This is an older story of mine that somehow was not re-uploaded here. I could have sworn that I had put it up, but when I went to check the other day, it wasn't in my account. So in honor of the fantastic "Resident Evil 2: Remake" being released, I decided to edit it and post it. I wrote this based on Wesker's Reports 1 and 2, it is based on William Birkin and Albert Wesker's arrival at the Arklay Mountains Umbrella Laboratory (THE mansion from "Resident Evil 1"). I always thought those two brilliant, cold-hearted young men would make an excellent couple. The original story needed a lot of work, however. In the first version, I used Wesker's youth to make him somewhat of a hothead; however, I decided that this was never his style, so I toned down his attitude a lot. I also went a little further with Birkin's "mad scientist" aspect because, well, he was; the new versions of his letters (demands) to Chief Irons in the Remake make this clearer than ever. Of course I take liberties with both characters. Wesker's Reports made it clear they were as close as colleagues of the same mind could be, but I don't think there was anything romantic between them in the canon. As if that could ever stop me!
I decided to keep the dark version of Spencer that I wrote intact. I don't want to spoil for new readers, but I still believe his unnatural interest in Wesker is justified. There is something extremely sick about Spencer's obsession with creating (and owning) a race of superior humans. Would he go as far as he does in this story in the canon? Who knows. I think those types are always abusive, greedy, spiteful little men (and women). I also wanted to give Wesker some humanity, at least a little bit of tragedy in his origins. So I did not change that. If this offends you, sorry, but my writing tends to go very dark-especially my older material.
There is a continuation of this story that I will post later.
That July was humid and misty. There was no breeze to rustle the trees of the Arklay Mountains, they lay in utter silence and stillness. It was an ordinary Monday morning, one that would be lost to time and forgotten. However, there was one person who would never forget it.
The roar of a helicopter broke the silence abruptly. The large steel-colored body flashed in the sunlight, the glare throwing an eerie light over the dark canopy top of trees below. It flew high over the mountains and forests, paused ponderously, and then began to descend. Through the window of the metal bird, a young man could be seen. He sat stiffly and his mouth was a grim thin line. He had neat blond hair that was combed back precisely, and he wore black jeans and a blue shirt. Covering his eyes were a pair of black sunglasses.
The young man glanced down through the window. He could see a building down below, shadowed by the dark lenses of his sunglasses. It was a large, impressive mansion, known simply as the Spencer Mansion. The youth had heard many things concerning this mansion. The loyal company men proudly boasted of how the famed New York-based architect George Trevor had designed the place specifically for the Umbrella director. The cynical company men whispered about the way the entire Trevor family had vanished upon its completion, rumoring that they had gone missing on site. Looking down on the sprawling pile, the blond youth was distinctly unimpressed.
"It's only a mansion," the young man stated simply. "See that, Birkin?"
Sitting in the seats directly across from the man with blond hair was a younger man—he was a boy, really. The kid had longish sandy hair that fell over his bowed head, brushing the edges of a pleasant, mildly handsome face. He was bent over some research notes in his hands. Even in the heat of July, he wore a white lab coat over slacks, a white shirt, and a red tie. Despite the attention to dressing properly, the youth had a slightly disheveled look about him: the tie was loosened an inch, his shirt's top button was undone, and his fine hair had fallen out of place, the fringe across his forehead a bit too long.
"A building is only a building, after all," said the sandy-haired boy. He did not lift his eyes from his papers once, even as he replied. "Did you expect something magnificent, Albert?"
"Don't call me that," the young man said, irritated, "William."
"Well what were you expecting, Wesker?" the boy retorted. He still did not look up from his papers. "The White House?"
Albert Wesker exhaled and sat back in his seat. He turned his eyes back to the window and the mansion below. The kid, William Birkin, did not look up once from his papers throughout the helicopter's descent. He had been that way since Wesker had met him. In fact, Wesker was not sure whether he ever lifted his eyes from those notes. Wesker appreciated the young savant's dedication, but he was irritated at Birkin's lack of awareness of more worldly matters. Couldn't he see that science was only one part of the grand design they were working towards?
In truth, sixteen-year-old William Birkin was slightly anxious. Being offered the job of co-head researcher at such a young age (he was the youngest employee Umbrella had ever had in Research and Development) had swelled his ego so drastically, he had not once considered both sides of the situation until just now. As he poured through his notes, Birkin wondered for a brief instant if he would be able to accomplish what he hoped to. He wanted to study this new virus that had been found, a fatal virus called 'Ebola'. It fascinated him. He'd accepted the job simply so that he could study the virus in peace, well-funded and with all the latest equipment available to him.
William Birkin knew Albert Wesker from their shared time in Umbrella's executive training facility, now closed, and he knew his mentality was quite different. William wanted to study viruses and their effects on human genetics. Wesker was interested in the research and development of a human bio-weapon. He planned to create such a weapon using Birkin's studies of viral infections and DNA-altering diseases. He claimed this was for the purpose of creating a counter-agent in the event of the virus being weaponized. A cure for any strain of Ebola would be worth a fortune, and a means of blocking a biological attack would be worth even more to the government. William recalled Wesker's presentations clearly, always so focused and political as opposed to William's own concise, scientific ones.
The research would be the same for both the young men, but their purposes would be vastly different. One would study to suppress the burning desire to know. The other would study for such petty worldly matters as fortune and prestige. William, on one hand, was a dedicated boy with a passion for his work. Wesker, on the other hand, was a cool, collected young adult that recognized his own intelligence and was determined to get all the power he could out of it. They were so alike, and yet they were so wildly different. Birkin wondered if such a pair could produce anything of substance. He would hate to be hindered by a corporate agenda.
The helicopter landed now, the rotor causing the forest to stir. The roar began to die down. Wesker crinkled his nose slightly. Birkin glanced up briefly. There was a smell in the air which was hard to describe. It was almost as if the aroma of the pine trees and earth had mingled with the odor of the lab and its chemicals. Both boys knew the smell of a lab very well, but that it had infected all this wild nature around them was a foreboding thought. Their eyes met for just a moment, and though Wesker's were shielded by his sunglasses, they both felt the shared sentiment. It was the first time the former rivals had ever been of the same mind about anything.
Wesker stood up. He was tall and carried himself with a cold austerity that made him seem far older than his eighteen years. He slung his lab coat over his shoulder and jumped down from the chopper. William shuffled his papers together and followed him. They stepped out into the hot summer day, and the smell of pine and antiseptic thickened. William kept his eyes fixed on his papers but blinked rapidly due to the bright sunlight. Wesker, in his sunglasses, strode ahead confidently.
They came to an elevator where a man was waiting. He was the director of the facility, though neither youth could remember his name (nor cared to try). Birkin and Wesker entered the elevator with him. William ignored him, keeping his eyes on his papers. Wesker glanced at the man for a second, then turned his gaze to the elevator door. He smirked slightly at the fact that Birkin was ignoring the director. He knew William did not realize his rudeness: he was the type who would ignore people unknowingly, simply because his mind was always preoccupied with his work. Wesker's expression grew smug. He, on the other hand, was ignoring the director deliberately. Everyone knew that the chief researchers were the ones who would really control this facility. From this day forward, the Spencer Mansion (AKA The Arklay Laboratory) was under the control of Albert Wesker and William Birkin. Wesker had long since decided not to hide the fact for the sake of the egos of lesser men. He stared at the closed elevator doors as they descended, waiting for the director to react to his snobbery and Birkin's unintentional rudeness.
But the director did nothing. He simply stood there, going along with the silence. The elevator sank deeper into the ground, and he paid no mind to the two young men.
Wesker drew a breath softly. Usually people reacted very quickly to uncivil attitudes. In the training center, they'd been told off, scolded, and sometimes ignored in turn. Some people would try to start a conversation, and became offended when it did not work. Elders usually told Wesker straight out that he "shouldn't ignore people" and "be so impertinent." He always found these reactions profoundly amusing. William, on the other hand, would usually apologize, even though his apologies were uttered distractedly.
Oddly, the director didn't seem to mind his position as head of the facility being usurped at all. If he did, he hid it well. Wesker figured that the man probably took the two boys to be just that: boys. Wesker had barely started adulthood while William was still a kid. That was annoying, but Wesker decided he didn't care what the director thought. Regardless of the title he carried, he was not the one really in charge of the facility. Wesker smiled a little, glancing at Birkin. They were in charge. What anyone felt or did not feel about it was their own problem. Birkin shifted on his feet, shuffled his notes, and mumbled something to himself. He took one of the many pens in his lab coat's breast pocket and began scribbling something on a document, using the elevator's mirrored wall as a desk. The director finally reacted, giving the youth a narrow-eyed stare. Wesker stifled a laugh.
All of this started the day that Wesker met a man named Sir Oswell E. Spencer. He was a tall, dignified man that was very enigmatic. He was interested in Wesker's studies and later, when Wesker was older, his work, though he never precisely stated his reasons for this interest. Wesker had always disregarded Spencer's wealth and importance. He was as cool with Spencer as he was with everyone, but Spencer had persisted. He would make appearances at any school Wesker attended. It had seemed that wherever Wesker had gone, Spencer would follow. Though normally impossible to affect, Wesker had come to feel anxious about the man's presence in his life. He was used to being a lone wolf and mistrusted inexplicable attention. Ultimately, Spencer's reason for practically stalking Wesker had been that he'd seen talent in the youth. It turned out that Spencer was the director of a pharmaceutical company called "Umbrella." Spencer claimed that his company was developing a cure for many dangerous viruses, Ebola included. He offered Wesker a job, despite his young age, and Wesker accepted. It was only natural, Wesker had surmised, that a prestigious company would want to hire him before anyone else had the chance: he was, after all, quite brilliant.
A year ago, at the Umbrella Executive Training Center, Wesker met William Birkin, a fifteen-year-old prodigy with a passion for pathology. Birkin had told Wesker that he'd met Spencer in the same fashion, and had also been offered a job. The two were trained under Dr. James Marcus, and they developed a casual working rivalry. Ironically, it was their differences that kept them from getting fiercely competitive; Birkin acquiesced to the logic of Wesker's practicality, while Wesker grudgingly accepted Birkin's superior scientific genius.
Two days before they'd come to the Spencer Mansion (named for the director of Umbrella), Oswell Spencer himself had approached them. The Training Center was to be closed down, he had said, but they had been chosen to continue the research at the Arklay Laboratory at Spencer Mansion. Not only would they go on working for Umbrella, they would each be lead researchers. Of their mentor, James Marcus, there was no word. Neither boy cared to inquire as to his fate, simply accepting that their natural superiority had carried them farther than Marcus could ever hope to rise.
Currently, the director-in-name of the Arklay facility was giving the uninterested youths a tour of Spencer Mansion. Wesker had already memorized the map given to them so he paid little attention, while William kept his eyes on his Ebola research notes.
As Wesker strode through the mansion, following the director, he glanced at Birkin's notes. The Ebola Virus. To Wesker, it was a means of gaining fortune, prestige, and power. Two years ago, when Wesker had heard of the discovery of the virus, he had begun to question it. Ebola had a 90% death rate, and those infected by it would die within ten days. But Wesker wondered what might happen if the Ebola virus did not cause death so quickly? What if the infected person would become mentally disrupted, and wander around for days, all the time infecting others? On a higher level, he wondered what would happen if the DNA and RNA of the virus would be able to reconstruct the DNA of a human host? If these questions became reality, it would create a human host that would harbor and spread the virus and not die easily. It would create a human bio-weapon. It could create a human god …
Wesker was able to grasp the big picture, although he could not always fit the science to meet his imagination's demands. Birkin had a knack for the science, though he gave little thought to its real world applications. But Spencer saw raw potential in both young men, so he sent them forward into the heart of Umbrella's research. That was the reason they were stepping through the halls of the Arklay Facility now. They were to continue their T-Virus Project—together.
Wesker caught a few glances from older researchers as they passed through the halls. The older scientists seemed skeptical of these two young lead researchers. Wesker was annoyed by their judgmental ignorance, but ignored them. Birkin did not notice them at all.
They entered their third elevator of the tour. Wesker sighed. He was sick of all the preliminaries. All he wanted to do was start his job. As the elevator descended into the depths beneath the manse, he put on his lab coat. The Spencer Mansion was kept very cool, probably due to the numerous chemicals kept within. It seemed a practical place to do research, if unnecessarily lavish.
The elevator stopped. The three had reached their final destination. They were in a dark hall too deeply underground for windows, lit only by orange-red lights. They walked a few steps, then came to a huge glass window looking in on a room. Wesker peered in and even Birkin looked up. Once they saw the room's contents, their eyes widened. Wesker took off his sunglasses, and William actually lowered his notes.
The room was small and sterile, but very worn. The equipment and scarce furniture was antiquated, the metal rusty and the padded walls dingy. The light was dim, only a single bulb illuminating the small living area. Lying on a bed lined with pipes, tubes and wires snaking down from it, was a figure—they could not tell at first whether it was a human figure. Wesker peered more closely and could see then that it was a woman. Her skin looked orange in the sickly light, mottled with red as if her skin was torn away in patches, and she lay motionless. Wesker could see her eyes blankly staring at the ceiling; they were not dead, but seemed to want to be. She wore little more than rags, and her hair was wild all around her. A human? No, Wesker decided that she was nothing but the shadow of humanity. Birkin stared. He had never actually seen a human test subject before. He'd read about the effects of viruses and such, had seen graphic medical photos, but this was different. This was an actual human test subject, languishing right before his very eyes. She looked like she'd been experimented on for an eternity. William uttered something that Wesker could not decipher.
Wesker looked at Birkin, wondering whether his words were condemning or praising. Then he turned his eyes back to the woman. The entire hall smelled of death and disease and chemical. So, this was the true nature of Umbrella. Wesker had always had his suspicions, but now there was not a shred of doubt left in his mind: Umbrella intended to weaponize the virus. What was brewing within the corporation was as dark and twisted as that labyrinth of pipes lining the woman's bed and ceiling and walls.
As they stared at the woman test subject, both boys realized something. This was the point of no return. They were now a part of Umbrella. For some reason, it almost felt like they were joining a cult as opposed to a company. Like a cult, there was no way out now. Now they had two choices; they could do their work without question or complaint, or they could end up the way that woman had, lying in limbo between several kinds of hell.
The director turned to them. "It's nearly time for lunch. Shall I show you to the dining hall, then?"
"Yes." Wesker faced the man coolly. He put his sunglasses back on before anyone could glimpse whether his eyes held any emotion or not. "We'll eat, then we want to start working."
Birkin nodded. He was speechless, still staring in at the woman.
"All right, then." The director seemed pleased. He shook Wesker's hand. "Welcome to Arklay."
William Birkin and Albert Wesker were shown to the long dining hall. The research team members were all there. Again, Wesker noticed the disapproving looks they were giving them. He twitched slightly in annoyance as he and Birkin sat down. Birkin took no notice. He was not looking through his notes, but his eyes showed that his mind was somewhere else. Wesker figured he was probably still thinking about the woman test subject.
"Now, I'd like you all to welcome our two new staff members," the director addressed the old staff. "This is Albert Wesker, and this is William Birkin. They'll be our new-"
"Chief researchers," Wesker interrupted, standing. "William and I are going to head up the research on the T-Virus Project, which will be the Arklay Laboratory's main focus." His eyes traveled from face to face, meeting each person's gaze directly. "We expect full cooperation, as promised to us by Oswell Spencer. Thank you."
Murmurs traveled the table. Wesker sat down calmly. He could tell that many of the older staff members did not like his way of taking charge, but he didn't care. If they were that old and still held such an insignificant position, they were the type of worker that had to be told what to do. If any of them had any leadership skills, Spencer wouldn't have given Wesker and Birkin such coveted positions above them.
Birkin began to eat, watching Wesker. He admired the way his older colleague could take charge of any situation and always remain calm and collected. William usually would ignore any and every situation, simply because his mind was always so full with his work. He never bothered to talk much, unless it was about the viruses or his studies. His mind could not stray from the one thing he was working on, it was simply the way he was. He sometimes wished he could tear his mind from his research, and he envied Wesker a small bit.
"Our equipment has arrived, hasn't it?" Wesker was asking now. "The Ebola sample that Birkin requested, and my files?"
"Yes, I believe they have," replied an older man. His cold blue eyes moved up and down, looking Wesker over. "I'm Wesley Smithe, I've been with Umbrella since it was established."
"I'm sure you have," Wesker said simply. He paused in a feigned defeat before adding, "Which is why you must hold an important job. What is your title?"
The man drew a breath. "I am … a researcher for the company."
"A researcher for ten years. You must be highly devoted to that one position," Wesker said derisively. "How admirable."
Wesley's chest puffed up like a bird's. His fist tightened on his fork. Wesker took a bite of his food and resumed ignoring the older man. Wesley seemed to be at a loss for words.
Birkin had to smile at this display. As a prodigy, he had spent his entire young life being constantly derided and doubted by smug old men like Wesley Smithe. Somehow, Wesker had both won the battle for dominance and refused to play the game of respect at once. It was remarkably bold.
Wesker turned to Birkin. He gave him a short, small smile. Birkin was a little startled, as they had never been close at the Training Center. He lowered his gaze to his plate, boyishly shy of the thick-skinned older boy.
"Exactly what, Doctor Wesker," Wesley suddenly spoke up, "are your plans for this laboratory?"
"I plan to use this lab for the purpose it was created," Wesker replied. "And what purpose is that?" "Exploring the T-Virus to its full potential."
"I see. And exactly how will you do that, Mr. Wesker?"
"Utilizing the DNA-restructuring properties of several viruses, and combining these to create one super-virus," Birkin spoke up. "My studies of Ebola combined with the research done on the original virus will come together to overcome the weaknesses of both, and at the same time let us know much more about the effects of each. If we can break the code of the DNA and RNA of Ebola, we can compare it to the original virus. Knowing the DNA and RNA of both will allow us the freedom to try and enhance them."
"And enhancement will lead us to finding the perfect virus," Wesker added, nodding, "a virus capable of restructuring the DNA as opposed to destroying it. We'll be able to take any human and turn them into … whatever the company wishes."
Birkin gave Wesker a slightly puzzled frown. Wesker pointedly did not meet his eye. Birkin looked around the table at the other researchers. Did they not know what Oswell Spencer really wanted? Was it some sort of secret that only he and Wesker shared? He had never thought about the politics of research before.
The research team at the table stared at the two hotshots. The room fell into a cold silence.
The director was also quiet, though he was not offended at all. In fact, there was a distant smile on his face. The two young men were the perfect team. Wesker was highly intelligent. Even though he was not on Birkin's level of sheer innovative genius, his pragmatism and sense of command made up for it. He knew people well, and had a talent for asking the right questions. Birkin's mind was a rare commodity, one that had earned him a doctorate in medicine at the age of thirteen. He was perfect to handle the research that would back up the questions Wesker asked. With Wesker handling the theoretical and Birkin making his ideas into physical reality, the results were sure to be amazing. The director knew all this, therefore he was not bothered by their cockiness at all. Besides, even if the two young men failed, their swift overtaking of the facility would mean that the brunt of the blame would fall squarely upon their shoulders.
"The research to create such a virus will be extremely dangerous," another older scientist spoke up. "You're only children, are you sure you're up to such tasks?"
"Eighteen is hardly the age of a child," Wesker said tensely. "We aren't running around, playing with diseases as if they were toys. Birkin and I are adequately trained and, more importantly, we have the intelligence to carry out these plans. I highly doubt we would be sent here by Spencer himself if we weren't."
"You're both willing to risk your lives, are you?" asked Wesley.
"Yes," Birkin quickly replied.
"However," Wesker added firmly, "we aren't going to die. Simply because we are willing to risk our lives doesn't mean we are expecting to die. The scientists that constantly have death on their minds are meant to meet with exactly that."
Birkin raised his eyebrows at Wesker. The way he was looking at Smithe, the words could only be taken as a threat. Seeing the look in Wesker's steely eyes, Birkin did not doubt Wesker would not hesitate a second before seeing that threat through. The idea made Birkin uneasy yet strangely excited.
"Now, if you'll excuse us, we have work to do," Wesker said.
He stood up. William scurried to follow him. Wesker walked briskly through the halls of the mansion, with William half-jogging after him.
"That was … impressive," Birkin offered. "But aren't you afraid that you offended them?"
"Offending people is nothing to be afraid of, William," Wesker said calmly. "In fact, it can be rather amusing. In any case, I prefer to be to the point. There is no room in science for vagueness or feigned kindness. I won't pretend to be nicer than I am."
Birkin was quiet as he followed Wesker, pondering the hardened man. He very rarely took an interest in people, but Albert was fascinating. In many ways, he behaved the way a virus might: concisely carrying out what he was programmed to do, using or destroying anything that stopped him from doing it, and not feeling or hesitating over any of it. Birkin wondered what had made him that way. He wondered where he got the nerve. However, he kept his eyes on his notes, pretending not to be thinking about him or anyone else.
Wesker was also quiet during the long walk and elevator ride down to the labs. He wondered if his harshness was scaring or angering William. He could not tell what Birkin was thinking; his face, still soft with boyhood, was unreadable. Normally able to read people as if they were books, Wesker found this trait rather aggravating. If there was one thing Wesker loathed, it was not knowing what was on another's mind.
But now, William spoke. Wesker turned to him as they entered the main laboratory.
"I like your logic," Birkin said slowly. "I believe we'll make a good team."
Wesker couldn't help smiling a little.
"I think so, too," he agreed. He gazed around at the lab. "So, forget the other researchers, Birkin. From now on, it's you and me."
"Y-yes. All right."
They shook hands.