Zero Hour – Chapter 1

Here is the first chapter of the comic book i’m writing, entitled “Zero Hour”. It’s basically a Sci Fi Cyberpunk Western (?) if that makes any sense. Drake Industries is a global power, with controling interest in the One World government. They are training the planet of its energy, all while developing a new post-nuclear weapon. A bio-assisted living armor of death (think Iron Man meets Guyver meets Venom meets Spawn in one ball of doom). Our main protaganist (good guy, face, whatever) is a test subject for this secret genetics project, who has had his memory wiped due to a lab accident. He now roams the slums of each Garden (essentially a sprawling cyberpunk city, where the outskirts are vast deserts of death and destruction. Think Final Fantasy VII kids), searching for information of his past, and learning about the power he wields.

Zero Hour: Chapter One
1.1: The Next Hitler?

“Today, Ladies and Gentlemen-I welcome you to the future of modern warfare. The future of Drake Industries, and the future of manned-and unmanned combat overseas, and abroad!” a man at a podium says, to a chorus of applause from onlookers below. The man is dressed in a black suit, black shirt and blood red tie. “Please, allow me to introduce to you-the man who will be demoing our new device, along with a bevy of other new and unreleased weapons that Drake Industries have been designing for you-our buyers. Colonel Marcus Wright!” he says as the screen behind him flickers on. We see a man in a black and red wetsuit standing in what appears to be a military obstacle course. He stands with his arms folded behind his back, at attention, ready to obey our charismatic speech giver. “I, Jonathan Drake, am pleased to introduce you to the first of many projected results to come out of our Phoenix Project-Unit Alpha!” he adds with force, as General Wright presses a button on what appears to be a belt buckle, and throws his arms out. An eerie red glow emits-and beams of pure energy surround him. A scream is heard as he is covered with a red and black symbiotic armor. His eyes glow red, as his entire body is consumed. The energy fades-and the armored soldier stands tall for the viewers. “This is Unit Alpha-the first official release of the Phoenix Project. This project was instilled by the United States Government-as a Black Ops group-with one goal: to develop, design, test and construct new means of warfare-be they manned or unmanned.” He adds, smirking. “And to you, our foreign buyers, I offer you just a taste of what this unit can do, while showing off our Raptor gun drones, Rover air strike units, and Strike Force battle tanks.” He adds-turning to the screen. “Colonel, show them why we’re charging $10 Million per unit.” He adds with an almost sinister smirk.

Alpha nods in agreement-as he begins to walk down the road-stopping a few feet ahead, and pulling out a shoulder holstered rifle. He points it at a building-and fires a single focused shot into it-causing a massive explosion, which brings the building down.

“If it doesn’t work as a war machine, we can use it for quick and seamless demolition” one of the onlookers snicker as Alpha re-holsters the rifle, and continues down the course. A few energy blasts cross him-as a pair of Raptor Drones pop up from the ground. These drones are rolling wheels-with mounted rifles on them. He holds his arm out-and a sword handle pops from his belt-and lights up into a double edged laser sword. He crouches down-and shreds the wheel-all while it drives passes him. He turns around, as the second Raptor comes at him. He cuts off the rifle-as the wheel continues on. He grabs the rifle-and charges it with a kinetic charge-before throwing it at what remains of the Raptor-blowing it up.

“We call that little secret weapon, a kinetic grenade. He can take solid matter, and charge it up-turning it into a high powered grenade!” he says smirking-as he looks back toward the screen. Alpha continues walking down the course-as a loud screech is heard. A flying Rover drone comes out. These rovers look like flying stingrays, armed with a pair of rockets and an energy canon. The Rover flies over Alpha-dropping a pair of rockets onto him. His eyes light up red as the rockets explode around him-leaving him unscathed. His eyes continue to glow-as he raises an arm into the air-firing a spear like object into the sky. It remains attached to his arm, via industrial cable, as it impales the Rover on the second pass. He smirks-as he sends an energy charge up the cable-blowing up the rover. He drags it down-crashing to the crowd as it explodes some more. The crowd applauds at how easily he disposes of his attackers. He continues down the course, as a loud engine is heard starting. A flurry of blasts erupts from behind the wall-throwing debris and shots at Alpha. His eyes glow again-absorbing the energy from the attack into himself. His rifle pops up again-shoulder mounted this time, as he fairs a pair of shots into the air-knocking out a pair of roof top sniper drones. He throws his left arm out-firing a flurry of energy blasts-destroying the rubble around the source of the attack. The crowd gasps as a large tank rolls out-firing shots at Alpha.

“This is our Strikeforce X-1 battle tank. Indestructible, and should provide
adequeate challenge for our little test subject.” Drake says, smirking again. “It is manned by up to five men, 4 of which control the multi directional turrets adorning each and every corner of the machine. The fifth is the operator-who mans the primary canon in the center of the vehicle.” He adds as Alpha fires a pair of blasts from his gauntlet once more-taking out the front left turret.

“I’m down!” one of the soliders in the tank yells inside, as the other three focus all energy on their target.  Alpha fires a pair of blasts again-taking down the front right turret-with similar results inside. He sprints at the tank-grabbing one of the pieces of the Rover, and leaps onto it. He charges it up and rips the rifle out of the left rear turret-before shoving the piece into the inner workings-causing a big explosion. He does this same practice on the right rear turret-causing a bigger explosion-sending him flying back to the walkway. The tank forwards on-as Alpha gets to his feet. The canon begins to power up-as Alpha fires a flurry of offensive blasts, from his wrist gauntlet-as well as the shoulder mounted rifle. The tank continues to press on, before stopping about 50 feet in front of Alpha. His eyes continue to glow red, as the tank fires a concentrated shot at Alpha. He slams his fist into the ground-as a circle of energy covers him, absorbing every ounce of power from the tanks attack. His entire body is glowing red at this point-as the tank fires a second shot. Again-he pulls the energy into himself, forcing his power cells to full capacity. The tank stops-and Alpha stands up. He throws out both hands-yelling as he sends all the energy he’s absorbed-back toward the tank. The crowd is shocked as he eradicates the entire center of the tank-without much effort.  Both sides fall to the ground, as Alpha drops to a knee. He’s breathing heavily and the crowd on lookers-and potential buyers are applauding very loudly.

“So, there we go folks.” Drake says, clapping his hands. “This is the first of many projects we have been working on, so-dare I ask, what am I bid?” he says-as Alpha stands up on the screen. A small puppy begins yapping at him, as Drake looks at the screen confused. He crouches down-and picks up the puppy, giving its back a good rub. The crowd “awe’s”-until he drop kicks the dog into the sky. He grabs his rifle, and yells “PULL!” as he fires a shot-erradicating the dog. Drake claps nervously, before speaking into the mic. “Well, we’re pretty sure that dog was the next Hitler…” he says, as the crowd chuckles and the bidding begins.

1.2: Firing Shots of Wit from My Palatial Mountain Estate
“Good Evening Professor Miller…”  Jonathan Drake says from behind his desk, as an older gentlemen walks into his lethargic office. His hair short and gray, his beard white, and his glasses rest firmly on the tip of his nose. “Please, come in. Have a seat. Is there anything I can get the man responsible for this?” he says-sliding Dr. Miller a stack of money.

“What’s this?” he asks sheepishly.

“Why my boy, it’s your cut of the money we made. We auctioned off the Alpha Unit plans to the, ahem, highest bidder.” Drake says smoothly-counting a stack of bills.

“Blood money,” Miller says, pushing it away. “I want no part of it Jonathan.” He adds, forcing Drake to pay attention. “You told me that Project Phoenix was a medical experiment. You told us that armor was to replace iron lungs.  You told us that this armor was to help children who were victims of gang warfare. You outright lied, and your lie has cost millions of dollars-and lives as well!” he adds impactfully.

“Lives? Like..your son?” Drake rebuts with a smirk, as he gets up from his desk-looking out the large picture window behind him. “Which reminds me Noah, you DID see to it that the whole escape from a year ago, never happened. Right?”

“Yes sir..” he says timidly.

“Good. We wouldn’t want news of any failed experiments to leak out. Everything was disposed of, am I correct in this assumption?” he adds, staring out the window.

“Yes sir….” He adds sheepishly as Drake turns to him, and slides the money back at him.

“Keep it Noah. Consider it, reperations for what happened to Zane.” He adds with a smirk, as Noah calmly takes the money.

“I still don’t know why we had to sacrifice my son for your little project Jonathan!” he exclaims, as Drake smiles.

“He volunteered Noah,” Drake says with a smirk. “Listen, go get some rest Noah. Take a vacation, the Phoenix Project has only begun. It’s time we mass produced these units for consumption.” He adds with a sinister gleam in his eye.

“Yes sir.” Noah says, taking his money and leaving. As the door closes behind him-Colonel Wright steps out from a shadow.

“He doesn’t suspect a thing?” Wright askes.

“No. Not a thing.” Drake says with a sinister chuckle.

1.3: Passing Through Zzyzx Road

“I’ve seen the world decay through the circles of hell at break neck speed. I’ve seen these people devolve into self righteous sycophants-and for what? Freedom? All I see around here is pain.” A man thinks to himself, as he stands on a hill-looking down over a small shanty town. A sign lay next to him-broken and torn. It reads “Welcome to Chicago” with the word “Motherfuckers” scrawled on it in spray paint, or blood. “I don’t remember anything before waking up in a gutter some year ago. I don’t remember my name, my parents, who I am or where I’m from.  I just remember waking up in pain, in misery, with this armor around my body. I’ve learned to control it now, to some extent.” He thinks to himself as he walks down the hill into the shanty town. He has a hood up over his head, and he is carrying a bag with him. The bums, street walkers and leeches all stare at him as if he were a pariah amongst saints. He looks ahead-just a few miles up the road, at the large metal tower-looking over the land.  It’s like a scene out of Blade Runner, with this giant sprawling reactor of a city, surrounded by decrepit shanty towns where 90 % of Americans lives. “I know my answers lie in there.” He thinks to himself as a group of gun totting minutemen walk into the town. All of them are wearing white and black armor-and carrying rifles. “Reich men.” He says aloud, staring a hole into the group. “One of the things that I’ve learned, this mysterious Fifth Reich controls the world now.”  He thinks to himself, as he sets the bag down. One of the five soldiers grab one of the bums.

“Give us your funds.” He says in a stoic, metallic voice-before throwing the bum to the ground. “All of you, this is a violation of Statue Code 14-7 Section C. This town needs to be destroyed. It’s unsafe, and unsanitary.” He says again-grabbing a small child, and holding the rifle down.

“Put the kid down!” our mysterious stranger says-throwing his hooded coat to the ground.

“And who might you be?” the drone responds.

“To be honest, I’m not quite sure…but hey, call me. Zero.” He says as his eyes turn blue. His body is encompassed by a black symbiotic armor. Blue energy ‘veins’ crawl up his arms-as a yell can be heard. Before the dust settles-the Reich soldiers begin to open fire on Zero. As the smoke clears away-he walks toward them. “My turn.” He says-as he fires a series of energy shots from an arm mounted weapon. He takes out the guns of the other four soldiers by doing this. One of them runs at him-as he grabs him by the throat and throws him over his head-sending him crashing into an old broken down car. “Who’s next?” he says as a second soldier runs at him-only to take a swift kick in the face. The apparent ring leader begins to open fire again-but Zero pulls a rifle from behind his back-and fires a pair of shots, not only destroying his gun-but killing him in the process. The man who he threw into the car gets up-and is quickly shot in the head by Zero. “No remorse, for those who hurt the innocent.” He says, before putting the rifle away. The other soldier gets up, and comes running at him-as Zero takes out his energy blade, and slices the soldier in two. The other two men pull out secondary weapons, and Zero blocks all the shots with his sword-using the richochet to kill one of the soldiers. He grabs the last one by the neck and says “Stay the hell out of these shanty towns. Got it?” before throwing him back down. The soldier gets up, and runs. Zero’s eyes light up blue again-as the armor pulls itself back inside him. The group of people slowly move toward him, as he grabs his jacket and bag.

“What…what are you?” a woman asks as Zero puts his jacket back on.

“I, don’t know….” He says, holding his head.

“Damn Fifth Reich.” A grizzled elderly man says. “They fuckin’ make  Nazi Germany and the New World Order look like a bunch of girl scounts.” He adds, as Zero throws his hood over his head. “But, I guess I should say, thank you stranger. You’re welcome to stay here with us if you need to.” He says-as Zero just walks forward, toward the sprawling city scape.

“I have no place amongst them anymore. I’m a sinner on fallen wings, seeking my salvation. These visions of my past haunt me, hurt me, and hunt me. I don’t care if it kills me, I will find out what happened to me….” He thinks to himself, as he walks toward the mechanical monstrosities awaiting him.

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