Warlord – Chapter 14
Zero came to Leah’s lab the first thing in the next morning. Leah was sorting and summarizing the medicine George, Tony, Zero and Alan had brought. Old Jack had notified her about Zero replacing late Holt as her bodyguard. Leah didn’t mind about the identity of her bodyguard as much as the person did the job.
“Help me move those.” Leah’s hand pointed to the medicine that were on the side of the room. Beaing a bodyguard didn’t mean that Zero was only responsible for Leah’s protection but he had to help her out with trivial matters too.
Zero did as she told him.
“I want you to recheck my physique.” Zero made a request.
“Ah?” Leah raised her head. She was wearing glasses which gave a trace of intellectual charm to her.
Leah thought she had misunderstood him: “What did you just say?”
Zero once more repeated his request. Leah left the work at hand and looked at Zero: “Do you feel anything abnormal?”
“There is a bit of change.” Zero thought about the madness that he felt yesterday and he added: “No matter what the outcome would be it has to stay between you and me.”
“Will you kill me … if I spread the results?” Leah asked in a half-serious half-joke manner.
Zero shook his head: “I will leave the base.”
He had to consider his own situation. Leah had already mentioned about the ability users previously. The survivors couldn’t be ‘ability’ users as their genes weren’t affected by the change after the Catastrophe. He would be treated as a freak in case it was identified that Zero had ability or evolutionary point. He wasn’t much clear about this new era but he knew that anything extraordinary would be captured and researched on.
He didn’t like to be preyed upon neither he wanted to be a lab rat.
Leah nodded as she locked the lab’s door. No uninvited guests could bother them. Moreover Leah didn’t believe that Zero’s body could evolve.
It’s just it was impossible!
Zero laid on the platform and closed his eyes. He felt the table slide into the platform and the instruments began to act.
Zero wanted to have ability in this chaotic world. At the same time he knew that if he gained any ability then it was a proof that his origin was mysterious and complex. How could he go through mutation if he hadn’t experienced the Catastrophe?
Leah’s fingers moved on the console as he inputted and typed a group of commands. Various lights flashed as detector began to do it’s job. After each flash of light complex set of data were sent to the center and aggregated, analyzed and shown on the console.
Leah covered her mouth as she gaped. She stopped herself on time before shouting out loud as she saw the data pass on the screen.
There was slight difference on data shown about Zero’s body in comparison to the last time. There was about 3 to 5 percent increase. However what made Leah to be surprised was the last information shown: “…. First-order strength enhancement; first-order defense enhancement. Evolutionary point: 1.”
Leah was still in shock as Zero came out from the platform. She stretched out her hands and held Zero’s face. She stuffed his head into her twin peaks as she whispered to herself.
“Zero its awesome! You got first-order strength and defense enhancements. It belongs to combat domain! There is an evolutionary point which means that you can come up with another ability. We can buy medicine from the conglomerate to catalyze and direct the ability!” Leah let go of Zero. There were tears on her eyes because of excitement: “Its awesome! Finally we have an ability user in our base! I’ll immediately notify my grandpa!”
Leah wanted to leave but Zero caught her hand. He slowly shook his head.
Leah remembered the promise so she whispered: “I promise to you that I’ll tell to my grandpa. There won’t be another person who will know about it.”
“Only you and me.”
“Why?” Leah was puzzled.
“I’m afraid of unnecessary trouble.”
Leah was also a wise girl. She knew what Zero was thinking about. In fact, if the Zero’s situation was disclosed the iron laws that ruled the world would be overturned by the night. It was unknown how many large companies, conglomerates and organization’s would be after Zero’s head. They would want to catch him and research on him.
“Aren’t you afraid that I’ll tell?” Leah looked at him.
“I do not know.” Zero stared back at her. The girl in front of him and the shadow from the dream were overlapping as he looked at her: “I believe you.”
Leah lowered her head and whispered: “Then… it’s a secret between us!”
“Pinky swear?” Leah made a childish act.
Zero hesitated but eventually raised his hand to hook his finger with Leah’s. Leah laughed in satisfaction before speaking in a worried tone: “But its going to be a problem if you don’t notify grandpa. In that case he won’t get the proper formulated medicine from the Parker Conglomerate to direct the new ability that will form from the evolutionary point. If it transforms naturally we won’t know what kind of ability would come up and whether it will be stable or any dangers would pop up too.”
The ability users were immeasurable in this turbulent age. Even ordinary people with variations would be object of attraction. Directing the new abilities would be stable and less dangerous if the formulas from the conglomerates and large companies were used. Only a madman would take the risk and choose the new ability to evolve and form naturally.
Moreover if the transformation of the ability wasn’t directed then a very powerful ability from combat domain could form. However a useless auxiliary ability could be formed too. That’s why people tried to avoid natural transformation of the evolutionary points.
Leah looked at Zero who stubbornly shook his head.
Zero was willing to let the ability to degenerate instead of facing the risk of exposure. He believed that as long as he had the chance to upgrade his strength then he would find a way to get the right stuff from the large companies and conglomerates. However he didn’t want to take this risk at this point.
Leah no longer tried to convince Zero as she saw that latter was set about his decision. They made an oral agreement about keeping Zero’s secret.
Zero began to help Leah with the labor in the lab. They were working in the lab when the radio of the base made an announcement.
Old Jack’s voice echoed from the speakers: “There is an important announcement! Everyone come to the work area!”
The broadcast repeated for three times. Even Leah was unaware of announcement that Old Jack wanted to say. Both of them left the laboratory towards the work area. They heard hints about the issues as they walked to the work area. It seemed that the announcement was related to a man and a woman.
Zero thought of Alice without a reason.
Old Hack was standing in front of the door of the work area. There was an open space in front of him. Soldiers were trying to keep and maintain the order. He saw one person kneel in front of Old Jack.
The man with the wretched face looked like 30 years old. Zero recognized the man from the first look. It was Hans who had woken him up from the hibernation. His face was swollen while Hans seamed to be beaten badly. There were blood by his mouth and bruises all over his body.
A tall woman wearing a white dress was standing by Hans’s side.
Zero saw George and the other recognized him too. They walked over to George.
“What’s going on?” Zero asked.
George wryly smiled as he looked at Zero: “Alice came to find you last night.”
Alice’s name was spread in the base for long time. There was a long queue of men who lined up to be with hear. But she wasn’t a cheap woman who would sell her body. Leah knew about Alice too. She looked at Zero with a hint of jealousy in her eyes.
Zero was unaware of Leah. He just nodded.
“But you didn’t let her in!?” George asked.
Zero nodded again.
Leah felt a bit relaxed after Zero’s nod.
George looked at him: “But you have hurt her.”
Zero’s eyebrows were raised: “Why do you say that?”
George looked at Hans who was kneeling next to Old Jack: “That cheap dog Hans… ”
Zero understood what had happened. He clenched his fists as he indifferently looked Hans. There was anger in his eyes.
“Alice being tarnished by him isn’t a problem but that cheap dog isn’t clean. He is a freaking hybrid who was infected with the virus …” George sighed.
Zero didn’t know what George meant but Leah was clearly aware of the meaning behind his words. She subconsciously uttered an ‘uh’ cry. She knew what kind of fate Alice had to face. A moment ago she was jealous of the woman but know she felt deep sympathy for Alice.