Character musings

...or something like it.

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[AU: Jill, Chris, Wesker] You're not my favorite mistake; you're just a simple regret
Gun it up, At the ready
zerosuitjill wrote in transgenicprose

Reaching the door at the end of the hall, Jill shifted her M92F to her right hand, gripped the handle, and listened. Everything was, for the most part, absolutely still. A low breeze, the slight rhythmic rustling of cloth, the scurry of tiny rodent feet somewhere further beyond -- small sounds, things she wouldn't have noticed just a few years ago. Now each one caught her attention, just like the particularly strong scents of wood, dust, something earthy, and what smelled like a fading whiff of stale alcohol. It might have been akin to a sensory overload for anyone not used to it, but Jill had adapted, like always, taking the small things for what they were and deciding not to waste time with bitter thoughts.

Fairly confident that it was safe to move, she turned the handle and stepped inside, her gun immediately sweeping the area and joined quickly by her small flashlight.

The room was as empty as the rest of the compound. Larger than any other so far, it was about a third the size of a typical storage warehouse. Discarded sheets and tarps littered the cement floor; tables, overturned chairs, dusty beer bottles, a few playing cards, and some shell casings were the only things that stood out. Overhead, a tattered hole in the ceiling, where fresh flakes from the snowfall outside drifted down to gather in the growing mound in the middle of the room. Other than Jill, it was empty.

A loud, solid, and echoing creak gave warning, and she sidestepped just in time to avoid another wooden beam as it dropped from overhead in a startling clatter of noise. It landed hard enough to disturb the thick coat of dust covering the ground, producing a small cloud that threatened to make her sneeze before she moved further in.

She touched two fingers to her headset, pressing it closer to her ear. "It definitely hasn't been used recently," she affirmed, glancing back towards the hallway. "The building isn't more than a few years old, though, so it shouldn't be falling apart like this. I guess they left a few surprises for anyone who might come snooping around." With just enough natural light to go by, she pocketed her flashlight and, with gloved hands on her gun and gun at her side, she ignored the cruel drop in temperature and kept moving, eyes and ears alert.

It was frustrating, hitting another dead end. From the looks of things, the group had cleared out long before now, which at least meant that the local town could rest easy. All the same, it just meant that another town, wherever they decided to hole up next, would be suffering shortly if it wasn't already.


Jill had to give them credit. Zhizn wasn't the most run-of-the-mill terrorist organization out there, even if its methods, mindset, and intentions were just as self-centered and cold-blooded as any other. They'd managed to keep the B.S.A.A. running in circles for months now, at least, which was a feat in and of itself.

Zhizn was actually the first case Jill had been assigned upon her return to duty. That had been over a year ago, and while terrorists were hardly ever cut-and-dry cases, this one was getting more complicated as time passed, not less, despite all their efforts and intel. Based in Russia, the group was said to have had direct ties to Umbrella in the past; even that was shaky information, as the group had proven particularly difficult to penetrate. Even the latest tips the Alliance had received were more rumors than anything, and if not for a couple B.O.W. corpses that had turned up in the nearby woods, the claims may well have been disregarded entirely by the higher-ups. Resources were stretched thin these days, after all, and false alarms were becoming progressively more detrimental to the B.S.A.A.'s cause. Most governments in the first-world countries were feeling the same strain, but the Alliance, as stretched as it already was, was definitely something near overburdened lately.

The thought made Jill exhale a little sharply, her breath visible in the freezing air for a couple seconds. "Pretty sure I'm just finding dust and cobwebs here," she went on, but kept her voice just low enough to prevent much of an echo. "Any luck on your end?"

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Tracking him without being seen was, at best, difficult and time-consuming, but Jill managed, and she didn't have far to go. At one point the man passed over a river, not yet entirely frozen, and its noise helped cover some of Jill's as well as provide her with more snowless ground to walk on. She wasn't sure what to expect, but it wasn't what she found. The man led her to the base of one of the mountains, and at that point she figured he would head into some kind of hidden cave entrance.

She didn't expected him to lead her down a path, into the beginnings of a ravine, and around to a small plateau on which there was... nothing. Just a blank wall, with a couple large boulders leaning against it. Crouched behind one of the large rocks littering the area, Jill watched: the man set his burden down, and then leaned over to push aside the branches of one of the small, thorny bushes. Without warning, there was a low, piercing beeping sound, making her tense and look over her shoulder -- and when she looked back, she could only stare as the two boulders abruptly and smoothly slid apart, as easily as if they were on a track; and given the kinds of things she'd seen in her life, that was all too likely.

Diving in after him would have been suicidal. Tensed but knowing her limits, Jill waited, and the man stepped into the open entrance -- a hidden cave entrance -- and he'd only just disappeared inside when the boulders slid back into place.

Ties to Umbrella? That was looking more and more likely.

Jill counted to sixty before coming out of her hiding place, glancing around the area. There were no other people or security cameras in sight; as good a time as ever to contact Chris. She touched her headset, still watching her back as she spoke in a low voice.

"Jill to Chris, do you copy?"


Frowning, she repeated, only to have the same lack of a response. She tried adjusting the frequency slightly with a fingernail -- only to jump and cringe as squeal and thundering white noise slammed into her ear. She quickly tuned it back, sending around another glance to make sure she hadn't been heard.

Signal disruption? Possibly. If whatever place was beyond this entrance had more technology than what its front door was made out of...

"Shit," Jill breathed, even as she moved over to investigate the bush that the man had. Parting the branches, she found a small, square panel at the base. There was a lock, but a simple one, and she was past it in under five seconds and opening it. Some type of security identification device -- fingerprints, most likely, meaning she'd never get past that way.

Jill chewed her tongue briefly. By all rights, she should have saved the location to memory, headed back to town, and told Chris everything so that they could investigate the next day. It was logical, but...

Voices. Jill tensed further and looked back -- they were coming from the path she'd just descended, which meant she had nowhere to go. Neither was there anything to hide behind.

Shit, shit--

Options flickered across her mind. She chose the first one with the best chance of not getting her killed or captured, assuming these men were indeed Zhizn.

Reaching into the pouch on her hip, she withdrew a screwdriver, wedged the tip under the screen of the identification device, and pried it -- it took some careful effort, but it popped from place and she quickly opened it, praying the inner network wasn't some ridiculously complicated computer system.

Luck was with her. It was a simple set-up: your basic nodes and wires. With the voices getting closer -- speaking Russian, she could now tell -- Jill set to work at high speed, crossing the wires and reworking some of the nodes and Open, open, open--

Rarely had she heard a sound so sweet as the low rumble of those boulders sliding apart. Clicking the screen back into place, she shut the panel, stood, and as soon as she could fit into the opening, she slipped through.

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