Reign in Hell
Laboratories, The Giant (“Der Riese”), near Breslau
Dr. Ludvig Maxis and Dr. Edward Richtofen
October 13th, 1945
“Though our matter transference tests at the new site have been largely unsuccessful, the teleporter’s malfunction has nonetheless yielded some interesting data. The fact that the test subjects departed their original point of origin is undeniable; What is uncertain is what became of them. Richtofen is insistent in his belief that they have been transported not through space... but through time. In the absence of empirical evidence, I myself cannot entertain such... madness. I fear Richtofen’s... irrationality may soon prove a liability to our endeavors.”
The recording device clicked, and Maxis repeatedly began to tap his finger on his desk, anxious and full of energy. His time at the Kino facility had almost broken him; He had all but lost his purpose in life. Sophia, that little distraction, abandoned him in his time of need. Ludvig’s work suffered at the hands of forces out of his control, and he was humiliated in all that he tried to achieve. What he did achieve, however, was an understanding of something far more important to the very nature of the universe. The stories told by that dimwitted Doctor Groph were more fact than fiction, only he was too stupid to pursue such ventures. They were all fools to ignore the fundamental truth for so long.
Maxis ran his hand along a bumpy, elongated skull resting on his desk. It was humanoid, but lacked eye sockets or nostrils and it had massive, dagger-like teeth.
The Vril-Ya, or as they were once known, the Ancient Order of the Keepers, watch over humanity, guiding them towards the truth and preparing them to defend themselves from a great evil approaching: Forces of darkness known as the Apothicons. Years ago, Maxis had been sent on an expedition to the Himalayas, discovering relics of these ancient aliens, skulls of their kind left behind as tokens of remembrance. Two of these Keepers appeared to Maxis in a dream several weeks ago, urging him to keep going along his path. The teleporter will be the key to humanity’s salvation. All those years ago, He helped push Maxis on this great journey. When mankind is finally able to walk between dimensions like the Ancients once did, the Ascension to Agartha will begin.
The Keepers in his dream were not alone… Maxis heard many voices, but among them was his love, a shattered remnant of his lost, peaceful life. Hilda said little, but Maxis knew then and there what must be done. He must return to her with Samantha.
Maxis stood from his desk, departing towards the laboratories to begin the day’s trials along with Doctor Richtofen. Edward is the only scientist to show any promise in perfecting matter transference, but Maxis had grown weary of his delusions; His time in Siberia must have driven him mad. When the gateway opens, there is no accounting for what Edward might do… what he is capable of. Something will need to be done about the good Doctor soon, or he will destroy us all…
Despite the stalled bombings of Der Riese, buildings still burned throughout the facility, unable to be put out due to the lack of manpower and resources allotted to them. No one has been able to enter or leave the facility for several days, with the roads being blocked by Soviet tanks. Aerial supply drops have halted after losing contact with the Chancellor’s base in Argentina. Something has gone wrong; Someone is sabotaging Group 935 and Die Spinne from the inside. The Russians have halted the bombings as one final chance for peaceful surrender. The bastards will not be given such satisfaction. The MTD will save us.
Maxis entered the door code to the large laboratory just east of the Animal Testing Labs, revealing the third MTD prototype in this series, Teleporter C. Just down the stairs from the prototype, near a generator, Doctor Richtofen was sorting through documents on a table while Samantha was speaking to him.
Richtofen was wearing that infernal Nazi uniform again. After repeatedly ordering him to change into more suitable attire, he was met only with excuses, a common tactic from Edward. Maxis hated the uniform; It was a reminder of his failure to live up to the Reich’s expectations, a reminder of what they had done to the culture of this organization, and what they had done to its mission statement. Somewhere, beneath his pompous surface, Edward must know how much it enraged Ludvig.
“Doctor.” Edward noticed Ludvig’s arrival, greeting him with a self-satisfied smirk.
Ludvig barked, “Set up the testing area before I have you thrown out of the lab, Edward!”
Unusually, Edward said nothing in retort, following Maxis’ orders and ascending the stairs.
Maxis leaned down to speak to his daughter, much more calmly. “Honey, today is going to be very, very important to us. To our future. Do you understand?”
Samantha nodded, holding her Teddy Bear tightly against her chest, “Yes, father.”
“For that reason, you must stay out of the lab today. I don’t know what Doctor Richtofen allowed you to see in Siberia, but for your safety, it is imperative that you never come back in here until I say you can. Is that clear?”
“Yes, father.” Samantha looked away as she spoke, turning side to side nervously. “Is everything going to be okay? Like mother said?”
“Yes, dear.” He wrapped his arms around her, nearly brought to tears. He had missed what it felt like to hold her. “Everything will be okay, Samantha… I have a plan.”
He held her for another few moments, glancing up at the teleporter where Doctor Richtofen offered him a thumbs-up, indicating it was time to begin the day’s trials.
Doctor Maxis guided Samantha out of the building, then returned to the lab, prepared for some sanctimonious jab from Doctor Richtofen upon his return. Instead, he quietly awaited Maxis’ instructions.
“Have the subjects been collected without Samantha seeing them?”
“Yes, Doctor. All of them are awaiting the trials. Shall I fetch the first subject?”
Maxis was suspicious of Richtofen’s submissiveness. Perhaps he had finally learned, too late to be sure, to act like a professional. “Proceed.”
Doctor Richtofen walked down a nearby hallway, returning with a dog attached to a leash. He struggled to guide it along, as it tried to run away from the lab. The dog was a young German Shepherd, and it limped due to a foot injury. Richtofen dragged it forcefully into the MTD’s chamber, tying the other end of the leash around a horizontal grab bar inside the chamber.
The dog lurched forward, attempting to run but held back by the leash. It ran around the interior of the chamber in a panic trying to escape to no avail.
“The subject is ready, Doctor Maxis.”
Maxis activated the recording device on the table, speaking into it, “Initiating test number three. Subject is within the test chamber. Activate power.”
Doing as instructed, Richtofen powered on the device with the control panel before them. The chamber’s door closed around the subject, enveloping the interior in smoke as the MTD powered up. Lights in the room flickered as power fluctuated, and eventually the capacitors quieted down and the door opened. Through dispelling smoke lied what remained of subject number three.
It was just a lump of seared flesh with the leash still wrapped around it. Detached parts of the mush still twitched with frayed, dying nerve endings still active, and the room soon smelled of cooked, rancid meat.
Richtofen shook his head, “Oh- Oh my god… ”
Maxis placed a hand on Richtofen’s shoulder, ordering him towards the test chamber, “Get a hold of yourself and clean that up! Test number three unsuccessful; Test subject has been reduced to the same state as previous subjects.” Maxis caught Richtofen looking at him with disgust and began shouting in his face, “Clean up the test chamber and recalibrate the system! Let’s do it again.”
“Yes, Doctor.” Richtofen did as instructed, wiping away the look on his face and donning a set of gloves to pick up the hunk of flesh left behind from the test. He placed it into a disposable bag, setting it aside for destruction. Richtofen then approached the control panel, recalibrating the system to Maxis’ specifications.
“Fetch the next subject.”
As Richtofen stepped away, Maxis checked his inputs into the system. The imbecile had shifted the numbers by two tenths of a decimal. Maxis adjusted the numbers again. Doctor Richtofen could not jeopardize this critical experiment. They told Ludvig that today would be the day of salvation.
Richtofen returned with a dog of the same breed, performing the same task as before.
“Ready, Doctor Maxis.”
Edward seemed quite eager to begin. Maxis informed him, “I have fixed your error in the system’s calibration. Next time, you will meet my orders exactly as they are given!”
Richtofen did not even look at him, twitching before muttering, “Understood, Doctor. It won’t happen again...”
“Indeed, it will not.” Maxis activated the recorder, “Initiating test number four. Subject is within the test chamber. Activate power.”
The capacitors fizzled once again, enclosing the more docile canine and beginning the teleportation process. Maxis shut his eyes, praying this would be a successful trial.
Unfortunately, like before, the subject was reduced to an unrecognizable state, albeit with more distinct features of something once living.
“Damn!” Maxis pounded on the table, running his hand over his bald head, searching for what Richtofen must have done to ruin this trial. With no perfect answer, he instead barked another order, “Clean it up and meet my specifications accordingly! We’re getting closer. I know it… ”
“Yes, Doctor. Right away.”
Doctor Richtofen inputted a set of adjusted numbers and retrieved another subject. It was the dog he had gifted Samantha many years ago, Fluffy.
“Are you sure about this, Doctor Maxis? We spent so many years training her, und to let her brood go to waste… ”
“Enough delaying, Edward! When this is all over I’ll get Samantha another! What difference does it make?! Now, do as I ask.”
Doing as instructed, Richtofen dragged the whining dog into the test chamber. Fluffy was more aggressive than usual, being pregnant again and prepared to give birth soon. Richtofen struggled with her, as Maxis impatiently activated the recording device.
“Edward, tie the damn thing down! We can’t have it running around during the test!”
Fluffy whimpered as she struggled to escape the chamber. Richtofen returned to the control panel.
“It’s tied down now, Doctor Maxis.”
“Initiating test number five. Subject is within the test chamber. Activate power.”
The lights flickered for longer than usual as Fluffy’s cries silenced. Edward glanced at the control panel, checking that the receiving pad in the courtyard was still on reserve power.
As the smoke dispelled into the room, it was apparent that Fluffy was completely gone. The chamber had been emptied.
Richtofen looked over the panel, “Searching for vitals… No reading, Doctor. The subject has… disappeared. Doctor Maxis, we’ve done it!”
Maxis did not let this glimmer of hope overcome him, “Don’t be foolish! Test number five is unsuccessful. Subject has vanished, yes, but has not reappeared at the mainframe. Recalibrate the damn system, now!”
They are so close. This must be it. The end of suffering, and a new dawn for mankind.
Maxis was glowing, ignoring Richtofen as he recalibrated the system and retrieved the next subject. He paced across the room, looking up at the Group 935 insignia on the wall, proud of what had not even occurred yet, but what was sure to happen.
Before Richtofen could inform Maxis that he was ready, he returned to the table, activating the recording device and ordering Richtofen to begin, “Initiating test number six. Subject is within the test chamber. Activate power.”
The device powered on with a blinding light, but Maxis could not look away. All of his work, all of his anguish, has led to this triumph.
The MTD began to act strangely, the capacitors letting off sparks, and the light inside the chamber appearing to flash as if the device was malfunctioning.
“Damn it, Edward! Did you set up the device correctly?!”
“Yes, Doctor. As per your specifications.”
“If you had done it to my specifications then it would have worked, wouldn’t it? As usual, your incompetence has-”
Within the closed test chamber, a blinding white light appeared, materializing something inside and surprising the scientists with a quick burst of noise.
“What? Do you hear that, Doctor Maxis?”
There was some kind of low rumbling coming from within the chamber.
“Quiet, you fool! Test number six is a failure, but the experiment has caused some kind of electrical force to energize within the chamber.” Pointing towards the MTD, Maxis issued his order, “Well, open the door!”
“Doctor, I don’t think-”
“Open the door NOW!”
Chills coursed through Maxis’ body as he witnessed what was standing inside the test chamber. A dog, the same size as Fluffy, stood in the chamber, most of its flesh missing, exposing the muscle and bone beneath, but the dog itself appeared alive and angry. Its head was hung low, exposing its teeth, and its tail was raised as if about to attack. Its eyes had a piercing, red glow.
Ludvig’s heart sank as he heard a voice from his rear coming from Samantha. She had quietly entered the room, and was now running up the stairs. She stood in the middle of the laboratory, muttering through tears, “Daddy, what are you doing with Fluffy?!”
“Damn it, Samantha, I told you never to come in here!” Fear building as the dog set its sights on his daughter, Maxis barked at Richtofen, “Edward! Get her out of there!”
As Richtofen approached, the hound let out a wicked howl, frightening Samantha and causing her to scream. Richtofen stayed back, trying not to provoke the beast. Samantha stepped closer into the test chamber with Fluffy.
“What’s wrong with her?! Daddy, what did you do?! Fluffy!”
She attempted to reach out towards her pet she once loved, only for Fluffy to snap her jaws at her in return.
Maxis ran towards the chamber, “Come back here, Samantha! Stop her!” Richtofen did nothing, so Maxis shoved him aside, wrapping his arms around Samantha, who had backed herself up against the wall of the chamber and refused to move, “Easy… Come here, Samantha. Good girl, Fluffy…”
The hound set its sights on Ludvig, who was now trying to pick up his daughter to make a dash away from the test chamber, “Gently, Samantha… That’s not Fluffy anymore… We must get out of here…”
Both the dog’s and Ludvig’s attention was drawn to the sound of the chamber’s door coming closed, trapping Ludvig and Samantha inside with the abomination. Through the viewport, Maxis could see Doctor Richtofen waving at him with a grin stretched across his face.
Doctor Maxis pounded on the glass view port of the MTD, begging for his loathsome life, “What?! Edward, what are you doing?! Open the door! Edward, open this door now!”
His weeping daughter muttered loud enough to enjoy from the outside, “Dad… I’m scared…” The hound let out a low growl.
“Don’t go!” Richtofen walked toward the control panel, placing his hand over it. Maxis left the view of the window, attending to the brat, “Stay by me, Samantha… ”
“Goodbye, Doctor Maxis… ”
Richtofen powered on the device, whisking them all away for good. He let out a guttural cackle, the voices laughing with him. He could not contain his sense of righteousness, his joy in this very moment. Within his head, the Shadowman made his approval known, “Loyalty is no match for power… ”
Richtofen raised his hand off the control panel, looking over it from back to front, and clenching his hand in a fist. He felt chills running up his body, not just due to the euphoria, but also the temperature, which seemed to have declined.
He paid it little mind, descending the stairs and retrieving some of his belongings from his locker. The final phase of Operation Shield will now proceed.
His triumphant march towards the security station was cut off by a transmission on his handheld radio.
The voice of Doctor Groph came through, “Doctor Richtofen?! Come in, Doctor Richtofen! This is Griffin Station, there has been an incident, over!”
“What is it, Doctor?”
“You need to return to Griffin Station at once! Somehow, Maxis’ daughter, Samantha, has arrived on the base, and… regrettably, she has entered the pyramid device!”
Richtofen asked, “How could you allow this to happen?!”
There was panic in Groph’s voice, “I- I- I don’t know, Doctor! The pyramid was ready for your arrival, when she suddenly materialized within the receiving bay und made her way into the labs. Schuster und I could not catch her in time.”
“Scheiße! When I get there, you’d better have-” Richtofen had stepped outside the laboratories building, and stopped dead in his tracks.
“Doctor? Doctor! What is going on down there?!”
Richtofen raised the radio back to his lips after a moment of confusion, saying, “It’s nothing, Groph. It’s just… well... it’s snowing.”