A Subjective Speculative History

A brief idea on how Vampires and other Preter-things could have come out in the world. Subject to change and discussion.


It all started with the telegraph.

It started before that, but the telegraph is when things really started to change. Before then, we could communicate faster than the fastest couriers. Reluctant to change, the older amongst us were slow to adopt the new technology and it hampered us in the beginning. Technology before had been mechanical in nature, and this was something that bordered on alchemy or pure magic. Some of us were afraid and paused too long to embrace the future as it happened. Our head start was lost.

Our grace had been our speed and our secrecy. We could no longer control the political tide of their world with the ease we’d humored for eons. Now, the terms of our society were forced to shift to operate within the boundaries of their world. Once before, we had considered coming into the light only to reconsider our actions at the hand of strong opposition. Since the Inquisition, our path had been more cautious. Another century or two would make no difference to us. We had the time, and patience was ours. We watched as the people we’d once been founded countries, staged revolutions, and waged war. And we stood beside them, unseen in the shadows.

A new century dawned, ripe with possibilities. Machines made by the hands of men that could cleave the earth and cross seas rose and were reinvented as fast as we could learn their names. We had to adapt. We had to change, and the old ones amongst us grew resentful of the speed that they could no longer control. Horses no longer pulled carriages, but vehicles which ran on the refined and condensed essence of long-dead life, petroleum, plied the cobbled streets. Alchemy and animation in action; automatons rumbling through a golden age when anything and everything was possible. War engines spewed black smoke into the air and technology spilled around us in a dazzling display. Voice traveled across seas and continents now. Machines took people away from the earth to places we would not dream of following; floating in balloons or on wings of stretched canvas and later steel. The dreams of human beings surpassed words alone and became moving images on great screens in sacred spaces of entertainment. Our images became titillating films, not the whispered folktales to frighten village children. On the silver screen, we were fantastic and compelling.

The world moved faster. What was fast became supersonic. What was destructive became horrific beyond comprehension. A small idea of calculations turned into an industry that changed the world. Man reached for the stars and fell back again and yet simple biology was ever his downfall. Every man lived and died, and we drank of them all as we watched their triumphs and failures with wonder.

Disease became the new enemy when technology itself became too frightening to consider. Medicine was the new technological wonder. Surgical inventions could improve lives and drugs could be synthesized for any number of uses, medicinal and recreational. Our kind saw opportunity here, and knew when and how to invest. Man knew better, however, and were ever resourceful.

Popular culture would have it that we live forever. The truth is closer that we die very slowly. In the late 1990’s when computers had created a new golden age of possibility and promise, where venture capitalism and dreams were as wild and vivid as any could dream, the money flowed and it was easy for Forevergen to find funding. The whole idea was based on insanity: to harness the genetic anomaly found in vampiric DNA in order to extend the life of humans. The premise was the basis of many Hollywood movies, yet in a world where human cells could be grown in goats, was anything impossible anymore? To make the idea plausible required a series of carefully orchestrated steps that would make the vampire community envy, though they did not participate in the early stages. Forevergen would cure cancer, and they would do it through gene therapy utilizing drugs synthesized from the blood of vampires. No one ever even mentioned magic.

Her name was Vivian Reed. Reviled by some, heroine to others; there is no one who does not know her name today. She was the one who Forevergen took with them to the press release. She was hardly 60 years old, a lovely blonde Lust vampire, though they would not know the detail of her family. She was demure, and played her role well. No one ever knew what she traded, or was promised, in order to betray the secrecy of her kind and millennia on that August night.

Vampires had been hiding in the shadows, the executives from Forevergen explained with Vivian by their side. Victims of a disease that forced them from the sunlight and to feed on a liquid diet, they had been misunderstood by ignorant societies of primitive people. Tonight, they come forward in order to help human kind fight an old enemy: cancer and malignancy in all its forms. Together with people, they would search for a cure. Now was the time due to advancements in medicine that had never been available before.

Forevergen’s stock prices quadrupled within the month.

The proverbial cat being out of the bag, vampire society had little choice but to come forward. They would not have the humans speak for them, and they could not refuse the chance to ride the positive spin of the Forevergen executives. In their own press release, they explained their case. The delicate question of diet was demonstrated through willing victims or through blood derived through animal sources. A vampire could survive nicely on a diet of pig or cow’s blood, so the press would know. Certainly, we were not the monsters of legend. Armies of lawyers and lobbyists set to change laws with a fervor that had waited a very long time. Vampires were, for some, an exciting mix of danger and hope. For some, they simply wanted to believe.

With us came the Shifters. Less organized, they came into the light in a less refined manner. They were resentful that the vampires had an easier time and indeed, they were not wrong. The vampires recognized the shifters’ strength and formed loose networks of cooperation. It was simply better for everyone if the humans could be kept in their delusions that everything was safe and fine for as long as possible.
No one expected things to last forever.

After 9/11, Forevergen was gone and the executives as well. Some say the research is somewhere in Brazil, and still being developed. Some say that people just stopped caring. Special police groups were formed to handle us and the Shifters. The law treated us to a very different, and often ignorant, standard. Punishments were swift, harsh, and often final. Not quite human, not quite citizens, we kept some of our secrets and emerged from the darkness and into the light with some of our pride intact. The shifters fared marginally better, though still many states have laws that would kill them on sight. Though, if this life has taught us anything, it is that things change.

We embrace the future, for the future is our destiny.

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