Chapter 12: "Hemlock Philosophy"
After October 1945
Der Riese - Teleporter B
As more and more demons were destroyed by Takeo Masaki's gunfire, Takeo delved into a trance-like state. The shooting and the screaming had made him momentarily deaf to all distraction, and time itself seemed to slow down as Takeo slaughtered the beasts approaching him at the teleporter. Despite the stress, Takeo remained calm, even meditative. His body seemed to move independent of his thoughts, pointing the heavy machine gun in the direction of anything that moved, as Takeo pondered the future within his own mind.
It was now all too clear to Takeo that Richtofen planned to go back on his word, and abandon him as well as the American and the Russian. It is now a question of when, and how they will escape alive without the doctor's help. Dempsey and Richtofen will never get along, and Nikolai is too loyal to the German. It is up to Takeo to befriend Doctor Richtofen, and perhaps learn a way to get home without his aid.
But Doctor Richtofen is cruel and deranged. He and Takeo have nothing in common. Then Takeo remembered a lesson his father taught him as a boy.
Their family purchased fish from one man in particular in their town. Most despised the seller, a greedy and deplorable fisherman. He believed he caught the best fish in all of Japan, and was not afraid to inflate his own ego further. A young Takeo once asked his father why they would buy fish from such a despicable individual.
“Young Takeo, an ego left unrestricted is easily manipulated.”
What Takeo did not know was that his father had been giving his highest compliments to the seller. His father knew how easy it was for the fisherman's ego to inflate, and the fisherman loved his father for it. Often he would shower the Masaki family with extra fish at discount price, simply because Takeo's father was willing to treat the seller with his highest regards.
“Because of this, I have power over him, Takeo. But, you must always remember son, as a follower of the Samurai spirit and a servant of the Emperor, you must always remain humble. Even if you outsmarted the fisherman, always know if you are not humble, you can be manipulated just as he is.”
This lesson and many others from his father swirled in Takeo's head. As the last Samurai in Japan, much burden rested on Takeo's shoulders. It was his duty to prevent their philosophy from fading, and to bring honor to Japan. It is Takeo's hope that he will be forgiven once he returns home.
The Browning machine gun had run out of ammunition. Takeo snapped back into reality, assessing his surroundings. The horde of demons had not slowed since the initial attack. The moon was now surrounded by the beautiful rays of the sun. Takeo placed the empty gun inside the teleporter and inputted the code from memory. 1 - 6 - 4 - 2.
More and more vile demons from beneath the earth stumbled in approach of Takeo, who struck them down with his katana. More and more lost their heads, but they continued to outnumber Takeo, pushing him into the teleporter with their numbers. In this moment, Takeo felt peace. He crouched down, katana ready for him to disembowel himself. He closed his eyes, ready for the end, hearing the voices of his ancestors as the shadows of demons blocked out any light.
Then with a flash, the teleporter whizzed to life killing the demons and sending Takeo away. For a moment, Takeo saw nothing but white, then blue with a blinding light in the center. He shut his eyes once more, before reopening them at the sound of nearby gunfire. Before him was Edward Richtofen, still wielding his machine gun, taking down the beasts as they approached.
“I was beginning to wonder if you had forgotten the mission Takeo! Now get up!”
His knees felt weak, and he could not help but vomit on the ground nearby.
“Plenty of time to join in on the fun, Takeo, it doesn't look like they are stopping any time soon!”
A zombie leaped up onto the railing, and had its scalp cut off by Richtofen's knife before he returned to firing his weapon, cackling at the slaughter.
The empty American machine gun sat on the receiving pad below Takeo. Without any ammunition, however, it would be of no use. Takeo searched around for another weapon, but noticed behind him a strange blue machine. The door to the large bell-shaped device was now open, revealing the machine labeled “Pack-a-Punch” in large, eccentric letters. It was wide, much wider than the Perk-a-Cola machines from before, with a large open slot in the front, full of turning gears. The slot seemed big enough for a weapon, which Takeo tested with his empty Browning. The machine flashed to life and pulled the gun within itself. The gears spun even faster than before, and a bright glow emanated from inside the machine. Out of it came something incredible.
The large box-like machine gun now had seemingly hand-etched symbols all over, and the belt of ammunition had been restocked with similarly designed bullets.
Eager to test the weapon, Takeo pushed the doctor aside to take part in the killing.
“Reload your weapon, Richtofen! I will take it from here!”
With a pull of the trigger, the new gun spat out bullets at a much faster rate than before, decimating the mass of corpses in the courtyard. The muzzle flash was now a bright red, and the sound was much higher pitched. These rounds were imbued with extra firepower.
Richtofen watched on, jealous of all the fun. He could hardly look away. But the odd jingle from the Pack-a-Punch machine grabbed his attention. The voice in the song spoke in a hearty American Western accent. Intrigued, the doctor placed his German MG into the slot, and out came a whole new beast entirely. He quickly joined Takeo in the slaughter, standing back-to-back with him gunning down foes. Richtofen could barely contain his tears at the beauty of annihilation.
Takeo felt great power in his hands. The enemy stood no chance in his wake. He pointed his weapon towards a staircase leading towards the facility. He shot one, then two, then three demon-spawn before stopping as something far worse appeared in his sights. Nikolai.
“A little help for this Russian! I have a new toy to make big boom!”
Takeo and Richtofen covered Nikolai as he ascended the staircase onto their platform. In his hands was a strange stuffed monkey attached to dynamite.
Richtofen could not resist the temptation to adjust the little monkey's blue hat, marked with the symbol of Group 935.
“How delightful! Where did you find him?”
“Ehhh, in the weapon box I think.”
In the courtyard, several zombies that had followed Nikolai's scent began to climb over the chain link fence towards them.
“Now is about time for big boom.”
Nikolai twisted the crank on the side of the monkey, bringing it to life with its cheery song. Nikolai tossed it into the courtyard, diverting all attention from the zombies towards it. Their curiosity would be their undoing, as they exploded with the monkey at the conclusion of its song.
As the violence came to an end, Richtofen could not help but let the fumes of slaughtered hordes into his nostrils, relishing in his victory. Takeo took this as a start to his mission.
“You were an excellent warrior today, doctor!”
“Why thank you Takeo! You weren't so bad yourself. How you dismembered them...beautiful...”
Richtofen noticed Nikolai was tampering with the Pack-a-Punch machine, about to place his arm into the moving gears.
“Nikolai! That machine upgrades our weapons using the power of Element 115! Be very careful with it.”
“Upgrade? Do you think...vodka...”
Nikolai took a bottle of vodka from his pack, and attempted to place it inside the machine, only for it to eject it right back out at him.
“Seems worthless to me.”
Nikolai took a large gulp of his vodka before placing it back in his pack.
For a moment, all was quiet. The silence was broken, however, by the sound of running from the right of the machine, inside the factory. Everyone drew their weapons, before lowering them as Tank Dempsey came into view.
“Richtofen! What the hell is this gun, and how do I get another for hand number two?”
In his right hand was the odd, alien weapon, based on a design Richtofen was quite familiar with.
“The Ray Gun! Porter said that Maxis never mass-produced the design...the lies all around me. Liars! Give me that gun!”
“Hell no, Ray is my buddy now.”
“Fine, now get up here while I plan our route out of Der Riese.”
Richtofen descended the stairs, pulling his recording device out near a chain-link fence. He made sure the others were occupied at the Pack-a-Punch machine and initiated the recording.
“Entry 76068. It appears there is a working version of the Ray Gun, and it was right here in Der Riese all along. Every day I unravel new information that Maxis has kept from me. These documents from his office should shed some light on how to proceed with the MPD when I arrive at Griffin Station.”
Richtofen removed the file from his pack, and sifted through the pages of information to find Maxis' Vril research.
“He mentions the three Vril-Ya pyramids...he did not know any of their locations...they are gateways to Agartha, just as I suspected. One who enters such a device may become all-powerful. That would explain Samantha's influence everywhere we go...the device can be reopened, but removing the all-powerful individual is impossible. Not good enough. There must be a way to get the little brat out, and get myself into the MPD. I will look further into the matter when we arrive at Griffin Station. For now, let's see if there is anything here at Der Riese I should know about.”
Richtofen searched further into the files. Nothing on the Pack-a-Punch machine in its current state. It was only a prototype before. Richtofen searched further, coming across something quite peculiar, the Fly Trap.
“It says here that Maxis and his cohorts worked on a secret project known only as the fly trap. It did not get far, however. A circular structure made of stone was made, surrounding mundane objects. With the fly trap activated, the objects were known to defy gravity and rise into the air. Not much more was done with the project. Intriguing. The structure is located...oh! I can see it now, just down an alley near my location. Perhaps I may study-”
Richtofen was quickly cut off by the sound a pin being pulled from a grenade. Behind him, Dempsey, upgraded weapon in hand, had tossed a grenade in the air towards the fly trap.
“Fuck your Nazi science experiments, Richtofen!”
“Do you know what you've done?! That structure holds valuable research!”
The grenade landed nearby and blew apart the weak stone structure, already partially damaged from bombing runs. But then, something odd followed. Several objects, a grenade, a bottle, a teddy bear, and other assorted items began to rise into the air, emitting a green glow. The objects began to spin in a circle, rising high above the facility. Next, the voice of Samantha echoed across the factory.
“I want to play a game. Let's play hide and seek!”
The objects then shot off in various directions.
“Samantha is toying with us.”
Dempsey was still shocked at the result, unsure whether to consider the throw a success.
“Well, I didn't expect that.”
Above them several stories up, on the window frame of the building was a teddy bear, in its hand a knife just like Dempsey's.
Richtofen pondered how it got up so high.
“How did she-”
“I FOUND ONE!”
Nikolai had joined in, spraying his newly upgraded PPSh-41 at the building, barely hitting the teddy bear. Samantha's voice returned, bellowing, “Yay! You found one!”
“This is not like childhood hide and seek.”
“We must leave. Takeo, Dempsey, Nikolai, follow me!”
“But what about hide and seek game, Richtofen?”
“Nikolai, I will not play that little brat's game any further. If you want to waste your time searching for toys, go ahead! But when I get the teleporter calibrated, we are leaving Der Riese for good.”