Prologue: The Call

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He let a long sigh ease through his nostrils.  Then Ingamon Lash, commander in the vampiric special forces known as the Qos Viran, was ducking as psionic ordnance went burning by overhead.  Compressed waves of air combined with pyrokinetics made for a deadly mixture that ignored standard protection.  Not even the neuron armor their erstwhile ally had bequeathed them was proof against it. 

Squinting as much as he could to preserve his night vision, all Lash could do was hunker down and hope none of it hit him.  Then there was a pause and he could feel his head tingle as the psionic probed behind his cover with telepathy.  'Let's hope your neuron armor is proof against that as well, Mordecai!'  the big vampire thought as the probe continued. 

Then, as suddenly as it had come, it was gone and Lash braced for another round of psionic assault.  When it didn't come, a grim smile appeared on the Qos Viran commander's lips.  'Well, well,' he darkly thought.  'Proof against telepathy after all.  How handy is that!'  Knowing the psionics that launched the assault were now advancing, thinking no enemy crouched behind the battered piece of concrete Lash had chosen for shelter, he hazarded a look around the corner.

There, three of them, advancing through the gloom in their dark trenchcoats and sunglasses on.  The arrogance!  Sunglasses in the middle of the night?  So dependent on their limited telepathy to tell them what was around them, that they felt comfortable in limiting their physical sight?  Fools!  Time to show them the error of their ways.

Readying the ceramic Shiva machine pistol in his gloved hand, the big vampire gathered himself.  He had to time the ambush right, or there wouldn't be enough surprise involved to keep the three of them occupied while he tried to cut them down.  Then he burst out from behind his cover, his powerful weapon swinging up to bear.  Seeing the figure in head to toe black combat gear appear where he shouldn't be was enough to freeze the psionics in place, stunned at his appearance.

Lash fought the impulse to ferally smile as the hunters became the hunted.  Then he was attacking.  The first target was the psionic to his left.  Depressing the Shiva's trigger, he sent a tight stream of ceramic ordnance hissing through space too fast for the psionic's shielding to handle.  With a flare of light, the shields overloaded and the psionic dropped with multiple holes in his chest.

Without letting off the pressure on the trigger, Lash then hosed down the stunned psionic in the middle before moving to the final man on his right, his magazine running dry while he was firing on him.  Since he didn't have time to reload the Shiva, Lash decided it was time to use the weapons Nature had given him.  With two of the three down and the third staggered, his shields ruptured and failing, Lash holstered his weapon and darted forward using his superior vampire speed and agility.  He brushed aside the psionic's flailing hands and, grabbing the man by his shoulder and head, he buried his fangs in the man's neck.

The psionic's scream of pain quickly became a gurgle as Lash's razor sharp fangs shredded flesh with his vicious bite.  Not only did he open the man's jugular, but tore into his windpipe, flooding his lungs with his own blood.  Instinct made the Qos Viran commander swallow, once, twice, the blood sweet and salty as it poured over his tongue and down his own throat. 

Then training took over and Lash pushed the dying psionic away with a convulsive heave.  The big vampire wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as the man dropped to the ground where he jerked and twitched away the last of his life on the ground, blood spasmodically spurting from his ravaged neck.

It was a waste, to see all that precious blood spurting from the severed jugular onto the ground where it was quickly soaked up by the dry ground.  Yet the big vampire knew a blood meal now, with his adrenaline charging through his blood stream, would only slow him and dull the senses.  He needed to stay sharp, or he wouldn't live long in this frantic battle that had already seen a number of his team fall.  At least it was satisfying to slay the psionic with his fangs.  Such kills happened very rarely with the psionic energies making most physical contact impossible.

He watched the psionic's final twitches as he grimly reloaded the Shiva to make sure he was dead before he moved on.  Then a voice was speaking into his radio's ear piece, announcing the battle's end and an order to regroup.  Hearing that, Lash hesitated.  As he did, his eyes tracked back to the three fallen psionics.  A heart beat later the decision was made.

The Shiva went into its holster and he was striding forward.  He knelt first beside the psionic he had initially shot.  While ventilated, he was still alive if barely.  Lash fixed that, using his teeth to rip the man's throat apart, spitting out stray pieces of flesh and gristle that made it into his predator's mouth.  Then he was moving to the second shot psionic to repeat the vicious coup d'grace, once again spitting out flesh and cartilage torn free by his fangs.

Lash then stood and watched for a brief moment as all three finished bleeding out.

"And now the whole world will know you were killed by a vampire," he spat. "So ends the enemies of the People of the Night."  Then he was turning to jog towards the rendezvous point, wiping his mouth clean as he did.

He was nearly to where the remainder of the team were gathering with Mordecai's Storm Wolves when his smart phone, tucked deep inside his equipment went off with a specific tone.  A tone that instantly hardened Lash's handsome, chiseled features into a mask of frustrated dismay.  He skidded to a halt and fished the phone out, tapping its face to answer the call.  He could do no less; it was his honor-bound duty to answer a phone call sent with that specific ring tone.

Instead of getting a voice, however, all he got was a text message.  And all that message consisted off was a single vampiric glyph: the symbol for return.  A muscle jumped in Lash's jaw as he deactivated the phone and returned it to its hiding place.  The symbol's arrival meant one thing, and one thing only. 

The Clans of the Night were summoning his team back from North America.

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