Resident Slider, by HurriKain



Chapter Seventeen

The monster gave chase behind Diana as she raced through countless corridors and rooms, trying desperately to elude her pursuer. For each door she closed behind her, a knob turn and heavy footsteps soon followed.

"Help!" she pleaded loudly, hoping that someone was within range of her cries. She grew more terrified when the creature charged closer. After going through some double-doors, Diana found herself near a stairwell and frantically ran down. Before she could make it to the door at the end of the adjoining hallway, the abomination crashed through the wooden guardrails and landed on the floor below. Diana hesitated briefly when she heard the loud thud and then reached for the door, which had a club shape etched on the handle.

"Shit!" she said as she searched her pockets for the corresponding key, but before she could pull it out, she felt something grabbing her neck. As she reached for the hand that was strangling her, she was suddenly thrown across the hall, hitting the wall with massive force. Diana opened her eyes, a little dazed after the impact, as a trickle of blood dripped from her forehead. She looked up to see the creature walking towards her and closed her eyes to say a silent prayer.

BOOM!

Dianaís eyes shot up and saw small flames burning the monsterís chest.

"Want more, you bastard!?" Mancuso said, standing near the broken guardrail, smoke fuming from the grenade launcherís barrel. The creature looked up and faced its attacker, but the officer fired another round, making contact with its head. The creature took a step backwards as it roared in pain.

"Go down, you son of a bitch!" Mancuso yelled as he fired another round at the monster and started to reload his weapon.

The creature regained its composure shortly after the last hit and leered at the officer. Then, it suddenly raised one of its arms, and a purple tentacle shot out of it, grabbing Mancusoís right ankle.

"What the...?" the S.T.A.R.S. member said as he was yanked off his feet and dashed onto the lower floor. His weapon slid near Diana from the force of the impact. Mancuso started to shake of the shock and pain and slowly stood up, his face partly covered with cuts, bruises, and splinters. Suddenly, he felt something grab his head and lift him up.

Diana looked on in shock as the creature held the officer in the air. The officer tried punching it, but to no effect. Its grip was getting tighter. Diana heard Mancuso let out a muffled yell, but she just stood there, frightened. Diana stood in tears as she watched the officer struggle and yell in agony. Then, she saw the creatureís arm bulge and a purple tentacle crash through the officerís skull like a sharp spike. Diana's heart sank as Mancusoís body went limp.

"Robert!" Diana screamed out in tears. The creature took one last look at its fallen prey and tossed him away like an unwanted toy. Then, something in Diana snapped. To her, it was Purgatory all over again. She realized that, in a few short seconds, the abomination would come for her and she would suffer the same horrible death as the fallen S.T.A.R.S. member. As the monster slowly turned towards her, Diana quickly grabbed the grenade launcher and fired. One round made its mark on the left side of the creatureís neck and another on its chest. She just kept firing while crying rivers, trying to fight her fate. After four successfully landed rounds, the creature staggered back and let out a low, yet audible moan. Diana just kept pressing the trigger, not yet realizing that she was out of ammo. Just then, the creature dropped to its knees and fell down face first. Diana cried heavily as she kept pulling the trigger. As the tears rolled down her cheeks, Diana began to drift. Then, she vaguely heard someone calling to her, yet she saw nothing.

"Diana! Diana!"

She heard voices along with footsteps.

"Diana... Oh my God! Maggie, sheís here. Get the medic!"



Chapter Eighteen

A few minutes later, Maggie and Rebecca came rushing down the littered stairwell, followed by a barely limping Mallory and Remmy.

"What happened?" Rebecca asked as she ran towards Diana.

"I donít know. I heard some commotion and screaming from the hallway, and when I got here, I found this... thing lying on the ground and saw Diana unconscious."

Rebecca knelt down and looked over Diana.

"Poor girl. I noticed that she suffered some kind of head trauma, but she should be OK for the time being if we treat it now," she said as she pulled out some bandages.

Mallory said while he was looking around, "Well, it could be worse. I must say that she was pretty damn..." Then, he suddenly went silent as his eyes stopped on a peculiar spot.

"What?" Maggie asked and then followed his gaze to a fallen officer. Rebecca looked up from treating her patient.

"What were you say... Robert!" she yelled as she saw Mancusoís body lying in a pool of blood. The sight of her dead friend and cohort made her eyes well up in tears.

"He... he brought us here when we ran into trouble a few hours back. Iím sorry...," Mallory spoke, lowering his head. Remmy did the same, whispering a silent prayer. Maggie just looked on, kneeling near Diana.

"How much time 'till the slide?" she asked. Remmy reached inside his pocket for the timer and pulled it out.

"A little over 9 hours."

"OK... I suggest we go back to the university and wait for the sliding window there. Diana would recuperate, and in the meantime, weíll help you try to get a rescue squad down here to rescue the survivors. It should be a lot safer since Diana took out that monster." Then, she motioned to the grenade launcher Diana was holding.

"Sounds like a plan," Remmy said. "All those in favor?"

Mallory and Rebecca slowly nodded as they looked at the dead body of Robert Mancuso.

"OK, letís head on out."

Then, Remmy reached down to carry Diana, and as he lifted her body, something fell out of her pocket.

"What this?" Maggie, the first to notice it, said as she bent over to pick it up. "Looks like a key."

"Let me see that," Mallory spoke, snatching the key from Maggieís hand. "Iíve been looking all over for this. Itís supposed to open the ĎWeapons Storageí room."

"Really?" Rebecca said, wiping away a few tears. "I suppose it wouldnít hurt to pick up some more weapons and supplies here before we go."

"OK, so itís settled," Remmy agreed. "We take this little detour, and then itís off to the university. But we're not staying here TOO long." At that, the group, led by Rebecca, walked up the steps and disappeared behind the doorway. Meanwhile, the monsterís body began twitching, and one of its hands pressed hard on the ground.

A few minutes later, the group began rummaging through the Weapon Storage room. There, Rembrandt upgraded his pistol to an automatic one, an M93R Burst, and Maggie found more ammo for her Assault Rifle.

"Is everyone done?" Mallory asked as he snapped a now full barrel into his Magnum and filled his pockets with more bullets.

"All set," Rebecca replied as she packed two first-aid kits.

"Well, lets go," Remmy said as he grabbed Diana, who was lying across an officerís desk, and walked out. Mallory and Maggie followed, but Rebecca stopped for a second to collect a picture of the S.T.A.R.S. team that was hanging on a nearby wall.




Susan Lane carried her empty bow gun as she ran towards her desk for cover and more firepower. She had been helping with the standoff against the zombie onslaught for what felt like several hours. Somehow, the ones outside had broken through the window barricades. She had watched comrades fall while firing automatic weapons at the horde; the whole force was decimated to only a handful of remaining officers. The mixture of moaning, firing, and screaming filled her ears as she searched for a spare shotgun that she had stored earlier, which, unlike Rebeccaís, was a sawed-off.

"Die, you bastards!" she heard one officer yell, followed by the sounds of sub-machine guns.

"Dammit! Where the hell is it?" she said to herself as she searched various drawers and cabinets.

"Lane!" yelled another officer.

"Be right there!" she yelled back and, at that moment, found what she was looking for.

"Hello, gorgeous," she said as she searched the desk to find some ammo.

"AAAHH!" an officer screamed in agony.

"Shit!" Lane said as she loaded two shells in the gun and pocketed the rest. After taking one deep breath and performing the sign of the cross, she raced back to the carnage.




Several minutes later, the group made it to Golden Gate Park. Unfortunately, several members of the undead also plagued it.

"This is not good," Remmy said, holding up his weapon with his free hand.

Mallory did the same, saying, "Looks like they havenít noticed us yet. You've seen how slow they move. We can probably run past most of..."

"Eat lead!" Maggie yelled as she fired her AR into a crowd of zombies.

"Dammit, Maggie!" Mallory yelled, but he was drowned out by the rapid gunfire. One by one, each zombie collapsed until the entire crowd was decimated. Once the firing stopped, Mallory ran towards the Marine. "What the hell was that!?"

"Spur of the moment. Woo!" Maggie said with a smile.

"Didnít you hear a word I just s..."

Suddenly, massive amounts of the undead staggered from all corners of the park, heading straight for the Sliders.

"Thanks a lot, Tank Girl," Mallory quipped as he cocked back his Magnum.



Chapter Nineteen

The creature walked inside the storage room as it felt its preyís presence that once resided in the room. It slowly walked over to a desk littered with gun parts. Its footsteps echoed inside the quiet, empty building. Above some loose screws and some shells, it placed its hand on a pool of half-dried blood and put it to its deformed tongue. With a groan, the monster turned itself to the doorway, until its boot hit a long metal box. For a second, the creature leered at it, smashed the lock with a hard blow, and lifted the lid. Once it saw what was inside, the creature let out a groan.

"S.T.A.R.S."




The Sliders and Rebecca ran past the stained Lincoln statue as they hurried for the administration building. Mallory was right, since they had managed to dodge several of the undead so far. But whenever there was a group of zombies that they couldnít get around, they would stop and unload their ammo into the horde.

"Almost there," Remmy said as he fired his weapon into a large crowd of zombies coming from a nearby clearing. Maggie fired her Assault Rifle into the horde, but shortly heard several clicks from her weapon.

"Shit, Iím out!"

Mallory cheered as he saw one of his Magnum bullets go through three zombiesí heads in a line.

"OK, we got most of them," Rebecca yelled as she fired her shotgun. "Letís break for it!"

The rest did what they were told and started dashing past the remaining two zombies. After a few feet of running, they finally made it near the building, but saw two new terrors guarding it. These creatures looked like muscular gorillas, only with half the size and green scales instead of fur. Despite their amphibian appearance, their hands and mouth were lined with razor sharp claws and teeth.

"Shit! Hunters!" Rebecca cursed as she loaded to more shell into her shotgun.

"Friends of yours?" Mallory said.

Rebecca ignored the comment and explained, "I ran into a handful of these things at the mansion."

"Mansion?"

"Iíll explain later!" Maggie yelled as she searched herself for an extra clip. The two Hunters took notice of them and started charging with amazing speed. Rebecca quickly pulled the trigger and sent one of the charging monsters off its feet and to the ground.

"Move!" Mallory yelled as the other one jumped towards him. He quickly ducked as he felt the wind of its claws flow to his neck. As the Hunter turned around, it saw a red flare from Malloryís Magnum before flying backwards in the air.

"That thing almost knocked my head off!" Mallory said as he saw his latest kill squirm on the ground before letting out one last shriek. Maggie found another clip to her gun as she saw the first Hunter spring back up.

"Shit!" Maggie yelled as she slapped in the clip. The creature started to make a leap but was nailed by a barrage of gunfire thanks to the Assault Rifle.

"Nice save," Remmy said, shocked.

"Donít mention it," Maggie said, letting out a sigh of relief. Suddenly, the five heard a collection of moaning and screeching.

"Anyone wanna go inside?" Mallory asked, frightened.

"Yes!" the remaining four said as they rushed for the glass doors.




Susan Lane sat near the table with the under-repaired radio to rest herself after the horrendous fight.

"Just me," she said, a little saddened and in pain from her wounds. For several minutes, she and her unit fought off a crowd of zombies in a frustrating effort. And then came the Hunters, three of them in fact. One officer got to kill one of the monsters, but the second creature swiped off his head. Another officer was gutted by the third, but got a clean shot before he let out his final breath. This left Lane with one to deal with. It leapt for a head swipe, but she jumped out of the way just in the nick of time to get a large cut on her left shoulder. Once its back was turned, Lane raised her sawed-off with her free hand and fired. And that was the end of it, or so she thought. She started to walk back to her post when the Hunter she shot sprang back to life and took a bite out of her ankle. She shuddered on remembering how its teeth pierced her skin and muscle and crushed the bone. Trying to take the terrible pain, she aimed her shotgun, point blank this time, and fired. She landed on her backside, clutching her ankle, and her blood mixed in with the creature's in a slick mixture of crimson. She barely had the strength to drag herself to the temporary Communications Room, let alone hoisting herself up to the chair. Then, she sat up wondering if she would ever see her sister again, but it saddened her even more knowing that she was the only one left. No one left to fix the radio. No one left to tend to the survivors. Hell, no survivors, period.

"Might... as well take... the hand I was dealt with," Lane said with a weak smile.

"Hello?"

This started the officer. She thought she was alone. Now, she had been proven wrong.

"Whoa, this place looks like a war zone. Where is everybody?"

"Hello? We need some assistance!"

"Here," Lane yelled weakly. "Right here!"

Rebecca was the first to enter through the doorway and rushed to her friendís aid.

"Susan! Are you ok?"

"Becky, girl, am I glad to see you. It was hell out there."

Remmy was the next one to show up with Maggie following behind him.

"Looks like you put up one hell of a fight," Maggie said while clearing part of the table up so that Remmy could lay Diana down.

"Guys, there seems to be a graveyard out front. I mean, bodies every...," Mallory said as he came in. He stopped when he saw the injured Lane. "Damn, you look like hell."

"Mallory!" Maggie yelled while giving him a stern look.

"Heh heh. Iím Susan Lane. Nice to meet you," Lane said. "And itís okay, Maggie. Itís not like Iím in the condition to slap the shit out of him... heh heh... ow..."

"Iíll do it for you," Maggie said as she punched Mallory in the arm.

"Ow! OK, OK, revenge is served," Mallory said as he walked towards the radio.

"Looks like you found your friends," Lane said.

Remmy finally spoke up, "Yeah. Told you theyíd survive somehow. Diana here just suffered a bump to the head, but sheíll be OK according Rebecca. And I wish I couldíve said the same thing to you."

"Heh... donít worry about me. This is nothing different than a dog bite... well, only the dog is bigger and it looks like the frog I dissected in high school," Lane said with a smile. "Sorry for the sudden burst of humor, but itís the only thing taking my mind off the pain."

"Yeah," Maggie chuckled. "I understand completely."

Rebecca bent over to the crushed ankle and pulled out a first aid kit.

"We need to dress this. Hopefully, we can get out of here so we can take you to a hospital."

"Just keep praying. Just keep praying," Lane said.

Mallory was fooling around with the knobs out of sheer boredom, when he stumbled upon a broadcast.

"Guys. Guys!"

Everyone turned their attention towards the radio and kept their ears open for the coming news.

"The continuing outbreak surrounding Raccoon City and San Francisco continues to escalate, as the chances for finding survivors grow slim. We have just received word that the President of the United States has ordered bombings for both cities, in hopes that the outbreak doesnít spread to other metropolitan and largely populated areas.

In his statement, he said, "Making this decision is a heartbreaking one, since no one has heard or seen any signs from their loved ones who live in these cities. But it is also imperative that we keep this outbreak from spreading, and thus, must act on it, using the most extreme conditions to contain it. I am asking everyone that has loved ones and friends who reside in San Francisco and Raccoon to keep them in your prayers and hope that we have seen the last of this epidemic. Our hearts go out to the citizens of these two cities and hope that, someday, we will build anew.

"The air strikes will commence on both Raccoon City and San Francisco in a few hours."



Chapter Twenty

"Uh oh," Mallory was the first to speak after the radio announcement aired. "Uh... Remmy?"

Remmy reached for the timer in his pocket and pulled it out.

"7 hours and 56 minutes."

"Shit!" Maggie exclaimed. "Those planes could bomb this city any time before then."

"Calm down. It looks like we have to leave the city before the bomb hits."

"Oh yeah? And with what?" Mallory spoke. "We have no transportation and nearly every car is totaled. And even if we do find one, the roads leading out of here are heavily barricaded."

"Maybe we should hot-wire one anyway and drive to the nearest airport," Maggie suggested. "Iím sure that air control has a small cargo plane that they wouldnít mind us borrowing... well, not now anyways."

"Well, take into the fact that the military will probably shoot us down once we leave the area and your 'spur of the moments,' I take it as a bad idea."

Maggie grimaced and started to unleash verbal fury upon Mallory until Diana began to stir. She groaned as she slowly opened her eyes to see Rebecca standing over her.

"Hey, are you alright?" Rebecca said.

"Wha... Who are you?" Diana said weakly.

"My nameís Rebecca. You must be Diana. I see that youíve taken a blow to the head there..."

"How do you know my name?"

"Calm down, girl," Remmy said, holding her hand. "Sheís with us.'

At the sound of his voice, Diana raised herself and saw his smiling face. Overflowing with relief, she quickly gave him a hug. Remmy felt the tears dripping on his jacket.

"Where the hell have you been?" Diana said, raising her head.

"Looking for you," Remmy replied, smiling back.

Maggie walked over to her smiling.

"Actually, Iím kinda proud of you, since you successfully killed a monster by yourself."

"Oh yeah...," Diana said in a whisper, "Robert... I watched him die..."

Rebecca lowered her head at the mention of her fallen comrade, while Maggie spoke up.

"Diana, the President has given an order to bomb this city, and it may happen before we slide. We need you to help repair this radio so we can get a rescue team here."

"Oh my God... how much time until the slide?"

"A little under 8 hours."

"Oh no...," Diana said as she eased herself from the table.

"Careful, girl," Remmy said, holding her waste as she stood up. She slowly walked herself to the radio and gave it a quick look over.

"Well... It can receive messages, but there is no way in hell it can transmit, not without the required circuits and parts."

Rebecca suddenly remembered the radio supplies she picked up while searching with Remmy and Maggie.

"Would these help?" she said as she placed the parts on an empty space on the table.

"Well, itís too early to tell, but maybe I can work with this. And do you have some aspirin? My head is killing me."

Rebecca smiled as she handed Diana a couple of pills.

"Okay," Remmy said. "Letís get crackiní. Iím going to look around for things we can salvage. Anyone want to join in?"

Mallory cockily raised his hand and followed Remmy into the hallway. Maggie wandered off to the corner of the room, where Rebecca sat down, looking depressed.

"Whatís wrong?" Maggie asked, sitting down besides her.

The question surprised the medic. "Oh... I was just thinking about Raccoon."

"Oh... Iím sorry to hear about your hometown."

"Well, sorry is not going to do it. In a few hours, there will be nothing left to feel sorry for. I mean, what are the odds that the same event will happen simultaneously in two different cities?"

"Hmm... my guess is astronomical."

"Well, it had to happen once, sooner or later."

Then, Rebecca started to well up in tears.

"I hate Umbrella."

Maggie put her arms around her as the medic placed her head on her shoulder.

"Me too..."



Chapter Twenty-One

After a while, the darkness began to lift. The sound of crows calling and the windís song filled the air. But the clouds still loomed overhead, showering the city with an eerie gray light. Remmy, Rebecca, and Maggie slept in one of the reception rooms, while Mallory struggled to keep alert as Diana was working on the radio. He wanted to rest, but the thought of him dozing while the bombs hit made him keep his eyes open.

"Need a little help?" Lane said, unusually perky.

"Well... you seem kinda uppity for an injured person," Mallory joked. Lane returned with a smirk, while she dug in her pocket. She pulled out a while bottle and handed it to Mallory.

"'NoZs?'" Mallory said as he looked at the bottle.

"Itís caffeine pills, smart ass," Lane replied. "I took a couple a few minutes before I had to hold down the fort."

"Yeah, thanks," Mallory said, still looking at the bottle.

"Well, are you waiting for the pills to jump in your mouth? Open it."

Mallory gave a smirk, saying, "It says 'Made by Umbrella.'"

"Yeah, well, at least they did something good with these pills."

Mallory proceeded to open the bottle and swallowed a couple of pills.

"Any luck?"

Mallory turned and saw Remmy leaning against the doorway.

"My, youíre up early," Mallory said.

"Well, I dreamt of something exploding," Remmy replied as he rubbed his eyes. Mallory smirked and passed the NoZs bottle to his friend.

"Guaranteed to perk you up."

Remmy looked at the label and grimaced.

"Umbrella..."

"Yeah..."

Then, he saw Remmy gripping the bottle tightly.

"Remmy, itís legit. Well, according to our friendly officer here."

Remmy looked up and opened the bottle. Diana was tooling with some frequencies until she heard someoneís voice covered in heavy static.

"Hey, I got something!" Diana said as she raised the volume.

"Attention all... bings will commence in 4 hou... prepare... ders from the Pres... vy quarantine. Must maintain high altit..."

"Well, it certainly sounds like a closed transmission to some Air Force bases near the city. This old thing could barely pick it up," Diana deduced.

"I think I heard that guy saying that the bombs are coming in 4 hours," Mallory said, looking at Remmy. Remmy knew what Mallory was thinking and reached for the timer. His eyes grew wide as he looked at the LCD display.

"5 hours, 25 minutes."

"Shit!" Mallory exclaimed. "I canít fu... Shit!!!"

"Thereís no hope in getting a rescue team here. The government probably has established a notice to stay away from this area."

"Whatís going on?" Maggie said groggily while walking inside the room, with Rebecca following slowly behind.

"Well...," Remmy began to explain and passed the NoZs bottle to Maggie. "We have bad news, good news, and BAD news."

"Uh oh...," Maggie said after she swallowed two pills.




"Shit!" Maggie said after Remmy briefed her on what was going on.

"My thoughts exactly," Mallory said.

"So I guess we donít have a choice," Diana said. "We MUST get out of here before the bombs hit."

"But how? Everything is barricaded, especially the boundaries that are probably lined with empty tanks and cement barricades."

"Wait!" Rebecca yelled as an idea came to her. "Thereís a train station and depot near the outskirts. Usually, the armed forces donít block the railways. They just disable the trains here and warn other stations to not make any scheduled stops in the city."

Maggie stepped in at Rebeccaís suggestion, "So, weíll go to the depot, activate one of those trains, and weíre out of here."

Remmy displayed a look of agreement. "Yeah, sounds like a plan."

"Wait, wait, wait...," Diana interrupted. "But consider how far the depot is and our lack of transportation."

"Hmm...," Mallory said as he rubbed his hands together. "There should be some workable cars in the parking lot."

"Nice thinking," Remmy said. "Okay, everyone get your weapons because we just found a one-way ticket out of this hellhole."

"Amen to that!" Lane said as she followed them out into the hallway. Maneuvering through debris and carcasses made it seem impossible for her to catch up to the five with her wheelchair, but she wasnít that far behind.

"Hey!" she yelled. "Wait u..."

Suddenly, a large piece of the wall exploded, the blast lifting her off her chair and slamming her sideways against the wall. Instantly, all five turned around to help their fallen companion, who was covered with large chunks of debris and bricks, but stopped when they saw a large shadow coming from the large hole.

"What the hell?" Remmy said as the shadow grew. A split-second later, the large creature walked inside, carrying a large rocket launcher.

"S.T.A.R.S.!" it growled as it pointed the weapon towards the standing five.

"Shi-!" Rebecca yelled as a large orange flare flashed out from the launcher, followed by a small rocket.



Chapter Twenty-Two

The rocket was closing on Rebecca when she felt something slam against her, making the S.T.A.R.S. member topple to the ground. Soon after, she heard something whiz by and a small explosion.

"Are you alright?" Remmy said as he rose from covering Rebecca. She was going to answer him when Remmy looked back at the armed abomination and grabbed the officer to help her up before it had a chance to aim again. Meanwhile, Maggie, Mallory, and Diana reached the double glass doors at the front of the building. They started pulling on the handles, but they wouldnít budge.

"Great!" Maggie yelled as she raised the AR. "You two, stay back!"

Mallory and Diana did as she was told and took ten steps back.

"Whereís Remmy and Rebecca?" Diana said, looking around.

"Oh man!" Mallory said. "Iím going back. Donít leave without me."

As Mallory started to run to his friendsí aid, Maggie proceeded to aim her weapon towards the doors and pulled the trigger. As both of the doors were being filled with holes, Diana stood and looked in amazement.

"Was that even necessary?" she thought as she saw the glass beginning to shatter towards the floor.

Maggie released her grip on the trigger and smiled at the mess she made, saying, "Problem solved."

Remmy and Rebbeca ran towards the front as they heard the heavy footsteps rapidly chasing behind them. Suddenly, Remmy felt something slam against his back, which sent him crashing into the ground. Rebecca turned around when she heard him scream and saw the monster kneeling to pick up the slider.

"Dammit!" she said, just realizing how fast this creature was. Then, she raised her shotgun and fired, the blast making its target on the monstrosityís chest. The creature looked up to her, giving her a cold leer, and raised its rocket launcher and fired. Rebecca barely jumped out of the way as the small metallic cone zipped by her and hit the nearby wall. Remmy shook off most of the pain and rose for a quick sprint down the hall. Rebecca opened her eyes when she heard a scurry of footsteps whiz past her head and stood up. She turned around to see the monster let out another roar.

"What the hell are you?" she said silently as she sprinted towards her friends.

Mallory was just turning a corner when he felt something ram into him, knocking him on the ground.

"Mallory, what the hell are you doing back here?" Remmy yelled.

"I think I found the train...," Mallory said weakily.

"Get up!" Remmy yelled as he helped his friend up. "Or youíll meet something thatíll give you a LOT more pain."

"Ow... whereís Becky?"

"Wait a minute, I thought she was with..."

"RUUUUUUNNNNN!!!" Rebecca yelled and she sped past the Sliders. Mallory and Remmy didnít bother to look behind them as they raced towards the exit.




Maggie and Diana were waiting in the scarcely occupied parking lot. Except for the decomposing bodies, a busted fire hydrant with water gushing out into the air like a geyser, and a string of barricades lined against the exits, there were only a few cars available aside from the ones that were already totaled.

"Okay," Maggie said as she scoped out the lot for danger and possible getaway vehicles, "we have a Honda Civic, a Mitsubishi Gallant, a Ford Explorer, a police car..."

Diana was shocked at what she was hearing. "How can you think about what car weíre going to take when Remmy, Becky, and Mallory havenít even..."

"GET IN THE EXPLORER!" Mallory yelled.

The two Sliders looked back to see Mallory, Remmy, and Rebecca running full speed towards them. What followed the three was another missile.

"DUCK!" Maggie yelled. The trio did as they were told and the projectile whizzed past them and hit the Galant, causing the car to explode. Maggie stared at the blaze for a few seconds and looked back at the creature, standing in the middle of the administration building doorways. She grew angry at Umbrella for even creating a creature like this, but she also had an idea.

"Diana, get in the car!" she yelled as she ran towards the building.

Diana did as she was told without hesitation. She tried to open one of the doors, but it was locked.

"Oh, how can it not be locked? Itís not your car," Diana thought, kicking herself. She glanced around her surroundings and saw a piece of cement that was chipped away from the curb. Immediately, she picked it up and, while shielding her eyes with her free arm, threw it into the front passenger window. Diana reached inside to disable the locks and brush away the remaining pebbles of glass that covered the seat.

"My turn," Mallory said as he opened the door to the driver's seat and immediately started the hot-wiring.

Maggie stopped when she realized that she was at an ideal distance from the armed abomination for her plan to work.

"C'mon... aim, you bastard...," Maggie thought as she stood and raised her AR, looking through the sight for her target. The creature ran a few paces and stopped to raise the missile launcher.

"Good boy," Maggie whispered, smiling. "Good-bye."

Shortly after, Maggie started firing. The timing was perfect. Just before the monsterís missile left the chamber fully, a volley of gunfire intercepted it, causing both the weapon and the creature to be engulfed in a huge ball of fire. Maggie looked on as she saw the creatureís body lying on the concrete, covered in flames.

Suddenly, the Explorer stopped behind her and Remmy opened one of the back doors.

"C'mon, Tank Girl! Time to get the hell out of dodge," Mallory yelled from the driverís seat.

Maggie looked at her kill for the last time and immediately climbed in the SUV.



Chapter Twenty-Three

Diana laid her bandaged head back on the seat as she saw the scenery of the metro area through the car window. According to the timer, the group had been driving for almost a half hour, traveling through cracked streets and making numerous detours. Occasionally, they would pass a corner where a group of zombies were either feeding or walking around aimlessly. She wondered how the horrendous events happened in San Francisco, and according to Mancuso, how her double became directly involved. Maybe this William Burkin was like Dr. Geiger to her on this world, for Diana recalled the number of degrees that were listed in her double's file.

Meanwhile, Rebecca folded her arms and leaned forward. The thoughts of the recently killed Lane and other comrades along with the concerns of her friends in Raccoon flooded her mind. Her psyche transported her back to where the explosion knocked Lane out of her chair, then seeing her getting crushed by the rubble, and how it only happened shortly after she was given hope for a possible escape. Even though she never made a sound, tears started to trickle from her eyes and fall on her lap. Rebecca looked up the nearby car window for a second to catch a last glimpse of the Trans-America Pyramid building before leaning her head on one of Rembrandt's shoulders. He didn't seem to mind since he was dozing. Next to him, Maggie laid her head back on the headrest, the thought of her latest kill lingered on her mind.

"Spur of the moment," she thought as she drifted. Mallory was humming "99 bottles of beer" to himself as he drove. He then looked to the gas and mileage liters.

"OK. I have a few announcements to make," Mallory said, startling everyone else in the vehicle. "According to the map I found in the glove compartment, we are not that far from the train station. I say approximately 30 miles. But this sweet ride is low on gas, so I'm about to make a little stop. It won't take long, but if you want to get out the car to grab supplies, use the restroom, etc., I suggest you take any piece of firepower you have with you, just in case you run into any undead creatures while handling your business."

"Is that all?" Remmy said as he stretched.

"That is all," Mallory said, smirking.

"Thank you, mister tour guide," Maggie quipped as she straightened herself in the seat.

The car sped past three blocks before driving inside the lot of an abandoned Texon station. The display windows were boarded up, and the garage doors were all bolted down. Though the site seemed unwelcoming, the lights inside were still on and the front glass door was held ajar.

"Alright," Mallory announced while unbuckling his seat belt. "We're here, but don't loiter for too long. We do have to worry about bombs, you know. And could anyone do me a favor and go behind the register and activate Pump 4? Thanks."

"Aye aye," Maggie said, rolling her eyes.

Remmy hopped out of his seat and ran straight for the restroom, while Maggie, Diana, and Rebecca headed for the adjoining convenience store area. Maggie did as she was told and activated the pump. Once the switch was flipped, she walked towards the door leading to the garage area.

Diana's stomach had been bothering her ever since she hopped in the car. The only thing she had eaten in the past 12 hours was a couple of strips of beef jerky, and it became obvious that it couldn't tie her over until the group's departure. Once inside the store, she sped towards the candy section and grabbed a couple of bars of Twix and hurriedly snacked on it.

"You must be famished," Rebecca said, smiling.

Diana ignored her and packed some more Twix's and Snickers into her pockets. Almost choking, she ran towards one of the fridges to find something to wash down the candy.

"Thanks, Tank Girl," Mallory thought as he pressed the pump handle. Since this was a short trip, he estimated that he would need about 8 dollars worth of Unleaded to make it to the station. As the gas flowed into the tank, Mallory's worries started to flood his head.

"What if the President ordered the bombs a little bit early? Once we get to the station, how are we going to hijack, let alone operate, a train? How are we supposed to know that the tracks aren't blocked at some point? Why, out of all the worlds in the multiverse, did we end up landing in this God-forsaken shithole?"

The questions began to cloud his head, but he quickly shook them off. Looking to the meter, he began to sing.

"93 bottles of beer on the wall, 93 bottles of beer..."




After answering nature's call, Remmy headed for the sink to wash his hands.

"At least the standards of gas station bathrooms remain the same on this world," Remmy thought.

And he was right; the restroom was filthy. It was quite small, since it only contained a toilet stall, an urinal, and a sink with an adjoining mirror, but the walls were tainted with rust stains and the mirror was so dirty that it casted no reflection. Also, the sink was rounded with past stains and mildew. Remmy was almost warded off by the room's nasty smell and the smashed urinal, but since his bladder wouldn't take "no" for an answer, he held his breath and rushed for the stall.

"Man, I can't wait to leave this world," Remmy thought, trying to get the last amount of soap from the dispenser. "What I wouldn't give for a suite at the Chandler right about now."

As Remmy was running his hands through the running water, his eyes wandered to the nearest corner. There he saw a crowd of cockroaches snacking on a dead rat.

"What the hell?" Remmy said as he turned the water off. He turned for the door, but he saw more roaches flying and crawling out of the urinal's plumbing. The ones in flight were heading in his direction.




Meanwhile, Maggie wandered inside the garage and found a black army jeep parked inside one of the large stalls. The only light that the room supplied was from the garage door's glass panels and a large window at the rear. She couldn't make out the lettering on the jeep because of the lack of illumination, but she did manage to see an image of triangles adjoining in a circular notion, the colors of red and white alternating each other. As a matter of fact, it seemed to represent an aerial shot of an...

"Umbrella," Maggie thought, grimacing. "Bastards."

She made her way to the rear of the jeep and started rummaging through some open crates stashed there. The first crate she came across contained timed explosives.

"C4?" Maggie said out loud. "What would a pharmaceutical company want with C4?"

As if on instinct, she stashed some explosives into a sack she found on the front seat. The second crate she found contained some Magnum and Shotgun rounds.

"OK, that covers Becky and Mallory. I hope you got something for me."

Maggie started to search through another crate when she heard a loud crash. She looked to where it was coming from and saw something standing over the shattered glass on all fours. It looked like that monster she saw from the bar earlier. The creature raised its head at Maggie and screeched. She dropped the sack and aimed her AR at the monstrosity and pulled the trigger.

*click* *click*

"Shit!" Maggie uttered, lowering her now useless weapon. And in that instant, two more tongue-lashing creatures hopped through the windows. In panic, she dropped the AR, grabbed the sack and rushed for the store door.




Mallory placed the nozzle back on its holder and screwed the top back on the tank. He looked towards the store and began to yell.

"C'mon kids, we don't want to wa..."

"AAAAHHH!"

Mallory looked and saw Remmy flailing his arms while a swarm of some sort surrounded him.

"Oh man," Mallory said as he ran towards the water and air pumps. He hurriedly grabbed the hose, twisted the water nozzle, and pressed his thumb in the opening end, causing a wide spray. The attack deterred most of the swarm but left others on the ground with their legs flailing. Remmy lifted his shirts and started to search for any more bugs that might have latched onto him during the attack.




"What's going on?" Rebecca asked after witnessing the rescue through one of the display windows and some opening in the wood.

"I don't know," Diana said, looking through the same opening while snacking on some beef jerky. "But it doesn't look g..."

Maggie busted through the garage door and yelled, "Get in the car now!"




"Remmy, are you OK?" Mallory asked.

Remmy tried to catch his breath, "Killer crows I can understand, but killer roaches?"

"Hey, haven't you seen 'Creepshow?'" Mallory chuckled.

Maggie rushed out of the store followed by a very panicked Diana and Rebecca.

"Everyone in the car!" she yelled.

Mallory grimaced, "Maggie, what did you... shit!"

He saw the three creatures crawling out of the store entrance and heading towards them, their tongues waving in the air.

Mallory gulped, "Guys. Car. NOW!"

Immediately, Remmy headed for the front passenger side while the women rushed for the back seats. As all the car doors closed, one creature made a giant leap towards the vehicle and swiped at it, its claws tearing through the metal. Mallory made haste and started the car with the two exposed wires, and with a screech, drove out of the lot and sped down the street. The monstrous group began to give chase, but suddenly, a purple tentacle wrapped around one creature's neck, tightening its grip until the monster's neck snapped. The other two turned around and one tentacle crashed into one creature's head and another one crashed through the third's back, leaving it shaking on the ground before it died. As if adding insult to injury, a boot came down and crushed one of the creature's hands.




"I don't think they're following...," Diana said, looking through the rear window.

"Look," Remmy said, upset. "I don't know about you, but I am fed up with this world. And if I ever, EVER meet one of those Umbrella goons, I will shove an umbrella up their..."

"Calm down, Remmy," Diana said. "According to Mallory, we should be at the train station soon."

Remmy sat back. "Roaches? Killer roaches?"

"We've seen stranger things," Maggie said.

"No girl, this takes the cake."

"I agree," Mallory said, looking at the rear view mirror. "What's in the sack?"

Maggie suddenly remembered the sack she was holding and started to take out its contents. "I found a jeep carrying too much firepower for its own good, but it should help us nicely."

"Excellent," Mallory said as Maggie handed him a Magnum clip. "How much time we got le... SHIT!"

Suddenly, a massive figure appeared in the middle of the road, its stone cold face lit from the headlights. Mallory hit the breaks hard, but it was too late. The impact sent the figure flying 15 feet away. At the same time, a pair of white airbags bloomed from the steering wheel and a panel above the glove compartment, striking Remmy and Mallory as a result of the collision.





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