I have so many ideas for this story. I'm excited to post this chapter. Hopefully you guys like it.
"We have to go." Claire said, leading the numb Alice back to the hummer that only a few hours ago had been a haven for their little group. Kmart was already seated in the back with the remains of their convoy.
"I can drive," the redhead offered. Alice ignored her and got behind the wheel.
Carlos took off without a backwards glance to see if they were following and she drove the few miles looking straight ahead. She wasn't strong enough to look at him and not do something about his fate.
The drive was silent and the whole vehicle wondered how many of them would actually reach Alaska. Kmart was trying not to sniffle and Claire was still looking over the coordinates for Arcadia.
Alice drew a breath as they neared the hundreds of undead but she couldn't bear not seeing him one last time and she pulled up side by side with him.
She chanced a glance and just like in the hummer with Kmart between them, he felt her gaze and returned it. They locked eyes and then he smiled wide and sped away.
Instead of slowing down and letting him create a hole for them to pass through, Alice had an epiphany. She had screamed and fought scientists for Matt even when there had been tentacles coming out of his arm. She'd fought for Kaplan and her friend Rain even when both had been repeatedly bitten and were bleeding to death.
All three of them had been her friends; sure Matt and Kap had been potential for romance and Rain was so tough and badass that it had seemed a waste to let her die. But Carlos, who had survived with her under extraordinary odds was different, he was more than a friend. He was the last link to the living world and the goodness that had been in it, a goodness she didn't think she deserved but somehow had fallen for her regardless.
She couldn't believe she'd been so ready to give up on him, that she'd actually thrown in the towel with the one she could actually save. The one she loved with all of her that was still human, the one who fought with her and was her true equal.
He was the only one that could love her back with the same fierceness and he was not going to die, not today. 'I'm not letting a stupid infection take him not when there is a cure only yards away. No way is Carlos dying while that bastard Isaacs is still alive, not in my world.'
She waited as he got closer to the gates of the fake farmhouse and watched as he swerved left and right violently taking out any undead that were willing to work for their meal. He continued on like this almost reaching the gate itself but he turned too sharp to the left and the tanker flipped and went skidding onto its side.
"Take the wheel!" She shouted.
"Take the wheel! But stay back until you see the signal!"
"Alice…" whatever Claire was going to say was lost as Alice climbed onto the top of the hummer and took a running leap. She barreled rolled onto the desert floor and immediately put her all into reaching the overturned tanker.
The undead were already trying to climb onto the truck in hope of getting to whoever had been driving but their hunger was no match for Alice's desperation to save the man she loved. She jumped onto the tanker and began kicking and twisting necks out of her way while screaming, "don't light the fuse, don't light it!"
She cleared the driver side window and pulled the screen off. Carlos was against the other door a rolled joint in his hand.
He rubbed his eyes glanced at his last smoke and groaned. "You're not a hallucination."
She shook her head and disappeared to take out the more determined undead then reappeared and reached in and twisted the end off the barely burning dynamite stick. "I told you not to lit it. Come on grab my hand."
"I don't have time to argue, come on."
Reluctantly he gripped her hand and they took a leap onto the only empty spot on the side of the tanker. She handed him her two Uzi submachine guns and pulled out her trusty kukri knives and hacked through the undead making their way to their side.
She relit the stick she'd taken and tossed it through the window of the overturned vehicle. "Can you run?" she asked.
"Doesn't look like I have a choice." He muttered clearly still unhappy with the fact that she put herself in danger to get him out.
Claire was still at a safe enough distance from the tanker when it exploded as planned. Alice and Carlos had been far enough to miss any shrapnel but close enough to be lifted off their feet and straight into an open pit. Luckily the pit had been filled and their landing was relatively soft.
Carlos opened his eyes and was met with the dead wide-eyed gaze of Alice. He scrambled off her only to land on another. He got out of the pit and took a good look at what they landed on and he doubled over as his body forced out the last meager contents of his stomach.
He saw the real Alice sitting among her clones in inconsolable disbelief. Carlos, not wanting to climb back amongst what would replace his worst nightmares from now on but at the same time not wanting to leave Alice among her other selves, slid back into the pit making sure not to step on any of the fallen Alice's.
He approached the stunned woman and as gently as he could, swept the real suffering Alice into his arms. She buried her face in his scarf and even after they were out he could still feel her trembling. "Did you know they…"
Alice whispered. "No," and he hugged her to him.
Eventually he put her down and together went to see if the plan had worked. Claire and Kmart had already loaded their passengers and both of them were happily waving to Carlos. He waved back and Alice tossed up the red diary.
"You're not coming?" Kmart asked.
Alice held Carlos' hand in response.
"Take care of each other." Claire said and took off. They didn't bother to see the helicopter disappear into the distance instead they headed to the building that served as cover for Umbrella. She kicked the door open and they stood in the doorway looking at what looked like an ordinary kitchen table.
"Where are they?"
"Underground. Look for a switch or panel. There should be some sort of-"
Carlos had just stepped on a pushed up floorboard and the sound of gears moving the floor filled the room. He stepped back as the table split apart revealing the secret elevator Alice had been about to mention. "I'll go first."
She grinned and both stepped onto the platform. "Why did you come back?"
"The anti-virus is down there. You still have time."
"Alice, why did you really come back?"
"I had to. They have taken so much already. I couldn't let them have you too."
"This could be a trap." He said checking his gun to distract them from their unvoiced feelings for each other.
"It probably is." She said as the elevator door dinged. The door opened and she instantly knew that bringing Carlos into this place would put him in more danger than he'd ever been. Darkness and the scent of death prevailed in the underground air but it didn't hide the stench of evil.
Carlos took point and taking a flashlight from the wall directed the meager light down the maze of corridors. Alice with her revolver locked and loaded covered their backs searching for any signs of life. As they walked further on they encountered only a few flickering lights and more walls covered in bloody hand prints. "What the hell happened down here?"
"Another experiment gone rogue," she answered.
They continued down the corridors and it became obvious that they would not find anybody alive; there was too much blood everywhere. They came upon a set of double metal doors that someone no doubt had assumed were undead proof. Judging from the long streaks of gore adorning the walls and general destruction, whatever had been trapped in here had proven them wrong.
As they searched the room, Carlos was the first to spot the spiral shaped vials and he eagerly ran to the mangled racks. Alice walked along guardedly but saw no sign of whatever had done this then she heard a noise.
In perfect unity, her and Carlos turned with guns pointed at a little girl dressed in white.
Carlos lowered his but Alice remembering another similar innocent looking child, didn't, especially since this one actually could have passed for human and that was always more dangerous in her opinion.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. I am the artificial intelligence-"
"I know what you are." Alice interrupted. "I knew your sister. She was a homicidal bitch."
"My sister computer was merely following the most logical path for the preservation of human life."
"Yeah. Kill a few, save a lot." The white queen glanced curiously at Carlos who had gone back to searching the shelves while Alice holstered her weapon. "So what happened here?"
The little girl kept looking at Carlos but Alice's very obvious tapping of her gun made the A.I. answer her question. "Dr. Isaacs returned in an infected state. He was bitten by a creature that had been treated with a newly developed serum. A serum derived from your blood. The resulting infection has caused massive mutation."
"You people don't learn do you?" Carlos directed at the girl. The A.I. merely glanced at him.
"Any anti-virus?" Alice asked ignoring the girl for the moment.
"No, only empty vials. Isaacs must have tried to treat himself when he came back."
"There has to be more in the labs."
"You won't find any and he is correct. Dr. Isaacs used it all in order to keep the mutation in check. It did not work but there is another way." She said walking closer to Carlos.
Alice on instinct stood in front of him blocking the white queen's advancement. "Tell me."
"How long since he was bitten?" the girl asked.
"Tell me or I'll-"
"Three or four hours." He interrupted. Alice glared at him but he shrugged. "She already knows, what's the harm in telling her."
"You are fortunate." The queen said smiling genuinely.
"So I've been told."
Alice rolled her eyes. Leave it to Carlos to be able to win over the twin of a murderous computer. The girl turned to the woman standing protectively in front of the oddly positive man, "your blood has bonded with the T-Virus. Dr. Isaacs correctly deduced that it could be used to destroy the biohazard for good."
The woman touched the man's arm, "you mean my blood is the cure to all this?"
"So why are you helping me?"
"Your blood is pure and this facility contains all the equipment you will require to synthesize a cure."
"You mean this could all end?"
"Correct. There is however a small problem."
"There always is."
The seemingly helpful girl led them to another fortified door only this time she appeared in the panel. "I have him contained in the lower levels but I cannot hold him there for much longer." Carlos stood at Alice's back ready to follow her in but a coughing fit had him gripping onto her for support until she could gently lower him to the floor.
"He is badly infected. He will only last an hour or two before the infection gets too great and-"
"You kill him."
"Correct." The girl said a look of remorse on her features. "End Dr. Isaacs, I will lead Mr. Olivera to the lab where we will begin the process. Be advised that there is a significant chance the cure may not work on him."
"I'll take that chance."
"I can't let you face him alone." He said coughing up more of the black liquid.
She wiped it off his mouth, "I need you safe and making that serum." She pressed the vial that contained her blood into his hand and gave him one last hard kiss, "don't hand it over until the very end. I still don't trust her."
Carlos nodded and she rose, gun loaded. "All right, let's go." She walked into the near pitch-black corridor with nothing but the hope that she'd come back to a healthy Carlos.
"Alice? Good luck." The A.I. didn't wait for a response and sealed the door behind her.
"Can she beat him?" Carlos asked rising slowly.
The little girl appeared before him and held out her hand. He let go of the wall and took it. "I hope so."
As Alice walked deeper into the lower levels more flickering lights revealed what had truly gone on down here and for once she was grateful only she had to see what other atrocity Umbrella had unleashed. Cubicles full of twisted and broken bodies littered the place along with bloody streaks and spent bullet casings that screamed that a massacre not a battle had taken place.
As much as she hated Umbrella and its scientists for destroying the world, she didn't think anybody deserved to die as horribly as these people had. Of course she almost changed her mind when she saw the familiar body floating in a watery bubble.
Outside she'd been too focused on getting Carlos and herself to safety to really scrutinize the many bodies in the pit and how they'd come to be there. But here there was nothing but her and the innocent clone hanging in mid air, and the idea that they raped her DNA for their experiments, made her glad that Isaacs had at least destroyed their ability to test anything.
The clone looked just like her before the HIVE fiasco and Alice found it hard to believe that her face and body had ever been that smooth, that her face had ever looked that young. She felt ages older as she stood and took in exactly how much Umbrella had stolen from her.
She was however deeply grateful that they'd only cloned her. She didn't know how she would have reacted to a room full of cloned Rains or Angies or God forbid another Carlos.
She snapped out of the clone induced hazed and began to search for Dr. Isaacs, the quicker she took care of him the faster she could get back to Carlos and the serum that could save humanity and get the hell out of this tomb.
She went around the water bubble so as to not disturb the being within and she raised her gun ready to fire at the first sign of movement. Apparently Alice was still a little shell-shocked from the clone and she was caught unawares as something hit her and she stumbled backwards into the bubble.
The clone's eyes snapped open and began struggling in its watery environment. What used to be Dr. Isaacs lunged at her but she threw one of her kukris and it lodged itself into his shoulder, he let out a terrible roar but she was too focused on the clone.
The bubble popped and it fell out and into Alice's arms, flailing in panic. Isaacs took the opportunity to escape and Alice tried to calm the terrified woman in her arms. The woman took a few short breaths but the shock of seeing her own face was too much and the clone expired. Alice shook her but she remained unresponsive.
Swearing revenge for what the clone would have gone through and to avenge the ones in that pit, Alice laid her down, covered her with her coat and went in search of Isaacs.
She followed the trail of blood and was transported straight into a nightmare. She stopped short confused as to how she had ended up back in the mansion that had destroyed the world.
Unable to believe that Umbrella would recreate such an evil place she searched the dark wooden walls with its wide windows and floor length drapes for differences. It was all the same even the angel statue preserved by its plastic was still at the end of the hall as was the fake wedding picture of Spence and herself.
She looked at the couple in it and wondered if they ever suspected they'd have a hand in bringing hell to earth. In a second she replaced Spence with Carlos and her desire for revenge became absolute. Something flashed in the photo's frame and Isaacs barely missed cutting her in half.
She leaped out of the way and he swung again and missed her head. She instantly regretted not picking up her other knife as she jumped backwards and avoided being eviscerated. She eyed Isaacs, he'd become the monster she always known he was; only it showed on the outside as well as in.
She slashed at his chest and dodged around him and slashed at his back. He growled in pain and she attacked to press her advantage but he easily threw her back and her knife went flying out of her hand only to end up blade down into the wooden floor.
"You can't kill me," he said as the slashes immediately began to stitch and knit together.
Alice ran to her knife and he lashed out tentacles that wrapped around her throat. She struggled to free herself and just as one of the tentacles rose up ready to pierce her face, she hit the ground with her heel and kukri sprung into the air and into her waiting hand. She cut them off and he launched another attack that met with the power of her mind.
He flew back through the wall but the force of the push was draining and Alice fell to the ground.
"Help her." Carlos shouted at the white queen as they watched the fight from inside the locked lab.
"I cannot. I do not have the ability to stop Dr. Isaacs."
"Then I will. Open up the door. I'm going down there." He said standing in front of the lab doors.
"Your infection is too far gone. You will only get her killed."
"I have to try."
"She is strong. You must trust this." Carlos reluctantly put down his gun and resumed the careful mixing of liquids the girl had shown him but his mind was trained on Alice and her fight for survival and a way out of the lab that didn't include the girl.
Isaacs got up and kicked at the remaining plaster, "I told you. I can't die." He roared and the sonic blast blew out the windows and lifted up the floorboards. Alice was caught in its full momentum and she was sent hurling through the wall and into a familiar white hallway.
"No." 'I will not die down here. I will not abandon Carlos. I will find Claire. I will look for Jill and more survivors. We will end the horror.'
She kicked and punched with all her might and yet Isaacs took it without flinching. He knocked her to the ground and Alice stayed down, winded by the blow. "For so long, I thought you were the future. I was wrong. I am the future."
He raised his arm to strike not knowing the danger of the room but then he'd never experienced the defenses of either queen. Alice didn't bother to get off the ground. She could already feel the vibrations and hear the telltale hum of the deadly laser.
She laughed long and hard puzzling Isaacs. "No. You're just another asshole." The electric blue pulse came to life at the door, snapping and stretching the lines that would form the grid. "And we're both gonna die down here."
Carlos nearly dropped the vial of Alice's blood as her voice was amplified through the lifeless facility. "No. You're just another asshole. And we're both gonna die down here."
He ran to the camera feed and saw the laser powering up. "What the fuck is that?"
"It is one of my defense systems for testing of the Alice clone program."
"Turn it off!" he yelled.
"I cannot. Dr. Isaacs destroyed that capability when he turned. It can only be turned off manually from the monitor room."
"Tell me where it is. I'll do it!" he shouted desperately as the laser turned into a net of death.
"There is not enough time. I'm truly sorry. You must finish the serum if you want to survive the infection."
"Fuck the serum. Why the hell would I want to survive without her?" Helplessly he watched at the grid sliced through Isaacs and headed straight at Alice. He saw her lower her eyes and cover her head and the vial of her blood, the last bit of her, slipped out of his hands and crashed to the floor.
The grid stopped right at her feet then vanished as if it had never been. "How did…"
"It appears subject 87 is awake." The girl said and unlocked the door.
Carlos ran out of the lab and the queen opened the lower levels. He saw Alice's kukri on the floor, picked it up and followed the trail back the way it had come. He ran in and stopped as he spotted Alice standing in front of a computer, soaking wet and wearing nothing but a coat.
"Yeah, you're the future all right," she said to the screen a self-satisfied smirk on her face.
She looked up and before she could ask who he was, Carlos lifted her in his arms and began twirling her around. "Thank you. Thank you," he shouted over and over.
"I hope this isn't your way of telling me you're turning me in for a newer model." The real Alice said from the doorway.
Carlos nearly dropped the still shocked clone and ran to the real Alice. "Nah. I like you, you're perfectly broken in. With her I'd have to start from scratch."
The clone Alice gave an indignant huff but he winked at her and she instantly blushed. The real Alice hit his arm and he kissed her, clearly showing her which one he preferred.
"I hate to interrupt but you have a serious problem." The queen said.
"What now?" Alice asked annoyed.
"He has not taken the serum. The window is rapidly shrinking. He has approximately twenty minutes and the sample of you blood was lost. We must start a new batch."
"I dropped it when I thought you were going to die," he explained.
"Why would you do that?" she asked.
"I was willing to die for you. I'm not willing to live without you."
"I'm torn between kissing you for being so sweet and hitting you for being so stupid."
"Stupid." The Alice clone said from behind them.
"Thanks," he replied sarcastically to the clone and was once more led back to the lab.
The clone followed curious of the tall handsome man and Alice handed her a weapon in an effort to keep her gaze off Carlos. "Never know," she said at Carlos' knowing smirk.
The clone took the gun and held it by the grip gingerly. Carlos took the gun showed her how to shoot and reload and handed it back. Alice stifled the urge to hurt the clone for the looks of pure adoration she kept throwing Carlos. Thankfully he was oblivious.
She gave another sample to the queen and they started another batch and once completed a syringe was loaded and pushed into his arm. "What now?"
"We wait. The results should be visible in a few minutes."
They sat around waiting and as promised the results of the injection began to show. The sickly pallor was immediately removed from his natural olive shade and the ring of yellow that had started to form in his eyes had vanished leaving the beautiful dark brown she adored.
"How do you feel?" She asked.
"A lot better. I feel brand new. Even better than when you dosed me in Raccoon City," he said.
"I'll get some bandages for his arm." The clone said reluctantly giving them privacy.
"I thought I had lost you." She said and clung to him.
"I thought you did too." He said but the moment didn't last and he began to scratch at his arm.
"What's the matter?"
"My arm feels funny." They looked down and noticed that the bleeding had stopped and the skin around the bite wound was no longer puckered with infection. In fact the wound was getting smaller and smaller. "Is that normal?" he asked.
"I'm not sure," she said taking a closer look.
"Alice…I don't feel so go-"
In that moment Carlos collapsed into Alice's arms. It happened so suddenly that all she could do was attempt to hold onto his dead weight, however after the taxing fight with Isaacs, Alice couldn't hold him for very long and she crumpled to the ground screaming for someone to help them.
The queen and Alice clone immediately showed up, the latter dismayed at seeing the former soldier unresponsive and cradled in Alice's arms. The queen ran a hand over him while the Alice clone dropped all the bandages and hurried to help the real Alice get him off the floor and onto the make shift operating table.
"What's going on? What's happening to him? What did you do to him?"
"Nothing, your blood should have worked. This should not be happening." The queen replied.
"If he dies, you do too." Alice hissed. "Carlos, wake up. Please don't leave me."
"Never," he said opening his eyes for a moment and giving her a shaky smile.
Alice laughed weakly and pressed her forehead to his but seconds later the smile fell from his face and his eyes rolled into the back of his head. "Carlos, Carlos!"
"I am sorry, Alice. I should have foreseen this complication."
"What complication? What the fuck are you talking about?" Alice yelled.
"This is not the first time he has been bitten nor is it the first time he has been treated. It is the reason the virus was so accelerated the second time. He was already susceptible."
"Meaning?" asked clone Alice since real Alice was talking nonsense to the unconscious Carlos.
"He couldn't adapt the virus before and now he can."
"Will he mutate?" Alice said tears running unchecked down her face. No matter how much she loved him, she knew he would not want to be what Matt had become. She would never condemn him to that kind of existence, she wouldn't allow it.
"I explained your blood is pure. As such it is mutating him but not like Matthew Addison or Dr. Isaacs. He will mutate like you. He'll be stronger, faster and possibly immune to more infection."
"Are you sure?" the clone asked.
"No. Even now his body is fighting for which strain will win. The one he had or the one injected."
"What happens if his body takes the one he had? What aren't you saying?" Alice said leaving his side.
"He'll remain human but his mind will be gone."
"He'll be a vegetable? And you couldn't tell me this before I injected him?"
"The serum is humanity's only hope. I could not risk you letting your feelings for him doom us all."
"You bitch, you're not even human!" Alice said and ran to the nearest circuit panel.
"I was only trying to help. Its what I was programmed to do."
"I'll fry every last one of your fucking circuits!"
"Alice!" her clone pulled her away from the panel but she was so enraged that she tried to fight her off. "This won't help him."
"Don't…" The two Alices and the queen grew silent. "I'm still here, give her a chance," he said softly.
Alice was let go and she kneeled at his side. "She lied to us."
"No, she told us there was a chance it might not work on me, remember."
"Don't make me choose."
"I'm not. You know what the right decision is and if I have to be the guinea pig so be it. Think of Kmart and Claire and Jill. Free of infection. Think of why Angie and L.J. died. Think of Matt."
"Why do you have to be so damm noble?" she said pressing her cheek against his stubbled one.
"Part of my charm-" he grimaced and arched up in pain.
"Carlos. Hold on."
He took some shallow breaths no doubt to say something witty but the pain was too great and he passed out. Alice bent her head and concentrated all her abilities on hearing his steady heartbeat. It was strong but sluggish.
"I'm afraid that you cannot leave this facility."
"How long?" Alice asked.
"Four months at the minimum. He must be incubated for his body to be at its full strength, if there is to be any success in adapting the virus."
"Can I trust you?"
"You have no choice."
Seventeen hours later – North American Facility
"Can they see us?" Alice asked the clone.
The computer read Tokyo Umbrella Facility and there were five men seated at a table. "All attempts to contact the North American facility continue to fail."
"How long have they been off the air?" one of them asked.
"We must consider them lost. But our plans remain unchanged. All data will be transferred to this facility and the research will continue under my personal supervision. I expect results within one month."
"You won't have to wait that long, boys." Alice said popping up in holographic form at the front of the table. "Because I'm coming for you. And I'm gonna be bringing a few of my friends."
The men broke into confused arguing though Alice didn't really hear much as she automatically turned off the laptop and approached the newly found labs. The window to the main room was huge and overlooked a storage area full of blue watery bubbles. Each bubble held a familiar pale figure, a figure that was part of the army Alice would be setting loose on Umbrella.
The two Alice's, one real and one clone looked at the others still sleeping and then behind them to the lone bubble suspended exactly where clone Alice had been before saving the real Alice. Inside lay the one and only Carlos Olivera, sleeping.
"Will we be ready by the time he wakes? If he wakes?"
"We have to be. He will. " Real Alice said.