Chapter 10:

Those Called Defects

Code: Zero Defect

My eyes opened to a spinning fan blowing cold air upon my face. Next to it was a single lightbulb that barely lit up the surrounding area.

As soon as I remembered how I ended up here, I shot up. However, my injuries wouldn't allow it, and I fell back on the mattress. Wait, why am I on a mattress?

"Don't move," a girl's voice demanded.

I turned my head slightly to see someone in a familiar cyan jacket. She turned around, which gave me some time to get a proper look at her.

She's... Zephyr, one of the five members of the legendary spec-ops squad, Calypso. Just like Loki, a faint glow was radiating from her eyes that matched its color: teal. More than anything else, a hollowed diamond rested in the center of her pupils.

She walked over and sat down on a stool next to me. After filling up a needle with some kind of liquid, she reached for the sheets that covered my body. Upon pulling it off, I found my arm and leg wrapped in bandages. Blots of red were seeping through the wounds I attained from Loki.

With a damp piece of cloth, she wiped down the excess blood, causing me to wince in pain.

"Be as still as you can," Zephyr urged. "The plasma strike is interfering with your body's natural ability to recover. It will take some time before you can properly walk and move your arms again."

"Why are you helping me?" I questioned.

"Captain's order."

She said that last time, too, right when Loki was about to kill me.

Zephyr ran a disinfecting towel over a small area on my wounded arm. After that, she carefully pierced my skin with the needle and injected whatever liquid that was. Could be poison for all I know, but it's not like I'm in a position to retaliate.

"Can I ask what time it is right now?" I asked.

"A quarter past five in the morning," she answered. "You've been out for three hours."

I let out a sigh of relief. Mother usually gets up at eight, so I have three or so hours to get back before she realizes I've been out all night. It's not that big of a deal. I could just make up a lie, but I don't wanna worry her too much.

"Okay, done," Zephyr said. "Sit up, if you can."

I did as she asked with ease.

"Hm... Not bad. Try moving your wounded arm a bit."

Slowly but surely, I was able to make small movements. Whatever she injected into me, it's working for the most part.

"Now, try standing up and taking a couple of steps."

While the subtle pain in my leg stung a bit, I successfully stood up and made a full lap around the room. There, I was able to get a quick peek at all the equipment set up. It seems to be some kind of pharmaceutical site.

Zephyr nodded her head with approval. "Good. At least you're able to go about your normal days with some relative ease. Just make sure not to do anything that might open up your wounds. For example... posing as a vigilante and parading around the undercity."

I said nothing. At this point, I'm unmasked. She had ample time to access my physical appearance, so if she somehow tracks me back to my origins, it'll be over for me.

"Well, since you're able to walk around, follow me," Zephyr said. "The captain wants to speak to you."

She was the first to leave the room. As much of a mess as my head is in right now, I have no choice but to listen to whatever she says. I might as well be a prisoner here.

With a deep breath, I followed her outside. My eyes widened at the sight of what looked to be a war camp.

This place looks like an abandoned shopping mall. All the storefronts were barren and ruined, a true depiction of a desolate apocalyptic location.

However, it was lively with many people hanging around. Some were walking, carrying crates while others were sitting about, drinking, laughing, and smoking. I even recognized some of them from wanted posters.


At the center of the massive corridor was a statue filled with many cracks. Even with just a glance, I recognized the person.

Eris 'La Senia' was the first known defect in the city's history. Seventy years ago, she led a civil war that changed the course of history. New Olympos saw a drastic rise in 'defects,' those who opposed the High Order and their inhumane endeavors.

Her most famous quote was, 'Live your life as you desire.' To this day, it remains in the minds of all who cautiously tread the shadows of the city.

The reason why she defected against the High Order was lost, and I can only assume it had something to do with augmentations.

"So this place must be La Senia's Memorial," I said. "The very place where La Senia was killed, and also the place where you apparently made your camp. Don’t you think this is a bit too obvious?”

“That’s the point, isn’t it?” Zephyr replied. “The memorial and everything around it are vacated by the impoverished undercity, and the High Order knows that. Even if they decide to scout the area, the folks around here will cover for us.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Because they are all people whom we saved in the past. You should know how it feels to get fucked over by the coatsmen. These guys feel the same way.”

And here I was thinking that I was perhaps one of the only few people in the city who opposed the High Order. Turns out, there’s a load of them, and they’re even helping out the infamous Calypso squad.

“Why did you bring me here?" I asked.

"Captain's orders. Besides, like us, you're against the High Order."

"Is it just your assumption that I'm against the High Order? I could be a spy."

"I pulled your files. 'Strider,' a lone wanderer who has obstructed coatsmen across the undercity for the past two years. Your kill count exceeds many other criminals out there, and trust me, some are very skilled."

"Wait, you have files on me?"

"Ohhh, hey!" someone called out before Zephyr could answer.

The moment I heard that voice, I immediately froze. It was a girl's voice, and although it sounded much more relaxed, the harrowing sensation I felt was the same as before.

I tilted my head back to see Loki herself gleefully trudging towards us with a bottle of booze in her hand.

"Look who's finally up and about," she grinned. "And here I was thinking you weren't gonna wake up at all."

This isn't good... I'm not in the greatest condition right now. If she wanted to complete her prior task of killing me, she could easily finish the job.

When she caught up to us, she lifted an arm at me and quickly swung it around my neck. That may or may not have reopened my wounds. Based on the sudden pain I'm now feeling, the former is more likely.

"Man, I've been bored for hours, and just to add insult to injury, Zephie wouldn't let me get a nice peek at your body," Loki whined.

"There was no good reason for you to bother one of my patients," Zephyr sighed.

"Ehhh? Why do you always gotta spoil the fun? I wasn't gonna touch him. I just wanted to see what he's made of. Say, since you're awake now, how about telling me?"

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"Which part of your body is augmented? Your arms? Your legs? You were able to dodge my attacks pretty easily. Ah, or is it somewhere beneath all that flesh? Oh! Maybe... you augmented... something else entirely."

"Uh... L-like what...?"


"Loki," Zephyr called out sternly. "That's enough."

Loki simply jerked her head away with a smack and a humph. What's going on? Didn't she try to kill me three hours ago? Why is she talking as if nothing happened?

She then turned to me with a carefree smile. "Anyway, you're on your way to meet Cap, right? Good timing. I was getting bored just sitting around, drinking my life away, so I was gonna go and bother her. Hey! Let's go together!"

I blanked out. For a second there, I thought I saw sparkles floating around her face. "Sure...?"

"Eh? That's it? You could sound a bit more enthusiastic about it, ya know. The great and beautiful Loki is offering to escort you!"

"Enough," Zephyr said. "Let's go, Strider."

"But what about me?" Loki whined playfully.

"... Do what you want."

And together, we made our way through the noisy campgrounds. This place resembles something like an active warzone. It was dark and gloomy, but in general, everyone looked happy. They looked free, and the lively atmosphere of the undercity was still very much present.

Eventually, we stopped at a set of closed doors. Attached to the side at an angle was a signal dish rotating in circles.

"Ready?" Zephyr asked.

"It's not like I have a choice," I said.

"Sure, you do!" Loki grinned, which sent a chill down my spine. "I have my own private room. How about-"

"Loki," Zephyr said sternly once more.

"Just kidding!"

What outlandish thing was she trying to suggest? It's like she's an entirely different person while away from the battlefield.

Zephyr opened the door and gestured for me to walk in first. My heart is beating so fast. It's more than likely that I'll be meeting the rest of the Calypso squad there.

I wonder... What's going to happen to me from here on out?