Disclaimer & Notices: See Chapter 1.

 


Resident Evil: Phoenix
by Red Hope

Chapter 2

Alice fought against her body as her index finger twitched against the trigger. Her gun was perfectly lined up with the girl’s chest where she could hear a heartbeat.

Kill her,” a man’s voice ordered in Alice’s head.

Alice gritted her teeth and desperately fought against the forced order. She could see the black abyss in front of her, and she could not stop herself from falling into it. The goddamn chip was frying against her brain.

“Alice,” Angela Ashford pleaded weakly. She gazed up at her hero, but she could only see the dark hole of the gun’s barrel pointed in front of her. “Ple-please fight it,” she whispered. But she realized her future. Tears were trailing down her smudged cheeks.

Alice felt the sweat roll down her temple thanks to the burning heat in her head. She thought she could make herself pass out, yet the T-Virus was incredibly resilient.

Do it now!” the man snapped.

Alice struggled against her index finger, which was drawing back against the trigger. “Oh god no,” she gasped once she knew there was nothing she could do. “I’m sorry,” she rasped as a few tears started down her face then her trigger finger finished its job.

Angela shut her eyes and sincerely murmured, “I love-” Her last word was killed by the bullet’s explosion. The bullet sunk into Angie’s heart and sent her down to her knees. She didn’t die handicapped, but instead died much too young at the hands of what her father had accidently created in a lab.

Alice lowered her smoking gun, turned on her boots, and purposefully marched out of the room. She didn’t give the dead girl another glance despite her tears freely fell for the girl.

I am so proud of you, Project Alice,” Dr. Isaacs complimented. He then darkly and proudly added, “Now, come home to me.” His voice slowly faded away, but kept repeating, “Come home.”

“No!” Alice furiously yelled. All her rage for Dr. Isaacs and Umbrella sent Alice flying from the abyss she’d started falling into once the chip was activated. Alice flew higher and higher until she reached the bright white clouds and crisp blue sky. Her scream echoed and carried over the world for all to hear.

“Wake up, Alice!” There were soft hands against her searing body. “Wake up!”

Alice sucked in the warm air as her body shot up in response from the nightmare. On instinct, she grabbed the stranger’s arms and nearly reacted poorly until she recognized Claire Redfield’s beautiful face.

“Stop,” Claire sharply ordered. She was tense thanks to Alice’s extremely firm grip on her forearms. She feared that Alice would accidently hurt her. “It’s okay.” She felt Alice’s hands loosen on her arms. “You’re safe, Alice.” Claire tried calming her own heart, especially because of what the nightmare had subconsciously caused Alice to do. “It’s just us here,” she assured. She stared at Alice’s angry features and those bright, fiery blue eyes before her.

Alice let out a shaky breath, but she still held onto Claire’s arms. She found it anchored her to hold onto Claire’s solid arms. Yet her eyes had yet to calm down.

Claire stole a quick glance off to her left. She noted her left foot still didn’t touch the floor from off the side of the bed. She estimated that the bed was hovering three to four inches off the bed because of Alice’s telekinesis. She peered across to Alice, who hadn’t fully let go of the nightmare.

“It was just a bad dream,” Claire informed her friend.

Alice bowed her head and felt a wave of rare emotions flood her. “I… killed her.” She gritted her teeth and started shaking her head. She gripped Claire’s arm a bit harder again.

Claire wasn’t sure what the older woman was talking about, but she didn’t ignore it either. She swallowed hard and whispered, “It was just a dream.” She watched Alice’s hands finally slide off her arms and fall limply onto the messy bedsheets.

“No… it was… real.” Alice slowly lifted her head. Her usually well hidden emotions were so obvious and open now.

Claire’s heart dropped at the pain in Alice’s now soft green eyes. She felt her boot’s sole press into the floor, and she realized Alice had lowered the bed to the floor again. Claire didn’t comment on it and stayed focused on what was upsetting her friend.

“I murdered her,” Alice hotly told. She clenched her hands into fists.

Claire quickly cupped her friend’s cheeks and leaned in closer. “You’re not a murderer,” she argued. She found Alice’s doubtful expression on her. “I know murderers.” She ran her thumb across Alice’s soft cheek. “You’re nothing like them.”

Alice held her friend’s gaze and saw how Claire believed in her. She flexed her jaw a few times, but she felt a tear roll down her face. She looked off to the right and finally took in her surroundings, which appeared to be quaint quarters.

Claire wiped away the tear and sensed that her friend didn’t wish to continue the conversation, right now. She lowered her hands to the small space between them. She hoped some of the tightness in her chest would settle soon.

Alice recalled what’d last happened to her. She came to the present better and quickly asked, “What happened?”

Claire saw that her friend was back to business so she took it in stride. Later she planned to approach Alice’s nightmare again. “Umbrella fled after we took out a few hundred soldiers.”

“How many were…”

Claire was softened by Alice’s concern for the survivors. “Eighty-three died.”

Alice glanced at the brief color on her wrist from the special bracelet that she still wore since it was made for her. She hastily asked, “K-Mart?”

Claire sadly smiled and promised, “She’s fine, Alice… thanks to you.” She was truly grateful for what Alice had done for K-Mart. “It’s just going to take a little for her to get back to speed.”

“Probably not too long,” Alice weakly joked.

Claire’s smile grew then she lost it because Alice became somber.

“What’s happened to the woman I fought?” Alice now recalled that Jill’s heart had ceased after she’d ripped the red control device from Jill’s chest. “She’s de-”

“She’s fine,” Claire cut off. She saw how Alice was surprised so she repeated, “Jill is fine.” She couldn’t hide her own relief.

Alice furrowed her eyebrows and quietly asked, “You know her?”

Claire opened and closed her mouth a few times then confessed, “She was S.T.A.R.S. operative…” She faltered but tried explaining, “She went with my brother to the Academy then they became partners after they graduated.”

Alice lifted her chin slightly once she put the pieces together.

Claire brushed back a red lock behind her right air. “Jill hasn’t regained her memory yet.” She shook her head twice. “She’s been in and out of consciousness… we didn’t think she’d make it at first.”

“But she’s stable?” Alice checked. After Claire’s nod, she looked away and studied the wood floor under the dim light. She let out a breath after a green vile flashed in her mind. “The anti-virus-”

“Safely locked away,” Claire swore. She studied her friend’s worried expression. “Only I know where it’s located right now.”

Alice let out a deep breath and nodded. She fully trusted that Claire would keep it hidden and locked up from the world unless it was necessary. She thought back to Jill and softly mentioned, “She has the T-Virus in her.”

Claire became alarmed at such news and instantly feared for her people. She couldn’t let anybody become exposed to the virus, but she first asked, “Like you?”

Alice considered what she knew and also felt when she was near Jill. She shook her head and whispered, “Not like me.” She sensed the human leader’s serious worry. “She’s not contagious though.”

“How can you be sure?” Claire did trust Alice’s instincts, but she needed to be assured it was true.

“I know what contagious smells like,” Alice coolly informed. “I know what it feels like.” She shook her head and stated, “Jill is not.”

Claire licked her dry lips then nodded once. “Alright.” She did have Jill under observation and guard in case something went ugly. She wasn’t foolish to think that Jill Valentine was still her friend. As far as Claire was concerned, Jill was her foe.

“She had on one of those mind control devices,” Claire brought up. “Like mine.”

“Yes.” Alice sighed and explained, “But hers was nastier.” She caught Claire’s perfectly arched eyebrow. “It electrocutes whoever tries to remove it.”

“Charming,” Claire muttered. She shook her head once then switched topics. “Are you hungry at all?”

Alice took inventory of her body, which felt fairly decent despite the fight with Jill. But a deep wrinkle started in her brow. “How long have I been out?”

“Just over two days.” Claire canted her head and saw how that bothered her friend. “You were pretty… banged up from the fight.” She didn’t wish to retell how she’d found Alice burned and seared with second and third degree burns. Claire can still smell the raw, burning flesh that surrounded Alice’s body after she’d come into the bay. She wasn’t positive that Alice was alive until she came closer and found a half decent exposed spot on Alice’s neck that wasn’t sticky. Claire was thanking God when she felt Alice’s weak pulse against her fingertips.

“Nothing new there,” Alice sarcastically muttered.

The human leader bit her bottom lip and mentioned, “You heal quickly.” She was impressed by how Alice healed within hours. In less than twenty-four hours, all of Alice’s burns were just about gone. Claire imagined that Alice had plenty of internal damage that required a bit longer.

“I know.” Alice let out a breath.

“I thought…”

Alice peered up from the small space between them. She waited for Claire to finish her sentence.

Claire recalled what Alice had told her one night when they were trapped in the prison. “I thought you said Wesker made you human again.”

“I thought so too.” Alice played with her dark hair for a beat. “It was only temporary… maybe not strong enough.” She wasn’t totally sure. “I’m not a scientist… I don’t know.”

“Well…” Claire placed her right hand over Alice’s now healed hand. “I’m glad you’re back.” She smiled at Alice’s shock. “You saved a lot of lives.” She squeezed Alice’s hand then just as quickly let go. She stood up from the bed and padded over to the open, dark mouth to another room. “So you didn’t say if you were hungry or not?” She flicked on a switch in the next room and revealed a bathroom.

Alice considered her friend’s question. “I am.” She probably needed the nutrition after her body had done so much work healing. “But I think I rather clean up first.”

“Mmmm.” Claire had slipped into the head with the door nearly shut. “Give me a second.” She shut the door.

Alice pushed away the covers and was greeted by cool air. She tempted fate by standing up and was pleased by how decent she did feel after everything. She stretched some but quickly regretted it when sore spots argued at her. “Oh yeah,” she muttered, “Not a hundred percent.”

Claire appeared from the head but left the light on. “So I think…” She started across the quarters to a small wood dresser that was bolted to the floor. “I will go get you some dinner.”

Now Alice knew what time of day it was most likely. She trained her eyes on the human leader and waited to hear more. She long ago decided only Claire Redfield could tell her what to do, and Alice liked it.

Claire lifted a ball cap that was resting on the dresser. “And you can take a shower.” She indicated the washroom. She grinned as she carefully curled the cap’s brim under her linked fingers and palms. “I have hot water onboard.”

Alice couldn’t hide her smirk because she knew that Claire was proud of the hot water that the prison didn’t offer them days ago.

Claire slid on her ball cap, pulled the brim over her face, and she grabbed her handgun from the dresser too. She shoved it into the back of her jeans’ waistband during her short trek to the quarter’s front door. “Be back shortly.”

Alice watched her friend quietly leave the quarters. A small smile tugged at the corner of Alice’s lips. She decided to take Claire’s order and get a hot shower. It was heaven too. She hadn’t had one since her time in Umbrella’s underground facility in Nevada.

Alice was nearly finished her shower when she heard a gentle knock on the bathroom’s door. She detected it was Claire.

“I’m going to put some clean clothes on the sink for you.” Claire carefully placed them. “I’ve got your dinner when you’re ready.” She quickly escaped the humid confines of the head and went back into the quarters.

Alice emerged shortly after and wearing the casual flannel pants and black tank top that Claire had provided her with. She covered her lower stomach when it growled from the smell of food.

Claire had placed the plate on the round table on the opposite side of the room. She was seated in one chair and waited for Alice there.

Alice joined her friend and was surprised by the food selection. “Christ…” She looked up from the hot dish. “Where the Hell did this come from?”

Claire chuckled and replied, “Umbrella’s supplies on the ship.” She held out her hand to the grilled chicken, broccoli, and cheesy noodles. “Don’t let it go to waste.”

Alice took the fork after grabbing the napkin. “Damn greedy SOBs,” she muttered while she cut up the chicken.

Claire crinkled her nose and whispered, “And the pigs go hungry.”

Alice huffed and shook her head. She couldn’t wait for the pig to go hungry so it could be slaughtered next. She finished cutting the chicken into perfect bite size morsels. Now she started eating because she couldn’t hold back any longer.

“You know…” Claire leaned back in her chair and was rather relaxed. “I still don’t know your last name.” She reached up and removed her hat so that she had better manners. She set the worn ball cap off to the side of the table.

Alice chuckled and flashed a grin at her friend. “I suppose not.” Her grin grew as she set her fork into the noodles.

Claire softly hummed and argued, “You’d think I’d know the woman’s full name after she’s saved me several times.”

Alice couldn’t help a laugh this time. She shook her head and mirrored Claire’s smile. “Does it really matter?”

Claire seriously considered the question and replied, “No.” She folded her arms but still kept her smile. “I know you with or without your name.”

Alice’s smile faltered briefly, but she held it in place. She then nodded and softly revealed, “Alice Casey Abernathy.”

Claire had a warmer smile at finally knowing Alice’s full name. “Well, Alice Casey Abernathy…” She freed her arms. “Thank you for saving my ass multiple times.”

Alice chuckled and cut up a large piece of broccoli. “You’ve protected my backside several times too.” She recalled both in the shower at the prison as well as when they fought Wesker in the helicopter bay. “Thank you for everything.”

Claire grinned and informed, “That’s what friends do.”

Alice stilled at those honest words that made Alice feel guilty too. She knew it was an honest sentiment from her friend so she smiled back. She couldn’t say anything though and instead ate her meal.

Claire noticed how Alice’s smile didn’t quite make the grade, but she didn’t question it. She could tell her words hit a sore spot as much as meant something to Alice. She suspected it had something to do with Alice’s earlier nightmare.

After a quiet minute, Claire brought up Alice’s reawaken powers and mentioned, “You seem stronger than last time.” She recalled how Alice had passed out after using the fire canon on the infected crows. “A lot stronger,” she whispered.

Alice was nearly finished her meal, but she hesitated and looked over at her friend. She judged whether or not Claire was unsettled by such news. She concluded that Claire was merely intrigued by it. Alice felt at ease now and finished her dinner.

“Maybe Wesker’s anti-virus encouraged the T-Virus in your system,” Claire summarized.

Alice silently thought about it while she ate her last piece of broccoli. “Most likely.” She wondered if it was possible for her to ever be human again. She knew before that her powers were developing, but Wesker’s serum had merely sped up the process.

Claire softly sighed and straightened up from the chair. She saw that Alice was done her meal and putting the dirty flatware on the plate. She grabbed her friend’s wrist and found green eyes locked on her. “I think it’s a gift.”

Alice hadn’t heard it put that way. She started shaking her head and tried withdrawing her hand, but Claire had her. “It’s a curse, Claire… I’m just trying to put it to good use unlike Umbrella.”

Claire grinned and whispered, “That’s why it is a gift.” She released Alice and added, “You were chosen.” She stood up, took the plate, and decided to put it on the dresser so it’d remind her tomorrow.

Alice stared at the human’s back and silently admired Claire’s devotion to their friendship. She let out a low breath after it hit her that leaving Claire this time would be hard, very hard.

Claire returned to the table and collected her ball cap. “Come on, old girl.”

Alice slowly stood up and easily towered over her friend by a few inches. She smirked and corrected, “That’s old mule.”

Claire chuckled and swatted her friend in the stomach. “I stand corrected.” She turned and went to the dresser that held a few pieces of clothing for her and also Alice. She carefully placed her ball cap on the dresser in its new home. She affectionately ran her fingers over the dirty, worn brim.

Alice curiously watched her friend. She studied the ball cap, which once was white but now somewhat grey thanks to age. She noted the iconic Nike swoosh stitched on the front in a soft pink. It was as feminine as a ball cap could be for a woman. Alice didn’t comment and instead went to the bathroom so she could brush her teeth.

Claire took off her freshly cleaned red vest. She was gentle with all her clothes because they weren’t easily replaceable like they could be once upon a time. She was stripped down to her jeans, white tank top, and bare feet. She took over the head once Alice came out.

Alice was resting on her back in the comfortable bed. She let out a deep breath and appreciated being in such comfort after years of traveling. But eventually her thoughts shifted to Jill Valentine, who was detained somewhere on the Arcadia. She planned to get answers once Jill’s memory returned to her. She recalled it’d taken a solid week for Claire to recover all of hers.

Claire appeared from the bathroom with her sleepwear on and her clothes in her left hand. She tucked her clothes away then went around the bed. She switched off the lamp that protruded from the wall next to the bed.

“Is this the captain’s quarters?” Alice inquired.

Claire was climbing into bed. “Yes.” She nearly let out a moan after feeling the wonderful bed. She loved simple pleasures such as a clean bed.

“I’m surprised you don’t have K-Mart staying with you,” Alice commented.

Claire shrugged and shut her eyes. “She’s a teenager… you know how they are.” She could imagine the grin that was on Alice’s face. “They don’t want their big sister hanging around them.”

“I suppose not,” Alice murmured.

“Besides…” Claire turned her head and studied Alice’s profile. “I wanted to keep an eye on you.”

Alice stayed quiet as she considered her friend’s care for her. She knew that Claire’s dedication to her was concrete and quickly becoming the foundation to their relationship.

“By the way,” Claire started. She turned on her side so that she faced the older woman. “No more heroics for the next couple of days.” She closed her eyes as a yawn came over her. “I think the other… day was enough for awhile.”

Alice had a grin and lightly teased, “Yes, my queen.”

Claire groaned and now turned onto her stomach. “Go to sleep.” She hugged her soft pillow and felt sleep coming for her.

Alice chuckled at Claire then shut her eyes. For once, she could feel safe where she was laying her head down. It’d been more years then she could count since she’d had that feeling. Alice didn’t take long to doze off since her body was still healing from the fight.

After the sun came over the eastern horizon, Alice woke up and started silently moving through the quarters. She felt much better than last night. The only minor ache she felt was in her left arm from both the burning needle and gunshot wound. She hadn’t noticed any marks left behind by the bullet. But a faint dullness still lingered there.

“I am getting old,” Alice muttered to herself. She was in the head and finished washing her face. She patted her face down with a clean towel then studied her own features in the mirror. She was amazed though how her body didn’t show any age. She was still twenty-five physically from when the virus bonded with her DNA. But she was now approaching her thirty-first birthday soon.

Alice put away her thoughts and slipped out of the bathroom. She saw Claire still asleep so she didn’t bother her friend. She instead went to the dresser where she’d found new clothes earlier. Alice had changed into jeans and put on a clean black tank top that was form fitting. She’d tucked in the tank top and now put on a black leather belt.

Alice considered her options on weapons that were on the dresser. Earlier she’d found her pair of kukri hanging near the door, but she grew concerned about carrying them. She finally settled on taking one kukri and two handguns. She was able to separate the sheaths and hooked the weapon to her left hip.

After sitting at the table, Alice started putting on her boots. She planned to do some dirty work this morning before having breakfast. She didn’t usually eat much, but she could feel her desire to eat lately. She chalked it up to the healing her body was going through.

Alice yanked her jeans back over the boots after lacing them. She got up and approached Claire’s side of the bed and carefully sat down.

“Hey,” Alice softly called to her friend.

Claire had her back to Alice, but she woke up slowly after her shoulder was squeezed. “Hey.” She took in Alice’s dressed manner and furrowed her eyebrows. “Did something…”

“No.” Alice shook her head at Claire’s concern. “Everything is fine.”

Claire let out a sigh and turned onto her back. “You look like you’re headed somewhere.” She brushed back her hair from her face. “What’s up?”

Alice shifted her left hand onto her lap after Claire moved around. “I’m going to go clean up the helicopter bay.”

Claire started getting up and offered, “I’ll come help.” She stopped though when Alice’s hand pressed into her shoulder.

“I don’t want anybody getting infected by the dogs,” Alice softly explained. She saw that Claire now understood what Alice was trying to do.

“Are you sure?” Claire wasn’t concerned about getting infected since her few wounds were nearly healed, scabbed over, or concealed by her clothes.

“Positive.” Alice stood up and offered, “I won’t be long. How about breakfast when I get done?”

Claire was sitting up on her elbows. She offered a smile. “Sounds perfect.” She’d have time to shower, dress, and probably talk with her brother about today’s activities.

“Great.” Alice started to the door but Claire’s voice made her pause from opening the door.

“Do me a favor,” Claire called. She pointed at the dresser’s left side. “Take a VHF radio with you.” She didn’t feel like repeating Alice’s unknown whereabouts like last time.

Alice looked across to the two charging radios on the dresser. She’d noticed them earlier but never touched them. She went over, yanked one out, and switched it on with ease.

“Channel 71,” Claire ordered her friend.

Alice was flipping to the channel, but she flashed a grin at Claire. “Yes, my queen.” She hooked the radio to her belt at her back and started out the door. She’d caught Claire’s dark stare, but she didn’t comment on her way out.

Claire huffed once the quarters’ door shut. “Impossible,” she muttered. But she couldn’t hold back her smile any longer. She flopped back into the bed for a minute and made a mental list of what to do until Alice was ready. There was a lot to do, in fact.

Alice easily found her way through the ship and passed a few humans, who were either a mix of friendly or cautious. She understood their apprehension and hoped that they would find their peace with her. She wasn’t concerned any of the humans would cross her, but she still was careful herself.

Alice arrived at the helicopter bay, which still had the dead zombie dogs in it. She could barely handle the scent this time especially since her senses were heightened. She already had an idea on how to dispose of the dogs so she went to the bay door for the helicopters. She found the switch and activated the door.

Instantly the salty air rushed into the helicopter bay and helped wash away the smell of undead. The cool air was a relief to Alice both physically and mentally. She went back to the dogs and debated whether to touch it or not. She opted not to and instead used her telekinesis to carry it across the distance to the open door.

Alice walked alongside the carcass and lowered it near the door. She considered her next step but decided it was best to check if any T-Virus was residing in the zombie dog. Alice squatted next to the Cerberus and held out her hands over it. Immediately her T-Virus senses charged her and detected faint hints of T-Virus still lingering in the carcass as she expected.

“Not good enough,” Alice muttered. She lowered her hands to her knees and considered the ocean water beyond the hangar’s door. She didn’t want to poison the ocean’s life too. A zombie shark or whale didn’t settle well. So after careful thought, Alice came up with an idea and focused back on the dog. Gradually the blue ring started around her green eyes. Her telekinesis honed in on the T-Virus in the carcass and started burning the body.

Alice resisted from being sick against the burning scent of undead. She had to get the job done. Once she was sure she’d burned the Hell out of the zombie dog, she rechecked for any T-Virus and found nothing now. It was truly a dead dog.

Alice stood up and mentally lifted the dog off the white floor. She used her eyes to direct it out the door, and she released it once it was several yards away from the ship’s haul. She watched it tumble through the air and crash into the waiting ocean.

Alice was pleased her idea had worked. So she repeated the process with the other dead Cerberus. She was glad to be rid of the zombie dogs. She hated those things more than undead humans. It also made her skin crawl that Wesker could command them like a normal pet. Alice remained standing near the Osprey, arms folded, and she considered what to do about the small pools of infected blood. She couldn’t leave that there either.

After careful consideration, Alice walked away from the hangar door and stood between the nearly black pools. She focused her powers on boiling the sticky, coagulated blood until all traces of the virus were gone. She went back to the open bay door and gazed down at the water lapping against the haul side.

“Alice, Alice this is Claire,” came the human leader’s voice over the VHF.

Alice unhooked the small radio from her belt. She brought it near her face and hit the mic button. “Go ahead, Claire.”

“How are you making out?”

Alice considered her current situation and replied, “Almost done.”

“Great,” Claire replied over the VHF. “Don’t be much longer.”

Alice hit the mic button but released it before she said something extremely smartass. She opted to be polite since there was no telling who may be listening in on their conversation. “I won’t. I’ll see you in a few minutes.” She had a grin and imagined Claire would detect it through her playful tone over the transmission.

“Alright,” Claire acknowledged then said nothing else.

Alice rehooked the radio and went back to her last task. She prayed this would work for her. She narrowed her eyes at the ocean water below. She detected the pull it caused against her brain, but she willed the ocean water to travel up into the air, through the hangar door, and race across the white floor like a water snake.

The salty water crashed into the bloody pools and picked up all the blood. It then did a u-turn and flowed back to the hangar door. The water spilled out over the side of the haul and rejoined with the ocean, but it took away the dirty mess from in the bay.

Alice was surprised she managed such a feat without making a bigger mess. She rubbed her forehead, which had a faint ache that was dissipating rapidly. Maybe Claire was right about her powers being enhanced by Wesker’s supposed anti-virus. Or else it was never an anti-virus and instead was the same serum that’d changed Wesker into a monster. Alice frowned when she thought about it.

Brief visions of Alice eating humans for DNA came to mind. She shook it off and instead shut the hangar door. Once it was closed, Alice took a deep breath and noticed that the undead stench was finally gone. That was good for any humans that came in here, and she knew Claire may be curious about the V-22 Osprey.

“Claire, Claire this is Alice,” Alice called over the road on her walk out of the white rooms.

“Go ahead, Alice,” the human leader transmitted.

“What’s your location?” After Alice heard the human’s answer, she replied, “Wait there. I’ll be there in three.”

“No rush,” Claire responded over the radio. She rehooked her radio onto her right waist and focused back on her brother. She noted her brother’s amused features.

Chris kept his arms crossed over his chest. He lightly teased, “So what channel are you two on?”

Claire glowered at her big brother.

“It’s definitely the same channel though,” Chris further tormented.

“Leave it alone,” Claire warned her brother fairly. She instead strolled over to the crashed Yak-52 on the deck. “You think it’s worth salvaging?”

Chris Redfield rocked on his boots as he stared at the wreck. “Uh.” He looked at his sister. “Probably not.” He now put his hands on his hips. “It was a pretty plane.” He tilted his head and added, “I think it’s beyond repair.”

Claire’s full lips slightly thinned, and she peered up at her brother. “Are you saying I can’t do it?”

Chris instantly recognized his sister’s testy attitude about mechanical work. “I didn’t say that.” He held up his hands briefly then pointed at the nose. “I think you’re missing the prop.” He lowered his arms. “And I’m sure a few other pieces in between.”

Claire brushed it off and argued, “Improvise.” She then sensed somebody coming towards them so she looked over her right shoulder.

Chris followed his sister’s gaze and laid eyes on Alice on the opposite end of the deck. His dark eyes trailed over to his sister. He had to verbally poke his sister so he teased, “She’s definitely straight, Claire.”

“Shut up,” Claire quietly but sharply replied. Her blue eyes warned him not to say another word before Alice heard them. She didn’t need Alice to feel uncomfortable or talk about anymore than what her people were doing. Claire didn’t like it.

Chris smirked and muttered, “Touchy.” He could tell his sister had developed a protective streak for the dark haired warrior that’d saved them repeatedly.

Claire tugged her cap’s brim over her face some and looked back at the airplane. She had a soft spot for the pretty plane that Alice had flown.

Alice joined the Redfields and also studied the demolished plane. “May be good for scrap metal,” she decided aloud. She stood next to Chris, who was now chuckling. She realized she must have made a decision to an earlier conversation between the siblings.

Claire’s shoulders slumped, but she glanced over at her friend. “You don’t think it’s salvageable?”

Alice seriously looked at the plane and honestly replied, “No.”

Chris couldn’t help his chuckles growing into a deep laugh.

Alice looked at Chris and asked, “What’s so damn funny?”

Chris shook his head and looked from his sister to Alice. “Claire is a mechanic.” He then indicated the plane and explained, “She wants to fix it for sentimental purposes.”

Alice was confused by what sentimental purposes until it hit her like a school bus. Claire apparently was attached to the plane after Alice had flown them in it.

“Not just for sentimental,” Claire argued. “It’s a good way to get on and off this boat.”

Chris became more serious and faced his sister. “This is a freight ship not an aircraft carrier, Claire.”

Claire grumbled at her brother’s good point.

“It’s not a helicopter,” Chris further reminded. He knew his sister could fly rotorcrafts but a single-engine plane with fixed wings was another matter.

“Okay,” Claire amended, “Maybe it’s a good way to get off the boat.”

“The only one who can fly it is Alice,” Chris declared. But he could tell his sister was dead set on trying to fix up the plane. He shook his head and finally asked, “How long would it take?”

Claire folded her arms and seriously considered it. “Maybe four to six months.” She grinned at her brother. “A good project.”

Chris rolled his eyes but patted his sister on the back. “Have at it, sis.” He leaned closer to Alice and warned, “Don’t get too close to my sister or else you’ll be fixing it with her.” He now strolled off casually. “See ya at the meeting,” he called to the women.

Claire grumbled at her brother’s smart remark to Alice. She shook her head once and argued, “I like to work alone on projects.”

Alice didn’t comment and instead considered what kind of undertaking it would be for Claire to fix it. She also didn’t see the point either.

Claire was quiet, but her mind was very busy. She shifted closer to Alice. “It’s a nice red color.” She bit her bottom lip then looked at her silent friend. “How are you at painting?”

Alice turned her wide eyes onto the human.

Claire wickedly smiled at the older woman. “Let’s go.” She started back across the deck so they could go below to the galley.

Alice was shaking her head, but she scanned about the deck, which didn’t show any reminders that a large scale fight had broken out on it days ago. She was sure that Claire had her people clean up the mess. She took a few wide strides and easily caught up with the human leader.

“I can move the plane down to the helicopter bay,” Alice offered.

Claire perked up at such an idea. “It would get it out of the elements.” She now grinned at her friend. “You think you can do it without tearing it up anymore?”

Alice chuckled and replied, “I’ll try my best.”

Claire opened the door for them and wasn’t surprised to see a guard go by them. “I’m not sure Wesker would appreciate his pretty white room getting dirtied by our plane.”

Alice held the door open for the leader. “All the more reason to put it in there.” She noted how Claire labeled the plane as theirs, but she didn’t bring it up.

“Mmmmm.” Claire fell into step beside Alice. “I think I’d like that,” she finally agreed.

Alice only nodded and decided tomorrow she’d start moving the plane down to the hangar bay. She then recalled what Chris had said earlier on the deck. “There’s a meeting?”

“Yes.” Claire glanced at a passerby, who she greeted with a smile. She waited until they were alone in the hall again. “It’s a meeting of minds, I guess.” She briefly shifted closer to Alice because the hall narrowed down. “I would like you there.”

Alice was quiet for a long minute because she wasn’t sure how she felt about it.

Claire stopped in front of a stairwell that they needed to go down to get to the galley. She lightly touched her friend’s arm. “Please,” she gently added. She was relieved when Alice finally nodded. She started first down the steps. “Then afterwards I want to check on Jill. I’m hoping she’ll wake up today.”

“Most likely she will,” Alice reasoned.

Claire agreed too. But she wasn’t sure what kind of state Jill Valentine would be in once she came out of the coma. She knew it’d taken her awhile to regain all her memories after Alice removed her mind device.

“Let’s just hope she’s a bit more receptive to us when she regains her memories,” Claire mentioned. She spotted the galley’s entrance just ahead.

“I wouldn’t count on it,” Alice replied in a low voice.

Claire paused in front of the door and peered up at the one person who had the most intimate relationship with the T-Virus. She wasn’t sure if Alice meant that the virus will have taken over Jill or if somehow Jill truly did side with Umbrella. Claire once knew Jill Valentine and didn’t doubt that the former S.T.A.R.S. member despised the evil corporation. But that was a Jill Valentine from years ago. Now Claire couldn’t be sure who Jill Valentine was now and that unknown greatly concerned Claire. She didn’t wish to kill any friends, new ones or old ones.

To be continued.