|George A Romero's Resident Evil
Author: BCoy25th49thBnRQR PM
My novelization of the film we never got to see; George A Romeros disused draft for a Resident Evil screen adaptation. Please Read and Review. 128pages.Rated: Fiction M - English - Horror/Suspense - Chris R. & Jill V. - Words: 48,717 - Reviews: 9 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-28-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7684447
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
George A Romero's
Based upon the Screen Story
George A. Romero
And based upon the computer game
Right now, some of you are probably wondering what George A Romero's Resident Evil is; well allow me to explain. In 1998 legendary film maker and creator of the whole zombie apocalypse franchise as we know it was asked by Capcom to create a trailer for their up and coming video game Resident Evil 2.
Mr. Romero obliged and created two short commercials in much the same vein as he had done with his own horror masterpieces; The Living Dead Trilogy. Capcom where so impressed with the finished product (check it out online and see for yourself) that they asked Romero to write a script for a feature length Resident Evil Movie based upon the first game in that series.
The first draft was completed on October 7, 1998 and submitted to Capcom.
We are probably all familiar with the Resident Evil film franchise, currently a fifth film is nearing completion, and as you are probably aware George A Romero isn't anywhere near the production. Why? What happened to Romero's proposal? Capcom in response to this replied that Mr. Romero's script 'wasn't very good…'
Well I and many others agree that the current garbage masquerading as a Resident Evil Film series is utter trash and an insult to an outstanding video game, having absolutely nothing to do with the original idea, indeed it seems the only reason these films are being made is so the writer and occasional director can find new ways for his wife to get her clothes off.
George Romero was shot down before he ever took flight.
However his original script found its way onto the internet and has developed a cult following all of its own, much like the first draft of Alien III another fantastic film; forever buried under a mediocre finished product.
As you will no doubt discover Mr. Romero's story itself deviates somewhat from the original concept, however, all of the original ingredients are still there, indeed some new ones are also added and in my opinion it would have made a far better film and done more justice to the source material than the awful films that are constantly being churned out.
In Romero's story we get to see old friends thrown into completely new encounters, interact with each other in completely new and interesting ways, characters are explored in a whole new light.
So why are you holding a novelization of a film that doesn't exist? Well that's simple. I, as a fan of the game franchise, was so utterly disgusted with the garbage we have been fed as a movie adaption and as a George A Romero fan, bitter at his removal from the project, that I decided it was high time we got the film we deserved. That being near impossible, I did two things.
Firstly I wrote a screenplay of my own, which is available to read online at , the idea being to create a TRUE film adaption of the first video game.
And Second I wrote this; a novelization to flesh out the movie that George Romero wrote, but we could never see, in the hopes that given enough readership we can create some awareness of the dissatisfaction many of us true fans have with the films that are being made.
In writing this I have changed a number of Georges ideas (I'll let you work out what they are), cleaned up a lot of the dialogue and expanded greatly on a lot of the characters motivations, backgrounds, portrayals and relationships. I have in no way altered the sequence of events; they are here verbatim as in the script, I have not removed any scenes, any characters, and any plot elements.
I made the changes I made to keep the story slightly more in keeping with the whole concept of the source material, I don't think this in any way detracts from the narrative, merely changes a few minor details and allows for more meaningful character interaction, in the framework I have created.
I would love to hear anything you might have to say in regards to the finished product, so don't hesitate to give me any feedback.
Now, without further ado, please enjoy George A Romero's Resident Evil, finally breathed into life, albeit in a different media, for the first time since October 7, 1998.
December 27, 2011
Always for Deb
Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster,
And if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss also gazes into you…
What is done out of love always takes place beyond good and evil…
It was a rainy day in Washington DC…
Franklin Holden sat behind his snake wood desk and read the headline of the newspaper before him:
RACCOON ERUPTS IN AIR FORCE ACCIDENT
He grunted and tossed the paper aside, billions of dollars waste and nothing to show for it. At least they'd managed to stay out of the papers, avoid any potential scandal. Reports from the military where that there had been no survivors from the STARS and that suited him nicely too. It would save him having to remove any of them.
No matter, they'd sift the wreckage and rebuild what they could; they'd go legitimate for a while, maybe release another super flu to get profits going again. He turned to a package that sat on his desk and picked it up, slicing the tape which held it shut with his gold letter opener.
He tipped the contents onto the table; a cigar box and a photograph.
He picked up the photograph first and studied it. It was an old black and white photo, worn around the edges, it showed three people two in farm clothing and one in the dress uniform of a US Army Paratrooper. Holden could never have known but the photo showed a middle aged Rake Doll and Robert Redfield standing either side of Mason Redfield, just before he'd gone off the fight in Vietnam.
He turned the photograph over and saw a list of names printed on the back:
Holden recognized none of the names and tossed the photo aside absentmindedly. He picked up the Cigar box and looked at the lid.
"Cubans." He smiled and lifted the lid.
There was a blinding flash and an explosion of White Phosphorous shot out and kit him full in the face, burning deep into his flesh, knocking him backwards out of his chair onto the floor writhing in agony, clawing at his burning face, as the phosphorous burned down and through his skull into his brain.
By the time they got to him his head was just a melted mass of gore…
The conference room was dark, the lights having been dimmed to allow the projector to operate, however a quick glance around the table filling the center of the room would betray those in attendance at this meeting. Expensive rings and watches, suits, beribboned uniforms from all four armed services, stars on the shoulder boards, this was a meeting of the extremely wealthy and extremely powerful.
The projector sat in the middle of the table, which was made of rare African Snake Wood, pointing to a retractable screen mounted on the wall. The images that filled the screen would have made ordinary stomachs turn, but the men about the room were unmoved.
The footage showed a lab, full of the most expensive equipment money could buy, however , something was very wrong, blood streaked the walls and mutilated corpses littered the floor. The camera was sitting on its side, on the floor when suddenly the image shifted and blurred. A disheveled face filled the screen, looking wide eyed and much like a madman despite its youthfulness.
"This is Doctor John Marcus!" The voice was desperate, about to break. "This lab must remain sealed!"
On the wall, just visible behind Doctor, shadows began to dart, chaotic, violent.
"For God's sake don't come in!"
Suddenly the camera blurred, swatted from the Doctors hands by something unseen, there was a moaning growl and a blood curdling scream. The camera came to rest on its side again on the floor. The image that filled the screen was the most horrific sight that any of the men in the conference room had ever seen. The image froze as a well dressed man in a corporate suit stepped forward, pointing to the screen with a red laser pointer.
"Look." He said. "Here."
What he was pointing to was a man in a lab coat hunched over a twitching body on the floor, reaching into the stomach cavity and shoveling the prostrate bodies' innards into his mouth, eating them…
"Gentlemen," The corporate suit said. "we have a problem."
George A Romero's
He could never sleep, not with the dreams, the nightmares. The war had been all too real for him and every time he closed his eyes he remembered. The convoys creeping through the desert in the dead of night, the ambushes, the agonizing pain as a hot bullet tears through your flesh. The look your buddy gives you when he knows that he's a goner.
It was insomnia that had brought him out of his bed and up to this sheer cliff face so early in the morning to watch the first purple tints of light slowly climb over the horizon.
Daylight. It always brought peace, no chance of them sneaking up on you, no chance for nightmares. Daylight… pure and warming… safe.
Chris Redfield stood atop the cliff face gazing out over the beauty that was Raccoon Forest, his good looking features coming into clarity with the early morning sun. Chris was 24, tall and lean, with tall brown hair and a clean shaven face. He wore a surplus paratroopers smock and faded blue jeans, on his feet he wore jungle boots faded to an almost white color.
Peering into the rising sun a smile crept across Chris's face. Every year he climbed up here to watch as the eagles migrated, standing on this exact spot with a bucket of fish to feed to them and to say hello.
He could see one of them now, soaring in high over the dark forest. Chris reached into the bucket and pulled out a freshwater trout placing it on a rock on the edge of the cliff and stepping back. Chris never tired of the simple beauty, beauty that only comes from Mother Nature.
Or that special woman, Chris thought with a smile and a breath of sweet satisfaction. He never could work out what he had done right in his life to deserve the beautiful woman who was at this moment asleep in a warm bed awaiting his return.
The first of the magnificent eagles swooped down from the heavens and landed on the edge of the cliff. Chris recognized it instantly by its regal posture, Goliath the biggest by far of the group. The bird squawked its thanks, as Chris whistled to it, scooped up the fish and dove off the sheer cliff face down into an updraft, soaring back up into the beautiful uncorrupted sky.
Chris reached into the bucket and picked out another trout, placing it on the cliff edge. Chris was a deeply thoughtful man, just so by nature, made more so by his experiences as an infantryman in the desert. Chris loved this part of the world, nothing else could compare to the fresh air, serene silence and sheer magnificence of Raccoon City. He had grown up here but ran away after a messy break up, just after high school, and joined the Army. Now with a lump of shrapnel still lodged somewhere near his spine and a shattered knee he had found his way back here…
There was the piercing, high pitched, call of another eagle as it circled over head and Chris looked up. A smaller, female, bird looked down at the flapping trout eagerly, Chris smiled up at the beautiful bird and waved.
"Hello, Cleopatra, how're the babies?"
The bird pumped its wings and swooped down towards the flapping trout, Chris watched intently as the bird neared its prize. Suddenly the bird recoiled just as it was about to snatch the fish, flapping its wings madly climbing high back up into the clouds.
Chris frowned. In Three years Cleopatra had never refused a free feed. The bird hovered overhead, scanning the ground below. Chris looked about, there were no other animals nearby and he couldn't hear anything that might upset the bird.
"Come on, come on down…" He called.
The bird dived again, but again, inexplicably it pulled up short again.
"What's the matter beautiful?"
The bird seemed genuinely frightened. Chris was perplexed, what the hell could be making this bird act like that? The sleek bird dived again and Chris was sure that this time it would take the fish, but again it stopped short, this time with an ear shattering shriek, peeling away the bird flew straight at Chris, its eyes crazed, full of terror. Chris ducked as the bird flew straight up, shrieking and flapping its wings like mad, desperately trying to put some distance between it and the cliff face.
Chris stared after the bird, his brow furrowed.
What the hell was going on here? He thought.
Suddenly, a shiver ran down his spine, the hairs on the back of his neck stood up. The sensation was one he had not felt in years, the last time had been just before a mortar round had exploded right behind him during a dismounted patrol. There was a short, sharp, inhuman sound behind him and Chris whirled around.
The fish that had been sitting on the cliff face… was gone.
It was still dark in town as Chris drove down the main street of Raccoon City, past the quant shops and rustic homes. It really was a beautiful town, the kind of place where everybody knew everybody else. Raccoon had sprouted out of the ground amidst rural Pennsylvania just after the First World War when some returning veterans had decided to move away from the hustle and bustle of 1920's America and settle in the countryside, since then the town had steadily grew but always maintained its picturesque image.
Chris pulled his old off roader up in front of a cozy looking two story cottage and turned the engine off. Unbuckling his seatbelt he got out into the cold, morning air, he didn't bother to lock the doors, nobody would want to steal such a beat up old bomb.
He walked up the front walk to the heavy timber door and inserted his key, unlocking it and stepping into the dark entryway. Chris smiled as he took a deep breath of air, the smell of the little house always made him feel warm inside, content. He walked past the living room and saw the still glowing embers of the night's fire still in the fire place, it made him quicken his step to get to the stair case and so upstairs into the warm bed, and warm body, that awaited him.
Stairs were always difficult though and he winced more than once as he climbed them, the doctors had worked hard to repair the damage to his knee but physical activity, even something as rudimentary as climbing a flight of stairs, proved difficult.
He tiptoed across the timber floor upstairs and gently opened the door to the main bedroom, the air was warmer in here than downstairs and he quickly stepped in and shut the door softly behind him. He made his way over to the bed and, as careful as his knee would allow, lowered himself onto the bed.
He quietly, but efficiently, undressed and snuggled in under the covers, gently nuzzling up against the back of the woman who lay there. Chris could feel the warmth and aroma of her body as he gently draped his arm over her and smiled.
Jill Valentine, the woman who had come into his life so suddenly that every day since had seemed to be like a dream. Jill had brown hair and average, but yet, uniquely beautiful features, a soft and caring heart, quick wit and a sense of humor that seemed to match that of Chris', she was everything that he had ever wanted, everything he had ever hoped to have, but had long since give up on ever receiving.
"Glad you're still here lady…" Chris whispered, softly, lovingly.
"It's my house…" Jill said, her voice not tinged by sleep.
Chris was taken aback in surprise.
"I've been awake since you left…"
Chris pulled her closer, gently rubbing the back of her neck with his nose, the smell of her filling his nostrils and lungs.
"Sorry…" He said.
His mind began to wander, thinking of eagles and beautiful sunrises, suddenly, his mind shifted to the spine chilling, inhuman growl he had heard. His brow furrowed.
"There was… Something wrong up there tonight…." He said, after a moment.
"What?" She asked. "Was it my dinner? You know I never had a mother…"
Chris smiled to himself, there was nothing at all wrong with Jill's cooking; the tuna bake they had had for dinner still tasted good in his mouth.
Then the smile went away as he again thought of the encounter he'd had up on the cliff face.
"On the mountain," He said. "there… must have been something prowling around up there…"
"There are probably all kinds of things prowling around up there…" Jill said, adding; "In the middle of the night…"
Chris' mind came back to the present.
"I'm sorry…" He said, more sincerely this time. "Really… You have to be there at dawn, they ride the wind over the ridge."
"Dawn?" Jill asked. "You left at one a.m. …"
"I had to go fishing." He explained. "It's the fish that bring them down, so I can get a close look at them…"
He began to get more enthused, the more he spoke about it.
"I've tracked a dozen of them, Jill." He said, his enthusiasm carrying his voice. "Twelve of those beautiful birds, I can actually recognize them… I've even named them over the years…"
"You've been doing this for years?" Jill asked incredulously.
"Only in the early autumn." Chris said. "When they're migrating…"
"I'll set the alarm for next October…"
Jill slowly rolled over to face him, her face only inches from his. Chris was again amazed at the turn his life had taken, Jill looked into his eyes and it almost made him melt… The endless days and nights spent walking or being driven through the desert, he had dreamt of finding a woman like this and, suddenly, out of nowhere… There she was.
"I wish I could get excited…" She said, sincerely. "That's the truth… over such… simple things…"
"Beauty…" Chris began, caressing her face, softly, with his hand. "Isn't simple… If it was, I'd be beautiful…"
Jill smiled and he almost melted.
"You are…" She whispered.
"No… I'm simple." He said. "You, on the other hand, have all that stuff hiding underneath somewhere…"
He nuzzled in closer to her.
"That's what fascinates me…"
"Fascination?" She asked, playfully. "Not love…?
Chris took the question to heart.
"I honestly don't know…" He said, softly. "I guess I've been living alone for too long…"
He looked into her eyes, his own deeply thoughtful, drinking in every inch of Jill's gentle features.
"You're the first and only woman I've ever thought of as a real partner…"
Jill closed her eyes a moment, when she opened them Chris could see she was talking from the heart.
"I've always been afraid of living alone…" She said, her eyes becoming far away. "I've always had people talking at me… Knowing they could wind me up and I'd do… Whatever they wanted…"
She looked into Chris's eyes again and leant forward gently kissing him on the lips.
"We all have something hidden underneath…" She said. "Beauty may not be simple. But it's not all that complicated either… Most of the time you find it right in the middle of all the confusion…"
"I'm an infantryman. "He said, remembering what they had told him at the Infantry School, Fort Benning, Georgia. "Infantrymen are never confused… At least they never let it show…"
He leant in and kissed her, Jill wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer…
Out in Raccoon Forest was a small patch of land that had passed down through generations, generation of Redfields. Chris's Great Grandfather had come out and settled on the spot just after returning from World War One, he had raised a family and cultivated the land, bringing his children up into another World War. Robert Redfield, Chris's Grandfather had gone off and was severely wounded on Utah Beach, returning home in late 1944, where with the help of Chris's Father he had turned the land into a thriving crop which fed soldiers as far afield as the coral island of Pelelui… Mason Redfield had left the farm too to fight in the jungles of Vietnam, he was the sole survivor of his platoon at Dak To, he had come home with a drinking problem, which soon spiraled into drug use. Chris Redfield was born as the result of his father forcing himself on his mother.
Chris had chosen to stay with his father, out of some crazy notion that he ought to look after him, when his mother had fled… Chris endured his father's rage for years, finally snapping on his 17th birthday. Mason Redfield went to the hospital, his face beaten and bruised, while his only son had run away into the Army, the fourth generation of Redfields to fight for their nation in the Infantry.
Now the farm was used only as a place to live and escape from the rest of the world. One man had been there through it all, growing up as a boy, Robert Redields best friend, he had spent many afternoons running about the fields or riding horses. When Robert had gone off to war he had been right beside him, carrying him to cover so the medics could work on him, fighting through the rest of the war until wounded at the Bulge, coming home and taking up a job as a farm hand, working for his oldest and dearest friend, Robert.
His name was Luke Doll but everybody had just called him Rake, after he had saved a calf from a wolf, by fending it off with a rake at the age of only seven.
At the present moment Rake was walking across a field from the cozy farmhouse to the stable, flashlight in hand, to let the horses out into the corral.
The morning air was chilly, but rake was wearing only a pair of jeans and a flannelette shirt, after enduring a Belgian winter in 1944-45, he felt comparatively warm. Since Robert had died in the 1970's, of complications resulting from his war wounds, Rake had been the sole caretaker of the farm. He had kept it from falling into disrepair, while watching his godson slowly die from the inside. He had taken Chris out into the fields with him, teaching him the reward of an honest day's work, trying to shield the young boy from his father's rage, a rage he knew all too well and had also lived with his whole life…
He had also been the one who found Mason, hanging by his neck in the barn… Rake had been the only one to attend the funeral.
Now the farm was quieter than it had ever been; only himself and Chris, when he was home.
Rake opened the door to the stable and stood back as two dogs ran out to greet him, a Labrador and a Spaniel, Rake patted them affectionately and waltzed into the barn. Three horses awaited him and he opened the gates, holding them into their pens, one by one. The horses knew the routine and slowly trotted outside towards the corral.
Two of the horses went in, but one veered off and began trotting around the field, tossing its head in high spirit. Rake wasn't at all surprise; this too was part of the routine. Lucky, the prized stallion of the group, was forever showing off.
"Get in there Lucky!" Rake shouted. "Quite horsing around and get in there!"
The horse obediently trotted over into the corral Rake gave it an affectionate slap on the rump as it went past, shutting the gate behind it.
"I swear if I didn't know you were a horse… I'd say you were full of yourself!"
Lucky began to trot around happily and Rake reached into his pocket to pull out a tin of tobacco and papers, rolling a cigarette.
He was about to light it when heard a whine behind him. He turned around and noticed the dogs staring into the tree line, ears perked up, sniffing the air. Rake frowned.
"What's wrong with you two?"
There was a loud, sharp CRACK behind Rake and he spun, dropping his smoke. The horses where trying to kick their way out of the corral, their eyes flared, terrified. Rake felt his flesh crawl and wished he hadn't left the gun in the house…
There was a deep growling, unlike anything Rake had heard before in his life, something not of this earth. Rake spun back to the tree line just in time to see something moving, at an incredible rate, across the open field towards him.
He barely got a scream out before it was on him…
The sun had started to crawl over the horizon when the helicopter engines started to whir, ten in all, their jet exhaust roaring out into the cool morning air. The commandos who were assembled around the camo painted Hueys shouldered their gear and checked their rifles, climbing aboard as the engines built up to a crescendo of vibration and thundering roar.
An officer, a Colonel, stood out on the tarmac looking up at the brightening sky, feeling a tingling excitement he had not felt since the desert. There would be a fight today, he could tell, the tingling only ever pulsed through his veins when he knew there would be bloodshed…
The only question was… Was he good enough to be the one spilling it?
The officer was tall, erect in posture and had an air of authority about him. He had tall blonde hair and had a lean predatory face, one that exerted confidence. The most striking feature about him was the ever present sunglasses he always wore, inside and outdoors and the big chrome plated .357 Magnum slung at his waist.
Colonel Albert Wesker was shaken from his musings by one of the radio operators, who ran over to him from the command chopper.
"Top Brass, sir!" The kid shouted over the roar of the turbines.
Wesker reached out and took the handset, nodding to the young RTO.
"Alpha Leader." He said, his voice was calm, cool, collected.
"How long before you get in there?" The voice on the end of the line squawked metallically.
"Fifteen minutes" Wesker responded, flatly.
On the other side of the country, in an office in Washington DC, a man in a very expensive suit, holding an unlit Monte Cristo in his hand, talked into a special red telephone. The hand that held the phone had an ostentatious gold and diamond ring on its middle finger.
The red telephone put him in touch with his man on the ground, his man in the military.
"You're good soldier." The suit said. "But not that good. It's five hundred miles away, in the back woods of Pennsylvania."
The man with the red phone put the Monte Cristo between his teeth and picked up a match from the enormous desk which filled the room.
"We have troopers on site." The voice came over the phone clearly, despite the distance. "A first response force, undercover."
The suit lit the match and put it to his cigar, puffing it to life. He would have expected nothing less from this man.
"Very resourceful…" The man said puffing his cigar. "You have my permission to activate them…"
Back at the airbase Wesker smiled. There was that tingling sensation again.
"I've already done that." He said, wryly. "YOU have MY permission, to say that you gave me permission."
With that Wesker handed the handset back to the RTO and unslung his M16, cocking it. He turned and jogged towards the command helicopter, hunching over as he ran beneath the blades, signaling to the pilot, with a circular motion of his finger, to lift off.
The engines changed pitch and the pilots pulled up on their collectives, lifting the old warhorses up into the air, thundering into the rising sun.
Jill Valentine had first laid eyes on Chris Redfield when she was sitting down to breakfast at Emmets Diner, not far from the childcare center where she was working, or at least had been put to work. She was sitting by a window finishing off her coffee when a tall brown haired man walked in, he was handsome, ruggedly so, but it wasn't that which caught her eye.
Chris Redfield had just gotten off a bus from the military hospital in which he was recovering and as a result he was still wearing his Class A uniform, Combat Infantrymans Badge above the pocket. He had a far away look in his eyes and people avoided him as he walked through the crowded diner to order a meal from the counter.
As he walked past her Jill noticed the Purple Heart ribbon he wore, signifying he had been wounded in combat. Chris had sat by himself by a window at the table opposite hers. She was instantly intrigued by him and after a while worked up the courage to walk over and ask if she could sit down.
For the first time Chris's eyes focused and he looked right into her eyes, somewhat surprised by her talking to him.
"Of course." He had said.
Jill had been late for 'work' that day and they had arranged to meet that evening at a restaurant on the edge of Lake Sumner. They talked constantly, both becoming more at ease as the evening wore on. She asked him about the war and his time in the Army and he asked her all about the kids she cared for, walking together around the lake. On their second lap Chris had worked up the courage to hold her hand and she had readily accepted.
But Chris wasn't pushy, he hadn't asked to come in when he dropped her home, not like the other men she had dated in the past, he was a true gentleman, tentatively kissing her goodnight before striding away into the dark night.
They had seen each other every day since.
Eventually she had cooked him dinner one night, then they had gone upstairs…
Jill had never felt more loved in all her life, more at peace, more fulfilled. Nor had she felt more loving, more attachment to anyone else like this before.
She was in love.
Jill lay awake in her bed, Chris dozing peacefully beside her as she stared up at the ceiling, thinking things over, wanting so much for all of this to be permanent, wondering how she could make it so…
She was snapped out of her thoughts by a humming sound from beside the bed. Her heart stopped. Slowly she reached down and pulled the insole out of her running shoes, extracting a small micro-radio from a recess in the heel. It vibrated in her hand and she clenched her fist to muffle the slight sound it made.
Carefully she eased out of bed, checking to see that Chris was still asleep. His eyes were closed, his face at ease. Softly she tread across the timber floor into the bathroom and shut the door, the cool morning air chilling her and making her shiver slightly.
She pressed a small switch on the transmitter and put it to her ear, the plastic cold from the cool air.
"Valentine." She whispered, trying to control the nervousness in her voice.
The voice on the other end was barely audible but there was no mistaking what it said.
"If this is another drill, I'll strangle you." She said, trying to sound professional, calm, in control.
The small box chirped out the persons reply, electronic, sounding artificial.
"Shit." She mumbled. "Give me the activation code…"
Jill reached into one of her toiletry bags, into a small slit in the lining and pulled out a small envelope, breaking the wax seal and extracting a small slip of thick paper, printed on it in official text was:
The voice on the other end read the code and her blood suddenly ran cold. This was it, the real deal, the whole reason she had been planted in Raccoon in the first place…
"That's a match." She whispered, trying to keep her voice from shaking. "I'm on my way…"
She clicked off the transmitter and shook something else from the envelope into her hand; a small plastic swipe card with a chain through one corner. She slung the card over her head and opened the bathroom door.
Chris was still asleep. Jill looked down at him and wanted to cry, she wanted to climb back into bed beside him and wake him up, and love him, she wanted this to be life for her, she wanted this existence to continue. At the very least she wanted to wake him and tell him everything…
But she couldn't, she was a soldier and she had a job to do, surely he, of all people, would understand that. She tore herself away and walked into her wardrobe. He went straight to the back wall and slid her clothes and coat hangers aside, she opened a small panel, revealing a keypad and typed in the code. The back of the wardrobe opened, revealing a shelf stacked with ammo, her .45 pistol, M16 and a set of khaki outdoor trousers and blue, lightweight fabric shirt.
Jill dressed quickly, lacing on her hiking boots and donning a blue beret, atop which was the patch of her unit; STARS, Special Tactics And Rescue Service. She buckled on her equipment belt and strapped on a bullet proof vest, holstering her pistol and shouldering her M16.
Chris snapped awake the instant he heard the front door slam. He leapt out of bed and looked about. The first thing he noticed was that Jill was not in bed and the door to the bedroom was open. He bolted to the window and looked out.
Jill was striding across the front yard, dressed in clothing unlike anything she had ever worn before as long as he knew her, an M16 slung over her shoulder. Chris recognized the getup as soon as he saw it; clandestine special operations, he had encountered the type before…
An open topped off roader was waiting in front of the cottage, sitting inside where three other similarly dressed men, all armed and looking on edge, Jill unslung her M16 and climbed in, the off roader roaring off.
She didn't even look back.
Chris didn't know how to feel, barely knew what to think.
All he knew was that Jill had no idea what she was getting herself in for.
Jill sat in the passenger seat of the off roader, shivering against the cold morning air, beside her sat Russo, driving. In the back was Williams and Disimone. This was her team; Bravo Team. Together they had trained and sweat blood to get this assignment. They were the first strike force, placed undercover in Raccoon City for a mission they knew nothing about. All they knew was they were the best, handpicked and highly trained, ready for anything.
Jill wanted to look back as they drove away but she knew Chris would be there and she couldn't bear to see him, to see the look in his eyes as she drove away from his life forever. She wanted to run away, to run back to him, but she was Bravo Team leader and she had to lead these men this morning. She closed her eyes and pushed her emotions aside.
"Another practice run, right?" Disimone asked from the back, fingering his M16 which, Jill noticed, wasn't on safe.
"We been practicing for six months!" Russo said, his eyes locked on the road, speeding towards the mountains away from town.
"No more practice." Jill said, reaching back and clicking the safety on Disimone's weapon. "This is the real deal."
"Honest to god?" Williams asked, checking the safe on his own rifle.
Jill sighed, fighting back the depression, the tugging feeling she felt.
"In my experience, Williams, God isn't always honest."
"Where are we going anyway?" Disimone asked, basking in the cool morning air.
"In there." Jill said, nodding towards the tall fog shrouded Arklay mountains which dominated the town. The fog and mist clung to the ground showing only tall tree tops above the white blanket, Jill shivered as she looked up at them, this time not from the cold.
Jill had joined the Army slightly after Chris, enlisting as an Intelligence Analyst. She had performed well at her job, having an eye for detail, when she was approached by a Colonel, her Colonel, calling himself Albert Wesker. He said he had noticed her work and how well she performed it and said he was looking for a woman to be a part of a special unit he was putting together.
The very thought of his name made her stomach churn. He was also looking for a woman for something else as well; the bastard had taken her to dinner and charmed his way into her bed afterwards. Jill felt her skin crawl with the memory of his damp greasy hands, clawing at her, how fast he got up and left afterwards…
Jill swore that she would never again be taken advantage of like that.
Wesker had told Jill that the work would be secret, clandestine, and she would be going undercover for long periods of time. Jill had accepted and undergone training to become a member of STARS, a CIA backed unit of the US Army. So far her time with the unit had been unfulfilling, a number of dead end assignments, no action, no significant contribution.
None of the men who sat in the vehicle with her had ever seen action before. Her team mates had been picked from Ranger School dropouts and misfits, but STARS training had brought the best out of them and now they were a cohesive unit, a force to be reckoned with.
Russo swung off the main road leading up into the mountains and onto a winding dirt road, according to her map, Jill figured they were almost there.
Slowly, out of the fog, the team in the off roader could make out the shape of a huge mansion, dark and foreboding in the morning mist. As the house came into more clarity the troopers were amazed at the sheer size of the old stone walls and enormous yard stretching before them.
Russo pulled the off roader up short in front of a pair of iron gates, a stylized S wrought in the middle of each. Jill climbed out and the team followed her, slowly approaching the gates, staring through at the surreal sight before them. None of them had ever seen anything like it before in all their lives, their minds could not even comprehend it.
"If you had the jing to build a place like this," Russo said. "Would you build it in the middle of fucking nowhere?"
"Paris." Williams said.
"Manhattan. Upper West." Disimone said, shaking his head at the others.
Jill sighed, again fighting back the depression climbing up form below.
"Some people prefer the quiet life…" She said, softly, sadly.
She got hold of herself, cocking her M16.
"Alright, our orders are to secure the area." She said. "Spread out and keep your eyes peeled."
Disimone snorted complacently.
"From what?" He asked. "This place has been secure since the French and Indian War!"
"Yeah, Valentine, this is a fucking joke." Williams said, stretching lazily.
A deep snarl came from the dark woods beyond the off roader and the smiles where instantly wiped from their faces, Disimone whipped his rifle up and all weapons were trained on the dark, fog shrouded forest before them.
Leaves fluttered and they could hear tree limbs snapping, but nothing seemed to move in the heavy fog which slid amongst the trees like thick liquid, pulsating and crawling across the leaf strewn ground. Slowly through the fog, dark shapes began to move, a glimpse here, a fleeting shadow there, the team grew tense, Jill could hear Russo breathing, frantic, erratic… terrified.
Jill snatched a radio from her belt, keying a code, now more than ever she wished to god she was back in her bed, perhaps waking to another one of Chris's breakfasts…
"This is Valentine." She said, into the radio, her eyes never leaving the tree line. "We might be in trouble here…"
Suddenly something leapt from the shadows for Russo, he spun firing a burst, all about the team dark shapes began lurching from the woods, incredibly fast, Jill barely got a look at what they were; they looked like… dogs.
The team split up, panicked, Jill fired short bursts from her rifle as she shouted into her radio to be heard over the gunfire.
"WE ARE IN TROUBLE!"
Colonel Wesker sat in the command Huey as it sped over the forest covered mountains below, glued to his ear was a hands free radio transmitter receiver. Jill's panicked voice came through in static bursts, but Wesker betrayed no emotion.
"Under attack…assailants unidentif…"
The transmission ended in a burst of static. Wesker sat back in the web seat of the vibrating chopper and turned to the navigator of the helicopter.
"Can you get a trace?" He asked, calmly.
The navigator shook his head.
"Lost the beacon." He said, leaning back to talk to Wesker. "It just cut out, like it was… Swallowed by something…"
Wesker leaned back and smiled. He could barely contain his excitement.
"Gentlemen," He said to the three commandos who sat about him. "I do believe we're going to earn some combat pay."
Staff Sergeant Barry Burton grinned at his boss, and his oldest friend. "Damn if you don't love a fight!"
Barry Burton was an enormous black man, built like a tank and just as tough. He had enlisted with Wesker way back when and the two had served together ever since, Wesker the officer, Barry the capable sergeant.
Wesker looked over at his faithful companion and grinned.
"If I didn't love a fight Barry, you'd be long dead." Wesker turned back to the navigator. "Call in a nine-nine I want Raccoon City Evaced!"
The Hueys roared in low over Raccoon City, shaking windows and setting off car alarms. Chaos descended over the quiet city.
Jill ran along the fence line of the enormous yard, searching for a way to climb the giant fence. She heard a snarl to her left and loosed off a burst in its direction, reloading and running further along. Disimone was right behind her, ahead she could see Williams as he desperately tried to clear a stoppage from his rifle. In the blink of an eye something leapt out of the woods and bit into his stomach, tearing away the soft flesh, his innards spilling out onto the ground, more creatures darted from the woods, devouring him, Jill still couldn't make out what they were, the fog had closed in around the house and turned the terrifying situation into a nightmare.
Disimone was panicking firing needlessly long burst into the dark trees. Jill fired something leapt from the bushes, bowling Disimone over, Jill's rifle clicked empty and she whipped out her pistol, just another of the creatures leapt from the tree line, right for her…
Chris Redfield ran down the stairs of Jill cottage, the place he had spent the best months of his life, wincing but biting back his pain as he raced for the front door. He whipped the door open and looked up as ten thundering Hueys roared past over his town. Chris looked up and down the street as GMC trucks pulled up at all the intersections, troops from the local National Guard post leaping out.
In all his years Chris had never seen such chaos. As soon as he saw the National Guardsmen he knew there would be trouble, he had worked with them overseas and knew the level of their training and leadership. Young men toting guns around their own town was a bad mixture…
In the far distance he could hear a bullhorn blaring;
"There has been an accident in the hills nearby, a military aircraft carrying live weapons has crashed…"
Possible, Chris thought. Unlikely though, we would have heard it…
Chris knew that if the Guardsman caught him they would shove him on one of those trucks and drag him away and that didn't sit too well with his plans…
Chris darted for an alleyway he knew ran down a side street and jogged as fast as his knee would allow, he had to slip away somehow, get back to his farm, find out where those Hueys where going, chances where, that's where he'd find Jill.
He ran down the alleyway and came out face to face with an eighteen year old Guardsman, who swung his old style M16 around and pointed it at Chris.
"Hold it, asshole!" The kid said, a mean hearted look in his eye.
Another soldier came up and grinned cruelly.
"Where you going, huh?" He asked, waving his rifle. "You gonna behave, or are we gonna have to make you?"
Chris bit back his anger, kids with guns, and no training, now they're in charge. They'd be getting a kick out of throwing their weight around. He knew he had to stay calm, an opportunity would present itself.
As the soldiers led Chris through the streets he could see people being herded from their homes and shoved into the backs of trucks, being hauled away, the soldiers were kicking down doors and pulling people out in their dressing gowns and pajamas.
Chris noticed one such person running up to the soldiers that were escorting him. He recognized the man instantly, it was the sheriff.
"What's going on here!" He demanded, "Who gave you activation orders? That can only come from the mayor!"
One of the soldiers turned to face the Sheriff, now with total authority over him.
"Step aside, fatso!" He said. "This ain't your show! Our orders came from Army HQ, which overrules the mayor and YOU."
"Don't talk to me like that!" The Sheriff exploded. "I was in the goddamned Army to you know! The REAL Army!"
The bullhorn was blaring again now adding to the chaos and confusion.
"There is no immediate danger, but as a precaution we are evacuating the area. You will be provided shelter until the weapons have been removed from the crash site!"
"That's a worn out scenario!" The Sheriff spat. "If a plane had crashed nearby, don't you think someone would have heard it!"
The soldiers momentarily lost interest in Chris, one of them turning to club the Sheriff, Chris saw his chance, he kicked one of them in the back and chopped the other on the neck, using a technique he had learnt from a group of Rangers in the desert. They both dropped and Chris bolted back towards Jill's cottage, behind him one of the Guardsmen rolled over and fired a burst after Chris, shattering a shop window. People screamed and the streets became a frenzy of panic and shouting.
Chris dove through the shattered shop front and bolted for the back door, bursting through into an alleyway, running down it he came out across from Jill's house. He took one last longing look at it before he leapt into his off roader and gunned the engine, shoving it in gear and taking off towards his farm.
Wesker sat in the open door of the command Huey, looking down at the chaos running rampant through the streets of Raccoon City. The goddamned National Guard where creating nothing but panic down there, which was typical.
Wesker shook his head sadly. It wasn't that he particularly cared what happened down there to the residents of some shithole town he'd never heard of before, it was just so… unprofessional…
He heard the sound of gunfire over the roar of the engine and a flurry of movement caught his eye. Jesus Christ the National Guardsmen where shooting at people now! The panicked residents began darting everywhere, Guardsmen began clubbing people with rifle butts and laying the boot into them.
"Christ…" Wesker muttered.
At this rate the town would never be clear by H-Hour and that would be very bad indeed. Wesker sighed, he'd have to spare elements of his own strike force to take over and restore order down there. He regretted the loss in fire power that would make but with only one team he'd have less people to control, more room to breathe.
"Charlie, Delta, Echo, peel off and get that evacuation under control!" He spoke into his radio. "I'm going on to target with Alpha team, stand by to support if need be."
Chris roared his beat up off roader along a winding dirt road, almost losing it a couple of times on the corners, but it was a risk he had to take; he had to follow those choppers, but first he had to stop by his farm and pick up some fire power, wherever Jill was, it was sure to be bad.
The dirt track burst out of the trees and onto the large open expanse of Chris's farm. He pulled the off roader up in front of the stables and jumped out. Immediately he could sense something was wrong, there was an air of… death about the place.
Chris walked around the stables and froze when he saw the corral. His three horses were lying on their sides, bleeding out into the rich soil beneath them. Chris jogged over and surveyed the scene more closely and he saw instantly that the horses were all dead, Lucky, his favorite, was lying on his side, his throat ripped apart, his stomach torn open innards strung across the ground.
There was a low, weak groaning sound and Chris turned towards the water pump, almost coming to tears as he saw Rake, his mentor and oldest friend lying up against the old pump, holding his stomach. Chris ran over and knelt next to the old man, carefully peeling the calloused hands away and examining his wounds. It was bad, whatever had attacked Rake had torn him open just as bad as the horses, but Chris couldn't imagine what in the world would have the strength to do this to a man.
Rake coughed and weakly opened his eyes, staring up at Chris.
"They came out of the trees Reddy…" The words came out as a jagged whisper. "…Don't know what they was… They were so fast… looked like wolves… but so fast…"
Blood ran down the old man's chin and Chris knew Rake was a goner, he fought to hold his emotions in check.
"Don't try to talk, Rake…" Chris said, feeling so helpless.
"I ain't never left this place untended since your father took it over…" Rake croaked, shaking his head sadly.
"I know…" Chris said, wiping the blood from the weathered face. "You looked after it far better than I could…"
"I just never saw 'em coming… Never had time to get the gun…"
The old man's voice was drowned out by a thundering overhead, Chris looked up and saw the three remaining Hueys swooping up into the mountains, feet hanging out the doors, weapons pointing outwards, hardened faces scanning the terrain below. Chris noticed that one of them seemed to be wearing sunglasses, despite it still being quite dark.
"Where are they heading…?" Chris wondered aloud. "There's nothing up there except…"
"Except the old Spencer estate…" Rake whispered. "You ought to remember it… From when you were a kid…"
The old man's voice began to trail off, he was drifting away, slipping into oblivion.
"I'm sorry, Rake…" Chris whispered. "But I have to go… There's something I gotta do, I hope you understand…"
Chris sprinted towards the house, his leg aching with the effort, bursting through the front door into the spacious living room, cozy and inviting. Jill had been here a week ago, which seemed like a lifetime ago now. Chris ran upstairs to his bedroom and opened the chest at the end of his bed, pulling out piles of old uniforms and boots until he found what he was looking for.
His Grandfather had brought a piece of the war home with him; his M1 rifle. Chris snapped the two halves together and pulled the bolt back, he reached back into the trunk and picked out an eight round clip, inserting it and snapping the bolt forward.
He grabbed a shoulder bag and stuffed the remaining clips into it and shouldered it, running back downstairs and out the front door. Something caught his eye as he neared the corral and he looked over. Mortified he saw that Lucky, who was quite still a moment ago, was thrashing about, trying to stand.
"It's still alive…" Chris muttered. "I'm sorry Lucky…"
He aimed the M1 between the slats of the fence and fired off a shot into the animals head, putting it down for good. Chris stared at the animal for a long moment until the distant roar of the helicopters rotors snapped him out of it and he remembered the need to hurry.
He turned to say something to Rake but his heart sank as he saw the old man slumped over, not breathing. Chris knelt at his side and gently closed the man's eyes.
"So long Rake…"
He got to his feet and took off at a dead run towards the forest, towards the sound of the thundering war machines.
Three minutes after Chris had left the bloodbath at the corral, three minutes after he had closed Rakes tired eyes, they opened again and Rake slowly climbed to his feet, as he did so the wall of his stomach fell open and his entrails fell out on the grass. Rake hardly even noticed, instead he walked over to where Lucky lay, bleeding out on into the dirt, and knelt beside the horse.
And began to eat it…
The Special Tactics And Rescue Service, or STARS as it was better known, was formed in early 1997 by Colonel Albert Wesker, US Army. Wesker was a two war veteran, an Airborne Ranger and a cold and calculating man.
As his Staff Sergeant Wesker had chosen his oldest comrade; Barry Burton. The two had fought together and soldiered together all their lives, so naturally Burton was both pleased and honored to be the first enlisted man to join STARS.
STARS had been formed to conduct clandestine operations within the Continental United States, something which was highly illegal, therefore STARS was a Black unit, CIA backed, it operated in strict secrecy.
Its members where handpicked, dropouts, from the Special Forces schools throughout the Army. These men, it was found, could be easily molded and trained to fit the unique purpose STARS was created for.
They were also completely expendable, but only Wesker was aware of this little piece of information.
The helicopters carrying STARS Alpha Team flew in low over the trees, coming to a tight clearing amidst the dense forest. The command chopper lowered itself into this almost impossible, makeshift, landing zone as the other two Hueys circled providing aerial protection while the Command Group leapt out onto the grass below.
Albert Wesker hit the ground and rolled, a perfect parachutists landing, the others hit heavily, none more so than Barry Burton, who grunted as he alighted. The other two members where Forest Speyer, the Teams Radio Operator and a Willem Dafoe lookalike and Joseph Frost the Team Scout.
The first Huey pulled up and away, taking up an over watch position as the second Huey lowered itself into the clearing. This chopper also dumped out four team members, Wesker mentally checked them off as they came out onto the grass. This was his Assault Group and it consisted of Kenneth Sullivan and Richard Aiken, two blood brothers who, like Wesker and Burton, had fought side by side in more hell holes than they cared to mention. They had found their way into STARS after Wesker got them out of Military Prison, for being involved in robbing an enemy payroll.
Next was Enrico Marini a quiet and not very well liked member of the Team. Enrico had been thrown out of Ranger School after being found with Benzedrine. Finally came Ridley, the Teams rookie, very inexperienced.
The Assault Group spread out over the landing zone taking up defensive positions, pointing their rifles outwards. The final Huey settled into the clearing, disgorging the Support Group, Weskers Medics and special operators. The first out, rather daintily, was Rebecca Chambers, the medic and a trained doctor, an amateur biologist. Rebecca was a highly intelligent member and had been recruited from a Pentagon think tank.
Another woman followed Rebecca and as soon as she hit the ground the dark, South American, eyes began searching the tree line, her finger was on the trigger. This was Rosie Rodriguez, more man than most men, nobody ever tasseled with her. Wesker had found her in a base motor pool, where she had arm wrestled her First Sergeant, Division Boxing Champ, and won. She was a part of the Support Group because she was an excellent Mechanic.
Fox was next, a paratrooper with a fear of heights, he was a sniper extraordinaire. Finally, falling to the ground in a heap was Brad Vickers, or as the team liked to call him; Chickenheart. Vickers was a computer expert with no rival, he could do anything… Except fight, or face a dangerous situation. Vickers was almost executed for desertion after leaving his Special Forces buddies to die in the desert, he had been picked up, by the backup team, hiding in a mud hut, cowering in the corner.
Wesker did not enjoy having Brad along but he had no choice in the matter; he was perhaps the most important member of the team, except for himself of course.
The command Huey came in low over the clearing, hovering, and Wesker could see the pilot through the glass. He took the radio from Forest's harness and spoke into it.
"You'll have to rotate or you'll run out of fuel, but I want one chopper in the air at all times." He said. "We might need help in a hurry."
The pilot squawked back a 'roger that' and pulled away out of view.
Barry looked at his boss and frowned. What was that 'We might need help in a hurry' crap? What the hell could they possibly encounter that would need a gunship?
The team formed up and Joseph led them off into the woods, weapon scanning ahead of him, towards the mansion estate. From the far side of the clearing Chris Redfield had watched all of this and knew exactly what he was dealing with. Rag tag unprofessionals. He had seen the kind before, always in the wrong place at the wrong time, expendables, lacking the discipline of real soldiers. This was evident by their dress; bandanas, sleeves torn off their jackets, even the way they had worn their equipment was sloppy, none of this would have passed muster in Chris's old Division.
They were packing M16's and .45 pistols, which would be more suited for the close quarters of the Mansion, but Chris's M1 was a tried and true weapon, it would have far less stoppages than the automatics the soldiers were carrying, and the M1 could shoot a man through a tree and keep going, whatever the commandos were expecting to be up against, Chris could give them a run for their money.
After he was sure he had given them enough of a lead Chris slowly walked out into the clearing. He scanned the ground in front of him and picked up the imprints of the soldiers jungle boots and began to follow. Judging by the gung ho way in which these clowns were conducting themselves it was unlikely they would have anyone watching their backs so Chris took a chance and followed the same path through the thick forest, his ears tuned into the sounds of the woods, his eyes sharp and piercing.
The team walked briskly through the dense timber, their rifles held slack at their waists. At the front Joseph strained to see through the mist, which hadn't yet burnt off in the denser parts of the woods.
The team emerged into a small clearing and Joseph froze, raising a clenched fist, halting the team, who looked about nervously. Wesker came forward and Joseph indicated with his hand. Slowly the team fanned out into the clearing and saw for themselves what had stopped Joseph in his tracks.
Strewn about the clearing where bits of equipment; ammo belts, empty magazines and torn jagged pieces of flesh, gutted, unrecognizable carcasses. It was Bravo Team.
Brad Vickers dry retched and bent over vomiting, beside him Enrico Marini chuckled.
"What'sa matter, Vickers?" Marini asked with a cruel smile. "Thinking of your Special Forces buddies rotting in the desert?"
Richard Aiken and Ken Sullivan pocked around the remains with their boots, trying to find the dog tags which would confirm the identity of the corpses. To them, this was nothing new, business as usual.
"You ever eat road kill, Sullivan?" Aiken asked idly, as he prodded a particularly gruesome cadaver with his rifle barrel.
"Aiken, I swear to god, you'd be better off dead." Sullivan responded. "I should'a left your ass in the desert to rot."
The banter was light hearted, a distraction from the gore surrounding them, it was something they had learnt to do a long time ago.
"You want me to shoot you Aiken?"
The pair turned and saw Rosie Rodriguez digging through a satchel bag, covered in blood.
"I'm ready to shoot somebody." She said. Neither man doubted it.
Forest Speyer spotted something on the ground and picked it up walking over to his CO and handing it over. Wesker took it, it was a beret, the STARS logo sewn to the brim. He turned it inside out and read the name inside.
"Valentine." He said, his voice betraying no emotion. "Forest, Radio HQ, Bravo Team found on site. No survivors. "
Wesker tossed Jill's beret aside and unslung his weapon.
"Alright, let's move out, watch your backs." He said, motioning Frost to continue scouting ahead.
The words hit Chris like a sledgehammer. His heart skipped a beat. Jill. Oh no… Chris watched the team recede into the trees again and felt like opening fire on them. This was their fault, they brought her into this, they dragged her away from him!
Slowly he crept out into the clearing picked up the bloody beret from the soil, looking inside at the name that had meant so much to him, so many memories…
Leaves were kicked up around him and he looked up as one of the Hueys swooped in low over the trees. Slowly his eyes hardened, he stuffed Jill's beret into his satchel and darted back under the cover of the trees.
He would make them all pay for this, those Government bastards, they took his youth, his father, his health, and now the only woman he ever loved. He would make them regret coming to his town.
He weaved his way through the forest, hoping to loop around and get in front of the Team to get into a good spot to ambush them. It would be easy, these troops where slack, they'd never expect it. He'd get their CO first, that scumbag, son of a bitch, disregarding Jill's death as unimportant. He'd relish pulling the trigger, unleashing the shot that would smash his arrogant skull.
Chris was shaken from his thoughts by a low growl behind him. It was a sound he'd heard before, that morning in fact, up on the cliff face. It felt like a hundred years ago.
Chris spun, taking a knee, whipping the M1 up and taking aim. Behind him standing there panting was the most messed up dog he had ever seen. It had no hair, its skin a pale grey color. Hunks of flesh and muscle were missing from around its mouth and Chris could spot a number of bullet holes in its side, leaking thick coagulated blood.
Chris barely had a moment to take all this in before the dog leapt through the air, straight for him. Chris fired twice, both bullets finding their mark, blasting the dog out of the air. The dog hit the ground with a sickening thud and Chris slowly lowered his rifle.
Rake was wrong, they weren't wolves at all, they were just ordinary dog, except, there was something seriously wrong with them.
Chris stood up and began to walk towards it for a closer look when the dog stirred and began to rise.
"Shit!" Chris gasped, backing up.
The dog didn't even show signs of slowing down. Chris took careful aim again and fired twice more into the dogs head, obliterating it.
Weskers team was approaching the tall iron gates of the Spencer Estate when they heard the distant crack of Chris's rifle. They froze and Vickers began to shake, almost uncontrollably.
"Who the hell is shooting?" Fox wondered aloud.
Joseph Frost heard the second two shots, then the bush began to rustle next to him. He barely had time to turn before another mutilated dog leapt from the mist, latching onto his neck, tearing it out before he even had time to scream. Wesker spun and opened up on full auto, spraying the dog and Frost with a stream of 5.56mm lead, just as more of the hell hounds leapt from the tree line.
The team opened up as one, emptying magazines at the mass of canines who ran with incredible speed towards then. The wall of lead blasted the animals back and the occasional lucky round would strike the a dogs head, putting it down permanently.
Slowly the team backed its way up to the tall gates, firing and moving as they went, covering each other as they reloaded.
"Let's get inside the yard!" Rosie shouted above the gunfire, throwing an empty magazine down the front of her shirt and shoving a new one into her weapon.
"NO!" Wesker shouted, for the first time allowing the hidden rage inside to come out. "I WANT THEM ALL DEAD! STAND FAST!"
Weskers roaring command galvanized his team and they laid down an even bigger wall of fire, mowing the last of the animals down, beaten down by sheer fire power, blasted into near nothingness. Wesker stepped forward to make sure none of them were still kicking when one of the mutilated canines, leapt up from the ground, straight for Weskers throat.
Wesker spun, desperately trying to raise his weapon to meet the dog in mid air when suddenly it was blasted from the side, riddled by automatic fire.
"Even Steven boss." Barry Burton said with a smile. "You saved my ass in the desert. I saved yours in Pennsylvania."
Wesker grinned at his Sergeant.
"I don't believe in being 'Even Steven'." He said. "A man saves my ass, I'll pay him back."
He walked over and patted his oldest buddy on the shoulder.
"Before this day is over, I'll pay you back Barry. Just stick with me, okay?"
Wesker ran a hand over his gear and noticed something was missing. He walked back over to the pile of rotting and bleeding animals, scanning amidst the carnage. He spotted what he was looking for and bent over, picking up a small black box, clipping it back to his belt.
Chris saw all this from his vantage point near where he had killed the dog. Every fiber in his body urged him to take a sight picture and blow that shiny assed bastard away, with his fucking shiny Magnum, spit shined boots, creased uniform…. He could get eight of them almost instantly; they were clustered together out in the open with no cover, he might even get two with the same bullet.
But he resisted the urge, they were too jacked up, they'd open up on him in a heartbeat and while he was well protected by a slight mound, he'd never get more than one shot off before they had him pinned.
Chris had shook his head at the needless amount of ammo the commandos had wasted; rather than picking their shots, they had gone through magazine after magazine, many shots missing their mark.
Chris turned with renewed interest back to the canine he had put down and walked over to it. There was a collar on the neck and Chris grabbed it reading: SPIKE #26.
Next to the moniker was a corporate looking logo, an umbrella. Chris recognized it instantly; Umbrella Incorporated, the biggest Pharmaceutical Company in America, with big dealings in Raccoon City. What the hell was their logo doing on a dog out in the forest?
There was another low growl behind him and Chris spun, another dog, its shattered back leg dragging, was advancing on him. Chris whipped up the M1 and pulled the trigger.
He was rewarded with only a hollow click.
Jam! Before Chris could reef back the cocking handle the dog bounded towards his, Chris took off at a sprint, as fast as his bad leg would allow. The dog was closing, but Chris had an idea, he spotted something he remembered from a long time ago.
As he passed the base of a tall tree Chris dove flat on his stomach and snatched at a tree root, jutting out from the base of the tree, he yanked it and the ground beneath him opened up and he fell through into a tunnel below, slamming the trap door shut behind him.
The dog howled and was immediately blasted away by Rosie who saw neither Chris, now where he went…
The forest was dead quiet as Wesker scanned his surroundings, breathing in the sour smell of cordite in the fresh morning air. It had been too long since he had savored the sweet smell of vanquished opponents, even if they were miserable looking mutts. After all Joseph Frost hadn't passed the test, had he?
Somebody slapped Wesker on the shoulder and he spun startled. Barry Burton grinned at him.
"Look here, man." He said. "You know I'd follow you into any kind of enemy fire. But these things aren't firing at us, they want to have us for breakfast."
The team nodded their heads in agreement.
"When are you gonna tell us what the hell is going on here?" Barry concluded.
"When you need to know." Wesker said, stepping past the giant. "Just do your job, soldier. That's what I'm doing, my job…"
Wesker stepped up to one of the big brick posts supporting the gates and pulled a chain up from around his neck, suspended on the end of which was a green swipe card, just like the one Jill had. He reached down and inserted it into a slot in the bricks, with a rusty squeal the gates slowly swung open. The team spread out and advanced across the huge overgrown lawn of the once glorious estate.
The commandos approached the massive, ominous house and Wesker walked up the steps to the huge ornate timber door, the team covered him from behind.
Beneath them Chris crawled on his stomach through the earthen tunnel, which ran under the estate lawns, his knee made the crawl difficult but he was determined to beat the soldiers into the house, he stood a damn good chance of ambushing them in there.
Wesker again inserted his card into a slot in the door frame and the impressive doors swung open, slowly the team filed inside. It was like stepping into another world, a haunted house. Each man and woman was instantly lost in thoughts of horror movies and childhood nightmares. It was dark and dusty inside, furniture and chandeliers where draped in sheets, strewn about the great hall, which was the entryway into the great house.
It had once been a lavish, warm and inviting home. Now it was the place of nightmares.
Spencer Estate was built during the 1920's prohibition by a First World War veteran named Charles E Spencer. Spencer managed to afford such lavish living conditions by his off the books revenue stream. Spencer was a bootlegger and a highly successful one at that, he always seemed to be one step ahead of the law, not least because he always kept them payed up. The huge house was built in the lavish style of the day; plush carpeting, ornate timber, glass chandeliers and the finest artworks then available. He had also built the house with a number of special installments, just in case he needed a quick way out. One such example was tunnel through which Chris now crawled, others included fake walls and hidden rooms.
Spencer was a crook with a heart, he quite often spent his wealth on those less fortunate, indeed large portions of the Raccoon City School were built by him. Unfortunately the government of the day did not see this as redeeming and raided the great house one cold misty night.
Spencer had made a run from the house but a Federal Officer had seen him fleeing into the woods and called for backup. Spencer had a Tommy Gun with him but was unwilling to kill anyone, so he fired a burst over the cops heads, which was enough to buy him precious seconds to flee, but he tripped and fell down an incline, breaking his neck.
His funeral was well attended and ever since his Estate had been a place where children would sneak off and explore.
"Man this place is old!" Aiken remarked as he looked about the giant hall. "Do you think they have cable?"
"They probably don't have radio…" Sullivan replied.
He fingered the safety on his rifle nervously, this place gave him the creeps, it was cold and very uninviting.
"Who's they?" Rosie asked, screwing her face up. "Who built this place?"
It reminded her too much of the shitholes she'd grown up in.
There was a loud and resounding BOOM behind them and they turned as one, seeing Wesker shutting the heavy timber doors. All of them wondered whether they'd ever see it open again. Wesker adjusted the dark sunglasses covering his eyes and looked around at them, his face impassive, betraying nothing.
"A guy named Spencer." Wesker began. "A bootlegger, built this place during the prohibition, like a fortress, figured he'd be safe up here, he wasn't. Fed's have had it ever since, place has been here for eighty years, derelict, abandoned… a safe house."
"A safe house for who? For what?"
Wesker shrugged inwardly, what better time to tell them than now? They were committed now, there was no backing out, the only way out was through and he wasn't leaving till he got what he came for and it didn't matter how many of these clowns got wasted in the meantime.
"There's a secret installation below." He said, evenly. "A network of laboratories."
"What kind of laboratories?" Rebecca, the medic, asked.
Her professional interest had been aroused, when she was working at the Pentagon she'd heard rumors of secret labs, hidden away from prying eyes, but what work went on in there she never heard…
"They didn't issue us gas masks so I figure it's okay to breath." He said.
"But why send in a strike force?" Rosie asked. "What exactly are we doing here?"
"Yeah, what are we here to do?" Sullivan asked. "Polish the silver?"
"There's a man downstairs." Wesker said, looking around at each of them in turn, judging their reactions, looking for signs of trouble. "A top priority man, It's our job to bring him out. Hopefully there will be other alive as well."
Not bloody likely, he thought with an inward smile.
"We'll rescue them too, if we can, but Doctor John Marcus, he comes out alive at any and all costs."
In one of the back corridors of the great mansion there was an old accordion gate elevator, which, at this moment, was slowly lumbering its way up. It's occupant was disheveled and mad, but highly alert, they had already survived one bloodbath and they weren't taking any chances.
As the elevator cleared the level of the floor the occupant stopped it, peering out over the level of the floor, scanning the hallway for signs of movement. There was a slight scuffing, scraping noise and from out of sight, around the corner, three lurching figures, stumbled and shuffled past the old accordion gate, out of sight again down the corridor.
The person riding in the elevator frowned as she saw the figures move past. There had been something awfully wrong with the way they had moved, all of them had looked injured, spaced out, their eyes unblinking and vacant.
When the person in the elevator was satisfied that the shufflers where gone they restarted the lift bringing it up level with the floor.
Jill Valentine stopped the lift by removing her blue card from a slot under the antique controls. She looked like death warmed over, her uniform was ripped and torn and covered in the blood of those monsters out there and the blood of her teammates.
She peered out of the iron gate, listening for any sign of movement, before slowly sliding the old stiff gate open. Hesitantly she stepped out into the dark, dusty corridor, her pistol at the ready.
From behind her she heard a ghostly moan and she spun just as somebody lurched out of the shadows at her, it was a man, wearing a stained and bloody lab coat, half his face had been torn away and he was missing an eye. He was on Jill before she had time to raise her pistol, the man began moaning and drooling, his jaws snapping as he tried to bite a chunk out of her neck.
Jill cried out as she ducked away, under his arms, flinging him against the wall. The man wailed again, righting himself and coming at her again. Jill whipped her .45 up and fired two quick shots, both punching into the mans, unmoving, unbreathing chest.
He didn't even slow up, Jill fired again, this time taking careful aim for the head, hitting the man in his good eye, blasting out brain on the wall behind.
As the man slumped to the floor in a puddle of his own gore Jill reloaded, on instinct, tossing the half empty magazine down the front of her shirt, staring in disbelief at the still twitching corpse on the floor.
In the main hall the Team heard the muffled gunshots and immediately raised their weapons. Wesker walked over to a door leading out of the hall and tried the knob, it worked. He turned back to the team.
"Three men stay here." He said. "Chambers…"
"I'm not a man…"
"Rodriguez." Wesker said, ignoring his medic.
"I'm better than a man." Rosie said, firmly.
Wesker smiled, but hardly missed a beat.
"Alright, you come with us, Aiken, Sullivan, stick here with Chambers." Wesker said. "The rest of you come with me."
The commandos filed out, their jungle boots clacking on the marble floor. Aiken moved over to stand next to Sullivan and Chambers, a sneer on his face.
"Why us?" He asked, leaning on his rifle.
"I dunno why me." Said Sullivan. "You? I guess Wesker figured you're as worthless as a dame, Aiken."
Aiken snorted, turning away. Sullivan turned and caught Rebecca's eye and automatically felt stupid.
"Oh, uh, sorry Chambers…" He said sheepishly.
Rebecca smiled and shrugged.
"It's okay." She said. "He is."
Wesker lead his team into a huge, cavernous library, shelves lined the walls and towered over their heads, timber ladders on runners allowed books on the taller shelves to be reached. Cobwebs hung from the ceiling and dust coated everything. There were doorways on all four walls but no indication as to which way to go.
Wesker pulled something from his belt and turned it on; it was a thin, flat device with a touch screen, which lit up, casting a dull light across his creased face. He touched the screen a couple of times and a series of lines and shapes appeared across the screen. It was a map of the mansion.
Wesker drew his finger across the screen, the map scrolling across as he did so until he came to the library. Barry Burton looked on over his CO's shoulder, very much impressed by the high tech gadget, this was better than the crap he'd had to try and operate his whole life.
"That thing tells you where to go?" He asked.
Wesker ignored the question, cold as ice, he turned and faced his troops.
"One man stays here." He said, scanning the faces before him. "Ridley, you're it. Shoot to kill, just make sure it's not one of us."
Ridley seemed disappointed by the decision but Wesker paid it no never mind, Ridley would learn his place, just like the rest of them.
"The rest of you, this way." Wesker lead them through a door and out of the massive, spooky room.
Ridley sighed heavily. First he'd missed the war in the Desert now he was given all the shitty jobs in the only unit that stood a chance of seeing any action. The Army for him had turned out to be a series of major disappointments and STARS was no exception.
He moved over to a bookshelf next to a wall and leant up against it, leaning his rifle against the shelf and taking out a pack of smokes, lighting one up and inhaling deeply.
Fuck this, he thought.
When Chris was a boy, and his father used to go into his violent rages, he would run off into the woods, filling a knapsack with food and water, he'd simply vanish, allowing his father to come down off the violent edge. One day he'd stumbled across the giant sprawling Spencer Estate and after poking around in the woods for a while he'd accidently nudged the false tree root which had earlier saved his life. The tunnel, through which he now crawled, was as dark then as it was now, but it was infinitely less frightening than being around his father when he was in a fit of anger, so young Chris Reddy had crawled down into the dark, emerging out the other end into the giant library, where the STARS rooky Ridley now smoked.
It was here that Chris had read the great stories of his youth, the adventures of Captain Nemo in 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, the glamour of the Foreign Legion in Beau Geste and the stories of valor and adventure in the First World War in countless history books.
Chris would often come up to the Mansion and crawl through the tunnel, tearing the knees out of his trousers, for which his father would beat him mercilessly when returned, and spend days in the library reading or wandering the great halls of the house, exploring, discovering more of Mr. Spencer's special escape routes.
As Chris neared the end of the cold, dank and dark tunnel he had to grit his teeth to choke back the pain in his knee; the cold and exertion causing him great agony with each yard of ground he covered, but he was spurred on by the knowledge that the tunnel would soon open into an entry chamber and by the burning hatred growing inside him. Hatred for the commandos who by now must be inside, hatred for the Army for stealing away his lover, his heart and soul, hatred for what they did to him in the Desert, for the friends he'd lost, the idiotic decisions they'd made which resulted in countless deaths…
A hatred which had manifested itself into a desire to destroy the arrogant, sunglass wearing, career asshole who was walking around the house above him.
With an inward sigh of relief Chris emerged into a small chamber with just enough room to crouch in, set into the wall at the far end was a small hatch, which Chris knew opened out into the library. Getting to his feet and wincing in pain as he did so, Chris duck waddled across the small room to the hatch.
There was no lock and Chris gently eased his shoulder into the steel and applied slight pressure, trying to open the door quietly. But the door wouldn't budge, Chris frowned, it had never been locked before, ever, as far as he knew there was no lock to speak of. Chris pressed harder into the cold, rusty metal, forcing with all his might. Perhaps it was jammed, rusted shut?
He pulled back and rammed it with his shoulder with a resounding THUD!
Ridley jumped almost out of his skin as the wall behind him thudded loudly. He spun and raised his rifle, just as another loud thud echoed about the giant room.
Chris rammed his shoulder into the steel slab again, cursing. Behind him a section of the dirt floor began to pulse, bulging and shifting. Chris slammed into the door again.
It took all of Ridley's self control not to piss his pants, or start blasting holes in all the walls with his auto rifle.
Behind Chris the ground began to rise, falling away as something dark, decaying and truly terrifying sat up out of the shallow hole in the ground. Sinewy, rotting, flesh clung to the frail bones of the skeleton, the eyes, long since eaten away by worms, were merely empty, gaunt sockets, one skeletal hand reached out for Chris and moaned softly, hungrily.
Chris smelt as much as heard the thing rising up behind him and spun, seeing what had once been a man claw its way out of the dirt floor of the entry chamber. The thing smelt of death, a rich, sickly smell that made Chris gag, the creature was naked and as it started to drag itself across the earthen floor towards Chris he noticed the flesh on its legs peel away in rotting, festering strips.
Chris whipped up the M1 and fired for the gaunt, rotting, unseeing face. The rifle clicked and Chris almost slapped himself for being so stupid, the reason he was in the tunnel in the first place was because his rifle had jammed and like a stupid rookie he'd failed to fix it.
Chris cursed and yanked back on the cocking handle, looking in. The rounds in the clip had twisted and jammed, without a seconds hesitation he pulled the clip out and jammed it into his pocket, reaching into his satchel he pulled out another clip. As he did so something fell out onto the floor, he looked down and saw that it was Jill's beret.
The sight of it caused his heart to sink again. A bony hand reached out and swiped at him and he snapped back to reality, the thing was right on him. He jammed the clip into the old rifle and released the cocking handle, the bolt flying forward, scooping a round from the clip into the chamber.
But the creature was right on him, he couldn't get the rifle up to take a shot.
Ridley could he the sound of a rifle being cocked and panicked, clicking his selector switch to automatic has let of a burst at the section of wall he'd been leaning against. One round happened to hit a thin slot, meant for a swipe card, secreted in the wall. The thing exploded in a small shower of sparks and the section of wall suddenly swung open, Chris diving out a split second later, followed by the decaying monster close behind him.
Ridley took one look at the hideous thing crawling its way out of the dark and fired another burst, blasting the rotting head to pulp, the impact of the rounds causing it to fly backwards, back into the earthen chamber from which it emerged.
Chris leapt to his feet, Ridley spun to face him and immediately both began shooting off rapid fire questions. Chris furious that his chance for an ambush had been lost, Ridley more scared than anything else.
"Who are you?" The young STARS snapped.
"You are YOU?" Chris shot back, gripping his rifle angrily. "And what the hell is STARS?"
"How'd you get in here?" Ridley shouted back, his voice rising with tension.
"Who sealed the door?" Chris asked, his rage growing again.
"Who knew there was a door-?"
Ridley was cut off as something lurched around from behind a bookshelf grabbed him by his combat vest, teeth descending on his exposed neck, biting, tearing a chunk out with a spray of blood, Ridley screamed in agony as his rich red blood sprayed across the wall next to him and across the face of his attacker; a man dressed in the uniform of a security guard.
"Jesus Christ!" Chris gasped, as he watched the young soldier drop to the floor.
A sickly wet sound came from the guard's gullet as he chewed on Ridley's flesh, who now ay twitching at his feet. The blood stained hands reached out and Chris reacted with vehemence, grabbing the stumbling ghoul by its shirt, spinning it and flinging it into the entry chamber.
As the thing stumbled to its feet Chris whipped up his rifle and fired off a single round which punched through the middle of the blood covered face, splitting the head open like an over ripe water melon.
Wesker and the rest of Alpha Team where spread out in a grand dining room, the table still set out to host a forty person feast, fine silverware, champagne glasses, fine china. It was still in the room, like a last supper that never happened.
The silence was shattered by the distant sound of gunfire; the chatter of an automatic, the steady booming of a larger caliber weapon. The team looked about, straining to hear which direction it came from.
"Where'd that come from?" Speyer wondered aloud.
"Back where we just were…" Barry said, his finely tuned ears pricked, trying to discern what weapon could make such a loud boom.
"Shit man!" Speyer said voice on edge. "We're chasing our tails!"
Chris knelt over Ridley's body, patting him down for any information or useful equipment. He unclipped his holster and took the dead man's .45 pistol and tucked it into his belt, searching the pouches on his vest for ammo.
He began unclipping the front of the vest when he heard the distant footsteps, heavy boots on timber floor.
Quickly he yanked the combat vest off the dead boy's shoulders and slipped it over his own muscular frame, he didn't have much time, now was his chance to ambush the rest of them as they came to check it out.
He dug the M16 magazines from the vest pouches and tossed them on the floor, he wouldn't need those, putting his own 30-06 clips in instead.
The footsteps where getting closer, but what he didn't hear was a slight crackling sound in the walls behind him…
Wesker and his group burst into the long timber corridor with the old accordion gated elevator from which Jill had emerged earlier. Slowly one by one the team advanced down the creaking corridor, smelling, rather than seeing, the bullet riddled corpse Jill had shot before.
Speyer was on point and was the first to find the corpse, screwing his face up in distaste.
"Damn." He said, trying to breathe through his mouth. "Son of a bitch took a lot of lead…"
Barry made his way to the front of the file, the smell of death nothing new or strange to him, kneeling beside the bloody mess on the floor.
"That's not what killed him." The big man said, appraising the scene. "The blood's still running, the wounds are fresh, but look at his skin, this guy's been dead for a couple of days…"
"He was dead before he was shot?" Rodriguez asked.
Barry nodded, patting down the pockets for a wallet or some ID, the fresh blood or the rotting flesh not bothering him in the least. Behind him Brad Vickers lost his lunch in a stream of vomit.
Chris ran his eyes about the cavernous library, looking for a place from which to open up on the team when they entered the narrow space between the bookshelves. As he cast his eye across the walls he frowned, they were lined with ivy-patterned wallpaper, which was strange because Chris had never noticed any such wallpaper in the past.
Chris stepped back in shock as he realized the pattern was moving! All across the walls long vines stretched and wriggled, crackling as they burrowed under the drywall.
Chris spun when he heard the feminine voice, not noticing the vines which were snaking across the floor towards his worn boots.
Rebecca chambers stepped into the massive library and saw Chris standing over the body of the young soldier who was slowly bleeding out on the floor, rifle gripped by the stock in one hand. Rebecca's eyes went wide with shock as she saw the blood sprayed wall, the pool of blood on the floor…
"Who… Who are…?" She stammered.
Chris froze when he saw the terribly young woman standing before him.
Was I really going to shoot this girl? He suddenly felt ashamed of himself. What the hell have I become…
"I'm…" He searched desperately for words. "I'm one of the good guys, okay, I'm just trying to…"
Rebecca suddenly got a hold of herself and started to unsling her rifle, fumbling with the safety, calling over her shoulder.
"Sullivan! Aiken!" She called, cursing herself, expecting hot lead to tear her flesh at any moment.
As soon as she turned her head Chris saw his chance and dashed for a pillar across the room, opening a false section and slipping in, just as two more commandos entered the room, slamming the panel shut behind him, climbing down a ladder set inside the ornate marble pillar.
Sullivan and Aiken barely caught a glimpse of Chris as he disappeared into the pillar, pulling Rebecca behind them and scanning the room for any other threats, noticing Ridley dead on the floor.
"Who the hell was that?" Aiken asked, his skin crawling.
"Forget him." Sullivan said, pointing. "What are they?"
The vines where now snaking across the floor towards Ridley's still warm corpse, the two battle hardened war fighters were wide eyed as the vines began to wrap around the young soldiers legs.
Chris climbed down the narrow ladder, down what would normally serve as a laundry chute but also served as an escape route out of the library, a hundred thoughts racing through his head. He was a soldier, not a murderer, killing their CO he could do, killing the men he could do if fired upon, but what about that young girl, she was only slightly younger than Jill!
And Jill, killing a bunch of dumb kids wouldn't bring her back, it'd been too long since he'd killed anybody, he'd forgotten the empty feeling that always followed…
He reached the bottom of the ladder and frowned, he wasn't in the laundry, that was for sure, he was atop a drop ceiling, a new looking, drop ceiling. Iron frames supported silver air conditioner ducts, grills allowed slivers of light to shine up into the dark crawlspace.
"Somebody did some remodeling…" He said to himself.
The vines continued to wrap themselves around Ridley's body, constricting, spiraling up towards his torso. Rebecca was aghast; she was a long way from the Pentagon, first killer dogs, now living plants.
"We've gotta get him out!" She cried, rushing forward.
Aiken pulled her back, darting forward with Sullivan, the vines hovered up off the ground, dancing around the two troopers as they rushed to Ridley's side. One thick, green tendril snaked towards Aiken's leg and Sullivan stomped down on it with his cleated jungle boot.
The vine recoiled, soundlessly, but both men could almost imagine it screaming, Sullivan raised his automatic rifle and flicked the selector to full auto, suddenly, deliberately the vines recoiled, sucking back through the drywall, crackling down the wall, the sound slowly dying as they got further away.
Rebecca rushed over and examined Ridley's wounds. Aiken and Sullivan examined the scene from a distance, their gaze professional, unemotional, both had seen worse. Rebecca gently closed Ridley's eyes and laid his head back on the floor. Sullivan frowned.
"It looks like somebody bit him…" He said, peering closer at the wounds.
"You think that's weird?" Aiken asked, incredulously. "We we're just attacked by a smart plant!"
"No big deal." Sullivan said, with a shrug. "Most plants are smarter than you Aiken."
Barry finished patting down the putrid corpse in the hallway, finding nothing in the pockets, he stood up and wiped his bloody hands on his trousers.
"Why would anyone shoot a dead man?" Speyer asked.
"Maybe because he was walking around?" She said with a devilish grin.
Speyer shuddered, remembering the demented dogs they had blasted outside. Devil dogs, so why not the living dead as well? Barry looked at the grisly wounds punched into the corpse and frowned.
"Look here." He said, pointing with a bloody finger. "This wound on the neck…"
A chunk of flesh had been torn from the jugular.
"This wound wasn't made by a bullet or a knife, it looks like it was torn out by teeth, some time ago, the bloods dried…" He said, moving his finger to the bullet holes in the chest. "This was done recently, looks to be .45 caliber, but they didn't take him down…"
He shifted slightly and lifted the demolished head off the floor for the others to see, shredded brains plopped out of the shattered head onto the floor.
"This was what brought it down." Barry said, getting lost in his analysis, not noticing the obvious revulsion written on the faces of the others.
"How can you tell?" Vickers asked, struggling to keep his lunch down. This corpse looked all too familiar to him, it looked a lot like the four men he had abandoned to die in the Desert, the thought made him shrink away from the rest of the team, they could never understand…
"Easy." Barry went on. "He was shot through the eye. Whoever did this, took time and aimed very carefully, they'd obviously watched these other two rounds, also well aimed, do no harm at all, took a gamble and went for the head."
He let the shattered mess drop back to the floorboards.
"Think about it!" He went on, standing up. "Those dogs outside, we were giving them everything we had, but none of them went down without a headshot!"
Wesker had moved off down the corridor, letting Barry go about his grand diagnosis, it was no surprise to him what they had found. Something ahead in the shadows caught his eye and he moved closer to have a look.
It was the old accordion gate elevator, the door was open and there were fresh footprints in the dust. Wesker knelt and took a closer look; they were jungle boot prints, Panama soles… Military…
He stood up and frowned.
There was a metallic click behind his right ear, a sound all too familiar to him, the sound of a hammer being cocked back. Then a voice he recognized, a voice he remembered hearing like this once before, a voice he found so… erotic.
"You killed them Wesker…"
Jill's finger took up the slack on the trigger, all the play going out of the well oiled mechanism, until the only thing she felt, the only thing in her world at the moment, was the final tipping point, when the trigger would drop the hammer and Weskers arrogant, slimy, twisted brains would be splattered into the elevator.
"You killed them." She said again, her entire being consumed by a rage she never knew she possessed. "you killed them because you never told us what to expect! Disimone, Russo, Williams, all dead because you wouldn't brief us on all we needed to know!"
Wesker peered over his shoulder at her, a wry grin on his face, a look she had seen before as he walked out of her bedroom. Not a hint of fear showed on his tanned face, his eyes hidden behind his dark shades.
"You slimy piece of shit!" She almost screamed the words, her hand started to shake.
"Put the gun down Jill." Wesker said, his voice almost humorous.
By now the others had gathered around, staring in amazement at this beautiful woman, and the most competent member of the team, pointing a gun at their commanders face. They were dumbfounded, shocked, unsure of how to help or whether to help, only Barry remained calm and unmoved; the Boss had been in worse situations than this.
Wesker turned to face Jill, the pistol level with his forehead, the grin fading to a look of seriousness.
"Shoot me Jill…" He said, his voice taking on a sudden edge.
Jill gritted her teeth and pushed the barrel flush with his high brow, her arm shaking, adrenaline surging.
"What s the matter?" Wesker asked. "Are you afraid? Scared Jill?"
He dropped his voice to a whisper.
"Too weak, Jill…?"
Jill tensed her arm, about to fire when Wesker's arm shot up and whipped the pistol from her hand, kicking out with his booted foot, kicking her feet out from under her, sending her crashing to the floor, planting his knee into her chest, resting the barrel of the .45 gently under her chin.
Jill struggled but Wesker ground his knee in deeper until she could barely breath, leaning in to whisper almost into her ear.
"You ever point a gun at me again." He said. "And I'll crush you with my bare hands…"
He smiled and leant right down next to her ear, whispering in an erotic tone.
"You little bitch…"
Wesker laughed and got up, dropping Jill's pistol next to her on the dusty floorboards.
"On your feet soldier!" He barked, looking up at the dumbfounded team looking on. "Shows over! Why are you all just standing around! Cover you arcs!"
The team turned and spread out creating all round defense as Barry came over to join Wesker, casting a glance in Jill's direction, seeing that she was okay.
"You okay boss?" He asked, a hint of admiration in his voice. "That's not the closest call I ever saw you have but damn…"
Wesker looked at Jill, a pathetic sight, wincing as she sat up and got to her feet, picking up her pistol, her face a mask of ebbing rage and embarrassment. Wesker smiled inwardly; she looked just like she did the time he had dominated her; beaten, defeated and broken, broken to his will.
"I'm fine." He said, his grin returning.
Jill rubbed her chest as she checked safe on the .45 and holstered it.
"How did you get in here Jill?" He asked, drinking in the sight of her cowed manner and sweat soaked shaky limbs.
"Same way those fucking dogs got out!" Jill shot back, her anger not totally bled off, feeling violated. "Through their pens…"
She took a breath and relaxed, getting a hold of herself, becoming business like again.
"I… I sealed them off." She said, straightening up, pushing her feelings deep down inside.
"Good job." Wesker complimented, with a smile.
They were suddenly interrupted by shout form down the hall.
The call was echoed by the rest of the team covering doors and offshoots down the corridor.
"Leap frog back to the library!" Wesker barked. Another one bites the dust, he thought.
The team moved out, the last man, nearest Wesker and Jill, jogging down the corridor till he got to the head of the team and knelt covering ahead of the group. The next men at the back jogged down the front, covering while the next man began his run down, so like a caterpillar the team moved off back the way they came.
Wesker watched them, contempt barely contained under his poker face. How much longer? He thought.
He turned to Jill, the smile back on his face.
"Ladies first." He said, softly.
Rebecca Chambers knelt over Ridley's shredded remains, examining the jagged hole in his neck, blood oozing out onto the dusty floor of the Library. The wound was strange, she didn't think that man, whoever he was, was responsible for it. The wound really did look like a bite…
"Maybe one of those dogs is running around in here?" Sullivan offered.
He and Aiken where watching the walls, fingers poised above the triggers of their rifles.
Rebecca shook her head.
"The diameters too small…" She said. "It almost looks like it was done by a…"
"By a human?"
Rebecca looked up.
"Jill!" Rebecca smiled.
Jill smiled taking a look around at the huge book lined room she had entered, the rest of the team coming in behind her. Jill and Rebecca had been friends since she had joined the unit, Jill making sure none of the rougher men made any inappropriate remarks to the younger woman.
"That's what I was thinking." Rebecca went on. "But what kind of person would do something like this?"
"Not a vegetarian, that's for sure!" Aiken said, in all seriousness.
Sullivan shook his head laughing.
"Jesus, Aiken!" He said clapping his friend on the back. "You chose the wrong career man, you shoulda been a comedian!"
Wesker and Barry walked up, staring down at the shredded remains of Ridley. Barry knelt and removed the dog tags from around his neck, putting them in his pocket. Wesker seemed unmoved by the grisly sight on the floor in front of him.
"There was a guy." Rebecca said, trying to read Weskers impassive face. "Not part of the team, he was standing over Ridley's body, he took his vest and pistol…"
"And there was something else!" Aiken jumped in.
Wesker looked up, expectantly.
"There was some kind of…" Aiken hesitated. "Some kind of smart plant…"
Weskers face didn't change, he just stared at Aiken, almost thorough him.
So, he thought, It's gotten out…
"It tried to take Ridley." Sullivan added. "But we aimed at it and it pulled back, into the walls!"
Rosie looked at the wall she was leaning against, saw the jagged hole there and cringed stepping away.
Wesker was silent. The team stood around, staring at him expectantly.
Very slowly Wesker reached up and removed his sunglasses, running a hand through his tall blonde hair, looking about the room and then at each member of the team in turn. These men and women trusted him, would follow him anywhere, and that he needed to maintain, he would need them. Wesker was a solo operator, always had been, but sometimes you needed to stack the odds in your favor. Now was one of those times, besides what harm could it do?
"I don't know much more than what I told you already…" Wesker began.
The team crowded closer, clutching for the scraps Wesker was about to feed them.
"The labs down below," He said. "They were working on some kind of special bio-engineered materials."
"Speak English, hombre." Rosie said, shaking her head as if she had a migraine.
"Doctor Marcus," Wesker went on. "The guy we're supposed to bring out of here, has been experimenting with an artificial, man-made, virus. They called it the T-Virus."
Rebecca shook her head in disgust.
"Great!' She spat. "Another of mankind's greatest achievements!'
"Financing came from a private corporation," Wesker continued, ignoring the young woman's outburst. "You might have heard the name; The Umbrella Corporation."
"They're multinational!" Jill exclaimed, not believing her ears. "Huge."
"So huge in fact," Wesker said, turning to her. "They have connections in high places."
He looked about at the assembled group of soldiers, fixing each of them with his cold hard stare. They all stared back, the reality of what was going on, what they were involved in, slowly sinking in.
"That's why we're here…" He said finally.
There was a pause as each member of the team contemplated that last sentence. Some of them like Enrico Marini seemed unmoved, Wesker knew he was just looking for something to kill. Maybe he was so calm because of the drugs Wesker knew he was on?
Others like Rosie Rodriguez, Sullivan and Aiken where looking confused and their brows where knotted deep in thought. Rebecca Chambers and Jill Valentine looked disgusted and Barry Burton looked worried, Chickenheart Vickers looked physically ill. Fox was merely leaning against a bookcase checking over his M-14EBR sniper rifle, examining the chamber for wear.
"This virus…" It was Barry who broke the silence. "It jumped, right?"
"Shit, man!" Speyer said, running a hand through his long hair, panic crossing his face. "We're dead, man, we got the bug and now we're dead!"
Wesker put his hand up and Forest calmed down some.
"It's not airborne." He explained. "It was spread in the water supply. The lab animals, the researchers, they passed it on by-"
"Biting." Jill cut him off. "The infection, the virus, it's passed on through saliva, right?"
Wesker nodded, slowly, staring into her eyes.
"You catch this virus and… What?" Barry asked, peering at his lifelong friend, for the first time unsure about what his buddy was thinking.
"You die." Wesker said, to the grumblings of his troops. He was losing them but it wouldn't matter, they would do as he said.
"But not for long." He went on. "The virus revives the brain and-"
"You get back up and chew on the first guy you see." Rosie finished for him.
Wesker frowned at her, annoyed at being interrupted again. Albert Wesker was a man who didn't like to interrupted.
"Christ!" Speyer groaned, freaking out. "This is like a fucking horror movie, Night of the living fucking dead!"
Wesker knew he would have to watch his radio operator closely, if anyone was going to flip out, it would likely be him. Wesker would just have to deal with him when the time came and it would almost be a pleasure…
"Why in Christ's name would anyone mess around with this shit?" Barry asked, concern written all over his face.
"Victory friend." Wesker said smiling at his lifelong friend. "You and I know that as long as there are men there will be war. Think of all those kids we carted out of that fucking desert in rubber bags, how many whose pieces we never found!"
Aiken and Sullivan looked at each other knowingly, Brad Vickers shivered as he thought of his friends scattered about the hut they were executed in, chainsawed to death.
"What if we had soldiers who couldn't die?" Wesker went on. "we wouldn't need to send kids off to be slaughtered anymore, imagine it!"
"But the virus jumped!" Jill exclaimed. "What about the town?"
"Hopefully, if we got all the dogs, we've contained it." Wesker said, his emotions starting to get the better of him.
"Hopefully?" Jill asked incredulously. "Jesus Christ Wesker! Why didn't you tell us?"
Wesker spun to face her, his eyes narrowed. Jill Valentine should learn her fucking place and he wouldn't mind teaching it to her again.
"By telling you now," He said. "I've put you all in jeopardy. Nobody has this information, except the men paying the bills, me and, now, you."
The team fell silent around him. That would do for now, he'd have to keep a close eye on their moral if they were to cooperate much longer without question but he had them for now…
"We have to get Marcus out of here." He said, with finality. "He developed this thing, he understands it."
Rebecca was shaking her head, this went against everything she believed in as a biologist. It was not the right of man to go messing around with something as deadly as a virus, let alone create one. She knew from bitter experience, from her time in the Pentagon, how irresponsible the Military Establishment was with Virus's and Vaccines, Christ look at what happened to those guys in the Gulf War and the wonder drugs they were fed… All those poor children who were born with disabilities, all because the Establishment didn't want to do the proper testing procedure…
"This is all wrong." She said. "Even if Marcus created it, the chances of him creating a vac-"
She stopped as Wesker, quick as a bolt of lightning whipped out his chrome .357 Magum and fired straight for her head, Rebecca closed her eyes, certain she was dead, certain she would leave the world as the bullet left her skull…
Slowly she opened her eyes and saw the team staring at her in disbelief…
Not at her, past her. She turned slowly and saw stretched out behind her on the bloodstained floor, the twitching corpse of Ridley, his skull crushed by the heavy caliber bullet.
"Christ!" Sullivan exclaimed, "The son of a bitch just got back up! He was about to have Chambers for lunch!"
Rebecca shook, this couldn't be happening! No way, the dead don't just get up and walk around, it can't happen!
"That man was dead!" She said, her voice trembling. "I'm a doctor! I should know! How could they do this?"
Wesker dropped the Magnum back into its holster, flexing his hand, getting the blood flow back after the shock of the recoil. This was turning out to be a pretty good day…
The day Chris Redfield walked into the US Army recruiting office he looked like hell, he had a black eye, his lip was cracked, 17 and already old beyond his years. The recruiter didn't care, all he could see was the $10,000 bonus he would get for signing this kid up for a tour in hell.
Chris signed the forms without thinking; his mind was still racing, still seeing his father's face disintegrating beneath his fists. They signed him up for the Infantry, Chris wasn't interested in anything else, he wanted danger, lots of it. He felt more like dying than living anyway…
Then the recruiter asked him a question which shook him out of his stunned state of mind.
Would you like to go to the parachute school? Chris remembered the question very clearly. His father had been a paratrooper and he'd seen what happens to them, he'd seen what kind of people they could become.
And Chris only felt more justified by this decision the further into his career he got. In the desert they thought they were supermen, all swagger, until the rounds started coming in and lives started to end, then it all came down around them.
Para Para in the sky, living proof that shit can fly!
No. Chris would be just a plain old Infantry Soldier thank you. He went to the Infantry School and excelled. The hardships he faced there were nothing compared to what he faced in his youth and this gave him a strength which pulled him through even the most dire situation. He found pride, in himself, in his new identity, he had seen true adversity and conquered it, he found a courage lurking within him, a hidden might, a sense of calm, of control.
He had become a part of a brotherhood, the brotherhood of the Infantryman and no matter where he went for the rest of his life; he would always be a part of it.
They sent him to an Infantry Division steeped in history going back to the First World War, it was also the unit Chris's Grandfather had landed with on Utah Beach, the Unit Rake had fought with in the Ardennes and Chris was extremely proud to be a part of it.
He learned to fire bulls eyes into a target at 3oo meters, he learned not to flinch when an enemy round cracks over your head, and he learned the true limits of human endurance.
He also learned to drink…
The barbeques they held on base on a Friday would inevitably spill over onto Saturday and then Sunday and Chris would stay drunk the entire time. It wasn't that he had a problem, it was just the done thing in his unit and when they would all show up for Monday morning PT they would all throw up until nothing but bile come out. This sobered them up for the week…
When Chris was wounded in the Desert, after all his friends where collected and put into rubber bags and the parts to small to worry about where scraped under the sand, he was sent to a triage hospital in Germany. After they fished the shrapnel out of his knee and stomach, and the nightmares really started, Chris found that if he finished half a bottle of bourbon before going to sleep, he would often not dream. And when half a bottle wasn't enough, he found that a whole one would and that if that didn't work a quick shot of morphine would.
The morphine he got from a closet junky that worked in the dispensary, because he was a veteran and a wounded one he got a good price and pretty soon he was taking a shot every twelve hours. The staff at the hospital where too busy to notice the glazed look in his eyes and the spaced out expression on his face, if they did they didn't seem to care, just another burnt out kid, all fucked up on the war…
The fathers curse had passed to the son…
When they sent him to the military hospital in California, however, and Chris could no longer get the junk he needed, the nightmares became all too real, Chris would wake up screaming, trying to wipe the blood of his friends from his clothes, blood that wasn't there, and the withdrawal symptoms only increased his agony.
An Infantry Colonel, touring the wards, found him one morning, trying to slash his wrists with a broken test tube. The Colonel managed to talk him down and they had him sedated. When Chris woke up the Colonel was sitting at the end of his bed. The Colonel was a veteran of the war to and every day until Chris was released from the hospital the Colonel would come and visit and they would talk for hours, Chris pouring all the hate and pain out of his guts while the Colonel counseled him, listened and purged the demons from his tortured soul.
Chris walked out of the hospital after 8 months on his back, he never looked back, never drank again, never touched a syringe, he got on a greyhound bus and travelled home to Raccoon City, to face his past.
He stepped off the bus and walked straight into Emmets Diner where he ordered breakfast and sat at a table by himself. He could feel all the eyes in the room on him, he was one of those after all. To them he was a victim and a perpetrator. It served him right to get mixed up in that silly business over there, those that knew who he was shook their heads, after all it ran in the family, those Redfields always running off to the next war on offer.
Chris felt the old demons crawling up inside him. There was no need for him to be here, he should just run away, far away, back to the war even so those bastards could finish the job they started on him, at least that way he would be with his friends again…
And then there she was, standing beside him. Chris could smell the faint aroma of her washed skin, the slight trace of perfume and then she spoke to him, he looked up and into the beautiful green of her eyes, the brown hair framing her delicate features, the amazing lines of her face, the smile that made his knees weak…
Jill Valentine, the only reason he stayed, the only reason he held on, the only reason he came back from the brink.
He had moved back into the old family home and, with Rakes help, got the place going again. He found peace and fulfillment in the woods and mountains; he got reacquainted with the land of his youth and rediscovered the life he had lost on his 17th birthday…
Chris looked about himself, at the drop ceiling, wondering what to do next. Should he just get the hell out of here? Cut and run? But where would he go? With Jill gone there was nothing left for him in the world… Except revenge.
That's what he would do; he was going to kill that bastard with the black shades and the stupid shiny gun and then he would let the others gun him down. Go out in a blaze of mad vengeance, it made as much sense as anything else, at least that way he would be with Jill and that bastard would be dead.
Slowly Chris made his way over to the nearest grill, set into the ceiling he was crawling on, looking down through the slats. The scene below him was utter chaos; it was some kind of laboratory or at least it had been at some stage but now it was a complete mess. Tables with expensive test equipment, vials and beakers had been upended, the contents strewn and smashed to pieces, a bank of computers against the far wall where fizzling and sparking occasionally where something had taken them to pieces, worse still the floor was a streaked with a dull rust colored substance Chris recognized as dried blood.
A bank of cages stood off to one side and Chris noticed there were monkeys in some of them. He peered closer and saw one drinking out of a dish, but there was something very wrong about it; it almost looked as though its skin was rotting.
Something else drew his attention away, he noticed, for the first time, a man sitting at a desk, directly below him. The man was wearing a torn and tattered lab coat, blood stains around the collar, streaking down over the shoulder and down the man's back. The man was hunched over, writing something on a pad, Chris was puzzled, the man was obviously in shock or something, and maybe he was critical and was writing a last letter to his loved ones? Chris had seen plenty of that in the Desert; guys using their last ounce of strength to write a farewell to their special someone…
The man below him leant back and Chris could see the pad and the man's hand; it was curled around a fancy fountain pen, which was wandering aimlessly on the paper, swirling and squiggling incoherently.
What the hell?
The hand stopped and slowly, very slowly the man's head tilted back to look up at Chris, almost as though it could sense he was there. It was then that Chris saw that the man's face had been torn off, a jagged empty hole where here had once been eyes, a nose and mouth, now only the bottom jaw and forehead remained the rest was slick with congealed blood and jagged bone fragments, the bottom jaw, smashed and crooked was moving about madly. A low gurgling sound came from the man's throat, which had a gaping hole in one side.
Chris cursed and drew back involuntarily as the man got to his feet, the chair he had been sitting on falling backwards crashing to the floor.
Suddenly the door to the Lab burst open, Chris snapped his head around and saw the troopers swarm into the room, fanning out. The man in the lab coat spun around and groaned again, stretching out broken arms to reach for the intruders.
Chris watched as the bastard with the shades stepped forward and pulled out his Magnum and smiled, squeezing the trigger, the huge gun bucking in his outstretched hand, blasting the rest of the creatures head away. The monkeys in the cage shrieked wildly, rattling their cages, reaching out between the bars for the commandos, it was pure chaos.
There he was! Now was the time! Chris got to his knees and shouldered the old M1, a rifle about to take its last life, the front post lining up in the peep sight at the back, his left elbow resting on his left knee, a very stable shooting position, and beyond the front post, was the center of the smiling, sunglass wearing face.
Below Brad Vickers was recoiling in horror at the sight of the bloody mess sprawled on the floor when he looked up and saw something moving in the vent above and slightly ahead of the team, without a seconds hesitation his panic took hold and he raised his submachine gun, firing a long burst at the ceiling, around him the team ducked away in panic and confusion. Vickers fired again hosing the ceiling punching a long line of holes through the ceiling panels. The team, recovering from their shock, followed suit, blasting the ceiling with streams of lead.
Wesker screamed for them to hold their fire, and Barry bellowed in his huge voice for them to cut it out.
Above them Chris rolled, narrowly dodging the first stream of bullets, cursing. This was it, he was done for and he didn't even have a chance to kill that bastard and get his revenge. Suddenly the ceiling around him erupted with holes and the crack and zip of bullets passing close by.
"Fuck!" He screamed.
He rolled away from the grill feeling a sting as a round nicked his arm, burying itself in the ceiling above him. Chris hugged the rifle close to his chest, closing his eyes tight, his mind raced, the din of the bullets all around him terrible, a single thought crossed his mind.
"Jill…" He whispered.
The whole world fell out from under him.
It must be heaven, it had to be… The world around him was cool, gentle and cleansing… All was quiet and he felt his body ebbing about in the soft current… He expected he would open his eyes and Jill would be there in front of him… He almost smiled and slowly he opened his eyes… And there she was. Jill Valentine in the flesh, staring at him and shouting waving and pointing desperately, but he couldn't hear her, she was as surprised to see him as he was to see her.
He opened his mouth to speak, but water seeped in… Water…?
With a sudden jerk Chris came out of his shock and realized he was underwater, floating below the surface, he thrashed about, tried to kick up but his head hit the top of the tank he realized he must have fallen into! He looked about desperately, feeling with his free hand, clutching the rifle with his other.
And Jill! Chris spun back to look at the glass, at where Jill had been… She was gone.
Something swum across his field of vision and he spun about, seeing for the first time the occupants of the tank he had landed in.
The first one he had seen swum at him and he dove down away from it, towards the glass where had seen Jill. The others caught a scent of the blood coming from the flesh wound in his upper arm. Three of them, all converging on him with lightning speed, Chris raised the rifle. He knew he could fire it underwater and that the bullet would go a fair distance but the water would stop the mechanism from cycling and he would have to chamber the next round manually.
A aimed at the nearest shark, the water clouding his vision, his eyes and lungs burning, and fired, the rifle kicked a little and the round struck out and hit the shark in the side, the creature pulled away, thrashing and jerking about tossing Chris about in the current it created. The other sharks where momentarily thrown off by the new blood and allowed Chris enough time to reef back the cocking handle of the M1 and eject the spent cartridge, releasing it and chambering another.
The sharks where coming back around, all three of them, he was out of time, his lungs were about to burst, he was getting light headed and he knew this time they had him… Unless.
Desperately he spun and placed the muzzle of the rifle against the glass and fired.
Jill watched in horror as the sharks swam at Chris, narrowly missing him, watched him scrabbling at the top of the tank desperately trying to get out.
When the ceiling had collapsed and the figure fell down into the tank the team where all surprised but when Jill suddenly realized who the person was floating there on the edge of consciousness she had gone into a blind panic.
She shouted for the others to do something, to help not to let him die in there, but they had seemed reluctant; too stunned, too stupid or too cold blooded?
Her heart raced, please god don't let him die! He's been through enough, just let him live, let him get far away from here, from me! He doesn't deserve this! Why is he here, why, god, why?
When he placed the rifle barrel against the glass the team went wide eyed.
"Hang on!" Sullivan shouted. "We're gonna get a little wet!"
The glass shattered and a wall of water cascaded straight at them, bowling them over, Jill crashed into the back of computers against the wall and felt something brush past her, a finned tail whipping and she pulled herself to her feet in a panic. One of the sharks was swimming against the surging water, trying to get to her, its razor sharp teeth and lifeless eyes shining in the fluorescent light.
There was a loud crack and the creature went limp as a large portion of its head was blown away, behind the eyes. Jill looked up and saw Barry wink at her them shift his aim at the next shark making for Brad Vickers.
Wesker got to his feet the water at his knees, his rifle had washed away but he had his Magnum, his sun glasses were gone. He saw the shark closing in on Chickenheart Vickers and fired a precise shot, punching into the creatures head, going through and out the other side, straight into Vickers leg.
Brad cried out in pain clutching his leg.
The last shark was mostly exposed the water almost all drained away, but it was still lightning fast and heading straight for Aiken and Sullivan, who where firing long bursts straight at it.
"Where they fuck is a shark's brain man?" Aiken cried, changing magazines.
"In its head, man!" Sullivan cried, almost laughing. "I swear, Aiken, you'd be better off dead!"
The shark was almost on them but it ran out of water and skidded to a halt on the floor, thrashing and jerking about. Aiken charged his M16 and stepped up to it, firing a burst into its head behind the eyes.
"Take that, you fucking feline!" He said, spitting.
Sullivan laughed hysterically.
"Aiken a feline is a cat you retard!"
His laughter was cut short by a loud klaxon sounding, red lights flashed about them bathing the room in a crazy hellish hue. There was a rumble and the team spun to see the door they had come through, the door leading up and out, slam shut and lock. The alarms and lights stopped and all was silent.
"Goddamn it!" Wesker screamed, looking crazed. "Great, a fucking containment breach!"
"What does that mean?" Speyer asked in alarm, not liking the situation at all.
"It means we can't go up anymore." He said, pulling his minicomputer from a pouch on his vest. "We can only go in deeper! My card won't override a containment breach."
Wesker fiddled with the microcomputer, trying to switch it back on, punching keys randomly. Nothing, it was dead, waterlogged.
"FUCK!" He screamed, tossing the useless trinket at the wall.
'So." Rosie said, shrugging. "We live here now?"
Sullivan looked at her curiously.
"Landlords." She explained. "Motherfuckers all of them, kicked my family out of six apartments, so I got used to saying; so we live here now?"
Brad was lying on the floor clutching his wounded leg, cursing under his breath. Rebecca came over and knelt beside him, opening her med-kit. She peered at the wound, the bullet was barely lodged beneath the skin, most of its energy being expended in the shark.
"It's only a scratch." She reassured him.
"Scratch my ass!" Brad spat. "That bastard shot me!"
"You'd be shark food if he hadn't." Rebecca said matter of factly.
"Containment breach?" Speyer asked. "I swallowed some of that water! Does that mean…?"
Wesker shook his head.
"No the virus isn't transported in salt water." He said, striding over and picking up his rifle.
"We should be able to find another escape route." He continued, removing the magazine and draining water from the barrel. "For the employees to use in an emergency."
Over in the corner beneath a pile of overturned chairs and desks, something stirred. The team whirled as one and trained their weapons ready to fire.
"Wait!" Jill said, stepping forward.
Hands pushed the chairs and debris aside and a figure rose from the pile. He was wearing faded jeans, almost white jungle boots and a black t-shirt under Ridley's combat vest. His upper arm was bleeding and his tall brown hair matted and he was soaking wet.
"Chris!" Jill cried, in a mixture of shock, confusion and anger.
Chris looked up and saw Jill standing there, dressed for combat, looking disheveled, a .45 in her hand. He was so shocked he just stood there and stared. Jill was alive; here she was, right before him alive and well. And standing beside her was that bastard officer, the one with the shades, Chris could read the name stenciled on the vest: WESKER. His mind was blank, he didn't even know how to feel, barely 3 minutes ago he was about to pull the trigger on this guy and die in a hail of gunfire and now… What now?
He wanted to run over and grab her, lift her up and carry her out of this place, away from this haunted house, back to his farm and hold her all night, keep her safe.
Just like that fucking movie; An Officer And A Gentleman? Come on, man!
The way Jill had said his name, the way she stood next to that asshole, something was different about her, about her motives, about whose side she was on…
"Who is this, Valentine?" Wesker asked.
Chris became aware of the rifles all pointed in his direction. He straightened up, fucking paratroopers, he'd show them how a real soldier behaved. He spotted his rifle laying on the floor nearby and walked over to it, scooping it up and pulling the bolt back, extracting the spent casing he'd fired in the shark tank and removing the clip, placing it in a pouch on the vest, loading a fresh one.
"Me?" He said, his voice cold, on edge. "I'm just some dumb grunt…"
He released the bolt sending it forward and picking up a round from the clip, slamming it home into the chamber.
"Some dumb grunt that gets a little mad when he finds his livelihood destroyed." He said, turning to face the team. "His oldest friend killed and the only girl he ever loved turns out to be fucking GI Jane…"
It was almost like a standoff, Chris standing tall with contempt, rifle across his body and the team all weapons trained on the strange intruder who suddenly dropped in amongst their midst.
Wesker nodded slowly, eyeing this kid off, not a day older than 22.
"Valentine," He said. "Who is this jerk?"
"His name is Chris Redfield, sir. He was…" She paused looking at Chris, inside she felt torn, outside was all business.
"He was part of my cover, sir…" She said, dropping her eyes away from the man she had loved, the man who had love her so selflessly.
"Cover?" Chris asked, pain creeping into his voice.
For the first time since that day he had met Jill in the diver, he felt like running away, running from all the pain, the empty feeling in the pit of his stomach, the hatred in guts building up again.
"Please, Chris…" Jill said, trying to keep her emotions in check. She had fully expected she would never see Chris again for the rest of her life and now here he was, he had come after her, dodged death and danger to get to her and now she had to pretend it all meant nothing.
"You have no idea what you're into here Chris." She said, as firmly as she could.
"You have no idea what you're into, Jill!" Chris snapped back. "This isn't a fucking game! This is real Jill! I've been here Jill, you know that! I've told you what happened to me in the Desert, why in Christ's name would you get involved in this shit?"
Wesker stepped in, looking at Chris curiously, looking him up and down.
"You a veteran, kid?" He asked.
Chris didn't reply.
"Airborne?" Wesker asked curiosity in his voice.
"Light infantry." Chris said. "Straight leg infantry…"
Wesker nodded, he looked away and spotted his shades sitting in a puddle on the floor, he walked over and shook the water droplets off, placing them on.
Jill crossed over to Chris, he stepped back when she came near him, his face set in stone. Jill felt a knife twist inside her.
"Why did you have to come after me?" She asked, her voice trembling.
"What makes you think I came after YOU?" Chris asked his voice hard.
Jill bowed her head and walked away.
"How did you get in here?" Wesker asked, pulling out his Magnum and reloading the spent chambers.
The rest of the team were standing around in stunned silence, some were staring curiously at Jill as she stood off by herself, other at Chris as he stared back at them.
"I used to come in here as a kid." Chris replied. "Back when this was a fucking laundry."
All heads turned to see Barry standing over the now headless corpse bleeding out on the floor, off to one side. He reached down and pulled a plastic ID card from the blood stained lab coat and peered closely at it, looking up and tossing it to Wesker.
"Is this the piece of shit we're supposed to bring out of here?" Barry asked.
Wesker looked at the card and grimaced. Dr. J Marcus was stenciled below a picture of a young handsome man.
"Yeah." Wesker said, with a shrug. "I guess it used to be."
Off in the corner of the room by himself Brad Vickers had been sulking, wishing to Christ he could leave these bastards to rot and get the hell out of here. He glanced over near the heavy sealed door and noticed a monitor set into the wall, undamaged, above the height of the water. Strolled over and began searching through the various programs hoping to find something to open the door, instead he came across the next best thing; a map of the complex.
"I've got something here." He called out.
Wesker and Barry came over, looking over the computer techs shoulders. It was a blue print and the exits appeared to be marked with green and blue.
"A floor plan, same as your gizmo." Barry said to his boss.
"With the exits marked, blue is for the containment seals, green I can open." Wesker commented, then to Brad; "Can you print this out?"
"I can try." Vickers replied, now in his element, lost in an electronic world. "Gotta find a printer still working."
Chris stepped over to an upright table and placed his clips on the table in front of him, grabbing a dry towel from a shelf nearby, and began wiping down his weapon and ammo. His mind was spinning, his actions were robotic, he resisted the urge to look over at Jill and he knew she would be doing the same.
"We're on level A." Brad said.
"We have to get down to level D." Wesker said, studying the layout.
"Hold on." Barry said, looking at his comrade, frowning. "Marcus is dead. If this gig was about bringing him out we're outta here, right?"
Wesker didn't even glance over at the giant next to him; once again he had closed up, becoming the unemotional wall of steel.
"I wish it were." Wesker said slowly, thoughtfully. "But no. We have a potential outbreak here."
He looked around at the rest of his team, only Chris stood away by himself, ignoring the charismatic leader.
"We might be the only ones who can stop it." Wesker said. Like I give a fuck.
"Stop it, how?" Speyer asked, asking the question for all of them.
Wesker was silent for a time, contemplating.
"There's an antidote…" He said at last, his eyes hidden, face impassive.
The team's ears perked, he knew he had them.
"We can't bring Marcus out, but maybe we can bring out the serum." Wesker continued. "Maybe somebody can analyze it. Chambers maybe you can look at it? You've seen what it does."
Rebecca was thoughtful for a moment, maybe it would be possible.
"I could give it a shot…" She said, tentatively.
Chris was deep in thought but the thought of a vaccine caught his attention, he looked up and saw Jill looking at him, he looked back, taking in her soft features, beautiful green eyes, the brown hair pulled back in a pony tail… He could feel his defenses coming down slowly; whatever had happened she was still the only reason for his existence, the only thing that anchored him to the earth.
His ashen face relaxed. Jill came over again, her eyes full of hurt and sadness.
"It doesn't sound simple does it?" She asked him.
"It's not that hard either." Chris said, reinserting the clips in his rifle. "We only have to decide what's right and what's wrong."
Jill shook her head.
"I forgot, you're never confused." She said, torn between duty and her heart. "So tell me, Mr. Light Infantry, what's right and what's wrong?"
They both looked over at Brad punching keys on the computer.
"There are no green exits on this level!" He said, slamming a fist on the console. "Why the hell would they do that?"
"They didn't want the workers on this level getting out." Chris said, speaking up. "They wanted to keep them under strict control."
Wesker smiled over at him.
"Not a bad guess for a straight leg grunt." He said. "You should have joined the paratroopers, son."
Chris shook his head.
"Too much fucking brains for that." Chris said, scowling and looking away.
Wesker continued to look over at Jill and Chris. So this is the piece of shit she's been fucking since she went undercover? Maybe he would have the chance to remind Jill of what a real man was like and at the same time show her what shit regular soldiers were…
After all the day was still young… Yes it would be fun to have one more ride before the day was over, what a day this was shaping up to be!
"Fuck!" Brad Vickers punched the console again. "There's no way out!"
"Yes there is." Chris said, placing his ammo back in their pouches.
Wesker turned to look again. Chris pointed up at the ceiling from where he had fallen.
"Not a bad idea." Wesker said, nodding in approval.
He turned back to Vickers.
"See if you can call up service charts, schematics." He said.
Brads fingers flew over the keys and he brought up another set of drawings on the screen.
"Got it!" He said, clapping his hands once in triumph. "Ceiling grids, ladders, the lot."
"Print it." Wesker said. "Print all of it!"
A nearby industrial printer, chirped and pages of A3 charts began rolling out. Wesker strode over and began pouring over them. Chris looked at Jill then over at him.
"There's an old ladder, that's how I came down." Chris said, evenly. "It leads straight up and out."
Wesker shook his head.
"I'm not going up." He said. "I'm going down."
He looked up at the men and women assembled around him, he could see the doubt on their faces, time for another speech.
"I'd like to let you guys off." He said. "But I can't. I need back up, and you're it. Any objections?"
Chris looked at Jill who was the first to speak.
"No objections." She said, firmly. "We'll back you up."
Chris couldn't believe his ears; after all that happened, she still wanted to stand by her boss! By this piece of shit!
"Paratroopers stick together." She said, looking at Chris.
"You said people wind you up and you do whatever they want you to do…" Chris said, the disappointment coming through in his voice.
He noticed the slimy grin on Weskers face out of the corner of his eye and felt a stab of pain in his stomach. No, it couldn't be possible! He looked at Jill and she turned away, hiding her shame. They had! Jill had been with this bastard!
"Stay out of this, son." Wesker said, the grin widening on his face. "You're the only one who doesn't have a choice in all this. There's no place to lock you up and I can't let you go, you're a security risk."
He smiled at Jill.
"I could shoot you, legally." He winked at her. "But your lady friend would probably get all over my ass about it, so your coming with us whether you like it or not."
Chris stared at him coldly. Before this day was over, Chris was going to kill this bastard and it would be so sweet too.
"He's your responsibility Valentine." Wesker said. "See that he doesn't make trouble."
Jill looked at Chris. He held her gaze a moment, her eyes tortured, then turned away.
One by one the members of Alpha Team climbed up through the hole Chris had made in the drop ceiling when he made his inauspicious entrance. Wesker went first, M16 clasped in one fist, the map in the other, once again lost in his deep stony silence. The others each climbed up in turn, Rebecca Chambers was hoisted up on Barry's massive, broad shoulders. Chickenheart Vickers tried to hoist himself up but couldn't hold his weight and fell backwards to the floor on his ass.
Chris shook his head.
"Paratroopers." He muttered. "They always land on their ass."
He climbed up into the ceiling space and reached a strong arm back down. Brad turned bright red but accepted the hand up anyway and Chris hauled him up into the crawlway. Fox climbed up next, laying his M14EBR aside and helping Chris to hoist the others up.
After the others had gone through and it was Jill's turn Chris turned to Fox.
"I can handle her." He said. "You better push off; they'll need your firepower up front…"
Fox looked at Jill then back at Chris, nodded and started off after the others. Chris reached down and took Jill's hand, gently pulling her up beside him in the ceiling. She started to crawl away. Chris hesitated then gently took her arm.
"Jill…" He said, softly.
She turned back to him, she had been crying softly to herself.
"I'm sorry, Jill." Chris said, lowering his eyes, ashamedly. "I'm just so angry, confused. I thought you were… Gone."
He felt his throat tightening up, a wet sensation in his eyes he had not felt since he was a young boy.
"I was about to follow you…" He continued. "But then I saw you alive… And I realized…"
Jill broke down and wrapped her arms around his neck, crying softly, Chris embraced her and held her trembling form as close as he possibly could, in the confined space, kissing her and stroking her hair.
"Oh, Chris…" Jill whimpered. "I never wanted this, I…"
"Come with me." Chris said. "I know how to get out of here…"
Jill pulled away, slowly, looking deep into the eyes of the man she loved, with all her heart.
"I want to." She said, wiping her eyes. "I want to more than you could ever know… But this is my team; this is my job, my duty. Would you have left your friends in the Desert?"
Chris looked away. He had feared it would be like this; Jill was a soldier too, he had no right to take he away from her teammates, even if they were a bunch of sloppy, unprofessional rejects.
"I should carry you out of here kicking and screaming…" He said.
"You go." Jill said, but not really meaning it. "You've done your time…"
Chris shook his head, smiling for the first time.
"You're not getting rid of me that easily." He said. "I can't leave you here with a bunch of paratroopers, I'm here as long as you are."
Jill laughed, the relief and pent up emotions flooding out of her.
"I wonder if you would have still asked me out if you had known I was a paratrooper." She said, smiling, wiping her tears away.
"This is awkward…"
Chris and Jill turned, finding Barry half up in the ceiling his legs hanging out into space in the lab below. He had heard the whole exchange.
"For me too, brother." Chris said feeling rather embarrassed.
Barry shook his head.
"I mean this." He said with a grunt, pointing to his stomach, which was pressed up against the edge of the ceiling grate. "It's very awkward."
Chris and Jill laughed, each taking one of Barry's giant hands and hauling him up with them in the crawl space. Barry unslung his M16 and sighed.
"I'm getting too old for this." He said, shaking his head. "I've been in the goddamned army for eighteen years…"
Chris shook his head in awe.
"Eighteen years." He exclaimed. "I did four and that was more than enough for me."
"Yeah," Barry said, looking more curiously at Chris. "I'm hanging on until I do my twenty then I can retire on a nice fat army pension, hasn't been easy though."
Barry noticed that Chris's bad knee was trembling from being cramped up in the small space.
"You were in the Desert too, huh?" Barry asked a hint of understanding in his voice.
Chris nodded grimly.
"_th Infantry." He said. "Eighteen months of pure hell."
"Me and the boss were there." He said. "The bastard saved my life. I was part of a Ranger unit that was cut off, the others were killed and I would have been to if it weren't for Colonel Wesker."
Chris was shocked.
"You've been with that asshole since then?" He asked, incredulously.
"Longer." Barry replied. "We grew up together; Macon, Georgia. He was different than the other kids, they all looked at me and saw a nigger, but Wesker, he was different, he was my true friend. We joined up together, jumped on Granada together. We watch each other's backs"
"He's only an asshole, some of the time." He laughed. "Come on, we'd better catch up with the others."
Up ahead the Team came to a service ladder leading down. Wesker turned and did a quick head count, seeing Barry bringing up the rear.
"Alright, we're heading down." He said. "Stay tight."
He turned to Brad Vickers and motioned him to head off. Brad felt his bowels loosen but swallowed his fear; he'd rather face whatever was down there, than Weskers rage or embarrassment in front of the team. Enrico Marini was watching him closely, waiting for an opportunity to make another wise crack.
Brad gripped the rungs of the ladder and began his decent.
Everybody froze, Brad almost let go of the ladder. It was a loud echoing roar, that pierced the air around them and shook them to their very cores, no animal on earth could possibly make a noise like that, yet they all heard it.
"What the fuck was that?" Speyer asked, fingering the trigger on his CAR15.
Again the spine chilling, deep throaty roar echoed through the crawl space causing everyone to glance around nervously.
"Whatever it is, it can't get us we're in the ceiling…" Vickers said, his sweaty fingers slipping on the rungs. "Right?"
"Maybe it's, like, really tall?" Aiken asked.
Sullivan shook his head, laughing.
"Aiken I swear to god…"
"Keep moving." Wesker said, firmly. "Get going Vickers."
"Who knows what we'll find down here." Brad said, starting down, his arms and legs trembling with fear and exertion.
"Think positive!" Aiken said, starting down next. "The farther down we go, the worse it'll get, so until we hit bottom, we're in good shape!"
The ladder ended on another drop ceiling, gingerly; one by one the team came off the ladder and spread out in the narrow space. Wesker pushed through the bulky group of soldiers and peered down through a grate, much like the one Chris had used upstairs. The ceiling space was cool, there were more air conditioner ducts here than the floor above, below them there was a large computer room, it was obviously the mainframe and the extra AC was to keep the sensitive equipment at a safe operating temperature. The room had narrow isle running between banks of super computers and data cabinets, against the far wall was a row of interface terminals.
Wesker weighed up his options. If what he was after downstairs was inaccessible or damaged this might be his only chance to complete his task.
"It's the mainframe." He said at last. "Might have some data about the Virus we could use."
He turned to the men nearest him.
"Fox, Marini, Vickers. Down."
Wesker turned and kicked the vent out, sliding out of the opening into the cold room below, hitting the floor and rolling to absorb the impact. He slid a free standing desk over under the opening to allow the others to jump down.
Chris crawled up to the opening and watched as Wesker did a quick reconnaissance of the room. There were three doors that retracted into the ceiling, beyond them the rest of the floor was blacked out. Wesker shut each in turn and came back to the center of the room.
"Fox, Marini, keep an eye on these doors." He said.
He turned to see Brad Vickers looking around nervously.
"What are you waiting for Vickers!" He said, incredulously. "You're the only one who can hack into the system, move your ass!"
Brad limped over to the banks of computers, wincing every time he put pressure on his injured leg. He pulled up a seat and began furiously attacking the keys, opening windows and searching through folders. He began mumbling to himself, whispering to the computer, cajoling it to cooperate.
There was another distant growl and Fox and Marini exchanged glances. Brad froze, his eyes darting about the room.
"Hold tight." Wesker said, unmoved by the noise. "It doesn't sound like it's on this level."
Brad attacked the keys in an even more frenzied state. He opened up a log in interface and stopped.
"It needs a password." He said looking at his boss.
"Umbrella." Wesker said, looking about at the banks of computers.
He noticed one of the floor panels was open; tools lay scattered about the dark opening. It looked as though there was some kind of stain around the edges, rust colored…
Brad pounded the key board rapidly, hitting enter. The screen changed and a full display of folders was opened before him. Brad scanned the headings: Animal Test Results, Human Test Results, Containment Protocol, T-Virus Vaccine.
Brad clicked on the last one, the folder was empty. He tried the others but they were all empty.
"Files are all gone, the folders are there but the actual data is missing." Brad said, shaking his head.
Wesker gritted his teeth. That fucking Dr. Marcus! He must have deleted all the files to try eliminating the possibility of someone reviving his work!
"Part of the containment procedure." He said, coolly. "Stop anyone recreating the Virus."
Brad looked at the list of folders and saw tucked away in the corner of the screen a video file. He clicked it and the video began.
The image was crazy, spinning, Wesker and Brad could make out glimpses of people running, glass smashing, equipment and furniture overturning as people dashed to try get out of the room they were in; a lab of some sort, one they hadn't seen yet. Security officers where firing pistols at the ceiling, finally the camera came to rest, a beautiful Asian woman filled the screen, her face full of panic.
"Please, if anyone is receiving this, the situation is completely out of control! We-"
The woman was pushed out of the way by a man in a lab coat as something reached down from the ceiling, something indistinct, in the next instant the lens was coated with blood.
Brad recoiled in horror, but Wesker watched on impassively, behind him Marini and Fox were craning their necks to see.
The blood slid down the lens and when it cleared the image showed the man in the lab coat, three long tears in the flesh of his back being lifted into the ceiling, then, the image went dead.
Fox and Marini instinctively looked up at the ceiling, cringing.
"Maybe the ceilings not so safe after all." Fox said, matter-of-factly.
Suddenly the floor beneath his feet erupted as a man in workman's overalls burst through the floor tiles, his stomach cavity, torn open, entrails hanging out, spilling out and back under into the crawl space. With a powerful, frenzied grip, the workman grabbed Fox's legs and pulled him back towards the opening, Fox struggled with the long M14EBR, trying to bring it around to fire at the man, but it was too late, the man sunk his teeth into the inside of Fox's thigh, right next to the groin.
Fox screamed in agony, kicking out with his legs but the man held on determinedly. Wesker tried to get a shot off but couldn't without hitting Fox, it would look bad killing one of the team in front of the others.
"Get out of here!" Wesker screamed at the others. "NOW!"
Brad ran for the desk under the ceiling grate, started to climb up but Marini yanked him aside and wriggled up ahead of him, Brad cursed and got to his feet, his leg throbbing. Above him Chris shoved Marini aside and reached down through the opening.
"Grab my hand!" He shouted.
Brad leapt up onto the desk and snatched Chris's hand, Chris yanked backwards, with all his might, straining to get Brad through the opening.
Below Wesker ran over to Fox, kicking the workman in the head, trying to get it away from Fox long enough to put a round into its head. The thing looked up at him, blood smeared all over its frenzied face. Wesker fired a single round through the center of its head, it fell backwards, back down under the floor.
"Let's go Fox!" Wesker said, kneeling to put his arm around the young man.
Fox pulled away, reversing the M14EBR, placing the barrel in his mouth and pulling the trigger. The heavy 7.62mm round blasted his head away like fertilizer.
Wesker cursed. Suddenly the floor around him erupted as four more ghouls, variously dressed in lab coats, security uniforms and overalls, exploded from the floor panels. Wesker recoiled like a spring; a lifetime of near death experiences had sharpened his reflexes like a knife. He let off a burst from his rifle, backing towards a far corner.
Meanwhile Chris and Barry had hauled Brad into the ceiling and now turned their attention back to Wesker.
"Get outta there, boss!" Barry shouted, unable to help for fear of killing his friend.
Wesker fired again, but the things where lurching about, making it hard to score a head shot. He now realized what the stains around the floor opening where, it was dried blood. The things now closing in on him had crawled down under the floor chasing the workman who had attacked Fox, Christ he should have seen that!
He squeezed the trigger again but nothing happened, his rifle had jammed, he cursed and desperately tried to extract the bent cartridge.
In that instant something came over Chris, some primeval rage, driving by has fury at Wesker, his hatred for the man who had brought him here, who had taken his love and treated her like meat.
Not like this! Wesker would die by his hand! Not some filthy walking corpse!
Chris leapt down out of the ceiling, crouching on the desk below he lined up his first target and squeezed the trigger. The rifle kicked as the copper jacketed round sped out, connecting with the skull of the ghoul nearest Wesker, shattering it like a pumpkin, the round continuing on and burying itself into the wall beside Wesker.
Chris leapt off the table and ran for Wesker, who tossed the jammed rifle aside and drew his Magnum, taking the head off one of the shambling monsters with ease, Chris butt-stroked another, cracking the skull and sending it flying, firing a round into its twitching face to put it down for good.
Wesker allowed the last one to get close then put the barrel in its mouth and took the head off with a roar of the massive hand gun.
"Thanks for the help, kiddo." Wesker said, with a grin and jogged past him to the grate leading up.
Chris followed but as Wesker reached the table the doors leading into the room suddenly slid up and more shambling blood covered figures than Chris cared to count started shuffling in, cutting him off from the only exit in the room.
Wesker fired of two quick shots at the ghouls nearest him when suddenly something big reached down from the ceiling and scooped him up, pulling him towards the gaping cavity above. Wesker panicked thinking it was one of those creature from the video, but relaxed when he heard the familiar voice of Barry Burton.
"I got you, boss."
Wesker smiled at his old friend.
"That's two I owe you." He said.
"One, we were all Even Steven, remember." Barry said.
"Two." Wesker said. "Even Steven doesn't come into my vocabulary."
Below Chris fired through a full clip but he was surrounded and his aim was becoming erratic, desperate. He reloaded and let go another eight rounds rapid fire, the empty clip ejecting with a loud ping! He reached into the pockets of his borrowed vest for another but his pockets were empty, He patted his pocket desperately but it had torn open sometime and the ammo he'd brought was gone.
"Fuck!" He cursed, slamming the butt of the M1 into the face of the nearest creature.
Jill watched on in horror from the crawl space above.
He pulled Ridley's .45 and fired at two more, reaching down and picking up Fox's M14EBR, firing again and again, scoring headshots each time. The m14EBR was something he had much experience with in the Desert, its bigger cartridge going further with more accuracy than the normal M16.
Christ how many are there!
A figure loomed up behind him, Chris spun but it was right on him, no time to-
There was a loud boom and the creatures head turned to mist, Chris spun his head and saw Jill running towards him.
"Jill!" He shouted. "Stay back!"
But she ran on, firing her .45 at three more of those things swarming into the room. The aisle where filling up, soon they wouldn't stand a chance of getting back. Jill looked into Chris's eyes, her hand on his arm.
"If we're going to die." She said. "We'll die together…"
She fired twice more, Chris knelt and began pulling magazines from Fox's vest, stuffing them into the pockets of his own.
"We're getting out of here Jill." He said, with finality.
He grabbed her arm and pulled her along, back towards the desk and safety, the horde closing in around them, Jill fired her .45 and Chris rammed through the flailing hands with his shoulder, bowling over anything that got in their way.
Suddenly from above something big thudded down on the table in front of them.
Chris looked up straight into the set face of Barry Burton.
"Better get a move on, kid!" He said, firing into the mass of writhing flesh around them.
Chris pushed Jill onto the table, into the waiting, outstretched hands of Sullivan and Aiken, who pulled her up. Chris jumped onto the table passing the M14EBR up and then jumping, grabbing the edges of the grate, pulling himself up.
"Come on Barry!" Sullivan shouted.
Barry spun and leapt just as the last of the ghouls closed in, Sullivan and Chris grabbed his hands while Aiken grabbed the back of his vest, pulling him up, with great difficulty into the crawl space above, slamming the grate shut behind them.
One by one the exhausted soldiers climbed down the ladder into the large concrete room, stacked high with crates and cardboard boxes, a forklift sat off in the corner and large retractable steel doors allowed vehicular access. Another smaller door sat off to one side a green card slot set into the wall beside it.
"Stand down, five minutes." Wesker said, sitting on a crate and taking the schematics from his vest pocket.
The team spread out, the smokers lighting up and sucking in lungfuls of sweet tobacco.
Brad limped over to a corner by himself and shot a quick look around the room, making sure no one could see him. Seeing he was unnoticed, as always, he pulled up his trouser leg and pushed the bandage aside, exposing the shallow bullet wound in his lower leg. The hole was festering and the smell was awful, this green puss was welling up out of the broken skin, around the hole, stretching out like thunderbolts, where long purple capillaries, inflamed and aching.
Brad pursed his lips and pulled the bandage back over the wound, rolling down his trouser leg. Maybe he should tell Rebecca? But then on the other hand it was probably nothing…
Chris sat on a box away from the others and broke down the M14EBR, cleaning the carbon from the mechanism. Enrico Marini stole off to a secluded corner and unzipped a pocket on his vest removing a small package and rolling up his sleeve, exposing the tortured, track marked vein running up his arm. From the small kit he removed a spoon and a small bag of white powder; he cooked up a shot and pumped it into his vein feeling the instant release of tensions, the carefree world of ignorant bliss.
Speyer was not so content, he fidgeted with his CAR15, tapping his foot agitatedly and finally stood up.
"I'm through, Wesker." He said at last, looking down defiantly at his boss.
"Me to man." Enrico said, zipping his pouch and rejoining the group. "This ain't nothing I signed up for."
Wesker didn't even look up.
"You want to wait here, fine." He said, indifferently.
"Wait here!" Speyer exploded. "No, we're getting out!"
Wesker looked up slowly, his eyes hidden, the line of his mouth betraying nothing.
"You can't." He said, calmly. "The only exit is that cargo door and it opens elsewhere."
"Fuck you!" Forest spat. "Fuck you and your fucking maps! I'll have the choppers blow us a hole in the wall, they have rockets!"
Speyer pulled the radio handset off his vest.
"Playtime, this is Rover, over."
Wesker suddenly stood up, the map cast aside.
"You want a fucking hole!" Wesker barked. "How about a fucking crater!"
Wesker pulled the black box from his belt, the one he had lost during the fight with the dogs outside earlier. He pulled a small tag from the side and pushed a button on the top, clipping it back to his belt, a small red light began beeping steadily on the face.
"I'll wipe this fucking house off the face of the fucking earth." Wesker ranted. "I'll take out Raccoon City as well, everything for twenty miles!"
The team all stood up, Wesker glared at them, his face contorted with rage. How dare they? How dare they question him? He kept them alive in this fucking place, he saved them from prison or their desk jobs, made them into elite warriors and now they dare question his commands!
"This is a radio detonator." Wesker said, staring each of them down in turn. "If my heart stops, if it comes off my belt, if I press this button again, this whole fucking place goes up. There are explosives buried down below somewhere."
He smile at them, cruelly, evil in his eyes.
"The ultimate containment measure."
"You fucking insane." Chris said, stepping to the front of the group. "What if that slips of your belt?"
Wesker grinned at him.
"Well that's your problem isn't it?" He asked, addressing them all. "It's your responsibility to ensure that no harm comes to me and that this doesn't fall off my belt."
Wesker turned to Speyer who was frozen in his tracks, the radio hand piece held limp at his side.
"Give me that radio, soldier." He said, voice like ice.
Speyer hesitated, only a fraction.
"Give me that fucking radio, now!" Wesker screamed, losing his calm completely. "Or I'll blow us all!"
The team was shocked, stunned, even Barry, this was a side of his friend he had never seen before. It wasn't like Wesker to resort to something like this to keep the team moving, to reassert control. Barry had seen Wesker lead his whole life and he always commanded absolute loyalty and when he was questioned he had always resolved the situation calmly and coolly, now he was really losing it.
"Jesus, boss…" He said.
"Better give it to him Speyer." Sullivan said, quietly. "Motherfucker might do it."
"I'll be obliged to!" Wesker barked. "If I don't get that antidote, I'll have to burn this place down!"
He turned to Jill, blind obedient Jill.
"Valentine!" He snapped. "The radio!"
Jill didn't hesitate for a second, she was a soldier and orders were orders. Chris couldn't believe his eyes and shook his head in disgust.
"What are you?" He asked. "This guys flunky?"
Jill bowed her head.
"He just threatened to blow us all up!" Chris exclaimed. "What kind of leader is that?"
"That's what I'm trying to stop!" Jill said, flustered. "He's my CO, our CO and I have my orders Chris!"
Outside, circling the giant house, the command Huey circled, the pilot James Laguardia heard the first part of Forests transmission then silence and immediately all his senses went on alert. The call had come over the fire support frequency. He turned to his radio operator.
"Call back, find out what's going on." He said, turning back and scanning the house for a sign of life.
Laguardia heard the reply crackle over the headset. The radio operator turned to him.
"It was Wesker." He said. "Says it was a mistake, disregard."
Laguardia grimaced. He didn't like this circling shit, didn't like waiting on orders, what if they needed help down there and he couldn't move without authority?
"Call Washington, ask for permission to take action if deemed necessary." He said again to the radio operator.
In a cool, richly ornamented office in Washington D.C. Franklin Holden smoked a Monte Cristo cigar calmly, his thumb fiddled with the expensive ring on his middle finger. It had been hours since Wesker had called him from the airbase and he was getting edgy.
Holden looked about at the gold trimmed furniture, marble statues and the enormous window looking out at one of the most breathtaking views in the world that money can buy. This was his just deserves, he thought, a man can't just walk into a place like this off the street. There were ladders to climb, people to step over and, if need be, squash and people to get friendly with.
Holden had started off his career at Harvard Business School, an education he had managed to afford by pimping out his cousin; a young girl with many troubles, troubles that were easy to manipulate. He had to take care of her after the bills had been paid and he had managed to do it simple enough; driving his car off the road into a convenient lake, ensuring her seatbelt would be impossible to undo when she needed it… A terrible tragedy he'd told everyone, wiping his hands of the whole mess.
From there it was a simple matter of finding which company it would be best for him to invest in. He'd thought long and hard about that one and decided on a pharmaceutical company, specifically the Umbrella Pharmaceutical Company, then an up and coming company, focused on curing cancer and extending life expectancies in general.
Holden got a job as a junior consultant in the fledgling company, took one look around and decided the company wasn't working to its full potential. He'd fixed that by conspiring with one of the junior scientists to cook up a new form of flu that was lethal to elderly people, releasing it into the air and sitting back watching the death toll mount.
It was then that Umbrella came into its own, the same scientist cooking up a new vaccine and within days Umbrella was shooting towards the spot light, expanding exponentially and who should be there to help direct the company's financial interests?
Within a month Holden was Umbrellas chief executive, making more for himself and the company than most people could ever dream of.
Of course the scientist had to be disposed off, lest he ever grow a conscience and talk, but that was easy, a home lab explosion; easily explained away as a meth lab explosion, it seems the hero scientist had been doing a little side work, how sad…
Then the war had come along and it seemed too good to be true. With Holdens savvy and drive Umbrella became the sole supplier of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies for the US Armed Forces, Umbrella was making Billions daily.
But Holden was making but a small fraction of that, there was still one more rung to climb and this would be the hardest of all. It took him months of planning, talking to the right people, making the right friends and eventually he'd come across a talented veteran of the Desert war; a young Captain named Albert Wesker.
Wesker was an ambitious young officer, quite sick of fighting other people's wars, just looking for a way out, a comfortable place to retire. He was also a sociopath and that, Holden knew, was an extremely valuable asset to have.
Wesker murdered the chairman of Umbrella in his sleep, strangling him with his bare hands, in exchange for 1 million dollars and a fixed promotion to Colonel. Holden had been so impressed that he had kept Wesker in his employ, $250,000 a year on the side and the promise of one day being made an instant millionaire.
Holden took over as chairman of Umbrella and set Wesker up with a special unit of his own, one that would be easily used to put out any fire Umbrella might inadvertently cause.
And today that situation had finally arrived and it made Holden itch under the collar, he didn't like loose ends and this business in Raccoon was one big loose end.
The mansion lab had been set up solely to exploit Umbrellas original idea; extending life, indefinitely. Dr. John Marcus was the brain behind the whole thing, apparently his younger sister had had cancer and it was drive to find a cure or some nonsense. Holden saw the true use for his work; an invulnerable soldier. Holden had learnt a lot of lessons from his dealings in the war.
One careless mistake however and now it all threatened to rip apart at the seams, those careless fucking fools up there in the mountains! Today Wesker would earn his paycheck and Holden would have the fruits of his entire life's labors…
A red telephone on Holden's desk rung, this was a special line, tapped directly into the military communications Wesker's team was using on this operation, it allowed him to cut the brass out of the loop and monitor things for his own end.
He picked up the receiver.
Holden puffed on his cigar while he listened, only half listening to the concerned pilots voice on the other end of the line.
"Denied." He said, flatly. "This is Colonel Weskers show. If he was in real trouble, we'd have lost half of Pennsylvania by now."
He took another puff and savored the smoke in his lungs, exhaling slowly.
"You've been tasked with air support now concentrate on your job." He hung up with finality.
He got up from his desk and walked across the marble floor to the large window and looked out towards where the White House sat. There was still one more rung he had to climb…
In his pilot's seat Laguardia cursed, staring at the massive house below.
"Christ I hate this waiting shit." He mattered to himself.
To top it off, it started to rain…
Wesker took his knife from its sheath and cut the cord of the radio handset, picking the radio itself up and hurling it to the ground, smashing the case open. The team looked on in stunned, subdued silence. Barry couldn't believe his eyes, this man had saved his life, this man had stood up for him against the redneck kids of their neighborhood, they had shared dates together, leave passes together, long sleepless nights together. But this man in front of him now was a total stranger.
Wesker looked up at his team, his team.
"You were all handpicked!" He said, indignantly. "A special unit of special people, I chose each and every single one of you, got you out of jail, out of the motor pool, out from behind a desk!"
His fists were clenched, his face hard with disgust.
"I saved you all." He said, slowly. "And this is how you repay me! You threaten mutiny, question my orders!"
He kicked at a nearby box, staving the side in.
"I've never asked a thing form you!" He said, accusingly. "Now I am, I'm asking you to payback you debt to me."
"Bullshit!" Speyer spat. "I'm-"
Wesker pulled his pistol from its holster and Speyer put his arms up, terror stricken. But Wesker didn't point it at him, merely opened the cylinder and counted the rounds he had left, reaching into his pocket and counting the speed loaders he had in there.
"I want you all to do an ammo count." He said, calm at last. "Pitch any empty mags and divide up what's left evenly. Jill you do the count, make sure each person has an equal share.
Chris looked on in disgust, he urged to kill him right now, but that goddamned trinket on his belt! Chris would wait, forever if he had to, but he was going to kill Wesker if it was the last thing he ever did!
Wesker picked the charts up from where he had left them, scanning the pages finding where they were and where they had to go. The team pulled the magazines from their vests and reloaded the half empty ones, depositing them on a crate nearby for Jill to inventory.
"Alright." Wesker said, speaking up. "We're on level C-"
"Lingerie lotions-" Aiken cut in.
"SHUT UP!" Wesker exploded. "No more fucking jokes! This fucking house is full of dead people who found something funny about what they were doing!"
Aiken shrunk back. Jill looked up from where she was counting.
"Forty two, sir." She said.
"Shit,' Speyer said, shaking his head. "That's all we got?"
"We weren't expecting a war, Private." Wesker said. "Four mags a piece, divvy them up."
Chris loaded the M14EBR and shook his head.
"Maybe try single shots." Chris said, laughing.
Wesker spun to say something but saw Jill watching him out the corner of his eye and stopped himself. No, there would be another time, but till then he would want Jill on his side, the closer the better, the others would listen to her and follow her example and it would get him closer to her…
"They must have weapons down here." Speyer went on. "A powder magazine…"
"No more side trips." Wesker said, shaking his head. "It was a mistake to go into that lab upstairs. My mistake."
Humility crept into his voice and he saw the others warm to him again.
"And I'm not making any more." He said, softly. "From now on its straight ahead. In and out."
With that Wesker crossed to the door with the green slot and inserted his card. The door unlocked and he swung it open, stepping through, flashlight in one hand, Magnum in the other, scanning the passage ahead. It was a long sterile corridor, white steel walls with glass windows looking into pristine labs, recessed fluorescent lights in the ceiling and at ankle height on the walls. The lights were off, only dull red emergency lights lit up the hall. Wesker checked the card slot on his side of the door and saw that it was blue. He turned Aiken and Sullivan.
"Card slot on this side is blue." He said. "Chock the door or we won't get out."
The two troopers nodded and slid a small crate over. Wesker started forward sweeping the corridor in front of him with his flashlight and pistol, in groups of two the commandos trickled after him, scanning the labs either side of the long corridor as they went.
Jill went to step off but Chris grabbed her arm. She looked at him, ashamed and embarrassed.
"Jill, this guy's a looney toon." He said.
"He's just…" Jill paused. "Trying to get the job done. Doing what he has to do…"
Chris looked at her, his eyes hard, yet sad.
"I hope you'll understand…" He said turning away. "When I do what I have to do…"
He turned and stepped through the opening, following the rest of the troopers, scanning the dark hall with his rifle. Jill looked after him, wondering what he meant by that, wishing she could take his hand, run away with him, far away from this place, these people and just live the life they had barely six hours ago…
Ahead Wesker had come to a dead end in the corridor, a door on either side. Wesker looked at his map and frowned, which was to go? Behind him Rosie saw his indecision.
"Want me to flip a coin?" She asked, with a smile as sweet as she could muster.
Wesker frowned and decisively chose the left door, inserting his green card. The door retracted into the ceiling with a smooth whoosh. Wesker extracted his card and stepped through.
The room they entered was like something out of a science fiction movie. The room was octagonal, fifty feet across, well lit by powerful fluorescent lamps, the ceiling domed above them, the walls the same white, sterile steel as the outer corridor. In the center of the room, suspended from the floor and ceiling was a rounded, object like nothing anyone had ever seen before.
"What is this place?" Barry asked, his deep baritone voice echoing around the large room.
Wesker shook his head, himself awed by the alien surroundings.
"I have no idea…"
Behind them the door slide down and thudded loudly, echoing on the deserted level they found themselves on. In response another deep throated, roaring growl echoed back, sending shivers up everyone's spines.
"What's that sound like to you?" Sullivan whispered to Aiken.
Aiken thought for a moment.
"A meat eater?" He whispered back.
"Vickers." Wesker said, turning to the trembling computer tech. "Any idea what this is?"
Brad shook his head; he'd seen a lot of high tech systems before. But this…
"It looks like some kind of super computer…" He guessed. "But nothing like I've ever seen…"
"This place is pretty high tech." Chris said stepping forward, his eyes sweeping the room more carefully. "The card readers, electronic doors, it all must be controlled from somewhere."
"Yeah," Brad said, his professional curiosity aroused. "Maybe this is the heart of this whole place?"
"Funny." Chris said. "I would have thought it would be better protected that this…"
Chris peered at the walls around him, something didn't feel right about this and he knew from bitter experience when he got that feeling he was often right…
Marini was happily riding his high, cruising on autopilot. He looked up at the angled panels that made up the domed ceiling, watching the lines and shapes dance before him. He noticed through the haze that one of the panels was open.
Something set evenly about the walls caught Chris's eye and he peered closer.
Enrico walked over so he was standing under the open panel, staring up into the blackness.
They looked like camera lenses set into the wall…
There were eight glinting lights up in there, Enrico noticed, all close together, like orbs…
Chris noticed above the camera lenses were small cylinders…
The orbs were moving, coming down out of the ceiling…
The cylinders started to hiss…
Something was up there Enrico realized, something big, black hairy, the size of an average man…
"GET DOWN!" Chris screamed, diving on Jill, tackling her to the floor.
The others all fell flat, everyone except for Enrico Marini, who was still mesmerized by the thing in the ceiling.
In the very next instant two things happened at once. From the cylinders, set into the walls, high pressure steam shot out like an industrial laser, creating a grid which covered the whole floor at waist height, scalding Enrico, bubbling his flesh, stripping away skin and muscle, boiling his insides.
At the very same moment something enormous and black dropped from the ceiling right on top of the shrieking Enrico. It had eight hairy legs, eight sinister red eyes, like glowing orbs, two giant fangs, dripping venom that melted holes in the paneled floor, its bulbous body barely feeling the scalding steam as it knocked Enrico to the floor.
Brad was the first to see it. He shrieked and started pushing himself away from the hairy giant spider which now spat a stream of venom into Enrico face. Enrico's shriek turned into a squeal, that was cut terribly and permanently short as the acidic venom, melted through the flesh of his face, exposing his skull, disintegrating his vocal cords.
Chris looked up from where he was sheltering Jill and saw what Brad was screaming about.
"Holy SHIT!" He cried, bringing the M14EBR around and firing two quick, accurate shots.
There was an inhuman shriek as the spider turned and spotted the others. Wesker saw the spider and cursed, looking about, looking for an exit. The card reader next to the door was above the level of the steam and there was no way he'd be able to reach it.
"There's no way outta this mouse trap!" Sullivan cried, backing away from where Enrico and the spider where.
"So we live here now?" Rosie asked.
She fired a burst from her rifle, hitting the massive spider in the abdomen, it shrieked again and jumped with its agile legs, up through the steam and latching on the ceiling, crawling around the dome to where the team was lying.
"We gotta get outta here!" Speyer was screaming, panicking.
He rolled on his back and emptied his rifle into the arachnid. The burst ripped a long ling or holes into the abdomen and the spider let out another ear splitting shriek, the wounds in its hairy flesh began oozing a thick green matter which dripped down onto the team and floor below.
It his Aiken on forearm and he screamed as the flesh began to smolder, around them the floor panels began to melt through, revealing an empty space underneath.
Chris's mind raced, suddenly he remembered the computer room upstairs, the floor panels where those ghouls had been, under their feet. The panels were the same! He reached to Jill's belt and pulled out her combat knife, sticking it between the panels, prying upwards.
It lifted and Chris whipped it open.
"Down here!" He shouted.
He rolled over and began firing at the monster on the roof, trying to dissuade it from dropping down onto the team.
"Where's it go?" Brad asked, crawling over.
"Just go!" Sullivan shouted, kicking out at him.
Brad wiggled down beneath the panels, Wesker close on his heels.
"I'll find us an exit!" He shouted to the others.
It was not directed at Chris.
The spider kept darting away from Chris's fire, jerking about in a frenzy, desperate to catch its prey before it escaped. The others wiggled down after their boss, Jill pushed Rebecca down, giving her a sisterly squeeze on the shoulder as she went past. Now it was just her and Chris.
"Jill get going!" Chris shouted, switching magazines.
"What about you?"
"I've gotta deal with this bastard!" He shouted, cocking the rifle. "Or it'll follow us down!"
"Go!" He opened up a stream of fire at the ceiling above.
Jill dove beneath the floor as a stream of acid sprayed down around her. Chris watched her go and gritted his teeth. This was it, he knew, he just hoped he could distract this thing long enough for the others to get away.
"Alright spidey, just you and me!"
The thing dropped down from the ceiling, thudding onto the floor, its fangs dripping hungrily, opening the floor up like Swiss cheese. Chris lay on his back, pushing himself along the floor with his powerful legs, his bad knee sending spasms of pain through his aching, tired body, but it would all be over soon.
He'd counted his shots and he knew he had ten rounds left in the magazine; there would be no time to reload. He fired as he slid backwards, the spider barely feeling the heavy bullets that punched into it. Chris hit something hard, he spun, it was the wall, he was trapped!
He was down to three rounds. He would save the last one for himself…
He took careful aim, lining the front post up with the glowing red orbs that were the spider's eyes. He squeezed the trigger and the rifle barked. The heavy 7.62mm round punched into the centre of the cluster and the creature recoiled in agony. Chris fired again and the creature went into a crazy spasm, writhing and shrieking till Chris thought his ears would rupture, then, finally, the hairy black monster went limp.
The only sound was that of the hissing steam.
Wesker had lead the team down under the floor and pried the side off an air duct, which mercifully widened allowing them to crouch. They stopped and Rebecca went about bandaging various scratched and burns the troopers had sustained.
"Where's Chris?" Barry had asked and Jill had just bowed her head.
"We'll wait a couple of minutes." Barry said softly. "Just to be sure…"
Wesker was unmoved and merely pulled out his map, scanning the charts, he had no idea where they were but figured they'd orientate themselves once they got out of the duct.
Suddenly there was a steady thudding noise behind them, getting louder. Instinctively the team shouldered their weapons, training them down the narrow duct. Fingers tensed, nerves got tight.
Chris crawled around the corner and froze when he saw the group ahead.
"Chris!" Jill cried, tears running down her cheeks.
The others lowered their weapons, sighing, a few smiled and Barry grinned widely.
"Not bad for a Leg Infantryman." He laughed.
Chris slumped against the wall of the duct, completely spent. He wanted nothing more than to close his eyes and sleep, like the dead. Curl up into a little ball and forget this whole nightmare. His body ached all over and his knee throbbed, he was covered in dirt and dust and blood.
"Stand and fight." Chris muttered through cracked lips. "That was our motto…"
Jill crawled over to him and took her canteen out holding it for him so he could sip the precious clear fluid, she stroked his head gently with her free hand.
Up ahead Speyer kicked the wall angrily, his adrenaline wearing off.
"Goddamn it Wesker!" He screamed. "That fucking thing could have fallen of your belt at any time! Turn it off, Goddamn it, now!"
Wesker looked at him calmly.
"They fixed it so you can't." He said, simply. "So you can't chicken out. The only place you can do that is at the main panel."
"Well where the hell is that?" Barry asked, his trust in his oldest friend waning rapidly.
"Where the explosives are." Wesker said, impassively. "Way down in the bowels of this place. Further than we need to go."
"So how do we turn it off when we're done?" Rebecca asked.
"When we fly out of range it deactivates automatically." Wesker explained.
Chris turned and looked straight at Wesker, his eyes tired, his voice rasping.
"I'm not willing to rely on that."He croaked. "This is my town…"
"The towns been evacuated." Wesker said, staring straight back. "Just in case."
"That explains the lie. About a plane crash with weapons on board." Chris said. "That would nicely explain a big explosion wouldn't it? You figured on blowing this place all along…"
Wesker didn't speak for a moment. All eyes turned to him, he was losing them more and more. No matter, he wouldn't need them soon…
"I don't want to do it." He said, his face betraying nothing, eyes hidden behind his glasses.
"That's the best I can do for you son." He went on. "Good faith, now let's keep moving."
Wesker started to move off, hesitantly the others began to follow, some scowling openly. Chris didn't move, slowly he took the spent magazine from the M14EBR and put a fresh one in.
"I can't let this happen…" He whispered to Jill. "I've got to find that bomb…"
"I'll help you." Jill said, stroking his gritty face with her soft hand. "Once Wesker gets what he wants, my obligation is over…"
Chris looked at her and smiled, taking her small hand in his.
"No…" He whispered. "I want you out, with the rest of them; Wesker won't push the button till you're all clear…"
"He doesn't want to push the button…" Jill said, hopefully.
"He has to…" Chris said slowly getting to his feet, squatting. "He can't leave these labs here, walking corpses, mutated monsters…"
He started back the way they came.
"He has to destroy the evidence." He went on. "This isn't a rescue operation, it's a cleanup…"
Suddenly the duct was rocked violently, like the fist of god himself had punched the wall staving it in. The team braced but where tossed around like rag dolls in the tight space. The metal work began to groan and rivets pinged as they popped out.
"Christ, what now?" Rosie muttered.
The shaft was smashed again, the sides buckling, crushing like a beer can. Chris grabbed Jill by the arm and pushed her forward with the rest of the group.
"Just ride it out!" Wesker barked.
Suddenly the duct was torn in half, something thick and green like long tentacles, green and organic, sliced through the metal walls, severing the passage in two. Chris, Rebecca, Aiken and Sullivan fell backwards into the back section as it dropped away, spilling them out like rag dolls.
"Chris!" Jill watched in horror as he disappeared from her view.
Barry grabbed her arm, as the duct work was rocked again, and pulled her along.
"Come on, Jill!" Barry shouted. "We gotta move!"
Chris hit the ground hard and heard the others land around him. He opened his eyes and snapped his head up. His first course of action was to snatch up his weapon and check it over, it was fine, he just had to reseat the magazine.
He looked around and his eyes went wide with awe. They were in the rainforest, Adam and Eves Garden of Eden. Lush green plants grew around them, vines, ivies, ferns, there was even a mist covering the ground. He noticed that their fall had been broken by soft rich soil.
He spotted Rebecca and ran over to her helping her to her feet.
"You alright, kiddo?" He asked, scanning the green world around them.
Rebecca nodded, picking up her weapon and dusting herself off.
"Come on." He said. "Let's find the others."
They started off towards where Chris thought he heard the others land. High above them, hanging down from the ruined ductwork, sparking electrical cables hung like vines themselves, hissing their own kind of venom.
Chris and Rebecca pushed their way through the undergrowth, entering into a clearing where they saw Aiken and Sullivan staring up at something in awe. Chris and Rebecca limped out to them and followed their gaze and recoiled in shock.
Hanging from the ceiling, like a giant octopus was the source of the living vines, the tentacles that attacked Ridley, the massive arms that tore the duct to pieces; a giant plant hung suspended from a girder, it's bulbous body suspended high above the floor, vines stretched up and disappeared through cracks in the ceiling, leading up into the house above. Long tendrils hung down from the centre mass, at the end of which were big, drooling pods…
Wesker kicked the grate out of the ceiling and the remainder of the team dropped one by one into a long seemingly endless corridor, made of the same white steel that was becoming so familiar, the team shielded their eyes from the glare, adjusting to the bright light in contrast from the black duct.
There were signs that something very bad had happened in the recent past, blood smeared the walls, gouges had been taken out of the walls, like claw marks and there where holes punched at irregular intervals in the walls.
Wesker didn't take any notice; he pulled out his map and started off.
"Chris and the others…" Jill began.
"If they're dead, they're dead." Wesker said, coldly.
He smiled at Jill.
"If they're alive they will be in twenty minutes when we're done."
Jill stepped forward, anger in her voice, hatred for this man pouring out.
"Maybe not!" She said. "And how do you know it's only going to be twenty minutes?"
"We don't." Wesker said, uncaring. "But we'll do our damndest to try."
He turned to address the others.
"This is it, team!" He said, a whole new mood coming over him. "Home stretch!"
He turned and started off down the white-washed corridor, Brad and Rosie following close behind. Barry and Speyer stayed beside Jill, looking at her sympathetically. Barry stared after his boss and shook his head. The man he grew up with would never leave me behind.
Wesker turned back to face them.
"Fall in Valentine!" He bellowed. "You're on the clock!"
Jill looked up at Barry and saw the same tortured expression on his face. He bowed his head and started off after his friend. Jill gritted her teeth and swallowed her anger, falling in behind the giant.
In the distance, still indistinct, was the sound of metal scraping on metal…
The arms of the giant plant began to hover around the massive warehouse Chris and the others found themselves in, the pods on the ends of the giant organic tendrils, not of god's creation but mans, seemed to sniff the air, searching for the small group of soldiers. Rebecca stared up at the monstrosity in a mixture of fear and anger.
"This was no accident!" She said, bitterly. "This was cultivated!"
"And it didn't rip the ceiling out for fun." Chris said, looking around their cavernous surroundings for a way out.
The tendrils darted out and pulled back, feeling the air for its prey, acting with intelligence and caution, the massive arms sliced the air as they moved and the troopers could feel the brute strength contained in the arms as they moved about over their heads.
Chris spotted a doorway, the heavy steel door hanging off its hinges, pushed aside by the unchecked growth on the floor.
"Over this way." He said, moving off through the thick jungle growth.
The others made to follow but one of the massive arms swooped down, hovering in front of Rebecca, the pod at the end pointing at her the head of a snake, the point inches from her face. She stepped back in surprise, horror slowly spreading over her face as the pink pod opened splitting into floor sections, each section full of sharp barbs, like teeth in some demented mouth. In the center of the pod was a spike, like a massive thorn, sharp as a stiletto dagger.
Rebecca was paralyzed with fear, Aiken and Sullivan readied their weapons, but the pod didn't retreat, merely moved closer to Rebecca, menacingly.
"Hang on Bec!" Sullivan said, stepping towards her, drawing his knife from its scabbard, M16 up in the other hand.
Suddenly, from behind, dropping from the ceiling another thick arm swooped down, the pod on the end already open, the thorn in the middle punched through Sullivan's back, lancing his heart. He emitted a short sharp scream, before the four sections of pod clamped around him, the barbs digging into his flesh.
"SULLIVAN!" Aiken screamed in horror. "NO!"
Sullivan's weapons fell from his hands, the knife burying itself into the soft soil. Aiken opened fire, punching harmless holes into the long thick arm. The pod in front of Rebecca started to strike but before it could wrap itself around her, she was knocked out of the way by Chris who dove in and tackled her to the ground.
The pod reared up and made to strike again when it was suddenly severed from the rest of the arm and fell to the ground in a heap. Chris looked up and saw Aiken, with Sullivan's knife, slashing at the other pod that had wrapped itself around Sullivan and was now withdrawing to the main body of the massive plant.
"Aiken!" Chris shouted, pulling Rebecca to her feet. "Get outta there!"
He looked around, desperately then saw something that caught his eye on the wall; it was a pipe black and yellow warning stripes painted on it. Chris followed it with his eyes, up the wall and along the cavernous ceiling running directly over the top of the monstrous plant.
It was a long shot but it was their only chance. Chris took a knee and shouldered the M14EBR, looking down the scope, exhaling slightly and squeezed the trigger. There was a distant clang as the round punched into the pipe, rupturing it and igniting the gas which flowed within, igniting it.
A massive jet of flame spewed forth from the pipe completely engulfing the main body of the plant, catching it alight. The arms began to writhe and contort in the air like massive boa constrictors, spasming and cutting the air until, finally, falling limp below the burning monstrosity. The main body stayed suspended for a moment longer before tearing loose from the girder which held it up and falling to the floor in a burning heap.
Rebecca and Chris watched it burn, Rebecca was shaking and Chris felt like he was about to collapse. Aiken was beside himself with grief.
"Sullivan!" He screamed. "You fucking plant! You fucking bastards!"
He gripped his dead friends knife in his trembling fist, shaking his other hand, his rifle discarded, forgotten.
"I'll make you all pay for this!" He shouted, his voice echoing around the room.
Something snaked through the grass towards him, something big, it's forked tongue flicking in and out, slowly circling Aiken in the waist high grass.
"You Umbrella bastards!"
Chris stared at him dully. He was beat, let him have his rant, get it all out, then they could move off. Suddenly the ground before them erupted as a long red tentacle sprung from the grass around Aiken, constricting around his torso like a rope going taut, cutting him off mid sentence.
Chris recoiled in surprise shoving Rebecca behind him. At first he thought it was the plant again but then he saw the scales and realized it was a giant copperhead snake, the emotionless head hovering in the air above Aiken who was vainly stabbing and slashing at the creature around him.
There was an audible cracking as the snake constricted itself around Aiken's chest, crushing the life out of him. He tried to scream but no sound could come out, the air squeezed from his lungs, he could only whimper.
Like a bolt of lightning the head snapped down and clamped around Aiken, slurping him down in one solid piece.
Chris's hand clamped around Rebecca's arm and dragged her into the jungle, running for their lives as the snake turned its attention to them. Chris's tired mind raced, even with all the ammo in the world there was no way he could be fast enough to get enough shots off to kill it before it struck.
He could hear it hissing somewhere in the dense jungle behind them, slithering through the undergrowth. There was no time it would be on them soon!
Chris spotted something in a small clearing to their right and dragged Rebecca towards it she was panting and crying. Chris ran over to the prostrate form and realized it was the mutilated corpse of Sullivan.
Chris pounced on him and rolled him over, patting his pockets desperately. Behind them the jungle parted and the giant snake slithered into the clearing, its head lifting off the ground, hovering above them, it's fork tongue flicking out, tasting the air for its victims.
Rebecca scream and the copperhead struck, its jaws opening to engulf her. In the same instant Chris spun around, pulling something from Sullivan's pocket; a white phosphorous grenade. He pulled the pin and threw it, the snakes was mere feet from Rebecca when the grenade landed in its open mouth.
The jaws clamped shut on it and the head recoiled in surprise. Chris dove on Rebecca as the grenade erupted in the giant creature's mouth burning like the fires of hell, burning into the meat inside the serpents mouth, smoke poured from the mouth and eye sockets as the snake slowly cooked from the inside out, shaking its monstrous head around, hissing and cooking. Seared muscle and flesh popped and crackled.
The snake hit the ground hard, shaking the ground around Chris and Rebecca like an earthquake.
As the rain fell around Washington D.C., deep within Umbrellas head office, a group of nervous men sat around a conference table, some smoked cigars, others drank from glasses. In the center of the table an Omni-directional speaker sat. Franklin Holden walked around the table listening intently to the voice coming from the speaker, but not betraying his nervousness to the other men in the room.
"We're close." The voice said, a voice cold and calculating. "I'll have the package very soon; I'll then be able to take care of my companions and clean up the evidence."
There was a pause as the men looked around at each other. Only Holden was supremely confident in the man on the other end of the speaker.
"It's been… Very interesting…"
"Anything you can't handle?" Asked one of the men seated around the table, leaning forward.
"There's nothing I can't handle." The voice came back, flatly.
"Keep us appraised." Holden said, clicking off the speaker with a remote he held in his hand.
He looked about the room at the members of his inner circle, all cold calculating men.
"I'm reassured." He said, his face deadpan. "I have no doubt that our man has everything under control."
In the long sterile corridor Wesker put the small radio transmitter back in its pouch and smiled to himself. Yes, He would soon have the package and they would be his then wouldn't they? Soon, he told himself, soon I won't be eating anyone shit anymore, fighting other peoples fucking wars, I'll have it all and people would bow down to him, do his every bidding.
He heard footsteps approaching and saw Jill approaching. His smile grew. Including you miss Valentine, you'll get on your knees for me, won't you?
"Were you talking to someone?" She asked as she got close to him.
He could smell her sweaty flesh, the dirt and grime in her skin, her dirty brown hair, how he longed to grab a fistful of it and yank her head back, whisper hateful things in her ear. He felt his trousers getting tight around the crotch and it took all his reserve to hold his hands at his sides. Soon, very soon.
"To my superiors." He said, his smile held in place.
Jill looked uncomfortable and it drove him crazy.
"They're your superiors as well Valentine." He continued. "Don't forget that."
Barry and Brad walked up from behind Jill and he winked at his old friend. Maybe Barry would join in the fun too? Celebrate another successful mission, the last successful mission? He heard footsteps coming up from behind and he saw Speyer and Rodriguez approaching.
"Anything?" He asked them.
Speyer shook his head.
"Nothing." Rosie said.
"Same up the other end." Barry said. "No doors, no windows, nothing."
"We're in a corridor that goes nowhere and comes from nowhere." Brad summed up for them all.
Wesker looked at his charts again; already he could feel his good mood slipping away, goddamned that Chris Redfield! If he hadn't shattered the shark tank he'd still have the updated maps on his micro-computer.
"We're never going to get into this lab!" Speyer groaned.
Wesker urged to shoot the little bastard once and for all, but there would be time for that later. He peered at the charts, according to them the lab they were looking for should adjoin this corridor. His musing where interrupted by a loud clunking sound, reverberating, over and over, down the corridor. He looked up and the others raised their weapons; the noise was coming from the ceiling above them.
Chris and Rebecca heard the sound too as they crawled on their stomachs along a cable tray in a narrow service duct. Cable ties cut into their forearms and stomachs, their backs scraping the top of the duct. Chris felt Rebecca trembling next to him, sobbing quietly.
"I can't take much more of this…" She whispered, her voice shaking.
Chris squeezed her hand.
"Course you can, kiddo." He said. "You're a paratrooper remember?"
She smiled weakly.
"They had to throw me out of the plane." She laughed. "Some commando I've made."
Chris looked at her dirt stained face; she really was only a kid.
"How old are you?" He asked her.
"Twenty, in a month." She whispered.
Chris shook his head, she must have joined at 17 too. He remembered the first time he'd been in combat, getting fired at from 4-500 meters away, barely seeing the people who were trying to kill you, vaguely firing back, thinking you may have hit them. For her to be face to face with the horrors she was seeing…
"They got me at your age too." He said finally. "This is no life for anyone, least of all a kid…"
Rebecca looked at him and smiled, appreciating his words.
"Jill told me you were nice…" She said. "She's never said that about anyone before…"
Chris smiled back.
"She said that?" He closed his eyes and thought of her for a moment and then opened them again, the smile gone.
The clunking sound was getting louder and closer.
"Let's keep moving." He said, crawling on, rifle cradled across his arms.
Barry was the first to see it; far off down the corridor, moving in time with the ominous, rumbling, clunking noise, six indistinct shapes, dropping from an open ceiling grate and hanging suspended from the ceiling, moving with agile speed.
"What the hell is that?" He exclaimed, raising his rifle.
"Whatever it is, it's sure not going to be good!" Brad said, shrinking to the back of the group.
He winced and his hand clutched at his injured lower leg, bolts of lightning where shooting up through his nerves and he thought he was going to black out from the pain, but he gritted his teeth and tried not to let it show.
He was going to die in this fucking place, he just knew it.
The shapes where getting closer, the clunking turning to the sound of tearing steel, an animalistic, growling, roar, echoed towards them, a sound they had heard many times since entering this place of hellish nightmares.
The team could see now, coming face to face with the creature that had haunted them in the dark recesses of this world gone mad. They where serpent green, thick scales like armor covering their entire bodies, piercing red eyes, jaws that would daunt any shark and twelve inch, razor sharp, steel claws that punched through the metal ceiling like rice paper. They roared again and the team opened up by instinct, burning through a magazine each as these advancing monstrosities.
Wesker, strangely, was grinning like a madman, firing his big hand cannon like Dirty Harry. He started to laugh uncontrollably. He had never felt more alive!
But the hail of lead didn't stop the advancing beasts for a second, didn't even check their pace, like the monsters didn't even feel it. Like some horrible nightmare demon, they closed the distance between themselves and the STARS with terrifying speed. Like the worst combination of every bad dream any of them had ever had, death descended upon them like an unstoppable wave of slicing, flesh tearing, unmitigated horror.
Up in the service duct the sound of tearing metal was deafening. Chris gritted his teeth and Rebecca cried out aloud, sobbing as they thought their ear drums would burst. Suddenly the steel in front of Rebecca's face was punctured, inches from her chin; a long claw retracted and another punched through between Chris's legs, he cursed and rolled to his right as the next one punched through where an instant before he had been lying.
More claws where punching through now, all around them, renting and tearing the steel, like a hail of spiked projectiles tearing through flesh.
Then they heard it, the roaring, the spine chilling, blood freezing sound that had chilled their very soul, the gunfire followed a second later and Chris knew Jill was in serious trouble. He reached back and grabbed Rebecca's trembling hand and pulled her up beside him, ahead he could see an opening barely ten meters away, the only question was could he get there before those steel claws…
Barry fired a short burst into the closest creature's skull, a deliberate, well aimed shot. The monstrous face was pummeled backwards but the creature barely paused. Chunks of scaly armor, were torn away revealing a sight out the darkest recesses of mans imagination.
Beneath the tough hide was a skeleton made of steel, thick and tough, forged for one purpose, to resist small arms fire, a near perfect weapon of war, deadly, effective, terrifying and utterly unstoppable.
They were almost upon them, barely five meters away; Rosie could see the unblinking red eyes boring into her with a fury that was beyond anything remotely human, a fiery, frenzied hunger that could only be satisfied with pain and suffering.
Jill held the trigger of her assault rifle until the magazine was emptied, the rounds exposing more of that bullet absorbing endoskeleton. This was it, the end, there was no time for a reload, no time to run, her life would conclude with the stroke of a razor sharp claw in a frenzy of bloody slaughter.
The first creature leapt for her, the red eyes going mad with the scent of bloodlust, the claws drawn back to swipe her, knock he down, ravage her.
Jill closed her eyes and prayed it would be quick.
There was boom, directly above her, a sound she had come to recognize. Her eyes shot open and she looked up. There the grate above her was Chris, M14EBR spitting a flame a foot long with every squeeze of the trigger, Rebecca was beside him, hosing the hallway with rapid fire.
The first creature was smashed backwards by the powerful 7.62mm bullet, powerful enough to puncture steel like a knife through butter. The creature howled as it crashed into the floor and Chris fired again, smashing the skull, stopping the writhing creature dead.
Chris barely paused, re-aiming and snapping of five quick shots into the other creatures buying precious seconds for the team to reload. Chris dropped to the floor and Barry reached up lifting Rebecca down.
"Run, get outta here!" Chris ordered, firing into the skull of the first creature to rise off the floor.
Brad didn't need to be told twice, he turned and limped down the corridor, his leg sending stabbing pain up through his side with every impact. Rosie grabbed Jill and pulled her after the fleeing com-tech, Rebecca close behind, firing a last bust at the twisting, agonizing creatures, leaping off the floor and starting after them.
Wesker fired twice more but saw an opportunity to good to miss; with Chris covering them he have another half minute of breathing room, another half minute to get out of this corridor, regroup, find the lab and if he was really lucky he might even get to see Chris turned inside out by these demons. And that, he told himself, would be worth anything!
"Alpha Team, pull back!" He ordered, turning and running after the rest of his troops.
Chris downed another with a head shot but the others leapt up with such fury and agility that Chris could do nothing but turn and sprint as fast as his damaged knee would allow. Barry, Wesker and Speyer had already caught up with the others who had reached the dead end in the hallway and were looking like cornered rodents in a cage.
"There's no way out!" Brad screamed, a damp stain spreading across the front of his trousers.
There was a whoosh beside them and they spun as one raising their weapons up, pointing them straight into the face of a beautiful Asian woman, dressed in a stained lab coat. She was standing in the doorway formed by the section of wall which had disappeared, up into the ceiling.
"Inside." She said, unperturbed by the ordnance inches from her face. "Quickly."
The team hustled inside but Jill held back, looking down the corridor at the sprinting figure of Chris, trying to outrun the wounded beasts inches from his heels.
"Chris!" She called and started to run to him.
A hand shot out and shoved her aside, knocking her to the floor. She looked up and saw Speyer sprinting off towards the mayhem down the passageway. Barry looked on in awe as the handsome kid, took off like a bat out of hell; it had been a long time since he had seen anything so selfish…
"God be with you, kid…" He murmured.
Speyer ran like a man possessed, he barely thought about what he was going to do, or why, but there had been enough pain and suffered around him all day, people he'd spent years of his life with where dead and he'd stood by idly and watched it happen. No more! He wasn't going to let another man die because he was only concerned with his own skin.
Chris felt a claw swipe at the air behind his head and knew he'd never make it, the next swipe would connect and he'd be a dead man. He heard the pounding footsteps and heard a blood curdling war cry and saw Forest Speyer leap through the air, tackling the nearest creature to the ground.
Instantly the other three descended on Speyer, slashing and ripping into him. Chris ran for all his worth, gritting his teeth through the pain in his leg, his lungs about to burst. He heard the sound of tearing flesh behind him and the sound of Speyer, lashing out and kicking, cursing the creature as they tore him limb from limb.
Chris dove through the open doorway just as it slid shut, to the howls of the creatures outside, crazy for the taste of blood. He collapsed to a heap on the floor and trembled, breathing hard.
"Speyer, he…" He rasped, dropping his head into his arms and crying, shaking like a leaf.
Jill came over and knelt beside him, cradling his head to her chest, stroking his matted brown hair. He had given his life for both of them. Wesker looked on, thinking how nice it was going to be having his head there.
The team looked about at their new surroundings; they were in a locker room, benches and clothes hooks lined the walls, lockers where interspersed throughout. Piles of empty cans and food wrappers sat piled up in one corner. Towels and blankets had been piled up one the benches as makeshift beds. Set into the wall at the end of the room was a heavy steel door, sterile and impassible.
"You lost a man…" The Asian woman said, by way of apology. "If only I'd been quicker…"
There was one last howl from the corridor outside, then the sound of receding footsteps, pounding in the long corridor, steel claws clanging on the metal floor. Wesker turned to their woman savior and looked her up and down in a way that made her feel instantly uncomfortable; like he was mentally undressing her.
He realized he had seen her before, in the video brad had pulled up for them upstairs, when they had first seen those creatures that attacked them in the corridor.
"And to who do we owe the pleasure?" Wesker asked with a smile.
"My name is Ada Wong." The woman said, turning away from the man in the dark glasses. "Junior Biologist, my colleagues and I worked up on level C."
The soldiers realized they were not alone, two other men, a white man wearing a cream turtleneck under his lab coat and another Asian man, wearing square rimmed glasses; which he perpetually pushed up the bridge of his nose as they slid down.
"This is Benjamin and Toshiro." She said, introducing them respectively. "We are the only survivors. One of the senior biologists saved us and brought us down here…"
She paused, her voice turning bitter with the memory.
"He was bitten and after he saw we were safe he put a pencil through his eye…" She continued her eyes far away. "I only saw him use the door controls once, so I took some time in opening the door… I'm sorry I wasn't quicker…"
She lowered her head in shame, feeling Speyer's loss as much as any of them. Rosie stepped forward and smiled reassuringly, shrugging.
"You did fine, lady, we're grateful." She said, simply.
There was nothing more to be said, with so many corpses already piled up, really, what was one more? Ada nodded slowly and then looked over at Wesker, who was still staring at her, making no effort to hide it.
"So," She said, her voice steady and even. "Have you come to rescue us? Or are you a cleanup crew?"
"Cleanup crew?" Jill asked, getting to her feet and walking over. "What makes you think…?"
"Please, we already know there is a bomb built under the complex, to cover Umbrellas tracks." She said, bitterness in her voice. "It would make sense to eliminate anyone who has knowledge of what went on down here."
She turned to Wesker, her eyes hard and accusatory.
"I know who you are." She said. "You're Holden's lap dog, his little problem solver."
Wesker grinned .
"Problem solver, that's right." He nodded.
Barry frowned and looked at his boss, confusion and shock registering on his face.
"You work for Umbrella, boss?" He asked.
"Two salaries." Wesker replied, without looking at the giant Staff Sergeant. "Helps to pay the bills."
"So," Ada continued. "What is it then? Rescue or removal?"
"Entirely at my discretion." Wesker smiled patting his Magnum. "So if you play nice and do exactly as I ask, you'll be on a helicopter out of here in no time."
Ada stared at him defiantly, a mixture of hate and disgust showing on her beautiful features.
"The man I loved, John Marcus, developed the organism that started all this." She said, waving her hand around the room, but indicating the whole hellish nightmare. "He did it to change lives, to cure the sick and the weak, but men you twisted his work, perverted his dream and created a nightmare!"
Wesker laughed at her and shook his head, this was turning out to be a great day, more womanly arrogance to crush and punish, to make beg for mercy. He was going to enjoy making her beg… The moment was so close he could taste it!
"No ma'am," He said. "I'm just an errand boy, sent to do the dirty work. None of the glory, but all of the benefits."
Ada Wong exploded.
"After all that you've seen down here, do you think it could be turned into any kind of benefit!" She screamed, her fists balled in anger.
Wesker suddenly became very serious, his smile vanishing.
"About five or ten million dollars worth of benefit." He said, coldly. "Now, how do I get into D labs?"
Barry Burton could not believe his ears. In the whole time they had known each other Wesker had never kept a thing from Barry, nor Barry from Wesker. But now he was slowly realizing that he knew nothing about this man he had shared a thousand dangers with, in a thousand hellholes around the world.
"Death labs!" Ada spat. "John died never knowing it existed. They kept him isolated upstairs while men down here corrupted his dream, using it to create BOW's!"
Chris slowly got to his feet and wiped his eyes, limping over to join the others, supporting himself on the still warm M14EBR.
"What is a BOW?" He asked, cutting in.
Ada looked at the filthy disheveled man in front of her and knew instantly he wasn't like the monster that stood near him, she knew instantly that he was a solid man, with a strong heart. Chris was dead on his feet, his mind barely functioning after the unending horrors he had endured, he was covered in dirt, blood, dust and sweat, his knee would barely support his weight and his arms felt weak and heavy, but he held his head up, looking Ada straight in the eye.
"Bio-organic weapons." She answered.
"The sharks, the plant?" Rebecca asked, her interest professional.
"Early experiments.' Ada explained.
"The snake?" Chris asked, the memory flooding his mind, seeing Aiken disappear into its monstrous mouth.
"A failure," Ada said, shivering at the thought of the giant beast she had only seen in photographs. "All they could get it to do was grow in size, its behavior unchanged."
"And the dogs?" Rosie said. "They were weapons too?"
Ada shook her head, sadly.
"No, the dogs simply became infected." She said, pausing briefly. "Along with everyone else, janitors, tradesmen, security guards, everyone and anyone."
Her eyes narrowed and turned cold with anger.
"Scientists… Great minds turned into mindless walking ghouls…"
That would explain that spider, Chris thought with a shiver running down his spine.
"Before the outbreak," He interjected. "The experiments went further didn't they, like those things out there?"
He gestured to the sealed door behind him.
"The product of human DNA spliced with that of a frog." Ada explained. "Cultivated around a steel chassis, the T-virus was then injected. The virus reanimates dead tissue, breathed new and deadly life into any living organism. However, certain of Umbrellas modifications made the subject extremely violent, hateful, thirsty for blood…"
She looked at Chris, her eyes fiery with passionate rage at the thought of what mankind could do with the greatest of gifts, how he could twist and manipulate it to be the very source of what it was designed to prevent. A cure for death, twisted to become the ultimate bringer of death.
"Those things out there," She said, pointing to the door. "They were only the beginning…"
Chris stared at her, his tortured mind spinning, trying to grasp the magnitude of all that she had explained to them.
"You mean there were other creations?" He asked, unable to believe there could be anything worse than what they had just barely escaped.
"HOW DO I GET INTO D LABS!" Wesker exploded, his patience long since used up.
He pounced on the young scientist and grabbed a fistful of her short brown hair, yanking her head back violently, sticking his Magnum under her trembling chin.
The team stared on with stunned disbelief, Chris stepped forward, raising the M14EBR but Barry put a hand on his shoulder. Chris looked up and saw Barry looking down at him, shaking his head. For the first time, Chris truly could see just how mad Wesker really was; if this giant of a man, who had seen Wesker in the worst of situations, was holding him back, Chris knew they were in the serious danger.
"Tell me!" Wesker said, shaking Ada by her hair. "Or I'll put a bullet in your good friend doctor Benjamin here!"
Wesker pointed the .357 at the biologist, cocking the hammer back, menacingly.
"You don't!" Ada cried, sobbing. "It requires a green cardkey, none of us have that level of clearance!"
Wesker laughed and shoved her to the floor. She landed hard in a heap, screaming as she slapped on the hard concrete. Wesker reached into his vest and pulled out his cardkey.
"How lucky that I am!" He said and walked over to the steel door at the end of the room.
He inserted his plastic card into the slot set next to the door and was rewarded with the sound of dead bolts retracting, there was a hiss of depressurized air and the door swung open. Wesker felt his pulse quicken, he was almost there; in five minutes he would be tying up a few loose ends and then he could really start to enjoy himself…
He turned to face the team, who were staring back at him, some in awe, others in disgust, some with shocked expressions of total fear. He smiled, good, they should be afraid.
"Barry," He said. "Come with me. The rest of you, make sure this door doesn't close. Remember…"
He patted the box attached to his belt and turned walking through the doorway and starting off down a flight of metal stairs, Barry close on his heels, their heavy bootsteps clanking as the descended. The door started to swing shut, Rosie bolted forward and stuck her foot out, catching it just in time.
Ada slowly picked herself up from the floor and frowned.
"Have you been leaving doors open?" She asked.
Ada's eyes widened and a look of disbelieving terror came over her face, the corners of her lips pulled down, her mouth going suddenly dry.
"They will come for us, with nothing to stop them-"
She was cut off in mid sentence as Brad crashed to the floor, his sub-machinegun sliding away, coming to rest at doctor Toshiro's feet. He slowly reached down and picked it up, the lethal object out of place in his clean, scientist's hands.
Rebecca ran over to the prostrate com-tech, feeling his pulse and pulling up his trouser leg. She pulled the bandage aside and recoiled at the smell and sight of the putrid, festering, rotting flesh of his lower leg. The area around the wound was inflamed and swollen, the discoloration spreading well beyond the small flesh wound.
"Jesus." Rebecca muttered. "Brad's in really bad shape."
Brad was trembling and sweating, his breathing was irregular and shaky. Ada came over, staring down at the wound and gasped.
"How did he sustain that wound?" She asked, her voice urgent.
"A bullet went through one of those sharks and hit him in the leg." Rebecca answered, confusion written on her face.
'He's infected!" Ada snapped. "The bullet carried infected tissue into his leg, contamination would have been instantaneous!"
In a flash she reached down and pulled Rebecca's pistol from her belt, pulling the hammer back and aiming for Brad's sweating face.
"No!" Rebecca screamed and shoved the pistol aside, just as Ada pulled the trigger, sending a bullet smacking into the floor and inch from Brads head.
"What are you doing!" Ada demanded.
"We're so close." Jill said, coming over to Rebecca's side. "The antidote!"
"What are you talking about!" Ada asked, frowning. "There's no antidote!"
As Barry followed Wesker down the stairs he stared at the back of the man he suddenly felt so far away from and felt weak at the knees, a sick feeling in the pit of his stomach. He didn't realize it but it was a feeling of betrayal.
"What's gotten into you, man?" He asked the stranger in front of him. "This isn't like you…"
"Oh yes it is." The colonel said, not even turning around to look at the big black man. "This is exactly like me…"
Wesker seemed far off, distracted, no longer cold, no longer collected. He seemed agitated, excited, afraid…
"This is what I've been all my life." He went on. "A guy sucking up to those rich bastards that control the world, wiping the shit off their asses, all the while looking for a break…"
The two men reached the bottom of the stairs and found themselves in a small ante room, before them stood a wall of solid Plexiglas, two sliding doors set into its center. A small pedestal sat off to the side, a card reader and a numbered keypad set on a panel at the top. Wesker walked over to it.
"Well, this is it friend." Wesker said, inserting his card and looking up into Barry's eyes. "I told you before this day was over I'd pay you back Barry."
He turned and punched a code into the keypad he seemed to know off by heart and the glass doors slid open, a cloud of frosted, ice cold air drifted out.
In the locker room upstairs Chris stared at the steel door wedged open by a case of Spam, his grip tightening on the stock of the rifle he held. A rage from deep inside him welled up, cutting through the layers of fatigue and pain, sharpening his mind and fueling the glowing embers deep within.
Wesker was going to die; he was going to pay for all the corpses that littered their bloody path up to this point, for what he'd done to Jill, for bringing her here out of his life and back into his own, for lying and manipulating all of them, for Rake, for his horses, for his town! Chris was going to take that detonator of his and shove it down his throat and make him suffer before they all went up.
Without thinking he strode for the door.
Jill looked up and ran after him.
"Where are you going Chris?" She asked.
Chris stopped and turned to her, his face set.
"I'm going to make this right." He said, pulling himself away and opening the door. "I love you Jill…"
The world Wesker and Barry suddenly found themselves in was something from twenty years into the future, no science fiction writer could have envisioned they technological marvels the found themselves surrounded by; personal computers with touch screens, projectors coming out of desk tops that showed computerized 3D images of things entirely beyond their understanding, racks of test tubes, beakers and analyzers that boggled the imagination.
But what instantly caught their attention was the focus of all this equipment; standing in the very center of the room stood a platform, mounted three feet off the floor. A stasis tube stood atop it, filled with solid ice in the center of which stood something only the darkest minds of mankind could possibly think up.
At first glance it looked like a man, but it was nine feet tall, its flesh dark grey, muscles bulged and protruded beyond what a mere man could posses. Its face was disfigures, the skin around the cheeks and teeth where missing exposing jagged teeth of hardened steel, veins ran out from behind the dentures down into the bulging neck muscles. A giant heart was hung on the outside of the massive chest made of thick, tough, armored muscle.
But what caught Barry's eye was the right hand, which was grafted with four long steel claws, razor sharp and coming to a stiletto point. He shook his head in disbelief; what kind of person would create such a monster?
Wesker stared up at the giant with glowing eyes, full of admiration.
"It's called the Tyrant." He explained, his voice awed. "It was Holden's own idea…"
Barry turned to look at his boss, confusion written across his face.
"The chairman of Umbrella." Wesker explained. "He writes the checks."
He turned suddenly to face Barry; his face alive with excitement, grabbing the big man's arms.
"We've got it, Barry, our fortune!" He could hardly contain himself.
Barry stared after him as he crossed to a computer terminal and began touching the screen, pulling a USB flash drive from his pocket.
"You're not going to try dragging this thing out of here, are you?" Barry asked, is finger slowly coming to rest of the selector switch of his M16.
Wesker began shutting down programs on the terminal, plugging in the flash drive and starting to copy the files over.
"We don't have to." He explained, turning off the life support systems to the Tyrants tank. "Once I copy this data, these things can be cranked out on an assembly line."
Barry stared at the man he had shared his life with, his brother in battle, if not in blood.
"What about the antidote?" He asked.
Wesker laughed and shook his head.
"There is no antidote." He scoffed. "That was just some bullshit to keep those clowns going. As soon as I'm done here we'll take care of the rest of them and have a little fun before we call in an extraction."
Above them, on the platform, the ice in the stasis tube started to melt, with each program Wesker closed another system containing the beast failed and the ice started to trickle like sweat.
"You're going to give this to umbrella?" Barry could not believe what was happening, how his world had changed.
"No." Wesker said, looking up. "I'm going to sell it to them. Then I'm going to open a Swiss bank account, right next to yours."
"I knew it!"
Wesker spun and saw Chris walking into the lab with Jill close on his heels; both looking up at the terrifying monstrosity encased before them. Chris felt a cold feeling in the pit of his stomach, he wouldn't have believed it unless he had seen it for himself.
Jesus, if this thing ever got out!
"This thing can't be real!" Jill exclaimed.
Wesker grinned at her, in a couple of minutes she would be his.
"It's real, alright." He said. "And it's worth more than gold!"
"Do we get a piece of that action?" Rosie asked, entering the room, Rebecca, Ada and the two scientists behind her.
"All of you do." Wesker smiled like a crocodile. "Anyone who comes out alive gets a taste."
Which would be none of them, he was going to make certain of that and it was all up to him how he'd do it and who would go first. He'd do Chris first, or maybe he'd save him till last so he could enjoy the show!
"I'm in." Rosie said, walking over to stand beside Wesker. "I've been eating shit all my life."
She cocked her rifle.
"I'm happy to eat a little more as long as it's got some gravy on top."
Wesker looked at the rest of the group.
"Anyone else see it my way?" He asked.
Doctor Toshiro raised Brads sub-machinegun and pointed it at Chris and the others, walking over to stand beside the grinning colonel. Ada stared hatefully at the scientist.
"You disgrace yourself!" She spat.
"I want to live." He said simply.
"Smart." Wesker said. "Anyone else?"
He looked at Jill.
Jill looked at Chris, into his tired, tortured eyes and slowly walked over to stand behind her commanding officer, placing her left hand on his shoulder smiling at Chris over his shoulder, gently kissing Wesker on the neck.
Wesker felt his heart racing, felt the urge to turn around and dominate her then and there, but held his composure. He had Jill wrapped around his little finger and he would enjoy watching the agony in Chris's eyes.
Chris watched her go and felt his last little grip on reality slip away, that last little piece of himself die, as it had done all those years ago when he had beat his father almost to death.
"I'm sorry, Chris." Jill said, her voice mocking. "But you really were only my cover…"
She looked at Wesker with eyes soft and loving.
"I've never stopped loving Wesker, since the night he took me home…"
Without thinking Chris whipped the M14EBR up, he didn't care anymore, just as long as he took that bastard with him. But Wesker was faster, like a bolt of lightning he had his Magnum up and pointing at Chris's gut. A smile slowly spread across his face.
"Gotcha, son." He said, finger tight on the trigger. "It's only because of Valentine here that I didn't pull the trigger."
Chris stared at Jill with empty, tired eyes, the fire inside him dying to embers that were almost out.
"If she's on your side." He said at last. "Then she doesn't mean shit to me."
"Please, Chris…" Jill said, slowly, her hand gently rubbing Weskers neck. "This can only go one way…"
"That's right!" Wesker laughed. "My way!"
Jill smiled at Wesker.
"Yes, sir." She said. "All your way."
She looked over at Chris, her eyes suddenly sad.
"Chris… I love you."
Quick as a flash her hand shot down to her holster, drawing her pistol and firing it into the small of Weskers back, punching a hole out hi front the size of a soup can, knocking him forward. The detonator on his belt was knocked loose, falling, almost in slow motion, to the floor clattering across the sterile cement to land at Chris's feet.
Everyone braced for the explosion, Jill closed her eyes and prayed that Chris would forgive her in his heart, prayed that he would understand it was all for him, that she loved him and always had.
But no explosion came. Wesker clutched at his broken stomach and screamed, trying to hold his intestines in. Chris picked up the detonator from his feet and saw a small LED display on the side counting down.
"Fifteen minutes." He said simply.
Jill looked at him and smiled weakly.
"I tried…" She said.
On the floor Wesker gritted his teeth and cocked the Magnum, raising it at her. There was a click and he looked around to find Barry Burton pointing his M16 at the side of his head, thumb on the selector switch.
"I wouldn't, boss." The giant said, suddenly scowling. "Shit, here I am still calling you boss!"
Wesker gripped the flash drive in his free hand, grimacing at the pain in his abdomen. Ada walked over and snatched it from his grip, spitting on him and walking away. He spun, turning the Magnum on her retreating back, when a boot kicked him in the side of the head, snapping his head around sharply.
Jill spat on him and kicked him again, causing him to drop the gun. He groped for it, groggily, but Barry stepped over and booted it away.
"We believed in you." Jill said, scowling. "I believed in you. Boy, was I a sucker!"
They were suddenly interrupted by a siren wailing, lights on the side of the Tyrants platform began to flash, the ice in the stasis tube was almost slush, the giant beasts hand started to twitch, the giant claws moving slowly, tensing and relaxing.
Benjamin backed towards the open lab door in fear, his eyes wide when something grabbed him from behind. He screamed as his attacker bit a chunk out of his cheek, blood coursing down and spreading over his turtle neck.
Ada was the first to see it; Brad Vickers, his eyes crazed, biting deeply into the scientist's neck, ripping the arteries and chewing the torn flesh.
"I told you to shoot him!" She screamed, raising her pistol.
She fired twice, the first round punching a neat hole in the centre of Brads face, the second taking the top of Benjamin's young head off. The alarm changed pitch and Plexiglas door to the lab began to glide shut.
"No!" Ada screamed and ran for the doors.
Rebecca was right behind her. Ada dropped the pistol and held the doors apart, straining against the electric motors. Rebecca ducked under her arms and pushed with all her might.
"We have to get out now!" Ada screamed. "Or we never will!"
"Everybody out!" Chris shouted.
Jill and Rosie bolted for the door, Chris close behind; they ducked through, under the arms of the two women. Chris shoved his sizable frame into the closing gap between the doors.
"Ada, Rebecca get out of here!" He ordered.
The door was closing, squeezing in. Toshiro stood, rooted to the floor by fear, the sub-machinegun hanging limp in his hands.
"Go!" Barry said, keeping his weapon trained on Wesker.
Before the word could register in Toshiro's fear induced mind the glass behind his head exploded outwards and the Tyrants giant first punched through, grabbing Toshiro's head in its massive palm. The scientist let out one agonized scream before the Tyrant squeezed, crushing the skull like it were a cantaloupe; brains and blood squirting out between the gaps in its giant fingers.
On the floor Wesker began searching around desperately for his pistol. They would NOT beat him! Not like this, HE was in control! This was HIS moment!
The Tyrant began to look around the room, its rage fueled mind slowly coming to life, and looking for something to kill. Its powerful legs began kicking out at the glass that encased it, frozen water pouring out of the hole its fist had made, soon it would be loose and there would be no stopping it.
Wesker started towards the door, scrabbling like some pathetic wounded animal, letting out a painful scream as his struggled to hold his stomach together. Barry tore his eyes from the caged monster and saw Wesker going for the narrow opening Chris was still desperately holding.
Something powerful grabbed Wesker from behind and flung him back across the room. Wesker thought for one fearful moment that it was the Tyrant, but then heard Barry's infuriating voice.
"You and me." The big black man said. "We ain't going anywhere buddy."
Barry turned to Chris and the others clustered behind him.
"If this thing gets loose it's all over!" He called. "Somebody's gotta hold it back, give you guys a fair chance!"
Chris grunted and let the doors go, his muscles completely drained.
Wesker rose to his feet in one herculean effort and dashed across the room doubled over and clutching his stomach. He dove and slid, sticking his arm out and into the last gap the doors made before they shut forever.
The heavy Plexiglas slammed on his upper arm making him scream in pain.
Chris looked down at the pathetic sight and turned back to the others.
"Get out of here!" He commanded.
Jill shook her head.
"Not without you!"
"There's only twelve minutes left, Jill." He cried. Now go!"
Ada, Rebecca and Rosie wrestled Jill away and up the stairs as Chris turned back to face miserable mass on the floor.
"COME BACK!" Wesker screamed after the last of his troops. "THAT'S AN ORDER!"
Chris knelt down next to Wesker, the two men separated by an inch of thick glass. Chris stared into the cold evil eyes, the glasses gone now, revealing a set of evil dark spheres, hidden in a cold dispassionate face.
"Orders don't mean shit, Wesker." He said, slowly. "Especially when they come from sellout bastards like you."
Now would be the perfect time, Chris realized, to exact his revenge, to finally kill this evil, heartless monster which had brought him to this house of horrors. But Chris no longer felt the urge. He had killed a lot of people in his short time on the earth and after being surrounded by so much death and destruction, he could no longer bring himself to do it.
It was then that he realized it went beyond Wesker, it went beyond this mansion in the woods. It went all the way to the top; to the men who had built this place, who had made these monsters. They were the ones that needed to be punished and he would see that it was done.
Chris looked into the face of the man he had thought only about destroying. Wesker would get his soon enough and Chris was going to live the rest of his life, he was going to fight ad get the woman he loved out of here and they would leave together and live their lives in peace.
Chris got to his feet and looked through the glass to where Barry stood, standing tall in the center of the lab, M16 cradled easily in the crook of his arm. Barry nodded and saluted the young man he had grown to admire so much.
Chris stood tall and saluted back to the old warfighter who had saved the woman he loved from the man he hated.
And with that Chris turned around and ran up the stairs, leaving Wesker behind him forever…
Wesker stared after Chris with hatred in his eyes. That bastard, he would pay!
There was another crash from behind him and snapped his head around to look over his shoulder. The Tyrant kicked again and the thick glass of the stasis tube cracked like a spiders web, spreading across the smooth surface.
One more kick…
Barry changed magazines on his weapon and stripped his combat vest off, tossing it aside. He would die as a brave paratrooper, but he would make it one hell of a fight.
"B-buddy!" Wesker pleaded. "You gotta get us out!"
Barry shrugged his massive shoulders, his face calm, implacable.
"Not sure I know how, colonel." He said with indifference. "Do you? Is there some other need to know secret for shutting down the big bopper here?"
"No!" Wesker cried, his voice getting desperate. "It can't be shut down!"
Barry stood stoically before the massive behemoth, still slowly coming to life in the cage that held it.
"The ultimate warrior, huh?" He said with contempt. "The ultimate soldier. Well let's see how it stands up to a couple of career guys like you and me!"
Chris reached the top of the stairs and kicked the case of tinned food out of the way, slamming the big steel door behind him, hearing the dead bolts slide into place. He raised his rifle to his shoulder and fired a round through the card reader next to the door, the panel exploding with a shower of sparks.
He spun around and saw Ada, Jill and the others crowded around the control panel next to the door leading out to corridor where what remained of Speyer lay in a puddle of his own defile.
Ada saw him and beckoned him over.
"The corridor outside," She yelled. "It adjoins a freight elevator; it can take us right to the surface!"
Ada fumbled with the controls, until she was rewarded with a deep rumbling from the corridor outside. The door in front of them whooshed open and Rosie stepped out into the stark white passageway, scanning both ways and the ceiling with her rifle. She spied a new opening down the far end waved the others to follow taking off at a run, Rebecca close on her heels.
Ada stepped back into the locker room.
"Go." She said to Chris and Jill. "Take this, it will activate the loader and take you to the surface."
She produced a red card key from her pocket and handed it to Jill.
"It's the master key." She explained. "I took it from the Umbrella representative assigned here, after I killed him. It will open any door."
"So you could have opened D lab?" Jill asked.
Ada merely smiled, sadly, her eyes downcast.
"Go." She said, taking Weskers flash drive from her pocket. ""I'll see to it that this is destroyed."
In a fit, Chris snatched the drive from her hand and threw it to the floor, bringing the hard heel of his worn boot down onto it, crushing it into the concrete.
"It's destroyed!" He said. "It's worthless, but you're not!"
"I helped develop it!" Ada cried.
"So, they lied to you!" Chris shot back. "They lied to everyone, made them create hell on earth against their will. Made them create pure evil!"
Ada stared at Chris, her eyes welling up in tears of shame.
"The kind of evil that resides in all of us," He went on. "Makes us greedy, uncaring. The kind of evil that will destroy us all in the end, unless we stand up against it!"
"Stand up?" Ada demanded. "Against the powers that have rules the world since before we were born? We will only be eliminated, marginalized, ignored."
She shook her head.
"I'd rather stay here and die." She said. "I'd know then that the virus has died with me."
Jill stepped forward, between Chris and Ada, her voice soft, controlled.
"What if it's already spread?" She asked calmly. "You're the only one left who knows anything about it."
Ada closed her eyes and lowered her head.
"But I know so little…" She whispered, barely audible over the wailing siren that echoed down the hall.
"More than anyone else." Chris said his voice gentle. "You have a responsibility, greater than anyone ever before."
That was enough, Ada opened her eyes and nodded, the passion within her suddenly alive again. She stepped out into the corridor and jogged towards the opening at the far end. Jill looked at Chris and he gazed back into her eyes, suddenly so soft and clear, so beautiful. Chris knew and finally realized that he too had a responsibility, far above his own thirst for revenge; he had ceased to live his own life years ago, but since the first day Jill had stepped into his world, he had been living for her, they shared the one heart, the one soul, the one life and that was the highest calling of all and the only one worth fighting for…
Jill moved close to him, their eyes locked, slowly bringing her lips up to meet his in a soft kiss that stopped the world around them. It seemed to last forever, blocking out the chaos of the world around them.
The slowly parted and Jill turned without a word and moved off down the corridor.
The Tyrants giant heart pumped faster and faster, the giant claw flexed, testing the range of its movement, its head looked around, the dead, cold eyes taking in the world for the very first time, like some perverted birth of a new life.
Barry stared at the giant organ which beat like a giant inhuman pump.
"That's a big goddamned heart." He muttered to himself. "What's it from anyway?"
Wesker was desperately trying to slide the heavy doors off his arm, trembling with the effort.
"A Rhinoceros." He grunted, gritting his teeth in pain.
He could feel his innards straining against the opening Jill's bullet had made in him, with every effort he made to free his arm he could feel his intestines squeezing out like sausages from a ruptured grocery bag.
"Shit." Barry grunted, looking at the pathetic form of his oldest friend writhing on the floor. "I figured you knew more than you were saying."
There was a an earsplitting crash as the glass around the giant beast was shattered, giant chunks of glass, exploding outwards, flying across the room, as the Tyrant brought its arms up to the sky, free at last, alive and moving for the first time.
Barry raised his rifle and fired.
Chris and Jill reached the opening at the end of the long, white corridor and stepped through into a large room stacked high with forklift pallets and crates; it was like a miniature warehouse. Set into the farthest wall was a vertical conveyor system coming up from under the floor and disappearing up into the ceiling high above. Forks protruded from the belt at regular intervals; designed to take the pallets laying about the room.
Chris felt his spirits soar; they'd just need to get up that shaft and they'd be home free!
From a darkened side passage there came a wailing moan that echoed throughout the massive room, filling their hearts with dread. The sound was heading their way, a sound Chris and the others had come to associate with death and utter terror.
It was the sound of an undead army…
Barry fired burst after burst into the massive pumping heart, backing away from the giant beast that slowly stepped down off the platform which had been its pedestal. The rounds where merely absorbed in the thick muscle, barely breaking the skin.
Barry aimed higher letting a burst go into the center of the horrible, disfigured face. The rounds merely tore away the thin layer of flesh stretched over a thick carbon fiber skeleton, the impacts unnoticed by the massive brute which slowly pursued him around the room.
Wesker jerked about in a mad panic. He could feel the vibrations through the floor with every massive thud of the giant's steps. He looked up, through the Plexiglas and saw, a mere inch from his hand, Brad Vickers boot.
Wesker gritted his teeth and stretched through the narrow opening, arm straining against the rubber buffers lining the inside of the doors. His arm shook and the pain in his stomach unbearable as his fingers curled around the smooth leather of the boot and he pulled it back through the opening.
The rubber buffers, tore at the skin of his arm, peeling flesh back and rubbing raw what it didn't, until his arm was out and Brads festering, putrid leg held the door open.
Wesker was free.
There were hundreds of them; shambling, moaning, putrid piles of walking disease, arms outstretched, stumbling over each other desperate for the taste of human flesh. Rosie fired at the first row, spraying wildly from her assault rifle, punching holes in chests, blasting arms away from their torsos, bowling the writhing creatures over backwards, but behind them more and more stumbled over the rising bodies of the first row.
Ada showed Rebecca onto the first set of prongs.
"Hold on!" She commanded and ran over to a slot set into a pedestal. "The doors you left open, that was the only thing holding them back!
She inserted her card and with an ear splitting groan the conveyor system rumbled into life, lifting Rebecca up towards the hole in the ceiling.
Jill stepped up next to Rosie and fired her .45 at the closing creatures. Eight feet separated the forks on the conveyor and it moved painfully slow. The creatures where closing in, two coming forward for every one they managed to put down. Rosie pulled the trigger as fast as she could squeeze her finger, spitting lead into the wall of undead humanity.
Skulls exploded, faces were torn away, the corpses littering the floor were crushed underfoot as the shambling mass came on and on.
"Come on!" Rosie screamed, her blood up. "I've been waiting all day for this!"
This was better than sex for her, what she had wanted her whole life; a chance to show the man race that a woman can kick some serious ass!
Ada stepped onto the next set of prongs and began to rise up, lending her own firepower with Rebecca's pistol. Chris stepped up next to Jill and began blasting away with the heavy M14EBR, the big rounds punching through one skull and smacking into another.
Rosie burned through her last magazine as Chris forced Jill back onto the next set of prongs that rose out of the floor. He pulled out his pistol and handed it to Rosie who wielded her own in her other fist. She grinned and laughed madly as she blasted away with both hands, knocking walking putrescence over with each jerk of the trigger.
Another set of prongs rose from the ground.
"You're up, Rosie!" Chris shouted, reloading.
"I'm having too much fun!" She cried, shaking her head. "You go, you got Jill, I got just me and these fuckers won't kill ME!"
Chris handed the M14EBR to her and grabbed onto the prongs as they rose up and away, climbing up and holding on tight. Rosie backed up to the hole in the floor, the wall of monsters was right on her, she fired over and over until the big gun ran dry, reversed it and wielded it like a club, swinging at heads like mail boxes.
The next prongs rose and she stepped blindly backwards, her boot just catching the edge of the long thin steel, lifting her up and away from the writhing sea of ghouls. The forks rose into a shaft, taking them between floors and the moans of the dead echoed up the concrete tunnel, getting lost in the groan and creak of the chains which hauled them up to safety.
At the top of the group Rebecca could see the light of the next level, coming towards them, she raised her rifle and tensed, expecting at any moment a horde of undead ghouls to come spilling down the shaft onto them.
"We're approaching C level!" Ada shouted down to those below. "Be ready for anything!"
"Whoo-hoo-hoo!" Rosie cheered from below, slipping a fresh clip into her pistol.
At the top of the conveyor, Rebecca's eyes rose above the level of the floor.
They Tyrant thumped around the room, slowly stalking Barry Burton like a towering, menacing skyscraper made of pure muscle and steel. It's giant claw hung by its side, the long blades slowly flexing like a fist clenching and relaxing. Barry fired at the giant beating heart over and over again, burning through magazine after magazine of copper jacketed, lead projectiles.
Wesker, ran across the room, doubled over holding in his entrails; taking advantage of the distraction Barry provided to activate one of the consoles. He gritted his teeth and fought with himself to stay conscious, pulling another flash drive from his pocket and inserting it into the terminal. He began to frantically copy the files over, cursing the slowness of the machine.
Barry saw his friend standing hunched over the terminal; why didn't he pick up a gun and fight?
He reached into a pouch on his belt and pulled a fragmentation grenade out.
"Get under a desk, man!" He bellowed across the room. "I'm gonna feed this thing a pineapple!"
Wesker looked up and saw Barry going for the pin, the stupid black bastard, he'd ruin everything! Wesker looked around frantically and saw Brad's sub-machinegun sitting in a pool of Toshiro's blood and he dove for it, scooping it up in one hand and snapping off a long burst at Barry's gut.
"You stupid Nigger!" He shouted, "You'll hit the system!"
The stream of 9mm bullets cut into Barry's washboard stomach, doubling him over and throwing him to the floor, the grenade rolling impotently from his twitching fingers. He looked up weakly at his oldest friend standing across the room, smoking gun in hand, looking at him with hatred and contempt.
He was bleeding out, he could feel it, feel the life ebbing away out of him. But what hurt most of all were not the bullets, but that word, the word he had heard so often his whole life, but never from the lips of his best friend; nigger…
The Tyrant saw the big man go down and dashed across the concrete floor, moving with mindboggling speed, sliding across the sterile floor like it were ice, closing the distance between his prey in half a second, scooping Barry up, by his head, with his giant fist.
Barry was dimly away of the pressure on his skull and new that in an instant he would be gone. His last thought before the Tyrant mashed his skull with its enormous palm was of a sunny day in Macon; he was seven years old and a group of Red-neck kids where throwing stones at him, chanting over and over again; nigger, nigger, nigger. And then Wesker had stepped in, punching the first of them in the nose and kicking another in the groin, chasing them away…
Nigger, nigger, nigger…
Wesker watched the Tyrant crush his friends head like a clump of soft dirt and smiled, turning back to the terminal, watching the status bar slowly filling up. He hated niggers, but they had their uses and Barry had served his for a long time, there was no way Wesker would have made it as far as he had without Barry helping him out here and there, but that time was over and Barry was no longer required.
"That's it, T man." He said to the monster, now examining the crushed remains in its hand. "Have a little lunch break; I only need a few more seconds."
The Tyrant cast aside the, broken and torn remains of Barry Burton, the carcass hitting the cement floor with a splat, more blood spilt in this the root of all evil. The giant pillar of waling destruction turned its attention Wesker, thumping across the floor towards him.
"Come on, come on!" Wesker urged the system to hurry, watching the giant approach.
The screen before him read 90%, the monster was 5 meters away, 95%, 3 meters, 98%, Wesker turned and fired off the last of the magazine into the brute, holding it back for a split second, just enough time; Wesker pulled the flash drive from the console and sprinted for the door, the Tyrant barely increased its stride, looming large over the feeble man.
Wesker jammed the sub-machinegun into the gap in the door, prying with the last of the strength in his battered body. The Tyrant swiped a computer console aside as if it were nothing, sending it flying across the room to smash into pieces against an expensive analyzer, destroying both.
Wesker got the door apart, just enough to squeeze his frame through, a piece of his entrails catching on the rubber stoppers causing him to cry out in agony, but he pushed through and popped out into the ante-room, the Plexiglas doors gliding shut at last.
Wesker saw the Tyrant run at the glass, sensing the creature's agitation at losing its kill. He laughed and held the flash drive up triumphantly.
"Eat shit, you-"
The Tyrant brought its claw back and drove it forward through the thick glass, punching through with its full weight behind it, crashing through like a runaway train, the giant claw plunging into Weskers torso causing him to howl in agony as he was lifted off the floor by the giant wall of death, his legs twitching and useless.
The Tyrant examined its new specimen, looking at the blood gushing from its wounds, running down the giant arm. It reached out with curiosity and pulled Weskers arm out of its socket, tearing it away from the body with a snap and a rip, causing Wesker to scream a blood curdling shriek.
The massive brute looked at the arm and tossed it aside, reaching out again and pulling one of his legs off, tearing a section of groin away.
Though only barely conscious, Wesker felt everything and knew that his head would be last…
Rebecca's head rose above the floor on level B, looking around at the loading area around her, it was almost pitch black and she felt her knees starting to tremble, terrified by the dark, unfamiliar surroundings, straining to hear over the creak and groan of the chains for any sounds of danger.
Slowly she rose up and out of the room, back into the freight shaft, below her the others clung to the forks they were standing on, hearts racing, not wanting to believe it was all but over.
"We're almost there!" Ada shouted out for all of them to hear. "You'll have to jump off, the belt won't stop!"
As the echo of her voice died away in the dark shaft it was replaced by another, wholly alien noise, a distant SCREEEE! That was growing closer. Rebecca's eyes shot up and she screamed as small black shapes darted past her, brushing against her as she ducked almost losing her balance on the narrow fork. Wings fluttered against her, animal screeching filled her ears.
Rosie looked up and saw the black shapes diving towards her and scowled.
"Bats!" She shouted. "Fucking bats! Flying fucking rats!"
Ada swatted at the creatures, slapping at them with her pistol. Jill shut her eyes and hung on for dear life.
"Don't panic Jill!" Chris called up to her. "They won't hurt you!"
Rosie aimed off to one side and fired off a round, the sound deafening in the tight confines of the freight shaft, the bats screeched and flew off down the shaft to the blackness below. She breathed a sigh of relief, steadying her shaking hands. After all that had happened a couple of bats had scared the shit out of her!
She smiled, fucking bats, what was she scared of? Dracula?
The wall above her erupted inwards, showering chunks of concrete down on her and something thick, scaly and deadly leapt into the confined space with her, claws slashing the air, clutching onto the belt drive mechanism and bringing the conveyor to a shuddering halt.
Chris almost lost his balance but grabbed hold of the forks and just in time, he shot a glance up and saw Jill still hanging on and looked down at Rosie below and saw something dark and indistinct below him.
Rosie blinked dust particles from her eyes and looked up and gasped, there above her, looking down with its demonic grin and razor sharp claws, was one of those creatures they had met in the long white corridor outside D labs, the self same creature that had torn Speyer to pieces!
It howled its spine chilling roar and swiped down at Rosie, missing her head by mere inches.
Chris heard the roar and fought to keep control of his fear.
"Climb out!" He bellowed up the shaft, starting his own climb up.
Rebecca grasped the chain, which drove the forks and started to pull herself hand over hand up the dark passageway, slipping on the thick grease coating the chain, holding on for dear life, slowly rising above the level of the floor, climbing out onto the cool cement, gasping for air, trying to catch her breath.
Below the creature released the mechanism and the conveyor jerked into motion again, Chris and Jill almost losing their balance but gripping the chain in a vice grip. The conveyor dragged Rosie to within reach of the growling monster and she ducked and jumped back down the shaft, barely catching the next set of prongs.
Rebecca rolled over and reached back down the shaft grabbing Ada's hand and pulling her up and out of the dark hell. Jill rose steadily towards them, reaching out to grab their outstretched hands when the creature below grabbed the mechanism again and she had to grab onto the chains to stop herself from falling.
Her arms trembled, her fingers becoming slack, slipping. You're weak! Useless!
She gritted her teeth and pulled herself hand over hand up towards the waiting hands, grabbing hold of them and getting hauled up into the bright world above. She immediately turned around and looked back down, searching the dark for Chris and Rosie.
The creature swiped at Rosie again and she fired two quick shots at it, both rounds punching into the creatures torso but doing little damage.
"Rosie!" Chris called to her, straining to see what was happening.
"I'm alright!" She shouted back up, ducking another deadly swipe of the monsters claws.
She wasn't alright, she was trapped, unable to move and unable to get up past the creature above her. There was nothing more Chris could do, he turned back towards the opening above and started to climb, his leg sending shock waves up through his body as he climbed up three feet and slid back two. He was inches away from Jill and Rebecca's outstretched hands, but just couldn't reach.
Rosie looked up past the creature blocking her path and saw Chris slipping back down, his strength spent, his worn jungle boots slipped off the chain drive and he was hanging in space; held up only by his trembling arms.
Nobody else dies today! I'll show this bastard what a woman can do!
"Hey you piece of shit!" Rosie shouted at the creature thirsting for her blood. "You want me? Then let's fucking dance!"
She propelled herself up at the growling beast above her and wrapped one muscular arm around its neck, showing the pistol into the gaping mouth of the beast, firing over and over, the creature, slashed at her midsection, slicing her open, letting go of the belt drive as it did so, the two warrior locked in a deadly embrace, falling back down into the dark oblivion below, Rosie's demonic laugh echoing down the dark passage below.
"Rosie!" Chris squeezed his eyes shut.
The chain rose up out of the floor and Jill grabbed his shoulders hauling him up next to her, holding him as he panted trying to regain his breath.
Ada rose from her knees and looked at the group of soldiers on the floor.
"Come.' She said.
Chris looked up at her through his tears, panting hard, every fiber in his body hurting.
"You convinced me that there were larger matters." She said. "We're at the top, now you must get us out."
The words hit Chris like a sledgehammer and he got to his feet and pulled Jill up with him. He reached into a vest pocket and pulled out Weskers detonator; 5:36… 5:35… 5:34…
He took Jill's hand and dragged her across the storeroom to a door set off to the side, opening it and stepping through into a world far more familiar to him; the dining hall of the old mansion. He led the small group around the massive table, their boots clacking on the marble floor, opening the door to a small bathroom.
Despite herself Rebecca marveled at the simple luxury of their surroundings, gold trimming on the vanity, marble walls and floor, a large porcelain bathtub, in another time it might seem warm and homely.
Chris ran over to the bathtub and tilted the faucet down, there was a rumble and the wall next to the sink slid open, leading into a small ante-room, a thick steel door at the end.
"Some bathroom." Rebecca said, absentmindedly.
"The owner was a bootlegger with a sense of humor." Chris said, ducking into the small room.
He reached into a small alcove set into the wall and picked up a long object wrapped in an oily rag. He unwrapped it; revealing an antique M1 Thompson Sub-machinegun with two box magazines, one of which he inserted into the magazine well and cocked the old weapon.
"Hope this still works." He said.
Chris turned the rusted handle of the steel door and threw it open, daylight pouring into the dim room, he ushered the three women out and ran out after them. He checked the detonator; 4:30 to go.
Above them, seated behind the controls of his old warhorse, Laguardia saw the four figures spill out onto the overgrown lawn of the big house; filthy, exhausted, waving up to him, beckoning him down. In the back of his mind he remembered the tops brass's orders; no independent action without authority.
"Fuck authority!" Laguardia answered himself, out loud, and he dove the old helicopter for the clearing.
Chris was panting, dead on his feet, the sight of the helicopter, draining away the last of his reserves, Jill stood with her arm around him, holding him up. It was over, they were finally out of this hell hole…
With a sudden ferocity, the wall behind them exploded outwards, Chris pulled Jill to the ground covering her from the flying debris, clutching the Tommy-gun in tightly. He heard Rebecca scream and he looked up; at the full nine feet of sheer killing power that was the Tyrant.
He got to his feet, pulling Jill up with him and backing away from the monster. The killing machine scanned the lawn, searching for targets, assessing the dangers, its claw flexing, the giant heart pumping steadily, the veins around the neck and jaw pulsing with every beat.
Chris shouldered the Thompson and fired a burst at the heart, the .45 caliber bullets, drumming into the big muscle, drawing the brutes attention.
"Run Jill!" Chris shouted, firing again, leading the beast away from her and the other two.
The Tyrant charged at Chris, the big claw dragging behind it, Chris dove out of the way just as the giant claw sliced the air where he'd been an instant before. Chris got to his feet and fired again, aiming for the pulsing veins around its thick neck.
The bullets tore into them and Chris was rewarded with a howl as the creature recoiled clutching at the torn vessel, blood pumping out. He reloaded, placing the last 20 rounds onto the old gun.
Up in the helicopter the radio operator couldn't believe his eyes, blinking in disbelief.
"What the hell is that?" He exclaimed.
"Something we weren't supposed to see!" Laguardia shouted back. "Drop the rope ladder and the 66!"
Chris watched as the thin rope ladder unrolled down to the lawn, landing near Jill and the others.
"Get up!" Chris shouted over to them, firing another three round burst into the oncoming behemoth.
He dove out of the way again as the creature charged at him in a fury. Jill, meanwhile, grabbed Ada and pushed her up the ladder, the downdraft from the rotors kicking up grass and dust. The scientist began to climb, hand over hand up the spinning, narrow ladder. Rebecca grabbed hold next, tossing her M16 aside and starting up.
Jill looked over at Chris and started towards him.
She looked up and saw Rebecca on the ladder above her.
Jill pursed her lips and clung onto the ladder, beginning the difficult ascent.
Above he radio operator leant out the door and shouted below.
He threw a short, green, cylinder down to the grass below, where it bounced and came to a stop in a clump of weeds. Chris saw it out of the corner of his eye and fired off the last of the magazine into the creatures face, sprinting across the tall grass and scooping up the 66mm disposable rocket launcher.
The Tyrant was racing towards him in a rage, eating up the distance between them. Chris pulled the pin on the back of the tube and extended it, with a crack, exposing the sights, placing it on his shoulder, aiming for the massive heart and pressing the trigger.
The rocket shot out and screamed into the oncoming monsters heart, exploding on contact, blowing out half of the Tyrants chest. Momentum carried the killing machine forward, toppling and crashing down on top of Chris, pinning his legs to the weed choked lawn.
Chris struggled to get out from under the dead weight, mentally counting down in his mind, less than two minutes to go! He couldn't budge from under the mass of twitching muscle and sinew. Laguadia saw Chris's plight and swung the chopper over, bringing the ladder to within his reach, Chris grabbed onto the rungs and the pilot pulled up on his collective, pulling the chopper up and Chris out from under the terrible beast.
Chris began to heave himself up the skinny aluminum ladder, Laguardi pulled away from the massive, old house, flying out of the dark forest, towards the setting sun.
Chris pulled himself up to the cabin and Jill helped him inside, falling back, exhausted, into the web seat; holding her lover in her arms. Chris reached into his pocket and pulled out the detonator; 30 seconds to go. Jill saw and shouted up to the pilots.
"We have to get out of range or this whole place will go up!"
"No!" Chris said, getting to his feet and stumbling towards the cockpit, holding himself up between the pilots seats. "No, stay in range, we have to destroy this place, just circle, okay?"
Laguardia nodded. Chris fell back into the web seat, beside Jill, looking into her dirt streaked, tired face.
"Chris, your home, your town…" She said to him softly.
Chris smiled weakly at her, caressing her face with his hand.
"I hoped it would be our home." He looked down at the detonator. 7 seconds.
"Punch it!" He shouted to Laguardia who banked away from the old house, dark and foreboding, now more than ever.
He revved the engine and they roared away from the ancient landscape, away over the forest, towards the high cliffs where Chris had stood barely twelve hours before, behind them, framed by the setting sun, the enormous house erupted upwards and outwards, exploding in a brilliant ball of light and fire, vaporizing the forest around the house, reducing the trees to burnt matchsticks with power of an atomic explosion.
A wall of fire shot out in a 360 degree circle, killing anything moving in the forest, spreading out towards Chris's family farm, engulfing it in searing white hot heat, burning it down with Rake along with it, reaching out towards Raccoon City, blasting through the deserted streets, blowing out shop fronts, exploding cars and incinerating the three shambling figures walking down the main street of town, one of them chewing on a severed arm; the eyes bubbled and boiled out, hair disappeared, singed away, skin flaked away, stripping off the bones, blasting them away…
In the gently vibrating Huey Ada sat staring out the window contemplating the future, thinking of lives lost and lives saved, of the cost of trying to do the right thing. How would she live the rest of her life, knowing she had a hand in mass murder? One day at a time, she would see to it that it all came out and that would be her legacy, not genocide.
Chris held Jill tight in his arms and smelt the soft aroma of her hair. He gently kissed the back of her neck and snuggled a little closer to her warm, soft body. For the rest of his life he would guard and protect her and he would share every ounce of life he had with her. They were going to start a family and their lives would grow and grow, they would laugh and smile and they would grow old together and they would be happy. Chris had fought with every ounce of his strength for this beautiful woman and now he would live for her as well.
Rebecca Chambers sat on the steel deck, unlacing her boots and kicking them off, rotating her ankles and letting her feet breath, enjoying the cool air at the high altitude. She was alive and that was a gift she intended to enjoy to the fullest, she was going to move to a place in the sunshine, next to the water and never wear shoes again. She looked over at Chris and Jill, asleep in one another's arms on the web seat. And if she could share a little of her life with someone else, that would be nice too.