Resident Evil: A Change In Pace

11: Code: Veronica - Aftermath

Chapter Eleven: Code: Veronica - Aftermath

A.N.: Once again, following Capcom tradition, I am modeling Roland Graham (the future President Graham) after the actor Bruce Greenwood.

Over the Antarctic – December 28, 1998

The VTOL soared through the frozen Antarctic, en route to Sydney. By the time Chris and Claire would arrive, Jill would already be there.

Sydney was one of the few places in the Oceanic region where Umbrella had no influence. On top of that, a close friend of Chris's from his stint as a UN peacekeeper had a safehouse already prepared once he arrived.

Piloting the VTOL was child's play to Chris Redfield. He was already an accomplished pilot back in the Air Force, being able to fly anything from fighter jets to gunships. Chris turned his head to check up on his sister. She was looking out over the frozen Antarctic landscape with a withdrawn look on her face. Soon, the ice turned to water, as they were flying over the Pacific.

Chris turned his attention back towards the front. “You want to talk about it?” he asked.

“Talk about what?” was his sister's reply.

“About Steve.”

“What's there to talk about, Chris? He's dead and Wesker got his body.” She sighed. “How can you deal with this?” she huffed in frustration.

“Ah,” Chris nodded in understanding. “You have survivor's guilt. Don't feel too bad, Claire. Jill and I have the same thing.”

“What?”

“Since we got a while before we reach Sydney, I guess it would be a good time to explain everything. You remember the cannibal murders that started back in Raccoon City?”

“Yeah, you mentioned them to me. You were glad that I decided to attend college out of Raccoon.”

“The murders got so bad that S.T.A.R.S. was asked to intervene in the case. But it was just a setup by Wesker. He was on Umbrella's payroll as a researcher. Bravo Team went in first. Their chopper went down near a train carrying Umbrella employees en route to an Umbrella facility. By the time my unit was activated, damn near half of Bravo was killed. Edward Dewey was one of the first casualties.

“July 21...I'll never forget that day,” Chris continued. “Wesker led us in. We found the remains of Bravo Team's chopper. Kevin was still strapped inside his seat, dead. Then we were attacked. Joseph was mauled to death by those damned dogs. Wesker led us to the mansion. There, we found a whole new nightmare, as well as what was left of Bravo Team. Kenneth was eaten by a zombie, we found footage of his demise...Forest was pecked to death by infected crows. Wesker had booby-trapped his body with explosives and left him for me and Jill. I had the unfortunate duty to put him out of his misery.”

Claire was silent as her brother spoke.

“Jill found Richard. He was poisoned by a giant mutant snake. She managed to find the cure for the venom, but Richard was killed saving Jill from being eaten alive by a giant shark. Enrico survived long enough to make it to the catacombs, but Wesker killed him with a bullet to the head. Out of all of us, Barry, Jill, Rebecca and myself are the sole surviving members of S.T.A.R.S. Brad was killed in Raccoon.” Something then clicked in his head. “Wait...when did you show up in Raccoon?”

“September 29th,” Claire replied. “Leon, Sherry and I managed to escape on the 30th.” She paused for a moment. “Was he the chicken-shit in the yellow vest?”

“Yeah, that's Chickenheart Vickers alright. You were in Raccoon the same time Jill made her escape.”

“I ran into him back in the R.P.D.,” Claire admitted. “The poor guy was a zombie. I had to put him out of his misery. Same with Marvin Branagh. He turned into a zombie before my eyes. I also ran into you ex-girlfriend too. She didn't make it. I had to shoot her as well.” She sighed. “Stacey was a bitch for what she had done to you, but I would not want that to happen to her.”

[Flashback]

Raccoon Police Department, September 29, 1998.

Claire had made it to the R.P.D. before Leon had did. Using the keycard that Marvin had given her before he kicked her out of the squad room, she had unlocked the two doors inside the main hall.

Having been to the R.P.D. during her brother's tenure as a member of S.T.A.R.S., Claire knew the layout of the place very well. She entered the double doors and stepped into the receptionist lobby. Nothing. She could see inside the squad room through the glass and saw that Branagh was gone, a small trail of blood showing that he had moved further back into the room.

The following hall, Claire had ran into a particular nasty creature. From the police documents she had discovered, the R.P.D. had named the monster with the killer tongue the 'Licker.' Claire ended up using what remained of the ammo from the bowgun she had pilfered from Kendo's corpse.

She came across the briefing room. Nothing inside. Upon reaching the hallway with the stairs leading to the second floor, she discovered two zombies on both sides of the hall. Civilians who had taken cover inside the police station, thinking that Raccoon's finest would protect them,

Judging the number of zombies she had seen wearing the colors of the Raccoon Police Department, it was clear that the police had all but failed.

Claire retrieved her Browning and took aim. Two shots was all she needed, as the two zombies fell to the floor, the bodies twitching as Claire stepped over the closest one, heading for the stairs.

Something caught her attention from the corner of her eye. Claire turned to see what it was.

It was a woman, kneeling over the body of a long-dead man. Short dark brown hair, dressed in a red haltertop, green cutoff shorts that showed off her legs, and a pair of Converse sneakers.

She was also pale. Pale as death, the flesh a sickly-looking gray, an obvious sign of discolor and decay, meaning she had been dead for quite some time.

With a moan, the female zombie rose from her meal, sensing fresh meat, and turned around shambling towards Claire, who recognized her immediately.

“Oh, God,” Claire whispered. “Stacey...”

Stacey Kelso, her brother's ex-fiancée. The body she had been feasting on was that of her late husband, his insides all but missing. Stacey herself had a bite wound on her right shoulder, bloodied sinew and collarbone exposed, as well as a chunk of flesh missing from her left side, exposing several of her bloodied ribs. Like the other walking dead, her eyes were glazed over, solid white. The bottom half of her face, as well as her hands, was covered in blood and gore.

Sure Stacey had hurt her brother, but despite it all, this was a fate worse than death, even for someone as heartless as Stacey.

Claire didn't hesitate. She leveled the Browning and squeezed the trigger.

BLAM!

The parabellum round caved in the undead woman's skull, splattering bone and gore on the wall behind her, the force of the round also sending Stacey flying back, where she landed on her dead husband.

Claire didn't take any chances. She put a bullet into the man's head before ascending the stairs, passing what used to be a window, which had been destroyed, along with a small chunk of the wall, as it...something had all but broke through the wall.

[End Flashback]

“So you shot Stacey, huh? The only thing you can do when dealing with survivor's guilt is just go on living.” Chris sighed. “Wesker should have been dead back in that damn lab. We all saw him get impaled by the Tyrant. But he's alive and things are going to get very complicated. I didn't want you to get involved in this war, Claire. As long as you were in the dark, you were safe. Now, Umbrella's gonna come after you as well.”

“Like it or not, big brother, I'm already involved,” Claire replied. “And you're the only family I got left.”

“Not really,” Chris muttered.

“'Not really?' What does that mean?”

“You'll see when we reach Sydney.”

Claire frowned. “Sydney? As in Sydney, Australia?”

Chris nodded. “Yup. That's where we're headed.”

*&^

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia – nighttime.

Jill Valentine watched in anticipation as the VTOL landed in front of the hangar. It had been a nail-biting three days since Chris had left for Rockfort Island in pursuit of his sister.

Jill was not alone. Aside from herself, she was accompanied by Carlos Oliveira and a third person – the man who had emailed Chris about his sister's plight: the former member of the R.P.D.'s Select Police Force, Leon Scott Kennedy. Unknown to Jill was Chris's request to have Leon escort Jill to Sydney, where the survivors would later regroup.

The VTOL's engines were shut down, its canopy opened for the first time in hours. Out stepped Chris Redfield, followed by his sister. To Jill and the others, both looked like they went toe-to-toe with a bear and lost. They were battered and bruised, but still alive.

In an instant, Jill rushed over to her husband, throwing her arms around him, ignoring the grunts of pain that came from him as Chris returned the embrace.

Claire watched wide-eyed as Jill began smothering kisses all over her brother's face.

“Christopher...Lawrence...Redfield...I...am...so...mad...at...you...right...now,” Jill said in between kisses.

Leon and Carlos watched the scene with bemused expressions on their faces.

“I'm alive,” Chris replied. “And so is my sister. That's all that matters.”

Claire was watching this scene with shock. “Umm...did I miss something here?” Claire butted in. “Jill, I know that the both of you are dating, but you don't have to try and inhale my brother's face.”

Chris's response to that was that he slipped off his left glove. Claire's jaw dropped when she saw the wedding band on his ring finger.

“Bwa...you...and...her?” Claire squeaked, one finger pointing at Jill, who showed off a similar wedding band on her now-gloveless finger.

“Claire...say hello to your sister-in-law,” Chris said, smiling.

“Wait, I know that the both of you were dating, but you got married and you didn't even tell me?” Claire half-shouted.

“It was a spur-of-the-moment thing,” Jill admitted. “It was my idea to begin with. We've been dating for almost a year. We've been married for almost four months. We kept it a secret because the R.P.D. at the time looked down on its employees having a relationship. We were going to tell you...sooner or later.”

Chris allowed his sister to pick up her jaw from the ground as he and Jill turned to Leon and Carlos. As Claire recovered, Chris conducted the introductions. “Claire, this is Carlos Oliveira, ex-Umbrella mercenary. Carlos, my sister, Claire Redfield.”

Claire nodded in response. Carlos did the same.

Leon stepped forward. “So you're Chris Redfield. Claire's told me a lot about you.”

Chris shook Leon's hand. “And you're Leon Kennedy. Nice to see a face to match the name. Thanks for watching out for my sister.”

“No problem,” Leon replied. “But from what I've seen, Claire's learned how to take care of herself. She's got some moves on her.”

“What's this?” another male voice cut in, his voice heavy with his English accent. “You're holding a party and didn't invite me, Redfield? I'm insulted.”

Chris turned to the source of the voice and smiled as a bald-headed man approached, walking with a limp. He released Jill so that he could confront the newcomer, shaking his hand. “Evil Ed. Good to see you, man. How's the leg?”

“I'll manage,” Ed replied. He turned to Jill. “I take it this is your wife?”

Chris nodded. “Yeah. Ed, Jill Valentine. Jill, this is Edmond MacPherson.”

Ed took Jill's hand and kissed it, the true epitome of an English gentleman. “Formerly of Her Majesty's Royal Air Force. Chris has told me about your beauty. Looks like he was correct.”

Jill blushed slightly. “You're just flattering me.” The name then clicked in her head. “Wait. Chris told me about you. You were the injured man Chris went back after.”

Ed nodded. “That's me all right. I owe Chris my life. When he was kicked out of the Air Force, I resigned my commission and moved here. I work with the Australian government as an analyst. When I found out you were coming, I cleared it with the federal government here to have a safe house lined up for you and your friends.”

Jill looked at Chris. “You sure got some powerful contacts,” she said.

Chris shrugged his shoulders. “I got my ways. Evil Ed here is as honest as they come. A bit eccentric, but he never lets you down.”

“Turns out the lot of you are pretty famous given your exploits regarding Umbrella,” Ed said as he led them to a van. “Word sure gets around. Fortunately for you, the Aussies have no dealings with Umbrella whatsoever. Sure they buy their medical products, but the Prime Minister won't allow them to build any facilities here. I also got in touch with your former C.O., Chris. He should arrive by tomorrow. Oh, and don't worry about the Harrier. I got that covered.”

“That's good to hear,” Chris replied. “Let's go already.”

*&^

Inside the waterfront safe house, complete with a nice view of the Sydney Opera House in the distance, Chris and Jill were in the master bedroom. Leon and Claire were reconnecting in the living room, while Carlos was asleep in the spare bedroom.

Jill helped Chris out of the black vest, Chris wincing as he managed to take the article of clothing off. “So what happened out there?” she asked, looking at the burnt vest as Chris managed to get the shirt off, exposing his torso and the myriad of cuts, burns and bruises.

“Everything,” Chris replied as Jill unscrewed a small container filled with healing salve. He gave her a full account of what had happened while on Rockfort Island and how he chased Claire to the Antarctic Facility.

“Jill...we got a big problem,” Chris said as Jill worked on applying some of the salve onto his shoulders. “He's back.”

“Who?” Jill asked, puzzled.

“Blond hair, wears black, expensive shades,” Chris replied.

Then it dawned on Jill as to who Chris was hinting, her blue eyes going wide. Only one person fit that description. “No...no way. You can't be serious! We saw him get impaled by the Tyrant!”

Chris nodded grimly. “I know. But Wesker's alive...and he got some new tricks.”

“New tricks?”

[Flashback]

Rockfort Island – December 28, 1998

“Well, well...Chris Redfield, as I live and breathe. It's been a while.”

Chris froze in his tracks. 'That voice...it can't be...!' he thought as he turned around.

Standing before him, alive and well was Albert Wesker. Blonde hair combed back, the pair of shades over his eyes, clad in black commando gear, the smug look on his face.

“Wesker...?” Chris croaked.

Wesker chuckled. “The one and only. Surprised to see me? You can say that I got a new lease on life.”

“What are you doing here?”

Wesker adjusted his shades. “Isn't it obvious? I came for Alexia.”

Chris remembered that name. Birkin mentioned it to Wesker on the day of the robbery attempt at the bank.

Realization soon crept across Chris' face. “It was you...you attacked the island...and Claire!”

Wesker mock-clapped. “Bravo, Redfield. That is correct. I ran into Claire earlier. Sorry to disappoint you, but she is no longer here. She escaped to the Umbrella facility in the Antarctic. Too bad you won't be rescuing her.”

“Wanna bet?” Chris shot back as he yanked his Glock from his hip holster...

...only to be sent flying back to the far wall.

As Chris had raised his gun at Wesker, the blond man reacted. Moving at superhuman speed, he introduced his elbow into Chris' breastplate, causing Chris to end up in a heap up against the wall.

“As you can see, Chris,” Wesker addressed the younger man, “Not only do I have a new lease on life...” he rushed over, grabbed Chris by the throat and lifted him clean off the ground. “...but I got some new tricks up my sleeve.”

Chris' response to that was to slug Wesker across the face. Wesker's head rocked with the blow, his glasses having been knocked from his face. He slowly turned his head back towards Chris, giving the younger man a look at his new eyes.

Chris had seen Wesker without his shades several times, so he knew that Wesker's eye color was nearly the same as Jill's. Now, his eyes were anything but. Instead of the the ice-cold blue eyes, Wesker's eyes had became more sinister. The pupils were yellow with a reddish hue, the irises slitted like a reptile's.

“You have no idea how much I hate your guts, Chris,” Wesker snarled. “You should have joined Umbrella when you had the chance. Once I kill you, I will track down Valentine and the others and kill them as well.”

As it appeared to be the end for Chris, his only saving grace was a nearby monitor coming to life, revealing the face of a blonde woman.

Wesker turned his head as her laughter distracted him from strangling Chris to death. “Alexia...so it's true,” he said as he tossed Chris aside, the latter's body bouncing off a test tube before falling to the ground. Wesker retrieved his shades and slipped them back on. “I'll let you live for now, Chris. Don't disappoint me.”

[End Flashback]

“The way he moved, Jill,” Chris said. “It was superhuman. He must have taken something back in Raccoon. He now has superhuman strength and agility. Hell, when I punched him, it barely stopped him. Jill, I dropped several tons of I-beams on him and that only fazed him. I barely escaped the last two times I ran into him. The fucker managed to escape by submarine. I think he's working for a rival organization. Things are going to get real complicated.” He looked at her. “Sorry if I made you worry. Claire's the only family I got left besides you.”

“I know,” Jill replied.

Since Jill was wearing a tanktop, Chris noticed something. “Hey...what's that?” he asked, pointing to a small pinkish scar on her right shoulder. From the look of things, the scar was very recent.

Jill knew what Chris was pointing at. It was a memento from Raccoon City, one that was at the time, potentially lethal. “It's nothing,” she replied a little too quickly.

Chris frowned. “Jill...no secrets, remember?”

Jill sighed. “I got this when I was trying to escape from Raccoon City,” she explained. “Remember what I told you about the Nemesis?” When Chris nodded, Jill continued.

*&^

[Flashback]

Raccoon City, Colorado – September 28, 1998

Saint Michael Clock Tower.

A lone military helicopter with the insignia of the Umbrella Biohazard Countermeasure Service arrived on schedule upon hearing the bell's toll.

Jill exited the clock tower through the front doors and saw the chopper circling overhead. “Hey! Down here!” she shouted, waving at the chopper.

As the chopper circled around to find a good landing zone, Jill was beaming. 'Finally...it's over.'

But it was not meant to be.

From the corner of her eye, Jill saw something from atop of some rubble across the street. Her blood ran cold as she recognized the monster.

The Nemesis. And he was armed with his rocket launcher.

“NO!” Jill screamed as the Nemesis took aim and fired one rocket at the chopper.

The white, gleaming rocket caught the chopper's tail blade and rudder, sending it crashing into the clock tower. Jill had to get out of the way in order to avoid the flaming chopper's rubble and that from the tower itself.

Jill watched in horror as her chance for escape went up in flames, literally.

Then the Nemesis hopped down from its perch, still holding the launcher in one hand. “S.T.A.R.S.,” the B.O.W. chanted.

He cocked one fist – which was the size of a human hand – back and swung at Jill, who hopped back from the attempted blow.

Jill raised the Colt Python in her hand, hoping to take the Nemesis' head off with several shots from the high-caliber weapon, but then then Nemesis thrust its hand forward, launching a purple tentacle from its palm.

“Aahh!” Jill cried out in pain as the tentacle pierced her shoulder in a shallow cut.

It was then she realized that something was very, very wrong. After watching this monster take out three of the surviving members of the R.P.D., it dawned on her, a horrifying realization.

The monster used the same tentacle move on those three cops. Once the Nemesis was gone, the three dead cops rose from where they had been slain.

'Oh, God,' Jill thought as she felt weak. 'The bastard infected me with the T-virus.'

[End Flashback]

*&^

Chris swallowed. “You mean...you were infected with the T-virus?”

Jill nodded. “I stayed in the chapel until the first of October. Carlos managed to reach the hospital and synthesize a cure for me.”

Chris sighed. 'Looks like I was wrong about Oliveira,' he thought. 'He saved Jill's life.' He placed one hand on Jill's cheek. “I'm glad you made it out of Raccoon alive. I shouldn't had left you. Dick would never forgive me if something happened to you.”

Jill kissed his palm. “It's okay.” She then looked at Chris as she realized what he had said. “Wait a second...what does my dad have to do with this?”

Chris thought about lying his way out of his predicament, but that would make him a hypocrite, asking Jill to be honest with him and he didn't offer her the same courtesy. So he told Jill about the conversation he and Dick had when they had first met back in Lakeview, and the promise to keep her out of trouble.

“Falling in love with you wasn't part of the plan,” Chris confessed. “But I'm glad I did. You really are something.”

Jill looked at him long and hard. Then she chuckled to herself, shaking her head. “Honestly...” she replied. “Even while in prison, Dad's still looking out for me.”

“So you're not mad?” Chris asked. “Ow!” he yelped as Jill slugged him in the arm. “Easy on the arm. I'm already bruised.”

“That's for keeping that piece of info from me,” Jill said.

“Your dad asked me to,” Chris defended as Jill continued to apply the salve. "He also told me why you tend to push other people away. I really don't blame you for not being able to trust people so easily."

"He did, huh?"

"Makes me glad you didn't try and kick my ass back in Raccoon when I kissed you," Chris mused. "So...how did you escape from the Nemesis?"

Jill thought about it for a moment. "Well..."

*&^

[Flashback]

Raccoon City, Colorado - October 1, 1998

The Dead Factory.

Inside the factory, the bodies of U.S. Special Forces and several of Umbrella's bioweapons were littered all over the place. It was as if World War III was fought in this room...and neither side won, since there was nobody...or nothing left alive.

Her shoulder was still sore from where the Nemesis had once infected her two days prior, but Jill was feeling better already. The T-virus vaccine that Carlos had synthesized for her was doing its work. She would see Chris again.

Right now, she was scanning the room, the grenade launcher in her hands. The satchel she had retrieved while inside the Clock Tower held plenty of ammo for that and of her Samurai Edge, the aforementioned weapon was in its holster.

Jill inspected one of the massive bioweapons, which was slumped against the wall. It reminded her of the Tyrant back at the Arklay Laboratory, only this one was more humanoid. Eight feet tall, bald, the skin white as death, dressed in a trenchcoat, pants and heavy boots.

It was certainly an improvement over the one she and the others fought back at the labs, but if she knew Umbrella, this new Tyrant was just as deadly.

'At least the Nemesis is gone,' Jill thought as she inspected the Tyrant which was literally embedded in the wall.

Their last encounter inside the factory did not go too well for the persistent bioweapon. She had came across one of the dead scientists (Jill, as a a precaution, put a bullet in the dead body's head, just to be safe) inside the factory's waste room. Once she had retrieved the card key that would unlock the shutter, she had heard the door lock, and a countdown was initiated.

She realized that the room she was in was directly above the waste disposal area, and that everything in the room she was in would be dumped into the room below. And given what's in the waste area, that will almost certainly be fatal, even for Miss Valentine.

Then the Nemesis struck. As Jill dodged its tentacle swings, she saw that the tentacle had struck a pipe, spilling highly corrosive liquid all over the monster, burning it severely and destroying several of its tentacles. Jill had capitalized on it, blasting away at several of the pipes, until the Nemesis fell in a heap, the head falling from the rest of its body as it collapsed.

By some miracle, the door had unlocked and Jill narrowly escaped. Once the door was closed, the disposal room performed its task, dumping the Nemesis - and everything else - into the volatile liquid below.

Jill thought she had destroyed the Nemesis once and for all.

Which led her back inside the massive power room. Jill turned her attention from the dead Tyrant and soon found the massive rail cannon codenamed 'Paracelsus' Sword.' The cannon itself was hooked to the room's power supply, along with three massive batteries that were strewn across the room.

The cannon itself was aimed at a 45-degree angle, pointing towards the embedded Tyrant on the far end of the wall, the weapon itself incredibly huge, meaning that the Special Forces had to bring it in piece by piece and assembled it while fighting off the Tyrants in a last stand.

Jill saw that the door leading to the scrapyard was locked electronically, so she went to the laptop hooked to the cannon. Punching in several keys, the screen told her that she had to push in the three batteries in numerical order. Frowning to herself, she looked at her watch. Less than twenty minutes before the missile strike.

Jill sighed as she set about her task. The first battery was near the walled Tyrant. Once that battery was pushed into the slot, she received an unwanted visitor.

The Nemesis.

Or what used to be the Nemesis.

"What the...?!" Jill gasped.

Apparently, the Nemesis has somehow survived its dip into the acidic pool, and had mutated into a new quadrapedal form. Even worse, as Jill found out, it also picked up a rather nasty ability to spit out acidic toxins in a lethal shower. Cursing to herself that she had left her grenade launcher back at the cannon, Jill brandished the Samurai Edge...

...only to roll out of the way as she dodged the Nemesis' acid spit. When Jill got to a vertical base, she opened fire on the creature. However, as she backed away, she stumbled over the body of a fallen soldier, causing her to fall on her skirt-covered rear. Unfortunately, this also caused Jill to loose her grip on her gun, which clattered to the floor. Jill tried to reach for it, but an acid shot from the Nemesis forced her hand back, the deadly liquid slowly dissolving the weapon.

"Fuck!" Jill swore. "Give me a break here!"

The Nemesis was closing in on her as she backed up against the wall. With the Nemesis blocking the way to the cannon, Jill had an idea. The slumped body of the Tyrant was close. If she times this right, then she could get past the Nemesis before it can kill her.

Steeling her nerves, Jill ran. Using the Tyrant as a stepping stone, she jumped and tucked her body into a tight ball as she flipped over the Nemesis, landing behind it. Turning around, she saw that the Nemesis didn't notice, since it was currently feasting on the Tyrant that Jill had used to flip over the mutated monster. Once half of that Tyrant was gone, it began to lurch over to the one impaled to the wall.

Jill knew she had to hurry. She pushed in the second and third batteries and rushed back to the cannon's computer. There was only enough power for two shots, so she knew she had to make them count.

"Oh, God I hope this works," Jill muttered as she punched in several keys and pressed Enter.

“All batteries connected,” the computer's voice reported. “Paracelsus' Sword activated. Quick-charge mode initiated. Preparing to fire.”

The massive machine whirred to life. Seconds later...

“Five...four...three...two...one...,” the computer counted down.

Jill took a step back and covered her ears.

“Fire.”

KABOOM!!

The room shook violently as the rail cannon discharged its first round, blowing a four-foot-wide gash through a massive chunk of scrap metal. But it was the second shot that did the Nemesis in. The mutated bioweapon screamed as it collapsed into a bloody, smoking heap.

“System overheat,” the computer reported. “Cool down mode initiated.”

The three batteries then ejected from the slots, its power spent. But more importantly, the door had unlocked.

Jill picked herself up from the ground, satisfied at her handiwork. Her knee was scraped up and she was sore all over, but she had worse. As she limped over to the smoking form of the Nemesis, she kicked at its smoking form before heading over to the door. Her hand had just grasped the handle when she head something. Spinning around, she saw that the Nemesis, clearly dying, was trying to take Jill with her.

Jill rolled out of the way as the Nemesis tried to nail her with its deadly spit. Much to Jill's luck, she had came to a stop near a dead soldier...with a loaded Smith and Wesson Magnum next to its body. In an instant, the weapon was in Jill's hands and she began to unload its deadly cargo into the monster.

BLAM! BLAM!

The shots were loud inside the deserted facility. Jill stood up, advancing as she unloaded three more slugs into the Nemesis.

BLAM! BLAM! BLAM!

Jill then aimed her gun at its 'head.' "So you want S.T.A.R.S., huh?" she snapped. "I'll give you S.T.A.R.S., you son-of-a-bitch!"

BLAM!

The Nemesis' 'head' exploded in a shower of gore and acidic fluids.

“That was for Brad,” Jill said. “Fuck you and die.”

She then dropped the Magnum and made her exit.

[End Flashback]

"I barely made it out just as the missile arrived," Jill concluded. "The nuke was overkill, but it did the job. Raccoon City is nothing more than a giant smoking crater."

"I've heard," Chris replied.

"So...what else has happened while you were trying to chase down Claire?" Jill asked.

Chris thought about it for a moment. "Well...that day when we thwarted the bank robbery, I met Birkin. He mentioned something about a woman named Alexia. As it turned out, from what pieces of info I've found, Alexia's the daughter of one of the founders of Umbrella. She developed a new virus by combining the T-virus with an ancient virus found inside the remains of an queen ant. She called it T-Veronica, after a famous ancestor of hers. Wesker was there looking for samples of the virus. Hell, part of the lab was made to look like the Spencer Mansion back in Raccoon..."

[Flashback]

Umbrella Antarctic Facility – December 28, 1998

Chris hid behind a pillar as Wesker confronted Alexia. He had found his sister, only to end up separated once again. Before he could find a way to pursue his sister, Wesker had appeared. Deciding that hiding was the best course of action, Chris his behind the pillar as he watched his former boss face down the British aristocrat/scientist, who stood on the stairway landing.

"We meet at last, Alexia," Wesker drawled. "You are responsible for the creation of the T-Veronica virus, and the only sample is inside your body. We can do this the easy way and you give it to me willingly...or we can do this the hard way...and I take it from your body."

Alexia's response to Wesker's demands was something that not even Chris was expecting.

She laughed. Right in Wesker's face.

"I won't ask you again, woman," Wesker snapped. "I want the damned virus...now!"

"You fool...you are not worthy of its power!" Alexia replied as she slowly descended down the stairs.

Given what Chris had seen of Wesker, he thought that Alexia had a deathwish.

Then, something happened.

Alexia's body began to smoke, literally, right before her body burst into orange flames. Her dress was consumed by the flames, revealing her naked body, but not for long. Her skin took on a gray hue, and parts of her body began to look like the chitinous exoskeleton of an ant. Her hair also took on the same gray complexion and hardened into oversized bangs as right hand was covered by a gauntlet made of the same material, as were parts of her body in some form of modesty.

'What the fuck?' both Chris and Wesker thought at the same time.

By this time, the now-mutated Alexia Ashford had reached Wesker. Before Wesker could react, Alexia had casually backhanded him with her gauntlet-covered hand. The impact sent the superman flying, his glasses flying from his face once again.

Chris was surprised by the strength that Alexia had. Deep down, it was fitting to see Wesker get smacked around like a redheaded stepchild.

Wesker managed to flip out of the blow, landing on his feet, but even Wesker was stunned by the blow, as his legs buckled, forcing him down on one knee.

"What...what power...!" Wesker said as he got back to a vertical base...

...just as Alexia was upon him once again – crushing his shades underneath her heel – and uppercut-ed him, sending him to the far end of the lobby.

"Foolish little man," Alexia intoned in an inhuman voice. "Did you really think that you stood a chance against me? Prepare to die."

With her gauntlet-encased hand, Alexia casually flings red, bloodlike ichor on the ground. Seconds later, it had burst into a wall of fire, forcing Wesker back.

With Wesker distracted, Alexia turned her head, looking at Chris and gave him a cold smile as if to say, 'You're next!'

She then turned her attention back to Wesker, who had jumped over the flames. Alexia was relentless, flinging her flaming ichor after him, forcing Wesker to run away from her...

...and up the wall, rounding a corner, just as Alexia's ichor found its mark, burning Wesker's clothes.

Wesker was not deterred. He jumped off the wall, fist cocked back as he sailed towards Alexia.

CRACK!

Wesker's fist impacted against Alexia's jaw, which made the mutated woman stagger from the blow. Alexia responds by flinging more ichor in Wesker's direction, forcing him to retreat.

Unfortunately, this also forced Chris from his hiding place, since some of the ichor had landed near him as well. Chris found himself standing at Wesker's side.

Wesker looked at Alexia and decided that he wanted nothing more to do with her, not with a woman whose power rivaled that of his own.

"You deal with her, Redfield," Wesker said. "I'll let you handle this, since you were one of my best men."

"Gee, thanks," Chris replied with sarcasm in his voice.

Wesker smirked, then made his retreat through the door. Milliseconds later, a geyser of flame had erupted. Chris, in the meantime, had bolted for the stairs, but that way was blocked by Alexia's flaming ichor.

"Going somewhere?" Alexia asked from behind him. "You can't escape."

In an instant, Chris had the .357 Magnum in his hands. "Watch me, you freak bitch."

Chris fired one shot. Alexia fell to the floor in a heap. "Not so tough now, huh?" Chris taunted.

At that moment, Alexia's eyes snapped open.

"Aw, crap," Chris muttered as Alexia hopped back to her feet, the smoking hole in her chest slowly closing. "My luck sucks big time."

Before he could get a second shot off, Alexia grabbed a handful of Chris's tactical vest and bodily tossed him to the other side of the room. Chris bounced off of the wall and fell to the ground.

'Christ,' Chris thought. 'I'm getting my ass handed to me by a girl. It's like freakin' high school all over again.'

Alexia then closed the distance between them by leaping over to the stunned Redfield. When she grabbed his vest again, Chris cold-cocked her with his Magnum. Alexia's head violently rocked to the side from the impact.

"Now that..." Alexia replied as she slowly turned her head back towards Chris, her yellow eye looking at him, slightly amused, "...was very rude."

Chris found himself being tossed again. This time, he landed near the stairs. He had lost his grip on his Magnum, which slid to the opposite end of the floor. Alexia didn't even give him a chance to recover. She grabbed him by the vest again and hoisted him clean into the air.

"You failed to stave off my boredom," Alexia said. "Time to die, little man."

However, she was most surprised to see Chris slide out of the vest just as the black material erupted into flames. She was even more surprised to see Chris in the air.

WHAM!

A pair of size 11 boots impacted against Alexia's face, forcing her back. Luck was with Chris that moment, since she stumbled over a chunk of marble that had fallen earlier. That was the window of opportunity Chris needed. As Alexia stood back up, Chris had the Magnum back in his hands.

BANG! BANG! BANG! BANG!

Alexia's body shook violently as four high-caliber slugs tore through her body. But it wasn't enough.

Chris adjusted his aim, this time, aiming at her head.

He didn't miss.

BANG!

Alexia's head snapped back as Chris's final round made a nice little hole in between her eyes. Once again, she fell to the floor, her flames consumed her, but did not burn her body once the flames had extinguished themselves.

'Okay, Redfield,' Chris thought to himself, 'pull yourself together.'

He stumbled to his feet and staggered over to his vest. Thankfully, the material was not only bulletproof, but also fire resistant as well. He slipped it back on, used a speed loader to reload his gun, and after retrieving Alexia's choker from the stairs, unlocked a hidden door and left Alexia's body where it laid.

[End Flashback]

Chris smiled sardonically. "I thought I killed her the first time. But that only stopped her for the moment. I managed to rescue Claire and put that crazy bitch down once and for all, but there was still Wesker. He had bushwhacked Claire when she was trying to escape. So I had to face him. Wesker thought he had me scouted, but I still had a couple of tricks up my sleeves..."

[Flashback]

Chris finally caught up with Wesker inside the facility's underground seaport, where Wesker's submarine was docked. Chris thought that the nightmare was over, until he saw that Wesker had taken his sister hostage, forcing her down a zombie-laden corridor.

Chris gave chase, mowing down the zombies in a hail of gunfire before tackling another to the ground before catching up with the traitorus S.T.A.R.S. commander and his hostage.

"Ah, Redfield," Wesker drawled as he held his hostage. "So glad you can make it. You amaze me yet again. You have quite an annoying habit of surviving. Turns out that since Alexia's work wasn't worth anything, the only thing left is revenge."

Chris had his gun aimed at Wesker's head. "Let her go, Wesker!" he yelled.

Sure enough, Wesker relased his hostage...by tossing her at Chris's feet. Claire quickly got up and ran behind her brother.

"I came for Alexia and her T-Veronica virus," Wesker continued. "I got one...and since you are such a thorn in my side, Redfield, killing you will be a nice bonus."

"Alexia's dead, Wesker," Chris replied.

"Oh, I know," Wesker said. "But this mission wasn't a complete loss. I have Steve to work with."

"No!" Claire shouted. She was restrained by Chris when she tried to charge at him. "You leave him alone!"

"You're too late, dear heart. My men have retrieved his body," Wesker replied.

"Claire...get to the Harrier," Chris ordered. "This is my fight. I owe it to my teammates."

"But Chris..." Claire tried to object.

"I got to do this," Chris said, cutting his sister off. "As a former member of S.T.A.R.S., I owe it to the unit. Go."

Claire nodded. "Okay. Don't die on me," she said as she took off down the corridor.

[End Flashback]

"Wesker was strong. Too strong," Chris continued as Jill continued to tend to his wounds. "But as strong as he was, he had the ego to match. So I used it to my advantage."

"How?" Jill asked.

"Well..." Chris began.

[Flashback]

Chris was seeing stars as Wesker stood over him. "Sure I'm not human anymore, Redfield," the traitorous S.T.A.R.S. commander taunted, "but it's a small price to pay for the power I have gained!"

One uppercut from Wesker sent Chris flying. The ex-commando landed on his back. After five minutes of being used as a human punching bag, Chris got lucky.

Looking up, he saw that he was over a bundle of steel I-beams, which were held together by a small pulley. Nearby, was the lever.

All Chris had to do was to bait Wesker.

"Magnificent, isn't it Chris?" Wesker said. "Now DIE!"

Wesker leapt into the air before coming down, ready to deliver the final blow. However, at the last minute, Chris dove out of the way and pulled the lever, just as Wesker punched the ground where he was at moments earlier.

Wesker heard the beams fall and looked up, just in time to intercept the first girder on his face before he was buried underneath the massive pile of girders. Chris, however, was still on razor's edge as he leaned up against the wall, catching his breath. He suspected that dropping several tons of I-beams onto Wesker wasn't enough to stop him.

His intuition proved right when the beams began to move and finally, Wesker threw them off of him before finally making it to a vertical base. Despite his newly-acquired superhuman strength and agililty, the steel I-beams, which would have killed a normal man, the immense damage was done.

Adrenaline pumping through his veins, and righteously rip-shit pissed at Wesker for causing the near-destruction of S.T.A.R.S. nearly half a year earlier, Chris charged, an enraged battle cry coming from his mouth as he charged towards his former boss. Wesker looked up just in time to see Chris's boot impact against his face, causing him to stagger back, showing that the damage delivered by the I-beams had done its work.

Chris went on the offensive, staying in close quarters, not giving Wesker a chance to catch his breath or regain his strength. Even Wesker himself was surprised at Chris's resolve. He never pegged Chris as a hand-to-hand fighter, given his stint in the Air Force, despite having read his dossier. But appearances were very deceiving as Chris delivered precision punches and kicks at Wesker.

When Wesker went for his Samurai Edge, Chris grabbed his hand and twisted it inward, while Wesker was still holding the gun. A sickening CRACK was heard as Wesker's index finger - the trigger finger - was broken while inside the trigger guard. Wesker screamed in pain as Chris relieved him of his gun and tossed it to the side.

Wesker used his other hand to try and punch Chris, but Chris caught his wrist with one hand and slammed his other elbow into Wesker's throat, once again forcing the superman back, before a roundhouse from Chris sent the superman to the ground facedown.

Chris wasn't finished. Grabbing a handful of Wesker's hair, he yanked his head up, balled his other fist and brought it down in an overhead punch, which was followed by a hard elbow into Wesker's back.

"That's for my sister," Chris snarled as he brought Wesker to one of the I-beams and began to bash in his face into the metal. "This is for my teammates!" he snapped as he bashed Wesker's face in repeatedly. The coup-de-grace came when Chris picked up a second metal pipe and brought it down on the back of Wesker's skull. Once, twice, three times, until Wesker stopped moving.

"The self destruct system has been activated," the recorded voice said over the speakers. "All personnel evacuate immediately."

Chris dropped the pipe, now bent and took several steps back. As he approached the corridor, Chris heard Wesker groan. Spinning around, he saw that Wesker was getting to his feet.

Chris decided then and there to end it once and for all. He crouched down to his boot and pulled out his combat knife, intending on ramming it into Wesker's throat. Chris had ran the past incident with Wesker in his mind, and had guessed that he had less than a second to react should Wesker try and rush him again.

Wesker got back to a vertical base before cracking his neck muscles. He definitely looked a lot worse for the wear following Chris beating the shit out of him.

"Nice...try, Chris," Wesker sniped.

Chris's grip on his knife tightened. One stab into the neck, followed by severing the jugular would be overkill, but better safe than sorry when dealing with Wesker.

But their battle would be for another day, as an explosion tore through the seaport, separating the two combatants with a massive fallen piece of pipe and a wall of flames.

Wesker bore the brunt of the explosion, as the left side of his face was covered in burns. Holding his injured face, he glared at his most hated enemy. "Looks like today is your lucky day, Chris," he said as he retrieved his gun. "You won't be so lucky next time!"

"I'll be waiting...Captain," Chris replied, pronouncing Wesker's former title with sarcasm in his voice.

He turned around and made his retreat as Wesker's laughter rang throughout the seaport and corridor.

[End Flashback]

"Claire and I escaped, and the facility was destroyed," Chris concluded. Jill, in the meantime, had finished tending to Chris's wounds and was listening to Chris tell his story. "Wesker also escaped. As I've told Claire, things are going to be very complicated. Not only we got to deal with Umbrella, but Wesker's out there somewhere."

"So you managed to nail the bastard a couple of good times, huh? So what do we do now?" Jill asked. "Wesker and Umbrella are still out there, and they hold all the cards."

"We wait until tomorrow, and see what my old CO has to offer," Chris replied.

"Is he on the level?" Jill asked, scooting closer to her husband.

Chris nodded. "I've known him for a long time. He took me under his wing back in the Air Force. I trust him."

Jill rested her chin on Chris's shoulder. After a moment, she said, "You know, I always wanted to come to Sydney. Too bad it's not under more pleasant conditions." Her blue eyes looked into Chris's chestnut orbs. "Promise me that you won't leave me alone. I almost died in Raccoon City, and you almost died rescuing Claire. Promise me, Chris."

Without hesitating, Chris replied, "From here on out, we fight together as partners." After a pause, he added, “Once all of this is taken care of, I'll bring you here for a real vacation.”

“I'll hold you to that, Redfield, but I'll settle for a actual wedding ceremony,” Jill said as she continued to mend her husband's wounds.

By the time Jill was halfway finished, Chris' left bicep and forearm were bandaged. “Jill, next time my sister gets into trouble, do a better job of convincing me not to go after her,” Chris groused.

“I'll try,” his wife replied. “Since we're coming clean, I got to tell you that you're not alone. I really wasn't expecting to fall for you as well.”

“Is that so?”

The former thief rested her chin on Chris's shoulder again as she chose her words carefully. “Dad was right about me, you know. After I nearly got raped, I just...shut myself off from people. I never allowed anyone to get close to me, with the exception of Dad. I always kept things professional. Then you showed up. At first...I thought you were just an arrogant flyboy with something to prove. But as time passed and I got to know you better, you showed a high degree of responsibility in raising Claire on your own. You even risked your life to save mine, from the robbery to inside that damned mansion. Hell, if it wasn't for the extra training you put me through, I probably would not have made it out of Raccoon.”

“I'm glad you think so highly of me,” Chris said.

Jill smiled. “Comes with the territory. I am your wife after all.”

“In that case, let me tell you a little secret,” Chris said.

Jill leaned in closer. “Yeah. What is it?”

Chris reached over and gently pulled a stray strand of brown hair away from her face and tucked it behind her ear. “Despite everything that's happened...I'm glad that you rear-ended me back in Raccoon. I'm glad that I met you.”

Jill's smile widened.

“That sounded corny, didn't it?” Chris said

Jill giggled. “You're not hearing any complaints from me, Redfield.” After a moment, as she resumed bandaging Chris, she said, "What's your former C.O. like?"

"About my height," Chris replied. "Slightly older than Barry. Career military man. He's a maverick, like me. You trust him...he has that strength, that charisma. You'd die in a second for him. A natural leader. Been married for close to fifteen years, has one child - a daughter. Her name is Ashley."

"Your former boss sounds like an interesting man," Jill said.

"He's not Wesker, that's for damn sure."

*&^

Chris woke up the next morning. Jill wasn't with him. Even more so, the house was silent. Silent as death. Claire should have been awake at this time.

Feeling a sense of dread in his gut, Chris stepped out of the bed. He reached for his Glock, and making sure that it was loaded, Chris exited the room, gun gripped in his hands.

Upon reaching the living room, his worst fears were confirmed.

It was a bloodbath. Blood and entrails were everywhere. The walls were splattered red with blood and bullet holes.

Chris almost gagged as he saw the bodies of Leon, Carlos, and MacPherson, torn open, as if they were...eaten alive, their faces in an eternal mask of pain.

"Claire?! CLAIRE?!" Chris shouted as he searched the area. As he approached an overturned table...

"Oh, no..."

...he found his sister, just as dead as Leon, Carlos and MacPherson. Her torso was ripped open, one breast was gone. The culprit was hunched over his sister's mutilated body, feasting on the remains.

The zombie looked up. A female, with short brown hair, eyes once a vibrant blue, now a dead milky white, the skin deathly pale, the lower part of her face and shirt stained with blood and chunks of meat and gore.

"Jill..."

The undead wife of Chris Redfield stood up, a moan escaping her lips, just as Chris opened fire. As it turned out, Jill moved just as fast as the zombified Forest Speyer back at the mansion, ignoring the bullets that tore through her chest and torso as she tackled Chris to the ground.

Chris screamed out in pain as Jill tore into him, her teeth tearing into his flesh. The last thing he saw was his blood shooting out in geyser-like streams as Jill tore out his throat. Soon, Leon, Carlos, MacPherson and Claire had revived and joined the zombified Jill in her morning meal.

*&^

Chris's eyes snapped open as he sat upright in the bed.

Then he grunted as the pain from the previous night returned. He could hear voices outside in the dining room, and breathed out a sigh of relief as he fell back to the bed.

'Damn,' Chris thought. 'What a horrible nightmare.'

The thought of Jill being infected with the T-virus still freaked him out. But she was alive. She survived Raccoon City, as did his sister and Leon.

Going back to sleep was not an option. Not after that dream he had. Groaning to himself, he got out of the bed. Minutes later, after a quick shower and a change of clothes - a white T-shirt with the initials USAF emblazoned on the front and a pair of fatigues, Chris exited the bedroom.

Sure enough, Jill was in the kitchen, sipping on a cup of coffee, while MacPherson was entertaining Claire with one of his many war/romance stories. Leon and Carlos were arguing over which gun was better - the VP70 or the SIGPRO.

Chris trudged to the empty chair and plopped down, wincing slightly from the pain.

MacPherson looked at the banged-up male Redfield. “When I was a boy, I went on a fox hunt with my dad,” the ex-British commando said. “Caught ourselves one of the sorriest-looking foxes I have ever seen. You are the second sorriest, Redfield.”

"Good morning to you too," Chris groused as he yawned.

Dressed in one of Chris's dress shirts and a pair of jeans, Jill walked over to her husband, a second cup of coffee in her hands. "Here. This should help," she said.

"Thanks," Chris mumbled as he took a sip of the hot beverage.

Claire made a face. "Ugh. I can't see how you and Jill can drink that crap straight up."

"I like my coffee strong and greasy," Chris replied. "I focus better that way." He took a sip. "Least this isn't decaf."

"Decaf isn't real coffee," Jill said as she sipped her mug. "It's just dirty water."

"Ah, a woman with class," MacPherson interjected. "You got good taste, Redfield. I wonder how she likes her tea."

“Depends on the tea,” Jill replied. “I'm half-Japanese, after all.”

“Funny, I really can't tell,” MacPherson replied.

The knock on the door brought everyone on edge, the friendly banter coming to a halt. Within seconds, everyone was armed; Jill armed with Leon's VP70; Claire with the M93R she had brought back from Rockfort Island; Leon with the Desert Eagle; Carlos with his SIGPRO handgun, MacPherson with a Browning handgun and Chris with the Glock.

Chris stood up, gun raised, and stealthily crept towards the door. "Who is it?" he barked out.

"It's Graham," the voice replied. "Open the door, Lieutenant."

Chris looked into the peephole. After a moment, he turned to everyone and nodded. As Chris unlocked the door, everyone else safetied their weapons and secured them, just as Chris opened the door. Standing on the other side, was a man in his early forties, his posture radiating authority. The man was dressed in camouflage fatigues, which were visible underneath his trenchcoat.

Roland Graham eyed his former subordinate. "Lieutenant Redfield."

Chris returned the glare, taking note of his former boss' new rank. "Colonel Graham."

After a tense moment, the two men broke into a grin and shook hands. “It's been a long time, Lieutenant,” Graham said. “You look like hell.”

"It has been a long time, sir. Trust me, it was a lot worse working under you. Come in, sir," Chris said as he stepped aside.

Graham nodded and entered, removing his beret and trenchcoat. Placing them on a chair, Chris conducted the introductions. "Everyone, this is my former C.O. from the Air Force, Colonel Roland Graham. You already know my sister and Evil Ed. Introductions all around, people."

"Leon S. Kennedy, formerly of the R.P.D.," Leon began.

"Carlos Oliveira, mercenary," Carlos said.

"Jill Valentine, also formerly of the R.P.D.," Jill finished.

“What a crew,” Graham said as he took a seat. "You sure know how to piss off key people, Redfield. But then again, that was one of your more...memorable traits. Given the stunts you and your friends pulled, the lot of you are high on Umbrella's shit list."

"How do you know about that?" Jill asked.

"The whole world is my office, Miss Valentine," Graham replied. "As Chris had told you, I was his commanding officer back when he was a member of the Combat Control Unit. Now, I'm in command of the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations. It also helps that I have informants within the G.P.C."

"G.P.C.?" Leon repeated.

"Global Pharmaceutical Consortium," Graham explained. "Basically, it's just a group of medical and pharmaceutical companies who dictate protocol. Most of them are straight as an arrow. But Umbrella's got plenty of skeletons in their closet. The incident in Raccoon City is just one of many."

"So what's your connection with Raccoon City?" Jill asked.

"I had family there," Graham replied. "My sister-in-law was dating one of the Umbrella scientists stationed at the Arklay Mansion. Fortunately, I managed to talk some sense into Alma before the entire city went to hell."

"Alma..." Jill repeated. "Was her boyfriend's name Martin Crackhorn?"

Graham nodded.

"One moment," Jill said excusing herself from the others. Minutes later, she returned with an envelope. "When Chris and I were stranded at the Spencer Mansion, I found this alongside a corpse. This was the only thing I carried with me out of the mansion. This is Crackhorn's suicide letter."

Graham accepted it with a nod. "I'll make sure she gets it. Thank you, Jill."

"So what brings you here, Colonel?" Chris asked. "MacPherson said that you were dropping by."

"The federal government has been investigating Umbrella for close to twenty-five years, but Umbrella kept blocking the investigation by either intimidating or bribing investigators," Graham explained. "With the incident in Raccoon City and the subsequent destruction of the city, Umbrella has lost its political maneuvering within the Senate."

"Never knew you were into politics, Colonel," Claire said.

"Oh, it's a hobby of mine, kiddo," Graham replied. "Now, as you know, President Williams had ordered the tactical strike on Raccoon in order to contain the outbreak, and had resigned as a result of the fallout last month. His successor took office and he issued his first executive order: the immediate federal investigation of the Umbrella Corporation. Believe me when I say that this guy doesn't screw around. That mansion that you and your wife managed to escape from, was just the tip of the iceberg."

Chris and Jill both had surprised expressions on their faces. "How...how did...?" Chris sputtered.

Graham's expression was smug. "I told you once when you served under me. 'The world is my office, Redfield.' I like to keep notes and a close eye on my current and past subordinates. Congratulations, by the way."

"Er...thanks, Colonel," Jill mumbled. "So you also know that I'm ex-Army, right?"

Graham nodded. "Of course. You record is very impressive, Specialist Valentine. Now, as to why I'm here...Umbrella has a hefty price tag on your heads, and with my influence within certain circles, I can help you in your little war against Umbrella. That VTOL Chris came in will fetch a nice little deposit, and those things are expensive. Within the Department of Defense, with the other military investigation units and the other law enforcement entities, we have recently established an anti-Umbrella movement, called the Anti-Umbrella Pursuit and Investigation Team. And I want you and your wife to join under me."

"The offer is interesting, Colonel, but why now?" Jill asked.

"Well, since Umbrella either bribes or kills off anyone that gets in their way," Graham continued, "my superiors had to act. We found Miss Chambers and gave her the same offer I'm giving the both of you. She accepted. You two have a chance to make a difference by helping us bring down Umbrella once and for all."

"He does have a point Jill," Chris admitted turning to his wife. "And Graham is as honest as they come. He is a hardcore patriot and would die for his country rather than take money on the side. I trust him with my life. And we can only go so far in our fight against Umbrella. We're gonna need some serious help."

Jill thought about it for a moment. "This had better be worth it, Redfield." She turned to Graham. "Okay. We're both in."

"Me too," Leon added.

"Same here," Claire added.

"I can head back to Brazil and get in touch with a couple of my mercenary buddies," Carlos said. "They hate Umbrella as much as I do. We can use the extra firepower."

Graham nodded. "Good. Oh, and one more thing, Chris," he said as he reached into his pocket and tossed him a small box.

Chris caught it and opened it. Captain's bars rested on a small velvet bed.

"Your commission is being reactivated, effective immediately, and your record has been wiped clean," Graham said. "Think of it as a long overdue promotion. I'm going to need all the help I can get. Better get used to working under me once again, Captain Redfield. Your commission is active until as such Umbrella is destroyed. Umbrella's real edgy when it comes to targeting military personnel and their families. So think of this as for you, a shield of sorts."

He turned to Jill. "As for you, Miss Valentine, there's a set of Second Lieutenant's bars waiting for you. Air Force, or course. Hope you don't mind."

"I got no problem with that," Jill replied.

Graham smiled. "Good. Now you get to see how we Air Force boys live. But first, you got to complete officer candidate school. Once you completed OCS, Chris will be your partner...and superior officer."

"When do we start?"

“I will clear it with my superiors,” Graham replied. “You do realize that in order to attend OCS, you must have a college degree, right?”

Jill nodded. “I have a degree in Criminal Justice from Raccoon University.”

Graham nodded. “Good. That's a start. Now, Officer Candidate School is held at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama. It's a thirteen and a half week course for anyone pursuing a commission. Once you've completed OCS, Chris will pick you up from Maxwell and take you to Andrews, where the both of you will be residing. Normally, there is a 18-week training seminar for federal employees, but in this case, I'm making the exception."

Graham stood up. "Captain Redfield, I will expect to see you at Andrews by zero-nine-hundred, no later than the fourth. Understand?"

Chris nodded. "Crystal, Colonel."

It was at that moment, Claire spoke up. “Colonel, wait. There was a girl that had escaped Raccoon City along with Leon and myself. When I went after my brother, both her and Leon were taken into government custody. Can you find her for us, please?”

“What's her name?” Graham asked.

“Sherry Birkin,” Leon replied.

“I know a couple of guys who owe me a couple of favors within the government,” Graham replied. “When I find her, I'll bring her to you.”

The name then clicked in Chris's head. “Wait a second...Birkin? As in William Birkin's daughter? The same guy who created the G-virus?”

Claire nodded. “So you know about that?”

“I met the man,” Chris replied. “Even offered me a job working for Umbrella. This was the day of the bank robbery.”

“We also ran into him,” Leon said. “Only problem was that he was anything but.”

“His wife gave me the story,” Claire explained. “I ran into her down in the sewers. Birkin created the G-virus and was planning on handing it over to the federal government rather than use it for a seat on Umbrella's executive board. So Umbrella sent in a squad of its special forces unit to steal the samples. Birkin was accidentally shot in the process and he used a hidden vial of the stuff to keep himself alive. He hunted the special forces team down and slaughtered them. However, the rats inside the sewers got to the vials containing the T-virus.”

“Which led to the citywide outbreak,” Jill concluded.

“Figures that the T-virus would be spread by rats,” Chris said. “They're pretty much immune to most diseases. I'm also willing to bet that the government guy that Leon had ran into was someone on Umbrella's payroll.”

“A probable possibility,” Graham mused. “I'll look into it.”

Snafu's Notes: So ends Part One.

Next Chapter: Jill is now an commissioned officer of the Air Force.

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