Dragon grinned as he watched Repetate and Iustina was so caught up in the fact that I was saying something, yet heard what they understood from my translator.I heard him comment to Colin.“Amasis was correct.Your husband does have compassion for all creatures.”He waved at the two Old Ones.“Even them.”
Colin nodded.“He does.He’s almost reckless sometimes, but he can also get through to almost anyone.He’s trusted.”
Dragon looked again at the computer, but wasn’t scared to touch it now, but still wasn’t comfortable doing that.“I don’t care what you say about this lightening thing and all that…” he opened the laptop carefully and looked at the many sites still up.“This is truly magical.”
“Devon was right.”Colin explained.“It’s a simple tool.He’s used an example to explain it before.You’re handed a blade, you can use it to cut vegetables, chop wood or kill another human being.It’s not the blade’s fault it killed, but the user.Just like with a blade, this can be used to hurt people.You need to be careful.”
Dragon nodded.“I always am, but I listen to people that have been in this world and I haven’t.”He shook his head.“I know it seems glamorous to most to live as long as we do, but you’re really isolated.”
“Which is another reason I knew I had to do something about it.”Colin nodded.
“What do you want with me?”Dragon asked.“I’m not that person on those…” he waved at the computer, “…that Inter…net.”
“I need you to understand what we’re trying to do.”Colin said.“Our numbers are in the thousands, perhaps a million worldwide, but we are so isolated, we can’t do anything.Together, we can return to the world.I’d like to have your support.”
Dragon nodded as he thought.“I’ll do what I can, but this really isn’t my world anymore.”He said sadly.
“You have more power than you realize.”Colin said urgently.“Like it or not, people see you as Dracula!”
Dragon looked up suddenly and shook his head.“But I’m not!Dracula was fiction!”
“I know.”Colin said quickly and shook his head.“It doesn’t matter.”He took a deep breath.“This may seem…odd…to you, but you have more power than you know you have.Vampires don’t trust.I know that, but if you urge them to go with this…they might open up more.”Colin explained.“We number in the thousands…perhaps a million or more, but the world has become smaller as more of us are on the Internet and connected through that.”
“I can’t be everywhere.”Dragon said simply.
“That’s the beauty of this Internet.”Colin nodded.“You can.”He waved at the computer.“Through this you can reach out and touch every one of them with your voice.”He waved at the computer.“We can do this however you want, but it would help us if you did.”
Dragon looked uncertain, but nodded.“I’ll consider your words.”
I smiled having overheard all they talked about.Whatever talent Dragon had, his very presence with us would mean a lot.My time with Repetate and Iustina was to win their trust.The goal was simply to get them to volunteer their venom.They were both entertaining and though simple as many would see…if they weren’t hunting you, that is.Gaius and Cragen completed their treatments and had discs inserted in them.The transformation of those two was like the others, nothing but spectacular.Gaius had that horrible disfigurement over his eye, but a simple eyepatch covered that and his one good eye had the moisture needed and he looked very handsome.Their coming into the sunrise was delayed a day, but once we got them to that point, their reaction was like others.They just knew they’d never see another one without dying.Seeing it was nothing short of miraculous.
We told Dragon and the other vampires we were giving the serum to them, but George needed their blood as it was now to begin again making headway with finding a cure.I’ve said it often, so you know vampires may not trust easily, but they had learned patience and none them were worried about waiting a few more days.
We needed a space for George to work and Stan to continue his work.The new CPU was being sent, along with the supplies George needed to make more serum.We were also working to broaden the language database for the Delkenzie Translation Program which was growing quickly.The real trick was looking for a place to work in that had the power we needed in this part of the world.It needed to be secure as well as have access to the needed power.This part of the world was beautiful; if seen from above, but almost all of our time here had been spent underground.A cave is a cave, is a cave.
Most of these vampires were like others we met like Burke who had bred sheep for the purpose of consuming their blood instead of hunting a killing people.The vampires in Transylvania had bred cows and goats for their consumption of blood.Several families that had vampires in their families had a few choice livestock to provide the vampires with the needed blood.It was at the house we rented that Gabriella and Alex let us know about what they found out about Lucian and Iilya.
“The problem is…” Alex was explaining to the others gathered to compare notes.“…they are clever.”
Gabriella nodded.“They crisscross their paths.”She explained.“Tracking vampires, I mean vampires that can track is apparently not new to them.They know how to…” she thought for a word.
Alex was nodding.“…how to blur their tracks.”He completed for his wife.
“Iilya has remained hidden.”Gabriella said.“I know his scent, but this crisscrossing of his tracks causes problems and this Lucian is an unknown to us.Iilya traveled with several vampires so we can’t pinpoint a single vampire by scent.”
George nodded and let out a frustrated grunt.“Damn it.”He stood up and started to pace as he thought.“We are just so close to a solution, I know it!”
Burke smiled at George.“And it will be here again, we just need some equipment.It will be fine, George.”
George looked at Burke and nodded.“It’s just so…”
“Frustrating.”Burke said smiling he said taking George’s hand.“I know.”
George sighed and sat down again.“There is something…” he started, “…so different about Nicolae’s blood.He should be a vampire, but he isn’t. He’s aging normally and has children of his own! The answer is there, but I need my notes and research I did.”
Colin got up and hugged George.“And it will be there when we get the new CPU.”He looked at Stan.“What have you found out about a secure location to work out of?”
Stan grinned.“Well, the problem isn’t the power, it is the location.”He reached down and pulled up his laptop.“There are locations that were used during the Cold War…” he looked up.“…I was in diapers back then.”
“Ten years ago?”Mark asked innocently.
Stan put his hand on Mark’s face and shoved him lightly and said.“Shaddup.”He said almost absently.“The Soviet Union had bases around here.There’s one not far, if we get permission to use it.”He said.
“Can I ask a stupid question?”Shelly began almost too quietly.
Colin looked at Shelly.“Sure.”
“Why are you doing this?”Shelly asked.
Colin smiled and gave his shrug and nod.“That’s not a stupid question.”
Shelly sat forward.“I mean, why cure yourselves?You have what most people want.”She said simply.“You’re young, full of life and you won’t die.”She looked at Colin.“I joined this group to hunt vampires that prey on people.”She put in.“I’m all for that, but the idea that you could add a few decades or even a century or even…” she waved at Amasis.“…a couple of thousand years is amazing.”
Amasis nodded and he smiled at Shelly.“But we’re cut off from the human race.We can’t…or didn’t know we could until we found Gaius and found out we could…but we can’t have children.”He looked at Shelly.“You enter a whole different subject with loved ones and people that mean something to you that you will lose.”
“Being a vampire means losing people.”George said.
“But you aren’t.”Shelly pointed to George.“You have Burke now.”She waved at Colin.“You have Gabriella and Devon.”She waved at my mother.“Betty became a vampire to stay with Willie and her son.I think Betty and Devon have the best as vampires…someone that will love them for a long, long time.They are losing no one.”
“But that doesn’t mean we won’t die.”Colin corrected.“We can be killed by guns or even hit by a car.”
“Could.”Shelly said.“Not will.There’s a huge difference.You could lose them, but not will lose them.”She shook her head.“I have a mother and father who are doing pretty well, but they are getting older.I will lose them one day.We’re raised knowing that.”She smiled.“I have a sister that has two kids.”She chuckled at a memory.“I can only imagine what their lives will be like and I hope I see a lot of that life.I wouldn’t mind having a child of my own one day.”She shook her head and looked at us.“There’s no solution, but I will hunt the vampires that kill people, but don’t be in such a hurry to become human again.Enjoy knowing that you might live a damned long time!”She waved at George.“The things he’s contributed to science and medicine is just mind blowing.Imagine what he’ll find in another century!He’s brilliant, but he can work on a problem for decades…if not indefinitely!The breakthroughs he will make…” she waved her head like it was impossible to believe, “I can’t begin to comprehend.”
“But the world won’t see us as human.”Gabriella said.
Shelly shook her head.“Why not?I do.”She held her hands out.“You’re right.We will be entering a new world if we have people that can just live indefinitely.”She smiled again.“I would love to, but not without my sister, her kids and my parents.You see what happened to after you were bitten as a curse.” She nodded.“It was…until now?George found a way to stop the venom from working and now you have a life, enjoying meals and travel and anything you like.Don’t rush this whole…cure thing.”
Chuck nodded.“She’s right.”He added.“Let’s stop these vampires here like Iilya and Lucian from doing…whatever they are doing.”He nodded.“I’ve considered what it would be like to be one of you and…” he grinned.“That would be sweet, but like Shelly said.If I do this, I would want my father to be included, but he never would now that Mom’s gone.”He smiled.“However, you have what a lot of people want.Enjoy it.”
It was later, when both Colin and I were exhausted and decided to go to bed a while and rest.As Colin slid in next to me, I was feeling a little guilty about my feelings.It must have been of my face, for as Colin was leaning closer to me, he stopped.
I grinned at him and nodded. “We’re married.You can read me.”
“I was there.”Colin grinned.“I read you very well, but what are you thinking about?”
I frowned.“You won’t like it.”
Colin frowned, too.“Oh?”
I nodded.“I like being a vampire.”There, I said it.
“What!?”Colin asked in disbelief as he sat up more.
I waved at him.“See?You don’t like it.I knew you wouldn’t.”I held my hands up to stop him.“Just…hear me out.”
Colin laid down a bit more.“Okay.”
“I never had the horrible things you experienced.”I explained.“I never had to worry about avoiding the sun for any other reason that I would get a sunburn easily when I was human.”I sat up to face him.“I don’t feel any different than I did when I was human!I’ve never hungered but that one time right after you bit me.I’ve never looked at a human being and seen a target to feed off of.You came in like this…knight and brought me into your world and…” I laughed, “…this world is pretty sweet.You’re rich, you’re generous and you’re smart.”
“But if George didn’t come up with the serum…it would be miserable!”
I nodded.“But he did!I have had no pains after the introduction of the serum.Your life had almost nothing but pain; mine didn’t.”I nodded.“I knew…after we first met, I knew I would be a vampire.”
Colin shook his head.“I didn't want that life for you.”
“You didn’t do anything to me, Colin.”I looked in his emerald colored eyes.“I secretly thank Burke for making it impossible for you not to make me a vampire.You had to feed and I was the target.I knew you would never hurt me.You loved me.You hated what you were for so long…you couldn’t see it any other way.”I looked away.“I’m not sorry I became a vampire, Colin.”I looked again.“If this changes you’re opinion of me…well, we’ve always been honest.I’m being honest.I saw how glad you were to be in a relationship with me and I never wanted to leave you.”
Colin heard me, but he was looking in my eyes.“Okay, I’ll be honest, too.”He took a deep breath.“I wanted to make you a vampire almost from that first day.”
My eyes widened.“You did not.”
Colin nodded.“I did.Of course, you found the evidence of who I was and I really didn’t fight you by not telling you the truth, but I wanted to make you vampire…well, you didn’t run away; I didn’t scare you, so I wanted you to stay,” he shrugged, “but I was on the serum, I couldn’t make you a vampire, so…”
“If you could have, you’d have done it?”I asked.“For love?”
Colin gave a shrug.“Lust at that point, but…yes.That was very selfish of me.”
I got up and pushed him back.“No, it wasn’t!”I was on top of him at this point.“It was human.We’re social creatures, we’re not meant to be alone.You were!”
“Yes, but making you like me wasn’t the answer!”Colin protested weakly.
I nodded.“But you didn’t, well…you did, but with George’s serum I’m not like you were.”I settled on top of him.“Are you mad at me for liking what I am?”
“Are you mad at me because of who I am and my wanting to keep you with me?” Colin asked.
I shook my head.“Not a bit.”
Colin smiled.“I’m not mad at you.”
“So, what are we going to do?”I asked.
“The problem was, we can’t have children…normally.”He smiled.“But replenishing the Earth isn’t that essential if we live as long as we do.”
“But we can die.”I pointed out.“We’ll need to have children because we can, and will die; eventually.”
“That’s one of the reasons George is looking for a cure.”
“Shelly’s right; we shouldn’t be worrying about a cure.”I said.“We now know a vampire can have children, we have Nicolae as proof.”
“Without the serum, we will become those blood suckers again.”Colin said.
I nodded.“George said the components to make the serum isn’t hard to find.”
“But complicated to make, he says.” Colin said.
“So, we make sure George has what he needs and passes it on.This Lucian seems to be under the impression that we are supposed to be the undead or like the character Bram Stoker wrote about.”I said.“He, right now, is the danger and we need to find him.My kidnapping when we were in Egypt told us that there are men out there that will want what we have to become this all powerful vampire.”
Colin nodded.“Vampires are just people that don’t have a time limit; that’s scary to people.”He said.“There are good vampires and bad vampires.We just need to deal with the bad ones and keep the good ones safe.”
I nodded.“But the more we’re out there and the more people know about us…we will be found out.”
Colin sighed.“If that happens, I can see another of your movies scenarios where there is a raging horde of angry villagers with pitchforks and torches assaulting the castle.”
“The world isn’t ready for us.”I nodded.
“But we are here now.”Colin said.“What do we do?”
“We’ve become aliens on our own planet.”I said quietly.“I wish we were from another planet, we’d have a home to go back to.”
“What we need…” Colin said quietly.“Is a place on the world where we can be free to be what we are; like those men that took you…governments will try to use us for whatever.People will want us to make them into vampires or just kill us.”
I nodded.“There’s really no place left here on the world to go to found a country of our own.Even Antarctica is crowded more now.”
Colin smiled.“Well, maybe there’s a country…struggling that would welcome us.”He grinned.“Imagine, a country that’s struggling and we come in.We have doctors, lawyers, scientists, teachers and politicians with centuries of experience…George could open a hospital.We could add to the economy of that country and make it prosper.”
“If we can get the other vampires to talk to us...”I said.“We can’t form a country without them.”
“All this is premature anyway, we need to find Lucian and get Dragon on our side.”Colin said as he grinned at me.“We have been so busy…” he said, “…you’ve told me, but…do you still love me?”
I smiled down at him.“There, since we’re baring our souls to each other…no.You have to know the truth; I don’t love you at all.”
Colin chuckled.“Yes, I agree.It’s truth time.I don’t love you, either.”
“See!?”I said kissing him.“We’ve been together so long; I can read you, too.I know better.”
“You can’t lie to me, either.” Colin said rolling us so he was on top.“I know you do.”
I pulled Colin closer.“I know you do.”
We had not one, but tw0 CPUs arrive from Manhattan along with things George needed to make up his lab so he could continue with his research.Now the issue was with the government of Romania.
Stan found there was an unused Soviet Base in the town of Barsov a little northeast of where we were.We had to deal with the mayor there who was also called George.George Scriparu who was dark headed about fifty.Colin, Stan, Mark and I went to negotiate with him to let us use it.
“I don’t understand.”The Mayor said from behind his desk in English.“Why do you wish to use this base?”He asked for clarification.Language issues?
“Because of what we’re doing.”Colin said and touched his translator and spoke in his earpiece microphone.“Suntem crearea unui program pentru calculator să ajute cu traducerea şi avem nevoie de un loc sigur.Casa pe care am închiriat a fost vandalizat şi am nevoie de undeva mai sigure.”He said saying we were creating the program to translate and we had been our equipment vandalized while we had it the the house we rented.“Ne veţi plăti pentru costul şi securitate.Chiar şi pentru orice actualizări de putere s-ar putea nevoie.Avem nevoie doar de aprobarea dumneavoastră.”Colin said we’d pay for the use and provide the security and even upgrade the power as needed.
Now the mayor was standing as he looked in disbelief looking at the device on Colin’s shoulder.“Asta a fost in limba romana.”
My earpiece told me he had said what Colin and said was in Romanian.
Colin nodded.“Acum, poate intelegeti mai bine?”Colin said now he may understand better.
(The rest I will write in English, but we were all speaking Romanian and English.)
“We need our equipment to be secure as we move around the country gathering needed information.”Colin said and turned to Stan and Mark.“Stan is brilliant with the computer…he can watch it while there…”
Stan grinned and nodded.“Thanks, Boss.”
Colin rolled his eyes and waved at Mark.“Mark is part of our security.So, we won’t be unprotected, though you may need to explain what is allowed and not allowed in this part of the world.”
Mark’s eyes were slits when he looked at Colin.“Gee, thanks.”He muttered in English.
We got permission to use it, with the understanding that we were to use a security firm from Romania for the outside security.We were not allowed to have guns here, but Colin agreed to hire this firm, which we found out later was a relative that ran it. Of course Mark, Stan, Shelly and Chuck had their guns with them and could protect our stuff from inside the base.
The whole transition took a few days, but we got set up and found ourselves to be secure and George went back to his research.The man that had okayed our bringing our things into Romania was the same man that had let us in the first time and loved his translator!I could kiss Mitch for letting us use it.That program was providing the perfect cover!We were investors, but were really adding to his language database and therefore not a lie.Every member of our team carried one and all conversations were entered in and translated, making it easier as we went through the various towns.
We still patrolled for Lucian and Iilya and finding they had made others that were still remaining hidden.We interviewed Gaius, Cragen and Dragon.Now that George had his equipment, he took samples of Dragon’s blood and took Nicolae’s again and started doing research again.
Gaius sat as his son got his blood drawn again.Gaius was enjoying being out during the day with his family.
“Tell me.”George said to Gaius as he prepared Nicolae’s blood to test.“The vampire that bit you…you were wild after the bite because he was?”
Gaius nodded.“I was.”He frowned.“Memories are a little foggy during those couple of centuries.”He grunted as he tried to remember some of it.“I remember I fought myself…” he tapped his own head in the memory of the frustration he’d gone through, “in here.I found it hard to think and recall anything.”
“And Dragon?”George asked.
“We were bitten by two separate vampires.” Gaius frowned at a memory.“There were several during that battle when were both turned.They wandered around in these…packs…like wolves.”
George nodded. “But you came back.”He said.“Do you remember how much time had passed before you could think clearly again?”
“I don’t really…” Gaius began.“It was a couple of centuries I know.I remember having to hide all the time…”
“You said…” I began coming closer to the man.“…you were afraid to face God with what you did.”I said quietly.“You’re speaking of that period, or when you were with Dragon?”
“Both.”Gaius said bitterly.“I remember what I did with or for Dragon, but not when I was out of my head.I know I probably hunted humans.”
“You weren’t yourself.”I said calmly.“The venom was driving you then and took away your humanity.What you did with Dragon…”
“Was horrible!”Gaius spat.“He did it! I did it…there were others that did it!”
I nodded.“Okay, I’m not offering any absolution about that, but…if someone threatened Nicolae or your grandchildren and there was no other choice…”
“I ran poles up men’s asses that made the shafts come out the neck or chest!I gouged out eyes and cut off their man parts while they were alive!!”He said as he began rocking back and forth to shield what he now clearly could remember.
“To stop them.”I reminded him as I put my hand on his shoulder as he rocked.“Was there any other way?”
He was crying now as he shook his head.“I don’t know.”He said in sorrow and regret.“Dragon…you know he is Vlad, but he…did it himself as well…but he couldn’t do it alone.I had to help.”
I nodded and touched his other shoulder and made him look up at me with his good eye.“I figured that out a while ago.”He shut his good eye.“Gaius.”I said and he looked at me.“Willie…my stepfather…has some horrors he remembers when he fought in a war.It’s a terrible thing, war.I’ve dealt with the injuries of soldiers and one of those injuries is in your mind.You remember what happened.You’ll never forget.I don’t forget the things I saw, but I’ll help you if you want.”
“How?You can’t take it away.”Gaius said sobbing.
I shook my head.“No, I can’t, but there is one thing I can do.I can listen…maybe give some perspective.”
Gaius shook his head.“I can’t!I can’t talk about what I did!!”
I nodded again, still speaking softly to him.“What you’re going through is Post Traumatic Depression, it is a real diagnosis.”
George smiled at Gaius.“Listen to him, Gaius.He’s helped Willie and others.”
“I can see it bothers you.”I said.“That’s better than you not giving it another thought.You regret what happened and it’s tearing you up inside.If you don’t talk to me, you’ll never be able to deal with it.You brain want to deal with it, but you’re not letting it.”I made sure he was looking at me.“I’m not saying it will be an easy thing to do, but you have to, if you want to get better.”
“I don’t want to remember.”
I nodded again.“I know, but you can’t have any release if you don’t.Talking will help your mind accept what you had to do.Then you may be able to forgive yourself and talk with God.He will forgive.The problem is…we don’t forgive ourselves.”
Colin smiled as I hugged Gaius, who grabbed me and held on tight.