It was late at night in the Umbrella laboratory, Annette Birkin stepped into the viral storage room, glad to find it deserted. At times like this she was glad of some quiet moments of solace. However, it seemed any time she tried to relax her work was determined to catch up with her.
She walked past the circular pillar that stood in the middle of the room, at its centre were a ring of glass vials. Different viruses and vaccines she and her husband had spent their life's work dedicated to.
She walked over to the table, where there were various notes sprawled over the workplace. She tidied them, just for some minor distraction. Placing them back on the table, she pulled out a mobile phone and typed up a number. She placed it to her ear, pulling back her short blonde hair. She closed her tired eyes as she listened to the phone ringing. She picked up when a voice answered.
"Hello Sherry," she replied.
"Will you and daddy be home soon?" the young voice asked. Annette grimaced.
"I'm sorry Sherry, we've got some important work to do; we won't be back until late."
There was a pause.
"Sherry, I'll see if your father and I can get some time away." A promise she'd made many times before.
"I miss you."
"I miss you too," she replied monotonously; she hung up. Of course they weren't going to get that time off. They were the foremost scientists in the facility, so the company kept them as busy as possible.
She flicked through the research notes she'd printed earlier on the latest strand of virus they'd managed to cultivate. The Gene-virus was currently proving to be unstable and they had been working furiously to try and rectify the problem. However the most recent success had followed with the perfection of the Tyrant-virus or t-virus, as everyone had taken to referring to it, capable of reanimating dead cells. She continued to check through her research notes. She stopped, a tremor slivered across her skin, she felt as if she was being watched. She looked around, finding no one there.
Suddenly the door slammed shut and the locks activated themselves. Annette spun round to see what had happened.
"What?" She walked over to the door and looked out the small square of glass. She couldn't see anyone outside who could have activated the locks. She reached into her pocket to dig out her key card. Behind her she didn't notice one of the vials begin to break.
Annette finally pulled out the key from the abyss of her pocket when she heard a tiny crack, she looked to see one of the vials shattered on the table. An acidic hiss bubbled from the mixture and a cloud of murky green gas began to appear.
She placed her hand to her face, and walked over to the pillar, unable to tell what had caused the vial to shatter. An exponential amount of gas was coming from the virus sample. How was that possible? She didn't have time to wonder about this as she turned towards the vent systems. They should be clearing the air right now. Why weren't they working? She started to cough as the air got thicker. She reached up for the vents, they were sealed tight shut. What was going on?
Annette choked, feeling she'd be sick, she could hardly see clearly in the thick mist, which the gas had created. Dizzy and confused she fell to the floor.
Annette crawled towards the door, coughing so violently she felt sick. She reached for the table and pulled herself up onto her feet. Her hands grabbed her key card, and she fumbled with it in between her glistening hands. She put the card into the reader, then collapsed on the floor.
The ventilation system turned on and the room cleared. The door slid open and a woman stepped into the room, she pocketed her own security card and watched as the body was dragged across the floor.
In the observation deck overlooking the main laboratory, William Birkin stood overseeing the main operations. He was a man in his late twenties with a long serious face, a concerned look had been constantly etched over him for the last few days. Dark tired eyes and an endlessly straight face, dark shadows clung to his face making him appear even more depressed than he already was.
Down below him he could see various scientists milling around, examining different specimens in their containment pods. A human shaped shadow cast onto the glass as two assistants were placing one of the cylindrical pods into its place.
The door slid open and he turned round to see who had entered.
"Annette," he called, glad to see a comforting face again.
"William," she addressed him, and smiled softly as she walked over to her husband. She put her hand on his shoulder but he didn't seem to notice, during these moments where he was so engrossed in his research he was always on edge.
She walked on over to the control panel and began typing a complex pattern of controls. On the main screen an alert popped up 'Biohazard Contamination Warning' but Annette ignored it and continued.
William turned to face her.
"Annette, what are you doing?"
She glanced up at him from the control panel, a vacant stare in her eyes. She reached into her pocket and pulled out a gun, she pulled the trigger twice. William lurched back, surprised by the impact of the bullets, he clutched his stomach and fell to his knees.
Then he fell to the floor. Annette turned back to the screen, now illuminated with large warning lights.
'Do you wish to release Bio-Organic Specimens?'
She pushed one button on the panel; below, the containment pods for the experiments hissed open. The scientists examining them were caught in a state of surprise which quickly turned into panic.
In a matter of minutes the scientists were overwhelmed, unready for the attack by the creatures. The creations they had spent years bringing to life quickly devoured them.
Annette watched the scene unfold from the observation balcony, admiring the destruction she'd wrought. She continued to work at the controls, making the final preparations for her plan.
She glanced back to the lab below, by now all the scientists were dead, but some were starting to get back up again, becoming the same as the creatures that had killed them. Annette smiled.
"The Mysterons will be avenged…"
"This is the voice of the Mysterons, we know that you can hear us, Earthmen. We will continue to wage this war of nerves you started against us. Our next act of retaliation will be to destroy the population of Raccoon City."
"I think you all know why I've called you all here," Colonel White started, and the officers nodded. Everyone had assembled in the briefing room, and all the Spectrum officers were sitting around the familiar setting of the Colonel's circular table.
"We've all heard the Mysteron threat." His chair swivelled round and the large screen behind him was illuminated with a map of a large city, surrounded by a wide mountainous area.
"Raccoon City is the centre of American operations for a company called Umbrella Pharmaceutical Incorporated. They are one of the most prestigious pharmaceutical companies in the world. Just about all of America's medicinal products are produced in this city alone, so if it were to be destroyed all of North America's healthcare would come to a halt."
"Do we have any idea how they might intend to carry out their threat?" Captain Ochre asked. A quirky smile spread over his face as all the officers had made bets as to who could be the first to say that at the next meeting.
"Not at the moment," Colonel White replied, oblivious to the smirks on the officers' faces. The chair turned back to face them and the smiles had disappeared "You will be going to the city to investigate this matter further. When you arrive you will all be assigned to work with the authorities in Raccoon City: Captain Grey will be in charge of supervising ground operations, Captains Ochre and Magenta will be assigned to the Raccoon Police Department, and Captains Scarlet and Blue, you will be working with STARS."
"Stars?" they both repeated in unison.
The sunset across the horizon had painted the sky a bright orange streaked with bright red clouds, and threw the mountains that surrounded the open highway leading to Raccoon City into silhouette.
Down the motorway a motorbike roared, kicking up a long trail of dust from the dry road. The driver was a young woman wearing a tight black one-piece body suit which came up to her neck with short sleeves and legs. Over this was a dark pink denim jacket with a set of matching shorts, the edges of both were frayed where the sleeves and legs had been torn off. The join of the jacket covered by a low belt around her waist, and she wore brown knee high boots. Her hair was done in a ponytail but her fringe wafted openly in the breeze. The black fingerless gloves that covered her hands gripped around the bike's handle. On the back of the jacket was a large free hand design of an angel with the words 'Made in Heaven' written over the top.
She entered the city streets; she enjoyed having the entire road to herself, allowed to just view the whole world. A large truck suddenly blocked out her view, Claire sped up her motorbike, but ahead of her she saw a set of traffic lights turn from green to red. The bike's engines slowly died down into a patient hum.
The cyclist looked over to the truck that pulled up beside her, reading the big corporate slogan written on the side 'Umbrella Pharmaceutical Incorporated' 'Preserving the Health of the People'. She briefly caught the eyes of the truck driver, a fat man slumped back on his seat, stuffing a sandwich into his mouth even though he hadn't finished chewing the amount that was already in there. He winked at her and she turned her head away.
The light turned green and the bike's engines roared into life and she happily turned the vehicle down the street as the truck continued down the road. She was heading for a very specific location, and at that moment she was determined nothing would stop her from reaching it.
A sleek blue Spectrum Passenger Jet took off from Cloudbase later that day. On board were all five Spectrum Captains. Captain Scarlet was up in the cockpit, Rhapsody Angel was going to be flying the jet and he had decided to say a quick hello as the journey started.
"You might want to get a seat now Paul. We're going to take off," she smiled at him.
"Ok, but you know I'll be back don't you?" he said as he got up. He caught her eye one last time as he headed back to the passenger area.
There was plenty of room for them all to have their own seats but Captain Scarlet had decided to share a seat next to Captain Blue, as he approached the seat he saw Blue going through some important Spectrum files.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
"Just going over the mission briefing."
"Didn't you check through it before we left?"
"Well, I was going to…"
"But you just happened to run into Symphony?"
The answer slipped from his mouth.
"I knew it."
"What was that thing the Colonel mentioned? Starts?
"Right." Blue looked at the document. "Special Tactics And Rescue Squad?"
"They're a special division of the police force in Raccoon City. I checked it up on the computer before we left, STARS were founded by Spectrum and the World Government, in light of the Mysteron threat it seemed a good idea to better equip civilian police forces to be better prepared."
"Well it looks like they're gonna get to see some action then."
"Yes, it also has the added bonus of allowing us to search for possible Spectrum recruits."
"Anyone in the Raccoon division worthy of a mention?"
"As far as I could tell only one, his name's Albert Wesker. According to the report he actually helped found the team in Raccoon City. So far he's shown himself to be a pragmatic and decisive leader and he seems the most likely candidate to make it into Spectrum."
"He's in charge of the team you're leading," Blue noticed from the file "Hope he doesn't mind you muscling in on his outfit. I've known guys like that, they can get pretty tetchy when someone else starts taking charge."
"Only time will tell."
Alone in his single floor apartment, Chris sat on the sofa with the television on in the background but he wasn't watching it. A dark and handsome face, his eyes dully skimmed through a magazine article not really soaking up the writing before him, he closed the magazine and wondered about flicking through the channels, even though he knew there was nothing on.
He wore a green t-shirt and brown trousers, his hair was finely trimmed into a crew cut and his body was well honed. His apartment was quite bare and dull, a simple colour scheme covering the walls, only a minimal amount of personal effects to decorate the whole place. All were laid out in an ordered uninteresting fashion, the most noticeable was the array of photographs on the windowsill, and most of them were quite similar. Almost all of them showed him in some sort of uniform, a very young version brightly smiled in an air force uniform. One of them showed him with an older man with a beard in his thirties with his arms over Chris's shoulder. Next to that a picture of Chris in a more military style getup, crouching holding a rifle along with a group of other people, the man from the other picture was standing behind him. Chris himself was seen crouching next to a woman in a blue uniform. And those two appeared separately in a picture in more casual wear. The only picture in his collection that didn't have any sense of military presence featured him with another girl, much younger, as they stood outside an old building on her first day at college, and even in that he looked too upright and rigid to fit into the civilian ritual.
The doorbell rang and he got up to open the door, a smile of anticipation coming over his face. The door opened and he found someone waiting for him, the young girl from the college picture wearing a pink cycling outfit.
"Chris!" the girl cried out, she leaped forward and wrapped her arms around him, barely managing to get them all the way round his shoulders, he however managed to wrap his arms quite snugly around her.
"Claire," he said. He looked down at her "It's good to see you again."
"Would you like to come in?"
"Alright then." Chris led the way back into his apartment. It didn't take long for her to formulate an opinion.
"Wow, the flat I share with Elza is nicer than this."
"And what do you mean by that?" Chris asked.
"Oh come on, Chris, you know you're terrible at this."
"Well I'm glad to see your studies haven't changed your manners one bit."
She folded her arms and looked at him, he flicked her nose in the same way he used to do when they were kids. They both broke out into a bout of laughter, and she hugged him again, feeling secure in her brother's arms again.
"Come on." He ruffled her hair and she let go. A thought passed through his head "Just a minute."
He went to his cupboard and pulled out a box.
"Sorry I missed your birthday," he apologised, Claire laughed and took it, opening the lid. A smirk spread across her face.
Inside was a combat knife, engraved on the handle was the same freehand design as on Claire's jacket. A special holster for it was placed under the knife itself so it could be placed across her shoulders.
"Is this your original?" she asked.
"Yeah, from when I first joined."
"Oh Chris, I can't take this."
"Don't worry, I don't have any use for it."
She turned to him.
The phone interrupted them, Chris picked it up.
"Hello Redfield residence… what do you mean?… tonight? I can't… yes, of course, I'm on my way." He replaced the receiver "I'm sorry Claire."
"It's important," she answered for him.
"That was my captain, he never phones directly, unless it's really important."
"I'm really sorry."
Chris lowered his head.
"I'll be back as soon as I can." He placed his hand on her shoulder, she knew he wouldn't lie to her "You just wait here."
He smiled and walked out the apartment, leaving her on her own.
Chris entered the STARS locker room, finding Barry and Joseph getting ready. Another member of the team, Brad, was already finished; he sat on one of the benches at the far side of the room.
"Hello Chris," Barry called. He was the oldest member of the team and Chris's old friend, a man nearly in his forties. Big and beardy he wore a red combat vest over a white shirt.
"Hey Barry, how's Kathy?" Chris said as he opened his locker and pulled out his uniform.
"Bet she wasn't too happy you had to rush off so suddenly," he said as he pulled a white shirt over his body, a STARS logo emblazoned on the shoulder, the same as all the others were wearing.
"No, Moira and Polly are starting school tomorrow. She doesn't want me to miss it this time," Barry replied, "What about you? Weren't you supposed to be meeting your sister or something?"
"Yeah, I haven't seen her since she started college, she just showed up when the call came," Chris said as he buttoned up his green combat vest.
"That kinda sucks," Joe said, putting a red bandana over his head.
"Tell me about it," Chris pulled out his boots and put them on, tucking the ends of his trousers into the black military boots before doing up the laces.
"Hey guys." Everyone turned as Jill entered the locker room. The same woman as in Chris's photograph, she was wearing a blue tube top and a very short black skirt which showed as much leg as it could. The brown knee high boots were the only thing that saved it from being indecent exposure, just about.
"Jill you wear that?" Chris cried out in surprise.
"Yeah, of course," she said, heading over to her own locker "Why? You find something wrong with it?"
"How come I never get to see you like that?"
"Because only I wear this when I intend to go for a big girls' night out, and last time I checked I didn't think you were a big girl."
"With those legs I could be…" Joseph muttered under his breath.
"What was that?" Jill shouted, she stormed towards Joseph, who immediately threw his arms up fearing she'd hit him, she started demanding to know what he'd just said.
Chris shot a mischievous glance at Barry. They both nodded and got up silently, creeping towards Jill.
"JILL SANDWICH!" Chris exclaimed. Suddenly he and Barry leapt upon Jill from either side, grasping her in a gigantic hug she couldn't escape.
"Guys, get off," she laughed, unable to push the two away as they just hugged her tighter. Eventually they let go, she crossed her arms and glared at both of them, though the smile still hadn't left her face.
"Awww," Chris pouted, "it's just 'cause we love you that much Jill."
She shot a credulous look and then pushed him over. He fell back on the bench and raised his arms in protest.
"But it's the truth!"
"Yeah, yeah," Jill sighed and put a light blue shirt over her top. She grabbed the dark blue body armour from her locker and then draped it over her shoulders. She took out her beret and placed it on her head, brushing her hair past her ears. She could still hear Chris complaining to about Barry about the way she didn't seem to believe him.
"I want a Jill sandwich," she heard Joe complain.
"Maybe next time," Barry replied.
"Are you all ready yet?" Jill suddenly stood straight as the authoritative voice called. Everyone had stopped and turned, a man in a completely black STARS uniform stood at the entrance. His blonde hair was slicked back and he wore dark sunglasses over his eyes.
"Nearly, Captain Wesker," Chris answered as he strapped his token knife holster to the left side of his vest.
"The people from Spectrum will be here soon. So I want all of you to be in top condition, it's not often we get such high profile guests, so let's make a good impression."
"Yes sir." Everyone nodded.
"Right, if you're all ready let's move out," Wesker announced and everyone followed him as he headed to the main briefing room.
"Is it me or has Wesker been on edge since they said Spectrum were coming?" Joseph whispered.
"Really? I didn't notice any difference," Barry said.
It was a few more hours before the Spectrum personnel arrived at Raccoon City. The officers got access to a Spectrum Saloon Car and headed off to their destination. Captain Scarlet pulled up beside the Raccoon Police Department and the STARS Headquarters building.
"Well this is it," he announced, the Captains in the back seats looked out the saloon's window. "Let's go in then," he said opening the car door. Ochre, Magenta and Blue headed up the stairs to the police department.
At the entrance to both buildings three individuals were waiting for them. One in a black uniform came over to address them.
"Spectrum, I presume."
"I'm Albert Wesker, captain of STARS Alpha team."
The other man introduced himself.
"Enrico Marini, captain of STARS Bravo Team." He wore a black STARS combat vest, the same as Wesker's but with a normal white shirt underneath. He had straight black hair and a moustache hung under his nose. He had a much bigger bulk than Wesker, but the Alpha captain carried a stature of authority that showed he was obviously in charge.
"I'm Captain Scarlet and this is Captain Blue, we've both been assigned to accompany you."
The third wasn't dressed in a uniform but he was wearing a smart shirt and a brown waistcoat. He had a large build and seemed to be in his late thirties, a thick brown moustache covered his face, and he carried himself with an air of self-importance.
"Brian Irons, chief of Police," he introduced himself, talking to Scarlet.
"I believe you're with us actually," Magenta smiled, the chief slowly turned, he didn't seem to like being interrupted. The grin on Magenta's face didn't help very much either. Ochre stepped forward in an attempt to make reparations.
"Captain Magenta and I have been assigned to police operations." The chief conceded and led the two into the police station, his smile barely suppressed his hatred for Magenta, who was still grinning if not just to annoy him.
"Ahem," Wesker coughed, dragging Blue and Scarlet's attention back to him, "If you'd like to come with us you shall meet the teams you've been individually assigned to."
In the main briefing room the first of the STARS teams had assembled, waiting for their illustrious guests to arrive. The captain's chair was currently empty. Barry, Chris, Jill, Joseph and Brad sat scattered amongst the tables; Alpha team.
There was an informal air throughout the room, several minor conversations had broken out, casual chat laced with juvenile rivalries that ran throughout the team. Joe was attempting to make a joke which Jill half-heartedly listened to. Barry corrected him once the punch line was revealed. Brad, wearing his yellow uniform shuffled in his seat and didn't make eye contact with anyone, his hair was in a crew cut though not as well kept as Chris's, possibly because he kept running his fingers though his hair in agitation. Chris himself had grown bored and was idly digging his knife into the table making small scratches on its surface.
The captains entered and everyone suddenly settled into a professional mood. Chris's knife quickly disappeared back in its holster. Wesker took his place at the head of the table. Captain Scarlet took the seat that had been laid out for him next to the STARS captain.
"Gentlemen, I'm happy to introduce the Spectrum Captain who will now be taking charge of the team," Wesker introduced him, though his deep voice didn't show any sign of emotion at all.
Wesker nodded and everyone stood to attention.
"Chris Redfield, reconnaissance."
"Jill Valentine, mechanical supervisor."
"Barry Burton, weapons expert."
"Joseph Frost, maintenance and vehicle supervisor."
"Brad Vickers, I'm the helicopter pilot."
Captain Scarlet nodded and they all took their places again.
"Thank you all." Scarlet stood up "You may not know, but we've been called here to deal with a terrorist threat to destroy Raccoon City. And as such we've been assigned total control of this department for now. Captain Blue and I or any member of Spectrum now stand for total authority whilst this operation is in effect."
One of the members wearing a red bandana and a dark grey uniform raised his hand.
"Yes… Joseph?" Scarlet tried to remember his name correctly.
"Do you have any information about what kind of terrorist attack we might be expecting?" Joe asked.
"Not at the moment, the enemy group here is particularly cunning, and generally employ any number of methods when it comes to achieving their threats. Until such time as this threat is over we'll need you to keep alert."
Oh great, thought Chris, I'm gonna be here all night.
Annette secured the last of the creatures into the capsule, the creature writhed and snarled under the restraining straps holding it in place. This thing had previously been one of the scientists she'd been working with, a recognition badge emblazoned his name 'John Sullivan' in red letters, but now this thing was looking up at her with no sense of recognition, only an animalistic hatred and hunger filled its eyes as it tried to break loose. Its sounds were completely silenced after she shut the capsule lid.
She went back to the control panel, activating the loading system. In a matter of seconds the row of capsules was being transported up to the loading depot outside.
Annette headed back to the observation deck, the body of her husband still lying on the floor. From here the security screens were already trained on the line of Umbrella trucks outside. The drivers had already begun loading the capsules into the trucks as they came out on the loading platform. She leaned on the receiver button on the control panel.
"Mr. Mason?" She watched on screen as one of the larger men walked back to the truck cabin and picked up the microphone.
"Once you are done uploading the new Bio-capsules you will begin transporting them immediately to the required Umbrella storage facilities."
"Whatever you say darlin'." Annette had never liked him when she was human. But this time her voice portrayed no sense of her usual abhorrence.
"Just do it quickly and professionally. I want these delivered as soon as possible." She put the speaker down, and quietly watched as they had nearly finished loading up the last few capsules. In her hand she held a small device, a remote detonator, her thumb poised on the trigger button.
Just a matter of time…
Claire sat on the sofa, idly flicking through channels on the television. She was hoping it was just some false alarm and Chris would get back soon, but the hours still seemed to be dragging on and that possibility was slowly fading. She flicked through various reality shows and assorted trash, anything to fill up the time.
The phone rang and she was glad of something to pull her away from this depressing myriad of rubbish. She picked up the phone and pressed it to her ear.
"Hello, Redfield residence."
"Claire?" She picked up at the voice of her brother on the other end.
"Chris, so what's happening? Will you be getting back soon?"
Her shoulders fell.
"They're sending us on a mission. It looks like I won't be back tonight."
She answered back.
"Oh, ok then…"
"I'm really sorry. I'll do everything I can to get back as soon as possible. I'll see you soon."
She placed the phone back down on the receiver, took a long drawn out sigh and tilted her head to look out the window.
Right, she decided. She headed towards the cupboard where she'd left her biker suit. If Chris wasn't going to come back she was going to have to find something else to do. She took the suit out and put the jacket on, pulling the zip up. She didn't know her way around Raccoon City but she could find a good nightclub no matter where she was. She also put on the knife holster and headed towards the door, grabbing a spare set of keys. She wasn't intending to be back for a while.
Now the trucks were spread throughout Raccoon City, Annette watched their movements on the monitor screen. A set of six red dots constantly marking their positions, Annette continually turned the detonator in her hands, waiting for the right moment when they were due to go past a set of busy, highly populated areas. She watched, one had just entered the high street, her thumb now hovering over the trigger. Not yet… then another truck turned down one of the residential areas. She squeezed on the button. The signals stopped moving, but the view on the screen didn't show off any of the drama and chaos that followed in that simple action's wake.
Claire killed the engines on her motorbike; she'd heard something. A sudden rippling sound; it was an explosion, she listened out and the sound of people's screams were heard soon afterward. She turned the bike round and headed in the direction of the chaos.
When she came round the corner she saw an upturned truck. It had caught fire and several people were spread around, most not sure what to do. One person was trying to help pull out the man who lay unconscious in the driver's seat. Several people seemed to have gathered from outside their houses, a few were in their dressing gowns. Claire headed towards one of the surprised onlookers.
"What happened?" she asked. The bystander didn't seem entirely sure himself.
"I don't know, the thing just kind of… exploded," he said waving his arms about to illustrate what had happened. It didn't really help.
"I'm going to see if I can help," she said, heading towards the devastation.
"Look! Somebody's alive!" a woman shouted. Claire turned to see that someone was getting out of the wreckage and stumbled forward. Several shards of debris seemed to be lodged in the man's chest and his clothing had caught fire.
"Oh my god!" someone exclaimed.
"Somebody call an ambulance!" Claire shouted. Someone finally seemed to gain some sort of sensibility and rushed back into their house. She saw no one else wanted to approach the survivor so she made the effort and headed over to check upon him.
"Mister! You ok?" she shouted, it felt like a stupid question, even from here she could see the vacant expression in his eyes.
He must be in some state of shock, she thought. He slowly turned round to face her, she found something unnerving in that stare. But she carried on, she knew her brother would never shy away from helping someone.
"My name's Claire Redfield." She extended out her hand. "I'm here to help."
Suddenly the man lurched for her, she retreated backwards but the man grabbed her and the force sent her flying backwards onto the floor. He was trying to attack her, he pushed his head forward, possessed in some sort of rage. His jaw kept snapping at her. She tried to force him back, but his head slowly reached her neck.
"Get off her!" One of the bystanders grabbed the man and pulled him back, instead the man turned round and suddenly sunk his teeth into the new intrusion. The man screamed and fell to the ground as his attacker began savagely tearing into him.
Claire got up, not sure what to do. She could see another survivor of the crash was also attacking another bystander.
She reached for the attacker, pulling him off the man who'd helped her. She helped him to get up, seeing that he was bleeding profusely, a large red circle had stained his shirt.
"Do you think you can stand?" she asked. He was still clutching where he'd been bitten.
"I think so…" he muttered. Claire was worried, he seemed to be fading fast.
"Don't worry, I think the hospital's somewhere around here," she said reassuringly but really she had no idea where it was. She just had to get as far away from the person that had attacked them as soon as possible.
"Come on, I'm sure it isn't too far."
"Sir! Something's just come up!" A junior police officer had just burst in whilst Captain Ochre and Magenta were talking to Chief Irons.
"What is it Grimes?" Irons asked.
"There're reports of riots happening all over town. The descriptions are sketchy at best but people keep mentioning vicious attacks," the officer reported.
"Assemble riot squads right away then."
"Yes sir." And the officer ran back out of the room.
"Chief, I'd like to accompany one of the squads, just to check it out." Ochre stepped forward.
"You think this has something to do with your investigation?" the chief asked.
"It might do, it'd be good to check it out just in case," Ochre said.
"Fine, I'll assign you to a squad." Ochre nodded and headed off, Magenta followed him.
"You think it's the Mysterons?" he whispered.
"Might be, if it is we can't afford to ignore it. If it's as bad as that officer made out the Mysterons might well be involved."
"You want me to tag along?"
"No, one of us should stay here and check that everything's fine at this end."
"Don't kill yourself out there."
"Of course I won't."
Claire continued down the street, the man's condition was getting worse. Around her several people had taken on the mannerisms of the person that had attacked her.
"Don't worry nearly there," she kept reassuring him, running out of things to say, he was fading fast "We'll be there any second."
She turned to the man, suddenly he lunged at her in the same way the other man had, she quickly pushed him away before he could bite her. His movements became slower, less coordinated.
"No! Stay back!" she shouted, pulling the knife from out of her sheath. But he didn't seem to notice it. He kept creeping towards her, his arms outstretched. His voice became a longing moan and he closely cornered her.
She looked around seeing people were either running around in a state of panic but others seemed to have taken on the same manner, their movements had become slow shuffles, she looked around realising just how many people had already been turned.
"Oh God no…"
The officers poured out of the van, all fully dressed in dark blue body armour. Full riot gear had been given out; as Ochre stepped out of the van it made him feel a bit vulnerable. Nevertheless he put on an air of authority as the squad sergeant ordered his men into their positions, all taking up different stances, guns at the ready.
"What have we got?" Ochre addressed him.
"Several hostiles in the street."
"Sarge, I see one." The riot officers turned, several figures were heading slowly towards them. Their movements were jerky, as if they'd all forgotten how to walk. All of them looked dishevelled, bloodstains around their mouths.
"Are these guys drunk?" one squaddy asked.
"Keep sharp, people!" the sergeant shouted, "Spread out!"
Ochre readied his gun, keeping it trained on the figures.
"Don't fire yet," the sergeant shouted.
The officers didn't move, but the people were getting closer. One officer with a megaphone relayed threats.
"Don't come any closer. We will open fire." They didn't obey, they just kept coming.
A burst of erratic gunfire opened up. The shots were accurate, hitting the figures square in the chest, but none of them seemed affected, they kept shuffling on, slowly surrounded the officers. Ochre aimed higher and shot one in the head, it jerked backward and then fell to the ground.
One of them was almost on top of one officer, he was panicking, he kept firing at the chest as this thing kept walking towards him.
"Aim for the head," Ochre shouted, but the junior officer didn't have it in him. He kept firing at the chest. The figure grabbed him and bit into him.
"Andy!" his friend shouted, he ran over to him and pulled the zombie off, then fired wildly with the rifle.
"You little piece of…"
"Officer!" Ochre grabbed his shoulder "That's enough!"
He saw that the police were starting to get surrounded by these things.
"Fall back! That's an order!"
The officer was attending his friend.
"It's okay Shane, it's just a scratch."
Ochre crouched down.
"Come on, I'll help."
They both supported him and began falling back. Ochre's cap microphone dropped from its resting place.
"This is Ochre to all Spectrum agents. Spectrum Is Red. Requesting immediate backup."
Now they'd been introduced to the teams individually they'd been brought together whilst Blue and Scarlet awaited new orders.
The epaulettes on Blue and Scarlet's shoulders lit up with an orange light and the microphones from their caps dropped to their mouths. Most of the STARS personnel watched as they tried to listen in on the conversation. The microphones flipped back into place and the Captains looked up.
"We've just got word from Captain Ochre! We're moving out," Scarlet announced.
"Right, I want everyone ready in five minutes," Wesker ordered, and everyone got up ready for the mission.
Ochre and four of the RPD officers retreated back down an alleyway. Ochre and Shane still supported the wounded officer over their shoulders. He wasn't looking too good, his face was starting to go pale. Two officers were falling behind shooting the attackers. The streets suddenly seemed full of them.
"Someone scout ahead, check that we don't get ambushed," Ochre shouted; one young blonde officer rushed off to the opening at the end of the street.
"There's more down here." He fired off a few shots. Behind Ochre the gunfire was still going on. He couldn't organise everyone like this.
"I need you to take your friend, you okay with that?" he said. Shane nodded. Ochre slipped under and ran to the head of the party. In the next street there were other shufflers, alerted by the sound of the gunfire.
"Which way do we go?" the blonde officer asked, "They're on all sides."
"Head to the right, there's less of them that way."
The police officers headed back. Ochre's epaulettes flashed grey and his microphone dropped to his mouth again.
"Captain Grey to Captain Ochre."
"We need to secure the area. These things have spread quite far into the city already."
"What about you?"
"Our unit's trying to make it back to base. In the confusion half of us got separated. It's me and four other officers, one's wounded."
"You want us to send a squad in after you?"
"No, we'll make it back ourselves. You guys need to focus on stopping these things getting any further into the city."
"SIG. Good luck."
The line went dead. They were on their own again. The blonde officer fired off as many rounds as he could, trying to make sure they didn't get surrounded. The sergeant pointed out a construction site, there were only a few zombies and there was a lockable gate.
The officers retreated inside and Ochre and the blonde officer started dispatching the last few zombies. The sergeant closed the gates as Shane entered carrying his wounded friend.
"That was good shooting," Ochre complimented the blonde officer. "What's your name?"
"Leon S. Kennedy. I'm new to the force, I just joined a couple of weeks ago." He checked his gun. He'd run out of bullets and was about to throw the gun away.
"Don't." Ochre stopped him. "Even without ammo it can still be a weapon."
Ochre turned to the officer attending his friend. He was looking terrible now, his eyes had sunk into his sockets and his skin was deathly white, the only way Ochre could tell he was alive was from the low moaning sound he seemed to be making. His friend was looking through his equipment for any medical supplies that might help.
"I'm sure I had a first-aid spray somewhere," he mumbled to himself.
Andy's body jerked violently before he fell limp, then his whole body began to shake.
"Andy?" his friend shouted. Andy's eyes opened, he stared up at his comrade as he pulled himself up, a ravenous look in his eyes.
"Andy?" He leaped forward and gouged into his friend's uniform, tearing away at the fabric until it reached the meat underneath. The other officers were startled by their friend's sudden act of cannibalism.
"What the hell?"
Ochre pulled out his gun and aimed it at Andy. The sergeant stopped him.
"You can't shoot him, he's one of us."
"No, he's one of them." The sergeant still couldn't let him shoot his comrade "In that case, we need to get out of here."
Ochre and Leon pushed the gates open. The three officers ran out, even though the creatures surrounded them now. Ochre tried to fire as many shots as he could. Leon was hitting them off with the butt of his gun. They were surrounded on all sides, separated from each other by the tide of swarming zombies. Ochre lost sight of the blonde officer and he saw the sergeant being grabbed, two of the creatures pulled him back and bit into him. Ochre pushed the zombies around him away, too many were trying to reach for him, getting in each others' way. He broke free of the swarm and escaped. He briefly turned back to the horde, keeping an eye out for the officer, but he couldn't see anything. He fled before the zombies could get upon him.
The sound of the helicopter's engines roared in Captain Scarlet's head, he pressed the receiver to his ear to hear what Colonel White was saying.
"Magenta and the remaining RPD forces have been sent out. You should go to assist them as soon as possible, stop this outbreak from getting any further into the city."
"SIG." The line went dead and Scarlet surveyed the city. People had panicked, not knowing what to do, chaos and confusion had only made it easier for these things to infect and spread across the city. A set of slow shuffling figures could be seen dotted throughout the city streets.
"Are those survivors?"
"No, the attackers aren't very fast. If it's simply walking instead of running wildly for its life then it's an enemy not an ally," Wesker said.
"Captain, I've spotted one." Scarlet turned thinking Chris was talking to him, though he was referring to Wesker. Still he came to see what Chris had found.
Chris was on point; he lowered the binoculars and pointed into the midst of the city. One lone survivor was running through the streets. Running at a slowly degrading pace, lots of slowly moving bodies were trying to follow him approaching from all sides.
"There's nothing we can do," Wesker said as he went back to his seat.
"Sir?" Chris asked.
"We don't have a place to touch down in the streets. There are too many of them anyway, we wouldn't be able to get them out without being overrun. We can't jeopardise the mission because of one survivor."
"Well, I thought that Spectrum had the authority here," Jill corrected him, "so doesn't the decision lie with him?"
Everyone turned to Scarlet, he paused and gave his answer.
"If we can find a place to touch down we might be able to do it."
The pilot scanned the area, looking for a possible landing site.
"Are there any open roofs where we reach the streets easily?"
"Yes, look! There's one." Brad pointed to a warehouse. It was quite low and not too far from the fleeing figure.
"Right, set down there." Scarlet addressed the rest of the team. "When we land Wesker, Jill, Barry and myself will go in to secure the survivor. Joseph, secure the warehouse. Chris, the file said you were the best shot?"
"Best there is in Alpha Team."
"But Forrest still beats you on the firing range," Joseph said.
"I had a flu that last time."
"You take point on the roof. Give us some covering fire. Brad will stay and keep the engines running so we can get out as quickly as possible."
"Right, let's suit up," Wesker shouted. Chris grabbed the sniper rifle hanging from the helicopter wall.
The moment the helicopter touched down everybody leaped into position. Military training kicked in and they all took up their allotted positions.
Chris took up a position at the edge of the roof.
"I can see him, he's just coming down the street."
Scarlet moved everybody out. They headed down the main set of stairs to the warehouse. It was empty as none of the zombie creatures seemed to have bothered staying in the area. They headed down the stairs to reach the main entrance, the doors were sealed but in a few minutes, Barry, Scarlet and Joseph had pushed the doors open.
"Joseph, you stay behind and make sure we have a clean escape once we get back here."
"Yes sir." He nodded to Scarlet, the Spectrum Captain led the charge out onto the streets. Outside the place was littered with zombies. Jill and Barry instantly readied their guns.
"Only fire if you have to," Wesker reprimanded, "we don't want to waste shots or attract anymore of them."
They lowered their guns.
"So long as we keep moving we should be able to avoid them," Scarlet said, "Let's go."
The team broke out into a run. Down the street they could see the man still running for his life, he'd already attracted a large crowd. Jill aimed and shot at one of the zombies, she hit it in the chest and it continued. The survivor tripped over and with a clear shot they opened fire, several of them fell to the ground. Scarlet rushed over and helped the man to his feet.
"You okay?" He continued to fire at the approaching horde.
"Yeah." The man shook as he spoke.
"Get back to the others, they'll cover your escape."
Once the man had sped off one of the zombies grabbed Scarlet reaching for his neck. A shot went straight through its head and it fell limp. Scarlet turned, seeing Chris at the rooftop not too far away. He reloaded the sniper rifle and continued to take down as many zombies as he could.
Joseph was keeping watch inside the warehouse, none of the zombies outside had noticed him, they seemed more attracted to the crowd of moving food outside, but he still kept watch, waiting for Alpha team to return. He didn't notice as upstairs a zombie shuffled out of an office and headed to the roof.
Inside the helicopter Brad kept trying to look over the side to see what was going on, though mostly he had to guess from Chris's constant firing. He heard something behind in the helicopter, he unbuckled his seatbelt and got up to see what it was. He screamed and fell backwards as a zombie lurched for him, dropping his gun on the floor. He tried to reach for it but the zombie reached in to bite him. He retreated and fell out of the cockpit.
"Chris!" he shouted, barely heard over the helicopter motors. He ran back and tugged Chris's arm. He dropped the sniper rifle and pulled out his handgun, the zombie was still awkwardly trying to clamber out of the helicopter; Chris opened fire.
They heard the gunshots from the roof.
"That must be Chris," Jill said.
"Something must have happened."
"Let's get back." Scarlet shot another zombie and the team all rushed back into the warehouse. Joseph pulled the doors open for them. They rushed up the stairs, they rushed past several offices and Captain Scarlet noticed some of the doors they'd gone past hadn't been open when they were here before. From one of the rooms a set of zombies lurched at them. Survivors who'd tried to hide in the storerooms. The teams opened fire, but it was so closed in that one of them got a hold of Barry.
Jill and Scarlet reached forward and threw it off, the zombie fell backwards losing its balance. Wesker fired a shot straight at its head. They all turned back to head to the roof and were surprised to see Chris and Brad heading towards them.
"What the hell happened?"
"The zombies made it onto the roof. We're blocked off from this way."
"I think I saw a second entrance on the other side," Joe said.
"Let's go," Scarlet shouted, leading the charge. They headed down the gantry way. Jill and Brad fell behind covering the rear. Jill kept firing and Brad flinched every time she did.
"Brad, where's your gun?"
"Well…" A zombie burst through one of the service tunnels. Grabbing hold of Brad's leg, it dragged him down along with it.
He managed to catch his grip on the edge of the floor. Jill grabbed his hand and tried to pull him up. Scarlet turned round to see why Jill and Brad had fallen behind.
"Somebody help them!" Barry headed back, he aimed his gun into the tunnel and shot the zombie. It fell limp and slid down the tunnel but another one was at Brad's feet.
"I can't hold on," he said; he was beginning to slip out of Jill's grasp. Barry reached forward to grab him just as he let go. He slid down the tunnel into the darkness.
"No!" Jill shouted. Barry pulled her up.
"Come on, we can't do anything."
He pushed her forwards to catch up with the rest of the team. Chris and Scarlet went first as they headed up the stairs. They both kicked the door to the roof open and fired at the zombies surrounding the helicopter. Some of them fell instantly and they started to clear a path to the helicopter.
"Everyone get in as quickly as you can," Scarlet shouted. The team clambered in, shots still going off. "Who can fly this thing?"
"I can." Barry took the pilot's seat and took off. His piloting skills weren't as smooth as Brad's and the helicopter lurched forward, throwing everyone off balance. But it took off into the sky and they managed to escape.
Everyone calmed down, Chris went to check on Jill, she was shaking knowing she hadn't been able to save Brad. Scarlet got up from his seat to address the survivor. His hair was dishevelled and what Scarlet had originally mistaken for a jacket was actually the remains of a lab coat, shredded and torn to half its original length.
"Are you ok?"
"Yeah… fine." He still shook, not quite having recovered from his ordeal.
"Well, you're safe now," Scarlet assured him "What exactly were you doing there?"
"Well, I managed to get out before the others got infected. I don't know what happened, Birkin just went crazy and let all those things loose… I only got out because I wasn't in the lab at the time…"
"Wait, what are you talking about?"
"This whole thing… it started in the Umbrella laboratory… it's caused by a virus that reanimates dead cells. That's what those things are. But one of the chief scientists let all the specimens loose in the labs and they infected everybody, they must've gotten onto the streets."
"That's crazy," Joe announced, everyone else wasn't sure what to make of it. Wesker's face was nonchalant behind the sunglasses.
"You've worked on this virus then?" Scarlet pulled back his attention. "Do you know anyway to counteract it?"
"No, at the lab we were working on a new virus, the G-Virus. All the research for this virus was held done in a mansion owned by Umbrella in the Arklay mountains."
A red light on Colonel White's desk lit up and he activated the receiver.
"Captain Scarlet, any news?"
"Yes Colonel, we found a scientist who knows how this outbreak started. Apparently it was caused by a virus."
"Yes sir, he says the source of this outbreak is coming from an Umbrella laboratory in the heart of the city," Scarlet announced. "But also that the source of this virus comes from a mansion in the Arklay mountains."
"I see," Colonel White "I want you to head up a team to the mansion, find out anything you can about the virus. The answer to stopping this outbreak might lie there."
The receiver went dead, Colonel White turned to his assistant.
"Lieutenant Green, contact Captain Blue. We need someone to investigate this laboratory, maybe we can stop this outbreak at its source."
"And have Dr. Fawn ready to leave for Raccoon City immediately, if the source of this incident is a virus his medical knowledge might be of some use."
Captain Magenta jumped out of the Spectrum Saloon Car having followed the RPD, he quickly found Captain Grey organising operations. He walked over to him, eager to know what was going on.
"Grey, what's happening?" he asked. Grey turned round having been in the middle of giving orders to some RPD officers.
"Magenta, glad you're here." He finished the order and then continued with Magenta "These things are all over the place. We're trying to help set up blockades to stop these things reaching any further."
"What about Scarlet and Blue?"
"They're on their way, along with those STARS teams. It seems they'll be a lot of help."
"He was with one of the first patrols, the first wave were unprepared for the attacks and were overrun. We haven't heard anything from him since."
A loud whirring noise rushed over their heads, a STARS helicopter touched down. A red uniformed officer stepped out and rendezvoused with Grey and Magenta.
"Scarlet, any news?"
"We've got something. We picked up a survivor, he's a scientist who says this whole thing is actually a viral outbreak. We've found out where the virus originally came from. We'll be heading to a location in the mountains to find out what we can about the virus."
"What about us here?"
"Blue and Bravo team are heading into the city to try to stop the source of the virus, if they're successful then all we need to do is stop this outbreak getting any further."
"SIG." both officers repeated.
"Magenta, you come with me and I'll tell you how we can co-ordinate this outbreak."
"SIG." Magenta and Grey went off and Scarlet turned back to Alpha team, standing ready for new orders.
"We'll be taking a Spectrum helicopter to reach the Arklay facility, but it'll only be able to take five of us. Someone will have to stay here and help the RPD."
"I'll stay," Barry volunteered, "I'm the weapons expert, I might be more useful here."
"Alright then," Scarlet nodded. He turned to the rest. "Let's get ready to go."
Brad Vickers ran through the street, narrowly avoiding the zombies that lurched for him.
"Oh God!" He kept running, interrupting two zombies hunched over a body. He ran straight through them and his boot came down on something squishy.
"Oh God!" He headed to turn the corner into the next street. Another horde of zombies were waiting there. They turned round to walk towards the new delicacy that had appeared.
"Oh God!" He rushed back and found himself caught in between the zombies that had been following him earlier. He edged back surrounded on all sides. There was an alleyway but it was a dead end, he stepped backwards and tripped over an upturned trashcan, the zombies still staggering towards him, a look of ravenous hunger in their dead eyes. Brad scuttled back on his hands and feet.
"Oh God! SOMEBODY help!" They reached out their hands and he threw up his arms. Suddenly the zombies stopped, they shuffled backwards, their movements odd and reluctant. It was as if all of a sudden they didn't want to touch him, as if he'd suddenly become inedible.
Brad lowered his arms, unable to believe what had happened, he slowly got up seeing that he'd been saved. He put his hand to his heart, still beating furiously and he briefly prayed.
"Oh, thank you God." Then he turned round and screamed.
Behind him stood a very tall dark man. His pale complexion and hard stare frightened him almost as much the zombies.
"Hello?" Brad said meekly, attempting a friendly wave. The stranger didn't respond. He wore a long black coat that made his colourless face look even paler. His eyes were set in a constant dark stare. Brad felt the urge to run away from this person even though the only way out led back to the zombie horde.
"Bradley Vickers," the stranger addressed him. Brad shivered. He was worried about how this person knew his name, but it was also the way he said it. The voice was just as deep as Captain Wesker's, but there was an added level of hatred under the unemotional tone.
"Yeh, that's me…" Brad mumbled, "are you a survivor too?"
The black stranger took a step forward and Brad took a step back. It brought him closer to the zombies, still waiting but they didn't approach him. It seemed as if they wanted to avoid this new arrival as much as he did.
"So, you're trying to find your way back to the station as well?"
"No, I have come for you."
"What do you mean by that?"
He could see as the man pulled out a black lined handgun from his coat pocket.
"Oh God please," he cried "…no."
One shot fired. Brad closed his eyes and thought of his hometown one last time. His body limply fell to the floor, offering no resistance to the bullet that passed through his chest.
The moment the body fell the zombies instantly swarmed over it desperately tearing it apart. Captain Black watched silently, another figure stepped out from the shadows and briefly stood watching with him.
"You know what you must do."
Brad nodded and walked forward, where he went the zombies avoided him. His eyes momentarily transfixed as the zombies made quick work disposing of any evidence of the original body.
Captain Magenta had taken control of the patrols on the south part of Raccoon City, outside a series of storage houses. The effort wasn't going well, though it felt that they were slowly managing to push the zombies back. Magenta had set up a rota so half the squad could reload whilst the others continued to fire so a continuous series of gunfire could keep going, but with only four men per patrol it wasn't easy.
He kept firing, and then he saw someone rush round from the corner.
"There's a survivor!" he shouted, "Try to avoid any friendly fire."
The survivor was trying to make their way over the blockade, he fired a couple of shots and Magenta finally realised who it was.
"Rick," he shouted. Ochre looked up and finally realised his friend was at the blockade, he tried to shout his name back but couldn't be heard over the constant gunfire. The fire from the rifles was starting to clear a path through the zombies and Magenta pushed through and shot down the remaining zombies. They'd managed to beat back this horde but the RPD were already taking up positions ready to see off anymore approaching zombies. Magenta followed but went over to check on Ochre. A sense of relief came over his face when he saw he hadn't been bitten.
"Rick, you made it."
"Yeah, I thought I was lost there for a moment."
On the CCTV screens Annette watched the destruction of Raccoon City as it unfolded. She had watched the progress of Captain Ochre as he'd tried to make it back to civilisation. Her face showed a slight glare at seeing the Spectrum officer having actually succeeded. She reached forward and activated the controls on the keyboard, then she went back to watching the screens waiting to see the events unfold.
Behind them they heard the sound of the storage doors creaking open. Ochre went to check first. From the storage rooms several zombies staggered out, lurching side to side with each step.
Ochre called back to Magenta and fired off several shots, one of the zombies fell to the ground but too many were pouring out of the storage facility.
"There's nowhere we can run." The new zombies had cut off their escape and the only way forwards led to the infected streets further down. Ochre fired again but ran out of shots; his gun clicked.
"I'm empty," he said, one of the RPD officers swivelled round and tried to shoot them down, but they were surrounded on all sides.
Annette was alone in the lab attentively watching the CCTV screens when a dark suited figure appeared behind her.
"This is Captain Black, Spectrum are attempting to infiltrate the Umbrella laboratory. This cannot be allowed to happen. You know what you must do."
Annette got up from her chair and took the lift down towards the lab. She passed long rows of cylindrical tubes, each holding different experimental creatures. She came to the largest one, in it contained a creature of only barely recognisable human shape. A project labelled 'Nemesis' on the capsule side.
A square of fixed gnarling teeth stared out from the tube. She placed a small detonator on the creature's capsule, set the timer and calmly walked away. The container exploded, sending shards of glass flying across the lab. A pool of deep green liquid poured out onto the floor. The previously grand beast inside slumped to the floor in a charred heap.
Annette briefly turned back to view the destruction. When she turned back the same creature was looking down at her. It gave a low gruff growl.
She looked up at it. A stream of tentacles ran through the creature's body, its skin seemed to be stretched and blistered as if it was never built to cover such a large size, the creature wore a long black trench coat which covered most of its body, from a distance it might have appeared human, but one of its eyes was missing, covered in large stitches, its remaining eye was blank white.
"Go to the city. You'll get your orders there." It obeyed and walked towards the lift. Annette continued back to the observation room, by the time she had reached her chair it was as if nothing had happened.
The west side of Raccoon City had been completely decimated by the attack. The streets were now deserted, windows broken and bags and bottles littered the street, hastily dropped by their owners in an attempt to quicken their escape. Off in the distance a car alarm could be heard endlessly barking but there was no one to attend it.
Only the undead stalked the streets, shuffling aimlessly, their movements held no sense of purpose now they'd finished all the prey here. Their sounds were a flat chorus of groans accompanied by slow monotonous footsteps. Those that had managed to find a food source were too deeply busy engrossed in an unsavoury act to grab every last morsel from the few bodies available.
One lone survivor burst through, their footsteps panicked and clumsy. The zombies slowly turned their heads, attracted towards the new source of food. Some didn't notice, too engorged in the meals they'd managed to find.
The closest ones reached out their arms to grab this new indulgence, but the survivor dodged their outreaching hands. The survivor was slim, nimble and driven by survival instinct.
She rushed towards the door of a building, left hanging slightly open. She ran in and quickly slammed it behind her. Hurriedly fastening the lock, she edged slowly backwards, outside she could still hear the zombies approaching the door, determined not to lose a good meal.
Something jabbed into her back, she turned round and let slip a quick scream. It was just a table. She put her hand to her heart and took several deep breaths. Claire looked around, seeing she'd walked into some sort of diner or coffee shop. Various meals and drinks were left unfinished and chairs had been hurriedly pushed aside. The décor was a horrible set of mis-matched pastel colours designed to look friendly and appealing but more had the effect of making any who looked upon it feel ill, but at least the fact that the lights were no longer working managed to dull down the horrid effect.
Claire pulled up one of the chairs and tried to relax, but when she tried all she could hear was the tremors from moans outside as the zombies banged their hands on the diner window, their shadows casting silhouettes onto the pulled down blinds. And the mass of them seemed to be increasing by the second.
She briefly considered pushing the table across to the window, but it didn't seem practical, there were too many windows and she didn't imagine it would be take too long for the zombies to break through. The best thing to do would be to get to a higher floor and see if she could get to the next building.
Then she heard some movement upstairs but this wasn't a slow stomp, it was a quick succession of running feet on wooden boards. Running? Someone must still be alive. She rushed up the stairs.
"Hello? Is anyone there?" she called, from down the corridor there came no reply. She crept down the length of the landing. Her footsteps agonisingly creaked with every step she took.
"I'm not going to hurt you or anything. And I'm not infected," she called, no reply came. Claire slowly approached the door. Her hand gripped on her knife just in case. She listened out, from inside one of the rooms she heard another small rustle come from behind a door. She slowly approached it, placed her back to the wall and reached for the door handle.
She pushed the handle down and let the door glide open. She looked over her shoulder and gazed into the room. No one was there.
She stepped in slowly scanning the darkly lit room. Something ran out from behind her; she broke into a run and headed off after the person who had escaped. She grabbed them, it was only a small child, who kicked and screamed as Claire pulled her back.
"Calm down! Easy!" she shouted, the girl still struggled but then her energy ran out and she fell limp in Claire's arms. Claire bent down and stroked her head. "Don't worry, it'll be ok now."
The little girl turned towards Claire then she tightly hugged her. She was still wearing a blue and white school uniform, short blonde hair pulled back in a pink hair band.
"What's your name?" Claire asked.
"I'm Sherry," the girl replied.
"My name's Claire."
From downstairs there was a crash of glass. Claire stood up grasping Sherry's hand.
"Oh no…" she whispered.
"What? What is it?"
"I think they've broken through," she said. "Come on! We need to go."
She led Sherry down the corridor, through the window outside she could see into the next building. Hopefully it wasn't too far a jump.
The hulking figure of Nemesis stalked the streets, even the zombies seemed to be afraid of it. It didn't attack them but most moved out of the way so to not disturb it.
At that moment something clumsily disturbed the rubble. A figure slid down the makeshift slope from all the fallen masonry and came out into plain view of Nemesis. It slowly stomped towards its new-found target.
The figure dusted himself off before impassively looking up at the giant monster. It stopped as they locked gazes.
"You know who I am," he said calmly. The creature nodded as much as its thick neck allowed. Brad Vickers stared up at the creature, his eyes flashed green.
"You will obey my instructions and do exactly as I say. Now come."
The helicopter swooped over the Arklay mountains, the mass maze of trees which made up the area surrounding Raccoon City rushed by below them. Scarlet looked down as they passed over a ranch house; there was a large open stable for horses. He remembered its location, that information might be useful later.
"We're coming up to the mountains Paul," he heard Rhapsody say over the loud mechanics of the helicopter.
"When we land you head back to Raccoon City, you'll be more use there. We'll contact you once we've found something," Scarlet said, she nodded back.
At the back Chris and the other STARS members made one final check on their equipment. Wesker sat cross-armed, staring out onto the wide landscape. Or, with the sunglasses covering his eyes, Scarlet thought, it was possible he'd gotten bored and fallen asleep.
The helicopter touched down and Scarlet's thoughts were dismissed when Wesker started barking orders at his comrades.
"Right! Everybody move out!" They all leaped out of the helicopter, Chris and Joe taking up forward positions, and headed over to the entrance leading downstairs. Jill and Wesker quickly followed. Scarlet jumped out, he signalled to Chris and Joe. They kicked open the door and descended down the stairs. The corridors seemed to be empty. Chris and Joe advanced in precise military steps, but the effort seemed wasted as the place was deserted.
Bravo team's helicopter had settled down a couple of blocks from the Umbrella laboratory. They'd seen from the aerial view that there were lots of zombies surrounding the area. They'd managed to find an empty spot where they were planning an alternative route to reach the facility.
Forrest was on point holding a sniper rifle. He only let out a shot when he needed to, every time he counted, making sure he could beat Chris's score. Richard was keeping guard along with him. The pilot Edward was sticking by the helicopter looking after a young girl called Rebecca Chambers. It struck Blue that she looked fantastically young to be in a military outfit. She had only just got a degree and was the group's medic, she didn't even have proper firearms training yet. Blue was with Enrico and Kenneth, crowded round a map they'd placed on the floor showing the surrounding area of the city.
"What options do we have?" Blue asked.
"There seems to be a secondary entrance to the facility. It's for loading transports, it's just outside the main body of the facility but it's a lot less crowded," Kenneth pointed out placing a dark skinned finger on the map to show where the loading base was.
From down the street they were interrupted by a terrified cry.
"Oh God! Somebody help me!" Everyone turned seeing Brad run out from the building. Behind him a large monster emerged, tearing down the doorway so it could get through.
"Christ!" someone exclaimed.
"Somebody shoot it!" Blue shouted, the team aimed their guns, but most were too scared of hitting Brad to fire.
"Brad! Get outta the way!" Kenneth shouted, Brad tripped over and the creature stopped in front of him. Kenneth rushed forward and pulled Brad out of the way. The creature brought its fists down on him, crushing him into the ground.
More shots fired off as it got closer.
"Everyone, find some cover!" Blue shouted.
"The helicopter has a rocket launcher. That might stop this thing," Enrico said.
"Well go get it!" Enrico followed Blue's orders. "Get the helicopter up in the air, away from that thing!"
Edward started the helicopter's motor. The creature turned, attracted by the sound. It picked up a girder in its bulky hands and threw it at the helicopter. It smashed through the windscreen into the pilot's seat, and the helicopter crashed over on its side. Enrico dropped the rocket launcher in the crash but jumped out from the cockpit. The creature was waiting outside and a tentacle extended from its hands, it drove it through Enrico's chest impaling him on the helicopter. It retracted its weapon and his body slipped to the ground.
It turned its head towards the remaining officers. It gave a low malevolent growl.
It charged towards the Spectrum captain. Forrest hurriedly reloaded his sniper rifle and fired, hitting the creature in its remaining eye. It stopped and howled, blinded as blood ran down its eye.
Richard turned and shouted.
"Come on, we gotta get outta here."
The creature heard the sound of his voice and ran towards him, it clumsily reached forward and extended its hand. It grabbed Richard by his head, lifting up with such force it nearly broke his neck. He struggled, kicking in midair and trying to stop its grip from crushing his head.
A tentacle shot out from its hand and went straight through his mouth. His body hung still struggling for a moment before it flopped lifeless. The creature tossed him aside, already its eyesight had healed over.
Blue, Rebecca and Forrest were desperately running down the street, not entirely sure where they were heading but they needed to get away.
"Where's Brad?" Rebecca shouted.
"We must have left him behind." Rebecca turned round, Forrest grabbed her arm and wrenched her back. "There's nothing we can do now!"
They turned round the corner. There was an open sewer outlet, they all stopped at the thought of going down it.
"We don't have much choice," Blue shouted.
Forrest helped Rebecca to get down first. The Nemesis turned round the corner. Forrest turned to the Captain. "You escape. I'll hold it off."
Blue was going to protest, but Forrest already had his sniper rifle ready. Blue ran as fast as he could.
Down the hole Rebecca called to Forrest.
"Come on! You can still make it." He kept glancing back at the hole, contemplating what she said. He edged back towards the cover as the creature loomed over him, he panicked and couldn't hold the rifle steady. His shots kept missing or simply hitting its chest.
"Forrest! Come on!" Rebecca shouted, she grabbed the rung of the rail and went up to reach him. From up ahead she could hear as Forrest was grabbed and dragged away, she heard his screams echo down the hole, then they abruptly stopped.
Then his body slumped over the entrance, his eyes staring vacantly down at her. She put her hands to her mouth. The last of the light above was blocked as the creature loomed over the manhole cover and looked down. She clung to the shadows, praying it hadn't seen her, but then it got up and passed on. She heard it stomp off, her legs felt shaky and she leaned back on the tunnel wall to support herself. She wondered if Captain Blue would be ok. But she couldn't go back up there now. She headed down the tunnel, wading in the murky water and tried to find another exit.
Chris pushed open the door and looked around, it was a drawing room of some sort, grandly decorated. A set of armchairs stood in a circle around the middle of the room, a set of ceiling-height bookcases lined the walls, all filled with thick old hardbacks. All the remaining walls were covered with antique guns set on display. At the far end of the room an ornamental fireplace took up half the wall with an engraved plaque over the top.
"Well there doesn't seem to be anyone here," Jill said; she still kept her gun trained for any movement. They cautiously entered the room. Chris was attracted to the large selection of guns on the walls.
"These are all in good condition," he noted, seeing how polished they were.
"Thank you Chris, I'm sure that knowledge will be of fantastic use," Wesker sighed.
"No, I mean they've all been maintained and polished." He took an elephant gun down from its display and examined it. "And quite recently too. That means someone must've been here to do it."
"So where is everyone?" Joe finished.
Scarlet took a repeater crossbow gun and examined it, Chris was definitely right.
"We'll have to split up to search efficiently. Wesker, Chris, Joseph; you head downstairs and see what you can find. Jill and I shall continue to search here for anything."
They all nodded, Wesker looked apprehensive.
"What about splitting into three? I can handle myself."
"No, I'd rather that nobody is left on their own."
"If you say so."
"If anything happens, we'll meet back here. There's only one exit so we know nothing else can get in either."
The two teams exited the room; neither Scarlet nor Chris seemed able to bring themselves to part with the new weapons they'd just picked up. The two teams went their separate ways heading down into the mansion.
Brad surveyed the remains of Bravo Team. He was pleased with the quick work Nemesis had made of them. He counted up the bodies, then his face grimaced.
"The Chambers girl and the Spectrum Captain have escaped." He addressed Nemesis, as the large bulking figure stood awaiting further orders.
"Head to the RPD blockade, make sure it fails. Kill any members of Spectrum you find."