Chris Redfield had known that the mansion was just the beginning. All of the survivors had known. They drew up what plans they could and separated. They needed to stop Umbrella. They needed to stop this madness from spreading. No matter what happened or how much it cost them, they had to try.

Yet knowing it and living it were two different things. No amount of experience could stop his hands from shaking as Chris walked into the police station. Behind him, the city raged, nothing but fire and walking death. How long ago had it been since he left? God, he swore it hadn’t been that long. He been returned earlier than planned when ominous news reached him. Yet it seemed like years had passed since he left peaceful Raccoon City and returned to this.

He hoped the remaining STARS would head to the station, but as he walked through the doors, it was empty. Silent. Dark. Someone had to have been alive to lock the front gates, making Chris’s entrance challenging, but it didn’t mean they were still alive. 

It was stupid. Chris knew it was stupid. He knew of multiple people who would smack him on the back of the head and tell him how stupid it was. Still, hands clasped tightly around his pistol, he raised his voice. “Is anyone here? It’s Captain Chris Redfield. Is anyone still alive?”

Nothing. Not a goddamn thing beyond a distant rumble of thunder. The tall ceilings of the police station intimidated him when he first walked through those doors years ago, but after that, the energy and voices of his fellow officers filled the void, and that emptiness became no more than a memory. He looked around and listened but there was nothing. Fucking nothing. Shadows and empty spaces where police officers should be. The virus had turned the police station into a damned graveyard.

“Anyone?” he called again, voice quieter. As much as Chris tried to tell himself that this was different from the mansion, that the people in this building were trained to deal with hostile threats, in his heart he knew that no one was prepared for something like this. He clenched his jaw, rage and grief thundering in his chest. If someone had just listened to them, anyone, then there would have been some sort of preparation.

Instead, everyone was gone.

“You fucking monsters,” Chris whispered, looking around. Blood smeared on the floor, splashed on the walls. He licked his lips. There had to be something here.

Maybe these officers weren’t prepared, but Jill and the others were. They knew the threat. Hopefully, they would come here to regroup, arm themselves. If not… if not, then Chris would search the whole damned city for them.

A laptop at the front desk. It had access to some of the cameras. Irons forbade that laptop from having complete access, citing security, and Chris had his doubts. 

“Someone,” he whispered to himself, walking to the laptop, “be alive.”

Some of the cameras weren’t operational. Chris glowered through the videos, flipping through them. Corpses on the ground. Black screens. Several zombies staggering around. More black screens. Not a damned thing he could use. Goddammit. Snarling, Chris slammed his fist onto the desk, causing several pens to shake and one to slide to the floor. Surely there had to be someone alive here?

“Chris Redfield. Didn’t expect to see you here.”

Chris whipped around, gun raised. Gaze settling on the speaker, he dropped his gun even as bile rose in his throat. Lieutenant Marvin Branagh leaned against the doorway, hand pressed against his side, pale and bleeding and smiling tiredly at him. Oh god no. Marvin followed Chris’s gaze to his side and nodded. “Yeah. It’s as bad as it looks. C’mon. This area is safe… for now.”

Marvin turned away and limped slowly into the main hall.  Nausea rising in his gut, Chris followed. He finally found a survivor, and they both knew it wouldn’t be for long. 

He had to clear his throat twice before speaking. “Are there any other survivors?” Chris’s voice still emerged gruff. His throat tightened when Marvin shook his head, staggering toward a bloodstained chair. It looked like they tried to create a small base of operations in the main hall, but there was only Chris and Marvin now.

“None from the original station,” Marvin said tiredly. “Elliot… he was looking for an escape route and…” He shook his head. “There are some survivors, though. Our rookie picked a terrible time to come in.”

Fuck. Chris rubbed his face and looked around. Everything in the once lively room reminded him of the mansion. Somehow, he was going to make Umbrella pay for this. They were going to burn. “Have you heard anything from STARS? Jill and the others?”

Marvin shook his head. “Iron had them grounded, so they weren’t here when everything went to hell. Hopefully they were able to escape the city.”

Goddammit. Goddammit goddammit goddammit! Chris clenched his fists. The mansion? It was terrible but made sense. How the hell had the entire city been infected? “What the hell happened, Marvin? I --”

Marvin waved away his question like he was shooing a bug. Blood splattered from his hand, and Chris barely hid a flinch. “I have no idea how the hell this happened, and it doesn’t matter, Chris. You just missed our rookie. Officer Leon S. Kennedy. He went after a civilian we saw on the cameras in the courtyard. It’s his first day. He needs your help.”

In a sense, Chris supposed it didn’t matter much. He knew enough. Fucking Umbrella did this, and a part of him wished Wesker was still alive so he could punch his traitorous fucking face. Thinking about Wesker, though, led to the obvious problem, one Jill pointed out before they separated. There was no way in hell that Wesker was the only rat. “This rookie… can we trust him? His timing is damned suspicious.”

Marvin leaned back in his chair and god. Chris lost his STARS, but none of them turned. Looking at Marvin, blanched and bloody, so exhausted he couldn’t even sit up straight in his chair, the inevitability hovered over them like a dark, heavy cloud. He saw the truth in Marvin’s dark eyes. Marvin knew. 

If this rookie had any involvement in this, Chris would kill him himself.

Except Marvin shook his head. “No. He just graduated the Academy. Spotless record. He was supposed to be here last week, but I called him and told him to stay away.” He smiled mirthlessly. “We lost our phone lines, and when the calls stopped coming, he decided to come in. Hell of a first day.”

Still too suspicious. If the rookie wasn’t involved, he was damned unlucky.

They trusted Wesker with their lives, and look where that led them. So many dead, and if Rebecca hadn’t been wearing her vest, she would have been dead, too.

“I know that look, Chris,” Marvin said quietly. “He’s a good guy.” He gestured at himself, and Chris forced himself to look. Even without this zombie bullshit, with those injuries and the lack of medical care, Marvin was doomed. “He keeps insisting he’ll find a way to get us both out of here. There’s no saving me, Chris, but we can still save him. Get him out of here. Help me save at least one of my officers.”

Chris swallowed. God-fucking-dammit. He reached out and squeezed Marvin’s shoulder. “I’ll take care of your rookie, Marvin.” One way or another.

Marvin smiled at him. Chris wouldn’t be surprised if Marvin knew exactly what he was thinking. Jill always told him that he was clear as glass. 

Still, Marvin directed him to where the rookie went. “If everything goes well, he’ll have a civilian with him. He said he knew her. Didn’t have much time for details. Grab them and get them the hell out of this town. If you can’t find the civilian, just grab him and go.” He grimaced. “Leon went after her, but it’s amazing she made it this far. My people were good, professionals, and they still…” He fell quiet and bowed his head.

Chris squeezed his shoulder one more time before pulling away. Save the rookie, try to save the civilian, and then see if he could find any remaining STARS. Unlike everyone else in the city, they were prepared. They knew this threat. Chris refused to believe that Jill of all people would die like this. “I’ll save your boy, Marvin. What did you say his name was again? Leon?”

“Leon Kennedy. Officer Leon Kennedy.” Marvin sighed. “For a day, at least.”

Maybe he was just --

Wait. What the fuck was that?

Chris cocked his head, listening. “Did you hear that? It sounded like…”

“Something big just crashed somewhere,” Marvin finished, jaw hard. “It could have been outside, but who the hell knows? Go check and find my damned rookie. I’ll be…” He closed his eyes for a moment. “I’ll be right here.”

Chris quietly added something else to his list: come back here and put Marvin down after he turned. Marvin deserved better than to be stuck as one of those things.

“I’ll be back,” Chris promised. “With your rookie.”

This time, Chris knew it was an explosion. With a low curse, he took off. He didn’t notice Marvin’s eyes drifting shut behind him or how the man slumped against his desk.