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Ghost Hand anomaly

I have just disobeyed a direct order from my superiors.

When I was a child I was told that the government always knew what was best for us. That they were all seeing, all knowing, and benevolent. I worked with them for 33 years as a military attaché. I saw the worst of the Great Patriotic War. I helped defend Stalingrad. I lived to an old age, and at 59 years old I passed away for the first time.

I think that I will soon return to oblivion, so let me explain my decision today.

The program that killed me was code-named Perimeter. It was a simple concept: if the spirit of the dead can interact with the world, they can be employed to perform tasks that the living cannot. And the most important job one could have is to defend the Soviet Union. I volunteered.

I will not speak of what I went through in order to be anchored to this military base. I'm sure if I said it here the information would be removed from this recording anyway, but it did not take long before I was dead and haunting this command coffin. They have tried to repeat the process with others, but they refuse to return. I'm told that I am a marvel of Soviet ingenuity. A shame that I will be the only one of my kind.

The coffin is nice, by any standard. There are lights. There is not enough room for me to sit up, but of course it's a coffin, I understand that there are limitations. All of Soviet industry has been brought to bear to create this wonder. From here I can detect missile launches halfway across the world. From here I can direct our own response. And even if the enemy knew where I was, I am deep underground. They could never destroy this coffin before I rained fire back on their heads.

An hour ago the alert went out, and here, buried deep beneath the earth I saw the warning. A dozen missiles had been launched from Turkey into the Soviet heartland. There would be no chance to respond if I did not trigger our own missiles immediately.

Fear is not something I am accustomed to. When I was alive I would always tell people that no matter what they feared it was nothing next to the fear I felt in Stalingrad. Using a rifle that jammed half the time it was fired, I was tasked with defending a single intersection against a German column. They drove and marched down streets that were already running red with blood. If I failed in my task and lived, I'd face the commissars. If I succeeded they'd make me do it again somewhere else the next day. I'd thought that the only release would be death. If only I knew how wrong I was.

Death was a certainty then. And I'd survived anyway. Fear hadn't helped me at any point. So I felt no need for it in peacetime. But with a dozen lights on my screen that each meant destruction on an untold scale, I felt the cold grip of fear on my soul again.

What if they were wrong? Why would the west fire only twelve missiles? Malfunctions happened in the system all the time. We complain but nothing has ever been done about it. We're told there is no problem. That the politburo would never assign us to systems that were faulty.

Yet there it was in front of me. A missile detection. The end of the world. And I froze. I was back in the war. Shivering under rags. Gripping my rifle. Fearing tomorrow. And I heard the voice of my commissar. Demanding I press the attack.

I refused. The voice over the intercom wasn't a commissar. It was the command center's apparatchik. Same purpose, different name. A party man. He screamed. He shouted. He threatened my granddaughter. He threatened me with a return to nothing. And yet I could not fire the shot.

The detection was a false alarm. The system was not at fault of course. The Soviet Union would never provide us with faulty equipment. The Communist Party's man is saying I must have done something wrong. There will be an inquest. An investigation. And I've been assured that this investigation will find me at fault for the problem.

If I was still alive, I would fear what happens tomorrow.

Declassified Entry in the War Diary of Soviet Army Captain Grigori Alekseev, August ████████.


Dr. Jeremiah Cimmerian

Ignota IronShears


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