“Hey, boys and girls,” I shouted to get their attention. “You up for a real challenge?”
“Boss!” They shouted, almost as one, when they saw me. “Glad to see you still among the living.” Said Jake with a broad grin.
“What kind of challenge?” Said Lori. She had a smile on her face, but her eyes were searching, as she looked me over.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls,” I said in my best ringmaster’s voice. “How would you like the singular honor of competing against the Master Vampire for the city of Chicago?” I finished with a dramatic bow and gesture toward Siobhan, who was glaring balefully at me over my antics.
“What are the rules?” Asked John, looking up at us with a slight scowl. “I mean, hitting someone with a paintball is a lot harder than hitting her with a load of buckshot.”
I was just about to answer that he’d just have to deal with it when Siobhan came out of the observation room with a smile on her face.
“Use your preferred weapons.” She said confidently. “But no silver please.”
“Are you sure?” I asked, skeptically. “That’s still gonna hurt like hell.”
“They have to hit me first.” She said with an evil grin.
“All right,” I said, the gauntlet having been forcefully thrown down. “Let me get my gear on.”
Immediate protests began from both Siobhan and my team. I let the cacophony continue for a moment before raising my hands. “I feel fine,” I said to the room at large. “I’m not going to instantly turn into a zombie in the middle of a fight, and this is too good of an opportunity to waste on anything less than a full team.” There were some continued grumbles. Eventually. everyone agreed to let me play. The thought of pitting ourselves against a true, elite monster without having to risk death was just too good to pass up.
We Dreadnoughts were allowed to use our conventional weapons with standard ammunition. Siobhan agreed to not bite anyone or use her claws. Yes, vampires can extend their fingernails just as they can extend their fangs. Yet another reason shields were such a big part of my team’s tactics.
As I went up to the locker room and geared up, the rest of the team quickly re-configured the kill house. Siobhan didn’t seem to mind that they would know the layout before they entered. They just didn’t know where she would be. It was going to be a straight up hunt and kill scenario, without the added complications of potential hostages or things like that.
Siobhan was standing on the catwalk above the kill house when I came back down. “Count to ten then proceed as you will.” She said with a smile.
I looked at Lori. “You run it,” I said. “I’ll take rearguard.”
Lori looked at me quizzically. “How come?” She asked archly. “Are you sure you feel all right?”
“I’m fine.” I replied. “I just don’t know the layout of the house. You do.”
She nodded at that. “Okay, makes sense.” She said, moving into position between Tommy and Money.
Oce we were in position, I looked up at Siobhan and nodded. She grinned and jumped nimbly off the catwalk and disappeared into the kill house.
What followed was a comprehensive education on just how badass a master vampire could be. The first thing she taught us was that walls made of wood and drywall were absolutely no barrier to a monster that could pick up a dump truck if they felt like it.
As we were moving down a corridor that was wide enough to allow our favorite formation, Siobhan used her super hearing to pinpoint our location and burst through the wall after the shield bearers had passed. Just like that, she was in amongst us and moving so fast we couldn’t keep track of her. In a matter of heartbeats, we were down and disarmed without ever having fired a shot.