Disclaimer: I don’t own the characters in True Blood or the Southern Vampire Mysteries. So neither copyright infringement nor offense is meant. I simply want to make the characters do what I wanted them to do for a while. I am especially “unownerly” when it comes to this story. You will recognize a lot of the dialogue throughout as being quoted from Season 5 of True Blood, though I’ve tried to use Eric’s thoughts to make this story “different” from its source. That said, I claim no ownership to the quoted material and have placed it in bold so that it is set apart from my own words.
Salome was at one end of the conference table when Bill and I walked in. I noticed that Russell was at the other end—with Steve Newlin sitting next to him and fawning all over him. I could smell blood and cum on them both.
I cringed a little as I thought about the “riding the pony” incident I’d witnessed the night before. I had nothing against homosexuality, but Newlin and Russell were a twosome I wished I’d never had to see—or hear—or smell—close up.
“Gentlemen. Join us,” Salome said with a welcoming smile.
Bill didn’t hesitate. That concerned me, of course, but I hoped that once he was free of Salome’s web, he would go back to being himself.
I found myself missing the douche bag.
Salome started the meeting with a “bang.” “It’s time to start flexing our muscles around the globe. To start crushing the mainstreamers. Nora,” she said expectantly, obviously wanting my sister to carry on the ‘discussion’ in order to demonstrate that she was ‘sharing’ her power.
“Mainstreaming is a global problem, of course, but we have to start dismantling it locally. We’ve several high-ranking members of the British Parliament who are willing to help us in the UK,” Nora reported.
I scoffed as Russell and Steve began mooning over each other even more obviously. It was clear that they weren’t paying attention to the meeting.
“And Russia,” Rosalyn contributed. “We have friends in the Duma. They’d be more than happy to round up the mainstreamers, stick ’em on a raft in the Black Sea at high noon.” She chuckled.
“Have you ever been to Hong Kong?” Russell asked Steve.
“Hmm. It’s the most wonderful place on earth. Asian men with British accents giving you a shiatsu rubdown, and you feel like James Bond.”
Salome clearly wasn’t amused by the distraction the two were causing.
She gave them a disapproving look and clapped her hands to get their attention. “Steve. Russell?”
“Yes, my pet?” Russell asked with obviously fake congeniality and affection.
“Oh, well, we’re all ears, sugar lumps,” Russell said putting up his hands innocently.
I wondered if Salome knew that she was being patronized. I wondered if she knew how little time she would have before Russell turned on her.
“Let’s talk about the U.S.,” Salome said after nodding approval at Kibwe’s idea.
“TruBlood,” Bill said contemplatively.
Fuck me! Imagining where his mind might be going, I wanted to yell out to Bill to shut the fuck up. But I had to stay silent.
“Excuse me?” Salome asked him.
“TruBlood?” Salome asked, obviously not yet catching onto Bill’s train of thought as I was. I gave him a significant look, hoping he’d stay quiet. He didn’t.
“Fuck politics,” Bill said. “Concentrate on the TruBlood.”
“What about it?” Nora asked with curiosity.
“You bomb the factories,” Bill stated coldly. In that moment, I realized that he had a good mind for how to create havoc. I just wished that he’d not shared his fucking thoughts! “There are only five of them,” he went on. “Destroy them publicly, and you force mainstreamers to feed on humans.” He looked directly at Salome. “As they were meant to.”
From his tone, I wasn’t sure if Bill was acting a part to try to earn more of Salome’s trust or if he was succumbing to the allure of the Sanguinista ideals. I was hoping for the former. Either way, however, I wished that he would have never shared his idea. The problem was that it was a good plan. Too good. And the others obviously agreed.
“Well done,” Salome said, looking at Bill with open admiration. Well—if his goal had been to gain more of her trust, he’d certainly succeeded.
“That’s genius,” Nora echoed her support of the plan.
“Yes,” Kibwe agreed.
“I love it,” Rosalyn chimed in with a chuckle.
“What are you doing?” I couldn’t help but ask him quietly as the others became more and more vocal about their admiration for the plan.
I shook my head a little. “Evolving?” I asked.
“Yes. As we spoke about earlier,” he said evenly.
I frowned, wondering which part of our conversation Bill was referring to. Meanwhile, Salome went into action, directing Kibwe, Rosalyn, and Nora to contact the vampires the Authority always had monitoring the factories. Given their free access to the Japanese-owned facilities, it would be easy for them to plant explosives which would go off around the world at approximately the same time. Only two facilities were outside of the United States—one in Japan and one in Europe. However, if he acted quickly, the Authority’s European associate could get charges set in the Portugal facility before daybreak. That left only the Japanese facility to take care of, but Salome “luckily” had a human “pet” in Japan, who sometimes went to the TruBlood factory on Authority business; thus, the Yakuza that provided its security to the factories would think nothing of her visit.
I watched silently as four of the vampires at the table put Bill’s plan into place. Bill watched smugly. Russell and Steve had gone over to the lounge area, and from the sounds they were making, they were dry humping. I didn’t look toward them to confirm or deny my supposition.
Eventually, a displeased looking Molly was brought in to give technical advice. Though she seemed cooperative, I could tell that it wasn’t out of choice or devotion. It was out of self-preservation.
Join the fucking club.
Luckily for her, the others were too distracted—and too delusional—to notice her lack of enthusiasm.
However, I shared a look with her that let her know that we were on the same team. She looked relieved for a moment, but wisely, she gave nothing away. She finished her job and left.
It took less than an hour to make all of the arrangements for the attacks on the TruBlood factories. The bombs would detonate in eighty minutes.
I marveled at the efficiency of it all.
I marveled at the horror.
And—like before—I could do nothing to stop what was to happen.
[Two Hours Later]
I watched the news footage with the same mixture of horror and powerlessness that I’d felt for most of the night. All five of the TruBlood factories had been successfully bombed, and spokesmen for the TruBlood owners were already on television discussing how there was very little blood in transit or at distribution centers; thus, the supply would quickly be exhausted.
Already, I could hear the panic in the human newscasters’ tones. And—of course—there were no vampires available to calm them. Steve had been too “busy” with his lover.
Indeed, with no counter-narrative from vampires easing the humans’ fears, their anxiety would only increase as the days went on—days when vampires were asleep and vulnerable.
“It’s begun,” Salome said, a mixture of solemnity and excitement in her tone.
“Praise Lilith,” Bill said evenly.
I’d yet to figure out if he meant that—or if he was merely playing along.
“In celebration of her holy war, let us feast in Lilith’s name,” Nora said reverently.
I knew that she wasn’t “playing.”
I looked down at the man lying prone on the table. His remaining moments were few.
“Should we say grace?” Russell asked, looking around before his eyes landed on me. It was clear that he didn’t trust that I was a loyal follower. “Northman?” he said, obviously trying to trap me in my insincerity.
The others looked at me expectantly.
Salome went to speak—probably to offer a “proper” prayer. But Steve interrupted.
“It would be my honor,” Newlin volunteered, his tone as insipid as always to my ears. “Here’s a tried and true one from my human days.” He took an unneeded breath as Russell watched him with anticipation—and affection. “There once was a cock and a hen who gave lunch to a goose in a pen. ‘Good Lord,’ said the goose, ‘bless this food for our use and us to Thy service.’ Amen,” he finished triumphantly.
Russell laughed heartily and clapped. Neither Salome nor Nora seemed amused.
“Charming!” Russell extolled.
Clearly, Salome wasn’t charmed by either Russell or Steve. She raised her hands reverently as if trying to regain control of the situation—regain control of Russell.
Good luck with that.
Salome prayed in Aramaic. Unlike Rosalyn, it was clear that the ancient vampiress truly knew the language. I knew enough of it to know that she was calling on Lilith to bless her “faithful followers.”
She could speak for herself.
Still, when she was done, I drank with the rest. Again, I was powerless to do much else. I drank slowly, recalling another time when I’d unwittingly fed from someone in order to hide my true intentions.
When I used Sookie’s blood to get Russell into the sun.
Sookie had forgiven me for that, though it still bothered me.
This time, I didn’t raise my hand to stroke the hair of my victim.
I waited to disengage until I saw Salome stop drinking.
By then, the man was dead and gone.
And my soul felt further away from me again. I concentrated on my bond for a moment and centered myself, knowing that I needed to get out of the Authority before I lost my soul completely.
Molly. I felt certain that she was the key to an escape.
After participating in the “sacred sacrifice” of the human, I went looking for the one vampire in the building that I felt as if I could sort of trust. Given the fact that she’d not been to any of the “meetings”—other than to give tech advice—I figured that Molly was not yet trusted by Salome.
Moreover, I’d seen Molly’s eyes when Bill had questioned her loyalty. She was young, but I could tell that she truly had been loyal to the previous Guardian. And she was still likely “connected” to her human life. I went looking for her first in the place where she’d “installed” Bill’s and my iStakes. She was putting a briefcase away as I zipped into the room.
To make sure she didn’t cry out, I grasped her by the neck and held her against the wall.
Her fangs came down by instinct.
She did. Smart.
“Is there somewhere safe we can talk?” I asked, barely audibly.
“Be safe in here if you let me go,” she responded somewhat sassily.
I really did like her. As soon as I’d let her go, she pointed a small remote control device at the camera, turning it off.
“We got 30 seconds before we’re live again,” Molly said. “Please tell me you have a plan to get us outta here.”
“Well, that’s great,” Molly said sarcastically. “Level one protocols! I only have level three clearance, genius. The lockdown system is DNA specific.”
I sighed. “I don’t speak techie. Translate.”
“We’re totally fucking fucked—unless . . . .” She stopped midsentence.
“Unless what?” I asked.
“It’s probably a really stupid idea, and it’ll probably get you killed,” she started.
I sighed again. “Sounds perfect.”
Molly smirked and used her remote to give us another thirty seconds.
I found Bill brooding in the hallway near my room. Clearly he’d been looking for me, which was lucky. I was looking for him too. We exchanged a look, and he motioned for me to follow him—again leading me to Salome’s room. That idea served me as well.
Once we were inside the unmonitored room, we looked at each other for a full minute before either of us spoke. He looked pensive and guilty. I was angry. It was I who broke the silence.
“Hey, I have a great idea,” I said sarcastically. “Why don’t we blow up all the TruBlood factories and start a civil war? Wouldn’t that be fun? Praise Lilith,” I added in an exaggerated tone. “I don’t know what kind of game you’re playing, Bill, but . . . .”
Bill interrupted me. “It’s not a game.”
“Shut up,” I said insistently. “There aren’t any cameras in here. You’re laying it on a little thick, don’t you think? Salome and Russell are thousands of years old. And Nora may be young, but she’s a political genius. That’s why Godric chose her. If you think they’re gonna buy this act much longer, you’re as crazy as they are.”
“You’re the one who told me to act!” Bill exclaimed.
“I didn’t tell you to give them the key to destroying humanity! To destroying the whole fucking mainstreaming movement! To destroying us!”
He was wavering even more now, but I was determined to keep him upright. For Sookie.
“And we were high!” I exclaimed. “I don’t know what’s in that blood, but we need to stay away from it.”
“I’m lost. I don’t know who to trust. Everything I believed in has been turned upside down,” Bill lamented, looking as lost as his words indicated that he was.
He flinched, and his eyes told me that she was not.
“I didn’t think so,” I said. “You’re more of a mainstreamer than I’ll ever be. And whatever religious crisis you think you’re having, you can have it somewhere else. We’re getting the hell out of here. Now, the compound’s on lockdown. There’s only one way out. The chancellor’s blood.”
I held up the special needle that Molly had given to me. According to the techy, there was a numbing agent on the tip which would make it impossible for Salome to feel the needle puncturing her skin—even if she were awake when it was drawn.
“You want me to steal Salome’s blood?” Bill asked incredulously. “What about your sister?”
“I’ll handle Nora,” I returned. I didn’t tell him that I intended to knock her out and essentially kidnap her. “It’s our only shot. Tomorrow night,” I said forcefully. “Exactly one hour after dark. Meet us at the elevator—outside of the main meeting room.”
In that moment, we heard screaming. I sighed. To hear it all the way from Salome’s room meant that the human was in agony.
“Hmm. We’d better get back to slaughtering people in the name of God,” I intoned as I moved to leave the room.
Bill followed and touched my arm to stop my progress. “Part of me knows you’re right, Eric,” he said. “I’m just so . . . .” He stopped midsentence.
“You’ll see. Once we are out of this place and away from that blood and the fanaticism that surrounds it, you won’t be so lost,” I said, trying to sound confident. “None of us will be,” I added, hoping that my words would ring true for Nora as well.
A/N: Okay, this chapter takes us through several of the shorter scenes that we saw in episodes 8 and 9. You might note that I added a bit of dialogue (especially in the Bill/Eric scene). Remember that the show’s initial dialogue is in bold. And mine isn’t. There is one point where I changed the show’s dialogue-when Eric was telling Bill the time of the proposed escape. Eric just says something like tomorrow night before dawn, which is so vague and doesn’t make sense given what we actually see the next night on the show. Oh well–did we expect consistency?
Anyway, I hope you liked the added thoughts and the added dialogue.