Chapter 7: "Der Riese"
After October 1945
Der Riese - Courtyard
The blinding light of the MTD left Dempsey's vision spotty, and his knees weak. He struggled to pull himself back on his shaky legs as the smoke cleared and his vision re-aligned. This...was not the swamp they had been at just moments ago. It was some type of factory, run down and bombed out, and they were now in its courtyard. A large metallic sign on the front of the facility read “Waffenfabrik der Riese”. German.
Around him, Takeo and Nikolai were on the ground as well clenching their stomachs, attempting not to vomit. Richtofen seemed unaffected by the sudden change of location. Dempsey finally mustered the strength to lift himself up.
“What the hell just happened? Everyone okay?”
Nikolai blinked rapidly trying to gather his bearings.
“Ohh...I feel like I will throw up...”
Unconcerned, Doctor Richtofen adjusted his hat and walked forward down the stairs of the raised platform.
“A mere side effect, Russian.”
Nikolai proceeded to empty a pint of vomit out onto the concrete floor.
“Everything is normal.”
A power generator nearby began to spark and finally shut down. An automated voice bellowed across the facility.
“Power levels critical. Shutting down the teleporters.”
Dempsey checked his machine gun: only a handful of rounds left. He followed Richtofen's path into the center of the courtyard.
“Let's get this done.”
“Why the rush, Dempsey? Don't you want to go sight-seeing in my old workplace? I could give you the VIP tour! Maybe you could even get to see my greatest inventions, if you are a good boy that is.”
“We're not going to be moseying around some goddamn German weapons factory. You do your business here, then send us home in your magic MDD or MTT or whatever it is ASAP.”
“Learn to be a little spontaneous, Dempsey! Don't be obtuse.”
“What the fuck did you just call me?”
“Nothing...wait, Nikolai what on earth are you doing!”
Nikolai was now back up on his feet, face pressed upon the glass of a large, bell-shaped device behind the teleporter pad. Inside was a blue device, with some writing hard to make out through the fogged-up glass on the machine.
“What is the machine inside machine? How can we get inside?”
“Well, my curious little Russian, the power is out. We must have sucked all the power out of the entire facility upon our arrival. The locked door may have been a fail-safe in the event of an outage. You should not worry yourself with that machine however. We are here for some very important documents, and then...”
Muffled screams of ravenous beasts originated from a barricaded alleyway near the courtyard. Two figures donning Waffen SS uniform goose-stepped forward towards Richtofen. Their stench soon followed. Dempsey's face lit up with a grin as he put four bullets into the head of one, and then the sleek, metal blade of his knife into the head of the other.
“Nazi. Zombies. I love this place.”
“How quaint. Come now, everyone, let us continue our quest for greatness! You too Takeo, I better not see you lagging behind.”
Takeo appeared the most shaken by the teleporter, all his lunch from the past week spilled out on the floor. Still, the warrior pulled himself back on his feet. The mission must be completed if he is to return home.
They took a staircase leading to a large sliding door with a Group 935 insignia painted on it. Odd, Richtofen had never actually seen these doors closed before. It must have been automatically shut tight during the massacre many months ago. However, with the power now out in the entire factory, the door took little effort to push aside. To the left, another metal door, this one, however, marked with a warning, indicating the door is intended to keep out zombies. It may have been activated during the massacre by one of the scientists, as part of Der Riese's precautionary defense system, the Shield. By the decimated structures and loss of life, it appeared this system could not stop the Soviets in their onslaught. Richtofen led on through a normal sliding door, the overhang riddled with coils, meant to rain down electricity from above, another precaution meant to quell a zombie horde should it have gone rampant. The four men entered what appeared to be a large garage. Around the room were many barrels, now mostly destroyed, and coal for the nearby furnace room scattered all along the ground, giving off a highly industrial smell. On the wall near the furnace, a chalk drawing, of the American Thompson sub-machine gun: Dempsey's weapon of choice. Dempsey reached for it in hopes of acquiring a new Thompson to replace the old one, but instead, several magazines of ammunition appeared in his open hand, and Dempsey quickly refilled his stock.
“Good, I was getting attached to my little Tommy gun.”
On the garage door adjacent to the furnace, the word 'Help' appeared written in chalk.
Takeo spoke his first words since his arrival.
“What happened here, Richtofen?”
“Well, I don't want to bore you with the details, but Group 935 was in way over its head, und when the war ended, the Russians and the Americans held a standoff, each putting their grubby little hands into Der Riese, und essentially destroying the facility, taking what was left for themselves.”
Nikolai leaned in to get Richtofen's attention on the matter.
“And who won?”
“The Russians or the Americans?”
Dempsey chimed in, now fully interested himself.
“Dummkopfs, you both won the war, you were on the same side!”
“Right, I know that asshole, but who got the biggest piece of this German weapon factory pie?”
“Truthfully, I don't know the details. Most of the scientists were killed by the Russians, who arrived first. The Americans may have recovered some survivors, and whatever scraps were left, if there were any. Now, the two are deciding what to do with this land und the rest of Germany, which is why it would behoove us to get in and out of here with our lives still intact.”
“You are the best at disappointing stories, Richtofen.”
Nikolai nodded in approval.
“Да, I was hoping for more gory, explosive detail.”
“Children! The both of you! Why can't you two just shut up, like Takeo.”
“Because we do not have stick up our ass like Takeo!”
“I'm sure you two can discover every little facet of how the war ended once you return home, AFTER we complete our mission here.”
Richtofen directed the others with his index finger towards a metal staircase leading to the second floor. Nikolai sipped his vodka bottle, preparing for another long walk up the stairs. In this new room above them, was another closed sliding door, and an open doorway, leading to a balcony overlooking the power generator. Also on the balcony, near a window barricaded by sandbags was an old friend, Double Tap Root Beer. At the ledge of the balcony was a drawbridge; the bridge was, however, deactivated with no way to get across. This method of transportation likely required activation of the power grid, using a switch surely somewhere down below.
Richtofen knelt down at the ledge, planning his next move. The drop was survivable, though could potentially break bone, and that would throw a wrench in their journey. Then, he had an idea.
“Dempsey! Look with me.”
Dempsey hesitated for a moment before walking slowly towards the doctor. Richtofen then rested his open hand on Dempsey's back in a friendly manner.
“Dempsey! You drank the Juggernog Soda back in the swamp, Ja?”
“Und you didn't throw up like the others when we arrived, Ja?”
“Uh, no I didn't. I don't see what your point – HEY!”
Richtofen had shoved Dempsey off the ledge onto the hard concrete below. The unprepared soldier fell chest-first onto the ground, knocking the wind out of his lungs.
After a moment, Dempsey raised himself up, unscathed, though still in much pain.
“RICHTOFEN! You motherfucker, I wasn't ready!”
“You have to relax, Dempsey! All that screaming can't be great for your healing ribs! Now please, would you be a dear, and search for a power switch near that generator over there!”
He pointed towards the generator, buzzing with electricity, ready to activate. Tank Dempsey rubbed his neck before readjusting his shoulders. Still furious at the betrayal, he hesitated to follow Richtofen's orders, but there was nowhere else to really go. He began to walk towards the other side of the generator, where the switch resided, however his attention was soon drawn by the reappearance of another old pal, the magic weapons box.
“Oh hell yeah! I've been missing you, old buddy!”
Richtofen noted Dempsey's discourse, and attempted to put an end to the meandering.
“Dempsey, dummkopf, just turn on the power first!”
“Gimme a sec Doc, I gotta roll the dice.”
Dempsey laid his palm on the thick wooden cover of the box, lifting it up to reveal the bright warmth inside, and several weapons cycled before his very eyes. Machine guns, rocket launchers, flamethrowers, they all looked so good. The excitement was palpable. The cycle began to slow down until finally a weapon settled down before Dempsey. A simple bolt-action rifle, the Kar98k.
Dempsey threw up his hands in anger, slamming fists into the brick wall. He then retrieved the weapon and slammed it into the ground, stomping on it.
“Motherfucker! I wanted something good!”
Richtofen grew in anger as well, shaking his fist as he called out to Dempsey down below.
“Dempsey, turn on the power, NOW!”
“Nah, Doc. One. More. Try.”
The box did not agree however, and Dempsey put all his might into trying to lift the box open again to no avail. Richtofen's face was now well acquainted with the palm of his hand. If you want something done right, you must do it yourself. Frightened by the drop, Richtofen called Nikolai over to assist him in his descent.
“Grab my hands, and DO NOT let go until I say so, do you understand?”
Richtofen then took both of Nikolai's rugged Russian hands, and lowered his legs down over the ledge as if he were climbing down a ladder.
“Lower me down some more, Nikolai!”
Nikolai's arms began to sputter from Richtofen's full weight pulling down on them. Richtofen attempted to rectify this by placing his feet on any nook or cranny in the concrete wall he could find. Suddenly, Nikolai's attention was grabbed by Dempsey standing atop the box, stomping on it in anger. He dropped Richtofen who fell flat on his back, knocking the air out of his lungs, and the hat off his head. Edward now questioned how he got himself in this situation, before pulling himself together and limping towards the power switch, past the peeved American. The generator whirred louder than ever as Richtofen flipped the large switch on the panel. Steam hissed out near the ledge as the bridge lowered, allowing Nikolai and Takeo to pass to the other side of the factory. Behind the generator was the laboratories building of Der Riese, also home to the office of Dr. Ludvig Maxis: Richtofen's objective. With the power now active, the sliding door to this section of the facility came wide open as Richtofen approached. He turned around to gather his allies. Dempsey was sulking to himself near the box, while Nikolai and Takeo were nowhere to be seen. Richtofen returned to the ledge, calling up to them.
“Nikolai! Takeo! Find a way down! I have found what I need!”
The two returned, red bottle of Juggernog Soda in Takeo's hand. The two both took a hearty swig of the concoction, both awaiting the other to jump first. Nikolai then placed his hand on Takeo's should in a friendly gesture, but Takeo would not fall for the same trick. Takeo placed both of his hands on Nikolai's shoulders and tossed him over the edge down to Richtofen. The fall blurred his vision, and surely should have fractured the drunk's spine, but Juggernog had made them into durable superhumans. Takeo landed feet first nearby, regrouping with Dempsey, hoping to avoid any retaliation from Nikolai once he mustered the strength to get back up. Nikolai appeared to be too drunk to understand what had just transpired however, and stood up, dazed and confused.
The others tagged along behind Richtofen as he entered the courtyard just outside the labratories building, to the right was an office, the wall blasted open revealing the desk of a Dr. Ludvig Maxis.
“Gentleman, welcome to Der Riese.”