Following her advice, I followed my schedule—I took the night off. I read for a while, tinkered with a couple my own things, and drew a few devices that based on current events were stuck in my head.
I’m meaning, of course, an automatic rifle that fired stakes, a “water” gun that turned holy water into a fine mist that would stay in the air for a few minutes, and a garlic grenade.
Elements of the garlic grenade’s design might be worth adapting to commercial kitchens. I decided to ask Haley about that and sent her the drawing I’d made along with some notes about how it could process large amounts of garlic more quickly than people could.
The kitchen version included a container that prevented the garlic shrapnel from exploding across the room.
Since she was training at the Colorado Stapledon program facility, Haley didn’t see the text or diagram until about 10 pm in Colorado which was midnight in Michigan. Her response was, “Have you been drinking?”
I had, but nothing alcoholic. In response, I explained the situation. She wrote back, “You need to talk to Amy. The Motor City Heroes’ aren’t prepared for vampires. They’re only four people and I don’t think any team on the whole east side of the state has a wizard.”
Using my implant, I texted back through my League communicator, “I talked to Amy and she needs more information before she can help. You’re right about this side of the state, but the Motor City Heroes does have Blue Mask and he’s kind of a monster hunter.”
Her words appeared in my brain thanks to the implant. “That’s right. He knows what he’s doing at least, but stay safe, okay? Call us if things get bad. I’m sure the League can send someone. If you’ve got a little warning, I’ll be there and maybe with Stapledon people.”
“Believe me, I will call for help if I need it. I know I don’t know anything about vampires.”
After that our texts turned away from vampires to Stapledon and what she was doing—constant training and classes, ending with the two of us talking about how long it had been since we’d last seen each other.
After she texted me, “Love U,” and I replied, I went to bed. They had a guest room in the base. It felt like a cramped hotel room or a single room in a university dormitory. It had space for a bed, a desk, and a beige carpet that had only been vacuumed because V8 bought a few Roombas.
I hadn’t modified any of them. She’d already done that.
Mateo and I weren’t scheduled for duty until the evening. I spent most of the day in the lab until then. I didn’t start constructing any of my anti-vampire tech, but I did start fleshing out the details. Plus I had a few more ideas.
Mateo walked in as I sat in front of my laptop in the lab. He leaned over my shoulder to stare at the screen. “What is that? Are you designing a giant squirt gun?”
I shook my head and turned around, “It’s a mister. It’ll fill a room in seconds. It’s actually meant for holy water and I have a few questions for you about it.”
He blinked. “Oh?”
“Is there a limit on how much you can make at once? For example, could you bless Lake Michigan or Lake Huron and then have the whole lake be deadly to vampires?”
He cocked his head, frowning. “I’ve mostly seen it done over bowls of water. No one ever told me that you can’t do it over a body of water, but normally you’d use clean water to create holy water and lakes include algae, fish, and mud, not to mention boats and people. It wouldn’t be clean. I know of people getting their water from a lake or stream, but they don’t bless the entire stream. A number of priests use distilled water.”
I nodded. “So it’s got to be clean. Is there anything else that’s special about it? Anything that would make it different from normal water?”
“Usually there’s rock salt that a priest consecrated. For different purposes, there’s sometimes a little oil, but mostly what you’d call holy water is water with a little salt.” Mateo crossed his hands over his chest and took a step back, still looking at me.
“Let’s say,” I continued, “I had an idea for how to keep the water in the air longer and that involved adding chemicals or processing it in some way. Maybe it would heat it up, for example. Would it still be holy water then?”
He frowned. “I don’t know. Despite what you see in the movies, the main purpose of holy water isn’t for destroying monsters. It’s for baptisms. For that matter, even though we do a ritual over a bowl of water and use salt, none of that is the important part. In the end, we’re asking God to bless the water. All that matters is that God consents to bless it and count it as holy. No one knows exactly what would make it stop being holy water if you’re thinking about it in terms of chemistry.”
I thought about that. “Sorry if I’m asking weird questions. My girlfriend is Catholic, but I’m not. I’m trying to figure out the rules. You know, if it really is just God choosing to do it or not, that would be so much more convenient.
“In that case, all you’d need is to ask God to bless a fire hydrant. After that, you could slaughter hordes of undead if you just had a hose.”
He nodded, “If God willed it, it would work, but it’s not what we’d normally do to create holy water.”
“I get it,” I said, “but holy water would be a much more flexible tool if it stayed holy when it changed state. With vapor and liquid, you have an easy area of effect attack and as a solid, you have holy bullets or you could even make holy barriers if you used it in the winter. You know, like a holy igloo or something.”