Tag: Brett

  • Triple, Venti, Soy, No Foam Latte – Part I

    “How did we get main power up and running again?” Mason asked confused.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    Their original estimate had been in the order of weeks, but the fusion generators were roaring back to life now. When operating normally, they would be silent and undetectable to humans, functioning at frequency ranges that were beyond a human’s ability to detect. In contrast, the ramp up procedure made them impossible to conceal. While the machinery whirled back to life, the sound increased lock-step with the power levels, reminding him of gas turbines spooling up on an airliner.

    For a moment, the building vibrated in harmony with the generators. The startled group looked to one another because this scenario was never meant to happen. If this were to turn into a positive feedback loop, the building would come crashing down.

    Fortunately, the speed increased just enough to cancel out the harmonics. Soon, the main power would be restored and they could get some answers, or so they hoped.

    Brett, who was preoccupied with the generator start-up routine, answered once he was satisfied, “Breanna activated a repair drone.”

    “So I leave for a couple of hours and you find a repair drone that none of us knew about?” Mason asked.

    Brett shrugged before answering, “She found it while snooping around in the inventory database.”

    “Breanna!” Mason yelled, but by now, the generators were nearly silent, so it came across like he was furious.

    “What!” Breanna snapped back. A few seconds later, her head peeked out from the floor above and she asked, “You called, Oh Captain, My Captain?”

    “Stop that!” Mason exclaimed before adding, “Why were you searching through the inventory?”

    Breanna was enjoying getting under his skin. While this had been a rough night for the lot of them, she was still bored of these petty squabbles. She needed an escape, but for now, the where and the who was still up for grabs.

    Breanna let out a long woeful sigh before replying, “I thought it was time well spent compared to staring at a blank screen.”

    “So, you didn’t know we had one?” Mason asked.

    “No,” Breanna said in a bored tone. “Did you?”

    The act of throwing the question back in Mason’s face was her way of avoiding conflict. While Brett could get away with his antics, she had no such leeway.

    Georgians in their true form functioned like insect colonies here on Earth. Enclaves of Georgians were primarily composed of female workers, a small group of drones, and the Queen. Mason, Brett, and Breanna had all been workers, so gender had not been a factor until they were selected for this expedition.

    Mason and Brett ended up with naughty bits on the outside and quickly developed traits that came with that toolset. Mason became the authoritarian ass who led by edict, while Brett played the part of the court jester.

    Breanna had been assigned a female body, which opened up a whole array of alternate attack vectors. While the men could draw conflict by threatening some unwritten patriarchal rule, she possessed the ability to bypass most safeguards all by using her assets against the opposite sex.

    Although effective, Breanna soon learned that she preferred the company of other women. There was a softness, a connection that existed during those liaisons that eluded her with men. Her age of discovery coincided with the Roaring Twenties, an era when empowered and hedonistic women were also open to exploration.

    While Mason questioned Brett on what was known of the repair drone, Breanna pulled out her mobile from the depths of her pocket. She flicked through the interface until a certain name made her heart skip a beat. Without a second thought, the fiery redhead sent out a ping into the night.

    “Am I going to get a reply?” Breanna hoped.

    Mason tapped Breanna’s shoulder and asked, “Is everything okay?”

    Breanna fumbled with the phone until she managed to press the lock button. The screen went black, and left behind the reflection of a hysterical woman.

    “Fuck!” Breanna exclaimed. “Don’t do that.”

    “Sorry,” Mason said in that sorry, not sorry tone.

    “Yeah. Yeah,” Breanna replied while ignoring the giggle-snort that Brett made. “I’m sorry. Did I miss something?”

    Mason gave her a curious look, as though he was trying to peer into the depths of her soul. Since they were no longer linked through cybernetic implants, the man gave up.

    “Can we confirm—,” Mason said.

    “The gain in mass?” Breanna answered while interacting with her station’s interface. She paused for a moment before adding, “The original estimates were correct.”

    “That’s impossible!” Mason blurted out.

    “Well, normally, yes,” Breanna said.

    She switched to her phone and scanned trending headlines. There were a few articles of note, so she pushed the content onto her workstation’s display to show the group.

    The first article started off with the image of a man in prison attire. The headlines read, ’Man who rode lighting, back from the grave?’ Immediately, to the side of the mugshot, they displayed the picture of a man they apprehended earlier tonight. Either they were twins or—

    “Says here that police arrested a man trying to break into his former home. Authorities are baffled. Dental records and fingerprints were matched to those of the convicted serial killer, Adam Graves. The same man who was executed last year for his string of sex crimes that culminated in a series of horrific murders,” Breanna summarized. “The thing is, this man has no scars from the police shootout.”

    The second article was more graphic. It contained a picture of a skyscraper superimposed over a dilapidated neighbourhood block. Some developments did integrate existing building faces into the design, but this was something else entirely. The front face of the larger structure was blocked by two boarded up buildings. In between, there were dumpsters, full of trash, which were fused in the front doors. Of course, the most disturbing element, were the people embedded into the structure. Men and women in suits were now literally part of walls erected a century ago.

    “What the—,” Mason and Brett said.

    “The article states that this neighbourhood was torn down shortly after the last municipal elections,” Breanna said. “Now it seems that both events happened simultaneously.”

    “So—,” Mason tried to ask.

    “Correct,” Breanna said. “These humans can’t create matter, or at least not on this scale. The disturbance we saw appears to have resurrected alternate timelines and integrated them with our own.”

    Mason turned to face Brett who, by now, was white as a sheet. It was one thing to make a mistake that knocked out their systems. Mishaps like that could be remedied without alerting the world to their presence. However, this was a fuck up of epic proportions. People were sure to remember an alternate version of events and start asking questions. News of this event was already spreading like wildfire which would only add fuel to the fire.

    “Oh shit.” Brett said in an attempt to deflect.

    Breanna smiled, knowing that this court jester was about to be put in his place. She only wished that she had a big bag of popcorn on hand to enjoy the show.

    Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

  • Morpheus’ Embrace – Part I

    It was a couple of hours since the incident, and the lab was still in complete disarray. Half of the false flooring was gone, removed to access the fusion generators below. Test equipment and tools littered what little was left of the floor space, which confined Breanna to her station. Fortunately, she kept busy by running system diagnostics while keeping an eye on their remaining power reserves.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    The North wall, farthest away from the exit, had been scorched black after a fire broke out at one of the associated workstations. Fortunately, emergency power had been restored by that time, so the integrated fire suppression systems dealt with the threat before the lab turned into a crematorium.

    “I told you to check the polarity!” Mason yelled.

    Brett just glared at the team leader, and avoided making eye contact with Breanna who was snickering at the outburst. These generators were his pride and joy, and knew their designs intimately, he should not have been second guessed.

    “I’ve maintained these generators for the past twenty-five years,” Brett said.

    “So?” Mason asked.

    “So I’m sure the power bypass is compatible with our systems,” Brett said in all honesty.

    For now they were at an impasse. Mason was also aware that the polarity, phase, and the voltage at the tap was compatible. The generators alternate feed was designed to provide long-term auxiliary power, that was their primary function. So why did they nearly blow out the power grid in the attempt? They needed auxiliary power to restart the generators, only then would they have stable power.

    Breanna cleared her throat to get the men’s attention. Both of them looked up from the mess of wires and circuits to focus on their counterpart. Brett was clearly annoyed by the distraction, while Mason seemed relieved for the opportunity to focus on something else.

    “This service manual for the Mister Fusion Mark Twelve Bravo says…” Breanna said, before she paused to decipher the schematics. “That you should have tapped after the converter to get the correct polarity.”

    The men turned to one another, and collectively shrugged. Now that was downright odd, since what she reported did not match what either knew to be true.

    “We have a Mark Twelve Alpha,” Mason finally said as a way to avoid escalating tensions.

    “Yeah,” Brett said. “Bravo’s are fitted on interstellar craft, not ground installations.”

    Breanna shrugged and quickly tapped on her dimly lit console. The systems were scaling back their processing power as reserves dwindled. This trend would continue until they established auxiliary power.

    “Wait one,” Breanna said while the query ran in the foreground. “The system’s firmware pings back as a Bravo.”

    “No way!” Brett yelled.

    Breanna turned around so fast that the men flinched. Her eyes darted in their direction, sized them up before looking away slowly and sighed. She then rubbed her temples in an effort to calm down. Breanna may not have been born a redhead, but she clearly embraced that particular stereotype.

    “You want to come up here and check?” Breanna challenged.

    Mason cringed and thought it best to say, “Why don’t you check the tally plates, Brett.”

    The request coming from Mason managed to diffuse the situation. Brett disappeared from sight, since getting to those plates required him to squeeze by two industrial capacitors, followed by hugging the outer casing to avoid making contact with exposed circuits.

    “Fuck!” Brett yelled, although the sound was muffled by the surrounding equipment.

    “Everything good?” Mason asked.

    “No!” Brett exclaimed just as he lit a red filtered torch. “I just ran into a high capacity power conduit.”

    For a man who insisted he knew these generators intimately, that certainly raised a slew of questions. One did not just forget the location of power transmission lines, because inadvertent contact when the system was operational meant disintegration.

    Minutes later, the red light bled out into the room followed by Brett. It gave the man a certain demonic look, despite the wide eyes and soft features that were trademarks of those humbled.

    “Mister Fusion Mark Twelve…” Brett said. “Bravo,” he whispered.

    Mason cocked an eyebrow once that information hit him. His memories were clearly aligned with Brett’s. In fact, he would have bet his life on it. No matter, his bruised ego could be addressed at a later time, and for now they needed power.

    “How long will it take you to establish a power bypass?” Mason asked.

    Brett sighed, then looked up towards Breanna. His shoulders were slumped and his face was crestfallen. It was clear that he did not take well to being proved wrong.

    “I don’t know,” Brett replied. “I’ll have to consult the technical manuals to provide an assessment.”

    “So safe to say that you’ll need at least four hours?” Mason asked.

    “Safe to say,” Brett responded. “Yes.”

    Mason turned to Breanna and said, “Does that phone of yours still work?”

    Breanna withdrew the device from the depths of her lab coat. She tapped on the surface, and on command the screen came to life, so she nodded.

    “We are going to be here a while—,” Mason said.

    “On it,” Breanna said in haste, seeing how she could stand to eat as well.

    Breanna flew past the apps and menus until she neared the entry she sought. At least, that had been her intent, but the Chinese restaurant she sought was not listed. Odd, since she passed it just this morning, and the memory of that fried rice wafting from out of their exhaust, was enough to make her salivate.

    “It’s not there?” Breanna asked.

    “What do you mean?” Mason queried in return.

    “General Chang’s Lucky Wok,” Breanna said. “Doesn’t show on Scroogle or even on Street Peeper.”

    “I loved that place!” Brett whined.

    Mason stepped back, and immediately latched onto a solid object, to avoid falling in between the equipment. Distractions in this current situation were ill advised, but these disconnects from reality were making it more likely.

    Was the group’s collective memory faulty? Not only once, but twice now? Or was there something else at play they had yet to consider?

    “What’s there now?” Mason asked.

    Breanna spread her fingers over the screen to zoom in on the sign and answered, “King of Donair.”

    “What’s a donair?” the men asked.

    Mason was tired of this, so he hopped skipped and jumped through the gaps, until he reached the exit. Once he pressed the button, he expected to hear the airlock equalise pressure. Instead, the door slid open to reveal a storage closet.

    “What the fuck!” Mason swore.

    Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

  • Cause and Effect – Part III

    For a moment, Evelyn considered baiting Victoria to make sure she still had the woman’s full support. There were conditions to their way of life, and choice featured prominently amongst the core tenants of their faith.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    “How odd?” Evelyn whispered.

    That nagging voice in the back of her thoughts had gone silent. A general sense of laissez-faire permeated her mind, which only served to strengthen the moral certainty that everything was above board.

    Victoria noticed that Evelyn was silent, either for effect or as a part of the ritual; either way Victoria did not care. She knew that her character was aware of her thoughts, so why the inaction? In all honesty, she found the concept intriguing and frightening. How many wanted someone to truly understand how they felt in times of need? Especially during their darkest hour? Evelyn was in a way, a kindred spirit, or perhaps some twisted version of the fairy godmother.

    “What did Evelyn choose?” Victoria wondered.

    She never realised how all of this had been part of the show. A deliberate period of inaction to distract and deceive, to keep her blissfully unaware of what lurked behind her.

    In the background, the smooth and reflective surface of the blood pool began to congeal. This transformation brought about tendrils, and with these, it began to move in a coherent mass out of the pool. This creature was drawn to Victoria, seeking out that one element lacking in the rest of this room, the spark of life.

    Once the creature was within a sliver of that spark, Evelyn’s smile changed. Victoria focused on Evelyn, as the empress’ arm came forward. That hand then formed into a fist before she struck out a lone thumb, which was pointed towards the floor, and meant certain death. Victoria gasped, not knowing that this would be her last breath. That thing latched on, and dragged her into the depths.

    Before Victoria realised what was going on, her vision had turned red. Above, she saw nothing more than a point of light growing smaller with every passing second. Perhaps panic should have set in, which would have left her flaying about like a fish out of water, but this was ludicrous! Left to drown in a pool of blood, after a chance meeting with one’s own creation? Surely, it was more likely that she was suffering from psychosis?

    At first, she saw nothing more than fading light, but as time passed and her need to breathe grew, a black substance crept up from out of the depths. It seemed disjointed, lacking any form and Victoria wondered which part of her mind conjure up this apparition.

    Once the spectre took a definite shape, she realised how literal Evelyn’s words were. The light peering from the surface represented the light of God, while the creature below would assist her in turning away. Turning away? No, those words did not apply, she would be torn away from his divine presence, and sentenced to suffer the same fate as that whore!

    Victoria tried to break away from the tentacles’ grasp, by pushing against the walls, using what was left of her strength. Nothing seemed to be effective, even digging in her nails into the rough edges of the wall did nothing more than tear them off. She knew that time was limited, and that her life would soon be forfeit unless she broke free. With her body drawing upon the last of its last reserves, reality set in, her chance for escape was long gone.

    Once the darkness reached Victoria, the creature released its iron grip while the spectre embraced her. The spectre’s hold was oddly comforting, like a mother rocking her child to sleep. With her lungs burning for air, Victoria calmed down. Intent on leaving this world on her own terms, she took a deep breath which filled her lungs with fluid. In that moment, Victoria something that evaded her for most of her life, peace.

    Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

  • Cause and Effect – Part II

    There was a long pause as the group collectively assimilated what had been projected before their eyes. While the men were clearly distraught by the way that vampire ended Victoria’s life. They were even disgusted by the outward display of inhumanity, however Breanna was far more subdued.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    “That was brutal,” Brett said astonished.

    Breanna snorted before countering, “She’s done a lot worse! That was pretty merciful actually.”

    “Really?” Brett asked.

    “Yeah,” Breanna replied. “Almost a hundred years ago, three seasoned investigators were committed after investigating one of her more creative murders.”

    “Bullshit,” the men said in unison.

    “It’s true!” Breanna exclaimed. “We were dating at the time—”

    “No way!” They exclaimed in unison, which looked like a badly rehearsed comedy skit.

    “You mean she’s not—,” Mason inquired.

    “Straight?” Breanna asked. “She hates men, and wants nothing to do with them.”

    “So what—,” Brett demanded.

    “Their relationship… is complicated. It was never physical,” Breanna replied. “Although I’d avoid bringing that up in her company.”

    “How did you two cross paths?” Brett asked, snooping around for some gossip.

    “She was at the Grand during its construction,” Breanna said as though reliving a dream. “You two sent me there to establish our lab in that region, remember?”

    Evelyn had been searching for a model, and conveniently Breanna was bored out of her skull. Establishing an outpost on the site had been a cinch, and would not return on investments until years later.

    Breanna concealed a slight smile, as she thought back to her first experience in human sexuality. Evelyn may have been a vampire, but was more than adept at teaching her the ins and outs. To this day, no one could even hope to approximate that woman’s skill.

    “Attentive, determined, and utterly sensual. Is there a better combination for a lover?” Breanna asked herself.

    “A small reward for allowing me capture your beauty in stone,” Evelyn whispered that day in bed, after a particularly vigorous session.

    “What’s with you and women at the Grand?” Mason asked. When Breanna did not register what was alluded to, he added, “The girl with hundreds of past lives?”

    Breanna’s eyes narrowed a moment before they exploded in a bright glow. It was obvious to the others that memories of that brief interlude had also been memorable.

    “Hey!” Breanna exclaimed. “She came onto me and didn’t care that my appearance was artificial, or that my hips were well-suited for childbearing. Besides, the experiences gained from having lived a hundred lifetimes… helped us to consolidate centuries of human history.”

    “Did you two bond over the beating heart research?” Brett asked.

    Breanna glared at Brett, and for a moment looked as though she were about to gouge his eyes out. The opportunity to study and dissect an immortal, should have been her ticket out of here. Unfortunately, someone managed to steal that beating heart in a jar, which invalidated all associated research. To this day, these two knuckleheads never failed to rub salt in the wound.

    “Did Anna Hunter tell you that?” Breanna asked Brett to dredge up another experiment that went sideways for the group.

    While Breanna maintained her composure, Brett reacted violently. He slammed the surface of his workstation, which caused a display element to shift; a virtual dial changed from a dark green, to a deep red.

    “Just because you two look like the descendants of apes,” Mason said. “It doesn’t mean that you have to fling shit at each other!”

    Breanna and Brett looked down to avoid the gaze of the expedition’s senior scientist. While Mason was stuck here like the rest, they both knew he had the authority to make things worse, all in the name of research.

    “So what now?” Mason asked to get these two back on track.

    “We—We are roughly two minutes away from exploiting the alternate path,” Breanna said.

    “The tachyon generators are primed, capacitors charged and waveform generators are set for optimal insertion,” Brett said.

    Mason knew the rest. They would target the area in space, and time where the differing paths began. They had no choice, since Evelyn’s current choice did not align with their goals.

    “One minute to divergent path,” Breanna said.

    By targeting just the right point, they were able to shift the probability of Evelyn making a choice they favoured. Using this method, they could alter coin tosses, or shift the tides of war.

    “Thirty seconds…” Breanna announced.

    Breanna pulled out her mobile device, something the others never embraced. While the men avoided human contact, and the pleasures that came with such interactions, she saw it as a way to better integrate and disappear into the crowd.

    “Twenty seconds,” Breanna said.

    She checked for notifications, but they were none. A tinge of disappointment overcame her, but realised that it was late, and that people needed to sleep. Well so did she, but they had ways to push themselves beyond the limits of human endurance.

    “Ten seconds,” Breanna said with a hint of excitement.

    All they needed was a well-timed nudge, fortunately the precise set of calculations made that part easy.

    “Five… four… three… two… one… now!” Breanna exclaimed.

    Brett tapped a button on his virtual interface. For a second the lights flickered, and dimmed before going out entirely. The trio were frozen like deer caught in the headlights, silent witnesses to every piece of equipment in their lab powering down.

    “What’s going on,” Mason asked while visibly annoyed, or at least he would be, if the lights were on. “We have enough power generating capacity to power half the continent.”

    Before anyone could reply, a large wave of energy originating from the centre of the building passed right through them. Mason could not help but wonder if this phenomenon was linked to their equipment failure.

    “Oops,” Brett said to break the silence.

    Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

  • Cause and Effect – Part I

    “Sorry I’m late!” Mason exclaimed.

    He walked into the lab, and came face to face with a world that was sterile by design. Everything in this room, including the walls were a bright white with no style or flare of any kind. To most, this room would have evoked images of an early twentieth-century sanitorium. For him, this room had all of the comforts of home.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    Located within the depths of an office high-rise, this lab was invisible to those who worked and visited this building. The illusion that protected the access to the inner sanctum, was simple and effective. It took a very powerful mind to see past the deception, although that was only the first level of defence.

    “About time you showed up,” Brett said.

    Brett was physically perfect, they all were, because that had been the goal of their genetically designed appearances. Each of them could have walked off the pages of a glamour magazine; Brett a blonde Adonis, Breanna an Irish lass, and Mason the embodiment of Casanova.

    “We got an indication on a divergent event that will swing the balance of power our way,” Breanna said.

    “What are we looking at?” Mason asked.

    “The odds are better than a-million-to-one chance that this divergence will result in a step back,” Breanna said.

    “Seems too good to be true,” Mason said. “So how did we come across this gem?”

    Brett typed away on his desktop angled at a forty-five degree angle. It resembled a drafting table, and was devoid of any content except for the virtual user interface overlaid onto the surface. From this console, he could interface with any system linked to their network.

    “Picked it up an hour ago,” Brett replied. “This one was big enough to trigger every sensor we have. The strongest signals were from our listening stations near here, but sensors in Australia also registered it.”

    “Impressive,” Mason said.

    “No kidding,” Breanna quipped.

    There was excitement that permeated the air, it felt like a current was flowing between them. No one said it, and to do so would be tempting fate, but this might be their chance to get off of this primordial ooze covered rock.

    “How long have I been here?” Mason wondered.

    He had memories of the steam age and Pax Britannia, but little else prior to that. Still, that meant he had been on this backwater planet more than a century. They had been busy manipulating world events, or influencing key players to their benefit. All the while, they posed as a neutral party, one who sold technology to both sides of the conflict.

    Every attempt made to shift things in the favour triggered an opposing force that returned the system to an equilibrium. They were responsible for plunging Europe into a continental war, all in an effort to weaken the vampire’s power base. Instead, they watched as their corruption spread westward into North America, which created an even stronger power base.

    The activation of a gate into the Hunters’ stronghold, followed by an attack, only magnified the zealotry of those left behind. They never got the all-out war they hoped for, since the bulk of the hunters remained within the confines of the Tower. Meanwhile one of their best managed to destroy an influential vampire, which struck a serious blow to several projects their group favoured.

    That time they had a-thousand-to-one odds in favour of changing balance to favour the Georgians. That had been seen as more than favourable odds, but this? Was this even possible?

    “Georgians,” Mason said absentmindedly. “What an awful choice of name for our kind.”

    “What was that?” Breanna asked.

    Mason’s glassy stare ended with a quick shake of his head. He desperately wanted to return to his normal form, have his cybernetic implants returned, and be linked once more to the hives group consciousness. Alas the presence of such implants were not only incompatible with their physiology, they would also raise some uncomfortable questions if discovered here.

    “What?” Mason asked. “Nothing. So what’s going on that could bring about such a dramatic shift?”

    Brett’s fingers glided over the interface with ease. Every button and available option had been committed to memory long ago. The user had an intimacy with the interface that only existed between a creation and its maker.

    “Look here,” Brett said.

    They collectively looked up at the wall connected to the desk. The surface broke up into millions of tiny colour-shifting squares that moved independently from the whole to display a three dimensional image. In this case, the moment rendered had yet to occur.

    Mason looked over every detail of the scene, but did not understand how any of this would alter world events in their favour. This scene was more deserving of a soap opera than a chapter in the history books.

    There were three people visible, only one of which was human. The display included a series of overlays, which included a biometrics associated for each individual, and only one registered a body temperature above ambient.

    The human sported short blonde hair cut into a fashionable bob. Her pale blue eyes, sharp features and feminine nose would have made her attractive, if not for that mousey demeanour, and physical exhaustion. This was all part of the ritual he supposed, since Breanna had not briefed him otherwise, or bothered to explain why the woman’s clothes hung loosely from her frame.

    The young girl was a real knockout, what with those piercing green eyes, shoulder length dark hair, and a body better suited to world class runway models. She had lips that beckoned and a smile that promised so much.

    The man was harder to make out, dark hair and dark eyes enabled him to melt into the shadows. While short in stature, he was built like the strong men of old. Mason identified this one as an ancient specimen of their kind, and yet had no trouble letting his partner take the lead.

    Mason and his kind had seen this place before. The altar and the pit filled with an endless supply of blood.

    “Wait. Is that the Icon of Sin?” Brett asked with a snicker.

    Breanna slapped the back of Brett’s head before responding, “Why do you keep bringing up that video game references when we get footage of this site?”

    “Hey!” Brett exclaimed. “I loved that game, besides the name fits.”

    In a way it did, this hall of worship featured a pedestal, and icons that celebrated the cruellest of despots, psychopaths, and murderers. This was a holy site where their kind practised some of their darkest rituals.

    “Situation?” Mason asked, since it was time to get things on track.

    Breanna looked away from the display and took a seat at her own workstation. At first, she appeared to be absorbing a great deal of information, but soon commented on the situation.

    “Initiation ceremony,” Breanna said. “The brunette, Evelyn has been manipulating that blonde since early childhood.”

    “To what end?” Mason asked genuinely curious, because it was rare for their kind to toy with their food for so long.

    “Evelyn made sure to keep this child away from anything that could spoil her innocence,” Breanna replied.

    “Woman looks to be in her late twenties. How could she—,” Mason was about to ask.

    “Still a virgin,” Breanna said flatly. “Recent events led her to quit her job and start writing a story that centred on Evelyn’s life… a bit of a mind fuck ensued to prepare her… her parents were killed to start the process… Wait! Fascinating!”

    “What?” the men asked.

    “A herald,” Breanna said.

    “I don’t follow,” Mason said.

    “The predictive algorithms are still forming the narrative,” Breanna said. “But if this divergent path is strengthened. Then Victoria, the blonde, will chronicle the systematic eradication of vampires.”

    “How would her being turned lead to their extinction?” Mason queried.

    “The company her parents founded are heavily invested in the government’s military industrial complex,” Breanna replied. “Her disappearance has been noticed and will trigger an investigation to determine her whereabouts. This leads to a SWAT team being decimated in an attempt to save her, which in turn, exposes their kind’s existence to the general public.”

    Once they realised how this divergent path panned out, the current that flowed amongst them increased exponentially. Their hopes rose, and despite years of experience telling them to temper their expectations, they all cracked a smile.

    “What’s the primary path?” Mason asked.

    Brett turned around and beamed a smile before saying, “Just enough of that scenario has solidified to show you.”

    Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!