Behold the random! Not my best, but short, so please bear with some off-bits.
Comments are welcome.
Even from the aisle, Excella can see how dingy the auditorium is. One listless teenager finishes scraping his initials in the desk wood and shuffles past her. He looks at her over his shoulder.
She stands rigid.
With the last of them gone, she strides forward, one heeled foot after the next.
The woman at the desk does not look up.
When Excella reaches her, she waits. When the woman does not look up, she clears her throat.
The woman looks up at last.
Her face is a soft blur of adolescent features. They sit oddly on her face as though, even in her twenties, she has yet to grow into them.
Excella notices that she doesn't even wear makeup. That is what tips her into wariness. She's seen many women, in the labs, fat women with thick glasses who don't bother. But this woman is hygienic and petite. Naturally fair. She has something to work with.
"You have a seat for me?"
She pauses, as though thinking. "You could sit there." She gestures to a desk.
He raised her well: if it is a battle of ego, she will not go down easily.
Excella lifts the muscles of her nose and upper lift. A sneer. "No thank you."
If the woman (girl?) notices the sarcasm in her voice, she does not show it. "Very well." She crosses her hands and lookes up. It does not seem to bother her in the least. "What did you come to see me about?"
Excella's sneer stays fixed in place.
"I didn't come to see you. I flew in on a private jet-"
"From where, again? France, is it?"
"Italy. Italy, you little twit."
"Oh, yes. I'm sorry. Go on."
"-to tell you."
The woman leans back in the desk. It isn't hers, Excella notices with a pang of vindication. It is a PROFESSOR JONATHAN GREENGRASS's. It's easy enough to read the nametag.
"Yes. Well, if you came all that way, you should tell me, shouldn't you?"
Excella examines the girl again, more carefully. She had brown-blonde hair, and sharper eyes than Excella had given her credit for - dark and wide-spaced.
Her mouth quirks in the funny way his sometimes does, and she wonders if that is something he gave her or just a sign of genius. He had told her the girl was a genius. She had not believed him. There is nothing brilliant about this auditorium, nothing brilliant about this girl. Genius has gravity. He has gravity. This girl does not.
"You must reconsider." Her voice is flat. Her bangles jingle as her arms cross - fourteen carat on fourteen carat. If that means anything to the girl, Excella can't say.
The girl chews at her lip. There's something infuriatingly monitored about all of her motions - she is not watching them to be beautiful but to be even. It's unnerving.
"Is that what he told you?"
Excella snaps. Surprises herself. "Yes."
"Tell him that I once again politely decline."
Excella doesn't know what to do, but she can feel her patience ebbing. No one has ever made her watch children before, and she resents Albert for starting her on that now. She's not just a child, she reminds herself, this girl is an worth something. For whatever reason this little bitch is something valuable and I must secure her. "He sent me to bring you back-"
"Congratulations, by the way. I read about it in the paper. CEO - very nicely done."
Annoyance glues Excella's lips shut. Then:
"Who do you think you are?"
"I think it's very nice that CEOs today aren't too high and mighty to do these kinds of chores, don't you? It shows a very nice work ethic. But, you know, I tell the students that hard work will always pay off where talent doesn't."
Excella has to stop herself from drumming her nails on the girl's desk. That would chip them. Instead she puts her hand on the desk and leans over it, leering.
"Well, you know now that I am a CEO and a scientist and you are just someone who works - here-" she waves her hand around the room, drawing back from the desk. "You should take my word when I say it would benefit you to join us."
The girl looks at Excella. For a moment, Excella senses disgust in the girl's features. Then they go blank, like a screen shutting off.
"Give him the same reason that I gave him before - I won't let him get what's in here." She taps her forehead. "Even if it kills me. And it won't. He won't kill me. I'm very special to him."
She lets the last sentence hang like an insult.
"I doubt that." Excella's voice could cut diamonds.
She's Excella's age. Maybe younger.
It never struck Excella that Albert was old enough to be her own father. Don't be foolish, she tells herself. No one has children that young anymore. Certainly not someone as driven as Albert - twenty-four? Honestly.
"You are just a child," she says, almost coaxing. "You do not realize what you are denying. You should join us." The coaxing tone is a thin veneer; her anger crackles in her eyes.
The girl looks back at her, impregnable.
"We all do stupid things in our youth." She goes quiet, as though thinking about her own mistakes.
(She could say it so easily: "I think he considered it a youthful mistake. Loving my father. Caring for him, if you prefer."
But she prefers to have this woman's hate fixed on her. Let her think her competition. Let this woman hate her, and let her laugh.)
Excella purses her lips. "How to put it delicately?" Don't. "You should take this opportunity while you should. Albert has very specific plans for the world, and I doubt that you are necessary to those."
The girls' face is a blank slate. "Neither are you."
Excella clicks her tongue and waves her hand, bangles a-jingle once again. It is all she can do to keep her nails out of the girl's eyes.
"That is none of your concern." Excella is a queen. She was chosen for her beauty, her breeding, her brains. This girl is nothing. She is less than nothing. She is teaching at what Americans called "community college". She only has an accident of birth to recommend her, something to do with being tied up with Umbrella.
Excella does not know the details. She is not privy to many of Albert's trivial projects; she has come to accept it. He does not burden her with them precisely because they are trivial. Take this girl, for instance; some kind of (she assumes) long-term experiment of the long-gone Umbrella's.
"Only fairly," she replies. "But my blood - he needs that. Do remind him that he needs that. Or don't. He won't like you knowing, I don't think."
Excella's blood boils. She's baiting you, she tells herself, she's nothing. Worthless. If there were something vital to her, Albert would have said. But he only told her to bring the girl back. He had almost smiled as he'd said it. He knew, she realizes. He knew she would be like this.
Excella gets up to leave. A noise of disgust tears from her throat, and she says something low and fast in Italian.
"That's rather unkind," the girl replies. "I think that I resemble a cow less than you do." Her eyes flick disdainfully, humorlessly, over Excella's chest.
"He will hear of this," Excella says, in English. She can no longer contain her fury. Albert will be angry with her, but she cannot bear this any longer. If he has failed, why should she succeed? If both of them have failed, what is the point? The girl is immovable and useless and common as as a pile of gravel.
Excella does not turn around. The girl speaks anyway, to her retreating back. "Tell him that I will continue to oblige him on his visits but that I will not cooperate in any other way. Please add that, should he try in any way to force my hand, I will not go down so easily as my father."
Excella looks around. She spits on the floor of the auditorium and continues to walk.
"I am the only one who has managed to splice G," the girl says simply. Her voice is clear and light. Excella almost laughs. The girl is a liar. She is a teacher at a community college with cheap shoes and a mind like a rock, and Excella will not suffer her denseness any longer.
When the sound of Excella's heels fade, the woman remains standing.
Then she sat down and continues to grade her papers.
She makes no errors, but her mind runs at a pace far ahead of her hands, far ahead of her heart, and she worries about what the future may bring. Her guardian - if she can call him that - has only grown colder and colder. Once he was a family friend, a frightening adult presence. Then he was no longer anything. For years of her life, she coexisted with pure evil and failed to do anything about it, failed to even attempt.
What is a little girl next to a god?
If she has any knowledge of him at all, she can only begin to comprehend what he's planning. Getting TriCell is no more than a means to a greater end.
For a moment she pauses her grading and allows herself the luxury of empathy. Excella Gionne, she knows, is nothing more than a calf being fattened for slaughter.
He has always called himself a scientist - a lie. By the laws of science there is always room for doubt. Wesker has no doubt. All he has is dogma and a body full of hate and death.
When she comes back to herself, she finds that she is tracing the veins of her hand.
It is a habit she developed long ago, when she realized what was happening inside her. You have immunity, he told her. When he looked at her, she could tell he was trying to see something else, testing to see if he could still feel weakness. He always seemed pleased to find that he could not.
The room suddenly seems very silent.
All at once, she sees the room around her as the Italian woman saw it: dingy, poorly lit, gum under every creaky seat. Smell of cigarette smoke in the air, flourescent lights flickering; feet slipping on the cheap, worn carpeting.
Everything around her is pitiful and flawed, and she does not belong here.
It is the pitfall that her father had fallen into as well. Her mother, too - but oh, her father. She tries not to think of them often: their faces have faded in her memory.
The fall was dangerous. And beautiful. And tempting. She closed her eyes briefly and imagined a world without destruction or waste, without humans constantly taking in and putting out refuse, refuse, and more refuse. Not just literal garbage, but so much intolerance and ignorance and - sheer stupidity.
Her job tests her on a daily basis.
She thinks of her father, the last memory she has of him: towering over her, jaw slack, body twisted from the inside.
In her memory, his great red eye stares.
Sherry goes back to grading her papers.
She traces the type again. Her head cocks.
An idea battles within her, an idea that ultimately flickers out. She refolds the letter and tucks it away in her drawer.
The desk is hers, now, but otherwise the auditorium has only gotten shabbier.
Science is doubt, she tells herself. It is a line from one of her lectures. She practices, even though most of the students sleep through them. Fact can be undone.
She sits there for a long time, wrestling with her own thoughts. Hands clasped - a little girl again, all alone in a mess of blood, stealing quarters to eat from gored vending machines.
All the Snickers and Pepsi in the world. All the things her mother had never let her have.
She'd only ever wanted to throw up from fear.
Eventually she stands up to leave. The only sound is the rustle of her raincoat, then the summer rain, tapping on the windows, as though asking her whether she was going to cry.
Sherry never did.