Where Are The Murderers?Part VII: Fade to Black…

ZK and Laslow Morgan stand frozen in a completely black void. Laslow, his eyes looking terrified, thinks that he doesn't know what's going on and that he can't move his body at all. He notes that the place is impossible, there's simply nothing there. He manages to look over at ZK, who is also trying to look at him, and notes to himself that she seems to be in the same situation as him. He wonders how they got there and tries to think back to the last thing he remembers. He recalls the man in the blue suit, realizing that he did something and pondering if he teleported them there. Suddenly, the G-Man walks out of a bright white door that appears out of nowhere, rhetorically asking whether it is not irregular. He approaches them, explaining that homo sapiens are the only known species capable of feeling pleasure from the act of killing their own kind. As a table materializes out of nothing, the G-Man puts down his briefcase and tells them that the Combine see human nature as something to be suppressed, while the vortigaunts hope that one day Humanity will overcome its violent tendencies. He stares at the two of them with his piercing blue-green eyes and adds that what both Combine and vortigaunts fail to see is Humanity's potential as a source of profit. Laslow stares him down, which the G-Man picks up on, telling Mister Morgan that he looks like he has something to say. The G-Man sits down on a luxury chair and notes that although his previous employee did not seem fond of conversation, the G-Man himself finds it quite entertaining. He asks that both Laslow and ZK speak freely. Laslow immediately asks who the hell he is and ZK asks what he wants with them. The G-Man tells them that they can think of him as a talent scout of sorts, telling them that, for a fee, he finds individuals with unique skills and puts them to work where their skills are most needed, which brings him to their second question, replying that his previous employee has been placed outside of his reach, forcing him to collect on other investments, then notes that killers as talented as Laslow and ZK would make excellent assassins. Laslow shouts that the G-Man thinks he knows them, but he clearly doesn't, as he kills for himself and won't be anyone's assassin. The G-Man gets up and walks over to ZK, calmly explaining to Laslow that he knows him well enough to have guessed that refusal would be his initial response. He grabs ZK's chin as he says that there happens to be one there who has already demonstrated a willingness to serve masters other than herself. The G-Man stares ZK in the eyes as he asks her whether that's right, calling her Zoe Kalvin. ZK stares in shock as she recognizes her own name, noting that the Combine erased her memories and wondering how he could know that. The G-Man tells her that returning the memories the Combine took from her would be a simple matter and all she has to do is agree to work for him. ZK struggles with the thought for a moment, then asks what she must do. The G-Man calls her decision a wise one and proposes her first task to be to kill Mister Morgan. Zoe looks surprised for a moment, whereas Laslow stares in worry. She laughs to herself then says that won't be a problem as she aims her handgun at Laslow's face. With a bloodthirsty smile, Zoe Kalvin sarcastically apologizes to Laslow, telling him it looks like she wins this one. However, she immediately aims at the G-Man's head instead, shooting him point blank in the face. Free to move at last, Laslow notes with a dark smile that, for a moment there, he really thought she was going to shoot him. Zoe replies that she thinks she should get bonus points for this one, to which Laslow retorts that he guesses she earned them. The G-Man, slumped over his chair, suddenly moves, holding his face and telling them what a disappointment. Laslow and Zoe stare in horror as the G-Man stares at them, his face completely unscathed, and says he had hoped for better from them. He tells them to be aware that if they deny him, the only thing awaiting them is a battle they have no chance of winning. He addresses Laslow directly, telling him that surely his marvelous survival instinct will not permit him to come to such an anticlimactic end, adding that if he joins him, Laslow won't have to run anymore, as the G-Man can give him purpose. Laslow and Zoe put on their fighting poses, knife and gun in hand respectively, as Laslow declares the G-Man doesn't understand them at all and that they aren't looking for purpose. Zoe adds that they have no need for memories, while Laslow declares that he kills, therefore he is. Zoe tells the G-Man that's the only philosophy they need and Laslow dares him to go ahead and do his worst. Looking disappointed and angry, the G-Man replies very well and snaps his fingers. Laslow and Zoe are suddenly in a mine shaft, looking at a fast approaching horde of antlions. Laslow smiles as he sees that it's just bugs and says that the old man is underestimating them. Zoe Kalvin looks at him with a smile and says they will do this together. Laslow and Zoe prepare to fight as the antlions approach. The end.

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