In 2535, he had command of a UNSC Light Frigate, the Midsummer Night. Commander Zheng had lost his previous frigate by ramming a Covenant destroyer as a last-stand maneuver. Many people thought that he had done this in anger and revenge, but Zheng later told Lt. Jacob Keyes that he had run out of tactical options. Zheng only avoided a court martial because the destroyer was subsequently taken out by another ship's MAC Gun.
Zheng was shot by Lieutenant Campbell, an Insurrectionist sympathizer, in the stomach and side. After being shot, Zheng realized that the ship was going to be under siege, so instead of receiving medical attention, he went to lock the codes to the Shiva Nuclear Warheads. After completing his mission, he transmitted the ship's surrender to the Rubble defense. He died after talking to Keyes about the truth behind his reasoning to ramming the ship under his command into a Covenant destroyer; that it was not because of revenge, but because it was the last resort he had. He died from loss of blood and passed the Commanding Officer status to Keyes.
- Halo: The Cole Protocol (First appearance)