Nos Faux Ratu Ch. 01byEvil Alpaca©
This story is a bit wordy and fairly long, so if you are looking for immediate gratification, you might want to look elsewhere.
The following story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between these character and events and any real person or events is strictly coincidental . . . and pretty darn impressive seeing as it is a science fiction story. Do not reproduce or copy this story without the consent of the author.
In my magical, mixed-up world, characters don't worry about STDs or unwanted pregnancies except occasionally as a plot device. The author encourages the practice of safe (and hopefully satisfying) sex.
While this is a science-fiction story, it may at different points contain sexual behavior that might fall into other categories. You can rest assured however that there will be NO depictions of Non-Consent, Mind Control, or Incest for any purpose other than as plot devices, and certainly not for sexual arousal. Anything else is fair game.
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery."
The King of Swords scanned the fourteenth floor of the Bank of Coca Cola building for the hundredth time that night with his multi-spectral analysis scope. Annoyingly, the building had failed to change. It just stood there, mocking him with its reflective, armor-plated windows complete with low-level SigInt blockers. That familiar, dreaded red and white logo lit up half the building, staring back at him and his men like an evil eye.
*King of Swords, what is your status?*
He hated that voice. It sounded like the wind in the Southwestern deserts, all that remained of New Mexico, Old Mexico, and Arizona. He had been there once, and it, along with that voice, are things he really would not mind never experiencing again. He touched the comms unit on his ear.
"Snafu sir. Whoever it was that was supposed to power down the SigInt blockers didn't come through. My scope isn't penetrating anything, so --"
*Understood. We are implementing the contingency plan. Have your troops hold, and coordinate with the King of Coins. We are sending in the Major Arcana to retrieve the data.*
"Sir, isn't that a bit . . . overkill? Sir?" Normally the King of Swords would never question The Fool, but the Major Arcana on hand were not normally used for anything so trivial as a hit like this. Besides, the Major Arcana were kind of scary. Even for Nightwalkers.
*You have your orders. Keep the high ground and watch for security reinforcements. Fool out.*
'Yes sir,' the King thought, then jumped twenty feet through the air, grabbed the edge of walkway surrounding the next level. Sometimes, the Nightwalker mods were pretty handy. He had initially thought that the Department of Defense was whacked out of its collective mind for implementing the program, but so far it had been a success. The corporations that had slowly taken over the entire world over the last four centuries had found that the last Free Government, namely that of the United States, still had teeth.
That thought made him extend his fangs, allowing him to run his tongue over them. The sensation had given him a sick sense of pleasure ever since he joined the program six years earlier. But his teeth would not taste blood tonight. Oh no, that sensation was reserved for more dangerous predators than he.
Elsewhere, four figures stood in the shadow of the Home Depot Hotel and Casino, waiting instructions. Two of them were chatting softly but amiably, while the other two sat in grave silence on a decorative half-wall surrounding the truck entrance. They did not move. They did not make a sound. They simply waited. All of them were dressed from head to toe in black neo-plastic body armor, complete with shock-absorbing gel backing and short range personalized reflect shields. They were all also armed for bear, as each had a rifle, two side arms, a belt of grenades, and some kind of hand to hand weapon strapped to their belts. Each also had a helmet complete with force-field face-guards that allowed them to see out, but no one could see in.
*Empress, Death, Strength, Tower . . . we are going with plan B. The Swords and the Coins will provide support. Retrieve the transaction files, terminate the bank manager, then rendezvous back with the Minor Arcana at the TACCP. Fool out.*
"This is kind of a small mission for so many cards, isn't it?" Strength asked. True to his namesake, Strength was a monster of a man, clearing six and a half feet with shoulders like an ox. The man he had been talking to, Tower, was just as imposing, standing at just under seven feet tall. He was not as ripped as his shorter companion, but he had more overall mass.
"I think we've got reviews coming up," Tower replied gruffly. He stopped and stared at the two quiet members of the group, waiting for instructions.
One of the figures on the wall was another man, and he was thinner than either of his more vocal counterparts. He also was tall, at six and a half feet, but his leaner physique gave the impression of him being gaunt, but anyone who knew Death knew not to underestimate him. All of the Major Arcana had special skills that had caught the attention of the DOD and got them brought into the program. Death had been an assassin, and he had been good at his job.
But as scary as Death was, it was the Empress that they were waiting on. She was an athletically built woman, and she carried herself with authority despite being the shortest of the group at just under six feet. She was known for being tenacious to a fault, to the point that she had been given the unofficial title of "The Suicide Queen." Of course, no one said this to her face. The Empress did not stop until she got what she was after, and that tended to mean that someone was going home in a body bag. After a moment of silence, the Empress got to her feet.
"You all know your tasks," she said, her voice as friendly as a glacier and twice as cold. "Reconvene at the TACCP in twenty minutes from my mark . . . four of them moved towards the reinforced plaz-glass doors that surrounded the first floor of the building, giving the impression of being open while those very windows could in fact withstand a shot from an RPG. Tower and Strength pulled off and circled the building. Their job was to close up the bolt holes in case the quarry got past Death and the Empress. In other words, their job was to sit on their thumbs unless Coca Cola security showed up.
Death reached the glass first, then fixed a small device to the smooth surface. The plaz-glass had tons of fibers running through it that set off an alarm if breached by a cutting tool, but the Nightwalker's device would use those same conduits to carry an EMP through the entire systems, causing an instant shut-down. A few seconds later, the entire building lost power. There was going to be hell to pay for whoever had failed to break security earlier, because these EMP bypass-bombs were hard to come by.
Empress used a laser mounted onto her forearm armor to burn a circle in the glass, then pulled it out of the wall and laid it on ground. She and Death stepped into the building. He started up one staircase, she started up the other. They only had a few minutes before auxiliary power came on and the defenses rearmed.
Empress started her heart beating faster, sending blood coursing through her body and giving her the energy she needed. At a pace that would only appear as a blur to any cameras that might come back on, she hurried up the stairs. Sometimes she saved some time by simply jumping up through the center of the spiraling structure to the next level, but she disliked how vulnerable that made her.
When she reached the fortieth floor, she made her way into the main work area. There were cubicles everywhere, with offices ringing the outside of the floor. She made her way across the floor towards the target area, her infrared and ultraviolet vision allowing her to navigate the otherwise total darkness with ease. She heard another door open somewhere and she stopped, then got three beeps in her comms unit. It was Death's signal that he was in place. She returned with three beeps of her own, then continued.
She was almost to the door when the emergency power finally came on.
'This is unfortunate,' she thought. 'They must have installed those new generators ahead of schedule. I may have to have a word with our HumInt folks about their sources.' Regardless, it was far too late. Right about now, security would know there was a breach. In 30 seconds, they would detect that the stairwell doors had been opened on this floor. In 45 seconds security guards would be dispatched. Local guards would be able to get her in about five minutes, while external guards would arrive in fifteen. All in all, they would be too late.
Empress kicked in the door to find the quarry frantically pacing the room. He looked up and saw a dark figure approaching him through the bright red of the emergency lights.
"Who the fuck are you and what --" He was cut off as she moved across the room faster than his eyes could follow and grabbed him by the throat. With her free hand, the empress removed her mask.
It was said amongst the member of the Major Arcana that if the Empress acted as your executioner, at least you got to see an angel before you died. Empress's face was one that sculptors and painters throughout the ages would have sold their souls to capture. Pale blond hair fell in a short bob around her elvish face, her lips had a natural and decadent fullness to them, and her pale blue eyes stared out at the world like cool, clear water.
"Who are you?" the man gasped.
"Mr. Richard Chaney, you have been found guilty of diverting funds and financial information from this institution to that of a foreign company which has shown itself to be hostile to the American Chamber of Commerce and the Government of the United States. Furthermore, you did so knowingly and with the intent to weaken the previously mentioned bodies. Your actions put not only the economies of this nation and its protected companies at risk, and your actions have also funded those who would do us harm."
"What?" the man stammered, "No! No I didn't . . . you have no proof. Let me go or you're in big trouble --"
Empress was not even paying attention at that point. She had made the point that she had felt necessary. She yanked the target's head to the side, extended her fangs, and sank them into the man's neck. Thankfully, the screaming stopped quickly as the cocktail of chemicals that ran through her fangs stopped his movement, his voice, and his heart. She drew in some of his blood, filtering oxygen and nutrients and giving her that familiar rush that the Nightwalkers got when feeding. Then, she threw the hapless man through the window.
Without even looking, she knew that Death had come into the room.
"I'll get the data card," he said, quickly opening up the man's work station. Much to his credit, he had the hardware retrieved before the Empress's victim hit the ground. Eventually, the fang marks would be identified and the word would go out. Vampires had struck again.
Empress and Death nodded to one another, then both ran towards the broken window and jumped out. For a moment, Empress relished the free fall, then remembered that she had not put her mask back on. As she descended rapidly toward the ground, she put the mask back in place and then activated the glider wings. Like a great bat, she and Death hurtled through the night sky toward the mission's end.
From the roof of the Marriott New Atlanta Hotel, two more sets of eyes watched events unfold. They had seen the other onlookers, and had found their own vantage point to watch things unravel.
"It's makin' a wee bit more sense now that I seen 'em," came a female's voice.
"Indeed," said another woman, her voice warm and full of honey and spice. "This has gone too far. And now . . . now we have an face for our enemy. A beautiful, perfect face."
The first speaker sounded amused when she said, "Don't go bein' distracted now. We got a job to be doin' and ya can't be losin' sight o' that just 'cause she's a looker."
"Really, how flighty do you think I am?"
"You're never going to let that go are you?"
"Ya know me well enough by now to know the answer is 'no.' Now can we get outta here? The game is almost on."
"Speaking of distractions."
A moment later, the roof was deserted.
The next day . . .
Empress sat under the awning outside her favorite Starbucks. Half a cup of warm beverage sat on the table in front of her next to a muffin. It was her daily fix, and one of the few pleasures she indulged in. While waiting for her companion to arrive, she touched the complimentary holovid projector and downloaded the day's news. Sure enough, on the front page of the New Atlanta Journal Constitution was a story about an employee of the Bank of Coca Cola who had been savagely attacked by a vampire before being hurled out of a window. It was the tenth reported such attack this year.
She sighed. She was good at her job, but sometimes wondered about the wisdom of it. In the early 21st century, the corporations had slowly begun taking over all aspects of civilized life until there was not even the pretense of political integrity. In the United States, the corporations had slowly taken over all responsibility from state and local governments, while the federal government managed to survive by, of all things, behaving more like a corporation. Through military threat, they managed to keep taxes in place on most business transactions, and the government funneled that back into the military and into their research and development programs.
But corporations had grown too powerful to be controlled completely. Companies built up security forces that were the equivalent of small armies, and "hostile takeovers" took on whole new meanings. American companies literally made war against each other for a full century, then the survivors united to deal with usurpers in Europe and Asia. The corporate mentality spread to every corner of the globe until a World Chamber of Commerce was formed to regulate commerce and bring an end to the chaos. The WCC and the United States Government were the only two non-privately owned governing bodies left in the world.
In the last few decades, the US Government had begun to develop a number of black-ops programs to help deal with corporations and corporate maneuvering that were deemed dangerous to the American way of life and to its people. In many situations, these entities were acting behind the scenes or in ways that the police could not pursue with traditional means. More and more companies were beginning to feel that they should be running the show, not some antiquated political body. Government officials decided that these companies needed to be reminded of what fear is.
They decided to create a covert group of elite operatives which, with their backing, was going to be scary. Many officials realized that they needed something more than your traditional men in black. They needed to create a group that not only could not be traced back to them, but one that would strike fear into the hearts of just about everyone. So using ancient legends and modern bio-enhancement techniques, they had created the Nightwalkers.
The most advanced weapons in the government's arsenal were, for all intents and purposes, vampires. Each member of the squad had been improved to be a paradigm of perfection. The slowest of them could run in excess of 35 miles per hour, while the Empress could top-out at 45. They were four to five times stronger than the strongest human, and their eyes had been altered to pick up frequencies of light that were outside a human's normal range. Their blood carried a number of neuro-toxins which could be injected into a victim through Nightwalkers' modified fangs. Those fangs could also be used to draw blood from a victim. Nightwalkers could live entirely and efficiently on blood drawn in such a way, making them capable of operating anywhere that had people or even animals. Put the latest high-tech gear in their hands, and the government had a dangerous new weapon, and that weapon was doing its job: striking fear into the enemies of the state.
While many companies might suspect that the government was involved, that political body had ingeniously used the Nightwalkers to attack itself, clearing out corporate moles and putting themselves on the "victim" list. No one knew exactly what the vampires' agenda was, but they seemed to be vigilantes of some sort. This made them heroes in the eyes of most people.
The chair across from the Empress creaked slightly as Death settled into it.
"How much do they know?" Nigel asked.
"Same as usual," she replied. "Not much." She glanced over at the slim but handsome frame of the only friend she had. Nigel "Death" Edmunson had been an army sniper back in the day before the Nightwalker program and he had been good at what he did. Transition to being the Nightwalker's most deadly assassin had been easy. But what the Empress liked about him was that he respected her privacy, which in fact allowed him to get closer to her than anyone else. Heck, he was the only of her colleagues that knew her name.
"For once, it might be nice to take credit for our actions," he said wistfully, then flagged down the waiter. He often wondered why his friend came to the same little coffee place every day at the same time, but he never pressed the issue, figuring that she would tell him when she was ready. Never mind that they had been engaging in this ritual for over a year. Being here had brought him his own rewards, after all. "Jenna, I have a favor to ask."
She cocked an eyebrow at him. "A favor?"
"Yes, it's about April."
"Nigel, please don't tell me that you're going to ask for romantic advice from me."
He smiled slightly. Jenna was the least romantic person that he had ever met. He did not know if she ever even dated. "Not exactly. She and I . . . well, we're getting serious."
"Getting? Aren't you at her house most nights that you're not working?"
"True, but she has been asking more about my family . . . my life. I've managed to avoid talking too much about it by telling her that I'm an only child who's parents are dead. But I could not convince her that I had no acquaintances whatsoever. So I told her about my friend Jenna."
Jenna sighed. "So when are you going to get to the favor?" She had a bad feeling about this.
"She wants to meet you."
"Nigel," Jenna moaned, "Why?"
"I think that she wants to know about me from an unbiased source."
"I've sat within five feet of her before. You think that she would recognize me?"
"Jenna, you make a habit of fading into the background." He was impressed by this fact, seeing as he was not immune to the effects of her beauty. "She wants to meet for dinner. Just this once, please?"
Jenna knew this was a bad idea. She had always made sure to create no lasting ties, though she had broken that rule by making Nigel her friend. But she felt somewhat responsible for this, seeing as she had inadvertently introduced the two of them. April was a teacher in the school across the street, and she had a habit of coming over to the coffee shop every Friday. Nigel had fallen for the the woman at first sight, breaking his usual silence and introducing himself. The courtship had gone well, with the slightly plain April surprised that someone as dashing and mysterious as Nigel would take an interest in her. But she was sweet and smart, and Nigel's infatuation had steadily grown.