A Rose by Any Other Name

When the Cat's Away

Miranda Harley awoke with a start. Sitting up abruptly, she took in gasping breaths. She shivered turbulently as she fought to regain control. Once again she'd been dreaming of her death. She'd relieved this nightmare every night since returning from Raccoon City. She wasn't sure why, but she had the inexplicable feeling that it wasn't just an ordinary dream. It was a dark premonition of things to come.

Her eyes moved slowly across the room and it was no surprise that Albert Wesker was nowhere to be found. Sighing loudly, she dropped back into the pillows and closed her eyes. She couldn't believe what she'd done. She'd never behaved in an aggressive manner toward Wesker and for some reason she didn't feel ashamed. She was still furious with him for keeping her from saving her daughter.

Grabbing the pillow that Wesker had been laying on a few short hours ago, she hurled it across the room with all her might. She needed to run. She needed to get far away from this building and get some fresh air.

Sliding to the edge of the bed, Miranda placed her feet firmly on the cold floor. If Wesker refused to let her leave the HCF headquarters, then she would investigate her prison thoroughly. Besides, while the cat was away the mouse would play as the old saying went.

Laughing out loud, she felt empowered, like a goddess in her element. For the first time since Sherry's death, Miranda felt in control.


Dawn found Albert Wesker in the cockpit of an F-15 fighter jet. The light was just beginning to touch the island of Sheena. It was easy to tell that it wouldn't take much on his part make the island a virtual hell on earth.

His mind was blessedly blank. Even his thoughts of the impending mission had taken a back seat to the silence. This sweet serenity had been with him all morning and it was good not to be in the company of certain individuals with whinny voices.

"Wesker?" His silence was broken by the voice of Riley Davis.

"What?" He ground through his teeth. He swore that when he returned from this mission, he'd personally make sure Riley lost his leg…if not his life.

"I've found her…" His voice died away in expectation.

"Her?" Wesker barked. He was in no mood for games.

"Sherry." Wesker's stomach tightened at the words. His daughter was alive? "Sherry Birkin…She's alive."

"Where?"

"She's with Leon S. Kennedy at a military base somewhere in the heart of New York City." Riley's words were hesitant. He could sense Wesker's exasperation. "It's reputed to be the most well guarded facility in the world."

"Is that so?" His flat, even tone belied the emotions spiraling unwanted through his mind.

"And sir?" Riley's words cut into the sudden silence again. "Umbrella knows she's alive and they're after her. They believe she knows more about the G-virus than originally thought."

"Is that so?" He said again. "If that's the case then she might be of some use to us. Send Jacks to retrieve her." Wesker paused for a moment. "If he fails, you will be the one I seek retribution of." There was silence on Riley's end of the transfer. "And Davis?" Wesker was almost smiling.

"What now oh great and mighty leader?" Riley sounded unsettled.

"If you tell Harley about this and something should go awry…I'll kill you." Wesker ended the transmission before protests could be made. Whether he cared about Sherry or not, he wasn't about to force Miranda into a set back when she'd come so far.

He was reaching forward to guide the plane into a landing when the warning alarm began to sound. Growling he realized that even if he knew where the problem was he wouldn't have enough time to do anything about it.

The jet slammed into the ground, slid into a forest of trees, and finally exploded...

The dark figure stood some yards away from where the jet had exploded and smiled. Dropping the rocket launcher on the ground, he turned away from the burning wreckage and walked into the glare of the fast approaching sun. This was going to be easier than he thought…

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