12

The following day, inside the Manhattan Housing Company's office, Olivia sat at the desk looking over what she'd just written on her computer.

She told Dave, "Here's part of what I'm going to be including in my preliminary report."

She read from the computer screen. "'Anyone who wants to qualify for resettlement on Mortenada, must first be willing to be bitten and killed by a vampire, and then return as a vampire himself or herself. The applicant must also present a document signed by a licensed physician, affirming that he or she is not addicted to illegal drugs. The applicant must also not have been convicted of any felonies.'"

Dave was seated across the desk from her.

He asked, "Are you also going to include a preliminary assessment of the living conditions that most Earth people have to deal with here? I remember what I was told by one of the Church Elders yesterday.

"What he said was that no matter what any medical report says, it won't change a thing. Whoever gets sent here from Earth will still end up living like the rest of them.

"His exact words were, 'The Earth people, who are living here already, have enough problems. They don't need any more immigrants adding to it'. That includes law abiding citizens."

Olivia sighed. "Unfortunately, Manhattan Housing doesn't want to discourage people from applying. It should be obvious that The Planet of Vampires has never been at the top of the list, for most if the Earth people, who apply for resettlement on another world; so I'm expected to focus on the positive things."

"What about the negative?"

"If I write about anything negative, I must also present an actual positive alternative."

"Is there any Olivia?"

"I could say that there is a program in operation, that's actively helping non-addicted Earth Immigrants to get their fangs on."

"There is?"

"I could say that there is."

"Olivia, it's an official report. Please don't lie."

"It won't be a lie, if a program actually is in operation, at the time when the first non-felon settlers arrive. From the time I send out this report, until they arrive, it'll be about a year. A program could be in full operation by then."

"A program could? From what I've been told, any vampire who bites an Earthman or woman might be ostracized."

"That's if the Earth man or woman is bitten by a native born vampire. If he or she is bitten by a vampire Earthman or woman, things might be different."

"Earthwoman vampire? The only one I know is you Olivia."

"Well I'd have no hesitation about lending my fangs."

"I don't know Olivia. Yours might be the only pair of willing fangs in all of Earthtown. Just how big is your appetite anyway?"

She laughed. "I wouldn't be the only one Dave. I could recruit some help."

"Recruit with your fangs?"

"That's right. You see, I'll bite two Earthtown guys. They'll each bite two Earthtown gals. Those gals'll each bite two guys. Then every guy and gal who gets bitten will each bite two, and so on and so on. Then sooner than you think, all the non-addicted people in Earthtown'll have their fangs on, and be qualified to apply for a decent paying job."

"I see. Simple multiplication."

"That's right, and by the time the first non-felon settlers step off the Spaceliner, we'll have all the vampires we'll need, to give those newcomers a real Mortenadan, qualifying fang-bang welcome."

"Oh." He said, "Well, we do have an entire year to prepare. It might work."

Olivia grinned and extended her fangs. "So what do you say Dave? How'd you like to help with the recruiting?"

"Olivia." He told her, "There's one more thing you should add to your preliminary report. You see, every now and then, it sometimes occurs, that someone who gets bitten by a vampire fails to revive."

She retracted her fangs.

"Yeah." She told him, "I've seen one woman who didn't. I've been told that it happens to about one out of every 100 who get bitten."

"That's one out of 100 native born Mortenadans. If they're Earth people, it's one out of every five."

She was startled, "One out of five Earth people?"

"That's what I was told yesterday. Unfortunately Steven Patterson, the fellow who you gave that qualifying bite to last Monday, was among the one out of five."

She was horrified. "He failed to revive? No!"

"That's right. The guy you fang banged in front of all those people, is now permanently dead."

She spoke with a panicky voice. "Dave! Will I be arrested? Will they charge me with murder? Manslaughter? Criminally negligent homicide?"

"Relax Olivia. You won't have to worry about that. According to Mortenadan law, these kinds of occurrences are considered accidents, unless any criminal intent is suspected, and in this case it obviously wasn't. You do have all those witnesses in case anyone should ask."

"That's good to know."

"However," Dave went on, "that doesn't mean that you won't be stalked by some Avenger."

She gasped. "An Avenger?"

"That's right, and there are all of those same witnesses who can identify you."

"But I didn't mean for him to stay dead! I expected him to come back with his fangs on!"

"Olivia." Dave spoke calmly. "It might be very helpful, if you explain that to the Reverend Matthew Coronado. He's Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Sangreopolis, and he'd like to speak with you too."

Olivia groaned.

Then she said, "He would?" Then she asked, "What do think he wants to say?"

"I'm not sure. It could be 'Repent you sinner'."

"Dave, this isn't funny! I mean what would he say to whoever this Avenger is?"

"I'm not sure. It might be helpful, if you let him know that you're canceling any plans you might have for a recruitment campaign."