Project Lucifer. For years Dean cursed the very name of the experiment that took his brother away from him. It was supposed to be an honor to be picked, and his brother had always been the smart one of the two of them. Dean...well, he had always been the good soldier. Point him at the one you wanted dead and he would do it.
Their Uncle Bobby had always found it funny that the two of them ended up employed by the same company in two completely different divisions.
Sam had given him something special for getting into the most Elite of the soldiers employed by Umbrella. It was an AI he had made based off the one he used all the time to help with his research.
His name was Castiel, off of the Angel of Thursday. Sam never told Dean why he had given such an expensive and ridiculous gift to his brother before that day, but Dean had appreciated it all the same during those cold lonely nights on guard duty in some god-forsaken country he could never pronounce.
Castiel was his sounding board and his confidant. Dean could tell him anything, and Cas would always cheer him up. So what if his friends thought him weird for talking to a computer. It was nice to have someone he could trust explicitly without worrying about his bosses getting on his ass for divulging company secrets.
Then he got the e-mail from Sam saying he had volunteered for something big that he called Project Lucifer as a lark.
Dean hadn't heard a word from Sam again. He would have feared the worst had Castiel kept his mouth shut, but since he had been made by Sam personally he could access the files on his computer and bypass the AI Sam had safeguarding his work.
Gabriel hated the Red Queen (he called her Red Bitch more often than not, even within hearing of said AI) with a passion. He only let Castiel in because the other AI was like his little brother.
Dean wanted to see his brother again. If he could have done it, he would have stormed the HIVE and damned the consequences after.
But he couldn't, and the chats with Castiel got longer and more worrying for his former friends.
Then the call came out that the Red Queen had turned homicidal and Dean had all but demanded that he be put on the team that was being sent to find out what happened.
He would see Sam, dead or alive, even if it cost him his life in the process.
Sam Winchester, head of the Lucifer Project as he had so sarcastically called it after seeing the effects of the virus, sighed.
"What's the matter Sammy-boy?" asked Gabriel.
"I don't know Gabe. I've had the worst feeling for hours now and I still can't raise security."
Alice had been the only person he had been able to chat with on the surface, and she had been rather nice to him, for a soldier. He almost forgot what it was like to feel the sun on his skin after being down here so long.
"Ah..." said Gabriel, not wanting to tell Sam what he had seen happen outside the room.
Sam disliked the Red Bitch (Gabriel had picked up that nickname from somewhere) and he didn't trust her. So he hacked the mainframe and turned over all control to Gabriel instead. She couldn't access his room, and Gabriel got to annoy the scientists occasionally by slamming the doors in their faces when Sam wasn't in the mood to deal with them.
Consequently, this meant she had no control over the environmental controls or anything in the rooms that belonged to that particular part of the complex.
"Gabe? What's going on?" asked Sam, eyes narrowing at the hologram.
Gabriel shifted nervously.
"You know how you said that you couldn't trust the Bitch as far as you could toss her server?" he said carefully.
"What happened?" said Sam sharply.
"Someone just unleashed the T-Virus into the Hive by shattering a vial. She enacted the safety protocols and killed everyone but you. She has the infected contained but there's no way we can raise the surface since she hit the mansion above as well."
Sam looked shocked. He was the only one alive?!
"How did they die?"
"Gas, and several were caught in the elevators. Right now the dead are still in the offices and locked down tight, but if Umbrella sends anyone down here they'll probably shut her down and let them out by accident."
Sam thought hard. If he knew Dean and he knew his brother very well, then he was on his way into a massacre. But...this was his best chance to slip out of the Hive once and for all and never come back. Gabriel was a by-far superior AI and he hated Umbrella's primary AI with a passion. He could hack their computers and erase all records of Sam with ease.
"Gabe, let me know when the gas dissipates to safe levels. Then we're going to hack that bitch and get out of this hell."
"With pleasure Sammy!" said Gabe cackling.
An hour later, Sam was done remotely hacking the Red Queen's controls. He could have done this anytime really, but if he had then she would have alerted the surface and Umbrella could have hunted him down.
They were still pissed he had 'lost' the main program to the satellite system that had gotten him on their radar in the first place. Without that program, which he had never written down for safety reasons, they couldn't access the powerful weapon still above the earth.
Project Micheal was his greatest creation, and after they had 'volunteered' him for T-Virus experiments, he had made sure they would never be able to use it.
Sometimes the greatest defense was ignorance.
"Sam, she's noticed the intrusion. If we try to get to her directly she'll definitely use the laser grid," warned Gabriel.
"Then we won't take the main route. She doesn't control all of them and right now those things are safely contained. This is our best chance at getting out of here."
"Good point. Hang on... Put that on so she can't kill you like she did the others," said Gabriel.
Inside was a gas mask, something that none of the scientists outside his personal lab had access to when she killed them. Sam slipped it on and made sure it was working properly before he left his room.
It had been ninety minutes since the Red Queen went homicidal. It would take hours before anyone could get down and see what happened.
Sam crawled through the service shaft, Gabriel chattering in his ear through the portable version of his server.
He had created a way to talk to an AI without having to see them. It was disguised as an ear piece not too dissimilar to those used with certain cell phones. They hadn't been interested, but he had made a few samples anyway.
One he had given to Dean that had been loaded with the 'brother' program of Gabriel which he called Castiel. The rest he had to scrap because they had turned out either worse than the Red Queen or because they had been corrupted.
Sam lifted up the service door to the Red Queen's mainframe.
"You have to get out! This area is restricted!" said the little girl who served as the Red Queen's face.
"Oh, I'm getting out alright. I'm leaving just as soon as I'm done with you," said Sam.
The Red Queen had no defenses in the mainframe chamber. This was because while the one who made her had given her a laser grid, even he wasn't idiotic enough to give her anything that could kill them on the almost-impossible-to-consider chance she would take offense and they had to shut her down permanently.
That was mostly because Sam had pointed out that constant exposure to Gabriel might corrupt her programming, and the laser grid was the only known access anyone would consider. The other was guarded by the security team in their room.
With them dead, Sam could access the service shaft and no one would stop him.
Sam pulled out the hardware that held the bulk of the Red Queen's programming and went to work.
After repairing Gabriel so often, Sam had become very adept at this kind of work.
"You're going to die down here," said the Red Queen venomously.
"You first," said Sam, as he unplugged the Red Bitch and plugged in Gabriel.
The illusionary version of the Red Queen shorted out for a moment, before Gabriel appeared full-sized.
"Uploading... Upload complete. I am now installed. Deleting Red Queen now..." said Gabriel a little too vindictively.
It took Gabe two minutes to delete the Red Queen's program and install a copy of his own. He now had full control of the Hive.
"Is the laser grid offline?" he asked.
"Yes, but the bitch unlocked the doors. All the doors," said Gabe angrily.
"Lock everything down now! And restart the feeds!" said Sam urgently.
"Done. Fortunately we didn't pass any of the dead on the way here, and it would likely take them a while to become active."
"And the specials?"
"I restarted the suppression feeds. They won't wake up unless something malfunctions in their cages. Either way, you better get moving just in case."
Sam nodded in agreement.
He was back down the service shaft and up the ladder before anyone managed to reach the mansion.
"Sir, there something odd about the Hive," said the tech specialist.
"There was a blip in the Red Queen's feed to the Umbrella mainframe," he said confused.
"What kind of blip?" he asked.
"According to the logs on the mainframe, one that's been baffling the engineers for months."
Dean was anxiously awaiting the drop off point. He had managed to get on the team, but it was evident that no one trusted him right now.
He had an official record of being more than slightly unhinged because they had caught him more than once talking to an AI like a regular person. The only reason he hadn't been 'expended' was because he was still useful. Either way, they weren't going to trust Dean with anything important.
"Is there any change in the Hive's status?"
"Then ignore it...but warn me if anything new comes up."
Dean fidgeted as he fingered his earpiece. He rarely took it off.
Seeing this, the CO gave Dean a look.
"Winchester, I didn't ask for you and the only reason you're here is because of you volunteered. However if I catch you talking to that toy of yours, you be left on the surface until we get back,"he said warningly.
"Yes sir," said Dean. Castiel wisely remained silent.
"Coming up on the mansion," the pilot called out.
"Dean," said Cas softly into his ear.
Dean tapped his gun twice to show he had heard without letting the CO notice.
"Gabriel has deleted the Red Queen's programming. Sam is alive, but he can't escape the mansion without someone opening the doors first. He said that under no circumstances should you let them into the Red Queen's chamber. If you shut it down you'll unleash the creatures that made him call the project he was assigned Lucifer," warned Castiel
Dean tapped his gun twice again to show that he heard.
"Sam also said that he will wait with you once you arrive. You can claim to keep the 'scientist' in protective custody until they finish. But there is a laser grid in front of the chamber and Gabriel isn't entirely sure that the Red Queen is fully deleted."
Dean was going to tap his gun again, but the CO was watching him pointedly.
Sam was waiting on the platform, not because he wanted to, but because some bastard had taken the train and there was no way in hell he was walking up those tracks.
It was a dumb idea, and one almost certain to get him killed as there was no room for him to hide when the Umbrella soldiers arrived. He didn't want to get turned to paste because he was impatient.
"Sam, soldiers have breached the outer perimeter, and Dean is with them."
"Warn him about the laser corridor."
"Already did. And I warned him that going in was suicide."
Twenty minutes later Sam saw the train barreling down the tracks.
"Another survivor. Name?" demanded the CO.
"Sam. I'm in programming. What the hell happened? I was taking a nap and when I woke up everyone was dead," he asked feigning confusion.
"That's what we're here to find out. Can you lead us to the Red Queen's chamber?"
"Unfortunately no. My clearance isn't high enough to access it. Look, I really don't want to go back in there, it's creepy enough as it is! Do you have any idea how freaky it is for this place to be so quiet?!" said Sam, pretending he was freaking out. He wasn't, but that was beyond the point.
"I can't spare any men to guard you while we investigate," he said sharply.
"Sir, if it's alright with you I'll watch this one," offered another soldier. Sam's eyes went to the voice. This was a game he and Dean had played years ago. They would pretend not to know who the other was and get out of trouble.
"Fine. I better not come back and find you playing with that thing Winchester," spat the leader.
It was clear the man didn't want Winchester with them when they went in, and that there was no love lost between the two. Having the offending soldier volunteer for a duty nobody else wanted must have been a relief.
By the time the other went in, the two remained silent. Finally, when Gabriel said they were on the second level Sam hugged Dean tightly.
Dean hugged his brother with relief.
"Do you have any idea how worried I was when you stopped writing?" he said.
"I'm sorry, but the servers kept deleting my e-mails as soon as they went outside. And that bitch blocked me from the other terminals."
"What bitch? Please tell me I can shoot her," growled Dean.
"The Red Queen. And I deleted her earlier. Gabe's in control of the Hive right now."
"Damn it's good to see you Sammy!" said Dean.
"I am well Sam. Thank you for asking. Shall I begin the virus upload?" asked Castiel.
"Wait, virus upload?" said Dean, looking at Sam.
"Castiel, upload the virus and delete everything related to the Winchester brothers and Micheal Sword from all servers. Leave it on the net so if they try to hook up it will get the closed circuit systems as well. I want no trace of us having ever existed," said Sam.
"Uploading virus into Umbrella mainframe."
"Sam, what's going on?" asked Dean, worried.
"We're leaving the Umbrella and we're never going back. Not after what they've done," said Sam angrily.
"Virus has been uploaded and I've taken the liberty of draining both your accounts dry. All financial information is now in a series of fake accounts," announced Cas.
Sam was about to get onto the train when he noticed something. Opening up the steel box, he found it full of a very familiar set of vials.
"Son of a bitch. Project Lucifer!"
"This is Project Lucifer?" said Dean, picking up the blue one. Sam snatched it out of his hand, careful not to break it.
"Project Lucifer, AKA the T-Virus. When injected or released it gets into the bloodstream and then kills the subject...once dead the body then 'reanimates' and goes on a rampage. It has only one purpose and that's destruction."
"Wait, this thing creates zombies? Are you shitting me?" said Dean in disbelief.
"It's a nasty piece of work. The worst part is that if you're bit by an infected, then it gets into you and turns you into one of them."
"Why do you call it Lucifer then? Wouldn't naming it after one of the Romero flicks be a better choice?" joked Dean.
"Dean, what was one of the signs of the Apocalypse?" asked Sam.
Dean looked at the innocent vial. So much death and destruction from such a small amount.
"Gabe, can you hack the train's controls? I want to be out before they realize I uploaded the virus."
"Done and done. One of the first things I did when you put me on the main server was hack the train. The Red Queen certainly never cared about it."
By the time she had cared enough to try and actively block Sam, it had been far too late. Gabriel was a master at making little bolt-holes and once he was into a system it was damn near impossible to get him out.
That was one of the reasons she hated him so much.