Head Lieutenant Amaro Zero, of the planet Zeroxes. At 12:30am Zero received a holographic letter explaining that General Corton chose his finest soldier for the mission, they wanted him to check out the recent mishap in Sector 13. “It’s a dead-zone” he thought. Everything just went dead there, no communications, nothing. Nobody even cared. He stood at the window to his balcony looking out into the city. He was sure there would be nobody there. He could use the cash, and it seemed perfect. What was he losing? A 3 day hyper jump through space to get to an abandoned planet, then fly back, tell the commander and be on his way. With a pretty penny in his pocket. He mulled over it for several moments and decided to agree to the mission.
The following day, before take-off...
Just The Start.
Zero wasn’t happy about being called to duty, he didn’t like Venatros and Venatronians (main species of Sector 13) didn’t like him, and he sure as shit didn’t want to go travel to the new planet Parthenox which recently became a ghost planet. They suited him up like a super soldier, he had a modified SMG, two .44 magnums with extended clips, and his combat knife. And his ship was chalk full of other military use equipment. He grumbled under his breath and rolled over in his ships cockpit- it was transformed into a tight sleeping quarters for the 3 day trip. A cool blue light splayed out across his face making it hard for him to sleep. The ship would be filled with a nontoxic neural sleeping gas and ectoplasm would form in the back of his throat to nurture his body while he was in a hibernation state.
*3 days later*
A red light flashed and a high pitched siren rang waking him up and alerting him that he was approaching the planet, Venatros, the capital of Sector 13. The largest planet in the star system. He rolled on his back and looked at the holographic control panel, he tapped a few controls and the bed moved him up underneath the glass of the cockpit and the bed seemed to form and shape itself to the shape of Zeros body, lifting him up and bending his body until he was in a chair. The whole ship was basically automated and could practically fly itself but he liked manual controls, he never quite trusted the AIs of his time.
“Approaching atmosphere” Said the ships AI
He took the controls and prepared to land, he cleared his throat a couple of times trying to clean out the 3 day old ectoplasm that lie back there but there was nowhere to spit it out and swallowing it made him vomit so he just had to bear with it until he landed. Zero looked out, through the clouds he could see the city, it looked packed like New York or Japan, he tilted his head back and saw nothing but empty space, then looked forward at the ghost planet, Venatros, he despised their kind. He entered the stratosphere and his ship shook, everything went dead and he was falling towards the planet. He thought fast and gripped the manual hand lever next to his seat and prepared for a crash landing. He pulled the lever and the seat shot back and slid him into the sleeping quarters, he gripped some side rails and clenched his teeth as the ship shook, it wasn’t his first crash landing into a foreign planet but he definitely wasn’t happy about crashing into Venatros. The ship shook hard and he looked down the soft glow of the mechanical legs he got in the Great War and saw flames igniting the front of his ship. There was an intense feeling of G force shaking his body; Zero couldn’t find his breath and black dots started forming in his vision. He was slipping until he finally blacked out.
He came back into consciousness but it was difficult for him to open his eyes. There was no medical personnel trying to pry at the cockpit like there should be. Everything was blurry and hazy as he pried his eyes open. He shuffled down to the cockpit and kicked the emergency manual exit button, and the glass shutter pressurized and opened. Zero rolled out and landed on floor of what looked like an office building and coughed hard and spit up some oatmeal looking vomit with sickly green and clear ooze of the ectoplasm. He stood wiping dribble from his lips and spat, looking around at the building he just flew into. Papers were strewn every which way and there was no sign of life anywhere, a few small fires burned, not surprising in the slightest but he didn’t want to catch the world on fire. He grabbed a small extinguisher and put out the fire when he felt sick again, he heard a blood curdling scream and got weak in the knees, he gagged clenching his eyes shut tight and shook his head.
Zero ran to the edge of the building where be made the gigantic hole and he will never forget what he saw; he was about 4 stories high and a man covered in blood was holding a girl by her arm as she was furiously fighting to get away from the man, she screamed again and the man screamed back, but his seemed more like an animal scream that made the hair on the back of Zero’s neck raise, it gave him goosebumps and chills. Shortly after the man let out that un godly cry, two more men covered in crimson splattered street clothes ran up to the woman, one took her other arm and the other took her by the leg and she screamed and cried out for help as these men ripped into her flesh and pulled and tore her skin until they eventually ripped her limbs apart. As soon as they tore a limb off they darted off, somewhere into the shadows.
The woman lay there, with one leg and half of her left arm, she was still alive. Zero was too shocked to move, he just sat there, in awe, watching her bleed out.
When he finally caught the nerve to move he stepped back slightly, mouth agape, and he shook his head and turned towards his ship. He walked up and pressed the button that’s meant to open the holo panel then remembered all the power was dead on his ship, and probably along with the rest of the area. He thought for a second and with no idea slammed his right fist next to the door and with a small indentation and a surprising click the latch opened. Air decompressed and the lid opened to reveal miscellaneous useful items strewn about the small trunk sized compartment, he grabbed a wilderness backpack out and set it on the ground and made his way to the other side of the ship where he punched his right mechanical fist into the wall of the ship next to the compartment and with another satisfying hiss of decompression the compartment opened to reveal an SMG safely and securely strapped to to compartment wall. He unstrapped the gun and slung it around his shoulder and grabbed the faded silver suitcase they lay strapped to the floor of the compartment, he also grabbed two ammunition cases that were strapped to the either wall and with his arms full walked around to the other side of his ship where he left the backpack. Zero walked around and hardly noticed it at first and with a double take he dropped everything he was holding, and slung his gun by his side and placed a hand on it. The figure standing before him was like the others he had seen moments ago, soaked in blood, he had his head down so Zero couldn’t see his face, but this human, was breathing heavily like he had just ran a 5K and was ready for more. Zero slowly raised his his gun into his hands, and from there slowly began raising the gun to eye level putting his sights right in this monsters chest. Watching his chest and his shoulders rise and fall, the red of the blood contrasting greatly with his white button up shirt, slightly torn, and black slacks. Zero came to the conclusion that the man probably worked in the building he just crashed into.
“A-are you okay?” Said Zero in a bold cautious commanding voice.
The man raised his head to reveal faded white eyes, his mouth covered in blood, he seemed to have slight cuts around his face, mostly his mouth. He began breathing heavier and opened his lips to reveal a mouth full of jagged wrecked teeth. Zeros mouth fell open again and the mans arms started to raise in a predatory type stance, Zero took his hand off the bottom of his gun and pulled the lever back to chamber a round. The man began to let out a low growl and Zero pushed the safety off on his gun and placed his finger on the trigger. The man barked at Zero and advanced almost lunging throwing himself at Zero and all he did was squeeze the trigger. Five rounds fired out before he let go and the bloody man dropped out of the air and slid right up to Zeros feet. He wasn’t sure if the blood on the man’s back was from the bullet wounds or something else. Zero clicked the safety back on his gun and slung it back around, he picked up the backpack and emptied out most of the stuff, rope, a crappy knife, some protein bars, more rope, and other useless items. He grabbed some rope and stuffed the ammo in the bag along with the faded silver case. His nerves were still shot from what just happened. He picked his things up and thought, where was he going to go? What was he going to do? A woman was just ripped piece by piece and nothing happened … The military, when he landed he was supposed to go to the Atarose military base, but he wasn’t sure if he was even near Atarose. He needed a map, which may be hard to come by considering most maps were holographic. He decided he would look for a gas station, or some sort of rest stop. The city, or the planet for that fact was fairly new, there had to be some kind of map there. He threw the backpack on and grabbed the silver case; he looked for a way out. There was a door, it had boards nailed to it, he wondered if it was to keep something in, or out. He wandered around the office room for a while until he finally decided that the door was his best option. He approached the door and with his right arm, gripped the top board and ripped it off the wall, he pulled the other boards straight off their nails and tossed them on the ground next to the door. Zero tried the handle, but it wouldn’t budge, he was getting irritated and leaned back and with a swift side kick blew the heavy door off its hinges, it flew back clanging down the stairwell. Zero gagged and the wretched stench that burned his nostrils, he immediately covered his mouth and nose and had to squint, he knew the smell. The smell of rotting flesh.
His first move was to go up; he reached roof access and walked out across the rooftop. He couldn’t see much considering that it was a city, and it didn’t help that all the buildings were so closely packed together. He looked and looked and eventually gave up and headed back for the door to that disgusting stairwell. The door was locked, of course it was locked. Zero kicked that one down too, covered his mouth and headed down the stairs. He got to the last set of stairs and grew cautious, there was blood smeared on the walls and it stained the floor. He slowly turned the corner and jumped back, turned around and threw up the contents of his stomach, which was mostly just an oatmeal looking paste. He turned back around the corner and there it all was, it looked like maybe 4 bodies all ripped apart and chewed down to the bone. There was a woman lying next to the pieces, she was missing half of her right arm but other than that she was untouched. Zero walked up to her body and with his foot, rolled her over and was shocked to find her still alive. Her eyes and mouth were like the man he had just killed, but she breathed in shallow breaths and her mouth was slowly opening and closing. Her eyes darted around and she arched her back and started to scream and for some reason it made Zero snap. He raised his mechanical leg and stomped on the womans head, her skull crushed and caved under the weight of his leg. he turned to the body pieces lying next to the door that was covered in blood and scratch marks. He just kind of figured it was locked and went ahead and kicked that one down too, it scraped and sparked across the asphalt.
Zero walked out into the street and looked everywhere at everything. Newspapers and trash strewn throughout the street, some cars parked where others had just kind of pulled over and left in a rush, not even bothering to shut the door. He turned right and started walking, it wasn’t long before he looked right out into a tan brick plaza, and started walking towards the only thing that didn’t belong there. It was a woman, maybe in her mid-30s, she was surrounded by a pool of blood and she had no limbs except a head and half of her left arm. Zero sat there, staring at her body, he didn't move until he heard a caw, he looked up into a nearby tree and there was a big jet black glossy raven.
“Never more” Said Zero, then he turned and began walking in the direction he was previously walking in.
He walked for possibly 30 minutes and stopped dead in his tracks when he saw a man crouched on the ground, his body rocking back and forth, he arched back on his knees, blood and flesh falling from his mouth. Zero hardly noticed the man munching away at a body, the rib cage torn open. Zero slung his SMG around into his hands, he chambered a round and clicked the safety off and switched it to semi-automatic. Looking down his gun Zero placed his sights on the mans head, let out a deep breath and squeezed the trigger. His head exploded and the body dropped. Zero had a satisfied smirk on his face as he began to walk towards his kill, when out of the shadows another man ran out, picked up the headless corpse, and ran off into the opposite shadows. He approached the already dead corpse and looked at its mangled body, he couldn't tell the gender, its face had been too disfigured, the top of the skull was completely missing, and the clothes were no help. But if he really wanted to find out he could just take off its pants, but that wasn’t going to happen. He turned to his left and was delighted to see a gas station. He quickly walked to it and pulled the door open, the store was a wreck, there was a blood trail from one of the refrigerated walls that had been smashed into the back room, he didn't want to know what was in there. But he found what he came for, a holo map.
Of course the damn thing wouldn't turn on, he walked out of the store and thought, he looked up and noticed that the sun was going down fast. He would need a place to sleep, he decided he would go back to his ship and sleep there, by the time he got there it would be dark out, but it seemed just about the safest place to be. Zero traveled all the way back to his ship and tossed his belongings into the side trunk and shut it, but it wouldn't close, so he held it closed with his left hand and dug his right fingers into the metal around the split seam and pinched the metal closed. He often found his mechanical arm a gift. He crawled inside the cockpit of his ship, the bed still lay back. Zero layed there for a moment, rubbed his face with his left hand and sighed, then he noticed something. There was a faint blue light coming off from some of the controls, he quickly scrambled out of his ship and walked around to the back. The battery compartment was bolted shut, but he figured that if his ship had enough energy to support a dim light, it would have more than enough to power a holo map. He ripped off the steel protection plate with ease and pulled the battery out, he ripped a few hanging cords and wires and turned to the side of his ship and pulled open the trunk. He took out the holo map from his bag, he pulled the battery out. With some skillful wireworkings the holo map shot to life, the map flickered and he quickly ran over and picked up a blank piece of paper, headed back to the map, found something to write with, and mapped where he needed to go. North, he landed in a small city just outside Artarose, there was just a slight problem, Zero was on the other side of the city. The sun was about to go down, satisfied with his map Zero crawled back inside his ship and closed the cockpit. Just before he was about to drift off he heard a scream, the type of scream that could only come from one of those monsters. He closed his eyes, and slept.
Welcome to Parthenox
He woke up before the sun rose, he was freezing and could see his own breath. Zero shuffled down to the cockpit of his ship and kicked the emergency open button. The glass was foggy as it hissed open to reveal a dim lighted hell hole of a planet. He stepped out of the cockpit, yawned and stretched. He propped his SMG up against his ship and walked around to find a place to pee. He noticed something that he hadn't noticed before, there were two big glass doors leading into a hallway, the glass was just too foggy to see through but Zeros curiosity got the best of him. He opened the first set of double doors and walked down the hallway, the cold air biting his arms and face. He approached the glass and could see his own reflection, it surprised him. Zero couldn't remember the last time he saw himself, but he was ashamed. His short jet black hair slicked back, his tight sleeveless shirt with combat straps for gun holsters, but his knife was sheathed in place of one of the holsters. Zero stood right in front of one of the doors staring at his reflection, he would look at the mist in the room wondering why it was so thick, and then he would look at himself again. He looked like he should’ve slept longer. He was about to go back towards his ship when he saw something move in the mist. In the blink of an eye a man ran at him screaming with rageful white eyes and jagged rows of teeth jutted out from his mouth, blood dripping from his lips. He hit the glass hard but the door was chained shut, he pounded at the glass screaming when three more men, more or less monsters, ran and hit the glass, blood spattering out. Zero flinched hard and even fell back onto his ass, he started shuffling back, eyes wide in fear. The glass began to crack and break. Just as the glass gave way and broke Zero was on his feet but was still facing the men, the first one took off fast while the others tripped in his wake. Zero only took a few bustled steps back when the first man wearing an orange t-shirt and track pants tackled him. Zero was able to pull his knife out and when the man tackled him Zero drove the blade into his chest. He grabbed the mans’ throat lifting him up and pulled the blade out of his chest and was shocked to find the man thrashing about, he pulled back, screamed and hit Zero in the face. Zero responded by sticking the blade in the mans’ cheek while he was screaming and the hit seemed to knock him out. Zero quickly rolled out from underneath the unconscious freak to find three more men getting up, they wore tattered bloody business clothes. Zero turned on a dime and bolted for his ship fast, he whizzed past and yanked up his SMG, slamming the hammer back he took aim and squeezed the trigger. Shells littered the floor as each of the bodies dropped in rapid succession.
Zeros barrel was smoking hot, he was breathing heavily still succumbing to all the shock. He let out a deep sigh, and put his gun down; butt on the floor, barrel up angled away. He walked over to the body he stuck his blade in and stared at the body, disgusted. He gripped the handle and ripped it out of the mans cheek, glaring at him. He wiped the the blood off and walked back to his ship, he turned to take one last look at the body, but it was gone. The man covered in blood wearing an orange t-shirt with track pants and short blond hair that Zero just stabbed in the face, was gone... Zero gasped, then he had remembered how he didn’t actually kill him, he just more or less knocked him out. He picked up his gun, and the hairs on the back of his neck rose. He was on edge, just waiting, any minute. Several moments passed and nothing happened, but Zero wasn’t going to let down his guard so easy, he walked to a nearby wall and pressed his back against it and slid down on his butt. He crossed his legs, resting his SMG by his side. He placed his hands on his knees, closed his eyes and took a deep breath. He was meditating. An hour had passed and he heard another caw, nothing else happened. Zero figured he was burning daylight and got up, he felt much better rested and the sun was up. He geared up and headed out of the building. He stepped out onto the black hot black pavement and headed in what he hoped was the right direction. He passed by a car and stopped at the sight of himself, he had a purple bruise on his left cheek and deep gash marks where that beast struck him, he gently touched it and winced at the burning pain and figured he would have to patch himself up when he found a safe resting point.
Silence; It made his ears ring. Not a peep went out through the entire city except for the crunching beneath Zeros feet. He must have been walking for a few hours, sweat dampened his shirt and dotted his brow and face. He kept alert as he walked a steady pace heading towards the Artarose military base. Zero was approaching a low bridge when he heard a familiar caw; it was the raven he had seen the other day. It lurked in a nearby tree staring at him, and Zero stared back. The large bird lept from the tree and Zero watched it fly by till something caught his eye. The man was wearing an orange t-shirt, black track pants, and had short blond hair; he was standing on a large white delivery truck. Zeros mouth dropped and his heart started racing, the man moved his head to the right revealing a neat line of stitches up the mans left cheek where Zero had stabbed him, the stitches made his stomach turn at the sight of them looking like a devious smile. Zero was almost too stunned to move as the man stared at him, then he closed his eyes and threw his head back taking in a deep breath he slammed his foot down, threw his arms back, and screamed at loud as he could. Zero had to cover his ears at the un human sound that came off this mans lips. When the man stopped screaming he simply stepped off the truck and out of sight, Zero didn't know what to do, until he turned around. There was a horde of possibly 20 to 30 men and women screaming and running at him, they trampled everything, hopped over cars, burst from nearby buildings, and they all had the same features: Blood dripping from their lips, coating their jagged teeth in crimson, tattered bloody clothes while there milky white wide eyes stared into your soul. Zero had only one option: Run.
Zero turned and ran as fast as his feet would carry him. That guy in the orange t-shirt made this happen, he was smart. Zero only had this one road to run on, it was blocked off by wire fences that led out to open fields as far as the eye could see. There was no turning around, he had to run. Time passed and Zeros body was numb, his ears rang and all he could hear was his heavy breathing. The crowd didn't seem to give up but it had shortened in number. He had been running full sprint for a couple of miles, his lungs felt like they were going to explode out of his chest, sweat crept into the corners of his eyes making them burn, it was hard for him to see. Everything was a blur as he ran, the wind blowing in his face. His whole body burned and ached but he saw a chance of survival, it was a gas station/dinner. Overdrive set in and he took off fast, Zero knew he couldn't outrun the crowd. He ran up to the side door, the closest door, and it wouldn't budge. He reared back and slammed his shoulder into it but it didn't open. The crowd was approaching fast; Zero reared back again and kicked it open. As soon as the door swung open Zero felt a cold hand land on his shoulder, it gave him goosebumps. He darted into the building and turned to be greeted with sharp bloody teeth snapping at him. Zero placed his hands on the mans collar bones and held him at bay, the beast pushed him against a wall swung out and struck Zero in the face. Zero responded by taking his right hand off the creature and punching him in the head. He could feel the crunching of the bone as the man grunted and crumbled. Zero thought fast and pulled his knife, by the time it was out in front of him there was another victim standing before him ready to attack. The beast stepped forward and lashed out toward him; Zero stuck the blade in her throat and whipped to the side spilling crimson blood everywhere. Zero looked up and threw his knife; it hit someone in the chest hard throwing them back. He pulled out his side pistol and took aim, he unloaded all 8 rounds, 8 bodies dropped and Zero threw the gun nailing another one in the head making her drop. Then another person approached and Zero crushed his skull with a swift punch to the head. Zero reached around and grabbed his SMG and after slamming the hammer back he squeezed the trigger 30 rounds later and Zero took a breath of relief. He slid down and his breaths got choppy and he coughed hard, his lip quivered and a tear rolled down his bruised scratched face. Zero took a deep breath and got up. He just wanted to go home, after all that; he just wanted to go home. it had only been a few days and he hated it here.
Zero got up; he was behind the counter next to the kitchen. He pushed the big white doors open and walked in. He found a sink, turned it on, and repeatedly splashed his face. After gulping down all the water he could take, he left the dinner and headed off in what he hoped and assumed was north. Then his stomach let out an audible groan. While he walked he pulled off his backpack and fished out a pre made meal in a tuna can. He hated them, but he hadn't eaten in a while and could definitely use some food. Zero ate as he walked until he saw buildings, large buildings. He was confused; the holo map said Artarose wouldn’t have large buildings so why was he staring at skyscrapers? He did remember something odd about the city he was in, he didn't have time to really take a good look but he did map it. Zero stopped, crouched and dug around in his back for a moment until he found a folded white piece of paper. After unfolding it he found himself staring at a crudely drawn map, and in the city where he started off looked like two half circles connected by a line and a dot in the middle. He looked at his surroundings and figured that dinner was the dot between the sub cities.
“Who the hell plans a city like this...?” Zero grumbled under his breath as he packed his map and started walking. That’s the last thing he wanted, was another city to run through.
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