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  • It Came Out Of The Sky

    The Pentagon, Arlington, Virginia, U.S.A.

    Dr. Baron Schuster

    August 8th, 1947


    Friday mornings were a bittersweet affair in Schuster’s new position: They were the end of a busy work week as Project Manager in Undead Experimentation, but there was not much to do with free time as a former Group 935 scientist in America. On the bright side, his assigned living space was far better than Der Eisendrache or Griffin Station.


    Schuster had just about everything he had ever wanted. His work no longer went towards the Nazi war machine, he had a satisfactory home on Earth, and he was now, finally, leading a project of his own. Undead experimentation, however, was the last thing he had on his mind when he imagined working for the Americans.


    Major Sawyer and the other fools heading the 115 Division seem determined to make the same mistakes that Group 935 did during the war. The undead experiments were failures across the board… What makes them think that things will be different now? 


    Schuster had already tried to explain to them what happened on Griffin Station in October 1945… He told them about Samantha and the powers that she held over the undead. In response, they all laughed him out of the room.


    Schuster was torn between intentionally sabotaging the undead experiments to prevent a repeat of that day, and holding his chin up until he could be re-assigned to something more relevant to his expertise. Perhaps they would be interested in making more Perk-a-Colas… Or more likely, they will want him to recreate the teleporters used to travel to Griffin Station.


    Today’s assignment was simple: Taking inventory of assets acquired from various Group 935 and Division 9 facilities which are stored on the lower levels of the Pentagon. Sawyer wants anything related to undead experiments to be gathered and studied. Schuster knew that there would not be much left, as research with the most progress made on the undead was stored at Verrückt and was presumed lost when Soviets bombed the facility.


    In Schuster’s hands were several inventory sheets and a clipboard for writing. He strode past several technicians setting up in the Porcine Research Laboratory, before exiting into the hallway. Making his way through the corridor, he arrived at the door leading to the Storage Facility, stopping to input his personal code into a keypad. Before he could, however, a lone figure appeared in the corner of his eye down the hallway. Turning his head to look at the figure revealed it was none other than Doctor Vannevar Bush.


    Schuster quickly fumbled with the keypad, inputting every number of his code except for the last before Bush had noticed him.


    “Doctor Schuster! May I have a moment?” The well-dressed older gentleman smiled and gestured to the doorway.


    “I would love to chat, Doctor Bush, but Major Sawyer has ordered me to-”


    Bush cut him off, “It won’t take long, Doctor Schuster. Please, continue.”


    Schuster held back a sigh, inputting the last digit and opening the door to Storage. Bush followed him in, closing the door behind them and locating a stool for himself and for Schuster.


    “I thought that I had given you everything I know in our last few sessions, Doctor Bush.” Schuster was eager to get on with his day.


    “I believe you did, Doctor. May I call you Baron?”


    Schuster could not hide the frown on his face. “If you must.”


    Bush pulled a wooden pipe from his suit and lit it, puffing from it twice before crossing his legs and speaking, “I won’t sugarcoat it: We are lagging behind the Soviets by a large margin across all of our projects, not for a lack of trying on our part. They managed to nab the Data Servant from Der Riese, leaving us flat-footed. Now, I know it was not your area of expertise nor did you often interact with the computer, however, if there was a backup of the drive somewhere else… ”


    “The technicians who programmed the Data Servant’s operating system were primarily stationed at Der Riese. If they did not go with you, then they must be with the Russians.”


    Bush took another puff from his pipe, resting his arm on his leg, “A shame. There’s no telling what we could accomplish with the combined knowledge of every scientist in Group 935.” He shook his head. “Forgetting even the files, the technology behind the Data Servant could revolutionize computing as we know it. Hell, in just a few decades there could be computers in every home in America.”


    “I wish I could help, but unfortunately, I cannot.”


    Bush sat still, staring off behind Schuster for a few moments as if waiting for more of a response. He then changed the topic, “Baron, have you heard about that business down in Roswell?”


    “I heard of an object falling out of the sky. The official news report of the incident said that it was a weather balloon. But the locals believed it was an alien spacecraft.”


    Bush smiled, “The truth of the matter, Doctor, is a bit less exciting. The boys in Hanford have been experimenting with some kind of anti-gravity propulsion system based on designs recovered from The Giant. They sent nine prototype vessels across Washington, then they later flew over the whole US, including New Mexico. One of the prototypes malfunctioned, and well, you can surmise the rest.”


    Schuster glanced around the room, “Should I know such details?”


    “Well, most certainly not, Baron. But I don’t like the military keeping secrets from us. This technology brings with it an ocean of possibilities, and we are the ones who must steer the ship through these treacherous waters. With the assets provided to us and to the Soviets by Group 935 and the advancements we’ve made in just the past two years, I am positive that any future war fought using this technology will be humanity’s last.”


    “I shared this same fear while working for Germany. We were on the brink of reversing the outcome of the war.”


    Bush leaned in closely, holding the pipe at his side, “And that, Baron, is why I am proposing a committee of the world’s top minds be put together to ensure Group 935’s technology is properly handled and military involvement is kept in check.”


    “I’m intrigued, Doctor Bush, but why tell me this?”


    “I’ve reviewed your work closely, Baron. You have been involved in some of the greatest breakthroughs of the past ten years, and have been an enormous help in transitioning your people over to working for the Pentagon. And unlike Doctor Richtofen or Doctor Maxis before you, you’ve got moral character. I believe you know the right thing to do with the great power we have been given. I would like you to be a part of our cause, henceforth known as Majestic 12, as a representative from Group 935.”


    Schuster squirmed in his chair with the desire to walk right out the door, “I will take your offer into consideration, Doctor Bush, but I can offer no guarantee in return… I’m a simple man who only wants to complete his work and return to civilian life. I’ve no desire to change the world.”


    Bush nodded, taking another puff of his pipe before standing up from the stool and offering his hand, “Sleep on it, Baron. I know you’ve got potential to do great things.”


    Schuster accepted the handshake, watching as Bush departed, shutting the door behind him.


    Bloody Hell… ” The magnitude of Bush’s offer had just begun to set in for Schuster. This was a position with real power, something neither Maxis nor Richtofen ever entrusted him with. What Baron had said was true, that he only wanted to move on from creating technology built for war. But what if the Americans are corrupted by this newfound power, and this ‘Majestic 12’ was needed to keep it from growing too powerful? Would it be immoral for Schuster to shirk such an opportunity due to his own selfish desires? Perhaps this would make up for the wrongs committed during the war that were aided by his complacency.


    Schuster remembered the early days of Group 935 alongside Richtofen. The two of them were young, spry, and invigorated with a love of scientific research. They were determined to change the world, to bring about peace and improve the everyday lives of… No, that isn’t right. That… was Richtofen’s dream. Schuster was just motivated by seeing Richtofen happy. Baron never really had any aspirations of his own.


    Schuster closed his eyes, pushing these questions to the back of his mind and exhaling through pursed lips. There was work to be done.


    One nagging curiosity remained in Schuster’s thoughts: The incident in New Mexico. Doctor Bush mentioned that the supposed “weather balloon” had actually been a prototype anti-gravity device based on Group 935 technology. It appears they have already discovered the secret to Die Glocke.


    The original Die Glocke research was unknown to many in Group 935, only being shared with those Doctor Maxis deemed worthy. Doctor Richtofen had the privilege of viewing this research, even creating the Wunderwaffe DG-1 and DG-2 using this technology. It involved polarizing atoms of Element 115, producing an immensely powerful blue plasma-like substance which violated previous laws of physics. It was the breakthrough which led to the teleporters, various wonder weapons produced by Group 935, the anti-gravity thrusters used in Griffin Station’s landers, and the Wundersphere Launch Pads tested at Der Eisendrache. Die Glocke was Doctor Maxis’ first great success which inspired Richtofen and Schuster to accept his offer and join Group 935.


    Schuster had his suspicions that the flying objects which flew out of Washington must be recreations of the first Die Glocke device, an proposed aircraft which could hover in the air for extended periods of time, and which could reach higher altitudes than any man-made object before it. This, at least, was the rumor, but he wondered if it could be found in this storage facility.


    He kept this in mind as he began his work, searching through and documenting anything of interest to the undead experiments to come. 


    The contents of this facility primarily hailed from Verrückt, Der Riese, the Rising Sun Facility, and Der Eisendrache. Thankfully, there was some form of order in the room, with the items from respective facilities being separated, albeit strewn about randomly in their respective sections. Schuster already knew that there was nothing relevant to the undead experiments left to find in the Der Eisendrache shipment, and the items recovered from Division 9 facilities ended up at Groom Lake. This left only two entire facilities’ worth of random, damaged or potentially dangerous items to sort through.


    He began to look over the Verrückt collection, starting with the documents. Thankfully an analyst had already gone through and sorted the recovered documents by author’s last name. Schuster pulled down a box containing documents by Maxis, placing it on the table and sifting between the documents with his fingers, skimming the contents for any hints of relativity. There were only organization-wide memos found here.


    Schuster pulled down another box, this time containing documents written by Doctor Okitsu, Division 9’s leading representative at the facility. With Division 9’s role in the undead experiments, relevant documents must be a guarantee. However, Schuster could find nothing explicitly relevant to undead experimentation at all. No memorandums, no progress reports, no diagrams; Nothing. There even seemed to be a distinctly low amount of documents for someone as prominent as Okitsu.


    Schuster theorized that documents specifically pertaining to undead experiments were pulled before the facility was taken over. Perhaps they were destroyed systematically once the threat of capture was imminent; This was the policy, after all. However, it seems statistically unlikely that none survived authored by Okitsu. A pity. These documents would have made Schuster’s job much easier.


    As he sorted through the documents without purpose, he came upon several pages taken from Okitsu’s personal essays. The one that caught his eye was entitled ‘Ancient Beasts and the Fundamental Truths of their Origins.’ It seemed to focus on the legendary dragons of many different mythologies and purported that there was some truth to their existences. This struck Schuster as odd, as by Richtofen’s description, Okitsu was a very serious, logical mind, but the essay read like it was written by Doctor Groph, may he rest in peace.


    Schuster placed the box back onto the shelf, pulling down another marked for those with the letter Y. He flipped through documents written by Doctor Yoshimura, Okitsu’s second-in-charge and the one who carried out many of Division 9’s nasty experiments at the facility, according to Richtofen. Like Okitsu, his work was missing everything related to undead experiments. Whoever collected the work was thorough.


    Schuster did find, however, a quaint set of drawings for a new wonder weapon, something called a “Winter’s Howl” which used ice to freeze targets from the inside out. All of the notes, however, had been scrutinized by Doctor Okitsu, who left critiques and, admittedly harsh, insults all over the page.


    Verrückt was such a secretive facility that Schuster did not know the names of any of their staff outside of Okitsu and Yoshimura, only learning of them through Richtofen. Looking through the other documents could take months, and Schuster had a feeling that the undead experiments would not be found among any of them. Still, there was a lingering curiosity, and Schuster pulled down the box for names starting with R.


    Schuster could find nothing written by Richtofen in the box, unfortunately. However, he was struck by a name with only a handful of documents found: “Rafacz.” They were all hand-written and some were marked with blood. They appeared to be… poems.


    “My name is John. They call me Banana. I once worked at a Tex Mex cabana but now I am here. As walking dead near with nothing on me but a bandana.”


    Banana? What the devil was wrong with this man’s mind?


    “No word from McCain. This mission's insane. At least the war is already won.


      This Bell doesn't ring. Because of the King. Can't rest till the deed is done.


      Can't tell Tank. Can only bank. On one Deadman’s Gun.”


    Schuster felt compelled to keep reading the contrived prose of a seemingly dying man, but he decided it was time to move on. He placed the box back onto its shelf and walked down the two aisles of shelves dedicated to items recovered from Verrückt. It was mostly tools and equipment used for torture of poor subjects and damaged electroshock generators. Included in this batch from the asylum was a no-longer-functioning Speed Cola machine. Schuster ran his hands over the front face of the machine, hoping that it saved someone’s life in that wretched place.


    The documents at Verrückt were meant to be Schuster’s best chance at recreating the undead experiments, and without them, he was left with Der Riese. Though it was a hotspot for the experiments and Group 935’s main facility, it was doubtful that much progress was made here, as the real undead experiments took place in the facilities in Berlin, Verrückt and the Kino Facility. Since the Allies began to divy up Germany, and Berlin within it, the location of the Kino Facility is still not accessible by either side as it rests near the border between East and West Berlin. Debates over its fate continue.


    Schuster began with the documents again, locating M and looking over Maxis’ files carefully. As expected, there was little to be found regarding the undead experiments, with the bulk of Maxis’ time in that regard being spent in Berlin. He did, however, find something very intriguing: Pages torn from Maxis’ diary regarding some sort of expedition taken in 1938. It seems that Maxis’ relationship with the Nazi Party began even earlier than Schuster knew. They had sent him alongside a zoologist to Tibet to study the local culture and biology. Schuster skimmed through more pages, discovering the origin of Maxis’ short-lived ‘Vril’ experiments. It seems he was fascinated by this ancient race even before Richtofen’s discovery of their technology on the Moon. Why was this kept a secret from the rest of Group 935?


    Schuster kept flipping through, discovering a bombshell document: Designs for a Vril Flying Vessel using Die Glocke technology. This must be the basis for the object that crashed in Roswell.


    There were diagrams for the device itself, a diamond-shaped device with a pod in the center for the crew, as well as a diagram for the launch pad. The launch pad had a similar “henge” structure to a piece of architecture in the center of the Der Riese campus. Until now, its significance was unknown to Schuster, and perhaps even to Richtofen. Handwritten text read, ‘Why is it wrong?’ and ‘Why won’t it work?’ This must have been Maxis’ first foray into Vril-related technology, inspired by his time in Tibet. Now, it is in the hands of the Americans.


    Schuster considered the offer from Doctor Bush more closely now. Schuster was one of the only people alive in the world to have actually interacted with Vril technology on the Moon. His insight would be key to putting it to good use.


    Schuster put the documents away, now sure that there would be no useful undead research among them. His mind, however, was now more fascinated with what else Maxis may have discovered.


    He located the manifest for the Der Riese shipment, trying to find items found in Doctor Maxis’ office. He was pointed to a shelf near the center of the room, high enough that he needed a ladder. Schuster sifted through the box, finding various knick-knacks, notes, and drawings by Samantha. Behind the box, however, was a dusty film reel. He pulled the reel off the shelf, stepped down from the ladder, and placed the reel onto a table with a lamp. Placing it under the light, Schuster read the faded label: ‘Pygmalion’. A short description beneath the title read: ‘DO NOT REPRODUCE. Human Trials Successful. More Untoten Trials Required.’


    Schuster was ecstatic; This was exactly what Sawyer wanted. It must be the only reel to have been sent out of the Kino Facility, meaning the methods depicted in the film must be well-tested and successful.


    Schuster pumped his fist into the air, smiling at finding the golden goose egg. His smile faded, however, as he realized what type of experiments this reel would be helping. Schuster had a stomach ache.


    He placed the reel aside to be given to Doctor Bush for viewing later, before taking a stroll down the rest of the Der Riese aisle. There were stacks of Group 935 handbooks bunched up together left behind by his dead colleagues. Bloodied smocks and desk pictures were scattered about everywhere. Schuster took note of three brains suspended in green fluid, and memories of the horror story flooded his memory. They were the brains of three undead subjects early in experimentation which showed the greatest promise when it came to mind control experiments. Schuster made a note of them, though he doubted their usefulness in the future.


    In a box of assorted junk, at the top was a little striped piece of cloth burned into what looked like a real patch of fur, and aside from it was a tiny cymbal. Upon further inspection, Schuster found a glass eye, and a little blue hat with Group 935’s insignia on it. Schuster then realized, it was the remains of Richtofen’s demented cymbal monkey toy which Samantha had rejected. But who would have… blown it up? Probably a Russian. Yes, definitely a Russian.


    As Schuster had reached the back of the room, he had nearly given up looking for anything else. The reel could be enough to kickstart the experiments Sawyer was looking for. But, ever curious, Schuster glanced around at a dark corner in the center of the room. For a moment, it looked as if there was nothing there, but as he came closer, he realized it was something rather large beneath a blue, polyester tarp.


    Doctor Schuster carefully removed the tarp and retrieved a flashlight from a cabinet near the entrance, examining the object closely. It was some sort of metallic pad several feet in diameter with a wall sticking out on one side up to his own height. He stepped onto the pad, looking down at the center, and realized what it was: The first teleporter prototype. This was the device that Doctor Maxis and Richtofen used to create the first Untoten. It was in disarray, but Schuster remembered studying it before he and Richtofen made their breakthrough in 1939. What a delightfully nostalgic piece of memorabilia.


    Schuster noticed something strange, however, and crouched down next to it. There was something etched into the base of the device towards the rear: “For M, who started me on this journey.” His first instinct was that this was Richtofen’s doing, and the M may refer to Maxis. However, it seemed rather uncharacteristic of Richtofen to give so much credit to someone else, and in actuality, Maxis has always preferred the abbreviation X when his name must be shortened. This leaves the author as Maxis, but who was M? Schuster knew of no one in Group 935 going by M. Just reading the inscription gave Schuster a chill up his spine.


    Despite finding a potentially groundbreaking film reel on undead experimentation, information about Maxis’ secret Vril experiments, and designs for the first Die Glocke device, Schuster felt that this MTD prototype may be the most significant find of the day.

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