The Raccoon City police station was a huge, cathedral-like building built in the mid 1970's with considerable financial assistance from none other than the Umbrella Corporation. Entering through the front door to the lobby was like entering a cave, with the ceiling three stories high and large lights hanging down like glowing stalactites. An enormous marble fountain was set in the center of the spacious lobby, a woman with a water pitcher on her shoulder, which poured continually into the water at her feet. Wesker, upon first entering the building, was struck by the magnificent architecture. It was becoming something of a habit.
Brian Irons was a husky, brawny man in his early forties with shaggy brown hair and a full beard. Generously overweight but not fat, with wide shoulders and an imposing stance, Irons would have made a good linebacker. His office was on one of the upper floors of the police station, but the winding hallways and numerous rooms on the upper floors made it hard for Wesker to guess its exact position in the building. The office was surprisingly small as well. Wesker expected something much larger for the Chief of police. His office wasn't much larger than the bedroom at Wesker's rented house, with dark green walls and shining mahogany furniture taking up was little room there was. Iron's desk in particular was so wide it almost reached across the whole room, leaving only a narrow space for Irons to squeeze his bulk through to sit behind it.
"What can I do for you, Mr. Wesker?" he said, leaning back in his chair, his large hands folded over his impressive gut. But judging by the way his bushy eyebrows arched inward over his small, dark eyes, Wesker could tell that Irons knew exactly what he could do. The question at hand was: Was he willing to do it?
Wesker was dressed in a sharp blue suit that he was totally uncomfortable in. He still, however, wore his sunglasses. "You know who sent me, correct?" he asked. A necessary preliminary.
Irons nodded gravely. "You work for Mr. Spencer at the Umbrella lab."
"This is a confidential visit, you understand."
Irons chuckled and bared his teeth, which were stained yellow. "You can talk freely here. There are no listening devices."
"I did not suggest that there were."
"So get on with it. What do you want?"
Wesker uncrossed and recrossed his legs, putting on the air of an experienced executive type. The kind of arrogant, skilled bureaucrat that preferred misleading, politically inoffensive half-truths to the kind of straight talk Irons was clearly hoping for. He had to keep the illusion of superiority or Irons would walk all over him.
"We'd like to assist you, Chief Irons."
"And how do you plan on doing that?"
Wesker pulled a manilla folder from the briefcase on the floor beside him. He flipped it open casually and pursed his lips as he scanned the information. "It appears you've lost quite a bit of money recently on some unsuccessful business investments." In reality, they were substantial monetary losses on sporting events.
"How did you find that out?" Irons asked, baring his teeth again.
"Oh, we have ways of accessing information," Wesker said, returning the folder to the briefcase.
"You want to pay off my debts?" he asked boldly.
"Yes, we do."
"And in return?"
"Just your support," Wesker said, his voice smooth as a waxed floor. "We'd like you to accept a new transfer to your police department. Nothing complicated on your part. Just push the paperwork through without a hitch."
"You want to send a new cop to my department?" Irons asked, his eyes narrowing even further. He was suspicious already.
"Is there anything wrong with that?"
"All I have to do is accept his transfer paperwork?"
"We want your support," Wesker repeated. "When the new transfer arrives, we'd like you to support him. Help him out, listen to his advice, tell the other officers what a good job he's doing. That sort of thing. Promote him as quickly as possible, if you can."
"I can't play favorites," Irons said firmly. "I can't be supporting someone who doesn't deserve it. The other officers under my command won't stand for it."
"We understand that. I give you my promise that you won't be disappointed. Our candidate will do his share, just like everyone else. We only ask that you try to smooth his way through the system, so to speak. By no means should you make it obvious that you are helping him."
Irons thought it over, studying Wesker's face for any hint of dishonesty. There was none, since Wesker was essentially telling him the truth.
"For how long?" he asked. "How long will this candidate of yours work here?"
"That hasn't been decided yet. He may work here for years."
"This is too easy," Irons grunted. "All I have to do is let some employee of yours work in my police station, treat him real nice, and you'll pay off all my debts?"
Wesker liked how Irons read between the lines. He had never said the candidate would be an Umbrella employee, but Irons guessed it right away. "The money is nothing to us," Wesker said. "But having a police officer here of our choosing would benefit us greatly."
"Yeah, I bet it would."
"So is our arrangement satisfactory?"
"It's a deal," Irons said. Wesker half-expected him to stick out a hand and shake on it, but Irons did not move from his chair.
"Wonderful," Wesker said, standing up. He straightened his tie and picked up the briefcase, surprised at how easily everything had fallen into place. He had almost been looking forward to a more heated negotiation. "And here is our first payment on that promise," he said, reaching into an inner pocket and pulling out an envelope. He tossed it onto Irons' desk.
Irons hesitated it before touching it, as if worried it might explode as soon as he opened it. But he picked it up off the desk and opened it, using his thumb to flip through the stack of one-hundred-dollar bills inside.
"You'll get the transfer paperwork within the week," Wesker said, heading for the door. "I'd advise you not to inspect it too carefully, if you understand my meaning."
"Yeah," Irons said absentmindedly, counting the money. Wesker opened the door and was halfway out the door when Irons looked up and said, "Just who is this candidate of yours?"
Wesker smiled widely. "Me," he said, and went out the door, closing it after him.
THE END OF PART ONE
STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO