11 - Vampire the Masquerade
DescriptionThe House of Wares
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The House of WaresWhen I awakened, in my haven, I logged into my laptop. No new emails, except for spam ads for porn sites. I set up a second account, so I could access my bank accounts and investments from my human life. I checked them out, and everything was okay. Next I checked the Malibu news. The local news in Malibu was concerned about my disappearance, but it was no big deal. I was not a celebrity. I sent an email to my banker letting him know that I was okay and in Santa Monica. Then I headed out to feed and find Bertram Tung. Bertram was easy to find; he was living in the first abandoned tank on the farm. He was just about the ugliest vampire that I had ever seen. Sickly grey skin, deformed features, pointed ears, a mouthful of sharp teeth, and a grin that would make a Great White Shark frightened accurately described his appearance. He was of Clan Nosferatu, and that clan was deformed by vampirism. They were very stealthy, and good at getting information. And there was not a computer in the world they could not hack. We talked. "Yeah," Bertram said. "There is an old Southern Pacific freight yard down at the Santa Monica docks. It"s not really used anymore. There is a freight and passenger station, and, behind that, is a warehouse. The Sabbat have been unloading freight there." "What do I have to do?" I asked. "Set the Astrolite to go off in the middle office on the second floor of the warehouse," Bertram said. "Now, let me warn you. The Astrolite is ten times more powerful than TNT. It burns, and burns quick. The warehouse is stone and wood, so it will go up quickly. Give yourself plenty of time when you set the timer to get the hell out. Otherwise, you will get caught in the blast and suffer the Final Death." "Any vampires?" I asked. "None that I could detect," Bertram answered. "A lot of humans, all armed with knives, pistols, and shotguns. All of the freight is coming in at the warehouse, and none at the station. So that is where you want to head." "You know an easy way in?" I kept asking questions. I was new at this. "Probably through the station," Bertram said. "It"s not well-guarded. You don"t want to enter the warehouse through the loading dock. It is really watched by the humans. Try a side door or a rear door. Remember, Childe, use your strength and stealth against the humans. Your stealth is your greatest asset in this. Go slow, and be careful." I thanked Bertram and headed out to the docks. The place was easy to find. I entered through the station, and found one guy, standing beside a fire, watching the place. I cut his throat. There was a row of ancient and rusting passenger cars, and I used them for cover as I made my way about the yard. Bertram was right about the dock. Ten humans, with shotguns and pistols, were standing watch. A truck arrived and a bunch of the guys began unloading large crates. I made my way to my right, circled past the dock, and found a side door. The door was unlocked, and I cracked it and peeked in. I could see some crates, about six humans standing watch, and a stairway leading upstairs. I circled back, slowly and cautiously, to the freight station. There was another spot I wanted to check. There was another loading dock. It was a small one on the far side of the warehouse. Parked next to it was an old steam engine, and one human was guarding it. I would have to cross some open ground, and would be in view of the main loading dock. I decided to chance it. I kept low, moved slowly, and circled around the steam engine. I approached the guard from the rear. The dude was smoking, and carrying a .38. I cut his throat. There was a steel ladder bolted to the wall, and up I climbed. I entered the attic, keeping low. Well, I had to. The roof was not high enough for me to stand. I found a door, forced it, and stepped out onto some beams. Below me I could see two rooms of the warehouse, a bunch of humans, and a lot of crates. I followed the beams around until I was right above a catwalk. The room on my left was where the unloading was taking place. The room on my right was the one I had peeked. I dropped onto the catwalk and headed to a door that I hoped led to an office. I was getting used to vampire agility, and liking it. After all, as a human, I had been a geek and a physical nothing. I picked the lock and crept into the office. This must have been the central office where Bertram had said to set the Astrolite, because there were doors on the right and left. The office was old and dusty, and hadn"t been used for a while. I checked auras. Three humans present; two in the old office on the left, and one in the right. I could hear the two in the left conversing about becoming vampires and gaining immortality. I snuck up on them, dropped them into a trance, killed one and fed on the other. Then I moved to the other office. When I opened the door and entered, the guy opened up on me with his .38. He put two slugs into me before I killed him. Then I ducked back into the center office and through the door to the catwalk. I knew that someone had heard the shots. I watched as three of the humans rushed up the stairs to the offices. This would be easy. I dropped off of the catwalk, landed behind some crates, and stayed low. I moved quickly to the three remaining humans and took them out. The three upstairs were in panic mode and ran back down. They were easy. Next I checked some of the crates, found a bunch of ammo for my 12-gauge, and decided to blow the place. I knew how I was going to leave. I ran up the stairs, and reentered the middle office. I made sure that I had six rounds in my shotgun. Then I set up the astrolite. I set the timer for four minutes. I figured that was plenty of time for me to make it down the stairs, through the door, across the yard, and to the station. I could watch the warehouse blow and then head back to see Bertram. I had a bunch of questions for him. I turned on the timer and started to move. Now, like I said, vampires are fast. I was down the steps when something kicked in the door I was going to use to exit. A human torso was tossed in, followed by a vampire. A very ugly vampire with long claws and grimy hair. A Sabbat. "Shit," I muttered. I readied my shotgun and took aim.