16: Sherry Moves In
Chapter Sixteen: Sherry Moves In
Returning home with their prized witness (and for Barry, the Raging Bull as promised by Melanie), Graham had given the three heroes time to rest and recuperate. HUNK, in the meantime, was questioned by the U.S. Government in regards to Umbrella's viral and bioweapons programs. As promised, he was given immunity from prosecution and was assigned to the Anti-Umbrella forces under Graham.
The evidence that they had pilfered from the destroyed Loire Village facility had been a crushing blow to Umbrella, but the conglomerate remained strong. It would take a lot more than that to destroy Umbrella. Chris and Jill knew that Umbrella had their hooks in real deep and it would be months, if not years before Umbrella would fall.
One week after the mission into France...
With no missions on the board, Chris, Jill and HUNK were in the workout room alongside Barry and Colonel Graham. HUNK and Jill were sparring on the mat, Barry was working the weights, and Graham was watching Jill fight HUNK alongside Chris. Chris and Graham had fought earlier, and for an older man, he still could beat Chris six falls out of ten.
“You taught her well,” Graham noted. “Being a teacher suits you.”
“You rubbed off on me, sir,” Chris admitted. “Jill was the second person I taught how to survive. Claire was the first.”
“And because of your training, they survived Raccoon City,” Graham noted.
Chris nodded as he watched Jill move in for the kill. Ducking under HUNK's punch, she elbowed him in the torso, knocking the air out of his lungs, before grabbing his wrist and followed through with the hand-less somersault takedown which Chris had dubbed the 'Valentine Special.'
HUNK found himself face down, arm wrenched behind his back and Jill's knee pressed against his neck. Chris winced in sympathy. During his time as a member of the Raccoon Police Department, he found himself pinned by that same move a couple of times following their first match.
HUNK quickly tapped out, and Jill released him. The former Umbrella stormtrooper accepted Jill's hand and allowed her to help him to her feet. Ever since the mission into France, HUNK had to admit that Jill and Chris especially had earned his respect. He had seen and even read the reports in regards to 'Project Valentine,' and knew that she was tough, given how she survived the Spencer Mansion and Raccoon City.
“Most impressive, Lieutentant,” Graham complimented.
“Wouldn't say that, sir,” Jill admitted. “HUNK kept me on my toes, and there were plenty of tight spots in the match. It was a hard-fought victory.”
HUNK rubbed the back of his sore neck. "At least she is modest about it," he mumbled. "If you want, I can teach you and Chris some stealth techniques. Umbrella won't expect someone the likes of you to master the art of the stealth kill."
"The idea does have merit," Chris replied. "We'll get back to you on that."
HUNK nodded and took his leave. As he was heading for the locker rooms to clean up, a woman entered the fitness center. A redhead, late twenties, dressed like a businesswoman. In one hand, was a briefcase. The woman looked around, before she found who she was looking for: Roland Graham.
The woman walked over to Graham and his two subordinates. "Can I help you?" Graham asked, eyeing the woman with what amount to suspicion.
The woman spoke with a clear Harvard accent. "Colonel Roland Graham?" she asked.
"I'm looking for two of your subordinates. Captain Christopher Redfield and Lieutenant Jillianne Valentine."
Jill frowned upon hearing her full name spoken like that.
Graham jerked one thumb in their direction. "You found them," he replied. "And you are?"
"Oh, sorry about that. Sylvia Montgomery, public relations officer for the Global Pharmaceutical Consortium." She then turned to Chris and Jill. After sizing them up, she remarked, "You two are not what I entirely expected from someone who survived Umbrella's bioweapons."
"We get that a lot," Chris replied mildly. "So what does the G.P.C. want with us?"
"As you probably know, the American Government and the Consortium are spearheading an investigation into the incident in Raccoon City, as well as the incidents at the Spencer Estate and the Umbrella Training Facility."
"Yeah, the Raccoon City Biohazard Commission," Jill said. "Chris and I were talking about that earlier. What does this have to do with us?"
"Well, Lieutenant, seeing as how your husband, Mr. Burton, Lieutenant Chambers and yourself are the remaining surviving members of the R.P.D. S.T.A.R.S. Unit..." she paused for a moment to retrieve several summons. "...not to mention that you have firsthand knowledge on Umbrella's bioweapons, you are hereby summoned to the hearings. No need to worry, no one from Umbrella will attend this meeting. No press. This is behind closed doors."
She handed the subpoenas to Graham before turning to Chris and Jill. "The meeting are inside the Capitol, one week from now, at 10:00. a.m. We also got some Special Forces survivors who survived Raccoon City also attending. Who knows, you might trade stories and the like." Her expression then grew serious. "Whether you like it or not, you people are unofficially the chief authority in Umbrella's bioweapons program. We need to know what we are dealing with so that the Consortium and the world's governments can take the necessary action needed in regards to Umbrella."
"I'll make sure that they will be there," Graham said.
After Sylvia had taken her leave, Graham handed over the subpoenas to Chris and Jill. Chris and Jill inspected the ones with their names on it.
Graham then snapped his fingers. "I almost forgot. I got a call from my contacts. The girl that Claire asked about - the Birkin girl - has been found. She's safe and healthy.”
Chris nodded. “Claire will be pleased to find that out.”
“Of course Claire can't legally adopt her...” Graham began.
“...but we can,” Jill finished.
“So you two agree to this? You will take the girl as your ward?” Graham asked.
“Jill, Claire and I talked about this,” Chris replied. “And it's the best course of action. I know how it feels to be put through the system. It was only dumb luck that I was able to get Claire as my ward when our parents died.”
“No. You just know how to exploit the system,” Graham deadpanned.
“That too, sir. I'll tell Claire. When can we expect Sherry?”
"She will arrive tomorrow."
Redfield Home, Andrews Air Force Base.
A day had passed since Chris got word about Sherry's whereabouts. Upon hearing the news from her brother, Claire had been on edge, something that was very unusual for the younger sister of Chris Redfield. The last time she was on edge was shortly before she ventured into Raccoon City.
Leon had also been notified, and was at the moment, trying to calm his girlfriend down as she paced the driveway. Watching the couple, were Chris and Jill. Following a day working at the Office of Special Investigations, Chris and Jill received word that Sherry had arrived in D.C., and that she would be personally escorted to their home on Andrews.
Chris was very thorough when it came to his safety, as well as his wife's as well as his sister's. With the Wolfpack hunting for them and Wesker doing God knows what, Chris was not taking any chances. The house they lived in on Andrews was in his mother's maiden name. Since Umbrella only knew that his mother had taken his father's surname when she married him and that her original records were back in Denmark, they were safe. Their personal files had been retrieved on Graham's orders following Raccoon's destruction from the archives' offices in Denver, making things hard for Umbrella if they tried to track them down.
The last time Claire had seen Sherry, was back in Raccoon City, where both herself and Leon had parted under less than friendly terms, leaving Sherry in his care as she continued her search for Chris. Now, they had reconciled following their reunion back in Sydney.
A government car pulled up to the driveway - a four-door sedan, dark blue, complete with U.S. Government license plates. The vehicle came to a halt. From the driver's side stepped out a Air Force judge advocate, the military equivalent of a civilian-level lawyer, while a representative from the state's social services office came out of the passenger side.
But more importantly, out of the back seat, stepped out a twelve-year-old girl wearing a simple T-shirt, pants and shoes. The red vest that was given to her was also on her back.
Claire recognized her immediately. "Sherry!"
Sherry recognized her as well. "Claire!"
The preteen nearly knocked Claire over as she embraced the older woman in a bear hug. Claire returned the hug in earnest.
Meanwhile, Chris and Jill were dealing with the social worker and the judge advocate.
"This is a good thing the both of you are doing," the case worker said as the judge advocate handed Chris the legal documents which made the orphaned girl their ward. "Taking in your niece under such unusual circumstances."
Chris and Jill of course, played along with the ploy. "It's the least we can do," Jill replied. "I never got along with my sister-in-law, but Sherry would be better off in a stable home rather than at an orphanage."
Of course Claire was still technically a minor at nineteen, leaving both Chris and Jill to assume the role of guardians to Sherry. Jill had her concerns in regards to letting the sole survivor of the Birkin family stay with them, but Chris was sympathetic to Sherry's plight. After all, both Chris and Claire had lost their parents at a young age, Claire herself was about Sherry's age when their parents had died.
Sherry had only a sports bag and a knapsack with her, the judge advocate having retrieved the items from the trunk of the car before both him and the case worker departed from the home.
It was at that moment, Claire remembered her brother and sister-in-law were standing behind them. Turning back to Sherry, Claire said, "Come on, Sherry, I want you to meet some people." She pointed to Chris. "This is my older brother, Chris."
Chris smiled in greeting.
"And this is his wife, Jill," Claire concluded.
"Hello," Jill greeted.
Sherry looked at the couple before hiding behind Claire's legs. Giving her brother and sister-in-law an apologetic smile, Claire said, "She's still a bit shy."
"No problem," Chris replied. "Nothing that a bowl of vanilla ice cream can't fix."
That definitely caught Sherry's attention. She poked her head out from Claire's legs. "Ice cream? Where?"
"Let's get you settled in," Chris said, as Leon picked up Sherry's bags. "Then we'll fix you a bowl."
"Okay," Sherry replied as Claire led the girl into the house, followed by Leon.
"What?" Chris said as Jill looked at him, amazed at how he was able to crack Sherry's shell. "It worked when Claire was younger."
Sherry was fast asleep in Claire's room. The bedroom contained twin beds, so Sherry simply claimed one for herself.
Claire watched her sleep from the hallway. After a few moments, she left the child alone and returned to the living room, where Chris, Jill and Leon waited for her.
"She's sleeping," Claire reported as she took a seat on the love seat next to Leon.
"Good to hear," Jill said. "So what's her story?"
"Like yourself, Leon and me, Sherry's a survivor of Raccoon City," Claire explained. "She's the daughter of Umbrella scientists William and Annette Birkin."
"I met Birkin himself back in Raccoon," Chris explained. "On the day Jill and I thwarted the robbery at the bank. I left my keys inside the office and when I retrieved them, he was talking with Wesker. He even offered me a job with Umbrella because of me being a former prodigy."
"We also met Birkin back in Raccoon City," Leon said. "Only he wasn't human."
This catches Chris and Jill's attention. They both remembered HUNK mentioning that his unit was dispatched to Raccoon to steal Birkin's G-virus for the now-deceased Director Henri, only to leave him mortally wounded. Birkin then injected himself with the G-virus and hunted down HUNK's commando team. HUNK was the sole survivor, proving that nickname of his was no fluke.
Chris and Jill also knew that from Claire that it was Birkin that tried to kill both Claire and Leon. Leon reported that Ben Bertolucci, one of Alyssa Ashcroft's coworkers from the Raccoon Press, was literally gutted by Birkin himself.
"So how did you two meet Sherry?" Chris asked.
"It was back in Raccoon. Leon and I were there the same time Jill was hiding out inside the clock tower," Claire began. "She was being chased by one of the zombified cops outside the S.T.A.R.S. Office and she ran into Leon. I guess she thought he was a zombie when she saw the uniform and ran off."
Raccoon Police Department, Raccoon City.
'Geeze,' Leon thought as the girl got away from him. 'She's pretty fast.'
The door was nailed shut, so there was no way that Leon could follow her. 'Hope Claire made it to the station,' he thought as he turned from the door and walked down the corridor.
His thoughts were answered when Claire entered the room. The Browning was tucked inside her belt. In her hands, she was holding what appeared to be a Vietnam-style grenade launcher. Slung over one shoulder was a satchel containing some ammo.
Leon breathed a sigh of relief. Claire was still alive. "You made it," Leon said.
Claire nodded. "Have you seen a little girl around here?"
Leon nodded. "You just missed her. Any ideas as to who she is?"
Claire shook her head. "No clue, but it's too dangerous for her to wander around here alone. You find us a way out of here, Leon. I'll search for the girl."
Leon nodded. "Okay." He then reached into his back pocket and pulled out a radio he had pilfered from one of the dead cops. "Take this radio. That way we can keep in touch if something comes up."
Claire accepted the radio. "Okay. Take care of yourself, Leon."
"You too, Claire."
"I found Chief Irons inside his office," Claire continued. "The fucking bastard had lost his mind. He even killed Mayor Warren's daughter. I found her body sprawled across his desk inside his office. I found Sherry hiding inside Irons' private art room near his office."
Tracking down the girl was easy enough. Claire had her cornered inside one of the back rooms near Irons' office. Flipping on a light, Claire found the same girl that had given both her and Leon the slip hiding in the far corner.
"Waahh!" the girl yelped as she attempted to run past Claire, only to have the older woman grab her wrist.
"Wait!" Claire said, holding on to the girl's arm.
The younger girl tried to pry her hand free, but it was no good. "Let go of me!"
"Calm down, kid. Easy! I'm not a zombie!" Claire said. "You're safe now."
When it became clear that Claire was telling the truth, the girl stopped struggling. Almost immediately, the girl wrapped her arms around Claire's waist, sobbing softly as Claire patted her head with her free hand, whispering words of comfort to the girl.
Claire gently pried herself from the girl so that she could crouch to one knee, allowing herself to be at the girl's eye level. "I'm Claire. What's your name?"
"Sherry," the girl introduced herself. "Sherry Birkin."
"Where are your parents, Sherry?"
"They work at the Umbrella chemical plant outside the city," Sherry explained.
"The chemical plant? Then why are you here?"
"Mom called me a couple of days ago, and said that it was too dangerous to stay at home. She told me to come to the police station where it was safe."
"Looks like your mother was right," Claire replied. "But it's dangerous here too. You should stick with me."
"But...there's something out there, Claire," Sherry said, taking several steps back. "A monster! It's coming after me! And it's larger than any of those zombies! I saw it!"
"What are you..." Claire began, only to be cut off by a incredibly loud, yet inhuman scream that chilled her to the very bone. "What was that?" she gasped.
"It's the monster I was telling you about!" Sherry shouted as she ran. "It's here!"
"H-hey! Sherry, wait!" Claire shouted.
But it was no use. Sherry was out the door and gone.
"As it turned out," Leon continued, "the monster in question was her father, mutated by the G-virus."
"Sherry and I ended up separated when we escaped into the sewers," Claire said. "Birkin found his daughter and impregnated her."
"How?" Jill asked.
"I got the complete story from Annette when I was searching for Sherry down in the sewers," Claire said. "She told me what the G-virus was capable of."
Raccoon Sewer System, beneath Raccoon City.
As soon as Claire entered the main area of the sewer system, she found herself looking down the barrel of a handgun.
"Oh, shit," the female Redfield muttered as she looked at the somewhat deranged blonde woman in the lab coat.
"Well, well," Annette Birkin drawled. "Looks like I caught another Umbrella spy. You're here for the G-virus, right? Forget it. I'm not handing over my husband's life work."
Something then clicked inside Claire's head. she found several documents inside Irons' office in which Birkin's name was mentioned. Irons himself even verified that Birkin was Sherry's father and that he was the creator of the G-virus.
"Husband..." Claire repeated. "So you're Annette Birkin...Sherry's mother."
That caught Annette's attention. "How...how do you...?"
Claire cut her off. "Sherry's somewhere in the sewers. You got to help me find her!"
"No...impossible!" Annette rebuked. "She's supposed to be at the police station! What is she doing down here?
“The police station was overrun,” Claire replied. “It wasn't safe. Sherry and I got separated after we escaped.”
“If William finds out she is here, then he will be after her!"
"William? Your husband? What does he have to do with all of this?" Claire demanded.
"The monster that is responsible for this death and destruction is...well, was my husband, William Birkin. Umbrella sent a crack squad of special force troops to his laboratory underneath the city to steal the G-virus samples from him. Not only did they retrieve the samples as well as several samples of the T-virus, they gunned him down. He had a hidden sample of the G-virus on him. He used it on himself in order to keep himself from dying."
"Wait...you're telling me that he injected the G-virus into his own body?" Claire asked.
Annette nodded. "The G-virus has the ability to not only revitalize cellular function, but to also mutate the living cells. William transformed into a monster and hunted down those Umbrella bastards who tried to kill him. In his rage, he also destroyed the case containing the viruses, including those containing the T-virus. As a result of his mutation, William should have lost all of his memories he had as a human. Even worse, every carrier has the ability to create offspring."
"By implanting embryos into other life forms," Annette explained. "If a body with non-related genetic coding is rejected, that person will suffer an excruciating death. That is why he is after Sherry."
From somewhere within the sewers, the two women heard Sherry scream.
"Oh no...Sherry!" Annette gasped.
"We'll split up!" Claire shouted. "You go that way!" she said, pointing to the door she just came through.
"William did implant Sherry with one of his embryos," Claire explained. "Before Annette died, she managed to give me the info needed to create the vaccine for Sherry. Leon picked her up and carried her to the train while I synthesized the vaccine. Birkin, however, just didn't know how to stay down. Leon and I ran into him on several occasions, each form more stronger than the last. I thought I had killed him, but somehow he managed to get onboard the escape train, triggering its self-destruct sequence. Leon managed to do enough damage to slow him down, but he kept on coming..."
After narrowly escaping the mutated monstronsity that was William Birkin, Leon tried to open the door leading to the first car, but it was locked. "Claire! Stop the train!" he shouted.
Claire also tried to open the door from her end, only to find that it was locked. "It's locked! The door won't open!"
Behind Leon, the hydraulic door slid open, and Birkin's bloblike form began to seep through, forcing Leon to climb to the roof to avoid getting killed. But several of his tentacles followed him.
"Fuckin' wonderful," Leon muttered as he crawled towards the front.
Back inside, Claire began to back from the door as Birkin's tentacles began to slam into the door.
Claire spun around "Sherry, get back!"
The sole survivor of the Birkin family nodded and ran to the opposite end of the car. Sherry let out a scream and ducked her head as her mutated father made a huge dent into the door.
With a roar, Birkin had knocked the door off its hinges and slowly began to push his way inside. "Now that's what I call ugly," Claire muttered.
Before she could ponder what had happened to Leon, she heard something clatter from behind her. Upon turning around, Claire saw that Sherry had kicked the control room's grate in and was crawling inside.
"Sherry?! What are you doing?!" Claire shouted.
"We gotta stop the train, right?" was Sherry's reply. "I can do it!"
"B-but..." Claire stuttered. Remembering that Birkin was there, she turned to face the monster. Birkin's mass has already engulfed her Ingram submachine gun, leaving her with her knife. Then she looked down, and saw that she could make her own escape through the floor. Deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, Claire yanked the grate off and slid through the hole in the floor.
Sherry, in the meantime, was looking over the control panel. "Okay...where's the right switch?"
A whoosh of air from above turned Sherry's head. Leon had pried open the hatch above her. "Leon!"
"Sherry! The switch next to the door! Push it!" the R.P.D. officer shouted.
Sherry saw the button labeled EMERGENCY BRAKE and slammed her hand on the button. With a loud screeching sound, the transport came to a halt. Once the train had stopped, Leon had helped Sherry out of the control room, despite the pain in his shoulder.
Once they were on the ground, Leon checked Sherry for any injuries. "You okay?" he asked.
"I'm fine," the girl replied. "Where's Claire?"
Claire made her presence known by rolling from underneath the train. "Over here."
"Claire!" Sherry exclaimed, happy to see the older woman alive.
Claire got to her feet, as Leon looked at his watch. "We gotta move! We got less than 20 seconds! GO!"
The three survivors made a break for the tunnel exit. Sherry stumbled to the ground, but Claire and Leon quickly picked the girl up and took off yet again. They had barely cleared the entrance when...
BOOM! BOOM! KA-BOOM!
The three Raccoon survivors were thrown off their feet from the force of the explosions. William Birkin was finally dead, the three survivors triumphant.
It was finally over.
“After that, we went our separate ways,” Leon concluded. “It's funny. I should have died back in Raccoon.”
“How so?” Jill asked.
“I was late to the job,” Leon admitted. “I was supposed to have been in Raccoon City earlier that day on the 29th of September, but I overslept, having broke up with Kate the day before. Had I arrived earlier that day, I would have more than likely been killed.”
“At least your ex didn't cheat on you, stole most of your cash and ran off with a plastic surgeon,” Chris said. “Mine did.”
“And she was in Raccoon during the outbreak,” Claire said. “I ended up putting her down when I found her as a zombie.”
“Why become a cop?” Jill asked.
“I grew up in a family of criminals,” Leon explained. “My family was a bunch of misfits and fuck-ups, Dad especially. After losing several relatives, I wanted to make something out of myself. The last thing I was expecting was to be caught up in this whole mess.”
Claire placed her hand over Leon's. “I think it's safe to say that none of us were.”
The Raccoon City Commission, inside the U.S. Capitol.
The Raccoon City Commission: a joint Senate-Consortium hearing regarding the outbreak in Raccoon City, the incidents at the Spencer Mansion and the Training Facility, as well as showing the nuclear destruction of Raccoon City via satellite, with a vice admiral going through the details of the operation as it played out on a flat-screen television set.
As expected, the four surviving S.T.A.R.S. had came to deliver their dispositions and to answer any and all questions asked by the committee. The pilfered documents from their mission into Europe were copied and delivered to the committee the night before, with Graham and the Anti-Umbrella forces keeping the master copies.
Leaving Sherry in the care of Kathy Burton, the surviving S.T.A.R.S. faced the committee.
At a long table facing the Senate and Consortium members, Chris Redfield, Jill Valentine, Barry Burton and Rebecca Chambers sat, With the exception of Barry, Chris, Jill and Rebecca were each dressed in their formal Air Force uniforms, while Barry was dressed in a suit.
“Raccoon City, zero-six-hundred hours,” the vice admiral began. “As per the orders of President Williams, a single F-14 was scrambled from Naval Air Station Fallon one hour earlier, armed with a Tomahawk cruise missile with a 7-kiloton nuclear-tipped warhead. The warhead was deployed from the F-14 at approximately zero six-nineteen. Air-burst detonation over the downtown area forty-five seconds later.”
The video feed showed the missile detonating over City Hall and the Raccoon Press. Chris felt Jill's hand tighten into his as she watched the destruction of what was once their home. Behind them, Claire Redfield looked physically ill. The blast wave expanded, destroying the city and everything in its path. The Raccoon Police Department was obliterated in the blast wave. Chris and Jill also mentally pointed out key places in Raccoon that were destroyed as the firestorm expanded from the city to the forest.
The image then changed from the detonation to that of the aftermath. The anti-nuclear activists called Raccoon 'America's Hiroshima,' and in some cases, they were right. But they were not getting the entire story.
“Raccoon City, three weeks after detonation,” the admiral continued. “The warhead had done its job in eradicating the outbreak and containing it. Working in tandem with the Army and Marine Corps, we sent in search-and-destroy teams, as well as conducting rescue operations for any survivors.” He paused for a moment. “Upon reaching the site of the old Raccoon Police Department...we found bodies in the basement area. The people, having gone to the police station for protection in the final moments before the missile had hit, had ran out of air and suffocated from the lack of oxygen.”
No one noticed Claire excusing herself from the chambers. She had to find a bathroom. Fast. Leon did, however, and took off after her.
The retching sounds coming from the womens' restroom were all that Leon needed to hear. He had found Claire. The former police officer waited for several minutes until Claire finally emerged from the restroom, looking slightly pale. Outside, Leon and Claire could hear a protest rally going on in front of the steps.
“You okay?” Leon asked.
“Ask me in an hour,” Claire grumbled.
Back inside, the hearings continued. This time, Chris, Jill and Barry were giving their dispositions to the committee.
The two most senior members sitting on the side of the Consortium were Sachiko Kobayashi, chief science officer from Takara Pharmaceutical Incorporated, its headquarters being that in Kyoto, and Franklin Richards, chief operations officer for Falcon Medical Conglomerate, its headquarters was in the D.C. Area.
Sachiko was in her mid-thirties, American-educated with a degree in science. She was scouted by Umbrella, but opted to a post with Takara Inc, as it would move her back home. She had beauty and the brains to match, which made her the obvious choice for the Consortium in choosing her for the commission. She was formal and professional.
Franklin was a second-generation employee with Falcon Medical, his mother having worked there as a medical officer. A nineteen-year employee, he had worked his way up the ranks, having been recruited from university as Sachiko had been. Franklin was more laid back than Sachiko, but can get serious when the occasion called for it. He had a personal reason as to why he was chosen for this hearing, as his in-laws were in Raccoon City days before the outbreak went critical.
Franklin's in-laws were lucky. They had left the city before things had went straight to hell.
Aside from Kobayashi and Franklin, there were four others who had sat on the committee; a third member from the consortium (who was not from Umbrella), and three U.S. Senators. There were no cameras, no news reporters...save for Alyssa Ashcroft and a secretary overlooking the minutes. The audience consisted of high-ranking officers from the Department of Defense and members of the Anti-Umbrella Forces from the other branches and various intelligence agencies.
“The reason why you four are here is because you are for all matters and purposes, the first and foremost authorities in regards to Umbrella's bio-weapons program,” Sachiko began. “You four are the remaining survivors of the R.P.D.'s Special Service and Tactics Service. In your case, Lieutenant Valentine, you survived not only the Spencer Mansion incident, but also the initial outbreak itself.”
And thus, the deposition began. For the next two hours, Chris, Jill, Barry and Rebecca laid it all out in detail. How the T- and G-viruses worked. Umbrella's bioweapons and the corruption which had led to Raccoon's downfall. Jill kept silent about herself being Wesker and Birkin's guinea pig regarding Project Valenitne. If the Consortium or the U.S. Government found out about that or the fact she could possibly have T-virus antibodies in her bloodstream, then she could forget about seeing the light of day.
Outside the chamber doors, the four former members of S.T.A.R.S. talked amongst each other. Claire and Leon were outside, getting some fresh air.
“That went well,” Rebecca said.
“As well as one would expect,” Barry said.
“But the million-dollar question is now what the Consortium will do?” Jill inquired. “This damns Umbrella plenty, but Umbrella still got plenty of pull and influence to be a major pain to both the Consortium and to all of us for quite a while.”
“Valentine? Specialist Valentine?”
The new voice had brought Barry's comment to a halt. Jill and the others turned to the source of the voice. It was a man, around Chris' age, with dark brown hair and matching eyes. He was not as built as Chris, but was in very good shape. He wore the officer's uniform, save that his was Army, complete with a 'Special Forces' tab on the sleeve. Like Chris, he wore the rank of Captain.
“I know that voice,” Jill said as she turned around. “Captain Jettingham.”
The man – now identified as Captain Crispin Jettingham – gave Jill the once-over, taking note of the single bar on her collar. “Well, can't call you Specialist anymore. And you're in Air Force blues.” He held his hand over his heart in an overly dramatic manner. “You truly wound me, Valentine.”
“You know this guy, Jill?” Barry asked.
Jill nodded. “He's was my former instructor back in the Army – Delta Force.”
“Formerly of Delta Force,” Jettingham corrected. “I'm with the Army's SPEC OPS Unit – Echo Six. Captain Crispin Jettingham.”
“Captain Chris Redfield, formerly of the Air Combat Unit, Air Force,” Chris responded. He introduced Rebecca and Barry. “Lieutenant Rebecca Chambers, also of the Air Force. And this is Barry Burton.”
“And formerly of the R.P.D.'s Special Tactics and Rescue Service,” Jettingham added.
“So you know about that, sir?” Jill asked.
“Of course,” the Army captain replied. “My unit was also in Raccoon City during the outbreak with orders to find evidence of Umbrella's misdeeds. We saw your group photo inside the S.T.A.R.S. Office when we passed through the R.P.D. And we also know about your exploits against Umbrella. It's public knowledge within the defense community. You four are pretty infamous in Umbrella's eyes. But why the Air Force, Jill? Here, I thought that you would reenlist back in the Army. We could have used you in Echo Six.”
“If the Army had made me an offer, then I would have, sir,” Jill replied. “Chris's former boss had beaten you to it.”
Jettingham sighed. “Oh yeah. I've heard of Graham. A real hard-ass, but a good soldier. Is their any way that I can persuade you to come back to the Army?”
“It's tempting, sir, but I can't ditch my partner, who is also my husband,” Jill replied.
Jettingham looked at Chris. “You married Valentine?”
Chris nodded. “Before I left Raccoon, Captain.”
“In any case, congrats to the both of you,” Jettingham said.
Redfield Home, later.
“I had some time to think about, you know, what I want to do when I graduate from college,” Claire began as she, Rebecca, Leon, Barry, her brother and sister-in-law sat in the living room. “Being part of the outbreaks in Raccoon City and Rockfort Island has changed my view on...everything. And from what I've seen during the hearings...”
Claire took a moment to gather her thoughts before looking at her brother and Jill. “I'm not a fighter. Not like the both of you, Leon, nor Barry. Granted that I never thought the stuff you taught me would actually help me survive Raccoon and Rockfort Island, but being a fighter is not me.”
Reaching into her back pocket, she pulled out a pamphlet and placed it on the table. “There was a group today at the hearings, conducting a protest concerning Umbrella and the previous administration's handling regarding Raccoon City. They've been around since Rockfort Island, but while you were giving your despositions to the committee, I had a talk with one of its founding members. I think I found what I am good at – being a protector, a rescuer. I showed that when I rescued Sherry from Raccoon.”
Jill picked up the pamphlet. “TerraSave?”
Claire nodded. “Yeah. TerraSave was formed in December of 1998 in the aftermath of the Raccoon incident and the resignation of President Williams by a group of student activists protecting illegal medical practices and human rights violations. I like what they are saying and given my past experiences with Umbrella, I feel like I can make a change working with them.”
Jill handed the pamphlet to Chris, who scanned it before turning towards Claire. “You're sure this is what you want to do? Working with an N.G.O.?”
Chris set the pamphlet down. “If that's what you want to do with your life, I sure as hell will not stop you. You're just as stubborn as Mom. You thought I would disapprove, didn't you?”
“The thought crossed my mind,” Claire replied mildly. “Which is why I wanted to talk to you about it.”
“Whatever you do, Claire, I will always have your back,” Chris said. “Comes with the territory of being your big brother.”
“Same here,” Jill replied. “Feel free to come to me for anything you need.”
Rebecca, Barry and Leon both nodded, showing their support for the female Redfield.
It was past midnight when Chris Redfield stumbled into the kitchen and found Leon seated at the table, deep in thought. He had originally went in for a glass of water, and found the former police officer there, brooding in deep thought. He had decided to spend the night at the Redfield home, as it past midnight.
“Something on your mind, Kennedy?” Chris asked as he poured himself a cup of water.
“I never told Claire about what had happened after she left Sherry and myself following Raccoon City,” Leon replied. “Both Sherry and myself were taken into government custody after the outbreak. They released me, but kept Sherry under government supervision. One of the conditions of my release was that I work for the U.S. Government as a federal agent.”
“So what's why you're in training, right?” Chris surmised.
Leon nodded. “I agreed only for Sherry's sake. I work for the Feds, they guarantee her safety.”
“No need for that, as she is safe with us,” Chris said. He sat down opposite Claire. “You know that I raised Claire on my own after our parents died, right?” When Leon nodded, Chris decided to continue. “My sister is very fond of you, Leon. The fact that you looked out for her in Raccoon City during the outbreak has placed you in my good graces. But I will say this once. You break my sister's heart or hurt her in any way, I'll personally see that you will wish that you did not survive Raccoon City.”
Leon slowly nodded as he met Chris's gaze with his own. “If that happens, Captain, I'll hand you the gun myself.”
“Glad we understand one another,” Chris said as he rose from his chair and walked out of the kitchen. “Good night, Leon.”
“Good night, Chris.”
The following day, Graham had summoned the four ex-S.T.A.R.S. and Mr. Death to the office for a meeting. HUNK was waiting for the quintet as they pulled up in Chris's Tahoe.
"Any idea as to why Graham wanted to see us?" Chris asked as he and the other three fell in step alongside HUNK.
"You tell me," HUNK replied. "I just got the call myself."
"I think I know what Graham wants with us," Rebecca said. "He was talking about it earlier this week. Something about a meeting with other members of the Anti-Umbrella forces."
"What are they? Air Force?" Chris asked.
Rebecca shook her head. "No. Graham told me that since this is the main headquarters of the Anti-Umbrella Investigation Team, some of the teams and a couple of agents are being reassigned here."
"The reasoning is sound," HUNK noted. "This is one of the more secure bases in the States. Umbrella is not desperate enough to raid a base where they keep Air Force One under heavy guard."
Remembering what he told Jill about Adams Air Force Base, Chris tossed his a glance as if to say, "See?"
Rounding a corner, they approached the conference room, where voices were heard inside. Jill immediately recognized one of the voices as Captain Jettingham. Graham's voice was obvious. Upon opening the double doors, they saw that it was indeed Captain Jettingham and Colonel Graham chatting with one another. But the two men were not alone.
On Jettingham's side, were five other members of his squad; two men and three women. On the other side, was a blond-haired man with stubble and seated next to him, was a man, with his uniform giving him away as being part of the Marine Corps - an officer, given he was wearing the officer's blue dress uniform; a khaki shirt and necktie, blue pants with red trim and the white peaked cap with the Marine Corps insignia on the front, his head tilted so that his eyes were not visible. His rank identified him as a lieutenant.
The first man that was on Jettingham's side was the oldest of the bunch, bald with a trimmed moustache and goatee, with everything about him that screamed 'biker.' The second was a man of African ancestry, who was reading through some documents on viral research. The first woman was Native American by her appearance, with short dark hair and a neutral expression, while the blonde and the redhead were chatting with each other over the effectiveness of explosives.
"As you are guests in my neighborhood, the proper accommodations have been made not only for your team, but for Agent McGivern and Lieutenant Coen," Graham was finishing up. "Only the best in Air Force hospitality."
Chris recognized the redhead almost immediately. "Ronson? Marissa Ronson?"
The redheaded woman turned from the blond and recognized Chris. "Heh. Christopher Redfield. I heard from Mel and Evil Ed that you were back in the Air Force."
Jettingham looked on, intrigued. "You know Ronson, Redfield?" he asked.
"She's British, loves to blow shit up, and in some cases, even more crazier than Evil Ed...I mean, Captain MacPherson. Worked with the SIS, and trained alongside Captain Jackson of the Royal Air Force," Chris explained. "Both her and Captain Jackson are longtime friends, and I met Ronson though my ex. So what brings you to my side of the pond, Ronson? You're on loan from the British?"
"Actually, Captain," Jettingham interjected. "The Army has heard of Miss Ronson's...'talents' with demolitions and has acquired her services...with a couple of incentives."
"Citizenship, a commission, that sort of thing," Ronson added.
Rebecca's eyes furrowed when she heard Graham said 'Lieutenant Coen.' She turned to the Marine. "Coen? As in Lieutenant Billy Coen?"
The Marine officer turned towards Rebecca. Imagine his shock at seeing the last face he'd expected to see. Billy let out a dry chuckle as he removed his peaked cap. The hair was cut short, down to military standards. But there was no doubt. Billy Coen was here.
"Wait a sec..." the blond man said, his Texan drawl thick in his voice. "This is the Billy Coen, the convicted murderer?"
Billy turned to the blond man. "I was cleared of all charges. I was framed. Rebecca knew because I told her. Long story short, I was framed by my squad to take the fall, convicted and sentenced to die by firing squad. Then my prison escort took a detour through Raccoon City, where I met Chambers in the midst of the outbreak at the training facility. We worked together to survive that hellish night. I had a friend who worked in NCIS who helped me clear my name."
"And your rank has been restored," Jettingham noted.
"That too," Billy added. "My record was cleared and I was given the choice to return to the Corps with my rank intact. I chose to come back to the military. As to why I am here, I was transferred to the Anti-Umbrella unit here."
Graham stood up. "What you see represent but a small fraction of the total number of the Anti-Umbrella forces. We got folks from all over; Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, even the Coast Guard. And the armed forces are not just taking part in crushing Umbrella. The Justice Department has not gotten involved. The same can be said all over the world; the European countries; Israel, even China and Japan are rallying against Umbrella. The road ahead will be hard and full of trials and tribulations. You already know Captain Redfield, Lieutenants Valentine and Chambers, Mr. Burton, given their exploits against Umbrella, and HUNK, formerly of the Umbrella Security Service who had defected to our side. Introductions all around, people."
"Captain Crispin Jettingham, US Army SPEC OPS, Echo Six," Jettingham began. "This is my team. Lieutenant Ronson, you already know. Sound off, people."
The bald, tattooed biker was first. "Sergeant Erez Morris, team medic."
The blond went next. "Corporal Sienna Fowler, resident marksman and sniper."
The dark-haired woman followed suit. "Corporal Caroline Floyd, recon."
The last person to speak was the dark-skinned man, who spoke with a Zimbabwean accent. "Sergeant Lawrence Kimbala, virologist."
"Guess I'm next," the Texan said. "Name's McGivern. Bruce McGivern, US STRATCOM."
"I thought it would be productive for all of us to meet without trying to kill each other," Graham said with a hint of amusement in his voice. "Now, the reason why you are here. I sent in several requests to the other divisions and branches for assistance, which is why you are all here at Andrews. With the exception of Agent McGivern, you all have some experience in dealing with Umbrella one way or another, which makes the lot of you perfect for this job."
Graham turned to his own subordinates and HUNK. "I know that this is supposed to be your day off, but if you fill Jettingham and the others in on what you know, then you can have tomorrow off."
"Fair enough," HUNK replied.
Chris and the others also nodded their consent as they sat down at the table.
"So...where do we start off?" Jill asked.
"The incident on the train and the training facility would be a good start," Jettingham replied.
Rebecca sighed. "Better get comfortable, 'cause this is going to take a while."
The gathered group had no idea how right Rebecca was.
Snafu's Notes: Yup, you got Echo Six, Billy Coen and even Bruce McGivern from Dead Aim joining in the fray.
Next Chapter: Fast-forward one year later. A long overdue wedding ceremony takes place. The Wolfpack takes another hit. Chris and Jill take on something even more terrifying than Wesker and Umbrella...parenthood.