As one, everyone in the restaurant jumped out the broken windows and started to engage the foe. Blade had out one of his auto pistols as Crystal began to use her. It actually functioned better, and it seemed the Tony had kept his promise. Blade provided cover as the others engaged the undead hand to hand. From the first moment one went up in ash, Jean-Claude knew with what they dealt, and he picked up one of the AK-47 and started to use it himself-shooting some, and butt stroking others. These thirty, obviously, were not a real gang, because they fought like they were trained men. Sadly for them, they were not trained like what they fought. As the other members of the Hand arrived, the tale was quickly beginning to tell. As it was shutting down, Jean-Claude gave orders for some to dispose of the cars as best they could, and for the rest to get their attackers weapons to the armory. It would be obvious that the police would be along soon, so they had to work with haste. It would be clear that they could not do anything about the smashed windows, and they would have to do this without lying, and yet without exposing things. With that, the command was given to dissipate the ash, but leave the round casings. By the time the police arrived, they were taking reports on what had happened. Karin said that some gang had drove up, shot out her windows, and then the cars were gone. While all this was true, there were some large gaps in the story, but there would be no one there that would have told of this. The police were worried that this gang may try to come back, and they worried about the smashed windows. However, she explained that they restaurant was open for 24 hours, and so there was always someone on the premises. Still, the police wanted to leave some people around just in case, and so Karin let them have some meals on the house, just to give them an excuse to be there.
Unfortunately, this also meant that Blade slipped away in the confusion. He also knew that, once it was over, there would be some prying eyes on the matter, and this he did not want to risk. Therefore, there would be another day. However, the motivation for going back would not be as violent, because Crystal was alive and well and...well...different. Crystal mouthed to Karin, "I'll talk to him," as she went with Blade. When they returned to the old gym in the Bronx, Blade was reluctant to let her enter. He said to her, "Give me one good reason why I should trust you?"
"Hey, it's me-Crystal," she said, "It's not like I've changed...well...I have changed, but I am still me. That hasn't changed."
He held a gun to her chest, and he said, "How can I know I can trust you?"
She looked down at the weapon and said, "I hate to break the news to you, but that no longer would work on me."
"Would you mind explaining," Blade asked, still not putting down the machine pistol.
"The short of it is that they gave me a pint of special vampire blood, it put me out, converted me from being undead to what you see now," she said.
"Did you drink it?" demanded Blade, now not sure he liked where it was going.
"They injected it," she said.
"So you had no choice?" Blade further demanded.
"In a sense I did not," she said, "I refused it, but they stuffed it in me, and it was for the better."
He stood there for another good 15 seconds, and she said, "Shoot if you want to," spreading her arms out wide. He then pulled down his pistol and walked away, still facing her. He then said, "Okay, what happened?"
"They couldn't make me human again, but they got as close as they could," she then said, "I am alive. I am not undead, but I still need blood, but only apint a day, and I cannot turn someone now, or at least, just by biting them. The big one that they call Jean-Claude said that what the vampire bat is to the bat, we are to the humans."
Blade stopped, and said, "You have a name?"
"Not just that," she continued, "But I also happen to know that he is Karin's adopted brother."
Blade then remembered the shirt he wore, and it had the mascot of a local high school in the area, and he said, "Now we have something!"
He went over to Shin, and he said, "What have you been up to?"
"Dr. Spector told me that he had some time to investigate things," said Shin,"He's trying to use some connections he has in Washington to get some more information on the Clan."
"Here's something else," said Blade, "Look up Abraham Lincoln High School in Brooklyn and see what you can find on Jean-Claude Makka."
Charlotte sat in Draco's office, and they both awaited word on the hit, but nothing came. Finally, Draco turned on a local news radio station, and areport came in on a drive-by at a building next to Trump Tower on Central Park west. The report said that the police were not sure if they could ever find out who was responsible, but they also reported that the restaurant got lucky, in that only the windows were blown out, but no one was hurt. They found some shell casings, but nothing that would aid in the investigation. Charlotte was flummoxed. "There is no way that a handful could have stopped 30 armed vampires!" she declared angrily. She knew that they had to have been stopped, and that everything had been swept under the rug, meaning that they had been resisted, and that whoever did resist them covered their tracks well. What she wondered was what kind of vampires they were that could withstand garlic. She had to assume that they could, because their orders were to take aim at targets rather than to spray and pray. That means that, if the windows were gone, then it means they had targets. She knew that they were crack shots, and therefore, they had to have been hit. If so, why were they not ashed? She then said, "We are going to have to go back..." but Draco cut her off and said, "Remember, we have a big Sicilian population in the house, and I can send someone by to do what they do so well-you know, some kind of extortion thing or something. Let me give it a shot. They might be able to dig up something, and really take our hands off it."
Charlotte relented, knowing that she could not get it done, and maybe he did have the proper connections. She then looked at William and said, "Is your brother coming?"
"He'll be in tomorrow," he said.
"Good," responded Charlotte, "That way I have two of you for the day walkers. I don't think they would stand a chance against you two."
He smiled and cracked his knuckles, itching for the chance to jump one of them. She then said, "Find me something real young-three years or younger-nice and fresh!"
Her "cute girl" smile permeated the room, as if what she wanted were perfectly acceptable, but was actually something that showed that she was a monster in the body of a 12 year old.
Marc Spector, in the meantime, started to fish around for some answers, trying to get some connections through friends he had in Washington. Normally, what he wanted to know would have been ignored. However, because this was Marc Spector-the Moon Knight-and considering some of the things he had to face in his time, they allowed him to get in contact with the party that would know something. Being that he happened to be in D.C. for personal business, he decided to go to the place where they were, but he decided to go as Moon Knight, figuring they would receive him better. He arrived at the Arlington Magical Society, and he saw the glyphs on certain entrances and due to his archeological knowledge, he knew that they were actually latent spells put there to stop anyone from entering that they did not want there. However, the sight of the silver outfit that Moon Knight caused the two guarding the gate there to instantly take a defensive. The guards threw out the challenge, and Moon Knight gave back the right password, and they relented, but they were still a bit edgy. The one said, "We had been told that you would be coming. Welcome," as he extended his hand. The other one then asked, "So, what do you want here?"
"I come on behalf of a colleague," said Moon Knight, "He needs to know if something he faces is friend or foe."
"Follow us," they said, and they took him in.
They walked down a long hallway with granite columns and a marble floor. It was spacious enough in the foyer to be a grand echo chamber, and it showed, not just in space, but in the high gothic styling of the ceiling that decorates many of the old government buildings in the capitol. Just inside the door and the floor mats in the marble was the society's symbol, and considering what he was dealing with, Moon Knight figured that few, if any that were not in the know had ever seen outside the society itself. The government was very reluctant to even mention their existence, but considering the connections, they let it go, and directed Moon Knight there. The man on duty greeted him, and then asked, "So, what do you need to know?"
"I come on behalf of a colleague," said Moon Knight, "He needs some information on something to know how to best cope with that."
"Who is the colleague," the man said with suspicion.
With hesitance, worried that he may endanger his friend, he said, "His name is Blade."
The man just stared at him, rubbing his chin, and then started to look him up and down. "He's that dhampir hunter, isn't he?"
"He may have a big problem," responded Moon Knight.
"What does he want to know?" pressed the man.
"What do you know about a group of vampires known as the Clan?" Moon Knight finally asked.
Now the man took a serious tone, and he said, "That's need to know information, and, as far as we're concerned, you don't need to know."
Having been a Marine himself, he understood how all that worked, however, it did tell him that, not only was the Clan known by these people, they may well be a well-kept government secret, and he may get nowhere. Moon Knight then asked, "So, I guess I can tell them they are some kind of government operative, and..."
"They do not work for the government, I can say that much," responded the mage on duty, "I can also say that the government knows nothing about them, or, at least, nothing that would endanger them."
"So you do know something about them," said Moon Knight, "I thought that was'need to know'."
"If you mess with them," said the man, as he now looked him dead in the eye with a stern expression, "then you need to know this much if you want to continue breathing."
Moon Knight began to tense up, as he said, "Is your crew threatening me, then?"
"It's not us you have to worry about," said the man, "Do yourself a favor and leave them alone."
"Then why do you feel the need to protect who they are?" probed Moon Knight, now knowing that he might be wearing out his welcome.
The man finally said, "Let us just say that they were able to put to rest agreat evil that would have eventually jeopardized national security, and because of the sensitive nature of the group, then hiding who they are from the likes of nosy people like you is the least of what we can do for them. Do yourself a favor and forget this, and forget that you even stood here."
Realizing that he was getting nowhere, he was now going to have to take the expensive route and head to Japan to meet their sister group. He hoped that they would cooperate more.
The next day, in that afternoon, Jean-Claude had the school baseball team out practicing, and they had just started to throw the ball around to loosen up when Blade arrived. Jean-Claude could smell Blade coming, and he was not happy that he was coming at this point. Once they had tossed enough, he said to the team, "Okay, two miles on the track, then get your cleats for fungo."
They let out a groan, but Jean-Claude was not going to have it, and he said,"You know what I say..."
The team and Jean-Claude both said, "...A fit team is a winning team!"
They all tossed down their gloves and went to run as he went to deal with Blade, who stood right behind the backstop. Jean-Claude was not happy, as he said, "You've got a lot of nerve to come here after the stunt you pulled last night!"
"You're lucky I don't kill you right now!" said Blade, "But Crystal would try to kill me. What did you do to her!"
"Blade, we could not make her human again, but we could make her more complete, and that's just what we did!"
"You gave her back the Thirst! She wants blood now!"
"Please tell me what's wrong with that, considering!"
"You're going to turn her into a monster!"
Jean-Claude furrowed his brow and got right in his face. He then said, "Is that what you call me?"
"I don't know anymore."
"Did she tell you about..."
"Let's just say I don't believe her too much, after the things I've seen."
"Blade, there is a whole other world out there, and what you have been seeing is only a counterfeit to what the truth is. If you would only take the time to listen, stop being stubborn, I could explain that to you, and give you a home and family within which to find safety."
"And you want me to be a killer with you, detached from..."
Jean-Claude cut him off sharply and said, "WE ARE NOT MURDERERS!"
This stiffened Blade into a defensive stance, but Jean-Claude then said, "We do not kill them, and we do not vamp them, except if they want it, and they fully know what is involved. Even then, we can only do so many more people, and then after that it will have to be forbidden again, considering what that behavior created."
"Are you saying your kind created the houses?"
"Indirectly, but now that we know, that is a mistake with which we no longer have to live. We feel flattered if a human wants to be one of us, but it goes further. In truth, Blade, you had better get on the bandwagon, because there is coming a day when the world of vampires that we know and the human world are going to become as one and live in symbiosis. You can get in, or just get out of the way, because if you get in the way, we SHALL remove you."
As he was saying that, the boys were coming back, and Jean-Claude said, "I don't have time to talk. If you want to be reasonable and listen to what we have to show you, get in touch. Otherwise, an attack on one member of the Clan is an attack on us all, and we SHALL hunt you down!"
Jean-Claude backed away, and he said, "Okay, varsity in the field; JV, get to the batting cage, and pitchers, do some throwing."
He picked up his Louisville Slugger and began to get fungo going, but he glanced back to see if Blade was still watching, but he was already gone. Jean-Claude began to wonder what he had seen in his life to make him this paranoid and stubborn.
Later that evening, as Jean-Claude returned to Clan Tower, he was glad to see the windows being replaced as quick as they had been lost, but he also noticed the two limos that had pulled up to the front. He did not like the look of things. Inside, about six men stood, wearing dark suits, standing there as if they were awaiting seating. The hostess came up to greet the men, and asked how many in the party. He smiled a friendly smile, and she said, "Actually, we came here to speak to the proprietor of this fine establishment," trying to sound sophisticated, and not being real convincing. The hostess smiled and went to get Karin. Karin came out with a smile, but because her hostess was human, she could not see the auras of the men there. They were human, but they all had something about their auras that said "trouble." She then said, "Can Ihelp you men?"
"Actually, it should be, 'Can we help you?'" said the man that looked in charge.
At this point, Jean-Claude walked in, and he asked, "Is there a problem here?"
"Who are you-King Kong?" the man then said.
"I have a vested interest in this facility," he said, suspicious, having seen what Karin had seen.
"Yeah-like what?" said one of the five large goons with this man.
"Ownership," said Jean-Claude, "and that's all you need to know."
"Ay, you don' tell me what I need ta know, Megilla!" snapped the lead man.
"What's your business," said Jean-Claude, now growing frustrated.
"We hear youse had a drive-by the uddah night, eh?" said the lead man, "Dis grieves me greatly to see such a fine establishment like dis have to go tru dat. But what I gots, I wanna share with youse."
Jean-Claude sighed, knowing where this was leading. He then said, "What do you propose."
"It's simple," he said with a smile, "All you gotta do is pay me small fee every month, da boys come down, look after tings, maybe an occasional meal for the boys."
Jean-Claude did not look all that amused. He then told the little toad standing before him, "Well, I thank you for the kind offer, but we have a security system here."
The man shrugged said, and said nonchalantly, "Didn't seem to work de uddah night."
"It was a slight burp, but it's under control," said Jean-Claude, hoping he would take the hint.
The man smirked, and then said, "You know, I don' tink you seem to understand..."
"No, I don't think you understand," said Jean-Claude, growing in frustration, "This area has been crime free for some time, and it was just athing. We don't need your help, thank...you."
The little man then furrowed his brow, (obviously thinking he was safe with his goons there,) and said, "It would indeed be unfortunate if somthin' happened..."
Jean-Claude inched up, angry now, and he said, "If something happened, it would be the last mistake that someone would ever make!"
"Ay, you threatenin' me?" the man protested.
"No, I'm asking you to walk out while you still can walk," said Jean-Claude, to which Karin then said, "Jean-Claude, please don't-we just gut the windows fixed."
At this, many of the patrons were either trying to finish their meals and pay them off quickly or were moving to the back, having a gut feeling where all this was going. However, Anjou's bats had already alerted her and the Hand, and they were on their way down. Vincent expressed his frustration as they went to the elevators as he said, "Can't we get any rest? First a probing mission, then bust up a bunch of disguised vampires, and now Guido wants to stick his head in. This is getting old!"
Downstairs, the little man comes up and announces, "Listen, I don't hear da word 'no' a whole lot in my life, and I don't intend to start now!"
Jean-Claude had had it, and he snatched up the man in front of him off the floor with one hand as if he were a toddler, and he said, "Get used to it!" as the man now got a look of horror on his face. Jean-Claude had not vamped out, but he still looked scary at this point, especially with the ease and speed he had snatched the mobster off the ground. This was followed by the man flying out the door and hard onto the pavement. One of the goons became indignant, and shouted, "Ay, no one puts his hands on da boss!" as he reached into his jacket. However, this got him his arm broken as the pistol hit the floor. He then followed the boss out the door. The other four tried to jump in, and that's when they found themselves dragged outside quickly. Two of the big goons were now facing Anjou, thinking she would be an easy pick. However, one was on his back swiftly and the other caught a foot to his knee, dislocating the cap, and this was followed up by a leaping crescent kick to the temple. The first one sought to leap on her, and he found a hard foot to the crotch followed up by a forearm to the back of the head from Vincent. The other two suddenly found themselves facing Hondo, Kenta, and Wiener, and seeing how quickly their colleagues had been dispatched they were beginning to think better of the situation. However, they still went for their pistols, but they too found themselves disarmed quickly, and then pummeled as they all went for pressure points and sensitive areas. They were on the ground in so much pain that they did not know what to grab. The last goon that first got injured now joined his friends, and they were all screaming in pain as they made their way back to the limos. The boss was now limping as they were all beating a hasty retreat, screaming, "You have not heard the last of dis! We'll be back and wit more!"
"And we'll be waiting," said Jean-Claude, "Just make sure you send people you don't want to see anymore."
As they stood and talked, Wiener said, "Those foolish mob idiots-wouldn't they know better, knowing how we cleaned things up?"
"I don't think that was normal," said Jean-Claude, "They were all human, however."
"Then you think there is a connection," asked Kenta.
"House Amayah has strong connections back to Sicily," said Jean-Claude, "That means that they have the connections you saw tonight. However, I don't know if they are aware with whom they dance."
"Then, what do you suggest, boss," asked Hondo.
Anjou piped up and said, "I can extend the ward over the restaurant when they try to pull up, and we can lead them into the park."
"We should make sure we have the right kind of rounds," added Vincent, "We have to be sure."
"Want in on this, Karin?" asked Jean-Claude.
"Well, they kind of killed business tonight, so, what choice do I have now?"she said, all frustrated.
Kenta came up and consoled her, saying, "Hey, take it out on them. This stuff happens, you know that."
Wiener then said, "Let me go over and scout a good position. Make sure we have some suppressors-we don't want the police involved with us as well as them. We want to stay in the woodwork, so to speak."
"Good call, Wiener," said Jean-Claude, "Once you have scouted out, report to Anjou. We'll use the Uzis tonight, because we'll be in close quarters, and we want this quick."
Karin got a glint in her eye. It was bad enough that things like this killed business, it was worse when they wanted to shut you down. Someone was in for agreat surprise!
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