Annette Gibbons was overwhelmed on many different levels. She tilted her head back, tucking back a rebellious blonde bang despite her best efforts to look as refined as she could for a good first impression today. She sighed inwardly as she stared out the passenger-side window, watching as the lush forest past as a green blur. The drive had been uneventful, but the drone of the radio kept the silence at bay. The driver who went by Mr. Kyles had been quite informative as they passed notable areas in Raccoon City on the way.
It seems like Umbrella built half of this city from the way he speaks. Well, that's not too surprising in hindsight.
The position offered from Umbrella Corporation was beyond what she had hoped to achieve within ten years after graduating from college. Fresh from graduating with high honors, she had been approached by a well-dressed agent with an offer she couldn't refuse. How could she say no when Umbrella Corporation was the one coming to her of all people? She wasn't the best in her class nor within her biology major, but she had come to know her true talent came to taking existing formulas and achieving better results. It was a double-edged blade; on one side, a formula could become more efficent in different ways, on the other hand, it wouldn't be nearly as profitable for most retail products. Still - why her?
"We're almost there, Ms. Gibbons." Mr. Kyles offered with a polite smile, bringing Annette out of her staring session.
The non-descript black sedan pulled up to an old mansion that was quite secluded from the city below. She raised an eyebrow as a few nearby crows fluttered away noisily as she let the older gentleman escort her along the path towards the double doors.
It doesn't fit the image of a research facility. Considering all the paperwork and red tape I had to go through, I was thinking of something with a parking lot and a lot more security in jumpsuits. Annette mused as they entered into the mansion itself.
Stepping alongside Mr. Kyles, she took in the vast interior discreetly as security checks were being made. Mr. Kyles handed her a temporary pass as he continued filling out the necessary paperwork.
It feels pretty hollow for all the finery and I thought labs felt sterile. She thought as she pinned on the pass to her lapel as they were finally cleared to enter further inward.
stepping through the straightforward corridor, they came to the entrance to the laboratory which was a simple elevator door.
Mr. Kyles stated as he used his keycard and passcode. "Your supervisor will have all the materials to grant you access. He should be waiting once we descend to the laboratories below." He added after a few moments. "Whenever it decides to show up." She couldn't resist a slight smile despite her nervousness.
Annette nodded, trying not to give to idle habits as the wait seemed to feel like forever for the elevator to arrive. With a soft chime, the grey doors opened to welcome them inside. They step inside and he pushes B1 out of reflex. As the doors shut, she noted her appearance in their reflective surface. Her dark-blue business suit with matching sensible heels really made her feel like she's stepped into the adult world for the first time. She took notes of other features during the quiet descent. Makeup? Perfect. French braid? Nothing a little smoothing couldn't handle.
As she adjusted her appearance with a few swift motions, Mr. Kyles straightened the cuffs of his jacket and offered her another smile as he took notice. "If I may so, you look quite stunning. I'm sure you'll bring some sunshine down to these recluses." She laughed. If he didn't remind me of my father, I'd blush.
A few minutes later, the elevator stopped and the doors slid open to reveal a single man that snapped alive as he offered his hand to Annette which she shook firmly while stepping forward.
"Welcome, Ms. Gibbons. My name is John Mills and you'll be under my wing. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance."
"The pleasure is all mine, Mr. Mills." Annette managed her best smile, noting Mr. Kyles offered a slight nod as he pushed another button to journey elsewhere in the elevator.
John offered her a packet containing all the starting essentials as they started their way down the hallway. "Please, please. Call me John if it makes you feel more comfortable."
"Likewise, John. Annette will be fine."
The click of her short heels echoed as they traveled briskly around sharp corners and down two sets of stairs. Annette tried to remember the way as they go, but the halls offered little in the way of visual landmarks. Finally, John paused a moment in front a set of doors, entering another passcode. "Let me rally the troops." He stepped within, leaving her alone in the empty hallway with only the hum of the bright lights above.
"There's no doubt about it; I'll definitely get lost in this labyrinth." She added, glancing down the hallway to try to get her bearings as she continued to wait.
John returned, waving her to follow him through. Upon entering the lab a few steps behind John, most of the researchers came up to greet her. With a friendly smile, Annette shook many hands and gathered each name in tow: Steve, Robert, David, Eric and Henry. I guess Mr. Kyles wasn't kidding about that whole sunshine bit.
John frowned slightly, his hands resting in his front labcoat pockets as he stood by through the introductions. He stepped away quietly to rally the few stragglers.
"Really? You still get lost?" Annette wondered to Steve.
Steve rubbed at his stubbled chin, chuckling. "Yeah, it only takes me thirty minutes to find my way around even after a year."
A cold voice chided. "And it only takes me three."
Annette raised an eyebrow, glancing over her shoulder as John returned with two more men. Let me guess who killed the mood. Probably the one in... shades?
The disheveled blonde fellow introduced himself first with an big smile and hearty handshake. "William Birkin." Annette offered the same in return. He looks pretty exhausted.. Nice smile though.
The second man stepped up before anymore could be said. Annette barely had time to blink before she accepted his hand. "Albert Wesker." He offered a brief nod before turning to return to his work with William in tow. William offered a weak smile before following. Yup. Definitely Mr. Iceberg.
Annette couldn't resist to smile as everyone started to file back to their work, glancing over in the direction the duo left as John resumed giving her the grand tour.
"What a looker." William exhaled as he returned with Wesker into their shared lab, loosening his tie out of habit.
"Definitely. This project is coming along quite admirably." Wesker spoke as he brought a filled vial to his eye level. Things are definitely coming along, even with minor setbacks.
All William could do was shake his head, stepping over to the recent data print-out. He knew Wesker well enough to know where his mind was.