Chapter 23: "Darkest Hour"
“Eagle’s Nest. This is Griffin Station. We have an update. Over.”
“Dr. Groph, have you made any progress?”
“Yes Doctor. The machine is ready and awaiting the conduit.”
Dr. Richtofen chuckled to himself. The plan will soon take effect.
“Very good, I will proceed with Operation Shield and join you shortly.”
“Security Protocol 935.”
"Yes, I will dispose of Dr. Maxis and that little brat personally. Do not. Touch. Anything.”
The MPD is ready. Only time will tell what powers it may yield. But first, personal matters.
Dr. Richtofen loaded the Wunderwaffe into a concealed bag and entered the castle's hidden teleporter. If his men had followed orders the teleporter should send him to a receiving pad somewhere outside Der Riese, in Breslau, Germany.
Dr. Richtofen entered the facility. Its halls used to be filled with the voices of many of its scientists. Many men ready to perform great science. Since the massacre, the air was quiet. Some buildings had been bombed after the attack with large chunks blown out. Der Riese was a shadow of its former self.
Dr. Maxis paced back and forth looking between his clipboard and the clock on the wall.
“Dr. Maxis! How are you! Boy, those transport trucks sure take the life out of you. Such a long drive!”
“Damn you Richtofen! You are late! You are the one who told me to meet here at this time and you did not show.”
“Don't be so obtuse.”
“Richtofen, you are the reason Group 935 is in shambles! Why Germany lost the war! Why the men at this facility lost their lives...”
“Dr. Maxis, I think that's a bit of an unfair assessment.”
“Unfair? You refused to work on your given assignments, and because of it I received all the blame from the men who wrote our paychecks! What's fair about that? Enough of this, let's just begin our work. This is our only hope of surviving as an organization.”
“Yes, Doctor Maxis.”
“Here is your prototype, Richtofen. Calibrate it so we may replicate your original walnut experiment. There is already one inside.”
Richtofen tuned the prototype teleporter to the walnut's correct weight and gave Dr. Maxis the thumbs up.
"Initiating test zero. Subject is within test chamber. Activate power."
Richtofen pulled the switch and the lights started flashing, but nothing happened to the walnut.
“What is the problem, Dr. Richtofen?!”
“I...uh...am not sure Maxis.”
“You're not sure? You succeeded in this years ago!”
“With a different prototype, Dr. Maxis, and with Dr. Schuster's help.”
“Well, figure out the problem!”
“Is there enough of the element within it?”
“I don't know, why would-”
“Is it a microgram?”
Dr. Maxis had a look of frustration.
“We do not have enough Element 115 to use up a microgram every test!”
“That is how much we used for a successful test. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Dr. Maxis acquiesced.
“This time we use a live subject. We do not have enough resources to waste 115. Bring me a dog from the cages outside, now!”
The dog whimpered as it was walked into the test chamber and tied down. It did not try to fight back.
“Initiating test number one, subject is within the test chamber, activate power.”
Lights started flashing from the power being drained into the machine. The dog tried to claw its way out. The teleporter opened up and the dog was dead on the pad, its eyes pouring out blood.
“Adjust the specifications again, Dr. Richtofen! And bring another dog!”
The next dog tried bite at Richtofen as he tried to tie it down, but he made it out unscathed.
“Initiating test number two, subject is within test chamber, activate power.”
The dog barks soon came to an end as the light flashed and the dog disappeared.
“Uh, Dr. Maxis. It is on the receiving pad, but...not all together.”
“Come on, let's try again and get this right!”
The next dog was old and out of shape. It did not seem to even know where it was.
"Initiating test number three, subject is within the test chamber, activate power."
The dog had raised itself up to the glass looking inside. When the machine powered on, the dog violently exploded within the chamber. When it reopened, its entire body was splattered all throughout the inside. Blood coated the entirety of the pad.
“O-Oh my god!”
"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, clean up the test chamber and re-calibrate the system! Let's do it again."
Edward mopped away the entrails and blood still visible on the floor of the pad. The splatter on the walls remained for the sake of time. He also needed to find a way to get Dr. Maxis in the teleporter.
“Dr. Maxis, can you come here and tell me what this is?”
“Stop fooling around Dr. Richtofen and get it cleaned up!”
Fine. In due time.
“Initiating test number four, subject is within test chamber, activate power.”
This time the teleporter didn't even fully activate. The power drained but the dog remained unaffected, though stunned, in the chamber.
“Damnit Edward, what have you done?!”
“What have you done, Dr. Maxis? It worked fine initially. You must have tampered with it in some way while I was gone.”
“I may have, Edward, but it is your design! You should know how it works!”
The same dog had broken its restraints trying to flee.
"Edward, tie the damn thing down. We can't have it running around during the test."
The dog whimpered as Richtofen sealed its doom.
"It's tied down now, Dr. Maxis."
“Initiating test number five, subject is within the test chamber, activate power.”
The whimpering and barking suddenly stopped as the dog within completely disappeared.
"Searching for vitals. No reading, Doctor. The subject has... disappeared. Doctor Maxis, we've done it!"
"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!"
Dr. Richtofen left to the cages to find another dog and only one remained. The cage was labeled, “Fluffy – Last resort.”
“Dr. Maxis, this is the last dog.”
“Then you damn well have better calibrated it to correct specifications! That is my daughter's dog, Edward. We have no more options. How am I supposed to explain what happened to her poor Fluffy. All because of your failure as a scientist. Now tie it down.”
Edward would have none of it. Maxis would rue this day.
“Initiating test number six. Subject is within test chamber. Activate power."
Fluffy growled and barked in the test chamber before vanishing. She had not shown up at the receiving pad.
"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-"
A flash of electricity appeared inside the test chamber, creating a echoing boom.
“What? Did you hear that Doctor?”
“Quiet you fool! Test number six is a failure, but the experiment has caused some kind of electrical force to energize within the chamber. Well, open the door!"
"Doctor, I don't think-"
"Open the door NOW!"
Samantha Maxis grew tired of waiting for her father. He had been acting so strange on the way there and demanded Fluffy be put into a cage. She roamed the halls of Der Riese trying to find her father. Strange things still remained in the facility. Brains in jars, strange writing on the walls and chalk boards, and pictures of opened-up bodies strewn about. She could hear her father's voice in one of the labs, he seemed angry. She silently entered the room and watched. Daddy was yelling at Dr. Richtofen about some kind of test and a door.
“Open the door NOW!”
The door to the strange device opened, and inside Samantha saw Fluffy, but not as she had ever seen her before. Bits of skin were gone showing her insides. She had blood all over her face and bright, white eyes. She was also on fire, but she was still alive.
"Daddy, what are you doing with Fluffy?"
"Damn it, Samantha. I told you never to come in here! Edward, get her out of here."
Before he could do anything the dog began to howl and started moving around. Still being pregnant, she could not move much. Samantha screamed in terror at the sight of her Fluffy.
"What's wrong with her? Daddy, what did you do? Fluffy!"
She ran to Fluffy, her arms wide, but Fluffy snarled when she got too close.
"Come back here! Samantha! Stop her!”
Richtofen did nothing. Dr. Maxis had to take matters into his own hands.
“Easy. Come here, Samantha. Good girl. Gently, Samantha. That's not Fluffy anymore. We must get out of here."
The dog bared its teeth and grew more aggressive. It began to approach Samantha.
Outside the test chamber, Dr. Richtofen hit a button on the panel to shut the door.
"What? Edward what are you doing? Open the door. Edward, open this door now!"
"Don't you... Stay by me, Samantha."
"Goodbye, Dr Maxis."
Edward activated the teleporter. Lights flashed and Dr. Maxis, Samantha, and Fluffy disappeared in the chamber as Edward cackled in triumph.
“Loyalty is no match for power, Dr. Maxis.”