Cruor Corp: Immortality In a Bottle
The dimly lit cavernous labs that span for miles underground is a stark contrast to the blindingly white and pristine office floors of Cruor Corp’s Los Angeles headquarters.
On the surface levels, large tampered windows that admit abundant sunlight are tinted by a thin film that allows the vampires that clandestinely work alongside the mortals to move around during the day. On the surface, it is work all day and the hardworking staff toil endlessly for the promise of a better future for themselves and the company.
But unbeknownst to them is the subterranean out-of-bounds laboratory outfitted with all manner of scientific and alchemical instruments. The underground halls and tunnels are constantly cool but the few that work here are preternaturally inoculated from such sensations.
This Lab was where the company’s Vice President, Byron Ajan Cormac, retreated regularly to focus on his work. Byron carried many responsibilities within the company as Head of Consumer Behavior and Product development.
His attention now was upon a vial of blood. A series of test tubes bubbled in the background and viscous liquid flowed from one to another. Byron studied the effects under a microscope and leaned back, a slight smile on his handsome face. While most of the time he was immaculately dressed, here he preferred to be dressed for mobility. Clad in a pair of dark pants and a white tank top, Byron’s strong arms gripped the blood vial with delicate care.
“Soon,” he said softly to himself, “soon you will be ready.” Placing the vial back in the container, he left the seat and moved in the direction of another room. It was a small contained room with the entrance barred by a heavy reinforced door that required an optical scan for entry, which Byron performed now. Entering the room, he took quiet stock of the bodies that hung here. There were five, including the girl he had fed on and regaled with his life story earlier. Of these five, two were already dead. The remaining three were kept alive but they too would expire soon.
He made a mental note to call for someone to dispose of the bodies and procure replacements. The ones still alive however, have their blood being pumped out of their systems and collected in a large vat that sat in the corner of the room and hooked up to all manner of machinery.
Each person suffered through an intense ritual during and after the first feeding. Each was brought close to death but then preserved in a state of flux through blood magic to retain the freshness for bleeding in a prolonged unconscious state.. Coercion tends to break at some point so this was a more efficient way to enforce the victim’s willingness.
The sudden sound of the main door to the lab outside being opened broke his musing. With a last look at the woman hanging unconscious, Byron exited the room.
“Ah Byron,” the newcomer spoke with a familiarity upon seeing him. Her accent marked her as French, “I was hoping you would be here.”
“Geneviève,” Byron regarded the tall and well-dressed woman. Her dark brown skin contrasted with her all-white office attire. Hair that was usually tied now cascaded down her lithe shoulders, framing her oval face. She was beautiful, Byron acknowledged and while no woman may ever be as perfect to him as his maker, Isabelle Bauer, Geneviève Daquin was a close second.
That she was his fledgling asserted this fact. He was, after all, extremely judicious in his selection of whom he drank from and whom he would gift immortality. Throughout the long decades, Geneviève would be the only one he brought over to the Eternal Night. Her keen, analytical mind were as much of a motivation to do so, as was her beauty.
She approached him now and kissed him longingly on his lips. Her tongue snaked past his lips and she moaned softly when he bit down on it. Her blood flowed into his mouth and some of it back in hers and the zing of its ambrosia quickened them both.
When at last Byron broke away, Geneviève stepped back, her eyes still closed and her tongue licking at the traces of blood remaining on her lips. He paused a moment to watch her.
“Now dearest, what news do you have for me?” Byron finally asked, as he settled back into his previous detached state. Geneviève smiled, resting softly against the edge of the table.
“The board members are practically foaming at the mouth for any scrap of information on the new product. They can barely contain themselves at the thought of monetizing such a commodity. Honestly, I find their eagerness rather off putting but trust mortals to eternally pine at things beyond their reach. As you may already know, they are pushing toward establishing a timeline for execution.”
Byron grinned and it painted his handsome face in a slightly malicious light. It was the look he gave when he knew with certainty that he had people in the palm of his hands.
“Let me show you then,” he replied as he took for her hand and led her to his work bench. Retrieving the vial of blood, he placed it beneath the microscope and gestured for her to observe the results herself.
He had tutored Geneviève, the same way Isabelle had when she took him under her wing since discovering and turning him in that London alley all those decades ago. Isabelle took great pride in sharing her knowledge of science and alchemy in their world. However, Byron’s knowledge of the esoteric arts paled in comparison to hers. She was a master to whom other masters would wish to tutor beneath for a fraction of a century. Byron was special however, she had given him far more than she had to her occasional mortal pupils. Thankfully, time is on his side compared to the fragile mortal existence other scientists hold. Immortality at his command, to hone and refine his craft leisurely.. Despite the trials he has encountered prior, he believes he can finish what he had set out to accomplish.
So he waited with some anxiety, anticipating his fledgling’s excitement. A long journey of experimentation remained but here at last, was the first fruit of their arduous labor.
Geneviève looked up at Byron, a smile dancing on her lips and a light in her brown eyes, “You’ve done it!” she exclaimed, “There is much left to do but with the initial hurdle overcome, we at least now have confirmation that it is possible,”
Byron felt the elation she radiated but he kept his composure. Now was not the time to celebrate. There was more experimentation required, blood rituals to ignite and the inevitable testing phases to implement. It will be some time yet before the product can be unveiled to the public. But for now, the end game is in sight.
He took the vial from her and held it up. The blood inside was stagnant but a shade darker than normal blood. It was humbling that the one thing that gave them sustenance would ironically be the key to their future. Geneviève gazed up at the vial in wonder, a hundred thoughts racing through her mind.
“Immortality in a bottle,” she uttered softly, as if savoring the words, “This will change our lives.”
“No, my dear Geneviève. This will change the world.”
He returned the vial to the container and secured it. There would be more testing needed but this at least would silence the board members for a time while keeping them firmly invested in the product. The shareholders however… these individuals are kindred to Byron and for whom the success of this new drug is of a different matter entirely. Geneviève was cognizant of this and she now tempered her previous excitement, having felt a little of the positive mood disappearing. She sat in one of the ergonomic chairs and crossed her slender legs.
“Has Isabelle been informed yet?”
Byron shook his head, “Not presently. I did not wish to bother her until after I have proven results. We have that now so Isabelle will be told.”
“Good, because she was asking too.”
A slight chill penetrated Byron and for a moment, he felt his resolve shake. Isabelle was a goddess to him, kind, beautiful and calm but on occasion, her temper rears its head and Byron has never wanted to be on the receiving end of that. Not that he was afraid of being hurt, but rather, to be a recipient of her anger would mean he had failed her and that was something he could not endure.
“Byron?” Geneviève asked, visibly concerned, “She will see that your efforts have not been in vain.”
He nodded, “Of course. I know that Geneviève,” his response was curter than he had wanted and he leaned in to kiss his fledgling apologetically when she flinched at his tone, “You should venture out now. Enjoy the night,”
“I will join you after I’ve brought this to Isabelle. We may have cracked the code to prolonging mortal life but there is more to iterate if we intend to convert it into a drug that mortals will become reliant on.”
She got up and threw her arms around him, burying her face in his neck. For a moment she held him, content in his embrace. When he peeled her arms off, she reluctantly allowed him to do so, knowing that he had much more to accomplish tonight before they could have what remained of the evening. With a kiss, she bade him goodbye and left the way she came.
Byron lingered a moment, watching her leave. Until tonight, he had gone without much contact with Isabelle or Geneviève. Getting lost in work is a trait he had since he was mortal. Throwing himself into his work allowed him to forget however briefly, the issues that plagued him at home. These days, it was more a circumstance of an ingrained habit than any desire to forget his troubles. Truthfully, Byron has little to complain about. His undead state had given him far more than being alive ever did and for that he would be eternally indebted to Isabelle. With her in his thoughts, Byron moved toward collecting all the data and research including the breakthrough to present to her. She would be very interested in this, considering how his revelation hit so close to home.
After all, if they could crack immortality for humans, then with enough time and effort, the mystery of their supernatural existence may finally be discovered.
Once they unlock the secrets of their existence, then they would have real power.