Monday, November 15, 2004

Post 4, Rest of Chapter 3

Catch up! Go read post 0

"What I'm trying to decide," Bruce bluffed, "Is whether or not I need to kill the pilots as well."

The look on her face told him what he needed to know. 1) The pilots weren't in on it. 2) she believed him that he'd kill the pilots. And , most importantly, 3) he thought that she'd tell him what he'd want to know.

"They're not part of it.", she said, "And I gotta say, I don't think you'll kill me."

"Why wouldn't I?"

"We know all about you Bruce. For fuck's sake, you take care of kitten's and puppies. You think I worry about you killing me?"

"Yes, I do," and he did, she was sweating this. Words aside, she was clearly scared. Bruce was conflicted, he hated killing, vampire or human, but he did want to know what she was up to. The thing was, Bruce, being more than a century and a half old, was very good at being menacing.

"Hmm, okay. Well, here's what I'm going to do. I'm going to ask you....real nicely....Why. Did. You. Do. That.", Bruce stopped talking.

"You're not going to kill the pilots?"

Bruce said nothing.

"Listen, if I tell you what you want to know, you can't kill them, they had nothing to do with it. They're mortal, for chrissakes. Just want an in with the undead, don't feed on them, okay?"

"Why do you care so much about mortals, anyway."

"I might as you the same thing, Bruce."

"Okay, fuck that, I think I'm going to have to start in on you. Have you ever drunk the blood of a vampire? A lot of vampires can't do it, see it as being cannibalism. You know why they think that? The older ones instill that value in the young ones so they don't get a taste for it."

Bruce got up and went to the galley and found a knife. Like before surgery on cats and dogs, he washed his hands, picked up the knife, and he walked back to where Genia was sitting. He sat down , close, next to her and showed her the knife, so close to her face that she almost was looking at the flat of the blade cross eyed. He took the blade and cut a slight, glancing, cut on his own palm. Cupping his palm to pool the few drops of blood from the cut, he took Genia by the back of the neck and forced her to drink the blood.

He could tell she felt the power of it. Her eyes fluttered and dilated. The young vampires were so impressionable, the blood of a vampire was no different, really, than human blood, just had a few more interesting cells to make it taste a little more intense. In this, Bruce was performing a bit of voodoo, playing off the mystical beliefs some have around vampires.

"Now that you've tasted, do you think that I won't kill you, if only to feed on you. The irony of the vampire blood is that it goes bad very fast,", Bruce lied, "you can only really get a few tablespoons worth out of a vampire before it goes very bad, and can kill you. Addiction to the stuff usually solves itself. But I know exactly how to do it so that I can have a good time while you bleed out on this very nice leather seat. So, I ask you again.", Bruce held the knife up, showing the blood tinged blade, "Are you going to tell me what I want to know?"

After some time, Genia said, "Alright, here's what I'll tell you...there are people who want to know what is on that drive."

"There are?"

"Yes"

"Vampires?"

"A, yeah.", she said unconvincingly. Bruce could tell she had lied, but he was okay with that, it told him more than she could. Vampires corresponding with mortals. That was interesting. Mortals hunting Vampires.

"Who? Who sent you?"

"I , ah, I can't", she appeared to be going something with her jaw. Bruce took her head in his hands and he knocked her head against the fuselage. Instead of letting her head loll, he leaned her head back, opened her jaw and looked inside. Indeed there was a false tooth in there. This was a quandary. Vampires don't stay knocked out for long. Bruce, unfastened her from her restraints and took the belts and her back into the bedroom. After tying her down on the bed, he went into the bathroom and found an unused washcloth.

He bundled the washcloth into a thick wide tube, and jammed it in her mouth so she couldn't grind down on her tooth. He considered breaking her jaw, but that would hurt her an awful lot and Bruce wasn't really into that. Vampires didn't need to breath much and she wasn't sick, so he jammed the washcloth into her mouth and with a rope he made from a towel, he wrapped it tight around her head. Then he went into the front cabin and sat down. He picked up the airphone and dialed a number.

"Hello?", the voice on the other side was a little staticy, but that was okay.

"Sorry for calling so early, but I remembered that you worked nights at the Denny's on, so I figured it was okay to call."

"That's okay, I was about to head into work. I was sorry to hear about you losing your job."

"Yeah, that's why I wanted to call, to check up on Crystal. Has she been okay? How is she taking to the medicine."

"Oh, fine, she's been her old self, really. I really appreciate all you did for her, she's going to miss you."

"Yeah, I know, she's a good cat. Okay, just talk with Dr. Kinsey if you notice any further problems. I only called because if Crystal was still experiencing the bowel problems, she'd be getting dehydrated and I wanted you to see someone as soon as possible, but it sounds okay."

"Yeah, she's really good ,Doc, you did a great job. Let me know if you end up at another vet, okay, I'd love to have you continue taking care of her, okay?"

"Sure, will do. Have a good shift, and if anything pops up, be sure to contact me or Dr. Kinsey, okay?"

"Sure, goodnight!"

"Goodnight.", Bruce hung up the phone. That had been bugging him. As he considered Crystal's problem, he thought about how much he really liked his life, or at least did, before getting on this plane.

A door opened in the front of the cabin, a pilot came into the galley and said, "Have you seen Genia? We're a bit thirsty."

"Well, she was a bit sick, so I told her to lie down. Can I get you something?"

The pilot came over and sat down on the chair facing Bruces, and said, "That's right ,you're one of the Doctors. I gotta tell you, when I started working for you guys, I never really expected the Doctors. I mean, who thinks that the undead need a doc."

"You'd be surprised.", Bruce leaned forward, "I tell you what, I should have specialized in psychiatry. Most vampire disease is psychosomatic. It's sort of like phantom limb, some of the undead don't really get their immortality, what it does for them. I can't tell you how many placebos I've given."

"What's up with Genia."

"Maybe it was something she ate, " Bruce replied.

"Hmm, maybe, she was drinking some pigs blood, maybe she needs some human blood."

Bruce noticed the bandage on his neck, this one, he could also smell, was close to being sired. Bruce said, "Maybe. When will we land?"

"Gosh, probably about 30 minutes. I'm going to head back in. My names Seth by the way. Seth extended his hand, Bruce took it.

"Good to meet you, thanks for the smooth flight."

"Anytime. I'll probably see you on your return leg."

"Yeah, maybe."

"Take it easy," Seth said on the way back into the cockpit. Bruce could see the hints of sunrise on the horizon. By his estimate, It'd be 6:30 am when they landed. Bruce thought about Genia in the back, so he went into the bedroom, where she was feigning sleep.

"You can pretend, I put the washcloth in your mouth so that you wouldn't be able to kill yourself. I don't really care who you work for or why you're here. I really am not thrilled about being in New York and I could care less about whatever you're involved in.", Bruce sat down on the bed next to her and whispered in her ear, "Just don't fuck with me, okay, just stay the fuck out of my death."

He left the back room and headed into the front cabin and put on his seatbelt in preparation for the landing.

As was par for the course, they had to sit in a holding pattern for a bit of time over the airport, then came in for a very smooth landing. After taxiing for a bit, the engines were shut off and they were towed into a hangar. The light attenuated, and Bruce braved a look out the window. They were indoors alright, and a tinted Town Car was waiting for him.

Bruce, hopped into the back room, where Genia was lying, still. He said into her ear, "I'm going to let you go now, if you cause any problems, I'll be forced to kill you, and I don't want to do that. So just pretend to be sleeping. Bruce took off her restraints and pulled the washcloth out of her mouth. She opened her eyes and said, with a scratchy voice, "Why?"

Bruce said, "Because you could have killed me with the Sashimi, and you didn't.".

Bruce left the room considering that the tooth probably had been a small bomb, one large enough to kill her an maybe put a hole in the plane.

As Bruce walked down the stairs to the car, he handed Seth his rolling bag who put them into the back of the Town Car. Bruce slid inside and the driver said. "Hello Dr. Napoleon. I'll take you to see Markus now if you like."

"Sure, let's go."

The driver raised the darkened window between the front and back seats, blocking out the worst of the light. Bruce could still see the passing roads, trees, buildings and bridges on the way to Manhattan, but they were mostly darkness and shadow and eventually Bruce, lulled by the traffic and the noise of the road, thinking of what it meant that the mortals were gunning for the immortals again, took a nap.

He awoke when the door was opened by the driver, in a darkened garage. "Where are we?", Bruce asked.

"We're about 3 parking levels down below a building in the midtown. We're here."

The driver had retrieved Bruce's roller bag and indicated that Bruce was to follow. They walked to what looked like a service or maintenance area in the bay, where the driver swiped a card over a reader. The door unlocked and they went down two flights of cement stair cases to another door, where the Driver said. "This is as far as I can go. Talk with you later."

"Yeah, thanks for the ride."

As he heard the Driver climb up the stairs and go through the door, he heard a click from the door in front of him, he walked though into a deceptively beautiful room, decorated to look for all intents and purposes not like a converted garage level.

From an opening at the end of the room ,he heard: "Bruce, in here.". It was Markus' voice.

As he turned the corner into the next room, he found Markus, sitting on a couch watching TV in his sweat pants and shirt. He didn't look bad so much as worn out.

"How are you doing Markus?"

"I'm alright, a little sore, but alright. How was the flight."

"It was okay, not too eventful. New crew?"

"Yeah, I told the pilots once they put in a year and replace themselves, I'd sire them. What'd you think of the stewardess? Pretty hot , huh?"

"Yeah, very much so. Very easy on the eyes."

"you could've had her, you know. She's very new, still impressed by the older ones."

"Yeah, I got that, but I really just wanted to go over the paperwork, learn a little from what you sent me.", Bruce didn't think she would, but he had tried.

"Did you learn anything?"

"Not much yet, I need to take some tissue from you and if you know anyone else with the disease."

"I do, come on over here.". Bruce watched as Markus painfully rose to his feet and using a cane, walked over to a door near the TV. As they walked through, Markus gasped.

"My god, how many are there?"

"In this facility? Only 50, but we've got about 1000 in New York alone in one stage or another. We really need your help, Bruce."

"I don't know that I can. I mean, what can I do?"

"You're basically the last doctor with any real experience with blood that I trust."

"Markus, that's just stupid. I really don't like most vampires, I don't like the killing, I don't like the chaos, and I don't like the death, the very real death. I don't really even like you, for fucks sake."

"I know, but I also know that all Vampires aren't like me, and that's who you'll want to help. So stop fucking around. We're dying man."

"Fine, have you already had the familiars take blood?", Familiars was a nasty way of referring to the sycophants who hung around waiting to be sired. A familiar was the name for the animals that witches and warlocks and the other poseurs liked to surround themselves with. Bruce didn't hold much truck with Magic.

"Yeah, they're in the fridge, we've set up a kind of lab in the kitchen. There's some gear in there for you and the familiars can go get whatever you need."

"Alright, where?"

"Through that hall there.", Markus indicated at the far end of the room.

Markus, took his bags and walked past the dying down the hall. They didn't look good. Very pale, sweaty and there was a sick smell to them, it was all very unappetizing. He passed through a swing door and into a stainless steel kitchen that was very well apportioned, but not as a lab. This was going to be a long night.

There was an oven, two large commercial refrigerator and a walk in. Lots of stainless steel counter space and two large ovens, and one deck oven. Bruce thought that while this was a nice place to make a pizza, it wasn't all that handy for medicine. Against the far wall, near a door marked "stair", was the walk-in freezer. Bruce opened it.

Typical for Markus, there was a lot of blood in the walk-in, it was filled with it, Bruce assumed it was all human. Bruce didn't really like frozen blood, he found it sour, but it worked for the nutritional needs of a vampire. Bruce's phone rang. Bruce looked at it amazed, he couldn't believe that a signal reached that far underground, there must be a repeater hidden somewhere.

The caller ID said, simply, "Blocked". Bruce considered this and thought "why not" and said "Hello?"

"Bruce?"

"Yes, who is this."

"Genia. What are you doing right now?"

"What, are you high or something? I think you tried to kill me today. And I certainly thought of killing you today."

"I did, but I didn't mean anything by it. I really need to talk with you."

"Okay, how about this, meet me at Payard on 73rd at 9 o'clock."

"Great, thanks Bruce. I'll see you then."

Bruce hung up. He didn't know what he was thinking, he was in New York and he was going to waste a nice dinner on intrigue. Bruce was bored with it all. Bruce stuck his head out the swing door called out to a familiar, "Hey, come over here."

The familiar, who was fiddling with one of the sick peoples IV, said, "Sure." And walked over. "What can I do for you sir?"

"Sir? How about Bruce, and how about you tell me where I can plug in my computer."

"Oh, down the hall is a room we've cleared out for you, it has a bed, a table and a network hookup."

"Alright, show me, also I'm going to need a car at 8:30."

"Where do you plan on going."

"Fuck you, suck up, just arrange the fucking car.', Bruce had lost patience, he wasn't going to allow that kind of question from the likes of him. Bruce had been sired on his death bed, he thought he could make good with his immortality, and he had, so he didn't consider himself hypocritical.

"Yes sir, I'll make sure its here.", and he walked off. Bruce went into the room, and sat at the desk, there was a network cable and a power outlet on the desk, Bruce pulled his computer out of his bag, and woke it out of standby. As his instant messenger reconnected, he got an almost immediate instant message.

Generic76:Bruce, yt?

Bruce considered this, and typed:

Bnap32: Yes. Who is this.
Generic76: You know who, you tied me up last night.
Bnap32: Cute, what do you want, isn't it enough that we're meeting for dinner.
Generic76: Are you alone?
Bnap32: Yes, but these things send the data in the clear.
Generic76: Well, all I wanted to say was that I'm looking forward to seeing you tonight, so be sure to make sure you make it, okay?
Bnap32: Okay, I will. Talk to you later.

Bruce, closed the messenger and disconnected the app, he didn't want to be interrupted. Was Genia saying that he needed protecting? What was going on? He left the room and noticed that the hall door, which led to his room and the kitchen, was closed. He walked down the hall and tried the door. It was locked.

(16,227 words.)

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