Approaching Rising Sun Facility (“Shi No Numa”) , Former Empire of Japan
Cpt. Takeo Masaki
October 21st, 1945
“We’re here. This is the place.”
Passing over swamp water and onto solid ground, the four men could see a wooden structure through the fog with at least two floors and a thatch roof.
“Finally! I was getting tired of Takeo’s rambling!” The Russian did not offer a glance in Takeo’s direction.
Dempsey barked back, “Shut up Nikolai and get your gear on.”
“What gear? You mean this fucking baby toy?” Nikolai waved his TT-30 pistol around carelessly.
“I’m sure we’ll find you an upgrade once we reach the facility.”
Takeo asked in an accusing tone, “What makes you believe that this is our destination? It does not look like a research station.”
“What’d you expect, a welcome banner? Obviously they’d want to keep this place a secret. The power lines, the muddy boot prints, and the smoke trails all led us here. Look at the thatch roof: It’s been firebombed, which means it’s a target. But if you won’t take my word for it… Doc?”
Takeo turned to face Richtofen at the rear of the group, finding him staring blissfully into the sky above with a grin on his face. This marked a pattern of unusual behavior that Takeo had observed in the wise Doctor: He was often distant, finding any excuse to be alone. Sometimes, he would even mutter to himself.
“Doctor! Is this where you will find your diary?”
Richtofen snapped to attention, “Hm? Oh, ja, ja, this is it: The Rising Sun Facility. So many wonderful memories… for me.”
“Eh, what is German outpost doing all the way out here?” Nikolai had taken a moment to halt his drinking.
“Great question, my Cossack friend! Care of this facility was entrusted to Group 935 by Japan’s Emperor, in his great wisdom.”
Takeo could sense that he was being patronized by the Doctor. Though he had found Richtofen to have an overpowering personality, Takeo still believed that his knowledge would lead them all down a righteous path. He had earned respect and loyalty for his decision to lead their mission.
As they neared the large structure, a bolt of lightning struck the interior through a gap in the roof. A thin, blue beam of light then shot back into the sky, remaining there as the group watched, stunned.
“Get ready. There’s probably maggot-sacks up ahead.” Dempsey motioned towards the building before readying his rifle.
Takeo looked back at Richtofen, “Get behind me, Doctor.”
“Don’t worry about me, Takeo. I had a little combat training during my time in Paris.”
“I do not doubt your skills, but I must insist that you allow me to protect you. It would be most unfortunate if you were to… die.”
Richtofen chuckled, “Well, I’m glad someone thinks so.”
As they came closer to the building, Takeo noticed a strange contraption at a gate leading into the courtyard. It was made up of a power switch attached to two metal columns at either side of the entryway, with each column having two shafts and a belt connecting them, and connecting the two columns was a metal pole. Two wooden logs with metal spikes haphazardly driven into them were attached to the pole in a fashion such that if spun, the spikes would gore and fling anything that passed through the gates. As Takeo walked beneath it, he noticed a wooden sign with a possible title for this crude device written in blood: “Flogger”.
“What the hell happened here?” Dempsey knelt down near some crates where a green helmet was resting and a trail of blood led into the structure.
From the direction they had come from and from within the building, the signature screams of the damned bellowed out. Takeo placed himself in front of the Doctor, and checked his German rifle for ammunition. Much of his supply had been depleted, but Takeo’s blade could be his last line of defense.
“It’s an ambush!” As Dempsey yelled out, an undead Japanese soldier descended on him from the second floor, knocking the rifle out of his hands. Takeo swiveled towards him to kill the demon, but in the blink of an eye, Dempsey had it pinned to the ground and had driven his knife into its eye, draining it of life. “Don’t worry about me, just watch our flank! Nikolai, the stairs!”
The screams were soon drowned out by the sound of weapons firing. Takeo paced himself as he tore down his reanimated countrymen. Their numbers soon became overwhelming, leaving Takeo with only his sword and the spirits of his ancestors.
Takeo could not remember specific moments of his training, or even the identity of his father, but his skills with a katana remained. As he glanced into its spotless reflective surface, he could see his own eyes set ablaze, and the blade seemed to whisper to him, desperate for blood. Takeo did not hesitate to meet its demands.
He charged forth, swinging diagonally to slice an undead scientist cleanly in half. Not slowing his momentum, he cut down another in the opposite direction.
A grouping of four presented themselves as nourishment for his starved weapon. Takeo changed into a defensive stance, placing his katana parallel with his eyes, before striking his first target through the neck. After beheading the beast, he used its putrid body as a shield, shoving it into the three left standing. Now dazed and separated, Takeo charged through them one by one, cutting them all down at the waist.
Takeo wasted no time preparing for the next wave, but his stance wavered as he heard the Doctor call out, “Ach! Not again! Get off my legs, Schwein!” He turned to see a zombie had risen from the dirt, latching its wretched hand around Richtofen’s leg. Dempsey and Nikolai were too preoccupied to act.
Takeo sprinted back to the defensive line, cutting the demon’s arm at the elbow, and with both hands, driving his blade into its head. It slumped over, still halfway underground.
Richtofen adjusted his uniform before raising his voice again, “Takeo!” He pointed past the gates, where at least a dozen corpses were now bounding towards them.
Takeo readied himself to take them on, before Richtofen ran towards the horde.
“Don’t worry Takeo! I’ve got a better idea.” Richtofen approached a red power box, pulling a switch. The contraption known as the “Flogger” came to life, and Richtofen dove through the entryway, crawling underneath one of the deadly logs as it swung like a pendulum.
The horde was not so careful, maintaining their charge towards them. As the Flogger churned, a group of three were gored by the spikes and sent flying backwards into the nearby swamp. More soon followed, until the entire horde had died. Takeo turned his attention to Nikolai and Dempsey, who had dealt with their attackers from the facility. In the darkness, eight pairs of yellow eyes lit up, growing larger as they approached.
Nikolai pulled the trigger of his pistol, hearing it click as it ran out of ammo. He patted his pockets, finding no more magazines.
“I’ve got ‘em Nikolai, just… Wait, where’d you get that grenade?!”
The drunk Russian removed a German hand grenade from his uniform, charging forward into the darkness, screaming. As he neared the approaching horde, he removed the pin from the grenade, rolling on the ground, and running back, once again screaming.
“Get down, comrades!” Nikolai dove to the ground, rolling behind the nearby crates.
The grenade went off, enveloping the group of lights and sending the upper balcony and a section of the second floor to the ground. After the ringing in Takeo’s ears subsided, he realized the fool had destroyed the remaining horde.
Dempsey glanced at the smoking debris and then to Nikolai, “Your tactics confuse and frighten me, Nikolai.”
Takeo could only say, “Very… unorthodox.”
“But, effective!” Richtofen began to clap with glee. “Now then, I do believe we should be on our way!”
“Fine by me. But we’re gonna need some guns to keep the good times rolling.”
Nikolai pointed towards the remaining entrance to the facility, “I think I know where to find some. I get first go!”
Takeo followed the others, entering the structure and finding Nikolai at the otherworldly weapon-dispensing chest, which was now emitting the blue glow they had witnessed before.
“The demon-box appears to be following us!” Takeo was concerned that these gifts could be part of a darker plan.
“That’s not all,” On the opposite wall from the box, there was what looked to be a chalk outline of an American submachine gun. When Dempsey reached towards the outline, the weapon materialized and entered his hands. “Just like the bunker… I think it’s time you explain some things, Doc.”
Richtofen pursed his lips, examining the chalk closely, touching it with his fingers. “Fascinating. I can’t be certain who is providing these gifts, but perhaps quantum mechanics play a role in how they materialize.”
Dempsey looked the gun over, clearly pleased with it, “Whatever, it’s like my aunt always said, ‘Don’t look at the gift horse on the other side of the fence.’ ”
Nikolai turned around, a strained look on his face and a double-barrelled shotgun in his hands, “Why can’t you look at horse? It may be sad, but horse meat goes well with borscht.”
Takeo ignored the dull Russian, replying to Dempsey, “We should not take the answer to this mystery lightly. We may be aiding our enemies unknowingly.”
“That’s what you said before, Tak,” Dempsey removed a magazine for the Thompson from his pocket, examining it, “But, I dunno, it just feels right. How else are we supposed to defend ourselves, anyway?”
Richtofen promptly intervened, “You should listen to Dempsey, Takeo, und stop asking so many questions. A little learning is… a dangerous thing. Now then,” Richtofen put his hands together, “We should be heading to the Doctor’s Quarters. That is where we will find my diary.”
“We should scout out the second floor first, maybe we’ll find survivors.” Dempsey turned away, heading for a wide staircase.
“There’s no need for… you’re just… walking away- Fine!” Richtofen crossed his arms, following Dempsey and Nikolai upstairs reluctantly.
Takeo had not doubted the Doctor’s judgement until this point. His insistence that they remain ignorant of the true nature of the enemy is troubling. Why would he hide such crucial information from his allies?
Takeo thought of Richtofen’s words: “A little learning is a dangerous thing.” Perhaps Richtofen is the only one among them who could understand the grand scope of our universe. He is the one who enlisted Takeo for this mission, with guidance from the Emperor, of course. How foolish it is, to doubt Richtofen. He is an ally: A friend.
The others had spread out within the upper floor, which appeared to be mainly for storage. Crates of equipment and rations were scattered on shelves. Dempsey stood near the center, looking up at a corpse hanging by the neck from the ceiling. The corpse wore a green US Marine uniform, and the tag on his uniform read, ‘McCain’.
Takeo approached Dempsey, who was clearly shaken by the sight of the man. “Did you know him?”
When Dempsey realized Takeo was aware of his uneasiness, his expression became cold, just as it had always been before.
“I think so. ‘McCain’... That name came to me, back at the asylum. I think I was supposed to find him… ”
Takeo stood in silence by his side for several moments, sympathetic to the American’s situation.
“He deserves a proper burial.” Dempsey searched the room, fixating on a rug draped over a dividing wall. He pulled it down, laying it flat on the ground. He hesitated for a moment, before looking up and asking Takeo, “D’you mind?”
Takeo nodded, and the pair approached McCain’s body. Dempsey climbed up high enough to use his knife and cut the parachute cord holding him up. Takeo prevented him from hitting the floor, and Dempsey helped place him onto the rug. He knelt down, removing the cord from McCain’s neck and reading his dog-tags, before placing them into one of his uniform’s pockets.
They wrapped him in the rug, carrying him down the stairs on their shoulders. Finding an area of dry dirt away from the swamp water, they lowered him to the ground, using trench shovels from the undead soldiers’ bodies to dig out a grave. Despite Richtofen’s insistence that they move on, they continued to dig, managing to create a large enough plot within the hour after Nikolai and Richtofen joined in.
After the burial, Dempsey removed two pieces of wood from the rubble Nikolai created, creating a cross by nailing them together. He finally engraved a name onto another piece of wood, nailing it to the cross: ‘Peter ’.
After the work was done, the four stood together in front of the grave in a moment of silence.
Dempsey nodded, his face still like a stone. “Semper Fi, brother.”