TRENT HAD HIS HANDS FULL FOR MOST OF the day, listening in on the spindoc meetings, arrang-ing for media sympathy with a few of their bought networks, and explaining the difference between HARMs  - the air to surface missiles that the army had used on Raccoon  - and SRAMs to the three heads of White Umbrella. Jackson, in particular, was unhappy that the larger tactical missiles hadn't been used; he didn't seem to understand that a deliberate nuclear in-cident within the United States had to be kept as small and contained as possible. Ironic, that a man with so much wealth and power could be so oblivious to the reality he had helped create. Trent finally had a few moments to himself in the early evening, after a final review of the Watchdog re-ports. He took a cup of coffee out onto the balcony of the rooms he used when he was at the DC offices. The brisk twilight was refreshing after a day of recycled air and fluorescent lights.

From twenty stories up, the city below seemed un-real, sounds distant and features blurred. Gazing out at nothing in particular, Trent sipped his coffee and thought about all he'd witnessed in the past few days from the shielded privacy of his home. Umbrella's few dozen stationary remotes in Raccoon had had nothing on the satellite pirate that piped information to his private screening room; he'd been able to follow several dramas that had unfolded in the last hours of the city. There had been the rookie policeman, Kennedy, and Chris Redfield's sister  - the two of them had barely es-caped the lab explosion, managing to save Sherry Birkin, the young daughter of one of Umbrella's top re-search scientists, of all people. Trent hadn't had contact with any of them, but he knew that Leon Kennedy and Claire Redfield had become part of the fight. They were young, determined, and filled with a hatred for Umbrella; he couldn't have asked for better. Trent's high hopes for Carlos Oliveira had been well met, and that he had joined forces with Jill Valen-tine... Trent had been utterly transfixed by their es-cape, pleased that two of his unwitting soldiers had worked so well together, surviving in spite of Jill's in-fection, the lunatic Russian, and the S.T.A.R.S. seeker. Use of the experimental Tyrant-like units was still in question by many of the White Umbrella researchers; for as deadly efficient as they usually were, they were also very expensive, and Trent knew that the debates would go on, fueled by the loss of two units in the de-struction of the city.


Ada Wong, though...

Trent sighed, wishing that she had survived. The tall, beautiful, Asian-American agent he had sent in had been as brilliant as she was competent. He hadn't actu-ally seen her die, but the chances that she had escaped both the lab explosion and the complete obliteration of Raccoon were slim to none. Unfortunate, to say the least. Overall, though, Trent was satisfied with how things were progressing. As far as he could tell, no one in the company had the slightest inkling of who he really was or what he was doing. The three most powerful men in Umbrella relied on him more and more every day, com-pletely unaware of his agenda  - to destroy the organi-zation, from without and within, to devastate its leaders' lives and deliver them to justice; to organize an elite army of men and women committed to Umbrella's downfall, and to guide them as much as he was able in their quest. If his methods were complicated, the reason was simple: to avenge the death of his parents, both scien-tists, murdered when he was a child so that Umbrella could profit from their research. Trent smiled to himself, taking another sip from his mug. It sounded so melodramatic, so grandiose. It had been almost thirty years since his parents had been burned alive in the alleged laboratory accident. He'd left the pain behind long ago  - his resolve, however, had never faltered. He'd changed his name, his back-ground, given up any hope of ever having a normal Life and regretted nothing, even now that he shared responsibility for the deaths of so many. It was getting dark. Far below, streetlights were flickering on, sending up a soft glow that would radiate out into the night sky like a halo above the city. In its own way, it was quite beautiful. Trent finished his coffee and absently traced the Um-brella logo on the side of the cup with his fingers, thinking about darkness and light, good and evil, and the shades of gray that existed in between everything. He needed to be very careful, and not just to avoid being discovered; it was those shades of gray that wor-ried him. After a few moments, Trent turned his back on the gathering dark and went inside. He still had a lot to do before he could go home.

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