Chapter 8: "Eclipse"
After October 1945
Der Riese - Power Generator
This new building was in much the same state as the adjacent factory, burning and blasted to hell and back, yet to Richtofen it still held an air of warm nostalgia. While normally finding the office of the esteemed Dr. Ludvig Maxis was quite the trek through the building, bombings had blown a hole into Maxis' office, giving easy access from the courtyard.
Richtofen's boots crunched down on the rubble as he climbed the slight incline into the office. Many memories here, mostly bad ones. Maxis was an old fool whose actions meant he deserved exactly what happened to him.
Though it was covered in soot and debris, the floor remained mostly intact, apart from a few openings in the floorboards, leading to an underground tunnel used for subterranean research. The door to the office was torn off the hinges, replaced by sandbags and many nailed down boards placed by panicking scientists during the massacre. The room had been cleared out and looted for all it appeared to have left, but Richtofen knew what Maxis kept just below the surface. Strangely, the hidden compartment in the floor was now covered by a Quick Revive Soda Machine. These perk machines being here is no coincidence. Just days before, Richtofen had been in this very room, and he believed the Perk-a-Cola project was scrapped, yet before his eyes was a factory-new life-dispensing soda machine, placed by some unknown ethereal force. Perhaps Maxis' research may shed some light on the quandary.
Richtofen turned to command his lackeys, only to find them wandering around the area. He instead decided to move the machine himself. It took much brute force to move even a few inches, there being no way it was transported here without some form of mechanical or ethereal force. Richtofen dusted away the soot and smoldering ash from the floor, revealing a wooden door. Beneath this door, a fireproof safe, locked with a combination. Edward turned the combination lock in the proper fashion. 26 – 8 – 34. The 26th of August, 1934, Samantha's birthday. The little brat is good for something, it appears. The metal safe held only one item in protection, a gray folder branded with a seal of Group 935. Richtofen marveled at the thickness and the array of information present. The folder was organized with dividers marking areas of research Maxis wished to keep away from him. Vril, Element 115, Experimental Weaponry, Space Travel, Mind Control, it's all right here.
He began to flip through, taking in all the juicy information. Despite Maxis being so adamant the Wunderwaffe DG-2 must not be mass-produced, it appears Maxis had commissioned his own set of weapons to be produced, in what is nicknamed 'Project 87'. One weapon appeared to be a derivation of Dr. Porter's Wave Gun prototype, redesigned with an alternate fire, using bolts of electricity as a second form of attack. Dr. Porter must have had no idea Maxis had been stealing his work like the blood-sucking leech he was.
Another design used Vril Energy, a Group 935 recreation of what the ancient race, the Vril-Ya, used in their technology. The 'weapon' was designed based on the appearance of an ancient weapon described in Vril-Ya texts, and is meant to be able to bring the dead back to life. Unlike Element 115, however, it is designed to give the target full control of their minds and bodies, and dead cells are reverted back to their healthy form just before death. A soldier dead from war for years could be revived and sent right back into war just as they were right before their death. Fascinating.
Before Richtofen could view more, Nikolai began calling out his name in a panic from outside. Richtofen closed the folder and placed it in his bag, rising up to investigate the trouble. Nikolai was pointing at the Moon, rambling in broken English.
“The moon...I think it is burning!”
In the sky, the Moon was quite close to eclipsing the sun, now emitting a bright flare.
“Oh Nikolai, it is merely an eclipse. A completely normal occurrence. Consider yourself lucky to see such a beautiful sight!”
“So the moon will not explode?”
“Bah, I was looking forward to having final drink before fiery death.”
“Alright everyone, gather around. We are almost done here.”
Dempsey stood back up from his crouched position near the doorway, joining the group.
“Good, all these brains in jars and drawings of corpses are giving me the fucking creeps.”
Takeo joined the circle next to Nikolai as well, before pushing Dempsey to stand in his place after catching Nikolai's breath.
“What must we do now, to find this Griffin Station you speak of?”
“Griffin Station is a little...far from here. We must first use one of Group 935's teleporters to transport ourselves to Griffin Castle, und from there, Griffin Station. Simple as that.”
“I thought these devices were your creation.”
“These versions of my invention were created without my permission, by the fool they call Maxis. Of course, before we use them, I must assure they work, as Maxis had no idea what he was doing with my technology.”
Dempsey chimed in hoping to take a crack at Richtofen's ego.
“Sounds like he screwed you real good. I'd like to meet this big bossman Maxis.”
“Fortunately for all of us, that is not a possibility anymore.”
“Woof, killed your boss, huh? Living the dream.”
“Maxis was not my 'boss'. I'll have you know I have much authority in the scientific community outside my time at Group 935, more than Maxis ever could have dreamed! Anyway, this is all besides the point. We must first reactivate these faux teleporters by linking them to the mainframe, and then we can set our coordinates to Griffin Station.”
“Yeah, and how will we, I mean you, go about doing that?”
“We, as in all of you, will press a sequence of numbers on each of the three panels by each device. I will be at the mainframe to confirm each link. However, the time between initiating and confirming each link is quite short, thirty seconds, in fact. We will have to split up for the time being and link the teleporters at the same time.”
The moon was coming closer and closer to being fully encompassed by the light of the sun.
“Within thirty minutes or so, the moon will be perfectly aligned in the center of that bright, beautiful light. That will be the mark for the three of you to initiate your link.”
“This all sounds pretty complicated, Dicktofen.”
“This childish name-calling won't make things any easier, Dempsey. I will escort you all to your places, and write down each of your coordinates. It could not be any easier. I have the difficult job.”
“Fine, but this better not be a plan to get one of us alone to kill, or a plan to abandon us in this shithole. I've got my eyes on you, Richtofen.”
“You'll just have to trust me, Dempsey.”
“I don't have to do anything, especially that! If there's any funny business in this plan I'm putting one right between those eyes, you freak.”
“Insulting und aggressive Dempsey, you must not have many friends. Alright, enough chatting, we must be in position before the full eclipse!”
The first teleporter was located in a lab just outside Maxis' burned out office. Shelves of strange liquid and preserved brains rested nearby, and the raised platform held a teleporter designed by Dr. Maxis to mimic Edward's work.
Richtofen walked up to the panel for the teleporter, and began scribbling out a sequence of numbers on his notepad, before tearing out the page and placing it in Nikolai's hand.
“Nikolai, you must wait here and enter this sequence when the Moon is fully contained in the sun's glare.”
The dark skies and bright flares from the sun could be seen through the glass windows in the large room, giving Nikolai a perfect view. Nikolai was dissatisfied, however.
“Please, Richtofen, leave the vodka with me. I will need it for energy in typing these numbers.”
“Nikolai, we will only be separated for a short time. You will make it until I get back.”
“But what if I don't?! What if I become...sober.”
Edward was not ready to hand off the responsibility of the vodka bag off to Nikolai just yet. He feared he would binge drink the entire bag, and given the opportunity he just might. But if something went wrong and Richtofen could not return with the bag, Nikolai would be hopelessly comatose in a ditch somewhere, unable to be recovered.
“Alright Nikolai, I will give you the bag...BUT you must promise me not to drink every bottle. It is absolutely crucial you have vodka for later, because I can guarantee you we have none at Griffin Station.”
“Yes, yes, I promise. A Russian does not lie!”
Richtofen could not believe him. Liars can see through any lie. But this is a necessary precaution in the event of an emergency. Nikolai cannot physically function without vodka after the tests Richtofen performed. He handed him the bag, labeled 'Nikolai's Vodka'. Like the fiend he was, Nikolai snatched the bag out of his hands, and had a new bottle opened before Richtofen could blink.
“You will not regret this!”
He already did.