A/N: Dang, this took long. I've been meaning to get this story on the way since I decided I wasn't pleased with the first try. Oh yeah - if you haven't figured it out yet, this is basically a reboot of the idea I had for Fight of Our Lives, only slightly more well thought out and canonical. Damn my obsession with canon... anyways... So here goes, don't expect me to be posting terribly regularly, though I'll be trying anyways, and I hope you enjoy!
The UH-1 Huey's downdraft blew Jill's hair in her face as she ran. Thunderous footsteps belonging to Umbrella's monster matched the pace of the pulse in her ears. It was right behind her. Brad's face, illuminated in the green glow of the chopper's displays, showed fear on the same magnitude as when he had abandoned them in the forest hours ago. He managed to hold the Huey a mere foot above the helipad, skids wobbling as he fought to keep it steady in the wind. Barry leapt aboard, followed by Rebecca and Chris. It was still right behind her. Chris leaned out, one gloved hand extended towards Jill. She lunged, but their fingertips barely brushed and she was falling.
Her knees cracked unexpectedly against the floor of Kendo's Gun Shop. Glass shards lay scattered across the floor from the large window, a mangled body sprawled right in the middle of the debris. A number of dark, lurching figures took notice of Jill's presence. She charged through the back door, grimacing as her hand momentarily slipped on the blood-smeared knob.
The door opened to reveal a large room in which a Greek statue peered across a gigantic emblazonment of the Raccoon Police Department crest. The RPD main hall. Jill frantically made her way through deserted hallways – past benches and plants and two well-known vending machines – to the S.T.A.R.S. office. She reached out to open the door. It opened on its own, revealing the wood paneling and peeling wallpaper of the Spencer mansion… and the spitefully grinning Wesker. Blood spilled from his perforated stomach as he lifted his gun, the muzzle no more than an inch from her forehead.
She sat up in her bed, taking a couple of seconds to register the darkness of her bedroom and red glowing numbers of an alarm clock. Just past three in the morning. The cry and gunshot still rang in Jill's ears. She took a few deep breaths, letting the adrenaline drain away. It had been like this every night for the past two weeks – since they made it back alive from the mansion. Whenever she closed her eyes it seemed, the memories came back. After-images of something she would much rather forget.
With a partially frustrated, partially relieved sigh, Jill let her head fall back on the pillow. She needed a beer.
No, her mind interjected, that's just gonna lead to you doing something dumb. Not to mention make the nightmares worse.
Still, she doubted her ability to fall asleep again tonight.
She wondered if maybe the dream had meant something, been foreshadowing of a sort. The first half was based roughly on memory, and Wesker's betrayal could explain the ending. But Raccoon was still uninfected last she had checked, and the last sighting or incident had been before their failed mission. All activity on that front had ceased for the time being. Chris and Barry were worried about an outbreak in town, but Jill had figured that if it were going to happen, it should have a long time ago. But that was just her theory.
Jill swung her slender legs over the side of the bed, still bruised from encounters with Umbrella's experiments, and she went in search of a snack. She was starving. The odd musings about her dream went on as first the fridge then the pantry was found to contain nothing appetizing. Despite knowing she had way over-thought it, something in the back of her mind prevented her from just letting the nightmare go.
Hard to believe it had already been two weeks.
"Hey Rita. How's it going?"
"Can't complain. You?"
"Surviving, I suppose."
Officer Rita Hawkins was one of few RPD officers willing to risk conversation with him or for that matter, any of the remaining S.T.A.R.S. Irons wasn't too keen on anyone talking with them, further fueling Chris' suspicion that more people were on Umbrella's payroll than just Wesker. A lot more.
"What brings you to the station today?"
Chris quickly decided not to divulge too much information. "Business as usual I guess, if anything about the past couple weeks can be considered usual."
"Fair enough." Rita looked away. Honestly, it was hard too blame anyone for not believing their story. It seemed a little far-fetched. I mean, zombies, really? It's no wonder anyone we've told the full truth to thinks we're either lying, crazy, or think we know too much.
"Well, I don't want to keep the chief waiting for too long. Nice to see you."
"You too, Chris. Good luck in there."
As his boots clomped along the hardwood floor, Chris knew he wasn't going to like whatever Irons had to say. The taxidermied tiger standing outside the police chief's door probably didn't help. Damn thing gave him the creeps. Inside the office was even worse. The room may have once been relatively spacious if it wasn't for Irons' gigantic mahogany desk, framed paintings and awards adorning the walls, as well as no less than a dozen mounted animals – everything from deer heads to an eagle positioned in mid-takeoff. Not sure how the latter was legal. He always had held the impression that they stared at him with their lifeless glass eyes whenever he was in there; maybe the chief intended it to seem that way.
"Redfield. You're on time," Irons noted coldly.
"Miraculous, isn't it."
"Yes, I guess it is…"
Chief of Police Brian Irons scanned over a document with squinty eyes, pudgy form partially reclined in his leather chair, straining the confines of his dress shirt. His salt-and-pepper moustache ticked back and forth as his eyes grazed the contents of the page. Unexpectedly he slapped it down on the table, momentarily causing a few other papers to take flight. "That was Brad's resignation."
"Always like him to turn tail and run whenever there was trouble." The statement came out more bitterly than Chris had intended.
"He cited the reason as guilt over leaving his fellow officers behind when they needed him the most. Tell me," inquired the chief, leaning forward and steepling his fingers on the desk's polished surface. "Do you think that the majority of the incident was his fault?"
What was Irons fishing for with such a loaded question? Sure, it would have prevented a decent amount of what happened, but the Bravos were already just about wiped out by the time Alpha was even on the scene. That and they never would have discovered Umbrella's true goals until it was too late, not to mention Wesker would have led the charge in anyways. But maybe... honestly, as pissed as Chris was at Brad, would his actions even have made a difference? Irons was definitely hoping for a certain answer, Chris could hear it in his voice. As if sensing his thoughts, Irons gave a grim smirk before adding, "It's really not that tough of a question."
"With all due respect, I think there's more to what you're asking than is being let on."
"Like what?" His eyes narrowed, crow's feet becoming more pronounced.
"You tell me."
"I don't have to tell you anything. You work for me," Irons growled.
"No," Chris replied, barely disguising his frustration, "I work for the people of Raccoon."
"Too bad none of them believe you. No one ever will. I'm trying to pull your ass out of the fire. If we make it look like a tragic helicopter accident, then everyone can continue going on with their lives."
Chris slammed his fists on the desk and stood, rattling a mug full of pens and a stapler. "Go about our lives! Umbrella ruined our lives! Barry's family had to flee the country and his girls are terrified, six of our friends were killed by those bastards' experiments, our leader betrayed us, and we're just supposed to go on with our lives? Is that what you're saying?"
"Do you really think the citizens are going to rally against the very corporation who turned this city into more than just a farming town? Who paid for just about every public service from the library to the college, and who at least a quarter of the population receive their paychecks from? Not to mention any solid evidence you and your compatriots may have had was destroyed when the mansion went up in flames."
"Do they pay you too? Maybe the mayor, other officials, our state government? How far does it go?"
Irons gave Chris a deadly glare. "It doesn't go anywhere."
"That's a load of bullshit and you know it."
"Drop it Chris, before anyone else gets hurt. That isn't a threat, it's me trying to keep you out of harm's way."
"Too late. You already put me there."
With that, Chris stormed out of the room. Umbrella was going to pay.
A/N: Well, that's the beginning. I want to apologize to anyone who was looking forward to more chapters of the previous story, it just wasn't working. As I tried to continue, too many conflicting ideas kept pulling the story apart. This one WILL WORK though, I promise! As always, reviews are appreciated, and I hope to hear from you!