— Posted in Becky is Better, Vampire Noir, WIP - WASP in Peril

Becky is Better [Episode #067]

“Where there is love there is life.”—Mahatma Gandhi

The Moment in Time: that unlisted destination address found nowhere within Creation, unreachable even by ROOM. This is where all of the Families of all the demon races keep their ancestral Homes in perpetuity—the oldest, and thus the most powerful, Families being Vampire by definition. Palatial homes whose unparalleled opulence puts to shame the infamous Casa Casuarina on Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive—owned by decadent fashion designer Gianni Versace himself an oldest Vampire.

The butler, Amos Cree, is a Daemon who’s pretending. As such, he resembles Ted Cassidy, the actor who portrayed Lurch the colossal butler of Gomez and Morticia Addams in the Addams Family television show. Cree leads them into the opulent sitting room, where, he dismisses himself, discreetly.

The “them” in question being Becky, Stacy, Danica, and Detectives Molly Minders and Vanessa Walsh. The Arch-Baroness Lisa Niemi is out on a patio balcony which overlooks the ocean. A perfect view of perfect waves kissing a perfect beach underneath a perfect sky of a perfect day—the fabled Shangri-La is put to shame. They join her on the patio.

“Thank you for coming so promptly when I summoned you.”

The Arch-Baroness says it as if they really had a choice. One minute they were on their Earth doing whatever they were doing. The next moment they were in the foyer of this house, facing Cree who was clearly expecting them.

“So far, Becky, you have done well with this conundrum. We [Elders] are pleased with your performance. Solving puzzles like this, so-called police work, suits you to a tee. Someone works you, directing your activities via hints and you take it from there, handling the tedious details and tiresome legwork. You’re used to such an arrangement having been often exploited in that fashion when you were an MP by various detectives of the DoD police, the CID, the CI, and the DCIS, etc. This is how we [Elders] will exploit you from time to time for the rest of your immortal existence. You will, of course, confirm all of this with the proper authorities immediately after this meeting is adjourned.”

No one else speaks. The “guests” know better than to commit that foo-pah (or faux pas): the misstep in social etiquette of speaking out of turn. If someone else gets a chance to speak, it will be Becky [the only other supernatural present] and that’s only after she’s been asked by the Elder [Arch-Baroness Lisa Niemi] to do so. There are rules, ROE, and they must be followed to the letter else the gravest consequences ensue. Supernatural society being the definition of Conservative—closed and caste-based to the nth degree.

“It was during one of our off again periods. Of course, per ROE, we [as a married couple] weren’t speaking directly. We communicated through agreed upon intermediaries, and only when necessity dictated such exchanges. Unbeknownst to him, his investigation and its attended revelation was going to out my sponsored. My sponsored was the dirty cop in question. The Count was a reasonable man, he loved me deeply as I loved him, and as such I’m sure that he would have withdrawn the compromise of my sponsored if the negations had been allowed to progress to their logical conclusion. After all, we’re just talking about Food slaughtering Food—thus nothing of any real consequence was involved—just consumables and disposables. During that last session between the Count and my reps [Madam Yun and Senator Bachmann] to iron out the final details, the murder occurred. My reps watched helplessly as they killed him.”

That’s when it becomes just an Arch-Baroness and Becky affair. Stacy, Danica, and Detectives Molly Minders and Vanessa Walsh fade from view. They are gone back to where they came from—snatched from here back to there, just like they came.

“You may speak.”

“Arch-Baroness …”

“From henceforth, Becky, when you are alone as you are now with one of your female betters, you will address them in the first-person casual, without exception. You will, of course, confirm all of this with the proper authorities immediately after this meeting is adjourned. Again, as it relates to this case, what has become that very familiar affirmation? N’est-ce pa? ”

Since the telecom was via an Orphan Black, rescuing the Count with a snatch-and-grab [akin to how Becky et al was summoned/dismissed here] was out of the question. Even if it had not been, likely the attack would have been too swift for the effective employment of such arcane egress. Then again, why guess when you can ask in cross.

“Lisa, was the attack ‘shock and awe’ [i.e. quick and decisive] or was it a bushwhack?”

“A combination. And much too swift to have been thwarted by the arcane egress that brought y’all here, for example. Time, knowledge of the precise location of the target, and a total lack of interference with said target acquisition is necessary, for that.”

The Arch-Baroness’ earlier “they killed him” reference indicates that there was one than one attacker. So Becky doesn’t have to waste one of her set number of permitted questions asking if there was more than one attacker. Confirmation of their “persuasion” would be nice, though—maybe even essential to her investigation.

“Is Michel’s intel correct? Where those types of mundane [Humanists] culpable in the murder of the Count?”

The Elder’s answer is obtuse and direct, in a word exclusionary. But the intended vagueness is explained in the follow-up.

“There was another who was complicit. One who was neither a person nor alive.”

The Dead, thinking machine, etc, are people, and they are alive [technically]. A Gokum would fit the bill, though. There’s something else. Their snatch-and-grab came after the attack on Stacy. Becky is betting that there’s a connection.

As it pertains to every aspect of supernatural life … There are rules for these things. If you savvy the rules, you can make the right guesses nine times out of ten, in cases like this.

“Is it your impression that the murders were being directed? Ergo, technically, there is only one murderer, but using multiple extensions? Possibly a Puppet Master who is most probably mundane?”

“Yes, which is why Michel’s intel is correct and not so correct, yet not wrong either.”

The Elder smiles that smile, signaling that the meeting is over. As Becky fades from view, she hears the Elder say: “I must say, that as in previous back-n-forth during the course of this case, you’ve used your allotted questions well. Applaud yourself.”