The long table was filled with high-ranking officers and investigators. The large window was behind their backs and it was a bright sunny day so none of their faces could be seen. They were muttering to each other and shuffling papers in front of them, some passing papers along to the others along the table. In front of the table was a young lady in uniform sitting rigidly in a simple wooden chair.
On the side there was a court recorder. Also on each side were MP's serving as court officers. When the last person entered the large room someone went to the ranking officer seated in the middle and whispered something into his ear. The ranking officer nodded his thanks and cleared his throat. He picked up a gavel and hit three times to call attention. The mutterings stopped and it became quiet in the room.
"This special investigative hearing is now in session! Let it be officially noted that today Wednesday the 14th of February, 1999 this committee is continuing the query and investigation into the "Raccoon City Incident".
It was all just buzzing in her ear as Rebecca Chambers sat for the umpteenth time through more meaningless investigative sessions, tuning them out.
How much more proof do they need? The nuclear purging of Raccoon City wasn't enough? But it was because of that there were no physical proof of their ordeal, it was only the words of the very few survivors against the almighty Umbrella Corporation. It was to her horror to learn later that it was Umbrella who triggered the nuclear explosion that vaporized everything within a 8-mile radius. Not the government as was previously reported. They claimed it was a nuclear accident at a startup nuclear plant they just started at Raccoon City. How convenient.
Two of their representatives were here at the hearing, one a corporate paper pusher and another a scientist. Their lawyer was also present. She was surprised how much abhorrence she held for anything dealing with Umbrella. Of course what she went through did influence her bias.
"Officer Chambers! Officer Chambers!" the voice broke through her trance. It was the lawyer for Umbrella.
"I'm sorry" she wasn't "What was that you said?"
The lawyer, one Gerald Winford, looked at her with an exasperated expression.
"Officer Chambers, I was asking you if you have ever taken any form of hallucinogenic type drugs before or any type of drug for that matter?"
She looked coldly at him, "No" was all she said. For the next 2 hours they were basically asking her the same questions that were asked hundreds of times already. The sad thing was there were no new questions to throw off the monotony. The military judge adjourned the session for a lunch break.
After the lunch it went on for another 2 hours. Rebecca thought to herself when the session was concluded for the day and would reconvene again at another date to be determined, we are doomed, we are all going to die. Our cities, indeed our planet will be overrun by monsters because these fools would do nothing but talk, talk, talk.
But at least someone is doing something about it. There is an APB (All Points Bulletin) for the apprehension of 4 of the survivors of the Raccoon city debacle. They had gone missing despite their orders to remain for the investigations. The four were Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, members of Raccoon City's branch of S.T.A.R.S., Leon Kennedy a Raccoon City police officer and Chris's sister Claire. Chris was the most determined one knowing full well the consequences of Umbrella's actions. He was also very considerate as well leaving Barry Burton the other surviving S.T.A.R.S. Alpha team member and herself out of it knowing that it will get them into trouble. She wished he would have told her about it though and let her make her own decision.
As she was walking down the hall she hears someone calling her.
"Officer Chambers! Officer Chambers!" It was Mr. Winford, Umbrella's lawyer.
Rebecca turned and looked at him. "What can I do for you Mr. Winford?" she said coolly.
"It's not what you can do for me, but what I can do for you! Officer Chambers, Umbrella expressed their utmost interest and would pay most generously if you would give a detailed personal account of your…experience. Naturally, you must include everything! This is most important for their research into this Raccoon City matter of course!"
She looked at Mr. Winford not blinking. He started to feel uncomfortable.
"Everything that happened I've reported, you have the report and the tapes. Good day Mr. Winford!" she turned sharply to leave. Mr. Winford not used to being snubbed put his hand on her shoulder. The speed which she responded was shocking. As soon as his hand touched her shoulder she spun to her left and with her left hand grabbed him by his throat. He paled at the look in her eyes.
"Be careful Mr. Winford. If you ever touch me again I might not be able to control myself next time." She released him and turned to go again. But not before the humiliated lawyer muttered under his breath, "Crazy bitch!" straightening his tie.
She stopped and turned again on him. But the threat of physical harm seem to bolster the lawyer as if daring her to try anything. She just stared into his eyes not blinking. Something disturbing about her stare seem to cower Mr. Winford.
"Umbrella must be paying you well. Is that true Mr. Winford?" she asked.
"What does that have to do…"
"Do you have children Mr. Winford?"
He flushed now. "Are you threatening…"
"Raccoon City had a population of 1,758. 225 were under the age of 18, 182 under the age of 16, 30 under the age of 5, 13 were under a year old. None of the children survived. Do you understand that Mr. Winford? And I wished to god that they died by the nuclear 'accident' but most likely they didn't. They died either quite horribly or worse, they didn't die at all but became the undead."
The lawyer's face paled. "I…" he started to say but his mouth worked soundlessly.
"And about being crazy?" she stepped right up to him staring him in the eye, he backed up against the wall.
"Have you ever seen those horror movies that had zombies in them? Well, pretty scary concept right? But the reality is much worse. They never mention the stench. You never get use to it. It gets stronger when they approach. And seeing one in the flesh in front of you is a different experience from looking at it from the movie screen or TV. And guess what? When you shoot them in the head they don't always go down, because their brain decayed so much the only cognizant part is probably the size of a lizards brain. So unless you blow their heads completely off or score a direct hit to what's left of their brain they will keep coming towards you. That aimless shuffle and the soulless moan they make. You don't know terror until their rotting hands start tearing at you and they sink their teeth into you." Rebecca whispered still with that zoned out stare.
She then said one more thing, "And about my being crazy? If you seen even a tenth of what I've seen I think your mind would have given way long ago also."
Unable to stand it any longer the lawyer pushed her away and ran the other direction.
Rebecca snapped out of it and rubbed her hand across her face. Then she chuckled.
She walked out of the courtroom.
When she got to her car, a Honda civic she reached under her seat and took out a gun case, she then took the key from the chain around her neck and opened the lock. Within the case was a .50 caliber Desert Eagle magnum automatic handgun. She reached under the seat again and took out the special shoulder holster. On the holster was four 7 round clips of the .50 caliber ammo. When she took out the gun she made sure that a round was chambered and clicked on the safety. She put on the shoulder holster then placed the gun into the holster. Ever since her experience she will not be underpowered again. Also in the gun case was a .45 military issue Colt that she kept handy also. After checking the chamber also she tucked that on the other side of her special holster. Only then she drove to a nearby apartment complex.
The town, Bright Falls, was a town 16 miles East away from Raccoon City. It looked like an armed camp now with the military and Umbrella's Biohazard Division mobilized. Bright Falls was three times the size of Raccoon City. The only thing crossing Rebecca's mind was god save them if ever the virus were to spread here. She reached her apartment complex and parked it in her reserved space. There were a couple of military guards set outside. When they saw her they recognized her and saluted. She returned their salute. Rebecca was under strict restrictions not to leave town. Not after what happened with the other survivors. They almost wanted to put an electronic tracking anklet on her until she pointed out if they did that they could forget about any participation or cooperation from her.
When she got off the elevator on her floor she fished out her keys from her pocket but when she walked a few steps her enhanced senses prickled. Ever since Raccoon City she had been quite edgy. But it always pays to be careful. In one smooth motion she took out her Colt and clicked off the safety. She held the gun pointed down but scanned down the hallway. She first sniffed if she could catch anything in the air. Nothing. She slowly made her way down the hall keeping an eye both in front and glancing behind her. When she reached the corner junction she jumped out and assumed the weaver stance, a combat shooting stance that would allow the most stable and accurate shooting possible.
An old lady who was taking the garbage out shrieked and dropped the garbage bag she was holding. She was clutching her chest.
Relieved and a bit embarrassed Rebecca holstered her gun and helped the old lady pick up what she dropped.
"Are you crazy young lady? Are you trying to kill me?" the old lady rasped.
"I'm sorry, I was being jumpy. I was…I was attacked once." Replied Rebecca sheepishly.
"So that explains it! Well, you could relax a little more dear. They have all these soldiers and police men all over the place now."
Yeah, a lot of good that did for Raccoon City thought Rebecca.
Apologizing again she walked the lady to the elevator then shaking her head walked to her apartment. Maybe I am crazy she's thinking.
Opening her apartment she didn't flick on the lights right away to get her eyes used to the dim light. By habit she brought out her Colt again. After turning on the light she slowly walked into her apartment turning on lights whenever she reached them. She had been doing this ever since her return from Raccoon City.
After scanning through every room she sighed with relief and was about to holster her gun when she felt it. Wide eye with fear she turned to point her gun behind her but from the corner of her eye the shadow moved in synch with her in the same direction. It was behind her and reaching around grabbed both wrists controlling her gun. They were a man's hand. She struggled but the man was incredibly strong. Rebecca tried stomping on the instep of the man's foot but the man would jam his leg up against her leg preventing that. She also tried a reverse kick trying to kick into his crotch. She was being blocked expertly. The pressure on her wrists were numbing. The man was shaking her wrists until she released her gun. It fell on the rug with a dull thunk. Luckily it wasn't cocked or it might have gone off.
She's thinking fast, then said "Alright you bastard! How much is Umbrella paying you for this?"
Next to her ear was a raspy silky voice, "Ouch! That hurt more than any hit you could've landed on me. Doll Face!"
Her eyes widening in shock she was released and she turned to face Billy Coen. He looked different though, his hair was trimmed shorter and dyed blond and he was sporting a goatee. He wore light sunglasses. But she recognized him right away.
She squealed and leaped into his open arms. They both hugged each other fiercely.
"Billy! What the hell are you doing here? There's like a division of soldiers here and full of Umbrella personnel!" then it hit her "How did you get into this building or my apartment for that matter?"
"Easy Rebecca, first things first! I'm really happy to see you!" said Billy smiling removing his sunglasses. His squinting eyes glinting mischievously.
Rebecca smiled then went to retrieve her gun but with speed that surprised even Billy she spun up and placed the gun underneath his chin. He arched an eyebrow in surprise.
"If you ever do that to me again I'll shoot out your knee caps and leave you for the leeches!" she whispered evilly.
Billy actually shuddered and said, "I hate leeches!" She laughed then holstered her gun.
"I see you're armed for bear!" Billy said sinking into an easy chair.
"After what we went through can you blame me?" she said taking off her jacket. He smiled then opened up his jacket. He was even more heavily armed than she was. They both laughed.
She walked over to the fridge and grabbed two canned Heinekens. When she got to the living room she tossed one to Billy who caught it.
He looked at it, "Canned Heineken? Now that's scary!" Rebecca looked at him smirking then opened her can; he does the same then stood up.
"Here's to life!" he said. They both looked each other in the eye.
"To life!" repeated Rebecca and they clunked cans then took a deep draught.
"Woo! That was good!" said Billy sitting down again. Rebecca sat in a seat opposite him.
"Now what was that about how you got into this building and into my apartment!" asked Rebecca not letting him off the hook.
He took a gulp of his beer and waved his hand, "Rebecca, I was breaking into people's apartments when I was 13. And evasion is one of the tactics I learned in the marines. It's no biggie!" he said this and smiled at her. She saw his smile and smiled herself shaking her head.
"So Billy, what have you been doing with yourself?" asked Rebecca who is very happy to see him and more than curious.
Now he looked serious. He leaned forward and told Rebecca.
"Research. After I left you on that ridge that day. I made my way east. It wasn't an easy journey as there were still some dogs and spiders around. I came across a corpse of probably an Umbrella employee trying to flee the place. He was torn to pieces but luckily for me he had a back up gun in an ankle holster and a couple of clips of ammo. But after a mile and a half there didn't seem to be any of the monsters around, fortunately they didn't spread too far though I did see a leech or two."
Rebecca was listening, engrossed in his story.
"I made it to this town. I saw Umbrella was already setting up shop here. It seems they knew what was coming down and was preparing. They had a couple of battalions of special mercenaries preparing to go to Raccoon City. I even recognized a few of them. I disguised myself so I wouldn't be discovered. I went undercover of course. You see, I thought I would run and forget about everything but I started thinking. If this thing was to get out of hand it wouldn't matter where I ran, it would catch up to me. And all those innocent lives would be lost."
Rebecca nodded her understanding.
"I had to find out more about Umbrella. I had a friend I grew up with, a computer geek. I contacted him and told him to get in touch with his hacker friends and try to get information concerning Umbrella. You won't believe what they dug up."
"Umbrella is a legitimate corporate conglomerate, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world. But they also have some of the most secret research centers devoted to biotechnology and genetic research. There are a number of them throughout the world. They also have an incredibly powerful lobby in the government with a lot of political power and backup. They funded most of the politicians' campaigns. In other words they pretty much have them all in their pockets. So it's useless to try to blow the whistle against them. People have tried before, and disappeared."
"Here's the kicker. If you thought Umbrella Raccoon City was huge, that was only a minor factory that was out of the way. They have 7 huge mega complexes throughout the world that makes Raccoon City look like a pimple in comparison." Rebecca gasped.
"One is here in United States, one in Canada, one in South America, One in Africa…apparently that facility is ala carte, one of their premium sites, most likely from all the test subjects they can get with the kind of political atmosphere going on there. One in Asia. Two in Europe. About the minor factories? They have dozens of them. And check this out. The one in United States is 15 minutes away from a major city!" Rebecca brought her hands up to cover her mouth in shock.
"According to recent emails and communications they've been tightening up security. As you know what happened in Raccoon City was a result of sabatoge. Someone is out to destroy Umbrella, but in doing so may wind up destroying the world."
"What do you plan to do Billy?" whispered Rebecca.
"As I gathered from some intel, a few of your friends are on their way to some of the mega complexes. Because of the APB on them they went overseas. I want to take on the one on home base. The one here, in America. It will be tough alone, I may need some help." That's when he looked at her.
"Billy…I…I've been subpoenaed. I have to stay for the investigation!" stammered Rebecca.
Billy chuckled, "Rebecca, don't you think I know what's been going on? Don't forget, I went through the same thing. Many times in fact! They ask the same old questions and it seem to never go anywhere. Am I right? And you're thinking as they keep talking somewhere people are dying and something dangerous is waiting to be unleashed upon the world, if it didn't happen already!"
Rebecca was gaping at Billy, he hit the button right on the nose.
"Listen, I've been in contact with some media figures. A lot turned me down outright when I mentioned Umbrella, but some are intrigued and admit that they won't do anything unless they have absolute concrete evidence of Umbrella's secret agenda!"
"Can you trust them?" asked Rebecca.
"Of course not, but Umbrella can't have everyone in the media and government in their pocket, in fact they have opposition as well. I've also been contacting those in opposition to them. They would be delighted to help me, US, if we were to just get them proof!"
"I…I don't know…" said Rebecca uncertainly.
Billy saw her uncertainty and smiled.
"Listen, I'm only asking you. I'm not pressuring you into doing anything you don't want to! Just think about it. And to help you think. I'm leaving something that my friend helped me to get. Do you have a DVD player?" Rebecca nods "Okay, review it at your leisure. My cell phone number is on there. Give me a call with your decision." He got up and drained his beer. She got up as well.
But he shocked her when he leaned forward and gave her a kiss on the lips. It was a gentle kiss. But it felt good to Rebecca nevertheless.
"I'm sorry Rebecca. It's just that…I… should've done that the last time we departed! I…I just wanted to do it now!" he now acted quite shy.
She smiled and punched him in his arm, then she walked to the door.
"Thanks Billy! It's great seeing you and I will call you soon!" she said opening the door to let him out.
He just looked at her and smiled then winked and put on his sunglasses. After checking the corridor he headed swiftly out taking the stairs.
When he left she closed and locked the door. She leaned against it and touched her lips. Then smiled as she went to go take a shower and prepare dinner. Then of course view that information that Billy gave her.
To be continued…