Ghost for Hire - Episode 1
The Director tapped his fingers on his extravagant mahogany desk impatiently, stopping the nervous movement as the door opened. Two people entered his office, a young blond woman in conservative black dress. His assistant. The other person was a dark haired woman who obviously had a confidence beyond her apparent years, her green eyes were alert and gave the impression that she saw straight through your lies.
"Good day, Marie." The Director said as his assistant left the room.
"Good day, sir."
"Please sit," he said gesturing. "I would like to ask you some questions," he said pressing a record button. Marie noticed it, but didn't react.
"Very well, sir." She said, her voice level.
"What do you know about vampires?"
"Vampires, sir?" she paused. "Vampires are former humans who have been infected with the so-called 'Vampire Virus' that has been recently proved to originate from another dimension. There are wild speculations of the exact origin of the virus, popular one places the virus home to Hell. While this is fitting, it is implausible since the dimension called Hell is occupied by organisms that would consider this virus less dangerous than a minor flu.
Vampire can be carrier of the virus all his life, once he dies the virus will take over. There is no known reason why some people are affected by the virus and others are not. There are some physical traits that will increase the possibility of being reanimated. A good heart, and functional brain and central nervous system are absolutely required. A young body is more likely to be reanimated than old."
"And their condition?" The Director asked.
"Vampires feed on blood. It does not matter where the blood comes, as long as it is fresh. Eventually they start running low on blood, as their own body does not produce it, in fact, it digests it. When the blood level of a vampire drops, their brain starts to lose cells more rapidly. They will lose functions of their higher cognitive functions until they will enter feeding frenzy and attack any potential blood source. Once they have enough blood they will regain their senses. If they don't get blood in time, they will die. This time permanently.
Every time this feeding frenzy happens they will suffer some minor brain damage. Eventually they regress to the level of barely intelligent animal. If they should survive long enough to experience this repeatedly, they will eventually enter a state that is barely in level with basic animal cunning; attacking anything and everything that can provide blood."
"Good. Anything more?" The Director prodded her.
"There are some reports of elder vampires who have learned to keep their own blood levels constant, so they are effectively near immortal. There is some controversy around the question how their bodies will fare the passage of years. There are reliable evidence of reanimated corpses that have survived for several hundred years without any significant loss of intelligence. There are suspicion that they might suffer from loss of memory or jumbled memory. But not much is known.
Also, unlike movies Vampires have no superpowers. But they are generally more alert, feel almost no pain, have very sensitive senses. Although they lack most of tactile and all of gustatory sense. They also seem to be able to produce impressive amounts of adrenalin at will and require no or very little oxygen and thus tend to be able to work themselves literally to death, or lift weights heavy enough to break their bones or rip their muscle tissue. They are very dangerous opponents, especially if they have survived for two or more decades as a vampire. Additionally, the older the vampire the less water their body holds, it is not fully understood why. And lastly, they heal very slowly but they are nearly impossible to kill without targeting the heart or head."
"Quite exhaustive. I am impressed." He said, smiling slightly condescendingly.
"Thank you, sir. Would you tell me what this is about?"
"In a moment, Inquisitor. Now, would you tell me what you know of Demons?"
"Very well, sir." Marie said, a hint of impatience in her voice. "Demons are not biblical as one would expect by the name. They are in fact Dimensional Beings, these days sometimes also called Demons. There is no uniform demon, since the races vary wildly from dimension to another. Demons are also a reference to the specific dimensional beings that come from a Dimension called Hell. While the dimension is not the final resting place of sinners, it deserves the name.
The dimension is a evolutionary hell-house having every imaginable kind of species that is either poisonous or just plain dangerous. The all races of Hell are unarguably nasty and vicious. If any Demon from Hell would ever manage to strafe to earth, it will undoubtedly cause terrible havoc before it could be destroyed. There is very little knowledge of Hell, since the cost of researching that lethal dimension is outright stupid, and also banned. There has been some rumors that few decades ago Russians were busily sending teams in to Hell, but it has not been confirmed and it is quite clear that if such research program existed, it no longer does."
"Thank you, sir." Marie said, the unspoken question clear enough.
"Yes, well..." The Director said. "We have a mission for you. You are our top Inquisitor, and as close to mind-reader as we have."
"Sir," Marie said, annoyed. "I cannot read thoughts. I am not Telepathic."
He sighed. "Yes, yes. I know, you're an empath. But since of your skill you do approach what I would call mind-reading. No one can lie to you, without you knowing it, correct?"
She paused. "It is possible, sir. But the person would have had conditioned their body not to signal their emotions. I believe it is possible, but to my knowledge I have not yet met anyone capable of such precise control." She left out the exact depth of her skill. To her, any man was like a open book. She could read the minutia of their body, the change of inflection in voice, the change of moods.
Her sensitivity was almost disabling fact to her. She could read and predict people's actions before they reached them, and she could see any ailments they suffered from. She let no man touch her, their lust and stray thoughts revolting her. She could practically see their thoughts when they viewed a passing woman, even when in company of their wives. She wanted no part of it.
"Quite, Marie. But as I was saying, you're our top Inquisitor, and we have job that will most likely tax all your abilities to the max. We have a problem." The director paused and pulled a file and laid it to the desk. "Do you know the city of Deadmoor?"
"Yes, sir." Marie answered. "A northern city, has cold weather most of the year, and long dark winter. A favorite place for all kinds of supernatural activity. Our presence is not well tolerated."
"Quite. While our beloved Church is not well-loved - and not completely without reason, I might add - in the liberal city, we do have some informants in the city. They have reported of some disturbing activities." Marie nearly lifted her eyebrow in the casual criticism of the Church the Director had said aloud. Not that she didn't share his opinion, but it wasn't wise to say such things aloud.
The director paused, glancing at the untouched file at his desk. She clearly saw his unease, and underneath it he seemed to be very satisfied of himself. "To make a long story short, Marie, we have a Vampire killer in the city."
She raised her eyebrow.
"Yes, we seem to have a some sort witch-hunter or a man on personal quest who hunts down the Vampires, Demons, and anything and everything that is not a man. While this is in of itself worthy of full inquest, we have had reports that these deaths are placed as our responsibility."
"Somebody is using Inquisition as their cover?" Marie said, surprised of someone being foolhardy or arrogant enough to attract the attention of the Inquisition.
"So it looks. Although to tell the truth, the scenes of death do not imply us. But the public opinion is that we are responsible. The witch-hunter could have meant this, or not. We are not sure."
He paused, and Marie could tell he had more unpleasant news.
"In fact, we are not sure if it is a single man or a team. By the number of kills and level of danger involved we are suspecting that it is a team. It could be a single man. But while a single person could be in some sense easier to handle, we are not very anxious to meet head on with a man - or a woman - who is capable of killing over twenty vampires and other assorted dimensional beings. There is even the possibility it is a Demon."
"I see." Marie said, and she knew this would not be easy. In fact, she suspected that the Director wanted to get rid of her. She knew he didn't like her and was afraid of her. She was bordering the limits of acceptable humanity for Inquisition, and the Director was not very tolerating. In fact, by some rumors he was most likely involved in the pro-humanitas movement. She suspected he had been looking for a perfect suicide mission for months now. She was accomplished enough that he could not kill her off in a trivial mission, so he had to wait for something more desperate, or something that at least gave the impression of importance on first glance.
"Your mission is relatively straightforward. You are to travel to Deadmoor, trace down the killer and report to us. You are not to try to remove or contact him without our permission. You will have no backup, because you are entering area that is beyond our sphere of influence. Take utmost caution." He tossed the thick file to her, his contempt like a open book to her in his gesture. "This is all we know. Take what equipment you need and leave as soon are you're ready."
Marie stood up. "Yes, sir."