|Albert Wesker||Even before (m)any of the seeming myriad of looming catastrophes before Umbrella and Raccoon City bear rotten fruit, Dr. Berger finds himself already in a rather precarious position indeed, doesn't he? Torn between doing the right thing and seeing to his own future, and caught amidst the machinations of at least two global economic powerhouses, walking a tightrope towards a greater payoff on the far end. Luckily, he's not alone. At least, that's what one cagey contact would like him to believe; that careful action (and ample information) will lead the worthy to great reward.
Every week, a dead drop near Markus' home would contain his priorities and a certain useful amount of untraceably hard currency-- and sometimes, a road map to a meeting. Such as it is. This latest package comes with just such an addendum-- a cheap prepaid flip-phone and a key to a motel room at an unassuming economy filing cabinet on the outskirts of Raccoon City. Any tourist influx is all but cut off with the weather, but those stuck in Raccoon City had to find shelter quickly, and everywhere.
Even considering the circumstances, occupancy at this place is spartan. A sign displays name and 'Vacancy' in failing neon, and in the evening hours the establishment is little more than a lot of scattered, quiet cars, one or two with the snow still on them, surrounded by a facade of doors and shaded windows alongside the sound of a couple distant, muffled televisions.
|Markus Berger||At this point this isn't even remotely one of the most omnious places Dr. Berger has seen or been called to so far in the last few weeks as he briskly walks past the various doors of the motel to find the room the key belongs to, muttering in annoyance all the while. After all, the faster he gets this over with the better for him as he prefers to stay far away from anyone and anything involved in the many looming threats... to himself.|
|Albert Wesker||If Berger knocks at the door, no one will answer-- but the key he possesses fits the lock, the unlit room beyond shadowy but unremarkable, save for the monitor which flickers to life as someone enters the room. The display is attached to a webcam angled to survey the room, and a micro-atx computer tucked away under the simple desk it rests upon. The otherwise black screen casts a dim glow across the room and reads out a simple expectation: Awaiting Connection. A cable running to the computer is, on inspection, clearly designed to plug into the burner phone Markus has been gifted. It's not his first rodeo, but even on that ride, he was expected to puzzle out expectations.|
|Markus Berger||The good doctor just mutters some more unfriendly german phrases as he gets to work on plugging in the burner phone and setting up the connection as expected from him... which is trivial for someone who managed to such things like hacking high-security terminals while others behind him are being chewed on. Still as he does so he does glance on the webcam and the monitor all the while, waiting for results.|
|Albert Wesker||The image on the screen shifts to a familiar avatar, anonymously abstract and digitized, and a transcript of the conversation as it progresses displayed in a chat window beside that half-featureless face. "Doctor. How wonderful to hear from you." The deep voice coming quietly from the unit's speakers is similarly distorted, but abundantly understandable in its enforced monotone, "Things are already running away from us, aren't they? I was afraid you might have been.. caught up in the unpleasantness in the mountains." But then, Berger's benefactor only works with resourceful people.|
|Markus Berger||As his benefactor does show up on the screen Markus only gives a brief nod at the mention of the 'unpleasantness in the mountains' before skipping the pleasantries in their entirety. "Caught up would be an understatement, considering the way I was involved and what happened. So... what do you want to know? There certainly is a lot to know." Certainly not an understatement since he is one of the few involved who did not end up as minced meat in one way or another.|
|Albert Wesker||Even the pleasantries are designed to get them right to business, even amidst the digitized affability. "Start from the beginning, on Arklay in particular. What went wrong in the Facility to cause U.B.C.S. to go in?" ... and the military to obliterate the facility at ground level. Obviously, someone like Wesker has a basic idea of the chain of events-- but the devil, as ever, rests in the details.|
|Markus Berger||The details are indeed relatively well known to Berger... some of them at least, but its likely more than enough. "Well, officialy the head of the research facility in the mountains had gone mad and severed all contact to Umbrella which resulted in them sending three helicopters full of U.B.C.S. teams there. Things allready went wrong at that point due to a assault by what appeared to be Delta Force and Seals being under way. They died, we took casualties. Inside the facility meanwhile everything was filled with corpses both Umbrella Security and personell and Delta Force... at least until the point where a large part decided to just get up and apparently wipe out the remaining surviving members of the teams while I was busy recovering data from one of the labs. As far as I am aware the whole facility was swarming with... lets call them zombies and mutants for ease of classification since I consider it very appropiate." At that point he simply shrugs and catches his breath for a moment before continuing on. "Only shortly after I managed to escape via helicopter with what I could procure the army bombed the entrance via A10s to seal the whole place which not too long later was followed by the recent 'earthquake'. I do believe we both can guess pretty well what caused that one..."|
|Albert Wesker||None of this seems particularly surprising to the (admittedly underwhelmed by its nature) computerized voice. But then, this -is- the man(?) who confirmed, in oblique terms, some of Markus' worst fears about the Company. "The facility's safeguards and self-destruct system cleaning up the mess and sealing itself off." is the educated guess closing off Berger's tale. "Outside forces were already storming the facility, you say. What makes you believe them to be US military?" Not that there's disbelief in that assessment-- the airstrike was certainly swift and somewhat unexpected.
"Your terminal should be prepared for upload of the research data." The procurement thereof was apparently anticipated, or at least a welcome variable filled in. "It may be invaluable in dealing with this mess. Perhaps any others. What else were you able to 'procure'?" Even the digitized distortion can't fully hide the bemused sarcasm in the echoed terminology in the inquiry.
|Markus Berger||Berger just rolls his eyes at the question what makes him think that it was the US military as he begins to count several points down on his fingers. "Very high quality weaponry, equipment, camo, various identifiers... and the A10s blowing up the entrance. Don't think anyone else would be able to call in an airstrike of that magnitude and considering what Umbrella appears to be really working on I wouldn't be surprised if they abruptly decided that they don't see eye to eye. Anyway..." Having said that Berger frowns for a moment, likely thinking about the 'other' thing he procured. "... I have managed to procure a virus sample. I am not sure so far if it is the one responsible for the wildlife going insane or for the zombies or if its both the same. I didn't exactly had a chance to analyse it so far for obvious reasons." Those reasons being the lack of a lab that is now owned by Umbrella and Umbrella itself.|
|Albert Wesker||"Interesting." If the person on the other end of the connection notices the attitude, they don't seem to care, simply cataloguing the details away as they're recounted. Proactive military involvement is something to be very certain about, after all-- it has a tendency to complicate things. As recent events seem to prove once again. "Let's hope they didn't make a bigger problem than the one they were trying to clean up." Which is a dwindling hope, by the sound of things. "Our people can get the sample to a safe lab; and you, as well, when we need to, Doctor." The voice helpfully offers, one of the desk's locked drawers popping open with a subtle hiss; a sealed compartment appropriate for such a drop. "Your current posting may provide us information of value even greater than your work researching, however." As tempting as escape may already be. "Have you seen or heard anything else of note since we last spoke?"|
|Markus Berger||"One moment... I think there is something else you might find interesting, but first..." It doesn't take long for the doctor to retrieve the sample, which has been safely and securely wrapped in cloth, and a datachip out of a pocket of his jacket and deposits the former it in the compartment before also beginning to transfer the backup copy of the research data. "James Scott. Aged somewhere in his 20s. Apparently had a gruesome encounter with some of the 'rabid' animals. Died after being hit by a car recently. Revived the very next day in the hospital morgue bare moments before I entered it, displaying full recovery and on a cursory glance minor physical alterations. As in his eyes have gained a reddish color and are glowing. I am not sure if Umbrella is aware of him or not, but since I did not report it and I helped him get out I hope they aren't."|
|Albert Wesker||The specialized drawer re-pressurizes itself once closed with another quiet sound once it's closed. One might expect -this- piece of information to shock the person on the other end of the connection, but there's only a subtle uptick in the degree of surprise, "Good that he's off Umbrella's radar, less so if he's off of ours. Do you know where he may have gone, or any indicator of his plans once he escaped?" There's a pause in the response to suggest perusal of other information; anything that might be known of this James Scott, in all likelihood. Maybe the man will just go back to selling drugs.|
|Markus Berger||"As far as I am aware and have been told recently he is staying at the place of a certain Emma O'Connal who has some kind of studio and an apartment somewhere towards the center of the city. The very same who is also regularly up and about in the hospital due to being busy with medical training... and helping me keep an eye open for any infected patients after she wittnessed James death and revival firsthand. Decent and quite determined girl, all things considered. Anyway, in addition James has as far as I remember a brother, called Chad Scott if I am correct, somewhere in town." Having said that the doctor quickly double checks the progress of the datatransfer before removing and tucking the datachip he brought along away again. "I hope he did take my advice to heart to keep his head down to not have the wrong people coming after him." Especially since the 'wrong' people currently are pretty much everyone involved in what is going on... including perhaps a certain shady benefactor. Not that Berger considers that too much of a priority right about now.|
|Albert Wesker||"Once again you impress me, Doctor." The pleased robotic voice expresses with enough sincerity that it shines through the transposition. So much so, in fact, that information is actually shared from -that- end of the line. "It is entirely likely that man, and others like him, are key to countering the threat posed by these viral agents." Or at the very least, perfecting the promise such research represents. "Identifying mutations and possible secondary effects of the agents at play is essential to our understanding." To say nothing of inherently linked to the fate of the species, by some estimations.
The voice continues, with businesslike precision, "If there is nothing else to report, you'll find your new phone in the top right-hand drawer. Continue to fulfill your work assignments with all due diligence and maintain your cover, with exceptions made for all information regarding results anomalous to typical viral progression. Inform only me. Thank you for your vigilance, Doctor."