Doctor Franklin sits in his 'residence' and thinks. He has impressive digs in the Philadelphia compound and another in his Pocono annex. The mountain place is more rustic, like an 1890's upper class fishing camp... plaid sofas... twig chairs... rough stone hearth... oak paneled walls. The windows look out on 'the lake.' Not real, like a 3D projection. You have to remember this is all underground.... It's getting dark. The fake, 3D sun goes down over the mountains. He occupies a twig chair by the fireplace. Is it lit? Sure, it's always lit. They have a good air conditioning system here. What do you think?
He goes over his plans to insert vampire assassins into the coteries of inconvenient leaders. But that seems cumbersome now. No need for anything so elaborate. No need to create relationships. Just get them in. Do the deed. Kill the 'mark,' sublimate through the roof and be gone. Who cares what the security cameras show? Who cares what people think? These are vampires. Let them go to hell.
So sublimation it is. They have to learn that skill and it has to be perfect. Most night-folk fall into it naturally after a bit. They exit a 'culling' (sounds so much better than 'a killing') and BOOM, instinctively whoosh up through the ceiling plus any other floors and disappear into the night. He's never done it yet. Luna tries to work with him, but he's afraid. Jonathon used to tell him stories. For centuries he's heard the stories. I mean when he was mortal... an English vampire from Restoration London who solidified while passing through a stout, stone wall.... Crushed clear through he was... legs and hips in the privy... all the rest in the garden, except for the nine inches liquefied into the ancient, Norman masonry.... They burned his nether half before he could retrieve it, or rather before his allies could retrieve it. Familiars spirited away what was left of his upper half. To prevent desiccation they carefully positioned him on a thick, glass table (alchemists had such things). Can you imagine such exquisite torture? Vampires feel their injuries quite acutely. The only difference is they usually survive them. So he was there, balanced on a smooth, reflective surface, as if rising from a cool, clear lake. His spleen, the stump of his spine, raw nerves, a ripped stomach, all manner of offal, pressed against the glass. How he wheezed. The look in his eyes. He knew. He knew what was coming. The had to cauterize the 'wound.' Not with fire. They couldn't use fire. The substance of vampiric bodies drinks it right up. They ignite like tinder. But every drop of blood, lymph and serum oozed from his mangled thorax and they had to stop that. Desiccated vampires endure as papery figures, paralyzed and still, with blind eyes. So they lit a fire in a large stone pot and placed it right under the table. Can you understand how hot a two inch thick slab of glass gets? I don't think you can. Some have been revived. It's very tricky. At times it works. At times the dry tissue and supposedly healing blood combine into a thick, sticky paste-like mess. After that, there's nothing else to be done, but burn what remains. If heaven approves the vampire 'lives.' Soon after a thick, white stiff, rubbery mass sprouts from the truncated spine and from that new growth begins. Victims die like flies to nourish this resurrection. How they shriek and scream at the sight of such monstrosity. Eyes flutter back into skulls, as the clammy arms reach out for them. This all takes place in a very dim chamber. The less seen the better. But they see plenty. Death must be a balm....
Franklin remembers that story. Maybe as a mortal he didn't think about it all the time, but as a vampire forced to master the art of sublimation he does.
So sublimation it shall be. Those trained at 'The Annex' will excel at it. Those who don't will die trying.
It takes real dedication to be a vampire these days... at least in the eyes of a vampire master who seeks to rule the world.....
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