Author's note: I am not a fan of heavy swearing. In my fic, I may sometimes substitute swearwords with either symbols such as %$#@ or a politer term.

Chapter 4: Showtime

The black jet came to a smooth landing on the airstrip of the island's HCF base. Chris was surprised that nobody had radioed him for a landing code. Even better, nobody had opened fire on them.

Well, best not to look a gift horse in the mouth…

"So far so good." Chris stated as he, Claire, and Alan got their supplies together. "They don't appear to be suspicious of us. Now, what we're going to need to…."

"Aaiiirrrrraaa! Aaaaiiraaaa!" Chris was cut off mid-sentence by the piercing shrieks. "Aeeeeeeiiiieee! Aeeeeeeiiirrraaaa!" More inhuman shrieks joined from somewhere in the distance.

The trio froze, abject horror registering on their faces.

"Well, that can't be good." Chris blurted, as if anyone needed that pointed out.

For a moment, nobody said anything.

Chris felt a sickening dread spreading through his body like a disease. He knew those shrieks. He remembered when he'd heard them for the first time, back at the Spencer estate. How terrified he'd been when one of the slimy, green, ape-like things had jumped at him: razor-claws extended ready to rip his head off, teeth gleaming with spittle in anticipation of the kill! Then he'd had to fight such creatures again when he visited Rockfort and the Antarctic facility.

Hunters, Umbrella called them, and they were a force to be reckoned with. Swift and deadly. Their only weakness seemed to be their evident lack of intelligence.

Well, that and their evident lack of immunity to magnum bullets. But why would they be at HCF? Chris was afraid of the answer.

Without further delay, he grabbed his trusty magnum. He only had six bullets for it on him, so he was going to have to make each shot count and not waste them.

To either side of him, Claire and Alan drew their Berettas. They were each carrying side-packs to allow room for all their ammo and supplies without tying up their hands. The perfect battle gear.

"Those shrieks…Chris, do you think maybe a spill has occurred here too?" Claire asked her anxious brother.

"Well, either that or we made Team HCF really mad about something. Maybe I parked in a No-Landing zone."

As if on cue, there was another agonizing, terrible scream, and huge claws tore through the wall of the jet. More claws appeared almost instantly, and within moments the whole left-hand side of the jet was being peeled away in a frenzy of ripping talons and piercing screeches.

"Hunters!" Claire gasped. She was up and heading for the exit before Alan had time to even register.

"Yeah, no kidding. Let's bail! We'll be eaten alive if we stay here!" Chris agreed.

Claire, Chris, and Alan shot out of the jet and started across the grassy runway.

The closest building happened to be a small, beige, circular structure of about two stories in height. It wasn't particularly fancy, but there were little flowers of various shades of pink, red, and white planted out front in neat little rows.

But right now, Chris couldn't care less if there were little flowers out front or big heaps of garbage, as long as the building had an inside.

From behind him, he could hear the enraged cries of the hunters, robbed of their meals. He looked back to see an angry mob of the ugly mutations swarming after them.

His heart skipped a beat when the sheer number of the creatures struck home.

Oh God, there must be a dozen of them! Chris had never faced more than two at once. At least they started by attacking the wrong side of the jet. He found himself imagining what might have happened if such a multitude of killing machines had attacked the right side of the jet, where the only door was located.

It was not a pleasant thought.

Chris reached the building first and threw open the door--Claire and Alan hot on his heels, firing random shots from their Berettas into the angry swarm when they had the chance.

They slammed the door and bolted it just before the first of the hunters reached it in a flying leap.

"Eeeerrraaa!!" The hunter slammed into the metal door and ricocheted off it with enough force to send it to the ground.

A fresh dent appeared in the door. It was strong metal, Chris knew. But it wouldn't hold out forever.

The three friends now found themselves in a lobby of sorts. It almost looked like a reception room at a hospital, with sofas and chairs strewn about and various fake plants highlighting a windowed desk. There were even machines for refreshments. Everything looked tidy and well-lit. The only thing missing from the picture was the people.

Claire frowned, coming to the conclusion at the same time as Chris.

"This room hasn't been empty long." She noted.

The three were interrupted from their thoughts by a fierce pounding on the door. Claws appeared through the metal.

"And it looks like we're going to have company." Alan remarked bluntly, his gun pointed at the door. His voice was firm and unwavering.

Chris thought he was acting surprisingly calm, given the circumstances.

"I don't know about you two," Claire called, "But I'm not going to be here when those things bust in!" She disappeared through a door to the right side of the reception desk that Chris had somehow missed earlier.

Well, he could sit here and wait for the hunters, or he could follow Claire through Door Number One and see what was on the other side.

Chris decided to take his chances in the unknown.

Apparently, Alan was of the same opinion.

The two burst into the room Claire had gone in and followed her retreating form down a hall lined with the same kind of fake plants they'd seen in the reception area.

But Claire was slightly ahead of them; in fact, she'd disappeared into the last brown door at the right-hand end of the hall before they'd gotten halfway down.

It was at that exact moment that one of the doors along the side of the narrow hall flew open and a lady wearing a white outfit smeared with blood staggered out. Chris and Alan had to put on the breaks to avoid colliding with her.

"What the…?" Chris started, then stopped when the woman turned on him. One look at her glassy, glazed-over eyes, and the blank expression on her bloodied face, and he knew the answer. She was a zombie.

Oh %$#@. Chris thought. Something was very, very wrong here.

The zombie lunged! Chris acted on pure instinct--jerking backward like he'd been hit in the stomach with a branding iron just before the zombie's hungry hands closed on the air where his face had been only seconds before. The only problem was, Chris had forgotten that Alan was standing right behind him. He'd also forgotten just how narrow the hallway was.

"Hey!!" Alan yelped as Chris slammed into him. As a result, both Alan and Chris lost their balance and fell: Alan landed on his back on the floor, and Chris landed on his back on top of Alan, only to find himself staring right up into the hideous face of the zombie.

It almost seemed to grin, as if laughing at his mistake.

Words could not describe how incredibly stupid Chris felt just then. This was no way to fight a zombie! This was no way to do anything!

"Um, Chris? Do you think you could get off of me sometime before the zombie tears our guts out?" A flattened Alan pleaded from under Chris. He could scarcely move--the wind had been knocked out of him.

The zombie started leaning in for the kill…and Chris brought his magnum up and shot it right between those blank, staring eyes; decimating the face and spraying the walls--as well as Chris himself--in a shower of red.

He leapt up off of Alan and turned to help his fallen comrade.

"Sorry about that." Chris apologized red-faced, "I guess I just forgot you were behind me."

"No problem." Alan replied as he rose off the floor. "Besides, you saved me from most the spray." He gestured to the blood spattered across Chris's gray-green shirt.

Chris looked down and frowned. "Ah, crud. Just the fashion statement I wanted to make." He muttered sarcastically.

"Yeah, well I guess that answers beyond the shadow of a doubt our earlier question as to weather or not there's been a spill here.”

"No kidding." Chris grumped, "Hey! We need to find Claire! Come on, I saw her go in that last door down on the right."

He started after his sister, worry intensifying with each step he took.

Suppose she runs into a whole room full of zombies? Or worse yet, hunters? Chris's mind was working over-time when he threw open the door Claire had went into and charged into what looked like a data-room.

A zombie was there to greet him.

Without missing a beat, Chris pulled the Beretta from his pocket and fired on the repulsive creature.

Alan was there in an instant, joining him.

The zombie was down in just a few shots: it's face and torso all but decimated.

After that was taken care of, Chris and Alan looked around, allowing their eyes to take in the layout of the room.

As near as Chris could figure, this was some sort data room with computers and desks filling most of it's area. There were some printouts from the computers lying nearby. One looked like a map.

Chris went over and snatched it. His eyes lit up when he saw the layouts and facilities of the entire island.

Yes! This was what they needed!

"At least we won't be wandering around in the dark anymore. So to speak." Chris announced when Alan peered over his shoulder.

"A map. Nice. According to my calculations, we should be right…here." Alan jabbed a finger to the building that was marked 'Research Clinic No.2'.

Chris frowned. "Research Clinic Number Two? How many of these things do they have?"

"I'm not sure," Alan admitted, "But at least we now have some idea of where we are. Even if we can't pinpoint the exact room we're in…I think that's the main command center."

Alan pointed to the large, five-story rectangular building crowning the middle of the map. It was labeled 'HCF Control Center'. According to the map key, it was about three-hundred yards or so from Research Clinic Number Two.

Chris felt his spirits dampen. Three-hundred yards across who-knew-what kinds of monsters that could be on the prowl.

He studied the map closer. Other than HCF Central Control and Research Clinic Number Two, there were approximately three smaller buildings flanking the island marked 'B.O.W. Containment', a docking area for ships, and a hangar.

The hangar, of course, was just next to the airstrip. Had they ran the opposite direction when they left the jet, Chris was sure, they would've been torn to pieces by the hunters. But if they had made it, they would've ended up at the hangar.

Well, knowledge is power. Speaking of which…Chris's eye caught the rest of the stacks of papers filled with words and readouts.

Just then, "Bam! Bam!" Gunshots reverberated throughout the room.

"Claire!" Alan blurted. He was out the door in a flash.

Chris grabbed a handful of papers and stuffed them in his pockets.

Later. He promised himself.

Claire was not having a good time. Her legs pumping at full speed, she streamed through a hall and slammed the door shut behind her.

The virused dogs that had been chasing her squealed to a halt. They began to growl and howl ravenously, their claws clicking against the linoleum. She heard the scraping of claws against steel and knew they were trying to get in.

Wonderful. Well, they couldn't dig through metal, and unless they suddenly sprouted hands to turn the knob, Claire figured she was safe.

Nevertheless, she kept her back against the door and took in her new surroundings.

It looked like some kind of lab with long tables holding microscopes, Bunsen burners, a couple computers, and racks filled with various flasks. Some of the flasks even had liquids in them. Scalpels, and other surgical equipment were laying neatly.

But what really caught Claire's attention were the jars on one bookshelf. Each was filled with some kind of clear fluid, and suspended in the fluids were some of the creepiest things Claire had ever seen. Hearts., tissues, and animal embryos of all sorts. A lot of the specimens she couldn't even recognize: they just looked like lumps of pink and red flesh laced with little veins. A severed cat-head was in one jar--it's expressionless eyes fully open and staring blankly into eternity.

Claire turned away. Okay, that is so beyond gross. And where are Chris and Alan? The thought just occurred to her: Chris and Alan hadn't been following her when she'd been ambushed by the dogs in one of the rooms. Had something happened to them?

Behind the door, the dogs had stopped growling. In fact, Claire couldn't hear them at all anymore.

Unsure whether this was a good thing or a bad thing, she chanced a glance out the little window fixed into the door. Beyond the glass, the hallway stretched for about fifty feet and was lined with several metal doors just like the one she now stood behind. Three of them were ajar. There was no sign of the dogs other than the pieces of rotted flesh that had fallen off their decomposing bodies. Of course, that didn't mean that they still weren't nearby. They could've gone into any one of the opened rooms.

Speaking of such, Claire hadn't found a single locked door yet.

That was something to be thankful for, at least. If the door to this room had been locked, she would've been in serious trouble.

Okay, so where to go from here? Claire wondered. Not the way she'd come in, of course. There had to be--there.

A door to the back of the room. It was halfway hidden by a bookcase--which in itself was rather odd--but it was a way out. With one last glance out to the hall to make sure the coast was clear, she headed for it, getting more antsy by the minute.

It was deathly quiet in here. The silence made her uncomfortable; she was getting the same, foreboding feeling she'd got walking down that one hall at the Antarctic base where Steve had been held captive in a chair.

Claire was almost to the door when she stopped, the hair on the back of her neck standing. Something didn't feel right.

Suddenly, the door in front of her literally exploded off it's hinges! It and the bookcase went flying, and Claire had to dive under one of the lab tables to avoid being hit with shards of broken wood.

Her heart froze when she saw what was now standing in the threshold where the door had been.

Solid black outfit, blonde hair, shades--the man standing in front of her could only be Albert Wesker himself.

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