Laboratories, The Giant (“Der Riese” ), near Breslau
Dr. Edward Richtofen
January 4th, 1940
Looking and feeling foolish in his protective body gear and eye goggles, Doctor Richtofen stood in the center of the MTD signaling Doctor Schuster that he was ready and activating the handheld recording device in his hand.
“Entry 42. Date: January 4th, 1940. Doctor Schuster und I, despite mounting pressure from Doctor Maxis, have continued working on the Matter Transference Prototype. We have made great strides in the last thirty days and are ready for our first human subject. If our calculations are correct, we will send a test subject to the receptacle station sitting thirty yards away and behind a cinder-block wall.”
“Are you certain you want to do this, Doctor Richtofen?"
“Nein , Doctor Schuster, this must be done. Quickly, put in your earplugs and power up the machine.”
Edward's hands shook vigorously with sweat gathering at his palms. He had many nights' worth of calculations and previous testing to show the test should indeed be a success, but regardless, The Order had been pressuring Richtofen to perfect the MTD by the end of this week.
Doctor Schuster placed his earplugs in, putting his hand upon the control panel, and giving Doctor Richtofen the all-clear signal. Richtofen hesitated, before reluctantly offering his own. Edward shut his eyes tightly as Doctor Schuster activated the MTD, entrapping him within the test chamber. Edward opened one eye involuntarily, noting how cramped the walls of the device felt from the inside. For Richtofen, the whirring and buzzing of the machine was so much louder than expected. He could not even hear himself think.
All that he could see was a bright, white light more intense than the sun. Then, sudden darkness and utter silence: Unexpected. What was once the sweltering heat of the MTD was now a bitter cold upon Richtofen's exposed skin. As Doctor Richtofen reached for his belt to be sure the recording device he had activated minutes before was intact, his arm movement felt... off, with much less force being required than normal, leading to his arm making an exaggerated motion to his side, slapping the recording device and hurting his finger. Richtofen failed to notice due to the low temperature numbing his sense of pain.
“Is there a power outage? Why is it so dark? I feel almost... weightless. How very unexpected. Doctor Schuster? Hello?”
No answer. Perhaps the teleportation process had taken longer in real time than it felt in Edward's head. The power must have gone out following the test. Doctor Schuster had surely left to try to find a new power supply and calm the storm heading their way. Edward would likely lose his position in the organization after this. No matter. He was now far beyond the capabilities of Maxis or any two-bit replacements that would come after him. The Illuminati would be pleased with the successful test, and perhaps this could mean a higher position of power for Edward. Only when he is within the highest circle would Edward be able to enact the changes the world so desperately needed.
Edward began to feel around for anything solid to grip. What was around him did not feel like the metal inside the MTD, but more like rock. Bumpy and coarse, completely uneven: Odd.
Edward reached in his pocket for a lighter to hopefully illuminate the area. Click.
“Ah, I can see now.”
The lighter revealed a small space around the Doctor as a flame burst to life. Before him was a rocky wall, like that of a cave within a mountain. The ground was similarly rocky and coarse. Turning around, there was a large, seemingly metallic structure taking up a larger portion of the room. It was marked with strange, yet somewhat familiar symbols. Edward could hear machinations from within the structure, and a low hum. Edward searched his memories, hoping to grasp the meaning of the symbols, but they were unrecognizable. The pyramid did, however, appear similar to a device from one of Doctor Groph’s books. The device was how many of the fictional Vril-Ya were able to leave Earth’s atmosphere to explore the cosmos in their advanced space-craft.
Upon glancing upward, Edward noticed that this structure was the base of some kind of pyramid. It had a black finish so dark it appeared like a void, with Richtofen only realizing it was a three-dimensional object by placing the light closer to it. The corners appeared to blend in with the mass of blackness, creating something totally otherworldly to Richtofen. The front face of the pyramid's base held a large dial-like panel, with a protruding circle in the center and strange markings and grooves surrounding the circle. Above the pyramid was a set of metallic protrusions, not too dissimilar to the capacitors atop the matter transference prototype.
“Oh my god... I am standing in a circular cave, surrounded by some kind of machine, like... it's like nothing I’ve ever seen before. It looks almost alien in nature. There’s a pyramid structure at the center of the room. I’m going to try and carefully touch it.”
Edward reached for one of the edges of the pyramid, hoping to get a feel for the material. As his index finger and thumb attempted to grip the structure, it sent out a sharp electric shock which numbed Edward’s hand and jolted through his spine, startling him.
“Ach! Static electricity... It’s sharp to the touch. Very cold. Not a speck of dust.”
Edward turned his hand into a fist and began to lightly bang on the strange structure.
“Hmm, might be hollow. The chamber’s quite large. I see what looks like capacitors at the ceiling of the chamber. There are no obvious connections to anything electrical. What is this place?”
Breaking the silence of the secluded cave came a voice, whispering as if from nowhere.
“Doctor Schuster, is that you? Doctor Schuster!”
He re-centered his focus away from the voice and back towards the peculiar pyramid device. Edward looked to the front panel, carefully placing his gloved hand onto the bumpy surface and studying the symbols present.
“Look at this. It appears to be covered in some kind of hieroglyphic language. I’ve not seen anything like it before...”
The voice came back, clearer than before and yet still a whisper, as though it were coming from someone right next to Edward.
“Please, you must help me.”
Frightened by the closeness and the tingling in his ear, Richtofen turned his head to face the speaker, but there was no one in the chamber with him.
“Why are you whispering to me? There's no need for that.”
In his frightened state, Richtofen had leaned back onto the pyramid's front-facing panel, causing the grooves to spark and the dial to turn.
“Was ist los ? Do you hear that? It sounds like… ”
The sound of static filled Edward’s ears and a similar light to the MTD appeared then faded soon after from the spinning center panel. What was once an eerie, void silence became running water and buzzing insects. The air felt hot and muggy. Edward was not appropriately dressed for this occasion.
The ground below was grassy and moist, and the skies were clear and bright as the sun beat down on Edward as well as the abundance of vegetation and flora around him. On the horizon, Doctor Richtofen spotted a tall, man-made stone structure. Behind him was a similar, yet smaller structure.
“My god, what happened? I seem to be in some kind of jungle. I can’t be certain of where I am.”
As Doctor Richtofen regained his bearings, he dusted off his lab coat and looked towards the tall man-made structure in the distance, before looking closer to the ground and spotting a congregation of men approaching from the underbrush to his immediate left. They held spears and knives, and a man at the head of the group pointed towards Edward, bellowing a cry of anger as his followers did the same, charging towards him.
Edward went into a full sprint towards the man-made tower up a hill, dropping his recorder to the ground to be trampled by his attackers. His arrival through teleportation must have drawn their attention, and the place he arrived at may have been sacred ground to them.
Edward dashed past architecture made from stone, and with each structure came more natives to give him chase. There were stone temples and staircases to homes made by the people, as well as artwork and statues Edward would have loved to admire had it not been for the current situation. Edward panted from the running as he brushed aside leaves and ferns, nearly tripping on a vine in his path. Edward ducked into a thick collection of plant life, hoping he could find some safety behind a fallen tree. He reached for his pockets searching for anything to defend himself, finding only his lighter and gripping it tightly hoping to formulate a plan. Mere moments later a spear came flying from the sky above, piercing the dirt at Richtofen's feet. Edward looked above the log to see they had spotted him, and he returned to sprinting towards the tower.
After emerging from the underbrush, Edward ascended the stone stair-case leading up the tower. Richtofen tripped as a flying rock slammed into his lower leg, and his face hit one of the stone steps, causing his nose to bleed. Persistent, Richtofen continued climbing before halting as two towering figures atop the temple brandished daggers and came down towards him. Looking back at the wave of natives chasing him and then to the two defenders of the temple, adorned with tattoos and piercings, Richtofen panicked, holding the lighter towards them and flipping it open. The two men halted their approach, backing away. Taking the opportunity, Richtofen pointed the lighter towards those giving him chase at the base of the steps and stood his ground. The leader of the charge, his face covered with symbols similar to those seen on the pyramid, called out to his followers to halt, stopping just before his spear pierced Richtofen’s abdomen. All stood silent for a moment, before Richtofen clicked the lighter, igniting a small flame. The natives all gasped, many shouting at Richtofen, before silencing as he waved the flame around.
“Yes… Well, uh, my name is Doctor Edward Richtofen. I’m not quite sure if you understand me, but I hold great power in the form of knowledge! I can make you whatever you may want. Just back away with your weapons… ”
No one in the crowd moved or responded. Edward took that as a sign they were not looking to kill him just yet. He ascended the staircase further, pointing the lighter towards the two guards as he did so. The two inevitably dropped their spears and fell to their knees as Richtofen stood atop the platform overlooking the village. Everyone below had spread out and looked to each other expectantly, fearing what he might do next.
“I'm trapped here.”
A voice called out to Richtofen, but it spoke in English, not like the people who lived here. It was not coming from someone in the crowd, but from Richtofen's own head.
“Ahem, okay, here is what I will do-”
“Only together can we prevent the destruction of your world.”
“Gott ... okay, I will provide for you in exchange-”
“When I am free, you will be rewarded beyond your imagination.”
“You're not listening to me Edward, don't you want to help me? ”
Frightened by the outburst, all of the natives dropped their weapons and lowered to their knees, even the leader at the forefront of the mob.
“Well, that's one way of doing it. Now, everyone, gather around.”
Edward lifted the lighter into the air for all to see.
“Every journey begins with a single step. This is step one.”