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       Resident Evil Legends Part One - Welcome to the Umbrella Corporation, p.1

           Andreas Leachim
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Resident Evil Legends Part One - Welcome to the Umbrella Corporation
Resident Evil Legends Part One: Welcome to the Umbrella Corporation

  By Andreas Leachim

  Copyright 2015 Andreas Leachim

  Cover art and design by Andreas Leachim

  This is a work of fan fiction based on the Resident Evil video game series. All characters and names and related trademarks are the property of Capcom. The author of this work receives no financial compensation from it and does not seek to infringe upon Capcom’s copyrights in any way.

  Chapter 1

  Albert Wesker opened the sliding door and stepped out of the helicopter, adjusting his mirrored sunglasses as he did so. The rush of wind from the rotors whipped his clothes around and he ducked involuntarily, even though he knew he was in no danger from the spinning blades. He stepped onto the circular cement landing pad, tucked his briefcase under his arm, and cautiously moved to the edge of the platform.

  No one was there to meet him, which seemed odd. His new employer spared no expense to bring him there, hiring a helicopter when a taxi cab would have sufficed, but no welcoming committee waited to greet him when he arrived. The reception area at the end of the landing pad was empty. Beyond that, Wesker glimpsed a path that cut through a dense pack of trees toward the science lab where his training would begin.

  Looking around, he took in the view of the picturesque Arklay Mountains, which gently rose up around the laboratory grounds in all directions like a huge rumpled green carpet. The lab was reasonably secluded. The closest populated area, a town amusingly named Raccoon City, was almost twenty miles away. Other than that, the lab was surrounded by nothing but forest-covered hills and mountains.

  Behind him, the helicopter lifted back into the air. He wondered if it even touched ground when it dropped him off. The pilot demonstrated no desire to stay even a second longer than necessary, which Wesker also found odd. He suddenly felt like a soldier dropped deep behind enemy lines, with the helicopter anxious to get back to safety as soon as possible. He watched it disappear over the trees and wished absentmindedly that he had been given more specific instructions.

  “Good afternoon,” someone said, startling him. An elderly gentleman stood at the edge of the reception area, hands folded in front of him. He wore a plain brown suit of a style long since out of fashion, and his thick, heavy glasses hid small, intense eyes. Wesker did not know how the man could have snuck up on him so effectively.

  As if reading his mind, the man said, “Sorry if I spooked you. I have a habit of doing that, I suppose. Would you like to come with me, or would you rather continue to sight-see?”

  Wesker reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. “I’ll come with you,” he said unnecessarily, stepping off the landing pad. He shook a cigarette out of the pack and stuck it in his mouth, offering one to the man beside him.

  The man declined politely. “No, thank you. I quit many years ago. It’s an awful habit, you know.”

  “Yes, I do,” Wesker said, lighting up.

  As they walked down the path, the man did not introduce himself, nor did he need to. Wesker already knew him from photographs in the Umbrella recruitment materials he received after graduating college. The man’s name was James Marcus, and he was the head researcher at the lab. It was actually only a training facility, but the research done there was very real, and Marcus was the man in charge of the entire operation.

  Wesker did not expect to be there long. At the age of nineteen, he had already completed his undergraduate studies and was far along in what would normally be considered graduate work, if Wesker had bothered to apply to graduate school. He completed high school at fourteen, a verified child prodigy, and spent two wasted years at Harvard before transferring to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he first majored in biology and chemistry. Frustrated with the limits of his education, he eventually created his own major, biochemical engineering, much to the discomfort of his academic advisers, who thought they knew what he wanted more than he did. His core studies included advanced biology, genetic research, and chemical theory. His senior thesis and research project detailed how a virus, such as the common cold, could he genetically tampered with to make it harmless to humans.

  What his professors did not know, and what Umbrella did, was that Wesker’s work was not just a theory. He had already succeeded in making those genetic changes. He sent proof of his work to Umbrella in lieu of a more typical application for employment. They hired him immediately, and so here he was.

  “How old are you, young man?” Marcus asked.

  Wesker blew out a trail of smoke that disappeared in the calm breeze. “Nineteen.” He said it without pride, but with a hint of contempt. How many people were brought to this laboratory before they hit their twenties? He glanced sideways at Marcus and tried to guess the man’s age. Sixty, perhaps? Sixty-five? How old had he been when Umbrella first hired him?

  “You certainly have accomplished much in your few years,” Marcus said. “I hope your age doesn’t ostracize you from the rest of the trainees here. Everyone here is an equal, you understand, regardless of their prior achievements. I expect nothing less than complete cooperation between you and your fellow scientists.”

  “And how long will I stay here?” Wesker asked. “How long until I qualify for my own research team and laboratory time?”

  “As long as I say you do,” Marcus replied simply. “On average, it takes two or three years of work here before I feel someone is prepared for advancement.”

  Wesker expected such a response, but he chuckled softly at it anyway. There was no way he was working for five years as some lackey underling. He did not join Umbrella to do grunt work until he was twenty-four. If he wanted that, he would have gone to graduate school and gotten his Ph.D. the old-fashioned way.

  “You don’t intend to wait that long, I suspect?” Marcus asked, again reading his mind.

  Wesker puffed on his cigarette one last time and dropped it on the path to be crushed under his heel. “Well, no disrespect intended, but I think I’m better qualified than most of the people your company accepts for employment.”

  Marcus nodded. “I’ll grant that, but you are by no means unique. You’re not the only genius on these grounds. You may be a step above many, but there are some individuals here you will certainly find to be your intellectual superiors.”

  “That’s possible,” Wesker admitted, “but only because they’re older than I am. How many nineteen-year-olds do you have working here?”

  “None,” Marcus said.

  “I think that speaks for itself.”

  “Not necessarily.”

  They left the shady cover of the trees and finally reached the main laboratory grounds. Wesker found himself on a wide cement patio bordered on both sides by an elaborate iron fence. Potted plants and cement benches lay along each side, and wide steps at the end led up to the laboratory itself. Wesker saw pictures of it in the recruitment materials, but in person it was much more magnificent.

  If he hadn’t known better, he would have sworn the mansion was a historical landmark from the mid-1800s. At first glance, it reminded him of Monticello, except it was two stories tall and three times as large as Jefferson’s mansion. The outside was done in reddish-brown brick with bright white borders around the large bay windows and all along the edge of the black tile roof.

  The mansion was not the only impressive building on the grounds, either. Off to his left, Wesker spotted the top of a two-story astronomical observatory peeking out above the trees. He found it funny tha
t a science lab specializing in biology and chemistry would have an astronomical tower on site. The mansion had probably been intended as a private university building at one time, or at least Wesker assumed so. He wondered what else was built on the laboratory grounds.

  “Welcome to the Umbrella training facility,” Marcus said.

  “Not bad,” Wesker said to himself.

  They traversed the wide patio and headed for the rear entrance. Marcus held the glass double doors open for Wesker as he walked inside. After being out in the hot August sunshine, it felt good to feel air-conditioning on his skin, but he did not take his sunglasses off.

  The doors led directly into a lecture room much smaller than he had expected. It only had seats for only about thirty people. Wesker had envisioned hundreds of new employees studying and working at the training facility, with a lecture hall as large as the ones he’d seen in college, but he realized that the class of trainees here would be smaller, and therefore more competitive, than he had thought.

  Each seat had a wide desk with a computer screen built in, which impressed him. The monitors currently displayed the Umbrella corporate logo, a circle divided into eighths and colored in alternating bright red and white. At the front of the room was an old-fashioned wooden lectern in front of a projector screen. Wesker liked the contrast of old and new.

  “This is where most of the training will take place,” Marcus said, take a leisurely stroll through the room. “Your first few classes will be on the rules and regulations of the Umbrella Corporation. Non-disclosure agreements, employee handbook materials, research divisions and work classifications, that sort of thing. It will take a day or two to cover it.”

  “And then what?”

  “And then some examinations to help isolate your skills and weaknesses. We work very hard to make sure our employees are given positions in accordance with their natural abilities. We aim to maximize everyone’s potential.”

  “What if my potential lies in researching my own work and pursuing my own interests?”

  Marcus smiled thinly. “Well then, I guess we’ll have to let you do that, won’t we?”

  Wesker couldn’t tell if the old man was patronizing him, or just being sarcastic. It was possible that he wasn’t accustomed to new students displaying such brazen confidence in their own abilities, but Wesker was not about to humble himself to gain the old man’s favor. He had faith in his intelligence and the fact that Marcus wasn’t going to let him go to one of their business competitors. Marcus had to know what a valuable employee Wesker could be, and if the price of his employment was putting up with his tremendous ego, then so be it.

  “Have you had dinner yet?” Marcus asked, abruptly changing the subject.

  “Actually, I haven’t.”

  “Let’s stop by your room so you can drop off your things, and then we’ll head to the cafeteria for something to eat.”

  They walked through another set of double doors to a large, open lobby. A huge golden chandelier hovered over their heads, adorned with dozens of small light bulbs disguised as candles. Red-carpeted steps led up the right and left to the upper wings of the mansion, and the tile floor beneath his feet was waxed to a glimmering shine so clear Wesker could see his reflection in it. Momentarily, he was once more overcome by the artistic beauty of the building. It was decorated like a royal palace more than a training center or biological laboratory. Accidental visitors to the building would probably expect to find elegantly-clad noblemen and women, not scientists in bland white lab coats.

  “The brochure really doesn’t do this place justice,” Wesker said.

  Marcus nodded, his hands folded behind his back. Wesker envisioned him appreciating the beauty of the mansion like a car enthusiast basking in the glory of a fully remodeled classic Corvette. Or perhaps, swelling with pride the way the father of a sports star might. It was hard to tell what the old man was thinking.

  “We may be scientists, but that doesn’t mean we have to abandon beauty,” Marcus said. “After all, science and culture are not mutually exclusive. I have a great love of both architecture and sculpture. You’ll see works of art decorating the walls here.”

  “Most research labs are pretty sterile by comparison.”

  “Exactly. Wouldn’t you rather work and live here than in some bland, white-washed cubicle stinking of disinfectant?”

  “You offer a compelling argument,” Wesker admitted.

  “Your room is this way,” Marcus said, heading up the stairs to their right.

  Wesker followed him up the stairs and down a long hallway with beautiful wood-paneled walls and plush red carpet. All the doors were thick oak with gleaming brass doorknobs. Small end tables furnished the hallway in places, with old-fashioned lamps sitting atop intricately-laced doilies. And as Marcus had said, paintings decorated the walls. Some of them were by artists Wesker had heard of.

  “How many people are training here right now?” he asked.

  “The current class of trainees is fourteen, which is a little below average. There are about fifty other scientists who’ve completed their training but still work here.”

  “How many of them live here?”

  “Most of them. All new employees are required to stay here for the length of their training, and maybe thirty of the rest live here as well.”

  “That surprises me. Any particular reason so many decide to live here?”

  “The answer should be obvious,” Marcus said, stopping before one of the doors along the hallway. “If you dedicate your life to your work, wouldn’t you want to live right where that work is done? Let’s say ‘convenience’ for lack of a better word.”

  He opened the door and ushered Wesker inside. “This is your dormitory room, for the first few days at least. Once you’ve settled in and met some of your classmates, you can change rooms if you like.”

  The room was small but clean, and like most of the rest of the mansion, full of sturdy oak furniture, including a bed, desk, and dresser. Wesker tossed his briefcase on the bed, since that was all he’d brought with him. According to the employment packet he’d received, he would be assigned everything he would need upon his arrival at the mansion, including essentials like clothes and work materials. All he’d actually brought with him were some personal papers, computer discs with all his work, and the clothes on his back.

  He and Marcus headed back down the hallway to the main lobby. Wesker stuck his hands in his pockets and contented himself with admiring his surroundings. Despite his early misgivings, he was already feeling right at home. Any company wealthy enough to make a simple training facility look like a king’s palace was exactly where he wanted to be.

  “Do you have any other questions, Albert?” Marcus asked.

  Wesker winced at the sound of his name. “Please don’t call me that,” he said. “Call me Wesker. Even my parents don’t call me by my first name.”

  “What do they call you?”

  “They call me by my middle name.”

  After an expectant pause, Marcus asked, “And your middle name is?”

  “Just call me Wesker.”

  Marcus smiled. “All right, Wesker. Do you have any other questions?”

  “Yes, actually. Why are you giving me the tour yourself? I figured some low-level office assistant to meet me at the helicopter, not you.”

  “I handle everything myself,” Marcus explained. “I don’t hire underlings to do my work for me. In fact, there are no office personnel here at all.”

  That genuinely surprised Wesker. “No paper-pushers?”

  “None. The only people in this building are scientists. Oh, we have a live-in janitor and a few permanent security officers, but that’s all.”

  “Who does all your paperwork? Who answers the phones?”

  “Everyone is required to do all their own paperwork, but don’t worry too much about that. There is less than you think. I feel that paperwork is a waste of time
, so I don’t require too much of it. As for the phones, security takes care of it.”

  “Places like this always have office personnel. I’m surprised that it can function without any,” Wesker said.

  Marcus shrugged, apparently unconcerned. “I’m sure that other installations are loaded with them. Some Umbrella facilities have almost as many office workers as scientists. But I think it’s unnecessary and only serves to create meaningless bureaucracy. Office workers create red tape and administrative roadblocks. I don’t want anything to get in between a scientist and his science.”

  “That’s exactly the way I feel,” Wesker said. “I guess I’m just surprised that anyone in a position of authority feels the same way.”

  “Don’t forget that I’m a scientist too,” Marcus said. “I’m a scientist first and an administrator a distant second.”

  As they passed though the main lobby, Wesker noticed a large painting hanging on the wall opposite the front door. It was a head-and-shoulders portrait of James Marcus himself. He hadn’t noticed it before because it was above the doorway to the lecture room, which they had entered from. When Wesker glanced at it, Marcus laughed softly.

  “The one concession to my ego,” he admitted. “I run this entire facility, you know. It doesn’t hurt to cater to your vanity every now and then. As long as you keep it in perspective.”

  Wesker shrugged. “Doesn’t bother me. You deserve it. Everyone gives in to vanity in one way or another.”

  “I’ve noticed that you still wear those sunglasses, for example,” Marcus said.

  Wesker smiled. “You’ll never see me without them.” The only time Wesker took his sunglasses off was when he was sleeping or showering.

  They walked through another doorway into the dining room. At one end of the L-shaped room, there was a large rectangular table covered with a white tablecloth and surrounded by enough chairs for twenty people. At the other end of the room were a few smaller plastic tables and chairs and a pair of vending machines. Through an open doorway, Wesker could see the large adjacent kitchen beyond.

  Sitting at one of the plastic tables, munching on a candy bar with a text book opened in front of him, was one of the other trainees. It was the first person besides Marcus that Wesker had seen since his arrival. He was a skinny young man with greasy black hair that dangled over the sides of his face as he read.

  Marcus introduced him. “Wesker, I’d like you to meet William Birkin, one of the other trainees in your class.”

  The young man looked up as Wesker approached, his arm outstretched to shake hands. It was only then that Wesker realized just how young he was. He looked like a gangly teenager, with fresh pimples dotting his forehead and the innocent expression of youth in his gentle brown eyes.

  “Young William here is only eighteen years old,” Marcus said. “He’s the youngest trainee we’ve ever had.”

  Suddenly, Wesker’s initial sense of confidence and power drained from him like water down an open drain. “Pleased to meet you,” William said, shaking his hand. But Wesker found that he had lost his voice.

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