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  • Will and Testament

    Siberian Facility, near Tunguska

    Dr. Edward Richtofen

    September 24th, 1945


    “Operation Shield must remain a secret... for now. I will inform the men when the time is right.”


    “Yes, Doctor Richtofen. And what shall we do until then?”


    The live feed of Doctor Groph from Griffin Station filled with static for a moment before returning to normal.


    “Ensure preparations are made to have the life force tanks of the MPD topped off. I believe the select few members of Division 9 in our care would make excellent volunteers… I assume members of the station have remained in the dark about the end of the war?”


    Ja, Doctor. I will follow Protocol 87 to the letter. How are the experiments in Siberia?”


    Richtofen spun in circles in his chair, stopping for a moment to look back at a failed clone of the American subject, lifeless on the table. A mutation had caused it to develop two heads, only one having a brain, while the other dangled to the side. The head with the brain was covered in massive, protruding veins that stretched to the end of its right arm, and its face was locked in an expression of agony as it died screaming, just as it did for its entire lifespan.


    “Uneventful. There will be more to share in the future, however, as for right now, I need you to maintain security on the station und be ready for Operation Shield to commence. Maxis will pay dearly, und our influence shall grow.”


    “Just as we’ve always discussed… I remember the day I told you of Maxis’ conspiracy, and your disbelief that he was capable of such a betrayal. Ever since, I have remained loyal to our cause and stood by your side. We are-”


    Richtofen continued to spin in his chair until he grew dizzy, then he interjected, “Yes, you always did have such a keen memory… By the way, Groph, how is Doctor Schuster?”


    Groph paused for a moment, longer than the delay in transmission dictated, “Schuster has performed his work with tact und efficiency. He has spearheaded the Wave Gun project and made significant improvements to- ”


    “I don’t mean a performance review, Doctor Groph. How is he… emotionally? You know how soft he can be.”


    “He has mostly kept to himself outside of research hours. Sometimes I catch him in the Biodome in some sort of fugue state.”


    Richtofen thought solemnly for a moment, positing, “Perhaps he is a bit homesick. Tell him… he will be coming home, very soon.”


    “I will do as you ask, Doctor. You know, I actually find myself quite fond of my position here, it’s very-”


    Ja, ja, you’re doing an excellent job, keep up the great work! Don’t know what I would do without you! Eagle’s Nest out.”


    Richtofen tapped the keypad, cutting the feed to the station and ending the conversation. He leaned back in his chair, shutting his eyes and placing his hands behind his head, pushing his cap forward to cover his face. A moment of peace, finally.


    The reprieve came to an end quickly as he remembered the site staff meeting in just under half an hour. Richtofen adjusted his cap and uniform, rising to his feet to clean up the lab like the dutiful scientist he appeared to be.


    He approached the unsightly body of the American clone, feeling playful for a moment. He took hold of the jaw of the useless, dangling second head, mimicking speech as he did his best impression of the American. 


    Look at me, the big, stupid, dummkopf American. My name is Taaaaaank Dempsey und I have such big muscles und a chiseled chin. I’m so stupid that I forgot my own name, so they just call me my favorite armored assault vehicle. Hoo ray, hoo ray! I hate you, German, you evil Nazi son of a bitch!


    Richtofen chuckled to himself, tapping the lifeless face’s cheek, “Oh, Dempsey, you’re so much funnier when you’re dead!” Richtofen looked over at the veiny, shocked face of the other head attached to the body, “Your brother, on the other hand, scares me.”


    Doctor Richtofen prepared a tarp to cover the body before it could be retrieved and disposed of, but as he hung the tarp above it, he had an idea.


    He crouched below the table, pulling out a box with a keypad. He input a code, opening the box, and removing its contents. First he removed several Tesla bulbs used as ammunition for the Wunderwaffe DG-2, placing them gently on the long table nearby. Next he removed a smaller container made of a thick material meant to block out the radiation contained within 115. Even still, he could feel the heat coming through from what was inside: The Elemental Shard. Edward simply stared into the majestic, blue surface, before snapping to attention.


    He placed the container on a nearby table and retrieved a large instrument meant for handling 115 without directly touching it.


    Richtofen quickly set up the lab, accepting that he would be late for the meeting. He set up a defibrillator machine, a recording device, and a heart rate monitor. He attached conduits from the defibrillator to the Elemental Shard and attached the heart rate monitor to the lifeless test subject.


    “Log Entry 1-4… Am I on 8 now, let me… Forget it! I’m much too excited! The subject is a recent clone of subject B00M, the American. It has surgical incisions along the abdomen made during an autopsy, and is confirmed to be deceased, myself as witness. I have attached conduits from a defibrillator to the Elemental Shard, and will attempt to revive the subject. Beginning test… now.”


    Richtofen charged up the machine, placing the paddles to the dead clone’s chest. The subject’s muscles spasmed like no other being he had attempted to revive. Yet, the monitor did not spike in activity and its eyes remained shut.


    “Applying another shock in 3… 2… 1!”


    Richtofen applied the paddles again, causing the whole body to jolt, yet again, it did not resuscitate the subject.


    Running out of hope, he charged it up once again, “Trying again in 3… 2… 1!”


    With nothing to lose, Richtofen placed the paddles to the subject’s chest again, leaving them in place for longer than is typically advised, nearly ten seconds. He noticed that the Shard itself began to glow even brighter, filling the entire lab with its blue aura.


    The massive incision in the subject’s abdomen began to close and heal seemingly on its own accord, and the heart monitor began to beep continuously. The subject was alive.


    Ja JA! I’ve done it! It’s alive! It’s- ACH!”


    One of its hands had wrapped around Richtofen’s neck, holding his windpipe closed in the process. Richtofen flailed around desperately, trying to pull himself away. The limp head began to blink its eyelids and turn its gaze to Richtofen, keeping a calm, blank expression. The head with the brain, on the other hand, swung side to side in terror, screaming a gut-wrenching wail just as it did in a previous life.


    “Perhaps… ach, I… did not… think this experiment through… entirely!”


    As it howled, with great strength it threw Richtofen at the wall, knocking the wind from his lungs as he fell to the floor.


    The subject stood up, knocking all of the equipment on the table to the floor, including the recording device. It placed both of its hands on its screaming head as if in great pain, while the loose head swiveled around towards Richtofen.


    Thinking quickly, Richtofen crawled around the corner of the longer table along the wall, out of sight. The ear-piercing screams of pain continued as it limped over towards the table.


    Doctor Richtofen reached up onto the table, retrieving one of the Tesla bulbs for the DG-2. He rose to his feet, pulling back his arm and taking aim at the subject’s center mass. He tossed the glass bulb into its chest, causing it to shatter, and the energy within to explode outwards in all directions. 


    Richtofen remained behind cover for a moment, pulling himself up to examine what remained of the subject. Where the bulb had been thrown was a massive, gaping wound where flesh once resided, and waves of electricity were still visibly surging along the subject’s body from head to toe. The screams finally ended.


    Relieved, the Doctor fell back to the floor, leaning up against the wall. He shook his head and found himself laughing at what had just transpired.


    Outside, he heard the shuffling of feet heading for the doorway. In came Doctor Yena, followed by Frederick, and at least a dozen other members of Group 935.


    After a shocked silence gazing upon the wrecked laboratory, Yena asked Richtofen, “What the hell happened here?!”


    Richtofen adjusted his uniform and dusted debris off his shoulders picked up during his time on the floor. He chuckled, “Guten tag, Harvey. Did the meeting end early today?”


    Yena stood speechless while the others murmured to his rear. After a moment of thought, he turned to them, ordering them away aside from Frederick. Edward was quick to place the Elemental Shard back into its container. Yena entered the lab as Richtofen began to drag the electrocuted subject towards a body bag. “I apologize for not being able to make it to the staff meeting. As you can see I was quite occupied!”


    “Doctor… we need to talk.”


    “About what?” As Yena prepared a response, Richtofen raised a finger towards him, “Ah, ah! Let me guess: It’s about the “Scavenger”? I’ve told you, Harvey, there’s only room for one sniper-rifle-based Wunderwaffe at this facility! If only I could find the lost DG-Scharfschütze prototype… I mean, where could it have run off to?” Edward began picking up the equipment scattered all over the ground, checking for damage.


    “This is about these… experiments. This… Elemental Shard.” Yena approached the Shard’s container.


    Richtofen defensively rose up and lurched towards the box, placing his body in front of it, attempting to appear casual, “Elementary what now? I- er, ahem. What are you talking about, Doctor Yena? You sound… unhinged.”


    “Really, Edward? I sound ‘unhinged’?”


    “Yes! Didn’t you hear me?”


    “Doctor Richtofen, your work at this station ends today. Your assistant told me all about what you were up to after hours. And I have informed Doctor Maxis of everything. Gather yours and Samantha’s belongings and prepare to return to The Giant.”


    The voices swelled in anger within Richtofen’s head, causing him similar distress. He shot a glare to Frederick, who stared blankly back at him. It took every bit of will for Richtofen not to kill the two of them right then and there.


    Edward tossed the recording device from the table back onto the ground.


    “You cannot do this. You have no authority!


    Yena shook his head, “You left me no choice, Doctor Richtofen. You used 935 resources to work on personal projects. You’ve been threatening the employees, myself included! And you’re clearly suffering from excessive 115-induced delusions!”


    Richtofen clenched his fists, “Suffering from excessive 115-induced delusions?! How dare you accuse me of such... such... such vile lies!”


    “Doctor Maxis has ordered the Elemental Shard to be sent to Division 9, where they are better equipped to study it... appropriately. You are to cease experimentation on the test subjects and put them on ice. You are to return with them to Der Riese and meet with Doctor Maxis. He would like to discuss your... dedication to the cause.”


    Mein dedication? All of mein projects, mein programs! You think I'm not dedicated?! You have taken everything from me!” Edward attempted to calm himself. Despite his position in Group 935 seeming to nearly be lost, production of his greatest invention, the Wunderwaffe DG-2, should allow him enough leverage to maintain his place. He began to pace around the room, “Well, I still have the DG-2 in active development. I suppose that’s something…”


    “Actually, no. I’m afraid Doctor Maxis has cancelled its mass production as well.”


    All the blood in Richtofen’s body felt as if it were collecting to his face. He was seething with unbridled wrath.


    Scheiße! This… This is all your doing! You are intentionally sowing discontent! You are trying to destroy us from within! You… You’re working for the Americans, aren’t you?! You are a spy! Just like Doctor Peter McCain! Doctor Maxis would never have hired Americans, no matter how much genius they have!”


    Yena motioned to Frederick to retrieve the container holding the Elemental Shard, and he did as instructed, leaving through the doorway.


    “No, Doctor Richtofen, that’s your paranoia talking. You’ve been exposed to Element 115 for too long. I’m just a loyal servant to Group 935 trying to protect its interests. Now, if you have any issues, I suggest bringing them up with Doctor Maxis.”


    He turned away, leaving as Richtofen aired his frustrations, “Oh, hohoho, don’t you worry your little lying apple-pie-brain, Herr Yena! I intend to bring up a great many things with Doctor Maxis!”


    Richtofen walked in circles throughout the room, stepping over the dead subject and kicking the lab equipment across the floor. He had to lean against a table, gripping the edge tightly in his fist, his head jerking side to side.


    He tried to calm himself; Now is not the time for a tantrum, now is the time for action. Operation Shield would need to be executed sooner than expected. No matter, it will be done.


    Richtofen began a transmission to Griffin Station, “Griffin Station! This is Eagle’s Nest!”


    Groph’s image appeared on the screen, asking, confused, “Eagle’s Nest? What’s the situation-”


    “Our schedule has been advanced. Drop everything und prepare the MPD for the conduit!”


    Groph appeared shocked, glancing around as if searching for witnesses to the transmission, “Ja, Doctor. Security Protocols 86, 87, und 90.”


    “Use whatever souls are available und dispose of the rest! I will set up a meeting at the Rising Sun Facility to ensure my demands are met. Before that, however, I will deal with Maxis, und that little brat when I get the chance… ”

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