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EP4: Duty Calls II | Humans and Zombies

< intercomm dialogue >

|| system ||

|| 'AI speaking' ||

[ Location ]


[Human Region – Zone 3, Sub-Zone 66]

Hilde and Killian walked the streets of Z3's Sub Zone 66, looking for the hideout in the sticky note.

Both of them wore casual clothes to not attract attention.

They still kept their badges clipped in their belts just in case. Handguns in their holsters.

"Are you sure it says Sub-Zone 66? It could have been 88." Killian kept badgering Hilde for the past fifteen minutes.

"I know team lead's handwriting, it's bad but I can translate."

"Let me see." He tries to reach for it but Hilde slaps his hand.

"It says 66!"

"I don't believe you!"

Someone pulls the two apart, chuckling at them.

"You two just can't stop being cats and dogs for even an hour, huh?" Reese joked.

His family were all gone.

His mother died in a fire. His sister also by the fire.

His father survived in a war only to be devoured by the flames still.

The army he trained with, the neighbors he grew up with, all consumed by the same element; fire.

Killian and Hilde are his new family. He'd do anything to protect them.

Reese leads them to the hideout, a warehouse in the corner of Sub-Zone 66.

They disguised the galvanized warehouse as a chocolate factory on the outside.

There are trucks being loaded up with boxes of chocolates on the parking lot.

In the center was a large tent where busy teams with computers are working on one side, paperwork and gear on the other side.

Killian and Hilde couldn't hide their awe'd expressions.

"Welcome to the real level of Militia work." Killian tells himself.

"Look at all the tech we don't know how to use!" Hilde pointed out.

A young man approaches them, giving each of them a folder and leading them to a mini tent behind the large one.

A different team just exited the mini tent, the young man tells them they can enter now.

The General sat on the chair, browsing through a thick folder before him.

"General Shaw," Reese addressed him and salutes. His team follows his lead.

"At ease, Guisarme."

Reese and his team takes their seat, and the General closes the folder, intertwining his fingers above it and scrutinizes the team from left to right.

From Killian to Reese to Hilde.

"You picked a good team, Kaddius." He compliments. "Officer Rivers was a man of honor." He eyed Killian. "Condolence, young man."

"Thank you, sir." Killian hid his sadness at the memory of his father.

The General then turns to Hilde. "Dr. Stillwater is a strong woman. Saved countless of lives that woman."

"Thank you, sir." Hilde felt pride swell in her.

Her mother being recognized equally with the Militia was a big thing for her now that she stands between the line of Medical and Militia.

Now the General laid his eyes on Reese.

"And your father, a legendary Guisarme. His reputation succeeded him even after death."

"I thought we're here for a briefing, sir." Reese changed the topic because he didn't like talking about his deceased family.

"We already started, Kaddius. This is a sensitive operation. We need the team to be clear of judgment and a clean background." The General emphasized the last line.

The three exchanged looks.

'Clean background?' it made them wonder.

"With crossbreeds being a common thing these days, it's only fair that we vet our team before we let you work on this operation first-hand."

The General's deep voice was intimidating. His hair is thin and white. Medals pinned on his uniform.

He is a man of many victories, but it does not mean the war is over. The war is always there.

"We all underwent blood tests, retinal scans, fingerprint and DNA samples at the Academy." Reese remembers.

"Yes, but even crossbreeds can fool technology sometimes." The General pointed out. "But they can't fool a man who knows purpose."

It was only then that they realize that the General had been observing their expression, their eyes, their brief movements, their breathing.

It was as if he was the very technology for polygraph tests.

The General chuckled and dropped the vicious gaze.

"You all passed. Now, let's get to business. You all know about the Zombie Evolution phase, correct? Everyone read their history books?"

"Yes, it was the day that zombies started to regain consciousness, earn intelligence back." Reese follows.

"Good lad. Now that phase has been on for hundreds of years now but 6 months ago, we've encountered cases of rabid zombies."

They all begin to open the folders they were handed and they find the summarized incident reports of rabid zombie cases.

"There's been 5 incidents."

"Now it's 6." The General corrected. "If you ratio it, at least one zombie reverts back to being a hungry mindless thing every month. It's a small portion for every 30 days really, but what if the reverting process picks up the pace?"

Killian stared at the pictures on the report. He isn't scared of blood.

He loved seeing blood. He loved smelling death. It was how he coped up with seeing his father die.

Hilde was a tad scared and worried. She's treated humans and zombies alike when she worked in the clinic before she was recruited in the Militia.

They warned her a soft heart won't help her in their line of work.

But it's not easy to change who she was. She hides it by putting up a poker-face. Only Reese knows what she really feels about death.

Reese deals with death every day in the army camp.

This wasn't new to him. The photos of blood and gore did not shake him.

"So you want us to trace what these 6 have in common." Reese assumed.

"Bingo." The General clicked his tongue as he mimicked a gun with his fingers. "If we find what's causing them to revert, we can prevent it. Or put it simply… we can annihilate them all."

The General shrugged as if it wasn't a moral issue to slaughter the entire Zombie Region.

"It's Natural Selection, Kaddius. It's us or them. We are taking the 'compassionate' route by even investigating this when we didn't have to. It's not in our constitution to care about their well-being. It's why we have those Walls."

Reese nods. He understands the concern, but he grew up with zombie neighbors before.

They aren't mindless; they aren't monsters.

They are just like humans. They can laugh, they can talk, they can feel to a limited extent.

"We'll work on it at once." Reese stands up abruptly.

Killian and Hilde shuffled to their feet and stood by him, hugging the folders close to their chests.

"'Forged by the fire…'" The General begins.

"…'We rise as blades for the future.'" Reese finishes.

He and his team walk out of the tent. They enter the hideout empty-handed and they exit with the Militia's burden for humanity's future.

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