Chapter 3: "Speed"
After October 1945
Rising Sun Facility - The Comm Room
The wooden boards separating their feet from the thick swamp water were weak and many splintered at their weight as they marched onward to the Communications Room. They walked in formation, Takeo and Richtofen at the front, Nikolai and Dempsey watching their flank. The small hut at the end of the walkway was barely holding together. The front gate was made of a weak wood, and the walls made of a similar material, various panels of sheet metal, and fencing. The roof was lined with barbed wire, and an electric wire originated from the building, towards several lamp posts and five bulb-like objects hanging down above the entrance. The sign written in chalk said “COMM ROOM”.
Upon entering the hut, a strange, rectangular object was floating against the wall. It was an orange color, with a symbol on the top center glowing as if it were powered on. Then suddenly it disappeared and a similar green and white object appeared in its place. Then a red and white one. Then a blue and white machine. Again and again they cycled before finally the green and white machine dropped to the floor. It stood slightly taller than any of the crew, wider as well. It resembled a soda dispenser, complete with coin slots, a coin return button, and a slot where the bottle would be acquired. The top, white section of the machine said “Drink Speed Cola” with “Speed Cola” in a larger font, and in the top right it said “ICE COLD”.
“Okay, what the fuck? They've got soda machines in this place, Richtofen?”
Richtofen seemed just as gobsmacked as Dempsey, despite knowing the machine's origins.
“This...should not be here. The project was scrapped at the end of the war. Group 935 had been working with Division 9 in developing drinks that gave superhuman abilities. Prototypes of the drinks themselves were available...but these machines for public use were just blueprints...concepts!”
Takeo eyed the glowing symbol at the top. It depicted a white hand wielding what looked like a gun magazine, and movement lines came from the hand.
“Do we know what this machine can give us?”
Dempsey rolled his eyes at the question.
“Come on Tak, it's called Speed Cola! It has fucking hand moving fast on it! I want some of this.”
Dempsey further examined the front of the machine as he approached it. The coin slot required ten cents. He attempted to push the button to select the drink, with no effect.
“Anyone got any change?”
Nikolai felt around in his pockets.
“Ehhh, Russian or American? Because I'm broke either way.”
“Fine, I'll get it out myself!”
Dempsey reared backwards pushing aside the others and slammed into the machine with his shoulder before falling to the ground in agony as the machine did not budge.
“FUUUUUUUCK! ACH! FUCKING GERMAN SODA MACHINE!”
“That's what you get for being cheap, Dempsey!”
“Fuck you, Richtofen, get me my soda!”
“Forget the machine, I have more important things on my mind right now, Dempsey. Now get up, dummkopf!”
Dempsey's shoulder was busted. The arm barely functioned, leaving him only with his left arm in full control.
To the right of the soda machine were some crates, and an odd chalk outline of a weapon on the wall which Nikolai was fixated on.
“Why is this here? Is it to mock us!”
“Ja, Nikolai they drew a weapon on the wall in chalk to piss you off.”
“Just rub off the chalk if it really bothers you so, Nikolai.”
Richtofen left the others alone with the chalk drawing and the perk-a-cola machine, as he attended to other business.
“Entry 72322. Things have been getting stranger and stranger since the fall of Griffin Station. First the magical weapon box, and now long lost Group 935 designs for human augmenting soda machines appearing before us. I am convinced Samantha is behind this, and she must be getting help from somewhere, from someone still alive in Group 935, I am sure of it. Shh...Shhh I am trying to do a log entry, voices! I don't know how I will be able to accomplish my goals with these barbaric fools as allies, distracted by every passing...Oh, it appears Nikolai has acquired a rifle out of thin air. More oddities I cannot fully explain to them. I await their begging questions. I have many of my own. Who is giving us such gifts? It cannot be Samantha. It must be...someone or something else.”
“I am amazing magician! Soviet government would not be too happy with such displays of wizardry!”
“Maybe it's just the bad memory, but this shit is getting weirder and weirder all the time.”
“You should be happy, Dempsey! We must graciously accept such gifts!”
Nikolai then dropped the weapon and gasped, discharging a shot out the door, sending Dempsey and Takeo ducking for cover.
“Fuck! What is it Nikolai?!”
“If chalk can give weapons...could chalk give me...vodka?”
“Talking like a real egghead there, Nikolai. Pretty sure the next step of the scientific method is experiment.”
“I must find chalk! RICHTOFEN DO YOU HAVE CHALK!”
Nikolai sprinted to the busy doctor, meddling with recording equipment and headsets in the comm room.
“While Nikolai is occupied, what do you think of all this, Tak?”
“I sense something greater going on around us, unseen. Two sides, conflicting, and we are but pawns in their game.”
“A game, huh? Exactly what I was thinking. Undead freakbags trying to kill us, and some magical shit trying to arm us to the teeth to slay them. I can't complain, I must say I'm enjoying myself, 'cept for this bum arm. Richtofen better have some fucking miracle shit in that bag of his.”
“Do not find too much joy in the slaughter, Dempsey. Joy in bloodshed can change a man so deeply he cannot return to his former self.”
“Quit being philosophical with me, Takeo. I do what I want, how I want.”
“Do you, American? Or is there some cosmic force deciding what you do?”
“What the hell is that suppose to mean?”
“Interpret it as you wish, Dempsey, for interpretation is-”
“GUYS THERE IS NO CHALK! I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED!”
Dempsey hated an interrupted conversation.
“KEEP YOUR FUCKING VOICE DOWN, NIKOLAI!”
Before more could be said, the sound of splashing of water and mud could be heard outside. Then came groans and the sound of wet flesh on wood.
“Meatbags are on the menu! Fuck, my arm!”
Dempsey raised his thompson with his one working arm, and managed to slay a few charging eyesores despite the recoil from his weapon. The others joined in gunning down a horde as they rose from the swamp water one at a time. Bits of flesh and sinew stained the air and water through the onslaught. After nearly thirty zombies fell back to their swampy grave, the crew had time to rest from the slaughter.
Takeo reloaded his weapon and backed himself accidentally into the soda machine. It then let out a strange jingle, seemingly Mexican in nature, and out of the front slot came a bottle. It was a similar green shade to the machine. Takeo gripped the bottle, unscrewing the cap as the others watched. The taste was sweet, with a slight kick of spice, appealing to Takeo's senses. At first he felt the same, then his hands began to shake and he had a sudden urge to move them.
“What has this drink done to me, Richtofen?!”
“You need to calm down or your hands will not, Takeo, I think, I'm not quite sure really. I actually don't know, you might die.”
His hands began to sputter even more.
“Nikolai, hand me your empty weapon.”
“No way in hell, Takeo would I ever-”
A swift swipe of the hands and Takeo had taken the weapon from Nikolai and reloaded it in what seemed like the blink of an eye. Takeo's jittery hands began to come to rest. The effect had not worn off, however. Takeo had learned to control the speed of his hands.
“That's the coolest shit I've seen all day! Give me some of that Speed Cola!”
Dempsey and Nikolai clamored to acquire the drink and Richtofen watched on, trying to piece together the puzzle. The machine did not require payment in a traditional sense, yet did not dispense the drink before a certain point, similar to the box not giving him another weapon after first acquiring one. Fascinating. Richtofen had a hypothesis on the possible cause, and how they may be able to acquire more of these gifts in the future.
At the celebration of their new-found abilities, a sudden whirring sound could be heard out of earshot, then a flash as a yellow light shone in the sky from another section of the facility.
“It can't be.”
“Is there someone else, you know, alive here? We've gotta show them this fucking awesome soda machine!”
“Quiet down, Dempsey, we must investigate.”