Nathen, a newly created vampire, diagnosed with autism, and his boyfriend, Cameron, a telepath, find themselves swept up into a corporate plot between two seemingly rival corporations working together to create monsters.
In so doing, they uncover a piece of tech they take to their technomage friend whose skills surpass their own. However, in exchange for information, they must assist in rescuing an ally—a rescue mission that brings them face-to-face with the darker side of this world.
“Oh man, I don’t care what you two say, she was F-I-N-E, fine.”
Cameron side-eyed his best friend. “Syn, this is serious, and all you’re thinking about is her ass?”
“All you think about is his ass.” Laying on the couch, her feet kicking over the back, Syn shot a look across at Nathen, who perched on the edge of the arm of the recliner where Cameron sat.
“I think it is safe to say that we think about various parts of each other’s body, some not so obvious.” Nathan cast a cryptic grin at Cameron.
Snorting, his raven-haired friend stuck out her tongue in disgust, waggling a finger. “Oh no, I do not think about either of your parts.”
“You two, please. Aside from the fact that—What do we even call her? Cybernetic vampire?—she exists, she was placed there by both Impetus and Paradigm, two of the largest companies in the world, to—What did she say?—test how law enforcement deals with a threat?”
Nathen responded, “Yeah, and it makes a sort of sense from a purely logical perspective. Say you are creating something new, something the world has never seen before…” He paused for a moment, his mind going down a path of the many things he could imagine the world hadn’t seen before: supernatural creatures, AI, flying cars, aliens… Catching himself, Nathan went on. “And I can’t recall ever hearing of anything like what we saw. You would want to see what it can do, and how a society you are introducing it to can possibly respond, which the authorities did stereotypically, without much deviation from the norm. They treated it like a normal cyberattack, no real investigation, no pulling at strings to see what unraveled.”
“So, guys—” Syn rolled herself into a sitting position. “—I got so many questions. I mean, Nathen, how did you respond to Impetus? Your masters gotta know, right?”
“Syn!” Had she just called them that? Sure, Impetus had made Nathen into a vampire, but to call them his “Master” left a bad taste in Cameron’s mouth.
“Wha—?” She rolled her eyes.
“Technically that’s what they are. Or think they are. But they know either way what our part was. She would have told them we found out about her. So I told them the truth, or enough of the truth without telling them everything. HR seemed pleased, or at least I think he was pleased. He simply replied, ‘Good, thank you.’” Nathan tried to mimic HR’s mildly disturbing calm cadence and demeanor as he echoed his words. “He didn’t give me anything else. Said I will get a bonus and Agnus will contact me for my next task. I have until then to relax, I guess.”
Cameron bit back his anger. He had hated allowing Nathen to go into the office alone, but at the same time, they had all agreed it simply wasn’t safe for Cameron to go in with him. Not with them knowing he was a mage, a telepath, and having already notified him that they knew his true identity. It had been a tense hour until Nathen returned in one piece. “So, I know the two of you have planned on moving forward and have that hard drive we recovered decrypted. But…to what end? I mean, what is it going to prove? We already learned the companies are working together and why.”
“Oh, but did we?” Syn rested her elbows on her knees, hands outstretched. “Check this—we have one of Impetus’s vampires.” She gestured to Nathen. “We find out the companies are working together—Impetus with their vamps and Paradigm with their tech? But honestly, Cam, what’s their endgame?”
Nathen chimed in. “They do a lot for the general society, from medical research to robotics; maybe they think they are helping mankind. The news has not exactly been happy recently. Politics have been corrupted and abused to the point where a lot are at each other’s throats around the world. Maybe they plan to nudge us in a better direction? Any information on their inner workings could be helpful in understanding where they are headed.”
“Orrr,” Syn dragged out the word. “They might be bent on world domination, and this is just the first step in their nefarious plot, and only we could potentially help thwart them!”
A groan rumbled from him as Cameron flung himself into a chair, his feet landing on the edge of the table with a thud. How did he find a best friend who was so dark and a boyfriend who was so light? Yin and yang played out in front of him. Sitting around theorizing wasn’t going to get them anywhere. And besides, what would it hurt to let them figure out what was on the hard drive? It was probably more of the same they’d already learned. And that would be the end of it. “Fine, fine. Tomorrow, you guys get to learn more about these shadowy corporations, and tonight, I get to learn more about mages. Cool. Guess it’ll be a couple days of having some questions answered, huh?”
“That sounds about right; hopefully it is answers, and not more questions on top of an already huge pile,” Nathen interjected. He turned his attention to the television. “So what are we watching anyway?”
Meet the Authors
Connal Braginsky is a software engineer who lives in San Diego, California. Diagnosed with high functioning autism, Connal sometimes struggles in social situations, but has an inner world that is always incredibly rich. With an insatiable thirst for knowledge about many esoteric things, Connal brings a lot of personal philosophies and interests to writing.
Sean Ian O’Meidhir is a psychologist who lives in San Francisco, California. Sean is a hedonist who believes in living for today, living every day to the fullest, and enjoying as much as possible. They have been gaming since adolescence and have written about and played hundreds of lives, revelling in the chance to take on new personalities, dramas, even disorders.
- About the Author
- Posts in the Past