Resident Evil: A Change In Pace

9: One Step Ahead

Chapter Nine: One Step Ahead

Snafu's Notes: Raccoon City was destroyed in two ways; by nuclear missile in Nemesis and seen in Degeneration and Apocalypse, whereas in Outbreak, the city was destroyed by a multitude of missiles. So...I did the nuclear option. Now for the scene where Raccoon gets nuked, I had to do some painstaking research on nuclear explosions, cause I wanted it to be as graphic as possible. So I researched nuclear explosions online...as well as looked at the L.A. nuke scene in Terminator 2. Also, this chapter is kinda short, but it will set up the remaining two chapters for Part One.

Raccoon City, Colorado - October 1, 1998

The Bell 203 helicopter rose from the makeshift helipad inside the scrapyard and took to the skies, as did several other scattered helicopters from across the city. The sun was rising over Raccoon City, but for the city itself, it would be Raccoon's last sunrise.

Carlos Oliveira leaned back into his seat, a relived sigh escaped his lips as he closed his eyes. Below, the city was in its death throes. There was almost no one left alive as the walking dead marched through Raccoon's streets.

Jill looked at the city below. Raccoon City was truly a necropolis. In the streets below, the last surviving citizens made their last stand against the undead masses. But she was alive. The chopper flew over Raccoon Zoo, where Chris had taken her shortly before they 'got together,' where Jill saw the undead bull elephant rampage through the destroyed areas of the zoo, trumpeting in defiance of its impending demise. The four undead lions were feasting on the corpse of a dead rhino.

Turning from the dying city to the pilot, she expressed her gratitude. "Thank you! You saved us!"

"You know I couldn't let you die, Jill," the pilot replied, turning around to face a surprised Jill. "Your husband would never forgive me if you did."

He had grown a beard and was wearing a pair of aviator sunglasses, but Jill recognized in in an instant. "Barry? Is that you?"

Carlos opened his eyes. "You know this guy?" he asked.

Jill nodded. "He's also ex-S.T.A.R.S., and a friend."

"We need to get to minimal safe distance," Barry replied. "I've gotten in touch with Chris. He's heard about the outbreak in Raccoon. He's placed his investigation on hold and is on his way back to the States." He looked down at the city and sighed. "All those people...damn. We tried to warn them about what Umbrella was doing...and now..." He sighed. "Thank God Kathy and the babies are in Toronto. We got less than seven minutes to get to safe distance. They're gonna nuke the city. We're heading for South Ennadale, which is about 30 miles away."

Carlos looked at his watch. "It's almost time," he said.

Barry nodded. "It's gonna be real close, but we can make it."

Jill remained silent as she continued to look down at the city. Looking up, she saw a military helicopter fly off in the opposite direction. Attached to a heavy-duty cable, was a supercomputer hard-drive. The helicopter had the markings of the Umbrella Corporation. Jill thought she was seeing things, but she could have sworn she saw a woman in red hitching a ride on the hard drive.

Jill simply shook it off as the stress of what she had just been through. She had just survived one of the most harrowing and horrific experiences of her life. Her shoulder was still sore, as was the rest of her body, but she had survived the outbreak which had all but sealed Raccoon City's fate.

'All those people,' Jill thought sadly.

As the chopper reached the city limits, they flew past the deserted military barricade. By the time they had reached the Arklay Mountains, a single missile containing a 5-kiloton warhead sailed past the chopper.

Jill followed its trail as it headed for the doomed city. "My God...it's coming..."

Barry solemnly nodded. "Yeah...it's the end."

Jill covered her eyes, as did Carlos, the latter making the sign of the Catholic Cross as he whispered a prayer in Spanish.

The five-kiloton missile continued on until it reached the heart of the downtown area, where it detonated in mid-air over City Hall in a air-burst, the sky lighting with the radiance of a thousand suns. The surviving looters caught in ground zero were immediately reduced to living skeletons, before being vaporized into nothing, while those father away fall to the ground as the light blinds them, the thermal blast setting them ablaze. The walking dead were not exempt, those being at ground zero suffered the same fate as the remaining populace of Raccoon.

Raccoon City Hall, where Jill had married Chris shortly before his departure, the Grill 13 Restaurant, and the offices of the Raccoon Press, as well as most of the buildings in the downtown area was reduced to a bubbling mass of steel and concrete, rushing up into the stem of the ominous mushroom cloud. The remaining choppers that had taken off late or were not protected by the EMP fell back to the city and were destroyed in mid-air.

The blast wave expanded, pulverizing and shattering the buildings, the debris and metal framework turn white hot before dissipating into plasma. Streetlights glow white hot and sprayed into molten aluminum. Cars, trucks and any other vehicles are sent airborne, crashing into windows, bouncing off the side of the buildings, before the gas tanks detonated, the metalwork melting in the intense heat.

The zombies and other monsters caught in the blast are instantly incinerated, destroying flesh and internal organs, leaving nothing but skeletons, the skeletons becoming hot to the point that they glow like hot coals before crumbling in the intense wind. Three miles from ground zero, the blast wave expanded, leaving nothing but destruction in its wake.

In the Cider District, the ransacked Redfield home, where Jill had spent many a night with Chris, was among those obliterated in the blast wave. The Raccoon Police Department, where Jill had gotten her start as a police officer was pulverized, the survivors who had taken refuge there were either killed on the upper floors or trapped underground, doomed to die from either starvation or lack of oxygen.

The Kendo Gun Shop, where Chris and Jill had received their Beretta handguns, was also wiped out, the zombified body of Robert Kendo staring dumbly at the mushroom cloud before he was atomized by the blast wave. Saint Michael's Clock Tower, where Jill had narrowly avoided death at the hands of the Nemesis is also enveloped in the maelstrom. The Raccoon Zoo, where Chris had taken Jill on their 'date,' was next, the zombified animals destroyed by the nuclear fire.

The mushroom cloud continued to rise as the blast wave expanded. The blast wave struck the helicopter, but Barry was able to keep it afloat. The chopper did as it was advertized; it withstood the effects of the EMP. The light slowly faded, allowing Jill and Carlos to open their eyes. Jill turned to the window, and saw the angry mushroom cloud turning from purplish-gray to dark gray. There was nothing but destruction left in its wake.

Raccoon City, as well as the surrounding forest had ceased to exist.

'Umbrella is going to pay for this,' was the thought that went through Jill's mind before she passed out from the exhaustion.

*&^

[The morning news. The Anchorwoman (who suspiciously looks like Milla Jovovitch) is reporting on the destruction of Raccoon City.]

ANCHORWOMAN: ...and now, we have a rather unfortunate turn of events. Our top story at the hour is the destruction of Raccoon City. It seems that President Williams and the federal government has passed judgment over the Midwestern town. Information is sketchy at best, but there are reports of a viral outbreak of unknown origin. The President has ruled that the 'bacillus-terminate' operation was in fact the best course of action for such an extreme action, and have since, executed it. Based on that fact, Raccoon City has been, quite literally, wiped off the map, the use of nuclear weapons over American soil the first since the Trinity Explosion in 1992. The current death toll is estimated to reach well over the 100,000 mark. Our hearts and prayers go out to those poor civilians of Raccoon City...

&^%

From the diary of Jill Valentine...

October 4, 1998

I guess since my old diary was destroyed back in Raccoon City, this counts as Volume 2.

It's been three days since the destruction of Raccoon City.

After I've spent the day recovering, I hit the ground running. I don't have a lot of time before Umbrella will discover that I'm not dead, so I had to move fast. First off, I paid a visit to Dad down at Lakeview under an alias, and told him what had happened, as well as my role in this whole mess. I told him that there will be some folks coming asking about me under the guise of being federal agents, and that they will ask for my whereabouts, and that you should act like you haven't seen me. Thankfully, Dad complied with my request and wished me luck.

Right now, I've just left one of Chris's old hangouts in Colorado Springs he told me about, but it was empty, as it has been for several days. Apparently, Umbrella is looking for him as well, and had beaten me to the punch. The only thing I found of his was his old combat knife. But I know that Chris is still out there.

Another thing I found at the hideout was a cellphone. I checked it out. No bugs or tracking devices of any kind. Looks like one of those prepaid disposable phones. Odd thing about is it that it had my dad's name on the back of it. But after a moment, I realized that the name was in fact a phone number. Chris's phone number.

October 7, 1998

One thing about Chris that I will admit. He sure knows how to plan ahead. Our first stop is at a bank, where Chris has left some cash, a spare pistol with some ammo, and a couple of fake IDs in a safe deposit box down in Exeter, along with a disguise. We met up in Denver. I went in alone, while Carlos remained behind.

&^%

[Flashback]

Hyatt Regency Denver - Denver, Colorado – October 6, 1998

'Oh, yeah,' Jill thought as she walked through the lobby of the hotel, closing her umbrella, as it was raining outside. 'Chris definitely knows how to plan ahead.'

Earlier that day, Chris had called, telling to her to meet up with him at the Hyatt. As an added bonus, Denver was playing host to a businessmen's convention, meaning that the hotel would be packed. Carlos remained behind with the car, hiding inside a parking garage while Jill searched for her husband. Earlier that day, Barry had returned to Toronto to be with his family, leaving Jill alone.

So far, Jill's luck was holding, as most of Umbrella thought her to have been killed during the Raccoon Outbreak.

She also had to admire Chris' disguise of choice; a Army womens' service uniform; the dark green jacket and pants, light green shirt underneath with neck tab, and spit-shined shoes. Even more so, the disguise also had her former military rank. Her weapon - a R.P.D.-issued VP70 - was tucked into the small of her back. A black beret completed the disguise.

The uniform also had a scrap sheet of paper inside the pocket. Jill recognized it as Chris' handwriting. 'Jill. Hyatt Regency Lobby, 9 p.m. Keep moving. Don't bother trying to find me. I'll find you. Chris. P.S. When asked for some betting advice, the best choice is to bet on the house.'

The postscript puzzled her, but she decided to keep that in mind.

Several businessmen had already made passes at her, but Jill had shot down all comers. One persistent businessman ended up face-down on the ground via Jill's fist, which gave the other men the hint that she was not interested in them.

However, there was one man who had approached her from behind. "Excuse me," the man began, his European accent heavy.

Jill sighed in frustration. "I'm not interested. Now leave before I knock your lights out like I did the last guy."

She then froze in mid-step at the man's reply.

"Actually," the man sounded amused. "I'm looking for some betting advice."

It took a moment for Jill not only to remember the postscript from the note, but also that Chris had once spoken to her in a imitation of his late mother's Dutch accent.

Jill relaxed. Chris had found her. "The best choice is to bet on the house," she replied, turning around.

Sure enough, despite the day-old stubble on his chin, it was Chris Redfield. Like Jill, he too was dressed incognito, dressed in a dark business suit and trench-coat, blending in with the businessmen.

"Sorry I'm late," Chris said, speaking in his Dutch accent. Then he dropped the accent. "Traffic on the way in."

That was all he managed to get out before letting out a "Oof!" as Jill literally tackled him, causing him to stumble back several steps as his wife of nearly two months glomped him.

It took all of Jill's willpower not to break out into tears. "I'm sorry..." she whispered. "I should have came with you."

"No. I should be sorry," Chris whispered back. "I should have stayed with you." He tilted her head upward, so that she was looking at him. Chris took note that her eyes were brimming with tears. "You're crying."

Ever the hardass, Jill wiped her eyes with the back of her hand. "No...I just got something in my eye," she lied.

Chris smiled. Even after surviving Raccoon City by the skin of her teeth, she still showed no weakness. Chris and her father were the only exception, but they were in public. "You're still a tough nut to crack, Valentine," he said.

The couple embrace again. It was then that Chris and Jill both noticed the men in black suits closing in on their location. Five in total. “I think we've been made,” Jill whispered.

“I think so too,” Chris whispered back. “Let's move.”

[End Flashback]

Turns out that the men in black were Umbrella agents. No surprise there. But before we could make a clean getaway, we were surrounded. Chris had given them the slip earlier, but they finally caught up to him.

But they were most surprised to see that I was still alive. So their plan was to kill Chris and take me to White Umbrella. But one thing about Chris that I must reiterate is that he knows how to plan ahead. Amazing how a flash grenade works wonders. Chris and I left the Umbrella goons blinded and in the ensuing chaos, Chris and I made a break for the parking garage, where Carlos was having problems of his own.

Two more Umbrella agents had cornered Carlos, who had taken cover behind a truck, which was at the moment being riddled with bullets from their semi-automatic weapons. But Chris had backup of his own. And it was a friendly face.

Rita.

She had survived Raccoon City, much to my relief, as we had lost touch when she evacuated the R.P.D. She was riding shotgun inside a Denver Police Cruiser with Marvin's older brother, Melvin Branagh, who was a police detective with the Denver P.D. Said brother was behind the wheel of the police cruiser and proceeded to run over the two Umbrella agents, turning them into roadkill.

Chris, Carlos and I piled into the backseat and Branagh put the pedal to the metal and got us the hell out of here. From what I learned from Rita, her and a small number of cops and civilians managed to escape from the R.P.D. before the place went to hell. Branagh remained behind, as I saw his unconscious body when I made my way through the police station after Brad was killed.

I knew that Umbrella would either bribe or silence those who survived the outbreak, and told Rita as such. Rita already got a job lined up back in Baton Rouge, so she will be hiding out there until the heat dies down. As for Chris, Carlos and myself, it was time to get the hell out of Dodge.

October 31, 1998

Things have been a bit hectic in the past couple of weeks, which is why I haven't written anything down. We've been bouncing from city to city to city, hitting Umbrella facilities up and down the West Coast. Aside from that, we've been pursued by Umbrella agents non-stop. It's a miracle that we haven't been burned out from the chase.

Our last stop was a hidden Umbrella laboratory near the Maine town of Caliban Cove. Now who was leading the ten-person raid was what surprised. It my old instructor from the Army, Lieutenant Jacobson. Unlike the Delta Force that I trained with, he was ex-Ranger. Then it hit me. One of the R.P.D. Officers' names was Jacobson. He was one of the officers who had remained behind at the high school. Sad to say, I found his zombified body while I was on my way to the police station.

I notified the Lieutenant of his death. He was ready for some get-even with Umbrella.

One of the members of the raid was a security guard working at the Caliban Cove facility. Several days before our arrival, he had lost contact with the facility. Fearing that another Raccoon-style outbreak could happen, he called in Jacobson, who was a friend of his. The Umbrella facility was out of the way, having been built underneath a lighthouse, a system of sea caves and the shell of a sunken merchant ship. Pretty creative. But we were not the only ones present. Umbrella had sent out a squad of their special agents – the same ones that had tried to kidnap me back in Raccoon.

We had captured one of them and after Chris threatened to shoot his nuts off, got the story. One of the scientists – a highly-respected virologist by the name of Nicholas Griffin – had went insane and released the T-virus upon the facility. Turns out that Griffin's fiancee was one of the scientists who was at the Spencer Mansion, and had been working on a advanced strain of the T-virus, one that can zombify in less than fifteen minutes. Their orders were to either restrain or in some cases, kill Griffin, and retrieve the notes for the advanced T-virus.

So the mission parameters were changed. We were to find the documents and destroy them and the facility. But the agent told us another thing that we took heed. We had avoided the majority of the zombies – now Crimson Heads – by taking the long way around to the underwater facility, and that he had gotten separated in a firefight with his teammates. He was also infected, as the bit wound to his leg was starting to fester. Jacobson returned the agent's sidearm to him with one bullet in the chamber. Honorable to the last, just like Chris.

With a thank you to Jacobson, he handed over a master key which would open any of the doors in the facility, before ending his life with a bullet to the head.

The main laboratory was located in the system of sea caves underneath the cove. Since we came through the back door, what remained of the Umbrella Special Service, its numbers decimated by the Crimson Heads, had confronted the insane scientist. As we kept hidden, we overhead the conversation between one of the U.S.S. Members, who happened to be a scientist and Griffin.

Most of it was scientific bull that I could not understand, but Chris explained it to me. The dying operative was right. Griffin had managed to create an advanced strain of T-virus that would zombify in less than ten minutes. Even more worse was that Griffin was able to create at least twelve tanks of the stuff and was planning on unleashing a worldwide outbreak in retaliation.

We got the jump on the remaining U.S.S. Agents. Sad to say that the security guard which led us here was killed in the firefight. Griffin himself was mortally wounded in the firefight. All of the U.S.S. Agents were killed. Thankfully, the tanks containing the virus were not ruptured in the firefight. But two of Jacobson's members, Steve Lopez and Karen Dryer were mortally wounded.

We recovered the documents and set them ablaze in the dumpster. Then we set off the self-destruct mechanism. Only problem was that it unlocked all of the doors in the labs, which means we will soon have a mob of ravenous Crimson Heads at our heels. Dryer and Lopez decided to remain behind to cover our escape. We gave them some extra ammo and a hand grenade and wished them luck.

We were halfway out when we heard the grenade go off, signaling Lopez and Dryer's demise. But we had no time to grieve. Five minutes before the self-destruct mechanism went off and we managed to escape before the place blew. We were treated with the lighthouse collapsing onto itself and the lab being destroyed. Nothing was left.

With three of their labs destroyed, Umbrella would no doubt increase their efforts in capturing Carlos, Chris and me. Which is why Chris ended up calling in his favor from his friend, Evil Ed. Ed responded by telling us to head for Norfolk and hide out near the naval base there. Chris then called his former commanding officer, who has a friend down in the Falklands that can set us up with a safehouse until things die down here.

I always wanted to travel. Too bad it's not under better circumstances.

Next Chapter: Jill reflects on her escape from Raccoon City. Claire's in trouble and it's up to Chris to rescue her.

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