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EP5: Watch Foxes I | Humans and Zombies

< intercomm dialogue >

|| system ||

|| 'AI speaking' ||

' thoughts '

[ Location ]


[Human Region – Zone 4, Militia Housing, F7R1 – Reese's apartment]

One side of the wall hang the evidence board that Reese and his team had been working on for the past few days since they were given the investigative task of finding the source of why the Zombie Evolution is expiring.

Yarns of different colors crossed and intersecting each other.

Colorful pins used to mark locations and pin photos made the board more of a scrapbook than a conspiracy board.

Scattered paperwork was on the floor. Hilde is asleep on the bed, accompanied by papers and markers like hay around her.

The blue blanket was crumpled around her legs, pillows were on the floor.

Killian had hogged up all the pillows as he lay sprawled on the floor.

His mouth left open wide, freely snoring and saliva dripping on the pillow.

Empty bags of chips were on one side of the room, along with empty cans of iced coffee.

Pastel-colored sticky notes are stuck on walls, and windows and crumpled papers sprinkled across the room.

History books, science books, and archived case files were additional decoration to the mess.

Incident reports and a group of thin and thick folders stacked over each other on one side.

Reese opens the door, carrying with him take-outs. "Good morning!"

No one greeted back.

"Wow, you guys made a mess of my room so bad." He closes the door with his foot.

Reese clears one table, sweeping the mess with one arm and replaces it with coffee and takeout.

The sound of the books dropping startled Hilde awake.

"Come on get up, we need to start investigating outside of the four corners of my room."

"Is it possible to have a hangover with cramming?" Hilde mumbles.

Her blonde locks were a mess, eyelids heavy with the lack of sleep.

The smell of coffee had helped her sit up at the very least.

"This is like doing thesis all over again."

"I hate research work." Killian mumbled in support. He wipes the dried saliva from his lips but does not get up. "Since when were you up?"

"Do you even sleep?"

Reese ignores their questions, handing them a cup of coffee each. "Drink up."

Killian and Hilde were quiet as they sniffed at the aroma of the coffee. Black coffee for Killian, and more sugar and creamer for Hilde.

They took small sips, letting the hot drink restart their still-sleepy bodies at a bearable pace.

"I've been asking around on potential places where zombies could be staying. We have bars, clubs, residential sub-zones and arenas." Reese begins.

"Ha," Killian laughed dryly, "so zombies like to party."

"No, it's because you are almost anonymous there. No one cares what you do in a public bar." Hilde counters. "Clubs are the same."

"There are bouncers, and ID passes required." Killian shoots at her.

"Bribery. Connections. Flashing some skin. Girls do it all the time." Hilde tells him, pausing briefly. "I mean, I don't do that."

"Residential sub-zones are a big place to search, but there could be more zombies there too. Zombies need housing too." Reese points out. "Which place do you want to start?"

"I want breakfast." Hilde was quick to say.

"I think he meant the zombie-hunting mission." Killian says and blows on his coffee before finally drinking.

Reese opens the brown paper bag with him and hands them both burgers.

"Cheesy beef without pickles." He gives to Killian. "And spicy chicken bun with pickles." He gives to Hilde.

He pulled out fries next, but he keeps that one for himself.

"We should split up. See if we can gather new info from there." Reese suggested. "I'll check the arena. Killian you check the bars, local, private or public."

"I'll print a list." Killian replies before taking a bite of his burger.

"Hilde, you handle the clubs."



[Human Region – Zone 1, Administration Area, Center License]

The Administration Area is basically every license and approval building located in one city.

It's highly guarded, security systems and procedures are top-notch to prevent any form of forgery and leak of documents.

Some buildings are not accessible to just anybody.

Even my laminated journalist ID won't make the cut to some of the bigshot buildings there.

Good thing Hilde can just flash her Guisarme Support (GS) badge to the guards and after a long verification process.

She can basically walk in there like a boss.

|| Processing biometrics 01/05 ||

Hilde tapped her foot on the white marble tiles.

The verification process is very thorough. She understands why it is needed, but in a rush-job like this.

She is hoping for an exemption to speed up the process.

But then again, everyone is in a rush with something.

|| Processing biometrics 05/05 ||

|| Biometrics confirmed! ||

|| 'Please lean close to the camera for a retinal scan.' ||

Hilde does as the AI instructed. Red flashes scanned her eyes a couple of times.

|| Processing retinal scan 01/03 ||

The scanner is now blue. And later it's green.

|| Retinal scan complete! ||

|| 'Please put your hand over the hand rest on your right.' ||

Following the instructions again, Hilde gently lay her hand over the metallic platform.

A sharp needle pokes on the tip of her finger, absorbing a drop of her blood.

|| Blood confirmed! ||

|| 'Thank you for your patience.' ||

|| 'Van-Hilde Carmel Stillwater. Your identity has been confirmed.' ||

The double front door opens. About 8-inches thick. A barred gate opens next and a third and last door pans up.

The white arrows on both sides and on the floor lit green in approval for her to enter.

Inside the Center License building is a big, bright marble-tiled systematized hall.

There are counters on the hall's three corners, leaving enough space for doors that lead to other administrative needs.

She snatches a number from the ticket stand by the door, sighing as she searches for a seat among the group of waiting people.

"At least it's not as long as the time I applied for a passport." She mumbled to herself.


[Human Region – Zone 8, Arena 15]

Reese arrived at the biggest arena in the zone. Arena 15, it is more known as The Symphony.

It is a large round theater, seats catering for hundreds of thousands of people.

The Symphony has four stages of their program that revolve every 12 hours.

A 24/7 live battle entertainment, you could say.

It was loud even if they were outside. Overlapping, cheering and chanting resonates from the coliseum.

"Kaddius!" Ana called when she saw him.

Reese walks up to her. "Why here, of all places? It'll be harder to track down zombies with the number of people here."

"Well, if you want to hide, you go to where it's most crowded, right? Zombies surely have the same instinct." She points out. "I bet some smart ones are even hiding in plain sight."

"Fair enough."

They enter the coliseum, the cheers and chants reverberate in their ears.

Their bodies could feel the loud thumping from claps and stomps all over the place.

It was hot inside because of the number of people gathered and compressed together.

Reese has been into arenas in a limited number of times with his friends. Friends who are now dead because of the former war between humans and zombies.

As much as possible, he doesn't want to wave fists or weapons to his fellow human.

Not for the sake of violence and not for pure entertainment.

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