Approaching Wittenau Sanatorium ("Verrückt Facility") Berlin, Germany
Cpl. “Tank” Dempsey and LCpl John “Banana”
September 6th, 1945
“I was a handler. First for the OSS, then the CIA. I oversaw ops and I sent in men to die.”
- Cornelius Pernell
It would not be much longer before “Tank” Dempsey and his unit arrived at Peter McCain’s last known location. They parachuted in the dead of night about a mile away from Group 935’s Asylum Facility, planning today’s mission within an abandoned house nearby. Though they knew the area had been evacuated prior to Allied bombings, it chilled Dempsey and his men that they had not seen a single living civilian since their landing.
Reconnaissance planes showed that much of the German military presence at the facility had all but disappeared, with only remains of tanks presumably destroyed in the bombings and a few transport trucks. Dempsey’s handler, Cornelius Pernell, believed that the facility had been abandoned following some kind of outbreak. While their purpose had been originally to extract the OSS spy, Peter McCain, the mission had changed to ensuring the Asylum is contained. Because of this, Dempsey and his squadmates were armed with rifles, handguns, and grenades. If that is not enough, then they will need to get in contact with Command and call for backup. Once contained, Verrückt will become a base of operations and research like the Rising Sun Facility. This will need to be done before the Russians can take it for themselves.
Though the mission had changed, Dempsey’s first priority would be recovering the lost spy. Before setting out towards the Asylum, Dempsey had finally worked up the courage to read a note left to him by Peter shortly before he went undercover. He kept the note folded up in his breast pocket for good luck. Despite his orders, Dempsey decided that he would not leave Germany without Peter.
The four men marched onward over the dirt road, weighed down by their equipment and the fear in their hearts. But, they did not complain; Not with the Corporal in earshot.
The oldest member of the unit besides Dempsey, John “Banana,” asked, “You think McCain knows about the new objective?”
Dempsey replied, an M1897 shotgun in hands, “Pernell says he never heard back from him after the orders were given. It’s possible he doesn’t know, but I know he won’t do anything to jeopardize the mission. He knows exactly who we’re up against.”
From the back, “Smokey” shared his anxieties, “Sure would help if we knew what we’re up against… ”
“Banana” passed a sharp glance back at “Smokey,” “We’re working with all we’ve got, Smokey. Command gave us all they could.”
“I’m just sayin’. If we’re fighting zombies… we might need more firepower.”
“They’re just stumbling corpses that can’t even think. There’s nothing to worry about, right, Tank?” John seemed unsure of himself, as if looking to Dempsey for some reassurance that they would be okay.
“I suggest we can all this bellyaching. We’ll find out more soon, whether we like it or not. Just stay sharp like I told you, and don’t panic, Smokey.”
Doing as they were told, Banana and Smokey stayed quiet, following close behind as the Asylum came into view just up the road. They had seen a cloud of smoke emanating from the building some time ago, and it seems some parts of the building are still burning even now. Dempsey did not say it to maintain morale, but he knew that if the facility was still operational, the fires left behind by the bombings would have been put out long ago. Something has gone terribly wrong.
Paxton “Gunner” Ridge passed “Banana,” walking beside Dempsey, the M1918 gripped firmly in his hands. “If you ask me, I think McCain joined up with the escaping Germans and saved his own skin.”
The remark provoked Dempsey, but he kept his cool, “Funny thing, Gunner, because I didn’t ask you. Let’s save the speculation for when the mission is done.”
“I’m just trying to cheer you up, Tank. I know you cared about the guy.”
Dempsey paused to mull it over, “Like a brother. But he’s a Marine, just like us. He’ll complete the mission no matter the cost.”
“I hope you’re right. But I guess I’m just a realist.”
“Quiet… we’re here.” Dempsey motioned to the others to slow down and keep quiet.
They crouched and quietly walked towards the front gates of the facility, which had been knocked off their hinges and now lay broken and twisted on the ground. Dempsey peered around the corner, catching a glimpse of the courtyard in the center of the Asylum. To the left were two German transport trucks, neither with a driver nor a passenger, and both with bullet holes in the windows and cabin doors. Still no sign of anyone living.
Dempsey led the squad forward under an overpass and into the courtyard. Again, there seemed to be no indication of life. Dempsey decided to get his men out of the open sightlines of the courtyard, ordering them into the Asylum. He split the unit into groups of two; “Banana” and “Smokey” moving further ahead and vaulting through the busted windows into the Asylum, while “Gunner” and Dempsey vaulted through the windows to their immediate right.
Dempsey’s feet hit the tile, and an awful stench overcame him; Like rotting flesh left out in the sun. As he regained his bearings, he noticed he was inside a small office, the desk drawers all open, and the door leading into the hallway completely missing. He moved forward with “Gunner” behind him. Just like the door to the office, the doors of two other rooms had been completely torn off their hinges.
“Tank” kept his trench gun raised, exploring the two rooms. One was more open with a wooden floor and some kind of tall, red and white machine up against the tan-colored walls. On the front face of the machine it read “Jugger-Nog” in red letters. The bubbly font contrasted the blood stains on the body of the machine, and the horrid smell of flesh and sulfur in the air. There were two bookshelves in the corner of the room, all the books strewn about on the ground, and the shelves themselves having been ripped out. The nearby window looking towards the dawning sky was partially obscured by the wooden shelves, now affixed by nails. There were blood stains all along the walls and on a nearby couch.
“Tank… check this out.” Gunner grabbed Dempsey’s attention, drawing him to the other room. In the center was a dentist’s chair almost completely covered in dried blood, along with a set of tools resting on a cart.
“Jesus… ” Dempsey could barely stand the stench any longer. He refocused his attention on checking in on his squadmates. He returned to the hallway, walking towards where he had sent Banana and Smokey, only to find the path blocked by a set of double doors. The doors had no handle to pull them open, and the doorframe was taller than the others seen so far. Dempsey peered through the glass windows at the top of the doors, into the adjacent hallway. He could see Banana and Gunner scanning the rooms for life.
“Tank… do you hear that?” Gunner tapped Dempsey’s shoulder.
“Not now,” In a hushed tone, he spoke through the door, “What do we see in there, boys?”
Gunner continued to mutter, “It sounds like… crying… ”
John “Banana” approached the glass, “We haven’t found anyone. No bodies or nothin’... just a whole lot of blood.”
Dempsey nodded, “Keep looking. I think these doors are locked electronically… Is anything powered on over there?”
“Then let’s fan out and regroup at the other side of the Asylum. Intel shows that’s where the power generators should be. Just keep Smokey calm, alright? After we get there- ”
“Corporal!” Gunner called out from behind Dempsey.
Tank turned to face Gunner, who was now staring at some kind of chalk drawing on the wall. “Was this here earlier, Paxton?”
“I don’t think so, sir.”
The drawing was clearly in the shape of some kind of rifle, and something about the bright, white outline allured Dempsey to approach it. Before he could say anything else, however, his attention was brought elsewhere.
Outside, in the courtyard, the sound of moaning and the shifting of dirt could be heard. Dempsey and Ridge approached one of the windows, looking out on the courtyard at the enemy.
Four figures in black and white SS Honor Guard uniforms rose up from the dirt, their eyes shining with a yellow glow. They all looked to the skies, bellowing out in unison. They then turned their gazes towards Dempsey’s unit.
“Here they come!” Dempsey barked out, grabbing the attention of Banana and Smokey in the adjacent area. All four men checked their weapons and ammunition to ensure they were ready for what was to come.
Dempsey could hear more coming from outside the facility, now approaching the boarded up windows to their rear. From the other room, he could hear Banana yell out, “They’re everywhere!”
Paxton rested his rifle on the windowsill, scanning the courtyard as more and more targets rose up from the dirt. “Shit!”
Banana ran up to the electronic doors, attempting to pry them open to no avail. He banged on the glass to grab Dempsey’s attention, “We need to get these doors open!”
To his rear, Smokey was seen panicking, his M1 Garand waving around wildly. “Don’t leave me!”
Dempsey’s instinct kicked in, as he snapped back into reality, the fear in his heart nearly bubbling up to the surface. He glanced at the wall to the right of the door, now noticing there was a faded message written in white chalk, “POWER WILL REUNITE YOU.” He felt a rush of pain swelling in his head, and images of a generator and power switch flashed through his mind. The pain quickly disappeared, and Dempsey assured the others, “Hang in there! We’ll try to get the power on!”
Smokey called out from the other room, now taking aim at the window where a zombie was pulling at the boards, “Hurry it up, okay?!”
From the office, several undead began to vault through the window into the room. “Gunner” was quick to unload his BAR into the attackers, “They’re everywhere!”
Dempsey sprinted towards a set of stairs leading up to the second floor, where the power generators would be located. Blocking the path was a large couch used as a barrier. Dempsey rested his trench gun up against the wall as Gunner defended the office, and he began pulling the couch aside to clear a path.
Now aside, Dempsey noticed a lone walker had broken through one of the windows and had its arms raised, attempting to grab at him. Tank was quick to retrieve his shotgun and blow a hole into the undead’s chest, “Get out of my face!” It fell lifelessly to the ground, the light in its eyes fading with it.
Dempsey turned to Gunner, who was now reloading as the undead continued to pour in through the office. Dempsey entered the room, pumping his shotgun and taking aim at the multiple uniformed corpses piling in through the window. “I’ve got you, go!” He ordered Ridge to head up the stairs while holding back the growing horde.
Now reloaded, Gunner stood at the top of the stairs, “Keep moving!”
Dempsey sprinted up the first flight of stairs, then up another, loading more shells into his shotgun. He nearly ordered Gunner to continue ahead, when the wall beside the staircase began to crumble. Chunks of concrete fell to the floor as the hands of the undead punched through from an adjacent room. Dempsey fired into the gaps, attempting to hold them back. “They’re coming through the walls!”
He could hear Gunner’s BAR click as he ran out of bullets. Gunner yelled out, “Grenade, going in!” Then he pulled a grenade from his belt, yanked the pin with his teeth, and tossed it down the stairs into the office before running up to meet Dempsey. The explosion shook the building, and sent chunks of flesh up the stairwell as it silenced their moans.
Gunner walked out onto the catwalk overlooking the courtyard, reloaded his weapon, and began to fire downward as more undead rose up. A set of stairs from the courtyard leading up to the catwalk was now filled with zombies continuing to pursue them. Dempsey gutted two with his shotgun before his attention was drawn to the opposite catwalk where Banana and Smokey were now fighting for their lives.
As Gunner reached for his last magazine, he ran towards the doorway leading back inside, passing under a set of coils attached to a power box. He tripped over rubble, dropping his gun and ammo, and glanced around as the undead swept through the asylum from every entrance. “There’s too many of them!”
With one hand on his shotgun, Dempsey pulled Gunner to his feet, barking, “Get up! Keep moving!” He fired two more shells down the hallway at an approaching corpse.
The horde was annihilated as Smokey, from across the Asylum, fired a rifle grenade towards the catwalk, sending the remaining dismembered zombies tumbling the ground as the floor collapsed underneath them. This gave Dempsey and Gunner enough time to search for the power generator.
“Nice shot, Smokey!”
“Yeah, but now we’re FUCKED!” Smokey’s M1 ejected an empty clip as he scrambled for another.
“Hang in there, Smokey, we’re gonna make it! We have to make it!” John “Banana” unloaded his Thompson into a trio of undead ripping at the boards of a nearby window.
“The Corporal’s not gonna make it!”
“Come on, Smokey, keep firing!”
The two men held off undead one at a time, but their numbers were increasing along with their speed. Some had started to run, even pouncing like animals. Their numbers were too great to advance further towards the power room, and the duo was now trapped on the catwalk with no escape but the floor below, where undead had gathered, attempting to leap up to them.
“You’ve gotta kill me, John! You’ve gotta kill me before I become one of them!” Smokey began to weep, his aim wavering.
“We’re not dying, Smokey! Not today!”
“What are we gonna do?! We’re fucked, fucked, fucked!”
Smokey had collapsed into a fetal position, his M1 cast aside as the last clip was now emptied. He crawled backwards, placing himself up against the wall while Banana fought on with what little he had left.
He could now feel his supply diminishing, and with each zombie taken down, he could hear two more approaching. He could only be so conservative to get the job done.
He knew now that he had only a handful of bullets left, and contemplated just how to use them as he glanced over at the weeping man to his left.
“It’s alright, Smokey… It’s alright… ”
An entire horde could be heard arriving from the floor below, bellowing out as they ascended the stairs. They would be impossible to face.
He lowered his weapon, muttering to himself, “He sent us to die… for nothing… ”
The flood of Untoten came into view trampling over one another to reach them. Banana gripped his weapon, prepared to do what he must, when he heard a whirring sound from the walls of the Asylum. Lights through nearby windows began flickering, and above the doorway leading out onto the catwalk, a light bulb flickered, before glowing a bright green. The power switch attached to a set of coils hanging above the doorway lit up as well, and the coils began to rain down beams of bright electricity towards the concrete floor.
As the undead passed through the doorway, the electricity went through their bodies, cooking them from the inside out. Smoke billowed out from their eye sockets as their flesh was seared. The bodies began to pile up, almost forming a physical barrier, and the entire Asylum turned to a blissful silence.
Smokey had stopped weeping, his eyes wide and expression one of awe.
Banana stood up, looking over the courtyard at the bodies and rubble left behind by the attack. He nearly threw up at the sight of the charred corpses now sitting in the doorway, where the power box had deactivated, ready to be restarted with the flip of a switch. “Freakin’ zombies… ”
Smokey leaned his head up against the wall, “It’s over… ”
Banana shook his head, dropping his empty weapon, “No… It ain’t over… This is just the beginning.”
“We’ve got to regroup.” Dempsey loaded his shotgun with more shells.
“With all due respect, Corporal, our mission is to contain the Asylum and ensure the research can be recovered.”
“The mission has changed again, Gunner.” Dempsey cocked the Trench Gun, “We need to stick together, look for signs of Agent McCain, and get the hell out of here so we can call for reinforcements.”
“What makes you so sure we’ll need them?”
Dempsey pushed past Gunner, peering through the windows towards the catwalk where John “Banana” and “Smokey” were last seen, “I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that. Take point. We’re heading for their last known location.”
“I’m sorry, sir, but that’s not our mission.” Gunner stood his ground.
Dempsey came face-to-face with Gunner, pointing a finger in his face, “I gave orders, and you’ll follow them! I don’t mind putting in a court-martial or two for your behavior.”
“Pernell ordered me to ensure we stay focused, Corporal, and I intend to do that.”
“You? Why’d he tell you and not-”
Down a set of stairs within the power room, Dempsey could hear the sounds of boots against concrete, growing louder and louder. Dempsey and Gunner took aim down the steps, expecting another wave of undead. Instead they were met with sub-machine gun rounds from living German SS soldiers. They took cover as bullets whizzed out of the room below.
“How the fuck are they still alive?!” Dempsey pressed his back against the concrete wall.
“They shouldn’t be here… ” Gunner seemed more troubled by the revelation than Dempsey was.
“Well they are! Get ready to-. Where are you going, Gunner?!”
Paxton sprinted back towards the showers where the duo had arrived from, turning left and disappearing from Dempsey’s view.
“You son of a bitch! Fuck!”
Dempsey swiveled around, taking aim with his shotgun down the set of stairs and firing two shells before returning to cover.
Underneath the hail of gunfire, an electronic voice irritated Dempsey as he tried to think, a voice coming over a radio in the power room, “4 8 15 16 23 42.” He glanced around the room, searching for something to help him. There was only a strange crate with question marks etched into the top, and the power switch, a severed hand gripping the lever.
Dempsey prepared to run and find his allies, when he heard more boots heading his way from that direction. Dempsey stood his ground, firing shells down the stairwell, as the Germans yelled out in frustration. A German rounded the corner from the catwalk, firing a rifle round towards Dempsey, piercing his shoulder. He grunted in pain, but kept his weapon raised, firing back towards the Germans. They continued advancing, as Dempsey held steadfast, his vision clouding from the pain. With no more shells, he pulled the handgun from his belt and took aim. His aim was off, and he was greatly outnumbered, but he held out as long as he could. With no more ammunition, he tossed the pistol aside, holding the shotgun like a bat, and taking a swing at a German officer rising from the staircase, bloodying his nose. Two more then came around the corner, tackling Dempsey to the ground and restraining him. The bloodied officer stood up, barking an order in German at one of his underlings, who slammed the butt of his rifle into Dempsey’s face, knocking him out cold.
Dempsey’s vision was foggy, as well as his consciousness due to some combination of head trauma, blood loss, and drugs in his system. He could only sense the jostling of his body in some kind of vehicle, as well as the sounds of men with German accents speaking to one another.
In English, one of the voices asked, “And did you carry out my orders?”
“Yes, Doctor. All the research we could find was burned along with the bodies. Though some was taken by the spy… ”
“A failure I will be sure to note in my report to Doctor Richtofen. And what of the Division 9 scientists?”
“Many were destroyed, however… Doctor Okitsu managed to escape.”
“Scheiße… Imbeciles… He will not be pleased to hear we still have loose ends… But perhaps our friend here will make up for your error… ”