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The subject of this article appears in Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War The subject of this article appeared in Zombies mode

Firebase Z currently has 91 pieces of intel. The map launched with 76, while 15 were added during Season Two. They are split up into four categories, each of them regarding a different force within the narrative of the map. These categories are Requiem, Omega Group, Maxis, and Dark Aether.

Requiem

Audio Logs

"Maxis phones Weaver to let him know she has a contact inside Omega Group willing to provide valuable intel."
— Description

Samantha Maxis: Are you still angry, Weaver?
Grigori Weaver: I'm rarely angry, Sam. You should know that.
Maxis: No. I know that you're just very good at hiding it. I have news.
Weaver: Tell me what's going on. And please, Sam... don't lie. That would make me angry.
Maxis: I have a contact within Omega Group. He wants to meet. I've seen the intel he has first hand. He's the real deal.
Weaver: Okay...
Maxis: There's an Omega Operation underway at a facility about halfway between Hue City and Khe Sanh. Headed up by one of their top Scientists. Doctor William Peck. You heard that name before?
Weaver: I know the name all too well. He may have a 'brilliant' intellect, but he's an arrogant narcissist who cares only for stoking his own ego. Above all else he's a fucking traitor to this country.
Maxis: I know, I know. But this 'Peck' is also about to help the Soviets secure the breakthrough they need to control access to the other dimension.
Weaver: Okay, let's assume your intel is solid and this is all true. You have to let Requiem take it from here. Where are you now?
Maxis: This could be our only chance to catch up with the Soviets. I'm going to meet with my contact.
Weaver: Sam. I don't want you to get yourself hurt.
Maxis: Please don't be angry, Weaver.
Weaver: Damn it, Sam.

"Captain Ravenov -- Maxis' contact in Omega -- reveals to Weaver that Maxis has been captured."
— Description

Sergei Ravenov: Is this a secure line?
Weaver: Who is this?
Ravenov: Is this a secure line?
Weaver: As secure as they can be.
Ravenov: You're wrong. They're listening. They always are. That's why Maxis is where she is now.
Weaver: You're the 'contact' she told me about. Where is Samantha now?
Ravenov: When I arrived at the meeting they were already there. Omega. They took her.
Weaver: Did they hurt her?
Ravenov: They will keep her alive. At least for now. They will have taken her to their facility. The one where you must go. Where you must send your people.
Weaver: Who are you to tell me what I should do?
Ravenov: I am Sergei Ravenov. I know you need Peck's research. I know you need to close the gap. I know you know how quickly you are falling behind. Their Aetherium research is way beyond yours. Way beyond anything you could imagine. Maxis would want you to stop them weaponizing is further. Even if it meant she sacrifices herself for the greater good.
Weaver: If you are lying to me, if you betrayed her, if any harm comes to her... I will kill you myself.
Ravenov: It will not come to that. I have already told you - Omega are ahead of you. Every step of the way.

"The Requiem senior staff discuss sending a rescue team to Outpost 25."
— Description

Weaver: Thank you all for coming. I can see from your faces you look worried.
Oskar Strauss: Concerned. Not worried. There is a difference.
Mackenzie Carver sighs.
Weaver: We believe we have identified the purpose behind 'Outpost 25' - Omega's secret base in Vietnam.
Elizabeth Grey: And what is its purpose?
Weaver: My contacts believe they have developed the technology to enter into the Dark Aether at will.
Strauss: How marvelous.
Carver: No, it is not fucking marvelous. It's another indication that we are losing this war.
Weaver: Intel suggests that they have successfully harnessed the energy of the crystals - for purposes not yet known.
Grey: We have to send the team in. This is a chance to... Why are you raising your eyebrows like that?
Strauss: I think the Major is reminding you - and not very subtly - that this is a military operation. We are merely advisors.
Grey: Well, am I wrong? We are going in - right?
Weaver: Doctor Grey is correct. We need to send the team to secure their research... but we also have to extract a prisoner.
Carver: Your Russian contact? Surely he's burned - or maybe even playing us for fools. This has got wrong written all over it.
Weaver: No. The Russian contact is not a priority. I'm talking about someone else - Agent Samantha Maxis.
Strauss: Ah, yes. The mysterious Ms. Maxis. I thought she was "more than capable" of taking care of herself?
Weaver: She is. But there's another player in the mix. One who may go out of his way to bring her harm. William Peck.
Strauss: Oh, that's not good - Peck is a nasty piece of work.

"Requiem Berlin Station Chief Meyer warns Weaver about a developing situation in the divided German capital."
— Description

Heinrich Meyer: This is Heinrich Meyer, station chief, Berlin - Office of Requiem. Weaver, we have a developing situation over here. Reliable HUMINT places Dr. Aleksandra Valentina of KGB-Spetsnaz Omega Group here in West Berlin. She was observed scouting several locations in the city. Objective unknown. This is very distressing, to say the least. Dr. Valentina is directly involved with Omega's interdimensional research. If she is here expecting, or intending for something to happen... Weaver, we have been very fortunate so far that most of Omega's operations have been in remote, rural areas. Berlin, on the other hand, is the focal point of the Cold War. The world is always watching us. If they were to launch an op here... I have a team trying to intercept her communications. I will alert you should they succeed.

Documents

"CIA document detailing the appearances of dimensional breaches since Omega Group restarted the cyclotron at Projekt Endstation."
— Description

January 25, 1984
Timeline of Dimensional Breaches

Per request from Director of Central Intelligence, Office of Requiem has composed this listing of known dimensional breaches aka outbreak zones since the initial incident in the Morasko Nature Preserve:

March 7, 1944: German scientists at the Projekt Endstation facility near Poznan, Poland use their experimental particle accelerator to punch a hole in the dimensional membrane, unleashing exotic energies and creatures form the dimension we now call the "Dark Aether". Breach is contained but remains open until element of the Red Army seal it on February 10, 1945. Records of the incident suppressed until 1983.

Nov. 1, 1983: KGB-Spetsnaz Omega Group arrive at Endstation site and restart the particle accelerator, exacerbating the original dimensional breach. This time the damage is global. New outbreak zones immediately begin to appear around the world, including sites in rural Venezuela, Namibia, Vietnam, and the largest known breach in the Ural Mountains of Russia. Omega is forced to withdraw from Endstation without repairing the dimensional damage.

Nov. 5, 1983: SIGINT indicates Omega Group responds to an outbreak zone near Baku, Azerbaijan.

Nov. 13, 1983: Requiem strike team arrives at Endstation and succeeds in destroying the facility, finally closing the original breach, but the dimensional membrane separating us from the Dark Aether remains fragile and outbreaks continue to appear.

Nov. 22, 1983: Outbreak zone appears within NATO FOB near Hanover, West Germany.

Dec. 8, 1984: Satellite PHOTINT reveals Omega Group construction activity near the Vietnam outbreak zone.

Jan. 11, 1984: Outbreak zone appears at a Menendez Cartel cocaine processing site in rural Nicaragua.

Jan. 18, 1984: Outbreak zone appears at Shan State Irregulars base in Laos. SIGINT indicates subsequent Omega Group containment operation.

Jan. 19, 1984: Outbreak zone appears in Miami's South Beach district.

So far, all of the above have been successfully cordoned off and their existence kept secret from the outside world. Requiem continually monitors communications and satellite PHOTINT for signs of new dimensional breaches.

"Director of Central Intelligence Casey informs President Reagan about the newly created CIA Office of Requiem."
— Description

5 Nov 1983
MEMORANDUM FOR: The President
FROM: William J. Casey
SUBJECT: Formation of CIA Office of Requiem

Following up on our emergency briefing regarding the recent spate of so-called "outbreak zones" around the world. We believe we've come up with a response that will satisfy our NATO allies' queries and ensure they have a seat at the table. My staff at Langley, with help from DoD, have created the CIA Office of Requiem specifically to contain and suppress this new threat.

Initial attempts to quarantine affected areas and prevent a global panic still amount to stopgap measures. Our new rapid response unit is a long-term solution to the problem. Official directives will be issued and appropriate paperwork filed, but we're moving as fast as possible right now, and I want to get you up to speed on where things stand at present:

1. Purpose: Office of Requiem will deploy clandestine strike teams to cordon off outbreak zones, prevent them from spreading, and gain vital intel on the nature of the enemy. We will also provide cover stories to local media designed to keep trespassers out without attracting unwanted scrutiny. We already have a PR operation handling the media side. My focus right now is the people at the point of contact - the strike teams, command and support.

2. Command structure: I've tapped Associate Deputy Director [REDACTED] from the Directorate of Science and Technology to serve as Director of Requiem. Hell, he's been so instrumental in pulling this together he pretty much tapped himself for the job. Beneath the Director, four department heads will handle different aspects of the operation: field operations, weapons development, energy research, and biology. I have a short list of candidates, but it's too soon to mention names yet.

3. Field ops: Thanks to quick work by the NATO Military Committee, Requiem strike teams will include Spec Ops personnel volunteered by the NATO member states.

4. Classified status: Office of Requiem will officially not exist. Like other clandestine operations, it will be funded from the Department of Defense black budget. Additional funding will come from NATO, though we're still working out the details.

I will keep you apprised of further developments as they occur.

William J. Casey
Director of Central Intelligence

"CIA document announcing the appointments of Weaver, Carver, Grey and Strauss to the Office of Requiem senior staff."
— Description

DIRECTORATE OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
06 November 1983
Office of Requiem Names Department Heads

Staffing decisions have been made and roles accepted by the candidates chosen to lead the four divisions comprising the newly established CIA Office Of Requiem. They are as follows:

1: FIELD OPERATIONS: Special Agent Grigori Weaver is promoted to the rank of Special Operations Officer for this role. There was some internal pushback due to Weaver’s previous designation as an enemy combatant during Operation Charybdis, but that designation was rescinded. Requiem’s Director chose him specifically for this assignment and the DCI agreed. Weaver's unorthodox approach to covert ops may be exactly what's needed to take on this unprecedented threat.

2. CONTAINMENT AND SECURITY: Major Mackenzie carver is well known to many in the Intelligence Community. A veteran of the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, “Mac” has served as DoD liaison to CIA for over a decade. While his blunt talk and aggressive demeanor have sometimes impeded his career advancement, those qualities are well suited to his role at Requiem: applying data and materials from Requiem ops to develop weapons systems capable of keeping Soviet aggression in check.

3. UNNATURAL- SCIENCES: Dr. Elizabeth Grey is a top research scientist in the fields of genetics and biology. Her papers on anaerobic organisms and speculative theses on alien biomes earned her the invitation to lead Requiem study of the other dimension and the creatures emerging from it. Her lack of military background was flagged as a concern. But she offers an outsider's perspective the Director deems vital to our success.

4. ENERGY RESEARCH: Dr. Oskar Strauss will lead studies of new discoveries in outbreak zones to determine scientific and military applications. However, his past associations with the Nazi regime make Strauss a controversial choice. The Director points out the same was true for Wernher Von Braun who led NASA to the moon. For now, Strauss has our full support.

This cipher is a Nihilist type cipher, with an alphabet of PLFIEYMWVCXZDHNTSAGRBOUQK and a periodic key of Verdict.

G
I'm having reservations, second thoughts, something in my gut.
Something doesn't feel right. I've worked with the CIA for a long time, you longer.
When I requested transfer to Requiem, I thought I knew what I was getting myself into.
I knew this dog and pony show the smoke and mirrors, but something feels different.
Sorry, this is coming via an encrypted message, but I'm just not sure who I can trust these days.
I keep noticing discrepancies, minor deviations from our stated mission.
Sure, there's nuances to any black op, we both know that all too well.
But I cant shake the feeling that there's a hidden agenda at play.
And what about our director? What's his goal? Come to think of it.
Do you know his name? Ever remember seeing it on a dossier or overheard in conversation? I couldn't tell you.
I got close to him once or who I think was him, not sure.
And you know what I heard? I heard him speaking Russian!
So I ask you... What the hell is going on here?!
C

"Carver sends Weaver a memo regarding increased funding to Energy Research and Unnatural Sciences."
— Description

July 6, 1984

MEMORANDUM FOR: Weaver
FROM: Carver
SUBJECT: Funding Allocation

Weaver, I'll cut right to it: I'm concerned. Have you had a chance to review the Director's latest directive on funding allocation? Because if you read between the lines it looks to me like priorities are shifting, and not in the right direction. I'm reaching out to you about this first, just in case I'm overreacting - but also because it's me and you who could end up getting screwed here.

We both signed on with Requiem for the same reason: to shut down these outbreaks and use whatever we find to stay ahead of the Soviets. And, yes, Strauss and Grey have contributed some valuable things to our weapons development. But now, just when my people in C-S are chomping at the bit to build more Aetherium-powered ordnance, the Director wants to funnel more of our budget to the lab-coats than to those on the front line. Check the numbers if you don't believe me.

Look, we've taken on a hell of a challenge with Operation Threshold. That is one massive outbreak zone to explore and pacify. We both want to give your strike team a fighting chance. Can you have a word with the Director about this? I know the other departments have their place in this fight, but they are supposed to be supporting us, not the other way around. At least that's how I see it.

"Strauss sends a memo to Grey regarding their increased funding."
— Description

July 7, 1984

MEMORANDUM FOR: Dr. Grey
FROM: Dr. Strauss
SUBJECT: Funding Allocation

My dear Dr. Grey, we don't speak often enough, but I have always sensed we have more in common with each other than with the men of war we work with. So I hope you share my pleasant surprise that the Director's latest funding allocation appears to place increased value on our work. This could not come at a better time as Operation Threshold presents us with our greatest opportunities yet to advance our respective scientific disciplines.

Nevertheless, I would like to urge caution as we move forward. And by that I mean caution in our interactions with our fellow department heads Weaver and Carver. As the Americans are fond of saying, "this is not my first rodeo." I have seen how military men react when they perceive that they are being short-changed. Now more than ever you and I need to present a united front and make good use of this increased funding while at the same time not alienating other departments. Promise them the moon if you must, but let them see us as partners rather than competitors.

You should know that I have already spoken about this with the Director himself. Rest assured we have his full support. While I am certain Weaver, or especially Carver, will attempt to redress this shift in priorities, I am confident the Director will stay the course. He is well aware that with enough time and resources we can unravel all the mysteries of the Dark Aether from what we are encountering in the Ural Mountains.

"A memo from the Berlin Station Chief Meyer containing intercepted communications from Omega Group's Doctor Valentina."
— Description

May 10, 1984

MEMORANDUM FOR: Grigori Weaver
FROM: Station Chief, Berlin
SUBJECT: Omega Group COMINT

Sir, I am writing to alert you that we recently intercepted communications between Dr. Aleksandra Valentina of the KGB's Omega Group and a suspected operative here in West Berlin. We have done our best to track her movements and activities since she arrived in East Berlin last week. While we are still trying to determine the precise purpose of her visit, the contents of this intercept support our suspicion that Omega is setting up a major operation here in the US-Occupied Sector of the city.

Transcript of intercept (translated from German)


VALENTINA: "Need update on site."

UNKNOWN CONTACT: "Readings confirm membrane permeable. Has date been determined?"

VALENTINA: "That is not up to me. Just keep your people ready to mobilize."

UNKNOWN CONTACT: "Acknowledged. However, some starting to question if this is even possible."

VALENTINA: "Eliminate the doubters. No margin for error. Ground must be prepared."

UNKNOWN CONTACT: "Understood. Will make example of them."

VALENTINA: "Good. But do so quietly. Do not lose element of surprise."

We are currently working to identify Valentina's contact, but cannot match with any known Omega or KGB asset. I will keep you advised of our progress.

Heinrich Meyer

Berlin Station Chief

Radio Transmissions

"Weaver tells the team that Omega is pulling ahead in the Aetherium Arms Race."
— Description

Weaver: Team - I can't overstate just how important this mission is. We're at risk of falling so far behind, we may never catch up. My contacts in the field have provided intel that suggest Omega are not only advancing their Aetherium applications, but they have in fact harnessed the power to move in and out of the other dimension at will. Hmmm... The other dimension? Well, it's got a name that you may have already heard. I'm not exactly sure who first coined the term, but we've taken to calling it the Dark Aether. The name is probably no more ominous than the reality. Omega's next move will doubtless be to try to weaponize it. I'm sure I don't have to tell you how bad that would be...

"Weaver stresses to the team that they need to rescue Maxis."
— Description

Weaver: You already know what the mission parameters are. You know what needs to be done. Even if we can't apprehend Peck, we must recover what remains of his intel. But there's more than that. You are already someone who knows when to read between the lines. You are someone who knows there are other battles to be won - Battles to avoid a bigger war. This is personal for me. You need to make every effort to extract Samantha Maxis. I'm trusting you.

"Weaver has a few choice words about the despicable Doctor Peck."
— Description

Weaver: William Peck... This... fucker... is a traitor. He deserves to be brought to justice. If you want to know what you're dealing with, I think it would be entirely appropriate to call him a malignant narcissist. However smart he may be - or thinks he is - the only thing he cares about is himself. Strange as it sounds - we could really use him right now.

"Carver reminds the team to secure Omega's weapon research."
— Description

Carver: Outpost 25. Just look at this place. This hilltop used to be a U.S. Army Fire Support Base called "Ripcord." Nothing left of it now - this construction's all new. Our intel reports said it was walled off. Impenetrable. Omega's very own Fort Knox. Not hard to see why. I'll make this clear: we're behind. Requiem's made progress, but it pales next to what Omega's accomplished. Teleportation? A new kind of super-battery? And that assault rifle? Won't be long until the Reds have it in mass production. If we could recover that rifle tech, or their research on weaponization, it would be a very good day for Requiem. Hell. Maybe I could pass it along to the DoD, give them something to cheer about. But we'll keep that one between us, won't we?

"Carver discusses one of his contributions to the war effort."
— Description

Carver: Now, all this sour talk doesn't mean Requiem hasn't had some wins. You're equipped with one right now: the W-A-N-Ds: Weaponized Aetherium Neutralizer Device. Cool toy, right? Little pet project of mine. One of my men brought me the concept, and once I saw the schematics I realized the tactical edge they'd provide in the field. Allocated one of our science teams to develop the tech. Dr. Strauss initially objected, because of course that grouchy old German did, but he eventually came around. Sure, the names might be a little splashy, but you've got to let the eggheads have a little fun during R&D.

"The team's mission to Vietnam stirs up old memories in Carver."
— Description

Carver: I won't lie. It's a strange feeling, sending you to 'Nam. Feels like yesterday I was being flown out. Man, that first week... It was hot. Wet. No matter what you did, you couldn't get rid of "the stick". You'd try washing it off and it'd just make it worse - and don't get me started on the damn lizards in the showers. Hard years. I lost men. Family. Brothers. Then there was Apache Snow. But that's a story for another time. Let's just say when we came back "the stick" stuck with us. I spent years trying to clean it off.

"Strauss sees the potential of Omega's work... and he's certain he can improve upon it."
— Description

Strauss: Here you are. Outpost 25. The progress they have made at this facility... we may as well be the N-A-C-A watching the Sputnik launch. I would be lying if I said their Aetherium-based power source hadn't caught my eye. It is interesting work... albeit crude and unrefined. They approach the process like a blacksmith when what it needs is an architect. Recover that research, and I will refine their work in weeks, ending this Aetherium energy "space-race" before it's barely begun.

"Strauss muses on Aetherium's properties and its importance to the Dark Aether's denizens."
— Description

Strauss: Aetherium has proven to be fascinating in both its gaseous and solid, crystalline states. It appears the infected and Dark Aether creatures require it for their very survival, not unlike oxygen in our own reality. We've observed that the farther you are from a breach, the less exposure you risk. If Aetherium is their "oxygen," this explains why they are restricted to these "outbreak zones." But I suppose this is all rather boring to you. I may as well be attempting discourse with a slab of meat - A bovine with a submachine gun. You would do well to remember how Aetherium has benefitted you in the field. Major Carver's W-A-N-Ds. The experimental explosives you clear pathways with. Two examples of things that would not exist if not for my work. You're welcome.

"Strauss recounts his harrowing path from WWII German atomic scientist to head of Requiem's Energy Research Division."
— Description

Strauss: The goal of my work has always been to create the tools necessary for humanity's improvement - not its destruction. Ja. I know what you're thinking, but I was very young when the Uranverein whisked me from university to Endstation. I was promised the opportunity to explore a new frontier of atomic research. When I realized that meant weapons research, I requested reassignment. Little did I know my transfer would be to a much more insidious project, led by Dr. Friedrich Steiner. After a year I literally could no longer stomach it. I defected as part of Operation Paperclip. It has been something of a storied career since then, but, given Aetherium's potential, I am still hopeful Requiem will make the right decision on where to focus its efforts.

"Grey ponders the unthinkable: what if Omega has learned to control dimensional portals?"
— Description

Grey: Well... we're in the thick of it now, aren't we? So far, these breaches have been random, and we've had to scramble to react to their sudden appearance. But if Omega has the tech to control when and where these portals open... No. I shouldn't even entertain that thought. Maybe it's just down to the region's dimensional fragility and they haven't actually developed the tech to open them willy-nilly. Least not yet. Now, as for this whole conscripted labor thing? Forcing people across the threshold to collect crystals and date? That's not okay. Hopefully my device will help us solve that problem, at least in terms of research gathering. More on that later.

"Grey wonders why Aetherium affects people differently, and why the infected take on different forms."
— Description

Grey: What I'm still really keen to understand is the transformative properties of Aetherium. We saw what happened to those poor sods at Endstation. Some of the infected remain mostly humanoid, while others resemble more powerful, 'evolved' creatures. What made their transformations different? Take that infected Omega Soldier, the one who helped us with the particle accelerator. Why did he turn... into that? That's one of the things I'd like to answer. Maybe not here, maybe not today, but - it's on the list!

"Grey discusses the possible benefits to be gleaned from the Dark Aether."
— Description

Grey: We've seen the element's impact on humans and the environment: the infected transformations, the blossoming crystals. Now what I'm really eager to learn is, can we harness and control the effects? Keep the benefits and discard all the crap that hurts us? We saw what happened when Boyer genetically modified bacteria - we got insulin. Changed the world. So what if we alter bacteria from the infected? What genetic secret do you unlock? Super-strength? Pain resistance? Immortality? Okay no, actually I do not like the sound of that at all. I know I'm essentially working for the military now, but I'd really rather focus on how all this helps the world. Helps people. That's what I want. I hope you feel the same.

"Berlin Station Chief Meyer is increasingly nervous about a certain visitor to his city."
— Description

Meyer: Weaver, this is Meyer - Berlin Station Chief. Urgent question: did you get the memorandum I submitted on Saturday? If so, why is there still no response? Forgive me, but I do not think anyone at Langley grasps the seriousness of the situation. Dr. Valentina is here. In Berlin This city is divided. East and West are nose to nose here. If she does something... drastic, the consequences could go global - in the worst possible way. Just... please advise how best to proceed. Personally, I'd like a Requiem strike team en-route here right now, but I leave that decision to you.

Artifacts

"The weapon blueprint for Kuhlklay's prized invention. Its design was partially inspired by recovered schematics for the Generator Khaosa Zavoyski-45, a proposed weapon from WWII that never made it beyond concept. It is unclear why Peck was so uninterested in Kuhlklay's prototype, but it will be invaluable to Requiem's weapons research.."
— Description

"Kuhlklay's weapon trial folder, detailing testing and development of his experimental prototype. Will be helpful for Requiem's own weapons research.."
— Description

"Recovered from a storage locker, the journal offers deeper insights into Omega's research - and Kuhlklay's disdain for his immediate supervisor."
— Description

"The Reactorniy Avtomat-Izluchatel Kuhlklay-84 (RAI K-84) was developed by Dr. Dimitri Kuhlklay and first manufactured in 1984. The experimental prototype fires fully automatic energy-bolts, but also comes equipped with a ballistic Vortex grenade launcher. When detonated, the grenade creates a temporal distortion field, slowing time for anyone caught inside. Acquired by Requiem agents for analysis."
— Description

Omega Group

Audio Logs

"Having received approval for the construction of Outpost 25, Peck discusses the opportunities the new site will offer Omega Group."
— Description

William Peck: Personal Log. Peck. November 9th, 1983. Two days ago, I identified and submitted the perfect location for Phase 2. After assessing the dimensional breach outside of Khe Sanh, I found a mountaintop formerly occupied by an American base called "Ripcord." It has the ideal dimensional... "fertility" to suit our project's needs. I just received word an agreement was reached with the Vietnamese Government, and construction is set to begin on the 11th. What excellent news. So far, the breaches have been uncontrolled, which greatly restricted our ability to take advantage of this new dimension - BUT. But... if we are able to open our own, stabilized gateway, that operates under our control... Well, I mean, come on! We'll be the first with free reign to pilfer, pillage and plunder an alien world, untainted and ripe with resources ready for extraction. It will give us a considerable edge over my former countrymen. Good riddance to them.

"Omega Group scientists Peck and Kuhlklay initiate Dimensional Portal Test number 32."
— Description

Peck: This is Dr. William Peck. It is the 8th of January, 1984, 1:13 a.m. This is test number 32 for dimensional breach-
Kuhlklay: Must you start with that every recording-
Peck: Do not interrupt, Dimitri. This is your chance to learn something from a real scientist. As I was saying. Test Number 32. Dr. Kuhlklay, you may proceed.
Kuhlklay: Activating resonator. Beginning magnetic amplification. Dimensional Barrier identified. Beginning particle distortion.
Peck: Barrier membrane integrity at fifty percent.
Kuhlklay: Amplification is still approaching the limits prematurely!
Peck: Increasing voltage output from Aetherium Crystal. It's working! Membrane integrity at forty percent!
Kuhlklay: Amplification has reached maximum safety parameters!
Peck: Let it ride, Dimitri, let it ride! Increasing voltage output.
Kuhlklay: Amplification exceeding safety parameters! I'm shutting it down!
Peck: You touch that button, I'll have you gutted like a fish and fed to your comrades in Solyanka soup! Membrane integrity down to ten percent!
Kuhlklay: You mudak! You'll get us killed!
Peck: Wait! Adjusting distortion frequency to pattern echo-four!
Kuhlklay: My god.
Peck: Eat your heart out, Dr. Vogel. We'll see who history remembers.

"While noting his first successful teleporter test, Peck discusses the role played by his Dark Aether miners and the steps taken to deal with the effects of their labors."
— Description

Peck: Peck here. Personal log. March 19th. After weeks of phasic misalignment, resulting in numerous... anatomical displacements, today marked our first successful teleportation test. I'm sure Private Pashkov was happy to arrive with all parts... intact. After the generators last month, this marks the second milestone achievement for Outpost 25. I must admit: our rapid progress is due in no small part to our Dark Aether Miners, or "Aethernauts", as the Kremlin has chosen to call them. Dr. Kuhlklay tells me crystal collection is up nearly 240 percent. This intake volume has allowed our scientists to continue working around the clock, and is frankly, how we have accomplished this impressive feat. It is true some don't return, but I am told it's a small percentage. That said, many of those who do return have displayed physical and psychological symptoms, ranging from infection to amnesia. Unfortunately, these subjects after study must be euthanized. I've spoken with Kuhlklay about developing a memory transference machine, give us the chance to at least recover the affected's memories. That will take time to construct, so in the interim I'm developing a truth serum to assist with interviewing the amnesiacs. Maybe we can pry the truth from their damaged synapses, so their deaths won't be a total waste.

"Peck and Kuhlklay perform an autopsy on a Dark Aether creature that is more than meets the eye."
— Description

Peck: Proceeding with examination of upper abdomen. Dimitri: retractors.
Dimitri Kuhlklay: Placing retractors.
Peck: Organs appear... somewhat similar to our own... but everything seems merged, interlinked. Observe the lungs. Similar location, but its pleura extends and connects directly to the heart, passing through the endocardium. There appears to be... something engraved on the interior of the creature's back. What is that?
Kuhlklay: Chto za chert. That. Is a face.
Peck: Yes, there does appear to be a warped, stretched pigmentation that resembles a human face.
Kuhlklay: Resembles?? Look: it even has a bump where the nose should be. Wait... Govno! It is Private Glaskov! We sent him to the other side last month, but he never come back. Is this... is this thing him?
Peck: That last remark is to be struck from the record - we have no proof this creature is Private Glaskov. Let's continue- I suppose that's a good a place as any to terminate the session. Subject has turned itself into a cassette tape.

"Kuhlklay vents his true feelings about Peck... and makes a fateful decision about his weapon project."
— Description

Kuhlklay can be heard pouring alcohol into a glass.

Kuhlklay: Fucking stupid Peck! "Be quiet Dimitri! This is a chance to learn from a real scientist!" "Dimitri, do this, Dimitri, do that. Shame on you, Dimitri, I will have you turned into soup! I'm Dr. Peck, and I'm a big, smart, real scientist."

Kuhlklay blows a raspberry with his mouth. He then begins to take a gulp of the alcohol, and then pouring more.

Kuhlklay: Fffffuck you. How about that, Pecker-man? Fuuuuuuuck you.

Kuhlklay takes another gulp.

Kuhlklay: So I decide enough: time to work on my own invention! I take the Aetherium crystal and design new rifle that would make Kalashnikov weep. And what does Peck do? He LAUGHS!< Says it is a waste of time. Calls it a child's toy. "Stop being so small-brained, Dimitri!" Small-brained? I will show you, Peck. Kuhlklay takes another, long gulp of the alcohol.

Kuhlklay: Oh, shit.

Glass can be heard shattering.

Kuhlklay: You are not the only smart man at this facility. Peck wants me to give up, probably because Peck wants to steal it for himself. Now he can never assemble it. When I leave this place, I will take it with me and sell it to the highest bidder. "Maybe I underestimated you, Doctor Kuhlklay." Of course you did, Peck. You see, I always have had a keen eye for opportunity.

"Gorev pays a visit with new orders from the Kremlin."
— Description

Peck: -that's not to say I don't have my suspicions. Once I've gathered sufficient evidence, I- did I not say no interruptions- Gorev?? You're here. In Vietnam.
Gorev: In the flesh, comrade. What? Old friend cannot pay visit? You look so rigid, Peck, so nervous. You remind me of son, before he does his silly theater shows. He freezes up, like he sees ghosts, and forgets lines. That or he soils his pants. I trust that is not case here? Sit down. Please. Before you hurt self. You look rather pale, even for you. How are you not getting sun here in such temperate climate?
Peck: May I inquire as to the purpose of your visit, Gorev?
Gorev: I am here with special message, one I decided to deliver personally. We intercepted communication from BND Agent Maxis. You remember her... the leaked Endstation tape?
Peck: Why would i give a rat's ass about her? Isn't she dead?
Gorev: It is funny you say this, because not only is she very much alive, but she has turned one of your men. At this very facility. He is planning to deliver your research to Requiem.
Peck: I find that highly improbable.
Gorev: "Highly improbable." Why do Americans talk like this? It is either truth, or not truth. Why must you be so non-committal to facts? I do no understand this.
Peck: What exactly do you need from me?
Gorev: Orders from Colonel. And orders are simple. Pretend to be mole, plant trap, apprehend Maxis.
Peck: Then what?
Gorev: Interrogate her. Torture her. I don't need to know the specifics. As long as she confesses and reveals who mole is, I am happy. It is good when I am happy, yes?
Peck: I'll take care of it personally.

"Peck has Maxis brought to his Omega Portal Chamber."
— Description

Peck: So - 'Sam'. Do you realize what this is? Do you even know? Of course you don't, so I'll tell you. It's a gateway into the other world. Have you ever even dreamt of such a thing? Have you ever imagined what it would be like if everything you knew to be true was just turned upside down? Changed forever. That's what this represents. It's a door to another world. One that could enrich or destroy everything depending on who holds the keys. Look at you. Resolute. Stubborn. Your silence isn't going to help you in any way, you know. In fact, it's just going to make things worse. We will find your 'informant', believe me. That's the funny thing about secrets. They can't stay secret forever. Sooner or later, they are always exposed, along with all their inherent beauty or ugliness. You know, I don't think you realize just how small of a cog you are in this machine. You're close to nothing. Worthless. No one is coming for you, because no one cares about you. Honestly? I'm doing you - and the world - a favor. We are made from earth, and we will return to earth... Some of us, sooner than others. From dust you are, and to dust you will return.

"Peck sends an emergency message to Omega Group headquarters informing them Outpost 25 is now an Outbreak Zone."
— Description

Groans of the undead can be heard outside of Peck's sealed enclosure.

Peck: Hello? Hello? Can you hear me? Is anyone there? The dial tells me this is the correct broadcast frequency, so I'm just going to assume you can hear me. Whichever Omega lackey happens to be receiving this transmission, start dialing the Colonel. Now. I've got a, uh, developing situation over here. Outpost 25 has fallen. Everyone here is either dead, dying, or infected. I'm the last one alive. I want to make this unequivocally clear: This is not my fault. It was the gateway. Without warning, it unleashed a massive burst of Aetherium. The infection spread quickly, and as my men began to turn, I observed a phasic barrier surround the base. My men tried to escape, but anyone who entered this "Phase" quickly succumbed to a terrible case of death. More creatures keep arriving every hour. I'm trapped in a room with little food and only a literal pot to piss in. Get me the hell out of here.

"Kuhlklay meets with Valentina for a secret transaction."
— Description

Valentina: Is this everything? Surely there is more.
Kuhlklay: I assure you, Dr. Valentina, this is everything.
Valentina: Research on membrane permutations? What about the particle distortion modules?
Kuhlklay: Everything you need on targeted dimensional breaching is there.
Valentina: Otlichno. Have it delivered to this address.
Kuhlklay: You are not taking it with you?
Valentina: Is there a problem with my order?
Kuhlklay: No, no, I just thought-
Valentina: -thinking is a dangerous thing, is it not, comrade? Have it delivered to the address. Make sure you are not discovered by Peck.
Kuhlklay: Believe me. He is half of the reason I am doing this.
Valentina: And other half?
Kuhlklay: Why... for the good of the Motherland, of course.
Valentina: Of course. For the Motherland.

Documents

"The Committee for State Security grants Outpost 25 permission to conscript "Aetherium miners" including political prisoners and enemies of the state."
— Description

15 February of the year 1984

Authorization to conscript
Aetherium miners

Having reviewed all progress reports from Outpost 25 in Vietnam, and in light of recent losses of valuable Spetsnaz operators, the Chairman approves the Colonel's request for volunteers to carry out Aetherium mining duties in the Dark Aether dimension.

Aetherium mining has quickly gained paramount importance as we have come to understand the element's unique properties. The fruits of this labor will allow the Soviet Union to explore new scientific frontiers that may ultimately be the decisive factor in our eventual triumph over the forces of greed and imperialism. But such progress always come at a cost. The Chairman salutes those brave souls who have gone missing in the Dark Aether. He expects those who follow to complete the task begun by their betters.

Omega Group forces at Outpost 25 are instructed to begin recruiting Aetherium miners from the local population. Conscription will be carried out in conjunction with the authorities in Thua Thien-Hue and Quang Tri provinces. Antagonizing our North Vietnamese comrades would be counterproductive, and they will be eager to rid themselves of undesirables and intellectuals who may prove to be ideal Aetherium miners. To help accelerate the process, the Kremlin will provide additional Aetherium miners from prisons and work camps across the Soviet Union. Even enemies of the state can serve the greater good.

The Chairman expects this will put an end to the loss of Spetsnaz personnel while increasing Aetherium collection yields.

"Blueprint of the Aetherium powered teleportation device developed at Outpost 25. Includes notes on early malfunctions."
— Description

TELEPORTATION PROTOTYPE
EXOSCIENCE RESEARCH OMEGA

Approved for Teleportation:

  • Weapons (loaded or unloaded)
  • Clothing of various materials
  • Humans (restrictions apply)
  • All footwear except sandals
  • Paper and similar materials
  • Headgear (glasses, helmets, caps)
  • Computation Machines
  • Aetherium Containment Canisters
  • Mechanic tools/equipment
  • Crates containing any of the above



Not Approved for Teleportation

  • Worn sandals: two documented occasions of sandals fusing with feet.
  • Fish: Officer Kustov had a dozen goldfish merge into singular homogenous blob (still alive).
  • Canine: dogs have vanished only to reappear days later, on fire and very aggressive.
  • Produce and uncooked meat: will arrive rotten or worse.
  • Private Oleg Gusev: You know why. You should be ashamed of yourself. Disgusting. Banned.



19 March 1984

"Omega Group medical document detailing the autopsy of a shape-shifting creature."
— Description

Spetsgruppa Omega - autopsy report

Examiner: Dr. Dimitri Kuhlklay Species: Unknown

Date: 11 May 1984 Identification: Specimen K7-1924

Subject is Specimen K7-1924, recovered from "Dark Aether" dimension on 09 May 1984. Subject recovered by Miner Tobias Shenk. Subject was captured alive.

While caged, Subject transformed into several common objects seemingly at will. Weight of Subject changed based on the object it transformed into.

Subject took form of:

  1. Crate
  2. Equipment Storage Container
  3. Chair
  4. Rifle
  5. Aetherium Containment Canister

Subject was terminated after escaping containment by taking form of rifle (guard unwittingly opened cell, not realizing).

With additional research, we could potentially adapt creature's camouflage ability for humans. Warfare implications are massive.

Prior to termination, Subject used prehensile "tentacles" to attack soldiers as it stormed through base.

Tentacles appear to operate independently from arms and legs. Subject able to extend tentacle and grapple unsuspecting humans.

Upon examination, DNA is part human. Disfigured face observed in autopsy report resembled that of Private Glaskov, MIA last moin Dark Aether Dimension.

"Peck expounds on the limitless potential for Aetherium-based energy production and the ability to refine Aetherium to increase its potency."
— Description

02 February of the year 1984

RE: Aetherium as a power source
AUTHOR: Dr. William Peck

SUMMARY:
I am pleased to report my work here at Outpost 25 is yielding breakthroughs even I dared not expect. The resources you so generously allocated for construction on the former site of Fire Support Base Ripcord were definitely money well spent, and I am close to giving the USSR a massive strategic advantage over the West.

As I predicted, Aetherium - the novel element originating from the Dark Aether dimension - is proving to be a remarkable source of energy that lends itself to a variety of applications. To put it in layman's terms, this stuff is the new Plutonium, only better. Like Plutonium, Aetherium can yield tremendous amounts of energy - enough that the Soviet Union need never be dependent on foreign oil (unlike my former countrymen). And, again, like Plutonium, it can be refined to increase its potency and bring it to what you might call "weapons-grade." I am currently perfecting the process. With enough time and a lot more samples, I believe we can achieve practically limitless energy yields. This is not just an evolution of energy production - it is a revolution.

America and the NATO countries are way behind us on the Aetherium front. We can extend our lead if we keep collecting more Aetherium specimens. I appreciate the brave Spetsnaz operators who have been doing this work, and I honor their sacrifice. Rest assured I'm working on better communications while they're on the other side to help them come home safely.

Dr. William Peck
Exoscientific Phenomena Research Lead - Omega Group

"Recovered Omega Group cipher. Decryption is required."
— Description

This cipher is a Railway type, with an offset of 0, and the number of rails at 5.

K
It seems our little side investment is beginning to pay dividends. Our infiltration has occurred right under their noses. I am told the Maxis communique is just a taste of what we can expect going forward. Requiem has no clue a member of their senior staff is compromised.
G

"Recovered Omega Group cipher. Decryption is required."
— Description

This cipher is a Polybius Square type, with keys of OQVHT, GCMRB, FAYSD, LKPXZ, and INUWE.

Omega ops continue in Ural mountains.
Special operations units in the area encountered hostiles, unlike those recorded in other incursion zones. Entire squad lost interacting with a shifting energy barrier inside zone. For now, avoid the phase.

Radio Transmissions

"Peck sends a message to Omega Group HQ informing them Requiem have arrived -- but that may not be a bad thing."
— Description

Peck: To my friends at Omega HQ: Peck here at Outpost 25, with an update on my situation. Requiem is here and, believe it or not, that's actually "good" news. "Now, why would you say that, Peck?" I can hear you ask. Well... let me explain. Do you know what I love about Requiem? They're idiots. And idiots are good for one thing: following instructions. Obeying without a moments hesitation. Like a lemming leaping off a cliff. Well these little Requiem lemmings leapt right into restarting the power for me, which means I can now begin satellite transfer of all our work back to Omega HQ. The facility may be lost, but Omega's work will live on. Don't thank me. Thank Requiem. What good. Little. Lemmings.

"Valentina responds to Peck's distress messages, with more than a little schadenfreude."
— Description

Aleksandra Valentina: Oh, Peck. When I heard of your situation, I cannot say I was surprised. What was it? Experiment gone wrong? Did you forget to carry "the 1" in equation? Drop deadly vial? Or was it worse? Something more sinister. How many men have you sent to their deaths in other dimension? Maybe one came back for revenge? Hmm? Rest assured, we are assessing situation. It does not look good for you. I told them it was big risk, hiring American. They are not built to last. I'll report back soon with our decision.

"A second message from Valentina gives Peck a glimmer of hope."
— Description

Valentina: Peck. It is Valentina again. Omega has made decision, and looks like your ace up sleeve actually worked. We are receiving your satellite transfer. Download should be complete within hour. Once it is done, you are to destroy mainframe - ensure there is nothing left for Requiem to acquire. Omega teams are en-route to your position for evac, ETA two hours. Do try to stay alive until then. Valentina out.

"Gorev does not mince words when explaining to Peck his current predicament."
— Description

Gorev: Hello, Peck. I have been informed to your current situation. Most unfortunate, especially for man with bright future. I had big hopes for you. "An American in Moscow" - like classic Hollywood movie, da? I was Gene Kelly, and you... well, you were the other one. When I last spoke to you, I gave you simple task. Capture Maxis. Find the mole. Simple. One week later and you have outdone yourself. You have destroyed your base. Gotten countless loyalists killed. But at least you learned who mole was, da? But wait... This is not true. You did not find mole. You also lost most valuable intelligence asset, because you think it was smart idea to throw her into other fucking dimension! Do not worry, Peck. Gorev is here now to clean up your mess. I will find your mole. For his sake, I hope he is dead. If he is not, he will soon wish he was.

"Omega Group's leader gives Peck one final chance to redeem himself."
— Description

Lev Kravchenko: Dr. Peck. Do not speak. I have no stomach for excuses. Just... listen. Outpost 25 has fallen. You failed me. Ever meet anyone else who failed me? Nyet. They are all dead. However, we are receiving your research. That is the only reason I am willing to... overlook your transgression. But you will make it up to me. The Americans and their Requiem group post a threat to our operations. You get one more chance to keep us ahead of them. One. And you will deliver. Now, forget about Requiem. Gorev will handle them - and their mole - personally. You will focus on your work. Give me something to show Moscow we are not wasting their resources. Kravchenko out.

Artifacts

"Biological remains of Dimitri Kuhlklay, Omega Group scientist."
— Description

"Ravenov's Omega ID badge. Grants access to restricted areas (as well as lockers and containers)."
— Description

The warning on the back of the badge says the following:
ATTENTION

THE USE OF THIS PASS BY ANY OTHER PERSON, OTHER THAN THE DESIGNATED EMPLOYEE, IS A VIOLATION OF SECTIONS 52.30 AND 52.31 OF THE OMEGA GROUP STATUTORY

"The Agent Delivery System was designed for mass dispersal of Peck's truth serum. As conscripts returned from the Dark Aether, their reports were often inconsistent or filled with impossibilities. In an effort to get accurate statements, Peck developed a special truth serum. While reports have noted that its hallucinogenic properties put users in an altered state, it has proven highly effective.."
— Description

"The Essence Trap and the Memory Transference Station were developed to recover the memories from individuals who had succumbed to their Aetherium infections. When deployed near an infected creature, the trap siphons any remaining memories from its former human self."
— Description

"Developed by Omega Group, the Aethermeter is a scanner used by soldiers and conscripts sent into the Dark Aether to mine Aetherium. The Aethermeter was critical in locating fresh Aetherium crystals ready for harvesting."
— Description

Maxis

Audio Logs

"Maxis questions the motivations of her Omega Group contact, Ravenov."
— Description

Ravenov: You received the files, yes?
Maxis: Yes. I received the files, but I have not reviewed them. My situation is... changing.
Ravenov: You are no longer with the BND?
Maxis: Let's just say I am more of a free agent now. There are many spies and traitors within our national institutions.
Ravenov: I understand.
Maxis: Which leads me to wonder - why are you a traitor? I have seen your record, a founding member of the KGB counter terrorist detachment, Alpha Group. You took part in operations across the globe - Central America, the Caribbean, Angola, Afghanistan.
Ravenov: Yes, I am a loyal soldier of the Soviet Union. I have done questionable things - terrible things. But I am no traitor. If you knew who was running Omega - and I believe you already do - you would not even have to ask me that question. I am not a traitor to my country. Despite their slogans and mantras, Omega are not who we are.
Maxis: Are you certain of that?
Ravenov: Look at the files. Learn something of their 'work' - There you will find your answers as to why I am choosing to do what I am doing.
Maxis: I will. Soon. Stay safe, you will hear from me again.

"Maxis records a personal log, airing her deep concerns about Omega Group's plans."
— Description

Maxis: I am troubled in ways I was not yesterday. The information I have received from the Soviet informant has confirmed that Omega's plans are further advanced than even I had feared previously. Omega's leader clearly seeks to control the bridges between this... and the other world. He may well be succeeding. Their internal propaganda claims to offer men the opportunity to become heroic explorers of a brave new frontier... Like the cosmonauts whose first journeys into space shocked the world. Even if they had a 'choice', these men have little idea or understanding of the fate that awaits them. The horror laid out in the other documents makes clear the truth of their 'glorious contributions'. They, like so many before them, are being used. They are miners at the coal face - stricken by blackened lungs, not cosmonauts reaching for the stars. Their bodies. Their minds. Their very souls. All of it will be ravaged in Omega's relentless pursuit to harness Aetherium. Weaver must know of this...

"Peck interrogates Maxis."
— Description

Maxis: William Peck.
Peck: Well, You're very perceptive Ms. Maxis. Even with the blindfold.
Maxis: I thought I smelled bullshit as soon as the door opened, but no. It's just the cheap aftershave. It can't disguise the stink of your sweat.
Peck: What can I say? This environment is more humid than I would like. It's worse than Baton Rouge at the height of summer.
Maxis: We're not here to discuss your sartorial failings. Let's get this over with.
Peck: Over with? No, my dear. Nothing is ending any time soon. Not for you. Not for me. Besides the restraints on your wrists and ankles, you feel the electrodes on your body, yes? Of course you do. You're a smart girl. Who is your informant? Who told you of our work here? Who was it who dared betray me?
Peck activates the electrodes on Maxis, torturing her. Maxis can be heard grunting in pain.
Maxis: Does it bother you? Not having any friends?
Peck: Friends are overrated. They can't pay the bills.
Peck electrocutes Maxis again as her grunts become more strained.
Maxis: You do realize the Milgram experiment only showed how subservient people could be... when challenged by an authority figure.
Peck electrocutes Maxis a third time, with Maxis' pained groans getting louder.
Peck: Any more smart comments to make?
Peck electrocutes Maxis a fourth time, with Maxis continuing to groan.
Maxis: Yeah. Who's bitch are you?
Peck electrocutes Maxis again, with Maxis' grunts turning into laughter as Peck walks away, leaving the room.

"Ravenov warns of expanded Omega Group activities in Russia's Ural Mountains."
— Description

Ravenov: It is not fun being on the run, but you know that better than anyone. I have news. Bad news. Omega's operations are expanding rapidly - in the way we feared most. We have noticed an uptick in activity deep in the Ural Mountains - more people coming in every day. There's talk of a... 'special operation'. As I said. Bad news.

Documents

"A schematic of Peck's masterpiece: the portal to the Dark Aether dimension. Annotated by Ravenov.."
— Description

OMEGA PORTAL CHAMBER
OUTPOST 25

[Omega has created a stable gateway to the other dimension. Blueprint is old - it is fully operational now! They are sending people through every day to gather resources.]

OPC USAGE RULES:
Dimensional Travel is restricted to Omega Personnel only.
[LIES! They are forcing civilians and POWs to do this!]
After dimensional travel, personnel must undergo mandatory seven-day quarantine.
[Another lie! If you come back alive, you go back next day!]
Dimensional Travel limited to thirty minutes.
[If you are in group, they will send you through for three hours.]
Aetherium crystal collection restricted to 10kg.
[If your group does not come back with minimum 20kg, you are sent back.]
Medical evaluation required if traveler shows any symptoms of infection.
[Medical evaluation only happens in extreme cases. If symptoms are minor no doctor for you.]

APPROVED FOR COLLECTION:

  • Aetherium Crystals
  • Biological Specimens
  • Botanical Specimens
  • Geological Specimen
  • Liquid Samples

12/08/83
Dr. William Peck

"A poster calling for volunteers to brave the new frontier of the Dark Aether dimension and secure the power of Aetherium for Mother Russia."
— Description

JOIN YOUR COMRADES

BE BRAVE
BE STRONG
BE TRUE

ONLY WE CAN SECURE OUR FUTURE

BECOME AN AETHERNAUT TODAY!

"Report from Kuhlklay on the side effects suffered by some miners from exposure to Aetherium."
— Description

16 March of the year 1984

RE: Physical effects of Aetherium mining
AUTHOR: Dr. Dimitri Kuhlklay

SUMMARY:
Almost 2 weeks have passed since civilian volunteers took over Aetherium mining duties from our Spetsnaz operators. Aetherium crystal collection is up 237%, but we have also confirmed prolonged exposure to the Dark Aether incurs a physical and mental toll. Preliminary findings as follows:

Each miner who ventures into the Dark Aether is given a medical and psychiatric examination upon return. At present, completion rate is 76%, meaning a quarter of Aetherium miners sent through Dr. Peck's Omega Portal Chamber are lost and presumed dead. Those who return report having been in the Dark Aether much longer than their recorded absence. We began equipping them with chronometers and confirmed that time passes at a different rate in the Dark Aether than in our own dimension. We are now restricting exposure by shortening excursion duration. Dr. Peck is trying to determine the precise nature of this relativistic effect, but so far he has no answers to this mystery.

The effects of Aetherium exposure vary greatly from individual to individual. Some miners return completely healthy. Others exhibit physical symptoms, especially for those who encounter Dark Aether creatures or consume food or drink from the other side. And yet we have operators who have made dozens of excursions and still show no sign of infection.

One specific effect we are struggling with is memory corruption. Some Aetherium miners on prolonged or repeated excursions return with gaps in long-term memory. A few eventually forgot who they are or what they are doing. I have correlated the severity of this condition with increased Aetherium levels in blood and brain tissue, but the precise physiological mechanism of memory corruption remains elusive.

Dr. Peck is currently working on a device to restore memories obscured by Aetherium contamination. Unfortunately, the link between exposure time and physical/mental deterioration leaves little hope of ever recovering those MIA Omega operators who initially carried out Aetherium mining and failed to return.

Dr. Dimitri Kuhlklay
Exoscientific Phenomena Research Asst. - Omega Group

"A schematic of Outpost 25's Aether Reactor. Annotated by Ravenov."
— Description

AETHER REACTOR
EXOSCIENCE RESEARCH OMEGA

[Entire base is run on new energy source. Kremlin believes it is energy of the future.]

[New Omega Energy Source derived from Aetherium. Makes nuclear power look primitive.]

02/10/84
Dr. William Peck

Radio Transmissions

"Please answer. I know you are listening."
— Quote

Maxis: Code in. I am alive. Yes. Still alive. Hear me. I really do hope that you can hear me. Yes. it is me. Please answer. I know you are listening. Code out. I'm not worthless. I'm not nothing.

"I am here, and I have been waiting..."
— Description

Maxis: I don't know how long I've been waiting for an answer, but I haven't had one yet. I know you are there. I know. But I am here, and I have been waiting for a long time. How long, I don't know. The days are blurred. The nights are relentless. Is it a week? Is it a month? More? It all seems so long ago. Not too long ago. I hope.

"I hide in shadows."
— Description

Maxis: Monsters are real. I used to have nightmares about them and I told myself I was being foolish. I was wrong. I'm not scared. I have overcome much worse things. I will take their power from them by using it. Now. I hide in shadows. Like they did when I was a child. I found shelter. I found food. I do what I need to in order to survive. Tomorrow will be a better day. I will choose to believe that.

"I want to get it out."
— Description

Maxis: The perpetual night brings dark thoughts. Inside me. I want to get it out. I don't understand why. I am not spiteful. I am... just. I am. Only me.

"It's always dark here."
— Description

Maxis: I am sorry. It's always dark here. I used to worry that morning would never come. But now, I choose to embrace the darkness... to find the light within myself. I am not a bad person. I am a good soul. I want to believe that. I have to believe that. I wish I could prove it. Maybe I shouldn't. Why do I care what they think of me? I'm just sorry they do not really know me.

"I have a knife. I do not remember where it came from."
— Description

Maxis: When I opened my eyes. There was blood on my hands. I stared at it not knowing if it was mine. Then I saw the bodies. Omega soldiers. They looked like victims of a frenzied attack. An attack that continued even after they were dead. I have a knife. I do not remember where it came from. I just want to go home.

"I am lost. Please find me."
— Description

Maxis: This is a dream. A bad dream. It has to be. That is what I tell myself. Even if it isn't true. What is happening? Why is it happening? I don't know. I don't know anything. I am lost. Please find me. Please.

"I have written these names, over and over..."
— Description

Maxis: I try to write it down. But the words still escape me. I see what I have writen and I barely recognize it. My name is Maxis, Samantha Maxis. This, I know. I was on a mission. I am still on a mission. Ravenov. Weaver. I have written these names over and over. They must be important. But not as important as 'Endstation'. What a tangled web. I know I see requiem. Solace. Peace. I pray that they are the same thing.

"I wish I could have kept you safe."
— Description

Maxis: I don't know how or why, but I am remembering. I was angry before and I am so sorry. That wasn't me. If it was - It really wasn't who I wanted to be. I made a promise. A promise I couldn't keep. I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. I wish I could have kept yoy safe. I didn't. Maybe that anger made me do things. Things I wish I hadn't done. I may regret some -- but others, others I meant to do. Peck... Peck... Peck. (spits) He deserves whatever damnation I have brought upon him. I hope he burns... In a Hell worse than mine.

Dark Aether

Audio Logs

"I was a different man when I enlisted."
— Description

Adrik Fedorov: Adrik Fedorov, efreitor, Omega Group. My squad just returned from the dark place. Well... not all of us did. They send us to gather Aetherium crystals. It is like... picking wildflowers in Hell. And of course we say "yes" because we are Spetsnaz. Refusal is not an option. Not if you want to maintain your career. It has not gone well. I have lost more friends here than I did in Afghanistan. No career is worth that. If this is what it takes for me to make sergeant, I can only guess what the Colonel has done to get where he is. I was a different man when I enlisted. I wanted to travel as far from home as possible. And I feared nothing. This mission has cured me of both.

"I know something is out there watching me."
— Description

Ivan Koslov: Ivan Koslov. Prisoner number 136-778. I was transferred her from Perm-35 labor camp last month. Somehow, I have survived five trips into the darkness to gather their fucking crystals. Five. That bastard American doctor even called me "Lucky Ivan". (spits) They forced us through his gateway at gunpoint. Shot the first man who dared to say nyet. So in go nine of us. Only Lucky Ivan comes back. And now? I am in this hellish place on trip number six and... I cannot find the exit. Did they close it? Did they get tire of waiting for me? These crystals are heavy. I do not know where I am. And I know something out there is watching me. Not so "lucky" after all...

"Truth be told, I do not hate this work."
— Description

Tobias Hoffman: Tobias Hoffman, sergeant. I was captured on a covert mission in the DDR. My superiors had to deny they ever heard of me. The Stasi interrogated me. I gave them nothing. So they threw me in a Dresden prison for two years. And now a KGB unit I never heard of before has me hunting verdammt monsters in this nightmare world they have discovered. They brought other prisoners, political dissidents and common criminals, to gather strange minerals from this place. But I have skills the others do not, so they make me hunt "specimens" for their American scientist. It makes sense: why risk their own soldiers when they have someone as utterly expendable as me? So I kill their specimens and drag them back for study. The American is giddy with these new playthings. He promises to reward me, but I know his words are empty. Strange man. I swear he feels more... kinship for these creatures than he dose for other people. Truth be told, I do not hate this work. Dangerous, yes, but better than rotting in a jail cell.

"Am I... falling apart?"
— Description

Olga: My name is... Olga. It is Olga... Olga... Damn it. I cannot remember last name. (coughs) I was pulled out of labor camp to mine crystals. I was... healthy then, but... (coughs, then growls) I think crystals... make me sick. First came nightmares. I am chair. I am box. I am table. (wheezes) Maybe does not seem scary, but it is. Then came fevers... and pain. Now parts of skin look like wood. Look like brick. Is different every morning. Bones are crooked. They bend, like rubber. And hair is... sticking together like... tails of rats. Am I... falling apart? (wheezes) Or am I turning into... something else?

"This place, it plays tricks on you."
— Description

Federov: Fedorov, Omega Group. We have been reassigned from Aetherium mining duties. That task now falls to... vermin. Enemies of the state. But now they expect us to map the "Dark Aether" - that is what Peck calls this place. I would like to see him try to survey this... madness. I have seen things out here. Unspeakable things. And today... bozhe moi. Usually, large groups of the infected are... chaotic. Mindless mobs. But today I found hundreds of them strangely grouped. And their clothing... were they uniforms? I dared not get too close, but they looked like... No. No, that cannot be right. It surely cannot be. This place, it plays tricks on you. I... I just need to get some sleep.

Documents

"The Stranger reestablishes contact."
— Description
My friend! Glad you are back, though surely you would rather be elsewhere. I know that feeling all too well, trapped over here for so long. I want to share more of my journal with you. To help you understand what I have been through. To prepare you for what you now face. I will contact you soon with more.

"Another entry from the Stranger's journal recounts their completion of a stronghold in the Dark Aether."
— Description
Day 291: Completed base of operations. Took forever to gather tools and materials, but at last my little fort is secure. Stockpiled weapons. Placed barricades. Found components for traps in case creatures come too close: electric spikes in doorway, gas pipes that shoot flames, and so on. Worried a human may wander into one of them. Perhaps should make warning signs. First time since I arrived that I feel safe. At last I can sleep soundly.

"The Stranger describes a brief, ghostly visit to a city in Earth's home dimension."
— Description
Day 2,944: Made another brief visit back to the world today. Entire minute passed before I was pulled here again. This time I was in a city! New York, I think. Tall glass buildings. Long cars with fins on tails. Neon and chrome everywhere. People rushing through their lives. Still, no one can see or hear me when I am over there. Like a ghost, I pass unnoticed. The world goes on without me.

"The Stranger has tamed a hellhound. They are no longer alone."
— Description
Day 3,789: I remember being scared of the burning dogs. They are fast. Hunt in packs. Kill them and they explode like firebombs. Watched them over the years. Learned patterns, behavior. Understand them now. I even found an injured one and nursed him back to health. Now he answers my call. Watches my back. I am no longer alone. I call him Cinder. Not a "good boy," but as close as it gets over here.

"The Stranger's bond with their hound "Cinder" grows deeper."
— Description
Day 4,010: Cinder sleeps in a corner I cleared out for him. My fort is always warm. He is my partner. Loyal, protective, if not very smart. Hard to remember life without him. We hunt together. I thought keeping him fed would be a challenge, but Cinder is happy devouring my kills - and I am a good provider. Wish I could pet him.

"The Stranger attempts to repair a beverage machine.."
— Description
Day 6,157: Found red beverage machine a few days ago. Badly damaged. Inner workings broken and exposed. Took it to my workshop. Tried to fix. I think I understand the design, but some parts beyond repair. Will have to scavenge from other such device. Would lift my spirits greatly to master this mechanism.

"The Stranger finds a new device to repair."
— Description
Day 6,289: Found another device today - a kind I have not seen before. Like my drink machine, this one is too damaged to function. And it is definitely not for drinks. Disassembling it in my workshop now. Best guess: it is something like a kiln, or a crucible. Excited by the possibilities! Have applied everything learned from repairing drink machine but still cannot fix. Considering looking for help.

"The Stranger met another lost soul who gathers items for trade."
— Description
Day 6,412: Ever since my successes with the drink machine and crucible, I have collected more and more machinery and electronics. Now confident I can complete transmitter project. Have seen enough such devices on my brief excursions "home." I know the components and how they should work together. Acquired some parts from another man stranded here. He gathers items for trade. Told him about machines I repaired and he asked to see them. Perhaps I found a kindred spirit.

"The Stranger has a confrontation with the Trader."
— Description
Day 6,416: Disaster. The Trader arrived unannounced last night. He brought friends. They attacked my fort, avoiding traps. I was a fool to put up warning signs. I fought back but still they broke in. Cinder came to my aid, but they were ready. I almost burned alive when my only friend exploded. Now all my machines and components are stolen. Fort can be restored, but I am alone again. What will I do.

"The Stranger faces off with the Trader and his gang."
— Description
Day 6,418: Decided to visit Trader. Even after what he did, I had to try to make peace. He is still human, after all. His friends were there. They laughed when I asked for truce. I only wanted to talk, but they were not interested in words. I killed them all. Not proud. Life is rare and precious here. Mine most of all. I know there is still good in humanity, but the longer I am here, the less I remember what it is.

"The Stranger relates how they survived their encounter with the Trader and his gang."
— Description
Day 6,421: I must be honest with myself. I knew there would be no truce with those men. I knew it would end in bloodshed. They stole my crucible, but they did not understand what it was. Too bad for them I had already used it on my own weapon. 5 men and I still outgunned them. 5 human lives. Too easy. Why don't I feel worse about killing them? Is my humanity slipping away? Will I end up just another beast prowling this land?

"The Stranger returns to their transmitter project, hoping to warn the world about the Dark Aether."
— Description
Day 6,457: Finally starting to shake off dark thoughts. Cannot allow myself to sink into savagery. This land will not break me. Technology is the key. I am only alive because I rebuilt that crucible. Must keep working. Must keep building. I will return to my transmitter project. Someone will answer my calls. And I will warn the world of the threat it faces from this place of darkness.

"The Stranger signs off, promising to return."
— Description
My friend, I will share more journal entries later. I hope you have come to understand what my life has been like over here. I would not wish it on anyone. I have so much more to tell you; things I hope you will find useful in the struggles to come. But for now, I must go hunt. I will contact you again soon.

Radio Transmissions

"I fear I am losing."
— Description

Pyotr: I do not know how long it has been. How long have I gone without orders? How long... without purpose? I fear I am losing. Not, not just a war, but... losing myself. There were soldiers. An army. One I recognized, but hoped I would never seen again. I am afraid that wherever I go... I may not come back.

"There was a woman that I met..."
— Description

Pyotr: There was a crooked man, and he went a crooked mile. He found a crooked sixpence against a crooked stile. He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse. And they all lived together in a little crooked house. There was a woman, that I met. Her gait was far from crooked. She told me never to lose faith. In spite of how I looked. She told me that I was not worthless. The German accent threw me off. But her words inspired me nonetheless. I will - we will - fix this crooked house.

Artifacts

"Considering the radioactive nature of Aetherium - and the undesirable effects on those exposed to it - Omega Group developed special canisters to ensure the crystals could be handled safely."
— Description

Trivia