Chapter One Hundred and Twenty Six
A lot happened in the next few weeks. Charlaine and Darren moved from New Zealand to their rental home near us to oversee the building of their permanent home and the factory that would produce Darren's latest 3-D holographic computer compatible with his very popular web browser.
With a song in my heart I helped Char set up the nursery as she grew too large to do much more than supervise. Her birth, planned at home, was due in less than a month. Her New Zealand midwife stayed in their guest suite, ready to spring into action the minute she was needed. The mural in the nursery was Charlaine's daytime job now because she didn't have her mind on her sculpting commissions.
Linda was over at Charlaine's house all the time. She was fascinated at the miracle taking place inside her sister and in love with all the little blue clothes Charlaine was sorting and putting in the furniture she had moved from the other side of the world.
I tried to get information from Linda about how Jure took the news he could be a father. She said he was very excited about the idea and they needed to work out their plans for their family. I didn't ask if she had brought up Jure's missing wife Celandine and she didn't volunteer. Like all my girls Linda didn't want to be pressed for information about her private life.
Adele was over at Charlaine's too when her demanding work schedule allowed. I thought she seemed to make a little distance between her and the whole pregnancy thing. She wasn't ready to even consider the possibility of her and Lachlain having a baby. I believe she was a little jealous of all the attention and gifts lavished on Charlaine, especially her father's close involvement with the building of the new house and the factory.
I heard through the very effective vampire grapevine that Queen Trinity's second child, born to a surrogate from a donated egg, was home with her parents. This blessed event was another little girl they named Pacia, a name that went nicely with their first child Pythia. The King and Queen were over the moon with joy. Some of Trinity's human relatives were moved into the castle to watch the girls during daylight hours.
Jure moved Linda and her three poodles into his home. He immediately began building a new wing on the house, a wing as large as the rest of the house. Would all this extra space be needed for a nursery?
He hired Eric's construction company to build the addition and Jason was put on as foreman of the renovations. This enabled Jason to stop by my house across the lake almost every night on his way home and spend time over at Charlaine's rental home to see his nieces.
I planned on pumping Jason for details of the renovation as soon as it became obvious what the rooms were going to be used for.
I loved having more time with my brother though I was painfully aware of his sadness at seeing me just as I was when I was vibrant and young. I would remain the same, a living snapshot in time, until my final death while every month brought Jason a new gray hair or tiny wrinkle to remind him of his mortality.
Of course, he was seeing me as I was plus the white skin and fangs. There seemed to be some kind of awkward gap between us, one I hadn't ever felt before. Whether it was due to our different time schedules, our increasing age difference, or his feelings about me becoming a "fanger" I could not tell. The gap might have even been coming from me as memories of my human life grew hazier and the vivid experiences of my vampire life took precedence.
Pam went out on her charity date despite all her objections. The winner of the dream date was my brother Jason, surely another rigged drawing by Eric. Jason, not wanting to upset his wife Angellica, took both women to the fanciest restaurant in Shreveport at Fangtasia's expense. Angellica and Pam got on famously, better than Jason had even dared to expect.
In fact, they had so many laughs and bonded so well he began to worry that the sexually omnivorous Pam might have set her sights on his wife. So far that hadn't happened, they just remained friends, chatting on the phone at night if Jason was working late. Angellica was part angel. I didn't know if that had special appeal to some vampires. I was the same around Angellica so it surely didn't effect me.
In a follow up conversation with Anna Hita I learned what had given her the freedom to make her generous offer of a biological child to Linda and Jure. Tired of living with the sword of discovery hanging over her head, the gutsy Scryer had gone to the Founders and told them of her abilities to travel through time and to nearby dimensions.
When I gasped with shock she laughed and said they hardly seemed the slightest bit surprised. She wasn't the only one with those abilities.
Eons ago the Founders had sent someone back to a similar nearby dimension to alter the past and stop the destructive weapons and pollution that had ruined the reproductive powers of the people back then. It was the mutations resulting from the poisoned environment that had forced them to learn how to reproduce by Turning those they chose to add to their population with the exchange of large quantities of blood.
The experiment to stop the damage to their natural reproduction had worked. In fact, it worked too well. People had overpopulated the planet to such a degree that life had become unbearable. Disease, war and famine had wreaked havoc.
Those left after the horrible devastation were then poisoned, sickened and deformed by an environment too toxic to support robust life. Enfeebled, sickly and barely hanging on, they awaited a better day when their planet healed itself sufficiently to allow them to see their triple suns through the acid yellow haze that obscured the daylight.
This had been the Founder's feasibility study and it was not promising. The greatest minds on their planet decided that altering their past was a Pandora's box of disasters, one best left closed and locked. They had warned Anna Hita about messing around with the past, a warning she heartily agreed with. They were all on the same page.
While messing with the past was a bad idea, we had new things to ponder about messing with the present. The Research Center announced a breakthrough with their formulation of Daynight. They discovered that hypocretins were crucial in the ability of vampires to stay awake during the day. This was one of the things that Lingza had going for him to enable him to daywalk.
Dr. Mellen made the announcement himself, seconded by Dr. Fang, an appropriate name for a Chinese vampire. In China the name "Fang" was fairly common, being the 47th most prevalent Chinese surname..
Dr. Fang, resplendent in diamonds and a tailor made suit, was showing every sign of his new found prosperity since he had discovered the cure for "Fang's disease", a slow spreading illness that softened the fangs of unlucky vampires that bit a human with the virus.
The virus had no apparent effect on the human but the unfortunate vampire that bit one would soon suffer from fangs that turned to mush. Horrors!
Fang's Disease was caused by a new variant strain of Hepatitis D, a disease that had been around and bothered vampires for centuries. Dr. Fang discovered that human body fat reversed the effects of Fang's Disease.
By combining a liposuction clinic with a cure clinic for the vampire disease named after him, he killed two problems with one cannula, so to speak. And made a financial killing in the process.
He was opening up a new "Fat Sucks" clinic about once a year. They were so popular there weren't even enough sick vampires around to utilize all the leftover fat. Personally I would have chosen a more tasteful name, but who am I to argue with such obvious success?
Dr Mellon's speech was a little over my head. I'll repeat what was written in the booklet he passed out explaining his findings.
The booklet said, " Orexins and or hypocretins are strongly conserved peptides found in all major classes of vertebrates. The orexin/hypocretin system was initially suggested to be primarily involved in the stimulation of food intake, based on the finding that central administration of orexin A/hypocretin-1 increases food intake. In addition, it stimulates wakefulness and energy expenditure.
The discovery that an orexin/hypocretin receptor mutation causes the sleep disorder canine narcolepsy in Doberman Pinschers subsequently indicated a major role for this system in sleep regulation. Narcolepsy results in excessive daytime sleepiness, inability to consolidate wakefulness in the day and sleep at night. It has been shown in preliminary studies that orexin/hypocretin-based drugs could help over come the need for daytime rest and increase daytime alertness in the brain. Further studies are needed, but the results so far have promising."
As Dr. Mellon came around the room to talk to those of us gathered to hear the news he pointed out that hypocretins do not have the same side effects as Lingza's counter-hormone did. Lingza's hormone, once synthesized, turned modern vampires psychotic. It had also been thought to cause spontaneous vampire combustion until Tesla showed that the combustion of a vampire in sunlight was caused by the effect of neutrinos on the vampire's atoms. We had to stay out of sun, period, awake or asleep.The old formula slowed down the combustion process but didn't eliminate it. It didn't sound like the new one was going to fix that problem either.
The bottom line of the announcement was that the doctors running the trials wanted new volunteers to test the newly formulated hypocretin enhanced Daynight. He didn't want to use vampires that had previously been part of trial studies, he wanted new untested vampires. That left out Eric, he had already been part of a trial.
Dr. Mellon's eyes were on me as he asked for new volunteers. I looked to Eric to see what he thought. Eric gave a tiny shake to his head, letting me know he didn't want me to volunteer so I held my tongue. I had too many irons in the fire as it was. I couldn't afford to be put out of commission.
As Charlaine's due date grew close another red letter appointment came up on the calendar. It was time for me to don my judicial robes and hear my first case.
more to come ..... (Howdy everyone! Hope you're having a good day. I'll be back Saturday, til then stay well.)