He watched the young twosome crawl down from the hole, make their way back to the combination door. Finally, they'd found a way to get it open; he'd expected them to break the lock, but one of them had apparently found the leech growth records, had worked out the code.

It seemed a single Hunter, a lone knight, was no match for them. The young man was surprised, but not overly so, watching as they opened the locked door. They possessed some small animal cleverness, these two; how sad for the world that they had to be destroyed.


The young man smiled. Humanity would surely recover from the loss, in ample time to effect Umbrella's crucifixion. Besides, the children were already in place.

Billy pushed the door to the cable car hanger open, the two of them smiling, congratulating one another as they "discovered" their means of escaping the lab. The cable car was operational, although they wouldn't be operating it; their lives were mere seconds from ending. The children watched from the shadows beneath the car, from the half-drained sewers, gathering into humanoid form, one, two of them. With a thought, a sigh, the young man released them from harness, sent the two bishops lurching towards their prey.

A sound, a scream. He frowned, turned one of the false men to see what had cried out from the darkness behind them--and it was attacked by an Eliminator, the primate jumping on the humanoid collective from out of nowhere, howling as it ripped into the midst of the children with dripping jaws.

From the platform, Rebecca and Billy were alerted by the sound of the fight, were ready with their weapons. Furious, torn, the young man hesitated, wanting to finish them, to kill, but concerned for the children--

He sent them forward, ignoring the primate's attack, letting the many stream away from its vicious jaws, reform again at the edge of the platform next to the second collective. The two false men clambered over the rail, eager to taste of the interlopers. The Eliminator followed, leaping after them. He watched in horror as Billy got off a single blast at one of the false men with his shotgun, managing a clear shot. The young man felt the many screaming, felt the hive diminish, and his fury intensified, was fraught with anguish now, too, as Billy fired again, Rebecca joining in with her handgun. In bare seconds, one of the collectives was effectively destroyed.

"No, no!" The many had never faced a shotgun, he'd had no idea they could be so readily injured by it, but he couldn't retreat now, not in mid-attack. His racing thoughts told the survivors to rally, to join with the second false man as the Eliminator leaped for Billy, snatched at him with thick claws. The primate grappled with the killer--and then the two of them went over the rail, disappearing into the sewers with a mighty splash.

Rebecca screamed, rushed to the railing, but the second collective was almost upon her now. The young man felt a hot satisfaction, watching as the false man extended one magnificent arm, slapped at Rebecca's stupid, screaming face hard enough to knock her down. She rolled away as he paused, deciding how best to finish her. The loss to the hive was tremendous, unprecedented, he wanted to be sure she paid for it in full--

--except she was rolling to her feet now, holding Billy's dropped shotgun, her face contorted with rage. She fired at the collective, blew one of its arms away, the children shrieking in pain as she fired again, and again.

The young man could barely see her now, the gazes upon her too few, many of the watchers dying even as he struggled to maintain contact. His last vision of her was a watery outline, a shadow growing darker, finally disappearing altogether.

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Around him, the many wept, their salt tears blending into their joined tracks, the sorrowful smell of ocean rising up from their despairing mass. The young man closed his eyes, wept with them, but not for long. His anger was too great; she had to die, as her murdering boyfriend had surely died.

He didn't dare risk more of the children ...

The Tyrant. His king.

He managed a smile. His anger was great; his wrath would be greater still.

There was a Magnum on the cable car, locked in the cold, rubbery fingers of a dead man. As the small aerial car made its short journey from one platform to another, gliding silently through the unknown dark, Rebecca pried the revolver free. It was unloaded. She remembered that Billy was carrying a couple of speed loaders with .50 caliber Magnum shells, but he was ...... is, he is alive and I'm going to find him, she told herself firmly, stepping from the cable car once it swung to a stop, ignoring the terrified voice in the back of her mind, the part that kept insisting he was surely dead. Billy was gone, lost to the fast-moving sewer beneath the cable car platforms, which had swept him and that monster in this direction, but he was alive, and she was going to find him. The thought cycled, repeated itself; she owed him that hope, that belief, several times over.

The second cable car platform was much like the first, small and cold and dark, but there was a set of stairs leading up and out of the hangar. Rebecca took a minute to resituate her weapons, to reload the nine-millimeter. Billy had the remaining shotgun shells on him, but he'd reloaded after that monster had attacked her outside the kennel room--

--after he saved your life, again-- --and there were still two rounds left; she wouldn't leave it behind, nor did she think it wise to leave the Magnum. She never knew when she might find another cache of ammo. The heavy revolver dragged on her belt, the shotgun hard on her injured shoulder, but she wanted to be ready for anything.

He's dead, Rebecca. You have to save--


--save yourself now, have to--


She hurried up the stairs, ignoring her body's fatigue, have to find him, have to. At the top of the flight, a door, the door opening into a massive, mostly empty warehouse room, the far end open to the night. Rebecca walked across the bare room, stepping over the floor's transport track, moved past rusting barrels that lined the walls, her mind too full of Billy for her to think straight. If he was hurt, if he was--

Dead. He might be dead. She started to reject the thought out of hand, but this mental voice wasn't terrified, wasn't in a blind panic; it was calm. Reasonable. She took a few deep breaths, stood a moment on the industrial platform elevator that bordered the big room, studied the cool, deep blue sky of early morning; the clouds were finally breaking up, a handful of pale, distant stars shining down. The storm had passed. She hoped it was an omen of good things to come . . . But she could only hope. If Billy was dead--and he probably was--she would have to deal with it.

But I'm not doing anything until I know.

There was a control console on the platform elevator's north side. Rebecca studied the controls a moment, finally deciding she should descend to the lowest level listed, B-4, try to find an entrance to the sewers there. She pushed the control button. The huge, octagonal platform jerked, then started down, the walls of the massive well that surrounded the platform sliding up and past, the night sky dwindling overhead.

The elevator finally settled into an expansive room, utilitarian, all gray walls and steel. To her right was a small office marked security, and a short hall that ended at another, more conventional elevator, like from an office building. To her left, a cave-in; mounds of rubble heaped up to a low, broken ceiling--and there appeared to be a second elevator there, in front of the stacked debris, this one bigger, a warehouse lift.

She stepped from the platform, checking for signs of life in the poorly lit room, her steps curiously quiet on the chipped concrete. It was empty. She moved to the security office, found it locked--but a glance through the grimy window set into the door told her there was nothing there worth scavenging.

She sighed, unsure which way to go. Her plan was to keep descending, her hope that eventually, she'd make it to water, but either elevator might lead her in the wrong direction.

So, pick one. It's better to be wrong than to waste time trying to decide. Right. She mentally flipped a coin, then headed for the elevator west of the platform.

She reached for the control panel, for the single button there----and a soft ping sounded, as the elevator came to a stop on her floor.

She scrambled back, there was no time, no place to run. She flattened herself in the corner as close to the doors as she could get, praying that whoever it was would be in too much of a hurry to look behind them.

The doors slid open. She held the shotgun ready, held her breath as a lone figure stepped out, a big man, wearing a vest-Rebecca lowered the shotgun, eyes wide as Enrico Marini spun around, aiming his nine-millimeter at her.

"Don't shoot!"

She saw surprise, the shock of recognition register on his face, and then he pulled up, aimed at the ceiling.

"Rebecca," he said, relaxing slightly, and she noticed the dirt on his hands and face, the smears of blood on his arms. The knuckles of both hands looked battered and bruised; his S.T.A.R.S. vest was ripped in several places. Obviously, she hadn't been the only Bravo team member struggling to survive. "Are you okay?"

"You're alive," she said, stepping forward, so happy to see him that she didn't know how she wasn't crying with relief. He clumsily embraced her with one arm, patting her shoulder before stepping away.

"The others?" she asked.

Enrico turned, looked toward the industrial lift. "They came ahead. We were looking for Edward, and you."

She lowered her eyes. "Edward--he didn't make it."

Enrico's gaze hardened slightly, but he only nodded. "Did you see the rest of the team come through?"


"They must have just missed you," he said. "We found these documents ..." He shook his head, as if denying a story that would take too long to tell. She understood completely.

"Due east of here is an old mansion," he continued. "We believe that Umbrella uses it for research. Come on. We can catch up to them if we hurry."

He started to walk away, and she felt her heart knot, a hot, hard fist in her chest.

"Wait!" she blurted, before she could think twice. "I've got to find Billy."

Enrico turned, stared. "Billy Coen? You found him?"

"Yes, but we got separated, and . . " She trailed off, not sure how to explain.

"No point worrying about him," Enrico said. "He won't make it, anyway. Let's go."

"Sir, I--" She swallowed, forced herself to meet his gaze. "It's a long story. But I--I need to find him. Don't worry, I'll catch up with you."

"Rebecca," he started, then seemed to read something in her voice, in her face, perhaps the same story she'd read in his--too much had happened, and any explanation would probably take longer than either of them could afford. "Be careful," he said, and she drew herself up, gave him a firm nod, the acknowledgement of one professional to another. He turned and started away. She watched him go, watched as he reached the pile of rubble on the other side of the vast room, turned to the elevator there, disappeared from her sight.

I finally find my team, and tell them to go ahead without me, she thought, too weary to be astounded by her decision. They were alive, at least. As soon as she found Billy, she--they--would head east, catch up to the team at the Umbrella mansion.

She checked the elevator that Enrico had appeared from, found that it only went up. That made her decision easier, anyway. She walked across the room to the other one. She pushed the recall button, heard the creak and jerk of movement, the mechanism humming from somewhere inside the shaft. It was slow, crawling back from wherever Enrico had taken it. Rebecca leaned against the door, wishing it would hurry. She was too tired to stop moving, afraid that she might not get started again.

A large chunk of rock rolled down from the shadows at the top of the debris pile, hit the cement floor not far from where she stood, broke into several pieces. It was quickly followed by another, then a third--and then a small avalanche, many of the slabs shifting, resettling as a small cloud of dust rose up from the fallen debris. Rebecca stepped back from the elevator door, eyeing the pile nervously.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

What sounded like heavy footsteps, coming from the mound of wreckage. More rock shifted, clattered to the floor.

"Enrico?" she asked, her voice hopeful and very small in the dust-choked air.



She pushed the recall button again. From the sound, the elevator continued to inch closer, but now she could see something moving, something in the shadows. Something big. And it was coming for her.

Billy held on to the broken remains of an eroded support pillar, waves and eddies of cold, dark water rushing past him, working to loosen his numb fingers. He held tight, half conscious, tried to assess, to resolve. He could barely think at all. He remembered the monkey--

--baboon, she said----attacking, its dirty claws sinking into his upper arms, remembered hitting the railing, hard. Remembered the splash of grimy water, the oily, sour taste and smell of it as it washed over him, Rebecca shouting his name, her voice fading as the current carried him away. There was the gurgling scream of the panicked animal as it let go, was drawn under--and then there was an outcropping of rock, and a sharp pain at one temple, and--and now he was here. Somewhere.

He was hurt, dizzy, lost. To his right, the waters gathered and roared, pushing their way through a giant pipe that led into darkness, a pipe more than big enough to swallow him whole. There was some kind of walkway perhaps ten meters to his left, suspended over the swirling water, but it might as well have been ten klicks, for his chances of getting to it. The water was too fast, too wild, and he wasn't the best swimmer even on a good day.

He held on. It was all he knew how to do.

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