Chapter Two: Meeting At the Lake
Alan Wesker stood near the entrance to Crystal Lake, watching and waiting for the Redfields to arrive.
Alan was eighteen years old with fluffy, blonde hair and sparkling blue-green eyes that were usually hidden beneath snappy shades. He was thin, well-proportioned, and looked a lot like a younger version of his father, Albert Wesker. So much, in fact, that a few people who hadn't seen Wesker for awhile and who hadn't gotten that close of a look at Alan had mistaken him for his dad.
A lot of the girls at school had thought he was cute. Handsome, even.
But as he waited, Alan thought his looks to be a bit of a setback.
If they knew I was Wesker's son, they'd never listen to me. Alan thought sadly. Of the things he knew about Chris and Claire, their hatred for Wesker was evident. He knew Wesker had betrayed the S.T.A.R.S. and nearly gotten them killed. More recently, he knew that his dad had tried again to kill Chris at the Antarctic base. Wesker hated Chris beyond the telling of it. They didn't need to be reminded of that when Alan told them the news.
That's why he had decided to keep his true identity a mystery to them. A lot depended on them trusting him.
Today, he was dressed in a navy-blue shirt that was obscured slightly from view by a black leather jacket. The rest of his attire consisted of dark-blue name brand jeans, combat boots, and sunglasses. Like Wesker, Alan usually preferred black, but today was not the day for it.
I'd better take these off now. He thought, remembering his shades.
He slipped them into his pocket and continued his watch, hoping they'd arrive soon.
Since his father had been Captain of S.T.A.R.S., Alan had a pretty good idea of what Chris looked like from group pictures.
He didn't know what Claire looked like, exactly, but he figured she'd be with her brother.
In the park, an elderly couple were taking a walk. Ducks quacked and splashed in the lake not far from where he was standing. A well-toned man was swimming laps. A dog barked from somewhere.
But there was no sign of any ex-S.T.A.R.S. members.
Alan was starting to get anxious.
"Well, this is the place." Chris stated as their truck pulled into the parking lot for Crystal Lake, "What do you think this is all about?"
"Hard telling. I just hope we can find Alan easily. He didn't exactly describe himself on the phone."
"Figures." Chris muttered. Mystery phone-callers almost never did. In the movies, anyway. He'd seen plenty of horror movies to know that his life was like one.
Yesiree…just one long horror film--that's my life. Chris thought darkly, I almost expected to hear Claire say the caller had said 'I know what you did' last night. Creepy.
Chris stepped out of the truck and looked around the park. The morning haze was just starting to go away, and he had an almost unobstructed view of the lake. There weren't many trees around. In fact, there weren't many people around. But he did see one young man standing alone out by the lake. Alan, Perhaps?
He started for the lake, Claire at his side.
The man noticed them before they'd gotten halfway to him and smiled warmly, allowing them to approach.
Chris's heart lurched.
Yep. This was the guy.
"Greetings Chris. Claire. I see you got my call." Alan said calmly, "I'm Alan."
Alan extended his hand, and Chris wasn't sure if he wanted to shake it or not. His eyes fell on Alan's face. There was something so…familiar about him. In fact, he kind of looked like Wesker.
"Claire." Claire greeted warmly enough. She grabbed Alan's hand in a shake.
Nah, there's gotta be tons of guys out there that look kinda like Wesker. I'm just getting too jumpy, that's all. Grasping at straws. Just because Alan looks a bit like Wesker doesn't mean they're connected. Get a grip. Chris told himself.
"Chris." He shook Alan's hand briefly. "Now, let's get down to business. Why did you want to meet us here? And how did you get our number?"
Alan's smile evaporated. He let go of Chris's hand and looked down, almost as if he were ashamed of something,
"Listen, HCF is planning on releasing a special form of T-virus on a major city sometime within the next day or so. It's in airborne form, therefore extra dangerous. They are going to use the ensuing disaster as an example to make demands on the U.S. government."
Chris's mind went numb. This was terrible! An airborne virus could spread fast enough to infect several cities before it could be contained. The effects would be catastrophic. Thousand, possibly millions of people and animals turned into zombies. He suddenly felt sick. He had to stop it somehow.
"Demands?" Claire frowned, worry written all over her pretty face. "What kind of demands?"
Alan shrugged. "I don't know: money? Power? I'm not too clear on that part exactly…"
"What's HCF?" Chris inquired, not sure he really wanted to know.
"They're no better than Umbrella, that's what!"
Chris nearly jumped back, unprepared for the immense anger in Alan's voice.
"I don't know too much about them, except that they're a rival company to Umbrella. Apparently, they've been competing with them on the less legal levels, too. Look, I heard about your little ' adventures' in the Spencer mansion and Rockfort, as well as in Antarctica. I thought to myself-- if anyone can help me stop this, I'll bet Chris Redfield can. Anyone who can survive for as long as you did against such odds…"
"Hey! I survived those odds too!" Claire cut in. She turned to Chris defiantly. "Before you tell me 'no', I'm going with you. Don't even think about trying to stop me. Yeah, I know it'll be dangerous, but guess what? Now that Wesker and probably even Umbrella are after us, I won't be safe anywhere. Not until this is over."
Chris just sighed, his expression full of emotion, his voice strained. "Claire…"
"I'm not a kid anymore." Claire said softly. "I promise…I wont die."
Chris arched an eyebrow, stunned. "How could you possibly make a promise like that?"
Claire gave a half-smile. "Hey, the way I look at it, what are you going to do to me if I break my promise?" She teased. "No, really. I'm already a part of this, Chris. I'm going to help put a stop to it. Anyway…" She turned to Alan, "Do you know where this HCF base is?"
Alan nodded. "Yeah. I have a…friend who works there. It's an island kind of like Rockfort, just off the Florida Keys. I don't know it's name, but I have the coordinates."
Chris sighed. Islands again. Great. Right up his ally. Of course, my ally is a little darker than most people's. He thought bitterly.
"So. Do you have a…way to get to this island?" Claire asked the teenager.
Alan brightened. "Sure! My…friend who works at HCF wants to stop this just as much as I do. But…HCF has him working in another location right now, and they're no nicer than Umbrella with their employees when it comes to double-crossing. He can't do much, but he did lend me his personal jet. He had a pilot park in in the landing strip about a mile from here. Only…the pilot never returned. And I don't exactly know how to fly aircraft. Another reason I needed you, Chris. I heard you used to be in the air force."
"That's true." Chris agreed, "I'm pretty good with planes and jets, but…how did you know that? Have you been spying on me or something?”
Alan looked uncomfortable. "Well…not exactly. You see, I was a friend of Enrico Marini's. He told me quite a bit about some of the S.T.A.R.S. Seemed to me he was a good friend of yours."
Chris's heart sank. "Enrico." He said quietly. "Funny, he never mentioned you. Are you aware of…what happened to him?"
Alan frowned. "I know that he died. In the Spencer mansion."
Is it just me, or is Alan getting a bit shifty all of a sudden? Chris thought the boy looked like he was about to bolt. Almost as if…almost as if he's hiding something.
Chris studied his sister to see what she made of it.
Her expression was calm, but he knew her well enough to see the doubt hidden in her eyes. Alan was acting kinda weird.
"How'd you know where we were?" Claire asked skeptically.
Alan fidgeted a bit, the question catching him off-guard.
"Look, I just heard a few people say a few things, alright? One of them had your number. How he got, I don't know. I didn't ask…these people were acting kind of strange and I didn't want to stick around them too long."
"Strange?" Chris and Claire echoed in unison.
"Keeping to the shadows a lot, muttering some things I didn't quite understand--not the trustworthy type, if you know what I mean. They were saying something about S.T.A.R.S. when I came in, and when I mentioned wanting to find you, they gave me your number. I don't want to frighten you, but I don't think you should stay…wherever you're staying much longer. Those dudes looked creepy."
Someone's found us! Chris thought nervously, and if they know our number, they probably know where we live…they could come in and attack us anytime, even the middle of the night…Images of him and Claire being shot in their beds flooded his mind.
"Right. Thanks for warning us." Claire said.
"We'll take care of that after we take care of HCF. So, this jet--can you lead us there?"
"Oh, sure! Just follow me, I'll be in the little red Oldsmobile." Alan replied, sounding much more happy and self-confident than he had only moments ago.
"We'll be in the blue truck." Chris verified.
With that, the trio split up to their separate vehicles.
Claire was feeling more than a bit uncomfortable about the whole situation. Airborne viruses, Umbrella-like facilities, weirdos knowing her address, and Alan. It was all, well, unbelievable. And Alan had seemed a bit strange himself.
As the truck clanked down an old dirt road following Alan's car, she couldn't help but wonder. Wesker said he had sold his soul to a new organization. Could that organization be HCF? It was very possible. And if that were true, then maybe they had Steve! Maybe she and Chris would be able to rescue him, if he were still alive.
But he will be, he has to be…
"Chris, do you think HCF is the new company Wesker is involved with?" Claire asked her brother.
Chris had been strangely quiet for the few minutes they'd been on the road, but the question seemed to snap him out of his thoughts. "Could be. Speaking of Wesker, did you notice how much Alan looks like him?"
Come to think of it, yeah. Alan does resemble Wesker. Connection? Claire's mind wondered. She'd only met Wesker twice, but that had been enough to know she didn't want anything to do with him. He was a horrible, evil man. Even worse, he seemed to crave the destruction of the Redfields.
"Yeah, he does look like Wesker." Claire agreed, "And he's been acting like…I don't know, like he has something to hide. We should watch him."
"What's bothering me," Chris explained, "Is that his story really doesn't add up in places. He said he knew Enrico, but Enrico never once mentioned him to me. He also said Enrico had told him about me and the S.T.A.R.S. But how did he know about Rockfort? And Antarctica? And how did he learn of Enrico's death? "
Claire shrugged, thoughtful. "I suppose he could've learned about Enrico through the papers, but that wouldn't explain Rockfort and Antarctica. Also, he must have some friend to loan him a jet. It is a bit odd."
"Definitely." Chris agreed. "Just…watch yourself around him, okay? We really don't know much about him."
"Don't worry." Claire assured, "I'll be careful not to trust him too much. It'll be easy, since he reminds me of you-know-who."
Chris didn't even look up from the road. "Yeah, well, I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of Wesker. We have to be careful now more than ever. Especially if our hunches are correct."
The warm Artic sun, shone down on a disaster.
All around Alexia lay debris. Broken concrete, twisted metal, and splintered wood were strewn about everywhere like some powerful bomb had went off and decimated everything in it's path.
Which was what, Alexia supposed, had happened.
The only things standing were the riddled and crumbling pillars and walls of what once was the Antarctic base.
Alexia struggled up from her nest among the rubble, her mind swimming. How had this happened? How had she gotten here? And…Alexia looked down at her now human self clothed in the same dress she'd worn that fateful evening back…how long ago? How much time had passed, anyway?
The last thing I remember was fighting Chris…he had something, was it a rocket launcher? Did I…did I die?
From somewhere besides her, there was a moan.
Alexia's head snapped in the direction of the sound. Some rubble moved, and a familiar figure rose up from the debris clad in a red uniform tinge with gold.
She couldn't believe it.
Alfred rose up from the heavy wood and metal where he'd been laying. He didn't look very happy.
Alexia ran over to him and helped him up. Now she was sure something was going on. Alfred had been dead. She remembered singing to his lifeless body. She remembered how satisfied she'd been when she had caught and injected that loathsome Steve with her virus.
Alexia frowned at the thought. How sad she had not been able to stay there and observe Steve, to see how the virus affected his body.
But no, she had been a little too busy taking care of those cursed intruders to have any time for such luxuries.
"Ah…Alexia. You're awake." Alfred commented, choking a bit on some dust. He locked eyes with Alexia.
"Yes, brother. How astonishingly perceptive of you." Alexia muttered, a little irked by Alfred's comment.
She watched as Alfred looked around, taking in the full concept of the damage that had been done to their facility.
"Holy hell!" He mumbled once the full extent of the damage hit home, "What happened here?!?" Then, "Wait a minute, how did I end up here? I was shot! You mean to tell me I survived the bullets, and the fall, and the explosion? And now…"
Alfred searched his side for the blood, for the bullet wounds.
"I'm healed! The bullets…I don't feel like I've been shot at all! Mowed over by an elephant and then tossed into a landslide, maybe, but not shot. What's going on? Am I…are we…"
"Dead?" A new voice said, "Not now, but you were."
Both Ashfords turned their heads to the new voice.
A tall, gruff, overweight man was standing next to them, smoking a cigar.
Alexia eyed him suspiciously. "And you would be…?"
"Philip." The man introduced. "I'm a friend of the family. My people and I did a…ritual, of sorts, to bring you two back. Umbrella needs you now more than ever. HCF has your virus, Alexia, and is probably experimenting with it right now. They are also starting to monopolize the fields of bio-organic research."
"How did they…" Alexia started, then stopped mid-sentence. She knew exactly how. Steve. They must've gotten to him while she was busy being dead. "Never mind."
Alexia's confused mind struggled to remember all that had taken place that night. She really couldn't remember much past mutating to her third form to take out Chris. After that, things got blurry.
Speaking of which, I don't know why I thought that would be a good idea in the first place. I should've taken the meddlers out from the stairwell when I had the chance, but no. I had to go and play games with them. Must've been a side-effect of the virus.
"So, how long has it been?"
Philip understood what Alexia was asking. "Almost three weeks. Which reminds me, aside from your virus, HCF also has a young woman by the name of Alexis in their hold. She's their prisoner. I'm not exactly sure how that's relevant to you, but my boss said…"
"Alexis?!" The Ashford twins barked in unison.
"That's right. I take it you'll be wanting to tour that particular HCF base?"
"Definitely." Alexia growled darkly.
Philip just smiled. "Well then, I think that can be arranged.”
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