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May 6, 2009
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“I’m sorry” was the only thing the large man could say.
Zero just shook his head. “Will’s the one to blame. He’s the one that seemed to be the one responsible for the betrayal. I can’t see Carlos thinking that up.”
The man knew who he was talking about. Zero had brought both of them to meet him when they were working out a deal. That brought back a memory.
“What did you want with the container? You never answered me.” Zero stared at him expectantly, as did most of the others in the room.
“Chief…” Alice pleaded after he didn’t answer.
“…I-It was supposed to be a virus that neutralized the Infection,” he admitted. “I didn’t want to tell you because I was afraid you would find someone else to sell it to.”
“That backfired!” Zero laughed.
Hawke looked over at the Chief. “Why didn’t you tell anyone about this?”
He just looked away.
“He’d have to explain how he found out about it,” Zero interjected. “He tried to avoid that subject when we were talking beforehand. Said there was no time to waste. Well now we’ve got all the time in the world!”
“Zero!” Alice warned. “Please, Chief, we need to know everything about this. Maybe we can find it again.”
“I learned about it from…a friend. I’m not going into any more details, other than that I’m no longer on speaking terms with this person. We can’t find that box the same way we first did. It’s sealed in a way to stop the Infected from finding it,” he explained.
“So that’s why you approved our request to enter Luna Industries,” Vale realized, sitting down in front of a computer. “We didn’t give you a lot of details, so I was wondering why you’d make a split second decision like that. You hoped the container was still there.”
“Yes…” he admitted.
“Hey, the container had been opened and discarded once we got there,” Alice remembered. “Couldn’t we find what was inside of it now?”
“Inside was a briefcase with the same type seal on it. It may be easier to trace given the size of the seal but it will be extremely hard to find still. We don’t even know if he’s still here now.”
“Wait, that container had a date on it from when it was sealed,” Zero realized. He looked at a calendar on the wall. “That date was over three weeks ago. You said it was made to prevent Infected from finding it. But the Infected appeared… a little over a week ago. How did they make a box that couldn’t be tracked by something that no one knew about?”
A few minutes passed in silence.
“The Infected,” the Chief said, “appeared before the attack in Vegas. They’ve been around for hundreds of years. Every so often, they surface to gather more troops. Throughout history, entire villages and cities have been wiped from the map by them. Recently, they’ve seemed to have larger goals. They first started to show this change around 30 years ago in Soviet Russia. They attacked a village somewhere in the center of the country. If not for the fact we were able to find out about them and convince the Russians to use a nuke, we may have been facing the same situation we are in now.”
“Why did they decide to move to the United States?” Burke asked.
“Apparently, they decided to attack the USSR during the Cold War because they believed it to be the strongest world power of its time. Ironically, the nuclear strike against them helped lead their ‘strongest world power’ to its collapse. That’s something you won’t find in the history books but trust me, it’s the truth,” the Chief laughed.
“That’s all good and well, but-” Zero began.
“Got it!” Vale yelled, staring at the monitor in front of him.
The others turned to look. Vale shifted to look back at them.
“I might have just found our traitor,” he beamed
“How?” Zero asked, voicing the question buzzing in everyone’s mind.
“First, I must know: What is Will’s last name?” Vale turned back to the computer.
“Cline. Why?”
Vale’s smile widened. “Yep, got him!”
The Chief looked at him with a stare that seemed to try to squeeze an answer out of Vale, “How?”
Vale looked over at them. “Ok, you know how Kate suggested a documenting system for everyone living in the Citadel a while ago. Well I decided to put it into effect. I’ve got pretty much everyone entered into the computer along with where they are. Well guess whose name I just pulled up.”
“No way!”
“Yep, he’s living in Shack 29 behind the Citadel. You know the back yard between the rear wall and the outer wall where all those people who want sunlight regardless of the potential danger? I’ve got several reports of him being a complete recluse. He rarely speaks to anyone, doesn’t volunteer for any missions, and retreats to his house immediately after getting his meals. He could be our man.”
The Chief looked grave. “If he is, will you be able to take care of him?”
Zero realized he was the one being addressed. He sighed.
“Yes. He lost my friendship after he betrayed me.”
The Chief sighed as well. “I can’t let him go unpunished, and I don’t feel like I can trust you.”
Zero knew why. He vouched for Will and Carlos, saying he trusted them with his life.
“You want me to kill him?”
“You accepted the responsibility of making difficult decisions the second you put on that uniform.”
“Didn’t know this patched costume was a uniform.”
“It’s not. The coat is. It used to be mine,” the Chief said.
Zero lifted the tail of the coat to stare at it. He then felt the sleeve, testing how loose it was.
“I find that hard to believe.”
“It adjusts,” he explained. “Anyways you need to gain my trust. I can’t just have you kill him in any way. I need you to remember it.”
He went into a corner of the room. He drew something from the shadows. He walked over to Zero and presented it to him. It was a katana; its hilt and sheath were both black as night. Its hand guard formed of two black wings. The Chief pulled it out of its sheath. The metal was solid black; its blade was indistinguishable from the rest of the sword.
“You want me to use this?” Zero couldn’t think of what else to think.
“The blade matches the coat. You made an unspoken contract when you put it on, whether you wanted to or not. The sword is yours now. I just want you to use it so you feel the kill. I want it engraved into your mind.”
“You want me to suffer,” Zero concluded.
“For lack of a better term, yes, I do.”
Zero looked at the naked blade. He closed his eyes as he took it.
“Fine.”
“Alice, you go with him. Drake, don’t fail me.”
Zero turned on his heel and strode towards the door.
“It’s Zero.”

The sun was rising as they exited to behind the Citadel, its orange light assaulting their eyes. Alice and Zero moved with purpose to the shack where Will was supposed to be living in. They quickly weaved between the weary people who had risen early. They eventually came to the hut they were looking for. Alice pulled a handgun from her belt holster. She nodded at Zero, who pulled the blade from its sheath before nodding back.
Alice kicked the door in and the two charged in, one trained by experience and the other by memories. Light poured in on a shivering silhouette, revealing a man who looked like he was having a breakdown. His eyes widened behind disregarded brown hair. He shot back from the advancing two, freely moving as the room was bare, all furniture pushed from its center. He grabbed a knife from a makeshift nightstand and held it between him and the two.
“Put it down!” Alice demanded. “Will Cline! Where’s the briefcase?!”
The shivering shape didn’t lower the knife or respond.
“Will! Order: Delta 23!”
The man’s already wide eyes grew as the person shouted the order spun a pure black katana before pointing it at his face.
“Drake…!” he managed to mutter.
“Will, I gave you an order. ‘Lower your weapon and comply with his/her demands’ is what Delta 23 means if I’m not mistaken,” Zero said coolly, not moving his sword or gaze from Will’s distraught face.
“Y-yes, s-sir…” he placed the knife down.
Zero noticed it was Will’s favorite knife, the same one he was stabbed with. He looked at it again. It seemed longer than when he showed it off to everyone.
Will retreated to his bed and reaching into the mattress desperately. He pulled a black case from it, nervously handing it to Alice.
“Alice, could I take care of this in private?” Zero asked coldly.
Alice hesitated for a moment before nodding her head. “Sure. Do what you need to.”
She left, looking back for just a moment at the door. The door closed behind her, a cover of darkness draped over both of the men left in the room.
“You stabbed me,” Zero accused, his voice still cold.
Will shook. “I already told you that-”
“-You both had a family you needed the money for. I didn’t. I also was going for the first buyer instead of examining the market. We’ve already been over this. Stop hiding behind your daughter’s skirt. Where’s Carlos?”
Will turned his gaze from Zero in shame. “Drake, I…I killed Carlos.”
Zero said nothing, but his gaze continued to pierce Will.
“He couldn’t accept what we did. He said his family wouldn’t approve it. He wanted us to turn ourselves in. I couldn’t. My daughter needed that surgery!”
“How’d it turn out?” Zero asked his voice calm and accusing despite the innocent nature of the question.
“…She never got to it. I told her to meet me at the airport. That was one of the first Emergence hotspots… I was at this convention center when I saw the news. Our original client was probably close enough to walk over and grab me. I wandered into here as he was keeping everyone calm. I realized then that he was the one I should have given the case to. Problem was: if I gave him the case, I’d have to explain what happened to you. I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. I chose a shack far from him and the rest of the people.”
Zero was looking over at his knife, a look of disinterest on his face. Will knew what that look really meant: he was thinking up of a plan that was necessary but hurt to even think about it. Finally, he spoke.
“You remember when we got that job in Japan hunting down that samurai freak?” he said, not expecting a response. “You remember how we found him, destroyed his security, and busted into his penthouse only to have him dead on the rug? He committed ‘seppuku’ in order to save his honor.”
“You don’t reminisce without reason,” Will already felt he knew what was going to happen. “What are you thinking?”
Zero picked up the knife. “It’s longer than before, isn’t it?”
Will smiled, though it seemed empty. “I never did tell you, did I? The blade extends further than it first appeared. It’s useful in close quarters combat. Extend the blade after the opponent has gotten used to the original length of the knife, you extend it.”
Zero looked at it again. He tossed it to Will.
“One last question: What was in the container?”
Will looked up at him and said, “A girl. She looked about sixteen years old, was completely pale, and wore a white dress. She was clutching that case in a death grip. After I pried it from her arms, her eyes opened. They were gold and seemed to pierce your very soul. I couldn’t stop running after she got out the box and started to stumble after me.”
Zero stared at him with unwavering gaze.
“You know what must happen.”
“Drake… you’re going to kill me?” Will asked pitifully.
“No, I shall stop you from suffering.”
Will pointed the knife at his stomach.
“You should be dead, you know. The knife was long enough to pierce your heart.”
“I know. Don’t worry, I’m no zombie, but I’m still trying to figure out everything.”
“Don’t die,” Will smiled. “You’ve got to keep the memory of us going through this hell. You’re the last one of us.”
Zero tried to smile back, but couldn’t. He nodded at Will, raising his sword over his head.
The knife plunged forward and the katana descended.
Chapter 5 for you all! In this chapter, my first death occurs in the story (not counting anyone turned Undead or those Undead in chapter 2 who Hawkes' gang shot). We also learn a little more about Drake. Hope you enjoy.




Oh, and I'm not going into full details about how seppuku works if you don't know about it (a friend of mine was wondering about what happened). Just know that the longer sword comes down after the person has already used their short sword.

Oh yeah, and Zero Blood does tread on some pretty touchy subjects. Sorry for the late warning.

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