Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Secrets That Fate Reveals

(Author's note: This is the third installment of my series of vampire stories. The first being "What Fate Can Steal From Us" and the second "The Choices Fate Allows".)

As the creature called Simon lay on the top of a small hill looking down at the elaborate campsite of his intended prey something in the Arizona night touched a dim memory. The group of middle-aged men and their wives sat around a campfire all relaxing from their long drive deep into a wilderness area not knowing what was about to descend on them. Simon clearly heard their conversation about the glorious night with a cascade of stars overhead putting on a brilliant show accompanied by the sounds of the desert at night. Simon smiled slightly agreeing with the sentiments of those about to feed him and his returning coven.
Looking down upon the unknowing humans Simon’s body was flooded with hormones that enhanced his senses far beyond the range of the humans below. He was inundated with the sensation of a thousand different scents carried by the still night air and the sounds of both the smallest hunters and the hunted on the desert floor playing out the same ageless game of prey and predator he was about to begin.
His prey were relaxed and totally unsuspecting of their part in the game and both the hormones burning through his body and the instincts encoded in his very cells screamed for him make the final leap and take what belonged to him. But the memory sat just beyond his reach mocking him, he knew it must have held great significance and he lingered longer taking in all the sensations of the night to try and let it come to him.
It was seeing the moon rising above a distant plateau that finally brought the memory to his consciousness. His prey was going nowhere and he lay on the ground in silence soaking himself in the distant past.
It began four-hundred years earlier on the deck of a ship stalking its own prey in the Caribbean Sea. The same moon was rising above the horizon when a Spanish ship riding very low in the water was caught passing in front of the shining orb. Simon was the captain of the stalking ship and through his spyglass; he could make out several of the crewmen going about their duties unconcerned of the dangerous waters they traveled. Even then, the prospect of being the predator excited him and he gave the orders to raise the sails and give chase.
The Spanish ship, off course, alone, and heavily loaded with treasure was easily taken and Simon's crew made short work of anyone thought unimportant. He could still remember the cries of Spanish Lords, servants, and luckless sailors dumped overboard pleading for the receding ships to come back. He could also remember the screams of pleasure from a Spanish princess he quickly claimed as his own and brought to his cabin. Fearful and resistant at first but Simon was a patient and persistent man and she slowly came around to his desires to the point the student matched the master.
It was a good and profitable life until a hurricane a year later caught them unaware off the Caribbean coast of Central America. The storm claimed his ship, crew, and princess now carrying his child and left him washed up alone on some unknown shore. Never one to lament the past he began searching for civilization and a chance to regain everything he lost. His journey through the jungle was strangely uneventful to the point the lack of seeing any savages started to concern him far more than an arrow suddenly appearing in his chest.
It was when he stumbled into a large clearing that his concern changed to fear but his curiosity overwhelmed everything and he slowly walked up to the huge stone structure standing in the center. From the windows he could see a fireplace in the largest room with ornate furniture of a style he did not recognize. Inside he saw a figure sitting in one of the chairs facing the fire either ignoring or unaware of his presence.
"Please come in and join me, you have traveled far and I know you are tired" the figure said in accented English suddenly. As if by magic, the heavy wooden door swung open, for a moment Simon thought of running back into the jungle for his instincts told him something was very wrong. But something else spoke to his deepest soul and he found himself walking inside and pulling the door shut.
He silently approached the figure as it softly whispered a tune in a language he did recognize. The soft and lilting voice of the singer had Simon suspecting the person was a woman but he was not sure until far faster he thought possible she stood removing any uncertainty. Standing before him was the most beautiful women he had ever laid eyes on, the light from the fire made her long dark hair glow while the silken robes she wore accentuated every curve of her body. Her stunning ebony face was that of a queen in regal features and sheer power. Simon immediately feared her in a way he had never felt with another living person but he also felt an overwhelming desire that threatened his sanity.
"My name is Tia and I have waited for one like you for far longer than you could imagine." The woman said now standing inches from him, her left hand lightly touching his chest. "As you walked through the jungles I warned the natives to leave you to me, now that you are here there much to learn before you make an important decision." With her right hand she unfastened a small button next her left shoulder and her robes fell apart and to the stone floor.
Days spent walking through the jungle had exhausted Simon but seeing the woman before him naked in the fire light he was overcome with a primal craving that eliminated all other concerns. That night the master gave her first lesson to the willing student and when he was finally offered the taste of her blood he accepted without hesitation. After the transformation was complete the creature Simon had become learned of Tia’s long search and dedicated his soul and mind to its completion.
Chapter Two
The images moved around my disembodied consciousness revealing events that had faded from myth long before the pyramids were built. It began with a silver sphere descending down upon some African savanna with a tribe of hunter-gatherers staring up in abject fear and awe. Somehow, I could move my consciousness all through the men, women, and children looking up and I couldn’t tell if simple fear or something else was holding them in place. The sphere, which finally settled a short distance in front of the group, seemed to hum making the surrounding area electric. What I would simply call entities soon emerged and to my untrained eye they appeared complex amalgams of biology, machine, and radiant energy and moved amongst the group touching a few of the oldest members.
The effect on those chosen was subtle but where before there was apprehension, what replaced it was a new but slightly alien awareness. Somehow satisfied the entities returned to the sphere and the images flashed ahead to different areas across Africa and Asia repeating the procedure with different tribes. Fast-forwarding, I saw the affected groups converging at some location very close to the sea. In the distance unknown mountains loomed with a silver gleam resting atop one peak that I knew was the mysterious ship watching their great endeavor about to begin.
Years swept by in minutes now and within a couple of generations, those migrating bands visited by the entities had developed all the essentials of civilization. The village they formed was very soon the first human city with domesticated animals pulling carts loaded with crops, the men carrying bronze-looking swords, and a few other could be seen in wooden buildings fussing over the creation of a written language. Overseeing all this were the Chosen, those touched by the entities, and as they aged, picked others to take their place in the developing society.
Before me the pace increased with the city building increasingly complex structures that went from wood, to brick, and finally to those of stone. The people changed too, moving from primitives living a hard life greatly affected by the environment to a far softer existence of sophisticated city dwellers.
The speed of the images in front of me slowed again and I settled on the docks of the city watching sturdy but swift sailing ships being constructed. With much fanfare, the crews of these vessels sailed off into the unknown world to explore, larger vessels quickly followed, clearly for colonization sailing off loaded with cargo and humans intent on building more cities.
The last thing I saw before the images dissolved was the latest group of the Chosen looking down from the balcony of some building knowing both the humans and the entities working through them were quite satisfied with their accomplishments.
Chapter Three
"Why did you stop the story?" I asked my host as I became aware of both my body and the huge room filled with books like the one I had stolen from the vampire that use to be my wife back in New York.
Her holographic image rippled as she looked dispassionately back at me. "There was no point Todd Briggs," she began. "The colonization of the area now called the Indian Ocean proceeded without incident allowing the establishment of ten of the sixteen human cities."
A holographic globe appeared in front of us displaying the shape of the continents circa 18,000BC. On it a dot appeared showing the position of the first city located on the then ice age swollen African coastline near present day Kenya. Other dots soon appeared all along Africa, parts of Arabia and the Indian subcontinent, then around the areas of what would come to be called Indonesia and Australia.
"For nearly two thousand years Humanity prospered under the guidance of the Chosen eventually establishing cities on all the major landmasses. Our only purpose was to bring the benefits of civilization to every human so that we could eventually take our place alongside the Great Ones that had touched the first families of the Mother city."
"What happened to change that?" Asking the obvious question but having no idea what might have derailed the development I had seen so far.
The hologram just looked back at be for several seconds saying nothing. With everything I had been through from seeing my wife transform into a horror movie creature, to learning about ancient aliens and a forgotten advanced human civilization, having an 18,000 year-old recorded personality give me a history lesson still boggled my mind. When my host finally spoke again her lips moved without any sound for about a second, which told me the overriding computer system was having trouble translating her forgotten tongue into something I could understand. The translation that came through was just icing on an already insane cake.
"War in heaven,” she said with more than a hint of discord in its voice like some old worry long overwhelmed by greater concerns was brought to the forefront. The hologram paused again, clearly pondering something. “Please excuse me; other duties demand my full attention.” With that said, she disappeared.  
Chapter Four
With my host gone, I walked around the huge circular room. It was a colossal library shaped like an upside down wedding cake. I was on the bottom level and it extended at least forty feet high packed with similar bound books like I had taken from the creature my wife, Jillian, had become. Each level above that had a small walkway and ladders to allow access to the highest shelves; at the top was a glass dome where I could see the faint shimmer of the sun penetrating through a couple of hundred feet of water that hid this ancient redoubt.
After I returned from my New York adventure with the ancient book, I confronted the team leader of my vampire-hunting group, Robbie McBride, about the sunburst pattern on the cover of the book that matched the one tattooed to his right forearm. Robbie told me the story behind the ancient item but in all honesty, even with everything I had already encountered I didn't really believe him.
Robbie understood and made a phone call telling me he had friends nearby that could bring added weight to the story. A couple of days later three genuine Men in Black, strange looking guys identical in the same bland features and without any real personality, arrived at our compound and began explaining the story again. Afterward both Robbie and they forced me on a trip with the eventual destination an undersea redoubt and a meeting with the last remnant of a lost civilization.
As I flipped through the pages of a random book pulled from a shelf, I wondered what other secrets it held. Like some child, I felt disappointed not to see any pictures that might give me some idea what the words of that extinct language wanted to convey. More importantly, I wanted my host to return to explain in detail how all this was connected to the vampires. When she did, I became worried about the limits of what my sanity could take.

Chapter Five
When the images returned, I watched one group of the Chosen conferring nervously among themselves. The reactions of nearby functionaries hovering a respectful distance away suggested it was not a normal occurrence. Even worse was when the Prime Chosen broke away to step out onto the balcony looking out upon what I knew to be the Mother City and seeing hundreds of strange lights in the sky, their patterns crisscrossing and merging with each other only to break apart again.
The Mother City alone was awe inspiring, glass and stone towers stretched off into the distance with dirigibles gliding silently through the air. In the harbor, ships from primitive sailing vessels to strange looking iron hulled beasts lay docked or anchored. Adding to the mix were clearly human winged aircraft that looked far more advanced than anything flying in the 21st century. From my experience, while they looked unarmed, they had the sleek lines and authority of fighters.
Somehow satisfied with what she saw, the Prime Chosen went back inside, crossed the entire length of the room, and looked out upon the mountains in the distance. The silver sphere that had quietly rested there for nearly two thousand years now pulsated with both light and sound sending the functionaries, that had now abandon all decorum and were doing their best to stay close to the Chosen, into a panic. Without notice, the sphere launched itself from the mountain peak it had rested and disappeared into the sky followed by all the other lights.
In the chamber of the Chosen, all but the Prime now lay scattered across the marble floor, dead. The functionaries fled in fear and panic leaving the Prime alone and clearly in mourning.
After the premature departure of the "Great Ones", the human cities stumbled along for over a thousand years with the mission to uplift all of humanity. Even with tradition and ritual firmly in place, human nature slowly reasserted itself in the ruling classes. The cities, separated by great distances, carved out huge spheres of influence with many territories overlapping. Suspicions and fears grew of power and authority being undermined which created elements in each city that sought to weaken those cities thought as enemies.
The Mother City attempted to easy the tensions but eventually small wars flared among the younger cities with weapons increasing in destructive power just as fast as rage and fear built. The leadership of the Mother City became desperate as negotiations failed to rein in the conflicts and turned to the one avenue they thought could bring the fighting to an end.
Without any religious or societal taboos on genetic engineering, these early humans had developed many artificial biological creatures to do menial jobs. As the fighting escalated, drawing closer to the other cities, the Mother City developed a special type of artificial creature to terrorize everyone back to peace.
An image of a laboratory came into view with rows of cylinders mounted to walls connected to terminals and screens displaying the same language from the mysterious books. A human form floated in the milky haze of each cylinder with technicians crisscrossing the various rows taking readings and adjusting settings.
Overseeing the activities in the lab was none other than my holographic host. She was dressed in a white jumpsuit and stood next a wallscreen divided up into segments displaying data with her occasionally adjusting some aspect of one and giving instructions to a technician who ran off on some crucial errand. Looking at my host as she performed her job it was easy to understand her authority was substantial and unquestioned.
"This," she began, "is the time of creation for the creatures you call vampires. The primitives the younger cities were using for most of the fighting were still extremely superstitious believing in all sorts of demons and monsters that haunted the night. The Mother City Chosen hoped that in creating real monsters, under our control, the primitives would abandon the fighting forcing the younger cities back to peace."
"Let me guess," I said beginning to feel strange since my holographic host was finally showing visible emotion, “things didn't work out like it was planned?"
"No, the plan did not meet with the expected results," she said with a tremor in her voice. "The primitives did abandon the fighting and returned to their villages but the younger cities so full of righteousness turned to sun bombs to continue their crusades." Images of the various cities being devoured in nuclear flames passed before me leaving blackened craters and dead landscapes. Finally, even the Mother City fell as some surviving military element of one of the younger cities destroyed it out of some insane sense of vengeance. My host continued to explain that things went even worse after that bringing an end to their civilization and the beginning of a nightmare that haunted humanity even now.

Chapter Six
My host went on to show and explain that the leadership of the Mother City expected the attack and evacuated as many people and material it could in the hope of rebuilding again. The images showed her in a laboratory managing the vampire creatures, which had become an important part in controlling the surviving populace living in the spheres of influence of the now destroyed younger cities. The vampires forced the primitives to turn over advanced technology and surviving members of the various militaries that had destroyed three-thousand years of rapid advancement.
"The original vampires," the hologram explained," were far more enhanced than the ones you battle now with much faster reflexes, greater sensory detection and strength. I purposely designed them to pass as real humans during the day and at night they transformed into the creatures you have encountered with crimson eyes and elongated teeth. They operated for many months away from medical assistance so they had to regenerate quickly from any wounds and sense they could not reproduce I also encoded what amounted to immortality. One of my greatest mistakes was to include genes for pheromones that allowed them to obtain truthful answers from any primitive they interrogated. The pheromone effect was far greater than I could have ever imagined since it allowed humans to be control to varying degrees."

The last images she showed me was of her rushing into the arms of some man dressed in a combination of simple cloth and furs dragging some prisoner behind him wearing the tattered remains of a sophisticated uniform. "The creature," she said to me, "was called Skon and was the most perfect of my creations, so much that I fell under his influence to the point I willingly abandoned my husband, my city, and my humanity." After Skon turned over the prisoner to Mother City human troops, he and my host slipped away to some empty apartment where they made love. The final act was her taking Skon's blood that I knew through what happened to my wife turned her into a vampire.
"My second and greatest mistake was the unintended consequence that the virus I used to create the vampires never was fully incorporated into their bodies and could infect humans if they were exposed to vampire blood." She said clearly disturbed but unable to express full human emotions.
"If you became a vampire where did the personality copy I am speaking with come from?" I asked feeling that this ancient drama was about to end.
"My husband, Koal, was the military commander of the Mother City and forced me to backup my memories in case something happened so all my research would not be lost. Once I changed Skon lead a revolt and scattered the creatures across the planet with the purpose of changing all humanity. The surviving leadership and military of the Mother City knew the renegade vampires to be such a grave threat to humanity that they devoted all remaining resources to their destruction abandoning the idea of rebuilding our civilization. Koal used my last unaltered memory copy to develop weapons to destroy them all but failed in one important aspect.
Koal pursued Skon personally seeking revenge for him seducing and changing my human self. My husband eventually caught and destroyed Skon in caves located in what you call Greece. However, Koal was so gravely injured in the battle the creature I became killed him in turn.  
During the fight, my husband's communication device was knocked away and even though I am only a computer program I felt pain as I watched him die fighting the creature my human self had become. I did get one measure of revenge before the creature fled off into the wilderness. I told her that while she was infected with a strong strain of the vampire virus and could rebuild a population, over the centuries it would become diluted with real human DNA and become ineffective. That to truly change humanity she would need the source code to produce pure vampires and that our husband had hidden it in a place even I did not know."
"Don't tell me," I said feeling the punch line coming, "the vampire version of you is still around and looking for this code and that not only are us vampire hunters doing our best to destroy the creatures but looking for this code as well? Any chance that after eighteen-thousand year you might have some idea where it is?
"Yes, through my artificial agents I have tracked her movements through the ages but have never been able to pin her down. I credit my inability to capture her to my limitations as a recorded personality. She was the peak of human intellect at that time and the millenniums afterward have only sharpened it. As for the Source Code, all I can say with certainty is that the facility where my husband hid the code is someplace on the surface of the planet. Todd Briggs, you come highly recommended and I need you to work directly for me in both locating the Source Code and destroying the mother vampire still roaming the planet. Will you join with my human and artificial agents to accomplish that mission? Humanity has recovered much of the technology needed to infuse genetic material into other living organisms; if she should recover the Code first it will mean extinction for our species.
The weight of it all was incomprehensible, but Fate seemed to have left me with no other choice. “I’ll do it Tia, but like your Koal I feel bound to destroy both the creature my own wife has become and the ones who changed her.”
The hologram Tia smiled weakly considering my words. “Given the guilt I bear in bringing this endless nightmare to life I still have enough human in me to understand your feelings.” The hologram Tia then looked away for a moment pondering something else. “I have more request for you should the opportunity present itself but it cannot endanger your primary mission.”
After listening to her request I again found myself wondering what next sick twist in reality would pop up. Much to my chagrin it didn’t take long for that question to be answered.
Joy flooded Simon’s body as his fangs clamped down on the neck of the last survivor of the camp. Blood seeped down the body of the unconscious man forcing Simon to suck harder to avoid losing much of the liquid that sent his mind off into ecstasy.
The man was large and muscular and during the fight had actually landed a few ineffectual blows to Simon’s body. Such an opponent who had the courage to fight back belonged to him alone. The rest of the prey was either unconscious or being restrained by members of his coven who had converged at the camp after hearing his battle screams. They would engorge themselves on human blood and flesh tonight then collapse on the floor as the morning sun arose. An idle thought passed through his mind about toying with the mate of the human he consumed. It would serve his second wife Jillian right for her abysmal failure in New York.
Minutes later the coven carried off the prey leaving Simon to survey the surroundings. Simon had no concern over what the human authorities might think, they were cattle and would attribute the disappearance to animals or criminal elements.  The moon caught his attention again, he longed for the companionship of Mother Tia and realized time for her reappearance was quickly approaching. Much would have to be done before her arrival since there were new leads as to the location of the Source. 
(Author's note: Have an issue with vampires as artificial organisms for war? Look back at a scary previous post from yours truly and hope the guys and gals at DARPA have their thinking caps on tight.)


SantaCat said...

Ho, Ho, Ho!
Merry Christmas to all you cool cats and kute kittens!
Ho, Ho, Ho!

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

I'm kinda saving these up together onto word doc so I can reread all together. I like this stuff! It's great mind candy! Course I'm supposed to be getting ready to go to the christmas meal... but this is much better with my eggnog and grog. Ta Beach. Happy New Year too.

Oso said...

"War in heaven"
Dang,Beach. That really grabbed and pulled me in to a story I was already enjoying!

"War in heaven".

Wow.I kept going back to that phrase, which alone would be worth the price of admission if you charged us to read your stuff. It added to thought of Mt Ararat which came to mind after reading of where the ship rested.

You're good,BB.Thanks for these slices of entertainment you provide.

Merry Christmas!

Beach Bum aka Captain Barbossa said...

Tomcat: Merry Christmas to you my friend.

Gwen: Thanks, Wasn't suppose to be a fourth story but I guess I have worked myself into a corner.

Oso: When I get around to the fourth story the "Great Ones" will play a part.

Windsmoke. said...

Very enjoyable indeed, when's the next instalment?. Thank you for drifting over to my humble blog and leaving a comment. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Beach Bum aka Captain Barbossa said...

Windsmoke: I'm thinking a couple of months to the next story. Of course this one sat on my hard drive for several months unfinished before I figured out where I wanted to go with it.

Welcome and I got you on my my blogroll, thanks for listing me on yours.

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

"My name is Tia and I have waited for one like you for far longer than you could imagine.".....You have no idea, double b, just how long I've that been waiting for somebody (a cross between Jennifer Lopez, Lucy Liu, and Vanessa Williams, specifically) to say that to me. Oh well, I guess that I'll just have to live vicariously through Simon now.

Beach Bum aka Captain Barbossa said...

Will: LOL!!!!
Vanessa Williams would be the perfect visualization of Tia! I have seen her play both vulnerable and queen bitch parts. Like I said above I sort of planned this to be only three stories but I started this story four months ago and it died along the way.

When I was able to pick it back up I accidentally left so many loose threads that I will have to write more about it. But the kicker is that right now I have no real idea how I will deal with vampire Tia. I have a decent idea about Holographic Tia though which could go two ways.

But if you have read the first two stories one thing is still certain Simon, his first wife Alice, and Todd's former wife Jillian are all going to die.

Magia da Inês said...

♫°° Amigo,

°º♫ Desejo para 2011
° • ♫ "O sonho realizado...
°º ♫°° ♫♫ O amor esperado...
° ·. •*• ♫ A esperança renovada..."

Brasil °º♫
° ·.

Liberality said...

Whoa, that's a lot of story there!

I wonder if our guilt of eating animals and murdering our food is what causes the vampire myths to persist in the culture? It is imagining being the hunted rather than the hunter that drives this puppy.

Beach Bum aka Captain Barbossa said...

Magia: Best wishes my friend and hope 2011 is a better year for us all.

Liberality: Sorry for the length but when I start running my mouth I tend to carry on.

As for the question you posed I would agree and also say it extends into how we humans treat each other. Except for rare events our history seems to be one of some stronger group dominating a weaker one. Then the tables get turned with a "New World Order" taking over only to itself be replaced at some point.

Akelamalu said...

You sure know how to write a story!

Beach Bum aka Captain Barbossa said...

Akelamalu: Thank you very much!

Will "take no prisoners" Hart said...

Vanessa Williams was an awesome "queen bitch" in "Ugly Betty". And I could definitely see her as a ass-kicking vampire vixen, too. MAJORLY, I'm saying.

Beach Bum aka Captain Barbossa said...

Will: Yeah, another lady able to play the part would be Pam Grier. Don't get me started on her hottness.

Ranch Chimp said...

Vampire's, heh? ... Heh, heh, heh, heh, heh ... what in Hell would I know about that? :) However ... a well put together piece again Bum! :)

Teresa said...

Not too sure about the alien slant for me. Wondering what's going to happen to Jillian.