“Riots? Why do we care that there’s rioting in Boone, Colorado?” Dean barely looked up from polishing his shotgun.
“Because several eye witnesses report seeing a person’s head explode, and tentacles emerging from the neck. Including a tentacle with a scythe-like blade that started slashing at people.”
Dean paused and looked up at Sam. “Alright, maybe there is somethin’. What else? I mean, this doesn’t sound like anything we’ve encountered before.” Dean frowned, then slowly started polishing the barrel of the gun again.
“Well, this started as a sort of outbreak of some mysterious illness. People coughing up blood, convulsions, hallucinations. Then people’s eyes started glowing red at night. Then these ‘riots’ broke out. Apparently, no one has been able to make contact with anyone in the town for several days.”
“What does Bobby have to say about all this?” Dean had completely stopped toying with the shotgun and left it resting across his lap.
“He’s looking into it, but it’s slow going. There’s not a whole lot out there on tentacled monsters that infect people.” Sam grimaced and closed his laptop.
“Well, pack your bags, I guess. And dress warm. January in Colorado ain’t no picnic.”
Several hours into the drive to Boone, Sam’s phone rang.
“Hey Bobby, what’ve you got?” Sam put his phone on speaker.
“I’m finding a whole lot of firewalls, that’s what. Whatever this thing is, the government has their hands in it. You boys best be careful out there, any sign of feds, you ought to split.”
“What about finding out what’s there, isn’t it kinda important that we figure out what this is and how to kill it?”
“Not if it runs you boys the risk of bein’ arrested. Information is valuable, but it ain’t worth your lives.” Dean rolled his eyes.
“So you’ve got nothing on these tentacled things?” Sam looked concerned.
“Well, I didn’t say I had nothin’. I found some really ancient mythos about something called ‘Las Plagas,’ originating from Spain. The text is centuries old, and it’s written in really old Spanish. But it describes the exact symptoms those people exhibited, from the spitting up blood, the convulsions, to the glowing eyes and the tentacles. Apparently these things were used to enslave people under a religious cult. Those with this parasite become somewhat like zombies, but follow the orders of their master without question. Like, tell ‘em to jump off a cliff and they’ll do it. I’m still searching for more on these things, but that’s what I got so far.”
“Anything on how to kill ‘em?” Dean asked.
“Nothin’ explicit, just that the hosts can take a hell of a beating before going down. This parasite makes them extremely resilient to pain.”
“Fuckin’ fantastic,” Dean snarled.
“If I find anything else, I’ll call you.”
“Thanks, Bobby.” Sam closed his phone and put it in his pocket, then stuffed his hands in his pockets to warm them.
“We’re getting’ close,” Dean said, as they rolled past a sign for Pueblo County, Colorado.
The fact that the people of this small town in Colorado had been infected with Las Plagas parasite had certain implications. Leon didn’t want to think about what this meant for Ada’s involvement in the events that autumn in Spain. Could it be that Wesker got the sample back from Ada, and has unleashed it? Does this mean that Ada was compromised by Wesker? Was she compromised by a third party? Is Ada…responsible for this? …No. He shook his head a little, trying to clear his mind.
Leon reloaded his handgun, then peered out from behind his cover. He didn’t see any Ganados in the immediate vicinity, so he crouched down and let out a long breath that he watched dissipate in the frigid air. He looked at the car he was using as cover, it seemed oddly out of place. A deep black, very shiny old car. Leon had never really cared much for cars, but this one was out of the ordinary, clearly special to someone… so that begs the question, what the hell is a beautiful car like this doing in the middle of nowhere, in this shitty weather, where there are people infected with Plagas? Leon cautioned a glance in one of the side windows of the vehicle to look for any hints about it’s owners. Old and crumpled wrappers from various fast food places littered the inside, along with what appeared to be someone’s laundry. Someone who wears a lot of flannel. Leon frowned, puzzled by this odd assortment. An undercover agent of Umbrella would likely not leave the inside of their car in such a state, nor did he know of any high-ranking agents that would lower themselves to the point of wearing flannel. And Ohio licence plates? Leon took a step back and looked at the entire car with an expression of concern. Confusion. He approached the driver’s door and peered in the front seat. Blankets, old coffee cups, and what appeared to be the handle of a handgun under the front seat. Someone well armed, that’s for sure.
Very well armed. Leon felt the distinct sensation of a gun’s muzzle against his back, as he could only assume the vehicle’s owner spoke.
“If I find she’s got so much as a scratch on her, you’re dead.” Leon slowly raised his hands in response.
“It’s a nice car. I was just looking.” Leon glanced at the reflection in the side of the car. Two men. Both huge. Both flannel clad. Shit.
“Of course she’s a nice car, now get the fuck away from her!”
Leon could hear a certain exasperation in the other man’s voice, as if he were all too familiar with Dean’s display of machismo. As sounds of approaching Ganados grew louder, Leon wasted no time. In one swift motion, he reached back and grabbed the muzzle of the gun (double barrel shotgun, a bit crude). He twisted it back as he spun around, and reverse roundhouse kicked Dean to the ground. He landed hard on his back, getting winded in the process. Leon took the shotgun, aiming it at Dean but keeping an eye on his…partner? Boyfriend? Brother? The other man looked rather large and menacing, but had the facial expression of someone who is entirely too fed up with this scenario. Leon squinted at him, unsure of how to proceed.
*cough* *splort* “Sammy…” *cough* *gasp* Dean started to sit up, seemingly unfazed by the gun pointed at him.
“Wait, you’re not one of them, are you?” Sammy asked. He gave Leon an inquisitive expression, completely ignoring Dean on the ground, who was rather melodramatically gasping for breath.
“No, I’m not infected. You guys aren’t either?” Leon relaxed a little, lowering the gun a bit. Dean didn’t seem to care it was pointed at him anyway.
“No, we’re trying to figure out what’s going on here. Who are you?”
Leon lowered the shotgun. “Name’s Leon. I work for the government under the Division of Security Operations. And you?”
Sammy smiled, shaking his hand. “I’m Sam, and this is my brother Dean.” Sam glanced down at Dean, who was still flat out on his back. Leon extended his hand to Dean to help him up, then shaking it as Dean stood upright. Dean looked at Leon from under a furrowed brow, sizing him up now that they stood side by side. Leon offered Dean his shotgun, then pulled out and fired his handgun at an infected that had started to sneak up behind Sam.
“Might need some backup, are you any good with this?” Leon teased, as he scanned the area. Dean ripped the shotgun from Leon’s hand, and cocked it dramatically.
“Of course I’m fucking good with it,” Dean snapped back. Leon glanced at Sam, who had procured a handgun from somewhere unseen. The sound of the gunshots had attracted the attention of all the nearby Ganados, and Leon frowned at the sight of the crowd heading towards them. Not having much confidence in his backup, Leon brainstormed for another solution. He glanced at the car beside them, the one Dean was so willing to commit murder to defend.
“This is going to get really wild if we don’t get out of here. If you don’t want your car to get damaged, I suggest you get in it and drive away very fast.” Leon took out a couple of fast approaching Ganados, thinning the crowd out slightly.
“And what, abandon the case? No, we aren’t going to just leave,” Dean snapped.
“Well, I can’t guarantee that you’ll survive this on your own, but if you let me come with you guys, I can tell you anything you want to know about what’s going on here and we can regroup and come back with a plan.” Leon waited, then glanced back at the brothers, who were having a very lively debate with facial expressions alone. While they duelled with their eyebrows, Leon took out a few more approaching Ganados.
Seeming to reach a wordless consensus, the brothers both turned and walked determinedly toward the car, Dean barking a “get in,” to Leon. He nodded, and turned to get in the back seat of the gorgeous monstrosity. He picked off a couple more Ganados before running out of ammo and getting in the car. Leon shoved the old food wrappers aside, clearing a space for him to sit. Then he reloaded his handgun, cranked the window down, and picked off some Ganados that wandered in their path. Dean swerved the car out of the way of a few bold individuals who dove in front of the car, and pulled out onto the main road with a screech of the tires. The engine roared, and they took off down the highway away from the town. Leon rolled the window back up as his ears started to complain of frostbite. He considered asking for a scarf, but looked at the state of the laundry keeping him company in the back seat, and decided against it.
“Ok, so can we go over this again? Who the hell are you?” Dean glared back at Leon through the rearview mirror. Leon locked his grey eyes to Dean’s brilliant green ones. He could see intense ferocity in them, masking a certain dreadful fear. He sighed and leaned back against the backseat, and pulled his ID out of his coat pocket.
“Leon Kennedy, D.S.O. agent working under the president’s direct orders. Everything I’ll be telling you is highly classified, and this information could get you killed if the wrong people find out you know. Just a disclaimer.” Sam took his government ID, and inspected it closely.
“Dean, this is real.” Sam whispered. Dean whipped his head to look at the ID, then back at the road. Leon watched from behind Dean as several different emotions cycled through their eyes. Sam turned and handed Leon his ID back, smiling sheepishly.
Leon smirked as he slipped it back in his coat pocket. “Don’t worry. If you guys are in any sort of trouble… Not my division.” He could see Dean’s eyes visibly soften through the rearview mirror, and Sam’s shoulders relaxed.
“Ok, so a really high level agent is here to look after a riot? Something doesn’t make a whole lot of sense about that.” Sam turned in his seat to face Leon.
“Right, this might be easier if you tell me how much you guys know about what’s going on.” Leon pulled a flask out of his coat pocket and took a sip of it, then offered it to Sam. Sam refused, but without asking, Dean took the flask and took a drink. While driving. Leon frowned, but shook his head and took the flask back.
“Well, we were hearing reports about riots in the area, which didn’t sound like anything too unusual, until someone said they witnessed someone’s head explode, and tentacles come out. That just seemed a bit…weird. We weren’t too far away from here, so we thought we’d check it out.” Sam looked back at Leon, looking somewhat unsure. “I know, it probably sounds crazy as hell.”
“Some people were saying they were zombies, but they aren’t acting like zombies. They’re too coherent. And they aren’t eating people. I mean…you know, if zombies were real.” Dean’s eyes shifted uncomfortably.
These guys know about zombies? Leon sighed, before taking another quick drink. “Yeah. They aren’t zombies. At least, not as I know them. Have you guys heard about Raccoon City?”
Sam’s back went rigid, and he slowly turned to look at Leon, with a bewildered expression. Dean’s eyes burned holes in Leon’s head through the mirror.
“Heh, I’ll take that as a yes. I was there.”
“What—” Sam’s eyes were wide.
“Ok, dude, you gotta tell us about that.” Dean added.
Leon chuckled and glanced out the window of the car. “Ok, so brief story of my life. I was supposed to start my first day of as a police officer in Raccoon City the day of the viral outbreak. I barely made it out alive. Afterwards, I was taken by the government and forced to work for them as a special agent. I don’t know what the alternative was. Probably not good. I didn’t see how I could return to a normal civilian life anyway, so I’ve been working for them ever since. A couple years ago, the president’s daughter was kidnapped, I don’t know if you guys heard about that.”
“Oh yeah, she’s kinda cute,” Dean said, smiling. Sam smacked his arm. “What? She is!”
Leon brought his hand to his face for a moment, and sighed. “Her name is Ashley. I was supposed to go rescue her. It turned into a mission to stop this religious cult from engaging in biowarfare. I managed to rescue Ashley and bring her home, but an agent working for Neo-Umbrella got away with a sample of the parasite.”
Leon looked at the brothers, who were staring at him with inquisitive expressions. “I told you this was complicated. So this religious cult group was called the Los Illuminados, and they had formed this bizarre religion where they would take this parasite into their bodies, Las Plagas.”
“So Bobby was right!” Sam interjected. Leon looked at Sam, puzzled. “Our friend Bobby has been researching this for us. He found a reference to something called Las Plagas. He said the symptoms the infected hosts were exactly what these people had, but there wasn’t much information on them he could find.”
Leon gave Sam a concerned expression. Considering how tight-lipped the government had been about the discovery and use of Las Plagas thus far, he had no idea how a bunch of flannel-clad cowboys knew about something like this. But he decided there would be time later to ask how they knew, right now they needed to get on the same page.
“Ok, so what do you know about Las Plagas so far?” Leon took another gulp of the bitter whisky from his flask.
“Uh, well, that people start out with convulsions, coughing up blood, hallucinations. Then their eyes glow red and they become somewhat like zombies, but they’re being controlled by some sort of master… he wasn’t able to find very much.”
Leon smiled, the warmth of the whisky easing some of the pain of the frostbite. “That’s all true. There’s two strains of Plagas: the submissive, and the dominant. The submissive strain is what infects most people, the dominant is what is used to control them. Those with the dominant strain retain some of their faculties, but those with the submissive strain are either held under total control, or the process of the parasite attempting to take hold simply kills them.”
“So someone is controlling them? How do we find out who?” Dean, oddly quick on the uptake.
“Well, that remains to be seen. My entire team was wiped out, so I’ve got no other backup, not until reinforcements can get here. Which could be several days. So it’s just us trying to figure this out. Speaking of, what’s your story? I’m kind of curious why two flannel-clad hillbillies are so interested in issues of natural security.” Sam shot Leon a glare, while Dean’s eyes did nothing to conceal the gears crunching in his mind as he grasped for a comeback.
“Yeah, well at least my haircut don’t cost me a hundred bucks, pretty boy,” Dean snapped. Leon scoffed, smiling.
“We aren’t hillbillies. We’re hunters” Sam still looked offended.
“Hunters. Like, game hunters?” Leon looked at them, puzzled.
“No, not so much.” Sam chuckled.
“We hunt the shit that goes bump in the night. Supernatural shit.” Dean was focusing a serious stare at Leon.
“Supernatural? Like, ghosts?” Leon frowned, not sure how much of this he was willing to believe.
“Ghosts, demons, you name it. If there’s a fairy tale about it, it probably exists. And we’ve probably killed it.” Dean’s eyes had gotten oddly gleeful for such a dark topic.
“Part of me doesn’t want to believe you, but I survived Raccoon City, so I can’t exactly say it’s out of the realm of possibility.”
“You can believe it, or you can choose to ignore it. But it’s out there, and it’s up to us to keep it from killing everyone.”
Leon looked at Dean with a sudden heart-wrenching ache in his chest. That need to protect the innocent, to save people. It’s what’s kept him going all these years, and he can see the same is motivating Dean at his core. Suddenly the displays of macho posturing made sense. He pulled his flask out again, and took a sip. Then, he handed the flask to Dean.
“Why so mopey all of a sudden?” Dean looked back at Leon as he took the flask and sipped from it.
“It’s just… I know how it feels, to feel responsible for protecting people. To feel like the fate of the world is in your hands. It’s an immense pressure. It does things to you.” Leon glanced out the window, the whisky starting to warm his cheeks.
“It don’t exactly pay well, in any sense.” A heavy silence fell over the car, only the howling winter wind as they drove across the barren landscape. Signs that they were nearing the city of Pueblo had started to crop up, mostly the fact that aircraft were flying very low toward the airport. Dean pulled into a small roadside motel parking lot. The sound of Leon’s phone ringing startled everyone in the car, and Leon cursed under his breath as he fumbled for his phone with his frostbitten hands.
“Hunnigan, what’ve you got?”
“Leon, where are you? We’d lost contact with everyone else deployed in Boone, I was starting to get worried.”
“I managed to escape unharmed, but everyone else was killed. I tried to warn them, but they didn’t believe me. Not until it was too late. I came across some hunters that got ambushed during all this, and we escaped together. We’re heading to Pueblo now.”
Leon frowned, realizing he’d just given them up. He looked up to see Dean and Sam staring daggers at him. “Uh, yeah, these guys were out hunting some bison in the area, so they were well armed and managed to escape the onslaught.” Leon shot the brothers an apologetic glance, and saw they had relaxed.
“Well, however you managed it, I’m glad you got out of there. They’re planning to send in military reinforcements to take down anyone infected in the area. If you can manage to get yourself somewhere safe, I can arrange for a chopper to come pick you up.”
“But if they just go in there guns blazing, we’ll never find out who’s responsible for this! After everything that happened in Spain, we can’t just let it happen again here.”
“You’re right, Leon. But I don’t know what we can do to stop them from going in there with the full force of the US military. If you want to find out who or what’s behind this, you better do it fast.” Hunnigan sounded stressed, and Leon instantly felt bad for putting her through this.
“I’m sorry, Hunnigan. But I can’t just walk away from this.”
“I know, Leon. I’ll keep you up to date on what the military is doing. Call me if you need anything.” He grimaced and put his phone away.
“Bison?” Sam looked amused.
“Speaking of, I could go for some steak,” Dean lamented.
Leon laughed a little. “Yeah, I’m starving. Want to get some food? My treat?” Leon smiled at the brothers, whose faces lit up like kids on Christmas morning.
“Hell yeah!” Dean was grinning wildly.
“Although, I must insist that if we’re eating at a restaurant, we eat at a nicer one than ‘Butt-fuck-nowhere Motel Diner.’ Is there an Outback Steakhouse around here?”
Dean’s smile seemed to spread beyond the confines of his face. “Fuck YES.” He excitedly pulled the car back out of the parking lot and back on the highway into Pueblo.
Leon could feel the whisky warming the blood in his veins, but despite being inebriated, he was concerned at how much their driver was drinking. At least, until he saw Sam had snuck the keys out of Dean’s coat pocket. Leon smiled, then poured Dean another drink.
“So dude, you said you were there. What was it like?” Dean’s words were starting to slur.
“What? Oh, you mean Raccoon City? Shit… it was a whole level of hell that was beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Even the time I spent in Spain infected with that fucking parasite, wasn’t as bad as Raccoon City.”
“Woah woah…hold on, you had the parasite?” Sam lowered his voice to a whisper.
“Oh, shit, yeah. They knocked me out and implanted an egg into me. I got it out using a machine their researcher had developed.”
“So it is possible to kill these things?” Sam looked hopeful. Leon sighed, and took another drink.
“Yes and no. With a very highly specialized type of radiation used before the parasite is fully developed, the host has a chance at survival. Ashley and I were incredibly lucky in that we managed to remove it in time and survive the procedure. But once it’s fully developed, killing the parasite kills the host.” Leon looked at his reflection in his whisky before downing the last of it.
“So…Bobby said the infected are really fuckin’ tough. Like, they don’t feel pain or somethin’. Are they weak against anything? Like, fire?” Dean rested his arms on the table to steady himself.
“They’re sensitive to UV light. The dominant Plagas, not as much. But the submissive strain can be easily killed with a flash of UV light. Sunlight, flash grenades. Both work well against them. Mind you, only when the head has been damaged and the parasite is exposed. Otherwise, it just kinda pisses ‘em off. They aren’t exactly weak to fire, but it’s pretty effective. Mostly though, just aim for the head, then kill the exposed parasite with a flash.”
“What was it like? Bein’ infected with it?” Dean was hanging on Leon’s every word, with awe and wonder in his eyes.
“Hell. Vomiting, coughing up blood. Hallucinating, and occasionally I’d lose control and try to kill someone I cared about.” Memories of feeling his own hands around Ada’s throat flashed in his mind, and he winced. “The agony it took to remove the damn thing was well worth it.” Leon went quiet, and picked at the bones on his plate.
“We’re gonna find the son’s of bitches that did this, I swear we will.” Dean wavered in his seat, but steadied himself with a hand on Leon’s shoulder. Leon smiled at drunk Dean, blushing a little.
“You did mention knowing about the people who might be behind this, both to us, and to the woman on the phone earlier. What do you think is going on?” Sam asked, raising an eyebrow and smiling at the obvious flirting Dean was doing.
“When I was in Spain, an agent working for…someone…showed up. She’s the one who escaped with the sample of the parasite. I don’t know what happened after she got away, but I don’t like what this situation implies. Thing is, I know her, and her loyalties are always up in the air. So this could be the work of Umbrella, or a third party organization, or anyone really. And if I’m going to put an end to this bioterrorism, I need to figure out who’s behind it.”
“Well, how can we find out who’s controlling the submissive hosts?” Sam asked.
“The dominant Plaga is able to control the slaves with hypersonic sound waves. Too high a frequency for the human ear to hear, but it could theoretically be detected with a modified radio device.” Leon leaned back in his seat.
“What, like this one?” Dean held up a gruesome device that resembled…a cassette player? Leon frowned, and squinted at it. “It’s an EMF reader, it’s for detecting ghosts. Works on the same principle. Could easily be tweaked to search for the frequency you’re talkin’ about.” Dean set the EMF scanner on the table in front of Leon, who picked it up and began turning it over in his hands.
“Yeah, if this could be tweaked to scan for the right frequency, we’ve basically got ourselves a radar that’ll locate the master.” Leon’s eyes lit up as he continued to look the device over.
“Fuckin’ genius, I’m tellin’ ya.” Dean tapped a finger to his temple while shooting an indignant look to Sam. He stood up, tripped over his chair leg and fell face first to the floor.
“Maybe it’s time to turn in for the night?” Sam asked, a sneer to his tone.
Leon woke to a brutal pain in his head, sunlight burning his retinas through the uncovered window. He tried to roll over, but found he was restrained by an arm holding him. He looked over to see Dean splayed out on the bed next to him… wearing nothing but his boxers, and snoring softly. Vague flashes of the steakhouse, a very snuggly car ride with Dean curled up in the backseat with him, Sam offering to stay in a separate room… he could barely remember what happened the night before. He shook his head and gently lifted Dean’s arm off of him so he could get up. The clothes scattered around the room told their own story of what happened that night. Leon grimaced as he closed the curtains to try and dim the light and the screaming pain in his head.
The change in lighting dynamic startled Dean awake, and he jumped and snorted while trying to breathe. “Wha? Hnnngh… ugh, how much did I— DUDE.”
Leon turned to face him, looking puzzled. “What?”
Leon looked down, seeing that he too was rather…bare. “Speak for yourself. And from what I remember of last night, you were the one drooling all over me.” Leon smirked, and slipped his pants on.
Dean groaned loudly and sat up. “Could you pass me my pants?” Dean asked. Leon turned and shot him a ‘get-your-own-damn-pants’ look, until he saw Dean holding the sheets over himself protectively. Oh. Oh.
“Yeah, here.” Leon laughed a little, and winked at Dean as he handed him his jeans.Continue reading