Summary: In a final act of desperation Excella turns of Wesker and throws him to one of his experiments, letting what he considered his greatest triumph deal with him.
Characters: Excella Gionne, Albert Wesker, Jill Valentine, Chris Redfield, Sheva Alomar
Notes: I don't know how it happened, but Excella has become one of my favorite characters and I wanted to write something featuring her. Some forum discussions and remembering the early concept art that showed her getting killed by a Tyrant gave me this idea and I recently found it, mostly ready to be posted, in a folder of half-done works. In the mood to post something featuring Excella I cleaned it up a little.
Excella looked at the Tyrant, Albert's long awaited triumph with Uroboros after countless failures, and in that moment she understood.
Albert didn't intend to elevate her to stand at his side in the new world he planned to create, not that his ideas for a new world mattered to her. She had everything she could ever want, except for the promise of immortality he held over her head for so long.
A promise she could now accept that he had never intended to make good on.
Accustomed to getting her way in all things she'd held out hope for far longer than any rational woman might have. No rational woman would have survived in her place, fighting her way to the top of the cut throat biotechnology industry and walking the tightrope she did, the largest financial backer of the BSAA, even as she worked on her own projects. Her goals had never lined up with the organization she supported, she'd always wanted something more.
It was the curse of greatness, to always aspire to what was beyond ones grasp, forever striving for the seemingly impossible.
Having done the tests years ago, on a whim, just to see, she knew that she wasn't one of the lucky ones. She was not immune to any of the viruses she had worked with, and later the more esoteric ones that Albert had such an interest in, so she'd needed to be excruciatingly careful. Any other woman would have faltered.
There were vaccines of course, but she'd not taken any of them for fear that when Albert saw fit to make her like him vaccine granted immunity might interfere. There were ways around that of course, but Albert had planted the suggestion that the viruses were too dangerous, too unpredictable to take any chances. From what she had seen, she agreed, leaving anything more than was necessary to the whims of uncaring chance would be suicidal.
And in the end, of the many things she was, calculating, ruthless, determined, suicidal was not one of them.
In the end Albert's warnings, those insidious little suggestions that he knew better, and from firsthand experience none the less, she knew how dangerous the things they worked with were.
All of the things.
She'd looked at, not into, but at, Albert's eyes, when he'd seen fit to let her and tried to tell herself that they didn't frighten her, that he hadn't given up his humanity, but surpassed it.
She'd told herself over and over again that she wasn't afraid, that there was no room for doubt.
And in Albert's arms, lost in visions of a perfect world, there hadn't been.
Except she now understood that what she had imagined, things unchanged save for her being immortal and perfect, in no way resembled Albert's vision for things to come – a world as brutal and uncaring as he was.
A world she once thought had similarities to the one she'd grown up in.
He'd never shared those visions with her so she'd needed to imagine and as clever as she was, she struggled to imagine them dissimilar to what she already knew.
There had been hints though, hints that came back to haunt her like the unquiet ghosts of those she'd needed to deal with on her path to where she was now.
A dead end path to a dead world, looking at her last, horrifying chance to step off it.
The woman, Jill Valentine, had tried to warn her and then derided her for going along with the plans of a madman, a monster.
Well, look at her now, all the good her warnings had done before.
It was looking at the Tyrant that cemented it all for Excella.
As Tyrants went it was well made, no exposed secondary heart, nearly three meters tall, lean and muscular, and almost recognizable as having been human. That might have been from the Uroboros, or just pure genetic luck. After all, even when it had been human it had certainly been unique, something that Albert had said over and over again until Excella had hated the sight of her.
It was not a beautiful thing now, no matter what Albert said.
That he called the Tyrant a success, proof that Uroboros worked, said so very much and loudly enough that she started to listen.
It wasn't a sudden revelation though, otherwise the vials she held would have been filled with the drugs Albert had told her to administer to the Tyrant, P-30 and who knew what else. Not stabilizers to prevent mutation, Albert had been proud of creating a controlled strain, something with no risk of spontaneous mutation. He'd been clear about that, even if on everything else he'd been maddeningly vague. If she'd wanted to she could have found out what had been used to make it and what she was expected to administer to it now. The drugs were bought with her money, produced in labs she owned. Only Albert's visions were his own. Otherwise he was a parasite.
A beautiful one, like some exotic orchid clinging to the side of a tree, but a parasite none the less.
The Tyrant stared impassively back at her, waiting.
Things rolled and shifted beneath its skin.
There were no answers in its faded gray eyes, simply low burning rage held in check by the P-30 that kept it subdued and obedient.
The Tyrant's hatred didn't frighten her, she'd seen the same thing before, each time with Jill Valentine and the countless test subjects along the way, and, before that, the men and women, pathetic hangers-on that had tried to follow her to success in their own goals. Having lived in that hatred her whole life, she was used to it, desensitized. It was her world and all she knew, comfortable in its familiarity.
It was the thought of what she was doing that terrified her, what would happen if she was wrong, if she failed.
Quicker and with far less pain than what would happen if Albert followed through on his intent, but death none the less.
She did not want to die.
Excella looked at the vials in her hand, harmless saline solution.
How long it took Jill Valentine to shake the P-30's control after dosage was something she knew well from painful experience.
Albert's sly smirk after the worst of the incidents, the single eyebrow raised in an unspoken question at her black eye brought a spark of hatred that was almost enough to goad her into action.
Fear, unfamiliar with how real it was, not the detached awareness of distant failure, but the threat of death, near enough to see and to see her, made her hesitate.
Jill shook the P-30 in a matter of minutes if the dose was too low and the situation provided the right stimulus to goad her into action. The Tyrant though, would there be any time at all? If it killed her immediately her plan, a last act of revenge, would never come to fruition.
The thought of failure stung worse than death.
"Listen to me," she hissed, letting anger mask her fear, for she knew that Albert was watching, listening. There were cameras everywhere in the building, especially here, to watch the Tyrant, so not a single moment of her planning belonged to her alone, only her thoughts and her hatred.
And deep beneath it, clawing its way to the surface, scratching at her chest, wrapping its unseen coils around her heart, the fear she'd felt at the realization of what Albert's success would mean for her.
Gray eyes stared down at her, lips pulled back from jagged teeth in a snarl.
Or maybe a mocking smile.
See, those eyes said, Look at Albert's true vision. This is his plan for the world.
Except it never would have been phrased that way
"I know you can understand," Excella snapped at the Tyrant, taking some measure of comfort in her control over the thing. That there was at least one thing left she could control, tenuous as that control was, "Tell me you understand."
She sounded desperate, if he was listening Wesker would hear only that.
That was fine, she was desperate.
The Tyrant grimaced.
It let out a growl, the P-30 forcing it to obey that much, though it was trying not to.
That was good, it knew enough to try to spite her and fight her command, but it was still under her control.
She liked it when she was in control of things.
Little things that she could control were all she had left.
She could control a Tyrant, how she would die, the security codes to the doors in her own research facilities and precious little else.
So much was out of her hands now that she had to use what she held to the fullest.
"The BSAA is coming, Albert's holding off his plans until they arrive."
The Tyrant let out a huff that she imagined was derisive.
"I don't know why, but he is," Excella sighed, rolled one of the vials between her hands, not to warm it, but to give herself something to do, "I think it's foolish and dangerous and it has me talking to you. All of the researchers here are dead, it's just him and me. I can't talk to him when he's like this and if I don't talk I'll go crazy."
The words came fast and in a rush, flowing more freely than she'd wanted.
The Tyrant stared, waiting for her to get to the point.
But she couldn't, because Albert might be listening and if he heard the wrong thing he wouldn't come to inspect the Tyrant, to give it orders so it would be ready for whatever he had planned.
He never let her in on his plans.
Well, two could play at that game, couldn't they?
"You hate him."
The Tyrant nodded, though she hadn't been asking a question or giving an order. No point in it trying to deny the obvious she supposed.
"You'd kill him if you got the chance."
The smile widened and then faltered as the Tyrant tried to parse the meaning of what it had heard, wondering if she was stating the obvious, that it hated her and Albert in equal measure, or if she too wanted Albert dead. As a human it had been far cleverer than Excella had been willing to acknowledge, for she never imagined test subjects as anything but beneath her, and some of that remained. She could see it in the Tyrant's eyes.
"Don't kill me, that's all I ask."
Careful, vague phrasing, and neutral tone, a request, not an order, as though she suspected that Albert might have planned such a brutal end for her when she outlasted her use.
If it was smart the Tyrant would understand.
Slowly, horrified by the way her hands were shaking, Excella reached for the pump fastened to the Tyrant's chest.
The thing was on a constant, steady stream of P-30, the only way to keep it controllable. It wasn't some clone, drugged and docile from creation, it remembered being human, a woman and that woman had hated her.
Had also pled and tried to reason with her once.
Held long, impassioned arguments when allowed to at least speak freely, right up to the end.
A massive hand closed around her arm.
The order for it to let go died on her lips as she remembered how, in the past, Jill Valentine had once managed to shake the P-30's control and swing a single desperate punch at her. It hadn't been much of a punch compared to what the woman was capable of, pain and the drug doing that much at least, but Excella had been knocked backwards by the impact.
The Tyrant managing the same would kill her.
It stared down, not at her, but the vial.
Smart as it was, it might have noticed that the liquid inside was different, a different color, its viscosity subtly off, that there was some small indication that all was not as it seemed.
It lifted her arm, turned its hand slightly so that she was standing on tiptoe.
It Albert was watching he would be smiling. Before, he had pitted the two of them against each other in subtle ways that Excella had only recently realized, when she had as close as she would to the whole picture of things. In all of those altercations she had been forced to resort to brute force in the end, though she hadn't realized it at the time, the P-30 making it so that her demands were always obeyed in the end.
Except when they weren't.
Now brute force wasn't an option for her.
And the only option the Tyrant had.
Eyes narrowed as it looked at the minute lettering on the side of the glass cylinder, that much was the same, even if the contents weren't.
Excella waited, how long it stared letting her know that she wasn't going to die, at least not yet.
"Let me go."
It complied, allowing her to remove the near empty vials in the pump and replace them one by one.
Then it stood, waiting, but differently than it had before.
Excella could see the tension in the muscles of its arms, the way it flexed its fingers. The P-30's hold on it had already been tenuous at best.
Jill Valentine was able to regain control after just a few minutes after being taken off the drug, but would it be faster or slower for a Tyrant?
She backed out of the room, not daring to take her eyes off the thing, nearly backing into Albert, who had soundlessly arrived to watch in person.
If she'd known that he hadn't been watching at the beginning she would have said more at first, made her intent clearer so there was no room for error, but even then he might have overheard.
So maybe whatever happened would be for the best.
"Don't be afraid," Albert purred, smiling at her the way he had when they had first met. The look no longer sent butterflies to her stomach and dreams of immortality to her head, "The future is at hand."
Excella nodded, stepped aside and let him enter the room.
"You'll want some privacy with Jill I'm sure," she smiled. Because he still addressed the thing by name even though it was clear that it infuriated the thing.
For him the future was far nearer, far shorter, than he had imagined.
Sure enough the Tyrant growled, louder than usual. Knowing what was to come it was impatient.
Albert nodded, but Excella was already closing the door behind him, listening to the lock engage even as he began talking to the Tyrant, telling it of his grandiose schemes, she was sure.
She wished she had asked Jill Valentine when she'd had the chance, if what Albert told the two of them about his plans was different. There were things he had told Jill that he hadn't shared with her, that much she knew, but at the time she'd convinced herself that she didn't care.
And the door was thick enough that she couldn't hear what he was saying through it.
The thud of him being picked up and slammed into it though, that she was able to hear just fine, even if the orders that followed were muffled, or drowned out by the Tyrant's roars of rage, or maybe pain.
Albert was quite capable of fighting back after all, that strength and control had been a large part of what had made him so intriguing.
A strength he had no intention of sharing. His perfection allowed no others, his intent being to live as a god-king among monsters, as he believed he always had.
Still, she had enough samples that she could try and reverse engineer what had been done to him, if there was time.
If not they'd still make a good bargaining chip if need be because there would be a need. Fooling herself into thinking that she would have time for anything else was an exercise in self-deception that she no longer had the patience for.
Towards the end Albert had gotten careless with what he was doing, there was no way this wouldn't be traced back to her.
The BSAA was on its way after all and she was here with no clear plan for escape, no way thought of how to cover her tracks and vanish cleanly back into her world of luxury and deceit.
Albert slammed into the door again, hard enough that she swore she saw it shake.
A loud buzz followed, him running his keycard through the slot and finding that it didn't work.
Again and again he tried, in frantic, human desperation.
The Tyrant laughed.
If she'd had Albert's appetite for violence she would have left to watch what played out of the security feed, but she didn't.
So instead she listened.
Chris had taken point as he and Sheva made their way through the facility. He wouldn't have had it any other way and she hadn't tried to protest, even when he grew less and less through about actually clearing the place.
After a time it became apparent that caution wasn't necessary, yes they'd encountered plenty of Majini, but they were all dead.
Most had been torn limb from limb, but some looked like they'd been shot.
Sheva was the one who'd suggested that that they might have started fighting each other. It was the only explanation that she could think of.
Chris clearly didn't think so, but didn't say anything. He didn't need to. They both knew infected didn't fight each other, certainly not Plagas given the hivemind or whatever it was they had going on that let them coordinate with at least the semblance of tactics. It was far more likely that something had escaped and been killing them, but that didn't explain the ones that had been shot. Her explanation at least covered that.
Even if it didn't explain why the place was in lockdown.
Or the trail of blood from a holding cell to a locked door.
Or maybe it did.
The Majini had gone insane or something had escaped and someone not infected had put the place in lockdown and then run or been killed along with everything else.
That worked as an explanation, but left the uncomfortable question of what had escaped.
And if it was still alive.
The further into the facility they went the more confident Chris became that nothing was left alive and he rushed through every open door, because despite the number of locked doors they encountered there were some that were opened, never mind that the path seemed deliberate, like they were being guided.
Through rooms full of dead Majini, upstairs to the top floor of the facility where the appearance of the building changed abruptly.
No more sterile corridors of concrete and stainless steel, but a series of lavishly decorated halls and for the first time Chris hesitated. The contrast was jarring, going from labs and testing areas full of dead Majini to what looked like a luxury hotel. Chris stood there, lost in thought. He shook his head, muttered something that she couldn't hear and kept going.
Sheva stared at him, waiting for some explanation that he never gave as they pressed on. The best she could do was guess and her guess was that it had something to do with Jill Valentine.
Chris had insisted she was still alive, that he'd been sent that picture of a reason.
For her part Sheva tried not to think of what that reason might be. It felt too much like bait to her, but if she'd suggested that they were walking into a trap Chris still wouldn't have listened. Convinced that Jill was alive and held somewhere in the facility, he had repeatedly rushed headlong into danger.
Barreling forward into the unknown, bringing up that they might be in more danger than it seemed would only be a distraction and she couldn't afford that.
Chris was distracted enough for the two of them.
Like before most of the doors were locked. The ones that weren't had nothing of interest inside, storage mostly, but not lab equipment or weapons. Racks of expensive looking clothing, pieces of artwork, a whole room of bottles of wine, matching the luxury of the place.
Except for the last room at the end of the hall.
The door to that one was ajar and there were sounds of movement on the other side.
Chris heard it as well and signaled his intent to her, before cautiously approaching. It was the first sign of life they'd encountered in the place and the first time he'd slowed down enough to show any concern about what they might be going into.
After everything else neither of them knew what to expect.
They had to be ready for anything.
Sheva still wasn't prepared for the sight that greeted her when Chris nudged the door open enough for her to look in past him.
A woman was sitting on a four poster bed, calmly reading a book. A bottle of wine and two empty glasses sat on a table next to the bed.
Her hair was wet, as though she'd just stepped out of the shower.
In fact she was wearing a bathrobe and the sound that they'd both heard was water running, as though she'd left the shower on.
Or someone was still in there.
"Is that…" Chris took a step back, motioning for Sheva to look.
"Excella Gionne," she confirmed.
The rumors that the infamous heiress and owner of Tricell had been dabbling in B.O.W.s had apparently been true. It was a low blow, with potentially dire repercussions. One of the BSAA's biggest donors involved in this sort of thing, and with FBC's actions still fresh in people's minds. The investigation that would follow…
Clearly meant nothing to Chris.
His reasons for coming here had, from the start, been entirely personal, a conflict of interests that had been overlooked for reasons that Sheva could only guess at.
He kicked open the door.
The heiress stared at the two of them like a deer in headlights.
Her eyes darted over Sheva like she wasn't there at all and settled on Chris, shock fading quickly, replaced by a slightly manic looking smile, "You're with the BSAA."
"And we're taking you into custody," Sheva started, only for Excella to keep talking over her.
"I was wondering how long it would take you to get here, but you're too late you know. She and I have already finished clearing the place."
"Where's Jill?" Chris demanded.
Excella blinked at him, then laughed, "Yes, she's become a martyr for you people, hasn't she? And then Albert put out those pictures. I don't know why, bragging I suppose. She's here, don't worry, in the shower. It was very messy you know and I've never used a gun before. She insisted that I help and I was in no position to refuse. She wouldn't let me and I didn't want to die."
Shaking her head Excella reached for the bottle of wine and went to pour herself a glass only to sigh disgustedly when the bottle turned out to be empty.
"Jill Valentine's alive?" Sheva blurted out.
Chris glared at her. It had been a point of contention between the two of them for the whole mission. He was right though, meaning that, for him at least, it had all been worth it.
Excella sat up straighter, her bathrobe falling open, "Yes, of course. I think Albert was keeping her for you."
"Wesker's here too?" Chris glared at her.
Sheva wondered if it was part of some trick to distract him long enough for the heiress to pull some final, desperate trick. Crazy as she seemed there was nothing Sheva was willing to put past her.
"He's dead," Excella peered over the side of the bed, down to the floor where shards of broken glass glinted on the carpet, "You'll have to forgive the mess, your Jill broke my mirror."
With a long suffering sigh she gestured dramatically at a shattered frame laying across the top of an exquisite wooden dresser. There was a hole in the plaster behind where the mirror had hung, spider web cracks spread across the wall.
"How do you know he's dead?" Chris wasn't going to take her at her word and in that Sheva couldn't disagree. Beyond the heiress' obvious insanity, Wesker had managed to come back from the dead before.
Excella nodded understandingly, "She suggested we burn the body to be sure, so we took it to the incinerator were he got rid of all his Uroboros failures. It was a good thing we did too, because…"
She paused, shuddering.
At first Sheva thought that she was doing it for effect, then she leaned over the side of the bed and retched.
"I'm sorry," she smiled, looking around for something to wipe her face, "Give me a moment to get a towel."
She started to get up.
"Don't move! Tell me what happened with Wesker and where Jill is!" Chris leveled his gun at her until she sat back down.
Sheva fought the urge to tell him to calm down, realizing that she was now caught in the middle of something she didn't fully understand.
"I told you! She's in the fucking shower and I'm telling you what happened to Albert!" Excella snapped, eyes wild, "When I turned the incinerator on he started to scream! He wasn't dead after all of it. There was so little left that you couldn't recognize him, but he screamed! And Jill wanted to stay there until he stopped. Then she had me help her clear the facility."
Excella looked down at her hands and spoke in a quiet voice, no less hysterical than her screaming, "I'd never fired a gun but she insisted I help."
Sheva looked at him, "I think she's crazy."
Either that or she was putting on one hell of a good show in an attempt to get mercy or keep them off balance.
"You know," Excella stared at him, dark eyes frantic, "I'm going to have to take responsibility for what I've done. There were B.O.W.s."
"We know," Sheva said humorlessly, "We saw plenty of them."
The heiress nodded, smiling, "They were made in my labs, funded by me, so I'm responsible for them. But if I killed Albert…"
"You killed Wesker?" Chris laughed, incredulous and maybe a little unhinged himself.
"Maybe you can settle that," Excella laughed haughtily, "Jill doesn't agree which one of us killed him. But if I locked him in a room with a Tyrant and then I was the one who turned on the incinerator… I think using a Tyrant to kill someone counts as you killing them, but if not, burning them alive certainly does. Even if they shouldn't have been alive. He was just meat when she dragged him out of that room. When she tossed him down the incinerator I was sure he was dead. Then I turned it on and he screamed. He screamed!"
Sheva wasn't sure if he believed her. Some of what they'd seen lined up with what she'd heard Tyrants were capable of, but there was one question that needed to be addressed, "Where's the Tyrant?"
Excella stared through her, "Did I kill Albert? Tell me, that has to count for something."
Maybe it did, maybe it didn't was Sheva's opinion on the matter. She wasn't involved in the legal end of things and neither was Chris, but it was obvious that Excella wasn't going to let the subject drop.
"You used a Tyrant to kill him. Now, where is it?" Because that was what Sheva needed to know, if the B.O.W. was dead or not and where it was if it wasn't.
The last thing they needed was for some rampaging B.O.W. to come up behind them.
"And where's Jill?" Chris added, as though that was what really mattered, and not the possibility of them ending up cornered by a Tyrant and trapped in a room with a madwoman.
"Wait," Excella's eyes narrowed, "You know Jill. That means… You're Chris Redfield. She and Albert both had so much to say about you."
"Jill's in the shower," Chris repeated, sounding like he wasn't ready to trust the ramblings of a madwoman enough to rush into the room and open the door. It seemed that with his goad so close he'd finally gotten the sense to realize that they might be in danger.
Excella nodded, the manic smile growing wider.
Unable to help it, Sheva glanced towards the closed door on the far side of the room. It was a struggle not to say something so that Chris would stop being indecisive and go open it, but if Excella wasn't crazy, or even if she was there was no way to be sure what, if anything, was in there.
No way to be sure that she wouldn't pull out a syringe and lunge at one of them.
Chris seemed to be thinking the same thing, because he looked back at her, weighing his options.
Sheva wondered if he was considering telling her to go and open the door so that he could keep an eye on Excella.
She didn't know how she felt about that. On one hand she trusted that she'd do a better job of keeping aware of her surroundings and be more ready for whatever was waiting for her, but on the other hand, how much did she trust Chris to watch her back at this moment in time?
In the end the matter was settled for them.
Excella sighed, sounding a strange combination of amused and exasperated, "I'll go get her if you want."
Sliding off the bed, somehow managing to avoid stepping on any of the glass that covered the floor, she walked over to the door before either of them could tell her not to move.
"Jill!" Excella pounded her open palm against the door, "Your Chris is here! And he says that I killed Albert, not you!"
There was no response, at least not one that she could hear over the sound of the shower.
"It might be a trick," Sheva cautioned.
"Or she might just be crazy," Chris scowled, looking like he was seconds away from deciding safety be damned and walking across the room to open the door and see for himself.
The water turned off.
She exchanged a look with Chris.
There was someone in there, but was it Jill?
"Jill?" Chris called out.
"Jill and I have an agreement," Excella spoke up, desperation replaced by a cold cunning, "She gets to be the one to take me into custody, not either of you. I'd hoped that there would have been more time before you arrived, but at least we had time to figure that much out. I'm deeply remorseful for everything Albert manipulated me into doing and am going to devote all my time and all of my company's considerable resources to helping treat Jill Valentine's unfortunate condition. Through all this the BSAA will remain well funded and my lawyers will prevent this from being the mess that it could be. If there's a loophole that allows for a Tyrant to be kept rather than destroyed, they'll find one and if not they'll make one. Neither of us wants to die or suffer any further indignities. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to let Jill capture me."
The cunning started to crack as she stood there, hand on the doorknob. This was the point Sheva was sure that something would happen, somewhere in her robes there'd be a gun or a needle or something.
Excella looked at them, strangely helpless, "Would you step outside and let me get dressed first?"
When neither of them moved her shoulders slumped as though the enormity of the whole situation was finally settling on her.
Without another word the heiress opened the door just enough to slip through to the other side, then closed it behind her.