Undead Paladin Chapter 4: The Changing



There was a meeting at the testing facility of Banisters Inc located north of Orillia as the panicked scientists and patrollmen gathered in the boardroom with a few of the big-wigs of the company – likely in charge of the PR department. Anxiety was high and no one in the facility was sure of even what had happened. The heads of the departments of the facility were quiet as they took a seat at the round table in the boardroom, and this ominous silence would be broken by Dwight Benton, head of Banisters Inc, Canadian branch.

“Let's start with the obvious,” he growled in a hostile, but polite, tone, “What happened here?”

“Sir,” Gavin Carmichael, head of the patrol, jumped in to give his synopsis:

“Two nights ago we had brought in a shipment of streetcrawlers... er, vampires found on the streets of various cities, intended on experimentation by Zuercher and her team in block B. As they were being brought in guardsman Noahland, godresthissoul, lifted the latch and took too long in getting the doors opened and closed and a subject jumped for him. At that point others followed. Sir, this group seemed exceptionally blood-crazy and... well... they ganged up on guardsman Hudson, Crosby, and Sanchez. They fired their weapons as is called for in standard procedure, and the gate guards were called in. At first we tried to just contain the group so they could be corralled into block B for testing. As I said, this group was exceptionally blood-crazy, and when they jumped and killed guardsman Hudson and Sanchez, we called for reinforcements and resorted to deadly force. We attempted a circular formation where we surrounded and fired bullets into the crowd, but we were getting jumped and the escaping vampires had scattered. They were fearless as they killed seven and wounded twelve: those twelve are in quarantine pending tests for rotolamia.”

Benton listened quietly with this attentiveness that wasn't past looking for something in particular in what Carmichael was saying. At point Benton then ask “So, this is an issue with block B and your inability to contain a few vampires?” “Sir, these vampires were insane,” Carmichael shot back quickly. “Vampires are insane,” Benton replied with little sympathy, “now, get to how block C got involved.”

Carmichael was sweating as not only Benton's eyes were on him expectingly, but also the others at that table: Dr. Elizabeth Zuercher, Dr. Ronald Green, Prestin VanCastrine, Vince Smith, and Fran Gallagher. Carmichael wiped his brow and continued onward with his tale:

“The vampires we had obtained were very, very, blood-crazied, and even with lethal force being employed they were still too much for the staffing at the time. Guards from the other blocks were called. Sir, it was zero hour, the other subjects would be asleep. Block A had lethargic individuals, block B was empty forobviousreasons, block C had uninfected individuals and block D had recently been cleared out after the 'riot' incident. With their help we were able to contain the situation.”

“Ok,” Benton responded simply as he sat back in his chair, “So at what point did you realize that the subjects in block C had escaped?”

“Once the vampires outside were dealt with, oh it was such a mess...”

“When did you realize the subjects in block C escaped?”

“As I said, there was a lot of chaos and...”

“When. Did. You. Realize. The. Subjects. In. Block. C. Escaped?”

“When we dealt with the vampires we went to check on the block to see if...”

“...Any of them escaped?” the agitation in Benton's voice was too thick to slice with a knife.

“Yes... sir.” Carmichael bowed his head.

“So, it was after your men took care of the vampires intended for block B that you discovered that the subjects in block C had pulled the bars out of their cells and, literally, walked out off the compound?” Benton's words were reserved but harsh in tone.

“Sir, I was unaware at the time that the subjects in block C had been inoculated with the rotolamia virus, and became vampires as a result,” Carmichael replied to the implied accusation in Benton's question, “if I did I would have...”

“Uh, Mister Carmichael,” Dr. Green interjected, “wasn't guardsman McFinny attacked by a subject in block C a day prior to this 'incident'?”

“Means nothing,” Carmichael kept going, “I mean, humans attack humans all the time and...”

“The other guards on duty felt it necessary to inflict deadly force on the subject,” Dr. Green cornered Carmichael with this thought, “those guards, like yourself I assume, would figure that being bitten by someone cold would mean vampire, and they figured it out before myself and my lab tech tested for it... the night prior.”

“Well, um,” Carmichael was in such a hole he was having a hard time digging himself out of it.

“Now, maybe you can tell Mr. Benton here how you took 'care' of the vampires that were suppose to be in block B?” Dr. Zuercher spat while pointing at Benton, who returned a disapproving glare in Dr. Zuercher's direction. She responded with dropping her finger and bowing her head.

“Yes, please, what of them?” Benton repeated.

“Well, they were nuts, and the only way we could deal with them was through deadly force so...” Carmichael started, to be finished with Dr. Zuercher saying “you killed them.”

“It was extreme circumstances,” Carmichael continued on, “I mean, those vampires, they were...”

“I've heard enough Mr. Carmichael,” Benton cut him off, then pointed to the door, “go wait in the hallway.”

“Yes sir,” and Carmichael was up and through the door.

Benton turned to VanCastrine as Carmichael closed the door behind him. “Mr. VanCastrine, you will see to that Mr. Carmichael is terminated after this meeting,” he simply said before turning his attention to Dr. Green. “Now, what can you tell me of the vampires from block C?” he asked.

Dr. Green bowed his head and spoke of his knowledge and findings:

“Sir, the vampires from block C were nightwalkers who were rounded up from the surrounding cities whom initially tested negative for rotolamia. They were given test-serum 751, an experimental vaccine that worked like the virus, only the body would absorb it like any weak pathogen. It was vaccination via active immunity. After injection the subjects were given two days for the formula to take effect before we tested the effectiveness of the vaccine by inoculating the subjects with the rotolamia virus. I doubt you need to look at the report sir to note that the vaccine was a failure, though the good guard did manage to round up a few of those subjects for long-term study.”

“Is there anything special about the test vaccine that failed?” Benton asked sternly. “Only that it modified the host body with DNA that is resilient to the RNA manipulation of the rotolamia virus.”

At around that point Dr. Green's Blackberry* dinged. Everyone at the table eyed Dr. Green rudely as he went to pick up the device. Benton's disapproving glare made Dr. Green sweat in embarrassment as he scrolled through a few things. However, despite the break in meeting etiquette, no one's annoyed expressions could pierce the soon panicked look Dr. Green was giving to his blackberry screen.

Benton was the first to notice. “Dr. Green, is there a problem?” Benton asked, his voice moving from mild annoyance to indignant bitterness. “Sir...” Dr. Green was paler than a full-blooded vampire**.

“Ron, spit it out already,” Dr. Zuercher spoke in an anxious tone, “what does it say?”

Dr. Green looked away from his blackberry screen and stared at the table. “There's been a mutation,” Dr. Green simply said in a frightened tone.

“What kind?” Dr. Zuercher asked quickly.

“That was from Mansion... the lab tech,” Dr. Green simply said, “She notes that the subjects we recaptured are responding differently to light-stimuli.”

***

The sun pierced the frail canopy of the wood and spread out its light as the morning sun was rising. As it did it touched everything with its holy light, including Amanda as she awaited her death. Her eyes were closed and her breathing was slow as when things got bright she stopped praying and let the light come to her. She felt her vampiric skin tingle as the light hit it, and the light's strength gradually became stronger. The day got warmer, and the sun rose higher into the sky.

There was no way of telling the time where she was, but she couldn't help but think that she should have burst into ash like they did on television when so much as a stray beam hit a vampire. Course, she started to think that maybe the light took longer to work than that, that she would develop a bad sun burn before she burned and turned to ash by the sun.

This tingling was more annoying than painful, but maybe it started like that, no? Still she lost her patients when she realized that the tingling didn't turn to burning. With that, she opened her eyes.

My god the sight she say. It was the damnest thing she ever laid eyes on.

Where there should have been burnt flesh upon her exposed skin there was still healthy tissue. The damnest still was the fact that the light that was hitting her skin was dancing along at various intervals, sparkling and twinkling along as the light hit it.

How could this be? This was not suppose to happen! She had seen half-dead vampires whom have ended up outside in broad daylight somehow and were fried like meat on the stove. What was going on?

Then it dawned on Amanda: God had intervened, and his will was that she was to live.

She looked up to the sun. She smiled as she felt the tingling in her face: the sign of his forgiveness. “Thank you God, most merciful God,” she announced as she bowed her head before getting up, “what is your will? What am I to do now?”

There was a pause – after all, when was the last time God simply spoke in a tangible voice to you? After the pause Amanda than screamed out “Am I to be your holy warrior? To slay the vampires? Have you granted me their powers so I can stand a chance against them? Does this make me an undead servant of yours?”

This makes a heck of a lot of sense to me too. Now, this is where the Undead Paladin was born!
*Research In Motion does not sponsor this site (though maybe they should, lol)
**Full-blooded vampires are ones that have been vampires for a long time and are noted to be paler than the average person.