The Umbrella Conspiracy by S.D. Perry
Nine Dead, Cannibalized In the Raccoon Woods
She never wanted this type of mission.
Nothing had prepared Jill Valentine for the life of a police officer after her upbringing from her thief father, but Dick Valentine was behind bars now and he had begged for Jill to use her skill for a different type of life in the S.D. Perry novelization of the Resident Evil franchise in the first novel The Umbrella Conspiracy.
Those first victims were only children for what it was worth. Jill had known them as neighbors kids that had asked the police woman for help finding an errant puppy that had broken out of the yard. Now she was starring at the autopsy photos.
Someone was going to pay for this.
The disappearances all taking place near Victory Lake had started local rumors that spawned a curfew. People spoke of monstrous animals and cannibals that wandered the woods near the old Spencer mansion, possible some sort of cult camped out there. When Captain Wesker called in the S.T.A.R.S. to go investigate, the first team is mysteriously taken out by a downed helicopter.
Wesker, Jill, Barry, and Chris try to slowly explore their surroundings when something spooks their helicopter pilot as well and he takes off leaving the team behind just as savage skinless dogs being to surround the group.
They could have been Dobermans or German Shepard once, dogs of that size. Not a bit of fur or skin remained on the terrible creatures that stared them down and hungered for their blood. Charging at Chris, he shot multiple times shattering bone and sinew but the creature kept coming. Finally understanding the body parts scattered near the helicopter, the S.T.A.R.S. team ran to the doorway of the nearby mansion, finding the lock already jimmied open. The team spilled inside to escape.
Let's Split Up
Inside the main hall, Chris breaks off to explore a dining rooms, gone only moments before finding a terrible creature he first mistakes for a wounded man. The smell of the injured of the man are terrible like rotting meat as if the wound had been festering for some time.
It made no sense from Chris knew of the mansions history, told to be boarded off for the last thirty years as the Umbrella Pharmaceutical Company had stopped using the property as a guest estate to their clients.
Or so they said.
The table had been set in the dinning room as if dinner was still expected and the house remained free of any debris or dust. Except for the creature gnawing on the remains of a former S.T.A.R.S. officer at Chris' feet, it seemed like life hadn't stopped at all inside.
Fearing the other members of the dinner party would begin to arrive, Chris retreated down a hallway, one door locked, another leading to a kitchen and an old elevator but neither had any means of escape. Rounding a corner and heading up the stairs, Chris roamed a few hallways trying any open door, examining the strange carvings just about the locks.
Eventually coming across a storage room and a member of the other S.T.A.R.S. team, Rebecca Chambers whom had someone survived thus far, Chris explains all he has found out about the mansion so far.
Rebecca has her own news about the biological and viral research she had uncovered from papers strewn about in the rooms. Chris brings her a journal with more information about an incident in the laboratory basement and how those effected came back with festering wounds where flesh had rotted off the bones. The animals of the lab had become strange too.
Some had escaped.
Quarantined inside the estate, the journal said, the phone lines had been cut and those that tried to escape into the woods had been shot by security.
Maybe those things that roamed the halls were the victims of this virus.
When Chris hadn't returned to the main hallway, Jill and Barry go looking for him only to not encounter Chris on the same route he seemed to have taken in the dining room. Returning to the main hall, they can no longer find Wesker either. Vowing to split up to cover more ground, Barry and Jill encounter more of the mansions puzzles and traps all leading to a courtyard where four elemental crests are needed to open the gate but the location of these crests are a mystery. Or does Jill know?
Man Of Mystery
Appearing to Jill, a man known only as Trent has a mini disk system for her that he says will solve many of her concerns about the case.
At first scroll, Jill sees a list of men's names that mean nothing to her. Although she believes one could be the friend of Chris's that worked for Umbrella.
Chris had said that a friend of his in the company had called him one night wanting to give an off the record report about something terrible the company had done and wanted his old friend to be the one that he shared the news with. Fearing for his safety, this man wanted to meet Chris at a dinner, only to never show up.
None of the superiors at the police department wanted to look further into the disappearance at Chris' urging either.
There seemed to be maps that were of the Spencer place as well on the computer but certain aspects hadn't matched the blueprints the police department had access to, showing extra rooms and tunnel systems through the building. In the courtyard there appeared to be some sort of underground shelter taking place under the structure of an old fountain.
Also detailed were the keys needed to unlock various doors and something about crests that opened the courtyard gate.
Why Jill didn't share these facts with anyone, she couldn't explain.
Maybe it was the thief daughter in her wanting to keep the treasure all to herself.
Fools, Wesker had thought. His friends in high places would keep his protected from this nightmare, but that didn't mean the S.T.A.R.S. members he had arranged to be pawns in the mansions experiments would make it out alive. Fools indeed to trust him so blindly.
Bet Their Lives
Barry stared in disbelief back at his superior.
His reflection was visible in those damned sunglasses the smug bastard never took off his face. Now Barry understood Wesker wore them to avoid eye contact with anyone.
"You can't be serious," Barry started but the look on Wesker's face told him more than any words could say. "You wouldn't harm my family."
But Barry knew from the delivery that it was all true what he was being asked to do.
Wesker had entrusted him, the S.T.A.R.S. most senior officer to find all the crests and keys needed to get Wesker to the courtyard, using Barry's family as leverage.
Barry had been promised a way out if he completed his mission but the officer knew that helping Wesker also meant the death of the remaining members of the S.T.A.R.S. team as Wesker had offered them up in the Umbrella house of horrors to try out some of the newest biological weapons upon, something that was called the Tyrant created with a new form of G Virus, unlike the T that had been used in the initial outbreak and had caused all the zombies afoot.
Barry couldn't lose his wife and children.
So that meant what? That he play Wesker's sick game and prod along Chris and Jill to help him collect the keys so Wesker could escape and hopefully give Barry the exit that he had promised?
Could he trust anything Wesker said?
He was betting the lives of his loved ones.
Together Chris and Rebecca manage to open several doors and come across a two of the crests, one hidden in the music room in a small walk in area that opens up when Rebecca plays a few keys on the piano in the sequence of the Moonlight Sonata although she claims its out of key as she may be a medical prodigy but defiantly had taken time from her piano lessons as a kid.
There was something likable about Rebecca.
The young medic was new to the force, as she had just graduated college at eighteen years old to become the youngest in the police department. Her medical training could have put her in the best hospitals across the country but instead she had decided to be here.
Chris thought about his younger sister, Claire when he looked at Rebecca.
And where was Jill and Barry all this time, they should have crossed paths by now.
They needed to be warned of the terrible snake that had gotten Richard up in the attic.
They hadn't known much about what the keys and crest that they had collected would do, but maybe if he pooled his resources with the other officers they might be able to make it out of here alive.
With many close calls, Jill makes it out into the courtyard facing the terrors of barracks invaded by huge spiders and a plant that has the taste for human blood. Escaping a mind shaft, and some altered sharks also rank on her list. Still the only one that Jill keeps coming across is Barry. Is everyone else on the S.T.A.R.S. team dead now? How would she get out? What was the real purpose of the Umbrella complex that Trent was hoping for her to find?
S.D. Perry's take on the Resident Evil franchise, is a fantastic commissioned work that sums up the main games and some of the side campaigns in six books. Well written, and a fictional guidebook if one will, the amount of detail when it comes to maps, locations, routes through the mansion, items, and even the decor of each space is to every last detail a visualization of the game.
While in Resident Evil some details had to be changed depending on if the player was using Jill or Chris, the only two playable characters, which companion characters appeared were reflected by that change so Perry wisely using Barry as as the go between where Jill and Chris are at various moments was smart. And true to story as Barry was being blackmailed by the taking of his family to do Wesker's bidding.
While Perry chose to have many of the parts of the game completed by Chris, either character could do these things but just as Jill is mostly alone in her play through except for the occasional visit by Barry to check up on her progress, Chris is helped along a few times by Rebecca.
The novel is a fun fast read for fans of the series, and those looking for a creepy mystery about the franchise.