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EP9: Charted Unfortune I | Humans and Zombies

< intercomm dialogue >

|| system ||

|| 'AI speaking' ||

' thoughts '

[ Location ]

_______________________


CHARTED UNFORTUNE


If zombies being spotted in the Human Region is not surprising.


How is it a surprising fact for Reese to chase a zombie runaway or for Killian to meet one?


I guess you could say that it's that same feeling when you watch zombie movies that you expect to know what a zombie is.


When you know the basics of building forts and shooting their heads to kill them faster or that they like feeding on our brains and organs.


It's that same feeling for Reese and Killian.


They are aware zombies exist.


They are aware that there are zombies that can go over the walls or are born within our walls


But to meet one personally…


… it's different from the scene we assume in our heads.


"If I help you, what's my assurance that you can be trusted?" Roxy asked.


"Come on kid, we've been at this for a while now. This is longer than the time given to speed dates to get to know each other."


Roxy squinted her eyes. "I know who you are."


"Yes, yes, I introduced myself already."


"I know where you live." She tried to sound threatening, deepening her voice and staring sharply.


"No you don't."


"What I mean is, if you backstab me or betray me, or whatever, I will get back at you." Roxy threatens.


"Yes, can you stop wasting my time now?"


My dear Killian has always been an impatient man in a lot of things.


He doesn't like lining up for his morning coffee.


He doesn't like baking because we had to wait and time baking the cookies.


There are times that he would even prefer to walk than wait for a cab.


He says that waiting eats his time and he could have done something more within those 5 minutes of waiting.


Which surprised me that he was able to court me for a year.


So he can actually be patient when he wants to.


"Okay fine, yes, I am aware of some zombie locations around here. They all trust me with their life. I want assurance that you won't harm them." Roxy kept setting boundaries.


"We talked about this. I just want to talk about their zombie nature." Killian tried not to sound irked.


"No guns, no cuffs, no bugs." Roxy kept setting more rules.


"Yes!" and Killian really was forced to say yes to them all.


Reminds me of websites asking me to agree on all their terms and conditions, their privacy policies, cookies agreement.


It feels like I was forced to agree either way before I can access their sites.


Roxy right now represents those pop-up cookie agreements, too.


"Okay, so I'm a zombie. My zombie friends are spread across different Zones to find food and shelter." She finally reveals.


Killian stared in silence.


"A free home won't open its doors to a horde. Imagine if there are a dozen of us in this basement." She explains.


"I heard you. I just…" Killian trailed off.


"Just what?" Roxy encouraged.


"… didn't think this is the kind of help I'd receive."


_______________________


[Human Region – Zone 4, Militia Housing, Floor 7]


Killian hurried back to Reese's apartment, where they promised they would meet up in the evening.


He stomped his feet, walking faster than his comrades walking at the hallway.


"Hey Killian. What's the rush?"


"Going to the bathroom?"


He ignores their comments and jogged all the way to his team leader's room.


As soon as he turned the knob and opened the door, he walks in.


"Reese! You won't believe what I have!" he exclaimed excitedly.


Remember that banter he and Hilde had when I first met them?


Killian and Hilde apparently had this unspoken competition of who deserves to be Senior Guisarme Support (SGS) and who remains as Junior Guisarme Support (JGS).

Being SGS means that they can get good recommendations for promotion, while JGS means they can be recommended to assist other teams.


"Oh, hi Captain. What brings you here?" Killian waved awkwardly at Ana who stood by the window.


"Kaddius and I had mutual findings on the same case. Came to share what I know and take what you know." She answered.


Killian forces a smile, trying to act natural even if he felt awkward to see his team leader with the Militia Captain.


Reese raises a brow at Killian's unnatural politeness.


"What did you find?" Reese encouraged.


Killian looked around, confirming that there was no sign of Hilde just yet.


He grinned. Ego increasing. Pride swelling. He was taking lead in this competition.


"I have a source that gave me locations of zombies in all Zones but the source has a condition. Or—or well, a SET of conditions."


"Is it a CI?" Ana took a wild guess.


"I can't answer that, it's—it's part of the deal."


"Did you compromise your badge to get this information?" Reese took over.

Killian felt their actions in sync.


They were backing him into a corner, squeezing the confidential information out of him without listening to the conditions.


He's not afraid of Roxy's threats. He's afraid that his brother's wife is involved.


"Look guys, the source wants to remain anonymous for their safety. I didn't compromise anything." He assures them.


Reese glances at Ana, as if asking for permission to handle the matter.


"It's your case, Kaddius. I'm just here to gather information." And she gave him her blessing.


Reese nods and crosses his arms, turning back to Killian. "Okay, what did the source want?"


"We are only to talk to the zombies the source referred us to. We can't bring guns, or cuffs, or even prepare bugs."


"Are you serious?" Ana blurted.


"The source must be a zombie, then. That's why they want their identity kept a secret." Reese concluded.


It surprised Killian how fast it took for Reese to figure it out.


Ana nods.


"Then the set of conditions is because the source wants to assurance that their friends are safe and we come without plans to harm or expose them." She adds.


'Wow, they are so fast.' Killian thought.


"Alright, we respect their conditions. Can you give us the locations now? We need to split up to check them all and save time." Reese accepts.


Killian hands over the list to his team leader. Both higher ups scanned the list with their eyes.


Ana pulled her phone out to take a picture. Killian heard the shutter sound.


"Thanks. I'll check from the bottom of the list, going up."


"And we'll start from the top going bottom." Reese finishes.


As the Militia Captain approached the door, Killian wondered aloud where her share of information was.


Ana simply shrugged, telling him her share had escaped, and left the room.


"Are you serious?" it was Killian's turn now to react.


"That one's on me. But we already put a BOLO out for our runaway zombie." Reese informs. Then he noticed the time.


He looked over at the round clock hanging on the wall.


It was past 7, their designated meeting time and yet there is no text or call from Hilde.


"Have you heard from Hilde?"


"No. Should we be worried? She's probably just out being sidetracked by strawberry stalls or pet model events."


"I guess you're right."


I wish Killian is right.


Reese starts to dial her phone. "Won't hurt to check on her."


"I'll try her home number." Killian offered and dialed as well.


_______________________


|| Door locked ||


|| 'Please enter the password to unlock.' ||


|| beep* beep* beep* beep * ||


|| 'Password accepted.' ||


|| Door unlocks ||


A man enters the room, locking it behind him.


There was a click as soon as it confirmed that it's locked. The LED indicator turns red as well.


His heavy boots thudded on the wooden planks.


He opened the lights, but it was still dim inside the room. The lights were red. He walked over to his table full of tools.


Amputation saw, artificial leech, syringe, different knives, the likes.


The torture devices are all lined up properly on a foldable green tool bag.


In the middle of the room is a metal chair where a woman sat.


Both her arms are over the armrests tied up by wires, the same for her ankles.


The man can hear her whimpering and he pulls the bag off her head.


Hilde turns her head, trying to identify where he stood.


A black blindfold covered her eyes and a tape over her lips.


Evidence of him hitting the side of her head with a blunt object still has traces of red and blood on her temple.


He clicked his tongue.


"You should have just let me go." He whispers. "Then you wouldn't be here."


_______________________


[Human Region – Zone 3, Militia Housing, Floor 12]


Hilde's telephone rang.


The screen notifying of an incoming call, then Killian's name flashing next.


The room was dark and unoccupied.


It continued to ring until the call was transferred to voicemail.


_______________________


[Human Region – Zone 4, Militia Housing, Floor 7]


"She's not answering." Killian reports.


"Same thing with her phone. Unattended." Reese announced. "I can't shake off this feeling that something happened. We should look for her."


"Oh, come on, we have paperwork to do." Killian whined.


Let's be honest here, neither of them does the paperwork. Hilde does it for them.


"I have a friend in the Cyber Department. He can track her phone and find her location. We can start from there."


_______________________


|| 'Identity Confirmed' ||


|| Security Protocol Activated ||


Double doors on the floor start to slide open.


It was pitch black down there, but Hilde can hear the sound of growling and snarling echoed from the dark.


"You're looking for zombies?" he leans to her ear. "Here they are."


And the man pushes Hilde's chair into the pit.


He heard her muffled screams and a crash when she landed at the bottom.


He smiled in satisfaction and closes the door.





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