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Recap / Call of Duty: Zombies

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Call of Duty: Zombies started as a simple bonus mode for Call of Duty: World at War, with a very straightforward premise. As time went on and new maps were added, the story has become increasingly-complex, with everything from Nazi experimentation to ancient conspiracies to time travel to Eldritch monsters from beyond the stars threatening the very fabric of reality itself. Below is the synopsis for the series.

The synopsis is broken up into four parts, due to the...complicated nature of the lore: the "Standard Timeline" which follows the original plot and characters from the very start in World At War up until the penultimate map of Black Ops II; the "Alternate Timeline" that started with Origins, the final map in Black Ops II; and the two spin-off maps, Mob of the Dead and Shadows of Evil, which follow their own, self-contained plots and aren't directly-connected to the rest of the story. Or so it seems...


Additionally, Revelations (the final map of Black Ops III is in its own separate folder, as it ties all of the prior storylines together and comes with a number of its own revelations that don't fit neatly in any of the other folders. And lastly, Blood of the Dead in Black Ops 4 dramatically shakes up the status quo, and it's place in the story, as well as the events surrounding it, are in the final folder...the Broken Cycle folder.

Please don't add fan theories. The information here is gleaned from audio logs, Easter eggs, tie-in material, gameplay, and what little Word of God is given. All spoilers are UNMARKED.

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     Maps Sorted by Game 
  • Call of Duty: World at War (2008-2009)
    • Nacht der Untoten: Originally unlockable by completing the game's campaign mode, featuring four nameless soldiers fighting the undead in an abandoned house on a desolate night in Germany. Later included in the "Rezurrection" pack for Black Ops and the "Zombies Chronicles" pack for Black Ops III.
    • Verruckt: The first DLC Zombies map, featuring a squad of Marines fighting the horde at the Wittenau Sanatorium. Later included in "Rezurrection" and "Zombies Chronicles".
    • Shi No Numa: The second DLC for World at War, Shi No Numa introduces Dr. Edward Richtofen, Corporal "Tank" Dempsey, Sergeant Nikolai Belinski, and Captain Takeo Masakai as the playable characters in an overrun Japanese swamp. Later included in "Rezurrection" and "Zombies Chronicles".
    • Der Riese: The final map of World at War, featuring the Ultimis cast venturing to the Der Riese facility outside of Berlin. Later included in "Rezurrection", and remastered into The Giant for Black Ops III.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops (2010-2011)
    • Kino der Toten: The on-disc Zombies map, in which the Ultimis group arrives at a Group 935 facility in a decrepit theatre.
    • "Five": Originally unlockable by completing the campaign, "Five" stars John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Fidel Castro, and Robert McNamara under siege from an undead outbreak in the Pentagon in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Later received a prequel in Black Ops IV called Classified.
    • Ascension: The first DLC map available with the "First Strike" pack. Ultimis comes to the aid of the lost scientist Gersh at a Russian cosmodrome. Later included in "Zombies Chronicles".
    • Call of the Dead: Included in the "Escalation" map pack. Sarah Michelle Gellar, Danny Trejo, Michael Rooker, and Robert Englund star as themselves fighting an undead outbreak while filming a movie directed by George A. Romero - who has been infected and serves as the boss of the map himself.
    • Shangri-La: Included in the "Annihilation" map pack, starring Ultimis as they go on a time-traveling adventure in an overrun mystic city in the Himalayas. Later included in "Zombies Chronicles".
    • Moon: The final map of Black Ops and the main feature of the "Rezurrection" pack. Ultimis ventures to the Moon as Richtofen's grand scheme enters its endgame with worldwide ramifications. Later included in "Zombies Chronicles".
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops II (2012-2013)
    • TranZit: The main game mode of the "Green Run" map. Following the events of Moon, Earth has been reduced to a crumbling Zombie Apocalypse, and four survivors known as Victis - Misty, Marlton, Samuel, and Russman - try to survive the zombie onslaught in post-apocalyptic Washington. "Green Run" also contains Survival game modes at each of the main locations of the map, a Grief mode at the Town, and a Turned game mode at the Diner.
    • Nuketown Zombies: The pre-order bonus map for Black Ops II. A Zombies version of fan-favorite Black Ops multiplayer map Nuketown, featuring teams of CDC scientists and CIA agents investigating an undead outbreak following the detonation of a nuclear bomb at the scene.
    • Die Rise: The first DLC map of II, available in the "Revolution" pack. Unlike "Green Run", the map "Great Leap Forward" features the eponymous Die Rise as its' only game mode. Victis is teleported to a series of crumbling skyscrapers in Shanghai as dark secrets come back to haunt them.
    • Mob of the Dead: The main game mode of the "Alcatraz Island" map available in the "Uprising" pack. Mob of the Dead tells the tale of four lost souls trapped in a hellish nightmare of Alcatraz Island, and they attempt to escape and discover the truth about what is taking place around them. "Alcatraz Island" also features a Grief mode in Cell Block. Mob of the Dead received a remaster in the form of Blood of the Dead in Black Ops IV.
    • Buried: The main mode of the "Vengeance" DLC pack, set in "Resolution 1295". Having traveled to a temporally displaced western town below Angola, Victis must make their choice regarding which mysterious higher power to follow, but is there any true path to salvation at this point? "Resolution 1295" also contains a Grief mode and a Turned mode in Borough.
    • Origins: The final map of Black Ops II, available in the "Apocalypse" DLC pack and set at "Excavation Site 64". New incarnations of Richtofen, Dempsey, Takeo, and Nikolai debut as they unite against the horde in the trenches of World War I. Later included in "Zombies Chronicles".
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops III (2015-2017)
    • ''Shadows of Evil": The on-disc content map. Four shady citizens of Morg City find a chance to atone for their sins at the behest of a shady figure, who seems to have designs of his own in the zombie and monster-infested streets.
    • The Giant: The pre-order bonus of Black Ops III, and a remaster of Der Riese. The Origins incarnations of Richtofen, Dempsey, Takeo, and Nikolai reunite as they change history upon returning the the Der Riese facility.
    • Der Eisendrache: Included in the "Awakening" DLC pack. Primis journeys to a Group 935 stronghold in the Alps as Dempsey questions Richtofen's agenda.
    • Zetsubou No Shima: Part of the "Eclipse" DLC pack. Takeo finds his world and loyalties tested during a long, dark night on an overrun Division 9 facility in the south Pacific.
    • Gorod Krovi: Included in the "Descent" DLC pack. As Primis battles dragons and mechanical war machines in a Stalingrad that is beyond salvation, Nikolai faces the worst demons from his past.
    • Revelations: The final map of Black Ops III. Primis has completed their mission, but find themselves in one more battle against a threat that besieges all of reality itself.
  • Call of Duty: Black Ops IV (2018-)
    • Voyage of Despair: A map that heralds the beginning of the "Chaos" Story Arc, separate from all that came before. A fearless team of saboteurs battles the horde aboard the RMS Titanic on the fateful night it collided with an iceberg.
    • IX: The Chaos crew uses strange magic to go back in time to an age of empires and conquest, and find themselves fighting for their lives against an eldritch evil and his undead hordes in a coliseum.
    • Classified: The pre-order bonus map of Black Ops IV. Making their proper return for the first time since Moon, Ultimis fights the zombies in the Pentagon in a prequel to "Five" in a previously undisclosed story.
    • Blood of the Dead: A remaster and quasi-sequel to Mob of the Dead. Primis arrives in Alcatraz, but when Richtofen's plans go awry, they find themselves trapped as well and their carefully planned future in flux.
    • Dead of the Night: A prequel to Voyage of Despair. A party hosted by Alistair Rhodes, father of Scarlett, goes awry when the Order attacks, and four survivors must band together to fend off not just zombies, but other ghouls and goblins in the night.
    • Ancient Evil: The Season Finale of the Chaos story, in which the Chaos crew goes to Delphi to further investigate the whereabouts of Alistair Rhodes.
    • Alpha Omega: The Aether story returns for its' penultimate installment in an expanded version of Nuketown. Primis Nikolai leads the combined forces of Ultimis and Primis back to Nuketown to retrieve an elemental shard for their battles ahead.
    • Tag der Toten: The Grand Finale of the Aether Story Arc. Victis are finally released from stasis and sent to the Siberian outpost from Call of the Dead to assemble the Agarthan Device for Nikolai, so he can end this nightmare once and for all.
    Mob of the Dead 
Let's get the hell off this rock.

In 1930's Prohibition-era America, mob boss Salvatore DeLuca built a large empire from gambling, prostitution, and the distribution of alcohol. Sal was eventually arrested by the police, along with fellow mobsters Billy Handsome, Michael "Finn" O'Leary and Albert "The Weasel" Arlington. They were all imprisoned on Alcatraz Island, where they were to serve hefty sentences.

Arlington, however, devised a plan to escape the island on a makeshift aircraft of his own design. He somehow convinced Sal, Billy, and Finn to participate in the escape plan, but soon enough the joint effort between them descended into quarrels and fighting, and, after numerous complications, the three mobsters became hostile towards Arlington. The plan was quickly abandoned, the plane was never constructed, and the mobsters grew resentful of one another...especially of Arlington by the other three. Soon, Sal, Billy and Finn constructed makeshift weapons and lured Arlington onto the roof of the prison, where they attacked him and left him to bleed to death, on the night of December 31st, 1933. For the murder of Arlington, the three were sentenced to death by electric chair. Their execution came on the morning of January 19th, 1934.

However, after their death sentence, the group were sent back in time to the night of December 31st, 1933. With no memory of Arlington's murder, or of the failure of the escape plan, they start to carry out the plan to build Arlington's plane and attempt to escape, only for the prison to quickly shift into a ruined, demonic hellscape, overrun by zombies and a demonic guard named Brutus. Confused but determined, the mobsters successfully survive the zombies, build the plane, and make their escape. The escape fails after the plane crashes on the Golden Gate Bridge, stranding the mobsters between hellish blockages. At the far end of the bridge sits four electric chairs, with "No One Escapes Alive" written in blood above them. Eventually, the four mobsters are either overrun and killed by zombies, or sit in the chairs, at which point they are electrocuted and seemingly die, but are then returned to the very beginning of the night, apparently trapped in an endless loop.

Confusion gives way to anger, and the mobsters eventually realize the truth; they are all dead, and the "Alcatraz" they're trapped in is some form of Hell or purgatory. Remembering what happened to them in life, and realizing they are being punished, Sal, Billy, and Finn turn on Arlington and attempt to, once again, kill him; Arlington, meanwhile, manages to take control of the zombie hordes and turns them against the other three. From here, one of two things happens:

If Sal, Billy and Finn kill Arlington again, "The Cycle Continues"; the mobsters relive their deaths and are returned to the beginning of the night, with everyone save Arlington having lost their memories. They prepare to reenact the night once more, having failed to break the cycle and condemned to repeat it for eternity.

However, if Arlington and the zombie hordes manage to overwhelm and kill the other three mobsters, "The Cycle Is Broken".

    Shadows Of Evil 
Your sins only serve as an invitation, an invitation to an evil beyond your imagination.

Morg City; a shadowy waterside town with a distinct 1940's Noir vibe, and a haven for all manner of sinister going-ons. Four people of varying backgrounds, with no relation to one another, end up committing murder for one reason or another.

Nero Blackstone grew up in a wealthy family, and he soon chose to pursue a career as a magician. He would become a successful one, constantly surrounded by praise and attention, which fuels his arrogance. However, after years of success, his career eventually went on a decline, as his old tricks ceased to impress and rumors began to circulate of him being a fraud. To make matters worse, his wife, a nagging, unsupportive shrew, kept racking up heavy debts due to her expensive tastes. Between his dwindling income, fading reputation, growing debts and his wife's hostility, Nero became desperate. After confirming that their insurance policies were still fully paid, Nero decided to kill his wife, by setting up an "accident" with a knife-throwing trick, knowing that he would receive her insurance money to pay off all of their debts, and be free of her once and for all.

Jessica Rose, despite her potential and aspiration to become a motion picture star, chose to work as a burlesque dancer in one of Morg City's finest nightclubs instead. The job came naturally to her and paid well, but more importantly, she would attract many powerful men, and manipulated them for her own purposes. She developed a shady reputation and earned the nickname of "The Femme Fatale." Jessica's habits caught up her, however, and one of her affairs ended up being a reporter; as a result of this, the man possessed potentially-damning photos of Jessica, something that greatly upset her due to what could happen if he decided to leak them. Not wanting to risk ruining her chance at stardom, Jessica decided to lure the man into a trap, by inviting him over to talk about the pictures. After seducing him, she cuffed him to a bed and stabbed him to death with a pair of scissors.

Jack Vincent worked as a policeman, and had a reputation of being particularly cold and brutal; many a suspect turned up dead under his investigation. Eventually, however, there began to circulate rumors that the police department was riddled with corruption, and the mayor of Morg City, in an attempt to save face, ordered a precinct-wide investigation. Jack Vincent, who was in fact on the take from the mob and had a hand in framing many innocents, was on the chopping block. In an attempt to cover up his tracks, he lured an informant with a promise of a bribe and, when the man's back was turned, knocked him down and executed him by gunshot; the first time Jack had ever murdered an innocent in cold blood.

Floyd Campbell was an up and coming boxer, who was determined to stay at the top, no matter the cost. Floyd eventually won the championship, but grew complacent, and failed to continue his training. Eventually, he was challenged by the number one contender, an up-and-comer by the name of Tony King. King was strong, and Floyd was rusty, and while he might have been able to win, Floyd decided to leave nothing to chance. Floyd secretly wore brass knuckles under his gloves, and had his agent bribe the referee to make sure he looked the other way. When the time for the match came, Floyd's strength, combined with his unfair advantage and the referee on his side, led to him violently beating Tony to death in the ring.

At some point, Campbell, Vincent and Nero all went to the Black Lace burlesque club, where Jessica was set to perform that day. As they watched Jessica perform on stage, all four of them begin to pass out. They later wake up in different parts of Morg City, which is now eerily deserted, save for hordes of the living dead; furthermore, each of them bares a mark burned into the back of their hands, in the shape of a "6". Having no memory of how it all happened, the four reunite as they try to survive in this twisted reflection of the city. The only voice of guidance comes from the Shadow Man, a mysterious figure of inscrutable motive who offers to help the four of them to survive in the undead city.

Though the Shadow Man assures them he is on their side, he seems to know all about their various crimes, and chides them for their misdeeds; he warns them that the blood on their hands and the sins they've commitment led to the state of this strange and desolate "other" Morg City, and the mark on their hands is a sign of the curse they've received as a result. However, he informs them that by embracing the powers said curse gives them, and following his instructions, they can redeem their sins and save the city. After recovering a supposedly-ancient and powerful artifact known as the Summoning Key, they follow the Shadow Man's instructions and perform sacrificial rituals, binding the souls of people with close relations to the four characters into the Summoning Key: Nero's lawyer, who helped him in a fraudulent case set up by his wife; Jessica's film producer, who promised her a chance to be famous on Broadway; Vincent's police partner, who protected his secret from their higher-ups; and Campbell's promoter, who promised him a shot at the champion title. Completing each sacrifice rewards a key known as a Gateworm, and once they have all four, at the Shadow Man's behest, they use the Gateworms to open a monstrous rift hidden below the city.

Thanking them for their loyal service to his overlord, the Shadow Man vanishes, and the four return to the surface to find that a massive starfish-like tentacled abomination has taken residence in the sky above the city. Realizing that they have been tricked into doing the Shadow Man's bidding and allowed his alien overlord into their realm, they set out to kill him in another sacrificial ritual. Eventually, having reclaimed four powerful eldritch swords and fighting off the Shadow Man's attempts to stop them, they succeed in completing the ritual and capture the Shadow Man into the Summoning Key and, with the help of mysterious "Keepers", summon a giant Gateworm in the process. They then proceed to charge Morg City's tram with electricity, powering it up before it hits the giant Gateworm at the junction and causing a chain reaction that fires a massive energy beam into the overlord above the city, striking the tentacle monster at its core.

With the creature gone, and the Shadow Man trapped, their city is saved; as they go to retrieve the Summoning Key, however, the Origins-incarnation of Edward Richtofen appears out of a portal and takes the key, thanking them for their effort before departing.

     The Standard Timeline 

Beware the Doc.

In the years leading up to World War II, a brilliant German scientist by the name of Dr. Ludvig Maxis founded Group 935, a secret international organization out to "improve the human condition", based out of the Der Riese (German for "The Giant") facility in Germany. Formed from the best and brightest minds across the globe, Group 935 aimed to push science across all fields and to work for the greater good of humanity. However, despite early successes, Group 935's funding began to dry out and they found themselves in dire straits financially; as a result, Maxis was offered a chance to cut a secret deal with the Nazi party for funding. A breakthrough came when Group 935 discovered an alien element they dubbed "Element 115"; the element had miraculous qualities and quickly became the lifeblood of the organization's work. Among its unique properties was the ability to reanimate dead cells, something that became a focal point of the group's research into the strange new element.

During one experiment with 115, Maxis' assistant and fellow scientist, Dr. Edward Richtofen, inadvertently invented teleportation by moving a walnut a few feet with no visible movement. However, Maxis was unimpressed and chided Richtofen for his "Walnut Delivery Service", but out of frustration informed Richtofen of the secret deal with the Nazis; Richtofen advised him against it, warning him that, as a global organization, taking a political side could have disastrous consequences. Richtofen found himself having newfound doubts about Maxis' loyalty to Group 935, and began suspecting Maxis intended to steal his discovery of teleportation. He is placated, however, when Maxis promises to ensure mass production of the Wunderwaffe DG-3, a lightning rifle of Richtofen's design and his proudest invention to-date. Satisfied but undeterred, Richtofen continued his teleportation experiments against Maxis's wishes until the time came to perform the test with the first human: himself. Intending to only move a few feet beyond a solid wall, he instead ended up in an artificial, oxygenated cave on the moon, housing a mysterious pyramid of alien origin. When he touched it, the device gave him a static shock, and he began hearing voices from the Aether, a dimension of the supernatural. He was then suddenly and unexpectedly teleported a second time to the lost jungle city of Shangri La, where the locals worshiped Richtofen as a god. Between the surreal, supernatural setting and the voices from the pyramid haunting him, Richtofen soon went mad. Eventually, he returned to Der Riese, his sanity gone but his ambition stronger than ever, and began laying the foundation for what would be his "Grand Scheme."

It was also around this time that the Third Reich demanded that Element 115 be used to produce an army of undead super soldiers, but the resultant zombies proved too chaotic and dangerous to control, and the project was stalled. Also around this time, the knowledge of the Nazi funding came to light and, as Richtofen had predicted, Group 935 suffered mass defections in outrage. Richtofen saw this as his opportunity and secretly reached out to these defectors behind Maxis' back, uniting them under his authority instead. Revealing his discoveries during his teleportation accident, Richtofen has his splinter group begin constructing a secret moonbase, with the black pyramid, now dubbed the MPD, as the centerpiece. While this was happening, Richtofen continued to serve under Maxis as part of the core 935, putting on an act of still being loyal to them even as he planned his betrayal.

Two years later, the Moonbase, named Griffin Station, was completed. A happy accident involving a dead rat revealed that the MPD was powered by life force, and it would take 100 souls for the device to open. Richtofen ordered his 935 to begin the process of killing 100 prisoners to open the device. However, it was at this time that Richtofen became aware that Maxis had broken his promise and had, in fact, never mass-produced the Wunderwaffe, out of fear of what the Nazis could do with it. Enraged, Richtofen adjusted his scheme, planning to punctuate his splinter group's betrayal with the death of Dr. Maxis and, out of paranoia and madness, his young daughter Samantha as well. Richtofen returned to Der Riese and continued his act, waiting for an opportunity to present itself.

He finally got his chance. Whereas Richtofen had mastered teleportation, Maxis struggled with it, and in a rage attempted a blind teleportation experiment with Samantha's pregnant dog Fluffy. The dog came back as a hellhound, and Richtofen saw his chance; with Maxis and his daughter Samantha (who had wandered into the lab looking for Fluffy) cornered by the beast, Richtofen sealed the door and locked them in with it, believing them dead. In reality, Maxis had been teleported to an underground catacomb, the setting of Buried, where he began to learn of the forces at play regarding the Aether and its energies. Samantha, meanwhile, had been teleported to Griffin Station on the Moon, just as the MPD had finally opened. As Richtofen's 935 personnel on the moonbase attempted to apprehend her, she entered the open MPD in a panic and was trapped within the Aether. Richtofen, learning of these events, had his followers Groph and Schuster locate the missing Maxis and bring him to his daughter to try to talk to her and coax her out. Maxis made contact with Samantha and apologized for his shortcomings as a father, but rather than convince her to leave the MPD, Maxis instead asked her to use the power of the Aether to kill Richtofen, Group 935, and everyone involved with them. He was immediately executed by gunshot, and his enraged daughter unleashed the zombies on all of Group 935 as per her father's dying wish. Richtofen fled and abandoned his follows, and as Samantha's demonic laughter filled the moonbase, Schuster spoke aloud what the rest of them knew.

"We are doomed."

Unbeknownst to anyone present at the time, Maxis did not die; rather, after being shot, Maxis' soul entered first the MPD then Griffin Station's power systems, but he fell into dormancy when the station's power was cut off, rendered blind, deaf, and mute as his daughter carried out his revenge just a short distance away.

Richtofen was hiding at a 935 base in Japan when the zombies came for him, and he released his amnesiac super soldier test subjects - Tank Dempsey, Takeo Masakai, and Nikolai Belinski - to aid him. The group fought their way to the overrun Der Riese, where Richtofen made contact with Samantha via the Fly Trap and learned of her control over the zombies. With their backs to the proverbial wall, a shot from the prototype Wunderwaffe DG-3 overloaded the teleporter, sending the group through space and time to a theatre in the 60s. Richtofen resolved to traverse the globe with his companions to gather all the items necessary to enter the MPD and usurp control from Samantha.

After many adventures, including heading to a Cosmodrome, getting stuck in a Siberian outpost and needing assistance from a group of actors in their future (2011 to be precise), heading to the same temple Richtofen found when he teleported the very first time, and taking an unexpected detour to the Pentagon, Richtofen led the group to Griffin Station, and began the process of opening the MPD. In each of the locations he took the group to, he recovered artifacts and prototypes, which on their own do nothing, but together would help him in his quest for power. When he turned on the power, the long-dormant Maxis awoke and failed to stop him from entering the MPD, swapping bodies with Samantha and seizing control of the Aether and the zombies, while Samantha's soul ended up in Richtofen's body. Maxis contacted Samantha and the super soldiers and was able to instruct them to launch three nuclear missiles with Element 115 at the Earth to lessen Richtofen's control. Due to his haste, the calculations were off and the nuclear strike worked all too well, and the Earth was transformed into a hellish, broken nightmare of a world overrun by zombies.

The world descended into a nightmarish anarchy, with Richtofen only loosely in control of the zombies and cut off from the highest levels of the Aether. Maxis, still alive and with a weak link to the Aether of his own, began contacting survivors to enact a "Plan B" to fight Richtofen by powering up three towers with enough energy to tear a rift in the Aether for Maxis to enter fully and depose Richtofen. Meanwhile, Richtofen, angry at Maxis' preventing his full control and ongoing attempts to seize what little he did have, began to court his own followers in direct opposition to Maxis. Their feud sparked conflict between the various survivors of Earth.

In 2035, a decade after the missiles hit, group of survivors, known as "Victis", came together in Washington - boisterous Misty, narcissistic smart guy Marlton, borderline senile Russman, and nervous wreck Samuel. They were contacted by Maxis and asked to power up a tower in the area. Samuel, who could hear voices from the Aether due to his having eaten zombie flesh, was contacted by Richtofen to do the same for him. The group ultimately sided with Maxis. Still seeking to regain control, Richtofen teleports the group to Shanghai, China, where they were implored to power up another tower for either of the Germans. Once again, Victis sided with Maxis.

Over the course of the next month, Russman leads the group on foot to Angola, Africa, to the mysterious "Rift", a great hole in the Earth's crust left by one of the missiles. Victis descends into an abandoned western town, temporally displaced underground next to the Rift. The group's hope to find answers is cut short when Maxis and Richtofen once again ask them for help in powering up a tower. From here, the story takes two routes depending on who the player has completed the Easter eggs of TranZit, Die Rise,, and Buried for.

Richtofen ending: If the player has powered up the towers in Richtofen's power, he assumes complete control over the Aether, apparently eternally damning Samantha's soul. He kills Maxis and as a reward for his help, possesses the body of Samuel as a physical host. However, he finds that he cannot leave Samuel's body, and is once again at the mercy of the zombies. This ending is non-canonical and is not referenced by future events.

Maxis ending: In the canonical ending, Maxis enters the Aether and takes full control of it's energies. However, he reneges on his agreement to help the survivors and begins destroying the Earth, in an effort to enter Agartha, a fabled realm said to be within the planet's core, where he believes Samantha is. He also traps Richtofen's soul inside a zombie for all eternity, and callously informs the group that all of humanity will be destroyed along with the Earth.

Maxis plucks Samantha's soul from the Moon back in 2025, but Samantha realizes her father has been corrupted by the Dark Aether and rejects him. As Earth nears its' destruction at Maxis' hands, Samantha reaches out through the Aether to a version of her father from another timeline - Dimension 63...

    The Alternate Timelines 
I am no fool. What I do, I do only to secure a better tomorrow.

In Dimension 63, Maxis and Richtofen are once again the leaders of a Group 935, this time in 1918 France, where they are working to aid Germany during World War I. However, their work uncovers an ancient catacomb that unleashes a zombie outbreak. Samantha contacts her father and begs to be freed from Agartha, but the nature of the Aether and the information she tries to convey to him slowly drives her father insane until he succumbs and begins to turn into a zombie. Richtofen, aware of Samantha's presence and interference but not aware of the full story, resorts to lobotomizing his friend to save his brain, blaming Samantha for what has happened. While Group 935 is wiped out by the zombies, the Allies send in their best men - alternate versions of Dempsey, Nikolai and Takeo - to retrieve Richtofen and stop Germany's work. The soldiers band together with Richtofen to give Maxis a temporary new body and to free Samantha from Agartha. Samantha explains that this is done by "following the steps", highly-metaphorical recreations of Victor Reznov's "steps" to escape the Vorkuta prison during Black Ops I's story campaign. During the process, the four find strange, ancient-yet-highly advanced elemental staves that end up playing a key role in completing the "steps." Eventually they succeed, opening a portal to Agartha in a strange and surreal "Crazy Place" hidden inside the excavation site; first sending Maxis, now occupying the body of a flying drone, into the portal, the heroes then enter the portal themselves.

A strange sequence (the non-canon ending) is shown, where Samantha narrates that, as the heroes entered Agartha and saved her, they received riches and power beyond their imagination, and were happy in the knowledge that she would always keep them safe. It is then revealed that this narration, and supposedly all of Origins, was Samantha playing with toy figures of the cast and the zombies. It is revealed that she is living during World War II, in London during the Blitz. Her friend Eddie, apparently a child version of Richtofen, wishes that their games were real, but Samantha tells him not to worry, as her father has a plan.

The actual plot seems to diverge from this cutscene at the moment the cast entered the portal in the Crazy Place, as the 1918 versions of Dempsey, Nikolai and Takeo (separated from Richtofen) travel through time and space to Der Riese, just after the original incarnation of Richtofen had betrayed Maxis in the original timeline. In this continuity, the Nazi Party never took control of Germany, and the German forces are still using the Giant Robots as weapons of war. Holding him at gunpoint, the team proceed to instruct him to wake up 'the test subjects' (the WW2 versions of themselves), presumably so that history can continue as it did last time. Before he can, however, the zombies arrive and, as the team begin to hold them off, WW2-Richtofen abandons them and goes to the control panel of the teleporter he's just sent Maxis and Samantha through. Despite Dempsey's warning, he opens the teleporter to find the WW1 version of himself from Origins. WW2-Richtofen prepares to happily greet his alternate self, but before he can say a word, Origins!Richtofen coldly shoots his WW2 self in the head, altering history and sending the whole of what has gone before into flux. The only reason he gives is that it's for 'a better tomorrow'.

As it turns out, Richtofen has been investigating parallel timelines since the group saved Samantha in Agartha, the cutscene from Origins being a vision of another parallel universe where he and Samantha are children, with Dr Maxis working for the British during the London Blitz. He decides that in order to set things right, he must eliminate every trace of his attempt to ascend to power in Griffin Station, along with eliminating everyone associated with the project. In his travels, he stumbles across a dimension housing a monstrous alien invasion utilizing 115, the dimension of Shadows of Evil. While the four Morg City heroes were able to avert the impending apocalypse on their own, they use in the process a device known as a "Summoning Key"; Richtofen takes the device for his own plans, citing the fate of the multiverse is a larger threat than their single city, and leaves before any of them can say a word.

Back in the altered timeline, the three WWI heroes along with Richtofen continue their fight against the spreading undead, first fighting their way out of the altered Der Riese, before Richtofen leads the four to Austria, commandeering a Giant Robot in the process. Their objective is to retrieve Test Subject A: the original, WW2-incarnation of Tank Dempsey. At least, that was the stated plan.

Upon arriving at the Eagle's Nest HQ for Group 935, known as Der Eisendrache (German for 'The Iron Dragon'), Dr Groph starts communicating to the group from the Moon. His test subject, WW2-Dempsey, has been sent into orbit via rocket. Richtofen impersonates his WW2 self in order to recover WW2-Dempsey, but Groph soon catches on that something is wrong. Seeing that his comrade is apparently betraying his cause, Groph declares war on Richtofen, sending Panzer Soldats to eliminate him and his allies. Using the castle's defenses, the group are able to construct an ancient, magical bow, and with the power of the Summoning Key, they are able to forge four powerful elemental bows from it in order to turn the castle's weapons against their creators. Once they are successful in bringing the rocket down, Dempsey's pod crashes into the castle courtyard, and in an attempt to stop them, Groph activates a failsafe from within Griffin Station, electrifying the exterior of the Life Support. Richtofen responds by destroying Griffin Station (and the Moon in the process) with the castle's armaments, killing Groph and his allies. With WW2-Dempsey secure, the WW1 group begin to celebrate their successful mission, before Richtofen unexpectedly uses the Summoning Key to freeze them in place and explains the true nature of their mission:

The Summoning Key is an immensely powerful artifact capable of sealing recently deceased souls inside of it. Richtofen reveals that in order to save the world, he needs to seal each of their original WW2 selves' souls inside of it, stating that their WW2 selves will wreck unimaginable havok, but does not elaborate further. As he is about to disable Dempsey's live support, Origins!Dempsey stops him, and says that if anyone of them is going to do this, it should be him. Richtofen killed his other self in Der Riese, so Tank should kill his other self here. After a few moments to compose himself and say goodbye to his 'brother', Tank turns off the life support and Richtofen absorbs the soul. With two of the four originals dead, all that is left is to locate Nikolai and Takeo from the original timeline, and store their souls too.

From Austria the team heads east towards Japan, stowing away on a freighter bound for Micronesia. The captain locates the stowaways and interrogates them, holding Takeo at swordpoint since the others don't speak Japanese. A brief skirmish for the Summoning Key occurs on deck, and the four flee after a stray bullet ignites a stack of oil drums. They swim to their destination, "Zetsubou no Shima" - the Island of Despair; a testing facility for Element 115 experiments on plant life. The facility is run by the Japanese branch of 935 - Division 9, who were also the leaders of the Rising Sun facility at Shi No Numa where the original WW2 survivors first met in the original timeline.

The team quickly realize that the facility's experimentation has resulted in highly aggressive flora and fauna, with the island overrun with canine-sized black widow spiders. In addition, 115 infused plants rapidly grow around the island, some attacking both the heroes and the zombies with impunity, while others hold weapons inside of them. The group find an altar hidden behind vines, containing four skulls not unlike the ones they encountered in Der Eisendrache. After properly cleansing the skulls, a fifth is revealed, the skull of the former leader of the island before Division 9 arrived. Infused with 115 and a strange mystical aura, the skull is capable of strength not unlike those of the Wonder Weapons they had encountered previously.

After performing various tasks to locate and free the original Takeo, including defeating a monstrous Black Widow in an underground cavern, the team are able to accomplish their mission. The group find out that Division 9 had begun tests on Takeo, who had been imprisoned on the orders of someone high up in the Japanese military, the experiments mutating him into a gigantic Thrasher. They are able to reverse the effects of the experiments and free Takeo, albeit with great difficulty. Takeo 1.0 reveals to his younger self that it was none other than the Emperor himself who had imprisoned him on the island, due to his jealousy of the war hero. In shock over this revelation, he embraces Richtofen's plan for 'a better tomorrow' and aids his older self in committing seppuku, before his soul is absorbed. Tank notes that their last stop is Nikolai somewhere in Russia, but Richtofen stops him, telling him there is a chain of events that must be set in motion. The group teleport, only to return seconds later, their mysterious, unnamed mission seemingly accomplished. Richtofen notes that these events were 'an insurance policy', to ease any doubt from Tank.

Maxis teleports the group to the final location, Stalingrad, but a tear in spacetime ruptures in the sky, calling forth matter from numerous time periods, including Peter McCain from the Rising Sun Facility. McCain's dead body, along with the team, are flung out into the air, and it is only by skydiving to his parachute are they able to survive their descent into the City of Blood - Gorod Krovi. In this particular dimension, Nikolai Belinski is the only survivor left in Stalingrad, and he has taken over in his drunken state as 'leader' of the city. He spends his days drinking and killing undead while piloting a Manticore mech suit. Oddly, there appears to be other things wrong with this dimension, as not only do the German Gigants appear (damaged and inoperable) but also dragons and wyverns soaring around the city. In this timeline, Group 935 had infiltrated and set up a facility to breed and control dragons, and built the S.O.P.H.I.A supercomputer to harness the dragons' power for the German Army. Richtofen, along with his allies are able to hack into S.O.P.H.I.A and gain control of the dragons themselves, before fighting their way through Stalingrad towards Nikolai 1.0 and defeating him and his mech in combat. Nikolai 2.0 approaches his counterpart and laments that while he wishes there was another way, he knows all too well the pain the original hides. He speaks of his lost love, and how drinking to forget caused its own share of problems. The original counters that some memories are forgotten for a reason, and shoots 2.0 in the shoulder, who retaliates with a shotgun blast at close range. As Richtofen collects the soul, the team solemnly show their respect for their fallen counterparts; and as Richtofen holds the Summoning Key to the heavens, and the portal opens once more the souls of the originals fly into the portal; the team's mission complete...

During this mission, a mysterious voice communicated with the team during their battle with Nikolai, telling them that their actions have fractured and splintered the universe, and he tells them that they are going to fix the mess they caused. He quotes the harbinger of Morg City's apocalypse, the Shadow Man, and implies that going along with Richtofen's plan was foolish. The voices reveals himself to be Dr. Monty, an entity seemingly responsible for overseeing the different universes, to Nikolai, Takeo and Tank. He tells them that Richtofen will soon have outlived his usefulness, but that he'll try to help the remaining trio.

This. Is. It.

The four are teleported by Maxis to "The House", a pocket dimension created by Monty in the Aether. Meant to be a "Perfect World", safe and free of the destruction ravaging the rest of the multiverse, it was here that Richtofen had sent the souls. In this dimension, Tank, Takeo and Nicholai are now children, playing with a different, child-incarnation of Richtofen, "Eddie", and lastly, Samantha. Maxis, already in the pocket universe, teleports the group into the House, after which he and Richtofen destroy the teleporter at Monty's behest, having no more need of it and knowing now the chaos it has and could cause. Having concluded their journey, Richtofen gives the Key to Maxis, and the group settle down to live peacefully in their "Perfect World." However, things fall apart shortly thereafter; Monty only had Maxis's brain to recreate him, not his soul, which leaves him vulnerable to the whispers of the Shadow Man from within the key, something not even Monty knew was possible. The Shadow Man convinces Maxis that releasing him is the only way to save this world, after which he possesses Maxis and allows his overlords to come into the Aether, bringing with them fragments of the other dimensions where they infected the world. Monty warns the four survivors that now, they're not battling some vague evil, but are actually fighting for their very existence; they are now fighting the Ultimate Evil, the Apothicons.

Monty explains that the Apothicons once ravaged the multiverse and trapped the ancients in a terrible war, but were eventually banished to the Dark Aether during the Middle Ages by the Keepers, with the aid of four heroes known as "Primis". The Apothicons have been trying to escape ever since, with the Shadow Man serving as their envoy on the mortal plane. The key to this endeavor is Element 115, or Divinium, which it turns out is created by the Apothicons as a trojan horse to bait foolish, power-hungry mortals. The dark power of Divinium allowed the Apothicons to control reanimated hosts remotely in order to open up a large enough tear in the reality of a dimension, so that they could invade and take over. When Divinium turned up in the Rising Sun facility and Group 935 started using it for their own ends, the nature of Divinium started to cause the timeline to fracture, not only resulting in the "Original Timeline" that resulted in the WW2 heroes, WW2 Richtofen's insanity and subsequent grab for power, and the final destruction of that timeline's humanity, but also creating all the other timeline variants as seen in the "Alternate Timelines." This torrent of endless loops and paradoxes weakened the fabric of reality, allowing the Shadow Man the ability to find gaps and infiltrate, such as the one in Shadows of Evil. Monty reveals that at one point, he and the Shadow Man (or, at least, who the Shadow Man used to be) were best of friends, but when the Apothicons indoctrinated the Shadow Man to their cause, the Keepers forged an equivalent alliance with Monty inside the Aether, forever sealing the two as eternal enemies. From the Aether, Monty was able to become almost godlike, being able to interact with the dimensions in a non-direct way, such as with the Perk-a-Colas, in the hopes of guiding and strengthening someone who could eventually tip the balance in the Keepers' favor. That someone eventually became the 2.0 incarnations of the foursome, designated "Primis" in honor of the original four heroes who saved the Keepers in the beginning of time.

As the Primis crew battle the Apothicons in the shattered Perfect World, they come across fragmented memories of their prior exploits, and some from areas they themselves had never been. The different memories are corrupted and intertwined due to the Apothicon's influence, and they all connect to a singular area, where Monty has devised a trap for an Apothicon. The four realize that in order to defeat the Shadow Man and the Apothicons once and for all, they must call on the help of the Keepers who once fought them. Summoning a Keeper entombed from within the Der Eisendrache memory, the four are able to perform rituals and gain parts necessary to defeat their enemies. As they uncover the rituals, they also find the body of the original Sophia, who had been infected with Divinium and was slowly succumbing to the Apothicon virus. Maxis's only chance of saving her was by uploading her brain into a machine, which would eventually become S.O.P.H.I.A. in Gorod Krovi.

After turning the power of the Apothicon's Corruption Engines scattered around the Aether against them, they are able to use them to revive S.O.P.H.I.A. She takes them to Samantha's room in the House, the same room that had been seen countless times prior throughout both incarnations of the group's travels. On her bed happens to be the Kronorium, an ancient book detailing the different dimensions and the part the Keepers play in defending them. Apothicon eggs start to spawn around the Aether; as these eggs start hatching, Gateworms appear and change the eggs into the mythical 'Runes of Creation', which allow the wielder to change reality. The four collect the four runes and take them to a projector in the Kino Der Toten memory, whereby they are teleported to a large Apothicon cavern, where they find another Kronorium. The Kronorium activates an Apothicon ritual, summoning Margwas and Furies to kill the heroes, who likewise kill the Apothicons to advance the ritual. After completing the four Apothicon Rituals, the Summoning Key is released from the Shadow Man's grip, allowing the heroes to use it to collect new souls from their memories. They use these new memories to create a new lock for the Summoning Key, allowing the Shadow Man to be sealed inside once and for all. The four head back to the Apothicon cavern to collect Divinium to power the Key. The Shadow Man, incensed at this, appears to battle the four directly, summoning hordes of Apothicons in a desperate attempt to stop them, but S.O.P.H.I.A. stops him, aiding the heroes in fighting him. After enough Divinium is collected, Maxis is able to control the Summoning Key remotely and both he and S.O.P.H.I.A. sacrifice their souls to seal both the Shadow Man and his masters, the Apothicons, inside for all eternity.

With the Apothicon threat ended and the Universe set right, Monty begins rebuilding his Perfect World, until he notices one odd detail. Tank, Richtofen, Nikolai and Takeo are all still alive and kicking; they should have been purged when the timelines reforged and the Aether began to stabilize. It slowly dawns on him that Richtofen's plan succeeded; his insurance plan following WW2-Takeo's death on Zetsubou No Shima, where the group mysteriously vanished to an unknown destination and reappeared seemingly-successful, was to travel to an isolated dimension cut off from both the Aether and the Keeper and Apothicon's battles, and to claim the blood from four mortal souls there. That dimension was Mob of the Dead, and by carrying the blood of Sal, Finn, Billy, and Arlington, the Primis crew created a paradox that protected them from the multiversal reset. As Monty muses what to do with the four considering they should no longer exist, Nikolai and Takeo ready their weapons in case Monty decides to remove them directly, but Richtofen interrupts, reminding Monty of a vital, unfulfilled part of the ancient story - sending the four somewhere they had never been before. As Monty does indeed try to erase the four directly, Richtofen's words ring true, and it finally dawns on him why these four are so important, why they always reappear no matter the timeline, why they always tie into the flux of the specific timeline in question and why, always, they are there at the very beginning.

Primis - the first occurrence. Monty understands what must be done.

The four are reincarnated in the Middle Ages, at the climax of the Keeper's original war with the Apothicons and the zombie hordes. Donning ceremonial Keeper attire, and taking the original incarnation of the ancient elemental staves that later appeared in Origins, the four come forward and drive back the undead and the Apothicons. With that victory, they are declared heroes and Kings of Divinium, the "Primis"; portraits and statues of the four legendary heroes and their great elemental weapons being forever enshrined and immortalized throughout history. The heroes were the Primis from the ancient stories all along, and with their being sent back, they have ensured that legend will carry forward into the future, that all of the events from Origins onwards will eventually happen as needed, and ensuring that the Apothicons will ultimately and permanently be defeated when Revelations happens once more. The loop is closed; the timelines are stable and the threat of the Apothicons is gone once and for all. Agartha and the Aether are secure, Monty and his Perfect World is restored and the children, including Samathana, are safe to live there peacefully for the rest of time. As for Primis, their legend will carry on, leading them to become the heroes that saved it all, until their first incarnations from Origins become the last, in Revelations, then back to the beginning again, to become Primis. And, after everything, Richtofen has, finally, atoned for all he had done.

This story is over. However, there is always another to tell...

    The Broken Cycle 
I wanted to keep going...this me. I was the nicest one...and you won't even remember me.

Blood of the Dead, introduced in Black Ops 4, kicked off a new chain of events that dramatically changes the course of the prior story.

Here, the Cycle (from the very beginning at Nacht to the very end at Revelations) has played out as it should, up until the afterevents of Zetsubou No Shima. Primis once again travels to the Alcatraz pocket dimension for the blood of the inmates, though Richtofen quickly realizes something is amiss as they enter his lab and meet the other Primis Richtofen, who orders him to re-read the Kronorium. Shocked by this change of events, our Richtofen discovers that the Kronorium's pages have changed and, with them, the future; he angrily blames this on the other Richtofen, who shrugs indifferently before leaving. Primis then tries to escape Alcatraz through a portal, only for Brutus to appear and destroy it, trapping the four on the island. Richtofen rightly freaks out, as the events of the Cycle, previously set in stone, have now been thrown severely off-course.

Takeo, Dempsey, and Nikolai are up in arms since Richtofen has trapped them in the primordial hellscape of Alcatraz, while Richtofen is at a loss since he is not happy about what the future now holds. As they fight Brutus, they discover through radio logs that as the Warden in his mortal life, he heard the voice of the Shadow Man, who ordered him to execute Sal, Billy, Finn, and Al in order to trap Richtofen in Alcatraz. Maxis tries to contact Richtofen, and suggests that his blood, charged with Aetherial energy, could open portals for Primis to escape. Primis comes across remnants of Sal, Billy, Finn, and Al's endless cycle of torment, and interact with the spirits of Alcatraz as they try to find a way out.

Richtofen begins hearing the voice of Samuel Stuhlinger, who tries to help direct him on his quest at the behest of Al, who has taken a spiritual form as a seagull. When Primis is on the verge of escaping, Brutus captures and imprisons them, and explains he intends to use Richtofen's blood to allow his dark masters to escape this dimension. Al returns, and with the help of Sal and Finn's spirits, fights and holds off Brutus long enough for Primis to reach the other side of the island. After spending the entirely of the prior events fighting off the new fate the changed Kronorium had laid out for him, Richtofen reluctantly decides he has no choice if they are to survive, and enters Brutus' Dark Mechanism as he was ordained to, which begins to slowly drain him of his blood.

In the lab, a fifth stasis pod opens to reveal another incarnation of Richtofen, this one who has lived through the cycle already and has come from the Great War post-Revelations. He makes his way to the fight with Brutus and uses a crystal to wipe out the undead, and purify Alcatraz. The souls of Sal, Billy, Finn, Al, and all the others in Alcatraz finally move on to rest in peace. Post-Revelations Richtofen gives Nikolai the Kronorium and tasks him with pursuing Doctor Monty, who Nikolai, Dempsey, and Takeo have yet to meet in this new timeline, implicitly identifying him as their true enemy. Post-Revelations Richtofen then goes to his other self in the Dark Mechanism and coldly rebukes his dying pleas, explaining that the cycle is broken and he has outlived his usefulness, as he strips the blood vials from his other self's dying form. The remaining members of Primis, led by Nikolai, leave Alcatraz through portals generated by old Richtofen's blood, while post-Revelations Richtofen leaves through another. Cycle-Richtofen can only weep as he dies alone in the Alcatraz dimension, abandoned by his allies.

Sometime later, Primis arrives in the Pentagon in the 1960's. They find the Ultimis crew of the standard timeline, who after the events of Moon ended up teleported to the Pentagon and were captured as 115 guinea pigs once again. Among their numbers was Ultimis Richtofen, whose undead form managed to somehow find his way to his vacant body in the Pentagon, and returned his soul to his old body. Primis Nikolai recruits the four to come with them to fight in the Great War.

The 8 men head to a site detailed in the Pentagon's files, a Broken Arrow facility codenamed Camp Edward. The facility was a testing ground for nuclear weapons. According to the files, the Government was testing something called an 'Elemental Shard', when something happened that caused the scientists to be turned into zombies. From reading the Kronorium, Nikolai discovers the shard is connected to the Great War, and thus tainted with Divinium, so the team heads out to recover it.

Interacting with the base's supercomputer Rushmore reveals that there was more to the base than mere nuclear testing, as the team quickly discovers that they were using more research on Divinium to conduct their own versions of 935's experiments, even creating new versions of Porter's second prototype ray gun. They then bring back Peter McCain, whose soul was trapped within a container. He vouches for them to Rushmore, who allows them to retrieve the Shard from the APD, where it is being stored. The team makes their way through the compound to the APD and they discover that they can retrieve the Shard by using zombie souls to charge the APD, similar to what Ultimis did on the Moon. They open the APD, only to discover the entity from the ruined Earth that chased Victis - the Avogadro, revealed to be the director of Broken Arrow: CIA Agent Cornelius Pernell. He reveals that the Shard allows the user to pass through dimensions once powered up, and that he (as the strongest and therefore dominant lifeform on the planet) is the only one that can be allowed into Agartha. Chased down by him, Rushmore directs the team to get the backup vials so that they can reimprison the monster, and after a lengthy drawn out fight, they succeed in driving the Avogadro back into the APD. Rushmore teleports him to another site, where he can be incarcerated safely, and thanks the team, relinquishing the Shard to the group.

However, in the midst of their celebrations, Maxis talks to them over the radio. He tells them that he is onto whatever their plan is, and that there isn't much time. He activates the Agarthan teleporter, just as Monty assumes his Apothicon form and devours Maxis on the spot. The teleporter opens to reveal Samantha and Eddie, sent to Primis and Ultimis just in time. Sam, devastated over her father's murder unleashes a wave of energy, obliterating the site and levelling the facility underground. Once the team recovers, and Primis explain who Eddie is, Sam reveals that they are all going to fight in the war, then once they are done, they will go back to Agartha, kill Monty and burn it all to the ground.

The ten of them make their way to the forest to enjoy one last night of drinking and celebration around a campfire, before they go on to fulfil their destinies. Primis Nikolai explains to his allies that the Apothicons, Keepers, Shadow Man, Monty etc. are merely legends told of in the Kronorium, and that the true "Great War" was the one they fought inside themselves. He tells them to think of what they desire as they toast their impending victory. Unbeknownst to the other seven heroes, Nikolai had poisoned their drinks, killing them painfully with the exception of Ultimis Richtofen, who returns to his undead form.

The undead Richtofen then makes contact with Victis, finally awakening them from cryosleep just as the Alcatraz pocket dimension begins to collapse in on itself. They are sent through a portal to the abandoned Group 935 outpost in Siberia with the goal of forging an Agarthan Device, which is a combination of the Elemental Shard, Apothicon blood, and the Seal of Duality. With the help of Pablo Marinus, a hermit who was once experimented on by Richtofen, they achieve this goal and deliver the Agarthan Device. Unfortunately, they received no further assistance from Richtofen or Nikolai.

After retrieving the Agarthan Device, Nikolai uses it to destroy the Summoning Key, and by extension the Shadow Man's soul. This causes the very fabric of the multiverse itself to begin unravelling, erasing everything linked to the Aether - starting with Victis and continuing with Element 115, the Apothicons and even Dr. Monty himself - and banishing it to the Dark Aether, never to return. Nikolai then kills the undead Richtofen, and states that this was the only way to truly purge the Dark Aether's influence on the universe - as no matter how many times the heroes go through the cycle of the Great War, they would never be able to win - before handing his pistol to Samantha, telling her to finish him off. And she does.

With the sacrifice of the twelve survivors, the paradox is finally resolved. As the old multiverse fades away from existence, Samantha and Eddie find themselves walking away from the forest, and into the light of a safe, new, uncorrupted universe to live a free life. And so our story ends, for real this time. But as previously stated, there are always more stories to tell...

Let go and the beginning will become the end.

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