“Up and Adam”, announces Marty as he springs barefoot from his coffin onto the cold stone floor. He enjoys being the perpetual thorn in the side of his fellow conspirators. He never wanted to be recruited for this Experiment, but when the Aids epidemic of the 20th century hit, he had to seek alternative blood supplies. Dr. Murdoch’s treasure chest of globular synthetics was the perfect antidote. So he joined the program that promised him an endless supply of the red stuff.
“Stuff it, Marty”, moans Karl. He isn’t about to move from his cushioned cabinet. “I need five more minutes”. Karl is the youngest Vampire of the group, made one hundred years earlier, with only a two dozen kills to his name. But his passion for change has earned him a special place in the hearts of his Elders who see in him the chance for a true Vampire hybrid – half beast, half human. But with that most prized of all mortal possessions: a conscience.
One by one the group rises: Essie, the blonde and deadly siren whose roster of victims rivals the size of the national debt; Merrill, whose serene beauty and presumed innocence belie a lethal interior and Drew, the moody, brooding romantic who constantly distances himself from his peers. His reason for joining the Experiment was profoundly simple: to find that elusive human emotion called “love”. He’d read about it for centuries, witnessed it countless times in his travels, and envied mortals for this one great faculty – to love.
Drew’s perpetual reverie is shattered by Dr. Murdoch’s piercing call to order. Tonight, they will conclude their final lesson for the year and take the exam that will advance them to the next level. Should one fail, they will all be considered failures, and forced to repeat the entire primary level of their training.
They are a team, at least in theory. Loners by nature, this team thing was the first barrier to crack, for a Vampire has an instinctual distrust of everyone and everything. To overcome this block, Dr. Murdoch had them drill each other on such simple things as sharing their food supply, tutoring each other on their studies, and even partnering in Bridge.
Their resistance slowly melted, and they became more and more comfortable with the notion of working together. At least for a while, but then the inevitable outbreaks would occur, the violent threats, the blood-red eyes and extended fangs. But these outbursts would eventually give way to softer discourse and reconciliation. And all would be calm… for a while.
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