Thank you for new reviews and support I nearly abandoned this story after a plagerism of it. After some soul searching and ideas that wouldn't leave me I've decided to finish this as well as 'The Difference' so hold your horses more on that one soon!
Umbrella Research Facility
British Columbia, Canada
8: 42 pm
It was strange, he thought.
Here is was approaching 9 p.m. and still nothing. The computer screen continued to stare back at the doctor, unchanging besides the large digital clock in the computer's left hand corner. A red pixel fixed in the northeast corner of the Arklay Mountains and another yellow pinpointed in the exact same location, both blinking dully but unmoving from their present location.
The red determined Project Alice's location and the yellow being Rain's, as theorized Rain had moved east days before, finding her sister program without much difficulty. And now both had not moved for sometime even after the Project Alice's activation that afternoon.
Some hours ago.
Sighing with wrinkled forehead catching each blink of the screen Doctor Issaacs noted the time.
He didn't understand. Project Alice's orders were very clear, kill the survivors she traveled with, retrieve the Ashford child, disable Ocampo and recover her.
The blinking red pixel blinked one last time then disappeared leaving only Rain's location visible.
He sat up in his chair slowly at that. With a few quick clicks of the keyboard another screen appeared.
Program Alice- Not found.
Either Alice had been killed or her chip had been rendered disabled, the latter being more likely. But who was capable of getting close enough?
Unless…Ocampo had made a nuisance of herself against her core programming.
Well, it had been a risk activating Alice and knowing Ocampo's primary programming had not been completed before her escape she would not be coming quietly.
Still he had almost been certain Program Alice would have no large amount of trouble with Rain Ocampo. After all, Program Alice had nearly stabilized from her genetic anomalies, they were no longer foreign entities to her blood and upon activating her programming she should have been running as a well-oiled machine and Ocampo, at this stage anyhow, more erratic, unless Rain's metabolic rate has doubled under the effects of her virus.
Not likely but possible. Data gathered from many of the test subjects hadn't always been wholly conclusive…
Like nine weeks ago when exactly what was needed for their new program was discovered entirely on accident…
The bird-eating spider for instance, in the first week of testing their altered virus strains it had simply sagged to the bottom of its glass tank, all eight hairy appendages sliding for purchase under its comatose body. It hovered there between life and death for days. But the second week was different, the spider had still lay comatose but had grown to the size of a bulldog in the tank and the injection now had to be a gas state of the virus as they soon found opening the tank was no longer possible. A routine morning injection by one of the staff had gone terribly bad and ended with fourteen dead before the lab was locked down and the arachnid caught.
He cared not for the dead, none of those lost being particularly of importance to the research nor irreplaceable as a simple pair of hands in the labs. Still the circumstances of the incident did peak his curiosity.
He'd been working in the lower levels checking in on subject Neptune when it had happened and by the time it was over there was only one worker who has seen the whole thing. An anesthesiologist, a specialist in genetic research who had done her share of travel as she'd developed an odd English/French accent, Mrs. Martinell, had illustrated in that babbling, panic-stricken stupid way-
` "T'ought 'e was dead, Mr. Garrett t'ought 'e was dead. Jus', jus' layin' dere. Mr. Garrett shook dat glass real 'ard and he didn't move. 'E t'ought it was safe an' open da tank and da t'ing jumped, dat spider put 'is fangs right in 'is eyes. 'E was screamin' and gurglin' somet'in terrible and it was foamin' from dem fangs. Playin' dead sir, playin dead I swear 'e was waitin', waiting ta catch us off da guard! Swear 'e-"
With bored indifference he silenced her with a wave of his hand. "Then what happened?"
"Da t'ing hissed an' charged right at Marjorie Ward buried 'is fangs right in 'er head, I- I," she blubbered, fleshy jowls trembling, "'eard her skull crunch sir and da sound…terrible…she was makin' dis awful choking' gurgle…"
"Auto-lock security successful. Subject Jumper contained in level 4, tank 12," the security loudspeaker announced.
"Excellent," the doctor responded to no one in particular.
He had excused the woman after demanding she get ahold of herself. It was only hours after that incident that the arachnid has grown the size of a bear, webbing around the reinforced tank enclosure for a while until it had formed one large enough to hold its severe weight.
But the most useful information they gathered from simple observation, watching those long coarse appendages tapping its webbing in some bizarre sort of morse code day in and day out had been far from pointless.
The jumper was spending a large portion of its day testing inch by inch of its glass prison for even the most minute flaw, all eyes fixed on its captures with a look of hunger and beyond that absolute intelligence, sometimes for hours it stared.
The subject was terminated only hours later.
Thanks to gas radiation they were still able to continue their studies upclose on the corpse. Once exposed, as expected, the flesh of the arachnid drew in the cloud of chemicals much like a sponge, with a flash of fanged appendages the creature shuddered before all eight legs fell from under the beast and it was still.
The creature's body taken apart and studied piece by piece gave them all an even better understanding of how the viruses progressed with creatures possessing even less complex genetic structures than mammalian creatures.
Once sanitation was underway there was another mystery of the creature that had been left behind to be discovered. A thick mass of webbing that appeared somewhat comically like a ball of gray yarn clouding the tank's upper corner, spanning an impressive 14 feet wide.
"What is it?"
The question had come from a confused lab sanitation worker.
The mass was prodded gently by a research assistant. A promising woman, Lillian Karl, perhaps the best of the research assistants. Eager to learn, happy to follow orders she answered: "An egg sac. Or what very well would have been one."
The masked assistant shook her head taking care to split the sac gingerly. "No. No young at all, I don't know how she could have considering lack of breeding partner." She stood addressing Dr. Issaacs directly now. "It's strange sir, we had previously concluded with this virus subjects find all needs nonexistent besides feeding in all infected subjects. All but this one."
Addressing his files the doctor made a few notes before inquiring, "remind me Ms. Karl, what particular strain had I authorized for use on Subject Jumper."
NOW EMPLOYING OXYGEN.
There was a low hiss of air and a series of clicks before the computer's intercom sweetly responded:
OXYGEN LEVELS AT %100.
All employees followed suit in removing their helmets at the security systems prompt.
The woman blinked, forehead furrowed in an effort to recall before turning to her own data. "Strain 337-GT6. Doctor Birkin's sample sir."
"G type," the doctor recalled. He smiled widely before circling the confirmed data on his clipboard. "Perfect." He then handed off the clipboard to a nearly lab assistant. "I want this taken down to sublevel 6 for Doctor Stevenson, he is to check for confirmation of my notations and prep Subject Jumper for tissue extraction."
The assistant nodded stiffly before hurrying from the room.
"Get me one of the canines, subject Hunter T8 and subject R6 Neptune and prep for viral infusion of strain number 337-GT6 to all of them. We will be starting new trials in six hours."
The trials hadn't taken long and before Isaacs knew it, he was looking at the key to it all.
The doctor closed out the map, opening a file of status reports on the equipment and subjects recovered from the Arklay facility.
Subject 2, ARRIVED.
Subject 4, ARRIVED.
Subject 5, ARRIVED.
The screen blinked uncertainly and Isaacs frowned but waited.
Jill let out a long breath before adjusting the blade in her hand. "Okay I see it," she announced, "almost…"
Rain winced trying her best to breath through her nose, the warm blood sliding from her head wound oddly comforting on her neck, skin dangerously cold due in large part to blood loss.
A paralyzing stab of pain shot through her spine and Rain bit her tongue to avoid screaming. It was a good thing she was kneeling, she was pretty sure standing was going to be nearly impossible at this point.
Ignoring the steady waves of pain Rain managed a glance round the room.
LJ had come round nearly ten minutes ago and Carlos's wounds while serious were not dire, he would be fine with time and rest. Broken ribs would mend and gaping chest wounds, thanks to stitches, would close. Oliveira was resting now somewhat comfortably thanks to Alice's medical supply kit that seemed without a shortage of drugs.
A good thing too because the ex-Umbrella mercenary did not go under easily.
Alice had still not gained consciousness after her brief homicidal episode however Rain didn't worry, Alice's consciousness was a quiet hum within Rain's own mind.
If she tried hard enough even the kid seemed to be ghosting around in there. Rabbiting around making a mess of nerves shot to hell already.
It was a strange sensation she was learning to hone in on despite how disturbing. Feeling like there was a constant whispering in one's head could make anyone absolutely fucking bananas.
Didn't matter though, she'd take being nuts over being dead any day.
If Umbrella wasn't so ungodly evil she'd consider writing them a thank you card. Well after killing them horribly for the nightmares she was sure she'd be having every night of her new freakish existence.
Yup Ocampo, you are fuckin' bananas.
Alice had mused on the sensation when Rain had first arrived, "You called out to me and I heard you, sometimes I can even hear Angie. We're somehow linked."
Being "linked" didn't mean anything to Prospero though, when Rain managed to waken the morning after chains still greeted her. So much for their "link" being a flimsy bond of sisterhood, trust, understanding and all that other bullshit…
She understood now why she'd been chained.
Prospero wasn't a fool.
Umbrella always had a back up plan and who's to say it wasn't going to be her new sister program dragging Prospero's defiant little ass back to Umbrella for more cutting and pasting. Shock-factor was always a good Trojan Horse. Best to keep all 'newly resurrected friends' detained just in case.
Alice had every right not to trust her, it would make absolute sense, however she was certain of only that she herself hadn't been activated at all but rather Alice.
It didn't make sense to Rain.
The ex-officer's hands were sticky with blood but she looked pretty pleased with herself holding the sticky red chip in between thumb and forefinger. "Dandy," Rain mumbled.
Without being prompted Jill helped the barely conscious woman to a sitting position and Rain's stomach lurched.
Jill too felt the familiar sensation of her stomach wanting to empty itself, she hadn't recalled ever seeing so much of someone's insides without watching some fake splatter movie.
And Rain sure seemed to be having a time of it, gasping like a woman in labor while extremely drunk as her coordination seemed null and void as well.
"Let's get you patched up then," Jill said.
Rain shook her head dismissing the cop. "Leave it, something tells me Prospero and I are beyond stitches here." Hiking up her scrap of a shirt she looked down to see her muscle tissues no longer seemed so purple, the flesh was pinking up, already looking less flayed.
Didn't mean passing out didn't still sound like the best plan ever to Rain.
Damn she was so tired.
Ex-cop looked impressed and, well, horrified.
Rain almost smiled, but her mouth only managed a haughty little smirk before she slumped to the floor and passed out.
British Columbia, Canada
Moving the lab up north was a pain in the ass mostly because it left room for a lot of equipment to be broken, equipment that wasn't already broken or incinerated beyond repair by Rain Ocampo's tantrum.
It had took a bit less than 3 hours for the lower levels labs to be customized to suit the needs of Samuel Isaacs experiments and the doctor was pleased.
Cryogenic sleep could be maintained for weeks on end at near sub-zero temperatures by each chamber's own self-maintained core, but monitoring brain activity and vital signs was a bit more difficult without the computer linked to supply status updates. And with no computers equipped to provide IV feeding and regular intervals of the virus the subjects would be no more able to survive than a baby in it's mother's womb void of an umbilical cord. Growing weaker without nourishment and unstable without a full treatment of the virus and human dna.
Manual observation, that is, getting 'up close and personal' with any of the experiments at this point in time was a no go. Flushing the tanks could rouse the subjects awake before they were completely developed sending them into shock, coma or even brain death of the unrecoverable kind. They were too much of an investment for something so foolish to happen, what with all the money spent already and less than half were proving to be unsuccessful.
Of the ten hand picked subjects so far only Rain Ocampo's body seemed to respond right away to the strain.
No major movement or outside change was to be expected for at least several days however it only took a solid 2 hours before anyone with eyes could see for themselves the virus going to work on the unsightly remains.
All discomposed dead flesh had purpled then pinked with each injection of the new virus, black blood jellied inside the woman's corpse warmed with a touch of strain 337 and grew nearly hot inside revived capillaries and arteries running to the red, red trembling, fluttering and finally beating heart.
Small but lethal fingers twitching as the final wound, the mangled flesh between a thumb and forefinger, knitted itself closed.
Within 46 hours the decaying corpse of Rain Ocampo was a living body with the only reminder of its previous state a few bite marks that refused to completely fade away.
Samual Isaacs himself wasn't quite sure he believed it either. A carrier already in a permanent state of mutation and what's more, death after infection, was coming back to life before his own eyes.
Neurons were working, nearly violent in their development and REM sleep could easily be observed by the flutter of eyelids and twitching limbs.
There were four now, the other five turning out to be failures. Of the five discarded, subjects 3, 6 and 7 lacked any response to the virus and two others, 1 and 8 made a clear recovery in cellular regeneration in all areas except the brain, they too were deemed useless and incinerated. Now it looked as though very soon two others would be strong enough to live like their sister.
"Medical reports indicate subject 4 has reached full reflex response. Computer's reports suggest optimal time to take subject 4 off support system in 216 hours."
"And subject 10? Progress and secondary notes?"
Ms. Karls sighed, frowning, "still a bit slow for muscle and skeletal repair but progressing nonetheless, seems to support your speculation of male specimens bonding to the virus being a shot in the dark. The difficulty seems to be in bonding to androgen receptors and plasma proteins, conclusive in trials of canine intact males. However, synthesis of the virus in the blood stream of those who are AB negative, subject 10 for example, when introduced into white blood cells will cause rapid cellular mutation, the mutation gradually bonding with androgen receptors. I suspect within the week subject 10 will be ready to leave cryo."
Isaacs chuckled, in a genuinely good spirits even praised: "Excellent work Ms. Karls as always."
His young research assistant beamed before returning to her lab reports, lingering close to be at the ready for anything else.
Removing his lab coat the doctor stopped for a moment at their subject's chamber, it stood in the farthest corner of the lab where the light was dimmer, the subject seemed to respond better to low light levels.
The human male within it was noticeably more active in reflex, the body seemed almost restless in sleep, eager to escape its frigid womb.
"Not long now," the doctor whispered in false reassurance, "You'll wake and then…she'll come. They'll all come." He'd have to hurry, Ocampo and Prospero were going to need secure state of the art cells within the week.
The rest? Well he was certain some of the experiments would appreciate a fresh meat treat.