Chapter 8: Disturbing Discoveries
Chris couldn't tell how long he'd been running, but at last he no longer heard the tyrant thundering after him..
In all the excitement, he'd actually darted outside and ended up right where he really didn't want to be: another Research Clinic.
Once he was safe within it's walls, he'd checked the map. He made a face when he realized this one wasn't even on the map. Either this building had not yet been constructed when the maps were made, or else the mapmakers had made a major error.
He was now standing in someone's personal dormitory, listening for danger while he collected his senses.
At least I got Tyrant away from Alan. The thought stirred up some pleasant feelings. Alan had needed his help, and he'd came through. He was safe for the moment, but Chris could only hope Alan and Claire hadn't run into anything they couldn't handle.
Saying this island was dangerous would be one heck of an understatement.
Chris went over and sat on the made bed, not caring who's personal space he was invading. While he rested, he tried to piece it all together.
Alan had said HCF wanted to use an airborne virus to terrorize a city and make demands on the government. Okay, that made sense. They had all arrived expecting to have to lie and sneak past guards, but instead they'd been greeted by monsters and zombies.
That didn't make sense, and the more he thought about it, the more it bugged him.
Had there really been an accidental spill? Or had someone planned all of this? Maybe Umbrella was responsible. It would stand to reason that they wouldn't want competition from HCF. For all he knew, there could already be special forces waiting for the right moment to blow the entire island to smithereens.
In any case, most all of HCF were either dead, gone, or hiding. At least the threat of them using the airborne virus now had gone down considerably.
Maybe someone had escaped with a sample, maybe not.
The truth was that the real threat wouldn't be gone until this island and all the virus carriers on it were history.
Chris was going to make that third priority--right after finding his sister and securing an escape route.
But what of Alan? He was missing now too, and he felt a nagging doubt inside.
Though it didn't seem likely, Chris couldn't rule out the possibility that this was not a coincidence.
Alan had been acting kind of strange right from the beginning, which only added to the suspicion.
I trusted Wesker once before, and just look how well that turned out. Chris thought darkly, Then again--maybe that's why I'm getting all suspicious. Maybe I'm just looking for sneaky business in Alan because he reminds me of Wesker. Yeah, that must be it.
To Alan' s credit, whatever plans he may have had, they most certainly would not have had anything to do with getting killed by Tyrant.
That was a plus, wasn't it?
Chris was getting more and more frustrated by the moment. It was hard to know who to trust anymore.
And Claire, she's a survivor. She's probably hidden away somewhere right now thinking of a plan; maybe even risking her life to see me again, and here I am sitting on my tush doing nothing.
That was all the motivation he needed to get up.
He searched the small dorm room and came up with two more clips of bullets plus a can of pepper spray. He frowned a bit as he stuffed the findings into his side pack.
Makes me kind of appreciate Umbrella. At least they left shotguns, machine guns, and grenade launchers with plenty of ammo laying around all over the place. These HCF people are wimps. Handguns and pepper spray. Try fighting a pair of hunters with those and see how long it takes you to get eviscerated. Then again, I haven't run into any stupid puzzles yet and most of the doors are unlocked. Maybe that evens it out a bit.
Chris's thoughts drifted back to Rockfort and it's palace and military training facility.
When he though of how much of a pain in the @$$ that house must've been to live in on a day-to-day basis, his head hurt.
Bridges that only went one way, little figurines you had to find and memorize the location of as well as where they went to, eagle plates, music boxes, pianos that had to be played just right to unlock hidden slot machine compartments, army proofs…the list went on and on. And some thingamajig was always missing from something important, and you always had to go what seemed like miles out of your way to find parts of puzzles hidden in the most obscure and ridiculous of all places.
No wonder Alfred and Alexia had went crazy.
Any more time in a place like that, and Chris imagined he would've been ready for the looney-bin himself.
He scanned the room once more, preparing to leave.
That's when his eye caught on a little red diary laying on the bookshelf. Curious, he went over and picked it up. Well, this should be an interesting read…
The diary was owned by a Mr. Scott Beckson. The first entry was dated about a month ago: I just met the girl of my dreams today, a lovely angel by the name of Linda! When she first said 'Hi' I thought I must still be asleep…
Chris skimmed parts of the diary, then threw it down in disgust. All Scott had wanted to write about was his love life, and there were virtually no references to anything even the least bit important.
Well, I've read enough. Leaving the diary where it lay, he left the dorm.
He went down the hall and opened the door to the galley. As soon as he did, the place came alive with moans . There had to be over a dozen zombies in there!
Deciding he really didn't need into the galley the badly, Chris closed the door and went along his way.
He needed to find clues as to where Claire and Alan might have went.
No sooner had Chris opened the door to the next room when he heard a low hiss, like the sound water makes when boiled.
The lights to the room were off, and he was just reaching for the switch when he heard movement.
Suddenly, a creature flew out of the room and hit him head-on in the chest with huge cat paws!
Chris went down hard, sharp claws tearing into his flesh. A black snake head danced around like a live wire; biting at his face .
He raised an arm to block the blow and grimaced as sharp fangs sunk in. The creature released to strike again--still digging at his chest with it's claws.
Chris brought his other hand up--the one that held the gun--and fired five shots point-blankly into the creature's chest. It died with a weird hissing sound as every muscle in it's wretched body suddenly went limp.
Without missing a beat, Chris was up and shutting the door to that room, lest there be more creatures in there.
He then turned his eyes to the beast on the floor, and for the first time got a really good look at it.
About the size of a large dog, the creature had a feline body covered in glossy black fur. The head and tail were that of a snake; also black.
It looked like something from that new relic game 'Impossible Creatures' Chris had heard about: the game where you combined two animals to get a new one. This looked like a panther-cobra mix.
My god, what are they doing down here?! I sure hope that thing wasn't poisonous!
Thinking it was better to be safe than sorry, Chris reached into his side pack and pulled out a blue herb mixture. He took it while he dressed his wounds. They were nothing major--just a few small punctures on his arms and some mild scratches on his chest. The snake-cat really hadn't gotten much time to do anything real harmful to him.
Having taken care of that, he continued on his course, desperately hoping he'd seen the last of those things. And if they had snake-cats, what else might be lurking around this island? He really didn't want to know, and hopefully he and his team would be out of here before they had to find out.
Feeling like a mouse in a maze, Chris pulled out his map.
There was HCF Central Control, standing out from the other buildings as if to mock him. It was a lot bigger than this clinic or whatever he was in now.
Had Claire and Alan went there? Of course they did, you doofus! Where else would they go? Off looking for the B.O.W. containment buildings? Chris thought sarcastically.
Of course they'd head for the big place. That would be where the most important things were kept, and therefore it would be the most logical place to go.
Which reminds me, why am I not there? It was as if a light had been turned on inside his head.
He really should head over to Central Control instead of snooping around Research Clinics like a time-wasting idiot.
Determination set in, and Chris refolded the map and slid it back into his pocket.
He froze when his fingers touched another piece of paper already in.
The papers from that one room! The one he'd been in with Alan before they'd heard Claire scream! He'd forgotten all about them!
He shifted the map to his other pocket and fished out the papers.
Skimming over the print, he looked for anything useful or important.
His heart froze when he read the name 'Albert Wesker' printed on a memo about who had access to certain levels of research or whatever. Chris didn't really care about that stuff.
But he couldn't take his eyes off Wesker's name.
Seconds ticked by before he finally wadded the papers up and shoved them back down his pocket.
They hadn't really said anything useful, just who's turn it was to do what and when. Nothing at all about secret experiments or any of the like--not even pass codes.
But it had mentioned Albert Wesker.
Chris frowned, his brain going ninety miles a minute.
So this was the company Wesker now worked for. And if Wesker was here, the situation had just escalated to a far more dangerous level.
Claire could be in very real trouble. What if he had her? What if he did something to her?
He had to find her! Had to warn her!
Chris found himself running maniacally from door to door looking for a way out.
He was in luck. The third door he tried did indeed lead outside.
"So, do you think we'll run into this Kiticore?" Alexis asked nervously.
Her and Steve had long since left the office with the computer and were now rummaging through a nearby room looking for weapons.
It appeared to be a storeroom, and there were several unopened wooden crates laying around.
"If we do, we might as well make out our wills. Unless, of course, we find something halfway useful in here, like oh, say: a rocket launcher."
Alexis pried open a crate with her knife and was greeted by the sight of an oddly-colored stack of clothes staring back at her. She made a face.
"Euuueeewww! Talk about fashion-challenged!" She complained, "Who were they trying to dress? Clowns? 'Cause I wasn't even aware the circus even came to this part of the world!"
Steve jerked up suddenly, and for a brief instant Alexis worried she may have somehow offended him.
"Well, if pink and orange are your colors…" She started. Steve cut her off.
"What do you mean 'this part of the world' ? Do you know where we're at?"
He wasn't even looking at her, he just seemed transfixed by a mural of Pegasus painted onto the wall.
"Well, I heard my kidnappers say something about the Florida keys. Yeah, there was definitely the mentioning of the Florida Keys. My guess is we're either in or around them."
"Ugh. Figures. The last place I remember being at was the Antarctic. Geesh, with as many bases as Umbrella has laying around, you'd think somebody would have found them out by now."
Alexis shifted to the next wooden crate and got to work picking and prying at the edges with her knife until they came loose.
"I don't think this is one of Umbrella's facilities," She announced suddenly, "My kidnappers were with HCF. I saw their logo on the way to my cell."
She blew a strand of blonde hair away from her eyes and lifted the lid off the crate.
This one contained nothing but roll after roll of projector film. What a bust.
"This one had projector film. You having any luck?" She turned to Steve hopefully.
His back was to her as he lifted the lid off yet another crate. This one came free with a loud pop!
"Not unless physics books have suddenly been considered lucky."
He turned around slowly to face Alexis, his expression unreadable.
"What do you know about HCF?" He asked out of the blue.
The question caught Alexis unprepared.
"All I know is that they are a rival company to Umbrella. That's probably why they kidnapped me in the first place. They must know I'm connected to Umbrella."
"You are?" Steve gushed, then caught himself, "Oh. That's right. Ashfords."
"My great grandfather was one of the original founders of Umbrella," Alexis supplied helpfully, "The Ashford name goes back…"
"Stop! Just stop!" Steve shot angrily. It was amazing how quickly he'd changed moods! His face had turned a light shade of red, and now she could see the anger lines starting to form across his features.
"I know all about the Ashfords, okay?!" Steve spat, "I've had a very bad experience with them, wanna hear? I spent what seemed like forever on their island prison listening to all the horrible stories about what happened to people once they were taken to the infirmary, and wondering when it would be my turn to die. When I finally got out, my friend and I were shot at by your crazy cross-dressing father! He chased us all over the island setting traps and sending creatures to kill us. But it didn't stop there, no. Once we finally managed to nab ourselves a plane to escape that crazy hellhole, it was only to find it jinxed by Alfred. He had locked it on an autopilot course for Umbrella's Antarctica base . He almost killed us there too. Then that thing that used to be an Ashford--your grandpa, I think--very nearly knocked me to an icy death off a landing platform. But the story doesn't end there. As if all that were not bad enough, your mother woke up from hibernation and mutated me into a big butt-ugly green monster with her virus. I came this close to killing my best friend!" Steve held his fingers half an inch apart in demonstration. "The last thing I remember was going unconscious. So, yeah--I know all about Ashfords. In fact, you're the only one in your entire family who hasn't tried to kill me!"
Alexis was completely dumbfounded. Her family had done all that?!
No wonder Steve had been so angry.
But still, his words wounded her in a way she couldn't describe. She felt horrible inside.
Her whole life, she'd been raised to believe that she had a proud heritage. Veronica and other family names of her ancestors had been spoken with pride. She remembered listening to her caretaker Mrs. Phelps every night before bed as she proudly recounted some of the more daring tales of the past Ashfords. How they had managed the most amazing feats in the most trying of circumstances. How they had used their wits to outsmart the bad guys. Her own parents been the heroes in these bedtime stories more than once, and Mrs. Phelps had ended each tale saying how lucky Alexis was to be an Ashford.
In fact, everything she'd heard about the Ashford family since she was a little girl was about how brave, noble, and intelligent they were.
Once when she was only eight years old, Alexis had asked her caretakers why she couldn't go to live with her father, Alfred, or at the very least visit him. They had gone all silent and gotten these weird looks on their faces. It had taken a moment before Mr. Rosken had finally answered that he didn't believe Alfred was sane enough to have visitors, much less a daughter to take care of.
"He's been having a hard time coping with the sudden disappearance of your mother." Mrs. Phelps had added, "It about drove the poor man insane. All he ever does is sulk about mourning for her. It isn't healthy. The government didn't find him fit to raise you."
In fact, there was a lot about Alexis the government hadn't found out. Such as her inbred-ness. She had no real birth certificate, and all the official reports listed her as the illegitimate daughter of Alfred Ashford. Supposedly, nobody knew who her mother was.
But Mr. Rosken and Mrs. Phelps had, and she'd learned early on why she'd have to keep her true parentage a secret from everyone but the people she could trust.
But now…here Steve was making all these wild accusations about all horrible things her family had done.
She suddenly felt very defensive.
"You're wrong! My family wouldn't do that!"
Steve looked like she had just slapped him on the face.
"Oh really?!" He shot, "Everything I just told you is true! If you don't believe me, maybe you could fly to whatever's left of the Antarctic base and ask your grandfather. I'm sure he'd have some stories for you, namely how he was mutated by his own children, who, by the way, just happen to be your parents!"
Alexis couldn't have been more shocked if Elvis himself had just landed in front of them at the controls of an alien spacecraft.
"No…No! It's not true!"
"Ever heard of that river in Egypt, de-Nile? I'm not lying to you! Your father even had torture chambers just so he could watch people suffer! Whatever you've been hearing about your parents--those are the lies! They were very bad people. And if you won't believe that then…then.." Steve was practically shaking with anger, "Then you're no better than they were, that's what! I was actually there. I know what was going on!"
"Oh, I would not be to sure about that." A new voice interrupted.
Alexis turned to see none other than her brother Ash standing in the threshold; dressed in a blue soldier uniform with gold trim, blue gloves, and white pants. Save the blue part, it looked almost like the red and white uniform she remembered seeing pictures of her father wearing.
He had a rifle pointed at Steve's face.
"Ash! What are you doing here?!" Alexis cried. She rushed over and gave him a hug, happy to see him.
He returned her greeting just as warmly before gently pushing her aside.
"You know this guy?!" Steve asked, incredulous. His mouth hung open in a comical little 'o'.
Alexis smiled, "Yeah. This is my brother Ash. Ash, this is my friend Steve. You can put that rifle down now. He's not dangerous."
Ash snorted. "I can see that. He looks like he just got off the train to Loserville.”
"Hey!" Steve returned hotly, "I do not!" To Alexis, he said, "You have a brother?! Why didn't you tell me?"
"You never asked." Alexis gave Steve a lopsided grin. She was feeling much better. Ash was here, and now everything was going to be alright.
She had always looked up to her brother, even though they seldom got to see each other. He always knew just what to do.
Reluctantly, Ash lowered the rifle.
Alexis never noticed just how hatefully her brother was staring at Steve.
"Are you two twins?" Steve inquired, returning Ash's poisonous glare.
It was Alexis who answered. "No. Ash here is ten months older than me! He's almost sixteen, and in a couple of weeks I'll be fifteen."
"Nice, I'm sure. But are you really going to let him get away with all those wild accusations about our family?" Ash snarled.
Alexis's smile evaporated and was replaced with a frown. "Well, he did say some pretty awful things, but he also freed me from my cell. If it weren't for him, I wouldn't even be here!"
"Yeah, well now that I'm here, you don't need anymore help from the sissy-boy." Ash huffed in the same snobby tone his father had so often used.
"Sissy-boy!" Steve retorted, "That really hurts coming from Alfred's son! Shouldn't you be out trying on a new dress or something?"
Ash raised his rifle again in in an instant, burning with rage. "Oh, that's the last straw!"
He reached for the trigger and was stopped by Alexis pushing his rifle down.
"Please." She pleaded, "We don't have to hurt him. Let's just…go."
She grabbed Ash's arm and started out the door with him.
"Fine." Ash said with one final scowl at Steve, "But I'm warning you--we cross paths again, and he's dead!"
Steve just watched as the two Ashfords disappeared out the door. He heard them running down the hall, then there was the bang and clang of a door being opened and closed.
Maybe I made the wrong choice after all. He thought, burning with anger and hurt at the same time, I let her out of her cell, then she's willing to ditch me for her jerk of a brother! Doesn't she even care?! What is wrong with those people?! Can't Alexis see now that her family is evil?
Steve kicked a crate in anger.
He didn't believe Alexis was bad, not really. She had stopped her brother from killing him, so she must have some type of a heart. But how could he make her see that he was right about her family? How could he open up her eyes to what was happening?
Wesker sat in a comfy cushioned chair he'd ulled in from another room. He was sipping coffee casually from a very exquisite-looking mug, and enjoying watching a disheartened Claire sigh as she sank deeper and deeper into the pit of despair.
"Aw, what's wrong Claire?" He said with phony concern, "Worried about your brother? Don't be. I'm sure Alan'll have him here right on schedule."
Claire didn't respond, but just continued to stare at the floor.
She'd long lost any fight she'd had in her. There was no way she could get free from the metal cuffs, and she saw no reason to rile Wesker up. It was hard telling what he'd do if pushed far enough. He might decide not to keep up his end of the bargain, and Chris might end up coming in to see a large collection of Claire-bits lying all over the floor.
In fact, she'd halfway been expecting Wesker to start cutting her up with a scalpel the instant Alan had left the room.
But so far, he'd given no indication of wanting to do anything other than tease her. Which, hey, was bad, but not as bad as torture.
"How could you do that to your own son?” She said reflectively.
Wesker set his coffee cup down on the floor before replying. "Hey, I'm just trying to make a man out of him."
"By stripping him of his humanity?"
Wesker shrugged. "Whatever it takes. Besides, no son of mine is friends with a Redfield. I just can't allow that to happen."
"Oh, yes. That would be a tragedy." Claire returned sarcastically, "Tell me, why do you hate my brother so much? What did he do to you?"
Claire wasn't prepared for the intense snickering she heard.
"What, I have to make a list now? Sorry, but I don't have all night, you know."
Without warning, Wesker's micro-transmitter went off.
He raised the hand that had the mini communication device strapped to his glove and listened.
"Wesker, do you read?" A voice on the other end asked.
"Loud and clear." Wesker answered. He waited to hear what the other man had to say.
"Sir, we've got a very big problem. Alexia is on this island, and we have every reason to believe she still has her super-virus."
"Don't play games with me!" Wesker barked, "Alexia is dead! She blew up in the Antarctic facility. I saw it with my own eyes."
"Yeah? Well you can tell that to her. She's very close by! We can see her on our cameras. Come look!"
"Fine. But if you're not being completely honest with me…"
Wesker let it hang and cut communications. His frown deepened. Someone had just thrown a rock into his perfect pool of confidence.
He got up and headed for the door.
"I have to go for awhile, but don't worry, I'll be back before Chris gets here." Wesker told Claire before he slipped out the door like an evil black shadow.
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