Chapter 14: "Kino der Toten"
Before October 1963
Berlin, Germany - Deutsches sol Kino
Richtofen placed his malfunctioning Wunderwaffe DG-2 into his bag to hopefully repair later, and assessed the wooden board before him. Drawn out in chalk was a map of seemingly the entire theater, with little bulbs protruding from the board in each room. None of them were lit up, however, with the power now deactivated. Richtofen descended the staircase, the railing draped with a fallen Nazi banner, approaching Nikolai at the bar near the theater's entrance. He was searching for any drinks still available in the cabinets. Unfortunately, there was none. Only a Quick Revive Soda Machine, now powered down.
“Nikolai, is your supply of vodka not enough?”
“Can never have too much booze, I say!”
“Just stay coherent, my Cossack friend.”
Between the two staircases in the foyer were Dempsey and Takeo, talking around some kind of stand with a glass case on top. As Richtofen approached, he noted the glowing red rock of Element 115 within the casing. Takeo noted the similarities to the meteor from the swamp.
“Perhaps they stole this from Japan?”
“The Germans are thieves? Big shocker. Hey, speak of the devil...”
Richtofen ignored the insult, offering a plan for leaving.
“I examined the MTD receiving pad-”
Dempsey interrupted, “Hey, you said the name of your own invention right.”
“As I was saying, I examined the pad and I believe the device is operational. We can hopefully leave as normal once the teleporter is back up and running with this theater's power!”
“So turn on the power, fight some zombies, and teleport to some new place? Where have I heard that before?”
Takeo chimed in, “What makes you think there will be more demons here, Dempsey?”
“Where there is Germans, there will always be trouble. Richtofen, we need weapons.”
“I believe I saw one of those chalk drawings at the top of the stairs. You can get a weapon there. The outline did not seem familiar to me, so I did not take my chances.”
“Let's get this done, then.”
At the bar Nikolai was still searching the racks and cabinets for even the slightest hint of alcohol, eventually smashing the glass case of the bar.
“Find anything good, Nikolai?”
“No, Dempsey. I am very sad. What kind of theater has no booze?”
“Probably one that's been abandoned for twenty years.”
“Vodka is forever, Dempsey!”
“Well come on, maybe we can find you something new around here. Let's go.”
The four men ascended the stairs in groups of two, Takeo and Richtofen at the front, and Dempsey and Nikolai in the back. Dempsey reached the top of the stairs and extended his hand to the chalk drawing of a rifle. It was a weapon he had not seen before in his life, with a wooden finish and a strap for carrying on his back. Dempsey turned to see Takeo and Richtofen were already in the next room, and Nikolai was struggling to climb the stairs.
“Christ, Nikolai, what do you eat?”
“Eat? Who needs food when you have vodka?”
“Uh, a normal human being?”
“Bah, what do you know? You're no doctor.”
“I think even Richtofen agrees you need some damn protein in your diet. Maybe some beef. Or in his case human flesh. Come on, Nikolai, we're getting left behind.”
“I must agree, Richtofen. I do not believe the demons would have followed us here. I trust your judgment.”
“Danke, Takeo. I can always rely on you to make the right choice.”
The two approached a balcony in the next room, overlooking the seating of the theater and the stage. On the stage stood an MTD built by Group 935.
“Do you know the purpose of this device being here, Richtofen?”
“I will be truthful with you Takeo, because I can trust you. I believe Doctor Maxis planned to present my invention to the highest ranking Nazi officials of the time. Unfortunately for him, it appears the theater was bombed before he could arrive to give his presentation. Now it sits unused. Amazing after twenty years it has remained not found.”
“Who is this Doctor Maxis you speak so lowly of? I presume a dishonorable man.”
“You would be right in that assumption, Takeo. Maxis was a fool, too distracted by his own lust for his assistant to see the potential of the Wunderwaffe DG-2: My greatest invention!”
“What happened to this cretin?”
“Do not tell the others, Takeo, but I attempted to give him exactly what he deserved: An untimely death. Things did not go as planned, and now his daughter has been imbued with power she never deserved! Maxis, is dead, I presume.”
“This girl, she is controlling the dead, then?”
“It can be assumed, yes.”
“Do you have plans to...end her reign, so to speak.”
“That is exactly what I plan to do. She does not deserve the power she holds!”
“Do you believe you deserve this power, Richtofen?”
“Do I...why do you ask such a question, Takeo?”
“I am a curious man.”
“Well I'm done answering questions. We have to continue the plan.”
Takeo's suspicions are correct, Richtofen's ultimate goal is power, much like the little girl who has been tormenting them for so long. Truthfully, Takeo agreed with Dempsey; Where Richtofen goes, a hatred for him from the girl must follow, and thus demons. Takeo, Dempsey, and Nikolai share a similar role to the undead: pawns in a game of power between Richtofen and the girl. When the opportunity would present itself, Takeo planned to inform Dempsey of the impending betrayal. Until then, they must blindly follow the doctor.
As Dempsey and Nikolai caught back up with the group, they had arrived in a square room with railing and a view of the bottom floor in the middle, and to the right were five very peculiar paintings along the wall. From left to right the paintings were of Dr. Edward Richtofen, Takeo Masaki, Nikolai Belinski, “Tank” Dempsey, and a silhouette of an unknown individual.
“Alright, Richtofen, you mind explaining why there's a painting of me in this place? I thought you had no idea what was going on here, so why is your ugly face up on this wall too?”
“Hurtful, Dempsey. Anyway, I had no involvement with this theater, and whatever Group 935 was doing here. I am an infamous scientist, you know! I wrote a book and everything. It is no surprise this theater would recognize my genius.”
“Then what about the paintings of us? And this, shadow-man?”
“That, I am just as perplexed about. Perhaps we may find more answers in the road ahead.”
Frankly, Richtofen was just as confused as the others regarding the mystery painting. It's as if the outline of the man was cut out of the frame perfectly. Richtofen did know, however, why the other paintings were there. If this station was to recognize Doctor Edward Richtofen for his work, then they must recognize his most infamous test subjects.
Behind them through the doorway they had just arrived in, Richtofen noticed a panel, linked to electro-shock defenses. If this was just a theater, then why would there be defenses in place against zombies?
Takeo drew his katana at the sight of a Nazi-uniformed zombie approaching a nearby doorway.
Dempsey raised his new weapon, pointing it towards the zombie's head.
“Told you, Richtofen.”
Dempsey pulled the trigger, blowing the beast's head apart and sending it to the ground. More soon followed the sound of gunfire, approaching the doorway and being destroyed with shots to the head from Dempsey's semi-automatic rifle.
Through all the commotion, no one had noticed a zombie which jumped down through a hole in the ceiling onto Richtofen. For a moment, Takeo hesitated, then sliced the zombie in half at the torso. Bloodied intestines spilled out onto Richtofen's uniform, but he remained unscathed.
“A little too close, Takeo! Quick, we must find more weapons!”
Though Dempsey's rifle held its own against single zombies, it soon became inadequate as the undead became more aggressive, sprinting towards them.
Takeo headed the charge, pushing open the wooden double-doors and descending the staircase into a new room. The room had a chandelier much like the foyer's, and two staircases leading to the ground floor. At the bottom of the right staircase was a familiar outline on the wall. Richtofen took the opportunity to take a weapon from the chalk drawing, materializing an MP40 in his hands.
"Of course they still have the best weapon ever made here!"
With joyous exaltation, Richtofen slaughtered zombies approaching from a nearby window. Distracted by the euphoria, Richtofen did not notice a zombie approaching quickly from behind, which blew apart into chunks after being hit with Nikolai's new shotgun. Nikolai continued descending the stairs before pumping another shell into the weapon. A zombie from the another window leaped at Nikolai and met a similar fate to his other bretheren.
“I'll drink to your death, hellpigs!”
Near the window was a Speed Cola soda machine and another bar, this one stocked with many unopened alcoholic drinks. Nikolai pulled the cork on one long-necked bottle. The taste was horrid from decades of sunlight in this decrepit room. Yet Nikolai's stomach could contain the foul beverage.
Takeo soon joined them, slicing more heads off of the savages.
At the top of the staircase, Dempsey stood, gun raised, putting three rounds into a zombie's chest against the railing, before kicking it to the ground below for a brain-rattling death.
“We've got more coming! We need firepower! Someone get that gun turret working!”
In the center of the room was a wooden table, with an automated gun turret sat deactivated.
“The gun is useless without power!”
Richtofen led the others forward, kicking down a doorway to a dressing room with more undead awaiting their arrival. At the death of the final hellion, another green orb appeared bearing a new gift. The object inside the light this time was an atomic bomb plated in gold. The prospect of an atomic bomb going off gave Richtofen a moment's hesitation, but as more zombies gathered from the previous room, Richtofen touched the orb.
In a bright flash of light, all the zombies burst into flames and died on the spot, followed by the mighty voice of Samantha, shouting “KA-BOOM!”
Dempsey raised his rifle into the air, proclaiming with passion, “Eat that you undead flesh monkeys!”
“Ja ja, very good. But let's get the power on before more arrive. We cannot waste any more time.”
“Ah come on, Richtofen, don't you want to try on some of these dresses? I think those over there match your eyes.”
“Funny, Dempsey. But funny will not save you from these test subjects.”
Richtofen approached a new set of double-doors, opening them to reveal the backstage area of the theater. Large wooden boards stood tall in the middle of the room, along with metal crates with stage supplies. Along the upper walls were walkways for backstage workers, and against the far right wall was the random weapons box. It seemed to have followed them from Der Riese. Nikolai was the first to approach the box, seeking a complement to his shotgun. A myriad of weapons cycled inside the bright box, most of which were not in the selection at the swamp or the factory. The cycle settled on a large light machine gun. Heavy, yet lighter than machine guns used in the war back home, the weapon had two protruding stands to form a bi-pod on the front, and the iron sights had dials with several numbers inscribed.
“I like this gun.”
“Yeah yeah, let me replace this piece of shit.”
Dempsey opened the box, slinging the semi-auto rifle over his shoulder. The weapons eventually settled on a black assault rifle, many parts of the barrel wrapped in a belt, and the iron sights of the weapon folded down. Dempsey flipped the sights back up, stating, "Can't wait to see what I can do with this! Ooh-Rah!"
Richtofen pondered these strange new weapons. Apart from his MP40, most of the weapons in this theater are not familiar. They must be of this time period. He approached the box to take a secondary weapon of his own before being pushed aside by Dempsey.
“Hey Doc, just let me try one more time!”
Dempsey opened the box successfully once again, but this time it settled on a measly pistol, an M1911 to be exact.
"Well, I see the future hasn't changed anything! Fucking box!"
Richtofen could not help but giggle as Dempsey took the pistol, holstering it to his belt. He soon stopped, however, as Dempsey shot daggers into his eyes. Now his turn, Richtofen opened the box, materializing an oddity of a weapon, a crossbow. On closer inspection however, the bolts of the weapon seemed to be wrapped in explosive material.
"A crossbow with an explosive round...they think of everything."
Takeo took his turn, obtaining an advanced bolt-action sniper rifle, with a scope for getting well acquainted with the rotting corpses.
"One by one, I will curse them from afar!"
“What good is sniper rifle against horde of hellpigs, Takeo?”
“Unlike you, Russian, I have the steady hand required for its effectiveness.”
Richtofen left the group to search for the power switch. The stage and audience seating were blocked off by red curtains, and nearby the curtains was the switch to activate the theater's main power grid. Before flipping the switch, Edward noted the phrase written in chalk above the switch: “Knowledge itself is for the taking.”
The whole theater came to life as the power came on, and the curtains split apart revealing the seating of the theater and the center stage, holding the MTD prototype. The seats were covered in ash and debris from bombings on the site. A large white screen came down from the ceiling, and a projector in a room near the ceiling shined its light on the screen, projecting a film.
"Those seats, that screen, they wanted to implant the mind with instructions!"
Richtofen was about to take out his recording device when the screeching of the damned began once again. Zombies began rising up from the seats of the theater as the group reassembled, ready to fight them. But something far more horrifying followed; Bits of wood fell from the ceiling as disturbing creatures climbed down the walls on all fours.
"These must have been the failed experiments Maxis mentioned."
The unnerving, grey-skinned creatures descended the walls, bearing dagger-like teeth and lacking eyes. They seemed to navigate with their other senses instead.
Takeo took the first shot, blowing a hole into the crawler's chest as it was climbing down, sending the husk to the floor. The creature began to contract its muscles and finally died, exploding with a green gas. Zombies that walked through the gas died a grisly death as their skin melted off and they vomited blood.
“Stay away from the crawling demons!”
Nikolai sprayed his weapon at the crawlers descending from the ceiling. The way they convulsed as they died seemed to strike a chord with Nikolai's childhood fear of spiders. Legions of zombies met their end along with the crawlers from the group's combined firepower. Richtofen's crossbow sent a bolt into one zombie's chest, violently dismembering a group of minions surrounding it as Richtofen cackled on. Dempsey took his time reloading his automatic assault rifle, assessing his surroundings for another source of destruction. At the center of the stage was a podium, and at the top, an automated gun turret like the one they saw before.
With a flip of the switch, the gun swiveled, gunning down the gas crawlers before they could get close, while the others finished off the walking undead.
All at once, the violence came to a close, and the gun turret rested, ready to be reactivated at a moment's notice. Dempsey and Nikolai celebrated with drinks. Takeo reloaded his sniper rifle, taking a moment of rest in all the chaos. Richtofen approached the MTD to examine its features. It seemed to function just like the Der Riese teleporters, apart from the link to the receiving pad via cord. With some adjustments, it may be able to do the job required.
Richtofen turned to make sure the others were still occupied, before going backstage. His hands were still shaking from firing his MP40 for so long, and the blood on his uniform began to smell quite putrid. Along with this smell was something else. Formaldehyde. In the corner were some small metal pods marked with Group 935's insignia. Through a small view-port, Richtofen's eyes met the eyes of another odd creature contained in the pod. The creature gave him chills despite the obvious fact that it was long dead. Though, in these trying times, death is no permanent fate. Richtofen pulled a recording device from his pocket.
“Entry 741021! Perhaps this station will hold the key to the real goals of Group 935. I still do not trust my unconventional allies, but they are of great use to me. But, I digress. Who would have thought the MDT was capable of time travel? How many stations does this group have? Where did that little girl disappear to? Only time will tell what new questions awaits us in this...theater of the damned!”
Richtofen ended the recording and placed it back into his pocket.
The voices began to call to him again.
“No! No of course I still do not trust them, why would you...Takeo? No, he...yes, I understand. Yes, of course I do know Samantha is in the MPD. What I wonder is to what dimension she is hiding?...Yours?...You never told me that... Yes, we are close to arriving at Griffin Station, I can feel it! Soon, we will be together, and with our powers combined, we will have absolute power! Ha ha ha ha! … What do you mean? I did say MTD, I swear!”