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No. 021

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Title: No. 021
Author: Liz (gaurweth)
Beta: saanrio
Pairing: None
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama
Warnings: Angst, Wartime Violence, Character Death
Disclaimer: I own nothing but the point of view.
Word count: 1,013
Plot outline: Written for the Gackt Army International Fanclub (gackt_army) Summer Contest ZERO HOUR. The story of GACKT's Requiem et Reminiscence told through the eyes of a G.H.O.S.T.

To say he wasn’t fearsome would be a lie. Everyone feared Zero – even me. He was cold, mechanical, and without mercy. His missions were carried out with unnatural proficiency unmatched by anyone else in his platoon, or even in the army. We fellow G.H.O.S.T.’s were taught to fear nothing, but Zero, he truly had no fears. This made him their ultimate weapon, their perfect soldier, and our leader – a man we would never dare question. I was never truly sure when all that began to change, but something did, and we few called G.H.O.S.T.s would have to choose between our humanity and the ones who created us.

I still remember the one before us, the one called Proto, the first of the G.H.O.S.T. and the older brother to us all. Being the first meant being the most incomplete, and being incomplete he always longed for something. Zero was not like Proto. No, Zero only knew anger and that anger drove him forward. There was no longing in those glass orbs, nothing to suggest they were once soft eyes of a human.

The generals and higher ups may have been slighted by foolish scientists, but we knew. We knew our brothers. We knew our kind. After all we were all we had. A secret monstrosity created from greed and lust for power. Even if Zero shared the same code as Proto, his memories, some of his appearances, and his love for music – he did not have the longing Proto had – the small bit of humanity Proto clung to before disappearing without a trace. When he left we knew we would not find him. He was too smart for them and too smart for us. Unlike his fellow brothers his humanity gave him the ability to reason, something we couldn’t do, not at first.

Blindly we would take orders, follow our brother Zero from one artillery shell crater to the next. Slip into the enemy’s trench, and take out the fleshies to clear the way for our less than invincible comrades. We knew no fear, we weren’t supposed to. Our flesh would peel from the metal that made us what we were, but nothing stopped us. Nothing could stop us from taking victory for the motherland. Flesh wounds could be repaired in time, a minor hindrance that would stop our own fleshies from advancing. We were the ultimate band of brothers. We were the silent assassins of the Allies.

One night after another successful massacre Zero seemed different. He distanced himself from us, his brothers. Often in sleep mode he would murmur a woman’s name among other things. Maybe that’s when things began to change for us. Maybe in that time before the next scheduled murder spree one by one we would regain our humanity or what little we would desperately cling to.

It wasn’t long before we were plagued by returning memories of who we were and what we’d done before we were betrayed and turned into the monsters we were. The memories were like a virus wide spread among us. Some of our brothers fought it – refusing to come to terms with what we were, and others embraced it – welcoming what they’d become. Zero was haunted by his own memories. Often I would hear him whisper “Who am I?” and watched as he struggled to come to terms with things.

It was Zero who spoke up first. Zero – our leader and our brother.

“We can’t let them get away with this. We must fight! How many loved ones have suffered from deceit and betrayal? Are we going to let them use us as puppets? How many more lives have to be ruined before we take a stand and right their wrongs? I want our lives, robbed as they were to mean something. I want your lives to mean something.”

He didn’t say much after that. He didn’t need to. We’d fight with him no matter what. He was a brother. We had to stick together. We were all we had.

The fight was long and painful. Many lives were lost that day. The fleshies, our former comrades, outnumbered us greatly and they had an advantage their enemies didn’t – they knew what we were and they knew how to take us out.

I watched as brother after brother fell taking who they could with them. In the heat of the battle a small group of my brothers turned against us in hopes of surviving, but in the end they were eradicated with the rest of us.

The betrayal was overlooked by the rage we felt as we lost each brother to the monsters who created us. They came in waves beating us back but we fought hard for everything we were robbed of, of what we could have had, and for our fallen brothers.

Get to the fools who played God and destroy their data – then it would be over. Then it would end and no one would suffer like we had, like our loved ones did – but in the end we all fell. The ground around us was littered with the bodies of my brothers and fleshies alike. Those of us still functioning with the inability to move were shot down like animals until there was no doubt in their paranoid minds that we were dead.

I watched as they moved from fallen brother to fallen brother unable to move myself, unable to help them, and knew I would be next. I watched as Zero lay there broken and on the verge of death. I watched as the fleshies looked down at him, watched as one of them shoved something in his remaining hand. I think for the first time I saw him smile, not the malicious smile he gave his enemies before he ruthlessly killed them, but sad smile, a smile of longing.

I couldn’t see what was next – only the fleshies that stood before me with their faces contorted with a victorious smile. I smiled at them and watched them frown. So this was th-

-Memory extracted from G.H.O.S.T. No. 021