I entered the Fu Syndicate and found myself in an empty lobby. A receptionist"s desk and four elevators faced me. On my right and left were sets of double doors. I tried the doors on the right first; they were locked. The doors on the left were unlocked. I entered. It was a conference room with a large, oblong table and about four telephones. One started ringing. I picked it up.
"If you want your vampire," the voice said, "you have to come and get him. Go through the doors at the rear." It was the same voice on Johnny"s laptop.
"Why don"t you come out and show yourself?" I asked. The voice only laughed and hung up on me.
I went through the doors and found myself in a large courtyard. It was quite nice. Some fool was standing in the center waving a crucifix around. Then my Malkavian intuition kicked in. I dropped behind a potted tree and grabbed my McCluskey. Next I heard the shotguns open fire.
I checked auras. Four mercenaries, all with shotguns, and wearing body armor, were arranged around the courtyard. They were shooting at me. I wasn"t sure how to handle this. One guy was fairly close, but he could not get a clean shot. I leaned around the plant and fired four quick rounds at him. Then I moved.
He was almost ready when I reached him. He got off a round, and it caught me in the chest. It hurt. But I was on top of him. I fed. I couldn"t take all of his blood because the other three were closing on me. But I took enough. I finished him with the McCluskey. Thanks, Mercurio.
I circled the edge of the courtyard, keeping low. One of the mercs was close enough to hit with trance, and I did. I kept circling, and then I caught a break. There was a small pond, and a merc was standing beside it.
I grabbed my knife and ran. I ran across the pond and caught the guy by surprise. I buried my knife in his throat. Two down. The other one was moving away. He was searching for me, but was moving in the wrong direction. I grabbed my McCluskey again, and crept behind him. The guy I tranced was still in a trance. He had not been discovered. I kept moving.
I found a potted plant and tossed it to the left of the merc. He paused. My turn. I leaped and began feeding on him. I fed a lot, and I could feel myself starting to heal.
I walked over to the first merc, the one I had tranced, and fed on him as well. Then I cut his throat. I stood up and looked around. I was getting stronger. The goof with the crucifix was waving the cross around, standing in front of a door. He ran through it as I moved towards him. I followed.
He led me down a long hallway, and into a side corridor. An iron door clanged shut behind me and locked. I kept moving forward. I ran into some stairs and followed them down. There was another room ahead of me at the end of a hall. And, once again, my Malkavian side tickled my brain.
I crept, keeping low. I could see the room was well lit. I could also see what looked like a tank of propane. So this was it. The guy was going to try and burn me. Next I heard some static, and a voice came over some type of PA system.
"Fire can destroy you, I know that," said the voice. "But do you have a fear of it? Does it terrify you? Is it the stuff of your nightmares? This is what I hope to find out."
I was stuck between a rock and a hard place. I got on my belly and crawled. I could see one, now two tanks of propane in the room. I could also see what appeared to be flame-throwing jets. One side of the room was a large, reinforced glass pane, with two men standing behind it. So they were going to watch me burn.
I would get one, and only one shot. And I was going to have to move like hell to get away. Maybe it would work, and maybe it wouldn"t. But it was my only way out. I grabbed the McCluskey, steadied my nerves, and aimed. One shot. At the point of the second tank where the hose that led to a jet was connected. Right at the top. It would have to be perfect.
I thought for one second and then squeezed the trigger. Next I crept, crawled, and ran back down the corridor, feeling the shock wave of the explosion pushing me along. I also felt some flames licking my back, and it hurt like hell. I didn"t stop running until I hit the door at the other end, and got knocked on my ass. But I was intact.
I grabbed my McCluskey and retraced my steps. The explosion in the room had shattered the glass window. It had also burnt out all of the propane from the two tanks, searing the entire inside of the room. On the other side of what had been the window stood two men, one with a shotgun. I put a round in his head and then jumped through the window. The other guy was a white-haired Chinese. He backed away slowly. The explosion had burned my back, and I was in a lot of pain. I fed on him and drained him.
The corridor I found myself in was pretty nice. The old guy had a card key, and I grabbed it and started checking rooms. The rooms were all empty offices or labs of some sort, with nothing in them. In one, I found the remnants of a vampire. Evidently, the old Chinese guy had been fooling around with vampires in the past. I came to the last door, opened, and found myself overlooking a storeroom of some sort, with a few crates. On the other side of the room, I saw Wesley, grinning at me.
"You look like hell," he said.
"I thought you weren"t supposed to come in until I called you," I said.
"I got tired of you having all of the fun," Wesley said. "Anyhow, your missing Nosferatu is in this room here, but I can"t get the lock open."
The door was locked with a deadbolt.
"You really ought to invest in one of these," I said, grabbing my lock pick from my smoldering backpack. I went to work, and had the door opened in a few seconds. We had rescued Barabbas.
"They got you two as well," Barabbas said. "This is bad."
"No, we got you," I said. "Gary sent me to find you. Wesley, you found a way in. Can you lead us out? My way in is blocked. And I think the fire department may be here soon. Someone had to hear that explosion."
"We can"t go yet," Barabbas said. "They have a computer system with a bunch of information on vampires. We have to wipe it."
"That"s your problem," I said. "My deal with Gary was to get you out. I"m doing that. Worry about the computer on your own time. You coming or staying?"
Barabbas decided to come. Wesley led us through some hallways to a parking garage, and the three of us slipped out and worked out way around to the front of the building. Sure enough, the police and fire department were there.
"You know how to contact Gary?" I asked Barabbas.
"Sure. You have a cell?" I gave Barabbas my cell and he placed a call. He chatted for a few minutes, and then gave the phone to me.
"Gary wants to speak with you."
"Nice work, boss," he said. "You done real good."
"You going to tell me where the sarcophagus is now?" I asked.
"Sure, boss," he answered. "It"s up at the Giovanni estate. You want to know where that is?"
"It would help."
"In the Hollywood Hills," Gary said. "You want to know about the Giovanni"s?"
"No thanks, Gary," I said. "I"ll do some homework."
"Give "˜em hell, boss!" Gary said, and chuckled. Then he signed off.
"I need to feed," I said to Wesley. "Then we have to do some research on Giovanni."