Umbrella Surveillance System
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Albert Wesker The Catacombs have long been vaults revered and mysterious, linked to ancient legends. Of late, a simultaneously similar and alarmingly different breed of malice may be growing beneath fair Paris, and many have delved into the investigation. On one of Buck's recent excursions, he unearthed a clue distinctly unique from others-- for one thing, the fine envelope appeared along a path on his egress from the subterranean network, a place he's sure he already passed, already cleared.

Within is a precise map of a scarcely-travelled portion of the catacombs, leading into an apparent dead end. It's this location that's marked, the heavier paper accompanied by a small, handwritten note: Come alone, I guarantee your safety. -- An Old Friend.

~~

It's likely to hearken Buck's mind back to his time with the RPD, to a similar note and address that was found in his earliest days with S.T.A.R.S.. That one read: You were chosen for a purpose. Would you like to know what it was? Come alone, only your safety is guaranteed. -- A Friend.

That meeting led to a seemingly abandoned room, with an innocuous computer terminal. It wasn't Rogers' first contact with then-Captain Wesker. But Buck wouldn't have known that at the time; or, likely, made the connection since. He was told in that conversation that his genetic markers contained several special elements that demanded further study. That dangerous times were coming and only men like him, and his Friend, would see to the survival of humanity-- perhaps the world.

'Since' then included his friend making good on that promise, or offer one cannot refuse. Further promises that Buck would be a titan among men; one of the first of a better breed of human. Really, evidence to date is on Wesker's side there, too.

~~
Buck Rogers The recent bombings in Paris have had the commercials Buck was involved in the filming of put on hiatus; this is a profoundly awful thing, given the man was already boiling with discontent, and now lacks even the smallest of above-the-law distractions. He has taken to the fight clubs beneath the city, buried beneath the stone and amidst the long-abandoned mines and homes of the dead. Night after night, in direct defiance of the orders from his doctor, he's skipped away from bedrest to go and dabble in a spot of pugilism, working through his issues blow by blow, break after break.

Surprisingly, it's been working. A calmness has settled on the brute; a clarity he has lacked for months now, torn between two conflicting perspectives. He's settled on his path in the future, though the methods by which he will achieve it elude him; but he knows now, he knows, that he is no longer one of the normal people.

Such calmness has not drowned his curiousity, though, and with the faded map clutched in hand, shoved into a pocket, Buck has made his way to the dead-end tunnel, hearing, through the stone, the rumbling of a metro passing nearby. "I don't have many friends these days," the gruff fellow speaks up into the darkness, mouth half-curled in sardonic grin. "Especially ones who live underground. You listenin', Cryptkeeper?"
Albert Wesker "Perhaps you are merely blind to them." A smooth, melodic and resonant, deep voice suggests evenly from the shadows, without missing a beat. He all but appears from behind one of the finely hewn columns supporting the room, silhouetted by the diffuse light trickling in from the corridor that admitted Buck. The Berserker must have walked right past the smaller, but still statuesque operative.

The blonde agent casually removes a PDA from his coat and attaches a battery booster to it, before activating a signal jammer, overwhelming electronic surveillence that may or may not be in place. "It's been too long, Rogers." Wesker wears a dark longcoat and a sleekly armored sneaksuit beneath it, easily lost against the tomb's stoney hues.

At least, it's difficult to see until several portable LEDs ignite, filling the large room with soft, blue light. Colonel Wesker's eyes see his old teammate just fine, however; they're multi-faceted crimson and gold, akin to those of a great cat. An apex predator.

"You've come a long way, perhaps either because of or despite how much effort you put into running from your haunts." It's matter-of-fact, if mildly condescending. The truth hurts. "But there are far better ways to reach that pinnacle than ever more exorbitant quantities of street drugs." Cue knowing smirk.
Buck Rogers Buck hooks his thumbs in his pockets, that familiar voice ringing in his ears-- it brings back late nights in Raccoon City addressing local crime, trips in the mountains, station fundraisers, all of them overseen by S.T.A.R.S.' respected and accomplished leader--

"Captain Wesker," Buck says with a broad grin, pivoting on a heel. His smile's all teeth, a bright, professionally-cleaned white. A few chips here and there give him the aspect of a shark. "You really liked The Matrix, didn't you? Wouldn't have guessed." The big man blinks a few times, eyes adjusting to the darkness, straining to discern the outline of Wesker's silhouette from the off-gray crags of the stone. There's a slight bulkiness to it that tells him Wesker's armored, but he can't tell if he's armed, yet-- not that it especially matters, and not that Buck thinks to double-check when the LEDs wake, bathing the room in light. He blinks a few times, and from beneath a heavy, furrowed brow, stares down at Wesker's inhuman eyes. The hellish shades, royal-flecked, and his mouth sets in a line. "When I saw that James kid," he growls, leaning against the wall beneath one of the LEDs, "I thought he was wearing contacts. That's not right, is it?"

A long pause, and then Buck laughs, a severe sound-- like the barking of dogs, rough and sudden. "After the city fell, thought it'd be good to up the dosage. Try out some other things on the market-- get enough in your system, you hit harder, heal faster. Had a feeling our little Apocalypse was the gunshot 'Go!', not the finish line." The running comment earns a grunt and Buck simply stares. Ignorant, to be sure, but not slow, not confused-- just putting together pieces with the steady consistency of a racing turtle. "You're a sly bastard, Captain."
Albert Wesker "Style often accompanies function." Wesker observes smoothly, wasting few beats bantering with the burly fellow. The two men share similarities beyond their history with S.T.A.R.S. and their proficiency in combat. Both have a tendency to push themselves to their limits, if not beyond; alongside a tendency to attract a substantial amount of trouble(tm).

"Mr. "Scott" should know better than to share unknown needles." Wesker muses in dry, sardonic tandem. It might surprise Buck to find Wesker entirely familiar with the man.. or perhaps not. Either way, the most unlikely of Progenitor specimens has been on the veteran's radar for some time.

Just this moment, the Colonel is harried mostly by a lingering, if minor flu-- perhaps a side-effect of evolution? Of knitting himself back together (alarmingly quickly) after nearly being killed by a rocket-propelled grenade? ... or maybe just working in an office. It lends a throaty, raspy tremolo to his words, here and there.

"Your instincts are strong, Rogers. Even if forces were not actively seeking such an outcome, humanity's very nature of escalating violence makes implosion all but inevitable. Your genetic structure underwent experimental trials back in Raccoon City, alongside much of the RPD." Wesker almost casually, calmly discloses.

"Your evolving might is largely a result of variant t-strains forcing activation of rare markers. But there's much more we can accomplish." Those preternatural eyes narrow. "And as I told you in the beginning... a great deal on the line."
Buck Rogers Buck's right hand slips from his pocket, rapping his knuckles against the clammy, blue-lit stone. He finds a crack and, appreciating the texture on his skin, drags his index finger along it, gathering dust and debris. "So you know him," Buck says, chewing on his lip and letting that thought flow through his mind. "Share needles? Figured the kid was a junkie; he had that look. Like a twitchy, beaten dog." Buck rolls one massive shoulder and steps off the wall, cracking his neck and examining his former superior.

The nearby metro passes closer. The vibration kicks free the loose particles of stone clinging on the surface, spreading a cloud of dust through the dead-end tunnel. Buck lifts a heavy hand and swings it a few times, pushing the tainted air away from his face. "I remember those tests," Buck says, glancing aside in deep thought. "The S.T.A.R.S. medical examinations. Standard physical. Got a drug test, had to get those iodine injections." A useful cover story-- inject some 'iodine' to track in the blood, and knock them out. "Got kinda hazy there.. figured I drifted off." Refocusing, Buck stares down at his hand, flexing it in midair. Each finger curls one by one, slow, deliberate, until it's squeezed into a tight fist. The knuckles crack.

"You work for Umbrella," he concludes. He's no mastermind, but the information lines up perfectly. "Mm. So S.T.A.R.S. was all in their pocket?" That grin returns; he doesn't sound mad. "Heh. Fuck, what's it matter. Most of 'em are dead now. But not me." The fist opens, and he's staring Wesker down. His eyes are hungry. Feral. "Bring the implosion on. I'm sick of this-- all of it. I haven't felt alive since Raccoon City. It was pure. Beautiful." The last person he said this to called him a demon; he thinks Wesker might appreciate Darwinism a bit more. "I'm listening. I'm in, whatever it is. I want something new."
Albert Wesker "His criminal record alone was very telling." James' employment and... unique ties to Umbrella, even more so. Wesker doesn't seem concerned to reveal it, but then this very much has the tone of a moment where one is laying down their cards.

"Without that screening, and the experiments that built upon it, you would likely not be alive today." The Colonel hypothesizes quite frankly. "You are, after all, much hardier than any animal, even one of your size, should normally be."

The veteran operative paces gracefully about the venerated tomb, pensive as he pauses his musings. "That Umbrella had a hand in S.T.A.R.S. should have been obvious to everyone even at the time." Look how much of their equipment had Umbrella logos. "But to call me in their pocket is a dangerous oversimplification." Whoever it may have been that placed him in the RPD to begin with.

"We are something new, Rogers. Umbrella is decidedly not. It behooves us to pioneer humanity's future, not to be used by another profiteer of war." It has the simple passion of a truth; perhaps even one that's near complete, a rarity in Wesker's deadly line of work.
Buck Rogers Buck folds his arms over his chest; in such a position, that bullneck squashed down, head lowered, shoulders drawn in as he hunches, he resembles nothing so much as a lump of rock. "I know they helped fund us," he responds, half-grunt, half-growl, "that's not what I meant. But it answers the question." Beneath his arms, the lingering scar from when the claws of a licker tore his chest open stirs, the knot of flesh alive with the memory of injury. "You know, I got hit by lightning at the beginning of this week. Hit by fucking lightning. And it didn't even kill me. I didn't even go to the hospital. Ever since the outbreak, I've been taking wounds that should kill me-- hell, wounds that should kill an elephant. And I keep going."

Those arms unfold, and his reach stretches on and on, the muscles tightening, expanding, as his fingers grasp and he seems like to grab one end of the tunnel in each hand. "I feel like if I really wanted to, I could grab someone and just... rip and tear, until pieces of them were missing. That's not something a human does." Each slow crack of his knuckles is like the firing of a gun. "So you've got bigger ideas than Umbrella, Captain? Heh.. I don't know what you're plotting, so I'll level with ya." One arm swings around, a thumb jerked into his own chest. "I've been dreaming of the whole world on fire. Ever since I escaped, I've felt this urge to ruin it all and see what rises next. It's poison, how we live now; mankind's spirit has been castrated. People worry about taxes and reruns and having a bigger car than the asshole next door. It's pointless bullshit. I want it all torn down. I want to stand outside and smell the ashes. I want people to be alive-- human beings, not human doings. Doing pointless bullshit."

Another shrug. He's not normally philosophical; rare does he express his thoughts. "I feel like civilization's been going downhill since we crawled away from the primordial ooze. We're living in concrete prisons--and as a man that's been to prison, I can tell. I wanna break it, Captain. I want to see what the world's like when we give up the bullshit and really live."
Albert Wesker "An RPG blew up while I took cover between a broken car door and a wheel well, near the hardest I've been hit and a chunk of steel impaled me." Wesker expresses the violent bisection with a sharp motion of gloved hands. It's hardly notable next to Buck's laundry list of maulings, but it's not score-keeping. It's kinship, correlating data to what they both already know.

"We can build the durability, the raw strength, into something truly remarkable." He has the technology. The FBC commander wastes little breath arguing with Buck's assessment of humanity, simply listening, offering a subtle nod at several points. "Mankind is on the brink of destruction or evolution, and to realize either destiny requires the dismantling of the artifice of society's avarice. It's a process we must take by the reins before it hurtles out of control."

Some assets are an easier flip than others. Right from the beginning, Rogers was an easy read, eminently compatible with the then-Captain's ambitions. Now, battered and broken against the ragged edge of the very real apocalypses facing the world, Buck Rogers is precisely the jagged weapon Wesker needs, a powerful ally who already wants what he wants. The Colonel smiles, genuinely, but not warmly; it's dangerous, predatory. Familiar to a man like Buck.
Buck Rogers Buck shoves his hand forward and brings the other out, reaching to clap Wesker's shoulder and shake his hand. "That's the spirit," the big man declares, and something inside of him just clicks-- that calmness has become *focus*, his aimless brutal rage and discontent having brought him to a purpose. As his heart settles on a path far darker than any he held before, he meets that smile with one of his own. "Make me stronger," he declares, squeezing the hand with unconscious, bone-crushing strength, if it's given, and otherwise after turning to stare at the lights. There's a weight lifted off his shoulders and it shows in the spring of his step. "Bigger, tougher, harder. I'll stomp around the world and kill anything in your way, if it means seeing a new world." With his size, his brute-force nature, he's already got the makings of a Tyrant. "This'll be fun."