When Red finally managed to haul her aching body up the ladder, she caught a glimpse of the woman from the boat again, and then the lady vansihed, jumping down off the walkway.
"L..leon?" The blonde turned round, seeing red standing there, looking somewhat bemused.
"What happened?" she asked as he walked over, and started helping her stagger towards the ladder down from the walkway.
"I ran into an old friend, lets put it that way.." was all he said. Red didn't push him for any more info, he didnt seem to happy about it.
Leon insisted on going ahead to check the area, and it was just as well he did, for there was a plethora of lasers blocking the way. It took some fancy acrobatics from Leon to avoid them all, but he succeeded in getting the door at the other end open, then he went back to help drag Red along.
The door opened into a room with a large throne-like chair in it. It seemed like a dead end, until they spotted the lift hidden behind the large chair.
It brought them down to a dank, smelly underground cave. They walked along it, both relieved to spot a blue flame by which stood the merchant. Red again bought all the First Aid Sprays the merchant had, and after using a further two on the wound, she began to feel a bit less dead.
"Think you can manage?" Leon asked. She nodded, "ill be fine now", then finished releading all her weaponry, managed a slight smile, and off they went.
The next door opened out into a even larger cavern. But this one wouldnt be a simple job to get across. Between where they stood and the other end, there was a ginormous gap, across which three huge crates were suspended.
Red groaned, and was about to complain about how to get over, when Leon suddenly spotted something glimmering on the ground a few feet away.
It was the transmitter he'd attached to ashley. Both stood staring at it in bemused exuastion, but were distratced by a low rumbling.
"what the hell's that?" Leon muttered. Red opened her mouth to speak, but didn't get a chance. The wall in front of them broke down, and something charged out it, smacking into them and landing them both in the first suspended crate.
"Oww..." Red coughed and managed to scramble back onto her feet, only to come face to face with the thing that had put them there.
It was UGLY. Looking vaugely like a cross between a dino and a human, it regarded them with lizard-like eyes, then decided they were worth eating, and lunged again.
But both cleared out of its way mighty fast.
They soon sussed out how the crates were set up. There were two switches in each one, both of which had to be pressed to open the door to the proceeding crate. Downside being after both switches were pressed, it gave them only 30 seconds to dash to the gate otherwise theyd plummet to thier deaths with the crate as it was released once time ran out.
The thing pursued them relentlessly, making this all the more difficult, but oddly enough, once they reached the third crate, it dissapeared. Theyd weren't going to complain, and quickly sourced out the switches, pressed 'em both, and hightailed it towards the last gate.
But the only way out of the crate and over to solid ground again was via a crane hook. Just as they spotted it, the disgusting creature came out of hiding. It raced towards them, its unearthly screech echoing in the vast cavern. Leon lept easily onto the hook, and Red jumped after, clinging tightly onto him so she didnt fall.
It made a grab for them, but the time limit was reached. With a snap, the chains hodling the final crate snapped, and the thing was carried with it as it plunged, into the seemingly bottomless space.
Red sighed in relief as the crane swung them over to land. Leon had to wait several seconds before she let go of him, as she seemed to be somewhat dizzy, no doubt from blood loss.
But barely had they walked a few meteres away from the edge then there was the sound of something runninf up behind them. They turned, spotting the thing running for them again. It smacked into them, knocking them different ways, and finally stopping a few feet away. But not because it was bored playing with them. Hell no. Its body shifted, it screeched again as its body mutated, becoming even more dangerous and blood-thirsty.
Red lay where she'd fallen, stunned and winded by the blow. She heard Leon swearing, and gun shots being fired. She got a vauge notion he might want help, and forced herself to sit up. It had him backed up aaginst the far wall of the area, and was slowly advancing on him.
She got to her feet, ignoring her bodys complaints, and took the rocket launcher from her back.
"DUCK LEON!!" she yelled. The american heard her, and quickly ducked under the things arm and ducked behind an outcropping of rock. It turned, to see what had distracted it from Leon. And got a rocket to the face, courtesy of one pissed gun expert.
When he was sure it was over, Leon came out from his hiding spot. He watched as Red tossed the empty launcher aside, and sat on the floor with a shaky sigh.
"Maybe..you should go on ahead Leon...i cant keep walking.." she muttered.
He frowned, in his (short-lived, mind) career as a police officer, hed been taught never to leave a parter or civilian behind. Red certainly counted as a partner. So like hell he was gonna leave her there. He ignored her objections and helped her to her feet, letting her use his shoulder as support so she could walk. She didn't say anything, but he could tell from her expression that she was releived not to be left alone in the hell hole.
--I really owe this guy...-- Red thought to herself as the pair made thier slow way out of the place and finally above ground.
The area where they emerged was small, and jutted out over what looked like a camp. A quick glance down revealed a group of military ganados, which were easily disposed of by the use of some handily placed explovie barrels in the camp.
All inhabitants blown to next tuesday, Leon jumped down, and caught Red easily when when she slipped down after him. There was a manhole in one of the tents that led deep underound, and had a merchant at the other end of it, by a ladder. Knowing itd cheer her up, leon grabbed a rocket launcher for the red-jacketed one.
But before they could climb the ladder, they spotted a piece of dicarded paper lying atop a crate next to said ladder. Red picked it up, read it quickly, went red briefly, then worriedly handed it over to leon.
It turns out that old man Saddler wasn't buying me from the start. Even though I succeeded in kidnapping Ashley, I sort of sensed this when Saddler didn't completely let me in the loop. Under the circumstances, I had no other alternative but to call for her assistance. Perhaps she knew this was the way it was going to turn out all along... My guess is that her ultimate goal might be different from Wesker's and mine. This is just the perfect opportunity to find out. And after I get rid of Leon and retrieve the sample, I'll put her in a body bag along with Leon and send them both to Wesker. Not forgetting Leon's litle red-jacket girlfriend as well, I don't know where she's from, but i'll dispose of her also.
"Damnit, that maniac..." Leon grumbled, stuffing the paper into his pocket and climbing the ladder.
But they werent oin for an easy ride. Barely had htye made it into the ruins of what was probably an ancient city, then the maniac from before attacked once again. Krauser.
Before he started trying to obliterate them, Krauser told of the three parts of a seal they would need to get to where Ashley was. Every step they took they were dogged by Krauser, whose only aim seemed to be to kill them. It finally came to a head when they cornered him at the top of a tower. But Krauser was infected by the plagas too, and he mutated into something that barely looked human.
It took almost everything they had, plus a rocket to the face again to finally put him to sleep. That done they ganked the last part of the seal and made haste to open the gate out of there.
On the other side of the door was another military encampment. They had to quickly duck behind a large crate, as it was CRAMMED full of ganados (the camp, not the crate), some with rockets, others with bowguns, and many with dynamite. The fact there were at least two machine gun turrets didnt help either.
"We're screwed!" Red wailed, and Leon was almost tempted to agree with her. Until he heard the sound of helicopter blades.
"Ooh, look, a Roflcopter!" Red grinned. Leon was about ask what the hell Roflcopter meant, but was intterupted by his radio going off.
"Someone call for backup? 'names Mike, good to see ya!" Having introduced himself, the pilot turned the chopper to face the crowd of ganados, and opened fire. Within seconds he'd mown down the whole encampment, and blown up an oil tank and a radio tower into the bargain.
"Yeah!" Red cheered, watching the chopper at work.
"Now THAT'S what i call backup!" Leon agreed.
They made their way through the whole of the rest of the massive encampment areas, aided and abetted by Mike and his choppers arsenal of weapons.
Through another set of doors, and up a set of stairs that seemed to be carved of out the rocky surface they were on. The steps led out into a wide clifftop area. Which was full of more rocket-weilding ganados.
"Fuck." was all Red could say, Leon just stared. But before they could even pull out a gun, they heard the comforting whine of chopper blades, and Mike reappeared behind the crowd of ganados. Without needing to be told they dived for cover and left it to the chopper pilot to eradicate the swarm of ganados.
They walked up to the edge of the cliff once they were sure it was clear, and the chopper hovered just in front of them. Leon grinned, and red offered the pilot a grateful smile. "If we get out of this, drinks are on me!" Leon offered.
"Hey great, i know a good bar-" but mike's words were cut off by a whooshing sound, then the helicopter exploded in a massive blast of fire. The duo stared in horror as the craft dropped from the air, crashing to the cliffs below. They looked in the direction it came from, and saw Saddler, with a ganados beside him, which threw aside the used-up rocket launcher, then they turned and disapeared.
Seconds later, the comm unit crackled, and Saddlers cold laugh came over the airwaves.
"Oh, im SO sorry you two.."
"Saddler you bastard!!" Leon fumed, Red was furious.
"Just like the red lady's friends, i had to swat them, they were merely flies, buzzing around-"
"YOU ASSHOLE!!" Red grabbed the unit from Leon and glared at Saddler's face on the video screen. "You're gonna get yours, just you damn well wait you old fart!"
But Saddler just laughed and cut communications.
They made thier way through another set of doors, then down a hole into an underground room. They got a surprise on entering, for waiting for them was a familair face. It was Ada. But this was no time for a happy reunion, as the paarcite inside Leon decided to cause trouble, and Leon seemed to lose total control and tried to strangle Ada. Luckily, with Red's help, she got free from him, and a swift kick to the stomach and a jab in the leg with Ada's knife stunned him back to normal.
"We need to get the paracite out of your body Leon" the raven-haired woman said quietly, then she turned to the tired Red "..i assume you're not infected..are you?". Red shook her head, and Ada nodded, then tossed a bag at her, stating she may need it, before walking out the door.
Red blinked, an opened the bag, pulling out a white shirt. She blinked, wondering how the woman had known she needed it, and why she'd given it to her. Deciding she would think about that later, she quickly whipped her red jacket off, and switched shirts (all this before Leon even turned round to ask what was in the bag). By the time he'd turned to face her she'd already changed, and put the jacket back on.
Deciding not to ask how she'd changed clothes so fast, they carried onwards.
An entire army waited them once they got through the undergorund cell block, which came complete with a regenarator, which Red happily let Leon deal with.
Leon left red to figure out how to open the door, which she quickly managed, and they continued ploughing thier way through the seige of ganados. At last they entered what looked to be an expriment chamber, and there, inside some sort of capsule-type machine, was Ashley.
Unfortunalty Saddler was right behind them, and would have surely killed them, had Ada not intterupted him. She urged them to run, while she made an attempt at dealing with Saddler. They didn't need to be told twice, so they grabbed Ashley and ran. The next room they came across had a weird-looking machine in it. A report on a sidetable informed them that this weird hunk of junk could be used to remove the plagas. The infected pair didnt need telling twice.
Red grimmaced as she watched the treatment of Ashley and Leon. The removal process looked painful, and Ashley looked ready to start crying when it was finally over. Taking only a minuite to rest, they had to go on, to get out of there.
They emerged outside, the cold air hitting, and Ashley shivered. Red sighed, and headed towards the blue flame just ahead, and bought what she hoped would be the last rocket she'd need. But although it looked like this place was deserted, something didn't feel right, both Red and Leon felt uneasy. They told Ashley to wait, then rode the elevator up to a construction platform.
No sooner had they stepped off the lift then they spotted Ada, tied up and unconsious, dangling from a crane. Leon quickly got her down, but they got no time to talk, as Saddler appeared once again.
He waved his hand at Leon, the staff twitched again, but nothing happened. Saddler frowned, and Leon laughed, suggesting he try something else. Saddler looked furious for a split second but then he just laughed.
"You americans and your cliche's...the hero always saves the day.." He sneered at them "let me awaken you from your...little fantasy world.." His mouth opened, and what seemed to be a huge eyeball was inside it, then his body split and began changing. With a sickening crunch, six legs burst out from his body, his neck extending, until he resebmled a demented spider of sorts. It towered over them, its single eyeball glaring down at them.
Red gaped, feeling about to be sick, what was this thing and how were they going to stop it?!
She wasn't given much time to think, as it attempted to impale her with one of its legs. It laughed as she ducked under it, and swung at her again as she ran off towards the other end of the construction platform. The it turned its attention to Leon, as he tried to follow her. Hearing Leon swearing, she turned back around, pulled out the mine thrower, and let rip with every piece of ammo it had.
The round of resulting explosions bought it to its knees, and Leon used the valuble oppertunity to plunge his combat knife into its eyeball. It screamed and threw him off, writihing in pain before getting back up. Red opened fire at it again, but it wasnt going to leave itself so wide open again. Quick as light, it grabbed a metal support bar and flung it at her. It hit her in the stomach, she distinctly felt a few ribs crack as it slammed her to the floor. Gasping and hiccuping in pain, she threw it off, quickly assesing the damage. Three ribs cracked, but not serious thankfully, she'd gotten off lucky. Had one pucntured her lung she'd be on the way to death.
Leon ran over, quickly scooping her up off the floor and running across a bridge to another part of the platform. He set her down behind some barrels, and reloaded the guns, keeping an eye on the thing as it scutttled right for them. She watched dizzily, wanting to just pass out, but knowing that was a bad idea..
The Saddler-creature was hurt, no doubt about it. Strange, viscous looking blood flowed from its eyeball, and dozens of other gaping tears in its skin, its screeches of fury echoing over the rooftop platform.
Then it jumped, leaping across the gap in platforms, landing not far in front of them. Leon leveled then gun again and resumed firing as it stomped towards him. In an effort to stop it finding Red, he ran under it like Red had done before, drawing it away from the girl.
From her postion atop one of the structure on the platform, Ada watched the battle, holding something in her arms. Once she saw Leon was within range she tossed it down to the ground, knowing he'd see it. But sadly, SHE didn't see the ganados sneaking up on HER.
Leon spotted the little present Ada had dropped, a red-tipped rocket launcher, and dove for it, readying and aiming it at Saddler as it turned to attack one last time.
At the same time, Red spotted the thing creeping up behind Ada, a paracite waving froms its neck. She tried to shout to the other woman, but it was no use, her voice was too weak. So she did the only thing she could. She pulled her own rocket launcher from her back, aimed and fired at a crate that was hanging from a pulley, a few feet ahead of the ganados. Hoping her plan would work, she pulled the trigger.
Ada turned her head as she heard a gurgled sound, and seen a paracited ganados right near her, the razor shapr tentacle about to swing for her neck. She swore and, in a split second, felt a stab of anger that she hadn't heard it...but as she prepared to feel that thing cleave her head from her neck, there was a loud boom overhead, and a crate plummted down on top of the approaching enemy, crushing its body udnerneath the weight. The paracite thrashed once, then stopped moving altogether.
She quickly look towards the lower platform. And saw two things that made her smile. First, Saddler lay dead, the special rocket having incinerated its body for good. And she also saw the red-jacket girl tossing aside a used rocket. It was her that had fired the rocket at the crate...
She dropped down to the ground, just in time to stop Leon from picking up the master plagas sample. When she aimed a gun at him, he simply handed it over calmly, only asking if she knew what was in it? She just smiled and turned, running off the edge of the platform.
Red limped up to Leon, clutching her chest, thinking the woman had tried to kill herself by jumping off like that, but she turned out to be wrong. Ada reappeared, seated inside a chopper. She waved the sample at them, promising to look after it.
"I'd get off this island too, if i were you, its set to blow in a few minuties..." she looked at red, smiling slightly "i owe you for that little stunt with the rocket, thank you.." she looked at leon, "i'll give you two a chance to escape, so run now..." She tossed a key to Leon, and smiled "bye bye..."
Red blinked, then smiled and saluted Ada as the the chopper flew away, leaving them both standing there. They raced back to the elevator, pausing only to grab Ashley before running, or staggering in Red's case, down a tunnel to an underground waterway. Parked there was a small motorboat, evidently thier reward for getting rid of Saddler.
They barely made it out in time, for even as they sped throught the long winding cave, the ceiling was starting to collapse. They just made it outisde into bright sunlight when the dynamite set all over the island detonated. The shockwave almost capsized the boat, but by sheer luck it survived, and they tore away, full speed to land.
Red sighed, releived to be safe but knowing she'd never forget the woman in the red dress, or any of what she'd seen.
She heard Leon and Ashley talking, Ashley giggling and trying to get info out of Leon about ada. Leon smiled and shook his head, then picked up the comm unit as it beeped, and Hunnigan appeared on the vidscreen.
"Finally, the lines jack-free, whats happened?"
"I've completed the mission, targets safe and sound, were heading back now."
"Good work Leon. Is that other girl still with you?".
Leon looked over his shoulder to the half-asleep Red "Yeah, shes here."
"I see. I managed to find out a little about them."
Leon listened, intersted "so where is that militia from?"
"That i cannot be sure about, i wasn't able to find a location, but the info i did find is interesting. Thier essentially hired forces, they'll take high-risk jobs or operations, but for a very high price, there wasnt any info on its members, but from what i gathered, they employ only the best."
Leon frowned "so someone hired them to find something in that town?"
"More than likely, im not sure, thats all the info there was, and that was hard to get. Did you find the missing chopper?"
Leon shrugged "No. Their confirmed dead, the same guy who caused all this fuss shot them out of the air."
"That's unfortunate, but not much we can do now. Hurry back."
"Right, see you back on land" with that, the transmission ended. Leon looked at Red "how are you feeling?"
Red looked at him and smiled slightly "i've been better bud, bur i'll survive.." She sat herself up and winced slightly. "Since you saved my ass back there, i suppose i'd better start explaining why that chopper was there to start with."
She took a deep breath before starting, "Not too long ago, the biology lab of our main HQ was broken into, several valuble viral specimens were stolen."
Leon frowned "Viral specimens? You guys were working on a virus? Are you some sort of Umbrella clone?!"
Red coughed and shook her head "its easy to assume we're like umbrella, snce we deal in viral research, butit was nothing like that. We were working on a...counter-virus so to speak, to try eradicate the common flu. But sadly, work wasnt going as we'd hoped, weird side-effects kept showing."
Ashley blinked "side-effects?"
Red nodded "although it did effectively clear the virus from the test subjects body, and boosted the bodys imunity level immensley, it also caused mild memory loss, and in one rare case, it blended with the original virus and mutated. It was discovered that a low percentage of people may experince such mutations, and we were working on eradicating the problem.."
Leon wiated for all this to sink in. What kind of militia were they?
"But," ashley broke in "why would someone steal the virus if it caused side-effects?"
Red frowned. "It wasn't clear then, but with all i've seen now..im betting it was Saddler. No doubt he wanted the virus, to add to the plagas...upgrade it so to speak.." She sighed "its only a theory, and theers no chance of proving it now the islands gone...but..."
Leon was quiet. During his first encounter with Krauser, during which Ada had saved his life, Krauser had briefly mentioned Umbrella. He got the feeling it wasn't Saddler that had stolen the virus. He had his suspicions that Ada was working with Wesker, and maybe all this was connected to Umbrella.
Red glanced at Leon. He'd been quiet since she'd mentioned the viral research bit. She got the distinct impression he was angry, more than likely at her for not mentioning this.
But she took a deep breath and continued "so, anyway, there were reports of strange mutations in a remote village around the area the chopper went missing, so they sent a two-man team over there to see if matched the mutation symptoms we found in the testing phase...i kept in contact with them, but no sooner had htey arrived than communications were cut. So i was sent out to find out what had happened...and you know the rest. Saddler shot them down."
She leant back in the boat, struggling not to cry afresh. She hadn't given herself proper time to accept it all, and now they were free, she felt the overwhleming desire to just cry as long as she wanted. But that wouldnt make the situation any more cheerful, so she forced herself to stay calm.
She could feel herself drifting off to sleep, and she thought of one last thing to tell them before she passed out.
"Before i forget, im gonna tell you something secret!"
Ashley blinked "secret?"
"Yup" Red smiled exaustedly at the other girl, and finally put to rest the one question her two companions had been wondering since theyd met her, "..my name, it's Lnt. Rachel Yanmark".
Leon smiled, having fianlly found out her name "Red Raven's Rachel," he chuckled slightly, "it suits." Ashley clapped her hands and smiled "i was wondering what your name might be! How come you never tell anyone?"
Red laughed softly "We're supposed to be a top secret miltia, giving our names away isn't a common practise, but for you two, i don't mind bending the rules.." She leant back again and closed her eyes. "Sorry for this, but i gotta sleep awhile...my body's killing me..." and with that, she finally got sleep.
Leon let her sleep as they tore towards the mainland. As they drew close, he radioed Hunnigan to tell her to send a medical team to the nearest dock port, what with Red looking half-dead and all. Then he pushed the boats speed to max and hurried towards land.
Barely had the boat tocuhed the docks edge, then he heard the screech of sirens. Looking up he saw an ambulance, two police cars, and a limo heading right for them. Evidently Hunnigan had decided to send as much help as possible just in case. As the cars screeched to a halt, Leon carefully picked Red up and carried her from the boat.
Ashley looked worriedly at the out-cold Red, but then she heard a voice calling her name. It was her father! Joyfully she ran into his arms and hugged him tightly. Leon smiled, glad to see them reunited.
In his arms, Red stirred and cursed quietly.
"Wherem' i?" she asked dopily.
"The docks, were back." he answered, walking over to the ambulance with her.
She smiled, raising one hand to pat his head "about feckin' time eh.." she coughed again "ow, that hurts."
"Stay still." he said shortly, as he put her down on the stretcher the medics had prepared.
Feeling releived it was all over she managed a weak smile at him. "Wheres Ashley?"
He nodded over to where Ashley and her father were standing, Ashley describing everything that had happened. Red smiled, growing sleepy again, "im glad, i was worried we wouldn't get out of that nightmare..."
Leon nodded, sighing "same here, but its over now. Ashley's safe, you found out what happened to your men, and Saddler's gone...but," he looked back at her "what're you going to do now? Go back to your base?"
She gave a wheezy laugh, then coughed again. "Of course, thier gonna wanna hear about what happened, but..£ she sighed slightly, "i'll be in a hospital for awhile, dont suppose you two could come see me could ya? I'll go crazy stuck in there on my own.."
Leon smiled slightly "you can count on it."
With that in her mind, Red drifted off to sleep again, listening to the noise all around her. She felt happy for the first time since shed found out the deaths of her men. They'd saved one life and brought it home, that was a victory that was worth all the terror and pain.
--Thank you...Leon, Ashley...Ada...-- she thought drowzily, then she drifted into comforting sleep.
---3 days later---
Red, or as was her real name, Rachel, sat up in bed in the Hospital she'd been brought to after they'd gotten back to the mainland. It had been 3 days since then, and still she thought over all that had happened.
On her bedside table lay the two passes and the hunk of metal that was all the remained of the chopper. She sighed, it still hurt to recall those deaths, but that would heal, given time. She hadn't yet contacted her HQ, there would be time enough once she recovered.
"Just through here, sir, ma'am." she blinked as she heard the doctors voice. It must be important vistors to warrant such terms, was it the FBI again? She sighed wearily, she'd been questioned repeatedly the previous day, and the last thing she wanted was another inquisition rammed down her throat.
"Gone crazy yet?" remarked a familiar voice, and someone else giggled in response to the wisecrack.
She blinked, her gaze turning to lock onto the two that the doctor had let into the room. It was Ashley, carrying a large bunch of flowers, and behind her was Leon, grinning all over his face.
She smiled, laughing slightly "not quite crazy but almost there" she answered.
The two sat down beside the bed, and Ashley handed Rachel the flowers. "We got you these, to cheer up your room!"
"Thier wonderful..." Rachel smiled "Thanks". She held the flowers in her arms and smiled happily, it was good to see them again.
For the time they were there she was able to relax, smile and forget the horrors in the past.
But it couldn't last forever, she had to return to her HQ eventually. She left without saying anything, flying home in a helicopter.
Some weeks later, an odd letter arrived for leon in the post. It had just his name on it, no adddress, so whomeevr sent it must be important maybe. There was a single sheet of paper inside, which bore only the words:
"Thanks for everything blondie, say hi to ashley for me. It was great worekin with ya!"
And underneath that, drawn in ink, was the same insignia he'd seen on the back of a jacket. He smiled, and folded it back up again, noticing another doodle as he did. It was a cartoon of a chopper, beside which was scribbled "Roflcopter, in case you wondered!" He laughed, folding it up fully, to keep it as a memento, for it didnt seem likely he'd see her again...