Chapter 4: His name Is Zero
“Do you know anything about this weapon? Shawn Kagan,”Jeremiah asked Shawn. “It’s the one that was used to rob Prince Clovis of his life. The barrel striations leave no doubt and we’ve also done a little homework on you as well. You’re the son of America’s last acting President are you not? Your motive here is clear.” Jeremiah said.
“You’re making a mistake, I have never laid eyes on that weapon before.” Shawn defended.
A soldier kicked Shawn’s chair and forced him to fall out of his chair onto the ground.
“We found your fingerprints all over this weapon. You’re also suspected of murdering members of the Royal Guard. Come clean now and you’ll be judged as if you were born a Brittanian. Not some worthless 11.”
“You’re wrong. I’ve done nothing!”
The same soldier delivered a hard kick to Shawn’s head, rendering him unconscious.
*****Irrione Living Quarters*****
I helped Anna Lee out of her wheelchair and lied her down on her bed. She was very light weight but still took a bit of lifting.
“That was Shawn that they mentioned on the news wasn’t it?” She asked after I set her down.
“Yeah, looks like he’s still alive.” Lying her down on her back, grabbing her blanket.
“Yeah, it’s been ages. We haven’t seen him since the war ended. Even we…Luca. It wasn’t true what the news said was it?”
“Of course not. Shawn would never do anything like that. They just made a mistake.”
“Goodnight, Anna Lee.” I pulled the covers over her as she fell asleep, silently.
“That’s why we should’ve issued a statement sooner! We could have taken credit for it!”
Kazz walked off out of Otto’s room, stomping furiously. Slamming the door as he left. Otto turned in his chair to face a picture of Josh, Collin, and him. All together during happier times.
“Josh….I’m not cut out for this. I’m no leader.”
I listened to the report that old man Dallas was giving me. I had asked him to work on a particular…Outfit for me.
“Yes. Everything is just as you requested. We have the best in the business working on it. Once the slide system is in order, it’s all yours. Once I’ve erased all the evidence, I should forget this ever happened right?”
The entire school had all gathered into the assembly hall that day. The principal of the school, Milly’s grandfather, had requested that we all pay our respects to Prince Clovis. Not really my kind of place. Especially being Clovis’ real murderer.
“Truly this has been a painful incident for all. The Viceroy of Area 11, our beloved Prince Clovis, has been lost to us forever. However, we can and will bear the weight of this tragedy. And from the darkest of hours, we will draw strength.”
A large flock of Doves had just been released. The flock flew past the window. Most likely to be a tribute to Colvis.
“Ooooh, we’ve lost the most crucial part of the equation.” Lloyd whined. He was staring at the Lancelot while it was hooked up to the computer.
“Can we do it without him?” Cecile questioned.
“Oh, don’t I wish. The other units never let go of a good pilot. Even if we did manage to get one they would never be able to match his readings. His operational efficiency clocked in at 94% and you want to replace him!?”
“You should tell them that, perhaps they’ll let Shawn go!”
“He’s an honorary Brittanian they’d never listen to me. Ever since Gen. Bartley’s disgrace, the pure-bloods have the military in an iron grip. Their view is one of their own can never be a criminal. But if the criminals an 11 it paves the way for Margrave Jeremiah to shut down the practice of granting natives honorary status.”
“So what about Shawn?’
“Unfortunately…His fate is all but decided.”
The principal dismissed us all after he gave his little speech. I walked along the corridors with the rest of the student body until Rivalz interrupted me.
“Hey Luca! You got anything goin’ on later? After all, classes have been canceled for the day. Folks have been asking for a rematch.”
“YOU ARE NOT GAMBLING YOU GUYS!” Sherry stopped in front of us and screamed at us…or really Rivalz.
“Oh come on don’t be such a stick in the mud.” Rivalz barked back.
“She’s right though maybe it’s time to call it quits. I found a better opponent actually.” I basically ignored the rest of the conversation as I saw Collin walk out. She was headed for the campus exit. No doubt heading to the location I told her to go. The Eiffel Tower.
Collin arrived at the Eiffel Tower on time just as planned. The woman over the PA system continuously talked about how Brittania won victory over the U.S.A. Collin mainly looked at pictures that were created to show the war, waiting for contact from the mysterious voice.
“The false Eiffel Tower, why here of all places?”
A few more representatives of the terrorists arrived at 16:01. Collin walked over to them when the PA system changed.
“Paging a Ms. Collin Stockdale of Ashford Academy. One of your personal belongings has been turned into the front desk at the Observation Deck.”
Collin walked away from her friends and went straight to the Observation deck. When she arrived she saw a woman wearing the usual employee outfit holding a sign with her name on it. Collin approched the woman.
“Hi, I assume this phone belongs to you mam.”
The girl reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a black cell phone with a weird logo on the back. Collin took it but stared at it for a moment.
“Is something wrong mam, it is yours isn’t it?”
“Y- yes. Thank you so much.”
Collin walked away from the desk and to the door to the balcony. The phone began to vibrate, she looked at the caller ID. The ID read ‘Zero’ on the screen.
Collin: “Um, hello.”
Luca: “I want you to board the outbound train on track 5, and bring your friends.”
Collin: “W- what?”
Jeremiah turned in his chair to face Detard, who was standing in front of his desk.
“You handled his highness’ memorial program very well. A little to weepy for my tastes but…”
“Yes, well the masses tend to like tearjerkers, your excellency.”
“Spoken like a true TV man. Still I have to acknowledge the finesse you’ve shown. You did well in the short time you had. One would almost say you were expecting his highness to meet his untimely end.”
“Memorials for important people are traditionally planned out ahead of schedule.”
“Does that include me?”
“Recent events may have bumped you up the list a bit, your excellency.”
“In other words, I wasn’t deemed important enough until now is that it? How forthright of you.”
“I- I’m afraid so sir.”
“Ever thought of enlisting? The army could use men like you.”
“I don’t think it would be a very good fit. Not my standard cup of tea.”
“You prefer the civil sector is that it. No matter, I have another favor to ask of you. Tomorrow night, Shawn Kagan, will be transferred to his court martial-”
“-We should line the road with good patriotic Brittanians, is that it?”
“Excellent, you catch on quickly don’t you. Be sure the ravel can see his face.”
“Lord Jeremiah, there are those among the 11’s that see private Kagan as hero, some might make a very well attempt to free him.” Violetta interupted.
“I’ll be there personally aboard my Sutherland. IF anyone even thinks about interfering they’ll be executed on the spot!”
Collin, Otto and two more of her friends/Terrorists boarded the train like the voice had instructed them to. They rode along the center between what remained of Bismark and also the edge of the Brittanian city. The phone vibrated again, the caller ID giving the same name…Zero. Collin answered it, alerting the attention of her company.
Collin: “OK now what?”
Luca: “Face forward and look to your right. What do you see?”
Collin: “The Brittanian’s city. A stolen city, built on our sacrifice.”
Luca: “Now look left.”
Collin:”I see our city. The city made by Brittania squeezing us dry.
Luca:”Good answer. Now make your way to the front car.
Collin and her company made their way to the front of the train where I was waiting for them. The sliding doors opened as Collin and the rest of her company walked through.
“Was it you? The one on the phone.”
“Whoa, do you think this is a trap.”
I listened to them banter on.. I was wearing the disguise that I had Dallas create for me, my face hidden behind a mask. Everyone on the train except for the company were under my Aeon’s control. They were not to move from their spots until the train stopped.
“Tell us! Was it you in Bismark? Was that Cease-fire order your doing. Too?”
I turned around and faced them. Using a timer the power to the lights in the car went on off, darkening the room. “Well, what did you think of my tour of the settlement?”
“Oh, come on. There’s no way it was this joker.”
I paced forward towards them, slowly. “I wanted you to fully grasp the two. The settlement, and the ghetto.” I spread my arms out, my cloak opening to reveal the dark red color.
“Yeah, we know there’s a difference between us and them. A desperate difference! That’s why we resist them!” Otto said, stepping forward.
“You’re wrong. Brittania will not fall to terrorism. It’s little better than childish nuisance. Don’t mistake your enemy. It isn’t the Brittanian people, but Brittania itself! It is a war you must wage. But not on the innocent. Take up your sword, fight for justice!”
“Oh, please! That’s all easy enough to say isn’t it! Hiding behind that mask! Why should we even trust you!” Collin stated.
“She’s right!” “Yeah, loose the mask!” The other two shouted.
“So, will you loose the mask and show us your face!?” Otto said.
“Very well. I’ll show you. But rather than my face, bear witness to my power! If I deliver to you the impossible, then I might have earned your trust.”
“Congratulations! The two people you asked about from Bismark weren’t on the list of casualties!” Lloyd informed Shawn, pulling up a fold up chair.
“That’s good to hear.”
“Unfortunately, however we’re not having very much luck on your end. You may be getting a trial, but nobody is on your side.”
“But the court is where truth comes to light!”
“Well, I expect there would be more smoke and mirrors than anything. The truth is scarce of late…”
:If that is how the world works…Then I have no regrets leaving it!”
*****Draw Bridge, Parade route*****
“Any moment. Any moment now! Just look at the crowds lining the streets. All of them waiting on baited breath. Waiting for the accused murderer of Prince Clovis to pass by. Honorary Brittanian, and former 11, Shawn Kagan.” The news reporter said at the bridge.
“Camera 5 is a little slow. Charles? Have you got your crowd set up yet?” Detard issued orders from within the news van. “What, the studio? Let em’ wait. There’s no delay. Everything is going according to plan. Here we go.”
The military rolled in with Shawn restrained. Four units, all of Prince Clovis’ former royal guard.
“I…I can see it! It’s Kagan the suspect! Shawn Kagan is headed this way!” The newsman reported.
The crowd yelled all sorts of hateful things towards Shawn. Murderer, scum, damned 11, we want our prince back.
“This is insane, we know that Shawn is innocent!” Cecile said compiling the data from Lancelot.
“The court deemed our testimony inadmissible. There’s nothing more that we can do now.” Lloyd said watching the news to see Shawn on his transport.
“Hmm…Is that altruism or humanitarianism?”
“This isn’t the time for your insipid word games!”
“Is there anything else that I can do then? We both know where this case is headed don’t we. We couldn’t reach him at the summit, all we can do is cut our losses really.”
*****Irrione Living quarters*****
Anna Lee sat in her wheelchair in the living room, listening to the television.
“Voices of resentment, voices of anger, all of these growing louder. Voices giving proof of the love the princes people had for him! Righteous voices which judge the terrorist!”
“Shawn!” Anna Lee cried listening to the TV.
“Margrave Jeremiah, whose personal efforts helped settle this case, will be residing over the trial as acting consul.” The news reporter announced.
I walked towards the vehicle from the terrorists rendezvous. My cape flowing with me, I hooked it across my chest as it clipped onto the gold pallets. Pulling my black leather gloves on, I pulled my collar over my mouth. Grabbing my mask I examined the inside to make sure the slide system would work. Pulling onto my face, the last bead of sweat of the anticipation. “Right, no need to turn back. The dice has already been cast.”
“Acting Consul Jeremiah!” A soldier said over the radio.
“What is it?”
“We have a vehicle approaching the bridge from third street. We just let it through as instructed.”
“Do you believe the target could be a terrorist vehicle?”
“Well, sir…It’s Prince Clovis’ personal transport.”
“His majesty’s?! Well, it looks like we’ve got ourselves a comedian. Don’t worry about, let him through to us. All forces, halt!”
The remaining terrorist members waited at the location they hid while Otto and Collin were out with Luca. They were all watching the news on the TV, seeing the parade moving on.
“All forces, halt!”
“Hey they stopped! They really did!”
“Heh, it’s just a coincidence.”
“But he said Jeremiah would do that because he likes being the center of attention…”
“No stop was scheduled here. Could there have been some sort of an accident?” The newsman said.
“This is site 5, there’s a vehicle approaching.”
“It…..It’s prince Clovis’s personal transport!”
Collin drove the car towards the Military’s location.
“Hope they can’t tell it’s a fake.” She said in reference to the car. Her and Otto had built a fake version of the vehicle using a broken up car.
*****Garbage Heap Two Days Ago*****
Collin and Otto were the only two who had arrived after the gathering at the train. “So then it’s just the two of you, huh?”
“I’m sorry, but if we just had more time then we could get more people to understand–”
“No, the two of you will do just fine.”
“What! Don’t be ridiculous, do you know how many we’ll be facing!” Collin shouted.
“With your help I’ll clear the conditions of this task easily. I need this made by tomorrow.” I told them holding out a picture of Clovis’ car.
Collin stopped the limousine in front of Jeremiah’s group.
“You there! Get out of that vehicle right now! Who dares imitate his highness’ personal transport!?”
I stood on the roof hidden behind the imperial flag that was cloaking the roof. I stepped on the switch and the flag ignited. The flag burst into flames as it went straight up the flag, vaporizing it. I was revealed to the crowd and the military. They all stood in shock at my appearance. “I am…Zero!”
“W-who is this man!? This masked man calling him Zero!? Standing before a full military convoy!?” The newsman said.
Detard stood in the van staring at the monitors looking at Zero.
“Zero? What do you mean like nothing?”
“Are we gazing upon a terrorist? Certainly not the wisest if such is the case.”
I stood there while everyone panicked and questioned my appearance. “Now to return the favor, Shawn.”
“I’ve seen enough Zero! This little show of yours is over!” Jeremiah said. He raised his handgun into the air and shot it, signaling the Knights waiting the sky to deploy. The knights landed all around us, the wind blowing up my cape.
“First things first, why don’t you remove that mask.”
I raised my hand to my mask as if to remove it. I then raised my hand into the air and snapped my fingers. The cargo behind me fell apart revealing the container that supposedly contained the poison gas, the one Shawn and I found the girl in.
“What in the–!”
“Jeremiah be careful he’s got the poison gas!”
“That’s right Jeremiah. You never saw inside this thing, so you assume it holds poison gas.”
I could hear the nearby newsman giving the report.
“Can all you watching at home see this!? It’s some sort of device. Although it’s purpose is unclear, stay with us. We’ll see if this so called terrorist has anything to say.”
“You bastard! He’s taken every Brittanian here hostage, without them even knowing it!”
Jeremiah raised his gun to me, pulling back the hammer, his laser sight at my chest. :You intend to shoot? I think you know full well what will happen if you do.” Lowering his gun he stood up straight, ready to hop back inside his knight.
“Fine, what are your demands?”
“An exchange. This, for Shawn Kagan.”
“Like hell! He’s charged with full treason, guilty of murdering a prince! I can’t hand him over!”
“No. You’re mistaken Jeremiah. He isn’t the murderer. The one who killed Clovis…Was myself!” I saw a camera man run up to the car, aiming his camera right in my face. I looked at the camera when I gave the announcement. The crowd was awe-struck. Countless gasps and whispers could be heard.
“W- what does this mean!? This masked man calling himself Zero. No we can’t be sure who he is. But in any case, he claims to be the real assassin! So where does this leave the current suspect Pvt. Kagan?” The news man could be heard.
“Awe crap there’s no way out of this!” Otto could be heard over my earpiece radio.
“We are so, so screwed!” Collin said. Her tone could easily reveal she was trembling.
“For a single 11, you’ll save scores of precious Brittanians. I find that to be a bargain.”
“This is all one big performance to him.” The camera man said.
“He’s mad I tell you! Disguising this truck as his highness’ He’ll pay the price for mocking the crown!”
The Knightmares around us raised their guns to us. “Are you sure about this? You wouldn’t want the public to learn of Orange do you?” I tapped my foor twice on the hood of the cab to signal Collin to start driving forward. I could hear the soldiers by Shawn talking.
“Orange? What’s he talking about?” “I don’t know.”
“If I die, it’ll all go public. IF you don’t want that to happen…”
“What are you talking about? What is this?”
I triggered the slide system on my mask to reveal my left eye, where my aeon was. “You’ll do everything in your power to let us go, your prisoner as well!”
“Hmph! Very well understood. You there release the prisoner!”
What!” Collin gasped out.
“What on earth are you doing my lord!?” Violetta yelled from her Knight.
“Get that man over here! Hand him over! Nobody gets in his way! Lord Kewell that is an order!”
“It’s hard to tell what’s happening from here. But it looks like Shawn Kagan has been released!”
The two guards next to Shawn undid his restraints and let him go. He walked over towards the van. I jumped off the hood and walked over to Shawn. Collin followed me, as per plan.
“So who the hell are you–” Shawn was interrupted by the collar on his neck, a restriant to prevent him from talking. “As I thought, they wouldn’t allow you to speak.”
“If they get away now we’ll loose everything!”
“It’s time to go Zero.” Collin told me.
“Well then, till next time.” I reached into my pocket and pulled out a small remote with a red button on it. Pressing down on the button the machine left int the van began to rumble. The machine released the colored smoke, which illustrated as poison gas.
“You cowardly 11’s!” Violetta yelled. She tried shooting at us until Jeremiah intervened
“Lord Jeremiah what are you doing!?”
“You heard me, stand down!”
I grabbed Shawn as we ran to the side of the bridge and jumped. Otto launched a net over a trailer for us to land in as instructed.
“It worked!” Otto yelled before getting shot out of his wanna be Knightmare.
“You fool, there’s no where for you to run!” Kewll said shooting at Otto. Jeremiah drew his gun at Kewll, stopping him.
“Lord Kewll, are you going to follow my orders, or will you defy me! Believe me there will be severe punishment! All units do I make myself clear!? Do everything in your power to let them go!”
The truck drove off under the bridge to the terrorist hideout.
“Man I didn’t really think he’d manage to save him. Who is this guy?”
“That’s crap! How many times can a bluff like that work anyhow!?”
“You gotta give the guy some credit though. Nobody else could have pulled that off. Not the American Liberation front, and certainly not me. We always thought that a full on war with Brittania wasn’t a possibility at all…But maybe with him, it is.” Otto said to the other terrorists.
I stood in the auditorium with Shawn, listening to the terrorist’s conversation. “It seems they treated you rather rough. Now you know what they’re like, Pvt. Kagan. Brittania is rotten. If you wish to bring change to this world…then join me!”
“So is it true! Are you really the one who murdered Prince Clovis!?”
“This is war. Why wouldn’t I kill an enemy commander.”
“The gas as well!? Those were civilians out there–”
“A bluff, to help things along. The result: Not a single death.”
“The result!? That’s all that matters to you I suppose.”
“Come, join me. The Brittania you serve is a worthless dominion!”
“Maybe that’s true. But…This nation can be changed for the better! From within! Any ends gained through contemptible means aren’t worth anything.”
Shawn began to walk to the exit on the stage. “Wait! Where are you going!?”
“My court martial begins in an hour.”
“A- are you mad!? The only reason they’re giving you a court martial is to find you guilty! The judge, the prosecution, and the defense!”
“Rules are rules. If I don’t go…They’ll start cracking down on 11’s and Honorary Brittanians.”
“But you’ll die!”
“I don’t mind.”
“Don’t be an idiot!”
“An old friend of mine always used to tell me that. He’d say I was a fool. I guess it’s my personal fault. I’d try to bring you in…But you’d just end up killing me. So if I’m going to die, it’ll be in the service of the people. Even so…I thank you. For saving me.”
I watched with dis-test as Shawn walked off to the exit. Not looking back. “You…Fool!”
*****Irrione Living Quarters*****
Anna Lee sat in the dark listening to the TV.
“It seems Pvt. Kagan has made contact with the authorities. It seems Zero has released him from his custody. However now there is the matter of the original charges pinned on him have been pulled into question. It’s very possible that Shawn Kagan will be found innocent and acquitted.”
The door opened up behind her, creaking shut again.
In actuality it was the girl with the green hair.