Warlord – Chapter 4
Zero slept on the cold floor in a small room. The only thing that accompanied him during the night was the miniature machine gun that he carried.
He was identified as a useless person. There were no extra rooms for him in the Z7 base. He didn’t have any objections against the arrangement. However, it was difficult to feel comfortable as he laid on top of the rough ground.
Zero couldn’t sleep as he was shocked by the things Leah had told him.
The world that he faced after the awakening was totally different from the one in his memories. The old era and its structures had completely collapsed. Humanity was left in an endless wilderness. Various monsters were wandering aimlessly in the same place. The survival conditions were harsh. That’s why the power users were an important factor while fighting for resources against different monsters on the surface.
There was only one ability user in the Z7 base. That was Old Jack’s granddaughter Leah. However, Leah’s ability was only 1st order memory specialisation and 2nd order pharmacist specialisation. She belonged to combat domain but her abilities inclined towards the auxiliary class. As a result, she was no different than ordinary people.
Zero understood why old Jack was so disappointed after it was identified that he had no abilities.
Zero didn’t tell them that he was able to adjust his line of sight freely. His golden right eye was like a telescope. Zero decided not to expose this to the outsiders temporarily. In this era, the people were crazy about abilities. Zero was worried that he would be caught and sent for an operation. Maybe they would even take out his eye to study it.
He needed sunglasses. Zero thought about possibilities as he hugged the machine gun and slept. After few seconds a sound echoed from his uniform. The strength that was consumed after a day of activities began to recover slowly.
Zero opened his eyes when the clocks of the base pointed at the direction of 6 o’clock.
He stood up and felt that his body was in top condition. Yesterday he had only eaten a meal but didn’t feel hungry right now. At first, he thought that the bread and water played their roles. Zero frowned as he understood that it was impossible. A bit of food would normally be converted into the calories required by the body and consumed till there is nothing left. It seemed that there was something within his body that absorbed the calories and stored it with high precision so that the energy wasn’t wasted and used to the maximum degree.
The former option was impossible no matter how you looked at it. As for the latter, he couldn’t imagine something like that to exist.
Normal human organs couldn’t function that way. If there was such a system, then it meant that his body had gone through some transformation. He remembered his golden right eye. Was it also a product of a transformation?
The problem was that there was no information about that in his memories. He couldn’t even remember who he was before the hibernation.
The truth is always hidden within the mist.
Zero remembered that someone had mentioned this sentence to him. He felt that it was appropriate to use this sentence to describe the situation.
Zero thought that he had to double check the hibernation capsule in the future.
At the same time, a deafening ring tone echoed from outside. Old Jack’s voice echoed from the radio: “Bastards, get up! It’s time to work! You have five minutes to eat. Get to operation area as soon as possible!”
The radio broadcasted the message three times in a row. Zero was shocked as the sound of the radio pained his eardrums.
Suddenly the door was knocked. The door was pushed open after three consecutive knocks. Leah’s tender face was revealed.
She hesitated for a bit as it seemed that she was worried about something: “Come with me. Grandpa has something to tell you.”
Zero nodded as he followed after her.
They walked through the residential area and came to the room Zero had visited yesterday for the appraisal. It was Old Jack’s home.
They went into another room which was arranged like a study room. It was shabby. There was an old bookcase which had only two or three books. Old Jack was sitting in a black leather chair which had holes all over it. His legs were placed over the desk. There were four soldiers by the desk including Holt.
Their uniforms were dilapidated. The name patches couldn’t be read. Moreover, all of the uniforms had oil stains all over them.
They were holding onto old rifles. There were white marks all over the barrels. The rifles seemed to be used for years. Zero doubted their power.
Zero took a glance. He knew that the rifles were single shot firearms. The accuracy was still desirable, and the range should be up to 400 meters. But because of the slow launch speed, these rifles were useless in large scale wars.
However, the rifles were the identities of the soldiers in this semi-industrial base.
Old Jack waved indicating the others leave. Holt and the others passed by Zero.
The door was closed. Old Jack, Zero and Leah were the only ones left in the study room.
Old Jack puffed out a cloud of smoke: “We don’t want incompetent people in this base. You have to work for me if you want to stay in here.”
“It’s fair.” Zero asked: “What kind of work do you have for me?”
“Our base is a small place. There are only two jobs that are suitable for you. ” Old Jack said: “The first option is mining. The miners work in the underground area, and the daily wage is 10 cents.”
Zero wrinkled his eyebrows: “What about the other?”
“I knew that you wouldn’t be willing to be a miner. Although you are useless, you should be a good soldier. The second work is more suitable for you.” Old Jack put down the pipe: “A soldier! The daily job would be to maintain the order in the base. If you do a good job, then I can apply for a professional license from the Parker Conglomerate for you.”
“I think being a mercenary is more suitable for me than a miner.” Zero asked in a calm tone: “So boss, what task do you have for me now?”
“I like smart guys.” Old Jack praises as he took out a map and put it on the table.
The map wasn’t large. It had the location of the Z7 base marked on it. There was a town called ‘Silver Tree City’ about three hundred kilometres east of the Z7 base. The base was covered mostly with mountains and the wilderness. All around the base was marked with a red pen and the word ‘dangerous’ was written.
“We are running out of medicine. If we don’t get more then, we won’t be able to get through this year. Mining is a dangerous business… ” Old Jack continued: “Although there is no radiation under the ground. But occasionally there will be mutant organisms or minerals with viruses. We have about 800 to 1000 people infected with viruses. If they aren’t treated in a timely manner, then they will die. ”
“Doesn’t Parker conglomerate assist with the medicine?” Zero asked.
Old Jack snorted: “It’s a company, not a charity! In the eyes of those aristocrats, we are not life forms but tools! Medicine is more precious than gold. Do you think they will waste medicine on tools? Of course, we can buy the medicine from the company but our mining area is small, and we are having a hard time continuing to operate.”
In the new era, the people with abilities and the ones in power were respected. Everyone else, including the old Jack, were nothing but replaceable items!
“In addition to buying medicine from the company, there is another way. ” Old Jack pointed towards the town on the map: “This town used to host thousands of people. Of course, it became ruins now and is host to nothing but monsters. However, there is hospital over there. There are antibiotics and penicillin in there. If you are willing, then I’ll send you with Holt and others to the city to get back medicine. I will pay you 100 dollars for this task.”
Although 100 dollars didn’t sound much, it was close to three years of wages of a miner. It was a small fortune on its own.
Zero was aware that it wasn’t easy to get that much of money. The profit always came with the adequate risk.
“Alright. But I need sunglasses, a dagger and ammunition.” Zero came up with his own requirements.
Old Jack agreed on the spot: “No worries. Find Holt for those things. As for the costs… We will deduct from your profits if you come back alive.”
Zero nodded. Old Jack continued: “You will depart in the afternoon. Ask Holt for the details of the plan. You can go if you don’t have any questions for me.”
Zero was leaving. He opened the door but then stopped to look at old Jack: “What do you think of those miners who work for you?”
“Kiddo, you got lots of questions.” Old Jack snapped: “Whether it’s you or those bastards… you are nothing but hired workers of Old Jack!”
Workers? It was better than being used as a tool! Zero quietly went out of the room.
Old Jack sighed as he replaced the tobacco in the pipe. He sucked in the smoke and puffed out a could of smoke. The smoke curled over the picture frame on his desk.
The photo was taken many years ago. A young Jack was grinning as he held onto a hammer.
He was also a worker a long time ago!