Sinners & Saints is set in a near future city, Saint City. People come to Saint City for an opportunity to become great. Regardless of their professions they're all the same, trying to become a legend in their field. Bounty Hunters, Demon Hunters, even your hot dog vendor on the side of the road. A city of fifty million working its own eco system, founded on the blood of the Seraphim Accord, host to violence, demons, strip clubs and the occasional church, it is here people come to live for a while before they die a legend.
Okay, so this thing would take a little more effort to bring down that Tony first thought. Perhaps underestimating it was his mistake to begin with, but he wasn't about to start entertaining the silly thought that he wouldn't be the one to get out of this alive. For a given definition of alive, at least.
Taking the time to wear it down wasn't an option; these beasts looked to be specifically built not to wear down. He'd simply have to avoid its grinding blades and beat it down. Shouldn't be an issue - it might be fast on its feet, but he was still far faster. He ducked low and sprang forward, leaping out of the way of the Fleshpound's swinging gauntlet and lashing out in passing to rake his bony claws through the flesh of its right leg in two arcing slashes. If he could take out its vertical base, he could pick apart the rest at his leisure.
The problem with taking out a fleshpounder was how resilient they are against damage, this was even more so the case for the King Fleshpound who blindly rushed through the slashes taking minimal damage to its leg as it moved. This thing was like a tank, but even more so it was like a walking meat grinder who had already clearly done enough damage to itself to make hardened callouses on its upper legs and chest making some sort of pseudo armor from how often it hit itself on its own or accidentally clipped itself just bashing through clots.
Nine sprang into action now as well she had been cutting down the clot ranks left and right but now it was more apparent her assistance might be needed to some degree and she rushed through a group of clots cutting them down quickly and moved on the flank of the King Fleshpound as it reared up and let out a triumphant roar. She stabbed her sword through its back and out of its abdomen and it looked over its shoulder then the light on its chest grew red, it began to spin and she let go of her sword ducking out of the way and the red light on its chest built power before releasing it as it spun. Nine was already on the ground she she avoided it, the clots in the room however met a blistering end easily cutting the remaining work in half.
This would definitely be tougher than first expected. Tony's claws elongated further, their edges grew harder, in anticipation for a more strenuous effort in cutting this beast down to size. Alice's help was much appreciated, and not just for diverting the furious Fleshpound's attention - she'd left her sword embedded in its back. It had cut through the calloused flesh so easily! Tony made a mental note to ask where he might get one for himself.
Stepping deftly out of the Fleshpound's reach for a moment as it flailed its whirring blades around, Tony waited for an opening to present itself, then ducked back into the fray. He circled tightly around to the Fleshpound's back, bony blades hacking and swiping all the while, then closed his hand over the hilt of Alice's discarded sword. With all his strength, and he'd built up quite a bit from all the Clots sacrificed to his hunger, he pulled the weapon sideways to drag it through the Fleshpound's side.
Success was found in Tony's attack, as he pulled at the sword he began tearing through the King Fleshpounds side, however in doing so also made the beast more furious than ever before. The beam on its chest exploded and began tearing apart the facility around them as it fired in no apparent direction, it was just rotating trying to get a hold of the man clutching the weapon. Nine moved in, the front of her sword red hot as she brought it around cleaving away a massive chunk of its knee causing the Fleshpound to collapse on it, the beam continued to fire hitting the ceiling destroying most of the support structures.
"That's not good," Nine said as they could hear the cracking of concrete, the facility was beginning to collapse in on itself.
The raging beast was toppled, but not finished, and its searing laser burned through concrete all around as it flailed in an effort to catch its attackers. Tony felt the rumbles, watched the concrete ceiling crack and crumple in the laser beam's wake.
"Not at all," he concurred with Alice. "Time to go, I think." Without waiting for agreement, he turned back toward the distant doors they had come from and broke into a sprint. Clots that got in his way had their heads ripped off their shoulders by clean swipes of his elongated claws, and as he approached the door, he bent at the knees and gave a mighty leap up to the lift platform. "You need a hand?" he called back to Alice; if she were still somewhere below, she'd find his other arm elongating, coiling tentacles forming a rope of sorts with which he could lift her up to the platform.
Nine took a different path than Tony but ultimately ended up in the same destination, she bypassed his offer when she was mid run she jumped using her own powers to propel her further as the ground warped under her. She landed on the platform and headed for the doors just as the ceiling began to crumble in the center. They could still hear the fleshpounds roars as they made it safely to the bottom of the stairs.
Nine took a bit of a deep breath, "if I knew it was going to be that easy I might have just released the damn thing months ago to destroy the facility."
"I wouldn't have advised that," the red queen had appeared.
"Shut up," Nine said and began to climb the stairs, "what's your name stranger?"
Watching Alice take her own acrobatic route up to the platform, Tony shrugged and withdrew his arms. By the time Alice landed beside him, they had retaken their normal human shape, and he flexed his fingers as if to make sure they still worked as they should. He joined her in hurrying on their way out of the doomed, collapsing laboratory; when she finally asked for his name, as they began the climb to the surface, he looked at her and pursed his lips in thought.
"...You know what, no point hiding it. Our electronic friend's probably already put two and two together. My name is Tony Redgrave - I was a subject of William Birkin's C-Uroboros program."
"I suspected Uroboros," Nine already said still climbing the stairs until they made it to the top, "then I'm guessing you're in town for a reason? Whatever that reason is you're not in the right place if you're by chance looking for Birkin."
Nine hadn't realized by now but Alice had been taken from the loft during this entire skirmish she was moving to the console where the information on the clots had been displayed earlier.
She ran a string of coding that caused the Red Queen to flicker and then disappear, "no use for her anymore."
"I'm looking for any opportunity to tear these monsters down, a piece at a time," he answered earnestly, less of a statement and more of a declaration of intent. "The bigwigs are proving elusive though... I wouldn't turn down help."
He watched the Red Queen flicker out of sight, tilted his head curiously. "Huh. There goes my big concern for secrecy. I figure it'll help me to stay under the radar."
"Come with me," Nine said, she tapped her phone and ended the lockdown, the door slid away revealing their original entrance. Nine walked through the ruined streets and stopped at another building, "I need you to keep our secrecy as well, so I think we're on the same page then."
Nine walked up to a column and put her hand on it, the wall just above her hand opened, she leaned forward letting the scanner that had appeared scan her eye and the door hissed as it lock let up.
'Welcome back Nine,' came a woman's voice, robotic in tone. She lead him into an elevator, "time to meet to boss."
The elevator ride was rather quick, when it started the pressure could be felt in their knees as it rapidly climbed and when it let up there was a bounce to it. The door opened and she narrowed her eyes and jogged out of the elevator, the door ahead of them had been blown open toward them, she rushed through it, the ceiling had been blown apart, the books adorning the shelves were all thrown on the ground, there were piles of hand written books just littering every corner.
No response, she ran to the terminal and played back the security footage. A helicopter had arrived, they breached the room and kidnapped Alice. She was hammering away at her keys when a news report flashed, Helicopter Crash in New York city.
"Tony, if you want to help, head to New York, that's where Umbrella is located, that's where Alice is located," Nine said, she hit another key command and the shelf next to her hissed and slid open revealing the armory, "take what you need. We've collected a wide variety of weapons over the years."
Well, this was all very high-tech. Wherever Alice had been hiding to watch his entry into the hidden lab, she appeared to be practically on the doorstep. Strange, though, that the synthesised voice that greeted her did so by addressing her as Nine. Must be a codename, Tony figured.
He followed her inside at her invitation, and rode the lift with her... up into a warzone. The rooms ahead of them had been blasted open by an explosive breaching action and ransacked.
Wait, why was she calling her own name? Squinting in confusion, but staying close at her six all the same, Tony followed her into the chaotic scene and watched as she pulled up security footage to determine what had happened. Just as he thought - invaders performed an explosive breach with the apparent goal of abducting a woman who looked just like...
"Wait a minute," he protested, bemused. "What do you mean, that's where Alice is? I thought you were Alice!"
He found himself standing in the doorway to the concealed armoury now opened to him, his head swivelling this way and that to look from the assorted weapons to "Alice" and back. What the fuck is going on?
"Don't believe everything you assume," Nine replied to him stepping into the armory. She grabbed an assault rifle and several attachments screaming the muzzle break onto the rifle and then slid the scope into place. She stepped out of the armory with that weapon pulled tight over her shoulder and headed back to the terminal rapidly typing on it, "news reports indicate that the helicopter that arrived here was taken out of the sky in New York. I'm crossing my fingers in hoping some old resistance fighters got the drop on- hold on I have a message from Chambers.... 'White Rabbit has been reclaimed. Rendezvous in New York for details on the situation.'"
She walked over to a closet and pulled it open grabbing a duffel bag she moved back to the armory and stepped in throwing several weapons and devices behind her onto/into the duffel bag, "if you're heading that way I'll explain on the helicopter trip to New York."
Tony could only step aside to let her past and stare in wonder as the cogs turned in his head. She'd given such a cryptic answer, that only raised more questions. Could it be that she was a clone of some sort, dispatched by the real Alice to help him? If that was the case, then the real Alice must have been lifted right out from under this one's nose while she was underground with Tony.
That must suck, he mused in his head. Still, if what he was piecing together from her talk while she assembled her equipment was correct, Alice had already been found and stolen back. Eventually, he had to simply shake off his wonder and get to work - there'd be time for questions later.
"I'll take you up on that," came his answer to "Nine's" offer to explain the situation. "Little use me staying here." He started with the basics - a tac vest that fit him comfortably, and a pair of thigh holsters. He always left his arms free to transform. Next came his weapons themselves. To this end, he had always observed a highly practical rule; one weapon for long-range engagements, one with the capacity to clear out crowds of BOWS or lay down suppressive fire, and one high-caliber option to be used on harder targets. When he emerged from the armoury, he emerged fully loaded, bearing a Mk14 EBR, a long-barreled Vector, and for good measure, a Taurus revolver chambered in the monstrous .454 Casull cartridge. He wore it all so easily, like he'd done this a hundred times before.
"Alright. So you're not the Alice, but you're the spitting image of her. Probably a clone, who the hell knows - stranger things have happened. And I gather Alice just got snatched up from here while you were in that now-defunct lab with me, she was flown to New York City, where her captors got jumped by friends of yours and snatched back. By Chambers, I assume you mean Alex Chambers. There's a name I know from the time I spent in Hellsing custody - the man's a legend over in England. That all sound accurate so far?"
"Close enough," Nine replied, she zipped up the bag and picked up her cellphone, "LJ I need a ride, can you meet me at the loft with the helicopter. There's a hole in the roof you just gotta hover we'll board on our own. Don't worry about who 'we' are just get here."
She put her phone away and looked back at Tony, "want something to drink we got a few to kill before he gets here."
Nine headed to the kitchen and opened the ice box pulling out a bottle of water and leaned in the doorway, "okay look, long story short. Alice was kidnapped by a former associate of ours and I'm assuming since Chambers sent the message she's safe. If you know Chambers then you'll know that his information is good. Regardless, Umbrella has been hot in New York since Grace and Redfield were killed so we're sitting on our hands right now waiting for someone to make the next move."
Nine was definitely very well connected. The armoury was packed so tightly, a naked flame in there might blast the whole building off the map. It was a wonder the kidnappers hadn't found it. He held his silence while she called in her helo pilot, and hummed in acceptance of her offer of the kitchen, stepping through after her and fetching a bottle of water for himself from the icebox. It always tasted better chilled.
"Can't say I know Chambers," he admitted, "but I've heard the stories from everyone at Hellsing who had stories to tell. Truth be told, I found myself wanting to meet the man by the time I was set free to go. But if business beckons, then meet-and-greets with urban legends can wait. Anything we ought to know about the AO Alice was lifted from?"
"Total war zone from what I've seen. Multiple bodies," Nine replied she could now hear the helicopter moving off from the distance, "I believe Adam went to New York after leaving from here a few days ago. There's a good possibility that he was involved. Given the details of one unofficial blog that Alice follows there was evidence that one or two mercenaries were crushed into the foundation meaning either Alice finally woke up from being a pitiful mess or one of the other high caliber B.O.W.s arrived on the scene to help. The only known operative though on our side that displays that kind of power would be Sarah Grace."
"At worse it's 320," she tossed her water bottle onto the counter and motioned for him to follow, she jumped hard from the floor and out the breach hole landing on the roof while watching LJ's helicopter move in. Once it hovering close enough she boarded and sat at the back putting on a set of headphones to block out the sound but also to keep communicating.
He could hear it too; the distant thrumming beat of helicopter blades drawing ever closer. Water bottle in hand after a couple hearty swigs from it, he fell in to follow Alice up to the roof, bounding into view right beside her and climbing aboard the helicopter once it was close enough.
"Don't mind me," he called to the pilot over the headset he donned when he took his seat beside Alice. "I made a new friend here and she told me I'd be welcome to tag along. Name's Tony."
"Let's go," LJ nodded to the both of them. The helicopter lifted off and began its trip to New York.
"Long story short, Amy Grace was killed a few days ago and Alice has been in a slump. Whoever took her probably didn't have to fight hard she probably willingly let them take her. Regardless, there's reports of some high level psychic damage at the scene, which means either 320 or Sarah came to her aid at some point. My guess, is that she's probably regrouping with what's left of Wonderland now. Regardless, we can set down in New York at GENTEC, you'll be able to leave into the city from there. Be warned, I hear Red has began slaughtering his way through the city if you see him make sure you let him know you're Hellsing or you might end up on the wrong side of a gun. He's known for a short temper and quick trigger finger," she informed.
That was a lot of big names that just got thrown at him, and a lot of big news to take in. Amy Grace, dead - he had known that much, at least, because her passing and that of the legendary Chris Redfield had been all over the news. He didn't know who Sarah might be, but if she was being spoken of in the same breath as a 300-series Tyrant, she was clearly somebody to pay attention to. As for Red...
"Red? ...Oh, shit. You don't mean Alucard?" He'd heard the horror stories around Hellsing, awed descriptions of the terrifying power wielded by the king of vampires. "Fucking hell. I never encountered him myself, but Seras Victoria told me all about him. Sir Integra said something about paying good money to watch me go a round with the man."
"Unless you're planning on outright attacking him I doubt you'll have the chance to go against him," Nine said, "he's been involved with at least three of the five recent incidents against Umbrella, word on the dark web is that the corpses of the ExCell soldiers are more or less mangled beyond recognition. Pretty much on par with the old days of his brutality. If I hadn't seen him for myself recently I'd still have to believe the rumors."
They were travelling very fast zipping over the forests and several small towns. More or less the surrounding area was infestation free, the North East had been hard at work to maintain the Wall and the security of the surrounding area. At one point ExCell constantly patrolled it but after Alex Wesker was ousted as Umbrella the US military took up patrolling the zone and continued to push the wall further into the Dead Zone reclaiming more land with every day.
"The other rumor is that Umbrella's head has returned to the lime light running the org straight into the bioweapon creation market again. We've known for years that Red hadn't killed Hija Himura but to actually hear his name is sending boogeyman like vibes through the anti-bow world right now."
Tony fell silent again, listening intently. There was another powerful name - Hija Himura.
"He really is that infamous, huh?" Tony knew the name, of course, but scant little else. Hija Himura had always kept himself a comfortable distance behind the scenes, unreachable and untouchable. "Wouldn't be surprised if he knows a thing or two about me, but I dunno shit about him. All depends how well Birkin succeeded in keeping me close to his chest as the trump card I was designed to be."
"Always assume that Himura knows," Nine said leaning forward reaching into the bag she had put together and pulled out a little handheld device. She fumbled with it for a second and then tosses it across the helicopter to him, on the display was:
Hija Himura Age: 50s Height: 6'3" Weight: 200lbs
"That is the only known picture we have of Hija Himura sent to us by J.W.. There's never truly been a known sighting of him on the streets or during any missions. According to J.W. the NATAS DROL 400 series tyrant was created off of a gene that Hija Himura has in his body mixed with one of the other higher grade Virus's."
Tony reached out to deftly catch the device, and lifted it to read the all-too-brief report on Hija Himura on the screen. He squinted in scrutiny of the poorly lit image as he listened to Alice's makeshift briefing on the subject of Umbrella's new head.
"I read some really unsettling things about NATAS," he confessed. Perhaps thankfully, he had never experienced the epochal 400-series in action. "Second-hand reports, mostly. And if that thing was based on this man's genetic material, then I'm really fuckin' curious what he must have done to himself."
"From what we know from J.W. Hija Himura has never done anything directly to himself. He is as much as an anomaly as Alucard is on this world," Nina replied, the helicopter crossed over the city now just entering the final stretch. They would be setting down on Staten soon at an unmarked helipad in one of the less populated areas. The rest of the trip Nine barely spoke, there wasn't much else to brief Tony on from here out. He knew the general information that she had, minus the more insider details. LJ landed the helicopter on the roof of a small building. She got up.
"Welcome to Staten Island, New York. Whatever you plan to do from here out is on you. I'll be departing to meet with a contact, I advise heading to GENTEC if you want further information. I'm sure someone there will be better fit to aid you."
Alice's answer put paid to Tony's musing about Himura's condition, and drew him to turn his head to give her a frankly stunned look.
"No shit?" he gawked. "That damned well complicates things..." He allowed that thought to hang in the air along with the thrumming noise of the rotors. He was stating the obvious, for a certainty, but he suddenly found that he shared Alice's apprehension for the idea of this enigmatic creature from whom the terrifying NATAS Tyrant was born taking the helm at Umbrella. Frankly, William Birkin might soon be the least of everyone's concerns, for all that Tony remained quite intent on paying the man back for what was done to him.
The helicopter eventually came to rest at a pad on Staten Island, apparently where he and Alice were to part ways. He couldn't complain - he had imposed on her quite enough for one day.
"Thanks for the lift!" he answered her, and offered a hand for a cordial shake. "It's been a pleasure to meet you. You ever need an extra pair of hands to get shit done, feel free to come tap me for it. I'm sure I won't be difficult to find!" With a thin smile and an affirmative nod, he doffed his headset and climbed out of the chopper. New York City was his oyster for now; if Alice thought that GENTEC headquarters was his best lead to getting some skin in this game, then that was where he would go.
Nine shook his hand in departing, LJ was getting everything checked out making sure the bird was still in one piece while the other two began on their own in the city. For Nina this was the first step in a master plan she had been set up with. It was time to get things moving in the big city, there were places to be and people to meet. The city was indeed their oyster, but events were transpiring that neither of them would be able to predict going forward.