Deep Penetration: Chapter One
Deep Penetration: Chapter One
A ZombieFic Production
The investigation Begins
Preceding Chapter | Proceeding Chapter
"Zombie, are you ready to go?" A voice echoed from another room.
The sunlight breaking through the venetian blinds made visible beams in the dust of the room. A grinding sound occurred as a thumb pressed down on the wheel of the Bic lighter, a flame sprouted and began dancing freely. The cigarette was submerged into the fiery light and embers formed. As the man released his thumb, the flame was suddenly extinguished, and a small billowing trail of smoke appeared and became illuminated by the light passing through the blinds.
"Yeah, I'm ready." Zombie replied as he pulled smoke into his mouth, rolling it over his tongue before inhaling it deep into his lungs.
"Did you pack already? You better have, we have a flight to catch!" The voice called again.
Zombie nodded briefly, despite the other person being unable to see him nod. He slowly exhaled the smoke causing rings to form and float away, slowly expanding and dissipating.
"She packed my bags last night, pre-flight. Zero hour, Nine A.M." Zombie spoke in a cool, calm and collected tone. His eyes gazing over his luggage ready to go.
The man emerged, looking at Zombie, "You haven't even shaved, you look like shit, and you smell like whiskey."
"I can't lay off the bourbon." Zombie replied, as he dragged his fingers over the course hairs of his beard.
He hadn't shaved, and had about two days worth of thick stubble on his jaw and chin. If anything, Zombie felt it made him look like a bad ass. He was an official detective now. He even bought a light tan canvas trench coat lined with felt, and a yellow fedora for the sake of his image and wore it like a badge.
"Well, we really need to get going, you don't want to be late for your first case!" The younger man spoke as he pulled open the blinds.
The sunlight caused Zombie to squint momentarily, before his figure came into focus. The young man had an effeminate air about him, Zombie always wanted to his him because of this. He had curly blondish hair which he tried to keep cropped because it just made him look more like a girl. Though, his frail body didn't help matters either.
"You know, the first time I saw you Omnom, I thought you were a girl. You were wearing that wimpy frill necked sweater too." Zombie spoke, before taking another drag of his cigarette.
Omnom shook his head, annoyed by Zombie, "You know I can't stand it when you say I look girly."
Zombie laughed, he might have been a wimpy girly looking kid, but he knew his stuff and was good at getting Zombie out of trouble. Zombie exhaled smoke, blowing it in Omnom's direction. Omnom caught a whiff of the smoke and began coughing.
Omnom shook his head and motioned to his watch, "Can we just get going, we have a flight to catch."
Zombie nodded, pulling out his service revolver, a six shooter that chambered a the forty-five long colt round. A snub nosed, double action piece that got the job done. After a brief examination, he slung it back in his holster satisfied.
"Sure thing, sunshine, let's go." The detective spoke as he climbed out of the recliner, stretching briefly.
Omnom led the way through their office. Well, more of an apartment. It was cluttered with papers and licenses, and little furniture. Though relatively clean, the only decoration was a faux tree in a corner which was there when Zombie moved in. The front door was swapped out with a door with a glass window. Painted on the window was "Zombie, master detective."
Omnom gripped the handle, opening the door for his boss. Omnom did most of the paperwork for Zombie, and always begged for a filing cabinet to organize the papers. Omnom swore he'd buy one himself out of his own pocket if Zombie never did. Though Zombie told him if he ever bought something fo his job out of his own pocket, that he would shoot Omnom himself. And so, Omnom never did.
Of course, Zombie acted tough, and put on quite the hedonistic facade, he was really just a decent hard working man who had dreams of grandeur and splendor in the world of investigation. His dreams were finally becoming a reality with his first case. Though, as he walked through the hallway behind Omnom, he began scratching his chin as he realized he knew absolutely nothing about the case which Omnom had organized.
Zombie hesitated a moment before asking "Now, what did you say this case was about again?"
Omnom seemed confused a moment, he could have sworn he briefed Zombie on this already, "Well, the man couldn't really say. He is an Admin in some Base somewhere, and was having issues that his Global Detectives couldn't handle themselves."
"Well, that sounds like the job for me then." Zombie nodded, a faux grin on his face.
"Because it's the only job you could get." Omnom reminded him.
Zombies grin faded away. Omnom knew where to strike that jab, but Zombie supposed he deserved it for always picking on Omnom. Though, he knew Omnom knew his gruelings were all in jest.
Zombie was beginning to wish he had shaved as they stopped in front of the elevator. Sure, he looked mighty tough with stubble, but it sure did agitate his skin. Omnom pushed the call elevator button. Fortunately they didn't have to wait long as the elevator was already on their floor. The doors shook, followed by a tiny bell ringing as the doors parted way. An elevator operator snapped to life as he acknowledged their presence.
"Good evening, gentlemen!" He came to life quickly, his boredom vanishing almost instantly. "Ground level today?"
Zombie only nodded, and the elevator operator complied. They could hear steam hissing in the background as the elevator jerked. Gears began to turn and the locking mechanism released. The elevator jolted again as a the gear below it began to turn slowly clicking away tooth by tooth lowering them a bit at a time. Although it was easier than taking the stairs it tended to be painstakingly slow. By the time they had gone down two floors almost two minutes had passed. The building frowned upon using the stairs though, as the elevator operator would lose out on tips.
As such, Zombie placed a nickle in the man's tip jar on the way out, "Take care lad."
The lobby was typical, it wasn't a high class establishment, and the building mostly only housed small offices like Zombie's. There was a dentist next door, and Zombie always wanted to go over and begin shooting the panicked children one by one as they screamed at the sound of the drill. It made those lonesome nights of slewing away bottles of Wild Turkey troublesome.
The lobby was vacant, aside from a few people checking a board with office numbers and floors and two ladies standing behind a counter answering phones and directing customers. Strewn around the lobby were some benches on the sides and a few tables. During the nights, Zombie, Omnom, the dentist Richard, and some other random people would play pokers on those tables. Zombie really wanted to play tonight and win some more money, but work was work. They would do fine without him there for a while anyway.
The lobby had two sets of glass doors, one for entry and one for exiting. Obviously, the one on the right was for exiting as a door greeter stood there impatiently waiting to open the door for them. It was like luxury, except these men only worked for tips. The homeless and jobless rates in the city were sky rocketing and leading to serious amounts of crime. That's why Zombie thought it would be a good idea to go into the field of private investigations. Even in that field work was lacking.
Already waiting for them outside was their taxi. The man stood by patiently, holding the door open as Zombie climbed in. Omnom loaded his bags in the back and stood by.
"Have a nice flight, I'll see you when you get back." Omnom seemed eager to have the office to himself for a while. Zombie wasn't sure why, but he hoped Omnom didn't plan on buying a filing cabinet.
"Yeah, wish I could afford to take you with me. Answer the phone at all times, and do not touch my bourbon." Zombie finished off his statement quickly as the door was shut by the driver.
The driver walked around the front of the vehicle, grabbing a handle protruding from the front, and pulled a small hatch open. His face was illuminated by the power source inside, a small fire which would rapidly cause water in a container above it to turn into steam and in turn move pistons. It was an elaborate set up, but it worked.
The driver shut the hatch and straightened his back, walking to the drivers side door and climbing inside. Once in a comfortable seated position, he pulled a lever up and the sound of hissing steam was audible and loud. To compensate that steam, a symphonic orchestra began to play over tiny magnetic speakers throughout the cabin. The driver pulled another lever enabling the transmission to switch from a neutral gear into first gear. Operating the clutch and the accelerator admirably well the vehicle rolled forward and into the stream of traffic.
The gentle ride lasted over an hour before they were out of the city. Traffic outside of the city was much easier to navigate and it didn't take long to get to the air port. A large building loomed ahead, around it was several square pads with smaller buildings at each pad. A total of eight pads in all, it was a relatively small air port. Zombie suddenly began to notice it growing dark around his vehicle. A shadow formed as one of the air ships gradually sunk through the air towards it's pad. Zombie managed to catch the tail number, Z four five, that would be his ship.
"Hmph, and Omnom was rushing me saying I would be late. It's going to be at least another hour before that thing is ready to fly again." Zombie spoke to himself.
The cab driver must have mistaken his speech as directed towards him, "I doubt you will have trouble finding something to entertain yourself with while you wait. If you like, you can have my newspaper as I am done reading it."
Zombie obliged the man, taking the offered paper into his own hand. "The City Herald?" Why did he take the newspaper again? Zombie never read, especially not newspapers, they contained nothing but bleak and depressing information on how terrible the world was and what was sure to kill him next. It didn't matter though, the ship hadn't even landed yet.
As the cab came to a stop at a loading and unloading dock, a man approached the unopened trunk and pulled out Zombie's bag. Zombie didn't feel like waiting for the driver to walk around the cab and open his door for him, and Zombie was in fact a grown ass man, so he opened the door himself. It felt good to stand on solid ground again, especially after having been cramped in that tiny cab for such a long period of time.
The man was wrapping a tag around the handle of Zombie's bag as Zombie approached him, "I'm assuming there is a bar of some sort around here?"
The young man pointed towards the building by the pad, "Though at this point, we'll probably be ready to board in an hours time."
"Bah, plenty of time to squeeze in a few glasses of bourbon for a long ride on an air ship." Zombie shrugged the worker off as he made his way to the building.
The front door was simple, though slightly ornate. The glass was clean, and the handle was brass and curved with three twists. The sign read "The Eighth Wait." Which was a fitting name. Zombie's hand clasped the brass handle, the cold metal began to sweat from the warmth of his hand, and he pulled the door open. Once inside, the atmosphere was filled with smoke and a jazzy blues music. Only a few people were inside too, one female and two older gentlemen. Of course Zombie chose to sit near the female.
An older bar tender addressed Zombie, "What can I do for you today, sir?" As he spoke, his white mustache seemed to jiggle and dance to the music.
"Just a glass of wild turkey," Zombie answered as he tipped back his yellow fedora allowing his face to be more visible.
The bartender went to work, his white and red striped shirt fit tight around his pot belly. The man definitely wasn't in shape anymore, though Zombie could understand why. He was missing a leg after all, which probably meant he was a veteran of the war. The man seemed to reach around the bar as though he had been there his entire life. Within moments, his trained reflexes had produced a cold glass of the fine amber bourbon brewed in Kentucky.
"I didn't ask for ice." Zombie seemed confused.
The bartender smiled a bit before responding, "I figured you could use some ice. It's hot out today. I can tell what my customers want before they know it themselves."
Zombie shrugged it off, taking a sip of the refreshing beverage, and the bartender was actually right. The ice made it quite delectable. Despite the ice, the liquid burned like fire all the way down, and warmed his belly. The other girl in the bar seemed to have her attention on him, which was nice.
Zombie figured he might as well be a gentleman and make the initial approach, "So, what's a sophisticated lady such as yourself doing traveling alone?"
She giggled a tantalizing giggle, her curly brown hair caressing her cheek as it dangled down a bit in front of her face. Her fabulous gown was definitely not cheap, then again the impoverished had a difficult time affording space on these flights.
"And what gave you the assumption that I was alone?" Her eyes seemed to steal his gaze, the piercing blue grabbing him by the soul.
"Well, it's my job to observe and know these things." He figured he might as well make himself sound like far cooler than he actually was.
"Oh, you're job? And just what might that be, Mr. Detective." She talked playfully, though Zombie had this feeling about her, that she was a lot stronger and self reliant than she made herself out to be.
"Well, you already figured me out. Miss?" Now to get a name, hopefully, Zombie thought.
"Miss Zerabitu. Pleased to meet you."
By the time Zombie had finished his third glass of Wild Turkey, the two were deeply engrossed in conversation. Zombie hardly noticed the time pass by as he quickly became deeply infatuated with her.
"So, why are you on this flight today?" She asked him after observing the clock realizing they should be boarding soon.
"Business, I have an investigation." Zombie tried to goad and sound modest at the same time.
She smiled back, "Oh, and what kind of investigation?"
Zombie laughed, "Well, I honestly don't know anything about it, just some Admin having difficulties with his Base, and his Global Investigators can't handle it themselves. He requested me personally."
This caused an unusual smile, but as inebriated as Zombie was, he couldn't even notice it, "Well, that is amazing. I wish you the best of luck in your mission, but it would appear my cabin is ready and I am afraid I must depart your acquaintance in order to occupy it."
Zerabitu stood, performing a curtsy with an almost seductive smile, as she turned and began walking away. Her flowing red gown mesmerizing Zombie, his eyes fixated upon her swaying figure as she left.
Zombie had to shake his head momentarily to relieve himself of his gawking expression. He only just realized how much he had actually talked to her, she seemed quite keen at getting information from people. He hoped his suspicions were in vain.
Zombie didn’t delay much longer though, he had a flight to catch. He picked up his newspaper and walked through the smoke filled room to the door. Opening it, he saw many people already boarding the air ship and decided at this point he should probably get in line lest he miss his flight.
The ship itself was humongous, though most of it was the air bladder. The actual compartment below it where the cabins were was really quite minuscule compared to the rest of the ship. The flight crew had a separate compartment towards the front of the ship that the passengers wouldn’t have access to. The crew compartment was attached to the passenger compartment with a small bridge with rails. Zombie could already smell food being prepared in the crew’s compartment, which was probably a good thing as he only just realized how hungry he was becoming.
As he drew closer, turbulent winds picked up. Massive engines burning a new fuel called petrol spun about eight very large propellers. Zombie imagined they didn’t need to use those for lift off, and probably very little during flight. He couldn’t fathom just how much fuel they would have to carry to run those giant blades nonstop. The one nearest him appeared to have five blades, each blade proabably about two meters.
“Ticket please,” a man of average height stood at the loading ramp with his hand out.
Zombie had a confused look about him as he heard that, “Ticket? Oh, right!”
After patting himself down, he produced a single envelope. Opening that envelope revealed a ticket with a crimped section. He placed the ticket in the man’s hand who then looked over it very carefully. After apparently deciding his ticket was good enough, the man folded it and tore it very carefully returning one half of it to Zombie.
“You will be in Cabin 32B, that’s on the far side over there. Have a pleasant flight.” The man didn’t even smile, surely he hated his job.
Zombie shrugged the man off and proceeded up the ramp. Two ladies in blue suits greeted him with blatantly forced smiles. It would seem people disliked working on this airship, and wouldn’t hesitate a moment to show you.
The blond girl on the left spoke first, “Hello and welcome to Aero, Air Ship Enterprises.”
Followed by the other girl, with light brown hair, “We hope you have a great trip.”
He only grunted incomprehensibly, he didn’t care if he was greeted or not, he just wanted something to eat. Once inside the ship he was hit with a blast of cool refreshing air. He had heard of this device before, they called it air conditioning. Something about running air around a compression coil, and the compression coil removing heat from the air. He didn’t fully understand how it worked. One thing he could understand though was the luxury of this air ship.
The interior had plush red carpet, vinyl lined walls of intricate designs, flowing velvety curtains around every window, even the door knobs were quite intricate. They were nearly crystal clear glass with what looked like some sort of spiderweb pattern inside of them made of gold, or very well polished brass. The ambient lighting must have been designed too, because as he looked up and down the hallway, there wasn’t a single shadow anywhere, except for the one he was casting. The strangest part to him was, this was the cheapest ship he could find. He began to wonder what the most expensive would look like as he began walking again, navigating to his room.
The rooms were numbered by floor accordingly, he found 32B to be on the second floor. As he opened the door, he realized his room wasn’t the most extravagant ever, but it was definitely suitable by his standard. The room had a single bed, with a plush looking mattress, definitely more comfortable looking than an old musty recliner. The only source of light in his cabin was a single lamp on the desk, which had two bulbs which he could point in different directions. The chair at the desk was a small wooden chair with a small cushion. It didn’t look very comfortable, but he wasn’t going to use the desk so he didn’t care. Instead, he collapsed onto the mattress of his small bed, and fell asleep almost instantly.
He didn’t know how long he was asleep for, but it must have been several hours. It was sunset when he boarded the ship, but as he opened his door to whomever was knocking he could clearly see out the window nothing but darkness. As he trained his sight onto the person knocking, he could see it was a waitress of some sort.
“May I see your ticket stub please?” She asked in a rather nice and upbeat tone.
As Zombie pulled out his stub, he figured she was either a new employee, or one of the few people that actually enjoyed working on the flight. That, or a good actress. He slipped the ticket stub into her hand and she looked it over carefully.
“Okay, Mr. Zombie, it appears you have one meal included.” She couldn’t stop smiling for some reason, and Zombie found it kind of disturbing.
She returned momentarily with a tray steaming with delicious smelling food. He couldn’t exactly see what was in it, but he could smell fresh meat and fresh vegetables.
Zombie took the tray into his cabin, shutting the door behind himself. Hopefully she wasn’t expecting a tip, because his resources would be stretched thin until he got paid for his work. He simultaneously fumbled for a switch on the lamp while placing his tray down on the desk. He suddenly felt a chain dangling from the lamp, and tugged on it causing it to click. The light came on and was quite bright. As he pulled back the foil, the contents were revealed as a slice of roasted ham, and mashed potatoes and peas. His stomach rumbled at the splendid sight and he began to eat it quite savagely. It only took him a moment to eat the food, and he found himself still hungry. Yet, at the same time tired, and so he sank back into the bed and drifted off once more.
He wasn’t sure exactly how long he had been asleep, but an announcement came through some form of a speaker in the cabin, “Good morning guests, we are preparing to land. Please maintain a firm grip as some shaking may occur.”
He quickly rose from bed. It was morning already? How long had he been asleep for? He looked around the room, his food tray was gone. At first he assumed it was some kind of room service, but then he noticed there was an envelope on top of his newspaper with a distinctive red lipstick which he definitely recognized the shade of. It only took him a moment before he realized just who’s lipstick it was, Miss Zerabitu. She had been in his room and he never knew it?
The thought of what she could have left him was quite alluring, and he was ready to check it when the airship shook violently heaving him from the bed. He rolled on the ground momentarily before climbing onto his knees and grabbing the bed frame. The airship continued to shake for a few more moments. After the shaking had stopped, he climbed back to his feet, rubbing a sore spot on his side. He grabbed his newspaper and the envelope, and left the room.
It was still dark outside of the windows, but he could tell it was morning and the sun would be coming up any moment. He wanted to see what was in the envelope now, but he would have to wait. He had to find a taxi and get to the city. As he went down a flight of twisting stairs, he found himself on the first floor again. The main doors were open, and he could see the loading ramp being moved into position. He began searching through the group of people waiting. Some other people were rubbing sore spots as well. Clearly he wasn’t the only one caught off guard by the sudden shaking.
Though the person he was looking for wasn’t there. He wondered if she would be in the same red gown, or if she would be wearing that same scent. He couldn’t smell her either and figured she probably had a different less cluttered ramp to use.
As the ramp clicked into place, the guests began to disembark in quite a fury. Zombie waited several moments for the rush to end before casually vacating the air craft. Once outside, he saw the horizon begin to glow. It wouldn’t be long until the sun crested the horizon.
Outside on the pad there was an area with luggage, and an area with taxis, and a few buses. Zombie realized now why people were so eager to get off early. He didn’t mind though, he easily found his bag in the large group. Somebody had his set off to the side, he found it sort of suspicious but made nothing of it. He grabbed his bag and walked over to the first taxi he found. The driver graciously opened the door for him. This taxi driver seemed different from the one before. He was in a rush, wanting to get things done quickly and get another customer. Apparently this city was worst off than home. The taxi sped off, quite recklessly too, nearly clipping an older man who proceeded to wave his cane at the taxi.
By the time they hit the main road into the city, the taxi driver began to slow down and apologize to his customer “I’m sorry, I had to get out of there fast. Or else others would have fought for a ride.”
Zombie was sort of in a disbelief at just how bad it could have been, but he shrugged it off. He would find out for himself in a bit. “I need to get to the Admin office in the city center.”
“The admin office? I can drop you off a block away, but I wont go near that place. A block is as close as I’ll take you.” He seemed unusually worried over an admin office.
Again, Zombie shrugged it off. He figured he would eventually see first hand just how bad things were. The traffic outside of the city was incredibly light. Inside the city it was still as light. Nothing like back home, Zombie imagined the steady automobile horn orchestra, with random explicit words shouted. Yet here, everybody just seemed nervous, like they were expecting to be attacked at any minute.
With a lack of traffic, it didn’t take long until he reached his destination. The taxi driver didn’t look like he wanted to get out, but it made no difference to Zombie. He grabbed the door handle and jerked it forcing the door lock to pop out and the door door swung freely open.
Zombie swung his legs out of the cab, and stood up outside and began stretching. It felt good to be out of a vehicle. He didn’t want to fly or ride in a cab again for a long while. As soon as he got his bag out, the taxi sped off without him ever shutting the door. Zombie just scratched his head, confused by the behaviour in this city.
It didn’t matter, really. He had a job to do, and if the behaviour of the people had anything to do with his case, then he would have to look into it. He made his way down the street, smoking on a cigarette and walking a casual pace. It didn’t take him long to notice a group of men behind him. He would be able to handle them with ease if they actually tried something. Yet once he was in front of the admin building, they had backed off and seemed to wait for him. Zombie just ignored them, taking one last drag of his cigarette. The embers were almost to the filter before he flicked the butt into the street. He exhaled slowly as he walked into the building.
It looked like any office building. Glass doors with window blinds, the name of the building painted on the glass. Inside, there were several desks around the room with many different people. Everybody seemed too busy working to pay him any attention. He figured he might as well go up to the most interesting desk.
He approached the desk, scratching his beard and noticed just how long it was getting. The girl behind the desk had long and curly hair of a very dark brown. She wore a standard police uniform, with a blue skirt instead of the slacks. Her button up blouse had a name tag on her right and a badge on the left side of her chest.
Zombie cleared his throat abruptly and loudly before speaking, “Hey there doll.”
Even if he wasn’t finished speaking, she had spoke up as soon as she had heard the term doll, “Excuse me, Mister pretend detective, I am a fully fledged Global Investigator for the Admin. You will address me by my name and position.”
Zombie recoiled slightly, before stinging back, “Oh, you mean one of those Global Investigators that couldn’t solve some case forcing me to come in and pick up your slack, Miss ...” Zombie loomed in getting as close to her chest as possible to read her name tag, “... Lawliet.”
“Oh, so you’re that incompetent investigator who lied incessantly on his resume? Right this way then, sir.” She stood up abruptly, and turned towards a door at the back of the office and began walking towards it.
Zombie mumbled to himself so she couldn’t hear him as he followed her, “Omnom made up most of those lies. I only lied about the part about defeating twenty terrorists with just my bare hands.”
Lawliet pressed a button and a speaker buzzed, “The investigator is here, Sir.”
“It’s about damn time, come in you two.” The box spoke back.
The door clicked, and Lawliet pulled it open. Zombie proceeded in and Lawliet followed. The inside of the office was rather plain for an admin. The man sitting behind the desk wasn’t though. He had a cigar hanging out of his mouth, and by the smell of it, Cuban. In front of him was a large beer mug, though it wasn’t filled with beer, instead it smelled very similar to vodka.
He took a large gulp of the vodka before speaking in a heavy Swedish accent, “So, you’re the private detective, Zombie, I presume?”
Zombie nodded confirmation, “You would be correct, Sir.”
“Oh, please cut the ‘Sir’ shit, just call me Zise.” The man began typing on a typewriter.
“Not a Problem, Zise. No formalities will make this easier.” Zombie agreed.
Zise continued typing away at the typewriter, “Good, then I can explain the situation to you now. You are to work with, uh, what’s her name again? Whatever, work with her, and she’ll explain what we’re investigating.”
Lawliet looked annoyed, “I have to work with him? He seems so incompetent.”
“Coming from the Global Investigator who can’t solve a simple case?” Zombie defended himself by attacking her.
“If you two keep fighting like that instead of getting work done, you will both be out of a job. Get out of my damn office!” Zise shouted in a heavy Swedish accent, and then proceeded to chuck the remaining vodka in his beer mug.
The two hurried out of the office together, shutting the door behind them with a locking click. Lawliet seemed rather annoyed with Zombie already. Zombie didn’t mind though, she would warm up to him eventually. He had a way or working with people that they gradually liked him. It was taking Omnom a bit longer than others, but in due time Omnom would enjoy Zombie’s company.
“So, what say we discuss this case over coffee?”