Located at latitude 20.40, right ascension 03 hours, 43 minutes, declination -10.60, Totenkopf Island lies "dead center in the middle of nowhere", and is not marked on any map. Safe from prying eyes, it was here that Totenkopf established his last refuge. By the time of Totenkopf's death in late 1918, the island already boasted advanced laboratories and manufacturing facilities. Over the next twenty-one years, Totenkopf's mechanical minions continued to use the island as a base, gathering materials and specimens to complete Totenkopf's vision of the "World of Tomorrow".
"I am the last, desperate chance for a doomed planet."
As the first World War raged across the planet, Totenkopf came to believe that humankind was destined for self-destruction. In an effort to preserve the very best that Earth had to offer, he proposed to build an enormous spacecraft, to carry the seeds of a new civilization away from doomed Earth and out into space. While many of his colleagues in Einheit Elf '(Unit 11) were dubious, Totenkopf went ahead and began construction of a spacious launch hangar, directly beneath the island's dormant volcanic cone. To aid in the monumental project, he also created a variety of machines to perform construction and maintenance duties. Even after Totenkopf's decease, his army of automatons continued their task, eventually completing the gigantic Ark itself.
It would seem that, at least at one point, Totenkopf considered including geneticall-altered animals among those carried on the Ark. Using techniques developed by Einheit Elf, Totenkopf transformed the small, tropical island into a proving ground for his creations. As his army of machines continued work on the Ark, Totenkopf used genetic engineering to create a variety of unique life-forms, then released them onto the island. However, whether any of these engineered beasts were included in the Ark is uncertain. Some of Totenkopf's creatures seem to be re-creations of extinct animals; these include giant prehistoric birds, saber-toothed cats, and even a small population of iguanodons. Others seem to be based on folklore and fantasy, including red-skinned flying "dragons".
Sky Captain and The World of Tomorrow
While Totenkopf's original intentions may be considered noble, his dire predictions of extinction never came to pass. Instead, his machines found themselves "salvaging" construction materials, not from the abandoned ruins of human civilization, but from within still-thriving cities, teeming with human life. Even so, the automata still tried to complete their programmed task, resulting in great destruction and loss of life. After the machines kidnapped several former Einheit Elf scientists, as well as Joseph Sulivan's loyal friend Dex, Sky Captain and Polly Perkins eventually tracked the marauding machines back to the island. With the help of Commander Francesca Cook and her amphibious squadron, Sky Captain and Ms. Perkins managed to penetrate the island's defenses and locate the missing scientists. However, it was revealed that the Ark's three atomic booster engines were powerful enough to ignite the Earth's atmosphere upon firing. In the process of launching the World of Tomorrow, Totenkopf's Ark would incinerate the world as we know it.
Ultimately, Sky Captain and Polly managed to destroy the Ark in mid-flight, preventing the second-stage booster engines from igniting. In the process, the Ark's animal cargo was released in floating escape pods. Shortly thereafter, Commander Cook led a contingent of British troops to the island, ending the threat of Totenkopf's machines once and for all.