Chapter 7: Bad Deals

Claire woke up with a headache. Having regained her senses, she was quick to notice the cold bite of metal against her wrists and ankles. Both arms ached.

Where am I?

"I was wondering when you were going to wake up." Wesker's voice broke the silence of the room.

She could see him standing there now, wearing his usual attire of black and smiling beneath those snappy shades.

They appeared to be in some sort of dungeon with walls, floor, and ceiling all made of stony brick and an empty cell to the far left.

But what really caught Claire's attention were all the torture devices! This place had the works--chainsaws, electric chairs, iron maidens---you name it.

A dead body was fried and still in an electric chair--he looked to have been dead for weeks, possibly months.

A stretcher by the far wall sported another victim, and Claire had to look away when she saw just how bloody and mutilated it's body was. Next to the stretcher there had even been a metal tray containing an assortment of sharp instruments stained red with blood.

How terrible! This is like a nightmare! Claire thought hurriedly, more than just a little panicked. She tried to move her arms and legs to run off and go somewhere, anywhere but here, but it was no use. Her limbs felt like they were bolted to the wall.

Claire tilted her head to see little iron cuffs clenching the soft flesh of her wrists. Two more held her ankles. She was locked in an upright position, but her mobility was very limited. And her side pack was completely missing in action.

Wesker just grinned, enjoying her pain.

She glared at him hatefully. What a creep! What a psycho! Claire's mind came up with many more suggestive terms for Wesker, all which were considered to be very impolite in modern society.

But at the same time, she felt crushed. Helpless. Wesker had her now, and unless she could somehow talk him into being a nice guy and letting her go, she figured she'd just have to play his game. Find out as much as she could. Play what cards she had.

"So. Dearie, do you find your accommodations comfortable?" Wesker purred.

"You creep! I'm chained up to a wall in a dungeon! Exactly how cozy do you think I am?"

"Ah, the dungeon. Perfect term. Gotta love the classics." Wesker spread his arms and gestured to all the torture devices in the room as if he were conducting a tour for a class.

Claire sighed. This wasn't going to be easy.

"Look, why did you even bring me here? If you hate me so much, why not just kill me on the spot? Why the mind games?"

Without answering, Wesker strode up to within three feet of Claire. He slammed a gloved hand against the stone wall right to the left side of her head.

"It's not that I have anything against you. It's Chris I despise. We have an old score to settle, as you probably already know. But you…I have something very special planned for you."

My god, what's he going to do to me? Claire was feeling sicker by the moment. Her eyes drifted to all the sharp saws and knives languishing all over the room, and she found herself fantasizing about how cool it would be to telekinetic abilities and send a few of them flying into Wesker's body like pins to a pincushion.

Wesker took his hand off the wall and removed his shades. The eyes that stared back at Claire now were anything but human. Red encircling gold , with slitted pupils. They reminded her a bit of a cat's eyes, and she had to admit to herself: they were pretty. But they would've been a lot prettier if they didn't also radiate with evil. They bore into her, seeming to melt her very soul, prying at every nerve of her consciousness.

Wesker wiped his shades off with a cloth before replacing them.

He seemed to sense her discomfort. "What's the matter Dear, don't you like my new eyes? I find them quite satisfying."

Why does he keep calling me that? I wish he would stop! I wish…

Claire was interrupted from her thoughts when the door suddenly flew open. She was somewhat surprised to see Alan standing in the threshold.

At that moment, it was as if time stood still.

Alan just stood there, a look of absolute shock and horror registering on his face, and Wesker was staring back looking somewhat startled himself, but not quite to Alan's extent.

After a few tense seconds, he smiled.

"Nice of you to drop by, son. Though I am a little miffed that you took my jet without asking." Wesker's voice was cool and confident.

Claire could scarcely believe her ears. "Alan! Wesker's your father?!"

All the color drained from Alan's face. He hung his head a bit, looking positively miserable.

"Yes." He squeaked.

Then, as if a switch had been flicked, he suddenly straightened. "Claire, I know what you're probably thinking right now but I didn't have anything to do with this! I swear I didn't…"

"Save it for later!" Wesker barked coldly.

Alan stopped mid-sentence. He looked to Claire, and she could see the sparkle leave his blue-green eyes. He looked so sad. And frightened.

"You…you're not going to hurt her, are you?" Alan addressed his father.

A sly smirk spread across Wesker's face.

Claire didn't like that one bit.

"Well, I was going to cut her up, show her to Chris before I killed him, but I like this even better." Wesker rubbed his hands together gleefully, sending shivers up Claire's spine.

"This is perfect! Just perfect!" Wesker was almost shouting, "You brought them here, didn't you Alan? Didn't tell them you were related to me, did you? That must mean that Chris trusts you to at least some degree."

"Actually, I don't think he trusts…"

But Wesker wasn't listening. "I was going to have a hard time luring Chris here anyway," He continued, as if Alan had not even spoken, "But now…I want you to do it. He'll follow you before he would me. Lead him here and I'll take care of the rest. His beloved sister will have to watch him die! But if you do as I say…"

Claire was not expecting Alan to suddenly just lunge forward and tackle Wesker the way he did, and--judging by his reaction--neither was Wesker.

Alan actually managed to knock him off-balance a bit. But it was short-lived. It took exactly two seconds for Wesker to react.

He shoved his son in the chest with such force it sent him halfway across the room.

Alan landed on his butt.

"Alan, let me share something with you." Wesker hissed poisonously.

He removed his shades and allowed his son to look onto his cat-eyes in all their red and gold splendor.

Claire watched in awe as he zipped over and grabbed Alan up by his throat.

He was so fast! One second he was one place, the next he was another. Like magic.

Poor Alan. Claire felt so sorry for the young man. He'd just been trying to protect her and Chris.

Wesker held Alan eye-level with him. "I'm a lot stronger than you remember me, son. This new virus has given me almost unlimited power. So it probably wouldn't be a good idea for you to rebel against me right now, Capish?" Wesker let go and shoved Alan a bit in demonstration.

It wasn't a particularly harmful shove, but there was no mistaking it's meaning. Wesker was in control. No contest.

Alan backed up a bit, defeated.

"Dad I…" He started, then trailed off, frowning. He looked to Claire, then Wesker, then back again.

Wesker waited for him to finish.

"I just don't want to see anyone get hurt." He sounded torn.

"Well, one way or another, Chris Redfield is going to die." Wesker said matter-of-factly, "I really don't care if you watch or not. But whether or not Claire will also die is entirely up to you, Alan. You want her to live, do exactly as I say. Do anything different, she dies. Am I clear?"

Even from where she was standing, Claire could see the hurt in Alan's eyes. And when he spoke, she could hear the absolute hopelessness in his voice.

"As clear as crystal. What do you want me to do?"

Wesker examined his watch in response.

"Hmm…it's half past four. Do you know where Chris is?"

"No." Alan admitted, "We ran into trouble and got split up."

Wesker frowned. "That so? Listen, I want you to have Chris here at seven-thirty sharp. No sooner. No later. That'll give you three hours. This is a big place to search but you should be able to manage in that. And don't even think about coming back before you find him or before three hours is up. You do, Claire dies. You try anything funny, she dies. Pure and simple. If you do a good job, I promise not to harm her. Have we got a deal?"

Wesker held out his hand, adding insult to injury.

Alan pressed his lips together in a tight line. He was clearly not enjoying this.

"Deal." He grabbed Wesker's hand and shook it tersely.

Claire was unable to control herself. "No Alan! Don't listen to him! He'll probably kill me anyway, you can't trust him!"

But Alan had already made up his mind.

"Sorry." He apologized without even looking at her. He left the room and shut the door behind him.

"He has potential, if he'd just get over that conscience of his." Wesker complained, his eyes on the door, "Sentimental slip-slop. He acted the same way when Enrico died. It was like I couldn't explain enough why I'd had to kill him."

Claire was stunned. "You told him about that?!"

Wesker just turned to her and shrugged, as if it were all unimportant.

"Sure. He asked, I told. After all, isn't that what a good father is supposed to do? Be honest with the child?"

Right then, it hit Claire. Wesker didn't really care about honesty or trust. He had told Alan the truth because he wanted to demoralize him, to slowly strip him of his humanity until there was none left. That was also why he'd put Alan on the spot like that, to force him to make a decision no one should ever have to make.

It made her sick. And now, Chris was going to die because of it.

Claire felt like screaming. She opened her mouth to tell Wesker exactly what she thought of him, to tell him that Chris was going to kick his sorry butt and he was going to pay for what he'd done, but nothing would come out.

A dozen swearwords came to mind. But in the end, all Claire could manage was:

"You're not a good father."

Alan bit his lip as he climbed the stairs leading from the dungeon-area.

How am I going to do this? How can I betray a friend? He thought sadly, Chris is a good person. And he saved my life. I can't let Dad kill him the way he did Enrico! But if I don't do what he said he'll kill both Chris and Claire. What am I going to do? How can I save them both?

Alan thought about this for a moment.

One choice was to go ahead and lead Chris into the trap and just hope he and Chris together had what it took to defeat Wesker.

Alan didn't like this idea. His father had some sort of superpowers now and could probably wipe the floor with Chris, his help or no.

Then another thought occurred to him. Maybe he should tell Chris about the whole thing, and then they could work something out together.

This plan was risky too. There was almost no way he could let Chris in on the loop without also revealing that he was Wesker's son. Once Chris heard that, why should he believe anything Alan had to say? And even if he did leave out that part, Chris would probably be suspicious at the very least.

But if he told the whole story, Chris would probably be angry and frustrated…Alan wasn't sure how he'd deal with the knowledge.

And it wouldn't do to have Chris angry or suspicious. The slightest slip-up would kill Claire. What if his dad somehow found out?

A zombie suddenly blocked Alan's path, and he found himself filling it with more lead than was necessary.

This wasn't fair! Why did he have to play the bad guy?

Alan nearly emptied his clip on the one zombie and immediately found himself wishing he'd been more conservative.

Things were bad. Very bad.

Alan stepped over the corpse and headed out to look for Chris. He couldn't remember a time he'd felt more miserable.

"So, Alfred and Alexia were really your real parents? As in, Alexia gave birth to you?" Steve asked casually, hoping to make conversation with his new friend.

They'd encountered their first zombie back a few doors ago, and their worst fears had been confirmed. Of course, they'd had no guns so they'd had to improvise. In that case, improvising had meant locking the zombie in the room.

The lock could be done only from the inside, but zombies were never known for their intelligence. It was too stupid to figure out how to twist the little metal piece on the knob.

Ever since then, they'd been prepared--Steve with a metal pipe he'd found in an only halfway constructed room, and Alexis with a knife she'd found laying on the floor of all places.

They were desperately hoping to find better weapons.

"Yes." Alexis answered Steve's question, "That's true. My mother was only fifteen when I was born."

They opened the door to another room, flicked on the light, and tensed up--watching and listening.

When it became evident that nothing was going to leap out at them, they entered.

"Wow. I mean, I guess I'm not used to hearing about twins that…would do that sort of thing. Especially at that age. That's just wrong on so many levels. And it's creepy on a level I hardly knew existed. Plus, Ick-Factor. Major Ick-Factor. Are you their daughter or their niece?"

Alexis just shook her head good-naturedly.

"I don't know. Both, I guess. You know, it's not like I got to choose…"

"Whoa! Back up! I'm not saying that it's your fault!" Steve interjected.

Alexis smiled and stared at him with those fierce blue eyes.

"Great. Now let's see what all's in this room."

Steve turned his attention back to the room they were in and away from all the memories of Alfred and his disturbing letters and memos he'd happened across at the Palace.

The guy had been certifiably nuts. And it was so obvious that Alexia had been out of touch with reality herself.

The room was small and cluttered--mostly with personal items and stacks off books and papers. It was an office of some sort. There was even a computer on the desk.

Steve grinned. What luck!

"Hey, a computer. What say we see what's shakin' 'round here?" Alexis nodded her agreement, and Steve went over to turn the machine on--only to find it already on.

"Oooookay." He muttered, "Lights out, but computer still on. I give that a four on the Scale of Weirdness."

"Look what's on the screen." Alexis said.

Steve looked. The screen was filled with several different folders and programs. One folder in particular caught his eye.

KITICORE RESEARCH, it read, all in capital letters. He clicked on the file.

The computer hummed a moment, then another screen opened up. On it was a scaled drawing of some type of creature labeled 'Kiticore'.

Steve's jaw dropped. So did Alexis's.

They'd never seen anything like it!

The creature had a head something like a raptor straight off Jurassic Park mounted on a slender lion-like body. The head itself, though dinosaurian, had the same shape of ears you'd expect to see on a big cat, cat eyes, and twin saber-fangs. The jaw line revealed a mouthful of sharp raptorial teeth. Three short horns poked from the head.

The body itself was stocky enough to be a lion's, but it was shaped sort of like a wolf's with four long legs ending in paws bearing retractable claws that the chart said were over a foot long.

The tail was long and tapered, ending in a deadly scorpion-like stinger tip.

Then there were the wings: huge and bat-like protruding from the creature's upper torso.

That chart showed the creature at several different angles along with info about it.

It was 27.7 feet long, from nose to tip of tail, 5.1 feet at the shoulder, and weighed in at 2,212 pounds with a 40 foot wingspan!

Quite impressive. A monster that size could do some serious damage! Steve thought.

He scrolled down the page some more and saw a real-life picture of the creature sitting next to it's creators.

Once again it struck Steve just how huge this thing was! In the photo, it looked much bigger than a horse! It's entire body was covered in tawny-gold fur.

The label over the picture read: Kiticore experiment a success.

Further reading revealed that Kiticore was about as smart as a dog and as strong as seven Siberian tigers in addition to being an adept flier.

It was designed as protection and as a weapon against Umbrella.

Steve turned to Alexis, suddenly feeling very worried.

Alexis bit her lip nervously. "Are you thinking what I'm thinking?" Her voice was shaky.

"I am if you're thinking that we need to find better weapons, blow this place up, and get the heck out of here. Maybe not exactly in that order."

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