Resident Evil: A Change In Pace

12. Lt. Valentine, If You Please

Part Two: The War Against Umbrella

Chapter Twelve: Lieutenant Valentine, If You Please

Snafu's Notes: Here's Part Two of A Change In Pace. Now, I've been asked whether or not that I was going to include the Revelations storyline. After thinking about it, I decided not to, but I've also decided to add the Umbrella Secret Service that will be seen in Operation Raccoon City (the guys that are trying to kill Leon, Jill and Claire). They will act as the primary antagonists in the War Against Umbrella Arc.

From the journal of Chris Redfield...

January 7, 1999

Jill and I spent New Years' in Sydney. Wish it was under better circumstances, though. But I can't complain. Once the holidays were over, Jill, myself and the others returned stateside. On the flight over, I gave Jill a crash in Air Force procedure and protocol...well, the basic stuff anyway, as well as what to expect in training. Once our flight landed in Maryland, it was off to OCS for Jill.

I spent the next couple of days being debriefed by Graham and the higher ups at US STRACOM. Leon didn't sign up for the military. Instead, he was recruited into the Secret Service. Claire decided to hang around me, but declined to work as a civilian for the Anti-Umbrella Investigation Team. At my request, she is taking correspondence courses for her college classes.

Carlos returned to his native Brazil to rally his mercenary friends to help in the war against Umbrella. So far, the news have been good on his end. He had friends in Brazil, Argentina, Guyana and even in Venezuela. MacPherson remained in Sydney, collecting intel. I tracked down Barry down in Toronto along with Graham and invited him to join us as a civilian employee.

Right now, there's not a whole lot to do but to wait for Jill to complete her training. I also forgot how much of a slave driver Graham is. The old man still kicks my ass on the floor six falls out of ten. And here, I thought Jill was bad.

&^&

From the diary of Jill Valentine...

April 10, 1999

Tomorrow is graduation.

I'm graduating at the top of my class. It strange, though. When I was eighteen and living as a thief, I never dreamed that I would become a cop. Now, thanks to Graham, I'm a commissioned officer in the Air Force. If my former C.O. back in the Army found out about this, he'd flip out. Back in the R.P.D., I was Chris's superior. Now the tables had turned. He's my boss now.

According to Chris, Graham set us up in a nice house on Andrews Air Force Base. Aside the fact that the base houses Air Force One, it is also heavily guarded. Umbrella will have a hard time trying to get to us here.

It's been too long since I've been away from my husband. I can't believe that by this time tomorrow I'm going to be an Air Force officer. I told Dad about it, and he was thrilled. Unfortunately, he will still be in prison when I graduate. His parole hearing won't be until four months from now.

&^%

Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama – April 11, 1999

Second Lieutenant Jillianne Valentine.

Even now, Jill still couldn't believe it. Aside the fact that she now had taken on her husband's last name.

The ceremony was over, the base commander having dismissed the newly commissioned officers of the United States Air Force. Clad in the female officer's formal uniform with skirt, complete with garrison cap showing off her newly acquired rank of Second Lieutenant, Jill returned to her barracks, where her duffel bag was already packed, Jill herself ready to go.

Out of a class of over two hundred candidates, less than a hundred had graduated, Jill being at the top of her class. The Raccoon survivor was thankful that her those PT sessions that she had underwent back in S.T.A.R.S. and Chris's knowledge of the Air Force had been instrumental in her making it through candidate school.

As Jill approached her barracks, she noticed someone waiting for her. Someone she hasn't seen since returning to the States. On the street, was a parked car, one that base personnel used.

Six feet tall, dressed in the Air Force's battle dress uniform (i.e., combat fatigues), with the sleeves rolled up to his elbows. Spit-shined combat boots, as well as a pair of fingerless gloves on his hands. A red beret, complete with the rank of Captain visible, the beret identifying him as a member of the Combat Control Unit...or rather, a former member of said unit. His rank was also stitched onto his clothing. Jill noticed that he had put on several pounds of muscle the last time she had seen him, but Barry still had him beat.

The nametag over the upper right breast pocket read REDFIELD.

Jill walked over to the man and stopped, snapping at attention. She then followed through with a hand salute, showing respect to her superior officer. "Captain Redfield, sir."

Chris Redfield returned the salute. "Lieutenant Valentine," he responded evenly.

“It's Lieutenant Redfield, sir. I have taken on my husband's last name. Of course, no one else knows about that yet,” she replied with humor in her eyes.

They both dropped the salutes. Chris looked his wife over, taking notice of her officer's rank. "Looks good on you," he noted.

"The rank or the uniform?" Jill asked.

"Both. You always did like blue."

Jill smiled broadly. Then she walked over and greeted her husband proper. After all, thirteen weeks was a long time. A hug, followed by a long and hard kiss, not really caring who was watching. Of course there were some people watching, but once seeing that they both were officers, they backed off.

"I missed you so much," Jill whispered. "I thought I was going to go crazy."

"You survived Raccoon City with no problem," Chris pointed out. "Officers' Training should be a cakewalk. No zombies."

"Jerk," Jill pouted. She saw that her duffel bag was at Chris' feet. She had packed it shortly before the graduation ceremony and Chris must have retrieved it once the ceremony was complete.

Her husband chuckled. "You knew that when you married me." He picked up the duffel bag and slung it over her shoulder. "Come on. I've hitched a ride with a Super Hercules out of Andrews," Chris explained as he tossed Jill's bag into the trunk. "We're gonna fly back with them after they pick up some supplies here."

Jill nodded as she got into the car, riding shotgun while Chris was in the driver's seat. Soon, the car peeled off.

*&^

En route to Andrews Air Force Base...

Chris entered the cockpit, where the two pilots were flying the massive plane with incredible ease. "What's our E.T.A., Major?"

The pilot, a Major, replied, "Our E.T.A. to Andrews is exactly 15 minutes, Captain."

"Thank you, Major. I really appreciate you in letting me ride with you guys."

"No problem," the pilot replied. "So who's the cute lieutenant you picked up back at Maxwell?"

"My wife, sir," Chris replied. "She's just completed her OCS training."

"No shit," the pilot said. “You're a lucky man, Captain, to nab yourself a fine woman like that. Congratulations.”

Chris nodded his thanks and exited the cockpit. Inside the massive cargo area, three M998 Humvees were parked in a line and strapped down. Jill was inspecting one of them. Shortly after the plane had taken off, Jill had stepped inside one of the Humvees and changed clothes. Instead of her officer's uniform, Jill had changed into her own combat fatigues, complete with black beret which showed off her new rank. The officer's uniform was nearly folded and put away inside her bag.

Unlike Chris, her name tag read VALENTINE.

"We'll be at Andrews in 15 minutes," Chris replied. He noticed the change in his wife's attire. "Let me guess...you got tired of wearing the uniform?"

Jill shrugged her shoulders. "I'm more comfortable in fatigues." She toyed with the beret. It was black, like Chris', complete with the gold single bar pinned to it. "So what's been happening since I was away?"

Chris thought about it for a moment. "Well, Barry moved his family to Andrews from Toronto, since Umbrella will have a hard time trying to sneak onto a military base...especially one where they keep Air Force One under heavy guard. He's also with the Anti-Umbrella movement, but as a civilian. Claire's back with me, since Leon is still training. I managed to talk her into taking correspondence courses for college. Leon has been enlisted into the Secret Service. Both he and Claire's been dating for a couple of months now. As for me, I've been busy briefing Colonel Graham on what I know about Umbrella so far and training. Speaking of which, following Raccoon City, Umbrella's been under investigation by the G.P.C."

Chris then rifled through his pockets. "Before I forget...here." He produced a velvet box and handed it to Jill.

Jill wordlessly accepted the item and opened it. Her eyes widened and she gasped as to what was inside.

"Thought you might like a real wedding ring," Chris explained as Jill picked up the ring from the box. The ring was gold, with six small diamonds implanted inside.

"Chris...this is..." Jill began as she looked it over.

"Well...? Are you going to put it on or not?"

"Sorry," Jill apologized as she slipped the ring onto her ring finger. "How can you afford this? This must have cost you an arm and a leg."

"Money's not a problem," Chris replied, enjoying the look on his wife's face. Off Jill's confused look, Chris explained it to her. "Remember that VTOL Claire and I came in on back in Sydney?"

Jill nodded. "That was a Harrier, right?"

Chris nodded. "Aside from the helicopter, I was trained to pilot those before I was kicked out the first time. I wasn't a fighter pilot, but better safe than sorry," he explained. "The Royal Air Force also uses that specific type of Harrier, so I talked to Evil Ed and he found a buyer. He sold it for about $40 million, since it was brand-new. Ed got his cut, as did I. The rest went into the Anti-Umbrella organization's war chest."

"Exactly how much?" Jill asked.

"Oh, about $9 million," Chris replied casually. "Most of it is in a Swiss bank account with both our names on it. There's about a couple hundred thousand in a bank here."

Jill's jaw dropped. "Nine million?! Are you serious?!" she nearly shouted.

Chris nodded, unfazed by his wife's outburst. "Yup. As of this moment, we're the richest officers in the Air Force. Of course, no one doesn't know, with the exception of Claire and Graham. I bought her a new motorcycle to replace the one she left behind in Raccoon, not to mention setting her up with a trust fund that she can't touch until she's 21." He looked at Jill, who was doing a nice imitation of a fish out of water. "Um...Jill...are you okay?"

"Nine million dollars," Jill mumbled.

"It wasn't something that I could have just written to you about," Chris defended. "So I decided to wait until I picked you up and tell you."

Jill finally shook herself out of her stupor. "Nine million dollars," she whispered, remembering that Chris had mentioned that Dick was paroled while she was away. "My father?"

"Don't worry. I took care of everything," Chris replied. "Dick's back in Colorado. I set him up with a nice little place for him to retire on. He got released early for good behavior." He looked at his watch. "Better strap yourself in. We're about to land," he said as he fastened his safety harness.

Minutes later, Jill did the same.

(*&

Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland

The C-130J Super Hercules landed with a slight bump. Minutes later, the massive plane entered a hangar, where it slowed to a stop, the hangar's doors closing behind the plane. The Super Hercules' rear ramp slowly opened, allowing Chris and Jill to finally disembark from their flight.

"I hope you got a car or something," Jill muttered as she shouldered her duffel bag.

"You big baby," Chris teased as he took Jill's bag and shouldered it. "Come on. It's outside."

Outside, parked in a parking space, was Chris's ride. Since his pickup was atomized when Raccoon City disappeared in a mushroom cloud half a year earlier, Chris had to procure a new vehicle. Parked in the parking space, was a black, government-issue, four-door Chevrolet Tahoe.

Jill let out a low whistle. "Nice ride. Government issue?”

“Yeah,” Chris replied. “Picked it up at a car auction. They were selling government vehicles as surplus, so I took advantage.”

“Since we're filthy rich, do I get one?" Jill asked.

Chris tossed Jill's bag into the back seat. "It's waiting for you at the house." He opened the passenger door. “After you, Lieutenant.”

Jill stepped inside. “Thank you, Captain.”

&^%

Being an officer of the U.S. Military had its perks. One of which was on-base housing. The enlisted personnel either stayed in apartments or dorms, while the officers resided in single and two-story houses.

Chris was fortunate enough to land a nice two-story home on base, located in the officers' section. This he acquired while Jill was away at officer candidate school. It was smaller than his old place back in Raccoon City, but Chris wasn't one to complain. The house was nice. Aside from Chris and Jill, Claire also stayed in the place, since Chris had labeled her as a dependent. Whenever she wasn't with her brother, she was reconnecting with Leon.

Jill removed her beret and ran her fingers through her hair. “Finally...I thought that OCS would never end,” she said. “And I thought S.T.A.R.S. training was bad.”

“It wasn't that bad,” Chris dryly noted. “You got off lucky, with me telling you what to expect, Little Miss Super Soldier. Oh, and Colonel Graham sends his congratulations to you as well. We got the week off, but come Monday, we got to hit the ground running.”

Chris pulled his truck into a quiet neighborhood. After passing five houses, he pulled into the driveway of the sixth house, the SUV pulling to a stop beside a car, which was concealed under a piece of tarp.

Chris cut the engine just as Jill hopped out of the SUV. Walking over to the vehicle, she grabbed a double handful of the tarp and yanked it off. Whatever was underneath it had made Jill squeal in delight, like a kid at Christmas.

It was a slick, dark blue 1967 Chevrolet Camaro, the front license plate reading VALENTINE.

“This is mine?” she asked as she walked in a complete circle around her new vehicle.

Chris responded by throwing her the Camaro's keys. Jill caught them with one hand. “It's yours. Consider this your graduation present. I bought it at a police auction. Of course, I've taken a couple of liberties with it. Safety glass, the chassis is bulletproof, reinforced suspension, turbo engine, that sort of thing, since you drive like a stuntman. Same with my truck here. Just in case Umbrella sends a couple of gunmen at our doorstep. You always did have a passion for muscle cars."

Jill's response to her husband's graduation gift was another world-class glomp. “Thank you!” she squealed.

“Before you get any ideas, Lieutenant,” Chris interjected, “you should check out your new home.”

Torn between taking her new toy out for a test drive and resting from nearly fourteen weeks of hell, the latter won out. Sighing in defeat, Jill spared her car one final glance before following Chris inside the house. The house was smaller than the Redfield home back in the now-destroyed Raccoon City, but looked comfortable. Chris made sure of that.

Jill was impressed. “Nice place, Captain,” she remarked as she removed her beret and placed it on the coffee table...right next to a small wooden box with her name on it. Jill saw that the return address was from the Kendo Gun Shop in New Raccoon City.

Jill read the label. “New Raccoon City?”

“Oh, yeah,” Chris said as he sat down next to his wife. “While you were away, the city council in Exeter voted to change the name to New Raccoon City to honor its sister city. Open it.”

Jill opened the box and gasped as to what was inside.

A brand-new Beretta handgun, matte-black. Jill could recognize Joe Kendo's work anywhere.

“The military uses Berettas as their sidearms,” Chris explained as Jill picked up her handgun. “But you already knew that. The S.T.A.R.S. were issued civilian models. This is pure military hardware.” He gestured to the gun. “That is the Beretta M9 Custom, a much better improvement over the M92FS.”

Jill was busy inspecting the gun. With practiced ease, she pulled the slide back, then snapped it back into place.

“I managed to procure two of them and has them shipped to Kendo,” Chris continued. “I already got mine. Like mine, I got your gun modified to meet your specifications. It's basically the same as your old Beretta back in Raccoon, but with one major difference. Aside from the standard nine-mil Luger rounds, they can also fire .45 caliber rounds as well in a eleven-round clip. Check out the engraving on the slide.”

Jill brought the weapon to the light, so she can read the engraving.

SAMURAI EDGE MARK II – KENDO GUN SHOP, NEW RACCOON CITY

“One thing about Kendo,” Chris noted. “He sure as hell makes some good firearms. I told him that you lost your Samurai Edge back in Raccoon, and that you needed a replacement. This is the next-generation Samurai Edge. Like the first one, she'll fire straight and true.”

Jill noticed the scrap sheet of paper inside the empty box. It was a note, addressed to her, from Kendo. It said:

Lieutenant Valentine, Consider this a graduation gift. Joe Kendo

Jill smiled as she placed her Samurai Edge back inside its box.

"Master bedroom's the last door on the right," Chris said as he pointed to the stairs. "Go on and get your stuff squared away. I'll be here when you're finished."

Jill nodded as she picked up her duffel bag and disappeared up the stairs.

*&^

Inside the master bedroom, Jill unpacked her clothes and placed them in the empty drawers Chris had left for her. Once she was done unpacking, Jill had changed out of the combat fatigues and into some more casual attire, and sat down on the edge of the bed, and took a moment to reflect on the events that had transpired.

She had gone from being an reformed thief, to being an ex-Army enlistee, to being an ex-S.T.A.R.S. member who had narrowly survived a horrific experience that would have made George Romero proud.

And now, she was an officer in the Air Force, working alongside her husband in the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations, who in turn was part of the anti-Umbrella movement that was picking up steam.

Jill looked at the photo on the nightstand. When Chris had made his final departure from Raccoon City, he had managed to save the majority of the photos onto his laptop, including those of his family. The photo on the nightstand was that of herself and Chris, taken shortly before the 'cannibal murders.'

Jill smiled at the photo. Both of them were in their S.T.A.R.S. uniforms, Jill's beret was on Chris's head as part of a playful gesture on her end.

'Seems like a lifetime ago,' Jill thought. 'What's this?'

Next to the photo, was a folded piece of cloth. Upon unfolding it, Jill saw that it was her old set of lockpicks. She also noticed that the nightstand drawer was locked when she tried to open it.

Her curiosity getting the best of her, Jill picked out two of the small metallic pieces and went to work. In five seconds, the soft CLICK was heard, signaling to her that she had unlocked the nightstand drawer.

'I still got it,' Jill beamed inwardly as she opened the drawer.

Inside was a laptop - a blue Sony VAIO, brand new. There was a note attached to it as Jill picked it up from its resting place.

For you, Jill. I knew you couldn't resist. Chris.

Jill smiled inwardly. Chris knew her all to well. All he had to do was to stoke her curiosity and she would do the rest. Placing the laptop on the bed, she retrieved her dress uniform and opened the closet, only to receive another surprise.

Inside the closet, was her old S.T.A.R.S. uniform. The short-sleeved blue shirt with the shoulder harnesses, the blue combat pants on hangers, and her pair of spit-shined boots rested nearby on the floor. Her beret, sadly, she had left behind and was incinerated when Raccoon went up in smoke.

Jill regarded her old uniform for a moment. The local dry cleaners had burned down back in Raccoon City, forcing the R.P.D. to have their uniforms cleaned at the dry cleaners in Stone Ville. Barry had retrieved their uniforms shortly after the destruction and had kept them for Chris and Jill.

Deciding that she had kept her husband waiting long enough, Jill returned downstairs.

&^%

“When did you decide to take my last name?” Chris asked as he and Jill sat on the sofa.

“Before OCS,” Jill replied. “I know I said that I would keep my last name, but having a double-barreled surname didn't sound as bad. This way, I can still use my maiden name, while on paper, I'm known as Jillianne Valentine-Redfield.”

“That's a mouthful,” Chris replied.

“Where's Claire?”

“Hanging around with Leon,” Chris replied as he picked up Jill's keys. “Feel like taking your toy for a test drive? There's a deserted runway that some of the teenagers and most of the enlisted gearheads use to drag race.”

Jill smiled at the suggestion.

&^%

At a deserted hangar, Chris was on the phone with Barry.

“I take it Jill's back?” Barry asked.

Chris nodded. “Yup. We're at the old runway. Jill's testing out her Camaro.”

“And how does she like her new car?”

Upon hearing the unmistakable sound of a car engine being revved, Chris took the phone from his ear and stretched it outward. At that moment, the Camaro screamed passed, with Jill shouting out “YAAAA-HOOOO!!” as she passed.

“Yeah. She most definitely loves her toy,” Chris said. “She's been going at it for an hour and a half now.”

“When she's finished with her stunt-driving routine, have her come by the house. Kathy and Claire's finished with the preparations for the surprise party.”

“I will,” Chris replied.

*&^

Barry's cover was that he was a civilian contractor working on the base. In truth, he was also part of the anti-Umbrella faction under Colonel Graham's authority. Rather than base housing, he lived on the same street as Chris – five houses down from his, thanks to Colonel Graham.

So imagine Jill's shock when she entered Barry's home and found that there was a surprise party prepared just for her. The Burton family were present, as were Leon, and Claire.

While Leon, Chris and Barry chatted, Kathy was looking after Moira and Pollyanne, allowing Claire and Jill to sit down and talk.

“Chris said that you took on his last name,” Claire said. “So...is it Lieutenant Redfield or Lieutenant Valentine?”

“Lieutenant Valentine will do,” her sister-in-law replied. “But like I told Chris, officially I'm Jill Valentine-Redfield, but I still go by my maiden name. Chris said you were back in school.”

Claire nodded. “Even with all that has been happening, he is still adamant that I continue my education. I've been attending school under my mom's maiden name, to throw Umbrella off. And after that, I head either for Leon's place or head straight back home.”

“You're still mad about me and Chris getting married?”

“A little. But Chris is the happiest I've seen him in a long time, despite everything that's happened.”

“Gotta admit that your brother is not a boring person to be around, though. So what's been going on with you and Leon? Chris told me that you two had started dating.”

Claire nodded. “About three months. I asked him out,” she admitted. “Even after all this time, I still think that this is all a bad dream, with Raccoon City and Rockfort Island.”

Jill nodded. “On top of that, Wesker's running loose somewhere.” She shuddered mentally as she remembered the near-death experiences she experienced, both in the Spencer Mansion and in the final days of Raccoon City. Almost unconsciously, her hand gently touched her shoulder, the near-lethal memento given to her by the Nemesis.

“You okay?” Claire asked.

Jill nodded as she removed her hand. “Yeah. I'm good. I just know that the war is far from over. It's only the beginning.”

“Never was really used to fighting,” Claire said. “But the people who are exposed to the virus suffer the most. If it wasn't for my brother's persistence in me learning how to defend myself, I would have been killed in either Raccoon or Rockfort Island.”

Jill looked at Chris, who was still talking with Barry and Leon. “So true. Did Chris tell you about what had happened with us inside the Spencer Estate?”

“Bits and pieces. Why?”

“Turns out that I have a personal connection with Umbrella. Wesker told us back inside the Spencer Labs.” And Jill told her. She also told her about her near-death experience back in Raccoon City, and of how Carlos saved her life.

“Whoa,” Claire said. “So that makes you what, the original super-soldier?”

Jill nodded. “Chris said the same thing. But from what you and Chris told me, Wesker is a lot worse.”

Claire frowned, remembering her run-in with the former S.T.A.R.S. Commander back on Rockfort Island. “You have no idea. Chris barely survived against him, and Wesker's a lot tougher than two Hunters.”

“So I've heard.”

“You think Wesker's gonna try and sneak onto the base to take a stab at the both of you, let alone the rest of us?” Claire asked.

“I asked Chris the same thing,” Jill replied. “And so far, we're safe. Andrews is where Air Force One is being kept under heavy guard, and Umbrella's stateside operations are already feeling the heat. What's happened in Raccoon City has been leaked out, thanks to Alyssa and several others who survived.”

While Jill was away at Officer Candidate School, Chris had wrote to her, saying that Alyssa and seven others had survived Raccoon City, but most had gone underground. While Chris and Jill were raiding the Caliban Cove facility, Alyssa and a former Umbrella employee – a girl named Yoko Suzuki – leaked out what had happened during the citywide outbreak in Raccoon. This Chris knew, as he was the one who debriefed Alyssa and Yoko while Jill was away. Alyssa, Yoko and the other five were placed in the federal protection program for their safety.

“Second, you gotta keep your base ID on you at all times,” Jill continued. “Otherwise, you may attract unwanted attention from the military police here.”

“That I already know. Leon's got a visitor's pass thanks to Graham himself, so he's okay. Barry and his family are covered.”

“And no one knows we're here. Not Umbrella, and especially not Wesker. Chris reassured me that he covered our tracks as well. Besides, I think Wesker's the greater threat for Umbrella, rather than us. And believe me when I tell you this, but this war against Umbrella is just the beginning.

Next Chapter: Chris, Jill and Barry head for Europe to meet with a former Umbrella employee. Zombies on a plane. Jill and Chris' ex-fiancee meet for the first time.

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