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Underworld (Resident Evil #4)
Author: S.D. Perry

PROLOGUE

Associated Press, October 6, 1998

THOUSANDS KILLED AS FIRE SWEEPS THROUGH MOUNTAIN COMMUNITY, MYSTERIOUS ILLNESS MAY BE INVOLVED

NEW YORK, NY—The secluded mountain community of Raccoon City, PA, has officially been declared a disaster area by state and federal officials, as dedicated firefighters continue to wage war against the dying blazes and the death toll continues to rise. It is now estimated that over seven thousand people were killed by the explosive fires that raged through Raccoon in the early hours of Sunday, October 4. It is being called the worst U.S. disaster in terms of lives lost since the industrial age, and as national aid organizations and international press flock to the blockades surrounding the still burning ruins of the city, shocked friends and family of Raccoon citizens have been gathering, waiting for word in nearby Latham.

National Disaster Control (NDC) Director Terrence Chavez, coordinator for the combined efforts of the multiple firefighting and emergency teams, released a statement to the press last night stating that barring unforeseen complications, he expects the last of the flames to be extinguished before midweek—but that it may be months before the origin of the fire is determined, as well as whether or not arson was involved. Said Chavez, “The magnitude of the damage in terms of area alone is going to make finding the answers a great undertaking, but the answers are there. We will get to the bottom of this, whatever it takes.”

As of 6 A.M. today, seventy-eight survivors have been found, and their names and conditions withheld; they have been transported to an undisclosed federal facility for observation and/or treatment. Initial reports by HazMat teams suggest that an unknown illness may be responsible for the incredible number of victims, as infected citizens were unable to escape due to the possibly incapacitating sickness. There is the further suggestion that the disease may have induced violent psychosis in some of those infected. Members of private and federal disease-control centers have called for extending the quarantine boundaries, and although no official statement has been released, there have been several “leaked” descriptions of physical and biological abnormalities in many of the victims. Said one source, a worker for a federal assessment team, “Some of those people weren’t just burned or dead from smoke inhalation. I saw people who’d been killed by gunshot wounds or stabbings, [and] other forms of violence. I saw people who’d obviously been sick, dead, or dying long before the fire ever hit. The fire was bad—terrible—but it’s not the only disaster that occurred there, I’d bet money on it.”

Raccoon City was in the news earlier this year when a series of unusual murders rocked the community. These were apparently unmotivated slayings, of extreme violence, and several involved cannibalism; already, tentative connections are being made by local press near Raccoon between the eleven unsolved murders from last summer and the rumors of mass violence prior to the consuming flames.

Mr. Chavez refused to confirm or deny the rumors, saying only that investigations into the tragedy will be thorough…

Nationwide Today, A.M. Edition, October 10, 1998

RACCOON DEATH TOLL RISES AS SEARCH AND RESCUE TEAMS COMBINE EFFORTS

NEW YORK, NY—The official body count now stands at just under 4500, with the blackened ruins of Raccoon City still being combed for additional victims of the apocalypse that took place early last Sunday morning. As a nation’s mourning begins, over six hundred men and women are working to uncover the reasons behind the destruction of the once peaceful community. Local relief organizations, scientists, soldiers, federal agents, and corporate research teams have come together in a show of determination and purpose, pooling resources and accepting delegated responsibilities in order to get to the truth.

NDC Director Terrence Chavez, the official head of the effort, has been joined by top researchers from disease-control centers all around the world, national security agents from several federal branches, and a privately funded team of microbiologists from Umbrella, Inc., the pharmaceutical company, which is investigating the possibility that there may be a connection between their chemical lab on the outskirts of the city and the strange infection now being called “Raccoon syndrome.”

Initial studies of this illness have been vague and inconclusive, says Umbrella team leader Dr. Ellis Benjamin, “but we’re convinced that the citizens of Raccoon were infected with something, either accidentally or intentionally. All we know at this point is that it doesn’t seem to have been airborne, and that the final result was rapid cellular disintegration and death; we still don’t know if it was bacterial or viral, or what the symptoms were, but we won’t rest until we’ve exhausted all of our resources. Whatever the findings, and whether or not Umbrella materials were a part of it, we’re committed to seeing this through to the end. It’s the least we can do, considering how much our company owes the people of Raccoon.” The Umbrella chemical plant and administration facilities in Raccoon City provided nearly a thousand local jobs.

The 142 survivors are still being held in quarantine for observation and questioning at an undisclosed location. While their identities are still being protected, the FBI has released a statement listing medical conditions. Seventeen survivors suffered minor injuries but are in stable condition, seventy-nine are still on a critical list following surgical procedures, and forty-six of the survivors, while not injured, have suffered some major mental or emotional breakdown. There is no confirmation as to whether or not any are infected with the syndrome, but the statement did include a reference to survivor’s stories that verified the existence of the infection.

Gen. Martin Goldmann, overseer of military operations in the ravaged city, is hopeful that all of those still missing will be found within the next seven days. “We’ve already got four hundred people out there working twenty-four/seven, searching for survivors and running identification checks—and I just got word that another two hundred will be coming in on Monday…”

Fort Worth Bugler, October 18, 1998

POSSIBLE CONSPIRACY BY CITY EMPLOYEES IN RACCOON TRAGEDY

FORT WORTH, TX—New evidence uncovered by cleanup crews in Raccoon City, PA, indicates that the “Raccoon syndrome,” the disease responsible for the majority of the 7200 deaths that have occurred in Raccoon as of this writing, may have been unleashed upon the unsuspecting populace by Raccoon Police Chief Brian Irons and several members of the Special Tactics and Rescue Service (S.T.A.R.S.).

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