Book: The First - Part: Two - Chapter: 5 - Installment: i

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        Marcel Assombri slept little. It had been many years, decades, since he had slept more than a few hours at a time. More than once in a day, certainly, but even then it was rare that the total number of hours could not be counted on the fingers of one hand. Sleeping scattered hours throughout the course of a day served him in numerous ways. He was a driven and busy man, having twenty hours of wake time in most days allowed him the feverish pursuit of his ambition. It also made him available with impunity at virtually any hour on the clock. The Lazarus Group eradicated vampires – it was a twenty-four/seven pursuit.
        He no longer kept close tabs on missions like he used to. When they were younger, less experienced; when the Lazarus were learning their way by trial and error he was present and awake in the old dispatch centre for every single one. He had practically created the duties of the QBs himself. He had been the first one, before they even really existed. There could have been no other way. Sylvette had been the first person to undergo the transformation. He had been unable to stop her from being the first test-subject, but he would not stand by helpless while she went into danger for the first time. Those days had been simpler. It had taken years for the Class Ones to catch on that they were being hunted by latter day VanHelsings. Surprise had always been their ally. Their communication techniques had developed, as had their tactics. He himself had created, developed or stumbled upon most of what were their standard practices in the course of protecting his daughter. And as other agents began their field work, he provided them the same level of strategic back up, and trained new QBs for each of them.
        QBs and their agents would remain partners for years – usually until one or the other met misfortune – but Marcel was always there, watching over shoulders, overseeing the entire affair. There were other reasons QBs and agents would quit working together too, but they were rare. The trust developed was unusually enduring.
        He often thought that National Intelligence operations could benefit from a recruiting practice that was as traumatic as theirs. It defined absolute loyalty by its very nature. No-one could get close enough to know the truth without also knowing the stakes. Going public could only make one look foolish, and going to the enemy meant turning your back on your own race.
Marcel was still aware of every hunting mission, but he knew they were all in good hands. He knew Sylvette was safe in Jake’s hands. The only QB he ever trusted more than Jake, other than himself, was Henri. But the years had been hard on Henri. He was worn down – old. No longer any good for the game, though he now oversaw the missions from dispatch as Marcel once had.
        Though in the years since they began, dispatch had changed from a hidden high-tech bunker to a networked laptop whose location changed constantly. Henri also coordinated the training of every QB since Marcel himself had taken the burden of greater responsibilities. Even without Jake, Sylvette knew better than anyone how to take care of herself. More than Jake, more than Henri, Sylvette had Marcel’s trust. As he had invented the role of QB, she had created the role of the transformed agent. No one, bar no one, was better than her.
        While missions were running, Marcel kept vigilant. He maintained a feed from dispatch to his apartment/office high over False Creek. When events dictated, he could get so busy that for days and days he might not even leave the penthouse except possibly for brief consults with Richard Lancaster, a mere five minute drive downtown.
        He had monitored dispatch earlier in the evening and witnessed the good news. Sylvette had been on the case of a Class One they’d been tracking for years. The Ripper. Marcel had followed the case with interest from early on. It had been a particularly frustrating case what with the overlap of police interest. A rash of missing women cases had severely confused both sides of the issue. The VPD were still confused. They had no reason to suspect that many of their cases had been killed by a nosferatu. Vampires were a fiction to the police. “Serial killer” was their explanation, across the board. The Lazarus had managed to untangle enough of the puzzle on their own, while throwing law enforcement an anonymous bone or two as they differentiated the serial-killer from the vampire. It had been late summer when they focused the profile of their target and narrowed their search. Sylvette had spent several nights each week for the past several months trawling, hoping for a bite, while the Lazarus continued to sift through evidence trying to find new ways of further paring down the search, and thus improve her chances. When Marcel had called dispatch he was informed that Jake had reported in. Sylvette had a very promising suspect who was playing into her hands. This could be excellent news.


        He was napping when the buzzer startled him.
        “Yes?” He flipped the security camera on switch while pulling himself out of the well of unconsciousness.
        The bedside monitor glowed with grainy life as one of his oldest friends in the world’s face formed out of the dark. There were the three of them in the organization who spoke French. Henri was Quebecois, Marcel had brought Sylvette from Europe when she was still a child. They had long since put the dialectic differences in how they spoke the language behind them and when together alone, they spoke exclusively in a middle-ground version of their native tongue.
        “I assumed it was a joke.”
        “What, Henri? What was a joke?”
        “The Ripper. He has surrendered to Sylph.”
        “Surrendered?” Not once in the entire time he had been in the business of killing vampires had one surrendered. Never. “And they are taking him where?”
        “The N-Positive cells. They are already there. Like I said, I thought it was a joke. Otherwise I would have let you know sooner.”


        One hundred and fifty seconds later Marcel was in Henri’s car accelerating out of the cul-de-sac of his apartment tower.
        “Why did he surrender?”
        “Because he was cornered and had no other way out.”
        “Henri, no nosferatu has ever surrendered. Even when cornered.”
        “He had Jacob - as good as dead. Have you ever heard of a nosferatu who wouldn’t try to take advantage of that leverage?”
        “And he simply surrendered?”
        “Very, very strange.”
        “Anything else?”
        “You won’t believe who it is.”
        Marcel worked his way through the words of the sentence out loud. “I won’t believe who it is…” The implication that it was someone knowable to him was disturbing.
        “Nikolai Tarasoff.”
        “Nikolai Tarasoff…” He drew the name out trying to place it.
        “There is much good new jazz in the world.”
        “I take it he is a musician.”
        “I’ll stick to Reinhardt. But he is famous?”
        “Bop-house has a reasonable following. He sells out clubs. His shows are special events as he’s a known recluse and doesn’t tour much.”
        “Stands to reason, as he’s a nosferatu.”
        “Strange that a nos’ would allow themselves such a high profile.”
        “No stranger than turning themselves in.”
        “This is the truth.” Conceded Henri as he turned onto Burrard bridge accelerating south.

     Installment ii

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Necropolis by Kennedy Goodkey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at necropolisnovels.blogspot.com.