dum fortuna fuit
while fortune lasted
Disclaimer: Ain't mine.
A/N: At this point I would advise new readers to have a look at ab initio, bene merenti and ab esse ad posse to understand every detail of this story. It can, however, also be read as stand alone, if you like. I will try to cover the events of its predecessors as good as possible.
Ada Wong sat at a diner in downtown Raccoon, sipping at the devilish concoction the waitress called coffee. She placed the can back on the table and proceeded to add another lump of sugar to the drink. If anything could make it endurable it was sugar. Ada had already tried with milk, but apart from giving it an even worse color it hadn't considerably managed to change the taste.
She stirred everything together and brought the coffee to her lips again taking a careful swallow. Not good, but definitely better. The sweet taste of sugar managed to drive away the coffee's natural aroma long enough so she could swallow it.
Even though the service at this diner was lousy most of the time Ada still loved it for its quietness. In the three years she had frequented the place she had always been served the same coffee by the same waitress and usually there were only the same three guests sitting at the other tables.
In a corner sat a businessman. He wore a neatly ironed blue suit with matching tie and always had his briefcase at hand from which he would pull out the Raccoon Daily and browse through the events of the day. He enhanced his coffee with three lumps of sugar and drank it all while having a glance at the stockmarket. When the waitress, a thirty-something old woman with freckles and dirty blond hair asked him if he wanted a refill he always said yes, but never finished the second cup.
The other two regulars were an elderly pair usually sitting at a table by a plant that was in dire need of a decent watering, near to the kitchen. They didn't drink coffee, instead always chose Earl Grey Tea.
Probably because there's not much there can be done wrong about it, Ada mused as she stirred through her own coffee. One day she'd have to try it too.
But that would go against the entire reasoning why she was here. Ada loved this place for its lack of change. Over the period of three years there had been no incident and the course of events was always the same. She entered the diner, sat down at the table beside the window and in a time frame of five minutes (depending on the waitresses' mood) she would have her steamy cup of second class coffee served.
Sometimes it felt good to be able and retreat to a place where change was an unknown word. Especially in times like these, when the world decided to take a bounce and spin into a new dimension it was reassuring to be able to cling on to a part of the past.
The Mansion Incident, a name widely spread by the Raccoon media. All newspaper articles of the last two days had in some fashion mentioned the destructive fire of the Spencer Mansion. On television the Incident was the major topic of most talk shows and newscasts.
Ada glanced over at the businessman in the corner and wondered whether the page of Raccoon Daily he was currently reading contained any new information on the event. Most assuredly, the entire town talked about little else than the Spencer Incident.
For Ada, who knew the truth – or at least parts of it – the odd conspiracy theories people were able to come up with were even more ridiculous than they might seem to the rest of the citizens.
Officially the reason for the fire was explained by human failure and the condition of the building. The old wood had been a perfect nutriment for the flames and so they had managed to devour the biggest parts before the firemen had arrived. A considerably big explosion had been caused by the huge oil container located in the sublevels that had been responsible for heating.
The blame for said human failure, so Ada had learned, had been pinned on the members of STARS, Raccoon's Special Tactics and Rescue Service. Bad mouths rumored that the team had been under the influence of drugs or other mindbending substances and had laid the fire themselves.
STARS had been sent out to investigate recent cannibal murders occurring in the Arklay Mountains. When the lesser experienced Bravo Team had gone MIA, their sister team, Alpha, had been mobilized to rescue their comrades.
From the twelve members only five had made it back to the RPD in the early morning, shortly after the explosion. Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton and Brad Vickers from Alpha Team and the Bravo Team medic Rebecca Chambers.
So much to the facts. In reality there had been six survivors, though only two other people knew about the latter's existence. Ada was one of the lucky ones. Dr. William Birkin, one of Umbrella's finest researchers, was the other to know the truth.
The captain of Alpha Team, Albert Wesker, had also made it out of the Mansion alive. Ada had been there to pick him up. Gravely injured, but not dead – not in the least – they had later met up with Birkin, who had been the man responsible for Wesker's endurance of the lethal wounds.
Ada was still questioning the nature of the substance the STARS captain had injected himself with, but it was hard to draw conclusions on its effects, other than the regenerative abilities that had kept the man very much alive.
The only details she had been able to pick up from Birkin and Wesker's discussion in an old warehouse (it wasn't so far away from here; there had even been a small column about the suppositional 'raid' in the news) was that the former STARS commander had been infected with the T-virus during his mission at the Spencer Estate. The substance Birkin had provided him with was somehow able to restrain the virus' effects on the host and manipulate it to its wishes, emancipating only its positive attributes.
Like those surpassing regenerative abilities, Ada suggested silently.
She glanced over at the old couple near to the kitchen – apart from the businessman the only other guests at the moment – but they seemed to be talking about something else than the Spencer Incident.
Ada wondered whether Wesker had learned about the other STARS' survival. He probably had. Raccoon City was talking about nothing else and if he had left town – the surrounding communities were also talking about it.
From what Ada had gathered on that fateful morning Wesker had assumed to be the only survivor of the disaster. Only that he wasn't – which probably wasn't much of a bother to him anyway, because Albert Wesker was a dead man to the world, just like many of his fellow comrades from STARS.
However, the remaining members of the elite division had found out more about Umbrella during their swipe through the Mansion than Ada would have thought. They had uncovered the truth about the company's nature, that their specialization did not only cover pharmaceuticals, but also production of bioorganic weapons.
And they knew that Wesker had been a double agent working for Umbrella. He had lured the STARS into the Mansion on purpose in order to collect battle data of BOW against human soldiers. The surviving members insisted that the Estate had been haunted by zombies, undead monsters and other unthinkable creatures.
They had supposedly also scooped up a few reports on experiments that had been conducted in the underground laboratories for which the Mansion had only been used to shield from curious eyes. Ada had been shocked about the discoveries when she had first heard about them. Not because the material was new to her, but because she thought it would mean Umbrella's end.
The company however had already managed to pull itself out of heap of accusations thrown at them. They had identified the files as falsifications, produced evidence against the secret laboratories and had marginally – but effectively – reminded the city of all the donations and facilities it contributed to the little town.
Perhaps their most effective weapon against STARS had been their tie in the police department: Brian Irons, the chief of police himself. He had been the one who had alleged STARS with intake of drugs and irrational actions that had led to the death of their teammates. In essence, he had put them on suspension and in cowork with Umbrella personally executed investigations to clear up what 'really' happened at the Mansion.
Being a company for whom money was no problem Umbrella had other agents planted throughout the entire regimen of Raccoon and had successfully managed to free itself of all blames and instead convinced the citizens of its benevolence by mobilizing all forces to find the true reason behind the fiasco and bring those to justice who deserved it.
If Ada hadn't known what she did, she would have probably bought every sentence the Umbrella manager said.
But now, at this time, Ada allowed herself to say that she knew more than the company.
They had been outrageous about Wesker's suggested alliance with them and had confirmed his death – both officially as STARS officer and throughout the internal Umbrella network as counterintelligence agent.
Ada had tried to gather as much information about the incident as possible in the last two days. Before Wesker had sent her and Birkin away he had pointed out that he would contact them both and judging by the man's current state, every bit of additional knowledge could be the key to her own success.
She had ineffectively tried to contact John Howe, her own Umbrella insider. Ever since Wesker had first addressed her about her planned leave from the company she had grown careful and decided to make her own backup plan. It had included the young scientist Howe whom Ada had befriended. Since March they had been a pair and John loved to talk about his work. He had been positioned in Birkin's branch, the Raccoon Plant.
Yesterday Ada had learned of John's early passing. He had been at the Spancer Estate during the outbreak, and like every employee had not survived the viral contamination. She had never thought that John's death would affect her, but then again, she had never thought he would die in the first place.
With John had also passed a rather important source of information, especially now when Ada would have liked to contact Dr. Birkin. They had made acquaintance shortly after Wesker had escaped the Mansion, but Ada's head had been occupied by other things at that time, and she had forgotten to ask the researcher about any way to contact him.
Wesker had said he would contact both of them, but Ada wanted to find out more about the thing the man had become before giving him a reunion hug. Whatever other effects Birkin's substance had on the STARS commander's body, it had just amplified the danger he posed to Ada by a million.
Mostly because the backup plan of her backup plan had consisted of shooting him if their deal did not turn out in her favor. Wesker might have been a brilliant agent and scientist, but Ada wasn't ashamed of her skills either. Perhaps she was able to hit him even now, but she doubted that the bullets would have any effects.
And you don't want him to get angry… just remember that strength… and the speed.
Oh, she did. It had even left a mark, both physically and mentally. Ada would be careful how she approached him in the future. Despite the injury to his abdomen he had twisted her hand with such a force that it had left bruise on her arm – the reason she was wearing a long sleeved blouse in the middle of an above-average hot August morning. He had moved so quickly that Ada had not been able to follow him with her eyes, and wriggling out of the titanium grip had been impossible.
She was sure that if he had wanted to, he could have effortlessly broken her hand.
Don't tempt fate.
Ada brushed over the arm unconsciously. Where he had taken that inhuman strength from was a mystery to her. It probably stood in close connection to the substances flowing through his veins even if she didn't yet understand all the effects. Birkin and Wesker, as brilliant as they might be, probably still had their doubts too.
With this new twist in the story Ada wondered what Wesker intended to do now in terms of their 'deal'. Before the Mansion Incident they had taken a mutual agreement of cooperating against Umbrella and making their transfer to one of the rivaling companies as easy as possible.
Would Wesker still approach a corporation in his current state? And more importantly, should Ada wait for him, or try to save her own hide as long as she could? After all she had no means of contacting him and the man could appear on her doorstep the moment when she got home or in ten years. Ada would not wait ten years.
Wesker had become even more unpredictable than ever and she didn't see a reason why she should play along with all his rules. This was about more than just an 'unspoken agreement' and she was sure that the former STARS commander wouldn't bother to leave her behind either.
For all Ada knew he could already be dead. There hadn't been talk about the durability of the serum. It could just as well break under the pressure of having to sustain an entire human body and Wesker could fall over dead from one minute to the other.
There was no use waiting for a dead man.
Ada took another sip of the horrible coffee, promising herself to contact the people from the company she was in talk with tomorrow. With John dead and Umbrella having slipped into a very delicate situation there was nothing to keep her in Raccoon City anymore.
There was a vibration in the pocket of her jeans, accompanied by a ring tone. Ada quickly fished out the small device and looked at the screen to identify the caller. Suppressed number. She flipped the phone open and pressed it to her ear.
Ada's heart leaped into her stomach. The voice was unmistakable.
"What do you want?" she asked flatly, the emotion in her voice repressed like the number he was calling from.
"Don't exaggerate with the small talk, will you?" from one moment to the other his tone grew stern, "I require your assistance."
Ada didn't think before replying, which, in retrospect, had probably been a bad thing, "Sorry, I'm busy these days."
"It was no question, Miss Wong, if you interpreted it that way."
"I'm not obligated to you in any way. Whatever you want – do it yourself."
"My, what tone," he said calmly, but warning, "have you forgotten about our talk?"
"No, I haven't. But there was never a mention that it'd apply even beyond death."
"Miss Wong, I don't want to prolong this call anymore than necessary, but I feel I have to point out that we are both alive and healthy."
Ada rolled her eyes. Of course…
"What do you want?" she repeated, but this time in another tone.
He came straight to the point, "Use your Umbrella identity to collect the STARS' reports and all other files associated with the Spencer Mansion from the Chief of Police, Brian Irons. He will give them to you willingly, if you stress that you are one of the company's executives. I suggest you take care of the matter tomorrow morning, since the documents need to be returned in the evening ere the true agent comes to pick them up."
She could piece one and one together so she asked, "Roundevouz point?"
He was silent for a moment before suggesting, "What about Café 13, Downtown Raccoon? I heard it was one of your favorites…"
Ada frowned, "No," not here. This place didn't respond well to changes, and of all people she didn't want him here, "Not in Raccoon. There's a small gas station about 20 miles east of the city."
"Indeed. Tomorrow 12pm. Be punctual."
The line went dead after that. Ada tucked the phone back into the pocket of her jeans and left a five dollar bill on the table before leaving Café 13.
Hello back, readers of the series and welcome to you new ones!
Hello back, readers of the series and welcome to you new ones!
This story will cover the events happening between RE1 and RE2 from Ada, Wesker and Birkin's point of view, with an emphasis on the effects of Wesker's virus and his coping with the new abilities.
Feedback, ideas, and/or complaints are as always appreciated!
Also, a huge thank you to all people who read and reviewed praemonitus, pramunitus!