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Chapter 11: "Reciprocity"
After October 1945
Der Riese - Teleporter A
Think back. How did you get here, Tank?
Peleliu, 1944. Thousands dead for some rock in the Pacific. Going in, Tank had no respect for the Japanese. They were as good as the Nazi scum our boys were fighting in Europe. But Peleliu showed Dempsey the might of the Emperor's followers. Their cause was cruel and unusual, but they feared nothing, not even death. As a young boy from the American midwest, Dempsey couldn't say the same about himself. The warriors Dempsey clashed with on the island were willing to die by the hundreds of thousands for their homeland. It made them durable and resilient, if not terrifying.
“Tank” Dempsey deployed alongside the rest of the 1st Marine Division in taking Peleliu. It wasn't their first deployment, but their bloodiest yet. Many friends Dempsey made along the way didn't see the end of the battle, others like Dempsey and Roebuck lived to continue the US's island-hopping campaign in the Pacific. Dempsey received the medal of honor when his whole platoon was wiped out, and he crawled behind enemy lines, taking out Japanese snipers raining down on American medics. On his return they called him the walking tank. But the whole operation was a shitshow. Only supposed to last three or four days, marines fought through hell for weeks on Peleliu. But at the time, Dempsey took orders, he didn't give them.
For another year, he rose through the ranks and was the subject of many legends. Soon, the war came to a standstill, and Japan surrendered just after Germany's surrender on the Eastern front. For his commendations, the US government pulled Dempsey and his squad out of the swamps for a secret operation in Germany. That is where things got fuzzy for Tank.
They had a mission to retrieve a VIP. Not a soldier. A doctor. A spy.
Dempsey hit his temple with his palm trying to jog any memory, as he sat awaiting the eclipse at the base of the teleporter.
All he could remember was the sense of urgency from his superiors. They insisted on flying that night, even while tensions in Germany were still high. They had to find the target before the Soviets did.
Dempsey tried to remember times before the war. It had gone on so long, he had barely any rememberence of what it was like. Memories of a wife and young daughter flashed in his head, almost feeling unreal. The war hardened him, made him cruel and spiteful. Would he be loved if he returned home now, after all his atrocities on the battlefield?
He pushed it all to the back of his mind, locking the pain away in his subconcious. The Corps taught Dempsey to hide his feelings from his squad. If their own leader could not stay calm under pressure, neither could they.
After that thought, Dempsey returned to his fighting stance as sounds of gunshots and zombie screaming were heard in the distance. Sounds like the others might be in trouble. He considered leaving his post to help his unconventional allies, but standing by to link the teleporter was his duty, even if it did come from a German. Just down the stairs and into the hallway, clanging and smashing of glass could be heard as Nazi-uniformed freakbags goose-stepped their way into Dempsey's sights. Dempsey switched off the safety on his Thompson and rained down his fury upon the zombies. More began to vault through broken windows at his side, getting up close and personal. They did not stand a chance against the “Tank”. He sent a rain of bullets at one group through the window before gunning down more at the stairway, without releasing the trigger. As he reloaded, Dempsey sent a German hand grenade towards the foot of the stairwell, sending meat chunks flying all around.
In all the chaos, Dempsey almost forgot the mission: Link the teleporter during the eclipse. Up in the sky, the moon was now fully encompassed by the bright flare of the sun. Dempsey entered Richtofen's code into the nearby keypad, and once again focused his attention on the meat-puppets hungry for his flesh. More and more undead Germans began piling in from every direction, quickly depleting Dempsey's supply of ammunition. Then, like a gift from above came the random weapons box, plopping down against the railing next to the teleporter, and shining its bright blue glow towards the sky. Excellent.
Dempsey opened the box successfully this time, still not diverting his attention away from the zombies. The weapons cycled through many different staples of the war, before settling on something otherworldly. The weapon was the size of a pistol, able to be held in one hand, but it was unlike anything Dempsey had ever seen before. It was red, with a green, cylindrical barrel, and above the grip a display of three colors, red, yellow, and green, with an arrow teetering on the green mark. With a moment of hesitation, Dempsey put his Thompson away, wielding the alien weapon. He was forced to perform some live tests with the device as several zombies leaped up to the ledge next to Dempsey, completely ignoring the staircase. Dempsey pulled the trigger on the weapon, the force of firing it pushing him back slightly. Out of the barrel came a bright green burst of energy, which came into contact with the zombie, burning a hole in its body, and evaporating the flesh surrounding the impact point, killing the maggot-addict instantly. Whoa.
Dempsey took care not to be too close to the weapon's impact point as he fired several more bursts at incoming hordes and ran down the stairs and through Der Riese's halls. He had to find Nikolai and Takeo, then maybe Richtofen if he had time. At the end of the hall, he ascended some concrete stairs before arriving at the bridge they had been nearby before. Dempsey stood at the center of the bridge gazing out at the office building with no sight of Nikolai. Damn drunk might be asleep.
Dempsey jumped down and landed at his feet, ready for the fall this time, and ran towards the office building. Turning back, he had attracted the attention of several more meatsacks. He fired several more shots of his new weapon before needing to reload. However, there was no time for him to figure out how the weapon operated, and he searched the area for a solution. Against the wall, near the entrance to the office building was a chalk drawing, outlining a large, knife-like weapon. Confirming his suspicions, Dempsey placed his hand against the drawing and a the metal blade made itself visible. Much bigger than his standard-issue combat knife, this knife didn't have to fully puncture the zombies to kill them, instead only requiring Dempsey to slash once at the neck. Whatever zombies came close had their heads pracically severed by the new knife. Once the bloodshed finished, Dempsey flipped the oversized knife and placed it on his person for later.
Inside the building, Nikolai was nowhere to be seen, yet his distinctive odor still lingered, and several empty bottles lie sideways on the metal grating nearby the teleporter.
Dempsey held one of the strange cartridges that the alien gun had come with in the weapon box. He tinkered with the weapon, before finally opening up the barrel, dispensing the spent cartridges and placing new ones inside. Richtofen must know what this new weapon is. Through all the blood-shed, Dempsey heard the screams of the dead and gunfire from the others. Then all at once, the gun fire stopped, then changed pitch. The machine gun fire sounded different, similarly otherworldly like Dempsey's new toy.
Dempsey began his trek to find the others, when a zombie he thought was previously dead jumped up at him, knocking him down. The freak was missing its legs, burnt off by the blast of his weapon. The zombie's motivation to feast on Dempsey did not waver however, as it used its arms to leap onto Dempsey, pushing him down. The crawler met its end from Dempsey's new knife, however, which cut straight through its brain, leaving the lifeless husk bleeding on Dempsey's chest. He retracted the knife and threw the body aside, before taking note of a green, glowing orb, like the ammo box at the swamp. The box was now a skull, spinning in place within the orb. Curious as ever, Dempsey touched the orb as three undead goons lumbered in his direction. An echoing voice bellowed out, “INSTA-KILL!”
Dempsey got back to his feet as one of the zombies charged alone. Dempsey slashed the knife across its chest, and tried to swing the arm back into the head for a final blow, but the head was now missing, and the body went limp.
“What the fuck?!”
Another of the freakbags came at Dempsey, who sweeped its legs out from under it. As he was about to bring the blade down onto the zombie's head, it burst apart leaving the body lifeless and Dempsey's arm still in the air. He now stood up befuddled at the easily-defeated foe. The last zombie menacingly charged from a distance, before its head bursted with a splatter of blood after Dempsey sent a small rock into its groin.
“Shit's getting weirder and weirder all the time...”