The Beautiful and the Damned

Chapter Three: Fill the Void

A conditional favor, a revealing interrogation, a mysterious message and two starving monsters.

They want to fill the void
They want to fill the empty spaces
But I won’t let them consume me
With the rest of the lifeless faces

Alexander Colfax Dolarhyde roused from his slumber to discover a message telling him that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power employee files that he and his friends had requested from primogen Martin Hoults had been forwarded to his email. The message also requested that Cole contact Brujah whip Andre Laurent once he had reviewed the file. Cole set about searching the file, and after some time he came across a promising suspect; a man named Mitchell Phillips matched the descriptions that Hector Mendoza’s spirit had provided the group through the necromantic abilities of Philippa Giovanni.

Thinking this worth checking out, Cole called Andre Laurent to inform him what he’d found. Laurent responded by saying that Martin Hoults wanted the investigation to be kept as far from the court of Prince Calisto Garza as possible. If credit was earned, Hoults wanted it to go to the neonates and Clan Brujah, rather than to the city’s established political dynasty. Cole agreed that he shared this desire. Cole let Laurent know that he’d heard that Kim Lyons was also investigating the murders, and Laurent warned him to be careful, as Kim Lyons was Prince Garza’s great-grandchilde via her sire, primogen Muriel Rice.

Following his conversation with Laurent, Cole got in touch with his fellow neonates Santiago Clemente and Gaius Ferrán to let them know about his discovery of Mitchell Phillips. As the employee file contained their target’s home address, the trio decided that they would take their investigation to Phillips directly.

On their way, a brief stop was made to allow Gaius and Santi to hunt and sate their hungers for blood.

Arriving at the Phillips residence, it was decided that Gaius would scout ahead, and then make ready for Santi and Cole to enter the home in the hopes of capturing Mitchell Phillips. Gaius used his powers of obfuscation to break into the home unseen. He located Phillips who was seated in the living room watching television. He made note that Phillips kept a knife on the table beside him, and then moved to the front door, unlocking it to allow Cole and Santi easy entrance. As his companions barged into the home, Gaius quickly grabbed the knife before Phillips could make use of it.

Realizing that he was caught, Phillips quickly acquiesced to his captors’ questioning. He revealed that his two accomplices were Shelly Alana and Lev Belski, neither of whom were co-workers of his. Phillips theorized that he and his companions had been pawns of an outside force, as each member of his group had thought that they’d been initially contacted by one of the other members of the group, but upon comparing stories they’d discovered that none of them had been the one to reach out to the others. Even knowing that they were likely being used, however, the group had decided to push forward, as they each had personal reasons for seeking to destroy vampires.

Mitchell Phillips explained that he had spent years believing that his wife Carol had died in a car accident, until his mysterious contact had revealed that she had actually been collateral damage in a street fight between two vampires. He also said that Shelly Alana had spent years searching for the underlying medical cause of her ongoing fatigue and physical weakness; whoever contacted her provided evidence that she had actually spent years unwillingly providing blood for a vampire who who subsequently wipe away any memory that she had of the feeding. Phillips said that he wasn’t certain what Lev Belski’s motivation was, as Belski was paranoid and intensely private. Phillips suggested that Belski would be difficult to locate, as he had put in a great deal of effort to get himself off the grid.

As the interrogation continued, Cole received a text message from a number that he didn’t recognize, asking if he was at the Phillips home. Without answering in the affirmative, Cole sent a text reply asking who was texting him. As he did so, he heard down the street the screech of tires quickly approaching the house. Inferring that the approaching vehicle probably presaged the arrival of trouble, the group decided that they should attempt a swift and stealthy exit. As they heard the sound of something crashing into the side of the house, Gaius Ferrán grabbed Mitchell Phillips and drank a sufficient quantity of his blood to render him semi-conscious and unresisting. The group then began exiting the house’s side door as quietly as they could with Phillips in tow.

As they exited, they could see that a cargo van, now sans driver, had smashed into the from of the home. Having exited from the back were two thoroughly inhuman vampires apparently deep in the throes of hunger frenzy. Although the attempt was made to sneak away without alerting the frenzying vampires, Santi caught their eye and they rushed to attack him. The first to reach Santi attempted to bowl him over, which he easily resisted. Santi responded by opening the monstrous vampire up with his combat knife. That didn’t completely stop the rampaging creature, however, but Cole was able to deliver a supernaturally strong kick to the ribs that knocked Santi’s attacker into torpor.

Gaius, meanwhile, used the knife he had earlier stolen from Mitchell Phillips to stab the second frenzying vampire in the shoulder. The inhuman vampire responded by attempting to wrestle Ferrán to the ground in an attempt to feed on him. Gaius held his attacker back long enough for Santi to drive his knife into the rampaging vampire’s spine, delivering a torporific wound.

Gathering the bodies of the two vampires now in torpor and the semi-conscious Mitchell Phillips, the group headed to their car with as much stealth as speed would allow. Stashing the two attackers in the trunk and Phillips in the back seat, they peeled out as they heard the approach of sirens in the distance.

As they drove away, Gaius Ferrán expressed some discomfort with the realization that several of the skills that he had displayed that night were things that he had no memory of having learned. The origins of these talents, and his inability to determine how he had acquired them, troubled him.

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