The cabin was dark, eerily illuminated by the sole light from the rear of the 767's red eye flight. An ocean roared below, the howling winds whistling across the plane's surface. He knew he was safe, protected by layers and layers of steel, but he had never grown fond of flying.
That was far back in his mind now though, another file folder open before him, the contents spread across the table. He had been given his own section to study the confidential mission information with privacy. Leon had nonchalantly set the mission documents aside, instead focusing on the other binder, full of data on one Albert Wesker. Not nearly full enough, however. The man was an enigma, his history shrouded in mystery. But his deeds spoke plainly enough. The man was slime, a killer and manipulator with greed and power as his only ambitions, yet he remained wholly unpredictable. Could Ada really be working for this man? And why hadn't she tried to contact him in all these years? Hadn't she said she cared for him?
The nagging worry came back to him, that she had only said those things under extreme emotional duress. After all, how hard was it to tell someone you loved them when there was no fear of consequence? He had tossed and turned in an empty bed for many a night because of that worry, struggling to remember her every word, her every movement. It felt real, of that much he was certain, and no one had ever said such things to him. He had cared for her, and she for him. Or had she? Was Annette telling the truth after all, that Ada was only after the virus the whole time? All these years, he believed her death had vindicated her lies, validated her feelings. But now, with her alive, and working for this kind of monster…
"Would you like anything, sir," asked the stewardess, interrupting his thoughts. Leon hurriedly covered the documents, smiling faintly at the woman. He saw the glint in her eye, the spark of interest he saw so often in the young women he met. But while she was attractive, now was not the time. It was never the time, he sighed.
"No, I'm okay," he said, returning to his work. "Thank you."
Disappointed, she turned away. Apparently she wasn't used to being rebuffed. Leon barely noticed, however, his thoughts returning to the mission at hand. And somewhere not far behind, he thought of her again, just as he knew he would.
Three days later.
His communicator buzzed, as he was expecting, but later than his calculations. Perhaps a celebration had interfered with the projected timetable. But it mattered little, as Wesker knew exactly who it was.
"Salutations, Mr. President," he greeted.
"Wesker…so you knew it was me, eh, you bastard? Then you know, also, that Ashley is safe and on her way home."
"What excellent news, Davis. It warms my heart to hear such wonderful things; is there nothing sweeter than a reunion of loved ones?"
Graham regarded Wesker suspiciously, wondering exactly what was going on. Wesker was the last person on the planet he expected to be happy about his daughter's safe return.
"You know what this means, don't you, Wesker? We're done. You missed your chance at me. You hear me, you son of a bitch? We're through, you cold-blooded little shit!"
"Such accusations wound me, old friend…to think after all we've been through, for you to still suspect that I had a part in Ashley's abduction…it tears at my very heart."
"Spare me your bullshit and lies, Albert. I'll forgive this one trespass, in light of your recent…assistance. So for now, we are neither friend, nor enemy. But stand against me again and you'll have all my considerable power at your doorstep. And know that very same power is going to be constantly watching my family…and you."
"Such a frightening thought, Davis, I assure you. But after my restful vacation, I am rather…weary of your…theatrics. And so I'll respond to your warning with a warning of my own: don't ever threaten me," hissed Wesker, his voice dropping dangerously low. "Remember who had the power to put you into place; imagine that same power turned against you. Skeletons do have a way of emerging from the closet, after all, especially for those in public office…"
"You may think your network can stand against mine, Wesker, but then again, you've always been a damned fool. You thought you could pull my strings all this time, but they've been cut, you bastard. My media machine is more than capable of standing up to yours. Can you say the same about your standing army?"
"Excessive brute force? How very like an American President. But your tirades are beginning to bore me. We can make threats to each other all day and all night, to no avail. Surely an important…man such as yourself must have more important things to do. Like hugging your daughter Ashley. Or promoting Leon Kennedy…"
"…So you were watching, weren't you?"
"Of course. He's just so much better at the theatrics than you, Davis. And you know I'm never one to miss a good show…"
"Now, now Davis. If it's any consolation, I have that Las Plagas sample you desired coming my way too. Oh, I'm sorry. That wouldn't make you feel better at all, now would it? I can be such an insensitive fool at times…"
"You may think you're one step closer than I to resurrecting Umbrella, but I have a trillion dollar budget on my side, and the confidence of the American people."
"For now," said Wesker with a mocking sigh. "But I can't shake the feeling that quite a few members of the House just might surprise you and vote against your Free Pharmaceutical bill. Why, rumor even has it that this…holdup of the Executive Power Act renewal might be permanent. I wonder, how powerful is a puppet once his strings are cut…?"
"You haven't heard the last of me, Wesker. I swear you'll come to regret this…"
"More threats? Very well. I'm ending this conversation. Farewell, Davis…"
"This isn't over Wesker! You hear me? This isn't the end!"
"Foolish old man…haven't you realized it yet," asked Wesker mockingly, leaning forward as he reached for the power switch. "Nothing ever ends."
The room was darker than the others in the facility, strange even for one who fancied himself one of the shadows. Despite that fondness, he had always appreciated light in all its brilliant forms. For wasn't it light that symbolized enlightenment? His previous life had been wasted fumbling through the darkness, clueless as to the ways of the world. Only with his death came true enlightenment, a brief glance into the greatest mystery of mankind.
And so he had insisted on at least one dim light in the capsule. For this was his masterpiece; the project that would tilt the balance forever in his favor. The capsule stood eight feet tall, the metal cylinder sleek and reinforced. The only light came from the small rectangular window in the capsule's front, the soft glow faint in the dim darkness of the hidden chamber. No other person knew of this secret room, and he never wanted that to change. This was his crowning achievement, and no one else's.
He stood in front of the tube as he did on so many other sleepless nights, his arms behind him as he stared at the only person in the world he trusted to listen. Secrets were like a disease; the more you held onto them, the longer they ate away at your insides. Wesker had always been good at keeping secrets, even better at finding them, and the best when it came to using them to his advantage.
But for all his power and abilities, he was still human. At least partly. No matter how badly he wished to cast aside his still-human part, he knew it was that which separated him from the mindless bio-weapons out there. And now, with Ada bringing him a workable sample of Las Plagas, he could unlock the key to controlling them. The puppet master was about to get his strings…
She would have to die, of course. There were few people in the world he trusted less, despite her usefulness at times. She still had the sample, though, and would probably keep that ace up her sleeve while slipping him a fake. It mattered little, though, he thought, pressing his hand against the capsule's window, feeling its warmth. Peering in, he looked upon his own hidden ace, the small occupant floating in bubbling liquid. Wesker caressed the glass gently, a sort of parental pride filling his chest. As if sensing his presence, the subject's eyes snapped opened, imprinting once again on the pale man's face. There was definite recognition this time. Excellent, thought Wesker, glancing over at the brainwave activity monitor.
"Awake again I see," said Wesker, removing dark sunglasses to better gaze upon his masterpiece. "It's just me…"
"Fa-ther…?" stuttered the creature, a creature only a handful of people in the world would have recognized as having once been Steve Burnside.
"Yes," Wesker said with a gentle smile, his golden eyes shimmering. "Your father…"
Final Notes: So there you have it, the complete work finally finished. And under 100,000 words, at that. Hoped you enjoyed the reading as much as I did the writing. My original goal was to connect all the RE games (the good ones at least) into one story with several arcs, and I think in that regard I was successful. Now whether or not you found those side stories entertaining…well, that's a whole other matter I guess.
Usually when I write something with a clear conclusion, I have the ending already planned out in my head. For this fanfic, I had originally planned to end it with Sherry's death, wrapping up the loose ends of RE2, which I considered to be the basis of this story (as Ada is the focal point character). But somehow it just kept growing, nearly out of control, and character after character kept appearing. At one point I even considered changing the title to simply "Aftermath", but with a bit of restructuring, I was able to shift the focus back to everyone's favorite spy.
A few things I was regretfully unable to include:
-The death of Rebecca Chambers. As my least favorite RE character, she was going to die a stomach-wrenching death unlike anything you've ever seen before, preceded by a gratuitous torture sequence. But I preferred the idea of her dying as a result of someone betraying them; it was her naïve nature that bothered me the most about her.
-More Jill Valentine. As my favorite main character, I was hoping to give her more face time. In fact, I had a side story segment set for her, Barry, and Carlos, post-RE3 trying to escape Graham's O.R.E. facility. There would've been a lot of jokes about Barry's abilities (or lack thereof), and Carlos was going to get heroically left behind so the others could escape. But…I figured Jill gets enough time in the games, so it was only fair she take a backseat to the always awesome Ada.
-More internal monologue from Sherry. Sherry really felt secondary in this story, a cardboard cut out without substance. I guess that was a result of me splitting her into two personalities, to explain her ruthlessness while still making her sympathetic. So…sorry Sherry, we barely knew ye, and that's my fault. Oh well, that's what you get for being so damn slow in RE2.
-Steve Burnside's eventual appearance. I had intended to hint at his role in Wesker's plan throughout the story, but it always felt forced, never quite right. Plus, I think this way, it makes the revelation stronger. I had also entertained the idea of having Steve's first word be "Claire", but that's too cheesy, even for me. I love the idea of a Wesker/Ada/Steve dynamic, just this totally dysfunctional family. Who knows, maybe I'll pursue that angle someday. The implication of Steve's awakening is to parallel Ada's. Meaning, this story's circle is going to repeat again (just in case that wasn't clear). As to whom would have killed Steve, I guess it'd have to be either Claire or Chris…
-Ada's return to Wesker. Originally, I had planned to have her settle back into her routine a bit too easily, which makes her question if this is really her place after all. And in turn, she would become more conflicted, wondering if she should betray Salon or Wesker's group. She'd only grow to hate herself more, with revenge becoming her only desire, yada yada. I decided not to, if only to keep her mystery going; there's only so much we should get to see into her lovely little head. Besides, it wouldn't be consistent with what we see in RE4. And in case you didn't catch it, the sample Ada is bringing Wesker is a fake, and he knows it. He's probably onto all of her plans.
-Claire and Sherry's reunion. The jungle facility kind of got butchered at the end there, the most significant absence being Sherry and Claire coming face to face since parting ways in the RC woods. Nonetheless, a writer has to know when to abandon a plotline, and I decided the jungle arc was getting to be a burden to write, much less read. Guess you'll have to fill in the holes yourselves, dear readers, because as far as I'm concerned, that arc ended with Ada killing the Nyx.
-Umbrella's Resurrection. This was the one piece I wanted to include the most, but knew I couldn't (time frame issues). The idea of Graham and Wesker racing to recreate the company for completely different agendas appealed to me, but it wasn't as important as the battle between the two men. My favorite bits to write were the dialogues between those two, just this constant pissing match. As to which one wins the race, well…that's up to you to decide. One detail I had wanted to use was the resurrection of Umbrella taking place seven years later, meaning Umbrella would've been brought back one year after RE4. Seven is such a recurring number throughout history and fiction.
So there you have my "deleted scenes", stuff that got lost on the editing room floor, so to speak. I kind of rambled on a bit more here than usual, but if you've stuck around this long, I imagine a few more words won't turn you away. This is probably the longest 'short' story I've ever written, and while it was tough to stick out at times, I'm glad I kept at it. Having said that, I sincerely want to thank you for finding an interest in something I wrote. Hope you enjoyed it. And if you didn't, I'll try to make the next one better.