Rise of The Valkyrie

Prologue: Escape

Wesker’s Log Day 14:Progress is slow. The subjects were captured with a minimum of hassle, and between the two of them, I hoped to have the basic template of T-Valkyrie: the merger of both strains of the Arms Virus. It is a complex specimen, however, and even my immense intellect is being tried by it. Failure after failure…but once I have the template, I can begin work on binding Arms to T.T-Valkyrie will combine the best of both pathogens: T will increase rate of infection, along with granting an increase to strength, speed, durability and endurance. Add to that the near-mystical properties of Arms, and the higher life form I have dreamed of will finally come to fruition…


Rain Hasumi slowly regains cognizance. Aches and pains all through her body slowly return with her senses. The first thing she realizes is that she’s bound to a kind of stretcher: the cold metal around her ankles and wrists are unyielding. She gives up for the moment and focuses on the one across the room.Lady J, her partner and lover. Between the two of them, they were ‘Lady Lady’, who commanded fear and respect from Exters and Liberators alike. At least, that’s how it had been on the island of Mermaid.Like Rain herself, Lady J is bound to an upright high-tech table by her wrists and ankles with metal shackles, and she was looking right at her.

Lady J: Rain! Thank god…wh…where the hell are we?

Rain tries to cast her mind back, but it only makes her head pound. The last thing she remembered was something hitting her, fast and hard, before consciousness left her entirely…Instead, she looks around the room. A laboratory…how many of these had she seen in her life? This one was the most ominous-looking yet, too. She caught J’s eye, and the purple-haired woman seemed to be coming to the same conclusion.

Rain: The Organization?
Lady J: Maybe…

They don’t have time to dwell on it further, however: the door has just slid open. Both women look over at once at the man who has just entered the room. Tall, pale, blonde hair, dressed in a slick leather coat and sunglasses. He doesn’t give them a second glance as he strides past them, heading for a computer on the opposite side of the room. Rain watches as he deftly punches in commands.

Rain: What’s going on? Where are we? Who are y-gah!

Her voice chokes off in a gasp as a sudden bolt of pain stabs into her arm. Lady J seems to have endured the same thing, jumping a bit and flinching as she clenches her teeth. The dark man turns around, watching a series of tubes leading out from a band around the women’s arms: blood is snaking its way through them into a pair of beakers. After a few moments, the man hits one final command and the flow of blood stops.Satisfied, the man removes the beakers carefully, capping them and striding out the door, which slides shut behind him.Rain shakes her head, trying to clear up the groggy haze in her mind.

Lady J sighs.

Lady J: Well, I’ve seen enough. Let’s get out of here, yeah?

Rain nods.

Rain: Yes please…

Lady J closes her eyes her breathing becoming even. Sweat beads on her brow and she presses her legs together. Suddenly, she stiffens, her breath catching in her throat, as her whole body glows with a blinding orange light. There is the twisting shattering of metal, followed by a thunderous crash: where J had been moments before was a motorcycle that toppled over, landing squarely on its wheels as it tore its way out of the restraints.Rain flinched a bit: that had been a lot louder than she hoped. Even worse, the instant J had broken free, alarm had started blaring, red warning lights flashing incessantly. The motorcycle glowed again and J was striding over to her, looking up and down the restraints for some kind of weakness.She doesn’t have much time to search. The door across the room slid open again. J and Rain looked up, slowly turning their heads to stare at the thing that just stepped into the room.It had to be in the realm of eight, maybe nine feet tall, and built like a tank to boot. It was dressed in a heavy black coat; the only exposed flesh was its bald gray head. An expressionless face stared at them, and its dark eyes narrowed as it realized what was happening.

Lady J: Oh…

The giant lumbers forward with footsteps that shake the ground, raising a fist and bringing it slamming down toward Lady J. The woman tumbles out of the way with surprising agility, and the giant lurches right past her. Lady J jumps to her feet, running back to Rain and cupping her face in one of her hands.

Lady J: Old fashioned way?

Rain nods, and with that, Lady J leans forward and kisses her on the lips.The giant gets to his feet, turning around and shielding his face as a blinding light fills the room. When it fades, Lady J is wielding a huge cross-shaped railgun. Smirking, the purple-haired woman aims carefully and pulls the trigger.The giant roars as a beam of energy plows into him, blasting him across the room and into the opposite wall. There is another flash of light and Rain is standing beside Lady J.

Rain: That look suits you…

But then, the fallen creature stirred. For as devastating as the blast was, the giant seems midly annoyed at most as it pushed himself to his feet, glaring daggers at the two.

Lady J: *gasp*
Rain: What?

Rain couldn’t ignore her mounting horror. That thing had tanked a blast from her dead-on, and it barely wrinkled his coat. She looks over to J.

Rain: You know, maybe we should…

Lady J nods as she glows again, transforming once more into a motorcycle. Rain hops aboard and revs the engine as the giant lumbers forward. Revving the engine, Rain rides out the door, hurtling down a spacious marble hallway and leaving the creature in the dust.But just as she was starting to get her bearings, Rain feels something hard collide with her midriff. With a gasp of pain, she is thrown from the motorcycle, which spins out and transforms back into Lady J. The purple-haired woman looks up as a dark figure strides toward the fallen Rain, raising a magnum to her head.Luckily, Rain sees it coming, lashing out with her foot and catching the man in the knee. Growling, the man drops, his shot going wild. Rain jumps up, throwing a punch right to his face. The man’s hand snaps up, catching her fist and squeezing hard. Rain bites back a cry of pain: his strength is inhuman. Movement catches her eye; she notices him try to raise his gun again. Grabbing on with her free hand, she struggles to push it away.This earns her a headbutt that leaves her seeing stars.Rain stumbles, and the man releases her hand. A second later he has her by the throat, standing up again and hauling her clean off her feet. Rain gasps and sputters as he aims his gun at her. Thinking fast, she grabs his sunglasses off his face and drives two fingers into his eyes. The gun goes off again, shattering a light as the man howls in pain, releasing Rain and his gun and stumbling back. Coughing, Rain jumps to her feet, aiming the handgun and firing.Somehow, the man seems to warp from side to side, dodging each bullet despite being half-blinded. An ominous ‘click’ indicates the end of Rain’s ammunition, and she tosses the gun aside and dashes back to Lady J, practically leaping into her arms and planting a kiss on her lips. By the time the man regains his sight, he finds himself staring down the barrel of a cross-shaped railgun.For a moment, the two simply stare at each other. Then the man chuckles.

????: Astounding. I had separated you two so that you couldn’t Drive. And yet, it seems you’ve found a way around that. It would appear I have much to learn about the Arms Virus.

Lady J’s eyes narrow. He knew of the Arms Virus’s existence, and yet he clearly wasn’t with The Organization; they knew full well that Exters and Liberators could Drive without sexual stimulation if their synch rate was high enough.

Lady J: Who are you? What do you want with us?

The man scowls, looking down at his sunglasses: Rain had dropped them in her mad dash back to her partner. There is a strange sound, and the man’s body seems to blur for a moment; Lady J realizes with a start that the sunglasses are in his hands, and he is putting them back on.How the hell did he pick them up without her noticing? The man turns his hidden gaze back up to her, his mouth curling up in a cold smirk.

????: I am Albert Wesker. And I’ve taken an interest in the Arms Virus. Perhaps you’d be willing to aid me in my quest to obtain perfection?

His voice is oily and cruel. Even if Lady J had the slightest interest in being a guinea pig, it certainly wouldn’t be for this Devil in Plain Sight. She raises Rain and pulls the trigger.A beam of energy launches out of the gun, roaring down the hall toward Wesker. A split second later, he’s dodged it; vanishing from sight only to appear out of the way, his eyes fixed on Lady J as the energy blast demolishes the wall down the hallway.

Wesker: I guess that’s a ‘no’?

Lady J blinks. Whoever this Wesker clown was, he wasn’t human. No human alive could move like that.

Wesker: Shame. It looks like we’ll have to do this the hard way..

Lady J and Rain both begin to glow, and in a second, they’ve switched places: Rain is human again, and Lady J is in her motorcycle form. Popping a wheelie and spinning around, Rain zooms down the hallway out of sight. Wesker raises a walkie-talkie.

Wesker: So that’s the way they want to play it…deploy the Pursuer. I’m not taking any chances with those two.

The trip through the laboratory is a harrowing one: Wesker has employed or created more of the bald giants, and they are attacking in droves as they notice the escapees. Rain manages to repel and evade them, but even when she introduced one’s forehead to Lady J’s front wheel, it was right back up again in seconds. Ultimately, they manage to elude the attacking giants and make their way to a hanger. The thick blast doors are shut tight. Rain pulls up short, surveying the heavy metal barricade. Then she dismounts, Lady J transforming back to human again. Without a word between them, Rain turns into her gun form and Lady J takes aim.BOOM!The laser hits home, and even though the door holds, it’s clear that it’s done significant damage. Lady J fires a second time, and this time a small hole is blown in the thick metal. Not enough for them to climb through, but enough to see the outside: a tropical paradise, for what they could see. The clear sunlight shines through the hole like heaven’s beckoning light. Lady J pulls the trigger a third time.This time, however, the laser does not hit the door. Something massive drops from the ceiling, intercepting the blast. As the attack fades and the dust clears, Lady J gets a clear look at what the massive ‘something’ is.And it’s downright horrifying. At least as tall as the giant grey men, the creature looked like it was rotting alive, with its necrotic-looking flesh and pinkish tubes poking through its skin. Part of its face looked like it had been stapled on to the rest of it, and instead of lips there were exposed gums and sharp teeth.And to make matters even worse, this mutant behemoth was wielding an honest-to-god minigun.The creature stands erect, its single good eye glaring at Lady J. Then its teeth part, the creature takes a hissing breath, and to Lady J’s shock, actually speaks.

Nemesis: ARMS…

Rain’s barrel glowed as Lady J aimed at the monster. Sensing danger, Nemesis aims his weapon.

Nemesis: ARMS!

Lady J is forced to call off her attack and run for cover behind a shipping container as Nemesis opens fire. Bullets tear through the air and shred everything they hit. Poking her head around, Lady J returns fire with Rain: Nemesis covers his face as the energy blast hits home. The monster roars as he’s shoved back by the force of the blast, but he recovers quickly.

Nemesis: GROAAAAAAR!

Reaching for something on his belt, Nemesis pulls it off and raises it to his mouth, clamping down and pulling hard. Lady J watches as the monster winds up and throws: the fragmentation grenade clatters at her feet.

Lady J: Tch…!

She dashes around the side of the shipping container as the grenade goes off with a deafening explosion. She’s dodged the blast, but now she’s in the open, and Nemesis gleefully aims his minigun again.Lady J aims Rain and fires. The energy blast strikes Nemesis, knocking him off balance and giving her enough time to dive back behind the safety of the shipping container.

Lady J: This is getting us nowhere…

A mechanical voice speaks from the gun in her hands.

Rain: We’ve weakened that door enough to break through with Final Mode! Let’s forget this freak and escape while we can!

Lady J nods as she clutches the massive gun to her chest. Flames begin to boil around her feet.

Lady J: Roger!

Nemesis is preparing another grenade when he sees fire burst up from behind the shipping container. He lowers the grenade and aims his minigun.

Nemesis: ARMS…

A flaming bird rises up from behind the container, flying a quick lap around the room before dispersing: in place of the phoenix is a sleek red hovercraft. Its engines roar, and the craft makes a beeline right for the hole in the blast door.Nemesis drops his minigun and is in the air with a single jump, holding his hands out. The hovercraft collides with him, slamming him back against the blast door. The metal creaks as Nemesis tries to hold them back.Lady Lady revs the engine once more, and Nemesis lets out a furious roar as the metal buckles behind him. He’s shoved right through the blast door and thrown aside as Lady Lady rockets off into the distance. Nemesis stands up, watching them dodge anti-aircraft fire and vanish from sight. Realizing his prey had escaped, Nemesis throws his head back.

Nemesis: AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRMMMMMMMMMSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!

In some secret room deep within the facility, Wesker watches a camera feed with mild amusement as Nemesis takes his rage out on the local flora, hurling grenades at nearby palm trees while ripping others out of the ground with his bare hands.Let the BOW throw his tantrum. One couldn’t expect a monkey, even a mildly intelligent one, to truly appreciate what had just happened. Wesker had just witnessed the full power of the Arms Virus. Now he wanted it even more.The sunglasses-wearing man took one of the vials of blood sitting on the table beside him, slotting it into a machine. Smirking, he watched as computer monitors lining the machine lit up with data.

Wesker: Lady Lady…your power is prodigious. And soon it will be the bedrock of my new world…

The TV Tropes Pantheon Proudly Presents: Rise of the Valkyrie

     Reunions

Chapter 1: Reunions

Lady J and Rain as a rule moved without aim. They drifted where the wind carried them, doing whatever they pleased as the mood struck them. That was the life they had decided to have after years of being used. They almost found it ironic, as they flew at top speed over the ocean, that this aimlessness now seemed to work against them, bringing a chill of apprehension into their shared mechanical heart.In layman’s terms, they were absolutely lost.Where had Wesker taken them? How long had they been sedated? Where were Mamori, Mirei and Meifon? Thinking back was difficult…hazy.They had been on the third artificial island meant to hold Arms infectees, Mamori and Mirei had just cured everyone, and there was a big party thrown in their honor. That’s right…having bored of the festivities, Rain and J had slipped away for a ‘party’ of their own, and that was when everything just went…dark.Lady J felt Rain’s twinge of anger, and Rain felt Lady J’s. If that greasy-haired creep had actually ambushed them while they were making love…!In any case, that was where their memories ended: one second they were in each other’s embrace and the next they were strapped to gurneys. Didn’t leave them much to work off of…

Lady J: Those two are practically messiahs, Rain. If we can find someone infected with Arms, they might know where they are.
Rain: Rodger…of course, we need to make landfall first.

Easier said than done. The ocean seemed to stretch on forever. The two had never really pushed Final Mode to its limits, so they couldn’t be certain what those limits actually were. If their energy decided to run out on them in the middle of the ocean, that would be…rather bad.But then they saw buildings.A city, with skyscrapers rising up over the horizon like a welcoming beacon. Lady Lady took one look at it and gunned it, roaring ever faster toward their new destination.


The flying machine swooped in for a landing on top of one of the skyscrapers, lighting up with a blinding glow before separating into two figures once more. Choosing this as their landing pad was Lady J’s idea, and she was absolutely right: they couldn’t be sure how the people here would react to Arms Infectees slamming down into the middle of a crowd somewhere. Better to be discrete.Rain looked over at Lady J, eyeing her near-nonexistent outfit.

Rain: Well…discrete as we can manage.

Lady J walks to the edge of the building, looking out over the cityscape as Rain walked up beside her. They couldn’t recognize any landmarks. They had no idea where they were. They had made landfall, though, and that was a start. Lady J sighs.

Lady J: Guess we should get moving. We won’t get anywhere just standing around.

Rain nods, and the two of them head toward the nearby roof access door.


Just like that, the two were back to wandering aimlessly, only this time they had a bit of a new problem to deal with: the stares.The outfits they had worn back on Mermaid were the kind that attracted a LOT of attention. Rain pulled a face as she looked over to her lover, wondering if she should suggest finding a clothing store before they continued. Of course, that would just mean more wandering…But then she felt it. A prickle on the back of her neck. Years as a Child Soldier had given her a sort of sense about these things: they were being followed.J had felt it too, by the quick glance she had given over her shoulder. She moved closer to Rain, who was psyching herself up to Drive at a moment’s notice. But then a voice rang out, calling out to them.

????: Oh my god…Lady Lady!

Well, that ruled out ‘hostile’. Whoever was following them certainly wasn’t planning an attack unless they were absolutely stupid. The two turned around to see a pair of young girls run up to them hand-in-hand. The short, busty one with chocolate-brown hair was the first to really approach them, her face in a wide grin.

????: I can’t believe it…Lady Lady, here in Konan! I…I think I’m going to faint! You were legendary back on Mermaid, and now I actually get to meet you face-to face! You’re even more beautiful than people said…!

Her blonde comrade turned to her, pulling a face.

????: Jeez, Yuno, calm down, you’ll freak ‘em out if you fangirl all over ‘em like this. Sorry about Yuno, she’s…different.

Rain smiled a bit.

Rain: It’s alright.

Lady J cocks her head a bit.

Lady J: So you were on Mermaid? I can assume you used to be a Liberator/Exter duo, then?

Yuno’s companion nods.

????: Yup. I’m Hitomi, and is Yuno.

Rain and J pause, then catch each other’s eye, nodding.

Rain: It’s a pleasure to meet you both. And as a matter of fact, we’re having a bit of trouble ourselves, and we were thinking maybe you could help us.

Yuno looks like she’s about to burst with happiness.

Yuno: Oh my god…ohmygodohmygod! Of course we’ll help! We’ll do anything!
Rain: We’re trying to find Mamori Tokonome and Mirei Shikishima. Do you have any idea where they might have gone?

Yuno pauses, looking a little surprised.

Hitomi: Orf…not sure I can help you there. They’ve started workin’ their way across Japan after cleaning up the last of those islands. Not sure where in Japan they are right now.

Rain stiffens.

Rain: They’ve cured the last island? When was that?

Hitomi shrugs.

Hitomi: Like, a week ago…ish?

Lady J and Rain catch each other’s eyes again. They know the question they must ask, and yet are dreading the answer…

Lady J: What’s the date, exactly?
Hitomi: August fourth?

Lady J pales as she looks over to Rain again.

Lady J: We’re missing two weeks!
Hitomi: Whoa, whoa, whaddaya mean, ‘missing two weeks’? Are you two alright?

Rain closes her eyes.

Rain: It’s not important. Don’t you worry about it. Thank you for your information, it’s much appreciated. We’ll take our leave now. It was a pleasure to meet you two.

Hitomi is shaking her head as they turned to walk away.

Hitomi: Naw, naw, naw, you don’t just misplace two weeks of time, especially if you’re infected with Arms! Is something happening? H-hey! You can’t just leave! What the hell’s going on?
Yuno: Hitomi, don’t pressure them!

Rain turns to J as they stride down the sidewalk, leaving Yuno and the increasingly-angry Hitomi behind.

Rain: We have a date, a location, and a basic idea where to find Mamori and Mirei. It’s a start, at least, but we’ll need to work fast if we want to find them; I have a sinking feeling that Wesker’s got his eye on them, too.
Lady J: Roger. I think I have an idea; if they’re going around Japan curing people, we may be able to track them on the news…

They turned a corner into a large, open plaza and stop dead in their tracks. A huge crowd has gathered, almost entirely young girls. The clamor is incredible, but above the racket a shrill voice is calling out.

????: Keychains! Postcards! Plushies! Get your messianic memorabilia here! Supplies are limited and going fast!

They knew that voice anywhere. Lady Lady runs forward, nudging through the crowd and drawing a few dirty looks as they make their way to a wooden table stacked with all assortments of knick-knacks. Behind it stands a short girl with a cowboy hat perched on a head of shoulder-length brown hair, who’s calling out to the crowd and waving a water bottle emblazoned with a sword and feathered wing above her head.

Rain: Meifon Sakura in her natural habitat.

Meifon immediately turns to her, gesturing to her products with a flourish.

Meifon: You, ma’am! Care to buy somethi-

She stops as she realizes who she’s looking at, then shakes her head in amazement.

Meifon: Well, fancy seeing you two again! Just drop off the face of the earth and then show right up again, huh? Mamori’s been worried sick! Mirei too, maybe, but god knows what she’s thinking half the time…h-hey! I see you there! You want that, you’ll have to pay for it! Or would you like to deal with the REAL Mamori and Mirei?

The young girl inching toward a pile of little Mamori plushies stops dead in her tracks, then turns and runs away. Rain watches her flee as Meifon continues to chatter, taking a wad of cash from a nearby girl and handing her a necktie exactly like the one Mirei wears.

Rain: So, they are here. And you’re riding their tailwind, are you?

Meifon grins from ear to ear.

Meifon: Business is BOOMING! I mean, we just got here! So where’ve you been all this time? Romantic cruise?

Rain’s face is impassive as she answers.

Rain: We got captured by a man named Albert Wesker, he took our blood and set a giant monster after us. We’re missing two weeks.

Meifon’s hands freeze over her merchandise.

Meifon: …Oh. Huh…guess the Organization is still knocking around, huh? Trying to get in one last hurrah before the Arms Virus is gone for good…

Lady J suppresses an annoyed grunt as another girl shoves past her, slapping money on the table and taking a keychain shaped like Mamori’s sword form.

Lady J: Where are they?

Meifon looks up from counting her cash.

Meifon: Who, M&M? They’re gettin’ ice cream.

She jerks her head toward a nearby ice cream parlor. It’s surprisingly quiet over there, but sure enough, through the window Lady J and Rain can see two girls seated; one has short dark red hair, and the other long blonde hair.Jackpot.

‘Meifon: That Mirei…I swear her glares are sharper than Mamori is. And of course, I’m doing my part to give them peace and quiet.

She gestures again to her merchandise.

Meifon: Speaking of which…care for a hair cli-

Lady J and Rain turn as one and push through the crowds again. Meifon scowls for a moment, then goes right back to her entrepreneurial pursuits. Lady J and Rain walk as quickly as they can over to the parlor, Rain chuckling under her breath.

Rain: Well…that was easier than I thought it would be.

The bell above the door jingles as they enter the building. They ignore the gawking stares from the man behind the counter and look over to the windowside table. The bell had caught the attention of the girls seated there, and the red-haired girl is peering around the side of her chair, her eyes widening as she sees the women who had just entered.

Mamori: Miss J! Miss Rain!

She jumps up from her seat and hurries over to them as the tall blonde woman in the other chair stands as well.

Mirei: Lady Lady…

Rain and Lady J look over the two of them, allowing smiles to come to their faces. Mamori looks incredibly relieved at the sight of them.

Mamori: Where have you two been? Ever since you vanished we’ve been worried sick! I know you like to do your own thing, but you could have at least said goodbye!

Rain and Lady J glance at each other.

Rain: Actually…we didn’t exactly have a say in the matter.
Mamori: Eh?
Mirei: What happened?

Her eyes narrow.

Mirei: Was it The Organization? They’ve been dogging us for a while now, haven’t they…?

Lady J shakes her head.

Lady J: I don’t think so. We were captured, that’s true, but I don’t think the one behind it has to do with The Organization.

Mamori looks horrified.

Mamori: Captured?!? That’s horrible! Who’d do something like that?!?
Rain: He calls himself ‘Wesker’, and as you may have guessed, he’s interested in the Arms Virus. He captured us, took our blood, the works.

Mirei clenches her fists. Mamori notices the change in atmosphere and hurriedly clears her throat.

Mamori: W-well, you got away from him, that’s what matters! We’re just glad you’re both safe. So…um…you want some ice cream? You know, to celebrate!

Mirei couldn’t help but smile a bit. Mamori could lighten the mood no matter how dark things got, couldn’t she? Rain chuckles a bit.

Rain: Tempting, but I’d rather not. I need to watch my figure, after all…
Lady J: Aw, Rain, when was the last time we shared a sundae? You can afford it every once in a whi-
Mirei: DOWN!

Mamori cries out as Mirei throws herself on top of her, dragging her to the ground. A second later…KABOOOOOM!Wood, glass and chair stuffing goes everywhere as the wall explodes. Mamori screams in terror as Mirei covers her with her body, shielding her. Lady J had seen it coming too, transforming into her motorcycle form as Rain ducks down behind her: splinters and glass bounces harmlessly off the chrome. The propieter is not so lucky: he slumps against the back wall, staring at the four shards of glass that have buried themselves in his torso before flopping to the ground.As soon as it began, it was over. Mirei looks up, her eyes narrowing as the surveys the gaping hole in building. Rain peeks up over Lady J, watching as pandemonium fills the streets. The girls who had been surrounding Meifon’s stand are fleeing for their lives, screaming in terror. Meifon has thrown her entire weight behind her cart, shoving her precious merchandise to safety as fast as she can. And above the sound of the girls screaming comes another sound; a low, gravelly voice roaring out a single word.

Nemesis: ARMS!

The sight seems to have put Mamori into shock. She stares transfixed with horror at the approaching creature as Mirei steps in front of her, shielding her. Lady J morphs back to human, glaring at the approaching Nemesis.

Lady J: Is that…?

Rain grunts.

Rain: Aww, we’ve made a friend…

With that, she leaps into J’s embrace, Driving as she did so. J took off running away from Mamori and Mirei and took aim, getting off a quick shot: Nemesis dodged it easily and continued lumbering forward. Mirei clenched her fists, then kneeled down and pulled Mamori closer. Mamori closed her eyes, relaxing and leaning forward slightly: their lips came together as Mirei’s hands slid up her body to her chest…Behind Nemesis’s eyes, cybernetic implants whirred to life. They zeroed in on Mamori and Mirei, running diagnostics at astonishing speed. Moments later, words flashed before Nemesis’s vision: “ARMS INFECTION DETECTED! WARNING: DRIVE IMMINENT!”To J’s horror, Nemesis turned the rocket launcher in his hands away from her and directed it at the oblivious Mamori and Mirei. J fired another blast, hoping to deter the approaching bioweapon, but it was no use: Nemesis dodged to the side again, its implants keeping the launcher trained on its target, and with a pull of the trigger fired the weapon. The rocket came roaring out of the barrel, surging through the air and closing in on the ruins of the ice cream shop as Mamori let out a pleasure-soaked cry.The rocket impacted with a massive explosion; seconds before the fatally-damaged building came crashing down, Mirei burst from the flames, an ornate claymore in her hand. J breathed a sigh of relief as she watched the super-soldier hurtle forward, bringing Mamori down with all her strength on the BOW. The razor edge of her partner sliced into Nemesis’s shoulder, sank about three inches into the necrotic flesh…and then stopped.Mirei blinked in confusion.

Mirei: What…!?
Nemesis: GROAAAAARR!

Mirei’s reflexes kicked in just in time: releasing Mamori’s handle entirely, she jumped back out of the reach of Nemesis’s massive hand, which closed like a vice where her head had been just seconds before. Mirei darted backwards out of reach, cursing herself as she looked at the blade in Nemesis’ shoulder. How could she just let go of Mamori like that?!?Lady J was trying to make sense of what she had just seen. As far as she had known, there was nothing in creation Mamori couldn’t slice through. Between the repeated energy blasts and now the blade it had tanked, she was beginning to wonder if they weren’t dealing with some sort of angry immortal.Nemesis reached up, intending to yank Mamori out of his shoulder. But something seemed to be resisting him: despite his inhuman strength, his hand seemed to have run up against some kind of barrier. Ultimately, the processors in the BOW’s virus-riddled brain declared it to be irrelevant: his mission, after all, was to neutralize or capture the escaped Arms-infectees, and any others he ran across. As it stood, there was one buried snugly in his shoulder, which left his hands free; so much the better.Mirei’s eyes widened as Nemesis hunched down, then took off running directly at her, his feet punching imprints in the pavement with each heavy step.

Nemesis: AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRMMMMMMSSSSSSS!

Mirei sprang into the air, leaping higher than any human could manage. She sailed right over Nemesis’ head seconds before the beast hit her, and as Nemesis wheeled around to face her she went on the offensive, driving a powerful kick into his face.This actually got a grunt of pain out of Nemesis: he stumbled backwards, off-balance. Mirei swept forward, following up with a series of punches to what she assumed were his solar plexus. This was notably less effective; Mirei had hoped to wind the monster long enough to retrieve Mamori, but with its guard up she was probably doing more damage to her own fists than anything. Nemesis brought his fist swinging upwards, and Mirei was forced to retreat again out of his reach. For a moment, the beauty and the beast stared each other down, Mirei giving her hands a few shakes, grimacing against the throbbing in her knuckles.Lady J was watching from the sidelines. She had a clear shot, sure, but she wasn’t about to blast Nemesis so long as Mamori was jammed in his shoulder: turning her back to human form would be a rather poor idea at this stage. For a moment she wondered if she should switch places with Rain and get in close as Mirei was doing. No…Rain didn’t have Mirei’s inhuman physical strength, and she had slammed into enough of those gray guys back at Wesker’s hideout to know a blow from the bike would just annoy this thing. So she gritted her teeth, hoping that some miracle would crop up eventually.And just as Mirei and Nemesis were about to throw themselves at each other again, it did. Nemesis roared as something hit him from behind, engulfing him in a fiery explosion.Nemesis stumbled forward, roaring. He was clearly more surprised than injured, but it was the opening Mirei needed: darting forward, she leaped over the raging B.O.W, and when she landed Mamori was in her hand.Lady J felt a flicker of relief, glancing around to try to find the one who had stumbled on their fight.There the were, near a bizarre, undulating oval of light that had suddenly appeared. There were four in total: a young man with platinum-blonde hair was taking aim with a bulky firearm, and as Lady J watched, a tiny dart burst from the barrel, flying through the air and burrowing into the back of Nemesis’ head. There was a soft beep, then a roar of fire as the dart exploded violently, enraging the B.O.W still further.Accompanying the man were two women, one wielding a TMP and the other a P99. Judging by the expressions on their faces, they were realizing they probably should have brought heavier equipment. Even so, they opened fire; even though the bullets did no damage to speak of, now Nemesis was being pulled between three targets, and he seemed to have no idea who to attack first.Lady J realized that someone was running up to her: a man in green with short brown hair and an AK-47 in hand. He sized her up for a moment, glancing over his shoulder to make sure Nemesis was distracted.

????: You the one he’s after?

J looked him up and down, trying to think of an appropriate response. On the one hand, he seemed to be on their side. On the other, J knew all too well the price of blind trust.The man looked a little annoyed now.

????: Alright, we’re getting you out of here, but we need to work together. The others have Nemesis distracted: we need to get you through the portal and make sure Nemesis doesn’t follow us; we might be able to trap him down here for at least a little while.

J’s eyes narrowed.

Lady J: Trap that thing in a city of innocent people?

The man shook his head.

????: If it’s you he’s after, he won’t stick around once you’re out of reach. That’s how his model works. Look, if you want to get out of this, you need to trust me!

He glanced over his shoulder: Mirei had joined in with the two women distracting Nemesis, darting around the B.O.W and swiping at him whenever she was in reach. Nemesis had grabbed his rocket launcher and was trying to get a bead on her, to no avail. It was buying them time, but at any point one of them could get tagged with a rocket. The man’s grip tightened on his gun and he took aim, firing a few shots. Nemesis wheeled around, and immediately was knocked flat by a powerful kick to the head courtesy of Mirei. The man looked back at Lady J.

????: You on board?

There was really only one answer. Besides, despite their gumption in attacking the invincible Nemesis, the men didn’t seem all that abnormal, and it was pretty clear the women weren’t Liberators. If push came to shove and they tried something stupid, J was pretty certain that she, Rain and Mirei could take them.

Lady J: Yeah, sure.

And with that, she blasted Nemesis with Rain. Off-balance, Nemesis couldn’t offer much resistance, and the laser sent him flying a good two meters back. The man seemed thoroughly impressed.

????: Nice shot. Alright, let’s go! Stick close!

He took off at a dead run, J close behind. His comrades looked up as he approached.

????: He’s down! Get to the portal!
Lady J: Mirei, come on, we’re getting out of here!

Mirei nodded, turning to run as Nemesis got to his feet.

Nemesis: ARMS…!

The blonde man raised his weapon, firing another dart; this one burrowed into Nemesis’ forehead. The B.O.W reached up to pull it out, only for it to explode, causing him to stumble, holding his face as smoke oozed between his fingers. The blonde man nodded, turning and leading the way through the portal. His female companions were next, the one with the ponytail firing a few parting shots before jumping through the oval of light. Mirei was next, hesitating for a moment and gripping Mamori before making her escape. That left Lady Lady and the man in green. The man was through first, and Lady J gave Nemesis a parting glare as she watched it lumber toward her.Then she stepped through the portal and immediately came to regret it.For a moment, every nerve in her body seemed like they had turned into spaghetti. Sounds flashed before her eyes and the smell of a total eclipse of the moon tore at her nose, as her mouth filled with an overwhelmingly ‘blue’ taste.And then…nothing.