Disclaimer & Notices: See Chapter 1.

 


Mechanic’s Creed
by Red Hope

Chapter 3

The Honda VTX softened its rumble once it banked the turn off Mission Street and onto Army Street. But Claire Redfield was forced to make a hard stop before she slammed into a fire truck. She balanced the bike between her legs but all her attention was set on the silent chaos that was Army Street.

“Holy sh…” Claire muttered under her helmet. She was in awe until fear began rising in her chest. Raccoon Hospital was still a block down but the street was dammed by overturn cars, police vehicles, toppled telephone poles, a few buses, and paper flying all over. Hesitantly, Claire lifted her eyes upward after something caught her eye.

There were several broken windows in tall buildings. But what’d turned Claire’s stomach was the obvious blood smear trailing down from the charred windows. Whatever had happened here, it’d been very ugly and killed hundreds of people. Claire suspected the attacks and murders in the city had somehow originated here. Or worse yet, looking further down the street, it all began at the hospital. It wasn’t too farfetched since Major Timothy Cain was at the hospital.

After making up her mind, Claire back pedaled the motorcycle then started carefully cutting down small backstreets around the Saint Michael Clock Tower that neighbored the hospital. Perhaps the backside of the hospital wasn’t as jammed up as the front side on Army Street. Carefully maneuvering through the wreckage, Claire was able to get to the side street next to the hospital. She could only park the motorcycle on the sidewalk in a small cleared spot. Debating whether to leave the helmet, she opted not to and simply jogged down the cluttered sidewalk to the front of the hospital. On her short hike down the street, Claire noted the wrecked cars and fallen light posts. But it was the blood spatter on police car hoods that knotted her stomach.

Claire approached Army Street, but noises from ahead made her hesitate and hide around the corner of the building. She peered around the corner and pinpointed the disturbance, the voices now clearer. She slotted her eyes at the dozen Umbrella soldiers poised at the base of the steps of the hospital. Their distinct insignia of red and white triangles that formed the Umbrella logo stood out against their black uniform.

“Damn,” the mechanic murmured. She thought twice about just approaching the soldiers and asking for Major Cain. Some part of her wanted to do it, but she doubted they’d be so receptive to her. Their rifles weren’t that friendly looking either. Rocking on her boots, Claire struggled what to do next until a woman’s voice blared loudly from Claire’s hip.

“Major Cain, Major Cain this is Sergeant Fawler,” a woman hailed over the radio.

Claire cursed and hastily scrambled for the radio after it loudly resounded through the street. She prayed the Umbrella soldiers didn’t pick up on it.

“This is Major Cain.” His voice was much quieter than Fawler’s.

A soft sigh escaped Claire after she turned the volume down, but she still carefully listened to the conversation.

“We’re requesting your help at the Raven’s Gate Bridge,” Sergeant Fawler radioed.

“I am on my way,” Major Cain responded.

Claire heard a soft echo and realized why once she spotted Major Cain jogging down the steps of Raccoon Hospital. She bit her bottom lip and struggled not to go after him.

“I will be there in fifteen minutes,” Major Cain added.

“Roger that,” Sergeant Fawler answered.

“Cain out.”

Claire tucked behind the building more as the soldiers escorted Major Cain away from the hospital and headed south on Army Street. She was forced to press her back against the building. Holding her breath, she waited for them to pass through the chaotic wasteland in Army Street. Once they were gone, Claire dropped her head against the building. The hard plastic of her helmet clanged against concrete.

“Now what?” Claire debated her options and decided to investigate the hospital since it was of interest to Major Cain and seemed to be the epicenter. Gathering her nerves, Claire pushed off the building and jogged towards entrances of the hospital, which was owned and operated by Umbrella. The gigantic Umbrella logo was casted in bronze over the doors. But it was all the bullet holes in the glass that impressed Claire. Her boots crunched against the shards that littered the steps to the door.

Reaching behind, Claire retrieved the handgun and entered the hospital that was eerily void of any life. Not sure where to start, she simply went through the lobby and entered a hallway. After a minute, it occurred to her that the hospital had power unlike the rest of the city. Most likely the hospital was utilizing generators for power, but it would be short lived before the fuel would run out. Then the whole damn place would plunge into darkness because sunset was only an hour away.

Unsure what to look for, the mechanic roamed the hospital’s first floor then entered a stairwell to go to the second floor. She hurried up the steps and slowed beside the sealed door. She reached for the handle but went still after a pained scream reached her ear. Claire couldn’t pinpoint its location thanks to being in the stairwell. But she wasn’t too far if she could hear the scream at all.

Taking a chance, she drew open the door quietly and entered the second floor. Hopefully she made the right guess. Claire had entered a section of a maternity ward and attempted seeking out the owner of the scream. Perhaps it wasn’t the greatest plan, but she could only hope to get some kind of answer.

Coming around a corner, Claire rushed around it only to hear the scuffing of feet too late, the helmet not helping her. She nearly slammed into another woman, who was obviously injured by the blood on her blue scrubs. Claire took a hesitant step back and held out her right hand, the left hand gripping the gun harder. She choked on her words when the nurse weakly lifted her head.

A low growl emanated from the nurse, and she suddenly lunged for the other woman. Her filthy teeth barred when her mouth opened wide. Her hands first latched onto the woman’s leather clad shoulders then her mouth was drawn down.

Initial shock was cut off by natural instinct to live, and Claire nailed the nurse in the stomach first. She aimed the gun at the nurse and hesitated to pull the trigger until the nurse lunged again. Claire retracted on the trigger, but it was stiff and locked in place by the safety. A low curse echoed into Claire’s helmet as she was hit hard by the nurse.

The nurse fought to bite into human flesh but leather and plastic blocked her first two attempts. Before she could make another try, she was rolled onto her back. Gloved hands wrapped around her head then everything went dark after her neck was snapped hard.

Gasping feverishly, Claire stared down in shock at the motionless nurse under her. She jerked her hands away from the half decomposed face of the nurse. Nausea worked its way up Claire’s stomach, but she fought it down. Instead, she scooped up the Beretta 90two and stumbled to her feet. Not able to handle what’d just happened, Claire decided to escape the hospital before anybody else or anything else attacked her.

Brief flashes from the Silent Hill videogames and movie became too realistic to Claire. It served her right for playing those damn games late into the night years ago. But a nightmare becoming real was another matter. The boom of her boots against the stairs made her refocus on getting the Hell out of the crazed hospital alive. All she needed next was the janitor slithering out on his belly from a women’s bathroom.

Claire felt freedom and safety once the main entrance appeared ahead of her. She raced down the hallway, through the lobby, and skidded hard just beyond the front entrance. She hunched forward with her hands on her knees. Relief washed over her after escaping the hospital, a chill still on her back.

Not wanting to tempt fate by peering over her shoulder, Claire instead straightened up and quickly noticed what seemed to be a ghost moving south on Army Street. Breaking free from her disbelief, she bolted down the steps and called out to the blond, who walked away from a police car. Claire slowed once a riot shotgun was pointed at her face, and she held up her hands in peace, the Beretta tangled in her left hand.

“Alice, it’s me… Claire.” Claire silently cursed the helmet that covered her face. She then added, “Claire Redfield.” She slowly read the recognition registering in Alice’s blue eyes.

Alice gradually lowered the riot shotgun and continued staring oddly at the well clad person before her. Her lips slightly parted, words caught up on her tongue.

Claire decided it was best to remove her helmet so she slowly did it. Her red hair tumbled around her shoulders.

Alice curiously stared at the other woman then murmured, “Claire.” Confusion and surprise crossed her features.

“Yeah.” Claire hooked her right hand under the chin of the helmet. She stepped closer to Alice and was glad the shotgun was completely lowered now. “You remember me, right?” She was hastily scanning over Alice’s features, body, and clothes or lack of attire. But what worried her more were the bloody wounds on Alice’s neck and temple.

Alice had a frown pulling at her lips, but she softly stated, “The hot young mechanic from the airport.” Memories seemed to be swarming her all at once.

Claire chuckled and revealed a gentle grin. “You got it.” She stowed the Beretta 90two in her waistband. She moved a bit closer and became more serious. “Are you alright?”

Alice touched her forehead and admitted, “I don’t know.” She glanced down at her body.

Claire had a better look now that she was near Alice. After getting past the obvious wounds on Alice, she started picking out changes in Alice’s features. Those blue eyes had once been a steel blue but were now a rich sky blue. But Claire started furrowing her brow once she realized that Alice seemed years younger. She nearly touched Alice, wanting to confirm what her eyes saw yet controlled her urge.

“We should clean those wounds and… find you some clothes,” Claire suggested. She hoped to give Alice some kind of direction.

Alice scanned the surrounding chaos from some kind of battle. She muttered, “Undead.” Their scent was clear under her keen nose. But she cut her eyes to Claire and nodded at the earlier idea.

Claire held out her left hand in offer. Confidence filled her once Alice’s hand slid into hers and locked together. “Come on.” She directed Alice through the overturned street and onto the sidewalk. She weaved through the debris on the sidewalk until they came upon her waiting motorcycle.

Alice recognized the distinct bike and soon found a helmet held out to her. She instead pushed it back into Claire’s chest. “I don’t need it.”

An argument wasn’t worth it right now so Claire instead put the helmet on but shoved the visor up. “There are attacks going on in the city.” She climbed on it, kicked the stand away, and adjusted the Honda between her legs. “I’ve been attacked a couple of times.” She shifted forward and helped Alice get on the motorcycle.

Alice snaked one arm around Claire but kept the shotgun in her right hand. Her bare feet found the cool pegs meant for a passenger. News about the city didn’t surprise her in the least and caused a frown.

Claire prepared to start the bike but absently mentioned, “And your boss has the city on lock down.” She slammed the visor then started the bike up. She became situated after turning the motorcycle around and weaved through the vehicles. There had to be a good location where they could rest and take care of Alice’s wounds.

Raccoon City’s buildings began glimmering in the late sunlight, glass reflecting early sunset. Soon it would become progressively harder for Claire to maneuver through the chaotic streets of the city. But she finally made it to downtown where there were a variety of shops. Turning a right onto Flower Street, Claire slowly rode past a few abandoned shops until she came to a quieter block. It was a better choice than getting closer to the Raccoon Police Department where she’d seen the dead cop rise up.

Alice dismounted from the bike and trailed her eyes over the buildings. Her long stare rested on the gunshop at the corner of the next block. But a leathery hand hooked her wrist and made Alice focus on Claire.

“Let’s start in here,” the mechanic suggested. She no longer had her helmet but kept the rest of her motorcycle gear on. She held onto Alice while she moved forward, to the entrance of a CVS Pharmacy store. The broken glass doors weren’t any surprise to Claire so she directed Alice carefully past the shards.

Alice easily followed the young mechanic. But her bright blue eyes lowered to the Beretta 90two that poked out between leather chaps and jacket. The corner of her lips pulled with a knowing grin. She raised the riot shotgun in case there was any trouble in the store.

Claire couldn’t see well so she retrieved her smartphone and switched on the flashlight app. Using the makeshift flashlight, she started through the aisles until they were upon the medicines and bandages. Quickly she began collecting supplies to use on Alice.

But Alice was focused on the rest of the store, eyes constantly searching. Her deep inhales didn’t sound any alarms in her body. It wasn’t until Claire’s light touch that she was jarred and looked at Claire.

“Let’s get closer to the entrance… better light.” Claire had caught the older woman’s strange motions but didn’t comment on it. Instead, they ventured to the entrance and found a cleared spot next to a register. Once Alice sat on the checkout counter, Claire was able to begin inspecting Alice.

“I can…” Alice dropped the argument after realizing Claire was blatantly ignoring her.

Claire started with cleaning the obvious wounds on Alice’s face, neck, shoulders, and arms. As she tended to them, she struck up a conversation. “So, you haven’t called or texted… no letters in the mail.” She was wiping the blood off from Alice’s temple where hair had been obviously shaven. “Not even smoke signals.”

Alice swallowed hard yet held her silence. Her stare distant and even lost. But Claire’s now uncovered fingers met her chin and turned her head.

“I guess it was a bad date after all,” Claire tempted, a weak grin over her lips.

Alice sadly smiled, but it faded away. “There were… problems at work.” Soft fingers left her face and cool alcohol continued cleaning her wounds. Briefly her eyes shut and hellish memories swarmed her. They were broken by Claire’s voice.

“You look like a pincushion,” Claire summarized. She knelt down and took care of the wounds around Alice’s legs. “Why am I thinking you became the lab rat at work?” She waited for a response and received nothing. A sigh broke free, and Claire stood up after caring for the last wounds. She placed her hands on either side of Alice and leaned in closer.

Alice slightly leaned away when Claire entered her space. She warily eyed the younger woman.

“I’m not stupid, Alice.” Claire studied Alice’s guarded features. “I know they’ve done something to you… and it’s not just the wounds, clothes, or lack of.” She canted her head and mentioned, “You’re also about twenty years younger looking than when we met a week ago.”

Alice held the mechanic’s searching eyes.

Claire gritted her teeth at Alice’s silence. She took a deep breath and hotly vented, “There are people attacking others for no reason. They’re dying… and getting back up.” She was becoming angrier by the second. “I’ve been attacked twice already, and I have a bad feeling I’m going to be shot at before all of this is over.”

Alice slightly cringed at the image of Claire being hit by a bullet.

“What the Hell happened down there?” Claire demanded when Alice looked away. She touched Alice’s shoulders, gently. “What happened to you?”

Alice shook her head then opened her eyes to Claire’s concerned expression. She sighed and simply answered, “A virus.”

The mechanic rocked back on her heels, which caused her hands to fall from Alice. She stared, oddly at the older woman. “Like a bioweapon?”

“Yes.” Alice watched Claire’s stress rise. “They’ve been working on it at the Hive… for years and carrying out experiments both in the Hive and in the laboratories in the Arklay Mountains.”

“Umbrella?” Claire checked.

Alice gave a low nod.

Quickly the last entry in Alice’s journal jumped into Claire’s mind. “You knew… about the virus.”

“And I knew what it can do,” Alice agreed. “I promised to help an environmentalist group gather proof about what Umbrella was engineering.”

“What exactly does the virus do?”

Alice ran her fingers through her hair, which caused several locks to fall over the shaven area. “It reanimates the dead.”

Claire was in disbelief until she thought about the dead police officer that got up and moved through the office building hours ago.

“The undead only want one thing… human flesh and blood.” Alice felt the fear build up in Claire. “Once you’re bitten then you become one of them.”

Claire shook her head then walked away from Alice. Her mind was spinning until it settled on one thing. She turned her head sidelong and stated, “We have to get out of this city.” She bowed her head and softly added, “It’s been locked down though.”

Alice slid off the counter, her bare feet hitting the rough carpet of the store. “There’s more than one way out of here than just the roads.”

Claire turned to the older woman. For several seconds, she examined the changes in Alice’s ageless features and altered demeanor. Finally she whispered, “What’d they do to you?”

“I’m… not sure,” Alice murmured. She felt slightly see-through and caused her to move away from Claire.

But the mechanic wasn’t deterred and quickly followed her friend. “Let’s find some clothes and get out of here.” Claire had enough of the damn city.

Alice snared the shotgun from the counter then followed Claire out onto the street. Shortly they entered a clothing store next door to the gunshop. As Alice put on the holey jeans and skin tight black shirt, she began feeling whole again. She received a pair of boots from Claire that she quickly put on and laced up. Standing, Alice looked over at the mechanic, who came out from the back with a leather jacket.

“I think this is your size,” Claire guessed. Once the sun was down then it’d get chilly pretty fast.

Alice took a step towards Claire until a sharp pain erupted first in her stomach. The hot white flash sent her down onto the floor, gasping for air, and hunched forward.

Claire dropped to her knees next to Alice. “What is it?” She cringed from the painful whimpers.

Alice raised her bare arms and revealed  the grotesque movements under her skin.

“What the…” Claire nearly touched Alice’s forearm but halted and stared worriedly.

Alice curled forward after the pain increased. She gave a low scream until callused yet soft hands were comforting her. She shut her eyes and willed her body to settle again. Her nails dug into the carpeted floor. Dark memories from the hospital flooded her.

“It’ll be alright,” Claire soothed. She wasn’t sure what else to do and waited for the storm to pass Alice. Once the shifting under Alice’s arm slowed down, Claire sighed in relief. She found glossy blue eyes peered up at her. “You okay now?”

“I think so.” Alice blew out a low breath. She then tempted fate and cautiously climbed to her feet. Her fingers were tangled in Claire’s motorcycle jacket. Once strength came back in her knees, she released the mechanic.

“What was that?” Claire murmured.

Alice blinked a few times then turned her head to the mechanic. “The virus.”

Claire’s eyebrows hiked up, but she didn’t withdraw despite her natural desire to do so. “The virus?”

Alice closed her eyes briefly. “I remember.” She pulled away from Claire then wandered over to the full length mirror. But she was drawn to the reflection of her neck. “They experimented on me with the virus.” She pulled at the collar of the short black shirt. Where there’d once been an entry wound from a needle was now nearly gone. All the wounds were healing rather quickly than normal.

Claire had picked up the leather jacket and carefully neared the older woman. “You’re…” Alice’s blue eyes cut to her from within the mirror. “Dead?” she hesitantly questioned.

“No.” Alice focused on her own reflection instead of Claire. “I’m not like them.” She faced Claire now and received the black leather jacket, which she shrugged on with ease. “Not completely.” She ended the conversation by leaving the store.

Claire released a heavy breath and considered exactly what Alice meant by that. After a headshake, she quickly followed Alice outside and realized just how late it was getting now that the sunlight was almost gone.

“We need more firepower,” Alice muttered. She went left and approached the gunshop’s locked door. Not discouraged by the bolted door, Alice simply kicked near the lock and took the door off its hinges. She entered the dimly lit gunshop after sniffing the air for any undead.

Claire was impressed by Alice’s display of strength. There wasn’t time to question it and instead she watched Alice collect more guns. “I hate guns,” she murmured.

“That’s why you have my Beretta 90two,” Alice prodded. She was pulling magazines out from a case.

Claire was shaken by the fact that Alice heard her and knew of the Beretta. “I uh…”

Alice had a handful of loaded magazines that she shoved into the jacket’s pockets. She scooped up two Glocks before showing her dark smile at Claire. “How’d you like my apartment?” Alice was liking the growing blush on Claire’s cheeks.

“It was… modern,” Claire shyly answered.

Alice chuckled then moved out of sight into the darkness. She grabbed a shotgun holster that she fitted across her back. The riot shotgun fit in it perfectly once it was swung behind. Alice filled the front of the holster with more shots. Heading back towards Claire, she grabbed two loaded Heckler & Koch MP5K submachine guns from off the wall. Last, she took six more magazines with seventeen rounds in each.

Claire stood slightly wide eye at all the guns on the older woman. But Alice’s left hand pressed into her chest with cold metal.

“You’ll want these,” Alice informed. Once Claire cupped under her hands, she released the magazines then brushed past.

Claire studied the full magazines in her hands. She bit her lower lip and decided not to think about it. She stowed the magazines in her jacket pockets then hastily followed Alice out of the gunshop. A frown pulled at the corner of her mouth once she realized it was now dark. “Great,” she muttered.

“We should hurry,” Alice suggested. Her steps were wide and quickly carried her back to the motorcycle. “Hard to say how long it’ll take us to get out of here.”

Claire shook her head and mentioned, “They’re quarantining at each checkpoint.”

Alice stopped next to the bike and looked at Claire. “It won’t be long before the virus reaches the checkpoints.”

Claire was unsure how rapidly the virus could move, but she trusted Alice’s judgment on it. She narrowed her eyes slightly and asked, “Won’t your boss let us out, regardless?” She didn’t like the catlike smile that appeared on Alice’s cold features.

“He’s the reason I was in the hospital.” Alice slung the submachine guns over her back and adjusted their straps so it was comfortable. “And he’s probably the reason I’m awake right now instead of being pumped with more of the virus.”

Claire wasn’t sure what to say. She had her helmet between her now gloved hands. “Maybe you’ll get to return the favor to him before we get out of here.” She began mounting the bike.

“I’d like that,” Alice whispered. She waited until Claire was situated then she got on the motorcycle next. That’s when she noticed the radio on Claire’s hip for the first time. She didn’t ask anything and instead allowed Claire to handle the Honda VTX that roared to life.

Claire decided their first attempt would be the Raven’s Gate Bridge where Major Timothy Cain was most likely stationed now. Perhaps Alice could convince the major that she and Alice should be allowed out of the city. But what kept turning over in Claire’s mind was exactly how Umbrella planned to get Raccoon City under control again. If the virus was spreading through the city then it’d have to be cleansed, somehow. Not sure if the answer would settle well, Claire let it go.

This time Alice had both arms around the mechanic’s leather-clad waist and held tightly. She was impressed with Claire’s skill with the motorcycle despite the road debris in their way. Alice realized they were entering the Raven’s Gate district. Most likely Claire hoped to reach Major Cain, but Alice was less optimistic especially once he would see Alice.

Claire passed two more blocks, but she slowed the bike because gunfire had reached her ear. Stopping the motorcycle, she pushed up the visor and listened more closely. “You hear that?”

Alice had her head canted and was smelling the air carefully. “Yes.” She inhaled deeper and dissected the different scents. “Most likely it’s Umbrella soldiers fighting off hordes.”

Claire crinkled up her nose at the idea. But Alice sudden rise of tension made her stiffen too. “What?”

Alice’s nose flared wider after she breathed in the grotesque scent again. “Trouble.” She pointed off to her right. “Head towards the church.”

Claire reached for her visor and held it for a second. “Am I heading towards the trouble?”

“No… it’s headed towards us,” Alice whispered.

Claire didn’t like the sounds of it and slammed the visor down. She floored the motorcycle, racing towards the church. Something felt like it was on her heels even though there was nothing in her view or mirrors. The Raven’s Gate Church began forming rapidly, stain glass high up became distinct and ornate.

The Honda VTX’s tires gripped the paved road hard once the brake was applied, the tires coming to a rest several yards before the church’s sealed wood doors. The engine rumbled low, but it couldn’t hide the hungry roar from inside the church.

Reaching behind, Alice retrieved the riot shotgun and began pumping it. “Go through the front door.” After another sniff, she confirmed her suspicions.

“Alice, are you…” Claire had her head turned sidelong.

“Trust me,” Alice insisted. A grin pulled across her lips.

Claire shook her head once but revved the motorcycle and took off for the front door. Adrenaline fueled Claire’s body, and she tightened her grip on the handles. The church’s wood doors bared down on them all of sudden then the bike’s front tire slammed into the center. The entrance rushed past and the church pews appeared in front of Claire. Gunfire rang under Claire’s helmet, but she desperately braked the motorcycle before they hit the pews. The motorcycle’s rear swung forward, and the bike squealed closer to the first pew.

Alice used the bike’s momentum to her advantage. She launched off the bike after firing one more time on a target above the altar. She back flipped and perfectly landed on a pew’s back, her balance never faltering. Alice rushed forward, sprinting across the pew’s backs one by one. Shots continued unloading from her gun at her opponent hidden in the shadows.

Once Claire had the bike under control, she took in the fact there were three humans standing among the pews, guns drawn. Claire stared at them briefly before her head jerked to the right where a creature stalked down a wall. Before she could call out a warning, Alice was already dealing with the beast.

It only took three shots towards the altar and the Licker was dead. Alice dropped the riot shotgun and tore the MP5K submachine guns free. Sights lined on the new threat, Alice pulled the triggers. As the empty shells spewed from the submachine guns, Alice curiously watched the Licker collapse from the wall, and blood splattered all around it.

Sharply it became silent after Alice ended the massacre of gunfire. She casually slid off the pew’s back, and her boots boomed against the wood seat. She assessed the three humans, and one of them caused Alice to grin, devilishly. Alice swung the left machinegun over her back but kept the other pointed upwards.

One of the three humans hiding in the church stepped into the aisle. She had a dark glare that matched her midnight hair. She started towards Alice with fire in her brown eyes. She opened her mouths to speak but Alice’s renewed gunfire cut her off.

Alice waited a few seconds then released the submachine gun’s trigger. She lowered the weapon and canted her head. “You may want to step back,” she suggested to the other woman. But her warning wasn’t heeded and caused her to laugh.

The last Licker fell from the ceiling and slammed into the stone floor a few feet from the dark haired beauty. Its blood spewed onto her black boots and calves. A low groan came from the Licker, tongue loosely snaked out on the floor.

Annoyed brown eyes lifted from the dead creature to the well-armed blond standing on the pew. “Alice fucking Abernathy,” she growled.

Alice smirked and cheerfully offered, “You’re welcome, Detective Valentine.”

The dark-haired detective, Jill Valentine, continued with her glare, but she turned her ire onto the woman on the motorcycle. “And who the fuck are you?”

Alice hopped off the pew and entered the aisle, the dead Licker separating her from Jill. “Detective, this is Claire Redfield.”

Claire removed her helmet and nodded at the detective.

“Claire, this is Jill Valentine.” Alice stepped over the Licker and joined Jill’s side. But her attention was on the two other humans, a man and woman. She recognized the man from previous times. His name though eluded Alice.

Jill eyed Claire Redfield for another moment before she pointed at her male comrade. “Peyton Wells and…” She pointed at the reporter that’d accidently joined her and Peyton. “Terri Morales.”

Alice nodded in kind to Peyton and Terri. She focused on Jill and asked, “What the Hell has happened?”

Jill slotted her eyes at Alice and rebuked, “I had hoped you could tell me.” She holstered the Smith & Wesson 5946 handgun into her dual shoulder holster. “Goddamn Umbrella has the city on lock down.”

Alice sighed and shook her head. “I’m out of the loop.”

“Out of the loop?” Jill snapped. Her anger was rising as the bad news continued tonight.

Claire shut off her motorcycle and was able to hear better. She tried considering how Jill and Alice knew each other, not really wanting to know more.

“You’re the goddamn Head of Security for that facility,” Jill hotly fought. “How the Hell can’t you know?”

Alice narrowed her eyes at the detective but calmly informed, “I quit my job.” She enjoyed how Jill’s features went from pissed to stunned within seconds.

“What?” Jill whispered. Disbelief was clearly written all over her face. She took a deep breath then tempted, “Does it have anything to do with Arklay?”

Alice was quiet but felt everybody’s eyes on her. She bit her bottom lip then finally answered, “That’s just half of it.”

Jill bowed her head and ran her fingers through short, dark strands. “Damn it.” Images of her partner’s recent death plagued her.

“We have to get out of this city,” Alice informed the group.

“There’s no getting out of here,” Peyton Wells spoke up for the first time.

“They have all the exit points locked up,” Terri added.

Alice moved away from the group and retrieved the riot shotgun. “Not all of them.” She knew the city fairly well.

“What about the RPPD’s copter?” Peyton suggested to the group.

Jill widened her eyes at the S.T.A.R.S. officer. “Can you fly that thing?”

“I can,” Claire spoke up. She flexed her grip on the bike’s handles when everybody turned to her.

Alice rejoined the group but had clearly heard Claire Redfield. She was loading shots into the gun and smiled at Claire. “Can you now?”

Claire dipped her head and mentioned, “Not legally but…”

Alice chuckled and pumped the riot shotgun after reloading it. “But it doesn’t matter.” She liked Peyton’s idea over her earlier thoughts.

“It’s a hike to the police department,” Jill reminded the group.

Alice darkly smiled at Jill and taunted, “You aren’t scared of the dark, are you?”

Jill glowered at Alice and leaned closer to her. “I’ll lead the way.”

Alice gave a low laugh and patted Jill on her back. “Thanks, mighty detective.” She slipped past and approached Claire Redfield. Her features slightly softened, and she softly checked, “Rotorcrafts too?”

Claire rolled her shoulders and teased, “I’m a flygirl.” She and Alice traded smiles, but Claire lost hers first when Jill Valentine invaded their quiet moment. She let out a low breath and wondered exactly what this new team up would mean for her and Alice. If it got them out of the city then that’s all that really mattered to Claire. Hopefully it was an escape that would be sooner than too late.

To be continued.