I’ve always had a problem with vampire fiction in which the vampires were so secret, nobody knew they existed. Nobody. At all.
Seriously, when you’re around for hundreds of years, eventually somebody is going to start talking.
Which is why when I started writing Honor At Stake, my protagonists, Marco and Amanda, their first step was to go to the local Catholic church and start asking questions — if only so their inquiry can be kicked up the chain of command. The next step would have been to go to the nearest synagogue.
Why? Because where else are you going to go aside from the organizations that have been around for a few thousand years?
And from the church, we will get one very simple concept: Vatican ninjas,
Seriously, why not? Responsibility would fall to those people best equipped to handle the problem. Can you figure out people who are better equipped to deal with the damned than the Vatican? Okay, aside from the Legion of Rabbis, complete with throwing stars of David (“Masada Squads, when we mean ‘Never again,’ we mean never again.”).
Though that does become a question of where do you put Vampires in the Baltimore Catechism … Oh, wait, the appendix! No one ever reads the appendix! MWAHAHAHAHA… Ahem. Sorry, must get that reflex under control.
And, of course, the team has a collection of people from all over. The leader is a man named Hendershot. Their sniper is named Ibrahim (Persian Catholic, his friends call him Bram, and his call sign is Stoker … why, yes, I am as subtle as a heart attack. Why do you ask?
After I wrote the Vatican Ninjas, I started working out the people who should have, reasonably, come across vampires for the last hundred years or so — and survived the encounter. Soldiers were at the top of that list. Since there are a lot of soldiers who went from the military into the police department, there would be cops all over the country who would at least be concerned about the monsters under the bed.
Yes, I know, if I’m not careful, I’m going to end up recreating the world of Monster Hunter International. Not generally a bad thing, but Larry Correia may not find it as funny.
Now, is every last vampire going to be the loaner sulking out in the middle of nowhere? Well, that would be hard, considering that Honor At Stake is in New York City. For the record, no, “the city” is not Manhattan. I live in Queens, so I’m one of those people who remember that New York City has five boroughs. Also, there are certain parts of the Barrio that evil vampires can’t walk five feet in because there are enough religious items strung up everywhere that there might as well be a shield around it.
Yes, I know that New Yorkers refer to Manhattan as “the city,” but if a large quantity of vampires lived in Manhattan, it would be way too easy for the neighbors to realize that the creepy guy next store is just not right.
…. Okay, for the most part, there are a lot of neighborhoods where you can get away with that because every other person on the block is some variety of “not right,” because, well, welcome to New York. The major philosophy of the city is “cerchez le buck” and “leave me alone, and I won’t push you in front of a train, thanks.” But you can’t stuff all the vampires into one neighborhood.**
That’s why there will be a vampire who claims to be a Roman Centurion from the Empire and he owns Little Italy! At which point, someone will smack him down and tell him that, 1) being a Sergeant in Mussolini’s army doesn’t count, and 2) if he doesn’t sit down and shut up, he’ll be driven out of “Little Italy” (which, right now, is about one square block in lower Manhattan) and sentenced to his great grandson’s home in Howard Beach, enjoy it when it floods.
Yes, welcome to New York. Got a problem with that?
And yes, there will be a governing body of vampires. The New York City Vampire Association will have monthly meetings in the far east corner of Queens, in the local VFW hall. But that’s for book two. It’s also for vampires of status — you know, the vampires that invested in the ground floor of Ma Bell, IBM and Apple.
There will be vampire bars. There will be a nice little underground network that will guarantee fresh blood, caught that evening. There will be plenty of them that want to be 9-5 vampires (AM, of course), go home, crawl into a room with blackout curtains, and not want to get up until the next morning.
There will also be a history of vampires going back to the 18th century. Why only that far back? Because I haven’t yet needed a reason to go back farther. There will be vampires on both sides of World War II — because Gulags and Concentration camps are natural places to make certain that the victims of vampires don’t end up coming back for any reason (Let’s just say that there was one concentration camp where it was replaced with a row of trees. No one really knows what happened to it. I have a nice little supposition on that one.)
Now, why would vampires be a secret? Well, that part is simple, and I’ll give you an example. I live in New York. Announce that vampires exist. Prove it to one and all. Watch every goth become a target of people with recently purchased bow and arrow sets, or Molotov cocktails, or try to utilize weaponry they’ve seen in any random vampire film.
That’s why even the most demonic vampire is going to keep a low profile. Because even vampires understand that, if Satan appears in a puff of smoke in front of a live studio audience, people suddenly become very, very religious. And you’d have every single civilian on the planet carrying enough crosses and rosaries to equip everyone in the Vatican, and still have enough left over to hand out to the tourists.
And yes, all of the above spun out from Vatican Ninjas. Because Ninjas are such a simple concept, right? Heh.
** Yes, I just said that New Yorkers are comprised mostly of capitalist libertarians, but it’s true. Trust me, if the totalitarian schmucks who get 90% of the national air time were representative of the city, the city would look much more like Detroit, or Baltimore.