Disclaimer & Notices: See Chapter 1.

Mechanic’s Creed
by Red Hope

Chapter 4

“This way,” Jill ordered. She glanced over her shoulder at the small group following her lead down the sidewalk. For a moment, she considered why the Hell that redhead chic had to bring the motorcycle. Shortly they could pile up in a vehicle and drive across the city to the police department where the helicopter was on the roof. Why on Earth the redhead felt a need to bring the Honda motorcycle was beyond Jill. Besides, it was slowing them down. And what was the redhead’s name again? Claire… Claire Redfield, Jill recalled.

Shaking off the annoyance, Jill focused on the task of getting to a worthwhile vehicle that’d transport them quickly. She had yet to see any vehicle randomly parked on the street and that bothered her a bit. Behind her, she heard the others talking and easily picked out Alice’s voice after a moment.

“Why did you come?” Alice asked. She walked on Claire’s right side and had already attempted to take the motorcycle from Claire, to push it. But she kept getting refused by the mechanic.

Claire adjusted her grip on the handles and continued pushing the bike along the sidewalk, behind the group. “I was worried about you.”

Alice slightly raised an eyebrow and softly grinned at Claire. “My mother worries about me.”

Claire laughed and shook her head. But an obstacle on the sidewalk made her focus on getting around it. “I just… care about you.” She glanced at Alice and added, “I had to make sure you were alright.”

Alice considered the response for a moment, so many unspoken things. But she nodded and tenderly replied, “Thank you.”

Claire returned Alice’s smile yet couldn’t help teasing the older woman. “It comes standard with any annual I perform.”

Alice softly laughed at the mechanic and gently grasped Claire’s shoulder. “And we haven’t even gotten to my annual.”

“Yet,” Claire quietly reminded. She winked at Alice then looked ahead at the group. She slowed down when she noticed that Jill had found a vehicle to use for them. Stopping the bike a few paces away, she popped out the kickstand and waited to see how they’d start the small pickup truck.

Surprisingly Jill found the door unlocked. However, the keys were another matter, and Jill didn’t find them anywhere after she got into the cab. She grumbled, leaned to her right, and studied the ignition carefully.

Alice left the mechanic’s side and climbed the silver truck’s rail, slightly brushing against Jill’s leg. “Can you start it?”

“I think so.” Jill looked at Alice briefly then back to the ignition. She grabbed it but hesitated because she wasn’t sure she could rip off the cover.

Alice caught on and reached around, her fingers digging into the cover. With one strong yank, she tore off the cover and tossed it onto the floor. “Ya got three minutes, Detective Valentine.” She ignored Jill’s glower and descended the truck.

“So what are you?” Peyton prompted, eyes on the beautiful redhead.

Claire studied the well padded man that carried a police officer air around him. “I’m a mechanic.” Briefly her eyes flickered to Alice. “How about you?”

“I’m a S.T.A.R.S. officer,” Peyton informed. “What kind of cars you work on?

Claire was watching Jill’s failed attempts with the car’s ignition. “Not cars.” She focused on the S.T.A.R.S. officer. “I work on airplanes.” The surprise on Peyton’s face was worth it too.

Alice was moving around Peyton, slowly. Her nose flared wider when she picked out his distinct scent.

Beside them, Terri Morales was curiously watching the group talk while Jill fought with the truck’s ignition. Occasionally she looked around the area, seeming to expect a problem any second. When the truck whined, Terri looked over her shoulder at Jill in the cab. But the truck had yet to start.

Claire leaned to her side and called, “Need help with the truck?”

Peyton visibly cringed, already foretelling Jill’s answer.

“No,” Jill sharply replied. She continued striking the two cut wires together.

Alice rolled her eyes at the detective’s abrasive attitude. It was pretty damn normal. Yet that didn’t keep her grin away, especially once the truck actually started next. Some part of her felt like clapping at Jill for getting it done, but she resisted the urge.

Jill climbed out of the truck and approached the group.

Peyton started turning until a cough made him bend forward. Sudden movements made Peyton get over the cough quickly and look up, only to find a gun in his face. He went stiff and kept his wide eyes on Alice’s gun. But around him more guns were pulled then Jill’s voice fired up first.

“Hold it!”

Jill kept her handgun trained on Alice’s forehead. Yet her eyes cut to the right, and she took in the black Beretta that Claire Redfield had pointed at her temple. Jill disregarded Claire and slotted her eyes at Alice. “What you think you’re doing?” she huskily demanded.

“He’s wounded,” Alice stated. She nodded at Peyton and didn’t lower the gun from his face. “The infection is spreading.” Now the wound on Peyton’s arm made sense.

“I’m fine,” Peyton coldly argued. He noted that Terri took a step away from him, which annoyed him further.

“We should take care of him now.” Alice directed her words at Peyton, not keen on him traveling with them.

Claire flexed her grip on the Beretta 90two and didn’t like the sounds of this argument. She kept her eyes on Jill and hoped she didn’t have to pull the trigger.

“It’ll be more difficult later,” Alice continued. She turned her attention to Jill, who was protecting Peyton. “You know that,” she hotly insisted.

Jill held Alice’s eyes for a heartbeat then started shaking her head. “No.” She retracted her handgun and approached Alice but still felt Claire’s gun pointed at her. “If it comes to that, I’ll take care of it myself.” She and Alice continued trading a silent war of wills.

Terri adjusted the digital camera in her hands. All the tension was making her worry even more that they’d make it out alive from the city.

Alice revealed a grin and lowered the Glock. “As you wish.” She nodded at Claire, who also dropped her aim from Jill’s head. Turning her gaze to Peyton, Alice nonchalantly informed, “It’s nothing personal… but in an hour, maybe two, you’ll be dead.” She holstered the handgun. “And moments later, you’ll become one of them. You’ll endanger your friends… try to kill them… probably succeed.” Alice shrugged then honestly told, “It’s just the way it is.”

Jill stared, coldly at Alice despite the warning was very true. She indeed knew it too and hated it.

“Maybe we should be going,” Terri gently suggested to them.

Alice seconded the idea but went around Jill. She didn’t have plans to ride in the truck and rather stayed with Claire on the motorcycle.

The detective turned to Claire, who still had the Beretta 90two. “Never fired a gun, huh?” She holstered her own gun then smirked at Claire. “You can’t very well fire it with the safety on,” she mocked the mechanic.

Claire glanced at the weapon and noted that the safety was in place. She mentally cursed herself but peered up darkly at Jill.

“I guess you haven’t had that date at the firing range with Alice yet,” Jill remarked in a sarcastic tone. She turned her smirk onto Alice on the right.

Alice was as quick with her wit as she was with her body. A dark grin played on her face as she taunted, “No, we skipped over it and went right to the handcuffs instead.”

Claire went wide eye, a flush on her cheeks.

Jill gave a nasty look at Alice, and Claire’s bright blush made Jill assume it was true. Before she could continue the verbal spar, she was muted by Alice speaking again.

“Terri is right… we should go.” Alice had enough of the game and touched Claire’s arm. “We’ll follow behind you with the bike.”

Jill brushed off the earlier jabs and replied, “Fine.” She noted Claire’s blush was almost gone, and it made her huff. She turned on her heels and marched over to the truck. “Get in,” she barked at Peyton and Terri.

Claire waited until nearly all of them were in the truck then she turned to Alice. “What the Hell was that?” She shoved the gun into the rear of her waistband.

“Jill and I go a ways back,” Alice vaguely explained. She started to the motorcycle.

“I didn’t notice,” Claire chided. She climbed onto the bike then waited until Alice was behind her. Once settled, she started the Honda VTX and refocused on the task at hand. Blowing out a breath, she rolled off the sidewalk and followed the pickup truck down the street.

Alice adjusted her arms around Claire’s leather clad waist, not minding it at all. She noted this time that Claire didn’t put on the helmet, but it was a mute point right now. Instead they hastily zipped down the dark street and followed the truck.

Claire groused at her hair getting in the way. Slightly distracted, she nearly missed the brake lights brightening as the truck slowed down.

“I’m not one of those things!” a man hollered, his arms waving in the air.

Claire braked hard and pulled up alongside the truck. She curiously eyed him and began comparing her journey to Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. Except the damn Wizard was a mechanical helicopter located on the roof of the local police department. Or so they all hoped right now.

“Heeeey, remember me?”

Jill Valentine had put the driver’s window down and kept the gun pointed towards the newcomer. She rolled her eyes at him; he was familiar to her.

“Look, I haven’t been bitten or anything,” he proclaimed loudly. He started displaying his untouched body to Detective Valentine.

Jill shook her head once and sighed but then put her gun down. “Climb aboard.”

All too happy, he darted to the rear door on the driver’s side and tossed open the door. “Lloyd Jefferson Wayne,” he introduced. He became comfortable in the backseat, beside Peyton. “You can call me L.J. on the account of the informal situation.”

Jill was putting the window up and sighed at L.J.’s chatter. She hit the gas and caused the wheels to squeal against the pavement.

L.J. looked at Peyton and smiled. “Whad up brother?”

Peyton gave a weak smile and nodded.

L.J. could tell Peyton was some kind of officer and decided to play it cool.

Claire shook her head at their newest group member.

“Let’s go,” Alice suggested to the mechanic. She tightened her grip once Claire put the bike into gear and hastened after the truck.

Jill used her mental map to get her to the precinct located centrally in the city. She slowed at the next intersection and turned onto Davies Street, heading northbound. She had to dodge a few wrecked cars then a white police van parked in front of the Raccoon High School.

Terri leaned forward and curiously studied the dark school. “Creepy,” she murmured.

“Yo, you’re that chic from the local news station,” L.J. brought up.

Terri twisted around and offered a dim smile.

L.J. became further excited and leaned closer. “Terri Morales right?” He brightened after her nod. “I have to get your autograph.”

Jill shook her head but paid attention to the drive while Terri and L.J. talked about her career as a reporter. In the rear view mirror, Jill could tell that her friend, Peyton, wasn’t doing so well. She cursed Alice for being right. Already one of her friends had died and mutated from the T-virus. Jill wasn’t willing to give up another one to the virus. Another glance at the side mirror reminded Jill that Alice and Claire were right behind them.

“We can’t be far,” Claire hollered over her shoulder when they approached another left turn.

Alice slotted her eyes at the road’s name on the sign as they banked the corner. It was Ennerdale Street, which meant that the police station was two blocks away. “We’re almost there,” she loudly responded. But her words were a jinx once they came upon the roadblock that the police department had setup many hours ago when the outbreak first started in the city.

Claire braked the motorcycle until the front wheel nearly touched the police saddlehorse. She peered over her right shoulder at the pickup truck. The headlights flooded over the blocked off space that kept them from the precinct. For a moment, there seemed to be movement among the chaos of police cars, fire trucks, and overturned bus. It sent a chill down Claire’s spine.

After a deep inhale, Alice slotted her eyes and attempted dissecting all the scents drifting beyond the blockade. She lost count, too quickly.

“I don’t like this,” Claire murmured. Initially her instinct was to back pedal the motorcycle and ride away.

“There are undead in there,” Alice whispered. But she couldn’t explain further because of Jill.

The detective ducked her head out of the open window and ordered, “We’ll have to go in on foot.”

Claire shook her head and looked up at Jill. “There has to be another way out of the city than this.” A warm hand slipped under the leather jacket and nearly sent Claire off the bike. But the soothing stroke over her stomach made her calm down.

“What do you suggest?” Jill challenged. She pointed at the dark space of the street ahead of them. “That helicopter is our fastest way out of here.”

“If it’s even there,” Claire hollered over the rumbling engines.

“It’s there,” Jill swore. When she’d left the precinct, she recalled seeing it there on the roof top, a forgotten escape method. She reached down and twisted the key until the engine went silent. “Come on, Raggedy Ann,” she taunted. She signaled for the others to unload from the truck.

Claire glared at the smartass reference to the famous doll, which had red hair like Claire. But Alice’s shift at her back made her stiffen.

Alice dipped her head and brought her lips near Claire’s ear. “Stay close to me… I’ll keep you safe,” she huskily uttered.

Claire held her breath and closed her eyes until Alice pulled away. A gentle squeeze against her stomach made her open her eyes. It was time to go so she cut off the engine then better balanced the bike between her legs. Once Alice climbed off, Claire popped out the kickstand and got off the motorcycle next.

Alice reached behind and retrieved a MP5K submachine gun, checking over it. She sensed Jill near her so casually asked, “How far from the precinct are we?”

“A block,” Jill replied. She loaded a new magazine into the Smith &Wesson handgun. Her spare handgun in the other holster was already loaded and ready. “The chief had a block radius barricaded around the precinct… thinking it’d protect them from the undead.”

“Fools,” Alice muttered. She released the submachine gun’s safety. She turned and eyed Peyton Wells, who was slightly pale and rather sweaty now. Most likely it’d be another twenty minutes or so before he turned, and Alice would be prepared to drop him, if Jill couldn’t do it.

Jill yanked out her extra handgun then held it out to L.J., handle out. She raised an eyebrow in hidden offer.

L.J. tilted his head back and stated, “Please, girl!” He threw open his leather jacket and poked out his hips. “Look, my shit is custom.” L.J. rocked his hips back and forth, showcasing his golden Desert Eagles.

Jill rolled her eyes then saw Peyton was giving Terri a handgun to use. She was glad and started around everybody, towards the blockade. “Let’s go.” For a moment, it felt like nobody would follow her but one by one the others filtered in behind her. Reaching down, Jill retrieved the small Maglite attached to her right leg. She switched it on and raised it above her pointed handgun.

At the rear of the group, Alice stayed behind and close to Claire. She was on high alert. Her senses were going wild, and Claire’s frantic heartbeat wasn’t helping her focus. She licked her lips and softly asked, “Where did you get that radio?”

Claire lost her focus and glanced at the radio hooked to her hip. “A dead cop… or at least at the time I took it off him.” She indicated the dark street ahead of them. “I picked it up on the other side of the barricade before I came to the hospital.”

Alice considered this information then summarized, “You went to the Umbrella office.” She slightly softened at Claire’s obvious attempt to find her.

“Figured it was a good starting point,” Claire murmured. She was frantically scanning her surroundings as they weaved between the cars. Her leather gloves were hanging out of her rear pocket, leaving the Beretta’s cold metal against her bare palms.

“Shut up,” Jill hissed at the two chatters. She slowed down beside a fire truck and placed her back alongside it. Something was making her hair stand up so she cautiously edged towards the rear of the fire truck. Her gun was vertical to her face, barrel pointed at the sky. Once she came around the corner of the truck, a cold yet wet substance coated her right shoulder. Peering down, Jill recognized it as blood. She let out a low breath that settled her nerve, some.

Alice took a deep breath and allowed the smells to fill her. She darkly smiled once she picked out an undead just in front of Jill. A good luck wish went out to the gruff detective.

Jill had the flashlight and gun ready. Slowly turning the truck’s corner, she finally brought her view past the truck. The flashlight’s beam rolled with Jill’s body until it settled on a person, who was on all fours overtop of a body. Much to Jill’s horrid shock, the person was feasting on the dead body, a huge cavity in the stomach.

The bright light from the flashlight caused the creature to jerk his head up, revealing his bloody face. A string of intestine dangled from between his dark teeth. His bright blue eyes shined wildly in the stream of light.

Jill snapped into action and fired on the undead. She nailed him directly in the forehead and watched the undead flop down into the body’s torn cavity, face first. Blood splattered around the bodies further. Gasping hard, Jill leaned against the truck.

L.J. knew what the detective had done. He signed the cross over his chest and silently prayed they’d get out of the city.

“This is crazy,” Terri murmured. Her hands trembled, along with the gun locked between her palms.

Alice shut her eyes then tilted her head back. She began to smile, toothily.

“Sssh,” Jill hushed them. She straightened up after hearing something.

“What is that?” Peyton murmured.

Claire narrowed her eyes and tilted her head some. Slowly the sounds filtered to her. It was scraping and dragging. After a few seconds, she realized the sounds were getting closer.

“They know we’re here now,” Alice explained to the group. She was breathing deeply, inhaling the undead’s scents as they neared the humans.

Jill realized the mistake of shooting the undead earlier. Inadvertently the other undead within the barricade were alerted of their presence and location. “Shit,” she hissed. “Let’s move!” Jill darted around the fire truck with gun and flashlight sweeping the area.

Hastily the group moved through the maze of wreckage, darting and jumping over various equipment. Jill remained in the lead and fired on any undead that came in the flashlight’s beam. After taking out eight of them, she was beginning to worry because they weren’t that much closer to the precinct. What was disturbing was that more undead were wearing police uniform. Thankfully they were brain dead and couldn’t fire their handguns, like the humans.

“They’re coming up from behind!” Claire hollered to the group.

“We’re getting surrounded,” Peyton summarized. He wiped the sweat from his brow and fired on another undead coming around a SUV.

“Just keep moving forward,” Jill hotly ordered them.

Alice shook her head and decided to make faster headway than what the detective was doing with the pea shooters. She roughly ripped the second submachine gun free, released the safety, and stepped around the group. She lined the guns’ sights on the horde coming towards Jill. A grin caressed her lips once the empty shells began spewing around her. One by one the undead in front of Jill toppled like cut weeds.

Jill peered over her shoulder and glowered at Alice, despite the relief.

Claire remained near Alice, but her senses prickled at her back. She spotted an undead creeping up from behind Alice’s left side. Claire hastily reacted and raced towards it then performed a clean kick at its chest. As it collided with the car’s hood behind it, Claire raised the Beretta and shot it in the head. Pride fill Claire after finally getting the advantage over the damn creatures. But when she turned around, she realized her mistake. Another undead had snuck behind Alice too. A yell broke free from Claire, but she could feel it was too late.

Alice released the triggers, T-virus senses on high alert. She shifted all her weight to her left foot then performed a rear high kick. The force in the kick launched the undead that’d nearly jumped at Alice’s back. Within seconds, it had a bullet in its head after Alice had spun around with both MP5K guns rattling loudly. In the darkness, Alice could see the other undead that were attempting to attack the group from the rear.

Claire blew out a relieved breath and returned to Alice’s side.

“Keep going,” Alice yelled to the group. She warded off the undead from behind, her steps back peddling to keep up with the group.

Claire considered how many more bullets were left in the submachine guns. She didn’t have to wander anymore because Alice shot blanks and tossed the useless weapons.

“Come on,” Alice ordered. She hooked Claire’s arm and hurried them to catch up with the group before they were too far away.

“These motherfuckers just won’t quit!” L.J. growled. He’d already killed ten of them.

“We’re almost there,” Peyton promised.

Terri shook her head and stayed close to L.J. She trembled with the gun and hadn’t fired it once, unsure of herself.

Jill became hopeful once she saw the police station’s main entrance. “Thank god,” she muttered before shooting another undead. But those hopes were dashed because a new wave of undead came upon them from ahead.

Alice reached behind and retrieved the street riot shotgun. She readied it as she followed alongside the mechanic.

Claire glanced at the older woman and curiously noted the grin and excitement from Alice. “You’re enjoying this.”

Alice met the mechanic’s gaze, the grin slightly slipping away. She shrugged and replied, “It’s in the my blood.” She sharply halted, raised the shotgun, and fired at the undead about two yards off Claire’s left near a beat up mailbox. She returned to Claire’s side.

Claire shook her head then focused on Jill at the front. She went slightly wide eye at the new horde of undead police officers. “Shit,” she hissed. Like the others, she raced to Jill’s side and started firing on the creatures.

“Thanks for the help,” Jill chided loudly over the gunfire. She was pressed against the rear of a small police bus, now a perfect shield.

Claire resisted a flush and decided to ignore the remark. From over her right shoulder, she spotted the station’s stone entrance. “Can we make a break for it?”

“Worth a try,” Jill agreed. She was about to say more until Alice came to her other side.

“See if you can get up there to clear the entrance,” Alice suggested. “I’ll keep you covered.”

Jill decided not to question how and instead nodded. Something between them clicked into place like old times.

“Give me a second,” Alice advised. She already had her game plan and broke away from the group. She disappeared around the front of the bus, a boom followed a second later. Somehow she’d jumped onto the roof of the bus, her boots pounding across the top.

Claire peered up at Alice, who was running to the rear of the bus. She’d have to ask later how the Hell Alice got up there so quickly.

Jill heard the first shot from overhead and realized Alice had taken a position on the bus’s roof. It was a perfect view of the area and would provide Jill with the cover she needed to get to the station’s front doors. Taking the opportunity, Jill dart off while loading a new magazine into her Smith & Wesson. The booming in her ears became louder as she approached the stone steps to the station.

Claire, Peyton, and L.J. helped Alice take out any undead that neared the detective. But their attempt wasn’t enough compared to the amount of undead coming after Jill. Peyton desperately glanced at Jill, who was fighting a few undead at the entrance of the station that’d come outside. He hollered for her to get away. It was useless.

Alice cursed and nearly tossed the riot shot gun, opting for the handguns. A motion from one of the windows on the second floor of the station caught her eye. Much to her surprise a dark haired man was poking his head out. Her eyes widened when he threw a grenade into the horde.

“Take cover!” Alice yelled at the group. She made a mad run down the bus roof, afraid of the explosion’s pending damage.

Claire had barely caught a glimpse of the grenade before it disappeared in the darkness. She shoved the other three away from the area, yelling at them to go.

Alice made it to the end of the roof. The explosion tore through the area and nipped at Alice’s heels just as she jumped off the bus. Losing control, Alice toppled and crashed into a police’s vehicles front window. Glass shattered around her and the front seats caught her despite the open laptop’s lid had cut across her back. Alice groaned heavily and laid there for a moment. Whoever that guy was up in the window, she was planned to shoot him soon. But Claire’s yells for her made Alice painfully get up.

“Fucker,” she muttered a few times while climbing out of the car.

Claire approached the side of the car and helped Alice get off the hood. “Are you alright?”

“Never better,” Alice blandly replied. She had a displeased look and allowed Claire to look over her. Most likely there were cuts and bruises on her face.

However, Claire didn’t seem to find much damage and the cuts were already healing up. She lowered her hands from Alice’s face. “Who the Hell was that?”

Alice cracked her neck and felt everything realign. “Umbrella soldier.” She’d just made out the distinct logo stitched into his bullet proof vest. “Come on.” She wanted his head now.

The mechanic had a surprised look, not expecting an Umbrella solider to help them. But before she followed, she scooped the riot shot gun off the ground and hastened after Alice.

L.J. was still knelt alongside the bus, ears covered. He didn’t realize that the explosion was over.

“Get up,” Peyton ordered. He gently kicked L.J. on the side.

L.J. lowered his hands, which still had the golden Desert Eagles. “That fucker is crazy!” He popped up beside Terri and noted Alice and Claire with them.

“Let’s go,” Alice snapped. She went past them but felt Claire next to her. The riot shot gun was held out to her, and Alice accepted it. She offered a smile to Claire then started reloading the gun with the last few shots she had stowed in the leather jacket pocket. A glance off to the left revealed the mess that’d been created by the grenade. It’d certainly made quick work of the horde.

Alice vaulted up the steps and found Jill just inside the entrance. She scanned for the steps to go up until two men strolled into the lobby from a side door. She recognized the dark haired man instantly and launched for him. Hollers erupted in the lobby, but Alice was too focused on her prey. She slammed the Umbrella solider against the nearest wall then lifted him up about three feet high.

L.J. had just entered the station and gawked at Alice’s strength.

Tightening her grip around his throat, Alice curiously studied the soldier and demanded, “Who the Hell are you?” From the corner of her eye, she saw the second soldier coming at her. She had the shotgun in her left hand and swung it at his chest, nailing him hard.

The second soldier flipped through the air, his last name briefly visible on the back of his vest. Once he hit the ground face first, everybody saw his name was Ginovaef. His whimper was softened by the stone floor.

Alice turned her dark smile on the soldier in her right hand. “Let’s try this again.”

“We were just trying t-t-to help,” he gasped.

“And blow us to pieces,” Alice snarled.

“You ha-a-ad time,” he argued. He wrapped his hand around Alice’s wrist. “I can’t br-r-reatheee,” he rasped in desperation.

“Come on, Alice,” Jill demanded. “Give him a chance.” She noted that Terri went over to Ginovaef and checked on him.

Alice sighed and decided to do so. Opening her hand, she watched him collapse to the floor and felt satisfied she’d returned the earlier favor to him.

The soldier gasped for air and clutched his burning neck. He coughed several times, bent forward.

Terri was knelt beside Ginovaef, who had rolled onto his butt.

“We thought you may need a hand,” Ginovaef explained to the group. He peered up darkly at Alice but was now suffering from a nasty headache.

“You work for Umbrella,” Terri reminded him.

Ginovaef sighed and shook his head, showing the slight red hue to his short hair. “Use to.” He looked from his partner to the rest of the group. “Until they left us for dead in this place.” He revealed a small grin and added, “Now we consider ourselves… freelance.” His accent became thicker towards the end of his speech.

Alice took a step back and gave the soldier at her feet more room to get up. She didn’t offer him any help.

Ginovaef stood up with Terri’s support. He looked at Jill Valentine and the others around her. “I’m Sergeant Nicholai Ginovaef and…” He indicated his partner. “Lieutenant Carlos Oliveira.”

“At your service,” Carlos Oliveira weakly joked.

Alice flashed a cynical smile at Carlos. Just the Umbrella logos on their uniforms made Alice’s skin crawl.

“Well,” Jill prompted, “Let’s see if we can all play nicely.” She felt Alice’s eyes on her. Part of her considered why Alice was being so hostile especially since Alice had worked for Umbrella too. There were things that Jill didn’t know since she and Alice hadn’t spoken in several weeks.

“Copter is this way,” Peyton informed the group.

“It’d be a good idea to go,” L.J. suggested. He pointed his gun at the front door. “We’re about to have company again.”

“Damn,” Jill muttered once she spotted the undead coming up the steps. “Come on.” She blew past everybody and started into the station. “Peyton, give me your keys!”

Peyton flinched a few time as he dug out the keys. But he tossed them ahead to Alice.

In midair, Alice snatched the keys then passed them over to Jill. She wondered why Jill was even bothering to unlock the door when Alice could knock it down. With a shake of her head, Alice realized her own mistake at displaying her new-found strength to the others. There were changes in her body that she didn’t even understand and perhaps didn’t wish to know.

Jill unlocked the heavy metal door then shoved it open, half expecting undead on the other side. Instead it was quiet in the large office that had several desks for officers to use during work. “Come on,” she ordered everybody, who began filing in one by one.

Alice stepped aside and allowed the group to go past. She held Claire’s eyes and saw the worry there. She gave the mechanic a thin smile until Claire hurried past her and entered the office. But slowly Alice’s focus drew to the sealed glass doors at the entrance. Something outside the stations was causing Alice’s senses to spike up. There was something that excited her blood more than the undead. But a strong hand on her shoulder made Alice look at Jill.

“What happened to you?” Jill waited for a response and realized she wasn’t going to get an answer. “Alice…” She squeezed the stiff shoulder under her fingers. “I fuckin’ lost Leon over Umbrella’s bullshit. Now you…”

“I’m still here,” Alice murmured. The bang at the glass doors pulled her attention back to the entrance. “Just maybe not all of me.”

Jill sighed and decided not to press further, for now because it wasn’t the right time to do it. She released Alice then mentally returned to her leadership role. “Let’s go before we lose the others.” She started into the station.

Alice remained another second and tried understanding what her body was telling her. But it was too hard for her to translate things so she let it go. She spun on her foot and followed after the detective. “Was your suspension over?” she asked after taking Jill’s side. They were jogging through the station towards the back where the stairwell was located.

“I had another two weeks,” Jill admitted.

“How’d it go with the shrink?” Alice pressed.

Jill darkly glanced at Alice. “I was put on a month suspension after Arklay, remember?”

Alice flinched but also reminded, “In hopes you’d be fit for duty again.” Guilt about what happened to Jill in the Arklay Mountains washed over Alice. And later Jill would drill Alice on recent events in the Hive since obviously their plans had failed.

“What happened to Matt and Lisa?” Jill caught the slight cringe from Alice.

“Dead,” Alice softly confessed.

Jill paused beside the closed door for the stairwell. “Alice, what happened down there?”

Alice studied Jill’s distraught features for a moment before finally answering, “Nothing we planned on.” She slammed her shoulder into the door then started up the steps.

Jill rushed behind and stayed a few steps below Alice as they hiked up to the roof level. “I fucking… hate Umbrella,” she muttered, breathlessly.

Alice silently seconded the detective’s words. She didn’t reply though and followed the others’ scent that wound up the stairs to the roof. Most likely Peyton Wells had led them to the helicopter. So far she didn’t detect any undead in their midst. Once she tossed open the access door for the roof, the soft breeze tossed Alice’s sunny blond hair around. She brushed it out of her face and stepped out of the way for Jill.

“I need a goddamn minute!” Claire yelled at a few of them. She was seated on the pilot’s side and tried checking over the cockpit. But the others were distracting her until Carlos came to her aid.

“Give her some room.” Carlos corralled the group away from Claire. However, he didn’t make any attempt to halt Alice when she approached the pilot’s open door.

Claire ran her fingers through long red strands and blew out a low breath.

“Can you fly it?” Alice gently asked.

Claire was quiet for a second then nodded and looked at Alice. “I can fly it.” She then peered over her right shoulder at the small cargo bay. “But the problem is I can’t take everybody.” She revealed her upset features.

Alice looked over the mechanic’s shoulder and studied the bay. She deduced that three could ride in the seats in the back and then one more in the co-pilot seat. “Only four can go with you,” she murmured. She nodded once and softly decided, “Time to draw straws.” As Alice moved away from the pilot’s side, a yell made her spin around quicker with the riot shotgun ready.

“Peyton!” Jill yelled at him.

Nicholai tore his arm away from Peyton and kicked him hard. Blood was seeping all over, and Nicholai jerked his head up in time to see Peyton’s red teeth coming at him. But a sharp pop followed and Peyton stumbled back several steps then toppled to the ground. Nicholai sighed in relief and looked over his left from where the bullet came from earlier.

Jill Valentine stood like a statue, gun still aligned on the earlier spot that her friend occupied before she shot him. The smoke disappeared from the barrel of her handgun, and she slowly lowered it. She couldn’t remove her gaze off Peyton, another friend she had to shoot since all this began in the Arklay Mountains. Was an officer fit for duty if he or she could easily kill another officer?

Alice lowered the shotgun and approached the detective. “Jill, we have to go.” She pushed Jill’s outstretch arm down. She found hesitant brown eyes on her.

“You… were right,” Jill eerily muttered.

Alice clenched her jaw and sadly replied, “I know… I’m sorry.” She looked over at the group and noted that Carlos was helping Nicholai deal with the bleeding wound. A smile nearly came over her because of their fruitless attempts to save Nicholai. In reality, Peyton’s turning was a blessing in disguise because it just made everything simpler.

Jill gazed over at the mechanic in the helicopter. She could tell by Claire’s motions that the copter’s rotors were about to start spinning shortly.

“You need to get them out of here,” Alice ordered the detective.

Jill refocused on Alice and shook her head. “No… n-n-no. You didn’t come this far to-”

“I’ll be fine,” Alice interjected. “I know another way out of the city.”

Jill still shook her head and hissed, “They’re going to nuke this fucking city, Alice if they can’t get it under control.” She hoped she wasn’t overheard by the others.

Alice swallowed hard but nodded. Somehow she wasn’t surprised by the news that Jill most likely knew from being at the police station earlier today. It was the most logical tactic for Umbrella to do in an attempt to control the rapidly spreading virus. She’d even do the same if she was in Major Cain’s boots.

Jill could tell that she was losing the fight with Alice. She went another route and hotly argued, “You think your… mechanic over there is going to let you do this?”

Alice leaned in closer to Jill and whispered, “A lot of people are going to die tonight, Jill… don’t let her add herself to the list.”

Jill wanted to argue that Alice’s life was just as important. To tell Alice that despite their past that they were always friends and that meant something to Jill. But her chance was stolen by the helicopter’s engine roaring to life and the overhead blades cutting through the air.

“Get them out of here,” Alice ordered the detective. She pushed Jill towards the group in hopes that would get Jill started on her duty as an officer, and it seemed to help.

Jill moved towards the others, ignoring Peyton’s dead body. She began barking orders at them to load into the helicopter’s bay. She was thankful that Carlos pulled open the sliding door and helped Terri get in first.

Alice had joined the group, but she went over to Claire’s still open door. “Get them out of here safely,” she hollered over the noise.

Claire glanced at the people loading into the helicopter then narrowed her eyes at Alice. It now hit her what might be going on. “You’re not coming?” Alice’s headshake made her heart sink. “Alice-”

“I’ll see you outside the city,” Alice promised. But the sharp alert from her blood made Alice turn around, and she stared oddly at the closed roof access door.

Jill slammed the door shut on the helicopter then approached Alice.

“You need to get out of here,” Alice stated. She faced  both women and saw their distraught about the situation.

“Alice,” Claire started

“Now!” Alice yelled, more at Claire.

Jill didn’t argue this time and instead shut the pilot’s door despite Claire’s protest. “Be careful, Alice.” She only received a nod so she hastened around the front of the helicopter and loaded into the copilot’s seat where a headset waited for her.

Alice moved away from the helicopter. But from the corner of her eye, she saw Nicholai a few yards away from her on the roof. She felt sorry for him. At least he seemed to accept his fate, unlike Peyton.

The helicopter rolled on its landing skids a few times before it started lifting up. The engine roared louder as the power was increased by the pilot. Quickly the copter started rising up into the air from the helipad. All the navigation lights flashed their distinct colors.

Alice continued backing up until a boom from behind made her spin around with the riot shotgun raised up. She hesitated though, just like Nicholai.

“What the Hell is that?” Claire hotly demanded over the intercom, microphone in front of her lips.

Jill leaned forward and went wide eye. “Oh… my fucking god.”

Nicholai stared in awe at the seven foot tall creature that seemed to have a bad run-in with a surgeon’s scalpel.

“Nemesis,” Alice whispered. Flashes from days ago hit Alice and made her gasp once she realized what she was up against.

“Let’s go!” Jill snapped at Claire over the intercom.

In the cargo bay, L.J. got out of his seat and approached the small window in the door. His hat tilted back when he got too close to the window. “Those motherfuckers are crazy!” L.J. realized that Alice and Nicholai planned to fight against the monster on the roof. But his heart leapt into his throat when the creature lifted up one of his weapons. “Look at that big motherfucker, got a rocket launcher!”

Nemesis adjusted the rocket launcher’s sight on the floating helicopter. His finger drew against the trigger.

“Oh shit!” Jill screamed.

Claire gritted her teeth and yelled out, “Hold on!” She slammed the throttle and jerked the control stick to the right. The sudden force of gravity made her head spin, but she fought against it and stayed in control of the helicopter.

“Noooo!” Alice yelled after Nemesis pulled the trigger. She was at a full sprint, empty cartridges littering her wake, and lead shot raining on Nemesis. But it was just too late to stop the rocket that whizzed past her. Alice gave a fierce cry as images of the helicopter exploding bombarded her. She foresaw Claire’s death and there was nothing she could do about it. Nothing.

To be continued.