This second chapter really gives us an insight into the captain of the STARS team, Albert Wesker. The great part of this section is the brief look at the investigation side of the actual case behind the so called “Cannibal Murders” plaguing Raccoon City, something the video games understandably glosses over. The appeal of Resident Evil, the video game, is the atmosphere and the exploding zombie heads. The appeal of the novel is digging into the characters and the world they inhabit. While fans of Resident Evil will already know that Captain Wesker (spoilers) is the overall villain of the series, almost personifying the Umbrella Corporation, the pharmaceutical company behind the cannibal murders.
As chapter two begins, we follow Jill Valentine as she hurries into the STARS office and joins the rest of the team in brainstorming the possible motives and explanations behind the murders. Jill brings her hypothesis to the table of the cannibal murders being a part of a ritualistic cult due to evidence suggesting that the murderers are self-mutilating along with taking their victims lives.
Another aspect that works well within this chapter is the fact that one of the two STARS teams has been sent out into the Raccoon City forest to investigate the murder sites. STARS is made up of both the Alpha and Bravo teams, Alpha being a strike team, while Bravo seemingly acts as something of a recon team that collects info for the more experienced and combat ready Alphas. Chris Redfield, one of the series’ main protagonists, is outwardly concerned with the Bravo team being sent in first because of the obvious dangers within this case, and is questioning the combat experience of most of the Bravo team members. This is not something done out of arrogance or spite either, as all STARS members receive the same training and follow the same standard operating procedures. The only real concern Chris has is the fact that most of the Bravo members just don’t have the same amount of field experience as Redfield and the Alphas. This concern is echoed by most of the Alphas to a certain degree and alludes to the Raccoon City Police Department not taking these murders as seriously as they should be. Concerns are also levied at the RPD’s Chief, Brian Irons, concerns that will have more than adequate light shed on them as the novel series progresses. For now, at least, Chief Irons is little more than an annoying desk jockey with too much power at his disposal.
And then it happens, the Bravo teams helicopter that was transporting them to the most recent murder site suffers from engine failure and makes a crash landing.
As this is happening, the ever-composed Captain, Albert Wesker, is calling out orders and readying everyone to come to Bravo teams’ aid.
Wesker calls Chief Irons and tells them they’re going on mission, not waiting for any approval. He calls Chris and Barry to ready weapons and equipment, Jill Valentine is tasked with collecting flak vests and combat gear and orders Alpha teams’ resident coward, Brad Vickers, to start up the STARS helicopter.
This final section of the chapter is the most insight into Wesker’s character the reader will get, at least for now.
Expect nothing is a motto Wesker lives his professional life by. As he believes that assumptions leads to laziness, he never lets himself ever skip checking the fine details that make up any and every mission the STARS teams take on. An interesting note is how Wesker reacts to seeing his team readying for their mission. He notes how shaky Brad is while prepping the helicopter to take flight and actually considers leaving him behind and replacing him with Chris Redfield, as he is an ex-Air Force pilot, but he immediately dismisses this thought as he wants more people on the ground with him as they recover Bravo team, a decision that may be a regret for Wesker in later chapters. Wesker is also taking note of Jill’s recent tardiness to their team meeting and hoping that it isn’t a habit the young STARS member is forming. He also considers leaving her behind as he gave his team five minutes to prep and everyone is ready in four and a half, everyone except Jill.
Something to take note of in the chapter is the location of the Spencer Estate, a long since abandoned mansion that was built for executives and high ranking officials working for the Umbrella Corporation. While the mansion was never used, its location is located directly within the radius of the cannibal murders and its location is integral to Chris Redfield’s suspicions that Umbrella may be involved if even indirectly thanks to the disappearance of his friend Billy, who also worked for Umbrella.
While most of the STARS members kindly dismiss this theory, seeing it as little more than the musings of a man who is trying to come to grips with his friend gone missing, Chris is adamant and is becoming a concern to the rest of the team.
Chapter two ends with everyone in the ‘copter waiting for Jill to show up with the necessary supplies for their mission to the Raccoon forest. But what is taking her so long to show up?
The Resident Evil novels were published by Pocket Books between 1998 and 2004. The books were later republished by Titan Books in 2012.