The Conspirators

Chapter 7: Reproducibility

by goodbot

Tags: #blood #dom:female #dom:vampire #f/f #sub:female #transhumanism #biting #fantasy #negotiation #transgender_characters #vampire

// Catherine //

It’s late in the evening, in a mostly empty university building, in a basement laboratory room lit by dim gas lamps. It’s exactly what the “conspiracists” would consider the appropriate atmosphere for plotting to reshape the world.

When Luna arrives, she places an insulated box down on one of the work tables. “Sorry for being late. My schedule has been off all day, negotiating with the post office stable manager for access to alchemical ingredients took longer than I planned for. Not related to your project,” she explains to Catherine with a nervous laugh. “So you’re Hannah’s magic immortal girlfriend?”

“Yes. I trust she’s told you what I am?”

“You don’t age but you drink human blood, and, more importantly, you can spread your immortality to other people. As I understand it, you could turn more people into vampires like you, or into thralls like Hannah.”

“That’s correct. Vampires don’t need food or water, and we are very hard to kill unless we are starved of blood. Thralls don’t get the same invulnerability, but their aging is halted. I knew many humans in my village who had lived for centuries.”

Luna looks to Hannah. “I’d like to trust you enough to be sure you aren’t trolling me,” she says, using the conspiracist slang that Catherine recognizes from Maps and Worlds, one of the strange words Cassandra claimed to have imported from another world.

“I wouldn’t make something like this up,” Hannah assures her.

“Immortality is hard to prove, but I am verifiably not human.” Catherine bares her fangs, trying not to make her expression too threatening as she does so.

Thankfully, Luna doesn’t seem startled. “Oh, fascinating. I wonder how the inside of your face must be structured to let you retract and extend those.”

“I also have no heartbeat, my skin is considerably more durable than a human’s, and I can secrete or inject a venom that heals wounds as well as altering the mind.”

“Let’s suppose everything you say is true. In that case this is the biggest opportunity in a thousand years. We have an obligation to make that immortality available to everyone.”

“We’re going to change the world,” Hannah agrees. “We’re going to end death.”

“I do have... concerns... with this plan,” Luna says, turning serious. “I don’t like the idea of subjecting half the population to mind-controlling magic. If it’s the only way to end death, I agree it’s probably still worth it, but it’s terrifying.”

Catherine considers whether to point out that it would be more than half, since one thrall isn’t enough to sustainably feed one vampire, but Hannah speaks first.

“Being a thrall doesn’t have to be terrifying. It can be – the vampires who raised Catherine treated theirs horribly – but I don’t think it’s damaging if you’re consenting and it’s with someone you trust.”

“Hannah is the only case I know of a human willingly giving herself, and she turned out unusually well adjusted. Most thralls go through a phase of trying to fight their new drives before settling into passive, dull-minded obedience.”

“That makes sense though, because unlike those thralls I’m not being forced to do something against my will. If she gave me an order that I disagreed with, I wouldn’t do it. I would tell her why I think it’s a bad idea, because I know she cares about what I think. Being her thrall just made me feel like I’m hers. And also gave me a biological urge to have my blood sucked.”

Luna raises an eyebrow at that. “Is that a sex thing?”

“It can be,” and “Yes,” Catherine and Hannah answer at the same time.

Luna sighs. “Reshaping the whole world around that dynamic seems problematic, but in cases where the vampire can really be trusted and the thrall is into it, I suppose it could be safe. And, well, there’s no shortage of kinky conspiracists who want immortality and won’t even see the mind control as a downside.”

Catherine notices the way Luna is blushing. “Are you like Hannah, then? Interested in giving yourself away in exchange for immortal life?” Luna is attractive, and fascinating, and Catherine knows Hannah wouldn’t feel slighted if Catherine took a second thrall.

“Oh, no, sorry if I gave that impression. I don’t want to be a thrall, I want to be a vampire. Although... does that also have mind-altering effects?”

Catherine shakes her head. “Not aside from the sensory changes. Your perception changes when you turn, making some humans smell delicious. Similarly, you’ll enjoy the taste of blood and have an urge to feed. The largest negative is that direct sunlight becomes uncomfortable.”

“Oh. That’s so worth it for immortality, but very suboptimal.”

“You can adapt. Wearing long hooded robes or carrying a parasol helps. If we succeed at turning a large fraction of the population then I’m sure the world will change to accommodate our needs, like how vampire villages are built with awnings covering the passageways between buildings.”

“Definitely worth it.”

“So, next steps?” Hannah asks. “Get a few conspiracist volunteers to be turned into vampires and thralls before we go public and turn as many people as we can?”

Luna hums in agreement. “Part of me is hesitant to rush into changing the world as quickly as possible, because ideally we’d want to think carefully about how people should live in this new world before we upend the constraints of human society, but... no, we can’t delay. Every day we wait is more people dying who could have been saved.”

“Try one volunteer thrall first before we turn anyone else,” Catherine says. “I fear the consequences if Hannah’s benign reaction turns out to be an outlier.”

“Agreed,” Luna says. “Mind-altering magic is scary and we need to know what we’re getting into before we try it with a large number of people. I’ll talk to my girlfriends, I predict at least one of them will be willing to volunteer.”

“Good plan. In the meantime, we need a way to get adequate blood for Catherine. Just feeding from me isn’t enough to keep her healthy.”

“Yes, a vampire usually needs to feed from at least two or three thralls to have a sustainable supply.”

Luna opens the box she brought with her, extracting a sealed glass container and handing it to Catherine. “This is from the blood bank, 500 milliards.”

Catherine unstops the flask and drinks. It’s rather flavorless, but still filling. “I admit I’m a little surprised to find this nourishing. I was taught that vampires don’t take our energy from physical nutrients in the blood, but rather from blood magic, with the act of feeding itself being a ritual. It’s strange to take energy from blood so divorced from a living person.”

“Hmm, I figure it’s probably closer to magical biochemistry – what you might call bioalchemy – such that having the right physical substance is still what matters. How much would you need from the blood bank to make up your dietary shortfall?”

“Hannah can provide up to half my diet without either of us feeling ill effects.” Her thrall smiles. “To make up the rest, three of these containers per month will be plenty.”

Luna nods for a moment and then stops, furrowing her brow. “Hold on, no, those numbers don’t add up. That’s a 500 milliard sample. You’re saying you can take about fifteen hundred milliards of blood from her per month?”

“I don’t have precise measurements, of course, but approximately...”

“Sustainably?” Luna asks skeptically.

“Yes, that’s about the rate I have been feeding from her. Vampires have a sense for how much blood can be taken without causing damage.”

“And I haven’t had any symptoms of anemia.”

“I notice I am confused,” Luna says. “We’ve been researching how much blood a person can regularly donate, the upper limit is around 1 ard every 2 months.

“It’s believed that vampire venom helps a human regenerate blood and recover from being fed upon,” Catherine explains. “Thralls wouldn’t be good food sources otherwise.”

Luna stares into her. “So you’re telling me that venom has regenerative effects on a human when they’re fed upon, and thralls are impacted more because they’re fed from regularly?”

“Yeah, it actually feels really nice,” Hannah says. “I always feel cozy and rested after she drinks from me, and I feel healthier overall.”

“And the venom has some mental effects, but it’s not how you became a thrall, right? Not everyone who is fed on gets permanently mind-controlled.” Luna’s voice is intense, simultaneously focused and annoyed.

“No, I had to drink her blood to become hers. It’s separate from the healing effects of venom…” Hannah groans as she applies her palm to her forehead. “The venom’s healing power is what causes the life extension.”

“That seems like the explanation that best fits the available evidence,” Luna says flatly.

“We don’t have to turn people into thralls as long as the ones who don’t become vampires are still okay with being fed upon.”

“Correct! One third of the world can become vampires the other two thirds can get immortality from being fed on, perfectly nice trade, and no one needs to have dark magic reaching into their brains and permanently changing their fucking utility functions holy shit I can’t believe I was just acting like that was an acceptable plan.”

“I’m sorry for not noticing that was an option,” Catherine says. “I think I am biased by my culture, where thralls are the only humans who are fed upon regularly instead of being killed.”

“I should have noticed,” Hannah says. “I mean, I knew it was unfortunate that people who don’t have a kink like I do would still have to be thralls, but if I had stopped for five minutes and tried to think of a better plan I might have realized sooner.”

Catherine pulls her into a hug. “It’s alright, no harm was done.”

“Thank you, mistress. You know, it should be easier to find test subjects if we don’t need people who are okay being thralls, just people who are okay being fed on.”

“I’ll talk to my girlfriends,” Luna says. “Most of them would probably be into it, I won’t have any trouble finding volunteers.”

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