite robe, twiddling his thumbs and staring at the ground. He called out my name and asked if we could go to these special German market across town to pick up ingredients. I agreed, no argument. I was just glad to see him back on his feet.
That night, he cooked dinner with the ingredients we brought home. This was very out-of-character for him. Trying to get my husband to cook was like trying to teach a bear to drive. Even if you could wrestle it into the driver's seat, the bear would still have no idea what to do. Of course, as I would soon find out, this was just another part of the act he was putting on to hide from his past.
He prepared a beautiful five-course meal that tasted better than anything I ever tired before. Remembering it almost brings me to tears, a decadent precursor of the horrible things to come. We ate it all with no leftovers, as the past two weeks had been so stressful we barely ate at all.
It started with a creamy Spätzle pasta served with a side of Bavarian Apple-Sausage Hash and eggs. Then we had Beef Sauerbraten with carrots and a side of sauerkraut, which I usually didn't like but the way he prepared it that day was the perfect blend of sweet and salty that complimented the dish incredibly well. Then we had Beef Stroganoff with a side of whole bratwurst sausages and bread rolls, followed by Rouladen with a side of pan-fried Wiener Schnitzel, and for dessert he finished off by making the most light, crispy strudel with ice cream. The fat and carbs we ate together probably could've killed a horse.
When the meal was finally finished, he asked me to bow my head and join him in a prayer. This was rare for him. We only attended Church about twice a month and almost never talked about God, but he insisted. As I held my head down and prayed, I could hear him muttering. I didn't recognize the words he was using, but I'd know the Lord's Prayer in any language.
He looked me in the eyes, and he told me the story he was about to tell me was the worst thing I'd ever hear in my life. That if I walked out the door and never spoke to him again, he'd understand completely. He told me he had a horrible secret he'd been living with for decades now, and he wouldn't keep it inside anymore.
"My name is Andrew Rogers. That's my real name. It will be on my tombstone." He bluntly told me. "But I was born Adalgar Herrmann."
I remember every word of what he told me next. I sat there like a deer in headlights, my heart sinking in my chest. I don't know how I've been able to live with it all this time, but until now I've never told another soul. He told me his story, the story of the Overman.
==Research== Germany, 1933. The Nazi party rises to power in a maelstrom of violence, paranoia and desperation. The Third Reich went to work taking a broken, desolate nation torn apart by war and financial collapse and rebuilding it into a finely tuned machine, at the cost of its soul. Secret police, massive expansions of the country's military, and a deeply intricate secret scientific industrial complex.
Aribert Heim, known now as "Doctor Death" had dreams of taking the Nietzschean concept of the "Super Man" and making it a reality. Hearing scattered reports of humans with supernatural abilities and widely disputed claims of alien encounters, Heim wished to create the ulimate superhuman that would stand above all others, a living monument to the Nazi ideal of of a superior breed of Aryan ubermensch.
Nazi scientists went to work gather human subjects to test their vile experiments on. From the classified documents I was able to obtain during my search for answers, I've learned the full extent of the horrors their victims went through. Subjects went through long, painful surgeries to augment their bodies. Their names and identities were stripped from history, remembered now only by codes and numbers.
HV-24 was the first test subject to successfully gain heat vision. He died moments into testing it, the intense heat rays emitting from his eyes melting his eyes and burning away the flesh of his eye sockets, leaving them as large, black holes on his face.
ST-37 had the muscles in his arms augmented to increase his strength. The man was able to lift a tank above his own head. However, the intense strain caused every unaltered muscle his body to rip apart like paper, causing him to collapse. Being crushed under the tank's weight must have come as a merciful end to the horrific pain.
SP-30 was given the ability to run hundreds of miles per hour. When he was forced to run on a treadmill in an observation chamber, he ran so fast he was incinerated by the intense friction he created, erupting into a flame so violent it nearly burned down the facility.
With each grievous failure, it became clear that secondary protections and augmentations would be necessary to keep the user from being killed by their own abilities. Eventually, the process was perfected to such a point that only an injection of a serum would be necessary to induce the abilities and radically alter the subject's genetic makeup. This serum would become known as "Compound V."
The Germans had all the parts and pieces they needed to give a man superpowers. All they needed now was one they deemed worthy of wielding them.
==Origins== Adalgar Herrmann was the perfect soldier. Born on a remote Hops farm in Bavaria, his father was a patriotic survivor of the first world war, and his mother lost all three of her brothers in the same conflict. He was instilled with a sense of pride and duty in his country. Strong, brave, patriotic and loyal, he was the kind of soldier who would jump on a grenade, and stay behind to pick up the shrapnel. Although he was indifferent to world politics and adverse to the Nazi ideology, he nevertheless was proud to defend the country he grew up in.
In 1941, during Operation Barbarossa, Adalgar was grievously injured by an explosion while trapped in a building. Every bone in his body was broken and he suffered second-degree burns on half of his body. It was believed he was permanently paralyzed from the neck down. This mixed of expendable and competent made the German government see him as the perfect test subject. He even had Nordic ancestry, blonde hair and blue eyes.
When he was injected with Compound V, his body returned to working order almost immediately. A few days of minor physical therapy and he was carted off to a classified testing facility. There, he was briefed on the amazing new powers he had, and taught to use them with deadly efficiency.
After two years of training, Adalgar was ready to be deployed to the eastern front once again. But first, he'd need his own uniform. The Germans envisioned their new human superweapon not only as a powerful asset for war, but for propaganda as well. Karl Diebitsch and Walter Heck spearheaded the effort to give Germany's new ultimate creation a costume and persona worthy of his nature.
Drawing partially from circus performers, partially from American radio and pulp magazines, and even other so-called superheroes of the time. The resulting costume was a black jumpsuit with red boots and bracers, a red buttoned vest in the style of a German officer's uniform, a simple belt and a long, red cape with a collar that covered the entire neck. The shoulder of his cape was adorned with a pair of SS bolts, though by all records, Adalgar was a Wehrmacht, and never was never a registered member of the Schutzstaffel. Finally, his vest was adorned with a large, black swastika on the center of the chest, clearly indicating what side he was on.
They even proposed an alias for Adalgar: "The Overman."
==War== In an intense battle on the eastern front between Russian and German forces, he came barreling from the sky, blotting out the sun as he rocketed to the earth, creating a massive explosion as he hit the ground. The soldiers must have thought he was a bomb, but it was far worse.
He stood up, and a ray of burning heat erupted from his eyes. It caused entire buildings to collapse, tanks to melt, and humans to be completely incinerated on contact. He could lift abandoned tanks and massive debris with his bare hands and toss them at the enemy. Before long, every Russian gun was trained on him, but they had no effect. The deadly ricochets bouncing off of his body killed several soldiers, but not a single one hurt him.
The enemy soldiers couldn't even flee from him, as he moved so fast he could chase them down like a wild animal. His punches and kicks sent men flying for miles, he could rip humans apart with his fingers. He could pick up a soldier by the ankle and use his body as a weapon to bludgeon his allies to death. The way he described it, he was violent, but not brutal. He didn't torture or dismember his enemies, didn't rip their hearts out. He killed them quickly and efficiently. I'm not quite sure if I believe him, or even if he believes that himself.
Before long, the once roaring battlefield was desolate and silent. Another human couldn't be seen for miles. Even the Germans had hid themselves or retreated in sheer horror. The abandoned Russian town looked like a slaughterhouse, every inch covered in blood and soot. He told me that looking back on it, he's filled with shame and regret, but at the time, he actually felt pride. He felt proud of his country, proud of his abilities, proud of what he did to help his countrymen.
Every soldier there was ordered to stay completely quiet about what they saw, and not a single Russian was left alive to tell the tale. As far as anyone outside of the upper echelon knew, the town was destroyed by a series of bombs. As horrifying as this battle had ended up, it was only a test run. The Germans planned to officially unveil their champion to the world in a much more grandiose, theatrical way.
==Fame== Adalgar's victory had delighted every major member of the Third Reich, from the lowliest SS member to Adolf Hitler himself. He had became a hero to them, almost godlike. Joseph Goebbels demanded to meet this fantastic Overman, to introduce him to Hitler and everyone in his cabinet, and Aribert Heim agreed.
Herrmann was invited to a dinner party with the most powerful players in Germany. Hermann Goring, Heinrich Himmler, Joseph Goebbels, Leni Riefenstahl and even the Chancellor himself. Adalgar was the star of the hour, arriving in full costume to a chorus of cheers and applause.
Goebbels talked about what a great propaganda tool Overman could become for Germany. How he could be used to inspire pride in the German people and fear in all of its enemies. Goebbels envisioned him as a realization of popular American superhero comics, sending a fierce message to the entire western world. At the time, America had its own hero, Major Triumph, who wore a red, white and blue costume and battled with a shield. He had his own comic book, film serial and radio show. Goebbels gushed about how Overman could easily outshine anything produced in America.
Andrew described feeling ambivalence about the proposal. He was a soldier, not a movie star. Nevertheless, it wasn't his place to object to his orders. Over the coming weeks, the Germans prepared him for what was to be his big public reveal in the summer of the following year. The Nazis dreamed of introducing him to a cheering crowd as he performed spectacular feats. He was taught the art of acting, public speaking and performance art, a fantastic wardrobe was tailored for him, work began on several different media projects.
Herrman didn't like being grounded and forced into what called "candy-striping." He wanted to be out there on the battlefield, fighting the enemy, saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. He didn't enjoy being groomed to become a celebrity. He described as feeling "fake." But the Germans didn't intend to use him for that purpose, at least not yet. He was seen as a living Grand Slam, a powerful tool to be used in only the most dire of situations, saved for the most crucial moment. There was a mix of both patronization and fear to how he was treated.
One day, a crew of SS officers arrived at Herrmann's apartment, and he was escorted to Poland for an unspecified reason. He was told everything would become clear in time. Adalgar was about to learn a horrible secret that would taint his view of his own country forever, and would ultimately lead to the death of Adalgar Herrman, and Overman.
==Revelation== Andrew told me he wasn't exactly sure why the Germans showed him what they did. He assumed they were so cruel they thought he would be overjoyed when it was revealed to him. I believe they knew he would be disgusted, but reasoned that revealing the secret to him would be better than having him find out on his own, and if they could control the situation, they could retain his loyalty.
In a rural area in Poland, Adalgar was taken to a forced labor camp for dissidents and racial undesirables, what we now call "Concentration Camps." He was given a full tour of every facility. He got to see the miserable conditions of every room, the filth and squalor, the starved and beaten prisoners, the torture facilities and even the execution chambers. Andrew explained that he seen prisons before, but nothing as squalid and miserable as this.
He described feeling shell-shocked, standing there in complete silence. The officer escorted him through the facility was grim, aloof and detached. He would often avert his gaze to a nearby wall or out of a window as Adalgar observed some new horror. Today, we are all well aware of the evils of these camps, but at the time, Adalgar was one of the few people to see inside one of those awful places.
The loyalty he had to his government and the patriotism he felt for his homeland was beginning to chip away. As he left the encampment with an entourage of soldiers, he described feeling shame, confusion and anger. A few government officials attempted to explain that the prison camps were meant to house only the worst of criminals, and that the poor conditions were only due to financial constraints brought on by the war. Even still, they firmly stated that Hitler intended to ethnically cleanse Europe, claiming that it was for the good of humanity and that in the end, when the roughest parts were over, the entire planet would be a more peaceful, happy place. Herrman didn't believe them, even though he wanted to.
Over the next few days, he was extremely introverted. Before, he would spend every day with propagandists and military commanders discussing his big debut, but now he avoided every public outing he could. Often, troupes of armed guards would have to escort him out just to make sure he arrived at scheduled meetings.
Eventually, Herrman was escorted back to the blacksite where he was first given his powers. I can only guess why, perhaps they assumed Herrman's depression was a side-effect of his medication, or that there was some kind of drug they could pump into him to brainwash him back into loyalty. It was as if he was a faulty radio, and they were returning him to the factory for repairs.
When he arrived at the facility, he was escorted by a nameless scientist tasked with giving him a tour of the building, showing him what had changed since he was last there. Herrman recalled how the man led him to a darkened room. When the lights came on, he saw dozens of men in tubes filled with some green, translucent solution.
The man explained to Adalgar exactly what he was seeing. These men were brand new test subjects, undergoing the same series of procedures he went through to become a superhuman. In time, they would all become human weapons, just as he had. The scientist was absolutely beaming as he explained how Adalgar could be a commander for an entire platoon of super-powered soldiers, conquering the enemies of the thousand year reich in glorious combat.
Adalgar stood in stock, silent and still. He didn't know what to say. Thoughts raced through his head of the battles he had faced, of bombs and explosions, thousands of soldiers marching. He thought back to the camps, people starving and beaten in cages, herded like dying cattle. He had realized, in that moment, that if this project were to be completed, Germany could easily extend its reach all across the globe, and that the entire world would look like that camp.
He couldn't conjure a clear image of what happened next. There was fire, and blood, and human viscera. Explosions and bullets filled the air. Herrman described how he could "only see red" and how he felt human bodies rip in his hands like tissue paper. Within mere moments, the entire building was rubble, and dead bodies littered the landscape.
Herrman told me that he fled into the woods, and six months later he was found by an American recon team. The government spent the next decade sanitizing his image, covering the tracks he left behind and erasing any memory of the Overman. Adalgar would become a fully American figure, and the horrific details of his origin would be lost to time.
==Searching== <Darla leaves Adalgar for a month and goes digging for evidence to expose her husband, the investigation leads her to a mutual friend, Jack Stripes, who she is shocked to learn is Major Triumph.>
The next day, I packed my bags and left. The pain I felt after learning the awful truth was like a noose around my neck. I couldn't stay any longer, and Andrew didn't even try to stop me. He didn't say a word. I spent a few days at my brother's home, telling him nothing of what transpired. I had no idea what to do next.
After about a week, my journalistic instincts kicked in. I decided I needed to dig a little deeper, gather evidence and see how much of my husband's story I could actually verify. I made my decision: I would travel to Germany and spent the next month trying to piece together a story from whatever scraps were left after the whitewashing of the Overman's story.
The search was difficult, to say the least. The governments of Germany and the US had done a thorough job erasing any sign of the Overman's existence. Even still, I found more than I thought I would. I talked to older residents, those who had survived the war and holocaust. They kept little trinkets and momentos, newspaper clippings and little emblems and toys based on Overman. The Reich did their best to terminate anything with Adalgar's face on it, but the people had a will to simply remember.
I burned a few bridges and called in some favors, and I managed to find a source who was able to get his hands on classified documents. The references to Overman were vague and obtuse, but they were there. They created a plausible trail of evidence. I didn't have enough to prove my story beyond a reasonable doubt, but I was getting closer.
One night, I got a call from a family friend, Jack Stripes. Of course, most of the world knew him but his other name: "Major Triumph." My husband had told me his secret identity in confidence. They had fought together in several fantastic battles, and were even on the same superhero team. It was no surprise we became close friends since. He was the best man at our wedding, and we even brought him on vacation with us one summer.
Even over the phone, I could tell he was smoking a cigar. His tone was jovial and facetious, until I mentioned The Overman. His gravelly, raspy voice cracked with a bit of solemnness. He realized this wasn't a casual chat between old friends, and began to speak very matter-of-factly. He said we needed to meet in-person, and I obliged him.
We talked for hours that night. The grizzled military veteran was clad in his Air Force bomber jacket. Much like Adalgar, he was a super soldier, selected as part of a government program. We talked for hours, from simple topics like how long it had been since we last seen each other, old memories and how our lives were now, to more troubling matters like Adalgar's mental condition, the horrible secret he kept, and what I'd tell the world when I was finished.
I expected him to try to discourage me from publishing the information, to try and stonewall me. Instead, he surprised me by encouraging me to keep looking for answers. He surprised me even further when he asked that I transcribe our conservation, get it on record. He wanted to state his case very clearly, in his own words. He wanted to be sure that if my story went public, he would be allowed to plead his case in no uncertain terms.
The following is an excerpt from the transcript I wrote of our conversation, where he explained how he first met Adalgar.
==War Stories== "I never knew Adalgar as a Nazi. By the time we first spoke, he had burned his bridges with Ol' Addy and his men. I remember it was near the end of the war, when the allies started to liberate people from the camps. There had been scattered reports of some kind of massacre at an internment site, and me and three other capes were sent on a covert operation to scout the area and report our findings. It was me, Boomerang Billy, Joltin' Jesse and Lady Athena.
We didn't have to sneak our way into the camp. There were no guards, no prisoners, not a single sign of life. It looked like a butcher shop got hit by a hurricane. Blood and guts as far as the eye could see. Piles of gore that couldn't even be recognized as any kind of animal, let alone human. Buildings ripped open and caved in, guard towers ripped off their legs and smashed into the ground. It was like a very big toddler had thrown a tantrum and left the whole place leveled.
All of the internment cages were empty, ripped open and left to rot. We weren't sure what had happened here, but there was a clear trail of destruction and unsettlement leading out from the encampment deep into the woods. It was pitch black at night by the time we found where the trail led.
We came across a shanty camp haphazardly built around a cave in the wilderness. Jerry-rigged tiki torches surrounded a big, open area full of tents. The people there didn't speak a word of english, but I'd recognize a holocaust survivor anywhere. They were roasting the frayed, shattered remains of various ugly little animals over fire pits and desperately snacking down. Months of starvation will turn any man, or woman, into a rabid dog.
Boomerang Billy spoke fragmented German and managed to ask some important questions. The people there told them they were led out of their encampment by a blue-eyed, blonde man they compared to Hercules or Samson. They described how he came down from the sky like an angel, clothed in tattered rags and covered in filth. He ripped through the camp guards with his bare hands until his whole body was bright red with their blood, shooting fire from his eyes and screaming like a wild animal. He led everyone who could walk out of the back gate and left the prison camp burning.
When we entered the cave, we found him. The man the prisoners described as both "The Angel" and "The Mad God." He was clad in strange, tribalistic leather bindings and wore a hollowed-out deer's head like a helmet. He turned to us, speaking broken German and demanding to know if we were with the Third Reich. I explained to him, in my own fractured German, that we were with the Allied Forces and we were here to help, in any way we could.
He surrendered immediately and asked us to bring him in to custody, so long as the refugees he brought with him were taken to safety. We obliged him, and an extraction team came out within a few hours to escort the survivors away. Overman was taken to a secret facility under Ellis Island. The suits had a lot of big ideas about reverse-engineering him into some kind of superweapon and propaganda tool, but he refused. He didn't want to be a part in any more wars. He said superhumans had no place in wars, no more than nuclear bombs or chemical weapons did.
Eventually, the suits reworked the idea, made him a civilian superhero. He was happy to finally do some good for the world. Your husband loved America with all his heart, the way only an immigrant from a broken country could. I mean, obviously not all of 'em are grateful - those Nazi scientists we stole do nothing but bitch, but you get the picture.
Is Andrew a good man? I really can't say. He's done some horrible things, but so has everyone who ever had to fight for their country. I don't know if the truth will set people free, or if everyone will get more out of the hero persona the government crafted, but I know one thing: Andrew Rodgers, deep in his heart, is a good man, and my friend."
==Epilogue== After several months of investigation, I ultimately decided not to publish the story. I gathered everything I discovered and hid it away in a lockbox. Only Mr. Stripes and I know its location. One day, the world will be ready to know the truth of The Overman, but it isn't today.
Andrew and I reunited shortly after I returned home, and together we had a son. Today, he is a grown man, and the second Captain Astonishing. He has no idea of the horrors his father lived through, and I intend to keep it that way. He'll make a fine hero, raised on the values and patriotism instilled in him. Uncorrupted by the evils that proceeded his origin.
The world is now filled to the brim with heroes and villains. Some aided by technology, some simply having trained intensely. Most have been injected with a distilled version of Compound V, giving them amazing abilities. The effect is different for every person. Some gain super speed, some gain the ability to clone themselves, others gain powers like Herrman. The world has no idea these powers were invented by the Nazi regime. I am one of the few living people who carry this burden.
Sometimes, when I'm all alone in my chair with a cup of coffee, I wonder what comes next. I wonder if Andrew snapped because of the trauma he had lived through, or as a side-effect of the drug. I wonder if a huge population of super-powered individuals is truly a benefit to the world, or it will simply destroy it. Are we living on a ticking time bomb? Only time will tell.
For now, I will take my place next to my husband, basking in the comfort of retirement, spoiling our grandchildren and aging away until I'm just a pleasant memory to the people who loved me. I only hope that I will not live to see the potentially apocalyptic results of Compound V, should they come to pass.
English: It's good enough for a first draft, but even for the Writer's Workshop it needs a lot of cleanup. You have dozens of spelling, conjugation, grammar and punctuation errors.
Entertainment Value: It was interesting. I'd give it a B here.
Nit Picking Department:
I know this is an alternate universe and an alternate reality. Why change the names of states and cities? The further away you get from our world, the more the timeline would diverge. Would battles have gone differently?
The guy comes from Germany. As the son of a farmer, he probably didn't have a great education there. When he moves to America, he has definite problems with his English. "Even the very tone of his voice sounded... off. His accent sounded like some kind of weird cross between Elvis Presley, John Wayne and Jimmy Stewart. The way he'd pronounce words, or struggle to recall certain ones. He'd call a hill a "dirt island" and get embarrassed when corrected, he'd write words like "beer" or "new" as "bier" and "neu" in his writings, and the editor would take care of it. He'd enunciate certain words very clearly, or emphasize the wrong parts. He'd saw his Ws like Vs, and would over pronounce his Ts with the full weight of an angry god, and then stutter on his Bs in the same sentence. The way he'd pronounce "Bratwurst" as "b-b-brATvurST' was one of my favorites. He'd repeat it several times before he got it right."
This isn't a guy who is going to make it as a newspaper reporter. Why not make him a diesel mechanic or blacksmith from Milwaukee. That's an area with a lot of ethnic Germans, and a Germanic accent wouldn't be that unusual. If the guy is hauling 16 cylinder engine blocks around or pounding an anvil all day, it's natural that he's going to have the Incredible Hulk's muscles. Reporters aren't generally known for looking that strong.
Deliberately taking him to a death camp to give him a reason to hate the Reich seems weak. There were far more reasons to hate the Reich than that. If you really want to use the camps, let him find out accidentally and in the course of his duty. Let it grow slowly until he has no choice.
Why didn't the Nazis use this serum by the gallon? If they had it so early in the war, why not make armies of Ubermenschen? Even by then, they had the human wreckage to burn.
Why put him through two years of training? After they know he will live for 60 days, make more and deploy them to the field.
Why keep him as a propaganda piece? Two years after Barbarossa, Nazi Germany desperately needed the win. The Nazis had already been beaten at Stalingrad and at Kursk. They knew the war was going VERY badly at that point. They needed those wonder weapons, and they needed them NOW!
I would do it from his perspective. It's his story. He looks to the world like a quiet mechanic from Milwaukee, child of immigrants, passionately anti-Communist. Nothing unusual. But then he will go and save people. What is he? How does he tell his wife and family? How will she react?
I don't see much in this other than a bootleg Superman-Captain America gone slightly wrong. It's not exactly original with the titles and ideas, in a bad way. Not in a way of "oh you're doing some common", you go full blown Superman in that introduction. If you want darker Superhero themed works to look at I suggest reading Watchmen or Death of the Family, and pretty much anything where Red Hood is the main character.
As for the whole plot with the nazis, Dr Bob already covered all of that. So I'll just second what he said. It seems a little lackluster and unorganic.
Not to mention that this story isn't exactly horror, it's more of a dark fantasy thing. I mean, the descriptions are there but it kind of feels lacking in something. Like that "it's unpleasant to read" touch, I didn't see it there.
@DrBobSmith - Some great noites. Since this *is* an alternate world with lots of alterations to history, including entire fictional states and towns, I think I might explictly change the events of the war in some areas to better fit in with the narrative. I'll also definitely cut out the "two years of training" part because I only initially added that line because I thought it would better fit with the timeline. Now that you point out that bit of history, I think it would be a better to just have him get out there on the battlefield as soon as possible. Maybe the reason the Germans keep him as propaganda tool instead of a weapon is because Stalingrad went a little differently thanks to the help of a certain wonder weapon? Ho ho ho...
The fact that he was a reporter was another nod to golden age Superman, but I think making him a working class mechanic is a really awesome idea, even if it means tinkering parts of the story - I'm fine with that.
Also, I'm actually kind of relieved you only found "dozens" of errors. With how much I suck at proofreading I expected at least a hundred, lol. I'll probably need to recruit some beta readers. Let me know if you're interested.
@BloodySpghetti - Sorry you didn't enjoy the story more. I've read all of those comics you've mentioned, actually. I even read 60 issues of Ennis' Punisher MAX and a good chunk of The Boys. Ennis dark, comically miserable take on superheroes was definitely a big inspiration for this story.
You've brought up something I've been worried about - that this story, while dark, isn't exactly horror. I'm really concerned about that and I'm not sure if I'll ultimately be able to post it here.
One medical man must help another. Of course, I will beta read it for you and review.
I use a lot of online tools to do the first pass of proofreading. They don't get all my errors, but they get most.
Bloody Spaghetti is right. This isn't horror. I've had that problem myself. Sometimes, my characters live reasonably happy ever after. People get bored by that. I've wondered if there isn't a level of horror that a real-world superhero would face. When two disasters happen at once, how do you choose? What do you do when things go wrong? Maybe you save thousands of people by tossing the bomb that's about to go off out of the crowded city auditorium, but it lands in a church 10 miles out of town and blows up the choir of little girls practicing for a Christmas number. How about seeing the burn victims, people pleading for help, people asking for your help with everything. You're Uberman/Captain Astonishing. You can do anything - save my child from dying of cancer. How about when you get exposed to the really sick side of humanity, abused children, dead children, homicidal maniacs, etc.
Lots of cops snap from this, and there's no psychological counseling department for superheroes. There also wouldn't be days off. If there's a disaster on Sunday at 3:00 AM, you can bet the Batphone or equivalent will ring and you will be expected to fly out and do it.
So, how would he keep his identity secured from neighbors? Somebody is going to notice the guy flying in and out of a certain apartment building?
How does our superhero get paid? Sure, he gets something from his day job, if he can get time to work it and if he isn't so exhausted that he falls asleep over his work?
How many calories do you think this guy would consume a day when stopping speeding locomotives and leaping over tall buildings for a living? What would his food bill be? How could they hide something like that?
As for World War II, if the Germans had won at Stalingrad they would have choked off the supply of oil produced in the Crimea from the rest of the Soviet Union. Instant motor fuel shortage. The Red Army would have pretty much ground to a halt in weeks. If the battle of Kursk had happened six months later, the Red Army would be at a horrible disadvantage. It couldn't get the same number of tanks and supplies to the battlefield and they would be short on fuel. As it was pretty close as is, my guess is the Red Army would have lost.
At that point, there would be no reason not to take ALL of European Russia. Actually, they may as well grab Siberia as well. It has mineral resources as well as farmland and it would make a great buffer against future Japanese expansion.
What could stop the Nazi war machine? MAYBE the atomic bomb, maybe. My guess is that it wouldn't.
Let's say Uberman defects to America shortly before the US destroys Bremen. How would Captain Amazing feel if his parents and sisters lived in Bremen? He could have saved them.
Hopefully, this gives you something to think about.