A Rose by Any Other Name

The Other Company Benefit

Albert Wesker was beyond angry. His attempts at reaching his crew had failed. For the time being he was alone on this godforsaken island. And what was worse, it seemed that someone had gotten here before him. The entire island was awash with bio-monsters.

Standing in the doorway of an old church he frowned. So far there had been no sign of Vincent or anyone else for that matter. He understood that Vincent ran the island on his own for the most part, but even in a place as lowly as this, Umbrella had spies. However, there were none on this day.

At the sound of helicopters Wesker turned his back on the church and looked toward the sky. "The Under Taker Unit…" He scratched his chin with a faint smile.

Umbrella had created The Under Taker Unit not long after discovering that sending mercenaries in as a clean up crew was futile. These so-called soldiers would rid the infected area of survivors as well as any information that could be traced back to them. If attacked these creations would dissolve leaving no trace that they had ever existed. Disposing of these useless soldiers was easy enough with any sort of weapon. But without one, they could prove to be a bit of a hassle.

Vaulting over a roadblock, Wesker found himself in standing in the alleyway leading to a nightclub. A young boy burst through the back door a few feet ahead of him and bent over, gasping. The brown eyes caught sight of him and widened with fear. "Oh shit."

"Watch your mouth." Wesker growled.

"Who are you?" The boy stood, poised to run.

"I'm looking for Commander Vincent." Wesker answered. He was suddenly glad not to have Miranda with him. She'd be begging him to save this boy.

"He's awfully popular…" the boy muttered. Then to Wesker he said, "He's dead."

Wesker's nose flared in rage and he slammed his fist into the brick wall. "How?" The boy quivered and stepped toward the opening in the alley. "How, damn you!" Wesker shouted.

"He fell…" The boy panicked and ran. Wesker ran after him, tossing him against a phone booth. Closing his eyes and meaning to steady his voice, the boy told him about Ark Thompson and the shady death of Vincent Goldman.

Dropping the boy, Wesker turned away. He wanted to kill something and feel its blood running between his fingers. "You'd better try and get out of here. Fast." He snarled. " I doubt you'll make it very far." His malignant laugh echoed around them. The boy sprinted for all he was worth and disappeared into another building.

"Hello?" Miranda's words slammed into the wall of darkness and returned to her. "Hello? Is anyone there?"

"We are here." The female voice spoke softly. Miranda looked toward the sound, but in the inky blackness she saw nothing.

"I'm sorry to intrude like this…" Never in all her life had she been afraid of other people. Not until now. "I wanted to ask a favor."

"A favor?" a deep male voice asked. "A favor from one such as you? We thought Mr. Wesker was supplying you with everything you needed."

"He does." Miranda said quietly. "He is." Her words held much more meaning than she'd intended. "It's about Riley Davis…I wanted…"

"Would you die for him, Ms. Harley?" The other male spoke almost too softly.

"For Riley?" Miranda asked haltingly. "Of course I would."

"Would you die for him?" The man repeated.

"Would you die for Albert Wesker?" the female chimed in.

Without hesitation Miranda smiled. "Yes."

"Tell Mr. Davis to prepare everything he'll need for the procedure. We'll take care of the rest." The deepest voice told her.

Miranda could barely contain her excitement. "Thank you…" she began.

"Are you sure this is a wise decision, Ms. Harley?"

Wondering if they could see her, she nodded. "He's my friend."

"Leave us." The female voice said in a tone Miranda didn't quite understand. "You have much to prepare for." Staying on her feet was more difficult than she thought.

"Thank you." She whispered to the darkness.

"Ms. Harley." The other male stopped her at the door. "The dreams will not recede. Inevitably you will learn their meanings."

"I can't believe we killed him." The words sounded shaky and distant. Jacks tried to force his eyes to open but they wouldn't budge. "What the hell was that all about anyway?"

"Shut up, Brutus." Another voice, less shaky, filled the darkness around him. "And hurry up."

"I'm serious, man. What the hell were we thinking? He attacked Kennedy sure but that was no reason to shoot him." The one called Brutus kept talking.

"I didn't shoot first. Besides, he had a gun." Jacks found that he couldn't catch his breath and yet strangely that didn't seem to be affecting his conscious mind.

"Which we all thought he was checked for…Brutus…" Another man snapped.

"I don't know where it came from I swear to God." Strong hands were gripping both his arms and legs and Jacks realized that they were moving.

"Oh yeah, Brut…It came right out of his ass." The other man said sharply.

"Who do you suppose he worked for?" Jacks was hefted and he swayed violently. It was obvious these men had no respect for the dead. Or half dead as it were…

"Kennedy said it was Umbrella. If that was true, he deserved to die."

"Scum." Yet another man chimed in. "He was probably trying to get to that little girl."

"The little bitch? I wish we could just kill her. She's a hell of a lot more trouble than she's worth. I wish Kennedy would never have brought her here." Jacks tried to smile but even his facial muscles were unmoving. He promised himself that if he recognized the voice he would not kill the man speaking.

"They're going to kill us all, you know that."

"Shut up."

"It's true and you know it. Umbrella's too powerful. Beside that, they're not the only ones out there. There's other Companies who'd give an arm and a leg for those Bio-weapons." The other man spoke harshly.

"An arm and a leg? Try human life in general."

"Shut up." Brutus said suddenly. "We won't let that happen. We've got those S.T.A.R.S. people to help."

At the mention of the name, Jacks ears perked up. So, Chris and Jill thought they could take out Umbrella? They wouldn't do anything of the sorts with this bunch of buffoons. They couldn't even kill a simple operative from the "Other Company".

"What do we do with him?"

"Take him out back and bury him."

"Yeah. If he worked for Umbrella, I doubt anyone will come looking for him." Moments later, Jacks felt himself being dumped unceremoniously on the hard ground. Still exhausted from his earlier ordeal, Jacks returned to the silent dark.

Riley sat on the edge of the operating tables watching as Miranda helped the red headed doctor, James, finish what he needed to make the skin transfer. Sighing, he knew they should have gone to Wesker first. Like always, it was a gut feeling that he was not going to be happy with Miranda's decision. Hell, he was never happy with anyone's decision. Shrugging off the nagging feeling was the only way he was going to feel better.

"Why do you suppose Jacks hates me so much?' He asked, just to make conversation. Miranda looked up and him a furrowed her eyebrows.

"It's not that he hates you, it's just…" She paused for a moment to think. "He's so much like Wesker it's hard to get him to be anything but an ass." Riley snorted with laugher as the doctor looked at her in horror.

"You don't mean that." He said at last.

"I'm still mad at him about Sherry." She opened a case of surgical knives and held one up to the light.

"Uh…On second thought…"Riley eyed the knife with a loud gulp. "How about you keep your skin and I'll…"

"What's worse?" Miranda smiled at him. "A little old incision or a slice from this?" She lifted up a small saw. "They call this a bone saw." Her eyes gleamed wickedly. "You wouldn't believe how painful it is when they cut through that tissue and bone. I've seen grown men cry."

"Screw the grown men part, I'm about to cry just looking at it." Riley shivered and looked away. "I'm not so sure about this."

"It's the only way." She answered after a long silence. "If you're going to work with Wesker, you've got to be fully operational. You know as well as I do that he hates weak spots." Riley nodded but said nothing. It wasn't so much Wesker that bothered him. He wouldn't let himself be a weak spot. He'd never been at a disadvantage like this before. He'd always done his part and hadn't depended on anyone. Now he felt like extra baggage. Sighing loudly, he looked toward her and smiled pitifully. "Let's do this thing."

Miranda got to her feet and kissed him on the cheek. "Not to worry, Riley. We'll be okay."

"So said Helen of Troy and look what happened to them."

"You know your history. I'm impressed." Miranda put her forehead to his and closed her eyes.

"I know my history, yeah. But what about you? The only thing I really know is that you and Wesker were…ah…something. And Sherry is…" Her soft fingers stopped him from saying more.

"Give me a few minutes." The red head doctor muttered. "I've got to get some extra supplies and help." Without another word he left and slammed the door behind him. Riley screwed up his face and stuck out his tongue.

"Have you ever noticed how brown his nose is?" He elbowed her in the side as she sat down next to him. "Wesker will know all about this before we even wake up."

She patted his leg, choosing to ignore the comment. She didn't want to think about Wesker's reaction. "What do you want to know?"

"You and Wesker have mentioned on several occasions that you used to work at Umbrella. I'm pretty sure I understand that you are the creator of the original Tyrant. But… How did you get mixed up with Umbrella?"

Suddenly, she would give anything to change the subject. Yet she was the one who'd given him the go ahead. "My father was one of the first men working for Umbrella. I was practically born in the Spencer mansion."

"So that would make you…" Riley hesitated. "Wow. You must have known everything about it. Didn't you?"

Miranda nodded. "It was how I stayed alive after the T-virus got loose from the basement lab. I used the secret tunnels and keys to escape. It worked until Wesker let the Hunters loose."

"Wesker?" Riley stared at her with his mouth open. "Did he know you were alive?"

"If he did, he didn't care." She said grimly. "Not that I blame him. Those idiots from S.T.A.R.S; you should have seen them. Running and screaming like children. One guy even had a bazooka and couldn't kill the damn things." She closed her eyes. "The crows got him. Stripped the flesh clean off the bone."

"I know what that's like." He snorted indignantly. "What happened when the Hunters were loosed?"

"I went back to the basement lab and waited. I'd originally planned to let the Tyrant out of his holding tank and get him out of the mansion. But someone had changed the access codes."

"Wesker." Riley answered softly. Miranda nodded again.

"He must have gotten there before me. I'm beginning to wonder how long he'd had it planned to do this."

"A long time." He told her. "The HCF knew of his plans three months before the incident at the Arklay mansion. But I don't think he did anything with the T-virus deliberately. I think the accident was genuine. We just happened to benefit from it."

"Benefit?" Miranda glared at him. "I lost my home, my job, my human lover, not to mention my own life. Where in the hell does the benefit come in?"

"You're happier here aren't you?" Riley snapped. Miranda didn't look at him. It wasn't his fault she'd lost everything. It wasn't his fault her daughter was dead.

"Yes." It was a lie of sorts but she was happy to be with Wesker and happy to have Riley as a friend. It was just something that would take some time getting used to.

The red headed doctor returned with four others and gestured for them to lay down on the surgical tables. They did so, each sighing uneasily. The injection of sedatives was more painful than Miranda expected it to be.

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