Chapter 8: The Consortium Visit
“What the hell is she doing in his cell? We agreed to keep them separated until the move into the cottage!” Kieran Bloodworth raged.
“She became unresponsive to commands,” Michael lied, “I wanted to give her a motivational push to accept your nephew.”
In Michael’s opinion, Kieran Bloodworth was worth more than Rio and Andre combined. As Andre’s uncle, he had access to the local vampires. And because of a family squabble between Kieran and Kelan, the vampire leader and Kieran’s twin, Andre’s fate was sealed. Michael didn’t trust Kieran, but he wouldn’t turn away whatever help was provided to destroy the paranormals. His brother agreed when they accepted help from the consortium.
Forcing himself to calm down, Bloodworth continued, “I told you we wanted results, where are they?”
“I was given a year to find a suitable vessel for this project. I found one in six months. You and the consortium told me I would have five years to run this project, then you lowered it to three. Now, you’re complaining because I’m pushing the envelope by putting them in the same cell? I want results, and you want results, this is getting results. I had to push the envelope just to get them this far!” he argued back, not realizing he gave away a crucial part of the undocumented plan.
“What the hell does that mean, ‘you had to push the envelope to get them this far,’ what did you do?”
“It’s not important.”
“If you want my considerable investment and support it damn well is important. Now, what did you do?” Bloodworth asked.
“I liquidated the other subjects,” Michael said nonchalantly. I might have pushed it too far this time, but I wouldn’t have had to do it if these assholes hadn’t pushed up the timeline, he thought.
“Explain exactly what that means. Now or I put an end to this farce.”
“I think you know what it means, but since you asked. I sent the guards in and had them execute the other subjects. Don’t worry, they won’t be found,” Michael reported, and for a minute he thought he saw something akin to abject horror or possibly rage cross Bloodworth’s face, “that’s why you paid two million dollars for an incinerator. Don’t worry, there’ll be no evidence; no bodies to be found once the children are born.”
“So, you eliminated everyone in front of her?”
“Yes. Rio must know that I don’t care about her welfare. In a few months, she and your nephew will join them. No loose ends. Once I have the child, the real work begins.”
“You’re nearly as sadistic as me. Where did you find the woman? She looks rather healthy considering she’s a street person,” Bloodworth smiled, baring his canines.
When Michael didn’t answer right away Bloodworth looked closer at him, “I asked you where you found the woman.”
“I found her through a discussion board of paranormal believers. She writes vampire romance novels. She has no family, they died years ago.”
“You kidnapped a productive human? The consortium agreed to this because you said you could do this without notice. Someone is going to notice an established author missing. You idiot!” Kieran roared, then quickly calmed himself. The last thing he needed was for Kelan to get involved before Kieran’s plan was in place. “Please tell me that you installed the shields I told you to install. The ones that prevent his father from tracking the mark.”
“Of course, between the shield and the ultraviolet light I bombard his cell with, there is no way he is going to communicate with anyone. I must keep the light off the floor now and away from her, or she’ll burn with the DNA changes, but that’s not a problem. The electrogenic devices that were implanted keep them under control.”
“What DNA changes? We didn’t authorize DNA changes,” Kieran asked too quietly.
Michael could see Bloodworth was getting angrier by the minute. Kieran Bloodworth looked like he wanted to drain him and throw him in that very expensive incinerator. He also looked like he was deep in thought, so Michael gave him the time he needed to calm down.
Under the guise of trying to temper his anger, Kieran went quiet, thinking, Delacourt wasn’t supposed to use a productive member of society. Hell, I’m skirting the rules governing this investigation as it is. Using Andre as bait is sure to give Kelan a coronary or high blood pressure. And Iris will kill me for sure for using her son without her permission, never mind that the boy is over three centuries old. Staring at Michael with that smug look on his face only served to inflame the rage in Kieran, so he stayed quiet for a few more moments, with any luck, this whole fiasco will be over without more collateral damage. We’ve got all the evidence we need. But I need to put Para-Gen out of business and have a legitimate reason for executing Michael Delacourt and his worthless brother. I still need proof of destruction of life. Now Delacourt’s giving us everything we need, all but the physical evidence—paperwork. Keep it together Kieran. You’re supposed to be cold and calculating, if you go off the rails he’s sure to figure it out
Refocusing on the conversation at hand, he continued, “where is the paperwork on the other subjects? I want proof of their destruction, and I want it before I leave. Now, what do you plan to do with our newest couple?” Bloodworth asked, needing to know what Delacourt had planned.
“In a couple of days, we’re moving them to a cottage here on the grounds. According to all psychological studies, Rio’s chances of getting pregnant will be greater if she’s more comfortable. They have two weeks to make it happen, or I’ll induce sperm production from Andre and inseminate her.”
“So, you’ll rape them? Interesting, I never thought of that. Go on.”
“He’ll be required to take care of her until the end of the second trimester to ensure that the child survives and then he will be eliminated. A high voltage shock to put him out and the incinerator will do the rest,” Michael said, proud of his plan. He knew Bloodworth would approve.
“Good, what about once the child is born?”
“Chances are Rio won’t survive. If that is the case, once she delivers, she’ll be sent to the incinerator. If she survives, I’ll put her with another vampire or a shifter. Since she’s now technically a vampire, a half-breed might be the product of such a union. At least the shifter won’t be required to supply her with blood. When he’s done knocking her up, he goes the same way as the others.”
“What about these DNA changes you made?” Bloodworth asked, forcing himself to remain calm. It was getting more difficult by the minute.
“We’re ensuring that her body can accommodate a vampire child, so we’ve been changing her DNA, slowly making her vampire. Like I said, I don’t think it’ll matter in a few months.”
“What are you using to make these changes?” Interest colored Kieran’s voice.
“We found an old sample of vampire blood from around forty years ago. We distilled it and synthesized it. When I brought her here a week ago, we took a sample of her blood and spliced it. The samples meshed and so we began the induction. We’ve been telling her they’re hormone shots. Soon her intended sperm donor won’t be able to resist her. We’ve also been inducing pheromone production to make her more attractive to him. Why do you or the consortium care?”
“You forget I know his father. When the child is born, Kelan will know it immediately. Now, what are your plans for the child, besides the military prospects? How do you plan on keeping this quiet?”
“I’m going to begin testing his blood immediately. I want to know how much damage he can take before he needs to regenerate. I want to know what it will take to make him ineffective in combat situations. I even have a name picked out for them, if it’s a boy it’ll be, VB1; if it’s a girl, it’ll be, VG1. Not very original, but with the number of test subjects I’ll be creating, it’ll be easier to keep track. Besides, the absence of names will keep the caretakers from becoming attached. I am looking to create a vampire army for use in the military. I told you and your consortium this when I proposed this to you.”
“I don’t like your tone Delacourt. Do I need to return to the consortium and recommend that we reevaluate your investment? Now, how do you plan to keep this quiet?”
“Look, Bloodworth, in a couple of days they’re moving with the runaway to the cottage. Per your instructions, I’ll grant them some privacy to make this work. He has two weeks to get her pregnant, then I’ll do it for them. He can care for her and the bastard child for the six months it takes to keep the child alive. If you or the consortium have a problem with that, then tell me now, and I’ll return as much of your investment as I can and make payments once the contract is picked up by one of your competitors,” Michael said, his own anger rising.
“Why only six months?” Kieran asked, then answered before Delacourt could, playing it off as the inexperience of a young vampire, “ah, my nephew told you it would take six months to make sure the maturation took. He is a little behind the times. Our scientists have found that the fetus fares better if the father provides care for the whole maturation period. I kept telling my brother that Andre needed to take fetal biology classes. So, it is decided then, Andre will be made to care for the woman until after the child is born.”
“What! How dare you tell me when…”
“If you want our continued infusion of funds, then you will do as you are told. Is that clear?” Bloodworth hissed low enough to cause the glass on Michael’s desk to vibrate, threatening to shatter.
For the second time tonight, Michael felt threatened. “As crystal, sir,” he acquiesced.
“Good, now take me to see them, and I want to see the doctor.”
Michael took Bloodworth to see the monitors viewing the cells of Andre, and his teen donor.
“Who is the boy?”
“A runaway your nephew is politely feeding on. Once the need for a donor is over, the boy will end up the same way as Andre and Rio. I found him scavenging food from a dumpster. Recently, he asked to return home. To ensure that he is not so brazen as to question my hospitality again, I had his parents killed. A step in keeping him here and under control. I just told him about their very violent deaths. Of course, if he had wanted to protect them, then he shouldn’t have asked to go home. Now he has no home to return to, and if he were to show up at their house, all the evidence left behind points to him as the perpetrator.”
“Which would force him to return here—very nice. What about the doctor? Are you blackmailing him too?”
“He has a nine or ten-year-old shifter granddaughter and a wife. They think he’s working on a sensitive government project which is why he can’t talk to them. As soon as he is no longer needed, he’ll be allowed to go home. Three weeks to a month later while the wife and granddaughter are out, he will have a sudden bout of conscience. He’ll leave a suicide note that his daughter’s death left a void and he exacted revenge against the son-in-law. Realizing what he’s done, he won’t be able to live with himself and will take an overdose of barbiturates. Very sad really,” Michael laid out the plan for Joseph.
“You said he has a shifter granddaughter, what do you plan to do with her? I can’t imagine you would leave her out in the cold.”
“I intend to take her in. You see the doctor’s wife is very ill. The girl’s paternal grandparents won’t take her. So, she’ll be an orphan and sent to live in one of the homes. I’ll come in after a few months and offer to adopt her. It will work to our advantage, once she’s in my care, there isn’t a damn thing anyone will be able to do,” he said, a malicious smile playing on his lips.
Kieran forced his anger to abate. There was no way he was going to let that precious little child suffer. He needed to get to the doctor, “I want to see the medical facilities and speak with him,” Bloodworth said, wanting to drain Delacourt.
He was already sending the information back to the consortium. He relaxed a little when he saw the human boy who was now an orphan and Andre with the woman—Rio. At least this situation had not caused them physical injury.
Delacourt walked Bloodworth to the medical facility. “I wish to speak with the doctor alone. Bear in mind that what I speak to him about is between him and me. If you attempt reprisals because I tell him not to tell you a damn thing, I will know it,” Bloodworth told Michael.
“Very well. When you’ve finished, have the good doctor call the guard. He’ll escort you back to my office or anywhere you wish to visit.”
“Once I’m done here I want to visit the cottage you plan to send them to. I want to see the security measures you have in place for their time there. Now leave,” Bloodworth said, turning on his heel, walking away.
“Show Mr. Bloodworth any part of the facility he wishes to see. The sooner I can get rid of this damn noose around my neck the sooner I can get back to work.”
“Yes anywhere, there is no place here that is restricted to our investors.”
“Yes sir,” the guard replied and went back to his position.
Inside the medical facility, Kieran sat down to speak to the doctor. “I understand you have a wife and granddaughter you are responsible for?”
“Y-y-yes s-s-sir,” he replied, looking at the camera in the corner of the office.
Kieran stood and disconnected the power source plunging the camera feed at the guard station into darkness. He walked over to the doctor and leaned down, whispering, “are there any listening devices in this office? If there are just nod.”
Nodding, he pointed to the camera and one under the frame of the picture of his family. Then pointed to his head to indicate that those were the only ones he knew of.
Picking up the phone Kieran dialed the guard desk in the hall.
“Yes sir, how can I help you?”
“You will tell me how many listening devices you have in the doctor’s private office.”
“There are three. One on the camera. One on the picture frame of the family. One on the phone to monitor calls,” he replied in a monotone voice.
“Good, erase this conversation completely. You will not speak of it to anyone,” Bloodworth said.
“Now doctor, I understand you have been slowly changing the human woman’s DNA, how do you feel about that?”
“I don’t like the way this whole thing is going. He made me verify that all the other subjects were dead. His way of ensuring my cooperation, I suppose. A symbol of how much power he has over all of us. If I didn’t have a family to protect, I would have had him kill me when I discovered what he made me do. I hate doing this to them, there is no reason for it. Then to make me change her to support a child I know he is going to abuse, makes me sick. He threatens my granddaughter every day,” Joseph told Kieran, tears forming in his eyes.
“Threatens her how?”
“Her biological father was a werebear, Cory was inconsolable when Lily was killed. He went into the wild, and we never heard from him again. It had been years then I got a call from Delacourt telling me that he’d found Cory and that he needed my help. If I had been thinking beyond Cory needing my help, I would have asked how he found Cory. As it was, once Delacourt had me, it was all but over. The worst part about it is that the werebear he killed yesterday was Cory. Delacourt threatens to have Maisy taken away and shipped here, and have my wife—Yisa killed. I insist on seeing them every day just to be sure they’re alive. If anything happens to them, I’ll destroy this lab and kill myself. I have a lethal injection I carry with me just in case.”
“Doctor, I’m going to tell you something, I work for a special group of individuals. You might say I’m the vampire version of a cop. We have been onto Delacourt and his brother for some time. We need you to keep yourself in the loop, which means not pissing that cocksucker off,” he stated, then paused, giving Joseph a moment to accept what he said, “I don’t want you to destroy this lab until you are told to do so. My group will ensure that your family is protected. You keep asking to check on them every day and take comfort in the knowledge that you are keeping them safe. Continue with what you are doing with the subjects. It is most important that she become pregnant, okay? Now, please tell me about the teenager, is he in good health?”
“Yes, Delacourt makes them eat well. The boy, who I’ve named Ricardo because he won’t tell me his name, was underweight and a little malnourished when he first got here. We needed to bulk him up, but he’s going to start wasting away without some type of mental stimulation. I told him to start doing exercises, it helps him to focus on something. He’s also required to keep a journal. I’ve told Delacourt that the lack of mental stimulation is detrimental, but as usual, he won’t listen to me. Ricardo is just as expendable as the rest of us, more so since he now has nothing to live for. I feel so badly about his parents’ deaths. Michael told him in this very office that his parents were killed and why. Now he believes that their deaths are his fault.”
“Why would he think such a thing?”
“Delacourt told him so.”
“And the woman?”
“Rio is given red meat to compensate for iron deficiencies she may suffer from, she hates red meat, but she’s been eating it. I think Andre is helping her understand how important it is.
She’s allergic to all opioids, so I am tasked with developing a drug cocktail of pain meds to help her that won’t kill her. Initially, she was rejected as a suitable candidate because of it, but Michael ignored it and kidnapped her anyway,” he paused to take a drink of water, “when Delacourt first brought her here, she was out for over twenty-four hours. Then he increased the current on her implant, nearly electrocuting her when he activated it. She knocked herself out when her head hit the cinder block wall. I made him turn the current down. The voltage can be amped up, but the current will kill her for sure.
He traumatized her by killing all those people in front of her. I’m glad Andre insisted that Delacourt move her into his cell. I’m afraid he is going to make me artificially inseminate her and traumatize her more,” Joseph explained, tears running down his cheeks.
“Don’t worry doctor, we’ll take care of this.”
“You’re here to stop him, aren’t you? This whole thing with Andre and Rio is a setup? My God, that’s great and deplorable at the same time. How can I feel happy about this when I know they are suffering?”
“Doctor, I’m trying to gather evidence. Yes, it is deplorable for me to use my nephew this way, but he is strong, and he will protect Rio. Now, is there a way to deactivate the implants without Mr. Delacourt knowing it?”
Stunned, Joseph just stared at Kieran, “your nephew? Oh my god, I hope you and his parent or parents are on good terms. And, no, I thought about that. I hate this, but I have no choice,” Joseph said, placing his head in his hands.
“Doctor, you keep doing your job. This will be over soon, I promise you. Now, the camera and listening devices will have to be turned back on. I promise you that your family will be protected. Is there anything you need?”
“No. Thank you for listening. Oh, there are a couple of men watching my family when they leave the house, quite possibly more. I get pictures of them at Maisy’s after school care or the mall or even the grocery store.”
“Not to worry, I’ll take care of it,” Kieran said.
Bloodworth reconnected the camera and the audio bugs, shook the doctor’s hand and left without a word. Sending the information to his own people to get a team over to the doctor’s house, infiltrate, eliminate and replace the teams installed by Delacourt. Walking to the guard, he instructed him to take him to the teenager housed in the human unit of the facility.
Ten minutes later Bloodworth walked into the boy’s cell, over to the camera and disconnected the power source. Then turning to the guard asked about audio devices.
“We can’t get audio because of the strength of the electrical fields produced by the power running through the cell perimeters, all of them are completely electrified. All the subjects are warned not to touch any part of the cell that they are not supposed to.”
“Thank you for the information, leave us. If you get a call from Mr. Delacourt about the cameras, tell him that I disconnected it. My money, my prerogative.”
“Now young man, sit up and look at me,” Kieran said and waited for the teen to comply.
“Why should I, your just as bad as Mr. D.”
Staring at the boy, Kieran mentally shuffled through a list of questions then settled on an obvious one. “I have a question I need you to answer.”
“Let me guess, you want to know, why when you made that little push just now, it didn’t work?”
“Well, that is one way of saying it,” the boy is telepathic at least. He’s a human paranormal, now I must accelerate my plans. If Delacourt finds out, he’ll use the boy like he did the last one. Damn it to hell, Kieran thought.
“It was one of the reasons I ran away. My parents couldn’t understand why they couldn’t compel me. A little talent they had, I learned to hide mine. You see, I’m mostly human, enough to pass as one at any rate. My parents were vampires. I was adopted by them,” the boy said, trying to hide the sudden tears and catch in his throat.
“Please sit up and talk to me. My name is Kieran Bloodworth. Dr. Schlichman calls you Ricardo, but I would like to know your real name.”
His head snapped at the use of the sir name, “I got them killed, their dead because of me.” he said, sitting up.
“No, it’s not your fault. Now, please, tell me your real name.”
“My name is Tomas Aleksander,” he hesitated before giving his last name, “Bloodworth, or I was until I ran away and got them killed.”
“Tomas, you didn’t get them killed, I promise you. What is your father’s name?” Bloodworth asked, veiling his shock, playing along for the guard’s sake.
“His name was Aleksander. When I was adopted, his first name became my middle name.”
“I see. How are you eating, okay?”
“Yeah, not that I really want to. The highlight of my day is when they take me down to Andre and let him feed off me. He’s cool. I don’t want to be here anymore. I wish Mr. D would just kill me.”
“He’s been given instruction to not do that. I know your life isn’t what you want it to be, but be patient. Ride out this part of the storm, and it will get better. Now, I need to go. The guard won’t recall our conversation, and I must turn the camera back on. You don’t have to tell Mr. Delacourt any part of our conversation, do you understand?” Kieran whispered
“Yes, thanks for stopping by. It was nice to see someone besides Mr. D.” Tomas jumped up and hugged Kieran.
“You’re welcome Tomas,” Kieran said.
Now he was livid, his adopted grandson sat in one of these cells being used by his cousin as a food source. Delacourt had killed Aleksander and Miranda. Needing one more answer, “Tomas, did Delacourt tell you how your parents died?”
“He said they were shot in a home invasion. That it was made to look like I set them up,” he mumbled.
“Thank you, Tomas, now, stay strong, this is almost over,” he stroked the boy’s head and placed a gentle kiss on it.
“Kieran, I feel something is distressing you a great deal. What is it?”
“It’s nothing I can’t take care of brother. How are you doing?”
“I’m fine, and you know how I despise lying.”
“I know, but my life has gotten a little complicated, and I am working on something very important. Besides, when you find out the truth you probably won’t wish to see me anymore.”
“Tell me what it is Kieran.”
“Soon brother, soon. Just know that what I did, I did for the sake of all humanity.” Kieran said, letting the connection lapse.
He had the guard take him to the cottage where his grandson, nephew and with any real luck, future niece would be housed. He sent a schematic of the place and the security system to his people.
Twenty minutes later he was leaving the facility, though he was still unable to feel relieved. Instead of heading back to his office, he headed in the direction of his home. His driver and personal guard, Gregor, merged onto the expressway while sending a telepathic message, “Kieran, sire, Delacourt installed a couple of bugs in the car. We have also acquired a new three-man team about three cars back in the black Suburban.”
“Gregor, go to the office. I have a new idea, one that will put us in the hot seat after Andre, Rio, Tomas, and Joseph are safe. That reminds me, just a shake of the head will do, but are Joseph’s wife and granddaughter safe?”
“To the office it is. And I just love the hot seat. I remember when Pope Sixtus IV tried to put me in the hot seat, that’s when I met you,” he retorted telepathically.
“Wiseass.” Kieran smiled into the mirror.