Chapter 6: Message In A Bottle

'All it takes is mere seconds.' The commander of Delta team thinks as he reflects upon the happenings of the last fifteen minutes. He can see Chris, Sheva and Steve and he can't help the small tug of his lips as he seems them alive. But the feeling is gone just as quickly as it appeared for there is absolutely no doubt now that the rest of his team is dead.

He feels the guilt swallow him just as surely as the Black monstrosity had engulfed his team and torn them to shreds. He honestly doesn't want to think about their last moments on Earth, terrified and desperate and certain in their coming demise. He briefly wonders if they thought he'd abandoned them, led them to the monster and betrayed their trust.

He wonders if any of them managed to shoot themselves before the monster caught them.

"Commander?!" Sheva runs and kneels at his left side, taking in the damage. It is clear that the wound in his side will kill him, he doesn't have much time and he must relay the message that the strange woman gave him.

Chris and Steve have recovered from the shock of the sight of Claire. Knowing she is alive and seeing it is two separate things. Steve wants to ask a thousand questions to the commander but holds himself back. He is here on this mission as a guest; he has no authority for he is not part of the BSAA.

"Commander, what happened here?" Chris knows his question is badly worded for it is obvious but he needs to ask so he can put it in his report if and when they get out of here and resolve this whole situation.

"Was just checking the area. We were supposed to meet an arms dealer here by the name of Irving. Looks like he set us up..." The commander coughs up blood and the world spins away from him for a second before violently coming back to him. "That thing came out of nowhere." He spits out with undeniable hatred and rage. "Gave it my best and thought I was done for... But then that woman appeared and hauled me up here."

"She saved you?" Chris isn't surprised at the fact that Claire pulled the commander out of harm's way. What concerned him the most was her timing and it was easy to see that she had clearly known about the coming attack.

"Don't know what she was doing here but she was just suddenly standing next me and she had such strength that she practically threw that monster across the room."

The Black beast had already torn a hole in his left side and he was bleeding out on the floor when it looked like it was about to finish him off. Some of his team members were already dead, some were trying to shoot the monster away from him and some were trying to escape. He was expecting more pain or perhaps to stop feeling altogether when he heard the monster make some awful shrieking noise as if it was in pain.

That's when he looked up and saw the woman holding the monster away from him with ease as if it was nothing but a mere child and launch it across the room without glancing back at it. He was paralysed with awe and shock when she wasted no time lifting up and carrying him away from his team mates.

He could just see as they went up the lift the monster starting to get back up and the deathful cries of everyone left behind.

"We have to go back!" He roared at the woman as she not so gently propped him against the wall. "We can't leave them to die!" He struggled to get up again but his body refused to obey his wishes.

She didn't answer him, couldn't answer him. She just looked at him with her crimson eyes and the commander could see that she was disturbed by the nature of the beast. The sounds from the floor below died down and eventually stopped altogether and he wasn't sure how to feel about that.

"I'm sorry." She whispered after a while, she was looking out the window intently and it appeared as if she was waiting for some sort of signal.

Silence enveloped them for what seemed like an eternity. The commander knew he was in no danger from being attacked by the strange black monster but he also knew that he was still bleeding out and that the woman before him wasn't going to do anything about it.

"I don't understand this world." Her voice showed her confusion when her face still showed her sorrow. "I wasn't supposed to save you..." More confusion and she took a quick glance at his face before turning her attention back to the window.

"So why did you?" His voice was getting hoarse and blood coating his gloved hands was not slowing down.

However she ignored his question and merely said "Tell them to get out while they can. Turn back now and they may just get out alive." She wasn't threatening in any way merely stating the facts. "They will not find what they seek."

"She took off as soon as you came up." The commander finished his story and sighed with relief that his pain was nearly over.

Chris, Steve and Sheva all looked at each other and wasn't sure how to process Claire's words. Sheva placed her hands on the commander's shoulders, to give him some kind of last comfort before he departed this world.

"Finding Irving is your mission. After that is up to you." Then he was gone.

Sheva closed his eyes and said a prayer for him before standing up and joining the two men. Chris merely walked slowly to the window Claire had jumped out of and saw that there was scaffolding they could use to climb down the building to continue their journey.

"We do as the commander said and find this Irving. I'm hoping that we can find all the answers we need from this guy. Any objections?" Chris asked, though he knew there wasn't much in the matter.

"Let's do this." Steve said as he made his way over with Sheva following behind. They carefully climbed their way down the rickety scaffolding and started walking the empty streets once more.

Unknown to them Claire was only standing on the roof of a nearby building out of their sight but clearly able to watch their every move. She was disappointed with them when they decided to carry on with the mission assigned to them. She had hoped they would have listened to her, despite everything they had been through. But that was apparently too much to ask for and now they had played right into Wesker's hands.

She brought her radio up to her mouth and spoke "It worked exactly as you planned." She had played the part that he had given her and for that she was very pleased with herself and couldn't help the small smile that graced her lips.

"Excellent my dear. Now return to me at once." He commanded and she instantly withdrew from her position.

Making her way back through the streets towards where her transport would be waiting for her, Claire couldn't help the tug in her heart when she had disobeyed Wesker's order and saved the man from the monster. Thankfully he would never find out and unfortunately the guy had bled out regardless of her interfering. She might not understand this world but she had a slight inkling that Wesker might not have all the answers.

Meanwhile back in Wesker's hideout, Excella came striding into his office and a small monitor on his desk with a devilish grin decorating her artificial perfect face.

"What is this?" Wesker tilted his head ever to slightly in Excella's direction annoyed at her unscheduled interruption.

"There's something you want to see." Was all she replied and clicked on the video feed that had been recorded.

It showed all the events of Delta teams encounter with the monster they had planted there and it also showed Claire's intervention and clear violation of the orders he'd given to her. This disturbed Wesker on many levels not that he was going to let anybody especially Excella know that.

"Leave me." He spoke in an icy cold tone and Excella had enough intelligence not to say anything else on the matter and simply left leaving the monitor where she placed it so Wesker could continue replaying the video again and again.

Only after watching it countless times did Wesker finally pause the video on Claire's angelic face. He subconsciously stroked the screen with his thumb and said "Oh Dear Heart, what have you done?" He had been hoping that something like this would never happen, that she would blindly follow his every word but it appeared that a part of the old Claire was still intact.

He had to solve this immediately and he knew exactly how he would so, and it wouldn't be the way Excella was expecting him to do. No he would do something so radical that it would change things and then there would be no going back.

For anyone.