Disclaimer: Ace Attorney and all characters are copyright by CAPCOM; World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, all incidences and characters were created by Max Brooks. I'm just a fan, imitating. The stories presented are influenced by the multiple games as well as the comic (Manga written by Kenji Kuroda), and the book World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War.
This story is set two years following Bridge to the Turnabout (Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations) during the height of the Zombie War.
May 16, 2053
Stand Up! SoCal
Southern California Greater Metropolis, California
He is a warrior. Tireless… Fearless… [She turns away from the window and hides the smile that had crept over her features for a moment.]
I did much work for Interpol before the panic. I had come to the zenith of my power and influence in the small district courts here, so I longed for something more and greater. That is why I began my work with Interpol. It is through my work with Interpol that I met Shi-Long Lang. He was an investigator with Interpol.
[She pauses and turns back to the window.]
He joined the National Guard right away. The investigation of international crimes was less of a priority. He was trapped here in California, just like I was.
[You felt like you were trapped here?]
Yes I felt that way. As the world fell apart around us, it was easy to be resentful about it. But I didn't feel that way after we'd come to the University—especially after we found Miles. They were all the family I needed.
[How did you cope with Shi-Long Lang's service with the Guard?]
I don't like the separation—who would want that? But I knew he was doing his part for California, for our family and friends. When Mei was born, I went through most of the pregnancy without him. That was difficult. But he was here for the birth.
He… He is a good father.
April 17, 2022
Santa Monica State Beach
Santa Monica, California
"Happy Easter!" Phoenix paused and turned to see who it was.
Easter Sunday in the field was just another Sunday in the field—well, maybe the Chaplain had more to talk about. He shook the razor out in the water and then set it on the edge of the portable sink where a two-by-four had been jammed against the wall to create a narrow shelf.
"Shi-Long Lang," he forced a smile in the other man's direction.
"You're not going to come out?"
Phoenix only shook his head solemnly and then picked up the disposable plastic razor and went back to shaving.
"What's wrong? Did something happen?"
Phoenix shook his head, "Feeling a little homesick…"
"But we're home…"
"You know what I mean," he looked over to see that Lang was standing next to him now, "What are you so cheerful about?"
Lang shrugged, "I'd rather be at home—home, home… But we're here. Because they need us here. So one must make do with what one has available. Lang Zi says no matter where he is, a wolf will howl at the very same moon."
"Oh right…" Phoenix said, and grimaced at his own reflection in the plastic mirror—foggy and distorted as it was.
"How much longer do you need?"
"For what? I was going to bed after this," Phoenix didn't pause.
"What about dinner?" He could see Lang's blurry reflection in the mirror behind him, crossing his arms.
"Look, I know you're just trying to make sure I'm included but I really just—"
"I could order you to be there," Lang said leaning into him, violating his personal space.
Phoenix grit his teeth and tried not to flinch, "How is that a lawful order?"
"Maybe it's not about you Phoenix Wright—what about your soldiers?"
"I still don't see how my being there will affect 'my soldiers'," he straightened and surreptitiously took a step away from Lang before wiping his face.
Lang shook his head and laughed, "Is it the Army? You really don't like the Army do you?"
"I don't hate the Army," Phoenix turned to face Lang and leaned his back against the sink, "I don't like being a soldier… But I want to do my part… Just don't ask me to smile and party about it."
Lang grinned at him and clapped a hand on each of his shoulders, which were still bare from the showers, "Delta Company is here too," Lang eyed him pointedly.
"What is Delta Company?" Phoenix crossed his arms over his chest, feeling uncomfortable about Lang's touchy-feely approach, "Why should I care?"
Lang stepped away from him suddenly, hands clasped behind his back, "Oh, it's the heavy weapons company in the battalion."
"Okay," Phoenix glared at him now, this was ridiculous.
Phoenix dropped his arms and stared at him open mouthed, "You mean… Larry, Larry? That guy's a company commander?"
Lang waved a finger at him, "Heavy weapons, company commander."
Phoenix smiled, "So that's where he took off to…"
"Larry got very excited when I told him you were here," Lang quipped with a chuckle, "He said you were one of his very best friends."
"Larry said that?" Phoenix scratched his head sheepishly.
"Yes," Lang said, "In fact a lot guys from the old University group are here right now."
Phoenix made as if to step past Lang and leave the latrine, "Well, doesn't your Battalion have the beach from here to Torrence?"
Lang shrugged but made no move to get out of his way, "Our Battalion, Nick… But Brigade is here too."
"Yeah I heard," Phoenix said, "is that why you want all of us out on the beach tonight? To do a little dog and pony for you, Colonel Lang?"
Lang laughed, "Miles is the acting Brigade Commander, he came in with Delta Company—apparently he likes big guns."
Phoenix met his eye and paused to swallow back a sudden surge in emotion, "I appreciate your concern, Sir, but I think I'm going to bed."
May 16, 2053
Stand Up! SoCal
Southern California Greater Metropolis, California
[What was it like working for Lang—in the Guard?]
[He chuckles at the question.] Shi-Long is a great guy—he's head of security here now. But it was a little weird—because guys like him and Miles went into the Army in one way or another way earlier than me. I mean he took care of me, they were definitely grooming me to be there with them—to lead and make decisions.
[You didn't want a leadership position in the military?]
I wanted to help people—but making decisions about how to kill and [he shudders] dismantle… people… It's not pleasant.
[But you served for almost ten years…]
[He smiles sheepishly.] Time went fast during the War. We stayed in California for most of it—so I could visit Maya a couple times a year. There was the first couple years—doing the clean-up like we talked about. Then they came out of the ocean. It was worst in the early weeks. They would come out in small groups and we would get rid of them quickly waiting for the surge. Then the surge started coming—and I mean days, weeks, months… I had no idea what day it was. They still came pretty steadily until the fall so the time just flew by.
Then we left the beaches—after establishing defense posts out there. They asked me if I would stay in Santa Monica—it was close to home and I had the experience I needed by then. I did do a stint there—three years, because the kids were very small.
[What made you go West?]
I followed Miles…. I mean he came with me on that hopeless suicide mission to save Maya and Pearls…. I felt like I owed him.
[You marched two-thousand miles because you owed a guy a favor?]
[He laughs and shakes his head.] We lost a lot of guys that first summer. That was hard. But I think it brought the rest of us closer together. I didn't just owe 'some guy' a favor…. I owed it to the guys we lost too—the families they left behind. The young guys that followed us out there, like Apollo and Simon…. There were a lot of factors.
[Phoenix wipes his face, but doesn't meet my eye.] I guess too—and this was kind of a prevalent feeling in those later years—but I guess if we were fighting zombies away from home, it meant they were away from our homes. Like we could chase them all the way into the Gulf of Mexico…
I ended up going back to California after Shreveport…. I couldn't… I just couldn't… not after…
I think I did a few more years in Santa Monica and Ventura Beach… but I was done with the Army after Shreveport…
May 7, 2022
Santa Monica State Beach
Santa Monica, California
"In the city…" Crip and Johnny B took the lead in calling cadence, because Phoenix didn't really know the song and they were louder, "of LA…"
"In the city of LA," Second platoon of Foxtrot company replied in chorus.
"In the city… of good ol' Watts!"
"In the city… the city of Compton!"
"We keep it rockin'!"
Phoenix raised a fist suddenly and signaled for them to cut it out, and as one the platoon went down in the rubble and brush. Phoenix waved Specialist Meekins to join him where he was at the head of the column. He winced, squinting through the fog and feeling sand grit in his teeth.
The men were silent stretched along the beach and Phoenix could only hear the pounding of his own heart filling his ears in the eerie silence. He startled slightly when Meekins' lanky form crashed into the bank beside him, his equipment rocking precariously on his back.
Phoenix had his binoculars up and was scanning what he could of the beach while Meekins tried to get a hold of Company on the satellite radio he held. Meekins tapped Phoenix and shot him a thumbs up, and Phoenix nodded. Meekins began reading out their grid coordinates.
"Visibility poor—about two miles," Phoenix said and Meekins passed the info along, "Second platoon has confirmed auditory contact from the west."
Phoenix heard the moaning again—the same moaning that brought on his order to halt and seek cover. It seemed to echo through his body. He glanced down the line and saw Sergeant Rainier looking in his direction. Phoenix acknowledged with a nod and then tapped Meekins' arm, "Well?"
"They're not able to confirm—because of visibility…"
Phoenix cursed and motioned for Sergeant Rainier to join them. The Sergeant dashed over, keeping low and dropped into the sand beside Phoenix opposite of Meekins. He was panting slightly.
"Can't see shit," he said.
Phoenix was scanning the beach again, "But there's a group of them, and we're not going to lose this fog until the sun is up…"
"What do you think? Couple dozen?"
"Yeah, less than thirty," Phoenix put away his binoculars, "I'm not going to wait for Company to get their heads out of their asses…. Pick your squad, and hit them straight on. Meekins you're gonna hold this position—have the Eds stay with Meekins—everyone else is coming with me."
"Where are you going, Cap?"
"We're going to run up the beach—a quarter mile or so and flank them."
Orders went down the line quickly and before he had a chance to second guess himself, Ed, Edd, and Eddie, dragged themselves into the sand around Meekins and Sergeant Rainier and his section mounted the bank and started running down the beach. Phoenix got to his feet and waved an arm.
He put his head down and started to run. He could hear the quick movements, the brush of clothing, the rattle and jingle of their equipment, and their breathing. Their footsteps were silent in the sand.
He could feel his own nervous tension twisting more tightly in the pit of his stomach as he ran and tried to keep focused. The fog left them damp and the sand stuck to the exposed skin of their arms and faces. Phoenix paused and turned his section back toward the ocean. The breeze was chill coupled with the damp fog, but he could smell the briny smell of the ocean and the pulsing sound of waves. Along with the stench of decay.
Shouts and moans as Sergeant Rainier made contact with the still invisible ghouls and Phoenix turned the section one more time. They were there all too soon, coming up behind the stumbling group already engaged with the other half of the platoon.
Phoenix raised his lobo and gave a shout. The other men were beside him, shouting in chorus now. Before he could be overwhelmed by the fear and apprehension—by the rotting, dead fish smell of zombies that had spent months under the ocean—he brought one the lobo's axe blades across the ghoul that materialized in front of him. Taking its head clean off.
Phoenix didn't stop to find the head—it wouldn't be moving very far or fast now and instead shoved the spade into the throat of the next zombie knocking it down and leaping over it without pause as he lifted the axe blade and let it cleave another ghoul from collar across it's rotten neck to it's chin knocking it down and stepping right into it's shriveled, bony chest as he lifted the lobo to swing at a ghouls that had just passed him on the other side. This swing caught it in the ribs and held it fast as one of his soldiers—probably Ham, took off it's head.
It was over in minutes. Phoenix stood over his troops as they went around incapacitating the monsters—taking off limbs and heads and jaws and piling the parts together. The fire burned off the fog around them, and Phoenix could see the embankment where Meekins and the Eds were waiting.
While the fire blazed on the beach, the steady pounding of the waves layered the roar of fire with a steady cadence.
"California Love!" Crip started up again as they stood watching the fire burn down.
A/N: Thanks for reading!