Vampire masters of mercu.., p.1
Vampire Masters of Mercury, p.1Tara Loughead
Vampire Masters of Mercury
Copyright 2010 Tara Loughead
For Gene Colan and Marv Wolfman
"Nightwalkers and Streetwalkers?" There's a difference?
"Yes, the former is a higher class of vampire, the latter a lower class of prostitute."
"A higher class of vampire?" Ghaavn asked. Is that possible?
"Yes, because these are 'alf human and often enjoy killing those suckers," said Bulays.
"They specifically asked for us, too."
"Good to know our reputation precedes us, even in the strangest places." Bulays grinned.
Their trip to the Solar System's innermost planet continued, with Buck at the helm of the Northhound.
Earlier, Lady Gerald had asked them to come in to the Ministry. "I have a diplomatic mission for you,” she explained.
After having been given further detail of the Mercury outing, Bulays said: "I'd really rather 'it something, Lady G."
"Yes, well that is always a possibility, Bulays, my dear. After all, no-one can locate your cousin."
"Your cousin?" Ghaavn raised an eyebrow at his partner.
"Our contact is here," Ghaavn said. They stood outside a large, ornate, red, brown and orange masonry building in the Exotic Sector. The Twilight Belt of Mercury was home to many strange people, things and merchants, and the Exotic Sector was home to the most far out of those.
Ghaavn pressed the doorbell.
When the door opened, a woman stood there. Raven haired, scarlet eyed and very large breasted. A fact that could well be seen thanks to the deep plunging décolletage revealed by her crimson shirt. Full, black lips, fishnets, black bikini briefs and thigh high boots made her outfit seem sexually provocative. This was at odds with the blank expression on her face as she bade them welcome. "Please, come in, you are expected. My name is Hannah Kang." She indicated some chairs. "Do have a seat." The partners did so, the atmosphere in the room very warm, even cloying. She sat down in front of them on a plush red velvet stool. Two others flanked her. "These are my partners, Blake Unida and Francesca Dreyk."
These women, Ghaavn found easier to read. The younger woman to her right was shy, almost sullen. Collar, black lace jacket, pants and bra also gave her an exotic allure. The older woman to her left was a classic. If the Mercurian encyclopaedia had a picture of 'Evil Vampire Elder, female' then they could quite happily use her image. With short black hair, high, pointing eyebrows, the raised collar of what could have been a gown, if it continued rather than her just being clad in underwear and fishnet stockings, and a leather midriff wrap. Topped off with a superciliary smirk, she was the complete package.
"The Thermpires of the Twilight Belt have a problem, which is why we have asked for your help," their hostess began. "There has been a series of attacks, with two fatalities. This, for us, is very rare. Residing in the Twilight Belt does of course weaken us, but still...our dilemma is in what to do about it. We could hunt the killer ourselves. However, if she turns out to be human and we engage in open violence in this manner, it may turn our fellow residents against us." She paused to look Ghaavn in the eyes, still strangely expressionless. "If we ask the Patrol for help, and they catch the perpetrator, could we get a conviction?"
"You'd be the underdog in my book," Bulays put in.
"Exactly," she replied.
"So, Ms Kang, what you are telling us is that you need a credible outside authority who can solve this quietly, so you can stave off the pitchfork brigade and get back to business?"
"Yes, exactly. Do please call me Hannah." At that, Bulays regarded the fulsome beauty sitting demurely with her hands in her lap with rather more suspicion.
"All right then, Hannah. I note that you say 'she'...you are sure that it is a woman?" Ghaavn asked.
At that, Dreyk chipped in. "Seeing as your partner is a betting woman, then yes, I would make that an unbackable favorite." With something of a sneer, "and quite short odds as to who it might be, too. Wouldn't that be right?" She stared pointedly at Bulays, who was more than happy to glare back.
"As I was saying," Hannah went on, turning her cool gaze on Dreyk for a second; the woman then sat back, desisting. "We set up here exactly because the Twilight Belt makes us weaker. There is less to fear of a Thermpire in the cool light of dusk. As my colleague rather less diplomatically suggested, the possible identity of the assailant was a factor in our asking the Ministry specifically for your help. That, and your reputation for tolerance for the many citizens of the Solar System." She stopped to lock eyes with Ghaavn, who was smiling at her. There was now possibly the ghost of an emotion on her round, attractive face. "Would you be so good as to join us for a meal?" Ghaavn indicated the affirmative. "Yes, I..we'd like that," he replied somewhat clumsily.
This worried Bulays a little. It was extremely rare for Ghaavn to be this intrigued by a woman at first meeting. She wondered if the inscrutability of Hannah Kang added to her hyper-femininity was what had him interested. Kang was the complete opposite of the casual, lean and muscular male that was usually his preferred end of the spectrum. His professional demeanour had certainly slipped. Plus, there were too many Priestess damned vampires in this town.
"You eat, then?" Ghaavn recovered his poise to some degree.
"Yes, particularly in the Twilight Belt, it is far more necessary for us. However, you may find it too warm in here. Please feel free to take off some clothes - or we can offer you a robe, perhaps, if that would be more comfortable." Bulays and Ghaavn opted for their own singlets and shorts instead. She nodded. Hannah rose, keeping her eyes on the attractive muscular package Ghaavn now presented, his thighs rippling, either side of his crotch, biceps bunching. "Please follow me, then." She turned and led them out of the entrance hall. Bulays again noticed his partner's gaze flicker to the movement of Hannah's breasts in her shirt as she stood, and the swing of the hips accentuated above the long, black boots.
The meal had been good, and dessert and liqueurs followed. "See, Hannah was right," Dreyk told their younger colleague. "There is lots that is good to eat around here." Her gaze was pointedly fixed on the athletic blonde Amazon's now summer-clad charms.
"Remind you of anyone, Ghaavn?" Bulays turned to his partner, after Francesca's remark.
"Yes," he said. "I do believe the Death Queen of Neptune said something very similar to you the other night."
Bulays chuckled. Francesca Dreyk paled. No mean feat for a Thermpire in the Twilight Belt. "Yes...well...bringing Blake out of her schoolgirl repressed shell into something more wanton will be entirely up to me, then." She sniffed, and Hannah looked at her again.
"Thank you for dinner, Hannah," Ghaavn broke in. "Never thought boiled flame scorpion would taste that good." Her lips twitched upwards briefly in response. "Now, though, we should get dressed and get to work. It is dark."
The partners moved cautiously out into the deepening Mercury twilight. Their patrolling was uneventful for several hours. "Several vampires, but that looks like our first streetwalker," Bulays grinned. She pointed down the street where a young woman stood leaning against the fence, with an arm provocatively raised over her head. An extremely short strapless dress that would definitely not allow any stretching. Even less so, given the panels cut out of the sides. A garter on a thigh and bracelets on her upper arms completed the ensemble, along with smooth, dark boots up to her knees.
The pair approached. The woman regarded her possible marks. "How much then, darlin'?" Bulays enquired.
"For both of you?...Only your life!" She attacked vici
Bulays countered, knives flashing in the twilight as she parried the stiletto and blocked her sword arm. The streetwalker turned to strike with a boot at Bulays' knee, but a fist strike that glanced off her rib made that move not possible.
"That's a pretty expensive date," Ghaavn mused, watching his partner's prowess. "Should I just shoot her? I'm sure Mercury has plenty more pretty gutter trash where this one came from." The skin-revealing woman Bulays faced was good, so the offer wasn't completely unserious.
"No need. You know I could always handle a tart." Bulays shot back. Ghaavn laughed. Then stopped when he saw the whore land a shallow cut to Bulays' arm. The punch to the head she received in reply from the blonde warrior staggered her, and she dropped the stiletto and stepped back. She ensheathed her sword.
"Very good, Bulays. I see you haven't lost anything."
"Bulayd. Not too shabby. You seem to have lost a couple of metres of material now you are all grown up, though."
"Oh, that." She gestured down her body, then moved her fingers. "Image inducer." A woman with dark wavy hair now stood before them, dressed for combat in black leather and coat.
"I'm all for family reunions," said Ghaavn, an orphan. "But we are working. We have a killer to catch, a killer that might be you."
"It isn't. Don't get my wrong. I am out to kill the scumbag that murdered my mother. I haven't found her yet, though."
"Also, where did you get the ho-in-a-can toy?" Bulays wanted to know.
"Bought it from a strange little birdy blue guy." Bulayd said. The partners shared a worried look. "Also, your Thermpires may not be dead. I saw them kidnapped."
"Are you willing to explain this to some of their people?"
"Yes," said Bulayd. "If I can ask them for help."
"Miss big boobs blank face neglected to mention there were no bodies. Why was that?" Bulays was not pleased.
"Let's go ask her," Ghaavn replied.
Hannah let them in after they buzzed, actually looking a little dishevelled in a translucent peignoir of similar colour scheme to her previous garb, and certainly had all three looking.
"Hannah, we need to talk. Now."
"Very well then. I'll make coffee."
As she did, Ghaavn continued. "Why did you tell us your people were dead, if there were no bodies?"
"There usually are not," she answered unhappily, arms now folded across her abdomen. "When a Thermpire dies, depending on the method, what usually happens is, well, just ice. All the heat goes, and little is left. We don't really like to advertise the fact. We hence assumed they were dead."
"They may not be," he told the tired looking Hannah. "However, they have been taken. Probably not by humans. This case is now a Ministry priority. I'll let Bulayd fill you in with what she knows, if you agree to her terms."
The thermpire hunter did so, as Hannah's companions joined her. The came down hurriedly and in similar attire. Hannah explained to them, and they all agreed.
"I was hunting," Bulayd began. "But not them. I was just following them; to see were it might lead me. A dead end, as it turns out. And an ambush and abduction for them. They were ready for them, and also had the advantage of surprise, and the dark."
"Thank you, Bulayd," Hannah said. "Francesca? You may be able to provide her with some information."
Dreyk produced a small computing device from a cabinet, and activated it, and used it, briefly. She showed the information on the small screen to Bulayd. "Our last known whereabouts for Dekah Froct."
"This mean you can stop scaring the locals, Bulayd?" Bulays smiled.
"Yes, cousin, if you'll give me a ride." She replied.
"Sure. Buck might even want your autograph. Bet she asks you up front."
The trio turned to leave, but Hannah reached out and took Ghaavn's hand to stop him. "Would the rest of you give us a minute, please?" He asked. The killer B's went outside, and Dreyk and Unida back upstairs.
"I'd like to see you again in less formal circumstance," she told him when they were alone, breathing deeply for added effect.
"The first part I can do. No so sure about the second. I'll probably have to come back with a Ministry team. Any investigation is going to need to talk to you."
"Very well then," she said uncertainly.
"However...I'll still need a guide to Mercurian cuisine. I won't be working all the time." He took both her hands in his and looked at her fondly.
This time, she definitely smiled.
"This trip seem a little rough to you?" Ghaavn asked Bulays.
"Yep. Either Buck is showing off, or hero worship has led to space nookie. If Bulayd's not in the million kilometre high club yet, she will be soon."
Artwork by Tillie Ariantho
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The Adventures of Bulays and Ghaavn
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Vampire Masters of Mercury by Tara Loughead / Fantasy / Science Fiction have rating 4 out of 5 / Based on20 votes