Act I – Awakening The Giant
14 Years Earlier...
Auditorium, The Giant ( “Der Riese” ), near Breslau
Dr. Ludvig Maxis
May 10th, 1931
Ludvig Maxis sipped his tea one last time before making his way to the stage in front of his collaborators: The soon-to-be first wave of Group 935 scientists. He approached the podium and adjusted his microphone to his own greater-than-average height. The recruits grew silent, eager to hear whatever he had to say. Doctor Maxis motioned to the audio technician to begin recording the induction ceremony, and he initiated the speech towards his dazzled, child-like admirers.
“Gentlemen, allow me to take this opportunity to welcome you to Group 935.”
Younger members of the crowd perked up, eagerly anticipating their careers in scientific research under Doctor Maxis. The older, more experienced scientists sat silent out of respect, awaiting Maxis' official instruction.
“This is a prestigious moment in the history of our race. You represent the future of technological advancement. You are the pioneers of human discovery. In your hands lies the destiny of mankind. In our hands is a great power and with that power comes a price. You have volunteered to be part of this great experiment and with that decision comes the responsibility of absolute secrecy.”
The crowd stayed silent and respectful of the Doctor. Maxis paused and his tone changed to a more strict form.
“No one is to know what you do, where you work, what our research has uncovered, or what our purpose will be. You will have no further contact with your governments or with your families. Your decision to fully dedicate your lives to Group 935 is absolute. In your lockers you will find your field ops manual which will direct you should our manifesto get compromised. We cannot afford to let this power fall into the wrong hands and therefore the field ops manual should be considered your bible. Make your preparations now; A new dawn is beginning for mankind."
Ludvig Maxis stepped down from the podium, the audience clapping uproariously, and he found his way off the stage to meet with the new recruits. For the next ten minutes he shook the hands and patted the shoulders of humanity's greatest scientists from every corner of the globe. These great men all held a fiery passion for scientific advancement. Many naive, youthful scientists nervously approached Doctor Maxis, asking for signatures on distributed copies of his work. One young man hailed from Russia, leaving the Soviet Union to pursue his dream of becoming a great Physicist and working under the esteemed Ludvig Maxis. Another had arrived just last week from the United States. He was the first of his family to receive a full education and had never left his home country before arriving in Europe.
Most interesting were the words of older scientists invited personally by Doctor Maxis. Maxis was greatly honored to be in the presence of those he considered his peers, and conversations he had with these men gave him hope for the future of Group 935. A long time partner in science, Doctor Porter, greeted Maxis from the crowd.
“Doctor Maxis! I cannot believe this day has finally come. I know you have been dreaming of this collaboration for so long, and I am honored to be a part of it.”
“Thank you, Doctor. It has been arduous work, yes, but I see light at the end of this tunnel! Der Riese is more than a money pit, as you can see around you, Doctor Porter!”
“Oh, Ludvig, you know I only meant such comments in jest. Der Riese, and Group 935, are certainly worth all of your efforts!”
Nearby sat a table covered with refreshments, fresh fruit, and sandwiches for the crowd of scientists. Doctor Maxis poured two glasses of wine, handing one to his colleague, Doctor Porter.
Maxis raised his glass for a toast, “To 'Improving the human condition'.”
Porter raised his own glass before downing a portion of the wine along with Maxis.
Doctor Porter soon finished the glass before handing it to an attendant at the table. “I should begin getting acquainted with my new laboratory. Again, I must thank you for this opportunity. I will begin studying this new element. Just how much was discovered here?”
“More than enough for the foreseeable future. When the German government sent us here to study the meteor, I had no idea the research would be so… life changing. Element 115 has unprecedented potential to change the world for the better.”
“I foresee Group 935 making great strides in the field of science. Future generations will be inspired by what you’ve accomplished here. Anyhow, I will see you throughout the week, Doctor Maxis. Say hallo to Hilda for me. Auf Wiedersehen , my friend.”
Doctor Porter returned to the crowd, leaving Maxis with his own thoughts at the concessions table. His one reservation regarding Group 935 was Hilda. When Ludvig met her, they both bonded over their wishes to start a family. Ludvig dreamed of owning a house in the countryside without need for any other earthly desire. His wife, Hilda, at his side to love until they reach their deathbeds, and two children, a girl and a boy, to pass their love onto. However, Maxis feared this love may soon be overshadowed by his career: His passion. Group 935 and this new element presented an incredible opportunity to improve the human condition, but with Maxis at the helm, his own future family may be neglected in the process. But his life must be fully dedicated to Group 935's ambitious goals if they are to succeed. For now, Doctor Maxis pushed these growing fears to the back of his mind. Hilda must understand the great importance of his work at Der Riese.
Maxis extended his empty glass to the event attendant, hoping more wine could drown his woes. At the other end of the table was a middle-aged man, his head bald aside from a splotch of hair at the very top; The man leaned in closely to the sandwich tray, examining its contents before he noticed Doctor Maxis gawking at his peculiar mannerisms. The man raised up, a smile coming to his face, as he extended his hand for a handshake.
“Doctor Maxis, I am such an admirer of your work. I must say, I am beyond pleased you have invited me to join your organization. Trust me when I say that I am fully dedicated to Group 935's goals. I expect many wondrous things to surface from our collaboration, Doctor.”
Doctor Maxis shook the German scientist's clammy hands, feeling anxious due to the man's tight grip and peculiar, darting eye movements.
“Yes, it is... marvelous that a scientist such as yourself should accept my humble invitation, Doctor...” He paused for a moment, unsure of the scientist's name.
“Oh! Mein Gott , I have been foolish! I am Doctor Groph.”
“Ah, Doctor Groph. I am pleased to have your expertise here at The Giant, erm, Der Riese . Now... I believe I also sent an invitation to your partner as well. Has he given any thought-”
“Albert und I had many, many, many disagreements regarding Electrodynamics. I would not consider us partners, hardly even acquaintances! The last time I heard from him he was considering leaving for the United States. If not for its women, America would have no redeeming qualities... Trust me, Doctor Maxis, his work was not worth your time. But, I possess the skills you will need to place Group 935 at the top of the scientific world.”
“I look forward to it, Doctor Groph. I should-”
Groph removed the top slice of bread from his sandwich, dissecting its contents as he interrupted, “Are you familiar with the Vril-Ya, Doctor Maxis?”
Maxis blinked twice, trying to grasp at the question.
“I... have read The Coming Race if that is what you are asking.”
“ Nein , nein , there is much more to be learned from the Vril-Ya than Lytton's work, though it is a fine start.”
“You will have to tell me more once we've settled in here. Right now, I should really be going. I have some directorial business to attend to.”
Doctor Maxis promptly handed his glass to the table attendant and prepared to make his way towards the exit of the auditorium, away from the babbling nutcase.
“Of course, Doctor. Thank you for the opportunity! I look forward to the numerous discoveries we will make together!”
Doctor Maxis nodded back to the distant Doctor Groph and exited through the doors of the auditorium outside. The night air warmed Maxis' skin as he passed through the construction area that would one day be the courtyard of the facility. Doctor Maxis progressed past several scientists wandering towards the central building housing Group 935's administrative offices, before entering the brand new building himself. Maxis entered the room at the end of the hallway, his own personal office space, before settling into his leather desk chair.
This first wave of recruits would prove a strong base for the organization, but Group 935 must always be searching for more minds to advance its projects. One scientist in particular had been making a name for himself in the community by the name Doctor Edward Richtofen. Doctor Richtofen had published several books with his findings in physics and biology along with his partner in science, Doctor Baron Schuster. Both being based in Germany and being exceptionally skilled in their field, the two may prove valuable assets in the future, and Doctor Maxis sought to watch their careers closely. With such great minds at its disposal and the power of the new Element 115, Group 935 could be an unstoppable force of change for humanity.
For weeks prior, Doctor Maxis had been keeping correspondence with Doctor Richtofen, exchanging ideas for potential projects if the two were to collaborate. Though he respected his work, Doctor Maxis could not see Richtofen as the head of any sustainable project. For all his intuition, he still lacks humility and professionalism. Letters from the Doctor read like a child's frantic attempts to impress an indifferent father; For a man in his thirties, Doctor Richtofen lacked the attention to detail and formality in his communications one would expect with his experience. Nevertheless, Doctor Richtofen's proposal for projects utilizing Element 115 fascinated Maxis. Doctor Richtofen had acquired an article published by Maxis on the discovery of the new element and privately mailed him an idea relating to the element's potential properties.
The bizarre concepts jotted out on the paper read like those of a madman, yet upon looking further into their current knowledge of Element 115, Maxis determined that Richtofen's ideas may hold merit. Just a tiny sample of the element has shown to have an incredible amount of potential energy output to fuel Richtofen's unique concepts.
Doctor Maxis had done prior research with a process dubbed "teleportation”, the transfer of an object or living being from one location to another through the conversion of their atoms into a steady stream, which is then sent via a massive wire to the intended location before reassembly.
Doctor Richtofen seemed supportive of the idea, and wished to collaborate further on the project. Soon thereafter, Maxis drew up blueprints for a potential prototype he lovingly christened the Matter Transference Device, or MTD as it was referred to thereafter and sent a copy to Doctor Richtofen, with the technical specifications left out, of course. Doctor Richtofen held much clout and credibility as a scientist in the field of physics and would make an excellent fit for the project if it is to be pursued. Such a technology could be a massive success for Group 935.
One of Doctor Richtofen’s own ideas, however, placed him in Maxis’ sights as a prime candidate to join Group 935. He was also an expert in Biology, a field Maxis had studied at Oxford to earn his Doctorate. Richtofen suggested that Element 115 may be an avenue to create new forms of life: The Genesis Code. In Maxis’ early years, the very basic concept of life fascinated him to no end. Its formation is so incredible, so profound, that humanity has ascribed it to omnipotent gods. Ludvig often entertained the idea that the ability to create life, in spite of any higher being, is the final evolutionary step for mankind.