“A giant vampire?” Mateo had opened the security camera app on the lab’s computer. “It looks like one of the Nosferatu out of Vampire: The Masquerade.”
I eyed him, “Do you play that?”
“When I was a teenager, there was a local LARP group that ran events near—”
I grinned, “No way. I wouldn’t have pegged you as a—”
The giant vampire hit the doors again, screaming, its pointed teeth visible. They were big teeth. I could imagine them ripping large chunks of flesh out of whatever it bit.
Also watching the vampire, Mateo said, “I think we need to stop talking about LARPing and concentrate on how we’re going to take that thing down. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with it.”
My grin widened. Mateo frowned.
He wasn’t wrong, though. The best thing we could do would be to take the vampire out before he smashed through the door.
I had the implant activate the gas next to the door, releasing a dense cloud that surrounded the creature, hiding him from view. It was supposed to make him sleep, but it didn’t.
It did cough and back up from the door, standing there for a minute.
“Hmmn,” I said, “what do you think we should do now?”
“No idea,” Mateo switched from the ground floor cameras to the second floor cameras. They showed something the ground floor cameras didn’t—a white van parked next to the road in front of the tower.
For a second I thought back to the League’s white van and irrationally hoped that Haley, Cassie, Vaughn, and Daniel might be stepping out of it. I knew better, but it was a nice thought.
It made the people who did step out doubly disappointing. Three men and one woman exited from the big side doors, all of them carrying AK-47s and wearing dark clothing. My gut told me that the guns were fully automatic, but that wasn’t the bad news.
The bad news was that one of them was carrying a briefcase. About ten feet from the tower, she opened it and I could see inside. It contained gray bricks that I guessed were C-4 explosives. I didn’t know exactly how much force the door could take off the top of my head or how much the C-4 she had could deliver, but my bet was that she had enough for the door.
Mateo drew similar conclusions at about the same time. “Crap.”
“Maybe we open the door?” I stood up, pushing myself off the bed. “You can take the vampire and I’ll go for the Syndicate L people.”
He nodded, “Do it.”
My implant connected to the door system and set the door to open, giving the vampire and the Syndicate L a look into the first floor of the tower—which wasn’t much more than an elevator shaft to the lower levels.
The vampire didn’t wait. It ran into the tower and stood there, looking around the room, never looking the same direction for a few seconds. Then it stopped moving, sniffing the air.
Syndicate L’s finest (or whatever) followed the vampire, but they seemed a little off. I’d fought them before. In general, they seemed well-trained and smart. In this case, they didn’t. The woman with the C-4 closed her briefcase, put it back in the van, and joined the rest in the elevator, talking a little on the way down.
We didn’t have long to listen, but what conversation I did hear didn’t sound like Syndicate L’s enforcers.
A tall man with a circular scar in the middle of his right cheek said, “Master says follow the big vampire and kill the Motor City Heroes. They are at the bottom.”
Then all the rest said, “Yes,” at once.
The vampire watched them but said nothing.
That didn’t make it clear whether they were vampire cultists or mind-controlled Syndicate L enforcers, but I was betting on the latter based on their equipment and what Working Man said.
The Motor City Heroes’ base was organized roughly as a wheel around a spoke, that spoke being the elevator leading to the surface and the tower. All we had to do was open the door to the lab and we’d be facing them.
I couldn’t say I was wild about the idea of having people shoot into the lab, but with any luck, they wouldn’t be able to do it for very long.
Next to me, Mateo drew his rapier and we faced the door on the far wall. The hum of the elevator stopped and I said, “Ready?”
He grinned, “For this? I guess we’ll find out.”
I checked the suit’s weapons power levels, decided they were good enough, said, “Three, two, one… Now.”
The metal door slid open as the vampire gave a roar and ran at us. Two of the Syndicate L enforcers didn’t do as well. They were facing a little to the right, turning toward the door as it opened, as confused as I was the first time I used it.
The woman who’d been carrying the C-4 and another guy did better, running out after the vampire and firing their rifles at us. Bullets flew and something behind us shattered. I hoped it wasn’t important.
Mateo flicked a bullet into the wall even as he swayed to avoid others. I’d have watched longer if I had the time.