Title: Perfect Warrior.
Modified, upgraded, ideal, deadly. A weapon. But still…a human. Zoro. Number 056. A test subject, soldier and…a slave that one day stood up and said: 'Enough' Now wanted, hunted, and very much preferred dead than alive to the World Government.
Pairing: Sanji/Zoro, ZoSanZo. Since I like my boys reversible~ *winks*
Disclaimer: I don't own One Piece and it's characters, "Ultimate Survival" serial, nor Dark Angel series.
Mentions of mental or physical torture
Sex & violence
Struggle of people in the new order of the world.
("Perfect Warrior" by Lost Horizon)
I was falling into the boundless sea
I'm the sacred one who chose to change this world
Everything I hate to see...
Everyone I hate to hear...
Raise your sword and never fall again
I was calling, world never answered me
Time was standing still and life plunged into ruin
Everything I hate to see...
Everyone I hate to hear...
Hold your head up high and spread your words
Mob of "right", I despise your way of life!
I'm a "sinner", yet forgive me nothing
I'm a "heathen", but forever free
If you try to break my wings
If you try to steal my dreams
You will never free your name
From the chains of pain
If you try to break my wings
If you dare to touch my dreams
Then my curse will be your pain
He—named number 056—could barely walk, but he didn't have the leisure to sit down and rest till he got all of his strength back. The pursuers were still on his tail and No.056 couldn't allow himself to take even a brief moment of rest. Earlier, by pure chance, he managed to find a secluded enough place and stop for a split second to wrap his wounds, preventing any more unnecessary bleeding. At least, he wasn't leaving a visible trail of crimson liquid behind anymore, No.056 noted. The heady smell of fresh blood hanging in the air was way too revealing in his opinion. No.056's extraordinary sharp senses were telling him he was giving away his position the more time he spend in one place and that he was loosing the advantage he had over the hired mercenaries, chasing after him.
Eyes closed, No.056 inhaled deeply through his nose, focusing his awareness on the surroundings, sensing and at the same time surveying all of the nearby, vast territory. He couldn't decide if he was more lucky or unlucky to get lost in such a freakishly large forest somewhere in the Washington State… or was it Canada already? No.056 wasn't sure where exactly anymore. He threw away the map he had stolen from a fallen guard, after previously memorizing most of it, but the damn road network was so bloody confusing it was hard not to get lost actually, No.056 stubbornly claimed.
Not like he could do anything about it. He lost track of his location about a month ago, followed his gut feeling since, hoping his luck was still as strong as ever and he would reach his destination at last. Right now, he just wanted to get away as far as possible from tailing him mercenaries and hide somewhere in the woods for days or even for a few, long weeks. Until most of his wounds heal, that is. Especially the wide gash on his chest. His bandages were soaked through and irritating his skin. He desperately needed some stitches for that, but he couldn't be picky now.
No.056 was constantly running with hardly any pause, for several days now. Trees only a passing blur to his tired eyes. He was giving his all to escape the facility he was locked inside for years now, leaving his past completely behind and finally being allowed the freedom of walking on the surface.
Everything was so new and fresh to him.
Although, he learned about the outside world from books and lectures, it was still a shock to face such breathtaking reality. But he didn't linger with his thoughts on novelty of the world showed in his face in full Technicolor. He pushed excitement and huge amount of questions to the farthest part of his mind and focused on here and now. His top priority was loosing his tail and he focused solemnly on that.
His most cherished possession—his white katana—was the only thing he brought with himself for protection. It was the only thing he managed to salvage from the destroyed and burned to the ground facility.
No food, water, or any other necessities.
There was simply no time for that.
It wasn't like he couldn't last without any provisions, though, and wouldn't panic when thrown head first into the unknown and harsh environment. He was even trained to fight under extreme circumstances and hugely pressured to accomplish the given mission. To quickly calculate his next moves. To push himself beyond limits. Sleep-depraved and exhausted—mentally as well as physically. With hunger gnawing at his insides, followed closely by extreme thirst. Those were merely inconveniences distracting him from his original goal, and which he needed to overcome. A test he needed to pass.
He was a walking and breathing weapon. A genetically modified human, injected with a specific animal DNA already while in the womb of his mother.
He inherited keen animal instinct and natural behavior patterns, unique and sharp—survival ones. It allowed him to have amazing reaction time to upcoming danger, the likes that even top soldiers would envy. Additionally, he was trained strictly since his birth to accommodate to unusual situations and react accordingly. Everything he did until now was to become the deadly power, to be sent to the most dangerous places on the Earth and serve as an ultimate combat force to the World Government.
Sight. Hearing. Reflexes. Stamina. Endurance for pain. And body of an ancient warrior.
Everything about his being was perfected to the highest of possibilities.
Some genetic traits were probably persevered or left as a joke. Because todays advanced medicine and science allowed you to choose what color of eyes or hair you wish your child should have, or even in some cases a pigment of skin. So observing how unusual the man looked could make some wonder if he had creators with unusual sense of humor or just were just extremely eccentric.
No.056 had long, silky, dark-greenish hair. Overgrown, dirty and unkempt because of the circumstances he found himself in. His priority was survival not looking good while he'd be pummeled by the bullets. He'd kill for some razor, though. It was annoying him how much of a forest-man he turned into, not to mention how scratchy and rough his beard was, did he need to mention the color? It was green. Neon-like green. And he did not appreciate the fact he could blend in so well with the Mother Nature without actually trying—thank you very fucking much. Everything glued to his sweaty and filthy body, neck and face. No.056 was covered from head to toe with blood and grime and other barely recognizable bits like leaves, for example. At least it was a perfect type of camouflage he could afford and he didn't need to be creative—much—to do so, just roll around in the mud and other filth, and he could just as well blend in with the scenery like he belonged there. Ha.
His dry humor seemed to be one of few things keeping him still sane. No.056 needed the distraction it provided to keep his mind focused and not succumb to the overwhelming dizziness. It was way past forty eight hour mark since he last had a drop of water in his mouth and his constantly moving body was severely dehydrated. No.056 breath was now ragged and hoarse, not last bit like his normal breathing; deep and regular, like a horse. He usually was able to run just like a machine—no stumbling, no wasted motion. Now his lips were dry, cracked and bleeding from the lack of moisture, tongue like sandpaper. His breath, being released in quick gasps, trailed behind him in the frigid mountain air. No.056's focus swam, worse with each and every, passing second. But his resolve still stood strong. Still was not broken. He promised to his fallen friend—not a number but Kuina a name she gave herself which means a flightless bird, he tried to escape with, that he would never give up. In her stand he'd reach the Gray Terminal—their Utopia, and live the life she wouldn't be able to. And he was going to stick to it, damn the consequences and hardships he'd need to overcome.
The rumors said the only safe place for transgenic creatures like them was on Alaska, now a part of the New Kingdom of Goa. It was formerly a part of the United States before the EMP burst—electromagnetic pulse, from the nuclear explosion detonated hundreds of kilometers above the Earth's surface, resulting in malfunction of machines and electronics on a huge scale, turning one of the richest countries on the world into a third world country in a spam of minutes.
No.056 didn't know any details beside the fact it was a hugely organized thing. No one knew what fraction or country was responsible. Usually right away there would be someone flaunting their victory over the America, but more and more people were prone to believe it was an inside thing, rather than a world-scale attack on the States. And this thought was even more disconcerting for some, because it meant the Revolutionaries would have a huge advantage to take over the country, like they did with Canada and most of the Southern America. The States was like an immovable mountain up until that point, now The World Government was heavily handicapped and took totally radical approach. They closed off the boarders, sacrificing the Alaska in the process and turned half of the North America into a totalitarian country.
With a crash of economics, every secret and highly expensive governmental project were put on hold or terminated. It was then, that No.056 with his brothers and sisters decided to move and fight for their lives. Many sacrifices followed, but No.056 had strong conviction he wasn't the last one who survived. They agreed to meet one day on Alaska's land and No.056 knew he was close to achieving his goal. It took him many, many long and exhausting months.
He lost the count of days, and he wouldn't be surprised if even a year had passed. Months on the run in small towns, big cities, public parks, forests, bare fields, mountains, deserts, cohabiting with bears and wild cats, or even hiding among the homeless, scrounging, merely surviving...
He gripped tightly his precious katana at the rapid gush of emotions and memories.
He shouldn't be having such thoughts at a time like this. Especially since his life was on the line. He paused in his run, trying to fruitlessly catch his breath and survey the topography. With each deep breath his mind became clearer and he calmed his chaotic thoughts. No.056 mentor's instructions rung in his head; pushing him forward—
"Just spread out as far as you can. Then put as much distance between yourselves and the pursuers. This is crucial since it could spell your life and death. Then, and only then, you should go and find a source of water and food."
Yes, first things first. What he needed most, right at that moment, was to sate his basic needs. Food and water. He wouldn't last long without them. For a few days at best, he could be able to function with nasty symptoms of dehydration, but after that he would be nothing more than a disoriented, hallucinating wreck. Unable to fight and could fell easily as a pray of a stronger predator.
Judging by the low position of the sun, No.056 guessed it's really been more than two days since he last had something to drink and same goes for when he last ate something. He become painfully aware of the dryness in his mouth more and more. He had been moving all day long and despite the cold weather he sweat a lot due to his marathon-like run, wrapped tightly in his tattered dark-green clothes reminding robes and animal's fur from a killed wolf.
His gloves were in fact two woolen socks with cut holes for his fingers to have a better, more stable grip over his katana. He left his sword sheathed and used the scabbard to get through the bushes with minimal interferences, so the pursuers would have it harder to find him. It would have been twice easier to slice them up with his impossibly sharp blade, but it'd be like asking them to find him. So he gritted his teeth in annoyance that his sword was simply useless this time around and shaking his head again he tried to fight the wanting to swallow him darkness. Worst thing was his sleep deprivation over any other thing. He knew he wouldn't keep it up anymore if he didn't took a rest and gave his body what it demanded from him, but stopping meant death and he put too much effort to stay alive to just throw it all away, as if it wasn't worth it anymore.
So he gritted his teeth, determined and tried to think of everything he knew about finding water. It run downhill—so, in fact, continuing down into the valley lying before him wasn't a bad thing, right? As the day wore on, he knew he was heading for trouble; head aching, dry patch on his tongue that refused to moisten and his urine was a dark yellow, indicative sign of dehydration he remembered from his relentless studies when he was locked up and treated as a test subject.
About to panic, No.056 suddenly remembered animals he startled earlier that day.
Rabbit and a later he came across a fox. He gave up going after the rabbit since the searching troops were close. He even tried to chase after the fox, but even in his prime he'd have a hard time catching the animal, not to mention in the state he was now it was almost impossible to get close unnoticed to one of the most cunning of animals. Goddamnit, why did he forget about them? Was he so out of it already he couldn't see facts showed before his eyes? As well as human, each and every every animal had to drink, too. He just had to find out where. Sun was few hours from setting and the trees were too thin to offer much concealment, in case he wanted to start a fire. The layer of pine needles that muffled his footsteps was also making tracking animals harder when he needed their trails to find water. And he was still heading downhill, deeper and deeper into a valley that seems endless…
Wait. Back the fuck up. Pine needles? Yes, it was official—he was not only dehydrated, but his brain stopped functioning properly thinking only about the fucking water. He had food all around him and he wasn't even fucking aware of it, until now. He didn't know why he hasn't recognized it earlier. He must have been blind, since pine was one of the tallest trees in North America, growing up to 230 feet high and measuring 8 feet thick at the base. He rolled his eyes, cursing his ignorance.
He took out his katana and went to work on a closest pine tree, cutting away the outer bark and scraping off a large handful of the softer inner layer. No.056 was very careful not to damage the tree; there is no need to destroy a tree for a meal of bark, it'd be like killing it and second reason for being extra careful was to leave as little of trails behind him as possible.
He slowly chewed the stuff as he walked down the valley. He had eaten plenty of pine in his life, he'd get used to the taste soon, not like he had any choice, that is.
In another hour, it was clear he needed to find a place to sleep, or his body would crash. Inhuman endurance one thing, but he was no supernatural hero, and he was mortal as any John Doe.
Night creatures were slowly coming out of their resting places.
He could hear the occasional hoot or howl.
No.056 wondered morbidly if he'd be viewed as a source of food, or maybe he'd be the one competing with those natural predators over a piece of meat. He wouldn't be surprised any way. It was a harsh and unforgiving world. In his current state he could easily fall and be the pray to any number of wild animals stalking him at that moment.
If the weather wasn't so frigid cold, he'd climb a tree and spend the night on it. But since he didn't want to die from hypothermia yet in this frigid weather, he decided to search for some cave or fallen tree, he could use as a base to create some resting place.
Well, maybe after he found fucking water first.
His calm and bravado was only a front, though. It wasn't even five minutes into his descend down the particularly steep slope when he stumbled over a sticking out tree root and pummeled head first into the dirt. Vision blurred, legs like jelly and literally burning muscles from the constant strain they were under; he tumbled down fast too exhausted to stop or slow down.
"Goddammit…! Fucking stop—!'' He seethed internally and tried very hard to grab something—anything—to stop his dangerous fall. His hands clawed at the ground, trying to hold onto the grass or sticking out roots, but to no avail, his limb were too stiff from cold to actually take a decent grip.
After what seemed like ages—and in reality lasted barely a minute— his fall ended. It wasn't near the bottom of the hill, like he supposed he'd be, but he fell into a deep hole in the ground; some freaking trapping pit, thank Kami he didn't come across a bear trap. No.056 couldn't focus his sight. Pain—wave after wave, run through his left ribcage, making him dizzy and overwhelming his senses. His right hand immediately followed to the source of ache and clutched at the bruised and torn side.
He tried to calm his erratic breathing and beating wildly heart. But it was no good.
When he was on the move, every fiber of his being was busy and strained to impossible heights. He didn't let his body any rest because he didn't know if he'd start again his full-speed marathon with the same determination, after stopping even once.
No.056 tried to make his shaking legs cooperate and hands to push away from the soil to stand up, but every time he tried to get up they shook so violently, he fell almost immediately down.
"Not yet—not fucking yet—don't give up, stupid legs…! Ungh—fuck!"
He worked mostly on adrenaline up until then and now with his body cooling down he was worried about even staying conscious.
With each passing minute it was harder and harder to focus and keep his awareness.
"Nhnn—damnit all!! Shitty—…haah… fucking trees—!…haah—" Once again he tried to move, but the result was a face first plant into the leaves and an agonizing scream, though he tried to muffle it, escaped his torn and bleeding lips.
Every cell hurt in his body.
No matter how much he wanted to get up and run, run and run, till his muscles burn to nothing, but his body screamed at him; 'Enough! Enough! I can't fucking go on anymore!'. And he refused to believe it. That being closer to freedom than he had ever been in his entire fucked up life—now his body was giving out on him, dooming No.056 to the fate he struggled against each breathing hour of his life.
He bit his lip harder, trying to keep his screams in check. He tasted the iron on his tongue and felt the bitterness swelling inside of his heart. No.056 wondered if that's how total defeat tastes. "If it does then I'm sure as hell never tasted anything worse!"
He punched the ground where he laid. "Fuck! I want to run! I have yet to feel what a real life is! I can't show my loser's face to Kuina right now!"
"I want to fucking live!!" He screamed, only vaguely aware of the words actually passing through his lips.
His voice cracked. Throat was strained and dry like a desert, lungs constantly trying to replace the oxygen in his muscles, working to the point of breaking. No.056 coughed up blood. Coughing fit didn't stop through few long minutes, exhausting him even more so. When it finally stabilized—he inhaled a couple of large gulps of air. It was a relief yet shock to his air depraved body and felling extreme ringing in his head, followed by sickening dizziness he finally passed out.
Last thought on his mind being; "If I ever meet the guy who dug a trapping pit in the middle of fucking nowhere—I'll murder the bastard!!"
Geez, talk about anticlimactic.
A/N: Feedback me, if ya liked~