Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Post 6.

Catch up! Read post 0

Genia looked around the restaurant. She was clearly uncomfortable talking about this.

"What are you talking about, Bruce?"

"Do you think I'm stupid or something?"

"Well, no, I don't Bruce. I don't want to kill all the Vampires."

"Just some?"

"Just some."

"You became a Vampire to infiltrate the ranks of Markus' group."

"You got it."

"Why are you telling me all this stuff."

"Listen, Bruce, let's put our cards on the table. I know you don't kill humans."
"And that matters, how? I drink human blood, sometimes."

"How often? That's what I thought. Once a year from some willing sycophant? I know all about you. I know you wouldn't kill a fly."

"So what is it you want from me?"

"Just don't let Markus live. If you cure the disease, cure it after he dies. He has to die."

"Why?"

"Listen", she was getting very agitated, "He fed on my family, He -has- to die. He -has- to."

"Did you give him this disease?"

"No, I don't really know where it came from. But I do know that he's got it, and I want him to die of it. I can't get close enough to him to kill him myself. You can...."

"I won't kill him, I won't kill any of them."

"I know, you didn't kill me. But I can make this worth your while."

"What do you mean?"

"If you promise not to save him, I'll tell you where the disease came from, and who created it."

"And why?"

"That, I don't know, but you can find out."

"How do you know?"

"When my family...died," She was fighting back the emotion," I was approached by a group of people who invited me into their group. They told me that they wanted to keep an eye on Markus, but that I'd have to become a vampire to do it. So I did it. But I found out something about the disease."

"What was it.."

"Well, it's not easily contagious from vampire to vampire, it has to use a human as an intra-vampire carrier, and its been specifically engineers to kill vampires."

"By who?"

"A group in Virginia, part of the Government. They've noticed the undead."

About time, Bruce thought.

"And they want to talk with you."

The waitress came by and said... "Mr. Napoleon, your private dining room is ready for you.", She revealed a gun under her tray, "If you'll follow me?"

Bruce looked around ,lots of suit....1, 2,4,5,7 ear pieces. This place was mostly fed. "What a mess.", he thought.

"Sure, can you bring our drinks?", Bruce figured he'd play along, it wasn't like he had much choice, and he hadn't even eaten yet...at least he wasn't going to have to pay.

"Sure.", the waitress stacked the drinks on the tray on top of the gun. Bruce marveled at her coordination and followed her up to the private dining room. As he walked in there was one woman and two tall men in dark suits, one of them, the brunette, was the man waiting outside the restroom earlier. The other, the blond, was the pilot from the plane, Neil. The woman was Margie, the paramedic from Placerville.

"How's Lenny, Margie?"

"He's good Bruce, you took good care of him", Margie said, "Maybe we'll take as good care of you."

"I didn't know that I needed a minder."

"We all need minding, Bruce. All of us."

"What can I get you all?", the 'waitress' again.

Bruce looked at the menu and said, "I'll start with the Foie Gras Terrine, then bring me the Mesclun salad, then the Veal cheeks.", Bruce considered, "And a side of sauteed spinach"

"Sure, how about the rest of you?", she asked.

They ordered....Bruce could tell they were trying to save the government money, which he considered foolish.

Bruce added, "And bring me a Bushmills, neat?"

"Sir, the government frowns on serving alcohol during these kinds of negotiations."

"Give me a fucking break and bring me a fucking whiskey, dumbass. Do you have any idea how little your government's guidelines matter to me? Jesus tap-dancing Christ."

"Just get him the drink Sharon.", Margie said, "And bring me a coffee while you're at it.

"I need a cosmo, Sharon.", this from Genia.

"Sure Genia. Anyone else?"

The two men ordered ice waters, couldn't even order the bottled stuff. Probably fear of justifying their expense reports.

Bureaucrats.

After the waitress left, Bruce said, "Listen, before you start....I want to make something very clear. I don't work for you and I won't ever. If I interact with you it is because I choose to. I'm here because I want to be.", Bruce picked up the silver alloy tray which held the salt and pepper shakers and sugar containers, "Genia is new to this, I am not. I am both much more experienced and much older than most of the vampires you've met up with."

Bruce crumpled the tray with a quick motion of his hands, and began to mold it like it was clay. "I am here because I want you to understand that I'm not interested in some long term, ongoing bullshit between mortals and immortals. I am not in favor of immortals feeding on mortals. I am not in favor of mortals killing innocent immortals. I am not in favor of mortals killing innocent mortals for that matter. I want this to be on the record and known. I would love for our kinds to get along, but I can see now naive that must sound, considering most of you are considered food by my kind. Margie, you're the appetizer, these two would be the entree and your friend Sharon the dessert, one drop at a time. "

Bruce had molded the silver into a dog...a mastiff. He handed it to Margie. "So, is lenny really your dog?"

"Yeah, he is. I've had him for 6 years. But this isn't about me, Bruce, it's all about you."

"Me, how is this all about me. I'm nothing but a simple country veterinarian. I don't care about your problems with Markus."

"We do very much care about Markus. Markus is our big problem right now. He represents the wedge of a very large organization that we've been trying to infiltrate for the last 5 years since we learned of its existence."

"Why, Margie? Why does the fed care about this. Vampire activity seems like a matter for the states," Bruce chuckled. He didn't have a lot of respect for the current administration.

"We care because the nature of a vampire means you guys fall afoul of half a dozen federal jurisdictions. For instance, you, we have you cold on at least 10 offenses related to identify documents. I know you are hiding assets and I suspect you've been practicing medicine without a license."

"I'll have you know that I graduated the top of my medical school and I'm the best vet you'll ever meet."

"You are a good Vet, Bruce, but you were the top of your medical school in 1967 as one 'Kenneth Joeseph Graham' not Bruce Napoleon."

Finally, one of the men spoke up, "And what's up with that name."

Bruce gave him a glare, "We're talking, flunky, so shut your hole.", the flunky's face turned red and he mumbled something.

"What's that?", Bruce asked.

"I said, maybe I should go get a cross and shove it up your ass."

"Well, I gotta tell you that would at most give me a splinter, this isn't Hollywood, man, this is real life. Vampires don't work that way. I'm not going to turn into some flea infected bat either, nor will I close my coffin and call my manservant Igor into the room to eat bugs, so, I'll tell you again, unless you got promoted recently from asshole to Margie, you can just shut the fuck up."

After this charming exchange, the agent playing waitress returned with their appetizers. "Your Foie Gras, Bruce."

"Thanks Sharon.", Margie gave him a look, "What? No harm in being polite."

The waitress finished placing the food and cycled back through the kitchen, bringing out the rest of the drinks. Bruce took a swallow of the whiskey. It went down smooth. This was one of the physical pleasures he still enjoyed. A good whiskey or scotch or even vodka made immortality almost seem worth it sometime. Bruce wasn't a drunk by any measure, he usually counted months between alcoholic drinks, but he did often enjoy drinking

Bruce considered what he hadn't told the fed. Namely that one thing that really worked was the ability charm women and , sometimes, men. It was sometimes uncanny. The lat time Bruce had really turned on the charm was some 10 years ago when he really, really, needed to get the last sleeper car for a cross country train trip. He didn't want to be caught in the normal passenger compartment.

He hoped he was still good at its employ. He would need it tonight. He tucked into his terrine. It was very nice, very smooth and deeply smoky in taste. Many people found the treatment of the goose as inhumane, as if there was something inhumane about cruelty. Bruce had a chef friend who had told him "If god hadn't meant for us to jam a funnel down the throat of a goose and jam it full of corn, he wouldn't have made Foie Gras taste so damn good."

She had been right. When Bruce had been sired, one thing that perked up was his taste for meats of all forms, preferably rare, but protein was king of a vampire diet. Blood too, of course, but one could only consume so much blood before becoming horribly bored with that one single staple. A proper vampire diet included a lot of protein. Kept the constitution strong. You could always tell vampires on an all blood diet, they looked gray and sallow, like a person on some kind of vein borne Atkins diet He didn't find it particularly attractive at all.

"Bruce, we want your help."

"What kind of help, Margie."

"We want you to keep tabs on Markus' group. He's causing a lot of trouble."

"Last time I saw Markus he was weak as a kitten, causing no one any problem."

"We think that may be an act. Markus definitely wants to get to the bottom of the flu, but we don't think he has it, we think he is faking it, but we don't know why. Can you think of any reason for this?"

"I've seen his blood, he has it," Bruce had seen Markus' blood, hadn't he? He hadn't himself taken the samples, so it could have been anyones blood. "Well, maybe he doesn't, I'd need to do some tests. But first things first. Where is the disease from? Did you create it?"

"Us? No, we didn't, we only know what you seem to know. It affects vampires, isn't specific to the vampires immortal 'age' and isn't deadly at all in humans. Did you know that humans appear to be carriers, but not victims of the disease. We've even found that a newly sired human is particularly vulnerable. In fact we're most worried about a mutation of the disease that can affect mortal humans."

"That's valid, but I really don't thnk that will happen. From what I read in the epidemiology, the disease is only effecting vampires, not humankind. The disease travel would have infected at least one human if it was possible by now. Is that what you were after in my laptop, the epidemiology?"

"Yes, we want to make sure vampires get properly quarantined in the event tht this may one day jump from killing vampires to killing humankind."

They ate for a bit and Sharon cleared their appetizer plates. Shortly thereafter, she brought out the salad course. Bruce was enjoying the food so far, but he really wished he had just ordered dessert after dessert. Bruce, strangely enough for a vampire, had a pretty decently evolved sweet tooth.

"The one thing you should be worried about," Bruce said, "is that the rank and file undead will start siring people left and right to replace those lost, and then some. There is a lot of talk about it. And its only going to get worse. It isn't so wrong to consider the vampire community as one big desire organ. Once it is set in that vampires need to increase their numbers, you can count on that happening in short order. So that means a lot more Vampires in the end, and a lot more humans finding their end to feed the more irresponsible ones."

(21,266 words) (read the last bits!!)