Vol. 85: BFFs
The vampires shuttle landed at the specified coordinates and opened the bay doors to quite a scene. A huge gathering of O-Boys of every cycle broke into cheers when the vampires disembarked. There were huge banners that said things like, “Wellcum Hoomans!” and “Happy 2 hav yu!” smeared in what may have been finger paints… or blood? Before they had taken more than a few steps from their ship the Cycle 6 O-Boys were upon them, shaking hands and slapping backs. “Thank you for the gifts!, How did you obtain these things? You’ve brought more gifts?! Someone bring me the tequila!” The vampires had definitely not expected this reaction. They allowed themselves to be whisked away into a gigantic nearby tent that looked like it had been set up for just this occasion.
As they entered nervous Cycle 1 & 2 O-Boys placed drinks in their hands (straight liquor, no ice) and then a “band” started playing. The music wasn’t terrible but was akin to a middle school band with several sharp and flat notes punctuating whatever piece they were attempting to play. They were soon seated at a large table and the Cycle 6 O-Boys sat nearby. The vampires couldn’t help but notice their enthralled mingling about. They knew the high cycle O-Boys kept enthralled followers with them, it was interesting to see it up close…
Dinner of a sort was served which led to a few anxious looks between the vampires. Some of them couldn’t eat food. It smelled good though. Huge chunks of meat served on the bone and a mixture of vegetables and assorted breads, butters, and cheeses. It was a whirlwind of activity all welcoming the vampires. Most of them found themselves sitting their dumbfounded.
One of the Cycle 6 O-Boys addressed them, “I hope it is all to your liking. We have never hosted before so were unsure how to proceed.” Another offered, “The gifts you sent were… well there are no words! Some of the things you sent were priceless!” and still another, “And the drugs and liquor!” he kissed his fingers and flung it out towards the vampires smiling. “You really get us!” The vampires looked at each other and began to grin.
“Thank you.” One of the vampires replied. “It was our goal to please you! We have a lot of things we want to discuss with you…” but he was suddenly cut off by one of the O-Boys.
“Yes business! You mentioned something lucrative!” Now a grin spread threw the O-Boys. “Well with the gift you gave I bet it is! You know since we joined Elysium 12 you have been the only ones to contact us. We’ve always liked the humans! Heck most of us used to be human!” A laugh spread throughout the room in a slightly disturbing way. “But before business, pleasure, right? You all seem like people who enjoy the finer things.”
“Well yes we do…” a vampire began. But they were quickly cut off again by an oddly shaped silver plater being set in front of them.
The O-Boys looked at each other smiling like giddy children. “Go on! Open it!” The vampires looked to each other sheepishly. Finally, the one that it had been set before slowly raised the cloche. The vampire’s eyes widen as it revealed a bottle of Red Whiskey!
“How did you…?!” one vampire began but was again cut off.
“We have been saving it for a special occasion for quite some time! Out first diplomatic parlay seemed like a good reason.” Another O-Boy spoke, “It’s important to us that this go well.”
The vampires again exchanged glances and from one of their bags drew out another bottle of Red Whiskey! This time the O-Boys were the ones to be amazed. “It’s very important to us as well.”, a vampire grinned just barely exposing their fangs. A sort of reverent silence descended upon the room as the vampire placed their bottle next to the other. 2 bottles of Red Whiskey in the same room. Truly the very epitome of opulence. The vampires and O-boys looked at each other both silently thinking to themselves, I like these people.
What followed was one of the most raucous, outrageous, and wild parties the multiverse had ever known. All of the important people present boasted high constitutions, so the Red Whiskey flowed. And surprisingly business was done! Both sides seemed to have no problem at all operating in their inebriated and happy state. Fearing their lie would go to far the vampires revealed that they were not truly humans, nor did they represent them in anyway after the first few shots. They said what they were and most of the O-Boys reacted with boisterous laughter.
“And they are funny! You humans! Ha ha ha!” The O-Boys embraced the vampires as more drinks were poured, but the vampires insisted, and they began to show off their powers. For hours the vampires showed off their amazing and diverse abilities and the O-Boys looked on in wonder. As they put on their show the vampires also laid everything out in vivid detail to the O-Boys, speaking more freely than they had intended, likely due to the Red Whisky loosening their tongues. They talked about their history, about Braunon, and most of all about the Xerxes. They talked about how they wished to form an alliance with the O-Boys. How they saw much of themselves in them and how of all the races in the multiverse how they thought the O-Boys could really be the ones to understand them.
Many of the O-Boys became emotional (Again the Red Whiskey probably helped.) And they went on about how misunderstood they were. That they too felt alone in the multiverse. How they had been allowed to join the Multiversal Senate, but they were treated as outsiders. Then they received this message from a group of humans willing to meet with us and they sent us all these amazing gifts! Finally, we thought we met a group that would be willing to work with us! And now you turn out to be vampires! THIS IS AWESOME!!! More Red Whiskey poured, and the vampires and O-Boys hugged and sang and partied into the night.
Morning was coming as they entered the Blush. Around the tent naked O-Boys and their enthralled lay strewn everywhere. Some of the heartier O-Boys persisted in the corners of the tent and just outside performing crazy dares with each other and showing off. But the vampire officers and the Cycle 6 O-Boys lounged comfortably on 2 gigantic couches enjoying the last few drops of Red Whiskey and talking.
“The sun is rising, we have to go my friends.” A vampire said rising lazily.
The O-Boys heard this and sprang up. “Of course, how could we forget!” They seemed genuinely concerned. “Can we help you somehow?”
The vampires smiled. “No, we will be safe on our ship. We are beyond thankful for this night. Might we come back tonight and hash out the details?”
The O-Boys embraced the vampires roughly, much to their surprise. “Yes please! You are our family now! You are our first friends in the multiverse! Come back tonight and we will make plans.”
Friends. The vampire’s first too. It felt…good. For both of them. Many of the vampires embraced the O-Boys in return and they boarded their shuttle just as the first rays of light played upon the ground around them.
They returned to their ship and a packed shuttle bay. Vampires stood shoulder to shoulder waiting to hear how everything had gone. Silence fell over the room as the officers stepped off.
After a few moments of silence, a vampire in the back shouted, “So how did it go?” A gentle murmur swept over the vampire crowd.
The officers looked at each other then one stepped forward and spoke. “Well I don’t want to say for sure but…” a pause looking at the other officers who smiled back at him and nodded. “I think we have found our allies!”
A massive cheer moved like a wave through Crepuscular, so loud it vibrated the hull of the ship. The crowd surged forward and carried the officers through them. The rest of the day would be spent retelling the stories of what had happened and then those stories being told again and again as they reached those who lived on the distant corners of the ship.
That night the vampires returned but in greater numbers. Many had expressed a desire to come and meet these O-Boys, so the officers acquiesced after checking with the O-Boys on the ground. They were ecstatic to have them. When the shuttles landed, they were again met by a large mass of O-Boys but this time it was more solemn. The Cycle 6 O-Boys strode forward to the officers looking very stern and business like. They shook hands. “Come our new friends. Let’s discuss your Xerxes problem.” The officers nodded and followed behind as they were led back into the tent. Just before they entered one of the leading O-Boys turned back to the people and said, “And the rest of you!” a dramatic pause as the crowd of intermingling vampires and O-Boys looked their way. “Go and have some fun huh?!” The mixed crowd could be heard cheering as the flap to the tent swung shut behind them.
The inside of the tent had been completely transformed. Whereas once it was decked out for a party wall to wall it now looked like a professional business setting. A new long polished table had been set and water had been set out. Two large jugs of blood sat on warmers next to goblets obviously meant for the vampires. They vampires didn’t bother to ask where it had come from. Low cycle O-Boys dressed professionally moved silently around the tent taking care of odds and ends.
The following hours were spent in fervent discussion. It was obvious that the O-Boys were going to take this very seriously. Something had changed in them. A combination of their sudden acceptance at Elysium 12 ignited by these vampires who had come to them as friends and equals, bringing them gifts, something that had never happened to them in their long history. The O-Boys were determined to latch onto this feeling.
They discussed the Xerxes. It was decided the O-Boys would travel with the vampires wherever they went. They weren’t stronger or faster than the vampires, but they were undeterred by emotion and would not hesitate when their vampire friends came under attack. They talked about T-Traxts but the truth was even for the O-Boys they were almost impossible to get. However, if some of the vampires brought them Traxts that were important to them they would do what they could to have them transformed. On the vampire’s side they had been doing some experimenting of their own since truly discovering the Traxt phenomenon and they offered an idea to the O-Boys that made them tingle. They were about to make a lot of money. Both sides seemed to be more than pleased.
A final boon the O-Boys offered was they invited the vampires to settle on their home worlds. This took the vampires aback. They had not considered living on worlds again for quite some time. But the O-Boys were all but insistent. And it seemed to make sense. On the ground they could be better protected, and their new business venture would be much easier to cultivate if they could work together. Incredibly the O-Boys also offered themselves up as a food source for the vampires. The O-Boys boasted amazing fortitude and argued the loss of some blood each day would have no effect on them. This alone offered the vampires an elegant solution to one of their most pressing problems.
So it was over the next weeks and months many things happened. Vampires began settling on O-Boy home worlds in mass. And surprisingly the Xerxes attacks stopped. Or so it seemed. They began laying the groundwork for their business venture as well. But for this business venture to work they would have to be able to distribute their product to the multiverse. To do that the vampires would have to let themselves be known. It was time for the vampires to join the Multiversal Senate. It was time for the vampires to go to Elysium 12.
Both groups had heard VIA Psion Orb that Elysium 12 was planning a “Grand Meeting.” They both agreed this seemed like the perfect place to make their introduction. During the weeks leading up to the meeting the O-Boys tried in earnest to get ahold of someone in charge to arrange the introduction of a “new race” at the Grand Meeting. They thought this alone would be enough to assure some time for them, but they were told there were several new races planning to be presented during this event! The O-Boys tried to express the urgency of this race but had also decided telling people they were bringing vampires would probably end up with people thinking they were trying to be funny or play a trick. As such they were dismissed being told if they wanted to introduce a new race, they could group up with all the others.
As the day of the event grew closer the O-Boys were growing angrier. Not only had they gotten nowhere with the senate, but the Xerxes had renewed their attack on the vampires. Learning they now resided on O-Boy worlds let them know exactly where to go and vampires were beginning to be kidnapped again. But at least there was some deterrent now. The O-Boys fought like fierce and loyal dogs to protect their vampire friends and a scant number of T-Traxts had been created, all enchanted to detect Xerxes. This allowed the number of vampires being taken to be much less than before but still not zero. It was all very frustrating.
When it came down to only a few days before the Grand Meeting the O-Boys had become so incensed that they began discussing more violent actions to garner recognition for the vampires. But the vampires tempered their fury and offered a solution of their own.
“Don’t worry my friends.” A vampire officer said calmly as they met together with the O-Boy leaders. “If they can’t schedule time for us, we will schedule our own time. Vampires have never had a problem making a dramatic entrance.” They smiled and then they told the O-Boys their intentions. The vampire’s plan to introduce themselves was bold and indignant...The O-Boys loved it.
And so it was that on the day of the Grand Meeting the vampires boarded the Crepuscular, and set their course for Elysium 12…
About the Illustration: Today we have a Naga holding a VERY important magical item! We will be seeing it again one day!