Brian Jordan, CEO of New Systems Corrections Inc. sat at the end of a long conference table staring at his laptop screen. On the laptop was a repeating video loop of a group of vampires entering pod one and forcing everyone out and killing them. The picture was clear, in color and horrific.
“They’re here,” a voice called out. It was Eric Fox, president of the company.
“About fucking time,” Brian replied.
From the door at the other end of the room, three people entered. One woman and three men, it was the crew they hired to fix their vampire problem. They were a private security company called, V Control LLC with the V standing for Vampire.
“How was your trip?” Brian asked.
“Fine,” the woman replied. Her name was Ashley Blunt, and she was the leader of the group. “Santa Fe to Topeka is a pretty quick flight.”
“Who do you have with you?”
“This is Jesse Scott and Arthur Hansen,” Ashley replied.
“Where’s the rest of your crew?”
“We are the crew.”
“Seriously? There are over forty vampires running loose in the prison, how do you plan to end this standoff with the three of you?”
“How many humans are left alive?”
Brian tapped his pen on the table top. He didn’t want to reply, but he did. “One, maybe two.”
“Out of how many?”
“Does it matter?” Brian replied.
“It will tell me how strong they are. Vampires can go a week without feeding.”
“Feeding, I love how you use that word. I think at last count, with staff and tourists, they probably killed fifty people.”
“You don’t know for sure?” Ashley asked.
“I don’t have an exact count. There may be staff hidden in the prison we can’t find. I don’t have cameras in every corner of the building.”
“Ok, it’s been three days since the takeover, so they should be at full strength for another four days or so. It’s best we wait them out.”
“And what about the staff we haven’t accounted for? What do they do? We hired you to go in and rescue them,” Brian said.
“It would be suicide to go in now. You could bring in an army and you’d lose. Until they lose some strength, you have to wait.”
“How much am I paying you?”
Ashley sat for a moment and didn’t reply.
“I’m paying for results, immediate results. If you can’t go in today and start saving lives, you’re gone.”
“You can’t throw money at this and expect it to go away. There has never been a vampire takeover of a prison before. Nobody knows what they are capable of. We’re the most experienced vampire exterminators in the country, and we’ve never dealt with anything like this before. This is unprecedented.”
“Exterminators?” Brian asked. “It’s not illegal to be a vampire in this country, but it is illegal to murder. How do you get off calling yourselves that?”
“It’s a label we picked up over the years. It’s not official.”
“Eric, what do you think?” Brian asked the president of the company sitting to his right.
“I think we could have waited them out ourselves. That’s not rocket science. We hired you to do what we can’t. Tell me what you bring that I can’t do with the police.”
“We know how to handle vampires, that’s all we do,” Ashley replied.
“I’m not at liberty to discuss our proprietary methods.”
“I think we’re all familiar with how to handle a vampire. We’ve been housing them in this prison since we bought the property in ninety three. What do you do that’s special?”
“Probably nothing if you want to get right down to it, but from what I understand, most of your staff is dead. You don’t have anyone left to deal with them.”
“Not all my staff was on that day, I have probably a dozen guards I can call in. They know these fucks like the back of their hands.”
“Fine, call them in then. I have plenty of work back in Santa Fe.” Ashley said.
“Why Santa Fe? Of all the places in the country, why are you based there? Is there a huge vampire problem there?” Brian asked.
“No more than anywhere else, that’s where the founder is from. He sends us out all over the country now,” Ashley replied.
“Tell me this, how did you expect to corral forty some odd vampires with just the three of you. Even starved, they will fight to survive.”
“Depends on what you wanted, if you wanted them alive or dead.”
“At this point alive, vampires have rights, and we have staff in the building still, we can’t just burn the prison down,” Brian replied.
“If that’s the case, we have special tools we can use.”
“And this is where you can’t tell me what they are?” Brian asked.
“We don’t want others going out and taking our business from us. We came up with these processes and techniques on our own.”
“And you can’t trademark them or something? Get a patent?”
“That’s all in the works, but for now we can’t say anything. If you want to hire us, you have to trust us,” Ashley said.
“What guarantees do you offer?” Eric asked.
“We’re not Terminix, we can’t make those kinds of claims. All we can do is try.”
“And what are you costing us?”
“Ten grand a day,” Ashley replied.
“Holy shit,” Brian said. “That’s fucking outrageous! This could cost the company fifty grand before we’re done.”
Eric said, “The estimated cost so far is well over a million dollars. Fifty grand is nothing if we can’t get this under control soon.”
Brian shook his head and looked at the looping video on his screen. “We have insurance for the staff killed right? That won’t cost us anymore will it?”
“We have insurance, but if the courts go beyond what the insurance pays the company will go under. And the way it looks right now we’re basically trying to save what’s left, which isn’t much.”
“Did you ever find out what caused this takeover in the first place?” Brian asked.
“We think it was an inside job, it looks like a maintenance worker hooked up the exhaust from the boiler to the central air and gassed the prison.”
“Who is he?”
“Steve Grant, he was killed in pod one.”
Brian looked at his screen closer. “What did he look like?”
“Average looking, short dark hair, glasses.”
Brian tried to make the picture on his laptop larger but couldn’t. He saw a man that fit that description get pulled from the pod and torn apart more than once as the video looped.
“What are you looking at?” Eric asked.
“Video of the pod takeover. I think I saw him get pulled out and killed. But the camera is all the way across the commons. I’m not sure, but I think that’s him.” Brian pushed the laptop over so Eric could see Steve torn up and gutted.
“That’s sick,” Eric replied. “But I think that’s him. That’s the shirts maintenance wears.”
“So we don’t have to worry about prosecuting him for his crime,” Brian said.
Ashley spoke up, “Can I see that video?”
Brian tapped on the keys and the video lit up on the large white wall to his left. “Hit the lights,” Brian said and Jesse Scott flipped a few off.
Everyone watched as the vampires tore into pod one and pulled the humans out one by one. In horror, each human was beaten, bit and torn to pieces and left on the floor to bleed. Other vampires surrounded the bloody mess and lapped up the excess as it drained away from the bodies. All except for Kent, who was basically ignored by the vampires and left to walk away unharmed.
“What about the big one?” Brian asked.
Ashley replied, “He’s a vampire, that’s the only reason they’d let him live.”
“Why would there be a vampire in the pod with the humans?”
“Who knows? It doesn’t matter anymore,” Ashley replied.
“Now that you’ve seen the video, what do you think?” Brian asked.
“I think we need to get to work, and formulate a plan.”
“Do you still think the three of you can handle this situation?”
“We’ll need your staff to back us up. We three will split into groups and each attack this problem from different places. How many staff can you get me?”
“Not a lot, maybe ten.”
“No, ten total. I have dedicated staff mind you, but this is beyond what they’re used to. I’m sure they’d be happy if we torched the building, but convincing them to go inside will be hard.”
“That’s why we wait, let them get hungry, turn on themselves,” Ashley said.
“That’s all fine until you consider we have staff in there, maybe tourists, we don’t know. The public will crucify us if we leave them for four days until the vampires are weak. We need to act now, do something. Show the public we’re trying to evacuate the people trapped inside. The media is all over this. I get bombarded constantly for interviews and the prison is on live television right now.”
“Maybe you need to hire a public relations firm.” Ashley said.
“I’m the CEO here, I’ll deal with that, you need to get to work.”
“So you’re still hiring us?”
“For now, if this goes bad, I’ll replace you in a second. I want you out so the media can see you, so they know we’re doing something. When the press asks me about you, I’ll tell them you have a plan and that the situation is under control. Don’t make a liar out of me. The last thing I’m going to tell them is that we’re going to wait four days.”
“Are there televisions in the prison? Can the inmates see what’s going on?” Ashley asked.
“Yes, in the pods,” Eric replied.
“Can they be turned off?”
“I don’t know. We can kill the power temporarily, but that will affect anyone hiding inside.”
“How about the signal?”
“It’s all internet, I don’t know.”
“Kill the feed as soon as you can. We don’t need the vampires knowing what we’re up to.”
“Fine, what else.”
“Bring in all the staff you can to assist us, we’ll brainstorm this and get started today. I can meet with the media for you if you like.”
“I want to know what your plan is before you meet with anyone in the press,” Brian said. “I need to be in control of what the public is seeing and hearing.”
“You have television helicopters flying around constantly broadcasting what’s going on around the prison, you can’t control everything.”
Brian pushed the stop button on the video player and the picture on the wall disappeared. “Eric, get as many staff in here as you can find. Pay them double time if you have to. I want a progress report by nine o’clock tonight so I have something for the media. They are screaming for a press conference. I will say one thing, and I don’t want this getting out. But I have a huge problem with a woman leading the attack team.”
Ashley spoke up, “Why doesn’t that surprise me?”
“It’s not me as much as what the public will think. We have a huge problem and I don’t think they will get past your tits if you know what I mean,” Brian said.
“I’m not wearing a stripper costume,” Ashley said. “I’m dressed appropriately.”
“The public will want a man in charge, I’m just saying.”
“I didn’t get this job because of my looks,” Ashley said. “I run this team because I earned it.”
“Maybe so, but I’d like to see a change.”