Washington hadn't fared too well.
Granted, if one's interest lay in preserving humanity as a whole, then no city in the world had fared well. The cities of the world were either overrun with undead, depopulated of the living (and undead), or in the midst of being reclaimed by nature. Nature, of course, having taken a hammering as well, since the T-virus had done a number of the world's flora as well as fauna. Most of the scientists in Umbrella were more concerned about what to do with the undead. Last he'd heard, there was a global anti-virus ready to be deployed, but even so, Seven was left to wonder about the long-term viability of planet Earth for what remained of the human population. A population that would consist entirely of Umbrella employees, granted, but human nonetheless. If the world's trees were gone, what would happen to the world's oxygen supply?
He could only hope the boys upstairs (or downstairs, really), had that figured out. Either way, he and his retrieval squad touched down in the Osprey, on what had once been the front lawn of the White House. A lawn that was bereft of grass, littered with broken vehicles, and most nauseatingly, the bodies of the dead. Some of them undead, some of them just plain dead. As in, taken down in helicopters or armoured vehicles, and burnt beyond the ability of the T-virus to reanimate their bodies.
He signalled to his squad and they began to fan out. Specifically, they were one of ten Ospreys in Umbrella's diminishing air fleet, assigned to ransack the bodies of the dead, and safeguard the field team from any roaming BOWs. Even now, Umbrella wanted to learn what it could. He just wanted this all to be over.
So his team moved forward, through the valley of the dead (or lawn, really). Every so often, he or one of their troopers would take out a bolt gun and plunge a bolt through a still squirming zombie. Afterwards, the bolt would be removed – no reason to waste ammunition. Every so often one of the scientists would call out for a 'live one.' As in, a subject they wanted bagged and tagged for further research at the Chicago outpost – now the only viable Umbrella base within the US bar the Hive. How they could tell which specimens would be valuable and which wouldn't be, Seven couldn't tell. He just got on with the job as he and his squad always had. A job that was done in about ten minutes, as the White House lawn was deemed secure enough for the eggheads to do whatever it was they wanted to do. Every so often a shamble would come from outside the fence or from within the ruins of the White House itself, but by the standards of this world, the area was 'secure.'
So he sat down on non-existent grass, took off his helmet, and took a swig of thankfully quite existent water. Water that had been purified from human piss, but water nonetheless.
"You sure you want to do that?"
He looked up at Eight. His second.
"I dunno, just imagined the smell would be terrible."
He ignored her and kept drinking. After nearly a decade, one got used to the smell of rotting flesh. He looked around the lawn and wondered how long it would take for nature or the buzzards to clear them away. Whether the grass would come back, fed by human remains. Wondered, and finished his water.
"Think it's true?"
He looked up at Eight as she took off her helmet. "Is what true?"
"That the boys downstairs have an anti-virus."
He shrugged. "Yeah, probably."
"And that they won't deploy it until every non-Umbrella individual is, ahem, purged?"
Seven scowled at her. "Don't tell me."
"Tell you what?"
"You've been with Isaacs, haven't you? Nemesis Convoy?"
"How'd you guess?"
"Spend long enough with that maniac, you start talking like him as well." He got to his feet. "Purging the wicked this, the Great Flood that." He gestured around the lawn. "Look around – you think this is the equivalent of the Flood? You think this has preserved the world's infrastructure or biosphere? Far as I can tell, we've screwed ourselves up as much as the world."
"You questioning the corporation?"
He fell silent. Rule number one was, if you wanted to survive in this world, you never questioned Umbrella. Ever. You needed to be the type of person who could stand by and watch the near-extinction of the human race unfold, otherwise you might join them in the grave. So if that meant abducting the living to be test subjects, or leading a zombie army across the US to eradicate any last pockets of resistance, you did it. All he could be thankful for was that he was on salvage duty, and not Isaac's little crusade. He'd seen people run along the road as bait and be torn to pieces too many times.
Another gunshot rang out. He saw a zombie fall at the steps of the White House. US military, and high ranking as well, given the uniform it was wearing. He frowned – why did things like rank and uniform count for these people anymore? He couldn't really talk, as the only thing on his body armour was the Umbrella logo, but even so…He sighed, as he took note of the vehicles and heavy ordnance on and around the structure. Everyone here was dead or undead. Everyone but Wesker, who'd made his escape after leading the people here to believe that this was a viable place for a last stand, and made his way to the Hive. Even Subject Alice was supposed to be dead. A victory for Umbrella, right? Of what humans remained on the planet, no-one could match Umbrella's firepower now, diminished as it was.
And yet…He glanced south-west, towards Raccoon City. There was supposed to be a holdout of survivors there, one that Isaacs's convoy would eventually reach. Ironic that the place where this all started was now a haven for the living, but maybe it made sense, given that the atomic blast all those years ago had wiped out the undead, which was more than could be said for most cities. Why did they have to die as well? Isaacs had wanted his flood, and had got it, but the flood had still spared the Earth's animal life? And apparently its plant life as well, if one took the story of Noah as hard truth. And while he didn't, even so, the Flood had done its job. This flood was messy, ungainly, and he'd spent enough time with Isaacs to know that he wasn't a god. He wasn't even a particularly good commander. Men like Isaacs belonged in the lab. Or, ideally, never enter the lab at all. That way he'd still have obscenely high pay, and live in a world where his non-Umbrella, non-'worthy' family would still be alive. And-
He saw something out of the corner of his eye. Somewhere in the White House ruined. Cloaked, moving too fast for a zombie. Fast enough to be a human of course.
"You see something?"
He looked at Eight, then glanced back. The figure, if he'd really seen him/her, was gone.
He knew he should report it in. No survivors, was Isaacs's edict. The Flood had spared only the chosen. Umbrella, as the lords and masters of the world, couldn't afford to be careless. But-
"Nothing," he said. He put his helmet back on. "I saw nothing."
A lie. A sin that would do nothing to cleanse all his others. God, in the story of the Flood, had purged the Earth of the wicked. In this 'flood,' the wicked had inherited the Earth.
This time, though, he could show mercy. This time.
And pray that the end came soon.
So, I saw The Final Chapter and, as expected, it was completely bonkers. But unlike Retribution, the fun kind of bonkers, in part because I get to see Ian Glen hamming it up. So, anyway, drabbled this up.