Chapter 1

October 1st, 1921

The seasonal snows in Russia usually start in Late October, and yet the land is blanketed in fields of snow.
A Child is born to a young couple in Omsk, A Daughter, bright blue eyes and so little hair to speak of.
She would be raised a normal child, for the first part of her life.
As the mother, a gentle woman with long brown hair sat in her own bed, with the small child in her arms, hand linked to the man at her side, though not her husband.
"Svel… welcome to our broken little family" she spoke, before humming so gently as the wind beat against the window.
Her mother staying at home as she would teach her tiny daughter, for her to learn to speak, for her to write, to sew and to cook. But for the most part, she was too young to do much of it.
Her father would leave for weeks on end and would return with the stench of chemicals and alcohol on his clothes, on his breath.
When Svel turned four, her father didn't show, she went to bed with a kiss from her mother and the wail of the wind against her window.

Late in the night, you could hear the pained calls of her mother and the gruff demands of her father downstairs.
An argument and this would cause Svel to not see her father again for quite some time.

September 10th, 1928

Svel was six, soon to turn seven in the month to come.
Her parents were no longer together, still married and yet never spoke.
Late in the evening, as the first stars appeared in the sky, her mother would carry her to the family car, setting her in the back, tears welled in her mother's eyes, kissing her little daughter on the forehead, and buckling her into her seat "Mother loves you my little angel," she sobbed as she closed the door. Svel's little voice could not be heard as her father locked her in the back of his car, her attempts to escape her prison gained no results. She watched as her parents simply exchanging a look, Boris, her father took the bags that held her clothes, and yet no toys, no games, and the love would be left with her mother.

The car would lead to a Train station, from there more long rides that would take her ever further from her home, the last time she would see the vines that crawled the stone walls, the last time she would see the hefty open fire she would lay in front of.
such a young child didn't know the pain of her parents, their loveless marriage. Their child who was born out of a dying candles light.

September 12th, 1928
After driving, riding, walking in nothing but bliss less silence.
She found herself heaved awake as the car hit a pothole, water splashing up over the window.
The light shone over her face, it was late at night, and street lamps flashed by her face she stared out the window at the gently falling snow, the car bouncing over the potholes in the dirt road. She watched a pack of wolves' howl in the night, their silhouettes dancing in the moonlight as she found herself peaking a smile.

The flattened land soon raised, she felt her weight shove backwards as the car made its way up a steep hill, she could see in the distance the gates of a grand fortress coming into view, she struggled and popped off her seatbelt and climbing over the centre console she propped up in the front seat, her eyes full of wonder of what. At first, her tiny imagination might think would be a grand palace.
The car was stopped at the gates, as her hopes would be dashed, she looked at the construction site that spanned all directions, her father spoke to a guard, the cold air rushing in the window as they soon allowed him past.
The car drove up, and parked out front, she felt her father's grim face staring her down, "We are home my daughter, you shall be living here with me from now on."

September 14th, 1928

Svel made her way up and down these colossal halls, the noise would echo far down the corridor, nothing but concrete would make up this facility, and yet her tiny feet moved without drawing attention, but in the end, who would notice.
She could hear voices down the hall as she followed the painted red line, peaking through the opened door, she watched the adults who spoke, a child in the arms of a sturdy man, it was a baby boy.
The man quickly spotted her and shoved her off, slamming the door closed.
she made her way to the one way glass in the wall, standing up on the very ends of her toes, peaking through.
She saw a nursery, there were windows just like this the whole way down the hall, but this one was the only one with lights on. The nursery through the window was filled with newborn children, all little boys, some blonde, some brunet, others had black hair, some even had white hair, they were silent, not like she remembered, visiting her auntie at a hospital a year ago, she remembered there were crying babies, some just slept, and parents stood outside ogling their wonderful little creations. But she looked up and down the halls, nothing, the red line disappeared into the distance either direction.
A nurse opened the door further down the hall, she noticed the little peeper and approached "Hello little girl, are you lost?" she asked.

The nurse took Svel in her arms and carried her all the way to the end of the hall and she made her way up the stairwell, The nurse dropped her off outside her father's door, and she slowly turned the knob, looking in and she silently snuck into her room, her father was buried under more paperwork, keeping him from caring about it even if he'd noticed the little figure crawling on the floor to her room.
Around 7 pm her father knocked on Svel's door, opening it he found her daydreaming as she stared out at the falling snow. He picked her up and held Svel in his arms as they made their way to the cafeteria down below.
"Father, what is this place?" she asks, pushing her food under her fork, moving it around the tray.
He furrowed his brow, watching his own flesh and blood playing with her food, "Well, my dear," he paused, as he thought to himself "I suppose you could call it a hospital, but instead of making people better... it... makes people" he coughed. Such a young child could surely not comprehend the complex nature of his works. How could he explain the grand schemes of a dictators fantasy?
"I saw baby's today, mother said baby's come from her tummy, where are their mothers?" she continued to question her father, and her excitement overwhelming her knowing that she shouldn't have left her room.
"Well, Svel, those babies don't have parents, they're not like me and you, or anyone else, they weren't born from the love of mothers and fathers, and they didn't grow in a mother's tummy" He grumbled, his daughter's curiosity's and questions growing into an irritation.
Boris sat in silence as his daughter rolled out the questions, one after the other as he finally slammed his palm onto the table, his fingers curling as he pursed his lips, a deep breath taken in, but in a calm voice he spoke up "Now, Svel my dear, how about from now on, you can spend time with my assistant, her name is Eva, you can spend as much time with her as you'd like, is that alright?" he muttered, his fingers gently caressing his temple.
"Yay father! Thank you! I want to be helpful to your work, once you're done we can play, I'll make sure it finishes soon," she giggled, shovelling the food into her mouth.
And even then, there was a tug on his lips, but he forced it back.

Svel would follow Eva on her daily rounds, a pup skipping along in the mother dogs shadow, and she would go about asking all the questions her little heart desired.
Eva was a woman in her early 30's her hair was dirty blonde pulled back into a neat bun, her skin held a gentle tan and her eyes shone a beautiful emerald green, and she held a lot of potential here.

By October 1st, 1928 Svel Turned Eight years old, but birthdays weren't something she celebrated, and her father wouldn't be one to surprise her with a gift or a cake. Today was a day like any other to little Svel and each day on her rounds she would spend a short amount of time with each of the children, though she had to wear a mask and protective gloves, she got to spend time with other children, even if they could not speak, or even walk, they were still children, and even if all she could do was play a short game of peak a boo with each one, she thought it enough to lighten their lives, even just a bit.

After she had turned eight, she had started to notice there were more children, day by day, and playing with each of them left Eva waiting by the door for her to finish. And on the 13th of October 1928, they were all gone, she watched as she made her way down the hall that all lights were out, and no nurses wandered the halls checking on the children.

"Miss Eva, where did all the children go?" she tugged her coat as they walked through the halls, her eyes still scanning the windows they walked past for any sign of the children.

"Well little miss, those children have been moved downstairs, they won't be able to play anymore, but we can visit, I'm heading down there soon, do you want to come with me?" she asked, holding out her hand to Svel.
She took her hand happily; Svel had learned to trust Eva, she was the closest thing she had to a friend in this desolate place.

They bypassed the stairwell as svel stood by Eva as they waited at a pair of new shiny doors, a small bell ringed and the doors opened, this was one of the new elevators now installed within the building, and Eva had to scan a little blue card to get the doors to open, the hefty feeling took her down and the elevator burned deep down into the earth's surface, it got colder, a gentle mist seeped into the floor of the elevator. Once the elevator stopped they stepped out and walked through the dimly lit halls, the mist laying on the ground. Svel felt the gentle tickle of the gas as she ran ahead, running her hands through the low-lying clouds.
Eva lead her tiny helper through a set of giant metal doors, and it was if the temperature dropped well below freezing the moment she went inside, Eva took a coat off the hook and put it on, then handed a smaller coat to svel, it was big, but it would at least keep her warm.

Tube after tube line the walls of the room, though it seemed more of a lengthy corridor, and each tube held a child suspended in a cold misty blue liquid, thick and yet, suspended and weightless. They were alive, as far as little Svel could tell they were, but death was not a concept overly known to her.

"These children have entered the second phase of their upbringing," Eva explained, as the look on Svel's face was clear she didn't know what was going "they'll stay here for a long time, slowly growing, it took you Eight years to grow as big as you have, but these, They will grow a lot faster, when you came here they were little babies, now they look five or six" Eva explains, as she led her tiny assistant down the line, the flashing lights and wires that were running all over the ceiling and down the walls to machines on the left, and the tubes to the Right, as she furthered walking down the halls Svel's hand slipped from Eva's and she stopped, her focus turned to look up at one of the tubes and the child suspended inside "I know him…" she muttered "What is his name?" Svel asked curiously, pointing her tiny finger at the young boy, his long blonde hair, his pale skin glistening in the light shone upon him.
"Well Svel, these children don't have names, I suppose you could say, that a name is something that a child's family gives them, a gift for their life, so your father, well he chose to name you Svel, but he chose to just number them, just so we can tell them apart, this little boy is 0004, and there's going to be a lot more of them," she smiled slightly, "That's why they're just numbers, too many to name I suppose."
Svel quickly squealed in response as she stomped on the floor "But that's not fair! They should have names too, is it so hard?" Her tantrum only increased, jumping up and down, as children do.
Eva shook her head, taking the disgruntled Svel's arm in her hand, removing her from the room, she took the girl to her room, In the silence of the small bedroom, she thought up her own idea.

November 2nd, 1928
Svel took an empty notepad and a pen from her father's desk, and a roll of tape from the supply drawer, and a book of baby names she borrowed from one of the other nurses while she waited for Eva.
Today as she walked through with Eva she stopped at each of the tubes, while Eva was jotting down her notes. Svel would write whatever name she could find in the book she thought suited them and named each of them. Writing in as neat of handwriting as an eight-year-old could, and putting a tiny x next to the name in the book, to make sure she never gave two children the same name.
She reached subject 0004, down the end of the line as she thought long and hard, not only after removing nearly any name from the tiny book of names she carried, but that something had caught her eye, and it seemed Eva had noticed just as quickly as Svel did.
"Oh dear, no-no this won't do at all" Eva shook her head, as she wrote in her notes on the subject, a growth on the boy's arm, another on his leg and torso.
As Eva moved on, Svel still thought long and hard about the name she would give this boy, even though in the back of her mind, a child like this wouldn't be here long, he still deserved a name, after a short time she wrote Nikolai, in bold letters and stuck it to the glass of his tomb, smiling happily at her small hurdle overturned, and moving onto the next child.

November 9th, 1928
"Why can't I go with you today?" Svel pleaded, sitting in the cushioned chair of the new nurse's ward in the Northern wing, swinging her legs back and forth as one of the older nurses plaited her long brown hair, watching as Eva collected her documents together.
"I'm sorry but, Nikolai? I think you called him, he is being put on watch, and I don't want you seeing him now alright? Once he is better we can go and see him together, how does that sound?" she asks, turning to give Svel a gentle smile.
"But for now, little miss, you're just going to have to stay here with Ivanka, alright?" Eva rose from her seat, her clipboard in hand as she gently petted her head "I'll see you in a bit, I will come and get you alright? Then we can have some lunch. I heard they're serving something yummy today!" she gleamed, waving before leaving the office.

Svel spent most of the morning sitting around, the older ladies here were less than interesting, and didn't really wish to see or hear Svel for as long as she was there, she sat up on the chair, legs under her butt as she drew endlessly on the spare paper Ivanka had given her. She drew of the snowy fields, of the wolves she would hear howling in the night, of the experiments and them playing with her. A drawing of her and Eva.
Ivanka looked over to check up on her, and she smiled, trying to seem interested "Is that your mummy?" she asked, looking at the drawing of her and Eva
"no…" she muttered. "That's Eva"
The nurses muttered to one another out of earshot "Well why not draw your mummy, I'm sure she's just like you" she forced a smile.
Svel sat silently as she just drew circles and shapes, the figure of her mother in her memories was a sad one. Svel crawled under the desk and hid behind the small filing cabinet.
Her gentle sobs drowned out by the cackling of the Nurses…
Eva went to collect Svel at around 1.20 pm, looking around the office she piped up "Has anyone seen Svel?" she asked, Ivanka lied blatantly "She went back to her room I think" she shrugged Eva off and went back to their gossiping.
Eva knew better, she looked around the office, and it wasn't long she saw the pile of papers under her desk, she knelt and looked under the desk, speaking gently "Svel sweetheart?"
Svel crawled out from under the desk, no words as she hugged Eva tight in her grip, sobbing into her.
Eva took her in her embrace and held Svel for as long as she needed to calm down.
Once Svel was calm and wiped her tears, she took Eva's hand and went with her down to the mess hall.

Ever since she first arrived it seemed Eva was more of a parent to this girl than her father ever was.
Boris Ulrov was less than a loving family man, his career and his experiments deserved more love and time that his daughter ever did, at least in his own eyes.
He had left his wife in a broken home, alone and to her own misery on the night of September 10th.
Little to her own knowledge, or even that of her father, her mother no longer walked among the living…

Regular rounds were made throughout the night, long after Eva took and tucked Svel into bed. The time clicked by and at 11.45 pm that night, Nikolai was more than just an experiment, he had borne a twin.

October 3rd, 1925, Project buried in snow produced its first five subjects who were deemed a success.
June 12th, 1926, subject 0002 and 0005 died in complications, a mishap made by the Scientists meant to watch over them.
November 10th, 1928, 0004 had born a twin, A mistake made but no one knew how it came to be, suspended in the same tube as 0004 was a young girl, they couldn't remove either of them for fear of one or both of them dying.
This twin would later be named 0005, the previous experiment had not made it to this point, so it seemed fitting.
But after a few days went on, Svel was allowed to follow Eva on her rounds again. Sitting by the tank of 0004, she was fixated on this new experiment and where she had come from, why she was suspended side by side with 'Nikolai', her eyes lit up, she immediately felt happy to see a little girl like her, she gleefully screamed as she hugged the tank, soon letting go, as her skin nearly fused with the ice sheet that had formed around the tube. As she looked back up at the blonde girl, her heart skipped a beat "Anya," she whispered to herself, Eva overheard, tore off a blank piece of paper and Wrote Anya on it, folding the end and setting it on top of the tube so the name hung over the glass, as she had no tape on her person.
Svel's eyes light up, hugging Eva's leg "Thank you!" she mumbled against Eva's leg.

Svel would continue to help Eva with her work throughout the months, never seeing the world past the gates.
And on the 18th of September 1937, the work on the facility was completed.
The Soviet Union's Medical Facility of Military Sciences was the towering faculty Built in the mountain plateau far in Russia's tundra.
The facility stretched far down each side, as far as the eye could see. Five stories' high and another Three that would bury down into the earth below, in the centre was a towering structure, the oldest part of the huge building, that was Svel's home, on the 13th floor, the eighth window from the left.

Svel was so young, and her fate in the motions of others.
Her life no more than another star that would appear in the sky.
But to me, that star was the one that shone through the Clouds.
Watching her life fade…
That would be the death of me…