Maybe when a person’s luck hit rock bottom, out of the depths of misfortune would come bliss. Or maybe after escaping from death, one was bound to have good fortune. Zhou Rong pushed his combat awareness to its limit. With his rifle, he looked around the corner of the corridor, but discovered that there were barely any zombies present.
Chuncao shot down a few of the living dead, frowning, “What’s going on? Are they all in hiding?”
The lights in the corridor had all gone down, and it was pitch black. Zhou Rong swung the flashlight around, but the entire passageway was empty.
A dim red light flashed from the door of an office in the distance — that was the Secret Communications Satellite Room, their objective.
“Stay vigilant,” Zhou Rong said quietly, almost whispering. “A 100 metres away in the 12 o’clock direction. Si Nan, prepare the explosives.”
Three people stood in a row. Zhou Rong led the way, Chuncao took the tail, and Si Nan took over carrying Zhang Yingjie. They cautiously made their way forward, glued to the wall.
Zhou Rong’s feet suddenly stopped.
“What happened?” Si Nan asked softly.
Zhou Rong did not respond. His fingers glided past the demolished wall, the flashlight carefully sweeping past the bricks that had shattered into dust and the rebars that had bent in, and shone ahead.
“Here, what do you think this looks like?” He asked a moment later.
Under the yellow light, long scratches stretched along the wall, towards the dark.
Si Nan’s expression changed subtly. “… Claw marks from a beast.”
Zhou Rong nodded, speaking succinctly. “This may be the reason why there are few zombies here. Move carefully.”
With an arm supporting Zhang Yingjie on his shoulder, Si Nan reached for the explosives in his bag with the other arm. Turning around a corner, Zhou Rong confirmed that the staircase was empty before signalling Si Nan to move forward as he pointed at the entrance glowing with a red light.
“… Zhou Rong,” Si Nan spoke up suddenly.
Zhou Rong swept his gaze sharply through their surroundings, not looking back. “What do you want? You always call me Rong-ge when you need something and Zhou Rong when you don’t, you’re picky with your food, lazy, and always thinking about having a hot shower, when I criticise you you’ll whisper into my ear and want a hug. You can’t always act so spoiled…”
“The door is open.” Si Nan said.
Zhou Rong turned around abruptly.
The door to the satellite communication room was wide open, the debris of the bricks piled up waist high. The metal door lay quietly in the ruins, twisted into a shape that was difficult to describe.
“…” Zhou Rong’s eyes slowly drifted about the room. In the dark, countless racks had toppled onto the ground, bodies that had been torn apart were strewn all over the place. At the control station all the way inside, a large patch of blood splatters could be seen.
“… Very good,” Zhou Rong spoke composedly. “We save an explosive today.”
There were two principles with regards to the satellite communication room. One, was to maintain its secrecy. Two, was about its urgency.
When disaster struck, the forces would quickly withdraw into this heavily guarded building with its metal door. They would then send a signal for help through the satellite to other military bases as they tracked the situation through the cameras, searching for survivors in Zone A.
However, this fortress had still been invaded. The three people stepped over the debris, their flashlights shining about the room. All over the floor were bodies torn apart by a beast, all heavily decomposed.
“Major General Qian,” Chuncao suddenly called aloud.
In front of the dim, glowing monitors, a body in a military uniform lay across the control station. His eyes were wide open, his blood and organs already dried. His wrinkled hands hung down limply, his gleaming Type-64 submachine gun already slid down to the ground.
Zhou Rong stopped, silently exhaling after a long time. Slowly raising his arm, he saluted at the corpse that had not died in peace.
“The head of 118. He was over sixty years of age, and he could have retired long ago. He said that he could still work for a few more years. As new blood would be entering 118 next year, he was worried about not being at the helm, and wanted to personally watch over it one more time…”
In the chaosa, Si Nan found a chair that still had all four legs attached, placing the deeply asleep Zhang Yingjie on it. Carrying the machine gun, Chuncao sighed gloomily, “At that time when Rong-ge had nowhere to go, it was him who pounded the table and pulled Rong-ge into 118. Leader Qian was not a flawless person, but he really understood people…”
“Why did Zhou Rong have nowhere to go?” Si Nan asked.
“I’m not sure, I heard that he had offended someone in the central authorities.”
Si Nan nodded. Chuncao noticed his expression and asked in curiosity, “What are you thinking about?”
The two of them held their rifles, on alert, searching through the remains of the corpses strewn about the satellite communication room. Si Nan turned his head to glance at Zhou Rong, who was sitting at the control station with his back towards them, then smiled slightly, “I was only thinking… Zhou Rong’s the type to approach people according to their character, he can still offend others?”
Zhou Rong took Major General Qian’s identification card from his body. After scanning it, he managed to log into the classified communications program and sighed deeply.
The communication logs displayed across the screen in order of secrecy, source, department and date. Zhou Rong filtered out those that were not as highly classified, and started reading through the ones that were left. The dim light from the monitor reflected upon his resolute and handsome face.
“15/09/2019, 14:27, GMT+8
Squads 1 and 4 of 118 have been confirmed to have perished. Contact with Squad 2 has been lost.”
“16/09/2019, 20:37, GMT+8
Squad 3 of 118 have been confirmed to have perished. Contact with Squad 8 has been lost.”
“17/09/2019, 16:26, GMT+8
Squads 5 and 7 of 118 have been recalled. Unable to confirm the location of Flight DC918 and Target Z.”
“18/09/2019, 18:29, GMT+8
Target Z is missing, research progress in B Military Zone has stagnated. The research has decided to start work on the S-level virus sample.”
Unknowingly, Zhou Rong’s brows leapt up.
He knew that Target Z was the mission objective that the special forces of Unit 118 had been ordered to capture. It seemed like Squad 6 was not the only one who went on a wild goose chase, the other seven squads had all been completely destroyed or failed in their mission.
— However, the virus sample?
The source of the zombie virus could currently be rated as humanity’s enigma. Where did B Military Zone get the S-level virus sample — Could it be that before this shelter had collapsed, humanity had already discovered the source of the zombie virus?!
Zhou Rong’s fingers trembled non-stop, and he quickly went to the next page.
“28/09/2019, 01:23, GMT+8
A breakthrough has been made in the analysis of the virus and biological experiments. Proto-antibodies have been obtained from the gorilla, observation of the injection experiment is in progress.”
Zhou Rong’s eyes were fixed to the word “anti-bodies”, until he saw the next communication log that had yet to be sent. The date was the same as the previous one: 28/09/2019, 20:25, GMT+8.
“Playing with fire will eventually get you burnt. Although we had expected it when we started work on the S-level virus sample, we did not think that the consequences would come so quickly.
Three hours after all 18 of the gorillas in the biological lab had been injected, they all mutated simultaneously. Becoming carriers of the newly evolved supervirus, they rapidly infected the entire shelter. All twenty thousand refugees in Zone A have essentially been infected. The troops have collapsed, electricity supply, water supply and basic communications have ceased. The last of the surviving research team has all withdrawn into the fortress holding the satellite communication room. After analysing their DNA, we did not find the hidden Target Z amongst the Omega survivors.
The heavens do not favour mankind.
There is no longer a need for the military base to exist, please launch a nuclear bomb to clear the shelter. The only fortunate thing is that the research lab in Zone E is shielded from any nuclear blast. After destroying the shelter, please dispatch a force to enter Zone E and retrieve the newest research that hundreds of top researchers had paid for with their lives…
This would be a long, drawn-out war. Humanity will be experiencing its grimmest battle in history.
However, we have nothing to fear. Every drop of blood shed today is to welcome tomorrow’s brightest hopes.
— Qian Guoqiang, 28/09/2019, to Nanhai Military Zone.”
Zhou Rong exhaled slightly. He abruptly stood up, and his folding chair screeched across the floor.
Si Nan and Chuncao looked back at the same time, only to see him looking at the display, articulating, “We’ll now immediately head towards Zone E.”
Chuncao was aghast. “Isn’t that the highest risk zone?”
“It’s the military research lab,” Although Zhou Rong did his utmost to remain calm, he could not conceal the tremble in his voice. “They achieved a breakthrough in the research into the zombie virus, and had even obtained the proto-antibodies…”
Chuncao’s pupils constricted swiftly, and even Si Nan’s breathing paused in a twinkling!
Zhou Rong entered the communications password, then clicked on the confirmation, sending Major General Qian’s last message out.
He was then silent for a moment before picking up the microphone and clearing his throat.
“26th of October, 2019, Beijing time 00:08. This is Major Zhou Rong, the leader of Squad 6, Unit 118.”
“My surviving 5 squad members and I, together with a civilian volunteer willing to join our suicide squad, have gone through 6 hours of arduous trekking to enter the completely occupied B Military Zone. We saw and confirmed the last message of the dead Major General Qian Guoqiang.”
“Next, with two of my squad members and the volunteer, I will head to the research lab in Zone E as instructed by Major General Qian. We’ll try to retrieve the precious virus research as well as the proto-antibodies.”
“The four of us are Major Zhou Rong, First Lieutenant Yang Chuncao, First Lieutenant Zhang Yingjie and volunteer Si Nan. Whether we’ll complete the mission successfully, or perish in the midst of doing so, please follow with the original plan of launching a nuclear bomb to clear out B Military Zone. If we can leave this base alive, we will immediately bring the antibodies to Nanhai.”
“The heavens do not favour mankind… We’ll give our utmost effort, and finish this journey alone.”
Zhou Rong’s low and sombre words were the last message sent out in the satellite communication room before everything was scrapped.
He stared at the screen. Only when the green light signalling that the message had been sent successfully light up did he take in a breath. Putting down the microphone, he prepared to shut the machine down.
— However, just as his finger touched the switch, a chime suddenly sounded. The yellow light lit up, showing that a message had been received.
Zhou Rong’s first reaction was, the response from Nanhai came so quickly?
He quickly turned on the decoder, realising that it was impossible. After the decoding, the message received had been sent ten minutes ago. It was an international classified message from the military of Country A!
“Rong-ge?” Chuncao had finished packing up the gear, and called him from far away.
Zhou Rong did not turn his head back. “Hold on, I’ll be done soon.”
After the classified message had been decoded, the contents of the message lay across the screen. It was the simple style of cryptography used for wartime communication. All diplomatic language had been omitted, and even the English used was very clear and direct.
Both Zhou Rong’s English and German were very good. He did not need a translator, and he could understand the message —
“To all militaries,
Recently, an important person from my country has been missing in northern zone of your country. In consideration of the particularity of the worldwide chaos, we would like to request that your country immediately help to search for him.
He is a mixed blood of Chinese descent, 26 years old, an Omega male. Attached is a recent photo. When you find him, he might be schizophrenic, mentally slow, together with a degradation in sensory function and other symptoms. Please be sure to keep him under control and at a safe distance.”
The corner of Zhou Rong’s mouth twitched as he continued reading.
“The target is potentially anti-social, and is very destructive. He has committed several first-degree murders, and is very cold blooded and his actions are hard to predict. Don’t attempt to use any sort of stimulus to restore his sanity. In particular, do not attempt to mark him, do not do it! This would prevent any unnecessary casualties amongst your military personnel.
If the person has already been infected with the virus and turned into a zombie, please kill and burn him thoroughly. All infected people bitten directly by him will also need to be immediately burnt so as to get rid of the virus. Otherwise, keep him under strict control and protection, he is critical to the global anti-virus research.”
The signature was a long list of titles. Zhou Rong noticed that the person who sent the message shared the same last name as the previous vice president of Country A.
He seemed to come to a vague realisation. Quickly clicking on the photo, the screen displayed that the downloading was in progress.
The floor shook slightly. Harsh, oppressive panting could be heard from the corridor, as though a beast had scented a prey.
“… Rong-ge,” Chuncao’s voice trembled a little. “Something seems to be coming.”
The speed of the transmission suddenly slowed down a lot. The download had reached 90%. Zhou Rong said hoarsely, “Hold on, it’ll be done soon, soon…”
The sound drew closer rapidly. The ground shuddered, and with the light from the flashlight, an enormous shadow was cast—
Si Nan suddenly shouted, “Be careful!”
The download had reached 99%.
A completely rotting gorilla ran madly, slamming into the debris at the door!
This collision shook the earth. The King Kong weighing several tons shattered the concrete rocks, and the fragments scattered everywhere. In the chaos, the three people were thrown into different directions by the shockwave. Zhou Rong rolled across the ground along the control station. He swiftly picked up the submachine gun and fired rapidly!
The vision of the zombie gorilla was useless in the dark. However, the smell and the sound of the gun allowed it to instantly lock onto its target. It immediately rushed forward!
Zhou Rong quickly retreated. In that thousandth of a second, he still managed to look at the screen with the corner of his eye — clearly seeing the download reaching 100%.
Next, a gust of wind blew across his head. Zhou Rong was almost plastered to the gorilla’s paw, and he rolled behind the control station.
Chun Cao and Si Nan fired at the same time. Bullets flew out, and the ammunition belt was fed quickly into the gun. Under the hail of bullets, the zombie gorilla was infuriated. It swung out a fist, and pulverised the steel frame next to Zhou Rong!
Countless metal shards exploded outwards. Zhou Rong was thrown a few metres away to the ground by the shockwave, and felt a pain in his head.
Fresh blood flowed down as though it came from an open tap, sliding down his cheek.